Saturday, December 26, 2015

An Open Letter to my Friends

An open letter to friends is not always an easy letter to write. The ramblings of a wandering mind can be a dangerous thing; and yet the best thing for the person with the wandering mind is to let them go.

I want to first start out by apologizing for not always being intentional in my friendships. I have a habit of talking - a lot. My mouth at times gets ahead of me in many ways.  It also doesn't allow the ears to work so well when it comes time to listening to my friends speak.  So it seems there is a lot of give and not much take; but in reality there is such a deep-seated open heart within me, that all it wants to do is listen to you.
Please tell me about the crappy day you have had, and how you screamed at the kids 10 times for the same stupid thing! Guess what? I have too!  Please tell me how you are struggling to find something that fills your heart with a sense of purpose, because I do too. Please tell me how you feel like the world is against you at this moment, because I have felt it before too.  I don't ask you to share just because it would validate my self in some way, I ask you to share because sharing helps.  I don't always know what to say or when the right timing would be to say something I might want to share; but I always want to listen.

I want to apologize for not always having my shit together. Life happens, and honestly, when you struggle with depression - which by the way, yeah I still struggle; life can happen when you don't want it to. Or it will happen when you already felt overwhelmed and now is not the time to lose my cool over the stupidest, smallest thing. Yet I did; again. So friend, I am sorry if I have lost it with you. I am sorry if you have thought that I had my life together, in a nice, neat, orderly box with a pretty little bow on it. I do not.

Please know that if I say my day is fine, or good - there is probably something hidden that I may or may not want to share. But go back up to the beginning where my mouth runs more than my ears. Sometimes, I just say it is good because for once I want to be truly there for YOU and not think of me. I don't want to mention my bad day, or my fears, or my struggle with whatever it is that day. Because for once I truly want to be there for YOU.  So, sometimes I say things are good just so that I can hear you. :)

Also, friends please know that I do indeed need each and every one of you in my life.  Friends come and go in our lives for many reasons, and the friends I have surrounding me right now seem to be the best friends I have had in YEARS.  These friends, have filled my life with smiles, with jokes, with love, with spiritual love, with purpose, with meaning.  Thank you to each and every one of you.  Please know that you all mean so much to me.  I look forward to spending so much more time growing our friendships in the year 2016.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Ups and Downs

I hate days where emotionally I am all over the map, and not only does my family have to walk on egg shells; but I feel like I have to with myself as well! Seriously, how many people out there have to make sure that any thought, decision or idea made that day works well with one's own emotional state?  Today we celebrated Willow's birthday. 5 years old next week, I can hardly believe it. I am so happy that she is doing so well, and has overcome so much adversity, made it through 12 brain surgeries and one look and you would never know.

This week she had an eye appointment. I love her doctor there, and she is always so honest with us; which for me is a great trait for a doctor to have, because while she doesn't give doom and gloom speeches, she does indeed tell us what can/will happen. Well, this week was no different. We were told she needed new glasses, only Willow loves her frames so will keep those. We are getting a much stronger prescription for her weak, right eye. It jumped a lot! To the point that in March, if both eyes are not better, she will be getting bifocals! I was shocked and said bifocals at 5? I was half in shock, half questioning it as a joke. She took me aside to say that we are trying to save her sight at this point. Her weak eye took such a turn for the worse, that even she was shocked. There is a much greater risk that we are looking at her going blind in that one eye a lot sooner than originally talked about (roughly a year ago).  So that was a hit to the ol' heart and soul in my book.

But that alone doesn't make up the emotional toll of the day today. I had a blast with friends and was so happy to see Willow beaming with joy at her friends being here, opening her gifts, eating her cake, playing with said gifts. But even she will tell you she had a good day/bad day. There was a lot of good, as I just said. But the bad in her day, has to do with me - either telling her to put something away so we can move on to something else, blowing up at the end of the night (not at her, and really I haven't put a pin on why I did), and she has a few other things I did to 'ruin her day', but hey it was parental. LOL

Either way, my ups and downs affected her day, and that makes it hurt more. No one likes to talk about mental health, and the stigma that is attached to it grows daily. But I suffered such anxiety surrounding today, and it had built through the week with the help of other events that I had not properly dealt completely with at the moment and then a lack of sleep added to that. I just wish for a redo. Thankfully, despite the ups and downs I know I am surrounded by family that love me and we can wake up tomorrow and try again.  For now, I feel like crying into my pillow.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Proud mama

Some days as a mom are better than others. I think we can all agree on that. Today was a day filled with ups and downs, but not necessarily of the kid variety; no, it was more life variety.

