Parent of a troubled teen? You are NOT ALONE!

Support for parents of troubled teen

I received a call from an acquaintance yesterday.  She asked where we sent our daughter for treatment.  
My heart immediately sank.  
Although we aren't close with this family, we have known them for a long time.  

I explained to her that we sent HB out of state for therapy because in Washington State, at 13 years of age, a child is responsible for their own medical/mental health choices {Are you serious?!}.  

What that means is that if you send your child to therapy in Washington, and they don't want to stay there, well, 
             they just leave.  

When we went through this whole process it was  years ago, but it seems like yesterday. 

Our daughter was just 14.  

She ended up going to the alternative school because she was struggling with her peers after making some poor choices.  Now...HB had always had a lot of "friends."  Not necessarily because she was so fun and kind, but because everyone wanted to be her friend rather than NOT be her friend....they were afraid of her.

At the alternative school she met some people that took her even further in the wrong direction.  The drugs started, the disappearing for days on end, the attitude that was even angrier and meaner than before.  

HB had been in counseling since her Dad died.  She has always struggled with depression and anxiety.  Counseling wasn't easy though, because she always felt like she was smarter than most of her therapists.  (Truth is.... in some ways, she was!)  
Remember what I mentioned here about HB being Mensa level gifted?  

Where was I again?  Oh yeah...

I shared where we had sent our daughter, and why we chose each place.  
I shared with her that  during that period of time I felt more alone than I ever had in my life.  
You don't go around telling people that your daughter is strung out and out of control.
People judge.  
People shouldn't.
I went into a depression during this time that lasted for years.  I wouldn't wish that on anyone.  I let this Mom know that I am here for her to talk to, and that she isn't alone.  

I am a good Mom.  It has taken me a long time to find peace with that.
Good parents CAN have troubled teens.  
Bad parents CAN have troubled teens.  

God gave each of us the gift of free will and the choices our teens make are their own.  Hopefully, somewhere deep inside they hear us whispering to them what is right.  

Do you have a struggling teen?  Do you feel like you are alone in this?  You aren't.  We need to unite- to encourage, to support, to pray.
Just like I shared with that mom, I'm here if you need someone to talk to.

(Oh...and if you happen to know where the photo above came from, please let me know.  I'd love to give credit where credit is due!)

Pinned there, Done that!

Time for something fun!  Okay, so I have mentioned before that I am kind of a research nut.  Pinterest and me.... well, we were made for each other!  The problem is that I spend so much time finding cool things to make, cool things to do, that I never end up making or doing any of it!  

Time to make a change!
If I pin it, I want to do it....and share it with you!
Here is my latest Pin that I've actually DONE...

This.... is such a fun idea!  I couldn't wait to let Willow give her little stuffed animals a bath.  I did it exactly like Jessie at Play Create Explore did.
I filled a small bucket with soapy water, got a small bottle of bath soap for Willow to use to wash her "friends," and had the hose ready to rinse them when they were all clean.  Here are the photos from our little adventure...
Stuffed Animal Wash
And after all of the scrubbing and rinsing, Wee One asked for a towel.  She sweetly dried off and wrapped up (As best she could) her little friends one by one.  
Stuffed Animal Wash
Sweet, huh?
Have you Pinned something and actually done it?
I would love it if you would share!  

Notice anything different?

wee one and papa
Wee One and Papa...I LOVE how she always grabs his ears to kiss him!

Okay, I know I am not great at blogging regularly, but THIS TIME I have an excuse!!

I have been working on moving my blog from my last host to Blogger.  

Let me tell you...This is not an easy deal.  
It took a lot more time than I had thought it would.  It didn't help that I had at first decided to go with WordPress, but after moving most of my blog over, I found out that I had very little control over the hosted version of it.  
I don't like that.  
I like to be in control.

Sooo.... on to Blogger.  Hopefully this will make my blogging a bit easier and my life somewhat happier (Only because in at least one area of my life - I will be in control!! Well, sort of.)  

