Friday, November 12, 2010

Recipe Share Friday

Ok, so we had a super busy week it feels like so there was not a ton of homemade from scratch meals going on but this is what I made for breakfast one morning and my Hubby LOVED it and the kids both liked it too.

This week's recipe is both Gluten and Dairy free for those that follow the die that strictly. But for those that don't a little melted cheese over the top of these is delish!

Potato Pancakes

4 cups of peeled, grated, rinsed and squeezed dry Golden Potatoes
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups of diced ham (I use the boiled lunch meat)
1/2 cup Brown Rice flour (better for you than white rice flour :))

Olive Oil for frying them in.

Mix all the ingredients in a big bowl and combine well.

Heat just enough Olive Oil to coat the bottom of a frying pan over medium-high heat.
Drop spoonfuls of the potato mix in the pan and flatten them like a pancake, cook for 3-4 minutes on eachside. When finshed remove and place on papertowel to absorb the extra grease. Replenish oil in pan as needed.

This recipe is large but put the leftovers in the fridge for the next morning or heat them up as a side with dinner that night (that is what we did, we are not picky about variety in our house)

Can Any One Say Happy Dance?????

I am so HAPPY! We had our Neuro Appt yesterday and the Doc seems to have a lot of faith in the Non-Profit that referred us to him because he pretty much took everything I told him about their Diagnosis Outcome and went with it. We are getting all the therapies we need plus he is putting in a diagnosis to get us into the School Districts Early Intervention Services! YEAH YEAH!!! I feel like I can breath again! All the scripts should be written up by Monday and I will be able to give access to the therapy place and school district then! YEAH YEAH! Oh and our final diagnosis was Sensory Processing Disorder and Developmental Delay. He is holding off on the Autism Label until we reach Kindergarten or 1st Grade because he is leaning towards a possible Aspergers Diagnosis. Which is great because I don't want my son to have to carry around a label that is incorrect for the rest of his schooling career and he is still young and his symptoms could change and as we get into the therapies we could see things change as well. So anyway, I have been doing the Happy Dance all morning because I am so excited to be moving on in our crazy, beautiful, amazing journey as my little Monkey's Mommy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why I am the Mom I am today!

Sorry I have been MIA a few days...We have had a lot going on and none of it has to do with our two boys that live with us but it has brought me to new focus on them.

