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!