Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 in Review

It is hard to believe that another year is coming to a close. Looking back, 2009 brought a lot of changes for me. Briefly, here is the rundown...

2009 didn't start out so well for us. My daycare business took a major blow the first half of the year. I just couldn't seem to hold onto kids in my business, then I had a psycho mom attack me about the care her kid was receiving in my home. Boy, that was DEFINITELY one I would like to forget. Unfortunately, I believe that her attack on my ability to care for children did a major number on my phone calls for new business. Oh well. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise. I am still waiting to see if that is true.

Chris's job started out shaky at best as well, but over the course of the year things have calmed down a little, though we did not get the bonus we usually get from his job this year.

I also blew my ONE New Years Resolution: To keep the checkbook balanced!!! Laughing my butt of right now at that one. I did well for a few months but as of today, I have not TOUCHED the checkbook since March 2009. That's why I don't make resolutions.

On a good note... we started Harrison on the Medicine for his ADHD that seemed to work. The combination of meds and therapy helped get him started in school this past fall on a good note and so far so good. He is making great strides in his education and is reading ABOVE grade level. A year ago, he was WELL BELOW grade level, so I am very proud of my boy. The difference a year can make is AMAZING and I thank GOD for that.

May brought about some major changes in my extended family. My cousin, who had suffered from MS passed away on Mothers Day. Fitting if you know the background here. At long last she was freed from her abusive husband, also freeing her three children from their TERRIBLE father. They are now in decent foster homes and we no longer have to deal with the crap their father dished out to my family (my Mother and Grandmother). May she rest in Peace FINALLY.

Summer brought about a much needed vacation to the beach and countless days spent at the pool. Due to my light daycare enrollment I was able to enjoy a few days at the pool with my two little friends and one of the Moms on occasion. By the end of summer though, it became clear to me that my daycare days were coming to an end and in August I decided to close my doors after 6 years of running my own business. It was with VERY mixed emotions that I made this move, but I am not looking back. I promptly sold ALL my daycare items and chose to move forward with whatever came my way. I'm still waiting.

I did find a job at Kroger first of all, then moved on to Target and substitute teaching during the day. I have found that Target is a wonderful place to work and I actually feel appreciated there for the first time EVER in a job. Sadly, the pay doesn't quite cover the bills I have but I am thankful to have a job of some sort when there are many who don't have anything at all right now. I am hanging on until something comes my way.

I have also managed to lose about 10 pounds these past few months. Not sure why, but I am not arguing there. I'll take it.

Finally, 2009 brought me a new bathroom FINALLY. After about 3 long years of waiting I am finally able to shower in my ALMOST finished bathroom. Its all cosmetic now... framing doors and windows, hanging towel bars, light fixtures, etc. but the SHOWER WORKS, as does the sink and toilet.

2009 has had its ups and downs but I guess I will be stronger for them in the end. I look back on all that has happened and embrace it for what it is. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right??? Here's to 2010!! I'm ready for all that it has to offer!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Season of Giving

My family is struggling right now. After closing my childcare business of 6 years 2 months ago, I am still looking for full time employment and not finding it ANYWHERE!! I have been lucky enough to find two part time jobs... First at Kroger, which only lasted about 2 months, and currently at Target. I love it there. It is the first place I have actually worked that I feel appreciated for my contribution and the team building is phenomenal to say the least. OK, back to my point.

After months of financial struggles that show no sign up letting up anytime soon, having to depend on parents to provide your basic necessities, and begging for mercy to Social Services (of course we make about $100 too much a month to qualify for any assistance) I am trying to realize that others have it much worse than we do. We DO have a house, and clothing and food. We are lucky enough to be blessed with good health and jobs. Tonight, my kids and I watched the Operation Christmas Child video on Samaritan's Purse website. Our church is filling shoe boxes for this and we went to Target to get some items to donate. I wanted my kids to pick them out and then wanted them to see where the things would be going to so they would realize these are kids, just like them. They were very excited about their items going to one of the many kids that are in need around the world. Harrison and Maia need to see that other kids have NOTHING and that they have it really good, despite what they will lack this Holiday Season. With tight times, there will not be much under our tree this year, and that's OK.

This is a hard lesson to learn when you are use to having things you want and need without much thought to the cost. It is one that I am learning daily. Despite what I don't have, I actually DO HAVE quite a bit. In some ways, I would like to think that I am quite rich. I have great kids, a great husband, a great family and friends and I am healthy and able to work. I have a house, food, water, heat and clothing. I hope that I am able to share this in the coming months with my kids and really teach them the meaning of the Season.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Beginning of the End...

So, after 6 long years in the childcare business I am having to close my doors and move on. I have mixed feelings about this. Let me explain...

I have a degree in Graphic Design. For many years I worked happily in the field for a variety of companies. Then the kids came along. I stuck it out for 18 months after Harrison was born but was quite miserable after a while, missing my baby while working for a boss that I didn't get along with all the time. Things got increasingly difficult when I became pregnant with Maia when Harrison was only 9 months old. I developed pre-eclampsia and was taken out of work. I made a decision then to quit my job and raise my two children. I took three months off with Maia and then went back to work for one month until I could get all my ducks in a row.

I developed a information packet of sorts for a childcare business and started getting my name out there. I was able to find kids to keep in my home and quit my design job when Maia was 3 months old. I never looked back. It has been a crazy 6 years. Full of ups and downs, highs and lows in the business. Crazy parents and GREAT parents. I have learned a lot about myself, my kids, other kids and what I am able to tolerate.

I am pretty sure the lagging economy is to blame for my lack of phone calls, but who can say for sure. Maybe God has a bigger plan for me and that is why this is all happening. About a week ago, I learned that Jenna, who I have had since she was 12 weeks old (she is now 2) will be going to a more organized preschool. I kind of expected it. Some people do choose to put their kids in a school setting very early, though I am not a fan of it. This kind of sealed the deal for me. I have not had phone calls for childcare in quite a while and other people I know in the business are also hurting for kids to keep. With my family already struggling quite a bit, it became VERY CLEAR what would have to happen.

