Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my faithful readers, friends and family! May all the blessings of the season be in your homes today!

Shooting Star

I have never seen
A shooting star
Until today
I had never seen
A shooting star

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Crazy Kid

AJ just had her first orchestra concert. She did pretty well on the violin. She's decided that next year she wants to be in the choir and play the sax. Oh joys - listening to the learning squeaks of another instrument! =-)

Tomorrow is her quarterly visit with her mom. She has been a complete bear to live with the past two weeks. Her temper flares white hot in an instant then she's all lovey-dovey and remorseful. I'm tired just trying to keep up!

I've also just signed my Open Adoption Agreement. Whoo whee! A friend of mine just went through the adoption process with her two boys and we kept commenting on how much like a wedding it feels. I'm totally in the "I'm so excited I'm engaged (but what about the forever part?!?!?)!"

We still have months worth of processing and paperwork to do. The earliest would be the start of summer. Personally I'm hoping for the end of August. Will keep you posted!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Perfect Day

Have you ever had just that perfect day at work? Where everything you've done for a year coalesces into a great shiny moment? When you know you've had an impact? When you bide your time and hold your tongue and just at the right moment make an observation that turns the entire tide of the conversation? When you get thousands of dollars in concessions when there were zero dollars on the table to begin with? When you just are riding high because what you said is now being echoed by the company owner and the company President?


Thursday, November 15, 2007


AJ and I just returned from a most amazing week. I had a work conference for 1.5 days in Orlando, FL so we turned it into a week long vacation (vacation at a lower price - yeah!). What an amazing opportunity we had. We did Sea World, WDW - Magic Kingdom, Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove. All were amazing. We did a lot of animal focused things since that is AJ's current passion.

I definitely needed a break after we returned - we were busy from sun-up to sun-down! By day 3 my feet were killing me. My favorite place was Discovery Cove. I found a really great deal online that allowed us to both spend a day in this resort like place and swim with tropical fish, sting rays, and oh yes - dolphins. I hitched a ride to the beach with a dolphin. Is that not the coolest thing ever?!?!?! AJ LOVED the stingray pool. I kept teasing her she was going to turn into a sting ray.

here's a bunch of photos...

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Summer of adoption

Hello there everyone! I see it has been a long time since I posted. I haven't really given up on blogging - I just haven't gotten around to it. And I'm sorry I missed some of your comments (sorry Jenn!). For some reason my email is acting up and I'm not getting all my comments (which are my reminders to get on here and post!).

This summer has been one of stress and great joy. AV was in counseling all summer to think over the issue of adoption. Deciding she wanted to be adopted was soooooo very stressful for her. She started having behavior issues, nightmares and frequent headaches/stomach aches. I was getting really worried about her. Together her counselor, social worker and I reframed the purpose of the counseling from “I have to decide about adoption” to “everyone would like your input on guardianship vs. adoption.”

While AV thought of adoption as her sole decision, she felt tremendous guilt and responsibility toward her parents. When the issue of decision making was placed upon the court (who used input from her, the social worker, her counselor, her parents and their attorneys, etc. to come to its decision) she felt much relief from her self-imposed sense of responsibility.

AV made the decision at the end of the summer that she would like to be adopted and the plan was officially changed in court last month. Yeah! Because of some legal issues with the birth parents, we're probably 8-12 months away from the actual, legal adoption. But the process is started and we know what the future holds!

In June we celebrated one year together as a family and we had our picture taken. Thought you'd like to see us.

Once AV gave her adoption "input", she became a different child. She hasn't stopped singing. She's a cheerful, bouncy, happy, giggly girl. We've had minimal behavior problems. I keep waiting for the after-decision-honeymoon period to end, but she is still this new, happy child. It's like a huge weight was lifted. It's breathtaking to experience the difference. I know I'm not explaining it well. While I've always seen AV as a basically good-natured child, since her decision to want to be adopted, it's like a floodgate of sunlight has been released inside her. She just beams! I will tell you, it's just humbling to be a part of such a journey.

