Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Hello from the Clanton family!
I am still fighting with this new MAC....I absolutely hate it with my whole heart. It's such a pain in so many ways. Tonight, with help, I figured out how to put pictures on my blog. Not at all easy if you are wondering...way too many steps for me.
We've been busy as usual around here!
All four of the younger ones just went to a new dentist who specializes in kids with special needs. It took me years to get in with this dentist and I am thrilled. We were in a practice that would not even see Selah and really resented me making them see Sam and Sarah. I got a little crazy with a dentist once LOL . If you ever read that I"m in jail- please take it seriously-it'll probably be true!!!!
Sam Sarah and Selah had perfect teeth! No cavities or much build up. This dentist just blessed us so much by actually telling us "thank you" for giving them such good care. I was almost in tears. As a parent of special needs kids, there are so many things you do that no one really sees or thinks about. Brushing teeth is one of those things. It's a pain, neither Sam or Sarah can spit so it's alot of work to really clean their teeth. The nurses work on Selah's mouth care continuously because having a trach, she keeps her mouth slightly open all the time which is awful for her teeth and gums! But to have a doctor pat you on the back like he did, made it all worth while. He told us some horror stories of special needs kids he had seen over the years and that makes him appreciate the ones who do what has to be done daily to avoid issues. Jon and I along with her nurse felt very encouraged by the kind words of that man.
Having to do all of their personal care is taxing now as they are getting older and bigger. It's challenging to be out with them and have to change a diaper. We have to brush their teeth, give them baths, change diapers, dress them, feed them.... when I get physically tired, I always push through because I think "what if our roles were reversed?", I'd want good care by a cheerful person. With our nurses and our respite care worker - they are the same- they care about the kids and want to do the best for them.
Sam and Sarah have started horse therapy. Their teacher is a Physical Therapist which is wonderful. Sarah is going twice a week and Sam goes once a week. We are concentrating on Sarah in the hopes that it will help her to walk.
Let me see if I can explain why hippo therapy is so important for a child with gross motor skill delays.... Sarah can "walk" . I can hold her hands and she will move her feet but they tend to cross and turn. She can also hold a walker and do the same. Some time ago I felt that that kind of therapy - trying to teach her to walk- was really just reinforcing terrible walking habits that did not lead her to really walking. Oh I went along with therapy because I didn't really know what else to do. I hoped it would help but she never really progressed past a certain point. I had thought of hippo therapy but did not have any contacts or way to get it paid for because our insurance would not cover it. Then the little ones became eligible for the Gardiner Scholarship (a Florida based scholarship for homeschooled kids with handicaps) It covers their therapy.
Now to try and explain why this type of therapy is different.... basically a horse's movement mimics the way humans walk. So by Sarah sitting on a horse as it walk, that horse is moving Sarah in the exact way she is supposed to move to walk correctly. It's causing her to react neurologically and physically in a way that using a walker absolutely never ever would. Especially since she is blind, she can "feel" it even though she can not see it.
Sarah is very unique. She has absolutely no cerebral palsy or brain damage. Sam has both yet he can walk. Sarah just has a low IQ and is blind. That's it...no chromosomal abnormalities either unlike Sam. Most professionals are stunned that Sarah can not walk but all attributed it to her first five years of being in an orphanage. We don't know how she was treated in the baby house but she was in an adult mental institution when we got to her and was kept tied to a bed by three little leather straps..... Nothing was being done to help her learn and she missed many important milestone times of brain development.
Sam on the other hand has CP, brain damage and chromosomal abnormalities and yet he can walk. But he had therapy from the beginning and a family working hard with him. We are hoping that Sarah will catch up. She loves physical activity. She absolutely loves being on the horse, she smiles almost the whole time.
This will also be good for Sam in many ways. Although he walks, this will give him more confidence plus it's supervised PE (physical education) . It will address his poor posture and tone. Also he will learn how to follow directions and so many other things.
Ive recently heard of a new therapy place in our area for OT and Speech. We are also on the wait list for ABA therapy (Applied Behavior Therapy). I'm always looking for things to enrich their lives.
She looks like a little horsewoman!
