Thursday, July 31, 2008

Back to the doctor

I had to go back to the doctor today because the pain meds they gave me at the urgent care center weren't working. My regular doctor said it is a torn hamstring and he gave me stronger meds and prescribed physical therapy. The stronger med is working better, but there is still some pain. He told me to take one every 8 hours, but my son had a prescription for the same painkiller last year when he broke his leg and his doctor told him to take 1-2 pills every 4 hours. Mine is the same strength so that is a little confusing.

I haven't been posting much because when I'm not in too much pain to type, I'm sound asleep from the medications. Mike is off this week and not getting much done, which is really stressing me out. I was really counting on him getting a lot done so I can work on the kid's rooms when my leg feels better. There are just so many things that I can't do without him.

I'm also hoping he will do at least one fun thing with the kids this week. With working out of town, he never spends any time doing anything with them.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Still Ouch

I'm still in quite a bit of pain today, even with the pain meds. I'll give it until Wednesday and if it is still hurting this much then, I will call the doctor for stronger meds. He said I could "come in" if I needed stronger painkillers, but I hope I don't have to actually go in since that will cost another $35. Mike and Jack are at the grocery store right now and I'm pretty sure we will be in the poorhouse once we pay that bill!

Ugh, Hannah just told me that she thought someone was trying to break into the house because the dog was out on the back deck, looking to the side and up. I told her, don't be silly, no one is trying to break in. Alex, Hannah and Shauna went out to see what was going on and it turns out one of the cats, Aurora, is on the roof. Apparently, someone left the door to Alex's deck open and the cat got out that way. They are now running around trying to figure out how to get the cat back in.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mystery Solved

Well, I'm back from the urgent care center. Aside from my blood pressure being 170/100, I have a pulled hamstring. I have no clue how I did it, but at least I have medication now! He put me on a muscle relaxer, ibuprofen and tylenol with codeine, so I will probably sleep the next few days away. From now on, I will feel really sorry for all those athletes that pull hamstrings. I had no clue it was this painful.

I'm sneakily looking at this as a way to get more help with housework!!! I'm going to tell the kids the truth, that the doctor said I need to rest my leg as much as possible. I'm also going to tell them that he said I have to be very careful not to slip or trip on anything and so they have to keep the floors clear at all times. Okay, he didn't say that, but I'm sure it would hurt me to slip or trip on something! I wonder if I can work it in that the doctor said I need to be in a house that has been thoroughly vacuumed and dusted??? I think I'm starting to remember the doctor saying something about spotlessly clean bathrooms, as well. Hey, maybe this pulled hamstring is a good thing, at least I will be able to invite someone in to use the bathroom without freaking out!

This does mess up my plans for the week, though. Mike is home this week, his only time off all summer, and we were planning to work on the kid's bedrooms and take the kids on a couple of local outings. I'm hoping the meds will work well enough that we can take them to the beach one day, at least.


I am going to the doctor. I am terrified of doctors and dentists. I have not been to the doctor in 6 years. I have had a pain in my leg for at least 3 weeks now. I'm pretty sure it is a pinched nerve and the pain is getting really bad. At first it was just annoying, but it is now preventing me from doing anything and too painful to be considered just annoying.

I am going to go to an urgent care center as soon as Mike gets out of the shower. I can feel my blood pressure going up, just thinking about getting an exam. I had planned to call my primary care doc this week for an appointment, but I decided to go today because I can get pain meds quicker. Ibruprofen just doesn't help with this for some reason. I'm thinking I might need a muscle relaxer or something.

Even though I know there is really no reason to be so nervous, I can't stop myself from feeling that way. Blogging about it is just making me more anxious, so I'm off. I'm sure I'll be back with a full medical report later!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Dirty Bathroom Embarrassment

Alex is going to a concert with a good friend. I am also friendly with the girl's mom. They just came to pick him up and the mom had to go to the bathroom. Ugh, my bathroom is filthy! I am so embarrassed. She isn't a neat nick or anything and she truly didn't care, but it is still humiliating.

I almost cleaned that bathroom yesterday, too, but was too lazy. Now I am so mad at myself. If only I had been born with the "housekeeping gene". I am convinced there is a gene that governs things like the ability to organize, stay clutter free and keep a clean house. I just am not good at it, no matter how hard I try. Add the fact that all 7 of my kids have been diagnosed with ADHD (among a bunch of other things!) and leave "Hansel and Gretel trails" all over the house and I just can't keep up.

I have to wonder if any other large families have this problem. I live in a community where every one's house is picture perfect, looks like a model home inside and out. Why am I the only messy????

Oh my God, I just realized there might not have been any toilet paper in there!

Too Sensitive

What do you do with a kid who is just too sensitive? Shauna just came running in, screaming and threw herself on the couch, sobbing. It turns out that she, Hannah, Alex and their friend, Shannon were on the front porch and Alex said, "Shauna doesn't drink milk or water, cool people drink milk and water." Okay, so not the nicest thing to say, but bad enough for a huge fit of temper?

She has always been like this, but now at age 10, it is getting worse. I don't know what to do. How can I convince her that she needs to lighten up? I tried to explain to her about "growing a thicker skin" and she just screeched and refused to listen. Ugh!