Andrea made her decision right before school started. A couple weeks into school, I started noticing her school papers coming home with her first name and my last name. She is so excited about being adopted, she just started switching her name! At that point, we hadn't really talked a lot about name changes but since then we've had lots of discussions. And now, I am very happy to say, we have decided on her new name - AJM.

Remember when I posted AV didn't know her own middle name? In a weird twist, she doesn't have a last name in common with either her birth mother or her birth father. Apparently her dad did some genealogical research and decided he had an incorrect last name so he changed his last name with the intention of changing AV's at a later point. OR he gave AV this new last name and never got around to changing his. Or some such thing.

Anyway, the result is she never had a last name in common with her family and she never really knew her middle name. So a new name that identifies her as my child and as part of an extended family? A very big deal.

Did you ever keep lists of baby names you wanted to eventually name your kids? I did. I had all sorts of great names like Acacia Dawn. When I married I/we chose Diandra Joy for a girl and Daylen Asher for a boy. Of course, I never had children so I've never been able to name any child. With AV, I have the privilege of naming her A. Joy M. She keeps her first name her birth mom gave her, she gets a new middle name from this mommy that will constantly tell her how glad I am to have her in my life and she gets a last name that forever and always ties her into a common family.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Amazing Show

Still don't like Vegas that much but I have seen Second City and Mystere... and loved them!! Second City was very funny - great sketch and improv.

And then there was Cirque du Soleil - OMG AMAZING! I've seen them on TV and to see them live was just so wonderful!!!! Liquid muscle in motion. A completely engrossing production. The music, the costumes, the lighting - there are not enough superlatives. I'm so very, very glad I went (and was so tempted to buy another ticket.) When I'm rich I would be so tempted to come to Vegas just to see Cirque.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Las Vegas!

I'm going to Vegas, baby!!!

At least that's what I was going to say last week when I had every intention of posting. The annual Human Resources convention is in Vegas this year and my company is sending me! I have been so excited - about the conference, about seeing Vegas for the first time, about just getting away for a few days!

Well, I can now say I would never choose to come to Vegas on my own. I have been long away from my fervent church days, but even without my past Christian intensity, my heart is sad and sickened by Vegas.

I was riding the conference shuttle back to my hotel (staying at the Flamingo - dive of a big hotel - definitely do not recommend it) and watched this guy on the sidewalk handing out business card sized ads for girls wearing a t-shirt proclaiming your dream girl can be in your room in 20 minutes or less!

Yech! And all the ads for the strip tease shows and erotica shows...

Vegas is pretty overwhelming for a small town girl. I feel better today than yesterday when I was trying to deal with sensory overload on about 4 hours of sleep. There are some pretty things and I hope to see a few good shows (I'm going to Second City tonight). Still, the Strip just kindof turns my stomach.

The conference itself has been great so far. I attended a pre-conference session on finance and accounting for non-financial peoples. Yawn, yawn...I know. Very important stuff to know though. So I signed up for this 8 hour course. Turns out we had an extremely gifted teacher who presented the basics with humor, interaction and really got how hard it is for the non-financially trained mind to wrap their heads around terms like assets, owner's equity, accumulated depreciation, retained earnings and the like.

The opening session of the conference featured a performance by Ruben Studdard and the keynote address by Lance Armstrong. It was cool to think I've heard Ruben live, but I'm not a huge fan of his. Lance Armstrong related his cancer story and passion to find a cure through the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Did you know his foundation has sold 60 million of those yellow Live Strong wrist bands? At a buck each, that's a lot of fundraising! Anyway, he was funny and passionate and good speaker.

Tomorrow is busy, busy, busy with classes and such. I fly back home on Wednesday and then I'm off work until July 5th! YEAH!!!! AV and I are going to take a 3 day camping trip to a local lake for some fishing and swimming. Should be fun!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Japan memories

As a junior in high school, I had the amazing opportunity to spend a school year in Japan. It was a wonderful experience and I brought back a lot of memories.

This trimester, AV's class has been studying Japan. I volunteered to share my experiences so last week I was the guest speaker in AV's class.

