The Madness of Mary Lincoln by Jason Emerson, a book review

Product Details

The Madness Of Mary Lincoln 

by Jason Emerson

Southern Illinois University Press

Description from the back cover:

“This compelling story of the purposed insanity trail of one of America’s most tragic first ladies covers Mary Lincoln’s life from childhood to death and asserts that she suffered from bi-polar disorder.  Utilizing a set of letters that had been lost for eighty years, Jason Emerson shows how Mary Lincoln’s predisposition toward psychiatric illness and a life filled with mental and emotional trauma led by her son, Robert T. Lincoln, to commit her to an insane asylum.  Named Book of the Year by the Illinois State Historical Society, The Madness of Mary Lincoln is a gripping historical page turner.”

This one had me turning pages quickly!  The Madness of Mary Lincoln was recommended to me by a one of the women who worked at the Lincoln Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois.  She was a volunteer historian and Lincoln specialist.  There are a million books written on Abraham Lincoln and his crazy wife, Mary.  Of course I’m interested in history but more specifically, the “dirt” that remains in history!  lol  What can be more dirty than an insanity trial where a presidential son puts his mother into an asylum?  Much has been written about the insanity of Mary Lincoln but this one was recommended because it’s a little different due to it’s extensive reference and research, also the fact that the author based his book on the “lost insanity letters”.  Not much has been written with these lost letters in mind.  VERY interesting and if you read it, you just might come away with a new feeling for Mrs. Lincoln and new insight into her illness.

I’d read much about how “insane” Mary Lincoln was and with the other books came a feeling that I would truly not like the woman.  I’d always felt that I’d despise her son, Robert, too.  What son puts his mother in an insane asylum after all she’d gone through just to put his hands on his family’s fortune?  Ahhhh,, SO not true were my beliefs.  First of all, it might surprise you to know that the Lincoln fortune really didn’t exist, as far as fortunes of the late 1800’s go.  Robert L. Lincoln had quite a lot of money in his own right and didn’t need his mother’s money.  Another thing I realized after I finished this book was that Robert really did love his mother and felt completely burdened by her actions and by her insanity.  He was a tortured soul who didn’t WANT to have his mother committed or declared insane.  It became necessary to protect her from herself.  After reading this book, I had a whole new sympathy for Robert, the only surviving son of Mary and Abraham Lincoln.

I also walked away knowing that I would have probably REALLY liked Mary Lincoln!  I’m almost afraid to admit this but I saw a lot of similarities between her personality and my own.  Okay maybe not when she became paranoid or manic, but when she was demanding and “wanted what she wants when she wants it”.  THAT part.  I’m that way too.  I felt tremendously sorry that she just kept living after losing 3 of her sons and the husband that shielded her from reality.  She’d pretty much lost every reason to WANT to live.  I’m wondering how many of US could live after so much tragedy?  Untimely death didn’t just begin with her children, it started with the death’s of her mother and father and then sisters and brothers.  Wow.  I can tell you that I’d be insane too!  She didn’t want to live anymore and she did whacky things.  I’m pretty sure I would have too.

I still have questions about whether she was truly insane.  I see the similarities in her behavior and the behavior of my step daughter who’s also been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.  The question remains with some mental health workers, whether or not Mary Lincoln was “emotionally insane” – insanity brought on by living through so much tragedy and sadness – or “mentally insane”.  There’s also a question now about whether or not her behavior was brought on by physical illness.  Maybe she wasn’t insane at all but she suffered from illness that had no diagnosis back then.  Some people think so.  A reoccurring theme with Mary Lincoln was that even during her “insanity” , she communicated with family and friends in a lively and “sane” way. I guess we probably wouldn’t even believe she was insane if we’d met her today.  However, those who knew her best, witnessed self destructive habits.  Even suicidal tendencies.  Again, I seriously don’t blame the poor woman for wanting death to come quickly.  Who knows what any of us would do if we walked a mile in HER shoes?  Many people who attended her funeral say that she appeared to have died with a smile on her face.  Like she was finally at peace.  Poor woman.

