Saturday, September 17, 2016

Labor Day Outing!

My kind brother in law and thoughtful sister, took several of our older children on a wonderful and memorable outing on Labor Day.

William, Carolyn and Zeke went to see Ruby Falls and Rock City.  They could not wait for Labor Day to arrive, so they could go.  William has always wanted to go to these two places.  These three young people, are our children, I can always count on to be well behaved.  They always work so hard around here on our farm.  They always are so helpful with all the other children.  I am so blessed to be able to call them our children and have them in our life.  It was a wonderful day away for them, to go and do something fun and be spoiled, for the hard work and effort they exhibit daily.

First, they went to Ruby Falls.  It is a water fall, in a cave, under Lookout Mountain.  There is a huge rock castle as the entrance to the tour.  This picture was taken from the top of the castle.

There is a room full of pictures and information about the explorer, who found Ruby Falls and all the history on it. 

There is a huge cave network under that mountain.

You have to take an elevator 260 feet down, to take the tour.  I guess the elevator screen was interesting to William, as he was the main photographer, for this trip and it was in the pictures I down loaded.

They saw all kinds of cave formations.   It was very fun and educational.

I guess there are no potty's down there.  (Another random photo that showed up when I down loaded them all)

The highlight of the tour is of course Ruby Falls.  It is stunning.  It is a beautiful water fall 145 feet high and 1120 feet under the earth surface.  No picture can actually do it justice.  It is really beautiful.
 The kids really enjoyed the whole experience.

They took a break for lunch and then headed to Rock City. 
Rock City is an amazing place where God carved out beautiful caverns, structures, formations and walkways.
  There is a lot of walking but the children really enjoyed it all.

I believe there is 4,100 feet of walking trails through these beautiful structures and gardens. 

If you have spent much time in the deep south, you have seen a barn or two with the famous "See Rock City" words painted on its side or roof.   Here is the neat history of this practice, that has gone on for many decades. There are even coffee table books made, that have collections of pictures of old barns, with the sayings painted on them.  There are also many people who have bird houses in their yards, with that saying painted on them, all over the south.

I love the above and below pictures of the kids.  These three are very close and always goofing around together.  





Taking a break to have their picture taken.

The view from the top of Lookout Mountain is spectacular.


You can see seven states from up there!

The children have talked a lot about their trip and what they did.  It really made a very happy memory for them to be able to go and see these two sights.  Thank you so much Uncle "B" and Aunt "S" ,for taking the time to plan such a wonderful outing and giving the kids such a special day away.

Psalm 95:2-3  Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.  For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.



Blessings,

susan


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Slow and Mellow

A farm close to our home.
It seems as if we have turned a corner in life, in some way...or entered another season of life.  For some reason, even though we are busy and have started back to schooling and doctors appointments, things still seem slower and more mellow, than they have been for the last several years.  I think things seem slower and a little easier because the four youngest have grown so much and are not as needy as when they were all so young.  They were brought here by God in a short amount of time and came here back to back.  Right now we have... a one year old, two year old, three year old and four year old...as our four youngest!  

I started home schooling Billy a few weeks ago but Timothy and Kinsley wanted to participate in so many of the things we do, I decided to just include them in what I can as well.  They are all enjoying it so much.

The weather here has cooled a little bit and we are finally getting some regular rain showers, so the grass is growing again. 
One of our goats born this spring.  Panda.  She is growing so fast.

Summer is very hot here in Georgia. 
Some of our children do not handle the heat well at all.  We don't do a lot of outside activities, unless it is fall or spring, when the weather is cooler. 
I tried to take the children to our local playground for a morning outing and then have a picnic afterward.
They had a great time and we toughed it out but it was really still to hot. 
We will try again in a few weeks.  Maybe try to go to our local lake.

We were out traveling to an appointment recently and passed a well known doughnut shop with the "Hot and Fresh" made sign, lit up.  We don't eat donuts very often but my children said they never had one fresh like that and had heard how wonderful they are.  We don't have this place in our town, so we turned around and got them each one for a treat.
Happy, sticky kids!  Zeke, with autism,  hardly ever smiles unless we ask him to.  His face is usually very flacid.  That is what he looks like most of the time.  You can't see Timothy, as he sits next to Zeke, the baby next to Elizabeth and Kinsley next to William.  :)
Kinsley ate the frosting off hers and gave it back.  I have never been able to get her to eat much made of wheat or sweets.  She will only eat veggies, fruits and meats plain. I guess because she has grown up eating off my plate.

