Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Rounding Out Our Family Adventure Trip - What A Whirlwind of a Blast!!!

Yes, I am late on posting the last of the my journals for the last of our Family Adventure Trip. Things have been busy and trying to get everyone everywhere and make sure we get everything we can do in the last bit of time we have. I am one tired person. Not really feeling so great but keeping it all together. Smile I always say, remember to take one minute at a time.

I am also not going to say it was easy travels. Especially travelling with children who are on the spectrum or have special needs or with me who does not always feel the best. We have had some issues here and there, but I will say one thing I do not let any of it define who we are, any of us. I did not let my CRPS/RSD define me and I will not let any disability or need define my children. I want them to experience things just like anyone else. It may not be easy at times, it may take extra work, things may need some redirection or thinking outside the box but that is life because in a nutshell, what is normal to anyone’s definition?

So I am finishing in one fell swoop. As we woke up on Day Five, we were blessed with the gorgeous sun shinning. No Rain! So excited that I tried to extend our trip on the Island but there was some issues with the airline so we ended up keeping our existing reservations. Funny that it worked out in the end because the next day the sky was not so sunny and beautiful, it was back to the rain and overcast skies. Goes to show you my theory things happen for a reason.

However with the hot gorgeous sun shining in full glory, the big kids took to the beach and spent some time on their own while my husband and I took the Little's to the sand beach pool for the day. Some down time for everyone especially when were going to our rescheduled Luau for the evening. Getting everyone out the door at a specific time and making sure all are dressed for the occasion is not such an easy task. But we did it and made it to the Luau.

I Love my family. My Crazy Big Family! - Though the family got the nickname of "The Tribe" while we were on the Island - Rather fitting for our Stay!

We are a big little group (tribe) and it is no easy task going anywhere but we do it together. Attending the luau was a great experience, my little girls danced and watched as the music and dancers performed. The boys watch with big eyes as the fire dance was done like it was second nature. I would recommend the experience to anyone, if you have not been to a Luau. If you have an opportunity to attend, make sure you make the experience. The Show, The Food, The Teachings and The Overall Welcoming of the People we encountered! You will not regret it!

Nobody wants a vacation to come to an end but sometimes I think you need a vacation from the vacation. I am not looking forward to putting away the several bags of luggage but it is what it is...I am sure a couple of days of waiting will not hurt anyone. Right? Waiting too long and the clothes might not ever get put away….maybe if I sprinkle pixie dust I might get lucky...Kidding! Nevertheless, making the most of our last day, packing and shopping, we took time to have breakfast as family at the resorts Bistro Restaurant with the company of a new acquaintance "Rip". Like I said previously, we were blessed with meeting some amazing people!
Aloha and Mahalo

As we come up on the end of our family adventure trip, watching from the sky on our way back to our Home, I am thankful beyond belief for the time that I was given with my big crazy family (tribe), that we were granted and blessed with safe travels and all the memories we made together. I look forward to many more get-a-ways, whether short or long, anytime together is worth it. As I always say, yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not promised and all we have is right now. So make every minute count by loving, laughing, crying, smiling and never stop being a family! GOD BLESS

“Love your family. Spend time, be kind & serve one another. Make no room for regrets. Tomorrow is not promised & today is short.” - Unknown

Until Next Time...Make It A Great Day!

Visit me on Facebook - Black And Red: The Daily Mix of Life

A Day into Our Family Adventure though Almost Missed a Majestic Scene

With day four of our of family adventure to an end and our day starting out late, I can definitely say we saw spectacular views of the Big Island. Though we were going back and forth on staying around the resort due to time, needless to say, we took the chance. We all decided to make the two hour drive to the other side of the island. So very happy that we made the decision to do so.

Driving to our designation, seeing the pristine beauty of the environment, just absolutely breathtaking. Though the weather was not sunny, something about the rain, animals along the roadside and fog had its own way of pure essence then there was the Little's asking many times over when are we going to get there. Classic road trip. During the drive I found as we passed two cemeteries along the way, there was a sense of nostalgia of holiness in the air as you passed the land. The little hairs on the back on my neck and arms stood up. Blessings to those who are buried at those cemeteries; may you rest in peace.

Finally,  as we approached the Hawaii Volcano National Park, the rain decided to downpour, my husband and I both said should we even go in as we are going to get drench. Was it worth paying to see if we were not going to get out of the cars? There was just that little something inside the pit of my stomach that said you have come this far, do not turn back now. Knowing there was a visitor center and the museum, we chanced it. Boy I am so glad we did.

Visitor Center not so much to see but driving back in to the park to the look-out point and the parks museum; there is no words to describe. The rain stopped for all of us to get out and see the active volcano. Honestly I do not think if the sun was shining would we have been able to see the full effects. Active lava, steam all around and hearing the rumbles as we all looked in awe. Like I said no words to really explain.

