Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Look what Callie can do!

Even with all the chaos and commotion, Callie has been working on new skills. she is now able to climb up on the couch (by climbing on a step stool first), and really enjoys climbing up on the couch to read books! She is also working on standing balance. So far, she is able to stand for about 5 seconds by herself at a time. (This may not sound like a big deal, as an average 9-12 month old should be able to do this, but for Callie, it's huge!) Callie is so proud of her accomplishments!
Potty training has also come to a very sharp halt - I just can't add that to everything else right now, lol! Callie still WANTS to go, so when she repeatedly asked yesterday, I took her...to my surprise, she went right away. She is so excited when she goes! She finished, and said "I need wipe." Once that was done, she said "I Flush, I do it." after that, she said "wash." and then, after she was clothed and clean, she said, "Candy!" (we were giving her 2 M&M's for going potty...but we ran out, and I didn't bother to get more since we are moving - it would just be something else to pack and move, lol! I was able to find her 2 chocolate chips for her efforts, which she seemed equally pleased with!)
We are so blessed by this precious little girl!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Emotions run high...


I have heard that those with boys, do not have the same gamut of emotions all the time that those with girls have...Having 5 girls, from almost 2 years old up to 8 1/2, means I get this 5 times over!

I have one, who is more emotional than the rest...fortunately, she is usually very happy!

She also doesn't take change well...so having moved just 13 months ago, having added a new baby 3 months ago, moving again this week, sending her favorite doll in for repairs and having her grandparents leave for most of the time, has absolutely made her world fall apart! I am spending a great deal of my time right now, just trying to reassure, comfort, and build her up. I know that when we get moved, things will settle down for her again, but right now, she is really struggling.

She goes back and forth from, "I won't ever see my room here again." to "We get to move into Grandma's house, and we get a climbing wall!" to "Grandma is leaving, and Sally Molly [her doll] is gone." and back again in about 2 minutes...it is becoming very draining on everyone in the house...this goes on all day long...We are trying to have extra grace for her, and show her extra love and really work on including her in things...but deep down, I know the only thing that will help is getting this time of upheaval behind us and getting her some sort of order and normalcy...
For this week, there is no school, just packing and moving, and loving little ones!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thankfulness

I think it is so important to take the time to notice those little blessings we are given...

When I was a little girl, my great grandma lived in Granite Falls. I couldn't make it the 45 minutes from Shoreline to Granite Falls, without getting sick. Starting as early as I can remember, and going until I was a teenager...I would get sick if I was in the car any longer than 25-30 minutes...taking me anywhere longer than that, my mom learned early on to carry plastic bags in the car. Thankfully, I have outgrown this!

We started choir today, in Granite Falls, so as I made the drive out there, and drove past familiar places (and marveled at how it has grown up!), and showed my children the park I used to play at (which still looks much the same!), Ike's, where she would take me for hot cocoa, etc. I was also praising God that I have 6 children, and none of them get car sick! Thank you God for this blessing!

All 3 of the older girls had a wonderful time in choir! This is going to be a really fun extra curricular activity for them! All of my girls LOVE to sing! Brianna is sad to not be old enough to participate this year. The twins get to learn to play the recorder along with choir this year...Let's just say, I am really excited to be getting a play room again!!!

I am making an attempt at a pictures today, but my camera is out of commission, so we will see how this goes...happy 3 months, Justice! (2 days late!)
We also took advantage to being out and visited Grandpa Keith and Grandma Marie. It is always a joy to visit them!

Now, back to packing, and getting ready for our moving party on Oct. 3rd! (Everyone is invited to come by around 8 am to help load the moving truck, bring it to Monroe and unlaod it, food will be provided throughout the day.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Moving

I really dislike moving...all of the time and energy having to get everything packed up and moved and unpacked...but on the other hand, it is kind of nice to HAVE to go through everything to get rid of stuff! Here is my pile that I was able to find for the blind coming to pick it up today! We found 18 boxes and 8 plastic bags and a few odds and ends of things to get rid of! I am pretty excited about that!

We also had a really productive weekend...we now have 55 boxes packed and ready to go, all the dressers are empty, everyone is down to just a few days of clothing to get us through the next 10 days...We will be starting to moving the unnecessary furniture to the garage to get it out the way, and so we can better see what we have left. I will also be putting away the 'extra' type things in the kitchen, hopefully today.

