Saturday, November 15, 2008

The end of the rainbow.

Today, saturday, we normally have soccer games but because of the rain they were cancelled. Instead we went to a model airplane show (my dad flies model planes) to benefit toys for tots.

Surprisingly the weather started out fine...warm and partly cloudy. All of a sudden we saw dark clouds moving in. We brought umbrellas so we were not worried. We had a few stray showers off and on and then we had a nice little downpour for about 20 minutes. After the clouds moved out we looked out over the field and saw a rainbow forming.

This was no ordinary rainbow. I have never in my life seen such a rainbow. It was right in the middle of the field, low to the ground and so close if i had run about 1/4 mile into the field I could have touched it. I have never seen the end of a rainbow, much less BOTH ends. End to end a perfectly formed rainbow.

What a symbol of God's glorious creation. What a wonderful reminder of the beauty and blessings that can come after a storm. As I think about the storms that I have come through and the ones I am currently in, I am reminded that God has always left a rainbow in its wake and will continue to do so as long as I trust in him.

Ahhh... the things kids say!

Sometimes my kids just tickle me with the things they say and two of them came up today so i thought i would share. I am compiling a list of cute things or words that the children have said through the years for my website but these were just too cute.

We were driving in the car today and William and his sister Caity were having a conversation about something. I could not hear all they were talking about but all of a sudden I heard, in a quiet voice (unusual for William), "hey Caity...did you know that boys are made of dog tails and girls are made of sugary things?" I just about died it was so cute.

Elijah has a thing about shoes. When he is tired he likes to take them off when he is in his car seat. He says "mommy shoes off please" and I take his shoes off. Then he says "mommy socks off please" and I take his socks off. Then he says "mommy feet off please." Every time he says that I just crack up. the first time he said, he could not understand why his feet did not come off. Now he knows it is a joke, it it still cracks me up.

Friday, November 14, 2008

They grow up so fast!!

For those of you who do not have children, it may be impossible to understand the immense feelings that come with having children. Those of you who have precious little ones will understand exactly how I feel. The joys are so numerous I can not even begin to count and they come everyday. There are also those times I feel so sad. Sad because maybe they are growing up and not needing me quite as much, sad because they are having problems with schoolwork and they are getting frustrated because they just don't get it, sad that one of them is having problems with a friend who is not being kind and maybe sad because they are being disciplined and learning a difficult lesson. But behind any of these emotions is love and it helps me understand (at least partly) the joys and sadness that God feels when he looks at us.

We had the pleasure of going camping a few weeks ago. It was FREEZING!! In the 30s at night, but we had fun. The kids had a blast running around in the woods and I had a great time snuggling with them in the tent and reading a couple of books. It was a great time to experience the beauty of God's creation together. We even got to take a field trip to Kerr Damn (ever the mind set of a homeschooler=). We even got to see a fox and a skunk that came up to our campfire the last night we were there.

As far as the growing and progressing...when you have this many children, keeping up with all the changes is difficult and so many things have happened recently I can not even remember them all (sadly) but here are a few recent changes...

Caity is progressing very quickly in gymnastics and is well on her way to getting to level 4 and becoming able to compete. I am so proud of her...she is becoming quite a young lady. My little Isabella can finally reach the pedals on her bike!!! A milstone for her. She has also finally passed 25 pounds and can wear even some size 3 jeans...yea, we love that force feeding!! She is growing up to be such a young lady. Elijah an Elsie are both potty training (Elijah much more than Elise...quite a surprise to me) and are even off of sippy cups. I think this makes me the saddest because they are really making the transition from baby to "kid". At least mine all still like to snuggle me (well, except William but I guess he doesn't count since he may be autistic). I do not know what I am going to do when one of them says "no mom I do not want to kiss you"...I think I might cry=(

Man I love my kids! Thank you Lord for blessing me!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Everyday blessings

I love bedtime in our house. Although there is usually much protesting from a few, it is a great chance for Jonathan and I to spend quality time with each child as we tuck them in, say prayers, read books, sing songs and give cuddles. I love the way God gives us the little treasures in our everyday life that remind us of how wonderful he is and how much he loves us. No matter how tough the day is or how angry, stressed or anxious I may be at the end of the day, there always seems to be some little event that fills my heart with joy. I love to when I hear that little "I love you mommy" from Elsie, have Isabella reach up and rub my hair, listen to William tell me his favorite part of the day, have Nathaniel tell me some wild story of his, watch Caity's excitement as she tells me about her new gymnastics ability, get a soft little slobbery kiss from Adam or hear Elijah say "lay down with me mommy" heart just melts. These things always remind me how precious life is and how much I take for granted.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Country issues...

Watching the presidential makes me so sad to see the country having trouble. I can not imagine the stress of the people who work on wallstreet and the people trying to clean up this freakin' mess the government has gotten us into. Notice I say GOVERNMENT...not democrats or republicans. I think this just shows us that is both parties are at fault. I really hope we can recover quickly from this. I pray that those with all of their savings trapped up in the stocks and such are kept financially safe. Please our country through this quickly and give the leaders the vision to do what is right.

