I Want What He Has

Having children 2 years apart can be very frustrating!

My almost 4 year old was playing a video game, but the nearly 2 year old was interfering. So, being the brilliant mother I am…I pulled a long forgotten toy out of a closet to entertain the 2 year old. Peace lasted less than two minutes. The older boy was so interested in the “new” toy he just had to join in, then take over. Of course the baby was not happy, but since the older one was not in a sharing mood I decided the best thing was to pull out another toy.

The baby was happy with the new toy, and still is…but the older one now wants to share the original toy and take the new one. The baby refuses, and then my next thought to keep peace is to grab one of the baby’s favorite toys. Surely that will free up both of the “new” toys. Nope, toy number 2 is all the baby wants.

Thankfully the television being on in the background has distracted the older boy for now.

Having two children that find enjoyment from the same toys can be a blessing and a curse.

What am I going to do when my soon to be born arrives, and graduates to the toy “sharing” stage?

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Mental Health

I’ve been absent for a while due to a family crisis.

My son turned 12, and our lives turned upside down. I had a blog started about how life with a twelve year old was going to be an adventure, but decided to trash it when things got serious in an instant.

Here’s how it started… my boy started questioning the words he was using, and whether he was telling lies by not choosing the “right” words for the situation. I explained that so many of the words we use can have different meanings and interpretations, and that he had nothing to be concerned about. He was concerned, since God sees all sins as equal.  So, this was all my original blog was really going to be about. Then things got serious. He confessed to hurting his brothers. He said he had squeezed and bitten the two year old, and that he had shaken the baby. I was in shock! I knew he would get frustrated with them from time to time, but I had no idea he hurt them. The two year old is very difficult when it comes to diaper changes, and the baby gets distracted during bottle feeding so those get difficult too. Of course the two year old interrupts and requires a lot of entertaining and the baby crys when he needs things. That’s all to be expected.

My son’s personality completely changed. After he confessed about hurting his brothers,  my husband came home from work to talk about it with him. My husband was obviously upset that the babies had been hurt, and he was as shocked as I was that our 12 year old had been doing it. My husband asked how he felt about hurting his brothers,  and how serious shaking a baby could be. My son had no emotional response to those questions. His only concern was of his punishment. He also seemed to be ignoring my husband during this talk.

My son confessed to having thoughts of hurting his brothers the next day, and they were for minor things like chewing loudly,  or for just sharing space. We were concerned that he might act on these thoughts so we brought him to an emergency room.

They were prepared to send him home with us, with the plan to find out patient therapy. We chose to keep him there and requested in patient care. We had to protect the babies who couldn’t protect themselves. 😞

He was in an emergency room, just waiting for a bed to open up in one of the psychiatric hospitals. They did no testing while he was there, and he didn’t even have a functioning nurse call button in his room. He had security guards stationed right outside his room too. They were there to monitor the whole floor. The staff didn’t even remind my son to order his meals on time. It was very frustrating. We saw some improvements in his personality during our visits, so after 2 nights we decided to bring him home. He was home from Thursday night to Monday evening without many issues. If he had a bad thought he left the room, or I would take the other kids away from him and quiet them down or whatever was needed. We were doing ok, and just waiting for calls back from local therapists.

The two year old was napping on the floor Monday while my son and I were playing a video game, and when it was time for us to stop to get chores done he stepped over the 2 year old to put a controller away. After doing that, he confessed to having a thought of stepping on the 2 year old. We discussed how hard, where on his body and what damage it could have done. It was scary! After that he did his chore of cleaning a litter box, then took a shower. After his shower he told me he had suicidal thoughts while in the shower. He told me those thoughts became homicidal too.

I messaged my husband, and we decided we had to bring him back to the hospital. We chose a different hospital this time though. They were much more thorough, and the care seemed to be better.

They actually ran some blood tests, and discovered my son has a thyroid condition. It can be linked to mood changes and psychological changes. He was started on medication and had a “sitter” in his room 24/7. He wasn’t allowed utensils or sharp objects. We visited him every day, and were waiting for a bed in a psychiatric hospital again. 😞

We had heard that strep infections can cause psychological changes in children too, but his strep test was negative. Since we were all very sick during the whole month of April we thought there might be a hidden infection. We were able to get him treated with an antibiotic just in case. He was in that hospital from 5/15-5/26. They wanted him transferred sooner, but there are only so many beds available in our state. My husband and I had hoped the thyroid medication and antibiotics would have made a difference before the transfer happened,  but sadly they haven’t done enough. He says he has thoughts less frequently though. 😌

He was transferred yesterday. He had to ride in a sheriff’s vehicle with 3 officers.😞 It was not due to his threat level, it’s just protocol.

