Sunday, October 30, 2016

When Anxiety Rears its Head

So many times I begin to take for granted our normal, smooth, everyday life. And then there are times that jump out and sucker punch you in the gut. That's what Saturday felt like.

This guy and I had a day to hang out together at Six Flags. The littles were home with a sitter (because Fright Fest is a bit much for them), Olivia had a friend with who would ride the big rides and go to the haunted houses with her, and Braeden and I got to just spend time. This was the last day we were going to be using our season passes, and since Braeden didn't want to ride anything except the carousel, we were people watching, going to the hypnotist, and seeing a musical show.  We used our dining plan for food and it was a great day.

But the park gets scary after 6, people dressed in costumes show no mercy no matter your age and he was scared when we came a few weeks ago.  So we decided to leave the park before 6. Originally we were going to just sit in the car and watch a movie, but he wanted to spend the allowance he had just gotten. So I let him talk me into going down the road to the huge outlet mall.  Mistake.

I'm not sure what triggered him: the size, the people, the excitement of the stores there, or a combination of many, but within five minutes his demeanor and our day went from smiling and happy to growling and angry. The next two and a half hours were basically hell. It caught me so off guard. I kept trying different strategies to help him. He did not want to leave. But finally I did have to walk out ... And pray he followed. It took a while but he finally did.

We waited a while in the car before the girls were done. Putting a movie in began to help him come back down but even with them in the car on the way home it took about 30 minutes for him to somewhat even out. 

Not long ago we went to see Braeden's doctor. He told us that if Braeden didn't already have the anxiety diagnosis he would probably diagnose him with ptsd instead as it paints a clearer picture. 

I'd have to agree.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Being the Good

Liam learned a wonderful lesson today. There was even more to our story though that he had no idea of.  

Today he and I went grocery shopping while the rest stayed home.  We went to our local aldi*s because money is tight and my budget stretches far there.  As we were checking out, I noticed a gentleman shopping in his electric wheelchair.  He had a worn plastic bag on one arm of the chair and a well used backpack between his feet. He was utilizing his right arm to reach the needed groceries, maneuver his chair, and precariously balance his items in his lap, while his left arm stayed by his side unable to be used.  Many shopped around him, either oblivious to or unwilling to acknowledge his need.

As we finished checking out, I asked Liam (already knowing his answer) if he'd like to go help the gentleman while I finished checking out and bagging our items. He was shy but happy to help. He asked and the man was glad for the assistance. Liam took one of our quarters to get a cart and unload the items from the man's lap into the cart. He then aided him in finding his last few things. After checking out we both helped him load up. I knew there was no car in the lot for him. He would be driving his chair back home, and there are no close residences to the store. I could only imagine how long it would take. In the spitting rain developing outside.

His items were not going to fit. In my cart we had one reusable bag left that we hadn't needed to use. Our largest one, Mickey front and center, which usually gets filled first and today just hadn't even been used. Only God.

We filled his plastic bag and our reusable bag. The gentleman protested saying the bag was ours but Liam spoke up and assured him we had plenty. I love that he'll be able to use it more than just today.  I love that Liam had such a great experience helping others.  

We need more good in the world. 
We need to start truly 'seeing' one another.
It starts with us. One person at a time.

Thursday, June 16, 2016


It's finally summer! That time when I get to transition from full time teacher and mom to just full time mom. I love having time to sleep in, lounging through lazy days, catching up on organizing things around the house, and spending time with the kids and friends.

This year unlike others, the end snuck up on me. It came fast and hard both at school and at home.  Usually I begin in April planning for the next school year: classroom layout, schedule, new ideas. I look at the students I'll potentially have, what worked this year, what didn't, how I can make it better. With all the issues this year with our state budget, local budget cuts and money saving 'ideas', personnel changes, etc, it was a tougher year than most.  Before I knew it it was mid May.  But I feel we have a great plan in place and some real positive changes that I'm excited to implement come August.

Each of the kids did so well this year!

Liam had a good year (in my classroom!) and learned and grew and flourished in ways I was privileged to be a spectator to.  

Braeden and Olivia both had great years. Olivia struggled with having been on home bound so long from her illness in January, but she fought hard to come back strong. 

And Braeden excelled again at the amazing school he's able to be a part of.

Macy grew like crazy. She has continued to amaze me with all she does.  She made many friends, learned an incredible amount of 'kindergarten' skills as well as transitioning to English and just loves all she participates in.

Our family had a big year in many ways, with lots of ups and downs. Looking forward to just 'being' this summer.  And excited to see what this next year brings!
Sunday, May 15, 2016


Yesterday was Olivia's biological brother's high school graduation.  She hasn't seen him in years. We couldn't remember exactly how long it's been but we think at least 7 years. This was the most recent picture I could find...

We lost touch after that.  Although we still had his address and phone number, I wasn't pushing her to keep up correspondence and she didn't feel like doing so.  Not too long ago she was able to reconnect through texts and has been texting since.  When he asked her to come to his graduation she was on the fence about what the best decision was. Was this the best way to do a first time meeting after so long?  But in the end, with an amazing friend offering to watch the kids, she knew how important this day was for them both.

Olivia was extremely nervous and anxious, especially in the week leading up to the ceremony. She slept little and worried and wondered how it would all play out.

I think I was almost as anxious myself. A lot of big emotions playing into this trip and visit.

We both were pretty nauseous through the day but overall it went very well. She wasn't able to see him face to face until a while after the ceremony. He stalled coming to meet her because he was just as nervous. Although we weren't able to stay long, it was a good first visit.  They look and act so much alike! 😊

After leaving I felt a tremendous release.  I don't think I even realized how very much I was in a fog of nerves and anxiety myself over this past week. I felt buoyant and a million times lighter and re energized.

The ride home for Olivia was spent processing the day and cycling from nerves to relief to joy and then finally to a place of grief and sadness. 

She misses him terribly and I suspect has pushed those feelings aside for so long, not wanting to subject herself to grieving repeatedly things that are out of her control.  He was her caretaker. Her guardian. Her confidant. Her protector. The one constant, good part of her life in those early formative years.

And she will hopefully use this as a stepping stone to a new and strengthened relationship.

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About Me

I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

Braeden - 11

Braeden - 11

Liam - 9

Liam - 9

Macy - 5

Macy - 5

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What you should know about HIV

-HIV can NOT be spread through casual/household contact. HIV is not spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other casual way. It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles). - HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives. - People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support and acceptance as all people do. Additional information on transmission of HIV can be found on the Center for Disease Control website:

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Orphan Crisis

• 147 million orphans in the world
• 50 million orphans in Africa 
• Every 14 seconds a child is orphaned by AIDS
• 16,000,000 have been orphaned by AIDS
• Every week, AIDS claims as many lives as American fatalities in the Vietnam War
• 854 million people do not have enough to eat
• Malnutrition is associated with the deaths of 5 million children under the age of five
• Every 2 seconds an orphan dies from malnutrition

Hence the title of my blog

Little Did I Know

Little did I know that the road would be so rocky
Little did I know that the trip would take so long
Little did I know that my heart could hurt so much
Little did I know that God is never wrong

Little did I know that love could be so powerful
Little did I know that a dream so far could go
Little did I know that God would place the right ones
Little did I know that my heart, so large, could grow

Little did I know that a dream has it’s own timing
Little did I know that this day would finally come
Little did I know that four souls would be sent to guide me
Little did I know that they would choose to call me mom

But God knew all along and He had a plan to follow
God knew all along that my dream would soon come true
God knew all along that we five should be together
God knew all along that I’d share it all with you