Would it be?

This weekend, we went down to “the farm.”  Two brothers own it together.  One of them is married to my sister-in-law (and has been for 30 some years so we say it is Aunt N’s farm).  It is a small property of land.  At one time, I believe they did have animals out on it.  They haven’t since their own children have grown up though.  With as much work as they are doing out there, maybe the will again.

But it was BEAUTIFUL.  And peaceful.  And just what I needed.

I almost didn’t go.  Doc and Professor are still so deep in trauma (especially fear and defiance and food issues) that I didn’t think I wanted to take them anywhere.  And my three have been trying to deal with their own issues triggered by the littles’ issues (probably a good topic for another post). And taking a baby sounded like WORK.  And did I want to deal with certain family members?  And really, I just want to stay home.

And then I needed to take broccoli and cheese casserole.  But while we were shopping, hubby told me to make a dessert too.  All while the house is a mess and I have five children who need me ON THE FLOOR.

I suggested hubby take Tumbler, Swimmer, and T-Lo.  If our young adult children wanted to go, they could.  But in the end, I just couldn’t bear backing out.

There were a few little hiccups, but it was WONDERFUL!  Absolutely, perfectly, amazingly awesome! And I got some of the greatest pictures!  Well, the best pictures were the less “staged” ones, but of course, those have family member kids, foster kids, etc.   I sure wish I could share pics of Professor, Doc, and Little Lamb too!  But here is a good sampling 🙂

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This last pic is Daddy with his little ducks.  Doc hadn’t yet changed into the outfit I had planned for the day (she had jeans, boots, solid black long sleeve and a pink jean jacket).  But she’s cute both ways!

I had recently read a book (oh, I meant to do a review of that book) with a dairy ranch as the main setting.  Since then, I had done some research about finding such a thing.  This trip definitely bolstered that interest.  The house wasn’t huge (doesn’t need to be really); but can you imagine the freedom my kids would have outdoors?  Plenty of room to climb trees, shoot cans, fish, play with sticks, making crafts with pine needles, whatever.  And no traffic.  And your neighbor is down there if you need him, but not 1/5 an acre over.  And the dogs could run and play.  And I could BREATHE!

Would it be so perfect ALL of the time? Something tells me we’d still have a little stress 🙂  However, it does seem like it would be a whole lot easier to relax in such a nice, and much slower, setting.

So I looked at land again yesterday.  Still costs money.  But maybe it will be an option at some point.  Maybe if they make the adoption tax credit refundable so families like ours got any of it (I’ll explain about that one day.  I made mention of it HERE.).

Well, my sister-in-law has said we’re welcome to go down as we wish.  And I WISH!  LOL  I’m asking hubby to ask her about a certain several days.  And then she also said she’d like to do a get together family wise every couple months.  Good!  Honestly, I’d go back TODAY if I could!

 

Mental Torment

This post is going to tell you what I do to myself as a foster-adoptive mother.  And then you’ll know why I’m crazy.  Please know that I tell myself to “chill” constantly, to stop worrying what other people think, to accept my best, that perfection is not attainable at this time, etc.  But in the end, I am constantly WORRIED despite Jesus’ admonition to stop it already!

Okay, so I was going to start this another way, but I saw this post and thought, “Oh, YES!!!!”

But, quite honestly, the worst part has been the mental torment of second-guessing every move I make, every standard, every moment of discipline, because for some reason I feel like I have forgotten how to be a parent. The plethora of attachment training sessions, adoption books and doctors who seem to know more about my child than I do all feel like dozens of fingers pointing at me in condemnation.

That was written by Sara over here —> http://saraescamilla.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/quick-esca-update/

Sometimes I have this “yes!” or “yee-haw!” moment that I’m doing just fine, thank you very much.  One of my children will  show they’ve internalized the discipline (teaching/guiding, includes correction, of course), for example.  Or there is some other progress made.  The other day, Ace knocked his sister, the 9 month old(!), down.  He ran and my son grabbed up the baby.  I went and fussed at Ace in a “what on earth, have you lost your mind?” then “you better not ever do that again” manner.  And then I threw a party. Why?  Because Ace made eye contact with me the entire time I fussed at him!  My other kids do that pretty naturally, only looking away if it is another behavior in their case.  They could look at you no matter what you were saying, doing, or how.  But Ace?  Ace TRUSTED me enough to look at me.  We’re bonded enough that he could do so.  So obviously my fussing at him pretty strongly a few times (well, and I left him in his room too!) hasn’t caused any issue with our attachment.  Or maybe it has even helped.  He knows I’m not going to kill him no matter how upset I am with him.  It is safe to make eye contact with me.  It hasn’t always been safe to look ANYONE in the eyes EVER, but…

Anyway, but seriously, I’m sitting here wondering if I should really post that story.  I mean, we all know that you’re not supposed to use a raised voice or even use “that” tone with foster children, especially those traumatized by abuse, lacking attachment, etc.  And then there is the leaving him in his room for a few minutes.  How dare I?  Even though I know that Ace and I are just fine (thank you very much), I know there could be a lot of judgment.

