Wow, it's been a long time

Wow- it's been a long time since I've posted. Guess I haven't had any thoughts worth sharing since last March. That, or I just haven't had the time (or desire) to sit and type about them.

Anyhoo, a few big post-worthy things going on here. At least I think so. Firstly, we got a puppy. That makes three dogs. Doesn't that qualify us as a farmette or something? Petting zoo? Sure feels like it. Our new addition is a poma-poo. Another 'designer breed' for us 'designer' folks. His name is Mickey and he came from a local no-kill shelter & what a sweetie he is. Now if he would just stop peeing and JUMPING THE FENCE. Little bugger. He isn't much taller than my ankle, but can bounce like a kangaroo and up over the fence he goes. No worries, he now gets tethered to a dog stake in the ground. Enough trying to find a black dog in a neighborhood without street lights. Good times.

Secondly, the middle dog, Henry, our goldend00dle knocked me down the stairs a few weeks ago and I landed on my back with a lumbar sprain. Nothing like lumbar spasms to put you out. I have a new respect for those with chr0nic back pain. Not fun. At all. The heating pad is my friend. And I now think out jetted tub was the best purchase we ever made. I'm on the mend and I'm a mom, gotta suck it up and move on. Besides, my sweet (ahem) son told me I was "lounging around and telling everyone what to do" - gotta love that. Yep, he got an earful for that one.

And lastly, and most importantly, I HAD THE TALK. What talk you ask? THE TALK. I did it. I dreaded it. Like contemplated a few drinks before doing it, dreaded it. But I did it (without alcohol too).

I posted about a book a few years ago but have had it tucked away above the refrigerator since then because he (I) wasn't ready. Well, two weeks ago when we had a quiet afternoon (hubby occupied the little lady) we sat down with the book. I broke the book into sections and read it over several 'sessions'. Before each discussion I reiterated the importance of him NOT sharing the information discussed with other kids, as it is their parents decision when to discuss it with them. I made him repeat it too. Oh Lord, I hope he listened.

I highly recommend a book for the discussion, if for nothing else, to avoid eye contact. Seriously. I'm a nurse and was anxious about talking about erecti0ns. The book covered everything from what happens to girls and boys bodies during puberty (and EVERYTHING that goes along with that), anatomical pictures, S T diseases, family values, adoption and reinforces what "good and bad touch" means. Certainly covered more than I would have thought to talk about. There were two cartoon characters, a bird & bee of course, who started the book and commented throughout and my son chose to be their voice and it kept the discussion silly - which was much needed. Mostly for me. My son enjoyed learning about the 'facts' and even thanked me. Yep, you read that right. My 10-year-old THANKED ME. A miracle I say.

Now that we finished our discussions we have told the little man that if he has ANY questions and is embarrassed to ask to write it down and stick it in an envelope for us and we will respond in writing - assuming he wouldn't want to talk about it.

Whew!. It's over. That's all I can say about the talk. One down and one to go (a few years away thankfully). The second time around can't be as bad as the first. Right?

...Just in case you've wondered why my hubby didn't have 'the talk' with the boy - well, he believes he can learn about the facts of life from his friends like he did. So tag, I'm it.

...FYI, it was NO WHERE as bad as I had anticipated. I HIGHLY recommend a book with comics. Or alcohol. Whichever works.

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Lessons from jumping rope

Learning life lessons from our children is one of the blessings of parenthood - but you need to be paying attention to get the message. I wanted to share one here. For Christmas our little lady got a jump rope in her stocking which she used as a belt or tied it to things to pull around. A few weeks ago she decided to use it for its intention - jumping.

