Tag Archives: family

So far, so good

We’re almost through our 4th week of school and things are going pretty well!  Colin has had ALL GREEN DAYS.  Amazing.  (Hope I’m not jinxing myself!)  Robbie’s had a couple of yellow days and so has Ryan, but no major issues at all.  And, ho-hum, Robbie got 103 on his first two spelling tests. 

103!  He’s gotten all of the regular weekly words plus the 3 bonus words each time.  Crazy kid!

Colin and Ryan are both reading very well these days, though Colin has trouble reading books due to the ADHD – he gets bored after a few pages and is ready to move on.  I’m just glad his skill has increased.  Baby steps!  

We had family come visit last weekend – Mom, sister, brother, sis-in-law, and our four-legged nieces, Bella & Abby (brother’s dogs).  My brother and sister also invited over an old friend of theirs from high school that was in town.  That brought the total to 7 adults, 3 kids and 4 dogs. I don’t think our house has ever been so full!  But we had a great time – the weather was gorgeous and we had tons of food to eat.  I made kabobs and fruit salad, my mom showed up with some bbq and sides from a place near her.  I’d just picked up my bountiful baskets order (usual basket plus 8lbs of strawberries!), so the kids were constantly begging for apples, strawberries, etc.  Good problem to have!

As the day was winding down and people were helping me clean up, my sister-in-law remarked, “The boys have been really good today.  I mean REALLY good. I’m impressed!”

Usually a change in routine turns into temporary insanity for all three of them – not just Colin!  This past weekend was different.  I don’t know if it was because we were calmer…or because they knew (almost) everyone there…or if it’s just them maturing and growing up a little bit, but we had a great time. 

It’s difficult to notice little changes on a daily basis, but when someone points it out to me, I step back and realize how far our kids have come. 

Four weeks in and not a single red day at school.  That’s pretty awesome. 🙂

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First Day of School!

Like so many other parents, yesterday was a big day for me.  Er, I mean…for my boys!  Yeah, that’s what I meant!

They love Ninjago. Can you tell?

Colin and Ryan both started 2nd grade and Robbie started 1st grade this year.  Colin and Ryan went to the same school last year, so it was exciting to see what teacher they’d have and which friends were in their class again this year, but otherwise they know the ropes pretty well and I’m not terribly worried about them.  As an added bonus, Colin’s special education teacher was also moved to the 2nd grade wing, so that was one less change for him!

Robbie, however, is new to this school. And he’s a 1st grader.  It’s a tad unorthodox, but he really is a sharp kid with a big heart, so I’m hoping he’ll do well.  Of course, I was still a nervous wreck yesterday morning.  I took off for the day and scheduled some other appointments as well, but my main focus was making sure everyone had a smooth start for their first day.

We were all ready to leave the house and walk to school together when we realized Rob’s glasses were missing!  Aw, man!  We searched high and low – all five of us turned everything upside down and still couldn’t find them.  Rob’s response, “Well, we’re going to get new glasses later today, right? So it’s okay.”  Uh. NO.  I mean, yes, we were going to get him an eye exam and get new glasses, but that doesn’t make it okay to lose the first pair.  Those things are EXPENSIVE!

Ryan is blind as a bat without his glasses, so he has kept incredibly good track of them! (The lady at Lenscrafters told us he likely would!)  We just ordered him a new pair the other day, but mainly just because his current ones are a little scratched up and he needed a check up anyhow. 

Rob’s last pair of glasses were purchased in MARCH.  And now they’re MIA.  *sigh*  We learned yesterday afternoon that he needed a new prescription anyhow.  I had been a bad mom and not taken him in for a check up for entirely too long.  He has strabismus (his right eye is not strong and sometimes turns in), so he sees a specialist.  They’re a little harder to get into…and a million other excuses I could make, but won’t.  I won’t let him go that long again.  In fact, with the new script, doc wants to see us back in 2 months anyhow (appointment has already been made!).

Check out those stylish new frames! We swear by these “twistable” frames. I won’t buy anything else. These things are practically indestructible!

