My Family

My Family
Here we all are!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Survival mode

So, we're half way through Christmas break. I know I should enjoy it, but sometimes I just get tired.

Callie woke up at 4AM today and was just about to get back to sleep at 5 when the alarm went off for Mark to get Shannon off to surgery. So, I got Shannon ready while hoping Callie didn't wake up the rest of the house and Mark got ready to go. After Mark left - I checked my phone and Jonathan had called. He and Jill were going to Las Vegas for a grad celebration. Well, their cab didn't show and they were panicking. Thankfully their place and the airport were all on the way to the hospital. Apparently with all the increased security they just made it.

So, it took until about 6:30 for Callie to fall back to sleep and by then I couldn't. Nothing more frustrating then trying to fall to sleep.

Shannon's surgery was to remove her the plate which was put into place after her hip surgery last year. It has really caused a lot of pain over the last year and we are really counting on it relieving that. She also had botox and phenol injections which help with her spasticity. She is such a trooper, but it's been a tough year for her.

Here's hoping for a restful night - pretty please.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

In memory of Ian Henderson

Last February the unthinkable happened to our friends Tom and Deb Henderson. They lost their 7 yr. old son and only child Ian to brain cancer. They will soon complete a year of firsts without Ian - a relief in an odd way I think.

For Ian's birthday this summer, they planned a celebration by inviting others to package food at Feed My Starving Children. In trying to turn their grief into something that would honor Ian's memory they thought about kids whose moms and dads are doing their best, but unable to provide the most basic of needs so their children can thrive.

Rather then turn the one year anniversary of his homegoing into a time of sorrow, they are again looking to help other kids in his memory. Deb said to me that there was nothing they could do for Ian, but kids are dying because they don't have clean water to drink - and we can do something about that.

Yes - we certainly can. So, if you are able to financially help in providing a well in Ian's memory through World Vision - please go to the site listed below.

Thanks - and thanks Tom and Deb for thinking of and providing for other kids in honor of your beloved son. How very proud of you he would be.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Great start to the week

Well, the way this week started out I figured it couldn't possibly go anywhere but up. First thing Monday morning Jacob came running over to tell us - there's dog poop all over the floor. Mark and I both ran over to the family room and sure enough there was dog doo traipsed all over the floor and area rug.

It looked like Christian was the most likely candidate so we made him sit immediately and proceeded to check the bottom of the slippers he had on, but no poop there. We kept checking shoes and feet - nothing. Finally Mark pulled the slippers off and sure enough - for some unknown reason Christian had walked the poo all over and then thought - I'll just put on Ella's new slippers to cover it up. So very very gross. We spot cleaned the rug and mopped the floor while trying not to fall behind in our morning routine - which is a pretty tight schedule.

There were other issues later in the week that made the poop mess seem like a walk through roses. You can walk through poop literally - or figuratively. Honestly - the real poop was a lot easier to clean up and just makes for hysterical storytelling. The figurative poop will take a lot longer to clean up - literally.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree

Yesterday was a snow day - no school. It was pretty nasty outside, but Ella and Jacob braved it for awhile and Christian too, but Callie didn't make it outside. She started out the day somewhat calm, but once she ramped up it was nonstop craziness.

The tree is just too much for her right now - she likes the lights, she pulls the plug, then repeat. She got a little shock pulling the cord once we think. She likes the tree - she threw everything in reach at the tree and then took bulbs off and smashed them on the floor. I'm hoping eventually she will simmer down and the tree will become "normal" to her. It's possible that won't happen, but it could be the Christmas miracle of the year.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The tree is up!

Well, we managed to get our tree up and the few decorations we have put out. We had Jonathan, Jill and Kara here as well as Mark and I to control the chaos it brings. Callie was gone, which was helpful.

It's always fun getting out the ornaments and remembering where they came from and such. Several of the kids have a "baby's first Christmas" ornament and it struck me again. Some of our kids were not here for their first Christmas, in fact at least two were in PICU -Pediatric Intensive Care - for their first Christmas due to their extreme prematurity.

