Friday, October 29, 2010

An Amazing Woman

Tonight at work I had the opportunity to wait on a woman and her two adult sons. Her sons both have down syndrome. I often see families dining out with a child who is clearly adopted, or a child with down syndrome. I do not usually initiate conversations with them, because they are simply looking to have dinner out, not necessarily to get into a conversation with me.

I could not resist, though, since I really could not tell if this woman was their caretaker, or mother. So at the end of their meal begged her pardon but told her I was curious. I am so glad to have spoken with her! Her sons were both adopted, the elder being 51 and the younger 31. She was a special education teacher and they both (years apart!) were in her classroom. Her elder son's birthmother died when he was born, and he was put into an institution out in Western New York where they live. He was 9 when she met him in her classroom and adopted him. The younger son was born in South Korea. His family was in the States on a professor exchange program, and they desired for him to be adopted while they were here so he could have a future.

To have adopted a child out of an institution 42 years ago is just mind boggling!! This woman--and her husband and biological children-- really put themselves out there to give those two boys (men now!) a home. I also shared briefly with her about our adoption experiences.

God crossed our paths only briefly tonight, they are from New York and are here visiting family, so I will never see them again and do not even know her name. What a blessing it was to have the brief conversation with her that I did, though!

No Teenagers!

Nikita is off to California to spend two weeks with my cousin and her family. Alexander and Zachary are off to New York to spend the weekend with my brother and his wife. That leaves just me and Jamie! And Amelia, Sunny, Micah, Dante, and Leif. When did we get so many kids??

Some people do think we are nutty, especially since four of our blessings have down syndrome. We do rely on the teens to do their part in family life, yet that does not mean we fall apart while they are gone. Jamie probably has it toughest each night, since the manager at Cracker Barrel thought she was being nice by giving me lots of hours (I only wanted 2 nights a week, not 4), and Leif is still reluctant to take a bottle. Dante adds to the interest by taking off up the stairs, and he now can climb out of his crib. I found that out when I found him sitting in the tub...fully dressed and waiting for someone to turn the water on--- he loves his bath! Dante also lets us know he would like some food by going to the table and climbing into his chair. He lets us know he would like some food NOW by climbing onto the table and throwing everything off.

I kept Dante home from school today because of his yucky cold. While I was feeding Leif Dante decided to climb up into his chair. Thankfully Amelia noticed and served him a bowl of applesauce. She really can be very helpful, she just overdoes it every now and then.

We decided to have a "Little Bear"marathon today since Amelia and Micah also have yucky colds. They watched and learned about caterpillars, butterflies, and more while I made a batch of laundry soap, did two loads, put dinner in the crockpot, and made a chocolate chip pie.

The videos are done and Amelia is currently at the table directing Micah and Sunny in letter writing, she is having them write their names. I think I am the housekeeper and she is the schoolteacher! At least that means I was the one to lick the batter bowl while she was busy saying "ok, let me help" to Sunny!

We are blessed!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Are we there yet?

I am not sure where "there" is, but this last week has been sooo long I feel like I should have gotten somewhere by now.

I always pictured homeschooling as so calm and structured, with devotions every morning, lots of school work being accomplished, and the occasional fun and educational gathering or field trip with other families.

Not this year!

Mornings are nutty, but once Dante is off to school things are calmer here. Lately though there have been a lot of appointments and running around. Amelia needed blood drawn, Micah and Amelia each had a dental cleaning, Roxanne needed the vet, and Nikita has been going to do stable chores every morning to make up for her upcoming trip. Thankfully Nana and Poppy have been driving her there, but it is still a disruption to our mornings and is effecting her schoolwork.

Despite the lack of time sitting at the table practicing handwriting, we have gotten a lot of informal schooling done. The girls love setting the table and counting out place settings, Amelia helps with the pony and goat chores, and Signing Time is always available to teach them signs and increase vocabulary.

And Micah is a cub scout now! Monday I was so far behind that I paid Alexander to take Micah to his den meeting. Micah absolutely loves it. Zachary even walked him up to Nana and Poppy's to sell them some popcorn for the fundraiser. He is so cute in his uniform. (Still missing our camera so no photos!)

Sadly, I returned to work at Cracker Barrel yesterday, ending 5 months of leave. It was Leif's first time ever having to take a bottle, and he did not appreciate it. He is such a good baby though, Jamie reported that instead of crying too much he fell asleep after struggling through just one ounce of mommy milk from a bottle. He was hungry when he woke up at midnight though!