Alex as Touchstone

Alex finished Shakespeare Camp yesterday with a camp production of "As You Like It". He was Touchstone, the jester/clown character. He did a great job and was hilarious. The crowd loved him, as he was his usual "hammy" self. People we didn't know even came up to him afterwards to tell him he did a great job. I wish I had some pictures, but as usual, I forgot the camera. I also wanted to video tape it, but Hannah broke the video camera a while back, in a fit of rage. One of Alex's friend's parents said he would give us a copy of his tape, so hopefully, he will follow through on that.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Update on Friends Killed

One of the boys who was killed had another kid's driver's license (that kid is a friend of Steven's as well) and the police called his parents and told them that he had been killed in an accident. They found out shortly afterwards that it hadn't been their son, but they are completely traumatized. Apparently, their son had gotten a new driver's license and given his old one to the 16 year old who was killed so he could purchase cigarettes. He is now telling police that the 16 year old stole the license, but of course, all of their friends know that he gave it to him.

I talked to Steven about the dangers of drinking/drugging and driving and he doesn't see a problem with it! He claims his friends that got killed were just stupid. Hmmm, he actually told me that the accident rate for people under the influence of marijuana is zero and that is a known fact. He actually believes it, too!

Friends Killed

Steven just found out that two of his friends were killed in a crash last night. They were both 18, not wearing seat belts and speeding excessively. Steven said they were probably drunk or high, as well. Their car went off the road, hit an embankment and went airborne. It landed upside down in the tree tops. The accident wasn't discovered until several hours later. I wonder if Steven will learn anything from this? I doubt it. He could have easily been in that car with them. This is one of the things I worry about, this could have been my child, I feel so sorry for those poor parents.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Yay, a job!

After refusing to look for a job since leaving his last one in January, Steven finally applied for one today. He went in and got an application, brought it here and filled it out, took it back to the restaurant and went straight to a friend's house. A guy from the restaurant called about 5 minutes after Steven left and told me that they wanted him to start tomorrow at 3:00. They never even interviewed him, so they must be desperate!

I wonder how long it will be before he just stops going in to work this time? This is job number 3, not including the time he worked for me at my job for the last few years. It will be interesting. I have a feeling that bussing tables and dish washing is not going to be his favorite, since he won't even clean up his own plate and cup at home, but we will see!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Steven Sighting

Steven was supposed to have his first meeting with his probation officer yesterday (underage drinking was his charge). Last week, he asked me to put a reminder on my email and I did, but he was no where to be found, so I couldn't remind him. The probation officer called the house when he didn't show up and we had a nice long talk. I told her what was going on with him: bipolar, not taking meds, substance abuse problems, in treatment for 2 1/2 years but now refusing treatment since he turned 18, kicked out of the house for refusal to follow any rules, stealing from us, etc. She understood completely. She is retired, after working in the prison/court system for many years and only works two days a week as a probation officer. She said that when she gets him in her office, she is going to give him "some grandmotherly tough love"! I thought that was great. She also said Mike and I are doing the right thing by being firm with him and not letting him live with us. That was good to hear.

Anyway, he came home last night and asked to spend the night. He had obviously been drinking. He wasn't falling down drunk or anything, but I lived with an alcoholic step father for many years and I know the signs, although he thinks I'm dumb. He was slightly slurring his words and just had an attitude about him that only comes from drinking. He denied it until I got close enough to smell his breath and told him that I could smell it on him. He didn't admit to it, but stopped denying at that point. Not that I was dwelling on it, but I told him that if he wants to stay overnight occasionally, he cannot do it if he has been drinking or using that day.

I was going to bed when he got home and I told him he had to stay downstairs. I went into my bathroom, which is directly below Luke's room and I heard talking from up there. It sounded like Luke, but Luke and Steven sound very much alike, so I couldn't tell if it was both of them talking or if Luke was talking to his friends on his computer microphone. I called Luke's cell phone and sure enough, Steven was up there. So much for following the rules while he's staying overnight. That lasted all of zero seconds. I made him come down and told him that he would not be staying over again if he didn't follow my rules. I was too tired to stay up and police it, but I'm pretty sure he stayed downstairs then. I will have to ask Luke. I didn't want him upstairs because Jack wasn't home and he has a lot of valuable electronic stuff in his room (he's a computer/tech geek) and I was afraid Steven might steal something to sell.

This morning, Steven was sound asleep on the couch when I got up. Later on, I was doing dishes and he disappeared. It turns out that he went upstairs to sleep on Alex's bed. Not too big a problem except he hadn't showered and he smells horrible. Now I have to fumigate not only the couch, but Alex's bed!

He claims he is applying for a job this week, hmmm, I've heard that before!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Shakespeare Camp

Alex started Shakespeare Camp today. At 9:10, I get a phone call from the camp director (who also just happens to be one of the stars of my favorite play ever, Illyria, so I felt like I was talking to a famous person!!), asking if Alex was coming to camp. Hmmm, I told him that the last two years it started at 9:00, this year he insisted the time had been changed to 10:00. Of course, we couldn't find the paper that listed the time, but he was sure, so I believed it. Anyway, I got him there by about 9:25 and all was fine.

