Wednesday, December 2, 2009

So Sad

My 15 (almost 16 YIKES!) year old daughter Rayne loves soccer. She has been on the field since she could walk. Up until this summer she played ever chance she got. She was on a high level Academy team and played for her high school team. On average she would be on the field 6 days a week.

In July she had Cartilage Reconstructive Surgery on her right knee.

It was a tough surgery and it meant Rayne would be off the field for a year . . . at least.

We knew that going into it but today Rayne got a reality check and a reminder of how serious the surgery was and still is.

We went to her surgeon today for a routine check up. She asked when she could start running. He said, "Not until 9 months". She asked if she could play soccer in the fall . . . He said, "I will probably let you play . . . HOWEVER . . . not more than 1 game a week AND not more than 1 team!" This crushed Rayne. She is use to playing on 2 teams and playing at lest 3 games a week. He reminded her that this surgery was to make her knee good for the rest of her life, NOT so she could play this fall.

It took Rayne a few minutes for it to sink in. We knew this going into it but I think she didn't realize it would really be 18 months by the time she could play again.

She cried the entire 45 minutes ride home. This broke my heart. Having a teenager I am use to her tears, but hey are usually caused by me . . . whether I yell at her for something or discipline her. I can handle those tears but the tears today were different . . . Rayne is a tough kid and rarely ever cries . . . I couldn't do anything, I can't fix this for her.

It was so sad.

She will continue Physical Therapy 3 times a week. SHe will continue not to run or dribble or kick. She will continue to be sad:(.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Coola Doula

Growing up I always wanted to be a doctor. As I got into my teenage years I narrowed it down to Obstetrics and Gynecology. I entered my freshman year of college in 1992 and chose to go to a small Christian liberal arts college. I was on the pre-med track and took my first huge Biology class. I must admit it was overwhelming. There was so much information to learn. Everyone knows during a pre-med track that the first few classes are created to weed out the weak ones. I wasn't necessarily weak, I was unfocused, young, and thought I knew everything. By the end of my first semester I was put on academic probation.

I don't know what I was thinking . . . well I wasn't thinking. I started to skip classes . . . I was failing. Med school was not looking good.

Fast forward to May 1993, it was the end of my freshman year, my grad point average was 1.8 . . . YES 1.8!!!! Oh and my period was late!!!! It was the week of final exams and I knew something was not right, especially since my menstrual cycle was like clockwork . . . every 27 days no matter what.

I took a pregnancy test in my friend Heather's dorm room. My friend Rebecca was there with me as well. Here I was, 18, not in a committed relationship and failing out of college. If you have ever waited for a pregnancy test to show you the results you know that 3 minutes seems like 3 hours. Well it was POSITIVE, I was pregnant.

My increasingly growing belly coupled with my horrific grade point average put my dreams of becoming a doctor to rest. Miraculously becoming pregnant did wonders for my GPA . . . I enrolled in community college and graduated with a 4.0! I only took one semester off to give birth to Rayne who was born on January 13, 1994. During my pregnancy is when I realized I wanted to become a social worker instead of a doctor. I took a Teen Pregnancy class at our local hospital, it is there I had my first run in with the profession of social work and I fell in love with it. I realized the reason I wanted to become a doctor was to help people . . . and that is what social work is all about.

I eventually graduated with my Bachelors of Social Work and then went on and got my Masters of Social Work. I continued and obtained my License of Clinical Social Work which is the highest level of licesure for social work.

What does this have to do with being a DOULA you might ask???? Everything . . . I love pregnancy and birth, it's why I wanted to go into medicine. It's why I wanted to become a doctor. It's why now I want to become a DOULA . . . a Coola Doula!!!!

Every chance I get I attend a birth. I am calm, cool and collected. I thrive in an emergency, and I don't mind the sight of blood. I was there for my friend Tracey, 11 years ago today when she gave birth to her daughter Julia. I was there for my friend Cheryl, 9 years ago when she gave birth to her daughter Jael. When my sister was a surrogate for her best friend I was there when their son Chance was born.

This year I have decided to seriously become a doula, birthing coach, what ever you want to call it. And guess what???? I had my first clients!!!!!

Mrs. Pilgrim and her husband Dreamboat decided to use me as their Doula! On November 9, 2009 I got the call at 5:30am . . . I was sooooo PUMPED!!!

The result?????

6 Pounds, 2 Ounces
20 Inches Long

The birth ended up being an emergency c-section. I was not allowed in the OR but I stayed at the hosptial the whole time making phone calls to all the friends and family. I was able to help them in their hospital room. Get what ever they needed. Take pictures of everything. And just serve them in any way I could. I spent a total of 14 hours with them and I loved every minute of it!!!

This confirmed it . . . it's my calling. I want to do this as a ministry, to serve God. I'm not interested in money. I want to serve woman who might not have a supportive partner.

Just call me the COOLA DOULA!!!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

D-N-A = L-O-V-E?

I have a journal. Not any kind of journal. It's a journal for Autumn and her dad and sadly it's only 5 pages long. It's a journal documenting every time he has had contact with us or visited Autumn. This week I had to put in an entry, first time in 2 years.

Autumn has been communicating with her 18 year old brother, who she has never met, for the past 2 months in letters. Her last letter she wrote, "Do you know where are dad is? Do you see him?" I knew this would mean a phone call would be coming my way.

Kevin called me. I took a deep breath and told him I was willing to work with him so he can see Autumn. He has not seen her in 2 years. This has been my decision. In 10 years he has only seen her 3 times and has only paid $100.00 in child support. With all of Autumn problems I decided that enough is enough, he can not walk in and out of her life anymore so two years when he wanted to see her after not seeing her for a year I said "No". I told him, "If you would like to see your daughter, and you are serious then take me to court". Well . . . he never did.

Today Autumn is much healthier, stronger, and more mature then she has ever been. This is why I decided that Kevin can see her again. And of course he is singing the same song as he always has . . . things will be different, he's sticking around, he's not going to walk out of her life anymore.

