Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pirate Mommy

...that"s what my girls called me today. I have two deep scratches on my cornea...and sporting an eye patch! Please excuse the lack of posting yesterday and today...and possibly tomorrow too. Thanks!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Life without Butter and Sugar....

is something we are not used to. I always have the two on hand. A week ago I ran out of sugar. A WEEK AGO! Do you know what this means? (That I am crazy? Maybe) It means NO SWEET TEA! And that is an abomination in the south. My brother comes over usually everyday for coffee or sweet tea. I think he has disowned me now that I haven't been keeping a pitcher of tea in the refrigerator. And then the unthinkable happened....I ran out of butter two days ago!!!! I bet somewhere Paula Deen just fainted. I mean really...I went to the store yesterday and bought a 10 pound bag of sugar to make sure it doesn't happen again and forgot the darn butter. Lol. I thought, okay now I can make my Grandpa his Pineapple Upside Down Cake for his birthday. (He just made 83 y'all!!!) And I can get rid of those zucchini's sitting on my counter by making zucchini bread and, since they are huge, making everyone else some too. So I sat out all of the stuff last night and thought tomorrow is going to be a little hectic....I have a routine home visit from DHS (a different county than the one the other day), a play date for my girls, making zucchini bread, making a Pineapple Upside Down Cake, mixing up 3 batches of meatballs to freeze for later days, marinating a huge brisket for this weekend when we have family over, and another post on the blog. Well, we can mark off two of these things now! Possibly's 11:07 and DHS hasn't arrived and said she would be here mid morning?
So, anyway.....I will be posting a lot of food recipes this week that I hope you will enjoy. Some our mine and my mom's recipes and some come from my favorite cookbooks and blogs. Some of these are: Meatballs over Rice and freezing meatballs, Baked Beans vamped up a bit, Zucchini Bread, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Brisket, and Macaroni Salad. And then we will all vow to run 10 miles on the treadmill together right?
In other random crazy news, since we have been having this monsoon rain weather...ants have now taken over my kitchen. (And I may have to bulldoze my front yard if it doesn't stop soon.)They kinda hang out in one spot though which is good. They have all migrated by my sink and in my sink. I have tried getting rid of them with no success. Yesterday was the last straw though!! I swear it was either the ants go or I go. So I googled effective natural ways to get rid of ants and got these suggestions: cornmeal, peppermint extract or eaves, white vinegar, chili powder, borax, cinnamon and a few others. I decided to mix together cinnamon and chili powder. It sounded lethal enough. I mixed it together and sprinkled it all over the area where they are partying at. BAM! No more ants this morning...well except one little guy who managed to survive....I took care of him though. But, guess what? Now I am out of cinnamon! It's a vicious cycle!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Good Friends and The Little Things That Cheer Us Up.

