What do My Kids Need for Christmas?

Yes oh yes, it’s that time of year. It’s almost Christmas. I love this time of year. Our little loves become a little bit nicer to each other, the holiday baking of cookies and hard candy has started, family traditions are being passed down from one generation to the next, even the smell of this time of year makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And while I love all that Christmas entails it’s also that time of year where we tend to over spend on everything.

Being a mom I want to give my kids the very best. However my kids seem to want everything. Which is typical, but they really don’t need anything. It’s not like it was when I was growing up. I remember the excitement building the weeks coming up to Christmas. My brother and I would go through the big Sears catalog and circles and re-circle all of our must haves (it amazed me back then how one catalog contained everything I could possibly need it’s glossy pages) We would write letters to Santa and practically beg him to bring us a few things off our long lists. This of course all while promising Santa we would be kinder to each other if he would deliver the goods to our house.

When I became I mom I wanted my kids to have everything I didn’t growing up. When I became a foster mom that intensified. Many of the children that came to our home had nothing. You want to shower them with goodies and love, especially at Christmas, so they can “just be kids”. Seeing them in their jeans that are too small or shoes that don’t fit breaks my heart. So we over spend and justify it. And that’s okay.

Even after we adopted our little loves I find we still over do the gifts. We use the rewards system for good behaviors at our house. They earn stars for good manners, or completing homework without fussing, or helping with the laundry, theres a list of other things they can earn stars for. Once they hit a certain number of stars they can decide what level to cash them in. Each level has a different value so one child may cash in early and get a “prize” valued at 5 dollars while another may bank his or she stars and safe up to get a prize valued at 50 dollars. This system works great, but it means they received gifts all year round.

So when we asked what do you want for Christmas they had to think about it.

When their grandparents, aunts, and uncles asked I gave them a small list but asked them to keep the gifts to a minimum and asked them if they really wanted to get them something then they could put money into their college funds. Is that mean of me? I hope not. It’s not that I don’t want them to receive gifts it’s just we have so much stuff. With five under the age of seven we are not short on toys around here. Just looking around my living room I see Barbies, puzzles, cars and letter magnets. I understand that they are kids and people want to buy them things (I want to buy them things as well) but we decided not to go overboard this year. Instead of buying them a bunch of toys that will be played with for a few weeks then tossed in the toy box we plan on buying only a few gifts and putting money in their accounts so when they are ready for college they will have money in case they need it. Hopefully they will understand and appreciate it later on.

Besides Christmas should not be about how many gifts you receive or how much money you spend. Christmas should be about the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It should be about loved ones and family traditions. It should be joyous not stressful.

What are your children asking for? What are you planning on doing this Christmas? I would love to hear your thoughts.

From our beautiful chaos to yours don’t stress over the holiday stuff, The perfect gift was given over 2000 years ago. Remember the real reason for this season.

Beautiful Chaos Book Funding Link

hello everyone,

As many of you know I have sent off my first book to be published.  I am super excited and can’t wait to hear what people think about our journey through foster care and adoption.   We have hit a small problem however.  There were some fees I was not expecting and I am looking for people willing to help raise the money.  If we hit the goal I will select 7 people who have donated at random and they will receive an autographed copy of the book.   If you can’t donate that’s perfectly fine, please share the link and pray for this project.   I truly feel God intends to use this book to help others take that leap of faith and become foster parents/adoptive parents.  The link is below:

From our beautiful chaos to yours, thank you.  Together we can make this happen

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The Extra Hour of Sleep Myth

Daylight savings time.  The time many adults get excited about gaining back that hour of sleep.  I too once cherished that extra hour, then I had kids and the extra hour of sleep became nothing more than a myth. 


My kiddos never sleep in.  Most Saturday and Sunday mornings you can find us up and at it before 5am.  (How we manage to still run late for church I will never figure out) So this whole Daylight savings time is a struggle every time it rolls around.  It does not matter if we are “falling back” or “springing forward” time change on my little loves is hard….so so hard.


