Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Family is of God

Church is something of a challenge for my little family right now.

Corbin is one and well, one year olds hate church.  It's a given.  Gregg spends 2/3 of church out in the hallway and the other 1/3 we play lion tamer by pulling out all of the tricks.  Last sunday we gave him a squeezy food to which he went a little haywire and flung it out of his mouth while squishing the packet.  As a result, food splattered as far as two rows up and got all over the man in front of us.  We're a classy family like that.

Emme on the other hand, has decided she can and will go wherever she wants to during church.  Primary is more of a suggestion.  An obstacle if you will.  She can be found fleeing the scene about a dozen times throughout the duration.  I'm a teacher in Primary for another class and that doesn't help. She's about a 1000 times worse when her parents are around.

We've been trying to incorporate Family Home Evening into our week and we all usually end up in a frustrated ball of contention.  Not really what FHE is all about.  Emme will simply not have it.  I've been trying to prepare her for her Primary program by playing the songs they've been learning, but once again, she will not have it.  After the first two lines, she's moved on.

A few weeks ago, we practiced for the program during church.  All of the kids struggled and had a hard time sitting for that long, but Emme took the cake.  If she wasn't laying in front of the group flailing around she was escaping out the door and running her little heart out.  Time number four after I had ran out to grab her, the president took over.  I then had to watch while she kicked and hit the poor women while trying to get to the door knob.  My eyes started to water while we practiced "The Family is of God."  Emme was out of control screaming in front of everyone as we came to the chorus,  "God gave us families, to help us become what He wants us to be---This is how He shares His love, for the family is of God."

I had many thoughts cross my mind at that moment, but the one at the forefront was, "who AM I becoming?"  That day it was a little embarrassed and lot stressed out.

I had NO idea how the actual program would go.  I knew of one song out of sixish that she had memorized.  During one of Emme's joy runs the president and Gregg discussed what would be best.  They questioned even having her sit on the stand at all.  It was a valid suggestion.  Who knew what she was capable or incapable of?  I sure didn't.

The time came for the Primary to overtake Sacrament meeting.  The president sat next to Emme and had a row of chairs blocking any escape.  She's a genius, by the way.  Well, wouldn't you know?  Emme was born to perform.  After hearing her speaking part a couple times she had it memorized and belted it into the microphone.  Every. Single. Song. Was sung with gusto...and by gusto I mean GUSTO.  She had every word memorized.  Gregg and his mom who had come to watch got multiple thumbs up and waves.  Even a few, "HI DAD! HI GRAMMY!"

Our daughter, the incapable/the capable rocked the Primary Program.  We came to The Family is of God and every eye was on Emme and her bright belting take on it.  I soon saw tears flowing throughout the crowd and the president and I were not an exception.  There were a handful of people who know Emme well and knew they were witnessing a miracle unfold.  It was a tear jerker.

This time my heart burst with pride and I felt the confirmation of the words, "God gave us families, to help us become what He wants us to be---This is how He shares his love, for the family is of God."

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thank You Notes

Thank you daylight savings for changing my children's wake up time from an already unbearable 6:30 AM to an impossible 5:30 AM.  Sure, in reality it's the same time, but yet it feels so wrong.

Thank you dishwasher motor for burning out and filling our home with smoke and a nice electrical fire smell.  The timing was perfect as we were already buying a washer and dryer.  I love killing two birds with one stone...or two bank accounts with three faulty appliances.

Thank you Lacey for hand washing all of the dishes tonight unknowingly flooding the basement due to the dishwasher being unhooked.  You're an idiot.

Thank you Dirty Diet Coke for being my happy place right now.  You complete me.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Booger Drool

In order to get Emme to sleep at night we lowered her ADHD meds. Less meds = more chaos.  More chaos = more sleep = a lose/win situation.  You follow? 

We are all getting more sleep around here yet ironically the days are harder. Which brings me to the point of this post which is: less meds = sensory disorder maheim. I realize the transition there has a lot to be desired.  Hang in there friends. 

Emme's biggest sensory issue has to do with her mouth. She has very low muscle tone, therefore she still drools and wants to taste anything and everything (except anything that's actually edible.)

Case and point::

>>She shut down a kiddie ride at Lagoon this summer due to licking the pretend laser gun when the ride suddenly stopped and she cut her lip open from the jolt.  Apparently blood is a big deal. The fourteen year old in charge suddenly became very official remembering all the steps to take in such an occurance.  She locked us in the gate, buzzed the sixteen year old supervisor, and called security.  After, signing my soul away, we were free to go. 

>>She pretty licked much every ride and punched a kid or two. Oh, and also shut down Puff the Magic Dragon by throwing her shoe under the ride while waiting in line. Supervisor number two... Check.  But this is a story for another time. 

>>I've caught her licking the outside of the car lately. 

>>No salt shaker is left untasted. 

>>She ate a birthday candle. Yes, that's right folks. She ATE a candle.  Gregg was in the car with Corbin waiting for me to use the bathroom and bring Emme out. In the short amount of time it took for me to care of business, Emme decided blue wax was her thang.  I came out to a gagging child gasping for air.  She threw up on the way to the bathroom and then slipped in the puke covering herself.  She then kindly pointed out the blue pieces of candle in her exited food and admitted to what she had done.  We were a bit later than normal to church that week. 

>>Coins are for sucking. 

>>She's a biter. 

>>And then there's this conversation::

"Mom, I'm eating my booger drool!"

"Oh, honey, that's yucky. Please don't do that."  

"It's really good mom!  You should try some!"

As gross as it was, I have to say I was proud of her for coming up with the term, "booger drool."  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Rocking the IEP

Emme starts preschool tomorrow through our school district.  Hallelujah friends!

