Sunday, October 30, 2011

Small Victory = Huge Hope

Today Grouchy was out of town, we had church, a 4-H horse Halloween party (yes, took horses!!) and then reverse trick-or-treating with our church (consists of taking gift baskets to shut-ins and people near the church instead of going all over asking for candy) then home to feed animals then back to church to get the girls from the reverse trick-or-treating trip.

Schedule was so nuts today that I could not find a way to get Garrett to one of his sitters and have time to get horses loaded, family to church and then fed in time to do the hour drive to the 4-H party then back to the church again. So I canceled the sitter (Shelby, thank you for being on ready for me!! Love you!!!) and just took the whole crew.....including three horses and Garrett. We usually do not even attempt to take Garrett with us when we have the girls and horses since there are safety and sanity issues there.I was really dreading taking Garrett, but a part of me was excited to see if we could make this work. I left my horse on the trailer instead of riding and helping the leader since I had to be sure I was on the ground to keep my eyes on Garrett. That was actually great for my horse and Ainslee's horse Ernie since they seem to have separation issues!! Garrett sat on the toolbox of the truck and ate his picnic lunch with the girls and then stayed there for quite a while as I helped the girls get their horses saddled and all. Then there were lots and lots of trucks and trailers moving all about in close quarters, so he stayed in the back of the truck for a while so he would be safe. He finally got tired of being there, so I got him down. The home where we rode had a marvelous yard and some toys in the yard, so overall Garrett did pretty well. Some of the parents who were not helping with the horses and kiddos helped keep Garrett in view, and that was a huge help. I was a little frazzled worrying about keeping an eye on him as he is quiet and quick, but it really wasn't that bad!!!!

I feel like this is a little victory that gives me huge hope of a future where someday Garrett is a part of all of our family's activities. He did well in the truck since I let him have his Nintendo DSI. He pestered (Southern word!!) the girls some since they all three have to sit next to each other in our truck, but it wasn't overall bad. We even made it back to church on time!! Garrett and I took the horses home and did chores and then Shelby came to keep Garrett, get him bathed and put to bed, so I could go pick up Addie and Ainslee from church. Now I am in the bed watching television with my two little girls snuggled up next to me....just need Grouchy home!!!!

And yes, when Garrett would get frustrated or just at random times, he would tell me he loves me!! It is still happening, and the positive attention he is getting is really boosting his emotional bank account. It is just fabulous!!!

Please continue to pray for our friend Bert.



Friday, October 28, 2011

He Still Loves Me!!!

No, not Grouchy, although somehow through all of our mess we have been through, he does!! Or at least he says he does lots and lots. We both love that country song where the male singer uses the line, "overuse I love you!" We try!!

No, Garrett is the one still telling me he loves me!!! My last post was about how he has replaced so many of his negative, repetitive phrases with "I love you!" And he is still doing it going on two weeks!! He even does it more now! He tells me in the morning, at night, at bedtime, whenever I do anything he asks me to do, when he is frustrated, hurt, tired and just out of the blue!! And while I have been typing this, he has come by and hugged me twice and told me he loves me!!!!!!!

I am just in awe and on my knees multiple times thanking God for this amazing change in my son!! It is so beautiful, and just when I was asking God to change ME to make ME more patient, He generously rocks my world by "fixing" one of the most frustrating things Garrett does! It feels like a miracle!!!

On an aside, I have been praying for so many people, situations and things in my life as well as the life of our family. And some really neat things are beginning to be revealed to me. I cannot say anything much about any of those things right now for many reasons, but let's just say that they are in a few different areas of our lives and they could be very exciting, helpful and motivating!!!!!

Please pray for a very dear friend of mine, Bert, from our church in Louisiana. His brain tumor has returned, and his spirit and closeness to Christ are EYE-WATERING. He is such a mentor to me as a Christian and parent, and he presses on, running the race, knowing this is just the warm-up and continues to encourage all of us!!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Perhaps the biggest answered prayer yet!!

Hold onto your seats, especially if you personally know my Garrett!!!

