Saturday, November 20, 2010

Whew...Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

I have always enjoyed that song because it is so real.  Where has all the time gone?  I look at the date of my last post and I am ashamed to say I have been neglectful. So let me see if I can catch up on things.

So far Danielle has been doing great.  She has begun to look outside herself, in that I mean she helps our landlord go grocery shopping because he is up in his 80's and she makes sure he is okay.  It's been a treat to see her helping in that capacity.  She has just blossomed with her artwork, I will have to post a few of her new drawings.  Her medications seem to be pretty stable right now.  But the thing we are dealing with is her being bullied by the same girl she has had problems with through out the years.  I just had enough last night to where I emailed her teacher telling him something has to be done or I will press charges against this girl.  The school system seems to protect bullies and not the kids who are being bullied.  I don't understand it.

But now our family faces a different challenge.  My husband is going in for Lap-band surgery December 9th and our family is going to go through a huge change and Danielle will be involved in our changes.  If anyone wants to keep up with us I have a new blog called

Thursday, October 7, 2010

If Life Was a Little Simplier...

I had Danielle clean out her own room and she did a wonderful job, there are no big piles of...stuff!  I've noticed over the last few days since her room was cleaned out that she is more mellow, easier to get along with, occupies her time working on her poems/ for her has slowed down and it has slowed down for me too.  Just the past couple of nights I've come home in a better mood.  I guess I need to put some of the problems Dani was going through on me because I would come home so exhausted that I would plop down on the couch with the remote control and I would put myself into a self-induced coma.  It was pretty bad...but's very pleasant.  But I do believe this is the "honeymoon" period of her confinement.  She'll start to rebel here pretty soon, I'm just waiting for it.

I have also come to the conclusion to have her do some community service, as I described in my previous post, I think I did.  I've had several good suggestions from friends and the one that really sticks out is volunteering at our food bank or doing something with the United Way.  My husband has even said that if he is home when we do the volunteering he would join us.  So this could become a family thing, sometimes it's very good to step out of our own self's, out of our problems and help others.

This picture is of me, Danielle and my husband Mike on one of our ATV rides a couple of weekend's ago.  Just when the leaves were starting to change.  We have some of the most beautiful trails here in Utah and the colors and spectacular.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm Back with New Developments!

Wow!  What a short vacation that was, no sooner do I decide to take care of myself, all "hell" breaks loose in my home.  Not only do I confront my husband about me loosing my mind and needing more of is support, etc, etc, etc...we find out that Danielle has been having a gay old time of stealing!  So much she has even stolen money from her little niece.  So, in all of this my sweet husband did step up to the plate on Sunday and called Dani's doctor and left a nice long message, basically saying "this child needs help!".  He did receive a call back on Monday saying to call the police and get her to Archway.  Archway is more or less of a halfway house for troubled teens.  I didn't really feel comfortable with that so I called the doctor's office back and made an appointment with Danielle's therapist for that evening.

That appointment was a real waste.  I haven't been that angry or frustrated like that in a long time.  All she wanted to do was make another contract with Danielle that she won't steal or lie and I flat out told her that it won't work, not even special little stickers or rewards, it won't help!  We've been down this path before and all the campaign promises made and nothing changes.  We need help now before she winds up in the juvenile system and out of our hands.  Her therapist didn't feel comfortable sending her to Archway because those are kids who don't want to go home and they know the system to stay where they are, no...not good for Dani. She is not suicidal so can't take her back to the BHI or even to the State Hospital.  So...the only option!!!! Drum roll please............make home her lock down just like at the State Hospital.  She has lost all privileges including her cell phone, well I've taken her friends phone numbers off and she can only talk to mom, dad or sisters.  She has lost everything in her bedroom, she only has a bed, dresser and 7 days of clothing.  Just like at the hospital.  And it's not me  cleaning out her room, it's her.  She knows she has to earn everything back and it's going to take sometime.  Mike and I are also thinking about her doing some community service, at least one day so she can step out of herself for a little bit and realize or hopefully realize life isn't all about her.

Not only is this going to be hard on her, but boy it's going to be hard on me.  With me working full time and she gets home about 1 1/2 hrs before me...but we got that figured out.  Next week I can upgrade her phone to one that has a GPS so I can track her whereabouts, but in the meantime, if I call or if dad calls, she has to go out in the carport and ring our chimes.  That way we know she is at home and not lying to us.  That's another problem and another story for another day!

If anyone has any ideas of a community service project for a FASD teen, please let me know!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Taking a Time Out for Mom!

I apologize that I haven't posted anything lately.  I have had to make a very hard decision because my life as I know it is falling apart.  We as parents get so wrapped up in our kids world, their sports, their music...their disabilities that we loose site of who we are as an individual.  Some parents can master this skill with no problem, to be able to juggle everything on one plate and some parents can't.  Some parents don't have the back up support at home to be able to handle all those plates that need to be juggled...I am one of those parents.  I have come to the point to where I am burned-out to the point where I wish I could just run away...not forever but for a few days, just by myself, without the worries of work, of Danielle's doctor appointments, counseling appointments any other appointments she may have.  I am one of those parents who does not have the back-up support.  I have a husband who is on the road more times than not (not his fault, just the nature of the beast), I have a daughter who has helped me so many times but I can't keep asking because she has a family of her own, there are virtually no programs here in Northern Utah that can help take care of a teen with these decision?  I am taking a break in my posting and I have to figure out how to find me again, me...the person who had joy in her life at one time and it was the simple pleasures in life that made me smile.

So, please forgive me while I take this much needed break...I hope you are all here when I come back and I hope and pray that I have your support.

God love you all!  Diane

Friday, September 17, 2010

Husband/Wife Relationships...Need I Say More?

This has got to be one of my favorite pictures when it comes to relationships.  These two starfish says it all, and we each an have our own interpretations.  But how far from the truth can a couple be.  In my past blog posts I have talked a lot of the problems of Danielle, Danielle and her dad, Danielle and I,  but not much on my relationship with my husband...and I say "what relationship"?  I just don't get it...and because I don't get it I feel like an emotional mess.I have to ask for forgiveness before I continue because I am probably going to ramble and talk in circles because I am so mixed up, lonely, tired, have that strong urge to run away and never come back...I am sure you all have felt that one time or another.  I am there right now and I didn't know how much until one of my daughters came out for a visit this week.  Everything was fine until my husband came home from the road and all we do is argue.  I am tired of this life and how it is playing out!  I don't remember signing up for this life, I don't remember getting married to be alone, I don't remember signing up for a life that all I do is work my butt off during the day, go to meetings, doctor appointments, counseling appointments, IEP's, etc.  I don't remember signing up to marry a man who when he's home, he sits in front of the TV and when I get home, doesn't have the strength to do anything with me (even if it's taking a small walk).  I don't remember signing up to be so worn out to where I feel I don't have anything left for myself.  In my conversation with my daughter, she and her husband have worked it out so well that I actually was thinking today that I needed to see my own shrink, my own counselor.  That maybe I am the one that is crazy, not Danielle, but me.  I can't keep my thoughts straight, what is my reality?  It was pretty ironic though, in a small conversation with my oldest daughter, I told her that I was thinking about getting some counseling and she and my other daughter had talked thinking that counseling would be good for me since I don't have anyone I can really talk to about my life, about what is going on in my heart and soul.  It's pretty lonely...that is why I blog, maybe someone who reads my blog feels the same bewilderment, loneliness, etc.

So...where do I go from here?  Who do I contact...a counselor, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist.  I don't believe I need medication so maybe just someone to talk to, which would be a counselor.  There are so many times I feel my life is one big abyss and I am hanging onto the ledge, just waiting for someone to throw me a rope...but alas, no rope comes.

