Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Green Gobs of Gunk

"Boogers", as Amelia puts it. She has a sinus infection, and a tired and cranky Amelia makes everyone a tad miserable. She is on medication now, so we will definitely be seeing some improvement soon.

Unfortunately, Micah is sporting the same symptoms as Amelia, so tomorrow I will likely be taking him off to the doctor. Dante and Sunny also have colds, but their "boogers" are not green.

Today Dante finally had his appointment with the eye specialist! He does have some strabismus, but not enough to surgically correct. He is also nearsighted--which I have long suspected-- with a range of 2-3 feet before it gets fuzzy on him. Dante was showing a lot of sensory issues regarding his face/head being touched, so the doctor would like his therapists at school to work on those with him for a few months, then go back in the Spring for eyeglasses. This will definitely be interesting! (Right now Dante will not even wear a hood for long, and says "NO WAY!!" to knit hats.) He screamed at the eye drops, not too surprising, but it put him in a bad mood, making the rest of his exam difficult.

I am just thankful he had this appointment and I was given some accurate information about his eyesight. It took a big chunk of my day to get it done, and now I only have two days left to get ready for Christmas. I am not usually this last minute!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Life Changes in the Blink of an Eye

Last Tuesday was my last post, and my life has been altered since then. Tuesday night I received a phone call that my 37yo sister, Tracy, had died in Indianapolis. To say it was unexpected is an understatement, but once again questioning God's time is not something we mortals should be doing.

Tracy and I were not close, despite only being three years apart. She had spina bifida and hydrocephalus, so while Jim (my brother) and I were out exploring the woods growing up, Tracy was inside. Not that she didn't get out, we still did family camping trips every year. Dad even made her a bike that had three wheels and she pedaled with her hands. Special Olympics was a part of our lives every year, and most families we were friendly with also had a disabled child because that was the world my parents were a part of. It was because of Tracy's disability that we were in that world, which gave me the experiences I have had and led Jamie and I to adopting our special children.

Tracy and I did keep in pretty good contact while she lived within a few hours, but when she moved to Indianapolis eight years ago we were down to occasional emails and phone calls. I really had very little idea what her day to day life was like, and with a family my size a trip to Indiana was never possible. We did offer a few times to pay for her bus ticket to come visit us, but she was busy in her life there.

So my daughter Nikita, brother Jim, and I flew off to Indiana on Wednesday to see to details. I am very glad I went, because we met a lot of Tracy's friends, and spent hours with them on Thursday and Friday getting to know them, and sharing stories about our lives with Tracy. We also had to take care of details with the funeral home and visited her doctor to try to learn what happened, but all in all it was a good trip. I lost three days of Christmas prep time, but learned more about my sister than I had ever known before.

In the last 25 months my father, mother, and sister have passed away unexpectedly. If there is someone you often think you should call or write to more often, do it now. One day you will not be able to.

In her last months, Tracy was going through a lot of medical problems, and once again the Lord in His mercy has taken a family member home. God is good, all the time.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fun and Educational Too??

Last Friday ten little children gathered at my house to decorate gingerbread houses. The sister of one of our moms is a chef, and she took the time to make these beautiful houses and bring the frosting and fixings for decorating.

The kids ranged from 4-10, and had a lot of fun. At least, they think they were having fun. We moms knew however that this was really an educational opportunity.

What did they learn?
1. Social skills. They shared the candies, and a few of them handed out the candy canes and teddy grahams.
2. Fine motor skills. They were shown how to properly squeeze the frosting bag (just like milking a goat!), and were manipulating all sorts of tiny candy pieces.
3. Critical thinking. It took some time to figure out how much frosting "cement" was needed and how long to hold it for drying.
4. Art class. Their imaginations were in full swing!
5. Home ec. It was all food after all!
6. Math. Some of the kids were very symmetrical in the decorating, matching up colors and numbers of candies in the pattern of their designs.
7. History. Ok, we did not do any history, but if we had prepared ahead it would have been interesting to know just how making gingerbread houses became a part of Christmas culture.
8. Architecture. Again, not too much of this, but with teens we could have had them design their own houses. Maybe next year.

Here are some pictures of my little ones working on their houses...we can add mentoring since two of my teens helped their little siblings!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I love snowstorms, because Jamie is home from school and we get to stay here doing nothing but enjoying the falling snow. It is like being handed a holiday. (I realize they are dangerous for people who do have to travel, but we always stay home and enjoy.)