Two weeks ago I agreed to meet with Kevin alone, without Autumn. I told him I wanted to get him up to date on Autumn. Up until this point he has been so sporadic in his visitation that he did did not know of any diagnosis' or treatments. We met at Monmouth Mall in the food court. We talked. I gave him print outs of all Autumn's diagnosis' including PDD-NOS, ADHD, and ODD. His response . . . "There's nothing wrong with my baby". I responded by telling him he is going to have a very hard time with her if he doesn't accept that there is something wrong with her. He also asked, "What would happen if she didn't take all her medication?" I told him, "You don't want to find out!"

On Sunday Kevin, Autumn, and I went bowling. Autumn loves bowling so I thought this would be a good start. Kevin began the visit by trying to hug Autumn, which she did not like. We bowled our 1st game and throughout the entire game Kevin tried to touch and hug, and squeeze her shoulders. She was very uncomfortable. His mother called him on his cell phone. He answered and then gave the phone to Autumn to say hello to her grandmother. Of course Autumn did not speak, after several minutes of awkward silence I finally said, "Kevin, she is not going to say hello!".

Autumn was done after one game. She said she wanted to go home. Kevin offered to take us out to eat, to Applebee's, Autumn's favorite resturant. Autumn said, "NO". She was done. We walked out and Kevin tried to hug her, she pulled away. He said, "I love you" and then told Autumn to "Tell me you love me". I laughed under my breath. She of course refused.

When we got home she melted down. She burried her head in the couch. After about an hour she was back to herself. The next day at about 9:30am I recieved a call from her teacher, Autumn was having a hard time at school. She was under her desk, laying on the floor. The child was in pain. I told her teacher that she saw Kevin and right away her teacher put two and two together. I agreed to pick her up. I usually don't pick Autumn up for this type of behavior but this day was different. She was in pain, her heart was broken, again, by her father.

We went out to lunch and Autumn said, "No more mom. I don't want to see him anymore". This girl knows what she wants, or rather, doesn't want. I respect her for that. She has gone through more in 10 years then a lot of people.

Monday night I told Kevin what happened. He told me, "All I know is she is my baby and I love her and I'm willing to take as long as takes for this to happen". I haven't heard from him since.

DNA does not equal LOVE. I know that, Autumn knows that, and I wish for Autumn's sake Kevin would get that.

Friday, October 16, 2009

School is Great!

So we increased Autumn's Risperdal to .10mg every morning and then .5mg if she needs it during the day. This has been quite successful. I must admit though, I hate giving my daughter medication. She takes 4 pills in the morning: Adderall 15mg (2 pills) and Risperdal .10mg (2 pills). Then she takes Adderal 10mg at 12pm and again at 4pm. At night she takes 10mg (2 pills) of Meletonin to help her fall asleep, without it she would be up until at least 12 midnight each night, with it she is sleeping by 8pm.

School is great. I can't believe I just wrote that. Her teacher, Mrs. Detata is a true blessing sent sraight from Heaven. She has a 6 year old son with Aspergers so she totally "gets" Autumn. It's only October 16 and she has fully bonded with Autumn! Last year Autumn never bonded with her teacher . . . hence the report card with all the F's!!!

All of Autumn's work is modified now. It is awesome. We did hit a roadblock though. She get's pulled out for Resource Reading for 90 minutes a day. There are 4 students in the class as opposed to 26 students, GREAT right? NOPE!!!! Huge problem with the timing, you see the 90 minutes starts the second Autumn gets into school. She literally has to put her things away and then walk down to the Resource room. NO TRANSITION TIME. For someone like Autumn this is a HUGE problem. Autumn does NOT transition well, if at all. So this is what I heard EVERY weekend, and EVERY morning, "I DON'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL, I DON'T WANT MRS. OLDS"!

So I had a huge decision to make. Do I keep her in Resource which is the perfect place for her to learn, or do I let her stay in her regular class room? A few things went through my mind when making this decision. Am I giving into her oppositional defiant tendencies? Am I giving up too soon? Do I let my daughter be miserable all year? Do I have her fight and refuse everyday?

I made a decision. I pulled her out of Resource. I still can't believe I did it, I had fought for 7 years to get her classified, I finally do and then I pull her out!!! But like Autism, Autumn is unpredictable and I have learned to bend with her as well as with Autism. I know I made the right decision. I know that she will be successful with her regular ed teacher, especially since she is in full support of Autumn and Autumn's educational goals.

It's been one week and Autumn is happy, her teachers are happy, and I am happy. She goes with Mrs. Olds at the end of the day and it is fine, she actually likes going. It's all about the timing.

So I say this all to say, School is Great!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How am I doing?

On my 35th birthday I made a list . . . let's see how I am doing so far 5 months later:

Here is 35 things I want to accomplish this year . . .
1) Run an entire 5K. I've started to train this week. I'm excited and it feels so good. Have fell off the wagon . . . NEED TO START RUNNING AGAIN!!!!

2) Lose another 45 pounds, making my weight loss 165 total. With falling off the wagon on running the weight has not come off either!

3) Live a life free of secrets and demons . . . I want to live in the light, once and for all!!!! DOING GOOD ON THIS, TOLD MY SISTERS A HUGE SECRET, IT WAS HARD BUT GOOD FOR MY SOUL!

4) Finally paint my bedroom and hallways (I have had the paint for 7 months now!) PAINTED MY HALLWAY, NEXT STEP THE BEDROOM!

5) Simplify, simplify, simplify. <strong>WORKING TOWARD THIS, FEELS GOOD.

6) Come up with a filing system and stick to it. DOES MAKING MORE PILES COUNT???

7) Go on a mission trip, no matter how small or large . . . follow God's calling. AFRICA MIGHT BE ON MY HORIZON . . . PLEASE PRAY

8) Fall in love :) WORKING ON THIS ONE:)!

9) Pay off my debt to my parents and my sister. AS OF TODAY I OWE MY MOM $850 (DOWN FROM $1300) AND MY SISTER $550 (DOWN FROM $700).


11) Save two full months of living expenses and but it in my online savings account so I won't be tempted to touch it!!!! YEAH RIGHT!

12) Become comfortable with telling my mom, dad, and sisters I love them on a regular basis. Strange but true we do not do this and I wish we did. I can tell my kids and my close friends I love them but for some reason it makes me feel really, really vulnerable to tell my family I love them. GETTING THERE!

