Posted in blessed, Faith, family, Hope, life, love, thankful

What would I say to a Younger Me? 

On the way to school this morning the kids and I were jamming out to our local Christian radio station.  The song Dear Younger Me came on and it got me to thinking about what I would say to my past self if there was a way.  Would I tell myself to do things different? Would I tell myself to stay away from certain people? What would I say if given the chance?  My answer surprised me.  

Earlier this month my ex husband turned 40.  I remember back when I was in high school and thinking 40 was sooooo old. (I turned 41 this year) Man time flies. Anyways, on that day I was standing in my kitchen making some lunch for my little ones and for some reason I walked by the calendar and it hit me. He turns 40 today.   I don’t think of him often but there are a few things that always remind me of him.  And if you have read my post Domestic Violence a Survivors story, My Story, you know we did not separate on good terms, but for a split second my old teenage heart sighed.  

When I was thinking about what I would say to my younger self, my first thoughts were Don’t fall for him. Don’t let him hurt you. Don’t believe him when he says it will never happen again. Don’t stay it will only get worse….get out now!!  Our marriage was nowhere near perfect. But if I had not fallen for him I would not have my oldest two children, my beautiful daughter or my amazing son.  If I were somehow able to change the past they would not be here. And they are my world.  The pain and hurt  I went through was numbing and I pray nobody ever has to go through it, however because of that hurt I now know what it truly means to be loved by someone not just used by someone. God has a plan for everything and His timing is always on time.  If I would have left my marriage earlier, weeks, or months, or even years earlier I would not be where I am today.  Todd teases me all the time if we would have met a few years earlier I would not have liked him much and likewise I am sure he would not have given me a second mind.  I am not saying God planned on me being in an abuse relationship for any amount of time, that’s not how He works. He does however take our darkest points in our lives and finds ways for His love and light to shine through. When He saw I needed someone He sent me my hero, my soulmate, my wonderful husband Todd (nine years and counting, love you sweetie) 

The truth is I am who I am because of my past.  My love for family comes from countless nights and weekends spent at both of my grandparents homes as a child.  My joy of helping others comes from watching my mom make a difference daily as she worked in the medical field for years. My love for the Green Bay Packers comes from watching games (both the good and the bad) over the years with my dad and cheering them on regardless of the outcome.  My love of food, even though I am not a good cook, comes from the many family reunions and family get togethers where love was spread one buttered roll at a time. 

We all have moments were we wish we could change something we did or something we said. And even though it would be nice to erase the bad we become stronger with each storm we face and with each valley we walk through. 

If I could change anything I would tell my younger self, life turns out alright.  I would say spend more time listening to Papaw W. tell his fishing and hunting stories, and watch one more scary movie with Mamaw S. even though you won’t sleep for a week.  I would tell me to let my brother and mamaw win one more game of Canasta against me and Papaw L because you will treasure those game stories forever.  I would tell me to fall in love with my ex even though there will be hurt because two of your greatest blessings come from that love. I would tell me to follow closer to God because you can’t even imagine how He blesses and grows your family later in life. I would say you will make some amazing friendships.  Embrace them while they are in their season and make memories to carry you through long after they are gone. Life happens and people drift apart. I would tell me there is so much more to you than you realize, believe in yourself, always have hope and never lose faith. Gods got this. 

I doubt my ex thinks of me much this days.  And I am perfectly okay with that. But I am sure I’m not the only person who hears a song or smells a certain food or even looks at what day it is and stops and reminisces of a time long ago, before life took a different direction. I have moved on and so has he. We are both remarried and as far as I know we are both happy now.  In order for me to heal from the past I forgave him I long time ago. Not for him but for me. Fear and hate will consume you if you allow it.  I will not live in fear and my heart has no room for hate.  I love life now. I love my kids, my husband, my family and myself. 

Dear younger me, you turn out pretty alright. Enjoy your life it’s an amazing ride. 

Posted in Being a mom, blessed, Children, Church, Faith, family, life, love, Mom life, thankful

I Am, I am Not….Where do I fit in with God’s Plan? 

 

Sunday mornings are Always crazy at our house.  Trying to get all our little loves ready and out the door in time for morning service can be challenging at best.  I knew yesterday would be no different.  If anything it would be more difficult once they realized they were going to their new Sunday school classrooms. 

