Thursday, January 31, 2013

Around and Around the Labels We GO!

The behavioral therapist starts off each session pretty much the same way.... I'm starting to not be so sure what to say anymore.

Therapist: "You are probably very well read and educated regarding autism?"

Me: "No. No one has ever told me the children are autistic."

Therapist: Looking totally stunned ... "So, what is their diagnosis then?"

Me: (Trying not to sound like I'm on repeat. We've had this conversation verbatim every week). "No one has given me a clear cut diagnosis. I only know that they have developmental delays."

Therapist: "Oh, so they have Pervasive Developmental Disorder".

Me: "I don't know that."

***

#1. The first week I shared how I had taken them to Children's to have testing done so that we could know what we were working with and what angle to approach their needs with and I was told they didn't need the testing that they were "Mentally Retarded and what more did I need to know?"

To that, he went on to explain that Developmental delays was not necessarily Mental Retardation and that I really needed  to have the testing done.

#2. The next week he went on to explain that Pervasive Developmental Disorder was on the SPECTRUM of ASD and that they were somewhere on that spectrum.

I told in they specifically tested James for Autism when he was younger and said he was definitely not autistic but that he was missing the Q arm of the 7th chromosome but that no one knows what that means including the Drs who tested him.

#3. This week another re-run. He again came to the conclusion that they have a Pervasive Developmental Disorder and I just said, "well, they called it global delays." And he went on to talk about Autism again.

I'm not against accepting they could be on the spectrum somewhere... just please tell me where we are getting these labels if we have not done the testing. How can this guy know for sure anything when I have been searching for answers for three years and have none. He's barely conversed with them for more than a greeting. He has not so much as observed their  behavior.

I'm trying to look up Pervasive Developmental Disorder and it is an absolute meaningless title and supposedly after the age of 6 must be changed to a more specific diagnosis.

Whatever! None of these words help me to know how to HELP THEM. Isn't that the point of all this?

*******************
A little Buddy turns 2 tomorrow.
Happy Birthday little guy!
One year ago we met him for the first time.
The day after his 1st birthday.
He was so little.
What a year it has been!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Downsizing

It's hard to believe I went from that huge, complete U shaped desk to this......

The front has 5 drawers as you can see. I loaded them with copy paper, pens, sticky notes, scissors, cards, envelopes, address book, hole punch, and every kind of stationary need one might have.

The back has three shelves. It is loaded with containers of crayons, pencil crayon, and blank CD's and DVD's - whatever didn't fit in the drawers.

I was so pleased with my find. Yes, it's another thrift store trophy. I paid $12.99. It's even on wheels and made of solid wood - very heavy. The drawers roll nicely and there's a lock and key. The shelves are even adjustable. There's just enough room to hold a lap top next to the printer. What more could I ask for?

I asked the Lord to help me as I went from thrift store to thrift store - 5 of them.... and in one hour had exactly what I was after.  I am sure, though, I had no idea it would look like this.

As for that hideous blue carpet... its days are numbered. I think I may have found a solution.

The Sick at Our House. - And the Hilarious People Who Can't Get it RIGHT!

One child is happily going off to Children's Hospital with her daddy today for an hearing aid. I am not so sure she actually needs it! No one told her she was going to Children's Hospital, but somehow she has been eaves dropping and told everyone at school and the bus driver that Wednesday she was going to Children's. It amazes me how on top of things she is. She knows what is going to happen even on days I'm confused. She's always right.

The other child is vomiting - or has been.... in his bed since midnight, all over the carpet, everywhere. Swine flu? It's going around. It's a good thing Vanessa is going into nursing. She cleaned it all up. I just can't do throw up!

Andrew goes to his appointments in the big city as well. They will be gone three days. He's quite sick. I am very concerned. He sleeps almost constantly, or at least lays in a dark room most of the day and night. I'm hard put to entice him to eat once a day.

I repainted the room downstairs and put away more stuff. I'm in serious declutter mode. I sure hope the garbage man comes today.... he didn't come last week!!! Help us all. It's really a bad time for the garbage man to forget us.

A friend took up all their laminate floor because it was not really the right color. They offered it to us.... and sadly, our floor downstairs in not level enough to use it. It is totally the wrong color to use upstairs or I would. We are going to have to re-carpet downstairs, I think.

****Steve said he needed to get some things for me to blog about. I guess I am boring these days. Anyway, so this is how it is going for him this morning.

He made the girls cry. He wanted to take the car to the shop, which meant Vanessa had to drive with him to the shop but he was trying to do all sorts of things around that needed doing..... AND HE MADE two of THEM LATE FOR SCHOOL. The other was rushed before she was expecting to go.

He got a ticket for speeding.

He got stuck in the snow in the Saturn and Christina had to push him out, so now he's buying tires.

