Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pregnancy update and thoughts

This pregnancy is really flying by!  Before I know it, we will have a new little one to hold in our arms!

With thinking how fast the first half (almost) of this pregnancy has gone, and the things we still have yet to do, and the choices that we need to make, along with normal life things that are coming up...it is really a lot to get done!
My mind is beginning to wonder to what and how we will do things...I know I need to get a new carseat this time around.  Ashley and Brianna did move out of their seats, which Callie and J were able to move into.  Seren moved up to Callie's seat, and the new baby will move up to J's seat, but I need an infant seat for the baby. 

I also know I need a new crib (at least new to us) as our crib, that has held everyone since the twins, is no longer staying together.  The screws come undone, and the drop side has now fallen twice.  I have never purchased a crib, but rather, over the years, have had 3 different cribs (2 with the twins, then 1 other besides that when both Ashley and Brianna were in cribs), so I trust we will find another fairly easily - people always seem to be quick to get rid of their baby gear!
I will post what this picture is of in the new few days...
for now, take your guess on what gender our new baby is!
But what about a stroller?  My double has just about had it.  I am looking at the possibility of going with a triple.  Even with as well as Callie is doing, she still tires easily.  J likes to ride at times, too.  (and sometimes, it is just easier to have them both ride so they are contained!)  Seren is not going to be walking full time for long trips before this new baby comes, either...I like the idea/look of the Joovy Big Caboose Triple sit n' stand stroller.  Or do we say we have enough helpers to go with 2 smaller strollers?  (The problem I see with this is choir/band, when I have the younger ones to myself, without any of the older 4, who would be the ones who could push a stroller...And next year, Callie will be in choir, too, so it will still be just me and the younger 3!)

I am glad to have more time to figure out what to do about the room arrangements!  I am not sure I will be able to get another toddler bed into the littles' room...and I don't know if I can get another bed at all into the olders' room.  Callie will still fit on her toddler bed for awhile longer, so I don't plan on moving her just yet...and the new baby will be in our room for the first 8 months, give or take, which gives me right about a year to figure out what it is that I am going to do space wise!  I have always maintained that everyone has their own beds because that is their own personal space that they do not have to share...I also do not want the girls to go back into the master bedroom.  They do not upkeep the bathroom well enough for that!  These are all things that I think about as each pregnancy progresses.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Serenity is already 16 months old!

Serenity helping Bailey read the Bible
Wow!  Time sure does fly when you are having fun!

This little girl is such a blessing to our family!  She loves all of her big sisters and brother, and imitates anything they do or say.

She is very much a parrot lately.  She will truly repeat anything, and she uses well over 20 words on a daily basis in context.  She is currently going through a language explosion!  Here is a partial list of what she uses.

Mommy, "Gampa" (grandpa - her very favorite person!), Anna, Bayee (Bailey), Ashee (Ashley), Beeana (Brianna), Cayee (Callie), Chusis (Justice), Ippy (Sippy), ink (Drink), Bye, Hi, Heyoo (hello), Senty (Serenity), Budder (Bruther), hot, iyuw (fire), nigh-nigh, bus, ain (train), no, pees (please), more, tank you (thank you), Daddy, Hat, Dad, boo, dog, puppy, woof, cacker (cracker),

She loves to be involved with what everyone else is doing, whether in the kitchen or folding laundry, or cuddling up with a book.  She absolutely loves to read! 

Serenity is having fun with hats lately!  She loves to put other people's hats on!
I don't know if I mentioned on here, but about a month or so ago, she decided she was going to walk.  She took her first step right at 11 months...but it took her an additional 3 1/2 months to decide she was going to actually walk as a mode of getting around!

She has been extra cuddly all week as she has not been feeling 100%.  It has actually been kind of nice, because she normally doesn't sit still enough for anyone to hold her like this anymore...she normally wants to be climbing all over your lap and checking out anything you have or bringing you something to look at with her.



Serenity is working on exerting her independence...testing boundaries...and trying out different ways to communicate her displeasure at being told no, or that she can't do/have something.  I anticipate that will pick up on her current form of attempting to let us know she doesn't like what is happening, a lot faster after she gets over this cold.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Seriously lacking motivation today, but it is ok

This morning, in our Bible time, we read Isaiah 40:11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

What a blessing and comfort those words were this morning!  Just what I needed to hear! 

On a day when all I want to do is climb back into bed, after being up with Callie for an hour, Seren for over an hour, Anna for 1/2 hour, Ashley for a few minutes, and briefly with Brianna...by which time, I felt a revolving door needed to be installed on our room!  Having had 2 bed buddies for most of the night, and having started the night with a sweat soaked bed where sick ones were trying to recover over the course of the day...when I am now feeling very ill again (though it is likely due to not getting enough sleep myself the last 3 nights and not having the time for naps)...God's words were such a comfort.

I took a few minutes to reflect on this passage after our morning reading (which was cut short when Mrs. Basset, the piano teacher arrived)...God gently lead those that have young.  God understands what it is like to have sleepless nights, to be holding small children in the throws of being sick and teething.  He understands the exhaustion of pregnancy.  He is faithful to provide just what we need, just when we need it.

