Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pictures from camping last week

Playing at Kalaloch. I love the camp sites there because they are big, and have lots of really fun trees for the girls to climb!

Here's the girls doing the workbooks for the Jr. Ranger program at Olympic National Park, and Brianna getting her pin.

We are all still working on teaching Callie to use her walker.

Everyone had fun playing on the beach and in the ocean waves.

Callie really loves water, and was brave enough to crawl to it herself...I think if it weren't for her disabilities, she would be a very independent little girl!

We stopped in Sequim on our way to Mt. St. Helens to visit my grandparents, who were so kind to let us get our laundry done and let us shower and feed us before we continued on our journey!!! Here my family is (minus baby and me) walking in to the Mt. St. Helens Visitor Center. I would highly recommend going to this area! There is so much to do and see and learn about! My girls had a lot of fun.

Hanging out around camp at Sea Quest State Park.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What a great weeek camping!

We had so much fun at Kalaloch and Mt. St. Helens!!! Pictures will be added in later tonight or tomorrow.

The older 4 each earned 2 Jr. Ranger pins, one at Olympic National Park, the other at Mt. St. Helens Monument.

We got to spend time playing on the beach.

We learned so much at Mt. St. Helens! they have done such a great job at teaching about the eruption and what is going on now to many different levels/ages. And there were not even too many things for me to skip about time lines and how old the Earth is, I was surprised by that one! All of my girls really enjoyed it.

It was a wonderful week, and we are glad to be home...laundry going, everyone clean, chili in the crock pot, potatoes in the oven and are getting ready to go to home church...what a great end to a wonderful week!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Justice is 2 months old already!

Today, Justice is 2 months old. It is hard to believe...time flies by so quickly! He is getting so big so fast. He is rolling over, usually every day, and has been smiling for the last 2 weeks...though today was the first time I was able to get it on camera!

The girls have had such a great time trying to get him to smile. Having a baby in the house, is the best entertainment I could ever hope for with my girls! They absolutely love to play with him, and do things for and with him.

Even Callie just loves the baby! She says 'I hold my baby?' and 'I hold you.' frequently! She also loves to point out all of his body parts, especially those on his face...something we have to monitor very closely!

Justice is such a joy and a blessing! I thank God for this little addition to our family!

I also gave Brianna her very first ever hair cut...I took over 3 inches off! I have dreaded doing this for fear that her curls would be cut off, or that I would mess up on cutting curly hair (something I have never done before today), but her ends were really in need of a trim, so today was the day! I also hope that taking those inches off will make it easier to manage while camping next week...we shall see! It looks like her curls will still be there, but maybe not quite as much so are the before and after shots, and then the last picture is Brianna holding the lock of hair we will put in her scrap book.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What a fun day!

Anna and Bailey at the park

I got to start out the day making breakfast for my girls, which they were able to serve and clean up while I was working out.

Then we went to see Veggie Tales, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything at Alderwood Mall cinemas.

Bailey encouraging Callie to walk to her.

After the movie, we met Aunt Carolyn for lunch at Paramount Park to eat lunch, play and ride scooters.

We finished the day by getting dipped cones at Dairy Queen for all who were awake (the older 4 and myself)...all in all, it was a wonderful summer day! Now we are off to finish up some school work and some housework.

Then I am hoping to get some captions and page titles printed off for Bailey's scrapbook.

Brianna and baby Justice

Ashley climbing at the park.

Monday, August 17, 2009

My big girls are home!

My 4 older girls had a wonderful weekend playing at the beach in Birch Bay, and in the pool at Grandpa's cabin, and at the tractor fair they went to...and all of them are now glad to be back home!

I am so glad that they enjoy family! I am thrilled to have them home as I really missed them! It was a blessing to be able to work with Callie one on one, but it is also a blessing when others can help work with her...we just have to limit the number who help at a time, lol!

Today we got to enjoy being together, the Noa girls were here today, and were a big help! We got school done, laundry clean, dishes caught up, went to the library, played outside.

It is such a blessing to be able to stay home, with my children, and to educate them on what really matters each and every day! Today in school, the twins read a poem from a fish's perspective, who living in the Sea of Galilee, who was visited by Jesus and asked to hold a coin until Peter came by to get it. I asked the girls if the story was true or false. Some thought true, others false. Then I asked them why they thought that. Ashley was sure it was true because she remembered the story in the Bible, and everything there is true. The twins thought false because the story is different than in the Bible. We talked about how we don't know how that fish got the coin...but that this was some one's idea of how that happened. I was amazed at the detail in which Ashley was able to retell the story of Peter going to get the coin out of the fish's mouth...It has been a long time since we have talked about that story, and yet, she was able to remember it! Praise God! He is able to take my inefficiencies and my shortcomings to teach these precious little children He has blessed me with. What a miracle! What a miracle, that God can use me to teach them about Him...what an awesome responsibility to teach them about God!

