Saturday, July 29, 2017

A Real Vacation!

We have had the best summer in years.  There were no major surgeries and not many doctors appointments.  We have spent most of the summer resting, playing, swimming and doing inexpensive or free outings with the children.   It has been most rejuvenating and relaxing!

The most exciting part of summer this year is that...Praise God!!!..we were able to go on our first real vacation in five years!  We saved our money carefully over the last many months and had a few kind and generous donations from people.  May God bless them 100 fold!

I can not tell you how much planning and preparing it takes to go anywhere, with our crew, especially on vacation.  We have so much that we need to bring for each child and their special needs.  We also travel with several companion/therapy dogs, so we have to bring everything they need as well. 

Then there is making sure we have people all lined up to come to the farm and take care of our many animals.  It took three people, coming daily, to care for all our animals, from doing the milking to feeding the fish.  My most heartfelt thank yous to my dad, who stood patiently out in the field feeding a very old, slow eating pony, twice a day.   To my neighbor, who came and bottle fed two baby goats every evening.  To our dear friend "J", who came and spent two hours a day here, doing everything from milking,, to picking vegetables to gathering eggs, to misting lizards!  Each person refused any payment at all, though I persisted and insisted.  May God bless them abundantly for their kindness and donations of their efforts and time.  I am so grateful that everything came together so smoothly and all went so well.  All the glory to God!  Amen!

We packed up, loaded the bus and headed on our way to Jekyll Island.  Even though we drive a bus as our normal daily vehicle and you would think we had a lot of room, it was packed to the gills.  We made great time and got to our destination in about six and a half hours.  We rented a house for a week so we could have a kitchen and plenty of room for all.   It was also the most economical way for us.  It was all one level, great for Antonio and his wheel chair.  It allowed dogs and had a very nice yard.  William took his dog for long walks around the neighborhood almost every day.
The older children had been to the beach before.  I loved hearing them plan and prepare for their trip.
They had the greatest time.

The younger children were so much fun to watch because they had never been to the beach, seeing the wonder and fun they had, as they jumped in the waves, sunk in the sand and played was just precious.

We spent every morning but one on the beach till lunch time.  Some of my children burn very easily, so I tried to not have them out in the hottest part of the day.

In the afternoons, Tim watched the littles while they rested and I would take the older children down to the beach to spend time doing whatever they wanted, without having to help keep an eye on little ones.
We brought Antonio's old stroller with us for use on the beach.  We learned from past vacations not to take his good wheel chair on the beach, as the salt water rust its parts very quickly.

Tim and I would take walks on the beach alone in the evenings, once the little ones were in bed.  The older children would play games and watch movies, in the evenings and hold the fort for us.  :)

We did a few fun things while in the area.  We took the children to the local water park one day.
There was a huge bucket of water that would fill and dump every few minutes in the baby park area.  It was a great hit for our crew.
Tim and I stayed in the baby park with Antonio and the littles and the older children stayed together, as a group and went on all the water slides all over the park.  They would check in with us every once in a while.  We took the little ones home at lunch and left the older kids there for the rest of the day.

Antonio was in the midst of one of his bad spells while we were on vacation.  Weeks of emotional and physiological issues.  I was however able to capture a few pictures of him with a smile.  I took about 30 pictures to finally get a smile like this.
Antonio loves reptiles so we took him and the whole family to the turtle sanctuary.  They do surgery on and rehab injured and sick sea turtles there.  He was showing off his shirt he got there in the above picture.

We went to a playground on a nearby island several times while on vacation.
Some of the older children climbed to the top of the light house nearby.

It was a fun and relaxing vacation that we will never forget!  Thank you God and all that help to make this possible!

James 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Big Happy Birthday To My Oldest!

Recently my oldest child had a birthday...  30 is such a big number. 

To tell you the truth, I don't know where 30 years went.  I remember vividly the day he was born.  I had always wanted to be a mother my whole life.  His birth blessed me and gave me that title.

He was such an active go getter from his birth. 
He did everything super early. 
He became a little man at a very young age.

