Friday, December 31, 2010

Whatsoever Things are TRUE

Thou desirest truth in the inward parts...
Psalm 51:6

My but what a string of lies that little girl was weaving yesterday.... even leading her brother into her sin as well. I dealt with her lying three times. She expressed her sorrow and "repentance" and turned right around and lied again. 

I have to monitor the toothpaste around here. They can use up a small tube of toothpaste in one week's time. Besides the fact that toothpaste is practically poison, I 'm not into buying a new tube every week. After meals when the kiddos wash up I divey out the paste. They hate brushing their teeth. It will reduce Buster to tears on a good day, on a bad day I have to do it for him, but we've been working on happy brushing attitudes and he wasn't doing too bad lately. 

Yesterday I squeezed a little toothpaste onto both toothbrushes and they looked busy enough in the bathroom then I got distracted and found myself in the kitchen. Two minutes later Missy says, "I brushed my teeth! You want to see?" and she opened her mouth to show off her pearly whites.

I couldn't see anything to make me think they were not brushed, but no real evidence that they had been brushed, either.   I hesitated a half a second and offhandedly asked, "Are you sure you brushed your teeth?"

I was actually shocked to see the  "Don't tell me I've been caught look" come over her eyes.

"You didn't brush your teeth?"


"So why were you telling me you brushed and then showed off your  dirty teeth?"

(This makes my head spin.... why would someone in their right mind do that? Is there some kind of ugly motive behind acts like this to prove herself smarter than me, or is this childish or is she really, really dumb?)

I went off to find brother because I have been known to miss-judge the "look" and sometimes they will agree with me no matter how I put the question - not so much Missy, but I just wanted to check before I decided on a consequence.

"Buster did Missy brush her teeth?"

"Ummmm, Yes".

"Did she actually put her toothbrush in her mouth or just rinse off the toothbrush?"

"Ummmm.... just rinse it off".

"Did you brush your teeth?"

"Ummmm... Yes!"

"Can I see them?"

The mouth opens wide revealing a mouth full of corn chips... and before I had a chance to say a word he freaks "UH-OH!!!! I ummm...." and he's off running to the bathroom .....

But I caught him and asked , "So you lied about brushing your teeth, too?"

"Ummmm Yes."

"Neither one of you brushed? Together you just washed your toothbrushes and called it good? Who's idea was it?"


Two very sad children were in time-out together on the bench in the entryway brushing, brushing, brushing their teeth. They lost all the rest of their privileges for the day and they spent a lot of time thinking on the bench. I had them do odd jobs but in between times they sat on the bench. For the next week they will do all their teeth brushing on the bench.

No one lied today.

In fact, Buster called out to me this evening. I not lie TODAY!!!

Thank you, kiddo. I appreciate that. I want to be able to trust you.

Lying lips are an abomination unto the Lord,
but they that deal truly are His delight.
Proverbs 12:22

Fickle Feelings

Been really enjoying studying EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient).
We all know that feelings are fickle and we are not to live by feeling but by faith.
Teaching little children not to live by feelings is a challenge.
Dr. Nedley sings this little song that I thought was worth learning.
It's to the tune of Yankee Doodle, but looking it up online I found that it is a paraphrase of a quote from Martin Luther. 

So, today if your child says to you,
"but I don't feel like it!!" 
You can sing this little song
then give them the Word in the form of a
scripture verse applicable to their situation.

Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
Trust alone on the Word of God--
It's something worth believing.
Cause feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
Trust alone on the word of God--
It's something worth believing.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Lost Art of Thinking

We are home, but the girls are still flying....

Their flight was canceled and they didn't fly until this evening and they won't arrive until morning. Kind of a bummer to miss some of the action and the key-note speaker. They are just grateful that they did find a flight. With the whole airport situation due to the snow in the North East finding an alternative flight was nip and tuck.  Sounds like they will be getting quite involved in GYC.... will save that info for when I know more.  I'm just happy they have this opportunity to go. I'm going to try and watch as many of the meetings online as possible.

We got a call while we were still out of town that the work at the church met with some calamity. The pastor fell off of a 12 foot ladder breaking and fracturing 7 various important bones and puncturing his lung. He's in the hospital now. He's on forced vacation for the next 6 weeks or more...

Missy had a spat of anger and some screaming at Christina in a rest area on the way home. I tried to help her to see that kind of behavior is not acceptable and she flipped out at me.... I took her walking in the snowstorm. We walked around and around the rest area until she had satisfactorily changed her attitude. It was so silly.  Was she tired, overstimulated, testing, or just throwing all caution to the wind? Thankfully we didn't have to walk for more than 25 minutes.

I received a flyer in the mail tonight that has me all excited.

Not that I can go to this conference,
it's just that this is the kind of information I have been craving for dealing with the twins.

The flyer is advertising a book called: The Lost Art of Thinking by Neil Nedley, MD. The subtitle is How to Improve Emotional Intelligence and Achieve Peak Mental Performance.

I straightaway ordered the book online. It's expensive, but worth it, I believe. I have gone through some of Dr. Nedley's materials on Depression, cognitive behavior therapy,  nutritional therapy for the brain, etc...

ALWAYS interesting.

ALWAYS balanced.

Dr. Nedley is a student of the scriptures, natural laws of health and science.  He works with his patients through lifestyle management.

I'm hoping that the Emotional Intelligence Summit will be recorded somehow.
I would love to hear the speaker, Kelly Dulac, MA on

~Neuroscience of character and the brain, learn techniques that will help to protect the brain and improve character development,

~The Neuroplasticity of the Brain: How Thoughts and Attitudes and Behaviors can Change, How to modify behavior by changing thought patterns and attitudes,

~and How to Train the Brain for Discipline, Learn techniques for teaching children habits for discipline and success.

I think I could really learn something!!

For now, I'm off to listen to Dr. Nedley on   Improving Emotional Intelligence .

The Pool

So, in this family the hotel is strictly rated by the pool.

AND this one practically has ice on it.

We knew it was an outdoor pool, but hey, it should be heated, right?