So, we are making Christmas memories now - just decorating our tree. Now if it can survive Callie's ire - she threw a barbie doll and a book at it during the hour or so she was here to notice the tree. It's tough for her - everything is suppose to have a place and, really a tree in the house! She may have a point, hard to explain really.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ah - Monday - Monday

It was a busy weekend. Chris turned 19 on Sat. and Mark and the big boys went out to lunch and a movie to celebrate. I baked a cake, which I left on the counter - bad idea. Mark came in to find Callie grabbing handfuls out of the cake. Ya, she's not suppose to have gluten - so it was a wild rest of the day. Thankfully, it was Callie and she can do no wrong in Chris' eyes :)

Sunday morning the kids all sang up front at church. They did well, but Callie started roaming, so I had to sneak up and get behind her on the risers and hold her in her spot. Amazingly, she didn't object or it could have been quite the scene. They were all awesome.

Tonight the plan is to set up the tree and decorations tonight. It will probably throw everyone off, but we gotta do it. Merry Merry!

Mom of Many

Check out this deal on Disney on Ice this week - Mom of Many

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Funny start to the day

As we're trying to put together breakfast and such I hear Callie yelling "Mom Mom" from the living room. I round the corner to see her completely naked. Laughing I say let's get you dressed. As I open the door to her room, which she shares with Ella, I hear Ella say - Mom I couldn't do anything because I was naked too. I laughed and said, "Oh, Ella she just doesn't get it." Ella said, with a sigh, "No mom and she never will." We had a good giggle and then I thought - oh, please Lord I sure hope she does - get it I mean. I love those silly girls and my very understanding El-Bell - she sure loves her sister.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Now that there's snow outside - come inside and enjoy Disney on Ice next week for a reduced price. I think my princesses might enjoy it. You can't beat the price!

Coupon Code Details
  • The coupon code is ‘MOM’— four tickets for $44 for weekday shows Monday-Friday and $4 off all tickets for weekend shows. Any additional tickets beyond the 4-pack for shows during the week are still priced at $11.
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  • Offer not valid on Rinkside or VIP seating.
  • Cannot be combined with other offers. Service Charges, facility & handling fees will apply.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mixed emotions

Yesterday was a day of mixed emotions of my children's diversity. Jacob has had several experiences this year which have made us question whether it was some sort of racial harassment. It may seem obvious, but it isn't quite that simple.

Tues. he was hit in the nose at the playground making it bleed by one of his "best" friends. Then yesterday a little girl in his class - kindergarten mind you - said, thankfully in front of a staff member, "I'm going to tell my big brother to beat you up." Now, we homeschooled our first group of kids so maybe this stuff isn't unusual, but Ella is in 3rd grade and we've never had any of these issues with her.

My heart breaks for him that he has to deal with this stuff - for the rest of his life - just because he is a black child - and sooner then I will be ready - a black man. Mark and I both realize we can't possibly do that ourselves and are grateful we have friends and family in our life who can advise us. It's an odd spot to be in when you have to remind yourself to see these situations through a "racial" lense if you will. When you've grown up white in a primarily white community you just never think - I wonder if they said that, looked at me that way, hit me, pushed me etc. - because I'm white. I'm learning to do that for my kids, but am trying to walk that delicate line between being too easily offended or jumping on the - it's always about race - bandwagon, and being clueless to that fact that, yes it sometimes - lately, it would seem, often is about race.

Then last night Ella and I attended our third annual Black Nativity at Penumbra theatre. It is always so very uplifting and makes me so proud of the culture and history of my children - and how very grateful I am to be a part of their history as their parent. And so, although it makes me weary sometimes, I will press on because they have no choice and neither do I as they are my beloved children and I will do all I can to make them proud of who they are - because I most certainly am blessed beyond measure just being their mom.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Spinning my wheels

Some days it just seems as if I run around in circles and achieve absolutely nothing. I actually cleared off my sideboard the other day and was so proud - today it's stacked with kids stuff again. Sigh....... Just not sure what the point of cleaning is beyond the main areas that need to be cleaned for health reasons - bathrooms and the kitchen. Really other then that - what's the deal about a little dust, or stacks of papers, or piles of laundry. We sure like to beat ourselves up over that though, don't we?

