Follow by Email

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sibling Visit

Nancy Thomas said "A bond with an unhealthy sibling can stand in the way of the parent-child bond".  That's because the siblings carry a collective memory of the past trauma.  


We initially applied for our daughter when she was still with her sister.  Their adoption disrupted and initially it was perceived that our daughter was the issue.  Later it was determined to not be the case at all.  While we waited for several months, during that time, the girls were separated.  We saw our daughter listed as a singlet, needing connection to sister, but placed separately.  We submitted interest and immediately got a call, since her case worker had already reviewed our home study when they were together.

It was heartbreaking to think those 2 cuties would have to once again lose another family, but also each other.  Keeping them together though would have worked against their healing.  They needed very different things to be able to heal properly.

We were asked if we'd be willing to maintain contact and of course we were, no child should have to choose between having parents or siblings.  What we didn't anticipate though was falling in love with her sister.

Not on the same level as how we fell for our daughter, but lil sis has stolen our heart.

Over the past few years, I think we're slowly getting in her heart too.  She greets us with a huge hug right after she hugs and kisses her sister and she's finally saying "I miss you too" or "I love you too" when we say those very important words to her.

For the first 2 1/2 years, we could say that and she'd say "Uh huh" and we'd have to ask for hugs if we would get them, although hubs could get it willingly, she was much slower to trust me.  She enjoys rough housing with him, rubbing his beard, riding piggy back, etc.

Sometimes we have frequent visits, other times it's a long time between visits.  Our childs needs come first and we're the ones that have to do the most work to make it work.

After the heartbreaking phone call she had with her sister where she wasn't getting school pics because she's in a group home, After making a call to her social worker and offering to pay for the pics for her, she got her photos. I sent a note to lil sis to let her know not to just do without, if it's something like that and she can't find the right person to do it, to let me know or tell her sister to let me know and I'd work on it on her behalf and/or do it myself.

I really want her to learn that she can ask for what she needs and many times that's all it takes to get her needs met. She has needed to work on her communication skills for awhile, so it was a perfect opportunity to let her know we have her back.  I also let her know she's important to all of us, not just to her sister.

She called not long after and asked kiddo if she'd ask us if we could come pick her up for Thanksgiving. She wanted to come here, but didn't realize how far it was.  We told her it was a long drive and we couldn't get help to get her to us, but we'd come to her.

When we got there, I praised her for her progress and also for being willing to ask for what she needs.

So, what does she do? She asks me if someday I can get her a camera, lol.  Okay, it wasn't all material. She also asked me if I could get her social worker to try to find her Ipod which didn't make it in the move.

I told her good job asking and yes, I'd definitely ask her worker to search for her stuff and at some point, we'd find her a camera, but it may take a bit.  Managing expectations, you know?

As for the visit--it went pretty well.  She redirected easily, she's very proud of her progress and she accepts no better than she used to, not seeming to take it as personal rejection of her.  We were supse happy to see that and let her know that.

I did have to threaten to get her a dictionary though.  She has a mouth on her.  She also still has the rough play going on, "beating up" on her sister with an inflatable monkey because kiddo wouldn't give her the phone (which was because she was texting with bad language)

I was so proud of my daughter for standing up to her sister. She's always let her get away with anything she wanted and she said "why would you thinking beating me up will help you get what you want, that makes it LESS likely".  Made me double proud because I've used that on her and that means she's listening, taking it in and understanding.  Hubs told her not to be so aggressive, that acting out doesn't get you what you want.  She calmed down.

She does try the cutesy stuff to try to get away with things--ie. telling her to eat another bite and we'd order dessert to take to the park and she cuts one macaroni in half.  Ummm, want a re-do baby?!

This was the first visit in awhile totally just us an no supervision. She normally tests boundaries more without a witness anyway, but if that's her stretch, that's awesome.  

Her house mother didn't believe that she used to be violent, so that was promising that they've never seen any evidence of that.  She said she's made amazing progress in alot of areas.  Her areas of improvement needed are the same ones that took our kiddo the longest to work on.  

Food issues, first and foremost.  

There is hope though. I've seen so much improvement with our child and seeing her sister follow these footsteps, just slightly behind gives hope that she'll improve as well.  

She willingly let us leave with no sadness exhibited, so that worries me from attachment standpoint, but overall it went well.  



Missing Dad and Messages from God--We All Have a Purpose

I'm missing my daddy-o like crazy. I was talking to one of my older cousins about a week ago and he was telling me about the "big wreck" that dad always talked about. Dad was in a severe wreck about 3 years before I was born and almost lost his life. Thanks go blood donors, he lived and from 1967 til the day he died, like clockwork, every 90 days he was at the donor bank giving blood to pay it forward.

That cousin stopped by to see me the other day and it was all I could do not to cry, seeing that prominent strong family feature man face. He looks so much like I think my dad would have looked if he'd lived to that age. He told me a story that ran chills up me. The way God has been talking to me lately has taken an odd turn.

Sometime before that point and that wreck, dad had 3 buddies that he hung out with constantly after work. They'd go to the hamburger stand, drink a beer, etc and then go wherever the party was. He'd NEVER told them no. NEVER.

One night, they were all at the hamburger stand eating and the 3 guys were talking about the plans of where they were going after dinner. My dad said "You know, I'm staying here, eating my burger and going home and going to bed, I'm exhausted".

The next morning he woke up to find out his friends had all died in a severe car crash, one that there was no chance of living from. It took 2 wreckers to get the car unattached from the tree and after their funerals, body parts were still being found for weeks. :(

God had a big plan and kept him alive for something special that only he was suppose to do, yet, despite beating odds several times, he died at 53, still WAY too young.

The message I got was that God has a purpose for us all. I thought of all the people I know, you all would understand my feelings and why I've done nothing but cry thinking of this.

Thanksgiving, we took monkey butt to see her baby sister. It took nearly 4 hours to get there and 4 hours back. So stressful to do all that in one day, but worth it too. On the way home, we stopped for a potty break. A real one, not the prayer kind, that time. When we left Sheetz, hubs said "You wanna drive the next leg?" I didn't want to, but did. RIGHT after I pulled out, a state trooper pulled me over for speeding. I forgot it was 45 there for the next mile and then went back to 55. I pulled into a parking lot. He got out of the car and came up to me and a woman was in the lot (store was closed) and screamed "Officer, please call an ambulance". Her son was in the car having a bad seizure and she didn't have a cell phone. His life was saved and that officer wouldn't have been there if I hadn't made a mistake and sped.

