Saturday, May 30, 2009

Little Fish in a Big Sea...

I was asked recently if I would participate in a study on "Homelessness in America" by giving my perspective on becoming a "homeless person" and what emotional and psychological changes I have experienced. I was asked a series of questions that I was to apply to myself and then a series of questions I was to answer on behalf of my children. I was then offered a session with a psychologist and heard their interpretation of what they think I may have suffered, learned, and what I can take away from this life experience.

The old adage - "Home is where the heart is..." is something we have all grown up hearing. As a mother - you desire to make the best possible home for your children. When we were put out of our home, the only home that my 2 youngest boys had ever known, I was fearful for them. I had a complex set of emotions that I found hard to express to people. I felt a deep sense of emotional loss and failure. Although I knew that the situation that led to us being evicted was beyond my control and that I did not cause the situation - I mourned for the loss of my physical shelter, my belongings and my ability to provide a "stable home" for those I love.

I experienced a heightened sense of fear, anxiety, insecurity, loss of control and fatigue. I knew I had to hold it all together for the sake of the majority in our household. If I fell apart - it would have done no one any good. I leaned on my faith and my upbringing that the Lord would not give me more that I could handle. I had many times where I was pushed to my breaking point, stretched, and then stretched again. I kept my HOPE and my FAITH that the Lord had a plan and that it was to prosper me, not harm me. I had memorized the verse from
29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
I kept it as a mantra - I coached myself along repeating this verse when I felt I could not longer go on.

I have been told that in the first phase of becoming homeless the feelings of loss were very intense and diverse for all of us. Each person in our family of six experienced anger, fear, insecurity and panic. We were all feeling these emotions - some of us anger while others fear. It was very hard for me to balance my emotions as well as comfort my 4 kids and husband.

In addition to having to virtually "get rid of" most of our worldly possessions, I had to set an example for my kids and reassure them that these were just "things". I tried to explain that the THINGS that we were selling and or donating were all on "loan from God" in the first place. I told them that if He meant for us to have them again, that he would see to it that we had them. I believed this in my heart.

Was it still hard to part with "things"? You better believe it!
Seriously, think about how you would feel if you had to, right now ... today dispose of 90% of your belongings. Having a small space to store our things, half of my parents garage; we needed to keep things in order of priority. As we drew nearer and nearer to our impending deadline of having to be out I had run out of energy and rationale.

I, pretty much in a state of emotional and physical exhaustion, just started giving it all away, setting it on the curb. Posting a "FREE STUFF AT CURB" ad on Craigs List we had our cars loaded and we watched as we drove away from what we once knew as "Our Home".

Looking in the rear view mirror and seeing things that I very much wanted to keep growing further and further from my view made my heart sink.  The large 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom home with nice front and back yards that I loved to do gardening in, was now an empty dwelling.  "WE HAVE NO HOME.  WE HAVE NO WHERE TO LIVE." These thoughts pounded in my head like a loud drum.  "WHAT WILL WE DO?"  I can't tell you the emptiness and utter sense of abandonment I was feeling as I drove away.

I took on the pain and heartache of my kids. I took on the guilt that my husband felt as the provider or lack there of for our family. He had a accident. AN ACCIDENT. He could not have help this any more than I. We had and still have a brain injured son, a son with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and 2 other boys who rely on us to help them pave a path in this journey we call life.  We had no savings, no resources to fall back on when he was unemployed.  "If only"... this and "If only"...that played again and again.  But we all know that the "what ifs" don't count.  When you are in the can't look back.  The past is gone, the future has not happened yet - so you need to live in your NOW.

I could not quit. I could not give up. I could not stop. I could not rest. I could not cry. I could not shout. THEY were all watching ME. So were many others. Waiting on me to determine our next steps. Kissing me goodbye when I was able to go to work albeit only 3 days a week making $10 an hour. Some days I worked 1 hour, some I worked 6. Barely enough to put gas in the car - but I was trying. I was attempting to make a contribution, a positive one. We had many people stepping up, out of nowhere.

A prayer. A Card. A Phone Call. An Email. A Donation. A Gift. Food.  A Meal.  A Gift Card.

Each thing that we were blessed with was like a stepping stone. One stone after the other allowing us to walk ahead. Walking day by day - one stone to the next.

I can not tell you how many people have helped us. I do not even know many of their faces. I do not know their names or addresses to properly THANK them. They were stepping out in faith. Many Hearing God's voice. I too, have heard that voice. I too have taken those steps. I never thought to speak of it, as I was taught that you do the work, the giving and never expect anything in return. I was taught that GOD sees and knows your heart and your rewards are stored up in Heaven. I have loved knowing this and living it. I know that we are all blessed to be a blessing to others. I knew that by accepting help, humbling myself before God that I was allowing others to do the Lords work through me.

I do not know what we would have done without the outpouring of love and affection that the community has bestowed upon us. We have been very blessed and will be forever touched and will be more grateful than ever.

We were only homeless for a couple months. Many others are still homeless or become homeless each day. It is scary, traumatizing and your world is turned upside down. I pray for these people, the kids and their parents each night.

We have a tiny spot now on this earth. We occupy a two bedroom apartment in Irvine. We are a family of six, five of us here in this apartment. Three boys share a room with all 3 of the twin beds that we were able to keep situated one next to the other. We have borrowed furniture, donated items, thrift store finds and recycled items that we have used to create a home.
This is where our heart is.

