Monday, June 30, 2008

The Big Bertha

Sunday was a "girls day". Alyssa had asked for me to help her clean her room. She wanted to get rid of some stuff that she didn't use anymore and she wanted help in organizing her room better. She has a very small room and if everything does not have a home............Let's just say DISASTER! So we bought a bookcase for Alyssa's room that would give her a little more room for storage. Jeff assembled the bookcase and then bolted it to the wall. Anyone with a RAD child understands the necessity of that! So, that done it was just me and Alyssa for the rest of the day. The plan for the day was to start out with braiding. Oh, did I mention that I also promised Alyssa that I would braid her hair and put beads in for the 4th of July? So, we start at about 1:00 and I get Alyssa's hair all parted and ready to begin. I start braiding and get about 4 braids in when Alyssa is asking if we can take a break. Now, I know my daughter. I planned the room organizing to be done during hair breaks! But, come on, 4 braids and she is ready for a break? Let me sum up the day by saying that Alyssa's hair looks awesome! It is not finished, but what is done looks great! Alyssa's room is not done either! The bookcase is in, and about 1/4 of the room is done. Neither project we started is finished and we worked until 10:00pm! Yes, that's right, 9 hours and not one finished task! I'll try to take a picture of the work in progress. You can definitely tell what part of the room is done, and which isn't. I will also try to take a picture of Alyssa when I get her hair completely finished. The plan is to finish it on Tuesday because tonight we see Paulette(therapist).

We go on vacation next week-actually our vacation officially starts at 4:30pm on Thursday! Last year, Alyssa had a very emotional week. I still don't know if it was the fireworks that triggered something for her or just the holiday itself. But we need to be very careful with her and watch and see if we can pinpoint any particular event that sets her off. Paulette will address a lot of our concerns tonight. I would love it if we could have a quiet, uneventful vacation.

We bought a new inner tube for the boat. "The Big Bertha" is a tube that holds up to 4 people. It's inside diameter is so huge that when Alyssa sits inside it, just her head pokes over the top! She can't wait to try it because she says now she won't have to worry about tipping over. I can't wait to try it either-now maybe I can go tubing without getting my butt caught in the hole!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Like a Chicken with your head cut off.......

I hate car shopping! I know what I want, and I can't find it! Apparently, everyone on the planet decided to buy a small car! I have become frustrated to the point where I washed my hands of the whole issue. Jeff is now in charge of finding me a car. He knows what I want, it is now his job to find it. Let me know where and when and I will come sign the papers. AAAAAGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!

OK, I actually feel better. Miss Alyssa is having an OK week. She is still sassy and disrespectful. But, she is recognizing it and actually apologizing! I am taking that as progress. This weekend I am going to help Alyssa organize her room. I am actually going to take the opportunity to get rid of a lot of stuff that she doesn't use. But, if I play my cards right, she will think it is all her idea!!! So wish me luck folks. My goal, a weekend without meltdowns!

We have so much stuff going on! We are trying to get ready and organized to go on vacation. We will be spending a week at the lake the week after the 4th. It is so stressful trying to find the time to fit in all the extras that have to happen before I can leave with a peaceful mind. I will try to stay up to date, but if I go missing, don't get worried.

That's it for now, I got a million things to do.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Super Mom!

Thanks for checking Lisa - I am still here!

I had a pretty amazing weekend. I had to work Friday night at my fun job. To those of you who don't know, I bar tend every other Friday at Petek's Tavern. Jeff has known the owner, Stash, since like grade school and I am lucky to have become good friends with both him and his wife Denise. In fact, their daughter Chelsie is our baby sitter. Any way, I'm working on Friday, feeling stressed, and I have to admit a wee bit sorry for myself too! I look up and Denise is talking to someone and they are both looking at me. So, I walk over to see what they are talking about because it is obvious that they are talking about me. Any way, Denise is telling this other woman just wonderful things about me and our commitment to raise and love Alyssa. I so needed to hear something kind and encouraging and out of the blue, Denise provided! You know all my whining, all my complaining, I really do have some wonderful, caring friends. I am not going to focus on the mud-slinging, hurtful comments of a couple of ignorant people. No, I am going to align myself with people that truly and deeply love me, my husband, and my daughter!

