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My three handsome guys and I on the day we became an “official” family. This was the happiest day of my life.

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ADHD victories

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“That’s one cool kid!” -Sam upon seeing this photo of himself

Don’t underestimate your kids!

Both of my children have special needs. I try not to always think of that. When we are at home I don’t even notice. They are just my kids. We have all learned to understand Richard and his sometimes strange ways of communicating. My husband and I have come to expect Sam’s forgetfulness or an occasional outburst because of ADHD. We have adapted.

Sometimes, however, there are these moments when they take me completely off guard. There are times when they do something that other parents may think is “normal” but is completely out of the ordinary for us. Those are the moments where my husband and I both take a deep breath and say “finally, we are making progress! our hard work IS paying off.” Because let’s face it, parents, coping with any type of special need or modification for our children is HARD work.

I don’t take them for granted

I try not to ever take anything with my children for granted. We try to live in the moments and be present and make memories every day, but there are things about our lives that I have just grown accustomed to; things I don’t really notice. For instance, I don’t really even think about the fact that Sam has to get up 30 minutes earlier than everyone else just to have enough time to allow for his ADHD making him so easily distracted while he is getting dressed. I also don’t notice all the letters that Richard pronounces wrong because we all understand it (I’ve even caught myself pronouncing words the way he does).

Sometimes they really surprise me

Then there are the moments when my children far surpass the expectations I have of them and their abilities. There are these little moments that sneak up on me where they are so NOT “special needs”. As they have both begun school this year I have noticed these “moments” are becoming much more frequent. Richard is talking more and more clearly every day. Sam is becoming more and more independent. My children are growing up, and it makes me a little sad, but it makes me so UNBELIEVABLY proud too!

This past week Sam has just astonished his dad and me. Sam has been helping out around the house without complaint. He has been offering to do chores that weren’t even assigned to him. He has taken it upon himself to read to his little brother at night or help him with bath and bedtime without being prompted. Sam is even getting himself up and dressed in the morning completely on his own. A year ago this would have been impossible for him. A year ago he was a totally different kid.

He went far above and beyond our expectations

This past weekend we were helping my father-in-law with his pontoon boat. We had taken all the siding off to install new carpet and seats and it was time to put the siding back. Sam had been working for quite some time with no complaints, no whining, no back talk, and virtually NO distractions. He was fetching tools, helping with the power drill, holding tools for Papa, and handing us hardware as we needed it. This is all very rare for a child with his level of ADHD.

Near the end of our project, Papa got a phone call from work. As he answered Sam continued to work, but Papa asked him to hold on a minute and not use the drill because it was so loud.

…and shocked us all!

This is when the magic happened. Without any prompting from any of the adults there, Sam put down the drill, went to the toolbox, found the appropriate sized ratchet and began manually tightening the last few screws on his own. Completely. On. His. Own. You could have pushed my husband and me over with a feather. We were beyond proud of him. He took the initiative and independently found a way to continue working without disrupting Papa’s phone call.

For us, this was a huge victory

That may be no big deal to some parents but I hope there are other ADHD parents out there reading this who understand just how HUGE it really was. I hope at least one other parent is reading this and finds hope knowing that YES, your child will get there. Yes, your child will mature, they will learn to work independently, they will find that thing or hobby they are so good at and interested in that they won’t have to be forced to participate. Yes, they will be able to focus and keep themselves on task. It may take years, you may feel exhausted, you may feel like throwing in the towel, but I assure you it WILL happen. Every kid develops at their own pace, and that goes double for your child with ADHD. But don’t give up hope, y’all, your time is coming. Your little superhero’s cape will appear just when you least expect it, and they will BLOW YOU AWAY!!!

All the love,
Jordan

Three Guys and A Lady is a fun, carefree, no-judgment zone. We are here to support and love each other in this thing called life and parenthood. If you like what you’re reading remember to subscribe here.

For great tools, support, and information on ADD/ADHD, and parenting a child with ADHD go here: https://chadd.org/

Being a parent is hard work

Being a Parent is hard work

Sometimes, at night, after the children have gone to bed, I go to take a hot shower and I cry.

I hide in the hot, steamy, solace of my bathroom and I let all the stress and anxiety of the day melt off and wash down the drain with the water. I’m not sad or depressed, I just need to let go of all the emotions I’ve been holding in all day. I don’t do this every night, only on the nights after we have had an especially hard day. Being a parent is really, really hard some days and I just have to let it all out.

You see, I learned a long time ago not to pray or ask God for patience. The last time I did that he gave me a child with severe ADHD. I am not a very patient woman. So, I have had to learn to be much more self-controlled, slower to anger, and more restrained with all my emotions. I have had to let go of my need to be in constant control of everything. I have had to swallow my own pride and ego and admit that I have no idea what I’m doing.

Being a parent is not for the faint of heart

Being a parent to a child with ADHD and another child with a speech delay can be very trying. Parenthood is one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences I could ever imagine. I love being a parent, but let’s face it, it’s HARD WORK. They NEED me to be in control of myself and my emotions all the time. If I am losing my temper or letting my anxiety show, it signals to them that everything is not going to be okay; and I need them to know that it IS going to be okay.