I have had 6 good years at home with my kids. For that I am very Grateful. Those are years that I would NEVER be able to get back and though not all the times were good and I definitely lost a TON of potential income, it was all well worth it to see my kids thru the early developmental years. They are now going into 1st and 2nd grades.

So, the job search begins. It is scary for me. I have been home for 6 years working with children. I have learned patience galore. I have become the master multi-tasker. I am a jack of all trades. I know I have skills, but when certain skill sets lay dormant for so long you have to wonder how they will come back to you. I feel like a fish out of water. Out of my comfort zone. YET, I am excited at the same time. Mostly, right now, I am very nervous about where my next paycheck will come from and just how low my family will sink into financial despair before we are able to pull ourselves back up from it.

There is a new career for me out there somewhere. I am on a quest to find it... Relying heavily on my faith...shutting no doors that are open to me. I am in contact with people from my past again and I have to wonder if there is a reason for it. I have not sought these people out. They have found me. Or we have found each other. Gods hand at work? I would like to think so. Some of these people have some very high up positions or are very well connected. I will try to put the patience I have learned over the 6 years to work for me now. It will take all I have to get thru the next few weeks. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Moments of Sweetness

They are very short lived, those little moments that make you tear up with an unparalleled joy that makes your heart just burst with pride! I had one of those moments last night. As I was putting the kids to bed (they both sleep in Maia's room), Harrison went and got his youth Bible and I found him and Maia laying in her bed and he was reading it to her. I almost wept. So sweet. I just HAD to get a photo of this moment before it was gone. Photo quality is not all that great, but I had to act quickly. Like I said, these moments come and go very quickly!

Pet Torture

Maia and Harrison have been at Church Day camp all week. Tuesday, they came home with little hats they had made for Louie and Max. Surprisingly, the cats were very cooperative while they were being held down to have the hats put on their heads. I didn't get a photo of Max; Maia never got it on his head. Harrison did manage to get the hat, complete with chin strap, on Louie. He looks REAL amused, doesn't he??

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Art of Being Busy

I just read a great article shared with me by a facebook friend. Take a look. I know a bunch of Moms this applies too. I have often wondered how they keep up. They make me feel inferior. They are the Moms that are always involved in something; school, charity, church, sports, friends, dating their husband, being the best mom, soccer mom. Do I really need to continue? On top of all that they bake, cook, clean, sew, do crafts and have an immaculate house to boot. Some of these women are some of my best friends. If you are reading this, you know who you are. Don't take this the wrong way. I do not hold it against you. You amaze me. BUT this article really does get to the heart of the matter.

I work from home running a daycare. I think most people think that because I stay home, oh, excuse me, sit at home all day doing nothing, that I should be able to have a neat and tidy house. That dinner should be ready, clothes and dishes should be washed and put away, etc. I do manage to "manage" all the appointments, but bills sometimes get overlooked in the mix of everything else I have to do. Yes, I am a busy Mom too. But I can promise that I am not trying to compete with other supermoms out there who seem to be able to do it all with grace. Most days, I'm doing good to get a shower and put on decent clothes by dinner time. I am slowly learning how to say "no" when asked to do/participate in/take part of/attend something that I just don't feel compelled to do. Sometimes, it really is because I have other plans, but more than not, it is just because I can't take one more thing on me that is not something that I am not 100% wanting to do. I have had to bow out of Relay for Life events this spring, I have missed parties and other events, church activities and the like that I just am not into whole-hearted. If I can't do it joyfully, I would just rather not do it at all.

I do hear alot of other Moms saying how busy they are. You ask to have lunch with someone (I am not really speaking of any particular incident), just hang out with someone, meet someone for drinks/shopping/a movie, and you get "oh, if I weren't so busy doing X, Y, and Z then I would love too. Sometimes I wonder if we have really moved away from the simple life and are trying to outdo each other as Mothers, like the article states. Everyone is trying to keep up with the next person who seems to have it all together. I can PROMISE you that there are not many people out there trying to keep up with me. I have looked at these women and asked myself how they manage to do and have it all. Do they really really want to be that way? Are they in some sort of competition with the next person? Are they REALLY happy being this way and doing that much?

I would love to hear other thoughts on this, if you are not to busy to drop me a line!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Suddenly Understand Myself a Whole Lot Better...

... and here's why. My whole dang family is a nut case waiting to happen!! I love them all but good grief. Give me a break already. I have been told that I was basically a disappointment for going to college to get $50K in debt for a degree that I no longer use. That I sit home on my butt all day keeping kids and that I would never be forgiven for that. Nice. I have been told to go get a job that pays better, that is more secure, that is stable, that is outside the home, etc. BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH. Does that even exist??? Really. Show me a decent paying job that is secure in this day and age where a 6 year out of experience washed up graphic designer would be happy and I will PAY YOU to send them my resume. I don't like corporate America. I have ZERO desire to go there EVER AGAIN.

Is my job all fun and games? No. Is any job? No. Unless you are just plain crazy. I guess there are people who really love their work. I, personally, get my satisfaction from things outside of my job, no matter what that may be. My family, my kids, my friends, my free time. You know. A job is a job is a job. It pays the bills. Period. I don't know why my chosen career has been such a source of contention among my family. Did I gripe and tell my brothers what losers they would be if they didn't get a college education? NO! Do I tell my younger brother that he needs to wake up and smell the coffee and quit living the high life at home with Mom and Dad? NO. I won't divulge all our family "secrets" here, but I just had to get this off my chest.

For everyone reading this... I may be overweight, underpaid, broke most of the time and have a three year old bathroom renovation in progress, but I am overall VERY HAPPY. 97% of the time. I think that is pretty good odds myself.

I have a few gripes. I would like to see more of my friends. We see each other far too infrequently. But people get busy and life moves on. I woke up a few weeks ago and DAMN! I was 37! My friends we hung out with last night have a daughter that is almost the age we were when I first met them. Give or take a few years. I clearly remember when my Mom was the age I am now. CLEARLY. Scary. I don't have time to spend one more second of my life wondering what I could have done differently.

