Living the Dream

Living the Dream

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

When Life isn't a Dream

I've considered myself lucky with my bonus kids.

They have adapted to "normal" life and look all good on the outside.
People walking by them and casually talking to them would think they live pretty ordinary, common lives.

I blogged a few months ago about Oklahoma cutting benefits for children in foster care being able to see a counselor.

My kids had a counselor when they came to me, that worked with them for about a year.  They voluntarily told me that they really didn't want to see her anymore, so we cut ties.

I thought we had ran the race.

Boy, what a laugh.

Kids don't become neglected, abused kids and just "grow out of it".  I'm an idiot thinking that love would be enough.

Gina started acting out right after Christmas.  Couldn't put my finger on it, and didn't understand it.  Finally after a showdown, middle of February, I got her back in counseling.  Steven followed right behind.

They see phenomenal counselors.  I've seen immense growth in just the time they have been going to them.   They are more open, better listeners....  I just can't explain it.

Last week, when the subject came up of "Good touches and bad touches".. Gina disclosed that she had been, indeed, touched before she came to live with me.

We had talked about it before and she was adamant that had never happened, so you have to forgive me for being just a tiny bit doubtful, and remembering how she identified as a boy when she first came to me, I just really had to wrap my head around it.

Then sweet little Steven, upon questioning him, broke down and sobbed his story out to me, that as a 5 year old, he was fondled by the same trusted adult ....I was and still AM one outraged, pissed mom.

Then yesterday, my friend, Jemma asked a question on facebook about the Target debacle, not really siding with anyone, but asking, from the heart, if people REALLY bought in to the belief that your child was going to get molested in a Target bathroom.

I've been really reserved in my opinion about the Target bathroom, even fighting the urge to report that I, indeed, had used the Target bathroom just last week, and nary a penis nor pedophile did I see.  That took remarkable restraint for this sarcastic broad.

However, in the light of the recent developments at my house, I am putting my two cents worth out into the universe.

The furor over the bathrooms is idiocy.  Sexual abuse against a child can happen anywhere.  Sexual predators are going to do whatever they have to do to hurt a kid.  We aren't "Opening a door to sexual abuse" to allow transgender people to use the bathroom they "Identify" in.  That's just the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

Use the family restroom, people..... and show some love.  LOVE.    That's all I'm talking about.  Use the family restroom (which you should do anyway, if you are traveling with packs of kids like I do) and be kind, and show love.

My children were abused by someone they trusted and he used that power to keep them quiet.  I turned him in to his superior, and I was told  "They would take it under advisement, that he was a respected part of their team".

Gee, That makes it ok then.

I'm telling you, sexual predators know what they are doing.  They find a way.  They groom, and prepare and you, as a parent, don't even see it happening.

I filed a police report this morning, because I believe that DHS is too overworked, too burdened with problems to think this is important.   I reported that SOB to his superior in his protected work environment (I am DYING to tell you who he works for, but that isn't fair to the other people that work for this organization for the RIGHT reasons, and they don't need the bad press), and they pooh-poohed me off.

Gina just doesn't want him to be able to EVER hurt another kid.  This has lit a fire in her soul that makes her want to help and encourage other people.  This girl is going to do something miraculous with her life, just wait and see.  And Steven just doesn't want to talk about it anymore.  He is over it, and ready to move on.

I am so proud of them for their pure hearts.  I am so proud of them for reaching into a really dark place and having the courage to tell someone.

Friends, for the LOVE of all that is HOLY and GOOD, talk to YOUR CHILDREN.  Explain good touches and bad touches and that it is NEVER ok.  NEVER EVER ok.   NO ONE should ever touch them.  And that it's OK and NECESSARY to tell an adult immediately if it happens.  And it's not limited to touching.    These people enjoy just exposing themself too.   IT is NOT a fun conversation to have, but if it PROTECTS your KIDS, you DO IT

And DO NOT think your 2 or 3 year old is too young to talk about it.  Steven was only 5 when it happened to him.  It's never too early to talk to your precious kids about it.

Protect them, because trust me from someone that knows........What happened to my kids didn't happen in a Target bathroom, it was right under the parent's noses and NO one was the wiser.

Protect your kids.   Educate them.    Teachers, coaches, counselors, other parents, siblings, relatives, neighbors, church members..... no one has the right to touch them.   EVER.

