My Like/Dislike Relationship with Social Media (Part 1)

Ah the wonders of technology. When the clocked ticked over to the new
Millennium I had a cell phone and a computer but never would I have guessed that we would have access to phones that could get on the internet, tell us where we are on earth at any given moment, and let us play games to our hearts content. When I got my first smartphone -a blackberry- I was in love. A techie at heart I was enamored with the things these phones could do. And then we got tablets. I was falling all over myself happy!

Then came a little website called Facebook. I wasn’t sure what it was at first. I had seen and also knew of MySpace I figured it was much like those sites and neither of these held my interest so I didn’t take much interest in Facebook at first. At the time I lived in a neighborhood and as other moms began signing up I decided to give it a try. Very quickly I was hooked. As the years have progressed I’ve developed a like/dislike relationship with social media.

In the infancy of social media my kids were too young to be on it. As more social media sites have been born and have blossomed so have my kids. Now I have teens and two use various forms of social media. Many kids flock to social media where they can quickly post a picture or snappy comment and then troll for likes from their friends. What if they don’t get enough likes? Will they be upset? What if someone stalks them or bullies them? It happens- as we know- and I’ve seen it firsthand. It’s exhausting as a parent to try and keep up with protecting our kids. Chatter is everywhere. Pictures fly back and forth like little cyber birds. It’s mind boggling. How do they keep track of it all?  Why are they so brazen with things they post? I don’t even think the answer is that complicated. They have never lived in a world without social media.

It seems the norm these days is to “talk” with friends over text or on social media and I think this isn’t teaching our kids how to deal with things face to face.  My daughter told me that one of her friends was upset with someone at school and I asked her if her friend was going to talk to her friend. “She will text her I guess”. She said. These are people who see each other in school every day. Why not sit down for a chat at lunch? I suppose it is easier to deal with an issue sometimes if we can just type our words and not actually have to look at a person in the eyes. But that is not teaching our kids true communication. We know it’s easy to type something and hit send before we consider our words. It’s easy because you don’t have to face the person you are communicating with.

I feel kind of sorry for our teens today. They aren’t learning certain social skills because social media is their virtual social life. That world has much different “rules of etiquette” than the real world.  You can be hurt because your friend blocks you from her account without telling you why, people can share your pictures, your private texts, and say unkind things at the touch of a button. Our kids can get hurt. We want to protect our kids from being hurt by others and from hurting themselves. I feel like I am running a race and sometimes I am a step ahead of my kid but lots of times I feel a step behind.

This is where my relationship with social media turns to dislike. The very thing I love -technology- has become a menace to me because I have children and it is another place where I need to try to protect them. I have seen the good and the bad of social media and as an adult I hope that I am mature enough to filter out the bad things, not get caught up in nasty conversations and I know I am not sending out questionable pictures of myself. But our kids are just learning…they don’t have the skills yet to always make the right choices. Hah many adults don’t either!

I know I have choices. I could choose not to allow my kids to have access to social media. I even have one teen that is not on it yet. He is not ready and thankfully is not interested. But I take the approach that when I think they are ready I will allow them to signup for one account on some form of social media. I know their user names and passwords and I tell them I have the right to check up on them and if there is a big issue I will remove their account. As they use their account wisely I allow them to get other accounts on social media…which means I have an account too!

I want my kids to learn how to use social media appropriately. I want them to see what is good about it and what is bad. I don’t think it is going away anytime soon. They are going to get hurt sometimes and sometimes they will make bad choices- it comes with being a teen – no parent is going to be able to stop it no matter how hard we try. But darn it I am going to try…darn social media! Bah humbug to technology!…nah just kidding – nothing can take the love of technology out of me…not even my teens!

Thanks for reading…(Part 2 – why I love social media – coming soon)

Some info on social media for parents (written by teens):

Part 1 

Part 2





I’m glad I smiled.

I looked down at my hands – hands that have carried me through the years.

Hands that people have called pretty.

They are my hands but their not my hands either They are my nana’s hands. I got her hands.

Hers were smaller but when I see my hands I see hers too.

The dog bite scar I got when I was five is almost gone. When did that happen? At night I put coconut oil on my hands.

