In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My little trick or treaters

Happy Halloween

to you and yours,

from my little monsters & I!



To say they love our pumpkin family is an understatement.


The little trouble makers cannot leave them alone.


Poor pumpkins.

On Friday, our downtown businesses opened up for trick or treating so the little’s got a chance to practice their trick or treating skills…meaning=remembering to say thank you.



My handsome King,                    &                       pretty little lady bug

IMG_4732 IMG_4769

& adorable pirate                                                 

IMG_4730  & cute baseball player(this is my son’s girlfriends son, who I hope is my grandson some day. :)



  They did a wonderful job of using their manners.

They are over the top excited for more candy fun.

Since we rarely buy candy, this is causing them to run in circles & jump on their beds in excitement.

Oh dear.

I am sure they will drive me crazy all day…

Asking, “Is it time to go?” or “Can I have just one piece of candy?”

These little trouble makers sure have a lot of fun making trouble and turning this house upside down.

They think they are so smart with all their little tricks.

They don’t realize that I was once a trouble maker just like them.

I remember when I was a little trouble maker just like them…trick or treating…we wouldn’t leave until it was good and dark…I remember having to do tricks for my candy…I remember how each house would have to guess who we were before they gave us our candy…back then they handed out regular sized candy bars and homemade treats like caramel apples and popcorn balls …we made our costumes instead of buying them at a store…we brought homemade treats our mom’s made to our school Halloween parties…we told ghost stories and had fun getting scared…we weren’t worried about predators or people poisoning our candy…we came home with full brown paper bags and dumped out our candy and stuffed ourselves with our favorite treats.

Those were the days.

Then, for a period of time, I believed Halloween was bad. Oh the shame of letting other tell you what to believe. Thankfully, I learned to think for myself and no longer think it’s bad. Even though I still respect those that do.

Thankfully, we live in a small community that allows us to keep some of those fun traditions from Halloweens past.

Hope you have a wonderful day even if you aren’t participating in Halloween festivities.

Happy Halloween!

Trick or treat!

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori



Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chips aren’t just for playing poker

Starting today I am implementing a new discipline/reward system for the 3 little’s….out of necessity and for the sanity of all the adults that live in this house…or at least for me, who is with them the most these days. :)

Actually, I should say that it’s new to the little’s but it’s something I did way back when my 5, now grown children, were growing up. The thing is it really works and I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to remember it. :)’s the day.

We have poker chips…a different color for each of them, with the Letter to their name written on them. I even have the chips I used for each of my older kids. The little’s happen to think that’s pretty cool.



They will earn chips for good listening and behavior, doing their daily chores such as making their bed, putting clothes away and cleaning up toys, good manners, playing good together and by themselves in their rooms, doing things without being asked, being cooperative, coloring or other type of crafts, reading books, getting physical exercise, helping when asked…basically anything that is positive….and us catching them using positive behavior and making good choices.

Since little man is in school, we will be giving him chips for going to school and choosing good behaviors and staying out of the better choice chair, doing his homework, putting his belongings away, eating his lunch at school,  sharing about school…ect.

All of these things give them many opportunities to earn chips.

These chips will earn them TV, computer or special time away with one of us, such as to the store or farm or doing an activity with us, of their choosing. Down the road it will earn them more opportunities to do things, like go to a friends house or to have a friend over.

They will put their chips in the bucket whenever they want to watch something on TV or a video.



One half hour show or of computer time will cost them 3 chips. A movie will cost 10 chips. Getting to go some place special, like the park or for hot chocolate, will cost 10 chips also. Having pajama day will cost them 20 chips. Believe me, little lady will be happy to do this one, since she fights getting dressed EVERY single day.

Just as they can earn chips by positive things, they can lose chips for negative behaviors. Depending on the greatness of the infraction, they will lose a certain amount of chips.

If they lose all their chips and then have an infraction which requires them to pay me a chip or more, they will have to go to time away or the better choice chair, until they can think of some things they can do to earn more chips. Once they have paid me back, they will be encouraged to think of more ways to earn chips, such as a sincere apology or doing an extra chore or doing something nice for someone. 

After school and nap time today, they each decorated and put their name on their own can. This is what  they will keep their chips in as they earn them.



Even though we mainly let them watch the PBS channel, they don’t really ever just sit while watching and it is educational, I don’t like them watching that much TV. I want them to get physical exercise by playing and reading books and using their imaginations daily.

I also want to lessen the negative behaviors and get them to see the rewards of making good choices. I do not expect them to be perfect behaved children but I do have high expectations for them.

It just seems like with the change of weather and us being inside more, the TV is coming on more often and they have been acting up more towards each other. It seems I or one of the other adults in this house are constantly having to get after at least one of them for negative behaviors or for not doing their chores.

It is no secret that little lady is a handful & a half and right now she is in much need of an attitude adjustment. I’m not kidding. How can one little girl be so darn sweet, funny & cute one minute and so impossible and exasperating the next?

The other night when I was to my wits end with her, I started to think about what I did when my other kids were young…and then the light came on and I remembered how effective this had been for not only nipping the TV watching, but encouraging them to make better choices. But most of all, it kept me from having to get after them every other minute.

I’ve talked to the little’s about the chips and what we are going to do with them, for the past couple of days. Today I dug and found the chips. Hip hip hooray!

I started with the younger 2 this morning. So far they each earned enough to watch one 30 minute show. Their behaviors this morning were much better and I didn’t have to get after them because all I had to do is take a chip away. Little lady had 10 chips and within 15 minutes lost all of them. Ugh! It didn’t take her long to think of ways to earn more chips so I think she has the idea.

Let’s just say she woke up from her nap very determined to earn some more chips. After all, she has been waiting to watch It’s the great pumpkin Charlie Brown, which airs tonight. She is absolutely crazy about Snoopy and is right now at this moment, working very hard to ensure that she has the 6 chips needed for her viewing pleasure.

