Philippians 4:4-9
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. and the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What Do You Do???

What do you do with--8 quarts of spaghetti sauce, 8 pkgs of noodles, 8 loaves of french bread, 4 gallons of lemon aid, 2 pound of green beans and one very large salad?!?!?

Well, you invite a few hungry runners to your house!
Both the guys and the girls!!!
Actually a total of 35 hungry cross country runners!
And is ALL GONE!!!
Then you throw in a little 'sting pong'!!!
And a big fire with marshmallows!!!!
And you have one big pre-district party!!
Go North Medford Black Tornado!!!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

National Sensory Awareness Month

Did you know that October is National Sensory Awareness Month?

Neither did I till Friday, and I have two kids affected by it!!!

So here is an excerpt from a flyer from our therapist:

Dysfunction of Sensory Integration (DSI) sometimes called Sensory Processing Disorder
"As many as 5-15% of children suffer from a disorder in which the brain takes in information, but does not process it for meaningful use. This neurological condition affects the way they respond to sensory input. The signs and symptoms can often appear to represent other disorders, or co-exist with other diagnoses such as: AD/HD, Autism, PDD, Learning Disabilities, OCD and others. Many times a sensory processing disorder is at the root of a child's developmental or behavioral issues."

Common signs in young children
Difficulty with eating, sleeping, toileting Caleb has lots of sleep issues
Delayed speech, gross and/or fine motor skills Hannah struggles with all these
Unusually high or low activity levels Hannah very low--Caleb very high
Meltdowns for no apparent reasons; inconsolable Caleb with school mostly
Difficulty with haircuts, baths, brushing teeth No
Difficulty transitioning from one activity to another Not really for either
Common signs in school age children and adults
Difficulty sitting, fidgety, restless, constant motion Caleb--totally
Seems clumsy, awkward and uncoordinated Hannah definitely-Caleb with new stuff
Poor handwriting, scissor skills or zip, button, snap Hannah big time
Easily distracted, disorganized poor attention span Caleb in all ways
Poor posture, slumps, leans while standing or sitting Caleb again and Hannah to some extent
Difficult behaviour, aggressive, emotional or irritable Both slightly when unsure of situation
Also it is very common in adopted children and premature children!

As you can see from the lists and my comments, it is a BIG factor in our house. I am so very thankful that I was directed to search this out this summer and that we are presently finding such help from occupational therapy!!

You can also see why it took us so long to pinpoint the issues. They can be kind of vague and everyday struggles. Add to that, bringing home older kids from another culture, health issues, no education to speak of, no child training to speak of, language goes on and on. I dealt with some guilt originally that I had waited 3 1/2 years to address this issue, but we really had no idea that there were issues stemming to anything other than delays and adoption issues. So I no longer feel guilt, just thankfulness, that things are going smoother, sure, but more importantly that both Caleb and Hannah can overcome this, not just learn to cope!!

So there is my plug for National Sensory Awareness Month!!!! Here is to hoping that my little post will help someone else in their walk down this path!!

Let Me Count the Ways...

Count the ways that Hannah is learning while she puts this puzzle together...

1) She is working on fine motor skills, manipulating that piece in her fingers.

2) She is working on visual discrimination, with colors, shapes and sizes.

3) She is working on reasoning skills, straight pieces on the sides and colors together.

4) She is using her listening skills to listen to directions when she gets stuck.

5) She is working on focus and patience, as this will take a while for her.

The end result is one beaming little girl with her proud papa!!!

This is one of the things I love about homeschooling. We
can do whatever works for us in each new situation.

With my older children I did not include puzzle making as part of their curriculum, because they loved it and did it naturally. Hannah this is added in about once a week as part of her school, because it is hard for her, she will not do it naturally. But she is getting better all the time and she picked this harder puzzle today and did it all by herself.

We are so very proud of how far she has come!! It is not a matter of whether she can meet some standards out of a book, but whether she is progressing at her very own pace!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Quiet Afternoon?