This is what happens when one of your children take your cell phone when you are driving somewhere.  These pictures I found when I did a down load.

 God is so very good to us always. 
Life is hard every day, with so many children, with so many different needs... but it is also so rich and good.  I see Gods hand in just everything, every day.  I am forever grateful for all He has done for me.  I am content.  All the glory to God!

Psalm 37:39-40  But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.  And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.



Blessings,

susan  


Saturday, August 13, 2016

The End Of Summer

A beautiful rainbow over a farm close to us.
We have had a great summer.  It was much less busy than normal because of Elizabeth's back surgery.  I wanted to keep things low key and us at home as much as possible, so I cleared the schedule as much as I could.  It was wonderful.  I was glad I did, as I kept up with the extra produce, from the garden, so much easier this year.  We had many melons, cucumbers, green beans, peppers, black berries, pears, cherries and a over abundance of squash and tomatoes.  I made lots of squash soup and pickled squash.  I also made lots of tomato soup, home made ketchup and chili sauce.  Everything is pretty much done now except we are still getting a lot of tomatoes and the grapes are about to be ready.  We also have one Asian pear tree that is not quite ripe yet.  The figs are ripe right now and I have made one batch of fig preserves and made some oatmeal fig bars for the children as well.

I can tell fall is in the air.  The nights are getting cooler than they were and when I get up early in the morning, to go out to milk the goats, the air smells and feels like fall.  I am preparing to breed two goats, to kid this winter for milk. 

Stephen just bought his first home!  It is a beautiful condo just minutes from his place of employment.  It is also walking distance from an urgent care and some stores.  It has very nice amenities, like a pool and is a gated community.  It seems like a nice neighborhood. I am so happy for him.

Antonio has had a few issues this summer.  He started hallucinating about six weeks ago.  He would talk to people who were not there and think he was somewhere he was not.  I was thinking maybe it was the progression of his condition, as nothing else had changed.  I took him to the doctors and they said a bladder infection could cause these symptoms.  So we tested and much to my surprise, he did have one.  He stopped hallucinating three days into the treatment but started again about two days after the medication was completed.  So I took him back to the doctors and we got a stronger antibiotic for him.  He has only been on it a day.  I pray it helps.  He also still keeps having relapses from the botox reaction that he had last July.  He does good for three or four weeks and then has a relapse where he doesn't smile or talk and has trouble moving again for a week or so.
Over all, he is doing well with no major issues going on.  Just my sweet, young man, son.  :)

William has completed three parts to his GED.  He has been going to our local college and working one on one with a tutor, for over a year now, under the disabilities ACT.  He has prepared for, taken and passed three sections of the GED and is now almost ready to take the last portion.  The hardest for him...math.  Once he passes this last section, he will have his GED!  We have been talking a lot about what direction to go from here, as far as his education is concerned.  He would really like to get a job and be self-sefficent some day.
It has been difficult, with his autism and learning disabilities to do any main stream learning for him.  Also, his health has not been the most stable since he was 16.  Tim and I have taken him to many specialist, over the last many years and so far, the professionals pretty much agree,  that his symptoms are from some sort of auto immune disease.  We have been praying fervently for years for his healing and for answers about his health.  All auto immune disease is inflammation related and diet/sensitivities to foods and lack of certain dietary nutrients, vitamins and minerals are usually the cause of debilitating symptoms.  About a month ago I told him I was taking over his diet.  He was not happy but very complaint as he always is for me. He has been eating pure food 95 percent of the time for the last month and has lost 15 pounds.  We were not doing this for weight loss but he did need to lose some.  He also has had only a few head aches which used to be an almost daily ailment.  He also is not having the debilitating crashes of energy and terrible fatigue that he was having.  He has had a few "crashes" but they have been mild and have not taken him days to recover from.  He is eating a whole food diet and taking many supplements.  It has been good to see him feeling better every day.  God is so good.

