Thursday, February 6, 2014

Put This Lemon in a Car Crusher!

I have had my fair share of cars that seem great, but end up being a total lemon. I am not quite sure how I always seem to pick out the ones that will end up having all the problems, but it pretty much follows suit with most things around here.

A few years ago we had our Ford Explorer stolen right from in front of my sister's house, which was odd because Waverly is such a safe community! The naughty kids who stole it decided to to joy ride into several parked car, including an unmarked police car, they tore up the 4WD and ripped out the suspension. This was a pretty major blow. The car was actually paid off , which is an unheard thing in my life, so I didn't have full coverage on it. So there I was, completely out a vehicle to safely drive my kids around in. I ended up getting a cute little Jeep Liberty. It was perfect! Olivia could drive it when I would let her practice and it fit our family nicely.

I drove that little Jeep for quite a while until last winter. Olivia was desperately in need of braces. She had a tooth that not came down because there was no space in her little mouth. She had teeth turned in so it was always difficult for her to chew her food, she basically had a hot mess going on in there! We had a consultation with the orthodontist about how much it would cost. The insurance her dad is required to carry was going to cover about 1/5 the total cost. Her dad is supposed to pay 75% after I pay the first $250 for any medical cost through the year, but he told me she wouldn't die without them so they were not medically necessary. So I was faced with a decision about how we would pay for these braces. I decided I needed to get rid of our cute little Jeep and get a cheap car with no car payment. It didn't take me long and I found an old Grand Prix for $1100! Can't beat that! So we got it, got the braces and said good buy to our little silver bullet Jeep:(

It wasn't long after we got the car that it was missing (miss firing), then I noticed the floor was wet, then there was a noise coming from somewhere, had horrible power steering so it's impossible for Olivia to practice driving, windshield wipers that don't work on the drivers side and the battery connection was bad and requires the battery cables to be wiggled occasionally (all but when its sub zero temps, then the battery just goes dead). My son the little junior mechanic found the air intake thing was broke, so doing what any rational woman would do, I taped it! The tape held for a little while, but my brother eventually wrapped some hose around it and looked at me like I was a nut for taping it, but my motto is, "if ya can't fix it with cardboard or duck-tape, it's not getting fixed!", plus, its not worth putting a dime into. After that incident I realized it had some kind of leak, there was a lake on the floor! 3" of water on the floor! So every time it rains we have a lake in our car for days.

Here we are now a year or so after we bought this lovely little car, in the midst of a horrible cold winter, a daughter that is so sick she can hardly walk by bedtime, about to move in the freezing cold, needing furniture and tons of things for the new house, while kids need to be driven to school...and the battery is dead! Someone call the junkyard, I am going to need to squeeze some lemonade with the car crusher!LIKE OUR FACEBOOK PAGE!!!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Home is Where the Heart Is

They always say that home is where the heart is, for our family it seems the heart has been needing a pacemaker. We just have so many things that have kept us feeling like we were not at "home" for a long time.

With all of the ups and downs we have had from my sons mental illness, my health issues and my daughters health problems from Lyme Disease we have had a feeling of darkness looming over us. When you give up everything including working a steady job in order to care fully for a special needs child, it really can really wear on you.

Most people can easily explain their "special needs" child, whether it is autism, a physical impairment or a learning disability, but when you have a child with bi-polar disorder it is not so easily explainable. When people see or hear about an outburst from my son, they like to give me advice especially because I am a single mother. People generally say he needs a firm hand, strong discipline, a father figure, a good "hard ass beating" or take everything away from him. The reality is that my son does not play video games, so I can't take those away..he rides his bike, it is therapeutic to him, so there is no way I am going to take that from him. The other problem, that most people have a difficult time understanding, is that the mood swings and outbursts he has had are not controllable, therefore, you cannot punish him for them. We just have had to get through those extreme difficult times with the assistance from God through much prayer, patience, hospitalizations, occasional law enforcement assistance and continually searching for the right health care provider. These are the details I never discuss with anyone but extremely close friends and family, but these are also the tings that people need to hear. Other parents of children like my son need to know they are not alone and other parents need to understand not to be so quick to judge someone because you never really know all the details. It is hard for parents like me and it is embarrassing too. With the more recent medical treatments my son has received and the fact that I have recently become eligible for some respite care for him, things are slowly becoming easier. He is looking forward to our new beginning in our new home. He has felt like a new kid with new opportunities!