Jonathan has a heart for the homeless, something he doesn't share openly much, or with others at all. In fact this is really a new idea/love/passion for him within the last month or so.  He has set goals once again in his life for his future and has a potential career in mind. With this lofty career goal, is how he began to share with me his passion for helping the homeless. He would love to house the homeless, provide clothing, food, job training, makeovers, etc. He wants to help them get their life back.  So we have had many talks about what this may look like, what others are doing, etc.

Well, today in my life; I was bagging up the Christmas goodies I had been making over the last few days to give to friends and neighbors as I do every year.  I had a good bit going already when I hear this little voice ask me why the neighbors and not the homeless? They do not get to enjoy the goodies like this that we all do this time of year.  They may be able to find a place to receive a hot meal for Christmas if the city is doing something; but home baked goods.... can't think of anyone passing those out. So I bagged up all I could before having to leave to get him. Almost stopped at a friends house to give a bag to her, when I heard no, talk to Jonathan first.

I pick him up, he see's the bag and says "oh, friend delivery?" That was when I told him that I had this strange thought, and wanted to know what he thought of it.  Well, he loved it!! So we deliver two bags right away, only then our car begins to sputter bad on the road. I have no choice but to take it in somewhere. So we drop it off - walk to Wendy's for lunch, only to find no cash.  I ask them to cancel our order as I can't pay for it and the manager walks up and says, it is on us, don't worry about it. I about cried!! I get to the table and tell Jonathan about that, and we both sit in shock for a moment. I look at him and said we blessed two homeless with Christmas goodies, and he says to me, "God provided our lunch for us. We have to find a way to finish giving these bags out!"  Well, the repair shop had a loaner car, and we did indeed finish passing out the holiday goodie bags. 9 of them went out today, and he kept thanking me each time he was able to give one out.

The thing is, some days we struggle with attitude, back talk, tantrums and want to know what we did to deserve this, why are we such bad moms. Then there are days like today; where I still sit hours later crying over his heart of gold for the homeless.  He has inspired some friends of mine to do the same. Tomorrow is date night, and well, we will be spending it handing out roughly 30 (or more) bags of Christmas goodies to the homeless downtown.  :)   Thank you Jonathan for having such a huge heart for the homeless among us.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Well that wasn't fun....

A couple things have happened this week that have made me really think about things. The first one was a HUGE eye opener about me. I suck as a mom and due to my anxiety, OCD, control aspects, freak out moments, whatever you want to call it; have really ingrained a sense of fear into my kids. I found this out through two episodes that played out in the last two weeks.

The first was with Jonathan as he was dumping a new bag of sugar into our sugar container, he spilled some; like a small amount. I can't even really put a measurement to it. I guess if I had to maybe a couple tablespoons worth. He apologized many times over for spilling that small amount. Telling me he didn't mean to, it was an accident, and it isn't a lot. But he was afraid to show me how much. I turned to look (as I was at the stove as he was doing this), and said 'dude it's a little bit of sugar. I am not going to cry over spilled sugar'. He stopped and thanked me for that. Really?!  A thank you from my son for not freaking out over sugar. Wow, Donna you suck! You see, his fear was well warranted unfortunately. Generally speaking, I would have gotten upset for spilling the sugar. Saying things like, 'why didn't you make sure you were careful?' or 'do you think I am made of money to be wasting that?'
I am not saying I don't still say those things at times, but I have made a HUGE effort to watch that in myself and I caught myself before I could have done what the old me would have! What a great thing to notice and change!