I’d give this book 2 thumbs up based on the amount of research that went into writing.  There were also more facts than I’d ever heard about and it painted a clear picture of what Mary Lincoln’s personality was like.  I really enjoyed it and didn’t find the writing style to be dry, as so many other historical books are.  I finished this one a LOT quicker than I thought I would 🙂

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Last day of sanity and a peek into Hubby’s future ;-)

Here’s the song that reminds Hubby of me especially when I have no synthetic hormones (refer to my last post “And you think I’m crazy now?”). lol

Watch the video and it will scare the crap out of you! I asked Hubby if Pink really reminds him of me and he says “Honestly, yes. On a bad day”. Well, honey, it’s about to be a bad day! I just took my last little life saver! lol So today we’ll celebrate, cause all should be good 🙂 Tomorrow…. I pity you 😉

Of course I’d love to tell you all I’m joking. And I’ll even go so far as to say I kind of am… the reality of it is, I can be BAD when it comes to mood swings and lack of hormones. How come nobody ever talks about these things? I guess no woman wants to admit to their own psycho menopausal behavior? Come on now, I CAN’T be the ONLY one! Well, I’m about to break the cycle of silence! lol Here I am telling you that it’s NOT a pretty picture. At least for ME, it’s not.

Pink
Please Don’t Leave Me

Da da da da, da da da da
Da da da, da da
Da da da, da da

I don’t know if I can yell any louder
How many time I’ve kicked you outta here?
Or said something insulting?
Da da da, da da

I can be so mean when I wanna be
I am capable of really anything
I can cut you into pieces
But my heart is broken
Da da da, da da

Please don’t leave me
Please don’t leave me
I always say how I don’t need you
But it’s always gonna come right back to this
Please, don’t leave me

How did I become so obnoxious?
What is it with you that makes me act like this?
I’ve never been this nasty
Da da da, da da

Can’t you tell that this is all just a contest?
The one that wins will be the one that hits the hardest
But baby I don’t mean it
I mean it, I promise
Da da da, da da

Please don’t leave me
Oh please don’t leave me
I always say how I don’t need you
But it’s always gonna come right back to this
Please, don’t leave me

I forgot to say out loud how beautiful you really are to me
I cannot be without, you’re my perfect little punching bag
And I need you, I’m sorry
Da da da, da da

Da da da da, da da da da
Da da da, da da
Please, please don’t leave me
(Da da da, da da)

Baby please don’t leave me
(Da da da, da da)
No, don’t leave me
Please don’t leave me no no no

You say I don’t need you
But it’s always gonna come right back
It’s gonna come right back to this
Please, don’t leave me

Please don’t leave me, oh no no no.
I always say how I don’t need you
But it’s always gonna come right back to this

Please don’t leave me
Baby, please, please don’t leave me

You Think I’m Crazy Now? Just wait….

Here’s my courtesy call (warning) to the universe…  I will be without hormones in TWO days!  Do you know what that means?  I pity the world.  I will be racked with hot flashes and a willingness to kill or devastate anyone who has the audacity to get in my path.  For REAL.

Menopause is something that shouldn’t be happening to me already.  However, due to a softball sized tumor on my ovary and some extensive damage to my uterus (9 miscarriages and 9 D & C’s plus 1 C section), it was necessary to have a hysterectomy a few years back.  My OBGYN is a man who “forgot” to mention to me the horrors of early menopause so for 2 years, I stayed somewhere between suicidal to somewhat COMPLETELY crazy.  I said and did things that where not normal for even me!  lol  I shudder to hear some of the stories that my family tells me.  Finally, one day, I thought to call my doctor who asked me if he’d put me on hormones.  “Why NO, you didn’t mention hormones, Doc”.  “Oh no, MY bad”, he says.  WTF???  I could have killed myself or someone else and he says “My bad”?  That’s it?

So he immediately put me on hormones that just barely worked but I thought it was normal.  I was a little LESS suicidal and had a few less hot flashes.  This went on for a year before I called the pharmacy who makes the hormones asking if it was normal to feel this way.  They checked the formulation that my doctor recommended and they quickly told me that this formulation couldn’t work on a MAN!  It was so weak and they should have caught it before now.  Once again, my doctor was negligent and the pharmacy had to tell him what the normal formulation should be.  Wow.

Everything seems to be okay with this prescription BUT…  Now the time is up and the pharmacy had to call the doctor to get an okay.  The good doctor won’t refill my little lifesavers.  He wants to see me in his office.  However, he didn’t call ME to tell me this, he called my HUSBAND.  Who, by the way, didn’t bother telling me until after hours and he just barely remembered to tell me THEN!

