Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Back to Boot Camp

It's been tough here. Really wild, actually. All four children are pretty needy. A few of them are quite demanding. Jealousy reins in three of them.

I was starting to lose my sanity just a little...

I decided to structure every waking second.

Seeing that completely destroys my time for cleaning up after everybody, the twins are having to do that for me... It's part of the planned structure. They have to be supervised, so I can't do much of it myself.

They are not impressed.

But I mix it up with some fun.

We are doing bean bags on the balance board. They are learning to throw the bean bag with one hand at a time while keeping the board level which is not so easy for them.

Then we switch it up with chores....unusual, big chores...like scrubbing the laundry room floor, washing the outside stairs, sweeping the garage.

It's a rather slow process.

The Buddy is being naughty and so, I'm holding him a lot. I am just Standing there just looking at him blankly when he's SCREAMING at me for something. Then when he quits screaming I engage and have him sign for what he wants. I hope it works. I'm sick of the screaming.

I'm reading a book called, Discovery of a Learning Breakthrough A Life in Balance.

Basically it's the story of the man who worked to create the balance board and how to use it. It is actually the basis from which Sharper Minds in Oregon built their program on. I have the balance board and all the equipment. I needed the encouragement to put it all into practice once again. They desperately need this.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Wit's End

First, I'm kinda laughing because people actually thought I did all the canning alone... but that's not quite true.

Izzy came over and watched the babies. That freed me up for about three and half hours to work on apricots. Anna came over and invited her friend Maria to join her and they stuffed jars while I washed fruit and jars and kept up with the lids and all that for about 3 hours. It took me the rest of the day to process the jars on my propane canner. I had two pots going at all times.

In all I have 175 quarts of apricots. And I still have a couple of boxes for jam and such.

The twins have been NOT NICE to me the last few days. The kind of not nice where I burst into tears every couple hours. Literally.

It starts from the moment they get up. They WON'T do their morning routine. It's become unbearable. Yesterday I made a good breakfast. Ate with the Buddy and cleared away the breakfast and put the food away and then the kids finally started to put a move on.

I was like, you know I made you breakfast. I can't wait all day for you to get your act together. I have already put it away. If you want to eat go out in the orchard and garden and find something. Missy came back with three apricots off the tree. James ate nothing.

This morning it was the same thing. I didn't bother to make breakfast. The Duckling was sleeping still and I took the Buddy and we went out. I mowed lawns and fed chickens and worked outside until the babe woke up. Then I made a pot of porridge and fed Buddy and Carissa and eventually let James have a bowl of porridge, but nothing else fancy. Missy had a great tantrum over a t shirt she kept lying about and ended up screaming her head off on the trampoline. Eventually she came in and ate the porridge, but when I wouldn't give her anything else she ended up on the trampoline in another fit..It was ten o'clock. She had a great freak out over washing her face, etc... I finally had her sit at my feet all sloppy until she was ready to sit up straight and not move for 5 minutes. Took about an hour. James is in the process of deciding when he's going to sit up straight now. He's thrown things across the room in anger, he's swept the garage, and washed the kitchen floor.

I'm all out of ideas.

Delores is taking the twins swimming this afternoon with her kids and Mary's. The twins don't deserve it, but I won't punish myself. I need the break and that is the whole point of it. The Buddy's visit was canceled this afternoon with his dad, which is a bummer, I was looking for a kid free afternoon to get my tomato plants fertilized and pruned. I would have had the baby still .... dad never wants the baby at the visit if mom isn't there. There's a ton of speculation as to whether this child is his or not.

I did manage to go out and pick tomatoes. I have enough for a restaurant order, and private order and maybe a pot of spaghetti sauce for us.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sleep

A precious Sabbath rest!

The Duckling actually slept last night! I feel like a new person.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Intense

I came out of the clinic last night with a new type of formula for this baby. Already he is calming. We had endured 24 hours of screaming and tummy troubles that couldn't be solved and we were growing weary!! The doctor gave me four cans of soy based formula for sensitive tummies and by this morning I think it's starting to make a difference.

I held the little man most of the night, but I managed to sleep doing it. Steve usually takes a turn, but he has to work and he's wiped out.

In between holding the crying baby I would fill a jar with apricots... I would hold the babe and Steve would pick, then Steve would take a turn at holding and I'd get a few more jars  filled... We're up to 55 quarts canned from our tree so far.  I also have 6 more apple boxes worth of cots I picked off of Benny's tree. Steve had told him we didn't have time for them... I said, time or no time, we need that fruit to get us through the winter, so it was up to me to get them picked and now to whittle away at canning them. Thankfully they are not as ripe as ours were.  Apricots are the favored fruit here.

Someone called to offer me a bin of cherries. Ah, no THANKS. I've got this screaming babe to worry about. Next the phone rang and someone else was offering to process them for me. Sigh.... I couldn't let them do that for me considering we have our own tree and we never even picked all of them. The day before someone wanted me to pick theirs. The fruit is on in abundance and it's free and I can't use it all.

