How to Plan for the Next School Break


kid in school

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How to Plan for the Next School Break

Children go to school 180 days a year, leaving you with little time to enjoy as a family during the school year. However, winter break usually lasts a little over a week, and spring break is only a few days, both of which are prime times for you and your family to spend quality time together. Today, My Warrior Mom Life has some tips to help make the next break more special.

Mini Vacation Destinations Ideas

While your children are home from school, plan a mini vacation. Visit a local inn or hotel with a pool. Consider having dinner delivered to your room as you and the entire family lounge in your pajamas, just relishing your time together.

Instead of an overnight trip, take day trips, and visit different local destinations during the break. For instance, visit a science center, play center, museum, library, or planetarium. Try to vary what you do, so all your children do something they enjoy. It also keeps your kids interested and entertained throughout the break.

Stay-at-Home Vacation Ideas 

If you have to work during the kids’ school break and can’t get away, a road trip is probably out of the question. However, with a little planning, a winter or spring break at home can be just as entertaining.

First, stay as comfortable as possible. It’s easier to run after the children if you wear something comfortable, like this lounge dress; click here to plan ahead and purchase a few new comfy clothing items. Your children may appreciate a new pair of pajamas, too, so they can remain comfortable, as well.

While you’re at home, consider scheduling a day to play board games or do arts and crafts. Designate one evening as a movie night where the family snuggles in the living or family room. When you’re deciding on a movie, it’s best to take a vote. Another idea is to have a spa day and pretend you and your family are lounging at a luxury resort.

Preparing for the Vacation 

Whether you’re planning to go away for the school break or stay home, start prepping for this time in advance. Finish all the laundry, run any errands, and clean the house before the school break. Don’t forget to go grocery shopping and select snacks everyone loves. Once you handle those tasks, you have nothing to focus on other than enjoying your time with the family.

Rules to Make the Most of This Time

Make it a time for little to no electronics. Savor every moment you can together without any distractions. Although your children may be a bit frustrated at first, once they’re having fun, they’re likely to forget all about their phones and tablets. Stick together most of the time to encourage interaction rather than having everyone disperse into their rooms. Also, avoid letting the kids stay up extremely late, so they wake up at a reasonable time and are in good spirits the next day.

Make the Next School Break a Time To Remember

With a game plan, you can make your children’s next school break a time for family and one they may remember forever. A little planning can make it more memorable (and less stressful) for you, as well.

My Warrior Mom Life is here to help parents like you navigate the modern world. Click here if you have any questions!

Navigating Anxiety and Depression: Impactful Strategies

anxiety depression

As a young adult, you might feel like you’re constantly on a rollercoaster of emotions. The pressure to succeed, build relationships, and discover your purpose in life can be overwhelming.

If you’re experiencing feelings of anxiety or depression, you must understand that you’re not alone. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) approximates that nearly 23% of adults 18 and older experienced a mental illness in 2021. The good news is that there are actionable steps to take to manage your symptoms and improve your mental health. My Warrior Mom Life shares some here:

Recognize Your Triggers

The first step in managing anxiety and depression is to identify your triggers. These can be specific situations, people, or even thoughts that cause you to feel anxious or down.

Learning to recognize your triggers will help you avoid them, or come up with healthy coping mechanisms to deal with them. For instance, if you feel anxious in crowded spaces, you might try going to a smaller gathering or bringing a trusted friend along for support.

Start Self-Care

Practicing self-care is critical for maintaining good mental health. Set aside time for yourself daily to do something you enjoy, such as listening to music, doing a puzzle, or reading a novel.

It’s also important to make your physical health a priority. Eating a healthy diet, getting adequate sleep, and exercising regularly will go a long way in boosting your overall well-being. When you take care of yourself, you’ll have more energy and mental clarity to deal with the challenges of everyday life.

Here is a list of over one hundred ideas for self-care from Warrior Mom! Click here!

