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!

 

Oh the Lies!

I have a child who lies.  A LOT.  All three of them went through a time of doing so; but one does it to an extreme.  Pretty much, if he is speaking, there is a good chance, well over 50-50, he is lying.

Woman in office at school using a playful tone:  Oh, and where have you been?
My child: At home
I look at him incredulously as I hand the doctor note to the front desk woman.

WHY?

Mom:  Did you wet your pants?
Child: No.
Mom: Are you sure?  If you did, you need to go change.
Child, in a “doncha know” voice: I didn’t!
Mom: Let me see
Pants were wet.

WHY?

Mom: Wow, that was fast.  Did you eat it all?
Child: Yep
Mom: Are you sure?
Child, in an “of course” voice, speaking emphatically: Yes!
Mom: I’m going to have to go check.
Child: okay <shrug>
I start doubting.  Maybe he really did eat it.  Maybe I shouldn’t doubt him so much.  But it just doesn’t seem likely.  As I walk to the trash, I don’t even see the wrapper on top of the quite full can.  I start wondering what he did with it.  Then I see it, in a fast food cup. As I reach for it, I can tell the food is still there.  I open it, seeing over half of it. Dang!
Mom: We have a problem.  Do you know what it is?
Child: I didn’t eat my food.
Mom: No, that is not the problem.  That is little.  So you didn’t eat it.  We probably could have left the rest for snack or something.  But we have a REAL problem.  Do you know what it is?
Child: I lied.

WHY?

Now I know that I did THE worst thing a mom who knows her child lies or would be tempted to lie:  I asked him a question to which he could lie.

Most of the time, I don’t think of it as a “I’m gonna catch you moment.”  When I first asked about eating the item, I really was thinking, “wow, that was fast.”  I was impressed, not thinking, “oh, wait a minute.  My kids who NEVER eats a decent speed or amount happened to eat THAT big thing THAT quickly?  No way.  Now let’s see if he lies about it.”  Seriously, I didn’t go there.

And I wasn’t USUALLY thinking about the likeliness of him lying when I asked about wetting his pants (on purpose) either.  Mostly, I have a busy household and need the kid in clean clothes should someone come to the door or we have to leave in five minutes flat or or or or. But knowing that he’s going to pee the second he gets angry or scared or whatever does make me ask.   However, I do have to say that one of THE things that worked to get him to stop doing it was to say, “if you wet yourself, please go take care of it.”  Well, and doing similarly regarding the things that would have triggered peeing anyway.

Anyway, I don’t think he means to lie.  I think it just comes out.  When it is easier to tell the truth, he still lies.

Mom: Did you put up your towel?
Child: No.
Mom: Please go do so.
Child walks back towards room then comes back out.
Mom: Where’s your towel?
Child gives look saying, “I lied again.”

WHY?

Sometimes I probe after something like that.  I mean, really, WHY would you lie to possibly GET in trouble?  That makes no sense.  I can see lying to get out of trouble.  Lying because you threw away half a sandwich makes sense.  Lying that you didn’t do something you know you did?  Not so much.

One day, one of my boys was four years old and got in trouble RIGHT after waking up.  It was something that we had been working on so I decided to give a short time out for it.  The child sat on his bed for 2 or 3 minutes.  Upon getting up, he went in the livingroom and the rule was reiterated.  Because of the urination issue, Dad asked if he had wet his pants.  He said yes.  Dad told him to go change.  He spent a long time in his room.  I go check on him,  “What are you doing?”
Child: I don’t know.
Mom: What are you supposed to be doing?
Child: Changing
I look around, pull back the blanket, am confused.
Mom: When did you wet?  Sitting in time out?
Child: yes
Mom: The bed isn’t wet.
Child looks blankly at mom.
Mom: You didn’t wet your pants?
Child: No
Mom: Then why on earth would you tell your father you did?

Seriously, I simply don’t get it.

Why?

BTW, I prided myself, the first time around parenting, that my kids weren’t into lying.  It was, of course, that I had such a great relationship with them.  I also attributed it to using positive, non-punitive discipline.  They weren’t fearful of or trying to avoid punishment because we didn’t use those things.  My kids, my easy one and my challenging one, just didn’t lie.  I HATE lying with a passion.  I won’t tell you your dress is pretty if it is hideous.  Before caller ID, I didn’t tell people the person they were calling for wasn’t home if they were.  I just hate lying!  And so I was pretty proud of myself when my first set of kids didn’t do it.

But as with so many things with parenting, if you have enough children, you’ll be humbled.  In this case, it has been times three with one of them sticking with it and doing it to an extreme.  Peeing your pants or not finishing a snack or meal won’t get you punishment.  Lying most certainly will.