It wasn’t one big thing but many little things that had me thinking It’s just one service, no one would miss us if we didn’t go today. What harm could it do by staying home?  Then I realized I had said those same words last week when our six year old autistic son simply refused to go so I stayed home with him, baby girl, and Big Al while my husband took our other two children to service.  It’s so simple to slip into the routine of not going when you have small children. There are days it just does not seem worth the fight to go. And it’s not that they dislike church, they really enjoy church, it’s just the getting ready without fighting they can’t seem to do. And we want them to go.  We want them to grow in their own faith. So as I looked at my little loves, two of which were fighting over what cartoon to watch, one still sleepy and wanting her bottle, and one refusing to put on a dress because she wanted to wear the pink shorts and green shirt she had picked out instead, I took a deep breath and said Not today devil I can handle whatever you throw my way.   

God knew I needed to be at that service.  

Our pastor’s message was on John the Baptist. I sat in the service with my husband by my side thinking about the mess our morning had been. Somedays I don’t feel I am enough or good enough.  The day in day out battles we face with our daughters RAD and our sons autism can be overwhelming at times, and let’s not forget we have three other little ones who are well under four so I will leave it at that.   We had made it to service and managed to get all of the kiddos to their new classes without to many tears but I was exhausted. I just wanted to go in set down relax for a few minutes without children hanging off me.  Not the best reason to go to church I know.  But as I sat there and listened to our pastor talk about how John was questioned  by the priests  as to “Who he was”  I could not help but question myself.  Who am I? John knew he was not Jesus and was quick to tell them he was not. He also told them he was not Elijah nor was he the prophet.  (John 1 19-28) It would have been easy for him to take credit and say Yes I am, but he did not. Instead he stayed humbled and followed the path God intended for him. 

So who am I? Where do I fit in to His master plan?  

I don’t know the whole answer, I may never know.  But I do know He placed me here in this moment for a reason. He made a way for me to be a mother to seven amazing children all uniquely made in His image. He blessed me with a truly wonderful husband. He knows my every flaw and still He loves me anyway.  I may second guess myself from time to time but God believes in me with all He has.  How truly awesome is that?

 I don’t always have the picture perfect family were everyone gets along and everyone is happy to see each other.  No in fact most days we have at least one mad at someone because they “looked at them weird.”  And I may get embarrassed and a little upset while trying to talk to someone on the parking lot and my kids are screaming in the car like crazy animals (side note there was a hornet in the van which set the screaming in motion, my husband was able to remove it but the screaming continued) I may feel unqualified to parent when I see others with their children so well behaved in the store while mine are…..well not behaving as  I wish.  It’s all okay because He is the Great I AM. 
For when I feel weak – He is strong

When I am tired – He gives me rest

When I am unlovable- He loves me anyway 

When I hurt- He is my comforter 

When I am lost – He will find me

When I simply can not go on- He will carry me

When I question why- He answers 

I am where I am suppose to be. God has placed us all here not to just wake up, go to work, pay bills, and sleep. He placed us here to love each other and to support each other.  And when life seems to be just to different for us to do alone He wants us to know He is there for us.  We must all be like John and find our place in History.  

I am so thankful we didn’t let the devil win yesterday morning. I am thankful we made it to church and heard the message. I am thankful the kids enjoyed their new classes and want to go back. I am thankful I could sing His praises yesterday, today and forever more.  Yehweh Yehweh 

Posted in autism, Autism awareness, Autism life, Being a mom, blessed, Children with disabilities, family, life, love, Mom life

“Get Me to the House…I have to poo.” A day trip with my autistic son

via Daily Prompt: Carousel

Last week my beautiful mom had knee replacement surgery.  I was unable to be with her the day of her surgery and felt horrible about it.  One of the downsides to living in two different states. *sigh*  After she made it to her recovery room I received a phone call from her (she was still heavily medicated thanks to the anesthesia and pain medicine), it was full of giggles and phrases like “I know your a daddy’s girl but you will always be my baby girl ” and “Love you’s”. She was just letting me know that she was still alive and well and that the surgery was a complete success.  Guess even medicated she knew I needed to hear her voice telling me she was okay.   Thanks momma.  But I still needed to see her with my own eyes to “make sure” she really was okay.  So I told my husband I was headed home for a quick visit last Saturday.

As I planned my day trip my six year old asked if he could ride along.  Traveling is rough on him but there was no way I was telling him he could not go. His sad puppy dog looking eyes get me every time.  

Traveling with kids never goes as planned. Traveling with a son who is autistic always comes with its adventures.  This trip was no exception.