Its worse on Wild Man.  With his sensory issues and autism any change is huge for him.  In order for us to gain this one hour we will spend countless hours(days maybe weeks) in complete turmoil trying to readjust him to the new normal outside.  It’s exhausting. 

This morning he was up around 3.  He climbed in my bed but could not go back to sleep. He tossed and turned, he talked and sang. I knew there was no way he was going back to sleep. I knew if he stayed in my room much longer he would wake up both his dad and baby sister so I got up and we went back to his room.  For the next two hours he played with his Legos and asked if it was time to go downstairs.  Around 5 our two four year olds heard us up and wanted to join the morning party.  


By 5:15 we were downstairs watching Tangled for the 1,573,693,302 time in Wild Mans lifetime. (We have went through 10 dvds of this movie. Safe to say it’s his favorite) 

By 530 the boys were eating breakfast.  By 6 Diva was up and the boys were having their morning snacks.  I was working on my second cup of coffee.   My husband and baby girl are still sound asleep at 7.  

I am sure that when daylight savings time was invented it was necessary. But I know I can’t be the only mom who suffers from the time change.  Okay suffers is a strong word but I have been up since 3 so bear with me. The next few days are going to be tough, but we will get through them with coffee,chips and Disney movies. And who knows we may even fit in a short nap later today.  

From our beautiful chaos to yours may that extra hour of sleep do you well this morning. For those of you with kids well maybe we will enjoy it next time 😂

Trick or Treating with Autism 


Autism can make the simplest things…less simple. And trick or treating is no exception.  Last year we were still new to the area so we let the kids dress up and run around the backyard. They took turns ringing our own doorbell as I gave them candy. It was simple it was safe and most importantly Wild Man was able to just be himself.  This year however, the kids wanted to venture out and gather candy like we had back in my hometown before we moved.  I knew this would be a challenge even with help from my husband.

The last few days leading up to tonight’s outing we went over The trick or treating rules.  Basic things like: staying with mom and dad, no running off, saying please and thank you, and being respectful to all those around us.  Down here they do not trick or treat like back home.  There hundreds of candy hungry kids flood the subdivisions in search of the perfect sweets.  Here it’s not about going house to house but more of the local churches doing what is called trunk or treat. We decided to go to a church close to our home so the kids could make their big candy score.  

The trunk or treat was suppose to be from 6 to 8.  The church had hot dogs and other food for people to eat and they had games set up where kids could play and earn candy.  Which for most kids would be fine and I’m sure everyone that attended had a fantastic time…everyone except our Wild Man.   We arrived right around 6 (it was still daylight so Wild Man was okay with being outside) We signed the kids in and were told we could get something to eat.  If you have ever been trick or treat with young ones then you know the last thing on their little minds was eating actual food they want candy and nothing but candy.  We passed the food station and walked through the game stations over to where the trunk or treat was suppose to take place. The problem….they were not ready for the kids.  We were told we could play some games while they set up.  Wild man was getting anxious but we tried to play a few games.  He didn’t understand why he could not just get the candy from the bowls. Why me play game momma? Why????? We tried for about 20 minutes before he got extremely upset.  We walked back over to where the trunk or treat was to take place. It was still not ready.  I looked at my husband while trying to keep ahold of Wild mans hand and made the call to head back home.  Our other little loves were not thrilled we were leaving. Having a sibling on the spectrum is difficult on them sometimes.  They know he has limits but their kids and sometimes they just want to be able to do what other kids do.  As we walked back home we saw a few of our neighbors lights on. I look at my husband and he knew what I was thinking and he shrugged sure why not?  