Yesterday, we were suppose to have an appointment for the twins at the University Hospital over the mountains... we got to the top of the pass and found ourselves in a LONG construction delays and when we
called the adoption clinic about what time we would arrive they had us reschedule. That was a wasted two hours.

The twins haven't been acting out too badly, but I'm tired and the intensity of just every day parenting them is enough to make me tempted to be discouraged that there is little hope of things improving for them. Missy is in time out right as I type attempting to pull me into a power struggle. I am looking forward to summer school starting up again. They need it. And so do I. I think it's a day for the ol' apron string trick. need something to get her attention. She's plain not listening.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Surprise

Thanks for all the best wishes and kind comments. Yesterday was one surprise after another... I really had planned on skipping my birthday because it would be TOO much work and Missy makes way too much fuss about it and I really was not up to all that.

Went to the orthodontist. The Lord blessed, because I dread going anywhere with 5 little people, but they were all good. Missy got all the attention, of course, so she was good with that. Ha! They wanted to schedule me right away for the next appointment and I was like, there's no big rush is there? I'd like to wait until Bri's home. No sense pushing the envelope on having that many kids behavior perfectly in the office twice in a row.

Then we went to Costco only cause we had to. There hadn't been soy milk in the house in three days... Loaded the cart with kids. No room for groceries. You should see the looks I garner. One lady just had to ask if they were all mine.

Then Steve texted me and asked us to swing by the hospital for fruit smoothies. This is a highlight with the kids. My birthday treat, they said. While waiting the phone rang. The girls were calling from Austria.

I almost got home when Steve texts again...."getting off work early. I'm taking you out to eat". REALLY? That never happens here. I got on the phone and called every possible person who might babysit the twins... No one was home on that beautiful, sunshiny summer day and in the end it was Becky. And I hadn't called her, she called me and when she heard what I was up to she offered. So yep. celebrated with Steve without kids. Thai vegetable stir fry - not really kid food anyway  :-)   The baby's were on a visit with their family. Did some shopping at Christopher and Banks. LOVE that store. It's about the only place I can shop and find down to earth, practical, semi dressy, decent outfits on every rack. Came out with a few nice sale items.  By the end of the evening, everyone I had called to see if they could watch the kids called back and offered to babysit later. I have like 4 offers!! WILL use them.

Steve asked how old I was. I said, I don't know. Maybe 34.....and he never batted an eye.  I was actually thinking 44 but it came out 34. (Maybe have dyscalculia...Maybe 43? )Good grief, how's a person suppose to remember a number for WHOLE year?? And then they go and  change it every year.. I can't keep up. I only remember the number that stays the same.  I said, "well, I was born in '69, you do the math."  Yeah, I know. I'm either so old my brain is fried, or I have too many kids. I can't remember anything.

Today was not so fun. Can't have fun every day. Twins fought me about the routine big time. Missy snuck food - gluten filled bread off the floor under the highchair, no less. Tried to deal with her attitude... and found myself very frustrated and at my wits end. Angry. I am not proud of my lack of patience. After that I cut her hair because she has been belligerent about brushing it. I had warned her yesterday. It's actually very cute short on her. She has nice hair; thick and wavy. I had all at once 4 screaming kids. Buddy is cranky and jealous and bored cause I can't take him outside all day. Ducky was gassy and crying and wanted to be held or he'd scream at the top of his lungs. James and Anna-Joy turned around eventually. They actualy swept and cleaned the patio area together for quite awhile.  Steve called on his way home. The kids were screaming so loud I had to shout to be heard on the phone. My Lands!! who would have thought.  The apricots sit ripening and I can do not a thing about it.

My husband is literally mowing the pasture in the DARK at ten o'clock at night. Don't get any ideas it's a riding lawn mower with lights, or anything. Nope, it's a push mower. You sure figure out what those girls do around here when they are not home!

Battle Over Brushing Hair - The Hair Lost


This was long time in coming.
She didn't want to put it in a pony tail.
I didn't want it in her mouth
or hanging in her eyes.

Problem
Solved.

We killed three birds with one stone.
Part way through the cutting she threw the mirror,
though, 
which might tell you how well she liked the idea. 

James was outside. He came in while I was cutting it.
After the first glance he wouldn't look at her.
I asked, "So, what do you think?"
He looked away.
"It's kind of short."
"I know but what do you think?"
He glances her way...
looks down,
and says,
"It's kind of cute."

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's RAD

Carolina was dropping off Carissa this morning and we were talking about how the twins were spiraling.... she reminded me that it's RAD. I'm carrying the Duckling around all the time and they are feeling insecure, and instead of saying I want a hug, or I need to sit with you because I think you are spending too much time with that baby, they act out with disgusting behaviors. They can't express themselves in appropriate ways so they choose to cause chaos to get attention.

James has thrown up twice this morning. At this point he's lost control of it, I think. It's no longer something he's making himself do so much.