Saturday, Jeff did Karaoke for a graduation party and took Miss Alyssa along. IT WAS WONDERFUL! I had the whole afternoon and night to myself. I went out with Tammy and we celebrated her birthday! I had forgotten how nice it is to have some time all to yourself! I am proud to say that my cup over-floweth and I am once again ready to take on the world, or at least my lovely Alyssa!

I need a new car! My piece of shit Neon is dying! Sunday the tie rod broke. Thank God Jeff was driving it when it happened. We had to call in our personal "McGuiver" (my BIL Bruce) to fix it so that we would be able to drive it to the car lot to trade it in! I am so frustrated! We have really been looking hard for a new vehicle! We have gone to many different car lots and the salesmen just don't seem to get it! I really don't want the moon! I want a car. I want to spend between $8,000 and $10,000. I want a stick. I want air conditioning. I want under 40,000 miles. AM I ASKING TOO MUCH? Well, you would think so! Instead of showing me vehicles that meet my criteria, or at least come close, they seem to think that I would be much happier with a brand new car! Well, you know what? In a perfect world I would wear a size 5 and be driving a sporty little convertible. This is the real world people, not fantasy land! These people just can't seem to get it through their thick skulls that we are still paying off our $30,000 truck(that was my mistake! The loan ended up getting extended another year after we refinanced at a lower interest rate). I do not need or want another brand new vehicle payment! We are very frustrated so we are taking the night off tonight and going to have a movie night. A nice, quiet night on the couch sounds heavenly to me.

I just read Torina's blog and she asked about RAD parents that work full time. I wanted to comment on that here. Yes, it is extremely challenging to balance a full time job, a home, a husband, AND a child with special needs. I will be the first to admit that not everything gets done the way I would like it to get done. I feel like I am always way behind. And a lot of the time I feel like a complete failure! But, then I stop. I look around my home. I see pictures of Alyssa, smiling and happy. I see pictures of Jeff and myself, smiling and happy. I see pictures of our friends, smiling and happy. I see dust bunnies in the corner, and I see dust on the end tables. I see windows that never got washed this spring, and I see clutter that needs to get put away. And then I realize that I am not a failure. I am a GREAT MOM! I understand what the important stuff is! It is not having a perfectly clean, manicured house. It is having a HOME! A place where family and friends can gather and feel comfortable and welcomed. Success is having a home that people want to come to! I always joke and say, "Well, if they don't like it, I won't be offended if they pick up the broom"! You know, no one ever has! It is OK if I am not Supermom! Because, I am a Super MOM!

Friday, June 20, 2008


I need a break!

Alyssa has upped her game and I find myself feeling exhausted and at the end of my rope. In some respects, Alyssa's attitude and behavior have turned around and improved. On the other hand, while the major behaviors have disappeared, a ton of minor ones have crept up. I think these are harder to deal with! She is whiny, sassy, and most of all forgetful! Her "forgetting" things is really enough to drive me over the edge. I don't know how to fix it. I have used every suggestion given to me in regards to her lack of responsibility and it has gotten worse! I give up. I don't know what to do anymore and I am getting to the point that I don't even want to hear it anymore. So, once again, if anyone has ideas, PLEASE HELP ME!!!

The next thing that I don't know how to deal with is Alyssa's sense of entitlement. She actually got in an argument with a little girl at the Y yesterday because she didn't invite Alyssa to her birthday party! Never mind that it was only the 4th day of summer day care and that they haven't seen each other for a whole year. No, this little girl was just supposed to know that Alyssa would once again be at day care and have an invitation waiting for her on day 1! I admit that I snapped. I looked at Alyssa who was crying because this little girl "was mean to me, Mommy" and told her that if that was the way she behaved with other kids, it was a miracle that she had any friends at all! If someone took that attitude with me, I would never want to hang around them! Well, my daughter became outraged with me, started crying even harder and threw all the standard "I hate yous" and insults my way. I didn't care!

