Monday, December 8, 2008

How I spent my weekend

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Need Help!

For some reason, I am not receiving emails for my received comments.

This has been going on since I went in and changed my email address from my work email to my home email.

Does anyone have any ideas???????????????????


Anyone need clothes???

I'm Back!

What a busy weekend. Thanksgiving day was really nice. We enjoyed the day with Tammy & Bruce. Very relaxing and no major blow ups from Alyssa!

Friday morning we were up at 4:00am and hit the stores. This year, more than any other year, we are on a tight budget so deals were super important! I did very well and got everything on my list. We were home by 10:15am and my shopping is almost complete! Does that ever feel good!

The remainder of the weekend was spent baking, decorating the yard, church, and a very lazy Sunday. Sunday night brought our first snow storm of the year and as a result, school on Monday was delayed for two hours. Alyssa wanted to use the time to choose cookie recipes for us to bake. Her behavior is touch and go. One minute she is smiling and cooperating, the next she is sassy and disrespectful. The worst is bed time. We are reading the "Little House" books and both really enjoy our time together before bed. The problem is that Alyssa is doing everything in her power to sabotage that time. I am taking a lot of deep breaths and Jeff is tag teaming so that I can remain calm and loving - not always an easy task! I am going to start decorating the house today, at least dig all the decorations out. I am going to try to have a bunch of different tasks available so that when Alyssa gets antsy, we can move to a new task.

Being home all day makes me wonder how in the world I managed to accomplish everything that needs to get done when I was working full time! I am going to enjoy being home for the holidays and start job hunting for real after the first of the year.

Alyssa has been complaining of heart burn. I don't know if it is something that I should have her checked for because she only complains about it when she is worried about something. If I do take her in, the Doctor is going to look at me crazy, because in my gut I think it is all in her head. But you know, that "What if"? I'm going to see how this week goes and then take it from there.

Can anyone out there could use kids clothes, size 10-12??? I have all of Alyssa's clothes from last winter and nothing fits. Everything is practically brand new and before I take it to Goodwill, I would like to give it to someone I know that could use it. She also has an assortment of winter jackets, snow pants and boots that are like new! So let me know if you have a need or know of someone that does. I will be glad to ship it out!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Miss Alyssa is struggling!

I think the holiday combined with me losing my job is weighing heavily on her mind.

We have tried to reassure her, but we are seeing outright defiance. Then, when we say anything, she bursts into tears and says "Everyone is always yelling at me"!

My plan is to pull her in close and just keep talking about traditions, trying to incorporate things that she remembers from holidays past. Lots of patience is going to be required, but hey, I should have lots of it 'cause I have no work related stress - right?

We have a busy week planned. Tammy will be here tonight, Wednesday we will prepare all the goodies for Thanksgiving. Miss Alyssa wants sweet potato pie so that will be a new experience for us. Friday morning it will be up at 4:00am for shopping and then we will start decorating for Christmas.

Here is what I am thankful for:

My husband and my daughter
My wonderful friends
My blogging friends
I will have time to enjoy the holidays this year
New opportunities

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008


Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers!

Friday morning, we had a meeting with the company that bought us out. We were all under the impression that we would be transitioning to the new company. As it turns out, only 2 people were asked to join the new company - I was not one of them. It was a very emotional meeting and my boss broke down and cried!

I took the weekend and regrouped. I spent time with the people that mean the most to me and now I am ready to face this new challenge!

I filed for unemployment today. I scanned the job listings and had confirmed what I already thought - there are no jobs out there right now! I am going to enjoy being home for the holidays and do all the little extras that I never had time for before.

I have to admit that today I am being really lazy. It is almost 1:00 and I haven't even showered yet! We had our first snowfall last night so I really should shovel but I just don't feel like it.

I have to update my resume. I'm not even sure if I know where it is. I may have to start over. Oh well, it will give me something to do.

I want to say again, sincerely and heart felt. Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers. I really do appreciate them.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I am officially unemployed.

My company closed its doors this morning - for good!

I am distraught.

I will write more when I've had a chance to absorb the implications.

Pray for us.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


In order for us to begin using "Emotional, Regulatory Healing" from our conference last Saturday, I need to reduce my stress. I live under such a load of stress that saying I need to lower my stress and actually doing it are two completely different things!

Take for example, Jeff. Jeff was diagnosed with PTSD. Dealing with Alyssa and her journey with her past, brought up terrible memories of the abuse Jeff suffered at the hands of his father. Jeff is dealing with his past now. He went through therapy(tapping) and he is on medication. He is much better.

Well when this all started, I started shielding him from most if not all of Alyssa's worst behavior. I didn't want to add to Jeff's problems. So, basically, I started doing it all alone! I also quit talking about it because I felt like everyone was getting sick and tired of hearing about all my little issues! You see, most of the big ones(behaviors) are gone now. Now it is the constant drip, drip, drip of all these little annoying behaviors that 'bout drive me over the edge!

So, now Jeff is telling me to quit protecting him. In my head, I know I can't do it all myself! But in my heart, I am so filled with worry that what if he is not ready? That I end up stressing out about it! And so the story goes. The thought of having to figure out how to reduce my stress is actually stressing me out!

So all my blogging friends. Please share with me your tried and true methods for reducing stress. Is there a pill I can take? Is alcohol the only answer? I really would appreciate any and every suggestion you have!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Place in My Heart - Report

Juli Alvarado is an awesome speaker! The information she presented wasn't new, just presented in a different way that made us look at things differently. I'll try to hit the highlights, if you have questions, ask away.

First, she suggested that all our kids have their cortisol levels (cortisol measures stress) checked monthly. We can then use this as a guide to whether or not we are being successful. If their stress is lower, their behavior will be better.

She talked alot about stress. She explained that our kids have extremely high levels of stress, and how that affects behavior. She also stressed taking care of ourselves. "You can't give away that which is not yours!" Meaning, you can't help regulate your kids if you are not regulated! I felt like she was talking about me at that moment! I think that is why my tolerance has been so low - my stress is too high! Jeff and I talked about ways that I could lower my stress. He wants me to get out more, or at the very least, actually schedule craft time at home, just by myself!

