Thursday, December 31, 2009

a year gone by part 3

Part 3

July was the beginning of my new hobby, clipping coupons. Lil' man's behaviors decreased.  Day's filled with rage, were becoming less and less. Alex turned four!

We celebrated July fourth at home.  Which brought a whole nother  list of first for our lil guy.

First time eating a snow cone
First time holding a sparkler
First time watching fireworks
Fist time having his face painted
Fist time getting a tattoo
First time laying outside on a blanket watching the stars.

I continued to struggle with the death of my Mother.

We hit the road for a two week vacation. We went to the mountains, and visited family in Virginia.

Our niece Jannae came to visit for five weeks!

We had to re-potty train Lil' man.

Lil' man's birth Moms rights were terminated.

Before we knew it, it was time for Lil' man to go to school! How exciting.  School started Aug 3rd.

We hit the road yet again, to meet up with my bestie Crystal, and her crew.

Lil' Man struggled with school.

September was a laid back month nothing too exciting happened. Work, school, family time the usual.

October was very busy, and exciting month.  Hubby and I went to Scotland for 2 weeks. 

I was diagnosed with endometriosis.  We celebrated Teagyn's 9th birthday, along with Halloween.

November proved to be a very challenging month.  We struggled greatly with Lil' man's behaviors.  We questioned our ability to parent him. 

Thankfully his behaviors settled down, just in time for Thanksgiving! We spent thanksgiving, at the beach with my sisters and their children (notice a trend?)

December was filled with cooking banking, party going, present opening fun!  It was one of the best Christmas yet! Let's not forget Miss. Jannae who turned nine on the 15th!

Happy New year.  Here's hoping 2010 is just as adventuress as this year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

a year gone by..Part 2

Part 2

The beginning of April was rough, as we celebrated another one of my Mum's birthdays without her.


We headed to the beach for Easter, my sisters and their kiddos met us there. As we packed up to head home, we got a phone call for a 4 yr old boy.  Little did we know what we were getting ourselves into.

We spent the majority of April adjusting to our new role. We took Lil' man to parade, and an art show.

May proved to be even harder than April.  Lil' Man was kicked out of daycare because they could not control him.  Mothers day was bitter sweet..Lil' Man experienced a lot of first this month.  His first time swimming, his first vacation.


Lil' mans behaviors decreased, we were beginning to wonder if the worst was behind us.

Unfortunately June brought back those defiant behaviors, and violent rages. We questioned our parenting skills, and sought out others who where in our shoes.

The boys, and I went to see Sesame street live.  We had grand time! We spent our day by the pool, trying to beat the Southern heat.

We ended June in Style, as we dressed up, and headed to a family wedding. Stay tuned for part 3!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

a year gone by

Part 1

What a wild and crazy year it has been, but I wouldn't change one minute of it!  We started out 2009 as newly licensed foster parents, eagerly awaiting our first placement. My cell phone was glued to my hip, and I jumped every time it rang. We received our first placement in April, a 4 yr old little boy, who has Fetal Alcohol syndrome. Parenting a child with FAS has had its challenges, who knew a four year old could have so much emotional/behavioral problems?   One of my goals for 2009 was to loose weight.    To date I have lost, 51lbs, but have gained 6 of those back.  I would love to loose another 20-30lbs, but I am happy with where I am.

teagyn copy

January was a busy month-we "celebrated" Teagyn's angel day, battled MRSA , and other boo boo's.  The hubby and I traveled to St. Augustine, FL, and I missed my Mum more than ever.


We returned home from St. Augustine, at the beginning of February still waiting for our first placement.


It was another month full of MRSA, and injuries.

We headed to Tybee, Island with the boys (p and willie B) for valentines day. We played on the beach climbed the light house, and ate delicious seafood!


Our worlds was rocked on February 19th, when a tornado touched down in our tiny town.


Our family suffered a great loss as far as personal belongings, and property go, but we were thankful everyone was a live.

We ended February celebrating hubbies 32nd birthday.

March brought several phone calls for foster children, none of which worked out.

My nephew Jaxon turned two! n708734119_2172266_9215[1]

We provided respite for two girls, siblings aged 5 yrs, and 10yrs.  What an eye opener!

Another storm hit our town, this time taking part of our roof with it.  We sustained water damage in our freshly painted bathroom.

Before we knew it the month was over.  April brought more storms and much more rain.

It's all good

Life is a good at the moment. Lil' man has been going to bed without much fuss, sleeping all night (most nights), using the restroom, and being a happy little lad!  It amazes me how we can have days, weeks, and even months of greatness, and then the "bad side" rears its ugly head.

I have to wonder how much school plays into his behaviors, as he has been doing well since school stopped December 18th. The daycare has had nothing but positive reports at the end of each day.

He continues to play with more and more toys, appropriately. He drew me the other day, It was first time drawing a person complete with eyes, a smile, hair, etc. He LOVES his pretend kitchen, and has been "cooking" dinner every night!

Oh happy days

Sunday, December 27, 2009

a visit

Today we met Lil' mans aunt, uncle, grandma, and cousins at the park with DFAC's permission. He had a great time running and laughing with his cousins.  It was nice to sit back and let someone else do the chasing!

One problem I noted was that when he was doing something wrong, everyone yelled his name, trying to correct him.  Lil' Man doesn't respond well to that type of chaos.  

At one point while he was running, he was getting too far away from me.  His aunt, cousin, and grandma where shouting his name, he was running faster and laughing.  I turned to them and asked them to stop, so that he could hear me calling his name.  As soon as he heard my voice he stopped and came back to me.

His grandmother also corrected him when he called me Mommy which totally confused him. Next time I need to set some ground rules.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

good times

Christmas went off without a hitch.  Lil' man enjoyed opening, and playing with all of his toys.  The five dollar lightning Mcqueen bubble  was a big hit.  Mack, the big rig that hauls lightning Mcqueen took the cake. 

For breakfast Lil' man ate an entire box of mini Santa's.  Followed by a few other chocolate goodies!

He didnt notice the large object that was sitting in the middle of the livingroom floor covered by a blanket.  He was content with what he had.

After all the presents were open I turned to hubby and said "wow what is this", while pointing to the object. Hubby and I pulled the blanket off Lil man shouted "yeah a kitchen, I love it."

We spent most of the morning, playing with all the new toys.  By mid afternoon it was apparent we had bought way too much and would have to reorganize Lil' mans room to fit all of  his crap gifts in.

Around 2pm,  I tired to get Lil' man to nap, but it was a no go. Just as we were about to walk out the door to go to the inlaws, Lil' Man started flopping about on the floor like a fish out of water.

It was clear he was tired, and I wasn't going anywhere until he napped.  I kissed hubby good bye. I told me to call me to let me know when dinner would be served. 

After a knock down drag out fight  lot back rubbing, and a little bit of black mail, he finally feel asleep.

After an hour I woke him up, and we headed to the inlaws.  Lil' Man did really well at the dinner table.  He ate everything on his plate, and even asked to be excused from the table.

The only "issue" we had was that he was mad that not all of the gifts were from him.  He didn't want any small gifts, only the big ones!

My Mother in law handed him a present (it was a book), he handed the unwrapped gift back and said "I don't want this small one,  I want the big box right there." lol

Friday, December 25, 2009

Where is he?

We were up late last night hanging out with the in-laws.  Lil' Man did pretty good, given the "party" environment, and the fact that we were off schedule. He woke up bright and early, and came running into our room as usual.

I asked him "Did Santa come?"

To which he replied "I don't know."

I told him "go and look"

Our bedroom is off the livingroom.  He jumped on to the couch, and pulled the curtains back.

"No Mom Santa isnt here." he shouted

Me:"look under the tree"

Lil' Man "I don't see him."

Me: "Do you see presents?"

"Yeah presents, he shouted." 

I guess he thought the big guy was going to bring the gifts and stay the night!