13) Transform my living space into a space of tranquility and peace . . . somewhere I can pray, meditate and meet with my Savior on a daily basis. HAVE A GOOD START ON THIS, JUST REARRANGED THE FURNITURE AND GOT RID OF A LOT OF STUFF.

14) Floss every day . . . one of my best friends is a dentist . . . I'm sure you wonder how I live with the guilt:)? I'm such a rebel!!!! NOT A CHANCE . . . SORRY SARAH:(.

15) Send out Christmas Cards. PLANNING ON IT!

16) Put carpet down in Autumn and Rayne's room so they don't have to live with cold concrete floors for another year!!!! WORKING ON THIS, EVERYTIME I SAVE UP ENOUGH MONEY I NEED TO PAY ANOTHER BILL!

17) Form a habit of prayer and devotion. I want to be in constant communication with God and look to his word each day. OH I WISH I COULD PUT "COMPLETED" ON THIS ONE:(!

18) Learn how to ice skate. I never learned when I was a kid . . . :( I was always the kid with boots on the lake! AUTUMN WENT ICE SKATING THIS WEEKEND, WE ARE DEFINTITELY DOING THIS!!!!!


20) Learn to drink water as a health practice, not a beverage! (My good friend Dan has been trying to teach me that for years!) WORKING ON THAT, HAVE MY WATER BOTTLE RIGHT NEXT TO ME AS I TYPE!

21) Somehow organized my pictures. <strong>HMMM, THIS IS A CHALLENGE!

22) Complete my tattoo on my back. CAN'T WAIT, ANYONE HAVE AN EXTRA $200????

23) Grow my hair into a new style. DOING THIS AND LIKEING THE RESULTS!

24) Go on a solitude retreat. Meaning go away for a day or two by myself. OH I FORGOT I PUT THIS ON THERE, I REALLY NEED TO DO THIS.

25) Start a trip fund for Rayne's High School Graduation Trip. SHe wants to go to LONDON! OH HOW I WISH I STARTED THIS ALREADY! SHE NOW WANTS TO GO TO CALIFORNIA INSTEAD!




29) Go to the beach a lot this summer! NEGATIVE! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME!?

30) Have a fantastic Halloween Costume this year! OH NO IT'S SO CLOSE!!!!!

31) Start my poetry journal again. TONIGHT, I'LL START IT TONIGHT!

32) Learn to like one new vegtable (yuck!). I DID EAT A FORK FULL OF BROCCOLI AND CAULIFLOWER LAST NIGHT!

33) Read more . . . I just never get around to it! STILL NOT GETTING AROUND TO IT!

34) Love Jesus with all my heart, soul, and mind. STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS

35) Live simply so that others may simply live ~ Ghandi AMEN

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Autumn is doing great, Rayne is doing even better. I'm amazed by how blessed I am to have these two amazing daughters.

I love how Rayne talks to me . . . sometimes. She tells me all about who she likes and who she doesn't like. I NEVER told my parents about my boy troubles . . . I kept my mouth shut. I wish I talked to my mom and dad more but I didn't. I didn't trust them. They were and are great parents but I didn't trust them. I didn't trust my sisters either. So I never spoke to them about anything personal. My friends were the ones who knew everything about me.

This is so bizarre writing this because if you know me and my family you know we are EXTREMELY close. You know that we depend on each other for everything and we are there for each other no matter what.

You know that we spend everyday together. That we love spending time together.

That we do silly things like "Magic shows" and "Michael Jackson Luau's" and "Ornament Contests" and "Dress like your favorite Thanksgiving Day character".

You know that when Riley was sick I would drive every night after work with the other kids to go see her for 2 weeks straight, even though it meant we got home at midnight ever night.

You know that when I came home pregnant at the age of 18 I was welcomed with unconditional love (after the 5 minute shock/blow-up/scream fest).

You know that Rayne was welcomed into the world with my mom and sister by my side. That Hilary would buy her the cutest outfits from BabyGap and that Rayne was the center of our universe for 5 years before the next kid came along.

You know that when I came home pregnant at the age of 25 my mom, dad, and sisters all wept. They didn't cry but they wept, not because they were disappointed in me but because they knew I had worked so hard to get where I was, that I was getting ready to graduate from graduate school with my Masters and that I worked really, really hard.

You know that when Hilary was going through her divorce we had a huge birthday party for her where everyone cleaned up her yard, put mulch down, trimmed her bushes, and fixed up the kids playground for her.

You know my dad watches our kids everyday after school and then carts them all over creation so they can go to their baseball practices, physical therapy, soccer games, and dance lessons.

You know that my mom has all the kids over for dinner two times a week so that Hilary and I can either work late or run errands.

You know we all go camping together ever summer. One big happy family.

You know that we all love God. We all worship Him in a different way but we all have a personal relationship with our Creator.

I had know idea when I started this post that it would evolve into this but I'm glad it did. It made me realize that I can trust my family. That they are the people I CAN trust.

Wow . . . I'm a little blown away.

Monday, September 21, 2009


My favorite season of the year is Autumn.

I like Autumn.

A couple of weeks ago I shared that I was having a problem liking my daughter Autumn.

I like Autumn.

I've prayed about it and things have gotten a little better.

I like Autumn.

She turned 10 years old on the 17th. We went into New York City.

I like Autumn.

We had the BEST day ever!!!!

I like Autumn.

She is a gift from God, she really is, a walking miracle really.

I like Autumn.

She has my heart.

I love Autumn.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Feeling Better

I'm feeling better . . .


Decided to give life the ol' college try again.

Things have to change though . . .

I MUST be obedient to my heavenly Father.

I MUST get enough sleep every night, at least 8 hours.

I MUST start to run again.

I MUST start to eat healthier.

I MUST keep the house straightened.

I MUST keep the kids and in a routine.

I MUST discipline Autumn . . . every time . . . for even the littlest thing.

I MUST pray.

I MUST read the Bible.

I MUST smile and laugh again.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I want to LIKE Autumn

So you know how I've been depressed lately right? Well throw in a little 9 year old autistic child and mix it together and what do you get????? A BIG MESS!!!!!

Last night I hit rock bottom. I was extremely depressed, teary eyed, and irritable. . . . did I mention I was irritable???? Every little thing annoyed me . . . I mean EVERYTHING!

