A child’s manual.

That’s what I’m currently working on. My difficult placement is going to respite care this weekend, at a place that once said ‘never again’ in regards to looking after him. However, car salesman caseworker figured something out because we are going to a cheer competition this weekend and had planned this months ago. We previously arranged respite services out of the area with a family member but the family member cancelled due to illness.

I’m writing the only tips and tricks I know. There isn’t much to say except Godspeed.

In other news, this weekend is both Biscuit’s and Husband’s birthdays! We have a few things planned this weekend for birthday festivities but the real fun will be on St. Paddy’s Day! 🍀 The Pot of Gold festival. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to attend or not, I hope I can work something out. I’d better pack… Ugh. Viva Las Vegas!

I went on a date.

Husband and I went to the Opera. It was truly a spectacle! I wasn’t ultra keen on going but it was an invite only event and I’ve been dying to get out of the house as my life of travel and outings have been null due to a difficult placement. The Opera was beautiful, funny, exciting, and impressive. If you’ve never gone I highly recommend giving it a shot, hey, it may not be your thing but imagine if it is!

After the Opera we met up with friends and enjoyed a few hours of adult company. I miss adult company and traveling. During the last 6 months we have not traveled leisurely anywhere (only for cheer competitions.) That is unheard of for our family! We missed our trip to Knott’s Berry Farm and Huntington Beach last October and two other getaways since then. I’ve not been able to visit either of my older daughters in Colorado nor at the University of Arizona. I’ve not been able to visit my girl friend in Phoenix who has a new house that I’m dying to see. It’s getting to me. I’ve lost my identity, I’ve sacrificed it to the greater good and I’ve never been unhappier. I’ve been internally struggling with this for weeks; I’ve been a Debbie Downer in a majority of my posts regarding my difficult placement. It’s a sad fact, after going out and doing some things it was blatantly clear that I’m miserable.

It’s obvious that something needs to change, it’s been 6 months and I’m not getting anywhere. My resources are garbage and I’m unable to do this on my own. I feel like no one is taking me seriously. We recently had a CFT regarding my difficult placement and I made it VERY clear that I’m hanging on by a thread. Disrupting is a very real concern at this point. The team was shocked. I mean, I’ve been telling them for 6 months that this isn’t the correct placement for this child as he cannot function within a group. My family is a group. I’ve voiced my concerns countlessly. In any case; they’re sending in a team of people into our home to help with him. Wonderful. <—– that’s dripping with sarcasm.

Hopefully we’ll have a solution soon, reunification or moving… I’m spent. Some of my readers are thinking to themselves that I signed up for this and you’re absolutely correct. However, my family and my mental health comes first. I simply cannot neglect my family because of a foster placement. I will not. I’ve given it my best shot and sometimes you’ve got to know when it’s time to say ‘enough.’

It’s funny how a date put all of this in motion, isn’t it?

The problem isn’t the problem… your reaction is.

I’ve learned a lot during my 37 years on earth, but the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is about human reactions. I’ve learned that people want reactions in every aspect of life, whether it’s praise for a job well done or something critical that hurts a person. We have all done things for be particular reactions; hello human nature.

React or respond.

Reactions are quick, they’re developed in an instant. When you do or say something without thinking… you’re on auto pilot and your unconscious brain does the footwork. For some people it’s a defense mechanism; rest assured that most people regret reactions later. Responding is a slower process; instead of that quick clap back you tend to be more logical and you consider the other persons feelings in addition to putting yourself in their position.

I often struggle with my unconscious side during day to day interactions, I react. I run my mouth, I’m boisterous, uncouth, and generally unremorseful of the sometimes hurtful things I say. However, when it comes to parenting or conflict I’ve got the responding part in the bag. I don’t yell. Wait. I do yell but I don’t yell at people. I holler down the hall at the kids to stop fighting or playing ball in the house like any other parent. I’ve learned when you yell at someone they stop listening.

React = loss of power.

Respond = empowerment.