On to other news...

Yesterday when I went to get Elsie up from her nap...her hand was blue!!! She had put a tiny rubberband around her wrist and couldn't get it off. She could not feel her hand anymore and when I took it off she was in severe pain=( I felt so bad for her...I do not think she will do that anymore. She is so sweet I hate to see her cry...of course she manipulates me with that and uses it to her advantage...she is SO creative!

William went to see his developmental ped today. The last time we were there he had some evaluations done so we got the results. Basically the verdict is...we are not sure. He meets the criteria for autism in some areas but not in others, so he really got no diagnosis today...which I am ok with right now. She kept mentioning the possibility for ADD, oppositional defiant disorder, attachment disorder, etc. I was given a six page report telling me the results of his testing and the findings. It gave a laundary list of "special needs" that he has and accomadations the school is supposed to make for him but NO diagnosis. How can he need so many things but not have anything wrong? I guess the take away message is to watch and wait and see what happens. The only definative diagnosis he has at this point is anxiety disorder and insomnia. They said he also probably has a receptive language delay but needs to be tested by a speech therapist...yet another thing the school is supposed to do for him. So the saga with William continues.

He has only been in public school 3 weeks and I am already frustrated. I do not know if he is going to finish out the year there. He has already picked up negative behaviors and is WAY to tired by the end of the day. He really needs to be home with me. He is already doing his addition and subtraction facts and is learning how to count in school...hmmm...I do not think he is being stimulated enough....but call me crazy!

Caity is doing well...she is moving right along with her math and has almost perfected her handspring.

The rest of the kids are doing well...Elijah is per his usual twice monthly illness.

I am preparing to go to Beumont Texas to do disaster relief sooo... I spent the afternoon at the urgent care because I have had this lump on the side of my neck for like 3 months and wanted to have it checked before I leave town. The doctor said it was not an infection or anything and nothing to be worried about at this point. He said I would be safe to leave town for a that makes me feel better. I really wish that it was not annoying me so much and that my face did not keep going numb...but oh well. At least my dizziness has improved...especially since I have to drive to Beumont.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I have been thinking alot today about alot of things as I do so often and I am just continually in awe of how much God has blessed my life. My family has been through so many valleys and yet God always raises us up onto level ground or sometimes even the mountaintop.

Sometimes I get discouraged about all the appointments I have or all the housework that never seems to get done or all the exercise that I need that I can not seem to fit in...but then I remember where I have been and how far I have come and it all seems worth the struggle.

There are many times during the day where I am hurt because my husband does not understand me. There are times when my pain, muscle spasms, dizziness or problem of the day seem to slow me down...but if there is one thing I have learned through these last few years struggling with a chronic illness it is how important it is to spend time with my children...not making sure they are in the latest activities, experiencing some sort of culture, having playdates with the right friends, wearing the right clothes, having the latest toys or elaborate parties, dragging them around to all the places I want to go...but really treasuring the time I have with them...touching, talking, loving them. I wish every night that the day would never end and that I could spend more time with them.

In some ways I can not express what I feel on the inside...I guess that is true JOY...I can feel it exploding inside of me but can not express it in words or action...I know it is from the Lord because there is no earthy thing that could make me feel this way.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 has been a long time

I started this blog to keep people updated and I have really dropped the ball. Oh has been a LONG summer. So many things have happened, I do not even know where to start.

Me-well, same old same old I guess. Nothing major has happened. I
have had a few flares of symptoms of my "unknown illness" because of the awful heat we have been having. Currently I am having some problems with my balance and dizziness and almost got into an accident 2 days ago because i got so dizzy behind the wheel. JOnathan wont let me drive now. I am also having blurry vision in my left eye (again). I guess it is back to the eye doctor. Otherwise my multiple meds seem to be controlling my other symptoms to a tolerable level. I have finally gotten back into exercising everyday...something I have not been able to do in a while. I was hoping it would make me feel better...more energy and everything, but so far I just feel more weak and tired instead of more energized...oh well, gotta give it time I guess.

Jonathan-having some problems with his leg (for those who do not know he has a spinal cord injury and is partially paralyzed). He had his annuel exam at the VA and got a prothesis to help him keep his foot from dragging and help him not trip so much. He quit his sales job and is currently looking for something new (he wasn't making much money anyway). It has been really nice having him home during the day though. I think otherwise he has been about the same.

Caity-My beautiful butterfly...we started homeschooling in July. I have to teach her year round because she forgets too much over the summer. I think this is going to be a really good year for her. She is doing much better with her focus and controlling some of her behaviors that stem from some of her mental health issues. We have been concentrating on math since she got so behind last year because of her probable learning disability in math. It is amazing that she is spelling and reading at almost the fifth grade level and her math skills are still at between first and second grade. Our primary goal this year is to even out her skills...hopefully we can accomplish that before her next testing in May.

She is continuing with her cheerleading and has now started gymnastics as well which she is truly enjoying and is really challenging her physically (and challenging us financially). She has met some new friends and has really made some progress learning how to control her impulsivity and being a team player.