Little Background:
My Husband and I have a significant age difference and with that age difference came a previous marriage/family for him. He has Twin boys (yes, he is a boy making machine) and they are 17 years old now. When I first met them they were a mere 9 years old and OH SO CUTE with there little head bopping, singing to every song on the radio selves...those were the days :) Anyway, my husband and I married when the twins were 11 and one year later they moved in with us. There was a significant distance between us and the ex (like, three states) and the twins had said from the day I met them that when they were 12 and they could decide where they wanted to live they would move in with their Dad, so the summer after their 12th birthday that is what they did! We were so excited and so happy to have them, we had already planned to expand the family and my husband had just taken on a new job to support our quickly growing family, it was a honeymoon period that lasted just a couple months and then the school year started and real life set in. I was a "new" Mom to pre-teen boys and it was tough, I am not going to lie and say it was so blissful and wonderful because it wasn't. It was a huge learning and growing experience and with every growing experience there are always growing pains. The boys tried their hardest to make it easy for me but they had some habits with school that had never been addressed before and they were struggling with the new accountability we had put in place. We knew as parents what we wanted as an end result but we were not very good at navigating to it. We loved them and only wanted what was best for them, so we grounded them A LOT because we didn't know what else to was explained best to us by the school counselor, he said we were essentially taking on foster kids even though there was a biological tie there it was still a completely new dynamic in their relationships with us because we had only had them for the "fun" summers in the past. And he was right! I spent many times in my walk in closet on the floor talking to God and crying wondering if I could keep going!?! SO, fast forward 9 months and one of the twins has a sneak attack on us of the ex showing up at school to take him with her back to her state...I could go on and on about it but I don't want this to be about bashing the ex; I will just say the end result was we now only had one of the twins living with us. I will refer to him as "Roadrunner" from now on, he was an AMAZING track athlete, and there was talk of scholarships in his future if he had stuck with it. Anyway, Roadrunner lived with us for a total of almost 4 years. We had a special relationship and he had a really special bond with our little Monkey; Monkey said his name before he ever said Mama :) Two Months before Roadrunner left his twin came back to live with us, he said he needed the structure and discipline again because he was struggling to get on track with school and he had heard how well Roadrunner was doing and wanted to do the same. This brought lots of adjustment issues. It was hard on all of us but we were willing to dig in and do the work. But it just didn't work for them I guess because shortly after Christmas they ran away and were missing for 3 days...I was 9 months pregnant with my second son and I was surprised the stress didn't put me into labor. It turns out they drained Roadrunners bank acct and took all his cash he had piled up from tips (he was a busboy/host) I think a total of approx $1000 is what we estimated they had and they bought Greyhound bus tickets and took Greyhound across three states to get to the state the ex lived in and the second twin had been living previously to moving back in with us, so he had friends there. Once they got there they hid out with a few friends for another day before finally coming out of hiding and letting us know where they were. They made the decision to stay with their Mom and they have been with her ever since until a couple months ago, Roadrunner decided he wanted to make some drastic changes and get back on track with school and moved in with his Best Friend from middle school and his family, with whom we are friends and that made us very happy because now we were going to have open communication with him again. Approx 6 months after they moved in with their Mom they had cut off almost all communication with us. I turns out, as we suspected the twins were no longer in school and their had been some issues with drugs and that is what Roadrunner was getting away from. It was so bad that Roadrunner was a full year behind in school from his friends. I am sure it was a difficult thing to face for him and he struggled again but we really thought this time he was in a place where he could persevere through this but just 4 days ago we got a call from the Dad in the family Roadrunner was living with and Roadrunner was moving back to his Mom's...heartbroken is the best way I can describe how I felt. I think heartbroken best describes the combination of anger, fear and sadness I was feeling that day. I really had a special bond with him because he had lived with us for so long and I was filled with so much hope when he made this huge grown up decision to turn his life around and when he changed his mind and moved back on Friday I didn't know what to think! This time he hurt a lot of people he was very close to and that was the hardest part for me to wrap my mind around because even with all the issues we have had and hard times we have been through with him, he has maintained his respect for the people who have always been there for him but he didn't walk away from this situation with his head held high or with the honesty and integrity that I had seen in him in the past. So that was part one of my Husband and I spent all day Fri and Sat being angry and upset over all this and then Sunday we spent the day in fellowship with friends from church and then I went to a Matthew West Concert on Sunday night. It was the most moving experience I have ever had and I really needed it that day. It is amazing how God works! The theme of Matthew West's new album is "The Story of Your Life"; he asked his fans to write to him their stories and he was going to write his songs based on some of the stories he received. There were stories of triumph and sadness but over all he did an amazing job of choosing stories that everyone can relate to and writing the songs in a way that you feel like he truly wrote it about your life as well. My new theme song for my life is "Strong Enough" Have you ever heard the phrase "I know God will not give me more than I can handle, I just wish he didn't trust me so much" I have heard this several times in my life as a stepmom and also as a mom to my biological sons and now one of those Sons has some serious struggles with behavioral issues. And I have believed it in my heart and there have been times where I was angry with God for putting me through all this and angry at myself for not understanding why God would put this on me but I have new light and understanding!

Sunday was a huge turning point for me and changed the course of my life as a Mom and this blog. I am still here to reach out to other Moms going through the same things I am going through because I was convicted to do it but I am not going to only make subtle mention of my faith in here anymore because in all honesty God is number one in my life and I should not hide that for fear that some will not read what I have to say because of it. I should have faith in the Lord that he convicted me to come out of my comfort zone and share my story with the Blog world for a reason and hiding him in the process will not give him the glory or allow this blog to be everything he wanted it to be. Another heart changing thing that has happen since Sunday is the process of letting go...I am cleansing my new life and letting go of some of the painful baggage. I am not calling my stepsons baggage but the emotions I have tied to them over the past 5 years are the baggage I am holding on to and it is hindering my ability to move on. I will always love them because I feel like they are my sons too but they are almost 18 and they have been making grown up decisions for some time now and they will have to learn the consequences of those decisions on their own. We have tried to talk and lecture them on the mistakes they are making but it has done nothing but frustrate us and make us angry and that is something we have to let go of. We have to accept that we have done everything we can to help so far and it has been with no acceptance from them. We will pray for them to be successful in whatever they decide to do in their lives but that is all we are going to do for now. I am a huge fan of Intervention and that is where I think we are with the twins...We will do ANYTHING to help them get better but there is nothing we will do to continue to support their decision to stay on the path they are on. Also as part of this cleansing I am no longer going to waste my energy on "spying" on them on Facebook and MySpace, it is not worth it because there is nothing we can do about what we see other than worry and that only takes away from our focus on the two little ones we have in the house. I love those twins more than they will ever realize but I have to let go and restructure my priorities to make a healthier environment for my little guys and I think all this growing and learning has only made me a stronger woman, wife and mother and that I will be eternally grateful for!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mexican Spaghetti Squash Casserole

I have decided to make Friday my Gluten Free Recipe share day! We made the choice to go Gluten Free with our Son and I have seen a huge change! We chose not to go cassien free (info for another blog) but most these recipes can be adapted to be dairy free as well. In this particular recipe you can use a dairy free cheese or omit the cheese all together and it will still have a wonderful flavor.