They love the movement but not the horse. Neither of them really care about touching the horse except for the signal "to go" . My kids are anti animal LOL Both of them despise the new rescue kitten. The kitten loves everyone and wants to go to Sarah all the time. Sarah flinches and pulls away. The kitten is so tiny we have to really watch it around the kids, we are afraid one of them will accidentally hurt it. We try and keep it in Shad's room but that kitten has a set of lungs on it! It cries and cries.
This is how my big girl sleeps on my lap :)
Last week was SIX years home for the girls!
This picture was taken at Tampa International Airport on 5/9/12
Sarah was wearing a size 12 months and weighed 19 pounds at 5.5 years old
This picture was taken in our living room on 5/9/18
Sarah is wearing a size 12 girls and weighs 70 pounds!
6 years made a big difference!!
(Yes she got a hair cut today!!!)
Mother's Day 2018
I feel so blessed!
I love this bunch
My Life.... I love them!
Next week Steve leaves for Haiti! Please pray for him and his team. Thank you all for your gifts to him! We were shocked this past Sunday by a large gift given to both of the boys for their mission trips from a reader in Orlando! THANK YOU! They were amazed & encouraged.
Steve is also taking a ton of supplies for the orphanage with him . We have to work on his luggage tomorrow and see how we will fit it all in. I'm lucky I have a friend who is a Crazy coupon lady! she gets me great deals for my various projects. This time we focused on vitamins, toothpaste, band aids and bar soap. It is a great feeling for me to get things together for the children.
As a mom-it makes me extremely nervous for him to fly to another country without us! But I know this experience will be defining for him and also for Shad when he goes to Miami for a week and El Salvador for a week this summer. But it's hard for Mama!
Sam enjoying his lunch!
We've had alot of concerns about Sam this whole year. It started in January when he got a light case of the flu. Since he had had his flu shot- he didn't get really sick but with in a few days his bowels shut down. That ended up in two trips to the hospital and a stay plus several trips to the doctor. He also had a very serious issue with his immune system. Despite our best efforts, he has continued to have some issues.
He also struggles a few times a year with extreme bouts of sadness. During those times he will bit his hands and arms. He went through a terrible time of it back in April. It follows a predictable pattern-there is no rhyme or reason why it happens or what causes him to come out of it.
A few weeks ago he began coming out of it and we were relieved. Then he went into such a lethargic stage that I was convinced that he was dying. He had absolutely no other symptoms- and i called our pediatrician several times to let him know what was going on. It was so scary. He was still eating and drinking but almost like a robot. Nothing made him happy or even sad! He'd just sit beside one of us without interacting.
I tell you what on Mother's Day I woke up with him in my bed, I was afraid for him to be alone, and I could have cried. I took a shower and had to hold in my tears because i was so concerned about him. But there was NO symptoms we could point to.... his bloodwork was perfect, just a few weeks ago cardiology had cleared him and said they no longer needed to follow him, he had just had a multi organ ultrasound study and everything was perfect.... The only thing was he still was not 100% normal in his bowel movements but it wasn't terrible just not normal since he got sick in January. Our pediatrician had put him back on a stool softener and a vegetable based laxative but there were occasions I had to give him enemas. Sam eats a very healthy diet and loves vegetables- any type of bean is his friend so he's never had this issue before!
Anyhow we all got ready for church. I asked for Sam to be mentioned in prayer. My husband prayed for Sam with the other requests of our parishioners. But as the prayer ended a friend of mine spoke up and said that she felt we should have special prayer for Sam. The church came around Sam and prayed for him. And with God as my witness, Sam began to act more like himself from that point on.... We went out to eat and he was interacting with us. It's Tuesday night and he is in bed but these last few days have been wonderful. He's back 90% to the old Sam! We are all paying alot of attention to him and he has his big brother home so I know that helps but I truly believe God heard the prayers for him and gave me a Mother's Day present by helping Sam to reconnect more with us, his toys and to find joy again. Please keep him in your prayers!
Parenting our little ones has its challenges that just break our hearts at times. Before my little ones, I knew that "this world was not my home- I'm only passing by" but now the Hope of Heaven has so much more meaning to me as we face challenges along with our children. I am honored that God has given them to us by birth and adoption to be with them through their lives and to see that they are cared for and loved.