You can change. Train your brain! Get the education on your own time, you don’t need a training or class. You have Google… what a time to be alive! If you’d rather not read articles, watch YouTube videos, or pick up a book you can start by trying self help. Simple things to ask yourself to start the process are what would be a better response? Could I have been more compassionate? Why did I react that way?

Another cheer weekend in the books

We ended up in Palm Springs! Loud was provided respite out of area with a family member. Unfortunately, since that visit his behaviors have gotten significantly worse.

The cheer weekend was a long one but a good one. Day one of these big competitions are anyways exciting but day two I was completely exhausted. Then the drive home late at night, eeek. We are having a tough season, the competition is fierce!

In other news, my boys 12th birthday is Friday! Holy moly. I’m excited to spend the day with him on his special day. His big plans include buying a pillow at Big Lot’s, visiting GameStop, and getting a frozen treat.

I’m mentally exhausted but still hanging on. I’m finding little glimmers of hope in regards to my difficult foster placement. My two other foster placements are doing good, they’re working on the things that need addressing and pushing forward. I’ve witnessed positive changes and it’s really rewarding. It’s the typical push and pull of placements but it’s 100 percent manageable.

Viva Palm Springs?

I think we’re going! Car Salesman Caseworker apparently arranged for transportation to meet me in a different city on my way out of town tomorrow. I’m truly skeptical. However, I’ve got to have faith… Right?! It’s a good thing I’m the wing it type of person and not the insane planning type.

I still haven’t told husband about this fiasco, yeah bad wife, in my defense he is so fed up he would have called and demanded that someone pick up this child right this minute. If you think I’m teetering on the edge with this difficult child… imagine my husband being, at the least, 110% more done than me. Did that make sense?! You see, Husband is the planning type and he needs a full itinerary days in advance to departure. Plus, he is getting REALLY frustrated with not being able to do the things he’s used to doing. Y’all better have a solid relationship before considering foster care because times get trying! Making sacrifices is necessary; but to sacrifice nearly half a year and see no change is enough to drive anyone batty and ruin relationships. For real.

Husband is going on a solo boys trip to decompress. He needs it, work is stressful and the coming home is stressful… he has no downtime. And weekends are supposed to be fun at home with the family, instead we are divided. Husband is required to take on much more during the weekend as we are no longer able to do things as a family unit. It’s either him or me taking everyone to do stuff, someone must remain home with Loud.

I’m going on a date with Husband, it has been over 5 months since we’ve been able to date. That’s 25 missed dates, we previously date weekly. In any case, we are going on an overnight date next month, were going to the Opera! (Granted we can find respite for Loud. I can easily get all the other kids looked after but absolutely no one in my circle will watch him.) In any case, I’m psyched to go have a fancy dinner and go to the Opera. I get to buy a new dress. 💕

We also got another cat, this is the last one. Seriously, we have lost 2 to coyotes and it’s awful feeling knowing that you’re responsible for them and they met an unfortunate demise. Copurnicus was a trouper, she was a straight thug. She was run over by side by sides twice, survived the tree incident, and she loved being outdoors. Icarus was a young cat, he wasn’t allowed outdoors unsupervised. He mostly staying in the backyard with us and he liked swimming in the pool. That dumbass ran out the garage during a rainstorm; I sent the kids out to look for him but he wasn’t found. I called the humane society after the rain let up (the next day) and they had picked up his remains earlier that morning. Poor babies. Stella, our new furbaby isn’t allowed outdoors at all. We weren’t going to get another cat but I really missed Icarus and the kids were quite sad. We adopted this cat and she was an outdoor cat previously so she tries to get out all the damn time. I may buy a kitty harness.

Itermittent fasting

Guys, GUYS. Pay attention. The last 3 weeks I’ve bought into this intermittent fasting thing, it’s working. At first I thought it was absolutely ridiculous, I mean come on not eating for 14-18 hours at a time?! That’s insane, I like to eat ALL the time. But, if you want jink about it the average person gets 6-8 hours a sleep per night. Then skip breakfast and then eat whatever during your non fast window. I like having dinner with my family every night, my fast starts at 7pm and ends at 11am. From 11am until 7pm I can eat when ever and whatever. I still get treats (I love white frosted donuts from the bakery,) and I’ve noticed I’m eating less. I’ve dropped a substantial amount of water weight and I feel pretty good. The best thing about intermittent fasting is that you can switch it up, if you have a breakfast date with a girlfriend you can move your time block to accommodate. Plus, I can still eat cake! Win/win in my book.

