Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Cute and the Not So Cute

Potty training this child was pretty funny we had to get pictures of him.
a picture speaks a thousand words.


Now for the not so cute. Helping traumatized children can be a roller coaster ride. They have many ups and downs in the process of healing and growth. Right now we have a few in the challenging stage. It seems like one likes to live his life there but that is a novel that will never be written. How these downs look and act are not so bad, it's just that it gets tiring especially when you live dancing on egg shells. One of the children cries at the top of their lungs when they don't get their way. They will stomp off waving their arms up and down hitting their sides, hides in the corner and cries the cry of a deep mourn or falls asleep. Sadly the falling asleep happens around 5:00pm so that just doesn't work. This happens about 10 times a day.

Another child doesn't like to be corrected even if it's with a smile and loving words. They will fold their arms hard, stomp off to the stairs, sit cross legged, arms folded with head bowed. They will sit there moaning and groaning and work into a cry if we don't notice and interfere. When asked what's wrong they will say that someone is mad at them. That someone is the person that corrected them, with a smile. This too happens many times a day.

Another child is ultra sensitive! I have to watch everything I say and how it is said or offense will be taken and walls will be built.

It is an emotional stew around here. Many emotions being stirred up and swirling around waiting to be served. We get large helpings dished out daily. Many of the children are struggling with one thing or another. One of the kids gets out of the van for school teary most days. You would think we were in the middle of an adoption or something. Maybe we are.

Next post, very great news. More good news to come later. OH, so much happens at our house.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Snow in October!

I woke up this morning to none other than SNOW! I heard a weather report a month or so ago that meteorologists expect it to be a colder than normal fall and warmer than normal winter. Yesterday I looked out at the mountains and was so grateful to see snow. We really need the moisture. But when I saw the snow on my own front lawn and realized the snow was still falling I wasn't as grateful.

I brought Clayson in from catching snow flakes on his tongue and said

"This is incredible."

Clayson responds in awe, "I know, I love the snow".

Not quite what I meant. :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

16 Year Old Boys!

What do 16 year old boys do? Tease their siblings, beg to drive, forget to do their chores and so forth. The best thing 16 year old boys do is gross us out and make us laugh.

Hannah (12) was eating some Skittles and Creed decided he wanted some. She only had 3 and put them all in her mouth.  I heard "Wow Hannah this is a really good Skittle". I assumed he took it out of her hands and I told him not to steal. He said "I didn't steal it out of her hands".  No, it was not out of her hand it was worse. He stole it right out of her mouth.

I really did teach him about germs.

Creed is on the right. Every bit as mischievous as he looks.
Handsome boys.

New Bikes

OK, so I am talking about Hyrum and Bria again. I think it is the same phenomenon as when you have a two year old that shows up in all you pictures because they are so cute and after months and months you realize you have no pictures of your other kids. That is just where I am right now.

Bria's birthday was September 10th. We bought her a tricycle because all she wanted was a bike and a Barbie. The bike we got her was pretty flimsy so a week or so later we took it back and got a new one. At the same time we bought Hyrum a bike for his birthday and were going to save it until November for his birthday. We hid Hyrum's bike in our closet behind some clothes so he wouldn't see. I put Bria's bike together and let Bria have it. She was so excited and loved her bike. She rode her bike for quite a while then got off to do something else. Hyrum was dancing around in excitement because of the new bike. He ran to Bria and asked if he could ride it. Sadly Bria said no. Hyrum was so sad.

Pony tails don't stay in Bria's hair too well. Time to try another hair style.

Hyrum wanted a bike so bad that he walked around the house for the next 30 minutes saying things like "my bike birthday" "I want bike" "Bria no let me ride bike". It was killing me. He was so sad and at the same time there was not expectation that he should have one too. I couldn't take it so I went to the closet pulled out the box and started putting it together. When Hyrum noticed he got so excited knowing this bike was for him.

He jumped right on and rode all around. The smile was always there. Both Bria and Hyrum rode and rode. Oh, they love their bikes. Every family memeber was expected to watch as they rode around. Sereen and Jared come home and they have to stand at the door watching Hyrum ride his bike. Mom must be present or it doesn't count. Of course, Bria has to be there with him. Ressa comes home and the same things happen. It's sort of like Groundhog Day with the bikes. Tyler, Jessica, Britton, cousin Ashton and other favored visitors. If you saw Hyrum and Bria ride their bikes you can be counted as a favorite.

The children insisted we take pictures with the bikes.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"I'm Happy Mom"

This child is so incredibly precious.
I have never experienced a person filled with more gratitude.
Hyrum thanks Doug and I for everything. He thanks me for taking him to the toilet. He thanks me for food. He thanks me for giving him a bath, holding him, reading him a story, watching him on his bike and everything else you could think of. Today he was playing and I walked in the room where he was. He turned to me with a big grin and said "Thank you mom." I asked why he would thank me and he said "Cuz you came by me". These thank yous are not the run of the mill "thank you because I need to be polite". These words are filled with true feeling and sincere smiles. 

For the last two weeks I hear the words "I'm happy" at least 10 times a day. Hyrum is truly happy and you can feel it just by being with him. He attracts people wherever he goes. I am sure his happiness is tied to his sincere gratitude for life and all that he has. Most importantly his family. This boy adores his family!!

