Saturday, September 24

Another "ordinary miracle"...

When a child takes their first steps around their first birthday, parents and family members, friends and even strangers applaud those first wobbly steps of the infant.  It's one of the progressive steps toward maturity that we fully expect our children to master, whether it be at 9 or 18 months old.

A child with added challenges may or may not meet that milestone in their lifetime.  For Emma, we never thought we'd see the day come.  But today, we are witnesses to another "ordinary miracle."

Emma is walking!

See for yourself... :)

Wednesday, September 21

And that's how the week has gone...

Saturday we got a call from the pharmacy that a script was ready. Very happy that it was ready, Michael went to pick it up. You see, James' reflux med had to be ordered, so on the 7th when it was filled the first time, they gave us only 5 pills and said they'd let us know when the rest came in. We had a couple left before then, so the five lasted until the 14th. Now it was the 17th. Already see a part of the problem?

 When Michael got there, it wasn't that script that was in. In fact, when he insisted that they really should be able to fill that script now because James had already MISSED meds for 2 days on a med set to auto- refill, they looked it up and found that that med had been backordered not just to the distributor, but to the manufacturer. In other words, they wouldn't be getting it again for a very long time. See problem number 2?

After much discussion, several phone calls to me, and eventually with our insurance company, a plan was put in place and our pharmacy generously asked one of their other stores to give us three pills of the name brand med for free to get us over until Monday when we could again address the problem, but during business hours. We are thankful that they did that! It did take a good 90 minutes of Michael's time and a trip to a second pharmacy, but problem temporarily solved.

 We also found that another unaffiliated pharmacy in town had some in stock, and it was enough to fill the order. Our pharmacy transferred the script and I went to pick it up on Monday evening. I pulled in to the drive through and our interaction went something like this:
 "I'm here to pick up for James Cornish."
 "It says here that doctor prior authorization is required."
 "Really? For a generic of this med?"
 "No, it says name brand required, medically necessary on this script that was transferred."
 "I'm sorry, but that's not right. Maybe in the midst of trying to get this filled someone wrote it in, but he's been on the generic for months. Can you fill it for the generic?"
"Yes, oh, wait, it says prior authorization needed for the generic too. Can you come inside?"

And then, I waited for another 20 or so minutes while they tried to figure things out. I explained that we'd already received a partial fill of 5 and it was filled on the 7th. I said that there had been a question about using name brand bc of the generic being out of availability but that our insurance wouldn't be happy with that, which is why we transferred the prescription to YOU, because you had the generic in stock. I even explained about the 3 'free' pills, and that it is likely why the name brand thing was written on the script, because they may have noted it that way so the other pharmacy would give my husband the 3 name brand pills to get through the weekend.

In the end of what turned out to be a 90 minute venture including a call to our previous pharmacy to make sure they backed out their order since insurance was still fighting the refill... we learned that the pharmacy tech was trying to get the order approved for 30 pills. *ahem* We filled 5 already... remember? Insurance would only fill 25 more. And they did. No questions asked. *sigh*

The next day I took Wesley to the GI and had the script changed so he can get tablets of double the strength, and we will split them ourselves, since those are still readily available from the manufacturer and distributor.
 -----------------------------------------------------

 On Tuesday at the doctor for Wesley we learned he has gained FOUR INCHES in 6 months! And... about 2.5lbs. Now, before we jump up and down about the height and scream HURRAH! like I wanted to initially... reality must be discussed. Wesley hasn't been to this doctor since before his hip surgery, and likely at least 2.5 inches of that 'height gained' (notice I didn't say he GREW?) is likely from the orthopedic doctor bringing his legs down into closer alignment with his hips. I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure he gained some height during that surgery simply because of the moving of those bones...

 As for the weight, well, it's pretty disappointing. He is still scrawny, and he is on pretty high calorie EVERYTHING.

 He drinks a combination of Pediasure and a blended diet with at least 30 calories per ounce in each, and he also eats whatever he can at meals. He just eats VERY SLOWLY, and takes a really long time to get it down. He's learned to finger feed (have I mentioned that before? hmm...) and LIKES to eat! But he still doesn't get much down so it's mostly drinks. He's also army crawling all over, playing for several hours a day, and sitting up for a majority of the day. He has very high tone, so even just staying still he is burning more calories than you or I.

