Sunday, November 30, 2014

All about Books

Books are your friends!   Who remembers that quote?  My absolute favorite thing to do is READ!  I can read for hours, read while I eat, read while everyone else watches tv, I've had way too many "reading hangovers" from staying up to finish a book when I ought to have gone to bed!  The only thing I can't do is read in a car-I will get terribly carsick!

My all time favorite author is Agatha Christie.  I have all her books, every last one of them.  Some are not in the best of shape so I'm in the process of replacing some of the paperbacks.  A new (to me) author is Rhys Bowen.  She has two main characters, one set in 1930'a England and one in 1900 New York.  I like Diana Mott Davidson too with her Goldy the cater, although her teenage son needs her to straighten him out LOL.  Joanne Fluke and her Cookie Cater is also good.   Blaze Clement who has a series about Dixie a pet sitter is great too, it's set on Siesta Key, one of my favorite places. There is also Mary Higgins Clark, her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark and Mary Jane Clark (no kin)/  And I confess to Janet Evanovich and her Stephanie Plum books.    These are just a few of my favorite book series. 

The book "Winds of War" and its' follow up "War and Remembrance " by Herman Wouk are very good but LONG and deep.  There is also a movie based on the books.

My favorite classic book is "To Kill A Mockingbird"  by Harper Lee.  I can reread that book over and over.  Ms. Lee never wrote another book, I often wonder why she didn't but her one book is so good maybe nothing else would measure up. 

As a child I read voraciously, and would read anything put before me whether it was the Tallahassee Democrat or Reader's Digest.  I read the Bible through yearly.  I honestly can not remember NOT knowing how to read.  Don't ask me how I learned but I was reading the newspaper by the time I went to kindergarten.  I knew all about Vietnam and Nixon.  Believe me that is my only parlor trick-reading early LOL

During 3rd grade, I had to go through months of "patching" my lazy eye.  My aunts were too afraid of surgery to allow me to have my eye surgically repaired so I had to wear a patch for that year.  I can not see well enough with my left eye, the "bad" eye to read so it was hell for me.  My aunts had to read to me for hours, but it just wasn't the same for me.  I had a HORRIBLE teacher who spanked my hand with a ruler for not writing correctly with the patch on.  That was a trying year that really didn't do much for my eye and kept me from reading. 

My 5th grade teacher Mrs Musgrove read us the book "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" by E. L. Konigsburg.  I LOVED that book.  I've read it several times since, even as an adult.   Other children's books I liked was the whole "Little House on the Prairie" series and "Tom Sawyer"  One book I read was about a little girl whose family had a baby dropped off on their doorstep.  They named her Sally, which is what I named my pet pig....I've never been able to find that book again but it was so sweet and the illustrations were very pretty and unique.  Anyone know the name of that book?

When I go to the library, I usually get 10-20 books.  I always have done that and people always comment. But I read them, even the "boring" ones.  Better to have a boring book than no book!  Even autobiography's or biographies are interesting to me, especially if they share some juicy gossip.  Self help books do nothing for me tho!

I LOVE mysteries.  I prefer them with a bit of humor in them.  Generally speaking, I don't like male authors...sorry....but all too often I read more about the criminal mind than I want to know, too dark for me.  Had enough of that in classes as a probation officer.....    There are a few male writers like Jonathan Kellerman that I like in small doses.   I've read some Stephen King but can't do that too much either.

So a little confession, I try and get Large Print when I can and if not, I have a humongous magnifying glass that I use.  If I don't use it, everything goes blurry after awhile.  And NO I do not want any type of "e-book" that really tires my eyes out plus I read too fast, it annoys me having to have the words enlarged and then only having a short area to read before I have to move it again!!!  

My husband is a reader but he is so slow.  He tends to buy more books than I do and some he never finishes which drives me bonkers.  We recently gave away three huge boxes of books of his. Steve  and Shad do read but they like only the most current best sellers it seems.  I'm glad they do like to read but they prefer video games and movies to books-I can't understand that!!

One thing I don't read very much is anyone else's blogs!  I'm afraid I will try to imitate the writers.  Plus I do not like ADS!  Aren't you glad I don't put ads on my blog?  I've been contacted by several companies as well as some individuals to post ads on here and I resisted.  It was not a hard decision for me as much as I hate ads on other blogs.  I enjoy writing my blog and I don't want any interference. 