It's my birthday. Last night Missy was going on and on about how we were going to have gluten free cake, etc... and I just said, you know, right now you guys are making me too sad to have a birthday. Anyway, it's my birthday, not yours, I think I'll skip it this year. She got mad and folded her arms in front of her and yelled, "Go ahead then!!" She was SOOOOOOOOOOOOO mad.  I said, well, since it is my birthday, if you wanted to make me happy you could make me a card.  Somehow, it's all about her. How do  you teach a child to have a heart for others. I'm a little worried about her this way. I am not going to deal with much today, we're just going to get through this day. I do have to run to the orthodontist with Missy, which is daunting with 5 kiddos.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Insanity

It's a day out of the past. James is off his rocker. He refused to do his morning routine... He made no effort whatsoever. He didn't care when we had lunch because he was not going to get dressed or anything. He dug in his heels and nothing was going to make him do anything. I put out an incentive to get him moving to come to supper. He decided to get dressed and make his bed but he was going to be ugly about any of the rest of the routine. He didn't want to drink water..... And so, to make me look like the bad guy, he vomited it all over the kitchen just cause he wanted to. From there things escalated. We're waiting for dad to come home because I'm so sick about it my head is splitting with a migraine and I don't have any patience left.

Shall I Burn the Box of Foster Care Records?

We've had the twins 2 years.

I have this HUGE box of papers given to me by the Adoption Social Worker. I went through it all. Much of it is medical records. Children's Hospital HAS all those records. so does our Pediatrician. Another big section of it is their school records. The local school has ALL those records at their fingertips. I can't share anything with them that they don't already know. Then there's the social workers notes from the 2 years of foster care. Every visit, every little thing that happened. The arguments between the bio mom and the system, the arguments between her and friends/boyfriends/ kids/mother/ sister... even the records from every time CPS was called and why. Do I really need this stuff? Can't I just burn it?

I'm cleaning the closet. I've gotten rid of HALF the clothes. I'd like to get rid of this box also, unless someone gives me a good argument as to why I should keep it.

It's past lunch and James still has not made a single move to get dressed, make his bed, or talk to me at all.

Feeling Short

It was a pretty good night with the Duckie after he finally went to sleep. He ate at 9 PM and then 2 AM and then 5 AM. SO, I consider that an amazing night after the first two!!! He was really showing his personality last night and I am breathing easier.

I noticed that the Buddy's face is changing so much!! He's thinned down all of a sudden. He's been getting a lot of teeth and he's had the runs and fever, but he stays just as active. He looks like such  a big boy all of a sudden.

It's the twins that have been exasperated. I'm trying not to get discouraged and lose hope. Missy is pushing the limits in every possible manner. For example she turns the tap on without wetting her hands after using the toilet so that people will think she washed. If I tell her to go wash again she will defend herself claiming to have washed and will fight me tooth and nail.  If I ask her to do something she is instantly and  deliberately has a million ways to try and distract me from following through. She is bold and has NO qualms about doing wrong. Most of the time she is doing exactly what I asked her not to do... over and over just like a 2 year old would. It's all day long every 2 minutes something new or something old and worn out. I'm weary of it. While we had company and we had lots of stuff going on it was not so noticeable, but now it is all that she cares to do.

This morning James was called out of bed and he came up bristling. Talk about posturing!! His eyes were shooting darts, his back was arched, his jaw set, etc... and I was just plain sad. I said, James, you come up prickly every morning as if you are angry with me. Are you angry with me?

Yea.

Why?

COLD stare.

God gives us a brand new morning every day and was should be thankful and happy, we could be dead, you know.

Why are you so angry?

I didn't get enough sleep.

Well, does that mean you need to go to bed earlier? You can go to bed a LOT earlier, you know. I wouldn't stop you, but it seems like you wouldn't really like it if I sent you early, either.

NO!

So really, this is your responsibility to choose to be happy and not be angry with mommy since I can't really help it that it's morning again, or be thankful when I send you to bed earlier. You could ask God to help you change the way you are so angry with me every morning.

I DONT" WANT TO CHANGE!

Okay. Go back to your room and don't come out. I'm not going to try and change you.

Sigh.

When he's ready to work with me, he'll let me know.

Nothing I can do but pray. I feel like getting really short with these kids and somehow that doesn't seem to help much.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Encouraged

The little thing is beginning to open up and starting to engage.

It was like he was shut down and slowly we are seeing him come around.

Perhaps he was in too much pain yesterday. His little tummy was giving him a lot of trouble.

Or perhaps the transition was too hard and he was exhausted. Today he's been more awake and alert. Even his little hands are relaxing into fists, rather than fingers flared out. It was still that way this morning, but as the day wore on, he seemed to melt into softer form.

I've been carrying him around in the Mobey Wrap, but I'm thinking to get an Ergo sling. The wrap is TOO HOT! He doesn't seem to mind that, but I do.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Little One

Is a wee bit spoiled.

As in,

sleeps if held.

snacks instead of filling up.

cries if laid out of the bed.

wakes multiple times a night and expects to snack every time.

Been working on changing some of that. I'm going with a three hour schedule - and stretching him a bit. The intake is already increasing. Hopefully the sleep will improve also.

