Monday, February 13, 2017

Yea, those "F" words.....

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The F words that have helped me build my life after years of struggle and find me again....

Faith: I have always had faith in God.  Always.  There have been many times over the past two years where that faith has wavered, I am not going to lie.  Painful really.  Then, when you think you are at your lowest, you find your way back.  All by the grace of God.  I pray and pray and pray.  I know that things happen for a reason but I also know that God has a plan.

Family: My kids are my world. My family is my world (parents, sister, cousins, etc). I am who I am because of you. I have had the pleasure of being in a mom since 2005 in the sense of the word "mom" but I have also been blessed to become a mom over again in 2008 and 2013 and I couldn't be who I am today without those three beautiful children.  No doubt.

Friends: Where do I begin?? Honestly...  If it weren't for my friends, and you know who you are, I would not be where I am today. Late night phone calls, hours on the phones, girls weekends, overnight sleepovers, movies, dinners, phone calls, emails, cards, hugs and tears-each and everyone of you have been there for me.  I have learned that those that are your true friends will always call and check on you no matter what.  No Matter What.  So, to those friends, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Food: Over the past two years I have ventured into a "low carb" lifestyle.  Following a Paleo diet for a while but now trying to focus on a whole food lifestyle.  Eating those good foods and not a bunch of junk.  I think it's also important for my kids...processed foods don't even really taste that good. I want to be healthy, I want my kids to be healthy.  I make fresh meals as often as I can.  It's a lifestyle and in my profession, be the example you should be for your students- you know the saying "practice what you preach".
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Fitness: I have always enjoyed being active.  I played soccer throughout my teenager years and cheered (is cheerleading even a sport?) all through high school.  I teach physical education to kids with disabilities and love giving them opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have.  I gave up a lot of my fitness lifestyle to have kids, to take care of those kids and to be around for my kids.  Over the past three years I have started to take opportunities to put myself first and get back into fitness.  And.... I love it! I hate a gym, but I love a good boot camp class and throwing around some heavy weights! I have actually started to enjoy running (it clears my head) and my goal is to get even more fit in the next year!

Favorites: I have a few (okay, maybe more) favorite, purses, sweats, shows, etc.  These favorites make me happy and if they are that good, I want to share them.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Life's "Hidden" Blessings

This post has been swirling around in my head for about a week now.  We have had some crazy weather this winter and most recently got 16 + inches of snow dumped on us in a short amount of time.  It was nice having everyone home and "snowed" in together but by the next day we were all a little stir crazy and had some severe cabin fever.  I have seen a lot of Facebook posts begging for winter to end and spring to hurry up and get here.  I have even read a blog or two where people are begging for better weather, schools to be open and the stomach bug to go away!!!

So, I am here to remind you that all of these things are just life's "hidden" blessings.  How is this?  In the time I have read all the posts about the bad weather and stomach bugs, I have also read blogs and postings about the following:  children fighting cancer, a car accident where a pregnant mother is fighting for her life,  a young mother killed while out for her morning jog, and numerous young children fighting rare illnesses or dealing with profound disabilities that can make any mother "crazy".  This, my friends, is a reminder. 

A reminder that when your kids are running around pulling the blinds, stealing the remotes, vomiting all over the floor, fighting, crying, yelling, throwing food, singing, laughing, loving and so much more, that you are blessed. You are blessed by these moments in your life. These moments mean your children are home with you, not sick in a hospital.  That you are with your kids, here in this moment to watch it all unfold.  Every time you get that need to scream at your kids (I am the first to admit, I do and I have) try to take a step back and appreciate that moment.  It is time you will never get back.

I am the first to admit I often complain and jump at my kids when were are snowed in and tired of being stuck in the house. I even wished the stomach bug away in January when it was just moving from one of us to the other.  However, when I sit down and start reading the daily struggles that others (many of whom I have never met) are dealing with, I feel guilty.  Guilty that I even complained about the stomach bug, or that my one year old daughter is terrorizing the house, and her brothers.  I am guilty.  But today I took a moment, that moment, to stop and thank God for the "hidden" blessings in my life.  Did you?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


As people often say "there is only one constant in life-change". Very true, things will always change.  It doesn't mean that it always gets better, but it does change.  So, what has changed since my last blog two years ago?  A LOT.....