We met with some of the staff, saw his room/unit and had a short visit with him. We called him to say goodnight and left it at that. My phone was charging after our call, so when my husband when to check on it he saw I had a missed call from an hour before and a voicemail. It was after the time my son was supposed to be in his room for the night. The voicemail was my son, saying he didn’t like it there. It was heartbreaking to know I missed that call and chance to comfort him. I called the nurse’s station right away to make sure he wasn’t still upset.  I wasn’t allowed to talk to him since it was after bedtime, but they left him a note to say I did return his call.

He called me at 8:30 this morning,  and again at 9:30. Both times he asked to talk to his 2 year old brother. 😊

The plan was for us all to visit tonight after my husband got home from work, but it would only be for an hour. My son requested that I go this afternoon with his brothers so he can visit longer. It is awful to have him away from home, and know he doesn’t like it. He says the other kids are crazy and he’s the only normal one. He said they swear, and one girl has cut marks all over her arms. 😞 I wish I could just wave a wand and take away his bad thoughts. He needs to learn how to get through this, and I don’t know how to help him. He has to be there.

I know this is a lot to share on a blog,  and I left some things out too. This has been such a stress filled month. I just want my life and son back!

My Baby Is Growing Up Too Fast

Today I gave my little man bananas for the first time. I can’t believe he’s eating solid food already. I started giving him thin rice cereal about once a day a month ago, so I knew this day would come.

He has been very interested in food and untensils for a while now. I think he would try to eat anything I put in front of him, since that’s basically all he does. Every toy, blanket or body part he can reach (his own or otherwise) goes straight in his mouth. 😉

He did really well with the banana today. I wasn’t sure if I should just mash it and give it to him like that, or if I should make it thinner by mixing breastmilk into it. I decided to try it plain and apparently the texture was not an issue for him since he gobbled it up, pulling the spoon right to his mouth. He never had the instinct to push it out of his mouth, and surprisingly didn’t make any faces that would lead me to believe he didn’t care for it.

Breastfeeding isn’t really easy, but now that we are adding solid foods to his diet our routine will become more difficult. Our days will require more planning and clean up. We will also be less flexible to be spontaneous. As long as I had nursed him, we could go anywhere and know that as long as I was with him he’d have a meal ready when he was hungry again. Now, I’ll still be nursing him but we’ll have to make sure we always have food on hand for him too. 

We plan on blending up whatever we make for family meals for him, rather than buying jarred foods. We used a Baby Bullet for his 2 year old brother, and only used a few jars/packaged meals for him while he was at the stage of eating pureed foods. It worked out well for us, and I’m sure it saved us a ton of money. 🙂

Big Changes For 2017

If you’ve followed my blog, or even been here before you probably know that I homeschool my 11-year-old son. We have tried different curriculums, and this year we are using a computer based program rather than books. We just aren’t happy with the material. We are seriously considering unschooling. I think it will be a blend of homeschooling and unschooling that we finally settle upon. I can’t completely trust that my son will learn everything he needs without any direction. It is just so hard to sit back and allow my son to be miserable studying things that I know he will never use in this life beyond the testing for this course. When my son gets upset with himself for doing poorly on a test, and then it changes his mood for the rest of the day I want to tell him not to worry since the test he took was quite honestly a waste of his time since he’ll never use the information in life. If that’s how I feel, why am I forcing him to suffer through the course?

I see value in the lessons, but what I see is simply reading comprehension and retention of information. It could be any material used to acquire those skills, so why not use material he is actually interested in learning? When my son does poorly on a test, he says he studied what he felt were the most important parts of the lesson. I appreciate that he can recognize that there are parts of a lesson that don’t have as much impact on the overall outcome of a situation. When we review the questions he missed, they often are what I would consider fluff or filler information.

Because we homeschool, we choose to have him take a CAT test yearly to comply with state regulations. He tests well above average, and even at college level in some sections. I am confident that he is better prepared than the students who are going to our local public school. Even though we all feel what we are doing is not working, it clearly is at some levels. 😉

My son LOVES to read, and often times will pick up a book when he has free time. He also LOVES his video games, especially Minecraft. I am very impressed with his creativity, but when he tries to explain in detail how he builds machines he loses my interest. I will admit that I do not always encourage him, and even disappoint him with my lack of interest in what he is so passionate to discuss.