 We are going to do a scope to be sure that he's not got other issues going on. We also have a neurology appointment on Monday where we will be discussing putting him on a med that may help reduce some of his spasticity. It won't be a miracle drug, but the goal isn't miracles, it's quality of life. In 4 months we will go back to GI and see whether the scope identified anything, and whether the other med helps him increase his food intake (if high tone in the mouth is part of the difficulty with eating, he may be able to eat more!). Then, we will discuss, once again, the possibility of a g-tube simply for him to get necessary calories. At that point, it would mean he could eat for pleasure and not be forced to eat a certain minimum each day. 
-----------------------------------------------------

 Wednesday is today. I brought 6 kids to school and Michael's mom kept the two younger girls at our house. I went to the park and worked on the last day of my Bible study for this week then went to the class Aleksa, Wesley, and Emma are in to observe. It was an eye opening time that I will try to share more about later, but for now I need to talk to their teacher to clarify some things and see what we can do to help improve things.

 I will say, though, that Aleksa's behavior at school is BAD. Emma, too, has gone down hill. It appears that Emma's behavior may be a direct result of having less available attention for herself... which makes total sense, since Aleksa is requiring a LOT. I observed from a window, not within the classroom, so their behaviors wouldn't be affected by my presence. Before leaving I did take Aleksa aside and tell her to straighten up (of course in kid words!) and sent her back in, then watched another few minutes before leaving.

Tuesday when dropping Wesley off (after the GI) Aleksa saw me, and after that her day went downhill FAST. Today she came home and her behavior chart showed marked improvement in the afternoon. Maybe she wasn't sure if Mom was going to show up out of the pod for the rest of the day? Who knows! But at least she did have a bit better afternoon... She still came home with her hair down, something we have been working VERY hard on.
-----------------------------------------------------

 Our dryer is still broken. I think I mentioned it last week, bringing laundry back and forth to my parents' house to have it dried... We called and had someone come out to fix it on Friday, however they'd ordered the wrong part and couldn't do it.

 They checked on the right part and it... like James' med... was backordered to the manufacturer as well! So, no new part. No fix. Nothing.

We called the store where we bought the dryer and asked them again about having their team fix it, whether they could get the part. We'd inquired earlier but the 'local' company was the same price so we'd decided to go with them. (Yes, the same company that ordered the wrong part back a year and a bit ago when we BOUGHT the washer and dryer when they were supposed to order the part to convert it to propane... and we had to wait an extra couple weeks for them to get it...).

 So, the store then says "wait, you ordered a service agreement" Which they had said NO, we hadn't, last week when we called. Well... we thought we'd only bought it on the Washer, but yay, good for us. They were scheduled to come out today while Michael's mom was here. Mike called me this afternoon to fill me in on the day's adventure.

 The man called his mom and said "I'm on the way to fix the washer." She replied that the washer isn't broken, but the dryer was, and come on out. He then talked to Michael and in the mix of things, we learned that he WAS coming to service the washer, the one with the service agreement on it. YIKES. So, dryer has no service plan. Instead, Michael was told to cancel the appointment and do some other type of service plan that would be better than the cost of the repair visit and the parts to fix it. I didn't follow so well, but the idea was-- it is considerably less expensive but will take more time.

 WHATEVER. Just fix it! So, as I speak there are dish towels lining the baby gate and a bath mat on the wagon out front all drying. Michael's mom just headed home with a basket of kids' laundry for us and I've now dried at least a dozen loads at my parents' house. Friday SOMEONE will come to the house and look at the dryer BEFORE they can order the part (that someone else has already said is definitely the problem). THEN, they can order the part... if they can get it and it isn't backordered and out of stock for them too. *sigh*
----------------------------------------------------------------

 After school today I dropped Emma and Micah off with my parents and Kristopher and Wesley off at the house with Michael's mom and bee lined it down to a doctor's visit for James (with Aleksa too, and the little girls were still at the house since morning). I got there and the lady at the desk said "you're here to pick up, right?" Hmm... pick up... Yes, I wanted to pick up glasses, but James also had a pulmonology appointment at 3:15 that I was hurrying to get to...

No, apparently the doctor used to come twice a month and just changed to coming once a month. It must not have been noted to me, because 2 weeks ago I got a reminder slip about this appointment and it was in my calendar. Maybe I should have been surprised when I didn't get a reminder call 48 hours in advance, but with the week we've had and the fact that they've changed their way of doing reminders twice in the last 6 months... I didn't happen to notice. The lady at the desk said "oops!" that they hadn't called to let me know it had changed... Ah... well... 