But on a day to day basis, probably the worst judge of myself, is myself.  I wish I could do everything perfectly.  Of course, what *is* perfectly?

And really, my kids are BEAUTIFULLY behaved.  Sometimes I think we’re just way too hyper about things.  And then I think, well, they are so beautifully behaved *because* we’re very firm with high standards.  If we relaxed (like I so often think we need to), would they be so far along?  That is another thing I worry about being judged about also.

(Note:  I’m aware that no one else is nearly as interested as they seem in my head.  They have their own lives, too busy to worry about jugdging me!  They probably aren’t *really* thinking any of the things I attribute to them.)

But any time I get onto my kids, whether a look or a quick phrase or sending them to the corner or whatever, I worry what someone else thinks.  They don’t “see” the Mommy-shopping, just a charming, cute kid.  They think “oh their just kids.”  They may think I seem too easily irritated or wanting perfection.

And then….it goes ALL the way the other way:

PLEASE please please quit praising me regarding how well my children behave and how well I do with them!  I’m a fraud!

Yes, the children are usually *very* well-behaved.  This past weekend, we had the District Convention.  Three full days sitting in very uncomfy seats at the convention center.  I had five kids with me (the baby was at respite) plus bigs.  We sat in two rows so I could be within arms length of all of them, helping them with songbooks, Bibles, “looks,” giving them crayons, whatever.  The kids were AWESOMELY FANTASTIC!  I took ONE kid out ONE time to fuss at him (and it was a pretty major situation that no one would have NOT addressed).  In Three days, one kid, one time!  *I* was amazed and so incredibly thankful.

But though some of it is that I work hard with them, some of it is just that they are pretty good kids and for my three, they’ve had almost 2½ years to learn.  And then they are so much better behaved in public.  It is part of being charming and cute for other people.

But mostly, I just mess up SO much of the time!  Sure, I do some things very well with them.  I could list some great things about my relationship with them and my parenting.  But I make SO many mistakes every day.  I really don’t see how these kids are doing so well with ME as a mother!  So when people praise me, not just them, I feel like a fraud.

See, I really am nuts.  I worry about this stuff ALL THE TIME.  I want to do well by my kids and make so many mistakes.  I worry about what my mistakes say about me.  I worry about being judged.  I judge myself something awful.  And I feel like a fraud.  And every day, I hope I do a little better than the day before.  I keep hoping I can be half the mom my kids really deserve!

Reviews and Heidi

So two completely unrelated topics in this post.

First, I have joined a review team.  What is a review team?  In this case, it is a large group of homeschoolers who review products.  Many of the products will be homeschool curriculum and resources.  However, there will be health and beauty items, video/card/board games, cleaning products, foods, all sorts of things!  Now, I have already posted a review or two.  Those were not related to this group, just personal opinion.  When I am doing it related to this group, I will be sure to mention it.

 

My blog also has it’s own Facebook page now.  It is just getting started so a few comments and likes would be wonderful if you don’t mind!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/An-Intentional-Life/450052421730689

I took a picture of Heidi, my german shepherd puppy yesterday.  I take a picture each week and am just AMAZED how much this little dog is growing.  She was 7 pounds when I got her.  Saturday, she was over 15 pounds.

photo 1 photo 2

Isn’t that an amazing difference for one month?!?!

She is so smart too.  We definitely still have puppy-ness going on though.  But I really believe this is gonna be an awesome dog in time.

Monday, April First

BLAH.  That is how I feel today.  I don’t know what is wrong!

So I woke up about 4:45 with the help of Heidi. I should insert a cute puppy picture here.  It is amazing how fast puppies change!

1364861424-picsayShe actually went back to sleep; but, of course, I needed to potty so couldn’t.  And hubby was in the bathroom getting ready for work; so I had to wait.

I took Heidi outside, read a few things online, then got the kids up to make the 6:30 WOD at the box. I did the warm-up.  It was a basic warm up, no biggie, until the end.  1000m row.  I seriously didn’t think I was going to make it.  Maybe that should have been my first clue something was up.  So we tried our first lifting today.  It went well.  I did the best of the three of us 🙂  I wish I had paid better attention to the weights though.  Maybe I can ask N tomorrow what we did.  The first ones were with no weight.  The second was with weights on the ends.  The third set had tiny weights added too.  I could have done more (more weight and more in number).  But it was probably a good thing we didn’t!  Then we did LifeFit, supposedly doing 4 rounds, 5 if you’re feeling it.  Ha!  Run with a Medicine Ball 100m.  10 pull-ups (we did rows). Med Ball Run 100m. 5 Burpees.  I did two rounds then did the runs without the med ball for the 3rd round.  Then stopped.  I was done.

