Friday, September 30, 2011

All About Jonny

Jonathan won a Character Award at school today! 
This is what his teacher had to say about him.
"Jonathan has been such a great addition to our school and class.  He is not only an excellent student but an outstanding citizen.  His willingness to help others and his kind and caring ways are an asset to our class.  Thank you for bringing your smile and great attitude to school with you everyday."
Jonny told me that when he was standing up on stage, his legs were shaking because he was nervous.
Here's what I have to say about Jonny.

Jonny can't help but bring a smile to your face.
He is cute and sweet like that.
He is full of energy-- as much as a tornado at times!
Jonny loves pizza and hamburgers and chicken nuggets galore.
He is not afraid to ask questions or tell it like he sees it.
He is very friendly and outgoing.
Currently he loves to draw names in 3D.
If he could he would still sleep with us
but he doesn't because he is a big boy now!
Jonny doesn't like to do chores--
he groans and moans till it gets him in trouble...
But every once in a while he'll surprise you
and do something big like mow the lawn.
That's because he enjoys it.
My sweet and cuddly boy is editing this as I write it.
If he had his way-- sweet and cuddly would be replaced with cool and awesome!

All About Alex

I am so proud of Alex. The last week or two has been a complete turnaround for him. He is behaving at school, he is getting his homework done, and as a result he received an award today at school!

Way to go Alex!

I have been meaning to do a post about each of the kids-- how they are doing, what they are doing, and what their current likes and dislikes are.

I think I will start with Alex.


Alex is a funny little man.

He laughs at anything-- over and over and over.

Hence the name-- funny little man. :)

He loves to watch movies- especially Spongebob.

He loves bananas, Starfall, his stuffed doggy, and baths.

Cornflakes and Cheerios make him gag but he will polish off a plate of baked chicken like there is no tomorrow and ask for more!

Alex recently learned to brush every surface of his teeth and take off his braces.

He loves to cuddle and ride his little red car.

Alex wakes up each morning telling me how he plans to have a green card day.

The other day when I went to hug him, he actually set down his crutches and hugged me back.

I melted.

Overall, Alex is in a good place right now.


This morning we were studying his words for his spelling test since the teacher sent home a note saying that he didn't do too well on his pretest. Alex did not want to study in the least.

Right in the middle of practicing, out of nowhere he tells me--

"I have to go poo-poo!" Boy, did he act as if it was an urgent mater.

I was so excited that he actually recognized this feeling and told me that I raced to get him to the bathroom.

Absolutely nothing.

"I thought you had to go potty?"


That rascal.

Still, he is doing amazingly well!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Letting the Creative Juices Flow

The kids went to art again today.  I left them to run to the grocery store, but look what I came back to.
I can't believe the artists they are becoming!

Sveta's artwork

Anna's artwork.  You only see one painting because she ripped up the other one on the drive home.  :(

Anastasia's artwork

Julia's artwork

Rachel's artwork

Galina's artwork

Annalyn's artwork

William's artwork
Art is something I am having the kids do.  None of them are thrilled to go unless they know they are working with clay.  I say tough.
But, there are times when I wonder how much it would hurt them if they didn't go.
Today William was outside skateboarding with his brothers who had just gotten home from school.  When I called out to him that it was time to go he nearly had a fit.
"Why do I have to go?  It is sooooooo boring.  I'm not going to enjoy myself."
I tried to appease him-- "Come on, you'll enjoy it once your there.  And Paul will be joining you in a few months.  This will be good for you."
He sulked all the way there.
Listening to Anne of Green Gables on audio tape probably didn't help.  Oh yes I did and I am enjoying every second of it!
When he first got there he was so grumpy I was afraid to leave for the grocery store.
I whispered into his ear, "William are you going to put a smile on your face?  I am concerned that I can't go the store and leave you here without worrying that you'll be a grump the whole time.  Don't you want me to get a bunch of new cereals?"
I broke him.  He smiled.  "I'll be good Mom."
I guess we'll take one week at a time.
The kids go through phases.
Right now they are watching Little Rascals all the time.  Choo-Choo and Fishy Tales are two of their favorites along with Honkey Donkey.
At 8:45 pm I told them it was bedtime.
"Awww Mom, we just started one more episode of Little Rascals.  Can we watch it?"

