Friday, August 31, 2012

That Kind of Week

It's been one of those weeks, ya know? 

Last Friday one child pulled seven tags at school. Four times deliberately sat backwards in his chair rocking it. Ignored directions. Refused to work. So he brought a whole pile of papers home. Here we are a week later, and they are still not done. He's had to sit and work on them while others play Wii, watch movies etc because those things are only for after all work is done. Missing those things was not a motivator. He sits and refuses to do them. He is determined to win at all costs. What will he win by not doing them? Um, maybe getting his own way, but missing out on all the fun. I don't play the game. I tell him, "You will sit there. Do them or not. You are the one who has to face the teacher." 

Another thing that happened this week concerns Tyler. He has not been successful in getting a job. He wanted to go in the Air Force. He's been running, doing push up and sit ups and studying for the ASVAB (military test). He took the ASVAB and did great. He meets all the physical fitness requirements. But, he is mildly aspergers, which is a mild form of autism and no one with autism is allowed in any branch of service!!! You can have all sorts of other issues. I have a RAD child in the army. But they don't ask about that. There's a lot of things they don't ask about. But autism is on the list. We talked to multiple recruiters to find a way around it, but there isn't one. So now he needs a job. But really he needs a career. He's even willing to move as long as he  has a place to stay and some money. So if you have any ideas....

Then there's Jasmine. She failed all three sections of the FCAT. The reading one was a surprise because she tested at the top the previous two years. They changed strategies this year, and she did not do well. She may not have understood what she was to do. Anyway, her two electives--band and chorus--were replaced by intensive reading and intensive math. That's a second hour of math, it doesn't replace math. But then we found out she could get a PE waiver and be in intermediate band with her friends. 

But this week they decided her intensives have to be in a two hour block--Language arts followed by intensive reading, math followed by intensive math. Why this is I have no clue. And I've asked. And the answers make no sense. Especially since she's in resource for math. They feel two hours in a row is more effective. That means she has to be in math at the same time band meets. So they put her back in beginning band. Even though she moved up to intermediate. Even though she went to summer band camp. Even though she took lessons all summer.

There is no fighting it. Basically, it's a charter school, and we are there by choice. If we don't like their decisions we are welcome to go to the public school. So, I've told her to just be the best drummer in beginning band.

The high point of our week was, of course, kayaking in our yard and down the street.

Since I don't have any new pictures to go with this post, I took pictures of the furry members of our family, Shy is still missing (the tiger cat with crossed eyes). It's been almost three weeks, so I think he's gone.

 Scrappy is still hanging in there. He is 13 and has heartworm disease, arthritis and respiratory issues. But he is still as sweet as ever. It's hard to watch a pet get old and struggle : (

 Caspian is 18 months old.

Max is 13 years old.

Kiara is 8-9 months old. They said she wouldn't get much bigger. Ha! She almost doubled in size. She is really hyper, and she's so big and rough that she scares Caspian even though we got her to be a playmate for him. He has a tiny mouth and hers is huge. She can put  his whole head in her mouth! And she tries.
When we took Caspian to meet her at the shelter, she was little and shy. Seemed like a perfect match. I hope she calms down some.

She's playful, and she's not mean. She's just big and hyper.

These furry family members make me smile.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Making the Most of It

The storm went west of us. We had just a little rain and wind. Mostly the storm surge and high tide put the bay into our yard and road. I got the kids up and sent them outside because how often do you get to kayak in your yard and road. Normally we don't have access to the bay near us.
It started this deep and got deeper as the time passed. Soon it was up to Kiara's (puppy) chest.

Caspian wasn't sure about all the water at first. But then he started enjoying it.

Kiara loved the water. So did Adam! It was still pretty shallow at this point.

The back yard was probably the deepest place.
Playing limbo under the trampoline.
The dogs decided they liked running free.

Tyler and a neighbor paddled through a few yards and right out into the bay! This is the only time we can access the bay!

Our back steps. Actually they should be our front steps but the people put the house in with the front of the house at the back!
Lots of little water snakes to keep us company!

This is a colony of fire ants together trying not to drown. Ugh. Go ahead and drown!

This is the only thing that worries me. I hope there is nothing on the floor that will get ruined. Also something happened and we don't have electricity at the back of the house--our bedroom and bathroom.
Kiara decided to take the kayak out for a ride.

Caspian climbed into the kayak with Tyler.

I talked Adam into jumping off the trampoline into the water so I could get a picture. 

And Tyler.
Kaleb with neighbor.

So that's how we spent the morning. It's beautiful out, but everyone has showered (including the dogs) and are inside now. Some of the kids are watching Racing Stripes.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Week Two

Today starts the second week of school for the younger kids and Jessica's first day as a college junior and her first day at FSU.
Our day starts around 5:15. I stagger out to the kitchen and start breakfast. I set everything out that I can the night before. Today we had hot oatmeal. Last night I measure the water into the pan and covered it and left it on the stove so I just had to turn it on. I measured out the oatmeal into a left over container so I just had to pour it in. The bowls, cups and bananas were already out as was the pan for the sausage.  I am not a morning person. The others get ready while I do this. Once I turn on the big kitchen light it means it's 5:30 and time to come out. Until then only the little stove light is on

Breakfast is easy--Monday-hot cereal, Tues- cold cereal, Wed-toast and peanut butter, Th-poptarts, Fri-whatever we decide on. We have fruit at breakfast, and this year I added a meat for protein. The twins were eating their lunch on the bus and pretty much it's a lack of control, not hunger, but I added the meat to fill them up more. The bus driver makes them leave their backpacks at the front of the bus because of the problems last year.