I felt bad picking him up from school early on his first day, but it was really great to get the chance to talk to him about his first day at the “big boy” school.  And boy did he have a lot to tell me!  He loves it.  That makes me SO happy.  He also loved the lunch I packed him. I quizzed him about what his favorite parts were (the cheese cubes and the granola) – I’m trying to get away from the boring-old-sandwich routine. 

Robbie’s birthday is in 2 weeks.  Eep!  Starting a new school so soon before your birthday can cause challenges – namely, who do you invite?  I told him he should start thinking about that as his birthday party will probably be on the 15th (we might push it out a week to give him more time) and he’ll have to tell me who he wants to invite.  I wish we could invite the whole class – that would be easier in a way – but I can’t afford a party for 25 kids! 

His response?  He wants to invite his teacher and the other 1st grade teacher (Colin and Ryan’s teachers last year).  I told him he probably needs to think about kids his own age instead.

Best part was all three boys had green days.  Yay!  What a great start to the week.  We had a great dinner, watched a little TV and then spent the last hour reading books before bed.  I’m really glad school is back in session. 🙂

Squeeeeeak!

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At the local Independence Day celebration and Colin’s discovered a new favorite activity – releasing air from a balloon in a way that makes an obnoxiously loud SQUEAK! He’s showing EVERYONE. Beautiful night having fun with our boys. Happy 4th of July, everyone!

Another Medication Update (and a visit from Aunt Missy)

Our psychiatrist’s mother passed away over the weekend.  We had an appointment this past Friday morning and got a call late on Thursday saying Dr. L had to leave quickly to help his mother and would not be there on Friday. They rescheduled us for Tuesday morning. 

Late Monday night, we received another call saying Dr. L had to reschedule again.  Poor doc – I can only imagine how stressful that all must be.  During it all, he still managed to return our calls and offer advice, etc.  He wrote us a prescription for 20mg of Adderall XR (extended release) and for clonidine – 0.2 mg this time.  He said if the XR didn’t last long enough, we might have to give him a booster in the afternoons. We’ll see how that goes.  He also said that if the 0.2mg of clonidine doesn’t do the trick, we’ll need to try a sleeping pill instead because he does not want to give Colin more clonidine than that. 

So far, the Adderall XR seems to be working out fairly well.  He’s still adjusting to it – and we’ve had family visiting, which can add to the chaos – but so far, so good.  And the 0.2mg of clonidine seems to help him fall asleep easily.  Unfortunately, he’s still not staying asleep, but I’m not sure if anything can be done there.  He has – twice this week already – gone back to sleep after waking up too early.  That was completely unheard of before.  The fact that he can do this now makes me think this is a good fit for him.  Of course I think it would be better for him to sleep through the night, but going back to sleep is a pretty wonderful alternative!

My sister is in town this week!  To the kids, she’s Aunt Missy.  And boy do these boys love their Aunt Missy! 

She may not have any of her own kids, but my sister’s done more than her fair share of babysitting over the years.  She’s great with kids.  Our boys go nuts when she comes over. 

For the last few years, she was living in Hawai’i and we didn’t see much of her.  She’s always been the cool aunt that sent the kids presents and the times they did get to spend with her have definitely left a lasting impression.  My sister is FUN.  She has ten times the energy I have and can just about keep up with these crazy guys.  They had her playing in the sprinklers, hiding in closets, picking them up, snuggling, etc. All three have been vying for her attention at the same time – it’s both hilarious and maddening to witness.

Ryan and Missy playing in the sprinklers

She’s so patient with them. I love that.  There aren’t many people who can stay as calm as she does around our boys – they could stress out Mother Theresa after an hour or two!  Whenever someone new comes around, Colin goes into hyperdrive – he has to share everything  he’s ever thought was neat or different in 10 minutes or less and ask at least a million questions.  The other two pick up on this and generate their own brand of crazy/silliness.  It’s mostly just them wanting the attention, I think, but it can be incredibly frustrating when all three peacocks are flaunting their feathers at the same time.

Monday night was insanity.  She stayed with my mom on Tues night…and thankfully things were a little calmer when she came back last night.