I once heard a quote by a mom who was complaining about her torn up lawn due to her four sons who were constantly running around, playing ball etc. Her husband looked at her and said - in 20 years we'll grow a lawn, right now we're growing our sons. Nicely said.

However, in this marathon type of parenting we've got going on - 29 years down, another 12 just to get the last one to 18 - we will be far too exhausted and could possibly be incapable of keeping a nice tidy little house. So be it - I will make peace with the dust and try to enjoy the people who create it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A week of single parenting

Mark left for a visit to his family - especially his parents - in MI this week. He left Sun. AM and I took the kids to church by myself. Perhaps not the best idea I've ever had, but we made it and then Ella and Jacob spent the afternoon with friends which made the afternoon less busy.

Mon. morning I got up 15 min. earlier then when Mark is here and had done a little extra prep the night before so it went very smoothly. My neighbor Stacey also volunteered to walk the kids to the bus stop every morning which is awesome as well.

During the day I get an e-mail that Jacob has had an incident at school. A classmate pushed him into his locker and then he pushed back and bit him. The spec. ed. teacher felt bad about it and didn't seem to think his reaction was too uncalled for. After I found out which other student was involved, I remembered this child had told Jacob he didn't like brown - which Jacob took as a racial comment. I guess for now we continue to discuss with Jacob and if there are more incidents we may have to raise the possibility of his aggression being racially motivated - this is Kindergarten for crying out loud.

So - I reminded myself that it is a full moon - always a rise of behavioral issues at our house then. When everyone got home I had Jonathan and one of our PCA's Kara on board to help out till bedtime. The three of us weren't enough. Everyone save Ella and Shannon were just basically out of their minds. There was throwing, hitting, screaming, spitting, "I hate you Mom!" - "You're not the mom I wanted!" and on and on. It was pretty ugly.

Dinnertime was absolute chaos and I found myself shouting, while maintaining some humor - God can't possibly think I could do this on my own and will bring Mark home safely! Bedtime couldn't come fast enough.

I looked at Ella at one point who was trying to stay above it all and suggested she and Shannie stay to themselves and work on her Pet Shop sticker books - which she wisely did.

Well, we survived and last night was easier - Callie was out of the house at Julie's - which definitely took it down a notch. So, tonight Ella and I have a dinner date with a couple friends and then will deliver the food donations from church for a homeless shelter that houses moms and their kids. Grandbaby Kaia will join us as Melissa and Curtis were in a bind for childcare, but that should be fun.

I will anxiously be awaiting my partner in crime tomorrow evening and fervently praying for his safe return.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cardboard testimony

Today at church we did a thing called Cardboard Testimony. People wrote just a few words or a phrase saying what was and with God's help what is. I think the fact that it was such a succinct testimony or story it was so very touching and effective.

One of the most touching was a 17 yr. old who wrote - left - Abandoned on one side and In a better place on the other. He is a good friend of our son and our friend's foster son. Now, he is a PCA for our kids - several of whom will be able to relate well to his story. It is awesome to see him thriving and so humbling to see him as a confident follower of Christ.

I hope that is the testimony of several of our children as well - simply In a Better Place. As for myself - I know that I'm most definitely In a Better Place - forever as a Child of God.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Callie's 9!

Callie girl turned 9 yesterday, but we will be celebrating today. It was an incredibly windy day yesterday which is Callie's least favorite weather, but she stayed pretty calm. Her beloved Julie was available last night, so we decided to celebrate a day late.

Chad and I will go scour Unique - my favorite used store - for deals and then pick out some presents for Callie. She loves Pet Shop toys and Polly Pockets - which are just too small. They are in the lego category of small sized toys - the kind that you are likely to step on as you're rushing to a child's room in the middle of the night and then accidentally stomping on them and hopping on one foot and holding the other while saying - I'm coming sweety $&@, mommy will be right there #$&. Ya, that kind.

