Road to Independance

This sweet, angelic, peaceful baby boy came home from the hospital weighing under 4 pounds. At just two days old he was all that I just described him to be.

By one week old that sweet angelic peaceful boy found his voice and did not stop screaming. Poor Little Man was C-O-L-I-C-K-Y. His cries of discomfort and outrage did not stop until 10 months. It was at 10 months that he slept his longest; 4 hours.

My “Teacup Baby” at 2 weeks old wearing a Build-a-Bear outfit that had to be taken in to fit him.

Our oldest has kept us on our toes since. He is a determined, stubborn, perfectionist, who we fancied was strong-willed, until his younger sister and brother came along.

He is also sweet, helpful and caring.

Now this Little Man is five and DESPERATELY  wants to read. This should not come as a shock as he loves books and has always been of the “I can do it myself” mentality. Unfortunately, I lack confidence in my teaching abilities even though I am great at entertaining kids (but I am not lacking confidence in my research abilities!).


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I read rave review after review of this book so I ordered this bad boy and was thrilled when it arrived in the mail Wednesday.

I was not the only one who was thrilled!FullSizeRender (8)

My little man was ecstatic. He wanted to skip naps and start the 1st lesson right then. After explaining Mama needed to learn before she could help him learn he agreed –begrudgingly- to take a nap.

Reading through the Parents Guide was tedious, but in the books defense Wednesday was not a good day health-wise for me so everything was tedious.   One of my biggest concerns about teaching my children to read is that I suck at sounding out words. I can sound them out in my head but the connection between my brain and my mouth has a shortage (just ask any of my friends!). Therefore whatever I say out loud sounds nothing like what is being said in my head.

The parents guide has the parent sounding out the words before they teach their kids. They break it down very simply and I am already impressed.

We have completed the first two lessons, each lesson has several tasks, and they went really fast. The book say’s each lesson takes 15-20 minutes and I think as we get further into the lessons they will, but so far it has been around 5 minutes per lesson. I think a big part of that is because Little Man already knows all of his letters and the sounds they make, as well as sound combinations, and has not been challenged with the lessons yet. Excited but not challenged.


At the end of Lesson 1 we drew a calendar (it’s hard to see but he colored the page. It’s the ocean with the beach, horizon and sun). At the end of each lesson he writes L 1, or whichever the lesson number we did, on the day we completed it. The book encouraged having some sort of accomplishment chart with stickers.

We didn’t have stickers.

I improvised.

Added bonus; we get calendar time, work on our days of the week and dates, and he works on writing his letters and numbers.

If you have taught kids to read using the Distar method please share your thoughts.

I simply have to add one more picture. It was too cute of a moment not to share with the myinsanitycheck world!

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Little Man to Little Sister: Mom say’s this book is going to teach me to read. I have NO IDEA how that’s going to work. MAYBE IT WILL COME ALIVE  and grow arms and legs and START TALKING TO ME! Then when I learn to read I can read you stories when mommy and daddy are in meetings! Little Sister to Little Man: WWWWWOOOOOWWWW that’s so cool!

This is how I do it

This was originally part of the post “How do you do it”.

I split it into two posts because it was incredibly long.

With the exception of when I am exhausted, sick or coming down from a stressful incident. These are the events I normally think of when asked about the past year.

My husband leading our weekly Bible study.

Celebrating Birthdays at home, at the pizza machine, at the bowling alley, at the park, or at defy gravity.

Coffee in the mornings.

Christmas morning with our girls and kids. Our former girl coming to join us for the day in her “matching” pj’s. Eating and playing games. Laughing and taking awkward Christmas pictures in front of the tree!

Refashioning clothes with and for my family.

A fun (if somewhat drama-filled) new years ski trip in Minnesota with all the homes.

The manager at the dollar tree who helped me load my bags and offered to pray for me after I broke into tears because I broke three jars of grape jelly while shopping for the ski trip.

Hearing my baby say “MAMA” and having some of my girls start to call me mom.

Hugs and slobbery kisses (from the baby).

Coffee in bed.

Holding one of my girls as she cried and realized she had screwed up big.

Swimming in the ocean with my girls. I am still in awe that I got to take them to Texas and to the beach.