Our plan was to get up early and be on the road by 6am. We would fill the day with visits. First we would stop and see a friend who had also had surgery, hers was on her shoulder, next we would go see mom, swing by a baby shower and drop a gift off, seeing mom would be in no shape to go to said shower, and lastly have dinner with my best friend and her family before heading home.  Seemed like a realistic day.  The night before I packed his two backpacks: one with extra clothes for him just in case we needed them and one with his treasures, this included two tablets, his dads backup phone,cars, puzzle pieces, a notebook, a pen, his hat, sunglasses, and some toy pirate coins. I also packed him a snack bag that contained his favorite chips, popcorn, and juices.  We would be gone for less than a day but we were packed for a week long vacation. We were all set for the next day. 

Well we were until my son who never sleeps past 5:30 slept till 7:30.  Now I could have just set out at 6 like I planned but then my husband would have had to deal with the tornado that would have been our son when he realized mom went without him.  And seeing that my husband was keeping all the kiddos that would have made for a very bad day.   So I waited until he woke up.  We were on the road by 8:15.  Running a little behind my schedule but still we could manage to get everything in. 

That is until we hit the tunnels.  We have to travel through two tunnels in order for us to get back to WV.  I never thought much of the tunnels until wild man came into our lives.  The lighting and the noise that comes with going through a tunnel can set his system into sensory overload. I handed him his sunglasses, they help him with the glare from the lights, and told him to lay his head down.  It worked the first time. But the second tunnel was a different story.  When we arrived at the second tunnel he was in the middle of playing a racecar game on his tablet.  He did not hear me, or he decided not to listen me, when I told him it was time to put on his sunglasses.  The moment we were inside he started screaming. The lights were to much and the motion of us passing them made his stomach upset.  By the time we made it through he was sick and throwing his head against the window to made the lights stop moving.  I got the car pulled over and climbed in the backseat with him before he got sick. We sat until he was calm enough to get out and walk.  Lucky for us you can find a Walmart just about anywhere. He loves Walmart. So  I get back into the driver seat and we make our way down the road a few miles to his favorite store. There I parked the car and took my little guy in so he could walk around without cars flying past us.  The Walmart detour took a little over and hour and cost me over hundred dollars (hey he needed a few things for school why not get them while we were there?) 

As we walked the aisles of Walmart my sweet boy made many friends along the way.  He introduced himself to everyone we walked by or asked, “Hey hey what’s you name?” or “Hey hey I like you let’s be friends.”  Many of the passerby offered up their names with a warm smile, some even gave him Hi-fives.  But there is also the other side that shake their heads, or look annoyed just by his presence, and theirs always at least one person who tells me to control my son that he is a) being to loud, b) that he needs to respect people’s person space, c) or that he is being disruptive and I need to make him stop or my favorite d) I would never allow my child to behave that way.   It never fails. I am so thankful my son does not process what others think about him the way I do.  He is always just so happy in the moment. 

After he was feeling better and I knew he would not vomit all over my husbands car we are back in the car and head towards our destination. 
We were about an hour out when I called my mom to see if she was still at the hospital or if she was discharged and home.  She informed me she was still in the hospital but they were getting ready to discharge her. Have you ever waited to be discharged from a hospital?? Let’s just say What should have been simple turned into an all day ordeal.  By the time my sweet momma actually made it home it was after 3pm.  Visiting my friend who had shoulder surgery was not going to happen and as for the baby shower I missed it completely, we did drop the gifts off at the mommy-to-be’s mothers house so at least she got them.  

Before we knew it, it was time to go home. Wild man was not ready to go home however. He had a meltdown.  I tried to calm him down with a frosty but even that didn’t work.  There was no way he would be able to stay seated in an overly crowded restaurant if I meet up with my friend and her family for dinner.  So I text her and told her I was sorry we would not be making it. 

We started to trip home and he settled in to a video game, this time Minecraft, he was still upset but at least he was in his car seat and he could not reach me to kick me or hit me.  All was going well until we reached the tunnels again. This time a truck had broke down inside one of them and traffics was crawling through the only open lane.  It scared him so bad to have to sit inside the tunnel as we moved only inches over the next 40 minutes. Finally we could see the end and we were out. 

After that we had to stop and get out of the car.  Three straight hours in his seat had taken its toll on him.  When we stopped he proudly announced he had to pee.  I found a gas station and we went in so he could do just that.  We loaded back in the car with a fresh juice, bag of popcorn and a fully charged tablet. We should be able to make it home without stopping again.  

