My Family

My Family
Here we all are!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Who's a Pretty Girl?

A couple days ago Sassafras asked me to pineapple her hair for bed.  This is the process of putting her twists atop her head with a binder so she can get her satin bonnet on.  Anyway, I did and she started prancing around saying, "Look I'm a Vegas showgirl!".  After laughing hysterically - gotta admit tis funny - I had two thoughts.  First was, where in heaven's name did she learn about Vegas showgirls?  Secondly, over YOUR dead body cause momma will take you out before you look to Vegas for employment.

After the verbal attacks she's endured to her physique the past 6 mos. or so I almost wanted to applaud. My girl has such a firm understanding of her worth.  Since the time she was tiny I would hold her up in front of the bathroom mirror exclaiming - "Who is the pretty girl in the mirror?"  "Who's a beautiful girl?"  She would grin from ear to ear and when old enough would, of course, answer "ME!".  "That's right precious girl - you",  I would reply.

Now, before you think I only praise her for her appearance let me make myself clear.  The reason I do emphasize her appearance, along with her amazing personality traits, is because I know full well that my girl is not the American standard of beauty.  I know, many who know her will argue with me.  I agree she is beautiful.  But, go into any store with a magazine rack right now and tell me you see any cover girl with skin the color of my girl and natural hair, or in her case this week one with yarn twists including blue yarn - it's called a protective style, by the way.  Not a chance.  What you'll find are covers highlighting articles titled, "Fuss Free Hair - 5 best summer styling secrets" or  "No more frizz!  Smooth, Pretty Hair".   Let me just stop there.  Smooth pretty hair?  Really.  I know I  know - some people will say, but I have curly hair or my daughter has curly hair - she has that "problem" too. There are curling irons to straighten out those caucasian locks, if one so desires  - this doesn't work on my girlies.  Even if through chemical processing and ironing etc. it was relatively "straight"  it would never blow in the wind or flip over her shoulder.  She was trying to blow her twist out of her face the other day - like some of her friends do - and, of course couldn't.

So, I've decided I will not be renewing my subscriptions to these magazines when renewal time comes around and will instead be getting magazines with cover girls who mirror my cover girls.  I won't be inviting in possible attacks on their self worth and their dad and I will continue to tell them how gorgeous they are, along with how amazing they are, how smart they are, how confident they are, how loving and caring and generous and funny and clever and sweet and brave and resourceful and most of all how much God loves them exactly the way they are no matter what.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Thoughts on Income Taxes

Mark and I are always a little flummoxed by all the complaining about income taxes.  You see we have a solution to this problem.  Our solution allowed us to pay no income taxes whatsoever for 10 years - completely legally.  What is this amazing plan you might ask?  Well, just have more dependents than you have income and voila - no taxes.

I won't say it's an easy way out of taxes, but it is effective and, I might add, a very fulfilling life.  So it'll save you from seeking meaning in life - not enough time and your meaning is living under your roof.  You won't have nearly as much time to complain about how much you have to pay in taxes or wonder why you should have to pay your hard earned money in taxes.  Just work really really hard, make a modest income and support too many people with said modest income.

I'm pretty sure a financial advisor wouldn't recommend it as a great investment, but I'm pretty confident Jesus would.   Works for us.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Privacy - Not a Chance

Most of my children have grown up without the opposite gender's body being a mystery.  Generally, I'm guessing, families who have both genders eventually have to address issues of modesty and privacy and appropriate behaviors in the home.  When you have a family like ours, it's much more complicated.

 Some of our children are unable to protect their privacy.  If they have to go to the bathroom they just go, even if it means running to the bathroom without clothing, or perhaps pulling down their pants on the way to the bathroom.  These are things we are working on, but it also means that Ella and Jacob occasionally get an eyeful.  More than once I've heard, "Mom, (so and so's) naked!"  We're working on it, but it takes time - lots of time - and in some cases these skills may never be fully conquered.

Tonight Daddy and big brother Jonathan were preparing Shannie for her shower.  Ella walked by her room, turned around and asked them to close the door.  Although, I think she was more interested in protecting her eyes than Shannie's dignity, I complimented her on thinking of Shannie.  This is not to say Dad and Jon weren't thinking of her, but in our house sometimes time is of the essence and in the need to speedily accomplish the task we forget to, oh, I don't know, close the door.