Carolyn has been such a big help this summer, as she always is.  We have spent a lot of time together taking care of the small children and cooking down produce in the kitchen.
She has been saving her money and bought a baby guinea pig a week ago.  It was 21 days old when she got it.  To cute.  She named it Edward.

Zeke had a relaxing, fun, summer and is back to school.
He is in the high school program for autistic children this year and is having a really good time.  He has PE every day which he loves.  He will be going into two main stream classes, with a para pro and the rest of his education will be in his closed classroom.  He will be learning life skills, taking educational outings into the community and doing job training at different local places of business, in rotation this year.  That is the biggest reason why we put him in public school last  year.  So that he would be in this job program this year.  If he stays in this program through out his high school career, they will be doing job training for these four years and help him get a job when he graduates.  I could never give him this kind of opportunity schooling him at home.

Elizabeth is doing well from her surgery.  It was a very necessary surgery and hard to go though but well worth it.  She is so much straighter and taller.
These pictures were taken at therapy to compare to the before surgery photos.
She has a lot more confidence since the surgery. She was becoming very self conscience about how her back looked.
The biggest plus, is that she is no longer having the shortness of breath, heart palpitations and blue/dizzy spells she was having before the surgery.  So these symptoms were positional, from the weight of her crooked spine, pressing on her enlarged heart and lungs.  She is feeling well.  She is in PT to work on stretching some very tight areas, that were crooked for so many years and to get strong again.  She is still a bit unsteady when she walks or turns but is doing better all the time.  She is also back to ballet and just doing what she can tolerate right now.  That in itself is wonderful therapy and very motivating and strengthening.  I never knew how much strength it took to do ballet, till my girls were in it.  It takes a lot of core strength and very strong muscles.

I took the girls to the Gem and Mineral show, that is in a town close by, once a year.  Elizabeth used some of her own money and picked out a ring setting and a gem and they built her a ring.
It turned out very pretty.

Billy is in gymnastics and dance this year.
He is really enjoying it.
I love this picture.  He sat down to have his picture taken with the dance studio mascot and when she leaned in to have her picture taken with him, her ear fell over his head.  He got an ear in the face.  :) His expression is so funny.
He falls asleep as soon as we get home every night he goes.
He made a necklace at dance camp.
That is so good for him!  As he is my over active little guy.  I am also doing some light home schooling with him right now.  He is so smart and is just loving it.

Timmy and Kinsley are taking tumbling class for two and three year olds.
They are having a ball together in there.
It is so good for them both.  At the end of class, they do a little pom pom routine that the kids love.
Especially Timmy, with his autism.

Timothy would just shake those sparkly poms in the air in front of his eyes self stemming for hours, if they would let him!
Oh the joy a sparkly bunch of plastic strings bring!

Kinsley has hypoplasia of the corpus callosum.  With that diagnosis, comes a whole lot of medical conditions, that she will need to be closely monitored for, for the rest of her life, as at anytime several body systems could fail.  She has to have blood work done every six months.  The last testing showed she was in adrenal failure.  So she had to go and have a cortisole test done "in patient" at the children's hospital.
She did not like it that they wrapped her hand in a diaper to cover her IV port.
The test came back that she is not in total failure but needs to be watched closely in that area.  So the doctors will be keeping a closer eye on her cortisole levels at each testing now.  We are very familiar with this condition, as Tim has Addisons disease.
She is loving the tumbling class and pom poms.  At this place, they do not have a dance class for her age group.  She really wants to dance.
She stands at the two way mirror and watches Billy in his dance class and copies all the movements he is making. :)  Maybe next year I will find a dance class for her.

Many people have asked about our youngest.  There will be a post coming soon.  :)

We are very excited and rejuvenated going into fall this year.  I am ready to start fall cleaning and sorting things down.  Home schooling has begun and we are slowly getting back into a good routine.  Even with the harsh world events going on all around us, God is so faithful and good to us, always.

May God be with you now and always.  May He direct you in the way He wishes for your lives, as you live and grow in Him.

Psalms 2:11-12  Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.  Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Blessings,

susan