Go Back to School

If you feel stuck in your career or struggle with anxiety and depression, returning to school can be a great way to improve your prospects and gain new skills. You can work at your own pace and fit studying into your busy schedule through online courses. Pursuing further education can also provide a sense of purpose and direction, which can prove invaluable in your mental health battles.

Further, earning a degree or certification, can open up new job opportunities and increase your earning potential. For example, there are countless ways to use a business bachelor’s degree, making it a wise long-term investment!

Talk to a Professional

It might be helpful to meet with a mental health professional if you’re experiencing persistent feelings of anxiety or depression. The right therapist or counselor can give you tools and strategies to manage your symptoms while offering support and guidance. Therapy can also help you identify any underlying issues that may be contributing to your mental health struggles.

Establish a Support System

Having a strong support system can make all the difference when fighting anxiety and depression. Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or support groups to connect with people who can empathize with your struggles. Sharing your experiences with others who have been there will likely help you feel less alone and more understood.

Focus on What You Can Control

Finally, it’s essential to focus on what you can control instead of what you cannot. Worrying about the future or dwelling on past mistakes is natural, but it only leads to more anxiety and depressive feelings.

Try to focus on the present moment and take small steps to improve your situation. For instance, if you’re worried about finding a job after graduation, put your energy into updating your resume or networking with people in your field.

Wrapping Up

Dealing with anxiety or depression is challenging, but it’s crucial to remember that you hold the power to take control of your mental health. Recognizing your triggers, practicing self-care, building a support system, and implementing the other strategies in this article can help you manage your symptoms and boost your overall quality of life.

Don’t forget that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. There’s no shame in taking care of your mental health!

Please leave a comment below on how you personally handle anxiety or depression. Sharing is one way to show others that they are not alone.

If you enjoyed this article, you can find more helpful content on!

Homeward Bound…..823 days!

Homeward Bound....823 Days
Homeward Bound….823 Days – Utah to CA!

Monday, the last day of September, 2019 will rank as a high point for my son and us as a family in so many emotional ways. He will be graduating from his step down program after 27 months away from home and we will all drive home from Utah together. It is a truly amazing journey!

It’s been 821 days (as I write this blog post) since we sent our then fifteen year old son to wilderness, way back at the end of June 2017. Fast forward to this coming Monday, the last day of September 2019 and he will be heading home for good! To recap: he will be graduating from his step down program after eight months in southern Utah, along with seventeen months at his residential treatment center near Salt Lake City and before that, 92 days in his wilderness therapy program in southern Idaho. 823 days away from home! Can that even be possible? WOW!

This has been a tremendous journey, as cliché as that may sound. He is ready to begin a new chapter of life facing many of his previous challenges and plenty of new ones as well. Isn’t that what life is about? Yet, what is different for him and for us as a family, are the tools we have gained and the experience of all the hard work that comes with treatment in general. He is one of the lucky ones, and so are we!

We couldn’t have done this alone. We have been fortunate to have been helped by a host full wonderful therapists, advisors, mentors and top notch professionals in this field. They truly care. The programs have tons of experience helping teenagers with their personal issues and work hard to get them back on track. It is a true team effort and is not for the faint of heart, not to mention the unimaginable cost families have to bear.

One good person led us to another good person to another and so we learned to navigate this treacherous sea of “what shall we do next?” with trust and hope and our “gut” feelings. We didn’t know what we didn’t know and with each new interaction we picked up a phrase or new tidbit of information that took us down another trail to where we are today. The road can be long as we can attest.

We are so proud of our son. He is happy again and reports no anxiety or depression. He still faces the challenges of technology use as do we all. He is now finished with high school after taking the CHSPE exam (similar to the GED) and wants to work for a year before heading to the college experience. He is a good kid, not perfect, not fixed as people want to ask, yet a better communicator and compliant to rules and boundaries. We have repaired our relationships and continue to work at it. At 18 years old, his future direction will be up to him.

