Thursday, February 21

The posts that never happened

I often quickly update my facebook with funny family events.  Joys of motherhood.  Trials of being human.  Feeling so human lately.  Very humbling life events seem to come all at once. 

And I forget that my friends all over the world (waving to those in Russia and Africa reading this) might like to read some of those quick updates.  So.  Here are the posts from facebook that never made it onto our blog.  Enjoy!  

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Got caught up on my mountain of laundry this weekend, only because I was sick and couldn't do anything else. So when the school bus pulled in the driveway this morning I grabbed Tommy's clean jacket from the pile and ran the kids onto the bus. So many of our jackets are hand me downs from cousins so some of the hood attachments are different and come with no instructions. So standing in the bus... I got Tommy's jacket on him, but there was a little black shiny fabric thing dangling from his Velcro and i thought it was a hood, so I squeezed my hands into it and kinda did a cat's cradle game with my hands to pry it open and squeeze his head into the "hood" (cursing my sisters who passed this contraption down to me), thinking there were eye holes in the hood but they were huge and by his ears, when all of a sudden the black "hood" shot out my hands and landed in the school bus aisle. Only then did I recognize that was my underwear.  My panties were laying there.  The morale of my story is ... catching up on your laundry is way over rated.


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Yesterday, Hannah texted me "my dorm hallway smells like poop, makes me think of my little brothers.... makes me miss them." Ha ha. I'm still not sure how to take that comment.  Hmmm.

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Thankful for my son Nate, he made dinner last night (yummy grilled cheese and chicken noodle soup) and completed all the farm chores (including feeding our turkeys which are the size of velasa raptors, in a rainy wind storm)....all with his little brother Liam glued to him, asking questions and hugging his legs. He is such a big help when Colin got called out to work and my sore throat got the better of me. Thank you Nate!

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New years post:
An Evening Family Prayer
Lord, behold our family here assembled.
We thank you for this place in which we dwell,
... for the love that unites us,
for the peace accorded to us this day,
for the hope with which we expect the morrow;
for the health, the work, the food and the bright skies
that make our lives delightful;
for our friends in all parts of the earth. Amen.
- Robert Louis Stevenson


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I've mastered a slow run for a mile, finally! Twenty pounds lighter over the past four months. Working out four times a week is the best "me" time so I can be a better wife and mom and ME!! Ideas for afternoon snacks while at work?    Oh, you should see all the comments with ideas on "at work snacks".  My favorite was roasted chickpeas with olive oil and cumin. 

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My daughter Hannah was asked to be the guest speaker tonight at an aa meeting. Since it was an open meeting we got to come and hear her speak. Blown. Away. She is such a poised and centered public speaker. She spoke for twenty minutes on the topic of "change" that occurs throughout sobriety. I learn so much from my kids everyday!






Tuesday, February 19

Being intentional


A four day weekend wrap up.
With four days I knew I needed to be intentional about my time.  My efforts. 
Being intentional, for me, is all about being present in the moment.
Not anxious for tomorrow.  Or the next day.
Not sorry or regretful about something that happened yesterday or last week.... or last year.

Just being "in" the moment.
  Full of heart.
Able to give all that makes me special and unique to others.
Thinking about "now"... being present. 
Being intentional.


Friday was the first of the four days at home with my family and it started early.  Ugh.  O'dark thirty early.  My three sons and I (oh how I loved that tv show) drove to Olympia to tour Evergreen State College.  Nate was admitted for the fall, so we wanted to check it out and see just how "liberal" a liberal arts school can be.  And I'm here to tell you it was an experience!  It might be too 'student led' for Nate's learning style and needs.  However, any school that has 1,000 acres (largest campus in Wa state) and an organic farm on it and gives descriptive narratives of the students' semester accomplishments rather than grade has my vote!
Have you ever been on a four hour college information and campus tour? 
With twin six year old active boys? 
 After a four hour car ride where they couldn't "move"....
... And suddenly they CAN move...
It was pretty fun! 
Nearly eight hours in the car gave me lots of opportunities to have intentional conversations with the boys.  Talking to Nate about his upcoming first year "away" from hme.  Praising Liam about how great he did on the college tour.
Raising boys is very fun and rewarding mom work.



After seeing the college we did what others do in Olympia... no, we didn't tour the capital because it was nearly 5pm... we headed to Menchies! The four of us really enjoyed that tasty stop. And I greatly enjoyed all the conversations with Nate and Liam. Tommy is a boy of few words so we mostly giggled at each other.  I heart menchies!




 
Saturday started with Liam's last basketball game.  He had some nice assists again and then surprised us with taking a shot!  What a great ending to his first bball experience.   It wasn't until I was at the gym later that afternoon and his coach was working out near me that she shared he was her "most improved player".  Increasing his self esteem, appropriate social interactions with other kids (he started the season mistaking bball for wrestling), increased skills with bball itself and a longer length of focus on an activity.
 I like being intentional with the kids sports and really trying to find opportunities for them to become even better little human beings.



