Friday, March 30, 2012

Four Days

It's good to have Daddy home for four whole days. It's still spring break for the big girls and so he took a few days off. This has been a tremendous blessing in keeping the twins regulated. It's also very nice to get a few projects about the place worked on!!

 Between rain storms...

 He's proud of that hard hat.
 *Pretending* to drink her "chocolate" shake...
There was a lot of "chocolate" everything being offered for treats.

No weeds! Black barrier cloth and gravel to make everything look clean and tidy.

What it looks like when you serve up lunch around here....
Garden greens, roasted potatoes, and hearty soup

Hard work encourages healthy appetites.
There wasn't a lick of it wasted.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

It's Spring

My dad notices if I miss posting two days in a row...

People start thinking things are really bad with the twins, or nothing is happening, but actually, the twins are doing well and it's spring break and time to plant seeds :-)

Yesterday we got the water going in the greenhouse so I don't have to water by hand anymore. Steve fixed the hinge on the door and today we are making some improvements on the inside so that the water doesn't just run down the aisle.  We pulled weeds and planted a few rows of greens outside. Steve had his chainsaw out and was whacking and hacking at the shrubbery around the house.

Today we are having rain and we plan to have a bon fire.

We are on the verge of being a tad late, but green drinks and juicing is the latest and greatest fad around here. Everybody is concerned about their health and their size and the nutrition content of their food, so we are planing and planting hoping to provide healthy, live greens for these people as well as ourselves... and maybe we'll even cover the costs of this year's seeds. We've never been so gung ho about gardening in March before... We'll see how that works out.

Like I mentioned, the twins are doing fairly good. James especially. Missy is pitching mini-fits over not getting her way, but mostly there's enough going on she doesn't want to miss out on that she's trying. Today she was almost late for school again. Pitching fits over what she had to wear. It didn't matter what which outfit, she just didn't want Christina suggesting them. She had made all the other days on time. Last week was so awful she was late every day!! I wrote a note for her teacher on Friday and had Missy deliver it and the teacher told Missy that she could NOT be late Monday. It worked. She wasn't late Tuesday and Wednesday either.

I went to a RAD support group and I was the only one who showed up. Oh well.

Oh, and one more thing... the Pediatrician and her nurse (friend Kristen) are working so very, very hard to get us the right appointment with the RIGHT person and not the guy around here that pushes meds without thinking and makes things worse. Very difficult because he's the top man who everybody "has to go through".

Monday, March 26, 2012

Piano Man

We start them young here....

Little Buddy's visits with his parents haven't been much of a priority with them.
We have had one cancellation after another.

His favorite thing is his ball.
He throws it to me with one hand
and catches it with his whole body and then he cheers like nobody's business!
He's walking everywhere.
{ Crawling is for babies.}
He's a little unsteady and he's got bruises to prove it,
but it doesn't slow him down.

He's the cutest cuddler in town!
We're all rather smitten :-)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Victory

It's been a whole week of perfectly normal and healthy behavior from this guy.
He's happy. He's busy. He's willing to help and even offering to help.
Homeschool is going well, even.

He's had opportunity to fall apart. 
Today the dreaded helicopter subject came up and I told him
I was not prepared to deal with the trials associated with that toy,
and he was NOT happy.
I could tell he was very tempted to just cut loose...
He was just THAT close!!!

he made the decision to stay calm, and he chose to work with me.
We were able to talk about it and then be a little silly and distract his mind for obsessing over it
and that was it.
It was over.

Later I brought it up again and told him how proud I was of him
and then when dad got home
he told dad all about it.

I had to run some errands so I took him with me and treated him to Taco Bell,
took him to the farm supply and he selected the items
needed for his new venture in chicken farming. 
The chicks are on order and due to arrive in a few weeks.
He's pleased as punch.

Bri was in the photography mood and she shot some really neat pictures of James.
I'll only steal one because it illustrates his happiness,
but she is laboriously working on a blog post and will post more there.
He's actually jumping on the trampoline and not hanging from the zip line as it appears.

Wish I could show you the Buddy's cute pictures!!!

Missy is not featured in any pictures today.

Tomorrow will mark a week of solid misery.

Her world has been parred down to the absolute minimum.
She has been tied pretty close to me - to the point of sitting by the bathroom
door while I shower. 
I can't trust her for a second.
I did send her to play in her room by herself for awhile
and I left her with the girls while I ran errands,
but she isn't free to roam and do as she wishes at all because everything turns to chaos,
except she is pretty sweet to the Buddy.
She talks to herself constant
and her imaginative conversations say more than she would ever tell me.
She thinks about what I say.
I was doing something on my bed while she rolled around on my bedroom floor...
the whole time she had this conversation with an imaginary cousin about how to behave
and what to do, and choices, and asking for help, and how she didn't want to be naughty
anymore, and all that...Very revealing!
BUT it's all talk.

