Category Archives: family

Why the hey am I so angry?? Get a grip. (I sorta did so now I can talk about it) So Odd.


That was a rough PTSD last week. (holding my head.)

It seems that my PTSD flares (or I make it flare….keep reading) and leaves me spiraling into –

…. exhaustion, irritation, and hypervigilance – plus anxiety. Sounds like a ball of fun, eh?

But last week….it included ANGER.


You are thinking….

“Did she scream and yell?”

“Did she throw things?”

No. I did not. (okay I might have… but I not at the kids. Wow. I’m amazing. sheesh.) 

It was almost a “sad anger”. Sad that this mental health issue is here. Sad that it affects us still. Sad that I cannot, consistently, wake up and just feel “good”. But, it was also an unusual anger that I allowed to build.

The anger … this type …. was definitely new to me. 

I sort of wanted to just be alone until the feeling went away, but I knew that was a bad idea and also not that reasonable.

However,  I wanted it “gone”. I am not used to “super angry”. It is a bit un-nerving. 

[okay…we are not talking ‘murder-angry’ or anything…though I did ‘murder’ a few cartons of ice cream last week]

By last Friday, I was standing in our room, crying. 

I was trying to do my hair or throw some makeup on or whatever (I feel better dressed, etc when I’m struggling with PTSD)

Jim walked in … stood in front of me …. and I said, “I have NO idea how to make this go away. None. If I did I would. I want to be mean. I want to scream. I want to tell people off. I have controlled it all but this is not me and it needs to end.”

What’s a guy to do? It’s not like he can come over and give me a big hug. I’m irritable, itchy, sensitive to touch when in this state…a hug would have made me scream.

Jim was left with the same phrase that has begun to haunt us…”We can get through this.”

To know neglect of his own, I already knew that. I didn’t, truly, expect to be that angry for days and days. 

The scary part was not being able to understand it. 

Now that it’s subsided, I can see through it a bit more. I can see why I acted the way I did when that sad-anger was sitting on top of me.

I let things build up.

Specifically, stressers/triggers. 

I lied to myself that I could handle it all last week.

There were events occurring last week that were super-struggles. But I was not true to myself about my ability to handle it all. 

I, instead subtly let the stress of each situation build, and I think the “mound-o-stress” (ha)  turned into a strong anger that I did not understand until the feeling left.

Some stressers were related to a situation that I do not blog about (out of respect) but which causes me significant sadness.

I did not consider that those situations would bring on such anger. 

All the {oh I wanna insert some sort of mean adjective but I won’t} specifics in this situation are NOT new in any way shape or form. I was sure I could handle it all.

I have experienced “regular” anger towards the situation, the people involved, the losses we’ve experienced…but not “THIS” anger.

THIS anger was deep. Sad. Until it was dissected, um like right  NOW, it was just raw, sad, anger that was leaving me confused last week.

Add to that, just before the difficult stress that occurred last week, we had enjoyed a long weekend away. That was JOY … coming home is NOT. [enter stress]

(the following may seem petty…but to someone getting her brain all-balanced again…it is SO SO SO not…)

I LOVE home. I NEED home. It is my “safe” spot.

But…I do not like a super-messy home.  But, durrnit, coming home from a long weekend, at a beautiful and sandy beach with five kids,  means MESS. 

{insert ANGER … at least that was what happened when I saw all that vacation stuff laying around…why???}

I am not a “Has to Be Perfect” Stepford Housewife!  I have gotten OH SO MUCH better at letting a lot of messiness go. 

I let it fly out that dang proverbial window ….. I was even getting better at that BEFORE PTSD…(pat me on the back…  😉

But MESS that comes through the door and sits in piles for a day or two…blah. gag. boo. stress. [anger growing]

You are thinking, “Just deal with it. Just put it away.”

Yeah. Well, um, can you come put it away? Or better yet…Wash it and put it away? While life continues?

(Said in complete kindness of course…sorta)

One of the things a PTSD sufferer deals with is lack of focus and a component of this is that SMALL things seem MASSIVE. Unattainable. Why-Even-Try-I-Cannot-Do-It.

Now, medium to hard stuff? Somehow that does not affect me as much.

Take homeschool for instance. Teaching my kids is a pretty “big” thing on a daily basis. A huge responsibility. 

If I’m feeling even just barely so-so…I can do homeschool. I feel great about it!  But there is NO WAY IN HADES I could hang up some clothes in my closet. WHA????  

It is so weird to be me. 

AND, adding to the above events (stressers),  there were a few other more relational-yuks that were occurring that absorbed me last week.

AND, last but certainly not least – adding to the above ,  our “Nala” (3 yr old, sweet momma-dog) ran away from a friend’s house while we were gone. (I mentioned that in my last post…sigh)

We were looking for her all week in 90-100 degree temps. I struggle, deeply, (like we all do) when my kids are hurting but I did not think to associate THOSE feelings with triggering my PTSD so much. 