Today was perfect. We got to sleep in, and then Amelia was out at 7:15 sweeping the deck, still in her pajamas. Yes, making it to 7AM is sleeping in for Jamie and I.

I put some stew fixings in the crockpot and bread rising, then Nikita pulled out the Christmas decorations. Elvis put us in the mood with his Christmas carols and Nikita and Zachary decorated. Saturday we plan to get our tree!

Later while I worked on my chocolate covered cherries, Zachary and Alexander played outside with Amelia, Sunny, and Micah. I daresay it was Sunny's first sled ride! She had fun, and was out for a bit. Unfortunately, I haven't yet gathered all the necessary winter items, so she was a bit mismatched- even the boots- and I didn't take any photos.
Thankfully Jamie dipped all 85 cherries in the chocolate for me because my energy level was dropping rapidly! All in all, it was a very productive day which we enjoyed together as a family.
God is good!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Big Birthday, and a Visit with Santa

Today Jamie is 40! Happy birthday!! He is an amazing husband and father, even if he is getting a little old. ;)

To help celebrate his birthday and Christmas, he and I splurged and took the Three Musketeers (otherwise known as Amelia, Sunny, and Micah) out to the Publick House in Sturbridge for breakfast with Santa. Sunny was fascinated by his beard! She also kept ringing his hand bell that he carried around. Amelia and Micah sat on Santa's lap, but Sunny was too busy touching his beard.

The kids see Santa as a part of the Christmas season, and did not have a list of requests for him. We never taught our teens to see Santa the way he is seen by mainstream society-- coming down chimneys at night-- but rather we focused on the legend of St. Nicholas. However, there are a lot of Santa movies and TV shows that we watch together for fun. (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was on the other night!)

So it was fun to go out for a really nice breakfast buffet with the kids all dressed up, and I took a bunch of pictures!!

Friday, December 4, 2009


Micah-- after having new ear tubes put in 3 weeks ago, he is doing well. I took him Wednesday to a hearing evaluation, and was surprised by the results. He can hear down to 10 decibels in his left ear (excellent!), but only to 85 in his right ear. That means he has a moderate to severe hearing loss in his right ear. The tester said he does not need a hearing aide since the left ear is so good; we will see in February if his ENT concurs. If he was in a school setting he would need his own FM speaker (has a fancy name, can't remember) so he can hear the teacher, but since we homeschool he does not need one. We just need to spend the rest of his life making sure his left ear is protected from loud noises. Also, he has trouble telling when someone is talking to him in a noisy room or with the TV on. So now the never-ending question will be: is he ignoring me or can he not discern me talking to him?

Sunny-- had her first dental cleaning yesterday! She was so good; had a lot of plaque but no cavities. She did not cooperate for an x-ray, but that was ok. We do not know if she had dental care in Taiwan, but she is clearly used to brushing her teeth. Also, her hearing was tested a few weeks ago and she has excellent hearing- 10 decibels in both ears!

Amelia-- today's pizza bagels for lunch caused her loose tooth to barely hang on. She indicated she wanted me to pull it, gross! I grabbed on, turned my head away and yanked. She was more brave than I! Ame's hearing was also tested a few weeks ago, 20 decibels in the left ear and 30 in the right. Not perfect, but good enough to hear and replicate speech. She has no excuses!!

Dante-- he is loving his preschool, and starting to talk more. He has been sleeping better at night, too, which is such a blessing! Dante has been overcoming his eating issues, and actually taking bites off a banana, instead of insisting it beat chopped up first. He's not walking yet, but is making progress.

The teens-- well, they are two teen boys and their teen sister. What more do I need to say?

God is good, all the time!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Quote of the Day

"I bit my toe. It hurt."
- one of my teens, who wishes to remain anonymous

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Miss Smartypants

Yesterday Amelia displayed some problem-solving skills. She had turned on the television to watch Martha Speaks and then apparently decided she needed a snack. (I had no clue what she was up to!) Ame went into the kitchen, poured herself a glass of juice and got out a sleeve of crackers and package of pepperoni. Then, and here is the brilliant part, she found an empty clementine box on the counter and used it as a tray to bring her snack into the living room! We don't even have any small serving trays that we use, so she came up with this idea completely on her own.
Backing up to first thing yesterday morning, I had to run to the grocery store for milk and Dante snacks....Amelia went with me. I have mentioned before she is self-proclaimed bagger for us at any store. Yesterday she decided to bag for the gentleman in front of us. We are familiar faces to the cashier who was working, and she did not say no to Amelia, so Ame got the job done. To my surprise and hers, the man was so touched that he gave her a dollar!! Ame did not know quite what to do, so I told her to say Thank You and put it into her pocket. Later in the morning Zachary walked her up to the Podunk Deli where she bought herself a pack of M&Ms.
I am so proud of her! And thankful for Zachary being such a wonderful big brother!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Boston Ballet Adaptive Dance Class