Now, you’d think the man would KNOW that his life as he knows it is over, right?  NO.  He’s completely clueless.  I asked him “what about CRAZY don’t you understand?”.  It’s going to take me 2 weeks to get in to this damn doctor and then it’s gong to take another week for the pharmacy to MAKE the prescription and get it down to the actual pharmacy that I use.  It’s a special formulation.  The BEST case scenario would be that I have my hormones in 3 weeks!!!!  Even my young 14 year old daughter AND her friends are making arrangements to vacate the primises!  What I’m trying to say is that MAYBE my husband should have reacted with a little more urgency than to even wait a day to tell me to make an appointment with my idiot doctor.

What are my hopes and dreams for these next few weeks?  First, I hope my husband has enjoyed his life, up until now.  I hope my child finds a safe place to hide.  AND my #1 wish is that by the time I see my OBGYN, I will be completely whacked out and he reaps the benefits from his decision to NOT refill my prescription!

So there’s my courtesy warning and I just want to say also that it’s been wonderful having you all for friends…  I feel the love NOW, mostly because I still have 2 little hormone pills left.  Moral of the story?  If you have a medication that life as you know it DEPENDS on, maybe you should notice when it’s going to expire and take action LONG before it becomes critical.  Once again, my oblivion and procrastination did NOT pay off.  lol

The Awakening By Sonny Carroll

I’ve said before, time and time again, there are no accidents.  One of my very best friends called this morning while I was struggling to write my story and purge my body of all these negative feelings and memories.  She wanted me to read “The Awakening” and really look at what it said.  It’s so very fitting and it amazes me that so many other people feel this way. I’m having this kind of awakening.  Right now.  Thank you Beth, for just knowing…

The Awakening
by Sonny Carroll

The Awakening
Sonny Carroll

There comes a time in your life when you finally get it … When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out “ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on.” And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world from a new perspective.

……….This is your awakening.

You realize that it is time to stop hoping and waiting for something or someone to change, or for happiness safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that there aren’t always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you. Then a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

So you begin making your way through the “reality of today” rather than holding out for the “promise of tomorrow.” You realize that much of who you are and the way you navigate through life is, in great part, a result of all the social conditioning you’ve received over the course of a lifetime. And you begin to sift through all the nonsense you were taught about :

– how you should look and how much you should weigh,
– what you should wear and where you should shop,
– where you should live or what type of car you should drive,
– who you should sleep with and how you should behave,
– who you should marry and why you should stay,
– the importance of bearing children or what you owe your family,

Slowly you begin to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin re-assessing and re-defining who you are and what you really believe in. And you begin to discard the doctrines you have outgrown, or should never have practiced to begin with.

You accept the fact that you are not perfect ,and that not everyone will love appreciate or approve of who or what you are… and that’s OK… they are entitled to their own views and opinions. And, you come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a “perfect 10″…. Or a perfect human being for that matter… and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head or agonizing over how you compare. And, you take a long look at yourself in the mirror and you make a promise to give yourself the same unconditional love and support you give so freely to others. Then a sense of confidence is born of self-approval.

And, you stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” hungry for your next fix, a new dress, another pair of shoes or looks of approval and admiration from family, friends or even strangers who pass by. Then you discover that it is truly in “giving” that we receive, and that the joy and abundance you seek grows out of the giving. And you recognize the importance of “creating” and “contributing” rather than “obtaining” and “accumulating.”

And you give thanks for the simple things you’ve been blessed with, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about – a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, the freedom of choice and the opportunity to pursue your own dreams.

And you begin to love and to care for yourself. You stop engaging in self-destructive behaviors, including participating in dysfunctional relationships. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and exercising. And because you’ve learned that fatigue drains the spirit and creates doubt and fear, you give yourself permission to rest. And just as food is fuel for the body, laughter is fuel for the spirit and so you make it a point to create time for play.

Then you learn about love and relationships – how to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving, and when to walk away. And you allow only the hands of a lover who truly loves and respects you to glorify you with his touch. You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say, intentionally or unintentionally, and that not everyone will always come through… and interestingly enough, it’s not always about you. So, you stop lashing out and pointing fingers or looking to place blame for the things that were done to you or weren’t done for you. And you learn to keep your Ego in check and to acknowledge and redirect the destructive emotions it spawns – anger, jealousy and resentment.

