Category Archives: Family

Happy Birthday Miss Grayson

Back on May 11, we finally adopted our AMAZING little Grayson. It was a CRAZY journey; One that I will never forget. Tell you about that later.

Happy 8th birthday to this beautiful girl. I love you a bushel and a peck! I am so happy to finally call you “daughter” forever and ever. You are an AMAZING and a beautiful Monkey Tickly Pit Monster.


New Digital Scrapbooking site.

Hi Everyone, 

For those who have followed me for the last 10 years knew that I was very active in both paper scrapbooking as a consultant and as a designer. About 7 years ago, I was a part of several online digital scrapbooking store, selling my designs. When I was going through school and adopting of my 2 little boys, I took down my products. I have finally decided to get back into both paper scrapbooking with Close to my Heart ( and with the introduction of my new digital scrapbooking site at I will have some of my old designs and many of my new ones.  

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Happy 10th birthday to my storm trooper

FB_IMG_1455633848796Happy 10th birthday to my Berlyn. I remember how scared I was when the doctors used the word, “autism.” They said you may never read or write or even talk in full sentences… And here you are, doing amazing at our homeschool program. You are smart, and funny. I love you SO MUCH! 

This year, you even made the Special Olympics Equestrian team here local. You love Star Wars. And the other day, joked with me saying that you weren’t going to be 10, but will stay my little 3 year old boy forever.

I love you, Mr Double Digits!

Happy Birthday SHELBY!!!

I am so very proud of my SHELBY! Shelby, you have accomplished so much! You are an an amazing woman, growing daily into the person that I knew that you would become. You are a hard worker and that shows by working full-time and college full-time. All of the kids in the house look up to you. I honestly can not believe how fast time flies.

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!happybirthdayshelby

Happy 2-year anniversary GOTCHA DAY!



2 years ago today, my little boys moved into my home through Arizona Foster care. At the time, we did know the path that we were going to end up.  And had no idea that these were going to be our children at the time.

They were blue from top to bottom from bruises and lash marks, had broken noses and cracked other bones. They were severely under weight and have both put on OVER 20 POUNDS in the last 2 years. They are both now right where their weights need to be!!

I feel that I need to continue telling others our story of our little boys and of Larry and I. It is not an easy job to be a foster family or as a family who decided to adopt older children who are in foster care (when I say older, I mean any child in the system over 2 because they start to have memories of their past at that point). We have our ups and downs. Thank GOD that the ups out-number the downs 10-fold.

Breckin and Trystan were 6 and 4 years old. They came from a transient family who was just passing through this area again (settling for only a few months at any location.)  They arrived at 11pm on July 10, 2012. They got here and inhaled an entire bag of “GoldFish” crackers and 1/2 of a gallon of milk.

I will not sugar coat how difficult a journey it has been for them because that wouldn’t be fair to them or to anyone reading who is interested in foster care and adoption through foster care. Each child is so different with their biofamilies and backgrounds. I don’t wish what my boys went through to be brought down on my worse enemy. We work on behavioral issues EVERY DAY! And although sometimes Larry and I don’t see it getting any easier with them, I know the progress that we made so far. I remember several of my friends bringing clothes over to my home to help us get ready for them and the tears in their eyes after seeing how bruised they were.

Both boys were feral. They were dirty and showering was a new concept. Simple things like forks and napkins were like talking Greek to them. There was no concept of living in a home or owning anything. It is almost as if I need the general person to see them as little “Tarzan” children. They arrived in nothing but a pair of sweatpants each and were filthy from top to bottom. As a matter of fact, we didn’t know that Trystan was blond until the 3 rinse on his hair!

The anniversary of our adoption was in May. And our journey continues. Their bio-dad was on the run last year for over 6 months last year and was finally caught and sentenced this last March.

We now have a relationship with their bio-mom who was not in the picture when all of this was going on. We email at least twice a month with videos and photos and scripture to help her on her journey in Christ as she heals like they need to. We praise God that she is on a different path!