Tonight she was upset about something once again
and I told her I was sorry she was sad and opened my arms to give her a hug and 
she rammed me with her head so hard my chest might hurt for awhile.
We did use the timer this morning and that was pretty close to successful.

I just can't wait for this awful dive to make a turn around.

That's the way it is....
We fly high
and we spiral down
and nothing in particular seems
to influence these moods one way or the other.

It's taking great effort on the part of everyone to think of positive things to say to the child.
She would elicit all negative comments if she could.
We start to feel like we are picking on her because it's one thing after another seconds apart.

We loved the sunshine and 60 degree weather today.
It's suppose to rain for the rest of the week.

Friday, March 23, 2012

No Excuse

I agree that there is never an excuse for sin.


When does the sin become MY sin?

If we are dealing with an intellectual disability, and we are, then it is possible that I could expect more of the kiddo than she is able if I can't figure out where the line is. Right?

What is disobedience and what is incapacity to following through????

How do you figure out what is defiance and what is plain frustration at not being able without a ton of support???

For example, if you have an 8 year old who has NO concept of time, and I do, it is possible to cross the line in expecting her to hurry when she has nothing to go by... but she is also quite capable of drawing out a process to take FOREVER just to be ornery and so I struggle to understand the balance.

I spent an hour with the pediatrician yesterday. I needed to know that I am not the crazy one.


One another note;

I am heartsick at the little Buddy's family's most recent actions. Don't they understand what an incredibly  precious treasure he is? Obviously, they are NOT thinking.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Some Things I Need to Know

I need to know where the  intellectual disability ends

and the naughtiness begins....

I need to know where the trust issues start....

and where mental illness takes over.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


We are so sick!!! The girls and I. Hoping to get better enough before the little ones start throwing up. Ah! What we have to look forward to!!!!!

Paperbag Floor

I'm up to my elbows in Elmers glue and torn up paper bags.

I saw this on pinterest and I'm hoping it's a solution to my floor problem. I have hated the flooring in here since I moved in 10 years ago. We can't really afford to replace it. . . .

Rather than rip up the flooring and find that it isn't going to work for me, I started on the shelves in the pantry. Here's a sneak peek. The lighting at the back of the closet makes it appear that the coloring is uneven, but that is not the case.

What do you think?

I can stain it different shades if I prefer it darker.

This is where I get my instructions: {Joyfolie}

Monday, March 19, 2012

And Today She Flies Off the Handle

If you can get one calmed down and restored to decency.... 
the potential for the other to do a repeat performance is especially high,

when you have twins.

**** She didn't like what was being served for lunch.****

Let's just say
it was the straw that broke the camel's back.

I took drastic measures...


I've been on the phone.
And we have appointments.

Four of them.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

For No Good Reason At All

He completely lost his head and became violent and destructive and screamed horrid words aimed at me.

We had had a good morning.

First we worked on Psalm 34. He did super well and learned verse 10 and 11 lickity split.
Then he recited another verse for Acts chapter one. He was excited about it.

His chart was sporting three new stickers and so I paid him accordingly and he willingly paid me for a tantrum from the other day.

We worked on his addition facts. We made it fun. Can't say we made any progress, but trying is what counts.

Next he wanted to learn another handful of names for the books of the Bible. He is doing well with it, so I added it to the chart as a very doable goal to reach.

I read him a book on rivers. It explored the various creatures who depend on the river and what time of day you might see them there. Lovely book. We both enjoyed it.

Then out of the blue he suggested that maybe he was finally ready to play nicely with his remote control helicopter that he got for Christmas. He has had few opportunities to play with it because of his impatience with waiting for batteries to charge. What a disaster that gift has been!! I talked to him and told him that I thought he could handle it if he wanted to bad enough, but that I was limiting it to one charge of batteries and his reaction and action when the battery died would suggest how long it would be before he would ever get another chance at it. I went and plugged it in to charge up. Instantly I sensed the infatuation of the helicopter take over.

I gently guided him away and told him it was dead and needed to charge. He hadn't read his book to me yet, so we got started. he has been really enjoying this part of our day but after a few pages he shut the book and told me he was done. I had noticed that he chose the easiest book in the pile. A Dick and Jame book.

"Oh, not yet! You've only just begun."

And then the tears started.

I was surprised. We were having such a great cooperation between the two of us. Things have been so good. I asked him to stop crying. I reminded him to ask for help from above and then I told him to get up and walk around, grab a breath of fresh air and then we would read more.