A little background. I have shared before, but I will rehash some of the recent very frustrating verbal things coming from Garrett. He loves to tell me I am stupid and that he hates me. Then if I correct him, he says he is stupid and hates himself. He screams and screams and throws things when he doesn't get his way and is plain defiant sooooo often. Everything seems to be a fight. There's the Cliff's Notes version. Oh, and this doesn't help my patience or compassion. While I know lots of it is just brain poop spewing out and he may not even realize what he says, but it still hurts when I do all I can and our world revolves around him and he verbally assaults everyone.....yes, his caregivers, too.

I have prayed and prayed and prayed!!! I have prayed for more peace and patience and for God to help me not take the verbal assaults personally. And God HAS answered my prayer but in a much bigger way than I had ever even asked!!!

Last week, Garrett almost completely replaced his bad words to me with "I love you!!!"
I LOVE YOU!?!?!?!?!?!
YES, he did!!

So yesterday when he was mad in the car because his DVD player wasn't working and no one could fix it, he screamed and I corrected him and he started to cry and mumbled, "I love you, Mommy." And he doesn't say he is going to hit himself anymore much at all. He gets up in the morning and the first thing he tells me is that he loves me!! And when I give him all of his meds and he is feeling frustrated, he tells me he loves me!!! And when I reprimand him he tells me he loves me!!!! It is absolutely AMAZING, and it is transforming my heart and our home life!!! (and even if it doesn't really mean "I love you" when he says it, I will still take it and relish it and thank God for it daily!!)

THANK YOU GOD for this HUGE answered prayer!!!!!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Is It Coming Together?

No joke, this is an actual sign Grouchy took a photo of in Alaska on the north slope in the oil field camp......

Is it, maybe, coming together??

My brain, that is!

I think....well, there's a cool thing, me thinking much again!!
I have been thinking most of my awake life, but then lately my thinking has been very garbled, fragmented and just plain ADHD, especially this part year!!! Until today, I have felt very out of control of, well, everything. But I can change that. I have gotten back into a better prayer life, I am sure that this better communication my Maker is largely why I have found more clarity and purpose and feeling of control today......even though I realize I am NOT in control at all in the grand scheme!

So today I am multi-tasking while the girls are in music lessons. I am online at the music teacher's house while the girls are in lessons. See, multi-tasking. I am typically great at multi-tasking, but my priorities are off many times. Like, for example, I would rather be in town snatching my favorite bag of chips and a cola instead of using this time to blog, check email, and get my planning done.

So with this time being used more correctly, here is what I came up with! I need to set some goals. In a past life, I gave workshops and motivational speeches and even wrote curriculum for goal-setting in a corporate world. But I truly have fallen off the goal wagon, and I really need to get back onto the wagon for my own sanity and for my family's benefit.

So I will set some goals here in public. Feel free to ask me about these later. I need major accountability partners here!!!

I will start with these ten goals, and I plan to revisit them weekly:

1. I will walk, jog or do a combo of those for three miles around our "block" three times each week.

2. I will read my daily devotional.

3. I will be in bed, lights off, television off, book closed, by 10. I know, a serious stretch for me, but I have done it for several nights and I know it is best and I feel better!!

4. I will allow one soda per day, diet, then cut back next week to three per week....ooooo....could do soda only on day I workout. Now there's accountability!!!

5. I will read a book of my at a its completion, before putting it down or beginning another.

6. I will smile at Garrett every time I see him!! Sounds weird, but if you know our relationship and the struggles, you know I am not usually smiling during our interactions!!

7. I will remain at peace in dealings with Addie and Ainslee, not letting myself let the rest of my surroundings or frustrations bleed into their lives.

8. I will be a better listener.............

9. I will eat two healthy meals per day. If I snack at all, that's another meal....I KNOW THIS!!!!

10. I will read these goals and monitor success weekly.

WHEW, glad that's over, but in reality, all of those goals will lead to more peace and patience and growth, and I need that. And my family needs that from me!!!!