You learn how to say “I was wrong” and to forgive people for their own human frailties. You learn to build bridges instead of walls and about the healing power of love as it is expressed through a kind word, a warm smile or a friendly gesture. And, at the same time, you eliminate any relationships that are hurtful or fail to uplift and edify you. You stop working so hard at smoothing things over and setting your needs aside. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK and that it is your right to want or expect certain things. And you learn the importance of communicating your needs with confidence and grace. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that eventually martyrs are burned at the stake. Then you learn to distinguish between guilt, and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to Say NO. You learn that you don’t know all the answers, it’s not your job to save the world and that sometimes you just need to Let Go.

Moreover, you learn to look at people as they really are and not as you would want them to be, and you are careful not to project your neediness or insecurities onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name. You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love and relationships, and that that not everyone can always love you the way you would want them to. So you stop appraising your worth by the measure of love you are given. And suddenly you realize that it’s wrong to demand that someone live their life or sacrifice their dreams just to serve your needs, ease your insecurities, or meet “your” standards and expectations. You learn that the only love worth giving and receiving is the love that is given freely without conditions or limitations. And you learn what it means to love. So you stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn that “alone” does not mean “lonely” and you begin to discover the joy of spending time “with yourself” and “on yourself.” Then you discover the greatest and most fulfilling love you will ever know – Self Love. And so it comes to pass that, through understanding, your heart heals; and now all new things are possible.

Moving along, you begin to avoid Toxic people and conversations. And you stop wasting time and energy rehashing your situation with family and friends. You learn that talk doesn’t change things and that unrequited wishes can only serve to keep you trapped in the past. So you stop lamenting over what could or should have been and you make a decision to leave the past behind. Then you begin to invest your time and energy to affect positive change. You take a personal inventory of all your strengths and weaknesses and the areas you need to improve in order to move ahead, you set your goals and map out a plan of action to see things through.

You learn that life isn’t always fair and you don’t always get what you think you deserve, and you stop personalizing every loss or disappointment. You learn to accept that sometimes bad things happen to good people and that these things are not an act of God… but merely a random act of fate.

And you stop looking for guarantees, because you’ve learned that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected and that whatever happens, you’ll learn to deal with it. And you learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time – FEAR itself.  So you learn to step right into and through your fears, because to give into fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. You learn that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophesy and you learn to go after what you want and not to squander your life living under a cloud of indecision or feelings of impending doom.

Then, YOU LEARN ABOUT MONEY… the personal power and independence it brings and the options it creates. And you recognize the necessity to create your own personal wealth. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart’s desire. And a sense of power is born of self-reliance. And you live with honor and integrity because you know that these principles are not the outdated ideals of a by-gone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build your life. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting and to stay open to every wonderful opportunity and exciting possibility. Then you hang a wind chime outside your window to remind yourself what beauty there is in Simplicity.

Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you TAKE a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.

A word about the Power of Prayer: In some of my darkest, most painful and frightening hours, I have prayed, not for the answers to my prayers or for material things, but for my “God” to help me find the strength, confidence and courage to persevere; to face each day and to do what I must do.

Remember this:- You are an expression of the almighty. The spirit of God resides within you and moves through you. Open your heart, speak to that spirit and it will heal and empower you.
My “God” has never failed me.

Copyright © 2001 Sonny Carroll. All Rights Reserved
Reprinted here with permission

The Face of Autism (for me)…

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This is Alex.  If you ask him who he is, he’ll say “Alex, A-L-E-X spells Alex”.  He can’t communicate like you or I but his mind is so beautiful.  When he’s happy, he flaps his hands like he’s going to fly away.  Or he’ll spin in circles.  Right now, he’s happy because he’s had his “Cookie Crisp cereal” without milk and his apple juice.  He has to have a routine in order to have his world make sense to him.  He’s happy because we gave him his books.  His WORD books with pictures of animals.  The words never change in these books and the pictures stay the same.  He lives for equations and order.

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(me and AlLex at the park)

Alex is 7 years old now.  He’s not mine but he calls me “Auntie Shewell” (it sounds like Antie Shoowoool).  I’ve been in his life since before he was born.  My friends, who were married at the time but aren’t any longer, decided to have a baby later in life.  Alex’s mom and dad were almost 40.  They were SO happy the day they found out their new baby would be a boy.  Jerry only had girls and he wanted a boy to be rough and tough like he is.  Dianna just wanted a healthy baby. Alex WAS healthy.  In fact, the day he was born, we were amazed at how calm and alert he was.  He was SO pretty.  Prettier than a girl and too pretty to be a new born.