I don’t want give the impression that our lives resemble a “package all tied up neatly with a bow on top”, but rather, a chance to see what opportunities lie ahead for all of us! This is a chance at a new beginning. And so we begin a fresh chapter with our now adult son living with us again, back home in Marin County and the SF Bay Area, CA. Thank you for reading and for your constant support in our heck of a journey! I will continue to blog and ask you to come back often to check our progress!

Most gratefully and filled with love,

Warrior Mom

The Magical 18th Birthday

The Magical 18th Birthday

At the end of July my son turned eighteen years old! We celebrated by taking a weekend trip and meeting up in New Mexico. All of us were excited to travel somewhere new outside of Utah for a change! It was a nice way to celebrate and we had a great time! We toured the University of New Mexico, ate delicious Southwestern cuisine, visited the Hot Air Balloon Museum and saw many of the location sites used for the TV show “Breaking Bad”.

Eighteen is a “BIG” birthday, since in the eyes of the law, one becomes a “legal adult”.  For many teenagers turning eighteen means “getting to do anything they want”.  That is, until they have to pay for it with their own money!

The transition between seventeen and eighteen years old can be a confusing right of passage. Teens want freedom and they want to be taken seriously. Parents want them to be safe, yet know that their kids have to figure things out themselves. As those kids mature, the world of responsibility can begin to close in quickly, making life a bit uncomfortable. So many decisions about their futures have to be addressed. These important decisions include:  higher education, jobs, goals, travel and relationships. The common thread is that they all require money, something many teenagers do not have in abundance quite yet.

Getting a job is a great way to teach important lessons of what’s ahead for older teens. My son made big strides by getting his first job at a McDonald’s in Southern Utah this summer. He has been grilling burgers for more hours than he is excited about, which is actually great news. He has said that now he knows he needs higher education, so that this entry level job is not his only choice for the future! HALLELUJAH!

The other big news is that just days before turning eighteen, my son passed the CHSPE (California High School Proficiency Exam)! Can I hear an AMEN? School has been a huge challenge for him and this signifies the END of his high school classes! It is a relief as a parent to not have to worry about his credits or lack of credits as he turned eighteen! He is ready for something new and so are we! (Come back to this blog for more info on how his IEP – Individual Education Program worked and didn’t work in his public schooling!)

We are now about to dip our toes into uncharted territory with an ADULT son who is a couple of months away from coming home for good, from treatment this fall. We will get to write the new roles we will assume. We will still be the parents and he will still be the son, but all our hard work over the past two years will be tested in new ways, once he is back. We are excited, happy, scared and “anticipatory” as the boys in his wilderness were fond of saying!


Warrior Mom

2 Years…….Full of Gratitude and Positive Changes


On June 28/29th we will mark two years into our journey. We are so grateful for the time, which has been full of positive change and family healing. When we sent our son to Wilderness therapy with the help of a transport company in 2017, we took a giant leap of faith. We had no idea what to expect. Would this “reboot” work? Would he resent us? Would we get our son back?

Our decision was excruciating. But ultimately after trying everything, we knew we had to do something drastic to keep him safe and stop the downward spiral. He was just shy of his 16th birthday. Today our family can see a future as he turns 18 next month. We all have come a long way!

A couple of weeks ago, our son was home for a quick visit and I asked him a few questions, sort of an interview. His answers might surprise you!

Interview with my son

Warrior Mom: What do you remember from that time two years ago?
Son: I don’t have a lot of memories from that time, since the drugs heavily affected me. After wilderness, my memory got better at the RTC (residential treatment center).
Warrior Mom: What was the worse part for you from that time?
Son: The last part of my freshman year was the worst. I was spiraling out of control. I thought that you should have sent me sooner.


Warrior Mom: What are some of the positive parts?
Son: Being sober. My mental health is stable. My happiness level is better. My anxiety is better. My self confidence is better.

Warrior Mom: Thoughts about the two year anniversary of going to treatment?
Son: In some ways it feels short, in some ways it feels long.

Warrior Mom: Do you think that others at your local high school would benefit from treatment?
Son: Yes, I know at least fifteen kids who have been to some kind of treatment. A lot of kids from California are in Utah!