Therapy has not been started today.  Bailey has done her independent school, and the 3 well enough for it are just finishing up piano lessons.  And it is ok.  It is ok to spend the day resting, recuperating, and reading books.  It is ok to have people needing to lay on the couch most of the day, even when there is work to be done.  Because that is where we are today.

If God wanted us to do more, He would have provided a way, either by more sleep, or less illness, instead, we must wait on Him, and trust that He will provide just enough for what He knows we need.  God is good, all the time!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Still can't beat this illness...

This illness is still taking its toll on the family. 

Chris is sick, though he is such a hard worker, with such a strong work ethic, that he is pushing through at work...though he is hoping to make it home a couple hours early today to go to bed!

His parents are still not feeling 100%.  This makes almost 2 weeks for his mom.

Anna is down today...she finally ended up getting what everyone else has had - and now it is everyone else's turn to take care of her, after she has helped to take care of everyone else!

Bailey is feeling better, and taking on that helper role more.

Ashley is feeling a bit better today, after being back down yesterday.

Brianna is down again today.

Callie is borderline today.

J is super whiny.

I would be better able to evaluate Seren if she were awake more - but I think sleeping so much really is the best thing for her!  She went down for a nap with a low grade fever after cuddling most of the morning.

I am back to not feeling as well today...I got lots of things done yesterday, so I am hoping we can come out ok by the end of today.  For me, it is mostly the cough and my head.  It feels like I am going right into a sinus infection.  I am so grateful that Bailey is able and willing to feed calves this morning, muck out the worst of their stall and add new bedding to it.

Chris' mom was telling me about a family she knows who sound like they have had this, and have been sick for three weeks...

I am not sure what will happen just yet for piano/band/choir tomorrow.  I am going to wait until I see how everyone is doing before making any such decisions about it!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Neurodevelopmental Therapy Update

Callie and Brianna are both doing fabulous in NT!  I am seeing progress from both of them.  It is amazing to me how simple the activities are, and yet how much they can effect!  We are a little more than a week from being 1/2 way done with this session, and so far, I am very pleased with their results!  This program has been such a blessing to our family!  Wow, what an honor to work with a Godly therapist, who seeks to honor God in all she does, and asks for us to do, and then to watch God at work in the girls!  I praise God that He has given the knowledge on how to effect the brain with such subtle input as the activities that the girls do, in order to achieve big results!
I am very pleased with how these charts look!

Brianna finishing up listening to an audio set
while she is waiting to work on math flash cards,
which are one of her favorite activities!

I am not going to say it is easy to get these programs done, because it certainly isn't!  It takes serious commitment and dedication.  But it is well worth the effort and very rewarding.  I am so thankful for Chris and his parents, who are here to help get done whatever may have been missed during the day.  And so grateful for the twins who help with therapy activities each and every day!  As you can see by the charts, today is a good day so far!  Any time Callie does at least 25 activities before nap, is a good day, today, she got 34 in!  Brianna was completely done with her therapy by 4 pm.  Callie's program takes about 4 hours each day.  Brianna's takes about 3 hours of working with her, then we have to remember to take her ear plug out a bit later.

Let's start with Brianna.  She has 31 activities that she does each day.  And she is highly motivated to keep up with as much of it as she can!  It bothers her to have 'holes' in her chart, where she missed something, so she is asking to make things up to fill in those holes when they occur.  Yesterday was a poor example, as everyone here has been sick.  Brianna is done with her therapy for today, and has already expressed wanting to get done some of yesterday's activities, too. 
Brianna, working on her school papers, while her left
eye is patched, and wearing her ear plug in her left ear.
Many of her activities overlap well, which is
very helpful when it comes to getting them all done!

Brianna is doing so well in her math and reading skills!  She is doing better at sitting still when she needs to.  The most exciting change I have seen in her is that she is beginning to understand when someone might not want her to do something!  Her relationship with Callie is improving a great deal because of this!  She has also been making better choices lately overall, which is a wonderful thing to see!  Brianna is also doing very well lately with following through completing a task she was asked to do.  We are also seeing advances in her scripture memory, visual and audio processing ability (which equates to the advance in her maturity level).

Part of Callie's strength training is to
swing from the rings each day.
I felt like Callie started at a disadvantage.  She was still trying to recover from her last illness, in August when this session started in January.  By the end of January, she had more than caught up thought!  She is now far surpassing where she has ever been.  I was a bit concerned by her being sick over the weekend, that she would have most setbacks, but she really hasn't!  She only really missed most of 1 day of therapy as well (and like Brianna, she will make up some of those things, though probably not all of them).

We have watched Callie rebound from this illness very quickly, and I praise God for that!  It is nothing shy of a miracle for her! 