So what do we do around here for a quiet afternoon?

The kids, and sometimes the dog, play tackle, on top of Dad!

David's weakness is that he does not like to have his belly button touched, so that is the usual target. When they are done his belly is usually covered with red marks from all the fingers headed towards the mark!

When the older kids were little, my rule was--we would play till someone cried--ie. it got too rough. It was interesting to hear that loud thunk of someone landing on the ground and all the others calling out, "Don't cry!! We will have to stop!" Then they would jump right back in. Guess it may not be the best way to teach compassion!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wow--2 in a Row!!

Yes all, that is two great, amazing days with Caleb!
We are both rejoicing!!!!!
When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Ps 128:2

Here are some pictures of one of our OT games we are working on.

Both kids struggle with grip, due to trouble 'feeling' things in their hands. Caleb compensates by grasping his pencil really hard and going through lots of lead in one sitting. His had also gets very tired from gripping so tightly. Hannah on the opposite side, does not grip tight enough (I posted a little on this a while back). She holds the pencil so loosely that she has a hard time controlling it, hence a very difficult time writing. Both kids hate coloring and drawing and will only do it when I tell them to, it is just too much work for them.

So here you see Caleb using a zoo stick to pick up squishy worms and place them in a cup. If he presses too hard the worm will actually slip right out!! He is learning correct pressure and the 'feel' of the object in his hand.

And here is Hannah with her beautiful new hair style that she chose all by herself!!!

Here Hannah is doing the same task with the worms and frogs. For her this takes lots of concentration! She must maneuver it around the bug and then grasp it tight enough to hold on to. She drops lots of them, but she thinks it is tremendous fun and will just keep at it for a long time. She does not even realize she is working!!! You gotta love that part.

I will hopefully just keep the ideas coming. Please leave me a comment if you are finding this helpful.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Schooling First!!

Today Caleb had his VERY BEST day of school ever!!!!!

Now I know you are getting tired of hearing it, but here it is again.....his occupational therapy is doing wonders!! No kidding! It is what I have to attribute the amazing changes to.

This morning did not start out great with it taking one hour to get dressed, brush his hair, make the bed and put on lotion. I told him to get a move on or lose his breakfast. This would have sent him into bad day mode with no recovery, even 2 months ago. He was able to self-regulate and bring himself and his mood under control, then he finished all his school work by noon! We have NEVER done that in the 4 years he has been home!!!

So I thought I would give you a quick idea of what we did to help him focus before starting school. First he swept the floor---get the pouting out---using big muscle work.

He then did the windmills I talked about yesterday.

He then crawled on the floor like a bear and a crab with weights in his hands.

Then he acted like an elephant with a big heavy weight ball at the end of his trunk!!

15 BIG jumps on the floor.

Now all of this (except sweeping) he sees as lots of fun.....but it is putting pressure on his joints, using big muscles and pumping his lungs. All this helps him to focus, to sense himself and help him regulate. And it works!!!!

I will add more big movement things we have tried tomorrow, but right now it is time to hit the sac!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More OT

Now I know that it is Caleb that is officially in occupational therapy for his sensory integration issues, but Hannah has them also and she is usually just more available for pictures.
And she is just plain ol' cute!
Here is one of the activities that we are working on!
It is focusing on crossing mid-line, which both kids struggle with. You need to be able to do this in order to have both sides of your brain to work together.
So Hannah is sitting here with a magnet in her left hand and crossing her body to reach for the magnetic pieces--one at a time.

She then transfers the piece to her right hand and inserts it into the hole in the cup. They have both been working on keeping their hands off the floor, they want to use them to stabilize themselves as they turn, but it is better if they do not do that.

Both kids think this is great fun, and I keep it put up, so it is special. I have seen a marked improvement in only two weeks of doing this at home.