Be Encouraged--- It Takes Years!

I probably spend the most time with Sveta and Anastasia doing homeschool.  It's just that they need a lot of explaining when it comes to their work.  Everyday I suggest that they read the directions before jumping into their work, but it's me who ends up doing the reading.  I surprised them today when I told them and meant
it-- "That is something you have to read on your own and follow the directions all by yourself!"

This morning we were doing math-- Third grade Saxon-- the new homeschool edition.  It is fantastic-- excellent-- perfect for them in that each lesson goes through review all the way back to the first lesson. 

For Sveta this works because she learns through repetition.  If she doesn't do things over and over-- she forgets.  Period.  And this morning, she kept drawing blanks which she does every so often.  And this frustrated her.  Years ago, an episode like this drove me insane, but I now know that Sveta is not doing it on purpose.  In fact, I can see how irritated she was getting with herself-- and so I helped her with many clues.  These pockets of forgetfulness are a result of  FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome).  But what is awesome is that we are both learning to rise above these challenges.  Years ago things would have gone down hill very quickly because both of us would get frustrated and allow our stubbornness to keep us from working together to quickly find a solution.  This morning I gave her two choices when she was being obstinate telling me how dumb this work was when in reality she had forgotten how to do it. 
"Sveta you'll remember when you do such and such."
She stayed frozen refusing to do what I asked.
"Sveta, you can do what I say which I know will help you remember or you can choose to sit there frozen which will make me send you to bed.  A smart girl wouldn't mind counting by twos if it helped her answer her problem.  A not so smart girl would sit there angry and grumpy without trying to figure out a way to solve her problem."
She thought for a moment and slowly inched her pencil up to her paper to begin counting on the number line.  Her obedience was slow coming but I have learned to allow it to a certain extent because this is her way of showing that she is listening to me while still winning in her mind.
This is where we meet each other in the road almost everyday.
It's not perfect, but at least we are respecting each other through a problem.

For Anastasia, Saxon is perfect for her because she doesn't have a solid foundation which to build upon yet.  With Saxon, she is learning things she should have learned in kindergarten-- but at a more appropriate level.  As she learns the months of the years, she also learns how many days are in a year and what month it was three months ago if you count back from February.  She is learning terms like-- before, after, sum, in all, the difference, greater than, half past, and subtract.   These words take years for English Language Learners no matter how easy they might seem to us.  They might know the word, but to understand the concept is totally different.  She is learning to recognize what is on each coin and their size so that she can figure out the value. She still gets quarters and nickels mixed up but is learning how to tell the difference. She is learning that you can exchange ten pennies for one dime or two nickels.

Yes, Saxon math is perfect for both of them.

So perfect that I changed Annalyn over to Saxon Algebra 1 and Galina over to Saxon Algebra 1/2.  I know, I know-- I heard Saxon doesn't teach 100 % of the state standards for the higher grades-- but not every child needs to know every single one.  Other text books are written in such a way that makes math seem confusing, and overwhelming, but not Saxon.  For children that need lots of review with gradual introductions to new concepts-- Saxon is really a great choice.

Can you tell that I really like Saxon??
Today the girls found a gopher in the trap!  That little bugger had been tearing up our hill.  "Ewwwe, ants are crawling all over it!" they screamed.  "Well leave it alone till Dad gets home!"  Laughing to self-- guys get the fun jobs.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Boy Post

I know-- the world says dolls are for girls.  But I don't really believe that and I see no point in trying to convince Dennis of it.
He is going to make the bestest daddy someday, we're all sure. 
What's really cute about the whole thing is that another adoptive Mom mailed us this doll because she thought it looked like Dennis.  Who knew three years later he would grow a make-believe relationship by being its Daddy?

