Thursday, November 20, 2014

All about Shad!

Last night we were watching the new season of Duck Dynasty
Thought Shad looked cute with Vermont and Gladys. 

After school today Shad and I went by the new house.  All the workers were gone so I will confess that I climbed the fence to get in with some help from my son:)

Shad is sitting in the living room window eating his after school snack
 Here he is standing in his closet:)  Still eating!

Do you notice his hand hadn't left the bag????
More inside walls are up!!!!! 
Watching the progress is fun!
Well "our" dogs got picked up by animal control.  I was able to track them down today.  The black lab has already been adopted.  The male boxer/pit was on observation till next week since he nipped someone in the neighborhood.  The person I spoke to seem to think he still has a good chance of being adopted, he was not aggressive when he nipped, he was playing with the man but since the dog doesn't have shots, they were afraid of rabies. 
Last weekend there was a puppy that was out at the house but she disappeared before we left.  Some of the guys said they thought she was the other dogs' puppy.  We had really thought of taking her home.  She wasn't out there today either.  We do not need another animal but......
Today I got a ton of paperwork done, that always makes me happy.  It used to be paperwork was so easy for me to get done but nowadays, it just boggles me down  So if I can get things's good!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What Irks Me

Irk -verb means to irritate; annoy.

You know something has been irking me for awhile now.... All these serious blogs about adoption.  Maybe I'm just simplistic but to me adoption vs. natural birth is the same thing when it happens.   Not sure that I can articulate this blog like I want to, maybe I don't have the words....But our "adopted" kids are just as much our kids as our "biological" kids.  I don't mean that in a sloppy sentimental way-it's just they are my kids!

I don't get too boggled down thinking about their "birth parents".  Those "parents" did what they did selfishly.  That's how I look at their abandonments.  I've read a few blogs  lately that got all "misty eyed" thinking of the "birth" parents "sacrifice"....whatever....they sacrificed MY children and subjected them to hunger and horrors.  I realize if the parents had not abandoned them, we would have never adopted them but did the people even care?  I doubt it. 

And these blogs that want to tell the 'truth" about adoption and how "hard" it is.....get over it.  Biological parents go through problems with their biological kids all the time.  As an adoptive parent, you chose to adopt, now be the parent!  I don't want to hear your whining! 

All I can speak about it our adoptions.  The only issue we had was with Shad who is an extremely smart boy.  He was two and right in the middle of the "terrible twos".  He was a trip those first few months but no more so than other "biological" two year old boys.   Sometimes I think people go looking for issues because the child is adopted.  Granted, there can be more things to overcome and I do feel we've had to work harder with Shad but he is also a very smart boy and very confident.  Just those two things together can make a child a bit headstrong.  But it's not necessarily a bad thing. 

The girls' adoption and transition into our home was so sweet and easy.  Because Shad had had some issues, we certainly expected problems with two older girls but there was nothing but two sweet girls who trusted us more ever day and responded quickly to love.  Just like that euphoric feeling after giving birth, I had it to the extreme with Sarah and Selah.  I can remember hating it when they'd take a nap, I wanted to get them up to play with them LOL!  Everything was like a dream, until the accident happened. 

For me adoption has been nothing but a blessing.  Sure my heart grieves over the accident and will for the rest of my life but Selah is still our daughter, still loved and cherished.  Selah and her needs  come first in our family.   So now she is the number one priority  in our family. No decision is made without considering her needs/care first.   Every now and then someone will send me something nasty that some nameless ballless troll has written about us.  There is always some implied idea that adopting the two girls together was what caused the accident.....  the little comment or section will try to imply that we were thing I read took something I wrote and twisted it around to show how overwhelmed I was.  What caused the accident was that my husband stopped the stroller and took his cell phone out of his pocket, turned away from the stroller and the sun so he could see the time on it.  I wrote on this blog that I WISHED I had gotten him a new watch the week before but was too tired/busy and forgot.  I GUESS I should have gone into detail.  THE TRUTH is I was at the store and forgot till I got in the parking lot BUT since I'd just had foot surgery a few days before and my foot was bleeding through the bandage I was just too TIRED to get back on the little cart I was using and go back into Walmart.  It had NOT one thing to do with the adoption!!!!!!!!!!!    I wasn't tired from the adoption, I wasn't tired or stressed by the girls but rather from the two foot surgeries I'd had that summer.   I actually had to have one more foot surgery just the day before we left for NY.....