Ten miles down the road I hear, “Momma Are we there yet? I need to poop.” Words I did not want to hear.  See my sweet boy has this thing, he only poops at home.  He only poops at home in our downstairs bathroom. Nowhere else. Ever.   He will hold it for days if he has to, but the smell coming up front told me I didn’t have days or even hours.  I told him I could stop at rest area or another gas station but it was a no go.  He screamed and cried for the next 45 minutes and I was helpless.  There was nothing I could do but get us home as fast as I could. I may have driven a little over the speed limit. Maybe just a little. I was never so happy to see my driveway.  I pulled in the garage as my husband opened up the door to the house. I ran around the car and unlocked his safety belt and off he went.  I yelled over to my husband Watch out he has to go! as wild man ran passed him.  He made it, barely but he made it.  

Many would not consider this trip a success, but I do. True we didn’t get everything done or see everyone like I planned. But that’s okay.  I think sometimes God placed wild man with me to remove some of my OCD qualities.  With him we just have to roll with it.  Autism is hard, but we are learning more and more everyday.  There are days I wish I could get off this carousel ride of emotions and just go back to a time before we knew he was autistic. But that’s not possible. So I am learning as I go. I am learning there are those who will go out of their way to be nice to a six year old they don’t even know just to make his day.  I’m learning that there are no such thing as schedules or preplanned evenings.  I am learning some people will accept him and others will always judge him.  I am learning to be a best person because of him.   He loves freely and judges not. His life is simple. And I am blessed to get a front row seat.   In his darkest parts of the day in the middle of a meltdown or while he screaming because the house bathroom is so far away, I will be there to love him and get him through it. I will do whatever it takes to make his life better for he has surely blessed mine. 

Posted in blessed, domestic violence survivor, family, foster parent life, Home, Husband, life, love, thankful

My Happy Ever After

Ten years ago I was in a dark dangerous place.  I was depressed, hurt, scared,and trapped in an abusive loveless marriage.  I was alone. The few friends that did know what was going on turned out not to be my friends at all when I finally found the courage to take my children and get out.  11 years was enough.  I could not physically or emotionally take it anymore and my kids were getting old enough to see what was going on.  I did not know how we would make it I just knew if I stayed I would not survive. So with my two kids in my arms and faith in my heart I left the only life I had known.
I was not sure God would give me a second chance at being happy let alone falling in love.  I was not a bad person but I had not always been a saint either. There are things in my past I wish I could change but what’s done is done. I have asked for forgiveness and I truly believe God has forgiven me. I try each day to be a better person than I was yesterday hoping to make the world a better place for at least one person.  But I’m human and still did not feel I was worthy enough to be loved again.  That’s when God sent Todd into my life.

I don’t talk about him much on here.  He is a pretty private person.  However yesterday we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary.  That completely blows my mind.  How did I go from unloved and broken 10 years ago to getting married to the love of my life 8 years ago?  I’ll tell you, it was Gods plan.  I’m not saying God planned on me being abused and getting a divorce. I’m saying He took the darkest point in my life and found away to shine His love through. 

Todd came back into my life when I needed someone to show me love, compassion, understanding, and friendship. He finds the good in me when I don’t see it. He makes me laugh and makes me feel safe. He is more than just a husband. He is a terrific father to all of our kids, my two older ones and the five we have adopted. In his eyes they are all his kids he does not show favoritism. He loves them all and cares for them as only a father can.  He taught our oldest two how to drive, cried as our oldest daughter graduated college, cheered as our oldest son played his sax at band competitions, he has changed his fair share of diapers and made more midnight bottles than most men I can guarantee. He works crazy hours to provide for us and always makes sure we have what we need.  He has stood by my side when friends and family questioned us about becoming foster parents, about adopting one more child, and about moving 300 miles away from everyone.  He has my back always and supports me in everything.  I am so thankful God crossed our paths again. 

We don’t do many gifts for each other, our focus is always on the kids but this year he has surprised me on a few occasions.  He knows the move was hard on me, I had lived in a 15 mile radius my whole life, moving out of state after 40 years was scary.  He has went out of his way to show me how much he appreciates me this year with little things.  Things I never expected but will forever treasure.  I am truly blessed to be his wife.  