I'm sorry this turned into a RANT, But I am PISSED Off at such a broken world.

God. Help us All.   Give us loving hearts and watchful eyes and ears.  Help us where we are weak, and cover us with your mercy.   In YOUR name we pray.....  Amen.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Cancun 2016 - The "Wallet" Incident Day one

This year's company incentive trip was to Cancun's beautiful "Moon Palace".  Keeping with the tradition of taking my daughters' (Lacey on the cruise 2 years ago, Kip to Aruba last year), I was looking forward to some sun and relaxation with my youngest homemade.

Our flight out was at 9:00.   That is so much later than my recent flights that I didn't give myself enough time, and I found us leaving Norman about 7:45.  It hit me that we wouldn't be to the airport until about 8:15 and upon further inspection of our itinerary, I realized we boarded at 8:40.  I'm starting to panic just a tiny bit at this point.  Hallie is "We will make it, let's not freak out".  I decide as we are driving up that I am going to have her drop me and the luggage at the front door, so we can get those heavy bags checked before cut off, and she can go park in the garage and run in.  As we drive up, the GARAGE is full, so I drop the swan off at the front door with the luggage and our tickets and bid her farewell as I make my way to the parking lot and hope to flag down the Shuttle.  I park on row L about a mile away from the airport and I jump out of the car, grab my keys and I am off!  The shuttle grabs me, I beg him to take me straight to the door without picking up any other passengers and he shrugs and says "Sure".  Hallie and I check our bags in with 2 minutes to spare.  We have TSA prechecks, so we cruise through security and it's 8:35!  5 minutes to spare.  I'm feeling very cocky and thinking we have time to get a sonic sweet tea to celebrate, when I realize that I left my wallet in the Tahoe two miles away.  Hallie throws my ticket and my driver's license in my hand (SMART SMART GIRL) and I start RUNNING to the car, three thousand miles away.  By the time I hit the escalators outside, I have a stitch in my side, but I'm still running.  NO SHUTTLE, so I run through the garage and about half way through I spot a security guy.  As I run by him (mind you), I yell, "CAN YOU GET ME A GOLF CART?? I MIGHT DIE if I KEEP RUNNING" and I hear him on the walkie talkie  "WE have a runner in the garage, wearing a hot pink tshirt, heading to the lot".  I don't have time to laugh, because it's all I can do to breathe and not pee my pants.  I am limping, skipping at this point, breathing so hard, all I can think is "After this, I am SOOO getting in shape", and I see my car in the distance, I feel a surge of energy pour through me, and I sprint on to the car.  The wallet is lodged under the passenger seat, and I find an old opened bottle of water, and I grab it on the way out, and lo and behold, up DRIVES my KNIGHT in Shining GOLF CART ARmor!"  "I hear you need a ride!!"  I'm too winded and too sweaty to answer, but I jump in and off we roll.  I gulp the water bottle like I have been living in a desert for a year.  Meanwhile in the airport, Hallie is making a Plan B, since she found out from the gate attendant that if I don't get there in 10 minutes, the gate is closing.  She finds out that there is a later flight, we can still get there on Monday, so she has decided all is ok.    I don't know any of this.   I'm too busy fighting ladies in wheelchairs at security and yelling that I am going to miss my flight.  By this time, I'm no longer running, skipping or doing anything except dragging my left leg behind me because I've dislocated my hip from running.  Imagine what Hallie, who is pacing and having the gate attendant give her nasty looks, finally looks down the airport walkway and sees my hot pink shirt in the distant.  Walking.   Like I have all the time in the world.  MOM!!!! RUN!!!!   Oh.  Really?   Run?   I take a deep breath and try skipping again, and we walk on the plane with the door literally closing behind us.  She is so busy laughing at me (sweaty, limping mess that I am), she finally stops rolling long enough to say, "I wish I had my video camera out to get all that" and after I drink 200 gallons of water, I start laughing too.
Until we had our layover in Houston, and I couldn't move my leg.  It's all fun and games until someone forgets their wallet.