When one of my children is having a hard time, or a “meltdown” as we call it, or even if they are just misbehaving, they need to be able to look to my husband and me and see that everything is under control. When we are out of control it scares them and makes things so much worse. But, friends, I do NOT always feel like I am in control. I have serious anxiety, which I have battled since I was 13 years old. So wearing a mask of control and confidence for my children is unbelievably hard and draining.

You have to have a support system

My husband is so much better at this. One of the things that drew me to him in the first place is how cool, calm, and collected he seems all the time. He seems to be in control of himself, his emotions, and his surroundings no matter what. Cody has always been my anchor, my calm in the storm. He is my lighthouse, my constant, my strength when I am weak. Often times I wonder for how long he can be “the strong one” while I have very little emotional stamina. I try desperately to stay calm and strong. I try to be a contributing member of this marriage and father/mother team. There are still days, however, that he must carry the both of us. Then there are days where I manage to be strong too. Those are usually the days that I end with crying in the shower.

For a long time, I was ashamed of this fact. I tried to hide what I was doing in the shower for so long, praying that the steam would keep my eyes from getting puffy or red. I would even turn on the music on my phone so that maybe he wouldn’t hear me. Until he did hear me; and let me in on a little secret. He isn’t so sure he knows what the heck he is doing either. He even lies awake sometimes at night, after everyone else is sound asleep, and worries that he is messing this whole fatherhood thing up.

You are NOT alone

Friends, hear me when I say this… We are all just doing the best that we can. You ARE a good parent. You are not perfect, nor will you ever be perfect, but if you’re trying, and if you love your kids, you’re doing just fine. Who cares if your hair is perfect or you have the cleanest house on the block? Who cares if you have a brand-new car or never miss a PTA meeting? The important thing about being a parent is making sure your child gets to Heaven and preferably stays out of prison on the way.

You can’t worry yourself to death about things that won’t matter 5 years from now

Stop worrying about what Susan next door thinks. Quit giving yourself an anxiety attack over how much gluten your children are eating. Stop driving yourself crazy because you didn’t meal prep fancy lunches for your kids and they ate out of the cafeteria instead; and, for the love of everything holy, stop making yourself feel guilty because you can’t be everything for everyone. Stop mom (or dad) shaming yourself for all the things you THINK society is expecting from you that you’re not delivering.

Take care of the things you CAN do.

Here’s what you should worry about. Are your kids loved? Have you hugged them today or told them how special they are? Do they know Jesus? Are you taking the time to love your spouse, even on the hard days? Do YOU know Jesus? Are you making memories and taking the time to laugh with your family? Are you taking time to take care of yourself and your mental health? Those are the important things.

And just let go of the things you can’t change

Don’t keep crying alone in the shower, friends. Don’t keep suffering in silence. If you’re feeling burnt out or stressed out or just flat exhausted, talk to someone! Chances are they are feeling that way too, or they have in the very recent past. When my husband found me crying about what a horrible mother I thought I was he didn’t turn his back on me or tell me I was right. He wrapped me up in his arms and said, ‘hey, I think I’m messing this up too, but we are going to figure it out together’.

We are all doing the best we can

That’s what I’m saying to you now. We are going to figure this out together. When we are feeling weak we can lean on each other. If we need to vent we can talk to each other. You won’t find judgment here. You won’t find disdain or criticism from me. You’ll only find understanding and solidarity. We all cry in the shower sometimes, but you don’t have to stay there alone. Being a parent is hard work, but together we can survive and raise great kids.

All the love,

Jordan

Three Guys and A Lady is a fun, carefree, no-judgment zone. We are here to support and love each other in this thing called life and parenthood. If you like what you’re reading remember to subscribe here.

For more posts on parenting check out Parents need a break sometimes.

Parents need a break sometimes

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Sometimes, my kids are jerks. There, I said it.

And that’s why parents need a break

Look, I love my kids with every fiber of my being. But don’t all parents want a break sometimes? I have no doubt that I would be completely lost without my kids and I truly believe in my soul that God created me specifically to be their mother. I think that God equips every parent with exactly what they need to parent the children He designed for them to raise. My children are my single greatest blessings and biggest motivators for everything I do in life. But, sometimes, they are also the biggest jerks of all time and I need a break!

They are young, ten and four. They are also as stubborn and hard-headed as the day is long. And, no, I have no idea from whom they inherited that trait. They haven’t figured out who they are or who they are going to become yet. They do, however, have strong wills and strong emotions, and very strong opinions. All of which they choose to express at the most inopportune moments. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, they both thoroughly enjoy aggravating each other.

They really are great kids, but…

Our oldest son, Sam, is the ultimate negotiator. Now, don’t get me wrong, Sam is the absolute sweetest child you could ever hope to meet. He has a heart bigger than this Texas sky. However, he also has a lazy streak about 3 miles long. He does not appreciate hard work in the least. He would rather play video games all day and just cannot understand why we limit him to 45 minutes a day during the school year. (If I have to listen to him cry about how ‘little Johnny and Susie Q get as much screen time as they want and it’s not fair’ one more time I may just beat my head against a wall).

So, when Sam doesn’t want to do something, he starts to beg, negotiate, and then, just cry. If you yell at him, the crying and whining gets worse. But if you attempt to calm him down it usually gets worse. If you threaten a punishment it really gets worse. If you completely ignore him… well it gets worse… but then eventually it gets better. You cannot imagine how very frustrating this gets unless you also have a negotiator/whiner within your household.