Think again.

The Hot tub on the other hand was HOT!!

So, it started off with Steve offering the kids a dollar if they would dunk in. I knew the girls would. I've seen them jump into glacier lakes, but I was surprised at the twins.  All five of them did it. After that the kids would get all steamy hot and then jump in the ice-water and see how long they could last. Twenty - six seconds was the record. It was just like hydrotherapy.

Oh, well, that's what you get for $45. Actually this is a Double Tree fancy hotel, not sure why they don't heat the pool. Another thing we didn't count on was they charged for parking.

We  visited the twins foster parents. It was a good visit. She had us go through the bookshelf and pick out books for the twins. We ended up with two boxes of nice books. The foster parents are no longer fostering, but I thought they looked much improved in health since the last time I saw them.

I remarked to Steve in the car that it is such a blessing to be able to go on a little trip now and the kids ride peacefully. There's no tension, tantrums, far-out behavior that makes you have to stop and take them out of the car for safety's sake. No one is unbuckling the seat belt. There's no fighting. It's pleasant. This would be the first hotel stay where Missy didn't have a royal that had us covering her mouth for fear of destroying other guest's stay.

The pass was uneventful. Our side was clear and sunny but as we crested the top the other side was thick with fog.

The girls are so excited. They were the first ones up this morning getting ready to go. We take them to the airport in a few minutes. May the Lord go with them.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Missy and I discover it's snowing and I immediately began thinking about our trip over the pass to the airport.
It's suppose to snow a good two feet.

That wasn't Missy's worry...

"Oh, my, it's snowing again! We're going to have to shovel the porch tomorrow!!"

I'm thankful for guardian angels,
new snow tires,
four wheel drive,
and my husband's driving skills.

I am so grateful for the twins peaceful composure the last several days. I'm feeling like I"m nearly over the head cold and starting to feel rested up.

We're gonna miss the girls while they are away!!

Structure Works BEST

A well structured life seems to maintain the sweet attitudes.
I'll go so far as to say even structured play times work better than free time,
at least around here with our 6 year olds.
WORK is a super positive blessing around here!

What kind of mom buys a kid a shovel for Christmas?
The same kind that bought a broom for his sister...

{Please note, the shovel is orange It's his favorite color,
so why wouldn't he love it?}

It's amazing what these kids have learned to be able to be a help around here.
They are better at some things than others.
Asking Missy to vacuum  is far more productive
than asking Buster to vacuum.
He doesn't see the lint...
Whereas Missy is very particular.

But when it comes to dishes...
you would be wise to ask Buster to help.
There will be far less broken dishes when he's done
and several gallons of water saved from being sloshed all over the floor.

Buster can shovel snow.

Missy can clean a toilet.

Buster can hang coats on hangers.

Missy can fold towels.

If we work we are happy.
If we wander around doing whatever we feel like
we're miserable.

Funny, isn't it!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Twin Update

The twins have done very, very well lately.

I hardly dare to say it!!

It seems every time I write how wonderful they are
we go backwards by 50 steps.
It is true, though.

They have been working hard to be happy.
Sounds weird, doesn't it, but it is a fact.
You are as happy as you make up your mind to be.

Thursday Buster prayed over breakfast the most beautiful prayer. It brought tears to my eyes.

He sincerely prayed for  help to be cheerful and "not naughty".  He asked God for strength to do what was right and the day was awesome.  A couple of times when I asked him to do something he didn't feel like doing the tears came, but I quickly reminded him of his prayer and desire. I showed him how he was to do his part to cooperate with God. He was triumphant as he went to bed. "Today I was happy. I obeyed and I not naughty."

What a blessing.

Friday morning... he woke up crabby. I reminded him of his successes the day before. I showed him how he had asked God for help and God had given it to him. He could choose to be obedient with a pleasant attitude, OR he could choose to keep sliding down the slippery slope he was on.

He refused to pray.
He refused to obey.

We asked him to sit on his bed until he chose to do differently. We told him he could not ruin our morning and destroy the happiness of our home and that we were going ahead with our Christmas plans.

We opened presents without him and he continued to spiral. Steve and I had to intervene a couple of times and finally he got a grip as the discipline increased with each new level of behavior.

The girls were doing all the music for a Christmas Eve service, but I was sick and unable to move from the couch. I decided to keep Buster with me to his great sorrow. Steve and I were talking softly about it in the livingroom and he was in the kitchen but he heard our every word and started boohooing!!!

"Poor child.
You made some wrong choices this morning and tomorrow is Sabbath.
We have a hard enough time getting ready on Sabbath morning
- without going out the evening before.
I don't think you can handle going out and then waking up cheerful and ready to get dressed for church if you cannot even get up happy on a day we are opening presents."

Missy made a big  ta-do about the fact that she was going and he was not.
(She has overcome a lot, but she has a long ways to go. She is number one in her world and as competitive as they get.)

She was feeling pretty SPECIAL! She thought she was one of the big girls. She expected to go up front and lead the music.... She didn't say a word when she was dragged back to her seat - but later in the car she let them know she had been offended!  Funny girl.

Buster sat on my lap and apologized profusely for his acting out in the morning. I reminded him how he had refused to ask God for help, but his HELP had been waiting for him. He needed to ask for it, just like he had asked the day before.

I set the laptop on the table to the Hope Channel and he watched a Christmas program while I drifted in and out of sleep. He went to bed on time and woke up with a purpose and was ready for church before any of the rest of us!

So there!


Xmas is Over, On to the Next Thing -GYC!!!

That last post...  I guess it really was all I had to say. It was some gripe about still being miserable sick.....

Vanessa and Brianna get to start packing today!! The two of them are flying across the country for the Generation of Youth for Christ convention in Baltimore.

It's pretty exciting.

The dress code is business and dressy so my country gals have to look hard in the closet and choose  carefully.

Vanessa has wanted to do this for a couple of years. It's nice they have so many friends from all over going. They will be a long ways from home, but we have a lot of friends who will be there.

They will be fine.