{insert stress-obviously. But I did not ‘feel’ angry about this event. Sad? Sure. Angry? not so much. This is one of the reasons some of this hit between the eyes maybe?}

As I am typing this all out … at this very moment … I am thinking,

Andrea, it probably wasn’t all THAT unhealthy to feel such sad – anger last week.  For the love of pete, give yourself a break. Why didn’t you last week? 

Yes, it was new and strong and scary. But why are you still surprised at PTSD stuff?

Why didn’t you wave the white flag and just HIDE for a few days? Why do you push so hard?

You have PTSD. You ARE sick. [growl]

You cannot plow through like you used too. You need to remember stuff like this for next time.

Because there might be a next time when you feel like a complete failure because you want to scream, and throw, or act out in anger-induced ways. You are smarter than this!”

Dang this is real writing. Here’s to transparency!

I hope my kids read this in the future (hey future kids…I adore you)..and know “me” from all of this. 


How could they not, eh? 

And I am certainly not scared of them seeing their “true” Momma who isn’t perfect. They see her in-real-life right now!

Reading about it in the future will probably be humorous….”Ha! I remember when Mom was doing that! She was a trip!” 

or “Yep. She sure freaked about that sand.” 

or “Wow. Mom REALLY fought to have our family be tight even when she was struggling.” [this one is my favorite]

I am happy the sad-anger has left…but so has the stresses that were mentally straining me, although “Nala” is still missing. [sadness]

Apparently these events were desperately more difficult on me than I was aware of.

And there’s where the rubber hits the road. 

That’s when the anger slipped I think. I let it all build until is passed “irritation” and slid right into raw, pure, sad, hot anger.

So now what? Hide in my house forever? Never interact with others? Stay away from sand-related long weekends?

No….I simply need to plan better. 

If you are a person reading this who is or knows of people who struggling with mental health wellness…please talk about being completely honest with yourself (or help your friends be honest with themselves…) 

Sometimes it is HARD to allow yourself to be constrained by the truth.

“Will this event draw you out long term?” 

“Add up all the stressing events going on yesterday, today, tomorrow. Can you handle more?”

That kind of stuff. That kind of HONEST stuff. That hurts. Makes you feel like a failure, a louse, a weakling, if you have to say “NO” oftentimes.

I used to be good at asking myself these questions…Jim was especially good at seeing events that would put me in bed for the famous 31 hour sleeping events. [those haven’t happened in a happy long while. Improvement!]

But, now that I’ve gotten somewhat healthier, (hey…don’t I sound oh so healthy?! ha) I’ve gotten out of the habit of ‘checkin’ myself like I was.

OR I assume I am bionic and can plow through difficult things with ease and comfort, and be fine the following days.

Well. If there were ANY doubts (oh please)…I am not bionic. 😉

I am a fighter who fails (danggit…) but who, with the help of God, Jim, kids, close friends, and ….

(truly…and I don’t give a fig if this sounds odd…because….if you are reading this then you read this entire novella so you get my ‘weird’ a bit.)

….you guys.  

Here, I have an outlet to throw it out.

I have a place to write my brain down and to hope & pray that what I am writing, as raw and as somewhat embarrassing but yet oh so true it all is, MIGHT be touching a reader right now.

THAT also pushes me and makes me a fighter. 

I can come back out of the corner of the fighting ring, makes me put my (pink) boxing gloves back on, and go another round. 

I am pretty sure I lost this last round but I am hoping to make up for it or should I simply say “improve” this next round.

Because what HAS happened doesn’t necessarily need to be “made up for” but it can be used to IMPROVE oneself, yes? [this may be one of my best blogging sentences ever … I should probably take heed.]

Wowza…thhat was some really real writing!

Okay…push me outta the corner…

Especially those that don’t have it…..need it desperately.

This has NEVER happened to us before.


Our 4 yr old pup ran away from a friend’s HOME Sunday evening. “Nala” was sighted headed, south, towards OUR HOME Tuesday. This means a 6 lb dog, in 90 degree heat, has walked at least 7 miles, admist cars, in less than 2 days.

Poor thang..She WANTS to come home…She is SO close… She just wants HOME.


[THIS is Nala….sigh….Praying she shows up on our front step or we get a phone call that someone found her….some hearts hurt around here…]

I know this is SUCH a stretch but….But, pondering the instinct a dog has to return “home, even after months in some cases, has me contemplating what ‘HOME’ truly means. It’s a dang big deal.

Let’s pretend we are not talking about “Nala the Dog” for a second….but a baby that doesn’t have a home. I know…big stretch. Canine versus Human…HUGE difference…but…

I’ve been dwelling on getting Nala HOME since Sunday. It’s natural for my brain to meander into other avenues of what “HOME” means…to all sorts of all of us.

A baby…don’t you think…don’t you KNOW they have an instinct for a Mother? A Father? 