Autumn was in rare form as well which mixed wonderfully with my depressed state. Everything annoyed her as well. She was wining, moaning, banging stuff around. She was extremely rigid. EVERYTHING had to go her way. I did not like her. It is hard for me to admit it. Does anyone else "not like" their kids sometimes? I love her but I do not like her right now. Can I be honest? Everything she does annoys me. I have no patience for her right now. Discipline? How the heck am I supposed to keep calm, count to 3, put her in time out, and listen to her moan, hit, scream, drool, and cry while in time out?

The other night she wanted to go with my sister Hilary, we live with her and Autumn has recently become extremely attached to her. So we were at the baseball field Hilary was leaving and Autumn wanted to go with her. Hilary said ok but then Autumn decided she didn't want to give Riley's ball back. She refused. I counted to 3 and told her if I got to 3 she would not go with Hilary. She decided to moan and cry and hold on to the ball instead of going with Hilary. We got in the car and she moaned and moaned and moaned and it ate right through my brain. I wanted to scream!!!!

Last night was so annoying too. I finally grabbed her arm and said she was going to bed. I put her to bed at 8pm which is early for the weekend. I could hear her moaning through the ceiling. She eventually fell asleep as I cried upstairs.

I went to sleep and woke up feeling like a ton of bricks has hit me.

Depression sucks.

Autism sucks even more.

Hopefully I will grow out of this soon. I have to. I can't go on not liking my daughter. I love her with all my heart but I desire to LIKE her again.

Friday, September 4, 2009

i'm not sure

For the past month I have not been myself. I think my depression is getting the best of me. Usually I have it under control. Usually my medication works just fine. Usually, about once a month, my mood dips down low (hormonal I think), and then it comes right back up within a week. "Usually" is not happening this month. I'm low and have stayed low for the past 4 weeks. I don't want to be defeated by this big blue monster, so I wake up every day and I put one foot in front of the other (isn't that a song in like Rudolph or something?).

I mean my life is not bad. My job sucks right now just because I'm stressed but when is my job ever simple? Financially I'm okay. Do I wish I had more money, sure, but I'm okay, my bills are being paid, my needs are met. My kids are okay. Rayne is great, I feel like her and I are close and we have a pretty good relationship considering she's a teenager. Autumn is doing better, she still has her issues but she is better. My family is okay. My church is okay. I guess every thing is okay.

But can I be honest here? I feel like crap. At this very instant I want to cry. I wish I could go to bed and stay there. If I didn't have kids to take care of that's were I would be . . . literally . . . I want to go to bed and not get out for a very, very long time. There as been only one time that I have actually gotten to the point of what it felt like no return. I asked my mom to take my kids, I couldn't take care of them. She did. I sat at home with my best friend and just cried. Then I went to bed and slept and slept and slept.

I've got a question? Is my depression directly connected to my sin? I'm thinking it is. I'm thinking that my sin is keeping me trapped in my depression right now. This is not always the case. I do believe I am clinically depressed and that it is definitely chemical HOWEVER I also believe it can be spiritual. So am I willing to give up my sin in order to feel better?

i'm not sure . . . i'm not sure . . . i'm not sure . . . i'm not sure . . .

and that is the truly scary part . . .

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Dentist

Autumn had to have a cavity filled on Saturday. Now I know you might be thinking, "HOW THE HECK DO YOU GET AUTUMN TO THE DENTIST????" Well I have a secret . . . it's a peice of cake!!! She loves the dentist!!!! Of course it does help that my best friend IS our dentist!!! Yes Dr. Sarah Brevet is our favorite dentist and she also happens to be my best friend!!!

Of course we couldn't go a day without Autumn's autism getting in the way!!!

Was it the huge needle of novicane that got to her???


Autumn actually wanted to SEE the needle that Dr. Brevet stuck her with!

Was it the drill noise?


That noise does not bother her in the least!

Was it the suction device sucking out her saliva???


Guess what it was????

The ROOM!!!!

They put Autumn in the front room, a room that she has never been in. We usually get put in the 3rd or 4th room, never the 1st room.

Is the first room any different???


Well, not to you and I, but to Miss Autumn it is a WORLD of a difference!

These is the questions I got from Autumn:

Why are we in this room?
Where is the plastic mat?
Why is the water device different?
Why is this room older?
Why is there a number 9 on the x-ray machine?
Why isn't there a bird feeder outside this window?
Why is their grape vines on the window?
Why are they playing this music?
Why is there a computer on the wall?
Where are the big teeth?

Then Dr. Brevet walked in and got started on her tooth and there was silence. She was calm as a cucumber, and was complimented by all the staff that she was the best patient EVER! Even better then some of the adult patients!!!!!!

I love Autumn and her dentist:)!!!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

This and That

Rayne had her second operation last Monday. She is in so much pain and is stuck on the couch! We see the surgeon today so hopefully she will be more mobile after we see him. He is an amazing surgeon, Dr. Todd Ryan from the Edison-Metuchen Ortho Group. Dr. Ryan is so talented and he has a great way of treating his patients. He thinks Rayne is hysterical!!!

Autumn has her ups and downs. Yesterday was a very tough day for her. You could visibly see she could not self-regulate. She was crawling in her own skin. The littlest thing set her off and then it was the point of no return for her. She would not listen to me and I was screaming at her. She started to self-stim by stomping her feet and drooling, putting her hand in her mouth. She also wrapped her self in her blanket, which makes sense if you know anything about sensory disorders. Unfortunately I did not have anymore of her Rispredal and the pharmacy was closed so we just had to deal with it. She finally calmed down after about 90 minutes of screaming, crying, and self-stimming. She then helped me clean her room. We organized everything and she was able to get rid of a lot of toys she does not want. I kept saying to her, "Do you love it? If you don't LOVE it we need to give it away." She has so much stuff, she likes to collect things so I'll find collections of almost anything in bags all over. When I cleaned out her bin in the dining room I found a bag full of 25 water balloons (full of water) she was collecting!!!!

