Saturday, August 22, 2015

Catching Up (Part 2)

Life has been a whirl wind as of late.  So many appointments and sick children to care for.  We had a bad cold virus go thru.  It took several weeks to go thru everyone.  Praise God Antonio and baby "A" did not get it.   Now we are in the midst of a tummy flu. Not fun at all with so many in a house hold. 
A bumper crop of table grapes this year. The children have eaten hundreds!
I had received so many kind inquires, about how the children were doing, that several weeks ago I wrote an update on our youngest children. (Catching Up part 1)  Today, I will update on the older ones.

Having so many children, can make life so busy but I must say, that in life right now, deep in my heart, I am happy and content.   Tim and I have raised several groups of children.  Stephen was our child for nine years before any other children came into our lives and home.  Then Antonio, William and Faith Anne were all a year apart.  The next group was Carolyn, Zeke and Elizabeth.   They were all about a year apart.  Of course now, the four little ones in our home are all about a year apart.  Each time another grouping of children were added, the older group became such a big help in caring for and playing with the younger group.  Also, in helping around the house.  I can not say enough good about the older children in our home.  God has blessed Tim and I mightily with such wonderful older children.  They have such giving, loving and helpful spirits about them.  There is no way to get life done without us all working together.  It is a ministry and they know it and live it, without complaint and with joy and patience.  Truly, God is so good and builds families.  

Stephen is still doing well and living and working in a town about 45 minutes from us.  He comes to visit every other weekend to see the children and spend time with us.  Sometimes he brings his girlfriend and we get to enjoy having her here as well.    

Antonio is very slowly improving.  I would like to thank everyone who has been praying for him.  He does understand what I am saying and I know it is blessing him and encouraging him to know you are praying for him.  He is improving a little every day and I know it is only because of fervent prayer.  It has now been three weeks since his Botox incident and his body is still very lax and he can not move it much at all.  But he is now able to move his head a little and raise his right arm once in a while.  The biggest and most encouraging thing is he is mumbling some and speaking a little.   It takes him a few moments but he is answering yes and no when asked questions now about 50 percent of the time and has said a few short sentences over the last few days.  Yesterday he even asked for an oatmeal cream pie.  :)  He has not been able to eat by mouth over the last few weeks without choking, so since he asked, I did break very small pieces off for him to eat and he did very well with this.  So, I will begin introducing food orally to him little by little as he can tolerate and manage it.  He is still not smiling much but does several times a day and when I catch him with his old smile on his face, it blesses me so much.  He also used to squeal many times a day in excitement and had not done this since the Botox shots.  He has now squealed one time when Tim came home from work yesterday and again when Tim told him he was going to take him to see the new Shaun the Sheep movie last night.  (one of his favorite shows) 
This was at dinner after the movies last night.  His eye lids are less droopy and he is drooling less too.
Please continue to pray for him as the Lord lays it on your heart.

William is doing very well.  He has been working on his GED, over at our local college, under the disabilities act.  He has been driving over twice a week and working one on one with a tutor.  They have been working on Social Studies for the last six months.  His teacher thought he was ready to take that part of the GED, so William took it on the 5th of this month and passed!  We are so pleased with him and he is very excited.  He is now working on the Language Arts portion.  William is still working on his stop animation hobby, in his spare time and just finished his longest segment yet.  It was about 1700 frames long!  Over three minutes long.   It is called "Fish" and can be found here.  William is also working with the local 4-H archery program again this year.  He uses a recurve bow.  William has been such a help to me always but now especially since Antonio has needed more care. 
He is my right hand man and I can always count on him to help me when I need it.  He still struggles with his health and has bad days and good days.  We are trying to get him in to another specialist to have him tested for mitochondrial disease.

Carolyn is gearing up for another year of ballet lessons.  She has already started doing daily stretches, sit ups and other things she knows will help her do well in ballet.  I don't tell her to, she just does it.  She is hoping to be on "point" this year.  (wearing point shoes that keep her way up on her toes)   She would still do a class in flat as well.  Carolyn goes out and rides her pony often and it blesses my heart to see her out there lunging her pony and riding.  She works so hard at her schooling and helping me with all the little children, that I love to see her out enjoying herself and having fun.  She is my right hand girl. 
We just had her tested this week by the school system, to get a current psychological done and accurate assessment of her abilities.  With the results in hand, we will be able to help her form long term goals and make realistic plans for her life.  She will be 16 in the spring, so is growing up and we need to think about these things.  She is enjoying working more on life skills this year and being given more freedom and responsibilities.

Zeke is becoming such a gentle giant as he grows and matures.   He is slightly taller than I am and takes a size 11 mans shoe!  He still has outburst but for the most part is now even tempered and co-operative most of the time. 
He also works in his spare time on making stop animation movies and also does Thomas the tank engine movies for us with is wooden railway.  He is a joy to have around.  Zeke still can not remember to do the simplest of daily living task, such as remembering to get dressed, take his dog potty or brushing his teeth, without a chart.  He can, when asked, do very simple chores and tasks to help around here though and that makes him feel special and important.  Zeke is still struggling so much with his education and Tim and I are looking into possibly finding him an educational program for two days a week.  I would not consider this for most of my other children but Zeke has no outside extracurricular activities he can participate in. He has no social outlets and we think it would be good for him to have something, just for him, to participate in.  It might be a huge mistake and backfire because he is extremely routine oriented and the routine is what keeps him feeling stable and ok.  But I would love to see him make a friend or feel like he has someplace special for him to go, that the other children don't do.