The ice-cream cake he bought for Andrew's birthday he left in the trunk of the car over night and it melted into a puddle.

It's only 8:57.... Is this a sign he should not be driving over the pass today?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

One Thing Leads to Another

Sorting, sorting, sorting....

Trashing, burning, giving away....

Found someone who wanted the desk!! Yay!

Christina and I took it apart and moved it away to find that the wall indeed has not been painted back there.

Decided to use paint I had and save a couple $$.

Went searching for a loveseat. Craigslist, Goodwill, Sally-Anne.... and finally the department store. Found a good price and love it!

Put it in the room with the new paint job.

YUCK!

Have to go buy a gallon of paint now.

When we moved the desk we found that the carpet is PAST seen it's days.  SO disgusting. Steve said, "Rip it out!"

I said, "And then what?"

Have to figure that one out still!

So here's the horrible color combinations. Well, sort of. The picture doesn't really give the right hues.... But I'm looking at painting a neutral beige or something like that.


Monday, January 28, 2013

DECLUTTERING!!!

Taking a load to the Salvation Army today! YES!!!

Been slowly working through the office.

It used to be used very efficiently when we had a desktop computer and we homeschooled three girls.

Now, not so much.

I'm getting rid of the desk and turning the room into a comfy place where reading and homework can get done with care-givers.... Or the girls can have friends when the house is full of therapists... or a game can be played while an important conversation is being held in the main living room.

This is a big need.

There are no takers on my big desk, though.... What to do with it? I tried Craigslist. At this point I would GIVE it away. Anybody?

WHAT A LOT OF JUNK WE'VE ACCUMULATED!  I got the girls involved yesterday. They ended up calling themselves pack rats when they uncovered math pages from years ago, drawings (by the hordes) and craft items *they might use someday!*  I emptied the homeschool book shelf and listed everything and sent the list to all my local homeschooling friends. A lot of it  has already been claimed. So awesome.

You know what the sad thing is.... I couldn't move that desk when I painted the room a couple years ago! We might just have to change the color of the walls :-)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

What's Working {and What is NOT}

I'm not in the bloggin mood.... but there are things that must be recorded.

We've been trying new strategies... Some of them are working and others are absolutely backfiring. Here's a run down on three of them.

1. Always say yes.

Saying no puts the kids in a combative mode. EVERY TIME.

So, say yes instead.


"Yes, you may play outside  ~  as soon as you clean up your toys."

"Yes! of course, as soon as you drink your water."

"Yes, you can have that treat. Tomorrow when you show me how quick you can get ready for the bus I'll put it in your lunch."

"Yes, as soon as you turn 18..."

"Yes, when when I'm dead and buried."   ; -)

And, believe it or not, it works. So far, they have no comeback and have accepted the answer far better than a flat out no.


2. Give  Choices

The idea behind this one is to give them as much control as they can handle. Often they are seeking for control in unhealthy ways. POWER STRUGGLES are to be avoided at all cost.  They love a good power struggle and can get one going in a split second before you even know what happened and it destroys the peace!

So, instead of saying, "It's time to drink your water," I ask  "What color cup would you like to have your water in?"

Instead of saying, "Please hurry to breakfast", I ask "Do you want jam and peanut butter, or vegenaise and pickles on your toast?"

"Do you want to do this job first, or that job?"

"Would you like to wear this dress, or that dress?"

 "Are you going to read first, or do your math homework first?"

CHOICES, CHOICES.... all day long about everything and anything until you are sick of looking for choices to ask them, but then you give them another choice. This WORKS for Missy very well. At least, it's working right now, but I can't tell you if her good mood will last and if it has any correlation to the control she feels she has in her life right now. Nothing has actually changed, mind you. She always had a choice of what she was going to wear, which color cup she could choose, which job she was going to do first, or what she had on her toast. It's all in the presentation!!

This works somewhat for James - but we are having trouble with aspects of this as it relates to our next new strategy, as you will see.


3.  Use Supportive Language

The child doesn't want to do his chores. Not a word has been spoken yet.  It's obvious by the stance. To mention chores would be to throw gasoline on the spark and he wears the look that says, "I dare you and you will be sorry!"

The strategy is to disarm him with supportive language. "Hi son, how's it going. What's your plan for the day? Are you planning to ride the bus this morning, or do you need more time and want me to walk with you later?"

In theory he's suppose to answer, "I want to ride the bus".

And then, the supportive parent is suppose to say, "GREAT!! Good choice. What can I do to help you get ready?"

Sounds good, right?!?

Except in actuality it goes like this: "Good morning, son, nice to see you up. What's your plan for the day?"

Silence

"Are you planning to ride the bus today or would you like to walk with me a bit later?"

Silence

"Hey, kiddo, is there a problem? How can I help you this morning?"

