Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hair Stylist Insurance, and More

Today Sunny went for her first physical in the states. She is 46 inches tall and weighs 47 pounds. She was cute and cooperative, and will soon be connected with an audiology exam, eye exam, and I will set her up with Speech Therapy.

The office we go to is in a building with other businesses, one of which is an insurance company. We often see their flashing sign out front, offering all sorts of insurance. Jamie and I were a little skeptical at the latest...."Hair Stylist Insurance". Why? Can you actually get sued for giving a bad haircut? Too late, we have realized that Amelia needs hair stylist insurance. Here are Sunny's new bangs:

In Amelia's defense, Sunny was a willing participant and has in fact been observed wielding the scissors herself. The ones that are now hidden, by the way.

Besides, at least when Amelia decides to "fix" something, she takes appropriate safety precautions:

And More...

Micah went upstairs the other day and changed his clothes. When he came down he told me he's "Dad". He had dressed himself exactly as Jamie does when going off to teach his college class. "Hmm, can I pass for my six foot tall red-headed daddy? How much attention do those college kids really give to Professor Lindsay in Summer sessions anyhow?"

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bonding through Silliness

Yesterday I heard the "Three Musketeers" laughing in my room. They had found Dad's bedpost stack of baseball hats and were having some fun together.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dad's in Charge!

The big boys are gone; Nik and I went shopping. Dad had the 4 little ones for 2 hours. Considering the heat, the pool was an excellent idea. The t-shirts? We'll call them sunscreen. And try not to notice Amelia is actually wearing a gymnastics leotard, backwards.

Did this qualify as a bath? Smart man, wonderful Dad.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

So Tired

Tonight Amelia fell asleep on my lap at 6pm. The poor little thing, running a household is tiring! Jamie decided this morning Amelia things she is co-mama.

Actually, it is Vacation Bible School that is exhausting her. I signed her up at the new church we have been attending. Everyone has been very kind to her, in fact she is already going up front and "assisting" the music staff with the song time for her group. We opted not to sign up Sunny or Micah because neither is completely potty trained. I think Amelia is better for it, since she can be a kid instead of feeling the need to micro-manage the experience for them. Besides, she has enough to do with making sure she provides the help with song motions.

I was really hoping she would just take a catnap, but she seems to be down for the night. I do not even want to think about what time she will be standing by my bed in the morning saying, "Wake up!" In the meantime, Micah is wandering aimlessly about the house without Amelia making sure he is playing properly, and that his pull-up is dry. How has he been managing with her gone 4 hours each morning??

Monday, July 13, 2009

Micah the Cat

This morning Micah woke up and came downstairs before he was really ready. So he curled up in the living room...of the dollhouse that was just given to the girls.

Friday, July 10, 2009

We Did It!

Many people think we are nutty for having adopted four kids with Down Syndrome. (Since we feel it was the Lord's will, does that mean He is nutty?) When I had approached our social worker about a fourth adoption, one of her questions was wondering if I was using my older kids too much to care for their siblings, and how I would handle the special kids on my own when the older kids move out someday.

Well, the teens have been at Wilderness Camp in New Hampshire since last Sunday noon, and somehow Jamie and I have managed to get through the week, AND he still taught college twice, I weeded the garden, picked berries each day, did barn chores twice, Jamie once, cooked, cleaned, washed laundry, Jamie took the kids to speech, Dante to swimming, I read a novel, Jamie made a new gaga pit, we re-arranged the teen boys room (as per Zach's request), and did not once lose Amelia, Sunny, Micah, or Dante!

I actually have a number of pictures from the week, but my computer is running slow and I have to go pick up the teens-- 2 1/2 hour drive each way. I hope Jamie survives the next 6 hours home alone with the Four Musketeers!

God is good, ALL the time.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pushing an Empty Stroller

Dante started Summer School this week. He has three days under his belt so far, and is doing well. He receives many therapies, and I can tell he is getting them because he takes a long afternoon nap AND has slept through the last two nights! It is not unusual for him to wake up several times in the night, so Jamie and I very much appreciate the last two nights he has gifted us with sleeping through.

Yesterday I drove him to school, but decided to walk the mile to pick him up. I knew I could not carry him home all that way, so I pushed the stroller up with me. Empty. Jamie is the type of guy that does not care one bit what others think, but I'll admit I started off feeling a bit self-conscious pushing it down Main Street.

Why is it that I did not even need a peer around to feel the pressure? I decided the people driving by must think I am odd. Then it got me to thinking about the Christian life. Blending in is the last thing we Christians should want to do. We know where we are going, and that being different from the mainstream is just part of the Christian walk. If anyone asks us what it is that makes us us that extra bit of joy and hope...we are happy to explain it.

So, since I knew where I was going with that empty stroller and why, what anyone else was thinking no longer mattered to me. And if anyone had pulled over to ask me what I was doing, I would have been happy to explain that I was going to get my precious boy from school.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Simple Life?