Warrior Mom: What was it like when you visited your old RTC last month?
Son: It was really surreal. It looked the same. Some new kids, a few from when I was there. I liked being there without the same rules. A bunch of us from the step down answered questions about it and what it was like to have more independence and privileges.

Warrior Mom: You also had a chance to go to one of your RTC mentor’s wedding. Tell me about it.
Son: It was really fun. We were no longer just staff and students, instead we interacted like friends. I had a good time. We got to decorate the wedding get away car! It was a long day and we got back around 11pm.

Warrior Mom: You have made lots of friends in treatment. Do you keep in touch?
Son: Yeah, I text them and most of them are doing well. One friend and I have talked about working a couple of shifts at our old Wilderness program next Summer.

Warrior Mom: Wow, that sounds like fun!
Son: Yeah.

Warrior Mom: Can you share some of your current goals?
Son: I want to earn money by getting a job. (He was hired at McDonald’s last week and has completed orientation and two training sessions on the grill so far!) I want to move into the Bridge Independent Living House. I want to go to college. (We are going to tour University of New Mexico in July).

Warrior Mom: We are very proud of you. You should be proud of yourself, too.
Son: Thanks. I am!

We have so much to be grateful for as a family. The past two years have been filled with renewed opportunities for growth, communication and love. It has been joyful and at times tearful. The financial end of it is unimaginable! We have met so many wonderful professionals and had support from family and friends. We have made many new friends who are going through similar journeys. Thank you to all who read this blog. I know writing it helps me and hopefully I can shed some light of hope for others.

It is a one day at a time process. This hits home to me this very moment, after hearing of the passing of one of my son’s most extraordinary teachers today. She was a special person to my whole family. I want to dedicate this blog post to her. Her positive outlook was contagious and she touched all of us who knew her. I am saddened with her passing, yet she was able to see my son in person not long ago and witnessed the 2.0 version of him in action. RIP dear Christy. You were there with us the past two years and of course for all the years before as well. I will miss our weekly walks and your unwavering support. Thank you. My thoughts are with your family.


It’s All About Balance With Electronics

It's all about balance with electronics

A lot has happened in the eight weeks since my 17 1/2 year old was enrolled in the step down co-ed boarding school in Southern Utah. He is doing well and according to his advisor, he is not only compliant and respectful, he has become a favorite of the staff and fellow students alike. He is friendly to everyone, continues to make new friends and has stayed out of the normal drama which can frequently happen in a high school setting.

Isn’t that wonderful?

You bet! And with the good news and his positive progress, comes more responsibility and privileges. After his initial two week orientation, my son was able to request privileges towards more independence and “freedom”. Every Friday there is a staff “board meeting” where the advisors and administration consider the requests of the students. The students have to fill out forms with info of what privileges they are asking for and why they should be granted.

At this boarding school, there are of course rules, but it’s not just “one size fits all”, as it was at the Residential Treatment Center before. Along with parent’s input, the student’s off campus therapist’s comments, teacher’s recommendations and their advisor’s observations, the student moves forward at a pace that is tailor made for each of them individually. If the privileges are broken or rules disobeyed, then the consequences are given as learning opportunities rather than strictly punitive, giving the student a chance to learn from their mistakes in a healthy way. It’s like a built in safety net, which can be very positive and still instructive.

So far my son has earned many privileges: trust walks in the neighborhood surrounding the campus, dorm alone time, time off campus without staff AND the use of a cell phone. The cell phone we chose to re-introduce him back into the electronics world is an old fashioned “flip phone”. It can of course make phone calls, but has a lot of limits to texting and other uses that “smart phones” have made common place. Many have commented that this “retro” style phone is becoming popular again!

My son’s therapist says that he likes to “front load” the electronics use for kids at the boarding school, so the patterns of usage and potential problems can be addressed right away. For my son, he jumped back into the use head first. It was actually surreal when I purchased a new phone from the AT&T store and sent it to Utah initially. It took me right back to a time before my son went to wilderness that was not pleasant to remember. At that point, his iphone use was constant. He kept the device by his bedside all night long. He texted non-stop and was on social media too frequently.