She also used a lens to help us understand our kids. She said that a child that has always had needs met, had love and cuddles, has a clear lens to look through in which to see love, family, relationships. But, our kids, because of their pasts don't have a clear lens, their lens is very dark and very cloudy. Therefore, we don't see things the same way. When dealing with our kids, we should try to see the world through their lens. These are things we have heard before, but the way she presented them, made sense!

She really stressed that we need to help our kids regulate. We should respond, not react to their behavior. This is going to be hard, but Jeff and I are both going to try it. She also said that we should tell our kids that we are sorry FOR THEM, that they need to be with us, BUT that we are happy for US that they are!

She is going to be sending out emails shortly with daily tips. We will get one every day for the next 100 days! I am excited to try some of her suggestions. It made sense to me. Oh, and the hugest thing by far, she really stressed that the brain is ALWAYS capable of changing and growing and healing! It may be easier at an early age, but it is possible, at any time, at any age! She gave people hope!

Many people, myself included, spent the entire day in tears! It was very emotional, and very difficult to take a close look at our kids, and ourselves, and admit that we need to change some things!

We are both very glad we went! If you ever get the opportunity to hear this woman speak, or attend one of her seminars, please do so!

Friday, November 14, 2008

I have been tagged!

Thanks to Lisa, I am "it". I have never been "it" before in the blogging world.

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you and post the rules.
2. Share seven random or weird facts about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post with their links.
4. Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Just so everyone knows, I hate this stuff! I never know what to say and end up either sounding like a raging lunatic, or very, very boring. I apologize in advance to all the people that I am going to "tag", just in case you also share my sentiment.

1. I am a perfectionist. It is my greatest strength, and also my biggest fault! Raising a RAD daughter has almost pushed me to the brink of insanity but I think I have finally learned to relax a bit.

2. I have a sock issue. It drives me nuts when people have shorts on and their socks are at different heights. Or, horror of horrors, they are wearing black socks! I have walked up to friends, bent down, and fixed their socks! It has gotten to the point where I only buy ankle socks for my family, because then they are always "right". I know, I know, if there was a "Socks Anonymous" I would be the first member!

3. I cry at everything! I cry watching Extreme Home Makeover. I cried last night watching ER. I actually bawled last night watching ER! I cried in Church during a choir performance because the music was so beautiful. I cry a lot when I read some of blogging friends posts.

4. I am a klutz. A big one. I trip all the time, I bump into things, I knock stuff over, and I am very uncoordinated!

5. I am a worry wort. Jeff will call me if he is gonna be more than 10 minutes later than what he said. I constantly worry about Tammy and Cindy because they both live so far away. I worry about Alyssa, I worry about my blogging friends, I worry all the time. It doesn't stress me out really, because it is just who I am.

6. I am a good friend. I'm not tooting my own horn. It is just a fact. I WANT to be a good friend, and because of that, I work very hard to be one.

7. OK, I saved the best for last! I belch and fart! Now don't worry too much, I do understand that there is a time and place for everything and I'm not likely to embarrass anyone(I hope). But, if I am hanging out with friends and I gotta belch, I belch. Likewise on the farting thing. Don't worry, if there stinky I will leave the room(usually).

Now, for those I am going to tag:

1. Tammy. Because she is my bestest friend in the whole world and we share EVERYTHING!

2. Torina. Because she is not afraid to talk about farting and puking.

3. Ali. Because she tells it like it is.

4. Unspeakable Joy. I like reading about her perspective on raising children with RAD.

5. Kari. I don't remember anymore, how I found her blog, but this woman inspires me every day!

6. Thorn. I enjoy reading her perspective on foster/adoption. She is just beginning her journey.

7. Sugar & Spice. She just cracks me up!

OK - all done!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Bruce!

The Awesome Uncle Bruce is 45 today!

This first picture was taken two years ago, on Bruce's 43rd birthday. We had just welcomed Alyssa to our family and she already had Uncle Bruce wrapped around her little finger.

This next picture was taken by Alyssa, last year at Christmas. It literally shows how much Alyssa looks up to her Uncle Bruce!

Thank God for Uncle Bruce!

We Love You!

I was wrong!

I was proven wrong!

By the time I got home from work, Alyssa had her homework done, had her room cleaned and was ready to go to choir practice. She apologized for not keeping her promise to me and said that she was determined to do better!

Jeff & I dropped her off at choir, and then went for parent/teacher conferences at school. She is doing great! She is showing a great deal of maturity and responsibility, and is well liked! The only problem - and it is a big one - she rushes through everything, just to be the first one finished! As a result, her test scores are terrible. Her teacher assures us that the test results are not an accurate reflection of Alyssa's knowledge of a subject. For example: Alyssa was given a reading test. She was finished in 9 minutes and scored a 118. The lowest score in the 4th grade, even lower than the special ed classes and the kids with learning disabilities. The 118 score was like a pre-1st grade level! Her teacher had her retake the test, telling Alyssa to slow down and take her time. She scored in the high 600's!

So we came up with a plan for rewarding Alyssa if she is able to slow down. If she is able to be successful, she will get to take a treat for her class. Alyssa will get to be the center of attention for bringing in treats and Mom & Dad will get to be the cool parents that are proud of their daughter and want the world to know!

Let's hope it works!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Warning! Bitchy Post

I am so tired!

I am tired of feeling taken advantage of, taken for granted, and tired of being the mean Mommy!

We saw Paulette last night, and she wants us to go back to basics. So tonight, 15 minutes before bedtime, we get to go into Alyssa's room, and anything that is not put away, becomes mine! I hate doing this. I thought we had gotten past doing this.

Alyssa is going to test. She is going to leave her room a mess for at least the next 3 or 4 days. Just to see if we are going to be consistent. Then the crying will start, then the begging, then the meltdown. I can see the writing on the wall.

I hope I am proven wrong.

