Saturday, November 24, 2012

We Had A Quiet Thanksgiving......Thankgiving Recap.

We had a nice quiet Thanksgiving holiday.  The girls have been off all week. I was NOT sure how that was going to go, because if you have been reading this blog, in the past, you know that holidays are not great here at Family of 4.  We have had our share of holidays where there was grieving, acting out, fits, tantrums, etc.  We would just count down the hours for the holidays to be over. 

Last year, our holidays were pretty good, and there were just a few issues here and there.  I thought, "well, I can certainly take that, it's an improvement over previous holidays."  This year, my mother was not with us, but I tried to downplay that and was able to get through the day with no crying.  I did not do very well this am, but it was short and brief and I just got through it, which is what I have been reading you have to do. But this am was the first time I had to send LGA to time out as she just would not listen, ignored me when I asked her to do something, put the dog's food on the living room floor (digging in their food bowls) so now the dogs think they must drag their food onto the carpet.  Ugh.  But she went to time out, did her time out and has turned it around.  I got straight to the point and told her if she didn't behave no movie today.  She turned it around.

On Wed before Thanksgiving I decided to go get my flu shot.  We weren't cooking and decided on a Marie Callendar's turkey breast, mashed potatoes (I hate making them but like to eat them) and pie.  I also got a very small 3lb ham because the girls really like it (Dave doesn't) and I don't mind it but prefer turkey.  It was nice to have both though.  So......decided to get my flu shot and when I found out (at Walgreens) that I had no co-pay, I decided to get the pneumonia shot as I was a preemie and colds settle heavily in my chest sometimes. 

A cute thing happened while getting the flu shot.  The pharmacist came out with the flu and pneumonia shots and the girls got visibly squirrely.  The pharmacist I am sure, is used to this, so he said, "who is next?"  They got even more squirrely, and I told him they'd had their flu shots already.  So then he said, "ok girls, you can hold your mom's hand if you want to."  Two girls immediately grabbed my hands and squeezed them.  They even said I should have an extra treat cause I had two shots!  LOL.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving day. I had the first ever (in my case) reaction to the flu shot.  Seriously I have NEVER had a reaction.  I have even had the pneumonia shot and flu shot 5 yrs ago (when I last had the two of them together as the pneumonia shot you only need to have once every 5 years) and did not have a reaction.  But this day I did. I had a mild version of the flu that I still feel (and my arm is sort of rashy at the injection site, also never had before) today, although not as bad as Thanksgiving day and the day after.  Dave worked all week, and had to be at work at 7, so I was up early to get my shower in and ready before he left.  So I was already tired.  I literally felt achy and my injection site hurt.  I just didn't feel like moving.  We all put sweats on and stayed in.  I got some of the small prep done and put out the stuff we'd need, and evidently took a 2 hr nap.  When I woke up Dave was heating up the turkey and made the glaze for the ham following the recipe I found and had laying on the table.  I helped him finish the rest of the meal and then we had a nice meal. I even did the dishes.  Poor LGA was hopped up hyper though and just physically could not sit still.  She tried but she just could not make it.  So bedtime followed and she did manage to crash an hour after bedtime.  But the thing I notice about this week off is she has been sleeping in till 7 or sometimes 8.  She was doing this last year but then this year with an early bus and summer, she was up at 6 sometimes before 6.  We will need to replace her black out curtains as they are pink and when the sun comes up it shines in on her room and it causes a pink glow.  Not the blackout that she needs so will need to go with a darker color.  I do believe it's time to update her room and get rid of the Disney princess theme as I think she's outgrowing it. She's had it for 3 1/2 yrs. She's growing up too.  We got rid of all the babydolls in her room last weekend.  :-(  Sigh.  My baby no longer wants to play with baby dolls.

Yesterday I felt pretty off and achy also.  We stayed in and the girls got to decorate their purple 2 inch Christmas trees. OH what fun they had.  I have no pictures as I am a slacker mom on photography lately. I have phone pics but have not figured out how to post them without them being thumbnail size.  They loved it. I put the lights on then let each girl decorate (thanks Target $1 decorations).  They had ornaments they'd made in school, they had cute little ornaments, etc.  They had a blast.  They wanted Daddy to see when he came home and couldn't wait for him to see their trees.  It was fun.  So far no one is messing with them either. I said during the day they could adjust ornaments, but once night time came it was bedtime and no playing with ornaments (which I wondered if LGA would do, since she's my OCD girl, but so far she has not touched her tree).  It was fun and while they wanted bigger trees I told them we'd see how they did this year and if all went well we'd maybe buy them larger trees (and they want pink, LOL).

