About our Daughter

I am mother to four wonderful daughters, ages 17, 19, 21, and 23, and wife to the greatest husband on earth. God has given us a special child to raise one who was diagnosed with early-onset bipolar disorder at the age of seven, though she showed signs of it from the age of fifteen months. She also has ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder (sensory seeking), Dyslexia, and Non-Verbal Learning Disorder-NOS, all typical comorbidities for a bipolar child. In spite of the trials, she enjoys lacrosse, running (finished her first marathon in October of 2014!), and reading and writing her own books. I will share with you the many joys and sorrows we have faced and will face in the future with the hope that you may find better understanding about this mental illness caused by both chemical and structural abnormalities in the brain. I desire that you will be encouraged by this blog if you are also dealing with a bipolar child. Thank you for reading and sharing in our journey.

How Did You Know She Was Bipolar So Young?

I wrote a long explanation of how we came to this bipolar diagnosis in a child so young under my post of March 19th of 2009. If your child or a child you know bears similarities, please seek out a good psychiatrist and don't wait for "things to get better." Often they will simply get worse, and the longer a child is unmedicated, the more damage their brain can accrue. Early diagnoses and treatment are key to providing these children with a chance at a successful life later as a teen and an adult.
Never change, start or stop a medication without the approval of your child's physician!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Therapist in the New Year

Caroline thinks that she has found the new therapist.  We met her today for the first time and she loved her. I thought she would just by the look of her:  young, sporty, kind of funky.  She will start seeing her in early January, and during same time slot in which she used to see her other therapist, so it is perfect!  Yay!

Still no job.  My husband has aged so much in the past year.  I wish I could wave a magic wand and make a job appear tomorrow.  Unemployment is no fun.

Hope your preparations for the holidays are going well.  I think I have done everything except shop for Christmas Eve and day dinners.  I am so tired that I am seriously thinking about doing Chinese food.  Ok, just kidding, my kids would kill me.  But they do love the movie "A Christmas Story."  So maybe....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Medical Mystery Child

This is what I am beginning to call Caroline, half jokingly, half seriously.  Today she had a kidney scan as a follow up to her initial nephrology consultation a few months back after way too many UTIs month after month.  Well, today they found a lot of fluid in her abdomen that shouldn't be there, so they are doing another scan tomorrow to get more information, a clearer picture as to what is causing these ascites.  My fear is always concerning liver or kidney failure because of all the meds she is on and the lithium in particular.  We have always had to walk this fine line between keeping her stable, and keeping her healthy.  I have often feared that we are unknowingly choosing quality of life over quantity of life for Caroline.  Not that we are giving her drugs expecting her liver or kidneys to fail, but knowing the possibility is there invites guilt.  She is the most stable she has ever been since about the age of 3 on this med mix, but if her organs begin to react negatively, we will obviously have to reduce or eliminate certain medications and that means instability and who knows what.  This poor kid can't seem to get a break!  We pray that the fluid is completely benign in nature.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

If I Could Erase a Day...

It would have been yesterday.  Ever have one of those days when your kids fight all day, you find out some really bad news about one of your kids, your husband looks completely lost, and you fix a dinner you hate?  Yep, yesterday would qualify.

My husband and I met with Caroline's present therapist, which went well, and we agreed to bring Caroline back the next week to either say good bye or to agree to keep going.  We know she will say she is done.  But I have some great recommendations on new psychologists from the owner of Learning RX, which is helping Caroline tremendously with her processing speed and memory issues.  

Caroline is giving us her phone.  As much as we want her to be able to have a phone, she just can't handle it right now.  She has been associating with the wrong people.  Time to move.  Really.  I know a family who moved from a neighborhood because their daughter got mixed up with a boy and it was pretty bad and they needed to get her away from him.  So they moved to a new neighborhood and their daughter was able to cut ties and turned out to be a wonderful kid who is now in college and doing great.  I think we need to find a new environment for Caroline, away from the folks that are bringing her down.  Maybe a new job will be the impetus for real change here.  

Today is a new day, and hopefully a better one.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Might Be Looking for a New Therapist

Yesterday's counseling session revealed how much Caroline is feeling resentment towards her present therapist whom she sees every week.  Apparently the issue is that the therapist doesn't believe a certain event that Caroline insists really happened two years ago, something rather traumatic.  So we are meeting with her therapist, whom we really like, to discuss this whole blow up and figure out where to go from here.  Finding the right therapist for a bipolar teen is so essential and I dread having to find a new one if Caroline simply won't feel comfortable with her.

Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation Conducting Family Study

JBRF is looking for families with a history of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorder, i.e. not only your child, but maybe you, your parent, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, etc.  If you are interested just click on the above link.

Monday, December 5, 2011

So We Start Again: Homeschooling

To make a long story short, we have embarked on homeschooling Caroline again until we feel she can handle the private school thing again.  With the Learning RX brain training in full force, we hope that she can return in the third quarter.  She is quite anxious to return (as are we) and isn't at all happy about not being in a school, but this is best right now.  I made up her daily school schedule using mostly the books from the private school, supplemented with Rosetta Stone French, my own Bible curriculum, an online typing course, and Homer.  Yes, Homer.  She loves all things Greek and Roman, so I thought I would throw that in.  I am starting slow this week, and then really increasing the load over the next few weeks.  She will likely need to double up lessons in Algebra and French so she doesn't fall behind.   I hate their Algebra textbook with all of that superfluous info so I will likely go back to Saxon or Teaching Textbooks.

I feel good about the plan, but it is the implementation of it that makes me nervous.  She promises she will work hard for me, and maybe with the carrot of re-entering this school in front of her, she will make good on them.

No job yet.  Caroline is really stressed out about this, as she revealed in her counseling appointment today.  I am sure all of the kids think about it all the time even if they don't talk about it.  I keep praying that God will bring an end to this very long journey.  His timing often isn't our timing.  At all.  "Come thou long expected Jesus" is what this brings to mind.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm Back

I am back because I just can't keep silent.  I need this outlet .  Especially now, with still no job for my husband, making this a total of 13 out of 16 months without a paycheck :(, and Christmas approaching, and medical bills to pay and deductibles and copays to meet until January 1st, and paying for our own health insurance now ($$$$$), and on top of this having to pull Caroline out of yet another school, this time because concussions have impacted her memory to the point that she needs intensive cognitve brain training.  She is being homeschooled through this private school as they will keep her transcripts and grades for me.  She can re-enter this school next quarter or the next if we think she can keep up.

I am weary and depressed.  Pray for us if you pray.  We need it.  This has been a long painful journey and we need light at the end of this tunnel.  Thank you.  Megan

Sunday, November 27, 2011

One More Thought

Skip the Christmas cards this year.  We only send one out every few years because it is just too much sometimes.

Learning RX: Brain Training for Learning Disabilities

We have just started this new therapy for Caroline because we were desperate for help following two concussions and trying to deal with her poor working memory, long term memory, and processing speed that were resulting in failing grades at school.  This is amazing.  Please check out what they do at www.learningrx.com.  It isn't cheap, but when you are desperate, you will do whatever it takes to help your child succeed in school instead of them dropping out, right?  A kid who doesn't graduate from high school is a kid with a dim future.   Most psych ed testing done through psychologists will tell you what is wrong with your kid but not specifics on how to help them.  This program offers real help to retrain their brain and work on their weak areas to bring them up to speed.  This isn't tutoring like Sylvan but therapy.  Most insurance won't cover it at this point but we are now looking into getting Social Security benefits for Caroline which would cover this cost.

Just a Thought About the Holidays and Your BP Kid

The holidays are upon us and this means STRESS for a family with a child with a mood disorder.  Decide now that you don't need to do it all.  Do you really have to do the home advent ceremony every Sunday night, the Adornaments, the Illumination Parade, the parties, the drive thru light displays, throwing your own party, going to every holiday event there is, and still be able to enjoy Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever you celebrate?  Just some tips:

We learned to never try to decorate the tree all together, but to let our bp kid have her own private decorating time to alleviate the stress and potential fights between siblings over whose ornament is whose, who gets to put up this and that.  Just not worth it.

Cookie baking?  Let the bp kid do it just with you some afternoon, again, by themselves in quiet.

Long drives to see relatives: Take two cars, trust me! The cost of gas is still worth it. One for you and the other kids, and one for dad and the bp child who again doesn't do well with noise and squabbling.  Ipods and headphone for everyone or books on CDs, or movies on the laptop.  Whatever makes those drives peaceful.

If you have a big family and need to stay in a hotel, get two rooms.  The cost is still worth it.  Get a suite if you can.  Those rooms can feel claustrophic is you try to stick too many people in one room.  We know.  Choose peace over frugality right now and find the great deals on hotels.com.

If you have to fly, make sure your bp child gets to sit right behind the bulkhead where there is more room for their legs, no one in front of them to bother, and less claustrophobia.  We learned this the hard way too.

Does your church do unnecessarily long Christmas Eve services lots of standing up and sitting down, repeated 20 times?  Skip the service or find one that is much more kid friendly without a lot of formality.  Don't feel guilty about it either.  God knows your heart and knows your kid and knows their needs.

Christmas shopping?  Leave the bp kid behind or take them really early in the morning or late in the evening  (not in black Friday) to Target or WalMart on a day no one will be there (Mondays are great) and let them pick out presents for family members in the least crowded setting you can find.  Or let them do it online.  For that matter, shop online and save yourself the headache.

If your child is unstable and you don't think they will do well around your extended family, just stay home and keep it all simple.  Everyone will enjoy the holidays so much more without meltdowns and you being so stressed out over what they might do.  Focus on finding stability for your child which often means lots of doctor visits, not on traditions right now which you can resume when they are stable.