Upon us leaving to return back to the resort, we all listened to the Little’s converse on how the “laga” their word for hot lava was going to explode and flow on all of us and our cars. So awesome to hear what comes out of the mouths of Little's...their conversation and the “laga” was the center of attention for most of the night. To see the wonder in their eyes and on their faces, makes this trip more priceless. We have made many memories but when they speak among themselves (big and little) about the experiences that they have encountered makes it worth it thousand times over. For that I am one Happy, Blessed, Grateful, Humbled Mother and Wife! GOD BLESS

“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.” ― Walt Streightiff

Until Next Time...Make It A Great Day!

Visit me on Facebook - Black And Red: The Daily Mix of Life

Send a Tweet Julie@ACrazyBigFamily

Saturday, December 10, 2016

And The Family Adventure Continues...Zipline

Waking up today, day three of our family adventure, the weather was warm though raining. The atmosphere was calm. Surprising, right? I have to admit, the time change has played a part which I did not think it would. It is backwards here, two hours. Now I am feeling like I am starting to play catch up everywhere, well really everyone is. I bet, when we when fully adjust to the time change here it will be time to return home to our normal time zone. Funny how that works.

Anyhow, yes we are about half way through the trip and today is also my hubby's birthday it was to be a busy day of adventures. I did a bit of overbooking with a zipline adventure and a luau but it all seem to work out as the luau was rescheduled for Sunday. Weather issues!

As I am not able to zipline, I stayed back to watch with the baby and our two year old; everyone else was set to go on the zipline at Umauma Falls. Wow, what an experience! Even for me who was not zip lining. My family, the seven who were signed up for ziplining including the little's, received an amazing experience of nine ziplines. I was able to watch as I was graced by being driven around from the Operations Manager from Umauma Falls...we definitely got the VIP treatment today! I would have never been able to walk the falls or the grounds for the matter. So today was so much better than I could have ever expected. We met some amazing people, seen some spectacular views of God's creations and learned so much about the island!

A Huge THANKS and Shout Out to the Umaume Falls Guides who took care of my big and little's on the ziplines and the staff who were all completely welcoming and wonderful. 

Here is the beauty in the ziplines and fun that I was able to see first hand...there are some crazy lines. With my VIP tour, (lol), I was able to watch everyone zip but then I watched one of little's go from guide to no guide that boy is fearless. To my big kids, you all did awesome, upside, sideways, every way down the line but smiles never ending! By the way thank you for getting the spider out of my hair. That would have been a not so fun experience later.

After all said and done, on our way back to the resort, we stopped off at a local pizza place Underground Pizza. Have to say, Great Pizza. People coming and going, phone never stopped ringing and just two gentlemen holding down the fort. Our family took up the entire corner of the restaurant. While sitting there, we spoke with a local family briefly sitting next to us. What I found really awesome was the owners knew everyone's first names and some orders by memory to boot, now that is customer service. Great way to end our exciting day of ziplining! Good Night and God Bless.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

Until Next Time...Make It A Great Day!

Visit me on Facebook - Black And Red: The Daily Mix of Life
Send a Tweet Julie@ACrazyBigFamily

Friday, December 9, 2016

Our Family Trip Adventure...It is Finally Here!

I am taking a well deserved minute to sit here an enjoy a view that is beyond beautiful. Sitting here, I thought I would take this minute and share. While enjoying the view and the serene beauty of this island; in the distance of our suite, I hear the pitter-patter of little feet, water crashing from the resort's pool water fall and the wind rustling in the palm frawn's. This share is coming from our family trip adventure. This big field trip adventure, our vacation, is finally here and it feels surreal.

One that I am completely humbled by. I am grateful that my husband actually took the time off from work, I am grateful, we have the way and means to plan and save (quit awhile) to take this adventure and last but not least I am
trying to figure out how to enjoy and savor every minute of the time especially having ten of us all together.

Thus, meaning not everyone is on the same schedule, not everyone is wanting to do the same thing, not everyone is wanting eat or some want to eat all day, some want to go to this excursion while some want to just hang out on beach or better yet trying to get some out of bed is a task!

Nevertheless, my husband and I have all of our children (except our eldest) along with our nephew together and for that this family trip adventure is truly priceless.

So here is a breakdown of Our Family Trip Adventure...about nine months ago the planning started. Before I knew it the thirty day count down was on, then the thoughts of the unknown started, especially listening and reading to all the horror stories of travelling with little's but here we are, WE MADE IT without little incident!!!

Bringing me back to how I used plan trips before my crazy big family as well my accident, yes it took planning but this family trip took work. Boy, I am tired, my CRPS/RSD is not happy and I can honestly can say all the steps to get here has taken a toll on me. However, I cannot change my disability, my pain is not magically disappearing, I cannot change my situation but what I can say is that I make sacrifices for my family; making this family trip adventure no stone left un-turned. I had no sleep for forty eight hours leading up to getting on the plane, my knee in it full color of purple with hues of red and burning like I cannot explain.