I apologize if this sounds depressing, I am not, just confused.  Does anyone else ever experience this and how have you handled it?  Please let me know...someone throw me a rope!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Big Thank you!

I want to say a big thank you to those who read my blog and add their comments.  I learn so much from everyone who replies and I don't feel so alone, it's good to know that there are others out there like me, and there are others like me who don't have a special needs kid/teen.  We all share a commonality...we're all tired, over worked, tired of being alone in whatever challenges that life may throw at us.  That is why I am so grateful for my blog, it's an outlet for my emotions, the crap that goes on day to day, but there are some days that are better than others, but we need to know that we are human and not everything is rosy.  I am not one of those people who wear rose colored glasses.  I use to in the 70's (LOL) but not now.  Life is sooo different.  So thank you for helping me keepin' it real and honest and for not judging me too much!  Love to you all!

A Day of Happiness...short lived!

Believe it or not, this stream was within a campground called "Christmas Meadows".  Really pretty, good ATV trails.

Mirror Lake, Utah (Can we say...Beautiful?)
Our Danielle enjoying the cold, and I mean cold, it was 48 degrees while we were there.  Brrrrrr!
Me and my trucker honey...Mike.  This was a much needed day away. I mainly wanted a day away by ourselves but the more I thought about it Dani has been without dad just as long as I have.  But now, hind-site I wish it was the two of us because today...cranky, cranky, cranky!  It feels like we will never get that time alone because we both suffer from the "No Dad Syndrome".  It was a good day though! 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Where are Those Teaching Moments?

Has anyone ever wondered how to be a teacher at those moments that are extremely embarrassing?  For instance, common knowledge is if you nose is running, get a tissue and wipe it.  On our side, we wipe it with our fingers and then wipe our fingers on our clothes.  Or when we eat, we eat so fast and without manners and slop food all over ourselves.  Or the common knowledge that we pick up after ourselves if we drop something or pick up after ourselves when we are done using the bathroom.  I guess I am getting frustrated and loosing my patience over this.  Along with my husband never being home, he is gone now 3 weeks at a time because he is a long-haul trucker.  I can only be strong for so long and then I loose it.  I plain out loose it to where even my personality at work changes.  I am normally a very upbeat, positive thinking woman but lately...I'm not.  I have become very negative, angry, frustrated, anyone out there listening to me?  Can anyone relate?  Even my blog posts I try to be positive and report only those things that are good with maybe a tinge of something bad that is going on.  But dang it~I am tired, I am tired of being the strong one all...the...time!  I have retreated into myself, not going anywhere, not getting involved with others.  All I want to do is sleep, read and snack.  I've talked to my doctor and yes I am depressed but who wouldn't be in these circumstances.  But not only that, I have no hormones in my body, a thyroid that doesn't work and a blown pituitary gland.  So yes, I am a mess.

The cure, major hormone creams, thyroid meds, etc. trying to take back my life so I can handle things a little better.  At this point in my life, I would gladly give everything I have, including our camper and ATV to have my husband home.  I didn't get married to be by myself all the rest of my life.  So I really don't know what to do from here.  I am looking for answers, I am praying for guidance and I know I won't be answered in my time but I will be answered in the Lord's time.  So there, I've said a mouthful now I need to find solutions, if anyone has an idea, please share it with me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I Think I've Got It!

I think I've got it figured out!  I had a long talk with AT&T last night and I didn't know we had a specical plan that allows up to 10 phone numbers that are treated as if it was mobile to mobile.  So...I plugged in Dani's brothers phone number so from now on, after 5pm tonight, she can talk to him as if they were mobile to mobile.  That will save us a big chunk of change.  I tried explaining it to her last night but I don't think she really got it.  All she heard was she could talk to her brother again.  But as always, everything is contingent on how her grades are.  I have a philosophy and saying "The Lord giveth, and mom taketh away".

Have a blessed day you all!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

High School Issues - Homecoming Dance we go!  My first hurdle...homecoming dance.  Within the second day of Dani's school year, she was asked out to homecoming by not just one boy but two.  She had to choose but she also needed to know my rules which are:  1)  No dating until 16 years of age (which she is 15 1/2) 2)  She will go in a group and 3)  I am the chaperon. She didn't like that but you know what?  Oh well, like isn't fair, if it was we'd all be faeries. It took her along time to get use to the idea especially with me going along but she saw the wisdom in it.  It was accepting it or the alternative...not going!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dani's First Day of School!

Here is Danielle on her first day of high school.  High school...I can't believe we have gotten this far when statistics clearly say that most kids with FASD don't make it through to their high school years.  Boy are we as parents proving those statistic taking people wrong!  I love it!

She was so excited.  She has great classes, great teachers and a great group of friends who look out for her during the day.  I worried for nothing.  But the stress is starting to wear on her.  She is home sick today from church due to a cold, this tells me that she isn't sleeping like she should, that there is too much excitement or stress or something going on.  On her second day of school, she was asked out by two boys to the homecoming dance.  Our rules?  She can go provided it's with a big group and I am a chaperon.   Such a mean mom aren't I, but our rules are no dating until we are 16 and then it's in groups until 17.  It worked with her sisters and I won't bend the rules, especially with her.

Her summer was extremely hard because there is no place for a kid like her to go to be looked after so I had to put a lot of restrictions on her but in doing that, she would sneak around and then I would find out after it happened and then the discipline and restrictions and taking away of privileges.   I hated it, next summer will be different.  I am looking into some summer camps she can be a resident counselor and be involved with other kids like her.  How was everyone's summer?  Challenges like mine?  Well, let's thank God for school!

Where the Heck Have I Been?

I apologize, I have been here but again with no internet connection.  But I am back and will get caught up.  But first I have to download my pictures so that I can get caught up on summer activities along with Danielle's first day of school.  Lots going on so I!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Let's Build Something Together!

I am sitting here in my easy chair, with my husband on the coach and Danielle in the shower and I just watched the commercial for Lowe's and their slogan "Let's build something together" struck me really hard.  I know they were talking about building something literally but like I always do I took it a step further like building relationships, or building experiences or building blocks to get ready to go back to school.  Danielle just got back from an over night hike with her church leaders and a few other girls her age.  They hiked in three miles, camped and hike back out using those big back packs. She had to carry her sleeping bag, her clothes and packed in her own water.  I wasn't worried, I knew she would do good because of how she took the bull by the horns and packed her own backpack.  Last night while Mike and I were having dinner a monstrous thunder and lightening storm  came through and went right over the mountains the girls were at.  Anyway, long story short, this morning Mike was pretty concerned that Danielle would come home traumatized because of the storm.  I just looked at him and gave a little snicker.  He said "I am not giving her much credit am I?"  I said "No, your not.  She's come along way baby!".  Just like I thought, when she got home she was great, said she had a fantastic time and no, she was not traumatized.

So, to make my point, we build something together...confidence in our daughter!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

If It's Not One Thing...It's Another...I Think!

Well...I think we are heading into a direction mom may not be ready for and I believe this direction has got me a little nervous.  You all know that Dani has found her natural brother and he has been adopted by a wonderful family and I see nothing but great things for him...but Dani has been showing some anger lately to the point to where she told me last night to leave or she would hurt me.  Come to find out she is angry because she is up here in Utah and her brother is down in Texas.  I can't say that I blame her because I don't but there isn't anything that can be done in this situation accept keep talking on the phone, plan for visits, etc.  I am proud of Dani though, after her little outburst last night, she came to me and said she was in trouble and needed to talk to her counselor.  We were lucky to get in to see her this afternoon and of course Dani knows what the reality is and she was given some new tools to help her through this.

