Saturday, September 30, 2017

Daddy-Daughter Dance

Here are a few photos from before the dance:

Jasmine, 16, doing a little light make up. Thankfully she's not into make up and only consents to wearing it for special occasions. She's had to wear it for dance recitals in the past.

Kayla,12, ready to go.


Dad with his dates.

These following ones were taken at the dance, but the color washed out when they were scanned in.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Teen Court

Some of you have messaged me asking how the Teen Court program works. 

I am going to answer the questions here as I hope this information may help another parent who is going through some of the issues we were and who may find teen court works for that child. I don't know if every state or even every county has this program.

This program is for first time misdemeanor offenders to give them a chance to avoid the DJJ program.

So for Kayla, this is how it worked. (She is okay with me sharing this info). She and Kaleb had previously stolen quite a bit of money from myself and Tyler. He gave them warning that he would press charges the next time. 

The next time came too soon. Kayla took quite a bit of money from his shop money which was in my room in a box under my bed. She told him she needed to be to school early for band practice, so he dropped her off and then dropped off Jasmine and Kaleb at their schools. The trip home took him back close to Kayla's school. 

Ironically, it timed out that he saw her walking down the street with several friends loaded down with shopping bags from three stores and Burger King. It was only five minutes until school was supposed to start. He called to her, and she took off running. He called me, and I called the school. They were waiting for her when she arrived. She said the money belonged to one of the other girls. The principal separated them and questioned each one separately. The other girls all agreed it was Kayla's money.

She was in trouble with the school for leaving campus (quite a ways from campus too) once she had arrived and with us for the theft and also leaving school as well as lying about needing to be there early.

We attempted to return what she'd bought ($40 of soda, junk food and candy) but she didn't save the receipts and the shops wouldn't take it back. I put it away, and she snuck in, got it and ate much of it.

A police report was filed through the school resource officer, and she was turned over to teen court. This was at the very end of the school year. The next day she punched another student in the face and did not finish the year. Everything was scheduled to happen two weeks later which was just before our North Carolina trip and before she was to leave for mission camp, and we pleaded for her to be able to go so no one lost any of the $2,100. They agreed only if she'd have the homework done ahead. She was given a notebook that included information about shoplifting, different terms used in court and to describe crimes and some other things. She had to read them and answer questions. She had to write two short essays and one long one about the importance of goals and achievement. I had to coach her through that one. 

She did not complete the work and was told she had to go to DJJ. We again pleaded on her behalf. They let her stay in the program. She went before a jury of peers, there were also two teen lawyers. The jury was made up of kids who were also in the program. After the lawyers presented her case, the jury was allowed to ask questions, and all of them asked her why she thought it was okay to steal from family and why she'd bought so much junk food (the teen court lady had brought pictures of what she'd bought and also told them the total amount over all that had been stolen over the past few months that we know of).

The jury went out to discuss the case, then came back in and Kayla was assigned 32 hours community service, a 500 word essay about family,  a life skills class and four jury duty details.

Kayla was also interviewed by a child protection place, and since she was mad about having to give up soccer due to Saturday community service, she vented quite badly. So we ended up having to deal with DFCS. We voluntarily entered the Empowerment Parenting program, and they say we are their model family. They've suggested some of our ideas to other families even.

Kayla was told to report at 7:00 a.m. four Saturdays with work gloves, a lunch and a gallon jug of water. She late for her second community service and was given a strict warning but was allowed to stay. Then she was late again and turned away. That meant she not only had to make up that one, but she was given an extra one. And she was given a 500 essay about the importance of being on time.

And here's the problem. There are new kids in the program, so she couldn't do the make up days the following two weeks. She was bumped to September 23 and October 7. October 7th is the day that Jasmine, she and I chose for our girl's weekend out. The hotel is non refundable, so Jasmine and I will be going without her. This is not by my choice, but by her choice not to get up. She has to get herself up and get all her supplies ready. She also got smart with the sheriff in charge, who then requested she be removed from the program. For the third (and last!) time, we worked out the deal about the essay and extra week in order for her to finish the program.

So now she just has one community service day until she has completed the program. They have warned her that she has used up her one "get out of jail free" card very young. However, the stealing seems to have ended. She arrives home 5-10 minutes before the rest of us, and she has been responsible in getting the dogs out and fed before we get home. 

If she successfully finishes the last day of community service and does a few jobs she owes us, she will be able to try out for the middle school basketball team. She does have to bring her grades up to be eligible, but she has made a good effort.

