Monday, February 8, 2016


Brought Mac to the doctor last week. His counselor suggested trailing a longer acting ADHD med so off to the doctors we went. His pediatrician is a chatty one. All head tilt concern and gentle laughter. Super encouraging and thoughtful with an ironman watch.  Mr. Hall loves him. He loves the banter. The doctor annoys the crap out me.

It's not him. It's just in the way, all this jibber jabber.  I don't need conversation. I don't need nice. I just want in and out. Especially since my 9 year old ADHD is bouncing off the walls and whenever he gets asked a question, he says, "Taco."

It goes like this.

The good doctor: "How are you today Mac? Still in, what is it..3rd grade?"
My son, in a robot voice: "Taco."
TGD: "Now Mac, when an adult asks you a question, you need to look him in the eye and answer. That's respectful."
MS: "Taco."
ME: "MAC. Answer the doctor's questions."
MS: "yyeeaaassss.....3rd graaayyyyaaaade...........Taco."

Then he lays on the floor and starts kicking the exam table legs and I start to lose my mind.

up in here....up in here....

I realize the good doctor is trying to coach him and help me, but he's doing neither. I just need him to write out the script. That's all. In fact, this could have done this over the effing phone. It seems the good doctor is a HUGE fan of the med suggested. I guess he just wanted to chat with me. And THAT'S why Mr. Hall brings the kids to the doctor.


I prescribe them btw. Mental health meds. For adults. I know lots of stuff about them but when it comes to Mac, I leave it up to the professionals. I'm his mom, not his treatment team.

It sure feels like it though. Especially with stuff at his gifted school. I love his school. They're really pro-Mac. They love saying, "Because he's gifted...",  and they're super supportive. But this school is hard work. This is new to him and he struggles. And when he struggles, he goes all taco. So,  I listen to what the teachers need from him and I figure out a way to get it out of him.  I refuse to let him languish because well...he is gifted.  

I've come to realize Mac lives in his own little world. He likes it there. He still likes people though. He interacts at boys scouts and basketball pretty well.  His heart is so huge it's probably bigger than Texas. But around strangers he freezes up and gets all Taco. His gifts and his heart get locked away. I'm ok with that. Maybe that's why the doctor bugged me so much.

Don't try and change the TACO.

The taco will is just fine and all this will morph into one gigantic, awesome young man. The young man will morph into a loving husband and stellar dad. I know this. I know God has plans for him that will surpass anything I can imagine. But for now. Taco.

So let me share rainbows of hope and goodness.

We went to hockey game this weekend. We really went for the wiener dog races. He sat the most of the time and did really well. No kicking the chair in front of him. No getting up and down or begging for food. No taco. He smiled and laughed and fought with his sister all normal like. Then, on Sunday, he popped out of bed wanting to go to church. We are trying a new, smaller church. He had a blast. Loved it! Renewed him with all sorts of energy.

It's going to be ok people.


Go forth and....


Thursday, January 21, 2016

So loud. So wonderful. Good times in the foster life

I was sitting on my kitchen floor last night. Completely overwhelmed and petting my dog. We had a few foster kids for an overnight, respite care it's called. There was six kids total (our three and three bonus kids). They basically ran in a circle and yelled for two and half  hours,  taking breaks to inhale lasagna and milk. I cannot tell how loud that was.

So loud.

It's nice getting to know new kids in this foster life. It was nice meeting their mom. The kids live with their mom which means she worked really hard to get them back from foster care. She was sooooOOOOO nice when she dropped them off. I cannot tell you how wonderful that was.

So wonderful.

The mom was all, "sorry they're not taking their boots off" and "sorry they're picking their noses". Meanwhile, I was slack jawed and so pleased with her friendliness. She gave me 15 min of information on each kid.  All worried mom who is concerned about her kids. And saying thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me out. I can't say enough about that. It was like salve.

Each kid was different. Different ways of thinking and talking. They were sweet and no matter how many kids we take care of,  they make my heart blossom. Each in their own way. I can see they've been through a lot and were super anxious at times.  And there were a lot of them. Even though I was overwhelmed,  I was really at peace.

Not much happened. We fed, showered and movied them. Tucked them in and woke them up for school. Brushed their hair and got them where they needed to go. Mom will pick them up from school and we won't see them again. At least, there are no plans to. Mr. Hall was overwhelmed. He had a crooked smile on his face too.

The kids took a liking to us. They said, "Can we see you again?"

