Monday, March 31, 2014

A Much Needed Day Out with My Dad

Life has been beyond busy.  God has been beyond faithful.  In the last month we have had many adjustments for us all.  Many changes.  Many sacrifices from not only Tim and I but from the children.

The two new foster toddlers have been with us over a month now.  My children have learned so much from them being here in just that short amount of time.  They have seen...  Seen what deep neglect does to a child.  They saw it before when we did foster care.  But now it is all real and fresh again.  My children are all older now and understand so much more.  It is changing them all for the better.  They see the intense behaviors and issues with these toddlers.  Several of my children have come to me and said..."I am not going to ever do drugs mom and do this to my children"  OR "Mom, I am going too love and teach my children as they are growing so they will not do these things"  This experience is helping them see the way they want to parent.  They are seeing how some bad decisions effect not only you but all those around you, especially your children.  They have said they want to raise their children in love, guidance and discipline from birth.   This experience has at times filled them with compassion to see these two little ones struggle so much.  It has also been trying for all of us to listen to constant screaming and see the daily violent tantrums.  To see children so small hit, scratch and hurt themselves when upset.  We have all suffered more than one headache from it all.  One night, Carolyn jokingly came to me and asked to sleep out in the van for the night to escape the noise.  My children also know that every bit of what we are doing for these babies is for God.  God is so worth it.  His plan is so worth it.  These children...are so worth it.  To give their mom a break, the opportunity to work on herself, is so worth it.

We have all seen the hand of God on them and working in them since they have come. 
They are no longer doing so many of these bad behaviors, doing them less frequently or with less intensity.  What a joy to see them hug each other and us in happiness.  Or to watch them learning and growing so fast.  When the little one falls down, now the older one says are you ok?  What a difference, what a change. 

They don't know what to make of us praying at the table before meals.  The 2 1/2 year old thinks we are all pretending to sleep.  So cute and innocent.  The good days are more frequent than the hard days now.  I can see them wanting to please us and that they love us as we love them and want the best for them.  This is the reward.  This is the joy.  Just to know we are making some small difference for God in the world.  Making a difference for these two little boys.

I have been with these two little ones non-stop with out a break for over a month now.  The requirements put forth by the state are so intense and expensive for anyone to be a sitter... that there is no one to ever baby sit them for me, except for another certified foster parent.  So... my wonderful husband.  My precious, gracious, loving husband...gave me a wonderful gift yesterday.  The gift to run away with my dad for the whole day and go antiquing. 
My dad and I have done this at least once or twice a month for years.  But because I have the new toddlers, I have not been able to go anywhere alone without them.  I need to keep things low key and as uneventful as possible.  Only the necessary appointments we must go to and no company at all.  They have had a huge upheaval in their lives and are on a huge learning curve right now.  We need them to bond with us and know us and what life is like here well before we add things in.  They need routine and stability as much as possible.  My husband said he would let me go away with my dad alone, once a month for a break.  Boy, I love that man.  Thank you God!

Also, every Sunday for the last 14 years or so I have been the Sunday Chaplain at our local hospital.  I go in first thing in the morning and do my rounds to see every patient that is in the whole hospital.  It usually takes several hours depending on the patient load.  I offer prayer or just visit a bit with every one.  My sister has been making crocheted hearts to hand out to every patient all these years as well.  Tim has said he would continue to care for all the children on Sunday mornings as well so I can continue with that ministry.  Thank you God and thank you Tim!

I am blessed, blessed, blessed above and beyond what I deserve.  I am grateful for my God and His great care of my life.

Oh!  I almost forgot.  We have one more new four legged kid!  If you want to read about him here!  He will not be here long but sure is cute!

May God lead and guide you in all you do for Him all the days of your life!

Titus 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

So Many Appointments! A Bad Cold Rolls Thru!

I wish I had a great post all ready to post today.  I wish I had taken at least a few pictures of the kids this week to share.  Sigh.  God is so good to keep us going, moving and getting things done but I admit, I have had little time for anything else this last week and a half.  Last week and this week so far, has been a whirlwind of appointments,blowing little noses and rocking toddlers.  Normally, we have a lot of appointments, just because we have so many children with so many diagnosis.  But throw in two new foster placements and we have had a lot of extra running to doctors and specialists.  Hopefully once the initial appointments are done, things will calm down to our normalish routine.