Here are a couple videos of Callie working hard in therapy.  Her pt (physical therapist) gives her activities to work on, above and beyond her nt program, and this first video is one of those.  Callie has been very weak in her core muscles since her illness in August (though that illness is not really holding her back as she has exceeding her abilities from before getting sick, this is one area we have not put forth much effort, and she really does need it).  We just started this last week, so it is very new, and something she is still struggling to accomplish each day!  Fortunately for us (and her!) Callie really enjoys physically challenging activities!  It is very hard to tell in the video (since I am taking it and need to help hold/stabilize her legs!) that Callie is sitting on an exercise ball, laying backwards, putting one hand on the ground twisting and reaching with the other, then sitting up without using her hands.

Part of her therapy is to walk backwards each day.  This is a challenge for her indeed!  When she first started, she had to hold on to something so she wouldn't fall, now she is able to go as much as 15-20 steps backward without falling...though this video is not a great example as she is still recovering from being sick, it does give an idea of how hard she is working on this task!  At the end of this video, she demonstrates an activity she is working on in her spare time...JUMPING!  She has been trying to jump for at least a year, if not 2 years, and she is now able to get both legs off the ground (and she is even able to get all four limbs off the ground!)
Check out the concentration she has when she is being so physically challenged!
Callie is also improving in her math and reading skills, as well as with her audio and visual processing ability.  We are seeing improvement in her fine motor skills, and her strength.  She has improved a great deal in her balance and her ability to knee walk.  She is still working on eye exercises and sensory integration, too.  We are seeing improvements in almost every area!

Getting back on track

With most of us feeling better, or at least well enough to function, we are focusing on getting back on track today!
Bailey is feeling much better!  Here she is repairing a stuffed
animal for Ashley.

Starting with school, therapy and laundry!   School will not be completely finished until after Anna gets home...more on that later!

Callie is still a bit down, and not up for 100%, but we are working our way at least partway through therapy today.  I will make a post in a little while all about how therapy is going.

Brianna is feeling good, and should finish both school and therapy (which actually have a lot of overlap for her).

 J is still not up for much...
Anna was invited to accompany Grandpa to go to the property, and with all the hard work she has put in the last few days, I had no problem letting her go play today!


Seren and Justice are still under the weather, which is actually making it possible to get more done...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Today's change of plans



I love this clip from Evan Almighty. It shows God laughing at Evan's plans...I am confident that God does this frequently with me, lol!

Today, I was hoping to get school and therapy done, then head out to Costco for our regular grocery shopping...

Instead, I am holding Serenity (though I think she is about ready to be put down, if she can keep from coughing herself awake). Sitting with Bailey (who just doesn't want to be alone). Getting applesauce and Motrin for Brianna and Callie. Reading books with the younger 4. And praising God that I am well enough for these few, basic, simple tasks - because yesterday, I couldn't have done them!

Anna is having a much earned break to play the wii for a little while.

God knew today would be like this from the beginning. He had today planned out when he formed the foundations of the earth. It is my job to praise and honor Him, even when things do not go according to 'my plan.'

How did I get to be so lucky?!

I have the absolute best husband, anywhere, ever!  Wow!  What a blessing he is!  I was really sick yesterday, and he put me to bed, and took care of everything else...even when others started going down and getting sick!  By the time I got up to help feed the calves, at 5 pm (I really did sleep all day!), Bailey, Callie and Brianna were all huddled up on the couch w/DH in blankets...

It was all I could do to come in and go back to sleep from feeding the calves...

By that time, Chris' parents were back home from their typical Sunday activities, and they jumped right in to help take care of those who were sick.  What a blessing it is to have such caring and considerate inlaws, who, even when they are not yet back to feeling 100% after being sick, are willing to help out to take care of everyone.

I also have to mention Anna here...she came out to help with the calves last night (which was a HUGE blessing, as I couldn't have managed without either her or Chris!), helped take care of sick children yesterday, and is jumping right in to help out, while I am mustering up the energy to even get out of bed.  The good news is that I do not feel as sick or weak as I did yesterday, so I will be at least able to be downstairs helping somewhat.  Anna has started a movie for those who are sick, after she helped them downstairs.

As for prayer requests...right now, Anna and J have yet to come down with this.  MIL, FIL and Ashley are still on the mend.  I am still pretty sick, but I think I can manage until DH gets home tonight.  Bailey, Callie and Brianna are sick.  Please pray that this doesn't result in a huge setback for Miss Callie...getting sick for her can mean MONTHS of strength training and working with her to get her back to where she was before the illness.  (I feel like we finally made it back to where we were in August, the last time she got really sick, about a month ago...so to think of having to go through that again makes me want to cry!  She works so hard.  I do not know if I should be trying to at least do her stretches today, or just deal with the aftermath when it comes...but MIL was down for a FULL WEEK, and still doesn't have all of her strength back 8 days later...that could truly devastate Callie's physical ability...)  Seren slept a lot yesterday, and woke up coughing today, so she is at the very beginning of this.

I have no idea why God has so blessed me with such an amazing family!  It is certainly nothing that I have done to deserve such an incredible gift.  I praise God for each and every member of my family and for His blessing on my life.  God is so good, all the time!  (Even when we are sick and miserable!)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Next round of illness

Normally, at our house, it is the younger children who get sick first...the ones who are crawling on the floor and putting things in their mouths...but this time, it started with Chris.  And then spread to his parents, and now to me.  Ashley is also sick, and Seren is really cuddly and sleeping extra...otherwise, everyone else is just fine.