Alyssa apologized to us last night. She used the 5 step apology and to prove that she was sincere, promised to get up every day this week early enough to have breakfast with Daddy and be ready to leave the house on time. Well, guess what. She ate breakfast with Jeff and the minute he left for work, Little Miss Sunshine was gone and I ended up with the "screw you" attitude. So, does that mean that she was sincere in her apology to Jeff, and didn't give a rat's ass about me? 'Cause that's the way I feel!

I get all the crap from Alyssa and lately, very little of the good stuff. I'm tired of being the enforcer. I told Jeff last night that I'm done! From now on, he would be doing 95% of the discipline and I would be the one to just have fun! That way, he can be the one doing 95% of the bitching too and I can be the happy one for a change! This was what he told Paulette last night. She asked about the discipline and I was not pointing fingers, just stating fact when I said that I do probably 95% of the discipline. Jeff piped up with "Well, for sure 95% of the hollering"! This comment really hurt me and I haven't talked to him about it yet. What gets me is that I do most of the discipline because Jeff is very non-confrontational. So, I just do it. But then, he turns around and makes a comment like that. I'm going to talk to him tonight. If that's the way he feels, he can do all of it, and then he won't have to listen to me bitch!

I NEED A VACATION.................................BY MYSELF!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Little Miss Sunshine - NOT

I don't even know where to start...

We had a rough weekend. And the worst part is that Alyssa seems to have learned a new game!

Saturday, we had our normal weekly chore time. Jeff, myself, and Alyssa all pitch in and get the weekly chores done so that we all would be able to have free time. Alyssa decided to move in slow motion, whine, and ultimately pitch a major fit. I took her to her room for some thinking time. She came out about 5 minutes later and decided to tell me that she was so stressed out from testing all week in school that she just wanted to relax, not do chores. SHE THOUGHT THIS WOULD WORK TO EXCUSE HER FROM DOING HER CHORES!!!

Then, Sunday. What a day! We did the usual morning routine. Alyssa went to Sunday school, then we all went to church. After church, we went out for brunch. We got home and Jeff took a short nap. I told Alyssa to pick her Barbie's up that she had left out Saturday night. She went in her room and all was quiet. I sent Alyssa to wake Jeff up because he had to work at the Pancake supper at church. The minute Jeff left the house (around 1:30pm) Alyssa decided to get lippy! I asked her if her Barbie's were picked up. She decided that it was OK to tell me what she was going to do. She decided that it was OK to yell at me and make the rules! This went on all day! I decided to ignore the attitude, and just make sure she understood that she would get no privileges until her room was picked up and her reading was done. I told her that she had until 4:30pm to get it done, at which time we would be going to church for the pancake supper. About 4:15, room worse than what it was before, she came up to me and starting telling me to get ready because it was time to leave, and I needed to do this, this, and that before we could leave. I promptly fired her and told her that she needed to apologize for her behavior/attitude. We went to church for the Pancake supper and her behavior was OK. The minute we got home, she started in right away, ordering me around and telling me what to do!


What my dear Miss Alyssa forgot, is that we see Paulette tonight! Her behavior and attitude is very much on my mind and she is going to have to explain it to Paulette. I actually had to hold back a chuckle at the look on her face when I reminded her!

I am so glad that we have our parenting conference this weekend. My bag of tricks is getting pretty low and I need some new ideas!

And if that wasn't enough, I got an email this morning from Alyssa's teacher. She wanted to know why Alyssa was full of all the attitude. Apparently, she is not little Miss Sunshine today!


Oh yea, and my Packers lost......I have no words!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Packers vs. Vikings

Sunday at high noon, the Green Bay Packers will take on the Minnesota Vikings. This is a huge division rivalry and I can't wait to cheer the Pack on to victory!

Torina is not feeling so good, but I hope she feels better by Sunday so that I don't feel too guilty when I harass her when her ViQueens lose!

I hope Tammy is going to be here for the game??????? She is missing her baby and a Packer win will definitely lift her mood a little. Call me sweetie!

So, not only is it Friday - THANK GOD!!! But Sunday, we get to watch the Packers beat the ViQUEENS!!!


Baby Time

Jeff picked Alyssa up from school and she was so happy! She then proceeded to "be a baby" for the next 3 hours!

Jeff held her and cuddled her, even fed her a "bottle". By the time I got home from work, they were cuddled up together on the couch watching "A Goofy Movie". Alyssa was still in baby mode, and wanted me to feed her a "bottle". We did this until after we ate, then told Alyssa that she had to be 9 again so she could get her homework done.

The evening went pretty smooth, although Alyssa was very emotional. Kid gloves were needed to avoid a meltdown. She went to bed and was out the minute her head hit the pillow!

This morning, she woke up happy, silly, and relaxed! She has no residual behaviors and apologized for her behavior the last couple of days! Oh, and this apology was unprompted!!! She used the 5 Step Apology, and offered to do some extra chores to make up for giving Mom & Dad a hard time.

Jeff walked her to school this morning, and the two of them were laughing and singing as they headed off down the road!

Once again, all is right in my world!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Miss Daddy!

Well, I know no more today than I did yesterday. Alyssa is still teetering on the edge of a meltdown and I don't know why. I don't think she knows why!

I think that there are a lot of really little issues that are affecting her. By themselves, no big deal. All happening at once, she's a little out of sorts.

For example. Jeff is on vacation this week. The change in our morning routine is freaking her out just a little bit. Jeff went to visit some friends yesterday and stayed over night. Alyssa doesn't believe that he is coming back. THAT breaks my heart! I told her Daddy will be home this afternoon, and while her head accepts that, I don't think her heart really believes it! They are doing state mandated testing at school this week. Etc. Etc. Etc.

See what I mean? Not one big issue, a lot of little stuff just adding up. I tried being very accommodating last night. Didn't push too hard to get homework and chores done. Jeff will be home tonight and that will be one less thing to deal with!

Jeff is going to surprise Alyssa by picking her up from school. She doesn't know that she doesn't have to go to day care! He may even take her out for ice cream!