We know he is intelligent, but he is lacking common sense. He is not very driven, but that could be partially due to the materials being offered to him. He has a tendency to be lazy, and has a good enough attitude. He has not learned that behavior from my husband and I. We need to be giving him a more practical education, and prepare him more for real life experiences. We don’t want his schooling to be time filler, to keep him busy and out of our hair. We want him to be a well-rounded individual, and happy. I want him to set goals, and achieve them. Right now he seems to be just doing enough to get through his day. When his grades show that, he  feels awful for disappointing us. Maybe it’s just an act, but we stress honesty in this family and his emotions appear genuine.

Finding Time

How do you find time? We are only given 24 hours in a day and 7 days a week, so how do we find time to get all that needs, or that we want to get done, done? I simply don’t. I need to be a wife, mother, teacher, employee, homeowner, pet owner and I would like to be a crafter.

I don’t get to spend quality time with my husband. The house doesn’t get as clean as I would like. The schoolwork doesn’t always get graded. The kids are always fed, loved…. and usually kept clean. 😉 Working outside of the home can’t be avoided. The yard doesn’t stay as neat as I would like. The pets need more attention than I can afford to give them, but they are always fed and watered. I have stashes of crafting supplies that are neglected.

I know that on the top of my list of things I need and want to get done should be getting into God’s Word and finding His plan for my life. I don’t take the time daily to get into the Bible, and I know that if I did I would be happier, and feel more prepared to get through my day. When I do take the time to study a portion of the Bible I see the wrongs in my life, and work on ways to right them. I get encouragement from the lessons I read, and learn how to handle many of life’s challenges. Homeschooling my son does get me into the Bible more than I would on my own, since one of his courses is Studying God’s Word. We only have one more required lesson to get through this school year though. In the past we have tried to sit down as a family every evening and read through part of the Bible, but we fall out of that habit/routine so easily when one of us is sick, tired or if we just simply get sidetracked and let time get away from us. My husband and I don’t want reading the Bible to just be something we check off of our to-do list either.

How do you set aside time for God without it feeling like a chore? I know people say that they get up early in the morning to have their quiet time with God. I have never tried to do that. I have always had a hard time getting up in the morning as it is, to just be on time for work, or for whatever was on my schedule that day. So, end of the day Bible reading hasn’t worked and I have talked myself out of first thing in the morning reading too. Middle of the day while I am home seems to be ok as long as the kids are entertained, but I work outside of the home 3 days a week too. On my work days I get up at 2am, and get home at 3:30pm. I should be able to fit in my time with God when I get home, and I think that will be my plan. I know it won’t start my day with God’s message on my heart, but maybe it will help strengthen my relationship with my family and provide important lessons for my children.

Do you have a planned reading schedule, or do you read random parts of the Bible daily? When my husband and I were reading the Bible together more regularly, we often just opened up the Bible and read from there. Frequently it would surprise us how fitting that random message would be on that particular day. I don’t have a plan in mind right now, but since I want to be disciplined and follow through with my plan to read God’s Word daily I might have to make one.

Do you take notes while reading the Bible, or search out interpretations of scripture? I think I might try to have a Bible, notebook and internet access available when I start this just in case I feel the need. I have recently found that what I thought I knew about the Bible hasn’t always been biblical. I have discovered that I have been accepting man’s interpretations rather than just reading the words for myself and letting God give me the lesson/message. God’s Word is not meant to be a riddle, or so difficult to understand that only the elite can interpret it. It is supposed to be plain to all. I believe when we get away from what we think we knew, and just read the Bible as if it is new to us we see more clearly God’s message than when we blindly follow someone else’s interpretation. I do appreciate the sites I have found that translate from the earliest text of the Bible to give the most exact translation to the original. We have made so many changes to the original over the years due to misinterpretations. I know that people want to make the lessons in the Bible more fitting for our times/language, but they need to be very careful when doing so. We have come to a point where we have injected popular traditions of man, where they don’t belong. I want to make sure that what I am learning, and teaching is as close to the original Bible as possible.