We've been working on this since May so it's kind of a big deal.  If I've learned anything about getting help for your special needs child, it would be that everything takes time.

If you read this post you remember how frustrated I was.  Well, let me just back track a bit.

Remember how I said I was going to call the school district every day until I got answers?  I did that for a few days until I remembered I had one of the evaluator's cell numbers from when she called in early July.  I became one of "those moms" that went a little too far.  As I like to say though, "too far yet effective."

Wouldn't ya know...I got a phone call back that same day.  Booyah.  Pretty much it was just to tell me they would make sure we were called back soon with an appointment for an evaluation.  About a week later we were called and able to schedule an appt for a month out.

Here's where the miracles started.  I was really nervous Emme wouldn't get qualified, because we had already gone through this process and she was denied.  In fact she was a perfect angel the first time.  We felt like fools and were looked at like it was more of bad parenting than anything.  Now we had a years worth of paperwork from her therapeutic school, a psychiatrist eval, and a therapist eval.  Even her pediatrician stood behind us this time.  All of these busy women took time to write a page full of what they had witnessed and reasons why Emme would benefit from having an IEP (individual education plan).  I didn't even ask her psychiatrist to write anything, but she had a paper waiting for me when I dropped Emme off for therapeutic school.  If you only knew how busy this lady is, you would be shocked.

After gathering together what felt like enough paperwork to buy a house, we were ready for the evaluation.  Emme started out excited that five adults were so interested in her.  They had a bunch of toys that she stayed occupied with for the first half hour.  Once again, she was acting like a perfect normal child which I assure you, never happens in public places or well...anywhere.  Then came time to take her to the bathroom and she didn't want to go.  That's when the running, biting, and screaming started.  I just kept thinking "praise the Lord!"

After two and a half hours they finally encircled me on their tiny kid chairs and all agreed Emme would benefit from having an IEP.  I could ran out the doors with my arms open wide singing The Hills Are Alive!!  (For the record I'm not thrilled over my child having disabilities, but she does... so I'm thrilled that she is receiving help.)

All of this is a huge answer to my prayers.  Our daily struggles have hit an all time high (hence the lack of blogging) and we all needed this.  I don't always like the trials I am given and they may last far longer than I think I'm capable of, but every now and again I am given miracles throughout the hardship to let me know that He is aware.


Friday, September 12, 2014

It's my pity party and I'll cry if I want to

I didn't cry when I came out of the bathroom and found Corbin's formula dumped on the counter. 

I didn't cry when minutes later Emme squeezed and shook her blue Tummy Yummy into the carpet in her room. She even smooshed it in real good with her feet and did a demonstration of her naughty actions. 

I didn't cry when she emptied her sock drawer and hung every single one up on a hanger.  That was actually pretty funny and made it easy to find matching socks this morning. 

I didn't cry after finding spilled milk from a sippy cup hidden under a blanket and once again smooshed into the carpet. 

I didn't cry after I noticed writing on Corbin's toy blocks. 

I didn't cry when I had to drag two screaming kids to the car in front of all of Wheeler Farm after Emme punched Corbin in the face and I told her she couldn't have a cookie anymore. 

I didn't show that my feelings were hurt after hearing an almost four year old call me stupid over and over and over and then wishing death upon me from a snow monster.  

I didn't cry when a laundry basket was thrown at me. 
I didn't even cry after both of my children refused to nap. 

So what made me have a mini breakdown today....?

When I noticed this same child writing with a pen all over my ottoman and then saw she stabbed holes in it for good measure. 

Apparently... ruining furniture is my breaking point...to which I will sob and sob while said child is locked in her room and her brother jabbers behind me. 

Aftershocks like spraying hairspray all over the walls and smearing lotion into the carpet may make me fight back tears, but I refuse to cry. Especially, when I get comments like, "show me how I made you cry, mom."

I think it's safe to say I'm having issues now that Corbin is all over the place and I can't keep my eyes on Emme at all times.  

Please send Diet Coke. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Walmart Diaries

Today was the day. 

The day I HAD to take both kids by myself to Walmart.  Cue tragic music. 

When you have a special needs child there are certain things you should avoid at all costs. For Emme that would be taking her to the grocery store or any store for that matter.  

If both Gregg and I are there, it is possible, yet still very difficult. But today...he was not. 

I had one goal which was to get baby food.  Do I need to get groceries big time? Yes, but to avoid a trip down the crazy town aisle our mission included only the most necessary items. 

Now before you lecture me on not making my own baby food, let me remind you that I don't even have time to BUY baby food let alone make it. Let's not get cray here. 

Overall, Walmart was a success.  Emme only screamed bloody murder once because I too quickly sailed past the treats in the middle of the cement road to which she jumped off the cart and hit her head on a shelf.  Corbin only cried once from being squished by his sister.  All in all, not too shabby.  With an unplanned bag of marshmallows we made it to the checkout line in record time. 

They had one lane open (ugh walmart) to which me and another older gentlemen came to at the same time.  There were two people already in line, but I let him go ahead because he only had a few items. Mistake mistake mistake.  The one checker was a new worker and the man in front of me priced matched every. single. item. The lady had no idea what she was doing and we had to wait for a supervisor to come over to fix her mistakes. 

Now, for heaven's sakes. If you come to a checkout lane at the same time as someone with children and one is squishing and hitting the other, please let them go ahead of you.  

With Emme about to blow a lid, the time came that we finally felt the warm breeze on our cheeks again and we were free.  Just as I was about to get in the driver's seat, the same older gentlemen stopped me to ask if I price checked.  I quickly threw my head back, cackled and then I replied, "I have NO time to look through all of that!"  I mean how dare he, am I right?  

Apparently, he just wanted to warn me that the cashier had charged him way more than she was suppose to and I should check my receipt.  Oh.  Sorry dude.  