Unfortunately, the calves do not care that I am not feeling well.  They still want their bottles at 7 am.  My amazing, wonderful, gracious husband got up with me and helped me get them taken care of...the morning feeding has more to do because of them needing grain, bottles and their water checked (with the last calves, I did some of that in the evening feeding, but this time around, it is dark during that feed, so I try to keep up on all those things in the daylight!)  I didn't get around to mucking out the stall this morning, though it could really use it...

Since I was already up, it really didn't make sense to go back to bed.  The children wanted breakfast, and therapy needed to be started.  So in some ways, it is really good that I was forced out of bed at a decent hour by the calves, lol!  We got to enjoy God's word together as a family, therapy is off to a great start, and we are all up and moving.

On a much more positive note, Callie is doing MUCH better today!  I hope that all the work we put in yesterday to get her to where she could move helped, but I really don't know...maybe she would have come out of it on her own.  Maybe she just slept funny?

Friday, February 17, 2012

I understand, and yet, I don't.

I understand that done is something set in the brain.  I understand that most of us, who have normal tone, never notice it.  I understand that when a person has tonal issues, that external factors can effect it.  I know that any life stress, any change in routine, any illness, growth spurt, unusual activity, unusual lack of activity can all effect tone. 

I KNOW this, but I do not really UNDERSTAND it.  And when it comes to Callie, I so wish I could make it stop!  Help her to feel better, and let her NOT be in this kind of pain...

But then, on the other hand, I don't understand WHY.  Some days, most days in fact, Callie is able to move about as she wishes.  She is able to walk from place to play around the house, and the distances are short enough that she doesn't even fall all that frequently (just a few times through the day, usually just needing to put her hands on the ground and re stabilize herself)...then we hit a day like today.  She woke up, and her legs were so tight and almost pretzel shaped, that it took quite a bit of force and effort to get her into a standing position.  (All the while, she was asking for help to get her legs straight, while crying, so I wasn't putting so much effort as to hurt her...it is a hard balance to explain, but not so hard to figure out in person!)  Then, during her stretches, she could only get her legs into a splits position (w/her braces that put her in a dorsey flex) with her feet only about 8 inches apart...and that took a lot of doing!  (She is normally about double that for her stretches.)  No distraction could ease her discomfort.  I knew that by doing the stretches the rest of her day would go better...but yet, it really HURT her, and hurt me to have to do that to her (especially with her looking up at me with tear filled eyes, saying things like, "Why do you always have to hurt me like this?" Talk about gut wrenching!)

My guess is that therapy today will not go well overall...and yet, it is precisely these kinds of days when she needs it the MOST.  So we will persevere and do our best.

Callie's tone is so high today that she is struggling to get her
legs out of thsi position, even with help.
Then my mind wonders to why...why this?  Why today?  Today seems especially unlikely as she has not missed a day of stretches or therapy activities, she hasn't done anything unusual, and last night was even one of the nights for her to wear her braces (all of those are external things we know of that can cause this reaction in her).  So then I wonder: Is she getting sick?  (Ashley and Grandpa are sick today.  Grandma is feeling a little better, and Chris was sick a few days ago, so it isn't like it would be out of no where!)  Is she going through yet another growth spurt?  Did we work her too hard yesterday or the last few days?  Did spending a couple hours in the bus yesterday make her muscles tight? (It is 45 minutes to Granite Falls for choir/band.  While we were there, she did therapy, walked up hills, walked backwards, and played in the back of the bus - so she was able to stretch her legs...and it isn't like she never does this!) 

I tend to think that if I could just figure out what caused this, maybe I could avoid it for her in the future...

Whatever the cause...whether it is something we could have avoided or not, we have to deal with the aftermath.  My thinking at this point is to put her in a warm bath, help her get over the pain of her stretches, and see if that helps.  Callie asked for prayer for her legs first thing this morning, so we all gathered around and prayed for her, and will continue to pray throughout the day.  God is good, all the time!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

An all around fun day!

We started out with our typical, get up, get ready, come to breakfast, read the Bible...

Then, even before we could get much other school or therapy accomplished, it was time to head to Callie's physical therapy appointment.  It seems on these days, when we have a seemingly simple appointment, that we just do not get the 'normal' things done at home...though this was probably the best pt session Callie has ever done with everyone there!  J helped Callie with therapy activities (sometimes as a model, sometimes while playing a game), Seren hung out with me.  The older 4 worked on school in the therapy room.)
After Callie's PT today, we decided to take advantage of the sunny weather to go to the park. This is really the first park trip Serenity has had since being able to walk well. She really enjoyed herself!




What a difference a few months make!  Watch this video of Callie walking all the way across the playground on the (uneven!) wood chips!


When we were done playing, we went out for milkshakes before heading home...

