Large Family Happenings, Life or Something Like It

Baby Shower, Bridal Shower, Birthdays, Bathrooms

Baby Shower, Bridal Shower, Birthdays, BathroomsBaby Shower, Bridal Shower, Birthdays, Bathrooms

Can I just say that I can sometimes overwhelm even myself?  Well, I do.  More times than not, I get myself into more things than I should.  So, now I’m in the middle of a Baby Shower, Bridal Shower, Birthdays, Bathrooms.  In between November and the end of March, and (of course) the holidays, there is a lot happening.  We have about 12 birthdays and anniversaries.  Then there is my first grandbaby that will make her appearance.  Now, we have to slap in a baby shower, bridal shower, and a 5-day hospital stay and you have my life in a nutshell.  All birthdays went very well.

Baby Shower

With that being said, a baby shower is a must.  Due to covid restrictions, we did a virtual baby shower at my house.  My sister came and my kids.  We ate, she opened gifts, and we had fun.  She got a ton of stuff for Charleigh Mae and they are very thankful.

It is so surreal to see your daughter pregnant with her first daughter.  She is so beautiful.  This pregnancy has not been easy for her.  She has struggled with all-day sickness, loss of appetite, and all the other fun things that happen.  Yet, she has handled it beautifully.

She is going to be such an amazing little mama.  I can’t even contain my excitement.  Who would have ever thought I’d be excited to be a grandmother.  Honestly, who ever thought I was mature enough to be a grandmother.  Yet, here I am.

Bridal Shower

We had scheduled the shower for a week before the wedding.  I just couldn’t get it all done in such a squashed amount of time.  Sadly, Alyssa got really sick before the shower.  We knew she didn’t have covid19, so we assumed it was a bug or the flu.  Since we weren’t sure, we decided to postpone it.  If it was a stomach bug, Arkie could have gotten it and there are a lot of immunosuppressed people in our lives.

Arkie never got sick, but other things ended up happening.  We had a hospital stay (Hunter) and a snowstorm because that is just how things roll.  It got pushed back to the day before the wedding.  We were trying to get a date that his mom could be there, but due to the storm, it just didn’t happen.

It got done and they had a good time. We were all tired but the kids seemed to enjoy opening their gifts.  Luckily, we got great pictures that I will send to his mom.

Rehearsal

That was something as well.  It seems nothing wanted to go smoothly.  This snowstorm just threw a wrench into all the things.  His family was not able to travel to the rehearsal because they got more snow than we did.  I hated that for them.

We were able to get in and get a lot of decorations done.  Most of the people who were in the wedding was able to come.  I’m so glad there is a trial run because that’s when I got all of my squalling out.  Those songs she picked.  Geez.  I was crying, my mom, the girls…it was a cry fest.

We ordered pizza and just came back to the house to eat.  After eating, they opened gifts.  Then, we cooked for the wedding.  It was a long and crazy night.  After all that was done, we snuggled for a good long time.  Sigh, that girl has my heart.

Bathroom Remodel

To add to our fun, we decided to do a remodel on our bathroom.  A few years ago, my boys got into a scuffle and things happened.  One boy aggrevated another boy.  Then, the other boy pushed the one boy.  That boy’s butt went through my wall.

I have not used that bathroom in a long time because I get so mad that all I see is his full butt print.  There are 2 cheeks and a crack.  I bought stuff to redo it, my way, because we weren’t getting it done any other way.  Bart stepped in and did some work.  Then, he made some phone calls.

Once that happened, all the things happened.  We now have a new shower, the toilet was already fairly new, bought new flooring.  Our friend ordered new closet doors.  The next big thing is to get the sinks out, new ones bought, and installation.

Go Big or Go Home

So, all this stuff, at my house, happened with a torn up bathroom.  That and a front closet FULL of Charleigh Mae’s gifts, a corner in the living room FULL of Alyssa’s gifts, and birthday presents.  Upstairs was full of wedding stuff.  I mean, there is stuff every where and I haven’t known which way is up and which way is down.

Honestly, I wouldn’t know how to do something 1/2 way.  I have got to do it all they way and then add a little spice.  It’s what dreams are made of.