All wasn't for naught, and we FINALLY got a new pair of glasses for James! We've been using his "backup" pair since March when he broke his first pair. Then, the pair he broke was backordered for 3 months, then discontinued. So we picked another pair, but the temples couldn't be shortened enough for them to fit because they were 'springy' material and it wasn't possible. Then, the third pair we picked out was discontinued in the color we'd chosen and FINALLY... I said GO WITH THE OTHER COLOR!! As long as it wasn't the cute lavendar that we tried on in the office.

 Today, only six months later, we finally have a pair of glasses back in our hands. Finally...

And so I began the 40 minute drive back home. His appointment had been rescheduled for 2 weeks out. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Can you tell why I haven't blogged in a few days?? :) :) In the great scheme of things, we are blessed beyond measure and abundantly grateful that we have had a good week, albeit a frustrating one :)

I'll be at the elementary school all day tomorrow while the girls are at their church program. It's Height and Weight screening day for several grades and then it's 2nd grade "read with your child" time in the afternoon. Surely all of that is safe from things like this week has brought... right?? :) :)

Friday aside from the dryer being looked at (again), we also have James' IEP review and we have Lynae's 2 year checkup. What a week! :)

Saturday, September 17

One year ago today...

One year ago we first heard from Alla, now a sweet forever friend who we've had the blessing of spending quite a bit of time with in Ukraine during our time there.  In fact,  a year ago today I was sitting in the Orlando airport on my way to Ukraine when I received it!  I was in various airports in the USA when we exchanged multiple emails... one including a photograph that brought tears to my eyes.

After two and a half years of wondering what became of Aleksa, I laid eyes on a picture- maybe a year old- that confirmed that Aleksa was alive and well... and that Alla ministered at her institution!

Today, one year ago, we began what we didn't know would end up being the first day of our adoption of Aleksa!  We are forever gratefu to Alla, Oksana, and Misha for their love, assistance, friendship, and most of all, their continued ministry to the least of these... the disabled orphans of Ukraine!

The photograph which first brightened our hearts and gave us the knowledge that Aleksa was alive... the one which stirred our hearts in to action...


On the left, in the green shirt, is 7 year old Aleksa.  

More to come...

Thursday, September 15

Off for Flu Shots this morning

Times FIVE.

Lynae was sick since Sunday and tho she still has a hoarse voice, she is happy, fever free, and only coughing on occasion, so she's back at KAD this morning, though we did decide to put off her 2 yr shots another week.

Wesley and Aleksa go tomorrow for the rest of their school shots and flu shots as well.

Busy week at our house, but it's been a great one so far! :)

Tuesday, September 13

Clean

In addition to the brief 'articles' I've posted a few of, I've had another writing project going on over the last several months.  One of those is a set of devotions which I felt God shared with me to write.  I was reading back through them today and remembered that the last one I wrote didn't "fit" in the theme of what I was writing.  I don't know why it was written, but I left it with the others "just because".  Today, as I reread it probably 8 months later, it's something that hits home again.

So... here it is.  A quick mommy-devotion that I hope will speak to someone, because as surely as it spoke to me on the day it happened, it teaches me today as well.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


One morning my oldest son asked if he could take a bath when we were finished bathing all the other kids.  He just wanted to play in the water but was assured that he DID have to wash, too, if he was taking a bath.  With reluctance he agreed and when the other kids went down for rest time or out to play in the playroom, my son climbed into the bath tub.

I’d filled it extra high and poured a generous amount of bubbles into the warm, fresh water.  I turned on the ‘fountain’ toy that the younger kids play with and tossed every single alphabet letter and bath toy that was hanging in the drying net down into the tub.  I was really intent upon not only letting him have a nice relaxing bath, but giving him the ability to thoroughly enjoy every aspect of it!

After about 20 minutes I decided I should go and check in on him.  I could smell the brand new bottle of apple scented kids’ shampoo and I wanted to help wash his hair so I could be sure he really got it clean and all the shampoo rinsed out.  Being 7 means independence, and he’ll be 7 in just a few weeks.  But it also means that some things he just might not be old enough to handle himself.

When I got into the bathroom that day, the light scent of apples became a strong, overwhelming smell.  It was as if I walked into a room of incense with an apple scent and almost made me want to leave the room.  Having just opened the bottle for the first time during one of the previous kid’s bath, I didn’t think that it was the type of shampoo that would give off that strong of a scent.

Then, I saw it.  I saw the bottle of shampoo floating in the water.  Empty.

Not only did I see an empty bottle of shampoo, which just that morning was brand new, but I saw my almost-seven-year-old son sitting there in the tub looking at me with dry hair.

