Thursday, June 26, 2014

Finding our groove

Yep, summertime comes with changes. Change in my work schedule ( to night shift) and the kids off of school.

Kids thinking they NEED stuff to do.

And sometimes they do--- but also, sometimes they have to learn it's okay to not have 24 hr entertainment scheduled for them.

The little girls are doing Vacation Bible School this week. Lots of fun there.

Phoebe also had an evaluation for her to have instruction for cane use. 

 It's NOT something she HAS to do, she's got enough vision to "get by" but in wanting her to have as much independence as possible it's important to teach her to use a white cane, not only for her to be able to navigate any unknown places when she's older but it will also identify her as a person with visual deficits for others to know and provide her with more safety.

And it's easier to learn at her age than to try to teach her when she's older. As usual, she totally drew in the instructor in her brightness and fun, sunshine like personality.

Someone else who was smiling today?  Paisley.

This week we had a follow up appointment with her rheumatologist.  I'll admit I was worried. Couldn't help it. Her mobility had decreased so much that she was unable to get her own sandal on her foot Sunday and asked for help. Something she NEVER does unless she HAS to.

As well, getting up our steps was a long, hard process, taking 10+ minutes to get up 13 steps and her really pulling/hanging on the handrail. It's just downright painful to watch her struggle some times. 

So I wasn't surprised when the doc said her hips are not good. We are going to do X rays to check them later this week, but her hip mobility is at about 0. She actually has to waddle to be able to walk forward, there's almost no movement at all of her hips. We will be referred to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon about double hip replacement:(

But one positive from her visit-- her knee was really swollen and flaring.  So doc injected it. And today Paisley came up the steps saying "Look at me running up the steps."  Such a funny girl, running up the steps:))

But seriously it took her about 2 minutes, with only holding on to the rail, not having to use it to pull herself up each and every step. HUGE difference for her.

And she's happier (aren't we all?) when she feels better and can move better, although I included this picture for fun, you see they aren't all smiles and sweetness- ha ha-- there's some snot dished out here for sure (And she's not the only one either)!

Speaking of moving-- not us, we are not moving. But my brother moved 2 YEARS ago and when he bought his house it had purple, deep purple walls--- incredibly U-G-L-Y. I told him-- don't worry about that, we can paint those walls. OIY. 2 years ago:(

Well---I had 2 days off and when I got off work one morning we took off.  It was a 2 day marathon of painting. Got the living room, up the steps, entry way all painted a lovely green/ tan shades. Started a yellow/ green combo in the kitchen. 

The kids had a blast, dad took some of them biking on the trails of a nearby park. Kat helped with painting projects, and Phoebe was thrilled to play all day with her cousin Jerry (age 7).  They played cars, pretended to shoot cars, played some more cars. 

Now there's no more purple on brother's walls, a soon trip will be for stenciling his kitchen and trim painting.  Then they can enjoy their walls, feeling like it's finally "their HOME,"  colors THEY like and chose, applied and live with:)

Chloe got herself in trouble this past week and regressed to pouting/sleeping for hours to avoid being in trouble. Have I mentioned it takes YEARS for adjustments with teen adoptions??

Yep, after going overnight with friends previously and me telling her she didn't even let us know she got there safe, not a peep from her the whole time and telling her very clearly that was NOT acceptable, she did it again.

And was called on it. SO she reacted like she used to-- sleeping/ pouting, not coming out of her room. Till we called her out on that........ 

Sometimes the burden of teaching, the fears of "will they ever get this,"  the lack of maturity is incredibly frustrating.  And yes, we understand they are teens, and many teens react in similar ways, not all behaviors are adoption related anymore. Some of it's just plain TEENAGERS.

But we plug away at the behaviors, because we have to. We aren't doing them any favors to allow things to slide. Because it's cute to see a 6 year old slurp food, not so cute at 17.  It's understandable that they come off as "in your face and space" because it's normal in their culture, but here they come off as rude.

The social lessons are some of the hardest and longest teachings we have had to do, and seriously they have even gone so far as to say "Nah" when told something they are doing needs to be changed or they will be offending people. 

 They don't want to believe us. FRUSTRATING for sure. (Did I mention they are TEENAGERS?)

