Saturday, February 13, 2016

Zeke's First Day's Of School

When Tim and I got married 20 years ago, we prayed and decided that home schooling was the best decision for our children.   When Tim asked me to marry him, he not only gained a wife but a son.  Tim did not want me to work outside the home, so I became a home maker.  When I married Tim, Stephen was 8 years old. 
Stephen always struggled with the style of learning used in public school.  He was very bright, bucked authority and was quite bored.  Not soon after Tim and I got married, I pulled Stephen from public school and started home schooling him.  Stephen flourished in home schooling.  I could take into account his way of learning and modify our day, schedule and things, to the way he personally learned best.  He graduated by age 16 and went on to our local college.  By the time William was born, we knew that this way was best for him as well, with his special needs.  I was discouraged by the local school system, to home school William, as they said I was not educated in how to teach a child with his special needs but I kept him home anyway and he did very well.  That was the year God blessed us with Antonio, so I home schooled them together.

As we started adopting children who were medically fragile and had special needs, I saw how beneficial it was to keep them home and help them learn in ways I saw that they learned best.  I am not totally against public schooling.  William and Faith Anne went to their preschool program, for children with special needs.  This is just what has always worked for our family, our children.   It has often been a long, hard, road for me, with a lot of work on my end but they have all blossomed and done very well.  If I had it to do all over again, I would do it the same way in a heart beat.  The results, by the grace of God, has been well worth the hard work it took.

Zeke has always done very well too.  He has autism and the best way for him to learn is on the computer or using manipulatives.  He has always been a good boy and worked his hardest for me.  There is A LOT of repetition to his work, to get him to learn the simplest of things but he works hard and is very obedient.  There were years, when he was younger, that his behaviors were hard to work with but over the years, he has matured and learned to cope and handle so much, without melt downs and repetitive type, self stem, behaviors.  He is not a hard child to have in our home or to home school because he tries so hard to please me.  I have always enjoyed working with him because of his determination and interest he shows, whether he understands or not. 

Over the last few years, I noticed that Zeke had really stagnated in his learning.  He has the mentality of a five year old.  We have been doing Kindergarten and first grade work for the last three years.  He just can not seem to get past this level.  He was also becoming more and more withdrawn into only wanting to make videos in his spare time.  If he is working on a video and we try to get him to come start schooling,  come to a meal or do his chores, he would get very upset and take a long time to get into a good mood again.  He was grumpy a lot as he just wants to play alone. 

I have always hated it when people say to me that because my children are home schooled they are not well socialized.  First, we have a huge family that excels in constant talking and communicating.  Secondly, we do home school functions, with other families, when we can.  Lastly, we try to encourage the deep interest of our children, if they have any, so my girls do ballet and William does archery.  Zeke however, has not ever found a niche or outlet he has enjoyed, that would get him out.  He just wants to stay home and not socialize outside our family.  I felt he does need something more than what we have for him here.  Tim and I had prayed all last year about this and heard of the program at our local school for children with autism.  The more we heard, the more I knew that this is what would be best for Zeke, if he qualified.  When school started back this year, I signed the necessary paper work to have him tested.  They did the whole psychological work up and extensive testing.  They came out to the house and observed him in our home.  Finally, all the test results and opinions were in.  In January we had a meeting with the school system and they said Zeke did qualify for this program. 

Zeke does not like change, so Tim and I have been talking about this school program with him every since this school year started.  He did not want to go at first but by the time the holidays hit, he was starting to think about it and looking forward to possibly going.
Zeke started his very first day of school the end of January.  It has been a very smooth and wonderful transition for him.  He looks forward to it every day.  He likes riding the school bus.  He enjoys helping me decide on what he will be taking for lunch.  (He is on a casin free gluten free diet.)  He has, for the first time in his life, made a few friends.  His class room has four students, a teacher and two para-pros.  He goes to three main stream classes, with a para-pro, and modified work.  They are working on his normal education, but also life skills (which we do at home as well)  And job skills!  If he stays in this program, starting next year in 9th grade, he will have a part time job.   He will be assigned to a local business and be taken there with a supervisor to watch over him, as they train him to do tasks around their work place.  Our local Ingles, Chick-Fil-A and Walmart, are just a few of the places that are in partnership for this program.  If all goes well, he can stay in this program till he is 21 years old and then they will have a transition plan for him to either, further his education... (We have a college an hour away from us, that has a program for special needs education, they even have dorms.  There are children in that program with many special needs, including Downs syndrome and autism) or move into a job.

One of the hardest things for us, is that we have all missed him terribly.  Especially Carolyn, as they are very close in age and very bonded to each other. 