This will give us a feel what it would be like for them to go to Youth For Jesus in Sacramento come summer. That's on their list of "really want to do!!" They applied a month ago, but haven't heard a word back. They will seek out the Youth for Jesus coordinators at GYC and chat with them about it. They applied online so it could be that the application got lost in cyberspace, or the Youth for Jesus team hasn't looked at applicants, yet. It is early. :-)

Speaking of Youth for Jesus, it all ends at the ASI convention which we haven't been to in a few years. I used to plan the kindergarten program and so we went faithfully every year, but I kind of burned out on the kindergarten stuff  . . . okay, not kind of, really burned out. Our plan is to go to the convention this year. My folks will be there, we'll stay at my Aunt and Uncle's and the big news I just heard is that  my Aunt and Uncle from the East Coast of Canada are planning to be there also. So Whoohoo! Family reunion about to happen!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I've Succombed

Three times in the last three weeks I've nearly caught the cold going around. I fought like crazy and overcame three times, but ultimately I came out the loser.  I'm sick. This fourth time it snuck up on me under cover of night and  tricked me.


I'm laying on the couch with the tiniest kitten ever laying in the crook of my arm. This poor baby is a fraction of the size of his sisters. This has been the hardest batch of kittens to raise. IT was rough going. It's amazing this little one made it. Two died. Two are ready for homes and this baby is just finally learning to drink milk from a saucer. He was too weak and sickly and needed syringe feedings every few hours even though it is nearly two months old.  His ears look way to big for his skinny nose. But he is a friendly little nameless one.

The twins opened up their hippity-hop ball presents and so  my head is throbbing to the rhythm of two kids learning to balance and hop at the same time up and down the hall.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Crash and Burn

Sledding is exhausting, apparently.

Hyperfocus is back for a visit. Call the boy in for lunch and he's all annoyed. 

Sliding down the hill at break-neck speed,
the wind whistling through the stitches of his neon orange hat,
everything a blur as it whisks past his glasses-less eyes,
- that is all that matters.

He can't even be bothered to go to the house to use the bathroom...
or even strip for all the neighbors to see as he's recently started doing,
He just keeps sledding,

And then
when someone says he cannot put his snow clothes in the dryer
with everybody else's sopping wet things

- because his are wet from more than just snow
and must be washed,

He starts
until his mother says to go bed because obviously,
sledding did him in.

In 5 minutes
he's snoring.

It's Snowing Like Crazy

And the twins, plus Christina opened up sled presents this morning...

Somehow we couldn't keep it to one present!!  They managed to finagle 2 this morning!!

Brianna made fresh waffles for breakfast and now the girls have gone to the nursing home to sing and bring music to the old folks this morning and then it's back to sledding!! We would have all gone to the nursing home but the suburban is in the shop and the Honda only holds 5. Apparently the fixer guy is sick in bed with the flue, so we might just go pick up our big car and try again next week.

I'm still addressing Christmas cards.

Yesterday we had an impromptu sledding party complete with a big, hot pot of soup,  snow cones and lots of kids. Today the twins will have their own sleds instead of having to share, but so far no one is calling to see if they can come sledding on our hills.

The twins are doing well. All this excitement can be overwhelming at times. I watch closely and catch frenetic behavior before it goes very far and they've been able to pull back and collect themselves.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Such a flurry of secret activity going on behind doors! Presents are being made, sewn, knitted, glued, baked, printed and wrapped in the darkest corners of the house. It's a whole new concept to the twins. They thought Christmas was about GETTING presents. In this house the emphasis, at least at this point of the game, is about Giving. The girls have helped them to create things to put under the tree for every member of the family.

I kind of miss our "Buy Nothing Christmas" logo of last year. I really don't like shopping very much under duress. Last year everybody made everything. What a blast. What a lot of creativity!!! But alas, it simply wasn't possible this year - for me, at least. Some people, like Brianna and Christina, have the time and energy to make everything from scratch.

We can't say that keeping secrets is the twin's specialty, but they are learning. It's harder for Missy. She simply must tell somebody.  She regularly says stuff like, "I make a prize for you. Brianna Grace help me. Shhhh not talk about it."

A huge package came from UPS addressed to me. It was a big mystery to all of us. Finally figured out that it was a gift for Missy from some charity program for foster kids. It's a pretty impressive. The big girls and I were exclaiming over it and all, but being really hush-hush. After Missy went downstairs  Buster came out and asked, "Is that a doll house for Missy?"

How did he figure that out? I put on my best stern face and said, "If you are going to talk like that you'll just have to go to bed and stay there until after Christmas!"

He laughed.

So now we are trying to figure out how he knew. Is it because the place it came from sounds like "doll house" or did someone speak too loudly?


did he hear me spell it and put the letters together?

The girls are like nah! 

I'm like, well, maybe he's actually really, really smart and he's just been wanting us all to think he's not. Whatever, it's a good thing Christmas is almost here, but I do hope another package arrives with the man in brown because I can't match that last gift!

Actually, we have decided that too many presents all at once would be overwhelming, overstimulating and a recipe for some behavior we'd like to avoid, so, starting Wednesday we are going to open up one package a day each.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Reining Her In

Yesterday Vanessa said, "When you discipline Missy it's like, WOW different kid!!"

It's true. She is responding to discipline.

Sometimes it's hard to know when to bring everything to a complete halt and zero in on the behavior. Other times it's obvious. Yesterday was one of those obvious times. Missy had been doing great... then little things started creeping in. An unkind word, a disrespectful look, a lie, an attitude, a manipulation here and there. I correct her. I deal with each one, but somehow she gets more and more bold. It becomes easier to disobey than to obey and by yesterday morning she was doing her thing with reckless abandon. I pulled her aside to talk to her and I let her know that her forewarned consequence of not singing with the other kindergartners on Christmas morning was no longer a warning but a reality. Practice was last night and it was clear to me that her heart was not in the right place. She was out of control and I couldn't trust her. (Besides the fact that she can't carry a tune in a bucket!!)

Well, she flipped her lid.

