Sunday, February 27, 2011

A brain lapse? Or an exercise in faith??

What on earth was I thinking???  I am no more prepared to homeschool a high school student than I am prepared to fly to the moon on my own!  Yikes!! 

Actually, that’s not quite true.  I have quite a bit of curriculum that will work well for high school.  I have teachers manuals for many of them, and I have access to many more.  Even more important, I have the ongoing confirmation that what I am doing for Miss M (henceforth known as Mallory) is not just my own doing but is clearly God-led.  I know many are praying for Mallory and me as we move forward.  That’s encouraging.  And comforting.  But the things I’ve seen come together in the last 10 days (since this decision was made) can only be God things.

It’s been things like needing to replace a specific book in the set that I have.  Book 3 has been missing for a long time and I’ve never found a hardback copy in the right edition.  Until last week…when I found it for $4, with no tax and free shipping!!  Then I wanted a specific resource for me as a guide (grading, giving credits, creating transcripts, etc), but it’s a $25 book that I really don’t know how much I would use.  You have to remember that I’ve not done high school before, and the little guys are only in Kindergarten!  God has provided a copy to me for $5.  I also needed a very important resource—the instructors guide for the US History curriculum I already own.  I’ve owned it before, but someone borrowed it and never returned it.  I debated and debated about whether I could do this without the manual and decided I had to have it.  I knew it was not particularly cheap, but I had exhausted all my options.  I went to order it and discovered that because I have ordered it in the past, I am entitled to a 50% discount.  And I get a 10% discount because I have ordered so many materials over the years from this source.  And I had a $25 credit with them that I didn’t know about.  And because I am a long time customer, they don’t charge me shipping on any of my orders!  So…God provided my $85 resource for $15.  More confirmation that we are on the right track.  Other pieces have fallen into place without problem:  finding incredible study guides for the history books that could serve as test questions.  A 4 page list (complete with discussion questions!) of movie resources for the time period we will be studying.   A college level health and nutrition book with the right chapters for the study we’re putting together.  Ideas and resources for pulling some of Mallory’s loves (photography, cooking) and some of the things she needs to learn (chemistry, writing) into a large, long term project.  A friend who is a food scientist, and willingly shares her knowledge of ‘kitchen chemistry.’ 

All the worrying I have done?  Worrying about whether I could really do this.  Worrying about how to make sure that Mallory learns what she needs to learn.  Worrying about making sure that we do this without taxing her mom’s finances.  Worrying about how to evaluate and do tests.  Worrying about how I’m going to balance the needs of a high schooler and 2 kindergartners.  I need to make sure they all learn appropriately.  Worrying about how to make sure that Mallory completes enough credits to be ready to graduate in June 2012.  All of it—for naught.  Guess I should have known better.  God’s hand is in this.  It’s been all over it from the beginning.  He provides.  I just have to trust.  Then sit back and watch, with a smile on my face, as I see HIM rain down His blessings on those who are willing to obey His call, even when it makes no sense.  To a feeble human mind, anyway.  Guess it’s a good thing He’s in charge!

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:25-33, emphasis added

short hair…



Saturday nights

The Saturday night routine around here is pretty straightforward:  dinner, game, then bath, snuggles, and bed.  Sunday morning is church, and dirty stinky little boy bodies aren’t going with me to church!  :)

Once a month, though, the routine is slightly different.  It’s haircut night.  One at a time, the boys strip down to their underwear then come stand in the kitchen.  It’s always an interesting event.  One boy wants his hair gone, shaved off, totally smooth.  Sometimes he begs me to cut it in a mohawk.  Usually, though, he begs me to shave him bald.  Back and forth we banter, and I put the #1 on the clippers.  And he LOVES the short hair!  I’m not sure whether he really wants to be shaved bald or whether he simply prefers the laughs that go with the routine.  Once he’s done and vacuumed off, he heads upstairs to the bathtub. 

Then it’s time for the second little boy.  He tries everything in his power to stall.  “Wait!  I have to have a drink!”  “I can’t get my shirt off"!”  “Where do I put my dirty clothes again?”  He knows that when Mom gets ‘that look’ he’d better just come…and he does.  He shakes and shivers standing there in his underwear.  “Number 3 Mom.  Or number 4, please!”  But his hair’s not that long.  It’s only long enough for a #2.  He knows this, but it’s part of HIS routine.  He knows that when his hair gets that long, everyone teases him about his crazy bed hair and he begs for a haircut.  So it’s his turn to banter back and forth with me, even as he shivers and shakes.  He laughs uncontrollably when the vacuum comes out to clean him up, then he scampers up to the tub as well.  I finish cleaning the kitchen, then sit back to enjoy a brief moment of peace and quiet before they head downstairs, fresh and clean, for a snuggle before bed. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

snowplow operator?

