Friday, December 23, 2011

I Knew She'd Change The World



"Children like Avery change the world. They grow up to be passionate, opinionated adults. The hard part is getting them there."

"She doesn't have temper tantrums. She has emotional storms. You'll find that they will cluster and you'll have days where they are back to back. It's not her, it is how a brain works and the synapses fire."

"I bet you try to be logical and calm with her?"... "That doesn't work with Avery. She has big emotions and wants you to have big emotions too."

"She has rigid thinking. Black and white. There is no gray area with her. It's very much how a scientist thinks. She knows how she wants things to go and when things don't follow a certain plan, she doesn't know how to handle it, or voice her frustration properly."

"Everything you do to parent your other children is not going to work with Avery. You will have to learn a whole new set of skills to deal with her."

"Of course she is going to be wonderful at school and then come home and lash out and misbehave. You don't go out into the world and show your bad moods to the neighbors or the mailman or the grocery store clerk, either. You save up your stress and release it where you feel safe."

Everything the psychologist said...made perfect sense. She made me feel like I'm not a failure. I may not have the skills or knowledge yet, to cope with her, but I'm not a failure. Perhaps I would be failing her if I chose to ignore this and sweep it under the rug...but, I'm not. I'm facing it head on and even though it is one of the hardest things I have ever done, I'm doing it.

Our plan from this point forward is to do therapy every few weeks, at The Children's Center. They will be working with Avery and trying to help her find ways to communicate with us better and find ways to deal with "gray" areas. They will be working with Josh and I on ways to cope with her emotional storms and what we can do to help with her frustration and aggression. We may have times of family therapy, since Avery's differences do affect our other children. This will all be tried for about six months before we discuss any medication options. I would like to use those as a last resort. I'm certain that if our reactions to Avery can be better, then things will improve.

It's going to be a long, bumpy road. One that I am willing to take, for my beautiful girl.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

When Did She Grow Up?


After another hard day with Avery, I found myself being comforted...by my ten year old.


Me: "I'm sorry, Bay, Mom is just really upset today."
Bay: "It's okay, Mom. I know she's hard."
Me: "Yeah, she can be. It makes me feel like a bad Mom."
Bay: "You're not a bad Mom! You're the best Mom!"
Me: "Thanks, Bay. Even adults can feel like a failure, sometimes."
Bay: "Mom, parents aren't supposed to be perfect all the time."


...and in that second, I realized that the tiny, 6 lb baby that I brought home and placed in her ladybug decorated nursery...has really begun to grow up.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's My Only Choice


Monday morning is the day we have been waiting for, for three months. We are finally meeting with a child psychologist for Avery.

Monday can't come fast enough.

While she is having more better days than not, the days that are  bad...are bad. She is unable to control her emotions, especially when she is upset or frustrated. They will overtake her for hours...(four, straight hours today)...and she lashes out. She will hurt anyone or anything in her path and doesn't care. She becomes so wrapped up and focused on one thing, that she becomes stuck on a merry-go-round that won't stop.

For instance, today, Luke (who is younger) and Avery were fighting over computer time. Finally, I told them that the computer was going up for the night and no one was playing it, since they couldn't get along. After the usually whining that one would expect from a child who was reprimanded, Luke walked away and let it go. His response lasted a mere five minutes. However, Avery became so fixated on what she wanted and became so frustrated, that four hours of hell ensued for me. She kicked the walls. She screamed. She threw things. She slammed her door. She chanted, "Can I play the computer?" for about 75 straight minutes, of that four hours.

I don't know many adults who wouldn't have completely lost it, in this situation...and I'm not one of those adults, either. I ended up in a ball, frustrated, crying...feeling very alone and like a complete failure.

WHY can't I get through to my child? This is not a normal temper tantrum. No child (at least none I've ever come in contact with) would grasp on to an idea for over four hours and not let it go. WHY don't I have the ability to calm her down and make her understand, like I'm able to do with any of my other children?

I know what we've already been told. I know she has some frontal lobe immaturity. I know she has sensory issues. I know she has a mood disorder. I know all this. What I don't know is how to help her. How to cope. How to keep my other children from being afraid of her. How to be strong enough to not break down, like I did today. I don't know any of this.

I'm praying that someone can help us.

Because I can only be strong, for so long.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Panic At The Finish Line

Imagine training for a marathon...

Putting in years of training and work (I know it doesn't take years  to train for a marathon...but pretend you are a slow achiever...) ;) only to get closer and closer to the day of the marathon and become overwhelmed with anxiety. Can you really do it? (Well, yes, you've put in the work and done what you should.) Should you really do it? (Why wouldn't you? It' something you've always wanted!) Will you really do it? (Well...will you?)

That's how I've felt lately, as the date for the nursing school applications draws closer. I still have my CNA to complete and that will take a bit of time. As the due date draws closer and closer, I'm finding that I'm running out of precious time.

I'm having a lot of self doubt and worries, that is making me hold back. Even though I have put in the work these past few years and taken all my pre-requisites, with pretty decent grades, I still have so much doubt that I will get in. I have so much doubt that I can handle the workload along with my other responsibilities.