They KNOW when they do not have that. They KNOW when they do not have a HOME. A PERMANENT place of love and safety.

If the baby grows into toddlerhood in this same situation…be it in an orphanage, a temporary foster home, etc., does an instinct kick in to LOOK for “Mom” or “Dad”.

I know for a fact it does. 

If they do not find a parent, or someone who functions like a permanent parent, they do not develop the ability to BOND. 

To know the safety net of “HOME”. 

To understand unconditional love. To know the feeling of falling asleep without fear.

And the longer they are without ‘HOME’ the more jaded they become. But…jaded is removable..ask us how we know …. phew.

Children…starting at a startling young age…yearn for ‘HOME’. A HOME.

Our Tye [this is how we know…] did not come “HOME”, from China,  until age 2.25. 

It was APPARENT that he HAD yearned for a home but had not found it and, as a result, had hardened himself against what he did find…which was chaos, transitional caregivers, boredom, and hunger.

How do we know he had an instinct for a HOME, A Mommy, A Daddy? Because he was so closed off from all that was normal for a 2 year old’s heart. 

He was walled up inside himself. 

He was behind a wall of protection he’d set up for himself, mentally, because he had not found the things he instinctively knew he needed. Up went the walls.

It took God, and us, over 2 years to break those walls down…and to let his instinct for ‘HOME” resurface.  

He had to learn to trust again….to learn to go to sleep at night without fear that there would not be food the next day or that someone would take his only possession…his shoes. 

When he came home, he REFUSED to take his shoes off for months. He WANTED his shoes to be there ALWAYS. He had substituted a pair of shoes for a set of parents. [this world is so hard]

high quality and good price for kid shoe
 [they are similar to these but orange..of course I saved them 😉

When we finally had him as ours forever… he went to sleep STANDING UP in his crib….flat-out-FEAR. He was on HIGH ALERT. 

He also screamed his lungs out while he tried to decide if he was safe or not. Was this HOME? He had lost the instinct for such a thing and was crazy-confused about what was happening.

It did not matter what we, new and -again- random to him, people did to help him sleep…he had to figure it out on his own. Decide that he was safe. That his shoes would still be there. That there would be food. 

That, what he wanted and needed the most but did not quite know what it was, our LOVE would be there when he woke up. Eventually…he knew he needed it but he had to be ‘taught’ to let those feelings back out and to rest in the security of his HOME.

It was an IMMENSE struggle. Some of the hardest years of our lives.

But…now Tye is, mentally, “HOME”. He’s been physically home for 7 years. He’s been mentally home for about 5 or a bit less. We knew when it happened. It was the 100+ days we spent, alone as a family, in Guatemala during Aven’s adoption process.

He ‘settled’ during that time. He decided we were his and he was ours. The timing of that trip was divine for so many reasons….And one was to help Tye’s give that one last “nod of the head” that ‘this is going to work’.



It’s instinct.


Especially those that don’t have it.

If you are called to adopt…If you think about adoption all the time…If you lay awake at night thinking about “your baby”…..

You know what to do. Do it . 

Adoption is not on everyone’s plate…but it is on some. As much as we are not to be ‘inside-the-envelope-type-people’ (snirk)…Others LOVE the routine of the corporate life.  We all have our own paths.

However, if you feel the adoption bug but think there is NO WAY….We have been there. Knowing we were to do adopt but it did NOT make logical or financial sense.

However…It has worked out. God stretched dollars, blessed business, and had our backs.

 I cannot promise roses and long walks on the beach (smile)…..but I can promise a sense of wholeness that is not found in ANY other way…if you are laying awake at night thinking about “your baby”….


It is Father’s Day.. And…

There’s more to being a Father than a DNA-connection or sitting on the bleachers with a phone to your head. 

I throw my husband a massive high-five and then jump and scream with crazy that my kids have him.

I find myself hard-pressed to think of anything better for my kids than their Dad…..

I am so daggone, up-a-tree thankful for Jim…, the Dad who loves, educates, protects, provides, disciplines, plays, leads, wrestles, jokes, races, challenges, and adores our 5 God-handed kids.

How desperately kids instinctually yearn for a strong, Father figure. I’m thinking of those kids without families…maybe in orphanages …. without a Poppa …. to lead them.

And, yet again, I think God for HIS Fathering and that He can step in where others have stepped out.

But, again, Jim….thanks for stepping in my love … Life’s okay as long as you’ve got our compass.

So…let’s take a glimpse into how you discipline, educate, disciple, and lead our kidz …. wink….

We all adore you…more than you know I’m pretty sure because days just roll by and you might not get told how amazing you are or how thankful we all are for you.

But, the sentiment is there and our children will be adults with exceptionally more impact with you as their “Daddy”….

thank you for holding the compass…


Happy Dad & Grandpa Day 🙂

Jim’s parents…who I fondly refer to as “Mommasita” and “Poppabear”…. the ‘PoppaBear’ moniker is quite fitting, eh?! 

