Monday, April 28, 2014

An update!

Ahg!  It's been a while since I posted!

There has been a lot going on.  Nothing all that huge, but there is always something that keeps us busy!

Last weekend we had a garage sale at my mom's house.  That is always a project.  It was mostly my sister Lana's things, but i had a couple garbage bags of things to get rid of so I priced them an added mine in.

I had a thought that perhaps Lana & I could start a project and make a little money repurposing some furniture.  We found couple of old chairs at a garage sale, cleaned them up, I showed her how to chalk paint & we had a project day where we painted some things she had been wanting to paint and these two chairs.

We have had zero interest from anyone in purchasing them.  Sigh.  I guess that wasn't an idea that will take off.  

I got some more furniture at garage sales this weekend I want to paint up.  James & Brooke might take some if they have room in their apartment after the wedding.

The wedding is just 2 months from today!

Graduation is this coming weekend!

The pursuit of entry with the Indiana Police Academy has been cut off.  James got the notice this week that he wasn't moved on to the next level.  So, he is job searching.  Brooke has a job set up in Mishawaka where they think they are going to start out.

Lots of prayers going up for this.  

Zach returned from his trip to California for 2 weeks.  It went well.  He is doing okay.  He is moving slow, but God is at work.  He is saying lots of the right things.  Just praying for the grace to keep going forward.

Leah has prom this coming weekend.  And I will miss it because I will be at James' graduation.

Things have been rough with Kiahna.  I was talking to a woman at a garage sale last weekend about her.  I made the comment that I was considering talking to Gateway woods about if anyone would be willing to keep her for longer periods of time for respite care.  She commented on a family I should call.  I did that on Saturday & I am meeting with them on Tuesday to see if they would be willing to keep her for a long weekend.  Like this coming one.  Or the wedding one.  Hoping an answer to prayers that I am not sure that I even uttered.

Photography is going slow.  Praying for that too.

In His Grip


Thursday, April 10, 2014

A few encouraging things

I have been trying to keep my eye out for encouraging things.

  • Kiahna's unprompted prayer in the backseat of the van for her own behavior at school, after a rough day before.  And her recognition of the answer to prayers when she came home happy as can be at her success.
  • Jadon's thankful prayers for the glasses he just got.  Poor kid couldn't see.

His "selfie".  He wouldn't let me take one.

Counting Blessings today.

In His Grip,


Monday, April 7, 2014


A full week back to reality has been interesting.

Our vacation wasn't really relaxing enough to make re-entry all that difficult.

I did miss the meal plan we had set up and all the prepared meals we had done ahead... not to mention someone else to run the grill.  Oh, and a grill with even cooking and not just two small hot spots.

Kiahna adjusted well to getting back to her routine.  I feel frustration with her on some levels though. I am finding it hard to accept her behaviors at times.  We went to the mall on Saturday to get Leah a prom dress and also to find a dress for Kiahna for Easter and the wedding.  Kiahna continues to pout and use her mad face to get her way.  She threatens to run away from me in public places to get her way.  I told her that I would just call the police if she did and didn't react.  She stayed with us and did alright.  It's just hard.  I think one of my biggest issues right now is how much effort she takes and how much it takes away from my other children and enjoying the time with them.

Work is picking up.  I am trying to be thankful for what I have and not wishful for what I don't have.  Sometimes this business can be so brutal.  I am working on my attitude.  I wonder when people really bother me, what it is about me that really bothers other people?  Trying to focus on that and be a better business owner, friend & family member.

Wedding planning continues.  Yesterday I learned to make wire wedding hangers.

I threw the first two I tried away, but am pretty happy with my final results.  I made them for gifts for all the bridesmaids.

Zach left for two weeks in California with his work.  I am not real sure what all is going to be done, the same work that they do here I believe.  Saw the high today where he is as 91 degrees though!  He texted at 3:30 this morning that they arrived.  Of course that would be 12:30 am there so I hope they got decent sleep for the amount of work in that heat that is ahead!  Talk about a culture shock!  

He has been making baby steps progress.  He is honest (not to me but to others) about his struggles and seems to be making headway in the correct direction.  I am really not having to deal with much with him as of now, just his unwillingness to clean up after himself or do his own laundry.  (I told him $20 a week to do this for him if he didn't get it done himself, looks like I am getting paid)

James is in his final month of college.  I am prayerful for some of the wedding plans that I don't see as being very "in character" that are coming up.  I was pretty upset last night about some of the arrangements.  I am just prayerful.  Why, do I feel like a drama magnet.  And like Brookelyn's family is going to think we are the most dramatic people ever.  (probably because we are)


Leah got a beautiful prom dress.  Cost more than I wanted to pay, but hopefully I can find a buyer to take it for a good price next spring for their prom.  Here is a peek with my phone pix.