Then to think we almost missed our flights because I read the flight information wrong, thank goodness check in was a day before otherwise who knows what would have happened. Regardless, we were off to the airport really early. I have to say after all a day of flying THE KIDS WERE AWESOME, no horror air flight stories here... it was really nice to finally arrive to our tropical destination.

Plus, I do have to say, everyone we encountered has been super nice. An extra shout out to our rental car associate, she was super awesome. She handwrote us a map with all the cool local spots. Leaving the rental car place with many great spots to Visit, Eat and Big Hug, 
Day One, Success....Mahalo! 

With Day two coming to end, I share this these memories as wonderful as they are. Encounters of laughter, along with new experiences that have brought smiles to all of our faces. With many things planned in a short period of time, some things may or may not get done, whatever the outcome, memories and special moments are being made. I am soaking it all in even going out of my comfort of zone of the beach (if you do not know, sand is not my friend) but today our experience the black sand beach was a fascinating. We found rocks and shells you just do not find in California and to see all the different Lava Rock formations, just so Cool!

Now off to dinner, one thing, the food experience is unbelievable. Sometimes I think when there is too many choices makes the the choosing more difficult but not complaining here. By the way, our resort has wildlife friends, free roaming cats and goats, the kids, love them it, they are trying to name all of them, well see how that works.

Stayed tuned for tomorrow's adventures of Day Three...Good Night and God Bless

“Life's short. Eat dessert first, work less and vacation MORE!!”  Lea Mishell

Until Next Time...Make It A Great Day!

Visit me on Facebook - Black And Red: The Daily Mix of Life
Send a Tweet Julie@ACrazyBigFamily

Saturday, November 19, 2016

New Journey of Wedding Bliss

Today is a very special day as today would have been my parents forty-eighth wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! However, today is a day that has been on my mind for a while. Truly, it is not just remembering my parents anniversary or start over a year and half ago when my first born son proposed to his high school sweetheart. This day has always sat in the back of my mind on the shelf of my thinking who would take my place and love my son as much as I. Today, he is getting married to his love, his high school sweetheart, the young woman who has loved him through thick and thin and who continues to walk with him through the good and bad.

I may not have not gotten to see their relationship blossom with the estrangement that we have had but we are taking the steps to figure that out on moving ahead one day at a time; right now, I am good with that. Knowing my son, he does not do anything without going all in. So today, our family whether we have been estranged a time or not, we are gaining a daughter, a sister and more importantly an extended family. As one thing I know my son it not just marrying his love and vice versa he is marrying all of her and that includes family.

I do not know if it was different an era ago but my Mother called my Father's mother, Mom but I was not afforded that with my mother-in-law and neither were my sister-in-law's with my husband's Mother. I did some research before writing this post and it appears it is not that common as it was. Is the word Mother/Mom/ Mama so sacred? Though I do not have any expectations of any of my children's spouses or significant others calling me, Mom, Mama or Mother, I do want them to feel like home in our house just as our children do. To know they have a place to come if need be.

I will be always be there no matter what, if needed, standing on the sidelines watching their relationship grow. Listening to my son in time of need, moving in the direction to repair our relationship together and as a family. Nevertheless, my son's new wife is taking a special place today, though he will always be our first born, she is the "new Mrs.'s", carrying our name. It is her turn to love him like no other, to pray and walk the path that God has set forth, to cry and laugh, to listen and communicate and to protect him, watch over him and tell him all will be okay. My part as a Mother and Mother-in-Law is to love them both unconditionally and be there always. To support their relationship and to pray for success. To watch their journey of life together unfold. To be a babysitter and spoil the little ones they bring into the world when the time comes (hopefully not for a few years - enjoy your newlywed stage for a while. Truly I can say I am scared of losing my son but honestly he was raised to open his wings and fly. He is doing just that with her right by his side. I know in my heart Life will still be a roller coaster ride, with the ups and downs but all will continue to work with love, tears, smiles, communication, the act of listening and the support of family, All family. Today I am forever grateful to be a Mother and now a Mother-in-Law!

Congratulations, to my son and his love - Chase and Kylie

With Much Love ... GOD BLESS

Until Next Time...Make It A Great Day!

Visit me on Facebook - Black And Red: The Daily Mix of Life
Send a Tweet Julie@ACrazyBigFamily

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Tribute to Our "Red-Heads"

In our Family, we have three that get to celebrate today as it is National Red Head Day, November 5, 2016.
Our Little who we always say is a ball of spit fire, I say is it the red hair or is it just him. A little bit of both, I will say! Nevertheless, having red hair and stunning blue eyes, the sun is not his friend along with many other things that he comes in contact with. Never mind the high pain tolerance he exhibits and his uncanny way of doing things. He is on the Autism Spectrum. He have a love for everything which is great but not so great at times. Those not so great times gets him in trouble because he knows no boundaries; personal or safety. He definitely gives us a run for our money...love you little one to the Moon and Back! Happy National Red Head Day!

