Everyday is an Adventure. Embrace it

Posts tagged ‘patience’

Memorial Day

My Daddy. Vietnam War Veteran.

My Daddy. Vietnam War Veteran.

Happy Memorial day everyone! As millions of workers are off today for remembrance of fallen American soldiers and their loved ones left behind, please take a moment to say thank you to a veteran or an active duty soldier.  I believe there is more awareness now due to media coverage of all types, but there are still many soldiers that are forgotten, left behind and the memories of their unselfish service is forgotten or fading.

It only takes a moment of time to say thank you. Sometimes, that is all someone needs to hear… just 2 words – Thank You.

I personally thank you if you have ever served in any branch of our US military. I appreciate the freedoms you contributed to. I appreciate the peace you helped maintain. You didn’t have to be on the battle front to be important, you simply served. It’s an honor and my gratitude overflows.

It doesn’t matter where you are now or what you “became”.  Your life matters. Your service matters. You matter!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!

**My father served. My Husband served and many other members of my family have served. A great number of my friends have served or are still serving. So my passion for veterans is well seated. Please pass along this note of gratitude to encourage others to say a simple THANK YOU to our men and women in uniform past and present.

 

 

Love,

Chrissy

Bad Dog Park Etiquette

We have a 50 pound Labrador-Shar Pei mix pooch that we rescued almost 2 years ago from a local shelter. Since she’s a house dog we feel often times like she needs more exercise then what we are able to give her daily, so we frequently take her to a dog park or on outtings with us. Why do we go to such lengths? Because we love her, like a child… as one of the family.

IMAG5222 (Here she has new fallen show on her back.)

We were driving almost thirty miles or so to take her to a dog park on the opposite end of town until we discovered back in the fall that there is a good-sized well kept dog park that’s only about 5 minutes from home. We have frequented several times a month now and each time we go, the experience is a little different.

When we first started going to dog parks we had to learn some of the rules of etiquette. Just like any beginner would. We learned about picking up our dog’s poop, maintaining her composure and control, and appropriate social interactions. And I have to say that most dog owners on the opposite side of town were very welcoming, understanding, and congenial. We also learned that taking your dog’s personality and how they react in different situations into consideration is a must. I mean, this should be obvious to the average person with common sense, right?

Alright, that’s enough history for you. As with any other place there are regulars that come daily or weekly. Their dogs know each other and have developed some sort of friendship or acquaintance. Since the pet owners are regulars, I recognize them from time to time. We may not be on a first name basis but there is a familiar between all of us. It’s a beautiful Park, well kept and maintained. There are waste receptacles and poop bags readily available on every section of the park. It’s fenced in and there’s an awesome swimming pond on one section. Teeny tiny dogs have a lot to run in, medium sized dogs have a lot and really large dogs do as well. Medium and large dogs tend to mingle with each other and get along pretty well.

Occasionally you have that owner of a tiny dog who will try to bring their itty bitty dog into the big dog arena. It’s generally peaceful for the first five minutes. Then suddenly the teeny tiny dog will try to attack a huge dog and the owner of that small dog will get upset that the large dog defended itself. This is a pretty common thing. People who own small dogs know this but for some reason fall into the belief that their tiny dog will be well behaved around a huge dog. It is what it is. That’s not what this story is about.

Yesterday while at the dog park our 50 pound fixed female Labrador / Shar-Pei mix dog was attacked. Not by a tiny dog but by three dogs her size and a little bit larger. They were intact males. They were all curious about her one at a time and played with her one on one for a while. It was when they were all interested in her at the same time that things became volatile. One of these dogs was a pit, the other was a boxer, the other I have no idea.

The owners of these aggressive dogs were female. They stayed huddled around on the other side of the park, hands on hips, laughing and conversating with one another. Their dogs had been pooping everywhere and none of them bothered to stop their conversation to clean up. Their conversation continued completely uninterrupted as their dogs were beginning to growl and get aggressive with our dog. They couldn’t be bothered with something so trivial when their conversations were so important!

Now, just to be clear, this was happening literally at my feet. My dog came to me for comfort and protection because she was fearful. We were probably 25 to 30 feet away from the owners of the other dogs. They were looking in our direction but did not intervene. My husband, who had cleaned up after our dog, was walking back to the area where we were to intervene. Needless to say he was pretty angry. I had already been attempting voice commands to intervene but those aggressive dogs were not heeding my voice.

