About Me

I have adopted 4 children from a specific orphanage in Eastern Europe and I want to see more children redeemed from that orphanage and brought into families. I want to make sure that the children who are still left behind in that place are never forgotten.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dayton's Idea for Presentation

Dayton is very pleased that the homeschool picnic we are going to in just a few weeks has a time for presentations. He has been trying to think of something that he can present. Last night he was talking about it as he went to bed.

I think he is going to try an idea that he had, but that he said half joking. He is planning to take magnets and make a baseball glove and ball that make it easier to catch the ball. I picked up the supplies for him today. I am anxious for him to give it a try. He will be so proud of one of the younger kids is able to use it to play ball!

I'm also going to have him do a little research on magnetism in the process. Maybe that can help him decide if it is better to use two magnets or if he should use metal and a magnet. I'll let you all know how it turns out!

I am wondering if other children will choose to do projects. The deal is they have to get there other work completed and use the extra time to do this. I guess we will see, but I am glad that Dayton is ready to take on the challenge!

The Three Homeschooling Nightmares (Oh Wait Those are My Kids! roflol)

Oh yes, the beginning of the homeschool can be interesting. Jose has never homeschooled before. Crystal and Andrew both homeschooled for the end part of last year, but also both have Reactive Attachment Disorder. Those three have all decided to be upleasant for the moment.

First there is Andrew. Andrew is delaying any writing assignments right now. He just never finishes them correctly. He has several ways of doing this. He will refuse to write about the topic and instead write about something competely off the wall. He won't relate a topic to himself that is supposed to be about him. (An example of this is when we read a Berenstein Bears book individually and then they were to write about what the bears learned in paragraph one and then in paragraph two write about how that applies to them personally. He will only write about how it applies to someone else.) Then if those two means won't work for a specific topic then he writes 2 or 3 of the four sentences EXACTLY THE SAME. Oh yes, Andrew is quite a trip. He is now writing the sentence "I will quit acting ridiculous because I am loved." over and over as well as writing words that he needs to learn to spell. It is very hard to pull those tricks with that, but I'm sure he'll figure something out.

Next, let's discuss Crystal. See Crystal is showing huge improvements in her academic abilities. The problem now is that Crystal doesn't tell me when she is done with an assignment or ask for anything that she needs. If she needs assistance, then she says NOTHING. If her pencil breaks, then she doesn't get a new sharpened pencil that is sitting on the table. She also doesn't go sharpen her pencil in the electric sharpener or even ask me to sharpen the pencil. She just sits there and does NOTHING. If she gets to something and gets stuck, she doesn't ask for help. She once again does NOTHING. Now do you see how this could be a problem? I have asked her over and over. I have explained over and over that she is important and should care enough about herself to ask, speak, or do. She still does NOTHING. She is now writing about that, because it is keeping her from completing her work. She is writing the same as Andrew.

Last, let's discuss Jose. He does everything except math for the most part. He's doing the same things that he caused grief with on homework last year. He will do about half of the problems on a page right on the first try and do the rest wrong about 5 times (I promise that I'm not exaggerating) before he does it correctly. I was sitting at the table with him to keep him going on Friday, because he was very close to getting done. I was prodding him a little to keep him moving. I guess the fear of getting done and being able to feel accomplished over came him. Next thing I know, he has a problem like 65 x 28 and he has written 65 eight times down his paper and is going to add rather than multiply. He kept looking at me to make sure that I would notice. I know he wanted me to argue with him. Instead I told him that I understood that he wanted to go sit in his bed. He is now writing the same sentence and multiplication facts for his weekend activity. He admits that he knows those facts and thinks that admitting it should be enough to keep from writing them. I told him that now he will know them better.

Now, you may wonder if any of this makes me crazier or angry. The answer is NO. I have had a lot of things bigger than this in my parenting journey. I know that I am being tested. I am ok with that as long as they are ok with the answer to the test. YES, I LOVE THEM ENOUGH TO GIVE THEM LOGICAL CONSEQUENCES AND NOT GIVE THEM A NEGATIVE EMOTIONAL RESPONSE. I wonder if this test will restart on Monday? lol

Just laugh. It is healthy to laugh.

Destiny's "Non-Bubbliness"

Destiny is my BUBBLY child. She is always happy (well unless you make her mad, but that is another post and something we try not to have happen lol) and bouncy. She is like the girl version of "Tiger"! She is "SO EXCITED!" about nearly everything. She is very confident, secure, and comfortable in her own skin. Since she got to that point we have seen such wonderful bubbliness, that it is now hard to live without it.