Make time for yourself:  get your nails done, get a massage if you can afford to, schedule coffee with a girlfriend, a date with your husband (I know that one can be really hard to do), buy a new journal, go to Starbucks and write.  Pick up a new book and read it cover to cover before you go to bed each night.  Find a favorite Bible verse and post it on your fridge and absorb it every time you see it.  Go Christmas shopping all by yourself when the malls aren't crowded and walk slowly.  Go to the gym and work out for the first time in months.  I just did that and it felt soooo good.  Go to one of those paint your own pottery places and paint ornaments by yourself.  That is fun and relaxing.

Get out and enjoy nature during this time.  Bp kids often seems to relate better to the outdoors than to people.  Go skiing, sledding, ice skating, or snowboarding, or hit an indoor water park, or skip Christmas presents and use the money to head to the mountains for snow, or to the beach for respite, or find hiking trails or bike trails and use them.

Finally, if you think your child needs to be hospitalized, don't hesitate because you think they will be scarred for life if they are in a hospital on Christmas Eve.  There will be many more Christmases and New Years, and Hanukkahs.  Do the right thing even if it breaks your heart.  You will heal and so will they.

We have been doing this for almost nine years now.  We have learned a lot the hard way.  I wish someone had given me this advice a long time ago.

We wish you a peaceful Christmas and Hanukkah and New Years, as much as it can be.

God bless you, and may He grant you joy this season, not in having a perfect kid, but in His amazing grace, and in the small things and quiet moments for you!

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Last Post

This is probably going to be my last post, at least in this venue.  I have decided that the time has come when I need to either write a book or just find a different place to express my own joys and sorrows in raising a bipolar child.  You have been so great, all of you my blogger friends.  I have some growing personal needs which include some pulling back right now from public exposure.  Thank you for being here.  I will miss you all!!  Love, Megan

Nothing is Perfect, or Even Easy, EVER

Or just even Easier.  Whether we homeschool Caroline or put her in school, any kind of school, no situation is ever easy, or simple, or even easier than the last set-up.  I guess I just need to accept this and deal with the stress of being her mom.  I just want it to be easier, at least easier.  But it never is.  Everything comes with huge challenges with her, whether it is the school work, the relationships, whatever.  I am bawling right now.  I just get so tired of the same old thing every year.  I just want to wave a magic wand and make her life great, with a brain that isn't slowed down by her meds, that gets the work the first time, every time, with moods that always fall in the normal range, with interests that fall in the normal teenager range.

I took her to the mall yesterday to meet a new friend from school there and her mom.  It was a mediocre outing to say the least.  She was so rude to me, and disobeyed me when it came to what she wore, which I only had so much control over because she changed clothes after we got there, when I wasn't with her because we had let them go off on their own.  I am sure the other mom was a bit taken aback by what she was wearing when we picked them up and by her horrible attitude toward me coming and going.  I was embarrassed and discouraged.  She wants to have new friends but I am not impressed with her strategy.

Today she called us from school a few hours after she got there because she felt sick and wanted to get picked up.  Great.  Was it due to the fact she remembered at 8 o'clock  last night about an essay project she hadn't even started after she had reassured us all day that she had finished EVERYTHING in Friday that was due on Monday?  Was she getting fearful of being embarrassed in class because of the zero tolerance for late homework?  I don't know.  Bill went to pick her up.  I am tired of her b.s.  She keeps asking us to trust her but she hasn't proven to be trustworthy on any level in my opinion.  We saw an inappopriate text that wasn't yet sent on her phone.  I am ready to trade in her phone for one without a keypad.  Her phone can't have a plan without texting, go figure.  Stupid phone companies.

She has to do volunteerism in the community for a grade for this school.  I don't know where she should do this as any of our church related volunteer opportunities are a no-go since they seem to all involve inner-city outreach.  She is way too attracted to ghetto music, behavior, and activities for us to let her connect more with those kids, which is too bad because there are such needs in this community for people to tutor and connect.  Unfortunately we have seen what happens when she interacts with inner city kids after she went to school with them, and it isn't good.  She forgets who she is and instantly wants to be like them and would have all of their phone numbers in a heartbeat and would get involved in some inapporiate relationship in a flash.  I know this sounds like we are borderline racists or somthing, but that isn't it at all.  We just have a kid who needs a lot of sheltering for her own protection, not more exposure.  She will be exposed enough later, and seeks out "exposure" anyway at every chance she gets.

Speaking of church, we are still unsure of what to do about the whole situation of her refusing to go to our church because of how "boring" it is and how unwelcome she feels there by the other kids her age.  We tried a different church and Caroline loved it but we found we just can't leave our pastor and his unbeatable grace-filled sermons which are like water on our parched souls.  We may have to just take her to another church for an early service and then go to our church for the later service.  Our other two kids are too plugged in and happy to pull them away from our church.  Sigh, once again, so complicated!  I know if she weren't bipolar, she would be fine at our church like our three other kids.

God gave us what he gave us.  Not because we are strong enough to handle all of this, but because He wanted to do something in all of us, to develop merciful hearts, and patience and compassion and perseverance.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


This new schedule is killing me.  I am not sure I like the different schedules and pick up times every day for school.  I don't know if I would do this again next year (or even next semester).  It is early in the year, I know, but the amount of driving I am doing between home and school and school and appointments and home and sports and ballet is unbelievable!!  I spend my life in the car and it is stressing me out more than ever.  I have no time to do laundry, clean, organize, etc. so my house is looking worse and worse.  And the girls don't really have time to help that much because of homework and sports and tutoring sessions and  babysitting and church stuff too.  If we stay here and like this school enough, we just need to move next door to it and find a closer ballet studio or something.  Or find a different small, affordable school they can all go to for the same amount of time every day! And I am trying to faithfully work out at the gym three or four days a week.  Just too much for one Mom!  I had a big boo-hoo session today telling my husband how much I don't like my life right now.  Poor guy.  No job and he has to hear his wife complain about the whole world today.  I can't even imagine myself working even part time right now because I have a full time job just managing the house and kids!  I don't know how moms with more than one kid manage a full-time job and everything else.  I couldn't do it.  At all.

Caroline seems kind of down, and I think the Seroquel increase might be to blame.  She seemed sunnier before the increase, so we may need to go back down again to 600 mg.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

One Week Down, Many to Go

I was so exhausted by the end of this first week of school.  Were you?  I am getting used to this crazy new routine of multiple, differing pick up times.  We are spending A LOT of money on gas driving back and forth from our town to another for school and doctor appointments, sports practice and such.  I wish the cost of gas would really come down.  Talk about a budget blower!

Caroline seems very happy at her new school.  I am wanting to get to know the teachers better as I haven't even really laid eyes on several of them.  There are P/T conferences coming up at the beginning of October I think.  In the meantime, I probably need to draw up the letter I always write for her new teachers every year explaining about her bipolar disorder, the meds and their side effects, her triggers for meltdown, etc.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

University Model Schools

Just in case you are interested, check out the website for National Association of University Model Schools at www.NAUMS.net.  They have a lot of great info about their philosophy of learning and also locations and future locations.  This is the type of school Caroline and one of her sisters are attending this year.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Today Was Better

That's all.  Good night!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It Was the Worst of Days, It Was the Best of Days: School, Day 1, Long

I don't know how to summarize the events of the day, except to say that it started with me driving Caroline and Mae to their new school, getting out of the car, and then remembering that I hadn't retrieved Caroline's cell phone from her before she got out.  I asked her to give it to me, and she refused.  I told her we talked about this earlier (late last spring) and she said we had not.  So a power struggle ensued with me demanding the phone, making threats and Caroline walking toward to school acting like she was not going to budge.  The reason why we are not allowing her to have a cell phone in school, even though "all the other kids do," is because we had a very bad experience in the past with an unfortunate texting incident which resulted in her being asked to withdraw from a homeschool co-op.  No way in hell was I going to let this happen again, pardon my French.  So I decided I had to win this fight this morning, even though I very stupidly forgot to remind her about our policy about the cell phone last night.  She caved when I said I would smash that phone into a million pieces if she didn't give it over NOW.  Yes, I really said that.  I got the phone, but not without loss.  I couldn't believe that this is how her first day of school was going.  I was livid, shaking, upset and so was she.  But with all we have been through, I couldn't risk it again.

My husband, whom I called immediately after the drop off, tried to help me see her point of view, maybe we could flex a little, but I said "over my dead body."  I respect my husband, he has lots of wisdom, but Sorry, I am not giving one inch on this issue!!!!

Then we get a phone call from her in the school office about an hour before the end of her day there that she wanted to be switched out of her Computer Applications class NOW because it was too easy and she can't type as fast as the other kids.  What??!!??  I was really going to lose it then, so I handed the phone to my husband, who is thankfully, not yet employed.  He told her we would talk about it after school not during the class.  I felt my stress level rising to "code yellow."  I mean, really?  She couldn't wait until after school??  I was beginning to feel like this was turning into A VERY BAD DAY.

Then my husband leaves a few hours later to pick her up at the time appointed on her schedule, and she calls right after he leaves to say that she was supposed to be picked up 20 minutes ago, the class ended then and she was the only one there in the office.  What?!?!? The schedule the school gave us clearly said 2:45 not 2:20.  And the school is 20 minutes away on the highway. Arggh!!

But, amazingly and only by the grace of God,  aside from those major and minor problems, she said she likes the school, her teachers and the kids she met.  Oh, whew.  I guess.  I am EXHAUSTED emotionally tonight.  I could use a manicure, pedicure, massage and new clothes after a day like this.