Elizabeth is also getting ready for another ballet season.  She had lost the privileged of taking ballet this year, from bad behavior over the summer but has slowly earned it back.   She actually had a really ruff summer with her behavior.  The worst it has been in quite a while.  I spent a lot of time praying and sitting and talking with her about her age, actions and consequences.  I had to give her a lot of grace in many areas.  I love her and want her to be able to participate in the many fun things we do around here.  Sometimes, I just have to give her grace, so she can go.  Like when we went to Lake Winnie, have girls night out or went to the gem and mineral show. 
I think a lot of  her behavior is stemming from the fact that she is entering puberty and struggling with mood swings and hormones.  She knows ballet season is starting soon and she really loves it.  She has been working harder at her behavior over the last three weeks and is slowly earning back the things she has had take away.  In her spare time she has been enjoying her animals, doing art projects, playing outside, reading novels and making bracelets on her rubber band loom.

The weather here is cooler in the mornings when I go out to milk the goats.  I can see the leaves on the trees turning slightly.  Fall is around the corner and we are ready.  I can see my calendar has much fewer appointments written down thru the fall months and hopefully it will be a time of health, good routine, schooling, field trips and rest.

May the Lord God in heaven be with you now and always as you live and grow in Him.

Isaiah 26:3  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.



  1. We were so excited to see Antonio!! But so sad to see him not his old self. We are praying everyday Antonio- We LOVE you!! (We LOVE you ALL!) I never noticed before? Antonio has a mustache like his Dad! We love it! Maybe it was because he smiles so big in his other pictures, we could only see that beautiful smile that radiates deep from within him! The kids here loved hearing what Antonio likes! They think Shaun the Sheep is funny too and they'd mail him an entire box of oatmeal pies if it would make him well! :o)
    William's video was fantastic! The kids were so impressed!
    I'd love to hear how Carolyn's testing goes if you feel you can share. I want Faith tested but I'm so nervous. It would look fairly good but below grade level in some academics. But her really big deficits are listening, social skills and relationships. They can't be tested for.
    Zeke is getting so handsome! I think the school sounds worth a try. I wish I had that alternative for Samson. But he's too old. (20) And he's not eligible for the adult program. No funding. :o(
    Are Zeke's movies on utube?
    Our Elizabeth (Lysa) doesn't have special needs but her hormones have tossed her about as well. (she's 13) She's had a few episodes of depression. It can be so hard for us all. Mostly her. Of course we hurt when they hurt.
    The summer just flew by this year didn't it!? At first I was sad but then I rejoiced because even tho we couldn't do what we hoped (go up north) we were exactly where God wants us to be!!
    (((((((((HUGS))))))))))) to you all!! You are doing a fantastic job! Isaiah saw William with the baby and I told him "Don't get any ideas!" LOL!!

    1. Antonio does grow a mustache often. I shave it once in a while but he likes having one like his dad and William. I will read him this comment when he wakes up in the morning. It will make his day. William loves making stop animation videos. He has taught Zeke a lot too. Zeke's are not on Youtube. Tim says he is not ready for his own account... he is not old enough to have one and manage a channel. I will send you an email when I get Carolyn's testing back. They did academics testing and a psychological. The psychological can show some of the social issues. But they also do an hour long interview with me about her and do a report on that as well. It is about the type of things you mentioned. I don't worry about her academics testing out as age appropriate because she has severe learning disabilities. We have worked hard to educate her the best we could with her learning disabilities and the school system could have brought her no further than we have. Her scores are no reflection on how I home school. We do this testing at about her age to give us any diagnosis they can and to reveal her limitations and if she can go further in certain areas by try different teaching methods. It shows her strengths and weaknesses in learning and cognition. It will also give her current, professional, documentation, if she should need it, to get government assistance in the future. We also have had a lot of testing done on her by therapist over the years that document her progress in PT, OT and speech. It helped us so much when we had Williams done. Not only so we could form a plan for his future and furthering his education but also in getting any kind of funding and concessions under the disabilities act for him. As far as Zeke possibly going to in Georgia, special needs children can attend school till 21 years of age and use any of the various programs that they qualify for. If we can not get him in to any of those we might try a private establishment if it does not cost to much. Bless Lysa heart...I have found 12-14 years old is a hard few years to deal with hormones and figuring out who you are and such. Zeke is just coming out of all that now Praise God. I hope our Elizabeth is thru it soon. :) Bless their hearts. Hopefully, you can get electric done soon up north, so you can be all set up to spend lots of time up north next year! I always tell myself. Gods timing is perfect. William holds the babies a lot. :) He also gets the toddlers all hyper a lot playing and wrestling with them. Stephen used to as well. Actually he still does when he comes to visit! He lovingly picks on all his siblings. I would never be surprised if God asked you or I to take in any more babies but I so understand! Blessings!

  2. I'm so glad to see this update. I was going to ask you how Antonio was doing, I'm glad to hear he's improving a little bit. It's nice to see how the rest of the kids are doing too. We'll keep praying for Antonio and you and your family. I'm sorry it's such a hard time for you all... .being sick on top of everything. : ( Sorry I haven't written back just yet. You are on my mind each day though. May the Lord be with you all.

    1. Thank you for your prayers. We appreciate them so much. Antonio is speaking even more today than yesterday. He is still not himself but Praise God is improving! Blessings!

  3. Lurker here, searched for a triple bunk bed, found an outstanding blog. William's animation videos are surprisingly impressive and outstandingly done. He should consider submitting some as animated shorts to film festivals in Georgia. Here is a list of the ones in your state,

    1. Thank you so much for leaving your comment! I can't tell you how much it meant to William. It encouraged Williams so much and made his day! Gods blessings be upon you!