By the time we made it home, it was about 2 pm.  We put the younger 3 to bed.
The calves very cautiously stepped out of
their pen, into the pasture.


With the sun still (barely/almost) shinning, we decided to let the calves out of the pen for a little while.  They seemed to have a blast running and playing through the field.  They even went over and sniffed noses with Steak...He seems more interested in them than they are in him...then they went back to running and playing!  Meanwhile, I had a great opportunity to clean out their stall really well.  The mostly black one came back to me and right back in his run without any trouble - but the one with more white had to be chased down and basically pushed/pulled/dragged-any-way-we-can back in...it was just like the way we had to get both of them in there right off the bus.

This picture doesn't make it look like there is much of a difference between Steak and the new calves, but there really is!

Steak had more interest in them than they did with him.
They were too busy running and playing together!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

We really do not do much to celebrate Valentine's Day, but it is a day to make my children smile, and feel special!

They woke up this morning to breakfast of candy conversation hearts and oatmeal w/blueberries.


While they ate, we read from the ultimate love book, the Bible, God's love letter to us.

Then the plan was to get school and therapy done - or at least a good start on it - then make cookies! But things didn't go as well as we would have liked in getting school and therapy done...and we realized burned the mixer up last week...so we ended up spending most of the day on school and therapy - and a good nap for me and the younger three!



Then we had heart shaped pancakes and homemade hash browns (the first time I ever got them to work out right!) and enjoyed a bit of chocolate together.

It is such a blessing to get to spend each and every day with my children!  Even on days when that getting everyone to do as they ought is like herding cats, I wouldn't trade it for anything!  Not everything goes according to plan, but it is all in God's perfect plan and timing!

Play time!

With all of the work going on around here, I thought I would also post something a bit more fun...all of the children have still had time to play, even with all the work going on!


I really love watching everyone play together! 

On another note, we are making progress with the calves.  They are both eating grain and hay, and seem to be a little less nervous around people.  This morning when I gave them their bottles, the one with more white on him startled, and jumped about 1/2 way back in his run, but then recovered and came up to the gate to greet me, and the other one, came right up to the gate!  This is a very good thing since we are going to need to dehorn them soon - something we didn't do *but should have* with Steak...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

New Arrivals!

We picked up our new bottle calves tonight.














My first observation is how filled out they are.  They do not look gaunt like most bottle calves because they have been on cow milk for their entire lives.











My next observation is how skittish they are!  They have obviously not been handled much in their lives...I am hoping they calm down a bit with more handling.











It was a challenge to get them into the bus.  They fought the halter and being pushed/pulled.  They did the same thing after we got home to get them into their new home...but as soon as they got into their new stall, they starting eating the alfalfa hay!





They have now had their bottles, and are bedded downed for the night.  I would have liked to watch them a little longer in their new pen to see what they do, but I am sure they will do just fine overnight.

We do need names for them, and are open to suggestion!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Preparations

This is the shelter before we got started today.
We are getting ready for new babies at our house!














On Sunday we get to pick up our new bottle calves.  I learned a lot the first time around, which unfortunately resulted in losing 2 of them...we will see how it goes this time around!













Chris and the twins working on the
fence project in the front pasture. 
To get ready, we needed to finish up a fencing project, and enclose the structure in the pasture.  It is such a blessing to have Chris' parents here with us to help with these big projects!  His mom stayed with the little ones most of the day while everyone else was outside working!  Chris' dad designed and built the stall around shelter in the pasture.





Dad and Chris working on the stall.
I am so glad that all of my children are interested in building and construction projects!  The math, spacial awareness and knowledge of how to make things structurally sound will likely be useful in whatever they end up doing in their lives!
Dad even made a hay feeder in the stall to
keep it off the ground and from getting wet!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Girls' Night Out!

Speaking of media exposure...

The older 5 girls and I went out to the movies last night to see a showing of the Sound Of Music.  I wish I had a recording of the girls watching the movie...to see them light up, to hear them laugh, and to watch their reactions to the movie was the highlight for me.

It also brought back memories of watching it with my own mother...for some reason it was always on TV on New Year's Eve, so that is what we did for many years when I was young - watch the Sound of Music.

My girls, before the start of the Sound Of Music
Ashley had all kinds of questions about it, like, "Why did Germany invade Austria?"  "Why did they want to force the Captain into their Navy?"  "Why did they want to hurt people to get their way?"  And more...they were ALL questions that I couldn't answer in the theater, so we will be looking more into it tomorrow (we have too much going on today).

Callie thought it was funny when the Von Trapp Children were afraid during the thunder storm, and was laughing hysterically!  People around us were laughing at her...the more I tried to quiet her, the louder she got.

As the lights dimmed in the theater, Brianna said that she didn't remember seeing this before, and what if it is too scary for her?  I assured her that she would be just fine...and handed her a small bag of popcorn to take her mind off of it.

The twins sat very quietly through the movie.  After the movie, they wanted to know what parts were real, and what parts were made up, so I found a website for us to look into that as well, (again probably tomorrow as today is just too busy).