You would think I would be used to it by now, but it still absolutely makes me sick to see a person that out of control. She screamed, she yelled at me, she was horrible. I put her on the porch - gave her a hat, mitts, coat, boots, and wool blanket. She threw them on the ground. I stood out there and just waited. Her yelling turned to pleading but I made it absolutely clear that she had chosen the consequence by her disregard of my word.

The rest of the morning she was confined to sitting on a folded baby blanket at my feet. She's been very, very good since. It's almost like she's relieved to be reined in.

I wish I could figure out how to get that same effect without her blowing her top first.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Desire of Ages

I'm drawn to the book The Desire of Ages around Christmas every year. Obviously, a book on the life of Christ is not meant only for Christmas, but it is my favorite time to read it. It's funny how you get something different out of a book every time you study it based on the experiences you are facing at the moment. This year the book's message is coming at me from an angle different than usual. Rather than meditating how much God loves me, and all the blessings He offers me, etc... I am contemplating the themes from the perspective of one *"standing in the place of God to my children" needing to fully extend to them the same grace and love that flows from Him to me to them...

I've read chapter 1 four times already. Everybody should read it, but I'll just share a few points that have spoken to me.

~It will be seen that the glory shining in the face of Jesus is the glory of self-sacrificing love.
         - The law of self-renouncing love is the law of life.
         - That love "seeks not her own" .
         - It is the glory of our God to give.
         - Even the angels of glory find their joy in giving, - giving love and;
             tireless watchcare to souls that are fallen and unholy.

SIN originated in . . .


Lucifer was                                         Take note .....
   - desiring to be first                        {Me First Attitude}
   -  trying to gain CONTROL             {Control Issues}
   -  deceitful                                       {Lying}
   -  rebellious                                     {Rebellion}


The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God's government;
He desires only the service of love,
and love cannot be commanded; 
it cannot be won by force or authority.

~ ONLY by LOVE is love awakened.

To know God is to love Him.

The high and holy God became our servant. This was voluntary sacrifice. 
Or, as we like to say, Voluntary redemptive suffering.

~ Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves.
If you think it through, it's a lesson in parenting.

How should I deal with the sins reflective of Satan's character:

Me First attitude
Control Issues
and Rebellion?

The same way God, our Father, deals with mine. Not with force, but with self-sacrificing LOVE.
Not with what I deserve, but what He deserves.

I understand, it's not that consequences and discipline are out the door - on the contrary; We love our children so much we are compelled to allow them to suffer from the small, safe consequences that teach valuable lessons when they spurn the kindly admonition of their loving parents, but that's another study for another day.

* {Parents stand in the place of God to their children, and they will have to render an account, whether they have been faithful to the charge committed to their trust. FLB 269.8}

Church on Time

I can say we were at church on time.

I can't say we were all smiling and happy . . .

Some people, with all their dawdling,   ran out of time for breakfast. One kiddo was put in the car with her dress on backwards, one boy had no shoes on. This particular boy also had serious issues (control issues) with zippers and buttons. I wouldn't let him go up front for the children's story with his pants undone. . . and suddenly he knew how to do them up, but for good measure he had a crying fit after he buttoned up and he missed the story altogether.

Okay, so the goal this week is to get to church on time HAPPY!

That would include me. I was frustrated to no end with all the games calculated to make the family late. I was discouraged with all the crying and carrying on. I left the house for a walk... but it was too cold in my church clothes to go far, so I had to come home and listen to the nonsense.

Later the girls and I went to a Russian Christmas concert at the church. Missy wanted to go, but I was like, NOPE. Maybe if you would have been happy today I would have taken you. As it turned out, the music was gorgeous but I was SOOOO exhausted I could not enjoy. Found a corner to lay down and fell asleep immediately.

I'm still tired. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

In the Stable

 For unto us a child is born
Unto us a Son is given.

 It was the perfect evening.
Not too cold, clear skies, and enough snow to keep things from being muddy.

It's become a tradition.
Friends of ours, Tom and Cindy, sometimes invite people to sing
carols and read the Christmas story in their barn with them on Christmas Eve.
They have gorgeous, friendly hauflinger ponies that help to create the setting and it's always a pleasure. 

We are copy-cats, only we don't reserve the treat just for Xmas Eve. 
Tonight, our forewarned crew of supper guests came straight down to the barn for worship and singing and the reading of Luke chapter 2.

So,  I was thinking, 
maybe we should get a camel.

Our little menagerie of  ducks, rabbits, cats, etc... 
aren't the usual nativity creatures you would expect.

Christina did an excellent job of cleaning the barn ahead of time, 
spreading the straw around, 
stringing the lights and gathering the firewood.

 My what a feast we had tonight. Brianna made two apple pies and Mathew made two apple pies.
Brian brought d'anjou pears and Mathew brought Asian pears. 
We had soups and breads and cookies and salad,
not to mention all the hot drinks.

Our time of fellowship on Friday nights often evolve into a fun mess of one type or another
- evidence of occupied, happy little hands...

It's a good kind of mess.

PS... So tomorrow is the day.
I've been preparing Buster all week.
Tomorrow morning we get ready for church.
I'm praying. 
He says he's going to get ready right away - no fuss.
I'm also realizing tonight he got to bed a little later than I would like...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Best Day In Months

The twins were happy and contented, polite and thoughtful ALL DAY!

I complimented them several times on their good behavior and they smiled and carried on. It was almost like they were carrying a little secret around with them all day. I know the Lord is working in their lives. I pray every day that He will heal their hearts and minds.

I battled fatigue like you wouldn't believe all day. Brianna was sick a week ago and twice it has tried to get me, but I keep fighting it off. I've been making green drinks like they are going out of style and so far so good, but I'm bone weary. I dragged myself around and made gluten free lasagna and our regular vegan lasagna. Missy was extra pleased with the fact that you couldn't see the difference between the two. Even flavor-wise it was hard to tell which was which. I'm glad I could make her happy.

We roasted chestnuts for supper. Vanessa actually experimented and boiled half of them and roasted half of them in the oven. One is more moist than the other, but I'll eat them either way.

