Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

This is my favorite time of the year.  From this day forward because the leaves and changing colors, the air is crisp and it's the one night a year that my daughter gets real creative with her costume.  And yes, she does design what she is going as.  It's as much fun going shopping with her then watching her put it all together.  Some stuff she finds around the house, has saved over the years but she is very creative.  This year she chose being "Cleopatra".  One more thing I have to brag about is a goal she has just met.  She has always wanted her hair straight but because of my hands hurting all the time I couldn't work the iron very well.  Last week she accomplished her first goal to independence...she straightened her own hair.  And she did a great job too.  Here is a picture of us tonight!  Enjoy...being FAS and having other disabilities doesn't stop these kids from accomplishing what they want to go girl!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


This time I am turning to you the reader for advice.  I would like to hear what you do for relaxation, what do you do to put balance into your life as the parent of a special child?  What is your dream for you?

I have dreams of going back to school someday, I have desires to be a nurse.  I want to go on a trip (short) without having to worry about my daughter or be interrupted by lots of phone calls.  There are so many days and nights I wish I could just check into a hotel and sleep, sleep, sleep.  Of course have room service, but more sleep. 

So...what is on your mind?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One Word..."GPS"

I just discovered the neatest toy or should I say invention?  I have been having some trust issues with my daughter about her being where she is suppose to be.  Usually it's not where she is suppose to be or where she has told mom or dad.  I struggled for along time of what to do.  I looked into baby monitors but the mile radius is not far and I needed something since I work abougt 40 miles away from home.  Then I asked my employer about me hooking up Skype so that at least I can see and hear her check in with me when she gets home.  They said no.  Then I talked with one of her teachers and she recommended GPS.  I thought, well I have to buy a gadget and she said "No, it's built into your phone".  So I called AT&T and low and behold, she was right.  All they had to do was flip a switch in all of our phones, go on AT&T Family Map, sign up our phone numbers and I can track her phone anytime.  Wow!  The best thing since sliced bread.  I even put it to the test today.  She called me after school saying she was going to be late because she had to go to the bathroom.  I immediately went on FamilyMap and found she was going the opposite direction of our home, the other side of school.  Boy did I feel empowered and I still do.  I confronted her on it when I got home and of course...she denied it, but I have technology on my side.  I even showed her the map that I printed out and she still denied it.  I know that the denying part is all part of the FASD, it's not her reality but at least I have some kind of comfort of mind to know where she is and that I have the ability to talk to her on the phone whenever I can.  I will keep these maps that I print out and someday it will come to a head, I know that, but at least I will be ready.  I was sitting here before typing this blog entry, thinking of the sweet little girl she use to be when she was small, before all the FASD affects started to rear it's ugly head and I started to get really MAD at her birth mom for doing all those things while she was pregnant with this sweet spirit.  The one person who was suppose to protect this child...didn't.  I became real sad but then within a brief moment, real glad I have her instead of where she could be today.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mom's Stress Relief...Nintendo!

I just discovered a new stress relief for me.  I bought a Nintendo DS for Dani about a year ago so that Dani had something to do while she was traveling around the country with her dad (long haul trucker) and she didn't play with it much.  Well, it came out of the drawer yesterday, went and bought a new game...a game I wanted for me and now I sit and play with it, with my headphones on and zone out.  Of course after my daughter is in bed and it's my time to relax...ah, sweet relief.

What things do you do to relieve stress?  I am looking for new ideas, please feel free to share.  And when was the last time you did something just for you?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Crisis Plan...Do you Have One?

As parents, we feel many of the things about our child's mental illness are out of our control.  We are scared of the "worse case" stories about mental illness.  We struggle with the reality of our day-to-day life and wonder about the future.  We learn about the high rate of suicide attempts or suixide and feel over/whelmed with the fear we cannot protect our child from these dangers.  But, by making an effective crisis plan, we can have the tools we need to help our children in times of crisis.  Crisis happens in everyone's life, and no crisis plan ever written can keep a crisis from happening.  An important tool to help us deal with what may come is clear, well thought out crisis plan.
1)  Effective crisis plans anticipate crisis based on knowledge about the past.  The best predictor of future behavcior is past behavior.
2)  Great crisis plans assume the "worst case" scenario and plan accordingly.
3)  Effectivce plans incorporate individual and family outcomes as benchmarks or measures of when the crisis is over.
4)  Always build plans that "triage" for different levels of intensity, and severity of crisis events.
5)  Build a crisis plan for 24-hr response.  Crisis seldom occurs when it is convenient.

Ignorant People...Sad When it's Family Members!