I still feel achy (but each day better) today.  Wow, yuck, don't like flu reactions. It's messing me up.   Go away flu reaction.

SO I'd say that this holiday was a success, we laughed and joked at the table.  The meal was simple, as BGA likes it and she ate all of it (I made plain stove top and just added sauteed onion and celery and instead of water used chicken broth.  BGA hates stuffing and ate it all).  We had chocolate cream pie for dessert and that was a huge hit (my girls are not really pie eaters).  No one threw a fit or tantrum, it was great.  I hope it continues on for Christmas, however, Christmas is much more amped up, so I'm not going to hold out hope, but it was nice to have a good meal and no one got upset or threw a fit.  Come to think of it, Dave, Ariana and myself all had birthdays lately and they went well too.  I enjoyed having the girls home and they really as I said (hope I don't jinx myself for tomorrow!!!) behaved well all week long.  Today was the first time out all week.  And LGA turned it around. It's not always that way, but I am starting to see a connection (the school had a school wide program on behavior and what to do before you act, etc.) for LGA and that sometimes she can turn it around.  We have learned some coping skills and how to work with her to turn around her behavior and help her work through when she's upset, so I'm seeing some progress, which makes me happy.  It's still ongoing and it's still hard a lot of the time, but some progress is good.

Hope you all had wonderful holidays with your friends, family, or whoever you spent it with.  Thanksgiving 2012, was a nice, quiet one for us and other than really not feeling very well, it was a great holiday.  Who would ever have thought that we would get to this point and enjoy a holiday?  Nice.  :-)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Girl is 11............

Where did the time go???  BGA turned 11 yesterday.

I remember when she came home, at 6 yrs old.  She was scared, she didn't trust anyone, she wanted to be in control, she had so many emotions.

This year I have seen her grow a bit.  She started a new school, and had to leave her friends behind, the friends she developed, good or bad, over the last 4 yrs.  She didn't want to do it.  She found a friend at the new school and for some reason this year some of her confidence began to show. She is taking violin lessons and she is Seargant At Arms on the class council (she helps at awards assemblies and carries the flag during assemblies, complete with a class council t'shirt that she's very proud of).  She is wanting to be part of more activites at school.  She has the confidence to lead (she's always wanted to be the leader but would shy away from anything that was performance related).  Her school work has slipped, but we are allowing for that and trying to get her back on track.

I have seen her give in a bit more to her sister as well.  She used to not give in and there would be fights that would break out between the two sisters.  Now I see her give in more and I see a more compassionate side to her. 

We celebrated her birthday yesterday by going to her favorite buffet style restaurant, and then coming back for presents and cake.  She is getting out of the more toy style of presents and more into the 'tween/teen' presents. I am sad to see the toy part go (ie Barbies) but looking forward to buying more teen styles and shopping with her, as that was something my mother and I always enjoyed.  I gave her the first pair of tiny gold hoops and she loved them.  Wanted to wear them to school, but had to say no on that one.  I told her she can wear them next week when there is no school.

I am enjoying more conversations with her also on the ride back from school to home.  She shares her days with me, which is a plus.  In her other school she would just tell me her day was 'ok' and that would be it. I'm encouraging her to share more with me, actually both girls are doing it.  I am so glad LGA is doing it.  It is creating less tantrums after school, although there are still some fits/tantrums there if she's had a bad day.  She keeps it all in, then lets it all out at home where she feels safe to do so.  Some days it's hard, as I have to brace myself for it.  But as the girls are getting older, I am seeing more sharing, more older kid stuff rather than younger kid toys, behaviors, etc.  LGA still, due to her issues, has some younger than her age behavior, but I am seeing some more 8 yr old behavior coming in, and I have to say, I am enjoying this stage more than the younger behaviors.  I know this is a lull, though, when the teen years hit, it will all disappear. But at this time in my life, I am enjoying this time with them and they are comforting me (and frustrating me at times, as well, as all kids do).

I am proud of where BGA has come from and how much growth she has had in the last 4 1/2 years.  We had a pretty stress free birthday, and she did very well, behaviorwise.  There weren't any fits or pouts at all. That's a good birthday for us.  She is a totally different kid then the one who came to live with us.  That's not to say she doesn't have her own issues but there is growth and that is important.

