Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Big Sloppy Bucket of Crazy

Mamma and I stayed up late one night over the weekend -- late enough to watch a Saturday Night Live episode -- and we heard this phrase.  ONE BIG BUCKET OF CRAZY!

And I haven't stopped using it EVERY chance I can.  It totally works in sooooo many situations--from work to home.  In the grocery store. While commuting to and from work.  And, duh, when you're in Walmart!

We have a new little girl with us.  She joined us last Thursday.  She's 4.  Mom's in jail for beating up a neighbor.  A pregnant neighbor.  With a stroller.  She was drunk.  Yea, I'm putting mom in the big sloppy bucket of crazy.

She hasn't stopped crying since last Thursday.  No, I mean it.  She hasn't. stopped. crying. 

Today she met with her attorney 'cause he'll represent her in court tomorrow.  We could hear the conversation from the other room (okay, we were eavesdropping) and her stories were amazing.  She's decided that mom is home watching TV (she's in jail), wanted to go home with the attorney (can you say attachment issue), started referring to herself in the third person, and, interestingly, edit some stories about mom's other (frequent) bouts with the bottle for the attorney. I looked at Mama and said, "she is one crazy chicken."  Yup, she's going in the big sloppy bucket of crazy.

The attorney will tell how all she wanted was to see mom, to call mom, to go home.  The judge will hear how attached she is to mom.  The recommendation will probably be for her to be reunified after mom is released jail. 


Friday, June 17, 2011


A little over a year ago we reunited Baby Dee with her bio mom.  I cried for 2 days.  Her mom remained in contact with us, calling with updates or to just chat, sending photos to mark her growth and developmental progress.  She's still tiny but starting to hit her developmental milestones. It's nice.

We've had babies come and go since Baby Dee--4 in fact.  But Baby Dee holds a special place in my heart.

Our first meeting.

So, yesterday, Mama received a call telling her that Baby Dee's mom is in the hospital and that we are listed as the people to call if anything was to happen. 

Would we be able to take Baby Dee?  Well, hell yea!

Mama is on her way this morning to the other side of the State to pick her up.

How will she be?

Is he healthy? What about medical stuff?  When she was with us she had 17 medical professionals following her case.

Is she talking?

Is she walking?

How will Baby Natalie be with her?  Jealous? Aggressive?  Playful?

What about a car seat?  Do we bring ours (hers acatually, from when she was with us before)?

How do we configure the bedrooms to accommodate 2 babies under 2???

What's Baby Dee's schedule like?  Does she sleep thorugh the night?  'Cause right now Natalie sleeps a good 12 hours and we really love that!

How long will she be with us? 

I know all those questions and concerns will be answered and everything will fall into place as if she's always been with us.

Can't wait to see her. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Fragments

Another busy week for us....

Went to the beach last weekend and while Mama cleaned up the aftermath of a leaking pipe in the basement, I took the boys to the ocean.  The water was hypothermia cold but that didn't seem to matter to them.

The Baby enjoyed free reign of the house, keeping an eye on the dogs and sporting my hat.

Then, of course, there was the Tornado that swept though our area.  Thankfully no damage but a different kind of stress. Think I'll stick with snow.

Mama had to bring someone to some appointment every day this week. 

Looking forward to the weekend, spending some down time with Mama.  Maybe on the porch.  

Friday, May 27, 2011

Baby Invasion

Oh, hello. It's been a while, I know.  It has taken some time to rebound from our experience with Manny.  (Pop on over the Mama Drama  Times Two for details.)  

But when the Department called with a one week respite placement for a 1 year old boy, we said, YES. 

Babies are good.

They're small.

They don't use profanity--at least, if they do, it just sounds like cute baby jibberish.

They smell good.

They think you are the best thing in the world because you feed them and make funny faces.

They're a little more work sometimes but they don't zap the last ion of energy from you.

I could go on...

So, Baby Boy J arrived for his 10 day stay. 

OMG what a sweet little guy.  Wonderful temperment.  Great appetite.  Sleeps through the night...

Baby Boy J hanging out on the porch

Then another call from the Department and on day 5 of Baby Boy J's stay, Baby Girl A arrived--an adorable 16 month old girl.  Sweet, but sometimes fierce, temperment (I like that in a baby).  Great appetite.  Sleeps through the night...

