The Unseen Mom


I recently noticed a relatively common yet sad oversight.  This time, the oversight came in the form of a consignment sale advertisement.  There is a consignment sale that fills an entire warehouse, and usually brings the masses of savvy shopping mothers, hoping to fill their homes with needed (and not so needed) essentials at half the cost.  We are talking a lot of people in one building.

To offset some of the chaos, this consignment sale advertised special shopping times for certain groups of people.  There was early participant shopping.  Understandable, after all, you’ve put in your effort to make this event happen….get your shop on! They have an expectant and new mother shopping time.  Oh yes, it is hard to fight the crowds when you have a giant belly, swollen feet, and the bladder capacity of a pea. Totally makes sense.

They then have times for teachers, medical personnel, and a few other groups.  It is hard for these people to get to the sale before things are gone.  I get that, and I have the greatest respect for ALL of these people.  What I did find odd, there was no time set aside for special needs parents.

If we are making plans to make it easier for parents who face unique challenges, why are we not helping special needs parents out?

My guess.

People don’t see us.

Not really.

Oh I bet people see us at the store.  In my case, they see my kids faces (and the amount of children I have) and they smile a sympathetic smile.  Sometimes they make a comment about my hands being full and they move on.  So, you “see” the special needs parent….and then you don’t.

There are a majority of special needs families report not attending church anymore, there just isn’t a ministry to help with their circumstances nor congregations who understand(in some places) the abnormal behavior that might disrupt service.  They don’t have children who can participate in sports, so you don’t see them there.  They have children who see your kid for an hour in PE and then not at all.  You don’t see them at school functions.  You don’t see them at after school functions, because their kid had a complete meltdown in the living room due to the line on their socks not matching right, and could not be consoled, leading to another missed opportunity for socializing.  You don’t see them at the Friday night football game with their kids, because the amount of people and the noise are just too much for their child to handle.  Same goes for the birthday parties you don’t see them at…..if their kid even got invited.

You don’t see them because they are at home (or the hospital) taking care of their child.  So why would you consider them when making plans for certain parent groups?  Why would you give them much thought?

Hopefully you will though. It is a lonely job sometimes, being the one who can’t join in the chatter with other parents while their kids chase a ball around a field with their feet.  It is lonely sitting at home listening to the sermon on the television, or leaving the party early due to too much stimuli for your child.  It is lonely not being able to talk to someone about your problems without them just giving you sympathy eyes, or thinking you are a horrid person for saying “poop sucks and I don’t want to wipe another butt today!!!” when they haven’t lived in your shoes and cannot possibly understand.

Nobody wants an, “I’m sorry this is your life” discussion.  Or the, “oh you are so strong, I don’t see how you do it, I could never.” Nope, this is not what we want.  What I want is to be invited.  Be understanding if at the last minute I can’t go, but don’t disregard me as a friend and forget about me.  Or, be understanding if I do come that I might have to spend my time “guiding” my kid while we chat.  I still care about you, I am interested in what you are saying, but at the same time I need to make sure that my kid doesn’t wander off down the street or take a stranger up on a mystery sticker offer.  I want church congregations to let me parent my children with the discipline and rules they need, while also understanding that sometimes they have behaviors that might not be normal, and it might disrupt the congregations.  Or better yet, for some special needs parents, a place that helps special needs parents with their challenges while still getting to be part of the worship service.

I want a bathroom in a public place that doesn’t require a special needs mother to change her adult sized child on the FLOOR!

If anyone could use a sale on kids clothes, it’s the parents who spend their money on medical equipment, therapies, and a whole host of other very costly things associated with special needs parenting.  Things that “regular” people do not consider, because they don’t have to.  It’s not their fault, parenting is hard with neuro-typical kids, not a whole lot of time to consider others. I get it.

I think with the rates of autism growing at such an alarming pace, it is time to start seeing the parents who care for kids with extra needs.  It is time to start empathizing (not sympathising) with their lives and making an effort to  be part of it, even if uncomfortable things happen.





What pain steals.

A few months after we committed to adopt Glory, my world changed.  I do not talk about it much, it’s incredibly defeating.  I like to pretend that it doesn’t exist. About 2 1/2 years ago, the summer we decided to pursue adopting Glory, and proceeded to do the ever so popular paper chase, I came down with an illness like nothing I’ve ever experienced.

At first, I had pain in my feet.  I thought perhaps I had injured them during exercise.  The pain spread, it began to radiate down my hips and legs into my feet.  I am quite tough when it comes to pain.  I did not use pain medication aside from ibuprofen and tylenol during the recovery of all 3 c-sections that followed 30+ hours of natural labor attempts.  So, trust me when I tell you that chronic pain is no joke.