I may or may not be a little sensitive when it comes to the more domestic parts of life. At this moment in time I am a failure at all things homemaking.  I look foward to a day where I can make cute crafts and plan meals well in advance or save our family money by couponing.  

I think for now though, I will focus on things like keeping Corbin safe from Emme and getting through a Walmart check out line with my sanity still in tact. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Three Thrings

1.  Having a husband in grad school is lame.  I am not handling the new school year well.  It may be the death of me.  Say a pray for me, please?

2.  Emme is in the stage of revertigo. Meaning she has reverted back to her old ways. We have lost ground big time. We lowered her meds which helps her sleep now, but the days are long and sometimes torturous.  Scratching and biting are a staple the last few weeks.  My arms look like I have a cat. A mean hateful cat that would rather shred apart the house than have anything to do with order.  Revertigo Emme may be the death of me. Please say a pray for me. 

3.  My face is a battlefield of acne. Summer has not been good to my skin. I can't figure out if it's the change in my diet, the sunburns, or the world being against me, but I'm thirty here people. It needs to stop.  I have one smack dab in the middle of my forehead right now that is so big I think it's actually four squished together.  Other honorable mentions are the many smaller yet still huge zits surrounding it.  I'm ready to climb to my tower and start ringing the bell for the local village. Goitre face Lacey may be the death of me. Please say a prayer. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Last week I was able to meet up with a friend going through a messy divorce.  My heart ached for her.  She had suffered in silence for so long and still has a hard road ahead of her.

My life is hard right now.  Some days and nights are like running a full marathon without ever crossing the finish line.  Wouldn't it be nice if there were a big "You Made It" sign with lots of happy people congratulating you on a job well done every night?  Is that what happens after a marathon?  I wouldn't know... I've never ran one.

My point is....life sucks sometimes.  I tend to end my days with a pity party and a Diet Coke.  Not so much with a song sung by Queen and a feeling of accomplishment.

But then I talked to my friend.  Her positive attitude while going through divorce made me change my own attitude towards my struggles.  The darkness started to fade as I took a look around and noticed the many blessings I do have.  I have a husband who loves me and makes me laugh every day.  Even if it's just through a text message, because honestly we don't see each other much right now.   We miss each other.  We want to spend time together.  We hate the separation.  That right there accounts for a lot.

Now, I could make a list of everything I'm thankful for, but I'll keep it to a minimum for tonight.  What I really want to say is I AM blessed.  I love my husband, I love my children and I mostly love who I'm becoming because of my challenges in life.  I feel my Savior's love for me and know he is aware.

I know we have been protected while Gregg has been in school.  My body is weary and my brain is in survival mode, but we are following the path we are suppose to be.  One day this time of life will be a small memory.  Maybe it will even seem easy compared to what lies ahead.  Who knows?

But today I am blessed.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bring on the Momma Bear

In Utah it is pertinent that your child starts preschool at the youngest age possible or else they have no chance in life.  You may as well send them on a train to Failureville because that's where they are headed anyway.  They need at least 2 years of preschool, but 3 is ideal.  Oh, your child doesn't read and they're going to be in Kindergarten?  Good luck with that!

Who really knows what we would be doing with Emme this year had she not needed extra support.  It's finally her scheduled time to enter her first year in preschool as she has a September birthday.  I'm sure I would have enrolled her in preschool anyway this year just to have a few hours alone every week.  I mean...definitely for the learning and social time....

Alas, she did need extra support and she's been in a therapy preschool for over a year now.  Which is code for "kids with behavioral issues who need to learn how to be around other people."  

We typically wouldn't have sent her that early, but it was needed for her.   It's been a great resource for us, but she really should start phasing into the actual school district.  We feel she's not quite ready to be with her peers, so we have been trying to get her evaluated for special education preschool.  Mainly, she still needs a qualified teacher who understand behavioral issues.  I wouldn't want Emme labeled as "the bad kid" because her teacher doesn't speak her language.  Then hopefully by next year or by kindergarten she will be able to be with her peers.  Cross your fingers.

I contacted our school district back in June.  Finally heard from an evaluator the very beginning of July.  They were suppose to call back in a few weeks with a date and nothing....  Haven't heard a thing.  I've called and left messages Monday and Tuesday.  Nothing....  The flustered receptionist said they are very swamped and the lady who schedules comes in at 5 to return messages.  Ok...  Let's just put it out there, that I think Utah school districts suck.  They are overworked and underpaid.  (Except, I'm not quite sure why that lady only comes in at 5.)  Too many kids, not enough staff.  It's a terrible mess of politics at the top and teachers and students suffer because of it.  Hence why charter schools have become so popular.

Cue, Momma Bear.  If you want your child to have the help they need you have to fight.  We are now entering the war zone that is public school. Welcome to the jungle.  They have unleashed the carnivore in me and I will eat them alive.  They better believe I will be calling every. single. day. until I hear back.

Plus, I've already ripped up our ticket to Failureville, so that's not an even an option.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Down to Business

I haven't been completely honest the last few months.

My heart yearns to write and share my thoughts on the whole truth and nothing but the truth about raising a child with severe ADHD.

Then there is this part of me that only worries about what others will think of me as a mom and as a person in general.  Will I seem ungrateful for the miracle that Emme is to our family?  Will I be way too negative about her and allow others to talk negatively about her as well?  Do my readers understand what ADHD really means and how disabling it can be?  How many terrible comments will I receive because we have chosen medication as a way to help Emme?

Point being, I have filtered our life as to create a facade of what our day to day really looks and feels like.  The reality is times are hard.  I'm sure someone could handle my situation a millions times better than me, but this is what I need to go through in order to grow and learn and become the person I'm suppose to be.