We are going to tread lightly and see how it goes.

Oh and this morning, when I asked Alyssa if there was anything she wanted to talk about, she burst into tears and said, "I miss Daddy"!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

An Angry Girl

Alyssa was angry yesterday! She came up to Jeff, not once but twice, and stomped on his foot!

She then screamed at him that he lied. She refused to tell him what she was upset about, or what she thought he lied about.

All because Jeff told her to get her room cleaned up and her laundry downstairs.

Last night, she was moody, sassy and disrespectful. Would not talk to me either. So we still don't know what is going on. Last night, I told Alyssa that she could get away with not talking about her feelings - for the night. Today we will sit down and hash things out.

She woke up smiling and happy, so maybe we will be able to have a productive talk. She still needs to apologize to Jeff. But first, we will have a heart to heart!

Now the election. I am proud to be an American today! History has been made! 40 years ago, some people were not allowed to vote because of the color of their skin. Last night, "We the People" elected our first black President. My daughter's future is indeed bright. You can achieve your dreams. Even if your dream is to be president!

Now, this country has to set aside its differences and work together to solve some big problems. Let's hope that we are up for the challenges!

I changed the look of my blog and I'm not sure if I like it. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Jason came home last night from his 2nd tour of duty in Iraq. Jeanie has her husband back safe and sound and all who love them can take a collective sigh of relief.

Thanks, Jason. For your dedication to the Marine corp, for your service to your country, and most important, for keeping me and my family safe!

I am so glad you are home!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The 5 Step Apology

My blogging friends have been experiencing so much heartache lately. My heart goes out to each and every one of you.

I, on the other hand, feel like we have most definitely turned a corner and are in a new(good) place.

Our lives have changed dramatically since last year. Alyssa has worked hard, Jeff & I have worked hard. It has paid off! Alyssa finally feels safe! And, because she feels safe, she is opening up and sharing her feelings. I hesitate to use the word healed, because healing, I believe, is continuous. But I do believe that she is attached to us. She trusts us. That in and of itself is a huge accomplishment!

I also believe that my darling Alyssa will always have "issues". I also believe that because of her history, she is going to be a very strong, compassionate adult. She is going to appreciate her life more and really understand that she is special.

Our daily struggles have shifted from hate filled tantrums and defiance, to "normal" kid sassy issues. Our therapy has also shifted to repairing our relationship, and helping Alyssa realize how her words and actions affect other people.

Paulette gave us a new technique to use for apologies. She called it "The 5 Step Apology"

1. I'm sorry____________(Specifically address the person, ie: Mom or Dad)
2. For: _______________(Must say what she is sorry for)
3. My words or actions made you feel:______________________(she must connect that when she says for example "I hate you!", that it makes us feel unloved)
4. To make it up to you, I will:_______________________(she needs to tell us what she will do to make the apology sincere).
5. Is that acceptable to you? (This last step gives us the opportunity to coach Alyssa in the different magnitude of offenses. For example, an "I hate you!" could be made up for with a hug and a kiss, a broken vase might be made up for with chores, etc.)

This process is to take the place of Jeff & I handing down consequences. It is designed to get Alyssa to understand cause and affect. I am excited about this process. We have already begun using it and Alyssa has already had an "AH HA" moment!

I think I am going to enjoy this new phase in our therapy. I am starting to feel like just a "normal" Mom!

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Place in My Heart

In two weeks, Jeff & I will be attending a parenting conference called "A Place in My Heart". This conference will feature Juli Alvarado . The morning training is focusing on trauma and the afternoon session is attachment.

I have heard great things about Juli, as well as her organization "Coaching for Life". We are really looking forward to this learning opportunity, and since Auntie Tammy is taking Alyssa for the night, it will also give Jeff & I some much needed "couple" time.

Have any of you heard Juli Alvarado speak, or heard of her period?

Catchin' Up

I can't believe it has been a whole week since I blogged! Time flies when you are having a normal life! Yes, it has been a good week! Alyssa has embraced the "Team Evans" concept and has really been making a concentrated effort to help out. She has cleaned the bathroom (YEAH!!!), kept her room clean, helped with laundry, helped Jeff put new windows in her bedroom, helped with dishes, the list goes on and on. Yesterday after church, she picked up all the hymnals and put them back on the table without even being asked! The ushers were so impressed, they gave her a bag of M&M's!

Saturday, Uncle Bruce and Auntie came to take Alyssa out to lunch. Alyssa was so excited. She told me made her feel very special! Way to go Uncle Bruce & Auntie!!!

Saturday night, Alyssa had her first concert for the Lakeshore Youth Chorale. We were so proud of her and she did GREAT!!!

Yesterday, we went and picked out pumpkins and then went to see "High School Musical 3". Alyssa LOVED it and Mom & Dad loved it too! It was a lot of fun just to see the excitement on Alyssa's face!

My best friend, soon to be sister-in-law, sister of the heart, beloved "Auntie" Tammy, has finally taken my advice and started blogging! I really think it will be good for her. So to all my cyber friends, please go check out Tammy's new blog, "Life Without Siarra" and say hi!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Today is our 2yr anniversary. It was a rough weekend - Alyssa wore her emotions very close to the surface. If you looked at her wrong, she would burst into tears and be all "Why are you yelling at me?"


When Alyssa first joined our family, she was such a lost little girl. And then, once the honeymoon was over, man was she pissed! And guess who took the brunt of her anger? Yup, I did. Even last year, we saw behaviors that were all over the map. But last year they were still coupled with anger. Last year I was still being kicked, hit, pinched, slapped, etc, etc,etc.

Now, just one short year later. We could still tell what the date was. Alyssa has been having a rough couple of weeks. But, I can happily report that we have had no anger! We've seen her slack in school, slack at home, be weepy sad, giddy happy, and everything in between. She has been sassy, stubborn, disrespectful and controlling. BUT we have seen NO ANGER!!!!!