That wasn't the only time it happened to me. The second time was with Amanda on Friday. It was popcorn day at school, and I gave her a dollar to get two bags of popcorn for herself. I saw her in the hallway at the end of the day, ran passed her and told her to meet me in the office when she was done getting ready.  As I finished my work in the office, I started walking back towards her and saw her face was looking down at the ground. She was very defeated, but she wasn't like that when I passed her at her locker. The principal saw her like this and walked up to her and when Amanda looked up I saw her crying. I immediately pulled her over to the table and sat with her and asked her what is wrong. She then proceeds to tell me that she gave the popcorn people her $1.00 and only got one bag of popcorn bag, and she is sorry for wasting my .50.  She said she knows we don't have a lot of money and I hate to waste it.  Now, I admit I do tell my kids we don't have a lot of money quite often. These kids of mine seem to think that it grows on trees, or you just go to the bank and the bank hands you whatever you want. Even my 15 year old is still trying to grasp the concept of saving, spending, giving.  So maybe I didn't teach it well, maybe I did it all wrong.  But seriously she was crying over a mistake that was not hers, that was .50 worth and not that important in the grand scheme of life.  I am happy that I am able to notice these horrible things that I have done to my kids, so that I can continue to grow and do better; but it hurt to see that much sadness and pain in both my kids due to my issues.

Twice in two weeks it was brought to my attention how I suck as a mom. LOL Thankfully though I am really trying to be a more calm, laid back mom. Not one that just goes with whatever flow, I am not that person. But I don't have to have my hands in every pot that is stirring in my house. I don't have to be freaking out if the house isn't as clean as I want it to be, so long as the kids tried I should respect, praise and as time goes on teach them the importance of cleaning, organizing properly (not my way, but a neater way). Thankfully I can hug my kids at the end of the day and say I am sorry. I make mistakes too - we are all human and no one is perfect. At the end of the day, they all still love me somehow. :)
It is hard to remember that sometimes. Friday night I had a bit of mental meltdown. Once I had two seconds to think about both of those events, it hit me hard. So hard I found myself freaking out over the noise in my house (my anxiety was through the roof as I felt not worth anything, and a horrible mom). I put myself into our stairwell heading downstairs, covered my ears and cried.  Just feeling like such a huge screw up was a bit much that day. Thankfully, I have a great husband who got me back up, and supported me greatly.  Even as much as saying hey you had plans with your friends, go ahead and go - you need this. I am one very lucky lady to be surrounded by an awesome family. Even if I am not the best mom at times. I think that is something we all need to remember at times, we aren't perfect - we aren't meant to be. We are still loved though.
Found this blooming this week in my backyard; so I had to bring it in. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The right frame of mind

So I have had thoughts of writing a blog post here on my personal blog for about 2 weeks now.  It is hard for me to do that though. I feel I have to be in the right frame of mind. I have to go through my mind and write, then re-write the post many times over, so by the time I sit in front of my screen and am ready to share with you all my thoughts - they are gone. I am drained, emotionally, physically and some days spiritually.
I don't know why I do this to myself. I really want this blog to be an open dialogue between myself and whoever reads it!  That is why I share the personal, the scary, the dark, hidden thoughts. I feel that if more people shared it, then there would be less stigma around depression, miscarriage, lack of perfection (after all who is really perfect?!), comparison (is the grass really greener over there or are they hiding their pile of dirt too?)
Alas, I am a mom to five wonderful, delightful, pains in my butt! They range in age from 15 to 2 years old. We have one with ADHD, migraines, concussions (still recovering from the last one), and teenage brain mush. One on the Autism spectrum, a drama queen lost in the middle, a child with hydrocephalus, and our youngest who is speech delayed and possible sensory issues. To say I walk the line of special needs mom would be putting it mildly, but I wouldn't change a single day of it!
I did not always think like this though, it took some time. It took some soul searching, some God searching, some figuring out who I am in my own life (after all, mom and wife are nice and all - but I am my own person!)
I have found that I truly do love to write. I like to write about the gritty parts of life though. I used to be able to come up with stories for my two older boys back when they were under 5. I would call them Sir Jonathan and Sir Evan stories. They were awesome for that season of our life; as they would bring their day to a review and an end. Basically the story would be about their day and if there was a problem that happened, it would happen to Sir Jonathan or Sir Evan as well, only it would play out different. So they were meant to teach the boys how to cope with things going on in their little world. I tried to do that with Amanda, but Princess Amanda stories weren't the same as Sir Jonathan or Sir Evan.  She didn't get into them as much as the boys. So by Willow, they just never existed. Orion hasn't heard one either. I think if I were to try to come up with it though now, it would not work anyway.
You see, parenting tricks are found as needed and seem to be tailored for the child in need. It isn't something that happens through searching, or through comparing yourself to your friend or neighbor. Sure they have tricks and tips that they will share with you, and you will be excited to try them, or you may find that you know right away it won't work for your family. That is OKAY! Your tip will find its way into your home when it is really needed.