With that said, I realize there are tougher things in life than a child with ADHD and a husband who I only see on Sundays.  I gave a talk in church months back and talked about how we had learned that parenting would be a lot different for us than most.  After sacrament I had a lady ask what was wrong with Amy?  Caught off guard a little I stuttered out that Emme had ADHD.  She let out a big sigh, admitted she hadn't been listening very closely and that things could be a lot worse for us.  She thought "Amy" had cancer or something life changing like that.  My temper getting the best of me I spit back, " I realize that, but it's still hard for us!"  Then I walked away.

Although she went about it in a tactless way, I get it.  There are bigger stresses.  My child is healthy and my husband is just at school.  I get to sleep next to him every night.  There are many blessings in our family and I try to count each one. Trust me, I get it.

Speaking of blessings, I am thankful that we even have children.  What I've come to realize is that there are many who don't understand that my children were always meant to come to Gregg and me.  It was all predetermined.  I believe it with all of my heart.  Adoption is amazing.  I will never be more grateful than I am for my children and the change adoption put in me.  They are mine just like any other mother who bore her babies.  We just had to search a little harder for each other.   Thank the heavens for their birth mother and birth families.  They are our angels here on earth.  Let it be known that we do not target them for any imperfections in our children.  Are my children's genes different from ours?  Of course! Does that matter?  No!  Gregg and I have good and bad genes just like the rest of the world and they could have been passed on to our biological offspring.  Plus, I love that Emme has platinum blond hair, and both of my kids have striking blue eyes. They didn't get it from me, and that's okay.

A fault a lot of adoptive couples make, I know we did, while waiting for their miracle and in the early years is to put themselves as parents and their future children on a pedestal.  You may have to read that one twice.  It's sets you up to fail people.  Parenting is hard no matter what.  Just like any child from any beginning they can drive you nuts.  You are a regular parent just like every one else.  At least I am.  I didn't get any super human ability because we waited five years.  It doesn't make you a failure and it doesn't make you ungrateful.  Admitting Emme has some serious issues and that I'm not the awesome parent I imagined I'd be, does not make me ungrateful to adoption or her birthmom.  It makes me a parent.

As of late there have been some adults and children that have voiced their opinions about Emme.  It made me wonder if I was allowing that by being too honest about her.  It hurt my feelings and I couldn't sleep after one of the incidences.  We all know how I need my sleep.  I worried I was sharing too much of the ugly truth and that made it so others thought they could put Emme down or voice what they thought she would end up like.  I worried if I blogged too much about our experiences that Emme would be judged without someone really even knowing her.  Emme has so many awesome qualities and abilities. Gregg and I are her only true advocates and I want to make things better not worse.  My answer was this ::  I must also blog about her awesomeness so it can be known that she is really great sometimes.  ADHD can be a blessing in some ways and I need to discuss that as well.

Also, know that....

ADHD is real.  It is more than being hyper.  I do not medicate my child because she is just busy or because it makes my life easier.  It's a sensitive subject, but until you have had a child with a severe neurological disorder, you do not know what you're talking about.  Selling oils, knowing someone with ADHD, and hearing about a study does not make you an expert on the subject.  Until you are a specialized doctor or have lived day in and day out with a child like Emme, you don't know.  You don't.  I myself continue to learn.  Trust me there will be a whole post on this.

I realize there is a lot going on in this post, but now that this is all out there, I can continue on with the honest truth.  No more fluff.  If you want that you can follow my Instagram.  ;)  This blog is my outlet and a way to connect with others going through the same thing.  I need to voice my fears, worries, and thanks because it's healthier than keeping it all in and losing it one day.  I'd rather you not see me on the news as the crazy lady that ran away from life.  But if that happens to you or me I promise not to judge.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

You Have Been Warned

Back in the day when we first welcomed our baby girl into our family, we had a few comments from those who have gone before us about sleep being a thing of the past.  I knew for a fact that they were crazy and didn't understand the skills Gregg and I had saved up in our years of yearning to be parents.  Sure having a newborn is rough, but we were Babywise followers and Emme was sleeping 12 hours by four months.  We had parenting down.

Fast forward to today, and we are the living walking dead.  Oxymoron intended.

Corbin is a great little sleeper, but his wake time is between 6-6:30.  So after being up with Emme multiple times for long stretches, there's no hope for catching a little shut eye when the sun finally comes up.

Having a child with behavioral issues is no joke.  Not sleeping and trying to deal with a tired child with behavioral issues is impossible.  All parenting skills go out the window.

After months with no end in sight we finally found the right formula for her meds and have had two nights of uninterpreted rest.  If only life were that easy...

Our chubby little Corbin decided not to sleep last night.  It was the second effing night Emme had slept in months and now our other child was NOT sleeping!  If we weren't so tired we would have moaned and cried at the irony of it all.  Oh wait...we still did.

After each of us got up several times last night he finally fell back asleep.  When Emme awoke at the crack of dawn she decided it would be a good idea to go into Corbin's room and wake him up to play.  For the freaking LOVE!  You better believe there were some choice words floating through my head this morning.  Today called for some major Diet Coke therapy.

To say we are out of our league is an understatement.  Momma just needs some sleep people.

Now I'm the old dude warning first time parents that they will. never. sleep. again.  Now that's a fact.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Time is a Many Splendid Thing

Time Lossed ::

-Emme is now in part time school.
-More Emme maul Corbin moments.
-The girl previously mentioned still not sleeping.
-Kids who wake up before dawn no. matter. what.
-Driving to and from school twice a day now.  Three times when I forget the backpack with lunch in it at home.
-Taking the shortest shower in history due to: Emme pulling every single item off my nightstand, waking up Corbin, gathering handfuls of q-tips, and peeing on the floor while literally touching the toilet.  Who doesn't love to shower with the shower door open so they can watch destruction of Le Master Bedroom go down?  Girl can get a lot done in 5 minutes.