Here's Dennis pushing "Buzz."

After school, the boys are famished.  Today's snack-- a huge bowl of homemade popcorn!

Tonight the middle boys were on kitchen duty.  So often I have wanted to throw my hands up and do it myself.  The job would get done faster and better I'm sure.  But that wouldn't teach them anything.  I take that back.  It would teach them that if they don't do things right, Mom will just do it.  It might even get them to thinking--- "Hmmm, if I pretend that I can't do something Mom might just get frustrated enough with me and do it herself."
And I am not going there.
Alex is having a great week!  I mean really great!
We had just finished up with his homework when he went outside to play before dinner.
Yesterday Adam gave blood for the first time.  No prompting from me. I am so proud of him!
I just don't know what it is about socks and our family.  I recently bought one hundred pairs of socks when the kids started school and 20 or 30 matches have gone AWOL.
Oh well-- I have bigger and more important things to care about.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Finding and Using Resources

The one thing I love about homeschooling most is that-- nothing is set in stone.  We are all learning at the same time, even me.  Every time I find something that can compliment what they are currently studying, I can introduce it into their day so that they can maximize their education.
I love that!
Two loose teeth at the same time!  Oh no!  Who will win and pull theirs out first?

Today at the resource center, I checked out some new games and picked up our extra educational workbooks that I ordered.  Math Minutes is fantastic and so is Daily Skill Builders!
Besides reading about George Mueller, I also have this on my night stand.  I am so excited to read "Heaven is for Real."  Probably not as excited as I am to read this-- but pretty close.  :) I will most likely begin reading both to all the older kids if I can just get us back into the routine of family devotional time in the evening.  
With one of our recent homeschool orders came this--a giant map of the United States that Sveta, Anastasia, and Paul are enjoying coloring right now.  What a perfect evening activity for them while the others are out with John at BSF. 
Next week the kids are going to begin reading this book.  I have already read the first two chapters-- and it is so interesting. 

Tonight I had the blessing of talking to one very discouraged Mom. We have been exchanging emails for the last year off and on.  Bless her heart, she is trying and has been trying for five years.  By the end of our conversation I'd like to think that I helped in some small way, but really I think she is the one that helped me.  It is so easy to get discouraged at the parent you have become because of the behaviors of your child.  In return you look at your child and begin to resent them for feeling the way you do.   This isn't how you imagined things to be.  All of a sudden you find yourself in a dark hole where you are not happy, your adopted child is not happy, and life becomes stagnant.
You are right where you were two, three, or even four years ago.  It seems like little has changed in that time.
But wait.  This Mom gave me a different perspective to share with you.  Even though you may have adopted your child three years ago and the progress seems slow coming, keep in mind the time that they spent in the orphanage.  If they were in an orphanage for two and a half years, it can take them that long of being in your home before you will actually begin to see a difference.  So technically it is like your child has only been in your home for six months, not three years.  And then you can more accurately gage the progress they have made in those short six months and surely be encouraged.
It may not seem like a lot, but the point is to count your blessings by choosing to see the progress no matter how small it may be.  The journey of adoption is a long one-- and sometimes a very challenging one.
Find other adoptive Moms you can relate to.  Don't be afraid to seek comfort from those who understand what is going on in your life.  No matter what the outcome, use your story to help others.
What this Mom made me realize too was that, I am still very passionate about helping other adoptive families who are struggling.  If I can't help you, I will point you to others who I think may be able to help you, and if they can't help you, they will most likely be able to point you to someone who can.
If you could, please keep this Mom and her family in your prayers. 

Please vote.