Yesterday was the final class of the Fall session, and parents/family were invited to watch the children perform. Sunny has been participating fairly well, but did wonderfully yesterday. Amelia takes her self-appointed job as assistant teacher very seriously and put on a great show. Micah was even able to join in when siblings were invited onto the floor. Oddly, Zachary and Alexander felt no need to go jump about in joy.

Their ten week Spring session will start in March, but I'm sure I will see them practicing in the living room often!

Also, here is a photo of a pheasant that Zachary spotted in our yard last week. He was a beautiful bird, and we are hoping he'll come to visit again.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It was a morning I should have slept in...

I try to keep this blog positive, but I was so frustrated today!!!

Back in July when Dante was going to summer school, one of his therapists recommended a very good low vision clinic for evaluating him because of some things she noticed. I had been less than pleased with his opthalmologist to that point so was eager to make the appointment at this place out near Boston. The appointment was for today; we have been waiting four months for this evaluation!

I woke up Dante at 7am, Nik and I left the house at 7:20 to get there on time. The googlemap directions told me an hour ten minutes, but I left an extra thirty to account for traffic. It was not enough time, and we were ten minutes late arriving. When I checked in the receptionist told me that when she called here yesterday to confirm, she was told we were cancelling and would reschedule, so they filled Dante's spot.

WHAT?!??! I don't know who she called yesterday, but it was no one at my house. (No, the teens did not forget to pass on a message, there was nothing on caller id...and they would never have told her that anyhow.)

I told her I did not drive two hours (almost) for her to tell me she had cancelled my appointment. "I'm sorry you are frustrated, but there is an opening at 3 if you want to come back." When I asked what I am supposed to do for 6 hours she suggested I go into Boston for the day. Sure, with my 4yo Down Syndrome/Autistic son and empty wallet. She then suggested I sit in the waiting room all day in case someone arrived late. Lunch? Toys? Sanity?!

Grrr. When I asked to whom I could complain (If she said "I'm sorry you are frustrated" one more time I would have really lost it), she sweetly told me all the administrators were in meetings. On my way out I stopped at the information desk and left a voice mail for one of them, the woman up there was very sincerely sorry to hear about it and was helpful. And the man in charge of the program called me later to apologize for the whole incident and how it was handled.

So we go back December 22nd. Praying for no snow storm that day!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Micah's Ear Tubes

This morning Micah had day surgery to have ear tubes put in. He was supposed to have them last Thursday at an independent day surgery, but they cancelled last minute when they found out he has Down Syndrome (apparently a medical condition), and we had to go to the hospital today instead.

We arrived at 7:45AM, and the poor guy had not been allowed to eat or drink at all yet. He did not complain though, because they set him up in his own room in the day surgery wing. He was quite relaxed in his hospital johnny, sitting back and watching Curious George in his private room with his own television.

The procedure was simple, and he recovered quickly. This time when he went to his room they served him ginger ale and cheerios while he watched Sesame Street!

He really did not see the need to go home after his recovery time, but they gave us the boot.

Thank the Lord it went so well!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Dad

Two years ago today, at 4:18AM, I received a phone call from Mom that Dad had just died. They had left New York on Monday and driven to California to spend the winter with Mom's family. The day they arrived he died. How can you not question God's timing? Flying to California was not in my calendar for that day, and all of the h*ll my mother went through in the next four months, dragging me and my family with her, was certainly not in my lesson plan book.

But how can I begrudge God spending time with my Dad? He was after all, a great guy. I look forward to the day we are reunited.

I miss you Dad.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Don't Tell Zachary...

...but this post is about him!

Zachary is one heck of a hard worker. Wednesday evening I showed him how to milk the cows, and tonight on his first try he milked two of them...Star and Spark.

Way to go Zachary!!