I know what I am going through with my daughter doesn't compare to what you other parents go through with your kids but believe me, we have been there, we have walked in your shoes it's just that the trials are different as the kids age, there are hormone changes, meds need to be adjusted, just a whole lot of changes.  So please understand, we've been there and you will get there too.  Not everyday is perfect in our household and it never will it's just finding creative ways of handling each and every day!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Couple of My Favorite Pictures!

Mom, Daniellie and Dad after the dress rehearsal of "Arise and Shine Forth".  Dani was excited and extremly tired.
Danielle after discovering her natural beauty along with our dog Grizzly!

"Are We There Yet?"

I can not believe it is almost the end of July already.  This summer has found me and my family extremly busy.  Not only working full time but with our church activities, getting ready for school, actually getting ready for that big transition into "High School"!  Since my last blog entry, Dani has been actively involved in one of our church functions.  For the past two years a program called "Arise and Shine Forth...a Youth Spectacular" has been in the planning stages.  And within the last six months, practices, learning the dance routines along with song and dance has been in earnest.  And just two weekends ago, the big performance took place here at our Weber State University Stadium.  This event had 3400 youth involved, 500 adult volunteers, hours of practice, volunteers sewing costumes, etc.  And with the weather here this year being extremely hot, the performance was wonderful.  I will include a couple of pictures to give you an idea of what was going on.  But in the long run, it was a fabulous experience for Dani.  She learned the dance in record time, all the songs, went diligently to all the practices and walked away with a best friend, her dance partner in fact.  She has grown not only in her abilities to handle situations but also her testimony in Christ.  For those who read my blog, in case you didn't know, I am "mormon" and if that turns you off from my blog, so goes it, but that is what I love about America, freedom to worship my Heavenly Father in whatever fashion I choose.

Since this performance, it has been imperative that Dani start really learning her life skills because a lot of time I wasn't able to be home to get her to places.  I worked with her case worker and she was able to get Dani a bus pass so she can get around, which does make me nervous because some of her judgement impairments and this next week will be a big test. She and her good friend are taking the city bus down to one of our water parks.  Mom here has to start letting go somehow and sometime and since we start high school next month I had better prepare myself along with her.  We haven't argued like we use too, we still have issues with chores before pleasure which will be an ongoing struggle I believe for a very long time.  She has become more responsible when it comes to preparing meals and taking care of herself.  She has made the break-away (Thank God) from her so called "girlfriends" who were influencing her on how she dressed and how much make-up she wears.  It was during the time of the performances that she called me into the bathroom and said "Mom, I am pretty without that make-up.  I just need a little lip gloss".  And she has stayed true to that discovery!  So here are some of my favorite pictures.  I will also in another blog put my little video of her dancing with her partner.

This is just the beginning of the program and just a small part of how many youth participated in this program.  The age range was 14-19 years of age.

The picture above is just one of the many practices.  Dani is just on the left side of the 50 yard line post in the white Tee-Shirt.
And this is Danielle's dance group, they did the "Hoe-Down" dance. Dani is in there somewhere!  From what I believe, this is once in a life-time for these kids and it is an experience they soon will not forget!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hello Fellow Bloggers!

For the past three weekends we have been camping and ATVing and I think I have had my fill of camping this summer.  Just takes the stuffing out of you.  Not so much as the camping but the riding.  My favorite part is sitting in my little recliner chair, under our camper awning with a good book on my lap and a soda by my side...also with the knowledge that Dani is having a good time playing with her cousins and riding.  But each trip doesn't go without an incident.  An incident which proves that these kids live constantly with the wicked FASD!

As one of Dani's rules, she would ride our ATV down the path, just a little ways, to the out-house.  Last weekend, as she was coming back, some jerk, and I say that lightly because I am trying to be polite, came up behind her, reving his atv motor, scaring her half to death to where she rode our atv off a little ledge into the creek.  No major damage to the vehicle but she cut her knees up pretty good.  I as so mad I got on my sister in law's atv and went looking for the idiot but luckily my husband stopped me.  I was so MAD!  It was a pretty good ledge too, but it shows that these kids have no reaction time when startled.  They can't think and react as fast as they need to.  That is one of the reasons why Dani's doctor told her and us that she should not drive.  Scared me and her.  My sweet husband handled it perfectly.  Dani was so scared that dad was mad at her, but he wasn't.  We were sitting in camping when we heard someone screaming "HELP".  The men got up and ran and sure enough, they found Dani.  Mike made sure she was okay and nothing was broken and my niece brought her back to camp, that is when I went hunting for the creep.  Just glad that weekend is over.

So now, it's back to sheer bordom for Dani.  I am back to work, my sweet husband is back on the rode and we keep looking forward to the next time we can get out of town.  It does our family good to get away for at least a couple of days.

The two pictures is of Dani with her Uncle Don and the other one with her cousing Shawn.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Need a Vacation to Recover from Vacation!

Well, I survived vacation, the days away from family and friends and alone with my husband was wonderful! We had a wonderful Anniversary/Father's Day.  The weather was fantastic!  Couldn't ask for better and even with the knowledge that Dani was safe and having a wonderful time was helpful too!  She arrived in Burbank in one piece, had a wonderful time and even her trip home, with the layover in Vegas was fantastic.  SouthWest Airlines is the only way I will fly from now on.  They were so prepared for her and someone was there every step of the way.  I had no reason to worry...yea right, ask a mom not to worry?  But she is home now and it's back to normal life.  But today I find myself extremely exhausted.  All I want to do is sleep.  Which after I am done with this entry I will probably go lay down again.

Dani's trip was wonderful for her.  She got to spend some much needed time with one of her favorite sisters.  They did shopping, worked on her hair and make-up, went to Magic Mountain, to the beach and I knew she was safe and sound.  When she got off the plane last night I was prepared to see her hair all funky but they dyed it black and she had clip on pink streaks.  I thought she looked cute,! I'll put the picture in once it get it off my camera tonight.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Traveling with FASD...Let Us Pray!

As we all know, tomorrow morning Dani takes a jet plane to Southern California by way of Oakland then down to Burbank.  Then when she comes home she leaves Burbank, stops in Vegas for a two hour layover.  TWO HOUR LAYOVER...DO YOU REALIZE HOW MUCH FEAR THAT PUTS INTO MY HEART AND SOUL?  I AM SO NERVOUS I AM DRIVING MY WHOLE FAMILY NUTS! Anyway, Dani and I went through her suitecase day before yesterday and by the time I got things pulled out, her suitecase literally lost probably 5-10lbs.  Kids with FASD have no conception of what is right and wrong to pack, they just "feel a need, fill that need".  So not only did she pack her clothes (good job Dani) she had packed two rolls of duct tape, a knee brace, wrist brace, and an ace bandage.  Then there was a huge jewelery box with key for her bracelets she is making.  I just had to smile because to her that was so important, but it was a learning lesson too.  We got things fixed and ready to go.

Now the fear part.  I don't worry about her traveling there because she just stops in Oakland, doesn't get off the plane and continues to Burbank.  The way home?  So this is what I have done.  When your kids travel alone call the airline and have them make a note on the passenger list, with their name.  They have special categories for disabilities or disabled passengers.  For Dani it was "developmentally delayed". That gives the crew a heads-up about my daughter.  Second, the child does not go to the plane alone.  As long as the parent and the other person on the other end of the trip, has a copy of the itinerary, along with a valid form of ID, that person can go to the plane.  But when you go to the check-in to pick up or drop off, strongly mention your child has special needs.  That is how Dani is being picked up in Burbank.  My daughter has her itinerary and id, but only one person is allowed back there.