The day before that, I went into work and the first customer was a new customer prospect, a referral from a loan I had closed the day before. My assistant helped her and they took forever to close that loan. I wondered what was up. When the loan was finished she brought the customer over to my desk and introduced me. Both had been crying. My assistant said "I don't know if you remember, but this is the year anniversary of the day my friend Lisa died. This girls name is Lisa and she said something when she sat down that made me know I'd just been sent a message from Heaven". The woman was crying and saying "I can't believe God loves me enough to be the one to deliver that message".

It runs chills up me how we can be used in the small details for a bigger picture. now I'm totally in tears.

My Daughters Soul Belongs to Lucifer and His to Her

What?!

Lucifer is her Siberian Husky dog.  He was her adoption gift, which took several months to find.  She searched the internet high and low for the perfect sidekick.  When we did the math, it appears he may have actually been conceived on adoption day. This was the picture on the ad.

Wednesday the 16th, I woke up right before 3 am to the sound of Lucifer having a very severe seizure. I was panicking and trying to calm him down.  He wasn't the same dog after the seizure and he had another about 6 am.  A trip to the vet, blood tests, observation, etc and some meds, he came home that evening with a port in his leg.  The 18th, he went back to the vet and the blood tests were backed. He had a tick bite from a suicide bomber.

It's been a week and he's finally almost himself again.

It made for a very wonky girl, very stressed, etc.  Add that to upcoming sibling visit on a holiday and she made the decision to download snapchat on her phone.

When we gave her her phone, due to her tendency to attract predatory types, we made her sign that she would not download kik, snapchat or any other apps without our knowledge, those 2 were automatic nos, other apps would be case by case.

So, she currently doesn't have a phone and I feel horrible for not seeing that this would happen and putting it away temporarily until she was regulated again.

I was in tears last night and hubs was saying "you knew we'd have occassional setbacks, not worth crying over, she's made tons of progress".  I'm like "I know, I know, I'm feeling horrible that I didn't see it coming and be proactive".  I know this child like the back of my hand, I should be able to protect her better.

I guess I'll never be the perfect mom, but I'll keep trying.

Lucifer is doing great today by the way!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Friend Time

October 2015, we took former BFF to the beach with us.  Shortly after our return, there was a ton of drama with her family.  BFF Drama

Kiddo has a new BFF now and BFF-K hasn't been here but once since last October.

Yet, she's jealous.

But that's a different story.

Back in early October, we were headed to a food truck rodeo, just me, hubs and kiddo.  It was crazy crowded so we ended up leaving and going to Cracker Barrel for lunch too.  Cracker Barrel is BFF-K's favorite restaurant.  That got us to talking about her and that we miss her.

Later in the month I made plans with a friend (Lucy) from Tennessee to meet at the half way point for lunch because it's been so long since we've seen each other and neither of us have had time to visit.  Lucy's favorite restaurant is Cracker Barrel so that's where  we planned to meet.

Since it would be a long drive, we told kiddo she could see if former BFF-K wanted to go since it was Cracker Barrel and maybe they could catch up.  That was, of course, with the understanding that because of that drama, despite that we love her, we're not getting used and it's not going to result in her going on "trips", etc and us spending all our money on her.

Lucy had to cancel due to sickness of husband, but we decided we'd go to a closer Cracker Barrel, take the girls and go for a drive in the mountains and catch up.

It was good to see her.  I did notice though that while we all had a pretty good time, the dynamics have definitely changed and kiddo was ready to go back home when we were done.

Can't go back to yesterday, we were different people then.

We'll always love her though, she was just here in that capacity for a season.


Emotionally Charged Election and Adoption

I've cried myself silly over the election results.  I went to bed a little before midnight thinking it was sounding like it'd be forever.  I had nightmares til 2:30 am, when I woke up.  I laid there worried and finally got up to check the results.

I cried and cried and cried and never got back to sleep that night.

The next morning kiddo got up and asked who won and we told her.  She was stunned and said "who votes for a child molester?" My heart hurts for her that this is her future being messed with.  My heart hurts for early sexual abuse victims and the slap in the face it is.  My heart hurts for every non-white person out there and for every woman.

A friend of mine that adopted a beautiful "brown girl" (partially hispanic) posted that her daughter was full of anxiety over it, scared she'd be send to Mexico.

I posted on facebook that I was sad reading that.  Shortly thereafter, I found out two mothers of other "brown children" (AA" had similar stories to share)

You'd think people would be supportive.

WOW!! Just Wow!!

I've been torn up ever since. The bad thing was not only about election results, but about finding out people in my circle don't see a problem with this?!

I was accused of calling people racist because I said no child should have to worry about being ripped from their families because of racism and hatred.

Any sane person realizes that the only people I referred to as racist are the ones making these comments.  Anybody that thinks they're called a racist either misread because it's against their guy or has a guilty conscience.

However, when a child has somebody walk up to them and said "I hope Trump wins so you'll be sent back to Africa with the rest of the N***", yeah, I call that racism and hatred.

When a child thinks they're being deported because of the color of their skin, yeah, that's racism and hatred.

I call racists racist.

It offends me that I was heartbroken over a friends personal situation and the response wasn't of comfort, but to slam me, to slam that family, etc.

We have a personal responsibility to be a light in a dark world.

Blaming the mother or family for the child's fear is counterproductive.  It's not the family putting this fear in our kids.  Yeah, it's up to us to pick up the pieces, but anybody dealing with anxiety issues knows it's more complicated than the mom saying "it's okay" and moving on.

Add trauma, PTSD and other things to mix, it's a long journey and alot of people will need time to heal from this.

The number of sexual abuse victims that were triggered by things Trump said on TV, the memories, the PTSD, in addition to those real fears because of things said.

Why isn't it obvious that the appearance for a lot of people is that this bullying is the new norm?

People were quoting laws to support why these fears were silly, instead of looking at what was said during the campaign.  Yes, we have laws that protect adopted children.  However, Trump did say he disagreed with the anchor baby law, the perception of the 14th amendment and the entire immigrant situation.

If he wants to overturn the 14th amendment, naturally many of our adopted children are going to be fearful.  Most of the kids that have been adopted have limited, if any, knowledge of their history.  Anytime a question was asked during his speeches, he evaded the answers. How would anybody know if there were exceptions if he doesn't clarify. Of course our children are scared. I'm scared too. I do believe that there is no way that part would get overturned and these beautiful babies are going NOWHERE, but I'm scared of the hatred and fear that this has generated.  I'm scared of my childs future. I'm scared of the message this is sending to the world.