Our younger son, Richard, is pretty much the complete opposite of Sam. I am fully convinced that Richard would fight the devil himself with a smile on his face. It seems he is not afraid of anything in this world. He likes to pick on his older brother and enjoys running full blast and headbutting his father in the stomach. He then falls on the floor laughing so hard he sounds like he might pull a muscle. If he can make his brother mad or get him to start yelling Richard is more delighted than if the ice cream truck pulled up with free ice cream. He does all of this while laughing and feeling proud of himself; until he can see that he has made you really mad or hurt you in some way, then he suddenly becomes so sweet you’d swear he’s made of cotton candy.

And all I can think is that we, as parents, need a break!

They can charm just about anyone

Both of our boys are quite endearing. You can’t help but love them. Even when they are jerks. They have the sweetest smiles and big hearts. Both of them can be very funny too. They are smart and adorable. But, like all kids, they know exactly how and when to push their daddy’s and my buttons. They can frustrate us to the point of wanting to pull our hair out, and it happens at least once a day. The fussing, fighting and arguing with each other almost non-stop here lately is enough to drive anyone insane. They are both being very emotional lately as well, and after 8 straight hours of one or both children crying no matter what you say to them, you really start thinking the alcoholics of the world have things figured out.

Tell me that we aren’t the only ones

I truly hope that we are not alone in feeling this way. I don’t think that we are though, which is why I write this blog; because I want YOU to know that you aren’t alone in it either. If your kids are inconsiderate, ungrateful, sometimes rude, whiny little brats every now and then and it makes you want to scream, or drink, or both, you have come to the right place.

I would never trade my children for any amount of money in the world. But, if someone wanted to take them off my hands for an hour or two I guarantee the answer will never be no. These babies have brought me more joy than I could ever describe. They have also brought me more frustrations than I could ever count. So, when I say that my kids are a-holes, I mean it with as much love as any mother ever could, but it is 100% correct. However, they are MY a-holes and if anyone tries to mess with them I will tear them limb from limb.

I just want a break though!

Parents, y’all aren’t alone. Don’t feel bad for wanting to throw them outside on the swing set, lock the door, and eat your secret stash of chocolate. Don’t feel bad about that secret stash of chocolate either. We all love our kids, but all parents need a break sometimes!

All the love,

Jordan

P.S. shout-out to the superhero grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, homeless guy on the corner (j/k), who pitches in to give us parents a break from time to time! Am I right??!?

Fighting Fibromyalgia

March 2010

That’s when I got my official diagnosis. I had suspected that I had fibromyalgia for several years before this. However, doctors continually told me that I was just too fat or that it was all in my head, or sometimes both.

Right up until that March I had only met two types of doctors. There were the doctors who are immediately skeptical and assume you just want meds when you mention chronic pain. Then there were the doctors who start out sympathetic but after one or two tests coming back normal they quickly turn skeptics and decide you are lying because they couldn’t find the root of the problem.

Depressed and desperate for a diagnosis

This was all very depressing and frustrating for me. My pain started when I was only 23, along with a myriad of other mystery symptoms. Doctor after doctor, specialist upon specialist, all told me there was nothing wrong. They said I was just “fat” and “lazy”; if I would just exercise more and eat less ALL of my problems would go away. Some doctors said it was just depression or a psychological issue and that I needed therapy. Other doctors called me a liar and accused of “just being dramatic”. A child in pain, scared of the unknown, already depressed because of a bad situation with a step-dad, and I was crying out for help. But the doctors turned me away, again and again.

Until March of 2010. I was a 24-years-old woman with a 6-month-old baby on my hip. My first husband had just abandoned us. I had no money, I was scared, and hurting worse than I ever had before. I had gained over 50 pounds while pregnant with Sam and not even 5 pounds had budged in the six months after having him. After all those years I’d finally begun to believe that my weight really was the ONLY reason I was hurting.

Determined to DO something

My job at the time required me to be very active and I trained horses in my free time; when the pain would allow it. Sometimes I even skipped meals and tried to starve myself at times hoping the weight would come off for the first time in my overweight life. I had no such luck. So, I went to the doctor determined to get some kind of diet pills or weight loss surgery or SOMETHING. ANYTHING! I just couldn’t take it anymore. To my surprise, the doctor started asking more questions about my pain rather than my diet or exercise or discussing my weight. He asked me about the complications of the pregnancy and how it had affected my pain levels. Then he said the words I never thought I’d hear.

“Have you ever heard of Fibromyalgia?”

When I heard those words I wanted to jump for joy, sigh with relief, and break down and cry. No one ever WANTS a chronic autoimmune disorder, especially not one that most still believe is made up. I was sad for my future knowing there was no cure. But, I was also RELIEVED to finally have a diagnosis. FINALLY, someone had HEARD me. Finally, someone believed me!

But now what?

Then I realized I had no idea where to go from there. The doctor gave me a medicine called Lyrica to help with the pain. I took it for about three weeks and gained another 15 pounds. So I stopped taking that medicine and refused to try it again. I also haven’t had any doctor since then try to treat my fibromyalgia or even acknowledge that it existed.