Looking back, it seems like it would have been far smarter and faster to send the West Point athlete running though the airport....but we realized that she had NO idea where I parked and NO WAY could get the wallet and back.  People.   I did that little bit of amazingness in 14 minutes.  I ran at least two thousand miles and got back through security in 14.... FOURTEEN..... minutes.  That should go in the Guinness book of World Records or something.   I mean...for reals.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

YOLO- Day 2 - Dog Cousins, Friend Cousins, and Cousin Cousins

Deaton slept remarkably well his first night in the pack n play at Auntie K's.

Or maybe it was the tylenol PM that made me think he slept well.

 I like to think that Brielle remembers me (my Granddaug).  She and I bonded before she moved to California.  She thinks she is a Great Dane Lapdog, so it's always super fun to have her lay all over when you when you sit on "Her" couch.

Auntie K tried to introduce Brielle to Deaton.  Neither one of them were impressed, at all.

 Auntie K got a new camera for Christmas, and some pretty cool lens, so she took a few of the most beautiful baby in the world and I just love them all so much, I couldn't pick just one.

He's over pictures at this point.  I like his face in this one.

 Come on DeeDee, ONE MORE....please, just for Auntie K?

 Well, OK.  But just one more.  
I call these shorts his "Man-Pris" because they were a bit long, but perfect for the walker/crawler to protect his knees.  We think they gave him built in swag.  

 Can I just touch the doggie, Lols?
 Did ANYONE see what the tiny human did?  He interrupted my squirrel look out.
Ok, cousin, I will help you look for squirrels. 


Lacey's good friend, sorority sister, roommate, friend cousin, ..drove up from San Francisco to see us.  It's always good to see our Lacy Lee.   They were reminiscing about the first day they met at UCO, and other than having the same name, Lacy Lee says "I'm from Coalgate" to which Lacey DeeAnn interjects, "I live on Crest!"   Instant bonding over toothpaste similarities.  

For some reason we thought it would be a great idea to take Deaton to the park at naptime.  He tried to have fun to make us happy, but mainly he just wanted to sleep.  Bubbles?  Nah,   Slide?  Nah,   Driving?   Nah..  Fun bells?  maybe....  We like how all his outside pics brings out his inner Elvis.  That lip can't help but snarl in the sun.   It's Grammie's blood running through his veins.
Total swag in his Lebron James high tops. 

 This is fu...zzzzzz........
 What do we do with these, Auntie K?
 I'm thinking this is fun?
 Auntie K sure thought it was fun!
 It's fun sitting on the bottom of the slide.....
 you think we are going down that????  Death grip on the wood.  
 Leave your glasses on, and drive us somewhere!
Oh now, these make noise, this is fun.  
After bidding adieu to Lacy Lee, so she could make her way back home, Deaton got his much needed nap.
Next on the agenda, over to my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Lavonne's house for bonding with the family and cousins....and to sit on my most favorite porch in the whole U S of A.  

 Kip likes candids, so Alison is mid sentence here.  
I just love these two.  They are my people.  

This is such a great picture.  I share Aunt Nancy's middle name.  I was born about the time she married into the family, so we've been around about the same amount of time.  (And, cough, that's a lot of time)  She still looks beautiful as ever.  
Because she is the Hostess with ALWAYS the Mostest, Deaton got his first birthday present a wee bit early.  Pretty sweet deal.  

 After a delicious dinner followed by chocolate sheet cake (PRAISE BE TO JESUS good!), we retired to the back porch to watch the littles play some soccer.  Deaton  must have said "Ball" about 200 times.  

 He is an outdoors kind of guy.
 Brandon, Ashlyn, Victoria and Ethan walked down into the area behind the house.  "Did you see any snakes?" Aunt Nancy asks.  All the sudden I was happy I didn't go on their adventure with them.  

 I love my mom's younger bubba.  He is just like my madre.  Only a guy.  Very fun.  

And these two?  Fuggetaboutit.  Can be apart a year plus, and still catch up right where we left off.  Families rock.  
Just missing Savannah in this picture, she is off training military dogs in Texas.  This group is a fun time waiting to happen.   Love my California family!!!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Y O L O - California Adventure 2016 - Day one- St. Bernards in Paradise

Anyone that knows Lacey knows what a #1 germaphobe hyper freak that she is.

So when we decided to load Deaton Alan Holt up on a plane and head to California to visit his over the top homesick Auntie Kip, we both had to give up some control.