Sadly, all of the comments made by any of you that might follow my blog or actually read anything I write, are gone.  I really appreciate all of the input and support you have given me through your comments.  Please, leave me some love if you get around to it!  (It makes me feel a little less alone out here in the great www)


A Dying Father's Words for His Children

Dying Father's Words for His Children
I have been very emotional lately-- With our oldest being in Ecuador and worrying about her safety, Kenzie graduating from High School (YAY!!), TK getting ready to get his drivers license…
There are times in my life when I think about Keith, my late husband, more than others.  I love Mark, and I love my family, but that doesn't mean my mind and heart don't take me back…through all of the  big events that Keith has missed in his kids lives, and all of the little events that he has missed too.  (I like to believe that he hasn't really  missed them, but observed them from a distance!)
I pulled out an old journal recently and the entry seems appropriate to share today - Father's Day.
A little background before I start… at the time I wrote this, Keith was in the end stages of his life, and in and out of reality.  He was barely aware of his surroundings, and there were very few times that he was alert at all.  That's what made this morning such an amazing one, and the words that came from his mouth and heart the greatest blessing.
June 6, 2001
Keith awoke this morning looking so alert and "alive."  After I got the girls off to school I went in to sit with him - in the midst of the unreal;  we are in a half built cabin- raccoons are all over.  He thinks they are under the bed and in the walls and wants to figure out how to get them out.  The reality leaps out through the cracks of the cabin at me.  He misses his Dad.  He cries.  He doesn't want the kids to use his death as an excuse for failure in their lives.  He said that he was going to write a letter to them, telling them that.  I told him he should do it right then and that I would help him.  I went and got a pen and some paper and he began to speak what was in his heart - things he wanted to make sure his kids knew.  With such clarity he spoke. I haven't heard him talk like that in so long.
(This is what he dictated to me word for word without stopping.  I still have the sheets of notebook paper with the words scribbled as quickly as he spoke them…)

A Note of Encouragement

Simply me.... Just pondering life.
As I am lying in bed, feeling worn out, overwhelmed, and just plain under the weather, my phone tweets letting me know I have just received a new text.
              Yes, my phone tweets.
It's the only notification sound that doesn't scare the other baby in the house-- our 125 lb Bernese Mountain Dog.  (Plus it is Spring...a tweet seemed appropriate!)

Here is what the text read:
"Theresa, what u are doing RIGHT NOW, with Willow and this season of life, is so pleasing to God. It is not a waste of time or energy. It is precious to Him. Your self sacrifice has not gone unseen nor will it go unrewarded. I just felt like God wanted me to tell you that."
I have been in , well, kind of a state of confusion lately. (Shhhh to those of you saying, "Just lately?!)   I've been trying to figure out where God wants me and what he wants me to be doing.
I touched on the subject here…  Yes, I know we are doing everything we should be doing when it comes to Willow.  We are blessed to have her in our lives!
It goes beyond that…
You see, I ran my own promotional product distribution/marketing business for over 10 years.  I loved it!  I loved it until all of the trouble started with HB (Wee One's BM)
                                She took all of my
                                time and energy.
(And this was all BW…..Before Willow.)  About 4 years ago we made the decision for me to quit my business.  It wasn't that we were giving up a lot of money,   because I wasn't a Fortune 500 company or anything,
                                                 but I did give up
                                                 a part of myself.
It was an outlet for me to be creative, to be social, to be productive outside of my home.
When I quit I made the decision that I was going to go back to school to pursue graphic design-
which I had taught myself, and used to run my business, but didn't have a degree in, and then ...
I was going to get a really cool job doing really cool stuff, and Boyfriend and I would take lots of vacations with the massive amounts of money I was making...
Then along came Willow.
"On the night you were born,
the moon shone with such wonder
that the stars peeked in
to see you
and the night wind whispered,
'Life will never be the same.'
Because there had never been
anyone like you...
ever in the world."
I firmly believed that I needed to be home while my kids were little.  My convictions haven't changed.
I know that I need to be home with Willow,
loving her, teaching her, caring for her.
No one can do that like a momma can…or in this case, me.**
Why is it so hard to NOT worry about what I could be doing and focus on what I AM doing?
I know that is what God wants from me.  
I know that is where i find my peace.  
I also know that I will forget all of that in a few days and start asking those questions again.
So, dear friend, Thank you.
Thank you for listening to God and for sharing your words of encouragement with me today.  "God is pleased with me… really?"  I pray so.  I will continue to seek His will, not only in my tomorrows, but in what I am doing today.