I make a choice 6 years ago to give up my career, temporarily or not, to stay home and be a mother. I have NEVER regretted it. It has not always been easy, financially speaking. But I raised my kids. I saw them get to where they are. I was here when they needed me. I wouldn't trade that for anything. Why is this something to have to be "forgiven" for??

As for the help that we have been given. Don't give it with strings attached. That's not cool. I have not asked for it so don't give it with strings. It's just not worth it.

I am not sorry I have disappointed the people closest to me in my life. Not my problem. I don't get what they have a problem with myself. I think I have done pretty well for myself considering I have ALWAYS held a job from the day I turned 16. Hell, sometimes i even had two and three jobs all while going to school. More than I can say for most people. My husband has always worked. He doesn't make a ton of money but he works. Two jobs. Our kids are well adjusted and happy. They know they are loved and can count on us, as their parents to be there. Isn't that how success should be measured? My true friends love me rich or poor. They are there when I need them and they know who they are. I am thankful for you all.

As for me, I understand why I am the way I am now. I kinda like me. As for forgiveness for my shortcomings? I don't want it or need it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Build A Bear Fun

Maia's Daisy Troop went to Chuck E Cheese and Build a Bear last weekend. It was how they chose to spend their cookie sale profits. Well, at least some of it. The rest will remain in the account for next year. Here are some photos from the day.

picking outfits for the dog and bunny. I really really wish I had been the inventor of this store! The stinking underwear for the bunny cost me $3.50!! He's laughing all the way to the bank!!!

Doing the dance they do when you put the heart in the animal.

Maia giving her bunny a good scrub down and brushing.
Three girls with their creations.

Chuck-E-Cheese with funny mouse mouth cups. These cracked me up!

Boy, we had fun but I am soooooo glad we don't have one of these in town or we would be broke!

Maia eating her dippin dots. She loves these! Again, I am soooo glad we don't have this place in our hometown!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Having an Only Child...

...must be dull. No offense to all my dear friends out there. Let me explain. Sunday, Harrison left with my parents and his cousin Ethan to go camping for a week. It is just Chris, Maia and myself until Maia and I travel to where they are on Friday to meet them and camp for the weekend. I have too much free time and it is waaaaayyyyyyy to quiet. Maia, on the other hand, is enjoying all the one on one attention. She did say she misses him in the mornings and that it is lonely. They really do love each other even though they spend half the time trying to inflict bodily harm upon each other. Personally, I can't wait to see my baby boy again on Friday!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Louies New House

My dad made this cat condo for his "baby" Minnie, but she seems to have outgrown it. He brought it over for my cats. Louie loved his new house!!

Hose Fun

The first hot, sunny day in almost a week warranted a little cooling off, hose style...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Time to Move on...

Wednesday I attended my kids awards ceremony at TCM. I knew they were getting a reading award but wasn't expecting the others. Maia and Harrison both got perfect attendance for the year. I had NO idea. How cool!! Maia also got the Rocket Math award for meeting her goal in addition. Harrison's class won the recycle challenge that the school did. It was a great day for them! I was so proud of both of them. It has been a rough, but overall good year academically for Harrison. He started out way below where he should be and once he was diagnosed ADHD and properly medicated, the jump in his academic progress was astounding. He is now reading on a second grade level, versus the K. level he was at in November. We just need to iron out the kinks. Harrison on the far left in the brown and blue, and Maia striking a pose for me, receiving their Perfect Attendance Awards.

After the awards, I went to each class and distributed the teacher gifts. I was able to snap a photo of Harrison and Maia with their teachers. Mrs. Webb really seemed to like her gift. She is SUCH a great teacher! I cannot say enough about this woman. The kids adore her and she makes everything a lesson. It is amazing. Here are some photos from the day.

Maia with Mrs. Webb, before she gave her the gift.

Mrs. Webb, showing the class her flower pot. Even here, she was teaching them.

Mrs. Webb giving Maia a high five for the Kindergarten Rocks Tee shirt. I love this photo.

Mrs. Webb was the ONLY teacher I EVER saw eating lunch with her kids EVERY DAY! I thought this was so awesome! Her daughter, Nettie Jo, is in the yellow shirt.

Mrs. Webb, Bria, and Megan watching Maia being silly with her pizza.

Harrison acting shy, with his teacher, Mrs. Hudson. He finished up with an overall great year. Again, its all about the kinks...

I got them to pose today, Thursday June 11, for the last day of school shot! My how they have grown this year!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Teacher Gifts

End of the year equals teacher gifts to be made. Here is what I came up with.

The insert for the flower pot, which were $1 at AC Moore. Grass stickers, finger print butterflies by the kids, school photos and ABC stickers.

The insert in the pot. This one is Maia's for her teachers.

And Harrison's for his teachers.

finish the pot with a bag of potting soil tied up all nice and pretty, a wooden planter sign with the type of seed, and a packet of "Forget-Me-Nots" seeds and you are all set! All for less than $5 a gift. Hopefully the teachers will like it.

Popsicle sticks and a $.39 wooden sign painted white make up the sign.

Mrs. Webb, because she is so awesome, got the best gift. We LOOOOOOVVVVVEEEEE her. She Always says "....(fill in the blank here) Rocks!" She tells the kids they rock when they are successful in school, etc. You get the idea. Maia has a Kindergarten Rocks Tee shirt I made for her, so we made Mrs. Webb one too. Iron on letters for $2 for the entire sheet and the tee shirt was $2 on sale at AC Moore. The mini tote bag (this was TOTALLY Maia's idea!) was $1.39. I hope she likes her gift!

Breathe Deep and Count to 10...