Day after day after day she practiced. We watched give it her all as she hook it around her ponytail, her neck, her legs, kitchen chairs, toys, the dogs or whatever was in her way as she tried to jump the rope. We would cheer her on, but at times it was painful to watch her lack of progress, knowing how hard she was working. However one day as I was REALLY paying attention to what she was doing, I noticed how happy she was to just be trying. A smile of pure joy was on her face and she was having FUN. Yep, she was having fun as she tried. I know this isn't a new concept - but sometimes I need a reminder and If I wasn't paying attention I would have missed it - the lesson - it's not about conquering something new, it's about remembering to enjoy the whole process, stumbling and all.



If I never again, I'll be better for it...

Yesterday we had my sister J's intervention. Not something that I ever want to do again - I'm not a fan of confrontation. No professional was contacted, but we did do our homework on how to host (sounds like a party) an intervention - from the ambush, letters, expectations, immediate treatment options and consequences. The big consequence if she didn't accept our help was legal action to get K out of her care.

J seemed relieved and she agreed to all our our expectations. As of today, she has made the first steps to getting well. She is at my parent's home now with K and no access to, well, anywhere without supervision since she is sans vehicle and license.

Oh yeah, and of course crack-head-good-for-nothing boyfriend (K's dad) has been calling and bullying J since she was the only paycheck between the two of them. He has said that we have "brainwashed her" and that she "has left him to die alone in the hotel." Yep, that was our goal (sarcasm here).

Keeping my fingers crossed.


First day of preschool

OK, the last two posts were a little negative, so I needed to post something positive. The title of the 'Saint I am not' post has a little story behind it that I'll be sure to share later - it has to do with my mother & her praying the finish off of her rosary beads.

After a zoo-of-a morning getting pony tails in, hunting for lost shoes, shoveling in breakfast, teeth brushing and picture taking.... Miss K had her first day of preschool. I've provided a little glimpse of the munchkin with her pigtails. Boy, was she squealing with excitement. My other sister, K, went out yesterday & bought my neice, K, new shoes, clothes and winter coat for her first day of school (in the picture, K was stomping her feet so she could see her new sneakers light up - sweet).
**Off topic: my Mom, step-Dad, sister and I will be having a little intervention with J this weekend. The cards will be placed on the table with what we are willing to help her out with - of course, her drug problem will be addressed. If she doesn't acquiesce, we will step in legally on K's behalf. Scott will be taking the kids out for the sh!t-hitting-the-fan party.


A saint I am not

Since K has been here my patience has been tried a hundred times over. Every day has been a challenge. Juggling two toddlers a 9 yr old, with activities, homework, work schedules and everything else that comes along with parenting, I'm exhausted. I had no idea that one extra child would kick my arse. By time the kids go to bed, I'm nearly dragging myself to my bed & flopping, often without even changing clothes (I'm lucky to brush my teeth). My kids are also showing signs of emotional wear from K's neediness - I'm reminding them daily to stop parenting her.

Probably my greatest challenge has been having to control my feelings about my sister. J cleans houses and gets there by walking from the seedy hotel each morning to get a ride from a coworker. She calls my house daily from the people's homes where she is cleaning. (!!!!!) Seriously - what is beneath my sister? Back to my frustration. I keep composure with J because she can be impulsive and spiteful with little care of anyone, so I tread those waters lightly not wanting her to say, I'm (pestering someone for a ride) coming up there & getting my daughter. If it were to come down to that we would have to get Children & Family Services involved, get an attorney & Lord knows what headaches that would entail.

So, I bite my tongue when I have to buy K socks, pajamas, clothes, toothbrush because she doesn't have any. I bite my tongue when I helped K out of the van a few days ago and she says "Cops are nice, they help me out of the car...Cops are nice...they took my mommy's car...daddy went to jail" or when we're in the car playing a kid's CD & K says my favorite song is W0manizer by Spit-in-me Beers (get it?). Not to mention the umpteen times she has said "Shut up....This sucks...You're stupid" or any other lovely words that fly out. I cringe. I act as if all is well when dingbat J calls even though I feel like chewing her a new one.

