Monday, January 22, 2018


We don't get to hear Jake's sweet voice very often as he's always angry and yelling or just quiet!  Today we got to hear his voice... he was talking and talking..  Yes Yes he says!  Music to our ears!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Bringing it back!

Someone told me yesterday that I should start a blog... I thought "well I have one.. and I do have a lot to tell you" all about with our family and as our kids get older it will be nice to have a documented place to share about what we are doing.  SOOOO.... over the next couple weeks I will be updating here and begin sharing more about our life... our journey... with kids, and getting healthy, and the quirks, troubles and fun of raising 6 kids.  Stay tuned and enjoy the ride!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It's about ME!!!!

Typically I write about everyone else in our house.. about our kids and what they are doing.  Today I am taking a break from writing about the kids and writing about myself.

I am 43 years old.. I will be 44 in a couple months!  I have spent much of my adult life not liking myself.  Maybe not so much myself as in my personality, but more my body and how I look.  Many of you don't know this about me, but in 1998 I weighed in at 425 lbs.  Yes this was me......

I don't remember getting that big... but I do remember being that big and how awful I felt about myself for so many years.  I tried to diet and nothing seemed to work or give me the results that I wanted.  I walked and being 425 lbs that was an effort... didn't lose a pound.  I decided in early 1998 that I wanted to have the gastric bypass surgery.

In July of 1998 I had my surgery and so began my new life.  For those of you that think I took the easy way out.. let me tell you a little bit about me now....since surgery.  I have to have my iron checked every 6 months because I get anemic quite easily... I can't just take regular iron pills... I have to go to the hospital once a week for 6-8 weeks and have IV Iron infused into my body.  I give myself monthly injections of B-12.  I am now lactose intolerant, I can't eat a lot of sugar at any point.  I have to be careful how well I chew because things get "stuck" in my stomach opening and I end up throwing it up to "unclog" the blockage.  If I have too much sugar or too much fatty foods, I have what is called dumping syndrome.  It's not pleasant and it's not fun.  Many others have other issues after gastric bypass and everyone is different.  So I guess if that is considered the "easy way out" then YES I did it.. and I would do it over in a heartbeat.

I knew that if I didn't have it done, I would either have already had a heart attack or I would have been dead!  I can almost say this with 100% certainty.  At not even 30 years old I had the precursors for all the nasty heart issues and diabetes. 

I have lost 225 lbs.. some days its 215...I currently hover around 200 and 210lbs... YES I put that on my blog!!

It's taken me a LONG time to love my body.. A LONG time to come to terms with who I am and to love myself and embrace my curves and my stretch marks and my 43 year old saggy breasts!  I love who I am.  I am a beautiful, sexy, sensual, wonderfully fabulous real woman!  I don't wear a bikini to the pool but I do show some cleavage now and then.  The people in my life who matter to me, think I  am sexy and beautiful too.  Those that say I don't live up to the stereotypical "beautiful woman" can go to hell!  LOL  But seriously, if you don't like me..... don't look at me!  I am at peace with my body and my clothing size and I will continue to be!

So if you see me out... showing a little more than you think I should..  smile and know that I am comfortable with myself and I am ok having curves and flaunting them!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Where there is Joy.. there is also Heartache!!

10 years ago.. when we started this journey with Down Syndrome (and it was almost 10 years to the day), I never dreamed that our lives would be where they are today.  I never dreamed that we'd have 6 children, 4 with DS and three adopted! 

We have had some pretty amazing times and made some pretty amazing friends because of this journey.  I am so thankful for this path that God has us on. 

But with all the joys, there have been trials and sorrow.  Maybe because it's because I am more aware... or maybe because of the communities that we are a part of but we have seen many of our friends lose their children.  Some have lost children due to cancer, heart failure, cystic fibrosis, car accidents, drowning and some for reasons that we might never know exactly. 

Mothers and Fathers who have had to say goodbye to their children (youth and adult) much much too soon.  It's par for the course I guess.  Being in a community where children are prone to the illnesses listed above, it's inevitable right?  That may be right... but it doesn't make it easier.. not one...single.. bit.

I have been affected in many different ways by people's passing.  I have cried many tears for those people who I have never even met and their losses.  There are some that hit me harder than some.  Children who remind me of my children have been the hardest, or are the same age as my children.  I think because I see so much of the person who has passed in my child and I can't help but think if it were us... how exactly would I continue to live without one of my children.  I am not sure I'd be strong enough to make it through.