I wonder if the result of the election would be different if everybody had kept an open mind and actually LISTENED to the journey instead of deciding who to vote for based on party.

Why do I think many didn't listen?

Well, partially because of the result and I like to think that most people are better than the hatred and racism we're seeing.

However, another reason is the number of people that claimed they voted for Trump because they're a Christian.

Most because of the abortion issue ONLY.  The thing is Trump has always been pro-choice until he decided to run. I guess it's possible he changed his mind before running, but I think it's very unlikely. I think he put that as part of his platform to win only.

What the heck? You voted Trump because you're a Christian?

Does not compute. (and don't even get me started on how offensive I find it that several have said if you're a Christian, you would have voted for Trump, don't even pretend you know what others hearts are like)

As a friends son said.....
And Jesus said "build a wall and keep everybody that's not like you out, bomb the s*** out of them, Make fun of the disabled, disrespect women and lastly be sure to deprive people of their human rights."
-Two Corinthians

His boyfriend responded with:

Absolutely, then he ran his fingers through his blonde hair and blinked his bright blue eyes.






Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Anxiety and Sibling Visits

Kiddos anxiety and other issues have calmed down so much in the past 6 months.

She's loving school this year.

She's no longer binging in the middle of the night almost every night.

She's been so calm and normal.  (knock on wood)

She had a doctors visit the other day and she's lost 30 lbs since middle school let out, and the only change made is not getting up every single night and binging.

There have been a few instances, but not very many and I'm so proud of her.

I started to share something on kiddos facebook wall and realized it sounded like she was my birth child so I only showed her and said "for a minute I almost put this on your wall, I forgot you were adopted".  She laughed and said "I forget that sometimes too"  Ding, ding, ding, anxiety down, she's normal.

I'm a little worried about the upcoming weeks and through year end.  Her baby sis called her a few weeks ago on my cell phone on a Friday evening as we were leaving dinner.  They talked a good 15 minutes or so and all sounded well.

The problem? Baby sis called again the next two nights.

Baby sis called the next week twice.

All this contact is starting to get to kiddo so I didn't give her the phone last time.

Friday night we were at a concert and baby sis called during intermission. I didn't answer since I knew we wouldn't be able to hear well and kiddo couldn't really talk to her.  She called back twice more, so the 3rd time I thought something must be wrong and I answered.

She asked kiddo to ask if we could come pick her up and bring her here for Thanksgiving.  Kiddo said she loved that idea and to call the next day so we could talk about whether it's possible.  Her sister is in a group home nearly 3 1/2 hours away. If we picked her up and brought her here and had to take her back, that'd be 14 hours on the road in one day.

Kiddo said she'd have to spend the night.  Last time though kiddo ended up in the ER with anxiety of the idea of that, so clearly that can't happen.

I reached out and asked if somebody in the group home or one of the social workers could bring her here and we take her back.  Nobody is available.

I think we may go there for Thanksgiving and have lunch and come back. Then Saturday we'll do our own at home Thanksgiving.  I hate that she's so far away and I hate that we have to break it to her that no, she can't visit for the weekend and no, there is no way to just come for Thanksgiving day.

As much as I would love to be able to, my first priority is to our daughter.

It's such a good sign though that she called and asked that.  She usually doesn't put much importance on people, nor does she have a history of being able to ask for what she needs.  I'm so proud of her and that's why we have to play our cards right on how we handle this holiday upcoming.

Then we'll need to set the tone at that point for the expectation of holiday visit at Christmas.  We are NOT going there Christmas Eve/Christmas Day.

They love each other, but she's very obviously a trigger for kiddo.  Finding that happy, healthy medium is a balancing act.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

and Yet Growing Up!

We got kiddo her car last weekend.

Yeah, I know we said we were waiting for Christmas and going to surprise her with it.  There were a couple things that made us change out mind.  We first were wondering how to get out of state and back without her realizing it to pick up the car.  We then wondered where to hide it successfully.  Then we started thinking about how we are very predictable.  Kiddo asked for so little and she knows because she rarely asks for anything that we'll move Heaven and Earth to get her what she asks for on the rare occasions she does.

She asked for a car for Christmas.

Deep down we know she knew that if there was any way possible, we'd make it happen.

So all the plans for an elaborate unveiling was not really going to be a surprise.

What would be a surprise is waking her up nearly 2 months before Christmas (before she even has her learners permit) and go pick up the car together as a family.

She was so excited.

I'm glad we decided not to wait.  We couldn't have pulled that off as successfully as my parents did.

The baby is growing up way too quickly.

Still a Kid!

Last year kiddo decided that she would follow Halloween rules and since she was 14 would not go trick or treating, despite that she clearly wanted to.

So we bought her candy and let her invite friends over to make smores (who didn't show up, but that's another story)

this year, she asked me if she could go trick or treating and gave me a long list of things she'd like to dress up as.

So, yeah, my 15 year old daughter and her BFF let me take them trick or treating and even okay with my walking with them.

I loved seeing them be kids.  There were so many years I missed out on, so those things she does longer makes my heart sing.

Kiddo dressed as a dead bride. Her bestie was a pirate.  I was Hello Kitty, lol. Yeah, I dressed up. No, I didn't ask for treats. lol

After dropping of BFF, kiddo and I dropped by the little store near us for dinner.  I think the men hanging out in there thought we were sisters from the way they talked and flirted with both of us. Kitty outfit must make me look young ;)

It was a fun night.  Teens are every bit as fun as the little kids.  Seeing a teen act like a little kid is fun too---comparing treats and trading candy.  Awwww.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A honor roll? My Child?

I could get used to this!

This was her last report card 

Last 4 school years, she'd have begged us at any opportunity to come home early from school, looked forward to appointments that messed up the school day, dragged in the morning getting ready.

This year, she's saying "Momma, hurry up, time to go to school" (early), fusses if an appointment requires leaving early or going late and loves school.

I'm not sure if it's the program she's in, that it's high school and high school is more fun anyway or a combination, but I'll take it.

She's been saying she wants to go to UVA to college. We told her she needs to keep these grades like this so we can afford UVA.