I wish I could be some positive idiot that never worried about the future but it is scary to me. I pray alot. We have things set up as best we could and I'm thankful that we were able to have some things in place for them. But there is only so much we can do now for the future for them. There is just alot of having to trust God for their futures....and for our older boys' futures too. Don't you wish you could protect your kids from everything and make all the important decisions for them? It doesn't quite work out that way....
Well I will try and continue to learn this $#@%&!! MAC! I dread dealing with it!
Monday, April 30, 2018
So I'm still mad at my laptop & still trying to figure out how to use a Mac. It's very annoying! Did I tell you WHY I had to get a new laptop??? A certain young man downloaded a virus while playing a video game during school time..... Yep.....I'm still mad. There was no way to save it and not worth the money to try. But the Mac is set up so securely that it is impossible to do that now for that young man! And his older brother's Mac is set up with this one and his older brother can see everything that is done on this Mac! I still love that young man but I was not happy with him.
Yesterday we had a big day at church. Following the service we had a surprise birthday party for a lady in our church. Our oldest son and some of his friends came which made me happy since they are starting finals this week in college. When we finally got home, Shad heard a cat screaming. He found a tiny kitten who had gotten it's foot caught in a fence. The kitten didn't look old enough to be climbing a fence but he was hanging upside down with one of his legs caught in between two pieces of wood. I held up his body so he wouldn't be under so much strain. It was easy to tell this was a wild kitten! I was pretty sure it was going to tear up my arm. Shad ran and got my phone and we called the Fire Deptarment. They came and had to use a crowbar to get the kitten free. Of course then we were stuck with a kitten! We did ask some neighbors who have some cats and they thought it might be their cat's kitten but were happy for us to take it! The kitten does not know how to eat so we are having to feed it every few hours with a syringe. Shad has been a good kitten daddy.
It amazes me how we find cats to rescue. Even when we were in Ukraine we found kittens at a bus stop that we saved and found homes for them! We are back up to 9 cats..... I find homes for some then I find more.... I am NOT a Cat hoarder- I'm perfectly happy to share the love. If anyone is looking for a little brown/black kitten - you can come and get it!
I'm trying to post the kitten's picture but having technical difficulties !
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Sitting on the back porch as a storm rolls in is a balm to my soul. Right now it's pouring and our crazy Lab puppy is gleefully running around the yard trying to catch the rain in his mouth. Everything is green and fresh. The wind is blowing and the rain is falling on the metal roof. Dusk is falling. It really doesn't get any better than this.....
You know what one of my greatest worries is? That in heaven there will be no rain and no night! I can not imagine an eternity without rain or night time. I love both, and if I'm lucky enough to get a rainy night the just fills my cup up:). All those old songs about heaven talk about unclouded days and no nights and no storm clouds... maybe the would make some folks happy but not me! Of course I love cloudless blue skies too - I'm actually pretty easy to please about the weather but my favorite time is when it rains. And I love the night...the night out in the country is very quiet, usually the frogs and crickets are going to town making their noise but that's ok with me.
I do love to see the night sky on a clear night. I remember as a teen going from my home town to an even smaller town about 25 miles away, where my best friend's dad owned the movie theater. I'd help out at the concession stand with my friend. Sometimes on the ride home, on dark country roads, her crazy brother would turn off the car's headlights. We'd stick our heads out of the windows and stare up at the stars. Life was so good. I miss that (and for the record I'd absolutely kill one of my boys if they did that!!!! Somehow we are all still alive and well in our 50's and 60's -how the heck can the be? LOL. We all got together recently and I thought about all the foolishness that we all participated in throughout our earlier years LOL. I was only involved in a little bit for the record! Sadly! If I had life to do over I'd probably be more involved!)
I'm seriously considering booking a trip for me and my husband to a campground in the middle of the Everglades. It's supposed to be one of the best places to see stars in all of the Southeast. Of course I'm sure the mosquitoes would be big enough to carry us away! I hate putting on spray- every single brand I've tried has made me nauseous. I've tried everything including natural junk-obviously I have some kind of allergy. Anyhow even if it's rainy, I figure we'd enjoy being so far out in the woods.