Merry Christmas everyone. Hope you day is filled with love and joy!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Hubby  just pulled the pieces of Lil' mans kitchen out of the box and it's 10:32 on Christmas eve.   There are over 35 pieces of wood that need to be put together. Two boxes of screws (about 200), and a few other odds and ends. I can't help but laugh because I have been nagging him to build it all week.


Looks like he's gonna be up for a while! Who else waits till the last minute to put gifts together?

The night before

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
But some children's' stockings were missing this year.
Children were nestled all snug in their beds,
Some parents cling to memories dancing in their heads;

These children all fought their battles so strong,
Why oh why God, did disease have to come along?
Whether Cancer, Leukemia, Brain Tumors or ZS,
These children all fought for each precious day;
From seizures to oxygen to losing their hearing,
These angels still found a smile to share.

Their memories live on...these precious little ones,
Disease has taken so many of our daughters and sons;
Children should not have to go through this fear...
Please oh please God... can you send us a cure?
Star after star after star they came...

Heavenly Lights displays each precious name.
Each angel a story, a family forever changed....
As we read each child's after name...
Teagyn and Olivia, Mackenzie,Jaylon, Anna and Zane, Parker and JW to  There's Yahaira, Andre,Cooper, Laken, Roselyn, and Leah. Their stories all told, and memories held dear...These children are spending Christmas in Heaven this year.

The Sky is a twinkling, their stars sure do shine,
So many hearts touched, especially mine;
A bundle of joy...missed so sadly will be,
Their memories will continue on...for all to see.
Their eyes how they twinkled, their smiles were so bright,

Just like their stars that now light up our night;
Shattered lives, futures changed, a puzzle incomplete,
The meaning of life...these parents now seek.

God went right to work, and spoke not a word,
These children are free as a bird;
God brings comfort and strength and has plenty to share,

The burdens will be eased with His loving care.
God is caring and strong, and needed so much,
And they smile in God's graciously touched;

God filled each stocking with love,
God blessed us all...and back to heaven He rose.
Please hold us all close Father...let us feel your love,

Take care of the children up in Heaven above;
Send each parents love to their angel in the sky,
Until we are reunited in Heaven...and can understand why.

Auntie loves you Teagyn

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Birth Mom

Lil' Mans birth Mom is in town and contacted me via his Aunt.  She wants to have a visit while she's in town, but she's leaving tomorrow.  His case worker was a little reluctant to say yes, but she finally did.

I told her that because of the short notice we would only be able to  meet up at 1pm today.  She informed me that she already had plans, that she couldn't break.

What possibly could be more important that seeing the child that you have lost rights to? Who once adopted you may never see again?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Worth it in the end

Parenting a child with fetal alcohol syndrome is hard work.  My hat is off  to adoptive parents, who are doing this 24/7! Parenting Lil' Man has put a lot of strain and stress on us.

What works today might not work tomorrow.  We've been seeing a lot of lying and "stealing" lately.  Along with down right defiant behaviors followed by "oops it was an accident." "accidents happen Mom."  When you spit in my face dear child it is NOT accident.

When I am feeling stressed I try to take a step back, and look at the big picture.  Lil' Man as came a LONG LONG way in the passed seven months.

Socially he has gone from the age of a young two year old, to an older three almost four year old.

He no longer wears pull-ups to bed.

He plays with all toys now, not just his matchbox cars.

He no longer needs assistance getting dressed.

He can be trusted out of eye sight for a few minutes at a time, if he's in the right mood. 

He cleans up after himself, asks to be excused from the table, says "yes Mam, and no Sir.

He now knows his numbers, colors, shapes, and letters.

He can spell his name, and almost write it too!

His rages have almost stopped. 

He no longer makes strange noises or uses baby talk.

He has come a long way.  Slowly but surely all of this hard work, and stress is paying off.  At the end of the day he is totally worth of the stress.  After all he didnt ask for any of this.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Catching some Zzzz

Lil' man took a nap without protest for the first time EVER today.  Sadly I think he is napping because he is not feeling well. Bad cough, green snot, and slight wheezing.  He has an inhaler, but I think he needs a nebulizer, because he doesn't get the whole inhaler thing.   He usually blows out instead of breathing it in.

Or maybe he's napping because he cant keep his big ole blue eyes open any longer..   He has been up at all hours of the night for the passed week.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


All tucked in and ready for bed, it's chilly tonight.

Spud is living the good life.

Friday, December 18, 2009


I have totally fallen off the wagon when it comes to weight less.  From January until August of this year I lost 50lbs.  Since our trip to Scotland i've gained 5lbs, that I cant seem to shake.

Perhaps its because i've been eating everything insight.  I hope that my motivation returns just as soon as the Christmas holidays are over. Hopefully I will shed a few pounds when I have my surgery!

I would like to loose another 30lbs, to maximize my chances of getting pregnant!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Adoption update

I just got an email from Lil' Mans DFACS worker, they have two interested families. She said her goal is to have in an adoptive home, before my surgery which is scheduled for Feb 3rd.

Cross your fingers because he deserves a forever family.


It's been a rough week here.  Lil' man has been "off".  He has been defiant, hitting, kicking, spitting, and not sleeping.  He finally slept all night last night.

Here's hoping to a fit free day, with lots of sleep again tonight!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

School issues

Lil' Man had a rough day at school yesterday.  He told the teacher he was going to punch her in the head.  Instead of ignoring him, she removed him from the classroom.  He was taken to the positive action room for a time out.

His negative behaviors only escalated from there.  He hit kicked, spit, threw things, yelled screamed, undressed, threw his shoes, etc. After 30 minutes they called me, because they could not get him to clam down.

I walked into the PA room, and said "excuse me what is going on?" Lil' man turned around, said "hi Mom", grabbed his shoes and acted as if nothing had ever happened. 

I am frustrated.  I would not have taken him to the PA room unless he acted upon his threat.  Calling me doesn't really sole the problem.  The first thing out of Lil' Mans mouth was "Are we going to Parker and William's house?"  "Am I going to work with you?"  Way to reward negative behavior.

I headed for home, and called hubby, who came home about 15 minutes later.  He was able to stay home with him so that I could head back to work. 

He had a bit of a rough evening probably due to missing his nap.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Feeling a little home sick tonight, and i'm not even sure where I consider home! Ha.  I miss my family, my sisters, and my brother.  My parents, and my grandparents.

Wishing I could be with them all for the holidays, but how impossible is that? My two sisters are in Virginia Beach, my Brother is in Scotland, and my parents are in Heaven :(

Holidays are not the same when you are not with family.  Hoping for a drama free Christmas Eve at the in-laws!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


My name is Karen and I have a shopping problem.  Every time I go to the store to buy a Christmas gift for someone,  I could out with a toy for Lil' man.  The hubby would kill me if he knew i've spent over $400 on toys.

I got this kitchen

A ton of the Melissa and Doug wooden food sets.

Pots and pans, silverware set, dish set, and coffee pot from Ikea.

Anything and everything from the movie cars.

A Thomas the tank train set.

A few board games. and a million and one other little things. I am so excited for Christmas morning!

Friday, December 11, 2009

busy day

Today we went to the plantation, and picked juicy oranges right off the tree.  Lil' Man and Willie B where eating them fast than the hubs was picking them.  P was just interested in bagging them.  He said he's making orange juice for us all tomorrow!

After picking oranges we headed to a local Chinese restaurant, where we got plenty of stares and comments, because the boys are so close in age.  People should learn to mind their own damn business.. Dont ya think?  Is three kids close in age really over the top? I don't think so.

Maybe they were staring because my three where behaving better than their one. HA

After dinner we ventured to the in-laws for a Sanford family tradition of making popcorn  balls.  They are yummy when the syrup is still warm, and gooey.

I have been working sixty hour weeks this month, and its starting to wear on me.  YAWN

Tomorrow we have a few last minute gifts to pick up. Are you finished with your Christmas shopping?

Party, party, party

Last night we attended a Christmas party in honor of the foster children in the next county over.  It was a skating party, which is right up Lil' Mans ally!  Anything fast with wheels suits him! 