I think then how weird it is that we can’t see our faces except in a mirror or in a picture.

If we didn’t have that means to see ourselves we’d be left with reflection in glass and in water. Never really seeing ourselves clearly.

Maybe that would be a blessing. Never having to worry about what we really looked like.

Like an animal. Never having to worry about our face.

Just existing as we are. Never knowing we are aging , sagging and getting wrinkled. We could just know ourselves from within not the outside.

Then I get the urge to look in the mirror. I see me as I am now.

Sometimes I see myself in my head as I was 25 yrs ago and then I see myself in the mirror and I’m a little surprised. Not displeased just surprised.

Now I  see the wrinkles I so try to make go away with new creams.

I see my neck looking like it’s tired. It’s not my neck but it is. When did that happen?

I see my thinning hair and tired eyes. Why am I so tired?

The lines around my eyes from laughing and smiling along with the laugh lines by my mouth crinkle up if I move my face – almost teasing me and I want to look away.

I feel like crying. I don’t like the tired looking person in the mirror. I do like her though.

I just don’t like her face- it should be smooth and uncrinkly.

But then I realize that those lines come from many things – tough times – yes there have been some of those but those lines also come from laughing and smiling.

If it was devoid of wrinkles it would be devoid of a life lived. Of laughs and tears and jokes and hugs and love.

It may not alway be easy to look at that reflection in the mirror but the person  behind the eyes is there. The same little girl, the same young adult, the same me,the same but better.

And every line shows a life led.

Oh I’ll still try to make them less noticeable with creams and things. I’ll always carry some type of vanity.

If I have to look in the mirror I’ll always want to eradicate the lines that tell my story. We will fight and over time they will win. But in a way I’m glad they will win -and I’m glad they are there – I am glad I am here to fight them.

I’m really glad I smiled.


Product Review -Spicy Shelf


I’m kind of a gadget freak. I have bought a number of products because I saw them on infomercials during insomnia bouts at 4am. I am also an As Seen on TV junkie. So I thought maybe it would be helpful to write a blog review about some of these products on occasion.

Today I introduce the Spicy Shelf. I saw the commercial for it loved the idea as I have a ton of spices and as you can see in the before picture it was rather messy.

I had read reviews a few weeks ago on Amazon for this shelf and they were very mixed. I wasn’t sure so I held off. I didn’t want to waste $20 for junk. I’d done it before and right now our budget is pretty tight. During my research I had seen alternatives to the product as well but kind of “shelved “‘ the entire idea until the other day.

After church we were in Rite Aid and I was meandering the aisles as we waited for an RX. There on aisle six with other As Seen on TV items was the Spicy Shelf. It was a sign ( my rationalization for even considering buying it!). I showed it to hubby and he smiled and grabbed it and walked away. I guess we were getting it!

So we got it home and I delegated myself to put it together and set it up. I’m the main cook and I like my spices alphabetized (I know- very type A). But before I could put spices on the shelf I had to put it together. It was very trial and error and I can see why the reviews are mixed.

I had to make 4 attempts to finally get the fit right. I ended up moving a cabinet shelf up. What I found out was that if you use the short legs to build the shelves a regular spice jar doesn’t fit under it. At one point I has used the smaller legs and the shelf would not sit right bc the door hinge was in the way. So I took it out and made it narrower(the shelves grow and shrink in width). It was after this try that I realized spices weren’t going to fit under the lower shelf – this was frustrating – If you use the shorter legs the regular sized spices won’t fit on the bottom. Not a problem if you use the shorter spices but I have more regular size jars. So my final creation included using the two shelves built using the long legs – this alleviated the issues with it hitting the hinge. I then moved the cabinet shelf up so the little spices could fit on the top tier of the spicy shelf. There are many configurations and ideas that can be used. The link to their website is below. I should have consulted that first and maybe I would not have had to go four rounds with construction!

Here is the finished product. I think it looks awesome!

IMG_8377.JPGI did read in some reviews that the shelf was rickety and spices fell about as you tried to get them out. I  haven’t run across that issue yet. Maybe if the shelves are packed full it can be a problem. I have some room to grow.