Last night Jeff & I talked about how stressful the weekend was because Alyssa was so touchy and we were on pins and needles. Today, I have been thinking about what I wanted to say in this post and I realized how much progress Alyssa has made.

So I will close this post by saying that the last two years have brought about every emotion under the sun. Our family has been on the brink of despair, only to turn and walk into sunshine. We have grown as a family and I think, really appreciate what it means to be a family. We have changed in the past two years. We went from being in survival mode, to getting to enjoy our daughter. Yea, she still has a way to go. But for today, I am counting my blessings.

God answered my prayer. I asked for a daughter. And boy did I get one! I wouldn't trade her for the world!!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Random Pictures

Hanging out "Up North

The infamous "BIG BERTHA"

Alyssa helping Jeff drive the boat!

Alyssa's first "summer" fish!

Alyssa and Jeff building the picnic table up north.
Just getting started and celebrating completion!

Alyssa's baptism dress. Such a cutie!

The Pumpkin Patch Festival

Beautiful Fall Color!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Choose You

The following was written on Brenda's blog. It describes so well what it is like raising a Raddish.
Thanks Brenda!

I Choose You

I choose you
Even if you don't choose me.
I love you
When you don't love yourself.
I have hope
When you have given up.
I will be strong
When you feel so weak.
I will have courage
When you are afraid.
I will feel your pain with you
When it is too great to bear by yourself.
I will stay calm
When you are falling apart.
I will show you loving eyes
When your eyes are filled with hate.
I will give you gentle touch
When you want to get away.
I will understand
When no one else does.
You can love.
You can trust.
You can feel safe.
I will believe
until you believe it yourself.

Wake Up Call!!!!!

Rick just posted this on his blog!

I felt like I got slapped in the face. Two months to Christmas and I have NO projects started! I've got lots of ideas, just nothing started!

Hobby Lobby, here I come!


I just wanted everyone out in blogging world to know that I do read my comments. All of them. I don't always have the opportunity to comment back, but it is helpful to read the suggestions that are so thoughtfully given, and also really nice to receive the support that is so unselfishly given.

A huge THANK YOU to Lisa! She is such an awesome Mom and a great friend! If you have never checked out her blog, please go say hi and be inspired by her intense dedication to Miss J. Send some good thoughts and prayers her way also, they are going through some scary stuff and could really use the love!

Yesterdays rant about my family was just simply that, a rant. I do not want anyone to think that our family is not strong. It is. Very strong. I love my husband and my daughter and would not trade either one of them! I can complain because they are my family. I have earned the right to complain! Just as they have earned the right to complain about me! Jeff and I are married "Till death do us part" and are committed to making our marriage work. That doesn't mean that I don't get irritated with him, we are living in the real world after all! I also love my daughter very much, and yes, some days she pushes me to the brink of insanity! (I'm teetering there anyway!) But do I ever regret our decision to adopt Alyssa? No Way! Not ever, not for one teeny, tiny second. That beautiful child, who has pushed every button I have and even some that I didn't know existed, has brought so much love, and so much joy to our home! She has made our lives complete and really made our house a home!

So, changes are being made in my home. Jeff and Alyssa have both agreed to distribute the chores evenly. They have both agreed to help with laundry even! So tonight, I will hold a class, Laundry 101, and make sure they both know what they are doing! I really think that they will both make an effort to help me more, because I really think blowing my gasket at Paulette's kinda surprised them! We will see.......

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Anonymous Comments

Anonymous said...

Your husband sounds like a whiny, immature slob. Dump him immediately. You can do better.

I no longer allow anonymous comments.

To the idiot that left this comment:
You are obviously not married or divorced. Yes, I complain about some of the things that my husband does or doesn't do. I am certain that I do things that drive him over the edge too!

Marriage is hard work! It takes commitment and compromise. My husband is my soul mate! He is my partner in life and the father of my child! How you presume to think he is a whiny, immature slob is beyond me.

So, going forward - no more anonymous comments! If you have something to say, say it! But don't say it behind my back, hiding behind anonymity! Have enough balls to say it to my face!

The Bitch

We saw Paulette last night.

My issues hijacked the session.

I opened my mouth and out poured all my frustration, stress, and yes, I'll say it, anger. Add a ton of hurt feelings in there and you can imagine my mood!

I admit it. I have been feeling used and abused! I am so sick and tired of doing EVERYTHING in my house and I said so last night. I am sick to death of Jeff and Alyssa waltzing through life just dumping crap everywhere and assuming Mom will pick it up. I get no help and I am on the verge of giving up. Jeff does nothing around the house. Alyssa sees his terrible habits and falls in step right next to him! Can I get on her for leaving her stuff lay around when her Dad is setting such a crappy example?

I have allowed things to get too out of hand. Last night I drew the line. I demanded help! I am also demanding respect! I am sick and tired of being the mean Mom or the bitchy wife because I am telling them what to do! No more! Each one of us now have things we are responsible for each day. THEY WILL GET DONE! I am not doing everything, by myself, anymore.

I have made excuses and let things slide because it was just easier to do things myself. I take complete responsibility for that. But no more! We are at a point in our family when it is not just about survival anymore. Alyssa has made so much progress and our main goal is no longer just making it through the day. We are a family, and we are going to start acting like it!

I have some items to purchase to make the new program work smoother. Tonight, I will get everything in order and Wednesday we will have a family meeting and set the wheels in motion. I am getting my life back! I too deserve to have time to do the things that I enjoy doing! I deserve to have time to read a book, or scrapbook, or do a craft. I have not been able to do anything for myself in a really long time! And my husband has the nerve to say "Why do you always have to be a bitch?"

"Uh, sorry honey. You have no idea what a bitch is. BUT YOU WILL"!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The verdict is in...

Well, it's Monday.