Here is the link for the FB page for this blog.  On days when I don't blog, I will usually do an update to the page.  You can like it and then see any updates.  Feel free to share it also.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Real-Life-By-Yvonne/1405082996394656




Saturday, November 29, 2014

Happy Late Thanksgiving

Hope all of you have had a great Thanksgiving season.  We've had some great family time these last few days and are grateful for times like this, to focus on our relationships.  I have barely looked at the computer in the last few days:)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I'm so sorry my blog is all freaking out with the pictures-  That was basically a recap of our day backwards!  I can't see the pictures as I write the blog.
 
We only had my brother in law and his family over for Thanksgiving, the smallest group and the BIGGEST turkey- all 24 pounds.  We ate, went out to the house and then ate some more.  Jon and his brother Jim went and spent some time with their dad.  I stayed home with Selah as we had a few hours with no nurse. 
 
We did NOT do Black Friday or Thursday either but I did let Steve talk me into going to Walmart  later on Friday afternoon.  Thankfully there was hardly anyone there and we did find some DVDs for $2 and some PJ sets for all the little ones for only $4. 
 
Today Jon and I went on a hike in the woods, it was very pretty and peaceful except for all the sky divers parachuting from our local airport.  When they jump, you can hear it and when there are 10 jumping at a time, it sounded almost like gun fire.  Today was a beautiful day for jumping out of perfectly good planes if that what you wanted to do!  LOL  Not a cloud was in the sky and the temp was in the 70's.  But I'd rather be walking on the ground than speeding towards it from the air! 
 
Again I hope you all are having a great relaxing holiday season.  I know I am so thankful for all God has given me.  We are blessed.
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Misty Rain


This picture is from yesterday.  It is our road with misty rain and fog about 2pm in the afternoon.  I thought the picture turned out lovely!




I will tell you a funny....  I'm outside taking pictures, it was just so beautiful and still.  A second after I took this picture there was a huge lightning flash and thunderclap!  I thought I was a goner!!!!  Well thankfully I did not get hit and I did get a beautiful picture. 

We have the most unusual rain sometimes, it is a soft, misty rain with fog.  It's always alluded my efforts to catch it in a picture.  I've never seen "our kind of rain" anywhere else.  It's almost like being at Niagara Falls  and having the mist all around.  It's just gives the most peaceful feeling.....

Well I hope all my American readers have a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow.  Our turkey has been defrosting and I plan to put it in the oven around 3 am this morning so it's done early.   We were laughing at how BIG it is (24 pounds) and this year we have the smallest crowd in years 10 people...we'll have a lot left over.  This turkey weighs FIVE pounds more than Sarah did when we brought her home at 5.5 years old.  For some reason that has just freaked me out!!  She's a lot bigger than the turkey now and thanks to my wonderful Magic Bullet she will be chowing down on the turkey tomorrow right along with us! My girl LOVES to eat! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Racism has no place in America!

I don't know about you but we were watching the TV last night as the verdict from the Grand Jury was read last night.  And I'm angry!  I'm angry that people would react to our court system like they did.  I'm angry that racism is used as an excuse for lawlessness.  I'm angry that our leaders have no backbone or may even want to stir up racism in their comments. 

For 13 years altogether I worked in the juvenile justice system.  I can honestly say I do not remember any situation where a probation officer, a cop, a judge, or a lawyer acted in a racist way towards anyone "in the system"  There were times when it was an "us vs. them" situation BUT the "us" might just be a black officer dealing with a black teen.  It was law enforcement verse criminal, whether the criminal was black, white or Hispanic. 

My husband has worked in law enforcement as an officer ( just a little over a year or two) and as a chaplain ( now close to 17 years)   He has seen or heard of  a few incidents of possible racism over the years but it was as apt to be a black officer on a white criminal as it was to be a white officer on a black criminal.  In fact the last firing/resigning I know of was of a black officer who said something to a white criminal who was baiting him.  My sympathy was 100% with the officer!  When I heard from someone what had happened, I could have cried!  I had known the officer for some years and always thought the world of him.  I KNOW that officer did not hate whites, he was just pushed beyond his self control by a white criminal and said & maybe did something ( I can not remember all the details right now) that he should not have, being the professional he was, and he lost his job. 

I HATE that this whole Ferguson incident has become about race.  I'm very proud that the Grand Jury listened to the testimonies and made a decision based on facts NOT stories and not emotions!  It is quite interesting that the "witnesses" stories began to change once the autopsy reports came out, reporting that Brown had not been shot in the back.  If you listened to what the DA said last night, it was almost laughable as he talked about witnesses who changed their stories or who backed away from testifying once other witnesses and evidence made it clear that the people were lying.  I'm so proud that many in that community stepped up and told the truth of what they saw, I'm sure some were scared of their own friends and neighbors because the real story did not fit in to what the race baiters wanted to be told. 