Silence

"Uh-oh. I think the cat got his tongue. Quick, let's check, has anybody seen his tongue?"

And we're in a full blown stand-off and NOTHING I say is going to rectify the situation. I end up walking away and letting him miss his ride as he invents ways to turn this into a power struggle.

I think he believes I'm manipulating him to motivate him to get where I want him to go. WHICH, is exactly what I think I'm doing, too.

It's not working. BUT this is the Behavioral Therapist #1 and most loved theory. Never mind that it totally backfires in my face every time with this boy.

What I have recently noticed, is this particular morning struggle is directly tied to his bowel health. You can write me off as CRAZY if you like.... but if the kid can use the toilet easily and do his job, he's great and happy. If he can't he doesn't want to even try and would rather be in a STAND-OFF in the hall and risk having to walk than make any attempt.

Yesterday, the boy and I walked to church. Migraine and all.


So, for what it's worth... Two that work. I got both of them from the foster care class. And one that doesn't work, that I got from the therapist. To be fair, he validated the first two.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cougar

Have to walk the kid to school.....

The cougar our neighbors chased away has been seen again on our road.

Bringing a noise maker.

The boy has had a hard morning. Not sure why.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I Should Never Say

.... That the twins are level headed.

One huge tantrum, and some purposeful destruction later...


Well, not to worry. He lost his room for the night, but unbeknownst to me he would have anyway. Nephew Andrew is here and in need of a bed. I packed up the train to be given away seeing he intended to destroy it... But have thought to wait until our behavioral therapist weighs in tomorrow.

The cause of the altered mental state?

15 minutes of computer time.

Happens every time. Seems to be a direct correlation between computer/ electronics and loss of self control.

It was not my idea that he use the computer. Vanessa thought he would learn something. I was a bit nervous about the plan............

Live and learn.

Encouraged

The foster care classes are finally interesting. Well, the material to be covered is still the same old foundational stuff, it's the class members that are becoming more comfortable and starting to share. WOW. One can learn a lot from a seasoned {and I do mean seasoned} foster care mom. {When a child they have adopted is older than me, and they are still fostering.... I'd call that SEASONED, wouldn't you?}

I asked some questions and got some good answers and ideas to try, some concrete things to think through. It is so encouraging to talk to people who have been there and have solutions that have worked for them in the past.

Okay, some of my own stories are jaw dropping. Not that they haven't seen it themselves, but  I can share with the best of them and they are not all seasoned.

Received an email. Two children needing a forever mom and dad. Kids from OUR OWN TOWN. They look sweet and their profile reads kindly {kinder than a lot of profiles I have read, ***but do your homework***}. It's easy to think of orphans in far-flung places. It cuts home hard when they are in your own backyard especially when you look at their beautiful faces. Also, it is super unusual for me to get this type of email. It's not how it is generally done. They usually present these pictures to people looking to adopt, not random people on their mailing list. I'm not in the running, (there would have to be a pretty clear call and maybe some flashing gold letters in the sky) but it certainly breaks my heart and I can present them to the FATHER of all children and plead their case. They need a mom and dad and love. They need stability. But they also need to know Jesus.

The twins are actually pretty level headed and calm the last few days. Such a blessing.

Monday, January 21, 2013

New Caregiver, Update on Buddy's Family, and Christina

I'd take Jacob any day!!!

He was James' fill in care-giver today. He was greeted at the door by Vanessa and he thought he had the wrong house because he knows her.

"Bunessa!" (The typical mispronunciation of her name by Spanish speaking people) "I don't know if I am at the right house. I am suppose to take care of a man named John."

"Um, you are at the right home, but he's actually my little brother, James."

So, it was a big surprise all the way around. I almost told the agency to forget sending anyone since it is kind of a pain to explain everything and then in end it hasn't been working out so great.

But, he's a good guy and he made James work hard and James liked him a lot. He spent 2.5 hours working with him when we are usually lucky if we get an hour of real effort. I am so going to request Jacob as a regular. It's also nice that we know him from church.

The Missy's gal didn't come. I knew yesterday she didn't want to come. She HINTED at the fact ever so clearly and then she called in sick and there was no one to replace her. Vanessa worked with Missy for me.

Bri and I went and spent a couple hours with the Babies' family. We went to look at a house coming up for rent, etc... and talked. I sure hope they get that house. It's the first house on our road and ours is the last house. It would be so convenient.

The mom told me that she didn't know where she'd be if it were not for our family cheering her on...

It's hard to attend all the appointments and meetings and counseling sessions, etc.. that DSHS has required of this mom of 4. It's nearly impossible. Someone close to her has encouraged her to sign slips for herself to make it look like she has attended meetings that she has not. I don't think she would do it, but she brought it up. I believe in impeccable honesty, of course. I know that such a course, in the end, would only work against her. Instead, I offered to get her kids ready and put them in bed for her if she would just attend one meeting a week.