I am looking forward to the girls being off a week from school next week, and I think there will be some crafts and movies (it's supposed to rain all week) in our week off.  We added our 4th dog, another Cavalier, (who will be our therapy dog, hopefully, once I get her trained) in Oct.  A young 1 1/2 yr old very small (for a Cavalier) dog.  We had to drive two hours to get her in the foothillls.  There were pine cones that we brought home (left in the garage in case any bugs were on them) so hoping to do the glue and glitter craft with the girls so we can put them on the mantel this year. I brought a few of my mother's Christmas decorations back with me (I have very few, other than tree and ornaments as I never really was able to afford to buy any decorations each year) so am looking forward to decorating a bit this year.  The girls have their own small Christmas trees to put in their rooms, so I just have to find some lights to put on them and they will be (courtesy of Target's $1 decorations, that I don't care if they get broken) able to decorate their own bedroom trees this year.  We will see how that goes, but I'm going to let them do it.

One thing I learned this week...........if you use Melatonin as a sleep aide for your child, not to go down a dose.  Poor LGA has not been able to sleep, was up 2 1/2 hours PAST her bedtime, talking loud, getting up out of her bed, etc.  It was a nightmare, she was tired and cranky and acting out and we were wishing she'd go to sleep as we needed her to be in bed by the time she went to bed.  Her teacher noticed and had a chat with me on Tuesday about her excessive talking.  She was napping on the bus, so once she gets a nap she would not go to sleep easily.  We finally got a 1mg pill to add to make her regular dose and she was asleep about 40 mins past her bedtime, but I allowed for that as it was BGA's birthday.  I hope that means we are back to our regularly scheduled bedtime.  Wow.  We have enough issues with her waking a couple of times a night, we do not need the issue of getting her to sleep as well.  Now I wish she would sleep in, at least as she sometimes can, till 7.  Getting up at the crack of dawn at 6 is not fun.

Hope you are all enjoying the week before Thanksgiving.  It was fun having BGA's bday this week.  I still need to go food shopping and I'm not looking forward to that. I hate grocery shopping, the picking of the items, putting them on the conveyer, loading and unloading and putting away. If I time it right I usually have Dave to help me.  We will see how that goes. Glad to have two little helpers though, they bring in the bags too which helps.  I just have to make sure I don't give them anything that can get damaged, eggs, sparkling water, that someone thinks is fun to shake up so when you open the bottle it sprays everywhere. I'm not speaking from personal experience, no.........

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Halloween and The Aftermath of Candy.............

How did your Halloween go?

Ours went pretty well.  The candy influx started the Friday before, at the Fall Festival I wrote about below.  More about candy to follow......

Halloween happens to be my birthday, so we have adopted a new tradition since the girls have been home. In the past we have been lucky enough to share 5 Halloweens with the girls.  Our first was with RachelZ, Heather, and their families, complete with trick or treating, dinner and birthday cake. It was nice but the girls were still grieving and it was a hard holiday.  The 2nd one we spent with my mother in laws, and mother in law made their costumes.  The 3rd one we spent with Aunt Kim, complete with dinner and bday cake.  The 4th one, last year, I had a wisdom tooth infection so I stayed home and the girls went trick or treating in the neighborhood with Dave and had a huge candy haul (which they traded in for toys).  We had dinner and cake when they got back.

This year I wanted to go with them so we ate a quick dinner (the girls and I went and got cake for my birthday together, that's an important step for them and they picked my cake last year too) and off we went.  The houses that had lights on in the neighborhood were few and far between.  After walking for a half hour without much luck, we looped around to our house, got in the car and drove around 3 neighborhoods, with much more luck.  LGA who has been fearless, was quite frightened by the houses with people dressed up.  She didn't mind the animated skeletons, etc., but did not care for the people dressed up.  Dave walked them up to those houses.  No one had any nightmares afterwards which is good, but they definitely had more fear this year. We just made sure one of us walked them up if they wanted to go and we moved on when they did not want to go to a house.

So the candy and wanting 'my' candy began immediately.  We came back for cake and ice cream so no one got candy that night but I let BGA take some to school to trade (first year I have let her do this, but she's in 5th and I figured it was time).  LGA immediately began to bug me for candy when she got home. I let them have a couple of pieces after school.  I let them have a piece or two, here and there, assuming they would trade it in.  No one seemed able to do that this year.  They must not have wanted a toy, even though toys are high on their list now (getting close to Christmas). 