No matter the size, no matter the decor or lack there of, no matter what - we appreciate our HOME. We are thankful each day when we wake to birds singing, sunshine pouring in and a crisp ocean breeze washing over us, that we have been abundantly blessed.

We have come out on the other side. A different side.

How have we changed? What do we want you to know? What have I learned?

1. We appreciate the SIMPLE things in life now like never before. You do not know what you truly have until it is taken from you.

2. We know what it is to live in fear. We have been forced to TRUST more, HOPE more and have a mountain of FAITH.

3. Life is not perfect - far from it. Do not have expectations, therefore you will not have disappointment.

4. THANK the Lord each day for every little blessing. Birds singing, the fact you are breathing, the spare change in your pocket. He needs your appreciation.

5. You do not know what you have to offer others in need. It may be as simple as a listening ear, a card or a shoulder to cry on. It may be that you sacrifice a luxury item and donate money. Whatever it is, the fact that you are doing it speaks volumes to those who receive it and who are watching you give. Especially the kids. Empowering our next generation - to freely give and love thy neighbor.

6. I treasure relationships and friendships now more than ever. I need and desire a connection, a stability. I need you. I need to count on you. I want to laugh with you. I want to share with you.

7. I am a work in progress. Each experience molds me and shapes me. Iron sharpens iron.

8. Time is all we have. Make the most of it.

9. I have learned to never to turn down an offer of help.

10. Pray everyday. Ask the Lord for His abundant blessings - he will reward you -

Here are some questions that I was asked to answer...

No. No. No. I feel that I am more compassionate, more appreciative, "see" God's hand more and "hear" God's voice like never before.

We are very overjoyed to have a "home". We feel blessed to be able to make this place ours. We will always live with a fear, an uncertainty, cautiously. We have been trough a very rough time and have learned to never take anything for granted. ANYONE can be like us - in a flash. Never underestimate the power of God!

Yes, we are happy but scared too. Stace has been without work for a couple weeks. He went 10 months without - and it is frightening not to have a paycheck. I am not working right now. We do not have childcare for the 3 boys who are home and school is almost out. Finding childcare for 3 so I can work is near impossible for us to afford.

We have learned to SIMPLIFY. Live simply - so we can simply live.

To have faith. To keep on keeping on. Appreciate each day as it comes no matter how dark the clouds may seem - there will be sun.

***Just a side note. ***

I am struggling now. I feel guilt for having moments of "melting down".

I am happy.

Yet I am scared too.

I have been assessed and have been told that I have been forced to be so strong for so long. I now have the "job" of setting up house. I have the "job" of keeping the kids safe, happy, fed, bathed, schooled, doctored and so on. I have the "job" of keeping a husband happy.

I am afraid to get too happy. Afraid to get too comfy. What if it all goes away again?
I am suffering stress. I am suffering anxiety.

I fear that this could happen again.

I do not know if I can go through this again. The stress of having Taylor's illness (mental and brain injured) and his addictions, combined with the demands of all else who rely on me - has made me start to buckle.

I feel like a child again. I feel like having a temper tantrum in the store crying because my mama won't give me candy.

I want to run away some days. I want to stay in. I want to lay in bed in my pajamas.

The doctors have told me this is "post traumatic stress".

WHAT?! Not me - I am the strong one.
I can't, I don't have time - for post traumatic stress! I have to keep going - If is to be - it has to be up to ME!

WRONG. I know that this is irrational. I need some "me" time. But HOW? How can I possibly concentrate on ME when there are so many that NEED me?

It is a vicious cycle...

I will continue to keep you updated. Promise.

Pray that I get a vacuum. I had 2.
Keeping my floors clean is kind of an obsession of mine. A Pet Peeve - I can't stand dirty carpets and floors! I know - weird.

We all have our moments.

Thanks for coming along with me - my journey is far from over...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Make your own joy!

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...
It's about learning to dance in the rain...

We all have our melancholy days. Sometimes for no apparent reason. I think I am tired, overstimulated and need to take a breather. This is quite hard to do when you are moving, unpacking, organizing, tending to 4 kids and a husband.

Today I stayed in my pajamas and did - a little of this and a little of nothing. I was bummed to find out my parents went on a trip - just when I was gonna enlist my mom's help with organizing my home and asking if I could come over to do my laundry! I hate when I make plans, set my mind to something and they do not work out. I need to stop this! Organizing and laundry...will just have to wait!

So I did a little cleaning, picking up - then a little bit of nothing.

I read a magazine - cuddled with my boys and watched some HGTV.

Listening to the birds sing, catching the ocean breeze coming in the windows, feeling the sun on my face...brought me JOY.

We watered the plants on the patio. I talked to my best friend.

Here I still sit, in my pajamas. I now need to be a mom - do my "job" and drive to my kids schools in RSM. Turner needs to be tested for his IEP and Trenton needs to be picked up.

Back to "my reality"...

I will take my computer, have a Passion Fruit tea at Starbucks with Trevan and we will make it an adventure.

I am okay. I can make my own joy. I decided to appreciate the simple things, like sweet passion fruit tea...yum! Starbucks here I come! Hurry back mom - I want you to put your "touches" on our place - you always have great ideas!