I had great fun pulling out all my Japan memorabilia. I shared a couple games with them, let them look at my photo album, play with real chopsticks, etc. At the end, I dressed AV up in my yukata (summer weight kimono). The funny thing is the Japanese ladies made it extra long and big to fit my western frame. So putting on an extra sized adult kimono on a small child was fun!

Here's a picture of AV all dressed up...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Holiday Mutterings

Happy Memorial Day to you!

And to all the familes of the service men and women who lost their lives, sincere condolences on this day of memories. And to all those still serving, my sincere thanks.

The latest behavior focus in our household has been obedience - doing what you've been told, when you were told, even if you don't want to!

This is apparently a new concept for my sweet child who would rather argue a thing to death than simply do as she has been told.

So she had her skateboard and was playing with the neighborhood children at my parents house. She had her helmet on and they were on the sidewalks and trying to jump the curb - no problem. So I go out and tell her to gather her stuff; it's time to go. 10 minutes later, no daughter. I go outside and call, no daughter.

I'm looking around and out of the corner of my eye I see movement. I whip my head around in time to see my daughter skateboarding down a steep driveway, into the street, without a helmet after I've told her to come in!

I was so scared and furious in that moment. I don't think she had any idea how fast she was going or how long it would take a car to see and try to avoid hitting her. Later, in my fear and rage I told her "you could have been killed!". She only tried to argue and wanted to know how she could have been killed. Anything to deflect attention off her choices and actions.

So as a consequence, sweet child is in room restriction for two days. No TV, no outside play, no going in the just-opened-this-weekend swimming pool. Her comment when I said no swimming? "You didn't say no swimming just for doing that!" So, she deliberately chose to disobey. Argh!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Too Soon!

So this morning AV and I are sharing the bathroom counter as we do every morning when she decides to "draw" a line down the middle. Teasing her, I step over the "line" into her "space" and she bursts into real, sobbing tears.

She's crying on a Monday morning, in the bathroom because she has no room to do her hair.

I have one word for you people...


(and may I remind you this is my 9 year old, third grade daughter!)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

New favorite quote

Have you seen Akeelah and the Bee? A great movie for kids and adults too! I loved cheering for Akeelah.

Anyway, Akeelah has a spelling bee coach (played by Laurence Fishburne) who has her read a quote from the wall. The movie incorrectly attributes it to Nelson Mandela. It was actually first said by Marianne Williamson. It's now my new favorite quote.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness,

that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves,

who am I to be brilliant,

gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking

so that other people won’t feel

insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest

the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone!

And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously

give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,

our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson

And just in case you were wondering, this is my old favorite quote:


Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

Where knowledge is free;

Where the world has not been broken up

into fragments by narrow domestic walls;

Where words come out from the depth of truth;

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;

Where the clear stream of reason

has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;

Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action---

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Rabindranath Tagore - GITANJALI "Song Offerings"

Monday, May 14, 2007

Just another rambling recap

Mother's Day was horrible. I wasn't really expecting much. You can't really expect much from a child who's had four homes and is terribly confused as to what a mother really is.

What I didn't expect was the amount of attitude and disobedience the day would bring. Guess I should have anticipated that since the last foster mother promised she would return from Afghanistan and come get AV on Mother's Day. Grrrr.

Anyway, day is done and today was much better.

AV's social worker came over and we all discussed adoption vs. guardianship. AV is very confused but is not opposed to adoption and has actually said several times she would like to be adopted. So we're postponing the guardianship at least three months and AV is going to go back to the counselor she really likes and trusts for several months of counseling focused on adoption. So we'll see.

In other news, I actually asked my boss to go full time. We've been having some issues with one person doing payroll, one person doing time keeping and one person (me!) doing HR. Needless to say, we've had some communication with a capital K issues. So I proposed I take all things payroll and timekeeping and move into a full-time (with benefits!) position.