I know you have met children like this...full of knowledge, always asking questions, full of boundless energy and ALWAYS talking and did I say...asking questions?!!  Good questions.  The kind parents love to explain and answer.
We had really good, educative conversations, starting from a very young age. 
He was so easy to home school, as he devoured knowledge and loved to read and figure things out.

I miss him.  I miss him as a baby, toddler, little boy, child, teenager and young man. 

I  miss him... now that he has moved away (as he should) and has his own busy life, with his own home, job and girlfriend.  I miss having him around more but....I could not be more pleased. 

He has turned out to be a very nice man.  Not that we never had a hard spell as he grew up.  He was a challenge to raise, he was so opinionated and independent.  Not that we never had spats or struggles against each other, he was not perfect...I was not perfect... but I am pleased that he grew and learned through it all. I poured so much of myself into him.

Stephen, I love you boundlessly and ferociously.  I pray for you fervently and always.  You are so precious to me and are one of the greatest treasures of my life.  May God make Himself very real to you and have His mighty hand on your life now and always.  God be with you.

Acts 16:31  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Love Dad, mom, Antonio, William, Carolyn, Zeke, Elizabeth, Billy, Timothy, Kinsley and Anna-Kate 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Happy Birthday William!

William and his companion dog, Dixie
William had a birthday recently!  He turned 21 years old!  I am so blessed to have this young man as my son.  He is always respectful and happy to help me.  He is my right hand man and such a hard worker around here.  I am so grateful that he is in my life. 

He really loves VW bugs and wanted a Volkswagen cake this year.  He has slowly been fixing up his car over the last few years, as he can afford it.  You can read about it here.  :)
My sister did an amazing job on his cake.  He was so happy with it.  Thank you Aunt "S" for always doing such an amazing job, making such wonderful cakes for the children.

William is grown up.  That is the reality of it all.  I can't believe it but the years of his youth have flown by and he is now an adult.

I remember back to his struggles as a baby/toddler,

his diagnosis of autism as a young child
and think about the things I was told by professionals he would and would not be able to do.  I am amazed by the grace of God and all He has helped William with and through, in his life.
His bug he bought with his own money as a little boy.
His bug in a local car show.
We are so blessed and I feel like I have seen a miracle in Williams life, his whole life.  God is so good. 

William is doing wonderful.  He has struggled for years with his health.  At around age 16 he started having health issues that were quite debilitating at times.  Lots of exhaustion, heart palpitations and pain, extreme muscle pain when exerted and issues with hypoglycemia.  We took him to many specialist trying to figure out what was causing him such issues.  He went to an endocrinologist, heart doctor, geneticist and his, general practitioner quite a bit.  They really could not find much, other than fatigued adrenals.   Which is a concern as his dad has Addisons disease.  It was also suggested that he might have a mitochondrial disorder.  One of the doctors said that what William is experiencing looked like it is an auto-immune issue.   So exactly a year ago, when he was particularly sick, I asked him if I could take over his diet, as I am very familiar with auto-immune issues and diet.  He agreed.  I prayed about it all and helped him create a simple anti-inflammatory diet.  It has been exactly a year since he started following this diet and praise God he has lost 70 pounds and is feeling so much better.  He has more energy, can think clearer and has fewer energy crashes.  All the glory to God!

William has finished his GED and is going to attend our local college.  He will be taking some remedial classes and then one class at a time till he gets the education he desires.  He will be attending, with concessions, under the Disability Act.  He loves doing stop animation but will be attending to receive an education in computers for now.  If you wish to see his animation, please visit his Youtube channel at Lego bro 4 studios.

William is such a precious gift to us from God.  We give God the glory, honor and praise for the man William has become and all things good in his life.  Thank you God for William!

We love you so much William.  You are a wonderful son, a great brother and a kind soul.  We appreciate all you do for us and your generous and helpful actions and ways.  May God have His mighty hand on your life always.  May He lead, guide you and may He bless you 100 fold for your obedience as a son.

Ephesians 6:1-3  Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;  That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

Love, Dad, mom, Stephen, Antonio, Carolyn, Zeke, Elizabeth, Billy, Timothy, Kinsley and Anna-Kate!