I had to do that several times today. I visited my son and daughter's school for field day. I knew that Harrison would be missing a portion of the activities for his behavior in the past few weeks. I sought out my daughters class and had a great time with her class. Then I went to look for Harrison's class. I found them, minus Harrison. I spoke with the teacher to find out that he was in the office doing PILES of work that he had been refusing to do. I also learned that when he was asked to take his work out of his desk and get busy so he could eventually join the class for field day, he refused and put his head down. She told me that she turned up his desk and dumped it in the floor. He later told me he was embarrassed by this and all his friends laughed. This is a young teacher. For the most part, I have not had any issues with her. I like her and she has been really good at keeping me posted. That is why the next part of this was so hard for me to handle.

I hang out with Maia a bit more then decide to head inside to see Harrison and how much progress he was making on his work. ( I'll interject here to say that he had already earned some of field day so I was not too cool with the fact that all of that had been undone and his reward of earning some taken away.) When I got to the auditorium where he was at, there he was laying in the floor with PILES and PILES of work. OK, now when I was told that he was doing work he had refused to do, I was thinking a weeks worth at best. What I found was at least a months worth. This was work he should have been doing independently. My concern was that WHY was I not told before now? Didn't she realize that he was not turning in his work? How did it get so out of hand? I just don't understand how this happened. I could have been working with him at home to make it up. He should have been missing rewards/recess/fun things all along, not the last three days of school. I was so angry and upset. I felt awful for Harrison sitting there alone while his entire class and the entire school for that matter was out having fun. I am NOT dismissing what he did. But she is the teacher and I should have been told before it got out of hand. He is a 7 year old boy with a disability. Who's in charge here?

They tell me he doesn't qualify for the 504/IEP, whatever, because his learning is not being impacted by his disability. Uhhh, i think I would have to disagree after today. He told me when he got home from school that he had been stuffing papers in his desk since day 1 in first grade. I have called the school and demanded a child study be conducted ASAP and If I have too, I will be that parent that teachers loathe. I am my sons only advocate. I have to see that he gets what he needs, that he doesn't fall through the cracks. For Goodness sake, I pay my taxes! I know my rights. Something WILL be done about this.

On another note, Maia had a GREAT field day. Here are some photos from the day!

Maia throwing a pass!!

The girls! Katera, Maia, Bria, Grace, Maggie, Chloe, and Megan.

My girl doing the limbo. Her all time favorite game!

She won!! She is so good at this game, even on skates!

Maia and teacher extraordinaire, Mrs. Webb. I only wish Harrison could have had her. She use to teach 2nd grade. This was her first year in Kindergarten.

This is how Harrison spent most of the day. The photo doesn't do this pile of work justice.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dangers of Motherhood

Boy, there are times when being a Mom really does a number on your self-esteem and self worth. Maybe it is just me and my need to be in control of every situation and my tendency to react very quickly at situations that arise. Maybe it is because I myself am under the guidance and care of a psychologist. That says it all really. Am I mentally stable? Well, sure I am, but i have a tendency to take a situation and blow it up into more than it probably really is. Things also tend to depress me very quickly.

My past few blogs have been about my son and the issues we have faced this school year. It has been quite a ride for all of us. Teachers, Principals, Maia, Chris, myself and anyone else involved with my family. This blog will not be any different. Sorry. If you don't like it, stop reading now. This blog has become quite a good form of therapy for me.

Thursday, yesterday, I got a call at about 1:30 from the Principal at the school my kids go to. She had Harrison in her office. Seems that a few boys at lunch thought it would be a good idea to pretend to choke themselves and Harrison thought it to be an even better idea to pretend to choke another classmate. With the zero tolerance they have in school these days, you can just imagine why this was a BAD CHOICE for Harrison to make. He was sent to the principal who asked him why he did this and if he knew what happened when you choked someone. His answers were "because I wanted too" and "they turn blue and suffocate" respectively. I was instructed to come pick him up from school immediately for an overnight suspension. This was no easy feat for me to do since my Mom had just gotten out of work and I had four sleeping toddlers in my house. After some work, my Mom was at the house and I was on my way to the school. NOT HAPPY!

The therapist we see for Harrison told me to INSIST on a 504 plan for him for next year or to instruct the school to QUIT calling me about his behavior. I have tried and begged and pleaded to get this for him and have had wall after wall put up. I am doing everything in my power to help my son get thru this but I am not getting a lot of help from the school system. I know it is the end of school but I am tired of having to handle the issue from afar when they need to find a better way to handle it. He WANTS to come home. He tells me that is why he can't behave... because he misses me. SO DON'T send him home. That is NOT punishment. I am not really blaming the teachers or staff. As a whole, I adore his school and all the staff I have had dealings with. I am not blaming anyone. It is just very frustrating when you try to help your child be successful and keep running into walls.

I spent most of last night feeling really crappy about all of this. Where had I gone wrong? Why can I not seem to handle this? I ate LOTS of chocolate. It is hard as a Mom to deal with all of this. I KNOW that Harrison is NOT the child that chokes people on purpose. I know it was not malicious when it was done. How do you help a child like this? I have so many questions and not many answers. I hope today is better for Harrison. I am waiting on my call back from the principal while he is at school today. To discuss the 504 and other modifications that can be made for next year. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 1, 2009

God Give Me the Strength...

... to make it thru the last 9 days of school. I know, a lot of parents dread the end of school because it means no more free time if you don't work and if you do, then you have to find someone to take care of your kids. Well, I am on the other side of this fence.

This has been a rocky year for Harrison. He started out his 1st grade year below grade level on his tests (PALS) and after few months he was diagnosed ADHD (With Oppositional Defiant Disorder). We have known about the ODD for a while, though it was never really treated until now. It was kind of an unofficial diagnosis a few years ago by a therapist I wasn't wild about. After starting Harrison on Vyvanse we saw such dramatic improvements I was foolish enough to believe our problems were solved. Such a newbie I was to ADHD then. Oh, they were only just beginning.