It looks like I’m winning this weight loss challenge, I’ve still got a little bit to go… I’m confidant! I’m still on the struggle bus with my body fat percentage, I was told to have my feet a little bit wet when I weigh in and it could give me a better body fat percentage. I’ve got some dry, crusty, feet y’all. I’ve got desert feet, calloused from the elements! 😂

Stuff and things.

I’m trying something new with Loud, he’s with me every waking moment he is with me at home. Well, except in the mornings and that’s when he decides to do naughty things like dump hair gel all over his bed then blame someone else. I have made it impossible to blame anyone in our home for his naughty behaviors; Boychild is woken up in the morning and once he us changed he’s no longer allowed in the bedroom, Boychild has a man cave in the garage where is spends his time. The girls aren’t allowed in the boys room and vice versa. It’s been 6 days of having a Loud shadow… it is not improving anything in any area. I’m going to keep going strong, I’ve got to do something. With having Loud as my shadow he is in constant conflict, he is in large groups (our family.) He fusses, whines, deliberately disobeys rules, screams at other children and is obviously overwhelmed. That puts me and him in my room a lot, where I can only have 2 other people at a time before he has some variety of issues. His caseworker is the used car sales man of workers, he talks a big game and flops. He was here yesterday and while he was here Loud was on the couch watching TV quietly and contently. The caseworker sat down beside him to talk to me and the other kids started to trickle in, before you know it 8 people are in the living room talking, asking questions, etc. During this time, as humans were trickling in, Loud has now built a fort of pillows around himself. Car salesman caseworker doesn’t seem to notice nor mind but I know it’s because he’s feeling overwhelmed by all the people… Loud is on his best behavior because the caseworker is there and he’s doing such a great job. This poor kid.

Speaking of car salesman caseworker, he promised me that Loud was going to visit a bio relative this weekend as we have a large cheer competition to go to in Palm Springs. Yesterday I sent a text to confirm the pick up/drop off time and he let me know that there has been no contact with the bio relative and I should find someone to watch him. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. I leave on Friday and it’s not easy to get agency respite for a kid with 2 days notice. I can’t send him to any of my babysitters as they’ve all kindly asked me to not bring him back. I cannot take Loud to Palm Springs to a cheer competition, he simply cannot handle that. 10,000 people and 10+ hours a day at a venue playing music as loud as a typical concert… I’m pretty sure he’s spontaneously combust. Here’s the thing; I don’t miss competitions. I didn’t attend one competition EVER and my girls asked that that never happens again, they needed me. I’m freaking out. I’m currently in correspondence with car salesman caseworker and he’s attempting to make things work. I’m leaving in 2 days.

Lemon is officially 6 years old.

Her birthday came and went so quickly! Now, Boychild’s birthday is coming in 9 more days. Then Biscuit and Husband’s birthday on the 24th of February.

Winter Formal happened, the girls looked beautiful.

The kids started playing golf on Thursdays in the Junior Golf Club. They love it!

I’m dropping weight like a boss, Husband and I have a little wager in place for the most weight lost. BUT, why does he look much thinner than me although he’s loss less weight? That’s crap.

Body fat?!

Weight loss, woooo. I had started a competition with Husband the second week of January… whoever loses the most weight or hits their goal weight first in a 3 month period gets rewarded with a treat not to exceed $300. Things were going pretty good, we were both loosing at the same rate until I got sick with some epic stomach bug. Now, anyone who’s ever had a stomach bug understands that it is a wonderful way to jump start a weight loss plan. I’ve lost nearly 10 pounds since the start and 4 of those pounds were a nice gift from the stomach funk.