Simply....About Me.

Simply about me.

is me.
a bit about me & why I blog.
To put it simply...I am here sharing bits of my life, hoping to touch yours.
From dealing with being abused as a child, being a young widow with four small children, getting remarried and becoming  mom to a blended crew of 7, dealing with a wayward child, to being a way too young grammie raising her grandchild…  I’ve experienced a lot in my life.  I believe that using our past as an excuse for anything is wrong.  I know that without the hope that I have in God, and the love that He has shown me, I would be lost.  I believe God has a plan for each of us, and although I wouldn't choose to relive everything that has happened in my life, I believe God can use me to help others because of my journey.

The main focus of this blog is described below, but I am sure to share bits and pieces on everything from the practical and insightful to the fun 
    and frolicky 

stuff of everyday life.

so why am I writing this blog? well…

Because I have always had the perspective that I didn’t need to know why I have had to go through the uncomfortable things in my life as long as thru them I could reach out and help another.

Okay.  That isn’t the only reason.  I need you, too.

Being a relatively hip, cool, and young (43 years young!) Grammie who is raising her granddaughter, I started seeking out information and support online only to find there was very little out there. I did find, however, that about 1 in 10 children are being raised by at least one grandparent!

Our beautiful little one is 28 months old. I was there at her birth, and she has been with us pretty much ever since that day…but more on that later! Wee little Willow brings so much joy to our lives that it is hard to imagine wanting life to be different, but we would. We would want her to be at home with a healthy Mom (And Dad), and then have plenty of play dates and fun time with Grammie and Papa. But that wasn’t the plan. Nope.

How come nothing ever goes according to plan?  Well, at least not according to my plan.

So while raising seven of our own kids, and just three years away from being empty nesters, we are starting the parenting journey from the Wee Willow beginning. 

I would call that a bitter-sweet blessing, but a blessing nonetheless!

So here  I am.…starting this journey called blogging to share my thoughts, stories, and my life with you all.

What would we be doing now?

I hate asking myself that question because I feel so guilty doing so.  but i do.  

There are nights when all of the older kids have gone out with their friends and Boyfriend and I are just sitting around watching Wee One play.  
Our youngest is 15 years old, 
                                 our oldest 23.  
Our children are out on the town, our friends are out on the town, 
                                                                                                                        and here we sit.

Don't get me wrong - we LOVE the time we  spend with Wee One, 
       it's just that, 
             well,     I wonder…
Would we be out having a fancy dinner, just the two of us, planning our next vacation?
Would we be out with some friends listening to some great jazz band we've wanted to see?
Would we be taking a romantic walk under the stars, reminiscing about where we've been and dreaming about where we want to be?

You see, we've done our time.  We were (and still are!) great parents.  Our lives revolved around our kids-(I know you are thinking, well, that was dumb! It's not healthy for a relationship to have your focus be your children!)
                  but when you raise 7 kids…some with special needs

then you can tell me   
           HOW TO NOT 
have your life revolve around your children.
Sometimes we had up to 10 soccer practices a week to transport to and from, 5 games a weekend, 
    and really, can you even imagine tournaments??  
I literally had to map out who went where when and make sure boyfriend and I each had a copy of the list so we could drop off, pick up, drop off again… and hopefully remember to pick up our little athletes!  
                      It was wonderful.  Seriously.  
We loved living the life we lived, with just a few exceptions. 

Add in other after school activities, church, youth group, and such to the mix and our lives were beyond full.  We would often joke about the time when our kids would be grown and you would still be able to find us at the sidelines of the local soccer field,            cheering on the the kids. 

Our dreams for when our kids got older weren't large, 
                                                        they were just peaceful.  
A few trips here and there, being able to cook a nice meal together while sipping a glass of wine (stopping to slow dance when our favorite songs came on), 
being able to give more of our time and energy volunteering 
in our community and church.  
          simple.  lovely.  nice.

Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we have embraced it.  We will still have our trips, we will just be bringing along a toddler (WHAT A LUCKY KID!!),
we will still cook our meals and 
       dance our dances, but we will have a wee one dancing with us.
Our time volunteering will include an extra little helper… learning to give even at this wee young age.  What a great way for a kid to grow up…. Don't you think?  

And as for me wondering what we would be doing right now?  

Well, I'll just keep reminding myself that we are doing exactly what we would be…just with three of us instead of two.

Oh So Cute Fabric Tutu!

diy scrap fabric tutu

Snooping around Pinterest I ran across these EVER SO cute fabric tutus that everyone was making (or buying on Etsy!)
They were so adorable that I HAD to have one for Willow, but I wasn't sure I wanted to spend that kind of money on something that I thought I could easily make for less than half the price.
I did a quick Google and came across the AdelynStone Blog that has a DIY tutorial for making a toddler fabric tutu.
(LOVE the site!  Check out the Repurpose page for some really cool ideas with ladders and suitcases!)
Since I have made tutu's before, I kind of had the basic idea of how to do this, but being the Google addict I am, I had to do some research before beginning.
I didn't have enough scrap fabric on hand for the project so I went to JoAnn Fabrics with my iphone in hand (I have a JoAnn Fabrics app that gives me coupons because I always forget the ones I have saved at home) and began looking for the things I needed.  I was really excited to find a roll of coordinated fabric pieces already cut to 2- 1/2 x 42 inches!  The fabrics were so cute and cost me, with the use of my 40% off coupon, around $8.00!
I wanted the skirt to last awhile (and because I like to keep things SIMPLE) I used a brown 1 1/2" wide satin ribbon instead of sewing the elastic waistband like KristanLynn did in her tutorial.  I took my precut fabric strips  (Another benefit to having bought the precut fabric was that they were cut to the perfect length already. No cutting at all was required for this project EXCEPT for cutting the ribbon to the perfect length to go around Wee One's waist and with enough left over to tie a sweet little bow. ) and started tying them around the ribbon, putting it around Willows waist every once in a while until I got it nice and full and the perfect size.
E-A-S-Y!! Even the uncrafty can handle this project! Here is how mine turned out...
fabric tutu diy

Cute, huh?!  Willow loves it!  She
                                        twirls and dances 
and it really does look adorable on her.  
Well, she looks adorable no matter what she is wearing.
Let me know if you decide to take on this easy project!  I'd love to see your wee one twirling in your creation!

Sh sh should we?

People think she is older than she is-- 
partly because she is a little tall for her age, but mostly because of how smart she is.  
I know what you are thinking: 
"Every Grandparent thinks their grandchild is a genius!"  
You are right, they do.  BUT Wee one is one of the smartest little people I have ever met!  I know there are way more gifted babes out there in the world, but like I said…I have never met one.  Seriously.  

One of the things that makes her abnormal is the fact that she understands, and has understood, concepts that I should be trying to teach her. For example: hot vs. warm vs. cold.  She knows the difference.  
She will even say, "this is a little too hot, can we make it warm?"  
She knows up from down, in from out.
She can draw W's, make circles, and put her own shoes on.
She uses full sentences.  The longest I have counted was around 12 words!

Crazy stuff  for a wee one that isn't even 2 yet! 
Don't get me wrong, she isn't one of those kids that can recite all 50 states, or that knows every letter of the alphabet.  
And she doesn't always say exactly what she means, for example (These are a few of my favorites…)
'Should we take her boots off now?'  (Meaning, "Should we take my boots off now?"  Everything is "Should we."  I love it!  
'Should we take a bath now?'
'Should we go outside now?'  LOVE IT!  

                                            She is soooo cute!

It was so sad to listen to her (but so stinking adorable, too!) recently when she went from using just a few words in a sentence to the longer sentences.  
She would stutter as the first word or two came out as she was trying to put the rest of the sentence together in her head….
"Should, should, should, should we read a book now?"
"I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm not go to bed yet."

Her little eyes close and her head tilts to the side as she repeats the first word over and over AND THEN she opens her eyes and finishes her sentence.
                                                   OH MY GOSH!
At first I was concerned that this might be a speech problem, so I watched her closely and figured out that it was just the jump in the number of words she was trying to spit out.  Her little mouth wasn't ready to keep up with her brain! The stuttering lasted for a few weeks and then slowly disappeared, showing up just occasionally now.