I am just sad I will have to miss seeing her in person wearing this.  Graduation for James is that same day.  

Weirdest thing happened Saturday night.  I stopped after my photoshoot at my sister's house to drop of something she wanted me to pick up for her in Ft Wayne.  I got back to my van and it was locked.  I had the key fob and it wouldn't open the door.  

Silly me, I have 2 key fobs but only one has a physical key in it that can open the door in these situations.  (saved $30 not getting that second one ya know)  I didn't have the one with physical key.  My bil said to take his car home and look for the other key.  I couldn't find it.  I feared it was inside my van, in my purse, along with my phone and my camera.

I had another battery, changed that, still didn't work.



Went home again.  Looked more.  Prayed more.  Still nothing.

I guess I needed a real unplugged day on Sunday.

Figured I'd have to call a dealership on Monday morning and figure out how to open my van up.

Sunday, I was getting ready to leave for the choir concert and I put on a springy pink jacket I hadn't worn since the trip home from Florida.  The other key was in the pocket.


Went and unlocked my van (fob didn't work), started it up.  And BOTH key fobs are working again.  Weirdest thing.

Pretty sure it reset itself some how.  Makes no sense.  

Planning to get a second physical key this week for the other fob.  

See.  Drama.  It follows me.

I need to go work out.

Happy Monday.  Here's to a drama free week.


In His Grip,


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Vacationing with a special needs child

Okay, let's just get real honest and open here...

Vacationing with a special needs child in tow can be much worse than just living daily life with them.

Vacationing with Kiahna has grown increasingly difficult the older she has gotten.

One of the biggest reasons being that she looks so inappropriate with so many of her behaviors and reactions, that behaviors that didn't look so strange when she was 3-4-5-6 look really odd now that she is 9.

It's incredibly hard.  I am not sure it's worth it.  But, unless I wish to give up all my vacations in the future, I am not sure I have options.

There.  I said it out loud.

We began our time in Florida over Spring Break off pretty hard with her.

Flight there went really well and was uneventful.

Beauty above the thick clouds and fog we had at home the day we left for Florida.

First difficult issue was that we weren't sleeping in the condo where we were hanging out with my sister all day.  So, that meant for some later nights.  NEVER good for Kiahna.

We flew in after 8 pm and drove the half hour to the condo, my dad had picked us up and we stopped by the condo to pick up the others and say hello to my sister's family (who was staying in the condo). Kiahna immediately got upset.  I couldn't even tell you why, she was just done.  Anger, overwhelmed, confused, tired, and we needed to get out of there quick.  Ruined that arrival.

The next evening was James' surprise arrival. I knew I needed to take her with me, because no one else was willing to keep her.  Again, flight got in after 8.  Again, late bedtime.  Angry child.

Next night, the guys got in to town.  I was over in the apartment where we were staying that part of the week, so I could put Kiahna to bed, because she was DONE.  Which meant I missed seeing the older boys surprise that James was there.  I confess I was disappointed and a tad angry that her behaviors were causing me to miss it.

That night earlier she had been so upset after being told that she couldn't have yet another ice cream sandwich that she ran from the 3rd floor condo, down the stairs, out the stair well door, through the parking lot, and almost was to the busy highway when she stopped.  I was chasing her, but there was no way that I could have caught her or would have been able to prevent her from going in to the street.

Over. Ice Cream.

That's the point you really sit and question yourself.  Did you make a mistake brining her?  How will you keep her safe.  What in the world are you going to do.  How. Why. Feels very alone.

Some comments from some family members were hurtful.  Sorry, family, if you are reading this, but there were some hurtful comments.

The next evening, after sunset, this would have been the first evening we were now moved over in to the condos.  So, we had 2 condos in this complex.  I decided to run to the store and get some dessert for us all.  I took Leah & Hallie along and not Kiahna.  She was swimming.

She got upset when they asked her to get out of the pool and they had her in bed (after a tantrum) when I returned.  I laid in bed with her for awhile.  She was hurt by how she had been handled while I was gone.  She asked me why things were done and said that way.

I could cry now at how hard this all is.  How alone in this I feel.

That was the point I was praying and asked others to pray for us.  Things got better from there.  She settled in.  She made a friend at the pool.  She played & went to bed before 8 pm each evening.  We didn't go anywhere, things settled and so did she.

We had some interesting interactions at the condo with some people who obviously wouldn't know that she had any disability.  Here is where I insert my desire to have her wear a warning label!!  I guarantee if she had a visible disability the reactions wouldn't be there like we get.

She was squirting people in the hot tub apparently.  There were some strangers in there.  (I missed this one, but was told about it later)  Someone confronted her about the squirting and she said she was sorry.  A lady in the hot tub said "no you aren't".