He really loves this camp and a really nice man that my mom knows from work, who is involved in a lot of theater here in Williamsburg, sponsored Alex for the camp. The first year (5th grade), Alex won a scholarship through his school. Last year and this year, he was sponsored. I can't wait until he gets home and tells me what part he got. At the end of the week, they are doing a shortened performance of "As You Like It". I hope he isn't disappointed in whatever role he gets, he has his heart set on the "clown" of the play, which he did very well last year as Costard. The first year he was Sebastian in "Twelfth Night".

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Steven's Room

Since Steven no longer lives here, or anywhere for that matter, we are cleaning out his room for Shauna. It has been a horrible experience. First of all it is sad because I had to make my son move out. Second of all, the room is DISGUSTING. I'm not going to go into details because it is just too gross, but let's just say it made me gag and cry. Jack, who was helping me, wisely suggested I take a break, which I thought was a great idea.

Mike is making dinner for us. I'm hungry but not sure if I'll be able to eat. I am praying for the courage to go back up to Steven's room after dinner and continue cleaning.

On a good note, Mike has been putting the new subfloor down in Alex's room. We had carpet in there and that subfloor isn't smooth enough for the new tile floor. I can't wait to get Alex moved in, that will clear some space in Jack's room. As soon as the subfloor is finished, we can start laying the tile. The kids all liked the tile I picked, which will go in all the bedrooms. No more carpet! That should help with the allergies around here.

I also picked a tile that I really like for the kitchen and sunroom.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dog Bath

Well, I'm not really sure if the dog got a bath or the kids got one! They were all soaking wet. Wrigley hated it. He kept hiding under the card table that was on the deck and the kids had to turn it over so he couldn't hide anymore. It was quite a spectacle.

Regular Day

Wow, today was just a regular day. No rages, no drama, just sweet, sweet regular!


I finished Count Down by Iris Johansen and started Dark Road Home by Karen Harper. It has an Amish theme, reminiscent of Plain Truth, a book I finished a few weeks ago. So far, it is excellent.

I went to the library last night to take Alex and Hannah to a play at the library theater. I told myself I wouldn't look at the used book sale since we are really short on money, but I guess I'm addicted! I did really restrain myself, though, and only bought 4 books. I spent $2.50 on one hardcover, White Mountain by Dinah McCall, and paperbacks, Moment of Truth by Lisa Scottoline and Don't Look Now by Linda Lael Miller, plus the one mentioned above.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Jogging = Target

Remember I said that Hannah asked permission to go jogging yesterday? Here was the conversation:

Hannah: Can I go jogging with Alex?

Me: I think it is too hot to go jogging right now.

Drew (from the other room): It is too hot to go jogging, I was just out there.

Hannah: We'll just walk around then.

Me: It's still too hot.

I then head upstairs to use the computer. When I get back downstairs, Alex and Hannah are gone. They got home about an hour and a half later, with a bag from Target, where they had each purchased a pair of shorts. Apparently Hannah told Alex that I said they could go and she really thought that.

I suppose this is my fault, I should have known that by saying it was too hot to go jogging, I was actually saying, "Yes, it is fine for you to go cross a busy street and go shopping at Target by yourselves." Silly me.

Now they are both mad at me because I took away the shorts they purchased with their own money. I will probably give Alex his back because his only crime was believing Hannah, but I think he should have known better than that.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I forgot I knew that

Now to the missing Hannah story. I wasn't really worried about her being missing because she only goes to one of her three friend's houses when she disappears, all within a couple of blocks of our house. I just realized today, though, that I ran off to the vet and left Shauna home alone. She didn't want to go to the vet with us, she was too afraid the dog would die, I think, and insisted on staying home. She is 10 going on 25 and more than capable on staying home by herself for a short time, but I would have been a little nervous about it, had I realized she was alone!

Anyway, back to the real story. When we got back from the vet, Hannah was home and I took her into my bedroom for a talk. I asked why she had gone out when she was grounded. She said that she was sorry, but she only went out to go jogging and she didn't know she couldn't do that when she was grounded. It is true that in the past I have let her go out jogging once in a while because she gets so hyper when she doesn't exercise. So I said well you know that leaving the house without permission is not allowed, so what about that. She said, with all sincerity, "I knew that was a rule, but I forgot I knew that." Wow, that just screams FAS to me! I have to admit that even with all the research I've done on FAS, the fact that these kids can actually forget a rule just like that, even though they've been told a thousand times, was hard for me to grasp. It wasn't until I recently started reading the blogs of other foster/adoptive parents with kids with FAS, who are doing the same thing, that it really hit home for me. This also was the first time that Hannah phrased it like that. She usually just says "I forgot", which always strikes me as just an excuse. I'm impressed that she realized that she did now the rule, but forgot that. Since she was honest with me and didn't scream or yell, I only gave her an extra chore as punishment and didn't add to her grounding. Today, she asked if she could go jogging!