This reorganization got me to go through all the spices and get rid of old ones and consolidate the multiples..and there were a few! I love purging! I think I might get some more cabinet organizers. I think this shelf might work in the medicine cabinet. But I found another version that might work better for my vitamins. There is nothing better than opening that cabinet and seeing all my spices organized.  And yes they are alphabetized… I know…but I like it that way.

At this point I would recommend this product. I think it could be a little easier to figure out but it was not hard to take apart and try again. I love the way the cabinet looks and the shelf is functioning just fine. If there are any updates I will post them here. Happy Organizing..

Thanks for reading!

PS- Just ordered another set (plus the bonus) set off their website!

Links to the Spicy Shelf –


Ozzy’s Sonnet

Ozzy wrote this sonnet as part of his Honors English class this week. He has a very low grade in this class and we are hoping his final exam and this sonnet might help his grade. Ozzy is gifted in language Arts. His grade in this class, and in most of his classes , are not representative of his ability. We know many factors play into this. Some if it is boredom, some maturity, some a result of his inability to focus and organize. English was hard – he had many assignments. Some he just didn’t do. Some he did partially. As a parent sometimes we can help in every way we can think of but in the end they have to want it more than we do. It’s their life after all.

I’ve exhausted myself trying to help him this first half of ninth grade. Now we are done. At times I felt like I was back in school. I have two other high schoolers to help too. I helped write an essay on Imagery last week for my son L. (“We” got a 90). Pretty good -but It is a lot sometimes.

Ozzy starts an entire new set of classes next week. We have teacher agreement for the next half of the year to have them assist me in helping him get homework handed in. I don’t know if this will happen. In honors classes there is an expectation and the workload is harder. Teachers aren’t accustomed to having to “hold a kids hand” in these classes. But they said they would work with Ozzy and me so I am crossing my fingers. We could put him in regular academic level classes where the workload is less but the feeling is he will then be too bored. I agree with that.

Sometimes I ask myself do I stop working so hard if he doesn’t really seem to care? He would rather be in robotics 24/7. There would be a lot less arguments, angry outbursts and much less strife for me if I just didn’t help him. But I can’t walk away bc I can see what he can’t. I can see the future and his potential. So I dance the dance because I can’t walk away. I can’t pretend not to care. My tactic is to work with him calmly and reward him when he gets things done. Sometimes it goes well and other times it doesn’t. This week it went pretty well. It was a big final exam week and for some reason there was a sonnet due in English. (His teacher is pretty hard ). I kept it positive and encouraged him to get something written. If he could get an idea going he would run with it. Ozzy is a very good writer and I’m finding he’s a pretty good poet too. He got it done! He handed it in!

His sonnet is below. It’s pretty great in this moms opinion. I might have made my last two lines a little different but I think this sonnet shows great creativity. I have no idea if this will pull up his grade but I find it a victory that he got it done and handed in. That’s an A in my book.

The Ant Hill

The ones at the bottom want for the top,
And the ones at the top kick their lessers;
But those who stayed away, they laugh and scoff.
For they alone can see the true message.
The endless struggle is all that they know,
They are ensnared in their beastly desire,
But when fed the beasts appetite just grows :
Like a greedy all consuming fire.
To kill the fire you must make it starve,
you must not play anyone else’s game.
For why climb a hill and be left with scars,
when walking around would be all the same?
So take the easy way through life,
or go your own way and do what you like.
The Sonnet in its original form. (His handwriting is terrible-I know)


Mommy Tantrums…

IMG_8353If a mommy has a tantrum when she is alone did she make a sound? This mommy did. I had a mommy tantrum this morning and it was loud -but it’s ok -nobody was here to feel my wrath except my dogs but they aren’t talking.

Have you ever just had one of THOSE days – then you snap? In my case it was only morning and I’m not at my best in the morning. I’m cranky and with the husband away and poor sleep it gets nasty. So, have you just had one of those days, minutes, seconds where you just lose it? Sometimes you are in the throes of the mommy tantrum and your like “dang-where did this come from?” I was ranting and yelling and swearing. ( I’m going to work on that during lent). I texted my kids bc I was mad at them. All of them at once. I hate being mad at my kids all at the same time. It’s yucky.