Every day with Fibromyalgia is a fight. This disease makes me hurt every day. It hurts for my husband to hold me. It hurts for my children to hug me. Sometimes it hurts for my clothes to touch me. It hurts if I lay in bed and it hurts if I get up. Most days I hold it all in and never crack. I don’t let my children see how bad it is and I try not to let my husband notice when the pain is bad. Then, there are the days when I just don’t have the strength to fight. There are days when I am afraid that Fibromyalgia will win.

On those days I have to admit that I just can’t do it all on my own. Sometimes I have to admit that I can’t do everything or be there for everyone all the time. It hurts me to admit that, but it’s true. There are days when I just can’t ignore the pain and I have to ask my husband for help. He gladly picks up the slack, he watches the kids, he cooks dinner, he lets me rest. Even on days when I say “no honey, I’ve got it”, he insists on helping with everything. He’s the best teammate I could have ever asked for.

You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated.

Maya Angelo

So I’m learning how to admit I need help more often. Accepting help when it is offered isn’t easy, but I’m learning. My husband is helping me learn to set firmer boundaries and tell people ‘no’ when I just can’t do what they are asking. Fibromyalgia is teaching me to put myself and my health first sometimes. I also have a new doctor who referred me to a pain management specialist. My first appointment was on Wednesday, August 7th, we have a care plan and are starting a new medicine. It is joyous and a huge relief to finally be believed and treated. So I will let you all know how that goes.

If you’re out there suffering from Fibromyalgia in silence and trying to hold it all in, I want you to know you’re not alone. You don’t have to keep suffering alone. There are other warriors out there just like you!

All the love,

Jordan

More information about Fibromyalgia can be found here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354780

Support and Help for Fibromyalgia patients can be found here: https://www.inspire.com/groups/fibromyalgia/

We’re all mediocre here

We have all had parenting struggles

We have all had parenting struggles before. So I want you to imagine something with me for a moment. I want you to imagine you’re parked at the gas pumps outside the supermarket. You look over at the car on the other side of your pump. There is a mom, looking rather frazzled, messy bun hair, probably a stain or two on her shirt, getting out to pump gas. In the back seat are two kids. One is strapped into a forward-facing booster seat, looking angry and screaming “mama” repeatedly, getting louder with each scream. The other child is older but is wailing in an all-out tantrum that would rival most 3-year-olds. He is crying as if someone has broken both his ankles Misery style. Then you glance to the front passenger seat to see a man, presumably the father and/or husband. It looks like he is doing nothing at all from where you stand.

What would you think?

Now, be honest. What would be your first thought? Would you wonder why the man of the family isn’t the one pumping gas? Maybe you would think both children need a good old fashioned spanking? Perhaps you would judge that mom for not having combed her hair in several days or not bothering to put on a clean shirt to come out in public? Or would you understand her parenting struggles and offer a kind smile or hello?

I wouldn’t blame you for any of those first thoughts. Once upon a time I would have had them too. I may have thought way worse, to be entirely honest. I may even have been one of those dreaded pre-parenthood people who muttered under their breath that their future children would NEVER act like that. 

I’m THAT mom…

But, now, I AM the mom in that story. We have been at a gas pump with this exact scenario playing out. I have gotten out to pump gas, savoring the few short minutes of silence while the car doors are shut between myself and the screaming children. I have looked across those gas pumps into the judgmental eyes of a nicely dressed, perfectly coiffed stranger who has no idea how my day has gone.

I’d like to say that I’m “used to” the stares and the whispers. Most of the time I don’t notice anymore or I do my best to ignore them; but some days when you’ve already met the end of your emotional rope, that look of utter disgust on someone’s face, even for a second, just tips you over the edge. I admit there have been times I got back in the car barely holding back the tears. 

I try to remind myself that the stranger next to me does not know our parenting struggles or personal battles. They don’t know that my husband is blind and sitting in the car while I pump gas humiliates him. There is no way that they could know that even though my oldest son looks 12, he’s only 10 and that ADHD has caused his emotional maturity to develop slower than other children. They have no idea that our 4-year-old has a speech delay or that when he feels overwhelmed and can’t make us understand him it results in a total meltdown. They surely can’t know that I start every day in pain from fibromyalgia and am struggling to keep it all together sometimes.

There are good days and bad days.

Not every day is bad. In fact, most days are good and don’t look like the picture I painted earlier. Most of the time Cody can do far more than you’d expect from someone with only about 40 percent of his vision. He is a very independent man 95 percent of the time. He absolutely hates to admit when he needs me to do something for him. Cody is simultaneously the strongest and most hardheaded man I have ever known (and I love him for it).
Sam doesn’t have the tantrums or ‘meltdowns’ as often as he has in past years. We have finally found a combination of medicines, behavior therapy, and a reward system at home that keeps most of his challenging behaviors at bay. We still have trouble at times especially if he is tired or hungry or feeling overwhelmed. We have also found in the last year that the emotional state of the people around him has a very big impact on how he reacts to situations.