She was very excited about her first day of school. She hopped off to school and was not at all nervous when I left her in her 1st grade room. She knew the teacher from when Andrew was in there a couple years ago. She told me not to worry that I could homeschool her in 3rd grade. lol

Imagine my surprise when I got back to pick her up and her bubbliness was gone. I asked her about her day expecting to hear all of the wonderful details that she so loves to give. All I got was "It was ok maybe". I was crushed. To see my little girl not at all herself was heartbreaking. I immediately asked if she got in trouble. I mean, I could see her talking too much. She said that she didn't get in trouble and she had a "sticker" in her behavior book. I told her that was great and continued to try to find out more about her day. She just wouldn't say much though.

The thing about Destiny is that she has trouble with saying anything "negative" at all. I guess that since her day wasn't positive and she couldn't find anything positive to say, then she really couldn't think of anything to say at all. This broke my heart. I thought to myself that what caused it wasn't even that important, but if we couldn't get her back to bubbly in the next few weeks then she would join the ranks of the homeschool kids. lol NO WAY AM I GOING TO LET HER PERSONALITY CHANGE BECAUSE SHE HAS A VERY GREAT ONE!

The next day seemed a little better. I messaged with her teacher by computer to see how she was doing. She did mention that she seemed to be having some trouble getting her morning paper done, but did fine on it later. Destiny also seemed happy that she got a "stamp", which is what they normally get for good behavior.

I decided that the "sticker" on day one was probably not what she thought she should get for good behavior therefore it stressed her a tad. When you add that to all the other changes that she was having and the fact that she has high functioning/asperger autism then it made a little more sense. On top of that she is adjusting to getting up earlier and not having time to get going before that morning paper, which falling behind on it could be enough to not have a very good day.

I made some changes and her teacher is awesome to work with her. I did her shower first thing on Friday morning instead of just doing it the night before like we normally had. She was "bouncing" in no time! She was joking and kidding before she even left for school. She was "so excited" again. When I picked her up she skipped all the way to the van! She is getting "stamps" too which is helpful. lol

I am very ready to have the great year that I was expecting!!! God is so good!

Jose's War with Me

We've had this war before, but not for a few months. Jose will have what we call "food wars". In the beginning these wars really brought out my desire to convince him to eat or eat and not vomit. I no longer play the game with him and so he doesn't choose to play as often. He was mad at me for not allowing him to play until he is willing to finish his school work.

So he came to the table for dinner last night and began his "food war". Everyone else was done with their meal and he had barely taken a bite. He was really hoping that my "mothering" worries would over ride my brain that understands how kids with past trauma can behave. It wasn't a good moment for him when he realized that I wasn't playing. I told him to go ahead to bed and the meal would be waiting for him for breakfast. He looked very forlorn as he headed to bed and hadn't been able to have his drama.

Today he got up and ate that meal for breakfast. He is still mad over not being able to play until he completes his school work. He has however given up on that war. lol

I hope we can make it without another one. lol I sure do love the little guy and I'm so glad to be his mommy. I am glad that he doesn't have these behaviors very often any more.

Friday, August 20, 2010

So Much to Say, but I am so Tired

I am exhausted and I have tons to blog about. I guess this can be a reminder post to me. I need to blog about our science lesson on observation, inference, and opinion. Wow, that was exciting and I learned so great stuff about my kids. I also need to blog about the nonsense that 3 of my kids are trying while we homeschool. That blog won't be about "great" stuff, but is comical once you are removed from the situation. I also need to blog about Jose's new war with me, but I'll hope that this war is over before I blog about it. I need to blog about what I think may be the reason and answer to some of Destiny's "non bubbliness" here at the beginning of school, which is so not like her. I need to blog about Dayton's ideas for a project to present at the homeschool picnic that is upcoming.

Right now though I need to get ready for bed. Saturday is the day that I usually get to do some major sleeping in. It is not going to happen tomorrow though. I am supposed to meet a friend of mine at 8 am and follow her to a Ladies Conference that we are going to at a local church. I am excited to go, but already mourning that chance to sleep in and catch up on the sleep that I am always trying to catch. lol I am very excited to see what God has in store though!!