Maybe…if today’s backyard find is any indication.   Logan was having a ball ‘plowing’ the retaining wall!



expectations vs reality

Sometimes I get so focused on what I expect to see that I don’t grasp the reality of what’s happening right in front of me.

I have a child who is a control freak.  About everything.  It’s been an ongoing battle as he tries to wrestle control from us in nearly every area.  Yes, he’s also a strong willed child.  Yes, his need for control is an ‘adoption-related’ issue.  Yes, we understand both his need for control and the need for him to trust us.  Yes, it has been difficult.

But you know what I realized this morning?  I EXPECT him to behave that way, so I don’t necessarily  see what’s really happening.  We had some little friends over today.  They’re almost 4 and almost 2, and it was fascinating to watch Logan around them.  Both children are sweet and well behaved, but Logan was nearly a basketcase as he tried everything in his power to control what was happening.  I kept assuring him that I was paying attention, that I would take care of things.  And then I realized:  he hasn’t acted this way in a VERY long time!  He hasn’t been this vigilant in ages.  It struck me hard—apparently he has decided that we really do know what we’re doing, that we really can take care of him, and he’s relaxed his need to be in control to the point that I only expect it but don’t see it.

Now I’d better rethink all those behaviors of Logan’s that he ‘always does’ and see how many still exist and how many  exist only in my expectations.  I suspect I will be pleasantly surprised.  That’s a good thing.  And a God thing!  :)


A funny story:  I am taking the boys and our little friend Emily to see Go Dog Go at Seattle Children’s Theater in 2 weeks.  I thought it would be a good idea to get out our copy of the book and re-read it so they were familiar with the story line.  I went to look and discovered that we don’t own it any more!  My big guys burned through 3 copies of the book because they loved it so much, and the little ones have never even heard it!  Yikes!  A true classic of children’s literature and we’ve not ever read it to them.  Bad mommy!!  Fixed that today—Costco had an inexpensive 50th anniversary edition in their children’s book section.  Ryan read a good portion of it to us, and they loved it.  Now they cannot wait to go see the play!  Or maybe it’s the promise of a fancy lunch at a restaurant that has them excited.  Either way is fine with me… 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

More thought provoking quotes from Richard Stearns, out of his book The Hole in Our Gospel.  I HIGHLY recommend it…but only if you want to be challenged!

“…more than 26,500 children died yesterday of preventable causes related to their poverty, and it will happen again today and tomorrow and the day after that.  Almost 10 million children will die in the course of a year.”

“It’s not what you believe that counts; it’s what you believe enough to do.   ~Gary Gulbrandson, as quoted by Richard Stearns

“Think for a moment of your life as a house with many rooms.  Your faith cannot be just one more room in the house, equal with your job, your marriage, your political affiliation, or your hobbies.  No, your faith must be like the very air you breathe, in every room of the house.  It must permeate not just your ‘Sunday worship’ or even your vocation and your behavior at home, but also your dealings with everyone around you—including the poor.  That’s how deep the commitment must be.    So what does God expect of you then?  Everything.”  

“…one of the most powerful reasons we don’t totally surrender our lives to Christ is that we don’t want to sacrifice the things we possess; they have begun to possess us.  …We cling to them, often out of a desire for security, comfort, and happiness, even though we know in our hearts that we can only find real happiness by serving the Lord.  …God can’t give you the blessings He has for you until you first put down the other things you are clutching in your hands.”

“But authentic faith, rooted in the heart of God, is expressed in deeds done to ease the pain of others; it is imbued with personal sacrifice, and it comes with a cost.”

And I’m not half way through the book yet…


Things are slowly coming back to normal around here.  Or at least a new normal.  My mind is still a jumbled mess, and I would love to have some alone time to think things through, to process everything.  I’m still struggling with the adoption decision.   I’m still working on pulling together a good plan for Miss M.   BUT…


I LOVE snow days.  I love the beauty of snow on the ground.  I love the sounds of delighted boys as they run and play, making snowmen and snow angels.  I love watching snow fall.  I love the peaceful quiet that is a snowy night.  I love having my high schooler around the house, just because.  She’s delightful company!  I love the way everything looks dusted with snow.  See?










a jumbled mess

That’s how my mind has been the last little bit…a jumbled mess.  So much going on that I can’t seem to get a handle on any of it.  Maybe that’s how it is supposed to be.  I don’t know.  If so, I don’t like it!