Only I am in control of my happiness - off to make some!

I think I am okay with that!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More Decoupage Decor - What Fun!

Craft #3
Recycled Collage Photo Frame

I got ready to change the photos in this collage frame I purchased from Target a few years ago. When I opened the back - I found that moisture had gotten between the photos and the glass and the photos were stuck to the glass.

I decided to simply take the hard board backs to each frame and decoupage cut outs from the Tommy Bahama Caribbean Cay print I found. I got it on sale and used a 50% off a coupon!
I got a yard and a half for $8.00! We used the fabric to recover my hope chest and placed it under our living room window for extra seating.

I cut the patterns out, decoupaged them on then took tiny pieces of sea glass and affixed them to small clothes pins found at Wal Mart, to hold special photos or mementos.

Whaaaa La! A recycled collage frame, scraps of fabric, and a little glue!
Nice addition and pop of color to my wall that is attractive AND functional!

Creating...such fun!

Watch for more!

Beach Glass Lamp Shade...

Craft #2
Beach Glass Lamp Shade

I took an ordinary lamp shade - and used a hot glue gun to
affix beach glass and a
few beads to create this
cool lamp shade.
It looks really great at night - and adds a tranquil touch to our room!

Fast - easy and Fun!
Total Cost - $6.00
Time - 20 minutes


Decoupage Decor

Decoupage - so easy a kid can do it!
Trenton, Trevan and Turner all have done decoupage projects to help decorate our new home. I found this plaque that I made a few years ago using torn scrapbook paper, decoupage glue - Mod Podge - and a photo of my nephews, niece and son looking at the ocean.
I ripped letters out of scrapbook paper to spell
"See the Sea" in french.
I then aged it using some brown paint thinned with water.

I found the sailboat on clearance at Home Depot in the patio section for $7.99. I painted it with the green wall paint that we used as our accent wall in the living room.

We then got busy and did more projects - watch for them!

Recycled Decor...

Crafting Again!
To make our home into a tranquil "beach cottage"
I decided to get creative!

Craft #1 Key Rack
For those of you who know and love know I LOVE to craft! Having a home again - I wanted to decorate. Being on a budget I decided to recycle and reuse decor that I had before that Stace had packed without me knowing. The theme in my old house was different so I disassembled things and made new things out of them!

Creating was fun! Above I took this old fence like wall decor that came from Ross - purchased on clearance for $2.99; and made it into a key rack.

I took a sander to it to shabby it a bit, screwed in cup hooks to hold the keys, added scrapbooking stickers for lettering, decoupaged on some scrapbook paper, added chipboard accents and hot glued some seashells on for dimension.

Total cost - nothing - I used what I had! Total time - about 15 minutes!


Belated Mother's Day Gift...

I received my belated Mother's Day Gift today and I love it!
It came from:
La Bella Jewels...

Had to share!

Happy Birthday to YOU...

Happy Birthday to my "Niece" - Arianna Iannuzzi - aka NANA!
You are officially a TEENAGER!
I will come up and have a "girls" day of shopping, movies and fun!
Tell mom I can't wait!
Love, Auntie Janean

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Home again...

A Place To Call Home . . . Again!

Leaving the Ayre's Suites in Mission Viejo yesterday with all our things was bittersweet. We really enjoyed our time there and appreciate all the love and kindness that the staff extended to us. We made some wonderful friends and will miss seeing their smiling faces each day! Thanks Dean, Didi, Marsha, Jodie, Lati, Gina, Maria H, Claudia and all the wonderful Housekeeping Staff who were so kind during our stay! We will be back to see you all and will recommend your lovely hotel to all our friends and family!

We worked long and hard and got all of our things into the apartment yesterday. We now have the dubious task of putting everything away and finding places to put each item.
Organization - organization - organization. Living on the top floor is proving to be a challenge with the kids. We are trying to teach them to "walk softly" so as to not disturb the neighbors down below. We got ready to go to bed and Turner felt a bit scared in our new place - so Mommy had to go sleep with him in his twin bed. This was a far cry from sleeping with him in a queen bed! We managed - and I only came away with a sore neck!

Waking up this morning in a new place - with all of the things we have left placed here and there - was just great. I am loving our new apartment and look forward to getting it all put together into a home. Emotions are running high as Stace is stressed. He only got to work 7 hours last week and his fears and stress over finances are forefront on his mind. I too have mixed emotions - I desire so to have a "home" but the fear creeps in. The kids are loving having their room - but Trenton is angry to have left his friends, and school next year. Taylor had a couple bad days but has been good the past couple. He is to go into outpatient rehab Monday and he helped us move things in, spent the night with us last night and got up and made breakfast. Minute by minute with him.

I have had a lot of stress lately and have been having really bad headaches. I pray that they are nothing serious and that after things settle down they will go away. I appreciate all the well wishes and emails from all of you. Yes, we do need basic items that we had to give away when we moved and will slowly be able to
replace things. I appreciate all the inquiries and offers of help. Costco, Target, Walmart, etc. gift cards would be perfect! I need to buy a vacuum cleaner, dishes, silverware, towels, sheets, spices, etc. It will all come together. We will have a greater appreciation for this home. You have no idea what it is like until you do not have one. The things we take for granted...