When a child comes into care they have to have a physical within a day or so.  Then, if they are very young they need to be evaluated for PT, OT and speech because often they have not developed on par.  Often they have been left in car seats with bottles propped and not allowed down to play to develop normal skills.  So these evaluations are important to get them therapy of they need it, quickly before issues arise from the neglect.  Then, there are the appointments that need to be made for anything else the doctors are concerned about.  (In this case the children's hearing is in question.)  So, needless to say I have been on the go almost daily since they have arrived.  They have been here for one month now.  Wow, that went by quickly!  I have literally felt God help me daily.  Thank you God.

Here is our last week and a half...On last Monday we had to go to town to get Carolyn's leg brace adjusted as it was causing a sore spot on her leg.  After that we had an appointment for Elizabeth's dog, at the vet, as it is very old and not doing well.  Twice a day antibiotics for the dog and surgery for it in two weeks.  Sigh.

On Tuesday we had Antonio's Massage Therapist come and Ballet for Carolyn and Elizabeth. (Antonio's teacher canceled for the morning) I was grateful as the youngest foster toddler came down with a bad cold and was very clingy for the day.

On Wednesday we had therapy day when I take all the children to get their PT, OT and Speech for the week. (still had a clingy little one)

On Thursday was our much awaited heart appointment for Elizabeth.  Her EKG and echo showed we could go another six months without a heart cath or surgery so Glory to God for that!  We know that she will need those things done soon,  The doctor thought that she would need it done this spring but praise God!, nothing got any worse in the last six months!  I can not tell you how grateful we are about this.  The longer she goes before her next open heart surgery the better.  (Now, Elizabeth has the cold as well.)

On Friday we had Antonio's long awaited toe surgery!  He was actually very excited about it, to finally know this surgery should fix the ongoing wound on his big toe.  We have been dealing with this toe for several years.  It went really well and he is doing great! (Now. Three of the children have the cold, sigh)

Saturday we rested up.  Praise God for the Sabbath!   Sunday, was Tim's birthday and it was busy.  We went out to eat as a family and met Tim's parent's and Stephen at a local restaurant.  During that meal we got a call to take a three month old baby that needed placement from another foster home as the foster mom had to go to the ER.  It was supposed to be just for a day or so.  So we said yes.  I learned a lot while she was here.  First and foremost, the two little ones we have now can not handle sharing me right now.  The youngest toddler boy sobbed on the couch like I broke his heart, crying for me, every time I had to feed or hold the baby.  As a matter of fact he cried or clung to me almost the whole time the new baby was at our home.  We got a call from the baby's foster mom after 4 hours saying she was home from the hospital could she come get her baby, she missed her so much.  Praise the Lord, YES!  I about fell on my knees in gratitude to God for such a short placement.  The baby was so good.  But our little guys could not handle it.  So no more extra children now at all.  The toddlers need me totally to themselves right now.  Which is good and well.  I don't know what I was thinking!  Lesson learned.

Monday, of this week,  was supposed to be a day to stay at home clean house a bit and be in routine but hit the ground running by having the two and a half year old become sick.  He got much worse after supper and ended up in the ER late in the night with Strep and an ear infection.(Now, I have the children's cold as well.)

Tuesday, of this week, we had Antonio's teacher come for the  morning, his massage therapist  in the afternoon and Ballet in the evening for the girls.  (The only ones not sick now are Carolyn, Tim and William)

And now today, Wednesday, I am finally starting to feel better and so are the children.  Tim was off, Glory to God!!! And he helped me take the two foster toddlers to the therapy place for Speech and PT evaluations.   They both scored very low in speech and will be needing Speech therapy. 

I am so grateful to God for helping me thru this very busy time, while being sick and having a few sick children.  It was not easy but God has also given me encouragement and hope in this time...for the first time... this week I am seeing things shift in our family.  Elizabeth has been as good as gold for the last week or so.  YIPPEE and PRAISE THE LORD!!!  The two and a half year old foster toddler is not tantruming anymore and obeying very well!  He is learning new words every day, is learning to help dress himself and is eating much better.  The little one and a half year old is tantruming less, screaming less, and does not need to be in my lap every five minutes to feel ok.  I can leave the room into the adjacent school room with out him melting down because he can see me right there.  (believe me this is great progress)  But if I get out of his sight he melts down.  So, he is improving as well.  Tim and I are now sleeping thru the night with out interruptions at all from the toddlers.  So more sleep for both of us equals a much better functioning daddy and mommy.  God has helped us to keep up the home schooling and house work with us all working together and doing our part thru it all.  God is so good always!

