The Dance and My Baby

It is strange how songs somehow take on different meanings when you are in a situation where the words (mostly) make sense. I was bawling to this song earlier. I was so privileged and blessed to be Little M’s mama for 11½ months. I wish it had been forever. I am heartbroken for both her and us as well as worried about her. Could I saw I wish she had never come? Absolutely not! I wish it had not be NECESSARY for her to come; but since it was, I’m so incredibly glad I had the gift of being her mama.  I’m so thankful for the dances, looking at the stars, watching her grow and learn, serving my little royalty.  Holding her, I really did hold everything.  I love you so much Little M.  Your family in Texas will think of you every single day forever more.

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Swept Away

Sometimes dreams are so obvious even without being regarding the subject matter you know it is about.

It is pouring down rain.  In no time at all, the yard is flooded.  The water keeps rising.  Soon it is up to the windows on the house, ours raised up on pillars.  I look out the window, over the water, and see the storage building (very large shed) almost covered with rushing water.  It collapses into the water, sweeping our stuff out into the neighborhood and beyond.  Books, personal items just GONE.

My alarm went off.  I turn it off and roll back over.  The next part of the dream had to do with shopping and feeling desperate.  Basically, it was like I had to go on despite being so terribly upset over the loss of a lifetime (of stuff as far as the dream was).

Tomorrow morning, at 5am, my littlest daughter, a sweet toddler I’ve loved as my own, seriously thinking she would be a forever member of our family, will leave our home, get on an airplane, and fly across the country.  The system is a force too strong for us to fight.  Like the stuff swept away in my dream, it isn’t best for my little girl.  I realize that they can’t take our memories and the foundation we gave Little M; but taking HER is a loss I can barely fathom right now.  And as much as I can imagine hurts like crazy.

My heart and mind won’t even give me peace in sleep 😦

WOD #1

So, we were sick, REALLY sick.  We had done a couple weeks at CrossFit then got sick the day we signed up for good.  Stinks, huh?  Anyway, so we missed a MONTH because of the flu and more.  It was crazy!

So today I went back.  It was the 6:30 am class.  Because it had been so long, they started me over on the beginner’s WODs (workout of the day).

So here is what I did:

Warm Up – 2 sets of:

  • 10 squats
  • 10 sit ups
  • 10 dips (on box as I’m not strong enough to do them right yet)
  • 10 pull ups (on rings.  Again, not strong enough to do real ones yet)
  • 10 back extentions

WOD #1 – 3 Rounds of:

  • 300 m Row
  • 20 KB swings (18 pounds)
  • 20 box jumps (I did step ups though)

I was *really* pukey by the middle of the 2nd round.  And I thought those last box jumps would be the end of me.  But I pushed through.  I was proud that I did.

I called my mom on the way home.  She was getting into her car to go to work.  She was impressed that I was on my way home!  She said she sent an email today.  LOL

Fish is a Side Sleeper

Yes, my fish is a side sleeper.  Seriously.  Eeyore prefers to sleep at the bottom of the tank.  Diego prefers to sleep at the top.

I have a really big problem with this.  Every time I pass them, especially Diego, I think he is DEAD!

diego eeyore

Okay, so we have two Betta fish.  The blue one’s name is Eeyore.  The red one’s name is Diego.  Guess who named them 🙂

We got the fish after the June 2012 court hearing for my kids.  At that hearing, the judge did two things out of the norm.  The first thing was that she ordered that the children should be homeschooled for the 2012-2013 school year.  This is weird as almost every foster child in the country MUST go to school.  There are very few exceptions.  Also, the judge said she would be there (she was a traveling judge) July 24th.  She said she would like to finalize the adoption that day.  She asked the adoption worker if she could be ready.  Adoption worker said she thought so.  This was odd because the normal procedure is for the adoption worker to get everything done, give the lawyer what he needs, and then the lawyer would set up a date with the court.  Imagine our lawyer’s surprise when they get a call from the adoption worker when nothing has been completed yet!  In fact, the lawyer’s office called me and asked if the adoption worker had made a mistake because they hadn’t heard from us in so long (our adoption process took over twice as long as it needed to and that was with the judge cutting it short.  No telling how long CPS would have dragged it out).

