Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Favorite Pot Roast

So this is not a vegan meal, I'll just say that up front.
I've been making this pot roast since Cooks Illustrated wrote an article on slow cooking meat and what happens.

I buy as much meat as I can afford for this meal because no matter how much I buy its never enough.  The key to this meal is LOW and SLOW.  I used to make it in the oven but my slow cooker (like a crock pot) makes this fantabuliuos.  I know its not a word.  :-)  The good news is you can buy a really cheap cut and it ends up melting in your mouth perfection.   This is also a great meal for kids with oral sensory issues. The meat is so soft it doesn't' even get caught in Sweet Potatoes braces.  It's also a phase 2 meal (with cheating for those who cheat on  SBP Diet ) I know I know you shouldn't, but pot roast without potatoes... I just can't do it...

so here is the basics
a cut of meat that will feed your family I'd go for 2 servings each.
10 small salt potatoes (do not cut! leave whole so they don't "contaminate" the rest of the food).
4-5 peeled carrots chopped in 1 inch pieces
5-8 stalks of celery chopped in 1 inch pieces
1 white onion chopped in 1 inch pieces

Using Olive oil sear the meat on all sides.
Place in crock pot / slow cooker or an oven pot with a tight fitting lid.
Toss in all the carrots, celery, onion.
Put the potatoes on top and off to the side.
add water 3/4 up the side of the meat.

Cook for a minimum of 6 hours at 300 degrees F. or mark 3  for a slow cooker or medium heat for a crock pot. After 6 hours you can tun it down to low.  I like to start mine at 9 or 10 am and let it cook until 6 pm.

serve au jus  If your not doing SBP then you can make gravy with corn starch, if your on phase 3 you can use tapioca flour to thicken the jus.

Don't serve the taters to Your SBP target.
We like to eat it in bowls.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Practicing the change in tactics... saying Yes

I practiced saying yes today, I did notice a huge upswing in Sweet Potato's mood too.

Mom can I have some chips?
Yes as long as you drink 2 glasses of water.

Mom will you play a game with me?
Yes, let's play In a Pickle till someone gets 3 tricks. (see how I saved myself from a 3 hour game of Monopoly.) 

Mom can I have a cookie?
Yes, after you finish your orange.

Mom can I play Computer?
No baby, it's not here, but you can play DSI for 20 minutes.  Turned it into a yes... :-)

Mama's been feeling yucky today so Sweet Potato did take advantage of that to hide in her room and play DSI for an hour. Normally I'd be all freaked out by the screen time effecting her brain  ahhhhhh she's loosing brain cells... but since my modus operandi for Mama sick days is to plunk them in front of Qubo and hope their brain's don't fry.. I figured why have a hissy fit? I got a nap and quiet time and a shower!  SCORE! Her sister was practicing piano and I didn't hear the timer go off either.  I actually could see how she could truly have not heard it go off. Her school was done (mostly), she had baby sat for part of her school time too (woo hoo acts of service yeah!).  

So I just pointed out she was over time and as long as the undone chores got done ASAP, I'd not toss any penalty flags.  She almost fainted when I did that... the look on her face said "Mom are you feeling ok?"  well actually child I feel really yucky... so no I'm not feeling ok. LOL 
She said "Sure mom right away." and then happily ran out to pick up dog poo...   Little Miss Sunshine was as mystified as me in Sweet Potato's happy attitude toward poo patrol.  "Mom this is not normal." was heard  to come out of her mouth...

I passed them by later while they were playing piano and tickled both of them... Little Miss Sunshine laughed..  Sweet Potato said Ow ow ow ow... then she laughed.
I'm like "Oh sorry did I hurt you?"
SP: no Mom....
Why did you say Ow?
SP: I don't know...
Mom: can I do a redo?
SP: Yes please *Giggling* then I tickled them both again and they both laughed.

Lets see how this journey goes forward... but boy that In a Pickle game took it out of me... not!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A change of tactics

Many nights Sweet Potato talks to the wall. Since I've been known  to model this behavior I'm not surprised.. OH wait did it just tell you all I talk to the wall... himm I guess I did oopsie!  Shhhhh don't tell anyone... Only thing is, she talks, and talks, and talks, and her sister can't sleep. She is keeping her self awake and that can lead to over tiredness and a less than optimal night of sleep, followed by a less than optimal day.

Many Many times I have asked her to stop talking and go to sleep, sad to say it continued.  The nigh time talking has even been known to escalate when desisting has been requested.   I've been know to sneak up on the door and say "Ah ha caught you talking when you are supposed to be sleeping!"  and when its so loud I can hear it in the other room, I've been known to get annoyed...