The children are taking the move all in their own way...Justice really doesn't care, as long as he is held, talked to, and fed, he is a very content little baby! Callie is pretty confused, and is wanting to stay within eye sight of me.
Then there's Brianna...well, Brianna doesn't take change well...so right now, she NEEDS to be my shadow, or she is going to find trouble or make really poor choices! Brianna also needs the reassurance that all of our things are going to move with us...repeatedly

Ashley is very excited to be moving into Grandma's house, but very sad that Grandma is leaving...

Bailey is taking things in stride, at least externally, and seems to be trying not to think about anything too long or too hard, just take each task as it comes and go with it. She is focusing on the positives of having more space, and getting a play room again, and not thinking about grandma being gone.

Anna has been very emotional. She is realizing how much Grandpa is going to be gone while long haul trucking and breaks down in tears frequently because she misses him. She also knows that this move means Grandma will be gone in about 2 weeks and is very sad about all of that, too. I am sure as she gets 'used' to Grandpa and Grandma being gone, it will be easier on her. For now, she is used to seeing them about once a week, and that will drop to once a month or less...it is a big adjustment for her! On the other hand, as we were moving boxes into the garage together yesterday, Anna said "Mom, living at Grandma's will be great! We can all go to the back pasture and find snakes together as a family!"

Friday, September 18, 2009

Book Report Fair was a success!

The book report fair went very well! My girls had such a great time. We had 10 different presentations, 12 presenters, and several different styles of presentation. I was really impressed by what everyone did. One girl did her presentation in an interview style. Another family acted out parts of their story. Several other children (including mine!) did dioramas for their presentation. I love seeing all the children get excited about learning and projects they do!




Here are pictures of my girls (again, because I didn't take the time to get permissions for other's children to be on my blog!).




Anna, presenting The Black Stallion










Bailey, presenting The Boxcar Children










Ashley presenting Daisy is a Mommy










Brianna presenting 10 Little Ladybugs
A big thank you to all who participated!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Disabilities...

We are being forced by insurance into getting a diagnosis for what is wrong with Callie. They state that a normally developing child wouldn't need the things we are trying to request...for me, it has meant hours and hours on hold with the peds office, insurance, and the pt's office, and many more hours on the internet researching what this diagnosis means...

Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy...That is the preliminary diagnosis that the pediatrician has signed off on (we need a specialist to make it official!)...basically, it is a lot of big fancy words that actually do not tell us any more than we already knew...spastic means high tone. Diplegia means both legs. Cerebral Palsy means brain trauma before, at or shortly after birth (such as infection inutero, prematurity, or a brain bleed, all 3 of which Callie had, and happen to be 3 of the top 4 causes of CP). All of this we knew, and yet, somehow, getting a diagnosis has made me feel almost sick inside...the realization that this isn't something that will go away for her, the idea that this is a life long disability...not just the result of really poor eye sight in infancy.

The diagnosis itself doesn't change anything, her prognosis and her treatment will remain the same...it really is just a label...and one that requires lots of tests, and dr appointments to give her!

On top of all this, we went to the eye surgeon this morning...and now have her 2nd eye surgery scheduled. She goes in on Nov. 20th. The good news is that the eye drops are working and she doesn't need glasses. The other good news is that the amount her eye is deviating is becoming consistent. the bad news is that she needs surgery to correct this. I know it is the best thing for her, and I know that it really did help her last time she had to have eye surgery, I also know that this is not a major surgery, and that we really are so very blessed...I praise God that there is something that can be done to help her...and pray that God would guide the hands of her surgeon, and touch her the way only He can as she heals and recovers...and once again, I find myself already praying that she wouldn't need to have any more surgeries!

I always thought that having a disabled child would be more than I could handle. I am learning each and everyday to die to self, and rely on God more and more. I am learning that even though I do not know what will happen, knowing the one who does is my comfort. I have learned that my God will carry us through each and everyday more deeply. The strange thing is, that while nothing has changed with Callie, getting a diagnosis has effected my a lot...and God is using it to mold me more and more into what he wants me to be. I can't focus on what will happen in the future...I can't think about what these things will mean for Callie as she gets older and grows up. I just don't have the energy to worry about all the tomorrows that lay ahead of me. I have to just focus on today, and what needs to be done today.
Despite all of these challenges that Callie faces, she doesn't know any different! This is the way it has always been for her. She does get frustrated at not being able to do what she wants, or when she sees others who she considers peers being able to do what she would like to be doing...but here is a picture of her favorite pass time, going potty! Today, she was able to get the bathroom door open all by herself...she proceeded to go inside and unroll the toilet paper. When I went to investigate the sound I heard (the toilet paper roll being spun!), she simply said "I go potty, I big girl!" very proudly...so I had Anna come help her (she can't get her pants down or herself on the potty chair, but once she is there, she is very proud of herself!) It was a good reminder today that in many ways, she is a very normal almost 2 year old!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fun day out