I wish I knew how to help them calm down in new situations.  The way they all start spazzing out at once makes me dread visitors and/or visiting others sometimes.  This is one of those moments when I think it becomes an extra challenge to have the oldest child as the one with special needs.  He’s the big brother – he’s “supposed” to set the example.  But that’s not possible.  And it’s not easy to explain to little ones why acting like your big brother isn’t always the best idea.

And baby makes… six?

Just a little bit ago, a fellow blogger posted about siblings and foster care and it inspired me to share a story of something that happened to us not too long ago.

If you’ve followed this blog at all (or checked out my family page), you know that we have three boys.  Rick had two and I had one when we first met.  We’ve talked before about whether or not we’d want to have a baby together.  Rick is such a wonderful husband – he’s the kind of man who you justknow would be wonderful during pregnancy.  It would be nothing like before.  I wouldn’t be going to doctors alone. There’s no way he’d leave me alone the night our baby was born.  He wouldn’t leave me to find my own rides to the NICU.  He’d definitely rub my swollen feet.  In short, he’d do all the things I wish my ex had…and none of the things I wish he hadn’t done.  And we’d make a super cute baby – dark wavy hair, green eyes…

But the reality is that we have three kids!  And one of those kids has special needs.  It would be nearly impossible to handle a baby.  We decided that we would take measures to insure we didn’t have any more kiddos…but at the same time, if it was ever to happen, we would make it work.

Last year – I can’t recall exactly when, but I want to say early fall – Rick got a call from CPS on a Friday morning. He called me and texted me at work – said he needed me to call him as soon as I could.

Ryan’s mother had another baby.  He was 2 months old and in the hospital recovering from methadone addiction.  CPS wanted to know if we’d be willing to foster and eventually adopt him.

I just started crying.  I wasn’t even sure why.  Rick started crying, too.  What were we going to do?  What could we say?  This was Ryan’s blood – how could we turn him away?  What if he wound up in a bad situation because we didn’t say yes?  How could we live with that?

But we have THREE KIDS already!  Our house is pretty damn full. Our lives are already chaotic.  We both work full-time. How could we do this?  Rick said, “I keep thinking the same things… but then I think, if you were pregnant, we’d find a way to make this work.”  We were both so torn.  We told the CPS agent that we needed her to give us the weekend to talk this over.

After a lot of talking and crying, we decided we couldn’t take him.  Rick called CPS on Monday to let them know.

We found out that the 2nd call they made on Friday was to the couple that adopted Ryan’s older sisters many years ago.  They had taken the baby for the weekend while we thought things over! They also agreed to foster him until a decision was made on whether or not he could be adopted by another family.

What a relief.  If he couldn’t be with his brother, at least he was with his sisters!

We also found out that the baby’s mother was fighting this time.  To my knowledge, she never really fought before.  And this time, she won.  Little baby J is back with his mother.  That’s something I could not have handled.  How could we have explained that to Ryan?  “Your mother gave up you and your sisters, but she fought to get your brother back.”  How much damage would that do?  I’m sure it hurt his sisters as well, but at least they’re a little older and they might be able to understand the situation better.  Ryan couldn’t have gone through that without getting scarred.

I couldn’t have, either!

 

I’m happy with our little family.  Our youngest will be 6 in September, so I just keep telling myself that means I’ll only be in my 40s when all the kids are out of the house!  (Of course, I realize Colin may always have to live with us. Let me have my fantasy for a minute!)   Rick and I will be able to enjoy some crazy middle-aged years together alone since we didn’t spend our crazy 20s together.  If we were to start over now, I’d be in my 50s before that time came.  Rick would be in his 60s! 

I’ll keep the level of crazy and happy we already have and focus on the future – for us and our boys. 

Siblings

No matter what the challenges, I’m so very glad Robbie has brothers now. Having siblings can be such a rewarding, maddening, wonderful experience. I should know! I was also one of three kids. I have a sister that’s 4.5yrs younger and a brother that’s about 6.5yrs younger. Our parents divorced in 2001. Since then, the relationship with our dad has been tenuous at best. About a month ago, he let down his walls and met us halfway. He finally opened up.