Psalm 33:4-6  For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth.  He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.  By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.



Sunday, March 23, 2014

Happy Birthday Tim!!!!

Today is the most wonderful man in the worlds birthday! 

I rejoice in the day he was born!  I am grateful for the Christian upbringing he had.  For the intense love of the Lord that he has and strong core family values.  He does Bible study with the children every Saturday and makes time to spend time with the children.

I have always been so impressed in the non-shakable even temperament, love and kindness he shows to all he knows.  For the gentle ways he can get the children to comply. 
I even find myself being led and moved into a more Godly position in my ways by his words and example.
He has never yelled at me or raised his voice at me in all the days of our marriage.  He always handles me with the utmost gentleness and care that makes me know he cherishes me to his core and makes me want to serve him in all I do in life. 

To please and serve God as my Lord and Savior... and Tim as my husband, set over me but yet part of me...  is exactly where I want to be in my life.  I am content, happy and fulfilled in all I do.  I give all the glory to God. 

Words can not express my appreciation and love for this man.  May Gods blessings, health and peace always be upon you!

I love you Tim!  Happy Birthday from me and your quiver full of children!

Proverbs 8:17   I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. 

Your wife,

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ripples in Elizabeth's Pond of Life

To say us going back into foster care has been an adjustment, would be a huge understatement.  It has been so much harder than I though it could be, yet so much more rewarding too.   I can see and feel God helping me thru it all and I am relying on His total strength to help me get thru each day. We had originally told DFCS one child at a time and we ended up with us getting two very young brothers as our second placement.  Talk about change.  It has been a HUGE change and adjustment in our lives.  Not bad, just new and different.  A new normal with nap times, snugly bedtimes, bottles and toys strewn all over the house.  I am getting some great muscles in my legs from hiking myself over all the baby gates.  :)  Like doing high hurtles all day when I want to go anywhere.

The new toddlers had their first hearing and will be here at least till the second hearing in 72 days.  They are now sleeping thru the night, on most nights and finally eating solid foods better.  They are learning to play with toys and not throw them or hurt others with them.  They are learning to talk and are sweet little boys deep inside.  They have just never been nurtured or worked with in so many areas that most people with consider normal or that would just be a natural way to raise a child.  We are having them evaluated for speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy.  We have had one evaluation done already and the 1 1/2 year old does need to have speech therapy, as when he came he only had three words.  But just thru normal life he has picked up many more now already.  They are both learning in leaps and bounds, Glory to God.  So over all the babies are doing much better.  They are getting into a routine and seem to be more at home.  They are beginning to really trust us, look toward us and rely on us. 

Tim and I are doing well with it all by the grace of God.  I have had some very hard days with their behaviors and our sleep gets disrupted and that really effects Tim, as he gets up so early in the mornings.  God has really helped me have strength when I needed it and I am grateful for His daily help.  But even with all the ups and downs in their care, it is all worth while knowing we are doing this for the Lord and to see these little ones smiling, learning and progressing, thank you God.

Our children here at home are also being wonderful and helpful.  They love on these two new little blessings.  These little brothers love all the kids and enjoy being read to, being taken out on our playground, being walked around the farm to look at all the animals, being played with and just sitting on the sofa by us when we watch an occasional movie.  It really has been a wonderful experience to see what they were like when they came here and see God working in them and how they are now.   But we have had one HUGE thing in doing this, that I never counted on and didn't see coming.  None of us did...and that was Elizabeth.  As many of you know she struggles with her behavior. (RAD)  I am not talking about normal childhood behaviors.  I am referring to her self-control and behavior that she struggles with daily.  She has done so well over the last few years.  Making slow and steady progress forward with less tantrums, less self harming and less out bursts.  She has matured a lot and has bad days and moments, but not like it used to be.  It used to be a daily, all day long struggle, for her not to spiral out of control many times in a day.

Elizabeth has been wonderful and loving with these two new foster children.  She sits and reads to them and plays with them all the time.  She is gentle loving and kind to them.  Showering them with love and sweetness. 
Elizabeth hurried to take the 2 1/2 year old out one morning to slide when he wanted to.  She was so eager to please him and take him out that she never changed from P.J's to clothing.