Time Gained ::

-Shorter hair.  I finally got my hair to the length I wanted only to realize, "ain't nobody got time for that."  I cut four inches off and thinned the heck out of it.  Mo' betta now.
-No more showers on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
-Gregg is out of school until the end of August.  Can I get a booyah?

In other news, I'm in search of a clone who has a lot more energy than me.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Families Are Forever (Corbin's Sealing)

One very rainy day in April, we were able to take Corbin to the temple and seal him to our family.  We were so excited to have our little family in the temple.  I loved that Emme was old enough to understand a little of what was going on.  She talked about going to the temple for weeks before the sealing.

Poor Corbin was teething and had diarrhea.  He had explosion after explosion and I was so worried it would get on his white suit, but it never did.  He cried during the whole sealing and come to find out later, the nursery worker mistook some rice cereal in his bag for formula.  Little man was starving.  I so wish I could go back and change that part of the experience.

Emme was her usual busy self and couldn't be bothered with holding still.  Luckily I had lots of family to help out and most everyone understood. She loved walking the temple halls and pushing all of the elevator buttons.  She even pushed the button that called for help.  Good times.  Good memories.  She looked so pretty in her "Elsa dress."

It was a beautiful experience overall and I'm so happy Corbin is eternally ours.  I could feel the spirit very strongly throughout the temple and I know our family is loved.  I won't share everything, because a lot of it is very sacred to me, but I will say that I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know us personally.  They know and love my children so much.  I am hugely imperfect, but I know without a doubt that my savior loves me too.   It doesn't matter where we were born, the color of our skin, or if your baby grew inside you or in someone else.  He LOVES us and has created a way for us to be eternal.  He knew we would make mistakes and He knows we are imperfect, but He loves us anyway and has created a way for us to come back to him.  He does not want us to fail.

Adoption is so hard for a lot of people to comprehend, but I'm thankful that Christ gets it.  Emme and Corbin were destined to be part of our family from the beginning.  I am so thankful for the blessings adoption and infertility has brought to us.  No one can ever take away the knowledge we have gained through these experiences.  

The rain stopped for a short little while and we were able to get a few pictures outside of the temple.  Don't be fooled though.  It was freezing!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Corbin Becomes an Alexander

Back in April we were able to take Corbin to court and finalize his adoption.  There is a supervisory period for six months after a child is placed in your home in which the agency has custody and they make sure you are bonding with the baby and everything is going as it should.  It's an exciting day and one we look forward to.  

As we were walking into court our lawyer realized we were missing a document from Idaho where Corbin was born. Our caseworker moved and we got a new one during supervisory so somehow no one noticed it was missing.  We were able to go through the all the motions of finalizing, but his adoption didn't become "official" until a day or two later when the judge finally received the missing paper and signed off on it.  

It was hard to celebrate like we had planned because the adoption was put on hold.  We were a little worried we'd have to change the date of the temple sealing, but luckily everything went through in time.  It was just a little glitch. 

With our cute judge. 

We love our lawyer.  He has also adopted two kids.

Our kids were so over it by the time we were done.  

Our caseworker.

Gregg's sister was able to be with us in the court room. It was nice to have her there.  So funny that Corbin wouldn't smile for anything.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

In Sickness and in Almost Death

Did you know there are viral infections out there that give you so much pain that you will beg, mercy?

Let's not get over dramatic here, but I thought I was going to die this week.

Emme was the first carrier of the death bug and threw up so many times she almost went to the ER for dehydration.  I do have to say, she is the best thrower upper kid I've ever seen.  She's so good to make it in her throw up bowl or run to the toilet.  She upchucked once on the couch and was so upset she missed the bowl.  She's a completely different kid when she's sick.  Calm, sweet, worried about our feelings.  It's weird.  A far cry from throwing her chicken and drink all over the dining room today, because "how dare we give her chicken when we apparently KNOW she hates it?"

But I digress.....

Luckily the rest of us didn't vomit once, but I sure wanted to.  It was like someone was inside of my head pounding me with a bat and someone else was twisting every muscle in my body.  There was no escape.  No position that eased the pain for four days.  I would have downed a whole container of Sardine juice if I thought it would have helped.  Unfortunately, it was just something we all had to live through.

Or rather, hang on the edge of mortality through.

Monday, June 9, 2014

One Year Down

Gregg has officially finished his first year of grad school.  

We made it.  

This time next year, I'll be posting pictures of graduation.  I can taste the finality.  

It's all very exciting until I feel the choke hold of fear of what happens next. 

I wish I could look back on this year and say "that wasn't so bad."  But, I can't.  It was hard. Uber hard.  

So many times I've thought "what the H were we thinking having you go back to school?"  

I pray it's all worth it.  I pray we find a golden job.  I pray we don't go bankrupt from student loans.  

It's too late to turn back now so I will go forward with my fist in the air while screaming "Let's do this!"  Or maybe "Get er' done!"  I haven't decided yet.  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Moment of Fame

Let's talk for a moment, or rather you listen while I talk, about my five minutes of LDS fame.

Back at the end of January I got wind from our ward choir director that the church was looking for volunteers to be in the Women's Conference Choir.  I thought it sounded really fun so I sent in my application.  They were upfront about the fact that they were mainly choosing families as this would be the first Women's Conference where girls from the ages 8 and up were invited.  I didn't think I had much of a chance, but at the same time I knew if I made it, it would be an amazing well needed experience.

A few weeks after my submission, I received an email congratulating me for making the choir.  I was thrilled.  To say I needed a spiritual boost would be a huge understatement.  I was drained and exhausted.  On the application they asked what I wanted to get out of the experience spiritually.  I wrote that I needed to bring the spirit to my home with me and that I wanted to be a better mom.  Now, I'm not saying our home was in terrible shape spiritually or anything, or that I was questioning my beliefs, it's just like I said.  I was feeling weighed down by life.  I needed to feel that I was loved from my Heavenly Father.