In fact the accident would have never happened IF I had not had the foot surgeries I am sure.  If I could have walked for a distance I would have gone with Jon OR the whole family would have gone to a nearby mountain park that we love to go to in the Rochester area.  In fact we even discussed going earlier that morning but I did not feel like I could go.   So the root cause of the accident in my opinion was my foot surgery.  The pain kept me from going back in the store and buying another watch and it kept me from enjoying a walk with my family on that fateful morning.  I'm sure some idiotic would say we shouldn't adopted since I had a foot problem...well the problem started about a month after the adoption....sorry I was not forewarned about it. 

Then I read this long discourse on how we should have researched and not used the particular jogging strollers as primary means of transportation of the kids.   Well the jogging stroller was being used for its intended purpose when the accident happened.  The kids were well within the size specified for that store, quite UNDER the height and weight recommendations.   Some idiot said something like we should have had wheelchairs for the kids....  first we wanted to encourage Sam and Selah to walk short distances on their own.  Selah hated to walk-but we certainly would not have been eligible through our insurance for Sam or Selah a wheelchair at that point.  Back then, we mostly carried Sarah unless it was a long distance LIKE a walk in the park.  People are just beyond idiots and beyond jerks!   The thing is if I ever say anything negative or positive anywhere on the internet, I can sign my real name!  Nameless faceless comments are from tiny weird minds....

Again accidents are horrible, but to link an accident with an adoption....just is not right.  If we had no longer wanted Selah- just to be blunt- when the doctor encouraged us to not put in the trach or gtube and just let her go....we could have done that.  She would have quietly died and that would have been the end but we fought and still fight for her life.  We chose to bring her home rather than put her in a nursing home.  I had to spend the summer of 2013 fighting for her to stay home.  We have lived in a tiny house for two years with nurses, therapists and teachers in every nook.  We don't get any compensation from her accident-nor should we.  the accident made our lives so much harder.  It was a wonderful happy easy life before....oh we had doctor appointments, therapy appointments and yes the three little ones needed a lot of care but we knew what we were doing BEFORE we brought the girls home and we knew their needs were manageable at that point. 

Anyhow those are a few things that IRK me that I've been rolling around in my head lately. 

WHEW.....there may be some PMSing going on around here!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Busy Few Days ~Lots of pictures

What a busy few days we've had!  Everything is good, I've just not had time to sit down and write:)

Saturday we had a work day at the new house! The outer walls are all up and most of the rooms have their walls up too.  Even some of the wood that will attach to the siding is up also!

Here is Jon and Shad in the corner of Selah's room Saturday morning
they were working on building a wall

they made and installed the wall between her bathroom and closet

Shad screwed the wall in

He learned how to use a lever


yes this is me nailing.  It took me about an hour to really get it right
The REAL contractors and builders check everything before it is put up.
So we don't have to worry about mistakes

I borrowed the next two pictures from Habitat's FB page
The first is the morning crew

The next is the afternoon crew

We really enjoyed getting to work with the crews and meet so many people.  Shad excelled at working on the house.  He was hoping he could go out there on Monday or Tuesday (since he had off from school) to work but it's been rainy and cold)  Shad's friends came in the afternoon to work and at that point he was building his closet wall.  He did a small area of it by himself with his friends.  One became uninterested and walked away and Shad ordered him "Come back here and work"  and his friend came back and they finished it.  I was off to the side cracking up at Shad!  He has learned from me LOL!!!

