Sunday, October 31, 2010

Our Morning

She's laying on the floor beside her bed where she threw herself  and she's screaming. She pulled herself together once, but it only lasted 15 minutes. I have to ignore her.  There's nothing else to do.

Even Buster had a melt down over making his bed this morning, but happily he pulled himself together and is going on with his day in smiley fashion. He apologized unprompted for his attitude and is looking forward to working outside with dad.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hot Chocolate Is MILK!!!!!

Missy finally returned to normal after her encounter with the yogurt and was a happy little girl this morning. After lunch Steve took the twins and Vanessa with him to help at the homeless dinner. Not for one second did I consider she would get a taste of dairy while out of my sight for 2 hours.

The kid that went out the door is not the same kid that came back. She came in and immediate started tearing up stuff and acting out.

I'm like, "What did you let her have??????"

Only a cup of hot chocolate.


Boy, I've got a struggle ahead. I'm not going to be able to let her go anywhere until we prove or disprove the theory. Vanessa says we need to have Missy tested so that there is no question in anyone's mind.  My idea is to keep her from the minutest bit of dairy or it's products for 2 solid weeks and then offer her another yogurt and see what happens. I guess we start our two weeks over again tomorrow.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Figment of My Imagination OR a Food Sensitivity?

I didn't know if I wanted to go into her room or not this morning to see what the day would bring. Missy still was not quite right last night. If I walk into her room with a big cheery good morning and she responds in kind or at least smiles and allows me to give her a hug - all will be well, but if I'm met with a scowl or a growl - watch out!

So far so good. She smiled, said good morning, and allowed me to hug her and talk and pray with her - even though she is a tad edgy.

SO I'm thinking what in the world sets her off??

It almost seems cyclical  - but I haven't found the pattern, yet.

*I know that if I keep her home and low key our success rate is higher than if we are busy and going places.
*I know a big disappointment can set her off.
*She's not feeling totally wonderful as she's fighting a cold.
*Could it be related to what she eats?

We eat fairly simple. We eat a lot of fruit and veggies and potatoes and beans, grains and some soy milk, but occasionally we eat at Taco Bell or wherever and I'm starting to wonder if her mood swings are related to being out and about / or is it related to eating differently when being out and about.

Wednesday evening I had to run into the grocery store. I had Buster in the car with me as well as Christina and Vanessa. He wanted to come in with me, but I find stores are overstimulating and it was evening and he was tired, and I hate Halloween, etc..., so I said no, and one of the girls stayed with him in the car. I asked him if there was something he would like special. He asked for bananas (pretty big considering he would not eat fruit when he first moved in) and he asked for a yogurt. I'll often buy the twins a little soy yogurt as a special treat or surprise and so I promised him I would.

I didn't know this particular store didn't carry soy yogurt so to keep my word I bought him and his sister a little tiny regular yogurt. We use no dairy at home so this is out of the ordinary. Somewhere in all the paperwork there was a note that Missy was allergic to dairy, but had "grown" out of that....(?) My hubby is allergic to dairy, too, but the most that happens when he does get it is some congestion and extra croaky voice.

Missy loved her yogurt. She also woke up as a "raging lion ready to kill and eat" anyone in her way. And so I've been thinking... and reading over the blog trying to come up with a time-line.

Oct 13 was a Wednesday where Missy flipped out over having to do buttons. - that would be day after Vanessa's birthday where we ate out to celebrate because of everybody's crazy schedule. Missy ate food with dairy in it. On the 15th and 16th we were on our trip to Children's and ate out - Taco Bell, Wendy's... She was a BEAR that whole trip!! The attitudes carried through and started to simmer down by Monday or Tuesday the 19th. We ate at home every day. Everything stayed fine until yesterday - the day after the yogurt.

I had cut my Tuesday-town-day in HALF, by asking Vanessa to finish up driving her sisters to their music lessons. This means I am home by lunch time and we don't have to grab a burrito in town. I thought cutting the town trip short was helping to eliminate Wednesday morning melt-downs, but maybe it's actually in the food we are eating for lunch that makes difference.

Am I crazy? Is this a figment of my imagination or could this be a REAL reaction to a food that makes her feel horrid and angry?

If  I'm heading in the right direction I'm going to have to get real organized about packing lunches...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

That Kind of Day

Steve and I walk first thing in the morning before the kids are awake. We pray and walk and talk. It doesn't happen every morning, but it's worth dragging myself out of bed in the cold when we do. Usually the dog is jumping for joy and all three cats run to meet us and walk with us for the first part. Well, this morning there were only two cats so I had a sneaking suspicion that Sasha had had kittens in the night.

Obviously, she did.
She is a good mommy and the dog is a great midwife.
There isn't a spec of evidence of a birthing in the garage at all, besides the 5 itty bitty babies, anyway.

After our walk I excitedly drug all the kids out of their beds to see the kittens. Missy was happy enough about the kittens, but my lands!! Everything else made her growl and fuss and fling things around and yell at everybody. WOW! I was not in the least prepared.

I did nothing but put fires out all morning. She was as contrary as they come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nothing pleased her except to cause trouble and to defy.

I gave her chance after chance to choose a better way.
I warned her of the ultimatum if she could not choose.
We had a social worker visit and even then she was incorrigible.

Then the screaming started.

Steve took her for a hike up the mountain. Eventually he had to go to work, so I climbed the mountain and took over. She had to stop screaming and walk quietly if she wanted to go home.

Finally she stopped.

She was covered in mud from throwing herself down and smearing her snotty nose with her filthy hands.

I got her in the shower and started the warm water and two seconds later she was hollering a different kind of unhappiness.

The water TANK is completely dry.

There isn't a thing she can do except wait for the tank to fill.
And it's taking a LONG time.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Auditory Processing

Buster didn't do so well on the language test last week. He did much better than the first time she tested him, but not as well as she had expected. She discovered that his listening comprehension was poor, so this week he was tested for auditory processing. We don't have the results, but he didn't do so great.