He went outside and completely came unglued.


He slammed doors, kicked the car, threw large stones at the house, threw his watering can down the road, tore up my flower hanger (no flowers in it) and screamed hurtful words at me.

But an interesting thing, he never touched "his" flowers. The pot was by his feet. He never hurt them - he was in control of his out of control-ness, if you understand. He screamed and writhed out of control, but he CHOSE what he would hurt and what he would not hurt. He chose to try and hurt me directly and indirectly. He said things like, "I don't want to work with you, you stupid, idiot mom."

It went on for quite awhile. There is not much I can do to stop a tirade once it gets started, I only have  my last resort. This was so totally out of the blue. I wasn't ready for it.  When he stopped I went out and talked to him. I asked him to acknowledge the things he had done. Then I asked him to repeat the things he had called me - and when he did I just told him I loved him. And I cried. I pointed out that no one had done anything to hurt him. Nothing unhappy had happened to offend him. He had good things coming his way with patience. We had had a good time together and there was NO REASON for the outburst. He simply had chosen to go crazy and become mentally unstable. He wanted what he wanted and when he didn't get it the instant he wanted it he chose to go nuts. I did not go into specific details. Instead I fed him lunch and then we talked some more.... rather I drilled him on what he thought the specific thing was that gave him reason to lose his self-respect. He did not want to tell me. I asked 500 times {give or take a few :-). He gave 499 nonsense answers. I refuse to allow him to not acknowledge that the weight of his actions rested squarely on his own shoulders. Finally he admitted he wanted that helicopter, and he wanted it now!

I reminded him of the consequence of his actions. A meeting with dad, an afternoon of pothole filling, he would pay me a dollar, and I let him know the helicopter was put away.  He's mad about filling potholes. He's wet his pants and hid behind the barn and twiddled with handfuls of gravel. Whatever. Tomorrow is another day as good as today for potholes.

Someone will surely say, "the poor child couldn't handle the good relationship and the peaceful time. He had to push you away because he's afraid of getting too close." Or, someone else will say, "His past makes him want to destroy his future. He can't handle success." Or "He is so used to the chaos of his past that he needs to create the environment he is most comfortable in", or whatever else.

BUT listen, it is none of those things. His will was crossed and he didn't get his way instantly therefore he took that as an excuse to be angry and hurtful and disrespectful and to destroy. It's less about RAD than it is about selfishness and impatience and anger - to put it bluntly, it's about his carnal nature.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Open Our Eyes to See...

This world is a sad place.

As a result of a series of miscommunications between the little buddy's two sets of grandparents we ended up with his siblings for a little while this evening. Oh!!! the evidence of the emotional trauma the family is suffering right now. It's not evident in a baby, but it's absolutely stark in an 8 year old. She was incredibly stressed and crying, but desperately embarrassed to be crying in front of us... She mostly wore her hat down over her eyes as her protection. The buddy's brother seemed kind of in a daze or a fog. Both were so very uncomfortable with the situation. Later I spoke on the phone with one of the grandmothers and she said she would like the kids to get to know us more so that when these unforeseeable situations happen, the children would have somewhere to go where they are comfortable. She was very concerned about the oldest child's stress level, or ability to handle stress in general.

We met the other grandparents when they came to pick up the children. Just your normal, every day couple still in shock over the whole family situation. As she said to me, "We never dreamed of anything like this happening to any of our children!!" Grandma is a teacher,  but I didn't catch what he does.

The little Buddy put on a real show for his grandparents. What a little ham!! He was definitely playing up to all the attention.

We've redoubled our prayers for the family this week. So much at stake in the decisions and steps being taken right now.

This foster care adventure is a real education for our family! To be face to face with such need and troubles in seemingly average and professed christian families.... wow! so eye opening. Wrings your heart out to see the pain in a little girl's eyes and makes you pray all the more that everything will pull together to put the security of their family back in place for those kids.

The Latest Word in Foster Care

I received a heads-up phone call during supper last night from 
little Buddy's social worker that there is a new positive development in the family. 
This could mean a sooner than expected reunification. 
It may take up to 4 weeks for us to really know. 
We're set to enjoy him as much as we can in the next few weeks. 
He is such a delightful little guy. 
So glad he is feeling so much better, too!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

One Man's Trash . . .

 . . . . . is this boy's treasure.

He has an eye for the unusual.
Perhaps he'll be an antique dealer.
When he found this old rusted out pail on the mountain 
he immediately decided it would be a flower pot.
He's so very proud of his flowers he nearly drowned them
with watering them every thirty minutes.
 It was such a wonderful day for working in the greenhouse.
We planted all our tomato seeds. 
As you can see I have dug up most of the salad plants that
provided our greens all winter.
All new seedlings have been planted on the right.

