Wednesday, November 28, 2012

a lightbulb moment

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  ~Ps 139:14

God is teaching me that every single day…

It’s not news that one of my little guys struggles with motor planning issues.  Clearly, though, I haven’t thought through the implications all the way.  If I had, yesterday’s ‘aha!’ would have happened long ago.

One of the boys uses a math book beyond his grade level, and he has difficulty fitting his 2nd grade printing size into the space allotted in these more advanced math worksheets.  No big deal—I don’t care as much about the penmanship (it will come!) as I do about the math knowledge, so I scribe some for him.  Works well.  He talks me through the problems and I write things down for him.  The other advantage is that I get to see how well he understands what he’s doing!  Anyway, I’ve been scribing for him since we started homeschooling.  Since the other boy’s math book has LOTS of empty space between problems on the page (most excellent for easily distractible kidlets! Smile ), I’ve not done the scribing for him.  Until yesterday.  He was frustrated and needed some help, so I picked up a pencil and said, “Let’s blow through this.  You read the problems and tell me the answers, and I’ll write them down for you.”  Having watched him work on math problems for the last 2 years, I really didn’t expect much.  After all, a single worksheet with about 10 basic addition or subtraction problems on it can take him half an hour or longer.  But you know what?  He CAN blow through it!  Apparently his motor planning issues make the whole process nigh unto impossible.  Take away the need to switch from knowing the answer to figuring out how to get his arm and hand to use the pencil to actually CREATE the number on the page, and he’s got it!  Blew me away.   He did 10 problems in about 2 1/2 minutes.  Today we did 2 worksheets, one a new(er) concept and one a review sheet.  Probably 25-30 problems total.   I chose to scribe for him, and I think we were done in 15 minutes or so.  And he struggled with some of the math facts!  (No surprise there—he has working memory issues, and basic math facts come and go in his brain’s ‘filing system’.)

I am liking the implications of this!  No more fighting over how long it takes to do a simple math page.  No more tears because it’s ‘too hard’ or ‘takes too long.’  No worries!  Yes, I know he needs to learn to write.  We work on penmanship.  But you know what?  In the big picture of life, I’d much prefer he knows how to read and do math.  He can always learn to type.  He can live forever without knowing how to print or write in cursive well, but life will be very hard indeed if he can’t read or do math. 

So now we apply this more proactively to his language/grammar as well.  He loves to tells stories, so we will be more intentional about writing them for him.  (No creative spelling allowed here.  Smile  For a child with severe dyslexia and significant working memory issues, creative spelling is risky at best and potentially damaging long term.)  The bonus of all that is that when we scribe for him, we can help him with the parts of language that are difficult for him:  word usage, tenses, and sentence construction.  (Yes, pretty much the whole thing.  Oh well.)

Monday, November 12, 2012

boys…and horses!

Check out the joy on these faces:


Ryan rides the little horse, Spud.  And Spud is TINY.  Logan’s on Jenn in this picture (a touch of irony there…), but he usually rides a horse named Appy.  Jenn’s pretty little compared to Appy.  They ride every Wednesday afternoon, and it is the highlight of their week.

DSC_0024DSC_0030Logan’s riding for therapy. We’ve seen incredible improvement in his core strength and his speech since he started.  With 7 weeks down, he’s loving every minute of it.  I suspect his favorite part is that HE is in control of the horse.  These horses are incredible—if Logan doesn’t ‘turn his belly button and his nose’ in the direction he wants to go, then Appy or Jenn will simply walk right into the obstacle he is supposed to be steering them around.  He’s learning…and one of the great lessons is that with control comes responsibility!  He doesn’t fight me anywhere near as hard, since he now gets that making decisions means paying the consequences of wrong ones.  (Yes, he’s directed his horse into a few fences.  Corwin and Natalie stop the horse before anyone is hurt!) 


DSC_0029Ryan’s also riding for therapy. In his case, it’s not for physical therapy but instead for help with his overwhelming fears.  Hence the pony.  Smile  Even after just 2 sessions I can see the benefits—Ryan’s not as afraid of going upstairs on his own, or going to bed a night.  Amazing how conquering a fear of large animals can transfer to other areas of life.