But some how these children coming have shaken her.  Like throwing a small stone into a pond sends out huge, out reaching, ripples, these children coming here have given us the most trying weeks with Elizabeth we have had in a very long time.  Put on top of that our own adjustments to lack of sleep, helping these toddlers with their behaviors and issues, normal toddler care for two we are not used to yet and our normal demands of life... and I can tell you that I have fallen into bed many nights praying with all my might for help from the Lord.  I just did not have one more ounce of strength or energy for anything else but sleep.

I don't know if these two little boys have stirred up memories of us doing foster care(of children coming and going), unearthed some deep seated insecurity she can not seem to talk about or remember or memories of her struggles in life when she was as young as they are... but she has really struggled with just doing her normal school work with out many outbursts.  She is struggling with obedience and the few chores that she has.  She has broken three Invisalign retainers on purpose and with out remorse in anger.  Sigh.  Elizabeth's dog is also not feeling well so I know that is stressing Elizabeth as well.  What ever is rocking her world is rocking ours as well.  Working with Elizabeth in all of these areas can be very emotionally draining without a break.

Praise be to God, the last 48 hours has been much better.  She seems to be finding her footing and getting a hold of herself better.  We have done a lot of giving grace, loving, punishing, taking things away, hugging, reinforcing, talking, praying, crying and just throwing our arms up in frustration over the last few weeks just because we have not had to deal with this type of intensity from her in a long time.  I am grateful for the last two days of peace.  It has made the rest of my life fall into place once again and things are much easier to handle. God is so merciful. 

I share this because I always wish to stay open and honest in what we do.  Sharing the good and the bad.  The struggles and the victories.  Sharing where we are and some of what we go thru, so people, if they are going thru similar struggles, might not feel so alone, so people might be encouraged when they see what the Lord does for us daily and so people may pray for us.  Also, if someone is contemplating adopting a child with a similar diagnosis, they can see how it really is.  Many of these issues our children deal/live with are ongoing and rear their ugly heads at the most inopportune times.  Like shunt surgeries, hospital stays or behaviors that we thought we had left behind.  God is so good always.  He helps us thru it all.

Deuteronomy 31:6  Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.



Sunday, March 16, 2014

Our Vinyl Floors

Years ago as we started adding on to our home, we carefully saved money and did things as we could afford it.  When it came time to put down flooring in the whole addition, we looked and looked for something that I could easily put down myself, was waterproof (think farm, many children and many house dogs!)  and durable.  What we settled on was a very popular, name brand, vinyl plank flooring found at all box home improvement stores.  A very well know brand indeed.  It was very easy to install and needed no underlayment and it was a floating floor.  It looked great and truly was all it said to be.   We liked it so much we put it down in the whole addition and all but three rooms of the trailer side of our home as well.  Here is Zeke playing on these newly laid floors when he was little.

These floors were however supposed to hold up for 15 years but did not.  Now, I know they were not counting on a family as large as ours living on it daily in our home schooling, farm type life.  But none the less the top layer quickly wore thru in a few years and we were left with ugly. 

Now these floors are still functional for our family so I was not very upset about it all.  They just looked bad and I didn't have time to really give much thought to it in our busy life.

Life finally slowed down enough two months ago for me to see my kitchen needed some love.  So I refinished the cabinets and put new hardware on them.  I was starting to think about what to do with the flooring and was trying to find a glue that would stick to this type of vinyl so I could over lay something inexpensive on it but not pull up all that existing vinyl flooring.   Yes, I was feeling a bit lazy there. I was researching this topic, I stumbled upon a forum where many people have been made very sick by having this particular flooring in their home.  All of them ended up having to rip it out of their homes in order to try to get better.  I did not know this but vinyl off gasses always and breaks down always because it is  made from petroleum.  That is why not many glues will stick to it.  But what was even worse was that this particular company makes their vinyl plank flooring from RECYCLED VINYL FROM CHINA!!!  I started thinking...We have this flooring in our school room.  EVERY hamster we have ever had housed on any lower shelf has died with in months.  It was a huge mystery to us...They were all different types of cages and different types of hamsters, all year round.  We also lost a young parakeet that was housed lower than normal so Antonio could watch it.  We never figured it out so just stopped putting pets down low in there.  Then I started thinking about my family.  I never had these terrible auto immune issues before we put in this flooring, and William, who has struggled for several years with a mystry illness (auto immune) never had this before we put down this flooring. 

