Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Berry Pick'n

The boys say "Hey, let us OUT!"  I say "No WAY!"  We were only at the farm long enough to pick two buckets full.  Plenty for freezer jam, strawberry/rhubarb crisp and freezing.  
And a yummy shaved ice treat from the farmer's market! 

Monday, June 29, 2009

Black and White

Ace of Cakes

K. and I love to watch Ace of Cakes, Amazing Wedding Cakes, and the like on TV once in a while. The other evening we spent a few hours playing with soft dough.  Here are our creations.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summers Past

Last summer seemed like a blur, mainly due to the fact that I was in and out of the hospital in another state with baby S., and caring for him.  I was looking back at pictures of previous summers.  Many of our old photos are held captive on a broken computer's hard drive, but here are some great pictures to treasure:

4th of July celebration
L. on the slip and slide
K. picking tomatoes in the garden

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A man of great faith

I have seen several Christian women's blogs who list their family's needs on it; then proclaim God's faithfulness when their needs are met.  God IS so faithful, but do you really think that He needs this wish list to meet your needs?  Don't you think He is capable of moving others to help out, to give by His lead?  We are so quick to go to friends, community and others instead of first to God for the needs and desires we have.  I am guilty of doing this too, but I am so encouraged when I see the Lord's work in providing for our adoption expenses, for our family and many other needs we have.  I wish I could be more faith filled,  like this man:
George Mueller, a man who ran several Bristol orphanages in the 1800's.

"I NEVER remember, in all my Christian course, a period now (in March, 1895) of sixty-nine years and four months, that I ever SINCERELY and PATIENTLY sought to know the will of God by the teaching of the Holy Ghost, through the instrumentality of the Word of God, but I have been ALWAYS directed rightly. But if honesty of heart and uprightness before God were lacking, or if I did not patiently wait upon God for instruction, or if I preferred the counsel of my fellow men to the declarations of the Word of the living God, I made great mistakes.” 



In the account written by Mr. Muller dated Jan. 16, 1836, respecting the Orphan-House intended to be established in Bristol in connection with the Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad, we read: 

“When, of late, the thoughts of establishing an Orphan-House, in dependence upon the Lord, revived in my mind, during the first two weeks I only prayed that if it were of the Lord, he would bring it about, but if not the He graciously would be pleased to take all thoughts about it out of my mind. My uncertainty about knowing the Lord’s mind did not arise from questioning whether it would be pleasing in His sight, that there should be an abode and Scriptural education provided for destitute fatherless and motherless children; but whether it were His will that I should be the instrument of setting such an object on foot, as my hands were already more than filled. My comfort, however, was, that, if it were His will, He would provide not merely the means, but also suitable individuals to take care of the children, so that my part of the work would take only such a portion of my time, as, considering the importance of the matter, I might give, notwithstanding my many other engagements. The whole of those two weeks I never asked the Lord for money or for persons to engage in the work. 

“On December 5th, however, the subject of my prayer all at once became different. I was reading Psalm 1xxxi., and was particularly struck, more than at any time before, with verse 10: “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” I thought a few moments about these words and then was led to apply them to the case of the Orphan-House. It struck me that I had never asked the Lord for anything concerning it, except to know His will, respecting its being established or not; and I then fell on my knees and opened my mouth wide, asking Him for much. I asked in submission to His will, and without fixing a time when He should answer my petition. 

I prayed that He would give me a house, i.e., either as a loan, or that someone might be led to pay the rent for one, or that one might be given permanently for this object; further, I asked Him for £1000; and likewise for suitable individuals to take care of the children. Besides this, I have been since led to ask the Lord, to put into the hearts of His people to send me articles of furniture for the house, and some clothes for the children. When I was asking the petition, I was fullyaware what I was doing, i.e., that I was asking for something which I had no natural prospect of obtaining from the brethren whom I know, but which was not too much for the Lord to grant.” 

“December 10, 1835. This morning I received a letter, in which a brother and sister wrote thus: - “We propose ourselves for the service of the intended Orphan-House, if you think us qualified for it; also to give up all the furniture, &c., which the Lord has given us, for its use; and to do this without receiving any salary whatever; believing that if it be the will of the Lord to employ us, He will supply all our needs, &c.” 

“Dec. 13. A brother was influenced this day to give 4s. per week, or £10 8s. yearly, as long as the Lord gives the means; 8s. was given by him as two weeks’ subscriptions. To-day a brother and sister offered themselves, with all their furniture, and all the provisions which they have in the house, if they can be usefully employed in the concerns of the Orphan-House.” 