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Family Update February 2021

Family Update February 2021Family Update February 2021

Here is our BUSY Family Update February 2021.  For the shortest month of the year, it *feels* like this month lasted 428 years.  So.  Very.  Busy.  That meme cracks me up.  I’m not sure if it is my guardian angel, my mama, sister, or therapist.  Maybe all of them do that when I tell them something new.  Tis my life.

School

Still, Job Corp is not open.  I believe, to date, one has opened, so that is progress.  Right?  Noah got accepted into MSU and got his financial aid going.  He is figuring things out, so I don’t have to.  We’ve decided that Hunter will have his therapies at school.  Virtual therapy is STUPID.  It is seriously the dumbest thing ever.  He will only be at the school for an hour and a half.  Physical therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech will all be done weekly.  Maybe we will see some progress.

As for the boys, Jude is doing well.  He is learning to take his time.  The school gives him the ability to redo his assignments, but not tests or quizzes. He is learning to ask questions and study.  It has been a journey.  Daniel is struggling.  With FASD, it is hard.  Teachers “see” one thing (virtually), yet life is another.  We are going to take him 2x a week for tutoring.  After much back and forth, we adjusted his 504.  Praying that is going to help.

Happenings

There have been lots of birthdays this month.  Grayce, Hunter, Alyssa, Mimi, daddy, and several nephews have celebrated.  Also, we had a wedding shower for Alyssa on Hunter’s birthday.  That is one way to crunch it all in.  Originally, we had a separate day to do their share. Sadly, Alyssa got the flu or a stomach bug.  She was pretty pitiful.  We were not certain what she had, so we canceled until the 19th.  That would be one day before her wedding.

The rehearsal didn’t quite go as planned because there was a major snow/ice moment.  We considered postponing the wedding.  It was touch and go.  Alyssa was a wreck.  Arkie was a rock on the outside, still unsure of what lies beneath.  We got that done, without Arkie’s family.  Sadly, they got more snow than we did and just couldn’t make the trip.  I know that was a hard decision for them to make.

Once home, we did their shower.  Luckily, both my moms were here.  Hannah and Savannah were here.  Once the parents left, we started cooking.  We were all so tired but got it done.  Then, my girl came and snuggled with me until about 2 am.  Sigh.  Worth it all for that moment.

Wedding

All in all, we got it done.  My daughter was breathtaking.  Simply breathtaking.  Arkie.  I tied his tie and saw this sweetness in his eyes.  He really is a sweet boy.  Change is just hard.  Alyssa.  Stunning.  His family was able to come home.  The sun was shining.  Her pictures will be so beautiful with her flowers and the snow.

My mom knocked it out of the park with her flowers, doors, and all the things she creates.  She is brilliant.  My other mom was so helpful.  I’m so thankful my aunt was able to come.  The boys kicked in and helped clean up.  The food was good, the company was good.  Alyssa was so full of joy.  Arkie was so excited about his apple pies.

Health

Big Daddy was diagnosed with diabetes.  He has lost a lot of weight and his sugar levels are really good.  My plantar fasciitis sucks pond water.  That is in my right foot.  In my left foot, I’ve lost feeling in a couple of toes and the top of my foot.  It is due to a bone spur.  Eventually, when I lose feeling in more toes, we’ll address it.  My essential tremors have calmed down as have my psoriasis.

We have some upcoming appointments with Daniel to have him assessed for autism.  Honestly, we have always suspected it but as he gets older, things become more prominent.  Also, we have some upcoming appointments for Jude.  We are hoping to get some help with his FND.  Hunter had a massive treatment that I will address in another post.  So, stay tuned.

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Family Update January 2021

Family Update January 2021

Family Update January 2021

I believe it is time for a large Family Update January 2021.  SO much has gone on with everyone in my house.  I am physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.  Honestly, I do not remember the last time *I* deep cleaned my house.  Sleep is not my friend, my emotions are on edge, and I have gained weight.  Also chopped my hair off, but that is a different story.