I know I have no proof other than a gut feeling.  I know this might sound over the top.  But I am going to start ripping up our vinyl plank flooring and do something else with our floors.  If not for possible health issues with whats currently on them, they also would look much better with something else down anyways.  We have very little extra money to do this (who does now days?) but I feel we need to do this, the sooner the better.  We have saved some money back to tile Antonio a handicap bathroom that would make his care so much easier.  So all extra funds have been going there right now till that project is finished in late April.  But Tim and I agree we are going to do some safer, cheap, flooring to get us by till we can afford to do something better, some day down the road.

I know this is going to be a time consuming project and with two toddlers in our home now and all my other daily responsibilities, I know it is going to take God helping me every day in every way...Just as He faithfully does already.

Joshua 1:9  Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.





Thursday, March 13, 2014

AFO, Leg Braces and Inserts

Years ago, when we took in our first child with special needs,  we learned from a specialist that she had Cerebral Palsy.  Even though she could not walk and did little weight baring she would need to have her legs and feet put into braces to ensure they did not deform as she grew.  To keep her feet and legs in proper alignment.  To keep her ligaments stretched and to keep them from tightening more. 

An order was written for them from her pediatrician and a report as to technically why she needed them by her physical therapist, for insurance purposes.  We were then sent to a specialist to have her feet and legs cast to make her a perfect fitting pair of AFO's. (Ankle-Foot Orthotic). 

Thru the years we have had many children that have needed them.  Zeke has floppy tone Cerebral Palsy and he needed the full leg and ankle hinged AFO's for many years till he  built  up the strength in his legs to have them cut lower and lower.  Eventually, he just needed the SMO's (Supra-Malleolar Orthosis)  Then down even more to just what was refereed to as a paddy bob.  Basically an insert to throw his feet into balance because they caved in as he walked.  He now no longer needs any at all!

Over the years we have had many foster children require them.  Zeke needed them, Elizabeth still needs the sole inserts, Carolyn will need some kind of full support for her whole life  and Antonio will need AFO's his whole life.

Part of having any child is advocating for their needs.  Most times, it is a constant part of life when you have a child with any special needs.  Finding a good specialist that works with you is often difficult.  After many years of having a wonderful Ortho guy to handle all my children's leg braces and hand splints he is gone.  (with out going into details he was put in jail for a long time!)   What a way to loose a specialist!  So the hunt was on.  All of the Ortho people in our area were clambering for this mans customer base.  The first people I was referred to and I tried made these for Elizabeth and Carolyn:


I have seen and used A LOT of these type braces and these were the worst ones we have ever had.  Most of the time they ask what print our children might want on them and although that does not add to function it sure makes them much more willing to wear them all their waking hours.  But these, if you look at them closely, had sharp ruff edges all over them, were of a very hard heavy non-giving plastic.  They did not fit well to their foot and were so big and bulky I had to buy a huge shoe for them to fit into for Elizabeth.  I might have been able to do a better job with a pair of scissors, a plastic milk jug and a heat gun!  No seriously, I had to find another company.  But, insurance would not pay for another pair we had to wait.  Our physical therapist was very displeased with them as well and the company made another pair but they were not much better.  So we waited the allotted time and was referred to company number two in our area.  This is what they made.  We decided Carolyn needed to go back into a taller AFO so hers are taller this go around.


The new company used a much softer plastic and rounded and polished the edges so they are not sharp and cutting into tender feet.

We are all much happier with this new company and will be using them from now on.  :)

1 Peter 1:8-9  Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:  Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.




Sunday, March 9, 2014

Re-entry Into Foster Care

Our first daffodils of the season. Spring is in the air!

There is so much I have forgotten about doing foster care since we retired from it all five years ago.  I guess, as it is with many things in life, we forget the bad and remember only the good parts of it all.

In all honesty my whole family is totally enjoying the good parts of foster care this go around.  I could just sit and watch these two sweet toddlers play all day long.  They are so cute and are like little sponges that want to learn.  I enjoy reading books to the two year old so much and rocking the one year old to sleep at each nap and bed time is just delicious to me. I try to rock the one year old to sleep an hour before the two year old at night so I have an hour or so with the two year old, rocking him to sleep as well.  He wants to be held so badly and cuddled too because he is still a baby himself really.

