Monday, May 30, 2011

All because...

I agreed to a speech assessment.  That lead to a full blown developmental assessment and three weeks later, here we are...

I saw Sarah's doctor this afternoon to see what his thoughts were regarding the assessment and such.  He hadn't received the report yet but agreed that we should continue with the remaining tests just to rule out everything.  Once we've received all the testing results, he will refer us to a pediatrician who specializes in neurological development.  I think I actually felt my heart drop at that.  I mean sure, I want the best for her and I want to do everything I can to help her catch up but I just didn't want to hear a term like neurological.  That seems big and scary to me.

My older kids are feeling the stress of me being gone so frequently lately.  Thankfully my {amazing} mother in law will hang out with them on Friday so I won't feel as guilty for leaving them on their own.  In the same breath though, I am so grateful that they are old enough to spend an hour or two at home by themselves and I have the assurance they can hold down the fort for me.

I find myself asking "where is this journey taking me?  What is the purpose of all this stress on me and my family?"  Unfortunately, I haven't received an answer yet...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

No one...

Do you ever feel like there's just no one to talk to?  
No one who you can share your feelings with?  
I'm kind of in that place right now.  I have things on my mind but {other than Doug and my sister}I have no real soul mate.  No one person who I can open my heart to.  
Sort of a lonely evening tonight.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dental Woes

I don't like the dentist.  Period.
I think my fear stems from YEARS of problems and cavities.  Fillings, needles, scraping and scratching at every appointment. I recall hearing something about my weak enamel.
Up until last summer, it had been many years since I had gone.  As a result, I had quite a few issues with my teeth.  After the initial x-rays and cleaning, I had one quadrant (top left) done which included a root canal, fillings and an extraction. Oh. Joy.  I finally mustered up the courage to go again.  After paying them $120 just to LOOK in my mouth and take an x-ray, I got a quote (uninsured) to get two measly teeth fixed.  Both are root canals and one may end up being an extraction.  Now my fear isn't simply of the dentist but how on EARTH I am going to afford it.  Thankfully Doug's insurance will cover us in three months... here's hoping I can wait that long.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It's the little things

... Sarah telling the workers in Sunday School that she had to use the potty!  What a huge step in this adventure!
... waking up to a clean kitchen and coffee is brewed
... reading a good book
... listening to my 7 year old talk to me in her sleep and having no idea what she's saying
... hearing an especially meaningful sermon at church
... receiving encouragement from friends
... being greeted by my sleepy son first thing in the morning
... I'm the best because I quickly sewed up a little pouch for a new Nintendo for someone who didn't have any money to buy a case for it
... no matter how many times I fall, my Heavenly Father is always going to be there to pick me up

How I Came to be a Homeschooling Mom Part II

Last December, a few concerns arose from the school so Doug and I began talking and praying about what we were to do with the kids' education.  Of course, full time school wasn't an option for us so that left full time homeschooling as our only choice.  We looked at the pros and cons, the alternative options, made sure we had all the information necessary for a good decision... everything.  We thought that rather than wait out the year, not knowing what other struggles may occur, we would pull them out.  Our actions surprised everyone, especially their teachers.  The teachers who have been an intricate part of their lives since they were in grade two and three.  The teachers who have seen them grow from little 7 & 8 year olds into mature, grown up 10 & 11 year olds.  Arianna was part of this program as well, although she was homeschooled for kindergarten.  I couldn't see myself bringing her to one school while the other kids attended another.  Plus, she was (and is) such a little homebody, that I knew another year at home would be good for her. She did ok at Stony Creek but I'm not sure it was bringing the best out of her.
On February 8, Doug and I picked the kids and all their belongings from school and took them home.  We took a couple weeks off to de-program them from the structure and routines that come from a school setting.
The past few months have consisted of basic math and language arts studies with a splash of a Pioneer Unit and some Government thrown into the mix.  We've done volunteer work at the church on Tuesday mornings, we've visited the Telus World of Science, taken a trip to Calgary, helped Grandma with her yard work and done some babysitting.  Our homeschooling consists of life learning.  We ask ourselves: "what will the kids need to know in order to manage a home on their own.
I love that our facilitator is in agreement with how we're running this show.  I like that he's on board with how we've decided to *school* the kids.  Now that the school year is almost over, I can look back and think that it has been a really good year!