Along with the pain came the fatigue.  Not just run of the mill exhaustion, but deep down, completely incapable of movement, fatigue.  I had days where it was all I could do to keep up with the children, and I would fall into a heap of tears, unable to cope with not being my “normal do-it-all self.”

I began to have pain in my shoulders and my back.  I couldn’t figure out why there was so much pain…..neither could the doctor.  My muscles ached, I was completely fatigued, and then my memory and recall became fuzzy.  I lost a lot of my hair over a year’s time. And I became unable to sleep.  Every night was tossing and turning, despite reduction in caffeine and electronics, just not being able to get into a sleep mode. Initially I did test anemic, but once that was resolved, the pain didn’t go away.

The worst thing was that I couldn’t exercise.  If I did, I would be in intense pain for the rest of the day….if I could make it through a workout at all.  This was the worst, because this was the thing that proved to me that this was serious.  I have always enjoyed exercise as a way to reduce stress.  The day I delivered Zeke, I walked my littlest sister to death trying to get labor to progress. I walked 27 miles the week I delivered Grace. It is just something I love to do.

I have had PCOS since I was 22, probably well before that, but 22 is when I was diagnosed after crazy high  testosterone and multiple cysts on my ovaries showing via ultrasound.  PCOS does not make it impossible to lose weight, but it does make it more difficult.  It is also common for people to say they are trying to keep the weight off always, any break in constant effort, could result in a 20lb gain in like 2 weeks. In addition to stress relief, I have used exercise to help keep my weight down.  It’s nowhere near goal, but it’s also not 244 like it was at 21.  Needless to say, when I couldn’t exercise, I was more than a bit nervous.

Having pain like this is hard to cope with mentally.  Not because of the physical discomfort (although that does take a toll), but because of what pain steals.

Pain steals days.

Pain steals happy moods.

Pain steals precious time with my littles.

Pain steals memories that could be made, but instead you watch from the sidelines…..or say once again….I’m sorry I just can’t.

Pain steals pride and self confidence.

Pain steals my children’s perception of me being the “best” mom.

I refuse to use prescription pain meds.  I come from a lineage of addicts, and I just feel it best to not even go there, not even non-addictive drugs.  So, I have been on a journey over the last few years to find a way to build energy and reduce pain.  I have tried a myriad of supplements, some work better than others.  Holla to my fave: collagen!

I started exercising again doing just 15 minutes of mild walking.  It would nearly knock me out for the day, but I persevered.  I kept at it, building more time and endurance. Now during good weeks, I can do 45-60 minutes of kickboxing.  I started taking melatonin to help me sleep.  It helps to get to sleep, but I still roll around often to readjust in the night and try to ease the pain.

I do not have some miracle cure story.

I have the truth about what it’s like to look “normal” and feel completely destroyed.  On the outside, I look just like any other 30’s mom with a little pudge going on.  I am stubborn and refuse to back off on my daily routine any more than I already have, so people see me teaching my kids, playing with them, cleaning house, cooking from scratch, sewing (when my hands aren’t stiff and throbbing), and doing whatever other normal moms do.

On the inside though, I am sobbing. I am hurting, I am silently begging for relief and enough energy to carry me through the day. I do not get to fully enjoy things as I once did, because everything is burdened by the pain.

Last week, I took two kids to Nashville (a five hour drive each way), for a doctor’s appointment.  After the appointment, they wanted to walk the mall.  So we did.  I was already pretty worn down, but we did it.  Then they wanted to walk another big store.  We did.  However, I had to turn down the last requested activity.  I was hurting so bad that I had literal tears and I just couldn’t walk anymore for the fatigue (and I still had to drive us home).

Andy asked me if all moms were tired and hurting all of the time.

That cut me to the bone.  I don’t want to feel this way, and I push hard to always be doing stuff with and for the kids.  I don’t sit down much during the day, because if I do, the pain gets worse and I have a hard time getting  back up for life.  So, I work to be engaged with the kids.  Yet, I just couldn’t do one more thing that day.

That day, pain broke my heart a little.

How do you explain to someone that you look great but feel agonizingly bad all of the time…..they don’t know what that is like, so it is really really hard for them to empathize.


Pain is invisible.

How can something invisible be so damaging.