And my Daddy….Bruce William. Cancer took him at age 42. Unbelievable. However, today I was (cyberly) talking to someone else who has lost their father and came to the realization that my Dad is NOT ‘just’ a MEMORY but still a strong force within my life.

 I am, symbolically, standing on his shoulders learning what it means to be have struggles and to fight them. I am learning from his sucesses and his mishaps…but that’s what parents are for I suppose…wow…that was fun to speak of my Dad in the ‘present tense’…that is hard to do. 

But what would I do to see him play with his 7 grandkids? Oh my…you name it. He never got to hold or kiss any of them…but they ALL know who “Grandpa Bruce” is. I am proud of that.

PSS: On a lighter note…I think the words at the beginning of this post are ‘highlighted’ because they are some of my thoughts from Facebook today.  My little brain is too gobbled to figure out how to un-highlight them w/o retyping (God forbid I retype something … smile)

So…please bear with my little brain tonight. It’s had a bit of a day…

I probably killed 5 baby birds tonight but I just..I just…

I just could not take it anymore !!

The caked-on-the-side-of-the-bird-cage bird excrement.
The residue of old or uneaten bird food reeking of being old or uneaten.

The colonies of fruit flies residing in, around, above, below, to the side, diagonally, and within the bird cage.

The perches being coated with…yep…more bird exrement.



I did EXACTLY WHAT [stupid] “google” told me NOT to do.

(chewing fingernails, looking sideways, knees knocking, goosebumps on back of my neck…)



(if you are a MAJOR lover of birds….you should just stop reading. Seriously. I want you to still like me. So. Go back to Facebook. Go back to surfing for another goofy blog…Just..well..RUN!)



[gasp…big breath..wait..choke..cough..cough…one cannot ‘gasp’ AND take a ‘big breath’ at the same time… cough..hack…sheesh..]


YES!  THERE! I said it.



I just couldn’t take it. 


 Well…the dang bird were not even supposed to lay so many eggs. I have NO clue how they are going to keep five eggs warm AND alive in this house….


I NEEDED…LIKED….NEEDED the cage to be clean.


Did I mention the lovebird cage is in our bedroom?


Seemed so romantic.


Two birds…mated for life…

Jim and I …. married forever…..



I might have ruined that entire “mental picture” I had going…cuz now,  apparently I’ve caused stress to the birds (a vacuum hose in the cage is NOT THAT LOUD birds….come on! )..

Who knows if we will have baby lovebirds or not ….


I no longer have fruit flies, decaying birdfood, or dried poop in a birdcage in MY room.

I am chosing to be okay with that and if something happens to the eggs…the vacuum hose cleaning the inside of the cage is OUR LITTLE SECRET PEOPLE!      SHUSH!

My kids do NOT need to know of my minor “bird gestation” infraction.


Weird, amazing, odd… yes … those have been my last several days.

 It’s been SUCH a weird, whacked, thrilling, exhausting, and just different last several days.

We’ve been anticipating the actual “launch” of my husband’s new book….and it was YESTERDAY!

Jim is pretty fabulous at not getting his hopes to high….but I’m not 🙂 

So, the better and better the day went in regards to the “launch” the more surreal, happy, and odd the day seemed.

We are SO thankful that this opportunity came his way. It was a challenge though…he had deadlines, editors, interviews, etc….during the last year while I have continued to have both good and bad days in regards to my (stupid) PTSD.

This book is ‘just paper and words’ to some…but  …. between the two of us …. it is a symbol of perseverance, God’s Providence, and of our commitment to each other to fight through the hard times…even if they are really, really, really hard some days.

So…that was all odd yet happy. 

Now, I think I’ll let some pictures speak a bit now in regards to why the last few days have also been…well…kinda like our normal crazy but more ‘intense’ for some reason…

Somebody tell me these pictures aren’t just a LITTLE crazy!

For heaven’s sake…little girl that hoards, little boy that adores marsupials …. reptiles …. 

When I look at the pictures on my camera sometimes I, literally, laugh at loud at US.  We just are not very normal 🙂 

I’ve come to terms with it. But I will NEVER come to terms with holding a sugar glider on my arm…….ever.  I try. I try. But nope. It’s not in this city girl to have a mini-demonic animal crawling all over her. 

Though Zane seems to have no problem with it. These dang Sugar Gliders…they can sense my fear! 🙂


We added a “eye-lash crested gecko” to Zane’s collection..cuz..ya know..the boy doesn’t have enough animals 🙂

It was actually an award for doing something he was terrified of (competing at the Tae Kwon Do Tournament last weekened)

We never, and I really mean never, “bribe” our kids for good behavior … such as “Johnny, if you are good at the grocery store you can have a sucker.”  

However, we DO reward for achieving LIFE SKILLS.