For Lacey, that meant not worrying about every single person coughing on her.  For me, that meant not getting road rage when things don't go my way.

So we adopted the term, "YOLO" (You only live once) to be our code word, when we were getting close to jumping off the edge.

We started bright and early, which we come to find out, is the best way to travel with our little bright eyed bushy tailed 5 am riser.

After a cursory look outside, Dee Dee took to reading the exit plans.  He liked the way they tasted too.

He is a teething mess.  NOTHING gets by this boy's slobbers.  Especially the seat in front of us.  YOLO.
 He was utter perfection that first flight.  He tricked us into thinking he was a good traveler.

When he was awake, he played with all the fun things we brought for him in our overstuffed backpacks, full of treasures for the traveling baby.

Come to find out, we didn't really need those things.  All he needed was this.

And he looks all high tech in this picture, but it lasted about as long as it took to take the picture.

Because, he slept so hard, we were able to carry him off the plane and chunk him in his stroller (which is a "Must have" for traveling).
He tricked us on the way out.  We bragged and bragged on him.  "Best traveler EVER" we bragged on our social media sites.  We'll talk more about this later.

THEN ALL THE SUDDEN, THERE IS THE reason for the trip....AUNTIE K & Uncle B!

DeeDeeBaby sat in the backseat, in his carseat and charmed Auntie K, who hadn't seen him since Thanksgiving.  She couldn't get over how big he was.

He couldn't get over how much she looked like his mama.  He kept pointing at her, and then he showed her his fun new trick.
I'm telling you, a teething baby will chew on anything not nailed down.  You know it's true.

First order of business was to drive to PARADISE (yep, that's the name of the town, and it's pretty apt) and visit Brandon's parentals, Don and Pam and see the newest Hall member, Brooke (Younger brother Brad's cute wife).  Hallie was very unhappy about this turn of events, because in her mind, she is an honorary Hall (bonded tight at the wedding at Yosemite), and thinks nothing should happen without her present.

DeeDee LOVED the Hall dogs.  Now everyone that knows Lacey, can vouch for me when I tell you she is NOT in any way shape or form a DOG person.  I gave birth to the anti-dog human.  It's true, and I'm not proud of it.  She made Tyler take a blood oath that he would NEVER EVER ask for a dog EVER, before she said YES to his marriage proposal.  I know how I exaggerate for humor and all, but I might be understating how unimpressed this child is by a canine.  SO, when the HUGE dogs appeared, I was super proud of my YOLO embracing kiddo.
If you think taking a picture of a baby is hard, try taking a picture of a baby and two very large St. Bernard dogs.  It was like herding cats.

And come to find out, Don Hall is a genius at herding cats.  He got a loud piece of paper and managed to get all three of the subjects' attention.

Hey Deaton.....


Come on you three, pay attention!

Did you hear something?

Deaton thinks it was Huey.

 But NO, it's up there.'s over here.    SO FUNNY.

Then the most beautiful baby in the world, found himself in a tire swing shaped like a horse, but since it had some stuff tree sap or something on the seat, he found himself plopped on some tissue paper, and since his balance is still that of a loaned her robe tie and we harnessed the lad to the pony.

He LOVED it. 
Ride 'em cowboy!

Here are a few more pics that need to be shown, because, well Auntie K's new camera is just really amazing and she is a brilliant photographer.
This one speaks for itself. 

It was a tie who drooled the most, the dogs or the boy.  (who just so happened had a picture of the dogs on his shirt! Mama is a genius)
He's just beginning to cautiously walk this week, and we all love watching him dragging his right foot kind of sideways to balance himself.  Walking man at 10 months old.  What a stud. 

 Ball is his favorite word, (and toy) and it doesn't matter that its three times the size of his head.  He's in.  Let's do this.  Let's barely walk, but carry a ball everywhere ten sizes bigger than me.  Wallenda carried a long pole, Deaton Holt uses a ball.

Enjoyed a fun first day in California, visiting with the HALLS.  

A quick picture of PARADISE and we head for Redding..
(Yeah, this was made from my phone)

Made it to Kip and Brandon's, had some delicious chicken fajitas (My kid is so domesticated!), and our Oklahoma time difference and the 4am alarm that morning, made us all in bed quite early that first night!