My husband tends to bring with him some amazing energy and it was obvious that he was not happy. The largest of the three ladies decided to waddle in our general direction to get her dog. She did not help or intervene though. She just stood there watching. My husband took control of our dog’s harness and led her to the gate to take her to another section of the park. Basically we were removing ourselves from the situation peacefully to protect ours. The boxer & the pit became increasingly agitated and the largest of the dogs that belonged to the largest of the women got on top of ours. Still this lady did not intervene or attempt to help. Bad etiquette indeed.

The owner of the two most aggressive dogs was smaller in stature and thought she could control them. Through verbal commands she attempted but failed. Her dogs made it through the fence with my husband and our dog. She was yelling and cussing & was obviously mad at us.

Now understand that we know it’s bad etiquette to allow another owner’s dog through the gate. We also could not control the situation and she wasn’t helping, so it was more an accident than anything. I even apologized to her when she should have been the one apologizing to me for neglecting her animals and allowing the situation to escalate.

My husband said some not-so-nice things to her as she was retrieving her dog. As she passed by me she gave me a hard stare eye to eye. The three ladies were obviously upset that their conversation had been so rudely interrupted and we continued to be the topic of their loud conversation as they pointed at us on the other side of the fence. More people with even larger dogs converged around them and began talking. While all these dog owners were conversing about how horrible we were, the original three aggressive dogs broke out in a dogfight with the other people’s dogs. I’ll admit, I had to snicker a bit.

The craziest thing was that I recognized the smaller, more petite lady who was trying to control the two most aggressive dogs. I know her. She dated my brother. I went to school with her. We are friends on Facebook. She didn’t recognize me. I didn’t care. I did not have a high opinion of her when we were young. Obviously I do not have a high opinion of her now. Isn’t it funny how the world goes around?  I’ve always thought people could change, but the more I consider it, I am second guessing this idea now. And on the off-chance she may ever read this article, here is a link about Dog Park Etiquette. Oh, and this is a great article too!

 

Setting Boundaries & Establishing Consistency

Welcome to this Journey through O.D.D. (Oppositional Defiance Disorder). This article is part 4 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the fourth and fifth weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

In our fourth week together, we were continuing to work on our previous plan of action: maintaining open dialog, pointing out annoying behaviors, bringing lies to Knight’s attention and being open to accepting responsibility for his actions and words. Knight was giving us signs that he was feeling overwhelmed with just these three items, so during week 4 we gave him a rest from adding more to the plan. We continued to focus on just the first three maintaining consistency.

More Open Dialog

Week 5 rolled around and our open dialog was giving me more insight into Knight’s personality & reasoning behind some of his actions (defiance). He spoke to me about his earlier school experiences & earlier life living in a large city. When he moved in with us, his environment changed significantly. We lived in a mid-sized city rental home & would be moving soon back to the home we owned in the country – within the year. He spoke of the differences in people here & how people reacted to him there. He seemed to like it here. This led to him reviewing his earlier school experiences with me.

I had a good understanding already from his transcripts, but his opinions were valuable to help me help him. He said everyone at his old school disliked him (especially the teachers). He failed many of his subjects through the years & was involved in many physical fights. He proudly explained to me that his mother had always “taken care of that for him”. He said she would go to the school and have a fit with the teachers & principle so he would be moved to the next grade. He was proud of his mother for “taking up for him”. He said she always “got him out of trouble” and once even had his juvenile record cleared so that no one could hold it against him. He felt as though she had “connections” and he could do anything he wanted to really.

I did not rebuttal anything he said or offer any comments. I just let him talk. In my mind however, I wondered why she would do that for him in a public setting when I was told by her that his physical altercations at home resulted in declaring that she “couldn’t handle him any longer”.  I am not judging her by no means. I was simply left wondering.  Knight had very bad school transcripts, a history of failing classes, provoking others to fights, threatening the safety of others while in school, in school and out of school suspensions, and many school initiated psychological reviews. His previous 2 schools had him on an IEP (Independent Education Program) and had marked him as *special needs* because of his behavior. I, however, did not see him as *special. I felt like that was a cop-out instead of addressing his real issue of O.D.D. They had him in classes for developmentally delayed children and he was/is by no means delayed! I set a boundary.