I am so grateful that at the last minute, Chris' Dad was able to come get J and Seren, and bring them home!  Callie was enough of a handful (she had a breakdown towards the end because she was just so tired, I almost had to bring her out of the movie).

And now that I have let my girls sleep in as long as I possibly can, it is time for me to go wake them. (We didn't get home until almost 10:30), so they are ready for piano lessons, followed by choir and band!)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Re-evaluating Media Exposure

A more appropriate word here is probably purging our media library.  I am starting with that of our impressionable children.  I actually did this a few months ago, but because I didn't get the boxes of movies I had selected to get rid of at the time OUT, they have been intermingled with what I was keeping...so I now get to start over!  The rain has come, so outdoor chores will wait for a few more days, which makes this a great time to work on the movies!

As Christians, we are called to righteousness, not because it will save us, but because we are already citizens of Heaven!  We are called to "hate what is evil and cling to what is good" (Romans 12:9).  In Romans 16:19, Paul tells us, "I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil."

We are reminded that love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. in Cor. 13:6
John reminds us in 3 John 1:11, "Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God."

1 Tim. 6:21-22 Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge,  which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.

2 Tim. 2:19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

2 Tim. 4:2-4 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.  But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

So with all of that, why would we allow our children, especially since they need to watch a movie each day for Brianna and Callie's therapy, to watch such wicked and evil behavior for entertainment?  I know they are going to look up to the characters and want to imitate them, their actions, behaviors and words...Why would we allow them to have heroes who say things that are unkind, do not honor their father and mother?  Who are disrespectful to elders?  And especially who do not have any consequences in the end for such behavior?

I was spurred on once again to look through our media after spending many hours at the ER...watching tv.  The cartoons we saw, depicted parents as bumbling idiots, not worth the time of day, it demonstrated disrespectful behavior, rolling of the eyes, insubordination, and 'following ones own heart' even if it was against a parent's/authority's wishes.  There was name calling, lack of self-control, self-gratification, using God's name in vain, succumbing to peer pressure, coveting, steeling, malice towards those who have less, and many other evil thoughts and desires - all without consequences...I was also encouraged to re-examine everything from a Biblical perspective from a blog post of a friend, which you can fine here.

God repeatedly told the Israelites in the desert NOT to intermarry with those who have other faiths.  He told them to run ALL people OUT of the land He would give them.  He told them the consequence of disobeying this is that these other people would cause Israel to stumble and to worship foreign, false gods...Israel didn't heed this warning, and their history was plagued throughout the old testament of the consequences of their sins.  Because sin was readily around them, because they didn't punish sin the way God told them to, they became indifferent to the effect that sin had on them and their children.  They no longer saw it as sin...and we, in America, in the year 2012, are no different.  It is the same thing that is happening now with homosexual marriage across the country.  2 weeks ago, a woman married a building in Seattle.  Last week, the WA state Senate voted to approve gay marriage.  Our society, our schools, our entertainment all lead us astray from God and His ways.  His ways are PERFECT.  He made us.  He knows and wants what is best for us.  He says that bad company corrupts good morals.

And one final scripture passage...James 1:22-25 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A perfect day to fly a kite!

It looks beautiful outside, but the weather has become quite blustery...giving a pretty major chill to the otherwise sunny day.









After a picnic lunch (the 3rd in 5 days!), the older girls took advantage of this perfect kite flying weather!  They made kites from plastic bags and string (that were later turned into wind socks), flew existing kites, and pretended they could fly in the wind.





The little ones were taking care of a garden gnome they found, and giving it rides in the wagon.




Ashley, once again (she has asked everyday for the last 5 or 6 days, lol!) asked if she could get the sprinkler or wading pool out...somehow she qualified 58 degrees and very windy to be 'hot.'

We had another great start to the day, getting school done and a great start on therapy!  The twins really got right to therapy with Brianna today, which freed me up to get started with Callie.  Brianna only has 75 items left (including today) to be caught up from being so sick for so long.  We still hope to get several more activities done today to really get ahead, but she is enjoying her break from school and therapy playing outside while the weather is nice with her sisters!
Then Ashley told Callie and Justice about the other animals under the bench on the patio...so they devised a way to take care of all of them! (They pulled the sled out and loaded it up by themselves!  Pretty cleaver if you ask me!)

Justice enjoyed being the muscle for her in pulling the sled along the cement.  He must have worked hard, because he fell asleep in almost record time!  (I laid both him and Callie on the couch, went to get Callie a blanket, and J was out by the time I got back!)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Enjoying the weather!

We have had beautiful weather for the last many days, since like Thursday or Friday of last week.  It has been sunny, fairly warm, and perfect for being outside!

One of my New Year's Resolutions that I am still working on is balance.  I am wanting to get all that I need to, school work, therapy, housework, workouts, yard work, animal care, time with little ones, laundry, individual time with children, healthy meals, Internet time (no face book has really helped this one!), etc, all done without obsessively focusing on any of them.  Today, I really felt like I did very well with it!