Well, so it was an exciting day.  Orders to homeschool.  Judge decided the adoption should happen the following month, and we got two fish who sleep on their sides (though especially Diego, sometimes Eeyore is just crooked).

A Few Things We Did Today

Okay, things we did outside of school today?

We learned how to do THIS (using our “favorite brushes ever” 🙂 ):

We talked about getting back to CrossFit after our recent illnesses. We are going in the morning! (Now you know part of my secret for the weightloss so far this year 🙂 ).

Don’t know what CrossFit is?  Here is a preview!

ddc_hero pic

BTW, my daughter went to CrossFit Kids and then has to go to gymnastics training (two hours) this evening where they’ve added a bit more conditioning lately.  Nothing like wearing a kid out, huh?

The kids made pictures for each adult in the family.

I started Defensive Driving (and set my hubby up to do his; but he doesn’t know that part yet!).

Secondary Trauma

As I was looking around WordPress at posts with fostercare tags, I saw this article regarding Secondary Trauma.

Here are some excerpts from a post I wrote a year and a half ago:

  • I was hiding tears a few times because of the sadness, hurt, and anger my preschoolers are dealing with. It’s not because they are hurting me or I can’t handle their behavior (though I did wonder one day!). It’s simply that I hate for them to be hurting SO incredibly badly.
  • I wish I knew what to say to them. <snip> I have a 3yr old who spends an hour crawling to me whining then rushing away from me saying “leave me alone” while kicking and screaming with a lot of “I miss my mommy” statements sprinkled in. Growling and whimpering. Screaming and pouting. He looks so angry. He looks so sad.
  • M is so much more demonstrative and going through it ALL day right now where S pretends to be an animal (usually a T-Rex) 70-80% of the time (though he whines and snaps at people on a dime) and  P stuffs it all like nobody’s business then it comes through in a whiny paragraph like the one below. She never cries…not really cries. The last two times she’s gotten in trouble, she had crocodile tears; but in 2 months, she’s never cried for real.
  • These poor kids. And I get so angry about what these people did! “My daddy whooped me all the time. He ‘pankt’ all of us. He pushed my mommy down too. I don’t understand why he whooped us all the time. I just don’t understand. I helped my mommy up and he pankt me.” BTW, this after she told about an accident (there were SO many accidents!)where she was hit in the face with a hammer. But Daddy took her to the store to get special bandaids. Isn’t he such a great guy?
  • That same night, P tells me (as we’re talking about things they can dream about tonight which has helped end the bedtime whining, behaviors, anxiety considerably) she wants to dream about her mommy and daddy. I told her to dream about the good things, not the bad. I just wish she hadn’t said it in front of her brother because I really don’t need MORE screaming all night from those back bedrooms.
  • These kids have just been through SO much. It’s insane.

Is it any wonder when a mom, foster or adoptive, is dealing with all that all day every day long term that she struggles with vicarious trauma?

Actually, after I wrote all that, a few months later, I finally went to therapy myself.  I needed to!  I just needed help to take care of myself so I *could* take care of them (and the other children, bio and foster, who were in our home)

Anyway, so since this blog is new and some may not know me yet, yes, some posts may be heavier like this.  I’ll try to put something light and fun up soon 🙂

 

 

Another Big Loss for M

M (20months) will be leaving our home soon, as per today’s court hearing.  She will go to her fifth home, fictive kin, halfway across the country. She will be losing the family of seven who have absolutely adored her for the past 11 months. Hopefully she’ll heal despite the concerns (attachment, particularly) she’s shown thus far. Though the first two years are critical for a child’s ability to bond and trust, hopefully, somehow, she’ll overcome this lesson – that adults, regardless of how they treat you, aren’t trustworthy and won’t stick around – sounded so firmly down into her by this awful broken foster care system.

I’m sad for myself and my family as we’re losing the little girl we love so dearly.
I’m absolutely devastated for my sweet little M.

Screen Time and Two Reviews

First, let me say that I generally don’t like too much screen time for kids.  In the last year, we have watched more; but it is not my intention to sit my kids in front of the tv watching DVDs.  At the same time, like most mamas, I have a need for kids to be “put away” a short time each week (just to be honest).  If they are going to be in front of the television for 10, 20, 30 minutes, I would prefer it be educational.