We did, eventually, revisit our conversation of several weeks ago.  It was long overdue—didn’t happen when I thought it might.  We needed to talk more about adoption, about Logan’s plea.  We had both given it some thought, and at some point I had crossed over from feeling ambivalent about a third adoption to ready to move forward.  A little girl to balance out our dynamic duo?  Sure.  I can do that!  No, it’s not easy, but the good things in life frequently aren’t.  Unfortunately, we’re not on the same page here, and Jim is in an ‘absolutely NOT’ mode.  Honestly—it has been difficult to reconcile his “I’m open to it” of a few weeks ago with the “absolutely not” that I got last week.  My heart hurts.  There are so many children without families.  We have so much here in this country…SO much!  The sacrifices necessary to change the world for a child are so minimal, when you look at it from many perspectives.  But once again, we are on opposite sides of this coin, and slowly I am learning to keep my mouth closed.  I have spent much time praying, with tears running down my face.  I  have no choice but to trust, to let go of this and allow God to do His will in our lives.   But it still hurts…

In the meantime, God has brought another adventure to our lives.  After a few missteps, a delightful young lady will be here 3 days a week while I help her mom homeschool her.  I’ve known this gal since she was a baby; her mom and I have been friends for about 20 years.  It’s been an interesting journey the last year or so for them, and this door was opened last week.  It’s been such a God thing!  Adjusting to having a high schooler around and having to shift gears from Kindergarten/1st grade to high school has me challenged.  It will be such fun!  Coming up with creative ways to cover all the state requirements while keeping her engaged will be interesting.   This adventure has God’s fingerprints all over it, and I am excited to see what He can do with a tender young girl and someone willing to step outside their comfort zone. 

It was a busy fun weekend and I didn’t have the kind of time I wanted to pull things together for Miss M to truly get started.  I’d hoped to spend some time Monday working on it, but first thing Monday morning I got the news that my mom had a heart attack on Sunday night.  We are VERY fortunate: it was caught quickly  and treated immediately.  There appears to be no lasting damage, and she came home from the hospital on Tuesday.  She feels good and sounds great.  She’s even excited about her next adventure—a cardiac rehab/exercise class taught by Nurse Nancy.  The funny thing is that Nancy is the mom of one of Brent’s former basketball teammates, so Mom knows and loves Nancy already. 

Hmmm…maybe it’s not a surprise my mind is such a jumbled mess these day.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

same song, second verse

Or, tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy…version 2.  :)

Yes, Ryan will have his tonsils and adenoids removed pretty soon.  The ENT took one look at him and said, “Those things are HUGE.  Let’s get them out of here!”  We expected to hear that—Ryan’s been dealing with some strep throat, a perpetual sore throat (and the concomitant horrific breath), night-time snoring, significant bloody noses, a hair-trigger gag reflex, and very slow growth/weight gain, all of which can be indications that a tonsillectomy is needed.  He’ll go March 17.  We won’t be at Children’s this time, but that’s okay.  I have a good friend who works in day surgery recovery on occasion.  We’ve already been in touch with her to see if she can schedule herself to work there that particular day.  Ryan will be much less distressed if he wakes up to Ann taking care of him.

Always an adventure, isn’t it?  :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Well, we had our first instance of trouble at school today.  The boys attend a once a week program at church, in a mixed pre-K/K class.  They love it, and their teacher is wonderful.  Tuesday is probably their favorite day of the week, for that reason.

Today things didn’t go so well.  Mrs. K, their teacher, has rotating help each week, and one gal this week had an issue with Logan.  In the gym, he was doing something he shouldn’t have (no quibble there!) and didn’t respond when she called his name.  When she finally got his attention (by repeatedly calling him) he was surprised and a bit frustrated that she was upset with him.  It escalated from there, and he ended up in time-out, in tears.

He and I spent some time talking when we got home.  He recognizes that what he did was unacceptable and could tell me why it was wrong.  I’m actually not concerned about seeing a repeat in his behavior.  However, I am a bit saddened by the way it was handled.  Here’s a child with a moderately severe hearing loss, playing with yelling, screaming children in a severely acoustically challenged gym.  Instead of walking over to touch his arm and get his attention, the helper continued to call his name.  When he finally saw that someone was calling him (did he EVER hear her?  It’s a very difficult environment for him, hearing wise), he knew he was in BIG trouble.  For not responding. 

I’ll talk to the staff this afternoon and ask that they physically seek his attention in that type of situation in the future.  I’m disappointed that things got to the point of tears, but it’s a live-and-learn type thing.  Hopefully, with some additional input, we can avoid this in the future.

So…is that enough?  Or do I need to be more ‘mean mom” about it?

Saturday, February 12, 2011


5 teeth lost, that is!  Ryan lost another tooth on Thursday…his 5th in just over 10 months.  Turns out the little guys are on opposite ends of the ‘dental age’ spectrum, with Logan having a dental age of barely 5 and Ryan having a dental age of somewhere about 7.  He’s definitely ahead of all his siblings here—one of the big guys didn’t even lose a first tooth until 7 1/2!

Sorry the pictures are a bit goofy—it’s hard to take good pictures up close enough to see the holes in their mouths, but Ryan really wanted his big brother and sisters to see his new mouth.

This picture shows the hole in the top… DSC_0097

And this one shows all 5 teeth he’s lost.  Too bad he looks so goofy!  DSC_0098

Oh!  And this child just blew me away yesterday while working on his math.  The page had a sequence of numbers, followed by several spaces.  He needed to determine the pattern and fill  in the blanks.  Here’s one pattern:

5, 8, 11, _____, ______,  ______,

and the other:

7, 10, 13, _______,  ________,  _______.

He took one look at it and started filling in the blanks, even before I read him the instructions!  He can count by 3’s, but to grasp that this was by 3’s, to do it in his head?  Without thinking about it much?  Ummm…yeah.  Gonna keep me on my toes.  He’s blowing through the first grade math we’ve got.  2nd grade math?  Bring it on!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I just finished an orthodontic consult for Logan.  The orthodontist is part of his craniofacial team, and she does her consults on the phone.  I am SO thrilled!! This little guy, the one who has had the deck stacked against him in nearly every other area, has a relatively simple cleft mouth.  His orthodontics will be easy and straightforward!  No palate expansion.  No extensive surgeries.  No complicated procedures.  Only simple things.  And even funnier?  They are all things that we are experienced with!  He’ll have a lingual arch once his bottom teeth come in, just like I wore in elementary school.  He’ll need a bone graft, of course, but she thinks it should be simple and successful because his tooth buds are all in the right places and forming well.  Then he’ll wear braces on top for a bit with his lingual arch.  After some time without braces, he’ll go back to braces both top and bottom.  His course of treatment sounds just like mine (back in the dark ages…)  Some of the issues concerning the orthodontist are things we’ve worked through with our daughter, and the craniofacial orthodontist will consult with ours here in town. 

She does think there’s a possibility he may need surgery on his upper jaw before he gets his braces for the second time, but she emphasized that it’s far too early to know that for sure. 

Overall, I am thrilled!!  For Logan, it’s an incredible blessing.  We are definitely rejoicing today.

(I have some fascinating pictures of the inside of Logan’s mouth, but I’m assuming that no one wants to see them.  :)  )

like a 6 year old

The boys and I have gone for a walk every day this week. Some have been long (2+ miles round trip to the hardware store) and some have been shorter (to school and back, about 1 1/4 miles round trip) but all have been entertaining. Exercise? Not so much, but I have to be okay with that. The laughs and the sunshine have made up for it. (And yes, I promise I’ll get out my camera soon. It’s been too long since I’ve taken any pictures!)

Walking home from speech on Tuesday, Logan was walking funny—flailing his arms, taking little steps then big ones, and basically walking like a goof. Getting a bit frustrated, I said to him “Logan, please walk like a 6 year old.” After looking at me funny for a minute, he finally said “Momma, I am trying to NOT step on the cracks!" I glanced at the sidewalk for a moment and realized: He IS walking like a 6 year old. Exactly like one.

Time to chill out, I guess.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


It’s a great thing…when it’s done right.   I’m thinking, though, that last weekend was NOT a good weekend for communication done right. 

Jim and I went for a (very) short drive.  We’ve both had things on our minds and needed a little time to work through some questions that have come up.  Nothing hugely serious, but uninterrupted time to talk is hard to come by at our house.   Heck, if we can finish 2 sentences without being interrupted, it’s a good conversation!  :)   And since one of the cars needed to be driven between transmission fluid changes, it seemed like a good time.  We went for a twenty minute drive, stopped at the hardware store and the auto parts store, and headed home.  Afterwards, I felt better and we were on the same page on a big question. 

Or…maybe not.   Sigh.  Some things have happened this week that indicate my understanding of our conversations does NOT match his.  I don’t think we’re on the same page.  I could have sworn I heard the words “You are right.” and “I am not opposed to that.”   I know I asked clarifying questions to make sure I understood.  Apparently even through all of it, I misunderstood.  Or maybe he did.  I’m not sure.  All I know is that I feel like we’re not on the same page.  Again.  And it’s frustrating.

So, now I have to contemplate going back to try again.  Maybe, just maybe, if we have more time and fewer distractions…time to ask and answer the “What exactly do you mean when you say ______?”  then we’ll be on the same page. 

Next Sunday, we are going out.  On a REAL date for a fancy dinner.  And time to talk.  That’s a good thing.   Dinner will be done right, I know.  Hopefully  this time, the communication will be too.

Friday, February 4, 2011

just a typical basketball Friday…

Today’s turning out to be a typical Friday during basketball season.  Our high school has home games tonight, which means I will be busy today.  I help in the concessions stand (fun!), but the work starts at home with some of the prep.

I was supposed to have a lunch date with an old friend today, but schedule conflicts postponed it.  I am disappointed, but it means that my morning and early afternoon are slightly less stressful, so I guess it’s a trade-off.  Instead of enjoying lunch and conversation with a friend, I’ll be prepping chili and pulled pork sandwiches for a crowd.  Think chili for 40 and pulled pork for 50.  Currently there are nearly 18 pounds of pork cooking away in my oven…  Usually I bake 20-25 potatoes too, but since my oven is full someone else is doing that today.

Senior night.  Last home game of the season.  And we’re going out in style.  It’s going to be fun!  C’mon and join us!!   Excellent games, good food, good company…what more could a girl want?  (Answer?  A new date for lunch!)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

messin’ with my head

I wish someone would make up my mind.

Logan goes to our local public school for speech therapy once a week.  This is the 3rd year we’ve done this—he received speech only during the 2008-2009 school year, then last year he attended the developmental preschool part of the year and had speech only for part of the year.  This year we’re back to speech only services since the boys are homeschooled.  When Logan started last fall, the secretary at the school was exceptionally rude to us for a couple weeks.  At first she insisted that we couldn’t be there because she’d never seen us before and we had ‘no right’ to walk in to her school like we were a ‘regular family.’  Huh?  After we cleared that up (this was, after all, our 3rd consecutive year of coming to speech!) she insisted that I had to sign in and out every time.  Both drop off and pick up, each about a 45 second process.  Signing in and back out takes far longer.  When asked why I needed to sign in and out, she said it was for fire safety—the clipboard was used to check each room and know who was still in the building.  Okay…but I’m not on campus that long!  And Logan IS on campus each week for 45 minutes, but she didn’t care about having him signed in.  Our great SLP heard what was going on and got involved, saying that Logan SHOULD be signed in and out but I don’t have to be signed in and out.  Slightly better.  But on what sheet?  He’s not a substitute.  He’s not  a classroom visitor.  And he’s not a late arrival or early dismissal…

The catch?  In order for him to even get speech at the school, we have to fill out all the registration forms.  We have a user name and password for the school parent pages to report absences.  We are on the school and school district mailing list.  And phone lists.  So according to the school and the district, he’s a ‘student.’

Uh huh.  Not so fast.  A request was recently submitted by Logan’s SLP asking the district to provide him an FM system.  It works much better than hearing aids at helping him hear and is a very necessary part of his life.  It’s called assistive technology, and under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities  Education Act) laws, they do, in fact, have an obligation to provide necessary assistive technology.  If it was hearing aids, we wouldn’t have any questions.  But because it’s an FM system, it’s ‘at the discretion of the district’ and they can choose to provide it for only his speech sessions, even though other students with FM systems in the district can ‘check theirs out’ and take them home every day.  Not Logan.  Unless we enroll him in school.   Or, if he was enrolled in a ‘real’ school, we could petition.

What the heck?  According to the district paperwork, he IS enrolled.  The (irritating) automated phone calls I get regularly, letting me know about school cancellations and other ‘items of interest to the ___ School District family’ seem to concur with that theory.   The local elementary school shows him as a student, the secretary and her thoughts aside.  And, according to state law, homeschooling IS real school, and homeschooled students are entitled to every service available from the local public school.  But they don’t agree, and I’m not sure I have it in me to fight them.

Government entities at their finest…