Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A friend's generosity towards Callie

A friend has made this donation site for Callie's therapy, in trying to get the funds together to start the therapy program I talked about here. Any little bit gets us closer to starting this for her! Thank you and may God truly bless you for your time, consideration, and prayers!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Family Fun Night

After playing with snakes for the afternoon, the girls came in for a family night! (There was a bit of prep work, and them busy playing with snakes made it really easy to get that done! I love good cheap fun!)

Yesterday's family night was all about friendship. The importance of choosing your friends wisely and Godly council. We talked about the Proverb that says, "Bad company corrupts good morals." We talked about what it means to be a Christian. What it means to guard our hearts. What it means to look at a person's character when evaluating if they are a good friend, and looking for the fruits of the Spirit in their life.

We talked about looking at a person as not being a good way to see if they would make a good friend...Callie made a really great example for us. We talked about how people may not choose to be her friend in the future because she is different...yet, she is very kind, loving, gentle and friendly.

We used paper sacks to talk about not being able to tell what kind of friend someone is by looking a them. Some of the sacks were filled with 'good' things, and others with 'bad' things. They got to stick their hands in the bags and try to guess which what was in each bag.

We finished the evening talking about good examples of friends and making cards for them!


My girls enjoy lots of domestic things, like sewing, cooking, baking, sometimes even doing chores...but they also like playing outside!

Sunday afternoon, they spent time in the field and found these snakes...all 5 of them! The twins took the pictures for today's blog post!

In the end, we told them we do not want to kill the snakes, so they needed to put them back in the field where they found them. (This is very easy to tell them because the reptile man tells them every time he sees them that if you find a wild snake it will not live long in captivity if you try to keep it! Since we just saw him at the fair, it was an easy sell. Whew, no snakes for pets!)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Callie's therapy update

Callie is plugging right along with all of her therapy activities. She continues to enjoy working on things that challenge her physically. We have been doing a lot of work with her platform swing. What a blessing that has been! Her balance has improved greatly and she has so much fun doing it! I am so thankful to have such a wonderful husband who is able to construct things to help our children!

6 weeks from Tuesday she turns 3 years old. I can hardly believe that she is already that old! But realizing how close it is has made me much more serious about getting a therapy plan of sorts in place for her. She will no longer have a physical therapist after her birthday. When we first started therapy because she was developmentally delayed, I thought we would only need services for a year, TOPS. She progressed so quickly after her first eye surgery. Then hit a plateau...she ran into a wall because of her tone. It became apparent that there was something else going on...though I still hoped we wouldn't 'age out' of the birth to three program. But here we are, with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. With 6 weeks to go, we now know she will need help to learn all of these important gross motor skills for quite some time. After her 3rd birthday, the federal requirement for insurance to not cap the amount they are willing to pay for services ends. Our insurance will cap out for Callie at 4 sessions per year...which is really not very much!

I know what I would like to do. It is a neurodevelopmental program that promotes brain development and re-routing of neurological pathways that could potentially reduce her tone while giving physical therapy activities to encourage forward progress. I know they have seen remarkable progress for all kinds of different diagnosis. I also know their program tends to be pretty intense...so I would need everyone here to help implement it. I would really love to get a routine in place before Serenity is born! You can learn more about neurodevelopmental therapy here.

The trouble is the initial cost...They only come to Anacortes 3 times/year, and one of those times is coming up in 2 weeks. Not sure we could find the necessary funds for this in that short amount of time - BUT they will be back in January, and while I would rather not wait with 3 months with no therapy services of any kind, which could lead to some regression, it would give us time to set the money we need aside...God has a plan and a purpose. God is good all the time. I trust Him for His perfect timing for this. Overall, this is probably the least expensive therapy program we will find, mostly because it is all to be implemented at home, by us, with evaluations every trimester. We have phone consultations every 2 weeks, where they will modify what we are doing and give any tips and advice with challenges we run into along the way...but it is only every 4 months that we meet with them.