Now, we all know that not all things claiming to be educational is all that much so.  Kids watch tv and they take very little from the passive learning.  I’ve known kids who watch hours of Dora and various other programs yet can’t tell you anything about them an hour later, much less a week later.  These kids are often lacking basic kid knowledge even.  They simply aren’t getting all that much from sitting in front of educational tv.

Okay, but we do use it for some things; so I want to share two programs.

First is The Letter Factory. Had I not seen this program work so incredibly well, I never would have believed it.  In several weeks, children can know all their letter sounds!  I had heard of it on a homeschooling message board.  I got it as a gift for an almost 3 year old a few years ago.  He loved it.  In three weeks time, he knew all his letters and sounds.  We did lots of activities about the videos.  We’d act out parts.  We’d sing the sound sounds.  We would make playdough letters.  45 minutes three times per week and the child learned the letter sounds quickly.  It was impressive.

Well, so when we started fostering, I knew I had to have this video.  Our first two boys were bright kids, ages 5 and 16months.  M, the toddler, loved The Letter Factory.  He would watch, play, wander off, watch some more.  His favorite toy was the magnadoodle mini we had.  He would beg, over and over again, for us to write letters for him.  We did.  We taught his brother to also (btw, big brother told us that only his father could teach him anything so we never directly taught him things.  We taught Little Brother.  We taught the dog.  We got him to help us teach his brother.  Whatever it took.).  Now both boys learned their letters and sounds.  It was gentle, fun, non-pushy.  It was great.  M and his brother went home five months later.  Yes, M knew all his letters and sounds.  So the next kids came 10 days later.  Again, a 16month old toddler (this time, the toddler had an infant sister).  R also learned.  Here was a child who has speech therapy at 18months (for two months) who managed to learn most of his letters and sounds in the five months he was here.  Impressive.

The second program is SparkabilitiesWe own the Toddler 1 and 2 videos.  M, our foster daughter, is 20 months old.  We started using Sparkabilities with her immediately after learning how well the YouTube previews worked to settle down R’s little sister.  We played it for R also; but mostly, I was intrigued how it caught the attention of an infant!  So M is known for being high strung and very very very loud.  Sparkabilities got her quiet!  We ordered the videos.  They were miracles!  So M watches the videos, small pieces at a time.  In the last few months, she’s learned her letters and sounds, most colors, most shapes (though the other day she was arguing with me about hexagons vs octogons), counting forward and backward, etc.  I think it is helping her speech (she did have a few months of speech therapy).  I think it is also allowing her to learn other things more easily (for example, she can tell you Texas when you point to it on the map and point out Canada when you ask her).

Recently, we were sick (Influenza B and she had an ear infection too!).  We watched a lot more tv during that time.

  • Several days later, M came up to me and said, “Mama! Tv off.”
  • “Yes, TV is off sweetie.”
  • “Mama, turn tv on ‘bilities!”
  • “Sparkabilities?”
  • “Yes ‘bilities.”
  • I was getting a kick out of this.  “Right now?”
  • “bilities on tv now?”
  • “What do you say?”
  • “Please bilities?”

I think that is probably the sum of my review.  The child has learned TONS from it and wants it.

BTW, thankfully the children are all feeling better (adults are taking a little longer).  No one is watching tv all day anymore 🙂

Bubble Bubble Bubble

So as I’m thinking of this blog theme (which may change, but that is beside the point), I’m thinking of my thoughts, our family’s experiences, etc bubbling forth.  Doesn’t that sound fitting for this “fishy” theme?

So mostly, this blog is just a personal journal of sorts.  I’m hoping we can see our progress:

  • In our homeschool
  • In our fitness
  • In our spirituality
  • In our family relationships

In a way, I guess we’ll add many areas of bubbles.  Some of our bubbles may be quite small (such as losing a couple pounds).  Some of our bubbles may be quite large (such as adding another family member).

It may be that some parts of our lives, you wish you could experience with us.  Please do.  If we do a neat idea, do it too!  There may also be some discussions that don’t particularly interest you, just skip those.  Please remember, regardless, this is our family’s life.

And so we start The H Family Journal 🙂