Today was a better day for all of us I think. I went to bed with a heavy heart and didn't sleep good at all. I decided somehow today has to be better. It didn't seem possible knowing The Princess was leaving for the day for her appointments. Speech always goes well. She LOVES her speech therapist and does so well for her. She doesn't mind counseling either. It's another issue that she has to deal with entirely on these days that makes it very hard sometimes. Obviously, I can't go in to what that is. Some days she has cried for Ronnie so bad until they have brought her back early or didn't even go at all. Did I mention how much she loves her Daddy? 8) Today she had a fairly good day and this did my heart happy. Ronnie picked her up and of course Madison wanted to go with him. I stayed home and had almost 45 minutes to myself. It was nice after yesterday...I had a Diet Coke and read. Anyway, when they got home I went to the door to meet them and she was all smiles and said, "Heeeey, Mama!" I love it. She was a little aggressive when she came home but guess what?? Are you sitting down for this? NO MELTDOWNS OR TANTRUMS! That's right...not even a time out. God heard my prayers and The Princess had a wonderful day.
Maddie had a pretty good day herself. I know it seems like a lot of the focus is on The Princess. It's not intentional...just so much going on with The Princess' situation. Maddie went with Daddy and I for lunch. She was allowed to pick out her drink this time (she always picks but the options usually don't include soft drinks). She was pretty pumped about her Fruit Punch. She was decked out in her jewelery everywhere one could possibly where it...lip gloss...and her new Mariah Carey perfume my cousin bought them. She loves wearing it and telling everyone within sight that she is wearing "puhfume". She is one super cute kiddo. Everyone stopped to tell her how cute she was, to which she replied, "Yeah, I cute." We took her to her favorite place in the ENTIRE WORLD. You are thinking Chuck E Cheese huh? Nope! Wal-Mart!! She asks to go everyday. I really don't know where this came from. But I'm telling you, all it takes to make this girl's day is McDonald's chicken nuggets, a trip to Wal-Mart, and getting all dolled up to do both. That's it...she's an easy kid to please. (And if you ask her what Santa is bringing her? Chicken Nuggets and "Mal-Mart"! I can pull off one, but the other???) She fed Daddy animal crackers while he worked around the house. She had a good day. It's the little things that get us through. Little things like Chicken Nuggets 8) and a big smile,or a child having a good day. This Mama doesn't need Diamonds or a 3 story house. A lunch date with my Diva and The Princess having a good day is all I need.
Are you ready for the good news I promised you? No unsupervised visits starting soon!! 8) Some prayers are answered quick. I think it's because a lot were going up yesterday on our behalf. And thank you for this...we are grateful. One less thing to keep me awake at night worrying about her. I can focus on two adorably sweet little girls sitting by my feet watching cooking shows. My kinda kids.
And more good of my very best friends called my today and said she was reading my Facebook post yesterday where I asked for tips on what to do about temper tantrums. Her son has a therapist who does behavior therapy and is completely amazing. She is apparently like Nanny 911 but better. AND she is coming to visit The Princess to watch and give me some pointers. She has a lot of experience with foster kid because her mom is a foster parent. Is that awesome or what?? I am super excited! And grateful. Thanks Mandy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God really blows me away. Ever heard that old cliche', "He is on time God!"? And tomorrow we have a play date with my other best friend and her kiddos! Good friends are a great thing.
And in the words of one of the two DHS workers that I LOVE...."God is watching over The Princess and you just have to keep your eyes on Him....she is in His care, and He is excellent at what He does."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Temper Tantrums, Court and Uncertainty.