My boss is actually open to the idea. The issue is timing. I want this to start May 28, the first day of the next pay period. My boss wants to wait until Sept, the start of the new fiscal year. Waiting would not be good for me. My business has really dropped of and I rely on that income. I really want these additional hours to make up for the lost income. So pray for me!

Monday, April 30, 2007


I just talked with AV's social worker. With the no contact order on her dad the Attorney General's (AG's) office does think they could prevail on termination of parental rights. So if I wanted to pursue it, adoption could/maybe be a possibility.

Pro for adoption
Adoption is... adoption!
Less explanation to others about our family structure
A true and legal family
Permanancy for AV

Pro for guardianship
AV doesn't want to be adopted though she is less against the idea than before.
AV is ready and excited about guardianship
Guardianship is now; adoption would be another year off or more

Please don't think me crass but there is a financial ramification for me too. I never planned to adopt so soon so I haven't had time to meet some of my fianancial goals. If we go into the guardianship and later do adoption, there is no financial support. I would have to pay all the lawyer fees, court fees, homestudy fees, etc. Adopting straight out of foster care means the state pays all those costs plus they will provide a monthly amount which currently allows us to do things like Tae Kwon Do lessons.

So if we do adoption, I want to make the decision now, not a couple years down the road. But I don't think AV's ready. And guardianship is very much a family...

Miscellaneous Items

I have been baptized by puke! Not litterally, thankfully. But I have now experienced the joy of motherhood and mothering a sick child.

All day Saturday AV had been complaining of a stomach ache. She didn't eat her usual amount at dinner. About 11:15pm, just as I was going to turn off my light, there was a frantic knock, knock, knock on my door. "Mom, I just threw up".

I was actually impressed that she hit her trash can for the most part!. So clean up and cuddle time later, finally got her back into bed. Sunday was pretty quiet in the AM but she was out and playing hard again by mid-afternoon.

I've been trying to figure out what would have caused such a stomach upset. We ate everything the same so I'm doubting food poisoning. No fever so not the flu. Maybe just the stress of the week. She did get into big time trouble at childcare on Friday...

On a completely different subject, I had a CD soundtrack playing in the car from the Bollywood movie Lagaan. I meant to turn it off when she got in the car thinking no kid is going to like this type of music. She actually asked me to turn it up and we've been listening for two days (which is a lot of Indian music even for me!). A little culture never hurt anyone! =-)

Sunday, April 29, 2007


You either find these interesting or incredibly boring...

In either case...

1. What time did you get up this morning? 12:30, 5, and 9:30 (sick kid)

2. Diamonds or pearls? Sapphires

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? One Night at the Museum

4. What is your favorite TV show? House, Lost, Gray’s Anatomy, Survivor and a half a dozen others

5. What did you have for breakfast today? Scrambled eggs and toast

6. What is your middle name? Joann

7. What is your favorite food? Anything chocolate (ditto)

8. What foods do you dislike? Guacalmole (ditto and add mushrooms and olives)

9. What's your favorite Potato chip? Ruffles with French onion dip

10. What kind of car do you drive? Honda Passport

11. Favorite sandwich? Mom’s leftover meatloaf

12. What characteristics do you despise in others? Lying, lack of transparent honesty

13. Favorite item of clothing/accessories? My sapphire earings

14. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Cruise around the coasts of S. America

15. What color is your bathroom? White walls – burgundy, navy and hunter accessories

16. Favorite brand of clothing? Anything that fits

17. Where would you want to retire to? Wherever my family is

18. Favorite time of day? After 8:30 when AV is in bed and I get a few minutes to myself!

19. Where were you born? Anchorage, AK

20. Favorite sport to watch? Gymnastics

21. Who do you least expect to send this back? ?

22. Person you expect to send it back first? Blog it

23. What laundry detergent do you use? All

24. Coke or Pepsi? Diet Coke

25. Are you a morning person or night owl? Night but work demands I’m up in the morning. Work actually had the gall to threaten me with discipline if I was late!

26. What size shoe do you wear? huge

27. Do you have pets? 2 really cute shih tzu dogs

28. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with everyone? We move into guardianship next month!