We started off the day getting school done (Bible, music, math, reading, writing, and the middles school), and getting a good start on therapy (They both did about 30 activities this morning).  Both girls still have a pretty big push for therapy this evening, with about 20 activities each to do, but they are more than 1/2 way done!

Then we went outside, where we move 1 more wheelbarrow load of manure and 3 loads of dry leaves to the garden and raked it our so it can age/dry in preparation for spring plantings.  Steak's bed was all laid out.  I pulled all the moss and grass from around the fruit trees (things growing up near the trunk can keep the tree from being as productive).  And got the back patio blown off with the leaf blower.  Bailey was a HUGE help!  She did all 3 loads of the leaves, and helped to load up the manure in the field and Steak's bed.

After that, we went for a short walk, to the first hill, so everyone could get out, and enjoy the beautiful day God made for us.  While we were out, Callie was able to walk up and down the hill.  (Unfortunately, there is a bit of a breeze, and some of the gusts were not always helpful for Callie.  She had a tail wind going up, and a headwind going down, but because it was such a sudden change for her, she wasn't able to cope with it very well...)

Next on the list, is laundry (at least 5 loads, the first of which is going now) and housework.  I have a plan for dinner, and meat is thawing, so I am good there...and for today, I am counting the outdoor work today as my workout.  (My back already feels tight, so I think it is fair to say I did get somewhat of a workout in at least!)




While it was hard to be in my first trimester over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the twins' birthday, it is rather nice now to be in the 2nd trimester when we need to be doing more outdoor work!

Brianna Update

Brianna is now doing much better!  She has been fever free for several days.  She is playing and active.  She is eating and drinking normally.

She is back to a full school and therapy schedule this week.

We are so glad to have her happy, exuberant self back!  We praise God for her healing, and thank Him for His mercy.  He knows just how much each of us can handle, and I think this illness brought some of us to that point!  Brianna still has quite a bit of therapy that I am going to have her make up, but we will give her the grace of a couple of weeks to get it done!

Now if the cold that has swept through the house would clear up, we would be in good shape! 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

J's first professional hair cut

I was really hoping I would learn some things - like what kind of attachment to put on our clippers to cut J's hair...that is actually why I went in...to learn.


My handsome little man after his first professional haircut

However, they didn't use anything bus scissors! I am not real sure what they did, or how they did it, but it looks really cute!


He sat so still, and was so patient with the woman who was cutting his hair...though he did look a bit hesitant most of the time!  He got concerned a couple of times that there was hair on the fish of his cap, so she let him have his hands free so he could wipe the fish clean.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sunshine!

I really don't know what the weather has looked like over the last few days, or even the last couple of weeks, but we were all excited to get to play in the sunshine today!  I decided that today would be a 1/2 day of school, to give us time to take a nice long walk down our street. (with toddlers, even a short distance can make for a long walk, lol!)  Justice rode his trike about 1/2 a mile today!  (the other mile or so we covered, he went in the stroller.)  Callie walked up and down hills.  All the girls walked so they could help keep J with us, and then help get his trike home.

Then everyone enjoyed a picnic lunch while I read our history lesson aloud.  I so love the freedom that homeschooling affords to enjoy the nice days when we have them!

After that, we played and worked outside.  We got the patio cleaned off and cleaned up the bike area.

Steak seemed glad for the company outdoors, too!  Even though he is getting rather large, he is still very gentle.  Callie and J were pulling bits of the hay out to hand feed him, and he was taking it from them very nicely...though Callie flinches each time he sticks his tongue out of his mouth...and J finds it funny that he grabs his food with his tongue - so he would hold the hay out in one hand, and try to grab the tongue each time with the other hand.  It was so funny to watch, and yet, since I was holding Seren, and making sure they were treating Steak the way they should...I couldn't leave to get my camera, lol!

The middles were kicking the soccer ball back and forth - I really love to see Brianna up and playing again with a smile on her face!  What a blessing it is to have such healthy children! 

Everyone helped to make pine cone bird feeders which we put in the discarded Christmas tree to see if we could attract any new birds to the yard.

I let the little ones stay up late from naps, but decided they really did need to take them since I plan on making a Costco trip this afternoon - I must be coming out of the first trimester fog more, to be even considering an evening Costco trip, lol!

We didn't get as much therapy done as I would have liked.  Brianna is down to 104 activities to make up at the end of today (7 of those being from today), and Callie has 19 to make up (all from today)...though they are fairly easy ones to make up for her, so by Monday, she will be caught back up.


Then we ran errands, and ended the day with brownies and ice cream.

(I didn't go get my camera from in the house until I put the younger ones to bed, so all the pics are only of the older 4.)

Grandma Marie

With all of the events of the last couple of weeks, it is still hard for me to believe she is gone, and yet I know it to be true.

She was a wonderful woman, with the gift of hospitality!  She loved to have anyone and everyone stop in whenever they could, even unannounced.  Then she had a way of making people feel like the most important person ever.  Grandma was always concerned about others' well-being, making sure to bring out at least snacks and refreshments, even if you said you just ate.  It made her feel better to be taking care of others!