In our large subdivision we walked along with our five little loves.  Out of all the houses in our subdivision we found four that were passing out candy. Four.  But four was enough.  At the first house Wild Man asked the lady’s name and then told her he was moving in with her. She was sweet and laughed it off.  At the second house they passed out suckers and Whopper candy. Wild man loves both so he was okay there. Third house he tried to take more than a few pieces and when the gentleman said Oh only a few big guy, he started screaming and tried to step on the mans foot. By the fourth house he was done and when they opened the door he ran in. (When he’s done he’s done. He saw their TV on and wanted to watch) The gentleman at the door caught him and was very kind about the situation.  As we went walked down the neighbors front porch steps I said it was time to go home.  That’s when Elmo and Diva started fussing. It’s not fair.  We hardly have any candy.  Why do we always have to stop when he gets upset? As we walked up our driveway they both stomped as loud as their little feet possibly could.  

I am use to things not working out as we plan.  So as they fussed I went to the kitchen and pulled out Plan B aka backup candy.  I had the kids open up their bags and I filled them with their favorite sweets. Smiles finally covered their faces as they settled in with their candy to watch a Halloween special before bed. They were happy and Wild Man was safe and comfort in his own home so he was happy. I hate to say it but as an autism mom I always have a backup plan. You have to have a backup plan.

It’s not fair, I get it. It’s hard on them, him and us. All I want is a normal life for all my kiddos. Some days we get through without any major upsets other days it’s meldown after meltdown.  All we can do is take it day by day (and always have backup candy just in case we need it) Our normal is different from most. And I’m okay with that. 

Even though we did not get to go to many houses or play all the church games we did get out as a family. We did manage to get out of the house for a little while and he did have fun. And he was able to wear his mask for awhile. (Huge win) We could set and dwell over all the things that went wrong or we can celebrate the small victories.  We will celebrate and eat candy I bought. 

My Twins…My Boys

My boys. My cute little oh so rotten boys. My four year old boys. My world.

Baby Elmo
Baby Big Al

When I was growing up I dreamt of having twins.  When I did have children I had one daughter and then three years later one son.  Twins did not happen for me naturally.   Instead God gave me “twins” in a different way.

Big Al came to us when he was two days old.  Elmo made his grand appearance when he was three weeks old.  The two of them bonded like nothing I’ve ever seen.  They were raised as brothers and seeing that they are only eight days apart they were raised as twins.  They sat up days apart, they crawled hours apart, they even walked days apart.  They formed a special language that only they understood. In every aspect of the word they were twins. When they were babies people would stop us and ask if they were twins even though they look nothing alike.  Nowadays they have each other’s backs in everything they do.  It’s truly a special bond they have.


Over the weekend all of our boys received hair cuts.  Elmo and Wild Man always do a buzz cut while Big Al goes with just a trim to keep his curls.  This weekend however that all changed.  After Elmo was finished Big Al insisted he wanted his hair cut just like his brothers.  I love his curls and when he begged me the last time I told him no.  He has beautiful hair.  I could not bring myself to just cut it all off.  He received his usual trim and was fine with the end result.  This past weekend he begged again.  And again I said no.  Then he said he just wanted to look like his brothers. He crossed his little hands and looked up at me with those big brown eyes and said Please momma I look like Elmo please?  I looked and my husband and sighed.  It’s only hair right?   He was so excited as the clippers cut away at his long locks.  When he was finished he raced to the bathroom mirror to see what he looked like.  In his sweet little voice he said I look like Elmo, we can play tricks now.   

Before the hair cut
After the hair cut

They were so excited to trick their teacher this morning. As I pulled up to drop them off I rolled my window down to give their teacher the heads up about the boys plan.  When she opened the door she pretended not to know who was who. The boys just laughed and giggled.  Elmo finally said it’s me see I got’s glasses on.   They walked into class feeling confident in their clever plan.


Pure innocence of a child.  They do not see their differences. They do not see their eyes are not the same, nor their skin color, nor their hair color or that one wears glasses while the other one does not.  When they look at each other all they see it their brother not their differences.  Nothing but Love.   

We all could learn a thing or two from them.  Love is greater than blood. 

Adoption is beautiful. It brings together boys meant to be brothers.   