My Late Mother...there was not a day that did not go by that I did not see my late Mother with Red Hair. I say that as with as many times we have the opportunity to make changes at the hair stylist. She never strayed from her natural hair color, RED! She stayed true to herself and kept to the Red! She ROCKED It! With her piercing blue eyes and fair skin color, sun was not her friend either but she was always a trooper when it came to outside activities with her kids when we were little or when she became a "Grammie" she just rolled up her pants and lathered on the sunscreen and found the shade. I miss her every moment but I know she is right here with me and all the Kiddos. Love you Mom, always and forever! Happy National Red Head Day!
To My Husbands Aunt who has been a Free Spirit and A Peace Keeper in the Family. You have been a great wealth of wisdom and guidance for spirituality Always keeping your head held high. Love you Always! Happy National Red Head Day!
Happy National Red Head Day to Our Gingers and To All The Reds Across the World! Today is Your Day, November 5, 2016. Fact is the Holiday was started by two redheaded sisters who wanted to help other gingers embrace and love their fiery locks.
To help celebrate, here are nine fun facts about redheads:
  1. The highest concentration of redheads is in Scotland (13%) followed by Ireland (10%). Worldwide, only 2% of the population has red hair.
  2. People with red hair are likely more sensitive to pain. This is because the gene mutation (MC1R) that causes red hair is on the same gene linked to pain receptors. It also means redheads usually need more anesthesia for dental and medical procedures.
  3. Having red hair isn't the only thing that makes some redheads unique. They are also more likely to be left handed. Both characteristics come from recessive genes, which like to come in pairs.
  4. Redheads probably won't go grey. That's because the pigment just fades over time. So they will probably go blonde and even white, but not grey.
  5. Rumor says Hitler banned marriage between redheads. Apparently he thought it would lead to "deviant offspring."
  6. Redheads most commonly have brown eyes. The least common eye color: blue.
  7. Bees have been proven to be more attracted to redheads.
  8. Being a redheaded man may have health benefits. A study published by the British Journal of Cancer suggested that men with red hair are 54% less likely to develop prostate cancer than their brown and blonde-haired counterparts.
  9. Redheads actually have less hair than most other people. On average they only have 90,000 strands of hair while blonds, for example, have 140,000. However, red hair is typically thicker so they it still looks just as full.
Fact Credits From - www.11alive.com
"We redheads are the minority, we tend to notice each other - you know, and notice our identity." ~ Julianne Moore
Until Next Time...Make It A Great Day!

Visit me on Facebook - Black and Red Licorice: The Daily Mix of Life
Send a Tweet Julie@ACrazyBigFamily

