Family

Wedding Pics

Here are a few pics….there are SO many!  These are some of my favorites.

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Everyday

#Loveyourself

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Never be any different than who you are.

Always be true to yourself.

Stop putting on a mask for every place/person you go/meet.

You be you.

Let your yes be yes and your no be no.

Love yourself.

It took me a long time to be okay with who I am…and to be honest, I still struggle.  I have been told for SO long that no one will love me, no one will listen to me, no one will believe in me, no one will take me seriously, I’m too much, I’m too outspoken, I’m too loud, etc.

Now, bear in mind, it was NOT my family telling me this….these lies came from “friends” or people I thought I trusted.  My family loves me and has done nothing but edify me and love me.

I am loud.  I am outspoken.  I do speak my mind.  I march to the beat of my own drum.  I do not color inside the lines.  I do not conform.  I never will.  There were times when I tried to cover up those traits up.  I tried to play the game.  I tried to make friends and be “normal.”

Let me tell ya, it was exhausting and I broke.  I mean, I did not just sort of chip a nail, I broke in half.  I shattered.  I was in a dark dark place…I guess it was the year my granny went to see Jesus.  That was the same year I lost 2 children due to the lies of a social worker (must be noted that we had STELLAR social workers after this loss…this particular gem of a human, did not need to be a worker)….I snapped.  I snapped so badly, that when I called the nurse to tell her that I needed an appointment, the dr must have overheard us and he took over phone call because he thought I was suicidal.

I was not.  I would NEVER do that to my family.

Once he realized that I had the support of my family, he prescribed me some anti depressants to help even me out and get my mind in a better place.  The meds did just that.  I was able to see a bit clearer and I realized what I was doing to myself.

I did a lot of self reflection and I examined my friendships, my hobbies, my marriage, my walk with Christ, the foods I thought I liked, I mean every single detail.  I did not leave my house for a long period of time.  I just parented, wifed, and self reflected.  I relearned who I am, what I stand for, what I like, what I don’t like, and what I would and would not accept.

Now, there are times I still revert back to that old mindset but then I quickly remember who I am and what I will allow and not allow.  I have learned to stand up for myself and believe in myself.

Never forget who you are.

Never forget WHOSE you are.

You are a precious person in Jesus’ sight.

He loves you even when you do not love yourself.

Reevaluate your life.

Keep the good and eject the crap.

Believe in yourself.

Love yourself.

Inspirational Thoughts

Factory Reset

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No, no, no….I’m not talking about my phone or tablet.

I am talking about my life.

Do you ever wish you could just close your eyes and then wake up and start all over?

No bad things ever happened to you.

You were not overweight.

You had the innocence and belief of a child, but in your adult body.

Everything is fresh and new.

I must say, my depression has lifted a bit, so that is not a struggle for right now.

Everything else is a mess.

It’s kind of like when you throw a load of laundry, in the washer, get it out to throw it in the dryer.  When the dryer is done, you open it up and you wonder “what in the h*ll is all over my dryer and my clothes?!”  Upon further inspection, you find the culprit…..make up, a marker, paint, human crap (it can be washed and dried in log form FYI), a red sock with light clothes….you know the story.

That is my life.

A red sock washed with light colored clothes in hot water in a hot dryer and now stained on everything from here to high heaven with no hopes of it *ever* washing off of anything ever again in the history of ever.

Yep.  That’s my life.

I was talking to my daddy the other day…we were standing in the barn watching a bird and I asked him a question.  “Daddy, do you ever just get mad at God because of all that you went through and all that your going through?”  He never looked at me, but his eyes narrowed as he was focusing in on that bird and he said “nope, don’t reckon I’ve been mad at Him.”  I said “well, I think I am…..I think I’m really angry with God right now….my little boy took a nap 10 mths ago and woke up with his life completely changed and I can’t fix it.  Yep, I’m mad.”  I tried to hide my tears because I would rather eat a horse apple then to cry.  At that time, my eyes were narrowing in on that bird and I was staring intently at it, trying to discreetly wipe my tears.  I felt his eyes looking at me and he said “well, how’s that working out for you?”