Someone who is making better strides with listening and behavior-- Phoebe:)

Yep, she seems to be settling down and we have addressed many of her behaviors. 

 Now, do not worry, she still talks constantly, there's nothing gonna squash that spirit (nor do we ever want to do that to ANY of the kiddos) but the understanding of "We've got your back and we are telling you things to teach you, not so you can be in trouble for not doing them" is sinking in.  FINALLY.

It's good to see. Very good. 

She's got such an outgoing personality it's hard to see her struggle with understanding this whole "being parented is a good thing/bad thing" issue.

The girls were so funny when I told them I wanted pictures for the blog--- Kat Paisley and Chloe took "selfies", Chance complained when Kat caught him in the girls' room for his picture, oh goodness, he's in their room-- as if he never goes in there?

Their (Chance, Phoebe, Paisley, Kat) summer obsession has been playing their Nintendo games, since none of the teens are gainfully employed yet. And hanging out in their jammies. And sleeping in.....

All those things they "never" get to do during the school year.  

A nice break, a different pace, getting used to it and enjoying extra time with this crew:) 

Yep finding the summer groove. We do it every year..........

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

It's not possible to tell you how wonderful this father is---

All the things he does for our crew, his patience with all, there's not enough room to list all that he does and we are thankful for him always. 

        Happy Daddy's Day to the BEST Dad I know!!!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Graduation

Another graduation.
 
 This time Chase, High school, Class of 2014. He ran off and turned in his gown before we could find him for pictures.
He's graduated----Whooo hooo. 
 
Congratulations Chase!
 
 Now for a job.....

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Cheer Camp

As crazy busy as it gets around here this time of year, we were not sure about adding Cheer Camp when Kat brought home the paper for it.

BUT------ she really, Really, REALLY wanted to do it.

So, since it was only a week, and "only" an hour and a half each night with a "grand finale" on the last night, we decided it would be worth the insanity time to let her go.

It also gave some time for her and Phoebe to have a break from each other, and Phoebe to have some one on one Mom time:)

Win/Win.

 Kat had a total blast, she learned some cheers, a flip and is very sure she wants to cheer for football next year.

The girls who coached were the High School cheerleaders and they were sooooo nice to the girls, made it a ton of fun for them.

After we went to her program we stopped off at a local store, goodness we are a bunch of goofs in a store.

We were looking for those long skewer thingys to cook hot dogs, marshmallows on the camp fire? 

 We finally did find some, not till we had travelled through the whole store though. Isn't that how it ALWAYS is?

Since we now are the proud owners of skewers and can forgo the sticks Chance had sharpened for us to use, we will probably enjoy a nice flaming fire this evening, courtesy of Chance.

Our fire lovin' guy.  Just gotta try out those new skewers, ya know?

Another happening this week, Writer's Celebration for the girls as well as the Science Fair. 

Kat wrote a book about her friends and subjects she likes in school.

Phoebe wrote about her friends, the movie Fr*zen which she is totally nuts about and drew pictures as well from the movie.

Their Science Fair projects were fun-- Phoebe's was pretty simple because she didn't HAVE to do one but we didn't want her to feel left out, so dad helped her make a barometer.

Kat worked on hers mostly herself and it was all about Cats. By Kat:) 

The girls are enjoying many days of movies, celebrations, field trips, etc. as our school year winds down.

It's been a fun year with a teacher they both really, really like and will miss.

But soon they will officially be 5th graders------ WOW.

Where does the time go.........

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Slacker

Yep, Slacker. That would be me. Slacking on my own blog.  I said it FOR you MOM.

Just been busy living life, taking care of 7 kiddos and keeping track of the 5 olders.  Lots of times that's just a text message, but that's okay, any form of communication so I, their mother, do not have to think something horrible has happened to them. As mothers tend to do. 

Yes, they never get so old that their momma doesn't think of, pray for, care about them.  And let them know it if they don't contact me often enough:)

Now I figured since I haven't posted recently that the best thing would be to ask you all to forgive me and give a BIGGGGGGGG long update on everyone.

So that's what you are going to get.

I'll go by the oldest (still at home) down to the youngest, with pictures. (of course)

Mr. Chase. 

