May 25, 2012

Blueberry Picking!




























The kids ate their weight in blueberries while picking them, they were sooooo good.    Can’t wait to make some muffins….mmmm… 

May 17, 2012

On Food.

I’ve done lots of thinking and bouncing ideas back and forth with Bella’s therapist the past couple of days.


I reminded myself for the 598,000,000,000th time that this is not about me controlling a situation. And then I reminded myself again. Because when you’re in one of these situations, the adult/parent/everything everyone else tells you is the right thing to do reaction is to buckle down and hold your ground.


Not. the. point.


It’s not about controlling what she eats or when she eats or if she doesn’t eat when we eat she won’t eat until morning.

All things I’ve told myself a million times, but needed to hear it again to be able to come up with viable solutions to this vomit issue.

This is about trauma, and her needing to be able to control something in her little banged up, pushed around life.  Someday therapeutic parenting will come naturally to me.  Someday.



I watched this video by Karen Purvis. (She’s my hero.)


Engaging Food Battles with Connection in Mind « Empowered To Connect


It won’t let me actually post the video on Blogger, but it’s totally worth the watch.



I think we’ve come up with a couple of therapeutic ways of giving her control, but also helping her to be healthy, love her body, and for goodness sakes, stop puking.



in a last ditch effort that was not actually very thought through – and over all may not be the most therapeutic thing to do, I told her that any day that she does not puke at all that she will get a treat after dinner.

Treats hold mega sway with Bella.

Today, she came in to me after lunch and said, “Hey Maggie, I ate up all my lunch and I didn’t even throw up!  Maybe I’ll get a treat today!!”




my sister gave me a great thought.  I realized that never, not once, have snacks been an issue.  It always revolves around meals.  So, I’m going to try to start getting her most of her food just through snacks.  Then I don’t have to worry about if she is getting too little if she refuses a meal, and that battle can be over.

Every day I’m going to make her a “snack bucket”.  I’m going to fill it with lots of snacks that are all healthy choices.  I’ll tell her that anytime she wants a snack just to ask and she can pick anything she wants out of her snack bucket.  This gives her complete control over choosing what she wants and when she wants it.  If I frame it all as a snack, then I don’t think we’ll have the puke issues (due to food control, anyway).  If she eats 10 snacks in a day, as long as they are all healthy, I don’t care – and then when we get to dinner and she refuses to eat, I don’t have to worry about if she’s gotten her nutrition.



I’m excited about this.

I feel like it’s a good way to treat both her body, and her trauma control fears.  It requires that I completely let go of any delusions of control, which is good for me too.


If it works out well, all we’ll have left is the vomiting from anxiety.  One issue at a time.  I’ll keep you posted.

May 15, 2012


  It’s a very regular part of our life around here.

And as soon as I think that I’m over it and that it will stop bothering me, it gets to me again, grosses me out, makes me frustrated and irritated, and the smell….oh the smell.


Bella is a puker.


If she feels anxious about anything : Puke.

If she feels hungry: Puke.

If she has a meal in front of her that she doesn’t want to eat: Puke.

Doesn’t want to take her meds: Puke.


That’s a lot of vomit.  Usually all over my car.


At this point, I’m out of ideas.

What I can tell you, is that this is a control issue stemming mostly from the trauma she has endured in the past (read: yesterday, and every day previous.).

I know that most of this is subconscious, a reaction from the primitive brain, which with Bella, apparently goes something like: Flight, Fight, Freeze, or Puke!

But I also know that there are absolutely times when she wants to exhibit control, and in order to do that, she convinces herself that she NEEDS to puke, and what do you know, all of a sudden her lunch is on the table!

At home, she eats whatever she wants, whenever she wants and it is all junk food.  The only things I’ve heard her say are served at home are ramen noodles, cheetoes, pepsi, frosted flakes, and bologna. 



So, do any of you foster parents have pukers?  Please? 



I’ve tried every way I can figure to give her control over her foods while still maintaining a healthy diet for her (which is even more important due to her illness).  I always give her choices, making sure there are things that she likes, or has at least stomached before. 

But without fail, I give her a choice (thinking I’m helping with the control issue), she chooses what she wants, I put it in front of her, and she refuses to eat it.  I don’t think it’s healthy for either of us to let her change her mind four times before she’ll actually eat something.  But 99% of the time that I am firm on her eating something, she just pukes it up.


Rock?  Hard Place?  Anyone?


It’s so hard not to get frustrated.  Especially times when I know she has sat there and convinced herself that the next bite will make her puke.  I try to be compassionate, but seriously, we’ve puked three times today and can’t manage to get to a trash can or toilet. (this is a bad day.)


We have good days and bad days.  She’s had a yogurt voluntarily every day for the last three days, and this morning at breakfast it made her puke.  (More accurately: she made herself puke due to the yogurt.)