As time went on, I felt like something was different.  I’ve always been able to bond with babies but I couldn’t bond with A-L-E-X.  He didn’t respond to me and it was hard for me to connect.  He’d cry or become agitated.  His mom had a group called “Parents as Teachers” come in every so often.  She did this because she was a good mom and wanted to see how well he was developing.  It wasn’t because she felt something was wrong with him.  She knew he was different because he wouldn’t nurse like her other babies nursed.  He would hurt her and she couldn’t make him do it the right way, sometimes.  Other than that, he was just a little different.  Parents as Teachers immediately discovered that A-L-E-X was more than different.  There was something developmentally wrong.  They weren’t sure WHAT it was.  They suspected Autism but when they’d ask Dianna to have him be seen by a neurosurgeon, or a specialist, she’d STRONGLY reject.  She didn’t want something to be wrong with her baby.  Jerry had a different approach.  He always had the attitude that if something was wrong with his son, they’d get help and deal with it the best way they could.  In Dianna’s defense, she’d already had a son with Asperger’s Syndrome.  She’d already been through so much with Alex’s older brother.  She only wanted a perfect son and for the world to accept Alex as a normal, beautiful boy.  I felt so sad for her.  NOT because I felt like Alex was a problem.  But because I could see that she was struggling.  Eventually, Dianna didn’t want Parents as teachers to come into her home anymore because she felt like they were trying to force their opinion on her and that they were trying to label her son unjustly.  I think Denial is normal.

When Alex was 18 months, it couldn’t be denied anymore.  We ALL saw it.  Dianna was still in denial.  As he grew to be a toddler, he couldn’t speak.  She’d try SO hard to teach him but he just couldn’t.  He ran around the house and flapped his arms like a bird.  Sometimes, it looked as if his little arms would break right off his shoulders!  It became embarrassing for her when she’d bring him out in public.  She felt like she needed to explain his behavior to strangers, when they’d stare at him.  She tried to make him stop but she couldn’t.  He didn’t play like normal kids played.  He remained in his own little world and there’d be no room for other people in that world.  He’d become EXTREMELY agitated when noise happened.  Certain sounds made him scared or mad.  He especially didn’t like some little boys who made noise.  He’d put his hands over his ears and throw himself on the ground and scream when he was around his nephew (who was born the same year as Alex).  The activity that Alex enjoyed most was reading phone books or manuals.  He didn’t want us to touch his books either.  It was like Rainman, where words and numbers comforted him.

At this point, even Dianna couldn’t deny there was an issue.  She tried but she couldn’t.  We ALL tiptoed around the word “Autism” because she didn’t want that word spoken around her.  I’m not sure how I did it, but I was able to talk her into having a neuro surgeon look at Alex.  I went with her.  It was sad, but within the first few minutes of our visit, Alex was diagnosed with full blown Autism.  Dianna cried as she learned that her precious baby would have to be medicated and that he’d never be a normal kid or be able to live on his own one day. He wasn’t just SLIGHTLY Autistic, like we’d hoped.  He didn’t just have Aspergers Syndrome, like his older brother Josh.  He was a severe case on the Autism spectrum.  Dianna has struggle with the need for medication ever since.  He takes medication but not as prescribed and only when she feels like he needs it.  I can’t judge this because I haven’t walked in her shoes.  I struggled when my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD.  I couldn’t imagine her needing to be on medication for the rest of her life.

That was just a brief background.  His little life, to me, is interesting enough to have a book written about him.  In the interest of time, I’ll try to wrap this up.

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(Here he is with singing with his Kindergarten class on his graduation day)

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(I gave him a shovel to help me do my planting and he really tried)

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(Alex is plugging his ears because he doesn’t like to be anywhere around his nephew Trevor)

Alex’s mom and dad have been divorced for a few years now.  Despite what people SEE, Autistic kids really DO have feelings.  He was attached to his daddy and his big yard and his big house.  When Dianna was forced to move him to a small apartment with NO yard, his little world crumbled.  Some aspects of his life are good now.  He’s able to fit in at school and has learned SO much.  He can talk and spell and he’s learned to express his emotions.  He’ll say “Happy” and then smile.  He’ll say “Sad” and then make a frowny face.  He’s learned to tell us what he wants, but we have to give him choices.  For example, I’ll say, “Do you want cereal?” and he’ll repeat the word “cereal”.  I’ll ask him, “would you like alphabet or cookie cereal?”.  He’ll tell me “cookie”.  Sometimes, he’ll spell what he wants.