Well - off to find coffee - we forgot to bring the coffee pot over from my mom and dad's! If you know Stace and I, we love our morning cup of coffee! If you want to come help me organize - let me know! I'll post pics in the next day or so and show you some of the crafts that the kids and I made using recycled materials! Gotta love getting creative!

Off to have a productive day!
Have a fabulous Holiday Weekend!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Change is good...

Thank You Tim at TRIBECA SALON for the gift of my new look!

Tribeca is located at:
6 Journey
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
(949) 916-2400

I was thrilled to receive the gift of a cut and color from Tim, the owner of
Tribeca Salon in Aliso Viejo, CA. His salon is serene and peaceful.
The staff is top notch, friendly and personable.
Tim has been doing hair for over 30 years and shares this salon with his wife.
They have a special wash room where you have your hair washed with
top of the line hair products bursting with delicious fragrances.
You receive a scalp massage that is to die for in the quiet room that is dimly lit.
Believe me you will enjoy having your hair washed more than ever before! I nearly fell asleep! Tim cut and highlighted my hair in record time. I was sad I had to leave!
I could have stayed all day in the relaxing atmosphere! You deserve a treat...
I encourage you to try Tribeca - you will fall in love!

Here is a tidbit taken from their website...

At TRIBECA, we stay current with the latest styles and trends.

This is our main objective.

Through our outstanding team of artistic directors, Tribeca Salon offers:

  • Highlights - Our specialty - come in for Tribeca’s own “Hush-Hush” highlighting technique 45 minutes for people who do not have a lot of time and want just a little change.

  • Cuts - We offer the latest in hair cutting. All of our stylist attend classes on a regular basis.

  • Hair Color - Color is our favorite! We use only the best available.

  • Makeup - All our makeup artists use the finest makeup. Weddings and dances we love. Trained with Bobby Brown.

  • Waxing - Full body waxing.

  • Threading - The best way to take care of eyebrows.

  • Facials - Come in for the best facial you will ever get.

  • Massage - We offer all the latest massage techniques available.

  • Bridal Services - We specialize in wedding hair and makeup. Bring the whole wedding party to Tribeca. We will treat you like a queen, which you are. Ask to talk to our Bridal consultant to set up an appointment. This is the most important day of your life.Let us take some of the stress off of you on your day. We can manage any size wedding party. Bring your photographer or we have one if needed. Make Tribeca a part of your Day.

  • Lash Extensions - For people who have very little lashes.

  • Chemical Relaxers - We use BioIonic Japanese chemical relaxers, leaves the hair in better shape after the service. This permanent straightening system can be applied to virgin hair, color treated hair, bleached or highlighted hair.

  • Saturday Trunk Shows - Different vendors from jeans to clothing to purses and bedding.

  • Botox - Botox, Restylane, is all done by our own RN. Wrinkle correction that last about 6 months.

  • Hair Extensions - We use only 100% human hair from pieces for fullness or a whole head of hair, come see us!

Specialty coffees, wine and on Saturdays, mimosas!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Getting Organized...

Having been through a lot of ups and downs the past 2 years - I have come away with the innate desire to be organized. In my minds eye I envision a smartly decorated home with everything neatly tucked into boxes, bins, cubbies and totes. Getting my family to cooperate may be a different story!

Having no place to call home and leave my mark has taken a toll on me. I am really enjoying being able to decide what will occupy our new space and where it will have it's place. I love to decorate and create and I am looking forward to being able to craft again.

We were able to get the boys beds moved yesterday and a couple pieces of antique furniture that we kept. One we use as a TV stand and the other is a table that Stace's dad made us out of an old antique washtub. We need a truck to move our farm table and our queen mattress. Other than that - we just need to move out of the hotel, do a mountain of laundry and GET ORGANIZED!

Taylor is. He just is. I do not know what will happen with him one moment to the next. When I think of him my mind is swirled with uncertainty, fear, panic, love and pity. As a mother you want to have control - to organize their life. I want to MAKE him make the right choices that I know will impact his future. I can't do that. I am powerless. That breaks my heart.

So, today - we will go forth - move on - conquer our stuff - and GET ORGANIZED for our new life in a new space! I will make joy. I will make a space our HOME.

Look for photos to come soon! I can't wait to share our new "Cottage" with you!

desire to be ultra organized.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Official Moving Day!

Today we officially get to "move in" to our new little cottage apartment. I am very happy and excited. We are going to go in and paint some accent walls today! We will begin to move some items in and will try to move the beds this weekend. It feels really great to be able to have a place to call "Our Home" after all this time.

We will have a great appreciation for our space. You do not realize how much you long to do things like - running dishes in a dishwasher, cooking REAL meals and stocking a large refrigerator until you have gone without! Simple pleasures.

We are starting fresh - we do not have much. We need to get a TV as we gave all of ours away. We need new bedding and towels. It will be nice to have a new start. I have some great ideas for organizing our space and being creative on a shoestring. I love decorating and creating - so I am really excited!

Yesterday afternoon Taylor had another angry outburst. Stace drove him to the mental health clinic where the social worker stayed safely in the building watching as Stace attempted to restrain Taylor until the police arrived. He was able to calm down and the police released him to us stating that he did not meet the "imminent danger" protocol.