On Saturday I ran the Neptune City 5K! I shaved 1 minute off my time which I'm happy about. It was great running with my friends and family. My two sisters ran, my brother-in-law's brother, Sarah (my BFF), and my friend Ricky from church. We had a great time and as usual my dad was there cheering me on. He has been at every race since I started running 6 months ago!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Things to do this week . . .

1) Pray
2) Pray
3) Pray
4) Help Rayne recover from her knee surgery (poor baby)
5) Take Riley to OT & PT, we added a day because her balance is still horrible
6) Run, Run, Run
7) Register for the 5k this Saturday
8) Pray
9) Adoption Homestudy visit
10) Write Adoption Homestudy
11) See Steven Curtis Chapman in concert
12) Pray
13) Pray

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why I was late for work this morning- video now working

This was the tale end of Autumn's melt down. It all started because she couldn't decide what she wanted for breakfast and Riley was wearing a sweatshirt she didn't agree with. I had just given her her medication and it was starting to take affect.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Different House

I'm living in a different house lately. There is A LOT going on. Some good and some bad. Don't get me wrong, I still live with my sister but things are changing.
For one thing I am a year older, I'm 35 now and loving it. I am in the best shape both mentally and physically I have been in in over 16 years. My sister, her kids, and my kids decided to throw me a UNDERWEAR PARTY! Frankly, they were tired of my underwear!!!! You see I have not bought myself new underwear since my surgery and after losing 120 pounds you could imagine how my old underwear fits!!!! Each child decorated a paper bag with a pair of new underwear in it, it was quit creative and I loved getting them!!!!! Our house is different because I'm one year wiser:)!!!

Rayne went in for her first of two knee surgeries on June 6th. Here is a picture of her before the surgery, yes she is a teenager, and yes she did not want me taking her picture!

She is having Cartildge Regeneration Surgery. This first surgery was the simple part, they went in, extracted cartilidge cells and closed her back up. The cells were sent to a lab and are now growing by the millions. On July 27th she will go for her BIG operation. It's open knee, they go in, take a peice of her shine tissue, form a water-tight patch over the cartidge defect on her knee and then inject the cartildge cells that were growing in a lab into the patch. Over the next year her cartildge patch will grow and fuse just like new. Disappointingly she will be off of sports for a year but hopefully, if all goes well, she will be back without pain the next year!!! Our house is different because we have eaten, slept, and breathed SOCCER since Rayne was 4 years old, it is definelty a change!

We just got back from a Road trip. Rayne, Autumn, and I drove to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois to visit some of my best friends, Crystal and Dan and their two sons, Ben and Sam. We had such a great time!!!!

We bought a pool and sprinkler for the kids since it got in the high 90's while we were there!!!

We also visited the University of Illinois, both Crystal and Dan work there. Crystal is a child psychologist and Dan is a psychologist teaching and researching at the university. We ate at Big Mouth's and it was delicious! Especially the FRIED TWINKIES!!!

Here is Crystal and Dan pointing out what they recommend on the Menu!!!

One day we went to a local water park. We had a great time. The lazy river was our favorite part!!!

The passing of the King of Pop occured while I was there. Crystal, Dan, and I all love Michael Jackson so to show our respects we had a beautiful memorial service for him. We danced and sang SHIVA!!!

Crystal and I both bought new black dresses for the occasion. We each picked 3 of our favorite MJ songs and sang and danced to them. We lite candles and the kids loved our stories we told about how each Michael Jackson song affected our lives.

There was a lot of dancing going on!

We ended the night with Brownies A LA MODE!!!! We figured the brownie's being dark brown and the ice cream being white symbolized Michael's skin going from black to white, it was really special!!! Our house is different because my sister Hilary actually had a whole week by herself in our BIG house. Her kids were with their father . . . I bet she was SOOOO lonely without all of us!!!

I ran my first 5k with my friend Pina and my sister Jill. It was so fun and we made it!!! Pina and I finished at around 44 minutes, not bad, not good, but ok. We were humilated by my 40 year old sister who has not exercised in 4 years!!! She ran the whole thing and finished at 37 minutes!!!! Pina and I have been training for 5 weeks . . . oh well!!! I have another race on 4th of July, hopefully I can beat my time!!!! Our house is different because I exercise on a regular basis! I'm showing my kids a healthy way of living which is a big time change!!!

On our way back from Illinois we stopped in Indianapolis, Indiana to meet Rayne's dad so she could visit with him and his family for a few weeks. It was nice to see him, his wife, and his two other daughters. Rayne always has a good time with them. I am so blessed that she has a great step-mom and that everyone gets a long. I miss her terribly :( I can't wait until she gets back on July 13th!!!! Our house is different because we have one less child in it . . . it's a little less quiet, and a lot less fun!

And now for the biggest difference!!!!!!!! I have a new daughter!!! WOOT WOOT!!!! No I'm not talking about an actual NEW daughter but I'm talking about my Autumn Grace!!!! As you know she has been regressing, regressing, regressing. We went to see her psychiatrist whom I LOVE! I had been emailing her about Autumn's problems so she knew the whole update. We both decided to try her on a new medication in addtion to her Adderall. The medication she chose to try is Respridal. It is an anti-psychotic that is traditionally used for schizephrenia however in the last few years has been approved for chidlren with Autism for their behaviors. I was TERRIFIED to try this drug but I had hit a wall with Autumn. So I decided to try it. And guess what???? It works!!!! Autumn is a new child. She is happy, she is cooperative, she is less rigid, she does not self-stim anymore, she verbalizes what she needs, she is still cute, she is still cuddely with me, she is still Autumn, just an Autumn who is comforaable in her own skin now!!!! Our house is different because Autumn is on a new med and it works!!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Last night Autumn looked like an Angel.

When I got home at 8:30pm she was playing Wii Bowling with her cousin.

I laid down on the couch.

I told her she had 10 minutes until bedtime.

She said OK.

Excuse me?


When her time was up she put down the remotes and laid on top of me.

I rubbed her back and she asked when the Child Study Team "lady" was going to test her. I told her Friday and that I would be there. She said "OK".

There it is again . . . OK????!!!!??????

I then told her it was time to go downstairs and she got up making silly faces, I looked into her eyes and she smiled a huge "AUTUMN" smile. I told her she was BEAUTIFUL.