I met an elderly lady who has fostered 97 children in 29 years!  When Lil' Man was first taken away (before going to a relative), he lived with the lady and her husband.  She said as an infant he would head bag, and stay up 16-18 hours a day.  YIKES!

Near the end of the party, Santa himself showed up.  They went a little over board on the gifts! Lil' Man was over the moon ripping them open as fast as he could!

Six toys, and three outfits, Santa sure is generous these days!

We have another party tomorrow night, which is being hosted by our foster care association.  Our final party is next Tuesday, which is being hosted by our agency!

Off to clean out the toy box to make room for a certain spoiled little boys new toys!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


My appointment went well!  The doctor feels he can remove both cysts while preserving my ovaries. He still believes it is endometriosis, however it is a more severe than my doctor originally suspected. 

I will be having my appendix removed.  There is a strong possibility, I will have to have part of my bowel removed. 

The doctor feels we should have no problems conceiving naturally!

Surgery is scheduled for February third!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Remind me again why I became a foster parent?  What a rough evening/night we have had. 



Vodka anyone?

Monday, December 7, 2009


Just wanted to let you all know that I was so proud of our little guy this morning.  Typically when we drop him at school we walk him to the classroom.  He usually cries when we leave, or comes running down the hallway after us.

Today I asked him if he would like to walk in by himself.  He said yes.  I walked him to the door of the school, hugged him good bye, and off he went.  I hid around the corner so that he could not see me he walked into the classroom with any problem!!!  I was so happy I almost shed a tear!

This is huge progress when we first got him we couldn't trust him to walk from the car into the house without holding on to him!


Saturday, December 5, 2009


Just wanted to let you all know that tonight I received the Mother of the Year award!  Lil' man was throwing down inside of target.  I had enough and decided we needed to leave.  Its never a pretty sight when we leave the store.  That kid loves to shop.  He screamed the entire way to the car.  I had to "fight" him to get him  into his carseat

He threw his shoes at me, as well as a cup of juice.  He was screaming at the top of his lungs, "somebody help me, I want to go back into the store." "HELP HELP HELP ME PLEASE."

I finally got the lil shit guy buckled into his seat. I slide the door closed, and took a breather. I had calmed down and went to open the door.  hmm for some unknown  reason it was locked.

My keys were sitting on the drivers seat.  I was 45 miles from home where my spare was.  After several minutes of shouting  directions through the window as to how to unbuckle I gave up. He wasn't going to be able to get out.

Because of his lack of impulse control he still rides in a 5pt harness carseat.  He was able to undo the top clip, but not the bottom part. 

I called the non emergency police for help.  They informed me that they would call pop-a-lock, and send an officer over.  Three officers showed up within five minutes of my phone call.  By now I had been standing outside in 40 degree weather with no coat on for 20 minutes .

Two seconds later my door was opened and the kid was free!  Who new accidentally locking your kid in the car was a great way to defuse a tantrum!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Lights everywhere

Last night we went to a local Christmas lights display.  Lil' Man could not believe is eyes! I am so loving sharing this holiday season with him.  It's different from a baby experiencing Christmas for the first time, because he's older, and he gets it.

As we were driving through the garden of lights Lil' Man's eyes lit up, because he spotted Santa! We rolled down our windows (he was up front sitting in my lap) and he promptly shouted to Santa " I really want a power wheels" something he keeps saying, but something we had not planned on buying.

Santa asked him if he has been a good boy, to which he replied "Yes sir".  Santa told him he was the cutest boy he had ever seen, which made his smile grow even bigger.

He oooed and ahhhhed the entire time we were in the garden.  I'm loving it!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

up and up again

Lil' man has been waking every 2-3 hours every night since Sunday.  I think he is having nightmares because he keeps waking up saying he is scared.  While we were on vacation he slept in the room with us (separate bed) He would moan/whine in his sleep all during the night.

I hope it isnt a side effect of the strattera.  His teacher said he complained all day that he was tired.  He went to bed last night at 7:45pm, but was up at 10, 1,4, and then again at 5:30am, he did not go back to sleep.

Typically he sleeps from 7:45pm-7am. 

Tonight I put him to bed at 7:45pm, he just came out of the room crying "Mom i'm scared." Now that I think about it, he has been saying he is scared a lot lately. 

I hope we all get a good night sleep tonight.  Some how my hubby never wakes up when the kid gets up. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

little things

It's the little things in life that matter.  Hubby put the Christmas tree together before Lil' man and I got home tonight.  On the way home I told Lil' Man that Daddy had a surprise for him.  He kept asking what it was, I gave him a hint.  It's big and green, but he didnt figure it out.

As soon as we walked in the door he started shouting "a tree, my Christmas tree." "ahhh my tree." He ran around the house wigging out like he does when he gets overly excited (its a happy wigging out).  He was so excited he pooped in his pants! YIKES


Hubby picked him up  so that he could place the star on top.  All of the sliver candy canes are placed on the one branch per Lil' Mans instruction. He oooed and ahhhed when the lights were plugged in.  Things are going to be extra hyper around here until after the holidays!  We have four Christmas parties to attend.

What a perfect way to kick off the holiday season!

one week

Yesterday I went to the hospital and got a copy of my CT-Scan, and US films.  GROSE.  I have seen plenty of ultra sound pictures of unborn babies, but my ultra sound is just nasty.  My left ovary looks like a twisted burnt sausage, with a grapefruit on the side.

Next Wednesday is my appointment in Atlanta with the reproductive surgeon.  I am going there  for a second opinion, regarding my possible endometriosis diagnosis.

I am hoping that he will be able to do the surgery laparoscopically, because my recovery time will be nothing, compared to being cut open.   In the back of my head I am  also hopeful that both of ovaries can be saved, and that I won't have to harvest my eggs, or conceive via IFV.  Cause I ain't rich.

However I know thats likely not going to be the outcome.  I would be happy if takes the left one and leaves me with the right one.

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Totally cool

4 Paws for Ability has pioneered the use of service dogs for another unique developmental disability. In 2008, we placed our first FASD Service Dog with a nine-year-old boy from Georgia, Iyal Winokur.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a lifelong birth defect that occurs when a pregnant woman drinks alcohol. This "hidden disability" leaves an individual with neurological, behavioral, and emotional impairments. Up to 94% of children prenatally exposed to alcohol will also fight mental illness.

Most people don't know that FASD is the leading preventable cause of cognitive disabilities. And while more and more people have become aware of the number of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, the prevalence of FASDs is 50% greater than Autism. In the United States, one out of every hundred live births is affected by prenatal alcohol exposure.

While the organic brain damage of FASD occurs even before a baby is born, some symptoms and behaviors associated with this disability look very similar to Autism or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, ADHD. As 4 Paws for Ability continues to be the largest organization in the U.S. placing skilled Autism Service Dogs, it was a natural progression to train a service dog for a child affected by FASD.

Sensory Overload

photo of Iyal Winokur with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and service dogMany children with FASDs have sensory issues causing involuntary repetitive movements or behaviors that seem out of place in a social context. These movements thus become the "signal" or "command" taught to the dog. The dog is then trained to disrupt the behavior by nuzzling the child or putting a paw on the child.
Many children require deep pressure to quiet an over-aroused regulatory system. A large service dog can provide much needed weight to help calm a child when he or she is lying on top of the child. A dog is much more interesting than a weighted blanket! For those children who need sensory input, the physical presence of the dog offers tactile stimulation and "contact comfort."


An FASD Service Dog's presence offers a calming influence. Like children who are affected by ADHD, many children suffering from fetal alcohol exposure have difficulty sitting and staying at the table or being able to focus. Due to an over-aroused nervous system, children with FASD have trouble settling down and not becoming agitated.

"We have noticed Iyal spending up to 30 minutes just lying on top of Chancer hanging out," says his dad. "Iyal will have his head on top of Chancer and the two of them will be quiet together. This is huge! Before having Chancer, when Iyal didn't know what to do with himself; while waiting during a transition, he would run around the house out-of-control and get increasingly irritated. Iyal was unable to stay calm by himself."

