I suppose I am prejudiced, because I picked him, but Raymond is a wonderful dad!  I am sure when we dated and eventually married sooooooo many years ago, he didn’t have a clue about the roller coaster ride we were in for.  Sweet little marriage with 2.5 kids, growing old together, holding hands and walking on the beach….forget that!  As the parent or foster parent to 19 children, we have spent our marriage trying to have a positive, loving impact on the the children who have passed through or are in our lives.  I am the flakier, impulsive, eternally optimist slob.  He is the more grounded parent, making sure we have enough money to pay the bills, the house is somewhat clean, and the meals are on the table.  He is like a big kid himself with the children…enjoying playing with them and gently bopping them on their beans when he tells them he loves them. He despises the lime light, and has asked me never to write about him in my blog…hopefully he will forgive me for this post.

During a recent visit to the grocery store, he demonstrated everything I love about him:

The store we shopped at was one in which the discounts are great, but the ambiance is lacking, as are the shopping bags.  This was his domain, as he does the shopping weekly. This is his life…no frills, just get down to business.

Filling the cart with basics, (pasta, spaghetti sauce, bread, cheese, eggs and milk,) he purchased enough to provide for our home as well as for our 2 young adult children who are struggling financially. Because I do not generally go grocery shopping with him, I did not know he did that. His sense of support for his children extends into adulthood. Even though they are out of the house, he is still their “go to” person for flat tires and a listening ear. When he listens, he takes things more serious than I do…for me, there is always a silver lining.  I will try to cheer my child up,  make her/him happy.  However, sometimes children just want to bitch that sometimes life just SUCKS!  He listens, commiserates, and gives them that affirmation.

Because he was shopping with a budgeted amount,  I was playfully reprimanded more than once for putting something in the cart that was not absolutely necessary.  However, he DID justify the expense to put in one special thing for each of our children; Cracker Jacks for Steven, fresh oranges for Dinora,  pasta salad mix for Angel and Lay’s Salt and Vinegar chips for me to bring on the weekend visit with Marie. Most importantly, while getting in line at the cash register, he reached over into a bucket of flower bouquets and spent time picking out the best one for me.  (Yes, he DOES buy me flower every week.)  Practical, loving and romantic.  Isn’t he great?

After filling our cart at the grocery store, despite a long line at the cash register, Raymond was patient.  So patient, in fact, that he let a woman with only a few items pass in front of him.  Smiling, he said “Go ahead of me, please. I’m in no hurry”.  He chatted with the cashier, expressing genuine interest, and he assisted an elderly woman in carrying her groceries to the car. He cares about others, strangers, anyone in need. Is it any wonder he has been a great father to our children?

Any set of parents will experience difficulties of varying degrees.  Raising children with disabilities magnifies those difficulties.  It is a huge financial strain, and any thought of retiring and spending our days walking on the beach holding hands is for naught.  Potential retirement savings have been spent on the care of our children, funding therapists who do not take our insurance, taking time out of work when they are hospitalized, transportation to hospitals and therapists out of state, and other expenses many parents would never dream of having. Quality time between Raymond and myself can’t be spontaneous, but needs to be scheduled. (Rest assured that romance is alive and well with us!) Family and friends are often not our best cheerleaders. (Is that a polite way to put it?)  The challenges have been huge, but Raymond’s support has never been greater.  He has rolled with the punches, as though having a screaming child rescued by paramedics from the side of ferris wheel during a PTSD episode, having a child with twelve personalities (and trying to get along with all twelve), spending the whole day at Disney World in a quiet cove of trees while our son who is autistic collects bugs and worms, never knowing whether to buy girl clothes or boy clothes for your daughter are normal parts of parenthood. It’s is just normal family life to him. And I thank GOD for that…because I could never do this alone…





To read more about our life, here is a link to my book:

The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane

Link to the Readers Digest review of my book:


Comments on: "Cracker Jacks and Oranges: My Kids Have the Best Dad!!!" (74)

  1. Sounds like your children are very blessed to have a wonderful Father!

  2. He truly is a ‘special’ person – and he no doubt thinks the same of you !

    You are a wonderful couple who are making such a difference to the lives of so many children. I take my hat off to you both!