Do you ever look at your children and wonder how you got so lucky? I did last night. Thank you Jesus for such a special child!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Autumn is out of control.

Not all the time but some of the time.

I have two different daughters in one little body, check that . . . I have two different daughters in one growing-stronger-every-day body.

One minute she can be the sweetest girl, getting along with everyone and then the next she will be a self-stimming, drooling, growling monster.

She is getting stronger, more oppositional, and more rigid. She has been sent home from school twice in the last two weeks.

She refuses to be tested by the child study team.

On the one occasion she was sent home from school she had a good morning doing her work, she then went outside for playtime, then she came back in for reading. She refused to read, started to kick her feet and bang her desk. She continued to shuffle her feet on the ground in a repetitious manor for over 30 minutes, by the time I picked her up it was an hour.

I got her home and she continued to rub her bare feet together in a self-stimming sort of way. I made her go clean her room, after 15 minutes in her room by her self she came up upstairs with her laundry in her hands and began doing her laundry, she was calm, happy and talking to me like nothing ever happened.

When putting her in time-out I have resorted to how she was at 5 years old, I have to physically drag her in the bathroom, close the door on her and sit in front of the door so she can't get out.

She will bang the door with her feet or hands, trash the bathroom and then finally calm down. She knows her 3 minute time-out does not start until she is calm. These time outs can last up to 20 minutes sometimes and she bangs the door so hard I think it's going to break.

She gets down right mean with her 4-year-old cousin who we live with. She does not let her look at her. If Riley looks at her she grunts and screams. Of course this is not all the time just some times, other times she plays really nice with her.

The other kids in the house have adapted around her. They know that when Autumn comes in the room to get out of her seat, if they don't it's an all out war.

The littlest things set her off now. She goes from 0 to 90 agitation wise in a few seconds.

The other day her cousin sat down next to her, she did not like this and she flipped out. She started to stomp her feet, grunt, and drool, my father said her eyes were rolling in the back of her head. He did not know what to do with her. Counting to 3 use to work but it does nothing now, she does not even flinch when we start to count.

On one instance she crawled into the back of our coat closet and buried herself. She buries herself a lot. She will take all the cushions off the couch and go under them. One day my sister put her in timeout in my room and she destroyed it.

Today my sister had to restrain her, she did not like this, of course.

Everything is NO, NO, NO.

She has so much anger.

Everything bothers her.

When we are not with family she does not connect at all with people. Her affect is completely blank.

We went out to eat and bowling with church friends and the entire time she did not smile. If we were with my family she would laugh and smile but not with other people other than my family.

I'm not sure what to do anymore.

Her mood swings scare me.

It's like she is regressing back to when she was 5 but now she is bigger and stronger.

I'm desperate . . . what do I do?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Introducing the newest Trouwbottom!

I am happy to introduce the newest member of the Trouwbottom family!!!! Meet Mbali! She is a beautiful 10 year old girl from Swaziland, Africa. We have decided to sponsor Mbali through CHILDREN'S HOPECHEST.

Mbali lives in the country of Swaziland, located in southern Africa. Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world producing thousands of orphaned and vulnerable children. Current statistics show that a child of 15 has a one in ten chance to live to 35.

Mbali's current home is a 20 minute walk from the Beveni carepoint where she lives with her uncle and aunt and 10 other children. Mbali recieves her education at Thembini Primary School and is in the third grade (JUST LIKE AUTUMN!).

We have committed to send money each month to Mbali which will help her grow physically, emotionally, mentally, educationally, and spiritually. We have also committed to pray and write to Mbali each month.

We are so excited! Autumn was instramental in picking out Mbali from several profiles of orphaned children in Africa. Please pray for our newest member of the TROUWBOTTOM CLAN!!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Ugg I have so much to do. Do you ever feel like it's pointless to even start because there is just so much to do???? That's how I feel.

Autumn had a good day today. She complained in the AM about going to school but I don't acknowledge her complaints anymore . . . I just continue to get her ready for the day. She is on day 2 of being Dairy-Free. This morning she had Gluten-Free cereal with Rice Milk, she loved it! This evening I cooked her dinner with Soybean Margarine and it was quite tasty. I'm excited to get her totally off Dairy and Wheat . . . I pray it will help her symptoms.

Here is a short list of what I need to do this weekend . . . I'm exhausted already!!!!
Friday- Work: still preparing for my BIG STATE INSPECTION on June 8th
Run: still in-training for a 5K, first one is June 20th, the countdown begins!
Concert: going to a free Christian Concert with a friend, can't wait!

Saturday- Work: Adoption home-study, this is my second meeting with this couple
after that I have to write their report!
Work: Spend time at one of my group homes preparing for the INSPECTION!
Food Drive: Our church is collecting food at a local Foodtown, I
volunteered to man the booth!
Babysit: my friends husband just got back from Iraq so I volunteered to
watch her son so they can catch up!

Sunday- Church: YIPPEE SKIPPEE can't wait!
Lunch: with friends
Work: at one of my other group homes preparing for the INSPECTION
Run: 5K is coming up!

Can't wait until my Inspection is over, then I can have my weekends back!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

That's it . . . . our new diet!

Autumn was sent home from school today :(. She could not be controlled. She was on the floor kicking, drooling, and grunting. Sooooo I'm doing it, I'm taking the plung I have been putting off for 2 years, I'm changing her diet to Gluten/Casein Free and she is so excited to start!!! I'm glad she is because I'm dreading it but I have no other option . . . it's a last resort.


It appears that over the past 6 months Autumn has regressed quit a bit.

It is now to the point where she refused to speak to anyone besides our immediate family. She is not connecting to others, even those she knows and sees often. She has been with her teacher now since September and she does not have a connection to him, he reports she has maybe said 5 things to him all year. She is uncomfortable in other peoples houses unless it's ours, my sisters, or my mothers. She is becoming more and more rigid with where she sits (i.e. she has a certain seat she will sit in and no one else can sit there), who sits next to her, and who can touch or use her things.

Her outbursts are getting worse, not as bad as when she was 5 or 6 but we have now had to start physically removing her from the room. She is older, stronger, and bigger now so it is not an easy feat but Hilary and I are up for the battle. When she has a tantrum her fist goes in her mouth, she drools, the messier the better. If she is in a mood and someone tries talking to her she will grunt or refuse to answer. If she doesn't want to talk her arm goes up over her face or she hides in my lap if I'm near.