I grew very upset as I do not know what it is going to take for someone to help us. He has no recollection of the incident and we are now scheduling him for a neurological work up as he may be suffering seizures. I pray that we get help very soon as I can not take much more of this stress.

We will continue to take it moment by moment - and I look forward to being able to update you with good news soon. Please pray for Taylor and that we will be able to find a program that has an opening ASAP.


Thursday, May 14, 2009


Superwoman has lost her cape.

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

I have tried to persevere, stay strong and ask God to hear my cries. I have hit a wall. I feel like I am going to crack.

Yesterday it became very clear that Taylor's fragile emotional state needed constant attention. In an effort to get him help - we called the social worker and got him in ASAP. She assessed him and agreed that he needed help right away. She called several in-patient treatment centers and spoke to him about the importance of getting into a place and staying there.

It is either this - or jail.

No parent ever wants to think of their child in jail. It is a terrifying thought.

She found an open bed at the Phoenix House in Santa Ana. We came home and tried to prepare him and show him on the Internet all about the program. He was not "excited" but felt relieved and agreed that he needs to go.

At 3:00pm I dropped him off at Nikki's and by 4:00pm she sent me a text, say that they got into an argument and that Taylor left saying that we would never see him again.

I had a pit in my stomach and felt like we had lost him forever. I prayed and asked the Lord that his will be done. I asked for relief from this emotional hell that we have been living with Taylor. Many hours passed and I sat worried. He finally showed up at the hotel around 9:00pm under the influence of marijuana - so he said.

This morning he packed his bags and we all were prepared for him to go to the Phoenix House and start his journey of rehabilitation.

We drove there with the tension running high. We arrived and found out that we were misinformed and there was not an opening but rather a 6 week wait.

I broke down - I cried and cried. It was if they had handed me a death sentence for my son. We drove home in silence as I sobbed and wept for my child. He was within reach - but help is so far away.

I fear the days ahead. I will rely on the Lord to handle this as I can not any longer.

We should be celebrating that we are to move tomorrow - but the happiness is overshadowed with worry and grief.

Pray that the social worker can help Taylor before he decides to help himself and end his life - or hurt someone else. My heart is so broken - I felt it CRACK today - another time.

I have a pain in my chest where my heart lays beating. It is a pain that I can not describe. A pain that I do not want to feel. Please pray that I am able to carry on. I need to rest, revive and keep on keeping on. I know what I need to do - doing it is another thing.

I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mental Illness and Addiction

I never thought when I gave birth for the first time that my son would journey down the path of addiction and mental illness. Trying to get him help has proved to be the most challenging and most frustrating thing I have ever gone through.

The hospital released him, the social worker then placed him in an "out patient" treatment program that requires self control and discipline. He lacks both. After leaving the social workers office he was right back at it.

He called us yesterday repeatedly asking for money - he was slurring his words and not making sense. It was very clear he was under the influence of something. We took the tough love approach and denied him. He continued to call us late into the night.

Earlier yesterday I discovered that he stole my debit card when I took him to the social worker's office. I was able to get it back from him and he did not acknowledge that he took it. He claimed he had it by mistake as he was retrieving his ID from my wallet and must have accidentally took the debit card too. He is not trustworthy.

It breaks my heart to see him self destruct. It will be some time before they can get him into a residential treatment center - as there are waiting lists. Pray that he can go sooner than later. The longer he is left to his own devices the worse it will be.

He has a dual diagnosis -

A dual diagnosis occurs when an individual is affected by both chemical dependency and an emotional or psychiatric illness. Both illnesses may affect an individual physically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. Each illness has symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to function effectively and relate to themselves and others. Not only is the individual affected by two separate illnesses, both illnesses interact with one another. The illnesses may exacerbate each other and each disorder predisposes to relapse in the other disease. At times the symptoms can overlap and even mask each other making diagnosis and treatment more difficult.

As a parent it is our job to care for and fix things for our kids. It is so emotionally draining when things are so far out of your control and all you can do is sit back and watch. No one will ever know the heartache unless you are forced to live it. I pray that you will never feel what I am feeling where my son is concerned.

Pray for Taylor - he is in crisis.
We go today at 3:00pm to see his social worker - I hope she has some answers.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Our New Home!

Soon to Move to Our New Home!

We are so blessed! We found a home to move in to! It is a small 2 bedroom apartment - but it will be a place to call ours! We are very excited. It is in a great area of Irvine and the schools are fantastic. They have a great Special Ed program for Turner. I am really looking forward to a fresh start for our family!

We had to get rid of all our things so we are truly starting out with nothing. It has been great having the gift cards from wonderful people to use to try to replace items that we need. We are going to have a neutral, relaxing color palette in greens, blues, cream, white and browns. I am going to have my "dream beach cottage" in Irvine! It's not the ocean - but the lake in very close and there are waterfalls and streams running through the property! Very relaxing! I will be using images that I have captured of the beach, my kids and nature to decorate our new "home".

I want it to be a relaxing, inviting oasis for my family to enjoy. I look forward to having friends and family come visit! We'll eventually get a BBQ so we can have you over for a burger! There are many huge parks nearby and even a skate park for Trenton! If you live close by you will have to come for a visit!