The weekend overall was great! Alyssa had a lot of problems on Saturday morning though. She had a bad case of the sillies and when I told her to knuckle down and get serious so that we could go, she blew a gasket. She got really whiny, very disrespectful, and just plain bratty. It took us a long while to get her calm enough to do her sit. She was able to tell us that she was excited about going to the Pumpkin Patch Festival. I don't think that is the whole reason. While improved overall, her behavior was a bit shaky at times. Her biggest problem over the weekend, and my biggest "button" is control. She is 9 years old and thinks she can rule the roost!

We see Paulette tonight! I'm glad. She is really able to get Alyssa to bring things to the surface. One week from today is our 2nd Anniversary. It has to be weighing on Alyssa's mind, but when I tried to talk to her about it, everything is fine! Paulette will be able to bring it out in the open. And then, like always, Alyssa will see that Mom & Dad are strong enough to handle ALL her feelings, and it won't be such an issue anymore.

The verdict is in! This year's Halloween Costume... DA Ta DA.........

Keep this picture in mind, I will post an actual picture of Alyssa in her costume after Halloween!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thank God it's Friday

Did you ever have one of those mornings when you wished you could get back in bed and start over?

I am having one of those days!

Alyssa was not at her finest this morning. She was tired! I knew it, she knew it. I was not at my finest this morning either.

I don't want to relive the play by play. I owe my daughter an apology! Regardless of her behavior this morning, mine was less than exemplary! I will leave you with our final comments as I dropped her off at school.

Alyssa: Well you made me late!

Me: I made you late? You were the one wasting time and putzing around! I did not make you late!

Alyssa: Well thanks for making me feel even better by yelling at me!

Me: You are most welcome! Love You!

Alyssa: Whatever!

You have to understand that while it doesn't look too bad on paper, the tone of voice that this was spoken in, NOT VERY NICE!!!

I hope she can get her mood turned around. I certainly was no help! Otherwise, she will probably flunk her spelling test, and I will have to accept partial blame for that. She knows the words, but her mood will get in the way!




Thursday, October 9, 2008

Clear as Mud?

I think I need to clarify my last post a little bit.

I want my daughter to be proud of who she is. I want her to be proud of her heritage.

Alyssa's school is very culturally diverse. My daughter has friends that are Asian, Mexican, Hmong, White, and Black. There culture is a part of who they are. But they have names. They are not the white girl, or the Asian girl or the Mexican girl. They are Allison, Natalie and (insert name here).

I want my daughter to be proud of the person she is. I want her to be proud that she is adopted, that she has a beautiful voice, that she is black.


Hope that makes a little more sense!

Just because we can!

I have been thinking about this for a while now and have not known how to begin. So I guess I'll just begin. I hope it doesn't turn in to a rant. As you all know, Alyssa is bi-racial. Her bio dad was black and her bio mom is white. We adopted Alyssa knowing this - don't care, she is our daughter. What I don't understand is this. Why do we have to emphasize the fact that she is black. I have had some people lately telling me/asking me that I should teach her about her African heritage. I have had heritage camps suggested to me as well as celebrating Kwanzaa. I have really done a lot of soul searching and keep coming back to WHY??? Alyssa was born in this country! Right here in Wisconsin actually! Whey do we want to stress the fact that she is black? She knows that she is black. BUT and this is the most important point to me, she is part of our family! Do we want to stress the differences? Do we want to force her to celebrate holidays that she has never heard of or listen to African music, etc. just because she is black? Again, I say WHY??? We have talked to Alyssa about this. In her eyes, she is American just like everyone else. Yes her skin is darker than ours, but does that make her different? When we asked her what she thought of going to a heritage camp, she said, "Why, can't we go to a camp that has kids that are adopted?"

In her eyes, the color of her skin doesn't make her different. In her eyes, being adopted makes her different. Does that make sense? I don't want to become one of those fanatical adopted Moms that force her children to participate in "Heritage Awareness Days". It would be completely different if Alyssa would have been adopted from another country. Then I understand it. But just because she is black - NOT, it's just a color!

OK, I'm glad I got that off my chest.

We are going up north this weekend! Jeff and I talked last night and realized that we have gotten so caught up in the day to day stress of dealing with RAD and all that entails, that we have almost forgotten to stop and have fun as a family! So many activities get tied to behavior. IF you have good behavior, IF you get your chores done, IF, IF, IF! So, come Hell or high water, we are going to go up north this weekend and enjoy the fall color. We are going to the Pumpkin Patch Festival, the corn maze, and whatever else we feel like! We told Alyssa that she can invite a friend along, no strings attached! We are going to have fun this weekend, not because Alyssa has been doing good, not because we have accomplished goals, we are going to have fun this weekend just because we are a family and we can!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


When I got home from work last night, my little poopsie was very apologetic and had made me a flower from Popsicle sticks. It was a very pleasant way to be greeted. We were able to talk about her attitude and she admitted that she thought that going to bed earlier was a good idea. Yes, that's right, Alyssa admitted that she needed more sleep!

Our 2 yr anniversary is coming up on October 20th. I think some of the behavior we have been seeing is because of this. Alyssa has been doing so good, but still has a big problem with sharing her feelings. I see her getting more quiet, and wanting to spend more time in her room. So, tonight, we are having a girls night! We are going to paint our nails, and maybe watch a movie. I am going to nonchalantly mention our anniversary and see if I get any kind of response. I think if I can get her to open up in a casual way, she will be more apt to talk about what she is feeling. Let's hope anyway!

This morning was still full of sass, but it was not disrespectful. Does that make sense? Alyssa was silly and sassy, but in a fun, playful sort of way. She told me that she is going to work very hard to improve her respectfulness. This was one of the traits that Paulette gave her to work on two sessions ago, and she is having some problems improving on this! So, we haven't gotten new ones yet. Still working on trust and respect. Alyssa says she is determined to improve so that she can get new traits next time.

