Monday, January 31, 2011

Don't Want to Go Through this Again

Most of you know that we had A LOT of problems with Jeff and Adam stealing while they were growing up. No one could leave a treat out or it would be gone. Then they started sneaking out at night and taking food from the cupboard. Whole boxes of it. We'd also find all kinds of wrappers hidden in their room for food we didn't have around the house, so people were missing a lot of things from their lunches. I always wondered if the kids knew someone took their chips or desserts or if they just thought the parents didn't pack them any.

It progressed to money, iPods, gameboys etc. It's been a long battle.

So when the twins came home and didn't steal, I was very relieved. I could offer them treats since they didn't steal them. That way I got to be the good guy.

But that has all changed very quickly. Kayla would take little trinkets of the girls and mess with them and we'd find them in her bed, but food wasn't an issue. Then last week--the day after Kayla got student of the month, she took her teacher's bag of M&Ms and hid in the bathroom eating them. The following Monday she went into the school during recess, went to a different kindergarten class and hid in there chewing gum from that teacher's desk. She must have just gone scrounging for something because she wouldn't have known there was gum.

We talked about taking other people's things. We talked about how that hurts their feelings and how it feels to have someone else eat your treat. We talked about how stealing makes your heart ugly etc. The next day Kayla took Jessica's M&Ms.

Last night most of us were at church, but the twins were home with Rick. He left the room for a couple of minutes and the twins went straight to the kitchen. Kaleb took two muffins that were set aside for Tyler for later. Kayla ate all the candy off of the gingerbread house. She had already had her share. She ate everyone else's share.

The thing that concerns me most is that they don't feel bad about taking the food. At all. They have lost all privileges for three days but that happened to Kayla last week and obviously it didn't phase her enough to keep from taking things again.

They also will have to play in their rooms for now since they can't be trusted to play in the play area which is right next to the kitchen. There is normally people all over the house, but no one actually sits and supervises them unless we are playing a game, reading books or working on their homework.

I asked Adam and Jeff separately how it felt to watch the twins start a stealing habit. Neither gave me an answer. I am hoping that they as they see the twins make these wrong decisions that they will realize how we felt when they were doing this. The twins haven't taken anything from Jeff and Adam yet though. Well, actually, I think Kaleb has taken Adam's gum before because Adam leaves it laying right on their dresser.

I hope we can get the twin's stealing habit stopped right now before it progresses to the point the boy's did.

We have tried talking to them.
We made Kayla use her money to replace the candy at school.
I will probably have them use their money to replace the gumdrops from the gingerbread house and buy a package of muffin mix. That's how it works in the real world.
They have their own treats. They have their own special stuff.

Anyone have anything that worked for them?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

99 Cent Gingerbread houses

Went shopping to find outfits for nine of us for the church directory picture next month. Jeff doesn't go to army boot camp until May 9 so he will be here too.
Didn't buy anything, but have ideas for what everyone will wear--sort of (at least colors). One thing I did find was gingerbread houses marked down to .99. All the kids except Tyler were hanging around the house plus Anthony so I figured someone would want to build the houses.
Jessica and Anthony built one.
Jeff and Jasmine built the other.

First team done.

I know that look. Hehehehe.


Wii is such hard work.

The boy loves his food : ) Actually I took this because he cooked tonight. I'll post photos and recipes next week.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One Year Celebration

We had three kinds of pizza along with bread sticks.

Jeff was trying to get Kaleb to finish his math so he could play Wii. Wii is kind of our reward for the twins. It gets them up and moving.

Jasmine put off reading her three books this month, and now she's hustling to be done by Friday.

Adam doing Spanish homework.

Done with math, ready to play.

Licking the beaters from brownies.

Done with Spanish.

Tyler doesn't get home until 7:20 on Tuesdays.

The bigger kids play more sit down Wii games.

Come on guys, get up and get moving!

The twins have been home a year now. They've made a lot of progress. They know most of their letters and the sounds they make. They are learning numbers to 25 plus addition and subtraction. They are learning to blend words.

When they first came home, the twins only had one volume and that was loud.

Now they can regulate loudness according to the activity.

They would also do something they knew was wrong and run away laughing.

For the most part they follow the rules now. They know they will stand at the wall if they don't. Kayla has started taking treats and shows no remorse which is a little worrisome, but hopefully having to use her money to replace the treats will soon grow old. It might not bother her until we go to Universal next month though. The kids are saving souvenir and treat money for that, and she will not have as much.

When they came home, the twins did not interact appropriately all the time with other kids. They were used to every man for himself. Now they mostly share, take turns and interact well. They will occasionally hit, and unfortunately Kaleb will occasionally hit a teacher and not think anything of it.

Kaleb is quite immature in his social behaviors. Kayla a little but not as much as Kaleb. I can really see this during basketball practice. The kids will line up to do a skill. They will take their shot or whatever, then go to the back of the line. Kaleb will dance around, spin in circles and have his hands all over other people instead of standing in line. Kayla will too but not as much.
(I know boys can be more immature but in comparison to the other boys on the team he is wayyy immature).

At first the twins thought nothing of creating a scene in public. Several time we took them to long events (school or church concerts) but only had them stay a half hour because that was their attention span. Rick would try to have them walk out quietly while the rest of us stayed, but they would kick and scream, unbuckle in the car, kick his seat and scream all the way home. They have learned that those behaviors don't get good results, so that rarely happens anymore. (If they did that, they would have to go immediately to bed with no snacks or books).