Today, I asked, “whatcha thinking?” after we handled the punishment and discussion about the lying.
Child: I don’t know (in a “how am I supposed to know” tone)
Mom: You know what I *wish* you were thinking?
Child: What?
Mom:  I wish you would say something like, “I’m sorry for lying, for disappointing you and Jehovah God.”
I looked at him, about to get up and let that settle.
Child:  I am thinking that now.
He makes a half of step closer to me.  A tear runs down his cheek.
I hug him and pray with him.
We both start crying. I think he really was sorry.  He just didn’t know to be before I suggested it.  I don’t know what to think about that.  I don’t know what to do about that.  But I am really glad we ended up on the same side, together, begging for guidance.

Busy Bees of the H fam

So as you can imagine, we’re extremely busy.  Here is a little update:

  • First, this past weekend we had a special three day convention we attended.  It was absolutely wonderful.  I took my two big kids (18 and 20) and five of the littles.  I left the baby with another foster family (respite).  The children behaved beautifully all three days despite how uncomfy the seating was at the convention center!  My son was baptized.  My littles paid attention at times.  It was great!  I will probably share a little more in later days because we learned so much.  Awesome!
  • Monday, we had our area’s Not Back to School Party.  It was HUGE!  It was nice seeing so many other homeschoolers in the area.  So part of what we do is take a huge group picture.  So we got all the kids together for that.  Well, someone was sneaky and smart and took a picture of all the moms taking pictures!  No way they would have gotten all of us to stand together, ya know!
  • Last night, I found out that my three little ones are transitioning to fictive kin.  In their case, it is a neighbor of a relative.  We have been asked and asked and asked about adopting from placement through earlier this week and it has taken two months from the first “meet you” visit to talking about transitioning.  We really thought maybe these were our children.  But I feel a real peace about them going to these people.  I wish them all the very best.
  • Homeschooling with six children seven years old and under takes a LOT more time than you’d think.  We are constantly going off on rabbit trails, being distracted by a diaper change or what have you.  It is fun, but takes a LOT longer than it would with fewer children.  Of course, maybe it is just preparing us for when they are older and it will take more time for the actual work.
  • The six month mark passed regarding Sweet Little M being taken halfway across the country to strangers, to her fifth home where she is now in need of professional help to deal with the trauma of what has happened to her because the state and her “new parents” had other interests, not her best interests, in mind. I am still angry, bitter, sad, scared, worried, fearful, disgusted; but actually, all of these have died down a great deal.  Now I simply love my little girl from afar and believe more than ever that our Heavenly Father is more than capable of helping her for now and forever.

Hopefully, I can keep up with my blog a little better in the weeks to come. I do know I have a review I’ll put up this weekend.  I would also like to share a couple pictures and thoughts from the convention.  We have all sorts of pictures of our school days also.  And the children have made amazing progress.  Tons of stuff to post if I can just find time to post them.

That is it!

Okay, this is not the post for today because I have too many I want to write this week; so this is a bonus from yesterday rather than a new one for today.  Okay?

And you may get further if you read yesterday’s first.

Okay, a woman just wrote that she had lost a baby years ago and that she worried something awful about her.  And that now she feels peace, that the child has just what she needs with the family she is now with six years later.

And it hit me that this is exactly why I do not have peace!   I simply do not trust the people who have my baby to do what is right by her.  How could I?  They already have proven they won’t put her needs ahead of all else!

BTW, this is just the opposite of what happened with my three.  The aunt and grandmother for my three could have fought for the children.  They likely would have won as the “concerns” were not legally significant.  But they saw how much they were loved and cared for.  They saw that they were getting their developmental needs met.  They saw that they were getting the opportunity to live life.  They saw that we were willing to do WHATEVER to help them emotionally, mentally, socially.  They saw that we valued education. They saw they looked healthier.  They were happy they were doing so well.

So they backed out and let us be a family.  It was so incredibly hard for them.  But we had already given the children so much and could give them forever.  And they put the children’s needs rather than some idea of “blood” and “they’re mine” and selfish desires in the forefront of their thinking.

These people were much further removed than my three’s aunt and grandmother.  They also had never met her before, much less had a relationship with her.  They didn’t even have a relationship with her biomom.  And when they heard what all we had done, nothing.  When they saw how much we adored her, nothing.  When they knew how much it would hurt her, nothing.  Nothing was going to deter them from getting this freebie daughter no matter what it did to HER in the process.

On top of that, they are doing things known to exasperate attachment issues though they were warned ahead of time that those things were problematic.  Though they were asked to learn more about attachment.  Though they went through classes that at least touched on attachment issues.  Though they had spoken with the bio-grandmother who had raised Sweet Little M’s mom who had attachment disorder (adopted as an older child).  But they still just do whatever they want to do rather than what is best for M.