Another thing we have added to our morning hard work/big muscle work (which I will post more on later) is "windmills". You know the exercise we did when we were kids where you stand with your feet apart and your hands out, then you put your right hand on your left foot, then up and reverse it. This was really stretching for Caleb this morning. It also works on core strength, which lots of kids with sensory issues struggle with too.

Morning Discussion!

One of the joys of teaching a child with learning delays is that you never know what you are going to get....

In answer to the question, "Who drives a car with lights and a siren?"
---"A cave man"

In answer to what is this a picture of (a can, like a soda can)
---"A cana" (which is a combination of the words can and soda, part of auditory processing)

In answer to "I spy something on the table that came from a tree" (acorns)
---"A candle"

In answer to what is the opposite of cold

So when we came to "What color are lots of barns, apples and fire engines?"----I decided we better leave well enough alone!!!

And there you have a little picture into the mind of a child that see the world VERY differently.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Concordia/Puma Invitational

Drew raced this weekend in Portland and the Concordia/Puma Invitational, in the elite division.
It was pouring down rain most of the day!
(If you couldn't tell!)

They were the 8th race of the day on the same course that does basically 3 similar loops!!
(Yes, it was very slick and very muddy

I love this picture showing the strength in his legs and the determination to catch that guy in front of him!
(Yes, he did catch him!)

And some evidence of the race conditions!

And it was a good race!

He place 3rd overall.

He ran a 15:46!!
A new personal best!!
And set a new school record!!

To blog, or not to blog, that is the question!!!

At least when I am struggling with attitudes!
So I chose not to share my bad mood and self-centeredness with all of you!!
I bet you are all yelling---Yippee!!!
So as I come around this bend, after some LONG talks with God, I will start up again, hopefully with a 'happy heart' that is not a front but the real me.

Grandma is Home!

Thought I would take a minute and let everyone know that we were able to get Grandma back home after 2 month of searching for answers for her episodes that were causing her to freeze and get weak.

Our final answer was drastically dropping blood pressure. She was dropping 65 points for laying down to standing and about 50 points for sitting to standing!
It was enough to cause these episodes.
We have decided to try a medication to raise her blood pressure some, so that it will not drop to an unacceptable level. She is also slowing down lots, no quick turning around and she is using the walker full time. We are excited to see her stamina increasing everyday
And most of all she is so very excited to be home again. Though we loved having her, we are happy she can keep her Independence for now.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Visit with the "D" Family

We have been enjoying a visit with Laurel and some of her children.
Here are Hannah, Sarah, and Rachel this morning while playing with Polly Pockets. And Elijah, Josiah and Caleb with Legos of course.
It was good to catch up on all the goings on and meeting Carissa, who is home from Argentina.
David even offered to watch all the little ones, with Hosanna's help, and let all us ladies go out for the biggest desserts I have ever seen.
David and Hosanna helped supervised all the younger ones while making smores over the fire pit.
Ben helped to supervise Drew making his paper skeleton for his anatomy class today.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Memories Retained

This precious picture was taken 2 weeks after Caleb and Hannah arrived in America.
We wanted to get a picture of them in their native clothing that they arrived home to us in.
Interesting looking back at how scared and unsure Caleb looks in this picture. I wonder what what all was going on in that little mind of his. Hannah looks like a cute little wouldn't know that that little person could scream for 2 hours straight!! A precious time of learning and growing and stretching for all of us!!

So to keep those precious moments, I decided to frame their coming home outfits for our 'Africa' room. Here is the first run at it. I still need to do some adjusting to make it all even, but so far I am happy with the outcome.
Both kids were able to get into their outfits this summer (3 1/2 years after arriving home).
Caleb ripped his shirt some getting it on, and we did not even attempt the pants.
Hannah can actually still fit hers. When she came home the skirt was dragging on the floor, it is now at her knees!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

24 Years and Counting!!!

Yes, we have been married 24 years!!
Seems like such a short time!!
And every year gets sweeter and sweeter!!!