A Brief Moment to Share

Several months back I was approached by one of the local high schools; I was asked if I would share my life experiences to some students for a child development class. My first thought was they have no idea what they were in for then next was how honor I was to be asked.
Many of us whether we have homegrown, foster, kinship or adopted children, we, parents, are all special. We have been entrusted with precious cargo and for that it is such a blessing. However, my life was just getting to be shared with approximately sixty young adults, though some were going near the next chapter in their reality of life, Graduation, College, Leaving the Nest of Parents. The chapter of many but life of starting to begin without the umbrella of parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles or guardians. So much can happen.
Since being a Foster/Adopt parent my eyes have been opened more than once. I have a saying nothing surprises me anymore but then I am shocked when something major does. Interesting life's little curve balls but they are there so when I was asked to be entrusted with high school students for approximately an hour and half of their precious time I became a little nervous. Tough crowd more so than my Little's. Especially in a Big not so Big Community - one that somehow everyone is connected to someone.
For the weeks approaching my speaking date, I thought about what I would talk about and what I could not talk about. Making sure not to break any confidentiality of the sorts. Those who know me I do not hold back, I do not do drama, do not beat around the bush, pretty of matter of fact and when it all comes down to it, Blunt, very Blunt! Thinking of all of that I did not want to bore anyone but if in the end if I am not true to who I am then nothing else matters boring or not.
Finally, I received the call. Not one date to speak, two dates are on the calendar now the stakes were high and the pressure was on. For me the nerves began to set in along with excitement to get the time to share in these moments. The day arrived, as I dressed the Little's, I also asked my twenty year old daughter to join me. She had taken this journey right along with me and was a wealth of knowledge. Plus not so sure how the Little's were going to do with strangers overseeing them while I did the speaking so familiar face would not hurt as well.
We were off like a heard of turtles, slow but off, since my car keys had seem to disappear right before we were set leave. This is one of the instances that happens often to due one Little's obsession with things that rattle. Nevertheless, the spare worked just fine and we made it. Arrived, Little's, three in the wagon, one in the pack, off trekking through the school campus, eyes gazing and knowing in my mind the outline of subjects to speak of; effects of drugs, foster/adoption process pertaining to our situation, my continued relationship with the birth families, any sacrifices we have made and overall our day to day crazy schedule.
On both days, we were graciously greeted by a room full of young ladies and gentlemen. Patiently waiting to see what I was going to say. As I stated before the pressure was high. Young adults are not an easy speaking crowd. However, I do have to say, in the very short period of an hour and half, I spoke about the topics at hand, shared about our family, multi-tasked with my Little's and was happy as many questions were asked but the real happiness came about two weeks later when I received handwritten thank you notes from both classes. At any rate to be asked to share our story was an honor. I also believe anyone can say thank you by just writing "thank you" on the note but when someone takes the time to write more than those two words it definitely says something. Since, receiving those notes, I have re-read them several times as there are comments as to "how my speaking blessed someone and changed their view on special needs", "how I inspired someone", "how someone admired my strength", "how my speaking help someone choose their path into social work" or "my speaking was a real eye opener".
I have always said and continue to say, I am no different than the next person down the road who parents, our path that we are on just may be a little different. A roller coaster of the sort. It is hard enough to be parent of your homegrown children let alone be foster parents of someone else's children, be an advocate of special needs or needs of something daily or just PARENT. However, every child needs to be given that chance they are not asked for some of the circumstances they are brought into. I remind myself daily there is not any handbook, though many self help books and resources but no manual, so really everything is trial and error and with that said, in the mean time I will continue to do whatever it takes to Love, Advocate, Laugh, Cry and Smile with ALL with the Kiddos - Big and Small! I am forever grateful for the opportunity that I have been given to share my story, Thank you Mrs. M. and Her Classes! You Rock!!! GOD BLESS
"Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it." ~ Ralph Marston
Until Next Time...Make It A Great Day 
Visit me on Facebook - Black and Red Licorice: The Daily Mix of Life
Send a Tweet Julie@ACrazyBigFamily

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Off to the Store for Just a "Couple of Things", Really?

When I was little a quick trip to the local store was never quick, despite my mother saying she only need a couple of things. As a family, we would sit in the car, not always patiently waiting, upon her return she would have many bags of groceries. Yes, the few items she rattled off needing would be in tow but along with many other items as well. During those times, even being little, I swore I never do that.

Now, many many years later, I find myself in the same situation with my own family. The store is a vital part of our weekly routine, sometimes daily routine. I smile when something we need comes up as all I can hear in my head is my mother saying the same exact thing - only a "couple of things". I really believe my mother only said those words "couple of things" just to pacify her kids and our time spent waiting in the car.

Now, my husband and older kids laugh at me when I say going to the store for a "couple of things" as they know it really is not the case. I am sure to browse the store. Especially if I am not going with the Little's. I admit I do take the time to check out new items, check the sales, look at different ideas in the home decorating department or just browse in general. It is a part of my quiet time ritual. My husband has his time when he gets home from work, I found different ways to take mine.

Bringing up as there was a time I came across an article pertaining to my local store applying for a license to serve wine at some of the locations....though I am not a big drinker, I found this to be interesting.  When I shop I will walk around with a Pepsi from the Cafe or my Venti 6 pump Mocha Frappuccino with an add shot from Starbucks but what or who is to say a glass of wine every now and again would not be great to browse the aisles. However, I have yet to see this happen at our local store so for now perfectly content with my drinking selections whether the shopping trip is 10:00am or 10:00pm. Creature of habit right here!!!

I do have to say browsing the aisle and not sticking to the "couple of things" statement does have its setbacks. Finding the in store coupons plastered all over the place mixed with the online specials, adding in the store applications and topping off with text messaging coupons does not help matters. Taking everything into account, I always think I am saving something when I happy to spend the amount listed to save the amount listed in return.

Nevertheless when I get to the checkout line, I never seem to meet the spent amount. Though I just took the last thirty minutes of my shopping trip ensuring I have met the total because I do not want to hold up the checkout line. Thus having done this once or twice in past already; there always seems to be an issue for something. Items that I chose to buy are not included or the item had another coupon tied to it so that item does not count. Therefore, being so close to the amount needed to receive the savings, I find myself purchasing more. Better yet to realize that in purchasing more of one size of diapers forgot another size of diapers that was so needed. Hence what happened this week; with our house always needing baby items. It was baby items on sale. Does not seem so bad, right? We go through diapers left and right but buying diapers in many sizes all at once always seem to get my shopping cart looks. Usually it is the Little's but several size diapers and many boxes does do trick too. 