Dog Drama

My stepfather used to always say, "If it isn't one thing, it's another". That held true yesterday. Alex and I decided to go out and see how the garden was doing and we took the Wrigley with us. We watched him for a couple of minutes because looked so cute, leaping into the air, trying to catch some birds that were flying from branch to branch in the woods. As we walked away, towards the garden, Wrigley came running out of the woods, freaking out. We couldn't really tell what was wrong and he wasn't yelping or making any noise, but it looked like he was either trying to get something off his leg, his leg was hurting and he was trying to bite away the pain or he was trying to get something out of his mouth. My first thoughts were he had a whole bird in his mouth (he has a history of swallowing frogs whole!) and he was trying to get it out or that he had injured his leg while jumping or he got stung by an insect.

After about 45 seconds of freaking out, he calmed down and I went over the the garden. He came and sat just outside the garden enclosure. When I went in the house a few minutes later, I took him with me. As we were crossing the deck to the kitchen door, he started to look weird. He was moving slowly and I could tell something just wasn't right. He got about two feet into the house and just sat down. Still sitting up, but not moving at all. His eyes looked funny and when I tried to call him over to his water dish, he was like a statue. I called Alex over to help me look at him to see if we could figure out what was wrong. Alex sat down next to him and was petting him and noticed that Wrigley was pooping, still just sitting there, not moving. Then suddenly he started to fall over into Alex's arms. It was awful, he seemed to by dying in front of our eyes. All I kept thinking was that it looked exactly like when I was a teenager and my cat got hit by a car and died from internal injuries.

While Alex held the dog, I started calling vets to see if we could bring him in. The first one was closed on Tuesdays, the second and third said their vets had just left the office (it was noon). The four was busy, but I kept trying and finally got through. Then they put me on hold! Ugh, I waited for a few minutes and then called back on my cell phone and told them I couldn't be on hold. They checked if a doctor would be available and told me I could bring him in as long as I agreed to pay for an emergency visit. Hello, I can't afford a vet visit, let alone an extra emergency fee right now, but what am I going to do, let my puppy die on the kitchen floor???

By this time, Alex and Shauna and I were all pretty much hysterical. Jack was helping and the only one not hysterical, so that was nice. Alex had let Shauna take over hugging and holding Wrigley because he said he couldn't stand to have him die in his arms. I don't blame him, the poor kid. Alex and Shauna were devastated, they love that dog. In the midst of all this, I realized that Hannah wasn't in the house (I had thought she was upstairs in her room). Apparently she had left the house, without permission, even though she is grounded. More on that in the next post.

So now we wrapped the dog in a blanket (mainly so Jack and Alex could carry him out without getting poop or vomit on them). He seemed to perk up very slightly a little while after the blanket was around him and he was in the warm van. He moved around a little in the van, but still couldn't walk when we got to the vet's office. The boys carried him in, while I went to park the van. The doctor came into the room a few minutes later (seemed like forever) and about the same time she walked in, Wrigley started to scoot himself around the floor, rubbing his face and head against the floor and baseboard, like it was itchy. He was doing much better than earlier, though. The vet checked him out and couldn't figure out what was wrong. She got a vile out to draw some blood and was starting to do that when she noticed hives started to pop out all over his snout. As soon as his snout started swelling, we could see where he had been stung by something. Before the hives started, it wasn't even noticeable. Now that she knew for sure it was an allergic reaction, she took him to the back for benadryl and steroid injections. When she brought him back, he was doing a lot better.

I still can't figure out why he went into shock first and had the hive reaction later. The vet couldn't either. I asked if they have epi-pens for dogs, but she said no. At least if it happens again, we will know to give him Benadryl right away. He stayed the rest of the day at the hospital and I picked him up just before I went to work. We have to give him the Benadryl for 7 days. He seemed fine this morning, but had peed in his cage, which hasn't happened in a long time. Other than that, he was happily playing with one of the cats.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Garden Update

Wow, I just looked at the pictures from July 6th of the cherry tomatoes and lettuce that Shauna and I planted in pots on the front porch. They have really taken off in the last week, especially the lettuce, which will be ready to eat soon. I wish I had gotten more lettuce in before it got too hot. None of the lettuce seeds we planted in the back garden germinated.

I wonder if I can plant lettuce at the end of summer, for harvesting before the first frost? Hmmm, I'll have to look into that.

Alex took a picture of the house and you can see how nice the new grass is looking. Still a lot of bare spots, but it is filling in nicely, thanks to all the rain this summer

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Alex's Room

The new paint color, it isn't as gold as it looks in these pics

Mike, Jack and I painted all of Alex's room today. Mike did the bulk of it, doing the ceiling and walls. Jack trimmed around the ceiling and tops of doors and windows. I trimmed the baseboard areas and lower portions of the windows and doors. It came out really good and we only needed one coat since we primed. I thought it would still need two, so that was a pleasant surprise.

Alex picked a tan color for the walls. He has navy pleated shades on his deck door and window and is thinking of painting the closet doors navy. He is getting a blue comforter, so I think it will look great when it is done. The next step is putting the floor down, which Jack and I are going to work on this week. He should be able to move in by next weekend.