The girls and I have had a great week! We got school done, despite the Dr appointment and physical therapy for Callie, we are making progress on getting the house in order, and catching up on laundry...things that I have let slide, though I shouldn't have.
Friday, we spent time talking about 9/11, remembering what happened, and why we are at war now. We also got to play with our home school group at the park for our annual back to school party! We had a wonderful turn out! It was fun to meet new people, and catch up with those we have not seen for awhile. I don't have many pictures posted because I didn't take the time to get permission for others' children to be on my blog! Then it was off to horse back riding lessons and more playing with friends!

This week has been very busy with the twins finishing their books, which they did last night, and working on their projects, for the book report fair...which happens to be tomorrow! Anna read The Black Stallion, and Bailey choose the Boxcar Children. It is so much fun to see them so excited about school and learning!
And in closing, here is a video (if I can figure out how to do this!) of Callie using her walker...she is still learning to use it, and tires easily. She is also kind of funny about using her walker when there are strangers around...we are not sure what that is all about! But she is getting better and better with it all the time. The goal is that in just a few months, she would be able to use it all the time, to get around, walking about as much as a normal child of 2 years old would be walking. That almost seems unimaginable to me, but I am looking forward to seeing her gain the independence she so desperately wants!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Dad's home!

Chris' dad was home, really for the first time since he has been long haul trucking. It has been about 2 months since we saw him, and it was a lot of fun to hang out with him for the weekend. He was able to get home on Thursday, and goes back out on the road on Tuesday.

<---Grandpa with his 2 grandsons, Cameron and Justice, who happened to be the oldest and youngest of the grandchildren!

The girls were so excited to see him, too! They have talked today a lot about how sad they are that they don't know when they will see their grandpa again. They are also anticipating being able to see him, and greatly looking forward to it!
Grandma with Madison and Justice --->
Callie was probably the hardest one to watch over the weekend. 2 months was long enough for her to not to remember who her grandpa was...we spent a lot of time pointing to him and saying "Grandpa" and by Sunday, she is comfortable enough to go to him again...it is just hard to watch her not know who he is when they have always been so involved with our children's lives.
He is hoping to be able to make it home once a month now, so hopefully we will get to see him more often...and hopefully Callie will remember her grandpa! I am hoping that it won't be much longer before she is able to remember someone for a couple months of not seeing them...then we get to play the same game with Justice...for now, he is easy - he doesn't care who is holding him as long as he is being held.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Evergreen State Fair

We went to the Evergreen State Fair yesterday. The girls were disappointed that they didn't get to enter anything this year...something we will try to actually do next year...but we still had a good time at the fair!

Usually I don't think of myself as having a lot of children...but at the fair, it seemed like I was in charge of a mob scene!

It was also a blessing that my sister Kaitie was able to come and help keep track of everyone...even with the help, we thought we lost Ashley - come to find out, she was right where I told her she could go, lol! That makes twice at the Evergreen State Fair that I thought I lost her, and didn't, lol! She also got us a treat, some wonderful pig's ears to share! Thanks, Kaitie, they were great!













We seemed to overwhelm the animals at the petting farm...




















Then we took over the riding tractors...

















Anna has an absolute fascination with horses, both real and imaginary...She found this at the frontier village, and was so excited to be able to sit on it to pretend to ride! She was also very excited about being able to buy a horse for just $1...actually you could buy a RAFFLE TICKET for $1, and then win the horse in the drawing...Anna was very disappointed that I wouldn't let her buy the horse though.



And Brianna playing with a wooden bear in frontier land.

Me with the babies, while everyone else was watching the pig races...see, I am still here, Jennifer, lol! Callie has just learned that if she puts her finger into Justice's mouth, he will suck on it...she thinks this is great fun...






Callie standing at the fence by the corral, saying "horse, Mariah, right there. Nice to Mariah." Mariah, is our friends' horse, whom Callie has done a little bit of (amateur!) hippo therapy with.



My favorite part of the fair was watching the things that really got my girls excited...it is different for each of them. And it shows me what an amazing God we have that he creates such variety and how blessed I am to be able to be a part of all of this!