That is when I realized that I need a break! I really had no empathy, sympathy, or desire to "teach" Alyssa the proper behavior. I was done! So what did I do? Nothing! I walked away, sat down and watched TV. Let Jeff deal! Oh and by the way, his way of handling the situation was to bribe Alyssa into doing a strong sit. Nice job Daddy! So, here I sit, admitting to the world that I am an awful Mom! I just don't care! When does it get to be my turn? When does Mom get a break? Jeff has a night out every week - When is it MY turn?

I work tonight and I have decided that tomorrow I am going to leave my family at home and I am going to go play! I know that I am just setting myself up for disaster on Sunday but I just don't care! The messy house and chaos that will overtake my home will happen whether or not I am there to clean it up!

Just once, it would be nice to not have to be the bad guy! Jeff is always the nice guy because he defers all discipline to me. He does not like conflict so he chooses to ignore it. I on the other hand get left holding the bag. Just once, I want to be the nice Mom, the Mom that isn't tired and stressed out! I want to be Gerri, the person that used to be fun and a good friend, and a person that people liked being around. I'm not that person anymore. One "friend" told me my daughter was a beast, and honestly, my other friends hardly ever call me anymore. I don't call them either. By the time I put Alyssa to bed, I have nothing left. I'm sad! I'm lonely! I have become a shell of the person that I used to be. I am soooooooo tired!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Old Bag!

Wow did we have a busy weekend! Friday was the first official day of summer vacation so I took the day off and just hung out with Alyssa. We had plans to go up north and Alyssa earned the privilege of inviting a friend along. So she was a great help with getting things ready and grocery shopping, etc. The weather forecast called for low seventies, but at least it wasn't supposed to rain!

Well, we get up north and the weather forecast changed. The entire weekend was supposed to be in the mid eighties and sunny and no rain. Let's just say the girls were not happy with me because I told them that they did not need to bring their swim suits along. After a chat with my wonderful husband, I piled the girls in the truck and took them to Target for swim suits and water shoes! I know I am not perfect and I think it is important to admit I made a mistake and do what I can to fix the mistake. The girls were very appreciative and ended up getting matching suits and matching shoes.

Both girls earned a trip to the ice cream parlor and video arcade by unloading firewood from the truck and stacking it in the wood pile. They picked up sticks that had fallen from the trees and knocked all the cob webs down. They worked hard and helped bring everything in and then they went to the park and I hardly saw them the entire weekend! Alyssa was so excited and proud to have a friend along! She really did try hard all weekend and for the most part had appropriate behavior. We had one small problem with Alyssa being bossy, but we pulled her aside and told her that if there were problems, Mom & Dad would handle them. Alyssa thanked us and ran up to her friend and apologized! We were very proud of her! Sunday was a pretty quiet day. We got home and Alyssa gave Daddy his gifts. We had ice cream cake for supper and watched a movie before bed. All in all, a great day!

Monday, Alyssa started at the Y.M.C.A. She was pretty pooped when she got home and then we had to go see Paulette. Alyssa had a hard time with some of the issues we discussed and chose to show us by pitching a hissy fit when we got home! She finally fell asleep around nine. This morning she woke up grumpy and argumentative. She sassed me and I finally removed her speaking privileges. She eventually came to me and offered a sincere apology. Hopefully, once we get settled into the new summer schedule, things will settle down and the mornings will go much smoother.

Our back yard is finally out from under water! Tonight we are going to attempt to get some yard work done. For all of you in the east suffering from drought, I wish I could ship some of our 11+" to you! We have been very lucky in that our basement is still dry and the sub pump didn't burn itself out! We usually average around 14" of rain for the entire summer. In the last week and a half we have had 11 plus inches and it is only the second week of June!

My final thought today is for Tammy. The old bag is 43 today! I know that my day is creeping up but she will always be one month and nine days older than me! Now to get serious.