He even recently shared that as he was being told he was heading to wilderness that fateful middle of the night, that he texted a friend to “Please keep my string of texts going on SnapChat for me!” That’s how out of control he was: as he was being sent away, his texting “string” was still his biggest concern.

As a family, we have discussed these old and often negative patterns in many conversations since the time he’s been away (end of June 2017). We talked about the anxiety and depression that the phone has caused for many, including him. We came to an understanding that while we as parents really thought of his electronics use as an addiction and he didn’t, there would have to be a balance of use/non-use in the future. We know that we are not going back to the “string tied to tin cans” kind of communication of the past and that the cell phone is here to stay, in all of our lives. Yet, that  balance is so essential for our minds, bodies and overall health. That goes for kids and us adults alike!

So when my son came home for his Spring Break, five weeks after beginning the “step down program”, he had his phone with him as he came off the plane. The list of his approved contacts were only a handful at that time. The list has been growing, as we continue to talk about who should be added and who should not be. Though it is somewhat limited, he is able to be in contact with his fellow classmates at the boarding school. He has reached out to some boys from wilderness and the Ranch and a few old friends from back home. We will see which ones rise to the top quickly enough. We are encouraging positive connections moving forward!

It's all about balance with electronics

​Well, as you have guessed, it was super easy for my son to resume using his phone, even a flip phone, for more time than we wanted to see. This was expected, especially after twenty months without having one to use at all. We were able to set boundaries of keeping the phone on the charger downstairs in the living room at night, so his sleep wouldn’t be interrupted. That was an improvement! We did see some old patterns come back, but we talked about them in family therapy. Part of our agreement is making sure that he is active and participates in family duties and chores, when he is visiting at home and does his homework and other obligations while he is at school. He has been agreeable to those terms. Even my son’s therapist says he is working on those same balances with his thirteen year old. It is a common dilemma these days and one we knew we were going to face!As the newness of the phone wears off, it will be up to him, to make these choices of amount of use and who he can call or text. In the meantime, we have received very good weekly calls from him. It’s always good to hear his voice when he’s away. Our week long visit was good overall, and we want to continue the conversation of balance as we move forward with this part of our journey. It will be an important topic for many families, I suspect!

Next up, adding a computer, internet and approved social media to the mix. Privilege by privilege we are heading down the ROAD TO EIGHTEEN when he enters adulthood officially near the end of July.

As challenging as re-introducing the phone has been, we are glad he has jumped back in! The question remains: How well will he balance it all?

“The future is ours to see, Que Sera, Sera”.

I remain ever grateful,



Goodbye RTC, Hello Step Down Program

The Ranch
The Ranch

This past month has been a very exciting time for my 17 1/2 year old son! He has started a new program in a new area of Utah. This program is what is known as a “Step Down” program in the treatment world. It is a small co-ed, boarding prep school with only 37 total students and a place of many possibilities towards a bright future! Much of what he learned at his Residential Treatment Center (RTC) will be put to the test quite quickly! It will be a perfect place to practice!

We left the Ranch last week on a Thursday and drove down to Southern Utah with a car full of clothing, boots, binders and memories! The exact day and time of the departure was kept under wraps by the staff, as close to the last minute as possible, so the students keep participating and working on their issues. In my son’s case, he had a vague idea of when he would be leaving, but not the exact day and time. We challenged him to continue to put in the work, in what would be his final weeks of his almost 17 month stay. He was ready and we were ready! He had learned all that they could offer and succeeded in many aspects during his time there.

