Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Science Paper Crafts

This looks like fun!

If you're homeschooling and your child needs an activity to reinforce a concept learned in science, this could be a great resource.

You can see how earthquakes destroy buildings, build paper dinosaurs or even the moon. There's so much fun to be had with these free printables!

http://cp.c-ij.com/en/contents/2024/list_15_1.html

Wayside Shrines in Poland

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Life Value Scripts

Need help remembering TBRI principles? Check out this neat printable:
empoweredtoconnect.org/wp-content/uploads/Life-Value-Scripts.pdf

Adoptive parenting tip #8: Survival Mode


I've posted about our 1st year home experience before (click here for link), but I feel the need to discuss it some more now that we have a little more distance from that time in our lives.

Expect to be in survival mode for at least for the first year home with your adopted child (the full 12 months). For us, survival mode was longer-about a year and a half, because of Smalls' complicated trauma history. She didn't know that she needed to be adopted and she didn't know about us coming to adopt her. Those are two HUGE things that her brain had to process in America and not in her familiar surroundings with people she sort-of trusted.

What is survival mode? What did that look like in your family?

My definition of survival mode is trying to make it one day at a time without going completely insane. You are living in the moment at all times and it's hard to plan for future events or even think about getting dinner ready. You are constantly managing one chaotic event after the next. Smalls gets mad because I said that she couldn't watch TV right now, but instead go get a book or a toy so we can play together. She throws a fit. She starts picking at her cuticles as a release for dopamine. She grits her teeth and stomps up to her room. And as a new mom to her, I'm trying to get her regulated so we can talk about all of these feelings that are coming up. I run after her to her room and the damage is already done. She has broken a toy and her fingers are bleeding from her self-destructive behavior. She also used the bathroom on the rug in her anger. In the first year of being home, these moments happened frequently for us. I felt like I was just getting her regulated so she could become dysregulated again or helping her to clean up a mess from her rage. It was a cycle that we had to break.

There were days that I skipped meals because I was so focused on taking care of Smalls. She couldn't eat by herself; she didn't know how. By the time meal time was finally over, she was in a rage and I was back to trying to get her regulated. Getting a child regulated who has never been is not an easy task. It could take an hour or two over a small incident. It was hard to take care of myself during this time. I had to put forth a lot of effort and frankly I had no effort left at the end of the day. We had grandparents come and watch Smalls for a few times. It was nice but we definitely reaped the wrath after the visit was over. Smalls would be ten times worse than before, so was respite care really worth it?

I felt terrible during this time. I was a stay at home mom (except on Saturdays when I went to work). As some of my friends would say to me, "I had plenty of time to get stuff done". Dinner was never ready. I would constantly apologize to Wes about not having a clean house or not doing a simple thing he had asked me to do. He understood completely and did not criticize me about not being a good "stay at home mom". I almost wanted to start applying for full time jobs, so I could put Smalls in a daycare facility, but who's going to take an 8 year old at a daycare? Is that even legal? She is suppose to be in school, but what grade? Pre-k? She's never been in that type of environment and she would probably get kicked out real fast. And besides my salary would have probably just covered the tuition and I would literally just work to send her away from me which was not good.

Everyday I would call Wes. I would cry on the phone about how terrible the day is going and ask what to do when Smalls acted this way or that way. He knew it was a terrible day when I called him three or more times. Usually after the third time he knew it was not going to get better, Wes would come home and help me. Looking back on that time, I am very thankful Wes did not have a demanding position because I'm sure he would have gotten fired for being on the phone with me and having to leave work without notice several times a month.

It was hard to wake up in the mornings. For me, the mornings were the worst. It was like an impending doom. I didn't want her to wake up because I knew the tornado would hit before I had a chance to get coffee. And besides, I was so tired from the night before. Smalls didn't sleep. She was so hypervigilent. I was on her schedule, which was so tough. Go to bed at 11pm or 12am and then wake up at 5 or 6am. I needed sleep! And taking a nap was not an option. Between all of the meltdowns and catastrophes, it was time for bed.

