Tuesday, March 30, 2010

German Spring Traditions

Post by Sarah (who loves all things German)

When Spring comes it's sunny and warm in Texas. In Germany when Spring comes it's still cold. A German spring tradition is to make eggs like these (they poke a whole into both ends of the eggs and blow them out). The eggs are hung on branches that they get from trees. The size of the branch may vary depending on how many eggs you want to put on it. The colorful eggs brighten up their houses. It is their way of welcoming spring. The eggs are kept on the branches until it is finally warm and sunny.

I had to make eggs for my German class. I only had to make one but I wanted two 100s.

Ich liebe Deutschland:P

Monday, March 29, 2010

Testing boundaries - 2279 texts in 10 days

How is it possible for a teenager to make 2279 texts in ten days? On top of that she had 1841 minutes! Those 1841 minutes are the reason I cancelled Joselin's cell phone. Our contract with Sprint only has 1500 minutes. All my teens know that if you misuse your cell phone, you lose your cell phone. Calling hours are after 7pm unless it is an emergency. Joselin must have had an awful lot of emergencies.
I find it sad that Joselin just can't seem to learn to accept boundaries. All but two of those texts were sent to boys and she called home only once. I had checked the minutes at 5 days and saw that she was at 800 minutes and told Kim to take the phone away, Joselin found a way to get the phone back. She is my first kid to permanently lose the cell phone. If she wants one now she will have to buy it herself.
When she was home she found ways to separate herself from the family. Her biggest device in crime was her IPod. She constantly had headphones in her ears. It make it easier for her to ignore us. The IPod was frequently confiscated as was her cell phone. It always made me look like the bad guy. She complained that she wasn't treated like the other kids. It may seem that way because she didn't typically have their freedoms and accessories. However, the kids all had the same expectations and rules, she just chose to ignore them.

When we adopted Joselin we had such high hopes for her. At some point I realized how naive we had been. You can give a child a home, love, education, opportunities, it doesn't mean that they will be open to accepting them. I do believe that she learned some things in our home that she will take with her, I just wish that it was more.

Joselin has been gone since the end of January and unfortunately the main reaction from the other kids is relief. My main feeling is guilt. I feel that in some way that I failed Joselin. I know that I didn't. At some point she had to step up and be a willing participant in our family. She didn't, she just worked hard at being an outsider. I have thought that I had a relationship with her, but no one else in the family does. Sometimes I even wonder about our relationship, was it just because she needed someone? Is she just using me? Is it all lies? How do you have a relationship with someone who admits to you that they have told you so many lies that sometimes they don't even remember the truth themselves?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Why do we buy them furniture?

When kids are little they seem to be more fascinated with the boxes that their gifts come in then they are with the actual gift. In spite of that we continue to buy them toys.

My question is why do we bother with the furniture? They seem to like to sleep in other places besides their beds. Heck, a plastic bin is a lot of cheaper then a bed and there is no chance of falling out.

Dressers, what are they for? I didn't bother to take a picture of all the clothing on the floor, I think most of us parents have seen that. I know that my kids would much rather be able to throw their clothing on the floor then bother to have to actually open the drawer and put their clothing away.

Desks? The dining room table has more space and is closer to the food source.

Chairs? Another clothing storage area.

In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, I continue to purchase my kids furniture.....maybe I need to stop buying the clothing that sits on the floor.

Now just imagine the savings if we could give them cardboard boxes instead of cars!

How many folks can you fit in an arm shot?


We went to the movies today.....How to Train Your Dragon. The kids have been anticipating this movie for a while now. I promised last week that we would go this weekend and they haven't forgotten. They really enjoyed it, so did I. The one benefit of having little ones is you have an excuse to go see all the animated kids movies. The first movie we took them to was Up! That was a really cute movie.

We do cheat a little, we pick up the $1 candy at Walmart. Movies cost so much now. I'm showing my age, but I remember the $1 movies. Today our small family of five got in for $46. I won't tell what we spent on the concessions in case my husband reads this, don't want to give him a heart attack.

Anthony did get a $5 How to Train Your Dragon shirt at Walmart. Look at the sun, the weather is beautiful here in Texas. Maybe we can go find some bluebonnets tomorrow.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Anthony's Hair

Anthony wanted his hair pictures posted too. He is easy....shave it all off!



I love my Wahl, it does a pretty good job.

Anthony likes his hair to be cut short. When he was younger he had a lot of hair. I spent a lot of time corn rowing. When we finally did get to go take him for a hair cut he sat in the barber chair in amazement. He said, "Anthony is a boy!" I never referred to him as anything else so I wondered where he got that from. Ever since, he lets me know when it is time for a new haircut.

Wow, he looks like such a young cutie here. How quickly they grow up.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hair Days

By demand......poufs!