The Buddy is much better today. A bit concerned about his place on my lap..... is too rough with the babe, but loves him to "death".

She probably didn't learn anything, but Missy again snuck some food when I was busy with the baby. An informant clued me in. I considered it a trade- in on dessert. She wasn't much impressed.  How is it that for 2 years she never even touched food without permission and all of a sudden I can't turn my back and she's in the cupboard, the fridge, taking other people's food and eating the Buddy's mess off the floor?  This kid eats like a horse. I know that she would over-eat at every meal if I let her. She's never satisfied and will eat like a house on fire in order to empty her plate to consume more and everything in sight.... One way I can tell if she is truly full is to offer her apple slices, or other fresh fruit that takes work to eat - most of the time she is suddenly too full for it, but given the opportunity she would eat until the pot is empty and there was nothing left to lick. I can't put the food on the table. I have to fill her plate and then  hand it to her. I can't trust her to spread peanut butter on her "bread" if you turn your head she quick starts scooping up the peanut butter into her mouth as fast as she can. It's crazy!

I've had an amazing string of answered prayers. Today it was a little thing, but as meaningful to me as any of the big stuff. Holly - our 11 yr old dog, ran off through the orchard to visit an older lady that she likes. The older lady used to feed her treats and dote over her. Then it became a problem because Holly spent more time there than here and the lady no longer liked her and the phone calls started . . . but Holly still goes there occasionally,. It's a 3 mile drive around on the road, or a 10 minute hike through the orchards.  BUT with this many little people and no extra hands and everybody taking naps at different times, I can't just hop up and take a hike... So after the calls started I prayed and asked the Lord to just send the silly old dog home. AND He did. Ten minutes later she was at the front door. Amen.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

He's Back!!!

The itty bitty little Duckling is back in my arms. Interesting timing to be sure! He's roly poly and more active, but still has tummy issues.

I am so excited to see and hold him once again. We're loving on him!!!

The Buddy has a fever.

Missy is swiping food every time I turn around. Tonight she actually ate my share of supper while I had my back turned to deal with the fever!! It's getting out of hand.

James built a whole zoo from wood pieces and filled it with plastic animals. It was good imaginative play.

Carissa is a good influence on the kids and helps me keep my sanity by engaging the twins in the world of play they would otherwise not enter into.

Steve was up most of the night with our water issues, the basement flood and his trip to the airport, but he's scheduled to work until midnight tonight.

I worked very hard at getting the kids on the new schedule, organizing so I can actually do all this and running after the Buddy!

Next Hurdle

The girls left at 2:45 am.

They are now in a long line in Seattle trying to get a new flight since United cancelled that particular leg of the journey. You can bank on United. Vanessa just knew they would cancel even though there is no snow, or rain, or hail, or lightning...

Hoping they make their connection to the international flight in DC.

So, pray for the girls today. It might be a very, very LONG day.

**

New flight altogether. No DC. Flying to Frankfurt.They'll get in Vienna quite late.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Trustworthy!!

As i promised, light happy thoughts....

He is trustworthy!

(And some grandmothers are feisty.)

I think that was just a test. The girls are not going to Europe alone.

It's funny because we were at peace with it knowing it was in the Lord's hands, but it certainly was not our first choice to send them alone.

I wondered all day when the phone would ring and I'd hear from my mom!!! lol. I figured the news wouldn't strike the grandparents any softer than it did us. But She didn't call. I guess she didn't find out the girls were going alone until this morning when Jason told her at breakfast.

First thing this morning we got a call from Leasa and she said she was going after all and that I should call my mom and thank her! Mom is stepping into Leasa's place as Lifestyle Director at Eden Valley so that she can go.

Now Leasa has to go home and do laundry and pack. Strangely, even though she tried all day yesterday to cancel her plane ticket, she could not. Now she knows why.

When Leasa found out the girls are only taking a backpack she was like, "NO way!" They need plenty of clothes because of the laundry facilities, but the girls are like, "Uh uh. we're going light." They rather like their backpack arrangement. They can always hand wash what they need.

****

The girls picked up 14 kids for the Bible Story hour last night. It's growing!! These kids are thirsty for the Word of GOD and they love the Bible study. Some of them don't even have a Bible in their homes. It takes two trips with the big van to pick up and drop off, now.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

TRUST

It strikes me very strongly at this time that our whole Christian journey is about TRUST. Can I trust that Christ is actually the driver of this bus?

Nothing happens without HIS notice. The little inconveniences and the big hurdles - He already knows and actually has a plan to handle.... so are we tempted to fret and worry and try to fix or do we automatically just hand it over trusting He has everything under control?

Do I allow disquieting, niggling little apprehensive thoughts worry my sleep over the lateness of my tomato patch and start deciding I'm losing all my restaurant customers, or do I trust that all that effort put forth the Lord noted and won't allow to be for not. Do I trust He has a purpose in all that work even if I never make a sale?

Worrying seems a little silly on paper, doesn't it?

But here's a scenario perhaps some bloggers can relate to more readily...