Wish us luck with this. I am sure we will have to tweak it a bit along the way but at least it’s a start. I really hope it works as well as it did the first time around.

Tell me, what are or were, some of your little tricks to encourage good behaviors in your children?  How do you or did you handle TV watching for your children? Do you or did you have a child that tested your limits often? How did you handle them?

Please share what has worked or is working for you! . I am always looking for new idea’s! Thank you!

Hope your Thursday has been as thrilling as mine has. :)

Until next time, hugs & love, Lori

Monday, October 25, 2010


I have a thing for closets.

When I was  little, I remember hiding in the closet from my father frequently. I was scared to death of him. I would hide in my closet or under my bed and put my hands over my ears in effort to shut out his booming voice.

I felt safe in the closet.

I was told that he loved me and he probably did but he didn’t know how to show it.  Still as a young girl I didn’t understand this. It didn’t feel like love to me.  I always knew he didn’t like me.  I remember wanting him to like me and trying to do things that would make him happy with me.

As long as I can remember he was always angry. Unless he was drinking. Thank God, for the most part he was a happy drunk.

I remember him telling me that I was bad when I was very little.  I never understood what  bad meant but some how I knew that wasn’t good. I just knew that I was a bad kid.

When he was angry he lashed out at us kids. When he was extremely angry he would go into such a rage that I swear caused him to black out because he’d have no memory of doing these things.

To this day, I am sure he doesn’t remember much of what he did.

Thus I learned early on, to hide as soon as I see the signs of his anger. If I was unable to literally hide in my closet, I would mentally go there.

I learned early on to remain silent and to show no emotions. And no matter what happens, never ever fight back.

I learned to disappear and to fade into the background, where I was not noticed.

I also learned that there was no rhyme or reason to his insanity. What made him upset one day would not the next.

I believed as any little girl would, the things my father said to me and that includes the names he called me. Being called a slut or a whore before I even knew what sex was left me confused. Hearing that he never wanted me…another girl, broke my heart. I believed him when he said I was a mistake.

Being called a “retard like your brother” hurt to my core. Seeing him hurt my brother, made me want to literally kill him. I think a large part of me despised him for the way he treated my brother who could not help being “slow” or retarded, as people who were mentally challenged, were once called. With everything in me I hated him for all of this.

I hated that he used God to justify his actions. I hated that I was made to go to church when it seemed like such hypocrisy.

I had an older brother that would preach to me that there was no existence of God, while I did chores with him in the barn, which made perfect sense since I had cried out to God time and time again, and he surely had never answered my cries. 

I hated that he used humiliation and shame to silence all of us around him.

I hated that he was so controlling and thought he was right about everything.

I knew that no matter what I did, it would never be good enough.

I hated that he used his bigness to make me feel so small and insignificant.

I hated that he could act so nice and friendly to strangers and those outside the family. 

The only thing worse then getting “it” was seeing one of my siblings get “it”. I hated watching or listening to it. I hated seeing him and my older brother wrestling, and punching each other, in the middle of the farm yard.

Always wanting to scream “stop it” but doing nothing. Silently hiding away, waiting for it to end.

All I wanted was for him to stop…to just leave if he was so unhappy being our dad.

I used alcohol, smoking, cutting, starvation, sex and drugs to make myself numb and to feel better. 

The very last time that my father ever slapped me was when I was 18, after I had told him that I was pregnant a second time. (My first baby was still born when I was toward the end of my 6th month of pregnancy.) I had been down this road with him before and feared his reaction. Of course he called me a whore. This was also the last time he called me a name like this.

I didn’t expect anything different from him except this time I responded back to him. When he called me a whore, I said to him, “Mom was 17 when she got pregnant and you two were not married, so did that make Mom a whore too?” I probably deserved the slap I got. To this day, it is still worth it.

I’m not sure why, but I never questioned why my Mom did nothing to stop him. I don’t ever remember thinking I could go to her. I think something inside of me knew she had enough and didn’t need to deal with me. As I grew older, I assumed she had learned to keep quiet in order to keep the peace with him.  It was better if she said or did nothing. Yet, for a long time I hated her for this.

I have forgiven my Dad and my Mom. I no longer hate or despise them. They did the best they could with what they knew. I know that their intent was not to hurt me.

I am not real close with them now but I get along with them pretty well. I see them differently now because I understand so much more than I did back then. I realize they have their own sets of hurts and reacted out of them. Yet, I still fear my Dad. And I still doubt that he likes me. 

I no longer justify what my father did or my Mom’s lack of response, but I love them in spite of it. I will not deny that these things had lasting affects on me. I have spent a life time trying to get over them and undo their affects.

 One after another, I sought out men that ended up being replica’s of my Dad. I even married some of them. Being married to or living with the enemy, comes with it’s own price tags.

I stayed in these relationships for as long as I could because it’s what I knew to do and because I ALWAYS thought there was something wrong with me that brought out their meanness. I did everything in my power to do all the right things so that they would be nice.

I kept it a secret from everyone because I was ashamed.

I remember asking my brother, “How do guys like this find me? How do they know I will tolerate their meanness?”

The last time I was in an abusive relationship, I was defending his actions to a counselor and trying to justify his meanness with the fact that he loved me. His response was to get really close to me and look me in the eyes and say, “Of course he loves you and one of these days he is going to love you to death.” These words were the beginning to my waking up from my slumber.

Waking out of my slumber or the cycle of living in abuse was like having part of my body cut off.

I no longer use alcohol, smoking, cutting, starvation, sex or drugs to numb myself or to feel better about my myself or my life.

Taking off my tinted glasses has enabled me to see people and life in a whole new light.

I no longer consider myself a victim. Getting rid of the victim mentality has not only enabled me to take responsibility for my life, it has left me free to choose good people to spend it with.

