Tuesday, December 6, 2016


I hate when people pity me...
I hate when people ignore me...
I really just want people to be comfortable around me.
Some days I wanna be real and vent about how hard the holidays can be.
But then everyone feels sorry for ya and wants to "bless you" ...
Or they shut you out of their lives, cause you make them uncomfortable....
Then you feel guilty for venting...

I am blessed beyond measure by my kids.
They love Christmas, songs, candy, presents, lights, joy, advent..
They are counting the days and hours until Christmas..
We do all the traditions, because I want my kids to have amazing memories..

But when they go to bed...
I think about what it would be like and the tears fall..
If M was still here...
If we were invited to Christmas parties..
If I could share the excitement of prepping gifts for the kids with him..
If we could sit and enjoy a cup of hot cocoa by the tree..

It's been almost 10 years..
Time to let go they say, you have to so many blessings...
But that really only makes things worse..
Because nothing can ever replace that hole that was left behind..

I am thankful for my widow group,
They understand when no one else does..
They live it too..

I am thankful for the friends that understand..
The friends that call and check in...
The friends that give grace on the rough days..

Friday, November 4, 2016


Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the changing of the leaves, the cooler temperatures and the downtime on the farm.

We have Mr. Jingles visiting the farm. Hopefully the 6 mommas will all have babies next spring. We are excited already.

Ben, the steer is going to be sent away to the butcher shop. Sadly my favorite butcher is booked solid and I had to use a new one. Thankfully the big kids are ok with butchering their pet this year. Bubbie is sad and informed me that I am NOT allowed to butcher Ben, cause David LOVES Ben!

Benjamin bunny died this fall from natural causes. Mrs. Bunny is due to have babies sometime this week. Lee is hoping for Christmas bunnies to sell.

We have ordered hay and need to order more. Hay is my biggest expense with our animals.

School has been going well. Nesiah of course is thriving. Bubbie is doing a bit of preschool and a bit of participating in our unit studies. Lee and Elizabeth are doing online schooling. This is our second year wiht this and they love it. It is great for me also! David and Fayth are doing a Unit Study. This last session we did a study that included the Secret Garden. The kids LOVE when I read aloud.

We have a nice routine schedule which makes life easier. Each evening I write a soft outline for our day, pretty much every week day has the same structure with different tasks. We do animal chores, breakfast, clean up, school, lunch, clean up, run laps, free time, projects or play outside, household jobs, dinner, clean up, radio theater, chores, bedtime routines.  Each kid generally gets one or two tasks per day in addition to barn chores and daily clean up. Generally the tasks are something like doing hair (if you are a girl) or making a dessert or a meal or spending time playing with Bubbie...

The kids each have a project they are working on, idle hands are the devils tools... Matia and Journi each are sewing. Elizabeth is working on making aprons for her siblings. Fayth is making doll dresses. The boys are making a pioneer village, with teepees and cabins made from real wood they cut in the woods.

I have addressed some health issues I have been having and we finally have been able to get out and go hiking. We did 2 hikes this week. I am also trying to walk every day.

We are excited for the holidays. The kids have planned every moment of each holiday from the moment they get up to the moment they go to bed. They know what food they want, what movies they want, what games they want..

We were blessed with some post adoption funding that we used for Christmas gifts. Christmas will be wonderful this year!!

My latest challenge has been to wean Nesiah off her commercial formula and started a blended diet. We shall see if I am truly successful.

Life is busy, a different kind of busy. I am trying to savor these days. Because these kids just keep agrowing..

Sunday, October 23, 2016


Her first name means The Father Rejoices and her second Miracle. From the very first time we saw her picture on the adoptuskids.com website we knew that God had great things in store for her. Her story starts out with horror and pain. She was born perfectly normal, but at age 2 she suffered severely at the hands of those who were supposed to protect her. But God has made beauty out of the ashes.
This child has blessed everyone she encounters.

Last spring I made the decision to start homeschooling her. This was a huge step for us. But the big kids are all at a good place and I was confident in my role as a teacher. After much prayer we signed up for a program that would give me a coach and a team to guide us through this journey.

 We started homeschooling Nesiah in February 2016. It has been one of the best decisions of my life. The incredible difference we see in this child blesses me every day. It is hard. very hard. It is exhausting. It means we stay home ALOT.  But she is learning to go with the flow and we can do more and more public events.

The really cool thing that we are seeing is her great progress.
She is walking short distances with assistance. Which makes transfers and getting out so much easier. She can stand while I get her dressed. These things both have helped us get out and around much easier. My next goal is to teach her to go up several steps. She currently weighs 70 lbs and her head comes to my shoulder. I can no longer carry her.