Richard has come a very long way in speech therapy this year. We understand him far more often than we don’t. When we can’t quite catch what he is saying Sam is usually our translator. We call him “The Richard Whisperer”. He can understand every word his little brother says. But when Sam is having a meltdown it is LOUD and it is chaotic, and it scares little brother. When he is upset he is harder to understand. When he can’t make you understand what he is saying he gets even more upset.

Balance can be a constant struggle

So you can see how the situation can very quickly snowball and get out of hand. It is a constant juggling act for Cody and me. We have to be masters at controlling our own emotions, words, and actions. Even when we are in a high-stress situation or already on edge, or, God forbid, hurting or tired ourselves, we still have to practice complete self-control. The kids need us to be calm in order for them to get calm. They feed off of our emotions and actions. If we are stressed, they are stressed. If we yell, they yell.  
Parenting is hard, friends. Parenting special needs kids is harder. Parenting special needs kids while dealing with obstacles or disabilities of your own can sometimes feel impossible. These are just the parenting struggles that we have to deal with on most days.

We don’t let the disabilities define us

But Cody and I both decided a long time ago that our “disabilities” would not own us or control our lives. We are determined every day to give it our best and leave the rest in God’s hands. We trust God and each other and we get through it together. It is never easy. We go to bed on most nights wondering if we completely screwed up this whole parenting thing. Then we wake up the next morning and try again.

You might be feeling overwhelmed today. Maybe yesterday was your day from hell. Maybe you’re reading this right now while hiding in the bathroom with a package of secret cookies you don’t share with the kids. I want you to know, it’s okay and it’s going to be okay. YOU ARE A GOOD PARENT! Don’t let the stares, the whispers, the muttering, or the slow head shakes from strangers get you down. You have two jobs to do in this life; trust God and raise your babies. That’s ALL!

Do not be ashamed

It’s okay to cry on the hard days. It’s okay to rejoice in the good days. It’s okay when you feel defeated. Whenever you’re feeling like the parenting struggles and mundaneness of life are getting you down; when you need a reminder that we are all flawed, we all feel like we are messing this up, we are all feeling like mediocre parents, come here and take a deep breath. Remember, we’re all just doing our best and tomorrow is another day.

All the love,

Jordan

10 things to do when your kids go back to school

Finally! The time is here, parents! Let us all rejoice and be thankful! We have survived another summer with most of our hair and at least a shred of our sanity still intact.

Congrats fellow child raisers! You, your kids, and your marriage all made it to the first day back to school! You’ve bought all the supplies, new clothes, new shoes, everyone has a new haircut, and you’re ready to rock! I bet you even laid out their outfits the night before and packed all their backpacks too.

If you’re like us, you got up early, took lots of pictures, and even walked them into school. You probably did the whole meet the teacher thing earlier in the week, or last week, so already know where they’re going and who all the teachers are. Then you drove back home to an empty house.

Now what? Here’s a list of 10 things you can do now that the kids are back in school.

  1. You can go to the grocery store ALONE! Cue the “Hallelujah” song. I haven’t been to the store alone in MONTHS!! I know I’m not the only mom who finds some therapy in going shopping without the kids or hubby.
  2. You can binge-watch WHATEVER YOU WANT WITHOUT INTERRUPTIONS! How glorious will it be to get through even ONE show or movie without pausing it to get someone their 4,356,782 glass of water?
  3. You can walk around the house with no pants on. If you want to, I mean; but really who actually wants to wear pants all day?
  4. You can listen to anything you want on your radio (or Pandora of course). You don’t have to censor yourself with no kids around! You wanna listen to 90’s gangster rap? You go right ahead, sister!
  5. You can finally get stuff done! Y’all know it is next to impossible to run errands with more than one kid in tow. Someone ALWAYS has to use the bathroom exactly 2.5 blocks AFTER the last bathroom stop. They never get along in the back seat, and if it takes longer than 2 minutes at any stop they will be up running around like wild animals making everyone I. The bank stare at you like a two-headed monster.
  6. You can make phone calls again! I don’t know about y’all but the minute I pick up a phone my kids start screaming like wild banshees. I have yet to make an important phone call during their lifetimes (while they were in the same house as me) without being interrupted or having to apologize for the incredible noise in the background.
  7. You can take a nap! That’s all that needs to be said on that note.
  8. You can meet friends for coffee or lunch in a real restaurant without causing a scene of some sort. Can you imagine an uninterrupted cup of coffee again? Yes, my friends, it is possible!
  9. You can take a hot shower without anyone calling your name or flushing the toilet or banging on the door. I know that sounds like a wildly impossible fantasy but it is possible when your kids are in school.
  10. When you’re done sitting in the school parking lot crying because your babies are growing up too fast, you can go home, read this list, think of all you COULD be doing and instead end up counting the hours and minutes until you can go back and pick up your sweet little monsters.

If you’re anything like me you’re gonna miss those babies like crazy while they are in school and probably not get one thing accomplished on the first day back. Hopefully, this brought you just a little humor this year!

All the love,

Jordan

10 things I wish I’d known about ADHD

My oldest son, Samuel, was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in kindergarten. I had known a few people who had ADHD or ADD when I was younger. I had even met a few parents whose kids were diagnosed. I admit I was one of those people who would hear “my child has ADHD” and roll my eyes or just skim right past it as if it were an insignificant, minor detail that had no real impact.