Getting Ready for a New School

I explained to Knight that I did not see him as *special needs. I told him I loved him & would do everything I could to help him, but I would not take up for him to get him out of trouble if he in fact, was guilty. I explained to him the new school I would be enrolling him in was a public school that has a zero tolerance policy for his previous types of behaviors. He said, “whatever”.  I accepted his whatever as a sign of understanding. I knew he heard and  understood what I told him. I also told him that the new school would probably not place him on an easy IEP. His father had said he was going to go to school and ask that one be created, but I knew from experience that the new school treated all children equally. They would test him and decide he was not truly *special. I was grateful I had an entire summer to work with him before he entered into the new school.

Altercations, Defiance & Random Outburst

By week five, I saw several physical altercation attempts between he and his father & a few between he and my boys. None of which were provoked by any reason of means – they just occurred as randomly as part of his need to annoy others.  Here, in random order, is an account of a few:

  • Knight’s father returns home from work. Knight is sitting on the couch playing his Xbox. His father says, “Hey Knight. How was your day?” Knight doesn’t answer. He is ignoring his father. Walking closer to his son, his father asks again. Knight angrily puts down game controller down huffing a loud sigh of disgust. “FINE”, he yells. “It was FINE, OKAY? OH MY GOD!” Not once did he look at his father. He returned to playing his game.  Knight’s father begins to yell back at him about respect, working all day and being happy to come home to him and receiving that reaction from him. (I’ll add that to the list of what didn’t work later.) Knight gets up from the couch. (1)Throws his controller down and wants to escape his father. Knight likes being oppositional and defiant, but detest anyone treating him that way. Knight goes into his bedroom and (2)slams the door. His father follows him. More yelling on both parts.  😦    After all yelling has ceased, both of them are separated. Knight begins (3)kicking and punching the closet door. The door comes out of its track. Falling, it slams into the back wall of the closet.

After about an hour, Knight came to me and asked me to help him.

 He was full of anger and resentment toward his father.

I told him I loved him but that I couldn’t and wouldn’t live in a home with violence. Violence is not love and will never resolve anything. He explained to me that a therapist his mother took him to advised him to destroy things instead of  people when he was mad. He could not see why slamming doors, punching walls, and throwing things was not acceptable. I explained to him that the therapist that told him that was probably correct when Knight was a younger child, but because he is a teenager now (almost a man), he needed to express himself verbally and not with his hands. We had a lengthy conversation about how physical altercations instill fear in people. He said that he felt it was a way of gaining respect. (He was consumed by “respect” yet showed no respect to anyone or anything.) I told him he was gaining my respect until he used his hands to physically display his anger or frustration. I also told him that if he crossed the line at any point with his aggression – he was out. HE asked me what is punishment was going to be. I answered, “I am taking the power cord to your Xbox for 3 days. You can sit on the couch and stare at it, but you can’t make it function for you. I am also taking your phone. I love you and you know I do, but I can’t help you if you don’t try”. He cried. He agreed to keep trying . He apologized to his father, his new brothers, and I. He began working on (and still is working toward) keeping his new promise of limiting or eliminating his physical aggression.

  • On another day, Knight and his new brother’s were hanging out in their room. As mentioned before the place we were living in was a mid-sized city home at the time. They all 3 teenage boys shared a bedroom. I am in my bedroom and it is late. Our rooms share a dividing wall and I hear cussing and foul language through the wall. I don’t know what or who started it.  I also hear, “Dude if you ever ___ I will stab you!” and “You wanna be shanked, dude?”