Oh and I broke the sugar bowl today, and found out at 5:30 pm  that 13 year old Jane had soccer practice at 6:30 tonight 20 minutes down the road and we hadn't bought her soccer shoes yet!!! The team just found her name on their list today, apparently, even though they had been practicing since last week.  What!? I registered her over a month ago!  That was the fastest trip ever by a soccer mom to a sports store to buy soccer shoes and then to a soccer field all in the course of an hour.

The good news:  my husband got word today he is even closer to getting a job we all want him to have; a photographer to whom we owed a lot of money for beautiful family portraits done three years ago when my husband had a job called out of the blue and said he has decided to forgive our debt because of our lengthy unemployment status and he is SENDING us these amazing portraits for only what we have already paid (tears); and the government sent us a check today for some back pay, a small check but thanks anyway!!  :) So God is still good, life goes on, Caroline will go back to school tomorrow, and it will be a fresh new day.  Thanks for listening to me rant.  You keep me going.

PS. Please pray for my dear friend Lynn, who is very, very sick with cancer and multiple infections.  We don't want to lose her and neither does her husband John.  Thank you.

Monday, September 5, 2011

New Beginnings Tomorrow at a New School!

And with fear and trepidation we are embarking on a new adventure at yet another school.  I am really struggling with "did we make the right decision" not because I think it could be wrong academically or socially, but because of the long commute everyday that will be expensive since gas is sky high, and because Mae's pick up schedule is different from Caroline's depending on the day, and then I have Jane's pick up schedule to deal with two of those days as well.  I could really be driving all over the place and hating it.  Or I could love this new school so much I won't mind in the end.  I just hope it is the latter.  This school is very structured about homework assignments, and has a zero tolerance policy for late homework.  Meaning if it is late, even if you are just tardy, it counts as a zero.  Hmmm.  Caroline and Mae have both struggled with getting their assignments in on time, so this will either be a great incentive or will result in really bad grades.  We shall see.  This is a new policy starting this year so maybe it will change if parents protest enough.  I understand their philosophy but it is kind of harsh.

We are preemptively asking for an increase in Caroline's Seroquel dosage with the beginning of the school year.  She always ramps towards mania in September and October and we have learned that the hard way.  So now we anticipate the seasonal change and try to stay ahead of it.  Then she usually ends up needing more Lamictal later in the fall to counteract depression.  So complicated!

Have a good start to the school year!  I know how tough it is to deal with teachers, administrators, school psychologists and the like!  Don't back down and be the advocate for your kid that your kid needs.  And don't be afraid to hire an educational advocate if you can't get the school to cooperate!!  I have a link to the right on my blog.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Crunchy Kitchen Floors and a Quieter House

I heard something on the radio today that made me laugh.  A lady was talking about finding a "parenting" soul mate in another female friend, someone you really "get."  She said that the first thing to compare is whether or not you have crunchy kitchen floors.  Oh, we would get along just fine!  Not that I never clean them, but about half the time they are crunchy!  The dogs sometimes "vacuum" but they are particular about some things.

We finally have heath insurance!  The kinks got ironed out, thank goodness!  I was getting really anxious about how much we have already paid out of pocket since the first.  Caroline is very expensive!!!! Love her to death, but her medical needs are huge compared to everyone else in our family.

With one down and three to go, so to speak, the house is a little quieter, just a little, and definitely less crowded.  Elizabeth, our college freshmen in Florida,  had a way of bringing people over daily, not that we minded that much, but she was definitely a pied piper for other teens at her school and from other schools as well.  She is already taking on leadership roles at her college and we are so proud!  People just kind of follow her, and she is a great kid to follow!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I am sure I am not in this boat by myself, but right now I am so overwhelmed by the state of my house after hurricane evacuation preparations, back to school stuff everywhere in the kitchen, the remnants of getting ready for packing for college all around the house, a huge back load of laundry from pre-hurricane and post-hurricane, in addition to realizing we need to wash ALL of the bedding in our house and fumigate because we think we might have brought home bedbugs from camp or the cabin or a hotel!!! Now I am serious work to do and I am feeling a little frozen by the magnitude of it all.  And of course school for three of our kids starts on Tuesday.  Uggh!  Then we get a notice from the health insurance company that our application was rejected over some missing data in the DEERS system. Thanks.  So my poor husband has been back at the Naval Base trying to get all of this straightened out so we can have health insurance!  And we are still waiting on the job possibility in CA, which we won't hear about until after Labor Day.  I just need another week to myself to regroup.  Yuck!  I am trying to just breathe here.  Breathe.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Great Meeting with New "Old" Psychiatrist

Caroline had her first meeting yesterday with our new psychiatrist, who is actually her "old" psychiatrist from the time of her first diagnosis at age 7.  We loved her, and the only reason we left was that her staff at that time was notoriously slow to respond to refill requests and emergency appointments were nigh to impossible to come by.  She has revamped her office and now has emergency appointment times weekly and also has new staffers.  We haven't had to refill anything by phone yet so we shall see how that goes.  But this doc was so happy to see Caroline so stable and so successful right now.  I look forward to working with her again and she didn't balk at all at the number of meds Caroline is on. As the saying goes,  if it ain't broke, don't fix it!  She concurred, thankfully.

I leave today with our oldest for the college drop-off.  With the hurricane coming right toward us, landfall only an hour south of us, my husband is going to stay behind to get our house ready for the deluge.  Hopefully they won't have to evacuate, but that is a possibility.  We will be safer in Florida than they will be up here!  I stocked the house with hurricane supplies.  I wish we could all be together during the onslaught, but it is what it is.  Pray for our family for safe travel and safe hunkering down!  I hope all of you on the East Coast will be okay!!  Refill those meds now!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hurricane Irene and College Drop Off Plan B

Well, this hurricane, which is now predicted to be a CAT 2 by the time it hits my daughter's college, is scuttling all of our plans for the big two-parent college drop off.  We may have to drive down on Wednesday, or rather just my husband driving down with Elizabeth, in order to get there ahead of the storm and wait it out in a hotel until Saturday morning for move in day.  Shucks.  I just can't be gone that long, from Wed, to Sunday at this point because of child care issues.  It's just too expensive if I have to use the sitter service for all three for five days!  Oh well, there is family weekend in October and I can go down then.  Life is what happens when you make other plans, right?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hoping the Care.com Sitter Works Out

Well, after my sister's wonderful help in finding a sitter comfortable with special needs kids on Care.com, I have hired a grad student to stay with Caroline while we take Elizabeth to college many states away--to the tune of $300!  Well, I guess that is better than leaving her by herself for a weekend, right?  But after forking out $2200 for COBRA health insurance, and getting a bill for $700 from our mortgage company for more escrow, and a huge water bill from our burst water line,  it is kind of hard to swallow.  Oh well, you do what you have to.  I am glad that there are websites like Care.com where you can find a special needs sitter on short notice.  I wish I had known about them a when my kids were younger!  We didn't go on dates for years because we knew most sitters couldn't handle our bp kid.  So now while Caroline is stable, we go on dates every weekend to make up for about 8 years of no dates!!  Anyway, I just hope this gal doesn't cancel at the last minute.  Oh, and it looks like a tropical storm is going to hit Florida right when we need to drive there for the college drop-off.  Great.  What fun!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Midnight Musings

Or maybe it was closer to 4:00 am.  I am having more trouble sleeping lately because of my husband's unemployment situation, the big withdrawals from our 401K to pay the bills, and the prospect of moving all the way across country if this job materializes in CA.   My husband and I are quite anxious about the near future, not that we are afraid to leap into a new experience, but just scared about the weightiness of all of these decisions and challenges.

But what I was musing about the most was the fact that I can be such a harsh judge of people.  I have been frustrated with the lack of response to my request for help with Caroline, but really, when I think about it, I often see rejection where there isn't any.  Instead of assuming the best in people, I assume the worst, very frequently.  I project onto others my own insecurities surrounding my bipolar daughter and think that everyone is judging me or my child.  Funny how we do this.  I realized I just need to let go of assumption and anger, and instead embrace grace and forgiveness.   I wonder how many friends I have pushed away because I either project genuine need and they are made uncomfortable by that, or have I have pushed them away because they sense I am judging them if they don't come to my aid.  Probably there exists a bit of both.

The thought of being in need or looking like I am in need is actually abhorrent to me.  I resist asking for help until I am undone.  I want to be superwoman and do it all by myself.  I want to be perceived as competent and in control.  The people who know me best know this.  I don't want to be needy or to project neediness.  Only on this blog do I express my heartfelt needs without fear of what others think.   I am actually quite fearful of what my friends think.  I know I am because of how insecure I often feel around them.  Isn't that weird?  The people we should feel the most relaxed around are often the ones who unearth the most unease in us, that they will see our flaws and reject us.

But God never rejects us.  He sees our flaws, our insecurities, our anger and unforgiveness, and He still opens His arms to us ready to embrace and forgive and accept.  I need to be reminded of this daily.

Thank you for reading.  You always encourage me with your own stories.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

To Be Fair

Just to be fair, several of our friends (and most of our family) are truly busy during this time and truly can't watch Caroline.  I just had to say this because I did get a couple of replies to an email I sent to a quite a number of people in our church and out who responded that they were going to be out of town, etc.  So I am adding this just in case there is anyone was reading this who got that general email from us and is now  wondering if I might be referring to them.  Sorry!  I don't mean to be judgemental or guilt-tripping,  I am just using this blog for what it is meant for: a place for me to vent and share my experiences raising a bipolar child.  :)

Feeling Left in a Lurch

I am so frustrated right now.  We still don't have a solution for what to do with Caroline when we drop Elizabeth off at college in less than two weeks.  Since we don't have family that can host her or stay with her at this time, we are at the mercy of friends and strangers.  I am trying to find a college girl through www.care.com , but it hasn't been easy to find someone on such short notice.  The bummer is I started working on this problem months ago and thought I had it all taken care of!  Then my college sitter backed out because she wanted to spend more time with her boyfriend.  Yeah, go figure.  Thanks.