Happy birthday to my best friend! You give me inspiration and the courage to face another day. You have more strength than you realize and bring more to my life than I could ever hope to give back! I love you with all my heart!

I know that I am going to get in trouble for posting this picture but I just love it!!! That is a buzzard hat on her head by the way!

Love you Tam!
Happy Birthday!!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Today is the last day of school. I spent most of the morning at Alyssa's talent show. She performed a dance routine with a bunch of her friends to the song Soldier Boy. It was cute. I got so emotional sitting through that performance. It seems like just yesterday I was sending Alyssa off to her first day of school. And now we are at the end of her second school year with us! Where does the time go?

Alyssa has worked VERY hard to improve her behavior. She had specific goals that needed to be met. If she achieved her goals, she got to invite a friend along up north this weekend. Well, I am very happy and proud to announce that ALL goals have been met! Alyssa was so excited! She invited her friend and her friend said yes! Well, then the girls both got invited to a birthday party on Friday night. Alyssa's friend informed her that she wanted to go to the birthday party and wasn't going to go up north! So then Alyssa asked if we could wait to go up north until after the party. Jeff and I had a long talk about it and even though we were worried that Alyssa would have a meltdown, we decided that we have been planning this weekend for two weeks and we would go up north as planned. So we told Alyssa that she couldn't go to the party. She handled it very well! She was able to express sadness and disappointment that she would miss the party and also sadness and hurt that her friend chose the party over going up north. She did not get angry, she did not become disrespectful, she expressed honest emotion in an appropriate way! We were very proud of how she handled it. Then, about an hour later the phone rang and it was Alyssa's friend. She decided that she didn't want to go to the party if her best friend wasn't going and would it be OK if she came up north with us? Well, YEAH! Alyssa is happy once again and all is right with her world! We also took the opportunity to remind her that good things happen when good choices are made!!!

Oh, I almost forgot! I totally burst her bubble this morning! Alyssa was going on and on about this is the last day of school and I can sleep in and I can't wait to be lazy! Well, the mean Mom that I am, reminded her that even though school was out, she still had to get up at the same time because Mom & Dad still had to go to work. In fact, we would have to leave the house 15 minutes earlier than we do now because I had to drop her off at the Y. So dearest daughter, enjoy your 1 day of sleeping in and being lazy! The summer schedule starts on Monday!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today is Siarra's birthday. She would have been 20 years old. After almost three years, it is still almost impossible to believe that she is gone. I can still hear her laugh. I can still hear her goofing around, and I can still see her dancing. She had a grace about her that was beautiful to watch, even if she was just walking. She was a blessing to everyone that knew her and I miss her every day. She was the first person (and last!) that ever waxed my eyebrows! She sang like an Angel and she brightened every ones world. I wish that we could have gotten to know the woman that she would have become because the glimpses of the adult Siarra were awesome! I miss you honey! Happy Birthday!

Monday, June 9, 2008


Alyssa’s attitude continues to improve. I think she has decided that the benefits of being a family girl, far out weigh the negatives! Thursday night she asked if her friend could come over for a while. I said yes, after the chores she owed me were complete. She immediately got to work on the ½ hour that she owed me. I was very proud of her when she looked at the clock and realized her time was up and finished the chores she was working on! I thanked her for having such a good attitude and told her that her friend could now come over. They played very nicely for almost two hours and then asked if she could sleep over. I said NO, it’s a school night! Well, they looked at each other and said, well, tomorrow night then? The little stinkers had that all cooked up! I said yes, even though I knew I was being played because I felt like Alyssa deserved a reward. She has been trying really hard to turn her behavior and attitude around and I wanted her to know that I recognize her efforts.

Friday after school, Alyssa had her scrap booking party for Girl Scouts. I went along to help and bring some of my tools along. It was a lot of fun and very well organized! After scrap booking, Alyssa’s friend came over and we all went to watch Jeff’s softball game. Let’s just say that they did NOT win and leave it at that! After the game, we went home and started a fire and the girls made S’Mores. They finally went to bed at – I don’t know because they were still awake when I went to bed at 1:00am!