Threats are not tolerable. When picking battles, this is a one I chose. I quickly removed all knives and sharp objects from the house and locked them up, as though I was child-proofing for a toddler. I called Knight out on the threats. He denied them over and over. We spoke about accepting responsibility for actions and words we speak as I reminded him I heard them with my own ears. He continued to deny his threats. I told him I was disappointed in him. He had just gained his Xbox back and had played it earlier in the day. I took the power cord again. I took his phone and Wi-Fi from him. (He was very upset about that.) He lost these things for 3 days. To get them back he would need to show good behaviors for 3 days consistently.  His father spoke to him (actually more like lectured him) and in the end he promised to stop the threats…or at least try to. My boys came to me and told me they were worried for their safety. I expressed this to Knight’s father and he spoke yet again with Knight. He re-enforced that threats would not be tolerated. Knight was afraid of being shipped off to a disciplinary school and told me he liked living with us. He promised repetitively to end all threats and he made it almost 4 months before another threat slipped off his tongue. This has and still was a work in progress. 🙂

  • We were all sitting around the dinner table having supper. During conversation the subject of my boys’ deceased father was brought up. When the boys felt secure in the company they kept, they would mention him and want to talk about memories. They were becoming more comfortable with Knight. They mentioned how they missed their father and loved him. Knight (who was in a particularly defiant mood that day) began to laugh loudly. 😦 He said “HA!  Death is funny!” I stopped eating and said, “Death is not funny Knight. Haven’t you ever lost someone who you loved before?” He replied, “Yeah, so!?! I don’t care. Death is Funny. Who Cares anyway? It’s stupid.” Knight’s comments were angering my boys who were recovering from PTSD caused by watching their father die – literally. They loved their father and grieved deeply for a long time during their recovery. 😦  I glanced at my boys to reassure them that this was just one of Knight’s attempt to annoy, defy them, and cause dramatic confusion. My reassuring look was not working. Both boys were filled with anger. My oldest stood up and told Knight “he’d better watch what he said or he wouldn’t be responsible for what could happen if he was enraged”.  Knight had fear in his eyes and I could tell he regretted what he had said, but through defiance – couldn’t bring himself to take it back or apologize. I stood up and announced dinner was over. I sent my oldest son to his room to cool down. I told him I’d be in to talk to him soon. My youngest who was giving Knight a look of total disdain was sent to the bedroom also. Knight jumped up from the table and yelled, “Do it man! Come on. Hit me. I dare you.” He knocked over the chair he was sitting in and said, “I don’t need this. I don’t need you. I’m running away!” He did. He ran out the front door. I went to the boys in their bedroom who were crying. I hugged them, reassured them they are entitled to miss their father and reminded them that Knight is still testing his limits with us. I asked them to bear with me because I was not giving Knight what he wanted. He would not provoke a response from me. I was not giving in or giving up. They told me they loved me. Then, I went out to search for Knight. I didn’t see him in the neighborhood. I drove to the ball field. I didn’t see him. It was getting dark. I called Knight’s mother. She said she would speak with Knight. I called Knight’s father. He said he would speak to Knight and not to worry about it, advising me Knight would be back very soon – he wouldn’t go far.  😦

Knight’s father was correct. He came back within the hour. He knocked on my bedroom door and apologized for his outburst. He said he didn’t know what made him do it or why he had said what he did. I told me he was jealous of my boys’ love for one another and their relationship. He told me he was jealous of how everyone loved each other in our family and that he wanted that. I reminded him that I loved him and that I had already welcomed him into our family. The invitation had been given and he had a choice to take it or not. He said he felt as though he was being treated differently. I promised him that he would be treated equal and reminded him that included following the same rules and requests that the other boys followed daily. Knight’s father lectured him for his actions. Knight’s mother lectured him for his actions. I continued to love him in spite of his actions, so I punished him…again.

Consistency: 3 days of No Phone, No Wi-Fi, No computer, his Xbox was available (all cords this time) – but with No controller, No more outings with me (which he enjoyed), & he had to spend 2 days with his father. He assumed these things were all punishments, but really it was a re-connection time for he and his father.

There is Hope

Of course there have been many other outburst and acts of aggression than these alone. There is no need to write about all of them. The point of this article is to give hope to those parents out there who may be dealing with a child or teen who exhibits O.D.D symptoms and behaviors. We have lived through them all. Encountered them all. Survived them all. Hope comes from knowing that these types of actions and behaviors only very rarely occur now (a year later).

The key for us during this stage (only 5 weeks into Oppositional Defiance Disorder) had been:

  1. Maintaining open dialog
  2. Pointing out annoying behaviors
  3. Bringing lies to Knight’s attention (Taking Ownership of his Words & Actions)
  4. Structure in his daily life
  5. Consistency in discipline

Please stay tuned for Part 5 to come soon.