 The daddy has a new job.... it's an old job returned to him. He knows the work and has been in management in the auto business at this very place. He may have to work back up the ladder again.

The Duckling is so ready to crawl... if he wasn't so chubby :-) He's up on his hands and knees.
The Buddy hasn't done any new damage to his face in a week... THAT KID!

Christina will be home on Thursday. We all miss her. She's the life of the party. However, she has really, really enjoyed learning massage and hydrotherapy and would stay longer if we'd let her. We'll let her  - sometime. Just not right now. First off, she needs to escort Izzy back home and she has some responsibilities to her homeschooling and paid for classes. I guess she has helped to strip my mom's house of every piece of wallpaper in the place. My mom is on to painting now.

Izzy has found out she has a LOT of food sensitivities. I don't know what all, but at this time there are only a few select things she can eat. The massage can go deeper than before, but there is much for the girl to overcome, yet. She still has a lot of pain. Christina and Izzy called from inside the hyperbaric chamber tonight.

Oh, and Andrew might be coming to stay with us for awhile. We'll see.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Life Lesson

Two children,

both age 8.

One gets up happy and motors right through his morning routine.

The other takes her merry time.... NOT crabby or anything, but don't push it!!! Everything is on her time-table. She hangs tightly to control of her movements. Everything is based on how she feels about it and what she wants to do in the moment.

Eight o'clock arrives and Daddy must head to the ski slopes to be on nurse patrol.

One child is in her pajamas with a list still ahead of her.

The other child had completely done his chores and had eaten a hearty breakfast of potatoes and waffles and blueberries.

Guess which child was blessed with an unexpected invitation for a trip to the ski slopes!

ONE child is heard crying, "NOT FAIR, NOT FAIR", while the other quietly grins from ear to ear.

It sure reminds me of that story in Pilgrim's Progress of the two brothers. One looking for instant gratification and the other waiting patiently for his inheritance.When at last the second brother receives his reward, the first brother cries, "Unfair, unfair!" as he looks at all his broken and used up trinkets.

There are eternal consequences in the story in Pilgrim's Progress and character built now could truly have eternal consequences here, too. As parents, may we never forget.

Friday, January 18, 2013

caleb


Behavioral Modifications Professional

One of those guys came out to our house yesterday. He had not been clued in much yet, so the bulk of our hour was spent building a timeline and a picture of what we are dealing with.

I also put out scenarios of real life in our house.Thanks to blogging, I can actually remember detailed stories.

He had some good thoughts. Some new ideas.

Apparently he has had a lot of years of experience in mental health care.

He really wanted to know exactly what the diagnosis is and I couldn't tell him. No has ever given me that because no one has ever really wanted to look that far. As you may recall, last summer we had four days of testing for each scheduled at Children's Hospital and the Psychiatrist decided he didn't want to do it. His exact words, "They are mentally retarded, what more do you want to know?" and he cancelled all our appointments.

Since that time I've been asked specific questions that those days of testing would have answered and when I share with the health professionals the answer I got, it makes them roll their eyes in the back of their head. Yesterday was no different.

The guy went on to explain that there are many, many different things that could be going on here and it would be so helpful to know what we are working with. According to him, developmental delays is not synonymous with mental retardation. Of course, I knew that - but it has felt like people have wanted me to believe that it is the case with the twins... and honestly I'm not convinced that James fits that category. I don't know what to think about Missy right now. Some days  there is way more going on than I can understand. Other days she's just got this manipulation thing tuned to a fine art!!! And some days she shocks the socks off everybody with what she knows. This whole going from NOT ever wanting to read and struggling over each and every word to happily reading 2 to 3 books fairly easily every evening this week is a prime example of her surprising us with her abilities. The kid covers every insecurity with proving she can't. Then one day she can and we are left stunned.

It's my job to journal all the details of Missy's behaviors this week. I'm pretty sure I can do that. :- )... but I won't bore you with the particulars. This morning was interesting. Sick in bed, I listened to Missy wander around the house doing everything except what she knew she should be doing. James on the other hand was going about getting each chore done and out of the way systematically. I heard Steve come in from the outside and ask Missy what she was doing. I got up quickly then, and we had a conference between the two of us parents and we agreed not to tell her what to do and to just watch and see. VERY interesting. It was brilliantly clear what game she was playing... For the record she
made the bus even though she panicked at the end and nearly lost her cool - , and she also asked for the reward James got for plugging along responsibly. She also thanked me for that which she had a tantrum about yesterday. Mind games, mind games. Oh child!! lol. Someday she'll shock us all and quit those, too.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Improvement

When things start to make a turn for the better I feel like I have to post right away so that you know your prayers for us are being answered!! Thank you so much.

We are enjoying a calm evening.

Thank you, Lord.