Life is great. And that, for lack of better words, is an understatement. I am blessed. But just as we have many good days, we have very bad days too. Days where I think, "I need to rethink the kid thing because I am a bad mom." 99% of the time this is during a temper tantrum the Princess is having. At this point her nickname changes from "The Princess" to "The Meltdown Queen". (Ronnie came up with this one, blame him.) I worked in preschool for several years and have done lots of babysitting, so I have seen my fair share of fits, meltdowns and temper tantrums. I have had chairs thrown at me, been headbutted. But this...oh this. This is something different. I think it's mainly that she can continue it for soooooooooooo long, hours if need be. And I want so bad to just cry...partly because I hate what she has been through and is still going through and that the tantrums stem from that. Partly because I am so frustrated I want to scream!
Anyone else ever have this moment where you want to hold a pillow up to your mouth and just scream as loud as possible? I had one today. But, at the same time she is breaking my heart and I just want to hold her and not worry about what she did to get in time out to cause the tantrum. But, if I do this will it not let her know she can get away with it from then on? I am at a loss here. I want to be understanding of what she is feeling, but yet because of her speech delay and circumstances, can't express. But I want to set boundaries for her too. She will start kindergarten in one year! She has to get this under control. A year seems like so far away but it is right around the corner. I know that because I got her in January and it's almost a year already. This year has just flown by. And the next one will too. (And while you're dishing out advice to me, now would be a great time to tell me how to stop time from going so fast!!) Anyone have any ideas on how to get my incredibly sweet, funny, and temperamental Princess to not throw such horrible tantrums? I am ready for anything...anything that will help me not lose my insanity or feel like a horrible mom and that will help put her at ease and able to talk to us instead of scream.
On an even more negative note....her caseworker came out for a standard visit today and boy was she the bearer of bad news. About two weeks ago she said she didn't believe the Princess would ever return home because of a few reasons. Today, that was not the case. Today, she said she "isn't exactly recommending she goes home on August 23." Now, I'm not exactly sure what that she or isn't she recommending that? What I do know is this: this isn't good for me. Or Madison. Or Ronnie. Or my family. And most definitely not good for the Princess. While I can't go in to details on why....just trust me on this one. Her caseworker did say that she is recommending they begin "at home, UNSUPERVISED visits". At this point I don't know whether to scream or cry. We have done this before and I cannot begin to describe to you what it did to her. She had such bad anxiety that she would have diarrhea every time she went and then come home and sit in my lap very quiet. I AM NOT looking forward to this. To add to the bad news, because that just wasn't enough, her caseworker also said even though she most likely will NOT go home in August...she will most likely go home at her next court date which will be November 23...give or take a few days. I cannot begin to describe to you what is going through my brain right now...and my heart. But I will say this: How do I tell my 3 year old daughter that her "sissy", whom she adores, is leaving us? How do I explain this to her? She gets anxious when The Princess is gone for visits and speech and asks every 5 minutes when can we go get her and makes me play videos of her on my phone over and over while she plays. More do I tell the Princess that she has to go
home again? How do I explain to her that we want her and love her so much but we may not be able to keep her? How do I explain to her that we aren't giving her up or giving up ON HER? How do I help her understand why she has to leave what she calls “___’s home” and leave her “sissy”, “Mama” and most of all her “Daddy” who she cries for when he is not home.
How do I explain to her that she won’t be going to visit her Granda everyday anymore or her Papa, Aunt ChaCha and Uncle Wes? The sun rises and sets on Granda. She asks to see her everyday, starting as soon as she wakes up. She LOVES her Granda. How do you take away a child’s Granda? How can I be okay knowing she is crying because she wants to come home…to her bed. See her Sissy. Be held by Mama and Daddy. Go to Granda and Papa’s house. How do I do this?? I don’t think I can. I really don’t. She is MY BABY!
She loves her Daddy fiercely and has from the beginning. I know no matter what, she is going to be mad at us because we have done this before. She went home for 8 days in March. 8 days! I still cannot believe that's all it was. It seemed like 8 years!! (Anyone who suffered through my depression with me can confirm this.) I was severely depressed and cried all day, every day. (I am surprised I am not a divorced woman.) The day that we had to let her go home, I went to the car after court to kiss her bye and told her I loved her and would miss her. She showed no emotion and only gave me a blank stare. Almost zombie like. She wouldn’t say it back….and pushed my face away. I thought she would be a little excited about going home and it would kill me. No this was much, much worse. She was mad at us. She thought we were giving her away. It was the hardest thing I have ever been through. Miscarriage included. It broke my heart and consumed my thoughts the entire 8 days she was gone. I called DHS to tell them if she came back in custody to bring her back straight to us. 8 days later as I was telling my mom on my front porch how bad I missed her, my cell phone rang. It was DHS. They said she had come back in custody and would we still take her. Would we?? I told them we will always take her. I woke Ronnie up and said, "If you could have one wish, what would it be?" He said, "A baby..our baby...The Princess!' I said well let's go get her then. She is waiting on us. He jumped out of the bed and asked me if I was for real. I think the huge smile assured him I was not! When we got there and saw her she immediately smiled and said, "Heeey!" But then she became reserved. She looked so SMALL and SAD. It was obvious she was glad to see us, but obvious she was mad and hurt as well. I
told her we missed her so much and were so glad she was back. She said, "I missed you too!" I found out later she asked for her Daddy (Ronnie) every day she was gone. It took almost 2 months before she became less reserved and remotely the child who had left us. She finally came around and began to shower us with hugs and kisses again. I mentioned it to her almost a month ago that she may have to go live with her mom again. She says no every time and that she is staying with her Daddy. I told her we loved her so much, and wanted her to stay with us forever and we don't want her to leave, but that her mom may say she has to come back. This may sound harsh, but she doesn't understand the judge/court/DHS system. It was the easiest way I could explain it to her. She broke my heart in that instant, because I couldn't help but cry, and she wiped my tears, crawled in my lap and patted my back and said, "It's okay Mama!" But in her eyes she looked a little distant from me again. I vowed never to say it to her again. I have to prepare her before November but I don't know how to do it without breaking her heart. I can handle mine being broken. But I will walk through fire for that girl and fight for her with everything in me. I can't imagine life without her. It seems life didn't begin until she walked through our door with her curly hair and dimpled smile. It scares me to death.Our day was full of bad news and exasperation. But there is always something that happens to bring the laughter back. The Princess kissed Madison goodnight before getting into her bed, as she always does, and said "We go see Granda tomorrow!" Maddie said, "No, we sick. I'm sick. Your sick. We're all sick!" 8) Thanks for the laughter, God. You know we needed it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Welcome ....Pull Up A Chair

