Looking at His future

We had our mid-year parent teacher conference for Wild Man last week. I knew by the marks on his papers things were not going great in the traditional classroom. As a mother of a child who has autism, these meetings are dreaded. I know he is not on the same level as the other children his age, I know that he is falling behind, and that bothers me.

As I chatted with his speech therapist and his autism teacher before going into the meeting I addressed my concerns. They both shared stories about my little guy that brought smiles to their faces and told me it was natural to be concerned but he was really doing great. When his teacher was ready we walked in together and sat down. His teacher went over his test scores which were extremely low. She explained that he does not do well with timed test which was part of the problem but the test are mandatory so she had to give them to him. She then explained that even though it does not show up on the written test my Wild Man has grown leaps and bounds in class. He is starting to use full sentences, he is holding a pencil, he is engaging with other students, he is setting in his seat for at least 10 minutes at a time, he is making friends, and he is making eye contact here and there. All wonderful new skills for my son but all things that standard testing do not look at. I was excited to hear he was doing so well, relieved in many ways.

But I still questioned things like his spelling words, he has spelled one correct out of the last sixty. Only one. Math is a struggle. And homework when he does have it is a nightmare. I don’t want him passed just to be passed. I also don’t want him overlooked. He falls in the middle. He is doing to well to be in the autism room full time but he is not up to level with the regular class. He is somewhere in between. I am thankful he has an aide to help him through the day.

As we discussed plans for the remainder of the year one of his therapists said they wanted to help give him his best possible life. His best possible life. That phrase hit me hard.

As a mom I have thought about all of my kids futures. I see them all doing things like going off to college, getting jobs, moving out, getting married and starting a family. With Wild Man I want these things as well but I also know they may not be a reality. He may never go off to college or hold a traditional 40 hour a week job. He may be with us for our life time. If something happens to myself and my husband who will care for him? There are so many questions and concerns I have about his future, I worry but I can’t let it consume me.

He is in good hands right now at his school. They understand my concerns and they are working on goals they feel he can reach. They genuinely care about him and his education. I could not ask for a better staff of teachers and therapists to be working with him. he has been blessed with wonderful teachers since his preschool days. We will take this one day at a time. I have a life time to worry about his future, for now I will enjoy my silly, loving, crazy little boy. We will get through this together just as I promised him the first time I held him. After all autism is not who he is, autism is just a small part of what makes him my son. My wonderfully, sweet, amazing, brilliant son. I am so lucky to be his momma.

Education and Autism

Let me start off by saying fair/equal education should be available for ALL children. It’s that simple. No child (or their parent) should have to fight for an education that many take for granted. However, if you have a child with special needs I will warn you it’s a fight. Every. Single. Day.

I will say that where we live now seems to have a better system in place then where we once lived. But it’s still a struggle. All I want, all any decent parent wants, is for their son or daughter to succeed. That starts at home and at school.

My wild man is almost seven. He attends a public school. In order for his needs to be met we have an IEP in place (some states call it a 504) Basically it is a plan that lays out my sons strengths and weaknesses. His plan gives him scheduled speech times and OT times durning school. His plan also calls for an aid to help get him on task throughout the day. Sounds perfect right? I thought so at first.

Last year he was in an autism/special needs classroom. The class size was eight children and eight aids plus the teacher. There was a calming room, sensory toys and tools, and even an OT room. He’s teacher taught him to hold a pencil and he finally was able to write his name. He was excited to go to school. He loved his class and peers. It was perfect and he was doing amazing. To amazing according to the school. At the end of the year it was agreed (I went along with it thinking they knew what they were talking about) that he would be placed in a normal classroom for his first grade year.

Normal, an odd word in the land of autism. Nothing about our lives or wild man is normal. Why oh why did I think this would work. The first few weeks went okay. I think he was excited to be back at school. But as the days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months he slowly started hating going to school. One of the things that aggregate him (okay me) is that he is now expected to do spelling test. I know, I know all kids have to take spelling test. I get that. But he is still working on forming letters, how is he suppose to spell a word if he does not know all the letters to the word? In the last six weeks he has managed to get one word correct. One. One out of sixty. The word was frog. When he showed me his paper he beamed with pride. Look momma I did good. Frog ribbit ribbit. The nine red X’s did not phase him. But they crushed me. Another his personal aid has four other students. How is she suppose to care for my son’s needs when she has four other kids? Thank you budget cuts. He has sensory issues so he eats only a few foods. Two of those being peanut butter and Stage two peas, yes the baby food peas. Well he can’t take peanut butter because someone in the other class has a peanut allergy. As far as the peas, a boy in his class called him a baby for eating baby food so those are now out as well.