I took a deep breath.  “Son, what did you use shampoo for?” No real answer. “I know it was full, because I just opened it this morning.  What did you use it for?”  Still nothing good.  “I’m disappointed that you used my whole bottle of shampoo to play and you still haven’t even wet your own hair to be washed.  There’s not even enough left in the bottle to wash your hair with now, and I don’t have shampoo for anyone the next time that anyone needs a bath.”

I’d love to say I was calm and predictable as I talked to him, but the truth is, I was angry.  I was angry that he’d taken my indulgent bath time that I’d set up with everything he could want or need related to the tub and instead of enjoying everything I’d given him, he chose to look outside of my provisions and take something he knew he shouldn’t have and use it up.

The bath continued and I did find shampoo to wash his hair.  Then, as I began to rinse his hair I realized that it wasn’t coming clean.  There were too many suds in the water and I had to turn on the shower to rinse his hair.  Immediately, he began screaming as I rinsed it and that woke his three brothers in the bedroom next door.  My oldest son ended up being sent to the other room of the house to get dressed then have a time-out for his misbehavior… Hopefully learning the lesson that he’s not to touch things that don’t belong to him.  It wasn’t exactly the nice, fun, relaxing time that I’d hoped he would have that day.

In hindsight, I see that I do this very same thing daily.  God prepares His best for me.  He lays out a soft fluffy towel, gives me bubbles and every toy in sight, prepares the warm tub, and I reach for the one thing which He needs to be there, but which I can’t seem to ignore.  I want what belongs to someone else, instead of being happy with everything that God has for me.

Then, when I disobey, it not only has God come and say “Hey, why did you do that?  Didn’t you see I had my best planned for you?  Why did you go your own way anyway?” but then when He decides to carry on with the plans He had, they often involve a full showering off to get rid of the mess I’ve made of myself rather than a quick rinse to reorganize myself.  And yes, I often leave there screaming, waking others around me from their sleep and upsetting them too… and sometimes it’s as though God sends me to another area to ‘get myself under control’ before I can resume ‘normal’ life.

Have you reached for the shampoo bottle lately?  And has God rinsed you down… kicking and screaming?

With our children, we always go back a few minutes later… when their mood has changed and the circumstances are different.  And we make sure to tell them I love you.  We give them a hug, remind them of the lesson they’ve learned, and make sure that they know that no matter what they do… we will always love them!  At the same time, we want them to obey and ask that they think before they act and consider right and wrong.

God comes back with his Hugs and I Love You’s too.  He doesn’t hold a grudge when we mess up, or when we disregard His best for us and go after something that’s tempting us in another direction.  God loves us forever, no matter what.

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.  But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” 1 Timothy 1:15-16

 Father, I reach out for things I shouldn’t.  Like a child I decide to indulge in my own ways instead of enjoying your goodness.  Thank you for never turning your back on me!  Thank you that you are always there to say I Love You.  I’m sorry for my disobedience.  Please forgive me for desiring things that are outside your will, and help me to bring my focus more on you.  Help me to consider my actions before I make them and to make decisions based on what I know is right.  Amen.

What was that again?




This pretty much sums up my feelings on the word too, but how touching to hear it from Russel's SISTER.  She is a sweet new college student who we've had the blessing of spending some time with a couple years ago.  Her heart... it's real.

Please think before you say "retarded."  It is a word in the medical files of six of my children, but not a single one of them is worthless, stupid, disgraceful, or featherbrained, as urband*ctionary . com lists out with its hundred word list of synonyms for the word.

Do you say it?  Then you're perpetuating it.  And my kids... they're the ones that overhear it when you say it... one day, they will know and understand.  Yes, at times those remarks have even been pointed at them from people who should know better. Doctors feel the need to bring it up regularly too it seems.  When you say it... you're referring to them, and people just like them.

If it was simply a medical term, like having blonde hair or blue eyes... then the most voted on definition on that popular website of definitions wouldn't be so destructive.  No, it's not just a word... it's a word that's used in society as an insult of either oneself or another.  But really?  You're saying that yourself or others... are like my kids.  And somehow... people seem to think that's an awful thing to be.

Monday, September 12

Empty

When you're on empty, you cannot fill another up.

Consider each person in a classroom holding a pitcher.  The teacher begins to pour and gives each student an equal amount of water.  The first person immediately leaves and wanders in the heat to find several people who are thirsty, then pours out her water to each of them.  The second person leaves and holds on to her water for later.  She walks a bit in the heat and takes a sip here and there.  She is looking for just the right person to share her water with.  The third person drinks half of the water before leaving the room, then goes and and finds someone that needs the other half.

