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Waiting For SuperMom…

I’ve been waiting for the time to be right, hoping that I would know with unequivocal clarity.  Hoping that I would make it,  to be the best mom ever for my babes.  To be the Supermom that they deserve.   At the end of each day I sit, hoping that the next one will be better.  I  mistakes constantly. I pray that my children are strong enough not to be scarred by me, since I know that there is no way around them being hurt.  I’m just not perfect.
I fold laundry at 2am, I do dished a 4am ever so quietly, hoping not to wake the locals.   Then I sleep till 10am because I pushed too hard  and my body isn’t what it used to be.  So I feed them whatever I can get my hands on, and don’t make dinner until the last minute so the kitchen is a mess. Because I have to make everything from scratch. We have  various food allergies and housing upheaval. I have fibromyalgia, a herniated disk, a para-esophageal hernia that is going to require major surgery in a few weeks… A whole pot of crazy going on.

I spend my days trying to school them.  I love these days, but they don’t feel like enough for them, around my health and other needs. Each and every day I wonder if school would be better.   Not that I feel like a failure, but the thought is just always there. I am very aware that there are ways that school would NOT be successful, but then I worry about my inability to hold to structure and how it is affecting them.
My children are brilliant, and inspiring! Says-every-mom-ever. And I mean it!  They amaze me even more than they concern me. We are in a season of complete upheaval with construction on our home, changing our family budget, and getting health stuff taken care of.
One big change for our family happened about a month ago when we did send one of the babes back to school.  Over December we thought and prayed a lot about it.  It basically came down to this. Lucas needs clear structure and routine.  I am not very successful at either.  Lucas needs a full evaluation for insurance to pay for his therapy needs for Asperger Syndrome.  Insurance does not cover the evaluation which is anywhere between $2500 and $5000.  In public school he can be evaluated for free and provided the structure and support he needs.  Sounds like the perfect answer!!
It was still hard. So, so hard.  Lucas is the one I always keep with me. Mostly because he’s so much for other people to handle.  So dropping him off for others to care was overwhelming.  The school staff spent several hours over  2 weeks with us, in preparation for bringing Lucas in. They were wonderful.  We went over his need for support in the bathroom, and talked about his Sensory Processing Disorder. Because of his SPD, he is likely to be in pullups until he is 10-12.  The created a special plan and routine for him, based on what we suggested, with supervised bathroom visits and help with accidents. Their attention to detail for his needs was such a relief.  In his 504 plan for special needs, they also allowed him to have his chew necklace, wiggle seat and fidget toys.
Lucas has been there for a month now, and he is thriving. For the first time!  I can say he is thriving!! We still pick him up every Tuesday and take him to his OT appointments and he is in the middle of the evaluation process. In spite of my fears, it was absolutely what he needed.
Things come up with each of our children where we have to re-evaluate what we do.   We have to look at their needs. We put them above ours, and even above our ideals. We shift those ideals, as each process with our children changes the shape of our parenting; changes the priorities we thought we knew were “utmost” ten years ago.

I absolutely, despise the question “How do you do it all?”  Actually, even more than I despise the movie. The question is lame. No one really wants an answer. What they really mean is that you just have too much, way more than they would ever want. And it implies that they really have a clear preference for their own life.  Well, touche.  I prefer mine.
The truth is that NONE of  us do it all.  We choose in the moment, we grow with their needs. We stretch the muscle of our heart, the tissues of our brains… and they both ache and quake through the process.  We don’t do it all. Ever.  No one does.  Wed on’t have to.  We just have to do today.

I caught myself waiting again.  Waiting for something that will never happen. Something that doesn’t exist.  There is no Supermom.  I will never be her, and neither will you.  We have no cape and no need for one.  Who we are is who we are meant to be, and it is what our children need.   I mean, Edna said it and I agree.

Join me in putting the cape envy away.  Let’s put down our list of expectation. Of what we would look like if we were Supermoms.

The next few months look like climbing Mount Everest to me, and I don’t know how to do it. I just know, without a shadow of a doubt, that this sweet family of mine will make it to the other side… regardless of my lack of cape.


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Over Sensed- My Experience and Opinion on Diagnosing SPDs (Sensory Processing Disorders)

There is a lot of confusion out there about Sensory Processing or Sensory Integration Disorders. It seems that every child has it, if they don’t sit still and act perfectly. If they get overstimulated and have meltdowns, it’s because they clearly have a disorder. Right?

Ok, stop. Don’t get your hopes too high about the post. The bottom line is that I am going to share my experience and opinion.  And I’m totally aware that the latter may be flawed and convoluted, but it is my opinion and thoughts as of right now.