Here are some pictures from Sunday, after church.  Both Selah and her nurse Rose were looking so pretty



Yesterday was a stormy day and I think we were all sleepy.  Sarah sat with me and took two naps!  I almost got worried since she rarely naps!  But boy do I love to snuggle her!!!!

then this was from last night after supper.  I guess I filled them up!  Both of them asleep!!!

Well it may hit the freezing mark tonight, here in Florida!  I've got Taco Chili and regular chili in the crock pot cooking.  It's cold, windy and cloudy outside.  Hope you all had a good weekend, we did, just BUSY and hope your week is going good!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

It's Thursday!

I took this picture yesterday, isn't it funny?  Kinda looks like they were all checking their phones or one friend suggested...praying:)   Nope Steve had swung them to sleep as I cooked supper.  They woke up once I said the food was ready!  It's easy to tell how much they like to swing as the grass is worn away :)  Sam and Sarah love swinging in their toddler swings, with them being small for their age they still fit but barely.  Both of them could swing for hours every day but can't sit on a normal swing very well.  Neither of them can hold themselves that long and I just don't trust that they wouldn't fall and really hurt themselves.  We've had therapists in the past that really wanted to push Sam and I resisted as I felt IF he felt secure, he'd WANT to do it.  We are planning on buying them each a handicapped swing once we get moved, Selah also.  Selah can't use these because it gives her no head support and she is the biggest of the three.  She usually sits with one of us in the big swing.  However she doesn't care for too much movement.
One thing I've discovered with my kids, once they have the ability to master something, they do it.  A therapist or a parent can waste years trying to force a special needs child to do a certain thing BUT if the ability is not's just not there.  Of course we always try everything with them but there are limits.  If a child can do something, believe me you can not stop them from doing it.  The opposite is true that if they can not do something, you can't make them learn it.  The ability just may not be there. 
It took me a few years before I learned that with Sam.  When he was a baby, he was enrolled in every type of therapy you can think of-at one point he had NINE hours of therapy a week.  That is a lot!  When he was about two, I quit trying to "fix" him.  We stepped away from the massive amounts of therapy and concentrated on ONE major thing at a time.  Around three he began to really walk, not just from one couch to another but all over the house.  During that time we really concentrated on his gross motor skills.  It seemed like he could not focus if we tried to do too much at once.  We still did all the basic therapies but maybe once a week instead of three times a week. 
With the girls, I'm really pushing Sarah right now.  She  gets most of the services I'd like for her to get, Vision, General Education, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech, just not as many hours in some as I would like for her to get. 
Selah gets Vision, General Education, Physical Therapy and Brain Trauma Therapy.  We can not get OT or Speech through the school system for her. 
Sam gets Vision and General Education only.  He does not qualify for PT or OT through the school system or through our private insurance anymore.  He meets the basic standards for his age.  He has just had a "leap" in his understanding.  He's learned to give kisses (in his way) and to pick up his toys (with a little help)  Once we get moved and settled, my goal is to work with him to get potty trained.  Sam has always had windows where there would be this 'great leap forward" in his understanding.  He still can not speak except for Mama and NO but we can tell him to do things and he totally gets it.  It's cute to see him earnestly picking up his toys and putting them in the toy box or turning on his water machine.  With Sam we go through rituals for bed time and everything is done in the same order, every night and it gives him a feeling of control and knowing what the next step will be.  So his last step before he walks over to his crib is to turn on the "water machine" that gives them a background sound to sleep to.  It's adorable to see him find the turn on button and then walk right to bed!
Sarah doesn't require rituals, she is so easy going but she does know as soon as her teeth are brushed, she is going to bed and doesn't like that being changed.  If her teeth get brushed and we get busy doing something else, she seems a little perturbed.   Sarah's one thing she craves is being held on my lap.  Usually Jon and I watch our pre-recorded news shows at night and she wants to be right up in my lap the whole time.  If our schedule changes or supper runs late or I get busy doing something else, it seems to throw her off a little.  She craves love and gentle touch.  Her favorite thing right now is to touch me- my face, my nose and at times my glasses.  Or she likes me to rub the inside of her palm with my nails.....for hours....and hours....LOL  
Selah LOVES rituals and is quite irritated if her schedule gets mixed up.  Of course the time change has her falling asleep at 5pm instead of 6pm.  Selah likes to know what to expect also.  Before the accident, she did not care about leaving the house except to go outside.  She loved the security of being home.  She is still the same way but I have noticed her last few doctor appointments have not seemed to stress her out as much as before.  When I look at her at night, sleeping peacefully & comfortably, I am so thankful that God spared her life both in the orphanage and in the accident.  It's a blessing to know she is peaceful.  Her feeding runs all night long, so she falls asleep to her supper.  I'm so thankful she is not in pain but that she can show us IF she is in pain.
Well today is "our Friday"  Steve doesn't have any classes on Fridays and Jon's days off are Friday & Saturday.  The kids do not have any teachers or therapists on Friday either.  But poor Shad has to go to school:)  So I feel like the weekend is almost upon us. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Christmas on the road