So night is falling, the crazy Lab is still running in the rain. We've had for over a month-I guess she is actually going to be a keeper although after she destroyed our front porch screen door and all my plants I had found a home for her! But at the last minute I decided to keep her. The screen door was fixed and all my plants were too for the most part. She absolutely loves to run in our yard. Evidently the person who had her lived in an apartment-I can not imagine her in an apartment. She is a big goofy happy dog. But she has so much energy it's crazy. She is really doing good at being trained. Most of the time she obeys me. She tries so hard to become friends with the cats, it's hysterical to watch. They do not like her, although three of them are learning to tolerate her. She is an outdoor dog, she has her own doghouse under our carport right by Selah's window. We have a fenced in yard including security cameras so she is safe. I'm not a "big dog in the house person" especially as my little ones can't see nor do they understand boundaries. It would not be safe. Actually all three of the little kids do not like animals at all. I've tried them so many times but they just do not care for them. It's crazy that our kids don't like animals as they've been exposed to them so much. Anyhow I would not risk their safety or the dog's safety-I can't alway have my eyes on everyone every second. Shad usually takes her jogging every day and once Steve is home from college he will too. That'll help her tame some energy. She's a good dog with a sweet personality.
So I got a new computer, a MAC and I'm just trying to learn it. My son assures me I'll evidently love it...not so sure about that. My old computer had traveled all over the world with me. It was more than 6 years old. I got it for $200 on a special sale before we went to Ukraine so I guess I got my money out of it and then some!
Well I'm going to go and enjoy the rest of this nice rainy night. Hope the weather is nice where you are at tonight!
Monday, March 26, 2018
This summer is going to be a busy one for our family! Our two oldest boys are going on mission trips! I may need a prescription for Valium or at least be praying A LOT!
Steve is going to Haiti with Southeastern University in May. They will be doing orphan ministry in several orphanages. One of the orphanages is for very special needs kids. He is looking forward to this trip because he knows what a little extra attention can do for children. He is hoping to take his video camera (a real professional one) and do some promos for the ministries he will be assisting. He hopes to be able to show the supporters of the ministry the needs of the kids and what their giving does to help them.. So he will be using his skills as a videographer & the skills he has learned with his little sisters. The rest of the summer he is hoping to work full time. Steve will be graduating in December- a semester early!!!
In July Shad will be going to El Salvador on a missions trip. He will be working with career missionaries from our denomination. He will be assisting in door to door and street ministry. This is something he does on a regular basis at home. Since January we have been going door to door in our neighborhood and giving out packets and inviting people to church. Shad is very bold and never gives up (even when I want to lol) Our neighborhood is rural so we have made it to about 400 homes thus far. That's probably equal to 20 miles worth of walking!!! Recently we drove through a more suburban area of our small town and Shad said with great awe in his voice "it would be so easy to do door to door here- there are no fences and the houses are so close" LOL He also will be going to Miami Fl for a week outreach to the homeless and will be doing street ministry. It's cool to me because when I was in college I spent one spring break week in Miami doing street outreach! I think he will even be staying at the same church we stayed at! Shad also will be going to youth camp for a week. He is going to be a world traveler this summer!
Often I've wondered how effective mission trips are - but I know from my own experiences that it is a time for the person who is going to learn more and often (and my case and my husband's and many others) leads to a career path of missions and helping others. Plus you never know how effective and life changing it can be for the ones ministered to. It's eye opening for young people and time and time again I've known of people who committed to a life time of service after going on a trip. As hard as it would be for me not to be physically close to my children in the years to come, I'd be honored if God called one of my boys into ministry/missions work.
So if you'd like to help our boys raise their funds We all would really appreciate it!
Steve has already raised all but $600 for his trip. Shad needs about $1300 for El Salvador and $245 for his Miami trip. If you are interested in giving please send a check to
7060 Berry Road
Zephyrhills Florida 33540
Mark on it clearly that it is for their trip and you can specify which boy if you'd like to.
But above all please pray for our boys. It is not an easy thing for me to send my kids off believe me!!! Please pray for their protection as well as the teams they will work with.
Thank you all!!!
Monday, March 19, 2018
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Look on who made it back to church! this was the first time he'd been out of the house except to go to the doctor for 7 weeks! He still is having issues getting his tummy back in order and is on some stool softener and laxatives. We are working hard on decreasing the amount of meds as we know his belly needs to get back to work on it's own.