During this survival time, I've never felt so alone. Our parents checked on us from time to time, but having someone who has gone through this to understand would have been gold! No one brought us meals like you would when someone has a baby. No one gave us an "adoption shower" with toys and other things needed. I felt bitter about all of the baby showers I participated in and brought gifts to the new mom and dad. It wasn't fair. I started reaching out to groups that are online for support. They have encouraged me and have given me strength when parenting Smalls. They understood what I was going through. I have found a lot new friends this way. (I probably have more online friends than friends that I meet up with in person. Yikes!) I couldn't find a lot of blogs that talk about how hard it is to experience the first year. Not a lot of people, and I can understand why, who are sharing their lives regularly about living with a traumatized child. It's hard to be open in a public forum and it's even harder to find the time to write a post. I'm sure I get negative words about my blog, but I write this stuff for future parents who need encouragement from someone who has been there and done it. I want this blog to be a resource for others who are coming behind me and not feel alone.

I read books during this time. I really don't know how I found the time to read, but I did. I think I was just so desperate for answers, I made it a priority. Reading books on trauma and adopted children gave me a lot of wisdom to get through the first year. I even re-read books, The Connected Child, to see if I missed something and to keep reminding me of those principles.

I could probably keep going on about every detail of our first year for days....

Any advice for parents in survival mode?

Go easy on yourself. You are not perfect. In the past year I couldn't count how many times that I messed up and by messed up, I mean said an ugly word to Smalls or not parent with grace and compassion. I wish I could go back and undo some of the things that I've said or done, but I've asked for forgiveness from Smalls and started anew again.

You will get burnt out parenting a traumatized child. Schedule alone time for yourself, whether you close your door for 30 minutes while your child plays in their room or go crazy and hire a babysitter for a night out on the town.

You will feel so tired at the end of the day and that's okay, if everyone is still alive, fed, and was told that they were loved that's good enough (notice that I didn't put bath on the list). These kids will suck the life out of you. I'm pretty sure they have magical powers that can drain you physically and mentally.

It's okay that you don't feel love for your child during this year. I'll be honest and admit that it was very hard for me to feel that love. Smalls would defy everything that I said and did (on purpose!), just to make me mad or get a rise out of me. It takes patience to not hurt someone like that. Just the other day we were getting ready for the splash park and were going to have a snack before we left. I ask Smalls to choose from 3 different types of foods and she said she wanted chips. I gave her the choices again and boom! just like that, she went into full tantrum mode. I, unfortunately, had to choose for her and that made her so mad. When she used the bathroom later, she used it on the toilet (not in the toilet, but on the toilet-big difference). And then we had a big talk about using words and not behavior. She wanted me to feel angry at her for using the bathroom inappropriately because I mad her feel angry because I didn't give her the choice of chips. Moments like these are what frustrate me the most, but I know if I handle these types of situations appropriately, I am rewiring Smalls' brain to function better in society.

Find others around you who have experienced this survival mode feeling. Sure, you could talk to your social worker about all of the problems, but most social workers that I know have never adopted (might just be a regional thing in my area, so I can't say for all areas) and they were not as helpful as I would have liked. Finding parents who have gone through this would be an amazing resource for you. They will not (should not!) judge you for your crazy stories about your child.

Wow, this post is getting long.

Hang in there! It is an ugly fight. As my mom would frequently tell me, "you are getting poison out of this child. it will take time for all of it to come out". She uses the word "poison" to refer to all of the trauma, abuse, and neglect that the child has endured. If you need someone to chat or pray with you, please email me.

You can do it!

How Anxiety Leads to Disruptive Behavior

50 Games and Activities that deal with Anger

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Adoptive Parenting Tip #7: When the strategies don't work

Alright, you've been through all of the adoption classes that were required. You've read the books. You've followed blogs about parenting adopted children. You are prepared. You're the best adoption  parent ever!

And you have a completely terrible day with your adopted child and you don't know what to do. None of the strategies that you've learned are working. Your child can't regulate him or herself.

You are at your wits end. What should you do?