I have been trying very hard to keep her off medication for her ADD, anxiety, depression, etc. And so far we have managed. We did finally start her on some medication to help with her sleep and I think it has been very benificial. It is amazing the difference in behavior when kids get enough sleep.

William-My intelligent athlete...doing great. Still going through his developmental testing to see if he needs any interventions. He does have a sleep disorder and is being treated for that. He was being homeschooled this summer and did well. He now knows his addition and subtraction facts to 20 and phonics as well as is spelling some words. He begged me to let him go to kindergarten and ride the bus and since I am really working hard to get Caity up to speed, I told him he could go. Now its 2 weeks in and I was a little shocked when he came home and is supposed to learn the ABC song...he is so beyond that. I can not believe there are kendergarteners who do not know their ABCs. My 2 year olds know their ABCs!! So basically school is just a chance for him to work on his social skills and have some fun...which I am OK with for now...we still work on extra skills at home.

He is having a great time playing soccer again and is the star of the team although he has trouble sharing the ball. He is also doing gymnastics now and can not get enough of it. I can truly see him being a gymnast one day. He is working on perfecting his cartwheel and balance beam routine. sweet child of extremes. Health wise...he has been doing more problems from that pesky lymph node. He has bad allergies and is on several meds for that...we finally got all of those symptoms under control and the doctor said that his bad allergies were probably causing all his problems. We found a good combo of meds that works for him. Behavior wise...he (and I) are having issues. He is in therapy now to help us with some of his problems. They have not given us a diagnosis yet. The doctor thought he may have bipolar disorder but I do not think so. His therapist says most likely he has ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) which is treated with behavior modification but can be very frustrating. He is a very sweet and loving boy but can be so trying at times. His therapist says his IQ is very high which could be the cause of some of his problems (too smart for his own good I guess).

I have not started schooling him yet. He is just not ready. We have been working on learning how to write his name and recognize letters but otherwise I just let him get out his energy as much as possible. He is also playing soccer again and is doing much better this year than last. He is much more confident this time and scored 4 goals in his first game. He was so proud!!

Isabella-My supreme princess. Has been doing well. She finally got to 23 pounds and was able to go off her supplements and drop back her GI and rehab visits to 2 times a year. GREAT!! We were so worried that she would end up with a Gtube. We finally had a visit where we did not have to discuss that as an option. She had a small bought of cellulitis and had hernia surgery which went great. Besides some mirilax every now and then she is on no meds. She is doing well and we are praising God for it.

She has learned her ABCs and numbers and is very interested in all things girly!! She has become quite brave physically and is doing more things with her body...I think her increased weight has finally helped her use her body more when she is playing. She is still very sensitive and screams all the time which drives me crazy!! She is desperate to take dance classes but we do not know if we can afford it right now.

Elsie-My headstrong diva. She is so beautiful and her speech is amazing but no-one knows that she can talk. She has some sort of selective mutism and only speaks at home alot of the time. Most of her sunday school teachers do not believe that she can talk. This little girl is so smart, we are going to be in trouble soon. She picks up info like a sponge. She loves to sing, dance and color beautiful pictures. She is a daredevil at play but still likes to be a girly girl. She is absoloutly obsessed with wearing dresses and fancy shoes...she always has shoes on and raids the shoe closet every morning. She even sleeps with them on!! She is already counting to 12, saying her ABCs and knows her shapes and colors. She has taken up the gymnast habits of some her older siblings and loves to do "slips (flips)" off the couch. She is healthy as a horse...definately taking after her father so she never seems to get sick. I am looking forward to watching her grow.

Elijah-The loving enforcer. He is so fun and has a great laugh. He goes around the house enforcing all the rules...lovingly at times...other times forcefully. His speech is coming along. He was supposed to have speech therapy but by the time I was able to get him an eval he was talking better so I did not get him set up for that. We have just been working on it with him at home. He has done really well following his surgeries and his ear tubes, along with allergy medicine has finally relieved alot of his ear and sinus infections and diarrhea (his allergies were even causing diarrhea-who knew=). He still gets sick alot but besides a small abcess on his foot from a boo-boo I do not think he has had any major illnesses this summer. He loves to play football, has learned to count to 3 and is just a wonderful snuggly boy who loves to give hugs and kisses.

Adam-Our little Godzilla. He is still with us and is moving toward reuniting with his parents. We call him Godzilla because he grabs everything he can get his hands on and snatches things away. Plus he is a little clumsy so he falls on top of things alot. He is a sweet boy and has made tremendous progress since his arrival. He is doing speech therapy now and can actually say some words now so he can communicate a little better with us. He is learning how to follow directions and we have been also doing a little "eating therapy"...working on using a fork, drinking from a cup, chewing food instead of swallowing whole, etc. He is doing very well physically. He is very active so he does get alot of injuries but otherwise he is very healthy. I hope when he goes back his parents really use this second chance to love a nurture this child. We do not know when he will go back...I am hoping he is home before the holidays so the family can be together. We pray that God will be with him and his family. make a long story has been pretty good these last few months. We are very busy between doctors, therapists, school, extracarricular activities, church and some other things thrown in there. I have some new pictures to post but right now I need to go to bed.