So, as you can see by this post - I am all over the place, and I am sorry for that. That is what happens when a mother of five wonderful little gifts tries to sit down to write a post. It is always interrupted. :)

 But here are some pictures of randomness from our life - enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Staying afloat

I don't think at this time, there is anyone who could have said it better than The Byrds, there truly is a season for everything! Currently the kids are in school and the year is going well. Jonathan is once again enjoying school, Evan is of course stressing himself out with his school of choice. Amanda is in the last year of elementary school (where has the time gone?!), Willow is just starting out in preschool.  Amazing, how these kids have gotten to where they are.  

I felt as if I was barely making it during September, trying to get back into the school routine with 4 kids in 4 different schools.  Plus throw in PTCC stuff to deal with, raising a 2 year old, birthdays to deal with (you know kids want a party), church stuff, doTerra, mom's group (which is my sanity saver - don't you dare knock that)! I was hoping October would be different. 

Instead the month started with a death of a former Palmer parent who taught me about PTCC, and handed the reigns down to me and another mom.  It was not expected at all - which makes it more shocking.  I hadn't spoken to her in a while, but it was still there. A hit to the heart.  Then a week later, a dear friend passed away. Losing her battle to cancer.  I am at peace knowing she is whole again, happy, healthy, and smiling down on all of us - her family, friends, Palmer staff.  But that hit hard. No matter how hard you try to prepare yourself for the loss of a friend/coworker, family member, it is never enough.  You just can't be prepared for that.  

So here it is mid-October, my house says Halloween is coming soon, and the weather is getting colder. Yet, I still find myself just trying to stay afloat through it all.  There is so much that needs to be done, and my days never seem long enough to even put a dent in all that is there. I just tell myself, well it will sit until tomorrow.  Yeah, it will; but it eventually needs to be done! 

I have been asked a few times, how am I doing? You know with the depression and all.  Honestly, I feel okay. I think that season of things has passed, but the anxiety creeps up before I know it.  There are a lot of things that can bring it on.  and I never know what will be the biggest trigger that will set me off on that day.  But, I am coping well. I am no longer on meds (I took myself off of them), I am using oils, community, my Bible, my minutes.  You see when I said above that I don't always get something finished and it will sit until tomorrow. It is because I am taking a few minutes out of my 'stuff to do pile' to just sit and be me.  Like now, while writing this blog.  This calms me, makes me happy and gives me a chance to write. Something I used to love to do. 

I used to write poetry back in the day (LOL), but stopped when I didn't feel the pain anymore. That is all my poetry was, a release from the pain that I was dealing with. In reality, I am sure it wasn't great, I would probably make a billion revisions if I were to pull it out and read it again (yes, I still have my poetry from 15+ years ago), but it sits as a reminder of something I used to do and love. So while my writing has changed a bit (or a lot I hope), I still love to do it, and this is how I deal now. :)   

Hopefully as the month comes to an end, and the craziness of the holidays approaches things will actually slow down a little and not seem so overwhelming.  One can only hope right?! 
How I spent my weekend: PHF table at the Special Families Fun Fest

Daddy did my hair :) 

Just eating lunch with my baby 

birthday fun

Her birthday cake

Just trying on Orion's vest... See mom it fits!!! 

pink frosting 

This counts as a tree house right?! 