I am still trying to find what is wrong.  They have said fibromyalgia, but now with my wrists and the joints in my fingers being so stiff and in pain, it may not be fibro. Whatever it is, I want it gone.  I want to heal it, and I’m on a mission to do so.  I’ll let ya’ll know if I fulfill my mission.

In the mean time, have some compassion for your fellow man.  They may be suffering from something that you have no idea about.  Be forgiving and give grace to others, for you have no idea what troubles fill their shoes.



It’s a real thing…..face belt

I have become completely enamored with random things that are absurd and for sale.  I figured that if I was amused, maybe ya’ll would be as well.  So, I’m going to attempt to revive this space that I write in sometimes (not so much since I brought home the little diva 9 months ago).

The first thing I am going to share is the face belt.

Yes! It is a belt for your face! What?

face mask

Doesn’t she look happy.  I mean, she basically has a jock strap stuck to her face, and yet, she smiles.

You can find this picture and product here….not my affiliate link, cause I’m amused enough to share without payment.

Wear this jock strap for the face for 30-40 minutes to whip your face wrinkles into submission.  They claim that for just $12.99 with prime shipping, that you to can be less face fat and saggy.

I’m not going to lie, the extra pounds plus 33 years of life, plus this special needs mom thing that I do, has given me some face fat and sag.

Still not going to force my face into the “breathable and soft material” that most closely resembles the support worn by males doing sports like things.

Oh but it gets better.

This is actually a thing!


This scares the CRAP out of me and you can find it here.

I don’t know about you, but there is nothing better than getting my face sag tightened while also giving the UPS man the heeby jeebies, thinking I’m a lady (being pink and all) who forces people to put the lotion on it’s skin. (Truth Bomb: I’m terrified of scary movies, so that’s the only part of that movie I know about, but hey it makes great reference here).

This mask claims to promote metabolism.

AND it has reviews! That’s the best part.  I love amazon reviews.

So here is what I want to know.  When I was a teenager, I had knee problems, and I had to wear a knee support also made from soft and breathable material.  It trapped in the sweat.  That trapped sweat smelled no matter how often you bathed and also washed your support.

So…..does this cause smelly face sweat?

Is it worth it?

Well, it’s a non-surgical face lift-ish kind of maybe possibly could work for some but the reviews aren’t so good so maybe it doesn’t work, soft and breathable belt for your face.

It’s a real thing that I find amusing.



A Week of Basic Sewing

Last week, I set a goal to finally start sewing up this fabric into Fall clothes for the kidlets.  My school/craft room is in order….err…organized chaotic order?….who let those kids have glue sticks and paper anyways…..

In my spare moments, I was able to trace and cut 7 shirts from my favorite pattern for littles.  This is a free hoodie pattern found (here) and only goes up to a 5t. It runs small, so Zeke and Glory are my last two to wear it, thus this is my last year to use this pattern for my small people.


Glory has an incredible amount of these hoodies passed down from Grace, who barely wore them last year.  Zeke, however, has no shirts to be passed down.  Tanner would have to grow a lot in order to pass down his clothes, and as of yet, these two are not in similar sizing.

You see this poor baby’s nose? He had an unfortunate collision between himself and the train table.  It’s hard to get dressed in the morning by yourself ya’ll.


This shirt is my favorite, but only because it is the softest and most snuggly of them all.  Seriously, I need one in my size.


Listen, when you have muscles, you have to flaunt them man.


These shirts come together so incredibly fast.  I mean, who doesn’t love an adorable and quick sew! Especially when you have 6 kids and very little time.


This one was Zeke’s favorite.  He absolutely adores anything monster truck.  Who knew, I pulled this out of the scrap pile from a bunch of clothes I had made him when he was a teeny baby.


He really was a good sport about modelling all of these shirts, one right after another.


But then again, I am lucky, all of my kids love love love getting something from “the machines.”  They love mom-made clothes.  They are also, all of them, expecting mom-made halloween costumes….I’ve done this to myself really.

A week’s worth of shirts, sewn in a week’s worth of time.

Who am I kidding….he’s three….this is what…2 days worth of clothes?!!!


Push Away, Move Closer

This little one has been home nearly 7 months now.  Seven months of adjusting to being family, to being her mother, her adjusting to finally having a mother. She has a fiery spirit, she’s a fighter, and although it helped her as an orphan….it is a hindrance to bonding. 

She pushes away.

She begs for closeness. 