I had no real concept of what exactly ADHD or ADD was or what it looked like; I didn’t have the first clue about this disorder. Although I didn’t know anything about the disorder the minute Sam started preschool at a local head start program just before his 4th birthday (he’s a September baby) we knew something wasn’t right. Before this, he had always stayed with his grandmother while I was at work and we all just thought he was energetic, a typical rambunctious boy. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to explain away his behavior or was told “boys will be boys”. Every older person in my life had advice on how to control his “wild” behavior. Nothing worked, but I continued to ignore it and tell myself he would outgrow it.

Then he started preschool and it became more obvious that something wasn’t exactly right. Still, for whatever reason, I ignored the facts staring me right in the eyes. I didn’t want something to be “wrong” with my child. I didn’t want to believe that he was anything but “perfect” and “normal”. It would be 2 more years before we got a diagnosis. During those two years, I heard every mean and judgmental comment you can think of, and then some. Other moms, teachers, the school counselor, even the school secretary, all had opinions about my son. I was told he was spoiled, I didn’t spank him enough, I needed to discipline him more, I was babying him too much; everything you could think of, it was said to me or behind my back. I thought once we had a diagnosis and knew what to do the whispers would go away. I foolishly believed that if we were given a name for whatever was not right that those mean people would have to swallow their words and apologize to me. Boy, was I wrong! No one has ever apologized for the comments they have made, to my face or behind my back. That used to bother me. Now, I’m okay with that; it doesn’t keep me up at night.

Changing people’s opinions about ADHD and ADD is NOT my job. Taking care of my little boy and making sure he has the best life and best education possible is my job.

Over the last 5 years since our diagnosis, I have learned a LOT about this disorder. I feel like I’ve been through a war zone, or the worst crash course possible, sometimes. Pretty much everything I have learned about it, I have learned on my own. I have had to learn through my research, trial, and error, and falling flat on our faces at times. I know there are other parents out there who have gotten this diagnosis and feel like they are lost in a sea of uncertainty and being pulled under by everything that’s being thrown their way. If that is you, I want you to know you are NOT alone. Here are 10 things I wish I’d known about ADHD from the start:

  1. It’s not your fault! There is NO definite cause for ADHD or ADD. Anyone who tells you that is a big, fat liar. I have done my research and although there are many, many, MANY theories about what may or may not cause ADHD and ADD there is no proof of any of them. We do not know, and may never know, what exactly (if anything) causes this disorder to develop or occur in children. Some people will try to tell you that letting them watch TV before the age of 2 will cause ADHD. Some will say if you were a smoker before or during your pregnancy that will cause your child to have the disorder. Although smoking during pregnancy is horrible and should be completely avoided it does NOT cause your kid to have ADHD later. NOTHING you did caused this. Let me say that again for the folks in the back. NOTHING YOU DID OR DIDN’T DO AS A PARENT CAUSED YOUR CHILD TO HAVE ADHD OR ADD!
  2. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with your child. Your baby is not wrong, or defective, or damaged. He or she is just different. Their brains are wired a little differently than ours. They are idling at about 6000 RPMs while the rest of us are at 2000 RPMs. It doesn’t mean there is something wrong or broken about them. Saying that something is wrong or broken implies that it needs to be fixed. Your child does not need to be fixed. They just need our help and some extra supports, and even a little more time to be as successful as others. They need parents and educators who care and who will accept them as they are and help them achieve their goals.
  3. The first medicine that you and your doctor try may not work. Some people choose not to use the medicine at all, and that is fine if that works for you and your child and your family. Some people use therapy only, medicine, or a combination. We try to use a combination of behavior therapy and medications. However, getting to where we are today was not an easy road. It was a narrow, difficult, bumpy, and windy road. We have tried several different medications, slow-release, quick release, ones you take twice a day and ones you take once a day. Even once we found a good medicine that seemed to be effective without any negative side effects getting the dosage correct was an entirely new ordeal. Don’t get discouraged. There is no magic little pill that will miraculously cure your child. Making sure your child has the correct medicine and the correct dose is an ongoing effort. What works today may not work a year from now and what doesn’t work today may work a few months from now. It is so, so important to keep regular visits with your child’s doctor or doctors and keep in touch with his or her teachers for progress reports.
  4. Trying to find the right therapist can feel like a nightmare. But trust me, it will be worth it in the end. Finding a therapist that is the perfect fit for your child and your family might take a long time. You might have to see several different ones before you find the right one. Then again, the very first one might be perfect. Either way, don’t get discouraged, even if you’ve tried 10 different therapists and still don’t feel like you’ve got the right fit. Finding the right one takes time. The therapy also takes time. Let it work. Have faith in the therapist and the process. It could take weeks or months of you thinking ‘is this working’ before you have that one moment that feels like the Heavens have opened up and smiled down on you and you realize you’re making progress. Just remember, you are the parent, you know what is best for your child. Don’t be afraid to keep searching if you think you haven’t found the right program yet.
  5. IEPs take a ton of hard work from you and the schools. An IEP is an individualized education program. It involves an entire team of your child, you, his teachers, a director, and anyone involved in providing special supports for your child at school. In some cases, with ADHD your child may not qualify for an IEP but will qualify for a 504 plan. This can be a very overwhelming subject. You can do some research on your own and I highly recommend that you do. But don’t be afraid to ask your school or your doctor or therapist for more information or to point you in the right direction. Education is power and the more you know the more you can help your child. Not every school is going to be helpful, although most only want what is best for your child just like you do. Sometimes you will have to fight for what your child needs and deserves. It is good to get a notebook for all of your IEP/504 information. It is also a good idea to keep detailed notes at your yearly meetings and file any paperwork you receive in your notebook. Read everything and make sure you understand before you sign it. Asking questions never hurt anyone! If there is anything you don’t understand ask the school administrators, your child’s doctor or therapist, or find someone who has been through it before and asks for help. It will feel a lot like homework for you, and it kind of is, but this is the most effective way to make sure your child still gets the absolute best education they can.
  6. Your kid WILL make friends and be successful. I promise. There will be times that it doesn’t feel true, but I assure you, they WILL make friends and they will succeed in school. I worried myself sick about this for a long time. Sam can be socially awkward at times. It’s not always easy for him to make new friends. He can be shy too. I used to worry that he would be made fun of or wouldn’t fit in, but he will start 4th grade next month and he just got back from his first over-night church camp. He is changing schools this year and already has made new friends at church who will be in his class. He also has already begun writing letters to friends from his previous school. He has friends, he isn’t left out, he isn’t ostracized. You will have to be vigilant and relentless and will have to fight like hell at times for your kid to make those same strides and make friends. It will be hard, harder than it is for most other kids, harder than it is even for their siblings. It will be so hard sometimes that it will feel unfair. You may even feel like throwing in the towel. Don’t. Don’t give up the fight, moms, and dads. Once you have worked your booty off and gotten your child all the medical care, therapy, and education plans they need then they can flourish. When you reach that sweet spot of all the tools coming together and their disorder being “managed” then you will have the reward of watching your child blossom into the person they were meant to be. They will make friends, real friends, and they will make the grades, and they WILL be successful. Trust that.
  7. You cannot just discipline it out of them. There will be people, lots of people, who tell you that your child is bad, rude, disrespectful, spoiled, ill-mannered or any number of other harsh words. Those people will judge you and tell you that every struggle you face is your fault. You’re just a bad parent and you should spank your child more. THOSE PEOPLE ARE WRONG. Do not listen to them. They have not been personally touched by this disorder or watched a child they love struggle with ADHD. Honestly, I hope they never know firsthand what this is like or how their words can hurt so deeply. They have an antiquated way of thinking but it isn’t your job to change that. Pat them on the head, smile, and excuse yourself from their company. Sometimes you will have to politely (and sometimes not so politely) tell these people that you do not need their unsolicited advice. Spanking, punishing, and making your child feel ‘less than’ because of their disorder does not do anyone any favors. You will have to work to find the right type of discipline for your child. Having ADHD should not give them a golden pass to do wrong without consequence. They will still need a set of rules and punishments like every other child; it will just have to be personalized to fit them. Our two boys have the same rules and expectations but their punishments and consequences are as different as night and day. Spanking does no good with either of them. Time out of any kind, even short ones, just about kills our youngest child, Richard. He will do just about anything not to get a timeout or have to stay inside. Samuel is different. Having privileges taken away bothers him the most. There will be a lot of trial and error here too but just hang in there.
  8. Other parents’ opinions are none of your business. Everyone has an opinion. Other parents can be harsh. They can even be downright cruel. If another person gives you their opinion on your child, your parenting, or what you should or should not be doing ask yourself these questions first. Does this person love you and/or your child and have your best interest at heart? Does this person have any special education or authority on the subject? Does this person also have a child with ADHD? If the answer is ‘no’ to all of those, take them with a grain of salt and move on. Your real friends and other parents who are going through the same things won’t have mean, hateful, or negative things to say to you. People who are educated on the subject will usually wait for you to ask for their help or opinions. If the advice or opinion isn’t asked for and isn’t constructive tell them to buzz off and pay them no attention. Your job is to take care of your child. Your job is NOT trying to please or accommodate people who have no direct effect on your or your child’s life. But don’t always discount the people who are truly trying to help either. Support groups are good and true friends that you can lean on are even better.
  9. It is okay to be a little sad sometimes. There are far worse diagnoses in this world than ADHD. Parents are being told their children have weeks or months to live due to cancer. So there will be people who blow you off when you get the first diagnosis and you’re raw and vulnerable and emotional about it. Although it is true some people have it far worse that does not negate the fact that you are going through something as well. Your feelings are valid. I had this picture in my head of the person Sam was going to be. I never thought about the possibility of something being wrong with him. I never pictured him having a disorder that would make him struggle so much socially and academically. So when we were first diagnosed I had to mourn for a little while for the loss of that perfect child I had in mind. I had to mourn for all the plans and ideas I had of what his life would be like. Then I had to realize that perhaps this life, this path, could lead to something far greater than what I had in mind. It’s okay to go through the mourning phase. It is okay to go back to it now and then too. This journey will be long and hard. You will get tired, you will be overwhelmed, you will be sad, and angry, and disappointed at times. All of that is okay. But remember, grief is meant to be a temporary place, not your intended destination. Don’t stay there. Cry for a moment then dry your eyes and put your armor back on; your child needs you.
  10. Asking for help does not make you weak. You can’t fight this battle alone. This journey is meant to be taken by an entire village. Your friends and family want to help and they want to understand. Talk to them! Don’t try to take the weight of this disorder all on your shoulders alone. Let the other parent, or parents, in your child’s life help. When there are things you want to know to reach out to your child’s doctor or therapist or school administrators; they are there to help. Find support groups and other parents who are going through the same thing. Needing a support network to lean on is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength and humility. If there’s anything this disorder has taught me it is humility; and that there is an entire community of people out there willing to link arms with you and help you along this bumpy road. You’ve already found this blog and I’ll always be here to lend a helping hand, a listening ear, or a super absorbent shoulder. Hang in there parents! This journey is hard but it is worth it!