So how am I supposed to trust them?  They’ve proven over and over and over for the last year that none of this is about M.

I will say that I do have the slightest amount of hope through all my fears (and there are even more than listed on my blog so far).  I know that their love for her grew over the 14 months they waited to get her in their home.  And no doubt, some of that has grown even more in the 5 months they’ve had her with them. Also, they DO seem like good people in general from everything I can tell.  I even LIKED them as we were texting, skyping, visiting, etc.  So my hope is that their love outweighs their imperfection at some point and they really DO help my sweet baby heal and thrive.

But based on their track record, I cannot trust them to do it so I get no peace about it now.

Oh, except one thing.  As I struggle with all this, I have my faith in God.  I don’t believe like so many others want to that God is controlling and perpetrating all these bad things on people.  However, I do believe that he can work with and fix anything we mere humans throw at him!

Review: How Do We Know God Is Really There?

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Recently, I received a copy of the book, How Do We Know God Is Really There by Melissa Cain Travis.

The book is available through Apologia Educational Ministries.  There are many ways to learn more about them.

Apologia is most well-known for their elementary through high school level science courses.  Many years ago, I taught a cooperative class of homeschooled and private school students using their Biology book as our core.

This direct address for this book is http://shop.apologia.com/books/367-how-do-we-know-god-is-really-there-.html  At this link, you can purchase the book for $16.

So what is this book?  It is a good physical quality, hard cover book.  The website describes it as a read-aloud picture book “designed to introduce kids to important questions of the Christian faith in terms even pre-readers can understand.”

I believe the book is simple enough for the intended audience to understand the beliefs it shares.  The pictures are simple and are enjoyable (the book is illustrated by Christopher Voss), with a picture included on each two-page spread throughout the book.

I would expect that most families would read the story together, checking to see if the children got the point as they went. A good reader or older child could read the book independently.  Younger children may like looking at the pictures in their free time. Some families may investigate further by looking up information about certain planets, scientists, creation history, etc.  There is only one scripture cited; but families could also look it up in a couple Bible versions to better get the sense of it.  They might also find other topically-relevant scriptures.

I did have a problem with the sentence structure and combinations throughout the book, especially on the second page.  I wouldn’t have said “They would” at all, much less several times.  Sometimes, it seemed the book was written by a young person.  I feel bad mentioning this though as writing isn’t my best subject or ability either.  However, I also didn’t publish a book.  I simply believe children’s literature, though it may have a different goal (in this case, being informative regarding faith and science), should be a good model, or at least not a poor one, for our children.  In my opinion, the issue was to the degree of being distracting.

I also think the book would have been better if it were:

  • either shorter as it really took awhile to get into and was wordy;
  • or if it was a simple chapter book, maybe three chapters, going just a tad further.

One additional section to add would be a letter to parents.  In that, I would include a little more science to help parents answer questions or go further as well as give resources (scriptural, online, or other books).

I think it handles the question of “but where did it come from” very well. Physicists have known for a long time that “Another theory…will be needed to explain the original creation of the universe.” Of course, creation itself tells of it’s Creator.

I think it was wise for the materials not to take a position regarding old and young earth creationism also as it will make it more palatable for both groups.

DISCLAIMER: Generally, I would leave my review to the above.  However, I do feel the need, since this is primarily a book regarding religious belief, to address the fact that my family will not be using this publishers books about faith, whether each one, individually, is theologically sound or not, as we do not believe the same as their company does about many matters of spirituality.

Semi-Open Adoption and Wow

I’m on the verge of tears right now.  It has been such an emotional few weeks!  However, this morning’s tears are positive.

As I mentioned below, we have an open adoption.  How open depends on the family member.  Additionally, I expect that it is an evolving relationship that will change over time as the people involve mature, have different needs, etc.  And some of it is just getting comfy in our new roles.

Well, yesterday, I facebook messaged my children’s first parents.  It was maybe 3 or 4 sentences, nothing huge.  I didn’t expect an answer at all and was half expecting that if I did get one, the answer may even be hostile though I was careful in the wording and being humble, lowly.  So imagine my surprise when I received a heartfelt thank you message back within seconds!  I was even more surprised as the conversation continued over two hours!

I really didn’t think this day would come ever, much less so soon.  All I have to go based on regarding this woman was a couple court appearances where she was “on something,”  paperwork (investigative reports done half-way by an overworked CPS worker, a couple psych reports, etc), and testimony (from various CPS workers, reports from people the state hired to help her, her now ex-husband).