Monday, May 12, 2008


For any mothers who may be reading this, I hope you had a great mother's day. Mine was pretty good. I always love the gifts that the kids make at church on mother's day and William and Caity are finally at the age where they understand about holidays and can participate on their own with gifts and cards and things...that makes it fun. I actually got a gift from my husband this year (no card, but I guess I can not get greedy). We went out on friday to eat...our family, my parents and my sister with my 2 neice's, my nephew and a friend of theirs. That was quite a meal. There were 5 adults and 11 kids (fortunately 3 were teens). I think we scared our waitress away...needless to say she avaided our table like the plague. We usually have 1 get together in May to celebrate mother's day and my mom's, my sister's and my (10th, 13th and 14th) birthdays as well as my neices and nephews (9th and april 30th) birthdays. I guess my mom did not feel like cleaning her house or having guests this year so we went out.

I think she is having a real hard time since this is her first mother's day without my brother being around (not that he was ever actually home on mother's day). He was killed 1 year ago this week and I think it has been really hard on her. Jamie (his girlfriend who is in jail for causing the accident) orchestrated an elaborate plan to have daisies delivered to her everyday from May 10th to the 17th. She got all of her relatives and friends help her and so far it has worked.

Well, so many things have happened since my last post I can not even remember. I know we survived a tornado, Isabella had surgery and I am sure other things...

I used to love summer...I would wait for its arrival all year...I used to love to spend hours sitting on the beach, baking in the sun and cooling off in the surf. Now I hate summer, I look on its return with forboding...the heat exacerbates all of my symptoms and I feel worse than steals my memory and makes me feel like I am living on a boat in rough seas. One of the reasons I write this blog is to help me remember things that happen in my life, otherwise I am terrified that I will forget everything (the good and the bad).

I will write again soon.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Parties, Doctors and More!

We had a little interuption in our life recently and now that we are settled into a new routine, I can finally post my pictures. March was birthday month for us-we had 4-my dad, Isabella, Elijah and Elsie. We basically celebrate birthdays 3 times a year. January is Caity, William and Nathaniel and then in March and then again in May when we have mine, my mother's, my sister's and mother's day. Jonathan is the oddball in September and now we have Adam's in June. Well, I wanted to do something creative instead of buying a cake. I attempted to make Dora and Diego since the kids are obsessed with them.

I guess they turned out OK-Dora looks orange but I made the mistake of using butter icing which is yellow and changed all of my colors...oh well, I will probably attempt that again. As you can tell, the kids enjoyed them no matter what they looked like=)

As for doctors, I hate going to the doctor. Which is strange coming from someone who was so close to being one. It seems like every time I go I come home with a stack of referrels. Elsie, Elijah and Isabella all had checkups this week. Elsie is doing great-she is my healthy child. Poor Elijah...stuck with enough illness for both of them. Now the doctor thinks he has a speech he is going to be evaluated by ST. I hate that after his surgeries, now he has to go to speech and may be referred to someone to evaluate why he gets sick so much. He is still having recurrent sinus infections and diarrhea even after getting his tubes and nobody knows why. Otherwise Elijah is growing well. Isabella was seen by occupational therapy and now has been referred to Physiatry and a feeding clinic to see if THEY can find out why she has not been growing. She weighed the same at her chekup as she weighed at last years visit (she has actually gained about 900 grams) in the last year but that is not picked up by the pediatrician's scale since she is weighed on a different scale each time. Her other doctor counts every gram as a gain=) In addition to seeing more doctors she now has to have surgery to repair her hernia. I guess when you have this many kids it is always something. Fortunately nothing serious so far.

Well, Adam has been with us now for 4 weeks. I really did want to put pictures up, but realized that this was not the place for me to post his picture so I took them down. I would hate to be the parent and have someone find out my child was in foster care because they stumbled upon my site by accident. It has been great to have him here. He is a pretty laid back child but much like an infant trapped in a toddlers body. He is extremely clumsy (with the scrapes and bruises to prove it) and he spends most of his time exploring and getting into things (just when Elijah and Elsie were getting out of that stage). I spend a lot of time putting out "Adam fires" like when he pulled a gallon size bowl of warm soapy water I was using to clean up with off the counter and on to his head. Needless to say I did not have to give him a bath or mop my kitchen floor that day =)

He has learned quite a bit in his short stay...things that most children learn as to sleep through the night, that the stove is hot and will burn (fortunately only a minor burn), the art of coloring (on paper), and other necessary lessons. He is learning the boundaries and trying to fit in. I am sure he will start standing up for himself soon, especially with Elijah and Elsie who find pleasure in taking his toys away.