All 7 of us went to prayer meeting at Ken and Sandy's. The twins loved their birds. I enjoyed seeing all the nativity sets the girls helped them put up a few days ago. I guess she has over a hundred sets from all over the world. Buster's prayer at the meeting was precious. He wants desperately to do what is right. His understanding is growing. Intellectually, he gets it. He just gives in to the old distorted thoughts when things get hard - old patterns take over and leave him frustrated with himself and he gives up. Slowly but surely.... I'm so glad to see advancement.  Sorry to have to mention it, but this is huge for him; he actually used the bathroom at Ken and Sandy's tonight of his own accord. He didn't even cry.   You have no idea! This is monumental progress, people! Using a bathroom at home is one thing, using one at another house, or in a public building is quite another. Yes, I had to talk him through it, yes, he nearly used a *half* a roll of toilet paper, but he didn't shed a tear nor beg to run away from the task at hand.

Missy has backed off on control. She sees the little pile of presents growing under the tree. It has her full attention. There's no desire to rock the boat for the time being. I've been on top of every little control issue without fail for days and days like a determined old man after flies with a fly swatter.  I hate to have to be that vigilant, but with her - at her mental capacity right now, it's the only way she will learn and she is learning. She knows exactly what the consequence is when she has done something wrong and she now can verbalize what she has done wrong and what the consequence is. She still can't answer the question "why" in any shape or form.  Her animosity towards me is diminishing daily. If she does wrong she won't say grace or go to bed without first apologizing and doing her part to restore the relationship. It's wonderful.

Of course, I know that the peace we are enjoying could burst into chaos the day after Christmas, or even tomorrow, but I still think that what they learn today will make a difference in their future.

TO God Be the Glory. He has a plan for these kids.

The Morning Routine

Buster Brown balked the morning routine yesterday. Let's just say he was wearing clothes when he arrived at speech but lunch had to be served early... Today is another story. He's ready to leave for his therapy at the school 2 hours early!! 

Love it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

For Grandparents and Family Only...

This is a brag post intended for our interested relatives scattered far and wide.

 Vanessa's first ever quarter of traditional schooling was a total success and gives me reason to believe her homeschooling was a success also.

Her grades are in and we are pretty proud!


English Composition  A
Algebra                       A
Medical Terminology A
Piano                          A

Her GPA is a 4.0!!

She says her goal is always 100% her best efforts.

It's obvious that Jesus is Lord of her life. It shows in her attitudes, disposition and passions.

She has gotten extremely organized about her studies, and usually studies at the library until all her homework is done so that all she needs to do when she comes home is practice her music and enjoy home life. She's a great help around here with cooking, laundry, cleaning and helping with the twins. Did I mention laundry?
What would we do without her?

Sometimes she's even a little goofy!

But that's the way we like her.

Of course, she never knew this would make it to the blog. She was just posing to please her little sister...

Crazy Busy

We were up at 5:30 rushing around to be on the road by 6:15. Kristen and McKenzie, the twins and I headed to far away city for our appointments with Dr. Wylie. The fog was thick as soup and temperature ranged from 36 at home to 26 to 50 degrees. The ice would build up on the car and the next thing you know it was as balmy as spring.  I enjoyed visiting with Kristen very much and she knows the way better than I do. She even showed me a great big health food store near the doctor's office where I stocked up on gluten free spaghetti and noodles.

I had a final J2B meeting last night that was still going at 10 pm when I left. The phone rang at 5:30 this amasking Steve to come into the hospital immediately because the ER was backed up. I'm trying to motivate 2 tired children to get a move on so we can be at speech this morning dressed...

I have to say the twins did great on the trip. It's LONG.  Because we left before our usual morning routine I wondered what they would do when their body functions would be calling. Missy was right on schedule and used the bathroom on her own at the office and asked for water on her own. Buster asked us to stop at a rest area 'cause he had to go!! But of course, inside the public bathroom he nearly had a mental breakdown crying that he couldn't. He did not scream but he was in serious distress. He can hardly relax enough at home when life is busy, and a public restroom ?? Horrors.... I stood by him and encouraged him and while I was strongly tempted to pack him back into the car and wait until home I knew he could be very uncomfortable and maybe sick over it. I decided to use the opportunity to help him see that he would not die if he actually did the job. He's starting to realize that when I say I will wait until he does what I ask that I will do just that. He had victory in the bathroom and then he asked for water to drink, which was awesome.

The girls had Dakota over while we were away. They made bagels and Christmas cards for the orphans we sponsor and the ones the church sponsors then they went sledding.  

The sun is shining. Oh happy day.

And my  mom is on her way home from Africa after 9 months!!! My dad isn't sure he'll recognize her at the airport.  NOT to worry, there's only ONE of her.

THANKS for the gift suggestions. It's got me thinking... and looking online.

And the pencils are definitely Steadtler graphite pencils.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My Predicament

It's two weeks till Christmas.

I have no time for shopping.

And I only have gifts for the twins under my bed.

I asked Brianna what she wanted for Christmas this morning. She got all serious and said there was one thing she really, really wanted and that it was something she would definitely use. I got all excited. At last a glimmer of hope!!

And then she asked
for A pencil.

YUP. That's my girl.

She said she already had two but she was quickly wearing them out and it would be really, really nice to have a new one.

And how did she manage to nearly wear out two pencils?
In this computer age it certainly isn't from doing school work. 

Nope. Definitely not from writing...

Practice Run #1

Our Verse of the week:

Psalm 100:4

  Enter his gates with thanksgiving
   and his courts with praise;
   give thanks to him and praise his name.

This morning was smooth and predicable.

Of course.

We are not really going to church this morning.

I also switched Buster Brown's schedule around. The things he hates to do I put first, (except to brush his teeth) and the things he wants most near the end.  Food is a pretty big motivator.  I also told the kiddo that if he wants to go to church in his pj's he has my permission, but of course the schedule says he must get dressed before he eats, so unless he decides he is not hungry ...