I also have the COMPLETE lack of discussion about her by my children.  Yes, really.  The *only* thing I’ve *ever* heard is “I miss my mommy” or “I miss my first mom.”  There is not ONE story of her.  There is no discussion of the mundane things in life or some special activity (whether once or regularly).  There is not one time of “my first mom XYZ.”  There is some about their first dad.  There are even some “my first parents….”  The closest was something like the story of my daughter being spanked for helping her mother up when her father pushed her down.”  But nothing specifically about their first mom….at all.

I really came to believe that this woman was just a shadow of herself.  She was probably in there somewhere; but the pain, the grief, the alcohol, the abuse, whatever has just overtaken her.  And in my head, she was the hurt inflicted upon my children.

This was not the woman I spoke to last night.  Her life is still a mess; but she was coherent and able to think about anyone but herself.  And yet, she was open to something more.  Like I said, we spoke for over two hours.  We discussed spiritual matters, the children, pictures and letters (not just from me!), etc.   I let her know that we’re hoping the best for her (something I’ve done many times, but I could be more detailed in our discussion).  I let her know that God cares and that she can gain peace (something she desperately wants and is so incredibly true).

Last night, my children’s first mom became a real person to me.

Kids and Thursday

Kimber:  Swimmer said not to tell you because you told him not to tell me that you took a drink of my soda.

None of y’all are very good at keeping secrets, at least not the innocent kinds.

Anyway, so Thursday, John and I went to CrossFit. We did our basic warm-up.  John was able to do the pull ups with band help!  YAY! He also did some of the dips with band help.  YAY!  I have to say that the warm-up no longer kicks my booty 🙂

We did the LifeFit WOD (I think it may have been the 8th, but not sure):

  • 12 ball slams
  • 4 shuttle runs
  • 8 ball slams
  • 3 shuttle runs
  • 4 ball slams
  • 2 shuttle runs
  • 30 double-unders (but we don’t know how to do them so just did regular jump)
  • 2 minute rest

Let me say now that we rested more like 3½ minutes at the end and had several 10-30 second seconds through the two rounds of the above.  Though it was much more cardio than I’m used to (stinks, but truth, right?) and was hard in the moment, I actually felt really good leaving the gym.  I also felt like I most certainly could manage our day afterwards (something I don’t always feel, especially on a busy day).

We got home, got ready, and left.

We took John to college.

Then we went to homeschool day at the ZOO!!!!!  YAY!

It was a lot of fun.  The kids did really well. They loved all the animals.  We talked about there are a few ways to get to know God and one of those ways is by observing/experiencing creation.

Favorite animals:

  • Tumbler – flamingo and zebra
  • Swimmer – elephant and crocodile
  • T-lo – hippos and snake
  • Kimber – white tiger
  • Mama – river otters

Here are a few pics of the kids:

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photo (3)I put this last because we were walking down this and all of a sudden I hear my five year old say, “more wild animals!” Uh, yeah.  Did you know he could read that?

Pi Day

March 14th is π Day, Pi Day*.

I’m letting you know early so you can plan to celebrate 🙂

So our first decision was to have pie on Pi Day.  We’ve not done that before, for whatever reason.  So we are this year.  So that means we need to 314pieplan a trip to Whole Foods because my daughter has her heart on a certain one, a gluten free one.  I’m thinking we’ll have pizza (pie) also.  The kids didn’t understand this at first; but I explained how in some places, pizza is called pizza pie.

The second celebratory thing is that each person will learn the digits of pi.  The kids (4, 5, & 7) are doubling their ages to find out how many digits after the decimal to learn.  I already know 15 so I’m thinking of doing my age (under 40, barely).  My daughter’s goal is 40 (twice her age).  My oldest son is abstaining (for now.  Really, he has an amazing number memory so I can’t imagine he’s going to listen to us for the next ten days and *not* learn a good number of it).

Our Pi Day math will be less about π as my kids are quite young, but we can do adding/subtracting, patterns, sorting, etc.  We’ll just use pies and pi symbols to do it with.  We can play with balls and the hula hoop.  We can do a few art projects (like all circle animals and/or collages).

Okay, but one awesome thing we’re doing for the next ten day is singing these songs: http://www.teachpi.org/music.htm .  See, we don’t “do” Christmas (a topic for other posts).  The music is pretty catchy though, doncha think?  So now we have new words to put to y’all’s favorite carols!  Too bad Christmas and Pi Day aren’t in the same month!

BTW, my husband, who is not the math geek I am has dared me to go caroling next week.  He wonders how many math teachers I can get to join me.  Hmmmmm.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a very Happy Pi Day 🙂

 

*note:  March 14th is 03/14 and π is 3.14