"Please Help Me!"

Psalm 34 is praise to our Maker, 
but it also gives insight and instruction to those in time of need.  
As we've been memorizing the chapter we've talked about it a lot. 

A lot,
a lot!

What do you do when you want to blow up, 
when you want to scream,
when life is overwhelming 
or you just want to cry?

James is working on verse 10 
and so he's had time to digest verse 4
and verse 6 and 7.

"I sought the Lord 
and He heard me
and delivered me from all my fears.

This poor man cried and the Lord heard him,
and saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the Lord encampeth round about him 
that fear Him
and DELIVERETH them."

 When in danger of losing control
it boils down to a simple plea;

"Please help me!"

And that's all you have to remember.

and HE will deliver.

Unfortunately, too often,
lack of desire for real help and pride stand in the way
of actually asking with one's heart.

And I get frustrated that the kid who knows it in theory won't
ask when he most needs to.

 He had hoped I wouldn't notice that he skipped a chore. 
He was actually more than sure he had gotten away with it,
 because I had asked him to get in the car 
and buckle up....
but then I remembered to ask....
For whatever reason
he lied outright.
It's his typical response but it never ceases to amaze me how I am still  affected by a lie.
I don't know if I would call it hurt 
as I know they lie and it's not about me... but intense feelings bubble up inside anyway
[ I have this blasted strong sense of justice that is so not helpful sometimes ]
and I feel a huge need to shut the door 
and just walk away into the sunshine and not look back.

Only I can't.

We're going to be late for school, the child needs to be dealt with, 
the chore needs to be followed through,
the disciple - ing  needs to happen right now,
~the lessons brought home.

We're now standing on the porch and he's standing with his hand on the door handle,
his feet shuffling to remove his boots
and he's wailing loudly that he doesn't WANT TO.
I'm standing two feet away looking at him
completely overwhelmed with the feelings of 
wanting to force him
wanting him to "get" the stupidity of it all
wanting to bop him in the nose to stop all the noise

Knowing full well
none of it will help a wit,
so I stand silent.
Wishing that he would ask God for help to change his heart
but understanding that saying anything is totally useless right now.
{ He's been reminded that a full-on tantrum will cost him a dollar,
so he's not crossing over into an out-of-mind experience... }

What to do?

Well, duh!
Do what I wish he would do.
Show him how...

I turn away and face away towards to sunny spring sky...
and out loud I plead:

"Lord, please help me. Show me what to do."

And suddenly I feel I need to turn and ask him to stop saying,
"I don't want to".
And ask him to say, "Yes Mom"
(a few times,  until the tone matched the intent I was looking for)
Then I tell him to stop crying.

And He did.

I was still struggling with feelings.
{This stuff is so hard.}
and I did say he was a liar and that I can't trust him - 
and I would like to say more positive, and helpful things... really!
Though, I think it is okay for him to know that I am incredibly disappointed
he lied to me, I just need a better choice of wording.
And he was still upset over being caught,
but he smiled when I called him a liar (a deflecting tactic) - rather than screamed.
The worst of the episode had passed...

 He is all so sufficient to deliver from all our fears,
to save us out of all our troubles,
to deliver us from ourselves.

Lord, Please Help Me
to call on You.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Goose Eggs

It has become very apparent that our goose couple need serious parenting classes, so rather than waste the eggs we decided to try our hand at dying them. Nearly blew my brains out emptying them. Missy broke the first one and I broke the last one. Altogether we had 19 eggs.

The yolk is a good size!! And no, we aren't the least tempted to fry one.

Missy is all about sensory input...

First she scrubbed them. When she had decided they were clean enough, James scrubbed them over again.
 The idea was to color them with natural colors from vegetables and seasonings. Boiled onion skins, tumeric, blueberries, etc.. did a pretty good job. We were trying to drip wax  to keep white speckles, but
in figuring out how to drip the wax we fell on the idea of melting birthday candles and the colored spots were pleasing to the kiddos, so we never took them off after dipping the eggs.

This is James' precious find.... an old rusty bucket from the top of the mountain near the caves. He's bent on planting flowers in it. :-)

 The final product included a few goose feathers.
Wallah! Our new table center piece.