Do I trust that God has the Buddy and His little brother's best interest at heart and I need not fear for their future in the least? Do I put my faith in the prayers He asks me to pray and let Him work out their ultimate good in His own way, in His own time?

Sometimes I do.

Sometimes I have a little more difficulty maintaining that serenity.

Then there's the life threatening stuff...

Do I trust that God holds our nephew in His hands and that ALL things work together for GOOD to those that Love Him.... That great big, handsome young man with a master's degree in education that he was using to bless the native young people way in the North where we have no church... do I trust that God allowed him to hit that moose and sustain a devastating head injury for an unseen, unknown but eternal object? Do I believe that all is being worked out for his good when the dumb medical system in Canada still can't even give the O.K. to let him have a CT scan 7 plus months after the accident to see why the guy can no longer string an intelligent sentence together? Yes, it's that bad! (Steve's been communicating with doctors... trying to figure out the best option and Andrew will hopefully come to the States by next week... someone has donated the funds, but we are praying he sees the right doctor right off!)

Then there's the material and annoying stuff of life...

Like finances... Steve applied for and was offered a new job. The hours were perfect. Much, much better better than what we deal with now. So much better that he would be home for morning and evening worship and breakfast and supper which would be so, so good for the twins.... normal hours like other dads. BUT he had to turn it down because we couldn't take the 10% cut in pay and the loss of his second job. Do I trust that the Lord knows this and has a purpose in his LONG, long days and hours?

I could go on, of course. The twins cognitive issues, my country girl with no city sense living far away in the middle of Fort Worth, Texas, etc...

I'm sure my readers could make their own list as long as an arm... The funny thing is, I fail most at the minuscule . . .

It seems more tempting to show lack of trust in momentary every day happenings.

How is that?

****

Today the girls are almost packed and we did our last gardening together. They have big plans and so many things to think of... We've gone from suitcases to carry- ons and now they have ditched them for backpacks. Maps have been printed, everything set...

Then the phone rang. The two adults the girls were going with had to cancel their trip.

So, we are sending our 18 and 14 year old to Europe all by themselves???? and um..... no seasoned travelers to help them navigate the airports and trains and no one to stay with at the convention center...???

We made a lot of calls and typed some facebook messages.

And we decided from the get-go that we would just TRUST.

He doesn't let us down. All we could do is Trust.

It's all worked out - well, sort of worked out. The hotel part, that is. They will be traveling just the two of them and there will be someone meeting them at the airport so long as flights make all connections, etc....then they will be couriered over to the train to make their way alone again from Vienna to Linz where someone will pick them up and take them to GYC. Alonna Smith has graciously said she would be sure they had at least a floor to sleep on in her room if she can't find better. It might mean no breakfasts as the meal comes with the hotel registration. . . but they are good with stuffing their bags with dried bananas and some granola bars. There are two hotels. One right there at the GYC which is full to overflowing and the other which is a little ways away. Alonna was certain they needed to be close in the one overflowing and is working towards that end. I am thankful. Steve has always had high regard for the Smiths and we are completely trusting the God will go with them and all will go fine.

****

On a lighter note... I was attacked by a young upstart rooster who is thinking to rule the roost. By tonight he may not have a head.

Uh! Guess that's not really a light happy thought.... Next time.

The Acidophilus / Scripture Work

I never reported back on the acidophiles, ahem . ... Acidophilus experiment... My spell check wouldn't let me spell it correct and then I forgot to look it up!!!!!

but I need to, because even though we did not follow through for three whole months the 6 weeks or so that we did made a difference.

Both children have had an obviously healthier gut. The signs and symptoms that I noticed have pretty much disappeared.

We are having very little issue with fighting the toilet, but that may have something to do with cherry season. These two eat less cherries than anyone in the house, but they do go out to the tree and eat a few now and again.

Missy has actually gone of her own accord to the bathroom here and there. That's a huge thing for her.

The melatonin worked to get Missy to sleep in a timely fashion for a few weeks in a row and then we stopped using it and she has kept the pattern. We are not sure if she has stayed asleep that last couple of nights, but she's going to bed and falling asleep.

We are working on learning the 23rd Psalm. We started Thursday and we are nearly finished. Believe it or not, Missy is learning the whole thing!! I am quite excited about that. It proves possibilities I was unsure of, are there. I had just recently said she could not memorize. I had given up doing anything more than one liners with her, but I always kept her near and had her try even though I had no expectations and lo and behold she is not far behind James on the Psalm!! I was so surprised the other day when she suddenly started reciting. We use a variety of tactics - standing on the balance board, running stairs, in the car, picture books, having them read straight from the Bible and even letting them use power point on the computer to interest them in working on their verses. I think we'll move to Psalm 91 later this week.

You'll love this update of one of our YFJ'ers... The Morgan Trail

We have so little time to finish packing the girls. Christina and I went shopping yesterday. We bought both girls each a beautiful black skirt. They are simple, but lovely and you can't wrinkle them if you tried!! So then we bought a few bright colored T's to go with and that simplifies packing a lot. A black skirt can be used for dressy, or not dressy and so they can pack less. Everything was on SALE!! Like 60% or 40% off the last sale price, so we managed the shopping trip without much ado about the bank. :-)

The Buddy has learned to climb up to the top bunk bed. What next?!!!!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Youth For Jesus

 okay.... wrong info given. there is a meeting tonight!!