Baby Girl A with our BFF

OK! TWO babies!!!

Hundreds of dollars worth of educational toys and the dog dishes are more interesting
Bobby entertaining the babies with the toy piano

Then, our first foster daughter, Amber, came by with her little boy.  Adorable.

Baby Boy A

Did we mention that babies are good?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Hit Parade #2

When we first started doing foster care and had a house full of teenagers, we made it a point to be a visible presence at their respective high schools and made sure teachers knew who we were.  In fact, Mama was a teacher at the girls' high school for a while (actually how we met the girls)  We attended open houses and I gave all the teachers my business card.  We wanted to support the girls--and, because we knew our girls, wanted to support the teachers.  Call us anytime!

"A" is an avid reader.  She always had a book with her and could literally devour a Harry Potter in a weekend. 

This is a good thing, you're thinking.

Wow, a kid who likes to read.

It is fabulous.....


When her math teacher called me at work to tell me that A was reading her novel during class. 


Had she already completed her work and was using her time wisely?


She was reading her novel DURING class.  As in, while the teacher was teaching.

"Did you tell her to put it down?" I asked.

"Well, I told her it was inappropriate, and she put it down," her teacher said.  "But then I noticed that she started reading again."

"Did you take the book away from her?" I asked.

"Well, NO, I couldn't do that," was the teacher's incredulous reply.

"And, what is it you think I can do?" I asked.

I don't know who I was more annoyed with.  A for reading during class.

Or the teacher for being so rediculoulsy inept.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Weekend

A very busy and productive weekend here.  The weather finally broke free from winter's chilly grip and we ventured outside to try to tame our yard.  I had done a bit of raking last weekend before the flu sent me to bed for two days so I still had a little yard mojo going. 

After a trip to the dump, the boys and I, with rakes and leaf blowers in hand, got to work.  I had purchased some yard games so the motivation to get the leaves off the back patio and front yard was pretty high.  I was really pleased to see all the boys work so well together and we made quick work of the back patio and moved to the front yard. 

Don't get me wrong, there was a fair amount of redirecting and everyone wanted to be in charge and everyone had the best way to move the leaves and everyone had the best idea of where they should go and everyone had to have a turn raking next to me (I had the leaf blower) and, even though no one was wearing a watch, everyone's time next to me was precisely monitored.  Oh, and then there was the pasive aggressive battle for the plastic rake--as soon as one kid put it down, another would pick it up.  It was all very subtle but clearly that rake was by far superior to the other three.  But, all in all, we had a good time.  Such a good time that I suggested we do it again on Sunday.

After a gourmet lunch of peanut butter and jelly roll ups, it was time to put up the yard games! 

Yay! It was all up and ready to be used. And what was the first question my children asked?

Can we go next door to play at the neighbors?!

Ah, no.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My New Favorite Song and Artist

Crank up the volume and try not to play this over and over and over and over while dancing in the kitchen.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spit Socks

If you follow Mama Drama - Times Two, you know about our very brief honeymoon period with our new 8 year old.  Here's the story....

In between pumping and vacuuming water and emptying out our flooded out basement, we picked up our new little guy, Manny, from an RTP on Wednesday.  After a gourmet family dinner at W*ndy's, we got home to unpack and get settled.  He came with two bags of clothes and a suitcase large envelope of medications!  The list of meds was a full page, typed!  YIKES!  He enjoyed meeting the dogs and cats, seemed to like his room, and got along with the boys.  He went off to sleep with no issues.  So far, so good.

Thursday morning, I got him up and off to school and Mamma greeted him at the end of the day.  She had the pleasure of dealing with his poopy pants--he apparantly likes to poop in his pants in the afternoon and sit in it.  I'm sure Mamma will blog in more detail about this but I will say that this was the first time he, personally, had to deal with the clean-up, and he was not happy about it.  He got through it and other than your annoying, constant, tiring, trying basic oppositional behavior, we hadn't seen any major behavior issues.

Friday's schedule included a doctor's appointment to follow-up on an MRI he had earlier in the week for a strange bump above his eye.  The MRI showed a bone growth (yea, great, huh) and I and his Social Worker were taking him to the doctor. 

This is where the Spit Sock comes in. 