He is essentially a wounded child...we do not know from what, but we hope to help him heal in the time he is with us. Those of you who have no experience with children who are what I call "wounded" can not imagine what I mean. There is something very basic that children learn in the first few months of is simply called trust. Most of us with children take it for granted and do not really think about it, it just happens. When a child lives with parents who are consistantly responsive to their needs, the trust develops normally. In children who do not have what they need (or at least not consistantly) in the first few months, that trust does not develop properly. From that time on the child is wounded and although it is usually possible to repair, it is difficult. This is not something that only happens to kids in foster care, it can happen for many reasons to many types of families. A child does not have to be abused or neglected or abandoned to have these problems. I do not believe most people set out to do these things to their children, they just happen. Most of the time it is just from not knowing what to do or being to young or having crappy circumstances or feeling overwhelmed or lots of other reasons.

Trust is what all subsequent development stems from. If the trust is broken, normal emotional and social development will not occur. These children are often seen as "good or easy" because they have learned NOT to rely on others for things. They have never developed trust. Obviously some children who never develop trust of caregivers will lash out or have severe problems, but these children are usually identified. It is the "good" children who may suffer long term problems because no one thinks anything is wrong with them. They are just seen as independent and laid back. We deal with many attachment issues in our family, things that the outside world never sees or would never see as unusual and may have life long consequences for these children unless they are repaired.

This is a big part of what foster parents do. We try to rebuild trust with these children. And no matter how old they are, you always have to start from the beginning. It is hard when the child is 4 years old and never learned trust. Now you have a 4 year old baby-because treating them like a baby (meeting their every need) is hard to do when you are looking at a 4 year old. It is a very long, frustrating process with amazing and rewarding results when it is done correctly.

He did have his first visit with mom and dad. They seem like a nice couple and I felt extremely sad for them when he cried as I handed him over to them. What made it even worse was the lack of tears when he was handed back to me. Mom and dad will get to see him for 1 hour every 2 weeks until the end of May when a plan will be made to let the parents know what needs to be done to get their son back. I hope the family can recover and be reunited. I am praying for the best outcome for everyone. This process is so difficult, not only on the child, but also on the parents, especially the parents who are sincere and truly care about their child, as I sense these parents do. Sometimes we all let life and our own needs take our focus off of what is important and have to pay the price. Unfortunately these parents are paying the price with their son. Lord, I pray that you be with the family through this time and resolution comes quickly.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

An update

Well, I really wanted to wait and post when I had some pictures to upload but I keep forgetting to bring my camera upstairs to the computer so I will post anyway and load some pictures later. Our foster son, Adam, has been with us ten days now. From the little info I can get from the social workers, he will be with us at minimum for a "few" weeks, which means...?...We got a not sent over from mon along with a schedule for how his typical day is and from all accounts it seems like mom was at least attentive and trying to raise her son the right way. It makes me really wonder why he was removed but we will probably never know. Hopefully things will get done that need to get done and he can be re-united with his family. He is a sweet boy, but much more mischiveous than he looks-he has caused many disasters around here since I am not used to a toddler who gets into everything, mine were never this bad at getting into stuff. He has a few problems but is starting to open up and interact with the family somewhat. I guess the next few weeks will tell us more after the court date...I will keep everyone posted. Thanks.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

In for a long night

Well, it is 11:30 and there are so many things I would like to write about, but I am too on edge to do that now. Like has happened on several nights in the not so distant past we recieved a call from social services a few minutes ago asking us to assist them with a child. He is 20 months old and is on his way over to stay for who knows how long. We do not know anything about him but he appears healthy according to the doctors that are looking at him right now and he has been taken from his caregiver. He is still on a bottle (a very bad sign at almost 2 years old). We have the porta-crib out and a nice clean set of clothes. I am sure he will need a bath and probably something to eat when he gets here, otherwise who knows how the night will go. We know God has a plan and I am always excited to see how it works out. Hopefully we will all get some sleep.

Friday, March 7, 2008

It is official!!

Well, now that my blogger is back online I can re-write the post I did that got erased.

I never thought I would be able to say this so soon, but my little Isabella is
officially potty trained!! With all of her sensory problems and such a rocky start I never thought she would have come so far so quickly. She has conquered her fear of the dreaded potty...I am so proud of her. She still needs diapers at night but other than that we are DONE! I can not believe she is done right before her 3rd birthday!! We even went to church for the first time with no diaper bag...WOW how great that feels to get rid of a bag.

Although I am so proud of her it is a little sad that I only have 2 in diapers now and probably not for long. Elsie is already interested in using the potty. The only thing I have to do now is get Isabella on the big potty (she is still terrified of it)...fortunately she is a shrimp (that is why the big one looks like a giant to her, her head is right in line with the bowl) and still fits nicely on her tiny potty, but hopefully that will not last long...if we can ever get her to grow EVER.

On to the next task...=)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

My little perfectionist

Well, my 5 year old William had his checkup this past week. Physically he is perfect. He is hardly ever sick. Developmentally...I guess something is just not right. I was told that he probably has some form of autism as well as sensory integration disorder!! Well, I knew something just wasn't right since he was about 2 when he did not have any language development but now that he is older the doctors can see that it may be more than that. The fact that he is deathly afraid of the bathtub, lines up his toys in matching pairs and by color and size, doesn't sleep more than 6 hours a day, can only have a conversation about television, books or legos, memorizes TV commercials, conversations and cartoon episodes, and all the other things I can not think of right now. I was hoping I would only have 1 special needs child to deal with. I am quickly increasing that number. He has his full developmental evaluation in June so I guess we will find out for sure then.