Today's picture is from last week when we went to visit Grandma Marie and Grandpa Keith.

Now my youngest 4 are in bed, and Chris is playing outside with the twins...time for me to get my workout done!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

God's timing really is perfect!

God has a plan. His plan is always best. He sees the bigger picture. Even in the small things, God cares!

This weekend, Aunt Carolyn took my older 4 to Birch Bay. It would have been a fun thing for them any time, but because it happened this weekend. I have been able to spend time with Callie helping her learn to use her walker! The walker arrived about an hour after the older girls left. So Callie didn't have "too much" help with all of her sisters here, lol!

She is also wearing herself out with her new walker - it is all she wants to do! But she is tiring easily. She spent about 30 minutes walking up and down our driveway yesterday afternoon, and LOVED it (ok, she LOVED the first 27 minutes, and the last 3 minutes was me trying to coax her into the house...). She was only awake for about 6 hours all day yesterday...and with her sisters gone for the weekend, she was ABLE to get more sleep, and to sleep in both yesterday and today. (She is still not up yet at almost 9 am!)

I am also fully aware of how nice the handle will be when it gets here! Bending way down, at times, with a baby in one arm, helping Callie get herself unstuck, or holding it steady so she can stand up, or helping her steer when I tried to unlock the swivel wheels is killing my back! I am looking forward to not having to bend way down to help her each time.

God is good, all the time!

Friday, August 14, 2009

God's answer to prayer, Callie's new walker!

I had posted here about Callie's progress and about Callie's need for a walker. I had also talked to a friend of mine, who is on a list for disabled children's equipment, and she was able to put a post about Callie there.

We got a response from a woman whose daughter had outgrown the exact kind of walker that Jenna (Callie's physical therapist) recommended for Callie, and they were looking for some one to donate it to! She was willing to get it out to me that day (Wed.). In the end, she actually had 2. One of them had a problem with the wheels, the other had a problem with the ability to adjust the height on it. She sent them both to us, so that we could either fix one, or use both to make 1 good one. The second one, would work just fine for a child who is taller, so we are now going to look for someone to bless with it...Callie just wasn't tall enough to use it yet, and the other one will work just fine for her. What an answer to prayer! God is so faithful!

But that isn't all! This walker has all the things that Callie NEEDS on it, but Jenna recommended that we get one with a guide handle attachment (a handle that comes up out of the back for parents/caregivers to hold) because I tend to have everyone with me for safety of keeping Callie close, and letting her walk more. A friend of mine blessed us with the finances for this and it will be here next week! In the meantime, we are getting Callie used to using the walker at home, in the house before bringing it with us when we go out.

Callie has a lot of things to work on with her new walker, to be really proficient at it, such as not pushing back too far, making the back wheels slip, and being able to stand up without having it try to roll away, then get turned around in it. She is saying "help me" and "I 'tuck" when she gets in these situations, so we are trying to teach her she CAN do it herself. I am confident though that she will be able to do both of these things and more very soon!

Thank you to all who have prayed and contributed to helping get this for Callie! It is a HUGE blessing and answer to prayer! God is so good all the time!

Scrapbooks for my children

I am making scrapbooks for my children, each of them. It is a long process, and something I just came up with the idea for about 2 1/2 years ago, which meant, I was starting behind!

Right now, Brianna's book is caught up to last month! Yay!

Ashley's book is the next one that I will be catching up...Christ just got the pictures I need printed to get it caught up to the end of last month as well. I am a bit behind, and it has been so much fun to look through all of the old pictures of her! I thought that I would share some of those today along with some of Brianna from getting her book caught up! And as I get the other books caught up, I thought I would share some favorite pictures of each of them!

Here's Brianna, playing at the mall play ground. It made for a really nice area to play, that was clean, and WARM that winter! I thought in this picture she really looks like Callie does now.

Brianna used to love to read the dictionary! She would sit and carefully look at pages and make up stories while she looked through the pages of words. It was really funny as she was only about 22 months old.

This is Brianna playing at the beach last month.

Ashley used to just love to play in Butch's dog bed! She would prop one side up on pillows and make her own little 'nest chair' as she called it.

Here is Ashley at the Children's is one of my all time favorite pictures of her!