After refusing to pee in the cup (I saw oppositional, controlling behavior, they saw a kid who didn't need to pee, hmmmm), and scheduling Bone Scan and Bone Density tests for next week, we went off to the hospital to have some blood drawn. 

He refused to get out of the car.  After 15 minutes I contacted his Social Worker who agreed that he really needed the blood work so he came to meet me.  After another 15 minutes, still no movement.  As soon as his Social Worker and I attempted to help him out of the car, he went feral.  I held his two wrists for I don't know how long while he kicked me and the car, tried to bite me and himself, tried to scratch me, head banged and head butted, his Social Worker and I decided to call crisis.

Crisis advised that since we were already at the hospital, we should call the police.  This sent the boy into even more of a rage.  The police officer tried everything to calm him but after the boy head butted and spit, the police officer called for a spit sock and put him in hand cuffs.  That about broke my heart--an 8 year old in hand cuffs.

Once he got into the emergency room it took 9, yes, 9 adults to restrain him in order to remove the hand cuffs and put him in soft restraints.  He spent 24 hours in the ER and is now in a residential treatment for 2 weeks. 

We aren't sure yet how this is going to end.  Mama has been counseled by her Mountain Top Moms to say NO.  We have been calling him and will visit this week. 

He has 2 more medical procedures next week -- one that involves an injection of dye -- and I am soooo happy I will not be taking him.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Hit Parade

The other night, Mama and I were chatting about the 8 year old who will be joining us this week.  Behaviors, of course, were at the top of our list of wonders--along with favorite foods, clothing size, will the school transportation be set up (he attends a school that specializes in behavior challenges 3 towns away), and how will he be with our pets. 

I commented that after 26 kids through our house, it can't be any worse!  Different, maybe, but after what we've seen, come on.

I mentioned something one of our older girls did back in the day when we were new, naive foster parents.

Mama had completely forgotten about it! 

HAH!  Lucky her 'cause it's all there in my memory bank, swirling around like a mini-tornado, kicking up dust.

Here's what happened:  Every once in a while, "E" would stop taking her anti-depression meds because she "liked the rush."  And what a rush it was for the rest of us!  She wasn't particularly easy to be around on a good day with all her meds on board.  Without her meds, she made bi-polar look like an amusement park ride.

This particular time, her behavior was particularly erratic--she was fighting with EVERYONE--no one was safe.  Not her boyfriend, not our other foster daughter, not our son, not us. 

So, I guess I wasn't totally surprised when I received a phone call at work from the high school vice principal telling me that the School Resource Officer had had to escort E from school grounds for, are you ready for this......


Yes, you read that right.  Painting another student with, if memory serves, green paint. This is a HIGH SCHOOL student we're talking about.

Sigh.  What's a mother to do?  Ask if she gets credit for creating performance art? 

We all know that asking E for some sort of explanation would be an exercise in futility, but hey, we can dream can't we?  So, I asked E what that was all about.  Her response, in full and complete sincerity was, "He was bothering me!  What was I supposed to do?"

There you have it.

It's a good sign that we can chuckle belly laugh now.  Back then, not so much.

So, over the next few blog posts, I thought I'd share some of our kids' most memorable moments--our version of the Hit Parade.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Our Homecoming

After spending four days in Orlando with the most incredible women in this entire universe, Mamma and I sadly rode the van to the airport, quietly boarded the airplane, (yes, I enjoyed channel surfing again), and arrived back in our frosty, snowy, Northern New England town.  The change in weather was enough of a shock to our systems, never mind the reality that we would not be surrounded by those beautiful women and the love and acceptance we experienced in Orlando. 

Driving home from the airport we wondered what sort of a weekend it had been for the boys and the babysitter. 

After navigating through three very excited dogs who met us at the door, we were greeted by a calm, sane babysitter.  She told us the weekend was good.  GOOD!  No one ran away, hid in the woods, tried to harm themselves, or had any  meltdowns.  All behaviors we have seen in the past when we have been away from them.

One had his final basketball game of the season, they all went clothes shopping, to the movies, helped with dinner and the pets, did homeowrk--all pretty average stuff. 

The best part was this:

The boys had baked and decorated a cake for us!  They missed us!  Yay! 

I miss the Orlando Moms.

Monday, February 28, 2011

And Away We Go!