"Do no conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will."  Romans 12:2   Just a nice reminder sitting above my computer. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015


My last blog was a bit heavy - I will not apologize for that as it was put on my heart to share for a reason.  I will try to make this one not as heart wrenching though. LOL

Life in general has been busy; there really is no other word for it when you are a parent of 5 kids ranging in ages from 2-15. Somewhere in that busy life though, I have found little bits of time to remember to reclaim myself. Remember who I am, what I enjoyed to do before kids, even try my hand at seeing if it is something I still enjoy.  I have changed my radio station in my car - something that some of my kids don't enjoy as much as the others. My calendar fills up quickly each week, and sometimes I complain about that. Especially if I have to be in my car most of that day running errands, or from meeting to meeting with Orion in tow. That is not as enjoyable as a day filled with coffee, friends and time wasted.

You see, part of my busy life is being filled with something that I have found I LOVE to fill it with. Community. Friends, fun, food, coffee dates, chatting away with people either via text, phone calls, in person or guess what? Sometimes even Facebook - there are times that in person meetings just can't happen, but community can happen if you want it to. Jon likes to make fun of me sometimes when I talk about my 'community', my small group of friends whom I know have my back. Whether it be my best friends, my small group from church, some newer friends from the kids schools, my virtual friends that have been in person friends at one point and are now too far, or have not met in person but have been able to build community in some shape.

Today, was a great day in my world of community. It was my youngest son's 2nd birthday and today we celebrated with food, fun and friends. I won't lie, I almost started the Pinterest trend of parties that I have a habit of attempting to make. But this last week, something kept itching me, something just felt off about things as I tried to plan them.
So instead, last night I let my kids stay up late if they wanted. I let them help if they so chose to, or they could watch a movie. I didn't care either way. I let it go. Jon and I were indeed up until 1 am finishing the cake, but that was also because when you have little helpers, things take a little longer to complete. LOL  Streamers were hung, balloons were blown up, small decorations were hung in a corner (photo booth created), and cake decorated. Today, food was completed, friends had fun and the little birthday boy went to bed an exhausted two year old. I am perfectly content and happy with how fun and simple things were.  I let go of Pinterest, I let go of having to control so much of so many things, and I got to enjoy hosting an awesome afternoon of community. :)

I look forward to finding another opportunity to do something like this again, food-fun-friends. Aside from a great husband who is full of love and support and understanding, what more do you need?

Not a picture from his birthday, but a great one none the less

Photo booth :) 

Photo booth 
Here is the cake that could have been Pinterest created, but instead done with more peace and fun. :) 

Random summer fun shot from last month
I have never been able to keep indoor plants alive. A friend gave me these in a smaller form and I kept them in vases in just water... Then they grew roots and I planted them in pots and look!! I have green plants!! :) 
Squeezing some fun before school started. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

A little something

There is a little something about my life that for some reason has come up in my emotions and the thing is - not many people know about this part of my life.  For some reason, I feel the need to share this piece of my story to give it life. The memory it possibly deserved to have, but doesn't.

All of my friends know that my oldest son is 15 years old. What people don't know is that I actually had a miscarriage before I had Jonathan. It was even before my life with Jon, which is why it's not talked about and hidden so deep. You see though, I was due Sept. 6, the father's friends birthday.... that child would be 16 years old next month.  I think about him/her almost every fall secretly, because Jonathan is 8 months younger than my first child would actually be. So I wonder what that boy/girl would be like sometimes.  I think it is hitting me hard now, as this child (I lost it at 8 weeks, so no clue if it is a boy/girl) would be driving! That is a huge milestone, and Jonathan is perfectly content not caring about driving! LOL

The other part to the not talking about this story, is that 1 month prior to the miscarriage I was raped. By my father. So, when I found out I was pregnant, I had no clue who it belonged to; my ex boyfriend or my father.  I told my mother in complete fear but we went to the doctor and explained the situation (not who raped me, but that I was attacked) and needed an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy and how far along I was to know who it may belong to.  It was confirmed to by the ex-boyfriends, but that is where I will end that part of the story. The news didn't sit well with him, things got worse between us, I lost the child when I was home for the weekend so I was accused of faking the whole thing. I met Jon shortly after all of that happened.