Social Lubrication

photo of Iyal Winokur with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and service dogSimilar to the ways in which a service dog assists an individual with Autism, FASD Service Dogs provide support in a variety of environments, which result in improved communication and social skills.

The term "social lubrication" was developed by researchers, Mugford and McComisky to describe the phenomenon where the presence of animals increased social interaction between people. Other social scientists suggested that the attractiveness of a child's pet to other children may, as a secondary gain, enhance the attractiveness of the child as a friend or playmate. Makes sense!

Shortly after Chancer joined the Winokur family, Iyal's mom told 4 Paws, "Iyal asks us if we can take Chancer with us whenever we are going out. He is so proud of Chancer and tells other kids immediately that Chancer is his working dog."

How a Nine-Year-Old Boy Became an Ambassador for Service Dogs

"While waiting to enter an exhibit at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Iyal spontaneously introduced our service dog, Chancer, to a family standing next to us in line. Iyal grinned and said, 'Chancer is my service dog and my best friend ... my brother. He makes me feel better when I'm upset. And if I'm crying, he comes over and gives me kisses all over my face! I don't feel as lonely with Chancer.' I could not have written a better script for Iyal. I was thrilled to hear him say these words to folks he had just met!"

Generally people love dogs and naturally want to interact with them. This interaction often transfers to children and offers opportunities to improve social skills. Further, the desire to give verbal commands can increase expressive language. 4 Paws teaches the children how to command simple tricks from their service dogs. The kids love to show off how smart their special friends are which also enhances the child's self-esteem.

Better Thinking

Some of the significant benefits that an FASD Service Dog can bring to children are:

  • An advancement in abstract and concrete thinking
  • Improvement in focus
  • An increase in the length of attention span

photo of Iyal Winokur with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and service dog"Perhaps the most profound 'untargeted behavior' that changed after obtaining Chancer was an emergence of language," says his mother. "Within two weeks after our return from our training at 4 Paws, we noticed that Iyal was now using multisyllabic words in complex sentences. This was a significant difference in the way in which Iyal communicated prior to having Chancer with us!
"Not only was he using more sophisticated language, but his words showed self-reflective thinking: a different self awareness was also emerging. In many children with developmental disabilities a sense of identity is often compromised," she said.
"We could never have anticipated this sort of transformation for Iyal."


An important role of the service dog is giving the individual more self-confidence, which promotes independence. For children who also have attachment issues or fear of abandonment, the unconditional companionship offered by the child's service dog is very healing. Often children with disabilities are generally dependent and can feel powerless due to their disability. The experience of some control over their service dog may provide a sense of mastery and self-assurance.

"Sometimes when Iyal doesn't know I'm watching, I see him command Chancer to do tricks. After Chancer does the tricks, Iyal gets him a treat all by himself and rewards him. This occurs several times a day. It is a great example of gained independence," says Iyal's mom.

Understanding Others

photo of Iyal Winokur with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and service dogChildren living with fetal alcohol exposure, like children with Autism, may have difficulty "in putting themselves in other people's shoes." Taking care of a service dog offers a chance to develop nurturance and practice people skills.

Iyal's mom reports that the relationship with Chancer helps Iyal to become more other-directed. Chancer provides immediate feedback, as an animal lets you know clearly when it needs something. Interacting with Chancer helps to shift Iyal's focus off of himself and cultivates thinking about others.

For children who are challenged by interpreting the facial expression of others or understanding behaviors, the opportunity to evoke compassion is critical. Developing empathy also pertains to a child's sense of self and the feelings and emotional investment in something other than themselves.

Children learn empathy in their relationship with their service dogs as they must learn to read nonverbal cues. And in a non-threatening way, the children learn to assess the needs of their service dog and then learn to choose behaviors that will presumably meet that need. This unique nonverbal mode of communication sharpens the child's ability to decode nonverbal signals.


Parents of children living with prenatal alcohol exposure have significant concerns for their children's safety; physical and emotional. Most children with FASDs have extreme impulsivity. They may dart out into the street or a parking lot without looking. FASD Service Dogs, like Autism Service Dogs, can be trained to be tethered to a child, which increases a sense of security for both parents and child.

Iyal's mom shared with the staff at 4 Paws, "Iyal's emotional safety is intertwined with a great sense of vulnerability. Individuals with FASD are easily taken advantage of and exploited. Iyal will do virtually anything to make a friend. It's our hope that if people around Iyal know of Chancer's existence, the presence of a large dog will deter someone with less than honorable intentions."

Families whose children have FASDs are often told that their children need "external brains" to help them navigate through life. Abstract concepts like telling time feel much more complicated. The combination of impulsivity and lack of judgment can leave children with this disability extremely naïve. Research suggests that putting in place external supports allow children who are alcohol-exposed more chance to succeed. An FASD Service Dog in essence provides another external brain.

Drawing by Iyal Winokur while he was waiting for his FASD Service Dog, Chancer

The Bond

Children suffering from brain damage or psychiatric disabilities may have difficulty in creating intimacy with others. Trust is a big issue for those with attachment disorders. An FASD Service Dog becomes a form of grounding for a child with fetal alcohol exposure. The dogs serve as an emotional and sometimes physical anchor for a child who lives in a world that feels disorienting and confusing. When unexpected change or transitions easily offset the emotional balance of a child, the consistency of a service dog's behavior helps that child be more able to cope with the unexpected.

Iyal's dad says, "If Chancer hears Iyal getting upset, he gets up wherever he is in the house to go and find him, and lies down near him. When Iyal is having a tantrum, Chancer comes over and tries to nuzzle without being told to. Chancer is so tolerant!"

Iyal's mother says that in a store or other places in public, Chancer becomes agitated if Iyal moves too far away or goes into a restroom. He will alert the second Iyal is out of his sight. "After a huge meltdown," she says, "Iyal asked for Chancer in between sobs. I looked over the balcony and saw Iyal sitting at the bottom of the stairs, with his arms up in the 'nuzzle' position waiting for Chancer to come and comfort him. It brought tears to my eyes."

FASD Online Resources

Monday, November 30, 2009

mini vacation

As I was tucking Lil' Man into bed last night he said "Mom I had a good time at the beach."  He behaved fairly well.  My eldest sister decided that the hubby and I are too strict on Lil' man.  I can understand how it might seem that way to an outsider, but if you give that kid an inch he will take a mile. 


While dining at outback he got a hold of a knife and put it close to my neck, as if he was going to stab me.  Other than him spitting in my face, we had a relatively fit free trip!


My sister, and I

    We went to the park, for a walk on the beach, played in the sand, watched a boat parade, made ginger bread houses, ate, and ate and ate some more! We also snuck in a few naps here and there.


Lil man, having fun!

Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving!


twenty four months

Mum, twenty four months ago today
God called you home to stay.

How I would love to just hear your voice
and see your beautiful face.

Many times I've seen you in my dreams
I now know what sadness truly means

Sometimes I hear a noise in the hall
I think of you, and the day it all went wrong.

I think of you keeping watch over us, like a guardian angel would do

You know that we love you, and that we are thinking of you too

Somehow in my heart I just truly know
You keep watch over the kids, and see them grow.

Sometimes it is hard not to cry, but
then I think of you in Heaven and have to smile.

Whenever I see a butterfly, I believe it is your way of saying hi from your home in Heaven, way beyond the beautiful sky.

When I get sad I remind myself, you're in a much better place.

Mum I will think of you often, and remember your beautiful face.

Mum, say hello to Teagyn, and Dad.  Granny Campbell, and Grandpa too.

Send us a sign, and let us know your safe.

Until we meet again.

Love always, your daughter


Karen Smith Sanford

Your mother is always with you...

She's the whisper of the leaves
as you walk down the street.

She's the smell of bleach
in your freshly laundered socks.

She's the cool hand on your brow
when you're not well.

