Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Everybody's Getting Smart Around Here

School started at our house this week.
Kelly is off to college and is doing her best to negotiate public transportation from our house to classes and back each day. I think the classes are easier than the bus schedule.
Two are off to public school, one for the last year and one for the very first time. Kindergarten is adorable, complete with a Polly Pocket book bag/Dora the Explora lunch box and a little name tag with a picture of a racoon or something and her teacher's name. David is a senior and that's wonderful too although his book bag is much less pink and he isn't required to nap but just nods off in his after lunch classes.
There are four kids homeschooling this year and our first two days have been just about perfect.
Grace has also drifted off to sleep a few times during the day but she swears it's the Tylenol 3 for pain relief from the surgery and "but it's not because your'e a boring teacher or what your teaching is boring, Mom, really".

James has kept our two year old amused while we school and has apparently been giving him piano lessons as well. The little guy also read a few magazines to keep busy while we did math. It looks messy but I think he was just tearing out a few recipes from Martha Stewart Living that he thought the family might enjoy.

Does this mean summer is over?

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

They Say It's Your Birthday

With all the craziness around here, it's not a good time for anyone to get a lot of attention but Ashley managed to stretch her birthday celebration out for a few days. It was hard to ignore her as she randomly squeezed (too tightly and wouldn't let go till you shook her off) people all last week and said, "I'm going to be 15!!!!" The sisters and families came out for a celebration a few days before her birthday, there were around 20 teens here for a pool party and she scored a trip to the local Cone Zone on her "real" day. Ashley, you are worth celebrating!! We love you.

Saturday, 25 August 2007


I ordered a few books about Autism from Amazon this week and realized that what I don't know about this disorder could fill both books complete with foot-notes.
What I do know about our little guy is:

*Never dress our unpotty trained 2 year old in a two piece outfit or you will find him naked and must then go search for the puddle.
*He has a very different idea of what makes a toy fun than Mattel does.
*Big parties are not his idea of a good time.
*His anger is frustration.
*He needs and wants our kisses and love even when his body says, "NO!"
*I need patience and patience and patience and a sense of humor and a good night sleep.

One of the books is "1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders." I'm thinking it's going to tell me to hold on for the ride!

Friday, 24 August 2007

Plartly Cloudy with a few Showers

Grace and I have spent most days this week at Children's Hospital training to do her dialysis. There are lots of machines and tubes and sterile stuff and a few times I could hear the old neurons in my brain groaning as they tried to remember everything being explained. Mid-week they discovered a problem as they tried to hook Grace up and actually run a cycle through. After many x-rays and doctor discussions they have determined that her catheter has gotten displaced and is up against her abdominal wall, not allowing it to work at all. No one knows for sure how this happened, but those close to her have favored the "back flip off the diving board" as the culprit. Apparently most people with a kidney function of 12% are usually not inclined to such antics. The decision was made that Grace would go back into surgery on Monday to try and turn the catheter around. She took the news hard. She knows God has a plan for her but wishes it didn't involve another set of scars on her body.
On the home front, our two year old is settling in and has begun to reward us all with huge hugs and smiles all day long. It's difficult to feel gloomy about anything when he wraps himself around you and giggles in your ear!

Sunday, 19 August 2007

It's Starting to Smell Like School In the Morning

The signs are all pointing to the fact that summer is coming to an end but I'm having a hard time believing it. The weather's been a lot cooler but it must be a mistake. There's so much more to do. Stinks.
Tomorrow Grace and I head to Children's Hospital in D.C. to start training for dialysis. We train all week and start the real thing on Friday. How hard can it be? We plan on acting really smart so we can finish early each day. My husband will be handling the home front while we're gone and apparently is a little apprehensive about it. Read his amusing thoughts on that here.
Our new little guy is doing better each day and I thought at one point this afternoon, "This isn't so bad." That's huge. Our pastor's wife prayed over him today and I'm anticipating Great Things!

