April 25, 2011

On writing lengthy posts…

It’s stressful around here.

I keep trying to write some glorious posts and nothing comes to me, because everything that's too large and overwhelming and consuming comes to mind – and frankly, all of that is too hard to write about.  Too time-consuming.  Too big to get my writing around.

I could write lengthy posts to tell you that:
  • Quint is struggling and so am I.  We cannot find a groove in our new schedule.  And when and if we do, find that groove, it will be summer break.  And it will all be for naught. Cruel, I tell you.
  • For that matter, when I say struggling – I mean SERIOUSLY.  We cannot find harmony.  He is testing, pushing, testing some more, pushing some more, and making me far too frustrated.  I feel hopeless some days.  I’m not afraid to tell you.  I’m not sure I’m seeing much light at the end of my tunnel right now.
  • Keira will be two in a little over a month.  People, she was 7 months old when we came home last year.  How is it possible? 
  • We have been sick.  The kids and I.  And I’m not sure if it’s pre-school cooties, or just germology or just bad juju.  Either way – I’m so tired of it!  So tired of ear infections, runny noses, coughing, hacking, wheezing.  And so tired in general.  Not to mention poor little Quint had the Croup twice in a month.  I didn’t even know that was possible until it happened to us.  Now his ears are draining green puss as of tonight.  Done, I tell you.
  • Last week I got an unexpected blow to my faith that I was just not prepared for.  I should have been – but I wasn’t.  The good news (no, the great news!) is that amazing and faith-deepening things came out of it – and I would love, LOVE to write about it-  but I just don’t have the energy (see bullet point directly above). 
  • AB is in production and this show is taking a huge toll.  On him.  On us.  On life.  We have two weeks more of this and then it’s over.  I’m not entirely sure we’ll all come out ok.  I mean, that is to say - "we" will be ok - of course!  But for his career.  Just changing how things might look - because we cannot continue in this way - the toll it takes is far too difficult to keep up.  (Isn't that right, honey?) And isn’t that just sad?
  • I’m weary of holidays.  How did that happen?  I’m just ready for a break.  We move from November to April so fast and so many holidays live in there.  I’m ready to just STOP for a bit.  Mother’s Day in May.  Father’s Day in June.  July 4th.  I mean, they just keep on comin’.  Sigh…
  • I am so behind.  I would invite you over just so you could see what I mean – except that would be a terrible hazard for you.  To come over.  To have to step over the mess that is my house.  Hazard.  Embarrassing.
  • And also?  The weather in Texas?  Sucks.  It’s humid.  It’s hot.  And it’s hailing golf ball sized pieces of ice.  And it’s hot.  I can’t make this up people.  Don’t ask me how ice and humidity and heat are sharing space.  It’s lousy.  On the upside, my grass is getting very green.  On the downside – we aren’t exactly enjoying lovely days and flips flops.  Cabin fever in April is miserable with two little ones.

So I could write about all that in detail – or I could give you the Cliff Notes (you just read them) and ask your pardon for my lack of posting. 

I need some inspiration that is not related to stress. 

Come on blue skies…(figuratively and literally!)

April 24, 2011


"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' 

That is the one thing we must not say. 

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic -- on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg -- or else he would be the Devil of Hell. 

You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. 

You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. 

But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. 

He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." 

C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity
Photo Courtesy Brokenman

He is Risen Indeed!

So very grateful today for my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Do you know Him? -cb

April 22, 2011

Brotherly Love

I love my boy.  I really, really do.

Having said that…(ahem)

Age 3 has been riddled with hard moments – and I’m never sure if this is a “three” thing or a “boy” thing

Or a combination of both.

Pushing limits.  Tantrums. 

The beginning of fibbing

The whining.

The irrational crying.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s been great too. 

The hugs, the kisses, building our relationship

getting to know him in new and fun ways

sharing more and understanding more.

But we’ve certainly had our fill of some really tough days. 

I find myself hanging on as best I can and longing for age 4 with steadfast anticipation! 

IMG_1876 - Brotherly Love..

Apparently, so is Keira….

{no Keira’s were harmed during the capturing of this photo}

April 16, 2011


The first week of Quint’s new beginning is under our belts and I am so filled with gratitude for the outpouring of love I received after my last post.  What a tremendous flow of support and encouragement – love and “been there/done that” boosts of confidence.  We have truly been blessed by it.  Thank you to those of you who took the time to send an e-mail or note to me.  I was so touched and read and re-read every word.