“Dec. 17. I was rather cast down last evening and this morning about the matter, questioning whether I ought to be engaged in this way, and was led to ask the Lord to give me some further encouragement. Soon after were sent by a brother two pieces of print, the one seven and the other 23 ¾ yards, 6 ¾ yards of calico, four pieces of lining, about four yards altogether, a sheet, and a yard measure. This evening another brother brought a clothes horse, three frocks, four pinafores, six handkerchiefs, three counterpanes, one blanket, two pewter salt cellars, six tin cups, and six metal tea spoons; he also brought 3s. 6d. given to him by three different individuals. At the same time he told me that it had been put into the heart of an individual to send to-morrow £100.” 


“June 15, 1837. To-day I gave myself once more earnestly to prayer respecting the remainder of the £1000. This evening £5 was given, so that now the whole sum is made up. To the Glory of the Lord, whose I am, and whom I serve, I would state again, that every shilling of this money, and all the articles of clothing and furniture, which have been mentioned in the foregoing pages, have been given to me, 

without one single individual having been asked by me for anything.” 

Almost Friday!

More rashes on another child!  Is it from E. or the dog?  That is the million dollar question. Our long haired chihuahua has a spot on his chest that I noticed the other day, the day after I noticed several spots on my daughter, C.  C. and Jackson the chihuahua are best friends and often sleep together. We immediately made a doctor appointment and it seemed like deja vu.  He was just as stumped as he was about E.'s rash.  He took a skin scraping and in the meantime prescribed some cream.  It seems like it may be working, for now.  And poor Jackson's been spending a lot more time in his kennel until his skin clears up.

While I was at the doctor (I had to bring all my kids with me) I mentioned my suspicion of E. having some sort of sensory problem.  The doc was kind enough to listen to me even though we were there for another issue.  He wrote a prescription for an evaluation and therapy, and recommended a woman who specializes in this sort of thing.  I called this woman's office and found that they have a waiting list 2 to 5 months long!  I think I may look around a bit more.

The kids have been having a great time at VBS and today they had a hot dog feed for parents and kids afterward.  E. and S. were their charming selves, you would have never even known that moments before we left the house, E. had been whining nonstop for about 30 minutes.  The speech therapist was here and E. was upset about something, but didn't want to share what he was upset about.  He also had a somewhat difficult day yesterday and and even more challenging night.  This is unusual as he is normally a pretty good sleeper (at night).  He was up for what seemed like every hour crying and whining in his bed.  He can turn it on and off like a light switch, and we tried everything possible to be sure he was comforted and happy.  It was just like he was bored with sleeping and was trying to keep himself and us, awake.  He HAD to be exhausted from no nap yesterday and a pretty busy day.   He has been acting this way before bed nearly every night, but usually once he's asleep he stays asleep all night.

Today I was determined to get him and S. to nap, so I had E. go to the potty before laying him down.  I also gave them both some warm milk.  Then I laid them down in their beds.  All was quiet until I checked on the banging noise I heard from their room.  E. was sitting up, banging on his headboard, with a horrible smell coming from his rear.  He had pooped and peed in his pants, just 10 minutes after he had the opportunity to use the bathroom.  I felt like he did it on purpose to spite me!  I prayed for patience and grace as I cleaned him all up and put him back to bed.  He had a great 2 hour nap after that.  And he will be going to bed with a diaper on for a while.

I can't wait for J. (hubby's) days off, coming Saturday!  We don't have many plans, but for some  reason, things just go so smoother while he's home. And E. really listens to him.  

Monday, June 22, 2009

A trip to the library

We headed out to the library today, after picking up L, C, and K at VBS.  L. was a helper for the preschool kids, and the two girls had a lot of fun playing and learning about Jesus.  The library was a bit busy being the first week of summer break, and a rainy day.  S. (17 months) ran right to the baby pool full of board books saying "booook" as loudly as he could.  He was pretty busy in the children's section with Papa, while I took Elijah to explore other areas.  He was loud and whiny for part of the time, but did well.  We got some good books, but my favorite pick so far was a magazine, Adoptive Families.  I checked out the Feb 2008 edition, mainly because it features articles about parenting AA children.  Here is a great article I just read called Our Blended Family
There are also great articles including some about ADD and girls.  