We got 4 chairs from the freecycler. They are really nice. They have a nice white metal finish and I think once they are washed thoroughly, they will look great. The cushions need to be recovered, but will only use a few dollars worth of fabric. They are a great size for his deck. We also got a single nightstand, but we aren't sure what we are going to do with it yet. We might paint it with exterior paint and use it on his deck or give it to one of the girls for their room.

Round Two

After spending a lovely late morning and early afternoon with Hannah, shopping for paint for Alex's room and looking for paint samples for her room, she had another meltdown. She already knew that she was grounded from going to Busch Gardens today with Alex and a bunch of their friends. When we got home from Home Depot, we had about 45 minutes before we had to leave again to pick up some stuff for Alex's new room from a freecycler, pick Alex up from Wizard of Oz practice and take him to Busch Gardens to meet his friends. She started in on me about 5 minutes after we arrived home. "Am I going to be able to go to Busch Gardens?" "No." "Am I going to be able to go to Busch Gardens?" "No.", etc., etc. etc. You get the picture. Then it turned into a tantrum. She was sitting on the stairs, nagging me and suddenly we heard large items being thrown across a room. It sounded like they were coming from Alex's room. Great, it turned out she threw a can of oil base primer several times. The can was dented all over, the handle was coming off and dented and it finally spilled all over the floor. The can also hit the newly primed wall in one spot and left a huge dent in it. She also pushed over a huge, $700 guitar amplifier that belongs to Drew. We had a drop cloth on it and were using it for a painting supply station. Ceiling fan blades, chairs and painting tools were also thrown everywhere. The damage was minor, considering the sound that was coming from the room. I thought it was going to have to be gutted!

Mike was mad at me because I wouldn't let him go up there and try to stop her. Been there, done that and it doesn't work. It just escalates her and that is the last thing we needed. When she was done trashing the room, she came onto the stairs and was demanding that I talk to her. I told her that I would when she calmed down. She screamed hysterically at me that she was calm. I got her second dose of abilify and brought it to her and told her that if she took it and went in her room to calm down for a while, that I would talk to her about it, but that did not mean she was going to Busch. She took the pill and went to her room, shockingly.

Oil based primer spill

The smashed can

The tipped over amp, chairs and thrown fan blades

Then it was time to leave for the freecycler's house, so I took her with me. On the way, she asked me if she could go to Busch. I asked her what she would do if her daughter had acted the way she did, would she let her go? She said, no she probably wouldn't. So I told her she was going to be a very good mother some day because that is what any good mother would say. Then she said, "Am I going to Busch?" Duh! I calmly said, "No, you aren't going to Busch, Hannah." She then gave up, shockingly, again. The abilify must have taken effect by then.

When we got to Busch to drop Alex off, she said, "Bye, Mom", but made no attempt to exit the car. She behaved just fine when we got home, she even helped me finish painting the trim in Alex's room.


Steven asked to spend the night last night. I said he could and he came home around 11 pm. He smelled so awful, a combination of BO and cigarette smoke, yuck. He refused to shower and slept on the couch so I will have to fumigate it! Last time I checked, he was on his way to the shower, finally!

He was polite enough last night, but his eyes were really red. Was he high? I don't know, I can't tell anymore. Since he refused to take the bipolar meds, he seems high all the time.

Looking forward to tomorrow....

Looking forward to can't be worse than today! Just kidding, in spite of the rages and the 911 call, today wasn't so so bad. The kids and I played Rock Band for a couple of hours tonight and had a good time.

About an hour or two before dinner, Shauna was being snotty about something and I gave her a time-out. She refused to set the timer so I told her if she didn't set the timer, the time-out would never start and she would never get out. Her reply was, "I don't care, I'm not setting it." And upstairs she went, screaming and crying about how much she hates this family, etc.

Now it is sort of unusual for Shauna to throw a tantrum. For the most part, she has always been cooperative, sweet and even tempered. Lately, however, she has been starting to get quite an attitude and refusing to do chores or other things she is asked. Sometimes she will do them, but she makes sighs, rolls her eyes, moans and complains the whole time.

After about an hour and a half upstairs, she came down and asked if she could have dinner. I said yes, as soon as you set your timer and take your time-out. Well, she exploded and began screaming and yelling all over again. She screamed and stomped her way up to her room and continued to scream at the top of her lungs (surprised the neighbors didn't call 911) for about a half an hour or so.

When the screaming stopped, I went into her room, at which time she started screaming, get out. I told her that when she was done tantruming and was ready to talk about things, just let me know and I will be happy to talk to you. She came down about 10 minutes later, eyes almost swollen shut. She walked right up to me and let me hug her.

Alex and Hannah felt sorry for her and helped her fix herself some dinner, which we had just finished putting away. She ate and then I talked to her a little bit. I told her that she needed to come up some other ways of handling her anger, besides screaming and throwing things around her room. Her first suggestion was, "you mean like cutting myself?" then she suggested that I let her have a pillow and scissors so she could stab the pillow because that would make her feel better. Hmmmmm....then she told me that she had a scissors in her room and was thinking about killing herself with it. I asked why she wanted to kill herself and she said so we would all feel bad about being mean to her, but then she thought about her friends and figured they would be sad, too, so she didn't do it. Ugh!

