Sunday, April 26, 2015

Levi loves the show Dr. Who so I found the original pattern and made a smaller version of it for him. 

Chris surprised the boys with a new dirt bike. The old one was getting much too small for them.

Levi in the kitchen with me making braised short ribs. All of our boys love to cook and I enjoy the help and the company! 

Yum Yum!!! And easy-peasy.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

It's been a long, difficult, time

  I know I have been very absent. Even my family has given up bugging me for updates. Huge sigh…. I lay in bed at three am and write posts in my head. They are so witty and entertaining and informative….they just never make it into print. Of course everything I think at 3 am seems terribly witty, entertaining and informative. It is probably all drivel and makes no sense. Hah!
  So, when my nephew died I was devastated. The kids saw me lose my shiznet in a way no one has ever seen. Then barely more than a day later I leave for a week to be with my sister and family. The boys seemed to deal with it, the week was uneventful here and life went on. When I returned I felt like I had been gone forever, living in an alternate universe, very disconnected. I burst into tears randomly, had trouble connecting with anyone and slept very little. Levi and Ahren showed great empathy and suffered a little along with me. Jon spiraled out of control. His grades went from an average of 98 to 57 in the last 9 week grading period. He began stealing again, he put nonsense answers on his work, he destroyed important papers (field trip permission slips…several of them) he lied and acted out and was a completely unregulated mess. We immediately found a grief counselor who specializes in attachment issues. She is new to the area or we would have been on her doorstep a long time ago! She is helping but it is slow going. Many layers to unravel.
  After his third trip to the principals office in 10 days we instituted commando parenting. He has lost all extracurricular activities. No parties, no sleep overs, no play dates, no electronics, no special anything. He is getting tons of hugs and love, lots of support making good decisions and lots of physical activity. Every day we give him a pep talk about how great he is and what he can do if he only wants to do it. His teachers are on board and supporting this too. It is working!! He is trying, he is making better decisions, and he acts like he feels calm and loved! His grades are coming up. He still has moments, but they are getting farther between and lesser in degree.
  We still have a long way to go. Even to just get back to where he was 6 months ago. The good thing is that by working through this and surviving, he has learned such a valuable lesson. He is stronger and more confident in himself. Without trials in life how will he ever learn? The answer is he can't. We could place him in a bubble and not rock the boat but we can't protect him forever. It is more important to give him the tools and foundation to handle the normal problems life hands us. Let's tough it out now and then he has the chance at a very happy, successful life.

 Love this little guy more than cheese!!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

I love him so much

  Jon is struggling. But....he is seeking help,and a grounding in me. He keeps seeking hugs and my affirmations of love.  He is trying.
  In the meantime their is pee and poo in the bathroom on surfaces it should not be on, he is bouncing off the walls, and his language is very inappropriate. He is hurting his friends at school, doing nonsense on his school work, and being super annoying at home. I just keep hugging him, loving him, and talking to him. He went to bed early tonight very willingly. That is a good sign. When he is calm and sleeps he is okay. Poor baby, this really upset him.
  Just to let you know what a kid with RAD/PTSD can do to show you he is struggling, here is the truth: pee on the wall behind the toilet, poop on the wall, dispenser and tub, broken toys, ugly words, underwear with pee and poo, pants with dried pee on them, hitting, sleeping issues, hurting the pets, and any other thing he can think of that is NOT what I want. You cannot imagine unless you have been there. There was a time when he sneaked my earrings and destroyed one of each pair. For a long time I thought I  lost my mind since I only had one of each pair. Then I found the other ones twisted and broken and I figured it out. He was so smart. He took one of each pair and destroyed it. He is so smart.
 Then there werenthe months of poop on everything. Poop on clothes, the walls, the shower, the toys, the doors, everything! Even in the dryer, while it was turned on. Hot poop. Not good!!! We survived and were better for it. Maybe not better smelling but better understanding.
  He needs us to take it. He needs us to persevere. He needs us to be stubborn, and we are, more than he will ever know. Love will win out. We will love him more than he can push us away. He won't win, love will win. We will love him to success. He is so worth it!!!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2015


  If we have learned anything about our RADish it is that changes trigger him. Now take this child who has had so much loss in his life, make his Mama super sad, then have her disappear for a week and you get the Tsunami of fallout. At home he seemed to be doing okay, extra clingy and mildly annoying but hanging in there. Then I got the urgent e-mail from the school. Duh-duh-duh. (scary music)
  I met with his teachers on Tuesday and they painted a very different picture. At school he was out of control, failing his work, picking on others and creating mayhem. They showed me some of his recent work and for one math problem he had answered it DOG. Now that takes some dedication and work to come up with completely nonsense answers. Not just wrong answers, but completely nonsense.
  The kicker, though, was on Monday he had convinced two boys to hold a staring contest and as they tried not to blink, he smashed their heads together. I dare you not to laugh! Where does he come up with this stuff? If he would just use his powers for good not evil……sigh.
  We thought about consequences for all of this but decided to just love him more and help him through this. We are seeing a new therapist but not sure I am impressed yet. We may need to consider a return to meds but only if absolutely necessary to keep his anxiety at a level he can deal with.
  So for now, do NOT let this boy talk you into a staring contest.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Broken Hearts

Please pray for my family. On Thursday we lost my dear nephew Zane. He was only 20 years old, a beautiful, vibrant, intelligent young man. We are all in shock. It just can't be real. Someone wake us up from this nightmare. Tomorrow morning I head to my sister Dana's home to be with her for the next week. I wish we lived closer to each other and not half a nation away. A week is not enough time to hug her, touch her, share with her. I love her so much and I can do so little. So very little. Please pray. We need it so much right now.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

What's Up?

