Sunday, September 30, 2012

Given A CHANCE {Adoption} and the CPap

The first night she lasted about an hour and was trying to tear the mask off her face. Vanessa took the cpap off for her and the kiddo woke up and asked "WHY you take it off me?"

Vanessa just said, "You had enough for tonight."

Last night she was up in a panic an hour after going to sleep and was wild to take it off. Steve went down to repositioned it and she was panicked and twisting and turning and trying to get away. Steve talked quietly and got it straightened up and she suddenly stopped clawing and crawled back into bed went to sleep. In the middle of the night I checked on her and unwrapped the pipe from around her neck and she slept with it all night.

I think she's going to do okay with it.

It was an area wide campmeeting. We had an excellent speaker - John Paulien speaking on Revelation. The girl's small group had special music for church. They sang a nice arrangement of My Faith Looks Up to Thee and it went amazingly well. The dentist who extracted her wisdom teeth did a double take when he saw Vanessa go  sit up front for the music. She gave him two thumbs up. Really, she's had little pain and hasn't needed the meds proscribed. He told her that even if she felt like she didn't need the ibuprofen she should take it for the inflammation, so she is. She really hasn't slowed down much at all.

Brianna offered to babysit so I could enjoy the evening meetings. I have a renewed sense of what it is like for mothers in the mothers room at the back of the church. They get NOTHING out of the worship service. It's a desert experience as far as being fed spiritually from the pulpit. Sometimes I wonder if there's even any point in going. I thank Brianna for allowing me to enjoy and fully take in the Word last night. I'm a second-pew-from-the-front kind of person.

James has a bad start to his morning yesterday and it is amazing how fast and how far he spiraled out of control. It's good to see progress and everything, but sometimes you get a glimpse of the direction things could turn and it's plain scary. It's frightening in that the good behavior is a thin veneer, easily peeled and cracked and not the true character, yet. We're on our knees for a TRUE and full conversion and healing from sin.

We were the last people in the foyer after church - this big gang of ours, and laughing together because we couldn't decide whether to stay for potluck or not. Nobody wanted to make the decision and we were laughing at the lunacy of our self-made predicament. The pastor's wife approached us and asked about the babies . . . she mentioned that her heart had the tuggings towards adoption and providing a home for children who don't have, but her husband was concerned that they are too old. I  had to admit that I am feeling way too old for getting up a dozen times a night with a baby. It's hard. PLAIN hard sometimes with the twins, but we have to remember that if someone hadn't given them a chance they very well may have, { MOST probably would have }, ended up in a group home eventually and been heavily medicated with little prospect of joy in their lives . . . At least now they have been given the chance to be all that they can be and they are given a choice in the direction of their lives. We can't know the outcome yet.... we only know we are giving them EVERY possible chance available to have a productive life and to give themselves to God's service. I'm not saying that adoption is right for this couple... in fact, I believe that people in the ministry have to weigh very carefully the fact that these children could limit their effectiveness in the ministry. I NEVER want to encourage anyone towards adoption if the CALL hasn't come directly from heaven. However, the conversation did encourage me that regardless of how hard it is, and how little assurance we have that the outcome will be everything we hoped, we ARE giving them a chance. And they deserve that.

This is a picture of a "cat in a rainbow". There is a little tiny cat on the outside of the rainbow, a girl above, the red sun like we have been seeing day after day in the smoke, and the stars and moon in the left hand corner. :-)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Transitioning the Foster Babes ... & other news

Little miss came home from school and greeted me with a very big smile.... Her eyes were sparkling and she was nearly laughing, but I sensed deep meaning behind the grin. I smiled back and just said, "You have a funny smile."

I intended to leave it at that. She had been embarrassed to enter class late and I wasn't going to rub it in. Walking to school was consequence enough.

But she blurted out, "TOMORROW I won't be late!"

"Is that so?! Okay, it's up to you."