What Are You Looking At?

Yesterday, after school, we attended a football parent meeting. It was a mandatory meeting for all players in all grades of the High School and was very informative. Since we have 3 boys attending (1 played last year & 2 will play in the Fall) we never thought a thing about attending.

It was a good meeting – very informative. I’m new to this whole kid playing sports thing because X & Z never played any sports in the past, but Y who came to live with us a year ago has played sports his whole life. All I knew of sports from last season was the endless shuttling of kids from one place to the next, sitting in the stands and washing uniforms. Y moved in with us in the spring and just joined right in with the existing football team, so we missed any and all parental information meetings last season. Shoot, we never received any communications from the coaches or anyone else except Y. This year is different.

Anyway, after the meeting was a “cook out” which consisted of hot dogs wrapped in aluminum foil, tiny bags of chips, water, and cookies. There was no seating, so we all just stood around and ate off paper plates and looked around at the other people, kids, coaches, etc. interacting or just standing around like we were.

I noticed several “clicks” or grouping of people who must have known each other from the previous years. My husband hasn’t lived here long, so knew no one really, but I have lived here my whole life. I went to this school. I saw a few people who I knew. And surprisingly something happened.

Memories!

Since hitting my head a while back and losing a ton of memories, I get super happy when some return! They were pretty happy memories too. I remembered the wings/halls of the school (which classes were where) and began to remember some happy, funny, or eventful events that occurred 🙂

I guess I was kind of zoning out after a few minutes because I suddenly realized my husband was talking to me. Listening intently, I tried to catch up on his conversation when I noticed over his shoulder that a group of women standing behind him were staring at us. There were 4 women in this group. The one in the front was covering her mouth and she spoke to the other ladies as she cut her eyes toward us. At several times our eyes met and locked on each other as she continued to talk to the other ladies. She would slant her eyes our way, nod in our direction and point with her elbow. Basically, she did everything except point a finger at us.

I looked back at my husband who thought I was upset about something and was refusing to look at him as he spoke to me. He walked away from me for a minute. I looked him over to see if he had toilet paper stuck to the bottom of his shoe or his fly was open. Nope. Nothing there to see. I found no reason they’d be staring at him, so I examined myself. I’m always dressed modestly, so I had no body parts playing peek-a-boo, no spilled ketchup running down my shirt, nothing on my face, and my hair wasn’t sticking up in an odd Something About Mary way.

My husband came back to where I stood and we spoke for a little longer. I glanced over his should a few more times and then it hit me! Bad memories…Not my memories though. I thought about the horrible stories about kids making fun of other kids, bullying and such 😦 I’ll admit that when I was in school I had my fair share of insecurities, but I was never bullied at this school over them. In fact, at this school, every kid is just…a kid. There were a few small “clicks”, but not very many and even the people in those groups were nice to the other kids. It really is a great school as far as that goes. Everyone is accepted.

I tried to tell myself that I was inventing something that wasn’t there. But…I just couldn’t shake the feeling that there truly was 😦

It was at that time that I lost my temper and knew that I needed to exit the facility in order not to embarrass my children. Afterall, X is going into his senior year and I don’t want to ruin that for him. You see, when I lose my temper (which is an extremely very rare occasion), people part from me like the parting of the Red Sea. I am not very pretty when I blow up which is why I have managed my anger very well through behavior modification. I pray and leave the situation quickly.

After much prayer last night, I found peace. I’ve decided that I will be seeing these women on a regular basis now and that I need to at least find out their names. As the school year goes along, I will also find out why they were staring at us also. I’m just blunt like that 🙂

It’s spring in Tennessee!

Blessings 🙂

Second attempt – Arrowhead wonders

Over the weekend, my husband and I thought we would go out and look for a tilled up field to look through for arrow heads. Thinking we would try north, we drove around field spotting for a few hours. We found a lot of field, but none had been turned. We discovered that practically no one will is home on a Sunday afternoon anyway to give permission to walk their field.

Lesson learned. It was actually a good trip. We shared time together and checked out the landscape that we didn’t otherwise know.