Gotta love his usual face for my camera..... sigh. Oh, to look so happy everywhere else------SONshine.

Maybe I should ask him to cook or threaten to not edit his zits if he doesn't smile. OHHHH--  Bad, bad momma.  (Don't call MOM)

 But that's okay, we've seen much more happiness from this guy lately even if my camera doesn't bring it out.

Some nervousness too, being an adult is not easy and he's at that crossroad of no longer being considered a child, but not quite ready to fly the coop.

We've helped with job applications for him, he's eager to work and whomever gets this guy as an employee is going to be THRILLED-- he's a worker alright. He's very organized and you get NO complaints from him no matter the work to be done.

He went with the youth on a work/overnighter and helped weed flower beds. Did a super job then got up and made breakfast for all at dawn:) 

He had his presentation of his senior project, he didn't tell us--- we heard he did well. Just another thing that didn't surprise me when we learned he didn't tell us about it. He reminds me a lot of Donovan SONshine, he too, didn't tell us things that we would have gone to at school because he either ----

1. Didn't care if we were there
2. Didn't know we could come
3. Figured we had to work and wouldn't be able to come

I know it's pretty typical of some teens, so these "opting out" of telling us for school things does not surprise me nor do I let it bother me. Now in times past I  *might* have been really hurt/annoyed but he did fine and there's so much more in life than going there.....

Chloe girl. Our mission lovin'girl. She's brought home papers for every mission trip she can get her hands on.  I have to remind her that she does, indeed, have school and can not miss too much of it over the course of a school year to go on mission trips.

She also applied for a few jobs. I brought home one application but she turned her nose up at it. Yes, indeed she did. WHY? 

 Not because she doesn't want to work. Nope, she is a very harder worker, just like Chase. BUT--- she's very shy and she wanted to apply at jobs she felt she wouldn't have to talk as much at.  Silly girl, she would do just fine.

She's the time keeper as well-- she's the only one I have heard saying "There's only 11 days left of school", there's only 9 days left of school" of all the kids-- you would think there would be more of them who were keeping track but they don't need to with our Chloe around.

Chance. What can I say about Chance. He's already been covered in poison this summer. I'm surprised we have not had a trip to the doctor yet, but Grandma did teach him about baking soda paste and he *might* have finally realized when I told him that he HAD to stop scratching it was for a good reason-- sighhhhh.

He can not keep himself inside. It does seem that he is building some immunity to it, he's got more than 1 inch of skin that is poison free now:)

He's got lots of yard working jobs lined up for the summer and is eager to "Earn money!"  He doesn't like to sit around, my busy, outdoor lovin' SONshine.

Paisley.  The smiley girl.

Yep, she's often got that smile on her face. She hasn't said too much about summer- I could tell she was deeply considering the older kiddos "getting jobs" and I heard her tell Chance "Not me."  

I'm not sure she's actually SAD about that-- I think she probably is in some ways, because a job for her would be tough. And she's not really ready for that yet. 

The others have been home longer and are ready for all that jobs will bring them. Learning responsibility, handling money, bank accounts, debit cards, driving, interviewing, etc.  

But Paisley will make the big step of high school next year:)  She's really doing well with her learning and her adjustment/ maturity so we are excited for her to gain this big step. We think she is ready to be a high schooler:)

Camden-- gearing up for football already. Agility training.  Staying up too late and asleep by supper time tonight.  Poor guy, he plays hard. If it's light outside he wants to be out playing. 

Growing by leaps and bounds, size 10 shoes already at age 13, surpassing Derrik who ended up in size 14 shoes.  Goodness we grow 'em big here- ha ha! 

He's looking forward to summer vacation, he's not fond of getting up early, although besides Chase he is usually up the earliest of all of them. 

He cracked us up when he was getting sponsors for his football stuff and he actually got Chase to donate $5 to his cause.  Not Chance though, nope that guy won't part with $1 unless it benefits him in some way-- when Camden asked him he said ----
"What's in it for me?"


Kat is growing up.  She's changing her looks. Even Chance, who is not the most observant person when it comes to anything about the little girls said "Kat you look different every day."  

Yes, she's learned to do her own hair. She's really good at picking out her clothes, fixing her hair in to many different styles.  