She's on Adderall for her ADHD. As soon as her medicine runs out she has a hard time dealing, we now have to make sure her next pill is on the way which is new for her, usually she does okay with the transition. Yesterday I told her to take her pills, I watched her put them in her mouth, then I went upstairs to take a shower, when I was done I came downstairs to find 2 wet pills on the stairs. She never does this, so I put them in her mouth and she took them. Adderall is extremely helpful. With it Autumn is able to cope better with the world around her, she is less irritable, less rigid and is able to function.

That is the bad news, the good news is that with all this going on Autumn remains to be a beautiful child. She has been doing extremely well at Jill and Steve's house and doesn't even need her medicine while there. She is a big help with her younger cousins who are 3 and 2 years old. She loves to garden and can plant for hours. She has planted a vegetable garden in our back yard and weeds and waters it faithfully. She enjoys planting all of the flowers Hilary has bought as well.

If you saw her when she is comfortable, with children she trusts such as our neighbor Michaela you would not know there was anything wrong with her. Or if you saw her with my immediate family or on the play ground at school you would think she is a typical kid but as soon as she is uncomfortable, as soon as there is no trust, as soon as it is different, or too overwhelming she shuts down.

I'm worried. Please Pray

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mr. Trouwbottom Part 2

This is the continuation of my "wants" for Mr. Trouwbottom. I know he's out there I'm just waiting for God to show him to me. You can check out Part 1 HERE

14) Mr. Trouwbottom must love to pray. He must be comfortable praying with me. There's nothing I want more than a partner that will pray with me and for me. It's something I dream about.

15) He must be willing to accept Autism as part of his family. Because I have a daughter with Autism, ADHD, and ODD it means that the Mr. has to be very special, and understand or want to understand these disorders.

16) He must cherish the small things. In other words a card sent for no reason at all, a daisy left on my pillow, a kind word whispered in my ear when no one is looking.

17) Respected. He needs to be respected by God, his family, his church,and community. It says a lot about someone when they are respected. I think it's a huge compliment when someone tells me they respect me. I expect the same for my husband.

18) Thinks I'm beautiful. Well I am! So he should think so too!!!!

19) Goal in life is to raise a godly family. There's not much more that weighs heavily on my heart then raising a godly family. It's one of my primary goals in life and yet I too often fail at it. Mr. Trouwbottom must want this for our family as well!

20) Full confidence in me- trusts his wife. I want a team player, someone who stands by my side and sticks up for me, however if I'm wrong lets me know in the most loving constructive way.

21) Willing to talk. I'm a talker, I'm a communicator, I want to know what is on your mind!!!!! On the other hand I can be very quiet, not saying much for hours, it's a balance I suppose!!!

So that's my continued list. Pray with me on my journey to my match!!!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Today is my 35th BIRTHDAY!!!! It's also CINCO DE MAYO! I am so blessed! This weekend I participated in the NJ Marathon! My small group from church, "The Best Group Ever!" ran/walked the relay. We had 2 teams of 4 so we each had a partner. My leg was with my sista Danisha, we walk/ran 5.5 miles in 1 hour and 38 minutes, in the POURING RAIN!!!! And I don't mean a sprinkle, it was POURING and COLD!!! It was a great start to my 35th birthday!!!!!

Here is 35 things I want to accomplish this year . . .
1) Run an entire 5K. I've started to train this week. I'm excited and it feels so good.
2) Lose another 45 pounds, making my weight loss 165 total.
3) Live a life free of secrets and demons . . . I want to live in the light, once and for all!!!!
4) Finally paint my bedroom and hallways (I have had the paint for 7 months now!)
5) Simplify, simplify, simplify.
6) Come up with a filing system and stick to it.
7) Go on a mission trip, no matter how small or large . . . follow God's calling.
8) Fall in love :)
9) Pay off my debt to my parents and my sister.
10) Live debt free.
11) Save two full months of living expenses and but it in my online savings account so I won't be tempted to touch it!!!!
12) Become comfortable with telling my mom, dad, and sisters I love them on a regular basis. Strange but true we do not do this and I wish we did. I can tell my kids and my close friends I love them but for some reason it makes me feel really, really vulnerable to tell my family I love them.
13) Transform my living space into a space of tranquility and peace . . . somewhere I can pray, meditate and meet with my Savior on a daily basis.
14) Floss every day . . . one of my best friends is a dentist . . . I'm sure you wonder how I live with the guilt:)? I'm such a rebel!!!!
15) Send out Christmas Cards.
16) Put carpet down in Autumn and Rayne's room so they don't have to live with cold concrete floors for another year!!!!
17) Form a habit of prayer and devotion. I want to be in constant communication with God and look to his word each day.
18) Learn how to ice skate. I never learned when I was a kid . . . :( I was always the kid with boots on the lake!
19) Plant a vegetable garden.
20) Learn to drink water as a health practice, not a beverage! (My good friend Dan has been trying to teach me that for years!)
21) Somehow organized my pictures.
22) Complete my tattoo on my back.
23) Grow my hair into a new style.
24) Go on a solitude retreat. Meaning go away for a day or two by myself.
25) Start a trip fund for Rayne's High School Graduation Trip. SHe wants to go to LONDON!
26) Throw a lot of crap out!!!!!
27) Get my body checked for skin cancer!
28) Pray with my children
29) Go to the beach a lot this summer!
30) Have a fantastic Halloween Costume this year!
31) Start my poetry journal again.
32) Learn to like one new vegtable (yuck!).
33) Read more . . . I just never get around to it!
34) Love Jesus with all my heart, soul, and mind.
35) Live simply so that others may simply live ~ Ghandi

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today is the day my sister was born and my dear friend went to see her Savior . . .