I'm loving that she finally realizes she has a future.  She avoided talk of the future so long, and now it's just a normal conversation to have.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Things Foster Kids Miss

Monkey butt's baby sister called Friday night. We were just leaving dinner and had just gotten in the car when my cell phone rang and it was cutie for her sis.

She talked all the way til we got home.  I could tell most of the conversation from what kiddo's end of conversation was and she filled me in on some of the rest after we got home.

Baby sis said they had school pics done a few weeks ago and kiddo asked if she was going to send us some.  She said she couldn't because nobody bought them for her.

That hurt my heart to think of the little things that we take for granted as a path in the journey through childhood.

As soon as I found that out, I e-mailed the director at the group home and also her social worker and requested the information on school photos and permission to order them for her.  I said I wanted her to feel as normal as possible and the fact that she brought up the school pics with kiddo made me feel like it was important to her.

I also suggested they contact us going forward for any little things that come up that aren't covered that may be important to her, needs and even a few wants if it's not big.  ie. yearbooks, although I certainly hope that she's with a family before high school hits for the yearbooks most kids want.

I got this response from her social worker, none from director of group home:


I’ll let you know if some small expense comes up that can’t be covered by us. But the biggest problem is that I am often left in the dark and never hear about it in the first place rather than that there is no way to pay for it (like school photos and yearbooks). My kids are in so many different school systems that I never learn any pattern of when those issues are likely to arise so that I know when to ask the school or placement about them.


She also added a thank you for caring about baby sis and for being such great parents for our kid.  

Before I even responded, I got another e-mail from the social worker that she tracked down the place that had the photos and called for info and that the customer service rep that answered the telephone said no worries and don't worry about payment.  She was in a group home as a child and wanted to pay it forward and she'd take care of the bill.

That did my heart good.  

Oh, and a big step in baby sis's progress---she asked about my hubs.  She has NEVER asked about either of us before.  Caring about anybody other than herself or her sister is a huge deal.

Monkey also said though that she got sad because baby sis sounded sad for a minute when she was sharing that a 17 year old at the home has a family now.  

I hope cute baby sis soon has one too.  I think her healing is beginning and I hope that we'll so more progress soon. Trying to line up a play date and excited to see how she's doing. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Watching the Debate

.....and honestly I feel anxiety big time. I think one candidate is an idiot for one (he's going to have America file bankruptcy and has a hair trigger that's going to get us bombed or worse), but I prefer to think about the issues, so that's what I'll talk about here tonight.

We could resolve a huge percent of abortion issues to begin with if we concentrated on improving health care, education, birth control, etc.....

I'm against abortion personally, but I don't get the % of people that focus so much on that for "people they don't even know" and are against a child fed, a child educated, a child housed.

Maybe they (childs parents) are taking advantage of the system, maybe they aren't, but why are the unborn important but the others not? Do we not realize that unless we also promote health care, education, birth control, adoption, etc, that forbidding abortions will cause the problems to escalate? These kids that are born that parents wanted to abort deserve a life and a better way to take care of them, whether by their birth families or through adoption.

I don't mind my tax dollars helping those in need, I don't even mind that some of those tax dollars go to those that abuse it, they have to answer for that, not me, I'll take that over my tax dollars being spent to help corporations not pay so much taxes and other wasteful "causes". I don't see how we can claim to be so anti-abortion and at the same time be anti-get anybody help so their kids CAN be born, thrive, etc. I don't see how it's possible to have it both ways.

If we focused on education first, then health care, so much of our problems would disappear with time.....I know it'd be tougher short term, but the long term advantages would really make for a great future for our kids. Yeah, it'd take longer, but that's how to solve your abortion problem, your welfare problem and a large majority of the others problems.

I bet if my childs first family had been educated, they'd have been better prepared to protect her, better prepared to take care of her, etc. Why did my baby have to suffer so much trauma because of a lack of education largely? Yes, I blame education. I don't mean solely books and grades and tests, but real critical thinking skills. With the skills to take care of herself, my childs first mom would have been able to stand up to the abuser. With skills, my childs first mom would have been able to take care of her and not neglect her.

oh, and while I'm on my rant......spending vs debt....that's what the key is, in case anybody is curious. Debt will climb regardless of who is in office because it's so high the interest will keep it up until a change is made, focus on where the spending occurs and how much and that will determine whether the debt will ever be fixed. If you don't believe me---pay the minimum payment on your credit card bill and see how long it takes to pay it off and how little your balance changes.

/end of rant for now ;) I think I covered alot of my hot buttons.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Freshman Year So Far......

Kiddo is making nearly all A's (some are A-'s but we'll take those, huge step of progress) and we've been incredibly busy.

It all started the week before school started.  We let her throw a back to school sleepover to solidify the friendships from middle school and remind each other of friendships and loyalties before they got separated in the New Tech Academy vs Regular School program.

Back to School Party:



 Those girls sure can eat. The theme was girls rock, The purple monkey was the monkey kiddo got at the cajun festival.  I didn't think we'd get rid of the girls the next day though.

Back to school shopping, momma may have went a TAD overboard.


That's just part of it. lol

The kids in the program she's in got macbooks this year instead of ipads and there were several meetings at school about the new program and construction that was going on fixing "their wing", a school within a school.

Since she no longer hangs out with K all the time after all the drama at the end of 2015, we suggested she not go all in on one person this time and that she should juggle so she's not taken advantage of again.  She has a bestie that she loves as much as K, but she is inviting different friends based on the activities.  

First activity of the year was a spoof of Beauty and the Beast at a dinner theater only an hour from here. It was hilarious and the girls loved it.  She took "twin" to this one.  We like twin. She's very low maintenance.  
This was "the beast" and after beauty fell in love and the spell was off, not only did he turn into a really weird looking guy instead of a handsome prince, the castle turned into a doublewide.  

It was very interactive too and the cast came into the audience several times and used people, including taking off my hubs hat looking for a perfect rose.

The girls got to have their photo taken with the cast after the show. 

The following week, we took "wild child" friend to Cirque du Soleil.  She's cute and funny, but really rambunctious and doesn't have very good manners.  I know it's part of her lack of being able to do things, I know her parents don't have the finances available to take her places, so we overlooked it and tried to teach her a few things. She's not somebody I hope she'll take too many places, I like her in small doses. :)  However, it is fun taking somebody somewhere they wouldn't normally get to go. 

Her mom messaged me the next day and said "wild child" hadn't shut up about it and loved the show and hanging out with monkey butt.