Now, if Johnny REALLY has issues (like Tye used too) about not screaming, thrashing, and yelling for help in public (smile) then we would tell him, “Tye, if you act nice, do not scream, or hit, you can have a hot wheels car at the checkout lane” b/c for TYE that WAS achieving a life skill.

Anyways, “Mallie” came into our lives because it takes alot for a kid with Zane’s wiring (rather be behind the scenes like his Daddy kinda kid) to get up in front of hundreds of people, and his little friends, and attempt to break boards.  

The deal was as long as he stepped foot onto the mat and acknowledged the judges, did his best, and walked off mat without running (smile) he’s get a new reptile.

The boy got THIRD in his age-bracket. I mighta been “played” but…I’m okay with that. It’s not the first time nor will it be the last.

We have had a kid or two say, “But MOM! Getting to the 432nd level of XYZ game on the PlayStaion IS a life skill! I deserve a new game.”  Even I, the Momma who struggles with “NO”, can say “NUH-UH but thank you for trying honey” to that line!



Although I do like “Mallie”. He/She (can’t tell till it is 3 mos old) feels like suede!!!  

And he/she/it leaps in little springy jumps that are pretty cute 🙂 

Please, God, let her live 🙂

As I mentioned, we had a pretty major Tae Kwon Do tournament this last weekend. “Major” because we only attend two or three, at most, a year.

This is a SUPERB opportunity for my home-schooled (ya know…unsocialized, weird, only happy with adults, can’t make eye contact, only wear hiking boots) kids to step up to the plate, of sorts, in a public fashion and “perform”.  

It is a necessary life skill to be able to handle the stress of public speaking, etc.  The tournaments give our (oh so odd) homeschooled kids a chance to hone this skill.

(ya’ll know I’m playin’ ya with the weirdo homeschool kid thang. It’s fun. I can get people all worked up 🙂

The boys have to write on their “boards” the kick they are doing so the “board holder” knows which way to hold the board. I find this adorable for some reason. 
Maybe it is because they spelled the words correctly?!!  smile

It’s not only “board breaking” competition..There’s also “Forms”, “Sparring”, and “Weapons”.

Trey got a hard life lesson when he did not medal in “Forms”. 
There were some quiet tears. I wanted to hug and slurp all over him but I, you’ll be SO proud of me, just sat quietly beside him in the bleachers to let him know I was there and only whispered, “I know you are upset. But I am proud of you.”  
After a bit a gave him a little squeeze and walked away…He did not deserve a medal and he knew it. But, it was still hard.

Chase competed in “Forms” (Placed Second :), “Sparring” (Placed Second :); and “Breaking” (Placed Third:)

I was SO SO SO happy when Trey, deservedly, won First place in “Breaking”.  It soothed his little sport’s mans heart a bit after losing at “Forms”. 
But, at the same time, I am glad, in a weird way, that he learned the lesson he did by NOT winning in “Forms”. Is that so mean to say?!!

Ready to start the board-breakin’!!!

 (Yes, Trey is going to run from the other corner, jump over those three kids crouched on the mat, and break a board his Coach (the guy in purple) will be holding. AND…he did it with STYLE peeps..STYLE!)

 Zane KILLIN’ that board…remember..there was a reptile at stake 🙂
 After a competitor has performed, he/she must turn away from the judge’s table and wait for scoring. 

I always think they look so lonely out there all by themselves…wondering how they did…feet, arms, hands, etc hurts from whatever they just competed in! 

The judges hold up the score for the scorekeeper to see…and…if you get in the right spot, a spectator can see the scores too.

After scores are recorded, competitor must turn back around and bow off the mat.

 SEE!! HE LOOKS SO LONELY UP THERE (that’s Trey).  They should let the Momma’s come hold their hands while they wait. That should really be a new rule. I think I’ll write a letter. I’m sure it will be well-received..cough cough.

Chase and Jim has this “bond” now. They both have gruesome “boy sport feet”. Here, Jim is trying to wrap Chase’s toes to lessen the pain. 
Jim comes home from playin’ basketball several times a week…limping…cuz of a TOE?! 

Good Heavens Men. Try giving BIRTH. fer real. (giggle)

 Chase is a natural-born athlete. One of those annoying males who is good at most sports he tries. 

When we found his birthmomma in Russia, in the letter she wrote him, she said “HE MUST be in SPORTS” …. She would be pleased because Chase excels in them.

The funny thing with Chase, though…is that he is “good” at sports but feels “bad” winning alot. WHA?? 

When he was in the Championship Match to decide First Place and Second Place for “Sparring”…He was LAUGHING because he didn’t want to kick his opponent as hard as we were all screaming for him too!

One of his Coaches said, “Chase is the most annoying kid to watch in a Sparring match! He is SO good at it but he is TOO NICE!”  AND another Coach said, “If Chase kicked as often as he talked, he would be unbeatable!” SO TRUE!!   hahahaha 

Personally, I think it’s from living with little siblings for years and wrestling around with them but never “hurting” them.  Now here we are all yelling..