I am married to my friend instead of my enemy.

I no longer think I deserve meanness or that I bring it out in others.

I am still a work in progress.

I am still working on accepting myself for who I am and seeing myself as others see me.

I still have a hard time being around strong, controlling or angry people. I still find myself struggling with seeking approval and feeling good enough.

There were events that took place and choices I made during this time of my life, that I have never dealt with. They are my dirty little secrets that I keep locked up in my closet.

Someday, I hope to have enough courage to  kick these things out of the closet too.

I believe that our experiences and the events in our lives help shape who we are, so I tell you these things today, not to gain sympathy or to have you feel sorry for me but to have you understand who I am and where I’ve come from.

I know I have come a long ways. I know I have a ways to go.

Still, there is not a day that goes by that I am not completely and absolutely thankful for the life I live now.

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori





Friday, October 22, 2010


I was hanging clothes on the line the other day and as I breathed in the fresh autumn air, I looked at the beauty that surrounded me. I can hardly believe that  it is almost the end of October and I am still hanging clothes to dry on the line outside. This is amazing for Minnesota. If we’re lucky it will last until Halloween. I have no doubt change is a coming and the heat will be getting turned on very soon. I know many have theirs turned on…we are just a little stubborn when it comes to turning on the heat for the first time. Your cold? Put on another sweatshirt. :)

I got some good news recently…more changes are a coming…

I am pretty sure that my youngest son is moving back home from Florida in December. He finished 2 years of college in Northern Florida and then moved to live with my daughter and her family in South Florida, while he waited to get into a police academy. He’s been working full time and waiting to get into school.

The thing is, there is an excellent police school right down the road from us, in a nearby town. Actually it’s suppose to be one of the best schools and kids come from all over to attend it. When he moved away for college he wasn’t planning on going into this field of work but during his second year of school, he decided this is what he wants to do.

We have an apartment in our basement, which my daughter and her son already stay in and there is room for him. I am sure it is hard for him to think of coming back to live with his mom and step dad but I think getting free room and board as long as he is in school and working, sounds pretty good to him right now.

The 3 little rugrats are crazy about him but I am sure they will drive him a little nuts.

He always has the option of getting his own place if peace & quiet are what he wants.

Regardless I will be so happy to have him closer! Is it bad that I am doing the happy dance?

 Now if only I could convince my other kids to move closer. :) I really do want my kids to have their wings and to fly to where ever their hearts desire(and I support them 100%)but I enjoy them so much…and will not lie, I would be happy to see them more often.

The bonus is that he will be bringing his young dog, Riley! We have been talking about getting a puppy but were leaning towards waiting until spring so that we could avoid training a puppy out in the cold white stuff. This means I get out of having to potty train a puppy. Darn.

It will be a big change to have a dog under foot again. Little lady is an animal lover so this might put to rest her persistence in asking for a pet pig.

The little’s and I are super duper excited.  I am told he is a very gentle dog, that is great with kids. After losing my dog Molly of 17 years, a couple of years ago, I have never stopped missing her. She was the sweetest dog ever and thought I could never find a dog as good as her. My son tells me that Riley is as good and sweet as our Molly. We will see. :)

My daughter, the one that lives with us and had been taking care of the little’s got a job, doing something she enjoys, working with mentally challenged adults. I will be caring for her son while she works and she will watch the little’s on one of the days that I am working.

It’s MEA here in Minnesota, so no school for the little’s. Today we are hunting for Halloween costumes. Little man wants to be a king. Little lady wants to be a pig or a flower. Really?

I  am so good at waiting until the last minute to do these kind of things. I wonder if it has anything to do with my dislike of shopping?

I might have to drag my dear daughter (who is smart and got her sons costume weeks ago)along since she is good at shopping and has an abundance of the creative gene.

In preparation for Halloween she has been doing things like this…


…and this…

spiderpumpkin3 spiderpumpkin2

…so that our front steps is looking a little like fall & Halloween…


I hope your Friday is fabulous.

I hope you have a wildly wonderful weekend. Do something you enjoy. Spread some happiness & joy. Laugh. Play.

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Charter for Compassion

The other night I read this post by Kashions Mom, that made me cry. It was about a young boy  that is being called “gay” because of the sneakers and glasses he wears and because he would rather play using his imagination then play football. Very sad. But thankfully he has a mother that listens and that has built up his confidence enough that it doesn’t stop him. She is his safe place to fall.

What about all the kids that don’t have this? What about all those that suffer silently and have no one to tell?

All night long I thought about this. And all the other stories I’ve read this past week about this very subject.

I try to wrap my mind around this whole concept of bullying and meanness and I can’t seem to get it.

I see people living lifestyles I don’t agree with.

Does that give me a right or a reason to hurt them? Does it make me better then them?

Absolutely no & no.

I hear of people bullying against gays and often times in the name of religion or righteousness and I’m left wondering where in the bible it say’s this is okay? I wonder how sad all this meanness must make God and how tired he must be of people using his name to do whatever they want.

Bullying should have no room in schools or playgrounds or work places or on the internet.

How do we get more parents to talk to their kids about these things?

And stand by their talk?

And who talks to the adult bullies?

How do we get this insanity called bullying to stop????

For years, schools have said they are addressing it but it continues.

Hanging up signs in schools that say no bullying or saying they have zero tolerance for bullies is a start but that obviously is not near enough… we the people, have to keep taking the next step…acting on it and not accepting anything less from our children.

We can’t just talk about bullying.

We must have zero tolerance for it in our homes. We have to demand respect for our homes, and from all that live in them, to one another. If we allow our children to express meanness to one another or to us or us to them, how can they know it’s not okay outside of our homes? If we make room for meanness in our homes we give them the message that when we are angry or disagree it is okay to inflict hurt with our fist or our words.