The next week we took KL (can't think of a nickname for her that really works for this yet) to a rock concert--Make America Rock Again.  We had front row seats and I've never seen a child so excited about going to a concert in my life. The girls had a great time. This friend is funny, polite and really enjoyed herself.  


The following week we took KD (can't think of a name for her yet either) to see Carrie Underwood. Very outgoing and silly.  Monkey butt said she loves her, but she's one that she can only take in small doses. I enjoyed her at kiddos birthday party and I think she reminds me alot of kiddo, except that she totally forgot to even say thank you.  I could tell she appreciate it though, so it was forgiven.  

That was girls night. Hubs can NOT do country music. Major trigger for his childhood trauma so I suggested I take them alone.  The girls had a ball and were all squeals.  

What was funny was "twin" aka this years (and probably long term) BFF ended up going to. Her mom ended up getting tickets for her birthday and used the other ticket on BFF, so they got to see each other, although we had much better seats.  


I don't hate country music, but I'm also not a big fan of it, so I was very surprised when I walked away saying that was probably one of the most amazing shows I'd ever seen.

She enrolled in a parenting class this year and she had to keep a robot baby over the weekend and respond to it's needs. Her grade will be based on how well she tended to babies needs and how she responded.

She said that baby was annoying and not to worry, that made her realize she definitely will be waiting a LONG time before she has real babies.  She "apologized" for waking up during the night as an infant. She actually really enjoyed tending to her during the day, but she doesn't do well with her sleep getting interrupted so that got on her nerves bad.

I snuck a look at some of the things they're teaching her and they promote attachment and not crying it out and have had some lessons about various ways families are made, including foster/adopt.  I'm so glad she hasn't triggered from it.  I'm also glad she wants so much to break the cycle that she starts learning about this early.

Last week, the tech academy finally opened their wing and kiddo and her classmates moved from the auditorium to their wing. They had an open house and it was amazing. I wish they'd had a program like that when I was in school and facilities like that.  I wanted to bring the chairs home with me.

Not only do they sit at tables with a group of kids instead of individual desks, they also have rolling chairs with a saucer on the bottom for storage.  I spun around in it and it's more comfy than my chair at home or work and I thought I had a nice chair both places.

They even have a little coffee bar in their area, free to the tech students and they sell it to the regular students to help fund their needs.

To learn more on the program she's enrolled in.... https://newtechnetwork.org/impact/

I ran into the secretary from the middle school the other day and she asked how monkey butt was doing.  To see her face when I told her how she was doing and how she fights us when we can't get her appointments for after school hours, when at middle school she'd beg for it to be slap in the middle of the day so she could have the most time off possible.

I think she's genuinelly learning too.  The things she tells us from time to time indicate she's actually getting something out of school now.  It's not about teaching to the test.  But, more importantly she's grown in her attachment, but also grown in her comfort level with her peers and has a more rounded childhood.

Her English teacher told us at the open house that our child is awesome and she wishes all her students were as well behaved and attentive as her.

Well, that's August and September in a nutshell.  October has more rest time than the last two months.

October began with a career fair field trip.  One of her friends posted 2 videos on my facebook wall of the trip. We let monkey take her phone for photos while she was gone that day. We normally require she keep her phone at home so it's not a distraction at school.  She took tons of selfies with her friends that day.  Her happiness is so fun to see.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Progress Report

Our child moved in when she was 11. She was in 5th grade.  Her behaviors to us didn't seem excessive most of the time, but 

5th grade.....teachers calling saying she was threatening to bite them, that she was shutting down and ignoring them in class, that she called classmate molerat.

9th grade....teacher says to me "Your daughter is awesome, I wish all her classmates were as well behaved and as attentive as she is"

5th grade....take kiddo out to sports complex and she has complete meltdown over crowd and strangers and is hanging on to the fence screaming for us to just send her back.  

9th grade....take kiddo out to the food truck rodeo, really crazy crowded, way worse than the sports complex. I was starting to get stressed. We look over at kiddo and can tell she's a little anxious but overall doing okay. We ask how she feels and she says stressed, but it's okay, that she'll tough it out because she knows we'd been looking forward to going.  

Ridiculously proud of her for that, but we left and didn't eat there.  Where's the enjoyment of lunch out if the whole family can't enjoy it.  We enjoyed Cracker Barrel instead, lol

5th grade....tell kiddo to do homework, she claims it's already done and it isn't.

9th grade....tell kiddo to do homework, she either says it's done and it is or she gets right on it.

5th grade....try to help kiddo with homework, she meltdowns and screams for us to send her back, she hates us

9th grade...try to help kiddo with homework and have a reasonably good time together, considering what the chore is

6th grade....stranger contacts kiddo online and she responds and doesn't tell us, continuing to talk to him

8th grade.....contacted online and she immediately brings it to us for us to report to police

5th grade.....smart girl, but doesn't apply herself, mostly due to anxiety, ptsd, etc and barely passes.  I'm concerned about her having foundation to even pass 6th grade and grades going forward. Wouldn't barely passing just make the next year that much harder.

9th grade.....all but one class is an A. Don't even get me started on the other class, it was not even her fault.  Technological error.  

5th grade....give consequence for action, has total meltdown, takes 6 years to actually do it because you have to get past meltdown first

9th grade...give consequence, get the eye roll a lighthearted ugh and does it and back to her normal self

I hope I'm not jinxing us by sharing this.  Honestly, I think that's why I have not been so diligent with giving updates lately.

She's an amazing daughter and I'm so lucky to be her momma! 

4 years ago today

.....made a typo in the title the first time, typed 4 TEARS ago today.  Which honestly, isn't that far off either.

4 years ago today, we interviewed to be parents to our beautiful baby.

This was my facebook post that day.....

I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around that it's only been 4 years, she feels like such a big part of our lives, as if she's been here nearly forever.

Today would have been my mommys birthday and I hate that she never got to meet her grandchild.  At the same time, I'm so convinced in some way, she probably had a big hand in picking out our 'lil beauty!!

We celebrated with fried apple pies for breakfast.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Facing Triggers

I talked about us going to see Beauty and the Beast.

Back in 2006, we had reservations to see Smokey Joe's at the Barn Dinner Theatre.  That morning we got a call from the nursing home to come over, that my grandmother was probably not going to make it much longer.  She took her breath about 15 minutes before we were suppose to leave.  My mom told us to go anyway, but of course we didn't, we wanted to be there for my mom.