How I became a Homeschooling Mom... Part I

This is my story...
When it was time for Joshua to enter kindergarten, I waffled between school and keeping him at home.  I had opinions and advice come from both sides and I was really not sure what to do.  In the end, I enrolled him in kindergarten at the school (in our area) that consists of a Maranatha program.  I knew there would be some Christian teaching and I felt ok with that decision.  It's not that I ever second guessed my choice but I often wondered if it was the right thing to do or if I should have done something different.  About halfway into his year, Doug and I were finding that Joshua was getting into *trouble* at school.  When we looked into it further, his misbehaviour was due to him being bored.  You see, Joshua went into kindergarten knowing how to spell, print, read and do math.  So while his teacher was teaching the kids to print a certain letter, Joshua simply didn't need to do it.  Consequently, he was looking for other things to keep his mind occupied, resulting in a frustrated teacher and many time outs.  It was in March that I knew I wouldn't put him in school again for grade one.  So, while I homeschooled Joshua for his grade one year, Andrea attended the same kindergarten as him.  Although some of her struggles were different, we again decided not to send her back to school for the following year.  In September of 2006, I was a full time homeschooling mom.  One kiddo in grade two and another in grade one.  Add to the mix, a curious two year old sister who wanted to be involved in everything as well.
The next spring, a neighbor lady followed my kids home when they were out biking.  I mean it's not typical that school aged kids are running around in the middle of the day.  It turns out that her kids were homeschooled as well, and were attending a hybrid program called Stony Creek.   The kids go to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays and do all core subjects except math and language arts.  We prayed about it and decided that we'd give it a try.  As it turns out, it was a wonderful transition for us and the kids.  It gave me a couple days a week with just Arianna and yet, I still got to have the kids at home for most of the week.  We stayed with Stony Creek for another 2.5 years.

To be continued...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Joshua

On May 7, 1999, our family grew to include our first born son.  Joshua Michael was born around 3:30 in the afternoon and had continued to bless our lives on a daily basis.  I had insisted that he was called Joshua and most people call him that.  His friends and those who met him when he was older, tend to shorten his name to Josh.  I tolerate it but don't like it.  He will always be my Joshua

Twelve years.  Twelve Highlights.
1. You are my morning person.  Most mornings are greeted by you first.
2. You have a few really good friends.  You hold them close to your heart and spend a lot of time with them.
3. You tolerate school.  I don't know many 12 year old boys who really love school though.
4. Despite you wanting a brother, you have three sisters.
5. I see you growing and changing into a young man every day.
6. Although you like to think you are really tough, inside I know you are a softie, just like your dad.  Your future wife will love that about you.
7. You are my most easy going child. 
8. You love (I mean LOVE) Lego.
9. You look forward to each spring when dad can take you out on the motorcycle again.
10. You love riding your bike.  It is the worst thing to take away from you as a disciplinary measure.
11. You enjoy working in the kitchen with me and I enjoy it too.
12. I love you more today than ever and that love for you will continue to grow!

Happy 7th Birthday Arianna

Wow!  I can't believe I said good bye to my 6 year old last night, to be greeted this morning by my brand new 7 year old!  Arianna, you are a delightful addition to our family.  You bring a sparkle and shine like no one else can.  

You entered this world on the afternoon of May 4, 2004.  You weighed 7 pounds, and 7 ounces and were my smallest baby born.