I'm not surprised, really, but I am wondering how much of this "problem" is not being ABLE to process and how much of it is just not having been trained to LISTEN. He hears the beginning of everything said, but seldom stays with the speaker to the end. He rarely looks at a speaker, so he's missing visual cues. This is a biggie. I work with him about looking at people in the eye all the time.  If I ask him to repeat after me he won't wait until I am done the sentence to start repeating, and of course he's so busy talking he never hears the rest of what is being said. We have to remind him over and over to stop and listen, but anyone can see his mind is on to other things after the first half of the sentence.

I'm having a hard time believing it's truly an auditory processing disorder that we are dealing with. He is more auditory than visual or verbal.

As far as the language test goes, for what wasn't about comprehension, the facts are, he's missed out on so much, and just because he grasps concepts easily and learns what you present over night, it doesn't mean he grasped the related concepts that would normally come automatically together. Each and every concept MUST be taught and no assumptions made.

Sometimes it's overwhelming.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why Do They DO THAT!!

Was looking through the box of paperwork and I came across an IEP (Individualized Education Program) done for Missy a couple weeks before she came to us. This is a much more indepth copy than the one given to me when we picked her up.

It includes an IQ Evaluation among a whole battery of other tests such as fine motor, gross motor, communication, adaptive behavioral, etc...


For a 6 year old who communicated in gestures, and one and two word answers?

Poor baby.

What kind of an IQ does a teacher have to have to figure out that a child who is extremely limited in language is going to score badly on an IQ test?  Are you surprised that her knowledge index scored higher than her verbal IQ? I wonder how she answered the questions. They noted that they had trouble understanding the words she did offer, but that the testing session was deemed appropriate and valid for obtaining an accurate representation of her intellectual functioning.

Brother! I hope they offer her a new chance to prove herself someday now that she can talk.

He Wrote His First Message

on his own.

Buster wrote U I Lf

I didn't decode the message. It took a college student to recognize the significance.  Vanessa says, "Do you know that this says I love you?"

And I looked and sure enough.

Actually, he had told me that himself, but I didn't look close enough, I guess. He ran out of room so he put the U before the I and Lf was as close phonetically as he could come. Upon reflection I realized he had asked me how to spell you, but I thought he needed to know how to make a U, so I drew it in the air with my finger. He looked at me puzzled but didn't say anything... and went ahead and wrote the u. The L is backwards, too. SO cute! I have letters that the girls wrote like that when they were little.

It's fun to see his mind stretch!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Skill Builders

I am always looking for ways to get the twins to learn new skills and I was thinking they would love trying to build a tower and seeing how high they could make it before it tumbled.... but we don't have any blocks, so I was thinking, and thinking....

and an idea popped up.
 Let's try stacking cups.
It takes a fair amount of thinking especially since I mixed the cup sizes.
They have to be sorted, spaced just right, and
 It takes awhile so it's good for the
"taking turns" skill building, too.

What else could we use?

The twins were so excited to show the girls what they could do
and of course,
Brianna had to take it to a new level...
18 rolls high.
The Eiffel Tower
Too much fun!
Lunch was called...
Buster had a melt down.
It's just so hard to transition from one good activity to another.
Oh, JoY!
He's out riding his bike to get over his emotional upheaval over the toilet paper rolls.
Ahem... "paper toilets" he calls them.

The kiddos have both graduated to 30 piece puzzles.
This one was given to them yesterday by Jared and Joyanna and the kids have only done it 15 times already. Maybe we ought to think about a 100 piece puzzle.

Buster decided to make a thank you card for the puzzle...
He says, "This is the body of Jared."
Won't Jared be enamored with his personal portrait!!!
I love the hair.

All the Way from Africa

We were sound asleep. My cell phone started ringing and my foggy brain tried to figure out what in the world?? Steve rolled over and said, "It's your mom."

"Yeah, right. What makes you think that?"

I reached for the phone and did not recognize the very long number and flipped it open.

It was my mom. All the way in Africa.

I had not spoken to her since she left in March.

She said she could do Skype now and I ran to turn it on..... but unfortunately we could not connect and so she called the cell again, but she ran out of minutes and we had barely said anything.


She'll be home in December. Dad said he bought her a plane ticket for December 14. He called me while he was waiting in the airport for his flight to Brazil.

Do you ever get to thinking that everybody else's life is so much more exciting than yours?   LOL!


Buster brought me a flower. It was some sort of dried up thing he found on the mountain.

Yes, the mountain.

He couldn't hold it together anymore and he had quite a hike on the mountain with dad.

He came back with a very sincere apology and the little flower in token of his heart.

He feels deeply. He really does.

We were able to go out to the river and walk in the falling leaves and enjoy a restful afternoon. He laughed and giggled, threw stones in the water and was his self again.

Later, while I was laying on my bed reading a book, he came to my door and peeked in the 3 inch crack and again said, "Mama, I'm sorry for.....  naming each little thing he had done and saying he never wanted to do that again. I called him in and gave him a hug. He's not much into hugs, but he obliged. (It's okay, it doesn't mean he's RAD or anything, my oldest daughter was never much into hugs, either.)

I think he had gone to bed too late the night before. We had had a bunch of people over for supper and worship and, even though I put them to bed before everyone left, it was later than usual and he was wound up. Matt and Manda have two boys and, of course, they brought their foster boys, too, so it was pretty exciting to have all those boys over. Brian and his kids came, too.

We've decided we are done with having a zero social life because of the twins. I don't even know how to visit with my old friends at church anymore. We're inviting people over and it's an adjustment on the twins, but we think it's important.