29. Favorite Candy Bar ? Milky Way

30. What is your best childhood memory? A school year in Japan when I was 17

31. Ever been to Africa ? No

32. Ever been toilet papering? No

33. Love someone so much it made you cry? Yes

34. Ever been in a car accident? Yes, a few. Nothing serious though.

35. Croutons or bacon bits? Croutons

36. Favorite day of the week? Saturday morning – so I can sleep in!

37. Favorite restaurant? Chico’s – a local Mexican restaurant

38. Favorite flower? Bright, beautiful, colorful mixed bouquets without roses

39. Favorite ice cream? Chocolate fudge or cookie dough or mint choc chip or vanilla with hot fudge

40. Disney or Warner bros? Disney

41. Favorite fast food restaurant? Wendy’s

42. What color is your bedroom carpet? Apartment beige

43. How many times did you fail your driver's test? None

44. Before this one, from whom did you get your last email? A list serve for organizers

45. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? I wouldn’t.

46. What do you do most often when you are bored? Eat – a very bad habit

47. Bedtime? Between 10:30-11:30

48. Who are you most curious about their responses to this questionnaire? ??

49. Last person you went to dinner with? My daughter

50. What are you listening to right now? TV, AV singing

51. Your favorite color? Blue

52. Ocean or River? Ocean

53. How many tattoos do you have? One long one

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Workin' it out

So we told her today. While we were at the SW (social workers) office, AV was pretty calm. The SW tried to deliver the news very gently and did a really good job.

While the SW left to get some papers for me AV started playing around in the office chair, twirling and pretending it was a bucking bronco. She twirled and worked herself into a sweat for about 15 minutes. If I twirled that much I'd be sick!

Anyway, it really started hitting on the way to soccer practice. Low tolerance for frustration - all of a sudden she couldn't remember how to take off her shirt. And then trying to take off her glasses because her hair was in her eyes. And then, on the walk back to the car, yelling at her "stupid" soccer ball, bouncing it high, yelling that no one likes her...

Then a great pity party in the back seat on the way home... Baby talk... General fussiness...

Just going through the emotions. It's going to be a tough couple days.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I just walked into AV's bedroom to check in on her. She's lying in bed reciting Tae Kwon Do moves - already working on her next belt level! =-)

It's so great to see her self-motivated to achive in something.

You know, she really is an amazing kid. She tries so hard to please and she really wants to get things right.

She asked about when her next parent visit will be. I choked a bit since I know what tomorrow's discussion topic will be even though she doesn't. Turns out she had a dream about going home, being safe and getting puppies. But then the dream changed into a nightmare as she mother got drunk and started hitting her and she couldn't get away.

So AV was understandably upset and worried that she's never go home. So we talked about the truth, that she won't be ever going home. How hard it is for her to realize it's her parent's choice not to follow the rules so she can go home... And in this conversation she keeps talking about how she's afraid she'll never see them again... And now I'm worried she's overheard something or suspects something or intuits something...

Ack! Telling her is going to be the worst!


So I was in court yesterday for the standard quarterly check in. The big news was, of course, this no contact order on her father. Off the record, the attorneys and the judge tried to figure out what her father could possibly done to have so royally pissed off the superior court.

The long and short is no one knows why the order was issued. But it was issued and there's no getting around it. Everyone is very sorry for AV but there's nothing to be done.

The judge and attorneys did mention that a no contact order has to be renewed every 10 years. But even in 10 years AV will be a young woman - who hasn't seen her father or been able to say goodbye.

So I'm taking her to her social worker's office tomorrow and the social worker is going to tell her. This is not going to be a good weekend...

And all this just when I was starting to feel things were back to normal a bit. AV's really been acting out and I think it was triggered by visit mid-March with her mom. She's been doing much better this week. Now we'll go through another cycle...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

And this is April

Hello All!

Sorry about the long absence!

I turned on my "email comment" feature so now I'll actually know when you all show your sweetness and comment. Thanks for the concern!

Kiana even called me! Thanks for the great chat!