I am not sure what the purpose of sharing this story is, or why I feel the need to do so. But maybe someone out in the world needs to hear it, as they are feeling something similar, alone, lost.  Maybe it just needed to be let out to live in its place.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

PHF Walk MI 2015

Well, the walk that many have been hearing about for what seems like forever - is almost upon us!  :)

I truly can't believe I finally decided to take this jump and host a walk for the MI PHF and yet there is a part of me that is thinking why did I wait so long to host one? There were many things that were holding me back, and a lot of it really boiled down to the fact that I didn't think I was making a difference and that in the end the walk would cost the MI PHF money instead of raise money.  While the walk hasn't happened yet, so I really don't know numbers of what we will raise. I can say that I have been blessed to meet so many people who share our story, either Willow's journey or a story of their own that has enabled us to host a walk with very little expense!  I never thought something like that would be possible. We have a band who is playing for FREE, we have been gifted with the use of carnival games for FREE, we have found people willing to do face painting for FREE, we have been given generous gifts for our silent auction for FREE, we are also getting donations of baked goods for the bake sale for FREE. Do you see a theme here?!  It is so overwhelming to have received these gifts from people who want to help us raise funds and awareness of a condition that truly affects so many Americans, and people all over the world.  Let us not forget about the incredible sponsors we have who have helped us to cover the cost of park fee as well - Medtronic, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, Hansen-Balk Steel Treating, Palmer Elementary, Gained Access, and the Grand Rapids Griffins

This morning, I woke up to find yet another person has signed up to walk with us. We are now up to 63 people who have registered and our walk is still 2 1/2 weeks away! I was told when I decided to start this walk process that the goal is generally 100 people. I never thought that was going to be possible. To be honest that was another reason I held off so long on hosting a walk, I needed to build a following I felt in order to host a walk. Who would come walk and raise funds for something they know nothing about?! Well, I decided to bite the bullet so to speak and just go for it! I have a great director on the east side of the state who can help advertise and get the word out as well, so that this can truly be a state event, and not just a west Michigan event and by golly it's working!! 63 people is over half way to the 100 ~ 37 more people to sign up and we have the goal of 100. I almost feel like I am walking in a dream the way all of this is coming together.

Today I am feeling so overwhelmed with all that is happening for this walk. Friends are sharing the information to get the word, they are volunteering to help get this walk going, they are donating, they are signing up to walk. Then there are the people whom I don't even know who are doing the very same thing, sharing the information, volunteering, donating, signing up to walk!  For this being the 1st annual walk I am so excited to see where this is all going and it truly makes me even more excited for doing this again NEXT YEAR!

I can't say thank you enough to all who are helping this year, but I hope they know how much it means :)

For those who have not signed up to walk yet, or would like to make a donation to our event, or would like to pass the information along follow this link here

If you would like to give a donation for the silent auction, or the bake sale, or volunteer, or hey we are looking for vendors still too if you make things - please contact me via email

Thank you all so very much for making this a great first walk :)



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Keeping oneself busy

So, I have not been very active on the blogging aspect of my life; or on Willow's blog for that matter.  But it doesn't mean I have necessarily fallen by the wayside. Instead I have been in over my head (this time in a good way, if that is even possible) in planning the first ever PHF Walk MI 2015.  A FREE, fun family day at Riverside Park in August leading up to the trip to DC and then National Hydrocephalus Awareness month.  I have my reasoning for the picked date, but I think next year I may wait until September.  My fear with that though is we all get 'too busy' with kids in school, fall colds since the kids are back in school, winterizing our lives, cleaning up the summer.  At least in August we still have the feeling of there being a bit of carefree left in us, and we aren't tied down to schedule yet. Or maybe that is just my own thinking - being a mom to 5 kids who need to go here, there and everywhere once school starts! LOL
Anyway, what do you think? Input on next years walk date will be considered :)