Your mother lives inside your laughter.
She's crystallized in every tear drop.

She's the place you came from,
your first home...
She's the map you follow
with every step that you take.

She's your first love
and your first heart break...
and nothing on earth can separate you.

Not time, Not space...
Not even death...
will ever separate you
from your mother...

You carry her inside of you...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The starfish

Last year we started a common tradition.  Each year we purchase an ornament that represents our family for that year.  This year we decided upon  this one, to represent our first year as foster parents.  What are some of your family traditions?

Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing.

He had a habit of walking on the beach  before he began his work.

One day he was walking along the shore.

As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer.

He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day.

So he began to walk faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer he called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?"

The young man paused, looked up and replied,

"Throwing starfish in the ocean." "I guess I should have asked,

why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?"

"The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die."

"But, young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it.

You can't possibly make a difference!"

The young man listened politely.

Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said-

"It made a difference for that one."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


There are so many things I am thankful for, there isnt enough space to write it all out.

First and foremost I am thankful for my husband.  I could not have married a better man.  His love for me is sometimes overwhelming.  He is a great friend, and lover. Sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve such a wonderful man (you all can stop gagging now)

I am thankful for my semi-normal up brining, for my parents unconditional love, for my education.

I am am thankful for my siblings, I couldn't imagine growing up as an only child.  Not only do you miss out on having brothers, and sisters.  You miss out on having nieces and nephews as well.  I consider my sisters my best friends.  My brother and I have grown closer over the last two years.  I thank them all for allowing me to be apart of their children's life.

I am thankful for good health,  wealth, plenty of food, and a lovely house that keeps us warm.

I am thankful that I have been entrusted  to care for someone else's child.  Foster care has opened my eyes to a whole new world.  Who knew a four year old could have so much emotional/behavioral baggage

I am thankful that we have been give the right tools to help Lil' Man grow. To watch him smile, to see him experience something for the first time.

I am thankful for good friends, both those in real life, and those online.  Who knew you could learn so much from people you have never even met.  It's good to "talk" to people who have been there done that.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

sweet boy

I have a horrible headache thanks to this stupid head cold that wont go away.  Lil' Man is doing so well at home.  When things are going well, he is a joy to be around.  He tells me how much he loves me, and asks me to come, and snuggle!

Our favorite thing to do together is puzzles.  When we first got Lil' man seven months ago (yesterday).  He couldn't do a simple 3 piece puzzle. He is now the puzzle master! Last night we worked on a 48 piece puzzle, until it was done!

He is still having a hard time at school, and honestly I don't know if his teacher can handle him.  Yesterday he spit on the teacher, and then told her that he was going to beat her up. I am going to give it a few more weeks, and see what happens.

We're all set for our Thanksgiving vacation.  All of the bags are packed, and waiting to be loaded into the Mommy Mobile.  If only the clock would magically strike five!

Cross your fingers I don't forget the turkey or the cheese cakes!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Keep your mouth closed

Today the boys, and I went to chick fil a for lunch.  We had just finished eating.  I sent the boys into the play area, while I cleared the table.  The man across from us, who had been checking us out all along started talking to me.

Him "Are you a single parent?"

me "no?"

him: he pointed to his finger, and said "no ring?"

me: "oops I must have forgotten to put it on this morning"

him: "oh, i'm a single dad. 

me: oh okay (WTF?)

Was I getting hit on? lol

Later that day I was talking to my friend J about running.  She super, wakes up at 5am every morning and goes running. Currently she is training for a marathon. I told her "thats great."

She told me that maybe I should try running sometime, to help me loose weight.  She went on to say that if I lost weight it might help me with me fertility issues.  WTF?

I told her that my fertility issue were a tad bigger than me needing to loose weight.  I then said I was happy with the weight I am now. 

Didn't your Mother teach you to keep your mouth closed if you don't have anything nice to say?  Talk about being kicked when your already down.

Yes, I could stand to loose weight, but I am not hugely over weight.  I have lost 50lbs in the passed six months. I wear a size 12-14, and a large top..BIG DEAL

Not everyone was meant to be a size 4-6.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


We're heading out of town for Thanksgiving.  We're going to the usual spot, Tybee Island.  My sisters, and their family will be joining us.  Five adults, and four kiddos

Lil' man gets along well with my nephews. My niece Jannae cannot stand him, but most 8 1/2 yr olds, don't like four yr old boys.

I have been secretly packing today.  Can't let the kid find out, or all hell will break loose.

I am a little nervous about veering from his night time routine.  We're pretty strict with it at home. 

6:30 bath


7:30-book, and snuggle time

7:45pm lights out

Typically if he isnt in bed by 8pm, his behaviors spiral down hill quickly.

For those of you with FAS children, or children with mood disorders, how do you prepare them for a change in their routine?

P.S if you read my blog become a follower.  I like to get to know the people who are reading about me!  (Lesley, Nicola, Crystal, and who else?)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I.E.P meeting (update)

Lil' man's IEP meeting was Friday at 8:15am. I finally walked out the school a little before 10:15.  A lot was said, but not a lot was accomplished.

I was surprised by the amount of staff members, that were in attendance.  A behavior specialists, special Ed teacher, reg ed teacher, speech therapist, occupational therapist, the LEA his one on one, Pre-K project director, director of special ed, School councilor, principal, and the  pre-k resource coordinator.  Lil' Man is well known throughout  the school.

It cracks me up that not one of the people above are able to control my 40lb four year old.  The principal kept saying he is uncontrolled. He's FOUR PEOPLE FOUR!  If they cant control him now what is going to happen when he's 14, and 200lbs.

I was shocked by some of their stories, as I had no idea how "bad" his behaviors were at school.  His teacher was sugar coating his behaviors in her daily notes/emails to me. I was frustrated that I was the one that called the meeting.  If they were having such issues why wasn't it brought to me attention before? Why didnt they schedule a meeting?

I told them that some of the behaviors are because of his FAS, and the others are because he is good at manipulating, and that they were playing his games.

To make a long story short, he will not be getting a full-time one on one aid, however they will up the one on one support.  We went over ways in which they can defuse the situation so that he doesn't get so out of control.  We came up with a crisis intervention plan (that sounds horrible doesn't it?)

His teacher is to try and defuse the situation for five minutes.  If they are not able to clam him down he is to be removed from the classroom, and taken to the positive action room (PA room).  He will be allowed to have his fit, while being supervised by a train staff member.  Afterwards the PA teacher will have a talk with him, about the situation.  Once he has collected himself he will be allowed to return to the classroom.

When he needs to be left alone, there is a designated "safe spot" in his classroom where he can retreat. 

At nap time he will no longer be required to lay on his mat for an hour.  (total torture for him).  He will stay on his cot for 10 minutes, and then will be taken into the computer lab, and allowed to work on the computer.

I know that not all of his behaviors will be corrected, however my hope is that by sending him to the PA room, the manipulation  will lesson. 

We will meet again in 30 days to review our plan, and to figure out if we need to make any other changes. 

The good news is, he's a smart little cookie!

Friday, November 20, 2009


My day went a little something like this:

7am- everyone up, fed,dressed and out the door, by 7:50am

8am-take lil' man to his classroom

8:15am-10:15am-IEP meeting, which got a little heated, and lasted two hours (more on that later)

10:30am-get to work, Willie B and I head to the grocery store.

11am-drop groceries  off, and head to the park for lunch.

11:45am-home form park, greet P and his Dad.

noon-boys down for a nap, tidy while they sleep.

1:30-boys up,

1:45-pick up hubby

2pm-pick up lil man from school

2:15-hit the road-toss the kids a snack

3:15-arrive at the aquarium-wiz about the aquarium

4:30-meet Lil' mans case worker for a visit

5pm-A quick trip around target which cost me $100!

5:10pm-case worker calls, she forgot to have us sign some papers.  I convince her to meet us at target.

5:45pm-Dinner at a Mexican restaurant, one kid refuses to eat, another pukes, and the third cries because I wont allow him to bring his cup of milk in the car (rotten milk spilled in my car no thanks).