Well, another one of my life necessities…. another medical appointment is keeping me from writing more on this subject. Hopefully I will follow through with my plan to be more intentional about having quiet time. If so, I am sure my writing will change quite a bit. 🙂

The end is in sight

My son woke up this morning, and wanted to hit the books before breakfast! I was a bit surprised, but since we only have 3 subjects left to get through I understand his enthusiasm. We were so far behind with how busy we have been, but we have caught up and then some. Last year we finished around May 5th. We might be able to finish around that time again this year.

I have been looking into different craft projects that are kid friendly, since we are so close to finishing school but the hours still need to be filled. The weather is still chilly in my area, and the mud season is here too, so outdoor options are limited. We play board games, and video games together, but I want us to get into some projects too. We saw a few options online today that might be fun, but I have many days to fill before swimming season starts and we’re out of the house more than in it. 😉

Do you have any favorite crafts to do with your kids? I have a boy who will be 10 next month, and need to find some things to do with him. He wants to learn to crochet, but since he is left handed I find it super hard to teach him. (I only know a few stitches myself anyway.) I’m thinking I might pick up some artist canvas the next time I head to the craft store so he can do some painting, and some shrink plastic too. He thought the shrink plastic idea was cool, but he is worried about his drawing skills being limited and his project not turning out right. I told him not to worry about that, since it’s just about being creative and unique.

19 Years Already

It is so hard to believe that 19 years have passed since my mother died. I lost her when I was 17 years old, and she was only 38. She died from cancer. She had lung cancer, that spread quickly throughout her body. She was diagnosed in May of 1995, and was gone April 9th, 1996. She tried chemotherapy, and radiation but they did not work. She was offered some sort of experimental treatment afterward, but declined it.

I was a senior in high school when she died, and actually got the news she had passed while in school one day. My Principal actually drove me home to be with my family after getting the call. My mom died at home in my living room. She had been receiving care from a home hospice program, so we had a hospital bed set up for her and she was on a morphine pump.

I remember my dad telling me to say goodbye to her, but I knew she was already gone and didn’t need to do that. It was so hard to see a woman so full of life a year ago, deteriorate into the skeleton of a woman she became. When she was aware of what was going on around her, I remember her feeling pain from even the slightest touch. I would never wish that kind of suffering upon anyone.

I felt that it was “better” for her to be gone after the suffering she had endured. I thought then, that she had gone to heaven to be with her mother who had passed before her, but now my feelings on heaven and hell have changed. I believe that we are asleep in the grave until Jesus returns. I don’t believe hell exists the way most people think of it either. I believe if we do not accept Christ’s gift of salvation that we do not go to hell for an eternity of punishment and torture. I believe that we will die a final death and perish, becoming forever separated from God.

I remember being angry that God would take my mother from me, but I don’t feel like that anymore. We live in a fallen world, and there are consequences to our actions in this life. I do not understand why some people live long full lives, and others are “taken” when we feel they have so much more life to live. I have lost 3 babies in utero, that never had any chance to live. I would absolutely say they died too soon. That is only my opinion though. I do not understand His ways.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55 8-9 NIV

At this time in my life, when I lost my mother I also gained the best gift God has ever given me. My husband was just a friend of mine when my mom died, and shortly after losing her we started dating. He proposed in December of 1996, and we were married in August of 1998. I have always said that he is my soul mate, and a gift from God. My life would have been very different if I didn’t have my husband. He kept me from getting into trouble for sure. I was a weak person who easily caved into peer pressure, and I didn’t have the best role models in my family to set me on the right path either. Due to what I was exposed to my whole life, I thought drinking, smoking and partying was the normal way to live. It hasn’t always been easy for my husband to stick it out and put up with me, but I thank God that he has.

I would have loved to have had my mom with me for all the big moments in life, but that wasn’t God’s plan for me. I have had to learn things on my own that a mother would normally teach her child, and I have missed sharing experiences with her too. I think not having her around will make me appreciate the time I have with my children, and make me more intentional about the things I share with them. I am creeping up on the age my mom was when she died, and it is hard not to get nervous about the possibility of dying young too. I know I have eliminated many of my risk factors by avoiding the lifestyle choices she had made, but it’s still in the back of my mind. I want to make sure my kids have good memories of their childhood and of me, but the most important thing is to teach them to follow the narrow road.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7 13-14 NIV

I think my mother would be proud of the woman I have become, but more importantly I want to please God. I know I have much to let go of in this life to be truly pleasing to God, and I need to take on some things too.