Brianna is in Texas with Youth for Jesus. She has been there a whole week already!! She is loving it as usual. Maybe even more so than last year. She's grown and changed and developed more drive in the last year. My, does she have drive!! It amazes me. Her health is much improved and she can carry on with less sleep than she used to. Last year she was found sleeping during some of the activities and missed evening worships pretty consistently because she was already snoring in bed, but not so this year. I think a year of college has toughened her up quite a bit.

Briana is one of the speakers this year, along with Garhett. So far she has preached three times.  Garhett is doing double what she does, because his partner went off to help with GYC Europe. He's good with that, though. He doesn't have to work quite as hard as Brianna to prepare his sermons. Something about his personality and natural talent.

There is no meeting tonight, and Bri's partner takes the next night, so she has three days to prepare for the next speaking appointment. She says that's good because they gave her a topic without a script to work with, and she has to write it from scratch, though there is a simple power point, and she has to work with that, but no script.

There has been a lot less recreational outings planned and more humanitarian type of outreach, such as feeding the homeless, etc.. this year.

Vanessa and Brianna are super close. Vanessa is having a hard time with not being "there!!" but Brianna calls her at 5 AM to ask for help her with her sermons.... she bounces a lot of her stuff off her older sister. It's weird for them to be going two separate ways. They tend to do everything together.  They call each other throughout the day. That's going to change when Vanessa and Christina leave for Europe soon.

I am so thankful for these opportunities for the girls. I saw what a tremendous blessing it was in their lives last year. The spiritual growth and mental and emotional development toward womanhood was evident after just the 4 weeks last year. It helps to solidify and guide them in the direction of their life goals in service. What more can you ask for?


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Buddy

Everybody loves the little Buddy. He completely takes the heart of those who spend a little time with him. He's getting cautious about going to other people, though. He is getting a little upset, or refusing to go to people whose arms he once threw himself into... He wants Mama!!! or the girls.

Everyone wants to know his story. I have struggled with the confidentiality thing. There is so much that is "OUR" story, but parts that are strictly "HIS" story that I find myself getting in a tangle when people ask direct questions. What I don't tell  can easily be gained elsewhere, because, small town that we live in, there are those who actually know more about the case than I do. Or at least they know more about his family (or know his family) and the current saga than the social worker and I know. . .

We can only pray that God will lead in this case. I must trust He holds these little boys in His great big loving hands.

Friday, July 13, 2012

It Takes a Village

to raise a child.

Someone used that line in their blog post yesterday, and well, it fits. It was James' turn to go to Children's Hospital. He wasn't tested or anything, either. In fact I don't think the man even looked at his tests and scores that I brought him from the school. He said he could see similarities between James and Missy, but that James had more going for him. He was able to converse with him and get a sense of his person, but when asked to draw his family on the white board the kid shut down. He stood in front of the board for awhile and that's all that happened there.

We did discuss his anxiety, his impulsiveness, his periodic lethargy,  and his inability to transition,  - and the wearing of  underwear (haha!!) . . . but basically he again talked about getting supports in place to give it all we have in the next few years to help this child become what he was meant to be. And believe me, it takes a village...

James does have some good  things going for him. He is attaching to us, he remembers well and so he can memorize long passages of scripture and retain it, he is able to learn and read. His processing is slow. That's his biggest issue. How do you rev up the brain to think, take in and spit out information and connect to his language center in a timely fashion? This is huge. I would like to know if there is anything a person can do to facilitate that.

This coming school year is lining up for him. He is going to be in 2nd grade full time. He will be doing a lot of one on one for reading, math, and language, and he will still get all his services for speech, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. He will have a para for science and social studies. We have signed him up for piano lessons - and Vanessa will continue to work with him on that daily. My plan is to increase the scripture studies and memorization morning and evening. He will, of course, continue learning to care for the animals and have outside play time. He has a lot of gaps in general knowledge, so as long as we can balance the physical exercise, playing with legos and other creative play, we need to expose him to lots of book  reading on a level that he can process efficiently.

This doesn't seem half as overwhelming as working with Missy, but the issues of the  two together is a little astounding.

I know that God has a plan for this child. People are praying for him and asking the Lord to bless him with spiritual gifts. The progress we see from the time he came until now, and even from February until now give me a vision for the future. May the Lord grant us wisdom and patience and love.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

T-Shirt Upcycle....

I was working on one of my cleaning projects when I came across three woman's 1X T-shirts in shades of blue. I remembered I had put them aside for one of those Pinterest ideas. Well, it didn't take me long to ditch the cleaning project in favor of a creative project. I also figured out I had a more useful, modest  plan for Missy  than what I had seen on  Pinterest . And we made quick work of those T-shirts.

What do you think?