In a culture has become increasingly fast pasted and overstimulating I don’t know one person who doesn’t get overstimulated and thus overwhelmed.  It’s become the new “American Way”.   In trying to make life bigger and better we’ve made it louder, brighter to an extreme that is affecting us all. Food is bigger, kids shows are CRAZY, entertainment consumes more of our time than it ever has before.  Yeah. We’re all living the life, alright.

Everyone has experiences like this at some point being overstimulated. Some more than others.  So we have a range.  We have the average American, who, based on their lifestyle choices, is going to experience Sensory Overload in varying levels of frequency.  As many of you know, I dream of going off the grid to minimize my frequency of this, but don’t see it happening for many years.  But you do it, I do it, your next door neighbor does, too.

Just because your child does not behave perfectly, does not mean they have a disorder or that something is wrong.  You don’t have to panic about this. It means they are a child.  Just because we as adults can relate to the panic, frustration and feeling of being overwhelmed that comes with an SPD, doesn’t mean that we have one. You’ll be ok. Promise. I feel like if we look around and pay attention, we will find that we as a country are experiencing Sensory OVERLOAD.  And we ourselves are the disorder. Because out lifestyles are…out of order.

So I do agree with those who  have said it doesn’t always mean you need a label.  But sometimes, you so. And when you do, it sucks.

No matter what you do, you get judgement coming from both ends. You get those who look at you like you are a mess and not normal. They get frustrated by the inconvenience of your needs because they’re different. They don’t know how to handle  you. Then the next day you’ll run into the friend who thinks that all of it is a crock.  All of it is just labeling and making excuses for varying levels of what is really normal.   You’re a wimp, or a bad mom for accepting the diagnosis. You’re selfish for allowing your child to be labeled. You just want to use it as an excuse to make you look better, or to get pity. But your kid is fine, and you’re the problem.

I have actually experienced this. I have people who were a pretty regular part of my life a few years ago who now don’t even communicate with my family anymore.  Because of the two reasons above. Either it’s just too hard to deal with the issues when they don’t know how. Or it’s just too shameful that I dare to admit my child has them.

But let me explain something that you may not have known.  I don’t just speak from experience as a mom. I speak from experience as a child.

I always had a hard time listening, and dealt with so much frustration as a child and even more as a teen.  Because, you know, as a teen everyone assumed that it was because I was CHOOSING not to listen, right?  Darn rebel.  You would think that it may have tipped someone off that as a preschooler I could only sing harmony to any song.  In chorus at 10 years old, I struggled to start learning to hear the melody of a tune, because all I heard was the abstract tones of the harmony.  To this day, I almost always sing harmony. To everything.
When I started college at 17, I had my first real classroom experiences and the frustration was over the top. I quickly became fed up and went to get my ears checked by a specialist.   I was diagnosed with CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder) a way before the  diagnosis of ADHD, ADD, Autism and Aspergers were so common.
Let me explain it for you the best I can. Some people have a neurological disorder where they have loss of depth perception visually, right? They bump into things, can’t tell how far away something is. Well, I have the auditory version. I often can’t distinguish sounds from one another. They blend together and I can’t tell which are close and which are far. When the number of sounds get to a certain number, or volume, my ears short out. That’s what I call it, anyway.  Take your hands and cover your ears tight. Now take them off and on rapidly.  That’s what it feels/sounds like. Not fun.
I often can’t find my cell phone because I can’t tell which direction the ringing is coming from.  I’ve been known to post on Facebook asking someone to call me repeatedly until I answer. Then I stand in the middle of my house trying to figure out the direction the ring is coming from, sometimes needing as many as 10 calls. So glad I have good friends who helped me out with that! As soon as my kids were old enough, I taught them to find my phone for me.  I’m not even kidding.  That was SUCH a relief!

That’s why I recognized that Lucas’ issue went beyond just “being a little slower”.  It was the frustration and signs of being in pain and confused.  And, as anyone who has read me knows, the poop.  So Lucas has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and a Vestibular Processing Disorder. He craves and makes extra sounds, because the vibrations the sound make in his head soothe him.  When he is frustrated, little repetitive noises are one of his main sources of comfort. Sometimes they are NOT so little, as he was doing Chewbaca calls in a perfect repetitive rhythm for 2 hours yesterday morning before I could redirect him to making a quiet lip-pursing noise.  That’s one of my lifesavers of balancing my auditory needs with his  sensory/vibration needs. It’s a great trick learned from a friend who has an older son with Aspergers.  Let them make a noise, but  help redirect them to one that you can agree works for both of you.