After those confessions, we talked about how suicide and cutting never help, etc. I also told her she might have to talk to a doctor about her feelings. I know she was only feeling sorry for herself and not seriously considering any of the above, but it makes me cringe that a 10 year old is even thinking that way. I am going to talk to her again tomorrow and see if she can come up with some other ideas for venting her frustration.

Oh, by the way, Hannah told me that the reason she had to hit me to feel better during her rage was because I never got her the punching bag she asked for. Once again it is all Mom's fault!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

911 Fun

Well, I had just finished up the last blog and I was turning the computer off. Hannah knocked on the door, which Jack had locked so she couldn't come in and hit me again. She told me that I had a phone call. I was greeted by a 911 dispatcher who told me that he had gotten a call from our house and wanted to make sure everything was okay. I told him that it must have been my daughter who was mad at me for grounding her. Okay, does this make sense, she calls 911 on me when she was the only one doing any hitting????? Anyway, I have to confirm my name, address and phone number and then he asks again, am I SURE everything is okay. No, it wasn't okay, but I didn't need the police!

I figured that they might send an officer to the house, just to make sure, so I ran downstairs to try to make the entryway presentable. They never did show up, but at least the dirty laundry is out of the foyer and back in the laundry room.

And to think this day actually started out peacefully! I had such high hopes, silly me.

Another Rage

Well, Hannah lasted one month and one day without a major rage. Today she got home from a sleep-over at 1:45 and was having a meltdown by 3:15. She had just taken her afternoon dose of abilify, but it hadn't had time to work yet.

She was mad at me because I told her she couldn't go to her friend's house and had to stay in the neighborhood today. She freaked out when she tried to talk me into it and I stuck to my guns with the no. She raised an empty plastic laundry basket over her head and brought it down on me several times, then tried to throw it at Shauna, but missed. She then tried to break the dog gate (which she does every rage, that thing has been glued together at least 10 times). I put myself between Hannah and the gate and she started slapping me uncontrollably. She must have hit me at least 15 or 20 times. She tried to kick a couple of times, but I was able to get away. Luckily, she was slapping not punching this time, so although my arms are stinging like crazy, I don't think she will have left any bruises this time.

She just came in while I was typing this and apologized. At first, she was calm and nice. I said thank you for the apology, but you do realize that you now have a grounding. She said yes, just for today, right. I said no, we already discussed that hurting people gets you at least a week of grounding. She started to get angry and I ignored her.

OUCH! She was sitting across the room (not able to see what I was typing) and she came up behind me and punched me as hard as she could in the upper arm. I said what was that for and she said for not letting her go to Busch Gardens. She had planned a trip to Busch Gardens for tomorrow with a bunch of friends.

Apparently sleep-overs are not a good idea. Alex just came in and told me that Shauna told him that Hannah didn't take her meds last night at the sleepover. She was supposed to take them in front of her friend's dad. I will be seeing him on Tuesday and I will ask him if she did. Shauna doesn't want me to say anything to Hannah because she is afraid Hannah will beat her up. Can't blame her for that, as I sit here with my aching arm. If I get confirmation from Scott that she didn't take her meds, I can talk to Hannah about it without getting Shauna in trouble.


I think I forgot to post that I finished In Silence by Erica Spindler. It was really good. It took me a little longer than usual to finish it because it was a little long, but worth the wait.

I also just finished Snow Blind by P.J. Tracey last night. It was a great book and by an author I had never read before (a mother-daughter team). I have to say, though, that I felt a little weird about the end. It wasn't bad, I guess depending on how you look at it, it was sort of uplifting, but I really like for all the loose ends to be tied up and they just weren't. I wonder if all of their books end like that? I will have to see if I can find a few more at our library's used book sale.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Deep Dish Pizza Night

I'm off to make stuffed pizza (we always call it deep dish, but in all reality, it is stuffed!) and call my ax murderer friend, Denise. At some point I will blog about how I met Denise the ax murderer on the internet.

I will try to remember to take pictures of the pizza to post.

Another storm

The top three pictures are the storm approaching

The bottom two pictures were taken at the same time, the next day

We had another storm the day before yesterday. It was a bad one, with a tornado touching down south of Richmond and heading straight for us. Fortunately, it dissipated quite a bit before reaching us. I still got a couple of good pictures, though. I tried to make a video on my son's camera, but apparently I pushed the wrong button and it didn't work. I was trying to capture the sound of the wind coming closer and closer, it was so cool. I will post the pictures as soon as I can get them off of the camera and onto the computer.

When does school start?

Apparently, I have been holding my kids captive this summer. Well, at least that is what my 13 year old son has told me. I made some comment about the kids not hanging around the house so much and actually going outside to play and was rewarded with this comment, which was said partially under his breath, "Well, if mom wouldn't hold us captive, maybe we could go out once in awhile." Are you kidding me???????