In this case I was mad about things that didn’t get done and I physically cannot do them. Which then makes me realize that living on this much land isn’t working like it used too. I know it’s the frustration that gets to me and especially at 6am!

I think it’s ok for a mommy to lose it sometimes as long as nobody gets hurt. It not easy being a mom. Nobody ever told me how hard teens were and I have 3 of them all at once! I am more exhausted now than when I had little ones. Back then it was my body getting tired –now it’s my brain.

My little children who thought I hung the moon- or at least they thought I was the boss -have become surly aliens who are developing their own ideas and habits. I’m loving this growth except for the surly part and the self-centeredness and some of the habits. Well sometimes I don’t like their ideas either but that’s what’s supposed to happen – right? L told me the other day in response to a comment I made about people eating dogs in South Korea that we should let them do their thing bc that’s what they do in that country -eat dogs. I guess if you looked at his statement fairly he’s right. We eat cows in this country and aren’t they sacred in India? But I can’t look at this fairly bc I adore dogs. In my home dogs are revered and gushed over. I can’t imagine wanting to eat an animal that needs us in the way a domesticated animal needs us. But I need to respect my child’s idea. He’s growing and getting his own opinions. Wonder how he will react when I tell him tonight that that round steak he’s eating is really dog. Nah! I’m kidding I wouldn’t do this – we aren’t even having round steak. But I’ll never get my mind around eating dogs. But I will listen to my child’s opinions. We might not always agree but I will always listen.

My kids who once liked to help out around here have become like sloths that you can’t get moving. Where is my little boy who would haul chicken feed and wood chips into the barn without attitude? Many teen parents can relate I am sure. And it is not only the ‘tude it’s that the quality of the work is really bad. That’s where my mommy tantrum rooted from this morning. Stuff left undone that effected our animals. Gah! I’m right to be irritated but probably the tantrum wasn’t helpful to anyone. But I’m going to own it. I had one and it’s not the last one I am sure. I’m not proud of it but I’m not going to pretend I’m this perfect mom. I’m so far from it!

This time nobody but the dogs witnessed my tantrum. They are mentally unscathed. One has his head on my foot as I’m writing this. The devotion of dogs. How can anyone eat them? I digress. Anyway aside from the very irritated texts my kids received from me they have no idea how bad I lost it. Once I recovered over some hot chocolate (bc I couldn’t rationalize wine that early in the day), I went on with my morning in ok spirits. I was just getting out of the shower when I got a text from Ozzy ( he just got the use of a very locked up phone) saying that he would come straight home after school today to complete all the stuff that hadn’t gotten done last night and this morning. Then he wrote “I’m in an exam. “.  I texted “ok.” He wrote: “bye, love you ” – and just that fast it was all ok.

Thanks for reading.


The shower as my muse?

2. muse
a. A guiding spirit.
b. A source of inspiration: the lover who was the painter’s muse

Every creative needs a muse right? There was Pablo Picasso’s mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, Dante had Beatrice, and F. Scott Fitzgerald had Zelda. To be honest I hadn’t thought much about having an actual muse. I guess my muse could be my husband. I like writing and showing him my creation. I show him most of my photography. He certainly is my biggest champion. I have secret crushes on Matt Damon and The Rock ( I know vastly different beings. I never had a type) but they aren’t inspirations just nice to look at. Perhaps a muse for a woman is different than that for a man.

I have things that inspire me – but I’m kind of all over the board with my writing and photography. I consider myself a person who is always trying to figure where I fit in the creative world. Am I a writer? Am I a photographer. Inside those mediums where do I fit? I’m always changing things up. I’ve never had one thing that inspires me. I even just took up crocheting and I don’t need a muse for that I need a guru!

I do give all the credit for my love of writing and photography to God. I often look for him to put writing ideas in my head. Is God my muse? No, I don’t think so. But he gets all the glory and thanks for giving me the desire and some ability.

While I don’t search for a muse or really need one specific muse I do find that I get inspiration and ideas in odd places. One of these is in the shower. I can’t tell you how many ideas have come to me in the shower. Recently an entire book idea popped into my head while bathing. It became so detailed I began wishing I had some way to write it all down. I jumped out of the shower and ran to my phone and got some of it recorded. There have been many other times I wasn’t so smart and I didn’t record my ideas and I completely lost them.