Off to bed and I'll try to catch up on all the things that I need to blog and remember tomorrow!
(I guess I'll categorize this as "only at my house" probably since "only at my house" would there be that many things that need written about at once. )

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Homeschooling/Higher Expectations

There is a part of homeschooling that some of my previously "public schooled" children are having some major issues with right now. See in our homeschool I only give out A's. If you don't have an A paper then we need to work more on it. I give them back to them to redo until it is an A.

I tried explaining it to them all today. I don't give them back because I want them to sit at my table longer. I don't give it back because I expect anyone to be "perfect". I don't give them back because I want to be a pain in their necks either.

I give them back because I LOVE THEM. I want them to do well. I don't want to have missing blocks in the foundation to their futures. I know that if they can't do a problem or figure out an answer then they need to get to the point that they can. I know that if they can't do the lower level work great, then how can they do the work at the next level. If a kid doesn't know EVERY multiplication fact then how can they do double digit multiplication or division? How will they work equations later? It is that way with most everything.

The fundamentals of learning are way too important for me to let them "pass" or get a "B" or any other lowered expectations. I know that they either need to work more on it or pay closer attention to what they are doing if they aren't getting things correct. Either one of those are problems that will compounded if they aren't corrected.

I do understand that in a public school setting it isn't possible to keep a child on a certain part of learning until they master it for the most part. I understand that they have a whole class full of children. I understand that not all children will get A's in school nor do I think that any child should feel pressured to do so.

I do however know that here we will get one thing done to mastery before we move on. I know what each of my kids are capable of and I won't accept less. A few of mine still need to figure that out. I am hoping they do soon too. lol

Lots of fun awaits us in homeschooling, but first we have to get the mentality that learning is a prize all of its own. I love to give rewards. I love to have fun stuff going on and explore interests. Many are hoping to learn some Spanish soon. I just hope they realize that their math, reading, and english have to be done well first.

I have lots of goals for this year. One major goal is to make sure that they realize that they CAN do GREAT!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Julianne May Not TALK, but She Can Communicate!

Julianne cracks me up! She doesn't say many words. Many people look at her and assume that she is 18months to 2 years old. She's not though, she's 4!

She sure does get her points across! Here are some examples of just her communication skills from today.

She took us to the refrigerator numerous times today to let us know that she wanted her drink.

She took me to the refrigerator once today and didn't want a drink. She made it very clear that she wanted banana peppers. (Yes, my little angel is just like me and eats them a lot with me, but this is the 2nd time that she has taken me to the refrigerator for them herself.) She was so glad that I got her point that she did a little jig!

She brought us toys several times as she normally does and puts our hand on the on/off switch to let us know that she needs it turned on.

She woke up from her nap crying which never happens. I went is saying "Oh angel baby what is wrong?". She looked at me very serious and gently bumped her head on her crib. She moves around in her sleep a lot. I guess she woke up crying because she bumped her head. She got that point across too and then went right back to crying.

As I was putting her to bed and kissing her cute little bridgless nose, she let me know what else she wanted very plain. She took my hands and put them under her arm pits. This always means to pick her up, except there. She then began to thump her feet on the bed. You may be wondering what on earth she wanted, but I knew very well. :) She wanted me to bounce her on the bed. No one else probably teaches their kids to jump on the bed. Its another one of those "special needs mommy" kind of things. She sure does have fun with it too!

I do have to say that if I could accomplish all of that without words, then I might not talk either. I can't though. I have to tell people things over and over and I still don't get that good of a turn out sometimes. :)

Zeeky and Jacob's (Special Needs) Homeschool Progress!

Everyone had school here today. We are getting back into the routine and Destiny headed off to 1st grade. I thought I'd tell some about the progress of Zeeky and Jacob.

I sat down in the family room with them while the 3rd-5th graders were working on journals. I had them do some wooden puzzles. Jacob did them quite easily! Zeeky didn't just do the puzzles though. He said all the words. We even worked on sentences to go with what the animals were doing! I keep hoping that Jacob will spill something out accidently when he is with Zeeky and I doing those activities, but it hasn't happened yet.

We then spent some time working on body parts and following directions. I was quite pleased that they both did much better than the last time we tried this activity. No one stared into space, like they heard no words even. lol They both were able to follow along with minimal prodding. :)

I didn't push them too long because I very well know what happens if you try any one activity for more than 20 minutes or so. I didn't let them get to the point of defiance or boredom, so we could end both activities on a good note with lots of praise. They also watched some reading dvds. I know Zeeky is learning tons off of them. I figure that Jacob is too, but it is so hard to tell with the tiny bit of cooperation that he is willing to put forth.

