Introduction

I wonder why it never occurred to me to start this blog before? I post absolutely everything to Facebook, as does everyone else. But this blog would give me far more freedom, without having to censor my thoughts to cater to nagging family.

As the title describes, I have four children. My name is Lianna, and I’ve been a mother for 22 years now. I wouldn’t trade a single moment of it, the good or the bad. Am I perfect? Hell no! I wouldn’t want to be perfect either. Could you imagine the pressure? So, let me introduce you to my amazing children.

Darcie Renae is 22 years old. She’s my exotic beauty. She’s a sAR010902erious child with a wicked sense of humor. She’s got a very bright future ahead of her, that she’s determined to map out on her own. I’m quite proud of the woman she’s become, but she’ll always be a child to me.
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Robert Scott is 19 years old. He’s my only son. He’s tall, dark, and handsome, and quite a handful when it comes to girls. He seems to constantly have some mystery girlfriend that he’s too embarrassed (by me) to bring around the house. He’s about the graduate high school, and I’ll finally become obsolete in his world. He’s still my pride and joy.

Cassandra Chayne is 17 years old. She’s my all-American beauty. 10398535_62360645924_5473510_nShe’s never been serious a day in her life, and loves to laugh. She’s truly amazing with the potential to be outstanding, if I can only point her in the right direction. She makes me proud every day.

Nichole Brianna-Rae is 14 years old. She’s got an un-paralleled mind that can 18010085_10154343607790925_4422527276101386795_ntruly astound anyone. She has an Asperger’s diagnosis, but isn’t your typical Aspie. She’s very social, and couldn’t imagine the very idea of silence. She’s so incredibly intelligent that sometimes she’s downright scary, but when you throw in her wicked sense of humor, she’s legendary. Have you heard of her Nickie-isms?

I hope you join me on this mission to celebrate the lives of these fabulous people. They aren’t Kardashians. They aren’t Duggars. They’re Stewarts, and you’ll fall in love with them all.

New Year, New….School?

Upon getting off work tonight, after working 14 straight hours, I was informed that Nichole’s school is closing its’ doors. Tomorrow. Just like that. No more ECOT. Yes, dear (few) followers. My kiddo was an ECOT student.

I went to her school portal, and found this letter:

Dear ECOT Family,

It is with great sadness that we inform you the ESC of Lake Erie West voted against our appeal at their board meeting tonight. We are very sorry that we were unable to maintain your education through the end of the school year. It was with our every intention that we would continue to provide students a quality education, as we have strived for each year since we began.

The decision has been made to close operations at the end of the day tomorrow. We will be sending each family a letter indicating the address and the name of the school district office where records will be delivered.

As long as we are able to staff people for the phones we will accept phone calls for file transfers other than to the local district. We will be able to send electronic files to the school of your choosing as long as it is permitted by the sponsor.

We will complete all semester one grading and issue earned credits and diplomas over the next few weeks. Diplomas are scheduled to be mailed to the address on file after the transcript has been certified by a counselor.

We are so thankful to each of you for choosing ECOT as your family. We have been inspired by the stories that each of you have shared. Our hope is that each of you are stronger, braver, and smarter than when you logged in your first day. We believe in each of you and believe you have the tools to be successful as you continue your educational journey.

Sincerely,

(Name Excluded by me)

 

Well, this sucks. I’ve had two children graduate from ECOT. Well, ok, I had one child graduate, and one “graduated” with an unfulfilled promise to finish his credits at summer school…and well, that didn’t happen.

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Regardless, now my youngest daughter and I must hurry up and find a new online school. I flat refuse to re-enroll her into public school. Maybe I’m sheltering her too much, but she’s in no condition to attend public school. I refuse to subject her to bullying again. I refuse to subject her to the threats of destructive little assholes that think they need to bring guns or knives or other weapons to school. I refuse to subject her to perverted little punks that may want to take advantage of her innocent soul. Nope.

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Merry Christmas

Well, another holiday has come and gone. I was lucky enough to see all of my beloved children. I hope you enjoyed the holiday with your families, stayed warm and I hope you have a fantastic, healthy new year. 

From my family to yours,

Happy Holidays

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Hard Christmases

Have you ever sat alone and thought about the past, and thought about the present, and wondered when it all got so hard? We’re weeks away from Christmas, and I feel like crying. This adulting thing is so much harder on single moms than you could ever imagine.

I’m working my ass off, literally. I’m clocking between 70-80 hours a week, at less than $10/hour. I’m paying the bills alone, and it’s killing me. And now, looming just over the horizon, is Christmas. I’ve got kids expecting presents, as they should. How in the world am I supposed to pull extra money out of thin air to afford gifts? I WANT to buy the gifts, but how? My kids are all older, as any of you have already read. I can’t get away with little stuff anymore. How in the world am I gonna pull this off?

 

Most of the Christmases we’ve celebrated before weren’t just in my court. My first husband always worked, and made pretty good money. When the kids were little, we always made sure they had plenty of gifts, even if they weren’t pricey. After we were divorced, my grandmother helped me so much. Then, I was with my second husband. We didn’t make much money either, but at least we tried. Now….it’s just me.

I’m praying for the strength and wisdom to get through this holiday on my own.

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Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and enjoyed every moment that you could with your loved ones. I spent my evening with three of the 4 Stewart Kids, and I’m missing my fourth. I hope he’s safe and happy, wherever he is.