Ugh.  Tell me you have tips?

May 14, 2012

Pictures…and that’s it.

Just a fair warning.


























The facial expressions tell all.


















Summertime treat from the ice cream man.












Singing and playing Grandpa’s “violin”. 

May 8, 2012

Spring at Grandma and Grandpa’s.




Naomi’s first four wheeler ride.  As expected, she enjoyed it much more than Sylvia ever has.  This girl is going to land us in the ER before long, I can feel it.




Bella riding with Brian.  She loves it.  Of course, Brian usually has his hands on the handlebars!







Hangin’ with Aunt Jen.














May 7, 2012

Bella the beautiful.

It’s been a while since I’ve updated on what’s going on with Bella.  Or maybe it just seems that way because everything has been changing approximately every other day.

I’m ready for things to settle down, but it doesn’t look likely any time soon.




Don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but Mom is MIA.  For over two weeks now, no one has heard from her, no one knows where she is.  I can only speculate as to what is going on – having either to do with giving up hope that her life can change or drugs, or both I suppose – but like I said, only speculation.


This has thrown a wrench in things.  Visits had already been cut down, and had been scheduled for Wednesday evenings through Friday evenings.  That lasted a whopping two weeks before Mom went missing.  Dad is working is butt off to pay the bills and get his girls home, so he’s not home during the week to be able to watch them during a weekday visit.  Because of Mom’s disappearance, it had been two weeks since Bella last saw her Dad.

I scrambled and made about 50 phone calls last week to put together a visit for last weekend with Dad.  To my knowledge (not saying much, since we’re the last to know everything) Dad has only been progressing in the case and working very hard to get his girls home, so I was determined to get he and Bella a visit.

Brian and I ended up just driving her down to her Dad’s house (we live an hour and a half apart) on Friday night so that he could have her for the weekend.  It turned out to be a great way to show the caseworkers how invested we are in getting her back home, as well as a great way to build our relationship with her Dad and show him our support in reunification. 


In other news….




Check out that hair!

It’s getting long now!  And it is incredibly curly, thick, shiny, and beautiful.  She loves for me to put a rubber band in it in the front, which mostly just makes it stick straight up, but I think at this point, she deserves to wear it however she wants!  After she gets out of the bath sometimes I put some mousse in it and with her curls defined it is adorable.  Every time I do it I’m reminded of how sick she was when she came – with not a hair on her entire body! – and now she has a beautiful headful of hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows!

We just went to the doctor today and everything came back great.  She is getting healthier by the day!  They’ve been tracking her more closely than they do the average patient, and they said they can see a difference in her weight gain and nutrition during times she is mostly with us vs. mostly at home.  Makes me nervous.


We’re still waiting, impatiently, to hear anything more from Make a Wish.  I called them three times last week.  Like I said, impatiently.


If you made it this far, I’m impressed.  Just wanted to get an update posted!  Off to go on a bike ride with my girls!

May 1, 2012

Always Change.


  I’ve been a little bogged down as of late with the constant change inherent in this journey we’re on.  It’s part of being a foster parent, but sometimes it weighs on my soul.


Bella’s going home in six weeks.

Bella’s not going home.

Up for adopting four kids?

Bella’s going home in eight weeks.

Setting up visits for the four kids we’re adopting.

Crap hits the fan in Bella’s case.

Bella’s not going home.

Relative surfaced.  Have to wait to hear before knowing if we can adopt.

Bella’s visits are drastically shortened.

Just Joking.  You’re not adopting four kids.

Bella’s visit is cancelled.

Can Bella’s sister move in with you?

Mental prep for the possibility of Bella’s case going to adoption.

Throw in visits.  She’s here, she’s gone, she’s here, she’s gone.

Trying to figure out when we’re going to move.  Yes.  MOVE.


This is a sampling, just a sampling.


To be honest, sometimes I just want to quit it all.  Have a normal life (whatever that means) where we just parent our kids, volunteer some at church, go to work, have a ten year plan (heck, a five year plan would be nice).  Because it wears on me, and it’s hard

But, I really, truly believe that most anything worth doing is hard.

And I’m not convinced that in light of eternity, that a ten year plan is really what God has in mind for us, His children.


Then, this morning, as I was doing my quiet time, I read this out of My Utmost for His Highest:

“Our natural inclination is to be so precise – trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next – that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing.  We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life.  The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty.  Consequently, we do not put down roots.  Our common sense says, “Well, what if I were in that circumstance?”  We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.

  Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life – gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life.  To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring.  This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation.  We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God.  As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task he has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. 

….We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next.  When we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy.  Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in – but you can be certain that He will come.  Remain faithful to Him.”




Normal is not his calling on our lives.  Unknown is inherent in a life following hard after Christ.  Lord, help me to live in gracious uncertainty, with joyful expectancy. And thank you for being certain.


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