On a side note, I might, just MIGHT get to go to the National FFA Convention this week in Indianapolis. I had the awesome opportunity to serve as a National FFA Officer in 1995-96 with 5 incredible young men....who are not so young anymore..ha!!! Anyhoo, for the first time in many moons, we are all planning to make it to convention for our 15 year officer team reunion!!! This is still a maybe for me because it depends on if Grouchy gets home from harvesting soybeans in Louisiana in time for me to fly out on Friday. I will sincerely enjoy the "me" time traveling and reading and just being quiet. I will also TOTALLY appreciate seeing my five dear friends and meeting their kiddos!! Between us there are 12 kids, I think, but I will go solo and get to meet most of their kiddos. I think I have only met two of them in person. Wow, I am so excited, and I cannot explain how amazing convention is if you have never been. It's thousands of youth on fire and motivated all around a love for all things agriculture. So in short I pray it works out, but I am so thrilled about our custom harvest business that not making it because of having beans to harvest won't make me fret too much!!!



Saturday, October 15, 2011

Getting Tired of These Yet??

More photos of cute puppies!!!
You may be getting tired of seeing Joy and Eli, but here goes anyway because
I figure it is better than going on and on about Garrett's disruptive behaviors and how I feel hopeless sometimes when it comes to that......... BUT I had these cute shots of the girls with the Puggies from school time yesterday, so I leave you with that instead!! Oh, and my friend Andrea kept Garrett last night so the girls and I could meet some friends and go to the drive-in movie!!! THAT was such a fun time. Thank you Andrea!!!!!!!

Addie with ELi all snuggled in for a nap!

And Ainslee with Joy (neither EVER slow down for a nap!!)


Friday, October 14, 2011

Just Photos

Addie working as the Pony Express

This morning......

Addie and Eli snuggling yesterday morrning

Grouchy's dad got Garrett this great fighter pilot jacket!
Addie and Ainslee sharing a moment on Big Red

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,
Today I feel a strong need to fall to my knees to beg for mercy on children and adults suffering with Mitochondrial Disease. I pray you will give each of these people strength, peace and comfort. I pray for patience for caregivers, energy for parents, and peace for all involved in their care. I pray you will lead us in the way of educating people and securing funding that leads to treatments and cures for all types of Mitochondrial Disease. I ask your blessing upon those who live in a hospital room today, wondering that the day holds and how many days are left here for them. Please bless those who have buried loved ones due to this vicious disease. Pain is so real, so deep, and so overwhelming to these families. Lord, we need you. We need your help. We need hope. While you give us hope through your son's death on the cross and the sacrifice you made in sending Jesus to us, we need tangible hope now. Hope for a cure. Hope for release from suffering, and hope that this earthly life can mean we don't have to explain to our children why they don't feel good or explain to others why they look different or act differently than their peers.
Be with us each moment and in each breath, word, chore, expression, and tired continuation in this process. We need you.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Worst Nightmare Ever

Two mornings ago I had a nightmare. I rarely have nightmares, and when I do, they are all disjointed and don't make a ton of sense, but this was the most real and terrifying one I have ever had.

In my nightmare, I was in a hotel room and my dad and Grouchy were there but had stepped out of the room through a sliding glass door onto a balcony. I noticed Garrett walk out in their direction, but then I realized I did not hear him or see him for a while. I got that "mommy intuition" that I should ask if my dad or Grouchy knew his whereabouts, so I asked them if they had seen him. Both guys seemed unconcerned and one of them said that he must be somewhere nearby. And it hit me...HOTEL POOL!!! Somehow I instantly arrived at the HUGE hotel pool, and there he was in the very middle of the pool lying on his side at the bottom of the pool in a white t-shirt and his navy blue swim trunks with white stripes on the side. While there were a few people on the pool deck, no one seemed to notice my baby boy at the bottom of the pool!!! I sprinted to the pool and dove in and swam as fast as I could. Interesting thing here is that usually with a dream this vivid and now this horrifying, I usually wake up about this time.....when it gets terribly real and bad. But that didn't happen, unfortunately. I snatched Garrett off of the bottom of the pool and was on the pool deck very quickly. His body was completely limp and very cool. He was not the 42 inches tall and 40 pounds in the dream. He looked it, but he didn't feel like it. I got out with him and began to try to pound him on the back to get him to cough up water. I have had CPR and all, but in the dream that was not all working right for some reason. I placed him in front of me in a standing pose with his back to me and tried to do the Heimleich Maneuver, but nothing happened. I know, rescue breaths and chest compressions, not Heimleich, but it's a dream...... I finally placed him on his back and began chest compressions and still nothing. I felt a couple of ribs snap and then knew I was doing the compressions hard enough...that's what they say when they teach it....that usually you break ribs.....but still nothing. Then I moved him to another place around the pool and there were two ladies sitting on the edge of the pool with their feet dangling into the pool, not noticing us, but talking about the little boy who drowned in the pool earlier that day. I kept pumping on my precious boy's chest and asked them what kid it was. They still didn't notice what I was doing but said that it was a little blonde boy in blue trunks and his mom tried to save him but he died. And then I realized that if he didn't make it and they knew that, then I was working hard to save him, but all in vain. The future was set and I could not change it. THEN I woke up. I looked at my watch and it was 5:00 a.m. Then I began to pray and tried to calm myself down as I wake in the moment I realized Garrett was dead. Within a minute, I heard the pidder-patter, bump-bump of his little feet coming towards our room across the hardwood floor. I got up to go sweep him up into my arms, and he had snuck over to his little portable DVD player and was starting a movie with the volume down very low. It was still dark, but the blue glow of the DVD player screen made his sweet face look so amazing. I was so thankful he was up way too early. I just wanted to touch him, kiss him, and know he was okay. I was so blessed to wake from this nightmare to hold my boy and realize it WAS just a dream......a really, really, really, really bad one.