So we shaved an hour  off his time yesterday. He can still do better than that. He wasted plenty of time trying to figure out ways to avoid things without missing breakfast when the "restaurant" closed. In the nick of time he decided to get with the program.

Now on to the restitution... Which he has a really good attitude about.

Took this picture the other day... he is fully dressed today and he's doing dishes for Christina.

We were the recipients of 16 inches of snow last evening
and then it started to rain. It's still raining.

The task Buster chose to do for Vanessa was to clean off her car.
It's a much coveted job.
I helped him with the roof.

But as you can see, the car isn't going anywhere. 
There's that much snow behind it  and for the next half a mile. 
Our helpful neighbor is busy plowing
but we are the furthest house with the longest drive on his route.
It will be awhile before he manages to come up here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Late for Church AGAIN!

It took me 3 hours and 8 minutes to get Buster ready for church. I'll spare you the details... the battles, the screaming. Every Sabbath is the same scenario. It isn't because he doesn't like church. He loves it. There is not a single motive I can pin on him for the trial EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK  except that he is incredibly successful at controlling if we get to church on time or not.

I declare war.

Every morning this coming week we are going to pretend we are going to church and I am going to time him and he will dress in church clothes - right down to the church shoes. He will do everything he has to do to prepare for going to church; EVERYTHING.

He also will make restitution to each family member this week for making them late again. We've lined up several jobs for him already.

I don't know what to do really. I've taken him to church in his pajamas before and had him sit in the car where he proceeded to pee multiple times in his car seat even though he could have told me he needed to use the potty. I was right there. I've hiked him some Sabbaths up to 7 hours. I've kept him home. I've done everything I know and he still makes us late or I don't get to go at all. I've had it. My whole focus is going to be getting ready for church this week.

Friday, December 10, 2010

School and All That

This week I've been thinking about all the stuff the twins are suppose to be learning and how they will be tested in February and their IEP's redone and how that is going to reflect on this mother who insisted, foster kids or not, they had to be homeschooled, and what a pickle I am in because I can hardly teach them for all the time it takes to train them..... In other words I've been worrying.  Not good.

The PT gal randomly decided to test their knowledge of the alphabet and it's sounds. Buster missed three.  I wasn't surprised. He is doing well with reading small, short vowel sound words. Everytime I have worked with Missy though, she lead me to believe she only knew the names of a couple letters. She wouldn't try. She turns this kind of thing into a complete power struggle type situation. You can imagine my surprise when she knew most of the letter names and even a handful of sounds. She's brighter than she would like me to think. I went ahead and did the same test  with her and she did even better for me than she did for the teacher - well, half way through she pulled an interesting stunt designed to sidetrack me, etc... but after her consequence of hiking down the road with me singing Christmas carols at the top of my lungs in the pouring rain and pitch darkness, she decided to comply and finish the test.

Vanessa's classes are done for this quarter so she has made an OT kind of exercise course to run the twins through every day. They are having a blast. Vanessa is a good teacher. She's reading them nature books as well.

Brianna decided to teach Buster geography. Today out of the blue he brought me the globe and pointed out different countries and the South Pole, etc...

Thank you, LORD! They are learning, after all.

The gal that had said she would teach Buster to read decided she can't for many reasons. She suggested I send him to school. In all my life I have never been wishing so hard that I could. I was homeschooled. I never once questioned our choice to homeschool our girls, but this is different. However, I can't send him. The first and foremost reason right now is that we are still in the attaching process and it wouldn't be good for him, and then there are all the other reasons that kept me from sending my three girls to school until college.

I just have to hang on to the fact that they are learning in their own way even when they would like me to think otherwise. When I actually sit down to look at the IEP goals that were listed last February for this year I realize we have nearly met every goal.

Potty trained - check
colors - check
shapes - check
speech improvements - check
alphabet - check
listening skill improvement - check
observation skill improvement - check
numbers - check
writing - almost a check


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Foster Care Classes

I spent a couple hours taking some online foster-care classes today. I thought we'd be through this stage of the game and wouldn't need to have those hours under my belt to keep up the license, but I was wrong. I need 12 hours in the next couple weeks.

The speaker I was listening to was interesting. His style matches ours in many ways so it was affirming. He's been a therapeutic foster parent for 30 years. I learned a lot.  One lecture was on de-escalating tantrums and rages. He said the first thing you do is get their biggest muscles moving (thigh muscles) to make use of the adrenaline....  Check! That's exactly what we do. Our mountain has been very good for that~!!

He talked about letting the kids know that you do take their nonsense personally. First off, they need to know that you care, and they need to know that what they are doing is wrong. It hurts people and they need to make amends. So, if Jack hits Sally then Jack needs to know that you, Sally's mom is very hurt by that. He then needs to do some extra work for you to make you feel better (and I would add make restitution with his sister, as well.)  He totally recommended giving the kids work as consequences for a lot of reasons.

Me, oh, my, we had opportunity to try out every single suggestion this evening.... Both children had a bag full of tricks tonight. Steve says he's proud of me for being intuitive enough to understand exactly what they are up to. He's not sure he could have figured it out. We did a lot of work  around here and when it was all done and we still had stuff going on we hiked in the rain, and in the dark. Missy is promising with great pathos to be on her best behavior tomorrow. LOL. Poor little girl. She cannot NOT be naughty if she tried. I keep trying to impressed that upon her. She needs Jesus' new heart. All her promises are as ropes of sand...

Well, she's not alone, there are a few of us in this world whose experience mirrors that... The difference is that she STILL THINKS she can be good all by herself. How disappointing to blow it every  day.

Before the Rain Melts Everything....

I have to post a picture of Missy's snowman. Vanessa helped her, but Missy worked hard and she slept well last night. Can't say so much for her brother... so he's learning to appreciate some forced outdoor time. Hoping he sleeps tonight.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Will Save Thy Children

I'm sensing a change. It's minute to be sure, but it's real.