I feel a great deal of responsibility to raise all of my children for Christ. I feel the weight of what it is that God has entrusted me to do, by loaning these precious souls to me, and I take that very seriously...but with Callie, there is something more...In some ways I feel guilty that she has cp, and I feel a great deal of responsibility to make sure she has every opportunity we can afford her to make as much progress as possible.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Before and After

I took before and after pics on Justice's hair cut tonight. It is the first time I have taken the clippers to him. I used the biggest setting I had, and was very surprised at how short it is! I may need to get a little bit longer one for him! I think it is cute, but he looks so bald now! The pictures do not quite show it as well as in person...

He has decided this week that he WANTS to learn to walk! He is now practicing walking back and forth between objects (and sisters!). I do not think it will be long before he is walking all the time!

Oh, and let the climbing begin! He wants to climb anything and everything he can get himself up onto! It is so fun to watch him explore things as he develops and learns new skills! The house has opened out for him now that he can get himself UP on things!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cold, Wet Evergreen State Fair...

We went with Mom, my sister and her husband, and some friends to the Evergreen State Fair. It was free admission before 1 pm today, so it was fairly busy - though not as busy as it would have been if the weather had cooperated! YIKES. What a wet, cold day! We didn't really expect it to be THIS cold, or THIS wet...but, we braved the weather, skipped some of the fun outdoor things we normally enjoy and had a fun time looking at all of the exhibits and the animals!

The twins did GREAT on their entries!~ They each took 1st place for their skirts and their bibs. Bailey took 2nd place on the Christmas ornament she made. And their Lego entry got 3rd place! I am so proud of my big girls!

Brianna's new hair cut...

Brianna decided she wanted to "Make Grandma happy, because Grandma likes short hair."

Here are the results...She has cut all of it in the back several inches, and then on the side she cut it up to her ear in parts...she has also given herself very thick bangs...w

Part of her punishment will be to go around with silly looking hair while we wait for it to grow out a bit...not sure how long that will be.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The start of a new week

I enjoy being able to start a new week, this week more than most after the stress the end of last week brought. I praise God that His mercies are new every morning!

Today consisted of getting school done, lots of reading books, and then the girls went outside to play. Everyone has done a good job pitching in and helping out on our first day of bed rest...I would say my bedrest, but really it is every one's as this effects everyone in the family! If all goes well, it will only last 2-4 weeks...

We have a quiet time each day, when everyone has 2 options, read or write. Today the twins started making birthday lists just to make sure we know what they want for their birthday! They found a nice place in the yard to sit where they could think.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Comments...what would you say to this?

Every mother of a bigger-than-average family has received many comments. Things like "You have your hands full!" and "Are they all yours?" and the ever popular, "So, are you done yet?!" "Don't you know what is causing that?" "Had to keep trying for the boy, didn't you?!" There are many, many other common comments, but that is not actually the point of this post...

Some have even received comments about how having so many kids are destroying in the environment. (I have!)

Some people seem to be amazed that we can 'afford' all these kids, while other just KNOW their sanity couldn't handle it because they can't handle the 1 or 2 or 3 that they have now.

Then there are the stories from older women about how fondly they remember being home with their 8 (or however many!) children, and how much they miss that time.

Some of the commenters are trying to be witty (though lacking creativity, lol!), while others are just plain rude about it. But none of those comments bother me, whether they are said with mal intent or not...

Then there are the comments that I directed at Callie's disability. I am not sure if all families with disabled children get this, or if it is because I live in a very liberal area...either way, THESE are the comments that bother me, and I don't really know how to handle them.

Yesterday at Costco, Callie asked to walk. A woman, who was about college age came up and said that it is "our responsibility in this day and age to do the socially responsible thing and take care of things like this while we can." I turned and said, "What?" (Truly perplexed!) She proceeded to point to Callie, and said, "She will be a drain on society for her entire life. We could have prevented this, and chose not to. It is people who are unable to do their part that so many government programs are failing and going bankrupt."