So how are AV and I? All in all pretty good. Lots of "moments". I will say I think I'm starting to calm down as a mother so that's very good for both of us! =-)

AV is doing just great in her sports activities. At her soccer game this Saturday, her coach said she played better than he's ever seen her play. Yeah! She recently tested for her gold belt in Tae Kwon Do and passed. Double yeah! (That's her in the center).

She's also turned into quite a little reader. From the struggle earlier this fall to get her to do her 20 minutes a day of reading, she is now falling asleep with 4th grade chapter books in her hands! (she's in 3rd) I'm so happy for her! Now if we could get some progress on the math front...

The guardianship hearing has finally been scheduled for May. So we are making progess. AV is excited since I told her as her legal guardian she could actually stay home alone when she is older. And I can let her learn to drive. And sign permission forms. So she's starting to add up the benefits.

My latest heartache for her is that the courts have issued another no contact order on her father. This means he is not allowed to see her or communicate with her or otherwise ask others to give messages to her. The really heartrending part of this is that the order is in effect until 2058.

Just think for a moment how far away 2058 is... AV will be a middle-aged woman and her father will most likely be dead. This order, in effect, means she will never see her father again.

AV idolizes her father and loves him very much. She feels safe with him and though she can't go and live with him, she is still very much a daddy's little girl. Can you imagine how you would feel if you were told you could never see your father again?

This is going to be devastating for AV. We haven't told her yet. The social worker is trying to get more information on the order (why issued, why only dad and not mom too, etc.). And we're trying to strategize who tells her and when. We're doing state mandated testing this week so I wanted that to be out of the way before dropping this emotional bombshell on her.

And who tells her? Me? I don't want her misdirecting her anger onto me. The counselor? I want AV to feel safe in counseling and not angry. The social worker? It seems unfair for her to have to bear the brunt of the anger but we will likely get a new social worker when the guardianship is finalized so maybe...

I really like AV's social worker and I hate for this to happen. How do you deliver bad news in a good way? And how much do I protect her? Is it better to say "Honey, I'm so sorry. But this means you will not be able to see your dad again." or soften it with the "Honey, I'm so sorry. You just can't see him for a long time." and keep redefining "long time"?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Middle Name

We found out today that AV's middle name is Marie. We had thought it was Mayra, after her mother. But I finally got a copy of her birth certificate to put in her scrap book and there it was A. Marie V.

The look on her face was so sad. Like she knew Mayra hadn't been right, but she wasn't sure.

How sad a commentary when you don't even know your middle name!

Saturday, February 24, 2007


(I'm probably not supposed to share this so don't say anything, 'kay?)

Evidence your grade schooler has been exposed to way too much sexual information:

1 - "So where'd you get all that hair mom?" she asks in this really weird tone. I looked at her and knew exactly where her mind was but simply replied I had cleaned off the vacuum roller and through away the wad of string and hair into my bedroom trash. Then, because I'm never one to let a sleeping dog lie, I say "What did you think? I plucked out all the hair off my privates and threw it in the trash?" Her eyes got huge and she exclaimed "How'd you know that's what I was thinking?!?!"

2 - On the subject of weekend respite (two days with another licensed foster family so the foster mom can get some rest!) "You are going to respite. It's kind of like I get a date with myself." Her take on the subject? "What? Are you just going to turn into a lesbian and suck on your own boobs? (pause) Do you do that, Mom? Suck on your own boobs?"

Thus we have two rules in our family. My sex life is my own business as is what I do or don't do with my body. And I don't discuss either with my small daughter!


The family Disney vacation has expanded to include the other set of grandparents and possibly the sister-in-law and her husband as well. Anyone else like to join us?


Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Photo of me by AV. She says I look like Selena. Nice compliment! =-)

Things of Note

1 - I wore shorts last weekend! And we went bike riding yesterday! Love early springtime in the desert!