I know that although I feel left in a lurch, so to speak, that God must have a plan.  We just don't feel that it is right to take Caroline with us and possibly throw a big wrench into this very important rite of passage for Elizabeth.  Plus the drive is 10 hours long, over 600 miles, so the car ride could be too long for her most likely.  She loses patience after about 3 hours in the car. The frustration for us is that if Caroline weren't bipolar, none of this would be hard at all.  I have no problem finding people to stay with my other "normal" kids, or folks for them to stay with, but as soon as I try to find someone for Caroline, I run into roadblocks due to the fact that 1. she doesn't have any close friends she could stay with and 2. our own close friends don't seem to be comfortable with the idea of taking her on even though she is very stable.  Do you have this problem too with your bipolar or Aspergers child?  I am just praying for a good solution to this problem so we can bless Elizabeth with a great experience in transitioning to college.  She deserves her mom and dad's undivided attention for once!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Off Topic: Water Line Break to Our House

But we have insurance on this line through our power company for $3.25 a month.  Thank goodness.  You might want to see if your utility company offers similar insurance.  Worth every penny!

Waiting on Word of a Big Move

We could be moving to the West Coast if my husband gets a job at a Christian camp that he just applied for.  He may not get it, and if he is offered the job, he may not take it depending on the salary, benefits, etc, but if it would be very interesting and exciting if this did happen.  We would appreciate your prayers as we await word on this opportunity.  My poor husband spent about 8 hours filling out the online application, and he was so exhausted and frustrated by the end that I thought he might throw in the towel. He hates online applications, so impersonal.  Caroline would love to move across country, actually anywhere but here for a fresh start.  So we are waiting, but obviously my husband still needs to look for other jobs as well.  We just stroked a check for $2313 for three months of COBRA.  Yikes!  I wish we didn't have to do this but with Caroline's penchant for ending up the the ER on a regular basis we decided it was worth the risk.  And the 401K just keeps shrinking....

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Love the New CNP at the New Psychiatrist's Office

I am so relieved to have found a sharp, compassionate, up-to-date CNP at the new psychiatrist's office that Caroline and I will be going to now.  Probably Mae would see her too for her ADHD. The right person makes ALL the difference, doesn't it?

If we end up moving because of Bill's job search, we will have to start all over finding a good psychiatrist, psychologist, homeschool co-op, lacrosse league or whatever.  But I feel very confident that I know what I to look for now and I think interviewing several docs is a good idea before settling on one practice, or one school situation.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Professional Nutrients

Just found a company that carries the NeuroScience supplements and will give you free shipping if you order $50 or more.  I ordered Calm PRT, AdreCor and TravaCor which were originally prescribed for Caroline by her previous psychiatrist.  They are supposed to help with adrenal fatigue and cortisol levels.  Great for overstressed people!!  www.professionalnutrients.com

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Back to No Job

My husband found out today that the Navy is not going to allow him to stay in the service for a med hold.  So we are suddenly thrust back into the world of looking for a civilian job.  We have to pay a large sum of money ($2000!) up front for three months of COBRA.  I am really down about this.  We thought it was going to work out, but I guess God has other plans.  Now I am wondering if we need to withdraw Caroline and Mae from the private school there were going to go to.  And to also withdraw Jane from her homeschool classes.  I don't know what to do.  Pray for us.

Countdown to School and College Drop Off

Now that August is here, I suddenly feel ready to do some school supply shopping, including getting my oldest ready for her first year of college.  We still haven't figured out who is going to watch Caroline while we are gone dropping off Elizabeth 10 hours away over a weekend.  My college sitter essentially cancelled on me last week so now I am back to square one.  Hopefully something will materialize soon as I ask various people.  I am really nervous about this.  It bums me out that the great set up I had planned months ago got pulled out from under me.  Oh well, I will just keep looking. We did not want to take her with us because we wanted this to be a special time just for my husband and Elizabeth and I, and Caroline is always a bit of a wild card in the mix.  This is why we don't get away much, just the two of us, because we always struggle with who will watch Caroline, who do we trust to watch her.  She doesn't do well with just anyone, so it has to be someone who can handle her quirkiness and make sure she takes all her meds, and she doesn't do well with a lot of noise and chaos so I can't just drop her off into any kind of family situation.  Sigh.  Nothing is easy when you have a bp kid!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Letter from Her Camp Counselor

I had to post this letter because years ago I never thought that praise like this for my daughter could ever be possible.  So I am printing this to give you hope, that with the right medications, the right psychiatrist, the right psychologist, the right school environment, the right therapies, a supportive family, and lots of prayer, your child can be, for the most part, the kid you always knew they were, apart from a disorder that isn't their fault.  Never give up finding answers for your child!  Stability is possible, a "normal" is possible.  Here is the note we received this week:

"To the Parents of Caroline,

Hello, my name is 'Emily' (I changed her name) and I had the pleasure of being Caroline's camp counselor this week....(we) thoroughly enjoyed having Caroline in cabin 11 this week!

Caroline was a great asset to our cabin this week.  She is very respectful and knows wrong from right.  Caroline was never rude to anyone at camp, she is truly a polite, nice and caring girl.  Caroline always had great insight during our devotions.  Whether we were discussing friendship, honesty, unity, respect, faith, etc., Caroline always shared what it meant to her and every so often we would get a story or two from Caroline.  This is just part of what Caroline added to our cabin.  She brought everyone together and made sure never to exclude anyone....We thoroughly enjoyed Caroline's company this week in Cabin 11, she was such a pleasure to be around.  We would like to wish her the best of luck for the future and hope to see her next summer!

Yours truly,


You can only imagine how proud we were to get this kind of report and how humbled we are by God's faithfulness to our family in spite of all we have been through together trying to help Caroline have a "normal" life in spite of early onset bipolar disorder.  I pray that one day you too can receive this kind of report about your child, that others can see what you see in your precious child beneath the veil of the disorder.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Do You Have "Soft" Bipolar?

If you are ever wondering whether or not your symptoms of depression, anxiety, irritability and impulsiveness, seasonal affective disorder, and severe PMS are more than just regular depression, SAD, PMS or ADHD, you need to read this book:  Why am I Still Depressed? Recognizing and Managing the Ups and Downs of Bipolar II and Soft Bipolar Disorder, by Dr. Jim Phelps.  This is a must read if you have gone from antidepressant to antidepressant and never feel that great anyway.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Post Camp Letdown

Camp was amazing for Caroline.  She came home with a million stories and had a blast at this highly structured YMCA camp.  Now the letdown has happened and we are all experiencing it along with her.  She wishes she could have stayed for two or three weeks, and I wish she could have too, but the end of camp will come anyway, and then you are back in your regular environment after what likely felt like heaven.  Yeah, she has been in a perpetually bad mood ever since.  Great.  Now I want to school to get here fast, even though I know it will be back to homework nightmares again with her and Mae.

But we do want her to go to this same camp for an extended period of time next summer so we will start planning now, provided she is stable of course.

My husband's temporary job with the Navy is supposed to end this Friday, but he may be getting a medical hold to extend his orders another six months to a year.  We won't know until the end of this week or the beginning of the next.  Lots of paperwork and people in authority to make decisions.  If he isn't extended, then we are back to finding a job in the civilian world, oh joy.  If he is, then we have more time to figure out the next step after he is done with the Navy.  This whole process has been so draining for both of us.  I know my husband is really stressed out that we don't know even what the very near future holds.  God is leading the way, we are trusting in His good plan.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Postcard from Camp

Thankfully, Caroline seems to be doing really well at the YMCA camp.  Today we received a postcard which said, "I have made a really great friend her name is 'Kim' and she's my new best friend; we're like sisters right now. :) Oh, and this is the most epic camp ever! I'm having such a blast and I've never had so much fun in my life!!! :) Everyone here is so nice and friendly....I love it here!!"  So with only one more full day ahead tomorrow, in record heat, we are thinking she is going to be just fine.  I did check with the Health Center to make sure she was getting all of her meds on time and they said everything was going great, she wasn't missing doses, and that a few other girls in her cabin took meds too.  She seemed quite happy to them.  So maybe this will be an annual camp for her.  There is a three week session, but we shall see.  This is enough for right now.

The heat here is unbelievable.  I had a migraine all day from just watering my outside plants this morning.  Stay cool!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Neuro Psych Appointment

Well, I actually really like the neuropsychologist that Caroline saw on Friday.  He did some tests and said that they showed the same results that were of concern to the sports medicine doc, so we will go back for about three hours of testing in a week or so.  I am not too concerned because the areas she is scoring low on are the same areas she has always scored low on: processing speed and working memory.  I don't think the concussion has anything to do with these scores.  But it is good to have another look at her brain and the way it works since it has been two years since she has had comprehensive testing done.