My spirit was screaming “IT’S NOT WORKING FOR ME BUT DANGIT I AM PISSED AND I’M GONNA STAY PISSED UNTIL I’M DONE BEING PISSED!”  My mouth said “it isn’t working so well, Daddy, but I don’t know how to not be mad.”  The bird moved, at that point…Martha came in with Hunter and our conversation ended.

That night, I had texted my brother and told him I needed him to talk to another kid for me because of some pretty serious behavior issues.  We missed each other in passing, I guess, so we were playing phone tag.  My brother and I have never been close.  We don’t talk.  I perceived that I was his least favorite person who ever walked the face of the earth, but I’ve been known to be wrong a time or two.  The Lord has seen fit to begin restoring our relationship….a moment at a time.  This was another moment.

He texted me back and told me when he would be around and I replied with a vomited version of what had gone on…then it went on to say that I simply don’t know what to do and I feel like a failure as a parent because things are so bad, with this particular child and I’m at a loss.  His one word reply has had me pondering all day long.  “Prayer.”  My brother and I don’t talk about our faith together.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen him attend church…maybe when we were younger and Martha made us 🙂  I have not seen him in a church as an adult though and I really didn’t know where his salvation stood.  My job is to pray for him and for God to do the rest.  This statement stopped me in my tracks.  Since Thanksgiving of last year, there has been a shift in our relationship and how we communicate with each other.  Instead of him, being him, and going off on doctors or just not answering me….he said “prayer.”

So, two men…..who have lived (if you know what I mean)…..point me to the cross.  The next day, Bart and I had dinner with our friends Richie and Jenny.  We enjoy getting to go out with them or cook at home and have all the kids everywhere.  We laughed and laughed at dinner, but we also had some serious conversations.  We are blessed to call them friends but Richie is also our pastor….I respect him immensely (and sweet Jenny) but to us, they are not “superior” or above anyone…they are dopey, hysterical, down to earth normal human beings.  At the end of our night Jenny asked me if Richie’s Sermon, the past Sunday made me mad.  I told her I hadn’t heard it because I was home with Hunter and Bart didn’t say much about it only that it was about “NO.”

Welp…..I listened to it today.  Richie and I texted back and forth while I was listening to it (link above).  It’s about when God says “no” to our prayer requests.  It hurt my feelings.  His story was based around David and Bathesba and the loss of their first son and how for 7 days, David didn’t eat, drink, or change clothes…he begged God to save their son.  In the end, his son died and after he died…David got up and washed his face and asked for food.  He also referenced “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)  This Scripture is hanging on a huge print in my living room and I was looking at it before he brought it up in his sermon.  The other reference was Isaiah 61:3 after their mourning…..”to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.”  This is, not only another print in my dining room….but a giant tattoo on my back.  These are my verses…my life verses.

So, I have been hit from 3 unlikely places…my dad, my brother, and a weird statement from an awesome friend.  This is the Lord trying to get my attention.  I’ve ignored Him and been mad for 3 yrs and especially this past year.  I can have a factory reset, of sorts, every single morning because each day is brand new and full of possibilities.

Things can change.

I can lose the weight.

I can re-establish my relationships with my husband and children.

I can mourn the loss of who Hunter was and learn to embrace our today and how awesome he is.

I can firm up my relationship with my brother.

I can confide and learn to trust a new set of friends when so many have just disappeared from my life.

Most importantly, I can renew my walk with Christ.

He never left me.

He didn’t forget about me.

He still loves me.

He is always waiting with open arms, for me to simply turn around.

As my friend’s Mr. Cliff and Ms. Jan told me as I wailed in their arms over our circumstances….

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess 5:18

May my factory reset begin…….

 

Family

Corraling The Chaos of a Large Family

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I do believe I may have found my tiny ship of order….at least for the time being.

I have a kids….I have a lot of kids…..I have extra kids…..I have male people liking a couple of my older kids….there are kids everywhere.

I don’t see myself as having a “mega” family because I don’t.  When I think of a “mega” family, I think of the Bates family or the Duggars.  I’m just a snowflake in a blizzard compared to those families.

