Posted in adoption, autism, Autism awareness, Autism life, Beauty, Being a mom, Children, Children with disabilities, Elementary, Faith, family, Helpless, Hope, life, love, Mom life, Scared, School, Special education, Special needs

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. 

Posted in Being a mom, blessed, Children, Faith, family, Foster care, foster parent life, Fostering, Hope, life, love, Mom life, Starfish, thankful

The Next Chapter in our Foster Care Journey 

How to start this blog, let me think let me think…….

  Well as most of you know my husband and I were foster parents for six years back home before his job transferred us out of state. Most of you also know that in those six years we were able to provide a safe loving home for over 20 children, five of which we were blessed to adopt.  When we moved we knew our foster parent days were over and we were okay with that. The journey had been eye opening, heartbreaking, joyful and at times overwhelming. Yes there were many ups and downs but helping the kids far surpassed the aggravation that is the system.  We would miss our friendships we made along the way but our fostering days were done. 

Jump forward to this year…

The thing about being a foster parent is once a foster parent your mind always thinks like a foster parent, you can’t just shake it off.  No matter where you are there are children hurting and in need of a safe place to call home. We would see stories on the local news such as drug charges or overdoses and even though the children are seldom mentioned we knew they were there.  As a foster parent you watch the news a little different that most people.  Our hearts would break. But how could we help down here? We knew we didn’t have time to take the training classes again and  we knew most people would say we were nuts.

A few months back I actually had a dear friend tell me “You’ve done your part let someone else worry about them.  There are others out there that can help. After all you know you can’t save them all.”  Not going to lie hearing these words hurt.  My husband and I know we are not superheroes, we know we can’t save them all but if we could help just one or two while here we wanted to. And as far as the others helping out those people are few and far between.  In our new state there are around 4,000 foster homes.  That sounds like a lot but when the state population is around 6 million (yes 6 million) 4,000 does not seem like such a large number. We wrestled with the idea of what to do.  Many friends and family members didn’t want us to adopt anymore after we adopted Diva and Wild Man. But we did.  Many questioned us to what are real motives were by saying things like we were baby hoggers or that we must be making loads of money seeing we keep taking in kid after kid.  I can assure you while we were foster parents we spent far more out of our pockets each month than what the state paid, it’s not about the money.  People can be so cruel.  But I keep telling myself we don’t answer to these people. We answer God. 

Diva and I were having lunch a while back and she said “Mommy I talked to God last night and He told me all about our new baby sister.  She is so tiny mommy. Oh and we are naming her Eden Grace. She will be ours in 2018.”  As I finished chewing up my peanut butter sandwich I looked for words to explain to her that this was not possible. That we didn’t plan on adopting anymore children.  But I found none.  How could I tell her she hadn’t really talked to God about a new baby when I had personally had a similar dream about our son Big Al.  We finished lunch and we went on about our day.  When my husband came home I told him about our daughters dream.  We had a good laugh but then he said we do have room for one more girl. He is such an amazing man. 

I called around to a couple of foster agencies and inquired on how to become a foster parent here.  I won’t bore you with all of that (if you want to read about the process it’s all in my upcoming book 😊) let’s just say when God is not finished with you things get done, even the impossible.  We kept the process quite from all most everyone, we didn’t need negativity about our decision.  Only a few people knew about it seeing we needed them to complete our forms.  This time around we would not be able to take in large groups of siblings. We already have our five little loves and our state only allows six children in the home.  This go around we would only be able to help one. One girl. One girl between the ages of newborn to 10.  That is like finding a needle in a haystack.  The odds where not in our favor to be able to help, however our sweet caseworker told us we were still good candidates and encouraged us the whole process.   

Then a few months ago we were finally approved.  We had discussed what we were comfortable with and decided that a girl between 4 and 10 is what would best fit our family. We would take a baby if necessary but in foster care babies always find a home so our focus was the older girls.   

I can’t help but think God was laughing at us once again and saying something like Child stick with what you know.  

After a few placement calls and turning them down(most were sibling groups) I sat in the middle of my kitchen floor and prayed. I felt like maybe we weren’t meant to help out down here, saying no is so hard when you know these precious children need someone.  Maybe it was time for us to stop. I prayed God if we are meant to help here show me how show me where. After that little chat with Jesus I picked myself up off the floor, feeling that if we didn’t get a placement it was okay.  We would find another way to help out somewhere else.
Almost a month after that chat my phone rang.  