The point of this sappy blog is this.  We all deserve happiness, we all deserve our happy ever after.  God is a God of second, third, tenth, and twenty chances.  He loves us so much that even in our darkest points He is working on a better brighter life for us.  Don’t lose faith.  You may not see Gods plan for your life, I know I didn’t, but it’s there waiting for you.  I am happier now than I’ve ever been. I know now what true love really is. I am now stronger, wiser, and beyond blessed. You can be too.  Just let go take that first step and trust that He will guide you through the storm and over whatever mountain you face.

Posted in autism, Autism awareness, Autism life, Being a mom, blessed, Children, Children with disabilities, family, life, love, Puppy

Puppy Dog Kisses

Back while my husband and I were still dating we rescued a puppy.  Her name was Satin.  Satin was part Lab and part unknown.  Her mother had been dropped off along side the road and made her way up to a house that belonged to a friend of mine.  My friend took the dog to the vet to have her checked out she found out she was pregnant, most likely the reason she had been dropped off.  She was underweight and dirty so my friends family nursed her back to health while they waited for the arrival of the puppies. A few weeks later the mother dog gave birth to nine puppies.  This family knew they could not keep all of them but were willing to care for them until they were old enough to be on their own and then started looking for homes for both the mom dog and her puppies.  If homes could not be found they would have to take them to the animal shelter.  Ten dogs was to much for them to take on full time. 

My husband and I went to her house and Satin walked straight up to us.  We were looking for a male dog but she won us over with her sweet personality.  She became part of our family.

Satin and her stuffed toy
 

When JR became part of our family Satin became his dog.  He loved on her, played with her, layed on her, and rode on her. Satin allowed him to do things with her that she would never consider letting others do, I think she knew or could sense he was autistic.  He could lay on her for hours and she would never question it whereas my brother could try to pet her and she would bark are him.  Satin and JR had a special bond. She was his protector and he was her guardian. They were each other’s best friends.

JR, Devin and Satin hanging out at our old house

I’m not sure exactly when it happened but within the last year Satin had started becoming more aggressive not only with us but with the kids.  Maybe it was the move or maybe it was the fact she was nine I don’t know. All I do know is she wasn’t the same sweet dog anymore.  We had not one but two incidents in May that had my husband and I questioning if she was safe to have around the kids anymore.   We did not want to put her to sleep or take her to a shelter but we could not have her being aggressive with the kids, especially JR. He did not understand why he could not play with her the way he always had.  My husband took her to the vet and with a heavy heart we placed her in a no kill shelter (she stayed for a week before being placed in a new home with no kids or other animals) Our hearts ached. She had been such a huge part of our lives. We had no plans on getting another dog. No one could replace Satin. 

However by July we were having major problems with JR. He was lost without his dog. He cried for her daily, she would look for her every time we went outside, he called out for her in his sleep.  Our little guy was miserable and that was hard to watch.  So my husband and I had a talk and we decided that even though we didn’t really want a new dog, JR needed a dog.  And after looking around my husband found a 16 week old yellow Lab that our son named Frosty. 

Frosty has quickly became JR’s new favorite obsession.  He absolutely loves his new dog, and so do the rest of our kids.  Frosty runs with them and slides with them, lays down with them and just enjoys being with them. JR and Frosty have already went on dinosaur adventures and deep sea dives (in their kiddy pool) and I am sure there are many more adventures to come over the upcoming years.  He still misses Satin, we all do, but I am thankful for this new four legged friend that has made his way into our hearts. JR needed Frosty to heal and to help move forward.  Seeing the two of them together today made my heart smile.  As JR was hugging Frosty, his new puppy licked his cheek and JR giggled.  He said Look momma he gave me puppy kisses just like Satin use to.  He squealed with delight right before returning the favor to his puppy.   Aw puppy kisses there’s nothing better for a little boys heart ❤️ 

Posted in adoption, Being a mom, blessed, Children, Children with disabilities, foster parent life, life, love, RAD

When Reality Slaps You in the Face

I’ve started this post more than a dozen times.  Each time I get a few short paragraphs in and lose my cool.  So after taking a few weeks to calm down I will try again.  

One of my biggest pet peeves is being lied to especially if I ask a direct question.  As foster parents we are accustom to getting what I call half truths from the birth parents. These are just as nerve racking.  But when you come face to face with your foster child’s parents and they know their rights are being terminated and you ask them questions so you can help their child in the future why oh why do they feel the need to lie?  