Today she was on time. She couldn't resist trying to hook someone, anyone, into a little manipulation game through her million questions of "What do I do now? and How do I do it?", though. I finally told her I wasn't talking so she best figure it all out on her own. And, of course all the mysteriousness shrouding her daily routine dissipated eventually.

Itty Bitty Duckling is nearly 5 months old. He wants to . play . with . toys. His mind is ahead of his body. It's exhausting watching him work out his coordination. It's exhausting trying to keep him content.

Family visits are nearly every day now. Wednesday I needed to go to town first thing, so I dropped the kids off with their family at 8:30 am and I didn't get them back until 3:30 pm. As the time draws closer to the children going home I feel myself getting very ready to hand them back over to their rightful parents. I love them, and I enjoy them, but I'm actually very tired. Nights have been tough. Buddy is incredibly busy and a person has to have eyes on all sides of their head to keep him out of trouble. The co-parenting thing is a bit tough in that when he's with his family, because they miss him so, and because it's their sole purpose during visits to build a relationship with him, he has their FULL and COMPLETE attention. Here, he is one of seven, if you get my drift....  He is quite determined to get his way and we are having to use time-out a lot lately. He's been a little less accident prone this past week and there are no new major injuries to report :-)

Vanessa had her wisdom teeth pulled. The clinic wanted to use general anesthetic. We were like, "WHAT? Local worked fine for us in our day... Besides, you come from tough stock. Your great, great grandmother had a dentist come by her house and pull every tooth in her head without any pain killers and she never so much as whimpered. Your grandmother pulls teeth in Africa for free if the unlucky patient will forgo the Novocain.  Your grandfather won't go to the dentist if they insist on freezing him up. You can do it, kiddo!!" 


Okay, she said she did not feel any pain and only blacked out once - after it was all over and she'd pulled her ear plugs out, and turned off her ipod and she thought about what had just taken place...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

It Happened....

She missed the bus.

We're passed the 20 minute tantrum on the porch.

She's completed her chores.

She let me hold her and comfort her.

Now for the hike. 

Only, the air is heavy with smoke again and I can't go because of the babies.... so, Christina has volunteered and they get to wear their masks. I'll pick Christina up when they arrive at school.

I have a theory.

I got a note from her teacher yesterday that said, "Oooops!  I forgot she can't have gluten and dairy and she ate TWO cupcakes". It just might help to explain why she was so uncooperative this morning. And then again, it might not. She has been playing chicken.... she's the last one out of the door the last few mornings.

Tomorrow she gets fitted for her cpap. I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Xtra Math

This is utterly amazing!

I have not idea how long it will last. It seems too good to be true.

Missy comes home from school on her very BEST behavior. She puts her coat, shoes and book bag away, changes out of her school clothes, drinks her water, brushes her teeth, empties her lunch bag and shows me her homework folder and reads to me. She gets her homework done with a happy face.

All of that with no prompting.

So that she can do 

MATH ~ !

Xtra Math on the computer,

to be more specific.

Doesn't that just stun the socks off you?

It sure does me.

Wonders never cease. I am grateful for incentives in any form, 
but this seems like a double win to me.

Monday, September 24, 2012

{ Right Thinking }

A recent facebook post caught my eye. It was one of those TED talks and the title was The Happy Secret to Better Work by Shawn Achor. You can look it up on YouTube if it interests you. He's pretty entertaining...

He was talking about the fact that 90% of our happiness is not determined by external factors . . . (which theoretically we all know, but amazingly we tend to act like it most definitely is determined by external factors and my kiddos are not exempt). It is pointed out that our thinking is backwards... we will be happy when we have so many dollars in the bank, we'll be satisfied when we reach thus and such goal, we'll be happy when everybody is nice to us, we'll be happy when something goes away...  Only to find we are constantly changing our goals, never fully satisfied because there's more to be had. It's turned around. We need to be happy first.  With that in place then our productivity and creativity increases, our relationships are more successful, and we find meaning and joy in the journey. Happiness requires positive thinking. (Imagine that !  :-)

The thinking must be guided... Our thoughts must be harnessed and driven in the right direction, and though Achor doesn't seem to acknowledge it,  the Bible clearly speaks to that principle.