I don’t eat when I’m stressed. I’ve literally been forcing myself to eat once daily and every time I do eat I feel yucky. I thought it was still stomach funk but after analyzing it, well, it’s stress. AND if you don’t eat it’s a no no, I’ve been able to get a few protein shakes in each day as well to help with lack of food. Honestly, the lack of eating isn’t bothering me as much as my aversion to Diet Dr Pepper. I live off of that stuff and I crave the carbonation, I’ve said to people before that I’d happily give up food before giving up my bubbly delight.

I bought the Aria 2 scale. I like that it sends information directly to my Fitbit app. What I don’t understand is the calculation of body fat. Listen, I know I’m over weight. It’s no surprise when I see the number on the scale because when I’m happy and comfortable I tend to over eat. Clearly, I was a damn happy person for a long while. 🤣 Okay, I was previously 30lbs overweight… I dropped 10lbs, yay for me, and my body fat has only dropped by half a percent. Okay, I’m realistic. Obviously, I haven’t lost weight the correct way…that could be it. But, as a person who is currently 20lbs over weight I don’t think I should have an obese range body fat according to my scale. Or, maybe that’s how it works? Maybe I’m misinformed about obesity… in my mind being obese is being dangerously overweight. Where are my fitness gurus?! Teach me, please?

My current BMI is 25.7 (I used some online calculator,) pant size 8, and I’m 5’11” for what it’s worth. However, my Aria scale is reporting that my body fat is over 40%. Having 40% body fat is in the obese range. I distribute weight evenly, I don’t have problem areas, my whole body is the problem, I’ve got a lovely layer of fat over my entire body. I’m built very much like Sponge Bob.

I’m currently 20 pounds overweight and considered obese. 🤔 THAT IS TERRIFYING.

Marie Kondo

I’m blogging more to ‘spark joy.’ I’m going to push to for positives; no more Debbie Downer posts. Blogging is my happy place and I’m going to continue to be more attentive to my blog. I’ll be objective. I can do this. Positivity here we go!

I’ve watched one episode of Marie Kondo’s series on Netflix and I’m not super keen on it. I’m a collector of all things and often times sloppy. And let’s be honest… who has the time for her practices?! If I took everything out of my closet and laid it on my bed it would be there for months! Then I’d probably end up throwing it all away to get rid of the mess that had spread all over my room. I understand the concept of being thankful and honoring your items BUT it’s simply not for me. My children’s notes and art spark joy. My books spark joy. My tiny toy collection that kids have gifted me over the years. My junk drawer brings me joy. My t-shirts I’m saving to make a memory blanket that I’ll-never-get-around-to brings me joy. In short all of my crap brings me joy.

You know what works for me? The quarterly purge. Everyone goes through clothes, personal items, toys, books, etc. Once we go through it all we have a trash pile, a donate pile, and a keep pile. Sometimes, I forget the quarterly part and it happens twice a year instead. Eh, stuff happens. The good news is that our home is pretty tidy despite all the items that don’t spark joy.

Another day, another problem.

The defeat is deafening. It’s getting harder and harder to find happiness. Everyone seems to have these bright ideas when it comes to helping my foster son, it appears as if I’m the failure. That’s all I’m getting. Fix the foster parent is the answer. I’ll be going to a new training to appease the masses.

This weekend is the Winter Formal and my high school daughters are going. They both seems to be excited about it. There was a dance at the middle school but my foster daughter decided to opt out. Nothing exciting is going on at the elementary schools that I’m aware of. School is going well for the majority of the kids with the exception of Bunny and Loud. Bunny decided to not turn in homework all week, I have no clue why and I’m disappointed. Loud forgets or looses his homework, although he did complete his reading yesterday AND today he had a great day at school. Baby steps, baby wins! I’ll take it.

I haven’t really gotten anything else to report as my social life is null. I’ve done nothing for myself for what feels like forever, I recently had the opportunity to sneak away to take Boychild to Supercross for his birthday. I had a great time celebrating with him. I haven’t been able to go on a date with Husband for months, I’ve not seen friends for months (except in passing,) and the only interaction I’ve had that’s meaningful was with my religious group because they come see me while the kids are in school weekly.

Any suggestions to help me get my positive juju back?!