My problem:

Two weeks ago we went back to the geneticists for our daughters test results. We know she has RAD, reactive attachment disorder, and ADHD and ADD but we also felt there was more going on.  I remember talking to her (birth) mom in the hallway of the courthouse after a few of the hearings.  She assured me that she never used drugs or alcohol while pregnant with her.  But in my heart I knew she was not being honest with me.  Even after her adoption was final and we were in the process of adopting her younger siblings the mother continued to swear to me she would have never used anything that would have caused injury to her second oldest child.   Her three children born after diva all had some type of substance in their system so naturally I questioned the truth in her statement. 

After we moved and she started seeing her therapist, the therapist pointed out that diva had many signs of a child with FASD, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and suggested we make an appointment with the geneticist.  It took a few months but we finally got in and he spent over two hours with our little girl. After all the questions, the blood work, the measuring and re measuring he asked us to come back in a few weeks for the results.  

I was a little nervous going back in for the results.  But there in black ink we had it. Along with some other minor things our daughter did in fact have FASD.  What we had suspected for a while was confirmed. I was heartbroken, angry, relieved and sad. I was heartbroken for my little girl. For the life she would have to face. Her struggles were already so hard to add this on top of it seemed so unfair.  I was angry. Why had her mom done this to her? Why had she lied over and over when I had questioned her about it? I was relieved to have yet another piece to our daughters puzzle filled with an answer. So many times in foster care we don’t receive the whole story about the child coming into our care. Many times even after adoption through foster care there are still many missing pieces to their story.   I was sad for her.  Sad for the unknown of how this would affect her later on in life.  Sad that I could not undue the damage that had been caused by someone else.    

Why did her mom think it necessary to lie about what she had done? Did it make her feel better about herself? Does it help her sleep at night?  Does she even care what she has done to her children by making the poor choices she made?  

My daughter, now seven, as made the song Even If by Mercy Me her anthem.  She sings it everyday multiple times a day.  You can read about it in my blog called Even If.  She is wise beyond her years. ​
​The odds are stacked against her, yet she finds comfort in the fact Jesus is always by her side.  Her faith is strong when mine seems weak. Yes we will have bad days, yes the struggle with school work and behaviors will be real and difficult at times but we will get through it all day by day with Gods help.  

Posted in foster parent life

Why Foster? The Stats

The need for foster parents is real. The stats are heartbreaking. Every three minutes a child enters into foster care in the U.S. The number of children entering the system is growing rapidly while the number of available homes is shrinking. There are many reasons people say they could never foster: “I would get to attached”, “I could not give them back”, “Its to much work to be a foster parent”, and I have heard many more. But the stats don’t lie there are 400,000 reasons (children) why you should. Open your heart to a child in foster care, their need outweighs any of your fears. Check out this eye opening blog from Still Orphans.  

Still Orphans

There were over 400,000 children in the foster care system when the AFCARS collected their data in 2015.  Each year that number has increased.  The AFCARS data showed an increase of 30,000 children in foster care since 2011.  According to a 2016 article, some states and counties are experiencing shortages of foster parents, and the number of children in the system outweighs the number of available homes.  Some notable cases were Minnesota, California, and Massachusetts.

If you’re a numbers person, then you can look at it as 427, 910 reasons why foster parenting is important.  These kids didn’t choose neglectful or abusive parents; they didn’t choose to enter foster care.  If we also don’t choose to help, then we’re leaving a large number of children without support.

We get a glimpse of what happens when there’s no one to intervene for foster children by looking at the…

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Posted in adoption, autism, Autism awareness, Autism life, Being a mom, blessed, Children, family, foster parent life, Home, life, love, Mom life, thankful

Don’t let their perfect posts fool you, You are a great mom too

Well I did it again, well almost. I let myself get caught up in the fake world of social media parenting.  You may know what I’m talking about. Thankfully I was able to snap out of it before I started questioning my parenting skills.

We all have people on our sites that seem to have it all together.  Their kids take the perfect family photos, they make the honor roll every semester, they go to the store and their kids are perfect little angels, their homes always spotless and clutter free, they go on lavish trips for vacations or take cruises multiple times a year. Their kids are perfect in every way. They are the perfect parents.  When I use to see post like this I could not help but question my own mom skills.  I would look around at my beautiful chaos and think were did I go wrong? What are they doing that I’m not? I would beat myself up about not being the perfect mom.  But you know what, I don’t do that anymore. Here’s why

I am the best mom I can be. My kids are the best kids they can be. And news flash no one is perfect.  I gave up on having the perfect family photo a long time ago. Trying to get five little ones to sit still and face the camera is hard enough let alone trying to get them all to show me their adorable smiles at the same time.  Our family photos have them being kids. Someone is always looking off in the wrong direction or someone has dirt or candy on their face.  And you know what, I love my family photos. To me they are perfect.