Grab a cup of coffee, put on a movie for the youngster and go through these 8 questions:

1. When did the behavior begin?
2. What was happening in the days just before the behavior started?
3. Is the child learning a new skill?
(reading, riding a bike, learning addition, etc...)
4. Has anything changed at home?
5. Is a parent working more or traveling?
6. Is there any change coming up in the family?
(moving, remodeling, new babysitter, new school year...)
7. What does the parent think is going on with the child?
(looking past the behavior and into the motive)
8. What positive connecting behaviors is the child engaging in with the parent?
(eye contact, touching, wanting to be close by, etc...)

These are 8 "magic" questions to help you figure out what is going on inside your child's brain. When Smalls can't regulate herself and she won't allow me to help her regulate, I have to take a step back and put my emotions aside and figure out what's going on with her.

Disclaimer: I got these 8 questions from a book that I've read and for the life of me can't think of which book. I apologize to author of the book that I can't remember to give you credit for these awesome 8 questions!

My Life as a Parent of a Child with an Attachment Disorder

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Have empathy for the "naughty" kids

Adoptive Parenting Tip #6: Potty Training

This is a problem for all adoptions, whether you've adopted a younger child or an older child.

If your child was not in a functioning family (a family that teaches appropriate ways in hygiene, eating, schooling, etc...), then they will have bathroom problems. I had to potty train Smalls, an 8 year old. How do you potty train an 8 year old? It was hard. She apparently had taught herself how to use the bathroom. I had to reteach her the appropriate ways of using the bathroom and wiping, oh the wiping. It was a challenge for her to do the bathroom routine correctly, but I think we are almost there! And they don't have any books on how to to potty train an older child because I googled and couldn't find anything!

At times, our bathroom looked like a preschool boys bathroom. Any pre-k teachers out there? Then you know what I'm talking about! I felt like we cleaned our bathroom on a daily basis, sometimes twice. I'm not familiar with the laws of physics and gravity, but I'm pretty sure my daughter broke them all. Pee was everywhere! How? She's a girl. Just sit on the toilet and go. No, that would be too easy. And did I clean the bathroom by myself? Heck no! We have a song in our house, "make a mess, clean a mess". So I would inspect after Smalls went to the restroom and then almost immediately start singing the song. She would cry and cry and cry and cry and cry. She knew that I wasn't going to clean this up by myself while she got to go play. As a therapeutic parent, I would help her clean her mess. I would say good job scrubbing or you missed a spot. After all the cleaning and the final mist of alcohol (instead of Lysol I use rubbing alcohol-much cheaper), we have a talk about using the bathroom appropriately and then we practice using the bathroom over and over again until she gets it right. The whole ordeal took about 45 minutes (tantrums included).

I didn't even mention our fear of public toilets. I think I will make that into a whole new post, because that's it's own crazy.

When you adopt an older child, remember that you may have to teach them things that should have been taught when they were at a much younger age. Frustrating? Yes. Take an extra dose of patience and try your best. Your child will get it eventually.

If you're about to lose it because pee or other substances shouldn't be where they are, just walk out of the room and breathe (this part usually takes me at least 10 minutes). And then walk back in and say with a a smile on your face, "let's go get the cleaning supplies. looks like you made a mess". The first couple of times doing this will be a nightmare (you have been forewarned). Smalls pitched a fit. She wailed. She threw stuff. She broke stuff. Once they are regulated, get them back on task of cleaning up their mess. You are working on the motor memory part of the brain. When they use the bathroom, they should remember to use it the correct way because of all the practicing (re-dos) and cleaning up their mess. Smalls doesn't get cause and effect very well, so we are constantly re-doing a lot of stuff everyday. It does make a difference, not as quickly as I would like but I will take what I can get. Hang in there! You are doing more for this child than anyone has ever done.

After the clean-up is finished and your child is happily playing in their room, go do something fun like read a book, garden, watch tv, or whatever you find relaxing. The next bathroom break for your child in in a couple of hours, so get refreshed it's about to get dirty again.

One of my favorite music videos:
https://youtu.be/bYcMgFrHUT8

10 Things you must do when CPS knocks on your door

If you have a child with FASD, they are more prone to get into trouble with the law because of their problem with executive decision making. I follow a lot of FASD groups on Facebook and a lot of parents seek advice on how to handle situations with CPS because their FASD child lies about abuse or has trouble with telling accurate stories.