Caroline is going to camp TOMORROW.   Yay! The YMCA Camp Silverbeach accepted her, in spite of her long med list and the recent concussion.  So we went shopping today for various items for  camp, and she is very excited.   I wrote a short letter giving the camp staff a heads up about her triggers, etc.  Hopefully, all will go well and she will have a great time and there will be no "incidents."  The only big concern we have is that she get enough sleep every night.  Sleep is a huge factor for bipolar kids and teens and lack of it can greatly affect their moods.  So we are sending along her melatonin, Rozerem and Benadryl and hope that she can sleep in spite of the hard camp mattresses and noisy roommates.  Maybe she will be so worn out by all of the activities that this won't be an issue.  Anyway, I am looking forward to the break and I know that she is longing to have the kind of summer camp experiences her three sisters get to enjoy.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Giving Both of Us a Break

The straw that broke that camels back came today when Caroline and I got into a major fight.  We were both ugly to each other and I realized afterwards that I need a break from her and she needs a break from me and probably her sisters.  So we are sending her to a sleep away camp next week.  Even though it is a financial strain for us,  at this point, my own sanity depends on it.  Being a caregiver 24/7 for a teenager with bipolar disorder is exhausting, and honestly, I am completely depleted.  So we are digging into our savings and sending her.  She is very excited about this.  So am I.  Hopefully she will come back without another concussion!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I am now counting the days until school starts.  I can't seem to come up with enough for Caroline to do.  She is BORED and with the concussion, she is limited in what she can do.  She is too young to get a job, and too old for most camps.  And we can't afford the camps we want to send her too, like Summit in Pennsylvania for bipolar kids and kids with other special needs (next year, please!)  I felt desperate today to find SOMETHING constructive for her to do that wouldn't break the bank.  She made a lacrosse poster but that only took up about 1 hour in the day.  Sigh.  I wish August held something great for her to look forward too, but by then all the lacrosse camps are done.  Argh! I need a break here!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Surprise Letter from Caroline

I just had to post this letter to remind myself that all in all, Caroline is doing remarkably well considering all she faces.  She left this for me to find this morning taped to the coffee maker:

"Dear Mommy,

I just want you to know what an amazing, beautiful, awesome, outstanding, incredible and irreplaceable, wonderful mom you are to me and my sisters. God truly created a masterpiece when He made you.

Just know that I love you in every part of my being and I'm amazed everyday at at how you push on through the toughest of times.  Through my emotional outbursts, Mae's whining and all the other drama we put out on a regular basis.

How you manage to do all that and look your gorgeous self while doing it is a huge mystery to me.

Please know that I pray for you every single day and I someday wish to me like you.  I'm blessed straight from God to have you as a mother that's for sure.

'Dear God, please bless, encourage, and positively motivate my precious Mommy who I love so very dearly.  Give her peace in this crazy life that can be so incredibly difficult at times.  Jesus give her guidance and de-stress her day-to-day in life because i know it would be so very helpful in her life right now.  Thank you.

In Jesus' name,

With love and constant prayer,


or Your C.C."

No I didn't make this up.  She really wrote that.  After a week of me blowing up at her because I was struggling with depression.  That is how she is in the depth of her heart, a sweet kid who really loves us and knows we try our best to love her and help her even when we seem "mean."  God is faithful and has done marvelous things in her life and in ours.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Concussion Still Lingering?

We had an appointment with a sports medicine doc yesterday who specializes in concussions.  He gave Caroline a neurological test and she didn't do so great on it, quite poorly on two sections.  The doc expressed concern about these results and also concern about how many psych meds she is taking.  Most doctors who are not psychiatrists express alarm about how many meds Caroline takes, but what they don't understand at first glance is that A. we didn't start her out on all of these meds at once, and B. that this med combination took YEARS at which to arrive after much trial and error and residential treatment, and
C.  she is the most "normal" she has ever been on this combination of meds and can actually do things she couldn't do before like stay in school and learn, play a team sport, write a novel, attempt friendships.  I always cringe when I have to go through a meeting with a non-psych doc because trying to convince them she needs all of these meds can be a chore.  I find myself feeling defensive and going into "I will show you that I am a smart, capable, intelligent, caring parent who has done her research" mode which probably comes across as a little bit showy.  I want to intimidate when I feel intimated.

Anyway, he would not clear Caroline to return to lacrosse yet or any intense form of activity.  She can do walking and light jogging, but nothing too strenuous.  Bummer.  But until we determine if the neuro test results are just her or the concussion, we have to play it safe.  He has referred Caroline to an neuropsychologist next week to do more tests.  I will bring all of the psych-ed testing we have had done over the years to bring evidence of her lifelong struggle with working memory and processing speed, both of which are in the gutter as far as test scores go.  I am concerned this neuropsych doc is going to try to convince us to take her off some of her meds or greatly reduce them.  I know we are doing the right thing med wise based on her stability over a long period of time, but I still feel intimidated by "experts" who don't know my kid as well as I do.  We shall see.

My oldest comes home from Young Life camp this week, and I must say it has been a nice break to have even one gone from the mix.  I miss her though and look forward to her many crazy stories of camp antics and adventures.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Swimming Against the Tide

We were at the beach the other day and the waves were pretty decent, maybe 3 to 5 feet, and there was a sand bar not too far out that you could swim out too and stand up on.  Very cool.  But swimming out to the sand bar was tricky because the waves were strong enough and the distance was great enough that I kept getting pushed back even when I felt like I was moving forward.  Life feels like that a lot with a bp child.  You keep trying to move forward, you see the sandbar offering relief ahead (school starts in the fall, this other camp is coming, maybe a solid friendship is ahead, perhaps a new medication will solve the mood swings) but you keep getting smacked in the face by waves that want to pull you under.  For me the waves are as much my own poor reactions to life events with Caroline than the actual problems.  The negative things that happen because of her disorder are often not as bad as my own fearful reactions to them.  And there is the ripple effect they have on her siblings.  She is like the pebble dropped into the water, which may stir up the silt already there on the bottom, but the outward rings proceeding from that stirring keep going.  I see God as being like a surfboard, pardon the analogy, to ride the waves that inevitably keep coming.  Without the surfboard, you keep getting pulled under, but with the surfboard, the waves are not slowed, but you can actually use the board to ride the waves get where you need to go.  "All things work together for the good of those who love Him..." Romans 8:28.   Not a perfect analogy, but a good one.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mired in the Mud

I am feeling like the psalmist who prayed that God would lift him out of the miry clay and to set his feet on the rock high above.  Truly this shall pass but the last few days have been so difficult.  I am struggling with depression in a big way.  I am yelling at my kids at the drop of a hat for no reason, possess no energy to do anything, just feeling irritable and sad about everything.  I think I need an increase in my antidepressant or something.  I made an appointment with a new psychiatrist as I am getting bad vibes about changes at our present psychiatrist's office.  This is actually not a "new" psych doc but an old one, the first one Caroline had when she was newly diagnosed.  We loved her but found her office staff to be incompetent (couldn't get emergency appointments, refills on time, etc.)  We are hoping this has changed for the better.  I need change, in so many ways.  I am longing for a new neighborhood, a new job for my husband, and a better church situation for Caroline.

We actually visited a new church today, finally, after talking about it for years.  Sometimes we can get stuck in the status quo, knowing something has to give, but lacking the will to make the changes necessary to make our lives or that of our kids better.  Stuck would definitely describe us these last few years in regards to our church.  We love our friends there and our pastoral staff, and especially our pastor's amazing preaching, but have felt that this church has never been a good fit for Caroline and thus not for us as well.  Nothing worse than fighting a Sunday morning battle every week with a kid who hates your church.  Change can be hard, very hard, but sitting in this other church today, with Caroline happy and smiling and declaring she had found her church at last, made the drive worth it.  I will do anything so that she would be drawn closer to God and develop a deeper faith in Him and His goodness toward her, and friendships at a great youth group.  Who knows, one day we may go back to our present church when Caroline is on her own and can drive herself where she feels like she fits in.  I think many of our friends will have a hard time with our decision to leave.  But we have to do what is best for our family.

On another subject, my husband's MRI came back that his tumor has not grown at all in six months, so that is good news.  But the neurologist wants Bill to stay on active duty for another year so he can follow this some more before letting him go.  My husband doesn't know if the doc's desires can be fulfilled by the Navy as far as more orders go, so this is the task at hand now, to find out if this will work at all by the end of July.  I would actually like him to continue active duty for another year because we are not in a good place financially at all with the eight months of unemployment this year. I am having panic attacks on a regular basis about finances.  We need time to catch our breath before being forced to try to find a civilian job again.  I am so weary of this season of life.  I just want to move ahead financially and for Caroline, academically, to get her going with high school at this private school and that she would succeed and maybe be able to stay there.  Enough with the ups and downs, God, I am tired!!!  I need a break!!! I feel like Job and I know Bill does too.  Too many trials, too many uncertainties, too much stress all the time.  I don't feel stronger at all, I feel beaten down and exhausted.  Kyrie Eleison.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This is Looking To Be a Very Long Summer...

I am really hoping for something great to come along for Caroline in the next two months, because I am already being driven crazy by her boredom, which never seems to lead to doing things like helping around the house or cleaning her room.  I am wishing we had some amazing out of town trip planned for the whole summer like my pastor and his family are embarking on for their sabbatical this week.  We once had a two month sabbatical when my husband was on Young Life staff and I still treasure those memories of a wonderful family adventure in Colorado and California.  That was many years ago and now life just feels mundane.  The daily grind would definitely describe life at this point.  Between yesterday and today I have driven my kids and myself to six different doctor and dentist appointments!  And much of that meant driving 20 miles away and, several times.  A dear friend shared in a Bible study last night that she feels like she has no margin in her daily life to just breathe.  We all concurred that this is very much lacking in all of our lives right now.  I think margin has to be created, even if it is only for 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there.  Mine is my new daily morning walk, when I leave my kids and the cell phone behind, and for 30 minutes it is all about taking care of my need to be alone, to exercise, enjoy nature, and talk to God.  And I get my other "margin" at night when I plop into bed, pull out the Bible or some other great book and go to sleep thinking about what I have read, praying for those things to be worked out in my life and the lives of my loved ones, things like greater faith, grace, self-control, love, and leaving idols behind and embracing the truth that sets us free.  I pray for those small moments in your day to grab time for you, to breathe, to think, to pray.