Friday, October 22, 2010

It's Shaping Up to Be a Great DAY

I hardly know what to do with three whole days of living with easy going personalities.  I'm going in circles around the things that have piled up in the rough times hardly knowing how to buckle down and complete projects that couldn't be done when the twins were working me at every angle. I don't even know how to focus anymore.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Unbelieveable Day....

Really! It was awesome. No fussing. No whining. Not even a single pout over anything at all. There were no manipulation games, even..... just a LOT of chatting, usually both kids talking to me at the same time add  the poor articulation and my wandering mind  I haven't a clue what they've been both trying to tell me. I think they talk to just to hear themselves.

The weather has been perfect so we spent a lot of time in the garden. This is officially the  last ripe tomato picked from the garden. We picked green ones, too. I can't figure out it. Everybody else's garden is frozen, but my tomato plants act like it's mid summer. The weekend is suppose to bring in the cold weather, though, so I decided pick the last of the green beans and pull up the plants, dig up another section of leeks, finish digging the carrots and pick that last cucumbers. The twins did their share of carrying loads and other odd job, otherwise they collected earthworms. We pulled a lot of weeds thinking it would be nice to till the ground before the snow, but I don't know if it will happen. Our holding tank for the well water has some issues that might take Steve a month of Sundays to repair.

You'd think this was one of those tourist pumpkin patches. We have a LOT of  bright orange pumpkins all over the place. Not sure how that happened but I promise I did not plant them. We'll blame Brianna :-)

 Quack is the sole surviving chicken around here. He's the surprise chick that hatched in the ducks' nest.
He might be ugly,
but he sure is loved!!
He's very social and sometimes the kid put a story tape on for him
because he gets so lonely when no one is holding or playing with him that his cries drive us to distraction.
The story tapes make him think we are talking to him.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Christina is officially a teenager. She is 13. Her friend, Shiana, turned 13 today, too.

The day was busy with school, work, speech, OT, choir, etc, etc.... so we had a simple family birthday celebration at home this evening. Buster burst into tears after we were all done... and from what I could gather he ate too much cake. Missy LOVES a birthday party. She can't wait until she's 7 and she announced she wants a computer for her present. LOL! Maybe when you turn 16, kiddo.

So yesterday I was completely discouraged and exhausted from the constant  need to be on alert trying everything I know to sidestep battles all day long with the twins. It really is an amazing thing to realize the twins are LOOKING for ways to engage me in a battle and SEEKING out confrontation and Control  at nearly every moment. The stress, the disappointment, and the fear that I was not handling things in a way to eventually turn things around was getting me down.

Then today went just fine. Missy was an angel ALL day from the moment I let her know that I wasn't going to play the "getting dressed" game until she fell into bed tonight she was on her best behavior. Did I mention she loves birthdays??? Wednesdays are usually her worst days... but I shortened my Tuesday town trip by asking Vanessa to drive her sisters around to music lessons and the twins were home early enough for lunch and had all afternoon to play on the new gravel heap outside in the sun. I'm thinking we'll go with the shortened version of our Tuesday town trips every week from now on and hopefully we can avoid Wednesday morning melt downs.

Buster wasn't going to be an angel... he had some ideas in mind. I came into the kitchen where he was sitting and told him I wasn't up for games today. That I was tired and not feeling so great and if he felt like pushing buttons I knew where the mountain was and so did he!!! And then I looked up and realized I had forgotten I had been called to the phone.  It was sitting right by us and the pastor heard my every word of admonition to the little guy. The man didn't have a lot to say. . . . I'm guessing he was thinking how not to push any buttons....  *smile* I was only embarrassed for 5 seconds. I decided since he has raised kids, redheads at that, he's had to put his foot down a time or two himself. You think?

Anyways, Buster seriously doesn't want to be responsible for his bathroom care.... so he's a little stressed about that. Otherwise he pulled his act together and had a good day.

We'll see what tomorrow brings.

My plan is to give negative attention seekers zero satisfaction.
"It is Satan's work to discourage the soul; 
it is Christ's work to inspire with faith and hope." 
DA 249.

I May Be Eating My Words Later - *update*

"I don't care what you wear to school today, I don't care if you wear pajamas or a diaper on your head, but I suggest you wear a shirt and pants."

Can you tell I'm really, really tired?

And thanks for all the comments, but what's with the anonymousness?

P.S. She frowned, went to her room without a word, shut the door and emerged 15 minutes later fully dressed. No battle. Reverse psychology is all I have left..... There have been no other  battles in the last hour, either. It's Christina's birthday so that might be occupying her mind since birthdays are MAJOR occasions to her.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What Does This Mean?

I'm going to put out a couple of scenarios and then I'm going to ask my readers to 

#1. Tell me why they think these kids do this


#2. How the parent should handle the situation.

1st scenario
I bought a little something for Buster. It's a little workbook that's really easy and will help him feel very successful. It's bright and fun. I left in in the bag on the table beside my purse along with the stack of mail. I told him I had something for him and he was dying to see it, but I wanted him to have lunch first, so he had to wait which he accepted, but I could see he was itching to see what the thing was.

Right after lunch I sat on the couch and told Buster to go get the plastic bag on the table. He walked past the bag and pretended he couldn't see anything on the table at all. I was thinking, oh dear... maybe now is not a good time for this. If there's an attitude happening "school" work stuff is the last place we need to go.

I said, "Buster, I need you to bring me the plastic bag.
It's right beside my purse. 
Please bring it to me, 
or, if you choose not to, just go right outside to play."

He ran straight to my purse, put his hand on the plastic bag 
and. then. stopped. 
grabbed two letters and came and handed them to me.

I said, "Buster, what did I ask for?" 

"A plastic bag."

"What did you bring me", I probed?

"Some mail".

"Right. Go play outside."

And the world erupted into wailing.

The end of scenario #1.