1st Day of School Here comes the bus Brave Boy

I am so anxious to see the good things that will come from Quint’s new school experience.  Already – yes, after just a few days – we were able to recite the days of the week with each other.  This is HUGE here.  And no, he didn’t have them memorized – but a large part of Quint’s struggle is even in repeating what you say.  He was able to repeat them back to me with little to no struggle.  We were blown away!  I knew they were working on it at school – but Hello!  That’s what I call short-order speech therapy!

IMG_1731 So little - So big IMG_1738
IMG_1745 - Bye Baby!

I am so encouraged, friends.  This has been the longest trial for us.  We have all been so heavy in our hearts carrying the burden of this unknown and I have renewed hope that we are going to see such a change in our boy.  We are literally praising God for the opportunity Quint has to attend this school. 

IMG_1749 - Getting his Locker IMG_1752 - A little scared

I know he was unsure the first day.  And the second day he was still a little scared.  But by the third day, he cheered when he saw the bus coming up the street to our house.  That’s my baby!  Before he got on the bus I reminded him to be obedient for his teachers, and to be a friend to someone who didn’t have anyone to play with.  He smiled and said “me will!”

IMG_1773 IMG_1775

It’s been a challenge to say good-by to naptime.  He’s only 3, after all.  But his bus staff is great!  He’s in a five-point harness and falls asleep every day on the way home from school.  It leaves him a little bit groggy and serious when he gets home – but I’m just glad he’s getting 30 minutes in!

All in all – it was a great week for Quint.  We are truly encouraged!  I know as soon as we get the "new schedule” down – it will be Summer and time to go La Cabin!  What a great reward for all of his hard work!

Love to all for lifting us up this week ~ we’re gonna be great, one day at a time…


April 14, 2011

The Truth Hurts

As much as I love to write from the heart (mostly about myself), and as much as I love to read the words of those who do likewise – I have a difficult time writing about my children and their struggles.  I have been known to do it anyway – but my goal is always to speak the truth in love and with the hope to educate/bless/motivate/or otherwise “reach out” to others.  The truth is not always easy to put out there.  Certainly not as easy as adorable pictures of the loves of my life. 

In this case, I’ll settle myself to the truth anyway, and quite frankly it hurts.  Hurt to hear it and it hurts to tell it.  But it hurts most of all to live it.

Quint, from a very young age, displayed an uncanny sense of defiance.  I think he was right around nine months old when we started to see his personality shifting.  And long-time readers will recall some of my frantic “new-mother” posts regaling the battles he and I went through that first year.  Even in his infancy, he took me to the mat every single day.  He was not compliant.  Not “easy”.  Many interactions with Q were hard-won and left us weary.  On the other hand, we simply adored him.  Struggle and all - he was downright the cutest thing we’d ever laid eyes on and we were hook, line, and sinker for his charms.  Most people who met him were!


Still, the constant fight to gain any semblance of control with Quint was met with the longest and hardest of parenting days.  As he grew, he was demanding, often frustrated, prone to tantrum from an early age, overtly physical with us and with other children.  His need to “tackle” and dominate was powerful.  He struggled with a flaring temper and high levels of frustration when his needs were misunderstood.  Even on my best days, I often found myself crying and wondering what I was doing wrong.

I did reach out to find help – but no one seemed to know what to offer.  And who could blame them?  On the outside, Quint appeared to be a happy-go-lucky growing boy.  And he was and still is in many ways!  But when his ire or frustration was stirred – we were often faced with a completely different child.


Additionally, Quint did not speak until he was 18 months old.  And even then, he would only say “Da-da”…and then at 19 months came “mama”.  Very slowly he began to utter words that to anyone else made no sense.  But as with most parents, we could understand him.  Time went on and it wasn’t until he would speak around other children his age that we realized that his speech level was significantly behind.  Children all speaking at different ages, notwithstanding – this was different.  He could not repeat words or sounds.  He did not mimic or even try to talk.  He did not sing or attempt anything other than general utterances.