My daughter has had a difficult time feeling at home for a long time as well. She has always had to walk on pins and needles with her all of the ups and downs her brother has created. She has worked so hard in her civic organization she is in, she works at D.Q. at only 14 years old, she studies hard for school and is in speech with her first competition  this weekend. I am proud of the person she is. She always thinks of other people, she has donated clothing to people in need rather than selling them for profit, she volunteers time, she has worked concessions at UNI for games and events since she was only 11 years old. She is an amazing young woman and it is so sad to see how sick she is from Lyme Disease. She still strives for excellence even though she is in pain. She, too, is excited for a fresh start in our new home. She has seen me have to sell our furniture and other belongings just to stay afloat. She understands the sacrifices we have had to make to try to get her brother the help he needs.

It just feels like everything is finally coming full circle! Things are moving along, my son is doing better everyday, my daughters illness has been identified and is being treated, we are moving to a new home that will be much more suitable to our family, everyone will have their own room and areas to feel comfortable to have friends visit and we will finally feel like we are home! Our hearts are beginning to feel whole and I truly believe through the Grace of God, we are going to know what it means to say Home is Where the Heart is!

What are your thoughts on the feeling you have on what feels like home and what doesn't? What are your reasons for the feeling of comfort and security?

Saturday, January 11, 2014


What do you think about our new house? Do you get a sense of love and hearts being filled with the joy from the house filling a void? Which picture is your favorite from the collages? I love the center ones a lot, I love the happiness in the pictures and I love the money in our puppy, Meika's, little mouth.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Green Ribbon Family gets an Antique Key

We are going home! Well,  going to a new home that is. We have lived in a very cramped duplex basically making do for quite a few years, but we are happy to announce we are buying a house!  The new house was actually built in 1885! It has since been a bit remodeled and hopefully will be getting some more updates soon. It is a 3 bedroom home with a loft. We are making the loft into a "teen loft" and I, hopefully, will be doing a slight remodel in the back to add an in home salon. We are really excited to be moving forward with these exciting changes. Pictures will be coming soon!

This week has been a bit stressful, as are most... Olivia has had semester tests and is so exhausted. On a good week for her she can usually get to Wednesday and then crashes, but on a semester test week she was crashing before Wednesday and by Friday she was falling to pieces. Her face and hands are swollen, she has bags under her eyes, chest pain, difficulty breathing and she has been experiencing heart palpitations. Lyme Disease treatment is such a rough thing to go through! You would think after being treated for almost 4 months she would be feeling better...lets hope she is soon!

Darin has had a difficult week as he has been sick. He has bronchitis and an ear infection. Being a child with a mood disorder is already difficult in itself, but when he is sick it is like taking care of a fire breathing dragon, and my amour was burned off long ago!

I have had a headache since Monday myself, so it has just been a hard week for all of us including our sweet Min Pin...She is bored with the kids so sick and busy so she has been a little mischievous!

We are all putting our issues aside and are so excited about finishing the deal on the house! We will use an antique key to open the door to a brand new beginning!

What about you, would this feel like a new beginning for you as well?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Life gave us lemons....

Single parent, single parent, single parent..bla bla bla...Everyone seems to love to use the single parent card, I know I have a time or two, but the fact is being a parent is hard. Period. Some days are easier and some, not so much.

I happen to be a single parent of two children. We went through a very difficult divorce and have had many bumps in the road, but nothing prepared me for what was ahead. I always have been the person that seems to have strange things happen, I buy a nice car and it happens to be a lemon, buy a brand new dishwasher and it happens to be a lemon, so having "bad luck" was just a norm for me. Yes, it is no fun to seem to have bad luck, but you still have to find the silver lining and being who I am, I seem to be able to do that. The silver lining for me has generally been in the form of helping others. I have experiences that have led me to where I am so that I can help others. The problem is, sometimes the lemons we are given are not understood in other peoples eyes and can be embarrassing to actually admit out loud and very difficult to go through especially when you're alone and sick. 