We have so many people say, "You look too young to be married for 24 years!"

Well all I can say is "Thanks!"

I am blessed to have known my sweet husband since I was 13 years old!

I received my first kiss from him on my 16th birthday!

And a year later we were married!

I am so thankful to have spent so many wonderful years in blessed companionship with my best friend and I thank the Lord everyday for him!!!

Our children blessed us with family time.... in the form of this new backyard fire pit!

So it was s'mores all around last night including Grandma--we missed you Danielle!

Here Erinn's friend Marshall, Caleb, Erinn and Drew are actually putting it together for us!!

I did have to pick up the mess this morning, but it was a sweet gift!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Today's Happenings

Today had a little of this and that.
We did try to get most of our school done this morning. We finally decided why stress it when Dad and Drew are gone tomorrow, we will finish. Made the day a lot more fun for all of us.
So Hannah and Grandma made monster cookies this afternoon. These are Davids favorite and he will be traveling tomorrow, so it will be a special treat for the boys in the car. These cookies are mostly peanut butter and oatmeal, no flour, and one of the only sweet things that will tempt David's non-existent sweet tooth--wish I had that problem!!
And I caught Drew and Caleb working on fixing bike tires. Drew was not happy with me taking this, so I missed him testing out Hannah's new tire on her purple bike!!! Yep, he rode it across the street and back--that would have been a great picture!
David wanted his tire fixed so he could ride his bike some in Eugene tomorrow. Drew will be taking his first college visit to the University of Oregon. It has the best running program in the nation right now, and he has some good friends there who are living in a Christian House and really want him to come up next year. We are all praying like crazy for the Lord's leading in this big decision.
I finally set up an appointment with the doctors on Monday. Need to have confirmation that my self diagnosis of plantar fasciitis is correct. I am fairly sure it is what is going on, but the pain levels are not really settling down like they should with all the self treatment. So we are praying for some big relief this weekend or we will just get it x-rayed to make sure.

Off to get dinner ready for one of David's out of town running buddies and his daughter, then maybe off to softball tonight with the little ones.
I read an interesting article here about this man, William Kamkwamba, who at the age of 14 built this windmill to supply electricity to his family in Malawi. More amazingly he had really never had any schooling. He was all self taught!! Amazing!

I so plan to have Caleb read this article. With his African roots and love of science it should be a hit. And maybe, just maybe, it will help him DESIRE to learn also!

I believe in BIG DREAMS!! LOL!

Smile and happy reading!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Birthday Pictures

Finally got the computer to upload some pictures from my birthday.
Thankfully they did not put all the candles on, but they tried!
I asked Hannah to help me blow them out on 3--guess she does not understand that concept yet!!!
My beautiful cake by Erinn!
And my cool pumpkin painted by my wonderful older son!

And the man who lights up may days---and encourages me when I can barely walk!!

You should have seen how gentle he was is helping me get across the street to the restaurant--on the day after a marathon, movement is hard and stairs are just about impossible!

But it is a good---bad feeling!! If that makes any sense!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

At The Finish!

Here are a few of us at the finish!
Do we look happy to be done or what?
Me, Kim, Jamie, Brian

Yes, that is a partial smile!!
I was sore!!
And you get cold when you get done sweating that much!!

Thanks David for being such a great support to me!

Thanks to all those who yelled and encouraged me along the way!

And thanks to Sandi and David, Heather, Faye, Mom and Dad, The Hill Family, Darryl and Becky, Joy, Danielle, David, and Grandma for sponsoring me in this endeavor!

We raised $565 for Sarah's Covenant Homes!!!!!

Drew at Wohink Lake

Drew's race at the Wohink Invitational
October 3 in Florence Oregon

As you can see his finish time is 16:11.
I think he was pretty happy with it.
The course was partially open and flat, but the majority was on narrow trails through the trees with lots of sharp corners.
Congratulations Drew!!!