Saturday, October 17, 2015


. Things have been really tough for the past couple of months. Fourth grade is a huge challenge for Jon. Academically, he should not have any problems. He is an A - B student. Very smart. But....his anxiety is causing issues. We are at the end of the first nine week grading period and he is failing every academic subject. The teachers allow the kids to re-test on the important grades. They provide extra teaching sessions, make them do corrections on the initial test and then give them another chance. Jon failed to attend one re-test and got a 30% on another. His answers were random and nonsense. There were missing worksheets that he did at home and were in his binder as he left the house, but never made it to school. Homework with food all over it. Torn worksheets. Missing work.
  Why? I have several theories but no definitive answers. Also, we are revisiting some nasty bathroom behaviors. Pee and poo all over the bathroom. On the floor. On the wall above the toilet. On the cabinets next to the toilet. On the bath tub. Everywhere. Plus toothpaste on the tub, the floor, the toilet, etc. And then, deodorant smeared all over the mirror. Nasty messages written in deodorant on the mirror. Nice.
  Lots of tears and temper tantrums. Treating me very nastily. Just acting out any way he can think of. He is hurting himself, sabotaging himself. We tell him this but he doesn't get it. So last week, I let him "accidentally" overhear me talking to his Dad. I to,d him how worried I was that because he had only been promoted 'conditionally' to fourth grade that if his grades were failing they would move him back to third grade now. I told him how upset I was by that idea and how awful it would be for Jon. He would lose all his friends, be with littler kids, and be so embarrassed. Surprisingly, ever since that day he has been scoring in the upper 80's to 100 on every assignment. I knew he could do it! We have been giving him great praise and congrats. Maybe, just maybe, he is turning this around. Oh please, let that be the case!!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Hanging at the Island

Working on getting the fishing rods ready for action. So many fish! It was amazing. Someone was reeling in a fish every couple of minutes!

At the beach. Rocking the Red, White and Blue!

Sunset was so beautiful.
   The view from our bedroom. Is that awesome or what?

King of the beach!

 What's to eat? That is the sound I hear all day, every day. I can't even unload groceries before they are into them and ripping into the food. Worms, I say, WORMS! They must have worms!!!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Oh Ahren

  Something is going on with Ahren. This past school year he struggled with attention, which was nothing new. He is sweet, laid back and would prefer for someone, anyone, to do everything for him. But then as I spent more time with him this summer some new issues have appeared.
  He rocks back and forth on his feet all the time. If I interrupt him he can stop, but it starts up again shortly. He flaps his hands. He struggles to get words out and repeats the first two words of his idea over and over again. This isn't stuttering, it is different. He is stuck in a loop of thought and cannot escape it. His severe constipation and encopresis is not responding to the normal treatment. He is walking in a weird stumpy, bent over position.  He is often confused and asks the same questions over and over again.
  He had a doctors appointment today and got blood work, urine, ekg, etc. next step is specialists. Again. Will we ever get answers? So worried about him. He just seems lost.....

Friday, August 07, 2015

Time for honesty

  Okay, let's be honest here. One of our munchkins is struggling. For the past 7 months he has been a hot mess. Here is a bit of a rundown on his behaviors that we are seeing and trying to deal with.

1) He came within a fraction of not passing third grade. In fact, he wouldn't have passed except his teacher didn't enter a bunch of zeros into the computer and therefore his grades barely passed. Why was he flunking? He didn't do his work in class or he did the work but put in non-sense answers. He actually ATE his spelling test one time. He is a smart kid, very smart, and it took a determined effort to rise to this level of failure.

2) He threatened to kill a classmate. He hurt classmates physically. He said and did mean things to his friends and brothers, but always away from adult eyes and ears. He stole things. He denied each and every instance even in the face of multiple witnesses.

3) He has clogged the toilet multiple times with so much toilet paper that it is sticking out of the seat. Then he flushes and flushes until it all flows all over the bathroom. Then he shuts the door, walks away and denies it was him.

4) Be breaks everything he touches. At current count there are 5 broken sets of headphones, at least 7 sets of broken goggles, two broken RC cars and one RC helicopter, pool floats, his computer, his iPad, two chargers, the painting in my entryway, his watch, a curtain rod, and much more I can't even remember. Just yesterday he tore a pool noodle into three pieces. We keep taking things away and not replacing them, so he breaks other people's stuff. He came home from camp one day with a pair of sunglasses (not his) that he had twisted into a pretzel.

5) He has zero impulse control. I subbed at school one day and took him with me (no way I could leave him home) and he was out of control. He hit a 4 year old in the head with a tennis racket, got in trouble for wrestling multiple times, knocked over and then walked on a space divider in the library, knocked books off the shelves, repeatedly threw the playground balls at peoples heads, and used the large balls to ram and knock over people. I made him sit out over and over again and he then sat there and gave me the death glare. Really, if looks could kill I would be dead a million times over.