I do not believe that Officer Wilson targeted or shot Brown because he was black.   Officer Wilson was a cop in good standing.  Michael Brown was a criminal who had just robbed a store.....  Brown was much bigger than Officer Wilson and had drugs in his system.   No one reported that Officer Wilson said anything racist to Brown.  Wilson has no background of doing anything like that at all.

This is a blog that I thought was very good....
http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/hey-ferguson-protestors-justice-has-been-done-but-you-never-wanted-justice/


I wish this country could get past always having people make things be "black verse white"   I don't know about you but I judge people on their character NOT the color of their skin.  There are some crappy white folks and their are some wonderful black folks....there are also great white folks and awful black folks....or Hispanic, Asian etc.....   The color of someone's skin is not an indicator of the person's character.  There are white people I would not want to be alone in a room with!  And then there are some black folks I'd trust my life to.....  So don't allow race baiters to turn something that was NOT about race ever.....but about a cop trying to protect a community from a thug!



Monday, November 24, 2014

Why INTERNATIONAL Adoption?

Have you heard of this story?
http://www.wfla.com/story/27459315/us-congressman-aids-in-dunedin-couples-intercontinental-adoption

A local Florida family adopted a very sick little boy from the Congo and has had to fight for months to bring him home.  Our US Congressman Mario Rubio got involved and helped the family.  (I LOVE Rubio!)  Anyhow the story is sweet and all has ended well, hopefully the little boy will get the surgery he needs and live a long happy life with his new sweet family.

So I read the comment section, I rarely do but I was SHOCKED at the very very nasty comments directed towards this family and to international adoption in general.

Let me answer some questions for folks who do not understand......


First, International adoption and US adoption generally cost about the same, around $25,000.  Most of that cost is legal fees to the governments and to lawyers.  Often an healthy infant adoption in the US is closer to $60,000 and the cost of the birth mom's housing and medical bills are involved.  I do not know anyone personally who adopted that way as it is so expensive.    Recently I saw the announcement for a few special needs adoptions in the US that were $25,000 -$30,000.  

Second, Adoption from the foster care system is often said to be something people should do BEFORE they ever think about going overseas.  Well......for the record MANY children caught in the foster care system are NOT available for adoption.  I have had quite a few friends who have been or are foster parents and have wished to adopt the child(ren) they were fostering only to see that child(ren) go back to the birth parents OR to other relatives.  That is how the American Foster Care System is set up, reunification of the family is the goal.  And if reunification of the family is not a possibility, then IF there is a willing relative, the child will go to them.  So even though we have millions in the foster care system, only a small percentage will be adoptable.  Many years ago we looked into adoption from foster care and were totally turned off by the uncertainty of the process.  We were told we'd have to go through classes and then do foster care.  Then if a child came through we would have to go through about a year process IF the child was released for adoption.  I did not want to deal with all the emotional parts of this, knowing a few families who were devastated by having to give their beloved child back to parents or relatives.  So adopting from foster care can be free financially, sometimes even giving the adoptive family a monthly stipend for the child BUT it is costly emotionally. 


Third, for all the folks ( I replaced the word folks for the word I had written LOL)  who don't understand, International adoption requires approval from the US government and a foreign government.  It is MUCH more stringent than a private US adoption or even adopting from the Foster Care system.  People get through the cracks in all systems because each layer of protection is dependent on the layer underneath to get the right info on families.  For international adoption, a family must first be approved by a REAL home study agency/social worker.  Then they have to pass the state & local  background check and any other state/township area lived in the past.  Then they have to have a clear record with the Child Protection Agency for the state they live in and any states they've lived in the past 10 years.  Up to this point domestic and international adoption is equal....but for families wanting to adopt internationally, they then must be approved by the Department of Homeland Security.  That includes a nationwide background check as well as meeting ALL of the Department's requirements which are higher than state requirements.  THEN when ALL of that is done the dossier of paperwork is sent to the country the family wished to adopt from.  The family must show they meet all that countries' requirement AND passed international Interpol's background screening.   Also some countries have different standards.  China has a higher medical standard that parents have to pass.  Most countries will not adopt to single people or to homosexual couples.  Some countries do not allow divorced people to adopt and have age limits.  So....if you adopt internationally your family is scrutinized deeply and there are many more rules to follow.