I got a call a few days ago from my sister asking if I could meet up with family on my dad’s side in a town about 5 hours from where I live. My dad was in town helping his mom move and we all wanted to meet up for dinner on Friday. Afterwards, my brother, sister and I would go stay in my grandma’s vacation home nearby. None of us could remember the last time just the three of us spent time together. No kids, no spouses, etc.

The drive was beautiful. Central Texas in springtime can be breathtaking. Wildflowers and green pastures in all directions. Winding through the hills on two lane highways going 70mph. Occasionally the speed limit drops as you pass through a town that time’s forgotten. Those towns tug at my heartstrings. Dilapidated houses and abandoned stores line the streets. Some towns have fared better than others. The town we were staying in falls in the latter category. Unfortunately, my grandma recently decided to sell this house and the surrounding land, so we’re trying to get some final visits in.

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Brother's puppy in front of grandma's house

When my grandma bought this house, we all thought she was nuts. This house was a disaster. She completely restored it. Furnished it with antiques, replaced broken windows with antique windows from other houses – the whole nine yards. This house is beautiful now. The land around it has been tamed so hikes to the pond are easy and beautiful.

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Side porch

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Pond

We headed to the house after dinner (which went very well) and had a few drinks while catching up. My sister’s boyfriend of seven years recently broke up with her. I didn’t know before last night. She’s crushed, but trying to keep her head up and she’s not really ready to talk about it. Just being together in that house – joking around together and having fun – seemed to be good for all three of us.

We crashed around 2am. At 7am, my sister woke me up. When I laughed at her for doing that, she said, “I wanted to spend some time together before you have to leave!”

The three of us went for a walk down to the pond with my brother’s pups. We each had a camera in hand – the flowers were in full bloom and the doggies were extra photogenic.

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My lil sis

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We walked into town for coffee, then back to the house to pack up and head out.

Through several moves, divorces, fights, parties, ups, downs and sideways changes…my brother and sister have always been there for me. I know they know that I’ll always be there for them, too.

I love my crazy siblings.

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“Is it wake up time?”

I feel strongly that medication is a personal choice every parent has to make.  There is no right or wrong – there is just survival and trying to do what’s best for your child, your family, and their future.

I recently made a friend whose son was diagnosed with ADHD and Aspergers. She has decided to go the med-free route because the meltdowns caused by the ADHD meds were too much.  I understand that.  I understand the worry, the anxiousness, the fear these meds can cause.

What I also understand is the way Colin behaves when he’s unmedicated.

He can’t sit still.  At all. Mornings are definitely the most challenging part of our days. When I first moved in, mornings were almost my undoing. 

We have a routine.  It’s pretty simple. Nothing that happens the night before seems to change the morning routine – we’ve tried it all.

Sometime between 5-6am, Colin stands in our bedroom doorway and watches for a moment before saying, “Good morning, Mommy!” (We had to create a rule of announcing yourself because one morning I woke up to his breath on my face and almost decked him!) The closer to 6am it is, the more likely I am to respond with “Good morning, Colin!”  Our rule – that we try ever so hard to enforce – is that it’s completely unacceptable to wake up before 6am.  Colin, however, will point out a 6 anywhere on the digital clock by our bed and say, “See? It’s 6! It’s wake up time!”

I groggily rub my eyes and look at the clock. “It’s 5:26, Colin.  It’s not wake up time.  It’s still bed time.  Please go back to bed.”

He leaves the room…and does God knows what. 

I call out, “Please go to your room and close the door, Colin!”

***SLAM!!***

(Slamming doors has become a great pastime for him lately.)

I rub my eyes and wander to the bathroom.  I flick on the closet light, hoping he won’t see that there’s light on in our room.  I email my husband to say good morning (he works overnights). I hear breathing that doesn’t sound dog-like coming from our bedroom.

“Colin?”

“WHAT?!” Copping an attitude whenever you call his name has become a routine I’d like to put an end to.

“Please go back to your room. I will come get you in just a minute, okay?”  I try with every ounce of patience in my being to not sound angry or frustrated.