Our first person doesn't make it back to get her pitcher refilled, because she is too thirsty to make the journey back.  The second person doesn't feel the need for a refill, because her pitcher and her thirst are doing fine on their own.  The third person comes back for more, having provided both for her own needs and the needs of others.

Which illustration best shows YOU, and how you relate to the Word of God?

Are you the first person, that fills up "for others" and spreads the Word of God by mouth, but doesn't take any in, and runs weary, not wanting to even return for more?

Are you the second person, that fills up "all for yourself" and goes out and lives happily without feeling the real need to be refilled?

Are you the third person, that fills up herself, then pours out in to those around you, coming back for more so you can continue to do the same?

An empty vessel cannot fill another empty vessel.  So much more so can a person not IN the Word themselves share the Word effectively with others.

This has been Random Thoughts for the Day :)

Saturday, September 10

Our big 5 year old!


Happy 5th Birthday Micah!

Yep, 2 birthdays in 2 days :).  It's Micah's FIFTH birthday!  Hard to believe he's already 5!  Not only that, it is his 4th birthday at home.  Wow!  :)

Wednesday, September 7

Whew!

It's been a long day, but a good one!

We started the morning out at 5:40 with showers and dressing, getting kids up and dressed, some of them fed (others eat with their class at school), medicines in, hair, teeth, glasses, shoes, and all eight out the door.  Drop six of them off at school then Brianna, Lynae, and I went to Target to pick up birthday gifts :).  Lynae will be TWO on Friday, and Micah will be FIVE on Saturday!  I'd price checked and looked around a bit and decided to get some things from Target.  So... an hour later and a little bit broker :)  we emerged!

I swung by our house and picked up the basket full of wet laundry out of our washing machine and a trash bag with the kids' dirty clothes and tossed them in the back of the van along with my portable paper scanner wand thingy so I could scan some documents before mailing them.  Drove to my parents' house to drop off the laundry... not because I'm a sad college student wanting mommy to do my laundry, but because our dryer quit working last night and I had a load of wet clothes that were clean, and a full load of laundry that needed to run... my mom allowed us to do it at her house.

Not only did I drop off the clothes, but my parents decided to hang on to the girls as well for a couple of hours.  I was headed to a Bible study at the church, so they were headed to the nursery anyway.  Grandmommy did our laundry AND hung with the girls and I went to study David :)  (um... Biblical David... Just in case you're wondering...).

I went to the church for Bible study and called Mike to scan the paperwork for me since that was easier than my little portable doohickey... and... I'd left the actual paperwork at home!  Oh well... so much for that idea.  Bible study was great, though :).

After Bible study I picked the kids up from my dad, since my mom had another appointment just as the Bible study got out.  Lynae was curled up with him and just drinking him in :).  We headed home, put Lynae down for nap, and Brianna started working on her word board.  I was on the phone for a bit, finished getting the addresses and such on to the paperwork so I could drop it off to Mike in the afternoon, made some reheated pizza for lunch, and my brother and sister-in-law stopped by.  David (my brother this time...) was there to mow for us, so Erin came in and flipped through the kids' fundraisers while we just chatted for a bit.  Before we knew it it was time to grab the girls and go pick the rest of the kids up from school!  (Without the folder with the things to mail of course... Oops!)

After school I ran back by my parents' house and picked up the last of our clothes from their dryer then headed home.  Before we'd been in the door too long Michael called and said that the repair man was on his way for the dryer.  About 45 minutes (and several whispered curses at our very annoying to work on LG machine) and $60 later the repair man said there may still be a warranty on it, and if so he couldn't do warranty work.  But if not, the electronic panel appears to be bad and he'd have someone call us tomorrow with a cost estimate.  Great.

The entire time he was there, I was attempting to set something up on the computer for Brianna and some combination of my computer being REALLY slow and the program not liking that the screen is REALLY tiny, it didn't work.  Five minutes and it was DONE on Mike's computer once I gave up using the laptop.  Oiy Vey.