I have 7 kids.  I have 2 bonus girls who come around.  I also have a son in law (ack) and a future son in law (double ack).  That’s it.

Just Big Daddy, me, Bug, Peach, Gigi, Boo, Catfish, Little Man, Zebra, Hannah, Morgie Loo, Eye Candy and Black Bart.  I don’t feed them all, everyday…on a max, I feed about 9 people a day…again, this is a small family, to me.

I do not believe in giving a kid a cellphone until they are 16 and driving.

Yes, I’m the oddball out and yes my kids have received backlash for my decision, but seriously…what does a 10 yr old need with a phone.  Granted, there are circumstances that require a younger child to have a cellphone (divorced situation, latch key kid, etc), but we are a 2 parent family and I’m always home.  My 11 yr old is not going to text me while he is in the bathroom needing toilet paper and I’m in the living room.  It is as simple as that.

All that being said, I have a daughter who is married…which yields me a son in law (gasp and sigh).  I have another daughter “eating cake” in a year…which yields me *another* son in law.  A son who works and a daughter who is old enough to have a phone, but lost that privilege (yes, if I’m paying for it a cellphone is a privilege not a right)….then there is me and Big Daddy.  Our schedules are nuts, especially with a medically fragile child and another child in a traveling baseball league.  I never know where everyone is at.  I forget to tell the kids about important doctors appointments. I always forget baseball (thankfully his coach sends a reminder text).  I forget appointments that are not in the realm of my medically fragile son and I’m getting older, so I just simply forget and the kids (and Big Daddy) are tired of telling me the same thing 500 times.  To the kids, however, the most important thing they want to know is what our menu for the week is and if they all want to come eat here.

I have *finally* found my saving grace.  I LOVE it.  The kids tolerate it and Big Daddy doesn’t pay attention…but it helps me and that’s what’s important 🙂  It is a SHARED calender called (so sad I have to look at the name because I forgot it) TimeTree.  It is free and it spans across iphones and android phones.  All you have to do the main person (me) has to set up the account and then I invite everyone else.  They accept the invite, download the app and we are good to go.  I have titled our calender as “Family Calender” because you can have other ones on there as well.

In this calender, we each have a color and our name (mine is Eagle Eye LOL).  We add to the calender all our appointments, work schedules, and mainly my menu.  If the kids see something they like, they text me and say they are coming for dinner.  Once a week, I give a kid a night and they choose the menu for me.  So, I’m guaranteed one night a week with all my kids.  They are thrilled and I’m thrilled I don’t have to figure out what to cook once a week 🙂  We add birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and our upcoming “cake eating” preparations days.

In my opinion….I freaking love it!

Cooking

Baked Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

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Baked Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

In a large bowl, chop up 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (you could use canned chicken or rotisserie chicken).

Add in seasoning mix.

2 tsp. minced garlic

2 jars premade alfredo sauce (though you could make this low carb and make your own alfredo sauce, which is super easy)

4 chicken bouillon cubes

3 c. water

16 oz. pasta..uncooked (I had elbow noodles on hand, but anything can be used)

Small package of frozen broccoli

Stir it all together.  Preheat oven to 425.

Place in greased 13×9 pan and cover it with aluminum foil.

I put mine on a cookie sheet to keep it from boiling over.

Cook for 30-40 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir to see if noodles are done.  If not done, re-cover and put back in oven for about 10 more minutes.

When the noodles and chicken are thoroughly cooked, uncover dish.

Top with Mozzarella and Parmesan and put back in oven for about 5 minutes…or until cheese is melted.

Medical

Little Lies Along the Way = Fear Amongst Children

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Before I move on….I want to say I have MAD respect for nurses, nurses aides, child life people, and all the other “worker bees” in the hospital.

Mad.  Respect.

These are awesome and under appreciated people.

With that being said….I have learned a lot of things over the last 10 mths of Hunter’s illness.  I know they heart behind these statements.  I know the ease these sweet nurses are trying to give to these kids….but with my kid….you aren’t helping much.