Today, you are colorful and vibrant.  You are creative, spunky and full of adventure.
When you sleep, you lay flat on your back, similar to the picture above.
You are a pro on your bicycle.
You occasionally have bad dreams at night.
You can be a drama queen like no body's business.
You are sweet, gentle hearted and kind.
I know when you are tired because you get grumpy.
You are thriving in our home school environment and are a delight to teach.
I love you so much and look forward to what you'll do this coming year!

Your party was a pajama/ice cream party.  It was so fun to have your four good friends just playing around in their jammies!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hard Earned

Arianna was saving her birthday money for a Nintendo DSI XL .  She had a good portion of what she needed so I told her I'd *loan* her the remainder of the cost.  We headed out to Superstore this morning and I have a very happy little lady.  I'm proud of her for saving the money she was given and I have a very happy daughter.

Monday, May 16, 2011


The plethora of information that we received this morning.  I so desperately wanted Sarah to preform {well} for Wendy this morning.  I will admit to being agitated, stressed and worried about it.  I couldn't sit still.  I tried to be relaxed and open to everything but it just didn't play out that way.  There are quite a few issues where Sarah's development is concerned.  In most areas, she is at the age of a 24-25 month old.  In one area (visual recognition) she's at the level of an 18 month old and only in her social skills is she at the correct age.  So in all areas of development, she is significantly delayed. 

Oh. My.  What a lot to process.

The case worker was really nice and is there to work with us.  We can have as much or as little help from her as we'd like.  There are more tests now that we've been recommended we do.  Sarah needs her hearing checked out (because of her balance), her vision looked at because she scored so low on her visual skills test, her gait and walk/stance isn't quite right so we have to get an appointment with her doctor as well.  Not really how I wanted to begin my summer. 

My readers appreciate my honesty?  Here goes. 

This sucks for me.  It took everything in me not to walk out of the living room, hid out in my bedroom and cry while Wendy finished up.  I had moments where I wanted to tell her to stop.  If it was stressing me out, wouldn't it be stressing Sarah as well?  I think I had actually prepared myself for speech delays but nothing would or could have prepared me for the shock of how far behind she is in so many other areas.  Would I ever have been ready to hear it?  Maybe a small part of me already knew and I was in denial.  Resisting the truth.  I don't want her labeled as "delayed", "behind" or "needing intervention". 

So where did I go wrong?  What did I not do with her, that I did with the older kids when they were little?  Have I unknowingly prevented her from her full potential?  Did I want her to be my {baby} that badly?  I can't imagine that I would have intentionally held her back from developing.  For some skills to be at a corrected age of 18 months is nearly 1.5 years behind!  How can that simply be "where she's at"?  Heartbreaking for me. 

I know I am my daughter's advocate.  I know that I need to do whatever I feel is needed and necessary for her.  I also know that the initial shock of this news will lessen as time goes.  If you were to ask me today though, "are you okay?"  I would honestly say no.  I'm not in denial but I am grieving in a way.  This shocking news and realization hurts something awful. 

I'll give myself some time to process it all and work through my emotions.  I'll survive this hurdle in life as well. 

"Don't let your hearts be troubled. 
Trust in God, and trust also in me." 
John 14:1 (NLT)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Weekend Tid-bits

* Sarah has her assessment on Monday.  I'm not really looking forward to it.  I actually need great wisdom and strength to release my heart of anger, resentment and frustration.  I am trying very hard to remember the Bible verse I've claimed:

"Don't let your hearts be troubled. 
Trust in God, and trust also in me." 
John 14:1 (NLT)
* We attended a funeral today.  It was the first one that the kids have come to.  My poor tender hearted boy shed so many sad tears.  Our pastor's wife thanked him for crying because it almost give *permission* for the grown ups to cry.
* The funeral experience has promoted and made for many questions and discussions about death, Heaven and all sorts of other thoughts surrounding that topic.
* Doug is going through a job change... big transition for all of us.  I'm trying not to worry about how it all will play out but the pessimist in me isn't doing too well with that. 
* Sarah is 80% potty trained.  She has had just a few accidents and for the most part seems to have figured it out.  It is nice to only have to buy one package of diapers that will last us a month.
* We celebrated Arianna's 7th birthday with her friends last night.  So cute to see all these little girlies in their jammies eating ice cream and watching a movie!  I love birthdays!!
* I really like going to church on Saturday nights... makes for such relaxing Sundays.
* Sometimes being the Chairman's wife is tough.  He's always talking to someone about anything.  Once in a while, I feel very alone when we're at church and that I should have just stayed home.
* Andrea is almost done a year of voice lessons and she's become quite the singer.  I love listening to her sing and create songs of her own.
* It is 9:30 at night and I am already planning what workout I will do when I wake up and looking forward to a hot cup of coffee when I'm done.  Nice and strong with a good dollop of White Chocolate Mocha creamer in it.  Mmmmm!  How silly is that?
* Now that my May birthdays are done, I get to start planning Sarah's June birthday!  How can my baby be approaching three?  I'm on the hunt for fun and exciting party ideas for her.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lifestyle Change

I hesitate to use the word *diet* because I don't need my daughters thinking they need to diet.  I also don't want them thinking I don't like how I look.  I am just wanting to improve our eating habits and therefore making my family a healthier bunch.  If I lose a few pounds while I'm at it, all the better for me.  For about 4-5 weeks now, I've cut out all meats except chicken and some fish.  I've increased my vegetable intake by huge amounts and certainly feel healthier because of it.  On of my favorites is a Greek salad... kind of modified.

  • 10 grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 to 1/2 a cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sprinkle of feta cheese (I use parmesan if I don't have feta)
  • 1 tablespoon (give or take) Greek salad dressing powder
Stir in all ingredients and gently toss.  Let it sit.  The longer it marinades, the better it gets.
A more traditional recipe would have olives and onion, neither of which I like.

I've also gotten really creative with different salads and stir fries.  The changes in how I eat have been great for how I feel about myself and I know I'm healthier because of it.  

Monday, May 9, 2011

Speech Assessment

Assessment.  Delayed.  Early intervention.  Auditory testing.  Group sessions.

All these labeling words continue to echo in my head.  

These are the words that came out of today's first assessment for Sarah's speech.  A lot of information to process and a lot of different feelings that are going on inside of me.  The older kids were always ahead of their peers in all areas of development.  Whether it was walking, talking, writing... whatever.  To have come to the realization that Sarah is not at the level she should be, is quite a difficult thing to accept.  At {almost} three years old, she has the language development of a two year old.  So in addition to taking this first assessment step, we consented to an in-home consultation from the Early Intervention Specialist as well as auditory testing at the hospital.  I really don't think the auditory test is necessary as both Doug and I are pretty confident that her hearing is fine.  But, like everything else, we'll get it done anyhow.

So that was the formal part of the morning.  I've had a few hours to chew on the information given to me and I'm sure I'll continue to process what I've learned.  It is very difficult for me to accept the fact that Sarah needs help or intervention... call it what you want, it's all the same to me.  She is my baby and part of me just wants to leave her alone and develop at her own speed.  Since she was 6 weeks old, she has been poked, prodded, inspected, has had blood drawn, received all types of testing, scans... the works.  To this day, she is fearful of doctors and medical facilities.  It was interesting that she was happily walking into the building and as we approached the Health Unit, she immediately asked to be picked up.  That makes me sad for her.  I don't think it's right for a 2.5 year old to be fearful of the medical community.  My mama-heart wants to hold and protect her from everything like that.  I know that this speech stuff isn't invasive to her but that doesn't mean I have to like it.  I think I've resisted getting the assessment done because I didn't want to admit that there was a problem.  Does that make sense?