The only explanation for these shower epiphanies is that the shower is one of the few places I can be where I get some actual quiet time to myself. I don’t play the radio -though I do sing on occasion. I really enjoy the peace of the hot water raining down on me so I don’t want outside noise like a radio distracting me(back in my young years I blasted music in the shower as a primer to going out. How times have changed! ) This rare time of peace is probably why my mind works on overtime in the shower or maybe it’s the only time I can listen to that voice inside me that gives me ideas. When I do recall my ideas and write about them they never are quite the same as the one I crafted while washing my hair. Oh well it is going to have to be ok unless I can set up some way to work in the shower. I think there is a Pulitzer prize winning book in there. Hey didn’t Kramer from Seinfeld live in his shower in one episode?!

Thanks for reading…


Loving the hurt ones – it takes a city…

When you choose to adopt a child your first thought is not  “I am bringing a neglected and traumatized person into my home.” After all we adoptive parents are trying to make a family or add to a family. We are doing something good for the child and for us. The key word here is family. We want these kids to come in our lives and we want them to live happily ever after. We bring them home to be part of our unit and we don’t expect anything can go terribly wrong . We are told – or should have been- of all the risks of adopting these traumatized children. We read the articles on RAD( reactive attachment disorder) , ADHD , spectrum issues, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome – on and on. Yet why would we ever think they would be part of our child that we lovingly bring home to our family? We didn’t. We rationalized that our child was coming home too young to have issues. Or we could fix them if they had anything come up.

Not all adopted kids end up with severe issues. We have three children who came to us through adoption. All three are very different but two are related by birth mother and were under five when they came home but they weren’t babies. Those two experienced more trauma and neglect than my first child who came to us as a baby. They have had trauma related issues as a result. Ozzy shows the most issues of the three. We cannot ignore the fact that adoption is traumatic. Things the child faces before we get them and then finding themselves in a strange new family -many never had one- and those who had one may miss the ones they had or may have suffered in the hands of that family- can you imagine how this effects a child?  Can you imagine being plopped down into a family- but to you they are strangers and you may not even speak their language?  We also can’t forget the neglect, the abandonment, the possible exposure to drugs and alcohol as a fetus – any of them can effect an adopted child. Sometimes adoptive parents find they have a child that never responds in love to them. The parent might have tried everything they know but the child cannot respond in kind- but the parents persist and try and love them anyway.  It can hurt – but its what we do.

I have written before that I wish I had been more prepared for mothering these kids when they came home. I had done fine with”L” our child we adopted at eight months, I had no reason to think I would have issues with the next two we adopted. I was in for a shock. I learned early on what trauma and neglect can bring and early on I also realized that we needed help. So we began seeing a therapist to help us navigate the journey of parenting broken children. We added a psychiatrist when Ozzy was only 5. It took me years to know I was doing the best I could. I felt inadequate and guilty for not clicking with Ozzy. I made mistakes along the way and still do but I know now that I didn’t make Ozzy have these problems he has now. His issues came with him and all we can do is try to help him and love him. It’s not always pretty but we try.

This has been one of the biggest challenges of my life- parenting this child. I sometimes feel that I can barely hang on. My husband and I become mentally exhausted trying to get him help- in school, in therapy, with the psychiatrists. Some days it is phone call after phone call topped by email after email. Then its dealing with the behaviors at home and knowing how to properly respond to each issue. We didn’t think we would be dealing with this. It is hard at some moments- but he is our child and even if we don’t like him sometimes- we definitely love him. Yes we do love him and want what we all want for our kids- for him to have a happy life, one where he can support himself ,have a family- have love. So we dig and fight trying to get that for him- sometimes we may want it more than he wants it for himself. Its what we do as parents- not for any pats on the back but for the ability for our kid to be able to have a life. Will he? I don’t know. I think so- he has huge gifts. I pray for him all the time.

I think that it’s important that people understand that many behavior modification tactics that work on bio kids don’t work for adopted kids. Our kids often have no cause and effect understanding, if they are detached they don’t have the need to please their parent. You can’t impose the same consequences or rewards on these kids. They just don’t respond to these things the way kids who are attached and who were properly nurtured since birth will respond. We know this because we have tried them many of them.