Tonight Missy has discovered she LOVES reading.. WHOOOO HOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have no idea what an amazing thing this is. She has read through three Dick and Jane books out loud all on her own tonight. She's reading very, very well, too.  Thank you, Mr. Morgan. You have worked a miracle with this child!!

James did his homework without one battle. He's practicing piano. He didn't sing in choir.... said he had a tummy ache. It was more like starvation or something, cause he's been fine since supper. BUT see, the whole trouble with him started last week in choir. Each day it has grown worse. He's doing okay tonight. NOT without his stubborn moments, but a lot better.

By the way, I found great encouragement, and admonition in James chapter 1. Maybe sometime I'll  write how it helped me today.

We had an enjoyable choir practice. My big bag of treats was a tad short on prizes because we had 100% concentration and cooperation and attendance. Awesome kids. We are so close to concert! 

One more thing. I have pretty much given up on charts and stickers and all that jazz with the twins. It has more effect on James than on Missy, but it never seemed to really, truly motivate them. At school they have a  calender each that must be signed everything they read to us. If they have 20 signatures in a month they are part of the 20th club. The first month Missy paid zero attention to it. The next month she was sort of hit and miss about it. The next month she was quite disappointed that she didn't reach the goal again. THIS MONTH she cares. Every single day she is motivated to read to someone. She needs those signatures. She's totally willing to do what it takes to get them, too. And I am wondering, maybe I just never gave the thing a chance!! Maybe it takes months for her to get motivated by a chart. Maybe I'm the one who has always lost interest too soon. We just might try it again at home.

Oh, WAIT! know what else??? I solved a math problem FOR Brianna. Do you know how long it's been since I've been able to do that???!  HA! Well, now that she is not longer taking the high fullutent maths like trig and calc, and she's back to math I can understand (she's going into elementary ed) I actually have half a chance...!

Sigh

Okay.

So they made the bus.

BUT not before I lost it.

Now I wish they hadn't gone so I could do it over.

I think that I'm handling the intensity just fine and then all of a sudden, I'm not anymore. I'm shaking and I'm loud and I'm forcing them to obey because it's all such insanity. We've got every passive aggressive behavior known to man going on here.

For the record they were not the ones who were hollering this morning. He's using stubborn silence and refusing to respond to me or do anything. She's not near as hard as he is when he gets hard. The disrespect of refusing to answer me REALLY pushes my buttons.

I tried to apologize to them before they left but James refusing to acknowledge me didn't go over so well and I found myself frustrated and trying to get him to respond all over again while the bus was honking it's horn.

I feel like burying myself in the bed and wishing the day away.... but maybe I need to go find a Bible promise to get me through this, instead.

After several days of beautiful sunshine, we have a heavy grey day where the clouds hang right down over the tops of the mountains like a thick blanket holding the cold down close the ground. It's one of those inversions where it's warmer above the cloud than it is down here. Totally matches my mood.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

You are Kidding Me!

I guess I'm going hiking tonight. Wonder how many miles it will take before the critter decides he's going to answer me.

{Three... and then we had to walk home, so six tonight. And I walked him to school this AM. That was two and half, but I had to walk home and chose a different route hoping for less ice and that was three.

I'm feeling those 11.5 miles.

I sure hope he's in a better frame of mind tomorrow.

This afternoon it was over homework. Let me just say it was 5 hours of snot for 10 minutes worth of counting by fives. That's what it took him when he finally put his mind to it!

OH Me... Oh My! Some people's kids.}

The Girls' Song

I invite you to hear the girls singing at this link:
 https://plus.google.com/u/0/102147247792554792850/posts/Co3mcq5jFd7

They start at exactly 16 minutes into the You Tube.


 Thanks to Adam Jackson for the photos!

Are You Trying to Hurt Me?

It's a question I've asked of the twins lately.

The answer is always, "YES".

When I ask why they have no answer.

It most definitely feels like they are trying desperately to hurt me in as many ways as possible without actually physically touching me. It's like they would punish me for their bad choices. When I put it to them in black and white they agree that it's what they are doing, but it's almost like they hadn't really thought it through to that point themselves. In black and white they become ashamed and back off.

I'm not sure of the right way to deal with it.

It certainly is a bad place for me to be - thinking they are out to hurt me.

Missy is off to school calmly this morning.

James is full of it today and missed the bus. Now I have to walk him to school. Five minutes ago he agreed he was trying to hurt me. The logic is so skewed. As far as I can see he's hurting himself a lot more than he could ever hurt me by stunting his progress and harboring anger in his heart. This is sad for me... the shenanigans only frustrate growth.

When we are dealing with issues the communication skills are the first to be affected making it next to impossible to have a decent conversation about what is happening inside their little heads. They intentionally make it impossible to understand what they do say and what they say goes round and round in a nowhere direction.

