Monday, August 3, 2015

Never a Dull Moment

Saturday morning the police came to my door.  They wanted to know where our little black Toyota Corolla was located.  When we bought Kassi her car we gave Jason our Corolla.  We haven't changed the title over yet so they traced it to us.  I asked why they were looking for the Toyota.  They said that the car was involved in a police chase that morning in a town about 40 miles away.  Uh, I said that I doubt it was my son, he doesn't ever go there, works nights and always stops for the police and waits for me to bail him out. I give them Jason's address and tell them that he has a 100 lb dog who barks but is not violent in any way.

They left, I called Jason.  After several attempts I finally wake him up.  I asked him why he was in that other county.  He didn't know what I was talking about.  I asked him if he had lent out his car.  He said no.  I told him that his car was involved in a chase with the police and got away.  At that moment he looked out and realized that his car was not in the driveway.

He had friends over the night before and he thinks that one of them took his keys and his car. Nice friends.  The police get to his place and he files a report for a stolen vehicle. He was very upset that one of his friends would do that. He was shocked that they would do that.

Thankfully by Saturday night his car was found.  By that time he was at work so we called on Sunday about his car.  It had been towed back to town but they weren't open on Sunday so we had to wait until this morning to get it.

This morning we went to get his car.  The car had been left at a church in the next county over and there was no damage.  They even left his key in the console. We paid $200 towing fee and he took it back home.

The police did dust it for fingerprints but I doubt that they will find the person.  I imagine that the odds are higher that Jason will find out who it was.

Our insurance will reimburse us the towing fee because we selected the towing option.  If we didn't have the towing option we wouldn't have gotten that fee back, it would have gone against the deductible which is higher than $200.

Sometimes I feel as though I just can't prepare my kids well enough for the outside world.  My kids can't imagine taking a friends keys and car, going to someone's house after they get off work and threatening them, trying to rob someone as they leave work.  These are things that they simply wouldn't do.  However, in some ways they aren't prepared for those that do these things.

In the last few weeks a couple of girls have been killed by teenagers in our country.  Then my 9 year old wants to go out front and ride her bike.  I find myself leery of allowing that.  I know that they would fall victim to someone trying to lure them.  They can't imagine that someone would want to actually harm them. Kids fall victim because they don't really understand that there is evil out there. It exists.  It is real. as a parent I try to shield my kids from some of that.  However, I then worry that they aren't prepared.  How do you find that balance?  How do you prepare your kids for the moment when they come up against those that look to harm them? This is something I am still working on.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Homeschooling Continued

I appreciate all the input on homeschooling and math. One thing I have come to learn as a parent is that sometimes we start to second guess ourselves and we feel as though we are screwing up our kids. Thankfully most of the time our kids survive our bumbling parenting.  I know that when I was a kid I thought that parents knew it all then I became one and realized that they actually didn't.

When Sarah was in the third grade she was in a self-contained classroom.  The school recommended that setting for her. By Christmas we started to think that perhaps that wasn't the best place for her and we had her moved back to the regular classroom with services for the fourth grade.  She has always struggled with reading and math, with math being her biggest struggle. For some reason a lot of people with neurofibromatosis struggle with math. When she went into the fourth grade she was given a calculator as one of her accommodations. Funny, when she got to algebra she was able to do that better than simpler math skills. She was able to pass the tests to graduate and went to a local community college.  Her SAT scores were low.  She took four math classes at the local school (I believe that two were prep classes based on admission testing). After deciding that she did want to do mission work she decided to go to Columbia International University.  That school only required one math course and she already had it.  She works hard to maintain her 3.0 but she is doing it.

With Larissa the struggle with math is worse than it ever was for Sarah.  I put her back into school last year because I thought that they could do better than I could.  We had gone back to the beginning in math and finally changed to functional math skills. However, she started the year off on 3rd grade level reading and by Christmas she was on 2nd grade level reading.  They weren't able to get any further than I was in math and I suggested that they start working on functional math skills like I had done the year before.  Lots of cooking (sometimes we triple recipes around here) and money skills. Once we started doing half days after Christmas her reading scores came back up to where she started the school year at.  She is just not able to function at school all day.  She was coming home and falling asleep on top of her homework and having seizures.

I have decided that it is time to just give her the calculator and move in another direction. I am not sure what curriculum I should do if going for more functional skills. Math shall be interesting.  In reading I am going to start her and Emma off on third grade level together. I talked to Larissa and told her that I expect her to work quickly and get to fourth grade.  Perhaps we will do some extra work next summer and try to catch her up again.  We will just work at her pace.  I don't plan on putting her back in school anytime soon. We need to resolve the seizure issues before I can even think about public school.  I am looking at a neurologist in Charleston.  That is quite a hike to see someone but I am just not getting any answers here in Columbia.

So now I am searching a different way and looking for functional math skills and how to proceed with using the calculator.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Homeschooling Challenges

I am having a hard time with deciding what to do with homeschooling.  Emma is easy.  She has no learning delays so I am doing the paperwork to have her do one of the online schools.  However, Larissa is more of a challenge.  We had tried the online school and she struggled so much that we took her out of that program and chose our own curriculum. On our own we were able to get her caught up in language arts (however she lost those gains once she went back to school).  Math is a totally different matter.  She will not be able to catch up in math.  Honestly I don't see her being able to take the graduation test in math. Her challenges with math are that severe.  Even the school didn't know what to do with her.

I have been told that the online school will give her online resource.  I know that means more work when she is struggling with stamina as it is.  She isn't going to the brick and mortar school because the program doesn't work for her.  Would it really make sense to put her in a virtual school based on that very same school.