Happy Thanksgiving

Me, Cassie and Ryan

Q & A with the Queen of Nickie-isms

**I found this in my memories on facebook, and decided to ask her the same questions again, so I enclosed those answers as well** 

(originally posted in November 2016) WITHOUT prompting ask your spouse these questions and write EXACTLY what they say. The outcome can be hilarious. (In the spirit of facebook, I asked my questions to the queen of Nickie-isms)
•What is something I always say?
(November, 2016) “the F word!”
(November, 2017) “Take the dogs out.“
•What makes me happy?
(November, 2016) “a clean house”
(November, 2017) “well behaved children and a clean house”
•What makes me sad?
(November, 2016) “um…you’re not exactly sad often. I guess losing a family member. You cried a lot when Grandma died.”
(November, 2017) “I don’t know. You’re usually never sad.”
•How tall am I?
(November, 2016) “um…probably about 5 foot?”
(November, 2017) “I don’t know. About 5’6? Maybe an inch or two off?” (I’m 5’5 ½”)
•What’s my favorite thing to do?
(November, 2016) “watch Netflix?”
(November, 2017) “watch Hulu”
•What do I do when you’re not around?
(November, 2016) “Usually when I’m not around, you’re at work.”
(November, 2017) “Work.”
•If I become famous, what will it be for?
(November, 2016) “You could be a penguin breeder or something?”
(November, 2017) “You could be a famous doctor!”
•What makes you proud of me?”
(November, 2016) “When you’re happy and content. Because when you’re happy and content, I’m proud that you’re not going to beat the crap out of somebody.”
(November, 2017) “Your existence?”
•What is my favorite food?
(November, 2016) “pizza. that was an easy one.”
(November, 2017) “Normally its pizza”
•What is my favorite restaurant?
(November, 2016) “um….Wendy’s, I think. You never really told me.”
(November, 2017) “Um…I don’t know.”
•Where is my favorite place to visit?
(November, 2016) “Aldi’s? You go there often!”
(November, 2017) “Work? That’s where you usually are…”
•If I could go anywhere, where would it be?
(November, 2016) “to bed!”
(November, 2017) “Hawaii? South Carolina?”
•How do I annoy you?
(November, 2016) “When you put a song on REPEAT!”
(November, 2017) “Repeatedly telling me to do something I’ve already done!”
•What is my favorite movie?
(November, 2016) “Cinderella? I know its a Disney movie!”
(November, 2017) “I don’t know. Happy Feet? Racing Stripes?” (I hate those movies, for the record!)
•Who is my celebrity crush?
(November, 2016) “I don’t remember. Tom Bergeron? Jimmy Fallon? I don’t know!”
(November, 2017) “This is a joke answer because I have no idea: Johnny Depp”
•You get a phone call that I am in trouble, who am I with?
(November, 2016) “Probably someone that kidnapped you?”
(November, 2017) “Um…the police?”

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Work, work, work, work, work….

I haven’t written on my blog in almost a month! Holy cow do I work too much! Have I told you what I do for a living yet? Have I mentioned how much I love my job?

Ok, I work with individuals with developmental disabilities. Specifically, I work with men, and its an amazing job. The pay sucks, but the rewards are good for the soul. I highly recommend this field, if you’re job hunting. Mind you, the very idea terrified me when I first applied, but I wasn’t prepared for the reality at all. I love my job. I love going to work. I’m usually 30-45 minutes early! I’m the first one to volunteer for overtime, and I probably work almost 60 hours a week.

(Click the photo below to see the company that I work for…)

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How many of you can honesty say that you absolutely love your job, and love going to work? If you do, please….tell me what YOU do for a living! I’d love to hear about it! 

Coworkers were floating this around Facebook (although, I did not for personal reasons) but the meaning is touching, so I decided to share it here:

I don’t remember the exact moment my life was changed by someone with a developmental disability. The memories seem far away, blurry, as if they don’t belong to me. But this is what happens after you’ve been working with kids or adults with developmental disabilities for years. You change.
They don’t tell you that when you’re filling out your application. Instead, they tell you about the hours, the health benefits, the 401(k) plan, the programs and the strategies. But they don’t tell you about the fact if you do it right, you’ll never be the same.
They don’t tell you it will be the most amazing job you’ve ever had. On other days, it can be the worst. They can’t describe on paper the emotional toll it will take on you. They can’t tell you there may come a time where you find you’re more comfortable surrounded by people with developmental disabilities than you are with the general population. They don’t tell you you’ll come to love them, and there will be days when you feel more at home when you’re at work than when you’re at home, sitting on your couch. But it happens.
They don’t tell you about the negative reactions you may face when you’re out in the community with someone with a developmental disability. That there are people on this earth who still think it’s OK to say the R-word. That people stare. Adults will stare. You will want to say something, anything, to these people to make them see. But at the end of the day, your hands will be tied because some things, as you learn quickly, can’t be explained with something as simple as words. They can only be felt. And most of the time, until someone has had their own experience with someone with a developmental disability, they just won’t understand.
They train you in CPR and first aid, but they can’t tell you what it feels like to have to use it. They don’t tell you what it is like to learn someone is sick and nothing can be done. They can’t explain the way it feels when you work with someone for years and then one day they die.
They can’t explain the bond direct service personnel develop with the people they are supporting. I know what it’s like to have a conversation with someone who has been labeled non-verbal or low-functioning. After working with someone for awhile, you develop a bond so strong they can just give you a look and you know exactly what it means, what they want and what they’re feeling. And most of the time, all it boils down to is they want to be heard, listened to and included. Loved.
When you apply for this job, they do tell you you’ll be working to teach life skills. But what they don’t tell you is while you’re teaching someone, they’ll also be teaching you. They have taught me it’s OK to forgive myself when I have a bad day. There’s always tomorrow and a mess-up here and there doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. They have taught me to slow down, to ponder, to take the time to just look around and take in this beautiful world and all of the simple joys we are blessed to encounter every day.
So when did I change? I realize now there wasn’t one pivotal moment. Instead, it was a million little moments, each important in their own way, that when added together changed me. And I’m grateful for each one.
A coworker shared this.