I'm going to walk James to school today and then I am going to stick around a bit and see how he relates to the teachers. I know that he was not cooperative in Sabbath School at church this past Sabbath. It's the passive aggressive stance we often see at home.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Home Today with Missy

I chose to take Missy home right after church yesterday. The rest of the family stayed for the fellowship meal.

Today I kept her home while everyone went to the snow party. After Friday's emotional, disastrous day she needed it. It was also good for her to have only me for companionship for awhile.

She struggled some to just be... She had a need to needle or try for a reaction of some sort. I mostly dismissed her to a place where she couldn't and it got less and less.

I think that tomorrow will be fairly calm.

I am challenging James to do addition facts flash cards WHILE spinning his hula hoop around his waist! Haha! It's brain intensive. I am assuming that working his body while working his brain is good for him. If anyone knows of ways to speed up his processing skills let me know. This is his greatest deficiency. He's pretty good on the hula hoop. He has a stack of math facts learned... So we're just trying to put them together.

I'd like to ask for prayers for the babies' family. The daddy no longer has a job. He's struggling with who knows what... But perhaps he is depressed over his job situation?

Also, please pray for Izzy!! She is at Eden Valley with Christina to get treatment for her extreme pain and her illness is an absolute and complete mystery. I mean we know she has micro-fractures in her spine, but why, and why the pain in the rest of her body? She's also very homesick and struggling with the treatments. Christina has the tough job of keeping the girl busy enough to distract, if possible, her from her pain. It would be such a blessing if she could get some relief.

Introducing the Speakers....

The team is getting ready for their series in Bible Prophecy in the spring and they needed a photo for their flyer. Bri roped Sam into helping her shoot the pics...

The results:




I have to say they are good looking bunch.
So proud of them all!!

BUT you have to know that a photo shoot like that
doesn't go off without a hitch...
Got a problem, Garhett?
 Bri's attempt to get people to pose in a certain way goes awry.
"The wailing wall."
 Some people feel left out and are just plain jealous.
Looks good on you, JON.

But there's no doubt that they always have a good time.

Jacob

Still sifting through the pictures of Christmas.

Here's to the guy who wears red socks.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Over the Precipice { and Back }

I could not believe it yesterday. Such a sweet, adorable child... so willing, so happy, so loving! And I let her know just how much I appreciated and enjoyed her.

And then she asked me for the new clothes I had forgotten about.

I happily consented. I told her she had earned them. They were school clothes I had picked up for her on Monday, but when she had given Vanessa such a hard time that very evening I just put the bag on the dresser and never told her about them. I figured she didn't need to be rewarded for her behavior. Out of sight, out of mind for me.... but she found them a few days later and I told her I had bought them for her on Monday but couldn't give them to her when she was so out of control and she would have to wait until I had seen some improvement in her respect to others before I was willing to share them with her.

She got the clothes and she was very excited to lay them out for school last night. Sigh...! This morning such a different child got up and put those clothes on. There was nothing left to work for,  I guess. The unbelievable change was night and day.

So challenging to accept when I know it does NOT have to be this way.

I tried everything in the book to work with her. Finally I took the clothes back and folded them and put them away. I found her another outfit and literally dressed her because she wasn't cooperating in anything. It went from there... James left to catch the bus and she was refusing to eat, etc.... then the tantrum started because the bus left without her.

THREE HOURS of it.

It is so amazing how much and how far a child can regress in seconds.

She carried on much like a two year old would (only longer, harder). There was no reasoning left. Her speech was the next to go - she was completely back to her old pronunciations, and weird speech patterns. She "could not" so much as repeat a phrase without changing the structure back to her old way of leaving out most words and was mostly unintelligible.

IT WAS A HARD DAY.

I did everything I knew.

We eventually wore out the tantrum but defiance would not leave.

We ended up nose to nose - both refusing to budge. I told her she wouldn't win and I wouldn't lose on this one. Too much was at stake. I do a lot to avoid getting to this point with her. REALLY HONESTLY... It is not wise for things to come to this, and I pray it never happens again, but there we were and I COULD NOT LOSE this battle.

And suddenly she gave in. Her face softened and she was willing to work with me. It was over, but it was too late for school. She vacuumed and washed floors, and folded laundry, and went walking the rest of the day. This evening she participated with the family just fine.

We have a behavior management program being offered to us for free. It's designed for Developmentally Delayed kids. Someone will come out to our house and work with us to find ways to handle her and ways for her to handle herself. I have no expectations. It's free. It's offered. I have to take advantage of whatever is available. Should things get worse (which I don't expect, but can't predict) I need to have at least be fully informed and aware of what is available to her. Who knows, maybe we will both learn something. I have to do everything possible to make life better for her. Tantrums take their toll on her (and the rest of us) - especially these long ones.