At our first rehearsal I learned just how lucky I was.  There were over 20,000 applicants for this 360ish person choir.  They said they ran out of time to read each individual application so they eventually just prayed that they were grabbing the papers of the women that were meant to be there.  I truly felt I NEEDED to be there.  It wasn't that I was an amazing singer or deserved it any more than anyone else, I just needed it.  Out of thousands, I was picked.  Little old normal me.  A tender mercy I was shown to know that I was loved and that He knows me personally.

At each of the practices we had the opportunity to hear from one of the women in the general presidencies. It was so special.  I learned so much from them and our awesome director.  The spirit was strong during every meeting.  Even the lady in charge of making sure we were wearing the right clothing was such a great example to me.  I realized I had work to do personally.  I wanted to be more like these women.  I wanted my relationship with Gregg to be stronger and more spiritually based.  I wanted our home to be a home of comfort and peace.  Not always easy with a special needs child with behavior issues.

My favorite song was "Daughters in His Kingdom."  The Primary, Young Women, and Relief Society all had their own parts.  I cried every time the primary started singing.  It was the sweetest thing.  During dress rehearsal the director had us sing it while looking around at all of the other women.  There was hardly a dry eye in the choir.

My favorite line of the song is when the Relief Society sing "Faithful and courageous, I choose to do my part."  It hit home to me.  I am choosing to not only survive raising a special needs child, but I am choosing to do my best.  I could give up at any point, but I continue to fight for her.  I would be lying if I said I didn't have moments of complete despair and disappointment in myself, but I CHOOSE to grow and learn.  I won't give up.

Here's the video of the song.  So good!

I took this photo at dress rehearsal the week before the conference.  Isn't the conference center beautiful?

The outfits we were asked to wear were um....not so much my style and I made a huge mistake going with orange.  Orange is not my color.  I had a few clothing malfunctions if we're being honest here, which I think we are.  My skirt did not want to stay up.  Once during dress rehearsal I looked down to see my skirt almost to my knees.  Um...embarrassing much?  Then I was so worried it would happen again, that I hiked it up so high that it gave me a big belly.  Oh I forgot we're being honest.  It showed my belly.  The belly I usually try to hide. Argg...I also didn't take into account that the fabric I chose showed sweat marks like crazy.  I'm usually not a sweater, but I was that night.  Just what I wanted for something that was shown world wide.  Good thing I'm not a public figure ya'll.

My mom, sister in law, and two of my nieces came down to attend.  I'm so glad they were there.  It made it much more special.
My niece and me.
My mom and me.
My SIL and other niece.  Oh and a big orange giant.

The General Presidency addressing us before the performance.  They were so sweet.
Who's that jaw dropper?  I took things very seriously.

This song apparently caused me pain.  Lol!  The faces of singing are awesome.

After the conference.

I have always heard stories of being in the presence of a prophet and how amazing it is.  The stories are true!  When President Monson walked in the room the whole building went silent.  I immediately felt like someone was pushing on my heart.  The spirit was so very, VERY strong.  All I could squeak out after was, "wow!"  He is a man of God.  I know this for a fact.   I also know we are all loved so much by our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  They know us.  They know of our needs.  They know what trials we need in order to become like them.  We are not left helpless though.  There is always a way to come unto Christ.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Oh, The Places You'll Go {When You Get a Nap}

Our household has not had a solid nights sleep in...I don't know how long.  It's been rough around here.

Once upon a time Corbin was sleeping solid.  Then teething, a cold, and bronchiolitis happened.  I miss waking up to a happy babbling baby.

Too bad he's not the only one.  Emme has struggled with sleep since we brought Corbin home.  The past three weeks she hasn't slept once through the night.  We're stumped.  She's either waking up because of her ADHD or she scared.  We're not sure which.  Maybe it's both.  One of us usually ends up sleeping on her floor while the other one tends to a screaming Corbin.  It's all very glamorous.

Today alone we have dealt with throw up, a crib covered in pee, and a gyno appointment.  To top things off, Corbin and I were pooped on by a bird while walking into Emme's school.  It was the cherry on top.

The three of us barely made it to nap time before killing over from exhaustion.  Usually, my kid's schedules are opposite so I have no hope for a nap.  Today I made it work.  We all slept like a boss.  It was awesome.

It's amazing what a nap can do.  We awoke a completely different group of humans.  Corbin giggled, Emme obeyed, and I had patience.  We played and played. I made dinner. We spent much needed time in the sun. Instead of Emme making Corbin cry, she made him scream with delight.  She was actually a three year old today and not a raging uncontrollable toddler.   It was glorious.  We were happy. We had fun.

Sure the house was a mess and I had no make up on, but today I loved being a mom.

Nap. Oh, dear nap.  I love you.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Truth About Motherhood

Emme went through a phase where she separated herself into two different people.  There was a good Emme and a bad Emme.  They often got in fights with each other where bad Emme would hit good Emme, or bad Emme would scream at good Emme.

Disturbing much?

Naturally, I brought this up to her behavioral therapist.  She explained that Emme was having a hard time understanding that people can be both good and bad.  She only perceived them in a very black or white way.  Therefore, she split her personalities into separate components so she could process herself in a way that made sense to her.

Her BT brought up the point that everyone has both good qualities and bad qualities, but that Emme is too little to understand you can have both.

She has now grown out of this phase, but I was reminded of this conversation this week when her psychiatrist asked me how the last few months had gone.  As I thought back, I could think of many negative experiences, but I could also think of many positive ones.  So I responded with "we've had a lot of ups and a lot of downs."