6:45pm-head home, listed to the kids fight for an hour. Hes touching me, hes looking at me, i am tired, I gotta pee, dont touch hes looking at me. 

7:20-pull the car over and threaten the kids..It actually worked!

7:45pm-drop hubby and lil man off at our house

8pm arrive at P and Willie B's

8:15- boys in bed lights out THANK YOU GOD

8:20-text hubby

8:21-hubby texts back-Lil man is sound asleep in hubbies arms after throwing a fit.


Hopefully I will make it home before midnight.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In my head

Today I stumbled upon this quote

"Having a child is surely the most beautifully irrational act that two people in love can commit."
Bill Cosby

and I cried, and cried.  When I was told that I might loose both of my ovaries a jolting fear came over me.  The thought of not being able to carry my own child, is overwhelmingly depressing.

Why does something that is supposed to be so natural have to become this huge medical ordeal.  Yesterday I spoke with my doctor regarding my endometriosis.  Based on my ct scan results, he gave us a less than 5% chance of conceiving a child naturally.  He said my cysts are deep, and the scaring is all over the place. 

So even if I do retain my ovaries, he assumes they are too badly damaged to function.  So we're talking egg harvesting, followed by IVF.  This baby making ordeal is going to get expensive!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's that time again.

The anniversary of my Mums death is creeping upon me.  It's funny how you can be sailing along fine one minute , and bawling your eyes out the next.

I conceder myself a strong woman,  but man do I miss that lady!  Her smile, her wisdom, even her "smell" You don't fully appreciate what you have until its gone.

If she were here right now at this moment, I would thank her first for giving me life.  For teaching me to be independent, to stand up for what I believe in, and showing me how to be a woman.  I would thank her for her unconditional love, for my siblings, and for always putting herself second to ensure we had whatever we needed.

She is an amazing woman, and I hope I make her proud. I love you, Mum!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Just wanted to say Thank you to all of the foster parents (and social workers) out there who left comments, and emailed me with tips and suggestions on how to deal with my Lil' Man and his school. 

I have done my research and am armed and ready.  I will update Friday after the IEP meeting.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I need help

Today I got a phone call from Lil' mans teacher asking me to come to the school, and pick him up, because he was out of control.  I need suggestions on what to do, or what to advocate for.  The things he does at school, he does not do at home or at daycare. Well at least not on a daily basis.

He is running out of the classroom, hitting, spitting, cussing, picking, etc.  Undressing, hiding under tables, peeing himself, shouting out loud, screaming, crying, picking.  Just to name a few.

I have requested an IEP meeting. The meeting will take place this Friday.  I am going to request that he had a one on one aid full-time, but I know that is no easy thing to accomplish, because it costs the system money.

There is no rhyme or reason to his acting out, it doesn't happen at set times, we cannot pin point a tiger.  Out of five school days he will typically have one okay day, two or three so/so days, and one or two totally off the hook days.  Am I expecting too much?

Is the classroom too stimulating? What is the alternative? The special ed classroom? He doesn't have learning problems, he has behavior issues.

His teacher are great but they are limited on what they can do.  One is pregnant, and the other has  knee injury so they cant chase his little behind down.  There are 19 other children who deserve attention too.

We go over the classroom rules.  He spouts them out like nobodies business, he hears what I am saying.

We've tired sticker charts, taking away privileges, we've tired ignoring his behaviors.  Positive reinforcement, and redirection isnt working.

I spoken to him, the hubby has spoken to him.  His case worker has had talks with him. 

He's on medication, he attends play therapy, speech therapy,  and occupational therapy.  He has a one on one aid for part of the day. He gets plenty of sleep at night, we watch his diet. At home he gets a lot of one on one time.  At daycare its pretty much free play since he isnt there that long.

What are we doing wrong? What can we do different?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Forever family?

I worry that there isnt a family out there some where that will adopt Lil' Man.  About a month ago I sent several pictures of Lil' Man to his case worker for his adoption profile.  Right away she had several inquires about him. 

Those big blue eyes, are breath taking.  However as soon as they read his history they are no longer interested.  He is a sweet little boy, who has the ability to  show love.  He needs to be the youngest in the family or an only child until he has time to adjust to his new environment.  He needs someone that will shower him with love, while staying on top of his behaviors. He needs someone who will advocate for him in all areas of life so that he doesn't end up  mixing with the wrong crowed

He is on the go non-stop from sun up to sun down. He may never be able to live alone, or he might grow up to be president.  With FAS there are so many factors that can vary greatly.  He is "book smart", but has no common sense.

Anyone out there interested in adopting a blue eyed, brown haired, FAS, OCD, Cutie?


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Good day

We had a lazy morning at home, before heading to an Old South fair, in a town about 15 minutes from ours.  It was a cultural experience to say the least.  Lil' Man had a great time.  Anything outdoors pleases him.

After the fair we went to the in-laws for a few hours, where Lil' Man entertained us all with his acting abilities  .  We left their house and headed to publix for a few groceries.  Came home dropped off the food, and went to eat Chinese at Lil' mans request.

Lil' Man is winding down watching Diego.  It's already 17 minutes passed bed time, typically all hell breaks loose at 30 minutes passed bed time.  He just can't hang.  So I best be going. See ya :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

The list?

So what's on your kids Christmas last? Or rather what's NOT on their list?

The other day we sat down, and wrote a letter to Santa.

Lil Man want's

  • a power wheels (not sure he's going to get it, because of his impulse issues
  • A big HUGE fire truck (his words)
  • a lightening McQueen car
  • A kitchen
  • Any and all other cars known to man
  • a skate board (maybe once he masters a scooter lol)
  • A toothbrush with a button as he calls it (an electric toothbrush)
  • Lightening Mc Queen slippers
  • Cars movie
  • puzzles
  • a mustang (a real one) not gonna happen.

I shop so far in advance I already have a ton of gifts for him.  Thankfully some of the gifts I have are some of the things he has asked for.

I cannot wait to get our Christmas tree up, as Lil' Man has never had a tree before.  I showed him the tree displays at target.  I asked him "Did you have a Christmas tree at Mrs XXX house?" to which he replied "no mom", "Trees are for outside, not inside."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

He's back!

The last few weeks have been so emotionally draining.  Between adjusting back to the time change, my new diagnosis, and Lil' man being "off the hook." I was over it.  Yesterday I called the doctors office and demanded that Lil' Man be taken off his medication.  I was at my breaking point.  I was ready to pack his bags and send him to respite FOREVER. 

Thank God he agreed.  I am happy to announce that our little boy is back, to his happy-hyper self.  I much prefer him bouncing off the walls.  Watching him itching, picking, whining,and being just plan unhappy, and uncomfortable in his own skin over the last few weeks was hard.

I KNEW it was the medication that was causing him to be that way, after all I am the one who takes care of him, day in and day out.  Yet because I am his foster Mother I am not allowed to stop any medications without WRITTEN approval from the prescribing doctor.

Hopefully now his sores can heal before the get infected.  Last count I found over 20 pick marks/scabs or whatever you want to call them.

In a few weeks we are going to try him on Strattera , which is a non-stimulate.  Does anyone have any experience with stratera in young children? Specifically those with mood disorders, and lack of impulse control?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

woot woot

I got the Drs permission to take lil' man off his focalin.  Life shall resume to normal starting tomorrow.. WOOO HOOO!

roller coaster ride

I am on an emotional roller coaster ride at the moment. The thought of not being able to carry a child is like a knife to the heart.  I have been caring for other peoples children in some fashion since I was nine years old. 

I always knew that I would grow up and have babies of my own.  In fact i've always wanted biological children, as well as adopted children.  Now there  is a huge possibility that I might not be able to carry a child.

I heard back from the fertility clinic and they suggested that I have the cysts removed before trying to harvest my eggs. But that doesn't seem logical when my Dr is saying he will have to remove the ovaries along with the cyst.