We're back to really tight reins, which will be cause for frequent outbursts. She knows cause and effect. She knows she's been out of control. She understands that she needs outside boundaries as she obviously doesn't have any of her own right now, but she's not happy about it.

My child, I pray for your heart. I know you can be happy and I know you can do so well. Choices are everything. His grace is sufficient... YOU can make the right ones.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sock Monkey

I have tons of good photos from Christmas...  Can't just let them hide away in the computer.

My nephew, Ziggy and his counterpart....


The Latest C-Pap Report

IS AWESOME!

This new mask works so much better.

There is no doubt, Missy is handling life a lot better. She certainly doesn't seem as tired.

.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Missy Update

I fully expected Missy to fall apart when our guests left. Big changes often create big emotions that can get out of control really fast. I just knew that after weeks of company and Christmas she was going to jump over a cliff when it was over. Well, we stood around waiting and watching for a couple days and nothing seemed out of sync. Much to our surprise ~ which can only mean we're moving forward. God's grace is changing her life. Increment, by increment!

By the end of the day at around 7 PM on Monday she blew up over brushing her teeth. This kind of thing happens, so I can't really say that it was out of the ordinary. I had just left the house to help at the English Language School. She was under Vanessa's care. I guess it was BIG and SCARY and it lasted over an hour. Vanessa stayed firm. She totally expected the kiddo to brush her teeth whether or not she wanted to. Vanessa never called me though she could have. I was only three miles away, but since she is wanting the home care-giver's job (more on that later) she must have thought she needed to ride the wave and know for herself that she could handle the child when I'm not available.

Missy's pretty much been okay since. Now she's the one waiting around for the other shoe to drop. She knows the tantrum was uncalled for.  I think she is expecting a consequence of some sort and so she's trying to be extra sweet...  Like extra hugs and kindness . . WHICH helps me see she is understanding cause and effect. I'm always trying to discern how much of her is lack of understanding and how much of her is so much smoke to "protect" herself. It seems that she still has huge trust issues and she refuses to progress in some areas as a way of staying in control. I don't know for sure. That's a guess. I did ask her why she is choosing to be sweet. Her communication skill is frustratingly inadequate. It seems my assumption is correct, but it's hard to know.

This morning Missy put clean sheets on James' bed for him. She also "washed" the dishes.  SO GOOD!! She so needs to think outside of herself in this way.

 James could hula hoop yesterday. Today he can't remember how.

I started my fostercare class. It's okay. Nothing fabulous.

There's a house on the end of our road that will be up for rent soon. We talked to the owners a few times now... they said they would be calling us when they are done with rewiring and plumbing updates. It should be ready next week. I only hope the rent is reasonable. The place is perfect for the babies' family. Their current housing is totally inadequate. The babies come over for a few hours today. Their mom does a lot of volunteering at the school - enough for the both of us :-) It's an opportunity for her to get out of the house, but also it's a chance to do something for her older kids.

The extra help from the home-care workers is not going super well. They are LATE every time. That's okay if I am home. Not okay if the kids get off the bus and no one is here for another 20 minutes. I can't be sure they'll be here.  They are also not expecting much from the twins and are happy to send them outside and watch them from the window. I am now making lists of what I expect and the bare minimum gets done. I guess I have pretty high expectations. Vanessa talked to them about what it took for them to get the job... She filled out the application already. She could get paid to do what she does for me anyway... and she would do a really good job of it and I could trust her. She wouldn't need to work at the college anymore.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Day I Lost a Toddler in an International Airport....

It was a fast trip over the mountains to deliver 8 airplane passengers yesterday. The Lord was good to us and held off the thick snow and kept the passes open. Today it is falling steadily.  Thick enough that I sent the twins a hiking out to the mailboxes this morning so the bus won't get stuck (again!).

Christina left for Eden Valley in Colorado for 18 days with Isabelle and my parents. My dad runs Eden Valley, which is a lifestyle and treatment facility which focuses on nutrition, exercise and natural remedies. Isabelle (12yrs old) has suffered for a whole year and we know it is PARS, but why ?? No one knows. Her spine has micro fractures which cause a great deal of pain. It seems there must be more going on. Anyway, Christina went to be her moral support.

Not sure what we'll do without Christina around here. She's my secretary, dishwasher, business woman, and get-her-done person. She answers the phone and makes the calls. She keeps the calendar up-to-date and is an awesome babysitter. She is organized and messy all at the same time. It's kind of hard to believe she's actually only 15. She write a blog here and after that last blog post I have a story to write about her and airplanes!!! Her anxiety about catching a plane began long before she should have been old enough to care.

She scared the living daylights out of me - literally! My eyes went blind with fear in the Chicago O'Hare Airport when she was 2 years old. It was all because she thought we would miss our flight.