James is doing really, really well with his school work right now. I'm holding my breath!! For every book he reads me, he is paid, but for every book he reads to me, I get to read him one or two. He's settled in to enjoy both sides of it and is surprising me with his knowledge. He is doing math facts and other school work without a fuss. The deal is I will pay him for piece work.... and he will pay me for tantrums. So far no tantrums.  I'm the one not making any money at our current rate. Steve was like, this is going to get kind of expensive... my response was, not near as expensive as it would cost to pay a tutor, which we would have to pay for  if he wouldn't work with me. So far the kid has made about $12 in a week and Steve is totally on board. James has  his eye on a little lego set with a tractor and a farmer and a pig and so he's carefully stashing his money away. We haven't had any wet pants since about January!!! I made the mistake of praising him for it after the first two weeks... he wet purposely the next day. Since then I've kept my mouth shut. He rather enjoys his play not being interrupted with having to have a shower. We'll leave it at that.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

We Passed

We passed the citizenship test....

Two week until the swearing in ceremony.

Today, of all days, while we were out of town Missy was asked to leave school on account of possible pink-eye. I don't really know if it's pink-eye, though I wouldn't be surprised as she has this odd habit of poking her eye-ball every time she's in trouble. She has a bit of a red eye, but it is not goopy or anything. It was not in the plan, of course. Delores saved the day and took her home for me. 

James went with the girls this morning. He was all thrilled to be going to "college" until he got there. It's pretty boring for an 8 year old boy. However, Christina's high school biology lab for homeschoolers was a hit. They were dissecting frogs today. Next he played with a friend until the girls were done.

The buddy went with us. He's back on anti-biotics. He drank almost a full liter of pedi-lite on the trip. Yay for hydration. Not so yay on the exploding diapers. He soaked through everything.

We are so close to the end of the quarter and finals. The girls are so looking forward to spring break.

 Me too!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Carbon Copy

I get them about 4 or 5 times a week.


From the twins' bio mum.

They all read similarly. There are few deviations, but occasionally she startles me.

They are really a window into Missy's genetic, and hereditary tendencies. They share a strong resemblance in looks, personality and IQ . . . .  and lack of boundaries.

She always asks for photos which I oblige as often as I can.

Recently she has been asking for my phone number. If she called as often as she emails we would have no rest and so the answer is no.

Recently she asked for our last name.

And more recently she has been asking if the twins could stay at her place for a sleep over.

Today she asked that the once a year July visit be upped to June.

She's not bothered with guidelines or perimeters. In her mind they are "HER babies" still.

To her credit, she thanks us over and over for taking good care of the children and for giving them opportunities she could not.

She has suffered a huge loss and I don't believe the pain has dissipated any. In a sense she is but a child and will always be thus, and so in that sense it isn't really her fault she lost nearly a half dozen children, however she was never capable of protecting and nurturing them. Obviously, though,  she was capable of bearing them....

She is unimaginably capable of incredible chaos
~ as is Missy.

Honestly, I see Missy in every encounter, in every email, in her very personality.  (I don't see James at all).

It's kind of scary to have a thirty-something version of my child out there. I don't have to wonder what could be. I pray that it doesn't HAVE to be.

There is an urgency to affect a major change in the natural course of direction. Is the spiritual, social, economic, cultural, and educational change of environment enough to make THE difference needed in her life? What are God's plans for her and what is my part in influencing her in that direction?

So much to pray about

as worrying never accomplishes anything.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spoke Too Soon?

I'm making this one huge last ditch effort at homeschooling James...

and despite my discouragement the other day, he's actually got a little spark lit under him. It was so small I wasn't seeing it at first. We will guard the little ember with all we've got. I am grateful to report he is thinking.

I took him to the library Friday and we borrowed a pile of books on subjects he is interested in. He is interested in transportation. Airplanes, trains, boats, and the like hold a lure.... I'm thinking of how we can let him visit trains, boat ramps, take the city bus and maybe ride the train as incentive. I know the little museum nearby has a caboose. It's closed for the season, but he read about kids exploring one in his reader and it jogged my memory of the girls doing that a few years ago. I wonder if the city museum has anything about tractors and trains.

 He came home from the library and read to me for an hour. He let me and Christina read to him for an hour, and then again last night he took out his book and read to Vanessa.

Missy wants a chart with stickers, too. She brought her little reading book to me before I was out of bed this morning.

Brianna has been challenging the twins physically. This I appreciate very much. She's pushing Missy in her violin lessons to a new level.  And she's creating elaborate actions to go along with the memory verses - and the twins love it. Bri is a wonderful special ed teacher. Training or no training, she has what it takes. She takes no nonsense from them, and then raises the bar to just within their reach -  she turns it into a game and she has fun with them.

The Buddy is as snotty as they get, however, he feels much better. I'm wondering if there is a connection between the copious amount of mucus this child produces and his bottle. Dairy does that to Missy and it does that to my husband. At any rate, he made it to church and loved his little class.