Last night on the news they had a child development expert talking about how important the first year of development is - how children learn to trust that someone will be there when they need them. This, Callie did not get as she spent it abandoned in the Intensive Care unit. In spite of all that - she chooses to trust us much of the time and for that we are forever grateful. Thank you Lord for preserving such a fascinating little person - we look forward to what the next year will bring.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do Do Do - Another one bites the dust!

Well, it's been a week of sick kiddos at home. Only the third week of school and everyone's sick - except Shannon, thank you Lord. Christian and Jacob have been out all week, Callie missed 2 days, Ella has missed 2 and Chad has been so so sick. By some miracle of miracles Mark, Chris and I have somehow stayed healthy. It seemed as if we were just starting to hit some kind of stride with everyone in school for the first time in 29 years, but just a reminder that this family just keeps us a jumping.

It's funny how when they're really sick it's not so bad - they're just down, sleeping and lying around. Now that they feel better they're getting on each other's nerves and they're starting to step on my last nerve, if you know what I mean.

Mark and I had planned to paint our family room then rip up the carpet and he was going to install hardwood flooring this week. Sometimes it is discouraging how long it takes us to accomplish things due to interruptions of all kinds. I know it's part of the deal, but discouraging non the less.

The good news is the windows are open and it's beautiful outside. Now if I could just convince them that that's where they should be.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mom of Many: Finding Joy Amidst Frustration

Mom of Many: Finding Joy Amidst Frustration

Finding Joy Amidst Frustration

At our house there are lots of birthdays.  We're are coming into the season where from Aug. 10 to Oct. 4 we have 7 birthdays.  That's a lot of celebrating.  I turned 54 yesterday and Chad turns 35 tomorrow - we adopted him at 8 yrs. old and thought we'd be successful if we could keep him home till he was 16 yrs. old - well he's still here.  He was such a wild cat when he came we just thought we'd never make it.  What you are able to handle as a parent grows as your experience grows.  At least it has for us.

The other day we had several days of Callie really acting out. Jumping all over the furniture, squirting hair lotion, shampoo etc. on the carpet etc. We thought it was because her beloved Julie was gone for a few days and she missed her or that summer school was over, so her routine really was messed up until...... she came into the kitchen looking like a vampire with a tooth in her hand and her mouth dripping with blood.  She obviously had had some tooth pain for several days, but was unable to communicate that to us or even decipher what the pain meant to herself.

On Sun. Ella had a friend over and the two of them went into the girl's room locking the door and Callie and the boys out.  Mark discovered Callie - again - spilling lotion all over the carpet right outside the locked door.  Again, she was obviously mad, but unable to verbalize and therefore acted out.  So, now we'll have to see if we can get ahead of those behaviors by helping her identify and express her feelings.  

I realize what an awful superpower reading minds would be, but sometimes I think it'd really be helpful when trying to figure Callie out.  How frustrating it must be to have these emotions bubbling inside you can't express and probably can't even identify. How very much Callie has to teach me about patience and finding joy amid a world that must just baffle her at every corner.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Our Bridge

Our Christopher - Superman - our middle child - our bridge - graduated June 5.  He is the only child we have who lived with all of the 11 siblings.  When I received a call from my friend Maggie, his biological mother's social worker and our Chad's worker, to consider having Chris come home from the hospital as his bio mom tried to see if she would be able to parent I said yes - without consulting my beloved husband.  He was much less then thrilled - mostly as he was afraid we would be attached to this beautiful little boy and then lose him.   But - that is not - blessedly - what happened. 

 He loves and adores his younger siblings - some more then others, of course.  He was able to tube-feed Shannon when he was 8 and he is able to watch all the younger sibs - with all their needs - and get them into bed if we are able to get out at night.  We are very happy that he will still live home for the next two years at least while attending technical college and so won't lost that ability to spontaneously sneak out of the house at night occasionally.  