They've both made progress in such extremely opposite areas though too. Jacob hardly ever has a dirty or wet pullup. He is probably 95 percent potty trained. (He is 7, but this is also something that the autism treatment center he resided in before coming to me couldn't accomplishment, so I am proud. ) Zeeky on the other hand, refuses to use the bathroom. It is against his religion I do believe. I have half joked and half planned that I'm going to teach him to change his own diaper. He has however learned all his colors, shapes, numbers, letters, and between 10 and 20 sight words. He is talking up a storm! He can match things by color or shape and he can put letters or numbers in order as well! (That is all really spectacular for a child who is not even compulsory age for kindergarten and has autism, but doggone kid use the potty!)

Overall homeschool is going well with all of them. Some of the ones who went to public school last year are having to make adjustments to the fact that all papers are CORRECT before they can be done, but they will catch on. I love having them here!

I Lose Destiny Tomorrow

Yes, that dreaded day has come. She will leave me again.

She is going to . . . . . 1ST GRADE.

I love her school, personnel, and teachers. I am sending her for that reason. She has intensive language therapy there for 30 minutes every day with some awesome people who do great with her. She has a great teacher. This teacher deserves a little sunshine from my kids, because she had Andrew a couple years ago. I still feel bad! lol

Everyone else is staying home this year. She is going to school though. I will homeschool her in a year or two. When I told her that I would miss her while she was at school, but to be good and learn lots she said "Its ok Mommy, you can homeschool me in a year or two". roflol

I love that girl! First Grade is a big step. What happened to that little, scared, mostly nonverbal, tantruming 4 year old that came to us? I am pleased to report (though sad to see her growing up way too fast) that she is a gorgeous, confident, talkative, and brilliant 7 year old!

Monday, August 16, 2010

All Kinds of RAD today!

Well, Andrew went backward yesterday. He had a substitue teacher for Sunday School. As a result, he peed himself. Of course, he couldn't leave it at that, but had to shut down entirely when it was discovered after church last night. He has been doing good in that area, so I haven't been checking it all day or anything. He seemed to get a real high from telling me that he did it early in the day and I didn't "find it" until late. I just can't believe that he would want to sit in that all day, even though I know it doesn't bother him I just don't get it. YUCK!

When he realized that his world was going to get "smaller" again in order to help him regain a good control, he began to say that he was "sorry". It wasn't a true "sorry", but a "sorry" that hoped to get out of the shrinking of his world. I explained to him that he didn't need to tell me sorry. "I am not mad at you Andrew. If you want to apologize to someone then it should be yourself because you are the one sitting in urine all day. I love you very much and I am helping you have a 'smaller world' because you have told me with your words that you can't handle the bigger world that you had." Needless to say, it didn't change much because he so badly wants me to be angry.

I got up this morning to Crystal having pooped on herself "just a little". She always says that like it should be ok as long as she didn't do it a lot. She too had to have her world shrink. That is something that I feared when she had such a good day yesterday. She had let me fix her hair, wear lipgloss, and jewelry. She carried a purse. It was too much "good" for her. She doesn't think that she deserves it and doesn't feel comfortable being happy.

Her "bad spell" gave way to lots of talking. She willingly told me some of her feelings about the moves that she suffered in foster care. She truly believed that pooping her pants had caused the first move and that them not liking her caused the many other moves. I was able to explain to her that Zeeky's autism is what made the moves happen because the foster parents didn't have a clue what to do with a "Zeeky Monster". She even shared some scary stuff from her birth family memories with me. She cried and let me comfort her. I am so pleased that even this "bad spell" brought forth fruit!

Jacob had been refusing to go "poop" for 4 days. This is not something unusual for him or other children who have been in foster care. It is very RADish to use bodily functions as a way of keeping control. I feared that he was going to save it up to go in his pants as in times past. This morning I made him go first thing because he was obviously uncomfortable. He did go in the commode and even gave me lots of hugs later today. THAT IS HUGE PROGRESS!