Her mind is full of emotions that her three year old self cannot evaluate and process. I myself have problems evaluating and processing emotions sometimes, and I’m an adult, so it makes sense that she lets her emotions present in shrieking. Oh the shrieking. Logically, we know why the fits happen. Aside from normal 3 year old development, she is developing a new language that doesn’t yet allow her to communicate and express herself fully. She is subconsciously holding a resentment towards me for taking her from her home. I can’t say that I blame her. She also just plain ole doesn’t like to be told what to do, not even in the most “here are your choices” kind of way.

There is one thing I have noticed, that is not much different from what we faced when we adopted Anna and Tanner. She has an expected failure mentality. She often says, “I can’t do it.” Sometimes it is feigned helplessness, sometimes it is her literally thinking she can’t. There are many of these moments throughout our day. I tell her she can do it, she is capable, sometimes she tries and succeeds right away. Sometimes she throws a fit, then tries and succeeds. 

So many emotions for this little one. 

What is the saying? Those who need love the most, ask for it in the most unloving ways.

This is truth. So we push forward, forging a path of our own, stealing moments to bond and making the most of them. 

We just keep trying….all of us. 


Thoughts On Grief

This year, I have been witness to as well as purveyor of, much grief.  I have watched my daughter grieve the loss of her country, her family, her language, and everything that she knew as her life.  Although I know what would have happened if she had stayed, she had no idea, and even if she did, it would not have lessened her grief and loss.

I have witnessed my Grandmother saying goodbye to her husband of almost 60 years. Watched as she said, “it’s okay….I’m going to be alright….you go and rest.” Witnessed her tears as his life slipped away to heave, leaving her here to exist on this side…half of her gone.

My aunt died unexpectedly, and I witnessed the gut-wrenching sobs of her siblings and mother….of my siblings…myself…as we tried to wrap our minds around what happened, as we tried to acknowledge that she is no longer here.

Again, I witnessed the sobs of my aunt when she called to tell me that my dad had died.  My Granny had to say goodbye to her son, accept that he was gone, that his life did not resolve how we had hoped it one day would.

A friend that I’ve known for 20 years lost her husband at only 34 years old.  A sudden loss of life so young, she had to say goodbye.

Grief is frustrating. It cannot be hidden from, it presents itself in a million different ways, and you can’t fight it no matter how hard you try.


Grief is raw, bringing the deepest hurt from a person, to the surface of reality.  It takes up occupancy in every hour…every second, of every day.  There is seemingly no end to grief when one is deep within.  It is all consuming and all feeling.

Grief does not have a handbook.  Oh there are many books out there that try to guide people through it, they try to contain grief into bulleted steps with which one can work through.  It doesn’t work that way though.  My loss of my Grandpa is nothing like the loss my Grandmother had when he passed.  My daughter’s loss over her whole world, is nothing like the loss two of my other children experienced when they left Ukraine.

Every person is different.  Every person will experience grief in a unique way, that only they can.  For some, they will cry at every commercial, every hour in which the loved one died, and in general, at every moment that their loved one crosses their mind.  This can go on for days….months…..

For some people, they may get angry at the ones they feel responsible for their loss.  My daughter throws tantrums and rages through her feelings of loss.  Some people stop eating, some people camp out at the grave site, some people eat constantly, some people withdraw and speak to no one for a while, some pretend to move on, some journal, some paint, some throw things, etc….etc…etc…

There is NO WRONG way to grieve. (Aside from illegal drug use of course).

Give people space to grieve.  Don’t try to force them to feel better in order to make you feel better.  Don’t ask them if they are okay.  Undoubtedly, they will tell you yes they are okay, because it is uncomfortable for you to hear that NO….their life sucks right now….they are hurting.

So they hide behind a veil of “okay.” Resulting in you thinking they are okay, and lessening your support, acceptance of their behavior, and concern.

Coming through grief and learning to live life again is not easy.  Give people space.  Love them with acceptance and freedom to have their feelings.  Rejoice when they smile and enjoy life again, but don’t try to rush it in order to make yourself feel better.



Making It Through

“You have already survived 100% of your hardest days so far.”

I have no idea where this quote originated, but there is power in this thought.  This is not me pretending to have all of the answers, but I do have thirty-three years of hard life experience, thus a little insight.

I am a strong woman.

This isn’t hubris speaking, this is someone who faces hard and triumphs…..eventually.

This is me saying, I have been broken by many things, and I picked myself up and kept moving forward. I have smashed my face into the seemingly endless hole of failure, and I have clawed my way back out.

We have two choices in life.  We can stop.  We can stand still and wallow, reliving our sorrows over and over.  We can look behind us constantly and never look forward.  The world and those around us will move on and grow, but we will be there with tears of the past raining on every part of our life. OR we can look back and learn, then turn around, and explode into the future.