Here is a great post by a law firm that wrote these 10 things:
http://cpsdefense.com/ten-things-you-must-do-if-cps-knocks-at-your-door/

Monday, June 22, 2015

Ending Power Struggles With Children

This is a great article that gives a ton of advice on how to connect with your child when they misbehave.

http://www.handinhandparenting.org/article/ending-power-struggles-with-children/

Adoptive Parenting Tip #5: 10 Laws of Adoption

Like the law of gravity, physics and other scientific things, we need some laws of adoption.

1. Your child will not sleep. This one is pretty much guaranteed.
2. You will loose it on your adopted child. No parents are perfect, but add traumatized kids to the mix and you are bound to go crazy.
3. Your child will pee on something (whether you know it or not)
4. Your child will break something because they're mad.
5. Your child may not like you.
6. Your child will say hurtful things to you.
7. You will lose some of your friends (even church ones!) because your child is out of control.
8. You will need support and someone to take care of you.
9. Your child will constantly amaze you at the level they will go to get your attention or get their way.
10. Others will not understand why you parent differently.

What else can we add to the list?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Adoptive Parenting Tip #4: They may not like you.

Your child may not like you. This was a big shocker to me when a social worker told me this after we adopted Smalls.

No one ever mentioned this idea to me before I had adopted, but this is a true reality for some families. This was very true for us. Smalls did not like us at first and I still think she goes through phases of this at times now. And boy is it hard to deal with. What do you do when the child you spent a ton of money and time on to bring them into your family, rejects you? It hurts. You regret your decision and you might even vow to never adopt again (I totally did!).

I've been told that the child might not be grateful or understand what you've sacrificed for them, but no one cared to mention that they may not like me or they may even hate me. I'm pretty sure that during the homestudy process this would be an important topic of discussion. If you are adopting a child, this would be a great question to ask your social worker, "what do I do when they hate me? how do I handle it?".

Since dealing with traumatized children who have been fostered and adopted in the past couple of years, I've learned very quickly that I have to look past the behaviors and into the motive of the behaviors. Why is my child doing _______? What is the reason for ________? And like always, get the child to verbalize how they are feeling because using words is more appropriate than using their behaviors.

Why did Smalls hate us? I know hate is a strong word but if I had videoed some of her behaviors and let you watch them, then you'll understand hate is a perfect word. As I was looking past her behaviors and into her motives, she was lied to, taken away from the only things she has ever known, no one explained to her who we were or why we were taking her away, and she had to get use to living in a "functioning" family. I use the term functioning because everyone can be in a family, but to be in a functioning family that teaches appropriate ways of eating, hygiene, making friends, school, etc... is invaluable. Looking into Smalls' motives caused me to have compassion and empathy for her. She was hurting and she couldn't trust a single human because the last ones lied to her about her whole identity.

Smalls was angry about her past and she pointed that anger towards us. We couldn't take it personally, which is a very hard thing for me. She blamed us for her problems even though we were part of the solution to her problem. We want to help her but she was just too angry at us because we stole her away from her life in Poland.

What do you do when your adopted child hates you?

I can't offer any magic formula to fix this problem. I can only share my experiences and how we dealt with it. We prayed for patience, prayed some more, and then some more. We gave Smalls freedom to discuss her dislike in us and her dislike in her situation. Her situation sucked! We encouraged using words over behaviors. We made sure the door of communication to us was always open. We did not get offended when she talked about how great Poland was and how great her foster family was, even though secretly I'm holding my tongue on naming all the things they have done to hurt her and how they did not keep her safe. It's a struggle to be patient with her and it felt like a slap in the face sometimes. We also didn't sugar-coat the abuse in the foster family. We shared with her the mistreatment. We would say "I know you had some good memories and also some very bad ones, too", or "we can talk about the good memories because they are fun to remember, but if you ever want to talk about the bad ones, I am ready to listen".