2 - My friend, also a single foster mother, is in deep trouble. She spanked her very misbehaving 11 year old foster son. A huge no-no. She reported on herself and all that. She's been asking for respite for several weeks, she's had a 100 degree fever all week and her foster son is in trouble every day in school. I understand, but you can't do that and how do I help support her? I hate to think of the two foster sons getting moved because they're in the pre-adoption phase. It's just... you can't do that!

3 - I'm doing online training at home today. Kindof cool but the pace of training is pretty slow and I'm bored! (so I blog)

4 - AV got beat up at school!! I'm still getting the details from the school's investigation. AV walked from her classroom door (outdoors) to another 3rd grade door to wait for a friend. A female middle schooler was waiting at the door for her younger brother. The middle school girl asked AV what she was doing there. AV said she knew her brother (what was actually said is a bit murkey at this point). For some reason the girl got mad and kicked AV in the legs and pushed her to the ground. When I saw AV at childcare right after school, she was limping and still very teary. She's pretty upset.

Here's the thing though. AV is now scared of everything. If I try to sympathize, her emotions escalate to near hysteria. When I try to remain detached, her feelings get hurt that I don't understand and I'm not helping her. Grrrr. Trying to be a good mother is hard work!

5 - Did my taxes and I'm getting a refund in spite of cashing out an IRA. yeah! Head of household and additional dependent deductions are very nice!

6 - We're planning a family vacation in Jan 08 and I think it might actually happen! Grandma and Grandpa, my brother and his wife and two girls, and AV and I. 4 days on a Disney cruise ship and 3 days at Disney world. Yeah!

Sunday, February 04, 2007


I'm beginning to hate weekends. All her behavior issues seem to come to a head on the weekends. Is it me?

Can you tell I'm just blogging in the midst of stress? She is currently scrubbing floors as a consequence for behavior. All she had to do was make her bed. This is a simple thing. Instead, she straightened the blanket hanging off the top bunk and currently serving as her clubhouse, to cover up the unmade bed. I told her that was lying. She got mad, slammed the door, etc.

I later told her lunch was ready when her bed was made. she came out of her room royally pissed off and talking back. I told her to go to her room to calm down and then come back. She litterally looked at me and yelled "No!". It's probably a good thing that we're not allowed to touch kids since a swat on the behind seemed quite appropriate at that moment.

Anyway, she continued to refuse to go to her room, including the famous "Make me!". I put lunch away. She eventually went to her room, came out cheerful and had lunch. So now she's scrubbing three floors for the three times she was defiant and disobedient. Oi!

I really hope this actually leads to a behavior change. A clean house is nice and all but I'd much rather have dirty floors and less stress!!!!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

To Do - To not Do

How not to do L&L:
Child is sassy. Child is given choice to go to her room or the LR - basically anywhere the parent is not. Child refuses. Parent tells the child "you may go to your room with help or without help". Child is (of course) non-compliant. Now parent must follow through. A gentle hand to the back to guide child into the room quickly becomes a physical tussel as the child (literally) digs in her heels for all she's worth.

Probably should read the book *all* the way through - they tell you not to engage in a physical choice. Sigh.

How to do L&L:
Child refuses to stay in her room at bedtime. Child is told not to worry about the consequence of such an unwise choice; mom is sure to think of something appropriate. So the next day, the mom decides that since the child prevented her from getting something done, the child can do one of the mom's jobs. So the child is given the task of cleaning the 'fridge. Mom gets a clean fridge with no fuss!

This is the greatest part - AV actually loved doing it! I assigned her to clean the door and the drawers and she ended up "organizing" the entire fridge. I had apples in gallon ziplocks neatly labled in the crisper (ziplock bags were her invention, not mine) and all the soda lined up in a pyramid "so you can grab it easier Mama". She was so proud of myself. I'm so amused and so proud of her too!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

L&L parenting

OK - so, done correctly, I think this love and logic parenting might work!

Wednesday AV's school PTA sponsored a roller skating night. She wanted to go and she had the allowance to pay for it. Wednesdays are pretty busy so we didn't get home until about 6. I made a quick dinner of soup and biscuits while she ran around doing as much of her pre-bed routine as possible.