Truth is no one knows what the hell the cysts are and how much of my ovaries are damaged.  There is no non-invasive way to find out. I am ready for the surgery, because at least then I will know where I stand.

I have so many questions,  that I want answered However they cannot be answered  until after surgery.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Scottish folk


Here are some pictures of my Nieces, along with myself and my brother.




Toot toot!

Got a 100% in all areas of re-licensing home study. Our worker said we are the first family to get 100 on everything!

I've got 40.5 hours of training, hubby has 32.5! :)  I can't help that I am an overachiever  HA HA HA HA

Monday, November 9, 2009

no voice

I am so freaking mad.. We have been going back and fourth over Lil' Mans medication with the Dr, and our agency.  I know deep down its the medication that is causing him to be so agitated. But what do I know? I don't have some fancy initials behind my name.  I just take care of him day in and day out.  I'm just his "foster Mother".

Saturday, November 7, 2009

almost a year

December fourth will mark one year since we became foster parents.  Which means we have been busy getting all of our paper work as well as our house in order for our re-certification. Our home resource coordinator will be coming to the house on Tuesday to do our safety inspection.  We've already submitted all the necessary  paper work.  The only thing left to do is get our cars inspected.

How long is your foster care license good for?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Second opinion

I was doing research online, and came across a doctor who says, he performs  Laproscopic laser surgery for endometriosis

"Dr. Lyons' use of video laparoscopic laser excisional surgery has been shown to be far more effective than just laser removal of the disease visible on the surface. His objective is to remove all endometriosis while preserving a woman's organs."

I decided to shoot him an email, and wouldn't you know he replied  in less than 24 hours. In his email he said "You certainly should be able to retain your ovaries although this will be a delicate procedure to save that tissue."

So I have an appointment with him on December 9th for a second opinion.  Removing one or both of my ovaries seems a little radical, considering I am not in that much pain.

Until then I guess i'll hold tight.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Get control people

Yesterday Lil' Man had the melt down of all melt down's.  Hubby went to the school to try and get him under control. He was threatening  to throw a chair at his pregnant teacher when the hubby walked into the room.  All because he wanted to be the door holder, and today was not his day.

It kind of makes me laugh, because he's four, and is on the short side for his age. So I don't understand why they cant control him.  I mean don't stand there and watch him attempt to throw a chair.  Do something about it.

I have requested an IEP meeting, just waiting for a date and time.  For their sake I hope its sooner rather than later.

Every morning we go over the rules of the classroom.  Lil' Man recites them like a pro.  I tell him how much of a good boy he is.  I remind him how happy it makes me when he listens nicely with his ears.  Maybe I am hyping it up too much? Setting him up for failure?

We've tired sticker charts, we've tried times outs, we've tired taking away toys, and privilege's, but those things don't work for an FAS kid.  When he's in a rage, he doesn't care.  You have to deescalate it before it gets to the point of a rage.

He's doing fine at home, and also at daycare (where he previously was off the hook).  We've got to figure something out soon.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

There you have it.

Why cant anything in my life be simple?  Is there a big black cloud hanging over my damn head?  The doctor read my CT scan. He is almost 100% sure the cysts are Endometrioma's.  Endometrioma's are caused by endometriosis.  He said if in fact they are enometrioma's  I would have  stage III endometriosis

The only way to know for sure is to a biopsy, which they typically do while removing the cysts. 

He still want's us to have a consultation with the fertility specialist to see about harvesting my darling little eggs.  The Dr still believes he has to remove the left ovary, and is still 50/50 on the right one.

However I found a doctor about four hours away from us who perform's a less invasive surgery  for those who still wish to conceive. It involves removing as much of the endomertioma's as he can while preserving the organs.

So I am still in the same spot as I was yesterday.  No closer to being pain free or getting prego.  I plan to contact the new doctor first thing tomorrow.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

School issues

Lil' Man is having such a hard time in school.  Let me recap for a second.  He is in a regular education  public preschool class.  There are 20 students, and 2 teachers.  Lil' Man receives 1 hour a day of one on one, an hour of speech, and OT a week. The special ed teacher also comes in throughout  the week to offer tips to the teacher.

  He does well 50% of the time at school. However he hits, kicks, spits, yells, runs away, and pee's himself almost daily at school.  If he doesn't want to do something, forget about it.

I think he would do better in a smaller classroom setting, however the only alternative is a special need class, which is full of children with severe mental and physical handicaps.  He is able bodied and very smart, he just has behavioral/emotional problems. I do not think he would benefit from this type of setting.

I don't even think having a full-time one on one aid would help, because of  over stimulation.

We are currently trying to come up with a new plan, because this one isnt working.

p.s I did not get my test results today

Mini post

The ct scan went fine, I should get the results today.  Keep your fingers crossed. I am ready for whatever they have to tell me.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bottoms up

Today is my CT- scan.  I am supposed to drink 48oz of contrast.  After the first few sips it was clear I wasn't going to be able to keep down a few sips  let alone 48oz!

I called the nurse and she told me not to worry, because they can give me something else that tastes better. 

Geez thanks..Why not give me the good stuff to begin with?

I have cotton mouth and my tummy is rumbling, but I shall live.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Let me in!

Lil' Man had a great time tick or treating. However he had a hard time understand the concept.  He was practically beating down peoples doors yelling for candy.  If someone lowered their bowl to his level, he would try and snatch half their loot.  EMBARASSING!

He also did not understand why he couldn't eat every single piece of candy, as it was handed to him.  

Lil' Man started a new ADHD medication about two weeks before we put him into respite. He is taking 5mg of focalin in the morning  before school.  I have noticed some new behaviors but not sure if they are related to the medication or his two weeks in respite. He has started picking again almost constantly. He is also stuttering when trying to speak, and is very emotional.  He is repeating  the same question over and over again.

We have noticed a some positive improvement too There has been a huge improvement in his ability to stay on a task for more than a minute.  He is better at sitting still, keeping his hands to himself, and thinking before he acts.

Tonight before bed we worked on puzzles for over 30  minutes.  He has been playing with other toys on his own besides his cars.

I told the hubby that we need to give the meds another few weeks so that we can decide if its the medication that is causing the habits, or the lack of structure while in respite.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Gone nuts, be back later.

Lil' Man is driving me insane.  He has been super duper defiant. Whining, crying, shouting, screaming.  I am trying so hard to shower him with love, while trying to get things under control.  But its hard. 

Its hard to sit and play cars, or build a house out blocks, when he's in one of his moods.  He gets in a negative cycle, and it's a piece of work to get him out of it.

I received nothing but negative reports from school last week.  He peed himself multiple times every day last week.  He has woke up soaking wet each and every morning.

He is refusing to eat breakfast lunch or dinner, unless its a PBJ. But that doesn't fly here.  Eat what your given or wait until your next meal.

I know it's because he was in respite for two weeks. I am hoping it passes soon.  He was doing so well before we left.  Not sure I can take many more defiant days.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I am special! :)

Thank you Nichole for my second blog award :)


1. I have super big feet (size 11)

2. I am the tallest of four my siblings, but  the youngest.

3.  My knees and ankles  click when I walk down the stairs (I get that from my Mum)

4. I do not like the TV on unless I am able to watch it.  The background noise drives me nuts.

5.  I am a little OCD when it comes to organization. Especially when it includes the kid toys, clothes, etc.

6. When we first moved to the U.S.A back in 92.  We were super poor.  No food, and no furniture poor.

7.Despite living in the states since I was nine, I still have a Scottish accent. 

I nominate:

Dana and J

Smarty pants

Sometimes I wonder what I got myself into.  Lil' Man has been having a hard time since we got him back. Mostly because he was running the show at the respite house.

Do  they license anyone with a clean record to be a foster parent?  When Lil' Man walked into the home we were sitting waiting on him.  He walked in with a value meal, which included a large COKE.  He was up until at least 1am every night (refusing to go to sleep).  He refused to eat anything other than cereal, and Mc D. 