Previous posts outline some of this so I won't rehash all that, but after bouncing around on a variety of med's, we finally sought counsel from Dr. K Rooney and now have Harrison on Strattera. It has been about 3 months on this one, with no side effects that we can see. However, I am not sure that it is working all that well. When we started this medicine, it was almost as if the ODD symptoms were exaggerated. I started getting emails and phone calls from Harrison's first grade teacher, the principal, a referral from the bus driver, then another from his teacher. Oh the list goes on. Basically, he is being disruptive, uncooperative, mean on occasion (tripping kids and laughing, pushing kids, throwing mulch on the playground), and just generally a pain in the ass if I can say that about my own child. I literally get anxiety attacks when i see the school phone number pop up on my caller ID or I see an email from his teacher in my in box.

Yes, I am his mother, and I love him no matter what. He is my firstborn and my baby boy. Nothing will change that. I hate to see him struggle so much. It kills me a little at a time. I know that he is a very sweet and loving child. He just has to learn to deal with all this that is going on inside of him. We are seeking the advice from yet another therapist and I feel confident that he will be able to help us where the other one couldn't. That is why I am glad school is almost out. I will be able to breathe much easier knowing that that phone call won't be coming or the emails. It will also give us several months to work with the therapist we see every other week, to hopefully address these issues and make some progress before Harrison enters the second grade.

ADHD is so often misunderstood. I was guilty of it once. Over diagnosed, over medicated, etc. the list goes on. BUT, now that I am faced with it head on, it is very hard to deal with and yes, very misunderstood. These kids are not just trying to be hard to deal with, they literally cannot control themselves. They don't have the ability to learn from their past mistakes, which explains why charts don't work, and normal behavioral techniques don't work either. This explains why Harrison went to the Principals office, was talked to by her and sent on his way, then ended up there again not even 10 minutes later for the same thing. We are learning to deal with this with the help of our therapist. To teach Harrison how to handle things in a different way.

So, yes, I am grateful summer is upon us and school is out. I know there will be some rough patches to deal with this summer, but I am hopeful that this summer will provide Harrison the turning point he needs to start 2nd grade off on a different foot.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Blessings in Disguise

Its funny how things that seem bad at the time are actually blessings in disguise. I have had some things happen to me recently, mostly things in my daycare business. I won't go into detail, but lets just say that it has helped me to become a MUCH BETTER daycare provider. I did nothing wrong, but was wrongly accused of some things that really upset me. Long story short, the woman was completely crazy, but it did make me appreciate my other parents that much more and to really step back and see what I could improve upon in my business. Bottom line... I really do love these kids I keep and have found that I do really enjoy my job much more so than I had orignally thought. I guess I just didn't appreciate what I had until now. I am blessed to have three full time kids and one part timer all with wonderful parents who respect and appreciate me for taking care of their kids. Who could ask for more??

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mothers Day and My Cousin Belinda

Yesterday was Mother's Day. It started off with a 8am phone call from my Mom telling me my cousin, Belinda 44, had died that morning around 6am. She had been in a nursing home for a year or more (don't recall just how long it was) with MS. Late last week, she had developed Pneumonia and it had been touch and go all weekend. Its funny how you can sense things, but I knew before I even saw who was calling that it was my Mom and what the phone call was about.

Chris and Harrison were camping with the boy scouts, so it was just Maia and me curled up in my bed snoozing away. I have to say, that while I will miss her, I have not known my cousin in a long time. I grew up pretty close to her. She and her sister lived two houses down from us all our young lives. Their Mom, my Mom's sister, passed away from breast cancer when she was 40 years old. The daughters were just teenagers then. (It seemed fitting that Belinda went to be with her Mom on Mothers Day. ) Belinda coached several local swim teams as a young adult and introduced me to my first boyfriend when I was 14. I remember a lot of fun times with her as a child and teenager.

Then she met Dale. First class loser that he is. Belinda has a son, Ryan from a previous relationship. He now has young kids of his own. Dale's presence in their lives just totally turned things upside down. They had three kids, who are now young teenagers. He was a drunk, unemployed and pretty much a worthless freeloader who took my cousins life and basically destroyed it. Destroyed the relationship Belinda had with Ryan and those around her as well. I could write a book with things I know of their life together. Long story short, he abused her and the children, both verbally and mentally. Not sure about the physical part.

After Belinda became bedridden from the MS, the kids were removed on several occasions by Social Services. Dale is not fit to be a parent. I must say, they did better in the system than they were doing at home. After she was placed in the nursing home, he was able to clean up his act enough to fool the Social Workers and get the kids back for a short time, but a few weeks ago he disappeared with them for a couple of weeks. They were not in school at this time. He broke all sorts of laws when he took them. The kids are now back in the system. The were notified by the social worker that their Mother had died. My heart broke for them. Family members cannot contact them at this time. They were alone, with strangers, when they were told the news. I just cannot imagine. Dale will not be told that his "wife" has died. He will read it in the paper along with the rest of Lynchburg. He is not worthy of being told. We are hoping a protective order will be in place to prevent him from attending the funeral. What a mess.

I was able to have a good Mother's Day, despite all of this. I felt for my Mom and Grandmother, as well as Belinda's immediate family. My heart aches for her children, who have suffered so much in their short lives. I hope that they will be able to go forward from this and grow into productive, strong adults. I hope they learn from what they saw as children and take that with them into their adult lives to make a better life for themselves and their families to be. It made me thankful for my husband and children. They are not perfect but they love me and I love them. We work through our troubles and are committed to being a family no matter what. I hope that my cousin had a wonderful first Mother's Day in Heaven with her Mommy. I hope all of you reading this also had a wonderful Mother's Day.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


This post was triggered by my 17 year old nephew's issue at school today. He is a good kid. Not malicious at all. Problem is, he is bigger than most kids his age and he gets picked on quite frequently by kids that for one reason or another, think they are better than him, cooler than him, etc. Today, he was being bullied, verbally, I assume, by these kids. Not the first time. It is a pretty regular occurrence with him. He had had enough and he snapped and lashed out, again, verbally, at the bullys. He threatened them and said they were the reason he had to be on medicine (he is also ADHD and I believe takes and antidepressant as well) and he was going to shoot them, or something to that effect.