The other thing is he has missed his dog a little.  She has lived in his arms for the last eight years. 
She is getting older and sleeps A LOT, so I don't think the transition has been to hard on her.  She has been sleeping the day away, till he gets back home.  :) 

So far we have been very impressed and excited to see all the things they are doing daily with Zeke and how well he is adjusting.  We thank God that this program is available for him.  We are very excited about his future.

John 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.



Saturday, January 30, 2016

Winter Recital

Carolyn and Elizabeth love ballet.  They have been taking ballet for 7 years.  They started out in a special needs class together.

They improved and were then able to move over into regular classes their second year.
That year they took tap as well but it was too much for Elizabeth's heart condition.

I have had them in three different ballet schools over the years.
I have kept them in ballet all these years because it has greatly helped Elizabeth's muscle tone, Carolyn's ankle strength and has been a healthy outlet for them for having fun.  Plus they really love it!  Kinsley is already trying to copy the moves they do at home when they are stretching and practicing.  :)

This year, Elizabeth and Carolyn are taking a ballet class together here in town. Carolyn also goes alone, to a ballet school  about 45 minutes away.  The school that Carolyn goes to alone, puts on a wonderful winter recital every year, called Footsteps in Faith.  It is a dance recital that is all for the glory of God.  All of the music selections are to Christian music.  It is an amazing recital we all look forward to going to every year.

It was wonderful.  The music ministered to my heart and Carolyn did beautifully.  It was almost rescheduled because of bad weather and ice.
But the show must go on!
My brother in law and sister came to the performance and gave her this lovely bouquet!  Carolyn loves chocolate!  Thank you Aunt "S" and Uncle "B"!

I have to spend a good bit of time on Carolyn's hair.  It has to be done very tight and neat.  One of her dreams is to grow her hair down to the floor.  It is very long to make a bun out of now so I have to braid it first and then twist it up and pin it.  Then use a ton of hairspray.
Her hair is very thick and straight.  It does not hold a curl well no matter what I do.  She was so happy to see it this wavy after we took it down. 
The waves were gone by supper time and her hair was straight again.

Exodus 15:20  And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.

You are growing up so much my sweet Carolyn!  You did a wonderful job and danced for the glory of God.  We love you!



Saturday, January 9, 2016

Catching Up... January 2016!

Kinsley playing with the bucket of potato heads we have accumulated over the years.
I pray everyone had a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Years! 

Life has thrown us a curve ball with Tim's health as of late and with the other things that pop up from time to time around here, we have been a bit overwhelmed at times lately.  We try to always take it in stride and trust in God, for He has shown Himself to be very faithful.  He is so good to us, always.  Life is good.

Some happy news that makes my life a LOT busier... is that two of our does had their babies. 
The largest of the bucks in the triplet birthing.
The smallest of the bucks in the triplet birthing.
Milky Whey had triplets (two boys and a girl) on December 27th. and Amelia had twin girls on January 2nd.
The smallest of the twin does born to Amelia.
I am now happy to say, we have plenty of milk but I have to go out to milk twice a day to get it.  :)  I have sold off all the babies I did not want to retain. I kept one of the does to raise up and a little buck to keep her company for a few weeks until she can go in with the bigger goats, then I will sell him.  You can read more about it on my farm blog if you are interested.

Antonio just got over having one of his bad spells from the Botox injections.  The bad reaction from the overdose in July, must have done damage, as every few weeks he goes back into that weak, sleeping, dementia, paralyzed type state.  This last episode lasted three weeks.  There is a lot more work to his daily care when he is in that state.  Praise God he is coming around the last two days and speaking again.  We have also had a lot of frustrating things happen since he turned 21 in December.  A week before his 21st birthday they sent us a letter telling us his insurance would be canceled the end of the month.  We had one week to get an appointment and try to get insurance and help from the state, thru Social Security for him.  Lots of paper work and delays. 

Tim has not been feeling well for quite some time.  His last blood work came back a mess, about a month ago.  He was told by his doctor that he needed to get to a pharmacy as soon as possible, to get some medicine to take, as his potassium levels were so dangerously high, he was at risk for a heart attack.  He then referred us to a Nephrologist, as his creatinine levels were very high.  It was a two week wait before we could get in to see that doctor and when we got there and listened to the doctor, he told us that Tim had kidney disease and was in stage three kidney failure.  That his kidneys were functioning at 44%.  They took 16 viles of blood and ordered an ultra sound.  When we left, we were told that he was to eat only foods that are the lowest in potassium and low phosphates.  Our next appointment to go over all the testing results is for the 11th.  Tim has been feeling very poorly.  The change in diet has not agreed with him.  He has lost 13 pounds in two weeks and his Addisons balance is off now.  We have an appointment to see a dietitian which should help us.  All in all, we are grateful that this has been caught and now we can go forward and try not to cause further damage to his kidneys.  He tuckers out quickly and has been extra tired lately. 
In the evenings I feed baby "A" her night bottle and hold her till she falls asleep and Tim feeds Kinsley her night bottle and holds her, while they watch Blues Clues together till she falls asleep.  Most days he falls asleep first.  Bless his heart.
We are praying for Tim to be healed and gain in strength and health.   
The Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile was at our local Kroger recently.
We are happily back into a good routine again with schooling.  It helps me to get more done, if we can stay in a loose routine.  The children also do better knowing what to do and what to expect every day. 
The south has gotten a huge amount of rain this winter and the weather has been very mild for this time of year.  We had a lot of flooding.  Most of the flooding has receded now.  Our pond is still very full.
A huge tree fell on one of our fence lines and my dad and William have been very busy trying to get the wood cut up so they can repair the fencing.  Because of the mild weather, the children have been able to play a good bit outside when done with schooling and it is not raining.
Zeke loves all animals.  Here he is with Mr. Skunk.
Kinsley loves to swing.  She would swing every day if the weather were nice.  Carolyn loves to take Timothy and Kinsley out for an hour in the afternoon if the weather is nice.  They are both very well behaved for her and look forward to it.  Below are the many faces of a happy Kinsley!
 Billy and Elizabeth can only go out with proper supervision because of their hard behaviors.

On rainy days Billy loves to play on a mat in front of the wood stove.  He is very into pirates lately so Uncle "B" and Aunt "S" got him this cool ship for Jesus Birthday.  He plays with it daily.
William is still studying for the Language Arts section of his GED.  He should be taking that part very soon.
With such a large family and so many with special needs, we make several unexpected trips to the ER yearly.  Usually in the middle of the night.  William is the one that goes with me when I have to go.  Tim stays home with the rest of the sleeping children.  This time Carolyn had hurt her ankle at ballet.  It ended up being badly sprained.  So glad it was not broken.  In the above picture I took a surprise picture while he was reading.  This was at around midnight!

Elizabeth is doing much better with her schooling since we switched her over to just workbooks. 
She also recently got new hearing aids.  They are much smaller and you can not even see them unless you are looking closely at her ears.  She has two pet rats she plays with and loves.

God is so good and life is fine.  We have had fewer appointments lately so it has been nice to be home a bit  more and get some things done.  I am going to try to garden in my raised beds this year.  I have not had a garden in two years because of all the new little ones, that have come along, needing so much of my time.  I think I am up for some light gardening this year.  So we shall see.

I pray that the One True and Only God will be with you, leading and guiding you all through 2016.  That health, peace and the bonds of friends and family will be strong the whole year as you live and grow in Him.


2 Timothy 1:12  For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.


Friday, December 25, 2015

Antonio Turns 21!!!

Antonio had a birthday this week!  I don't know why this birthday was so hard for me this year but truly I am just amazed.  How did this child of ours get so old so fast!!!  21!!!!

He was just a little guy when we adopted him.  23 pounds at almost 6 years old!  We quickly started working on getting him evaluated for a G-tube.  Until then we used an NG-tube through his nose to feed him extra calories.
He quickly started to put on weight, grow and get healthier.  Praise God!

I know he is very tired in the picture below but I wanted to include it, to show how sweet and kind he has always been to all of the other children.  Here he is holding Zeke's little hand.

Antonio was a very medically fragile infant and child. (He was a 23 week preemie)  He had so many issues, surgeries and hospital stays his whole life.  I can't even count the times or amount of days he has been in the hospital since he has been with us but he is so worth it.  He is such a miracle and it is by the grace of God he is here and so healthy today.  God is faithful!

He has always been such a good boy. We have all loved him as one of our own from the very beginning.

William and Antonio have always had a very special bond.  They still do to this day.
William would do anything for him to make him happy. 

He is a genuinely happy soul.  He encourages others and prays for everyone he knows.

He could not be a better son!  I have hardly ever had to discipline him.  He is a very easy going, laid back, young guy.

He truly is a great blessing to us.  We try to find ways to include him in everything we do and take him everywhere we go.  If it is not wheel chair accessible, we don't go.

He has always loved all his siblings so much.  Being one of the oldest children in the home, he has watched the middles grow up from little babies.

Antonio has really enjoyed having young children in the house again, with our newest additions.

Antonio felt well on his birthday and wanted to go out to eat to the Hibachi Grill. Then we came home for cake.  He wanted Aunt "S" to make him a cake with Oswald on it, like Timothy had, so she did.  He loved it.
 Thank you Aunt "S" and Uncle "B" for making his day special!

You are a wonderful gift from God and such a blessing in our lives, my sweet Antonio!  May God bless you with health and happiness every day of your life!

Psalm 91:16  With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Love, Dad, mom, Stephen, William, Carolyn, Zeke, Elizabeth, Billy, Timothy, Kinsley and baby "A"!!