January

We started off the year with no school.  Really, no different for us because we were already doing virtual school.  This involved getting Daniel enrolled in high school.  He was coming off of being gone for several weeks and we had to enroll him.  There was a lot of togetherness.  We were all pretty much sick of each other.  Let’s be honest, we’ve been sick of each other since Covid19 and quarantine began.

We had the baby shower for Charleigh.  Again, not what we wanted but what is necessary due to the pandemic.

Counseling Continued and Began for Some

I continued on with counseling through January.  Honestly, it is nice to talk to someone but still frustrating.  I want to see more results, heal more, resolve more.  The boys also started counseling.  Honestly, the jury is still out on it.  They are with the same group as I am, but 2 different fellows.  We shall see how this pans out.  I hope it is successful.  We have goals.  There has been on revelation type opinion that we are further seeking out.

School

Again, it has not been the best experience.  I know the teachers are doing their best, but it is so hard for the students who struggle with special needs.  It’s almost like they are just continuing to ignore and let these kids fall through the cracks.  Just get by.

The kids do get the opportunity to retake homework and such to better their grades.  Yet, one of my kids needs more.  He struggles but no one sees it because he can work really hard and make passing grades.  The invisible disease of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, possible autism, and a host of all the other things make education hard.

I am not impressed with the level of care the administration has for my son.  They said that there is nothing really that they can do and I find that disturbing.  Hunter is doing well, for the most part

Technical School and College

Job Corp is still not open, so we are in limbo.  The county that this particular school is in has to go “orange” in order to open.  College is going well for my son.  In the fall, he will begin going to Murray State.  He will start his junior year.  Where did the time go?

Health

It’s been a hard month OMS-wise.  The shaking is pretty significant in his hands.  His behavior is hard.  Schoolwise, he is doing really well.  Jude had one seizure this month.  We did up his meds for epilepsy.  He has not had any more Non-Epileptic Seizures.  The Functional Neurological Disorder stuff is a work in progress.  Daniel is transitioning home fairly well.  It has been an adjustment with him being home.

Family

Bart is okay.  Work is a struggle.  Covid19 sucks.  Bug and Ben are well.  Baby is doing great!  I’m so excited to meet her.  Alyssa and Arkie are engaged.  So, there’s that.  G … life as it happens.  Noah is good, busy, but good.  I pretty much gave the update on the younger boys.

For me, I’m tired.  Old.  Tired.  Trying to find time for self-care.  This level of parenting is so different.  It isn’t physically exhausting as much.  For me, it is mentally and emotionally exhausting.  I just want to be and do all the things for all the kids.  Sadly, I can’t.

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All Things Adoption

How to Heal a Fractured Family

How to Heal a Fractured Family

How to Heal a Fractured Family

How to Heal a Fractured Family.  The short, simple answer is trust in Jesus.  Yet, sometimes, that is hard for me.  Our family has been fractured for a long time.  There have been cracks here and there, but this year, it is different.  I’m not going to lie, it has been a struggle since about 2014, but even before then due to some extenuating circumstances.  I don’t want to discourage anyone from adoption, but there is so much more I know now than I did almost 14 years ago.

What You Need to Know

When people are in the process of adopting a child or children, it is an exciting thing.  We do all the things that are required.  Background checks, money in the bank, fundraisers, fingerprints (if international), and so on.  We work hard on those dossiers.  Our homes are spotless for our home study.  We eagerly anticipate our referral or a picture.  There are so many support groups where we get on and talk about our discouragement of NOT getting a referral quick enough.

What We DON’T Realize

Is that we are, quite literally, waiting for a family to fail in some way.  If it is foster care, we are waiting for a family to abuse, neglect, or hurt, a child or children so they will be placed in the system. Then we jump through all the hoops for the next 17 out of 23 mths and wait for the termination of parental rights.

Or, if it is a newborn, we are waiting for a sweet birth mom to make the most difficult decision of her life.  For her life to be altered…forever…by choosing the blessing of adoption.  If international, we are waiting for a birth parent who may be dying, or the child is starving, or some other tragedy that places them in an orphanage.