  3. Well done to both of you. It is great you both share the same idea of what you believe family to be. Happy Fathers Day.

  4. wow those kids sure have a great father. your right disabilities do throw a wrench into things but its how you approach and what you take from it and learn. keep up the great work,
    Happy Fathers Day!

  5. Happy Father’s Day to your husband. You are one lucky woman!

  6. May all the gifts of love that you share each day with each other and your children return a hundred fold! in peace….

  7. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of great love.

  8. This made me cry it was so beautiful, xo LMA

  9. Raymond sounds like the Dad we wish we all had. What a blessing to you and the kids!

  10. Awesome!!! Happy Father’s Day to Raymond!

  11. Thank you so much for sharing this! Beautifully written 🙂 Happy Father’s Day to your dear sweet husband!

  12. You are all very lucky to have each other life should be so amazing for everyone 🙂

  13. This post lifted my spirit and reminded me how amazing my own father is. Thank you so much!

  14. He sounds like such a sweet, kind man and a beyond wonderful father.

  15. Raymond is a special man, husband and father. Perfect for you and your family. Thanks for honoring him today.

  16. wow – what a gem:) I am happy for you and your beautiful family to have such a wonderful loving gem! happy Father’s Day Raymond:)

  17. It would take a really special man to take on as much as you guys have so selflessly done. I’d like to think I’d be the same way, but i’m not sure that I have the patience of a saint like he sounds like he does. Have a great Father’s Day!

  18. What a wonderful testimony to your husband! Scripture says that he who finds a wife finds a good thing, Proverbs 18:22. Truly, he found a good one in you!

  19. Happy Father’s Day!

  20. How fortunate that you “found” your children and can provide such loving care for them, as well as you own two. I was touched by the part where you state that your husband is there to support his children, even into adulthood. That is so important. Happy Father’s Day to your husband and a hug to you. The world is a better place with you both in it.

  21. He sure sounds special. Thanks for sharing this warm celebration of him with us:-)

  22. Just loved reading about your special man. Fabulous!

  23. It sounds like me, your husband. IOt is very fortunate to have some one you can rely on. I am disabled and on retirement. No choice of my own. Fiance does the shopping for the three of us. Happy fathers Day to your husband and God bless you.

  24. Oh this is beautiful! He sounds like a real gem. Happy Fathers’ Day to him and a wonderful weekend to you all.

  25. Thank goodness for great partners and Fathers! You both sound like wonderful parents!!

  26. I am so happy that you have him – that you have each other – that the children have you both. I raised 6 adopted children, all of them emotionally scarred but only one with a physical disability. And I know how hard that was – nothing compared to what you have undertaken. My husband was a sea captain, often away. I remember the times I longed for his support but had to battle on alone. Thank God you have such a wonderful husband. The world needs more people like both of you.

  27. Sounds like a great Dad! Hope your family had a blessed father’s day!

  28. What a wonderful tribute to your husband. Happy Father’s Day to him! You and your children are very lucky to have him, but obviously you already know that!

  29. Sounds like he’s a DEFINATE keeper!).

  30. Happy Father’s Day.

  31. Amazing…every person can learn for him – seems like to got yourself an amazing guy – and can relate to you with not seeing retirement soon of holding hands and walking along a beach – having children is difficult enough – let alone having one’s that requrie so many extra’s

  32. Jenna Salamon said:

    This made me tear up! I hope Raymond had a great Father’s day. 🙂

  33. wow He sounds like an amazing dad. Good on you Raymond.

  34. I love this glimpse into the ordinary…day to day, Dad life of your husband. He seems to be just as cool as you are. What a great way to honor your man! Happy Fathers Day to him …today and always.

  35. jaw123456 said:

    You are hilarious! I appreciate your humor, sensitivity and honesty about what it is like to raise children with disabilities. Thank you!

  36. What would we do without those men in our lives is beyond my imagination.

  37. Recently I’ve been reading far too much of the horrible things people do to vulnerable children. Thank God for people like you!