Well I just found out today that Sam and Sarah will be seeing their doctor in NY the week of Christmas.  To be honest, we should have scheduled Sam before now but everytime I went to plan it, something would come up.  It's been over a year since he has seen Dr A. 

Going back to NY is very hard for me emotionally.  We've been going to Rochester NY for Sam, at least yearly since he was three years old in 2007 when he had the corneal implants.  At that time we stayed for three weeks, as the surgeries had to be spaced out.  Of course we always stay at the World's Best Ronald McDonald House:)  I've always associated Rochester with the very best of memories.  How many people can say they've seen their almost completely blind son regain sight?   (here is a story- used to have a video there but it seems to be gone
 We became friends over the years with the Eye hospital staff and the dear staff at the RMH. Also we have two sets of college friends who live in the Rochester area so we felt very close to the folks up there.  But then in August 2012, when the accident memories of Rochester are now forever linked with tragedy.  I still love all the folks and during the five months Selah was in the hospital, we became even closer to everyone but there are now so many emotions connected with Rochester for me. 

So some of the dearest memories  mixed with some of the saddest memories make up Rochester NY now to me.  It's such an odd place to be in emotionally.

So the kids have appointments on Monday, December 22 in the office.  Sam has an EUA (exam under anesthesia) on the 23rd and usually a follow up appointment the next day on the 24th.   I want Sarah to be seen by Dr A just to check her eye.  Unfortunately we know we can't do anything medically for her but I just want to make sure things are stable.  Sarah at times, pokes her eye and it gets so red.  Blind kids do that to stimulate the eye to give them the funny little squiggly things we see when our eyes are closed. 

Blindness is in degrees. None of my kids are what is called "black blind" where they only see darkness. Shad is black blind in his bad eye but 20/20 in his good eye.  (his blindness is due to some sort of accident after he was born non repairable)  Sam is black blind in his left eye but sees in his right eye to some degree.  Since he is non verbal, it's really hard to tell what he sees, we just have to observe his behavior to figure out how far away he can see.  Sarah was only born with one poorly developed eye, she sees light for sure and seems to always be able to find me!   But her vision is very limited and probably as she ages, she will go black blind.  Selah had some sort of issue before the accident.  We were told by Ukraine that she was blind.  Well she wasn't blind, but there were some problems with her eyes maybe something called "cortical blindness" where the eye is formed normally but it is unable to  transmit the images to the brain, due to brain damage.  We think now she certainly has some cortical blindness after the accident, so it maybe worse than it was before. 

Steve is the strange on in our family he has 20/15 vision in both eyes, our doctor was quite amazed when he tested Steve. 

Sorry about the blindness lecture.....LOL  People know Sam and Sarah are blind and they are often shocked when one of the kids grab something and then I have to explain to them the degrees of blindness.....