I'd better stop here or he'll have a cow...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Christmas Angel Tree

Today is the first day of the Christmas Angel Tree project of Reeces Rainbow. It is an opportunity for individuals and families to change the life of an orphan forever.

It is an unchangeable fact that there are orphans, and that adopting them costs money. There are countries that simply cannot take care of their orphans, and quite simply do not know the potential of every child. That every child was "knit" by God and is known by Him. I firmly believe it is our responsibility to take care of the Lord's children (see some of the verses in the sidebar). It is our privilege to take care of these orphans, whether it be through prayer, financial support, or adoption.

Just as there are countries that cannot meet the needs of their orphans, there are families who strongly desire to adopt, but cannot afford the associated expenses. Social worker fees, government fees, transportation and hotel fees...it adds up. And you can help!

If you click on the link at the top of this entry, or on the Christmas bauble in the sidebar, you can read about how your donation can be a Christmas gift given in someone's honor, and a personalized ornament will be sent to you.

I have committed to praying for two Eastern European orphans, Isaac and Anna (2). No, we are not adopting them, but I am praying daily that the family the Lord has chosen for each of them will know this, and step forward for them. And this Christmas season I am encouraging anyone who reads this to please click on their picture and sponsor one or both of them, to help their families afford the adoption process.

Please, let the Lord use you to save Isaac and Anna from life in an institution.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Up a Tree

You might get the impression that we spend a lot of time in trees. The truth is, we probably are not in them nearly enough. This time of year is especially good for tree climbing with those you love. The sun is shining, the air is crisp and the leaves are displaying their fabulous Fall colours. Furthermore, it is apple picking season and time to grab some cider and make some homemade applesauce. We love Fall at the Lindsay household. The pictures you see here are from Brookfield Orchards in North Brookfield, Massachusetts. They have signs all around the area pointing in the direction of their orchard. There is probably a sign near you, even if you're in Hawaii. Kelly, Amelia, Sunny and I went over today to get a few Fall things and enjoy the weather. One thing about Fall is you never know what the weather will bring, so I want to urge you to get out there and enjoy Fall while you can. Take some pictures and file them away, so you can remember Fall 2009 long after it has past. The snow will fly before you know it and that is great too, but don't let it come before you climb a tree.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Beautiful Morning

A few days ago when Amelia and Nikita went out to feed the goats, the sky was absolutely beautiful. Nikita came in to get the camera and take a few photographs...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

8 Shots!

We have had four medical appointments this week, which resulted in 4 not so happy kiddos.

Monday Sunny had her check-up; she is doing very well. She was due for two immunizations, and also received the seasonal flu shot. I had taken Amelia along because I always like her to see the doctor, given her fears. I was surprised when the doctor suggested Amelia also get the flu shot as long as she was there, but did not say no. Amelia didn't say "no" either. She screamed it. And fought like crazy.

Yesterday Micah and Dante had their annual physicals, plus Micah saw his ENT. He does have a lot of fluid in his ears, and will have tubes put in on November 5th. He is otherwise healthy, and received the seasonal flu shot and the H1N1 flu vaccination. He protested briefly, but did not cry at all. Dante was not so happy, and made sure we all knew it. Once his exam started, he pretty much screamed until we walked out the door. Then he literally shut the tears off.

Unlike Amelia, Micah thoroughly enjoys his doctor visits and is very cooperative. Considering he spent a HUGE amount of time in the hospital during his first two years of life, I am not surprised. Amelia would typically only see a doctor for her blood draw every six months, and decided that doctor visits are terrible. Now that I have been taking her along on pretty much every appointment, she is good. In fact, in true Ame form, she now puts herfelf in charge of using the stethoscope, checking reflexes, and blood pressure. I do have to draw the line at trying to look into her siblings ears.

I felt a little badly for her on Monday, since she thought she was just going along as Physician's Assistant, and suddenly she is on the receiving end of the needle. The McDonald's fries did help her get over the pain, though!

We are (mostly) healthy, and God is good! (Zachary is a little under the weather, but I am not supposed to talk about him...)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

When Micah Offers to Pray at Dinner....

...we all sigh a little, I have to admit.

Amelia has for some time now insisted upon praying whenever one of us is, and it really is sweet. She does have speech delays, but each of us is touched when we hear our name in the midst of her words with the Lord. Often we even hear the names of at least one pet, most often Zachary's hen Pip. It was actually some time after my mother's death before Amelia stopped praying for Grandma, which had been a daily habit.