Our journey really began years ago when we had a miscarriage and then battled with infertility for years afterwards. I will make a long story short (and promise to give you the whole story at a later date). After trying everything in our power to become parents we felt like God was leading us to foster care. Heartaches, disappointments, and sadness were immediately lifted on January 6, 2011. That night our Princess arrived...our first foster child. Ronnie was at work and I was busy trying to make things as perfect as possible and calm the butterflies in my stomach. When I heard the car pull up I jumped to the door and all I can tell you is I felt exactly as the disciples must have when the boat was rocking and then Jesus commanded the waves to be still. It was an instant peace....and love at first sight. I have never in my life known such an instant peace as I did in that second. She was beautiful and precious in every way possible. She brings so much laughter to our homes and lives and..despite the present goal of reunification with her mom...will ALWAYS be out baby.
On March 23, 2011 our lives once again changed when we received a call asking if we would be interested in adopting a 2 year old little girl. I don't even think they finished their sentence or had a chance to tell me her name before I said, "YES!!! WE WOULD!" There was nothing else I needed to know, except that she was going to be ours! Again, there was an instant bond and love at first sight. Madison arrived and she was perfect in every sense of the word. She is amazingly soooo much like Ronnie. Everyone thinks she looks just like me, and she might, but she is her Daddy through and through. It's amazing how God works everything out to the smallest of details.
If you had asked me on January 5, 2006 I would have told you I had given up on ever being a mom. If you ask me today I will tell you I am blessed beyond words with two beautiful girls in my life. My cup runneth over.......
I hope you will follow us on this journey and laugh along with us! It's quite the journey and He who has us on it is quite a God!

The Stork Got The Wrong Lady....

because The Princess is definitely, without a shadow of a doubt my kid!!! She is so much like me in temperament (which is scary), personality and even tastes. I come in the living room all the time to find her sitting down in front of the bookshelf with some of my cookbooks. She will say, "Ohhhh, I eat that!" or just make yummy noises. She will sit through 30 minute cooking shows with me and take it all in. She gets just as excited as I do, and will say, "Mama, look at that! Cake!" She comes in the kitchen when I am cooking or baking and wants to help and will cry if I don't let her. She is CONSTANTLY cooking with her play food and dishes and then bringing it to me to eat. "I made you cake, Mama!", she proudly says. No, proudly yells is more like it! She has one volume....EXTRA LOUD!
Yesterday at the doctor's office she was cuddled in Ronnie's lap with her blanket feeling awful and he was watching the news on the TV. The news ended and a cooking show came on. She immediately sat up and said "Cooking!". Ha ha, I looked at Ronnie and said, "See, people think I make this stuff up!" The girl loves all things cooking and food. Ronnie had to turn his chair around so she could see the TV better. She is my child.
She can't let things go and has to have the last word....that she must have gotten from someone else ;) Ronnie lets things go and brushes it off until he just can't anymore and then just blows up. He is so nonconfrontational. So is Maddie. Me and The Princess? You are going to hear about it whether you like it or not and we aren't done talking about it until we have said everything we want to say. Our fuse is short and we CAN"T hold it in for days and just stew about it. It's not in us. We butt heads on this. Because of her speech delay though, hers ends up in temper tantrums because she either can't say what she is upset about or because she find it easier to just scream and cry then to attempt it. It depends on her day. And when she wakes up grumpy....your day (and everyone else's that will come in contact with her) is shot! Ronnie thinks someone else is like that too. I won't mention any names because it's just not polite. 8)
A morning person, she IS NOT! Let her wake up on her own if it's possible or you will reap the consequences. Don't talk to her until she has had time to wake up. She won't eat until until then either. Once again, me made over. Ronnie and Maddie are morning people. They wake up ready to take on the world. The Princess and I wake up feeling like the world just took us on and out if we have to wake up too early. We like to stay up late and sleep in. Ronnie and Maddie like to go to bed early and wake up early. I think we have just had a breakthrough!! He should wake up early with Maddie and The Princess and I will sleep in. Whatcha think, Ronnie? And could you have the coffee pot on?
Lastly, is her food preferences. She, like me, has an issue with texture sometimes. If it's supposed to be crunchy, she doesn't mind it. But if it's supposed to be smooth, it BETTER be smooth. We don't want fruit cocktail in our Jell-O...we don't want peanuts in our peanut butter or chunks of fruit in our jelly. Call us weird, but that's just us! You can have a smorgasbord of food...The Princess and I are making a bee-line for the desserts. And not just any dessert...we want CAKE!! She tells me everyday, "I want cake, Mama!" Just this morning, she had a bowl of yogurt and a bowl of applesauce (she has a fast metabolism and is incredibly little...okay, so there is one way we differ!) and then asked for cake. At lunchtime, when she finishes her food, she will ask for cake. And again at suppertime. She loves cake. She prefers chocolate cake. I swear she is MY KID! The stork got the wrong lady. On May, 24, 2007 the stork got lost and left my baby at another woman's house. But God sorted it out!!

Monday, July 25, 2011