Rick, Jasmine, Adam (and Jessica on M and Th) have to be out the door at 6 a.m. or very shortly after.

The twins have to be out the door at 6:20. That will probably change to ten minutes earlier once the routes are set.

Jessica is excited about her underwater crime scene investigations classes and scuba class.

Adam has started cross country practice. He is deciding between military and college next year. He'd do fine at either.

 The hurricane dumped plenty of rain on Haiti.
 Those still in tent cities were hit hard.
It looks like the hurricane may go west of us, but we'd still get wind and rain. Either way, we are more or less ready.

We live near a bay. Although we can't access it or benefit from it, our yard floods from it anytime there is a tropical depression or storm. Maybe the kids can kayak in the yard again. They are talking about cancelling school tomorrow.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sunny Day, Hurricane Ahead

 It was a beautiful Saturday, so two of the girls and I headed to the pool. We didn't have any rain all day!!!! Amazing.

 Kayla swimming. She can swim a few strokes but panics. We'll pick up from there next summer.

 Jasmine can almost swim a length with breathing. Next summer we'll streamline her stroke and add some endurance. 

Jessica and I were suppose to swim a 3/4 mile open water swim this morning but my knee has not healed even though it's been 7 weeks. I'm beginning to wonder if it will ever heal!

 Kayla coming off the slide.

 Jasmine coming off the slide.

This is kind of like "Where's Waldo" but it's really "Where's the lifeguard?" I could not believe there was not a lifeguard paying any attention to the pool. Tell me if you see the one guard for the whole pool.

The hurricane dumped rain on Haiti. Many of the people in the tent cities lost their tents and everything they owned. They had to stand all night because of the flooding in the tents. It's now on a path toward us but it's hard to complain much since the worst that could happen is that we'd have to evacuate. It would be inconvenient and we haven't budgeted for it, but we could do it.

Even if we lost our house, we could start over somehow. We are in a four bedroom manufactured home, and while it's not a dream house, it's adequate for us. Our kids have never been in need. They all have medical care and so do our pets. That seems really weird to the people in Haiti who can't believe we really have doctors for dogs when many of them don't have medical care for their children.

We are blessed.

Hope you are all having a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hanging Out

The kids haven't had much work the first couple days of school, so we've been able to hang out in the evening and not deal with the stress of homework yet.

 Jessica and I went to the store and loaded up on fresh fruits and vegetables for school lunches and for stew for last night's supper. We added homemade Amish noodles from Shipshewana to the soup.

Adam was gone when we did the homemade strawberry shakes during the summer, so we made those again. 

 Yes, Tyler is drinking his shake while playing Wii. Maybe the calories don't catch up with you that way.


 Jessica and Adam decided to play a competitive game, but I think there was a whole lot of cheating going on. Both players are supposed to be on the mat! "Oops. Did I bump you?" (Lots of fake innocence!)

Jasmine was at drum lessons, but we saved her some shake.

You don't see Kaleb in these pictures, because he has decided he is deathly allergic to strawberries. It started when a neighbor was watching the twins and gave them strawberries for snack. He'd wanted something else. 

Then he told them that at camp because he wanted something different (which didn't happen, but he didn't eat the strawberries). 

He insisted that he couldn't pack strawberries in his lunch for today. So when it came time to make the shakes, he already knew he wasn't getting any because he'd just said he couldn't eat strawberries.  He got a little popcorn instead and did play Wii. He's just not in the pictures.

Kayla is not in the pictures because she has really gotten much, much worse about taking other people's treats. Today I set out four cereal bars for school snacks. She packed hers, then she grabbed Adam's and ran off and ate it. Hid the wrapper. Lied about it. Then she got hers out of her lunch and ate half of it. She has to take her lunch in a stapled paper bag, but I hadn't stapled it because they were taking tuna sandwiches and I always make those in the morning so the bread doesn't get soggy. And I don't always put the snack in so she doesn't open her lunch at snack and eat the whole lunch.

Lest you think she takes the food because she's hungry, she'd already eaten the grapes in the first picture when I told he she could have some for after school snack. So she had to give Adam her shake to make up for the cereal bar he doesn't have for school today. 

And she has to mop the kitchen floor this week to pay back Jessica's special candy she ate and doesn't have money to replace (not to mention it was homemade candy Jessica had saved from Shipshewana). 

And she's cleaning the bathroom for Tyler this week for about the same reason. And it doesn't even faze her. While she was mopping the kitchen floor, she was trying to get Jessica's candy she'd brought back from the movie theater and set down.

I went through this with two of my boys for twelve years and was so glad to be done with it, and here we go again!! This time I'm not taking it personally, and I'm making it her problem not mine. A lot less stress and anger that way. 

She's no longer allowed in the kitchen unless someone is with her. That doesn't keep her from sneaking out, but everyone is getting better about watching her at all times because it is just so disappointing for them to have saved something special for themselves for later and to find it gone. And many times it's something Kayla had too, but ate hers right away. Like she had a piece of chocolate cake, but Tyler said he'd rather have his later when he wasn't so full and could enjoy it more. He went back later and there was one bite left. She'd eaten her and then snuck back and ate his. And there was none left to give him.

Well, I didn't really plan to talk that much about Kayla's stealing on an open blog, but probably many of you adoptive parents have dealt with this too. And it has been such a problem this week. To the point that all the kids are upset with her. They've tried to tell her how it feels to save something and have it taken, but she gives them the ugliest sneer. Ah. Life. 

It's so much better when they are having fun together and everyone is getting along. And thankfully five of them were interacting well together last night.

 He's goofing. He's not really mad at her.

She enjoyed the shake!