Laughing and taking pictures as the girls and I toured the Precious Moments Chapel. Laughing at the looks on their faces when I told them the only reason we stopped was because my parents made me go when I was young and I thought it was lame!



Drinking my husbands coffee.

Watching my oldest bio kid learn to ride his bike by himself. Recite his address and tie his own shoes.

Coffee and the beach!


Back rubs and falling asleep in my husbands arms.

Fishing and catching a catfish “as big as my head!” (oldest boy quote).

Painting nights.

Camping…in a cabin due to a fever and not being able to stay outside.

Line dancing with friends.

Cake decorating classes with one of my girls.

80’s music nights, and blaring the radio while dancing in the car with my girls.

My husbands kisses.

Ladies nights.

Surprising my husband with a night out to see the second Avengers movie.

Mystery dinner including a trip to the salon with both girls homes.


Lunches with the “mom’s” from the other homes.

Getting to make table decorations and decorate for Release Ministries annual banquet.

Dinner at a fancy restaurant with my favorite man.

Music blaring during dinner clean up.

Celebrating first day’s at new jobs by going to dairy queen.

Doing shots (of espresso) with my girls.

Pizza and movies.

Coffee with friends.

Blindfolding and “kidnapping” girls and friends to “force” them to go to the movies. 0000001

When my husband made a slipper slide down the hill in our back yard.

Date nights.

Seeing pictures of my nieces and nephews accomplishments both athletic and academic.

Dancing and running outside with the kids because its a nice day.

New hair colors and cuts.


Friends who helped out, baby sat, or paid for Christmas presents, events, or dinners we wanted to do for the girls but did not have the money for.

ROTC awards ceremony.

Photo shoots of the girls.

Jumping in the leaves piled in the truck bed.

My girls getting coffee for me.

Trips (well at least ONE) to my sisters house and swimming in their pool, riding and almost “dying” in her go karts.

Saint Patrick’s day breakfasts!

Ending the day hearing “Good Night I love you” from everyone in the house.

Family push-ups.

Making cakes.

Can’t have cake without coffee!

My husband sitting at the table helping with homework or teaching basic car mechanics.

Community Service.

Friends offering to help if we need it.

Watching/listening to the girls read stories to the kids and sing bed time songs.

Listening to girls talk about how they can say whatever they want about us, but no one else is allowed to say anything negative.

A family weddings (even if I didn’t get to go to them all!!).

Friends randomly bringing me coffee.

A new niece.

A new nephew.

A family baby on the way.

Cousins who live close enough to come visit and visit often.

Good food. 000000000

No more visits to the cardiologist!

Getting to watch my cousin fall in love with a great gal who loves the Lord and makes him happier than I’ve ever seen.

My “lil bro” became a daddy.

My husband getting every girl in the house flowers for valentines.

Trips to Colorado.

Talks with my husbands grandfather who is so full of wisdom and encouragement.


Coffee ALONE.

Photography. FD5A4071

Flopping on my friends couch exhausted and watching my kids run crazy with hers.

Zoo trips.

A group of ladies asking if they could get Christmas presents for our girls.

Children’s museum.

Christmas gift from a ladies group we did not know had been praying for us.

Cards from kids in AWANA and learning we were the Missionaries they picked to pray for.

Bible Conference with Larry Taunton.

Woman’s retreat with a group of wonderful ladies.

Movies snuggled on the couch.

“Mommy, can I tell you something? I love you”.

Former girls coming for thanksgiving. 000000

My little girl wanting to dress up like me for the harvest party because I’m pretty cool.

Getting calls, messages, letters and visits from former girls.

Nana & Papa visits!


Watching my husband compete in his first Brazilian Ju Jisu tournament. 000001

Water fights.

AMAZING discovery of a laundry service that picks up, washes, folds, and delivers your clothes. It may have only happened once but best day ever!

Farm trips.

A surprise visit from the first girl in the home.

1st hunting trips.

Swimming at state parks and picnic’s that followed.


Dinners with friends, old and new.

My girls calling me “Mom”.

Learning to shoot the bow my husband made me.



Climbing gym.

New and unexpected friendships.