So, a warning to all who may enter our abode.  It is possible you may get an eyeful you didn't want.  I promise you that it will not involve either parent in this house, but other than that, all bets are off.  I do promise - there's never a dull moment.  If you're good with that, then come on over.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Listen to your Gut

I have a few basic pieces of advice I like to pass on to young parents.  One of the most basic is - listen to your gut.  No one - no matter what their training or diplomas say, know your child better than you do.  You, only you, as parents are the experts when it comes to your kids.

Today Shannie had an arthrogram and a steroid injection into her left hip.  She has had two hip surgeries called derotational osteotomy on the hip and once on her right side.  She has what is called a wind swept left hip - both her legs sweep to the right.  It causes her left hip to pull out of it's socket and yes, it's as painful as it sounds.

Today the arthrogram showed that her left hip is once again pulling out.  It's not completely dislocated, but it is sometimes slipping out, which is why it is inflamed and causing pain.  When discussing how to avoid further inflaming the hip, we asked about the use of the stander.  A stander is something she is strapped into while laying down and then it is put into a standing position.  Shannie has never been a fan and therefore neither have we.

From our experience physical therapists are huge fans of standers.  Our guts have always said - not worth the time, energy and discomfort that Shannie experiences while in them.  Today we heard the same response from our favorite surgeon.  His reasoning matched our own - a chair dependent person has no need to spend time in the stander or having range of motion (ROM), which is basically stretching her muscles, on the troublesome hip.

Now, in spite of the fact my gut had told me we were right to avoid both the stander and range of motion here at home the insistence of the professionals made me doubt.  We refused to have a stander here and I'm glad we stuck to that decision.  Today a top specialist surgeon confirmed that our guts had again, not steered us wrong and we now have a prescription in hand telling the powers that be at school to cease and desist all stander and ROM until further notice, which in his words would be till he is no longer in practice.  To that I say - Hallelujah!

If the steroid injections fail to stave off the pain, the surgeon mentioned another possible surgical option.  It's called the femoral head osteotomy (FHO).  It is basically the removal of the femoral head and then, as I understand it, muscle is pulled over the end of the femur instead.  Our surgeon has only done this surgery 15 times in his 20 years.  It is more often used by veterinarians.  Of course, we will be praying Shannie is not his 16th and that somehow the injections, no stander or range of motion will somehow be enough, but as is so often the case with our sweet Shannie-Boo, the easy road does not seem to be the path she gets to take.

We saw a young couple with a daughter who looked so much like our Shannie did when she was about 3 yrs. old sitting in the waiting room post procedure of some sort and our hearts broke for them.  We know something of the path they will be on and how difficult it can be.  The stress and strain on families and marriages of couples with special needs children is immense.  The divorce rate is higher than for typical families - at least twice the rate.

 Shannie brings us much joy as I'm sure their sweet daughter does, but it can be a hard road, especially for a young family.  In our case, it's brought us even closer together.  When it comes to our Shannie - don't even think about messing with our girl.  We are a force of nature when we are in defense of her and I am so very grateful to have Mark to lean on and sometimes hold up when times are tough.  It would be a very lonely road to travel alone.

For now, we should see some relief, and as we often remind ourselves to be grateful for good, comfortable days when our girl laughs, smiles and enjoys life.  These are excellent days.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Road Trip

I'm so excited that in 5 days Ella, Jacob and I are going on vacation.  It will be an awesome road trip and we will have tons of fun and it will be the highlight of our summer.

For several summers now I've wanted to find a cabin where we could take all our family - all 19 of us for a long weekend.  Someplace where Shannie could come with us as well.  I always feel a little uncomfortable when the summer ends and we weren't able to take all the kids on a vacation.  I've found several reunion cabins that are wheelchair accessible,  but the cost is more than we can handle.  Hopefully some day we'll be able to pull it off. For now we'll enjoy the summer, although it's really a scorcher.

I'd also love, love, love,  a long luxurious vacation with Mark.  A whole week someplace warm around our anniversary, or any time I guess.  No place in particular, but just a relaxing time together.  Someday they'll be time, oh and money, for that. For now I'm packing and planning a road trip.  Something I enjoy so much more now that I get to stop whenever I want, whenever we need to.  Not like when I was a passenger, whenever dad needed to stop.  It's one of the joys of adulthood I really relish.  I get to be in charge - woo hoo.