And lastly, evidence to prove I'm no saint. If you asked me if I cared about what people think of me, I'd answer 'No'. However, that statement isn't all true, because many times this week, I have been embarrassed by K's actions in public. I know this is terrible to think this way about an innocent little girl (as I said, I'm no saint), but it's true. Example: while waiting for my son to finish his guitar lesson last night, K was lying on the floor, taking off her shoes & socks, sticking out her tongue at me, jumping off the steps (that has a bold sign above that says 'Keep children off the steps') as she was telling me to "shut up" and squealing as she ran from me, I wanted to say aloud "come on honey, let's call your mommy" just so those watching our dysfunctional circus would know that I'm not her mom. And by the way, I had my daughter at the dr's yesterday and she acted the same way and even the pediatrician stepped in & corrected her. A loooooong day.

I feel frustrated, and guilty because I feel that way. I feel horrible because I say 'No' to K so many times throughout the day. I try to redirect, but I'm not very successful at that. I could use a drink, and I'm not much of a drinker. Maybe just an afternoon away and a pedicure would suffice.

Note: Next week's activities K will be going to my mom's.


And one more makes THREE....

Wow, where to begin? My sister, J, is a mess. Serious mess. J is the mother of four kids, three by her husband, who she divorced 6 yrs ago & one by the drug-addicted boyfriend, M, who she was sleeping around with while she was still married. Get all that? Like I said, she's a mess. Thankfully she left her three children with her husband who is a hard worker and dedicated dad - she had never been in any shape to care for her kids - she also is a drug addict. That leaves K, my sister (and M's) 3 yr old daughter.

Over the last 6.5 yrs since J left her husband & three older kids, she has bounced from one apartment to another, one job to another and is always finding herself in a bind, asking my parents for cash, rides, food or whatever. She and M do not have driver's licenses (both revoked) or a car - due to lifestyle and choices. As of last summer J, M & K have been living in a one bedroom apartment with 'friends' who are fellow drug users & heavy drinkers. Then in December, J calls my mom & tells her she is sleeping on someone's couch and that she & K needed somewhere to go. My mom picked them up, provided them with food & clothes and offered them a place to live. All is well right? Nope, see there's still t he drugs. J & K didn't stay there long.

For the past two weeks J, M & K have been living in a seedy motel room with another 'friend' - one room, one bed and three drug-addicted adults and a three year old girl. Not good. So last week, after several sleepless nights, Scott & I decided to track J down and offer for K to stay with us until she gets her life in order. Which could be three months or never. She willingly agreed - she seemed relieved that she didn't have to deal with the responsibilities of a child anymore.

Needless to say, because of J's lifestyle, we don't have a close relationship - which means we have had to really get to know K since they moved in with my mom & over the past few days. Sadly, the neglect is really evident in her lack of social skills & poor diet. We are having the battle of wills to allow her to exist on milk & buttered noodles or candy.

Our little man is feeling bombarded with little girls & we've allowed him to have his boundaries & space (girl free) and he seems satisfied with that. Our little lady is having fun with a constant friend (who is learning how to interact & enjoying it), but will sometimes turn to me & ask when K is going home. We're trying to keep the kids busy, so K gets caught up in the fun & then gets worn out for a good nights rest - she seems to be OK that she is here with a bed to sleep in & toys to play with. So damn sad.

What a flipping saga. This seems like a good place to vent & surely they'll be much more venting ahead, and hopefully good stories of progress too.

Drugs suck.


Mock elections gone bad

You know how many schools hold 'mock elections' for kids to participate in? Well, that's all well & good...great even, to teach kids to learn about and to get involved with the election process. But there's more to the election process and political parties than casting a ballot & those lessons are just as important, if not more so. My nephew, who is in 5th grade, had a mock election and when three kids who voted for the 'other candidate' heard who he voted for, they beat him up. CRAZY. This makes me sad for so many reasons. I hope that his school takes this unfortunate situation and turn it into an opportunity to teach about civility.