We are thankful to try a non-medicated approach to their behaviors. Breckin’s nightmare have finally stopped after 20 months and with the help of essential oils. The side-effects of the meds on Breckin were not worth taking the medication to begin with.

We do still have to lock the refrigerator and the the pantry because food tends to disappear if I don’t. We still have to turn an alarm on their door at night to prevent sneaking out. And OOOHHH the adventures that we have had with potting in their room, or tearing up toys, clothes or even their curtains. Breckin still at times doesn’t understand what a family is for and will hit himself as if his brain hurts and Trystan who will be homeschooled this year due to his food allergies (unfortunately from being a meth baby), he still tries to eat gluten any chance he gets.  But those issues are immensely small compared to the progress that we have seen.

Learning how to bathe on their own, and eat with a fork. Saying please and thank you, progressing in school and enjoying children’s church and learn about Christ. Trystan is READING!!!  We have finally started to eat slower so we don’t inhale foods quite as bad. The favorite times that I do have is when I hear the name MOMMY from one of them and the I LOVE YOUs that I do get and the cuddles and hugs. Some progress this summer: Each of them have had their tennis shoes last more that 4 weeks… we are going on 14 weeks!!! YEAH! They LOVE their family and each other. Breckin LOVES Shelby and always wants to do things with her.

We have become a family. They are my children. On most occasions, I refer to Trystan and Rowan as my twins (because they are only 3 weeks apart in age) and they are now a true brother and sister. Breckin is starting to play with others regularily and can sit through a whole board game now!!!

WE.ARE.A.FAMILY! I will never give up on them and I hope that they know this! I LOVE YOU BOTH!

I am so thankful that I GOTCHA in my family!

Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid . . .  for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. – Deuteronomy 31:6


Point Reward System for chores

I am serious when I say that I believe in NOT giving out allowance for everyday household chores. As a mom, I don’t get paid in money for washing the floor or folding laundry… why should my kids earn money for keeping their rooms clean or brushing their teeth? These are every day items that are required to run a household (I know that I will have those who disagree with me, however I want to show your something else that we have implemented with out clan before you scold and cuss me out for being a bad mom!!)

Having one child who doesn’t understand the concept of money anyway and thinks that you can go to the store and ALWAYS buy him a toy while we are there, we have made out own store at home with items that I have picked up on sale racks, dollar sections of Target, Walgreens sale aisle, etc. We call it Mommy’s Treasure Box Store.

Here’s the Breakdown for our family

Point Reward System for chores and extras

(I found everything that I used on sale or at yard sales – DO NOT overspend on these items… I budget this very closely and take $20 cash out and can only use that $$$.)

I started by making POINTS – I used the pre-made sheets of business cards and ran them through my printer with 1 Point, 2 Points, 5 points and 10 points on them. I then took with the kids and stamped on each card.

I keep these in my desk. As children complete normal chores, I give out these points. If I have to ask more than once for something, then, they don’t earn anything. We don’t ever take away points… If my kiddlings do something extra, without asking, they will earn extra points. And we give them for good behavior (especially with my Autistic son, Berlyn.)

At the end of the week, our family store opens up. I spend less than $20 every paycheck on items for the store. The kids get 30 minutes to shop and purchase items with their points. I purchase little things at the dollar store, Target Dollar section, sale rack at Walgreens, etc and also print up (on the same business cards) rewards that they can buy as well.

Everything in the point basket is priced at 5, 10, 25, 50 or 100 points… and then there is a movie theater card that is 500 points.  Included in the basket are school supplies (decorative pencils, notepads, stickers) toys, games, candy, dolls, bubbles, color books, cooler TEEN stuff for Shelby, etc.


I store everything in a basket that I picked up at a yardsale for $1! I store it up out of reach of kiddlings. If they have 50 points and spend 35, then they have 15 that carry over to the next week. They store their points in an envelope on their chore clipboard in the hallway. Here is the link to the Chore Clipboards that we made:


My kids LIKE to help out around the house. They make it a point to remind me when they do extra things just so that they can earn points.


Point Reward System for chores