One of the biggest achievements was that he finished Geometry, and took his final test (a re-test) and passed with 100% on his next to last day! Days earlier he had only scored a 47% on that same exam. In fact he passed three tests during his last week, which helped quite a bit. He had been ready to give up and accept a half credit for the course just weeks prior. But we as parents and his therapist pushed him into getting the studying done! We told him that if he completed Geometry, he would never have to take that class again, ever! Geometry was not his favorite subject (and who can blame him for thinking that!) but he did get the job done and WOW you could see his pride and excitement when he told us all about it on his final day at the RTC. My son also shared he that decided to skip his team’s basketball game (his did have a sore wrist, but still getting off campus was always a treat) and so he hit the books in order to finish this daunting math class! It was one of the first times that he directly saw the pay-off for actually doing the difficult work! It was a huge accomplishment!

Another big moment for the kids leaving The Ranch is coming up with a “brand” and having it burned into the wall at the entry of the Administration Building and another on a take-away plaque to keep. There are so many unique symbols from every boy who had left prior to my son. It is considered a very special ritual and as we were landing at the Salt Lake City Airport, his therapist texted pictures to us. We would miss that moment in person, but would be able to participate in the “Goodbye Group” with his fellow students, many staff members and mentors.


Making His Own Mark
Making His Own Mark
As we entered the Bunkhouse, where my son had lived since the very end of September 2017, he warmly greeted us with the biggest smile imaginable! He remembered that is was my birthday and even told me, “Happy Birthday”! Those words were the best gift I could receive! I was very moved! As we were getting ready to begin the Goodbye Group, the boys in the bunkhouse all started singing “Happy Birthday” in unison. That really floored me! Even with prompting from the staff, they were able to show their sweet sides to another parent in their group! That put a big smile on my face!
Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday Cake from My Son

There is a designated couch at one end of the main room where my son and the two of us sat. He spoke into a small hand held recording device and announced that it was his Goodbye Group, the date and then paused it, as he passed it to the first boy sitting to his right. They each turned on the recorder, introduced themselves and offered words of wisdom, encouragement or memories of my son and their joint time at The Ranch. Some spoke a short time, some a little longer, but all the messages were heartfelt and very thoughtful. The staff members all participated and added their advice and remarks to and about my son. Our son’s therapist had a couple of quotes that rang true as perfect advice for his future. One was from Mohammed Ali, though I can not recall what the quote was at present. My son will get a copy of all these special sentiments and will be able to listen to them later.

As the recorder was handed to me, I was overcome with emotions. I was going to miss this place, even though it was  difficult having my son so far away from home. This place, that was a safe haven for my son. A place that gave him confidence in himself, where he took care of newborn calves, where he rode horses each week, where he did his own laundry, performed in the Parent Day’s Variety shows and succeeded in school! There were so many thoughts and memories swirling in my head, I had to focus on what I was going to say to him as my parting words from the RTC that was his home and school for over a year!

I turned the recorder on, and couldn’t speak. His therapist was quick to retrieve a box of Kleenex as I gathered myself. It was very silent and then tears began running down my cheeks. My first words were, “WAY TO GO!” You did it. It may have been longer than we all thought it would be, but YOU DID IT! I am proud of you. You stuck with the challenges, leveling up and then even leveling down. Participating in all sorts of therapy, more than anyone can even imagine! But what stood out to me was that your effort was there, even when it didn’t look like if from the outside! You wrote us weekly letters, even if they were mandatory assignments. I am so lucky to have a large stack of them. Yes, they were short and somewhat repetitive but they mattered! I looked so forward to receiving the scan of a new letter every Monday! If for some reason it came on a Tuesday, I was beside myself with anticipation of getting that letter. I was always happy to know that you were okay and were even having a good time!

I then told the boys in the room that their parents and loved ones really appreciated getting their letters, whether they realized it or not! My words to my son then returned back to a simple, yet important theme. I was proud of him, because he was present. I know that being away from home was not something he would have chosen. I know it was hard for him. But guess what, it was hard for me too, not having him home. And most importantly, his original goal (that he stated to the Admission’s person on his first day) was to repair and improve the communication and relationship with his moms. I believe as he does, that he accomplished that!

“You did it son! Way to go! I love you! I can’t wait to see what’s next for you and your future! I’m really excited for you! It’s now all up to you! And we are here for you and still have your back!”