Today we will find out more about what will happen to Taylor - as of now we have no idea what is going on. Since he is a legal adult - they do not tell us anything. It is a bit frustrating as we need to make sure he gets into a rehab program. So pray for this situation and all that is to come. They told him he is no longer on a "hold" and that he is there voluntarily now. He said they are letting him go today...

Stace is at a workshop to get certification in Window and Door Flashing for his new job. It is going great and we have been very blessed that he was hired. I have been sick and was not able to work - and then Taylor's hospitalization - prevented me from working this weekend. I will miss those 2 paychecks. :o(

I will keep you up to date - and appreciate all your prayers and emails! Thank you for taking this journey with us!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

I wish all my friends, family and followers - a

I got a wonderful gift.
I got the gift of a HOME!
We were approved for an apartment yesterday and we are just ecstatic! Today I will take my MOM to see it and then later
go visit my son in the hospital.
I will update you all tomorrow - but for now ...

Enjoy your day and tell your mom how much she is loved!

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Mother's Love...

I was invited to be in Burbank right now enjoying a complete makeover and photo session, as a winner of a Mother's Day Contest. Instead I am sitting in a dark room after 2.5 hours of sleep attempting to write you. It is ironic that Mother's Day is here and all I can do is cry. As I sat in the Emergency Room watching my "baby" who is now a legal adult, cry and scream while a security guard was trying to rationalize with him not to, all I could do was cry.

This was not his first time in the ER. We spent several sleepless nights when he was a baby and a child in the hospital for one thing or another. Each thing was a medical issue that he had no control over. This night was different.

He was here due to a series of poor choices he made. Tonight he was being held in a hospital gown, catheterized, in pain in a 4 point restraint. He was tied to the bed one arm above his head the other at his side. His legs spread with restraints on each ankle. As he thrashed about in the bed - terribly intoxicated crying out asking "Why am I here? WHAT did I do?" - my mind took me to the day he was born. All the joy, anticipation and love that I felt can not be described in words.

As his beautiful blue eyes met mine I still could see the little baby of 18 years ago. He would go from crying one minute to yelling the next so drunk he did not know and would not remember what he was saying. As a mom, watching your CHILD like this, well the feelings are indescribable. A child to me in an adults body - a body I can no longer protect. A body I can no longer pick up and hold. My kisses do not make anything better like they did years ago. Helpless. I feel - helpless.

Our children my grow but in our hearts they stay young. We love them as much or more as when they were innocent little beings relying on us for everything. A Mother's Love - A Mother's Pain.

Taylor has made choices in HIS life - choices that I had no control over. He chose to try drugs when he was 13. He suffered in school - he suffered with addiction. He went to programs, special schools, re-hab. In the end - it always was and still is - his choice. His choice to use, to drink, to become enraged. He also made the fatal mistake of choosing NOT to wear a helmet almost a year and a half ago while skateboarding. That choice has cost him his chance at a normal life. A life he could be living without taking medications daily - or choosing not to take them. Results - all not positive - from a severe brain injury.

Taylor now 18 is an alcoholic and a drug addict. He is addicted to self medicating and doing what he feels will make his life all better in that moment. When we choose to live like this - playing Russian Roulette with our lives and lives of others there are consequences that have to be paid.

Taylor found himself in this same hospital a couple months ago. He chose that night to nearly drink himself to death and ended up on a 51/50 hold which resulted in 3 days in a lock down psych ward. It made an impact - but not a big enough one.

Here we sit again. This time things could have been much worse. Many people were involved. Nikki broke up with him. He became depressed, despondent. 19 people called 911 when he became enraged and violent after drinking a whole bottle of Tequila that he stole from a grocery store. He physically assaulted innocent bystanders who were trying to help his girlfriend flee his rage. He damaged people's cars. He chose to wield a knife and threaten a man. He kicked a police officer, he spat on another. He is going to be charged with may offenses. He will have to face the consequences of his choices.

As he finally sobered up and did not recollect any of the events of the past evening - he cried and said how sorry he was. We know. We know his heart. He is a good person. A loving, kind, sweet person who would not MEAN to cause harm to anyone. Unfortunately he does not have control over his actions when he is high or drunk. His mind goes into a black rage - erasing all that happened once it is over.

He needs help.

He was taken last night to a facility. I do not know much about it or what will happen from here.
I know he will stay longer than 3 days and pray he will get the help he needs. His life is no longer in my hands - his destiny not in my control.

He is God's son and I know God loves him much more that I. That I can't even imagine as I would give my life for my son, as God's son did for us. Love ... it runs so deep.

So this Mother's Day I may not get a card from my son drawn on colored paper with crayon. I will not get a ring that he chose for me off of QVC Shopping Channel. I will not get the chocolates that he picked out because they were his favorite. I will not get a meal that he cooked for me with a bouquet of flowers from my garden, one that he helped plant. I will not sit beside him in a nice restaurant. I may not get to see him at all.

I will love him just the same. I am his Mother. A Mother's Love will never change.

Please have a Happy Mother's Day and say a Prayer for Taylor - he has a long - long road ahead.


Thursday, May 7, 2009


There are days that my FAITH is overshadowed with FEAR. Days where I long that the FACTS of my reality were indeed FICTION. I cling to faith even when there is but a shred there - or so it seems. I know tomorrow is another day and that I must find another way to cope with this thing called life. I know that there is something greater than I going on just beyond my reach. One day that greatness will belong to me. I just have to hold on and wait for that time.