I almost forgot to tell you! Last Friday, I had to bar tend. Alyssa was invited over to her friends house for dinner and Jeff was going to pick her up at 7:30pm because it would already be getting dark and he didn't want her walking home. Well, as usual, Alyssa was only listening with half an ear. She decided to walk home. OK, no problem, EXCEPT JEFF WASN'T HOME! He took advantage of Alyssa not being home and ran some errands and then stopped in by me for supper. So, when Alyssa gets home and Jeff wasn't there, she said she got scared. BUT, she totally did the right thing! She went to the neighbors and told them Jeff wasn't home. She couldn't remember Jeff's cell number, so she called the house phone and left a message for Jeff that she was at the neighbors. Jeff went to pick Alyssa up, she wasn't there, HE PANICKED! He got home, played the message from Alyssa, and went to the neighbors to pick her up. She was hanging out watching TV. Alyssa's comment was "Daddy yelled at me! Really loud!" Well yeah kid, you scared him half to death! So, all is well, Alyssa made very good choices when she got home and no one was there. She is having mandatory practice of cell phone numbers though. Jeff's panic could have been avoided if Alyssa would have called him. Next time, she will remember the number!

Tonight Alyssa has choir practice. They have their first concert coming up on October 25th. Alyssa seems to really be enjoying the choir. She thinks it is really cool that they are learning a song in Latin. I hope she sticks with it! This choir is a wonderful opportunity for voice training and forming good vocal habits!

Friday, Alyssa brings her violin home from school. I think I may have to buy some ear plugs! Jeff seems to be very excited and has promised me and Alyssa that he will be her practice buddy!

Stay tuned for further updates...........

Monday, October 6, 2008


Our days of sunshine are over and I got my sass mouth back!

Oh yeah, and let's not forget the queen of control!

Our morning went something like this:

Me: Alyssa, it is time to get out of the shower.

Alyssa: I just got in here! Do you want me to get out before I even wash anything?

Me: Finish up, you have 5 minutes.

Alyssa: Well, if I'm not done, I'm not getting out! I just washed my hair! I have to wash my body! Do you want me to go to school stinking?

Me: (five minutes later) Alyssa, finish up, the water is going off! I have to get in their too!

Alyssa: OK (the water goes off)

Alyssa, then proceeds to putz and do everything in her power so that I can't get in the bathroom. I finally get really angry, tell her she is being inconsiderate, and tell her to get out of the bathroom - NOW!!!


Me: Thanks for getting out of the bathroom sweetie!(As I am physically picking her up and putting her in her room).

I finally am able to get in the shower and get ready for work. Alyssa is putzing, gazing at herself in the mirror and arguing about everything!

Me: Let's go Alyssa, we are running late.

Alyssa: I'm walking!

Me: No, you are getting a ride. The neighbors already left!

Alyssa: So! I am old enough to walk to school by myself!

Me: Get in the car Alyssa!

Alyssa: FINE! As she is slamming the door and stomping her feet!!!

Me: Starting tonight, some things are changing. You will once again be going to bed at 8:00. You obviously aren't getting enough sleep when you go to bed at 8:30. From now on, you need to be in the shower by 6:30am. If you are not, no shower! I will once again be doing your hair in the morning as you have shown Mom that you can't handle the responsibility!

I will leave you with Alyssa's response that continued ALL the way to school!


Me:(as I pull up in front of school) Have a good day honey. I Love You!

Alyysa: Yeah, WHATEVER!

OMG - the sass! Is this control issues or is this normal 4th grade girl behavior? Let me tell you, IT IS NOT NICE!!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Prayer Request

Please pray for my friend Lisa and her daughter "J". They are going through a really rough patch and could use your prayers!


Random Thoughts

Following: This new feature on blogger is awesome! Leigh helped me figure it out and when Torina mentioned it in her blog it made me realize that I am already taking it for granted. So, if you are reading my blog, please say hi and follow me! I would love to know who is reading my blog.

Readers: I have readers from all over. WAY COOL! I am begging - please say hi! Also, if you have any questions regarding RAD or need advice, or are just curious about anything, please ask. I will be happy to answer your questions!

Blogging: I am finding it very hard to find things to blog about! Alyssa is in such a good place right now that I almost feel bad blogging about it. So many of my cyber friends are struggling and having a tough time that I feel guilty bragging - yes bragging, about how well Alyssa is doing. I also don't want to jinx it! On one hand, I want everyone to know that healing is possible! I also want everyone to know that I was once where you are now. I have felt the fear and the hopelessness that Alyssa's heart would never heal. I know what you are going through. When I was in that dark place and scared half to death, I had my cyber friends, Lisa in particular, giving me advice, praying for me, and just being supportive. That's how I survived my low spots!

I don't want my real life friends to feel bad. They love me unconditionally and have supported me with love and laughter, and occasionally, respite! Thanks Tammy! But, they have never raised a child with RAD. They don't know what it is really like. Don't get me wrong, they ask questions, understand the importance of following the rules we have in place, and support us in every way possible. BUT, while they understand the importance of doing what we do, they really don't understand it. Not like all of you! Blogging gives me the opportunity to express my joys, my fears, and my hopes while not being judged, and really understood by the people that read me. I have tried to explain this to Tammy, I think she would really benefit from blogging. I think it would help her to connect to other Mothers that are living with grief. It would help her to connect to other people that really get it. I have lost both my parents, I understand grief and loss, but I have never lost a daughter(and God willing I never will!) so I do not understand the grief a Mother feels. Blogging gives you that connection. It can help your heart to heal!

Finally, I am going to leave you with some random fall pictures. They are from 2 years ago, our first Halloween with Alyssa. October 20th, it will be 2 years that we have been a family. My how she has grown!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Normal Kid

We had a wonderful weekend!

The highlights:

Getting ready to go to the zoo Saturday morning, Jeff somehow??? gashed his head open getting out of the shower. Blood everywhere - you know how head wounds bleed. Got him cleaned off and bandaged up. Nasty headache!

AWESOME day at the zoo! The weather was beautiful, Alyssa was perfectly behaved. Asked to push Cindy's wheelchair and was accepting of my decision to not let her anymore after Cindy almost went sailing down a hill! When Cindy is in a wheelchair there is never a dull moment!