She's a tween for sure--

 There's been lots of DRAMA in her class this year, something we were surprised to find so early on (10 year olds!!) and were not thrilled to hear some of the kids in her class actually thought they were "dating" each other.

Thankfully Kat knew better, in fact, when I asked her about it she said"I knew if Chloe and Paisley weren't allowed to date yet, I couldn't." 

Uh, yeah, that would be correct.  I didn't tell her Chloe could date if she wanted to. No interest there yet, but the point was she was smart enough to know if her much older siblings were not dating then she wasn't gonna be dating in 4th grade. OIY. Have I mentioned red hair turns WHITE, not grey and I have plenty of white hairs now? Poor Dad, they've got him all grey headed already:)

Now for the last one- Phoebe. Phoebe had made some great gains over the past few months, right now we are seeing a regression though, which I am sure has to do with summer vacation being days away.

We don't often have the "change of routine" upset with the older kiddos since they have been home much longer and do seem better able to adjust. 
 But Phoebe is still a "newbie" and still lagging in maturity quite a bit so this did not surprise me. 

 It did cause me to "blow" yep, I did. (MOM)  Because with the increase of anxiety over school ending she "ramped up" the whole competition issues with Kat.

And when it came down to something as simple as who could grab the laundry basket from me fastest to return it to the bathroom and they nearly knocked me over, that was it for me. 

Now, before you think "That's pretty petty to blow up over." Let me tell ya.  These 2 were fighting over EVERYTHING. Who got to the car first, who would sit where, who would hug dad or me first, who would say "Bye" first, who would get to sit next to us, who would get to hold hands, etc,etc, etc. It just didn't STOP. And the "loser" of these battles ended up being mad, pouting, crying, yelling, getting snotty, etc. It was UGLY.

So once I blew and said I would not tolerate this anymore, in any way, from either of them, things have gotten better. Each of the girls are very special in their own way and I would say one downfall to "twinning" a new sibling in is the difficulty of the new child to find their own place within the family and not be usurping on the other child's turf.  It's a very fine balance to pull off. 

We know that Kat is very generous and kind, but she also has limitations on tolerance when Phoebe is pushing her way in to every faucet of Kat's life.  And not always being kind about it. Because Phoebe is 10 but still behaves about 6 or so and 6 year olds like to have attention, they can be rude, they can be obnoxious at times.   

Our first steps to alleviate this is to give each girl time away from the other. We have  changed Phoebe's Sunday School class since the higher class wasn't at her reading level anyway and we have already arranged to have separate classes for the girls next school year. Even though it's been a huge help to have Kat with Phoebe in the same class in school, it's been hard too. 

Because even when told not to, the other kids in their class are going to Kat when Phoebe has an issue and wanting Kat to "fix it." Which is NOT Kat's place. She needs to be able to focus on her own learning, schedule, friends, etc. Without "carrying" Phoebe's issues.  Especially when we have had to push Phoebe to be independent and not just expect things to be done for her (or demand Kat do them for her) when her only issue is her vision, everything else works just fine:(

It's a learning process. Not always fun. Phoebe doesn't like to be "in trouble" (who does?) yet she will cling to behaviors she knows are not acceptable. Again, that whole "immaturity" not matching her age and won't for a long, long time.

Now, do NOT think it's all issues. Nope, no way. Phoebe is still a very joyful child. She doesn't hold a grudge. She's enjoying things that she is able to do for herself, things she didn't even realize she COULD do for herself:)  She's growing in many, many ways:)

One of the neatest things about her is her total acceptance of God, she took to learning about Him like a fish to water. She loves, Loves, LOVES God and wants to learn all about Him and share Him with everyone.

I'm betting none of you knew that  Jesus had some snow white hair and kinda looked like her?  Yep, she's always drawing pictures and often it's about God. 

So thankful she knows the One who brought her to our family.... she's very loved and just a wonderful addition within our bunch.  It's a joy to see her learn things and even through the harder times with her.

Because that's family--- the good, the rough, the forever and ever she's got us and we have her:)

We are very thankful for ALL of our kiddos.......  and so there you have it. The latest on our crew.
Just normal stuff, keeping on, keeping on:)