The sleeves were suppose to be 3/4 length.... close, right?  The leggings are the long sleeves of the T sewn to an old pair of bike shorts. I ruffled strips of the lightest colored T to dress it up a bit. Now days no one finishes the edges of anything, but I managed to used finished edges on everything without doing them myself  except on the ruffles. The hardest part was fitting the sleeves in those very large holes. Every time I tried to close up the gap I ended with puckers on the skirt sides. It's still not perfect. But close enough.  I could have ironed it.... but I'm not going to. It's a T-shirt, after all!

Missy likes it.

It was a quick project..

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's Over

The part of this summer we most looked forward to

is over.



Jason, Antionette, the girls and mom left this morning around 2:30 AM.

The house is rather empty.

Brianna flew off to Texas to Youth for Jesus on Sunday.

There's only 5 kids in the house. I had to count... 5 is still suppose to be a lot but it feels empty.

We headed out to the garden before breakfast. Christina weeded the greenhouse and mowed, and I strung up the cucumbers and fed the plants, and worked on tying up the tomatoes. Vanessa weeded then made breakfast.

We were concerned that the twins would fall apart this morning, but going outside as soon as they were awake helped to avert the catastrophe for awhile. Missy is on her way down the tube now, though.

My big disappointment is that while trying to back-up all my photos from the last month I LOST almost all the pictures of the visit from Jason's family. We only get that chance once every 4 years... and Bri had taken some really nice pictures.  So very sad to lose them. I have a few and the trip to the cabin.

My garden is not the same this year. Something about having a newborn in the spring messed with my ability to give it all I had. BUT the weather has not been good. My tomato patch doesn't look like it should... they are okay, just not like they should be.  Some things, the cantaloupe, cucumbers, potatoes, peppers, eggplant are fine. The rest of it is iffy.

Brianna is happy in Texas. She has some really nice friends with her. She's matured a lot in the last year with going to college and all. She has a greater capacity to handle the load, and it's a good thing because her load this year is that much more involved. She will be speaking every other night for a full month. Thankfully, they put her in a room with 3 other people instead of the usual 12. She was full of exciting things to share when she called.

I have made myself a To Do List for the next few weeks. It's pretty long! While my mom was here, she got some things done that definitely made my list shorter than it would have been. For one thing  the garage is clean... and that's an amazing feat!

Vanessa and Christina have a lot to do to prepare for their trip to Europe, so our busy isn't over.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Evaluation That Didn't Happen

We left early. It was tough getting Missy ready to go at 5:15 AM... it was discovered she was in dire need of a shower, and well, let's just say it's cherry season . . .  This child does not use the "felicities" on her own without being made to - and cherries to don't stick with a schedule. She also doesn't take to showers at 5:15 AM . . . at least not without a fight.

Now that you have that pretty little picture in your head we'll carry on with our story....

We had a little different opinion going as to which branch of Children's Hospital we were suppose to arrive at. I am usually wrong about dates and times and prices, and addresses and I've learned to allow the smarter half win in these differences without question. Apparently neither of us have learned to check the cold hard facts.

We were exactly on time at the wrong place. We quick made a call and they rescheduled us for 2PM because they knew how far we had driven.

We ended up spending a few hours at REI wandering about and finding next to nothing that suited our fancy.

The whole reason for this appointment was to have a psychological evaluation for a baseline. We needed a better picture of what it is exactly that we are dealing with. Some sort of medical marker to have should things get better or worse.

The evaluation did not happen in the sense I was looking for. No testing was done.

We did get a better picture of what we are dealing with, but it was VERY difficult to hear. The guy didn't give us a lot of hope that things would change much . There was little positive. There was a long lecture on how we can't do this ALONE. There was an enormous and overwhelming amount of information on where we need to go to get a team together. He stressed using a shotgun approach to doing everything possible right now while there is still time - thus, he stressed  again we can't do it alone, though he also thinks we need respite. He also told us that if things didn't improve early her  chances of being independent as an adult were slim to none. He did say her IQ scores could improve, but it was unknown at this point if it would.

Basically he read her medical file. I've seen it a few times. It's about 5 or 6 inches thick. He skimmed through the school file that is an inch thick that I handed him and found what he was looking for.

Putting everything together and seeing the consistency of all the previous tests, IEPs, etc..., he said we needed to face the fact that we are dealing with mental retardation, "to use an old outdated term". Not just a mild case as we have been led to believe, but a moderate intellectual disability.  I was not unhappy that he was talking straight. Personally, I find the new politically correct language vague and misleading. A developmental delay can mean a million things to me and I have believed that time and environment and patience would win out because - it was just a "delay in progress".  Now I am seeing a broader picture.... but that doesn't mean I  know what to think about all this. He said she might not learn the first 50 times someone taught her something, so many people needed to be involved in the training process to reinforce the skills.

I do know that I need to get on board with the Division of Developmental Disabilities and whatever else and tap into resources that might give her more opportunity and help in the long run.

He kind of poo-pooed the idea of RAD, but he admitted that it was not his field and that we should go with the referral to see the specialists at the University Hospital "to put the idea to rest".  Anyway,  he doesn't live with this kid.