Do you ever have those times were you are in a crowd of people and you hear ignorant statements about the mentally ill?  Do you ever want to just slap them?  I hear those statements all the time...of course they say they are just joking.  But when it comes from a family member, that is when my red-headedness comes out.  I have a step-son, who is very educated, due to graduate from college this coming April (congrats to you) that we are friends on FaceBook.  I can understand the frustration sometimes of life, especially when it comes to a class that may be a little bit harder than what he or she  can comprehend.  But this one day he made a comment of  "HATES MATH!!!! If math was a home less 8 year old with special needs, I would still punch him in the face.".  My reply to him was "That's really funny since you have a sister that has special needs..."  It's remarks like this and any reference to the special needs/disabilities/disabled that get my feathers ruffled.  These people have no idea how lucky and blessed they are to not be labled as "special needs".  They have no idea...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Standard Examiner/Ogden, Utah/ Article!

I co-teach a class every Wednesday for 6 weeks called "From Hope to Recovery".  Our local newspaper came to our first class last week and did this article for us.

Group helps families cope with mental illness
By Chris O'Nan
Created Oct 5 2009 - 10:42pm
Standard-Examiner Davis Bureau

CLEARFIELD -- Gary Smith stood before a group of family, friends, teachers and health professionals as they piled demands upon him in the form of cleaning supplies, pots, books and medicine bottles.

Each member of the group held one end of a piece of string and attached the other end to Smith to represent their ties to his daily life, all making demands and saying, "Is that too much to ask?"
Smith said he felt "strung up and weighed down."
The exercise was part of a From Hope to Recovery meeting that is helping people care for mentally ill children with support and information.

After the activity, the group discussed ways they could get help from others and eliminate some of their daily pressures.

Smith, of Washington Terrace, said he has dealt with mental illness within his family for most of his life and wants to share his experiences with others.

Karen Greenwell, program manager for Allies with Families, directed the program. Allies with Families is a nonprofit organization that provides support, education and advocacy for families who have children with mental illness. The organization is funded with federal, state, and local grants and contracts.

"Our goal is to have one From Hope to Recovery program every quarter in various areas of the state," she said.

During the meetings, volunteer program teachers Susan Seper and Diane Hess lead the group with PowerPoint study materials, discussions and activities.

The group focused on such areas as:

SBlt The impact mental illness has on family members, including siblings, and ways to cope with various situations.

SBlt Diagnosis of illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, ADHD, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

SBlt Navigating the mental health system.

SBlt Helping children with mental illness succeed in school.

SBlt Education about services provided for people with disabilities.

SBlt Self-care and coming to terms with a mental illness diagnosis and daily living.

"As a parent of a child with mental illness, I want to give other people hope so they can do more than just survive," Seper said.

"I took this program myself, and found coping techniques and support so we could be successful in dealing with day-to-day living."

She said as a single parent, every aspect of her child's treatment and life needed her close attention.

"I was the one who had to make every appointment and respond to every call from the school," she said. "Everything depended on me, and I had no help."

Seper said she learned through the program how to get help in the school and what services were offered for her son.

She said she also became better prepared to respond to medical professionals.

"I met other parents in similar situations," she said.

"We exchanged phone numbers and called each other and talked. It let me know that others were in the same situation, and I was not alone."

She said because of the help the program provided for her family, she decided to volunteer as a teacher to share with other people, so they could have the same experience.

"We still have our struggles, but I am better able to cope with things as they come up," Seper said, "and I can better explain our situation to others so we can get help."

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Tired/Worn Out Mom's Disclaimer!

I just want to put this out there on the table. Although my blog posts sound like I have it all together and I am handling things pretty good...I really am not.  One thing our mom's of FASD kids or kids with disabilities do is mask our true selfs.  We mask and cover up our frustrations, hurts, tears, nights of no sleep because we worry if our child is wondering around let alone leaving the house, all the times we sit down in front of the TV with a container of ice cream, hopefully to make ourselfs feel better about doesn't work.  This is how I am.  There are so many hats that I wear in my family, and each of us are different, with the ability to wear different hats and how many but I know what my limitations are.  I run around feeling like I have a grip on things, I am happy, Dani is happy and doing good, then a stick of dynamite is set off and the cycle of madness begins.  Then my limitations are disrupted and I have to refigure things again.  I learned from a class I took a few year ago that it is okay to dislike your child, along with their disability.  There are those times I feel exactly that.  I come home form work, put myself in auto-pilot, go through the motions, go to bed and begin again.  Tonight is a good example, come home, do dishes, make sure dinner is ready, have my ice cream, blog and veg out. 

This is my disxlaimer, I am not perfect, I will never be, I will never have a decent nights sleep, I will constantly ache (Fibromyalgia), my hair will never have that rich luster, there will be times I feel like running away and not taking my phone with me, the rest of my disclaimer is that I am normal as a parent of a child with this NASTY disability!  (If this didn't make any sense, welcome to my world as of today)!