When your adopted child hates you, the best thing that you can do is to be patient and teach them how to use their words respectfully. If they act aggressively, say "in this family we use our words and not our behavior" or "I'm sorry. I don't understand your behavior can you use words?". Giving your child a voice and listening to their pain is a great gift. You are building connection and trust with your child. Don't take this personally. Your child is angry about their situation and they feel lose of control and unfortunately, they are taking it out on you.

I know that this is a hard thing for adoptive parents to go through. It's time consuming and sometimes you just are too tired to have compassion for your child. Be sure to get respite care and make time for yourself. This issue can drain you emotionally.

Here's a recent story about this topic:
Smalls is in girl scouts. She is a Daisy and she is currently working on her Daisy petals. One of the petals teaches about safety. She has to do certain activities involving safety and recite from memory her parent's telephone number and home address. We have been practicing this with her even before we knew about this badge, because every kid needs to be able to tell the police officer where they live, their momma and daddy's names and phone numbers. Her brain absolutely would not let her get it right. We would practice and she would forget the numbers of our address, forget the street name, or even forget the city name. She would confuse city, state and country. What city do you live in? She would reply with United States. This went on for months and it absolutely drove me nuts. Just remember already! Looking past the behavior of her not remembering and into the motive, she really did not want to remember this because it hurt. She would rather live in Poland. Her brain would not let her remember her current address because it was/is still processing the traumatic adoption experience she had. I eventually told the trooper leader that Smalls just can't remember it because it was a traumatic experience for her. Thankfully they were understanding and gave her the badge anyways. Currently, we are still practicing her home address and our phone numbers with her.


What would you do in this situation? Did you have an adopted child who wasn't too fond of you? How did you handle it?

Rewiring the Brain

Parents of FASD kiddos have the fun challenge of rewiring their kid's brain. Here's an encouraging article about neuroplasticity.

http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/this-nifty-infographic-is-a-great-introduction-to-neuroplasticity?fb_action_ids=10101763175643936&fb_action_types=og.shares

Thursday, June 18, 2015

How can you help a child with auditory processing disorder?

Such a great article that gives so much insight to these kiddos!

http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/auditory-processing-disorder/

8 Items that help us get through the school day

Homeschooling a special needs child is hard work. This past year was my first year to homeschool. I have learned a lot and have made way too many mistakes. I am a little excited to start back up again in August. I've been planning a ton these past couple of months because you just never know what will and won't work when you homeschool a special needs (adopted) child.

If I had to pick a theme for our first homeschool year it would be "dysregulation". Smalls had never been to school, ever. Yes, she was almost 8 when we adopted her and it does sound crazy that she's never even been to a pre-k. Smalls could not sit still for long periods of time or grasp concepts easily. She became frustrated to quickly. And she absolutely hated it. I have learned that we needed these very important tools in order to do homeschool effectively. I define effectively as completing our daily allotment of work in a reasonable amount of time.


8 Items that help us get through the school day:
Item #1: Smalls' mug
I give her a cup of black coffee first thing in the morning. It sounds crazy, but it helps her to concentrate. I am careful to not give her too much because she might become irritable for the rest of the day.

Smalls likes owls.






Item #2: Noise headphones
Oh my goodness! When the neighbor starts to mow the lawn or blow the leaves, we can't get anything done. And also the other neighbor that we have likes to play really loud music. I can't blame Smalls on that one. Smalls can sometimes be a "sensory avoider", where she is overwhelmed by all of the noise and chatter. These headphones are also great for when we go to crowded places.



Item #3: Fidget Toys
Now this is something we can't go without. Smalls can be a sensory seeker, especially if she is given a task. She needs to have something to squeeze or fidget with while listening to instruction. I also have a tangler that is fun.

By the way, the water, splash balls that you can find during the summer work really well and they don't tear up as easily. Also they are cheap!

Item #4: Chair band
This goes with number 3. Smalls needs to have something to fidget with and this is a great way to give her feet something to do while doing worksheets. I've bought mine on amazon.


Item #5: Trampoline
Every kid has a breaking point. Unfortunately for us, that's every 30 minutes. We have found a constructive, appropriate way to get out our hyperness with trampoline breaks. Smalls will work on a subject, complete it, and then jump on the trampoline for 5 minutes. We then start a new subject and she feels not as antsy or hostile about continuing on with school for the day.