The last few weeks Micah has also decided to say Grace at dinner. Unfortunately he tends to mumble, and ramble, making it difficult to know when he is done. I am sure the Lord is quite willing to listen to Micah and I am happy he likes to talk to God, but he can go on at length in true preacher form! Occasionally, one of us will make the mistake of peeking to see if he is done, since a mumbled "amen" might have been missed. "Dad, eyes!", letting Dad to know to close him. Tonight I peeked, and heard "Mom, close eye!" Just how is it he knows our eyes are open???

And Amelia has taken to encouragingly whispering "Micah, amen" at intervals throughout his prayer. Apparently she likes her dinner hot, and is not afraid to interrupt his time speaking to the Lord. He just ignores her and keeps on saying whatever it is he has to say.

I am thrilled they are both willing and happy to spend time in prayer, even if it does mean a lukewarm meal now and then.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Dante!!

This is Dante when we brought him home, three years ago December. He was 14 months old.

He is 4 today! This is Dante on Friday feeding himself...something he has not been doing since last February, when he regressed so much and was ultimately diagnosed with autism.

I am so proud of how far he has come since March. His teachers and therapists in the special needs pre-school are an amazing bunch of women who really push him to do his best and more.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pumpkin Patch or Buddy Walk?

Today Jamie and I took Amelia, Sunny, Micah, and Dante to the MDSC Buddy Walk in Wakefield. He and I had been trying to guess what color the shirts would be this year, and I joked that if they were orange it would look like a giant pumpkin patch.

The shirts were orange, and there were a LOT (2,000-ish) of pretty pumpkins in attendance. My orange shirt and I stayed behind the camera.

We really enjoyed the beautiful sunny day, being with so many other families like ours. The teens did opt to stay home, but it was nice for them to have a chance to spend an entire Sunday just hanging out with the goats, the PS2, and the football games on TV. Before the walk, Jamie and I took the littles to his Uncle's church in Stoneham, where we had a nice visit and enjoyed the service. Shortly after arriving home, I was off to milk the 5 dairy cows for my friends (which I enjoy doing).
Definitely a busy and very satisfying day. God is good!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Let's Dance!

This morning, getting ready at Boston Ballet's Adaptive Dance class.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Would You Like Some More Tea?

Today we had a tea party, using a set Sunny received for her birthday.

Every homeschool mom knows that ANY event can be made into an educational one and go into the record book. This party was especially important for social skills.
Micah even learned to answer "Yes please" instead of simply repeating "more tea?" when asked if he wanted more. He also really needs to work on being part of a group, and remaining with that group until dismissed. He seems to think that he can leave whenever he wants, and even tried to wander with his tea cup and cracker. This has also been something we work on during seatwork in the mornings.
Sunny worked on her English skills, and was saying "yes" to Nik when asked if she wanted more. Now that we know she has been learning English, we are pushing her to use it.
And Amelia. Well, she clearly needs to work on some tea party etiquette.
Maybe next time we'll all put on frilly dresses, to help set the tone. (Except for Micah-- he would certainly wear the frilly dress but I don't encourage it.)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. I hope that during this month more people are educated about the syndrome, and fears are taken away.
I wish more people would stop assuming the worst at the diagnosis, and instead realize the possibilities. In the meantime, I will pray that my own four with Down Syndrome will touch someone's life in a special way this month.

To show how "typical" a little child with Down Syndrome can be, here are some pictures from yesterday's schooling efforts here in the Lindsay household. It is "D" week, so they drew pictures of Dad. Later, I needed to peel and cook some apples, so the kids sat at the table to paint while I did my work. How many seven and eight year olds don't enjoy drawing and painting?
Isn't Dad handsome?
This picture of Micah is one of the cutest I've ever gotten!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

2 New Kids for the Lindsay Family!!

Today we brought home Gidget and Ambrose, sister and brother. Nikita and Zachary named them, and will be their primary caregivers. Amelia of course will help too! As a busy mom, I have no problem delegating and telling the older kids they are in charge of the new kids.

As for Gidget and Ambrose, they are still a little nervous, but I think they will acclimate well to life here.

Before we went up to complete our adoption, we did do farm chores, and Sunny was happy to help. She and Amelia also enjoyed a wheelbarrow ride.

And finally, presenting Gidget and Ambrose:

Our first foray into the world of goat ownership!!