Tonight for instance... my friend, Leah Baker whom I have never met in person, but have always felt a connection with said goodbye to her daughter, Ashton.  Ashton caught my attention when she was voted homecoming queen at her high school several years ago and since then I have followed her mother and Ashton's story.  They have been through a lot in their lives. 

Ashton had several bouts with heart issues but always rebounded and then she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's.  Ashton is now with Jesus.. she's free of pain and is flying free.  I am sitting in my living room crying my eyes out for a young woman that I have never met.  I can't look at her picture without seeing my Josie in her face.  Look at this picture and tell me you don't think that is Josie...

Though I never met her, I feel like I know her.  I feel like she was a little part of me.. like every time I look at Josie I will think of "the Queen Ashton" as her mother so fondly referred to her and indeed she was a queen and a diva.. just like Josie...
Please say a prayer for her family... that they may learn to navigate their life without Queen Ashton!!!
SO... .while I wouldn't change the path our life has gone down.. where God has lead us.. .I would change the pain that our friends and we have experienced because of it.  No one should have to bury their children.. no one!  Fly high sweet Ashton!!  Fly high wrapped in the arms of Jesus... and please protect Josie and watch over her for me... if you would!  

Friday, February 28, 2014

What did you do all day?

My husband came home not long ago and asked me "what did you do all day?"... after the day I had, I whirled around and gave him a look.  I calmed down quickly when he said "Oh, I didn't mean it like that..... How was your day?"  In his defense, he didn't mean it how it came out! 

However it got me thinking.... and after a conversation on Facebook about being a Stay-At-Home-Mom or a Homeschooling Mom, people think you have all the free time in the world to watch TV, relax, and just lounge all day in our jammies. 

I though I would take this opportunity to tell you exactly "what I do all day!"  This might get a little long!

My first alarm on my phone goes off at 2:30 am.  That is the time that Joe gets up for work.  He leaves the house at 3 am and starts work at 4 am.  So that wakes me up and if he doesn't get up from either that or his alarm, I wake him up.  Then most every day I return to sleep... some days I stay awake, but not often if I can help it!

My second alarm goes off at 5:30 am.  I typically do hit snooze two times.. for a total of 16 minutes.  I think it makes me feel like I am sleeping in.  LOL.. though I know different.

I get out of bed, make a trip to the bathroom and get dressed (typically in lounge pants and a t-shirt unless I have appointments in which case I might  re-do my hair quickly, slap on a little make-up and brush my teeth.  By this time it's about 5:55 or so. 

Out to the kitchen to make coffee or warm up what might be left from yesterday and get the dishes from before bed into the dishwasher.  I then sit down for about 10 minutes while drinking my coffee and checking emails and calendar with schedules for the day. 

By 6:30 the kids start rousing.  Katie is always first... then Josie is close behind.  I get them breakfast.. Katie almost always eats cereal along with Owen and Josie has toast with cream cheese.  Yes, my children are creatures of habit too!!

Then I get the backpacks ready with snow boots, snow pants, coats on top with hats and mittens.  I also make sure that all homework is tucked in their bags as well as any library books.  Then I put their shoes by their other paraphernalia.  Then we check lunch calendars for the day and see if we are packing lunch or eating at school.  If it's lunches -- commence packing lunches.

I typically have clothes laid out the night before and by this time Owen is typically up and eating breakfast.  Everyone gets their clothes and gets them on (only the three bigs).  By this time it's shortly after 7 am and I put the dishes from breakfast in dishwasher and make sure everyone is dressed and has socks and boots/shoes on.  Then at 7:20, Evelyn gets up and is changed and dressed, followed by Landon.  Then out to start the truck so it can warm up over the next 20-30 minutes since it's more than likely below ZERO outside.

At 7:30 Jacob gets up, changed and dressed and his coat on.  Then he is sat in the high chair and had his cereal before his bus comes.  

Meanwhile, I take Landon & Evelyn out to the truck and get them buckled in.  Katie, Owen & Josie get their coats, hats, mittens on.. get their back packs and head to the truck.  By this time it's 7:50 when Jake's bus arrives.  I put him on the bus and then take the other three to school (3 blocks away). 