  38. Such a sweet story your kids have a wonderful dad as well as you have a great husband! I wish you all a prosperous and healthy life! Please check out my blog!

  39. Birds of a feather flock together – so as the man in your life is a lovely person, I reckon you are too!

  40. You are BOTH blessed with each other! His shopping skills and family togetherness skills are way above the norm. I am so excited you still fit in your romantic moments. I feel for you, but also think this makes it all very interesting. Never a dull moment and Happy Belated Father’s Day! I blogged about a childless Science teacher and my Science Club advisor. He was “Man of Steel, a teacher.”

  41. luckierthanmost said:

    He is most definitely a keeper! 🙂

  42. My hubby also hates when I mention him in my posts! What a lovely tribute to your man, and what a lovely lady you are to notice the ‘little’ things he does, as well as the bigger things.

  43. This is an absolutely beautiful write! Very refreshing to read about a happily married couple. I applaud you for both spreading/sharing your love with so many children..You’ve impacted their lives, for the better, for their rest of their lives in a positive manner. 2 thumbs UP. Stay uplifted , encouraged & blessed!

    • Thanks so much for reading.
      I learned a long time ago that if our marriage and parenting was going to work, we had to prioritize our marriage. Very difficult to do with the kids we have, but if we didn’t have each other, we wouldn’t have been able to adopt in the first place!

  44. Paul Grignon’s recommendation brought me here. I like what I see and am ‘following’.


  45. You picked well!! Sounds like the perfect partner for you, and thank goodness.

    I can’t believe you went to Disney World. You are far braver than me. My son won’t even watch a Disney movie. Actually, I’m secretly glad that he’d rather go to a local beach here in the Pacific Northwest, than go to any theme park.

    • We bravely chose to go to Disney World because we had 2 older children who had never been. Except for that first day when Steven tantrumed as soon as we got into the park, we lucked out. We stayed at a family Holiday Inn which had a “camp” day care associated with it. It was very structured and Steven loved it. I think we must be the only family on earth who went to Disney World and had our child in day care while we went! It ended up being some nice, quality time with the older kiddos.

  46. What a blessing to have found such a partner in life. It brought tears to my eyes. And I wish your family nothing but the very best!

  47. stephie2010 said:

    I just wanted to say that I’ve started reading your book, and it was the best books I’ve ever read. 😀 I’m so proud of you for writing, and getting it published. 🙂 Great blog!

    • Thank you so much for reading it! I LOVE that you enjoy it!

      • stephie2010 said:

        I just wanted you to know that I finisahed it, and as soon as another person on gets done reading it we’re going to write a review. I introduced you to the other writers on the blog, and they like you a lot. 😀 They’ve even asked me to ask you if you’d consent to doing a podcast with us. I have no way of getting in contact with you other than comments, so I’m sorry If you’ve read this sort of thing from me multiple times before, but I promise you I’m not trying to spam you. Anyway If you wanna talk about this further feel free to get in touch. You’ll find my contact info on the “about the living blind blog” page on the site listed above. 😀 I seriously would love to do some kind of podcast with you. 🙂

      • That would be really really cool!
        Right now I am finishing up my vacation, and then I am running a 2 week program for kiddos who are blind, working 6:30 am (picking them up) up until 5:30 pm (dropping them off after our classes.)
        My regular e-mail is, so feel free to connect with me there. I will be able to get back to you after July 20.

  48. stephie2010 said:

    Hey thanks for the email address. You might hear from one of the other authors His name is Matt( known as matt692 on living blind blog). His email address is, and mine is going to be I just wanted you to know so you wouldn’t assume they were spam like I do sometimes. :p We wanna talk to you before we set up anything podcast related. 😀 We want you to get to know us before hand, and vise versa. 🙂

  49. Hello,
    When I was introduced to you and your book by my girlfriend stephie2010, I immediately went to IBooks and purchased this book.
    You and Raymond are amazing people, and you have a wonderful family. Thank you for this great blog and the wonderful book.
    As Stephie2010 replied to you, I am one of the authors of the Living Blind Blog, found Over here.
    We look forward to speaking with you very soon.
    Take Care.

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