The mic passed to my partner who said something awesome to him and I know he was listening from watching his facial expressions. The circle was complete. We then all went downstairs into the CafeA and had some delicious birthday cake that my son had made in the school’s kitchen, along with his therapist. There is a tradition (at the Ranch) of getting a cake on your birthday made with your favorite ingredients and that was true for me too: chocolate cake, chocolate icing with Reese’s peanut butter cups and Reese’s pieces all over the top! What a birthday I had! We said our last goodbyes and hit the road down to Southern Utah. The next day was going to be big! Entering the Step Down program where my son knew he needed be, for now.

In the car, we talked about our various memories of the Ranch and gave tribute to all those people who helped us along the way. We are all excited to see what’s next! Our journey continues….. Stay tuned!



Change is A Comin’!

Change is a comin'
“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change -” ― Heraclitus

Happy New Year! Our Christmas visit was awesome! My son came home and that meant that we stayed home for a whole week! No traveling, just staying put! We had a family Christmas, we played basketball, we went shopping and we saw some old friends! Many of those friends had not seen our son in quite some time. They were happily surprised to see a smiling face of a grown teen when they greeted each other.

“What a change!”, they shared with me.
“Can you believe it? He’s smiling and happy!” I replied.
“Really, he looks great!” they added.

In this case, the change was good. Re-connecting with friends from early childhood was important. They knew each other before the teenage years, when they first started school and when they were just learning how to ride bikes. They had lost their first teeth together, and were once so little and innocent, it was hard to imagine they all had grown up to be the big kids now! Some are driving, some have jobs and some like my son, have learned important lessons about life and friendship by a change of scenery and a path less traveled.

They asked him questions about Wilderness. They asked him questions about sleeping without a tent (my son’s choice by the end of 92 days so he didn’t have to keep setting it up every day!) They asked him what it was like to not have a phone.

“Wow, I couldn’t do that! I probably use my phone too much, I guess!”, one realized.

My son has been without a phone (or computer) for over 500 days. What a difference in his brain! He has less anxiety and less depression. He has less to worry about like keeping Snap Chat strings alive or posting on Instagram or getting a ton of LIKES. It’s a simple life when electronics aren’t taking you over! Oh, did I mention that my son read a book over Christmas vacation? He also had conversations with us. And his distraction level is WAY down! That’s another nice change!

Looking back over 2018 we can certainly say that we are moving in a good direction. Yet, just when one feels settled, change comes along to shake things up a bit! Change is a good thing in this case! And the theme of the unknown keeps coming back again and again!

This coming weekend we are touring a STEP DOWN Boarding School together. It is located in Southern Utah. This new environment will allow my son more independence and a chance to make decisions for himself. The school is Co-Ed and that will be a BIG change from the all boys RTC (residential treatment center) he has been at for the past fifteen months. They have school in the AM, and that will be a change from the afternoon schooling at the Ranch. There will be many new adjustments ahead. We think it could be a good fit for a young man heading toward adulthood and his 18th birthday in July. He has more time to practice what he has learned in the past year and a half, before he comes home for good.

We are excited to see a new part of Utah and discover new places in that beautiful state. We know that change is important for growth. This move will be a different experience, but exciting at the same time. We are looking forward to the new changes that are a comin’ our way!

I am embracing the unknown! Thanks for sharing our journey!


Don’t Stop Believin’

Don't Stop Believin'

It is the end of the 31 day Ultimate Blog Challenge and I have enjoyed writing about our story everyday this month. I will continue with the My Warrior Mom Life Blog on a less frequent basis, but probably not every day. For those who have been regulars, thank you so much for joining me on this journey. For those who have stopped by now and then, thank you, too. I hope you will visit again soon!

For the final day of October, better known as Halloween, I want to write about our wonderful visit with our son for Parent Days last week. Each quarter the school has an event where parents come to the campus and engage in workshops and talks with a theme related to helping us with our struggling teenagers. This quarter the topic was “Boundaries”. We listened, shared and practiced. Everything about the three days on campus had meaning and purpose. It was very well organized and obviously was well thought out and executed.