This is a small indoor, exercise trampoline.
Item #6: Sit n Spin
This is similar to number 5, but it spins. The spinning motion is very soothing for Smalls' brain. I found this one at the thrift store for $5. You could also buy online. The one I bought at the thrift store is for preschoolers, but Smalls can fit on it (She weighs 70 lbs) and enjoys spinning.


Item #7: Gum and Candy
Having gum on hand is very important to us, which is why there are about 20 packs of gum in the picture below. Chewing gum or sucking on a piece of hard candy is another calming mechanism for Smalls. She is able to stay on task if her mouth is moving. She doesn't get easily frustrated because she is activating her vestibular sense.


Item #8: Coffee Machine
Now, this is for me. When we are having a rough day (about 65% of the time), I need something quick to help me to stay calm. I don't have time to make a pot of coffee. I know it takes maybe 5 minutes to make one and would be cheaper than this thing. I used to criticize others who had one. I now understand why people spend so much money on these machines. You have a special needs child and they can not be left alone when they are dysregulated, but you need something to help calm yourself down (for me it's coffee) or bad things will happen. I totally get it! This is a quick thing that I can pop in and press the magic button. It takes under 1 minute and it's pretty good coffee. I like the Verismo from Starbucks brand. It was given to me by my MIL and it taste so much better than the keurig ones.


Whoops, forgot about his one!
#9: Essential oil machine
We can put calming essential oils like lavender or oils that help with concentration like rosemary, juniper or basil. We also use this machine a night when Smalls has a hard time sleeping.


10 Ways to Support a RAD Mom

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Animal Cruelty

This is a hard post to write because I am such an animal person. I enjoy being around animals. They are therapeutic for me.
Look at this cuteness!
I've mentioned that a couple of months ago, we lost our pet fish, Fluffy. We adopted a new pet shortly after, a gerbil named Mojo. He is a cute little furball. Merlin definitely is fond of him!


Unfortunately, two weeks after bringing Mojo home, we had a major incident with Mojo and Smalls that almost gave me a heart attack.  It's still hard to talk about it, which is probably why this post is 2 months passed the incident.

Smalls wanted to play with Mojo. I'm downstairs getting Mojo's play box ready for Smalls to bring him downstairs. She opens the cage and tries to grab him and like any little rodent, he runs away. He is still getting used to us and doesn't know that we will not hurt him. Five minutes passed and I'm wondering what is taking so long. Maybe Mojo is extra scared today? I go upstairs to check on them and I see blood everywhere on our white rocking chair. My heart immediately starts pounding really fast. I ask Smalls, "what happened? I need you to tell me now what happened?". Smalls starts speaking, "I squeezed him". Thoughts began to run in my head. Oh my gosh. She tried to kill him! This is the third animal she has tried to kill. What am I going to do? She is going to be a sociopath when she grows up. I can't bury a little gerbil. Those are not flushable. We just had a funeral for Fluffy. Holy crap!

I tell Smalls to go sit downstairs (at this point I am so scared to talk to her because I am definitely not thinking clearly and I don't want to end up in jail for murder). I put Mojo in a small box to observe him. He hates me touching him and is now scared for his life. And of course he is peeing blood everywhere. I call my mom to help calm me down because at this point I need to distract myself from Smalls. She reaffirms what I'm doing (observe Mojo, see if he eats, drinks and poops). Ya'll, it took me 45 minutes to calm down. I didn't even speak to Smalls during this time. Smalls was crying uncontrollably and I couldn't help regulate her because I was so FREAKING mad.

Wheww... My blood pressure is rising just writing this out. Break time.