Happy Birthday to my beautiful sister Hilary!!!!!
1) She is 4 years my senior. Everyone always thinks she is the oldest but really she is the middle child, and a typical middle child at that!
2) Growing up she got in the most trouble. She got spanked the most, screamed at the most, and punished the most. I still think this is why today she is my mom's favorite!
3) When we were little I would annoy her like every little sister would. She would punch me, pinch me, and yell at me because I just didn't know when to stop!!!
4) She was an awesome athlete growing up. I would be picked 1st because I was "Hilary's little sister", they thought I was as talented as her.
5) It was tough growing up in her shadow, smart, beautiful, and talented. I loved every minute of it.
6) She has the heart of gold. She cried when I told her I was pregnant because she was so worried about me and my life.
7) She has 3 children and has given birth 4 times. She was a gestational carrier for her best friend. She carried Chance for 9 months and gave a gift no one else could to Charlie and Joanne. I will never forget that day . . .
8) She's strong. Strongest woman I know. She will fight for what is right and not back down until she gets what she wants, I have learned a lot from her.
9) She is one of the few people that can handle Autumn and can get her out of any mood, tantrum, or fight. She's amazing.
10) She's my big sister . . . what more can I say???

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Remembering Tami . . . December 15, 1977 ~ April 22, 1995
1) She was beautiful inside and out, I loved her smile and her laugh.
2) She was a true comedian, she could make me laugh when ever she was around.
3) She was Rayne's 1st and favorite babysitter. I don't really trust many people with Rayne but I trusted Tami and her family instantly. Rayne was 16 months when Tami died and she missed her so. We would go visit her grave and she would say "Tami, where are you???". It was sweet and sad at the same time.
4) I thought Tami and Crystal were so "anal and weird" when we went on our mission trip to Mexico because they brought baby wipes. Turns out they were the smartest ones of us all, imagine, Mexico, August heat, no running water, wouldn't you like a baby wipe????
5) She was an awesome sister. I always admired Crystal and Tami's relationship. I wish I had that kind of relationship with my sisters back then, now that I do I admire them even more.
6) The months before Tami died we had some pretty deep talks about life, love, and the future. I never told anyone about these talks, and never will, it's our secret.
7) She died way too young. In a car accident, sudden, quick, horrible. God has a plan, I can't wait to find out what it is!
8) Tami loved life and loved Jesus. I hope I die as ready as she was.
9) I miss her a lot.
10) I am so thankful God left Crystal behind. She is one of my sisters now and Rayne loves her just as much as she loved Tami.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Hot Sauce . . . and Popcorn . . . the Easter Bunny knows me well!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

If it weren't for Jesus . . .

If it weren’t for Him . . .
I would be crippled with my depression, physically hurting myself, attempting to numb the pain. Instead, I believe God when he says He loves me. I no longer hurt myself but live in the freedom that only He can provide. Yes I still have my down days, yes I see professionals who help me with my battle and yes I even take medication to help me with the fight, but if it weren’t for Him, none of this would be possible. And I know I would not be standing here before you today, I know this is true.

If it weren’t for Him . . .
I wouldn’t have two beautiful daughters, I would have chosen to end their tiny lives long before they saw the light of day. At 18 years old, so scared and lonely, as I sat in my dorm room I would have chosen a different fate for my Rayne Theodora. I would have taken the advice of a friend to drive to a clinic she had used a year before. I would have ended her life. And look at her, 15, beautiful, accomplished, a child of God, alive. And at 25 years old, definitely in shock, filled with pure, unfiltered shame, filled with anger, filled with hate. I could have very, very easily chosen to end a life I knew nothing about. I did not know her, or see her, no one had to know that I messed up again, or that I was taken advantage of. But because of Him I chose the hard road, I chose to face my fears, face the shame, face the hate, face the hypocrites that supported me when everything looked good but then cast stones at me when my sins were visible. And here she is, my Autumn Grace, look at her, 9, beautiful, wonderful, a child of God who made the choice to be baptized in His name this year. If it weren’t for Him.

If it weren’t for Him . . .
I would be shackled by the hate and anger I had for a father who during my childhood sometimes drank too much and a mother who covered it up with secrets. I wouldn’t be able to love my father for who he is and see that he was forgiven by Christ so why not by me? I wouldn’t be about to accept my mother for who she is, to realize that I cannot change her, I can only change myself. I admit it was easier to forgive my father than my mother but I love her and if it weren’t for Him my children would not have a relationship with their fantastic, God-fearing grandparents.

If it weren’t for Him . . .
I wouldn’t know you, I wouldn’t know true love, I wouldn’t know how to love back. I wouldn’t know community or what it means to call someone a true friend. I wouldn’t have The Best Group Ever to go to every Tuesday night. To pray with, to read the Bible with, to stretch each other, to refine each other, to make each other think. To do laundry for each other, to cook for each other, to clean for each other, to talk each other down from a mouse sighting, to laugh with one another, to cry with one another. To get mad at one another and work through the madness and anger instead of ending the relationship. To do what Jesus would do instead of what we want to do. If it weren’t for Him I would not know what this crazy community would be. I wouldn’t have women I could send an S.O.S. out to because I am just feeling so, so low. I wouldn’t have those same woman come to my house to check up on me to see if I’m still alive, or to show up at my work with balloons and gifts to try to get a smile out of me. If it weren’t for Him I would not have this community.

If it weren't for HIM . . .

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday. I took Autumn and Jake to our church so they could hear the story of Easter through the Resurrection Egg Story. After they heard the story they enjoyed making a craft. It was painful watching Autumn struggle with all the kids, singing, and attention, but FINALLY she settled herself once she was able to focus on her craft! I also picked up the children I was cleared to supervise by DYFS. J and J had such a good time at their home church spending time with their mom and grandma.

Jake also enjoyed his craft!

They each got to make a cross and place stickers all over them!


After the kids were done with their crosses they each got to make a cool Jesus necklace. Teya helped Jake with his. Jake later gave his necklace to his mommy!

After the children's program Jake, Autumn, J and J, their mother, and grandmother, and I all went to Friday's for lunch! We had a great time and were joined by 4 other people from our church! How great was that????

At night we went to Aunt Jillie's and Uncle Stevie's for dinner. Autumn put back together the Resurrection Egg set that Lucy threw all over the floor!!! LUCY!!!!

Before dinner Rayne read Lucy an Easter story!

Uncle Stevie made a delicious Pot Roast!

We ended our day with Autumn taking a picture of me trying on some new clothes!

God is so good . . . I can't wait until Sunday!!!