OK, here is the thing. He was wrong. He should be punished. I am not saying anything to the contrary. The problem I have is that the kids who instigated it all NEVER get punished. These bullies are the reason kids go berserk and end up killing kids a la Columbine style, and all the other types of things that have happened in the schools. If there is zero tolerance for talk of guns and killing and shooting, then there should be ZERO TOLERANCE for the kids who run their mouths and do the bullying in the first place. They should be punished just as severely as my Nephew is going to be punished. PERIOD. No tolerance. NONE. Anyone else have an opinion on this?

A Good Day for Harrison

I have two posts today. First of all, while it was an overall crappy day for me, it dramatically improved this evening when I reached into Harrison's backpack for the dreaded journal where he records how his day was in school that day and where his puzzle piece moved to on the behavior chart. The teacher usually writes a little note too. The note from her today said that Harrison had his best day in a long time!! I was so excited and proud of him. I hope this trend continues or at least becomes the one we see the most. Way to go Harrison!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New Med's for my 7 Year Old

Monday we had our monthly visit to Dr. Rooney at PPC. She wanted to know how the Strattera was working and to get a weight check on Harrison. He had gained some of his lost weight back, which is good. Overall the report was good. The Strattera seems to be working well enough for us to continue on it at a higher dose. She will gradually increase his dose until the max dose is reached for his size.

Still, the main concern for us is sleep. He seems to have developed this fear or anxiety over going to bed in his bed at night. The child who use to beg or bedtime at 7:30 is now up late most nights. Not only is his sleep being affected but his sister is also suffering. He refuses to stay out of her room and insists on sleeping with her even though we have tried everything we can think of to keep him out of her room. Sensory Hallucinations were mentioned to me following my original post on the subject two blogs ago. Perhaps. Scary stuff. Dr. Rooney prescribed Clonidine to help us with that one. She hopes that if we can break the habit and get him past his anxiety of sleeping in his own bed we can then discontinue use of the Clonidine. Last night, after giving him the Clonidine he did go fast asleep in his bed, but at some point, he still managed to end up in her room. Frustration!!!

I also had a visit yesterday with my therapist. A full day of shrinks! Fun times. He told me that Harrison is physically and mentally incapable of controlling himself until the meds are straight. His biochemistry is so whacked right now that it is not possible. His hope was that if we get the meds straight, the behavior will be easier to control and will all but correct itself in the most part. Until then, I have been advised to keep on keeping on and to try to remain calm and to psychologically distance myself from Harrison as to provide a relapse for me into depression. How do you do this? He told me you don't want H. to know or feel this distance. Any one have a clue about this?

Anyway. This morning was OK. I am hoping H. has a good day at school. Any mom's or dad's out there dealing with this, please contact me! There is little by way of support groups for parents dealing with this and as I am finding out, it is not an easy thing to live with. So little is said about it. No one wants to talk. I guess it is the stigma attached to it. The thought that they should be able to control themselves and that its bad parenting, lazy parenting, just an excuse for bad behavior, blah blah blah. WRONG. Let's talk people!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Good Day

Today was a good day for us. In particular my son. My sweet boy, my firstborn. I don't know if it is a coincidence, or if it is that magical two week mark I have been waiting for for the Strattera to start working at its max potential. Whatever it was, I'll take it, if only for a day. I am hoping it is the beginning of better days for Harrison and yes, Me, as well as the rest of the family.

We started off at Soccer. The first game. He was a model child and played a great game, even scoring a goal. Then he spent the day with his Grammie Toler, until he was returned to me for a birthday party. That is a long day for a child and he managed it so incredibly well! I am so proud of him. After the party, we headed to my moms house to spend some time with her and my Dog-in-law to be Jose. He's a chihuahua and the cutest you will ever see! Harrison and Maia ran around the yard with the dog and got plenty of play time in. Dinner was eaten, and then we headed downtown to the Riverfront Skatepark where Chris works part-time. We hung out there for a bit before heading home around 8:20 to get baths and ready for bed. Bedtime was NO Drama at all. Went to sleep without any excessive chatter between my two angels.

Still trying to conquer the sleep issues he has developed. He is refusing to sleep in his bed. He wants to sleep in my bed or with his sister in the twin bed in her room. They both have twin beds. I don't know how they sleep that way. I can't get out of him why he is afraid of his room so much. He rarely sets foot in there these days. I have my concerns and questions about it and will address them on Monday when we revisit the psychiatrist for a med check.

So, today, I got a glimpse of my son. The boy I know he is under all the funky stuff going on inside of him. I hope that he will stay with us for a while.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Life's Trials

My hubby didn't really want me to post about our trials with ADHD, but I feel I must. My 7 year old son, Harrison, was diagnosed in early December. It has been a rough road. Since then, we have tried 4 different medicines and are still looking for the right one. I know, some people out there don't believe in medicating children for this and think it is over diagnosed. I used to be one of those people. BUT, when you watch your child struggle it is hard to not do all you can to help them. This question was asked of me... "would you deny a hearing impaired child a hearing aid? A crippled child a wheelchair?" The answer is no. That question ended my fear of medicating my son.

We started on Vyvanse 30mg and immediately got tremendous results. He went from below 1st grade level in school to right on track in a matter of weeks. He had struggled with reading, and he is now reading chapter books, in a mere months. The improvements were almost too good to be true. I remember crying tears of joy when I spoke with the teacher that first day, hearing how well he had done and how proud he was of himself. She said it was as if a light had been turned on for him. The good news didn't last for long.

He began having MAJOR sleep issues and lost a huge amount of weight the first month. Both side effects of the medicine. The sleep issue was my main concern, because after a month of so so sleep we had an entire different set of problems to deal with, all due to lack of sleep. I know how I get when I miss a few hours, so I could only imagine how he must be feeling after a month of struggles. So, we decided to switch medications, to Adderall XR. Whoa! What a mistake that proved to be. After two weeks, I didn't recognize my son. He was mean, aggressive and very hostile. Hard to handle. Ugly faces, actions, words. Too much for me to deal with, AND, he still wasn't sleeping. We decided to try the Vyvanse at a lower dose, 20mg, the lowest they make. Since we had initially had great results with that, we figured it was worth a shot.