When I slow down to think about it, our busyness has not been bad, but a sign of how God has blessed us. We have good medical insurance for all the specialist appointments, we have a great dentist for the little ones nearby, we are able to go on fun field trips (Nana went with us to Westview Creamery on Wednesday), and the teens are willing to volunteer their time to help others. And I have an employer that let me come back after five months off! Unfortunately these days whenever I slow down enough to appreciate these things I usually fall asleep...until Leif decides it is time to nurse again.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Not the best birthday

Today ends "Birthday Week-ish" in our house. Last Sunday the 3rd was Sunny's 9th birthday, Wednesday the 6th was Amelia's 7th Gotcha Day Anniversary, Friday the 8th was my ** birthday, Saturday the 9th was "Leif Ericson Day" (Baby Leif's namesake), and today is the birthday of my brother Jim, and of Dante.

Dante did not appreciate being dragged out of bed at 6am on his birthday. At 7am Zachary, Amelia, Dante, Leif and I left for our 1 hour and 13 minute drive to Dante's appointment in Watertown. At 9:15 we arrived there. Oh how I love the drive in the morning traffic towards Boston.

This morning was Dante's second evaluation at the Low Vision Clinic at Perkin's School for the Blind. Dante was pretty good, for a little while. He really does not like the eyedrops, and after awhile began to show some resistance to the exam. Thankfully I had my second son along (I am not supposed to mention Zachary's name on the blog), and he and I took turns holding Dante and Leif. Amelia was in charge of distracting Dante for the interns so he would look in the right direction.

Dante is nearsighted, and has astigmatism. When I asked Dr. Kran where he recommends we go for an optician he suggested Waltham Children's Hospital, while acknowledging it is only 15 minutes from the clinic but over an hour from our house. Well, in the Lord's impeccable timing it turns out Dante has an Augmentive Communications appt at that very place coming up on November 5th.

So the kids and I hopped in the van and drove over to order Dante some spectacles. This time he made it abundantly clear that he had no desire to try on frames. The optician and I were able to overrule his protests, and we will pick up his glasses (hopefully!) on November 5th.

Thankfully, all was forgiven when Amelia fed Dante a Happy Meal while I drove home! Maybe his 5th birthday is turning out pretty good after all....chicken nuggets, french fries, no school and therapies, plus a nice long nap when we arrived home.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Leif does not know...

Leif does not know that his big sister Amelia has Down Syndrome. He does not know how many people think she is odd, or how many strange looks she gets from other children. Leif does not know that she is the girl with Down Syndrome the Lindsays adopted, instead of Jamie and Kelly's daughter.

Leif does know that when his big sister Amelia holds him on her lap he feels secure and loved. He knows that she sings beautiful songs to him. He hears Amelia say "Awww Leif honey honey" when he cries, and he calms when she pats his back. Leif knows she has a beautiful smile, and he gives her one in return. When he is hungry, his Amelia makes sure that I know he needs "Mommy milk". Leif knows that she will keep his musical toys playing for him, since at 3 months he has not quite yet figured out his hands.

Leif adores Amelia.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Another Blessing!

Two years ago Dante participated in therapy riding. Unfortunately when he turned three we had to stop, since insurance no longer covered it when he turned three, and we could not afford the cost ourselves. I have wished many times the little ones could ride, for strength and for confidence.

Since that time Nikita has discovered her love of horses, and her many trips to the 4-H stables also caused Amelia and Micah to enjoy time with horses. I suggested to Nikita recently that we pray for someone to give us a shetland pony. I certainly could not afford therapy for 4 children if I could not afford it for 1! It seemed that owning a pony was the only way to provide riding time for the children.

In her web wanderings Nikita came upon a pony that was being given away. Roxanne is a 20 year old shetland pony who is partially blind and needed a new home. Her owners decided we would be a good home, and a friend helped us find transportation. And Roxanne moved in this past Saturday!!
This photo is the one Nikita first saw of her.

Roxanne is settling in well, and the goats welcomed her into their enclosure. Jamie and the teens spent Saturday doubling the size of it, giving them more than 2000 square feet to roam! The triplets are thrilled; they have enjoyed grooming her and learning safety awareness around her.

We couldn't have found a more gently pony for our family.
God is good!

Friday, October 1, 2010

It's 5AM, Do you know where Micah is?

Jamie is up at 5AM every week day-- one morning this week he got up and was about to head up to the shower when he noticed Micah. Sitting at the table. Eating peanut butter. In the dark. At 5 in the morning!?!?

Maybe it is time for a motion detector in his bedroom doorway?