So in Vegas, this is what I have planned.  As soon as Dani gets off the plane she is to turn on her phone.  I have a printed out map of the terminal that houses SouthWest Airlines.  I will already know ahead of time what gate she will be at.  And I will be able to guide her to where she is to go.  I already also know where the eating places are, restrooms, etc so even though I am up here in Utah, I will still be connected.  Second plan...I have written out a brief note that Dani can hand to any airline personnel that briefly explaines who I am, that my daughter is FASD and she needs help finding her gate and if that person can't help at least guide her as best as possible.  But I am hoping more for the phone call.  Thank God for cell phones.  She has a preloaded debit card that is all her own, case in her wallet, some hiding for the trip back and some for when she gets there.  Then there is the emergency medical treatment card, that's all done and since my husband and I will be in the mountains, my oldest daughter will be our representative until we are located. 

So I think I've got all the bases covered.  My sweet husband asked if I will be able to relax once she is on the plane and my response?   Hell yes!  That is until the time comes when she leaves, which we will be on our way home from camping.  Wish us luck!

Monday, June 14, 2010

I Knew It...I Knew It...I KNEW IT!

Well, I knew it, like I mentioned before, just when things are going good, and I mean real good, I kicked right in the gut.  And maybe I am taking this too hard because I knew it would happen but it doesn't make it any easier.

Over the weekend I went to Costco and bought two tubs of the most delicious pasta salad.  It's one of Dani's favorite snack foods...anyway, she gobbled the first container and I told her she wasn't to have any of the second one, leaving it for dad and I.  Today being Monday, the funds are pretty limited right now and Dani had made a list of things she needed for her upcoming trip to California and we needed some groceries.  I gave her a choice, food or her stuff, she choose stuff. So we are on our way home from the craft store and she asks what is for dinner, I said "what a minute, you had your choice, food or stuff and you choose stuff".  She said "oh, that's right".  I said "besides there is chicken and pasta still at home...there still is pasta right?" She said "well dad had some this morning and he said the noodles were brown and for me to throw it away."  I called dad and he said he didn't even have any but noticed that Dani was snacking on it last night...after I went to bed.  So, when we pulled into the driveway I checked the garbage and sure enough, the container was there and just a little was left in the container, the noodles looked great.  I had just spent close to $50.00 on her to get her on her trip and she lied to me.  Now I understand that lying is a part of the FASD world, but come on...I was sooo looking forward to having some pasta and chicken.  Talk about feeling like a "SUCKER"!  So right now, I am not even talking to her, I don't know what to say!  I knew what reality dictates but it doesn't take away the feelings a parent has when the other shoe drops.  So can I just say "I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE PLANE TO LEAVE FRIDAY MORNING" And it will be five wonderful days with just my husband.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

To Be Young Again...

This is Danielle and two of my granddaughters, Kaitlyn and Kyla.  We just arrived at the Tree House in Ogden.  The Tree House is a different version of the children's museum.  I've never been there since they moved it and renovated, it was quite awesome.  There was so much activity today and so much to see, the kids were really excited.  I enjoyed being mom and grandma, just walking around, taking pictures and looking at the smiles on the kids faces.

Of course this gave Danielle a chance to let her hair down and not worry so much about being 15 years old.  Here she is being creative as always with drawing dinosaurs.

Danielle thought this was cool a way to get in connection with her African/American ancestry.  Actually, Danielle loves anything that has to do with music.  When we were done, we all went out for ice cream.  But before we got to the Tree House we spent some time at Costco, not only doing some shopping but also getting a hot dog/drink/or pizza for lunch.

Friday, June 11, 2010

WOW! What's That Smell?

After a long day at work, and I mean long, on the way home I kept going over in my mind what was in my freezer to make for dinner.  There was the usual phone calls from Dani asking when I would be home and I gave the usual answer..."You'll see me when you see me".  But when I walked into the house and deposited my shoes and belongings, Dani had me sit down on the couch, she gave me the Wii remote and said "Relax mom, I'm cooking dinner".  My first thought was "oh, oh...what did she do now?" But I was wrong...she had a wonderful conversation with her brother Aaron during the day and feeling pretty good about herself.  And I have to admit...dinner was VERY GOOD!  She made her own rendition of Chicken Alfredo.

There has been a big change in Dani ever since her relationship with her dad has improved and then this new fresh relationship with her brother.  That big hole that was festering in her soul is healing.  But we are still taking things one day at a time because this could be the "high" before the "low".  Everything happens in cycles with these FASD kids, at least in the older group I've found.

Tomorrow we are spending sometime in the afternoon with my granddaughters (Dani's nieces) at "The Tree House" in Ogden.  It's like a children's museum...but better.  This is where Dani can let her teenage years melt away and be the kid that she tries so hard to contain.  Makes me sad to see that because society dictates how a person should act, even with disabilities.  So I am looking forward to letter her hair down, literally!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sad Day...Happy Day...

Ever since our first contact with Danielle's brother, Aaron, I have been communicating a lot with his case worker in Texas with the high hopes of somehow, someway, Aaron could come home to us.  Especially since Aaron should have never gone down to his Great-Grandma's in the first place...that in itself is along sad story.  But to make a long story short, in talking to his case worker yesterday (which she has received a promotion, way to go Heather) and is moving on, she had to refer me to her supervisor, which of course I wrote the same familiar email as I did for Heather in the beginning but tweeked it a little since Dani and I have been talking to Aaron.  But I was told that the placement that has started needs to continue, this family has come in and choosen Aaron and they are excited.  And Aaron needs to go to that family, even though there are family ties with us, mainly his little sister.  My heart and soul is crying, not only for the loss of my little boy 10-11 years ago, but the loss again today.  Which is ok!  I told her that I would not get in the way of the placement and pray that things will work out but if somewhere down the road it doesn't to place call me.  She said she would.  So now it is our job to encourage Aaron to get to know his new family and get involved and that Dani isn't going anywhere...then why do I feel like crap?  I guess I will just have to practice what I preach..."FAKE IT TILL I MAKE IT!".  And if Aaron's new parents ever read all have my support and prayers.

The communication between Aaron and Dani has been so wonderful!  Seldom does he ask for me but once and that was to cry a little on my shoulder that some kids were teaching him...calling him "slow".  Luckily I knew how to handle that because of the challenges I have with Danielle.  But the main point is that Danielle has blossomed and she feels like that hole in her soul is filled.  How wonderful is that?  And I am sure Aaron feels the same way.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Kumbaya My Lord...Kumbaya!

I am singing this little song to calm myself down, which I am pretty proud of myself at this momen. It is so tough to have a teen-ager home for the summer, especially since I have to work.  How do you mom's survive with staying home with your kids...are there federally funded programs out there that I am not aware of?  If there are, please share, I would love to be home with my teen!  How do you survive on one income!

One of our rules is that Dani has to have her chores done by the time I get home.  Especially extra good today since she wanted to go to Old Navy for her bathing suit and then hang at the mall with a friend.  I did my inspection and the kitchen counters were not clean, pots and pans will soaking, dirty dishes on the one counter, trash barrel not even taken out to the curb...need I say more?  Then she gets all mad at me, raising her voice that she doesn't understand why I judged her and why I get away with leaving some dishs in the sink.  I tried to explain to her (and this is where I am proud of myself because I did not raise my voice) that when she works a 10 hour a day job then maybe I can be more relaxed about things, but since she is home all day, sittin' on her butt, watching TV then she can take more time to do the jobs right.  But she can not compare herself to me since I am 52 and she is just 15 years old.  This is where I put our plan of action into play.  I calmly asked her to go to her room, saying this was not a punishment but a time out for me.  Her reply..."I don't have to".  Second time I calmly repeated myself, her reply..."why don't you"? Third time, calmly still, I said "this is your last chance, either go to your room or get in the car and we are going to McKay Dee Hospital.  She got up, stormed away while throwing her purse at me.  She did finally go into her room, I picked up the purse and unlocked my bedroom door and as I was placing her purse into my room, she said "don't you dare put my purse into your room" (screaming at me again).  That's when I closed and locked the door and walked away.  She went into her room and slammed her door and I mean slam.  Everything vibrated!