In 2007, we decided to try it again. We went to see the show and that night I had this weird uneasy feeling all night and the next morning.  That next morning my mommy took her last breath.

It caused a trigger in me and thinking of the Barn Dinner Theatre made me think of death and here it is 8 years and 10 months later before I could tackle going.

After all, I try so hard to teach my child to work through her triggers, to not let things that remind her of bad times stand in her way of happiness, so I knew I had to tackle my own and lead by example.

We got home that night and the water wasn't working. The pressure pump on our well messed up.

The next day I got to thinking about kiddos situation when she was little. For years, she had no electricity or water in her home.  I worried not having water would trigger her.

She looked at me like I bumped my head when I asked if she was okay. She said it wasn't even similar at all.  Things break, we'd get it fixed quick. We went to a hotel to shower, we worked through it and didn't let the stress get to us.

Have I said lately how proud I am of this kid?

She's doing so amazing and I'm so excited to see how much she has progressed.

Even my friends are talking about how different she's seemed the last few times they've seen her....how relaxed and happy she seems.

And high school....more on that later, but her adjustment to high school is going amazing!!


Beauty and the Beast

When kiddo was 12, we took her to a broadway show of Beauty and the Beast. It was awesome, really loved it. She was "princess-y" back then.  Is that a word?

The Barn Dinner Theater in NC had a showing of it this past weekend.

We decided it'd be fun to go. It's been years since I've been there (the weekend my mother passed away and I've avoided it all this time).  I forgot the unique style they have there.

We took her and her new BFF and all 4 of us laughed through the entire show.

It was sorta "spoof" like in a way, but the overall plot was the same so the little kids would enjoy it too.

^^This was the "dad" of Beauty. He was hysterical.  He was also a SHE.

They interacted with the audience and came over to our table and took hubs hat off and said "nope, not a rose, avoid the stink weed".  Tears, literal tears from laughter.

We'll do it again soon.

On another note, REALLY like the new BFF.

I think this one has potential to be as close as the one we ended up having drama over.

We shall see.


Monday, September 5, 2016

Driving

Kiddo is obsessed with the idea that she is right around the corner from being old enough to drive.

I use the word obsessed lightly. She's not even as bad as I was, but still, it's so hard to believe she's creeping on that age.  She's even said she wants a car for Christmas and fine with not getting her normal truckload of stuff for it.

So, she's been studying the drivers guide from the DMV on and off the last month or two and I'm letting her pull me out of the driveway on to our private road and ride back and forth on the private road with me in the car.

I'm working my butt off at work trying to make sure I can get a good bonus when bonus time comes in November. It's the last month of the quarter to make it count and I totally would love to get this for monkey butt.  (not necessarily convertible, but you get the idea, something cute and little like this that she will not go racing on)



She's not even eligible to try for her learners permit until late December, so it's kinda funny to think that we're even exploring this idea.

Why would we do that Christmas instead of waiting until after she's licensed and ready?

One--pure excitement, since drivers licenses aren't on the 16th birthday now. So, a cool gift on Christmas is the next best thing.  Plus, I remember my Christmas at 17 when  I got my cool car.

Two--our cars include my SUV (large), husbands pickup with a straight gear and our convertible play car, also a straight gear, but also rare and costly to fix problems when they occur.  So, we feel like we may have value in having an auto that would be suitable for a newly driving teen.

Our requirements include not having big engine, being safe, not over the top expensive and not a bunch of room in the car.  Some say that it's better to get her a bigger car, but I feel like with a smaller car, she'll be better able to refuse to others to tote them around.

I don't want her having a zillion kids in the car distracting her.  We do have the advantage of her not wanting a zillion kids in her car constantly. She does better one on one, although her friend circle has grown considerably.

She's showing responsibility and making us proud lately.

I hope we can make this happen for her.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Interim Progress Report--School

So, we're 3 1/2 weeks into the school year and the stress level seems way down from last year. We have a seemingly happy kid that isn't exhibiting unusual levels of stress.

We got the first interim progress report and this momma is stunned.

AND PROUD.

After years of her struggling and anxiety ruling, so far she has no grades less than a B+.

I know it's early, but ZERO grades less than B+.  She's doing amazing and adjusting so well to high school life.

So excited for things to come.

I'm hoping that things will continue down this calm path.

Oh, and on another note....she has earned her phone back.  More on that later.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Christmas Wish List

so.....Monkey Butt wants a car for Christmas.

Given that's probably a good time of the year to get a decent deal on a car, we are going to try to accomodate that request.

However, I've been wracking my brain trying to think of ways to make it even more fun and special than getting a car is anyway.

When I was 17, for Christmas, I had 5 packages under the tree.  My family had a tradition where we opened one gift on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas morning.  The "big" present was never allowed on Christmas Eve, of course.

The present I opened on Christmas Eve was a box of gravel with a note not to spin in the gravel.

The next morning, I was told the big box had to be last.

I opened up 3 boxes that had notes in them:  "new seat covers, new tires, new paint job".

My silly self thought that meant they were going to do all this to my Flintstone mobile.  That final box though.....had about 6 boxes inside of it. The final box was a set of keys.

That wasn't all though.

Dad was laughing his head off and said "now, to see how good you are.....the car isn't here, but it IS at a neighbors house.  Let's go outside and walk around the block and when you think you see a car that could be yours, go see if the keys will crank it"

No pressure, right?

I mean, it was Christmas.  Nearly every house on the street had extra cars there because of family visiting.

I went by several cars and didn't try them out.  He kept saying "Nothing striking your fancy, what if you don't like it?" I knew, just knew that I hadn't passed it yet.  Then I started REALLY squealing.

I got ready to jump in the car and dad said "are you sure you're not jumping in a neighbors family members car? Don't yell so loud, you don't want the neighbors to wake up and have you arrested for breaking in their car or something"

It was mine. I knew.

Yeah, I loved it, but as much as the car itself (and God knows as a teenager, having a cool car was amazing and fun without the other stuff) was the thought put into making getting it special and fun.

I want to do that for kiddo.

The stumbling blocks:  1) we go overboard on gifts so lack of gifts under tree will give it away  2) we don't live in a neighborhood, we're in the country and no neighbors that we could hide a car at 3) she knows my story, she'd totally suspect the whole "nesting boxes" as the presentation.

So, here it is.....shortly after midnight, all is quiet and all are asleep when I decided what to do.