After a couple of fields, Nick said “I just know we’ll find arrowheads or artifacts here!  Just look at what I found!” ….
image

After a good laugh, we were on to the next field 🙂

The only thing we actually did find was a shaft straightener,
image

a few tiny pieces of flint, and several farm properties that are for sale.

I’ve always liked just leisurely driving around though, so I loved it!
It was a good day 🙂

Below are some we found on other days.

image

image

Funny How Things Just Hit You

As I sat drinking my beloved coffee this morning, I rummaged through a year’s worth of pictures so the before/after photographs could be posted of the house.  I am downright excited to publish a post of gratitude and rightfully thank everyone that has blessed our family over the last year.

As I was reviewing the first 1,000 photos or so, I was flat-out excited! Creating a folder to move the photos into and ensuring they were in the right order was not bothersome at this point. After an hour had passed, I had successfully completed my first pot of coffee.  I was amazed that I took so many pictures & had parsed through several thousand at this point. Going into my third hour, I was mentally exhausted. I was becoming frustrated at myself for taking so many pictures of everything under the sun. I questioned myself even, “why did I snap that?” “Did I think that was funny, cool, or that I’d never see it again?” “What is that?” I caught myself being upset with myself for clogging up my computer with pictures of random stuff when it hit me.

It is defined by: Wow, I’ve had a great year! I’m not including the boys or their feelings in this either. They may see the last year in a different way. Since they have become strange creatures others call teenagers, I can no longer speak for their feelings really. Would you allow me, gentle reader, to share this with you?

Please do not think me boasting or giving gratitude to anyone other than God! I have honestly had a great year of healing without even noticing I was. I mean, I’ve noticed sort of, but I took each day and placed it in its own little boxed adventure and hadn’t lined all the boxes up together to see the whole picture.

Over the last year: I went from thinking I was moving on with my life and realizing I hadn’t moved an inch

– to mourning the loss of my husband again

– to recovering from a nasty concussion (PCS)

– to beginning the heart wrenching work on the house

– to moving away from home

– to leaving state several times and seeing new places

– to meeting new people

– to realizing I had fallen in love again

– to watching the boys grow closer to each other and healing (PTSD & grief)

– to taking our first ever family vacation

– to learning a new trade (kind of)

– to definitely learning new skills

– to learning to open up and share myself with someone again

– to renewing my faith

– to really learning forgiveness (PTSD)

– to letting go of the anger (PTSD & grief)

– to helping a few friends along the way

– to meeting some cool people in other countries (you know who you are…Paul)

– to being a Mom again instead of working too many hours each week

– to bringing another child into our family

– to finally agreeing to “let it go” and just be.

And I documented all of this through my pictures. There are thousands of magical pictures with time stamps and GPS locations to remind me just how far I have come and how unquestionably blessed I have been and still am.

I am happy that I was side tracked while trying to locate all the photos of the house for you. I apologize that you must continue to wait too, cause I’m only good for one post per day per blog.

🙂 May God bless you

We moved back home!!

It’s been a while since I have written anything and for that, I apologize.  I do have some fabulous news though…we moved back home on October 31st!

The boys were a tad perturbed that they didn’t get to keep their Halloween plans made with friends, but we needed every available body to help lift, carry, and unpack.

We moved practically everything on that day/night. Afterwards, I went back to the rental property we were residing in and cleaned it up. That didn’t take long though – just a few hours. We left it looking far better (and a lot more clean) than when we moved into it 🙂

If you have followed the blog for a while, maybe you remember the house flooding? (It’s okay if you forgot, you can catch up if you read here.)

Maybe you remember the house sliding off its foundation almost a year later? (No problem if you forgot. You can catch up if you read here or here for details.)

I stopped writing about the house in February 2012 (I think) because I didn’t want the house to become the entire focus of this blog. And I decided that I would write once we were moved back into the house. I didn’t know that it would be the last day in October that would happen though.

I am going to do a reveal post soon and show some before and after photos so I can publicly thank everyone that helped us during this time in our lives. The project started the last week in December 2011 and was completed Oct 31, 2012. I am filled with joy to be back home again and I hope your hearts are touched with the story I reveal soon 🙂

 

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