(Ryan and Spud get to lead on the trail ride last week)

Both boys have 2 people with them when they ride (part of the therapeutic riding program at this arena.)  Pepper and Eli work with Ryan, and Corwin and Natalie work with Logan.  It’s perfect—Pepper is friendly and outgoing, just what somewhat shy Ryan needs.  Natalie is partially deaf and wears hearing aids, just like Logan.  Natalie has challenged Logan at every turn, not letting him slack off and get away with anything less than hard work.  Pepper is encouraging to Ryan, gently reminding him that he is okay, that he will be fine, and that Spud won’t hurt him.  They both give the boys some responsibilities at the end of the lesson, although Pepper discovered quickly that Ryan was more suited to putting away the saddle blanket than the saddle!  Logan LOVES the hard, heavy work, though and thrives on helping out. 



They both want to go to Equestrian Day Camp this summer right here where they ride.  I’d LOVE to send them!  They would be at camp from 8:30-4:30 Monday through Friday, riding horses and learning about their care.  They would absolutely be in heaven!  Sadly, you have to be 52” tall to participate, and although Logan will be that tall by summer, there’s not a snowball’s chance anywhere that Ryan will be.  At not quite 48”, he’s got a long ways to go before he gets that tall.  Especially when you consider that he’s only grown 20” in the last 7 years!!  Oh well.  Hopefully, a spring term of therapeutic riding is in their future.  Maybe that will ease the pain of being too short for summer camp.

Need me on Wednesday afternoons?  I’ll be at the barn, watching my boys have a blast!  Smile  Enjoying the fact that sometimes therapy (and hard work) are truly FUN.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

7 years ago (already!)

7 years ago today, we got our first glimpse of a little boy, one we had flown halfway around the world to meet.   Meeting him would forever change our world.

Seeing Yang Fu Tao, to be named Ryan Joseph FuTao Kassebaum, for the first time, as we wait for ‘formal’ introductions (a true formality since he was the only boy in the group!)

1st group of baby pictures 012

We traveled with 5 other families, and 3 of them met their daughters in the same hotel room.  It was quite crowded and a bit noisy.  I’m not sure who cried more—the babies or the parents! 

1st group of baby pictures 020

The babies were all dressed alike.  My memories of that day are very vivid, and yet as I look at the pictures it feels like another lifetime.  I feel fortunate to still be in touch with most of our travel families, and I remember them especially fondly this time of year. 

Brent traveled with us to get Ryan, and seeing the two of them hang out together warmed my heart.  At 16, Brent was an incredible big brother, patient and loving at a time when most guys would much rather not be having a baby around in their house.  To this day, Brent and Ry have the most amazing relationship!  I love to see them say hi when they’ve been apart for a long time.  And Ryan is SO MUCH like Brent that I frequently (at least once a day!) call him Brent, and we often call him Brent 2.0.  Smile

1st group of baby pictures 016

5th group of baby pictures 007

november 2 004

The travel group:

5th group of baby pictures 079

And ‘Ryan’s harem,’ otherwise known as the babies of our travel group:

5th group of baby pictures 074

5th group of baby pictures 075

He was clearly not happy to be there…

But he’s generally a happy young man now!


Thanks for rocking our world, Ryan!  You are a true blessing, and we are forever grateful God has chosen us to be your family.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Yesterday Logan turned 8.  He bounced his way through the day, alternately whining that things were going too slow and quivering with excitement that presents were coming.  Because we had some unavoidable things on the calendar, the big ‘celebration’ would happen at dinner. Plus, we needed to keep things somewhat low key:  Ryan, Logan, and Jim are all sick.  Sad smile  (Lord have mercy on me!!)   My parents joined us for dinner of Logan’s choice:  lasagna, rolls, and green salad, with ice cream cake for dessert.  Once he finished eating, he begged to be excused so he could open gifts.  It was easy to grant his request.  Smile


We moved to the living room and he started opening presents.  He opened the first one, and was excited but a bit puzzled.  Hailey handed him the 2nd present to open.  He did.  You could see him shaking with excitement.   I told him that the present in his hands was from Grandma and Grandpa…and we waited.  After waiting a minute for him to say "Thank you” and getting nothing, someone prompted him with “What do you say?”  Immediately, his voice shaking with the thrill of it all, he responded: “What is it??”  We all cracked up.  He was so eager to have presents that he hadn’t figured out what the gift even was…just that he had presents!  Goofball.  (He got a LeapPad 2.  He LOVES it.  It’s just perfect for his developmental age, and there are tons of educational—like math concepts and phonics—games that he will play for hours.  Win all the way)

End result?  The gifts were a hit.  The company was delightful. DSC_0016 Emily made it home for the weekend, and that was a special treat.   The cake was delicious and fun (even if it didn’t look professional and wasn’t a soccer ball, as requested.)   What’s not to like about an ice cream cake with chocolate cake, mint ice cream, vanilla ice cream frosting, and hot fudge decoration? 


Here’s to many, many more, young man.  You have blessed our lives with laughter and fun, and challenged us to grow beyond what we ever believed possible.   Your smile lights up the room and your laughter is contagious.  We are SO grateful that God put us together! 

Monday, October 15, 2012


Somehow I thought I would just put together a quick post summarizing my time at the symposium on Saturday.  Not gonna happen.  No way…no how.  There’s simply too much to process, too much to think through, too much to synthesize in such a short time.  And when you add to it the fact that I have felt under the weather the last day or 2 (not sick, just under the weather.  Fortunately, today I started feeling much more normal.  Smile ), well, it all adds up to ‘later, gator.’ 

I can say that the time was mostly well spent.  Some of the presentations were incredibly helpful, full of useful information and encouragement.  Some of the others were too ‘school/classroom focused’ to be of much use to me.  But…that’s how it goes.  I have a long list of things to research and ideas to attempt to integrate into our day. 

I wish I could say that I came away totally convinced that someday (hopefully SOON!) we would begin to get a handle on executive functions.  I didn’t.  It appears that children who are deaf/hard of hearing struggle with executive function for most of their lives.  It is our prayer that as some of the things I learned this weekend are applied in our day, in our home, in our routine, we will begin to see growth.  Already tonight Jim and I had a conversation about some behaviors we see that aren’t disruptive but that clearly demonstrate  lack of inhibitory control (the ability to inhibit an incorrect behavior and apply a correct one) and how we hope to enlist others in directing the behavior more appropriately  We’ll see if we can get others in our world on board.  I hope so!  We can NOT do this alone.  It’s important that he learn these things.  After all, who exactly wants to hire someone who isn’t focused, can’t follow through, has no filters on what they say, or isn’t able to initiate a project??

Through it all, I am yet again grateful that God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23).  I get to start with a fresh slate, and so does Logan.  Starting fresh every day gives me hope that some day we truly will get there.  After all, we are all works in progress!

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  (Ecc 3:11, emphasis mine)

Friday, October 12, 2012

executive functions

Ever heard that term?  It has to do with higher order processing in the brain, and it’s responsible for things like:

  • Working memory and recall (holding facts in mind while manipulation information; accessing facts stored in long-term memory)
  • Activation, arousal, and effort (getting started; paying attention; finishing work)
  • Controlling emotions (ability to tolerate frustration; thinking before acting or speaking)
  • Internalizing language (using ‘self-talk’ to control one’s behavior and direct future actions)
  • Complex problem solving (taking an issue apart, analyzing the pieces, reconstituting and organizing it into new ideas)
  • Shifting, inhibiting (changing activities; stopping existing activities; stopping and thinking before speaking or acting)
  • Organizing/planning ahead (organizing time, projects, materials, and possessions)
  • Monitoring (self-monitoring and prompting)

It’s one of those places where we see clearly the developmental delays Logan has. Executive functions are a struggle for him.  All day…every day.   Frankly, I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult life must be for him, being unable to hear clearly and dealing with delays in all of those areas.  It’s no wonder we’re all frequently frustrated!

Tomorrow, I am headed to Seattle Children’s for an all day symposium on “Executive Functions in Deaf/Hard of Hearing Children.”  Sponsored by the  Childhood Communication Center and hosted by Logan’s FABULOUS ENT (ear/nose/throat doctor), it is another amazing opportunity for us (me!) to learn more methods to help Logan.  A couple years ago I attended a different symposium on literacy and language development in deaf/hard of hearing children, and it was fantastic.   I have to be there at 8AM tomorrow, but that’s okay.  It’s a good thing I’m a morning person.  New tools for our box!!  Each item helps, and we’re seeing slow but steady improvement in our guy.  (He even picked up a book and read me some words yesterday!!)

I’m sure there will be fascinating things learned tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to it, and I’m certain that I will post exciting new knowledge and insights soon.  Smile

Sunday, October 7, 2012

challenges and perseverance

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”   James 1:2-4

DSC_0007Those verses have been running through my mind the last few days.  I realized just how true they are yesterday when I was out washing my car.  I was on the far side, away from our new neighbors and their house, but I could still hear them. I don’t think they knew I was outside.  (At least I hope they didn’t!)  Logan came out and headed across the cul-de-sac to see Howard.  Howard is 82, and he adores both little guys.  They go over to his house and help him work in his yard.  They rake with him, pull weeds with him, and generally enjoy his company.  He, in turn, enjoys theirs.  So much so, in fact, that when Howard turned 80 a few years ago, Ryan and Logan were invited to his surprise party.  We were not.  Jim went along to chaperone the small guests.  Smile

Anyway,  after Logan headed over, I heard the new neighbors talking among themselves.  They have lived here since late June, and we’ve only seen them once or twice.  It’s too bad, because they have a darling  daughter who is the boys’ age!  My first meeting with them was under less than auspicious circumstances—they had come over to check out their new house (3 days before closing!) without telling the sellers.  They set off the alarm, which brought the neighborhood security, and then they had the audacity to be upset that they couldn’t get into ‘their’ house.  When it was pointed out to them that it still, in fact, belonged to the people who were moving out (for 3 more days, until closing), they got angry.  That first meeting wasn’t pretty.  Since then, I’ve seen them maybe twice.  Logan and Ryan introduced themselves one weekend, but that’s it.  As they watched Logan head toward Howard’s, I heard snatches of the conversation:  “Why would someone choose to parent a child like that?” and “I wonder what’s REALLY wrong with him?” are the ones that stick in my mind.  Angry, I was ready to step out and confront them when I realized something.  I’ve been that person.  I’ve wondered those things before.

I suspect that Logan’s differences are part of the reason we don’t see their 2nd grader out front.  I can hear her in the backyard.  It’s their loss.  In the 4  1/2 years we’ve had the privilege of being Logan’s parents, we have learned tremendous amounts about rejection, assumptions, and prejudice.  He is a delightful child, with challenges galore.  Yes, he can be hard to understand.  Yes, he’s not very coordinated.  Yes, he blurts out everything that comes to his mind without applying any filters.   (There are no longer ANY secrets around here.  Need proof?  Ask the Sunday School teacher.  Or the small group babysitter.  Or the speech therapist or the horse therapist.  Or the clerk at wherever we shopped last. Disappointed smile)   Yes, he has difficulty hearing.  Yes, he has control issues.  Yes, he challenges me as mom regularly. Those are the hard things.  They are frustrating.  They are challenging…for all of us.   They are also the refining things about parenting (or being a sibling to) this child.

Because of Logan, we have learned compassion.  We know what it is to see a child rejected because he wears hearing aids.  We see the hurt others inflect with their words.  And we watch our much more carefully!  Often it’s unintentional, but far too frequently the words are chosen deliberately.  We have seen the joy of accomplishment in a new light.  We don’t take success for granted.  We see what it is to struggle with concepts and work long and hard for mastery.  We see the frustration when mastery doesn’t come, or when it does come but memory issues hinder the recall.  We see the elation in a job well done.  We see the dedication and thoughtfulness of a child who is gifted differently.  And we are learning to appreciate these things. 

Those who know me know that I have been upfront about Logan’s adoption.  It’s been hard.  It’s been challenging.  It’s been an exercise in perseverance.  Some days I feel like a massive failure.  I don’t see progress for him.  There are days part of me wants to throw in the towel.  But I know that God is faithful, and that He gave us this child for a reason.  Yes, Logan has a home and a family; access to much needed medical care and therapy.  But his parents and his siblings have had lessons in humility.  In the depth of our faith.  In considering this trial to be pure joy.  And you know what?  As a result of sticking with it, of persevering, we are starting to see the gifts.  Maturity is one.  A changed heart is another.  We have a greater understanding and compassion for other parents with special needs children.  On the good days, we count our blessings.  On the bad days we have to dig deeper to find the blessings, but they are richer, somehow.  In spite of the challenges, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Logan has been God’s way of maturing us as parents and as people.  I’m ready for the refining of my character to move from 60 grit sandpaper in that power sander to something finer, but only God knows when I’ll be ready for that.  In the meantime, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14)

Doing that, I can’t fail.  That knowledge is incredibly freeing!

*Yes, that’s an OLD picture of Logan.  When our computer died last month, I lost all my current pictures.  Fortunately, I didn’t lose everything, but for now the last several months are gone.  Hopefully they’ll be retrievable soon.  In the meantime, you’ll have to be content with a picture of Logan from last Christmas! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

the irony of it all

A couple times in the last several years I have been asked to speak to our Moms N Tots group at church.  I don’t like speaking to large groups, but I always have fun sharing with these delightful gals.  After the first time or two, I even quit throwing up from nerves.  :)  Through it all, though, I have learned a very important lesson:  I need to be careful, since God always teaches me tons about topics I thought I was competent to speak on.  For instance, one year I was asked in June to speak the following April on self-control.  ARGH!!  What a tough year that was!  Every time I turned around, God showed me how little I really knew about exercising self control.  The end result?  I could speak from my heart and my experience…and I learned that I NEVER want to go 10 months between accepting an invitation and actually speaking again.

In August I was asked to speak on time management.  The dates are in January, and I thought it was all good.  After all, I have a reasonable handle on time management.  Plus, I’ve spoken on this topic before.  HA!  So much for that thinking.  God is clearly undoing everything I know so that He can correct my faulty ideas.  I think I’m looking forward to what He will teach me.  Or at least I thought I was.  One of the first lessons I’m learning?  I am totally useless without my computer!  Yes, our primary computer died this week.  No access to any of our important documents.  No access to my check register.  No access to any of the pictures.  Nada.  Zip.  It’s toast.  So…I wait.  I am trying to adjust to running the house without the everyday records I use, like the menu plan and the grocery lists.  The new computer comes next week and it will take time to change over, set everything up, and adjust to a new operating system. 

In the meantime, I am taking a hard look at what I do and why I do it.  We’ve cut back on speech therapy, eliminating the less effective sessions.  We’ve dropped occupational therapy for a bit.  We’ve modified our school schedule so that the boys are learning even more at their own pace.  We’ve not got any high schoolers at home this year, so we’re not tied up watching volleyball several afternoons a week.  In short, everything sounds delightful.  The reality, though, is that each week is different, and I’m finding that I feel more scattered some weeks.  The whole thing is quite interesting.  I can’t wait to see what God does with this!  :)

Because the computer crashed, I can’t post all the pictures I had hoped to put on here.  Suffice it to say that once we complete the switch, I have vacation pics and some fun therapy pics and pics from a trip to the farm.  Hopefully they’ll go up sometime next week.

In the meantime, know that between computer issues and more lessons in time management, I’m working on keeping my priorities straight.  That might mean less time blogging for a bit.  We’ll see.  I’m open to anything, but I have to follow God’s lead in this.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

good stuff

REALLY good stuff.  This blog post (The Truth About Adoption:  One Year Later) describes well the phases of the post-adoption adjustments.  Go read it.  Now.  I’ll wait.  The rest of this won’t make sense if you don’t…  Oh!  While you’re there?  Click on the “About” tab and learn more about Jen Hatmaker.  It’s humorous, and you’ll be glad you did.  :)

Thanks!  Told you it was good stuff.  :)  In our case, the description is right on for one adoption, and skewed for the other.  Years later, we are still mostly hanging out in Stage 4, with some days/weeks/months in Stage 3, and some particularly bad times that feel like Stage 2.  Some of that is due to the seemingly endless list of complicated, inter-connected issues in his life.  We all recognize that.  After all, who wouldn’t have “Spaz Out” days if you couldn’t hear well or understand clearly what was going on around you??

But…the hope is there.  The victory is there.  Though the road is not easy for this one, GOD is the miracle worker.  And He’s not through—with us or with our dear son—yet. 

In Him, we can do this.

He is enough for us all.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

what happens…

…when global dyspraxia (motor planning issues) and vestibular defects (balance issues) meet concrete walls:


Poor guy!  He got both knees and both thighs as well.  :(  Fortunately, they are all fairly light abrasions and should heal without any scarring.

Monday, August 13, 2012

solitude, still small voices, and a big old whack!


Hanging clothes on the line to dry is one of my favorite things to do.  I LOVE when it’s warm enough in the summer to do this, and look forward to doing laundry just so I can hang it on the line. 

The little guys hate laundry day, so they have no particular interest in being around when I’m hanging clothes.  it’s quiet.  It’s peaceful.  It’s sunny and warm.  The sky is (generally) blue.  There’s typically a light breeze, and it’s exceedingly pleasant outside when I hang the first load somewhere around 9:00…

I love seeing how big the boys are getting.  Hanging their laundry reminds me that every day they are growing:  physically, mentally, emotionally, academically, spiritually.  As I hang each item, I take time to pray something specific for the person who wears it.  Ryan’s shirt that says “Play hard or go home” reminds me to pray for both of them to remember to win with dignity and lose with grace, not only in sports but in life.  Logan’s shirt that says “Mighty Warrior” reminds me to pray for him as he fights the battle against hearing loss and learning issues, as well as to pray for our sweet friend Katie (since her name is on the back of that shirt, and you can read more about her here)  There are things I hang that remind me to pray for others:  the shirt I wore at the reunion last weekend reminded me to give thanks for old friends and lasting relationships.   And when everything is dry and ready to come down, I go back out and take each item down, fold it carefully, and enjoy the time to be grateful for all the blessings we have.  The solitude of the task is where I most often hear the still small voice of God.

Sometimes, though, I find that even at the clothesline I am too distracted and too busy to hear that still small voice.  That’s generally when I get a big old whack alongside the head instead.  The other day, for instance, I was upstairs brushing my teeth when Logan came in and started talking to me.  As is typical for him, he started mid-story (without any context, of course) and asked me a question about the 3rd sentence.  But because he wasn’t in the room when he started talking, the water was running and the fan was on, I didn’t hear the first sentence.  Or most of the second.  So I had absolutely no idea what he wanted.  I gave him a funny look and asked him to repeat his question.  He looked frustrated, took a deep breath, and tried to ask again, but since I had no idea what he was talking about, we didn’t get far.  About the time I was starting to lose my cool, it hit me:  THIS is how Logan lives life EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  He doesn’t hear me when I talk to him unless I get his attention first.  Because of his hearing loss, he doesn’t hear all the words.  Because of his language processing issues, he doesn’t always hear the sounds correctly.  He lives in a state of perpetual confusion and frustration, and we only compound it when we get frustrated with him.  Talk about feeling guilty!  I don’t like these big old whacks!!  They are, of course, helpful, but the overwhelming sense of failure can be painful. 

Today as I hung laundry, I prayed about that big old whack.  Thanked God for showing me in a small way what life is like for my guy.  Asked that He would continue to bring it to mind BEFORE I lose my temper with Logan. And I asked for ears to hear that still small voice so I don’t need any more big old whacks! 

Contentment in everyday chores.  Joy in the work.  An opportunity to give thanks and pray specifically for those in my life.  I only wish every job around the house was as enjoyable as laundry!

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men…”      ~Col 3:23

Monday, July 30, 2012

successes, surprises, and some sadness

No, we really haven’t fallen off the face of the earth.  I promise.  It’s been a big, busy couple of weeks around here!  The successes have been great fun to witness.  The little guys had their first ever ‘fishing trip’ while we were on vacation, courtesy of big sister Hailey and her young man Alec.  Ryan and Logan think it was a rousing success:


And Ryan’s learned to ride his bicycle.  That’s been great fun.  He LOVED the freedom of riding his bike around the campground.  He thinks riding in the cul-de-sac is pretty awesome too.  :)


And today both boys had their eyes checked, and both of them passed with flying colors!  Such great news, since Logan tends to be on the very edge of what is considered ‘normal’ vision for his age. 

Those were great things.  The surprise came July 18, when we took Logan to see the audiologist.  For months and months—since January at least—I’ve gone back and forth wondering if he’s not hearing as well as he has in the past, or if he had just mastered the fine art of ‘tuning Mom out’ rather early.  Then one day in early June, when it was particularly bad, I picked up the phone and made an appointment for a new hearing test. It felt like grasping at straws, especially since his hearing loss has been completely stable for 4 years.  The results of the hearing test were disheartening at best.  Our little guy with a moderately severe hearing loss has lost a big chunk of what hearing he did have.  No wonder it appeared he was ignoring us or tuning us out.  No wonder he seemed to give random answers to questions.  No wonder cooperation at speech therapy has been hard to come by.  There are lots of unanswered questions, and we have an appointment to see the ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor in 3 weeks.  The recommendation has been to try hearing aids again, something that Logan finds intriguing.  We still have his hearing aids from our last (failed) attempt, so that part is good.  The hard part is that we can’t get in for a fitting (to have earmolds made and to have the aids programmed) until September 19!!  That’s the earliest available appointment.  Until then, we wait and watch and try to not be frustrated by his seeming lack of response.  Knowing it isn’t intentional helps.

The sadness is mixed with excitement and a sense of adventure.  Next Wednesday, Emily heads back to school for her junior year.  (Where does the time go??)  Then, the weekend after Emily leaves, Tori heads off to college as well.  My baby girl is all grown up.  She and Em will be at school together, so that’s fun.  Getting from here to there will be quite the challenge—the ‘to-do’ list to get them both ready to leave is about a mile long.  And growing.  I know there will be plenty of tears over the next few weeks as they both leave home.  I’m excited to see them spread their wings and fly, but it is bittersweet at best.  For a bit, it looked like it would be just Jim and me and the little boys here this fall, but Hailey got word that she’s been accepted into the program she was hoping to, so she plans on moving home in September.  I’m certain I’m not looking forward to the ‘adventure’ of shifting things around so that we have space for Hailey and her things, but having her live at home will be fun.  She’s a great young lady, and we all enjoy her company.  She’ll be super busy (full time classes + 2 part time jobs!) so I don’t know how much we’ll see her…

Successes.  Surprises.  Sadness.  Amongst all the goings-on of the summer, it is nice to know that none of this surprises God.  HE has it all in control.  I just have the (simple!) job of trusting Him…

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


This pretty much covers it…


I know I’ve been AWOL.  Life has been busy, and now we have the crud here.  Might be a bit before I’m back.  Sorry.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

searching for joy in the everyday

Dad and kids…camping, without Mom.  A long time family tradition, this year was a bit longer and a bit farther than most trips.  Instead of 2 nights less than 2 hours from home, it was 5 nights more than 4 hours from home.  I spent 3 days last week shopping and cooking and packing for them, so that while they were on vacation together, they could just enjoy their time and not have to worry about meals or anything.  Just heat up (or finish cooking) what Mom had already prepared and enjoy.  Paper plates?  You bet.  Clean-up made easy.  Anything to simplify life for my crew.

So what did I do while they were gone?  I loved almost every minute of it!  I had the opportunity to spend some time by myself and some time with friends.  I took a long walk down memory lane as I stayed 3 nights in the city where I graduated from high school and where Jim and I were married.  I went up to the church and peeked in the sanctuary.  I wandered around some of the rest of the building.  I met with an old friend to discuss an upcoming reunion/dinner.  I watched water skiers on the lake.  I stayed up late with friends.  I discovered a delicious wine.  :)  And I looked long and hard at why this has been such a difficult year for me.

It’s been hard.  Ugly sometimes.  I have days I don’t want to do this any more.  But it’s not a choice.   Doesn’t matter how I feel.  I have unloaded on a few (un)lucky souls, people who know me  and have my deepest trust.  I know I’ve said things I shouldn’t have.  I know I owe some of them an apology.  But there aren’t words to describe how much I appreciate their willingness to be a sounding board or to just let me vent.  Most often, that’s all it takes.  (I just hope I haven’t destroyed relationships in the process!!)

When my family came back yesterday, I was greeted with hugs and kisses.  And dirty laundry.  While I folded the 5 or 6 loads I washed, I took time to pray for each of them, to thank God for their presence in my life.  In the process, I was reminded that it’s okay if I don’t love every minute of every day.  It’s okay if I enjoy time to myself.  The big thing is that I need to remember to find the joy in the mundane things of life.  My goal for today…next week…next month?  This:

“…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…”  ~Phil 4:11-12

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”  ~Col 3:23

Sure can’t hurt.  Now, I’m off to see if I need to repair a friendship or two…

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

it’s not about him

I don’t get it.  I just don’t get it.  When I get to the end of my rope and can’t stand the thought of doing this another minute, I usually get a little tap on the shoulder, and a voice says in my ear:  “He’s not the problem.  Look inside.”

Conviction.  It bites sometimes.  And right now it really sucks.  EVERY single time I get frustrated parenting this child, God reminds me that his actions, the ones that make me absolutely nuts, are no different than my own in my relationship with God.  That child doesn’t listen well, and can’t remember for 30 seconds to keep his hands to himself?  Well…my track record with hearing and obedience sure isn’t stellar.   He continues to pester with unanswerable questions?  Ask about things he doesn’t need to be concerned with?  Tries hard to make your plans fit HIS schedule?  Yep…guilty as charged on all counts.  Sometimes looking in this mirror hurts.

Last night it hit me.  Like a ton of bricks.  Parenting this child is a very good reflection of my own immaturity, my own selfishness, my own insecurities and inabilities and disabilities.  So he’s not like the others.  What of it?  Because he’s not ‘typical’ or ‘easy,’ he has opened my eyes to my own failings in ways the others never could.  The challenges of training up this young man will hopefully mature me into a better person.  (At the moment, I’m not so sure it’s very successful.  I’m choosing to take a long-term view here, though, so there’s still hope… :)  )

In the meantime, I fuss and fume.  I yell and rant.  I cry.  I tear my hair out.  I stomp my feet and tell God exactly what I want Him to do, and when I want Him to do it.  Fortunately, He is gracious with me, and I am not without hope. 

So today, I will sit back and rest in the words of Ecclesiastes 3:11a:

“He has made everything beautiful in its time…”

and pray that I will have the faith and the patience to KNOW that God never fails, that His word IS truth, and that He is growing and maturing both of us.  We WILL get there, someday.  Fortunately, His timing is way better than mine, so I’m going to (try and) take a deep breath and chill out! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

camping, Pacific NW style

In June, that frequently means rain.  Sure did this weekend!  It was COLD and drizzly much of the weekend, so we saw more of the inside of the car and the trailer than we had hoped.  But we did get to the beach, and we did get to have a campfire every night. 

I made a decision before we left:  when camping with an all-male crowd, take along something to make the campsite pretty.  My roses are in bloom, so these went along:


and certainly prettied up the picnic table.  They were out Friday afternoon, but spent the rest of the weekend in the trailer due to the rain.  Sadly, the rain brought an uninvited visitor…


and he brought several friends.  (I didn’t take pictures of all of them.  Too depressing!)

The beach was quite the attraction Friday afternoon, and the boys (all 3!) had a great time throwing rocks.





(Mr. Scrawny Legs needed a haircut big time!)



Their styles and body types are a bit different.  :)

They LOVED sitting around the campfire at night, and have now discovered the joy of s’mores.



Today on the way home, they got to learn more about the ‘guy things’ that go into trailer camping.  Things like emptying the grey and black water tanks.  They thought it was great fun to help out.   (Yahoo!  Means I don’t have to.)


Overall, it was a very successful test run for the new Suburban.  In spite of the rain, we had fun.  I must say, though, that I was very happy to see the inside of the house today, with a nice warm shower available.  :)  Sure felt good!  The boys had a ball and cannot wait until next week, when they get to do this again! 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pullman…June 2012

Again.  It was pretty.  Most of the time.  The first day was awful:  cold, rainy, windy, and just flat out nasty.  But the next day was better and the 3rd day (the day we had to leave) was stellar!  I found a park and did some hiking. I did realize at some point that hiking a 3 mile trail alone, when I haven’t told anyone where I’m going, and it’s in the middle of NOWHERE with only 3 cars in the parking lot is probably not my most brilliant idea ever.  But all’s well that ends well.  :)

The view from the vista at the park was incredible.  Gorgeous.  I would be totally content to stay for hours enjoying God’s creation.





The trail going back down went through the woods.  It was a LOT steeper (glad I didn’t go that direction to the top!) and very pretty…


…and had something that made me stop and catch my breath.  Ever heard of the ‘giant palouse earthworm’?  I had, but I never expected to see anything like it. 


I have no idea what one really looks like, but this is the biggest earthworm I have ever seen.  (Note the grand fir cones in the picture—they’re about 3” long)  Literally…the thing was HUGE.  It wasn’t a snake (trust me—I got a stick and checked!)  I stood there in a near panic, trying to decide what to do.  I did have enough smarts to take a picture, but then you all would have laughed to see me trying to gather the courage to step past it.  It’s just an EARTHWORM!!  The kind of thing I used to dig and collect as a child.  Sheesh.  What a girl!  The thing that pushed me into going on?  Knowing that I would have to trek back UP the path through the forest!  Stepping over the worm was easier.  (But I think it was probably 100 yards or more before my heart quit pounding.)

Okay…you all can quit laughing now.  :)  On to more serious news:

Remember these buildings?

pullman trip 025



And my desire to do a 4 season spread??  I already have 3 seasons (spring/summer/fall).  I drove past them last weekend.  Guess what???  There won’t be a winter picture!!  The buildings are still there, but they’ve been covered with corrugated aluminum siding.  :\  It just wouldn’t fit right, and I am sad. 

A few of us are headed north this weekend for some ‘first of the season’ camping!  Look for more pictures (and funny stories, I suspect, since the short entertainment is going along) sometime next week.