"Maybe" I said.

good times in the foster life 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Making the call

That is a snatch lift. I do that often. That's not me. But I did do that cross fit competition. So, close enough.


This is what I said when I called the social worker.

Me: "Hi, this is Mrs. Hall and I wanted to let xxxx social worker know we are ready to take on more foster kids but it seems xxxx social worker is not in."

A Social worker but not xxxx social worker: "OH YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST. WILL CALL YOU WHEN WE HAVE A RIGHT MATCH."

Then 10 more min of sort of weird, awkward small talk and her being super friendly and complements and support.  It went well.

I was going to send an email. I even had it written up.  

Hi xxxx social worker:

Thanks for meeting up with me yesterday.* I did want to update you on our discussions about helping more kids. Right now, Michael and I are discussing what we want to do. As I said yesterday, my heart is for adoption from the foster care system. Michael has been open to this idea but with the caveat of wanting not to 'just adopt' but adopting the right child for our family. And be the right family for that child!  

We've been processing a lot of things that have happened in the last two years, especially with H.
We loved H, however, as we think about things we are pretty sure she had Reactive Attachment Disorder. She was never formally evaluated or diagnosed, but she had a lot of the classic symptoms of not being able to attach. She had a lot of behaviors that were high maintenance. I don't want to seem like we are complaining at all, but it really took a lot out of us and we are trying to heal/process  and be mindful of this as we go forward.

Even though I wanted to adopt her, Michael was right that she wasn't the right child for our family. It wasn't up to us anyway though. I'm very sure she was placed in the right place, with family that loved her. I think I just want to adopt so bad I was sort of blinded to the truth. Luckily, I have a stabilizing husband who can help see all the sides and I trust him when he tells me to simmer down!

We also think about J and our experience with him. He was very challenging at first. His behaviors were also hard but he did attach to us and in about a year he melted right in. In fact, he was our least labor intensive child! J has family but he is a kid that would be a right fit for us and us for him!

So I'm not sure where that leaves us. We still want to be a foster family. Our kids are on board again. I asked my daughter how she felt about having another foster kid again and in typical teen fashion she said, "It'd be cool."

But like I said. I called instead.


*I met with her to drop off over 100 sz six diapers because our toddler son potty trained in 2 weeks flat. PRAISE JESUS!! but, we order diapers in bulk so we had a bunch of sz 6 diapers. Most toddlers run about size 4. You can't donate sz 6 diapers to goodwill. So, off to the county they went.

*now watch us get a size 6 diapered toddler and I retrieve those 100 sz 6 diapers.

yep. mmhhhmmm

Thursday, December 24, 2015

My son the genius

Merry Christmas everyone ;)

If there was a picture to explain my son, it's that one right there.

He's been on behavior plans since 4k. Recently we had him tested for ADHD which came up flaming positive. Not.a.shock.  But, it also came up positive for him being a genius. Like Mensa material. This was a shock. We knew he was smart but genius? Really?

It's going to be really tough what I have to write next and if my son is reading this, PLEASE UNDERSTAND... I'm writing this when you are nine years old. And this last six months has rocked our world with you.

He's started a new genius school which is teaching him French and Chess and Fancy Smart things I learned in high school. Again, he's NINE. He's making jokes about binary code. He discusses cloning sheep. We had a discussion about communism the other day. This school is unlocking higher levels of understanding for him and it's blowing me away. It's also highlighting his social difficulties.

My son is passionate, tender hearted and reactive. He is spirited but very introverted. He got kicked off the bus because he wouldn't listen to the driver.

He is strong willed. He doesn't like doing what he isn't wanting to be doing. He's kinda loud and dramatic. SHUT UP I KNOW THESE ARE DESCRIPTORS OF ME.

What to do though? How do we  handle this kid that is not doing well in the 'cooperating with others' and 'having a hard time making friends' and 'doesn't realize other kids are making fun of him' category. And that he fights us tooth and nail about most everything and we.are.tired.

Did I mention we're opening our house up to other foster kids next month? Because ya know, we are ready...

I'm reading this wonderful book called "Raising your spirited child" (google it--it's FANTASTIC).

It seems that the crazy smart part of our son does not translate into social skills. In fact, it makes them worse. At his gifted school they have social skills training built into the curriculum. Because being a genius often comes with social issues.

I'm starting to fundamentally think differently about him. I'm setting aside our want for him to display respect and tow the line. I'm listening and responding to his emotional needs first. We can let him be angry, sad, balled up and shut down. Pushing against this is not helpful.