I took a bit of a hiatus in an effort to focus on a few things we really wanted to get in order.  The first one was where to live.  We needed a support system to help us and knew living a little closer to family could help.  It also meant changing school systems (only one county over) but it was still a change.  With that came finding a house! We felt packed in our current home, and even though we knew we were beyond blessed to have the roof over our head, we did begin a search for a bigger home.  Lastly, our title...we are no longer a family of four but a family of five.  Nothing like changing things up by having just one more bundle of joy!!!

It will be two years ago this March that we moved into our dream home.  We were lucky enough to get a good deal on it but unfortunately that meant renting our current home.  Things went smoothly and two years later we are more than settled.  We have friends and family close by including my mother who moved just seven doors down.  You got it, seven glorious doors!!!! And I wouldn't change it for anything! Our old house is still being rented and we are scraping by till the economy gets good enough to sell it or refinance.

Along with that move came the change of a school system.  As I mentioned, change is not always good-but it's change.  We needed it more than ever and looking back it was by far one of the best choices we ever made.  While things have most certainly not been perfect, there definitely has been improvement.  Progress is always good, no matter how small the step.  And, with every step forward are a few steps back.  What I keep telling myself is that it's progress and each year progress is made.  I will post more on Trenton's progress in the near future.

Lucas also started kindergarten this year!! WOW, where has the time gone????

The boys! Age 13 and 5!*
Lastly, an addition to our family!  Shortly after we moved we found out we were pregnant! Both excited and nervous we decided to find out the sex of the baby (we didn't find out with Lucas).  I had thrown out most of my baby items and what I did have was mostly boy stuff-for obvious reasons.  Well much to MY surprise, we were having a girl.  So on January 15, 2013 God blessed us with our sweet baby girl-and yes her name starts with a J!!! (For any of you that are new to my blog you will have to go back in the archives to read about all the J's since you can tell T and L aren't J names).

9 Months Old*
So here we are! February of 2014 and I am ready to start blogging again.  My sister often requests and I just haven't had the time (can't imagine why). I think I can manage every now and then and I feel we have grown as a family (in more ways than one).  I read through some of the old comments and realized people actually read my blog.  I also realized that people continued to stumble across it or at least visit it every so often.  So, why not? What does it hurt to throw yourself out there and ask for advice from others?

I hope you join me on my adventure as our team of 5 continues through this crazy life!

*Photo Credit: Clover creek photography.  Amazing photographer in our area.  I highly recommend!! Visit her page at

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Raise your hand if you know me. Hug me if I am your friend. Hold me, hug me, kiss me, and wipe my tears if you are my best friend!

We had a conversation similar to this with Trenton tonight. We tried to explain to him what a "true" friend is. Not just an acquaintance. We also definitely warned him about trying to fit in. So far, it has only gotten him into trouble. A lot of trouble.

So, 6th grade has been rough thus far. Really rough. I struggle daily with how to wake up and move on into a new day. I am exhausted and tired of dealing with a school system that doesn't make it any better. The worst part is how bad our son is suffering. It's not just school, it's life. He doesn't know how to move on but instead still struggles with coping with his past. He's so broken and we just don't know how to help him.

We continue with therapy and that does help to some extent but we really need to work with someone who understands and has background in attachment issues. I began researching on my own and trying to figure out how to get more help for my family. After contacting numerous agencies to see what we could qualify or what help we could receive, we found an attachment clinic in Charlottesville, VA. We have been in contact with them and it sound promising.....5,000 dollars promising..and not covered by insurance. So, we are waiting to hear back from Trenton's school counselor on programs we might qualify for to assist with the payments (although I won't hold my breath because they don't ever get back to me).

So, while we still are at a really rough spot in our life we continue to plow through and do what we can. I told Trenton tonight (he is not happy with the thought of more specialized therapy) that one day, maybe it will be 10 or 20 years from now, he will look me in the eyes and say "thank you, for loving me and taking care of me". I know one day he will look back and appreciate me for all I have done and/or tried to do. I told him that I loved him the day I met him and that I will love him for the rest of my life. He just has to learn to let me love him as a mother should.