Friday, 17 August 2007

2 Boys and a Baby

Life as we knew it is gone. Having little ones here and especially one with such needs has required adjustments and some sacrifice on all our parts. Before we say "yes" to taking any new kids we have a family meeting and ask each person in the family to pray about it and decided if it's something they feel our family is called to do. The ministry really and truly belongs to all of us. Yesterday the brothers met the challenge head on.
Steven was getting off work at 7:30 and with the rest of the family in New England it was left to me to come pick him up with the little guys in the car. We waited for a half hour and he still wasn't close to getting off. A half hour is way way too long for these guys in their car seats and I had to go in and tell Steven I was going home and would get back to him somehow. He called home at 9:00 and waited patiently while I found a sitter and drove back out to get him. He said, "It's fine mom, really."
David came home from work at midnight and discovered the little guy crying in bed and banging his head on the crib. He took him downstairs, barricaded the steps and slept with him all night so I could get my sleep.
I'm sure both boys will do something annoying today but I'll probably let it slide. Thanks brothers!!

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

While You Were Gone

My husband, four of our daughters and one granddaughter left yesterday to visit relatives in New England. James always has a wonderful time with his cousin Tony and Auntie Weez and he's been looking forward to this trip all summer. They are sailing on Tony's sailboat and eating Auntie Weez's specialties. I never had macaroni and cheese with tomatoes until she made them for us years ago.
I decided to stay home with the two new kids to help the little guy settle into a routine here. He doesn't do well at all with changes. That's an understatement. He does HORRIBLE with changes and a trip like that would be way too much on him. I've found I have to transition from one activity to another very slowly to help him stay relaxed. He signed "please" this morning for another cookie instead of slamming his head on the floor. Progress!! Today has actually been not a terrible day and his head banging/frustration occurred much less. His sister has been delightful company as only a five year old little girl can be. She loves castles and princesses, snuggling in bed reading stories and painting toenails. Here I go falling in love again!

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Oh The Thrill

Stephen has been working at Kentucky Fried Chicken for about a year and a half now and gets quite a few hours. He's worked the line, drive through, registers and clean up and his uniform is permanently chicken stinkin. Awhile back he opened a bank account and deposits most of his money with the exception of the purchase of a few video games or gallon gulps of soda. (Both are disgusting but he's 17) He's accumulated a nice size pile of money. A few days ago we all went to the opening of a GameStop in our town - not my idea- and Steven wanted to get three games and two controllers (to replace the ones that Troy had destroyed while he lived here. Troy believed that if you didn't win you should throw the controller to the floor. At least it made him feel better about losing.) Steven hadn't brought his debt card and James said he would lend him the money till we got home. Nobody likes to write checks and pay bills but this was Steven's first ever. After a short "how to" lesson, he presented us with his perfectly written check and a huge, very proud of his self grin. Just wait, real life will wipe that smile off your face!

Sunday, 12 August 2007

By a Thread

Our new little guy has been hard. He is autistic; can't speak at all and bangs his head on floors and walls in frustration. If you try to stop him he hits and bites himself. Apparently he at some time wore a helmet to protect his head but it didn't come with him. He's also a dwarf and is tiny and adorable. Slowly as he's been getting used to us he has calmed down a little and the head banging today has been minimal. It breaks my heart to see him so upset and hurting. He has tiny moments when he looks at us and smiles and today we even got some hugs. Last night I began worrying about how I would homeschool and take care of this little one at the same time. It seemed impossible. This morning in my quiet time the first verse I read was Psalms 41:1, "Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble." I don't know how I'll be able to take care of him but for now I'm just going to hang on to that promise.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

It's a Boy/Girl

Yesterday our family grew as we welcomed two more into the zoo, I mean family. The little guy is two and his sister is five (which totally blows my whole, "nothing but teenagers policy".) I had to go to Target and buy a diaper bag and wipes and sippy cups and other baby stuff. Grace and Ashley kept squeezing each other screaming, "We have a baby!". Hope this means he continues to be "their" baby when he needs a diaper change. The first night and day went fairly well.... however when telling the five year old a bed time story about a beautiful castle with a King and Queen and their daughter the Princess who had a pony and 3 dogs she said, "Excuse me, but there are no dogs in fairy tales." Other then the dog faux pas I'm doing okay.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Get Down with the Spunky

Despite the hot hot weather, people around here are getting Spunky.