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself above the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Cor. 10:5

"Even the thoughts 

must be brought into subjection 

to the will of God, 

and the feelings under the control of reason. . . 

If the thoughts are wrong, the feelings will be wrong; 
and the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character.
The power of right thought 
is more precious than the golden wedge of Ophir.... 

We need to place a high value 
upon the right control of our thoughts, 
for such control prepares the mind and soul 
to labor harmoniously for the Master. 
It is necessary for our peace and happiness 
in this life that 
our thoughts center in Christ. 

As a man thinketh, so is he. 
Our improvement in moral purity 
on right thinking and right acting.... 
Evil thoughts destroy. . 

We need a constant sense 
of the ennobling power of pure thoughts 
and the damaging influence of evil thoughts. 
The only security for any soul is right thinking. 

In Heavenly Places pg 164

This Shawn Achor has some ideas to training one's self to more positive thinking. His suggestions have merit, though I think he leaves out some things that would complete the picture. Our happiness should be anchored in Christ.

Here is his little formula plan for 21 days to making positive thoughts a habit.

1.  write down three things each day that you are grateful for.  (Thankfully we know WHO we can be grateful to and begin our prayers with praise and thanksgiving. This is a Biblical principle.)

2.  Journal 1 positive experience each day that happened within the past 24 hrs.

3. Exercise (Okay, to be honest, I wasn't sure if he was saying put on your running shoes and go out walk a couple miles or exercise positive thinking. Both ways have a physical and psychological positive effect, so I guess, do both).

4. meditate ( Okay here is where I diverge from the formula.  He was saying we need to teach ourselves to focus because we are a multi-tasking generation driving ourselves over the brink of ADHD... meditation is dangerous ground if you are thinking of the kind where you empty your mind and chant a mantra. NOTHING can teach you to focus more than scripture memory work.  FILL your mind with the good things of the Bible and meditate on the thoughts of God.)

5. Random Acts of Kindness. That speaks for itself. Blessing others always blesses us.

Anyway, I had the privilege of watching this positive/negative thinking played out. I have twins. Two children, both the same age, living the same day, with the same circumstances blocking their plans.

ONE was negative. Thoughts were negative, words were negative, actions were terribly negative... and spiraled down, worse and worse until relationships were trashed, destruction took the place of productivity, all learning was at a stalemate and lying, crying, bossiness, manipulation, resulted and life wasn't worth living much.  Finally this mom sent her to bed, screaming her unhappiness, early.

The other was positive. Positive thought came out in positive words, relationships flourished, productivity was on the up and up, the mind was perceptive to learning and discoveries were made, privileges were granted, and more learning took place.  The boy went to bed at the end of the day tired and happy.

which floods into your system when you're positive, 
has two functions. 
It makes you happier AND turns on all the learning centers in your brain." 
-Shawn Achor

Now, can anyone help me figure out how to GET that little girl to think positive? All this information is absolutely essential for me. Living with a troubled child increases the risk that I will become depressed and fall into the trap of negative thinking...... However, it is a mystery to me how I am, as her mother suppose to instill these principles in the lives of this kiddo. I can walk her through the steps, but she still has the choice. Alas, she was suppose to be in these pictures.....

PS. Though we are still socked in with smoke, (yesterday was better) the school has re-opened after they figured a way to purify the air. Herein lies my first grateful statement of the day: I am thankful for the structure, and positive surroundings that the school provides for my struggling child. I am Grateful they found a way to have school even in this emergency situation our town is under.

Today the girls start back to college. It was going to be Christina's first day of school, too, but somehow she's off horseback riding with a friend. . .  SO, with the babies at their visit I AM ALONE in the house. Just imagine!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


I thought I would count how many times I had to wake up to tend the baby last night....