Saturday night I had lots of help getting food prepared for Alyssa's baptism. It sure is nice that Leigh is able to drive now. She ended up being the gopher, running to the store for forgotten items. We got to bed by eleven and I slept right through the alarm the next morning!

Sunday morning we had 5 people that needed to shower and get ready for church - all in one bathroom! Surprisingly, we all were ready to go on time! Alyssa decided that she wanted to leave her hair curly instead of straightening it. And she wanted it "up". This was great for me, as it took a whole 10 minutes to do her hair. If I would have had to straighten it, it would have taken at least an hour!

We got to church early, as planned, so that we would be there to greet our guests. I have never been more proud of Alyssa! She was respectful, talked to everyone, and made all our guests feel welcome in our church! Pastor Joe has even since asked if our family would be greeters at church on a regular basis! Pastor Joe got carried away with the water during the baptism and poor Alyssa got absolutely soaked! She had water running down her nose, her neck, her entire face was covered in water, and water was running down the side of the baptismal fount. Alyssa just stood there and let Pastor Joe scrub her face with a handkerchief. She never complained or fussed, just stood there and let him dry her off! At the end of the service, Pastor had Alyssa walk out of church with him so that the congregation could all congratulate her. He made her feel so special!

When we arrived home, Alyssa was the perfect hostess. She asked our guests if they would like something to drink. She cleared plates away, she passed out cake. She made a point of talking to and spending time with each one of our guests. She opened her gifts and read each card out loud. She thanked each person for the gift and made them feel very special!

I was so proud!

Last night we saw Paulette. She let Alyssa give the update on how she was doing, and then looked to us for confirmation. Alyssa was dead on in her report. She said that even though she was doing OK, there was still room for improvement! She needed to work harder on being respectful because we deserved her respect! Paulette was impressed!

I know that the path of RAD is a bumpy one, and filled with lots of hills. But I am going to enjoy this growth by my daughter and hope that the bumps are small and the hills not too steep! The most important thing that I am going to remember is that Alyssa really wants to get better. She wants to be a family girl and she wants to have friends. Most of all, she just wants to be a normal kid!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Team Evans

I am happy to announce that we have had an uneventful week so far!


We have a busy weekend coming up! Saturday, we are going to MS Family Day at the Zoo. Cindy invited us and we are really excited. I haven't been to the zoo in like 8 years! We are really excited!

Then on Sunday, Miss Alyssa is going to be baptized. I still have to finish altering her dress. I am lucky I found one. An appropriate baptismal gown for a 9 year old child is no easy find! I ended up finding a first communion dress on clearance! It fit pretty good except the arms were way too tight! So I have been ripping out seams and very discretely adding material. I just have to finish off the seams and I am done! Alyssa seems very excited about the baptism and understands what it means.

I have to publicly say that I am very proud of my daughter's behavior this week. There have been a few minor moments, but for the most part, she has pitched in and helped without being asked, done more than what we have asked her to do, and really just having a great attitude! She has just wanted to be a part of "Team Evans". No motives, no agendas, nothing fake. Just a smile and willingness (and genuine desire) to be part of the team!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why we love children ...

1) NUDITY I was driving with my three young children one warm summer evening when a woman in the convertible ahead of us stood up and waved. She was stark naked! As I was reeling from the shock, I heard my 5-year -old shout fr om the back seat, 'Mom, that lady isn't wearing a seat belt!'

2) OPINIONS On the first day of school, a first-grader handed his teacher a note from his mother. The note read, 'The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents.'

3) KETCHUP A woman was trying hard to get the ketchup out of the jar. During her struggle the phone rang so she asked her 4-year-old daughter to answer the phone. 'Mommy can't come to the phone to talk to you right now. She's hitting
the bottle.'

4) MORE NUDITY A little boy got lost at the YMCA and found himself in the women's locker room When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks, with ladies grabbing towels and running for cover. The little boy watched in amazement and then asked, 'Wh at's the matter, haven't you ever seen a little boy

5) POLICE # 1 While taking a routine vandalism report at an elementary school, I was interrupted by a little girl about 6 years old. Looking up and down at my uniform, she asked, 'Are you a cop? Yes,' I
answered and continued writing the report. My mother said if I ever needed help I should ask the police. Is that right?' 'Yes, that's right,' I told her. 'Well, then,' she said as she extended her foot toward me, 'would you please tie my shoe?

6) POLICE # 2 It was the end of the day when I parked my police van in front of the station. As I gathered my equipment, my K-9 partner, Jake, was barking, and I saw a little boy staring in at me. 'Is that a dog you got back there?' he asked. 'It sure is,' I replied puzzled. The boy looked at me and then towards the back of the van. Finally he said, 'What'd he do?'
While working for an organization that delivers lunches to elderly shut-ins, I used to take my 4-year-old daughter on my afternoon rounds. She was unfailingly intrigued by the various appliances of old age, particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs. One day I found her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As I braced myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned
and whispered, 'The tooth fairy will never believe this!'

8) DEATH While walking along the sidewalk in front of his church, our minister heard the intoning of a prayer that nearly made his collar wilt. Apparently, his 5-year-old son and his playmates had found a dead robin. Feeling that proper burial should be performed, they had secured a small box and cotton batting, then dug a hole and made ready for the disposal of the deceased. The minister's son was chosen to say the appropriate prayers and with sonorous dignity intoned his version of what he thought his father always said: 'Glory be unto the Faaather, and unto the Sonnn, and into the hole he goooes.' (I want this line used at my funeral!)

9) SCHOOL A little girl had just finished her first week of school. 'I'm just wasting my time,' she said to her mother. 'I can't read, I can't write, and they won't let me talk!'

10) BIBLE A little boy opened the big family Bible. He was fascinated as he fingered through the old pages. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible. He picked up the object and looked at it. What he saw was an old leaf that had been pressed in between the pages. 'Mama, look what I found,' the boy called out. 'What have you got there, dear?'

With astonishment in the young boy's voice, he answered, 'I think it's Adam's underwear!'


My friend Jackie just emailed this to me. I had to share!