We have been super, super busy around here. Lots of fun and lots of not-so-fun things happening. Here is a quick update.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday we travelled for about 35 hours total in the car to visit family. The boys travel well, amazingly! Here are a few highlights. I still have one more camera of pics to download so I am missing some people and activities.

We saw and played in real snow! This is the first time my boys have ever seen snow. We had to buy some snow gear when we got to Iowa because you can't get mittens and heavy coats in Houston. There was not a ton of snow, but there was enough and the right quality to build a snowman.

Jon decided to make a snow angel while at my parent's house so he went out onto the snowy deck, plopped face down and began to move his arms and legs up and down. He quickly came up, face full of snow, gasping for breath. We all watched and laughed!!! He had only seen it on TV and din't have a clue how to really make a snow angel. He still had fun!!

At my in-laws ranch we got to bottle feed a 2-week old calf. This little guy was not getting enough milk from his Mom and was close to death when they brought him to the barn, made him a warm spot and started bottle feeding him. We petted him and loved on him and he was the sweetest little guy. When Levi found out he was destined to be meat on someone's table he cried and cried. Levi, not the calf. Sweet boy with such a kind heart.

We named the calf Sir Loin, even though they do not name the cattle because they do not want to get attached to them. Sorry, we still got attached and will continue to think of him as a sweet calf living on the ranch, forever the size of a large dog.

We visited some buffalo that were very friendly. This is the bull of the herd and all he wanted was to lick you and to have his head scratched.

He was huge, but not as big as some buffalo I have seen. Maybe they were Beefalo, a cross between cows and buffalo???? Still an amazing experience.

We saw amazing sunsets on the ranch. Looking out across the couple hundred or so acres of family land. It makes me want to go lead a simpler life.

At my parents house we actually stayed in a resort hotel with an indoor water park. This is a picture from the last time we visited there. This time we were the ONLY family in the resort the beginning of the week. They were so awesome and turned on the pumps each day just for us and turned them off when we were done. It gave my folks a break each afternoon and the boys a chance to burn off energy.  There are two indoor water play areas and it was all ours. We felt so spoiled!!!!

One last photo. This little guy is struggling as he does every year at this time. I love him so much and I hate to see him struggle. Buster has been sticking very close to him, doing his best therapy dog work and it is helping. Such a sweet boy. He deserves the best in life!!!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Stinky Scalp Syndrome…It's a thing

  Ever since we brought Jon home he has had a distinctive 'smell' about him. It ranges from mildly annoying to downright nasty stank. I would smell him (usually the top of his head) and immediately haul him off for a bath or shower. I would scrub him and scrub him but he would still smell when he dried off. It would be better, but the smell was still there. I chalked it up to some sort of weird body chemistry, switched him to men's deodorant shampoo/body wash and kept on scrubbing him. I have even been known to spray his hair with Febreeze (desperate times folks) when we were on our way to church/etc and he was especially odiferous.
  Then one day I began googling 'stinky kid', 'stinky head' and 'my kid smells bad'. This is where I found out that there is actually something called Stinky Scalp Syndrome. It is believed to be an overgrowth of the wrong kinds of bacteria/fungus on the scalp. Normal washing does not remove the bacteria/fungus, it just rinses away some of the stinky residue. The noxious organisms continue to cling to the hair strands and scalp and quickly begin churning out their toxic funk again. So now I knew why this poor child was so smelly and why my efforts to keep him clean were not working.
  The next step was how to treat the scalp? I saw many posts of people being given antibiotic and anti-fungal lotions, potions, rinses, etc. Every single person reported a temporary improvement followed by reoccurrence of the smells, even with continued treatment in some cases. Some of these treatments had some very unpleasant side affects, too, like burning skin, intense itching, dry flaking scalp, etc. That didn't sound like what I wanted to put on my young son's head. I kept searching but didn't really find what I was looking for, so I turned to my knowledge of science and the steps we take to keep bacteria and fungi from contaminating our work. It seemed to me that some of the solutions we used were antibacterial/antifungal and also safe on the skin. Aha! I was onto something.
  I ended up using liquid Lysol in a mild solution. I dampen his head, rub it in and let it sit until it dries. Then he showers. At first I used it three days in a row with amazing results. He smelled clean. Then I went to once a week and he stayed clean smelling. I still thought that was a bit much, so now he gets a treatment about once a month. I am happy to report he has had no side effects and he smells great!
  Note, I am not endorsing using Lysol or any other product on your child or on yourself. This is definitely not a recommended use for their product. I am simply reporting what worked for us after many other things failed. Use at your own risk!