Anyway, at about 9:30 I went to lie down for an hour.

I took the boys to swim lessons.  They did great!  Swimmer’s backstroke is NICE!  T-lo did a couple cool things also.

When we got home, I made lunch then set them up so I could take a nap.  I woke up, took Tumbler to CrossFit Kids.  When I got home, I got supper started; but all I really wanted to do was go to sleep.  Seriously go to sleep.  So I’m writing this and trying to stay up til 8pm then going to bed.

I figure something is wrong.  I don’t feel sick in any real way, just DEAD tired.

Anyway, the kids have had good and bad days lately.  Tumbler’s bad day was today.  T-lo’s was yesterday.  I’m hoping Swimmer doesn’t go nuts tomorrow.  Well, and hopefully the other two do better also.  Maybe we can plan on the park Wednesday afternoon.  They are getting plenty of physical activity at home and sports and such, but….Oh, that reminds me that I wanted to look up the homeschool day for the other local zoo.  I’ll go do that and go to bed.

im_so_tired_today-1592

WODs

Coach Cliff: “I’m not going to take it easy on you anymore.”

Me:  “You call what you were doing taking it easy?!?!?”

Okay so Thursday’s LifeFit:

  • 1200 m row
  • 90 jumprope
  • 800 m row
  • 90 jumprope
  • 400 m row
  • 90 jumprope
  • 200 m row
  • 90 jumprope

I started having to hold back tears within the first couple hundred meters of rowing.  I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to push through.  You know, I used to think that the people on the Biggest Loser show were….something.  I mean, they had time to talk to others, talk to their trainers, etc.  But they choose working out time to break down, cry, quit, etc?  Why?  Now I know.  Seriously.  I can feel fine when I walk into the gym but then get going and feel tearful.  It isn’t until AFTER I’m holding back tears (or crying) that I start thinking about what is making me sad, angry, etc.

Lately, a great deal of it is related to Monkey.  I’m worried sick about her and miss her so incredibly much.  Then add other stressors, life, etc.  YuCK.

Friday we did the active workout with the group.  I really struggled with it.  Did you know I can’t long jump?  Wild.  Well, start at the bottom and enjoy the progress, right? Anyway, then we did the 13.2  with modifications. We did AMRAP in 10 minutes:

  • 5 shoulder to overhead
  • 10 deadlifts
  • 15 box jumps (or step ups in my case)

Now, in 13.2, the majority of people got to do the deadlifts with the same weight as the s-2-o.  This was a good thing for them because it meant a lighter weight than normal for deadlifts.  However, my son, daughter, and I did what we could so we had handweights for overheads and heavier (much heavier) kettlebells for deadlifts.

Monday we did LifeFit:

  • Work for 20 minutes.
  • On even minutes, do 7 pull-ups (I do rowing pull ups on the rings)
  • On odd minutes, do 20 wall balls

Now, we hadn’t done wall balls yet.  Somehow we had skipped that workout.  So we had to learn how.  THat wasn’t too bad the first several times.  We focused on form.  We had fairly light balls (I don’t know what “not light” is).  Anyway, I did very well at first.  Then I started having issues with my left shoulder.  Then my left elbow.  I started paying attention to not throwing my arm, just the ball.  Then my right elbow.  After the next set of pull-ups, I did this wall press with my elbow my physical therapist showed me in 2006.  That worked.  Next set of wall balls felt good.  But the next one I was done.  The last couple of wall ball sets, I did it ball-less.  I really had to still work to not throw my arms locked, hurting them more though.  They hurt for about an hour after I got home and are fine tonight though.  I do plan on discussing the issue with the coach before doing them next time though to see if there is some modification I can use to maximize the exercise while minimizing the issue.  I think, mostly, though, it’s going to take time.  I have very loose joints.  I think I’m just going to have to build the muscles to stabilize them a bit.

And then Tuesday, the warm up was THREE rounds of 10 pushups, 10 situps, 10 squat hops, 10 lunges, 10 back extensions, 10 mountain climbers.  IMO, that is not a warm up, but a workout!  LOL  Anyway, then we had to do five rounds:

  • run to the double white mailboxes (I don’t remember how long that is supposed to be)
  • lunges down the mat and back (about 20)

So I thought I was going to die.  Then I thought I was going to puke.  I did find out that I was doing my lunge walks wrong.  Doing them right is actually MUCH easier in the moment as well as longer term.  I didn’t fall over one time today!  Go figure 🙂

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 🙂