Are we waiting until it’s too late to teach these things to our children? Shouldn’t we be teaching these things to our children before we send them off to school?

Why is it that we put the responsibility off on the teachers or schools to teach this, when these are our children?

Shouldn’t we be teaching our children that hands are for loving not hurting? Teaching them that our voices are not meant for cruelness or attacking but for speaking love and truth.

Whatever happened to teaching our young children to treat others how they want to be treated?

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

We have to build our young one’s up with confidence and self acceptance & respect so that they can build a strong voice from within. One that speaks up in the face of adversity and doesn’t lay down and take it. All before they walk the halls of a school, play on a playground or ride a school bus.

Empowering the children so that the bully’s power will be less and just maybe there would be less of them. And just maybe the teachers could do more of what they desire to do, teach our children, instead of having to deal with the bullies and those they hurt.

Yet, I cannot help but think that something is missing in those that bully.

What is within them that causes them to commit such senseless meanness onto an innocent victim? Meanness comes from somewhere. Someone doesn’t act like this for no reason.

Are they just unaware? Have they not been taught any differently?

Do these kids that bully come from homes in which bullying is allowed? I used to think so but have learned that isn’t always the case.

Do these kids that bully not have someone that loves them enough to help them stop? Or do these parents suffer silently not knowing how to make their child stop?

What is the missing link?

Who helps the bully? Who will reach out to the bully and show them how to stop?

If we do nothing more than point our fingers at the bully’s we resolve nothing.

How do we respond to the bully so that they stop once and for all?

One of my greatest goals as a parent the first time around was teaching my children while they were still young, to be compassionate & tolerant to all people regardless of race, creed, color, gender or sexual preference. This continues to be my goal as I teach my little’s the value of compassion & tolerance.

I fear what may come for little man, with his beautiful brown skin, in our mostly white small rural community. So it becomes even more important to teach all of this to him.

I am teaching him to love & respect himself…which means the color of his skin and everything else that makes up him. Teaching him how to feel confident in himself even if someone tries to destroy it.

Still, I will teach him to have compassion for all people, including the ignorant and those that are blind to the truth.

I have seen this video on 3 other blogs in the last week. Every single time I’ve watched it, it causes my heart to do a somersault.



 What if we the people, learned a better way of handling the bullies in our world?

What if we the people, did more than just talk about it?

What if we the people, started doing this in our homes?

Please take the time to read this post called Tolerance by my daughter Brittany. It touched my heart. Sometimes my kids knock my socks off and this is one of those times. Thank you Brittany.

Please take time to talk to the kids in your life…and to listen to them. Please take time to help them embrace differences, not only in others but themselves.

Please help them to believe in themselves enough that the bullies lose their power. Please show them what it means to tolerate, love and to have compassion for all people.

Please, believe them when they tell you that they are being bullied. Don’t send them back for more until you know they are safe. Please be the soft place for kids to fall or come to.

Please teach your children how to stand up not only for themselves but for others being bullied.

Please, if your child is a bully, get them help and don’t stop until this issue is resolved. Help them. Please don’t say “Boys will be boys.” or “Girls will be girls.” in the face of your child's meanness. That is a lie.

Please, if you see bullying happening don’t look the other way. Instead look it in the eye’s and do something.

Let us be the change and the compassion. It begins with you and me.


Many of you have shared your own horror stories of yourself or your children being bullied. I am so sorry.

Please don’t stop sharing your stories because they need to be heard.

Until next time, hugs & love, Lori




Monday, October 18, 2010

Breaking the Silence

I went to my monthly support group for relative caregivers recently. For 1 1/2 hours we come together for one common purpose, raising our grandchildren or another relatives child and for that short time we feel heard and understood.

We all are pretty isolated in our own lives. Distance, jobs, lack of time and raising little one’s that zap extra energy, keep us from getting together outside of group. I drive 45 minutes to attend and others live in different directions.

Listening to these other grandparents talk about the same issues that we deal with, helps me to realize that we do not walk this road alone. Hearing them express their own guilt, frustrations, hurt,sadness, exhaustion, isolation, worries, and nightmares with adult children is heart breaking yet it leaves me with a better perspective.

Listening to everyone share, reminded me that even though this is becoming more common, many of us still feel isolated and misunderstood. Many of us still hide in shame. 

In 2000, it was estimated that 6.5 million children in the US, or one in 12 children (8%), are living in relative-headed households. Of these, 2.4 million children, or 3.3% of the children in the United States, are living in relatives’ homes without either parent present. That was 10 years ago and I am told these numbers are much higher now.

Many of us are alone and isolated because we don’t know anyone else doing what we are doing in our own communities. Most of don’t have friends that have little one’s.  Most of us struggle with fitting in with people in our own age group because most of them have no desire to have people with little one’s over to their houses, let alone wanting to come over to our homes that are now filled with toys and noise.

People our age are passed needing babysitters, bedtimes or helping with homework. The people with young children, are young and don’t seem to have a desire to hang out with older people like us because they can’t get past the age difference.

Most of us are trying to fit in jobs, keeping up our homes which include cooking, cleaning and laundry, maintaining relationships with our other children and grandchildren, along with this task of caring for little one’s, or young one’s that need help with homework or teenagers that are dating and learning how to drive a car. Balancing all of this at an older age, comes with it’s own set of challenges.

Most of us struggle with our children or step children that have put us in this position. Many of us struggle with resenting them and often times end up being estranged from them. Many of us worry about our children or step children and the choices they continue to make.

We struggle with guilt over where we went wrong. We blame ourselves for the bad choices our children have made because we must have done something wrong right? We compare them to our other children that are living well and have made better choices.

When other people, especially those close to us, talk negatively or put down our children or step children it hurts us. They are still our children.