Monday, June 27, 2011

To Text or Not to Text...

The whole phenomenon of teen texting has us in a conundrum.  Ideally, or maybe idealistically, we would like to tell Caroline she absolutely can't have texting for all kinds of reasons, period, end of discussion.  But the big problem with that is that for her this is truly her "lifeline" to the world outside of her home, to friends on her lacrosse teams or the pool, or at whatever classes she might be taking.   Because she has so few social options at this point, her interactions with peers are limited to phone conversations and texting, primarily texting.  She has asked for a Facebook page but I don't know if we are ready to open up that can of worms now.  But then again Facebook allows us to see immediately and quite conveniently what she is posting and what others are posting on her page every day.  Texting is harder for us to follow, as messages can be erased quickly and it is harder for us to get her phone away from her to read everything.  This world of techno savvy teens can't just be ignored.  She will be electronically connected to people but we have to help her figure out how to do that and still maintain integrity and good judgement.  Our oldest daughter, while enormously trustworthy on many fronts, has even had some Facebook postings and pics that prompted our criticism, not always because of what she posted, but because of what other people who had lesser standards posted.   The pitfalls for a bipolar teen are even more abundant.  Sigh.  I wish we lived in a simpler world.  But then again we wouldn't have all of the medical resources we have right now, so I would still take the 21st century over another time.   We do know that we will not allow Caroline to have her cell phone in school next year.  The school is tiny and if there is an emergency, I know we can be reached. We just cannot risk another mania-inspired inappropriate text resulting in her getting the boot.  I am ready for the loud protestations.  Our youngest Mae will be under the same rules if and when she gets a phone.

Concussion, CAT scan, and More...

Caroline suffered a concussion yesterday at lacrosse practice.  Another girl ran into her while her head was down and smacked her to the ground pretty hard.  My husband took her to the ER where the docs determined that she couldn't see clearly (black out spots in her vision) and was having memory problems.  A CAT scan didn't reveal anything too bad, but she won't be playing lacrosse this week, and maybe not next week.  And the real bummer is that this week was one of the only two lacrosse camps happening in our area this summer and I already paid the fee.  Hopefully I can get that back!

And More...

Caroline's standardized testing didn't go so great this year.  She kind of bombed the math portion which didn't surprise us at all given the many fits and starts we had in Algebra all year.  But still, I was consumed with disappointment and guilt for a few days.  She actually scored below grade level and this was a pretty hard fact to swallow.  But hopefully with the algebra tutoring she will have all summer, given for free by a dear friend from church (we are SO grateful) she will catch up by the fall.  The placement test she took at the private school showed the same math weaknesses, so this wasn't a fluke.  The good news is that all of her other scores were above grade level.  Not anywhere as high as her two younger sisters' off the chart scores, but still above average.  Life is hard when you are bipolar, and it seems to affect every aspect  of life, and academics are not an exception.

I am reading a great book right now by Jerry Bridges called "Trusting God."  Greatly encouraging when life is falling apart.  I have been freaking out a lot lately about the near future and beyond, how are we going to pay for private school, what is next for my husband's brain tumor treatment, is Caroline going to do well at this new school,  will we be able to pay for the college expenses for our oldest daughter that the GI bill doesn't cover, should we sell our house and move to another school district this fall, what job will be next when my husband's job ends in late July?  All of this had me trembling and frankly depressed and scared to death.  But I had forgotten where my gaze should be, all day long, every moment, not at the giants I am facing, but at the God who has everything in His hands and who isn't surprised by anything, who never wrings His hands in worry, but has it all in His control.  I have shifted my gaze and am doing much better.

May you find peace and hope today in the midst of the storms!

Monday, June 20, 2011

I'm Back--Long Update

Sort of.  I am working out of a kitchen and home office that has had everything moved out of it in order for the hardwood floors that were damaged from the roof leak to be refinished.  The floors look great but I haven't been able to cook in over a week.  Hopefully we can move everything back in this coming week and we can get back to normal.

Much has transpired in the last two weeks:  my fifth grader graduated from her elementary school, Elizabeth graduated from high school and we had a hundred people over for a big cook out, one of our dogs got sick with cancer and we had to put him to sleep, my kitchen got repaired and we spent a week eating out ($$$!!) while workers traipsed in and out of the house.  Bill and I are pretty tired.  Today is our 19th anniversary and we hope to go out to dinner tonight and just enjoy each other.

I learned this morning that Caroline was ACCEPTED into the university model private school. Yay!  I was really thinking the answer was no after two weeks had gone by and we had not heard from them.  Mae our rising sixth grader will also go to this school, which leaves just Jane for me to homeschool next year.  I am relieved, yet, as always, filled with new anxiety over trying yet another school for Caroline.  And how we are going to pay for it is a concern as Bills job is up again at the end of July.  He had another MRI last week, for which we are still awaiting results, to determine if his benign brain tumor has grown since November, which would determine the next step of his treatment and whether he needs to pursue more Active duty with the Navy after this assignment is over July 30th.  So complicated!! I will be glad to an end to this craziness.

Jane's end of the year standardized testing for homeschooling took place this past week and she passed with amazing scores, post college on most of it, and she is only going into the 8th grade!  Hats off to her since she basically homeschooled herself this year. Caroline has her testing this week so we are praying for good scores as well that we will then submit to the state for approval.  She is being tutored in math all summer which has already begun and that will help I am sure.

I will be glad when all will be set for next year after I sign the contract with the school on Thursday.  This has been a truly long year of school for Caroline, trying to get her finished up.  She was still finishing final exams last week for her homeschool co op classes.

We never started Saphris in place of Seroquel.  I chickened out on the med change before Elizabeth's end of the year events surrounding her graduation and honestly Caroline is holding steady at 700mg of the ER Seroquel, so we may not switch all this summer if we don't see the need.  Our favorite CNP at the psychiatrist's office has switched to another practice and we are SO bummed, she was amazing, always called us back the same day, and really, really cared about Caroline and our family.  We may follow her to another psychiatrist.  When you find someone like that, you stick with them!!

I will attempt to answer all the reader questions from the last few weeks tomorrow, after I clean out the fridge, from which is emanating a very foul odor!  Too many weeks have gone by and too many containers are begging to be thrown out!

Lacrosse camps are in full swing the next few weeks, and then we are going to be looking for stuff for Caroline to do.   Maybe volunteering at the SPCA again would be a good idea.  A bored bp kid is never a good thing, ever!  And maybe she will get back into reading some good novels.

Thank you for your patience!  You are important to me, my bloggy friends!  I have missed you!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Updates and Apologies

I am in the middle of craziness right now and it won't be over until June 13th, so bear with me and my lack of response until then to your questions and comments.  I promise I will answer!  We are down to the count with both my oldest's high school graduation and my fifth grader's graduation, and many other events.  We decided not to switch to Saphris until after all of this is over because it was too much to take on.  So far Caroline is hanging in there pretty well.  Talk you all of you soon!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

In The Pressure Cooker/Big Med Change

I am in the pressure cooker right now as I try to:  negotiate all of the many events at the end of my oldest daughter's senior year (honors ceremonies, prom, etc) , get her college administrative stuff straight, make sure Caroline finishes all of her large amount of makeup work and tests for the homeschool co-op classes so she can pass into the 9th grade, nag Mae to finish her five space projects by Monday which were due this past Friday, prepare for a graduation party that has gotten much too big, get ready to go out of town on a 5th grade trip to DC this week, and get Caroline ready for a National Lacrosse League tryout of of town this week also, all while feeling pretty depressed myself.  Oh, AND Caroline seems to need a major med change from Seroquel to something else, which will be a new anti-psychotic med called Saphris.  Great.  I am feeling like I am going crazy.  My house is a horrible mess, the work on our kitchen isn't finished at all, or on the back porch where a hundred people are supposed to be on June 11th.  I am just having trouble breathing.  My husband had to go out of town yesterday for a family obligation and I wanted to kill him.  It isn't his fault, he had to go, but I NEEDED him so badly this weekend to help me with the house.   Add to that we are now waiting word on the results of Caroline's placement test this past Friday at the private school, which took her 3 hours to finish instead of the expected 1 1/2.  I am really struggling with anxiety and anger these days, and wondering why in the world I agreed to have the graduation party here at our place in just two weeks.  Just another example of listening too much to a teenage instead of my own instincts.  I wonder if I can change the location or the day, but the invites have all gone out.  Sometimes I am just stupid and am not very kind to myself.   Caroline is much harder to handle lately and that in itself produces tremendous anxiety in both Bill and I.  She is cussing a lot, which is a huge sign of mania for her, and telling some very hard to believe stories, and not being where she says she is going.  I hope the Saphris works, and I will let you know what happens.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Not So Bad, Maybe

Caroline has been talking on the phone to her friend "Dana" who says that her mom actually didn't ban her from being friends with Caroline, that she had misunderstood what she had said, and that it was really Dana who was in trouble not Caroline.  I am not sure exactly if this is the true story of if the mom is softening up.  Whatever the reason, Caroline seems to be able to talk to her on the phone now and maybe hang out.  I am still skittish though.  I still want to move.

Tomorrow is Caroline's placement test at the private school.  I am quite nervous, as is she.  I will let you know how it goes.