Fourth, our US Foster Care system is flawed BUT it's so much better than anything I've seen in other countries.  The system might break down here, some children may not get all the services or medical care they need and in a few cases, a child might be abused BUT the difference is some adult will get in trouble, lose their job, go to jail, depending on the situation and hopefully change will come out of the situation.  No system is perfect but some are better than others! When I think back to the orphanages I've seen, they would be shut down in the US. 

In our personal case, we were not planning or thinking about adoption either time we adopted.  With Shad we "just happened" to get a newsletter that told about him and our hearts were moved since we had just had Sam.  With Sarah, I "just happened" to see her picture and was moved because of the similarities between her and Sam.  And Selah was a precious surprise to us.....

Some people adopt because they can't have biological children. Some  adopt a specific gender.  Some people think it is the "Christian thing to do"  We adopted because somehow THOSE children were OUR children. 

Yes we had thought about adoption after we'd been married a couple of years and couldn't get pregnant.  But we were turned off by the cost and the fear of going through the foster care system.  Plus we were not sure we were ready to give up our childless life!!!   Then again after I'd had Steve I read an article about the "dying rooms" in Chinese orphanages and I prayed that God would let us one day adopt a child to save them from that fate.  (BTW, I believe I saw a "dying room" in Shad's orphanage) But I didn't look into it or do any research on adoption.   Then after Sam was born, adoption was not on our radar at all.  It was not discussed nor research in any way until we saw Shad's picture and read about him and our hearts were moved.  Once we had our three boys, we didn't think about adoption again except once briefly right after we adopted Shad.  At the time I saw Sarah's picture, it was not something we ever thought we would do again at our age.  But once again we were drawn to THAT child.  Then as the adoption progressed we decided to adopt another little blind boy who was in Sarah's orphanage.  He was adopted by another family and then that's when we learned of Selah.

Having been in the girls' orphanage for weeks, there were three children who we were drawn to by daily interacting with them.  We were in the process of researching the possibility of adopting one or all of them before the accident happened.  

So for us adoption was not "something we did" it was always because of SOMEONE we were drawn to specifically.   Every case is different and every family is different. 

I'm for adoption of every kind, anything that gives a child a home and a family to love.  So whether it is an adoption out of the foster care system, or a private adoption or an international adoption....I celebrate it!  

I do have one last word for all those jerks who wrote in the comment section of that article, the ones who were so very concerned for the orphans in America....WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT?????




Sunday, November 23, 2014

Waves.....

I'm a Florida girl.  I love the ocean and being at the beach.  I love it when the sun is shining and I love watching  a thunderstorm sweep over it.  I love the smell and sound of a beach.  I love the waves.  Nothing is better than riding the waves when a hurricane is out in the Gulf.  Yeah I know you're not supposed to do that but it is great fun.  The last time we did it was years ago but it was a blast in spite of all the bruising I got on my legs from the waves literally knocking me down. 

Well today one of those "waves" hit me.  It washed over me right during Jon's sermon.  We humans are funny.  We can act like nothing is the matter even when our heart is breaking.  I have no idea what triggered the "wave"  But as Jon was speaking and I was sitting on the front row with my kids...a longing for Selah- the Selah before the accident- washed over me so hard that it seemed to take my breath away.  I could remember her little babbling noises and how she loved going to sit at the table to eat.  I could remember the funny little way she tried to drink out of a cup.  SHE came back to me in my mind.  OMG....all these memories just flooded my mind, so clearly.  Sometimes I try and remember Selah and can't....but today I could remember her and oh did it make me miss her so much. 

I had to ride that wave of memories in my head till it was gone.  It left me wishing for all that was lost....Oh Selah.....

So I managed, grateful for being able to remember various nuances of Selah......I gathered myself together.

Then as my husband was finishing up his sermon, he sang a song with the congregation.  Well he didn't have the words of the song....got it a bit messed up.  Then as the crowning touch managed to sing about God as being created rather than the Creator!  -the song is taken from Revelation 4:11 "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are  created.  Thou art worthy O Lord."  He sang it as   "and for thy pleasure thou art created." Anyhow for me, that just took me over the edge.  I was pushing down my laughter and just looking straight ahead.  BUT my husband had to mention his mistake and the fact I was trying not to create a scene and that just did me in!  I started laughing a bit hysterically!!   You HAVE to be a pastor's wife to get it I'm sure but there are just some things that totally crack me up and singing a song really wrong does that ! 

So I went from a deep despair to laughing in a matter of minutes.  Humans are strange like that, sometimes we can't handle our feelings very well.  Or maybe God helps us to be able to be distracted when sorrow rolls over us.  Or maybe I'm just crazy myself.....