So, my life is a circus act and I am on the tight rope feeling like I am about to fall off! When will this feeling stop?????

P.S. I never stopped blogging, I have about 5 drafts that I wrote and never posted. Sorry!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Or at least he thinks so.....

Trenton was making such good strides! I guess that is why I haven't blogged in forever. But we hit a rough patch, a bad one. I feel like our family is so fractured right now and while we may look happy on the outside we are definitely hurting on the inside. And...just for the record, I feel we get many looks and stares because I know people think we are too hard on him. The fact is, we aren't even as strict as many of the books say we should be. Maybe that is the problem, I am just not sure. For right now though if you had to pick the one issue that is the biggest and main area of concern-it's SCHOOL!

School is a train wreck and that is putting it nicely. The school system is failing him....literally. He's failing-three classes to be exact. He has been "refusing" to do his work and when they put it on his desk or he is given an assignment to complete he just simply doesn't do it. When asked why, he says because he "doesn't want to" and "doesn't like his teacher". Even though we explained to him that in life there are many things we have to do, that we don't want to, but we do anyway...he doesn't get it. Not sure I expected my almost 11 year old to understand but I gave it the old college try. Anyway, due to this he gets zeros and zeros cause his grades to drop. I have tried to motivate him and encourage him to do well-even provide him with rewards. He just doesn't want too....and nobody can make him.

Did I mention the school doesn't help. They allow him to sit and do nothing and it's not like I expect them to "make" him do it. However, I do expect that they will motivate, use motivational methods, modify, adapt, etc. I am not sure what a behavior plan is because he has one and well... I don't think it is working (or being implemented)! He has a first year teacher and a special education teacher who doesn't support her. It's quite sad to be honest with you...really. He comes home with his homework written in his planner but he doesn't have the supplies in his book bag. What happened to checking his book bag?? Why won't they send home his assignments to us (aka: the parents) weekly so we can ensure that the work is here-even if they are too lazy to do their jobs and check his book bag daily. Did I mention that he has a teacher assistant for 30 min daily to help provide behavioral support? I wonder what she is doing to help?? I won't tell you what my son (who is old enough to tell me what she is doing) says she is doing during her time in the classroom.

I am not giving up, I won't. Mom's don't give up on their children. I may be tired, emotionally drained and well spent...but I won't give up. I will fight, I will encourage, I will put a smile on my face and I will continue to seek help. But I won't give up.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


So, first of all, I would like to again thank all the friends and family that have reached out to be supportive during this time. Whether it be a comment on the blog, my facebook page, or a phone call-it is much appreciated. Establishing a support system is one of the priorities in the book which says that it is important to surround yourself with people, who understand, that you can call and process your thoughts, vent your rage or have respite care. So, thanks!! We feel loved!

Now onto the topic of food issues with Trenton. Some would look at him and think "wow, he is so skinny, does he eat?" Of course he eats!!!....he eats, and eats, and eats, and eats........ Which, in all actuality, that is the problem. I know most would think he is just a growing boy and that he needs to eat all the time-who knows, maybe it is a growth spurt...right? WRONG.... It couldn't be more wrong. See, children should have three well balanced meals a day with two snacks (a morning and evening snack). With Trenton, the first issue we have is gorging (another symptom of RAD). He will eat a meal and want more or he would go to a buffet and eat till he got sick to his stomach. We have had family members state that "all he did was eat while he was with us"! He was so hungry! Again, this IS a problem. What the book recommends is that we give him those balanced meals and snacks during somewhat of a scheduled time-you know...the normal time of day for those meals! Then, if they want more during each meal, allow them to have more. Offer them nutritional additions like apples, carrots, a piece of cheese, etc. to each meal if they ask for more. Eventually, the more you offer them they will eventually say-no, I am full (and feel full of love too...:).

So, why does he gorge his food??? It's simple really. Most likely, at one point during his first three years he was not given food when he requested it. Whether he cried for a bottle and didn't get it or asked for a meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and wasn't provided with one. Now, it may not be that he wasn't provided with one at all but even if his request was ignored and he wasn't fed till a much later time, it can cause issues with food! Food is a basic need right? It's like Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. You can't move up the pyramid until you have the needs in each level met. In this case the bottom of the pyramid which is his physiological needs weren't met. It makes it difficult to go to the next level which is safety/security. Once each need is met he can then move forward with love/belonging, esteem and then self-actualization. I have learned that I will never deny him food-HOWEVER, it is very important that he have food during those structured meal times. Never send him to bed without dinner either, that is another important lesson learned!!!

