Ozzy has it!


Ozzy got his iPod Shuffle back. I use the word “back” loosely as we got him the shuffle about 2 years ago and quickly realized that he was not capable of keeping the tiny thing safe. It would have been lost in like a half day. So we confiscated it.  But Ozzy, who has an incredible memory, recently reminded me that I had his iPod Shuffle and he would like to have it. So his dad and I decided that he could earn back the iPod. That would turn out to be a difficult task.

I kept setting goals for the return of it and he was unable to meet the goals. We went a couple weeks and the goals I set were not met. I really wanted him to get the iPod back but to also to know he earned it. I knew by trial and error that I was not setting realistic goals for Ozzy and I had to make it easier. So I set a very manageable goal -get up on time and on the bus two days in a row. He had been missing the bus and also almost missing the bus for a couple weeks and I had had it. So I told him if I had to drive him to school anymore it will cost him $5. But I also told him that I knew he could get up on time and I knew the iPod would be a worthy prize. He was in.

For two days he did it! Got his rear end up and off to school. Maybe with a little bit of father prodding but he was much easier to manage. Wouldn’t you know the second day he got up and out on time I got a note from a teacher letting me know Ozzy had not handed in some work that he had told me he had done. Sigh. Ok he did meet his goals by getting up and out the door so I told him after he got all the work completed (the teacher gave him an extension- for less points) that the iPod was his. He worked and worked and worked some more. I was rooting for him and told him if he got it completed I was buying him 2 songs of his choice. And finally Sunday night it was complete!

Ozzy got his iPod back! I bought him three songs (bc I wanted him to see how worth it good behavior is) and also let him sync some of my music to his iPod. (he likes classic rock- good taste, my man). I told him that in the future I will buy him songs but he won’t know what I am rewarding for until I tell him I’m buying him a song. It could be for his room being pretty neat, or getting up on time, or for not taking peoples things, or for handing in homework on-time etc. Great incentive for improved behavior(I hope). He also knows he will lose the iPod if he commits a biggie infraction like stealing the laptop or others electronics.

I have already bought him a song. Today it was for getting up early yesterday. This morning he didn’t do too well with the getting up -but I want to reinforce the good things he does. Now we are working on an audiobook. He has been very compliant and excited and up the last few days. So I’m happy for him.

I have a suspicion that he will tire of earning songs or the iPod will fill up. So I’m going to have to have a plan for when that happens. But for now I’m going to enjoy his happiness (and compliance!).

I also want to express my thanks to his English teacher who teaches outside the box. They are reading Beowulf and his teacher loves comics. He had the students do a comic panel based on archetypes from the book. Not only does Ozzy love to read, he loves comics. But I wasn’t sure he would like the assignment bc he isn’t into drawing.

I came home from an appointment today to find him very into his comic panels. He spent a lot of time on a few of them and I worried about how much time this could take him. And it was due tomorrow. Well some of the panels are more detailed than the others but overall he did well. But best of all he enjoyed the task and was engaged in it. So I have encouraged him to continue to make comics. We can get him a pad and some new colored pencils. He seemed up for that.  All of these endeavors encourage Ozzy and pull him out of his patterns of repeated negative behavior as he has other things to focus on and he’s getting positive reinforcement.

I know he’s going to mess up. He’s Ozzy and I’ve known him a long time. And he’s a teen(who is about 10 on the maturity scale- not my calculation but the therapists). He’s supposed to mess up. I am just stoked that maybe we are seeing him begin to grasp that positive behavior gets you good stuff. Just a small bit of growth but it’s the repetition that will finally get things to stick in his head. I’m not going to tell you that I learned my lessons fast. I wasn’t an easy teen. So I get it may take years. Ozzy has challenges and can be a challenge. We are doing the best we can. Sometimes my husband and I just go out to regroup. I’ve found that it helps me to get away from the teens once a week! A brain reset!

I am so pleased with Ozzy. And I’ve just realized my next goal related prize. I mentioned comics above -and as I was typing this I remembered that there is a brand new comic book store in town! Comic books=Ozzy rewards. Yay!