Questions Only Mom Can Answer

"Can eating Takis and drinking coffee give you diarrhea?"  Umm.... yes.
Rachel, Caleb, or Adam

"Why do I have to change my socks everyday?"  Ummmm... because your feet stink.
Jonathan, Andrew, or Alex

"Are you really going to cook friend shrimp on the same cookie sheet as the chicken nuggets?"  Okay, I was a softy and separated the two.
Anna, William, or Rachel

"Do I have to forgive him today?"  Ummm..... yes.
Dennis, Jonathan, or Galina

On a fun note-- Rachel wants to know if you can match up which kid said what.

Sometimes You Fall... Hard

Adam went to the dentist yesterday.  While he was getting a few cavities filled, I waited and read magazines.  After a while, I got up to check on him and use the restroom.  On my walk back to the waiting room I noticed a magazine rack in one of the empty rooms and walked over to get one. 

I immediately slipped.  And fell.  Hard.  The big crash had one of the gals come running apologetically.
"I am so sorry.  Are you okay?  I just mopped the floor."

Honestly I was humiliated.  I got up and was more apologetic for going in to grab the magazine.  The pain throbbed at my knee and opposite ankle, but I wouldn't let her know.

After dinner I went to visit my longtime friend of fourteen years.  We caught up in each other's lives over coffee and that delicious Strawberry Cream Pie I was telling you about.   It almost felt as if my knee didn't hurt.  Julia visited with her daughter.  It was very nice.

Once home, I tried to get comfortable but my body ached.  I feel old.  Aren't only old people supposed to fall?  I dreamt horrible dreams and woke up to a throbbing knee.

Did I mention I feel old?

On another note, the scale has tipped in my favor for the first time in months.  About 2 pounds.  I am somewhat managing that pain through my diet.  Still, I am requesting all my records to be transferred so that I can see a new gastroenterologist.  
I don't write often about Anastasia.  Maybe because she is so tender and quiet and sensitive.  I have had to pay close attention to really get to know her, and it has been a blessing.
We actually don't have lots of deep conversation-- but with her a lot of words are not needed.
She speaks through acts of service and physical touch-- her love languages.
I have to remember that.
Yesterday I was doing math with her. She seemed sad and at one point began to cry.  Was she frustrated with her schoolwork?  Did she not want to be here?  Was she upset at something I had done?
Again the verbal communication was nearly non-existent and so all I could think to do was reach out and rub her back and tilt my head into hers as we worked on math together.
Without words, her tears stopped and I knew she would be okay.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Summing Up Her Journal

Julia, my daughter wrote in her journal everyday while she was in Ukraine.  She enjoyed her trip very much.  I asked if she would be a guest blogger and summarize what she wrote.  Here it is.
My trip to Ukraine was amazing and unforgettable!!! So many things caught my eye and made me just think “Woah.” During worship time, the kids were so inspiring the way they put their hands up while they sung their hearts out. I really loved how thankful every child was when then received their ziploc bag that I passed out to them. It made me feel very selfish in how I take many things for granted.

One of my favorite things was going to Sudak Beach. The water was so warm and inviting that I just wanted to stay in it forever. One thing that creeped me out though was the jellyfish that just floated along the top of the water. After Sasha picked one up and showed me how they didn't sting, I was ok. I didn't like how the girls there were very revealing in the way they dressed, but overall going to Sudak was my favorite part!

ROJ is a beautiful place. Exploring the area around it was awesome. All the different bugs at ROJ were very interesting, from horned beetles, green caterpillars, and definitely mosquitoes. I remember getting bit at least 8 times. Every time I scratched a bite, Sasha would tell me how it was bad for me and how I shouldn't, so I would stop; until he wasn't looking. :) From the top of the cliff, the view down was just breathtaking. I will never forget that view that God made just beautifully.

The little shop, about a mile from ROJ, is small, but has the best ice cream ever. All Ukrainian ice cream is just the bomb! The walk to the shop is very scenic so it doesn't seem long. Walking to it reminded me of the Little House books and how the stores there weren't close either and how they walked to them too.