Emme has come so far and yet we still have struggles every day.  I worried the psychiatrist would think it was a weird response.  I mean, she's either doing better or she isn't.  Make a choice.  Am I right?

Flashback to my conversation with the BT.  It IS okay to admit that our everyday life is both better and sometimes it's not.  10:30 might be amazing and 10:35 might be terrible.  Just like we all have good and bad qualities the same is true of many things in life.

Being a mom for example.

Motherhood is often times very polar opposite.

Sometimes it's beautiful...

and moments later it can become more...let's say....interesting...

"Emme, stop picking your nose and eating it."

Seriously, honey, that's gross.

Motherhood is both joyful and heartbreaking.

Worth it, yet SO tiring.

Funny and frustrating.

Messy and more messy. Okay that one doesn't really work.

Spiritual and scream into a pillow, worthy.

These are all things you probably already knew.  Well here's some realizations I made this week that you may not know.  

I love seeing all of the inspirational posts about motherhood this time of year.  Booyah to telling us it's okay to let housework go so you can play with your kids.  Kuddos to letting perfection go out the window.  High five to the person that said you have to make time for yourself.  I dig it.  I get it.  I love it.  Except for weeks like this one. 

As much as these articles and speeches inspire me, they also make me roll my eyes.  I can guarantee they weren't written in the midst of sleepless nights, sick kids, bathrooms that are overdue, and work that HAS to be done now.  Or as I like to call my life right now "survival mode."  

I hit a point this week that I just got SO frustrated!  I get that it's okay to let things go, but they still have to get done eventually.  Eventually was this week.  I couldn't handle the chaos any longer.  Problem is, my life doesn't care right now.  My life IS chaos and it's not going to change for a while.  I feel like I'm always just skimming the surface.  There's not time or energy to really dig deep into extra... well...anything extra.  I'm lucky to get the counter cleaned up and the toys put away.  It's an amazing occurrence when Emme is sent to school with matching socks.  So amazing that I deserve an award for it because it's such an accomplishment for me.  

No one mentions that you still gotta get crap done and find time to be a fun playful mom. No one tells you what to do if that's just not possible.  I've never been schooled on parenting a special needs child while making sure my house doesn't become condemned.  Where is an article that tells you it's okay to ignore your children for a moment because there is NO ONE else that is going to do the work for you?  After all, we can't turn into hoarders here people.  That's pretty much frowned upon.  Where is a post about making it through when there is not a single moment to go grocery shopping?  Where is the talk about never seeing your husband and date nights seriously not being possible right now?

Maybe when I look back at this time, I will write an inspirational article saying "I've been there." " Hang in there, friend."  "There will be a time for organization later in life."

Now is not that time.

Right now I'm just a complete clone of Franky from The Middle.  

Unorganized, tired, poor, and not a very good cook.  It's scary how well I relate to her.

So here's my inspiration to myself right now.

YES, it's okay to let housework go, but it's also okay to let Emme watch TV with a big bowl of popcorn while you wipe down the toilet.

YES, it's okay to play hide and seek with your three year old. But, it's also okay to unload the dishwasher, once in a while, instead. 

YES, it's okay to take a nap after a sleepless night, but it's also okay to feel a little guilty that you accomplished nothing, nothing, when Emme was at school.   A little guilt is good.  It brings motivation. Now I'm just making stuff up.  Have I mentioned I'm tired enough times yet?

YES, it's okay that your life is contradictory and this article may only make sense to yourself.  

YES, it's okay that you are a mess right now because it's still a mess that's pretty beautiful.  See how I brought that back around?


Just. Keep. Surviving.  You're doing great.  

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Things You May Find

In my garbage can...

...On a Sunday morning...

__One exact pound of burnt to dust bacon.

__Doughy cherry pie bars.

__Kidney bean liquid scooped out of the crock pot and mixed with baked beans.

__One box of empty cookie dough, bought from a school fundraiser.

__My cooking hopes and dreams.

I think it's safe to say...

__You shouldn't ask me to cook for any event you're having.

__I will wake my husband in a panic when bacon is charred and there is no counter left showing in the kitchen.

__My husband makes great bacon.

__He bakes the perfect fundraiser chocolate chip cookies.

__My talents lie elsewhere.

__I should have listened to my sister in law when she said "Will you bring a dessert to my baby blessing even if it's just store bought?"  Probably meaning, "I know you well enough to know this is not your strong suit."

__She was right.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Count On Me

The summer before third grade, my dad introduced me to his close friend's new step daughter, Jessica.  She had just moved from "big city" Utah to our quaint little farming community.  She was my new neighbor.  Which in Idaho meant she lived a good mile away and was within biking distance.  I was in awe of her Polly Pocket collection and her stories of the city.  We became instant friends and even survived a tornado while riding our bikes one day.  Hilarious story by the way.  We were put in the same third grade class and were in the same ward.  I was in heaven.  

Flash forward to seventh grade.  

In health class I was assigned to sit by a girl named Callie.  She had a quick wit and didn't put up with crap.  I asked her for a piece of gum to which she frankly replied "no', because it was her favorite kind.  I don't remember how we became friends after that, but I'm sure it was our shared love of sarcasm.

By ninth grade a trio of friendship was born.  We knew each other better than anyone.  We laughed, we cried, we fought, passed notes, crushed on boys, vacationed together, and made up dances.  We were a part of each others families.   We really had such an innocent childhood together.  One that anyone would be lucky to have.  

This is a true selfie before digital cameras.  

One summer when we were in high school, Jess was on her way to visit her dad in Utah.  I was at youth activity at our church house when I heard siren after siren pass by.  It is highly unusual for something like that to happen out in the country.  We knew it meant bad news.  Our leaders left the room for a while and when they came back they all had grave looks on their faces.  They wouldn't tell us what happened, but I knew it wasn't good.  