Saturday, I got some time to myself! Jeff took Alyssa’s friend home and then the two of them went and had some Daddy & Me time. I went shopping and had three whole hours to myself! It was awesome! Sunday, we were officially welcomed into our new church. I feel really good about this new “family” of ours. It is a very welcoming place to be.

The weather has been very volatile. We have had wave after wave of storms and heavy rains go through since Thursday. The rain total is almost 7 inches and counting. As a result, there are flooding concerns and the last few days have been very depressing and very worrisome! The river is 3 ft. over flood stage and many streets and basements are flooding. We spent a small fortune to water proof our basement about three years ago, and I am happy to report, so far so good. With rain in the forecast for the next week, we are praying that we continue to stay dry.

Well, last week of school! Alyssa is very excited to get the summer underway! Next week she starts at the Y.M.C.A. summer program. She attended last year as well so she knows all the fun that is in store for her. Now we just need to get through the rest of the week with no major meltdowns and we should be good. We bribed her so that should help. We told Alyssa that if she made good choices all week, she could bring a friend up north with us this weekend. I know, we are rotten parents, but we are just coming out of a really bad month and I still need to regroup! I am hoping that the added incentive will help keep her on the straight and narrow!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Happy Cleaning!

Alyssa has really been trying to be a family girl. She has made an effort to give Jeff & I hugs in the morning and when we get home from work. She is trying to be helpful and is trying very hard to reign her mouth in. She had some problems with sass last night, but I very calmly informed her that her mouth just earned her 15 min. of chores. She wasn't too thrilled with that and made another lovely comment to which I responded by saying "Congratulations, you have now earned 1/2 hour of chores. She finally understood that I was serious, and was able to finish out the evening on a good note. This morning she got out of bed and actually asked me what her chores were going to be! I don't know why she is so worried, she actually enjoys housework! I remember having her clean the toilet one time and she actually hugged me and said she always wanted to clean the toilet and no one would ever let her before! Go figure! So, the theme of the evening is going to be spring cleaning! I have not done a full clean in longer than I care to admit - so tonight's the night! I think I will let Alyssa pick the CD, pop it in the stereo, and have some fun cleaning the house! Wooo Hooo!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Spring Picture

The Puzzle

We had therapy last night. We knew that Alyssa had been thinking about her old family, but hearing her say it was rough. It was hard on Alyssa too. Paulette corrected some misconceptions that Alyssa had. For some reason, she thought that her birth parents gave her away because they knew they couldn’t take care of her. Paulette did a timeline for Alyssa. This was the day that you went to foster care, then you went here, then here, etc. etc. Alyssa also thought that she went back to live with her birth mother multiple times. Not true, once she went into foster care, she never went back to live with her birth mother. Birth mom never followed the plan.

I think Alyssa really needed to hear that we were not going to get mad if she had feelings or questions about her past families. She did finally tell us that the “bad” Alyssa came back and told her not to trust us, that we would hurt her like everyone else did. This was pretty much what we had thought. She made so much progress and started to open up her heart and then she got scared and the door slammed shut again. Paulette reminded Alyssa that the “old” Alyssa wasn’t bad, just scared. And it was very important for “new” Alyssa to tell the “old” Alyssa that it was OK to trust Mom & Dad and if she was scared that it would help to talk to Mom & Dad. Alyssa really seemed to be able to grasp this concept and was able to contribute suggestions and ideas on what “new” Alyssa could do to help “old” Alyssa. I was so proud of her for opening up so much; I know it was really hard on her. It was really hard for Jeff & I to see and hear what was bothering Alyssa. It just makes us so angry at the people that hurt this beautiful little girl!

Alyssa was very quiet this morning, and very “touchy”. I think she has a lot of pieces to her life “puzzle” that she needs to figure out where and how they fit together. I am hoping that she will be strong enough to put it together. Jeff and I can help, but Alyssa needs to be the one that actually puts it together. Please pray for my little girl. Her heart is very heavy today.