When you are adopting a family member’s child, you are waiting for drugs, alcohol, abuse, neglect, or abandonment to happen.  There are other circumstances, as well, but that was my circumstance for my son.  You start looking at YOUR sister and think…she is my son’s aunt?  Grandmother?  Both?

The Dark Side

We are walking into the blackest chapter of our children’s lives.  Our greatest joy and what we worked so hard for, comes at our children’s greatest loss.  Whether they are an infant or an older child, that loss will forever be embedded in their brain and heart.  They are the only ones who have heard their mother’s heartbeat from the inside out and your heart is just not the same.

My heart literally aches because, in a perfect world, my kids would still be with their birth families.  Succeeding, thriving, living, loving…yet because of certain things, they are not there…they are with me.  I am grateful.  Indebted.  Forever changed because they grew in my heart and not under it!

Yet…they will always wonder what it would have been like to have been raised by their birth parents or in their birth country.  Try explaining all of the things when they are older.  It’s super fun aka traumatic.

Getting It Straight

I do not regret any of my children.  None of them.  They are my joy and I’m so thankful to God that He wove my family together in such a beautiful and intricate way.

But

Trauma is a bitch.  Plain and simple.  It is a straight-up bitch.  Talk to ANY adoptive parents and they will tell you the same thing.  Trauma can come in all shapes and sizes.  It can come with a list of diagnoses…then there is “traumaversary”  That leads to sabotage of all good things, behavior issues, confabulations, deceit, manipulation, and so much more.

My Family is No Different

We have, and continue to have, all of the above things and the “so much more” times a million.  What started as one child exhibiting out of control behaviors due to FASD, PTSD, RAD, blah blah blah trickled down to other children.  Another child exhibiting similar, yet different behaviors. Then, a third child going above and beyond.  Lastly, the fourth child struggles with anxiety and more.

It has wreaked havoc on my person, my husband, other children, even my pets will lose hair when life is escalated in my home.  This usually occurs November-March and then in July-October…which as I look at that typed out, it is from October-July.  That gives us 2 mths trauma-free.

All the Things We Have Tried

We have done the things.  Doctors, specialists, therapists, counselors, pastors, family, medication, routines, no routines, homeschool, private, public…All.  The.  Things.  One child, nothing has worked for that child.  Another child, we hope is in the process of healing.  The third child is amped up right now.  The fourth child, we just deal with it day by day.

I am exhausted.  My husband is exhausted.  Honestly, even the kids are exhausted. Mix all this crap in with a pandemic and being in this house and you have Funville.  My underwear drawer no longer holds underwear.  It is stocked FULL of candy.  I wake up, in the morning, with a bag of snickers under my arm and wrappers everywhere.

There is a newfound love of Limeade Slushes.  My teeth are going to rot out of my head.  I have become a human GPS because I take LONG drives on roads I have never heard of.  My favorite past time is driving to my neighbors and seeing if their pig is in the front yard.  I cry…a lot.

Falling Apart

Sadly, I feel like my family is falling apart.  That Scripture of satan lurking around the corner to devour my family, it is happening!  Honestly, at warp speed.  I have so many words and so much has happened that my fingers will not move as fast as my brain.

Praying that this pandemic ends.  I am praying for healing for my medically fragile children.  Salvation for two of my kids.  Wisdom with all of them.  Healthy delivery for one (gonna be a granny!)  A healthy relationship for two kids.  School to open for one.  One to come home safely.  Another to stop making REALLY poor and dangerous choices.

I want my family to heal.  To be whole.  For God to intervene and DO SOMETHING.  Honestly, I am just ready for Jesus to come riding down on His white horse and take us all home.  Home…where there is no sadness, no darkness, and no pain.  Just glory.

God is Bigger

I just have to trust in that…right?  Right.  Yes, trust.  The hardest thing for me to do is trust Him with my family.  Maybe that, alone, needs to be my prayer.  Lord, let me trust in You that You have plans to prosper and not harm my family.  Help me to realize that You and only You, can heal the fractures.