Later, a man approached me in the condo hallway.  Said, "Ma'am, I am not sure what I did to upset your daughter, but she just told me to go back into my room and not come back out".  I told him that I was sorry, and she has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and she does things like that to all of us.  He felt so bad.  Appologized over and over again for saying anything.  Saw me again later and apologized again.  I was not offended by him, his reaction was kind and his approach was kind.  It was just hard to know that she walks around and people judge her based on what they see without knowing what's really going on inside of her.

When she made friends with a 5 year old at the pool, I went and talked to the little girl's mom.  Told her that Kiahna had FAS, and would not act age appropriate.  She was super kind and the little girl and Kiahna got along amazingly all week.

THEN we traveled home.  What was supposed to be a simple 2 hour flight from St Pete to Ft Wayne, ended up being a traveling nightmare to most adults.  Kiahna handled it like a champ.

Waiting at the airport

watching Frozen on Lana's iPad at the airport while we waited all day for our flight that eventually canceled...

The next morning after about 7 hours of sleep at the hotel (she's used to at least 10 hours of sleep)


So baffling.

So, you melt down and put your life in danger over and ice-cream sandwich... but you handle long airport waits, delayed and canceled flights and overnight stay in a hotel (unplanned) and a early morning flight with LONG lines like it's no big deal.

One of the biggest challenges of this whole thing is how unpredictable it all is.  The easy things trigger her, the hard things she deals with... and then sometimes it's the opposite.  Who can predict.

Not me.

In His Grip,


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Our Surprise Visitor.

When we were planning this trip to Florida, part of the plan was that I would fly with Kiahna.  It just makes sense.  She is not easy to deal with.  I don't have a second driver for my vehicle.  I hate the drive.  If I fly the rest of them can go in 2 vehicles rather than 3.  I have used credit card points to discount already cheap flights for the past few trips I have had down there.  

My sister, Lana, decided maybe she would look into flying also.  Making more room for the 5 big boys in her vehicle, who would be riding with her husband Ben.  Flights went really cheap again, and she booked her flight with mine.

We were watching the flights pretty closely looking for the rates to change on the Saturday flight.  We had booked a Friday flight because it was so much less.  Finally around the end of February, the Saturday flight went way down & both of us called Allegiant to change our flights to Saturday.  

When I was on the website, I just happened to look and see how much a ticket would be from South Bend to St Pete.  James is in school near South Bend, at Bethel.  I wondered if it would possibly work with his track schedule for him to come for an extended weekend.  The ticket was cheap.  I called him and asked if he thought it would work.  He told me he had no Friday classes, and only one class on Monday.  We decided to book a Thursday night flight for him & fly back on Monday.  We also decided we wouldn't tell anyone and let it be a surprise.

I was about to burst with excitement!

I told my sister Lana.  I needed an ally to pull it off.  We needed to adjust some of our food amounts & consider the sleeping arrangements.  And I wanted her to try to get some photos when I walked in with him.

I thought I would burst with the excitement of it all!!  It had been James' junior year of high school when we were all there together.

The more I thought about it, the more emotional it made me, here we are 3 months from moving into a new era in our lives.  A good era, but a new one.  This is the last chance I had to get a photo of us all together on the beach.  Maybe this was an emotional mom decision, but it was a good one.  I could cry now thinking about it and how happy I was this worked out.

On Thursday, with the assistance of my sister, I had made a pretty big list of things we HAD to have from Target that night.  I NEEDED to go to Target and find these things we were needing for the next day of beach life.

I took Kiahna with me.  She cracked me up.  But, I should have handled her differently.  I didn't tell her we were going to the airport and she was looking diligently for a Target and adamantly wanting swimmies I had told her were there.  Dumb move on my part.

When we pulled up to the airport, Kiahna said.  "what is he doing here?"  In her annoyed, I would rather have went to Target voice.  Such is life with Kiahna.  Always on a learning curve.  She was mad at us the whole way back, because we never did go to Target.   Honestly, I thought we would pass one and I would have stopped, but we didn't. 

Text messages to my sister had her ready with her phone camera to take our photos when we came in.  They didn't turn out very well, but you can get the point...

I walked in first, and said... "I couldn't find Target, but I found this guy!"

My dad's face was priceless.  I don't think he shut his dropped jaw for 5 minutes!  We had succeeded in our surprise and it was so nice having James with us.

A few fun photos from the time he was there...

The van with the boys in it didn't arrive until Friday night, so James was there for a day before they got there, we let that be a surprise too... my heart felt like it might burst seeing these 6 together (my 3 oldest sons and my sisters 3 sons)

I just wanted them to stand nice for a quick photo... they just couldn't do it!

This was such a blessing to me... Leah made the comment of James being my favorite child... she doesn't understand, it's not that, it just that they are all together, and he completes my puzzle...

And I got my much desired family photo on the beach... 

In His Grip,