The main point here is I used our plan that my husband and I came up with and agreed on.  My blood pressure did rise just a little but not much and I am feeling pretty calm, but wondering what is coming next. So as you can guess, no Old Navy and no hanging at the mall.  Too sad!

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Vampire Waiter?

In my conversation with Aaron a few days ago, he was relating some of his happy memories and this picture was one of them.  He remembered dressing up as a "Vampire Waiter".  The waiter part was the red apron his sister Brenna loaned him for the night.  He was so cute, he acted the part too!


I ran into a stranger as he passed by,"Oh excuse me please' was my reply.
He said, "Please excuse me to; I wasn't waching for you."

We were very polite this strange and I. We went on our way and we said goodbye.

Later that day, cooking the evening meal, My daughter stood beside me very still.

When I turned, I nearly knocked her down."Move out of the way," I said with a frown.
She walked away, her little heart broken. I didn't realize how harshly I'd spoken.

While I lay awake in bed, God's still small voice came to me and said,
"While dealing with a stranger, common courtesy you use,
but the family you love, you seem to abuse".

"Go and look on the kitchen floor, You'll see some flowers there
by the door...those are the flowers she picked for you. She
picked them herself; pink, yellow and blue."
"She stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise, you never
saw the tears that filled her little eyes"

By this time, I felt very small and now my tears
began to fall.

I quietly went and knelt by her bed; "wake up little one,
wake up", I said.
"Are these the flowers you picked for me?"
She smiled and said, "I found 'em out by the tree. I picked 'em
because they're pretty like you. I knew you'd like 'em
especially the blue."

I said "Honey, I'm very sorry for the way I acted today; I shouldn't
have yelled at you that way."
She said "Oh, Mom, that's okay I love you anyway".
I said "Honey, I love you too, and I do love the flowers, especially the blue".


Are you aware that if we died tomorrow, the company that
we work for could easily replace us in a matter of days?
But the family we left behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.
And come to think of it, if we pour ourselves more into work
than into our own family, it would be unwise investment indeed,
don't you think?

So what is behind the story?
Do you know what the word FAMILY means?

FAMILY = (F)ather (A)nd (M)other (I) (L)ove (Y)ou

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Appointment Day and Random Thoughts!

Today was our follow up doctor appointment with Dani's psychiatrist.  I think this was one of her best visits.  Her meds are doing good, Dani is a regular sassy teenager!  Just time to do some blood work, which she loves!  Especially since we make it a tradition to go to Einstein Bagels after for breakfast.  But the best thing was Dani sharing her conversation she had with her brother.  Dani's doctor is the one who diagnosed Aaron in the first place all those years ago as being BiPolar and she just couldn't get over the picture I showed her.  How handsome he is and how much they look alike.  I still can't get over it myself.

But with the connection between brother and sister, there was so much healing for Dani and I am sure there was for Aaron, the missing puzzle piece has been found.  Dani feels so much more at peace with herself.  I know that feeling all to well, I was adopted when I was a couple of months old myself, I know that feeling all to well of not belonging.  I am one of those kids that found my natural mother when I turned 18.  And the peace I felt then is what I am sure what Dani is feeling today and along with Aaron.  In talking to his case worker, she said he was esctatic and feeling better about things.

So, where do we go from here?  Not sure...hopefully we will meet up, secretly I am hoping his new adoption doesn't go through, I would love to have him come home...but it's in the Lord's hands now!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

This is for you Aaron!

These are just a few pictures I found so far with Aaron, Danielle and family.  I have another box with more pictures in them and it's in storage so I'll find it.  But thought you might like to see these pictures.

So that everyone knows who reads my blog...we talked to Aaron today.  In fact he mainly talked to his little sister Danielle.  I could not believe how wonderful it was talking to him and how much he sounds like Danielle.  I know that these two making that connection has done wonders for both of them. I was also amazed at the memories he still has, he remembered things I had forgotten about, for instance, in his first soccer game, he made a goal, but it went into the wrong goal...but we were still very proud of him.  And the green eggs I made one St. Patrick's Day...he said he can't eat eggs ever since then.  Of course he asked me the questions that are dreaded, like why did we give him up?  Why did I keep Dani and not him, very hard questions that he deserved to have the answers to.

So where do we go from here?  He has our phone number at home, he is allowed to call three times a week and Dani to call him, and we will take it step by step.  God is good, I feel very blessed these two kids were able to reconnect after 12 years.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Danielle's New Blog...

Dani wanted me to let everyone know that she has updated her blog.  It's been awhile but she is up and running again.  It's at

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fun Fantastic Day...Good Day for Dad and Daughter (and mom too)

First off, I need to say a big THANK YOU to Mark Casem at Comcast for coming to my rescue!  I don't know really know how he read my message but he called me the next day and worked with me until I had a Comcast young man name Aaron come this morning to fix me up.  Now I have my internet back and I am just over joyed, now I can get back into the swing of blogging more often.  Doing it at work was not very fun, didn't have much time to do it.  Now I can stop once in a while, think about what I am going to say and know the rest.  Thank you Mark again!

Today was so fun.  We went ATVing as a family, our first outing for the season, but it was still pretty cold.  In fact it was raining along with snowing but a lot of fun.  My sweet husband has been trying real hard to see Danielle in a different light and Danielle has been trying so hard to understand her dad and low and's working.  They are communicating a lot better, they actually want to spend time together, it's a wonderful sight to see.   I know...I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop and that's okay, everything can't be perfect all the time.  But after we got home today, I was so chilled to the bone,  I came in for a hot shower and dad and daughter worked together putting things away...then Dani surprised me by washing off my mud caked car.  Now I am totally exhausted...good night!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer...The Word that Strikes Fear In The Hearts of All Mothers!

Well, as of this afternoon, my daughter will officially be in high school.  I consider this a big triumph, I didn't think we would make it through junior high, let alone thinking about high school.  But with thanks to all her school counselors, doctors, professionals, family and friends, we are there.  And she is feeling pretty good about things right now.  Probably because the stress is off for a little bit.  It is so extremly stressful being a teenager these days.  Nothing like when I was one or when my older daughters were in high school.  The kids are meaner, peer pressure is worse, you all get the picture.  Last night was the 9th grade banquet, no parents invited, the teachers put this on for the graduating students.  They brought in Olive Garden for dinner and the 9th graders got their yearbooks a day early.  It was one of those occassions that I had to let go and trust she would make the correct decisions.  And low and behold...she did great!  She was so excited about her yearbook, disappointed that her school picture wasn't in there (she was at a transitional school when the pictures were taken) but excited to see her picture with the school choir.

Now...what to do for the summer.  There are virtually no programs out there that would take in a 15 year old.  And I definately can't afford sending her to a summer camp, so my oldest daughter Brenna and I came up with this idea.  Twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Dani has a job to do.  She is to go to Brenna's and take the kids up to the school playground for an hour.  But the important lesson here is that she has to get up, shower, get dress (I will provide a special little uniform or special shirt for her job), she has to be there on time, clock in and out.  She will get paid for this. What I am trying to instill in her is responsibility.  She wants to get a part time job when she turns 16 in December and it's time to get her prepared.  Then I am going to see about her volunteering some hours are our nature center.  She loves animals of all kinds.  Again..instilling responsibility.  Does anyone else have any ideas the would like to share?  I work full time so I need to keep her semi busy.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Search Is On!