Nesiah is eating 50% of meals by mouth. We do struggle to get enough calories so she still gets her feeding tube. Her team really wants her off the gtube formula, but feeding and getting enough calories has proven to be difficult for me. My prayer is that she would learn to feed herself. That would really make life easier for her and for us. She loves vanilla ice cream, bananas, coconut yogurt and mashed potatoes. WE have discovered that she is lactose intolerant and allergic to rice.

Nesiah can choose 1 specific card out of 3 cards when asked to choose. This all depends on her mood and sometimes she would rather choose with her chin then with her hands.

Her vision has drastically improved. She makes eye contact, watches her flashcards, recognizes favorite toys, will roll her wheelchair to the table to grab a favorite toy.

She is doing Gemiini for speech. She loves this program and will focus attention for extended periods of time. She has been making lots of new sounds. T-B- OW- and some words. She LOVES Gemiini.

She is following instructions. For example just now, Lee told me that he said Excuse me to her and she sat back so he could get through. She will also listen if we calmly and gently correct her stimming behaviors. (This is a BIG deal)

Yesterday Fayth asked her to come to her wheelchair so Fayth could feed her. Nesiah crawled to the chair for her. Later, Fayth asked her to crawl to the bedroom so she was out of the way for Fayth's project. Nesiah obeyed with minimal prompting.

Nesiah is exploring more. Yesterday her siblings were quite annoyed because she dumped out two bags of craft supplies onto the living room floor, which they had to clean up. She is reaching up on the counters and opening doors that have handles vs knobs. These have created some safety issues that we needed to address. She will crawl out the front door if given half a chance. Basement doors must be closed and locked because she can open the doors and would crawl through if not watched. She can not be left alone in the kitchen for even a minute. She moves FAST in a sort of bunny hop crawl. She stands up on her knees and is very tall, so table and counter top surfaces need to be safe for her.

She shows interest in what the other kids are doing. She wants to be at the table with us for dinner and lets it be known. She will crawl up and cuddle with me. She loves to tease, Lady the dog.

She has some bad habits. She likes to put her hands in mouth, cover them with drool and then rub them over the windows, herself, or her siblings. She loves to tap and tap at windows. She will sit by the floor grate and rub her fingers over it again and again and again. She blows snot when she feels sick. Some days her siblings get really annoyed at her behaviors. #keepingitreal

She loves horseback riding and has been doing really well at riding. She really enjoys anything that is outside.

When we did our last eval for her program, Mrs. E informed me that she had moved up one processing level. This was a surprise to me, as I felt that I was not doing as well as I would have liked with the program. The kids help with it a lot and it leaves a lot to be desired. But praising God that just being with her siblings and our meager efforts seem to be working.

But the big news. The biggest miracle yet. This child is learning to talk. She is gaining a voice.
Mrs. E has asked us to work on getting Abi to answer when we as a question. Our first goal is the word "yeah".
So the other night a friend was here, I had to run pick up my van from the garage. I asked Nesiah if she wanted to go with me. She mouth a clear "yea". We were so thrilled. The very next day at riding therapy I shared our goals. So Miss Meg was asking Abi questions.. When it was time to leave the arena, Miss Meg asked Nesiah if she wanted to go out. Abi responded with a clear and loud "yea". For the first time in since her "injury" she had a voice. She was able to express her wishes. This is a truly amazing developement.

Yesterday while taking a nap, her foot was pushed into  the bed rail. I pulled her leg out and told her "Nesiah, you must say help me, when you need help". She mumbled softly "hep me".

When I was singing to her as I changed her clothes, she made clear and consistent eye contact with me. She smiled and giggled and totally interacted with me on a level that we rarely have seen.

She has mood swings and can be quite expressive of her frustration and displeasure if someone offends her. She expresses joy and loves her siblings. She shows displeasure clearly when uncomfortable.

The other week I took her to a sitter, as I went through the door, I accidentally banged her finger. She had quite the pouty face and was looking all disgusted until I stopped, rubbed her finger and apologized.

What we have seen is that there are tiny steps and the occassional big steps, but nothing is consistent.Because her brain injury makes her brain inconsistent. From day to day her brain functions at different levels. Our goal is to change her diet so that she gets better food for her brain, to excersise her brain so that it can be more consistent and to bring her processing level to the place where she WANTS things.
For now, we celebrate every little step forward.

This is the child, when she first came to live with me, I took her to meet all her specialists. The neurologist told me that at 2 years after brain injury she would never improve beyond her current level. GI told me she would never eat by mouth. Opthamalogy told me she would never be able to see.

This is the child when I took her to get evaluated for her mental capacity, they said with her level of brain injury she should not be able to sit up. She had cortical vision impairment. She would never be able to recognize or attach to her caregiver.  She had an IQ of less then 10.  She has the Dx of autism, severe mental retardation, Cerebral Palsy and epilepsy. But she is a child of God, a true overcomer, a fighter and an  just an all around awesome kiddoe.