When I got home that night my mom, who was the Relief Society president at the time, finally shared the tragic news.  Jessica's step dad and one of my dad's best friends had passed away in a car accident not far from our home.  Jess and her mom received the news half way to Utah and quickly turned around to head back home.  

My mom went to their house that night and I remember saying "mom, please make sure Jess is okay."  She promised that she would.

Callie was always better at knowing how to handle times like this.  I'm sure she organized a gift for Jess and knew the right words to say.  I on the other hand sat back in shock and heartache for my friend.  I had no idea how help my friend.  This wasn't suppose to happen to one of us.  I don't recall much of our conversation the day we went to visit Jess after her step dad died, but I do remember sitting on her bar stools in her kitchen and trying to make her laugh.    

I always admired Jessica's strength.

Polaroid anyone?

We rocked many girl's camps together.  

Jess is using an actual phone with a cord and everything.  

What else is there to do in a small town on a Saturday night, but play at the park?  
Jess with her high school sweetheart.  How cute is that?

Thanks, Idaho, for a miserably windy and cold graduation day.
 Helping me carry my ginormously poofy wedding dress.  

My favorite picture of the three of us.
When we were younger we daydreamed of a time we would all live on the same street and our kids would be best friends. Once we were all married, we headed in different directions, but that didn't keep us from easily getting right back to where we left off when we did see each other.  Callie lives far away from us now, but we still keep in close contact through social media.  


Shortly after Emme joined our family through adoption, I got a text from Jessica saying they were going to be starting the process to adopt as well.  I was so excited for her, but I also knew what a roller coaster it could be and hoped her experience would go smoothly.

They had many ups and down while waiting to be chosen, and unfortunately most were down.  I was heartbroken when I told her we were getting another baby.  I cried and scolded Heavenly Father from denying them of being parents.  It wasn't fair.  Jessica took the news gracefully and told me this baby was meant to come to our family and not to worry about her.  

When Corbin was a few months old I received a text from Jess with a picture of the cutest and tiniest 6 month old I had ever seen.  She was finally going to be a mommy.  I cried tears of joy for days afterward.  I told everyone I came across the happy news.  I didn't even care if they knew her or not.  I thanked Heavenly Father.   All seemed right in the world.

Sweet Kai had some health issues, but he immediately flourished in Jess and Spencer's home.  I loved every picture and video Jess sent me.  I couldn't wait to get him and Corbin together, but with Corbin being really sick all winter, it was impossible.

One short month ago another text with a picture showed up on my phone.  Poor Kai was hooked up to a million tubes and Jess was kissing him on the forehead.  She told me the horrible news that he was fighting for his life.  It happened so sudden.  One day he was doing amazing and the next he was attached to a life saving machine.  My heart broke into a million pieces.  It felt so surreal.  I again pleaded with Heavenly Father.  Please, please, please, don't let this happen.

We were headed out of town just minutes after I heard the news and I'm pretty sure I cried most of the way to our destination.  Kai's fate started to look up and by night time he was doing pretty well.  I went to bed feeling like he was going to be okay.

Heavenly Father had other plans for Kai.  In the middle of the night he experienced a massive stroke one of which was impossible to survive.  I wept and wept.  Again, this wasn't fair.  This can't be happening.

Gregg and I packed our bags as fast as we could and left town.  For mostly selfish reasons I had to get to Jessica.

I made it to the hospital just minutes after Kai passed away.  My experiences after that are hard to explain.  How can you describe what it's like to hug a mother who just said goodbye to their child?  I don't have the vocabulary for it.  

Kai had an amazing viewing  The spirit was very strong and hearts were very heavy.  He looked so perfect. 

I had the privilege of singing "I Know that My Redeemer Lives," at the funeral.  I was an honor.  I had such a sense of eternity afterwards.  God really does know us and what we do here in life matters.  Kai touched so many lives.   He was a perfect Child of God.

There was a balloon release at the cemetery.  Jess' dad joked he was going to bring a red one because he is a huge Utes fan. So funny.  
This was my favorite photo of all.  So much contemplation in Spencer's face.  

Kai is so missed.  I look up to Jessica so much.  She is so strong.  She knows Heavenly Father has a plan for her family.  She struggles with the hurt, but I admire her want to get through each day being a little stronger.  She is a true model of what a mother should be. 

Jess, I hope you know you can always count on me.  I will always be ready to take a trip to see the pigs when you need it.  ;) 

Count On Me // Bruno Mars

If you ever find yourself stuck in the middle of the sea
I'll sail the world to find you
If you ever find yourself lost in the dark and you can't see
I'll be the light to guide you

Find out what we're made of
When we are called to help our friends in need
You can count on me like one, two, three, I'll be there
And I know when I need it
I can count on you like four, three, two, you'll be there
'Cause that's what friends are supposed to do,

If you're tossin' and you're turnin' and you just can't fall asleep
I'll sing a song beside you
And if you ever forget how much you really mean to me
Everyday I will remind you

Find out what we're made of
When we are called to help our friends in need
You can count on me like one, two, three, I'll be there
And I know when I need it
I can count on you like four, three, two, and you'll be there
'Cause that's what friends are supposed to do

You'll always have my shoulder when you cry
I'll never let go, never say goodbye
You know you can count on me like one, two, three, I'll be there
And I know when I need it
I can count on you like four, three, two, and you'll be there
'Cause that's what friends are supposed to do

You'll always have my shoulder when you cry
I'll never let you go,
Never say goodbye
You know you can count on me like one, two, three
I'll be there
And i know when i need it
I can count on you like four, three, two
And you'll be there
Cause that's what friends are supposed to do

You can count on me 'cause I can count on you...