Here is an update about the State of Texas.  I have contacted every phone number on their website, emailed every email address with a wonderful letter of introduction, along with pictures and those emails come back undeliverable.  The phone calls get lost in the system and no one picks up.  Is that a sign that I am not suppose to search for Aaron?  But being the red-head that I am, I will push on.  The picture was taken a year ago so things may have changed in that time, but I just need him to know that we are still here.  And to offer any assistence I can with family history, etc.  I have one daughter that thinks I should leave it alone, but two other daughters who think I should push as far as I can.  And his sister who wants to meet him.  But here are the pictures of brother and sister.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Technology Rides Off Into the Sunset...

My blogging is going to be spare for about a week since I do not have internet at home.  I am in a war zone with Comcast right now and I am looking for a better internet company to go with that will service the customer, not service themselfs.  So, I apologize to all you blog readers out there if I don't put something down each day, but I will try each morning to send a little glip of something before I start work.

The good news?  Everything so far this week has been peaceful, but that is how our house operates, its a vicious circle.  Around and round and round we go, were we will stop, no body knows...isn't that the saying.  So I am enjoying the peace while it lasts.  But do I have to say my husband is trying really hard.  We met together with Dani's counselor last Friday afternoon and really received some inlightenment (at least Mike did) about these kids with brain damage.  I think he understands a little more.  I have figured that I guess it takes someone else, maybe another man, to turn that light bulb on instead of hearing the bitching and complaining from your wife.  But who cares as long as he gets it.

Now the shocker of the week.  When we brought Dani home we brought her big brother with her.  We adopted both kids, Aaron had some major problems along with showing inappropriate behavior towards his little sister.  We took him back down to Texas, back to Great Grandma's and from there he went back into state custody.  Haven't seen or heard about him in 12 years.  Now over the weekend I received a wonderful facebook message from one of my nieces with the picture of Aaron, all grown up.  My heart swelled with love for this sweet little son of mine (I still consider him my son, that's probably wrong but I can't help my heart) but sickened to know that he didn't have a very good childhood.  It seems he is up for adoption again so does that mean he has been in and out of foster care all those years?  Here is my I try to contact him?  Do I try to contact the State of Texas or do I just let things go?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Excuse me...You said What?

Last night was Danielle's spring choir concert, and for Dani it's a big thing because she worked real hard on it for the past 4-5 months.  Memorizing the songs, practicing the dance steps, etc.  Now I will be the first to admit that she really can't sing and she is a little delayed in her dancing but boy she puts all her heart and soul into it.  So here we were sitting about the 7th row back from the stage and the kids were performing, just doing a great job and the lady behind me (I over heard her) was talking to her daughter (not really sure who she was, just another female) and she was saying "look at that girl in the green t-shirt, what business does she have being up there. She can't keep up with the steps and she just looks goofy".  I could not believe my ears and I knew she was talking about my daughter because Dani was the only one wearing a green shirt.  I very slowly turned around, looked her straight in the eyes and said "That goofy girl is my daughter and she has some extreme special disabilities and I know that she has practiced her little heart out for tonight.  Besides, she doesn't really care if you like it or not or if you are enjoying her performance.  I am proud of her and I am proud of her not giving up.  Can you say that about your child?"  I was floored that someone would have the "balls" to say something like that not realizing that a parent could be sitting right in ear shot.  Just shows up ignorant people really are.  After my defending my daughter's honor I enjoyed the rest of her performance and I have never been more proud of her.  My sweet husband was able to be there.  He drove straight from Greeley Colorado to Ogden Utah in 8 hours flat to be at her concert.  And of course we took our landlord who we call "Grandpa".  It was a wonderful evening, and after Dani had earned a huge scoop of ice cream and some special time with mom and dad.  Regardless of how hard life is with these FASD kids, we need to celebrate in their little triumphs and just sit in awe at their accomplishments.  I think as a parent to an FASD kid, I get more bogged down by the stresses and negative things that are going on than to stop and look at her face and see her smile.  This picture is old...but the smile says it all!

God Bless You All!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Just a Quick Update...

At this point in time I wish there was something exciting to post to my blog right now, but alas, there isn't.  It has been just been status quo at home these past few days.  Since our little run in with the three amigos (dad, dani and I) we have been doing a little better, but that is because dad had to leave the next day for Kansas.  He should be on his way home from Colorado later to day so the next few days will tell.  But Dani has been trying to be on her best behavior.  She knows she has a lot on her plate and that there are different expectations for her now. I just hope she realizes that mom and dad are a force that can't be played with because we are the team.  But we will see how long that lasts.  I guess this is where mom needs to do some attitude adjusting and bending and be like a "lone reed in the wind" (one of my favorite movie lines from "You've Go Mail"). 

There are days when I feel I can conquer the world that my daughter lives in and then there are those days when I throw up my hands and say "whatever".  I do hope you readers out there feel the same way at times, that I am not alone in this uphill battle.  I want my daughter to have a fulfilling life, a life away from mom and dad, if that is possible.  When I read Jodee Kulps stories and books that her FASD daughter has written, I believe there is hope for Dani.  It's just getting to the finish line with my arms and hands held high in triumph!  For now, I'll just keep on praying and striving, that's all I can do!

Love and hugs to all!

Friday, May 14, 2010

IEP's...They Work!

Yesterday morning was our awaited IEP meeting and my wonderful husband and I went together.  I told Mike I needed my parenting partner and the teachers needed to hear how he felt about the whole school thing.  We both agreed that Dani should not have been mainstreamed so fast from the transitional school (after she came out of the state hospital) back into the wild and crazy junior high.  We think that has accelerated her mood swings and other things she is going through right now.  So in talking with the team players, we found out that at Bonneville High they have their own self-contained unit to where all the classes are taught in their unit except maybe an elective like art or music.  I guess they have a lot of handicapped kids, physically and mentally at that school, which is a bonus for us, because now Dani doesn't have to be mixed in with the "Big Dogs".  It was also decided that Dani will be put in a leadership role, in other words helping those kids with Down Syndrome.  Maybe walking them around the school, pick up trash, etc.  This will help to build her self confidence.  She does get pretty bored at school and when she is...then the trouble begins.  We are arranging a day to go visit her new counselor (give her the scoop) and let her tour the school so we don't have any melt downs during the summer.  Anxiety runs high with her if she can't visualize what she is going to do.  That is a plus, basically we have the support of the whole Bonneville high staff.  I guess my reputation proceeds me because the head of the unit once was one of Danielle's teachers and he knows her history...and mine. Both my husband and I felt pretty good after our meeting...time will tell!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Never Give Up...Never Surrender!

Well to catch up, just a couple of days ago I had pretty much decided that my marriage was over, I just couldn't raise two children (Dani and my husband) and my blood pressure was sky high and I was cranky to beat the band.  Not a very happy person! I came home Tuesday night from work, just having a huge argument with my husband, on the phone and I told him before I hung up that I was done, handing in the towel, etc.  Got home, wrote out a list of my divorce plans, who gets up, etc, put it in an email ready to send my hubby.  My daughter and her husband from Maryland had stopped at our place on there way to moving to California so I thought I would sit them down and tell them my news.  They were shocked to say the least and it was decided that we would go to my oldest daughters house to tell them.  So I proceeded to tell them my story...but I got my eyes opened up pretty good.  It usually takes someone outside of myself to put my life into perspective.  Not only was I overworked, extremely tired (exhausted is more like it) under appreciated and feeling pretty unloved, I was trying to take on the whole world for Danielle.  The family even suggested I put Danielle in a group home so I can take care of myself instead of always her.  One daughter pointed out that Danielle defines me because I go to work and come home to her, take her to her appointments, IEP's, anything she needs to go to...I'm there to do it for her.  It was also observed that I protect her (mainly from the big bad wolf) and I enable her.  In other words she doesn't need to take responsibility for her actions.  Boy did I wake up that night. 