Hyrum is teaching me, by example, the true joy that comes from gratitude. I have tried much harder to appreciate all that I have and be happy even with the challenges that are mine. I am eternally blessed by having him. I dont' want to imagine what my life would be without the blessings he brings.

He doesn't do very well trying to be angry.

Not only is he happy but he is incredibly handsome.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Talented Friends and Music Videos

We were invited to record a music video with a family that we know. The took the song "Safe and Sound" from hunger games and redid it as a family project over the summer. The father, 16 year old son and teenage cousin did all the instrumental and the 13 year old daughter sang the song. The 13 year old girl was Pierce's best friend in 6th grade and her 11 year old brother is friends with Casey. I wasn't sure what to expect out of the song but when I heard it I was impressed. They had a movie director hear them sing and wanted to make a music video for the song. This director won a national prize for a film he made last year while at BYU.

We gathered at an apple orchard about an hour away and got to be extras in the end of the video. The video should be ready by the end of October. The kids did great and were well behaved and cooperative. Everyone had a good time even though it was hot and took 2 hours longer than expected. There is something about actors and being on time. It is an age old problem. I am anxious to see the finished product. Sorry to say, I didn't bring the camera but Britt came and took a picture of Bria so I could send it with our post placements to China.

When things were wrapping up I overheard the director and cameraman talking about our family. There were 17 extras there and we were 13 of them. One of them knew we were all one family but when the other found out the conversation became interesting. The funniest thing was the discussion of making a documentary on our family. I have hear that one many times.

Tyler holding Bria while getting her makeup on. They had to look dirty for these shots.

Have You Ever Taken a Shower in the Sewer?

OK, so this may not be coming from a place of charity but sometimes life can be pretty funny. Poor Doug was put in one of those situations that would win the grand prize on America's Funniest Home Videos if only we had a camera going. Who would have thought to have a camera going while working in the sewer, right?

A little background. Most homes have their sewage hooked directly up to pipes that run under the street. Where we live the pipes are too shallow to go directly to the street so we have what is called a sewer pump. There is a big bucket that collects the black water then when the bucket gets full the pump will shoot it up the pipes to go to the street pipes. This is all well and good until the pump breaks down and the alarm quits working. This is what we faced over the last few days.

If you have ever seen a pump function it is pretty cool. We have a water feature in the front yard and when we clean it someone hoses the rocks down to clean the dirt out. The pool at the end collects the water and when it fills up we stick the pump down in the water, turn it on and we have a geyser about 6 feet tall that sprays all the water out of the hole. It is pretty fun to do and watch.  Unfortunately, this same principle applies to sewer pumps even when you don't want it to.:))

There was a musty smell in the house for a couple of weeks that we couldn't determine the source. Saturday, the source became pretty clear as the smell turned from musty to stinky. We started to get whiffs of an outhouse. We knew just where to look. Yes, there was moisture around the base of the bucket that stores the sewer. Just so you aren't grossed out, this bucket doesn't stay very full because at our house it is pumped out numerous times a day. This bucket has a good sealing system but if it overflows there is an escape so we don't have sewage backing up in the whole house. This is where the moisture was coming from.

OK, to make a story that lasts a few days short I will cut to the chase. Doug was down in our crawl space replacing the pump. Our crawl space is very nice and has a thick layer of pea gravel. Things were going rather quick and 20 minutes into the project he was putting in the new pump. One of the kids came running into the kitchen and said "Mom, I think Dad needs help, he's yelling." When Dad needs help I run. It usually means he needs extra hands quick. Creed and I ran down and there he was soaking wet. Yep, wet with sewage dripping down his chin and off his hair!! He decided to test the pump before putting it all together and turned it on. It worked, so without thinking he put it into the bucket, this same bucket that was full of sludge. The next thing he knew there was sewage spewing all over the crawl space and storage area. Thankfully he had emptied the solids before beginning the project but in this situation there was much sludge that comes from the solids sitting long enough to breakdown and turn into a mud type substance. You can picture an outhouse and all that is in there without the solid.

I timidly asked if I could bring the hose in the house because I knew who's job it would be to clean this up. I think Doug was ready to barf and was not a happy camper. Really who would be at this point. The hose came in and the Clorox came out. When the job was done Doug stripped down, the kids herded off and he stepped from one towel to the next as he went to the nearest bathroom to shower. I was a little surprised when he came up for dinner not 10 minutes later. Guarantee, I would have run the water heater out while using a whole bar of soap.

I wasn't the best wife. I stood there in that storage area laughing and joking about the situation. Doug didn't join in but that night he too was laughing. Every time I retell the story I just laugh harder. Who really can say they took a shower in the sewer?

Sorry about the poor quality. I didn't want to take the good camera down into that. Everything that you see is wet from the pump accident. The dark in the hole is the wet gravel that had to be shoveled out and washed down. As it soaked into the rocks there were patties that formed. You know, like a cow patty. We used A LOT of water and didn't care one bit if it hurt the sheet rock. I was a little concerned about the clothes closet on the other side of the wall and the carpet.

See the brown on the wall to the left? Yep, sewer. That is after we wiped some off. The other wall was generously doused as well. It's a good thing all the Christmas stuff was taken out before hand.

Dont' worry we cleaned up very good. We had to have the doors and windows open the rest of that night and through the next day. The smell in the house was a mixture of a swimming pool and an outhouse.

Everything is great now. No smell and the sewer is running perfectly.