Andrew hasn't used his day with a smaller world to accomplish anything. I can see that tomorrow will have to be another day of a very small world in hopes of breaking the hold that is on him right now. He did manage to tell me that he was "sad" today. He still won't acknowledge that what he is doing is hurting 'him' and wants me to be ok with him being sorry. I refuse to let him think that he needs to be "sorry" to me, because I know that it is him trying to make him into the one who makes me the 'victim'. I know him too well. My telling him that I accept "sorry" only lets him feel in charge and that he accomplished something. We will get there! I just know it! When we get past this hurdle then we will be a little further through this race.

RAD is persistent and has a strong hold, but God and His power used through me will overcome it!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Lion at the Table

Recently it has seemed that we have a lion at our table one or two times a day. See Zeeky, who loves to eat by the way, has begun to want to slouch down at the table. It started with him wanting to do that so that he would be able to "scoot" the food in his mouth. (Now mind you, he is very good at feeding himself, but just wanted to be lazy.) I was certainly not going to allow that behavior from anyone, let alone Zeeky who has a history of not chewing his food well and needing me to Heimlich him. Once Zeeky realized that I wasn't going to allow it, he just proceeded to do it more.

Now somewhere along the way Zeeky got the nickname "Zeeky Monster". There are many reasons for this name. One of those reasons would be the behavior that he exhibited when not allowed to slouch down like that. See a "Zeeky Monster" is known to have outbursts where he slaps his own head (times past have also seen him to bang his own head on glass, brick, or anything else he could) HARD. Zeeky would never hurt anyone else really, but his own head is another story. Our medical provider told me awhile back that I needed to get a papoose board (for those who don't know what that is - it is about the size of an ironing board and has velcro to hold him tight which is very calming for children like Zeeky and are often used in medical instances to restrain children for procedures where they must hold still for their own safety - they are very expensive, but have helped him so much) for him to keep him safe during these episodes. It worked wonderfully and the instances of him doing such things was greatly reduced. It now seems that these episodes only occur just before a huge gain in the speech arena, which is what I keep hope of the entire time we have these weeks of behaviors.

I have tried everything to stop the behaviors at the table. I have offered special treats, bought a booster seat to strap him in, sent him to a safe room, and even used the papoose board to stop him from slapping himself. Nothing helped and he would slap himself so hard upside the head and face that I thought we may have to go ask for medication. I am VERY opposed to medication unless they are a NECESSITY, but I thought that they might be getting to be one for him. I really felt that he was in control and doing it all on purpose though, which is why I haven't yet gone for medication and have continued to try behavior management instead.

Today after the morning church services we came home and had dinner. He immediately started the "lion roaring" so to speak. I decided to put him in a safe room and not let him disrupt dinner, but listen to make sure he didn't continue to slap himself too much either. I returned to dinner and reminded everyone to not comment or give him any feedback for his behavior. Shortly thereafter, he began to open the door and yell "Mom, . . . . . " and slam it back. I have no clue what came after "MOM" because I don't think he really has those words yet. I also believe that his frustration is due to that. The poor kid wants to back talk and can't so he is talking with his behavior instead.

The yelling and door slamming was getting old. I made a comment that I wished I still had "the bunny". (The bunny was an animated toy that he HATED and the kids use to put it in their rooms to keep him out.) I then remembered that the "lion" in the sensory room that sung and moved was another thing that I made the kids not get near him for the same reason. I went and dug it out. The next time he opened the door and screamed, I hit the button just in front of him. He immediately screamed and went and hid his head under the covers. He didn't make another sound!

After the rest of the kids were done eating, I went and told Zeeky that he needed to come finish his food. As soon as we got back to the table, he went right back to it. I hit the button on the lion and he immediately quit worrying about fighting about sitting up! I sat the lion on the table and told him to sit up and eat his food nicely. He did! He also did so the rest of the day!

Needless to say, that LION is going to be invited to our meals for awhile. I think once he gets back into the habit of eating nicely, then we will be able to take the lion away and continue to have our normal peaceful meals.

So the "roaring Zeeky" has been tamed and THE SINGING LION has been invited to the table. The best part is that knowing that lion could sing is all it takes to tame Zeeky and I don't even have to listen to it sing! Remember that "discipline" is about TEACHING and not about punishing. I think that Zeeky just learned that he isn't the only thing that can "roar" and that eating nicely and safely at the table is a good choice. Different kids have different currency, but once you find it you can use it to help shape their behavior. I don't thing THAT LION will have to stick around for long in order to turn a bad habit into a good one. Sometimes its all about breaking the pattern of bad behavior.

God is good! I'm glad that He made things that "roar" whether they are children or lions (even fake ones)!