Yelling "Child I CAN HEAR YOU! "  from the living room is probably not my best choice of parenting styles for an auditory processing challenged child. Have I mentioned recently I'm not perfect... :-P 

So Saturday night I tried a completely new tactic. I walked in willing to sacrifice my time and let her stay up if that is what she needed. Sat on her bed and said "Do you need someone too talk to Sweet Potato?"  She didn't. She did tell me she was just going over all the things she had done that day. So I talked to her any way about all the fun exciting things she got to do that day with Aunti R.  We're talking Hair straightening and Nail polish and Movies woo hoo...  Not at all my idea of an exciting day but hey I'm not 12 either...   I rubbed her back (her favorite) and then asked what I could do to help her be quiet enough to fall asleep, since she didn't need a person to talk to.

"Mom can I have the Steven Green songs on?"  Of course Sweetie.
Woo hooo that only took 5 minutes and quiet fell over the room. Till she started snoring he he he ...  Now if every night could be that easy.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Empowered to Connect

I love how Karen ended the conference today. The last words were so encouraging.  She was answering questions that had been submitted and apparently lots of parents were feeling less than their best (I know I certainly was). A whole pile of question cards were about how as parents we have messed up our kids and done everything wrong in our parenting style.  Have we destroyed our children for ever?

Karen answered with "Unless you are a parent of a child less than 72 hours old, or alien spawn. You have made mistakes parenting. Welcome to the human race."   That put a smile on my face and brought back perspective. She continued with, how asking forgiveness and admitting your at fault with your child will put $1,000,000.00 into your child's trust bank, and talked about how scar tissue is stronger when it has healed.

So often as adoptive parents we hear from those who think they know our situation:  "Love is enough,"
"Once he knows he's a Jones he will settle down."
"She will forget her difficulties/past/birth parents and be ok now."
"You need to put your child's past behind them."
"You would think things that happened when she was 1, she would be over now that she is 12."

I love how Karen deals with this ideology.... If your birth child had been kidnapped for 2 years and then after you had spent thousands and thousands of dollars to find them, and they are returned to you... How would you view them? As parents we need to remember any separation from birth parent is Trauma to a child. If we can hold on to the compassion we would have for a child that had experienced kidnapping, we will do well.

In doing so, we as adoptive parents have to be fully invested above and beyond the birth parent model. The high nurture and high structure model is not for wimps.  Birth parenting books will not always help a child who's age is 8 but the behavior displayed is 4.  I can't tell you how many times I told my Sweet Potato at age 8 to "act your age." I was so frustrated and really down on myself as a parent.  Constant embarrassment because your child is not acting "normal" does that to you.

Today was full of highs and lows as I could see all the things I was doing right in my parenting, therapy and realizing Sweet Potato has made huge leaps since age 8.  We have the train moving in the right direction. Seeing my failures and areas I need to improve in, like how often I derail the train because her trust bank with me is not as high as it needs to be.

Ahh well I'm the "big" person in this equation and I can handle it right? :-)
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
I need to not forget this is a Journey we are on that will last until I see heaven.  We will never arrive at "fixed" just as no child birthed or adopted is ever "fixed" by their parents.  I need to enjoy the trip. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

You Can Never Have Enough Socks

So a few years ago when Sweet Potato went to school, getting her ready for the car pool was always a challenge. Why you ask??  Because she never had any socks. Now as a Rocky Mom I really didn't care if she wore socks or not.  Apparently teachers especially Gym teachers expected socks on my child's feet. Mom was getting notes that her kid was not dressed properly and needed to wear socks or stockings everyday.

I wondered if the washer was eating the socks... Or maybe the sock angel was redeeming them for heaven... Alas I could not find a single matching pair. So I bought a bunch of the same colored socks... suddenly I was down to 3 pairs. Searching the room I came up empty handed, no matching socks to be found anywhere!!

Trying to get out the door in the morning was a battle field, "BUT MOM I can't go without socks!! I can't find any, I can't wear one green and one pink..." Oh the horror!!!  IT was pretty exasperating.  Dad is fuming,everyone is leaving angry, every morning and why?? Because of Socks!!! SERIOUSLY???

I finally thought "this is nuts" the peace of the family is daily disrupted when Mom is at her most groggy over lost shoes and no socks...

Enter the Sock Fairy... she comes at night and finds the shoes hidden under the couch, in the kitchen, under the TV or  Wow in the closet (who knew she knew how to put them away!), and every morning a bright shining new pair of socks (bought in bulk at Big Lots very cheaply) laid on the shoes.

After a while I found out through my secret sources that she was purposefully throwing away one sock of each pair just so she could delay the inevitable. I really wish she had just talked to me about the bullying at school. the real reason behind this tactic 

Eventually the Sock Fairy no longer needed to come anymore, the bullying, changes in her diet and a math program that only confused my daughter were the root causes of me pulling her from school and bringing her back to home schooling. I so wished she had spoken up sooner so the horribleness at school could have been addressed sooner. But that trust base was still lacking.

