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.