This girl can get some good size poufs.....she loves them.

Selective Mutism

Selective Mutism......have you heard of it? I hadn't until about 18months ago. Our baby Larissa was our foster child at the time and we had concerns. As a baby she did not wave at anyone, she just never developed that skill. As she got older we came to realize that she wouldn't talk to anyone outside of our family. We had seen shy before but this went beyond shyness.

Someone on one of my support groups threw out selective mutism to me. I did lots of reading on the subject and realized that this was what we may be dealing with. She was young for a diagnosis but dealing with is while they are young helps.

When Larissa turned 3 years old she started in an early intervention program at the local public school. She continues to attend such a program here in Texas. Selective mutism is real and can be debilitating. I just had a meeting with her teachers. Her speech teacher said that she had just recently heard Larissa say her first sentence.....she has been working with her since school started in August. She was so excited that she finally got her to say something to her. At home, she talks up a storm, she does not have a speech problem when she is with her family.

Selective mutism is actually an anxiety issue. However, Larissa's speech teacher pointed out that it turns into a speech issue because they don't develop proper social speech. If you have concerns about a child that won't speak in public, check out selective mutism. Early intervention can make a big difference for the child. Our hope is that one day Larissa will be able to respond to her teachers on a regular basis.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fancy Table Settings.......

We try to get kids involved in chores as early as possible. Setting the table is great for the little ones. Anthony got the plates spread out and I told Larissa to put out the silverware. Well, she did, didn't she do a great job?

Nice spoons. She likes to eat with her favorite spoon so assumed that we would enjoy spoons as well.

Don't you love our Corelle plates? I do believe that we have three different patterns. The stuff is great, I don't know how many times they have been dropped and survivied.

Larissa has a favorite spoon. I don't even remember what pattern it had, perhaps a Princess theme. This is my first kid to have a favorite piece of silverware.

Wonder what chore I can teach them next.........they love them right now at this age.

I can't hardly wait until they are old enough to help match socks!

(Disclaimer- I don't know what happened, the table isn't normally that clean.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Neurofibromatosis.....what the heck is that?

Sarah was so tiny when she was born. She weighed in at a whopping 5lbs12oz and 18". Yes, she was full term. Tiny and so perfect. She was our 1st child together but was considered our 4th child. We now had his, mine and ours.

We weren't new parents by any means and we had concerns. Sarah was not developing well. When I looked at her medical records I saw where I had stated at 6 months that I thought she had a neurological problem. All my concerns were rejected. It didn't help that we were relying on military medical personnel and saw a different doctor every time. Now, I am not putting down military medicine because we have gotten some great care, but seeing different doctors every time you go in requires you to explain your concerns every time you go in. It was frustrating to have concerns and not have them addressed.

By the time Sarah was three the doctors did have concerns. They said she was a failure to thrive child, she didn't register on the charts. We already had early interventions in the home and then at three she graduated to a school based program. At three she wasn't talking at all so she qualified based on needing speech interventions. We still were not able to get any answers as to why she was having so many difficulties. It is so heartbreaking when you know in your heart that there is something wrong and all the doctors tell you no.

When Sarah was 4 years old were living in San Antonio and just received orders to transfer to Hawaii. Before we left we decided to get Sarah's kindergarten physical done. It just so happened that the regular doctor was out and a neurologist was filling in for him. This doctor took one look at her after hearing my concerns and said that he believed that she had neurofibromatosis. He showed us her cafe au lait spots. I was shocked, I had never heard of Neurofibromatosis. He said that they will do follow ups in Hawaii and he wrote the orders to make sure it got done.

He also said to not look it up. After 4 years of searching for answers we finally had a diagnosis and we are told not to look it up! Naturally, you know that we did. The learning delays, small size and cafe au lait spots......they all fit. However, the tumors were scary. She had a genetic disorder, this will effect if she decides to have kids. She will struggle, it is unknown what she will develop since it is progressive. It was such a loss, the healthy child we thought that we had now will have extra challenges in life. It was also a relief, we now had answers and knew what we were up against.

When we got to Hawaii they did an MRI which definitely diagnosed her with NF1. Since no one else in the family had it they said she was a mutation. I felt so much guilt wondering if there was something that I had done during the pregnancy. They assured me that I had not done anything to cause it, but I still felt that I had let her down in some way.

How do you explain NF to a five year old?

A few years later a MRI showed that she had an optic glioma. How do you explain to an 8 year old why she suddenly needs glasses?

When your child talks about having children, how do you explain a genetic condition to them? What is a good age to do this?

What answers do you give to a child when she asks why did God make me this way? Someone at church told me to ask her why not you? I couldn't say that to my child!