All the love,

Jordan

Our Mission

Welcome to our blog! This is a safe zone where we share real life, the good parts, the messy parts, the funny parts, and everything in between.

Here we will get really real with y’all about life with special needs kids, living with vision impairment, and autoimmune disorders. We want to share with others who might be going through some of the same things we are so we can all band together and survive this crazy thing called life.

I’m Jordan. My husband, Daddy Moore, is Cody and our two boys are Samuel and Richard. Sam has ADHD, which is an adventure all by itself. Richard has a speech delay and goes to speech therapy. Cody lost almost all of his vision in 2007 at the age of 24. I have been diabetic since I was 13 years old, was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia at the age of 23, and in 2017 was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis (not the kind you get from drinking too much).

We have had a fair share of hardship but we stick together and trust God. We lean on each other when we are weak and we hold each other up when we are strong. We pray continuously. We want to share the things we have learned. We want to reach other and show others that no matter what they are dealing with, there is someone who understands and wants to link arms with you and give you support.

I hope you find something here that will help you or someone you love. If we help even one person our mission is accomplished.

All the love,
Jordan

Here’s to Blogging

I’ve considered blogging for a long time. Many people in my life think I have a talent for writing and honestly, I do love it. Writing has always been cathartic for me; like a release valve on a pressure cooker. When life has been overwhelming or emotionally taxing and I need to vent writing helps me do that. So, I’ve finally decided to give it a go.

Perhaps an introduction is in order…

I am Jordan, a 33-year-old mother of two young boys ages 10 and 4, named Sam and Richard, in that order. I recently married my very best friend, Cody, and we live in a tiny rural town in Texas with 4 dogs and right next door to my mother-in-law, her husband, and her 5 dogs. To say that life is like a circus around here may be quite the understatement. Although life can be crazy and is always LOUD, it is fun and we try to find the humor in most situations.

This is us…

The Moores

I worked for the great state of Texas for a little over 10 years until this past March. When Cody and I married I resigned so that I could concentrate on going back to school and spending time with my children. This summer has been wonderful. I have had time freedom for the first time in my life and I must say it has been far more enjoyable than I ever imagined. This summer we have spent time at the lake, taken trips to our favorite water and amusement parks, went camping, and visited with family. We have soaked up every ray of sunshine possible and made memories that I hope my children carry with them for the rest of their lives.

 It isn’t every day that I get them all to dress nicely and stand still… Sundays are my best bet for that! Even then the little one has to be held down! LOL
We love spending time at the lake and fishing. Richard “caught” his first fish this year with an assist from Dad and Papa. 
Sam is becoming a fishing pro but he isn’t always a fan of mom and her camera!
My guys are always doing something crazy or goofy to make me laugh. Our Father’s Day trip to Cowboys Stadium was no different!
No summer would be complete without a camping trip and ‘smores with the Moore’s!

So there you have it…

That is the ‘pretty’, ‘storefront’, ‘public’ version of our little family. It’s all true, we are a crazy, wild, LOUD, family. We are full of love for each other, the outdoors, God, and having a good time. This family laughs a lot and we have fun together, but we also yell sometimes and lose our cool; we argue and fight, and sometimes forget to show each other grace.

But what about the REAL us?

The parts you don’t see, the imperfect parts, are what makes us a family just as much (and maybe more) as the perfect, picture ready, parts do. You see, not everyone knows that Sam has one of the worst cases of ADHD his doctor has ever seen. Not everyone knows that Richard has a speech delay that he is still going to therapy for. Most people who first meet us don’t know that my husband lost almost all of his vision almost 12 years ago. I don’t tell everyone that I suffer from fibromyalgia and chronic pancreatitis. Not everyone sees the hard parts or the days that we struggle.

But, friends, we do struggle, just like you probably do. If you’ve ever looked at another woman, man, or family online and thought they had it all together and you never would, you are beyond WRONG!! None of us has it all together all the time. Anyone who says they do is blowing smoke up your skirt, sweetheart. We are all flawed, we are all ‘less-than’ sometimes, and we all fall short. BUT, we are all loved, we are all extraordinary, we are all worthy of respect. We can all have it together for a moment or two every now and then, and we all deserve to have someone be totally real with us. Everyone deserves to hear someone say “hey, I don’t have it together either, let’s get together and eat carbs and talk about it”.

This is a safe place.

This is where that can happen. Our blog is a place where no one ‘has it all together’. We pass no judgment. So get comfy, we don’t do perfect around here!

All the love,

Jordan