Christina (19) is in California studying at Weimar College. It's the perfect place for her. We love it. We love the experience she is getting and the friends she is making. She will be home for Thanksgiving and we are looking forward to that with great anticipation.
Brianna (21) is in Peru. It's the perfect place for her right now. The experience is full and meaningful and exciting. She gets to use so many of her talents. She took a violin with her (not her best one) and is making it work hard, she took all her photography equipment and she's capturing children living life, she is working hard with the PT team and watching a grown man who hasn't walked since his vaccinations as a small child learn to walk again, she's sharing the gospel with people who need to hear and it's very fulfilling. Out there in the wilds of Peru she's busy, happy and practicing her Spanish. She will be home for Christmas.
|She's complaining about her hair in the high humidity. lol|
Vanessa (23) is getting married! I could leave it at that. She is so excited and knee deep in wedding plans and looking forward to living forever with her man in New Mexico, BUT she's also in Peru with Brianna. She is preparing the way for our church group to go and spend 10 days in Peru on a mission trip. I will join the mission trip and come back with both girls in time for Christmas.
James (12) is homeschooling. Right now he has a postcard project. He is collecting postcards to fulfill a requirement of the Postcard Pathfinder honor. Pathfinders is his favorite thing! We are very grateful to have such a fine club in our church. (anybody want to send him a postcard?) I have not pushed him ahead in his school work but have continued to go over our basic foundation of knowledge. I tested him in math and could have put him in 5th grade but decided to start him again in 4th. In one month he finished HALF the course, however the second half is going a bit slower. His slow processing makes it important to go over information many times to get it locked in. He's a different kid from a year ago. SO, so thankful. Mostly he's happy and interested in life. We don't have enough time in a day to do all that he wants to do.
Missy (12) is in special ed public school. Since she is on medication life has been easier, but she is still RAD and she is still determined to have her own way. An example would be last Friday she helped with house cleaning very, very well. It was veterans day and there was no school. I had 3 extra kids that we had been babysitting for 11 days and their house (just down the road) and our house was showing signs of too many children and not enough cleaning. So, I wrote out lists for each child to accomplish. I had to go with the other kids to their house while the twins worked on ours. I could find NO fault with any chore Missy or James accomplished. It was amazing. I rewarded all the kids for their hard work and they had free time. At one point I had a small basket of clothes for Missy to fold. She folded part of it then decided she was done. There was no changing her mind and she eventually started screaming. She had a tantrum and threw things for a few hours. I tried to reason, I tried to have her make a choice. I eventually put away the basket of clothes but the tantrum continued. I told her clearly that if she couldn't pull it together she would lose the privilege of marching with the pathfinders at church the next day. It made no difference. The next morning she asked for her Pathfinder uniform and I gently, with my arm around her shoulder reminded her of her choice the day before. And thus began the tantrum that lasted on and off most of the day. After a real traumatic sort of day (of her own making ) this kid reverts back to ALL the mind games and RAD sort of manipulations and button pushing she knows. She had a visit with the therapist as we went over all the happenings and she was able to maybe process some of it, if nothing else. There's a Pathfinders club meeting tonight, so the last two days she has been on better behavior.
After babysitting those 3 extra kids for the 11 days I decided I'm ready to do something else. I still enjoy having the Smith kids on Saturdays and I often pick up Drake to spend with me extra while his siblings are in school. He's still the cutest thing ever and a very loving child. He loves to come to Auntie's house and won't go home until it's dark! I look forward to having nieces and nephews over in the summer, but apart from that, I won't likely do fostercare or take in lots of kids again. This house will still see plenty of kids I'm sure... I'm just being honest about what I can and cannot handle as far as parenting goes. I told Vanessa "don't put me in charge of any kids' projects in Peru when I get there. I'd rather feed the multitudes than run a VBS program at this point". With Missy's needs we will never likely have an empty nest, though sometimes that looks like it would be exciting. (lol) I'd love to see Steve home more, but we are in a place with where he needs to work overtime to keep us up to date so as not to have college debt for the girls and to pay for weddings, etc... :-)