After dropping them at school, come home, feed Landon & Evelyn breakfast, which can take until almost 8:30 or 8:45 depending on what they are having.  Then they are sent to play.... I start cleaning up from the rest of breakfast,  start the dishwasher and start laundry.  I can easily do 3 loads a day even when I am caught up which will probably NEVER happen again in this house.  While the laundry is in the washer and dryer, I do the daily chores... sweeping the dining room/kitchen, vacuuming the living room, changing the garbage, taking out the recycling from the day before, going through school papers and deciding what to keep and what to pitch. 

Laundry is constant throughout the day.. so that never stops.  At this point we are at 11 am.  This is my break time... I sit down.. for one hour... and I watch Young & The Restless...this is my "ME" time during the day.  At noon, I feed Evelyn & Landon and let them play while I get the dishes done and the dishwasher (remember I started it earlier) dishes put away.

Then at 1 pm, the kids go down for a nap.  During that time, I finish folding laundry.. make any phone calls I need to make, to insurance, therapies, or doctor office.  I also check FB, email and see whats going on in the world, but I generally don't sit down to do this.... it's done while I am cleaning up, folding laundry etc. 

At 2:30, I get the kids up from nap, change diapers, get their coats on and load up to go get kids from school at 3:15.  I arrive early so I am parked in the same spot every day!  Then pick up kids at 3:15-3:20.  Take the carpool kids home and return home by 3:30 and then Jake's bus arrives anywhere between 3:40-3:50.  Then it's chaos.. everyone wants a snack... oh I forgot...while kids are down for their nap, typically I will start to prep dinner for the evening too.  Snacks then, homework, just utter chaos because by this time daddy is home too.  Dinner finishing.. cleaning up the snack dishes and into the dishwasher.

Dinner is typically on the table at about 5:30 then eat... clean up ... and if I am lucky I get to sit down at 7 pm... but usually someone has something to do or I have something to do out of the house.  Typically it's more like 8 or 9 pm when I get to sit down after putting the kids to bed at 8 pm.  Then by 10 pm I am ready for bed... sometimes later depending on what I have to do...... which can involve more laundry.....more dishes... or forms to fill out for this or that! 

That's my day in a nutshell... then factor into there, dr appointments, therapy, grocery store visits, school activities, sports, church, etc etc etc.  The other day in addition to that I had three dr appts for the kids mixed in there!

I am not telling you this for sympathy, I handle it just fine most days... however when I say that I haven't had a shower in 5 days, this is the reason why.  I don't have time some days and some days when I do have time.. I don't have the energy!  LOL

So next time you are thinking about the life of luxury of a Stay-At-Home- Mom..... PLEASE know, it's not all soap operas and bon-bons!  It's a lot of work and there are days (thank goodness not very many) that I would love to escape for a day of 9-5 office work... where no one asks me to do anything extra.. cut their food or change their diapers! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Thought I would share some of our family pictures that we had taken!  They turned out so great!!! Love every single one of them!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year's Resolutions (Who needs 'Em??)

I have never really  been one to make New Year's Resolutions!  They have never really been for me.  Though I am also a procrastinator and a quitter... there are probably 100 projects that I either have the stuff to make and never started or have 1/2 started and never finished. 

I've (in the past 9 years) blamed it on the fact that I have kids. (And kept adding at an alarming rate) so who has time for even the most menial of tasks let alone arts and craft time.  I sometimes don't even have time to shower on any given day let alone take a ton of time for myself.  Who am I kidding?? I would just like 10 minutes to go to the bathroom ALONE!  But, with 6 children, that may not happen at least for another 10 years! 

This year, I have decided not to really make resolutions per say.. However, I do want to make some life and habit changes for this coming year.  I read on one of my FB friends status (Thanks Diane), that we should choose a word and make changes towards that "word" over the course of the next year. 

So, that is what I am doing.  I have taken about 24 hours to decide what my "word" is going to be.  I could probably find 100 different words that I need to work on, but one ALWAYS comes to mind to make my life feel more in my control and hopefully make me feel more grounded if I can focus on it.