I remember standing there, unsure of what to do and what to say. We get things like this every so often. Fortunately, they are few and far between. In the year+ that we have had Callie's walker, we have only had a handful of these comments (4 or 5)...but they bother me. To the point that I had nightmares last night about this woman! Each time I woke up, I prayed for her, and for peace for me. I am thankful that Callie doesn't understand such things now, but my fear is that one day she will...She will understand the cruelty of this woman's comment...that this woman believes that Callie doesn't have a right to live. Anyone who knows this little girl, knows she is so smart, has an infectious laugh, and a love of life that is unparallelled! She understands what it means to persevere and keep trying until she is able to do what she wants. While she does get frustrated because she can't do the things she wants to do (because of her cp), she doesn't let her circumstances dictate her attitude! Callie Grace means most beautiful grace of God, and she truly lives up to her name!

Mom had a good suggestion last night as to what to say to this woman (and the others like her - btw, all these negative comments we have received are from women in the 20's! Not that I am trying to stereotype, but it is just an observation...), something to the effect of, "Not that it is any of your business, but her cerebral palsy was caused at BIRTH, after she was already here, because of mistakes made by the doctors. Only her legs do not work, but there are things we can do, like her walker. There isn't anything we can do about your brain not working." I am very much non-confrontational, so I tend to not say much of anything, and try to get out of the situation.

My fear is that as Callie becomes aware that this is what people mean and how they feel about her disability that it will effect her...the majority of people just stare at Callie...it isn't everyday that you see a 2 year old with a walker. Callie just smiles at them, and most of them will either smile back or turn away real quick like they are ashamed they got caught staring!

Other comments we have received have been, "This is why testing during pregnancy is so important - to take care of problems like this in society." "You had ANOTHER baby after having a disabled kid?! Real smart!" (last part being said sarcastically). "Such a waste of a life to have a disability when she is so cute!" And I will also lump in a woman who was talking to me, while unloading the van in the handicap stall, "Being overweight is not a disability, it is a choice." (Though in this case, I smiled and said nothing, and by the time Callie was all set in her walker, I think she wanted to melt into the concrete and disappear, lol!)

Anyone have any suggestions on how to handle these kinds of comments?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Baking with Callie

For more than a month now, Callie has been getting in the kitchen with me to bake and cook as often as she can. Every time I go into the kitchen she is on my heals asking, "Mommy, can I help you in the kitchen?" She even drags a chair in so she can stand on it! (which is no small feat for this little girl!)

Today we had ripe zucchini, so we made zucchini bread!

I got everything out and ready to go (something that is very helpful when really little ones are helping!)...Callie was telling me what each ingredient was as I put it on the counter, "olib oil, cwisco, baking soda, bacon powder, flour, sugar, eggs...but what is that one?" She asked as we got to the zucchini.

After cracking both of the eggs and pouring them from the little bowl to the mixing bowl (cuts down on the amount of shell found in the finished product when a 2 year old is cracking eggs, lol!), she said, "Oh, look, there are 2 eggs in there. Shall we crack more?" Callie loves to crack eggs!

She also enjoys getting to have a taste of whatever we are making at the end!

As you can see in the pictures, Justice also likes to 'help' or rather, he just likes to be with me, regardless of what I am doing! Cooking provides a wonderful sensory opportunity for babies, too! So we let him join in, giving him some ingredients sprinkled on the high chair tray (after he got a little too busy for my counter!), which he thoroughly enjoyed!

After I get the bowls washed, I will call Ashley and Brianna in to help bake...because in a family of 10, 2 loaves of zucchini bread doesn't last very long!

It's been quiet this week!

We have had a relaxing quiet week! Which is a good thing! I had 1 day where contractions were picking up a bit more than I was comfortable with, but I stayed down, and they seem to have subsided, at least for now...I just have to watch my activity level...which might mean the messianic dance class we signed up for next week might be something I watch instead of do...and the fair is going to be a big challenge next week to not overdo things (but I think the twins will go nuts if they do find out how they did with their fair entries, lol!)...

We are almost done with our school for the week (still have history and language arts to do today). The twins are absolutely LOVING their new math! The teaching textbooks have been a lot of fun for them! I think I should have bumped them up another grade though, as the 4th grade level is really not a challenge for them at all...but they are having fun, and in 4 days of school, have completed almost 3 weeks worth of math, lol!