No worries, even when someone did ask me upon leaving if all the diapers were for my house? Kindly responded, "while yes they are and to think it is only half of my family". I do not think she expected the answer I gave as she gasped and said "oh my"! Nothing surprises me much anymore. Whether my trip to the local store is for the so-called "couple of things" or it is our planned major shopping trip, I know that no matter what I do; I will always find more than what I originally planned for my "couple of things". Going with a shopping list or not, more power to the shoppers who stay on task. Even being as organized as I am the store is a bit of a downfall but in a good way. 
Loving Retail Therapy in a Weird Way! 

Until Next Time...Make It A Great Day!

Visit me on Facebook - Black and Red Licorice: The Daily Mix of Life

Send a Tweet Julie@ACrazyBigFamily

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sometimes You Need to Just To Be A Kid...

There are moments as for the picture I posted when you just have to join in the laughter, the smiles and the giggles. I may not be able to jump on the bed like a trampoline but I can do the former. As the saying goes "if you cannot beat them, join them".

My little's require a lot and sometimes more than I think I have but there always seems to be something left. Even when my knee is at its worst or the headache that I have had for days that seems as it will never go away. I am reminded I have something in me. Maybe it is just being a Mother, maybe it is pure stubbornness but whatever it is I know the moments that I have come to love are forever priceless. A complete reminder to live in the Moment! 

As I always say Smile, You Never Know What Impact You Might Have On Someone's Day - GOD BLESS

Until Next Time...Make It A Great Day!

Visit me on Facebook - Black and Red Licorice: The Daily Mix of Life

Send a Tweet Julie@ACrazyBigFamily

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Our Adjustment Period to Back to School

Coming to the end of the second week of driving our own form of a school bus. No really, we are driving our own mini bus to accommodate our large family as I am working on wrapping my mind around the different school schedules. This year having four different school schedule to contend with is no laughing matter. I know that the school district figures a staggering starting bell schedule is the key but not so sure they take into account the school traffic. Can you say Nightmare a hundred times over!

With that said parents are a whole different breed when it comes to driving their precious cargo to school. Believe me it does not matter how old their precious cargo is either. Especially for the first couple of weeks of the school year. This is when many posts can be found on social media reflecting a parent rant or vent of ones morning of being honked at, cursed at for waiting at the cross walk for the children to walk, one took too long to drop off their child in the school zone or the all please slow down, we all are going to the same place, leave earlier if you need to be somewhere our children need to be safe.

The past couple of years, I have been lucky enough to have our daughter be a driver, be involved in a carpool or had awesome neighbors driving one or two of my children when I needed help. If I cannot stress enough, GET INVOLVED IN A CARPOOL if you can. It is a complete lifesaver and you really do not realize how much it helps ALL AROUND!!!! If you find a great carpool group, you will not regret the jump. To the parents who can walk your children to school, this is where I am in envy of you right now, just a little.

Anyhow now with having six of my children in school (though two are off at college), we are all over the place and as much as I am thinking I have the schedules down pat, organization of lunches, breakfast completed for all, each day; I truly am so far from it. We are still adjusting. Sleep for everyone is off and napping for some has come back on the map. Just as a spike in meltdowns has brought my redirection skills to an all-time high. Therapy sessions and any and all other appointments are being worked in. Basically, we were in the Honeymoon Stage for the New School Year!

As we know, change is inevitable. It is the part of the roller coaster ride that we are riding daily. Change of the ride can be sometimes big, sometimes little but whatever the change or transition may be; there is always the choice to make it a great experience even if the change is not so great. Keep a smile on even if it may be hard, smiles are contagious and the energy that you are putting out reflects on the ones around you. The way you handle yourself is how others perceive you. Plus people tend to remember the negative more than the positive. Nevertheless, as we continue to learn everyday whether in school or not, we can take the outcome and inspire the ones around us! GOD BLESS

The mediocre teacher tells. 
The good teacher explains. 
The superior teacher demonstrates. 
The great teacher inspires.
William Arthur Ward
Until Next Time...Make It A Great Day!

Visit me on Facebook - Black and Red Licorice: The Daily Mix of Life

Send a Tweet Julie@ACrazyBigFamily

Friday, August 5, 2016

Reminisce In The Memories

We all have those memories from social media that pop up when you open up the app, good and not so good. Whatever the case these memories are flashbacks of our past allowing us to continue to move forward and remember. Yes, you are given the choice to re-share, post again, reminisce in the memory, seeing how things have transpired, seeing the growth of your little's or remembering a loved one who has moved on.

Today, my page reflected a memory from two years ago. Yes, two years ago, the day my mother was officially diagnosed with Cancer. My post was this.....

From that day, two years ago she fought for seven months and seventeen days to stay here in the world with all of us.

I post this as my Mother is part of the reason I am HERE! Without her I would not exist (and the other part my Father of course). She was and still is my Rock! I am unable to call her to talk, to vent, to hear the voice of reason when all the chaos of whatever is going on, so I write. I can still hear her tell me everything will be okay, just trust in HIM. She found the GOOD in everything no matter what and as hard as it is to not have her around physically; I know she is here in spirit. She is here in the Hummingbird that appears at our sliding glass window at the same time every day. As my children say, Grammy is here and she is!