He asked Missy to draw her family on the white board and she drew four people with fingers longer than their hair. It gave a not so flattering clue to her abilities, or lack of. Then he tried to converse with her which went nowhere.

So, that was our visit.

Now what to do with it.

This Thursday we go back. This time for James.  Believe it or not  his IQ score is almost identical to hers, but we are most assuredly dealing with a different bag of beans.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

It's a Small World After All ** and Fostering Shock

Friends with an international flavor. . . representing at least 8 countries :-)

If you are wondering how this is possible....

Miss Shiloh's mom is South African,
her dad is Canadian,
but she was born in Tanzania.

Carissa's mom was born in Columbia,
her dad in Mexico,
but she was born in the USA.

And of course China is well represented,
by Leila and Lottie.

And Ethiopia by Bethlehem.

**... Starting to come to an understanding of all that happened at Children's Hospital.
It's a lot to comprehend.
And so much to follow up on.
I was too overwhelmed to be able to write about it... but I'm getting there ...

*** Please pray for the Buddy's family.
I answered a call from our social worker in Costco today.
I asked about the Duckie.
And she asked if I would consider taking him back if things don't work out.
Mommy is finding it much harder than she thought,
and she actually asked that he be brought back to me,
but the social worker put it to her straight....
that returning the baby to foster care because getting up in the night is making her
too tired to cope, or whatever her issue, is not a reason to get someone
else to take over.
It would set the whole case back.
Getting her baby back a second time would be doubly hard.

I was in shock.
I had so much more faith in her mother instincts than that.
It breaks my heart.

I'm hoping on one hand that her straight talking to
was enough to wake her up,
but on the other hand, I miss that little babe.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Fireworks!

Twalisa was remembering all her friends back in Africa who 
"would have loved" watching the fireworks with her.

One little girl didn't get to go because she had an appointment at Children's Hospital the today. We had to leave EARLY. Like 5:30 AM to get there on time. We arrived on time only to find out we were at the WRONG branch. The appointment was pushed to 2PM....

Still processing what happened there. Not at all what I was expecting. . . and there was no need for the next two appointments that we had planned. If I can wrap my brain around everything I might post about it later. It's kind of overwhelming.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tea Party

Such a flutter of excitement...

All. Afternoon.

The girls were busy getting ready for a tea party to celebrate the 4th in high style.

The bouquets took them hours to cut and arrange.

So many details... 

flags to make, muffins and tea. . .

And the finery they must wear, 

OH my!!






Building sweet memories.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Remodeling the Barn DAY!

The little red barn underwent an amazing transformation today.

Once upon a time the girls were really into bunnies.

But we are down to one. And James has quite a flock of hens. They are growing up fast . . . those girls are going to need a place to lay their eggs soon.

So, it was out with the rabbit hutches and in with the nesting boxes. We reused all the lumber and even the screws!

The kids helped with cleaning out the barn.

Here they are tearing out the rabbit cages.

Missy loading up fouled up bedding.

Taking a break

Memere's right hand helper for the first half.

Bri's turn to load a barrow.

A pretty face :-)
I got out the can of red paint and cleaned up the look of the walls.

We finally hung the painting Bri made for me a few years ago, back when she into her "everything roosters" phase.
It's perfect!

The Buddy was quite content to copycat everything Memere did!
The end result of the carpentry work...

You should be all set, ladies!

The farmer boy did all he could to help. He's quite happy with his hens.... one of them started crowing. We've named him Concerto. I have a sneaking suspicion Sonata is also a rooster... as well as  Osprey.

Time will tell.

Thanks Memere.

Tons of Fun, Too Many Late Nights, and We're Crashing

Shiloh fell asleep after swimming in the afternoon and slept until this morning. She missed VBS and it didn't matter. All that mattered was sleep.

James woke up but refused to get on board and we finally figured out he was too tired and was sent back to bed.

Missy is teetering on the edge of sanity.

We love VBS, but.... my brother was wondering why VBS isn't in the daytime like it used to be when we were kids. It used to be an all morning affair for two weeks with a huge closing program for the whole family.  People are so busy anymore that everything has been shortened and simplified to the max.
Antionette telling a story

Jason helped Steve to build the rail on our "new' porch. The ditch is filled in. The trees in the front were trimmed down (or should I say hacked in half... it's good. We can see the view now).



Brianna is packing for Texas. And that means she is taking her computer... (this very one that I use :-).
The VBS TYE-DYE crew (minus the one who was too tired)

Jason and Antionette left for campmeeting in Oregon and so my mom got to talk to Antionette's mom on Skype in South Africa.  Apparently she knows me through this blog. Hi there, Marie :-)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

VBS Week

The twin's favorite.

Possibly the cousins' first.

Let your light Shine!

Gideon's fancy trumpet and lantern hidden under a clay pot, which he broke with his African machete...quite the visual!


Let your Light SHINE!

Candle Holders...

Craft time
Bring a Friend tomorrow.