I am so exhausted by all of the end of the year events at everyone's respective schools/homeschool classes/ballet/lacrosse/cross-country/graduation related stuff.  I can't wait until June the 14th when it is all done!  My oldest is graduating from high school and we are having a big party here.  I tried to postpone it, but we another very busy time the following week starting June 20th with lacrosse/vacation Bible school/summer college orientation.  I am tired just thinking about all of that!!  But at least a party here means we have to finish house and yard projects, so bring it on!

To my fellow blogging friends, please know that I read your blogs but don't always have time to comment.  I hope this summer to be a better bloggy friend to all of you!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Friend Trouble

I have such a knot in my stomach right now as I am writing this.  I just had a very difficult and awkward conversation with Caroline's new best friend's mother.  Caroline is still struggling with mania, and on Monday at lacrosse practice she lost it, crying, yelling at girls without cause.  When this friend's mom, who was giving her a ride home, asked why she was so upset, Caroline blurted out a crazy tall tale that alarmed this mother so much that she called me to find out if this tale was true.  Before I could talk to her and have the dreaded "my child is bipolar" conversation, Caroline heard from this friend that someone had told her mm that she was dangerous and had beat people up in the third grade.  Carline called me very distraught that her reputation was being ruined by this gossip, and I tried consoling her, but I was livid myself.  My dear daughter can't easily escape her past behaviors five years ago.  This is a small town.  I want a new neighborhood very badly.  My precious daughter needs a clean slate without her past haunting her all the time.  Anyway, her friend told her that her mother had heard this rumor and was extremely concerned.  Thus,  after much prayer and anxiety, I called her and we talked, pretty awkwardly, abut Carline's illness and the fact that she isn't dangerous, just quirky.  This mother was clueless abut bipolar disorder, I could tell by her questions, and, as fate would have it, she lives near the rumor mill's source, a previous classmate at an academy my eldest daughter attended three years back.  Great.  I was calm as I could be, but I did feel my emotions rising as her responses weren't what I had hoped.  She seemed very guarded and I wouldn't be surprised if she would ban her daughter from being with my daughter. I hate this disorder.  It is unfair and cruel!!  I am just low in my heart and dreading Carline's complete devastation if she loses yet anther best friend before the friendship has even lasted a few months.  I hate bipolar disorder.  I am praying they will find a cure!!!  My daughter is discriminated against because she has a physical, chemical illness and this is just unfair and very hard as her mother watching her endless search after a true friend.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mystery Illness Stressing Me Out

My oldest daughter Elizabeth has been suffering almost two months from a mystery illness that is causing her to miss school more than all of us would like.  She has had nausea, vomiting, fatigue and weight loss, almost 20 pounds, since March.  She seems to have trouble keeping food down increasingly and now has chest pain.  Her pediatrician hasn't been able to figure it out, so now we are going to a gastroenterologist and we were able to get an appointment on Wednesday.  She has her last AP exam coming up this week, prom in two weeks, and of course graduation next month.  I know it isn't bulimia because she feels horrible most of the time now, not just throwing up.  We bought her prom dress last week and now we may have to have it altered so it doesn't fall off of her.  We are hoping for answers very soon so she can enjoy the end of high school and go off to college without problems.  I am struggling with a lot of anxiety over this and many other things today.  "Breathe!"  I keep reminding myself.  I can't wait til the end of school for everyone.  And Caroline was acting very manic again yesterday, so we are back to the doc tomorrow.  She will miss her classes again today which is stressing me out as well since these classes only go to the end of May.  Lord, give me peace!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers' Day to the Best Moms in the World!

You probably don't feel like you are one of the best moms in the world, but you are amazing because you care for your child who may show very little love in return.  You have stuck it out when everyone else said to give up.  You have prayed, cried, pleaded with your child to take their meds, do their school work, follow instructions and just to hang in there when they want to give up everything.  You are the best mom for your child, even when you think God must have made a huge mistake.  I know all of those feelings.  But the truth is that you are very special to be given a child with bipolar disorder.  You will grow through this struggle in ways you never imagined.  I am a different person because of Caroline, a better person, someone who sees her weaknesses and has developed strengths I certainly wouldn't have otherwise.  Keep believing, praying, pushing through and hoping that one day it will get better for your child! And do things that are just for you, whether it is a daily walk around the block, a pedicure, a cup of coffee with a non-judgemental friend.  You need to take care of you so you can take care of your  child without so much resentment.  The little things do matter!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Biting My Nails

I am biting my nails right now over whether Caroline (who is not manic right now by the way thanks to an increase in her Seroquel) will be accepted into the private school where her application is pending.  They are requiring a grade placement test for her, and a math placement test, which makes me nervous, because, being homeschooled, she doesn't have as many clear indicators of present grade level as a kid in a regular school would have.  I think she will be fine on the language arts, science, and history part of the test, but I am concerned about her math skills this year with the false starts we have had with Algebra I.  Please pray she will place in her grade level so we can move ahead and not have to start all over again with the school search which would be very stressful as the end of the school year is upon us.  Her younger sister Mae has been accepted to this same private school but we won't tell her or Caroline about this until we know for sure if Caroline is going to get in.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mania in May

Well, it's official: Caroline is really, really manic.  She seemed fine a few days ago, but today was a blast from the past so to speak.  She was agitated, angry, anxious, explosive, told tall tales to the extreme, was completely unable to do school, and possessed a huge amount of physical energy, which she tried to expend through running, but it helped only temporarily.  I had to give her a Klonipin today which is something I haven't done in probably two years.  Tonight she was scaring us so badly with her wild stater that we gave her an extra 100 mg of Seroquel with her bedtime meds, which is used to quickly bring down mania.  We will call her doc first thing in the morning to get an appointment.  Might be time to up a mood stabilizer like the Trileptal or Lamictal or the Seroquel.  Ugh!  Just when things are going relatively well, bipolar disorder strikes again with a big mood swing!!  Her homeschool coop classes are tomorrow but I think we will not be sending her.  I am glad we kept her home from lacrosse practice.  The most embarrassing things have occurred while she has been manic historically so it is best to just keep her home and ride out the storm.  Sigh!!  I know you know what this is like.  We just hope this doesn't lead to a need for hospitalization, something we have avoided for two whole years, a real record! And my mom is coming into town this week from the West Coast and we haven't seen her in two years!  Always something...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Yes, She Showed Up

Yes, Caroline did show up eventually, and she had been at her friend's house, I think.  I am not feeling a lot of warm fuzzy feelings towards her right now.  I love her, I am crazy about her, but I am not liking her right now if you know what I mean.  I am just weary of the constant vigilance over her whereabouts and her school work.  Just tired.  Looking forward to the summer and the end of school, but not looking forward to even less of a regular weekly schedule.  Wish we could afford to put her in camp all summer, but that isn't possible.  Sometimes you just wish they were someone else's responsibility for a while, even though they are always ours on some level. This morning we had a big battle over the length of her shorts for church.  I don't mind longer shorts for church (we live in a beachy community) but I do mind short-shorts and she proclaimed she had absolutely nothing else to wear except said short shorts that were beach attire only.  Arrggh!! So we went shopping for appropriate shorts this morning instead of going to church.  Why?  Because after this morning I would have forgotten about this issue again until next Sunday an hour before church and we would be right back here again.  So I said, forget it, I am doing this now and I don't want to here any more excuses for not going to church!! Enough said!

 My mom is coming into town this week and I haven't seen her face to face in two whole years.  I hope that her visit will be a good one and that my kids will put their best foot forward, help clean up the house, be polite to Grammy, and that we will just make good memories.  Too much to ask?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Thank You Demi and Catherine!

The most recent People magazine, in case you haven't seen it, features interviews with Demi Levato, the singing teen sensation, and Catherine Zeta Jones, actress, divulging their personal struggles with bipolar disorder.  Finally!  Beautiful, smart, successful women sharing their secret illnesses with the world, to my applause and I am sure yours as well!  I bought the magazine, which I never do, so I could share the articles with Caroline and my other girls.  Hopefully more public figures will step forward and share their own journeys with bipolar disorder.  Thank you!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Where are You???

That is what I am wondering right now.  Caroline has left the house and isn't answering her cell phone.  I am sure she is at her friend's house, so I will call there now, or maybe I am not so sure.  She missed her nighttime Lamictal dose the other night and I hope she isn't acting manic right now.  I hate not knowing where she is.  She is the one kid I always worry about and always fear she is up to something bad even when she isn't.  She wants us to trust her more, but I see very few reasons to trust her at all.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Camps for Bipolar Kids and Teens

I have updated some of the resources to the right listing camps that are for bipolar kids or accept bipolar kids.  One of the more interesting ones is not available online at the time and I am trying to find out more information about Camp Opehay in Northern California run by the Juvenile Bipolar Foundation.  When I find out more, I will post it here.  If you know of camps that I am unaware of, please let me know!  Also check out www.mysummercamps.com and click on camps for special needs kids.

Vacation Blues

Well, we are back from our week long vacation at the beach, and all in all it was a very good trip, even though we had seven kids (my nephews and one friend in addition to our four) and only two adults to manage them all.  Now I have piles of laundry and unpacking to do.  This is what I would normally call the vacation blues, the let down after the vacation when you come home from a beautiful place to a house that is a wreck from the crazy days of preparation and then you walk in and dump all of your stuff everywhere and the mail is piled up, and the last the you want to do is cook another meal!