2nd Scenario
It was time to get dressed. Missy was in a hurry to get to breakfast (I wonder why?!!) but it was time to get dressed, so she wanted to know what she should wear. I told her something nice for speech class. She wanted me to be specific, so I said, "The yellow dress with the blue flowers, would be good". 
And she added, "With white tights?" 
"Sure, white tights would be fine."

She wants to stand around and talk about it but I shoo her off to her room. 
A bit later she emerges with  ~~
not a yellow play dress with blue flowers,
but a brown church dress with butterflies and no sleeves.

"Please, sweety, you can't wear that dress. 
That is a church dress, and anyway, we agreed on the new yellow dress."
She huffs back to her room, and, to her credit she hangs the brown dress on a hanger,  and sits on the bed to put on her tights. I managed a moment to see how she was doing.
I see THE LOOK... I know where this is headed, but I ask anyway...
"Where's your yellow dress?"

"It's in the closet."

"Ummm, actually, no, I don't see it there."

"It's right there, pointing to a red one."
"Missy, where's your yellow dress?"

"I don't know... ad nauseum....
I turn to walk out of the room.

She very purposefully looks in the direction of the dress laying on a chair...
"Is that the one you want me to wear?"

Me: "You knew all along where it was didn't you?"
Her: "YES"

I kneel on the carpet and ask for a load of patience
"And please God, would you hurry?!!"

End of Scenario #2

Only two of a million scenes today... and I am wondering...
What are they doing this for?
What does it mean?
And am I doing something wrong here??

How should I respond?

Monday, October 18, 2010

That's It I'm Done!

I will wipe NO MORE and I will no longer force the bathroom visits, either.

This decision has caused a little anxiety - commonly known as withholding...

But whatever it takes.

One child has been following me around all morning using every tactic in the book to get me to tell them to go use the restroom. I refuse to engage. I just start singing... It's always the same song.

We had our little talk. The kids know what to do. I've done an excellent job of teaching, if I don't say so myself. I've  walked them through the routine for nearly 8 months. We are so ready to move on past the security of being told what to do every  minute of the day (and using that for as fodder for control issues).

I was saved by the phone. Said child suddenly realized I might be tied up for awhile they had to go bad enough they couldn't play the "game" any longer and went, but then, this was the same child who played with fate long enough this morning that by the time this child showed up for breakfast it was closer to lunch than breakfast the meal had been cleared away and the dishes done.

Other child is in serious withholding mode. I'm feeding them a diet of all fiber and fluids...

This might take a week... but I have no doubt they are ready. They have proven they are capable. I am counting on success.

And there's bribery involved. :-)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Problem

I have a problem.

I'm hoping to solve it by writing it out here.

You see, I have three big girls
and they all read my blog
but for some reason,
they don't hear my words.

My problem is this:
The big girls can't seem to get the message that they are 
to empty the dishwasher.
That is Missy's job.

I would thank you very much if you would all quit being so efficient.
Missy loves to empty the dishwasher
and it's good for her.
I know it takes three times as long and we find dishes in odd places about the kitchen,
but she's learning and she loves it.

So Please, please, please
stop emptying the dishwasher!!

I never thought I would have to ask.

Whirlwind Days and Outreach

The dental appointment went well. Missy had holes in her silver caps fixed and a few sealants done. They were suppose to do a full scan but the machine quit working and so, we have to go back... ick! I begged for them to let us transfer Missy's dental care to our town, but they want to do the scan themselves. It is important to know exactly when to do the bone graft so I guess we'll follow orders.

Arriving home late Friday afternoon certainly is not ideal for preparing for the Sabbath. Vanessa arrived home a few hours before us and was working hard when we arrived. I paid a visit to the gardens for leeks and herbs and set to about to make food for our company coming for Sabbath lunch.

We had invited all the people Steve has been studying with and the Spanish church elder and his wife, Carolina, and little daughter that have come along side to help us with the work of reaching the Spanish speaking people of our community. I was a wreck!! I didn't dare make Mexican food... My vague knowledge of that kind of food comes from Taco Bell. Ha! I remember when I was 20 being introduced to Taco Bell by my college friends from Weimar (of all places) and them making fun of the fact that I didn't know what to order and I had to tell them I didn't know what a burrito was. Hey, French Canadians were never very familiar with Mexican cuisine... never mind a French Canadian who grew up vegetarian.

Carolina called to find out what I was planning to serve and she graciously offered to match my menu with a Mexican version. Thank you very much!!!  So, that's the first time chicken has been served in my kitchen. Can't say I was even remotely interested in tasting it....  Don't get me wrong, I've grown to like Mexican food it was the flesh and bones part of it... :-)

Here's the kicker... I raced home from church and had everything perfect - Carolina and Basilio arrived bringing other people.... but our guests took ALL day to come... LITERALLY!  They were suppose to come for lunch and arrived at 6 pm. We ate our lunch without the special guests and then 25 people from the Spanish church arrived to work with our church doing outreach (ummm, yeah, make that Steve, Vanessa, Brianna and Christina. I stayed home to watch the twins and Karissa and to be prepared when our guests would arrived). It was successful. Exciting things are happening and we are grateful for the spirit of the Spanish  folk and their commitment to prayer and outreach. When our church remodel is complete they will be providing Spanish services in our lovely extra space.

Our guest did eventually come as I said, and there was more than enough food and plenty of music from our resident musicians.  We are enjoying making new friends and stepping out of our "comfortable" cultural zone.

Missy LOVED having the little girls over. She has the gift of friendship. She went out of her way to make her little guests happy. I was thrilled to see her interacting and showing selflessness. The little girls were both 4 years old - and right at her level. Buster, on the other hand, lacks social skills. He tries very hard!!! He just doesn't know how and what he wants gets in the way of looking out for what others would like.