So, I am truly excited, inspired, in awe, and still pounding the pavement for this walk.  If you know someone who has a generator we are in need. If you know of a business owner who would like to buy some ad space in our program - we have the space.  If you would like to volunteer and help out that day - there are places for you :)   Silent auction items are still needed, vendors are still being accepted. There are many small things taking place now that we can still allow to happen leading up to the walk, that if you want to help just let me know :)

So yeah, live has been going. Walk planning, fundraising set for September for the PHF as well. School starts so the PTCC will be in full swing at Palmer as well (plans for something every month!!), and I also co-lead the Hygiene Pantry at Frontline Church :)  Yet the funny thing is, while all of these things are going on and may seem like a lot - it is still only a quarter of what I used to do 2-3 years ago.  It is absolutely crazy how my life has changed since Willow came along and how much I have learned and changed with her. Then came along Orion. He definitely put me into a huge tailspin, one that some days I wonder if I will ever recover from - then there are days like today; where sometimes you have to just pull out the slip-n-slide, throw down some dish soap, add water and joyful screams! Days like today may be far and few between, but we had a blast and that is the best part. :)

Here is some info on the walk if you are interested in joining us:

Facebook Event info here

Register for event/make a donation here

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Time continues on

Time continues no matter what is going on around us.  I almost can't believe that it is the middle of July and the last time I entered this blog was January.  At the same time though, I feel like it really has been too long since I have written anything, whether worth sharing or even just for catharsis purposes.

So how does one begin to even sum up 6 months of life in one blog post? If I figure that out, I will share the magic with you. :)  February brought us to house hunting - for our first house!! We spent February looking at homes, found one at the beginning of March, long story short, closed in April, and moved in the weekend of the April 18th.  Evan's birthday was the first one celebrated in our new home :)
Then came end of the year for the kids school, Willow did great and has great plans in place for next year. Amanda came out with a great year as well and will be in 5th grade at Palmer, Evan did a great job and finished 6th grade at Blandford with all A's and B's! I am so proud of him.  Jonathan struggled a lot this year, as a freshman at City High; despite all my working with teachers and counselors he finished the year with sub par grades and was dismissed from the school. :(  I had told him that if that were to happen (as I had many talks with him throughout the school year) that I would home school him.  I knew he didn't want it, but I also know that for someone as bright as him, there really aren't many options for him here in Grand Rapids and I trusted the school when the counselor said she had control of the situation and not to worry. So I didn't look into filling out applications for school of choice or other theme schools.  Luckily, we were able to compromise and he is now signed up for Nexus Academy in Grand Rapids (check them out here). It is a blended program with four hours of on campus learning and the remaining 2.5 at home, and they require weekly check in's by the parents and it sounds like he will be able to go at his own pace as well.  So we are now hoping that this year is much better than last.
We are now in the middle of summer and my kids are definitely bored. LOL I have to laugh a little at that, because it probably is the truth - but there is still so much they could be doing and instead seem to not 'see' it.  We have had no fun trips anywhere, no big vacations planned as this is our down here from DC (meaning we aren't going), we have been sharing one car this summer and only taking it on days when we have appointments and many errands to run, so not even any fun day trips have been planned.  Yet while staying here I have been busy planning the PHF Walk MI 2015. So I have been pretty busy even though the kids feel like they haven't.
Another event that happened this summer was Evan had his appendix removed at the end of June. He then spent the next 2 weeks in recovery mode, and not able to do anything anyway, so that also kind of put a sad face on the summer. Now though, we are all doing well, Amanda has come back from camp, Jonathan leaves tomorrow for scout camp and now we start the planning of summer's end and back to school.
Now let's not get too far ahead of ourselves on that! LOL, but I do need to start thinking about school as we will have 2 kids in uniforms and 2 without. We also need to start thinking about a second car, and what that will look like for our family as well. One car this September with all the places kids/Jon needs to go will NOT look pretty or work out at all.  Wish us luck on that journey as well.

I hope all of you are doing well, I know I didn't touch on my depression at all this time, and well - let's just say that I am still trying to figure things out, but feel closer to a goal than before. Enjoy summer!