So, today with the week of getting ready to go back to school, getting ready for summers end and the week full of therapy and appointments, today this memory was perfect. It was a clear reminder of why I am who I am, why I love my husband for who he is and why we have been blessed to be on this path with our children. I LOVE YOU MOM! GOD BLESS

Until Next Time...Make It A Great Day!


Visit me on Facebook - Black and Red Licorice: The Daily Mix of Life

Send a Tweet Julie@ACrazyBigFamily

Monday, August 1, 2016

Three Times a Charm, Well???

Is three times a charm, really? Well, let me say in a world of Autism I have to disagree. Yesterday, I was blessed with beautiful drawings by my little guy. Drawings he said were of triangles and circles. Yes, they were beautiful version as any drawings completed by any of my children would be.

Needless to say, upon him showing me the pictures he drew with such proud distinction, our walls showed something else. His pictures of art were displayed throughout the children's area of the hallway along with the wall of his sisters' room. His vision of triangles and circles, drawn to his perfection with a white board brown marker like he was the next Picasso. As I commented how great the drawings look though deep inside I wanted to yell (loudly might I add) with a bout of my inner voice of "you got to be kidding me" spewed out then to see the look on his face of how proud he was to have drawn his version of perfection. I just looked and was reminded that this has not been the first time this has happened and I am sure this will not be the last time. Thinking this is what cleaner and paint is for. As much as I try to keep markers, crayons, pencils and/or pens at bay, somehow one will find the way into a hand.

Then as I was trying to get to a meeting this morning, making sure all was taken care of before the caregiver arrived; in the mere few seconds to get something from upstairs to come back downstairs it happened. How fast one may climb when looking for whatever when they are on a mission. Maybe he was thinking the kitchen needed a makeover...the kitchen stove, counter and wall were splattered red. The red splatter was from a container made to flavor water. I know it is more fun to squirt things rather use in the proper manner. This is why the Clorox Company loves our household, I go through Lysol wipes like crazy, really by the dozen. Not only am I OCD about constantly cleaning the counter tops but truly I am always cleaning something.

Here is the charm of three, his goal to see how many rolls of toilet paper can be stacked in the toilet. For that reason I do not keep toilet paper in the bathroom, I keep it in one centralize area but my little guy loves to stack. Not surprised on this task or to find the brand new packs of toilet paper being used as building blocks. Yes, I missed an unopened pack which became stray from the pack (he took it and hid it). Thus, he decided he should see how rolls would go into the toilet by using them as building blocks all the while telling me he was going potty. Props to him. Multitasking!

With my inner voice speaking out loud along with my Little's wanting to be helpers during the cleanup sessions; I had to remember it is just another day here. Smiling as what wonders Huggies wipes will do for re-direction tactics as I with my Lysol wipes. These things happen when you have children, these things happen when you have toddlers and definitely these things happen when you have children with special needs. Things do happen in three's some great and some in brief moments of challenges. Whatever the case it is what it is, I reminded to tell my inner voice the same as I tell my children, "I can get happy in the same pants I can get mad in". It is a moment in time where I do wish I knew how their minds process these situations but as a mystery in itself for now I will just continue to cherish the makeshift Art Canvas, the new room makeovers or the new building blocks he thinks are necessary in his world. It is relevant to him and that is what matters! GOD BLESS

“I know of nobody who is purely autistic, or purely neurotypical. Even God has some autistic moments, which is why the planets spin.”  - Jerry Newport

Until Next Time...Make It A Great Day!


Visit me on Facebook - Black and Red Licorice: The Daily Mix of Life

Send a Tweet Julie@ACrazyBigFamily

Friday, July 29, 2016

Pathways of Life and Journeys Taken

There comes a time and a place when you stop and think what am I doing? Am I doing what I am supposed to be doing? Then something happens which is a small reminder of why you are right where you should be.

Today and for the matter this week, it has been the laughter that I hear when the walls echo in our home throughout the day, it is the tight squeeze of my daughter caused by her anxiety reminding me not to let go, it is the words "love you mommy" repeatedly through the echolalia of my autistic son, it one seizure free day by my daughter, it is one day without one pull of hair for my son, it is one day that a transition from my son that did not turn into a meltdown, it is validation by my daughter in her quaint smile that she found comfort knowing she will make it in this harsh big world.

Each of these one things, separate, priceless all maybe small. Nonetheless, combined each thing becomes something truly large in my world.