I've been watching all the sermons posted on vimeo on the Annual Council and I am blessed. We need the Holy Spirit in our lives  and NOW is the time.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Children's Hospital Trip

We're loving the $ 50 Courtyard Marriott and pool we booked off of  The kids were ready to go swimming before breakfast this morning and they had a good swim last evening!

The first Children's Hospital visit yesterday was surprising. Missy's good ear is having some trouble and her bad ear is doing better.  This ear doc has followed Missy pretty much since birth. He saw a difference in her. He thought she still had a blank look - but hey, she was uncomfortable and out of her element, but in her defense she was NOT hanging her tongue out- which is how she used to express her shyness and uncomfortableness. He wanted to know if I understood where she had come from. All her visits in the past were very, very memorable. I keep hearing that from different doctors. He said that at one point they had to make the rule that the family could only call the hospital once a week and not several times a day.

Regardless of what the hearing tests say, I know Missy can hear 95% better than she used to. It's obvious. It goes along with the theory I have about her little brain functioning at a greater capacity.

Today - after THE swim - we head to Children's Dental clinic for some major teeth repairs.

Since we had time to spare yesterday we used our membership and visited the Aquarium. This is the place we first took the twins when we met them in Feb. Buster is no longer afraid of the place. He actually enjoyed it a lot. Unfortunately, the much anticipated octopus was asleep and very boring.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Buttons and Buttons...

Mr. Manipulation visited this morning. I have to admit I was not so very cool about that. Missy dressed herself perfectly fine yesterday and this morning she "could not" button up that same dress. She wanted someone else to do her buttons.

Sometimes it's hard when to know when a child is trying to control me and other times it is quite clear what the game is about. This morning I would say it was VERY clear what was up. There's something about that smirk...

Somewhere along the way I have figured out that letting these kiddos have that kind of control is in the end very unsettling to them. It makes them feel insecure and they go into hyper vigilant mode seeking every opportunity to control their world rather than enjoying life.That's a theory I am kind of going with at the moment. Feel free to disagree and point out why that is not so. I'm all for learning.

I waited patiently for awhile and then reminded her to get with it because breakfast would be over soon. Another LONG wait and Missy had accomplished nothing.

I told her to please wear a different outfit - a T shirt and pants would do just fine for her occupational therapy class, but of course she wanted to wear the dress with all those buttons. I waited some more.

You could say this is where patience took her leave.  I bodily took the dress off Missy and gave her the T shirt and pants. She started screaming because her little plan wasn't working out as she intended. I was so not into screaming. Steve had to take over.

For the next hour or so, she sat in time-out doing and redoing all the buttons and wonder of wonders she "found out" what I knew all along. She is quite capable of buttoning that dress, but she still had to wear the T shirt and pants.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Latest Report

The speech therapist from the hospital is planning to retest Buster Brown's Language next week. She thinks he might be almost caught up to his peers. One month ago she said he tested 2.5 years behind (The post I wrote that day) his age group. It seems that whatever she presents to him he learns in that session and then he's ready to move on. She's not sure what to do with that exactly. He needs some help with articulation and syntax, but it's coming, and she truly believes he's catching it as we go.

She might be right.

People are commenting that they understand him just fine now.

Slowly but surely the content of his speech is pulling together. It used to be so random and off the wall.

Wouldn't it be something if he worked his way right out of speech therapy this year?

Missy is learning too, but her deficits were greater to begin with... Since we started light therapy she has progressed with incredible speed, but her articulation will take time, lots and lots of time and I do think it has to do with her cleft palate and her tongue always being in the way.

Vanessa turned 17 today! We went out to eat since she is "great-grand-parent" sitting all week in town with Dakota. It was a lovely restaurant and they gave us a room all to ourselves - beautiful!  When dessert was brought with a lit candle and all, the excitement and joy on Missy's face was priceless. She sang with gusto. All eyes were fixed on her rather than the birthday girl because it was so riveting to watch her great happiness in singing to Vanessa. Her first words on awakening this morning, as she at bolt upright in bed were, "Is it Bunessa's birtday today?

I am enjoying a recess from manipulative behaviors and I am not for one second taking it for granted.

Oh, and Buster's glasses were fixable. He's VERY thankful.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Giving Thanks

It is Thanksgiving, after all, but it didn't really work out to make much note of it.... when in Rome do as the Romans do and wait until the harvest is completely gone from sight and Christmas is around the corner before celebrating the harvest and Thanksgiving.

But I am thankful.

Been thinking of my childhood Thanksgivings in Canada. I mostly remember spending them at the lake East of Sault Ste Marie  with tons of family and friends and plenty of pumkin pie for a whole blissful long weekend. It was a spiritual retreat and my best friends and cousins were always there just a cabin or two down the beach.We rowed boats, roasted corn on the cob over an open fire, discovered pudding stone on the mountain and sang until dark. It was the best holiday of the year.

Today I am thankful for the load of  apples we were given.

I'm thankful for the load of berries delivered by the berryman a couple hours ago. My freezer is officially full.

I'm thankful for my husband and that he is a praying man. I am thankful  he has a job - even if he is getting called off a lot.

I grateful Vanessa is doing well in her first REAL school experience. After getting a 99% on her test in Medical terminology and 90% on her Algebra test today she said, "I didn't know if I could be an A student, but now I know I can!" She's also very efficient in the house keeping the place in order.

I am thankful Brianna always wears a smile and is patient and helpful with the twins.I'm grateful she never gives up.

I am quite thankful Christina loves symphony! I've never heard so much flute practicing!!!!! She's matured a lot in the last two months. She's more patient, and gentle, flexible and looking more to the welfare of others. I'm quite proud of her new maturity.

I am grateful for every inch of progress the twins have made towards becoming whole and healed. From pasty, puffy faced "toddlers" barely able to run or talk, -  from dull eyes and daily-hourly- moment-by-moment screaming fits and uncompliant, unimaginative, incapable beings just existing day to day to happy, healthy, growing, loving kids with a future. They might still have their moments... but so do most kids.They are healing, changing before our very eyes.