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Dear Amygdala

Dear Amygdala

Dear Amygdala

Dear Amygdala,

You are not my friend, my Dear Amygdala.  The emotions that you project are not welcome.

It has come to my attention that satan is using and abusing you.  He is controlling you.  In doing so, he is taking past trauma that is inside of you, from a past life and family.

He is taking all that anger and those memories and making someone project that trauma into the present and onto a person’s new family.

I am onto you and your sneaky ways.  Bite me.

God is BIGGER.

Insincerely Yours,

Brandi

For Inquiring Minds

The Amygdala is the “fear center” of the brain.  It is your primitive brain that begins development when a person is conceived.  The Amygdala holds all your memories from conception to 3 years (the implicit memories).

It is a butthole.

The amygdala is an almond-shaped set of neurons that can be found deep in the brain’s medial temporal lobe. Shown to play a key role in the processing of emotions, the amygdala forms part of the limbic system.

Hard Conversations

There have been some hard conversations this past week.  Truths that have been unspoken and revelations that have been eye-opening.  Such clarity and peace with those revelations.  Yet, uncertainty as to what to do with them.

It’s a long-winding road we are walking.

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6 Month School Update

6 Month School Update6 Month School Update

It has been a bit over but here is our 6 Month School Update.  As you may or may not know, I am a former homeschooler.  I homeschooled my children for about 20 years.  Successfully, I have graduated with 4 children.  For my younger 3 kids, I decided to try public school.

Myriad of Reasons

I love homeschooling, for the most part.  It has been a bit harder because I do have 4 special needs children, so it was also not the easiest.  Our decision to put them in school was a quick and swift decision.

I knew when I was done, I would be done.  Honestly, I was just overdone.  My exhaustion level had reached an all-time high.  When you have a child who is medically fragile, life changes.  Our traveling had hit another level and I wasn’t doing anyone any justice by being 1/2 in.  Their education is far too important for me to let it slide by.

Ben and Bug

They are well.  Almost ready to celebrate 2 years of marriage.  They are both working hard and learning so much.  Bug is moving through some things and she has made some brave decisions.  I’m incredibly proud of her.

Peach

She just started the first day of her last semester of college.  **Cue the angels singing.**  I have no idea why it seems she has been in college for 549 years, but it sure has.  She has done well.  There is that excitement mixed in with the “oh crap” mixed in with the thrill of fixing to truly start her “adult” life!  She is also working and loving her dog.  I’m incredibly proud of her.

Gigi

Thankfully, she has finished high school.  Good gracious that was a chore for both of us. She was about 6 mths late in doing so, but she worked 7 days a week to get finished.  A good friend hired her to work and that is going well.  She has MASTERED getting ANY types of stains out of clothes and she is really good with kids.  There is still a lot to figure out, but we are taking one step at a time. I’m incredibly proud of her.

Boo

He has started the last semester of his freshman year of college.  That seems unreal to me.  He is working part-time and helping out at home.  Still, though, uncertain about his major, we have ruled things out and then put things up closer to the front.  He will figure it out.  There is a little female that he has been spending time with…I just can’t talk about that right now.  I’m incredibly proud of him.

Catfish

For a kid with SEVERE dyslexia and FASD…he is rocking school!  He has had great grades and is learning to navigate life.  There have been some social issues that we have had to work through.  Mostly learning who is safe and who isn’t.  How to work around bullies.  Oh, and have there been bullies.  Bullies are not limited to children, ya know.  Adults bully too and we have certainly dealt with that.  I am not well-liked, at the school, by some people but I really do not care.  I’m incredibly proud of him.

Jude

He has excelled, as well.  Academically and with sports.  He is so much fun to watch when he is playing ball.  We have, again, dealt with bullies.  Also, sadly, lots and lots of racism.  Racism now is more underhanded and calculating.  Methodical and intentional.  There isn’t the outward act of separating out things just the subtle undertone.  It has been so sad to see and to deal with.  Again, I’m not well-liked by many.  I really do not care though.  I’m incredibly proud of him.