Up until now his odd behavior has been disruptive but manageable. His homeschooling has been going ok...he is highly verbal and memorizes spoken words with autographic perfection. Most of his schooling has been verbal up until now. He desperately wants to write words and do addition, which he does fine with the computer when he has to recognize things. This week we started on writing. He can write his name which took him a very long time to learn and he still writes it backwards. We started practicing how to write numbers and letters this week since he has been driving me crazy about doing math (he is obsessed with numbers...counts EVERYTHING! and he loves spanish...he is the only spanish speaking white kid on the playgrounds..=).

I do not think he is ready to write. I wrote the numbers out and had him practice. He could not do it PERFECT and it lead to a serious meltdown. I look over and he has paper strewn everywhere...he got a new sheet everytime he messed up one number and had worn down 2 erasers in a matter of minutes. I am now getting afraid of what the rest of his schooling may bring. If things are not perfect it is like the world has ended. Well...I will learn. I think alot of his education will have to focus on spoken instruction, but he will have to write at some point.

Slow and steady wins the race...isn't that what the turtle says...William like turtles...he is kind of like a turtle sometimes I guess (last one to get dressed, last one to finish eating, last one in the car, last one to get buckled), except when it comes to writing. I guess we will have to talk about turtles. I know God will help us find a way...just like he always has before.

Thank you God for giving me my extra-special son=)


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Signs of life!

It has been unseasonably warm here in southeastern Virginia...72 today, 81 tomorrow!! I have been longing for spring and today when passing by the local nursery I noticed some of their white dogwoods are in BLOOM!! I am so excited. I know we will have a dreadful cold spell before spring is really here, but I am giddy about the coming warmer weather...we can actually go outside and have picnics now and grill out again. Warm weather is so much more appreciated when you have several children who get stuck staying inside in the winter and driving their mother INSANE.

There is always a catch however...with the approaching spring I have to remind myself that a Virginia summer is right behind and it can get so HOT here in the summer. With summer comes relapses of my 'illness' that are brought on by heat. This...I do not get excited about.

Oh well, spring is on the way and that is ALWAYS a good thing (as Martha would say).

Monday, February 4, 2008


The last several days I have been doing some surfing on the internet, looking at some homeschooling material and researching some medical information, and I have come across several websites and blogs...mostly by homeschoolers, or people with large families, religious womens sites etc...about how to be a good wife, good homemaker, good homeschooler, good mother etc. Many of them talk about being thrifty and making healthy meals from scratch and buying food from local farmers, or putting together free materials in order to homeschool or how to keep your house spottless or keep up with the on how to stretch a penny and the best way to discipline...oh I could go on and on.

Sometimes I feel like I am the only christian person who lets my kids watch TV and eat fast food. Between making sure my children get the BEST education I can provide, making sure they each have clothes that not only fit them but are CLEAN, and making sure that they have activities that do not involve just me and their siblings or a church group (since I do believe that children should not grow up in a bubble of christianity) I can not keep up. Between soccer, baseball, cheerleading, church activities, homeschooling, taking care of 2 toddlers, dealing with doctors appointments, therapy appoinments and anything else that happens to come am I supposed to make my own bread, make 3 homeade meals a day that are portable, clip coupons, make my own cleaning products, loose weight, grow my own vegatables, scour the planet for vegetarian meal recipies, keep up with my email, raise chickens for eggs, make my own butter, wash my clothes by hand...OK so no-one has exactly told me I should make my own butter, but all the others are suggestions I have gotten or have seen made...

I just do not see how some people do what they do. Don't get me wrong...I do not think that kids should watch tv all day and eat at McDonald's every night, but sometimes TV and fast food do have a place. I do not think that technology should raise our kids and I think there are more important things than cheerleading practice.

What I am trying to say is I try to keep a balance. No my kids are probably not the healthiest kids in the world, nor are they the smartest or the most well versed in the Bible. I know for a fact there are many areas that need improvement but why do I feel like this is what christian-homeschoolers especially are pushing? Why is it important that we raise our children in a vacuum...I personally do not think it is healthy.

I think kids should have an understanding of life, the way it is lived. They should understand the in and to cook, clean, sew, do laundary, how to use money, etc. I also think the should be able to use a computer and operate a telephone. They should be able to change a tire and know when a car needs gas. I think other things are cool like gardening or taking care of animals, making crafts or scrapbooking...I can not possibly teach my children everything they need to know.

I also think kids should be taught the bible, should do devotions and know how to pray and sit through a church service (once they are old enough-4 I think is a good age to start). I think they should be taught biblical morality...whatever way it should be taught.