6) Everything is 'Sorry, it was an accident.' He wanted me to smell his soup today and managed to pour it down my shirt. He went to give me a hug and bent my arm backwards hurting me.  He is walking through the dining room and knocks over a chair. He smacks his friend in the head with pool noodle. He breaks something. 'Sorry. It was an accident.' Okay, he's a kid, accidents happen. But after the 50th or 60th 'accident' of the week you have to wonder what his real agenda is. If it is to drive me insane, then he is succeeding.

We have greatly reduced the amount of stimulation he gets. Very few playmates and only at our house under my watchful eyes. No birthday parties, no trips to the zoo or movies or anything fun. We have made sure he is getting enough sleep (he is a monster if he is tired). He goes to therapy. The only thing we haven't done is put him back on medication. It has been almost 2 years since we got him off of everything. Well, it is time to revisit the idea of meds. He has an appt next week. That will give us enough time to get him used to them before school starts. No idea what meds we will use, that will be determined after we see the doctor and have a long talk. The child is not going to be happy. He hates meds. They are the source of a massive power struggle between us. I wish we didn't have to go there again, but this cannot continue. He has a very tough, no-nonsense teacher this year. His life is going to be absolutely miserable if this behavior continues. My biggest fear is that they will kick him out and send him to the alternative school. Honestly, after he threatened to kill a classmate they had every right to do exactly that. He is on borrowed time already and their tolerance for his actions is gone.

So there it is. The ugly truth. We are struggling but not giving up and not quitting!!!

Oh, I forgot to add, when our traumatized kiddos behave the most unlovable, that is when they need the most love.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Six Months

  Yesterday was the 6 month mark since the day my 19 year old nephew died. It is unfathomable to me it has been that long. It is inconceivable to me it hasn't been much longer. Time has become something warped in those six months. He would now be 20 years old, graduating with his EMS license, ready to join the military to become Special Ops and about to head off to see the world. He had big dreams, big plans. Had. That has to be the saddest word on earth. 'Had'.  He had so much going for  him. His future shined as brightly as any could. His family loved and supported him. He was on the verge of stepping out into the world to make his mark and oh what a mark he would make!!!!

  Instead there are broken hearts, so many questions, so much pain and grief. Why? We will never know. It is not for us to understand. We must simply learn to accept and be okay with that. I think we all struggle with the questions, the guilt, the anger, the senselessness of what happened. Suicide. What an ugly word that describes the world ceasing to exist as we once knew it. The tremendous loss cannot be understood unless you have felt it. Unfortunately, as we have learned, way too many lives have been  upended suddenly by suicide. I never knew so many people around me had suffered this sort of loss. It isn't often discussed. I mean, how do you launch into that discussion? "I am planning to stop at the store on my lunch hour and my nephew/brother/cousin/etc killed themselves." I am not sure if it made me feel better that so many people truly understand what we are going through, or if it upsets me more because so many people have had this particularly difficult experience in their lives.

  What I do know is that Zane's death affected many, many people. Not just family, but friends, church members, mentors, and the families of Zane's friends. It's a huge ripple effect. Strangely, part of why he died is that he felt so unloved. If he could just see how many, many people he left behind hurting and broken hearted. If he could just have had a sense of how much he was truly loved!

 We love you Zane!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Quote of the day

  Yesterday's post was very emotional for me. After losing my nephew in January at the tender age of 19 I am a raw nerve. Learning that Rachel is once again fighting for her life has hit me hard. Children should be naive, have fun and never have to deal with anything harder than whether they want vanilla or chocolate ice cream. I tend to start feeling sorry for myself when dealing with Jon's issues but something like this reminds me of my favorite saying:

                            I felt sorry for I had no shoes until,I saw a man who had no feet.

So, instead of feeling sorry for myself and then feeling guilty, I bring you the quote of the day......

Levi: "I don't like hotdogs. They taste like they are made from pigs' buttholes."

Nothing truer has ever been said. Just saying. I still love them though. Here piggy piggy piggy.....

Friday, June 26, 2015

Rachel…..Please Pray

Rachel is the 9 year old daughter of a friend of mine. Anne and I worked together for many years, we have been at each other's kids birthday parties and Rachel is in the same class with Ahren and Jon at our school.

Over the past six years Rachel has fought and beaten cancer, not once but twice! She is an amazing little girl with amazing parents. 

A few weeks ago she began to experience weird symptoms. Tests found an inoperable brain tumor. It is a glioblastoma multiforme, Level 4. It is an aggressive cancer that is difficult to treat. They have placed her survival rate at 10-20%.

Rachel has heard this before and beaten it. 

What she needs now is lots and lots of prayers and donations. Two rounds of cancer have depleted this family emotionally and financially. Now is the time to rally around them and prove that there are great people in this world. Caring, loving people who take care of others in their greatest time of need.

Here is the link to Rachel's Go Fund Me page.

I will keep you posted as her treatment plan is decided on and the treatment begins. 

God Bless you all.