Kid

He has made great strides in school and in his therapies.  For a little guy, he is in a different therapy 5 days a week.  He has OT, PT, SLP, Vision, and Horse therapy (the best one of them all)!  One major accomplishment is he has learned to spell and write his name.  The thrill is unlike anything I’ve ever had!  Our hardest thing has been treatment monthly, steroids monthly, and keeping him well.  He has had 2 flare-ups since starting school.  One attacked his hands and legs.  The other attacked his hands and his speech.  I’m incredibly proud of him!

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Hunter’s Song

Hunter's SongHunter’s Song

Hunter’s Song.  Excuse me, I may have to cry…it will only last a moment.  Songs of Love Foundation is such an amazing foundation and worth every penny of any donation of support they get!

About Songs of Love

The Songs of Love Foundation is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that creates free, personalized, original songs to uplift children and teens currently facing tough medical, physical, or emotional challenges. Each “song of love” is professionally produced with lyrics containing the child’s name and references to all of his or her favorite activities, things, people, and pets. Songs are written and performed in any language in the musical style that the child likes best (kids, pop, R&B, rap, rock, alternative, etc.), by many talented singer/songwriters. Each “song of love” is delivered pre-loaded on our Song Of Love USB 8GB drive.

As each child is unique, so is every “song of love” composition. Since 1996 the Songs of Love Foundation has reached out to over 33,000 children in over 500 hospitals and health care facilities in all 50 states and the world.

There is much focus on raising awareness and money in order to find a cure for a variety of life-threatening illnesses and lifetime disabilities. The immediate needs of children who go through serious medical and physical challenges are often overlooked. The “songs of love” have often been played to alleviate pain and trauma during painful and scary hospital treatments. The song recipients have played their “songs of love” in all kinds of situations and settings.  Such as car trips to the hospital, show and tell at school.  Also for family and friends, and even for the doctors and nurses. The children have their “songs of love” always available to them whenever they are feeling down.

How I Heard About Them

I am in a support group for OMS and my son also went through the Make a Wish Foundation.  This little flyer was in our packet when we left.  It is a simple little sheet and it was free.

I filled it out and sent it in…in return was something that brought tears to my eyes and absolute JOY to my son’s ears!  He LOVES his song and asks for me to play it all the time.  Please, click on the link and listen!  Go to the Songs of Love Foundation and see if you, your child, or someone you know could benefit from a little happiness and joy.

Here is his personalized song.!

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A Little Less Scrambled with a Side of Squirrel

A Little Less Scrambled with a Side of SquirrelA Little Less Scrambled with a Side of Squirrel

Last week, I was a little scrambled with my intentions.  The other day, however, I was A Little Less Scrambled with a Side of Squirrel.  I slept in till about 9:30 and then headed downstairs to see what awaited me.

Kids.

Kids awaited me.

And dogs and cats and Big Daddy.

I did have a goal and that was to cut hair.  There are lots of heads of hair that I needed to trim up.  When there is such a need, what does one do?  Well, they call their mama.  So, I called my mama.  We chatted a good bit while I pet the dogs.

The resolve to do anything was dissipating by about 10 am.  I sat down to work on my calendar, check emails, and such.  Jude got out ground beef for supper and I got him off to basketball practice.  We are in a bit of a conundrum because we are down a vehicle so everything has to work together well in order for everyone to get from point A to point B.

In the midst of life

I went into, what is now Hunter and Daniel’s room.  See, we only have 3 bedrooms downstairs so we have had to play musical rooms for a long time.  When we had all the kids here, we had 3 boys in a room, 2 girls in a room, a big girl in her own room, and Hunter up here.

Now that 2 kids have moved out, we have 1 girl in a room and the other 2 rooms have 2 boys each.  Originally we had Noah (18) and Daniel (15) in a room, but that did not work out for specific reasons.  Now, we have Noah (18) and Jude (13) in a room. D and Hunter share a room.  D has a loft bed, so that frees up space to add a desk for him.

When we got our new bed, upstairs, we moved the massive cabinets downstairs to D and H’s room, so they would have space to put their clothes.  It has all be a process.  All that being said, I have a front “coat closet” that we have added shelves to and cubbies.  This has been Hunter’s “room” for a long time.