I recently had a discussion with someone regarding motherhood. I started out saying motherhood was not the path I saw myself. I truly did not want to be a stay at home mother. I wanted to work outside the home. For anyone reading this, there are many people out there that truly do not understand what a stay at home mother does. I was that mother until I became one (a stay-at-home mother). Yes, I was a mother but a working mother (outside the home). You truly do not know the full demand of motherhood until you are home (all the time).

I stated in my conversation that GOD had another plan for me; many years ago. He was knocking on my door a couple of times. Making my path of motherhood and a wife; a long walk. Now I look back to those many years ago and see that my path is the right though with many twist and turns and one not to be walked alone. I have been blessed with many gifts throughout my life. I also must say GOD has an awesome way of putting your life into perspective when you trust as well as putting someone in your life when you least expect as well as taking someone out of your life when he knows it is the BEST!

I have come to trust in him, though may not always understand. Validating my belief; there is a reason for everything. Everyone and everything that crosses my path, your path of life reflecting that there is a reason for it. Whether good or bad, big or small, just need to trust the reason why even if you are not sure of what it is. All is always revealed in time....to this statement is what makes Life Exciting!!!!

Be your Best at all Times or at least give 110%! With that said, I do still doubt myself on what I am doing. Doubting not of how I am doing but how I can do better? With every day that passes, where trying to maintain my own health, manage my CRPS/RSD, be a great wife and be a great mother, not great but FABOULOUS! I always want to do more but sometimes limited because of my own disability. I do feel GOD has an interesting way of telling me to stop and smell the roses. Basically stop and see what is right and front me and cherish what I have! To never forget He is walking right along side of me and with My Mother of course.

I may have to do things different and things may not always get finished as they are supposed to but tomorrow is another day. If that meant that I was able to take ten more minutes with the little's, ten more minutes to have to figure out teenage issues or ten more minutes spent with my young adult who is still learning but acts like she is thirty, I will take every minute in a heartbeat. Always remember yesterday is a memory, today is right now in the moment and tomorrow is mere hope...GOD BLESS

“When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.”
― Paulo Coelho

Until Next Time...Make It A Great Day!


Visit me on Facebook - Black and Red Licorice: The Daily Mix of Life

Send a Tweet Julie@ACrazyBigFamily

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Normal or Chaos

I recently came across on social media about another special needs mother expressing how she did not have the ideal situation of a "normal" life with her children. It reminded me of my children especially my son who is autistic (one of three). He has a ritual a couple of times a week to destroy his sisters' room if left unattended for a minute. Usually will happen when the bathroom is calling and most of the toys are stuff animals...I have learned. He loves to hear things crash though he hates loud piercing noises but breaking noises is a much different story. So, I had to stop and think about her words. I really thought about it for most of the day. I thought about commenting but I refrained as I really did not know what to say. Bringing the question does anyone have a "NORMAL LIFE"?

I say this wholeheartedly as I look back prior to fostering and/or adopting when my husband and I had only our homegrown children. When we had one child. We thought life was great at times then the end of the world at others then baby number two came and more stuff to pack, a bigger car, more accessories and more expenses. Do not get me wrong we were happy, a boy and a girl and a dog; our perfect little family, right? Yes but No, chaos was always lurking around the corner.

Then baby number three came, odd number! Oh, he was loved and looked after liked no other but as I have always said take one out of the mix or add one in to make the number even, somehow the chaos seems to always change.

With great jobs, three awesome children while learning the aspects of Asperger's with our third child, a beautiful home; a monkey wrench was thrown into our mix then while throwing the wrench back we wanted to give back by way of fostering. While we were on that path we were blessed through adoption.

Now with a large family, I will admit, we do make changes in the way we do things. The way we eat out, the way we vacation (long weekend stays), the way we grocery shop, how we schedule things and more so since we have special needs children but nevertheless every child needs structure special needs or not.

Leading back to my original question, does anyone have a "normal life"? Well, my theory is everyone's household has a degree of normalcy and a degree of chaos. Whether one child or eight, yes eight. Our household has grown by one in the past couple of weeks. This change has required changes in schedules, which having Autistic children has been transitions that we have done in baby steps. Interesting making things work but that has not gone without being organized and task orientated as that keeps things all in perspective. However, when things do go astray I just need to remember to stay calm. More excitement more the fire fuels!

When all the dust settles, I do take a time out, so remember this for yourself...go with your girlfriend or even by yourself, you deserve it....nothing like having pretty nails and toes or just Grab a Coffee, even five minutes of revitalization will do wonders!!! Then do not forget Date Night with your Spouse or Significant Other, this little aspect tends to go unnoticed a lot but so very important! Last but not least do not forget some of your favorite treats...like mine, Black and Red Licorice, Gummy Bears and Frozen Hershey Bars!

Life is nothing without a little chaos to make it interesting.”
― Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

GOD BLESS. Until Next Time...Make It A Great Day!


Visit me on Facebook - Black and Red Licorice: The Daily Mix of Life

Send a Tweet Julie@ACrazyBigFamily