The school I'm applying to only accepts 20 students for their program. 20. What makes me so special?

If I even do get in, how am I going to deal with cutting my hours (and my income) by half, for a couple years?

How will I handle a busy school load and five kids in school? (Which sounds like extra time...and is...but it also means more homework for them, more school projects, more school programs, more volunteer time, ect.)

What will we do with the kids, if my nursing school responsibilities overlaps Josh's work schedule?

How. Is. This. All. Going. To. Work. Out???

I finally came to peace with it yesterday. I am taking my CNA class the first week of January. That will give me two months to complete the class, complete the clinicals, complete the testing, take the state testing and hand in my application. Not a lot of time...(and it will have to be done concurrently with working full time and my other classes for my Bachelors)...but I'm working with what I have.

Then...

I'm letting it all go. It's not in my hands anymore. I can't control who a panel of people at the University deem worthy enough to accept. But, I can't let the stress and worry consume me anymore. If I don't apply, then the decision is made. If I do, then the decision is taken from me. If I get in...or if I don't...it's out of my hands. I can't let the fear of striking out, keep me from playing the game. I can't let the worries of how we will handle it all logistically, keep me from pushing forward. It will all work out. It always has.

Que sera, sera.

Whatever will be, will be.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

November Pictures

I apparently went crazy with pictures in November...because I'm still catching up with posting them all! I mean...it's understandable...with Josh's birthday, Peanut's birthday and Thanksgiving...there is a lot to document! :)

We had Peanut's birthday party with all the family after her birthday because of Josh's work schedule, but we still wanted to celebrate her special day with us. She requested a strawberry cake and that's what she got!

This was the first year that I ever cooked all of Thanksgiving dinner, all by myself. I woke up that morning with a RAGING sore throat...and no where was open. So, the fact that I totally made sugar-free pumpkin pies by mistake is going to be blamed on the fact that I had a major case of strep going on and felt like I'd been hit by a semi. ;) But, other than that minor fluke, we had an awesome dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sparkling apple cider, egg nog, shrimp, Mom's turkey cookies...and sugar-free pumpkin pie with homemade whip cream. ;)

I'm so thankful for everyone that came out to celebrate Peanut's third birthday! She again requested strawberry cupcakes and strawberry ice-cream! She received lots of girly presents, which she absolutely adored! What a beautiful little miracle she is!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'm Taking The Time To Say...

Sometimes...

I get caught up in my life.

There is always something to be done. Laundry. Cleaning. Shopping. Homework. Paying Bills. Mowing the lawn. Dishes. Work. Putting up decorations. Taking down decorations. Planning a birthday party. Repairing something that is broken. Kissing an owie. Doctor appointments. Dentist appointments. Someone is sick. Kid's homework. Shoveling the driveway. Overtime.

Sometimes...

I forget.

So, today, I'm taking the time...

...to say "thank-you".

Thank you, Josh, for everything you do. I'm not unaware that I married an amazing man. An amazing man who never hesitates to roll up his sleeves and do dishes. An amazing man who, honestly, does more laundry than I do. An amazing man who never complains about getting up with kids during the night...and never has. An amazing man who supports me with everything I do, even if it makes our family life more stressful. An amazing man who is in no way the "stereo-typical" husband or father.

Sometimes...

I forget to acknowledge all that you do and I never want you to think that I take you for granted.

Because, I don't. Not ever.

Hey...I love you. ;)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

No-Shave November Fun

I am married to a hairy man... *giggle*

After a month of not shaving...(thank you, dumb man who started "No-Shave November"...whoever you are...)...we decided to have some fun, taking the beard off! :)


He's such a babyface with no hair! If it weren't for his sleepy eyes from a night shift, he would look like a 14 year old... <3

Saturday, December 3, 2011

How To Kill A Snowman...

...in four easy steps!


1. Find a snowman that is already down on his luck and climb him...
...in your socks...
...even though your Mom told you to put boots on...

2. While beating up snowman, he gets the better of you and you fall off.
But, you don't give up!

3. Climb the snowman again...only to have him make you slide off again.
How's your cold feet?

4. Climb the snowman one more time...
...and show him who is BOSS!
Then take a victory leap off...
...and run inside...
...complaining that your feet are cold.

P.S. Your Mom will  say, "I told you so!"

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Creative Endeavors

A few weekend ago the kids were getting a bit restless and needed to do something a little different than our usual Saturday routine. A few of them had really been wanting Josh to make birdhouses with them and I had already purchased some flowers with the intent to make some cute fall clip in flowers for the girls' hair.

So...Josh broke out the wood, nail gun, saws and paint, while I broke out the hot glue gun, ribbon and flowers. The kids bounced back and forth between the crafts and we ended up with this:

That's a lot of flowers!

I'm not sure what kinds of birds will use them...but they'd be the stylish birds on the block! ;)
I love spontaneous, fun afternoons like this! The kids had a blast and so did we! :)