Sometimes We must wait before God calls on us.  And when He calls we must be ready.  

So to put it out there, yes we are now active foster parents.  Now that our parents have met the little one we can tell everyone else. Having six little loves in our home is such a blessing.  We love what we do.  I know many will never understand why we do what we do, and that’s okay. I know many will think we are crazy, and that’s okay.  I know some will even be mad and upset at us, and even that’s okay.  

As for me and my husband we can’t set back and watch the news and the events that happen around us and not do something.  We have the room, we have a vehicle large enough, but most importantly we have enough love in our hearts. We are not superheroes, we don’t think we can save them all, the truth is we know we can’t. But we can help one more, one at a time.  And that’s what we plan on doing. 
From our beautiful chaos to yours let’s see where the next chapter takes us.  


Posted in Being a mom, Children, Children with disabilities, family, Lesson learned, life, Mom life, Rude

To the Rude Lady at McDonald’s…

Friday nights are our house have been Pizza Fridays for a few years now.  When you find something your autistic son will eat with you..you stick with it.  Tonight was to be no different.  My husband would call when he was about to get off work, I would place our order and he would pick it up on his way home.  4:30 came and went.  5:30 passed. By 6:30 the kiddos were raiding the cabinet looking for snacks until the pizza got home. My husband called around 6:45 when he got back into cell service range to let me know he was still about 2 hours away from home. 

So I called our pizza place and by this time in the evening on a Friday night we were looking at a 45 minute to hour wait on our order. By the time I ordered it and loaded up the kids and picked it up then drove back home it would be way passed our little loves bedtimes.  What to do what to do.  With it being pizza Friday I had not prepared anything to fix for dinner so take out it would be.  After a few minutes the kids agreed on McDonald’s (not my first choice) but with them serving breakfast all day long each child would be able to eat something for dinner. 

Now I know when people see my twelve passenger van in the drive thru the looks start coming my way.  And I know dear rude lady when you pulled up behind me you must have thought Great day why did they not go in?  It’s okay, most people think that. Many people see our van and assume its a church bus or a hotel shuttle bus, but rest assure it’s just our family van.  


Now there was no need in you pulling up behind me and honking your horn for me to move out of your way.  After all I was behind four other vehicles, I was not the one holding up the line.  And when the young cashier asked me to pull up to the third window to wait on my son’s sausage biscuits there was no need in you pulling up right behind me and given me the finger.  I was doing what they asked me to do.  I could have stayed at window number two and made you wait even longer on your food.  After you were handed your food and went to pull out you didn’t have to start blowing your horn again for me to move, for I was still patiently waiting on my four year olds food. As you maneuvered your car out of the drive thru line you did not have to roll down your window and start cussing me and saying things like “if you had so many orders you should have went inside.  Get out of my damn way”  I can assure you we had only one order and it was under twenty dollars.  


As You glared at me as you pulled off while driving with one hand so you could use your other hand to “wave” at me with one finger, I could not help but get a little angry because my children were starting to ask why you were so mad at us.  

When we finally got our order the cashier apologized for it taking so long and then she apologized for you.  See she had heard the scene you had caused and felt the need to show me not all people are mean. She suggested that you must have been having a bad day for normal people don’t act that way.

As we drove back home we passed a couple setting but the road.  What were they doing by the road you ask?  Well they were waving and smiling at the cars passing by.  They were spreading joy not hate.  As I passed them, even though I was still angry with you, I caught myself waving back and smiling back at them.  Their kindness won over your hatefulness.  

I hope you saw them as you drove off.  I hope their kind gestures caught your eye and made you think about the way you acted just moments before.  I don’t know your story, maybe the cashier was right and you were having a bad day. Maybe you had received some bad news at work or you were fighting with your spouse, whatever made you act so ugly in front of my kids I hope your evening got better after seeing those two strangers shared a friendly smile with you.  I know my evening was better after seeing them.

I could have come home still angry with you and your actions.  I could have complained to my husband about it after he finally made it home. I could have been mad at him for working so late which led to me having to go out in the first place. I could have spent my evening angry but I didn’t. I didn’t allow you to steal my joy this evening.  I chose to be happy like that couple standing alone side the road just waving and smiling at complete strangers.  