I see a slight development in Missy's attachment to me. Have you ever tried growing cactus plants? It seems like nothing is happening f.o.r.e.v.e.r and suddenly there's this new little protuberance. I see it. Something is different. We could probably go on all night with interesting analogies between the cactus and Missy....   I could easily come up with a parallel to the cacti's lovely spines and bristles.... but, we'll not go there. :-)

Missy is no longer trying to completely sabotage the relationship between us. She's ever so slightly becoming more comfortable with me being her mommy. She's still bossy, she still is controlling, she still lies in an attempt to manipulate her way through life, but she is only going so far...

She enjoyed her day today. I told her that if she could stay cheerful  into the evening Daddy would probably invite her to go with him and the girls to prayer meeting. Prayer meeting was to be at Ken and Sandy's house and Sandy was anxious to have the children meet her parrots. I knew Buster Brown hadn't a chance in the world of getting there. He's WAY over tired and cranky (but won't sleep). Anyway, I told Missy if you do not dissolve into screaming for some unknown reason, I'll let you go.

There was a cup with laundry soap in the bathroom just sitting on the counter. Unusual, but whatever. Missy asked what it was. I said, "It is special soap, BUT DO NOT TOUCH IT."  I moved it to the back of the counter to eliminate temptation. I could just feel my hands burn at the thought of using the powder for washing and I didn't want her trying it.  I repeated, "DO NOT TOUCH IT!" And then I asked her to reiterate what I had asked to be sure she understood. She did. There was plenty of other soap available.

Not ten minutes later I caught her with the cup in her hand and soap all over the sink. I asked what she was doing.  Even as she tried to explain why she NEEDED to use that soap she knew her goose was cooked. She had disobeyed explicit instruction and her first thought was "OH NO! Now she's not going to let me go", and she started crying loudly. I told her I was sad she had disobeyed, but I didn't know if that should keep her from going, I hadn't really thought about what a consequence should be...  She was mad she was caught and convinced herself that I wouldn't let her go and the crying escalated to screaming and yelling some command to me asking dad if she could go. She's hard to understand and I asked her to repeat herself probably 10 times and I'm still not sure what she said, but it served to bring the decibels down.

She threw herself on my shoulder and wailed her heart out. It felt different. She wasn't trying to hurt me, she didn't despise me, I didn't sense hate in her. I have noticed that more and more. What I felt was her keen disappointment and great sorrow at having blown it. I told her that I was sticking to my word. Screaming is what sealed her doom.  She had been forewarned.

She put her pajamas on and cuddled in my lap in the lazy boy in my room. I opened my Bible looking for a token of God's encouragement that we will see the other side of these tempestuous storms some day... and I found myself in Isaiah 49: 16, 24, 25

I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands;
thy walls are continually before me.

Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?

But thus saith the Lord, 
Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, 
and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered; 
for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, 
and I will save thy children.

There is a contender out there that holds captive the thoughts and motives of these children...
God promises he will fight and save them from utter ruin and destruction.

Wherever I look in scripture I see a reoccurring theme;

The wages of sin is death,
but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
Romans 6:23 

Even the kids' current memory verse expresses the same thought, but in a different way.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: 
for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap. 
Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; 
whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Galatians 6:7,8
The distorted thoughts,
the lies they tell themselves
about themselves,
the insanity of their reactions,
their struggle for control,
the selfishness

it all holds them captive.

has promised to save our children.
May He give me strength to do my part to bring about the change and healing so necessary.

Just Be Happy

Buster Brown woke up on the wrong side of the bed... whoa, did he ever!!! It started with him refusing to eat breakfast cause he had a problem with the menu - both menus that were offered him. It spiraled down from there.  I used my best encouragement and mommy techniques to no avail. He was going to be crabby that was that. He was NOT going to do anything period.

Steve came home in the nick of time and put into gear his best Daddy techniques and he managed to get him to comply with a few necessary requests and get him off to speech.

Steve came in the kitchen put his arms around me and said, "It takes the two of us to manage these kids."Being totally exhausted from the long morning I burst into tears.  I had just been thinking as I guided Missy through her morning chores, "It's just crazy the amount of words I have to use as I walk on eggshells trying to get this kid through her morning in one piece."

I gathered myself together and headed to help Missy in the bathroom where she confronted me with, "Mommy, why you crying?"

"Because you and Buster are hard kids. When you need to do something I have to talk, and talk, and talk, and talk and maybe you will obey, and maybe you won't. I get tired. If I tell the other girls to do something they do it right away, but not you. I have to work really hard to get you to obey and to do what is right."

"Pooooor Mommy!"

LOL! Thank you, child. I am glad you recognize that I have feelings, too.

When the twins were done at speech I had Vanessa drop me off at the school and then I had her leave without me. We've been having sleep issues, bowel issues, attitude issues, etc... and the only way we were going to be able to get home was to walk. I think it's a couple miles - not more than three anyway. We enjoyed the sunshine and the twins were actually okay with the idea of walking home. They had no choice. They certainly needed the exercise.  Buster started having serious problems - he's been witholding for several days and I have upped the miralax, the flax, the green drinks, the homemade carrot juice, the prune juice, the water intake and even given him slippery elm. It was all finally starting to work. Yippee - except that there aren't many toilets between the school and here. We found one outhouse. He threw both fists in the air and yelled, "Great! Perfect!"

I wish he were still saying that.

He's not thrilled that he is having to repeatedly go to the bathroom and he blames me for all the "medicine" I gave him.

A friend posted this on facebook and the girls and I had a great laugh... If we could all be so happy!

Living Faith

We are playing catch-up big time around here and we received another dump of snow so don't really have time for "chatting" on my blog but I did want to share the quote that I've been meditating on. I think I may have posted it before, though I sadly fall short of living the reality of the truth expressed but "I press towards the mark of the high calling of God..."

The Father's presence encircled Christ, 
and nothing befell Him but that which infinite love permitted for the blessing of the world. 
Here was His source of comfort, 
and it is for us
He who is imbued with the Spirit of Christ abides in Christ. 
The blow that is aimed at him falls upon the Savior who surrounds him with His presence. 
Whatever comes to him comes from Christ. 
He has no need to resist evil, for Christ is his defense. 
Nothing can touch him except by our Lord's permission, 
and "all things" that are permitted "work together for good to them that love God." 