When I put together his photo albums - as I have for all our graduates - I had a hard time finding many pictures of just Christopher.  He was always hugging on his siblings or jumping into pictures with them.  The younger kids call him "Boss" - I think because the first time we left him in charge we said he'd be the boss when we were gone.  It stuck - and I think he loves it.

Although I truly believe that God put us on her mind when she was looking for a family for Christopher's placement - I thanked Maggie for calling us that day.  What would we do without our "boss" - we love you Christopher!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Miracle 2009

The word miracle is sometimes used pretty flippantly, I think, and yet there is such a thing as an "everyday" miracle. What happened yesterday is becoming more and more of an everyday miracle to us. Our Callie was given the name Myrikle - yes that is how it was spelled by her birth mother. We thought the name would be a burden, the spelling alone for a kid with developmental delays, and just a bit pretentious. But as the years have passed we realize our Callie's original name may very well have been divinely given to her and a glimpse into what we would experience as time has moved on.

Yesterday morning my beloved husband let me sleep in, a rare experience around here for sure. As he was rushing around to get the various breakfast orders filled he noticed Callie eyeballing Jacob's new art kit enviously. He coaxed Jacob to share some paper with her and he graciously did - wait that may be the second miracle of the day. Anyway, he went out into the kitchen and when he returned Callie proudly showed him a mother's day card - Happy Mother's Day Love Callie Reeves and on the back it says - to mom. Mark couldn't wait for me to receive it, he just had to tell me.

"Did you ever think you'd see the day?" he asked. No we sure never did. Our beautiful girl was pretty damaged merchandise when we got her. No eye contact, couldn't stand to be held - pretty much a RAD (reactive attachment disorder) kid from the get-go. She wasn't walking, talking, she didn't even make a sound as she'd learned that crying didn't get you any attention anyway, so why bother. She had what is called a "flat affect" which basically means no expression.

Today she danced in front of our church, as she does every week, singing praise songs to the Lord and pretending to hold a microphone singing along with the worship team. It just never ceases to amaze me to see this joyous child jubilantly dancing. Sometimes we wonder if it annoys other people, as she usually at least once bolts and trys to get up on the stage. As of now, I can't imagine a time every stifling her spirit. She nearly had it snuffed out her first 2 1/2 years. For whatever purpose, God didn't allow that to happen. Because of that, I believe,  she most certainly is a divine miracle, no everyday miracle either,  no matter how you spell it.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Little Man is 6!

Today is Jacob's BD - 6 yrs. old. Yesterday was a day off of school. He really wanted to get his presents, which I had already purchased and we thought - well, why not - let's have a birthday today. So, we made a cake, wrapped the presents and grilled some burgers and it was all good. He was happy and we had a stress free early BD. We generally keep BD's low key around here anyway, so it was just fine. As we were singing happy birthday Mark said - so how many BD's do you think we've celebrated around here. Well, let's calculate - to the best of our ability we gather it's around 300! Good grief! I think I need a nap just thinking about it.

Happy Birthday Jacob!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Baby Kaia is here!

We are now proud grandparents of a baby girl. Kaia Lee was born Friday May 1 at about 5PM - 8 lbs. 9 oz. She gave her mommy a bad time coming out which ended in a c-section, but she is healthy and so is mommy, so all is well. We're very proud of how mommy Melissa has handled her pregnancy and the beginnings of motherhood. We haven't been very close these past few years, but Kaia's arrival is bringing healing to our relationship and that is awesome. Our God is a great God and He can use unexpected little miracles to mend us and draw us closer to Him and to each other and for that we are very grateful.

Melissa's boyfriend, Curtis, has done a great job taking good care of Melissa and loving her through her pregnancy and delivery and is a very proud papa for which we are very grateful as well. She will have to take extra time off and he will have this week to spend with his girls as they learn to be a family together.