It's no wonder I'm trashed .... and my motivation has flown the coop.

I'm sure his throat is raw like the rest of us.

I got up 11 times by midnight... Kind of lost track after that and Steve started getting up, too.

Every time I close my eyes I go straight into dreaming... and the worst, most bizarre dreams ever. I've even been struck by lightning!!

On a happy note, the air is clearer. I can see the mountains South of us.

I'm thankful to see the little Duck is on track developmentally. He is now rolling from front to back and back to front. He's trying to hold objects. He even took the pacifier from me and tried to put it in his mouth. He wasn't too successful, but he's definitely on target. He's our little sunshine boy! He's so sweet and so precious.

I was in the mother's room at Valley View. They have a few children in the same age category as Buddy. I am amazed to see how much taller and bigger he is than the average child.

The Vanessa and Brianna had the sermon at Valley View yesterday. They did a good job. We are very proud of them. Thankful for their personal experience and the insight God had given them. Steve, unfortunately was sick in bed and did not get to hear them.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Under Seige {Clarifying one major detail.....}

It's a struggle for school to be closed so long for the one little girl in our house.  What if this smoke lasts a month? I heard  one town in another state has been wrapped in smoke for 6 weeks already. It proves we won't all be dead in a few weeks, anyway.  The behavior hadn't been too bad until today. She had a violin lesson to look forward to yesterday and that was a positive that kept her going. This morning early, early I got the impression she hadn't slept... and the way things have escalated, it's probably true. Today was suppose to be the day she was fitted for her c-pap. Highway closures and smoke effectively cancelled that. So, what to do...  I can't send her outside. In fact, I can't even have her sit on the trampoline when she starts screaming...  and for attention she won't wear her mask properly when she has to go outdoors.

We're sick from the smoke. I worry most about the babies.

Today I had to be super firm with {THE TWINS' } bio mother. It's not my forte.... I would rather she get the hint, but for some reason she remains super determined or super clueless.  I get emails from her from once a week to a couple a day several times a week. She wants to come here and visit the kids. She has told me at least ten times what her plans were.  I have tried to subtly and not so subtly discourage her. She was very forward in her last email this morning and I put the cabbash on her big plans. She's gone so far as to ask for sleep overs and such. She lacks boundaries... and she wants to be back into the kids' lives. I'm fine with the emails. I can deal with that and answer them as I have time. This does not effect the children at all... however I have a duty to protect them from contact beyond the once a year, 2 hr visit that we agreed to in court... obviously, there is a trauma history there that we cannot ignore. The children are far from healthy and  bio mother is far from healthy, too.

{I didn't make it clear which bio mother I was talking about... and there was some confusion. I have nothing but positive to say about the foster kids mom. We are working together nicely and I believe she is doing everything, along with dad, to make a safe home for the children. I''m thinking they'll be home by Christmas.}

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

In Business

It pays off...

Hard work always pays off.

And the lesson,

the one about considering the ant & her ways,

& imitating her example in wisdom. . . ,

that lesson

is making inroads in a certain little farmer boy's head.

I don't think he quite knows that yet.

He's been pretty sure he's allergic to work of every nature. . . 

We had to create a concrete, practical experience that would prove itself 

wise & productive  

& worth the "sweat" of his brow.

Greenbacks have a way of driving the lessons home.

Eight dozen eggs sold in less than two weeks,

& suddenly the burden of barn chores

resembles the weight of a hen's feather.

As the dollar bills rolled in two at a time he promptly had visions of 

popping soda out of the dispenser at the pool ...

but as the bucks exceeded 4

his dreams took on the colors and dimensions of Legos,

however, by the time the count reached $10

he was on to motorcycles and fourwheelers. ;-P

I have greater, more profound things in mind, as most mothers would....

MATH skills









to name a few . . . .  REAL LESSONS in LIFE SKILLS.