The X Factor: School Life for Our Autistic Son 


I attended my first IEP meeting for this school year for wild man a few weeks ago.  As a mom I want the best for my kids. I want them to have a great education and be able to succeed. As a mom of an autistic child I want these things and so much more.

 The meeting went well. His new teacher, OT, speech director, principal and his teacher from last year all love him.  Which makes me feel like we made the right decision on the School.  We went over his daily schedule and how we could make it better for him.  This year he will have his major subjects in a regular classroom while his afternoons will be spent in the classroom equipment for special needs (this is the classroom which make us choose the school in the first place). Change is hard for him but I want what’s best for him.  

The meeting was filled with comments like “he is doing so great” “he is working so hard” and “he has come a long way”. All of which made me smile because he is doing great and working hard. And he has come a long way, a very long way.  It’s in these moments that I get lost and almost forgot he is autistic.  Everyone bragging on him and telling funny stories about things he has done.  I love seeing other people’s faces when they talk about him.  They just light up he has that effect on people once they take time to get to know him. 

But then there comes the reality.  Take this work page for example.  He scored a 3 out of 10.  I know placing him in the regular classroom is supposed to help him build social skills and help him become more independent.  But he is so lost when it comes to the actual school work.  I don’t want him to be overlooked or just passed through because of his disabilities. I want him to have a chance to learn and to grow just like any mother would.  I know many of you are thinking “it’s just one paper or he is just in 1st grade” but that’s my point. This is just the beginning. What happens now and how he is treated will affect the way things go from here on out. He does not bring many graded papers home but when he does most notes are “he tried hard” At what point will he become completely lost and what nothing to do with School? Will he always be this happy go lucky boy or will the struggles become to much for him the bear?  I worry because it’s my job to make sure he receives the best possible education he can receive. I worry that the other kids will start calling him names or talking about him because he does not get the answers right.  I worry constantly about how his peers receive him.  

But then my son does the most wonderful thing.  As I look at all the X’s on his papers and the comments my son, my beautiful intelligent son points at the papers and says “look momma I got this one right” and smiles great big.  Even in a world full of negativity and large red and green X’s my son only sees the good, he only sees the beauty. As his mom I worry about him in this crazy world we live in.  People are so cruel to each other and I am scared that the things that make him unique in Gods eyes will get him teased or even hurt in this world.  But God has given my son a unique way of looking at things. He only sees the good in people and in things.  He does not notice those that stare at him or say hurtful things about him. I am truly thankful for that.  As his mom I need to try and see the world the way he sees it.  I need to find the good.

So yes we celebrate the three right answers, because a year or two ago none of this would have even been possible. We celebrate that he can now write his name and that his teacher said he is now sitting at his desk up to three minutes at a time. (This is huge for him) We celebrate that he has even sat at the dinner table with us a few times this month and we were able to have dinner as a family(and this is huge for him). We celebrate the red and green X’s because they show us progress. He is moving forward in all areas of his life.  We celebrate because God has made this prefect little guy ours and we are the ones that get to watch him grow and succeed at life.   

We celebrate because we are blessed.  

Thank you wild man for opening my eyes to more than just the negative.  Thank you for helping me see there is beauty in everything, even in X’s. 

Two years already? 

Two years ago I did not know of you but now I can’t imagine my life without you. Two years ago tomorrow I would receive a phone call in the middle of the afternoon telling me you had made your way into this world.  Two years ago I was trying to convince myself there was no way we could take in a new foster placement with our move to Tennessee coming up. But as soon as the sweet worker on the other end of the phone told me you were Elmo’s sister I knew you were part of Gods plan for us. I told the worker I would call her back in a few minutes (I needed to explain things to your daddy) He was shaking his head no the whole time I was talking to the worker but just like me when he heard you were Elmo’s sister he knew you were meant to be ours.