{Romans 8:28} Mount of Blessings, pg 71

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Audio for Naughty Heart, Clean Heart

Well, I never was able to find Mrs. Davis the author of the little book I would like to reprint.


I found an audio online.

It's done by Uncle Dan and Aunt Sue from Your Story Hour!


The story can be found here: Naughty Heart, Clean Heart

It doesn't include the songs, though, and they are a precious part of the book.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas. Only a Hippopotamus Will do....

I'm amazed. Three late nights in a row and yet the twins have been playing happily all day  - together!

It's wonderful.

I'm here to say picking a gigantic Christmas tree is not a good idea.
Ours is already dead.
In fact
it dropped half it's needles on the livingroom floor
and posed itself a fire hazard.
Apparently we simply could not keep up with it's water demands...  and it was one of those kinds that didn't love it's needles enough to hang on to them.

We put up a new one today. It's not near as astounding, or exciting as the old one. It looks like everybody else's. I bought it at Home Depot. There's room in the living room for a couch and thus we can once again invite people into our house. The twins have enjoyed decorating it. There was quite a bit of drama involved in taking the first one out... but they are happy with the new one now.

Pray tell, would anyone have a clue as to why Christina has been researching camels and measuring the barn today?

Thirteen year olds are so confusing. Sometimes they seem so grown up and capable - like when I saw her working the town Bethlehem, but other times they are just plain illogical and silly.

A camel?


Lily's a cutie, I mean, just look at those eyelashes... but hey, everybody knows cute babies grow up and this baby is already 5 foot 6 inches!!

I'm not saying a word. I'll enjoy watching her work her dad over and let you know if anything funny happens. If the project does go ahead and buy the camel... I'm thinking  there should be SEVERAL other people really excited about having a live camel in their backyard. Probably someone with a bigger barn than we have, we wouldn't even have a chance in the competition, would we?

Anyway, I've always been afraid of camels.
I've heard they can spit stinky green slime right on target.

 ~~~ I'm off singing,
"I want a hippopotamus for Christmas.
Only a hippopotamus will do....
No crocodiles,
no rhinoceroses,
I only like
And hippopotamuses like me, TOO!!"

Think if I sing loud enough she'll get the hint??

PS. Someone from Kuwait has been reading my blog today. I'm hazarding a guess that we've been talking camels way too much lately.

Over Three Thousand, Five Hundred People Total....

Fay said she woke up feeling like she'd been trampled by a thousand camels after the first night.... wonder how she's feeling this morning after the third night?

We couldn't wake up.

Finally the twins were crawling all over our bed and we came around.

Our music went well last night. We pulled together some girls and practiced for a couple hours before the program and they pulled off a really fun rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus as well as some other Handel's Messiah and some classic Christmas pieces.  They did a fabulous job and people were appreciative. I had to give up two girls to go sing by the manger, though - so you will be amazed that we only had 6 girls!  One guy immediately put out a call to some folks he knows at 3ABN.We've been asked to sing there before, but carting our choir out there for recording would have been quite a logistical nightmare when the kids were younger.

The main children's choir program went great like the 2 nights before. Dakota is my amazing 14 year old pianist. These three concerts were her first real concerts as pianist. She did WONDERFUL. We used the harp, handbells, and a few rhythm instruments, McKenzie is our main speaker, but several of the kids had script parts.... and then there are the candle girls; cute little things, but not necessarily good at remembering to do what we planned!

The original plan was for the manger scene to be meditative and contemplative. In other words quiet, but somehow the silence was anti-climatic. Christina, right from the start, asked for permission to sing Mary Did You Know? for the groups she helped to guide. It came off beautifully and really pulled it together. Music has a way of reaching in and snagging the heart and driving home the message, so finally on the last day the top organizers decided that they needed her to sing by the manger for all the groups. There was no way Steve could guide without her, though, and a replacement assistant would never do because Christina had taken on major sections of his script. I decided to give up Brianna and Hannah and they went out and sang by the manger most of the evening. Eventually Vanessa and Emily relieved the frozen girls. That song was the icing on the cake. The catalyst that put the mist in the eyes.

I'm heading out to help Becky pack away the Bethlehem paraphernalia. I think it might be a really big job.

 Isabelle and Delano

 McKenzie and Dakota
 Ellicia and Emily



Sunday, December 5, 2010

One More Night

We started earlier and went later.... Everything went so much smoother!!! We had much better crowd control and it felt like we had less people, not more, but we had more.

The camel is a hit. Lily is 9 months old and stands 5'6" and is charming everyone.

I'm busy working on my program for tonight. There were  a few who felt we needed "more exciting" stuff and they ran with that for a bit, but I believe with all my heart that we are not merely entertaining....  We are presenting CHRIST. The music must reflect that. If we are entertaining only, I'm in the wrong place.... and so, I have to hold on and be prepared. . . God will have to bless the rest.

I had a babysitter last night. That made life much more manageable for me. The twins were out of sorts and naughty yesterday morning. Hopefully today they can keep it together a little better.

Friday, December 3, 2010

J2B Update

We opened the doors at 6:30.... and more than twelve hundred people flocked in. And then we had to turnaway a few hundred. The church was full, including the balcony, the overflow rooms, the mother's room, and the foyer was jam packed.

Everything was AWESOME, but the crowds exceeded our maximum expectations.

We're totally whipped tonight!!!

Frosty Mysteries

It's that kind of day out there and Brianna is good at capturing the details.

Don't you love it?

I really don't have time to play around with pictures and the computer...
But I'm kind of in between being ready,
and jumping the gun,
so I'm sitting here  getting 
nervous while Steve continues to practice his lines in the bathroom mirror...
you ought to see his beard... LOL!

Brianna and I are so excited to find that the college is offering  a photography class in February. 
We're pretty hyped to learn how to use this camera better.

PS. It was only a dream.
Missy is in time out.