Many struggle with things being so different from when we raised our own children. Many struggle with feeling badly for their grandchildren so don’t discipline the way we should because they feel sorry for them. Many work hard to make up for the loss these children have experienced and spoil them with giving them everything they want.

Often times we are judged and feel misunderstood. Often times we don’t know how to explain to others why we have our grandchildren. Or why some of our grandchildren now call us Mommy and Daddy.

Some are in their 70’s and 80’s, still working because they need the income to raise their grandchildren. Some are younger like my husband and I are and people assume because we are younger, they are our children by birth.

Many of us struggle financially to keep up. While there is some help, depending on the state you live in, it is not very much. Ironically if we were not related to these children we would get a lot more money to help with their care. The woman that leads this support group told us that grandparents and other relative care givers save the government and it’s tax payers a lot of money by doing what we are doing.

Many of us have ongoing legal battles which drain the savings accounts or any extra money. Daycare costs, and the extra things children need were not things we thought we would be spending our money on at this time in life. 

Yet, most of us are doing it quite willingly because we love our grandchildren and our children that birthed them. We do it because we want to see our grandchildren happy, safe and loved. We do it because we want the very best for them.

Most of us start out raising our grandchildren because we want to help our children and think we will be helping out for a short time. Most of us don’t go into this thinking it will be permanent but often times it is.  Most of us don’t expect that our grandparent role will become one of being Daddy and Mommy but for some of us it does.  

All of these things cause us to be isolated. Sometimes it is easier to hide then to face all the looks or questions or judgment. Sometimes it is just too hard to get our friends and families to understand what we are doing, let alone strangers or acquaintances.

Yet most of us are happy to be doing what we are doing. We choose to do this task willingly in spite of the exhaustion and the sacrifice this means to our lives. We experience the same daily joys and happiness that traditional families experience. We may be older and more tired but we are just as happy.

Doing this balancing act at an older age does come with some benefits. We have wisdom of having parented before so we know a few tricks that newer parents haven’t learned yet. We are a little more relaxed. We know which battles to choose and which to let go. We may be more tired then younger parents but we go into this task with experience.

Most of us never planned on playing the role of parent again. We did not intentionally take our grandchildren away from our children or step children because we wanted to play house.  Most likely it was them manipulating us parents to raise their children, without any rights. The problems come when we choose to stand up to them, because we want some rights to keep our grandchildren's rights to a safe, loving and consistent home. Our children or step children are not victims of us mean grandparents. As much as we may be victimized by our children, the only real victims here are the children.

We have been raising little man and little lady for over 4 years now. That is all of little lady’s life and most of little man’s. My step daughter is the one that choose this. She is the one that handed them to us, after we had already been caring for them 90% of the time. She is the one that claimed she never wanted to be a mother. She is the one that flew away to another state to get her life together and to do so gave us custody. To only turn around and fight us in court again. Thankfully, here in Minnesota, judges rule in favor of grandparents and other relative caregivers, when it’s in the best interest of the children.

One of the worst feelings in the world is fighting your own child or step child in court over the best interest of your grandchildren.

We have full custody of them and that will not change unless we choose to hand them back to her. My step daughter has a list of things that must happen before she has custody and so far she has done none of them. If she decided to take us back to court to get custody, she would have a hard time finding a judge here in Minnesota, that would change it. In Minnesota, once custody is established and been maintained over time, unless a good cause against us relative caregivers can be proven to change it, judges won’t change it.  

We do not bad mouth my step daughter, nor do we keep her from them. We have pictures up of her in our home. We do not allow her in our home at this time because of the negative affects it has had on the little’s due to her behavior in the past. At this time she has supervised visits with them, away from our home, but they are not frequent.

As angry as she can make me, I still credit her for loving them enough to hand them over to people she knew would love and care for them.

The hardest thing in dealing with my step daughter is her victim mentality. No matter what happens or gets said, she thinks everything is against her. She takes responsibility for nothing. The next hardest is her “It’s all about me.” thought process. While most people, when they become parents change this, she didn’t. When we become parents it becomes about the innocent little one’s needs. She has struggled to understand this concept.

For all those that wonder, we did as much as we possibly could to help her to succeed as a Mommy. We encouraged and supported her. I knew even before I married her father, that something was wrong. I denied that feeling inside of me. When she gave birth to little lady she showed no emotions or bond with her. When it only got worse and not any better, I tried to believe it would get better. Obviously it didn’t.  

At this point, since they have been with us for so long, it is very unlikely that we will hand them back to her. After the last time in which we allowed her to take them without supervision(over a year ago), they came back to us emotionally hurting. She said many inappropriate things to them but one of the things she told them was that she was going to do the things she needed to do and get them back from us.  (Which would have been fine and dandy if she actually meant it and did something about it but she didn’t.)  Little man cried every night for weeks after she said this to them. Saying things like, “I don’t want to leave my Mommy and Daddy.” And “I’m scared I’m going to have to leave you.”

They have bonded with us completely. They started calling us Mommy and Daddy a couple of years ago but they also know we are their grandparents. After consulting with a counselor about this issue, she helped me to see how important and healthy it is for little children to have a Mommy and a Daddy.

They know their birth Mommy whom they call the “other Mommy”. We are what they know. This home is what they know as home. We are committed to doing this long term because at this point we worry that losing the only home and family they really know, would have negative affects on them.

I will not lie. I had hoped and prayed that she would have done all the right things and gotten them back by now. We did not need two more kids but two kids surely needed us.

Two kids that needed a Mommy and a Daddy to fall completely in love with them and give them the safe, happy and healthy home they deserve.

Now that we’ve completely fallen in love with them, it makes it all harder and more complicated. The longer they have been with us, they have become our children. Yet, it is all about them, not their birth Mommy and not about us.