Buster learning to jump rope today... 
yep! Wearing his broken glasses, but one lens is better than no lenses when you can't see.
By the way, striped socks are a must for jump rope.
 Missy and her emerging creativity and varied talent!
Brother joining the fun.
Missy "cooking"
.Jump rope again...

I have a lot to be thankful for. Could probably go on all night... but I'll keep it at that and thank the Lord for ALL His blessings and for Jesus, too.

Oh... and I can't forget, I am thankful for the nicest fall weather ever!! Amazing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I Can See Just Fine

I had a wonderful morning with the kiddos. We baked cookies, did some therapy, played some games, completed homework, and worked together. Both kids did very well with only a couple attitude adjustments in Missy's behalf. Buster seems sooooo easy going these days. It's quite amazing really, the only thing that sets him off is not getting to play Buzzy at the Airport on the computer as long as he wants, or not getting to play Buzzy at all because he's gotten hyper-focused on getting to play to the point of not wanting to eat supper, and of course,  the the other two things that make him whiny  are having to brush his teeth or having to go poop when he doesn't want to. Everything else has been going really, really well.

Today he lost his opportunity to play Buzzy -  probably forever!

I allowed him 30 minutes on the computer and when his time was up he started crying. I just calmly told him that if he chose to carry on he might lose Buzzy altogether. I sent him to his room to get over it. The wailing only increased by the minute and ratcheting up towards tantrum levels and eventually I went in to find he had broken his glasses all up. Hmmmm.... that seals it. No more Buzzy. In fact no more computer including watching Janice's Attic. It messes with his head.

I have no idea if the glasses are fixable. I'm not going to town for a few days and I am not making a special trip to find out, after all, I can see just fine. This was no accident. I'm thinking he's going to hate being so blind, but if new ones have to be made it will take a month and half to have them ordered and shipped and I would rather have new ones prescribed by Dr. Wylie, so it just might take longer than that. I'm so glad I can see just fine.

It just amazes me that most behaviors intended to cause me grief and show me what a horrible mother I am, and how mean I am and how unfair I am, etc... most often only hurt the one going out of their way to create the drama. Hey man, I'm 42 years old and I've never needed glasses. I certainly don't need yours. I can see just fine!

Missy is thrilled about her cookies. She's  finding joy in sharing them with everybody. Steve and I have been looking for ways for her to think outside of herself. Cooking with her in the past has been really, really scary!! She's a mess. Everything went into her mouth; hands, spoon, knife, not to mention all the slobber and constant runny nose that she smears across her face ALL the time. Her impulsiveness rendered her incapable of  following orders and keeping her tongue out of the bowl, but it's been quite a long time since we tried it - months actually. Well, I told her she could make cookies today  but she had to blow her nose and wash up really, really well and then the RULE was she could not touch her face or eat the dough -period. WOW! I was impressed. She obeyed to a Tee! The cookies are perfectly kosher even if I did gross you out a second ago.

I see progress. I see good things happening.  I'm learning. The twins are learning. I do have a puzzle to work out, though. There is an emerging behavior that is quite interesting. When told to go and do something Missy makes the move towards obedience. It's obvious that she is heading in the right direction, but then she turns and has something to say. Often it is nonsense, or stating the obvious, or making an observation, but it is most certainly delaying obedience. It's hard not to get trapped in the manipulation of the moment. Before I realize it I am answering and conversing with her! Somehow, some way I need to get across to her that this is not acceptable -- but first I have to catch myself and everyone else in the house needs to be aware...

Kids! they certainly keep you on your toes!!

P.S.  Can anyone tell me just when I am suppose to start feeling sorry for the little blind punk that lives in my house?? 'Cause at the moment I FEEL nothing.

Singing in the Rain

We needed a day away with no appointments and no responsibilities so we skipped church and went for a long, long drive. The fall colors are in their prime out in the mountains. Most of the day was fine, but of course when we decided to hike and have our picnic it started to rain. Raincoats are blessing!!
Yeah for Daddy being able to make a fire when everything appears to be soaked through. We had two cans of Big Franks (veggie hot dogs)  to roast so the fire was imperative!! I wouldn't have thought of using the bark from a standing old snag, but that's the driest wood around.

 Buster is a fire bug. We have to watch him constantly. For all his fears he doesn't seem to sense the fire's danger.... even to the last when we doused the fire with water he HAD to walk through the last of the dying embers.
 I remarked to Steve later that the twins took everything in stride. There was no fuss over being wet, or cold or dirty or anything. They just went along with the flow and memories were made.
A little drizzle makes for a few curls.

We ended the day by dusting off Steve's old guitar and singing the evening away at home.

By the way, the teeth brushing festival of Friday worked wonders. Buster brushed his teeth after supper last night before anyone told him to get his toothbrush out. The whole tooth brushing thing made a real impression on him. 

Missy has been happy and cooperative and enjoyable.We're looking forward to a happy day together.

A big, complicated week lies before us, including a two day trip to Children's hospital.... Our restful outing of yesterday is all we get until next Sabbath.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Is a hard one.

Buster's full of lies this morning.


Just because he doesn't want to brush his teeth!

It's become his most hated moment of the day... even above going poop.

So, guess who gets to brush his teeth every half hour this morning.  We're going to take the horror out of it by desensitizing the issue - or else we are going to make it worse.

Meanwhile, Missy's learning about eggs. The last of the hen's eggs are being cooked, dissected and  observed. The girls are cooking them for the cats and the dogs and they are letting her help. She's learning about shells, egg whites, and yolks. Pretty basic, I know, but she's all amazed and having a grand time.