If he wants to go in another room to eat, I let him. If he wants to keep playing something before he does his chore, I let him. He'll need to ask first but I let him. If he wants to do origami until his fingers go numb I let him. If he's screaming and worked up because we want him to shower, I slow things down. If he cries because we are making him walk the dog I let him breathe and not force. He needs to work with his strength and genius quirks. It's his life. It's who he is. Working against that is an exercise in frustration.

But we can work with him.......that is something we're planning.....

Our kid is spirited. Like the book says, he is "MORE" than others so he'll need "MORE" parenting.

But make no mistake. This is kid is huge with heart and crazy smarts. The Lord has plans for him that I can't even imagine. I'm so excited for him and so proud.

Even if I do pray for his future wife.... she'll need to have a light heart and ninja organizational skills!!  

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Plan for the upcoming year... my 40th

Right now, on Netflix, there is a wonderful documentary on Iris Apfel. She is phenomenal. Wholly dedicated to the aesthetics of life. She also has a good handle on what makes a woman worth the time as beauty fades because she never had physical beauty in the first place. She's 90 and becoming quite the inspiration for me.

Having lost 60 lbs and developed a keen sense of my own strength, I am becoming quite beautiful on the outside. However, I am to be forty in less than a month. What I have will not last and requires a buttress. I get my roots done on the reg and will until I haven't any hair left. After that, I'll just buy a wig.

My life, so far, has been devoted to the service of others. I'm very fortunate to be a wife, mom, foster mom and nurse. It's a good use of my energies. I've also become kindly and less temperamental as of late. I'm becoming a better wife and mom every day. I've ask God to search my heart and He's done quite a lot of healing. Having a dog helps crazy amounts too.

So here's the plan.

I'm handing this year over to GOD. He has great plans for me and our Tribe Called Hall. I'm very sure it'll be tough and super crazy. But I trust Him above all things.

OK 40.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Goruck light and other things I did done

Things I planned to do once the foster kids transitioned back to family and was down to just 3 bio kids and weren't ready for more foster kids: 


Go Ruck light actually 

2. Crossfit

2. big back tattoo
3. crossfit competition
4. cleaning out and organizing main rooms
5. Potty train my 3 year old
6. create a habit of massaging my husband
7. do the 'cook once a week and eat for a month' type meal plan

Done. And done. 


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The beauty of hitting the wall

Monday I had another school conference for our middle son. Just like last time, I hear he's super smart but super emotional and that gets in the way. I shouldn't be going to conferences. I always end up crying. I don't want to hear about it. He's been on behavior plans since 4k. He'll get better as he grows. I'm a genius and so is my husband. His smarts and behaviors are stuff we had/have. Stop telling me about it because we're working on it.

This time they asked he see a counselor. Which makes sense. To us, he's just being our kid. Temperamental and crazy but our whole family is weird. It's ok at home. In school it gets in the way.

So yeah. Booking a counselor appt.

THEN. I find out that a patient who I worked so very hard for, like 30 hours of extra work outside the apt time...he wants to not only fire me-- but to file an official complaint. He's fired three other providers and filed complaints against them too. So I'm not alone but feels personal. I did the extra work because I wanted him to have all the care. I lost sleep over this patient. I worried about this patient. I should have known better. But I couldn't help myself.

THEN. I head off to 'trauma training' for my foster care license. This is a long effing class. Every Monday for 16 weeks at 3 hours a class. All about how trauma affects the brains of developing children and how it translates into some pretty gnarly behavior. The last classes are about how we, as a foster parents, can help heal them.

IT brings up tons of emotional baggage from our last 3 years as foster parents. It rips my guts out. I think the class might be killing me. And this Monday, after the patient, after the conference --I hit a wall.

With a half an hour left,  I was done with the class. I put my head in my hands, breathed and stayed upright. I looked normal but man I was done. I couldn't take any more information about these horribly traumatized kids and how we help them. I was done.

D.U.N.N. done.

But here's the beauty of hitting the wall...

I know have limits. I tend to think I am beyond superhuman strong. If I just plan things right,  I can be Hercules. That is false.

SO. At work I'm putting up some very thick boundaries. Concrete walls of no. I am hired for a reason and will make others do their own work.

SO. I will make absolutely sure Mr. Hall goes to all conferences from now on. I just can't.

AND. This class has three more classes. That'll I finish.

I'll let myself be free for a while. Enjoying the shock of hitting the wall.

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