Why Fostering is EASY and the loving is hard…

Fostering is Easy.

My husband and I began our adventure into the crazy world that is the foster care system the end of last year. We received our first placement – a sibling set of newborn twins and a 1 year old – on December 1, 2017. A friend of mine came over about a month later. She and her husband had fostered for a couple of years and we were swapping stories of our limited experiences. (I’d only been at this for a month. She’d already tread these waters and survived to tell the tale.)

Our toddler was in meltdown mode. It was past her nap time and she had an audience… cue the Terrible Two’s. Every toy she saw seemed to require screaming, crying,  and arguing about (with no one in particular – an imaginary friend, maybe?) and me, trying to keep her from waking up the babies and have a conversation with my friend, all while maintaining a smile and still trying to keep my home in a somewhat non-pigsty type order. (There are seasoned foster parents laughing hysterically right now at my naivete… I did mention I was only a month in at this point, right?)

My friend then went all sage-ish on me and broke down the foster care system in 7 words. The sentence she spoke was tragic, enlightening, semi-freeing… and incredibly sad.

You don’t have to give her toys.

Huh?

I looked at her like she’d just informed me she’s dodging the feds and – should I ever need her – she’ll be hiding out in Mexico with her lesbian lover AND she’s not taking her precious baby boy because that’d be too inconvenient. (Yeah, it wasn’t a good look on me.)

Eventually, I got my mouth to form words again: Continue reading → Why Fostering is EASY and the loving is hard…

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When God Made You – a review

Now that my girls are older, I rarely get the opportunity to read children’s books.

Okay, that’s a lie…

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Image found on Flickr, Linda Jordon

On occasion (aka not so occasionally), you can find me sitting in my library/sewing/writing/soon-to-be-bed room reading Dr. Seuss — out loud.  (Not sure what it says about me that there’s a room in my house with an identity crisis) (Also, in case you weren’t aware…  out loud is the ONLY acceptable way to read a Dr. Seuss book!)

Since my girls are now 17 and 12, there aren’t many children’s books that I’m even willing to read, let alone take the time to re-read over and over again.  (Other than Seuss, obviously.)

For a book to achieve such an honor in my currently WAY overloaded schedule, it has got to be phenomenal.  To be honest, I would have told you such a book did not exist.

Turns out, I was wrong (again). Continue reading → When God Made You – a review

Father Found, Identity Now Missing.

A few years ago, my mom found out that her father wasn’t her father.   She and my uncle had taken a DNA test and it turned out he was her half-brother.

The relationship between my mom and grandma was already strained, so this bomb basically destroyed what little bit of communication still existed between them.  On the few occasions they did speak, it always resulted in my mom insisting on knowing who her real father is and my grandmother insisting that either the DNA results are wrong or the hospital gave her the wrong baby.

While this revelation tore my mom up inside, it didn’t affect me at all.   (Cue the stages of grief…)

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I had never known her father… my grandmother had remarried by the time I was born and I had always thought of my mother’s stepfather as my grandfather.  Even when my grandma divorced and remarried again, I considered her new husband my new grandfather.  (I’m pretty adaptable that way I guess.)

I barely let any of it bother me and continued on with my life.  After all, what did any of this have to do with me?

Whenever I visited either of them, I listened as my mom and grandma berated each other and recounted their side of the story over and over again.  Each defended themselves as if I was the judge & jury and they were trying to avoid the electric chair.  Still, it barely registered as a slight annoyance on my “things I’m going to stress about today” meter. meter down

Then the day came when I got this text:

Call me.  I have a dad.

Continue reading → Father Found, Identity Now Missing.

The Anger Management Experiment

In general, I’m a pretty quite person.   One of my best friend’s uncle nicknamed me “Mousy” because I’m too little and too quite.

I can spend an entire day not speaking to another living soul and be completely happy and content.  (Truthfully, I could do this for days and get a lot of reading, writing, knitting and work done.  It makes me feel accomplished and whole when I get to do all those things and bonus if I get to do it without interruption!)

Unfortunately, I can also be loud.  VERY LOUD!

My entire family is LOUD.  Which is something I never really noticed until I married my husband.  His entire family, including cousins, can fit into one room comfortably.

Mine can barely fit into one house.

And when we do, it’s sounds a bit like we could all use hearing aids.  We’re all trying to have conversations and be heard.  The volume goes up and up and up until children are covering their ears and neighbors are wondering if they should call the police.

We are not yelling at each other.

We are, however, speaking in upraised voices that force attention to the conversation and has been known, on occasion, to make babies cry.

This is normal.

It’s what we do.

How else are we going to be heard?

It’s a problem.

When I’m not heard in my little mousy tone, I get a little louder.  When I’m still not heard, I get even louder.  I continue to increase my volume until I feel I’m finally getting through and that’s the volume I stay at until I’m done saying what I need to say.