6:20 soup and biscuits are ready. She decides to get sassy so using the L&L, I say something to the effect that her words are hurting my ears and she can come back to dinner as soon as she's ready to talk nice.

So off to her room she goes. A few minutes later she comes out and announces she's not hungry. "But mom, my tummy is telling me that it doesn't want to eat? Don't you get what that means?!?!?"

So I again try the L&L thing and say OK. It's good to listen to your body. You don't have to eat. I am going to finish my dinner. You do need to know that choosing not to eat dinner does also mean no snacks at roller skating.

She agrees, bounces around the living room while I eat and then were off. At the roller rink she skates every song for almost two hours. She also buys a candy which I thank her for profusely since of course she bought it for me since she can't have snacks.

We get home and she is sooo hungry. "Mom, I'm hungry!" "I'll bet you are! You skated really hard tonight and used lots of energy!" "But mommmmmm!"

A bit later she comes up with a really great statement, "I should have eaten dinner!"


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Love and Logic

So have any of the parents out there ever heard of or used Love and Logic? It's a parenting philosophy/system aimed at teaching kids responsibility and self esteem through allowing them to experience the logical choices of their own consequences (age appropriate of course).

In short, you give a child a task they can do (make their bed, etc.), hope they blow it, lovingly empathize with their predicament and then let them try again.

In the book it sounds great. Takes away power struggles, reduces angry parents, lets the kid own their own problems, etc.

My frustration is trying to figure out how to apply this when there is such a lack of history and such defiance on AV's part. She is so sensitive to "anger" that when I use a stern, no-nonsense voice, she will litterally recoil back and then react with her own defensive anger. I don't see myself as yelling or being out-of-control angry, but she does.

So I'm seeking to change some of my skills to help her learn to grow. She uses being "afraid" of me as a shield to avoid the responsibility and consequenses of any given situation so if I can remove that shield, I'm hoping she can begin to learn personal responsibility.

This parenting stuff is not for the faint of heart!!!!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Checking in

Hi there everyone. Looks like once a month might be my speed for posting. Not exactly internet speed but what is a mom to do?

AV has started Tae Kwon Do and just loves it. She earned her white belt today and is already talking about how she can earn her first stripe. So far my fears of her using what she's learned in class outside of class have not materialized. yeah! The owner/master is very good with the kids and teaches appropriate use of the skills. So far so good!

We still have our issues. The other day she kept bugging me to go out to eat. I hadnt decided when she told me she would pay. Since I knew she had a whopping .80 cents, I asked how? She had $20. A lot of money for a little kid. I asked where she got it. After much stammering she said she was at day care and bet another boy that she would win at foosball. She won and he paid her $20. Hmmmmm.

So driving home I asked her if that was the whole truth. She stammered again and completely changed her story to she found the $20 outside of the women's bathroom at her counselor's office. Hmmmmmm again.

So I made the calls and to date no one's stepped up to confirm either story or to claim the money. Guess mom comes out $20 richer on this one!

So she tells this lie about the $20 and *that night* asks if she can have her privledges back from the last big lie she told. I just looked at her. Then gathering my senses, walked her through the you-just-told-a-lie-I-can't-trust-you-so-you're-back-to-square-one logic. She looks at me, and with the utmost sincerety says "But you can trust me with everything else but lying!" I had to turn away before I burst into laughter in front of her. What logic!

This past 6 weeks or so my grandfather has been visiting us from Ohio. He is 93 and other than severe hearing loss he is in great shape!

I was nervous about AV and grandpa meeting. He's been known to be prejudiced (she's Mexican) and has never acknowledged my adopted first cousin as a granddaughter.

Turns out they really took to each other. AV "taught" him Uno while stacking the deck in her favor. They laughed and teased each other and generally kept each other entertained. It was great. Grandpa also taught her about such grown up things as hearing aids and false teeth! =-)

Here's a picture from fall soccer. We start the spring outdoor season in March and start indoor soccer today. I sometimes think I'm crazy to be so busy but physical activity really helps keep her more in control of her own behavior. So here's to Mom's taxi!