I am not in the mood for his mind games.  Why can't he just behave for two minutes.?  It seems he gets into negative cycles and has a hard time coming out. 

He peed himself again today for the 7th time since Sunday.  When we got home, I told him he needed to put his Pj's on because I was not giving him anymore clean clothes. 

He told me "I am gonna pee in my pajamas, and then you will have to give me clean clothes". "Ahh ha".."Then I am going to hit you with me wet Pj's". 

Such a smart little boy, if only he could channel this negative energy into something positive.


How sweet

Is this picture of my sweet baby girl Teagyn?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Too much

We met with the gyno again today.. All of this is too much to take in.  Surgery has been canceled for Friday.  On Monday I am going for a ct-scan, so that the Dr can get a clearer vision of what he is dealing with.

For sure the left ovary has to come out, still 50%, 50% on the right one. He wants to make sure the cysts are benign before we begin with the egg retrieval

I would hate to come out of surgery with no ovaries, and no frozen eggs.  I cannot believe how much egg retrieval costs.

Because of the size of the cysts, they cannot be removed laparoscopically.  There goes my hopes of wearing a bikini one day.. ha ha


Lil' Man and the hubby had a blast carving their pumpkin after dinner last night.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

scrap that

I just got off the phone with the doctors office.  The hubby and I are going back tomorrow to go over our options with him.  He cannot guarantee that I will come out of the surgery with one or half of an ovary. So for now the surgery will more than likely be canceled.

We will be visiting a fertility specialists to discuss our options regarding harvesting my eggs.  My head is spinning I wasn't expecting any of this.

I will still need to have surgery soon, because the cyst can rupture, which would cause other problems.

The shitty part is my insurance sucks, it won't cover egg retrieval or egg storage, let alone IVF.

I am not against adopting a child, but I would still love to experience pregnancy and child birth.

I feel like there has been a death in the family.  Am I nuts?


My sister Lesley, needs help! (in more than one way ha ha) She is raising money to support her local children's hospital.  The Children's hospital of the kings daughters was a home way from home for us.

We spent many many months in CHKD during Teagyn's fight for life. Sadly it is also where she passed away.

Would you consider sponsoring my sister in memory of Teagyn?

Monday, October 26, 2009

under the knife

Today I had a doctors appointment to go over my ultra sound results.  I have a softball sized cyst on my left ovary, and one about half the size on the right side.

My left ovary will have to come out, we're hoping to save all of or at least half the right one.  There is a small chance both will have to be removed.

Surgery begins bright and early Friday morning.  Due to the size of the cyst of the left hand side, I am not a candidate for laparosopic surgery so under the knife I go.

Having one ovary does NOT reduce your chance of conceiving naturally. Obviously having only half of one or none, changes things slightly.   If both have to be removed, we will be harvesting my eggs.

Talk about shit luck .  I want nothing more in this world than to carry my husband baby. To feel it kick, and watch it grow.  To wonder who he or she will look like. To find out that might not be possible is kind of hard to swallow.

I know things could be much worse, and I should just be thankful it isnt something terminal. 

Can I get a break? Between Teagyn disease, and my might fight against breast cancer, I am over all this medical drama. 

Sunday, October 25, 2009

state side

We made it home around 2am last night after almost 24 hours hours of traveling.  Our flight was delayed for 6 1/2 hours.  Plus we had a 4 1/2 hour drive home from the airport.

Today we went to pick Lil' Man up at 5pm as planned.  No one was home when we got there.  I called the on call case worker to figure out where my kid was.  After sitting around for an hour, I got a call back from the on call case worker.  The respite Mother was at work, and Lil' Man was at daycare (on a Sunday?)  That would have been nice to know when I told them I would be there at 5pm to pick him up.

Lil' Man and the respite Mother showed up at 8pm.  I am not sure who was happier that we were there. Lil' Man or the respite Mother. Apparently he showed his rear the entire two weeks.

We arrived home a little after nine.  I gave Lil' Man a quick hair cut (I like a clean cut kiddo lol). A quick shower, some gifts, and finally snuggle time before bed!

He went to bed without a problem.  Happy to be home, and in his bed.

I have some more laundry to do, before I hit the hay. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Down South

The hubby and I have been on the go non-stop since we landed almost two weeks ago.  This passed Saturday we flew down to England for a few days.  We rented a car, and traveled down to Kent.  Re-tracing the hubbies family history along the way.  The first night we stayed in a country B&B.

We set off bright and early the next morning, and headed to the Canterbury Cathedral. While in Canterbury we went on a river tour, we strolled the streets of a medieval town.  Followed by a trip a little further south to the white cliffs of Dover! 

After our stop at the white cliffs we headed back to the airport area to return our hired car.  We spent the night in an airport hotel, and set off bright and early for the city.

We took the train into the city, followed by the under ground train to our hotel.  Once we dropped off our suitcases we headed out sight seeing.  We started off on foot,  but decided there was too much to be seen.  So we bought a 24 hour open top tour bus ticket which allows you to hop on and off as you please. 

We seen everything from Big Ben to Buckingham Palace, and everything else in between.  I even managed to squeeze in a shopping trip to Harrods all in less than 24 hours! 

I will need a vacation from my vacation once we return home.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nobody, I mean nobody

I am sitting in the Glasgow airport, half asleep and freezing my rear off.  Temperature outside is a cold, and cloudy 28 degrees! Our flight has been delayed due to the frost.

I am highly impressed with the amount of security measures that are in place within the airport. The hubby was stripped searched as, was his c-pap machine. I was hand patted down, by an old lady.

You cannot drive a car within 200 feet of the doors.  There are barricades blocking the way.

About three years ago, three Muslim Doctors from a local hospital in Scotland tired to run a burning car into the airport.

Thankfully a local man (now hero) drug the men from the burning car, before they hit the building.  All the while shouting "Nobody Fu#k's with Scotland"

Gotta love it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Get yer pictures


My cousin Finley, Nieces Erin, and Carrie



My Gran waiving to us out the window.


Me with a piper.



The hubby, standing next to the royal apartments.



Highland cow


Pollock house, and gardens, Glasgow, Scotland.




Me, and my niece Erin





Me, the hubby, and my Gran. (note to self no more chocolate)

Busy busy busy

We've been super busy visiting friends, and family.  We took a day trip  on the train to Edinburgh.  While in Edinburgh we took an open top bus tour.  Along the route we  visited the Edinburgh Castle, National Gallery of Art, ate fish and chips, and did some shopping on Princess Street.

Tomorrow Wayne, and I are Heading down to England for a few days.  Check back later for some pictures.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nine today!

Did you think I would forget your birthday sweet girl just because I am on vacation?

Happy 9th birthday Teagyn, enjoy your party with all the other angels, I am sure grandma and grandpa will spoil you rotten. Be on the look out for your balloons, we will send them later on all the way in Bonnie Scotland. Love Auntie, and Uncle Wayne

Teagyn was born on October 13, 2000 with a rare genetic peroxisomal disorder by the name of D-bifunctional protein deficiency. Sadly on Janurary 8, 2005 Teagyn lost her battle, and went home to be with God. Teagyn was the light of our life, in her four short years she endured more, than most adults will in a life time. Despite her illness Teagyn lead a full life, she enjoyed playing with her daycare buddies, and her cousin Jannae. She liked painting, going to the park, playing in the backyard, eating chocolate, and of course drinking slurpees. Not a day goes by that her precious face does not cross my mind. I often wonder what she would look like, or what she would be "into" if she were still here on Earth.

Birthdays In Heaven

Are there birthdays in Heaven?

Does the angel blow his horn?

Announcing to everybody That this is the day you were born?

Can the stars be your balloons?

And angel food your cake?

Presents wrapped in moonbeams

All the angels helped to make.

Birthdays meant so much to you

They were always a big deal Birthday presents,

lots of friendsAnd perhaps a special meal.

So I'll whisper a little prayer today

Asking everyone up above To sing you a Happy Birthday song

And give you all my love.

Author unknown