Make lemonade or make a fruit basket...
Where to begin...My son has always had a hyper-sensitive personality, whatever he was feeling was always amplified. We call him Bruce Banner. When he was happy, he was so happy and when he was angry, he was...well, for lack of better terms, he was The Hulk. We have been to countless doctors in his short 13 years, we have heard all the ADHD, ODD Mood Disorder NOS (alphabet soup) and all the many doctors have tried him on so many medications. He has been hospitalized several times since he was 7 years old.  About 2 years ago it came to an all time worse for my son. I have given up everything in my life to take care of him. I quit working, living on nothing is very hard, I quit dating, I didn't go anywhere and couldn't be more than 5 minutes from the school in case of an emergency.This was far from easy and is far from easy to openly discuss my very bi-polar child. It is socially acceptable to have an autistic child, a hyper active child, a child with special needs is never an easy thing but people are open and receptive to those disabilities. When you tell someone your child is bi-polar you get "the look" that people automatically almost fear your child, It is a difficult thing. We do what we need to so he can be taken care of, he finally has an amazing mental health care provider who has him on some serious bi-polar medications and we have made diet modifications that help tremendously as well. We keep him on a strictly gluten free diet which is crucial for his mental health and because if he consumes gluten, not only does he Hulk out, but he has terrible stomach pain, diarrhea, headaches and vomits for days.  Mental Illness is a hard thing to discuss and very misunderstood. It is real, people with mental illness are still people and the medical treatment for them is not good. You have to fight for your child or loved one with a mental health issue and you cannot stop!

Make lemonade or squeeze them in someone's eyes...
My daughter is a sweet pea, a love bug and a..."Lyma-bean". She has had several health problems in the past few years. She had the most unusual and extremely painful growing pains I have ever seen (and she is not a tall girl, barely 5 foot), she started having horrible chest pain, unable to breathe, fevers that lasted weeks and just so many things that seemed to be wrong. The general doctor had no clue, the cardiologist had no clue and the pulmonologist was just plain clueless! This year she started having more strange symptoms, her earlobe hurt into her face, a week long headache, her fatigue was worsening everyday and pretty soon she had joint pain. Every single joint in her body hurt to the point she almost couldn't walk. Seeing your 14 year old daughter in so much pain was unbearable. Of course my first thought is to cut gluten from her diet, which didn't help at all. My brother mentioned he thought it sounded like Lyme Disease. Sure enough, POSITIVE for Lyme. The treatments began and they are brutal, it turns out most doctors don't treat it properly and it is difficult to find one who will. My poor Lyma-bean has been so sick for her freshman year in high school. She has missed out on so much, she has episodes where she cannot even walk, she is in so much pain all of the time. Lyme Disease is often misdiagnosed for years and not treated thoroughly. It is also an illness that requires an uphill battle for the proper treatment. 

Make lemonade or a colon cleanse...
Now for my story! Like I said earlier, strange things happen to me. I have always had an irritable bowel. I figured certain things were too rich, somethings just tore me to shreds and doesn't everyone look 7 months pregnant when they have bad gas? Little did I know that I basically had a sleeping volcano that occasionally erupted and it was my small intestines! I never really gave too much thought to all the intestinal issues and why would I ever think that my frequent migraines, irregular periods, my body covered in bruises I had no memory of injuring, my space cadet brain, my skin that was having major blemishes, a grand mal seizure, shingles at the age of 35 would be connected to my small intestines??? Well, it was and it pretty much was sucking the life out of me! I had the seizure that ripped my shoulder out of place so severely that is shredded the cartilage, required surgery, put me in an immobilizer and threw my career as a hairstylist down the toilet. Within a few years and many health issues later I became so sick. I first thought i was hit with the stomach flu for the 9th time in a few months, but then I couldn't get better. I became bed bound for weeks at a time, unable to walk I actually had to crawl to the bathroom. Just when I thought I was starting to get better and I could get out of the house, boom, I was sick again. I went to the doctor time and time again, had to go for IV fluids, had an ultra sound done to check my gall bladder. I was finally sent to a Gastroenterologist who did a biopsy of my small intestines and discovered I had a raging case of Celiac Disease that was causing my raging diarrhea and all my other issues. I had to cut all gluten out of my diet, which was not easy seeing how I lived off of cereal and spaghetti! It was a major change. Celiac Disease is another highly misdiagnosed disease. It is an auto-immune disease and pushing for testing and diet education is crucial.

Time for green lemonade!!!
What do all of these things have to do with green ribbons or anything green? Well, I had been thinking about coming forward with a blog about the difficulties my family faces, but I was having a difficult time with actually telling people our true story until I discovered something quite interesting. I knew the awareness ribbon color for Celiac Disease was green, then my daughter discovered the ribbon color for Lyme Disease was green as well and the other night when I was really feeling compelled to tell our story I happened to look up the ribbon color for mental illness and wouldn't you know...the color was green. That was my sign and I knew my untied front of a family had not only a story to be told, but we have society that needs to be educated. People need to know about all three of these issues and we were given these, not a as lemons, but as gifts of silver linings to teach others about! We have turned lemons into green lemonade and we have become, The Green Ribbon Family!

A lot of people have many opinions about mental illness and other medical conditions, do you think these illnesses would make your family stronger or do you think you would feel like you are losing your mind?