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.