“Get in there Chase”

“Kick Him!”


and he’s gotta be like…”HUH? This is so weird.”  [huge laugh]

 So, You ask….where is TYE? He is in Tae Kwon Do (achieving new belts on a regular basis…booyah!!!) 

Well….Tye has a…a large attitude the morning of the tournament. Attitude as in kicking, stomping, yelling, throwing…etc. (Parenting is SOOOOO fun, yeah?!)

Dad warned him, “Tye, if you do NOT stop yelling and kicking, you are NOT in the Tournament today.”

Now, I know Tye is all of ya’lls favorite cuz he has so many “difficulites” and cuz he’s stinkin’ cute….BUT..I PROMISE that Tye COMPLETELY understood Dad’s words. So…HERE is TYE at the TOURNAMENT …

Nuf Said. ?!  

So…that’s been my last few weird, crazy, happy, thrilling, exhausting, and odd days.

I wonder what the next few will hold??!!

(this is what Mommys and Daughters do when they are “OVER” boy stuff. They go into the bathroom where there is a  full length mirror and take funny pictures of each other 🙂

Tye has his BIRD!!!!

[This relates to my last post…If you are wondering why the HECK there are so many birds and so much crazy…read that post…and the crazy just comes with being part of the “Cockrum Collection” 🙂 

 We didn’t tell Tye (or Aven) where we were going until we were GOING 🙂 

You can see the completely stunned look on both of their faces 🙂  Tye was ALL smiles after the initial shock…

 Tye almost knocked the door down at our friend’s house to get ‘his’ bird 🙂
 Tye in awe….deciding which bird is HIS bird…HIS bird from God in a beautiful way.
 Sweet birds..they are both over 10 years old. 

One was attacked by a dog and only has one eye. Aven wanted that one, Pete, so “She could make him all better.”  🙂

 Our friend who gave us the birds..I think Tye hugged her  20 times. BUT then again..Tye hugs any pretty lady he can 😉  

BUT…he said, “THANK YOU! THANK YOU!” over and over.

 Kiddos realizing we are really taking the birds home WITH us! 

[I don’t know why they were so isn’t like we don’t come home with some sort of random rodent or something quite often! smile]
 Tye’s new BFF, “Nelson”, was a rescued cockatiel and had spent most of his life in a cage. 

[I don’t know how one ‘rescues’ a cockatiel but that is Nelson’s sweet story. I, personally, think it is perfectly fitting for Nelson to be rescued again by Tye…sigh.]

  Even though Nelson was not used to nor did he even like being held, Tye acclimated Nelson very quickly!!! 

And, get this, Tye knows the bird’s name is “Nelson” but has nicknamed him “NOON NOON“…which was TYE’S CHINESE NICKNAME 🙂  cry.
 Just like “Noon Noon”…Tye has a whole new world to FLY …and maybe this small miracle of events falling into place has put some pieces of his mental puzzle together for him.

No..not a maybe. I KNOW it has.

Tye really understands how God stepped in and got “Noon Noon” to him in a neat way. 

(After Mommy and Daddy had said “No!” haha I still find that hilarious.  God was like, “Sheesh Jim and Andrea…Do have to do EVERYTHING for you?”  Um. YES? 🙂

 Aven giving “Pete the Pirate” a kiss. 

This is a PERFECT bird for Aven. 

Pete is not “perfect” in appearance but he already LOVES her. Crawls all over her. Jumps to her. Kisses her 🙂  

She’s getting a wonderful heart-lesson from “Pete the Pirate” [get it…he’s a pirate cuz he only has one eye … wink…]

 Within two days, Tye can hold Nelson/Noon Noon without any “barrier” like a thick glove, etc. “Noon Noon” really seems to love Tye 🙂
 We’ve had our “Icon” [on the right] for two years. We tried to introduce him to “Noon Noon” and “Pete” but “Icon” was NOT interested. 

I think we’ll keep them separate for quite awhile longer 🙂

 This is just “good ol’ normal” in the Cockrum household 🙂 Which I think is really fabulous 🙂
 Zane was feeling sorry that “Icon” was feeling ‘left out’ [the boy with the softest heart in the world I swear it!] so he was telling “Icon” he was still “King of the House” ….
 Our birds’ wings are not clipped. 

(cuz I’m scared to do it. I ‘clipped’ Trey’s newborn baby fingernails and made him bled profusely. Since then, I REFUSE to ‘clip’ anything. No joke.)

So, sometimes, they ‘take flight’ and it becomes a “find the bird” type of game. 

Then a “get the bird” adventure”…..

 “Noon Noon” has BIG feet (?) claws (?) talons (?) ha.  Took Tye a bit to get used to the feeling of them…but it wasn’t long before “Noon Noon” was climbing all over him….
 Another “Find the Bird” adventure. 

Can you find the bird in this picture?