Odds are that if you are broken, you have been broken before.  You survived before and you have the power to survive now.  Maybe you are lonely.  I bet you have been devastatingly lonely before, and you survived.  Maybe you are grieved.  Those tears spill as your pain resonates throughout your environment.  You are fallen.  You are laying on the ground in a pit of sorrow…….

And you have likely been here before.  Maybe a different hard, but a hard that tested your will as a human none the less.

And you survived.

That does not make the weight of your pain any lighter.  However, it does offer you something to look forward to.  There will be a day when the clouds are lifted, the shadow that drives your sorrow, will fade into sunshine.  Keep moving forward.  Keep trying.

Find help.

There are people out there who have faced your hard.  The circumstances may not be exact, but they are likely similar and just as devastating.  Those people are survivors and they can help you.  Find a counselor to help work through the hard.  You do not have to carry the burden of pain bottled up inside forever.  It will create a vortex inside that all happy things will be sucked into and it will eventually take over your entire life.  You will have a mere thin veil of happiness through which everything is shaded by the bad things you have stored.  Find medicine, there is no shame in using medicine to help during the healing journey.  A lot of Christians see using medicine as failure.  If it is non-habit forming medicine that can help heal your mind, the devil is not part of that.  The devil doesn’t want you to be happy.  The devil wants you to live in that dark place, be tormented by it, and eventually let it destroy you.

Find an outlet.

There is something out there that will give your hands/mind/feet/body a way to let out the grief.  Maybe you like to read, write your feelings, create art of some sort, walk around the block, fish, sit outside in the grass and just soak in nature’s sweet song.  As long as the outlet is something positive that will not further degrade your person/health, do that.  Sometimes these outlets provide a way to escape for a bit.  Then a bit more, and then we work through our hard, and all of a sudden we are okay.

You can be okay.

Just don’t stop trying.

Keep moving forward and looking back less.



crafting · crochet · Uncategorized

To Alisha, For Your Peanut

My sister’s good friend is having a baby soon.  She has really been a great support to my sister through all of our family’s losses this year, and I wanted to make her a little something for her peanut.

Newborn set 3

The blanket is just a series of alternating double crochet and single crochet with a border of single crochet in the back loops only.

newborn set 2

This is a very simple stitch pattern that makes for a beautifully textured blanket.  The yarn that I used for this was a Caron Cake in Boston Creme. The Caron Cakes are self striping, and for this type of blanket, I’m not sure how I feel about the long lengths of color.  I like chunking, just not how it abruptly changes.

newborn set

The hat was a free pattern I found on ravelry.  I added a puff ball at the top to add a little cuteness…..and because I bought these puff ball makers a long time ago, and never got around to using them.  Now I need to make ALL THE PUFF HATS.

These items are off to my sister this weekend, so she can deliver them to the expectant momma!

crafting · crochet · family · Uncategorized

To Granny, With Love

I finished this blanket last week for my Granny.  This was my first large corner to corner (c2c) blanket.  It is still about lap sized for my Granny, which is kind of perfect for summer air conditioning.


This is the Spring into Summer blanket from the Felted Button.


I used the Red Heart Unforgettable in Candied just like she did, not because she did, but because I bought a bunch of this yarn years ago intending to make a cute blanket.  I made the shawl for my Mawmaw with the same yarn in a different colorway.  I must admit, I hated working with it the first time.  It is different thicknesses throughout, and it kind of threw me for a loop at first.  However, it is squishy soft and beautiful, and after you work with it, it’s not so bad.


This colorway really is beautiful in person.  I didn’t have time to capture pics outside like I had hoped (6 kids and all).  Grace is absolutely clamoring to have a blanket like this, she calls it the mermaid blanket 🙂 It’s on it’s way to my Granny as we speak, hopefully she likes it.

Onto the next project…..

crafting · crochet · family · Uncategorized

To Mamaw With Love

This shawl has been quite the work in progress for a sometime now.  I started it last year as a present to my Mamaw, knowing that she would appreciate a prayer shawl.


When my Papaw got sick, I began to work on this in earnest.  I really wanted to have this ready for my Mamaw asap.

shawl 2

Many prayers were put into this shawl along with the many hours it took to make it.

shawl 4

My Papaw passed away last month, and I gave this to my Mamaw on Mother’s Day.  I hope that she feels wrapped in prayer when she wraps up in it. The colors are amazing, this is Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in Tidal, and while I wasn’t a super fan of working with it at first, it is definitely growing on me.

shawl 3