We will continue to fight for the little’s and make the best possible decisions for their best interest. If my step daughter were to get her life together at some point in the future, we will likely consult with a professional to figure out what would be the best for the little’s. If she never gets her life together we are committed to being Daddy and Mommy for the long haul.

This has been a painful yet joyful journey that we have taken on with all of our hearts. Just as many other grandparent’s, aunts, uncles and even cousins are taking, in every community and state across our country. To those of you that live outside of the United States, is this an issue where you live?

My hope is that more people could be educated about this subject and reach out positively to those that have taken on this role. It is a lonely road to travel and your words of encouragement or acts of support would mean a lot to those in this position.

Thank you for reading this long post about a subject very sensitive to my heart.  I am trying to break the silence so that those of us that hide in shame can stop being so isolated and lonely.

As always, thank you for listening.

Hope your Monday is marvelous.

Until next time, hugs & love, Lori












Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Funnies

The main thing in one’s own private world is to try to laugh as much as you cry.  Maya Angelou

All 3 of the little’s make me laugh with their antics but it is no secret that little lady is especially funny and has a way of not only cracking me up but anyone within ear shot of her.

Especially this 3 year old little boy…her partner in crime…


His laughter is so contagious that you can’t help but laugh with him.

Last week I was going through old photo’s for a picture board I was making for my brothers party. I came across one of my husband and I at our wedding. I showed it to little lady and said “Look, here’s a picture of when I got married to someone I really love.” She asks “To Daddy?” I said, “Yep, This is when Daddy was totally crazy about me.” To which she quickly exclaimed, “ Now I know why Daddy acts so crazy all the time!”

This past Monday evening I tried to talk my husband into going with little lady to her parent child class so that I could stay home and watch the football game.

Little lady would not hear of it so off we went to school.

When we arrived at her classroom, the teachers greeted us and asked her how she was doing to which she said, “Mommy didn’t want to come with me… (Oh dear lord)…She wanted to stay home and watch the Vikings. She tried to get Daddy to come with me but I said, no way.” They thought this was quite funny.

They asked her if she liked the Vikings too and she says loudly, “Of course I do!” Then she turns to me and say’s, “We need to go back home so I can put my Vikings jersey on….we forgot to put my jersey on since it’s Viking day.” I told her, “If we go back home I’m staying home and watching the game.”

A short time later, we were sitting in circle time and the teacher was explaining what we were suppose to do at each of the stations. Little lady turns to me and say’s loudly, “Are you paying attention to what she’s saying so you know what your doing this time?” (Yep I’ve made a few booboo’s and she’s called me on them. And yes I was paying attention…I just have a short memory :)

A while later, one of the little boys exclaims to one of the teachers, “I got to ride in Daddy’s big truck to school tonight!” In response, Little lady shouts, “I rode in my Mommy’s swagger wagon to school!”(Thank you dear daughter for teaching the little’s to call our van the swagger wagon.)

A couple of evenings ago, I thought I would try using the heating pad on my neck while I relaxed in the chair. Little lady came to sit on my lap and seeing the heating pad on my neck, she laughs and screams, “Silly Mommy what are you doing with the yogurt maker on your neck?”(I use the heating pad to incubate yogurt and here she thought that was it’s only purpose.) She thought it was pretty hilarious that I would put a yogurt maker on my neck.

Earlier this week, little lady over heard me telling someone that I cannot wait until I can start working out and diet. I found her in her room, laying on her bed, upset. I asked her what was wrong to which she says, “ I don’t want you to die from working out.” She thought I had said, “I can’t wait to work out and die.” (Which is pretty much going to be the case with how bad of shape I am in right now.)

Aren’t these 3 of the cutest trouble makers you’ve ever seen?



Sometimes their trouble making drives me crazy and makes me want to pull out my hair.

But honestly, most of the time sometimes I can’t even look at them without breaking into a smile or laughter.

The longer I am a mother the more I realize the importance of keeping a sense of humor for the sake of sanity. Theirs & mine.

Happy Friday. I hope you have a fabulously fantastic Friday.

I hope this weekend is one with opportunities for refreshment, relaxation, doing something you enjoy and laughter.

Always laughter.

Spread the laughter around.

Laugh with those you love.

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pure Sweetness

We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends and living our lives.
Maya Angelou

I cannot help but smile at these sweet little faces that are growing up way too fast.
Jordan at park with Judie #2

I love their little expressions.

Nevaeh at park with judie #2

I love how their smiles come from within.


I love when their fun is captured…

Jordan at park with Judie

…so that years from now they can remember the fun that was had…

nevaeh going down slide 2

…when they were  young and carefree…

…and playing was expected of them.

I love these moments when they are so caught up in whatever they are doing, that they are completely unaware that they are being captured…
Jordan and Nevaeh at Jim and Kay's

…in all their pure sweetness.


The sweetness…smiles… laughter… hugs & kisses…the absolute priceless things they say…seeing how happy they are…makes our lives being interrupted by them, totally worth the ride.

Hope your Thursday is terrific!

Until next time, hugs & love, Lori

Monday, October 11, 2010

Taking Care

Thank you for all your kind words in my last post in regards to my health.

In answer to the questions about my injury…I was brutally attacked 8 years ago, by one of my clients at a group home that I worked at. It has left me with a permanent skull and neck injury and PTSD. Because of ongoing medical issues, I have to battle work comp in order to get the treatments the doctors recommend, so I have a lawyer to help me with it.

One week ago the doctor treating me for my injury, lowered my workability hours and sent me home with instructions to start taking care of myself.  He echoed what the doctor treating me for my thyroid had said to me months ago. “You need to learn how to take care of yourself.”

When I told the woman I care for that I couldn’t work as much, her response had been, “I’ve been telling you for months that you are not taking care of yourself.”

It’s not that I haven’t tried taking care of myself. In my mind, I have been taking care of myself to some extent. In reality with kids, work and a home it’s pretty hard to fit in “taking care of myself” time.