“Okay,” he responds.

When I leave the bathroom, I hear him scamper across the living room. ***SLAM!!***

I grab his pills and head to the other side of the house. I let the dogs out.  Before I get to his room, Colin’s door swings open – lights are on inside – and he appears. “Is it wake up time?”

“Yes, Colin, close enough. Come on – let’s take your pills.”

He takes his medicine and then runs to the living room, throwing himself on the couch.  Somewhere between somersaults, he says, “I want frosted mini wheats.”

“Can you ask nicely?”  I’d say maybe once a week he actually does not need this prompt.

“May I please have frosted mini wheats?” Another flip. Maybe a headstand.

“Yes, you may – thank you for asking so politely.”

As I make his bowl of cereal, I hear him flailing about on the couch.  Sometimes he just sits and rocks, but usually it’s acrobatics.

“Please go sit at the table.  Please.”  It’s maddening – even after all this time – to see someone throwing themselves around like that when I can barely get one foot in front of the other.

I bring him his cereal. I let the dogs in and give them their food. One of them finishes up and goes to say good morning.  He’s swinging his spoon around in the air between bites – I can just picture all the drops of milk flying, even if they can’t be seen. I stop making my breakfast half a dozen times to tell him to leave the dogs alone while he’s eating. “That spoon belongs in your mouth or in the bowl.” “All four legs of the stool need to stay on the ground!”

Several questions are asked through a mouthful of cereal and milk, milk dripping down his chin.

“Please stop talking with your mouth full – I can’t understand you.”

Cereal is swallowed. “Are we going to school today?”

“Yes, Colin. It’s <insert day of the week here>. You have school today.”

“My brothers are sleeping?” (He often makes statements that sound like questions.)

“Yep! They sure are.”

“Why are they sleeping?”

“Because it’s not wake up time yet.”

“How do you spell <insert any number of random words – real or imaginary – here>?”

About 75% of the time I humor him. I won’t spell imaginary words.  I won’t spell BUTT (his favorite word). Or any other word I know he knows how to spell!

He finishes his cereal and by now at least one of his brothers is awake, sitting on the couch, rubbing his sleepy eyes. Usually it’s Robbie.

Within seconds, I hear, “COLIN!!!!!!!”

Colin’s back to doing acrobatics on the couch and/or has his head/leg/foot/hand/etc touching some part of Robbie’s not-quite-awake body.

“Hands to yourself, Colin!”

That never lasts more than a few minutes.

 

My point is… he wakes up full throttle. This is Colin as unmedicated as he ever gets…and he’s a firecracker. He can’t focus. He can’t sit still. His mind and body are both going a mile a minute. He has a million questions and a million compulsions all at once.

If you don’t give him his medication, he actually requests it. 

In the afternoon, when he’s almost due for his smaller dose, he asks for that, too.  I think he feels himself losing control. I don’t think he likes feeling that way. He’s also more prone to accidents, which scares me.  Early in the AM and late at night he’s far more likely to do a spin and slam himself into something (or someone).

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t even have a few of them.

I’m anxious for our psychiatrist appointment on Friday. I don’t know what I expect, but maybe having no expectations is best.

 

Happy Easter!

Our boys woke up this morning full of excitement to see what the Easter Bunny had hidden in our yard. They were convinced the eggs were hidden out back, however Mr. Bunny was worried the dogs would get to the eggs before the kids ever did, so he hid them in the front yard.

We let them check out back first anyhow.

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Excuse the state of our fence...we've had to do a couple of quick patch jobs recently due to a neighborhood dog busting in

It only took a minute for them to realize there were no eggs out there. They headed back through the house and out the front door.

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I’m amazed I got any pictures considering how fast they swooped in.

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48 eggs found in less than 5 minutes.

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Robbie's haul

We went back inside and each kiddo got to pick out four eggs – the rest went into one bucket for sharing later.

Now…off to do the family thing and have lunch with my mom! I’m so very blessed to have a husband that loves – or at least tolerates! – my family.

Happy Easter, everyone!

…part 2

In 2007, we moved into a house – brand new construction in a great little neighborhood. My job changed again and I found myself commuting in the opposite direction. I was still working crazy hours and going to school part time. Robert found a job stocking at a grocery store at night. It didn’t pay enough to cover a 2nd car and daycare. He swore he could make it without daycare and his shift meant another car wasn’t necessary.

After 2 days, he realized it was too much. We found a daycare for Robbie that was somewhat affordable.

Three weeks later, Robert was fired. We pulled Robbie out of daycare and were back where we started.

I’m not sure if that’s when the drinking got worse…or if it just took me that long to notice.

I tried to reason with him. I tried to set limits. At first, he just had a problem with hard liquor, so he agreed to no hard liquor in the house. Then one day he polished off three bottles of wine in an afternoon – while I was at work and he was alone with our baby. So I changed it to “no more than one bottle of wine or one six pack if beer in the house at a time.” I was so young and naive.

I begged him to get help. He finally agreed to attend a few AA meetings. One weekend, he asked me to go with him. I was so glad he was trying and willing to let me be a part of this. We went to a meeting and listened to everyone share their stories. I spent most of the meeting in tears.  On the drive home he explained that he brought me so that I could see that he doesn’t have a problem – he wanted me to see just how unlike those people he was. I was crushed.
I opened up his AA book that week and found a chapter for spouses. Granted, this chapter seems very outdated and culminates in a “stand by your man and do your duty as a wife” mentality, but most of the chapter was painfully accurate. It explained what it feels like to be married to an alcoholic. I went through and underlined every passage I agreed with…and then gave it back to him.

He was very surprised to hear the pain he was causing. He still felt he had control, though.

Robbie continued to be a happy little baby, but I grew more and more nervous about leaving for work each day.

On New Years Day 2008, my family wanted to get together, as my family is apt to do since we’re all very close. As usual, Robert wanted nothing to do with them. I left him at home with the car and jokingly said, “Try not to get into too much trouble!” Robbie and I went out with my family for the day.

When I came home that night, Robert was smashed. He’d bought a handle (1.75L) of bourbon and had easily finished over 1/3 of the bottle at that point. He thought I was giving him the ok to drink when I left. He told me to hide the bottle from him and that way he wouldn’t drink more the next day while I was at work.

Of course I didn’t hide it well enough.

When I came home from work the next day, the oven was on – I remember thinking that was odd. It was set very high – 450 or so. I called out to see where my guys were.

“I’m in here, playing with Baby,” he called from Robbie’s room. He never would call him by his name. He still doesn’t.

He also rarely ever played with Robbie, so I was skeptical, but hopeful. Maybe he was trying.

I walked in and saw him leaning against a wall, coke in hand, while Robbie played on the floor.

I sat down to play with my little guy. Robert was grinning ear to ear.

“Why is the oven on?” I asked.

He gave a little nod if his head and made some swooshy gesture with his hand. I both had no idea what that meant…and exactly what it meant, all at the same time.

I stood up and sniffed the can in his hand. Bourbon.

I ran to where I had hid the bottle. There was maybe four fingers’ worth left. I’ve never been so upset in my life.

I called him into the kitchen. I issued my ultimatum.

“If you EVER drink ONE MORE SIP of alcohol while you are at home alone with OUR BABY, I will leave you.”

I poured the rest of the bourbon down the drain. I can’t tell you how much alcohol I poured out over our short marriage.

The next morning, he snuggled up behind me, trying to be sweet.

“I meant what I said last night. I wasn’t joking,” I said.

“What did you say?”

He had blacked out. He didn’t remember any of it.

“I told you that if you ever drink another drop if alcohol while you’re alone with Robbie, I’ll leave you. I’m serious.”

The next Friday, he walked with Robbie to my mom’s house (1/2 mile away at that time). He drank a beer. He left the empty bottle on her counter.

When he got home, he messaged me at work and told me. I started crying right there in the back if my training class.

Where to start?

I’ll begin with a little background history.

My husband, Rick, and his first wife were foster parents for about 2 years and adopted two children during that time. 