So do dreams mean anything or not? I think they are our brains letting go of "stuff" and mixing up things in a state of relaxation and rest. But I do think our dreams can show hints of things we harbor or hide or stifle way down deep. I believe this dream spewed my fear of losing Garrett but the reality of the possibility that his future isn't super promising. It showed the out of control feelings I have so often. It exhibited the fear I have of not paying enough attention to my son for both his safety and his learning and future. But most of all was the helplessness, the out of control feelings.

Just tonight at a local arcade, laser tag, go cart, party place where we met a friend for her birthday, I had another mom talk to me about her son. He is three and nonverbal and nonsocial. I told her Garrett was also nonverbal at age three. I just listened after that, and she shared that she went to this play place every night and paid $3 ever night to let him unwind and play so he would sleep. She said he never stood still, was in therapies, had sensory problems.....sounds familiar, huh??? She said she was always exhausted and wanted to know why her son had to be like this. She asks God WHY often and feels helpless. Gosh could I identify. After she shared and I shared Garrett's delays, she thanked me because she felt encouraged to see how kind and social and verbal Garrett is now at age six. Interesting how we have encounters with others in our same situation, ahead or behind us. I think God is helping us all by making these connections.

Wow, not a cheery post, but that's the stuff of my mind tonight. We had a fun time at the arcade place, we bought new ropes for both of the girls for their Working Ranch Horse project, and we enjoyed some shopping (and new, granola, comfy shoes for me on sale!!!) at Sierra Trading Post in Meridian. Tomorrow Grouchy heads to Louisiana again to harvest a few hundred more acres of soybeans. I miss my combine, and I have to say I am jealous!!

Tomorrow, we have school in the morning, piano, guitar and violin lessons after that, then my sweet friend Andrea who does lots of Garrett's developmental therapy, will go with the kiddos and me to an indoor trampoline park to celebrate Ainslee's 9th birthday. Some dear homeschool friends will meet us there. Then to the airport to get Grouchy's truck since he has to fly out very, very early!! Next, it's off to get Addie and Ainslee some comfy winter shoes and then to Ainslee's gymnastics class. Andrea is rescuing me by taking Garrett back to our house so he doesn't have to wait around in the car for gymnastics to end. THANK YOU ANDREA!!!!

Tonight I put my head on my pillow and enter an hour or so of prayer. Most of it will be thankfulness, and then there is that reality of my shortcomings I need to get out, and then prayers for our family and so many others. Most of all, I pray we are getting it somewhat right in this life. It is short, and I don't want to waste any of it!!!!