He is lost and I don’t know what to do. Part of me was so excited to hear he was doing so well at the end of last year, but part of me worried that he would get over looked and left behind in a regular classroom. My fear as become his reality. He hates going to school now. And even though he can’t articulate why he hates it I have a feeling I know why.

So, I started looking for a new school. And I thought I had found one. It was a private school so the classroom sizes were small and they worked on an individual plan based program virus the whole class learning the same thing. It seemed to be the perfect school, until I was told how much it would cost. One year over 12,000 dollars. Wow. We are a one income family currently with six little ones in the house. There is no way we can afford that kind of tuition or justify it. That’s when it hit me, we need public schools that specialize in special needs. Why should it cost so much more for them to receive a descent education?

It’s time for better education for my son and all the other children who have autism, or Down syndrome, or any special need. Why should they get left behind or overlooked? Why should their disability be a magnet for educators or providers to charge more for their services? Have you looked at the cost for some of the sensory products or equipment for those with special needs? It’s insane. What’s a mom to do?

We fight. Day in day out. We become the face the principal and staff at the school dread to see. We make sure our concerns are being heard and that they are being met. We become moms like Maya DiMeo off of Speechless. We go in demanding and we don’t back down. Ooooh good you’re here...again

The fact is I would love for my son to be what society defines as normal. I think all special needs parents feel that from time to time. It’s natural for us to want our children to fit in. But the reality is he is not. He was made to stand out. No matter how hard he tries or how much I pray he will never be “normal” and that’s ok. God made him in His image so my son is exactly how he is suppose to be. He may learn different,act different, and talk different but different does not make his less. As his mom it is my job to make sure everyone sees that.

I will fight for you, for your education, for your independence, and for you to be excepted. Mostly I will fight so others can see you the way I see you. My brilliant, creative, funny and loving son. Don’t worry wild man, momma’s got this!

Then Jesus moments

Hello my friends. I hope the New Year is treating you all kind. So far it’s been good to me.

I was excited to get to back to church as the new year unfolded. I had surgery on my back in November and between the recovery and holidays I had not been able to go. (No worries the kids and I still got our Jesus on with songs and praise here at the house. They love “Jesus music”) I hate missing church and was thrilled to be back surrounded by fellow believers.

The message was out of John. A message that I have heard many times over the years. Short version: Jesus is away teaching when He receives word that his friend Lazarus had fallen ill. By the time Jesus made it back to his friend, Lazarus was died. Then Jesus spoke “Lazarus come out” and Lazarus did. (You can read John 11 1-44 for the full scripture text)

That’s the power of Jesus. That’s the beauty of miracles.

What are your Then Jesus moments? This was the question our Pastor asked. And I have pondered the answer to this question for over a week. Have I even had a Then Jesus moment? The answer is yes. Many actually. They might not be as big as Lazarus rising from the dead, but they have saved my life in more ways than one.

The night my husband (now ex-husband) tried to end my life comes to mind. In the mist of the attack I begged for my life, he laughed and said he could throw me over the banister and everyone would assume I had fallen down the steps. I dangled over the staircase with thoughts of my children and family racing through my head Then Jesus spoke to me and said “You are not alone I have you.” As I felt Gods presence I found myself back on the floor. He had changed his mind about throwing me over.

After my divorce I focused on my two children. I had no interest in finding someone. I would not put myself or my kids in a position to be hurt again. Then Jesus brought Todd into my life. He made me smile again, laugh again, and love again. Things I thought I would never do again. For the first time in years I felt safe, loved and wanted.

Then Jesus placed us on the journey of foster care. Our world has changed in so many ways not only by the children we have been blessed to adopt but also with the children that were with us for just a season. Our eyes and hearts have been opened to things I did not expect. My older children have grown in the process as well. They take their roles as Big Sissy and Big Bubby very serious, it warms my heart just thinking about it.

With our children we have experienced Then Jesus moments countless times. From car accidents to illnesses, college acceptances letters to working IEP’s, from autism diagnosis to RAD diagnosis, and everything in between. The fact is Then Jesus moments happen all the time, we just need to recognize them. They may be moments were you decide what job to take, or how many kids to adopt. They may be moments where you get to make an unplanned trip back home to see your mamaw. You get to sing with her and she asks about all the kids. The following week you get the call she’s gone. They may be moments of healing from illness, or cancer, or pain. They may be moments your autistic son says I love mom. They may be moments of all your kids get along. Then Jesus moments happen everyday everywhere. We have to open our eyes and see more of what is going on around us.