We stuck with that for another month or so but still did not see the results we were hoping to see. In the meantime, Mommy was having a breakdown. It is very very hard to watch your child struggle like I had been doing for the past few months. The medicine was now working against us. He had bigger issues now than when we started. We decided to seek counsel from a Psychiatrist.

After our meeting with Dr. Rooney, I felt confident that we would find a solution and the right medicine for Harrison. We tried the Daytrana patch at a 10mg dose. What a pain the the butt they ended up being. Hard to use and, again, we did not get the desired results. It was suggested to me that stimulant medications may not be the way to go for Harrison. That brings us up to date. We are now on Strattera 10mg. He is calm. He is close to being the little boy I know again. BUT, still some struggles in school.

It is hard being the parent of a child with ADHD. There are no support groups that I can find in the area and for the longest time I have felt so alone in this struggle. I have since found some friends who are also dealing with this and that has helped. That is why I have decided to go against the wishes of my husband and post this blog. I know there are tons of Moms out there dealing with this. If this reaches even one person that it can help or connect me too, then it was not in vain.

As for us, we are still struggling. It is a daily battle, but one we hope to win soon. I don't regret my decision to start the med's for Harrison, we just have to find the one that works best for him. In the meantime, I will keep on keeping on.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Little Math


MINUS this...

PLUS this...

EQUALS this...

Just look at that attention to detail....

This was several months ago, and I still have the prints to prove it. I have tried everything to remove the cute little footprints left by my darling and her friend, to no avail. Lesson learned. WATCH THEM AT ALL TIMES or this is what you get!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Want...A Big Stick to Smack That Woman of 14 With

OK, I don't normally like to be overly hostile on my blog, but the story that is on the news right now about the woman who gave birth to 8 and already had 6 kids really burns me up. First off, she is SINGLE. I am all about a single mom doing it solo. That's cool. But single, unemployed, living with her mom and dad in a 3 bedroom house and 3 of the 6 kids are disabled and collect disability?? COME ON! The doctor should be held accountable, she should be evaluated by a good therapist and her parents need to put their foot down and make her take responsibility for her life. Social services should DEFINITELY intervene here. What kind of life will all those innocent children have? She was irresponsible, selfish and just plain stupid to have that many kids. She has no way to care for them. Taxpayers are paying the price for her stupidity. She collects over $400 in food stamps a month. That is more than my ENTIRE grocery bill for the month. Who pays for that? We do. The taxpayers. Is she hoping someone will step up like they do for so many of the multiple birth cases and give her handouts? Well, they might, because we are talking about innocent children. I think she should be locked up. I can't even stand to watch it on the news. It gets my blood boiling. OK, off the soap box now. Gotta go to bed. Just had to get that off my chest.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I Want... A Do Over

As in a weekend do over. Another Saturday, another Sunday, filled with absolutely NOTHING. Seems as if the older my kids get the busier I get, running here and there. It is exhausting. No wonder my house looks the way it does. I am never home to take care of business when I am in the mood to do it. Oh well. They are only little once, right? I guess I may as well kick back and try to enjoy every last moment of the insanity before it is gone.

On that note, I also wouldn't mind a do over with my babies in their baby days. Looking at some old photo albums tonight really brought home how fast my babies are growing up. The sweet smell of them and the total dependency on me. I miss it. They grow up too fast. I would cherish all the sleepless nights and just hold them close. I would relish every new thing they discovered and all the firsts. I missed so much with Harrison because I was working. It seems as if I blinked and he was a toddler, now a young boy in school. I am trying to stop now and really enjoy them, but when they act up it is hard to not wish it away. I know in another few years I will also be wanting a do over of this age, even though it is hard at times to deal with behavior and all the craziness. I lay in bed with Maia last night and just snuggled her and stroked her cheek because she was having a hard time going to sleep. There was no place I would have rather been at that moment either. Harrison also had a hard time and wanted me to crawl in bed with him at 8pm. I did. I found a good movie on and just had a chill night. I am sure there won't be many more of those moments. I am going to try to stop in my tracks at times and really enjoy those special times before they are gone. We all know we don't get a "do over". What will you do to make these times last just a little bit longer??

Friday, February 6, 2009

I Want...A Magic Wand

Yep, you should have seen it coming. I want a magic wand. I could really do some stuff with one of those. I wouldn't do anything crazy but I would make my student loans disappear, pad the bank account just a bit, cure any illness in my family or family of close friends, and give my house a good once over to make it the way I dreamed it could be when we bought it almost 6 years ago. I would also restore this messed up economy and get jobs back to people who need them. I would get Chris a new car, for a change. He always gets the bum deal in the car department. I would hook my van up with an alignment so I don't wear out the new tires I got this past summer. I would give my mom the larger kitchen she has always wanted. So much I could do to help others and us too. But, alas, I don't have a magic wand, and don't think that I will ever get one, so I might as well get over that crazy fantasy and just keep on truckin'.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I Want...The Ability to Know the Right Thing to do and Say in a Given Situation.

I have had several times this week where if I had someone instructing me on the right thing to say and/or do in certain situations, the end result may have been different. Mostly, these situations revolve around my children. For example, when my 7 year old is up until midnight and is basically wanting me to go get in my bed with him when all I want to do is take care of my business that I don't get to during the day. Would it have made a difference if I had put aside what I was doing to climb in bed with him at 9pm? Maybe so, maybe not. Hard to say. He may have gone to bed before midnight, but what lesson does that teach him? Running a daycare, I have very little time that I can sit and do exactly what I am doing now. The evening is MY TIME to have a little adult time and kick back and relax and not worry about the little people in my life that should be sleeping. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE to cuddle with my kids. BUT this is something we have been dealing with with him for some time now. It gets old real quick. I feel manipulated in a way. This also holds true for his general behavior at times. It gets hard to know what to do when they are acting out. Parenting is rough, people! ROUGH!