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A little more research

E. with his whiney face (too bad you can't hear what he sounds like too!)

I've been doing some more online reading about sensory disorders (if that is what E. has... he's not been diagnosed or evaluated).  Here are some interesting facts I have found.  E.  had kwashiorkor around 6-8 months of age.
E. at a young age at the orphanage
This was taken from here (click for the link):
There is some suggestion that extremely malnourished children under 6 months of age have a poorer prognosis than those who experience severe malnutrition at an older age.  
Kwashiorkor and marasmus seem to have similar negative effects on mental development. Most studies have looked at global IQ measures.  Specific effects on reasoning and perceptual-spatial function have been found consistently, but effects on other cognitive skills remain to be determined.  Motor skills seem to be affected, with clumsiness, motor delay, and sensory integration problems notice in different studies.  Behavior problems seem to be characterized by poor attention, more distractibility and less emotional control.

This article was interesting:
Toxins, illness, malnutrition, and premature birth can all interrupt critical brain development. Other factors that may increase risk to sensory disorders include vaccines given to pregnant women, extended bed rest during pregnancy, and the stressors associated with giving up children for adoption.

I will keep observing and learning about this little guy, while giving him all the love I can.  He truly is a miracle in my eyes, overcoming more than you can believe. We will be contacting the pediatrician soon and I called the school district last week. They scheduled a screening for the developmental preschool in October.  We will see if he qualifies and go from there, but I want to see if the doctor might recommend therapy before then.  Right now he is sitting next to me looking at a book, singing "Oh the blood of Jesus" in his own words.  

E. laughing at Mama

Friday, June 19, 2009

Trips, family and diets

L. at the beach
E. at the park. Notice how he holds his hands?
S. with his bucket!
K. on the lookout for crabs or fish.
S. and E. beach-combing.

Last week we went to the beach with friends. The kids had a great time exploring low tide and collecting fun sea creatures. E. and S. had fun playing in the little pools and the sand. I got sunburned.

This week we had a fun visit with extended family. They are stationed in another country so we only see them occasionally. We met at the children's museum to play on Wednesday and yesterday they came over to spend the day here. We had a bit of mommy time shopping for a few hours, and then had a bbq complete with smores. After a few minutes with the little kids by the firepit we rethought the whole idea and went indoors while the grown-ups had brownies and ice cream. Pictures to come.

The weekend is almost here and we have no plans! We were planning on a small camping trip this weekend, but it looks like the weather will not hold out. It has been getting cooler and sprinkling off and on. I am only a fair (warm) weather camper! J. may participate in a softball tournament if we end up with nothing to do. VBS starts Monday morning and L. is going to be helping lead the preschoolers! Great practice for him. He is so great with little kids.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Clean your room!

We cleaned the girls' room today and got rid of lots of junk!  I have realized over the last several years that C. is a pack rat.  She keeps all sorts of things, and if you aren't on top of it, their room gets really gross really fast.  It looks really nice now.  I even moved a chair in there, making more space in the living room.  A few months ago I moved all their clothing into the "family closet" (aka our master bathroom). This really made life easier for me.  Now after I fold clean laundry, I put it all away in one place; and there is no more clean clothes thrown on the floor in their rooms.


Check out Sarah's blog. There are some beautiful pictures on there, taken by her children, of my children!  Does that make sense?  

Sunday, June 14, 2009

More to do's

This has really been helping me get things done!  Sorry if I am boring you.

To Do:

Mail Jenny a check-DONE
Call eye doctor for K.-DONE
Call school district to request evaluation for E. in the fall-DONE
Send friend's daughter a card for graduation
Look for Father's Day gifts
Shop for groceries for company-DONE
Clean house for company-DONE
Take stuff to consignment shop
Take stuff to Goodwill-DONE
Call pediatrician to make appointment for S. and E.
Call Ann about S.
Meet family at children's museum on Wed.-DONE
Help set up gazebo and picnic table in yard-DONE
Make appointment for dermatologist- DONE
Make myself eye doctor appointment- DONE

Weekly Dinner Menu:
(Most dinners are from Easy Entrees...love that place!)
Monday: Taco Salad
Tuesday: BBQ Pork Chops with mop sauce, zucchini
Wednesday: Out to eat with family
Thursday: Hamburgers/hotdogs and sides
Friday: Coconut Tilapia with Tangy Apricot Dipping Sauce, salad, rolls
Saturday: Lemon Barbecued Chicken, salad, corn
Sunday: Beef Souvlaki, mashed potaotes, green beans