But I was still pretty tired of being treated like poop from my husband.  I still wasn't going to take it anymore.  So here comes another email with all my feelings, sent it his way.  Well, while he is reading this email and pondering my thoughts, I had another ah-ha moment.  I was creating the problems at home. Well not all of them but a majority of them. Since he is a long-haul driver, I took on the role of mom and dad and not letting him be dad when he gets home.  So he felt displaced instead of me letting him build that relationship with Danielle.  So when he felt that, then his anger would come out and he would treat me and Danielle like poop.

So here is the solutions we came up with.  I am meeting with Dani's counselor next week to help me with some tips on how to "let go".  Then because Dani has these outbursts when she doesn't get her way, and she has said many times "I don't have to follow your rules" we as parents have three warnings we will use with her.

1)  Dani go to your room.  This is not a punishment but I need to cool down.
If she says no...
2)  Dani please go to your room (said more firmly without raising our voices)
If she still resists...
3)  Dani go get in the car or I will call South Ogden PD and they will transport you to the hospital. And be warned, if you try to run or do run away we will dial 911.  It's your choice.

Her counselor today said that she may have to go back into the hospital just to be monitored, medication adjustments, etc.  And this is one way of getting back into the system...let her freak out.  So when Dani got home from a church activity tonight we sat her down and laid down the law.  Meaning mom and dad are not leaving each other, we are team, a partnership and here are our rules.  I explained the above and she said she understood but Mike and I understand and we are prepared for the manipulation, etc to start.  Now tomorrow morning we have our end of school year IEP because she goes into high school next year and I am taking my partner in crime (my husband) and we are going to make some demands and changes for next year. We knew that mainstreaming her back into school would be wrong and it was.  So things will be different next year.  I'll let everyone know how that went tomorrow.

Well, I think I've rambled on enough, I am so thankful that I have a family who could see my situation, point it out and help me through it so I didn't loose a good man!  Thank you God! 

By the way, this is my husband Mike and he is holding our newest granddaughter Kamryn!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Is It Possible?

Is it possible for one child/teen to ruin one's marriage?  Is it possible that the child/teen can manipulate the marriage so much to where things actually fall apart between the couple?  Why?  Is it because I have been the main person in her life since four weeks old?  Does she see my husband as a hinderance, is that what she creates these situations to where we fight all the time?  My marriage is on the verge of being destroyed, we both are standing on the edge of the abyss, just waiting to be pushed off. The sad thing is that when Dani was in the state hospital for those 8 months, Mike and I were extremely happy, no fighting, we were communicating, I was getting healthy, Mike was taking care of himself while on the truck and now, life is shattered.  My family has suggested a group home for her, she has turned into a liar and steals things and really can't be trusted.  She yells at me...I am exhausted.  Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas?  This is one tired mom-cat who needs some help!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Who Let the Dogs Out?...Literally!

Wow...if someone would tell me that I would have the same kind of day today as I did yesterday...I would have told them they were off their rocker!  But sure enough, I get home, have to go do some shopping and no sooner do I get home with Dani that the sarcasim and talking back and raising her voice at me starts all over again.  But this time I had a witness.  After I got tired of listening to Dani and sent her to her room, my oldest daughter and my granddaughters came over for a short visit.  And while Brenna and I were talking, Dani shows her herself in her door way and starts barking at me.  I asked Brenna if she heard that and the only thing she could says was "wow". here is my true confession and I may go to hell for saying this let alone contemplating it.  School is out in a few weeks (Lord have mercy) and June 18th-22nd, Dani is going to California while my husband and I take our annual anniversary trip.  But here is where the confession comes into play...I want to send her away for the summer, literally!  I am at my wits ends, my marriage is in the toilet, my self esteem is literally not there, no energy, my fibromyalgia hits me harder, faster and longer.  I definately don't get the sleep that my mind body and soul needs.  I've been asked several times through out the years if I had know I would go through this, would I still bring that baby home, and my answer is always "YES".  But at this moment I am second guessing it.  So, does this make me a bad mom?  I have always taught my parents in our classes that it is okay to be angry, sometimes even hate your child  (the behaviors) but it is hard for me to take my own medicine.

So when I titled this post as "Who let the dogs out?"  All I feel like is we bark at each other and get no where.  Just a vicious cycle, over and over and over again!  It just chaps my hide when Dani gets mad at me, goes to her room then within 30 minutes, like clock work, she comes out saying she is sorry, but 30 minutes isn't enough time for me to wind down and think it through.  Oh well...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Skooled by a 15 Year Old?

There is nothing like coming home from a long day at work and getting a lecture from my 15 year old.  But not only that, she has this thing about calling me every 15 minutes, while I am driving to see where I am.  That helps her gage how much time she has before I am home and her chores had better be done.  But I've got smart.  I don't call her when I leave work, I wait for about 15 minutes, then call her.  When she calls I say I am somewhere else than where I really am.  I like the surprise attacks myself.

But today was different.  I didn't get the calls every 15 minutes, actually just one call. The one call was when I was just around the corner and she knew she was caught. She confessed she still had to put the dishes away and bring in the big trash barrel from the street.  But the thing that started the ball rolling was her wearing make-up.  We have a rule that she does not wear the heavy eye make-up, you know the big black eye liner.  I asked her about it and she said she got it from a friend at school.  I then asked her where her phone was and she started screaming "NO!".  I gently reminded her of the rule and consequence...then I get lectured on how unreasonable I am, how I don't ever listen, how I always interrupt her, and the tirade goes on and on.  While she is doing that I am still walking around the house, picking up stuff, starting the laundry.  I have to show that I am not emotionally involved because then my blood pressure starts to rise.  Well, I calmly found her phone, put it in my bedroom and locked the door.  She said some more things and then walked out the door.  I am sorry to say, I actually felt some relief when she walked out.  How sad and pathetic is that?  I ask myself every single day, how much longer can I do this?  I don't know!

About 15 minutes later she comes back in while I am typing this blog post and sits down on the couch, with a grumpy face and all and asks me "did you stop and get some bread?"  I said "No...I came home to find some money (tomorrow is payday) and was deciding which was more important, bread or cough syrup because her coughing at night is keeping me up".  I told her definately the bread is not on the list because of how she just treated me.  So now she is in tears, saying she is sorry and tries to say "sometimes I just wish...never mind".  She says I talk and talk and never let her talk, she never gets a word in when it's her that keeps it going.  I stop because I refuse to get into a battle of wills.

Well, now as I am still typing she is still going on and on and on, repeating the same things.  Is this normal?  Do I stop her or do I just keep letting her ramble? Is there a right way to parent?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Stop the World...I want to get off!

Today at work, we've had some major changes which created a very stressful day.  I work about 40 minutes from home, which is no big deal for me, seeing that I am from the land of long commutes (Los Angeles).  But the drive down in the morning is to gear myself up for the long day ahead, but the drive home is for me to unwind and get my mind and heart where it belongs...hopefully.  Bless Dani's heart, she always can tell as soon as I walk into the house when I've had a bad day, because she immediately gets on her chores, and asks me if she could fix me something to eat!  What an angel.  With all the problems, tantums, meltdowns, etc. there is this sweet angel floating around my home trying to take care of her mama, when I am the one who should be taking care of her.  There are so many times I wish I didn't have to work, to be home with her, to be her champion and get the education out there about alcohol and pregnancy, but like I said, I have to work and that's okay, I work for a wonderful company. But I am at the point in my life that I am craving peace, like I am sure we all are.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Well...Who da' Thunk!