Monday, January 26, 2015


This winter has been far from easy. In fact, I can't find much of anything since Orion's birth that has been easy.  Is it the fact that having five kids in a small house is too much, is it that I am still unsure of who I really am, or is it just that I have had a strange view of who I am or what makes me tick, and happy.  You see, I have always been a person to do things - a LOT of things. I felt that keeping myself busy was what I liked to do. Ultimately living like that is quite exhausting. Not only for myself, but the family.  So, when we got Willow's diagnosis of hydrocephalus, I stepped back from a lot of things.  But then joined with the Pediatric Hydrocephalus Foundation to become Michigan's co-director.  But still, things weren't right with me. I have found recently, when asked a few questions about my hobbies, or what I like to read or do - that right now I have no idea.  I am 36 years old, and feel like I don't know myself.  I have dabbled in so many different things/hobbies but have never really stuck with any of them.  Except writing; even if it is not as often as I would like it to be, I still write.  Either here, or on Willow's Wishes, or in journal's or cards to send to friends.  No matter what, I write.

So in that spirit, I am going to write more often.  Jon has kind of challenged me, in a non challenging way (meaning really he suggested) that I write a children's book. You see when all of our kids were about Willow's age, that 3-5 range, I would tell stories to them about their day - at night. They were 'made up' stories, with characters known as Sir Jonathan, Sir Evan, Princess Amanda, and Princess Willow. The stories always had a moral at the end, that helped them solve whatever the problem was that day. Such as Jonathan had a hard time sharing with Evan one day, so Sir Jonathan came along that night, to help play with his little brother named Sir Evan. And it seemed to work and help back then. But since Willow was born, it was hard for me to continue that trend, because well, I was living in a daily turmoil of who the heck knows what will happen. And instead of really living and enjoying, I went into the deepest of survival modes.  I think part of this depression I am in now, is me just trying to come out of fight/flight mode and remember how to really live, as I did before Willow.

So, here come the stories!! Anyone want to help?? If I get these written, I need an illustrator and I don't even know where to begin with publishing, but I think it would be so nice to do so. :)

Let me know if your interested in any such way

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Depression sucks

Depression does suck - literally and figuratively.  It literally sucks the life from you leaving you almost motionless - a shell of your former self. When you add anxiety to it, it cripples your thoughts and makes you wonder what is next? Depression affects everyone so differently that it is hard to have a great treatment from the start. It's a game of seeing what helps and what doesn't...  The game sucks.

Personally, I should probably be seeing a therapist to help with this - but who has the time for that? I have Willow in and out of two different schools at different times of the day, and Orion home with me at all times. See those words there, AT. ALL. TIMES.   I can't get away from him!  I know that sounds harsh, but really I have anxiety on top of the depression and little sleep to say that none of this is adding up well.

I make it through my days on auto pilot.  Meaning I know I have to get up, make coffee, make Jon's lunch, get him and the boys out the door.  Next is Amanda. Now that it is just her in the morning I can usually make it through with little arguing though a lot of whining still.  Then I can focus on Willow - Monday and Wednesday's she has to catch a bus at 8:30 am, Tuesday and Thursday's are laid back and that bus comes closer to 11. Once everyone is gone it is just Orion and I.  I thought it would give us a chance to bond... instead it gives my anxiety and depression a chance to take over and leave me crippled for the day.  Once the house is quiet, my mind is not and it can't focus on what needs to be done.  I can definitely meet our needs - meaning lunch, diaper changes, nursing, snacks etc. But above and beyond that - I am utterly lost.

It affects the marriage too - in so many ways does it ever affect the marriage.. I would like to say that some how mine is doing well, but when your spouse doesn't understand how 'you leave him in the living room all day' and there are no words that can be found to explain how you feel - it makes it even harder.

I had started this blog up again in hopes that if I kept writing on a regular basis, it could help others - the same way I freely will talk to people about my past.  But I find it very hard to put into words what I may or may not want to share. So instead it sits inside my mind only making things worse I am sure of it! lol  

Well, today's post was much more personal than I intended it to be... But none the less, there it is.