  • Let’s give your arm a hug (preparing to take bp)
  • Let’s clean off your germies (preparing for an IV)
  • It isn’t going to hurt, we are just going to put a straw in your hand/arm (placing the IV)
  • We are going to go downstairs and they are going to give you special medicine to help you take a nap (placing under for sedation)
  • Let’s tickle your armpit (taking temperature)
  • Is there a bunny rabbit in your ear (checking ear)
  • Let’s see if you really have a heart (checking heart beat)
  • This is gonna squeeze your arm just a little bit (tourniquet for IV)
  • This is gonna sound like a rocket ship (the numbing thing that scares the crap out of me)
  • Let’s give your arm a drink (flushing the IV)
  • Let’s take some happy juice (something to calm them before sedation)
  • We are going to go downstairs and you can take a nap while we take pictures in a big donut (MRI)

These are just a few statements that I’ve heard being used with Hunter.   In the beginning….these statements, I got.  I understood.  I accepted.  I even played along until I began to see small changes in him and extreme fear.  He was resisting “hugs”, afraid of loud noises (rocketship), would spit his water out when he drank from a straw, and when we came to the hospital he would FREAK out.

I know I come across as this hardass mom who using too technical of terms with my 4 yr old but this is his life.  This is his new normal.  Hospitals.  In and out of hospitals and doctors offices.  The past few doctor and hospital visits, I have changed my tune.  For instance, this morning, Hunter had to have an MRI done and a spinal tap.  Child life came upstairs to talk with him and play with him until he was sedated and going back for his procedure.  They brought this awesome doll, with a hospital gown and some markers to draw on his face and pretend medical equipment so he could play with it.

They began using those terms and I kindly told them that I use real terminology with him.  I discussed with them his irritational fears over things and because of my lack of knowledge and the previous nurses trying to put him at ease, with what I’m assuming they have learned, that we have changed how we deal with things.  I also explained that he likes to be called Kid.

So, we got out the doll and I taught the Child Life people and the nurses how we do things.  We first drew a face, hair, glasses, freckles, a belly button, and some chest/back hair LOL on his doll.  Then, I drew some veins on his hand.  I showed him his veins and my veins.  I talked to him about the IV going in and what it does.  Funny thing, is he knew what most of the stuff did because we have talked about this so much.  We took a wipe and cleaned the area, we counted to 5 and then “inserted” the IV…we even used the same tape they used on him.  We flushed out Bob’s IV when Hunter got his IV flushed..we even put the sterilizing cap on the end.  I covered everything I could think of.

The ladies were in awe of how Hunter responded, how much he knew, and how I chose to handle things with him (I totally understand other parents using the above terminology).  I explained to them that he has a life altering condition and this is now a part of his life.  I wanted to take the fear out of the unknown and normalize his condition for him.  In order to take the fear away, I want him to be a student (even at this age) of what is going on in his body and by doing that….it gives him some control.

This has been a scream free hospital stay.  He has been compliant, polite, and confident.  I’m so incredibly proud of him.  I cannot even describe how much this baby inspires me to continue to run the race, looking forward.

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^^Photo compliments of Megan Miles^^

Medical

Confabulation: The “True” Story

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According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary,

CONFABULATION means

1to talk informally 
2to hold a discussion 
>>>>>>3to fill in gaps in memory by fabrication<<<<<<<

A major characteristic of brain-damaged patients is the tendency to confabulate—to hide and dissemble about their damage.  —Peter R. Breggin

Now, I have stumbled upon another site called FASD FAMILIES and though it is geared more towards younger FASD kids, it has a ton of useful information.  One has to realize that, say a kid is 16 years old, physically.  On a good day, with a few hiccups, they are developmentally, emotionally, or mentally 8 yrs old.  When they are escalated, you are dealing with a 4 year old.

This is at no fault to the child but to the situation of why they have FASD, which causes prenatal brain damage that they deal with for the rest of their lives.  The poor decision of a mother (or father), leads to a lifetime of struggles to their children.  This author defines confabulation, as well, and I thought it was PERFECT.