Ok. I'm back. I get Smalls regulated, which takes about 30 minutes because she is scared too. She actually told me she thought I was going to kill her. I reaffirmed her that I wasn't going to kill her and that I love her no matter how many bad choices she makes. And by the way, I've never ever told her that I was going to kill her. I think from her foster care home she was told that a lot. Now have I thought about it? For sure, like any other parent who's parented kids that make terrible choices. I asked her why she squeezed Mojo and she said she was mad. Like any other child with a traumatic past, Smalls hides her feelings under the umbrella of mad. A couple minutes later of asking questions and talking, I figured out that she was mad because she couldn't control Mojo. She lost her own self-control because Mojo was not in her control and he didn't want to be caught by her. She felt hopeless and need to take control with her behavior-which is the ultimate no, no! We use words not behavior.

We do a redo.We practice trying to catch Mojo and then getting mad. But this time, we go ask mom for help instead of taking things into our own hands-no pun intended. After this ordeal was over, I realized we have got to practice more about getting angry and then using our words instead of our behavior to act out our frustrations.

My heart never pounded so fast in my life during all of this. I felt so sick to my stomach, I couldn't even eat till the next day. It took me about a week to fully calm down. I was shaky and a complete nervous wreck.

Now, Smalls is not allowed to play with any animal without adult supervision, at least until she can get a handle on using words and not her behavior, by the way that is my favorite saying to her.

"I'm sorry. I don't understand your behavior. Would you like to try words?"

"Use your words. Not your behavior."

Here's an article about animal cruelty and adopted/fostered children:
https://www.fosterparentcollege.com/info/connections/Connections-060111.pdf

I bet you are wondering about Mojo and if he made it out alive. Well, I am so thankful to report that he is alive and well. For a whole entire month after this incident, he did not want a human touching him. He would bite and squeal if you picked him up. I started giving him some kale to try and win his affection back. It is slowly working. He is beginning to trust me the more I play with him and show him love and not hurt.

Have you ever dealt with something like this before? How did you react?

Executive Functioning Disorder

People in my circle often want to know how FASD affects my daughter's daily life. This is the perfect article that gives a peek inside her brain.

https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/executive-functioning-issues/how-does-a-child-with-executive-functioning-issues-think-differently


7 Wonders of Poland

Friday, June 12, 2015

Auditory Processing Disorder from The Office

I know I've mentioned before that The Office is one of my favorite shows to watch. If I get stressed out or have a bad day, I'll just watch The Office. Laughter is the best medicine!

Here is a clip from The Office about Nate's hearing problem. Smalls is just like this. She can't distinguish/process noise or words like most kids can (especially if there is other noises in the background). If you've never been around someone who has an auditory processing disorder, this video clip gives a peek into what it's like with living with or teaching someone who has it.


But I adopted my child at birth. What do you mean trauma?

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Rick Steve's Travel Through Europe: Poland

I was browsing through Hulu the other day to find something to watch. (We don't have a subscription to Hulu, so we only watch whatever is available). I came across Rick Steve's Travel through Europe season and what do you know, he had an episode on Poland.

If you haven't been to Poland yet, this would be a great episode to watch before you go to get an idea of what it looks like, what the people are like and some major attractions to visit while in Poland.

It's season 3, episode 10. Click here for a direct link.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Copy Cat Raising Cane's Sauce

In honor of all the chicken I've acquired last month, I might as well post some of our favorite chicken recipes.

Raising Cane's is a local chain that began as a big chain within the past couple of years. This is Wes' favorite place to eat. It has great sauce and chicken, but it is ridiculously expensive. I say expensive, because you couldn't feed my family of 3 under $15 at this place. We make our own sauce at home and have a "raising cane's" go out to eat, but eat in night.

Click here for the copy cat Raising Cane's recipe. 

I add a couple dashes of hot sauce to ours and it tastes just like the real thing! Amazing!

Old Car Cemetery near Grodzisk Mazowiecki

Now I wished I had known about this place before we went to Poland. We had stayed in a town called Milanowek, which is the next town over from Grodzisk Mazowiecki. This would have been a good, low key sightseeing event with small crowds to do with Smalls. So, if you're in the neighborhood, you might want to check out this cool place with lots of old cars.

Old Car Cemetery near Grodzisk Mazowiecki

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Corpus Christi Holiday

Corpus Christi holiday is tomorrow, June 4. It is a national holiday, so most shops will be closed in Poland.

Click here to learn more about the Corpus Christi holiday in Poland.