Lovely Blog Award

This took me awhile to get to, but thanks to De from Chosen that Good Part. She has given me this "lovely" blog award! Wow! Thanks. Sometimes I wonder if putting it all out there is a good idea... but you wouldn't believe how it helps me think things though sometimes. I hope that what I write can be a help somewhere down the road. For one thing, it has put me in touch with other moms in the same boat and we share things that work or don't work, and sometimes we have to remind each other what our objectives are and ways to avoid catastrophe. The rules are to post three things that I think are lovely.

1. Family togetherness

2. Inspiring music

3. lots of garden produce :-)

Okay, now I need to post 3-5 lovely blogs whom I think deserve this award and inform them of it. Here are three  that I can relate to right now:

Actually.... there's quite a few more, but they are listed on the side-bar (or not listed yet, because I haven't taken the time to list them! Of such is my life these days.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

On the Farm and Bri's Appointment

The Mallard couple are definitely traumatized.

They haven't come out of hiding all day except to greet us and let us know they were hungry when we were in search of their hiding place.

They aren't "talking" as usual. She walks with a strange, intimidating tossing of her head from side to side, dipping her beak deep into the grass at every step. The cat walked past and was attacked for no reason.
 The drake follows furtively behind dodging into the bushes at the slightest move.

Both gobbled the food we brought to them eagerly. They aren't ready to return to the barnyard and the scene of their children's demise.

Missy says she saw Goldy, her chicken, but I've not seen hide nor hair of her... Actually, I take that back, there's plenty of Goldy feathers littering the barnyard, but it is possible that the dog or whatever it is caught a couple of mouthfuls of feathers.  I don't know. Missy says quite emphatically that  "Goldy got better. Goldy not died anymore, she walking and talking at bunny's cage.She not died anymore."

SO anyways, next year we are getting geese - great big scary ganders that hiss and honk and chase wandering dogs!!

We are more than sure this was not a wild animal's doings. The incident happened between 9 and 10 AM.

Today Brianna went to the specialist. They just about drained her of blood for testing. She came out pale, and so dizzy she couldn't see straight. After drinking a cold apple juice handed to her by the nurse her teeth chattered and she shivered uncontrollably. You know what it costs to test 7 vials of blood????!!!!

She's being tested for celiac sprue, B12, vit D, thyroid, muscle enzymes, to name a few, besides being re-tested for the complements C3 and C4. Scary words like fibromyalgia  - the garbage diagnosis for what they can't figure out -are being thrown around. The doc wanted to be encouraging. He said wanted to get her back to playing violin soon and he didn't think whatever her problem is will affect her for life. Nice words, but she still suffers. School work causes her so much pain.

Buster went on a date with dad. They biked on the loop trail. It was good. He earned that with ten whole days of awesome behavior... (not all at once, mind you. It took him a month to accumulate 10 days of no crying at all, getting all his jobs done and being obedient and happy.)  Missy is desperate to earn her ten days now. She's getting close. She has been quite cooperative and reasonable this week. I finally found an incentive - a few minutes on the computer playing Buzzy the Knowledge Bug works for both of them when they've been happy and helpful.

My fork wound is nearly healed. It still hurts to drive.

Brianna, Christina and I plunged in did quite a bit of fall yard work, but it all ended when I noticed I needed to pick a couple of tomatoes.....

 yeah, just a couple.
Been making tomato sauce ever since.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


All those beautiful babies proudly displayed on my blog... they are all dead.

Their little bodies strewn all over the yard amongst the still forms of the hapless hens.

The proud Papa severely wounded.

The sweet Mama,  bereft of all her little ones, crying softly in the bushes.

We're all very sad with her.

My Bri is devastated.

**UPDATE: We don't know what happened. A dog? I emailed the parents of the teenager who lives next door - had some trouble with his dog recently, but he came over and said he was sorry about our loss but his dog was tied up, so we don't know. We've only been able to recover half the dead creatures, so they may have been dinner for someone?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Steal of a Deal

We go through tons of flax seed here. I use anywhere from a quarter to a whole cup of flax a day in the twin's shake, in cooking and sprinkled on the twin's food.  It's full of Omega 3 and it keeps their bowels moving.

I was paying $2.99 for a pound of flax meal at the health food store, but the already ground stuff evaporates some of the oils where the Omega 3 is found, and it has to be kept in the freezer to keep from going rancid, however for convenience sake....

Well, no more convenience. I went to the feed store and bought a 50lb sack of whole flax.  It worked out to 47 cents a pound. Then I went and bought a coffee grinder for $12.99. We are grinding our own now and we shouldn't run out for a long while :-)

Do you know that I am saving $2.52 cents on a pound?

If I would have bought that many seeds at the health food store I would have paid about a hundred and fifty dollars!

* * * * * * *

Well, I might "think" Missy's not progressing, but according the speech therapist she knew all her shapes today. She asked if we had been working on them. "Ahhh.... well, uh... maybe once or twice..."

(Would someone please tell me how in the world am I suppose to do everything, eh???!)

Therapist says, " I asked her three different times and she got them all right each time and so I crossed that off our list". 

Well now, isn't that nice. I guess I failed to see just how important that skill was, but hey, she's got it.

She's suddenly taken to coloring!!!!!

That is something I can get excited about.

She will actually go and sit at the desk in her own room and color in her coloring book for up to an hour. It's even great when she's struggling to be happy, because she enjoys coloring and I can use this activity as a diversional tactic.

It's a GOOD Morning!

I just want to thank everyone who has been praying. It's been the roughest three weeks since the potty training days.... We aren't probably over the hump, but we are enjoying a reprieve from the control battles.

