A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Visit With Luke

We got to visit with Lukey, so I thought I would post a quick update on him.

Out of respect for Lukey's privacy, and that of his new adoptive family, I will not be answering questions, but I can say, he is doing quite well in his new home.

His new parents have both worked with individuals with special needs in a professional capacity, and that experience has really benefited Luke.  His new mama was able to request medication that has helped mellow out his constant screaming and self-injurious behaviors.  I'm annoyed that his prior neurologist (here with us) made it sound like if we tried drugs to alleviate some of his more intense behaviors, he'd end up like a zombie in a stupor.  That hasn't been the case at all.  In fact, he's learning.

The very biggest change in Luke is that he walks holding a hand now!  We were led to believe that he would neither walk nor speak.  He's still non-verbal, but his new mama has high hopes for him in that area, too.

His new mama reports that he knows the daily routine and goes to his wheelchair when it's time to get ready for the school bus.

It was really good to get to spend some time with him.  I was reminded of all the little things that make Lukey unique, like his bruxism and his double tooth.  He was happy, sitting and feeling the grass with the back of his hand.

I appreciate everyone who prayed for Luke, and for our family, these past 3 years.  Those prayers are being answered, and I'm just so thrilled for him that he's learning and growing and flourishing.

While I wasn't able to be his forever mama, I'm grateful to have been a part of his story, and I'm blessed that his new mama is very open to continued contact.  I'm glad I can share such a happy update with long-time readers who were supportive of our family during the most difficult times.

This post may be linked up at these linky parties.

Top Mommy Blogs - Click To Vote! Thanks for clicking for us!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Our Getting Back to Normal Week

Our week seems to always start with whatever photos didn't make it into last week's post.  Maybe it's because interesting things continue to happen on the weekends.

Prom dress shopping at the mall.  There was a big old line to see the Easter bunny on the other side of the cute little spring village.

Took Sam to get a haircut before he headed back to the Marine Corps.

Josiah was teaching Hannah how to do target practice with a Nerf gun.

Airport selfie.  I got a gate pass and went through security with him, so we got to hang out until his flight boarded.

It was nice to get the chance to talk, just the two of us.  I miss him like crazy.

His time home went by so fast!  Who knows how long it will be before he can visit again?

And then it was back to the grindstone.  We had 2 weeks off from school, between our trip and Spring Break and the airport, so it was a little hard to get back to our routine.  One day, I worked on school with Hannah and Jack, while Katie and Brayden played, and another day, I worked with Katie while Hannah and Jack played with Brayden.

Brayden's Spring Break was the week after Easter, instead of the week before, and he hung out here with us.

It wasn't until Friday that I managed to pull off an art project.  One of the blogs I follow recently did this project, and it looked simple and cute, so we gave it a try.

I love the way they turned out!  Liquid watercolor is so vibrant.

I'll have to try to remember this technique (black oil pastel & watercolor) for other motifs/themes.

Our trip to San Diego was fun, and having Sam home was wonderful, and having a break from school was good, but now it's time to sink back into our regular routine and get things done.  We have just 6 short weeks of school left, and I want to finish strong!

This post may be linked up at these linky parties.

Top Mommy Blogs - Click To Vote! Thanks for clicking for us!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Easter at Our House

We decided to attend Saturday evening service to avoid the crowds Sunday morning.

These are the LuLaRoe Mommy & Me dresses, with the girls wearing the "Scarlet" which is the kids' version of the Carly.  I added the ribbon sashes to make them a little dressier.

We did a variety of egg decorating methods this year, including the food dye and coffee filters, which was new for us.  Other techniques include glitter podge, Sharpies, and the old vinegar baths.

Zach's cute little family is so photogenic!  I seriously only snapped about 8 shots, and they turned out great.  I think I'm going to put this one up on the wall next time Shutterfly offers free 8x10s.

Zach and Heather hid the Easter eggs for our backyard hunt.  We didn't count them this year, so I wouldn't be surprised if the kids find one in September.  Paul brought one in the Thursday after Easter.

The annual "let us out!" pose by the back door.  Everyone ready to hunt.  Except Josiah.  He wasn't feeling well.

I knew that I'd started out with a dozen eggs for each person and then added 2 full buckets that I didn't count when there was still candy left, so I told the kids to each find 20.

They found about 24 each (it varied a little).

Zach was a little extreme in his hiding for some of them.

And Brianna had to go over the fence (in a dress) for one that somebody tossed through the gap.

She looked great, though, didn't she?

Yup.  Another egg hidden up too high for any mortal to reach.

We found them!

My peeps.  Everyone except Annaliese, who's in New Zealand.

Paul took a couple pictures with me in there with them, but this is the only one where my head isn't blocking Eli's face.

And there's us.  Co-conspirators of all this craziness.

Zach & Heather brought their dyed eggs to our house, so we had lots of them.  We ended up doing an egg toss, which was rather hilarious, until it started raining on us.

Then we went inside to play games.

Zach and Heather are really good at Taboo.  I'm glad they were on separate teams.

We also played dominoes.

And, of course, there was much trading and consuming of candy.

It was a lovely day, and I hope you had a pleasant Easter, too.

This post may be linked up at these linky parties.

Top Mommy Blogs - Click To Vote! Thanks for clicking for us!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

An Announcement and Egg Hunt Pictures

Let me preface this by saying that we've made a rather huge decision for our family.  A few months ago, we started talking about school for Jack.  Our kids usually homeschool for elementary and junior high and go off to private school for high school.  (6 of our 9 have also gone to classroom schools for kindergarten because I kinda sorta hate teaching reading.)

We had some concerns about Jack being able to attend the school that the older kids attend.  They're very driven by test scores, and Jack does not test well.  A friend of mine put her kids into a much smaller private school, and has had nothing but great things to say about it.  She calls it the next best thing to homeschooling, and says that with the small class sizes and flexible teachers, they really cater to the needs of each child (she has a child who is working ahead of her grade level in some areas there).  This sounded like it might be a better fit for Jack.

Once we finally made the decision that he would go to school next year, I started wondering if it might be a good idea to send Katie, too.  Katie is afraid of getting anything wrong, and I get frustrated sometimes when trying to get her to answer a question.  While we're making it work, I think it would be beneficial to our relationship if I could just be Mom and have someone else be Teacher.

I could continue to homeschool Hannah.  And I'm sure we'd have a wonderful time together.  But she misses having friends at school.  She attended our neighborhood school K-2, and she likes school.

So the long and the short of it is...  All the kids will be in classroom school in the fall.  Brianna and Eli will continue at their school, and Jack, Hannah, and Katie will start at the smaller school.  In an effort to start to get to know the school and the kids that go there, Paul and I took Hannah and Katie to their egg hunt.

I just love this picture as the girls wait for the signal to go gather up all those eggs!

And they're off!

This new season for our family will be different, and I'm sure it will take some getting used to, but I'm kind of excited about it.

I've never been able to be a "room mother" type mom, due to homeschooling, having younger kids at home, and Paul's work schedule, so I'm looking forward to being able to get involved at the school.

I think the coming school year will bring about huge changes in the kids, too, mostly Jack, who is just edging into teenager-hood.  He and Katie have never been to school, so the adjustment period may be a challenge for them.  I'm pretty sure Hannah will rock the transition like she has everything else that's come her way.

Look at all those eggs!

My girls usually get run over at egg hunts, so it was nice that this one had a large number of eggs and a small number of children!

The empty plastic eggs were then exchanged for tickets, and the tickets were taken to tables where they could be used to buy candy, bubbles, plastic jewelry, and other trinkets.

The girls got the chance to try out their new school playground.

I think Katie missed the idea of how to go down the fire pole.

I love them so much!  And as much as I've loved having them here at home with me, I'm looking forward to picking them up from school and hearing all about the new things they learn without me, too.

Isn't she beautiful?  I think it will be good for Katie to have peers who don't shriek when something doesn't go their way, so she can figure out some different coping skills.

Impersonating a small family

I'm planning to really savor this summer and enjoy hanging out with all my kids (who still live at home) while I have that opportunity.

This post may be linked up at these linky parties.

Top Mommy Blogs - Click To Vote! Thanks for clicking for us!