Thanks for reading!

Ozzy’s comics. He was very proud of them and I am proud of him.(and yes his handwriting is awful! So is mine).




I hold out promise for his creativity:) The top guy is pretty good- it took him a while but practice makes perfect. Cool teacher to have them do this task.

Disappearing poultry.

I normally would post this type of farm post on my farm blog. But due to technical difficulties I am unable to do so. So here it is on this blog!

We have chickens – I’m losing count bc they are disappearing. I think we have 19 left. I think. I haven’t counted today. We have six ducks and they are easy to count bc they move in one duck blob.

Last week my boys found a dead hen inside the enclosure. The enclosure is a big yard to protect the birds and then they have a run that is attached to their coop that closes. It has a roof. All meant for protection. That is if you are being diligent protecting them. We had gotten a false sense of security as we had not had any predators in the almost three years I have had chickens. So we didn’t lock up the birds in the run at night thus confining them that and their coop. They had access to the enclosure 24/7. So we had a dead hen. The boys took her to the woods before I could see her. But in looking at the crime scene I figured this out:
Something from the outside either got in under the fence of the enclosure or was able to kill the hen near the fence and tried to drag her out. There were parts of her in the outside of the fence.
Was it a fox or bird? I don’t know. I did not see footprints.
Was it a murder by the other hens and then something tried to pull it out? Could Baldy my hen that ran free have gone after her from the outside? She was right up against the fence when found. All a mystery – so we decided to make sure they were all closed up in that run and coop at night. Except Baldy….
Baldy was a free hen. She had been freed last winter after the other hens and nasty roosters were picking on her. She lived happily in the barn and poked around the outside of the bird enclosure daily. We became fond of her. But she went missing a couple days ago and she left a pile of feathers in her wake. No blood. I am sure she is gone for good but I went out and looked around a bit but found nada – and out cat is missing too. She will probably show back up. She’s like that.

So maybe we are in for a battle. Once whatever it is comes once they are bound to return. Tonight the ducks and hens are closed up as safely in their coop/run-well as safe as we can provide. It makes me mad that some thing is taking my chickens but I also realize it’s part of life. I’m not likely to try to kill whatever it is. Though I did here a gunshot pretty close by yesterday. Sometimes the farm behind us lets hunters on early though. But maybe someone else with chickens missing saw the predator and took a shot. I guess we will see.

I am find if my chickens and Baldy was cool. My husband said we are a bit sad at losing her bc we named her. Maybe he has a point! I didn’t feel much over the first murder this week. It was my Plymouth Rock hen w no name -but I did have a moment of disappointment then worry that whatever got her would be back and sure enough Baldy is gone.

It’s always something here. I learn something everyday about life. Today it was lock your hens in at night bc the big bad wolf is hiding out there somewhere. Or the big bad hawk or the big bad something.

Thanks for reading.
Beware crime scene photos to follow. The footprint is our cats I think. There were no prints near the feathers. I am into forensics …haha.




mirror mirror





Curse you Department store dressing room.

Your bad lights – and mirrors of doom.

My reflection tries to mock me- “You’re looking pretty bad.

Look at those dimples and that behind of flab.”

I look a little closer and I see what she means.

I am dimply, and flabby, and 2 tushes can be seen.

Then I look at my face and it stares back at me.

There are lines and creases where smoothness used to be.

“I need a new face cream”..I whisper to myself.

“Something expensive, a miracle, and not off the shelf.”

Then I look at my hair and see limp strands- a disgrace.

“Maybe I need a new shampoo, or hairspray, or Mace.”

Wounded and low I try on each piece.

First a pair of jeans, then a shirt, then a fleece.

I close my eyes until the clothes are all on,

I step back a step and open my peeps to see what I don.

And lo and behold I don’t look too bad.

I’m not perfect- but clothes hide the flab.

Take that dressing room- you don’t win today.

I am taking these clothes and Oh by the way…

I am proud of the woman I am – it may have taken years

But I love who I am- flab and wrinkles, double butt and big ears.

I have walked a long road to get where I am.

You can try to cut me- but I don’t give a damn!