CONFABULATION: The fancy word is confabulation. Some would say it’s lying. I think it’s more like their version of the story becomes their truth because they don’t know the difference between truth and reality. Once they tell a story, they accept it as gospel.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^YES, HOLLA, PREACH IT, YOU GO GIRL^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I have had a shitastic day with my oldest dd, 17…..I mean, if it wasn’t one thing, it was 500 others and the excuses flowed, the lies confabulations were on point and I fell for it.  I freaking fell for it.

These are the mistakes I made (in no particular order):

  • I asked a question, I knew the answer too.

  • I began escalating because she was escalated.

  • I’m not even in town to deal with it because I am in the hospital with another child.

  • I used too many words.

  • Other people were involved, though they were stepping in for an absent me not realizing they were jumping into quick sand.

  • We talked too long.

What an evil vicious cycle FASD is….or any of it!  FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome), FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder), PFAS (Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome), ARND (Alcohol Related Neurodevelopment Disorder), ARBD (Alcohol Related Birth Defects).  It is a horrific, invisible disease.

I feel as if I have failed as a parent because I cannot get through to these children, though we are the only family they remember.  That damn Amygdala brain (primitive brain that remembers in utero to 3 yr memories).  It is always there.

We have tried therapy, meds, regular dr visits, pastoral counseling, reading the Word, writing the Word, putting positive people in their lives, talking till I am blue in the face…nothing gets through.  Nothing.

Now, the big question is….

HOW DO I PARENT THAT WITHOUT LOSING MY MIND?

The quick answer is “I have no clue.”  The longer answer is “I REALLY have no clue.”

I guess it is time to not only continue to study about OMS, to help Hunter…but to find the answers.

Medical

Let’s Talk About Them Slippers…..

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I have never been a slipper kind of gal.  They irritate me.  I have to bunch my toes up, when I walk in them, or they will fly off my feet.  I don’t like big slippers, I don’t like little slippers.  I don’t like animal slippers, I don’t like fancy slippers.  I do not like slippers.  I do not like socks, but that is for another post.

In 2014, my daughter asked me what I wanted for Christmas….I had no clue and I tried to just give her a vague answer because I really didn’t need anything, but she wanted to give.  That is her Spiritual gift….She *LOVES* giving gifts that bring joy to people.  Loves it.  I didn’t want her wasting her money on me….but she insisted.

So I said, get me some slippers.

I knew that I probably would never wear them, but it was an idea, I could put wear them around the house on Christmas Day and then retire them to the closet until the next Christmas.  Problem solved.

Well, these are the slippers that she bought for me.

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Little did I know…..I would form a bond with these slippers and they have forged their way into my heart and they are very very special to me.

When I opened my gift…I did the act of surprise face and then I promptly put them on and oohed and ahhed over them.  She was pleased.  That is all that mattered in my book.  I did, notice, however, these were not like the slippers I thought they would be.  They were more like fuzzy sock type of slippers and though I do not like socks…I do when it is super cold….so I did put them on and they did the job.

In May of 2015 is where my became a part of my journey.  That is the month that my Lady had her first, of many, strokes.  I stayed with her during the day and most nights.  She was in and out with recovering from her stroke and her MANY UTIs….so.  very.  many.

The next year, daddy had a stroke.  I was blessed (is that the right word) that I knew who to talk too, what to say, what questions to ask, and what doctors/tests to request because I had already walked through that with Lady.  I spent several days with him during the day and evening.  Flash forward a year and daddy had quadruple bypass surgery.  Then Hunter got sick and was in and out of hospitals,, then a few months and my Lady went to a nursing home….then back to the hospital….then back to the nursing home.  My slippers and I saw my Lady for the last time on September 30, 2017, as she took her last breath on October 1, 2017.

My slippers have walked many many hospital halls and nursing home halls, seen many ERs, lots of wall decorations, supported me in many conversations with doctors, specialists, and nurses, wheeled lots of wheelchairs, walked from floor to floor and hall to hall, absorbed tears while I hid in the bathroom, and so much more.  Alyssa has bought me other slippers for Christmas and I do wear those, around the house because I like them.  These particular, black, gross, dirty, washed too many times slippers…..they are so special to me.  I keep them packed in my “to go” bag at all times.

Thank you, Alyssa…for giving me something I never really wanted.  They have a lot of memories.