I definitely have all of those emotions post-trip, but I must also confess that this was not a great vacation for me.  The kids had a great time kayaking, boogie boarding, skim boarding, digging sand castles, and bike riding, but I made the huge mistake of trying to decrease my anti-depressant a few weeks ago because I was so tired of the stubborn 20 pounds I have gained since starting them about 10 years ago.  Big mistake!  I was anxious, angry, and felt so detached for no reason at all.  I spent most of the vacation brooding instead of enjoying.   I know the SSRIs have caused my weight gain, because anytime I have gone off of them or really reduced them, I loose weight really fast, but inevitably, every time I decrease the meds, I become depressed really fast too.  I am stupid to think I don't need these drugs, but I am mad that I need them.  I am too vain, I know, and I should care far more about being all there for my husband and my kids then being two sizes bigger than I should be.  I have struggled to be slender my whole life and I have this alarm that goes off in my head when I go above a certain weight, and recently those alarms have been ringing loudly.  I HATE this struggle, of wanting to be thin and being unable to get there through diet and exercise because of the chemicals my brain needs.  I know that my bp daughter has struggled so much with this issue since starting the atypical anti psychotics, which are notorious for causing fast weight gain, and she is remarkably normal-sized because she works out for hours each day in lacrosse.  But the alternative of doing without the AAPs isn't acceptable either: instability leading to social and academic failure or even self-harm.  These meds are a necessary evil it seems.  I wish I didn't need antidepressants but I know I do, and I have increased my dosage again, sheepishly.  I was totally crabby, moody, and unreasonable during the whole vacation and I regret putting my kids through this, and my poor husband too!!  Lesson learned.  So I will just have to accept the fact that a few extra pounds is the price I pay for functionality.  My kids need me, my husband needs me, and I need me too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Another Car Accident!

This time it was my own kid, our oldest daughter, in her first fender bender, which, fortunately, resulted in very little damage to her new car.  The other driver was on a motorcycle (!), and was not injured and her bike wasn't damaged really either.  Just a big scare and a ticket for failure to yield for our daughter.  Bummer!  She was trying to cross a very busy road at rush hour without a traffic light to aid her, and even though the traffic on her side of the road had stopped to let her cross, as she pulled out she didn't see the motorcyclist.  This could have been very bad indeed, but thank God it wasn't!  She is shaken up and very upset about getting a ticket one month after getting her license, but the police officer was very gracious to her and encouraging that this wasn't the end of the world.  We have to go to court now, but we will take her grades with us to show that she is a great kid, taking four AP classes right now, and not a "problem" kid or anything.  We are just thankful that this wasn't the very serious accident it could have been!  Just another day in life of our family.  Sigh!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Back from Birminghmam

I arrived back from Birmingham late Friday night after spending the week with my sister and her husband and their newly paralyzed son.  This was not a week one easily forgets.  I am glad to be home with my family, but my heart is with Heidi and Michael and their precious son Daniel who is facing a huge paradigm shift as they say, learning all over again how to walk, eat, and get around as a partial quadriplegic at the age of 19. We have great hope for that he will walk again someday. We are so thankful that God spared his life that night as the outcome could have been even more tragic than it already is.

Caroline laments quite often over how unfair her life is, how few friends she has, how many schools she has been shuffled between, how many meds she must take, but honestly, compared to being confined to a wheelchair, having others bathe you, dress you, feed you, and speak for you, she has very little to complain about.  I hope she really sees this, that as challenging as her life is, she can run, and play lacrosse, and go to college on time if she works hard.  She has so much to be thankful for even when things are really difficult!!

I am doing fine myself.  I think I have this weird ability to compartmentalize my thinking when shocking things happen.  I sort of detach emotionally and go into action mode.  I have been doing this since I was in college, and maybe it is a mild form of dissociative disorder or maybe it is just a God-given way of protecting myself emotionally when the world collapses around me.  I don't feel much of anything when others around me are feeling so much that they are falling apart.  I just go into thinking mode.  Maybe later, at other times, I allow myself to feel and to cry.  But in the moment of crisis, I become a machine and just do. This is quite helpful at times when needed and I have used this a lot when Caroline has been in crisis time and again.

Caroline continues to develop friendships on the lacrosse team, and one in particular shows great promise, the other homeschooled girl I mentioned before.  An opportunity arose for Caroline to go on the retreat with our church's youth group and she showed interest in going, but unfortunately she has two back to back games on Saturday.  She could have missed one of them, but missing both would have been very unsupportive of her team and this is the second to the last weekend of games.  So she decided to stay and play in the games, which was a very hard decision.  We would have encourage her to skip the game if she had only one.  Oh well, at least she is showing an interest int the Youth Group again, which she did go to last night even though she was afraid.  We will just continue to encourage her to go on Sunday nights.

We leave for a week at the beach soon, for our last "family" vacation with Elizabeth before she goes to college.  We debated about spending this kind of money while my husband is unemployed, but there are somethings you can't put a price tag on, like making memories with your kids before they fly the nest. Thank you for the tax refund, Uncle Sam!

I hope you are all well, though I know many of you and your kids are not, facing hospitalizations and school issues and health insurance nightmares.  Thank you for all of the messages of support and prayer for Daniel and his parents.  They appreciate them sooooo much, really!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Update on Daniel

My nephew Daniel has developed pneumonia from being on the ventilator or perhaps from aspirating something before the EMTs found the car wreck.  They were upside down in water or something like that I hear, so he may have ingested creek water.   He was the only one injured at all.  At this time they are calling him a partial quadriplegic, meaning he has limited use of his upper body.  The swelling around his spinal cord needs to come down before we know for sure what mobility he has retained in his arms.  He can feel some sensation in his legs, but can't move them, which is apparently typical.  Right now we are communicating with him using a letter board to which we point and he nods to signal as we spell out words.  Very tedious and frustrating for him and for us.  My sister and her husband are so exhausted.  Watching the agony on their faces when waves of grief overcome them is truly heartrending.  No parent should ever have to go through this.  We know that God has Daniel in His hands and has a great purpose for his life, however changed his future seems.  My own family been through so much with Caroline, but this is a whole different level of suffering.  I am thankful I can be here with them until Friday.  They will need all the support and prayer that we can give! Thank you for praying.  We of course want a miracle that he will walk again, and we pray for a miracle, knowing that this may not be God's plan, but trusting in His goodness nonetheless.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Please Pray for Daniel

My 19 year old nephew Daniel was in a serious car accident last night and was airlifted to the University of Alabama Medical Center with a spinal cord injury.  Please pray for him, for healing, and for my sister Heidi and her husband Michael who are overwhelmed at this horrible news.  I am flying out tomorrow to be with them.  He had surgery today on his broken neck vertebrae but the prognosis for regaining the use of his legs isn't great.  He is a very active, athletic young man with dreams of college ahead of him.   God is big and can do big miracles, but miracles aren't always His plan, but we do pray for complete recovery.  Thank you for praying!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Please Donate by Midnight to the Matching Gift Challenge for JBRF!

The Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation is in line to receive a matching $75,000 gift and today is the last day to donate!  Donate at www.jbrf.bbnow.org .  I did, and I hope you do too!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Can I Date?"

The answer, succinctly, is no.  Caroline, much to her credit, approached my husband and I with this serious question today.  She likes a boy she met at the nearby high school while playing wall ball up there.  We are so proud that she asked us to go out for coffee so she could share with us her feelings about this boy and ask permission to date him.  Given her recent lack of truthfulness, this is a very good sign and we will be rewarding her for choosing to be so honest and for honoring us as her parents to come to us first.

But, this is not the time in her life when we feel she can handle the temptations of having a boyfriend.  With her many struggles with self-control, adding that of romance to it all just isn't wise.  She is disappointed and hopefully won't go behind our backs with this.  I pray she will trust us that we know her well enough that our decision is truly in her best interest.  One day a great guy will hopefully come along when she is older (much older ) and wiser and able to handle it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Car, A Party, and a Retreat

We were able to get a car for our oldest this past weekend, a Honda CRV, so that crisis is solved and I no longer have to share a car with my very busy senior in high school.  Yay!  This will indeed make my life a whole lot easier.  Caroline has way too many appointments for me to be without a car.

Another bright spot for this weekend was that Caroline went to the girls lacrosse party on Friday at one of the girl's homes and had a great time.  She didn't spend the night, but neither did the majority of the team, so all was good.  We got the impression the girls behaved themselves and that Caroline didn't do anything to embarrass herself too much.  Whew!  I did catch her in a lie yesterday about where she was going on a walk out of our neighborhood and promptly picked her up in my car after a few minutes later.  I had this overwhelming feeling she wasn't headed where she said she was going and decided to "check" on her as I went to the store.  Sometimes, we just have to go with our gut, don't we?  She wasn't doing anything bad when I found her, she just wasn't supposed to be there.  Sigh.  I just want the truth and nothing but the truth.

I went on a women's retreat with our church from Friday to Saturday.  The time was very challenging as the topic was finding true rest for ourselves in the midst of our busyness.  I must admit I get very little true rest and refreshment during the week.  I guess I would consider Sunday morning to be refreshing and exhausting too.  I am an introvert by nature and being around lots of people in a big room instantly drains me.  I need alone time which I rarely get.  But if I am intentional about it, maybe I could do this, planning out time on Sunday afternoons to just be by myself for an hour or two.  Easier said than done.  Also, why I spend all day cleaning up the kitchen on Sunday is a mystery.  Enough!  Paper plates on Sundays, because I need a break, folks!

I am struggling with intense anxiety this morning about our finances.  I had nightmares all night.  I know that nothing is truly perfectly secure in this life but I sure long for security!  I want to know that we will never go through unemployment again, ever, but God doesn't guarantee that life will go as planned, does He?  I have to trust that all will work out, but maybe not the way I had hoped or dreamed.  I can cling to my plans, and be miserable, or I can cling to God and know peace.