Mexican Spaghetti Squash Casserole

2 spaghetti squash
1 can of "Chili Ready" diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can black beans, drained
1 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
2 tsp minced garlic (my family loves garlic so you can cut that in half if you are not huge fans)
1 tsp Garlic Salt
1 tsp ground Cumin

Preheat oven 350

Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds.
Place open side down on a baking sheet and bake for one hour

While the squash is baking...
Put the diced tomatoes, black beans, minced garlic, galic salt and cumin in a large bowl (large enough to add the squash), mix well and let stand in the fridge while your squash is baking

Once your squash is done(leave the oven at 350), shred it with a fork and then add it to the bowl, mix well
Add 3/4 cup of the cheese to the mixture and stir well again

Spray a 2 qt casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and place the mixture in the bowl put 1/2 cup cheese over the top and bake for 30 minutes
It will be very hot when it comes out, I always pull out two servings for my kids so they cool much faster and then let the rest stand until it is cool enough to eat.

YUM YUM! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Turn that Frown Upside Down

I really wanted this blog to be positive and up lifting place for women going through all these struggles with their children. It would be a place to relate and encourage one another...LOL Who was I kidding, the last couple days have been rough! My Son seems to do this about once a month, once a month we have what I call "Manic Man" in our house. He shuts down, acts out, refuses to listen, gets in trouble is down right exhausting and heart breaking. This morning I took him to the gym daycare like I usually do and went off to my work out. When I returned an hour later the "teacher" was noticbly distraught with him and he was noticbly confused as well. It was like he didn't understand why he had been in trouble so much. He wanted this particular toy back that she had taken away because he was throwing it and he was obsessing about it. He kept asking for it back and when he realized we were leaving and he was not going to get to play with it again today...HE LOST IT! Screaming and crying all the way out to the car and all the way home. He was screaming in the house when we got home for about 10 minutes and then at that point he had upset himself so much that he threw up on himself and then he suddenly started laughing...WHAT? As many times as I have been through this and as much as I know now that inappropriate laughter is just another symptom of his neuro problems it still frustrates me to no end. But as quickly as it escalated is how quickly it stopped and he took off all his clothes and layed down on the couch to watch a show on TV. Today was an especially hard day because I had some other family issues come up and I was stressed about those as well so I think I may have put my own stress on him which we so often do with our kids but my Monkey definately reminds me that I am doing that with his behaviors :(

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mama Said There Would Be Days Like This...

I don't think anything my Mama could have said could have prepared me for days like today. Today was a rough one and it is funny because I have had harder days than today but when you are in the moments of the day you just can't see straight enough to know that it will pass. I feel helpless, frustrated and oh so alone in those moments. I have no one to blame but myself for today because I allowed my little Tiger to have food he shouldn't have had yesterday and shame on me! I knew I was going to pay for it today and probably tomorrow too. That seems to be his pattern...about two days to get the junk out of his system. So I will be kicking myself again tomorrow I am sure!

Today's Especially Great Moments: Him pointing out in the grocery store that he was being a good boy because he was sitting still but his brother was not because he kept trying to climb out of the cart...LOL He carried "his" bag of groceries to the car all by himself. And he was sure to point it out to me that he is a big strong 4-year-old now! : D

Rough Patches: This morning when I left the kitchen for a brief moment to take a phone call and I walked back into a kitchen with garbage dumped all over the floor! Why? I don't know?! Sometimes he just does things and I don't know of the many frustrating things about this stage in our journey. Then in the Gym Daycare he got in trouble for being too aggressive with all the other kids and for taking every box of toys off the toy shelf and just dumping them on the floor. He didn't want to play with them, he just wanted to dump them out...just like the trash earlier in the day?!?! Again, not sure I understand and I am not afraid to admit it...I just don't know enough about what is going on yet. Then the final straw for him came this afternoon. He was quietly playing with his train set and the train accidentally fell off the track...this turned into a shut down moment. He started to cry and "forgot" how to put it back on the track. Keep in mind my child is normally BRILLIANT when it comes to his train engineering abilities. The kid builds the most unbelievable courses for his trains to follow but when he is having a "bad" day the simplest task like putting the cars back on the track become too difficult to handle. This tantrum escalated into a 30+ minute inconsolable tantrum. It was so heart wrenching and frustrating at the same time. I held him close and tried to comfort him but he just retreated away and screamed louder and then I tried to separate him from me to keep my sanity and he just followed me around the house continuing to scream and cry. It was awful. But then suddenly he stopped, lay down and fell asleep. It is the craziest thing and I have no idea how to handle it yet but this is typically what happens at the end of a bad day like today.