We ate many different foods there prepared either by David or Marina. I thought it was cool how we had stuff we'd normally have for dinner, for breakfast. Sometimes, I would help or just watch them cook in the kitchen. Watching Marina make homemade bread was so cool. It made me think of how everyone made bread from scratch a long time ago. I absolutely loved the homemade french fries that David made too. My favorite meal though was cooked by Marina and it included the best fried fish ever, mashed potatoes, salad, and bread.

Going to Simferopol was a lot of fun, to me. We went a couple times, and to get there, we rode on like 2 different buses. Yeah, they kind a smelled, but it was a lot of fun standing on them while drving. That was the fun part. The city was really big. We would go to it to run certain errands. It was just fun.

I loved how everything there was so simple. I didn't have anything to distract me like I do at home such as computers or tvs. Spending time with the kids there was amazing. It was a lot of fun. I can't remember a day when there was nothing to do or help out with. I really just loved being in that kind of surrounding. If I could go back for another trip, or possibly move there, I would be all for it. :)
Leaving to go home was really hard for me. After being there for just a few days, it really felt like home. I didn't wanna leave, but knew I had to. I feel like this trip has made me be more thankful for the things I do have. It also has helped me be less afraid of bugs, but most of all, I feel like I've drawn closer to God in ways I can't describe.

It's Changing

It's as if it knows.  Like clockwork, the weather is beginning to change.
Summer's officially over-- right?
For the second morning in a row, the dew and fog have blanketed the place where we live.
It is cold.  I have slippers on.  The warmth of my bed in the morning keeps me wishing it were still night where I lay cozily sleeping.

Ahhh, but it is morning.  Time to get up and start the day, even when I don't want to.
Today I don't want to. 
And that makes me feel guilty.  It makes me feel lazy.
Perk up Christine-- I think to myself.
What's the word I am looking for?  Peppy?
Yes-- peppy.  The new word Anastasia and Sveta learned last week.  The word I had so much fun acting out. 

Big sigh.  The morning will get better.  All the kids are doing Science and Social Studies together.  That will be fun!  The frogs are entertaining.  There is a cup of coffee waiting for me.  We are making enchiladas for dinner-- and an everything made from scratch "Strawberry Cream Pie".   For real.  Note to bile duct-- I am eating pie.

Your votes continue to be a pick me up through-out the day, so thank you.  They are much appreciated.  Another blessing.
But the contest is not over-- the voting continues for 8 more days.  Can I count on all of you-- please?
You can vote here-- again--- and again-- from every electronic device you can.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fun In Hollywood!

We splurged and went all out for this trip.
We rented a limo and traveled in style.
Yeah right!  Not!  It was the girls idea to pose by this limousine.

We actually bee-bopped over in our Expedition that seats nine.
Last night I found some great deals on tickets to the wax museum.  It was so much fun the girls wanted to spend all day in there.
First thing, we posed with Rambo.
Then we saw the cast of Wizard of Oz.
Brenden Fraser didn't mind posing for a quick picture with his fans.  We loved him in George of the Jungle.
Rachel got a kick out of this genie.  None of the girls really knew what show she was from. 
Jack Black from Nacho Libre is one cool dude!  So is Hulk who didn't mind standing off to the side.
I was so excited to see Leonardo DiCaprio!
We walked up and down the Walk of Fame.
The girls had fun pointing out the names they recognized.
Annalyn and Julia found a star for Rugrats!
This woman pretending to be Marilyn Monroe was so entertaining.  She was so into playing Marilyn that she even signed her autograph on a McDonald's napkin.
Most of the characters would only pose for a picture if you gave them a donation.
The girls were thrilled when I told them I found a couple of dollar bills in my wallet.
Spongebob was $1

So was this robot guy.
Elmo was $1
But when Michale Jackson asked for $3, I politely passed.  The girls kept talking to him and before I knew it he was welcoming me back to take a picture-- for free!
Michael thought it was cool that we were a family with 15 kids.
He even invited us to be a part of his book that he is putting together as a tribute to Michael.