Grandma absolutely loved children, especially babies!  She was one of the most excited people for us each time we announced a new baby. (I was actually going to tell her about the new baby the week before she passed, but when we stopped by, they were not at home.  Since they didn't answer their phone, we waited for about 1/2 hour before decided to head for home.)  She was even more excited to meet the new baby and get to hold that "precious little bundle" as she often called newborns.

She was always quick with a compliment.  She often told me how proud she was that I stay home with my children and homeschool them.  And how great of a job she thought I was doing.  She wasn't for homeschooling per say, but she said that the proof was in the pudding, and she hadn't ever met a group of better behaved, well mannered children as mine, so she was all for me continuing to do as we always have.

She also loved to get letters from the girls!  She would hang them on her fridge until the next one arrived.  

She was active in her church, in the lives of her children and grandchildren, and also enjoyed travelling.  She always kept busy!

Grandma Marie, was a very generous, giving person, always upbeat, and she will be greatly missed.  I am so glad I had the opportunity to say good-bye to her, even if she wasn't able to respond.  I gave her a hug and whispered in her ear that Chris, the children and I loved her and would never forget her.  I thanked her for believing me and encouraging me in my life, even when others didn't agree with my choices, I thanked her for praying and being that example of unconditional love through difficult days in my childhood.  I thanked her for being someone, that I could look back on at prayers before meals during the times I was with them growing up, and her regular church attendance and see God working in her and around her and His love shining through her.  I thanked her for being the example I could look upon many times for what it means to unconditional forgive.  I thanked her for leaving that Godly legacy.  I told her that we would miss her terribly, but that it was ok to go home to Jesus.

She was a wonderful example of a helpmeet, who did all she could to help her husband in whatever adventure he was off having, whether spending winters in Arizona, going clamming on the WA coast, or starting a business with 4 young children at home, she stood by him faithfully.  They had a wonderful relationship, and Chris and I have said several times, that we would love to be an old couple like them!  And now, my prayers turn to Grandpa Keith, as he learns to cope with being single, and not having Grandma there to support him or take care of him.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Things finally looking a little better!

Brianna is feeling noticeably better!  She woke up and sat next to the bean table to play in it.  Her fever is 100.5, which is really no big deal.  She is talking with her sisters and play pretend!

Callie got all but 4 activities done yesterday, but those 4 things will be easy to make up today (unlike the 31 activities that were left from the day before!

Brianna will hopefully get most of her activities done today, but we probably won't really start to make up the activities she missed until next week.

The older 3 are really excited to be going to choir and band today, and to have piano lessons!

Now if we can get J and Seren healthy, we will be back in business (they have a cold/cough/diarrhea).

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The first positive doctor report for Brianna

Brianna went back to the doctor again today.  I was a little surprised by what she said...that Brianna's kidney infection was so bad, she was surprised she wasn't kept overnight for observation.  Apparently, her kidney function was low, we should have been monitoring how much was going in and out...

But, the cultures came back with initial reports, showing identifying what the infection is, and we now have the right antibiotic to fight it. 

The doctor said that with as much infection as she has, she expects Brianna's fever to slowly get better over the next 48 hours (from today), so she isn't concerned that Brianna is still going between 102-104.

She is still very tired, and her sides are sore where her kidneys are, still has a fever, but maybe, just maybe we are on the road to seeing her recover!

We praise God that this is not something more serious.  We are so thankful that she has been such a trooper!  Even with as sick as she has been, she is not overly whiny, or complaining.  She appreciates when I am able to sit with her and read her books, but she has really done a great job dealing with such a bad illness.

Neurodevelopmental Therapy Update

I am determined in this 4 month period, to come up with as close to a 100% as I can...to the point that I am having the girls make things up that they miss from the day(s) before!

Callie is caught up except for this week, because Brianna being sick, things just have not been done as well as they might otherwise have been.  If she can get 33 more activities  (7 of which are from yesterday - but so far today, we have made up 22 activities from yesterday, so it is a pretty good day so far!) done today, she will be totally caught up (it may or may not happen, but we will give it a try, she should be caught up by the end of tomorrow at least).

Brianna is another story.  She has been so sick this week, that she has missed about 5 days of therapy so far.  We are having her do a few things when she is up to it, but it is going to take her a long while to get all of this made it - if she is able to in this session...Prior to today, she has missed 107 activities...at the end of today, if she doesn't get anything else done (and she isn't real likely to!), she will have missed 134...there really isn't much I can do.  She is not able to do it, and right now, she needs to rest and heal.  We will worry about how and if she makes up her activities after we get her feeling better.  I am looking forward to (HOPEFULLY) getting some good answers on how to help her.

I really want to be able to say that we really did the very best that we could and are working on getting the most out of this program.  I have no doubt that Callie is seeing a great deal of benefit from it.  And from the emotional upset Brianna had in the first 2 weeks, I would say she is seeing progress from it as well - but with her being so sick for the last week, it is hard to tell!  (I also find emotional/mental maturity and common sense growth much harder to measure than the physical stuff that Callie is working on.)