There is nothing I would love more than all of my children being out of the house at the same time for even an hour this summer! So far, that hasn't happened. I'm holding him captive? Hmmm, that must be referring to the fact that I refuse to jump in the van (that only gets 13 miles to the gallon) and drive him and a bunch of his friends to Busch Gardens every time one of them calls. I like to plan trips to conserve gas, so if I have to go to Busch, I will attend to other errands or business I have on that side of town. My 13 year old seems to think that I just sit around the house all day, hoping for him to plan a last minute trip to the amusement park. Yeah, that's happening!

Overheard at the store yestereday

Darren (about 5 years old): "You aren't going to get me anything I want are you?"

Darren's Mom (in a warning voice): "Darrreeennn"

Darren (loudly): "That is a BAD choice!"

I didn't hear the rest because I was too busy trying to hurry to a spot where I could burst out laughing without Darren hearing me!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Hannah hasn't had a rage since June 11th. That was the one where I took her to the emergency room because she was beating the heck out of me and I didn't know what else to do. Jack tried to hold her and keep her off me, but she is way stronger than all of us put together when she rages. Anyway, two days after that rage, the doctor added abilify to her meds and she has been doing much better. She has actually been sweet to me a few times!

The last couple of days, she has been a little "on edge". Today she got mad because I talked to her about leaving the house without permission and not doing her daily chores first. She hit Alex, even though it was me she really wanted to hit, and then called me a bitch. Then about 15 minutes later, she hit Shauna. She only hit each of them one time, which is a huge improvement over what has happened in the past. She didn't throw or break anything, either. She removed herself to her room to calm down and I brought a dose of the abilify up there, which she took without too much arguing. When she came out of her room, she was pretty calm. Let's hope she stays that way for the rest of the night at least!

Painting break

Alex and Hannah Priming

This door goes out to our upstairs porch

I'm taking a little break from priming Alex's new bedroom walls (Drew's old room). Jack and Alex went to pick up more primer and paint samples. Shauna, Alex and Luke helped with taping, washing windows (which isn't quite done yet) and priming. Luke is getting everything we can't reach. Jack and Luke are going to do the ceiling, which they aren't thrilled about, but the rest of us are too short.
Shauna painting

Shauna painted!

I'm so glad the pleated shades that are on the door and window in there are still in great shape and are a color that Alex wanted to use anyway. They are navy blue and will look perfect with the tan he wants on the walls. Now I just have to work on getting him a new bedding set to match.


We had a great thunderstorm yesterday. Most of our storm-obsessed family spent time on the front porches, watching the lightening. Before the storm started, it was beautiful and sunny. Shauna came in and told me that she heard thunder, so I suggested we go out and look at her garden, quickly, before the storm got close. We did that and less than a minute after I walked in the house, Alex came running downstairs and said that he had seen lightning hit the house across the street. Those neighbors are on vacation, so we kept a close eye on the house, but no damage appeared to be done.

I love our porch, the was it is angled, it is almost always a perfect shelter from storms and we can watch them in safety. Alex and I heard some loud cracks that sounded like when the trees went down during Hurricane Isabelle. They didn't sound like they came from our backyard.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Garden Update

The seeds we planted have not fared too well. Not surprising, since we planted about 2 months too late for the area. We seem to have only a few carrots, even though we planted 8 square feet of them. None of the 3 square feet of lettuce we planted in the back came up at all. The lettuce in front is growing slowly, but surely, as evidenced by yesterday's pictures.

There is one golf ball sized tomato on the Red Celebrity Bush. I spotted at least 6 tiny tomatoes on the Yellow Pear Bush and one or two on the Red Beefsteaks. The Yellow Pears will probably be the first to ripen since they are a small salad variety. I was expecting Early Girl to be first, but I don't think there are even blooms on those. Interesting. At least all of the tomato plants survived the transplant. I was looking at my next door neighbor's garden and his tomato plants are way bigger than ours. I know I should have picked off the blooms and let the plants develop first, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Of course, Trevor got his in on time, I'm sure, so they've had a lot more time to grow.

The cantaloupe and watermelon seem to be doing pretty well, but no blooms yet. The plants are still rather small for that. I'm not sure if they will get big enough to set fruit, but time will tell.

The zucchini have been growing nicely and two of them even have blooms already turning into tiny zucchini. Yay!

The cucumbers were from seed and about half of them took. I guess we should think them to one per hill, as we planted 3 per hill. Several hills have none. They are still really tiny, just starting to get their true leaves. I'm not a big cucumber fan, but Mike is so I hope we get at least a few. I would love to make pickles, but I don't have the right kinds of jars and such, so I'm not sure I'll do that this year. When I was in fifth grade, our class made garlic pickles and they were the best pickles I ever tasted. I would love to have the recipe and make those. If I recall, they were very easy to make.

I can't wait until next year, when we get everything in on time, hopefully! I would like for Mike to bring in my old plant stand and lights. I used to grow African Violets, but I think we can get new light bulbs and use them for starting seeds indoors next Spring. I'm hoping to put in at least one more garden and expand to include strawberries, at least. I'm not sure any strawberries would actually make it into the house. With the way our family loves them, I have a feeling they will be snatched up at the first sign of redness!

I would like to have extras from the garden so the kids could sell them, lemonade stand style, to earn a little spending money. That won't happen this year, but maybe next.