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(playing my piano when he was 5 years old)

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(laying on the floor keeping time with the music)

Alex loves classical music.  His mom has been playing it for him since he was born.  He can go to my piano or a keyboard and play (in ANY key), Mozart or Beethoven.  He played “Ode to Joy” the other day and he’ll tell you what he’s playing.  He played it in all “sharps”.  He CAN play it in all flats.  I think he’ll be a musical genius.  Not just saying that.  He LOVES my house because I have a piano AND a keyboard.  It’s like heaven to him. Oh and he LOVES our little Beagle named DIxie!  She doesn’t love him, sometimes, but he’s gentle with her and loves to chase her and show her affection.

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(Alex loving on Dixie with his big brother Josh, who has Aspergers)

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(here he is playing with my tea cups.  He loves playing tea party and he never breaks the delicate china!)

He’s here now with us and has been since yesterday.  His Mommy has to work 12 hour shifts all weekend and his sister has her own baby and needs some time away from little Alex.  There would have been a day when he couldn’t have spent the night.  Separation anxiety would have been too strong for me to overcome because he didn’t like being away from his mom or dad.  NOW, Alex loves me.  He can’t stop hugging me or kissing me.  He wants me to hold him like a baby and he wants me to wrestle with him so I do.  He loves to play games, he just can’t follow rules.  He’s an absolute joy for me. I’d have him ALL the time, if my husband would allow it.  Hubby is getting to the point where he doesn’t like noise and wants peace and quiet.  Of our 5 kids, only 1 is still at home and he likes it that way.  I’m NOT there yet and miss my kids being around.  However, hubby never shows Alex that he doesn’t want him here.  In fact, right now, he’s going over to Dianna’s house to get Alex’s bicycle so we can take this boy outside and have some FUN!  He usually stays inside because there’s no place to play at his house anymore.  There’s ALL kinds of room over here and he’s flapping his arms in excitement and anticipation, just waiting for his bike to get here!

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I wish he could tell me what’s inside his mind.  What does he think?  What does he feel?  I think it would blow me away if I could see the pictures in his little brain.

Salty Caramel and Pecan and Oatmeal Cookies (OR, When you come to my door, bring cookies!)

I had a nice little surprise visit from my mother a few minutes ago.  Truthfully, her visits can be a little stressful for me due to her constant judgement of whatever it is that I’m doing at the moment BUT NOT this time!  THIS time, she brought cookies!  VERY tasty cookies.  Mom got the recipe from http://www.midwestliving.com/recipe/salty-caramel-and-pecan-oatmeal-cookies/ but made a few of her own adjustments.  These are too good not to share so without further ado, I bring you my mother’s oatmeal cookies!  Probably the best oatmeal cookies I’ve ever tasted and I’ve tasted PLENTY.

Salty Caramel and Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

Salty Caramel and Pecan Oatmeal Cookies 

 

ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 11 – ounce package caramel baking bits
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsley chopped (she used chopped almonds cause that’s what she had on hand)
  • Coarse sea salt (She completely omitted the sea salt because she thought it would be too salty – I personally think it would be better with it but clearly, they were still delicious without!)

directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, the baking powder, cinnamon and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the remaining flour. Stir in oats, caramel baking bits and pecans.
  2. Using a small ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop 1 1/2-inch mounds of dough 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
  3. Bake in a 350 oven for 11 to 12 minutes, until the edges are light brown. (Centers will look undercooked.) Cool on cookie sheets for 3 to 4 minutes or until cookies can be easily removed. Transfer to a wire rack; cool.

nutrition facts

(Salty Caramel and Pecan Oatmeal Cookies)

Mark as Free Exchange () 0, Potassium (mg) 49, sodium (mg) 421, carb. (g) 21, iron (mg) 1, pro. (g) 2, cal. (kcal) 145, vit. A (IU) 146, Thiamin (mg) 0, Niacin (mg) 0, sugar (g) 14, Riboflavin (mg) 0, Folate (µg) 12, fiber (g) 1, Polyunsaturated fat (g) 1, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 0, calcium (mg) 20, Monosaturated fat (g) 2, sat. fat (g) 3, chol. (mg) 18, Fat, total (g)

Now here’s a little tip from me…  ALL cookies stay soft and chewy when stored with a slice of bread in the container!  For real.  You should try it!  The bread soaks up the moisture that would otherwise make the cookies hard!
Enjoy!