Saturday evening we had farmer Tiffany to dinner (there she is with one of her hens) and her family.  It was an impromptu dinner party.  We really enjoy talking to her family and we have three six year olds born within two weeks so lots of boy energy!


Sunday evening we hosted our second dinner party of the weekend, nearly twenty people and lots of mexican food to celebrate Hannah's 19th birthday.  I'm officially old.  And very proud of who my daughter is becoming (to the left in the pink).  My parents drove up to help celebrate and we enjoyed a very relaxed afternoon talking to them.  Brandon and Megan came from Western to help celebrate and so did my sweet sista Debbie and her family!  Lots of fun.  I want to be more intentional with seeing all my extended family regularly.  Life is fragile and short.  And I love my family more than anything in the world and need to see them more often.  My sister Debbie was first to say that we should do this regularly!



Lots of fun moments in the evening.  Yes Michael and Robert above are just that much fun.  You should have seen them in halloween costume wigs later in the evening.... oh my did all the kids laugh hard when the wigs came out.  Except Tommy.  It was too much for him to see people "change" and he got really worried and mad.  No wigs for Tommy! 
Monday was the last day of the four days and I trained our new babysitter in all things for the twins.  Our sitters stay with us for about a year on average and we have hired most from the Western Wa Univ job board and they turn out to be education majors or speech language paths and just plain wonderful sitters for the boys.  Her and I spent hours together going over what to do and defining expectations.  She is going to be great!  Being intentional in raising the boys involves alot of planning especially in being selective about highly skilled people to help fill in the gaps.  It is well worth it when I see happy kids.

I wrapped up the day talking a meal to a family on the lake next to our home that is so incredibly special.  They have a beautiful family that includes a few foster adopted sweet kiddos.  And a newly hosted baby who has many medical needs.  So I just knew that being intentional with my time on Monday so I could run them a meal would be a blessing to them.  And let me tell you right now that baby gave me major baby pains oh my he is a gorgeous baby boy. 

Being intentional
James 1:22
"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves"

Sunday, February 10

Family fun by the numbers

From my facebook (with the picture inside our stuffed family mobile): 
 7 people, 6 of us wanting northfork pizza on the way back, 5 open mineral waters, 4 sleds crammed in, including a 3 seater, 2 pairs of child bibs plus countless jackets shoes and snow pants, headed for 1 mountain. Love my family (including Brandon)


Yes it was loud and slightly stinky and VERY fun.  Interesting conversations about life and death and a few things in between.  

 My sweet Hannah and me sat around in the snow and caught up on life issues together.  Love that she is attending Western and I get to have her close for another year (or two, shy grin).

 Liam had a great few days, he and I went to his elementary school PTO sponsored family movie on Friday night "Hotel Transylvania" which was cute and very 'boy' oriented with quick funny jokes.  He finished a Saturday morning basketball game with some nice assists and then we headed up to Mt Baker, so he was ON TOP OF THE WORLD!  He is a very outdoorsy kid and loves fresh powder to plan in.  He asked me again today if he could "ski" when we were at the upper lodge for a potty break (and the kids all snuck and got french fries).  I'm sure skiing is in his future!


Nate LOVES the outdoors and especially the snow.  On his very first sledding run though he broke his sled in half.  Yep.  Shredded has a new meaning now.  The poor sled was shredded broken.  But we still had fun.  Not nearly as much fun though as two weeks ago because today was WAY TOO much snow to be able to walk to the different sledding hills.  Literally all of us were exhausted walking just a couple of steps in the deep, deep snow.  

Brandon is Hannah's sweet friend.  They both attend Western Wa University.  He has been alot of places with our family (Montana to Baker) and mentally... and spiritually also.  And he has hung in there.  I've tried to encourage and support him, but in the end I think he is still with us, lol, because he is just a great human being and really, really neat kid.


And of course there is my traveling companion in all activities Tommy.   Usually the way our family divides up for activities is that Liam naturally goes with dad or Nate.  They are more fun then mom, right?  And since Dad still is having heart issues, Liam chose to hang close to Nate for the afternoon.  And Tommy, fairly ALWAYS, hangs with his mommy for all things fun.  We really enjoy each other and are full of smiles and giggles when together.  I try to teach him while we are spending time together, we counted people in the sledding area, counted sleds, talked and sang songs and signed the alphabet a few times (oh my goodness his progress on that blew me away). 

 Tommy hasn't been feeling good though.  A low grade fever of 101.8 for two days has slowed the Tommy tornado down considerably.  A quick check in call to our pediatrician resulted in a consult between them and Children's but we wait to hear what they want to do next for him.  Not sure if it's the flu, or a cold, or a sore throat.... he can't tell us what's wrong, but the fever squealed on him.  So we continue with his daily pulmonary care anyway and pray that his body mends over this current sickness.