It scares my husband.

So I’ve decided to make a conscious effort to stop yelling and screaming to get his attention.

Great plan… no idea how to put it into motion.

We’re really caught in a cycle here.  It goes like this…

Me:  [Insert random thing] really hurts my feelings.

Husband:  [blank stare]

Me:  Seriously, I’m upset because [Insert random thing] really hurts my feelings.

Husband:  That’s stupid.

Me:  It’s not stupid, you’re not listening to me.  [Insert random thing] really hurts my feelings.

Husband.  Yeah, and that’s stupid.  Just stop feeling that way.

Me:  How can you say that to me?

Husband:  I love you.

Me:  I don’t feel loved because [Insert random thing] really hurts my feelings and you think it’s stupid.

Husband:  Well, that’s dumb.

Me:  You’re being a jerk.  I know it’s dumb to you, but it’s not to me.  I can’t just stop feeling that way and I need you to quit doing it.

Husband:  Okay.  I’m sorry, I won’t do it again.

Me:  Thank you.

Husband:  Can you not yell at me anymore?

Me:  You don’t listen until I start yelling.

That’s the basic format of our arguments.  The last one we had got really bad and my throat is still raw.

This is not healthy.  I know that.

And I don’t feel like an angry person, but after talking with another couple, I’ve realized that I definitely am.  I mean seriously, who isn’t automatically on the defensive when someone is raising their voice to them?  And even though I don’t feel angry when I first start raising my voice, I am by the time I’m done.

I have got to find another way to express myself.

I stayed up until 2 a.m. last night trying to figure out how I’m going to handle the next time I need him to hear me.  I still didn’t have it figured out when I woke up at 6.

I talked to my husband about it.  He had no idea and then he had to go to work.

This was me on the inside:

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Kinda the exact opposite of what I was going for…

So I got proactive and did what every normal person does these days…

I asked the Google fairies…

Apparently no one else on the planet has a problem with yelling at their spouse.  However, people yell at their kids A LOT!

Google has lots of suggestions for not yelling at your children.

While my husband and I can be pretty immature and act more like our kids ages than our own, I’m not so sure I want to approach my issue the same way Google tells me to deal with a child.

Or do I???

I found a site called the Orange Rhino challenge.  It’s a 365 day challenge to help mom’s stop yelling at their kids.

On it, there is a list of “Orange Rhino” Alternatives to Yelling.  It’s a list of 100 things you can do instead of yelling at your children.  I’ve decided to steal this list (or at least part of it since I don’t actually own any of the 50 Shades books and have no desire to) and try it on my husband the next time I feel like raising my voice.

If you don’t have time to take a look at the list, here are just a few of the things my husband has to look forward to:

  • The Hokey Pokey
  • Somersaults
  • Me banging my arms on my chest like a gorilla
  • Him being tickled
  • Me flushing my screams down the toilet

I figure I’ll either get his attention or he’ll put me in a psychiatric hospital.  Either way, it should be interesting… and fun… and much better for my throat!

Wish me luck and I’ll let you guys know how it goes!

 

Note to Self: You’re failing miserably at…

So I basically suck at blogging.

If you found this blog when I started it last summer, then you may have noticed that I went from posting almost daily to  being almost eerily silent.  You may have also noticed that I’ve occasionally changed a background or something, but haven’t bothered to even post a quick “hey y’all, how’s it goin’?” since November .

Of course, it’s more likely that you barely noticed I’ve been gone at all – much like the tabs on my page that I just discovered disappeared at some point during my tinkering.

Oh, before I forget…

Hey y’all!  How’s it goin’?  

And now back to our regularly scheduled blog post…

No excuses, no reason, I’m just failing at being a blogger.

It’s not for lack of trying, or for lack of something to say.  (I’ve always got something to say!)   It’s just that I can’t stay focused on writing a post.  I start, then stop to browse other themes, then start on a completely different post, then move on to whatever in my real life requires me.

The number of unfinished drafts I have saved on my laptop is actually a little embarrassing.

But it’s not just blogging.  I’m really starting to think I may be failing at life in general.  (Yep, that’s right — you get a grade for this life thing.)

So let’s start with the last thing I posted about…  NaNoWriMo.

I won!  YAY!  I didn’t fail at writing a novel in 30 days!  I’m so amazing…

After finishing the first draft of my novel in November, I tucked it safely away in it’s little Scrivener folder and moved on to my next unfinished project.

Much like this blog, I’ve visited my NaNo novel many times and even done some editing here and there…  but that’s as far as it’s gone.  At this rate, it might be ready for a first reader somewhere around the year 2040.

So “F” number #1 goes to…  failing miserably as a novelist.

Let’s move on to “F” number #2, shall we… Continue reading → Note to Self: You’re failing miserably at…