I think kids should learn how to eat healthy. I think parents should make an effort to feed children appropriately...making sure they get fruits and veggies and protein and milk. I think it is a shame that processed unhealthy food is cheaper and lasts longer than the real thing. We use alot of processed foods I gues like hot dogs and mac and cheese and frozen pizza and then I supplement with the fresh stuff. I think it is completely impractical to think that people should buy local only because it conserves energy or buy organic because it...welll I do not know what that supposedly does. It is too EXPENSIVE! I am not going to buy tofu or some weird protein source because cows and pigs are killed the way they are. There are a lot of people in the world to feed and the way they kill animals for our needs is necessary. I do not think we should terrify our children by telling them horrible stories about where their hamburger came from. I think if people decide to be vegans or pescaterians or whatever it is fine but I do not feel like others should be scrutinized because they choose to feed their children beef of let their kids eat frozen pizza. Most of us grew up on non-organic food and hamburgers and turned out fine. YES we should eat better, yes we should support local farmers, yes we should do a lot of things, but I can not do it all. I do not have the time, energy or money. Sometimes I need to stop by McDonalds and sometimes I need something quick to fix for dinner, does that make me a bad mom?

A word about TV...I love to watch the end of a long day I like to watch my favorite show, I confess. I do not like my kids to watch TV, but I allow them some TV time. The get about 2 hours a day...most days less...some days more. They basically only watch noggin-which has actually taught my 5 year old spanish. Because it is educatoinal and there are very few commercials I let them watch it. My oldest daughter gets to watch about 2 hours of Hanna Montana a week-she loves it. They do play Vsmile and Leapster a few hours a week-if that. The rest of the time they are drawing, playing outside or playing with each other, reading books, etc.

I do not think that I am a bad mom because of any of these things. I think I am doing the best with what God has given me. I think I am teaching my children the right values and how to use their brains and talents. I enjoy spending time with them...I do not want to spend that time making my house spotless or spending all day in the kitchen cooking meals from scratch and keep them in the house like a bunch of recluses because I am afraid I will have to stop at a fast food place.

Well I guess I am done ranting for the night. When all is said and done I think I am doing a pretty good job!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

What a pain!

Well, it has not been a good time for me. I am still having so much pain. I am on 5 new medications, 3 of them pain killers and I seem to get no relief...on a positive note, I do sleep well now=) The doctors have not figured out what is causing me so much pain in my leg but I am going to have an MRI in the near future...yet again. I think I have been on more medications this year than I have in my whole life. I guess I should be thankful that until recently none of my problems have involved pain. My heart truly goes out to all of those chronic pain patients who never seem to get a handle on their pain.

At least the kids are doing better. Elijah is all healed from his surgery and most of them are over their illnesses...of course just in time for a new batch of the cold virus. Just as one thing seems to clear up another always seems to fill in the gap. Now William is getting ready to go through all of his testing for autism. He scored in the mildly autistic range on the test so onto bigger and better things...right! Nathaniel is going to have his lymphnode checked out by a surgeon and Caity is being evaluated for a trial of medication for her ADD...not to mention Isabella constantly being in the category of "well she may need that feeding tube, but lets wait another 3 months." Otherwise the kids are great!! Active as ever and keeping mommy busy.

We are going to have a DVD system installed in the van so that I can keep the kids occupied since they are having to spend increasingly numerous hours in the van with Jonathan now at work most of the day and evening. Between soccer, cheerleading, baseball, dance, music class and church...we are in the van ALOT!

I have also finally decided on my homeschool carriculum-well almost all of it. We are going to do My Father's World for care and then Math-U-See, sign language and Spanish. English will be me...some reading and grammer for Caity and some phonics for William and Nathaniel. Until I find something better I think the reading is the most important thing. Next year is quickly approaching as I begin organizing my supplies. I am probably going to start in the summer, just to ease the transition and gradually build up to full time by the fall.

I am soooo ready for spring...the kids are driving me mad not being able to go outside. I want to go to the zoo and the park and all that great stuff. Of course with warmer weather also comes more frequent relapses and that I am not looking forward to.

Monday, January 21, 2008

WOW, what a week!!

This has been a very difficult week for the Lewis clan. Jonathan has started his new job full time now, he is gone most of the day and does not get home until after the children are in bed. I hate that he misses that time with them. It is also the busiest time of the day for me. All the kids are cranky and I am trying to get dinner done, baths etc.. It usually becomes chaos around 4:30 and is downhill from there. He is also working Saturdays for at least the next few weeks so he is only home 1 day a week. The kids really miss him.

Elijah had surgery on Wednesday on his hand and although it went well, he had the stitches pulled out by Friday...fortunately he has not had to have the stitches replaced, yet. He had to go in the SAME day and have his follow up appointment from his last surgery 3 weeks ago. That was a bad day. We also have several children sick with the stomach virus (it goes through the house quick when you have 6 kids around spreading their germs everywhere=(). Most of them have recovered by now but I spent most of the week cleaning up poop and vomit and doing lots of laundary-it always happens in bed, right after a fresh bath an da new pair of clothes!! Elijah, as usual, is suffering the greatest. Everytime we have a family virus like this everyone gets over it in a couple of days, but for some reason Elijah always seems to be 10 times worse than everyone else. He threw up about 10 times on thursday alone and now can not get rid of the diarhea. He now has a raging yeast infection and can barely walk because he so raw. He is just pitiful=(.