We may not all of moments like Lazarus, and that’s okay. Our moments make us who we are who God wants us to be. Take a few minutes (or days) and think about all the Then Jesus moments in your life. I’m sure it will bring a smile to your face.

Thank you Jesus for all of my Then Jesus moments. You have been with me through my darkest nights and brightest days. Your unending love brings me comfort when I can’t make sense of this world. Thank you for believing in me and providing me comfort when I need it the most. I look forward to seeing what you have in store for us next.

Love and prayers always

Christmas Break

The last few days have been crazy. I have barely had time to go to the bathroom let alone write a blog with all of my little loves home for Christmas break. It’s been busy but so many memories have been made.

Our school district has been on break since December 20th and the kiddos return to school on January 8th. In talking with friends and family back home our break is insanely long compared to many of theirs. We started our break off by visiting my parents. My husband was on call for Christmas so I loaded our six little loves up and headed back to the comfort of the West Virginia hills and my momma’s house. The kids were excited to see their grandparents and to see big bubby aka our oldest son (he opted to stay in WV when we moved) It was nice catching up on things and hanging out with them.

Christmas Eve our oldest daughter showed up at my moms and we spent the evening with my mom’s side of the family. For as long as I can remember my grandparents have always hosted a Christmas party on Christmas Eve for the family. The last few years have been hard since papaw passed away and I knew this year would be even harder with Mamaw’s passing a few months ago. They loved Christmas and seeing everyone together. So we knew they would want the tradition to continue. The food was placed on the tables and the room began to fill with laugher and a hum that comes with a large family. Although there was a sadness with the absence of my grandparents (and others that have passed away) the amount of love that filled the room was unmeasurable. I’m sure they were looking down and were pleased. My grandparents with my parents aka Santa and Mrs Clause

Christmas morning our little loves gathered around the Christmas tree and waited patiently, well as patient as children under seven can, to open gifts and have breakfast. My husband surprised us by driving up so he could be with us Christmas morning. After breakfast and presents we headed to my in-laws and celebrated some more. After opening gifts we gathered around the table to some of my mother in laws homemade lasagna. It was so yummy. We spent a few more hours hanging out before loading up the van and heading back home.

Four hours later we arrived home and had another round of Christmas. Our house looks like Toys R Us exploded but I love it.

This week has been laidback. We have filled our days with pajama parties and building living forts. Sleepy days and cold days. Sure we have had the occasional sibling argument, okay at least three a day, and yes I agreed to fast food for lunch on Friday and ended up going to McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Little Caesars because no one could agree on what to eat (I know it’s crazy but I also know I’m not the only mom to do this to keep the peace or to keep my/her sanity) but its Christmas break. It’s all good.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. May God bless you in 2018.

20 Things about our Large Family

With six under the age of seven and two young adults (who are still my babies) you tend to have lists. This is one of those lists:

20. Your once spotless house is now well lived in. Very well lived in.

19. Alone time with your husband is classified as…. ha ha jokes on you there is no alone time.

18. The amount of homework in the evenings is ridiculous (I will never survive when they all hit middle school)

17. Even though you have a toy room you somehow have toys in every room in the house.

16. Getting anywhere,such as school or church, on time is considered a victory.

15. If your phone is missing look to see which child is no longer the playing with the others and go to their room. There you will find both child and phone.

14. Bedtime snuggles and “mommy I’s love you’s” are the best.

13. You will hear “This is the worst day ever” by at least one of the little loves daily.

12. You find food in the strangest places such as toy boxes or in the clean towels.

11. Someone will always complain about what’s for dinner and refuse to eat. FYI keep cereal in the pantry.

10. Bath time equals floor will be mopped due to the insane about of water splashed around.

9. You watch the clock in the evenings until your adult child(ren) call to let you know they have made it home from work/college.

8. The TV is always on Disney or Sprout…ALWAYS.

7. Someone is always crying because someone else is not sharing.

6. Words such as fart, poopyhead, and stupid are bad bad words and the little loves race to tell you who said it (so they can say it and giggle)

5. You think to yourself “Was it THIS crazy with my old ones?”

4. You are convinced that you’re a horrible mom at least a hundred times a day and worry if you are doing a good job.

3. You give good behavior stars if they go potty (extra stars if the actually hit the toilet)

2. They can pick on each other and fight with each other all day long, but no one else can. Mess with one you mess with them all.

1. You remind yourself they are only this small for a short while and sigh. Then you Thank God that He picked you to love this beautiful chaos.

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. 

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