It's time to begin Acts chapter 2... well, I'm a little rough on the last half of chapter one though. Will have to work hard, but I'm also going for my citizenship interview in two days and I have to get those 100 questions memorized, too.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Help! He's Eating the Crib

Bought this beautiful crib for the Buddy and he's chewing it up BAD!!

ANY IDEAS of how to stop him?

When a horse chews on their trough it's called cribbing. Now I know why.

To Inspire the Apathetic

I thought we'd ignited the spark... But I'm staring at what I think are the ashes of yesterday's bright idea. And it cost me 8 dollars.

I search high and low for ideas to motivate, inspire and infuse this kid with a passion for life, for love and learning. The only passion we uncover is limited to a moment in time... or turns itself into an unhealthy hyper-focus that excludes all normal interaction and burns itself out in a few days.

Unless, of course, we are talking of the type of passion ignited by a short fuse. This we endure endlessly.

I worked hard with him yesterday... it included monetary incentives - charts, stickers, everything. He wants more Legos and I feel the entitlement attitude is so very dangerous. He would have to earn every precious penny towards any legos he might buy. I set up a challenge for him to work towards. He showed everybody who walked in the door and he seemed excited. He set to work...

but his very best enthusiasm is pathetic and languid at best.

He did all the easy stuff.

Different opportunities arose.
People offered to assist him.

All we got was a, "No, thanks. Maybe I'll do it later."

And my hopes are sinking.

HOW is a child devoid of zeal and zest inspired? How do you get past this lethargy?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Carrots in the Apple Crisp

A couple of years ago someone got this fancy idea and started a new enterprise right here in our little town. They moved into one of those empty fruit warehouses and started cutting up local fruit and packaging them up for sale.

Insanity, really. Who can't slice their own pear? But this company is making a killing. It's good for the town, of course.

They soon took over the warehouse across the road as well and it wasn't long they bought out the next building which was a newer office type building.

Semi trucks full of whole fruit coming in and semi trucks of sliced fruit shipping out clog the roads.

Eventually, they bought out the trailer court and everyone was moved out and the mobile homes were destroyed or dragged away. The displaced people were moved to the larger town and are now bused in, along with their children in to work for the company or attend their old neighborhood school.

Last summer they purchased all the land adjacent to their other properties - this was the old sawmill long since burned to the ground. Ever since the road has been closed as they revised that whole area for the booming business. They said the road would be open in October, but here we are into March and that road is still closed to thru traffic.

When I need compost for my garden I hitch the trailer to the suburban and pull into the warehouse parking. A forklift drops a bin or two of cores at a time onto my trailer for free. I return later with the empty bins.

The business is branching out into other products... party trays, lunch kit, etc.. with other fruit, even pineapple from Hawaii, etc... Several of the Hispanic community that attend our church work at this company. I don't know what the deal is, but suddenly they had too many pretzels and baby carrots. Boxes and boxes of the pretzels were given to the workers. Huge boxes. Like 25 lb boxes. Boxes and boxes of bagged carrots.... We happen to be recipients of the excess.

I'm a little pretzeled out and I have used the baby carrots in as many ways as I can think of, but tonight Bri topped them all!  When I went to scoop myself a bowl of apple crisp tonight... there were carrots mixed in the apples. My objection was only exceeded by Steve's shock and horror. "What????! I just ate a half a bag of those carrots on the way home. I don't need anymore carrots."

Apparently Natalie was eating apple crisp with some sort of winter squash mixed in at college today and she convinced Brianna that it was really good. If squash is good that way, why not carrots?

Ah, but doesn't everybody know that apples and carrots don't go together? You can't even store them in the same refrigerator without them waging war on each other and destroying the flavor.

But that's how we get carrots in the apple crisp. : ~/

Oh, and seeing we are a large family.... everything is cooked in restaurant deck pans. You all  up to trying carrot apple crisp?

Any Patience for Sale? * Updated*

The Buddy's visit was canceled today, which is really good for him, and really busy for me. If I thought he was busy three weeks ago... OH MY! The reason I say it is good for him is all this running back and forth to town (30 minute drive each way) is hard on him. He misses naps and gets over tired. He hates car seats. Having a visit every other day is tough on him. When he's home two whole days in a row he is happier.

I've been riding the waves with the twins and dealing with it pretty much evenly. It seems I get to a point, though, where my frustration begins to build up inside... and then, like this morning, I just start bawling and I lose my patience. Steve and I have been working pretty intensely with James. He would prefer to be left alone. He would like to cry every time we ask him to lift his pinkie. He would just like to be allowed to sit and do nothing. We're working with him, pushing him out of his comfort zone, raising the bar. He's  responding explosively, but today I felt like he was just shutting down.