We did take pictures today






 
 
 
 
 
 





















 
 
 




 






My satilitte or computer is messing up once again and I can't see the pictures!
They are from playtime yesterday and church today.  Hope you enjoy!





 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday Working on the Play


We've had such a busy week, can't believe it is the weekend again.  This week has sped by......

This morning I worked with our music minister on the Christmas play.  Yeah I know it's a little a lot late but at least we are doing it.  It's going to be a very simple play with the children acting out the nativity scene while my husband reads the Christmas story.  We are also throwing in some Christmas hymns throughout so the whole congregation can join in.  Shad and Sam will be Wise Men (Shad holding Sam's hand and trying to keep him in place) Sarah and Selah will be angels.  Sam's favorite doll will be Baby Jesus.  One of my blog readers sent the doll to us.  It is a boy Cabbage Patch doll and Sam loves to take the doll's clothes off.  It is quite funny.  So we do not know what to expect during the play:)   We have about 15 - 18 kids that regularly attend our church now so we've tried to make roles for everyone.  There are a couple of kids who LOVE the spotlight (one of mine is one of those LOL)  Most of the other kids, have to be bribed a bit!!

After we worked on the music for tomorrow and the music for the play we took our music minister out to see the house.  For the FIRST time we figured out the lock on the fence.  If we've come when the workers were gone, we've had to climb fences or squeeze in gates.  It was great to go in the right way and not worry about someone calling the police!  Walking through the house and seeing it come together as it is being framed is just plain exciting.  The only room left to frame is part of Steve's and Sarah's where their closets will be back to back.  Also the kids' bathroom and the kitchen need work  and then it will be framed.    Our friend was so taken back by the property with all the mature trees on it.  It is such a beautiful peaceful piece of land.  I can not wait to be able to sit on the porch and relax out there!!!!  

Another GREAT thing about the house....there is a convenience store, only a mile or so away!  IF you have not lived in the country you have NO idea of how wonderful it is to be able to jump in the car or walk down the road and be at a store in just a minute!  It has been about 14 years since we lived within walking distance of a store, even here the walk would be probably a mile and a half but hey that is close for us!  For us it is quite the trip to go to a store and we BETTER make sure we don't come home with the car on empty!  There is one store about 5 miles from our house towards town.  In the other directions, there is nothing for 10-15 miles - no lie!  We have relatives that live in a subdivision within walking distance of probably 15 restaurants, a Wal-Mart, a nice shopping center and there was a movie theater there until recently.  If I lived there, I'd be FLAT OUT BROKE all the time!  Shopping or even picking up food is something that is planned around here.  Nothing is convenient which is GREAT in some ways but a pain in other ways! 


Well I bought a BIG turkey!  BIG!  24 pounder!  I confess I usually get the Turkey that either pops the little thingy out when it is done or the precooked one from Publix.  This year I got the REAL one with the guts and everything in it!  I've only done this once before and it did turn out good so hopefully this one will too.  If you live near a Publix, they are having an incredible sale going on right now.  I only spent about $12 for that turkey!  If I had more room, I'd probably buy another one and keep it frozen for such a deal.  I was SOOOOOO tempted to buy the more expensive one that was easier but I figure a woman with FIVE kids ought to be able to do this!  It is already defrosting in the church's fridge.  We have two fridges in the fellowship hall and they are a blessing to me in times like these!  In fact that is where I will cook and serve the dinner on Thursday as it is easier for our family and everyone who is coming.  We were laughing and saying "Next year ...the NEW house!"

Steve is finishing all his assignments for college for this semester.  Yesterday I went with him to the public library and checked over everything before he submitted it.  Our computer access is so bad here, that he can't log into the college's system.  Anyhow this gave me a chance to get some new books!  YEAH two of my favorite authors had new mysteries out.  I finished one yesterday:)  I'm trying to make myself wait to start the other one till next week but it maybe a futile attempt.

We've had nice cool weather here in Florida and I've been living in Pajama pants!  It started last Sunday night when I had to go with Steve to find internet at a local restaurant.  It was cold and rainy and I was so snuggled in my fleeced  Grumpy PJs.  So I just went to town in them!  I'm so tired of NOT having good internet.  In fact I'm trying to post that picture now and it doesn't seem to work although it may go through for the blog.  In the new house, we will have REAL internet!  Woohoo!  No more satellite internet that is spotty at best.






Well hope you all have a good weekend! 

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 done....it'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!

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 overwhelmed....one 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 there....it'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  http://www.ivanhoe.com/channels/p_channelstory.cfm?storyid=17159)
 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 happened.....my 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!