The other situation that came up is a friend in need. I wish I knew what to say to someone who is obviously distraught over a situation and calls in tears. I NEVER seem to know how to handle this, other than to just listen. It breaks my heart that there is NOTHING I can do to help the person on the other end of the phone (it was a phone call I got late one evening). I feel so helpless in this kind of situation. I want a magic want to fix things up just so! Oh wait! That can be another want for another day!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I Want... A Good Night's Sleep

Sounds simple right? HA! Not so right now. I don't know WHAT in the world is going on with me at the moment, but I cannot get a good night sleep to save my life! It doesn't help matters that my 7 year old son is having a hard time going to sleep at night and the boy who normally was begging to go to bed at 8pm is now up until 10-11pm at night. Keeping his sister up at that. UGGG. He then wakes at 4 or 5 am and wake us up and gets in our bed. That's all fine and dandy, because he manages to go back to sleep, but I don't! We only have a queen size bed. Not enough room for a family of four. But, other than his sleep issues affecting my sleep, I am also finding that I am waking up at night a lot. I have not changed anything to cause this and not quite sure what the deal is. I have actually tried to cut back on caffeine and I am not on any med's that would cause this. The only thing I can figure is right now, my nose is HORRIBLY stuffy and maybe that is keeping me up because I can't breathe. All I know is I feel like poo all day and my eyes are so heavy it is hard to resist a nap when the daycare kiddo's take theirs. So, for today, my biggest want is A Good Nights Sleep. Until then, I guess I will remain bleary eyed and tired.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I Want... Another Good Chat with My Therapist

You read it here first, if you didn't already know! I see a psychologist. Can I just say, that I think EVERYONE needs a good therapist to unload on. I have been seeing mine for about 18 years. We discussed that yesterday when I was at his office for my monthly visit. He said I was one of his favorite clients because it was comfortable to sit and chat with me. No need to be the stuffy 'ole Doc in my presence. I started seeing him when I was about 19 or so when I had my first full blown panic attack. Since then I have been on and off medication for anxiety/panic disorder/depression, and been seeing one therapist or another, depending on where I resided at the time. There is really something to be said for a no holds barred conversation with someone who doesn't judge you, esp. when you know it won't leave the confines of his office. Most that know me know I am an open book and will typically tell you anything you want to know, but this fact is still very comforting. He has helped me through some very very bad times, helped me get a sense of perspective on situations, and, although I know my family will always be there if I need them, that sometimes comes with a price. Especially when one has deep dark secrets. HA! So, after my chat with Dr. O. Yesterday, it left me longing for my next monthly visit. I was going every two weeks, but financial constraints dictate otherwise right now. Until then I guess I will have to hold those thoughts...

Monday, February 2, 2009

I Want... Money!

Sounds greedy, I know, but having been down by two in the daycare since the end of October is getting a bit hard to manage. The Finances that is. I get calls on a regular basis from people looking for their payment. Well, let me just note it here once and for all. If you are not a utility, a Doctor that I am currently seeing, or the cashier at my grocery store of choice, you are not likely to get money from me at this time. Not because I like to shirk my responsibilities or anything, but because I DON'T HAVE IT TO GIVE YOU. I know, I know, I am not the only one in this situation, but that really doesn't make me feel any better. So, rather than drag on and on about this, I will just leave my daily want at that. I need money, NOW! I accept checks, money orders, and of course, cash!

Now, its your turn. Tell me your want of the day!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I Want.... Real Snow!

So I decided to do this NaBloPoMo blog thing for February and the theme is want. Don't know that I will try to keep it updated daily, but will give it my best shot! There is plenty I WANT... Today, the topic is REAL SNOW! The kind I remember having as a child. I want that for my children to experience. The reason is this...

Saturday, Jan. 31, 2009 we had the fun of going to Stratton Farm for a free Snow Day that a local church was hosting. The story goes that a group of Guatamalan's travel around blowing snow for private parties, etc. This church, Liberty Baptist, in Appomattox, VA, hired them to blow snow on a hill on a farm so they could host this Snow Day for the area. Supposedly this is the largest they had been hired to do. They actually blew snow on two hills and even made a "play" area for the kids not wanting to sleigh ride down these hills. They used the water from the pond at the foot of the two hills. They set up heated tents, had live Praise Music, a chili and pie cook-off, and a huge bonfire. It was all FREE. These days, that is all I need to hear to get me there.

It was fun overall, though the hill was a bit too steep for my kids to really enjoy. It was fun watching people fly down the hill and barrel roll in the mud at the bottom of the hill too. It brought back lots of memories of my childhood sleigh riding down my Mom's street on ice, the kind that stayed for days, and the neighborhood bonfire in the backyards behind my house where my brother, his friends and some of the Dad's of the neighborhood got together to made a sledding track. I remember them hosing it with water to make it extra slick then rolling it with barrels to flatten it just so. Oh what fun! Ah, maybe one day we will get that snow! Until then, I will leave you with some photos from our man made Snow Day!

The big hill...

The bottom of the big hill and the pond the water came from

Harrison and Granddad were the first ones down the hill. Almost tipped over!

Chris, aka, Dad, and Maia were next! Check out the legs on Maia??!!??? How she didn't break them is beyond me!

The Toler Family all bundled up.

The "little" hill. People were flying down this hill and barrel rolling their sleds in the muck at the bottom! EeeWWWW. Very muddy, but fun!

Harrison playing snow ball fight with some other kids at the play area. See the dirty snow? We actually witnessed several kids and toddlers EATING it!!!

Maia on her large snowball where she spent the majority of the time.

Harrison hiding from his Camera clicking Mom.

My little snow bunny.

Harrison started to roll around in the snow before we left. It was funny to watch him.

Before we left, I asked Maia to give me her best silly face. This is what I got. Harrison wasn't into being photographed.