Ashley at her 5th birthday party.
That's it for today! Hope you have a wonderful, blessed day!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Callie's Physical Therapy

There was a time, that I really thought that all children would learn on their own at their own pace. That there were far too many who push children beyond what they are ready for, and for some unknown purpose, wanted to get them doing more, faster and better.

Then I had Callie. She really struggled with all of her motor skills from the very beginning. As a baby, she held her hands and feet curled in tight fists all the time, and didn't really use them. She didn't really even kick her legs because her body and legs was always so stiff and rigid. She didn't look around and check things out as other babies did. God did an amazing work in Callie! We have been witness to miracle after miracle! God lead the hands of the surgery, and allowed eye surgery really helped her a lot! It opened up the world for her, and the results were very instant...we could see a difference as soon as she woke up and opened her eyes in the recovery room!
I was hoping for the same with physical therapy...but it hasn't happen quite as fast! She has come a long way in the last 11 months since she had eye surgery. Physical therapy has helped her catch up in many ways! Teaching me to help her, go from a very helpless little baby, to a little person, who can sit up, get around by crawling and cruising, can pull herself to standing, play with toys and who is able to express what she wants and interact with the world around her! We praise God for all of this and more! She really has come a long way!
On the other hand, it is so heartbreaking to watch her be so frustrated each and everyday at the challenge of doing what she wants to do. She is too smart for her own good at times! Today her physical therapist, Jenna, gave her a developmental overview assessment. It went really well. She was beyond where I thought she would be from just 3 months ago. And it explained some of her increased frustration! Cognitive reasoning and verbal ability are scoring in the 32-34 month range...not bad for a not quite 22 month old! Her fine motor skills are in the 2 year old age range...then there is her gross motor ability. She is scoring as a 10-11 month old in this area...which I expected. As Jenna and I talked about Callie's progress in the last few days, talking about her increased frustration, we talked about the frustration Callie had today as we try to challenge her motor abilities...we talked about the borrowed walker we had for 2 weeks, (she needed to pass a trial run with a walker to get onto the wait list for one of her own). It went really well, and she loved the freedom it gave her to walk on her own!
The bottom line today is that the reason behind the huge increased in frustration is because of her increased cognitive awareness...she is recognizing that things are hard for her, and she doesn't like it. She is realizing that others can do things, and she believes she can't. I asked what we can do to best help her overcome this, and to even use this desire to 'like everyone else' to motivate her. Jenna said, our best option is to get a walker for Callie, so she feels the accomplishment of being able to walk, just like everyone else...

Unfortunately, she has been on a wait list for a used walker for the last 2 months. For awhile, she was number 1 on the list. A couple weeks ago, she was bumped to number 2 because of someone who is older than her and moved into this school district. Today, we got the news that a set of twins has now bumped her as well, so we are number 4 on the wait list. Jenna said it will likely be MONTHS before we are back in the number 1 position again.
So, at the recommendation of her therapist, I have spent my morning looking into walkers, mostly types, costs and availability, to see if we can get her what she needs. Callie just needs a basic model...that is definitely in our favor cost wise, but they are also harder to find! I have called several medical supply stores, and found that getting them locally is pretty pricey! I have found one on EBay that would work for her very well (see it here). The used walkers we were waiting for are a little bit less, but they are few and far between. I am not sure if we can afford this or not, but it is definitely something I will be looking into.

Her 4 older sister love to help her, but she really wants to do things on her own, all by herself like a big girl...she no longer WANTS to be helped...which makes this the perfect time for her to get a walker! We anticipate Callie needing something like this for about a year or so before she would be able to walk unassisted all the least that is our hope! We trust that Callie is in God's hands, and that He will guide us in helping her with the things she struggles with, and encouraging her in the things that are easy for her. We praise God that she is fearfully and wonderfully made. God has a plan and purpose for her lives, and it was not an oversight or mistake that she is in our family. We are well equipped to take care of her and provide exactly what she needs. We praise and thank God that He is the one in control!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Crime Prevention Fair

While going to see Alvin and the Chipmunks, we saw police officers and fire fighters setting up some sort of event. We learned they were putting on a crime prevention fair that evening with lots of free giveaways, and free food!

It was so much fun! We got to check out the new City of Everett Transit bus, and they gave away toy buses as well.
The girls got to help color in a mural.

The Air Force was there with this plane that the girls got to climb in! Here is Bailey holding Callie in the plane.
We got to meet Colby the crime prevention dog and take a picture with him.
The free food was pretty amazing! There were hot dogs, provided by Costco, Pizza from Pizza Hut, ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery, cotton candy, bread from Great Harvest Bread Co, soda, water, and Italian sodas...let's just say no one went hungry!

What a blessing it was to be able to spend time with my wonderful family at such a fun event!