Watching Melissa nurse the baby and just thinking about and watching her pregnancy has brought about lots of questions about breasts and birth moms and such from Ella and Jacob, which is good. Ella thought they bad to poke holes in Melissa's breasts in order for the milk to get out and both needed clarification on who's tummies they grew in etc. I love when the questions come naturally and so far my answers have satisfied their curiosities - thankfully.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Yikes - catch up

OK so far behind. I'll never be able to get caught up with everything, but Callie did an excellent job with the flag waving and after we practiced quite a bit she got comfortable with the music and started taking bows at the end.

Tonight Mark, Ella, Jacob and I went to Chris' lacrosse game. It was the big Lakeville N. Vs. S. rival. This is the first year they each have their own team, so they really wanted to win it. Well, the day was quite warm, but when the sun went down it got very cold and was crazy windy. Anyway, they ended in a tie, had 2 overtimes with no score and then had to call it due to lightening. So now, they have to reschedule to finish it. Totally a nail biter. They kids were great even though they were freezing. Who knew Mark and I would enjoy a sporting event so much. Neither of us are much for sports, but it's so exciting to watch your kid play. Go Cougars!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring break - Wednesday and Thursday

Yesterday Jacob had his therapy appt. and while he was playing games with Kathy Ella and I spent some DEAR - drop everything and read - time . After discussing the plan for school next year - which is first grade with pull-outs for special ed. help she recommended we repeat Kindergarten with a full day program. Mark and I had talked about that - there are a couple reasons we're not thrilled with that idea, but my gut tells me that'd be the best plan. We'll confer with the school psychologist and his SpEd teacher and see if they think it's a good idea as well.

After that we went to an outdoor park - free - and the weather was a bit windy, but the kids didn't care. After dinner Ella, Callie and I headed out for practice at church. The girls are "flagging" with 2 other kids their age while 6 older kids/teens are using sticks to the song "Arise My Love". Callie was bummed because she wanted to use the sticks - she was with Julie, our pastor's wife when she bought them, so we figured she became attached to them for some reason. The other hard part is the song ends with a loud boom - which Callie referred to as a thunderstorm and ran crying from the room. We've practiced a few times at home and I've talked to her about being brave so we'll see.

Gotta run - dinner - more later.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Break day two

So, today was an interesting freebie. Ella and Jacob thought it was so cool to help mom clean house - for like an hour or more. Jacob vacumned, until I couldn't take the noisy vacumn anymore. Ella mopped and then cleaned windows. It occupied nearly a full morning. Then they got bored.

So, Ella, Jacob and I went to McD's to eat and play. They played for 1 & 1/2 hrs. while I read - a win-win situation. Callie was with Julie today and Christian and Shannie stayed with Mark. Shannie has the ear infection that has made the rounds here, even though pediatricians will tell you they are not contagious - whatever - 3 in the past month or 2.

Christian started out the day just a pickin' on Callie. He has definitely established that pecking order - for whatever reason. The wierd thing is when just the two of them are home, they play well together. For some reason if Ella and Jacob are around - he constantly picks on her.

Mark and Jonathan took the boys to get their hair cut. There used to be a barbershop in our mall that cut African-American hair, but it close some time ago and we've had trouble finding a place near by ever since. Conor and Shannan have a good friend - Orlando who has a shop, so they headed out there. Well, Orlando was delayed and so no one was there. They ended up going to a shop across the street. She did a decent job - Jacob loves having his hair cut. Christian hates it. It often takes 3 people to hold him while their trying not to cut something other then his hair. I think for the summer we'll just shave his head weekly as he's getting his bath. Not really worth the money or fight when you can't get the cool detailing - which is the part Jacob loves so much.

Today ended with a rousing game of newspaper tag - Mark chases the kids and slaps them with a newspaper - they love it. They run and scream as if they're scared. Hi-larious. Then we read our book - The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright. What an awesome writer. She never wrote down to kids and they all listened intently. The vocabulary is so rich. So many words not used much - the rained teemed down - for instance. It's our second generation of kids to enjoy her series about the Melendy family. Hopefully I'll be able to read it to my grandkids next. By the way, Melissa texted today that she is 1 cm. dilated and 50
% effaced, so little Kaia is on the way. We can't wait to meet our granddaughter.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring break day one

So, we are on a very tight budget right now and the kids are on spring break. This morning I told Ella we need to find as many free things to do this week as possible. Today's free deal is Ella and Jacob are on their way with daddy to the Y in Eagan which has a water slide. We already have a membership, so no extra cost. Hopefully it's entertaining and they come home tired and happy.
The weather is yuck for now, so all outdoor freebies are a no go.