So where am I going with this?  Oh, right. Sharing this video and rambling a bit first. That was the plan.

This is a phenomenal example of what it can feel like.   But be aware that MOST people wherever you range from being busy and experiencing Sensory Overload to those who have a diagnosis of Sensory Integration or Processing Disorder.  We could all use to think through what our nervous systems need…

And I have no clever ending for this post. But thankfully, I have the video to share. The End.

This video was shared by a friend on Facebook and got my brain turning, so that’s why I wrote this rambling for your reading pleasure.  The source was HERE on NPR.  It’s a great read. Check it out.

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Husband Hijack and Daughter Stalled-Contest to Come

I’ve failed you all!  I didn’t post the contest last night for two reasons.

1. My dear loving husband did our taxes and submitted them yesterday. YAY!!! Sadly, we have only one laptop and it was commandeered for the grunt work the entire evening well into the night.


2. My usually wonderful and mature 9 year old went to bed early for the day’s behavior and I had promised her she c0uld help with the post and the photos because she was instrumental in making the prize set. So I agreed to wait for her.  Sounds confusing, I know.  These kids NEED their sleep.

As you can see. It’s serious…

Please bear with me. The post WILL be out late tonight. I have to honor my promise to the mini-perfectionist, who does not seem to think it is “ready” to be revealed. And she’s the designer.

Before midnight at least….  Look for it by tomorrow morning. Today is full of schooling. 😉

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Well, Gluten Happens :-(

This weekend my whole crew of littles were fed from the wrong spaghetti leftovers. They were accidentally “Glutened” by mistake, and the mistake ultimately was mine for not having made sure myself that those leftovers went straight in the trash and never made it into my fridge.  I thought they were pitched, but instead they’re wreaking havoc in my children’s digestive systems.  Selah is doing well, just they typical rash.  She’s actually off on a hike with a friend’s family today.  Jake has been grouchy. touchy and had one accident that I know of.  He doesn’t say anything anymore if he’s bleeding.  At seven  years old, he’s decided to be a man about it and I have to trust that he’ll let me know if he needs help.  Lucas and Irie are both in pull-ups, with full blown loss of control and bleeding rashes.
Life in our house is rough when #$*% happens. And by $#&%  I do mean gluten.  Being gluten-free has become very trendy lately. On one hand I love that there are more options, and I DO believe that the majority of people shouldn’t be eating gluten.  Certainly not as much as we do!
But there’s one little side effect of everyone wanting to treat gluten like a dietary choice. People like my family don’t have a choice.  So when their friends know others who are “gluten-free” but cheat when they want to (I’m personally guilty of this for me, but NOT for my kids) they assume that everyone can.  It’s like someone on a diet.  But this isn’t a diet.  Gluten tears my babies up.  It throws our whole household off for a few days. My children have intestinal bleeding and bleeding rashes.  It’s not the same as sneaking a bite of cake and not counting the calories. It’s devastating.
And no one has acted as if it’s not serious for us.  We’re surrounded by loving friends and family who care.  I’m so grateful for that!  It’s just that I see the general public being more aware of gluten, but in a way that desensitizes them.  They see it as a fad. And who doesn’t know someone who read an article and decided that they must be gluten intolerant? Once again, they most likely are!  And I love sharing and helping people become GF.  It’s just the way it is perceived as a simple choice in general that scares me.  And I suppose for me, I wonder if people think that I’m doing it for attention (let me tell you, NO ONE in their right mind would be doing this for 6+ years, with 4 kids, for an ego boost).

Anyway, that’s the end of my rant.  Shit happens. In my house, it tends to start out with gluten.   I just needed to pout publicly for a minute.  It’s not what I typically blog about at all, but darn it.  It stinks.
And speaking of stink, some uninvited guest seems to have climbed up into the new, lovely wall that my husband finished in the bathroom a few weeks ago.  The stench is so overwhelming that I’d almost RATHER change a pullup in the living room than sit and “wait” with them in the reekugb stench of our only bathroom.  See, there’s always a silver lining, right?  Travis will be back from Greenville late tonight so I don’t see much hope of finding the offender today.

Lucas is crying and leaking down his leg.  Irie is at my side crying and saying that her tummy hurts. Jake just ran through the house screaming “I’m not going to make it to the bathroom!”

Lord have mercy on my babies and their poor bellies and bumms!



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#9 Thankful For The Stampede-Revisiting the Song Of The Zebra

I’m thankful for the stampede of children that daily tramples my nerves.  And I don’t mean that as a metaphor as much as the literal sound they make galloping up and down the hallway every. single. day.   Their love for one another and joy in being together is worth every irritating moment of it.  Because wild horses couldn’t drive me away from these children.