 Yes, sometimes poop happens 🙂 

But, honestly, the birds usually keep this in their cages. I promise. My house does NOT smell. 🙂 

I ask my ‘would tell it to me straight’ friends if it does smell and they continue to say “NO”. 🙂

 Yet another “find the birdies” game……

Yep! My lovebirds love hanging out ‘in’ the light. They never leave our bedroom…cuz…that would be just crazy to have five birds all about the house at once 😉


It was, needless to say, a wonderful time adding the birds into Tye and Aven’s lives … It felt like pieces just fell together in perfect ways. 

That God orchestrated what, to myself and so many, would seem SO minor…but, apparently, to Tye’s heart is a MAJOR.

It’s really thrilling to be “corrected” by God and to watch it happen as it is SUPPOSE to happen.

Thank God for God 🙂

We also got to spend some “family” time with some of the “Guat Girl” families in our lives. Some of us were  together celebrating The Holloway’s new home 🙂

Again….Thank God for God 🙂  

Who else could have orchestrated and laid it upon the hearts of FIVE families, who were all friends but weren’t comparing notes that intently, to start the adoption process all within 6 mos of each other? 

The end result is giving our “Guat Girls” a sense of community that these girls seem to really need AND giving the five family’s involved a sense of beautiful history and sense of ‘family’ that WE ALL desperately need.

I’m gunna say it ONE more time…

Thank God for GOD 🙂

 Chase and Delaney. 

Delaney’s Momma used to watch Chase will I worked when Chase first came home from Russia!  And..for the record…Delaney has always had a bit of a cute, little girl crush on her “Chase”  🙂

 SEE! These girls need each other :)))
Bad Girls! 

These two fashionista raided Jessica’s closet … and come down to show their creations!  Happily, Jessica laughed. She’s cool like that 🙂

 Sophia…the Guat Girl that we are ALL rootin’ and prayin’ for. 

Her and Tye have alot in common…unfortunately. 

BUT, I know her parents are fighting the hard fight for her. She’s come a LONG way.  Silly girl can fall asleep ANYWHERE though! Makes me jealous!

There were boys screaming, adults talking, etc….but Sophia decided it was time for a nap?! lucky girl. 

I wanna nap like that!

 Emily (Sophia’s Momma..and Delaney..and Addie’s 🙂 and I have been family for about 19 yrs now. Not by blood but by bonds.
 My husband has another lady in his life…it is Tessa. I admit it. The man swoons over that girl 🙂
 I sorta kinda really luv her too 🙂 She’s Aven’s “Special Sister” as they call each other 🙂

Thanks for reading, commenting, encouraging, and lovin’ on us here in blog-land.

I don’t think you all realize the happiness you all bring me.

Knowing you are “out there” and I can always “come here” and be ME.

You all make me feel exceptionally happy…thank you Readers :))


Me and My Girl chattin’ with ya via video…about purple hair, hard choices & then (oodles) of pics from an impromptu weekend get-outta-dodge !

(if play button doesn’t work, hit your ‘space’ bar..that starts the video too)


I’m a daggone LOON!  🙂  I think the Cartoon Network may be contacting me soon for a leading role in their next show 🙂

Here’s those pics I mentioned…FAIR WARNING…There are more than ‘a few’ 🙂 But…would it be the “True Moments of Family” blog any other way??!! NEVA!!!

 “Aunt” Laura came with us for part of the weekend! Lucky us!! We love her mucho!
 For the record, Aven is SCREAMING her lungs out. 🙂 She not a lover of the water so much. It musses her hair and all 🙂
 AMAZING ZOO…looked not so much on the outside…but inside? BRILLANCE!
 Uh? Really?
 We sorta kinda really have a big crush on each other 🙂
 WHATEVER! MY sweet, precious, angels were MOCKING their Momma! bbwwhahaha

and that…folks…is the ending of a very fun-filled, God-breathed weekend that we all needed but didn’t know how much it was needed until it happened.
This is also the end of an epic blog post!
Oh vey!

I talk and write and picture ALOT don’t I ?!! 🙂


Okay. So. Yes. Maybe 5 is alot of kids?

(before my ravings…some pictures? ok!)

Tye (finally) graduated from “Camo” belt to “Green” belt. 
Once he finally got his forms down, there was no stopping the boy. 
 Tye had to recite a rather long and wordy verse to graduate.  He cannot, cognitively do all of this yet…

Enter Big Brother 🙂

Chase has, thanks to Dad’s idea, worked with Tye for about three months to get his forms and this verse DOWN.
Tye ‘knew’ the verse but needed prompting. The teachers allowed for Big Brother to prompt during Tye’s testing.
It was beyond sweet I have to say.

 Trey FORGETS to breathe when he’s sparring.

Scares me to DEATH everytime. 

Breathe boy…Breathe!

 Now Tye has started sparring!

He has a special face mask to protect the VERY PRICEY nose he has 🙂

 Chase is hilarious when he’s sparring.

He starts laughing…and running away 🙂

Oh my.

Then he gets back into the swing of things. (pun intended)

 Proud Grandparents.

 TKD gives our boys a sense of community.  

Seems very healthy for them to have.

I think I’ve been a smidge delusional the last ten or twelve years. 

Or…at least since I’ve been immersed in the ‘homeschooling world’.

I truly did not think that FIVE kids was ‘alot’.  In fact, if anything, it seemed a SMALL number to me. I am…now…changing my opinion.

I am waking up to the fact that FIVE is sorta alot of little humans to tend too.  That the homeschooling world is a bit skewed in regards to family size and comparing myself to “them” may not be the healthiest thing for me.

You see…MOST of my cyber-homeschooling friends (yes, I have alot…some of them are you all reading this blog in fact 🙂 have at LEAST four kids…Most have at least SIX.

Most are biological…which to me means “harder than adopting” because I am REALLY not good at being pregnant. I am mean.  Viscious really.  And I puke hundreds upon hundreds of times. blah.

So, BIRTHING 4+ kids … to me…. has been a ‘benchmark’ of sorts.  Especially birthing 6+ humans. I’m friends with ALOT of woman who have…and who are open to more kids.

However…I’m beginning to realize that a bigger family isn’t always better. For me.

I mean…I’ve ‘known’ this about our family size forever but not sure I really BELIEVED it.  

I am starting to become a believer :O)


What’s changed my mind?

Real Life.

For our (big?) Collection of People…we feel that it is important for them to have certain life experiences such as team sports, alot of community exposure, travel experiences, etc. 
Ya know…’real life’.

That is getting crazier and crazier the older they get!!!  Wowha.

We have multiple youth group nights, TKD nights, and music lessons nights. We have little kids that want to play in the backyard with friends while big kids want to go to the “Weapons” Class at the TKD Studio.

We have big kids who want to be busy with ‘big kid’ activities while we have little kids who need little kid ‘activities’… 

I’m not complaining, and we have a much emptier schedule than alot of families I know. 



Okay.  I give.  It’s alot. 

White Flag.

The World Was Right.

Five is Big.

I will NO longer judge myself against other large families and consider myself inadequate.
I will look at OUR life and consider it perfect for US.
What do you judge yourself against?  
Well STOP 🙂

It’s fun.  And refreshing.


 Zane and Tye have a very fun way of bathing the little dogs 🙂  

For the record…they have their swimsuits on.  Adorable. 🙂

THIS IS MY 1,000th POST!!

Who knew I had so much to say?!!

I’ve been thinking what I might ‘say’ in this benchmark of posts.

I thought about reminiscing a bit …. Maybe about one of our dog’s leaping through the window as we drove…


I thought about reliving the day that our family decided to climb a volcano and almost didn’t make it back down.


the reason I started blogging in the first place …
Apparently, once I started this whole blogging endeavor, I was addicted!  I did not expect to continue blogging past that first “family adventure”…

But…well…I sure have!
Then I thought about talking about how “ANDREA” has changed over the last 1,000 posts.

You see, when I started blogging….I was not as good at being  ‘transparent’ or as ‘real’ as I am now. 

I was several ‘Andreas’ – with the ‘right’ “Andrea” appearing in certain situations.

Now, I am just “me”.  

Always “me”.  

It is alot easier this way. AND, I like the ONE “Andrea” that is around all the time now.  WAY easier to keep track of 😉

I NEVER knew that blogging would make ME a better person. But…it definitely has. My courage to be myself has been encouraged via your comments. THANK YOU!

You all have been here to encourage me in this “being real” endeavor and in SO MANY additional ways.

You held my hand through the terrifying accident and, now, as I fight PTSD, I know you are here to encourage and acknowledge the fight.


Blogging has given me new, true, real friends…even if we’ve never met “face-to-face” 🙂

So, yes, I have changed over the last 1,000 posts. But so have many other things….and things will continue to change I am afraid! smile

I am terrified and excited that we all might verbally walk through…
my Chase falling in love (?) or at least getting his license 🙂 
my Trey snagging his first patent on the next great invention.

my Zane opening his own petting zoo in our backyard. 🙂

my Tye JUMPING over mental hurdles that still block him but that he WILL conquer and then trying to explain to him that, even though he’s 12, he cannot marry 🙂

my Aven dancing in her first fancy recital and, eek, entering the world of being a “big girl” and all that entails…(No Aven! You cannot wear that itty-bitty shirt in public!! Nada! Never! No!)

Regardless….. Blogging about the feelings I have while I transverse different seasons in my life has been exceptionally helpful to me. 



I LOVE YOU GUYS….I would NEVER have blogged this long  nor would I continue to blog my fears, hopes, ideas, experiences, confusions, and happy’s WITHOUT YOU ALL HERE 🙂
I would LOVE to hear from you guys about this ‘benchmark’ in my blogging ‘life’. Give me some luv me friends! 🙂