We got a call a couple of days ago that there were some "bond" or low income properties that have come available. We have spent the past days going from one to another placing holds here and then there. Coming "home" to research elementary schools and middle schools so that I am educated in the decision making for what is best for my children. I have gone to about 8 properties and toured model apartments - albeit small, trying to envision making these 850 sq foot 2 bedroom places "our home". I have measured bedrooms to see if a 10 foot by 10 foot bedroom would hold a set of bunk beds and a twin bed for my 3 boys. I have taken the kids to see the different properties and have taken their opinions into consideration.

We got our hopes up - we got excited about making a "place" into a "home". But the facts are not fiction - my fear overtook my faith. I was told today that due to the eviction - we would not be able to qualify to rent ANY place from ANY property management company or apartment complex. Even though we can explain and have records to back that we have been good renters for 12 of our 20 year marriage and property owners for 8 of the years - that will not do. We are now looked upon like felons or child perpetrators. I was told that the "E" word was like saying "BOMB" in the airport.

So it is - our fate is sealed. We will not be renting an apartment, condo or home that is managed by a company. We have to pray that we can find a caring individual that knows us - our heart and our strong work ethic. For now - a hotel room is our home. That is the FACT I will deal with. Faith I will have that something will come - all in the right time. Happy about it? Not really. Ask yourself - do you take having a "home" for granted? Do your kids have their own space, do you have a room to retreat to? We did. We also took it for granted. You never know how great something is until it is gone.

So no matter what the space - we will appreciate having somewhere to call home when the time comes. We may have to move to Lake Havasu. My mom and dad have a home there - I have just not wanted to go back to the heat and schools there. Turner needs special education services and my kids are my main priority. I do not want Trenton exposed to a lax lifestyle of "bumming around and partying" which Lake Havasu is known for. I dream that he will want to go to college and become all that he can be.

Time will tell - perhaps years from now - we can look back and laugh about this journey - this time in our lives. I hope it is but a blip in the minds eye of my kids and that they will not suffer due to these trials.

I will keep you updated...


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Raising the bar... Enter to Win!

I will stop at nothing to help my friends and family! I want to help my nieces raise the funds to participate in Competitive Cheer leading. My brother is a single father of 4 and works hard to raise his children. I am doing a contest to help raise money for the girls.
For every $10 donated you will be entered to win one of two prizes.

Prize ONE - if you are in Southern California (or wish to pay travel expenses) you will win a $1000 package from Giggle Moon Photography. This will include an on-location session, edited photos and all images on disc with copy write release.

Prize TWO - The Janean Portrait Handbag
made with two of your favorite photos
(photo editing included).
Valued at $265

My Favorite!
Named after yours truly!

... The Janean Handbag ... $265
The structured box shape makes this an ideal bag for work documents or even a laptop. The Janean is ideal for everyday use or perfect for travel or carrying around town. The Janean features dual inside snaps and multiple interior pockets. The handles are attached to the bag with chrome-finish ring hardware making this bag a fashionable and functional choice. Also available with a leather trim upgrade, which included leather handles,
trim and bottom.
* Your favorite photo(s)
* Elegant and durable microfiber material
* Dimensions are 18"H x 12"W x 5"D
* Interior zipper pocket, cell phone pocket,
and mirror pocket
* Metal feet
* 24" Handles with nickel hardware
* Interior attached key fob

All you have to do to be entered is to make a donation in any amount - (entries will be counted in $10 increments) using the button below - or contact me if you wish to send a check directly. They need $1500 more! I'll keep you posted on the donations!!

Please help two little girls continue their dream... donate to the Alvarez Titan Cheer leading Fundraiser for Bailee and Brynne Bagley by just clicking the button below:

Your Help will be VERY MUCH appreciated by not only the girls, but their dad, and me!

We are blessed to be a blessing!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

We all need a little help!

I am a big sister to 2 great brothers. My youngest brother Brent has blessed our family with the only girls - Bailee and Brynnie. I call one my "rosebud" and the other my "little bee". I have had such a wonderful time being a part of their lives and am sad that they live so far away. We all cherish the times we can spend together during holidays and summer vacation. My brother is a single dad trying to raise 4 kids on a shoestring. He has done a great job getting the kids involved in sports to help foster team building spirit and self confidence.

In years past it was never a problem for any of us to help the kids out with their fundraisers. Now that times are tough - it is so hard to watch their dreams dashed. Trenton has played football for the past 2 years and can't play this year due to our situation. It saddens me. So tonight when my little niece told me that she and her sister need to raise a total of $1700 for the 2 of them to participate in competive cheerleading I nearly fell over. That is like asking me for a million dollars!

I explained that Auntie did not have money right now, but that I would see what I could do to help them out. They are precious, sweet girls who have been through a lot of ups and downs with divorce ripping their little worlds apart at such a tender young age. I want the world for them, as I do for all my kids - and nephews.

So - that being said - if you feel that you can help with a small donation toward Bailee and Brynnies Cheerleading Fundraiser - I would be so - so grateful!

I have set up an easy to use PayPal Button below - just click and away you go!

We all need a little help sometimes...and after all we are better together!
So for my little Rosebud and Little Bee ... Auntie will see what she can do to help you!