The day you were born 9/17/15
I may not have carried you for nine months in my belly, I may not have felt you kick or had morning sickness but as soon as I heard about you….you were mine.  I fell in love the moment I held you. When the nurses asked, Are you ready to meet your daughter? I felt tears running down my face. I may not have been there those nine months but I can promise you I will be here for you the rest of the days of my life.  You hold a piece of my heart. 

Mommy and her baby girl
A quick nap before the game

People tell us all the time “she (and your siblings) is so lucky to have you” or  ” you have changed her life” or “your such a blessing to those babies”.  The truth is they have it all wrong.  I’m not a super mom. I don’t have it all together.  I’m the lucky one. I look at you and still can’t believe God placed you in my life. You are such a sweet, funny, sassy, and smart little girl. I am thrilled I get to be your mom.  I have not changed your life, you changed mine.  You make my days brighter with your smile and your big bear hugs. Your sweet “loves you’s mommy” melt my heart.  I fail you daily but you and your siblings are my greatest blessings.  Been mom to seven if by far the greatest blessing God could have given to me. I am the one blessed by having you. 


So today I look back and thank God for bringing you into my life. I thank the worker who went above and beyond to locate us so you could be placed with your brother. I thank the nursing staff that cared for you before I could get to you. And I thank your birth mom, she could have chosen not to have you knowing she would not be able to keep you but she chose life for you.  I am so grateful for her choice. 

Last picture as a one year old
Your first birthday

Tomorrow you turn two. I look forward to seen where God takes you. I look forward to watching you grow and learn new things. I look forward to loving you more and more each day.   Happy birthday baby girl!!!!! You are so loved. May tomorrow bring you happiness and be full of birthday blessings.  

Sorry Daddy but Only mommy can….

My husband has been working a lot of overtime recently, partly do the crazy weather and to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, so my kids are use to it being just me at the house to cater to their daily needs.  So when he was actually home all weekend I thought I would get a to relax a little bit and he could take over.  My little ones had other plans.

Here are a few things that over the weekend the kids said “No Daddy Only mommy can do…..

Only mommy can build my Lego house just right.

Only mommy can make my waffles, and make his toast,and her breakfast muffins because it’s Sunday morning why would we  all want to eat the same for breakfast 

No daddy only mommy can go to the bathroom and sit in the floor while I poop in the potty so I’m not alone (with two boys potty training I spent hours in the bathroom floor this weekend) 

Only mommy can fix my hair, I won’t like it but only she can fix it

Only mommy can watch the YouTube video that sings Zombie Arms because I have to watch it and dance at least 100 times a day

Only mommy lets my finish off her coffee (after I’ve stuck my fingers in it)

Only mommy slips me a piece of chocolate if I promise to eat all of my lunch

Only mommy can sing my  Jesus songs with me at night cause her voice is sometimes kind of pretty

Only mommy can take me to bed cause  if she sings with diva she needs to sing the ABC song “frontwards and backwards” with me

Only mommy can yell at the Packers while they play ball daddy 

Only mommy can read me my book with holding my baby sister and making dinner because I have to hear the story right then

Only mommy can rock me to sleep 

Only mommy can kiss my boo boo better you can try daddy but it’s not the same

Only mommy can get up with Elmo at 430, big Al at 530 and manage not to need a nap

Only mommy can stay calm while we run crazy playing cowboys and dinosaur hunters with inside the house because it’s to wet to play outside 

Only mommy can push me in the swing cause she does silly rhymes while she pushes me up up up

Only mommy can build the bestest living room forts

Only mommy can help me with homework I forgot about until 20 minutes before bed on Sunday night

Only mommy can cover our faces in kisses cause she says she will miss this chaos when we grow up 

There are so many things that go on throughout our days here, it’s nice to know there are a few things that the kids seem to think no one else can do.  My husband is a terrific dad and he spends his fair share of time doing things with the kids, but on weekends like this one it’s nice to know they still love their momma and still think only mommy can on a few things.  

Taking a nothing special weekend and making beautiful memories.  I call that success. 

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.  

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