Shrek was a true gentleman!  He posed for free!
We saw the Kodak Theater, and Grauman's Chinese Theater too.

Since we wouldn't have time to drive up to the Hollywood sign, the girls posed in front of this picture instead.
Our day in Hollywood was so much fun!  The girls were sad when I told them it was time to go home, but it was getting late.  As I pulled out of the parking garage, I got behind a Hollywood tour van that was just leaving for a tour of the movie stars' homes.  All day these guys pestered us to sign up for one of their tours, but it was just too expensive-- so when I got behind one of them, I joked with the girls  that we would just follow the van and get the tour for free.  They were all excited-- but then I remembered-- it was getting late.

So what did I say??

"Next time girls."

Big sigh-- why did I say that? 

Girls Day Out

Hollywood here we come!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Doing Better

The pain is doing better.
My attention is gotten.
I'm changing my eating habits out of necessity.
My gall bladder is long gone... I know some of you were wondering.  What I deal with is my bile duct getting irritated-- a result of my gall bladder problems going undiagnosed for so long.
I can choose to undergo an ERCP where the doctor temporarily "fixes" things, but that puts me at risk for getting Pancreatitis.  I don't have time for that.

So.... moving on.

I took Dennis to the doctor who performed his surgery for a post-op visit-- and I was very honest-- but nice honest of course.  He was so understanding and receptive to my feedback.
The plan is to have Dennis see the Cranial Facial team and then right after have another follow-up with him.
If other doctors want to do additional reconstructive surgery on Dennis, he will coordinate and most likely exchange his orbital implant with fat tissue from Dennis' thigh that will grow with him at the same time.
The kids continue to go to art class once a week.
Here are their latest drawings.
This week a few of the kids read an article on Easter Island.  Here are two of the drawings of the statues.
So what did the kids learn?
That Squidward's house on Spongebob looks just like these statues!
We are watching Like Dandelion Dust for the third time this week.  So many emotions-- even I cry each and every time I watch it.  But it is all good. 

Courageous is coming out on September 30th!  Have you heard of it?
You can watch the opening scene here.
I hope our whole family can go and watch it.
A few of you have left some interesting comments about Rachel and Sasha.
I didn't even publish a few.
Trust me-- no arranged marriages here.
In fact, I was more against their instant attraction then I care to admit.
Afterall, they are an ocean apart!  I lightened up.
But, they are in love.  They write everyday.  They Skype when given the chance, and they exchange small thoughtful gifts.
Shhh-- but Sasha even made Rachel something for her birthday which isn't until December.
No arranged marriage here-- I am just not fooling myself either.
I married at 18.  My Mom approved 100 fold.
Stop worrying-- no arranged marriage here. It just so happens that I approve because Sasha is a great guy!
He's not looking for a ride to America-- that was me who suggested that.
Why? Because Sasha does not have any family to speak of over in Ukraine.
He is hardworking, honest, loving, trustworthy, and has a heart of gold.
Period.  But he would be just as content with Rachel being over there!
Now what would you prefer as a Mom?

Living With the Pain

Pain... it's a powerful thing.  You can try to ignore it but sometimes it becomes too intense and it takes over.
Even when you don't want it to.
For the most part, I've lived pain free for the last three years.  Before that, I lived in pain every day because of my gall bladder.  If  I admit it, it nearly destroyed me inside.
It makes you feel alone.  You become a complainer.  A downer.  A piece of work.
You  retreat into yourself because it is the only way to cope.
When I was in pain... I had little hope.

I think that is what it comes down to.
Pain can be crushing... and it is hope that needs to fill you.