She isn't a typical looking *almost* three year old.  She has a little bit of fuzzy blonde hair that is finally coming in at the back.  She is short and tiny... on the scale today, she was a whopping 24 pounds, 8 ounces.  Because of her size and {lack of} hair, people are always surprised when I tell them she's almost 3!  The next question is always "Was she a preemie?"  Nope.  Full term, and actually 9 days late.  Now add in her lack of speech and she appears much less than her age.  I need to trust God's plan for her.  Trust that she is developing and growing just the way HE intended.  I will do everything I can to provide the tools to help Sarah improve her speech.

"Don't let your hearts be troubled. 
Trust in God, and trust also in me." 
John 14:1 (NLT)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to my Mom

 On her wedding Day
The last family picture of us

And my favorite picture of her.  I'm so glad my dad requested a solo picture was taken of her.
~Shirley Van Neck~

I could rewrite this blog post but the feelings and words would be very much the same as they were two years ago.  So I will re-post the same post and then add bits and pieces how I feel they need to be changed.  The original post will be italicized and the new parts will be in regular font.

Had I known 12 years ago that it would have been the last Mother's Day I spent with my mom, I know I'd have done things different. Knowing that in 9 weeks, she would be physically gone from me.  It's been so long and I find myself forgetting more and more what she was like, what she did, how she sounded, even the scent of her perfume.

I try hard to keep her memory alive:
  • A beautiful picture of her shines on the wall of my hallway
  • My babies have all worn a simple green velour sleeper that she bought for Joshua.
  • I consider yellow roses to be my favorite because they were HER favorite.
  • My oldest daughter is her namesake.
  • I drink my tea the way she did, sweet and milky.
  • I usually make sure my babies are dresses before we go out. She didn't think babies should go out in their pajamas.
  • I cook like her, using many of the same ingredients that she did.
  • When my kids ask why I do things a certain way, I tell them because that's how my mom did it.
I know that no one is perfect but my mom was. Maybe I just picture her  "perfect" because my memory won't allow anything negative to be thought of her but that's alright. She didn't yell at us kids, the house was always clean because I don't remember what it was like when she had four kids all under 9 years old, supper was always on the table when my dad got home, life was organized, she was always in control. I put her on a very high pedestal. I looked up to her and when she was gone, I didn't know how I would go on. Here I was, 7 week old baby in arms and no mom to tell me what to do for diaper rash, colic, or sleepless nights. There were (and still are) things I wish I asked her about and wonder what she'd think of me now. I hope she'd tell me that I'm doing a great job of being a mom. That if the laundry isn't done right away, that's alright. That if the house is a mess when my husband comes home, that's ok too. That burnt potatoes will be fine with some gravy on top. I'd like to think she's super proud of me. That she would look at my four beautiful children and say how pleased she was of them. 

On Mother's Day, I try not to get too self absorbed in missing my mom. I have four kids who adore me and want to serve me and make me as happy as possible. I will receive a bouquet of yellow flowers (ok, dandilions), handmade cards, breakfast in bed and coffee. I will delight in their faces as they gift me with treasures they have found or made in school. During  "Mother's Day" I will do my best to be cheerful and happy for my excited kids who want to bless me.

May you all have a Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My kids

I have to do a bit of a brag on them.
Brag #1:
This afternoon, I was hit with flu like symptoms.  Nauseated, chills, aches, pains, lightheaded... that kind of thing.  My daughter tells me to just go upstairs to bed.  So I did.  I left my potty training two year old in her hands and went to sleep for two hours.  When I came down, the house was a little untidy but still standing.  Sarah was sitting on the potty and they were all watching Netflix on my laptop.  Good kids! 

Brag #2:
Our next door neighbors have a newly set up trampoline.  I guess the rule is no friends on it... just the two kids who live there.  Ok fine.  My daughters get their imaginations in gear and come up with a house and restaurants on the deck and backyard.  Here's some pictures of what they did:

The house

 And "omlette" with "strawberries"

Some of the "food"
 The restaurant portion

 Arianna pretending to enjoy the omelette.
Andrea presenting her creativity!


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