David got a job at
at California Tortilla ( to pay off his huge debt from the infamous Big Red killing), and his name tag says "Spunky employee, David". (Yes, nsremom, click on the picture and read his name tag!) He beat out numerous other teens competing for the job by smiling alot, getting there really early for the interview and just generally displaying a spunky attitude. David has very little reason to feel spunky these days but puts on a good show.

Grace has 13 days left before she starts dialysis and is packing in everything she can before then. Her married sister, Aaliyah, had her over for the week-end and she swam and stayed up late watching movies and had a great time. We have two camping trips and a visit to New England scheduled before "D" day. Grace has always been spunky and this is no exception.

Kelly, our very timid 19 year old daughter took public transportation alone for the first time in her life to the next town over to take placement tests for college. She was scared on the bus, got lost walking from the bus to the college and was crying and shaking when she arrived..but she did it! That fact that Kelly is going to college at all is spunk beyond imagination.

All these spunky people are wearing me out.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Giving and Taking

Although teen age boys can, on the one hand be expensive, (as in wrecking your $30,000 car) they have some value as well. You can send them to do dangerous and risky things, as they believe that they know everything and nothing can hurt them. Which is why we send just these very people off to war. This came into good use, when upon our return from France we noted that a piece of trim had come off the very high, very top of the point of our roof. When my husband asked David and Steven to fix it they got this "yippy-yea" look in their eyes and set out to gather ladders. James carefully explained to them how to do it and went over safety procedures with them. After he stopped talking, they proceeded to do it their way. My nurturing side got a little concerned, but my husband assured me with, "I won't break your boy."
He didn't and the roof got fixed and it saved my husband's knees from climbing up and down and

David felt a little better that he could help out and it didn't decrease his grounding by a single day.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Easy Come - Easy Go

It is with deep sorrow that I tell you that Big Red is dead. David's little accident, unfortunately, killed her. I really couldn't believe the news when the insurance adjuster pronounced her "totaled". It was like losing a member of the family and what about my blog header that took me two days to design and my blog name.......
Well, you get over a car real quick when you can't get anywhere and Big Red has been replaced. It's BIG and it's not Red. Here's our new...White Boy.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

B is for Botulism

Tomorrow I'll have some rather sad news to write about but today I'll just tell you something alarming I've discovered about myself. I have no fear of non refrigeration. If you went right now and looked inside your refrigerator I know you'll have at least 13 items that say, "refrigerate after opening." And this is the alarming part....I've eaten most of them after they've sat out for say, a whole night. I'll find a food item sitting out in the morning and think, "That doesn't look bad" and then I'll eat it. I haven't ever died or gotten remotely sick from this. Now, I'm not talking a mayonnaise sandwich sitting out at a hot fly infested picnic all day, but a piece of pizza or a hot dog left in the microwave overnight I've eaten. Because of the apparent no ill effect, I've come to question the whole importance of refrigeration panic. I don't plan to expand on this theory, but it does make me wonder. And in case I've invited you over for lunch before and now you feel a little sick about it, I should tell you that I've never served non refrigerated food to anyone else and I never eat food with green on it except for hot dog rolls that you discover have just the tiniest spots on them right before you serve dinner and you don't have any others and everyones really hungry. I sometimes am sceptical about the whole germ deal, but that's been proven by Louis Pasteur and other scientist of note, so I'll think that over some more before stating an opinion.