Last night was interesting to say the least.  Both my husband and I learned something new about Dani.  For the past couple of weeks we have known that my husband's son is graduating from college today and the whole family (my husband's side of the family) will be making the trek down to Provo.  And Dani for the most part was excited to see her brothers.  But last night when we started talking about what time we needed to get up, etc she started having a melt down saying she had to go to school...she couldn't miss school.  We both tried to calm her down, even tried sending her to her room because during that meltdown, our grandchildren were over with mom and dad, didn't want to upset the rest of the family.  So Dani makes her last proclamation that she wasn't going and that's that.  After some thinking and dicsussion with my husband we both came to the same conclusion that there was something she was avoiding, something was scaring her.  She doesn't do very well in big crowds so we thought that was the answer.  Well come to find out this morning when I woke her up at 4:30am (my eyes were barely open) she confided in me that she didn't want to be around dad's ex-wife.  Everytime we were in a setting that the ex was involved in, she somehow made what we call a "zinger" at Dani, making some kind of rude remark and with Dani's obsessiveness, she mulls that over in her mind over and over until it makes her sick and the meltdown was her way of telling us "hell no I won't go".  So dad and I didn't force the issue with her, we areed with her and let her go to school.  Besides that she has solo try outs today in choir and she didn't want to miss that.  It just strikes me funny how these kids bring a voice to their fears.  It's definately not rational but it is the best they can do  isn't it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Words of Comfort and Joy!

I finally figured out today why I blog.  At first I thought it was to help educate others who are going through what I am going reach out there, but there is another reason!  It's so that my blogger friends can reach out to me.  You all are teaching me, inspiring me, and encourging me and I do so appreciate it.  One true blogger friend emailed me back this morning giving me some loving advice which I am taking.  I have made up a binder for my husband to take on the road with him.  It is full, and I mean full, of articles of every aspect of the FASD world.  I just hope he will take it with him on the road and that he will at least open it up.  I thought about even going through the articles and highlightening the important parts, since he doesn't like to read to begin with.  But if I simplify it hopefully he will take an interest in it.  So thank you my dear friend for your advice.  And by the way...I have said many times "Hey...who is the adult and who is the child...I feel like I am babysitting here because both of you are acting like children"!  That didn't get me very far, just a very upset husband.  Oh well, I will forge on. 

I want to say something husband is not an animal nor is he a bad guy.  In reality, he is really a fantastic, loving man with a HUGE heart.  He married me with four daughters when he raised boys, not girls so this is a different world to him.  And then he marries a woman (me) who has a daughter with special needs.  That's got to be hard.  And please...I am not making excuses for his behavior either, theres just another side of him.  But I think as parents and marriage partners or any kind of partners, we are all striving for happiness, no matter what kind of family we have, no matter what color we all are or the ages, we all crave two basic needs...LOVE and HAPPINESS!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Emotional Cleanup!

I don't know what is worse, the actual fighting in a family or the aftermath where we are all licking our wounds from the harsh and mean words that have been said.  In my family you could swear your are watching a tennis match, back and forth...back and forth!  But the unfortunate one wins.  For me I can pretty well numb myself up from the angry words but for my Dani...not so easy.  She gets more clingy, very emotional, needing those little checks from mom that let's her know that she is okay.  So I called mental health today to get her back into counseling and her counselor is out for a while, had heart surgery (God bless her) so we get a new counselor...a guy!  Dani has for along time trust issues with...guys.  Been hurt and let down so many times in the past, was even hard for her to open up to her male counselor when she was at the state hospital.  But she surprised me by saying "that's okay mom, I can handle it".

So next week starts a new challenge to start getting her back on the right path again.  I just wish I could stop and take a breather and get my sanity together...someday!

Usual Venting...Got to Get it Off my Chest!

Why is it so hard for men, not all men, to understand a child/teen's disabilities, problems, stressors, etc.  Why do some men feel it is okay to constantly put down and let that child/teen know there faults and try to hold them to higher standards when they themselfs can't do it?  We all know, as parents to these special kids, that we can not hold these kids to the normal standards/rules, whatever we want to call them as an adult or a kid without these challenges. My husband for one is famous for making sure Danielle knows what she has done wrong, drills it into her to the point of her being in tears and saying things like "maybe it's better that I am not here"!  What kind of man would drive his daughter to say something like that?  When we have had doctors, psychologists/psychiatrists, counselors tell us both...that being a parent to a child with FASD is a challenge and to throw those damn parenting books out the window.  I understand it, I even teach this to other parents but he just doesn't get it.  So now, I am where several mothers are at this point in time...what do I do?  What do I do?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Miracles Do Happen...It Happened Today!

Well...for years I have tried to get Dani to clean her room, not just shove stuff under her bed but deep clean her room.  I don't know what got under her skin today but I came home and she was so excited about something, she was bouncing off the walls.  When I opened my car door Dani was right there asking if she could help with anything.  I said "no honey, I'm fine but thanks for asking".  She dragged me into the house, had me close my eyes and directed me to her room and as soon as she told me to open my was like the angels were singing, it was one of those "AH..." moments.  I was so surprised, I was speechless...but the look on her face was priceless.  So let me sum it up...1) Long day at work 2) Too tired to move 3)  Dani's face when she showed me her room?  Priceless!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Excellent Article Everyone Should Read!

I borrowed this article from a fellow blogger which I feel is extremely important to read and get the message out there to the public about drinking and being pregnant.

Guest editorial: Behavior problem can be detected
By Carolyn Szetela, Ph.D., and Roger Zoorob, M.D., MPH • April 18, 2010

The recent news of a 7-year-old boy adopted from Russia and returned to his home country because of alleged behavioral problems calls to mind a new family struggling to find the routine, comfort and acceptance that helps most families function.

Whether a child is adopted, foster parented or raised by biological parents, children with significant behavioral problems should be evaluated for alcohol-related birth disorders, called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).

Alcohol is a teratogen, meaning that it can cause birth defects in the developing fetus. The level of risk is higher when alcohol is used in higher quantities and at critical times of fetal development. In the United States as well as Russia, the use of alcohol during pregnancy is common, and many pregnant women are not aware of the risks.

In the United States, about one out of every 10 women report drinking in the past month of pregnancy, and about one out of 25 pregnant women reports binge drinking of five or more drinks per occasion in the past month.

Children who have experienced foster care have higher rates of FASD. This may contribute to the findings of a recently announced Swedish study that more than half of 71 children adopted from Eastern European countries were affected by FASD.

Often overlooked problem

FASD is often overlooked and presents differently in every affected child and adult. It can manifest in mild to severe learning, mental, behavioral and/or physical disabilities. Children who are affected and their families often go through their lives without understanding the cause of their struggles to function and fit in, and without access to the interventions to help them manage.

While there is no single blood test or psychological screen that can tell if a person is affected, trained health professionals can typically identify when FASD is present and propose strategies and interventions for doing better. Meharry Medical College is host to the Southeastern FASD Regional Training Center, which urges more public attention to this health issue and trains health providers to identify and help manage the disorder.

It is not appropriate to offer an "armchair diagnosis" of the child spotlighted in the Russian adoption case, and multiple causes may influence any behavioral problems he may have. However, an FASD evaluation should be part of any child's health evaluation for persistent cognitive, developmental or behavioral challenges.

Parenting is difficult in the best of circumstances, and parenting high-needs children is sometimes overwhelming. When FASD is present, the question of blame is irrelevant. Acknowledging the possibility of FASD is an opportunity for the child and parents to understand the child's difficulties and help restore their best potential.

And one more thing: If you are pregnant or may become pregnant, remember that alcohol is a known teratogenic drug that targets the developing baby's brain. No mother wants to harm her child. FASDs are 100 percent preventable.

Carolyn Szetela, Ph.D., and Roger Zoorob, M.D., MPH are based at Meharry Medical College and the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders South East Regional Training Center.