Yesterday on the way to church as I had to admit the several inches of snow we got was very beautiful hanging on the trees Ella said - Mom - it looks like heaven. Well, what can ya say - we're on the way to church don't ya know. She is definitely a cup half full sorta gal. She and daddy had their picture taken Sat. as they packed Easter bags for Here's Life Inner City - another freebie now that I think of it - and it was put in the Sun. paper. Kinda fun. She's been photographed for the Star Tribune twice in her short 7 years. The first time was almost 3 years ago when the paper did an article on our family and there were many photos of us all. The photographer and journalist followed us for about 6 months. It was a fascinating experience and the kids thought it was "normal" to have a photographer follow you around and take your picture everywhere you went - for sure the most photographed 6 months of their lives, or ours for that matter.

I took Callie to the eye doctor who was thrilled that she continues to progress as she has. We always have to giggle as she hardly ever wears her glasses - has thrown 2 pairs out of moving vehicles. Not a real incentive for us to keep replacing them. They generally stay safely in her glasses case in her backpack going back and forth to school. So, when they say - wow she's doing great just keep doing what you're doing. We crack up and inside we're thinking - oh, you mean nothing - great we'll keep doing that. She's just such an amazing kid and God has healed so many of the emotional and physical scars she came with. We just lean back and watch - in awe of the strength of her spirit and the power of God's touch.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Yet another one bites the dust

Looking at my last blog I realize it has been a month full of sick people here and there is no end in sight right now.  It took 4 visits and 4 antibiotics and 4 pediatricians before Jacob started to feel better.  The last doc thought it was a sinus infection - whatever - he finally got back to life.  Callie just had her second visit yesterday to the pediatrician.  The first time she just had one raging ear infection.  Now, she has both ears infected, pus on her tonsils - sorry gross - and asthma has kicked up.  So, another try at antibiotics.  This doc thought maybe Influenza B - whatever.  So, now Shannon, who is 11, has severe cerebral palsy and is G-tube fed has the crud. She is very susceptible to pneumonia and such, so any flu isn't good for her.  Hopefully it ends with her and she doesn't develop any complications with it.

On the sunny side - the sun is shining and we've been able to air the house out several days.  Walking around our cul-de-sac pulling the wagon with Callie and Jacob the fresh air and sunshine felt like a reawakening.  Just like good health - you frequently don't know what you lost until it's gone and then when it comes back it's just so amazing to rediscover.  I just don't know how warm weather dwellers can ever appreciate spring like we do after a long winter.  It is nothing short of glorious.

Funny story - Christian was asking for something the other day - his speech is delayed and can be difficult to understand.  Jacob told me what it was and Mark said - oh, you must speak Texan ( both boys were adopted from Texas).  Jacob said - no I speak Christian.  Ella piped up - Well, I speak Callie.   Yes she does - when no one else can understand what Callie wants or needs her beloved Ella does.  What a blessing for both Callie and Christian to have siblings who feel special that they can "interpret" their siblings to the rest of us.  It is certainly no accident they are in this family together.  

What a gift of patience  Ella has to love her sister so much in spite of how difficult she can be to live with. For instance, we can't have anything hanging on the walls in their bedroom as Callie would/has broken whatever we tried to put up.   I watched the other day as the girls were out on our cul-de-sac and a car started to come around - Ella protectively stepped in front of Callie so she would stay to the side and safely out of the car's way.  It brought tears to my eyes.   

 We are so careful to make sure the kids never look at their special needs siblings as a "burden".  We want them to be allowed to feel the same way about them they do about any sibling.  When we adopted Chad - Conor was 2 and I was pregnant with Jonathan.  My dad reamed me out for "burdening" my other children with a brother with Down Syndrome.  My retort - and not too terribly patient I'm sure was - he is their brother - he will never be a burden.  Their choice to help care for him will be just that - a choice.  Just as some people raise their kids to value certain careers - we hope we've raised ours to value caring for each other. 


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

sick kids

We've had two sick kids for about a week.  Thankfully it seems to be contained and the other 5 still home are reasonable unscathed.  The boys, Christian and Jacob have had it the worst - missing several days of school - a fate worse then death.  After 4 days of a high temp. we took Jacob in and he had a double ear infection - poor baby.  He never complained of ear pain.  He can be a difficult kid to deal with and was pretty compliant while sick - I certainly don't wish him ill health, but the break from trying behaviors was a welcome one - does that make me a bad mommy?  Frankly my dear..........................

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day 2009

I am without my spousal valentine, but have my children with me to celebrate.  The sun is out for the first time in a very long time, so it feels cheery.  It's that time of year when the snow is melting exposing the ugly hidden by the clean snow.  We never seem to get all the toys put away before the snow strikes, so there are now pails in the sandbox that are in a million pieces.  It is not, however, warm enough to go out and clean it up yet.  

We're going to have taco bar for out V-day dinner tonight.  Can't go wrong there every person can find some ingredient they like.  I gave the kids Pet Shop toys to Ella, Jacob and Callie - which has kept them very occupied.  It helps that Christian and Shannon are gone for the day.  Especially Christian as he tends to get into Callie's business.  Christian has developmental delays and CP - cerebral palsy.  He tends to be our busybody and tattler.  My rule always has been if there is no household destruction or bodily fluid being spilled I don't need to know about it.  

OK I better take advantage of the peace and get dinner going and probably through in some more laundry - it's a good couple feet deep down there - yikes.

Later -

Friday, February 13, 2009

off school

Another teacher inservice day.  No school for my kids.  The good news is they slept in till 8 - awesome.  The better news is it's 11 and there have been no major fights of any kind.  I have 6 kids in the house - so that's pretty awesome.  
So, now it's 8:40PM - more then a few interruptions.  All in all the kids got along well today.  

Tomorrow night my son Conor and grandson Dominic are joining the 6 at home for dinner.  His wife, Shannan, is a standup comic and couldn't pass up a gig for Valentine's night.  So, lame as it is, he is spending Valentine's day with his mom and siblings.  Dominic just started walking and I haven't seen him on two feet yet, so am super excited.

Hopefully, we can keep Callie in particular from knocking him over.  She has developmental delays and is VERY impulsive.  She has no patience whatsoever for crying kids - fortunately Dom rarely cries, but you never know.  It's hard to take her anyplace where kids are around as you never know when she might be set off.  

I suppose I should get the kids snacked up for bed - 

Later - 

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Here I go!

I have the worst memory in the world.  So, before it's past the point of no return I thought I'd try to keep track of our life - my wonderful husband Mark and my incredible kids.  There are 11 of them, so it will take a few weeks of posting to flesh them all out in any kind of detail.

Briefly, they are, Chad 34, Conor 28, his wife Shannan and their son Dominic, Jonathan 25 and his wife Jill, Kelsey 24, Melissa 23, Chris 18, Shannon 11, Christian 10, Callie 8, Ella 7, and Jacob 5.

They have provided more then enough joy, sorrow, excitement, bliss, intrigue etc. etc. for several lifetimes.  I always wanted a big family, but I may have outdone any fantasy I had about how that'd look.

Mark and Chris left for Florida for his last high school trip with dad :=(  Even though we've launched several kids into adulthood, it still sneaks up on me.  I always feel as though there's something more I should have done, taught, lectured, impressed upon - whatever, but at the same time I know we did the best we could and that's all we can do.  

I have an hour to prepare before the kids come home from school, the ones that are in school, or the invasion as I call it.  They have a 4-day weekend off of school - and the weather stinks for outdoor play, so my creative mom side will have to be called into action.  We'll figure it out - as we always do.

Later -