Mike and I went out to brunch by ourselves this morning. This never happens, as a matter of fact, eating out is pretty much a thing of the past. With prices so high and the fact that we are still struggling to recover from Mike's three year lay-off, eating out happens very rarely.

A few months ago, some radio station or something was running a deal where you could buy gift certificates to various restaurants for half price. Drew and his friends bought some. Two of the certificates he bought were for Opus 9, a fancy (for us) restaurant in our town. After they had them, they decided that they would never go to Opus 9, so Drew gave his to Mike and I. He reminded us the other day that they expire on July 14th, so we decided to go there for brunch today.

Now, when we have a little extra money, we enjoy restaurants like Denny's and Golden Corral and a really fancy night out would be a family trip to TGI Fridays. Let's just say that Mike and I felt a little like fish out of water at Opus 9, which is why we decided to go for brunch, not dinner. It wasn't too bad, but we were definitely the least dressed up. When we first got there, they seated us and then we sat there for an awkward few minutes, while we tried to figure out if we were just supposed to go up to the buffet, wait for our waitress, or what. Good thing we decided to wait, for what seemed like quite some time, because when the waitress came, she explained that she would bring us a plate. It would have been pretty embarrassing to have gone up without a plate! She then gave us honey butter, which she piped into a small bowl from a piping bag. She also gave us a roll basket with a cloth napkin in it, but no rolls. Hmmm, that was odd. I guess we were supposed to get our own rolls from the buffet and put them in?

The food was pretty good, but certainly not spectacular. We had a good time except that Mike had a little trouble hearing me because we were seated right next to the jazz band. It wasn't that loud, but he has trouble with his hearing anyway. It was nice to just get out and relax a little, even if we did feel out of place. On the way out, we both said that if we had to choose, we would have picked Golden Corral over Opus 9.

I still have one gift certificate left, so I might take some of the older boys for lunch this week. We'll see.

Our Puppy

Let's just say that our dog isn't the smartest one from his litter. You know how an infant gets it's days and nights mixed up? Well, our puppy had inside and outside mixed up. He thought that when you are taken outside, you sit quietly and look around. He also thought that as soon as you are taken inside, you immediately pee and poop on the floor. This went on until he was about 7 months old. I was so ready to give him back. One day, he finally figured out what he was supposed to do.

Well, anyway, last night I was the last one still downstairs. I decided to go to bed and turned the tv off. Wrigley immediately got up and went into his cage, even though he had been sound asleep on the couch. I hadn't even gotten up off the chair yet. It took me completely by surprise, maybe he is smarter than I thought!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Attention Broadway, Television and Movie Directors!

My son, Alex, age 13 is an aspiring actor. He is sure that he will be discovered if only I post some "good" pictures of him. Soooo, here you go, Directors, your next star!


The cherry tomatoes and lettuce on the front porch, getting a good soaking
A closer view
I hope the rain is cleaning the windshield chalk off of the van. We decorated for the swim meet last week and never undecorated.

What a great rain today. Just what the garden and new lawn needed. Not just what mom needed, as the kids were stuck inside most of the day. It went pretty well, even though Hannah was home all day, which usually makes her crazy. The only really bad part was when they got hyper, which in turn got the dog all hyper. When I told the kids they had to go out onto the front porch to calm down, the dumb dog ran out, too. It took about 10 minutes of 4 kid chasing him around the neighborhood before he was finally corralled. Ugh!

Today was a delicious day

Homemade banana bread
The rest of Shauna's homemade chocolate chip cookies
Taco Salad and watermelon for dinner


P.S. Jack, if you ever read this, I can blog about whatever I want to, including pizza! Nananana Boo-Boo!

Busch Gardens Pictures

Bad Monkeys!
(After reading this I figured I better come back and explain this, lest anyone think it is a racial slur. The term "bad monkeys" is one I started using, jokingly, for all of my kids and animals, many years before I adopted any African American children. It is a quote from a Ghostbusters movie. All of my kids are well aware that the word "monkey" is sometimes used in a derogatory way, but they know that I do not mean it in that way and they are all comfortable with me using it.)
Ever the diva model

Cranky Shauna & Mommy (with the dreaded fanny pack!)
These were the only pictures I got before the rain started. I wanted to get some of Tatum in her cute red, white and blue outfit.

Hannah's Fifth Grade Graduation

Mommy & Jackie
Gramma & Hannah

Flower Garden Spring 2008

My climbing New Dawn Rose Bush in the backyard
Hannah in front of same rose bush
My backyard pink Fairy rosebush almost ready to bloom
Climbing, thornless 'Zephirine Drouhin' next to back deck and sunroom. This rose bush is awesome!
Shauna on the back deck, May 2008

Even More Family Pictures from 2007

My neice, Sydnee
Sydnee & Shauna
Alex, boy has he grown up in the last year!

More Family Pictures from 2007

Shauna with friends Rebecca and Logan from third grade
Referee Luke
Drew and one of his beloved cats, Sassy
Hockey Luke at a travel tourney with the Penninsula Prowl (2007)
Penninsula Prowl gets a pep talk from Coach Dave