When we got them we picked them up from DFCS and they had both  just been released from the hospital.  I can not go into the details of the case but I took them to the pediatrician on Friday (9 days after they came here) and was told I could now stop sponge baths and actually let them have tub baths!  Yippee!  They had such a great time in the tub.  I was just as wet as they were once we were thru.  They never stopped giggling and splashing the whole time.

When DFCS picked them up from the hospital they had nothing on but hospital gowns.  DFCS put them into Pajamas for us but we had to stop on our way to pick them up and get car seats, diapers and clothing for them both.    The next day I took them to the store to buy them shoes.  The two year old loves his shoes.  For the first week he cried when I took them off at night and I had to tell him over and over he can wear them again tomorrow when he got up.

My children love these sweet ones so much and are so genuinely helpful with them because they want to spend time with them.  Elizabeth reads to them and plays with them when she could be doing other things.  Carolyn has played "ring around the rosies" so many times and is so patient with them both.  They both are very drawn to William for some reason and both fell asleep on him the other evening while he was watching them while I made dinner.  Even Zeke, who is very reserved and does not like change of any kind has made a small bond with each of them.  Zeke literally hid the first few days.  He would look at them from another room but would not go near them.  He was not bad about it or mean, just unsure of how to act around them.  He slowly has warmed up to them and I have seen him give hugs to them and sit and play a little bit with them.  I was very surprised  yesterday as he and the two year old were watching Curious George together.   The two year old had snuggled up next to Zeke and Zeke didn't mind.  Then the two year old put his hands up wanting up on Zeke's lap and Zeke moved him from beside him onto his lap.  I looked in later and the two year old was fast asleep on Zeke's lap.  It warmed my heart.  Antonio loves to watch them play and they hand him toys and he hands them back after a while.

Of course I am enjoying them a lot.  Even with the broken sleep, dirty diapers, extra work and all that goes with toddler care.  I feel God helping me each and every moment of every day and have enjoyed it all and had enough energy to keep up with it all.  Tim loves babies and toddlers.  Both toddlers light up when they see him when he comes home from work.  He plays with them and with all our children.   He has always been the fun one.  He also loves to hold them when they are sleepy and falls asleep with them on his lap in the recliner.

So over all we are really enjoying these two precious little ones God brought into our family.

What I had forgotten was the DFCS side of it all.  The bio family side of it all.  How each time DFCS calls to give me an update on the case my jaw drops and I just shake my head from hearing what goes on in the world that I never think about anymore.  The crimes against children, mistreatment and neglect and how hard it is to not dwell on it all.  I don't want to have any type of animosity in my heart toward the parents involved in any of our cases.  I want to fully pray for them with the love of the Lord, deep concern, a heart that is soft toward them and their situation and need of salvation.  The more I hear, the more I have to let it go and stay in prayer about it all.  One particular fact that I learned the other day I just could not shake.  I had to speak about it with someone and process it all, so I could let it go.  I had to call Tim at work, poor guy, and just vent for a moment in order to let it go.  It was just so terrible.

I praise God, Praise God, Praise God, that I was born into the family I was born into.  That I was raised the way I was raised.  That I knew love from the moment I was born and cherished as a life that was created by God and here for a purpose.  If any of us were born into these hard situations it would be a very ruff road and any of us could be in the shoes of these parents.  It could have been me.

Ephesians 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:






Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Zeke's Chore Chart

Zeke is such a wonderful son.  He always works so hard and does his best even though he struggles with autism.  He was having trouble remembering all the things he needed to get done every day.  We tried many ways to keep him on track or make sure he did everything that he needed to do and all were epic failures.  My children's allowances are based on them getting their chores done daily, the quality of work they do and their behavior. 

He tried so hard to do all he needed to do but would forget many things regularly and not get his allowance or full allowance often.  So we talked about ways to help him and nothing seemed to work. 

Finally, I decided we  needed to come up with something that ensured success.  He tries so hard.  I wanted to find something that would work.  I did some reseach and spoke with his Occupational therapist.  This is what we came up with.

I wrote a list down in order of his daily schedule and all that was required of him.  His therapist came up with pictures for most of those things.  I went to the store and bought a piece of poster board, some clear packing tape and velcro.  I used the clear packing tape to cheaply laminate the pictures so they would be more durable.  Then put velcro on the back. 