Colin was about 5 weeks old when he first came to their home.  His birth mother went to one CPS hearing and then disappeared, never to be heard from again.  He was malnourished and wound up unable to swallow solid foods until he was around 1.5yrs old because – as a baby – his mother would put peanut butter in his mouth to shut him up. He learned how *not* to swallow as a defense mechanism.  During those first five weeks of life, he was rarely – if ever – held or loved the way a little baby deserves.  This is the root of many of the issues he still faces today.

Ryan was a little over a year old when CPS brought him to live with Rick and his first wife.  He had been removed from his home at birth as his older sisters were already taken away from their mother years before.  (He spent his first year in another foster home that was closed down.) His sisters were adopted by another family (we keep in touch with them regularly) but they were an older couple and weren’t capable of taking on a baby – his sisters are 6 and 14 years older than he is. Rick and his wife adopted Ryan a few months later. He was their last foster child.

Ryan was a quiet boy – hardly spoke at all in the beginning.  Colin is 7 months older, so he did most of Ryan’s talking for him. 

Not long after Ryan was adopted, Rick’s first wife passed away due to complications from diabetes and medications. He was a single father of two very unique boys for over 3 years.

My story is a little more simple.  I married at 24 and had Robbie when I was 26. He was born via emergency c-section 5 weeks before his due date (I came down with HELLP Syndrome). In 8 days, he was out of the NICU and on his way to becoming the crazy, smart, silly little boy he is now.  I divorced in 2008 when Robbie was 15 months old. His father moved back to Australia and has very little to do with Robbie now.

 

In June of 2010, Rick and I met for the first time. 

While trying to figure out when we could meet for a traditional date, we decided to say screw it and meet for lunch at the mall – with all three children in tow.  We had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen and then took the kiddos to the play area so we could talk for a bit.  I was hooked from day one.

I knew there would be challenges with Colin.  He had been diagnosed as ADHD for quite a while by that point and was taking Metadate every morning. Oddly enough, what I didn’t expect was how Ryan and I would interact.  He had very little female influence in his life at that point in time – in fact, he referred to everything and everyone as “him” or “he”.  He was also dealing with some anger issues.  He would get this dark look in his eye and you just knew he was going to get himself into trouble.  Things were a bit chaotic.  He would be sweet to me one minute and defiant the next.  I wasn’t sure how to handle him at all.  All I knew at that time was what little boys could be like from birth to about 3 years old.  5 and 6 year olds were beyond my comprehension!

Robbie also had to learn how to play with older boys – and how to deal with Colin when he acted a little “off”.  He did amazingly well with the idea of sharing his mom.  He did not, however, take so nicely to having a new adult telling him what to do and trying to discipline him, etc. 

 

Fast forward to today.  Rick and I have been married for a little over a year.  Colin and Ryan are both in 1st grade and doing fairly well.  Colin’s meds have changed a time or two (as has his diagnosis – now diagnosed as being Autistic as well as ADHD) and we found out Ryan was in desperate need of glasses.  We’ve put Ryan and Robbie into play therapy with an amazing psychologist that has helped them both with their behavior issues at school and home.  We’re hoping to convince our insurance provider that they should cover Colin’s ABA therapy so that we can get that rolling – meds alone are not helping and likely just masking some of the issues he’s having.  Robbie is in private kindergarten and doing well.  Both Ryan and Robbie play soccer.  And we’ve added two crazy dogs to our insane household.  Rodeo came first – he’s a lab/pit/?? mix and the sweetest dog that’s ever lived.  He is so gentle with and protective of our boys.  However, he was lonely whenever we’d go out on the weekends or at night.  Sooo…we found him a playmate – Miss Chloe.  She’s a greyhound/border collie mix – tall and skinny with the black/white border collie markings.  Just gorgeous.  Even if she is kind of a dip.   She’s a snuggler and has twice the energy Rodeo has, so she keeps him pretty well worn out. 

 

There you have it – the Readers’ Digest version of our background.  Moving forward, I plan to discuss the challenges of raising kiddos – special needs and otherwise – as well as post recipes, home improvement adventures and anything else that pops into this garbled mind of mine.