I'll ask bestie if I can hide the car at her house until Christmas Eve and then park it behind the nearby church that I can walk to. In the middle of the night I'll walk to it and drive it home.

The keys will not be in a nesting box.  We'll go ahead and get her gifts, but majorly bargain shop so she doesn't suspect.  The gift DOES have to be the last one opened though. When it's not a big box, she'll assume it's not that.

Inside will be this jewelry box that she'll be getting for Christmas. She'll assume because it has the daughter stuff on it and mushy, that that's the reason we consider it the special wait til the end gift.


Inside will be this keychain with her new key on it.

Now, to find the car and not go broke.

Looking forward to the holidays once again this year.

She's so worth it.

I'm sorta leaning towards a "clue" in some of the other gifts.

1--a banana, whether fake or real and 2--a turtle




We've been teasing her that our big worry about her driving is her experience with Mario Kart.  She threatens to bring turtles and bananas to throw out the window on our way to school for idiot drivers that behave poorly.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tech program at school

Last January, kiddo applied for and was accepted into B Tech.  (B Tech isn't the name, but the name for here)

B Tech is almost like a school within a school.  It's high school info but done like you're in college or in workplace.  They'll work in groups instead of lecture style from teachers, no worksheets, but project based. 

It allows teachers free reign over what they want to teach students and how they want to teach it. The teachers have total intellectual freedom. They combine subjects sometimes and instead of 6-8 classes a day, they only have 4.  It'll help her with her ADHD I think. Last year she struggled with bell assignments (the first 5-10 minutes of each class). I think it was the adjustment part that made that difficult, because the assignments were easier than what she did successfully, as far as material.

This will help her build soft skills, like confidence, time management, and communication, as opposed to learning how to retain a body of knowledge about topics studies show they quickly forget. While other schools teach students memorization tactics in order to score well on a test, B Tech will focus on learning citizenship-readiness. They encourage movement, noise, and activity in the classroom. (also good for her ADHD)


Each student works on a group project, the act of which encourages team building. Students at similar facilities in the county scored on average 10 percent higher on senior exit exams. Student also had a 98 percent acceptance rate into college.  

The critical thinking and using skills that actually get used after leaving schools had us sold on the idea.

So many are complaining about the program, but other than fear of the unknown, I don't see the downside yet.  

As time progresses, we shall see how this goes.  I hope kiddo will be happy with this choice because I want her to stay in it. She's only committed to 1 year, but I'd like this to continue going forward if successful.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Slumber Party

We let kiddo have a big back to school slumber pool party--11 am Saturday to 11 am Sunday.

Hotdogs for lunch, a ton of pool play, pizza for dinner, more pool play, a gaggle of girls laughing and watching movies at night and back in the pool first thing in the morning.

Kiddo is enrolled in a new program at her school and her bestie didn't enroll in it.

The program is more about creating a learning environment that matches real world experiences and helps with critical thinking. We thought it'd be good going into high school, knowing she wouldn't have classes with at least 2 of her besties for them to get together and bond, going to high school stronger than normal.

They were all great, but man, can they eat!

Who knew teen girls ate even more than the stereotype of teen boys.

It was a major success.

Some of the girls were crashing on the floats the next day, several were late leaving, some begged to stay.  One I'm concerned about. I think we'll invite her over very soon for a few visits. There is something nagging at me that something is wrong, and she needs to know she has a safe place to share and get help if needed.

Maybe we should find some cheaper food options next time though.  I know it was no less than 36 drinks and 40 mini-bags of chips for 5 girls? and I thought kiddo ate alot.  She has nothing on these girls.

The closeness she now has with some of these kids as gotten stronger and I think she's in for a fun freshman year.

I'm looking forward to seeing how she does in this new program. One of her friends mom told us she wanted to take her kid out of the program because she felt it would be so hard on her daughter.  I told her that I thought it would be hard initially, but they'd learn so much. She's afraid of bad grades. I'd rather her have bad grades and be learning than good grades and not get anything out of school though.

We shall see....we shall see....

Today she said she was really starting to get excited.

When we got to school though, getting out of the car was a different story. She said "I think I'll just stay in the car a few minutes, I'm nervous"

So proud though, no meltdown, no acting out, just "let me sit a minute" and went on with it happily.


Letter to my Freshman

 So, kiddo started high school today.  We've come a long way since she arrived back in 5th grade and I'm so proud of her. 

Starting a new journey isn't easy with her anxiety though and high school is a big step.  I was going to put a letter in her lunchbox, but she decided not to pack lunch, so this went in her bookbag and who knows if she found it.


Hi Beautiful Babygirl              

Today is the day—can’t believe our baby is in high school.

Enjoy your day, enjoy your year. Try not to stress.

You will make mistakes from time to time, don’t repeat them, learn.  You will succeed, frequently!

You will lose sometimes, you will win other times.

You will hurt, you will laugh, you will cry, you will be overwhelmed, you will be tired, you will celebrate!

You will have a huge range of emotions during your freshman year and it’s okay—everything is always okay in the end.  If it’s not okay, it’s not the end yet.

And never forget….home is your safe haven, you have a family you can lean on, you have a family that treasures you more than you’ll ever know and you have a willing shoulder and ear that is so proud of you.

You have a lifetime of support, in both good times and bad.
All we ever ask is never give up, do your best and let us be there.

Keep being a kid as long as you can, but put forth your best drive towards your classes and it’ll payoff in the end.

Love you,

Momma & Daddy!
And Lucifer & Arlo

And okay….maybe even Bonkers & Rocza Belle

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Foster World

It's so annoying to find somebody in the foster world that just doesn't get it and doesn't put the kids first.  It's really annoying when they say something out of line and they have no idea you adopted out of foster care. It's even worse when it's a customer and you have to choose between keeping your job and letting them have it.

I said a few things without crossing any lines, but there was so much more I wanted to say.

A customer of mine said he'd went to training and was considering opening a residential facility local. In the next breath, he talked about being late because he didn't have a full foster payment because he'd just disrupted on the boy he'd had for awhile.

He said the paperwork was unreal and I'd be shocked to know how much was involved in foster care. I told him then I adopted from foster care, so yeah, I had a pretty good idea.

It went from bad to worse.

It's been 2 weeks and I'm still fuming.

He said he was considering adopting this boy that's been with him, but he was acting out so bad since TPR happened and he just couldn't do it. The boy was having sex, begging him to drive him to see girlfriend, not turning loose of his phone and he just couldn't do it.