Both twins realize that we are their family. They are pretty good about not interacting with strangers, but the problem is that even though we tell kids not to talk to adults they don't know, adults who don't know the kids will come up and try to engage them. ALL. THE. TIME. Yes, sometimes I am rude because I try to steer the kids away, but the adult persists. If the twins engage with them I will say, "Do you know this man/woman?" loudly. And walk them away.

I know the people think I am rude. This is a really big problem at places like Universal or Islands of Adventure. I have made it a rule never to talk to child, only to the parent. If the parent and I have talked for a while like while we are standing in a long line, then I might say something to the child. But mostly not since we try so hard to teach them not to talk to strangers and I'm still a stranger even after standing in line together for a half hour. If a child talks to me, I steer the child back to his parents and remind him that he doesn't know me. This may sound overboard, but this is a case when it's better safe than sorry.

The twins tie their shoes, ride bikes without training wheels, make their beds and pick up their stuff. All the normal kid stuff. So all in all they are doing really well. They just don't have the experience in always knowing what is expected of them in certain situations, because they haven't encountered them before.

I am happy with the twins' progress and I know this coming year will be one of more growth and new experiences.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Last Year about This Time

Jessica and I were finally on our way home with the twins.

When we stopped at McDonald's, I couldn't get them through the door. Jessica was taking care of something else, so I was trying to get both to go into McDonald's. A whole group of people were waiting to get out by time I literally dragged them both in. That must have been a sight! What kids don't want to go to McDonalds? Once they got inside and saw the food and the big play area, no problem

Monday, January 24, 2011

Last Year at This Time and other Random Thoughts

First, the random thoughts.

Jeff wanted to go into the Marines, but since he didn't go to a traditional school and have all the same credits, they told him he'd have to have 15 college credits. Yet, he scored a 67 on his ASVAB and only a 32 is required for the marines. I think it's their loss. (The army requires a 31 so he was over double that). Today he has an appointment at 2:00 to find out what's next.

Jessica and Jasmine decided to figure out how to play chess. Mostly they took each other's pieces off until neither had enough pieces to checkmate the other.

Kaleb likes playing with the magnetic letters. I think I'll start giving him words to spell.

Tyler's half birthday was yesterday. When the kids were little, we'd bake a cake, cut it diagonal and stack the halves on top of each other to look like a half cake. Now we get cupcakes or small cakes--whatever Walmart happens to have. The Mardi Gras bear was for Tyler, and the little round cake was shared by the others. (None of us really needs that much sugar!)

A year ago yesterday, many of the orphans from FHG arrived at the Stanford Airport.

At that time everyone was happy thinking that we'd be united with our kids in just a few hours.

Life was a party.

But time passed and we got no word about the kids. No one was really sure if their children were on the plane or not. Here the parents are watching a video of the kids deplaning and trying to see if their kids are there.

The CO kids left and the rest of us waited. And waited. And waited.

Finally early Sunday, a few kids were released. But within 24 hours of the plane's arrival, things had come to a scretching halt.

A man from the pit of you-know-where decided it was his personal responsibility to determine that each of us was not only the legal family for the child, but fit parents. That had already been decided by our homestudy agencies and ibesr. But this man told us repeatedly that he was in charge and he would decide if the children were released to us.

Hours later, a few of us decided we'd go to where the kids were being held and "demand" to see our children. It had been well over 24 hours since the plane had landed. And we were all getting more and more upset with the wicked one. I think we were afraid we'd say something so rude we'd never get our children.

The kids were holding up better than we were.

Most of the kids snuggled up with their adoptive parents for the wait, but ours decided to start a three hour screaming/crying fit. (They only stopped because they finally fell asleep) During that time someone who should have been a help to us decided to come over and scream at me because I couldn't get the twins to stop screaming/crying and upsetting some of the other children. This was late Sunday night and I hadn't slept AT ALL since Thursday night. I bit my tongue, went into the restroom and called her a name that cost me $2 to the jar at home, and went back out. I would have gladly traded the twins for any other children in the room at that time.

Midnight came and went and it was Monday the 25th. Most of us had been at the airport since Saturday noon. I was panicking because Jasmine was preoping on Tuesday for surgery on Wed. The wicked one knew I needed to get home. He knew Katy needed to get her baby to the doctor. He released the two of us last--at 1:20 a.m. On the way out, he told me, "Well, it's been a trip." I think God sent an angel to personally shut my mouth. Just like the lions in the den with Daniel. I just said, "Not really. I wanted to spend some time with my daughter before she left for surgery."

More on the twin's homecoming tomorrow.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Basketball Action

Our team is Magic in blue.

The little guys/girls meet for an hour on Saturdays. First they practice for a half hour, then they have a game.

Getting instruction

I call this picture "clueless" which pretty much describes Kaleb most of the time. He just runs laughing up and down the court and has no clue what's going on around him. In this picture he has his arms sort of up like he's defending, but he's just spinning around in circles totally oblivious to the fact there is a basketball game going on behind him.

This was a pass to Kaleb, but since he was looking the wrong way it bounced off the side of his head!
I think that watching Kaleb play his first season of basketball might be pretty entertaining : )
(Of course I can't let him know that or he'll clown around on purpose for the attention)

Kayla knows what to do but she's not very aggressive. That's okay. She's learning teamwork. I think she'll do more as she gains confidence.

End of game