Okay, the other food issue we are dealing with has gotten increasingly worse over the years and we noticed it more (or found it) over the past six months. He hoards food. Yes, he takes food when we aren't looking or around, and shoves as much of it as he can in his mouth. We don't see this but what we are finding the empty wrappers, drink boxes, etc. We figured at some point he takes the food and hides it till he can quickly empty it into his mouth. We have caught him a few times but more often we find the empty wrappers. One morning, Jonnie caught him naked eating M & M's. He was getting dressed downstairs for school and after undressing out of his pajamas, he located the M & M's and then started shoving them in his mouth! He didn't even get dressed first! We started hiding treats and quickly found that he will search for them anyway. We found empty bags of gummy worms and bears that we brought back from Disney. We found six empty packs of fruit snacks that he probably shoved in his mouth in one sitting-we found those in the pantry. Jonnie found 6 empty capri suns in the garage (he must have taken them from the garage fridge) which he also most likely drank in one sitting. I know no longer try to limit his sweets....I give him dessert every night! When he hoards like this it is his need to gain control and feel comforted. I am trying to parent him in a way that now lets him now I won't deny him food, take food away from him, or ignore his basic "need" of hunger.

So, another step in the right direction. School issues are currently being worked on so I am feeling like once his new IEP is in place we will have better results! last note-he hasn't taken a shower in two days. The book says it's common for poor hygiene. So, rather than forcing him to do it or yell and make a big deal out of it. I let him go to bed 2 nights in a row without a shower! BUT...when he does take a shower I will throw myself at him, jump up and down, and make sure he knows how good he smells!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let the count down begin:)

Love to all!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

No Regrets....and a weekend of respite!

Any regrets in raising Trenton? No, not one. You can ask me again in 10 years and I will say it regrets. We kept him from being able to go to parades, trick or treating and birthday parties but I firmly believe we made the right choice! According to the wonderful book I am reading, When Love is Not Enough by Nancy Thomas, we are and HAVE been doing the right thing! Those are privileges and for a child with RAD-privileges have to be earned! Big time...... They earn them by being respectful, honest, responsible and fun to be around. You shouldn't push them and you shouldn't have to remind them of their basic daily chores. Wow! So all the years that Jonnie and I have been giving him chores and making him be responsible, we were doing the RIGHT thing! Yea for that! My only regret??? Not pushing all the Dr.'s much sooner to look at a different diagnosis other than ADHD. I knew there was some true mental health issues with him and I just didn't know how to help him.

Tonight he was definitely difficult but I feel we made a very small step. He was having a hard time following through and completing the task asked of him (to remove the sheets from his bed to be washed since they were urinated in). We sweetly offered for him to rest since he was too tired and exhuasted to do what was asked (a tip in our book). He didn't like that at all..he promptly went into a full on tantrum in which he took every picture in his room of myself and/or Jonnie and threw them face down. It was a bit heartbreaking but I knew that he was angry with us and that is to be expected. After given time to calm down, I approached him and tried to get him to tell me why he was so angry. He immediately went into wanting to see his sisters (he has half sisters who live with his biological mother) and other family members where he knows he can be in control. He hated that we were in control today!

He eventually broke down into tears and was able to talk about his anger. He said it was his fault that he doesn't see or live with his mother anymore. He blames himself for her giving up custody of him-his words exactly "it's all my fault because my mom couldn't handle me anymore". I told him it wasn't his fault, it was a choice she made. Unfortunately, he is suffering the consequences which is the hardest aspect of all of this. He is so broken and his heart is so broken. I wish I could fix it for him and I wish he would let us love him.

On another note, Lucas and I had a little respite getaway to my Dad's on Saturday. It was peaceful, restful and quite nice! Luke played, I cleaned off my old computer, and we rested......quietly. I feel a bit refreshed! Hopeful of a calmer week ahead!