So....we plan to be on the road home on Christmas Eve.  I can truly say we have never done anything like this but it's ok.  We'll all be together and Selah with be with her nurses who love & care for her.  I'm a bit freaked by the timing but just last night I woke up around 3 am to go to the bathroom (TMI) and I laid there worrying about their doctor's appointment.  I thought it would be scheduled earlier in the month and was stressing about leaving Shad and Steve here to go to school.  It's not that I don't trust Steve, I do 110% but I hated the thought of them having the older van to drive (our newer one has all the safety gadgets) and I knew it would be a bit hard for Steve to get Shad to school and himself to college on time every day.  Then I thought about flying but A.  I HATE to fly B it would be hard for me to take both kids by myself and if Jon came to, that would be so expensive.   So I really just prayed and asked God to work it out along with my extra anxiety about going, not to mention the finances.  Then I got the email this morning and realized it solves our problem about leaving the boys, we can take them now.  Of course there are some other problems it creates but I think all of them are workable. 

Well that's our big news for today!  Just taking it all in.  I try my best to think of life as an adventure and a journey, so that's how I'm looking at this.  At least I don't have to do a Christmas Tree!!!   Holidays seem to overwhelm me now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Observing Vetern's Day & Other Stuff

My thoughts on Veteran's Day...
It's interesting to me that in 2014 we observed the 100 year anniversary of the start of WWI, 70 years since D-Day, & 25 years since the Berlin Wall fell.... All world events that our military were a part of... I'm thankful for our military & what they have done for America & the whole world. God be with them at this time in history where world events are once again swirling around us....

I love the history of the last 100 years, starting around WWI and then seeing how the Flu Epidemic and the Great Depression changed the world.  It's interested studying how Hitler made his way across Europe and the start of WWII.   All of WWII is interesting to me.  The end of the war and the 50's-70's with all the changes that came during those years, both politically and socially are very captivating times to read about.  Then the 80's and all the changes to the world with the fall of the Berlin Wall, a change that affected my life personally.  Now we are at another juncture of history, who knows what will happen?  The will of the American people does not seem as strong as it has been in days past but that could change.  I'm thankful for our veterans who served and still serve our country.

Well everyone around here had the day off except for Selah, she had to go and have some bloodwork done.  Afterwards, Selah, her nurse and I went by the new house to see the progress.  Here are some pictures.  Last time we were there, Shad helped me sneak into the fence, today the fence was pulled tight and locked LOL!  I could have gone through the gate but couldn't get the locks to cooperate:)

So the south wall is now up along with the beginning of the roof of the carport!
we love to see the changes!

this is from last night
I made oatmeal & also sugar cookies!
I use Pampered Chef's stones for all my baking, they cook so even.

For supper last night I fixed the famous "Duggar Tater Tot casserole"
Somewhere I had gotten the recipe for it. It was ok, probably won't be making it again anytime soon tho!
 basically I took 2 packets of ground meat (1 grass fed beef and 1 ground chicken)
add a can of cream of chicken soup
put a bag of tater tots on top
add another can of cream of chicken soup and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour.
Everyone else liked it- it was ok but not something I cared for but boy was it easy to make
I use the brand "Alexis" for any frozen potato product.  That brand is usually a bit more healthy 


After that meal, a whole lot of sleeping was going on!

I finally got everyone to watch "The Waltons" with me last night.  It's one of my favorite tv shows from the past! 
Hope you all are having a good day!



Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Pictures


We attempted a family picture today after church.  

if you didn't notice we all have on black/grey/white:)  It just "happened" while i was getting everyone's clothes together and I asked the nurse to dress Selah in the same colors.  

After lunch I went to Beal's.  I had some store bucks and I bought this shirt and shorts for Sarah for JUST 22 cents!!!!!!  The shirt was originally $17 and the shorts $16.  I would have NEVER spent that much on either of them but I'm very happy with the $32. 78 savings I got :)  

Well it is a dreary  day here in the Sunshine State.  We got some rain and the temps are going down to at least the 50's  LOL    Yesterday I did get a square foot garden planted with lettuce before the rains came.  There is nothing like a good soft rain to help seeds grow.