With every wrinkle and dimple there is a story to tell-

I look back in that mirror – hug myself, and say, “I think I am swell.”




Ozzy and Me

I honestly was going to table the posts about Ozzy but I changed my mind bc i think this is important stuff to write about.  It was not easy being called a bad mom by complete strangers after my blog post about Ozzy but I put it all out there so I suppose I better be able to take any “feedback” with a stiff upper lip. It is important to me to be authentic in my writing. But I want to try to be considerate too. In my original post about Ozzy I was honest about his actions and about how hard it is on our family but I was also clear that I wanted to find the help for him and all of us. What I lack in aplomb I make up in determination and when you love your kids you want to see them turn into people that can live a good life and take care of themselves. Sometimes with teens you wonder how they will ever get there.

My kids came to us through adoption and two of them were a bit older when we adopted them -ages 2.5 and 4. In my first post I didn’t want to imply that all of Ozzy’s issues were adoption issues so perhaps I downplayed the adoption part and maybe I did not give it the credence that it deserves. Many bio kids have Ozzy’s issues so I didn’t want to set apart his issues as existing only being because he’s adopted. But the fact is some of his issues are adoption related. Early development is dependent on many things and sitting in an orphanage for over 2 years with very little nurturing (passive neglect- too few caretakers for many babies) causes the brain to develop differently than a child that is nurtured properly from birth. I don’t believe this caused his ADHD but it has caused other issues that make up part of the person that is Ozzy. Early neglect can cause lifelong issues if they aren’t acknowledged and properly addressed. Our family had been in family therapy for years – sadly we lost our wonderful therapist to cancer a little over a year ago. It has taken a while to get a new therapist and then getting used to her. I am finding that the new one does know her stuff- I was slow to get on board but I am liking her more.

I noted before that when I shared my blog post about Ozzy what came was some flames for the post but also came many offers to help and many good suggestions. I had people share with me that they live with a challenging child- some never had shared it openly because of the scorn they feared. That made me sad. It does not serve us to keep things quiet- we must respect privacy but in times of crisis reaching out our hand often gets a handhold back in return .It is easy for others who have not walked in our shoes to judge- but perhaps judgement can be replaced with care and concern – it is certainly more helpful than throwing barbs at someone will ever be.

Before I posted that blog about our family in crisis I was feeling very low and I was losing hope. Since my post I have had a change in heart. Through the kindness of others I been made more aware of attachment disorders. I have been sent articles on anxiety, I have read more on ADHD, and reminder reads on early development neglect. I have also done some soul searching about the way I want to parent my child – and how I can adjust my sails so I can come through this in one piece- with peace.

Last week Ozzy, my husband, and myself went to the therapist’s office. The session ended up being more for my husband and I and less for Ozzy who saw her at the very end. We really needed to sit down and talk to her about our concerns. The good news?  He is probably not a sociopath..I never thought he was really – he loves animals too much – but so many of his behaviors had me worried. Without getting into too much detail I will say we discussed much and I learned that with ADHD alone kids typically have a 30% delay emotionally. So he is 10 years old emotionally and probably younger when the fact of early neglect in an orphanage is taken into consideration. So we could be dealing with a child who is 7-10 yrs old in a 14 year old body. The other item to add to that is that he is a 10 yr old in a teen body with very little impulse control. So it is not realistic to think just because a 10 year old might understand that it is not ok to take someone else’s Kindle and be able to stop themselves from doing it- that Ozzy should do that -a kid like Ozzy has impulse control issues and might be able to verbally tell you he should not take it but he has much trouble stopping himself from doing it. So that scares me a lot from the standpoint of drugs and alcohol and his ability to say no..will he?

We also addressed the issue of attachment disorder and the therapist agreed he probably has some attachment issues. And she corroborated what others had said to me that once a child is in his teens it is hard to “fix” attachment issues. While I do see some of his behavior as attachment related I think there is some attachment there. Ozzy can be very giving. When we were at the beach last weekend he spent hours looking for shells. He and I share a love of shells and he kept showing me each one he found. Sunday he found a lovely piece of sea glass and when we arrived home he walked over to me with the sea glass in hand and told me he wanted me to have it. And there was no “can I do this” or “have that” following the gift (that would be my other son “L”!)  Ozzy just wanted me to have the piece of glass.