Every day our area newspaper, the Worcester Telegram, has a quote, called Stop and Think. Today's quote was by an American writer named Katharine Fullerton Gerould (1879-1944). She apparently once said,

"The real drawback to 'the simple life'
is that it is not simple.
If you are living it, you positively can do nothing else.
There is not time."
I had never heard of her before, so I do not really know how she meant her words. However, it sounds a bit negative to me. The quote certainly did make me stop and think, though. There are many things in today's world that are meant to keep our life simple, but do they really? A lot of people are working awfully hard to make the money for items that simplify life. And a lot of people could really cut back on kid's dance classes, baseball games, soccer practice, internet, electronic games, and find that living simply would give a lot more time for some Dutch Blitz at the dining room table.
Looking at the years in which she lived, I wonder if she means simple life in the sense of keeping a garden, cooking from scratch, and so on. Even with all that, I would disagree that there is not time for anything else. More importantly though, why would you want more? If Jamie and I can provide those simple things for our family, finding happiness and satisfaction in that, and teach our kids a work ethic in the process, what more is there? Obviously it would be a full-time job to provide everything for the family, but we do what we can with what the Lord has given us. I have been spending an hour every day picking black raspberries, and while it is work, it is also satisfying. Should I go to the local store and buy frozen berries? Doing so would cause me to lose the joy in my little bits of simple life. (Although I am glad the thorn ridden black raspberries are almost done and the smooth stemmed blueberries are next!)
In the homeschool sense, for me there is no way to go but "the simple life". Pray a lot, lecture a little. Trying to create a classroom at home for the teens would drive me nuts. Jamie and I have really simplified the boys History and Language Arts for this coming year, and I honestly think it will be their best year yet. Using dvd's to help with math simplifies it for them as well. If you are living the homeschool simple life, then it leaves more time to do something else. That is one are where I will struggle to find a happy medium between keeping a routine for my children who have Down Syndrome , while not becoming a slave to the schedule I have to set.
Most days the quotes in the paper do not make me think quite this much! I'll go read a simple novel now to unwind...

Friday, July 3, 2009

My Dante

This morning Dante started swimming lessons at the YMCA. They were kind enough to let me enroll him in the parent/infant class even though he is over-aged; he actually could easily pass for an 18 month old. Dante did well changing into his trunks, and was babbling down the hallway. Unfortunately, when I walked into the pool area and went to wait by the wall for his class, he started to scream and writhe about. It did not matter to him that we were 10 minutes early, he wanted into that pool NOW! I wandered up and down the hallway for a few minutes. He did not appreciate the pacing-- everytime I headed away from the pool he yelled, and was quietly hopeful on the lap headed towards the pool.

The water was clearly a little cooler than he expected, but he did well. His class is once weekly until the end of August, and I am glad I decided to do it. I could have signed him up for the daily for two weeks lessons at our town beach, but that water is cold considering how cool and rainy the weather has been for the last several weeks.

Dante does officially have a dual diagnosis of Down Syndrome and Autism. Poor little guy, hit with that double whammy. He is doing better since his regressions in March, but is still very much behind in skills and behavior. Dante still will not eat anything that has crunch to it, or that has to be chewed beyond one or two munches. He will not use the signs he had learned, and only recently began talking again, saying "baba" and "no". There might have been a "mama" and "dada" once or twice, but not consistently.

Because of the enormity of his regressions, we have decided to use our public school system for therapies. It would be too expensive to hire private therapists for all of his needs, and I have not yet spent enough time researching how to meet his needs here at home. The biggest seems to be the need for a strict routine, and breaking down tasks very simply for him.

Despite Dante's struggles, he still has the most beautiful smile on earth. I told Jamie I have never seen anyone smile with his eyes the way Dante does. When in a good mood, he just exudes so much joy. When angry, though, he is completely beside himself. The head banging is occuring less frequently, and his tantrums are a little bit farther apart. I just have to remember not to show up at swimming lessons until it is exactly time to get into that pool!

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sunny Goes to the Farm

This morning Nikita and I took Sunny up to do farm chores with us. I have no reason to believe Sunny has ever been up close to a cow before, but she had no fear. She smiled and waved to L, then went right over to pat the cows on the noses. It is a good thing there were stanchions separating them, because Sunny gave no thought to the several hundred pound weight difference between her and the bovines!
Sunny also pitched right in with bottle feeding the calves. She saw Nikita single-handedly feeding two of the calves, and went over to pick up Holly's bottle. Nik took a picture of Sunny feeding Holly while I feed Stanley.

Amelia was not too pleased that Sunny was going to the farm without her, but Ame had speech this morning and could not do both. I will probably take Amelia to the farm on Friday to make up for it.


The other night, Amelia took out a Hooked on Phonics workbook, and was pointing to and sounding out letters for Sunny. Surprisingly, Sunny echoed her each time! She really has made very few attempts to speak, but her comprehension is clearly growing. I was thrilled that Amelia had taken it upon herself to teach Sunny the alphabet, and that Sunny was a happy pupil.

I continue to be amazed at what a perfect fit Sunny is for this family. God is faithful, God is good.