This is how it works.  As he does each thing through out the day he moves over the picture from the left side column, to the right.  At the end of the day I check and make sure he did everything.  Making sure that all his pictures are in the right column.  If they are, he gets a sticker to put on the calendar for the day (we then move everything back for the next day).  At the end of the month if he has stickers on all the days he gets his full allowance.

This system is working amazingly well for him.  He is very honest and only moves things over if done and has not missed a month getting his allowance yet! 

Thank you God for helping us come up with something that works for him!

On the home front all is going very well.  Thank you to all that are praying for us.  I can really feel the help from the Lord in my energy and how things are getting into a better routine.    The two little foster brothers are doing better every day.

The one year old is very cuddly.  He needs to be held a lot, rocked for comfort and to help him fall asleep.  He has a small temper we are gently working on taming.   :)  

The two year old is learning to trust us and learning that toys are to play with and not throw and hit things and people with.  He is very sweet and learns fast and wants to please us.  He really is still a baby himself and is cuddled up on my lap at every opportunity that the one year old is not. 

They both are quite clingy but that is very understandable.  They are becoming bonded to us and replacing bad behavior with good daily.  They are both almost sleeping thru the night now.  That helps tremendously!  We are also trying to teach them to eat food and drink less milk.  We are enjoying them immensely and praying for their mom and case to go well for them.  God is so good.

As you might have guessed I have gotten nothing done around the house.  No new projects and only maintenance type upkeep.  But I am enjoying the time rocking the boys and helping them adjust.  Oh wait...I did make this small TV stand for our TV in our room so the DVD player could go under it last week.  But that was just a small project.  We don't have piped in TV but do watch a movie once or twice a week.  I could not find a stand for the DVD to go under the TV so this works great.  Just a piece of scrap 2x10 and two pieces of scrap 2x4 cut for the legs.  The stain I already had around the house and I did put felt feet on it.   Turned out pretty good.

I did venture out on Tuesday and take all the kids to home school bowling day!  It was fun and the two new little ones did very well.

Also, Carolyn finished the hat that Antonio wanted her to knit on her knitting loom.  So here they are in the hats she made for them both!

We are very busy but blessed beyond measure.  God is so good, always!  May He be with you now and always.

1 Corinthians 15:58  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.



Saturday, March 1, 2014

Never a Normal Week

Our week started off pretty normal.  Elizabeth had a dentists appointment Monday but I spent the first part of the week finishing my Kitchen cabinets.  It has been an enjoyable project but taken way longer than I expected with all the ups and downs life has thrown at us lately.  I took the upper doors down, sanded and painted them.  Then rehung them with new hardware.  Whew! That project is finished.  Thank you sister and her hubby for my birthday present of a contribution toward the hardware!

Wednesday, Tim took the day off so we could go to a meeting put on by Amerigroup insurance to listen to them tell about how great they are and that every one currently on Medicaid will be automatically moved over to them on March 3rd.  We were told it was going to happen to everyone who is on Medicaid, to be moved over onto Amerigroup.  We were told this by our DFCS case workers.  So we went to see what kind of insurance coverage we would be having from now on.  What they are not telling people that they can opt out before 90 days is up.  If they don't opt out by the 90 days they are stuck on Amerigroup and can not go back to Medicaid.  I will not give my opinions about the whole thing!  It would make this a very long post. 

Before we left for our meeting on Wednesday, we got an email from DFCS asking us to take one year old and two year old brothers.  They were both in the hospital.  There were a few things about the case that made us say no or that we would at least need more information.  On the way to our Amerigroup meeting we got a call from the boys caseworker giving us more information and asking us again to take them.  Needless to say we drove straight from our meeting, to a store to buy car seats and clothing for them and headed out to their town to pick them up.  I know I usually write a post on Wednesday... but I have been non-stop busy since they arrived.  They are both understandably very clingy and I am spending a lot of time just rocking and holding.  It is much harder with two that need my full time attention and arms.

I would love to say that I have enjoyed every moment of these two precious ones being here but I will never get used to having children cry for their moms for hours on end and me not being able to fully comfort them.  Or realizing that they are calling for me as mom after just a few days when they cry for mom.  Sigh.  Other than that we have enjoyed them immensely even though we have been beyond busy, are trying to find our footing and get a new flowing routine down.  God is helping us every moment and it is coming together nicely, they are beyond precious.  We are working on a lot of behaviors and have a bit of minor medical things to attend to daily on both of them but over all it has been very nice to have them here.

Isaiah 41:10  Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.