Perhaps it is hard for me to think he might not have attachment to us. As mad as he makes me I know I am attached to him and I love him.  I recall in the early years trying to do some at-home therapies that involved holding your child like an infant and looking into their eyes trying to hold eye contact with them- you could even offer them a bottle- I couldn’t go that far but we tried the infant holding and mostly they just laughed. I also recall a particular holding therapy that was supposed to increase attachment but seemed to upset my kids more than anything- so we stopped that after one or two tries. Did I not try hard enough? Is he really detached from us? Will he attach to a spouse, have healthy friendships? I don’t have the answers- and I wish I did but all we can do is try to give him help and the tools he needs to lead a productive -and hopefully- love filled life.

Ozzy is a combination of many things. He has many, many great qualities and he also has a number of not so great ones. We all are peppered with multiple facets to our personalities but as parents we have to try to bring out the best in our kids and get them ready for adulthood- it is a daunting task at times. It can be very challenging when you have a child with special needs and behavioral issues like mine does.

The therapist has given us suggestions for Ozzy. It was made clear that he needs to have very strict boundaries and very clear goals and rewards so he understands what is expected of him- and we have to stick to those boundaries.The rewards are based on things that really mean something to him. His first reward will be earning his ipod shuffle back, and then earning time on the Xbox/laptop/kindle. His goals to get these rewards will start out basic – Clean room, no calls/emails from school, no taking any electronics- reward after one week will be the iPod…after that, rewards will come more frequently and will include Xbox time and laptop time this will be for controlling temper, not stealing, bathing, clean room etc. I want him to succeed and I find having long-term goals are very hard for him. So we will try to go 3-4 days to reach a reward.

I was not for the rewards system at first- I felt like he is too old for stuff like that – but I realized a couple things-A) if we are dealing with a ten year old – which if you spent any time with Ozzy you could tell he is immature (but Lord he is super smart- ergo why he can be manipulative)- ten year olds will most likely respond to rewards. and B) I have no way to punish him because he never adheres to a punishment. So clear goals = clear rewards. I like it. I am not saying that I like having a 14 year old that is highly smart but has the maturity of an 8-10 yr old and lacks impulse control. Its not easy –but it is what it is. And I have to step up.

So then there is me.  How can I keep from going nuts with a challenging child?  How do I hold it together so I am not stressed to the max all the time- worrying about every little thing he might do? How do I keep positive? How can I be a decent mom to him and the other two- and a decent wife to my husband- when I am so stressed out?  I am working on this. I decided to change my attitude about how I look at this. I don’t have to take every bad thing that happens and make everything become bad and negative. Negativity breeds negativity. He is going to mess up- I know this. My kids are all going to mess up- and they do- but with Ozzy it is likely going to be something just a little more over the top.  If I don’t change it is only going to hurt me. Ozzy will be Ozzy and his actions are his own. I know I am going to get mad at him in the future but I am hoping that I can hold my tongue better and let the anger go a little faster. I know there will be days where I want to pull my hair out and just give up. I know this. And it is okay. I just have to remember that I don’t have to own Ozzy’s behavior – he does.

We all know as parents that we have to try to guide our kids through the twists and turns of life but we only have so much control. Ultimately, they will make their own choices and they will have rewards and consequences depending on those choices. We so want them to succeed and it can tear at our hearts when they don’t. For Ozzy he is high risk for some crazy stuff. It is hard to think of his future without worrying- but I will try to picture it the way i want it to be for him – perhaps that will make it so.  For me with Ozzy it is really about giving him the help and letting him figure out which way he wants to go. God has a plan for Ozzy- and I was supposed to be a part of it. Even if Ozzy doesn’t change – he surely has changed me.

Thanks for reading–


Ozzy and his 3D Taj Mahal- completed in 45 minutes. Next is St Peters Basillica in 3D!


Ozzy and the pups…