In all things choose to be happy, choose to see the good not the bad, spread love like the couple that was standing by the road not hate like the lady behind me at McDonald’s. We need more love and less hate in this world.

From our beautiful chaos to yours I hope you have a fantastic weekend.  Look for ways to make someone’s day just a little bit brighter, a smile can change a persons attitude towards a whole evening. 

Posted in adoption, Being a mom, blessed, Children, Faith, family, foster parent life, Hope, life, love, Mom life, thankful

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.  

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

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. 

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

Back to School 

Well it’s that time of year again.  The 2017-2018 school year has kicked off.   This year we have one in his second year of college, one in 2nd grade, one in 1st grade and two in preschool.  Our oldest daughter graduated college last May and our baby girl is at home with me seeing that she is not yet two.


With each school year we all can count on one thing….Germs. And even if your child does not share well with others, they will share their flu bugs and viruses I’m sure of it.  It does not matter how much the school cleans someone is always kind enough to share their sickness with with the rest of the class. It happens. And this year is no different.  We made it a full two weeks before the stomach virus hit our house with vengeance.  Over the last week it has claimed five victims in our house: my husband, Wild Man, Elmo, Diva, and myself.  Thankfully baby girl and Big Al were spared this go around. So far.

The good thing about were we live is that we get what I call unique holidays at our schools.  The kids had a four day weekend last week. They were off last Friday, due to the NASCAR race and then they were off Monday for this little thing called a total eclipse, maybe a few of you heard about that 😉.  Even way, with the extra days off thankfully the kiddos didn’t miss much school (Diva was the only one who actually missed school with her being sick on Tuesday) 

While taking care of the sick ones I could not help but notice that even though they all ended up with the same virus they all responded to it differently.  With Wild Man even though he was sick he did not slow down nor did he complain.  If I wasn’t having to clean up after him I may have never noticed he was sick by his actions.  That’s one of the hardest things about him being autistic, he does not/can not tell us he is sick.  We just have to watch and see what happens and try our best to fix it.  With Elmo, if he is sick you know it.  He becomes mommy’s cuddle bug.  He wants to be held and babied until he is all better.  He still believes in the power of “mommy’s magical kisses” and if he receives enough of these boo boo kisses he will be cured from whatever ails him. With Diva, well if someone has something she does not she can convince herself she has it.  She wants left out of nothing.  She is a hypochondriac.  I never seen her actually get sick but she insisted she was dying mover the less. And then there’s my husband….if any of you reading this are married you know what I’m talking about.  I love him dearly, so I don’t need phone calls or emails telling me that I’m ungrateful or that I’m being a disrespectful wife keep those to yourself, but I can’t be the only wife who’s husband needs more attention than a child when he is sick.  He came home from work and laid on the couch. I asked him to go to bed several times but was met with the “I’m fine right here don’t worry about me” comment. I know he was fine,  but our house still must function whether he is sick or not.  Do you know how hard it is to try to keep five kids quiet while their dad tried to rest on the couch?  It’s almost impossible.  ***ugh*** And then there’s me, mom.  When mom gets sick, well mom must keep going.  We power through the upset stomach and headache because our family needs us; sick or not.  It’s what most moms do. 

The way we responded to the stomach virus made me think about the way we as Christians respond to God.  We all had the same virus, God offers us all the same love.  We all responded to being sick differently, as Christians we all respond to God’s love differently.  Some of us choose to cuddle up with Jesus and seek Him out to make us feel better and feel safe. Others can keep on going day in and day out without slowing down to acknowledge His presence.  Still others crave Him when it’s convenient for them and then quickly turn back towards worldly things when we want to fit in.  And still others just keep going through life the same way as always because that’s just what they do, right or wrong.  

Walking in faith is not always easy and no two people walk this path the same way.   Our relationship to God is a personal one, you can’t do or respond the exact same way as another person because that is their journey not yours.  Just as the stomach bug effects so all different so does God’s grace.  What He has planned for me is not what He has planned for you.  We are all unique in His eyes yet He loves us all the same.
From our beautiful chaos to yours: Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!!  Remember God loves you just the way you are❤️

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 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.