Organization is my word for the year.  This is something I need to work on.  I keep a very strict calendar and I typically know what I am doing on any given day at least a week in advance.  I keep three-four calendars.  One on the fridge, one on our phones, one in my purse and one on the counter.  I also keep a secret one in the cupboard that we don't want everyone that comes to our house to know about... that one holds information that I really only want to share with my husband!  lol

However the rest of my house is a chaotic mess.  Now, don't go calling hoarders (unless you are talking about the floor of my laundry room, then make that call :)  )  I am not a hoarder, at least I don't think I am.  I can pitch with the  best of them.  However with 6 kids, 4 of whom are in school, the paper clutter and clothes clutter is OFF.THE.CHARTS!!  How can 4 kids in school generate that much paper.. I mean seriously.  I try to only keep the really important stuff, but when you're 9, 8 and 6,  and 6, EVERYTHING is important.  

I feel like if my house were organized and there was a place for almost everything, I could stay caught up.  That might be a pipe dream the first weekend I am gone from home and Joe is here with all 6 kids by himself.    However, I feel that organization is the first step in me getting in my groove here at home with the two new kiddo's.  It's taking me some time to get adjusted.  The kids are great and doing great... way better than we could have ever expected thus far, but I on the other hand, I am having a more difficult to the addition of two children.  

I sleep better in an organized room.... that's a proven fact for me.  I function better in an organized home and I have more motivation to be productive in an organized space.  Anyone I have ever worked with can verify this.  My desk was always clean... perfectly so.. organized probably more than most people care to look at.  

Home should be that way.. not perfect, but organized so if someone wants something, I can walk right to where it IS and grab it for them rather than having to dig through three rooms before I realize it's not in any of them and it's in the garage because I stuck it out there when someone called and said they were coming over in 10 minutes and it needed a temporary home.

A neighbor came over the other day and came in to deliver a Christmas present for us.  My house was clean... however it was cluttered and I was embarrassed.  I don't want that to happen again.  
So, what am I going to do to get organized you ask?  I am not really sure beyond a couple things.  

I am not going to bed until and  unless my sink is clean of dishes.  It stressed me to wake up to have dishes in the sink... so on night two of the year, we are on our way to that goal.. two nights of a clean sink going to bed and it's been so much better in the mornings.

The second thing that I am going to do is this challenge.

Myself and 21 other people on FB have agreed to motivate each other to do keep up on this activity and hopefully after 4 weeks we'll be a better version of our homes and our lives.  I fully intend to continue on this  on a monthly basis for some of these things to keep it in my rotation.  I have added some of this to one of my many calenders and we are starting it on Monday, January 6th.  If you'd like to join us and be part of our FB group, please let me know, and I will be happy to add you!!

I will keep you posted on my progress every couple days.  I might even post pictures of what I throw out an what I organize that particular day to track my progress!

Let's get Organized!!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

We're BACK!!!!!

My blog is back open.... yes it is!

I closed it last year in the middle of October and it's been private for a year.  Don't worry, you didn't miss any posts.  There weren't any.

We had a rough year.. a year full of ups and downs for our family.  I am NOT going to go into detail about what happened.  I WON'T be answering any questions about the past year.  It is BEHIND me and I am moving on with my life.  Those people that I can trust and I know are behind me, know my story.. those that don't... it's not your concern so please mind your own business and worry about your own lives.

Now with that out of the way, we'll move forward.  Our latest news, most of you know is that we went to Bulgaria to bring home our newest additions.  We are so happy to have Landon and Evelyn as part of our family!  We are now a family of 8.  Here are a couple pictures to get you through until I can update our blog with professional pictures that will be coming later this week!  So until my next post, which should be soon with the way our life has been the past couple weeks, Here are our newest additions!!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Update on Us!

I haven’t blogged in awhile so I wanted to post a quick update on how things are going.  Now that we have settled into school and everything else going on, I am hoping to have lots to blog about and be here often.

Hockey has started for Owen and Katie has decided to join in with him.  Their first practice was Wednesday and they both did great.  Owen (at 5 years old) got moved up with the bigger kids.  He did awesome at line drills and puck handling on Wednesday! 

Katie is with the beginners, but is one of the best out there.  She gets the concept of skating and did such a great job on her first night with all those pads and with all boys except one other girl.  We were so proud of her. 

Here are a couple pictures of the first night!


Katie is all decked out in Pink… Don’t they both look cute??


Waiting his turn with the puck!


Still Standing.. she only fell a couple of times!!


She’s already got Hockey Teeth!  LOL

Josie and Jake are doing great.  Josie is loving school and so is Jacob.  Here are a couple pictures of the two comedians!!!


Oh mom.. PLEASE!!!!!