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sammy update- June

We went to the beach yesterday with friends.  My friend's daughter took these really great pictures of him.  I wish we had a nice camera.  Maybe someday.  
Samuel went to the neuro-developmental  clinic at the Children's Hospital on the 20th of May.  He is delayed a bit in speech/communication and the speech therapy he gets in our home is just the right thing to be doing according to the doctor.  The doctor also recommended Samuel see an OT to get a baseline on his development in that area.  He was pretty impressed with how social Samuel is.  He loves to smile and say hi to people.  
Samuel is learning new words quickly now.  I think it really helps that he has a brother close to his age who is also learning new words.  We are keeping a chart of words he can say, and I will post that soon so you can see how many he knows.  
He is getting into everything and is a very active little guy.  His speech therapist agrees with me that he has a short attention span, maybe shorter than most children his age.  He does like to look at books and can now point to some objects when you ask him to.
His favorite foods right now are any fruits, peas, oatmeal, yogurt, chicken, snacks like cheese puffs and crackers, and sandwiches.  He loves dessert too of course!  
His favorite activities are riding on his little scooter, playing with cars and trucks, kicking and rolling a ball, dancing, listening to people sing and play finger/hand games (like open shut them, this little piggy, where is thumbkin), and playing outside.  He even learned the word outside! (or his rendition of it!)
We stopped going to toddler play group because of timing conflicts.  We also noticed that he would get sick after every week we went.  We figured, along with the special ed teacher there, that Samuel gets plenty of interaction with other children in our home and in the community.
We are planning on having a fun summer and already the weather has been great!  We went swimming a few times and have played outside a lot.  Samuel really loves the water.    

Clenched fists

I did a google search tonight since my hubby is working late.  Below is one conversation about some toddlers who clench their fists (taken from an autism site).  I find it interesting since other children from the o. have been diagnosed with sensory disorders.  I also came across this online book, 

The handbook of international adoption medicine

 By Laurie C. Miller

Here is the conversation between moms:

One of the very first things that my son started to do was this, clentched fists. They were not closed tightly into a fist, just the fingers covering the palms, as if he doesn't want to expose his hands. My son started doing this before he was two. Along with the many other things that were going on that I was saying was just "quirky", I dug deeper and started to discover that he had sensory processing disorder. The Out-of-sync child talked about this. After I read that, that's when I started to really see that my son had this sensory thing going on.

We do not have any other dx. except sensory processing disorder (walking thru this now). I would recommend talking to an occupational therapist who could work on tactile issues with you.

My son did this for a while.  He wouldn't even unclinch them to hold things.   He would hold things with his finger and thumb.  Suddenly he just stopped one day.  I will be interested to see if this ever returns.

My son started doing this 2 weeks ago, when we moved. He has completely stopped using the fingers on his left hand when fully awake. He treats it like a "club hand," only using his thumb, which he sucks for comfort. He wouldn't even open it to eat his birthday cake (he just used his fist like a bulldozer and shoved it in) or try to take the IV tape off before his MRI today. Normally that would have been history in about 2 seconds. You can force his fingers open, but the fist returns immediately. He doesn't want anyone to touch it. He is also tilting his head to the left off and on. They scanned his brain to see if there's any rhyme or reason to him favoring one side. It's obviously a stress-related reaction, but if there's more to it I really want to know and having a brain scan could be helpful, since he is VERY sensory seeking and crashes often, sometimes very hard. He also would not cooperate well during his EEG, so if he had any seizures during the scan, they would show up. I am so glad I am not alone in this, I will inform his therapists and Neuro about this. Does anyone have any medical links I can use? I don't want to send them here, as I am new to the community and don't want to invade others' privacy here. I'm terrified he's going to stop using his hand permanently, he is such a creature of routine. TIA for your help!

Yes my son always had hands clenched in fist, I think an OT evulation is a good idea. My son would not hold pencil or use spoon or fork, at the time I just thought he was stubborn now I know better. We have lots of pictures with his fists clenched I feel bad it never occured to me this was not right. Get some help with this now, because it will effect handwriting later on. My son still does not like to use pencils and utensils. He is 12 with asperger's.

I started this thread in January.... so, an update.    My son's fist clenching has really reduced.     Now he only does it when his hand is dirty - like while eating something messy -  and he keeps it clenched to keep his cup clean, etc.