Remember my writing about my special needs brother that got bullied through out school?

He is very special to me.

jerry and lori

He turns 50 in a couple of days so we had a surprise birthday party for him this past Saturday.

Since he and I have been close through out our lives I couldn’t help but plan a surprise party for him.

Yes, I am well aware that this is a lot of work for someone that is not feeling good and suppose to be taking care of herself.

But he is like a big kid and loves his birthday.

So along with all of my siblings we planned a party to be held at our old stomping grounds, at the only tavern, in the very small town we grew up by.

He is really into sports so we planned a party that would include his favorite sports teams(who of course are mine to0).

I offered to make his birthday cake so decided to do his sports theme with cupcakes and cookies.

Once again, I knew this would be a lot of work but I have this tendency to volunteer to do these kinds of things out of my heart and not with my head.  

Little lady and I baked lots of cupcakes and cookies all day. And spent the next one finishing and building cupcake stands.

Of course I convinced my very talented and creative daughter to help me with decorating them and making some signs for the party.

She did a fabulous job of helping me.

The party was a great success. We had a great turnout in spite of it being a busy time of year.

Most importantly he was completely surprised.


He smiled from ear to ear.

He loved his birthday cupcakes.




…And cookies…


I had to push myself to get it all done and it was exhausting but seeing the smile on his face and hearing him say how much he loved his cake and cookies was well worth it and honestly, I would do it all over again in a heart beat.

Because I love him.

Last week I kept saying, “I just want to get through his party and then I am going to take this order to start taking care of myself seriously.

So here I am. It’s Monday and the start of my resolve to taking better care of myself. The thing is, I really don’t know how.

Isn’t that silly? I thought I did but I am finding that I really don’t know how to take care of me. I know all about taking care of other people. It’s part of my nature to do so.

So tell me, how do you take care of yourself?

Tell me, how do I take care of myself? Without feeling lazy or like a horrible wife and mother? How do I stop doing?

How do I rest when I have little one’s and a house that needs cleaning?

Even though I don’t feel good, am in lots of pain, am exhausted and my thyroid literally hurts, it feels like I should be doing something more than what I’m doing…which is pretty much nothing….and I feel guilty as hell right now.

You would think that my feeling like this would make it easy to just rest and take it easy. It’s not.

I need to learn this lesson of self care.

Please share your wisdom with me.

Hopefully, in all this doing “nothing” I will have a chance to stop by your place soon. I miss you!

Until next time, hugs & love, Lori


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Casting all of my cares

I went to bed last night with a heavy heart.

I seen my neck & skull injury doctor yesterday morning and he has reduced my hours of working to 2 seven hour days. He is also recommending an intense therapy for my skull & neck.

The part of me that is exhausted from the high levels of pain I’ve been in  welcomes this news.

The part of me that is continuing to feel sick from my thyroid welcomes the idea of working away from home less.

A part of me is just too plain exhausted to care about anything.

Yet the knowledge of how this affects the woman I care for, our finances, and my daughter who had been caring for the little’s up until now, is breaking my heart and causing me to worry.

I feel guilty. I feel like I am letting everyone down.

I also know that all of this will come at a price. Losing hours of work and getting more treatments means more court hearings and facing the lawyer from hell. This means replaying the attack over and over in front of judges. All of this causes my nightmares to be worse.

All of this feels like one big battle.

I wonder if I am up for more?

It helps that the woman I care for is very understanding and empathetic and that she will always be my friend.

It helps that I have a husband that is super supportive and thinks that my staying home more might help me heal.

It helps that the little’s think that my being home more is super  good news.

It helps that I have supportive doctors that are willing to fight for me.

It helps that we were already considering me staying home once my daughter found a job.

It’s just that we thought I would do some kind of work from home that would bring a little bit of an income. Instead we will have to table that idea until I am feeling better.

I just know that I cannot keep feeling like this. I know that I cannot keep up my Mommy duties if I am not well.

If I am truly honest with you, I would tell you that I am afraid, sad, anxious and ready to lose it.

Yet life goes on and as hard as it is to smile and see things in a positive way through the eye’s of pain, I must.

I am trying to focus on the good things that fill up my day.

I am trying to cast all of my cares upon Him.

I am reminding myself that this is just a season…that I hope passes quickly. :)

This is just a speck of a much bigger picture.

If I stop and look back at the past 48 years of my life, I am reminded that around every obstacle awaits a blessing.

Even though I am not feeling the best, we have been blessed with another beautiful fall day here in Minnesota, so I am headed out to just enjoy it.

Hope your Tuesday has been terrific. I hope it is filled up with good things that make you smile.

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Difference Makers

I hadn’t planned on posting today but in light of my last post on bullying I had to share this with you.

While I was looking for photo’s of my brother(the one I wrote about in my last post)to use for a surprise birthday party we are having for him next weekend, I came across a poem written and used by my daughter during high school, in her campaign against bullying.

Bless her big beautiful tender heart.

I am so thankful I saved it.

I don’t think it was a coincidence that I found it today.

With tears I share her young words with you.


Someone among you cried themselves to sleep.

They paid that price on someone’s expense and I promise it wasn’t cheap.

Maybe it wasn’t you, but you watched and smiled and did not say a word.

But you said a lot with words that others may not have heard.

But that “someone” noticed and it hurt a lot.

As all those tears inside of them they may have fought.

They prayed that you would say something to make it all go away.

But you did not do that; those words could have been easy to say.

Why didn’t you just tell them to stop and that’s enough?

Were you just scared or did you just want to seem tough?

But you’re not better than the one who said it all.

So next time that you see it, will you stand up tall?

To maybe stop those tears that did not have to fall.

Because it only takes one person to put up a fight.

Than that someone won’t have to hurt and cry when they should be asleep at night.