My kids play hard from the time they wake up till the time they go to bed. So we have toys everywhere. My house is never “spotless.”  If that’s what you are expecting when you come to visit please don’t come over.

The truth is we are all doing our best at this parenting thing.  We should not feel guilty or upset with ourselves when someone else seems to have it all together. We all have bad days but we also all have great days. Don’t compare yourself to the mom down the road or to the mom at football practice. You, YES YOU, are doing a great job.

So if you’re the mom who makes a five star breakfast every morning or you’re the mom who serves Cheerios and pop tarts. You are amazing.

If you’re the mom that makes it to every PTA/PTO meeting at school and serve as the homeroom mom or if you’re the mom that just sends in the snacks or cash when asked. You are wonderful.

If you’re the mom who takes your kids to Disney or the beach for vacation or if you’re the mom who blows up the kiddy pool for the backyard oasis for the stay at home vacation. You rock.

If you’re the mom who makes sure your child is spotless or if you’re the mom who let’s your kids play in the mud. You are fantastic.

If you’re the mom who homeschools or the mom who pays for private school or the mom who uses public schools. You are changing the world.

If you’re the mom the works outside the home or if you’re the stay at home mom. You are beautiful.

If you’re the mom that does crafts everyday or if you’re the mom that slips the kids an IPad. You are doing great.

If you’re the biological mom,or the step mom, or the foster mom, or the kinship mom.  If you have one child or ten or if you have a newborn, toddler, teenager, or an adult “child”. You are loved and so needed.

If you’re a mom that ever questions her worth just look at your children.  They are beautiful, they are loved, and they are happy.  They might not always see eye to eye with you and that’s okay.  (On those days I keep a Dr Pepper and chocolate on hand) It’s okay to have bad days every now and then.  Truth be told there are days I feel I fail my kids miserably. But God placed these little loves with me for a reason. He saw something in me that I do not see. He in trusted me with their lives and I will do my best to be the best I can be.

We are all in this together. Parenting is hard. Be happy for each other. Don’t let yourself get pulled into the world of “how I should be a better mom look at her”  that social media beats in our heads.  You are a good mom.  So post those pics of your kid covered in mud, or the ones were they have  turned the playroom upside down, or the family photo were little Johnny is picking his nose.  Those photos make your family perfect.  Those photos make you are terrific mom.

From our beautiful chaos to yours we moms have to stick together.  We should Build each other up not tear others down


Posted in autism, Autism awareness, Autism life, Being a mom, blessed, Children, Children with disabilities, family, foster parent life, life, love, Mom life, thankful

Can We Stop with the Fireworks Already!?

I, like most Americans, love Independence Day.  My husband was in the Army and I have several other family members that have served in the military.  I love everything that the 4th of July stands for. This includes the fireworks displays.  But our neighbors are going on night 10 of their celebration and I’m starting to come unglued.


Last Friday, that would be June 30, the celebration kicked off.  My husband and I were prepared for it. With the 4th falling on a Tuesday we assumed the weekend prior would be filled with neighbors setting off their own magical displays.  We tried to prepare our six year son, who’s autistic, but he really didn’t understand what we were talking about until he heard “the loud giants fighting” outside.  No clue why he thought the fireworks sounded like giants but that’s what he came up with.  The sounds scared him to death, much like they scared my other neighbors poor little dog (we could hear him barking up into the wee hours of the night) Friday and Saturday came and went and we thought to ourselves “we made it through” until Sunday night rolled around. By 930 they were celebrating yet again. By the time The 4th actually came around I was sure they had to be out of fireworks.  

But I was wrong. 


The sky around our little neighborhood lite up in bright colors of reds, green, blues, and golds. For hours different neighbors took turns setting off their displays celebrating their Independence Day. Which would have been beautiful if we could have actually enjoyed looking out the window. However in our home it was different. My husband and I took turns holding not only our six year old but by that time one of our three year olds and our 20 month old joined him in being scared to death of the giants that continued to fight night after night.  “Why must the giants fight momma? Why are they so mad? What did we do to upset them?  What if they don’t see us they could step on us momma”  

My husband and I are exhausted and so are three of our babies.