Today Sarah is 16 years old. Most folks think that she is about 12 years old. She appears very young and will not get any taller then her 4'10". She gets frustrated because every time we go out to eat she is given a child's menu.

She has dealt with a lot of teasing at high school. In SC I had to pull her out of school because she was coming home in tears every day. We haven't had the same problem with her current school here in TX, but need to move back to SC over the summer. I may have to homeschool her if she has the same problems again. She is a peer tutor in the special needs class and wants to be a special ed teacher when she grows up.

School has been a challenge for her. In the first grade she graduated out of speech and they tried to take her off of her IEP. We got documentation that her LD's were caused by a medical condition and were able to get her IEP's based on a health impairment. She spent one year in a self contained class but was the highest functioning so was taken out. She receives very little interventions today. Mainly she gets extra time when needed. Receiving help in the resource room all those years has allowed her to keep up with her classmates. I could do an entire write up on IEP's since I have adopted three more kids that require them.

She has developed an allergy to die contrast because of her yearly MRI's to follow her optic glioma. She is terrified of needles and I am sure that being papoosed and given IV's at a young age was a contributor to that.

Sarah is a beautiful child with a huge heart. She has much more empathy for others then any of our other children. She has a gift of working with very low functioning special needs kids, but she doesn't see it that way. She hopes to adopt one day and understands her condition very well. Her story is still unfolding..................I love her very much.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sitting still....can't be done

Location: Kohl's
Setting: waiting for Aunt Cindy to pay for her purchase
Direction: Sit on the bench and wait, stay out of the way of the customers walking through

30 seconds, don't they look so sweet

45 seconds....getting the itch to roam

1 minute....off the bench

Ahhhh.....at least they are watching for customers

Customer walking through drove them back to the bench....

Total waiting time.....3 minutes.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sweet Tea and Good Eats

We enjoy travelling. We have travelled quite a lot within the United States. I have noticed a problem, not all states know how to make a good glass of sweet iced tea. Now, I am not putting down those states, I am sure that they have some great regional drink that I am not aware of, it is just that I enjoy a good glass of tea.

One year we travelled to the SW region. Not an area for tea. Right outside of the Grand Canyon there is a McDonald's. I bought a tea there. I think that they thought that tea meant brown colored water because that was what it tasted like. Southern California was pretty much the same way.

We currently live in Texas. I thought that they could do a great glass of sweet tea. Well, I find that they are about 50/50. Some places know how to make it, others are too weak to be classified as tea. I was born in Texas and have lived here off and on over the years. I didn't realize that they had a problem with sweet tea, but I was a Dr. Pepper fan at the time and they did carry that at most places.

It wasn't until I moved to South Carolina that I developed this addiction to strong, sweet iced tea. Most places in South Carolina know how to do it. However, if you want unsweetened tea it might be hard to find.

In our small town we have some favorite restaurants we like to visit. One of our favorites is San Jose. I would have posted a picture of the bean and cheese dip if it hadn't been devoured so quickly. Mmmmmm......................

We didn't just visit South Carolina to eat (although we did a lot of it). We got to see Tasha.

Polo Loco, my meal......

Sarah didn't remember the plate being so big.

Tasha is up to the task.

We had a nice trip to South Carolina. We spiffied up the house, which meant picking up a lot of pinecones, got to see Tasha and Aunt Cindy, ate lots of good food and visited with friends. If the house doesn't sell before June, the kids and I will be back to live in it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Loading Up

Spring break is here and tomorrow we will start our road trip.....1231.62 miles (according to Mapquest). There is only one way we will survive this trip...............

Ah, how did I survive all those years without the DVD player? We are a military family (retired), we travelled and moved a lot with our children. Jason was less then a month old when he made his first road trip.

Today I took a trip to Target to get the little ones their own luggage pieces and some different $5 movies. I fell in love with this little dress for Larissa so I didn't stay on task too well. Target has a way of doing that to me.

The little ones were thrilled with their luggage. Up until now I have packed their stuff with mine, leaving my husband on his own. This time around we are actually sharing a bag. I had the little ones help me pack their bags. I had them go and get 7 pairs of unders, 7 shirts, etc. Yea, I'm not sure if it was for future training or because I was feeling lazy after washing all those clothes.

I have no idea what they packed in those backpacks. I told them to pack whatever toys they wanted as long as it fit in thier backpack. I have the Nintendo DS's so I am covered.

That Toyota Sequoia in the background is our mode of transportation. I love that car. It has 150,000 miles on it and I will drive it until it does on me. It sits 8 and fits our needs. It has a tow hitch and normally we add on a little piggyback carrier for our overflow. We have downsized so much that we don't need it for this trip. Wow, I may take a cooler.

South Carolina, here we come.