Here is what I did - for what it's worth.   I used to gently massage his hand open while we played, but I did not mention it to him, or even look at his hand.   I wanted it to be a non-issue.   I would just massage his arms or feet and casually massage that little fist open and then I would encourage a "give me five" game in order to keep it open.   He likes the slap noise of an open palm so there was a pay-off for unclenching. 

Also, I started suggesting we wash hands when he would get his fist all balled up for a long time.   The warm water, the soap, the massage seemed relaxng and distracting. 

Anyhoo....eventually it reduced considerably.

My 2 cents... and best of luck.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Post Placement

We had our post placement visit from our homestudy worker yesterday.  It went well, although we had to talk over E. singing "Happy Birthday" to everyone he knows.  We will do his readoption within the next few months and then we will be all finished with paperwork for him. We are expected to send in reports to the orphanage twice a year, but they just need to be written up by us, nothing formal.

We also found a washer and dryer!! I can't even begin to tell you how excited that makes me.  I have been doing laundry non stop since they got set up last night. Well, I did sleep for 8 hours, but you know what I mean.  

E. has been waking up early the last few days.  I think it's because it's summer and gets light so early now. He has a dark shade on the window in his room, but his bed is right under it.  He also has been learning how to stand on his bed and open his window.  Thankfully it has an alarm on it that buzzes loudly if it's opened.

Things have continued to go well with E's transition into our home.  I have been noticing how he holds his hands the last few weeks. He has been holding in hands in a fist or makes a claw like shape with his fingers.  Not sure what that is all about.  Stress? If I continue to notice it I will talk with the doctor about it at the next visit.  He's been taking the oral antifungal which seems to be helping his skin rash!  The rash on his cheek is gone, and the little spots on his scalp seem to be getting better.

Monday, June 8, 2009

My week- To do list and prayer requests

This photo is E. and I. (his best buddy in Haiti).  Lately E. has been crushing on I.'s sister~ they have been kissing each other and holding pretend weddings in Sarah's living room.  It's so cute!

My to do list:  
Clean the house, social worker is visiting on Thursday for a post placement visit -DONE
Fill out paperwork for social worker -DONE
Fill out paperwork for the kids' school summer expenses-DONE
Call my dentist to make appointment for crown -DONE
Get allergy shots-DONE
Get haircut-DONE
Do weekly check in and month end reviews for kids' school-DONE
Mail friend's daughter a card for graduation
Mail Phoneraiser box-DONE
Find a working, cheap or free clothes dryer (ours stopped working last week)-DONE
Go to Easy Entrees -DONE
Speech therapist visit-DONE
Pay bills-DONE
Remember to pray and read God's word-DONE
Call doctor to schedule appointment for L.'s sports physical-DONE
Go grocery shopping-DONE

Prayer Requests:
For E's friend to come home soon
For the people at COTP 
For the people at RHFH
For adoption expenses to be provided
For a dryer to be found -PRAISE, found washer and dryer on craigslist for $150 including delivery.  They're all set up with their first load being washed and dried!!!
For patience
For a doctor and hospital to be found for baby S from Haiti
Praise for this wonderful weather we are having
Praise that we are all healthy!
Praise that we will be having visitors soon, family that we rarely have a chance to see!
Praise for J's job, our home, friends and family
Praise that E. is adjusting so well in our home

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Heavy Heart

I've been feeling very sad lately. Haiti and other countries have been pulling at my heartstrings. Certain world events seem overwhelming. Last night I was alerted to distressing news at COTP. A sweet baby, who J. and I have met, loved and interacted with several times, went to be with Jesus.  I feel so much pain for his family, both adopted and biological, and his caregivers.  It must be so hard to understand, I know it is for me.  Please pray for the people who will miss baby J. so much.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Social Security

I took E. to the Social Security office today to apply for his first ss number and card.  It will arrive in two weeks.  In a few months we will go through a readoption process and change his name (it really isn't Elijah) but he is already a US citizen and has our last name.  We are choosing to do a readoption so he will have a US birth certificate.  He has a Haitian birth certificate now.  He should get his ss card in the mail in a few weeks, and then when we have his name changed we will have to make another fun stop at the office to update them.

We were able to fix the pool and the kids had their first swim this afternoon.  It was a bit cold, but L, C. and K didn't mind too much.  E. went in for a few minutes and his teeth were chattering pretty quick.  He really liked running through the sprinkler and watering plants with the hose or watering can.