Glorified Coat Closet

I use the word “room” lightly because all it has in there are his toys, dress-up clothes, and books.  It does not have any doors on it.  We took those off when he got sick because it was too hard to maneuver his gait walker or wheelchair in that space.  This space is ALWAYS a mess.  It looks like a 5 yr old boy plays in there and that is perfectly fine, but it gets on my nerves.

We need to paint it, as well as the hall, and change some things up.  Yet, it is functional, he uses it every day and we try and keep it contained.  I decided to move things around and move ALL his toys into his room.

Reduce and watch your kids’ imaginations soar.

That was a success.  We threw away a lot of stuff and we put up a lot of stuff.  By the phrase “put up” that means that I bagged up what he didn’t play with and I took it out of his toy “rotation.”

When a kid has fewer options to play with, you will find that they start actually playing.  An influx of toys can cause a kid to have sensory overload because they do not know what to play with because of all the colors, textures, noises, etc.

I rotate every 6 months so he feels like he is getting new things often 🙂  Smart girl, I know!  While I was moving from here to there to yonder, Alyssa came home.

Legos

We found ourselves talking at the kitchen table with a massive amount of legos.  So, what do 2 squirrely girls do?  We color code the legos and then arrange them by shape…yes sir, that is what we do.

When we finished talking, we were finished with our squirrel sorting…then, she went to the bedroom to help me finish my task of organizing.  Guess what we did?  Oh, yes we did!  We took over 10,000 pieces of legos, dumped them, and sorted them by color and shape.

Clearly, we have issues or a lot to chat about.  After about 2 hours of not getting the room done, not cleaning the original closet out, not starting supper, not cutting hair, and not accomplishing anything other than color-coding/sizing legos…we gave up.

I will have you know that it was a sense of accomplishment that lasted 0.4 seconds!  We did end up finishing that room and closet.  I did cut hair and cook supper.  It was late, but it was done!

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The Ultimate Guide to a Barbershop

The Ultimate Guide to a Barbershop

This past Saturday, I was sicker than a dog.  Nasty cold, lost voice, just felt like crap.  Yet, that doesn’t give me permission to not parent.  There are too many humans that I have created that need a gentle shove and food.  This day was no exception.  Jude had 3 basketball games that day.  He was playing in 2 games on the 7th-grade team.  Thankfully, Big Daddy let me sleep in some and he went to those 2 games.  I hustled around, got kids situated and I headed to the other game.  He plays “up” and so he was also on the 8th-grade team.  To add to the fun, I found a barbershop, local, that is run by some amazing African American men.  This The Ultimate Guide to a Barbershop.

Be Prepared to Wait

We walked in and the men smiled and said “have a seat.”  Well, there were no seats.  There were 2 barbers and they each had a person in the chair.  The couch was full of people waiting.  This barbershop does not do appointments on Saturdays, only walk-ins.  I learned that, that day.  The best time to go, on a Saturday, is at 7:30 am.  The lovely humans got closer together which allowed Jude and me to have a seat.

So.  We sat.

And Sat

Jude was tired and I tried to talk him into going to the van and napping while I waited. He didn’t want to do that.  As I looked at him, he was taking it all in.  You know, it probably is something to be raised by Caucasian people.  His exposure to African American people are limited to 2 cousins, and 3 other students in the school.  Occasionally, he will play a team with African American people on them, but even that is rare.

I heard him giggling when the barbers were giggling.  We all were laughing.  Talking about parenting, education, sports.  He realized I was just like them, just a lighter version 🙂  The fascination in seeing the hairstyles were bringing joy to my heart.  Honestly, he wanted to try them all.

It is NOT Just a Haircut

It is a cultural experience.  They covered everything from food that they do and do not eat, as a whole (obviously there are exceptions).  We covered Jesus, more food, education, and the importance of it…then there are the dos and don’ts of what is acceptable for Caucasian people versus African American people.  That broke my heart.  Maybe it is the realization that my son will likely not live in my house forever.  Things will change and I’m not sure I want him away from me.  Here, local, people know who he belongs to.  They see my son and not the color of his skin.