Now we don't need a sock fairy and I'm so glad to see my child working on long division at home with me.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Adoption is Not Second Best.

I really think so many people in our society see adoption as second best.  Yes, many families come to adoption because they cannot have children of their own, but when you look at the overall picture you see many people choose it for a huge variety of reasons.  In a training session we once experienced there were 5 couples each and every one of them had a unique reason.  Only one of them was “We can’t have kids so were adopting”… ya that would be me… but since it was our second adoption it’s not like I didn’t have a child of my own.

For example the Korean couple… the wife had been adopted and wanted to adopt because she had been.
The parents of 6 children were choosing adoption, so they could open their home to a child who had no home.
One couple felt led that this was God’s plan for building their family.
A Single woman had never gotten married and wanted to have a family, so she choose adoption and single parenting.

Those are just the ones that sick out in my mind, every family has a unique reason for adopting.  In each of the above examples I do not see the choice of choosing adoption as second best.  It was not the choice you have left when all other choices are gone… Yes many couples spend huge amounts of money each year on infertility treatment to: “Have a child of their own.”  They may turn to adoption as a last resort but so few people actually adopt.  It's some thing like 2% of the population who adopts, yet 25% of our population is infertile so its got to be a small percentage.

I’m so glad our journey down that path was truncated. Early on we knew DNA children were not possible.  Did we then just jump into adoption.. well we tried but God put us off. He had a plan, with so many millions of children with no parents or permanently separated from their parents.  How hard could it be to nudge us in the direction He had for us when we were actively seeking His plan.  

Tonight a friend of mine ranted because a store clerk put her foot in in her mouth and couldn’t believe this dark brown baby was the child of a light brown woman .   When Mom told her “Well he’s adopted. “ The clerk’s opened mouth and she inserted her whole leg. (From what I heard anyway)   Suddenly this clerk needed  to know baby's whole life story.  Hello!!!! our children are not freak shows, really I just brought my kid out for your entertainment!!!!  I used to try to educated people about the do and don’ts of adoption. Lets face it most people don’t want to be taught the right thing to do, they just want to hear the gory details and satisfy their curiosity.   Early on in the conversation this clerk hoped my friend “Would have kids of her own soon.” Really you say that in front of an impressionable child??? Hello!!!  What was she thinking??? maybe after adopting.... the baby fairy rewards you for being good... and you can now have real family????

Adopt: 1. to choose or take as one's own;  make one's own by selection or assent: 2. to take
 rear (the child of other parents) as one's own child, specifically by a formal legal act.
Conclusion: to adopt is to make your own.

On Friday night I was asked for the umpteenth time, if I felt the same about my kids as I would about my own.  (Can you picture me banging my head against the table) “Er um they are my own.” I replied. Why do so many people think love isn’t thicker than DNA? 

I’ll let you in on a little secret, one of the factors in who, gets whom, is spark… When we got photos of Sweet Potato, my husband thought she was THE MOST ADORABLE baby in the whole wide world.  He sparked… he looked at the photo and knew, he just knew, this was his daughter…

When I got photos of Little Miss Sunshine it was like a bomb went off in my heart.  I didn’t fall in love with her, I suddenly realized this WAS MY LITTLE GIRL.  Just like that, she was mine.

e could have waited for other children.   In fact a few years earlier we had gotten photos of a special needs boy (possible hearing problems in the future) yet we sent him back. Not because of the hearing problems (I speak some sign language).  There was just no spark. (Don’t worry five other families had applied to adopt him.)  The lady at the agency just didn't want us out of the running, because we had a good foundation for this little guy.  But when I said “I just don’t think he is ours.” she said “Yeah I get that.”
I know part of the curiosity of adoption and orphans is most people have no realistic contact with it… our culture continually tosses up characters in books as real people.  Oliver Twist, Anne of Green Gables, Little Orphan Anne, heck even Harry Potter is an orphan tho never adopted.  Seriously people!  These are not “Real” humans but rather 2 dimensional versions of humanity. I think peoples expectations are warped by these stories. Rather than feel compassion or acceptance; instead they just look to assuage their curiosity. 

Adoptees feel stigmatized, second best, and out of place already, and to top it all off almost every time they go out with mom and dad, someone asks “Are your parents REAL?
Take a moment and think, what message they are sending with those words… Himm the child may think wow if my parents aren’t real then I’m not really what they wanted…. I am a second choice, what was left over, the last to be chosen for the family team.   Can you picture feeling that way every time you went out for dinner?  Think about it. 

Now think about the parent who continually hears they are not Real... its more than just the child that is getting distressed here.  After a few years you get numb to most of it.