I had the three girls dressed in bright pink, matching dresses and it was a good thing! I sat us all down in the boarding area to wait for our plane, but this pesky artist wanted to draw the girls. For a fee, of course!! He looked like a beggar - unkempt and I was very uncomfortable with him around. He wouldn't leave. When I refused to let him draw the girls he sat down by Christina and proceeded to snooze there tilting towards her. I herded my little flock away and we wandered the halls.... MUCH to Christina's distress! She was sure we would miss the plane!!! I had my eye on the clock, or course, but she couldn't tell time yet. We ended up in a little shop. I was looking at something on one side of the small shelf and the three girls went around to the back of it where there were toys. They were not more than 2 feet from me. I could see Vanessa's head. I glanced at the item of interest- then quickly went around to be with the girls.

One was missing.

I went around the bookshelf twice.

She was no where to be seen!!

I let out a blood curdling, frantic plea for help, "MY BABY!"

Someone hit the panic button for security... others asked what she looked like. I pointed to the other two in pink matching dresses. I struggled to see. I think I might have even prayed out loud.

Some said they'd seen a toddler in that same dress go a certain direction.

I ran into a waiting room. People stood up and point out the other door. I ran dragging Vanessa and Brianna behind me. Back in the hall  - more people yelled, "THAT WAY!" and I ran thru another waiting area only to be pointed out the other side. With everyone directing me this way and that  I could not believe she had gotten so far in that split second I had taken my eyes off her. Obviously, my face showed fear, obviously people had been wondering why a 2 year old was making her own way and had noticed her dress matched... I was probably running not far behind her but she was staying out of sight.

The story ends well. We still have her.

I found her sitting beside the artist in the same seat as before. My adrenal ran for hours!! How grateful I was. She had been terrified that we would miss the plane, so she was going to go without us???? She might have been a pretty precocious 2 yr old, but she was ONLY 2 and her logic was slightly immature!!  She still has that same anxiety over catching the plane on time... Though, she's learned to tell time and stay with her family.

The house is QUIET!! We enjoyed our houseful while they were here. The young people went skiing one day. And I have pictures of another day's outing on the tourist trap town - for later.

BUT for now I have lots of plans to organize.

A new Bible study program to start for the new year.
A plan to re-organize the house.
A bunch of new ideas to help the twins think outside of themselves.
A desire to save money on groceries and to budget better this year.
A few pounds to lose.
Got to quit psyching  myself up to  exercise and just go do it.
Plus a few other things....

I also am starting a class tomorrow morning to keep up my fostercare license. This will run every Tuesday for 3 months. It's hard to find classes that aren't on Sabbath, so I am way behind on hours. This will help a lot.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sledding and Birthdays

Sledding on the Kahlers road!
The sisters from Florida turned 18 and 20...


Yesterday

Our young friends getting a taste of living in the NORTH LAND of SNOW!

Connecting

Part of the joy of GYC is connecting with like-minded people. I don't have pictures for most of the people we connected with, but here are a few to kind of give you a taste.

We had breakfast with the Halders. Marci and I have been online friends for quite a long time. Our girls eventually met at GYC a few years ago and then got to know each other better at Youth For Jesus. Marci shares her journey with her son here: Jethenro's Journey She has family blog, and I read it, but for some reason, today I cannot find it.


We had breakfast with the Seilers (not all are pictured). The girls knew them from Youth For Jesus. Aubrey has become Brianna's good friend. She writes here: PracticingPraxis

We met young people from as far away as Australia. This is Esther with Brianna - her mother and I are facebook friends. Esther blogs here: Higher than the Highest and yes, we read her blog even before we met!
 
The GYC choir was a real blessing. The sound was heavenly - but more than that!!!! The spirit and the instruction in practice time was from Above. You can't really know how that is possible unless you were there, but I had more than one daughter say, " Choir practice blessed my soul as much or more than some of the meetings"... and the meetings were good, so that's saying a lot. I believe there were about a hundred participants. Thanks Sean! He was the director and he blogs here: Lofty Studios



I connected with a few of the Adventist Homeschool Educators. This is an E -group I have been a part of since before Vanessa was old enough to homeschool. (She's 19, by the way.... if that gives you a clue). Thanks Rhonda for arranging the meet-up. She writes here: Preparation Education and the AHE blog is here: Adventist Home Educator


This may be the only GYC I am ever privileged to attend, but I will always appreciate the chance to meet and know personally my online friends and the other friendships formed there.

We came home with two from Florida. Two sisters who spent time with the girls both at Youth For Jesus California and Youth For Jesus Hungary. Also, two of the young people from Hungary came home with us. And my parents are still with us. We might even have a the few from Germany stop by for a night tonight. We'll see. The house is full! In fact our vehicle was so full coming home I put 4 of them on the Amtrak to make room for luggage. Yesterday was filled up with music and sledding!