I don't take any credit for how advanced Wee one is other than the fact that we do read to her A LOT, and we have never been big on baby talk.
We just talk to her like we would talk to each other.

It actually kind of scares me that she is so bright.  

Her Momma was almost as advanced as her at this age.  
BM (Birth Momma…Remember?) said her first word at 6 months old that wasn't momma or dada- it was bear.  That's not the amazing part- the amazing part was that she KNEW WHAT A BEAR WAS! We would show her different things and she wouldn't respond, show her the bear and she would get excited and say "Bear!  Bear!'  (Yes, we actually have it video taped and have had to show people that this story is true)

BM was talking in short sentences at 1, just like Wee one.  

The scary thing is that BM tested as MENSA level gifted when she was older- 
but how'd that work out for her?  
                                 Not good so far.  
She has always thought that she was soo much smarter than everyone else; her parents, her teachers, her doctors. 

Soooo… I will just share with you how smart I think Wee one is (and not let her read this blog.) I will just keep telling her how loving and kind she is, and keep the focus on her heart… 

Resources, Links and Helpful Insights


I am a research freak.  When we first got physical custody of Willow I started researching every possible thing I coud about Grandparents raising Grandchildren. At first it was the legal aspect.  It was so hard not having legal custody, knowing that at anytime one of her birth parents, neither sober nor sane at the time, could come in and just take her away.

Now that we have full legal custody my searches have changed.
I am very concerned with the emotional and psychological issues associated with grandparents raising grandchildren.  
Believe it or not, I have found there is very little 
information on this topic.
I want to know the best way to help Wee One feel loved and secure.
I want to know how to explain to her why  she is being raised by us instead of BM and BF.
I want to do everything I can to give this little love 
every advantagefor a happy and productive life.
So.... Hopefully some of these will make your research a little easier.
I wish there was more
 beneficial information here, but it is a start.
I will continue to post what I find that might be of 
interest or of help to someone. 

Hey!  Did you know...
More than 1 million grandparents are taking on the responsibility of raising their grandchildren?  You may feel like you are alone in this journey-- but you are not!! We need to support and encourage each other!

  • STATE FACT SHEETS - AARPEach state fact sheet includes state-specific data and helpful links such as:
    -Census Data
    -Local programs and resources
    -Foster care policies and Services
    -Public benefits and financial assistance
    -State laws 

Please don't look at me that way.

I guess I have always been a pretty open minded person.
Don't get me wrong, I have my moments of being judgmental, "holier than thou", and moments when I should be tugging at the log in my own eye instead of pointing out the twig in theirs.  
But I have been through a lot in my life and I know that on days when I am not at my best because of some trauma (or drama??) or pain that has presented itself, I appreciate the grace that the smile a person I have been crabby with gives.  

Since my kids were little, when they would complain to me about how mean a teacher had been, or how rude a friend was being, 
I would say, 
                      "Well, maybe their dog died." 
Now you may be asking yourself, why would she say that?  
Let me put it simply for you....
                            Life is hard, and life just happens.  
Yep.  That's all I have for you, but it pretty much sums it up, right?

You never know if that lady that cuts in front of you in line at the store is just distracted because she recently found out she was losing her job, 

or the person that loses their temper with you over something that seems silly has a husband that was just diagnosed with cancer, 

or the teacher that is being short tempered has just had to put her dog to sleep after 15 years...  you just never know.  
                           Life is hard, and life just all of us.  

I need this grace more than anyone.
I am often wrapped up in my own little world, worried and and overwhelmed, just trying to make it through the day.  
I may not notice that I cut in front of you--  I'm sorry.  
I may not even notice you at all.  
                                        I am sorry. 
My head is busy trying to rationalize what my heart is feeling, and sometimes that takes all I have.

This is not an excuse for rude people, what it is 
              is an excuse for people that don't mean to be rude.  
We all have our moments, so please, smile at the man that frowns at you, pray for that teacher that has been losing her temper, and try to remember...
                I don't mean to be rude- It's just that  life is hard, and sometimes it just happens.  

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