Toddlerhood did nothing to help diminish Quint’s behavior or to push along his verbal skills.  If anything, He became more aggressive and struggled even more to communicate with us.  And to be clear - not usually in a malicious way.  More so in a “I don’t know what else to do with how I’m feeling, so I’m going to tackle this random kid” kind of way.  I was constantly making excuses for him.  At the park, at the mall play areas, with friends and their bewildered children, to curious onlookers.  Yes, even to strangers – I would offer my apologies as his behavior would peak and and his inability to control his impulses revealed a very frustrated child.  What appeared to be overt toddler meltdowns to the onlooker, were actually accentuated levels of rage and frustration from a little boy truly struggling. 

I should clarify that Quint is a very bright, affectionate, and loving child.  No, I’m not just saying that.  He continually amazes us, his teachers and even his doctors with his intelligence and charm.  No one seems to be immune to his sweet nature and endearing personality.  He has a 1000-watt smile and a very gentle side.  I have seen him lovingly hold his sister.  Pat her on the back or comfort her when she’s hurt or crying.  I have seen him offer affection to animals in a gentle, kind, and loving way.  I have witnessed him helping others, playing nice, sharing, and extending sympathy…“ahhhhh, poor sissy”.  He thrives on praise and attention, just like any child.  He loves to help and create and sing and dance.  He is in so many ways, a typical three year old.

But also?


He screams.  At the top of his lungs in the highest of pitches.  He throws himself onto the floor or into the couch – over and over and over again.  He screams randomly and for no apparent distress or reason (did I mention the screaming?)  He is overtly physical with his sister; rough and aggressive – though bless her, she handles herself quite well.  He squeezes everything much too tight; as in us or Keira or the dog.  He has little to no impulse control.  What he wants, he takes.  What he longs to touch, he simply does – no matter the consequences (i.e. a hot stove, a curling iron, breakable items that he knows are off limits).  If he longs to pull items off a shelf in a store, he simply walks along and knocks them all off.   He responds to discipline in the moment but has no retention of it.  He shows genuine surprise when his behavior illicits anger or consternation from us – as if he had no idea what he was doing was wrong.  Consequences mean very little to him.  He takes them willingly, but does not learn from them.  Consistency does nothing for him.  He repeats bad behaviors with rapid succession. 


It took us over three years to find answers.  Three years to be able to put a name to Quint’s struggle.  And perhaps we haven’t even uncovered all of it yet – but we’re certainly trying.  I thought there might be a bit of Autism in Quint - but it turns out, not so much.  

Instead, Quint has only 30% speech capability right now.  He’ll be four this year.  That means that even those that love him can only understand 30% of what he says.  I’m here to convey that the other 70% gets lost in translation and has caused some excruciating interactions with Quint.  When we cannot understand what he wants to tell us – his level of anxiety and frustration is palpable.  He is so wounded that we do not know what he is trying to communicate.  Even more, we are BROKEN for him – that we can’t meet his needs or understand what he is trying to convey.  (*His hearing was tested by one of the best specialists in the large metroplex where we live.  His ears are perfect! Praise!)

Moreover, Quint was diagnosed with a Sensory Processing Disorder.  I lack the energy to define all the various ways that this disorder can affect a child and his/her family – suffice it to say, it certainly offered a lot of “aha!” moments for Anton and I when we were finally able to put a proper diagnosis to our son’s behavior.  Tantrums, screaming, aggression, hyperactivity, constantly needing pressure (think throwing himself into couches or us, squeezing too tight too often, and his overt physicality), inability to control his impulses - on and on the confirmation came. 

Coupled with a genuine speech delay, you have a recipe for a very frustrated little boy.

For so long I thought his extreme (albeit short) tantrums and excessive physicality were a product of typical toddler behavior.  For so long I had believed myself to be a failure at parenting my son.  For so long, I thought I had tried everything and could still find no relief from our daily struggles.  For so long…and for so many tears…and for so many moments of brokenness. 


For my heart, this has been a road I have longed so many days not to travel. So many times I have thought maybe it was all in my mind. That his struggles were merely an exacerbation of my inability to cope as a new mother. That somehow, what Quint struggled with was really just a reflection of my failure to thrive as his mom. That somehow Quint’s behavior really only represented my short-comings – and could have somehow been prevented had I parented him differently. And I can’t tell you how many nights I have laid in bed crying over that lie. Until Keira came home. And I generally loathe comparisons between children – but this was different. There was a clear and obvious difference of so many factors between our kids – and it was painfully clear that Quint was struggling in un-natural ways.  Ways that could not continue and ways that needed attention quickly.   He had coped long enough and we were all determined to get answers and help for him – no matter how long it took.