OK, now I'm pysched and ready to go!  It's Monday night of "Orlando Week."  My countdown officially started today.  

It's all good because I tried on some of my favorite summer clothes and I'm so happy that they didn't shrink too much since last summer. 

I got a new pair of Keen sandals in a cool color.  This was not an easy feet (pun intended) feat as it is still very much winter here.  Found one pair at D*cks Sporting Goods but alas, they were a boring black.   Not what I was looking for. Not at all Orlandoish.  Bought them 'cause I had a $30 off and a $20 off coupon!  Figured I just go to another D*cks in another town and exchange them for a truely "rad" color, only to find out that store didn't have ANY at all.  Holy Cow! 

Being the resourseful problem-solver that I am, I went to a different chain store and they had just gotten a shipment in and hadn't even entered the prices in the computers.  BUT, I got a pair of LIME GREEN Keens!  I will be styling with happy feet.
The Thursday night babysitter came by tonight to do the walk-through.  It's all good.

Mama just booked our hotel for Thursday night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My bag is packed but I will probably take everything out about a million times between now and Thursday.

We just have to get through 2 more days of work, get our taxes done, smile knowingly at each other, get my haircut, tidy the house so our babysitters won't be too appalled, plan the dinners like good parents, do the happy dance a few times, answer a million ridiculous questions from the boys Bobby, make sure phone numbers to social workers (and police) are clearly displayed, get to the bank, giggle...........


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Orlando Theme Song

I was listening to some old Michael W. Smith music the other day and the lyrics to "I Will Be Here for You" struck me as what our retreat in Orlando is about.   We, who parent traumatized children, will be coming together to relax and rejuvenate.  To share our heartaches, loneliness, joys, frustrations and successes.  We will be surrounded by others who understand US and our families. 

We have all somehow found each other and will be spending three shame-free and guilt-free days soaking up each others' wisdom, humor and love.  We will be each others' shelter.

I Will Be Here for You

(Michael W. Smith / Diane Warren)

When you feel the sunlight
Fade into the cold night
Don't know where to turn
I don't know where to turn
And all the dreams you're dreaming
Seem to lose their meaning
Let me in your world
Baby, let me in your world
All you need is someone you can hold
Don't be sad, you're not alone

I will be here for you
Somewhere in the night
Somewhere in the night
I'll shine a light for you
Somewhere in the night
I'll be standing by
I will be here for you

In this world of strangers
Of cold, unfriendly faces
Someone you can trust
Oh there's someone you can trust
I will be your shelter
I'll give you my shoulder
Just reach out for my love
Reach out for my love
Call my name and my heart will hear you
I will be there, there's nothing to fear

(My apologies if the video is out of sync--the best I could find on youtube.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

So, How's Your Training Going?

from New Yorker Magazine

This is how I felt last week at the gym!  "Sprint" is not a word that has hit my exercise vocabulary!  I wogged (a combination of walking and jogging) a 5K and, while I did not feel victorious, I finished it.  It was the kind of run where I felt really uncoordinated--like my legs weren't in tune with my arms and my breathing was out of synch with my stumbling rhythm....

Of course it didn't help that the 70 year old lady on the treadmill next to me, Mary, was contendedly strolling along having full conversations with the morning news programs on the TVs displayed on the rack in front of us.  And including me in the conversations!  It's not nice to ignore her, especially when she brings me the paper towel sprayed with disinfectant solution so I won't have to. 

I have been diligently getting to the gym three days each week--even got some cool badges from LoseIt! -- "Keep it Up" and Exercise Buff" and logging my calories daily.  

I'm beginnning to feel like I'm making progress--I'm starting to see some muscle tone return and I'm not sucking wind quite so much when I wog.

But the scale certainly isn't joining in on the celebration.  Before I started this endeavor I was dancing between 179 and 180.  Now I'm at 183!!!!!  How is that adding exercise has added 3 pounds!  Someone tell me it's all muscle--PLEASE.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Orlando 5K



I. can. not. wait! 

I want to go right out now a buy a treadmill!  And new running shoes.  And download some new music for my iPod.  And buy new work out clothes.  And set up a work out schedule......

So, what can we all do to keep each other motivated and encouraged?  I am so looking forward to meeting everyone. 

Happy New Year!

2010 Holiday Highlights