You can do this by joining my group that I call S. T. O. P.

Because to all of those “someone's” it would really mean a lot.


Her words make me cry for all those that know this hurt all too well…for those that cry themselves to sleep at night because of meanness.

I cried as I read your comments to my last post. I cried for all of you,  your children or loved ones that know this pain. I am so sorry.

I pause in silence and prayer as I think of the families suffering in grief over the loss of a loved one, due to their committing suicide over being bullied. I cry for them. 

My daughters simple words, written some years ago, speak volumes and make me very proud…very proud of her many efforts to make a difference.

I am absolutely positive that she touched her peers lives with her efforts.

She is a difference maker.

And it makes me think of my other children who are just like her, even if they don’t articulate it in the same manner as her…they are difference makers nonetheless.

Here’s to all the difference makers in our world. Here’s to putting a stop to this hideous crime of bullying…in all shapes and forms.

Here’s to each one of us being a difference maker by standing up to the bullies and for those being bullied, and teaching it to our children, grandchildren, and any children we know,  so that, in my daughters words, “…that someone won’t have to hurt and cry when they should be asleep at night.”

Hope you and yours are having a nice day doing something that puts a smile on your face.

Until next time, love and hugs, Lori



Friday, October 1, 2010

Zero Tolerance

I stayed home today to ice my neck and try to get some much needed rest due to my thyroid raising havoc on this old body of mine. While I waited for my coffee to brew I read a few blogs and came across this post at and also seen this video about bullying.  I cried.

Most of the time when I visit Jessica’s blog I laugh because she is hysterical but thankfully she took a break from being funny in order to share her personal story with her readers.

This is a topic that I am especially sensitive about. It is a topic that gets me worked up and brings me to tears.

Just ask any of the 7 people that call me Mom or Mommy and they will tell you that I have zero tolerance for bullying in any shape or form. I even go as far as saying that if you stand by and watch silently while someone else is being bullied then you are just as guilty as the bully.

My children know that if they were to bully or stood silently by and watched that they have my wrath to fear.

The main reason for my feelings is that I grew up with a brother that is mentally challenged because of having meningitis as a young child. So even though he may look “normal” he is challenged in the way of learning. Don’t get me wrong he is very smart in many ways, just not down on paper or in tests. He is 2 years older than me and my parents put him through school with me so that I could look out for him.

In the early years, he went to special education classes with other kids that had challenges. This was great but on the playground and lunchroom he was bullied, teased and called names.

Then in high school, they came up with this great idea of mainstreaming the special ed kids in with the regular kids. Do you have any idea of the pure hell this opened up for my brother and the kids like him? 

They took his money. They took his books away. They pushed him and hit him and  called him retard and other demeaning names. They ripped his clothes. They stole his jackets. If he had a snack they took it.  They took his food at lunch time. They tried to get him to fight. And sometimes he did. Of course he was the one that got into trouble. They taunted him until he swore. Of course he was the one that got into trouble.

This was the case for my brother and all the kids like him.

As hard as I tried to be there 24/7 for him…to protect him, I couldn’t. If he got hurt, had something stolen from him or got in trouble for defending himself, and I wasn’t there to help him, I felt guilty.

People that I thought were my friends stood by and watched him be bullied. They did nothing.

The thing is neither did the teachers or administration.

No matter how many fights I got in over defending him and these other innocent victims, the school turned a blind eye to it.

It wasn’t just the special ed kids getting bullied. It was the over weight, the kids that wore glasses or had braces, the kids that didn’t wear the best clothes or have nice things, the kids smaller in size, the shy kids, anyone that was different or anyone that the bullies seen fit to pick on.

All of them victims of bullies.

Bullies that got away with their nasty behavior. And schools who turned a blind eye because these bullies were jocks, did well academically or come from prominent families in their communities.

This was all over 30 years ago and sadly it hasn’t changed all that much.

Except now we have kids with cell phones and computers so we can add cyber bullying and texting to the bullies arsenal.


When will we as a country wake the hell up to the crisis of bullying?

Putting signs up around the school saying “Zero tolerance for bullying” and teaching it to students is NOT enough. It has to be backed up. There has to be severe consequences for any type of bullying. The victims need to have their voices heard and believed. Parents of bullies need to be aware and do something about their child.

When will enough be enough?

I could tell you about my nephew who was attacked in his school gymnasium during the lunch hour. He was kicked until he was unconscious. These boys were charged with a crime but in the end all that happened to them was a little slap on the hands by the judge. The parents in a uproar because their precious boys who were the town jocks, did well in school and came from prominent families, were in trouble and wouldn’t get to play in their sports events. Insanity.

A bully is a bully even if he or she comes from an upstanding family or is the top player on the team or one of the smartest kids in the class.

I could tell you of other stories with equal insanity to them.

My daughter did a project in high school about anti bullying and I was blown away by the statistics of young people that commit suicide over being  bullied. She worked hard to educate the people of our community and yet much of it fell on deaf ears.

This brings me back to the start of my post and why I find it so important to drill this into my children. All children.

I have read numerous posts just this week about children being bullied and the affects it had on them.

We must break the silence.

Thankfully people like Ellen are speaking out and exposing this ugly crime.

Like Ellen say’s this is a crisis in our country. We need to stop this insanity. Bullies need to be stopped NOW. No one deserves to be teased, taunted or made fun of. No one deserves to be pushed around, punched or kicked. No one deserves to have their life made miserable by bullies.

Growing up and going to school is hard enough.

Lets break the silence people. It’s time to stop the bullies. It’s time to talk to our kids about not being the bully or silently standing by. It’s time to listen to the victims. Let’s hear their cries & stop these senseless acts of crime from happening.

The time is NOW!

That’s my rant for the day…I’m off to rest awhile and hoping to stop by your places later…see ya later alligators!

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori