Sunday, February 27, 2011

I am so blessed!

Isaac is now officially 20 months old.  I can't believe how fast he's growing up.....4 months from today he will be 2!  How can it have went so fast?!
He's at the wonderful stage where he doesn't want to wear a diaper.  Yesterday, I struggled for over an hour to get a diaper on him, then I gave up!  And he peed on the carpet a couple of times!  He startled himself so much when he started peeing that he jumped back, peed some more, jumped back, and did it some more! Perhaps it's time to get the potty out!

And this week he decided to play on the kitchen table!  He sat there with a bowl and a bottle of glue (closed!) for quite a while. He really thought it was cool!  I laughed so hard at his antics - until he tried to pull the mirror off the wall!

Oh yeah, we also had a visit last weekend from my other sister Jen and her daughter Grace.  Audrijana (and the rest of the kids too!) had a lot of fun hanging out together

I feel so blessed to have my life....5 wonderful kids, the most amazing husband, amazing parents.......and wonderful family and friends!  Thank you God!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Busy times at our busy house!

Bruce plays on two basketball teams, a house league and a travel team (The Port Colborne Hornets.)  This is his first year playing so he has a lot to learn (as do I!)  Every practice and every game, he is learning and getting better! 
Last weekend (Feb 4 - 6), the Hornets had a tournament in Brantford.  We weren't expencting to make it to Sunday's game, but the boys surprised us and played super well.   I was super excited when Bruce got called on three fouls in the second half of their last game.  Bruce has never been called on a foul before so maybe I was a little too excited, but he's learning to play defense really well.  Now, he needs to learn to play offense as well, but I'm sure that will come soon.
I was kind of leary about Bruce playing basketball because he can sometimes be a poor sport, but apparently that's just with his siblings, as he always has a smile on his face at basketball.  I was also kind of worried about Bruce being left behind or overlooked by his coach because he isn't one of the best players on the team.  I needn't have worried - both Coach John and Coach Jay are super with Bruce.  They take the time to explain things to him and praise him when he does something well.  And when he doesn't do something well (for example, one of his fouls was because he pushed the other player) they take the time to explain what he did wrong so he can learn.  "Bruce, you can't push the other player!"  The other players are really good with Bruce too.  Some of them have been playing for a couple of years and I've heard them explaining things to Bruce during practise.  It's been such a great experience for Bruce, I'm so glad that I signed him up for it!
Port Colborne Hornets - Novice

So, I spent an hour and a half each way either driving or being a passenger for this tournament and the Friday before the tournament and Monday after the tournament, I drove my Mom to Hamilton and back for some tests on her heart.  We're hoping that the tests show that there's nothing wrong with her heart.  We'll find out next Monday, so please pray for her!

Wednesday was also an interesting day.  I had to drive Audrijana to school as she missed the bus (as usual) and as I was backing up out of our driveway I turned too soon and backed right into a snowbank.  Instead of getting out and walking back to the house to ask Jenn or Mike to come help me, I phoned them and Jenn came out.  Jenn didn't seem to impressed with me as she had just worked a midnight shift and was going to bed, but she tried for a while to get me out.  Finally, she went back in the house to ask Mike to come out and eventually they got me unstuck.  And I got Audrijana to school on time for once!  And here's where the story gets interesting.  I told Mom about the incident and she thought it was hilarious.  Around lunch time, she texted me to tell me she was leaving to take the van to the mechanic (hole in the brake line).  She asked me to keep my phone with me in case she needed me.  Not five minutes later, she phoned me asking me to come over to her house and help her as she was stuck in her driveway.  I thought she was joking around making fun of me, but no, she was serious.  The wind had caused quite a drift in her driveway and she thought that if she drove fast enough she could just plough right through it.  Needless to say, we left the van right where it was, and I drove her to work.  And later that night, Dad used a mini-excavator to plough the van out.  Jenn and I were there assisting (or more like observing) and when the van was clear we were going to drop the van off at the mechanics.  Well, we eventually had to attach a chain to the van and Dad used the mini-excavator to pull the van out.  As he went to get out of the machine, the door got stuck, so ever helpful Sarah ran over to help him, and as Dad was pulling the door back in, his arm hit the lever for the bucket and it dropped right on my foot.  I managed to pull my foot off, and I screamed and screamed.  And Dad screamed and screamed.  And Jenn didn't know what to do.  So now, I have a black and blue swollen foot, and possibly a few cracked bones. 

Oh yeah, and one of the days this week (I can't remember which one) Isaac was spinning in circles, literally, and fell and cut his eyelid open on one of his toys.  So off he went to the hospital as it was a horrible cut right on his eyelid.  The ER doctor said it was already closing up and didn't need stitches, so that was a relief.  I completely had a panic attack when it happened.  I'm so nervous about anything eye-related due to my experience with strange eye infections (can you say flesh-eating disease of the eye?!)  Within four days, the cut was healed and the black eye gone!  Thank you God!

One of my two favourite uncles, Jack, and my lovely Aunt Kelly, were down from Florida so I got to spend some time visiting with them.  Saturday night when Bruce and I got home from the basketball tournament, we sat around chatting with them.  And then, last night (Saturday), Mom held a dinner party for them.  Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Gerry and Uncle Gord, Amy, Tom, and Zack, Uncle Jack and Aunt Kelly, Mom and Dad, Jenn, Mike and I and our kids all had a fabulous time.  Well, I think the noise level got a bit out of hand for the older people to handle, but it was a lot of fun.  Grandma made her famous German potato salad (I ate so much I felt sick!)  We don't have a lot of family get-togethers anymore as we're all busy with our own lives.  So it was super-awesome to see everyone together!  Unfortunately, I took my camera with me, but I never got around to using it, so I have no pictures to post!

It's been almost a month since I finished my methadone treatment program and things are going really well.  Mike is doing really well too; he has a couple weeks left.  As I've said before, I feel like myself again!
Today at church we had a great presentation about  a program called "Teen Challenge" that is a 12-month residential faith-based drug treatment program.  All three speakers were either former or current clients and two of them were oxycontin addicts, like Mike and I.  Their testimonies were great to hear, and brought back a lot of memories for both Mike and I.  One of the speakers recited a lot of facts about how widespread oxycontin abuse is.  It's to the point where it's no longer considered an epidemic but now a pandemic.  I couldn't agree more.  There are so many people from all walks of life that for some reason or another have become addicted to this painkiller.  I've been praying a lot lately that God will show me a way that I can help other people going through this ordeal.  I keep getting this nudge from God to get out there and help people like Mike and I that feel trapped and don't know where to go for help.  So if anyone has any ideas could you let me know.......and could everyone pray for God to give me some guidance.

As usual, thanks for reading and God bless you all!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Do you want to be a good or bad person?

So this week I started reading "10 Conversations you need to have with your children."  One of the chapters is about instilling in our kids the abilitiy to listen to their inner voices to help them decide what the right thing to do is.  Instead of parents always telling their children how to behave or what is acceptable, the author suggests asking them, "Do you want to be a good or bad person?" and explaining to them that this is a choice that we all have to make every day.  Of course, the book explains it a lot better than I just did - in fact, I think I combined two chapters!

As a parent of 5 wonderful children, I'm always looking for techniques to try that will make them better people and make my life easier.  So this week I tried this.  Maggie and Audrijana fight a lot over silly things so they gave me the perfect opportunity to begin this technique.  Audrijana came to me crying that Maggie stole her candy from her (actually it was my candy that I shared with Audrijana!)  Instead of being a referee between them (this happens a lot), I asked Audrijana, "Do you want to be a good person or a bad person?"  At first she said, "Bad."  (No surprise there!)  Then she laughed and said, "I want to be a good person Mommy but I want my candy too."  So I asked her, "What would a good person do?"  Right away she said, "Share."  So then I told her, "Audri, you know what to do then, so you don't need my help."  Off she went.  I heard her tell Maggie, "I'm being a good person so I'll share with you, and you have to share with me too."  And all was good (for 5 minutes!)

Being a parent to 5 kids is a lot of fun and a lot of work.  And as every parent knows, no two kids are alike.  My oldest, Martha, seems to have been born with this question already answered.  No, she's not perfect, none of us are, but for the most part, she does the right thing without anyone telling her to.  Maggie loves to please us, but she also loves to get her own way, so this is a bit of a struggle for her.  Bruce tends to act impulsively (maybe it's a boy thing!)  But when he does think before he acts, he usually makes the right choice.  Audrijana has earned her "Princess" nickname as she is spoiled and used to getting her own way (Yes, I know it's our fault!)  This week she's been working really hard on being a good person.  I heard her asking her siblings several times, "Are you gonna be a good person or a bad one?  I'm going to be a good person."  And Isaac is 19 months (where did the time go?) so it's not really that applicable to him yet.

This is what I've been up to....I'll keep you posted as to how it works.

Wish me luck!

P.S.  Martha's trip to Quebec was awesome.  The bus broke down a couple of times and unfortunately she endured some bullying (and no help from her teacher.) but  her favourite part of the trip was the dog-sledding, where she accidentally ran into the team in front of her, which of course was led by some boys in her class!  Oh, the drama of being 13!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Interesting (at least to us) things that happened to us


Isaac woke up with what appears to be a cold sore!  It doesn't seem to bother just looks awful.  Audrijana came home worried that she was "going to catch a leaking ear" from her friends at school.  And later in the evening she started crying that her ear was hurting her.  I looked at it, and it seemed a little red.  Guess I'll be calling the doctor in the morning for both of them.

Bruce had basketball practice for his house league team tonight.  He's always so excited on basketball days.  He's learning so much and his skills are improving all the time.  He's such a joy to have as a son.

Martha is counting down the days until her school Quebec trip next week.  I'm not.  What will I do without her for 4 days?  She's such an amazing daughter.  Grandma J. got it right when Martha was a baby, calling her an "old soul."  Sometimes I forget she's only 13!  And then there are those days when she totally acts her age (which of course is okay!)

Maggie and I finally started her research for her Canada project.  Of course, she was supposed to have the research at school today....but it was a 5-game basketball weekend, and I just couldn't muster up the energy to help her.  Her project is on cool things she's learned about the Canadian flag, the National Anthem, and the Arms of Canada.  Surprisingly, it's been pretty interesting!


Ok, so Isaac's cold sore is fine...and Audrijana does not have the dreaded 'leaking ear' she was so worried about!  Whew!  What a relief!

And on the addiction front, it was so weird to go to the clinic and not have to go in.  Mike is now down to 4mg/ml so he'll be done in a few more weeks.  What will we do every Tuesday morning when we don't have to go there at all anymore??????

A week from today Martha leaves for Quebec....she is so excited it's almost annoying!  Almost!!!


Isaac decided to climb on top of our cedar chest and dance his little heart out!  He doesn't care what music is on, even a commercial!  I know because I'm his mom, I'm supposed to think he's cute....but I swear, he really is the cutest thing ever!

I've been scanning, sorting and editing a ton of old family photos and I've got to say I have the most beautiful grandmas in the world (well, one's in Heaven, but you know what I mean!)

Here's a pic of Grandma Dorothy:

And here's one of Grandma Maggie:


Isaac, Martha, and Audrijana all got their bangs cut.....this was Isaac's first haircut.  His bangs have been in his eyes for a while now but I was procrastinating! As usual!  Isaac did not seem to be too impressed when he saw the scissors coming at him.

Okay, so you can't really tell that any of his hair was cut but trust me it was!  I cut  almost 2 inches off of his bangs!  People keep asking me why I haven't cut the rest of his hair...and my response is always, "No way! He's going to be a long-haired hippy freak!"


Nothing too exciting happened today so I'll take the time to mention that being in my second week off of methadone, I feel like I'm me again for the first time in a long time.  I don't feel so blah anymore.  I'm finding happiness and joy in all the little things again.  It feels darn good!


Bruce had house league basketball today...and I know I mention this all the time on Facebook but he is getting better and better every week!  He actually took a couple of shots today (he missed, but still, it's good!)  He still has trouble remembering the difference between playing offense and defense but he'll get there soon.

Saturday afternoon I finished reading one of the best books I've read in a long time, Saving Max, by Antoinette van Heugten.  The book is about a mother who sends her son to a psychiatric hospital where his symptoms progress to the point where he is charged with murder.  It was so disturbing that at some points I thought I was going to throw up.  I also cried, laughed, got really angry, and felt really guilty at different points in the novel (all signs of a good book!)


We went to church today and were blessed by Pastor Jeeva's message "The 7/11 prophecy."  Good things are coming!  I've put in my claim! 

That's been our week.  Every week being clean is a blessing.  And every week being a Mom to my amazing children is a blessing! Oh yeah, and having a Mike as my partner in crime (no real crimes, anymore) is a blessing too!

Monday, January 17, 2011

My first entry - a little bit about us.

I'm Sarah and my husband is Mike.  All together we have seven children!  Yes, I did say seven.  Mike has two from a previous marriage, I have three, and together we have two.  It makes our life busy and sometimes crazy, but we love it!

Here's the list of our kids:
  1. Natasha (almost 25)
  2. Mikey (16)
  3. Martha (13)
  4. Margaret (a.k.a Maggie, age 10)
  5. Bruce (8)
  6. Audrijana (5)
  7. Isaac (a.k.a Ike, age 1 1/2)
So, the reason for me writing this blog is to share our story.  On Facebook, I posted a brief status about us celebrating two years being drug-free, and although my close family and friends know about our journey, our church family and our other friends and family didn't.  I'd like to share our testimony, so I thought I would blog about it.

When Mike and I met we lived a party life every weekend when my kids would go to their dad's.  We used a lot of drugs (ecstasy, cocaine, etc.), drank a lot of alcohol and didn't sleep for days at a time. We came close to overdosing a few times.

We stopped using when I found out I was pregnant for Audrijana and we stayed clean for a while.  After Audri was born, we slowly started slipping back into that lifestyle.  We thought we were okay because it was just on the weekends.  My kids stopped going to their dad's, so we stopped using. Life was okay for a while.

Fast forward a couple of years and somehow we fell back into it, not overnight, but gradually.  We tried Oxycontin's, a highly addictive pain killer and we got hooked big time.  We tried quitting over and over again.  The longest we went without using was 8 days.  I had found out I was pregnant and we decided to stop cold-turkey.  Well, we lost that baby....and started using even more.  Right after I lost the baby, I lost my I got super-depressed (probably should have seen a doctor, but I didn't.) I planned ways to kill myself, I thought about taking all kinds of pills and overdosing, and I know Mike thought about it too. Mike and I both felt trapped. We wanted to stop but when we tried on our own, we just couldn't do it.  There were days when I couldn't get out of bed.  There were days when Mike drove around all day looking for drugs.  We did some pretty horrible things - stealing money from my family, lying, and worse.  I carried a lot of guilt around with me for a long time after we cleaned up.  There were things I did that I will regret forever.  But I've come to realize that I can't change the past, only the future, and that God forgives everything.

While Mike was out one day looking for pills, a girlfriend of a friend of his told him about the clinic that she went to.  Mike wrote down the name and number and told me about it.  We discussed it and decided that we would go to it.  During this time, we found out I was pregnant again, and we were so scared.  Every time I used, I was scared of the damage it was doing to the baby.  And every time I thought about stopping, I was scared of losing another baby.  We were scared of our kids being taken away from us.  It took us a couple of months before we finally called them.  .

On a side note, my parents, especially my Mom, had noticed a big change in me.  She kept asking me what was going on, but I was so ashamed of myself that I never told her.  Dad and her have told me since that they knew something was going on because as Dad puts it I wasn't Sarah any more.  He didn't know who I was. I wasn't eating for days at a time.  I wasn't showering most of the time. I was yelling at my kids all the time.  I had lost so much weight so quickly (my lowest weight during this time was 118 pounds at my height of almost 5ft 9in.)  I kept denying anything was wrong, until one day, while we waiting for the New Year, when the clinic would begin accepting patients again, I called Mom and Dad in tears and said that I needed to talk to them.  I went over to their house, and spilled my guts.  I was so afraid of disappointing them, and they both just held me and said they would love me no matter what, and they were glad that we were finally going to get help. 

So in January of 2009, we began our methadone treatment program.  Going everyday and peeing into a cup while a camera is pointed at you and a staff member is in another room watching you is quite the humbling experience.  The clinic staff and our doctor there are so supportive and non-judgmental.

A week or two after starting treatment, when I was finally at a dose that was helping me, I started reading my Bible again, and praying, and I felt this strong tug on my heart to go to Church again (which I haven't done since I was a teenager)  But what church should we go to?  The church I went to as a teenager, I felt no connection to.  I felt a nudge from God to go to Forks Road East United Sunday came around, and we got the kids ready, and walked into a brand-new church less than two weeks after starting our treatment program. And I was pregnant!  The church family welcomed us with open arms.  Even though no one at church knew our story, going every week, and getting reacquainted with God, I can honestly say helped us stick with the program.  Our doctor at the clinic has repeatedly said we should be poster children for getting clean and staying that way.  I firmly believe that without God, we probably would have had a few setbacks. 

My pregnancy was a new issue for the clinic staff.  They told me that they've had patients on methadone get pregnant but they had never had a pregnant person walk in and ask for help.  They monitored me closely, and my obstetrician monitored the baby closely.  Isaac was born on June 27, 2009 by emergency Cesarean because he was trying to come out feet and hands first.  Lying on the hospital bed, waiting for 3 hours for an anesthesiologist to get to the hospital, while I could feel Isaac's feet and hands trying to get out, was so terrifying.  Before I was taken into the operating room, I asked the obstetrician-on-call and the nurses to pray with me.   And they did!  When I woke up in the operating room, I asked about my baby, and the nurses wouldn't tell me anything.  I heard them say that they were waiting for my husband to tell me.  So I thought for sure that something had happened to him.  I was in excruciating pain, both physically and mentally.  Finally, I was wheeled to my room, and got to see Isaac on my way past the nursery.  He was tiny and frail looking and had some issues.  His blood sugar was very low, and they couldn't get it up.  He had symptoms of withdrawal for a couple of days (shakiness, vomiting, refusing to eat).  My doctor strongly suggested that I breastfeed so that Isaac would be gradually weaned off the methadone as I was, but Isaac wouldn't eat.  The nurses could barely get him to drink from a bottle.  He had jaundice so bad that after discharging him, he was readmitted because his levels were so high that there was a chance he might suffer brain damage.  This, more than anything else in my life, was the lowest I have ever been.  Here was my little newborn son struggling to begin his life, and it was all because of me.  My faith in God kept me going.  I knew that we would both be fine.  I knew that God would help us through whatever was in store for us.

So here we are now, Isaac is a healthy 18 month old (with zero problems eating) and I finished my methadone treatment this week.  Mike has a few weeks left still (He's slow in his old age!)  And my parents say they have their daughter and son-in-law back.  And our faith in God continues to grow stronger every day.

I promise my next post won't be such a serious one!

Mike and 5 of the kids at a family Christmas dinner
                                         I'm sorry for the sideways pic, I'm not sure how to rotate it.