Missy woke up angry and lying and controling first thing yesterday. I did not allow her out of her bed. I stayed right by her and prayed and read scripture promises and sang songs and continued praying for a couple hours. She was combative. She wanted her way and she wanted to be in charge. Over and over I gave her a chance to give her heart to Jesus and her answer was an emphatic "no" every time. She did not get close to me or join me in singing for the longest time. Slowly, slowly she crept closer and pretty soon her foot was on mine, pretty soon her hand was on my leg.... eventually her head was on my lap and she joined me in singing, "Into My Heart." I didn't know she knew the song, but the words were stored up somewhere in her mind and she sang the entire song with me... I capitalized on it and we sang it over and over! 

I have no doubt that this was spiritual warfare. Satan isn't giving up his subjects easily. He claims her and Jesus claims her and she has a choice to make. Eventually she realized breakfast was going on upstairs and she wasn't getting anywhere. She had softened enough that when I asked once more if she would give her heart to Jesus she said yes. Her demeanor changed, but I was skeptical!! LOL! I figured she was doing what I asked to get what she wanted. However, throughout the day I kept bringing her to the point of surrender to Jesus and she was pleasant all day.

Missy woke up cheery this morning and I again brought her to Jesus and asked her to give herself to Him today. We sang "Into My Heart" and she's off to a good start.

I'm praying and praying that today will continue positively while we are in town. I noticed that the past few days the more she regressed behaviorally, the worse she regressed on all the things we had been excited about her learning lately. She stopped speaking the long sentences and coming up with new words. She could not do her speech homework - probably mostly because everything I asked her to do she did wrong on purpose. I had to stop trying.  She also caught a cold and her articulation went downhill to the point I had to have her repeat nearly everything she tried to express because I could not understand her. I think it must take a lot of brain power to maintain that kind of a combative spirit. It's draining of all physical and emotional reserves.

Don't stop praying for us. We need God's power and love in our lives. There are moments when I fail and despair that I am not cut out for this huge job, but then I am reminded that God would not give me more than I am able. I just need to depend more on HIM.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Wise as a Serpent

The Lord has shown me that I need to be praying for grace to be as WISE as a Serpent and as Harmless as a Dove. (Matt 10:16)

I can't read minds. I really wish I could. It would solve a lot of problems for me. Instead I have to pray for wisdom. I wonder how Solomon would have dealt with Missy??

She "chose" not to go to the party after all by choosing to play a little manipulative game - a crafty, deceitful, disobedient trick. Very nearly hoodwinked, I asked God for discernment and her artfully webbed plan fell to pieces. She agreed that what she was up to was disobedience.

My hands trembled, my heart raced.... Oh the gaul! Oh the disappointment!! Here's where the harmless as a Dove comes in.. . . By one word, look or act of impatience I could further her rebellion, or I could direct her towards a higher aspiration.

The combination of wisdom and harmlessness is required to turn such an incident into a teachable moment that she'll never forget, the utmost care and finesse is essential in preserving her from going over the precipice of anger and frustration, and honestly, in and of myself I don't have what it takes. I'm human. I hate being tricked by a twerp one-seventh my age.... I did tell her I am not stupid, which, on further thought, is not all true, for without the enlightenment of God I might have been scammed....

I'm grateful. She's quietly performing a small duty for me and slowly accepting the fact that she herself "chose" NOT to go to the birthday affair while her brother has "chosen" to go.

Choose You this Day Whom You Will Serve

....But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15 The children learned that verse for Sabbath school this past week. I'm always amazed at how applicable their memory verses are for the experience we are living at the moment.

We enjoyed a lovely day hiking in the mountains with friends yesterday. The twins did exceptionally well.

Missy had chosen to be happy in the morning before getting out of bed, and she kept her word. I had to help her through a crisis over a car seat and her brother right after church, which I didn't really know was about, nor did I care to find out, I only knew she was about to forfeit the afternoon hike if she didn't CHOOSE to be happy instantly.

I held up two fingers and made the choice VERY clear.
She very nearly broke my "Choose to be happy finger" while making that choice
but I was FIRM, BLUNT, and no nonsense in my approach.
"CHOOSE to be Happy and go hiking with friends,
or CHOOSE to pout, whine or cry and you and I will go home - NO second chances, period!"

What a lovely hike! What a happy day. A LOT of prayer went into this day. I am grateful for the answered prayer.

So, today before letting them out of bed I made sure to remind both children of the birthday celebration invitation. I laid it out clearly that they have a choice. Whether or not they go is completely in their control. CHOOSE to be happy or CHOOSE to pout or whine or disobey. Missy may be on edge because of the later bedtime. I'm praying she can keep it together, because if she starts to lose it and I decide she's changed her mind about choosing good and say she's not going to the party she WILL lose it completely and then I'll need all your prayers!!!!

I bought some shea nut butter with lavender essential oil in it. I've been massaging the kids feet with it during light therapy and they LOVE it. If I decide not to massage for whatever reason, one or both of them will bring me the jar and ASK for it.  They enjoy the scent, and the massage, but I think they LOVE the physical touch most of all. She gets downright cuddly. Now the big girls are using it. They say it is helping to cure their stinky feet.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Happy Girl is Visiting.... Hoping She'll stay

So Missy woke up on the right side of the bed this morning.... well, actually,  make that the right side of the floor. Daddy decided that the big, beautiful cast iron bed in Missy's room is only worthy of a true princess so he made her a comfortable little bed on the floor beside it. He pretty much let her know that when she decided to ACT like a princess and a happy girl she could again sleep in that pretty bed.

I spent a lot of time praying with her, holding her, singing to her, and massaging her feet this morning and talking to her that she had a choice to make this morning whether the day would be happy and fun, or whether it would turn out just like yesterday and the day before.

She chose to be happy.

She volunteer to pray for a happy heart all on her own.

She's exaggerating her "Yes, Mom" s and her smiley face.

I'll take it.

She really, really did not like that as soon as Dad came home from work I left to go hiking. She knew she had given me plenty of reason to need to get away.

The River was beautiful. The fall smell relaxing. I walked with Vanessa at Blackbird Island until dark.