How do I deal with the math issue?  What does that issue hold for her future education? We encourage all our kids to go to college.  Not all of them do but they have the capability to if they push themselves.  With her inability to do math she would not be able to succeed in college.  I am really frustrated and can't find anyone who can give me some good answers. If you don't fit a certain mold then the public education system isn't prepared to deal with you.

It is hard because she looks so healthy.  She looks and acts like there is nothing wrong with her. Last year the school didn't seem to believe that she had any challenges until I finally taped one of her seizures and showed them to her.

I have seen the impacts of those seizures this summer.  She went away to camp for three nights.  On the first day I got a call from the camp telling me that she had a headache and was not feeling well.  I know that this was the impact of not enough sleep and too much activity.  It was fun activity but that didn't matter, she struggled to do a full day of camp.

Last week the kids went to Winshape camp.  It was a day camp and the kids all loved it.  However, on the first day I got a call from a crying Larissa. She was only able to make it to noon before her headache set in. We did strategies for the rest of the week and she was able to finish out the week. However there was a cost.  We medicated her with pain reliever before she left, got as much sleep as possible, got permission for her to stop an activity and take a break when needed.  When I talked to them about her problems with stamina they looked at me like I was crazy.  Like I said, she looks so healthy. But she does have a debilitating condition. It is just not visible.

Back to schooling.  I have been putting it off all summer, what to do with Larissa and school.  I started the process for enrolling her in the virtual school but now I have serious doubts.  Any homeschoolers out there with suggestions?  Any homeschoolers with kids with special needs? I would love to have some input.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Diminished Lying

In our household it has been noticed that Michelle's lying has greatly diminished.  Even my moms caretaker has noticed it, the level of lying has dropped that much.  We have asked ourselves, why?

Obviously she decided to make a change. I asked her and she said that she was tired of not being able to play games because of her cheating.  Also, she was tired of getting in trouble for it.

For so long we had consequences in place for lying and we thought that they weren't working. However, they eventually did. It just took a long time for her to realize that lying wasn't working for her.

I watched her reaction when the kids were all doing something they shouldn't and she would be the only one who would lie about it.  Everyone else was given a verbal correction and she was given a consequence for the lying.  Every time this happened she would scream and cry.  It didn't help her. Every time I explained that this was a consequence of her lying and she saw that everyone else simply got a verbal correction because they told the truth. Emma caught on to this concept after a while and I wondered why Michelle didn't.

Eventually she tired of it.  Eventually she decided that telling the truth was simply easier.  The first time she did tell the truth I was actually surprised but acted as though it was expected and she went on her merry way with a correction. I did not make a big deal out of it or give her extra attention for it.  In this house that actually backfires sometimes.  I did mention that I noticed that her lying had diminished when we were talking about getting baptized.

This lying thing is hard. It hurts relationships and destroys trust. It also takes a lot of work to keep track of them!

Do I think that there is no lying going on in my house?  Not at all, I know how kids are.  The gut reaction for many of my kids is to lie.  However, right now we are at the point where I can honestly say that none of my kids are at the "if they are talking they are lying" stage right now and it sure is nice. We still practice the wait and think before you answer to offset the gut reaction.  We also allow for a rethinking of an answer.  We still consequence for lying. I just don't have to do the consequence for lying near as often as I used to.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Michelle was baptized over the weekend.

She has asked in the past but when discussing it she really didn't understand what it was about.  Her motivations were more of an attention seeking nature.  This time it was different.  She understood what baptism means.  She has accepted Jesus as her Savior and wanted to share that belief with everyone.

So she got dunked.  Does this suddenly take away all her behavior issues?  No.  However, she has made some huge improvements in her lying.  More on that tomorrow.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Boy and His Car - Bargain Shopping

When I was a kid my dad would take me to Goodwill and allow me to get as many books as I wanted. I loved to read and therefore loved Goodwill. When I became an adult I continued to go to Goodwill. You just never know what you will find.  When I became a mom to many kids it became a lifesaver. Sometimes we go and look at the dollar rack of clothing just for the fabric, so much cheaper and sometimes you can find a unique piece of fabric.

The other day I took Benjamin with me and he fell in love with this car.  It has a metal body and was really cute.  It also had a price tag of $4.75.  He had to ride it out the store and through the parking lot to the car.

I tried to pick him up but the car came with him.  I had to pry his little legs off the body and then his hands off the steering wheel.  I sat it next to him so he could hold it.

He loves his little car and I love that for under $5 I was able to get him a quality toy.  I looked it up online, that car can be purchased for $100 on Amazon.

I am always looking for a bargain; garage sales, clearance sales, Craigslist, facebook sale sites.  I shop at all of them.  Paying full price for clothing and toys is not necessary.

So, I am curious, who else bargain shops and do you have a favorite find?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Call from Adoptions

Today I received a call from adoptions.  They said that they needed a little more information to finish their paperwork.  Basically it was questions about Little Man and his development.  Then she told me that they were finishing up their paperwork and as soon as the received the legally free letter from my county they would call us to come in so they can read us the file.

First, this is funny because most of the information in the file has been given by me.  I even have his birth certificate which I had to scan and sent to her this morning.

Second, it means we have officially been selected as his adoptive family.

I asked her if she knew when the judge had signed the order and she said on the 24th.  That means that the 30 day waiting period will end this Friday, on our anniversary.  As far as we know, biomom has not filed an appeal and she only has a few more days to do so.

Typically the local county has about a two week delay in sending out the legally free letter to adoptions.  So if biomom doesn't file an appeal we should hear from them mid-August.

Then we will go into the office in Columbia and they will read us Little Man's file.  After they read us the file we then sign the official intent to adopt paperwork. We will then contact our lawyer to get the ball rolling on completing the adoption. If there is no appeal and everyone does their job Little Man will be adopted before the end of the year.  We are hoping for October.