Grandpa Eldon came over and bought two dozen.

He asked, "How much are your eggs a dozen?"

(They are kind of small still) "Two dollars".

"So, how much do I owe you for two dozen eggs?"

"Ummmm... {wheels turning... internal math happening } Four dollars."

Yep! He's getting it

with little to no effort on my part.

{Except I have to help collect the eggs since he hasn't a good sense of his own touch and 

cracks one out of every 4 eggs!!! We'll work on those paws of his. }

In Smokey NEWS!

The school is closed for the rest of the week.....

The smoke is bad. Really, really bad!

The schools in our little town are between two major fires and the air quality is almost off the charts. There are reports of one fireman's death, the medical clinics being overwhelmed with respiratory issues, and even children with compromised respiratory problems being diagnosed with carbon-monoxide poisoning!!

There are different scales to rate the air quality. The one tops off at 500 and the air has read as high as 498. There is another scale that reads the level of particulates in the air. This one goes to 1000. The levels around the school were read at 909PPM. A normal reading would be 50. The nearby town also in smoke and dealing with fires has a reading of 224.... so somehow we've got the worst of it.

The lack of structure for too many days in a row is difficult for Missy. She blew her little top off last night over brushing her teeth. Ended up slapping Christina across the face and screaming for 45 minutes. There's no timeline for this disruption in her routine and  her anxiety is skyrocketing. This kid likes to have everything predicable and under control. Christina took the blow like a grown up. Unfortunately, it is getting too easy for Missy to lash out physically. A friend says that she is probably feeling pretty safe with us these days....

Today I took Missy to a friend's house.... an adult friend who likes to play games. I am hoping that breaking up her day will help.

James on the other hand hasn't lacked for things to occupy his time. He has played with his race track and done some crafts and practiced the piano. He's worked on his memorizing and generally been pretty cool with no school. He is listening to a book on tape and has scrubbed floors even.

James has quite a tender spot in his heart for the Duckling. He is absolutely smitten. I was watching them interact and I said to the baby in high pitched baby tones, "I think you've taken a piece of that boy's heart, little man!" and James continued the vein in his best baby tones....

"OH, yes you have!! You have a piece of my heart."

It absolutely melts his heart when the baby coos back at him.

The babies' parents both came over to spend a couple hours with the children. This is going really well. I worked on some paperwork and let them enjoy their kids. I also had the social worker's monthly health and safety visit this morning. Buddy had a dentist visit. James had a dentist visit at a different clinic. And Vanessa had a dentist visit at yet another place. Good thing Vanessa can drive. She also took James out to the Blue Spoon Yogurt shop. He had a gift card he was dying to use.  I think he tried about 5 varieties of yogurt ice-cream!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Moose Stalking

........before breakfast. 

Very successful. Six moose including 2 mommas and their babies showed their long faces. 

So picturesque. 

This is a tiny, tranquil lake unmolested for the most part.

And in the early hours  of the day,

or in the shadows of the evening,

you are very likely to find 


DAY 2 of the Adventure:

James took paddling very seriously. He worked hard and loved it.

We have good friends, John's canoe, Ken's canoe, Dale's canoe.... ours would be the little brown one that hold the least amount of people. BUT we have the rack to hold 4 canoes :-)

proof there were moose

A Breath of Fresh Air . . . .

{  Literally and Figuratively.  }

It was good to get away from the SMOKE

and the rush of life.

Christ invites us to "Come ye apart and rest awhile". 

Notice He's not saying "Go away"

but "COME".

He wants us to find rest in Him and in the quietness of  His created works.

 Enjoy a smattering of pictures from DAY 1:

We invited a special family to join us for adventure and fellowship.

We're glad they are spontaneous and can manage a change of plans.

We didn't give them much notice!

We came back home to more smoke and air quality 
almost off the charts way up in the hazardous zone.

It's another unplanned school holiday.
They had planned another late start,
but things are not improving 
and they cancelled altogether.