Parenting these kids can be exhausting. So many of us stay quiet about what’s happening inside our family. If it is shared or becomes apparent there can be issues. Friends and even extended family sometimes pull away out of fear for their own kids safety or bc they feel discomfort of watching the issues of the child and the reactions of the parents as they try to gain some control over the uncontrollable. Who would understand why a family would have all their kitchen cupboards locked and every bedroom is locked and the parents carry their kitchen knives and any other sharp instrument to work in their car in a Tupperware container, or that there is an in/house surveillance system installed to monitor the child’s movements at night to ensure the safety of the child and the safety of the rest of the family? Who would understand that theses parents know all the local cops by name and are called regularly? Who would understand when a child repeatedly threatens to kill himself and others, rages at their family members one minute and the next is acting like nothing happened? It’s scary and off putting and when you are on the outside its ever so easy to judge – so easy to pull away. Sadly when you are parenting the hurt child you can relate to all of these things when you hear about them. I know I can. We have not dealt with all the things I have mentioned but I can understand them all.

When you are on the outside its so easy to think you could fix this child and you might feel that clearly the family has no clue how to parent at all. It’s easy to play backseat parent. “if I was them I would do this or that…” And I don’t blame people who aren’t parenting these kids for thinking we are doing it all wrong – and on the outside it might look like that. But I think in order to better understand what these parents of the hurt and neglected and traumatized kids are dealing with it would be good to read a bit about it. I’ve posted some links below that might be of help to the ones on the outside. And if you are parenting one if these kids and feel at a loss or guilty or confused read them too. You will at least understand how some of these kids end up with huge issues.You will know you are not alone.

Sadly living with this in your family often isolates the family from others. It can pit grandparents and uncles and aunts against the traumatized family. Oh yes – I did say traumatized family- when you parent these traumatized kids the entire family unit becomes traumatized. Sometimes the hurt kids pull family apart by using their keen skills of manipulation. These families don’t need to be abandoned. The thing they need the most -love and understanding (and maybe a little respite care) – is usually the last thing that is offered to them.

I am thankful to have found a support group that has made me feel not so alone in the struggles we have with our son. I know for a fact I am not alone and for that I’m grateful. I’m thankful for my support group where I can talk about the issues in a safe and caring place. I’m thankful that I can get information from those that have been down the same road. Navigating the mental health system for adolescents is daunting. Understanding legal ramifications is also overwhelming. I’m glad I have a group whose hand I can hold. Many people don’t have this much.

Adoption begins out of a person(s) wanting to love another. Not one person that I know who has adopted ever thought they would be the person they are with their hurt kid. We see the worst of ourselves sometimes but I can tell you we also see the best. We are resilient and though some may think we are evil and mean bc we have to lock down our home or not let our kids have a phone or laptop -we are not evil – we do this bc we love. We love even when we are hated and hit and spit on. We love even if we have to let our child go to residential treatment, or even to another home. We get burnt out and mad and even hateful sometimes but we chose all this because of love. Sometimes it ends up just being too much for the parents and for the child. Sometimes it ends up ok. But we want you to understand a little more about what we deal with and how this happens and what the kids have to deal with in their hurt lives. We don’t want you to turn your backs or abandon us. If my kid had cancer you would rally around me because you understand that. So if you have a friend with an adopted child that is having a hard time- read some of the links I provided below. It might make a difference.

**Authors note- this is not an article to suggest that adoption is a bad thing. Adoption is a wonderful thing. This is how we chose to make our family and I believe God brought us together.. My family is wonderful. I love all my kids with all my heart. If asked, I would be honest about being very aware of issues that can come up with adoption. This is an article written to provide more understanding of the trauma that adopted children have and the issues that can occur. This is meant to help people who are not dealing with these challenging kids to understand where their issues stem from. it is written to help people come together not drive them apart. It takes a village to raise a child and in some cases it takes a city. If you know a family who is struggling be part of the city.

Thanks for reading…

Article by an adoptee:

Articles about early childhood trauma:

For All of us: