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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Add it to the List....


Auditory processing disorder. Luke's latest. When will the ride stop? I want off! Just when I think things are going to settle down for a while, something new pops up. Why? I know God challenged me to get to the bottom of Luke's issues, but man, I didn't think I would be digging this deep. In my mind I imagine I thought scratching the surface would be about all we would need to do. Not major digging!

Since January, Luke has been diagnosed with Tourette syndrome, glaucoma and now auditory processing disorder. God has led me to a new therapy place (and it is ONLY God that has directed my steps here). I am putting my trust in him that this is something that HE wants for Luke as it is an unconvential therapy that is going to address the neurological side of some of Luke's issues by re-training the brain and creating new neurotransmitters and paths. Before you think anything weird is going on with wires and probes, be assured that is not how this therapy is conducted. Most of the basis of this therapy is conducted through Mozart music. He is going to under go 30 intense listening sessions, while participating in other therapies to help improve his academic skills. The listening part is done with a special machine that filters tones so Luke will be listening to different tones (high, medium, low). When we listen and speak there is airflow and bone conductivity. Those two systems function together to help a person to hear and understand. Luke's are not functioning together. They are all over the place. So....Miss Janell is going to help Luke re-train his brain. Much of this basis is due to the amount of ear infections he had from 0 to age 5. He probably had 25 to 30 ear infections in those 5 years. There were times his ears would just drain and drain and I couldn't get them to stop without Dr. Wilson putting in another set of ear tubes. If you would like to know more about the therapy go to www.dynamiclearningservices.net It is the only kind of this therapy in Oregon. YES we will be traveling to West Linn for therapy 2 times per week over the summer. As Mark puts it, "anything that will help him we will try. We will make it our PRIORITY. He is our SON, he is WORTH that effort." Please PRAY for us as we embark on this new journey. I sat at Luke's evaluation fighting the tears as I am told how impacted he is by this disorder and what kind of help it can give him. Please note that this is not a CURE for all his disorders but it is another tool that is going to help him be SUCCESSFUL and gain academic skills and progress.

I am reminded again today that I have to lay Luke's: ADHD, Microcephaly, Sensory Processing Disorder, Tourette Syndrome, Glaucoma and now Auditory Processing Disorder at the foot of the cross and keeping running the race that HE had set out for me to run.

I am reminded and encouraged by the verse: "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. To HIM be the glory..." Ephesians 3: 20-21

Thursday, April 28, 2011

In My Element

It has been nearly a year now since I taught special education. I don't believe it is a coincidence that God continues to direct my steps back to special education. I think I have decided to embrace the calling and quit trying to fight it. This is what I am suppose to be doing. Right now part-time is perfect. It is a great balance of work, professionalism and home and children. I did end up giving my notice at MVCS. I just could not do everything. I really did not want to let the students down, but I was letting my own children down, so I had to do something about it. My last day at MVCS is tomorrow. It will eliminate some stress and time from my busy schedule. I am looking forward to just focusing on special education.

This is my classroom circle time area.

These are a few of the many visuals that are being used in the classroom. These ones are solely all snack food choices. Many of the children on my caseload have speech needs. This is a way for the children to work on requesting what they wanted aided by visual cues and pictures.

Here is another example. The table is set up for snack and I have and "I want..." board out with choice pictures at the bottom. When it is there turn they select the picture of the food they want and then say "I want juice." or "I want crackers," etc.

In other special education news...Grace started speech therapy with Miss Elsa. Here is her picture of her first day at speech. Elsa is the perfect therapist for Grace. She is cute and has cool jewelry. Grace adores her.

Here is Luke in OT with Joy. He is learning to use the computerized metronome.

Luke is using his whole body to shoot the beanbags through the point holes on the board.

Luke's IEP meeting went well. I am happy with things for now (subject to change at any point in time). He is receiving one 30 minute social group, three 15 minutes study skills help in the classroom, and two 30 minutes direct OT services per week at school. It has been a long...long...long process and now we are finally at the end of it. Luke is also going to be receiving more adoption support through the state. It has been two months in the making and I was prepared for a fight, but God was faithful and amazing things have been happening in the life of this little boy. I am so excited to be able to buy him some things to help with his needs. "Praise God from whom all blessings flow."

Eggs & Easter = Excellent


The kids had an awesome Easter (even though we didn't make it to church). The van was not running this past week and Mark had to arrive early because the youth were doing an Easter breakfast fundraiser. Regardless...the kids and I had a fun time thanks to 106 plastic eggs, some food dye and Mimi.

Here is Bella eating her "Easter cupcake". It was so cute she would take a bite and say "Mmmmm".

I attempted to get a picture of all three of them. Miss B would have none of that. Her brother and sister were so good to try and help her. Still she would have none of that.

This was the best attempt at the photo of all three of them. You can see the little tears running down Miss B's face. Poor baby. Her mommy tried to take her picture!

Luke and Grace got toothbrushes for Easter (you know to help with all the "sugar bugs.") Bella was just fascinated by the toothbrush.

"I finally got the toothbrush!"

Happy Girl!!! Easter presents.

Happy boy!

Miss B checking out the grass. She was so funny. She didn't want to get off the patio.

First time swinging in the baby swing outside. LOVED it!!!
Grace was very into dying her eggs. She could have stayed outside for hours putting the eggs in and taking the eggs out.

We went over to my moms where we had Easter dinner and another egg hunt. She even hid the kids Easter baskets like she did for David and I when we were kids. I really had an enjoyable day. Poor Mark had to work, but the kids and I delivered a plate of goodies to him on our way home.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Juggling

(Luke as a student of the Early Childhood Special Education Program through Evergreen)


Let's be honest....I am juggling. A delicate balance of craziness. I went from one "very" part time job to 3 jobs in a matter of a month. I saw a posting for an Early Childhood Special Education teacher position with the Evergreen School District and I thought "why not try for it". It was part-time for just the last two months of school. Well....my "why not try for it" turned into "do you want to come work for us?" So...I JUMPED in with both feet. Hired on Tuesday and started on Friday. It has been a whirlwind of activity, fingerprinting and learning a new school. You see....ECC, is where Luke went to Special Education Preschool and where I had one of my special education teaching experiences. It has always been my DREAM school with my DREAM district "Evergreen" Sigh. Not only am I an employee now, but a parent of an Evergreen student and I was a student myself, graduating from Mountain View High School. It is such and amazing opportunity which I am grateful for.

Which leads to the juggling....I also continue to teach at MVCS on Mon, Wed, Fri, afternoons (computer and music). I also am mentoring a client for the Division of Children and Family Services. I am a month into my time with a fabulous family that I am excited for (legally can't share more than that). In seven weeks I will be done with MVCS and in eight weeks will be done with ECC, which will leave just the mentoring which will continue for several more months. It is VERY difficult to not "fall in love" with ECC. I dare not catch myself imagining what it would be like to be an "official" employee year round. Well...one can HOPE. The Lord knows and I know it is not by chance or accident that I am where I am.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thankful Thursday...


I know I spend a lot of my time venting about my worries, troubles and the things that I am anxious about. But today...I wanted to focus on the things that really matter. The things that at the end of the day are constant and have eternal meaning and value. Today I push aside the worries of my world and focus on the things that I am TRULY thankful for.

MY KIDS.....there was a time in my life where I doubted I would be a mom. Everyone around was pregnant and having babies and I was barren. I spent so much time PLEADING with God to allow me to be a mother. After a LONG journey, I was a mommy to LUKE and then GRACE and now ISABELLA. They bring me the most incredible joy and I am blessed to call them MINE.

I am especially thankful that God allowed me to give birth to BELLA. It was an incredible experience and I will be forever moved and awed by LIFE.


I am thankful for KARATE, which has allowed LUKE to find that he is AWESOME at martial arts. It is a POSITIVE addition to his activities. One that doesn't include doctors, tests, eye drops, etc.




I am thankful for BALLET which allows Grace to have something ALL to her OWN. It gives her a chance to play "princess" for 45 long minutes one time a week. It is something we can do together and nothing puts a smile on my face more than watching her happiness in the class. Which leads me into my next thankful....see her cute outfit???? Auntie Katie and Uncle D bought it for her. I am super THANKFUL for AUNTIES and UNCLES who spoil my kids.









Uncle D and Aunt Katie have been such a blessing at times and they don't even know it. Their little cards and packages they send in the mail make all the difference to this Mommy. Their thoughtfulness and selflessness to my kids is so appreciated. I also just appreciate knowing that I can call them anytime and they will listen and pray.



Even though at times I have a bad attitude about everything Luke goes through, I am SO grateful and thankful for places like Legacy Emmanuel and Legacy Salmon Creek Hospitals. I thank the Lord that we live in a country that has excellent medical care and for therapies that can help my children.












I am thankful for HAPPY babies and FUNNY daughters who keep me on my toes....like babies who pull every diaper wipe out of the containers, or little girls who decided to put lip gloss all over their face, arms, legs and hair after they go to bed at night :)





I am thankful for MIMI's, and grandma's and people who are like grandma's to my kids. Not only do they SPOIL my kids, they provide support to me (even when it is American Idol nights). They provide blessings that can't be counted, like date nights, breaks and help after surgery, to backpacks when you couldn't afford them and Halloween costumes and baby formula EVERY week. They are the answered prayers of a mom's pleading to God for provision.







I am also so THANKFUL for FAMILY. Even though we live so far apart. I am so thankful for each one of you and for your prayers and support in my life. Thank you for helping me have such a great childhood and such a great foundation for my life. I count it a privilege. My biggest WISH would be to replicate it for my kids.




But my BIGGEST thankful for this THURSDAY is for the man I married. For which without him, my life wouldn't be great or complete. He LOVES me, he LOVES our kids. He has a big HEART for helping people and I just can't say enough good things about him. I love you.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Worry


I wish I could shake this feeling of tiredness. I just feel so unsettled much of the time. I am pulled in too many directions and I feel not effective in any one area. It is frustrating. This month especially has been difficult. I think three of the five of us have been on antibiotics. I have filled more prescriptions that I can imagine and have managed 7 to 8 trips to various doctors. I wish I could have the luxury to just focus on the kids and the house. Gosh...it is a full time job in an of itself. With the medical and the therapies and the follow through it is so much. It seems any time Mark and I have together is a medical appointment for one of the kids. It's difficult to keep asking for someone to watch the kids after you feel like you ask them so much.

Can I be honest? I just feel like I am FAILING at EVERYTHING. I sit here in tears as my house lays in shambles because I can't seem to find the energy. Medical records need to be organized, the fridge cleaned out, carpets cleaned, bedding washed (again), etc., etc. It's hard to even unload the dishwasher when you have a baby that won't let you put her down. I took on a mentoring case through the Division of Children and Family Services this month for extra money and I have an interview with the Evergreen School District to work part-time at the Early Childhood Center (teacher special ed to 3 to 5 year olds, like I did with VECC). It is just a 2 month position. It sounds crazy, but financially we are treading water with some big expenses looming over our heads. We need a new roof, the car needs new tires, the van needs new tires and timing belt, Mark needs braces (not for cosmetic purposes but to help save his teeth from breaking down). I lay in bed at night and WORRY about where this is coming from and feel that it is my fault we are in this position because I chose not to return to work this last fall. So, I guess I take the responsibility on that I am the one that has to fix it. I don't know how it will all work. One sacrifice for another I guess. How do I make it all work? This is where I wish I could still call my dad on the phone and ask for help. He ALWAYS had an answer. Gosh I really miss him.

My HEART is with my KIDS and HOME. Luke requires so much. I am not complaining but stating a fact. There is NO manual that tells me how to raise him with MANY special needs. Currently with him I am managing 4 medications, glasses, a listening program (to help with sensory issues), glaucoma, tourette syndrome, adhd, microcephaly, his IEP re-eval, karate and OT. He needs extra help with homework and help being tutored with his handwriting. I LOVE being his mom. GRACE is doing well, but will be starting speech therapy on the 14th. She needs extra help with handwriting, needs extra attention. She is in ballet. ISABELLA, is on her third ear infection in 2 months, cut 4 molars, and needs my attention too. I haven't slept well in weeks.

I just want to feel like I can be successful in one area of my life instead of just "putting out fires". This was my day today...Left house at 8am to take Grace to school, got home took Bella to Albertson's to stock up on cereal and milk since they were having a great deal this week. Ran to post office to mail off World Vision Stuff, and mail off first part of adoption support re-negotiation for Luke. Paid PO Box fee. Luke went to the doctor for possible ear infection. Ran Bella home, handed her off to dad, changed clothes and went to MVCC for work teaching computers. Came home to an upset baby who proceeded to cry off an on till bed. Yesterday consisted of taking Grace to school, got home took Bella to 1 year check up. While visiting with doctor about Bella, talking about issues with Luke and getting some updates for him. Bella 4 shots and one iron check. Unhappy baby with an ear infection (still). Grabbed lunch on the way to pick up Grace from kindergarten. Got home took down some Valentine decorations, left to pick up Luke from school. Drove to Legacy Salmon Creek and participated with him in therapy. Bought him snacks when it was finished. Went to Target on way home to pick up Bella's prescription. Arrived home at 5:15pm, let Grandma go. Cooked dinner, 3 baths, homework, 3 medications and finally asleep kids. My question is where in the heck do I find time to squeeze more work into that. I could recap Wednesday, but it would be just as a crazy. Sigh. Maybe I am just venting. And thanks for reading if you have made it this far. My heart is torn and I am just looking for answers. I guess it is true when they say "No one can have it all". I just wish I could find a balance. I really wish we had a MONEY tree out back or I won the lottery. :)

I will keep praying that the State of Washington finds favor with my renegotiation for more adoption support. Maybe I can apply for disability for Luke? I don't know. I have been thinking about simplifying to help cut costs. We are also selling the truck. It will help cut gas expense and insurance. Any more IDEAS?
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