Sunday, October 9, 2011


Addie and Ainslee had a very busy day and night. Last night, their friend Shelby and her mom, my friend, Jana, came over with their horse, Moonshine, to have a sleepover in our guest house. Ainslee and Shelby are both celebrating birthdays within a week of one another, and we partied!! The girls rode before dark, then they did crafts and played a tag game they made up in the dark outdoors using glow bracelets. Then they all fell asleep on the living room floor of the guest house. This morning, we got up and fed the animals, did chores, and headed to our second Working Ranch Horse clinic. I will have to take photos at the next one and blog about just that. Words certainly cannot touch the amazing experience for the girls and the horses and the kind, expert volunteers who make sixty-something horses and sixty-something riders all come together, under the age of 18, and do magic!! So I will hold that topic for later! When we came home from the clinic, everyone was excited and kind of punch-drunk!! We had birthday cake and ice cream for Shelby and then worked to get our round pen panels put back into place after Grouchy took the round pen apart to make the sand spread out better. Shelby and Jana left, and we all got cleaned up and ready for a relaxing evening at home. Next thing I know, Addie says, "Mom!!!! Mom!!!! We need to have a puppy modeling night!!!" And then the girls disappear and all I hear is puppies playing and lots of giggling!! Addie and Ainslee tracked down the American Girl doll clothes and dressed up along with the puppies!!! Needless to say, everyone will rest well tonight!! Enjoy these fun moments!!!

Meet Joy, the Sunday School teacher! Oops, forgot to censor her below the skirt parts!!

And here are Joy and Ainslee ready to hit the town shopping!!

Addie is carrying Eli in style on their way out for a movie!!

And it has been a very long, exhausting day of modeling and wardrobe.....


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Little Hero

This is my little hero, Garrett. I love him!!!
And it appears he is just a tad handsome!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Puppy Luv

In my last post, I mentioned that Addie's little dog, Camper, died just over a week ago. It was a terrible accident, and it happened with Grouchy at the wheel of his truck, and he and Addie have been so upset. Addie is seriously mourning the loss of her beloved dog, and Grouchy feels responsible and helpless and crushed for Addie. Then Addie is feeling bad for her daddy and trying to help console him. WHAT A SAD MESS!!! We knew Addie would want another puppy to raise and train, and she likes her personal pooch to be small, but we thought it would be a while before she would want one. As I watched her slip in and out of a depression of sorts every day, I finally asked her if she felt like looking for another pup, and through tears, she said that she would like very much to look now. One or two nights on Craigslist led us to a lady only 4-5 miles from our house (and there just aren't that many people in rural Idaho within that radius), had pups that were 8 weeks old and were 3/4 Pug and 1/4 terrier of some variety. So here they are!!!! Addie got the male who she named Eli. He is the traditional Pug tan color with a black head and face. Eli was Camper's animal shelter name, so she did this in Camper's memory. Ainslee asked so sweetly and with her birthday this week we caved and also got Eli's little sister who is black and named Joy. Last night they all slept well, and they are doing great with crate and potty training. You can see in this first photo that Eli jumped right into school today by sleeping on Addie's desk!!!! They are both so stinkin' precious and cute.....and I know, faces only a mother could possibly love. Cooler yet is that Grouchy is absolutely smitten with them both!!!
Oh, and meanwhile, last week we adopted a three year old male lab named Sonny from a man in Boise who traveled too much to keep him. It was a tearful exchange, and after a day and a half of nervous pacing and fetching, Sonny is now settled settled in , in fact, that as my little girls doze in their bedroom tonight, he is asleep beside the bed lying on a HUGE soft blanket which has him propped against a beanbag. Truly rotten!!!! So the huge yellow lab is Sonny.
Whew, the animal kingdom is cranking up around here, but there are still many, many tears to be shed over our sweet Camper. I have a really amazing photo I took of Camper and Addie while he was on her desk during school his last day. I cannot post it yet because if my mom sees it, she will shoot me all the way from the hotel in South Dakota tonight!!

Meet Eli. He already loves doing school with Addie!!!

And here is cross-eyed, neurotic fetching maniac and very, very sweet 110 pound Sonny!

Yes, this is a girl pup. Her name is Joy, and like Ainslee, her mom, she is energetic and wild!!

And this is probably the most precious face I have seen on a dog!!! This is sweet little Eli, the very kind, calm and quite lazy pup God sent into Addie's world to help heal her broken heart. This little pup is just perfectly precious and already loves to curl up on Addie while she reads in her bed!!!

Godspeed from the Funny Farm!!