Because she is missing the girls' weekend, I got tickets for Rick, Kayla and Jasmine for a local father-daughter dance. She doesn't know yet. It is Friday, and I will post pictures. I will say this ahead. Our girls wear nice church dresses for dances up until 9th grade. It was that way for both Jessica and Jasmine, and it will be that way for Kayla. Hopefully she will accept that Jasmine will be wearing a homecoming dress (it was Tuesday night, but Jasmine chose not to go due to too much homework so didn't wear the dress) and she will wear a church dress of her choice.

I meant to post this a couple of days ago, but got caught up in other things. So now you have the story. And I'll try to post dance photos a little more promptly.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Day Off School

Wednesday was a teacher workday, so we decided to swim/sun/eat/shop our way down the panhandle.

To make things better, we have two new-to-us vehicles, and I chose to drive Rick's because mine was full of merchandise for the shop. Due to finances, this had to be a low budget trip.

First stop was Taco Bell. Everyone got one item off the cheap menu.

A while later, everyone got one thing from the Dollar Tree for snack and we  drove on to find a good place to eat the snacks. We ran across Eden Gardens State Park.

 Part of the purpose of the trip was to find merchandise for our flea market shop, we we stopped at three Goodwill stores and a thrift shop. Sometimes Goodwill can be really expensive. We stopped at one that was a Home Decor store and things were $20-$60!! 

We planned to go to the beach, and we chose Henderson Beach State Park Beach.

 From Henderson Beach, I called the closest Cracker Barrel and ordered one meal with three sides. My kids know we have to share if we are going to eat somewhere like Cracker Barrel. Unfortunately I left my phone at the state park and didn't realize it until we got to Cracker Barrel. We went back and it was right where I left it.

We took the food to Destin Commons play area to eat. Then I let the kids wander around for 30 minutes on their own. They decided these stores cost too much and they liked Dollar Tree better.

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After another stop, we ended up at Dave and Busters which is a large and expensive video arcade, but I had points on my card from going with the adult children the Saturday night before. And Wednesday turned out to be half price day.
My points, my rules, and I said whatever we did, we all had to do it together. They didn't mind. In fact this day everyone was getting along great. Sometimes the twins shut Jasmine out and are pretty hateful to her, but today they all did great together. I think they are also starting to understand that as they earn trust, they earn privileges (like this day out) but that she has more privileges because she is four years older. And really she never takes advantage of any of them other than staying up later.

Jasmine and I also have a lot of history before the twins arrived. I've her her since birth and have taken her through at least ten surgeries. Those times were hard, but they were also bonding experiences as she realized she could totally trust me to look out for her.

They are already talking about the fun they are going to have on their next Wednesday off of school together.

Here are a few pictures from last Saturday night.

There were 12 of us in all, but we never got everyone in the same photo. Jessica had to work, so we all went to the restaurant where she works, but we were 8 minutes too late, we went to TGIF and she got there right as we were getting ready to leave .
 Unfortunately, Adam and Tara are not together anymore. It's been very off and on, and with Adam moving away for active reserves, things totally feel apart.
 Adam knocked his water cup over and into his pants. Not to be out done, Ty not only knocked his soda over toward me and my phone and camera, but the glass hit the pepper shaker and broke very dramatically.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Labor Day

We had great weather for Labor Day despite earlier forecasts that indicated we might have rain.

Tyler had to work, and Adam decided not to come even though he was in town because he brought a bunch of buddies with him and they didn't want to hang out. I'm okay with that. He and Tara are not together right now, but she probably would have come anyway, but had to work.

So we had Kayla, Kaleb, Jasmine, Rick,  Hunter, Jessica, River and Winter, Jessica's friend Delisa, and the four Millers. That was a perfect number for a fun day.

The twins love to kayak

They decided to share a kayak since someone had the other one

Winter hates to be ignored, and she had a lot of people to hold her at the bay

I couldn't catch her smile. I think the camera in my face confuses her.

River loves to swim. One of her other grandmothers has a pool, so all water is "pool." She will hand Jessica her swimsuit and say pool quite often now.

Aunt Kayla brings River back to shore because her parents were out kayaking

River loves corn, and the Millers brought corn on the cob

We had grilled chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs

Delisa admitted she'd never been on the jet ski. She's been to the bay with us lots of times, so I was surprised to hear that.

Winter naps in Joy's lap

Joy takes the jet ski out for a final run of the day

Right now it looks as though we could be in Irma's path, but we are hoping it turns out to sea and dies. Anyone get hit by Harvey? Or have fires in the area?