Tonight we are going on night ten. I am hoping (fingers crossed) that tonight is the final night of celebration. For nine nights we have shared our bed with not one but three terrified kids. Sleep is not something that has happened much.  I have claw marks on my arms and neck where baby girl has literally climbed up me shaking to get away from the noise.  I have a place on my leg where wild man was squeezing me and refused to let go until he knew the giants were gone.  It’s been a long ten days.

Pray the fireworks stop tonight. 

From our beautiful chaos to yours it’s okay to celebrate it truly is, just please be considerate of your neighbors and their kids (or pets.) 10 days of fireworks is more than enough.   

Posted in adoption, autism, Autism life, Being a mom, blessed, Children, family, Lesson learned, life, love, Mom life, thankful

Sam’s Club Pickup Service: Is it really that convenient? 

“Taking five kids to the store will be fun” are words that have never came out of my mouth….ever. Three I can do no problem. Four can be done but when I get all five together it does not seem to go so well. Grocery shopping is a must and with summer in full swing it seems to be the only thing I manage to get done weekly(sometimes twice a week)  The challenge is trying to push two buggies around the store with five children in tow.  To make things easier my husband and I have been taking turns running to the store.  But there are times taking all five just can’t be avoided.  We recently started exploring ways to make our shopping experience easier, or at least we thought it would be easier. 

I admit, I do my fair share of ordering off of Amazon. I like the convenience of my order showing up at my doorstep within a few days. But never really thought about ordering our groceries online. But when my husband said, Hey let’s try Sam’s Club pickup, I was willing to give it a try.  We sat down with a modified list and clicked away on the products we needed. Being our first pick up we keep things simple: paper towels, juice boxes for the kids, some snack foods for the kids and a few cleaning supplies.  We placed the order and even picked the time we wanted it ready for pickup. We selected between 11 and noon so I could pick the kids up some lunch while we were out. 

The next morning I received an email and text saying our order was ready for pickup. I loaded the kids in our van and headed down the road.  When I arrived at Sam’s I pulled in the drive-thru area marked Pickup orders. I quickly realized that there was no window, nor door, nor employee anywhere in sight.  I was the only vehicle in line so I waited a few minutes to see if maybe someone would come out. When I realized no one was going to come I pulled the van forward so I could see inside the store.  

By this time the kiddos have seen Walmart, its right beside Sam’s , and McDonald’s is now straight in front of us.   The three boys start chanting Walmart Walmart Walmart because they all want new Cars 3 toys.  Diva is screaming she wants a milkshake and the baby is now crying because she has been rudely awakened from her nap by all the commotion taking place in the van.  So much for an easy pick up.

I see a Sam’s employee walking into the store and start waving my arms like a crazy lady to get his attention (as if the screaming and crying from my van was not enough) I explained to him I had an order to pick up but was not sure what I needed to do.  He told me I would have to go in the store and report to the service center area. They would then check my ID and confirm my order before sending me back out to move my van to the loading area.

Say what??

Maybe we should have looked at the store prior to placing our order.  But there was nothing said anywhere about us having to go inside the store before we could pick up the order.  That was not my idea of convenience.   The whole point of me placing a pickup order was so I would not have to take all the kids in the store by myself.  I looked back through my van at what was taking place and I knew we would not be picking up the order. I think the guy knew that too. I thanked him and drove off. I called my husband and told him what was going on and he agreed to pick it up after work. 

The ride home was not enjoyable. The boys were upset we did not get new Cars 3 toys, but did calm down when I handed them the toys the happy meals provided.  Diva was mad and did not drink her milkshake because, even though I asked them not to put whipped cream on her shake they did.  And baby girl, well she was fussy because she needed more sleep. 

That evening my husband went back over to pick up our order. He went inside and went to the service counter. He waited over an hour and a half to pick up our things.  He could have shopped faster than that.  We won’t be doing that again.

We love Sam’s and I know we will shop in the store again but I feel the pick up service just was not for us. Maybe I was expecting to much. I love the idea just wish there would have been a button to push or a window that I could have showed my membership ID too and pulled up to get our stuff. I’m all about making it easier. We have heard some of the local grocery stores are doing their own versions of this type of service so I will be checking into them and seeing how they actually work.  Walmart also has a two delivery so I’m hoping to put that service to good use.  We will see. For now we will just take turns going to the store.