****He is now taking a nap, because I'm wondering if all the fun we've had swimming yesterday, and recitals and talent night, etc... was all catching up and the reason he's so lethargic is actual tiredness. Ha! We can't even tell what's genuinely real tiredness anymore, but I'm assuming when one starts to cry over everything including peeling a banana to eat, they have got to be tired.***

I talked to his teacher and asked what she was thinking for next year, and ....  She's thinking of moving away. (!!) I told her that I thought three days a week was not enough, anyway, and that I am at a loss as to how to teach him. I don't think I can  anymore.  She admitted to me that he shuts down on her every time she wants him to do something that he perceives as hard. So, now we know it's not just me. That's good and bad news. If you know what I mean.

I need a load of patience.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Acts 1

It's a funny thing.

Now Missy doesn't want to be left in the dust...

Everyone is making an effort together to master Acts chapter 1.  I really don't know what the twins can accomplish, but I'm happy they have caught the spirit and want to try.

Really truly. This is much harder memorization than memorizing a Psalm. Psalm 34 is a piece of cake in comparison to the language we are encountering in Acts. It's like my brain has hiccups. I know it, but the words come out in spurts. Hopefully we'll get better at it as we go.

The Buddy managed to bite the new dresser and leave his teeth marks this morning... from there he went straight to the screen slider and ripped the screen out of the frame. He's walking about 4 or 5 steps at a time now. We're teaching him to follow directions, ie, "Throw the duckies in the water." and such. He's a smart little guy, but no one had really showed him that he could do things and understand.

Missy has a new look.
 There's a whole story behind it, but I lost the first draft and so all you get is the picture. And her hair is not even combed.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Speckled Baby

It's been just over 10 days since the lil' Buddy received the rest of his shots.

He's covered neck to ankles in little red speckles. I was not thrilled with them wanting to "catch him up" on all his missed shots at once, so they did it in two batches, two weeks apart. After the first batch he was sick and just when he was finally getting better it was time for the second batch. Immediately he was sick all over again. About 8 days after we started noticing little red dots here and there. At 11 days he's speckled all over.

His immune system was already compromised, so I think the added burden of the vaccines just made things worse.

This was my sixth week in a row where I could not attend church due to someone's sickness. Actually, I take that back. I was there one of those weeks for about an hour.

There is a certain amount of isolation that happens when you take in children.  The first time around nearly did me in. I was mostly out of the picture for months and months and I guess I was vain enough to actually think I would be missed. . . and when a lot of people didn't notice, or call  or stop by... I was surprised. I really struggled to find my place in that community of fellowship again once things simmered down. Everything had completely changed (several factors played into this) and I found myself almost totally on the outside of my old circle of friends. That was painfully uncomfortable.

The shake-up of my pleasant little world was not all bad, of course. I learned some valuable lessons  and I have foraged new connections in places and with people I might not have,  had I been satisfied with the way things were. I have to believe God allowed this. The friendships of those who did let us know that they cared during those months are all that more precious. The protective walls I put up to  keep myself from further pain, though, probably not so good... even as I recognize them and wish to escape them,  it's not so easy to be as open as I once was.

Anyway, this time around I know what to expect. It's a pleasant surprise if someone  calls to say we were missed or takes the time to connect.

It was talent night at the church last night. It's not so much about "Talent" as it is about antics... lol. I didn't go,  but the twins had another opportunity to play their instruments and they did better than at the recital.  There were several little mentor duets.... Christina playing with her student,  Angela, on the flute, Ellie with her student, Payton, on the Violin, Grace singing with Natalie, Vanessa's piano students - James and Robert. And of course, Brianna with Missy. It's fun to see the mentoring happening. The girls, along with Steve and Missy did their own impromptu version of the French song - Le Duo Des Chats. I don't know how that is French. It's cat language! Missy took front and center stage in front of the mic with interjected meows.  She was really struck with how much people laughed and she had to tell me all about it. Apparently the the girls had a tough time keeping their composure, but they pulled it off.

Okay.... so James was not so enthused about memorizing from the book of Acts. He said, "Maybe later."  Today he's decided not to be left out. He's been drawing and writing out the verses all morning. We'll see how long that lasts.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart...

Friday night

usually bursting with friends, Gospel reading, hot soup, singing and popcorn prayer...

BUT this week was amazingly busy

  • recitals
  • adjudications
  • exams
  • 12 hour shifts
  • sick baby
  • 3 boxes of tissue
  • appointments
  • snow
  • sunshine
  • small group Bible study
  • choir
  • disappointments
  • good news
  • babysitting
  • funeral music
In short we are weary,

and so we chose to make it a family night... and let the young families know that we would renew our  invitation next week.  Instead we invited Grandma from Northern Alberta to our family worship via Skype phone.