It was dinner time by then, and I quickly did a load of dishes then started in on dinner.   Mike came in from work and was greeted by reheated yummies :) Nope, not pizza.  (On second thought, Michael did end up eating pizza... Hmm...).  At about 6pm the kids finished up eating and went off for baths and tooth brushing, meds, hair brushing, pajamas (no, they didn't do that all naked... this is in no particular order...) and then off to bed (yes, last!).  By 7 everyone was tucked in, Wesley had his brace on, Brianna had been to the toilet AGAIN, and the house was QUIET... except for Kristopher :).  He and Michael read for a little while out of his Jackson Jones book while I hid in the front room sorting laundry and attempting to make heads and tails out of the laundry monster that long ago took over that room!

Once I had 7 sets of clothes out for each of the 8 kids to take care of the next week (do the math, that's a LOT of socks!) I reemerged and Michael decided it was time for me to eat dinner.  Nice man :).  I made a sandwich and then started in on getting the kids' lunches packed for tomorrow.  By 9:15pm I had clothes ready, lunches ready, and was ready for BED!

Just one of the "typical" days around here... EXCEPT, that normally Brianna and I have some 1:1 time to work on school work.  Today we knew would be a little crazier than normal, though, and we did school on Monday even though the rest of the kids were out.  The broken dryer?  That was a bonus :)

Monday, September 5

7 kids, 1 momma, 4 days

This weekend Kristopher and Michael went for a "guys' weekend!"  They spent a day at Sea World, went to the Mosi Science Museum in Tampa, swam in the hotel pool, walked around at Down Town Disney, and ate at the Dinosaur restaurant there.  We've been saving for and planning this since my trip with the little girls in May to see my sister, so they were excited to get to go!

They have had a GREAT weekend!  And now... I'm exhausted :).  I've had all 7 of the other kids here for the last 4 days and it's been busy!  It's also been great, though.  Since I didn't leave the house at all... we also haven't gotten up and dressed and moving in the mornings like we do during the regular week.  Not only that, but I was able to get a lot done!  With no schedules to keep to, we've been playing a lot, working around the house a lot, and getting stuff done :).


Homeschooling... week 1!

So, we're through with week one of homeschooling Brianna.  I don't plan to do REGULAR updates on homeschooling, but I will update here and there.

For right now, I'm just getting started and want to keep a little record for myself though :)

Brianna went to KAD at the church this week and jumped right in with the other kids.  She's in the class she would have been in if we had decided to wait a year on kindy.  But, it's all typical peers, so it's an environment she wasn't able to be in even last year.  SHE LOVES IT.  She is getting reinforcement of PreK skills there as well as Bible stories, crafts, time in the gymnasium or playground with her friends, and time with other kids who TALK :).

Really, I think this set up is the best of both worlds for Brianna.  Social, interactive, and fun for just a couple hours each week, and home getting 1:1 teaching exactly where she's needing it the rest of the time.

More so than that, Michael and I are at complete peace with it.  We didn't know how we'd feel doing full time homeschooling for ONE child.  But, when it came down to what is best for EACH child, and right now, we have it.  Traditional school and homeschooling together for Wesley and Aleksa, traditional school for Kristopher, Emma, Micah, and James.  Homeschooling for Brianna with KAD, and KAD for Lynae since she's only 2 :) (or... not quite.. :) ).

So far, Brianna and I have worked through quite a few skills just to find out exactly what she already has mastered and what she still needs to work on, or what we are at a complete loss for still.

We've worked on a bunch of different skills this past week and found that Brianna's "holes" in what she knows are mostly critical thinking skills, not straight academic stuff.  For instance, the idea of spacial placement (on top, under, between, etc...) and size/quantity such as longer, biggest, more and fewer.  She us doing great with letter names and numbers, counting objects, rote counting and recognizing numerals.  She needs to work more on internal and ending sounds in words and of course blends and such for bigger words :).

Now we know where to start with her to work forward and fill the gaps rather than working backward or starting off too easy.

I've put together multiple kindergarten type workbooks to create a curriculum that fills the holds going backward and will continue to teach her going forward.

It's been a great week and we are really enjoying ourselves.  Brianna is asking to do her school work, which is a benefit as well :).  We're doing a combination of worksheets, hands on curriculum, iPad learning, and live and learn stuff.

Now on to week two!!


Thursday, September 1

It's been ONE YEAR!

It's our first anniversary of James' Adoption Finalization!  :) YAY!

We are so glad to have him as our son :) :)

A quick update:  He is in school and doing great.  His energy level has decreased to a "normal but active" level instead of "OH MY GOODNESS!" level for the most part :).  He is eating well and sleeping well, he's learned to jump with two feet off the floor, and he is always winning over hearts with his sweet smile and bright eyes.

James, you are a gift and a joy, and we are so glad to call you our son!