If you wish to donate to the Alvarez Titan Cheerleading Fundraiser for Bailee and Brynne Bagley just click the button below:

Saturday, May 2, 2009

It's here....

Well "the SICKNESS" has hit our "suite". I worked last weekend at the hospital and also on Monday. Tuesday I started feeling a bit bad. By Wednesday I started getting it. The doctor could not see me until Friday and by then I had the worst sore throat of all mankind. I schlepped myself with both sprouts in tow to the doctor feeling like I had been hit by a mack truck. She did some throat swabbing that made me nearly yak and in a few minutes - told me to go home and take a Z-Pack. She did not think I had anything contagious - just a severe sinus infection - as opposed to an easygoing one. I came home loaded up on natural cellular defense, my essential daily nutrients, water, hot tea, theraflu, chloraseptic throat lozenges and hit the bed.

As women know - once mom gets sick all hell breaks loose. The kids were all out of sorts because MOM was LAYING DOWN. Strange sight - like an exhibit at the zoo. They kept crowding around the bed - saying "Look...she is sleeping..." "I think she is dead.."
Then they would poke me to see if I had a reaction. They then found every excuse under the sun to disturb my attempt at slumber. "MOM!...
MOM!! I think the remote control is lost - can you find it?" asks one. "MOM??? Mom - what are you doing? Why are you sleeping when the sun is out?" asks the other. "Hey MOM - can I be ungrounded and go to the skate park?" asks one of my TEENAGERS - oh the nerve - the gall - trying to hit me when I am down.

"NOOOOOO!" I squeak out. My throat swollen and killing me - my voice almost gone. I then raise up out from under the covers like a demon in a horror film. I muster the meanest, scrunchy yet stern face, crinkle up my eyes and with my hands gesture for them to all go away! I pointed to the sofa repeatedly and motioned for them to all scatter off my bed and leave me alone!

With utter shock and dismay my two little ones retreat to the sofa fighting as they go, over the remote control that miraculously appeared out of thin air. With an attitude my teen decided to retort by putting his 2 cents in and then attempting to wrestle the remote away from his 2 younger brothers. Screams fill the air and I pull the covers overhead.

As my luck would have it my husband came home telling me that he too felt badly. He said his body hurt and his head felt plugged up. By night fall - we had 2 little ones hacking along with mom and dad. Trenton so far has escaped "THE SICKNESS" - but I am sure it is only a matter of time...

We woke up today to everyone feeling out of sorts. The man I thought I married he'd turned into a creature overnight. He was coughing and carrying on over the fact that he was "sick" and "was dying"! He needed everyone to leave HIM alone...he needed rest. He proceeded to moan and groan - yell and snap - growl and howl all day long.
I do not know how long "the sickness" will take him over - but I hope it leave him soon - or I will.

Both lil guys are taking it in stride - Turner longing for his lost "blankie" more and more the worse he feels. We called the Urgent Care Center to take them in due to their asthma - and they told us - "good luck!" You can come on in - but there is a 6+ hour wait. No thanks. I do not wish to take all of us - hacking and coughing, running fevers and feeling like our eyeballs are on fire to a walk in clinic in Fountain Valley to sit with other sickos for 6+ hours. I'd rather poke myself with porcupine needles and spend another 69 days in labor...(well maybe that is pushing it!)

Soooo - we will go to the ER in the middle of the night if need be. I do not think we are dying of the swine flu - just the WHINE FLU.

It seems that when males get sick they morph into huge whiny monsters. Happy - Happy - Joy - Joy. It is my fate in life to be the leader of the WHINY HINEY Club...I get it - thanks God.
At least HE has a sense of humor!

Wish us a speedy recovery as I may just have to start taking them out one by one otherwise!


Friday, May 1, 2009

Twenty Things...


Twenty Things About Me That You May Not Know...(and probably don't care to!!)

1. I have had 8 triplets, one twins and lost a baby girl in my 2nd Trimester.
2. I was raised in the midwest and have midwest values...grew up in Missouri and Kansas - then moved to California when I was 12. Moved back to Missouri after living in Texas for a year after we got married. Lived in Missouri for a decade, then off to Pennsylvania, Arizona and back to California.
3. I have never liked watching really old movies.
4. Watching people eat weird stuff on reality TV shows can actually make me barf.
5. I love adventure and cherish making fun memories.
6. I have never been to Catalina Island - even after living 15 years in California.
7. I despise horror films and films that depict violence - I get really emotional and could even pass out from fear.
8. I dream of having a cottage on the beach one day and growing beautiful flowers there.
9. I do not care for sweet potatoes even though I love sweet things.
10. My pet peeve is when someone picks their toenails instead of using clippers!
11. I won $500 in a Poetry Contest and I don't even remember what the poem was.
I did not get my drivers license until I was 18, I passed with a score of 99.
13. I have been in love 4 times in my life, three have broken my heart.
14. I wanted to be a singer when I was little.
15. I've only been on a Harley once - and I LOVED it!
16. I have a propensity for nature.
17. I have a tattoo of a bumblebee on my bum.
18. I wet the bed until I was in 5th grade, I was very embarrassed by that.
19. I have been inside of Kenny Rogers house.
20. I have never smoked.

Not that you care about any of those things - I just thought I'd do this "for fun"!