The topper was last Saturday, when we decided to go see Wreck It Ralph.  The girls and Dave wanted to see this movie, so we waited till Dave got off work to go.  I did make baked oatmeal which had some sugar in it, and I did let them have a piece of candy at lunch.  They also were able to pack some candy in a ziploc baggie to take to the movie then we were going to eat at Red Robin, a family favorite.  Well..........all went well, till we got to Red Robin.  The girls were fine, but BGA had a bit too much fiber in the oatmeal (must remember this if she needs a bit of help in that area) and had a full tummy till she took care of business.  So she finally ate her dinner, but LGA put too much pepper on her spaghetti that she chose (spaghetti is her food, she orders it when we go out all the time).  I didn't see it for some reason, Dave only caught it when he looked over.  Normally giving her the pepper to put on food has not been an issue but twice now she has done this.  So no more pepper that she gets to put on her food by herself.  People say, "let them do it on their own."  All well and good but we have two eaters who if they accidentally put too much on, will refuse to eat their meal and we end up wasting it or in this case, a huge fit ensues (cause you knew that was coming right???).  So we do it for them and they get frustrated, but either they will do it on purpose or accidentally and then pick at and not eat the food.

So..............a small fit, that escalated, began to brew in LGA.  It became full blown when I asked her to mix up the pepper and that would make it easier to eat. I gave her some of my ribs that I ordered in case she did not want to eat the spaghetti, and she could eat those and the fruit she ordered with her plate.  However, the fit was brewing and then she blew.  Right in front of a baseball team of boys, the entire dining section (because Red Robin is sort of a loud place).  A couple behind us could not even close their mouths, they had open mouth jaw dropping looks on their faces (older couple).  Luckily it was at the end of dinner and we were able to leave the restaurant.  It was not pretty.  It was a candy high and then sugar drop of epic porportions.  Usually LGA has been great in restaurants, but this year, if she is facing across from her sister, she kicks her she starts something and her behavior has been almost 3 yr old tantrumish.  The only thing I can think of is she is emulating the kids in her special ed class.  But it's very frustrating, because our once good eater, and good kid to take to a restaurant is now a nightmare to take out.  You have to go over expectations and how we behave, etc.  Granted this one was a sugar high, but still it was not pretty.  I was pretty embarrassed. 

So this week as she has continued to ask about candy, we have focused on how candy makes us behave and feel.  She has gotten a piece or two, but that is it.  Then yesterday we told her the candy was done.  We will keep the gum as now that her caps are almost gone, we do let her chew gum.  Her behavior has been a bit off due to the time change and she's tired more in the evenings and mornings.  Mornings continue to be a challenge for getting her ready, till her meds kick in.  I truly hate mornings at our house on the weekdays and weekends she's up at the crack of dawn. If you don't get up with her and send her back to her room to play quietly, she will get up and roam the house so one of us gets up with her, usually Dave, as he's the earlier riser (me being a night owl).

We took the girls for their 6 mos check up.  BGA has gained 3 pounds and grown a couple of inches, LGA 2 pounds (but I suspect a growth spurt as she's eating more these days) and is 3 inches shorter than her sister.  We had a nurse practioner, which I actually prefer, as she actually took the time to answer my questions.  Usually the dr. rushes through it.  But I also had Dave with me, which makes it SO much easier.  LGA got her flu shot, and it was decided to give her pm ADHD booster at school.  I hope this does not mean we will suffer the after effects when the med wears off, at home.  Right now it's more peaceful in the pm's, and I can get homework done with LGA.  I hope I will still have a window with this when she takes her med at school.  But teacher insists she loses focus around 12 and needs the pm med at school.  So we'll see how this works.

I'm gradually getting rid of the candy and trying to get balanced meals and snacks back in.  But the behaviors with time change and Halloween have left a bit to be desired.  We have had a few behaviors this week.  Hoping as we ease into the colder weather (it's supposed to be upper 50's and one mid 50, this week/next week, a couple of lower 60's thrown in, so cooler) and time change that we even out a bit. 

How was Halloween at your house?  Happy November to you all.  I'm thankful for my family this month, those who are here and those who have passed on.