The other night Shad and I were out walking/running the new dog...pictures to come... and I took these beautiful pictures. It was amazing!
What else was amazing is one of my neighbors saw me and then sent me a message the next day to tell me that she had spotted a Florida panther down by the river less than a mile from my house and only about a quarter mile from where I was walking!!!! WOW! At least I enjoyed the night!!!
Oh Lord! Am I crazy or what? Last week I got a call about this girl. She is a refugee from Puerto Rico. She got sent here and a lady adopted her. The lady lived in an apartment and the dog is not an apartment dog! LOL So I agreed to take her after talking with my husband. He was gung ho about her but you know who does the hard work right? It took a few days for us to come up with a name but we named her Molly.
Molly is a handful to say the least but she is sweet. She's learning commands already. We were told she only knew Spanish LOL She is crate trained which is wonderful. We have a huge crate that she sleeps in under our car port. We are planning on transitioning her to a doghouse but want to make sure she won't go out the fence at night. She hasn't tried to dig or jump the fence which is good. Our Lab Brownie was a wonderful dog but she loved to dig! Molly is way too excited to be around the little kids yet. We are really working on her not jumping up. She has scratched all of us and knocked me down once.
I need to take some videos of her and the cats-they have firmly put her in her place :)
We have tried several times to find a dog for our family. We had Brownie for many years, she was 16 years old when she died. We just have not been successful with dogs since then. We have been able to find homes for the dogs that didn't work out with our family thankfully. It takes a special dog to be around my little ones. I think Molly may work out but she is still a puppy- a 50 pound strong excited puppy .....
Sam and Sarah got a lovely gift from our local Lion's Club yesterday!!!
The Lion's Club gave them a new swing set! It's 8 foot tall and came with 4 swings. We replaced two of the swings with the kids' swings they got for Christmas for now. We are going to put a foot of mulch under the seing set, so it's not quite finished. and that's why the seats look so high.
This swing set will be something they can use well into adult age. Sam and Sarah both crave swinging. - it meets their Vestibular movement needs.
Vestibular ,movement is necessary for us all but especially for kids who are vision impaired.
From the website above
The Power of Vestibular input
Vestibular input (movement and balance) is critical for brain development beginning in utero. Then after birth, it is how we calm infants and also how we make them smile and giggle. We rock them, bounce them, swing them, and sway them. All of this movement is doing a whole lot more than putting them to sleep or making them smile. It is creating a foundation for the brain and development. This need for movement continues throughout life and is especially crucial in the developmental years, but it is essential throughout our lives to support self-regulation.
Key Points on Vestibular Input and How to Make a Difference
Key Points on Vestibular Input and How to Make a Difference
- Everyone should have the opportunity to get up and move every 15 minutes. Even just a quick stretch is beneficial.
- Inverting the head is very powerful and an excellent tool for a quick dose of vestibular input.
- Fifteen minutes of swinging can have a 6-8 hour effect on the brain.
- There are 3 vestibules, all which detect and process different planes and directions of movement: back and forth, side to side, rotary, diagonal, and vertical input. It is important to incorporate all of these planes of movement, but allow rotary input only in controlled doses.
- Vertical vestibular input (bouncing and jumping) is typically the most accepted form of vestibular input and is very regulating and organizing since it also involves a great deal of proprioception.
- Whenever possible, offer options besides sitting in a chair…lying on the floor propped on elbows, standing on a balance board, standing on a BOSU ball, sitting on a ball chair or T-stool, etc.
- Spinning needs to be limited and supervised. This can be very disorganizing for the brain and can cause delayed sensory overload and dysregulation. Monitor spinning and limit to one revolution per second and a maximum of 10 revolutions, then switch directions. This is referring to single point axis spinning.
- Respect a child’s reaction to vestibular input as it can be very powerful and cause a systemic reaction such as nausea, a headache, flushing of the skin, and even a low grade fever. Stop means stop if the child has had enough. Watch closely for signs of sensory overload, especially if the child is unable to verbally communicate.
Thank you Lion's Club! I know Sam and Sarah will have many years of enjoyment on this swing set!!!!! I'll post again when we put the mulch in!