We have some baking to do today! Zucchini is ripe, so we are making some bread today. The girls are also hoping to have time to make some cookies. The heat wave is over, and the cooler overcast weather is perfect for turning on the oven today!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Not such a down week...

Well, as you might have figured out from my posts, we didn't have such a down week...and it didn't end down, either!

On Friday, we went to the Children's Museum with my MIL, niece and nephew. Followed by going to try out some musical instruments to see what the twins want to play this year in band! (So far, I have one who wants to play flute and one who is torn between the trumpet and the saxophone.)

Then we came home with just enough time to get ready for homechurch. By the time we got home from homechurch, it was all I could do to get myself to bed. My wonderful husband was able to facilitate getting everyone else down for the night, then he got up really early for a change.

I really do need things to calm down. Chris took the older 4 girls yesterday, first to enter the twins' things that they have made for the fair...online entry was available, but it wouldn't let me enter both twins as exhibitionists, I tried several times, then called and was told they would have to register in person. When they got there, they had some confusion as well...something about last name and birth date being how they assign your ID number...and with twins, it is the same. They said they had never had any twins enter in the same category before!

After that they went to the tractor fair! Everyone enjoyed the shoe toss (you toss your shoes into the center of the area, then you have to race to be the first to find and put on your shoes! Madison, my niece won the younger children's round. The announcer had hidden Bailey's 2nd shoe in his back pocket...so when all the shoes were picked up, hers was actually missing! He came over to talk to her about what was wrong and help her find it. When he turned around, she saw it and grabbed it. The prize for winning was getting to lead the group to get ice cream, and be the first one to get the ice cream...because of this, Bailey got to lead group 2! They also got to see threshing, and a tractor pull competition and lots of animals!

I was able to stay home, get some much needed house cleaning accomplished (the house tends to fall apart when we are out so much!), and rest with the babies. Our new math curriculum came in on Friday, so I was able to get that loaded and play around with it for a little bit...the twins are so excited to get to start this program, that they were ready to go into a (VERY HOT) garage while friends were over...they were told to wait until Monday! I am greatly looking forward to next week, we start school up again, will be in our normal routine, and things should be quite a bit calmer - at least as calm as they can be with 6 children under 10 years old, lol! We have 68 days until we are early full term, and I am hoping and praying to make it at least that far with this baby! I really would rather skip the whole preemie thing...and to do that, I need to be paying attention to how much activity my uterus can handle!

Friday, August 13, 2010

What a day!

We thought yesterday would be fairly quiet...started out with physical therapy. I was reminded through my homeschool group that it was also the best day to view Perseid's Meteor Shower. We studied meteors in science about 2 weeks, ago, so this was very well timed! It meant yet another late night for the girls though...

Then we had a fun surprise when Chris' uncle and aunt stop by with their 6 grandchildren...

A short while later, my sister and BIL came by with their hedgehog and stayed for dinner!

After everyone left, we made carmel corn (my MIL has the best homemade recipe!) brought blankets and lawn chairs outside, and enjoyed the show. God is absolutely amazing! We probably saw about 30 total in about 30 minutes. Before we tried to come in, Brianna was so cold and tired, she had already gone to her bed...by the time we were ready to pack it all up, Ashley and Anna had fallen asleep. I was glad to give them the opportunity to see the show though!

It is now after 7 am, everyone else in my family is still in bed...today is another busy day though - Bailey is trying to finish up one more project for the Evergreen State Fair, then we go stand in line for fair entries, I think we will be heading over to try a couple of musical instruments to see what the twins want to play in band this year, then we have home church.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Remlinger Farms

We went with Mom, Aunt Carolyn, Ruth and Rick Dykstra and their 4 children to Remlinger Farms. My girls had a blast! I really did nothing. I sat with the baby all day while the girls came and went with everyone, going on different rides and to see different things! What a blessing to have family who are willing to take them to do such fun things when I am trying to watch what I do. The day was great, mostly sunny, mid 70's with a cool breeze most of the day, it is the only day this week so far that would have been so nice to go!

I am also pleased to report, that the twins took most of the pictures!