I said "Poor guy, he's probably been feeling some pretty big anxiety about all that".

He said I didn't get it and obviously I got a "good child", not the problem kids he always has gotten.  He said he was really tired of social workers not telling the whole picture.  I get that part, but his thing was "This boy had 14 placements in 3 years and the worker didn't tell me until I put in my notice".

I told him I get the frustration about not having the full picture and agreed he should know that so he could prepare. He said nobody would ever take a child with that many placements if they knew.  I said I thought some would and that just because some familes aren't the right match doesn't mean there isn't a good family out there that is a good match.

He said some kids just don't have a match and shouldn't have a family.

I was fuming.

At that point I ended the conversation and sent him on his merry way because I was either getting fired or arrested if it went any further.

If somebody is in it for the money and not the kids, then they need to get lost.

If they're burnt out, it's time to not take another child on, much less consider opening a residential center.

and yes.....he said he chose the agency he did because they paid the most.  I'm not buying that, but still.

He said he was considering residential because of the money. :(

This is why foster parents get a bad rap.  I hate this.

Meanwhile, all I could think about was kiddos baby sis and her number of placements and hoping she doesn't end up with somebody like him, hoping she ends up with a good family and not age out of care.

I think of my child, her residential stay, her disrupted adoption (or is that dissolved? I always get confused). It was after adoption was final.  Yet, she still worked at it, was willing to try to trust us, was willing to try to be a family girl and he she is in the family she's meant to be with, being cherished, loved and treasured forever.

In some ways, kiddos baby sis situation is made worse by being so daggone cute.  She gets so many inquiries because of that and then either gets shut down, they get turned down for not being a good match, they back out because of her history or she gets disrupted after in a home.

It's time to stop the cycle. Can you be the change the world needs to see? If you can be stubborn and out stubborn some cute kids that need a healthy home, and can provide healing and patient, connected parenting, please consider fostering, adopting or both.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Christmas List

Well, kiddo has finally gotten to the point where she'll ask for what she wants without us having to fish and push and prod until we get an answer.

Each Christmas, at best, she's asked for about 3 things and having to ask her a zillion times.

We asked her the other day what she'd like for Christmas, rattling off a few suggestions since she struggles with it normally. She kept saying no to our suggestions and given what the suggestions were, that made it obvious she knew what she wanted.

We asked.....

her answer....

a car.

When did this little girl start growing up so much?

When we said she needed to know IF we decided to do that, it wasn't like she'd be able to get other things for Christmas.

She said just 2 more things....

bananas

turtles

That girl!!

She cracks me up.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Sibling Visit

Kiddos baby sis wasn't able to come to her birthday party at the end of June so me and the therapist put our heads together to see when we could plan a playdate.

Given that baby sis's birthday is early August, we decided to make a playdate special at the half way mark and celebrate both their birthdays together.

The therapist came up with the place and we made plans.

As time got closer and closer, kiddo was showing more and more anxiety.  Finally, she comes out with it.  The place the therapist chose was where their last family used to vacation.

I reached out and we changed the location and got together.  The therapist said baby sis hadn't even acknowledged that she'd ever been there before. The therapist also talked to baby sis and she said "yes, let's move it, I want her to have as much fun as me".  So much progress. No meltdowns.

The most amazing visit ever!!

It's so obvious how much better baby sis is getting.

She called me by my name. That has never happened. I'm a grown up that has gotten to the point where I'm enough of her life to now have a name. lol

When kiddo refused to go on the slide with her, she didn't throw a temper tantrum.  I offered to go with her and she always turns us down when we offer to do things kiddo doesn't want to. She'd rather not do something she wants than do it without her big sis.  This time, she waited awhile, came to me and asked me to go on the slide with her and asked big sis to watch us.

when kiddo didn't want to do something, she wasn't aggressive and rough. She's not cruel and hurtful, but normally plays way too rough and in a dysregulated way.  She pouted in a normal way but didn't lose her mind over being turned down.

She didn't eat all her lunch.  Normally she eats all her food and half of kiddos.

She nearly cried at the end of visit.

That broke my heart, but also made me smile deep in my soul for having a normal reaction.

She has since been almost matched with somebody local to us and they backed out at the last moment.  They are having a time finding somebody willing and able to accept her issues.  I keep sharing the DSS facebook post of her. Maybe one day she can find permanency and be the treasured daughter of a family the way her sister is for us.

The girls exchanged gifts at the visit.  They had sno cones together and tons of water play.
Our visit was at a water park.  The therapist said 5 hours.  Kiddo said 1 hour, maybe 2 if it was going well, because she stresses her out so much. We got there and kiddo kept saying she wanted to stay longer.  We were there 4 1/2 hours and then it wasn't because of baby sis that we left. We were burnt and at that point the park was at max capacity, which is a trigger for kiddo.

Birthday

It's been a busy summer, nearly a month later and I'm finally getting around to here to talk about the pool party.

Kiddo's party was the best ever this year.

Bigger turnout on the kid end of it.  Party was suppose to be 1:30-4:30, but the first person showed up at 12:15 and the last one (other than the one that stayed the night) left shortly after 6 pm.

The interactions---really big deal for me to watch that.

The interactions between her and her friends demonstrated to me just how much she's grown up over the past few years.  When she arrived here, she was 11 chronologically. I'd say 7-8 emotionally.  She's pretty close to caught up to her age emotionally now.  A little behind, but not really noticeable now.

The bonds are strong with these friends and it was so much fun to watch.


Her pets were "invited" to the party and got the first piece of cake. She claims it was an accident, but given that her husky is still ranked above friends, I'm not totally sold on it.  Her request was blue and no chocolate so her husky could eat some of her cake.

The kids played hard, ate cake in the gazebo, swam and enjoyed her flamingo float she got for her bday.  Kiddo got to ride it very little, this was the popular pool toy for the day...


The party was emoji themed, so not only the cake had emoji's, but we got her a dozen emoji beach balls for the kids to play with and the gift bags had emoji earrings for the girls.


Many of the guests brought her emoji gifts even.  She ended up with 2 emoji bean bags. I was so glad I didn't get her the bean bag, because I really almost did. lol

We gave her front row tickets to see Carrie Underwood, me, her and one friend will be going.  

It was an amazing day.

Her sister didn't get to come because there was an adoption party the same day, but more on that later.......