It's amazing, you know, how someone who is old and forgets still remembers what is most important to her. For Grandma - read the Word of God, sing a song, invite her to lead in prayer and there isn't a thing she has lost. It doesn't really matter where in the Bible you begin reading, she knows it by heart and she recites whole chapters.  She sings all the verses of nearly any hymn, and her prayers are deep and sincere and beautiful.  A testimony of her lifelong unwavering faith. Steve thinks that beginning phone visits with scripture actually awakens her memory... conversation flows easier.

It kind of makes you think. What will I be like when I am old? What is so important to me now that I cannot forget even through the ravages of old age and dementia should time last?

We've been challenged to memorize the Book of Acts before GYC at the end of the year. The challenge begins Sunday. Three verses a day... We started tonight because we need the extra time (yikes). Apparently only the determined will actually make it to the end of the 300 days. Brianna says that's us. Problem is I am already half way to the ravages of dementia and old age, but maybe if we do it together and I endeavor to teach James**, I can make it??   **{ Because teaching James to memorize scripture is such concentrated hard work, I can't help but know it as well as he does by the time we're done.}

So here goes,  Acts 1: 1 "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach... "

Resurfacing of an OLD Behavior

Missy is struggling right now

and I'm not enjoying it..

Something she used to do ALL the time has been back in the picture all week. If I say white she says black. If I say don't touch she will by all means touch it and make sure you know that she touched it. In fact, she'll slap it for good measure. It's very obvious she wants to be caught doing wrong.

I thought organizing her room and getting her settled in would help.
I thought the anticipation of the recital would help.
I thought her success at the recital would help.

Nothing doing. She was doing her best to try and get negative attention before the recital was even over.
Nothing will deter her.

She isn't going to listen and obey and she has a great big sense of entitlement to boot.

Ack! Why do they have all these school holidays??? We can hardly get a whole week of school in without another holiday. I'm convinced homeschoolers have WAY more school days than public school students. Last week was Presidents Day which made for a long weekend. This week winter break started on Wednesday. . . This is so unsettling to kids who crave routine.

I told little Miss Muffet that we weren't going to have that kind of behavior today. If that's what she wants she would have to go back into her bed. And that is where she is. I quietly told her that I knew she was doing on purpose to look to be in trouble and that I was too tired to deal with it today. As I watched her climb back into bed I told her to go ahead and have a tantrum, but it would make no difference. I told her i would pray for her. She quietly got into bed and said not a word. (See, she'll do exactly opposite of what I said * sigh*)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

For a Christmas Miracle Part 3 { First Recital }

You may recall Missy's great desire to play the violin...
You may recall she is developmentally delayed and you may realize that playing the violin is no small feat.
You may recall that at Christmas we embarked on a mission to conceive a miracle....

Part 1 found  [ here ]

Part 2 found  [ here ]

Today was a high day.

The very first recital. The girl's music teacher invited the twins to play a piece each.

Do you have any idea what it's like to be a mom with FIVE kids playing in one recital ? We kind of take up a chunk of time!! ~ The levels of ability spread out from some of the most advanced music being played, to intermediate, to the most beginning level possible.

 We opted to skip out on the piano accompaniment
as it's more than Missy can follow at this point. 
She can concentrate on playing with Brianna
but to stay with the piano is a little hard.
It's kind of funny because she has a tendency to get 
faster and faster and she doesn't adjust her speed to match
at all, yet.

BUT she played the first variation of TWINKLE.
SO proud.
It wasn't perfect.
She was a nervous wreck,
but she played it.
(and has since played for our church talent night and it went even better.
She wasn't near as nervous and concentrated harder.)

So thankful!
 James made a mistake part way through his song.
He stopped.
Said an exaggerated "Ooopsies"

and started all over again!

This time he made it.

This is a major step for these two!!
I am thankful.

Rearranging Again

The process of juggling the bedrooms to make room for the Buddy has been taking us awhile.

We basically threw James out of his room when the little guy arrived... and we made him a bed on the floor in his sister's room for a few days. Then we finally got him MOVED out of his room and into his new room and got him all settled in.... which meant we threw Missy out of her room and made her a bed on the floor in Vanessa's room. Last night we got the new crib set up for the Buddy. He's never slept in one before, so that was a bit of a transition. He's used to the close, soft walls of a pack and play. Now I am about to throw Brianna out of her and Vanessa's roomand get Missy all set up and settled in her place. The last part of the transition will be to arrange Christina's room to accommodate two girls instead of one.

Between all the sickness going around and around in this house, it's taking us awhile.