In the midst of all of this Nathaniel has had some swollen lymph nodes in his neck for over 6 months. I finally took him to the doctor this week and they did some blood work which came back abnormal. They want to see him for a recheck on friday and if his blood work is still whacky they are going to send him to the surgeon to have a biopsy done to make sure it is not cancer!!

Caity has been complaining about having urinary problems and I had to take her in today to check it out. The doctor ended up swabbing her throat. She does not have a UTI, like I thought, she has STREP...STREP, she was not even complaining of a sore throat.

In addition to all the problems with the kids being sick, I was in the ER last night due to a flair up of my "unknown illness" and have been having spasms in my hip and thigh that are so bad I can not sleep and sitting is very painful. At least I got some more pain meds to help manage that.

WHEW...I am so glad weeks like this are not commonplace around here...I think I would go insane. I know God will see us through this mini health crisis just like he always does! I think there is a reason why so many large families are followers of Christ. I think without total surrender to him...parents would go INSANE>

Here is to a better week!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Who has time to exercise?

Well, I have been very afraid to exercise ever since I started having all of these neurological problems. My weakness, numbness and lightheadedness seems to come out of the blue. Recently I have been having lots of problems with muscle spasms. I have severe twitching constantly, but sometimes I have certain muscles (recently my right hip and thigh) that will tighten in spams for hours. I have been afraid that exercise will make them worse. Well, being a firm believer that eating well and exercise is good for EVERYONE and has always been good to me before...well when I am actually doing it...I bought an eliptical machine. I have to have something I can do at home with the kids. I am going to try and see if I can do and keep up with it. I am obviously not getting any better by getting fatter. Maybe exercise will help me spend more of my day able to stand and actually get stuff's to exercise!!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Potty time

As this wonderful new year is unfolding, I am trying to institute many new habits. One of them was keeping up with this blog...basically my online journal. So far I am not doing that hot. I am just so tired by the time I get any kind of a break that I just can not seem to do it. I know things will get better as I fall into my new routines. I did want to share (or rather write down for posterity) that Elsie (21 months) just pooped and peed in the potty!!! I know this is not a big deal to most, but she hates diapers and she begged me to take her diaper off tonight. After I did I told her she had to go sit on the potty if she was not going to put a diaper on. She DID. I went around the corner and she was sitting there, going to the bathroom...Isabella (almost 3) wont even do that. I just thought it was a great achievment for her. Well I am sure it will be short lived but I take joy in the good things when they happen.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Starting a new year

Well, 2008 is underway and I feel it is going to be a good year. I have decided to try and do this blog thing since everyone else seems to do it, plus it is a great way to keep family and friends up to date on our super size family.

I have officially decided that I am going to stay home for good and be a mommy, the only other thing I dreamed about as a child next to being a physician. I do not see it as quitting medical school...I have chosen to do something even more important. Quitting is giving up which I have not done. I very easily could finish, but what is the benefit if I do not want to work...just another year or so of debt?? I am such a different person now than the person I was when I started med school that it has lost its priority standing in my life. I have seven higher priorities now...of eternal consequence. I beleive God wants me home for many reasons, not all of which I understand yet. Sometimes I look back and think about how many obstacles I overcame while in school and wonder if God was telling me all along that he had changed my path...maybe I just was not listening. Having 4 operations, adopting 4 children, going through extensive infertility treatments and finally getting pregnant and having my beautiful twins and then to top it off with my brother being killed and my health taking a nose dive...whew!! What do you think...are these signs that I missed...was I following my own desires instead of God's?? I do not know, but I know I am following his plan now. The feelings of greif (I am actually greiving the loss of a dream) will subside as time goes by and I already realize how much joy I was missing before...I am relishing my moments now and watching my kids grow up has been so amazing.

My troubles with my health continue and since I do not have an official diagnosis YET (some have included possible MS, encephalopathy, Rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral neuromuscular hyperexcitability), and none of my treatments seem to have helped, I am just dealing with my symptoms as they come. We will see what the next year brings. God has been so good to us over the year that I really can not complain about some pain and discomfort.

I am currently working on trying to declutter and organize the house for the new year...we have so much JUNK!! Jonathan is going to be starting a job...oooh...he has been a stay at home dad now for a few years and has not worked outside the home since his injury in 1998. Since I will be home alone most of the day now I have to get organized or I will go insane...its alot easier to be disorganized when there are 2 people home most of the time. When you are alone you need all help you can get.

I have also decided to start homeschooling. I have been researching the option for about a year now and have decided to try it for a year. William will be starting kindegarten in the fall and Caity will be in third grade (well, she should be if she passes second-she is having some problems). It is going to be a difficult task with the other 4 running around the house.

Well, unfortunately I am exhausted from the meds I just took for the painful spasms I am having in my hip. I think I am going to have to hit the sac.