A night away with my husband.

This is how I do it. I focus on one day at time. I trust God to give me the strength, the patience, the energy, the motivation, the-whatever-I-need-in-the-moment.

I try to focus every day on the Lord. I try to force myself to find the positive. I force myself to ask God to help me find the positive.

He does every time.


You saw my lists.

My lists of pains and my lists of joys. You have your lists too.

How do you do it? How do you do whatever it is that you do? It does not matter if you run a group home, run for office or work at home. Doing what God asks of you is hard. Impossible if you try to do it on your own.

The awesome thing is that God’s grace is available to all who ask. Take Him up on it and accept that even with Gods grace there will be bad days.

His grace is sufficient. His grace is there even in the storms.

How do you do it?

(This was written before Christmas but I was too emotional at the time to post it)

Over the last few months I have struggled and well honestly gotten angered by the question “How do you do it?”.

I could not understand why people keep asking me how I do it. How do I be a mom to a 5, 3 and 1 year old? How do I run a group home and manage the stress of being “mom” to 2-4 teen age girls? How do I make dinner every night? How do I keep the house “clean”? How do I plan parties? How do I do crafts? How do I write a blog? How do I manage it all?

I have wanted to sarcastically return the question and say “how do you do it?” “How do you live your life?”

A couple weeks ago I pulled into a hotel parking lot to keep from pulling onto the highway and driving out of town. I got out of the car, lock my buckled kids in and sat on the curb.

I sobbed uncontrollably because this life hurts. I called my husband and verbally vomited my pain all over him.

After almost three years in a home dripping with pain, brokenness and sorrow I wanted to break free and leave.

I will be honest I don’t remember much of what my husband said but this stood out to me.

When I told him I wanted to go into the hotel and rent a room and stay with the kids. My husband said so do it. Stay the night

I understand now why people ask me the question I’ve grown to hate.

These were some but not all of the events prompting the question.

Our youngest had his final check up with the cardiologist.

Our little girl had another round of ultrasounds and x-rays of her kidneys, battled more kidney stones and is rapidly approaching her 4th birthday. 4 years is the age they were waiting till to do bone density scans. Brittle bones is a concern because of her kidney disease.


Our oldest was at the ER with what they thought was phenomena. Thankfully it was not but he did get his first IV.

This year alone we have over $8,000.00 in medical bills not covered by insurance.

We are in our 10th month running the home without an assistant.

I have not been able to be there and support some great friends during incredibly difficult times. One lost her father after multiple heart attacks. One kicked cancer to the curb. One went through a bad divorce, and two great couples are teetering on the brink of destruction. Infertility, miscarriages and affairs are a few other calamities to strike dear ones.

Lost a wonderful lady I grew up calling “grandma”.

Watched five youth go on run, five self destruct, two non-fatal overdoses and five suicide attempts.

Said good bye to 3 great co-workers.

Blew two tires two separate times while driving.

Been yelled at, cursed out, and punched.

Within a week found out 6 former girls are locked up, 1 is addicted to meth and pregnant, cried through the miscarriages of two others and watched in horror as the ones I love as my own walked down a path that is likely to result in death or worse; death without Christ.

One car accident.

One trip to the ER in an ambulance.

Three overnight ER trips.

The roughest patch our marriage has seen.

Watched several good friends move away.  Friends who were key parts of my support structure.

Unexplained full body rash and high fever for the youngest.

Had to let go of friendships that could not handle the stress of this job.

Fell down the stairs.

Had out patient surgery.

Attempted to come to terms with not being able to have more children right now.

A teething baby who never sleeps.

3-5 hours and once in a while 6-8 hours of sleep a night.

Almost passed out twice from allergic reactions.

Watched girls leave before they were ready.

Struggled with chronic health issues.

If I look back over the 12 months that separate then and now. Well if I stop and do that, I sit and cry, like I am now.

The question haunts me today “How do you do it?”

How do I do it?

The Grace of God

It’s not some cliche, it’s not a needle point phrase. It’s reality. Just typing up this list left me feeling helpless and overwhelmed. Wondering how in the hell I am still here, still somewhat sane. I don’t know how I do it, but I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt I could not do it on my own.