Hope needs to fill me... again.
I am in pain.
Many days it is a constanst, nagging, thankfully dull feeling.
I can live with that.  WIthout hardly anyone noticing.
But sometimes it turns fierce.  And I become irritable.  And the pain takes over.  And I want to scream!
Like last night.  I wanted to go to the hospital.  I wanted to curl up and go away.

It has to do with my bile duct.  Sometimes it just gets irritated and then retaliates by getting me irritated.
We are fighting currently-- my bile duct and I.
It's winning.
And I am in pain.
I promised to do something with the girls last Saturday.  My bile duct said no.
We didn't go.
I set it in stone that we are going tomorrow.
It's official especially since my daughter's friend is coming over and she blogged about it on her blog.
I hope I can keep a promise.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

An Update

The principal replied to my email and the OT therapist just called to schedule an amendment meeting to Dennis' IEP.  I'm so pleased with how fast this ball got rolling... I just wish it was sooner. 

But better late than never.

Since I had her on the phone I decided to talk to her about Paul.  She explained to me what learning interventions he is involved in.... I relayed to her my desire for more communication.  It was all good.

I want to believe that the school is trying .  Paul is a hard nut to crack.  With him, it is hard to tell where his true ability lies.  First, he needs to understand that he has homework and then tell me that he does. Second, he needs to try harder... and take learning more seriously.  He sees very little purpose in reading or math... maybe that is because it is a huge struggle for him.

All I know-- is that I am glad that the principal and I talked.  Open communication and cooperation are crucial to the success of any child's education.

Especially mine.

I Pledge to Advocate for My Kids

I just realized that Anastasia has not learned the Pledge of Allegiance.
Yesterday Anna and Galina wrote it out for us to say.
Hopefully I can remember to do this-- and buy a little flag down at the Dollar store.
This morning I wrote to the principal where the boys attend school.
Not about bullying-- praise the Lord!
I wrote:
I am writing to follow up about Dennis' OT. I am concerned that this is being overlooked. He was evaluated last Spring when he was attending the GRASP program and Speech at the district office. The OT therapist went on maternity leave and the report was mysteriously lost. In late July/early August Dennis was reevaluated at the district office again--- this time by a temporary OT working for the district. She told me that he qualified. What has become of this evaluation? Yesterday, I took Dennis to a physical therapy session because of his Scoliosis, Torticollis, and Poland Syndrome which all affect the right side of his body. I have been instructed to do various stretching, strengthening and coordination building exercises with him but this does not cover his fine motor skills.

Dennis has a weak pencil grasp resulting in very light and illegible writing... to say the least. He has trouble turning pages in a book, erasing, cutting, pasting, opening a juice box, tearing toilet paper, etc.

I have asked about this in two separate emails over the last month and have not heard a response. Can you advise me of what I need to do to get these services in place for my son?

~~Waiting for a response
I feel like a broken record.  Heck... I am a broken record.  Please vote.
please vote.  Vote for me.  Now I know how Sarah Palin must have felt!  Geeeesssh!

LOL-- so will you vote for me?

Honestly it is not about making it in the top 25 big family blogs anymore.  With your help, Smiles and Trials has the chance to win the top big family blog!
How exciting is that?
If you read Smiles and Trials, if you enjoy coffee like I do, if you have parenting ups and downs throughout the day... everyday-- then you need to vote!

Every 24 hours from every computer, IPad, cell phone with Internet
Thank you!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Today we made a vanilla cream pie and a banana cream pie.  Well actually the girls did-- but I supervised.  ;)
Julia normally is the one who does most of the baking in the family, but I felt that it would be good to have Annalyn do one of the pie crusts since she has expressed an interest in helping out with the cooking more.
Galina is a natural beauty with her gorgeous blue eyes and curly brown hair.
I think she looks cute in a hat too!
Today I took Dennis to his physical therapy evaluation.  I was pleased to learn five or six new exercises to help him gain strength on his right side and to work on stretching his neck which leans to the right because of his torticollis.