Magnet Alert

I did learn that I need to tell any barber we choose, we have to tell him Jude has a magnet in his head.  It has something to do with a magnetized cloth or maneuver that they use.  Honestly, I think nothing of it, but when they saw his scar, they asked.  I’m glad they did!  He will always have to work around that scar.  His hearing aid doesn’t stick when his hair is too long.

The Look of Shame

Jude was sitting in the chair, I looked at the men and said: “he has never been to a barber before.”  I looked down and said I have cut his hair since he was 5.  They asked how old he was and I said “13.”  Everyone in that room stopped what they were doing and just looked at me.  I said “I know, now, that as a white woman, I should never touch my son’s hair again.  Promise I will never do it again.”  Mr. Eye said, “the beginning to healing is admitting you have a problem and then not repeating that problem.”  Then, there was the collective belly laugh from everyone, including me.  Really, that statement made me realize that these are my people.

Revelation

When Trell finished the haircut, he told Jude to keep on playing sports in that “white” school…let them get a taste of what a star he was.  Then, I need to transfer him to Paducah Tilghman where the “brothers” play and that is where he will excel.  I smiled and said we didn’t live in that area but my mom was a teacher at the middle school there.  Mr. Trell looked at me and said “No way!”  Who is your mom?  I told him her name.  He smiled from ear to ear and asked me if she was a fiery redhead!  Yes, indeed she is.  My mom was his homeroom teacher!  What a small world.  He excited to meet me and her grandson.  Praises were thrown my way in what an amazing teacher she was.  That warmed my heart.

Ultimate Conclusion

I like these people.  The place was clean and spacious.  So many people all in the throes of life and doing the best they can!  We will be back and I promise to never, ever, ever cut Jude’s hair again.  I have learned my lesson and I have seen greatness in a person’s craft.  Jude seeing good men, who love Jesus, loves their family, running a successful business, and being men of color is just what my son needs in his life.  Well, those are the Life Lessons Learned at the Barbershop.

God is good!

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Excuse Me While I Cry

Excuse Me While I Cry

Well…if you will Excuse Me While I Cry, I would appreciate it.  Hunter’s teacher, Ms. Kim, sent this to me last week.  He spelled his name by himself for the first time ever.  Let me explain the “by himself” part.

Hunter has Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome.  His condition is 1 in 5 million.  It affects everything from speech to feeding himself to walking, excessive shaking, low muscle tone.  Basically going from a 3 yr old normal child to a 3 yr old newborn who shakes violently.

Backend of Condition

The “front-end” of the condition is what I described (oh so briefly) above.  The “back-end” of his condition is low functioning, memory loss, learning disabilities, cognitive, and sleeping issues.  Oh, let’s not forget the rages and fits.

Anyway, when Hunter holds anything to write or cut with, a teacher will place her hand over his and put pressure on it.  He has hand/wrist/arm weights and he does use those but he doesn’t like to.  So now, they just do hand over hand to give him stabilization.

When he wrote his name, he DID NOT NEED any hand over hand.  He copied the letters he saw BY HIMSELF.  Alone.  WITH NO HELP!  I feel like I am screaming.  Frankly and unashamedly, I am!

Let’s Just Keep on Going

Now Remember

A year ago, we were told to bring him home.  That he would succumb to his condition.  Now, he is learning, growing, writing, and spelling his name!  God is SO GOOD and so faithful.  I am in awe.

He chiggers me so badly somedays.  I mean, you all know a 5 yr old can get all up in your stuff and jump up and down on your last nerve.  Clearly, in this video, he was wound tighter than a drum.  Yet, the alternative as to where he was a year ago.  I will take this wild child over that sad little boy any day of the week!

Miracle Child

I had a doctor tell my other mom last week that he was a Christian but that the day of miracles is over.  That he could explain everything with science.  God didn’t do miracles anymore…that’s why He created doctors.

I just smiled and said, “You should meet my son.”  He didn’t have much to say to me after that. Here is a video of him a year ago.  Now, tell me that my God didn’t and isn’t performing a miracle in this child?

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