The biggest take-away was that we are NOT alone. There are MANY families in our same boat. There were other parents going through similar situations AND other teens going through rough patches, too. We felt the power in the process and were open to learning what we could in our few days in Utah. We didn’t know what to expect, having only experienced a family therapy retreat at our wilderness program in August. We were sure that it would be beneficial and help re-establish boundaries for our family.

We ate meals together, played games together (including Knock-out on the basketball court) and helped feed our son’s calf early one morning. It was so nice to be a family again. We met other families from all over the US. We learned that many of the boys had also been to a wilderness experience and were now doing well. Our son was doing well. He smiled and talked and played. WOW! What a difference even in the short time at school (about one month’s time). We were very happy. We felt like we were living a miracle, and yet stay so grateful and humble.

Don't Stop Believin'

But as our three days came to an end, we experienced something that really knocked our socks off and brought us to tears. The boys performed in a variety show. Some played music and and sang. Others performed skits from famous musicals or shows they enjoyed like a scene from Monty Python and the dance from Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Since our son was a newbie, his participation was limited to the last song they all performed together. They lined up around the stage in white t-shirts, black pants and smiling faces.

Then the music began and it was a well known song that immediately gave me chills and began my flow of tears. The boys started singing the recognizable lyrics made famous by the band Journey in the early 1980’s. When they got to the chorus and sang “Don’t stop believin'” it was clear they were telling us parents to NOT GIVE UP on them. They were working hard to earn our trust, set their lives straight again and head towards a brighter future. But we MUST do it together.

Don't Stop Believin'

Just a small town girl
Livin’ in a lonely world
She took the midnight train goin’ anywhere
Just a city boy
Born and raised in south Detroit
He took the midnight train goin’ anywhere
A singer in a smokey room
A smell of wine and cheap perfume
For a smile they can share the night
It goes on and on, and on, and on[Chorus]Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to the feelin’
Streetlights, people

Don’t stop believin’
Hold on
Streetlight people

Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to the feelin’
Streetlight people

Strangers waiting
Up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching in the night
Streetlight people
Living just to find emotion
Hiding somewhere in the night

Working hard to get my fill
Everybody wants a thrill
Payin’ anything to roll the dice
Just one more time

Some will win, some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on, and on, and on


Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to the feelin’
Streetlights, people

Don’t stop believin’
Hold on
Streetlight people

Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to the feelin’
Streetlight people.

I won’t stop believing! Thanks for reading and for your support!


Our Homework: A Little Light Reading…..

A Little Light Homework and Reading

The process for parents with kids at a wilderness program, therapeutic boarding school or residential treatment center is plain and simple. Change is necessary. It isn’t easy but, if the kids must change, so must the parents. It’s called a Parallel Process.

There are dozens of recommended books that are important to read and take to heart. I have listed some of the books that I am currently reading. They can help parents and families see what changes may be necessary to have positive outcomes. This list is just a starting point for self-discovery and breaking old patterns. They are filled with many valuable lessons and practical advice. I will be adding more titles in future blog posts, but for now I suggest this short list of books that I have liked.

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The Parallel Process by Krissy Pozateck, LICSW
​Growing Alongside Your Adolescent or Young Adult Child in Treatment

Not By Chance by Tim R. Thayne, Ph.D.
How Parents Boost Their Teen’s Success In and After Treatment

The Family Crucible by Augustus Y. Napier, Ph.D with Carl Whitaker M.D.
​The Intense Experience of Family Therapy

The Journey of the Heroic Parent by Brad M. Reedy Ph.D.
Your Child’s Struggle & The Road Home

I Don’t Have to Make Everything All Better by Gary Lundberg and Joy Lundberg
Six Practical Principles that Empower Others to Solve Their Own Problems While Enriching Your Relationships

Are there any books that you recommend to other parents with kids in treatment that you want to share? I am asking for titles of some of your favorites. Please comment below.

Hopefully changing for the better,