Yep.. I am so darned cute.. booger nose and all!!!!



Posing at the apple orchard.. Much rather do a photo shoot than pick apples!!


Such a big boy with his walker at the apple orchard.  He walked all over for most of the morning!!  BIG BOY!!!!!


Josie let me paint her face and spray her hair for homecoming which is a HUGE step for her.  She typically hates face painting and anything sprayed in her hair!!! 

Now a quick update on the status of our adoption.  We have been submitted to court.  We are now waiting to hear which judge will hear our case and when that will be.  We are hoping for a court date before the end of October, however I am thinking that it might be the beginning of November before we actually have court, which will mean the beginning of December when I travel to get the kids.  We are in a waiting pattern right now so I will keep you posted on any new information!  We are still quite short on funds… if you so feel led to donate to our adoption, you can do that with the chip-in on the right side bar of the blog… prayers are ALWAYS needed as well that everything falls into place for travel and court etc.  THANK YOU all for your continued support!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Respite Care

I haven’t blogged in awhile… quick update on us… school started a couple weeks ago.. everyone is happy in their new classes and are off to a great start to the year. 

Adoption – we had our VISA appointment about a week ago..went very well.  Now we are waiting for the Article 5 letter to be translated and authenticated and it will be submitted to the MOJ next week.  At that point, we will wait for a signature from the Minister and then we’ll get submitted to court for a court date.  Then about a month after our court date, we’ll travel to bring our two new additions home!  I can’t wait to get them here!!  Ahhh I miss them so much!!!!

OK, on to the topic of the day!  I have had a lot of people ask me recently about respite care for their children.  Some agree that respite care is great and very needed…others disagree with respite care and can’t imagine going anywhere without one or more of your children. 

…today I am going to put it out there.. my feelings on respite care. 

We live in Iowa… where we have some of the best services for people with special needs.  We receive respite care for both Josie and Jacob.  We will add Landon and Evelyn to that plan when we get them home.  We receive respite through the I.D Waiver.  The Intellectual Disabilities Waiver (used to be called the M.R Waiver and yes it is what you think it is).  This is a program in Iowa that if your child qualifies for, you can have services for your child while it waives the income of the family.  With this waiver, we get respite, supported community living and medicaid (for us its supplemental to our private insurance) along with a laundry list of other services that our kids aren’t quite old enough for yet.  The three listed above are the ones that we use for now. 

We have quite a few hours that we can use of respite per month and we use every single hour.  Sometimes we use it so Joe and I are able to have a date night once or twice a month… sometimes so I can do things if Joe is working or vice versa.  There are other times that we use it for Josie and Jake together so we can do something with Katie and Owen alone.  We have used it individually for Josie and Jake so that the rest of us could do something that might not interest the other one. 

For instance this past weekend, our respite worker came to our home, to watch the kids while Joe and I went out for a bit.. then when we came home, she took Jake home with her and he spent the night there.  The next morning we took the older kids to a tiny amusement park near us for mini-golf, go-carts and a bounce pillow.  Then we went to lunch sans Jake.

I know some of you are thinking ….. WHY not take Jake with you??  I am going to be perfectly honest here.  We love Jake, he is our son… he is definitely part of our world and we love to take him with us to do mostly everything, but he is a lot of work at times.  He is 5, he’s mentally like a 6-12 month old and he is the size of a 2 year old.  He doesn’t walk on his own, he doesn’t feed himself (at least not at a restaurant).  When he’s overstimulated, he pulls hair and head butts.  He needs a stroller or to be held wherever we go.  Knowing all of this, we KNEW that he would not enjoy or get anything out of watching us do this stuff.  We would have pushed him in the stroller the entire day and he would have been overstimulated and too hot to be happy at all. 

We use respite and I think it’s the greatest service that we have for the kids.  Some families use respite for a few hours here and there, others use it to have a little vacation from the trials and tribulations that are their household.  We all need a break… we have to have a break and there is nothing wrong.. in my opinion.. with using respite.  It makes me a better mother.. to have time away from my kids…whether that be an hour or two days or a week. 

I would pray that those of you who don’t believe in respite, to please not judge those of us that use it….until you walk a day in our shoes at our homes, you can’t know.  I need respite.. I love respite.. I will continue to use respite and I will suggest it to anyone that asks me.  What is your opinion on respite?  I would like to hear it!!!