 

I've been walking along the creek by my work at lunch.  And sometimes taking a break in the morning or afternoon routines to get out of the office, away from my desk and issues, and clear my head.  It's been foggy lately. And I've been thinking alot lately about people and struggles and me and just plain life stuff.  And wondering where God will take me.  There are many paths on many different issues and as much as I pray about where and what I am to do now I feel that I'm on a bridge.  
Safe.  
But isolated.....
 and needing to LIVE.
  And struggling with what that means. 

Heading to Seattle today for the camping show as our ten year old camping mobile cannot be recovered from it's current leaks and issues.  Heavy sigh.  To have something paid for and then think about a "payment" is just not a very exciting thing.  But.  To think about all of our camping adventures in a new mobile is a very exciting thing. So five of us will head south to see what the camping industry has to offer!  We have been on a "cash" basis for all things for ten years (read that no credit cards).  Which has been a blessing!  But a few things like our "new to us van" (Honda Odessey that we bought two years old) and this camping mobile will have monthly payments.  Necessary evils?  Hmmmm. 

Over and out girl scouts!  Talk to everyone later in the week I'm sure.


 

Thursday, February 7

What's in my purse?

You can tell alot from someone's purse contents.  Kinda like when I arrive at a friend's house and check their fridge.  Hey, I don't get out much.  So here is what my little tiny red purse has in it now:
  • Keys... with my gym membership tag and instructions for how to give someone CPR
  • Burt's bees 'lip shimmer' in the color raisin (using it right now because I'm just lovin' it)
  • Nature Valley protein bar (peanut butter plus dark chocolate with 10g protein) to eat on way to gym at night, ugh, thinking about running tonight on treadmill
  • Small tube of lotion from the Great Wolfe Lodge "warm vanilla" scent 
  • 3 ballpoint pens, because ideas for writing always hit me in the car, lol
  • A photocopy of medical insurance cards with info to Hannah to "use these!"
  • Black/gold Starbucks card with I think about $20 on it, mmmm
  • Container of tic tacs "Strawberry fields", well, you just never know when you need fresh breath, ha
  • Grocery list (Kleenex for classrooms, hand sanitizers, 67 valentines for boys to give to classes, Veggies and a new reusable water bottle for my car)
  • About $9 cash
  • Chapstick (mostly used while playing in fluffy white stuff on mountain)
  • A few of my favorite scripture verses scribbled on a recipe card (kinda bent up right now, been treating that card like a rosary, lol)
  • My debit card and insurance cards
  • Tommy's domino fidgets (oh how he loves to fondle dominos, great to use at a restaurant for him)
  • Woodland park zoo membership
  • My phone, ahhhh, my phone
 If you are on facebook you can find me and tell me what's in your purse or pockets these days!

Sunday, February 3

Tommy's voice

Taking a break from an inappropriate Superbowl half time show.  Oh my goodness! 
 NFL games are no longer family shows, lol.  
And is it just me or could those outfits have been a little more "pg" than "r".   grrr.

So I'm sharing some of Tommy's progress as a multilayered communicator.  He is 6 years old now and communicates thru his ipad (proloque2go), vocalizations, gestures and ASL sign language.

This hasn't been an easy road to language acquisition and eventually speech.  We have been surrounded by some of the most talented people in the State though!  

Our SLP with our elementary school has been with Tommy for three years and does a comprehensive
job teaching him.  Our Western Wa Univ Speech disorder team has been teaching him for over a year now and we have worked with folks at WWU audiology for alot longer than that. 

 Tommy's one-on-one aide at school has only been teaching him for four months but has probably had the most profound effect on his language acquisition as she is also teaching him ASL and contexts to choose the ipad or gestures within.  ASL is proven as a help to motor planning thru a very interesting longitudinal study (I can send it to you if you want).  His one-on-one aide is the Tommy whisperer.  And her in combination with the school SLP is some amazing support for Tommy!

And then there is us as a family, Tommy's best educators if you ask us are his parents and family!  We pick up his cues and are doing all things to support his communication.  He has over 100 signs, can sign about half of the alphabet, count, can use proloque2go fairly well and use his vocalizations.

Last but not least is the support Tommy gets from his school teacher and administration.  We have a plan and support and although it is a fairly innovative blending that has involved thoughts and work on their side, support for Tommy will give him access to an education.  We know they have the entire room of students in life skills, but we are happy to know they listen to Tommy's needs and meet him where he is.

  We are grateful for the hard work and hours and thoughts from everyone.  

So with all that....  here are two short videos at WWU speech therapy showing first a four or five word request in proloque2go and the second video is some really nice turn taking which is an important piece in language development.  I'm on one side of the one-way mirror so my reflection kinda distorts the picture.

The usual session is 45 mins, don't worry I'm not going to bore you with the whole thing!  This one was amazing, by far the best session EVER with signing, gestures, proloque2go, scheduling, and lots of language development like requests, eye contact and lots of thinking by Tommy!

Tommy is getting his voice!


video


video

Tommy Adventures