Today my little 3-year old son climbed onto a big, but very special, school bus.  He is getting intervention and I’m so sad and so glad all in the same breath.  We are so very fortunate to have the resources available to us, in our community, for Quint to receive the special schooling, help, and therapy he needs to overcome these obstacles.  And by fortunate, I also mean TRULY BLESSED.  Because we are not so blind as to miss that many children struggle in this same way – often with much more debilitating issues – and have no access to the resources with which we now find ourselves benefiting from.


God has created this amazing boy and we get the privilege of loving him.  I’m sad it took us so long to get help for him – but I take comfort in knowing that we probably could not have done much differently.  These things had to be revealed over time – and in Quint’s case, had to show up in certain ways to be identified.  At 12 months old, it would have been virtually impossible to diagnose some of his struggles.  Now we can clearly see how age has brought about certain things that can and will be helped.

We are trusting, hoping, praying, leaning on God’s love, remembering His faithfulness, reaching for grace, and trying to extend it to ourselves and our little boy.  And I can tell you that it’s very hard.  Each day a new trial.  Each day, still having my son take me to the mat.  Each day finding strength to get through and see the good and soak up the beauty and remind myself that these things take time.

Each day reminded that the truth hurts…

Each day reminded how blessed we are…no matter what we face. 

IMG_1245 - Rev w. SmartP, Vivid, Foilage

April 12, 2011

It came back


Yes, the nasty Croup paid our little boy another visit – and I think it’s safe to say that Croup has worn out its welcome in our home.  Last night, it happened again- just three weeks after the first attack.  Like de ja’ vue.  A sad and sorry version, anyway.  The panicked cry for help around 1am.  My maternal “alarm” going off and the realization that – though I was still in a half-sleep state – my boy was in trouble.  The fear.  The wild eyes as he gasped for breath.

Friends – this is simply put, a horrible way to spend a night.

I will say we were far better for it this time around – and having tools at our disposal that we lacked the first time – we handled it much better, I think.

Still, we were just exhausted (all three of us) from the event.  Trying to calm him.  Relax him.  Help him take small breaths that would help him settle down.  Cold air.  A short walk outside.  A 15 minute steam shower.  Vicks vapor rub all over his chest.  Ice-water.  Drying tears and more tears.  Speaking as gently as possible.  Soothing him.  Lemon ice. 

On and on until 3am.

And so, after all was said and done…

He slept.

And we tried to.

But how can you really sleep when your child is in distress?  Worrying that it might start up again?

Today he is doing better – with the help of a visit with his pediatrician and a steroid treatment.  I think we might avoid a repeat for tonight.  But for tomorrow?

For the next week?

For next month?

I’m scared. 

I’m afraid we might be in for a recurring role from the Croup.  And can I just say?  Not a fan.

April 3, 2011

Waiting to say…

It’s been over a year that we’ve been home from China.  Actually, a year and two months and some days.  And I’ve promised you a post about Keira for a lot of those months, weeks, and days.  Many times I’ve written and said “I’ve got a post in the works” or “More to come about her” or “it’s time to talk about Keira”.  And so far, nothing.

Maybe you didn’t even notice.  Maybe you did.  Either way, this is not that post. 


I keep trying to write “that” post, and the words aren’t coming.  Maybe because I can’t quite put her into words, try though I might.  I can’t quite “sum up” for anyone what Keira is to me or what we’ve learned about each other this past year and two months and some days.

This is actually a different post altogether, but it is about her. 

And all I really want to say for this post is that Keira is my heart

She is my heart, friends.  And my daughter, through and through.

I love her in a profound way that I guess I just didn’t anticipate.  I guess we could all say that of our children – but for me, she’s different. 

Somehow.  Some way. 

And I can never think of my heart being without her.


And I guess I just wanted you to know that even though I haven’t said a whole lot about her this past year – it’s brewing and bubbling up and coming to the surface.  Soon I suspect.  I’m feeling the words coming to me.  Sounds strange maybe – but they have been elusive because I have not known how to even begin to describe her to you.

Just you wait.  You’ll see what I mean when I can get this old heart to talk to these old hands and put it on “paper”. 

She was worth the wait. 

She is still. 

She always will be.