My daughter has an incredible talent that not many people aren’t aware of.  It started five years ago with her obsession over zebras.   Her ability at the age of four to mimic the sound of a zebra was so uncanny that I had to blog about it (HERE).   After that point her talent expanded to include an eerily realistic gallop that she developed going up and down our hallway 50+ times a day.  Her dedication to perfecting it was impressive.   As time went on she enjoyed the honor of schooling her three younger siblings in her technique and precision and I know am the proud mother of four phenomenal gallopers.  And this week it’s been even more prevalent on my daily irritation radar, bringing me lots of opportunity to practice patience.

Why?  Because this week is daylight savings  and we join with millions of parents in the USA, experiencing the dreaded morning adjustment.  This means that my husband and I are waking to the stampede at 5am instead of 6.  Repeatedly they charge up and down the hallway, through the center of our home and right outside our bedroom door.  It’s quite the honor. Really it is.

In keeping my perspective, I am processing the daily charge down the hallway with lots of contemplation on patience and loving my children where they are at.   Enjoying their love for each other and enjoyment of family companionship.

It reminded today of the blog post written so long ago along the same lines, back when it all started with a sweet little four year old.

A four year old and her Song Of The Zebra.

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#8 Is It Possible That I’m Thankful for Food Allergies?

I am thankful for many ways that having a family with food allergies has changed my life.  It’s rough. It’s a daily battle.  I am so aware of what is nourishing and sustaining their bodies. I’ve learned so much and had numerous opportunities to support and encourage other mothers who are walking through the confusion.  I am blessed to know that God trusted me to care for the needs of these four amazing little people’s bellies.

Food allergies, sensitivities, reactions… whatever you want to call them they suck. They just do.  We went through 2 years of confusion and being written off by doctors before we were fully able to figure out what our children needed. Mostly for Jacob, but have learned that our other children are affected, too.  At one point, our doctor actually told us to try to ignore his rectal bleeding like a nosebleed.  Since they couldn’t figure it out, they wanted us to ignore it (Read here. And then there’s  here. Oh, and next ).    Those were all so long ago. Once the issue was settled on food allergies, how can I not be thankful to be able to change the pain and issues in my baby’s daily life?

But it’s ok to admit that it’s overwhelming. Exhausting.  It consumes my time and energy.  I can never relax when we are anywhere in public when food is present because my youngest two are still “grabbers”, not having an understanding of connection between the food and the pain.  Sometimes 2-3 goldfish is enough to have one of them sick for three days.  It’s frustrating and agonizing.

How can I complain?  There are children out there living with debilitating pain, life long  disabilities and fatal diseases.    Over the past two years I’ve watched a dear friend go through the pain and suffering of losing her sweet baby slowly to a disease most of us don’t even have a clue exists. (READ).  How, then, can I be so self-centered as to think this small inconvenience in my life is a trial?!?  I am thankful for the perspective that it allows me.  And I humbly bow my head for the mothers out there who’s strength will always awe me as they walk in humility serving the needs of a child who suffers. They deserve our respect and prayers. Me?  I’m just fine.  There are REAL hero-moms out there…


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Consistency Is The Thing- The story of my blog

This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to bring back my blog, but I am determined that it will be the time I will be successful.  You see back, oh…. we’ll say about 2 kids and 40 lbs ago…  my blog was a great part of my daily life and I loved it.  Not only was it a healthy outlet it was a great compromise for temporarily giving up my dream of being a published writer.  I was writing regularly and getting 1000-1500 hits a week, which was plenty for me to feel happy!
Life changed a bit and time was crunched between more babies and being a work-from-home-mom.  At some point around when I became pregnant with #4 I decided that joining Facebook had to be the way to go. I could still have an outlet but for shorter spurts… these things called “status updates” and it wouldn’t take as much of my time as the blog. Brilliant, right?
Not so much, and that’s for many reasons.  So here I am back to where I started.   I’m going to get back to writing.  I’m still going to have my rule of not editing much so please don’t pick on me for it.  If I tell myself I have to edit, I’ll never find the time to actually write. That’s my compromise. I’m ok with it.
My goal is to be consistent.  So I’m working on a lineup of blogposts that will come out weekly in advance, in case I get busy.  I’m up to almost 20, including “The Top ELEVEN Things I Learned In 2011“.

So, next week I will be running a contest, and I’m still trying to decide what the prize will be. I love prizes! There are so many things I’d love to give away!!   Be ready! In the meantime, be sure that you’ve liked me on Facebook and you are ready to tell your friends!

Now, back to the fray of mothering…




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