Thursday, December 31, 2009

Here's to a great New Year!

I do hope that the outcome to our new year is not indicative of it's beginning. We took the children to their favorite park for a picnic and of course some playing. It was dreary and chilly, a lot of wetness that made it hard for little boys to stay upright on two feet. We forgot our beloved fruit salad at home. And in Isabella fashion it seems like we will have a night or two of limited sleep. I have been sick the past couple of days. I really thought that it wasn't anything major. I still don't think it is anything major....except that it is more than I was hoping for. I can count the number of times I have taken ibuprofen in the past 4 years. I took it after both boys births for about 5 days, and on one other day during that time period. Therefore I had every reason to believe that when I took it for my very sore throat and achy body (I needed a bit of support in light of going to the park to be running after little people) that I would have wonderful relief in about 45 minutes. Forty-five minutes came and went, and hour went by, an hour and a half....my throat still in tons of pain. Ummmm, that can't be good. Finally after eating it felt better. I suppose this was the reason for Jonah's extreme fussiness not long ago! Now I know why!!!

So it wasn't surprising that Isabella told me she had a sore throat. Of course, I thought. However she kept complaining that she felt cold. No fever.....hmmmmm. Well a few hours later Isabella has a very painful throat and now has a fever. No one else got a fever with their sore throat. But leave it to Isabella.....I know, like she can help it! That child has always been like that. If she gets what is going around she gets it in triple strength! Nothing like starting the new year off with a bang!

And so it is timely that we will soon (not on the first though) be revising our diet. It was upsetting to us to know that one, if not two of the girls actually gained weight during the soccer season! We will go with our diet plan from last year that we had such success with, but failed to stick with for various reasons. One of them was financially. Fresh, whole foods are expensive!!!! Some people see a savings when they transition to a whole foods diet, but for us that won't be the case. We already keep away from packaged foods and chips and cookies. Although I think in the last few months we had a few too many cookies :-) So for us there is an increase in cost. But we can not justify keeping our current diet when we see what it is doing to our health. All of us are excited, well all but I think Flannery. Flannery seems to have an "allergy" to green foods. I think she has "hives" just thinking about it :-)

There will be a couple of other changes going on here as well. A lot will be hard to put into proper context without writing a semi-novel, but I don't have time to write a novel so I will try to keep it short. Our family crisis has had us re-examine our priorities and the way we do things around here. We've come to some new conclusions and have been slowly implementing some changes. Although I don't recommend a crisis for anyone, this one is coming with blessings. It has been hard, and some days are still hard. But overall there have been many blessings. There is a lot of uncertainty as well, but we are learning how to really live by faith and wait for the Lord to reveal what He has next for us.

Some of the 'fun' things that will be new will be for ME! :-) Some of it you may have 'seen' already. That being my growing love of photography. I suppose since it is much harder to carve out time to paint or draw, it was only time that I would turn to photography. I've downloaded some free photo editing tools recently and have started to learn how to use them. Another thing that we have been doing already, but has had a stirring in my soul, is to dig in deeper with our learning sign language. It is hard to explain, but Jeremiah and I both feel that the Lord has a purpose for us learning this. (outside of it being our only way of communicating with Jed) And the other.....well, I hesitate to talk about, as we have gotten some negative feedback on this in the past.... Jeremiah and I both agree that I should start to study TBA, which is the therapy that Jedidiah is receiving. I am VERY, VERY excited about these 'new' adventures. I'm not sure how far I will get with any one of them, but it is an adventure that I am looking forward to and I am continually giving them back over to the Lord for Him to do with what needs to be done in my and others lives.

I would love to write more about our changes, but being that I am still ill, I need to go lay down for a while. After maybe doing some natural remedies. I pray that everyone has a blessed New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A fun day at a new museum

New to us anyways! There used to be this little kids indoor play spot called "PlaySpace". I suppose it got a lot of use as they moved to a larger building. They were there for quite a few years before they moved again, into a very LARGE building. They now have two stories and a ton more displays. For those of you up north, it's a lot like the kids museum there. The difference is that the museum in NY has much more intricate displays. The one here has more space and probably a few more things to do, but not as intricate. The one in NY has a very cool pretend grocery store to shop at. It has isles, and a few cash registers with 'working' machines. The one here has a little grocery store, more in the open, with one pretend toy cash register. Never the less the kids loved it! We had a lot of fun as well. Take a look at what they did.



Jedidiah couldn't pass up the opportunity for a spin (the car does not actually move). I was surprised by how patient he was while waiting for his turn at the wheel.

Jonah really loved the bead play. He's the only one of the six that loves to play with these types of toys. Jedidiah comes in second, the girls were never interested in them....at all.


This one is blurry, but it was too funny to pass up. Jed got this lovely steal of a deal at the pretend grocers and carried it around playing with it. He didn't seem to get the shopping theme. Another one of those "Jed moments". Jonah, on the other hand, got himself a cart and started putting in the groceries. He even went out and shared his purchases with other people!


They had this neat little 'tree house' set up with a bunch of play houses. Jed seemed to enjoy these.


This museum has a play ambulance, and nursing station set up. Here the girls are examining some x-rays.


They also have a water play area. This area is smaller than their last place. The kids didn't know this :-) They loved it! The water was freezing though! I was surprised at how long they played in it.


Jonah and Jed love to pull up chairs to our sink to make a mess...er I mean, to help with the dishes. Jonah was fascinated to be able to walk right up and splash in.


Jed playing with some boats.


Flannery and a funnel.


Jonah at a command station. Behind the water play they have this neat room with a fish theme to play around in. Outside of that room is a pretend submarine, and a pirate ship. Jonah first took command at the sub.


Then he was off to take command of the pirate ship. This was a neat ship, with three levels. It was a bit chaotic since school is out due to winter break. We are hoping to go back on a less busy day.


They have a traveling display on the second level....Mr. Potato Head Goes Exploring. Seriously, it was really neat. Here's Jonah going down a slide.


You get to pretend you are on an archaeological dig. They had a bunch of black chips, for dirt I suppose, that you would put on a conveyor to look for treasures. The girls spent a lot of time there.


Flannery getting ready to put her dirt on the belt.




Isabella and Jed going down the slide. It was great because the stairs were easy to navigate so that even Jonah could climb up by himself.


What's a Mr. Potato Head exhibit without the main potato himself! Jed LOVES Mr. Potato Head. He was head over heals about this exhibit.


The easy climb stairs that I was talking about earlier.



Jed and Jonah in command central of a space ship. Jeremiah made up a very, VERY funny spoof dialog for this photo. I don't think he saved it though. I'll have to look because it was too funny.

They had these enormous legos/building bricks. The girls went goo-goo over them once they saw their potential.



After a while Jed decided to check out the 'build-a-car'. After building a car you could then challenge other kids to a car race on this declining race track. The other children did not appreciate Jonah's help....as he would wait at the bottom of the track to collect cars to keep for himself :-) Silly boy!


Here are the girls at the start of their project. They decided to make a house. You can see the large structure on the left of Jed.


You can see that they added a window to their house. I took the two boys downstairs to the train play area while they continued to work on their masterpiece. They tried putting a roof on, but it caved in. Bummer. They have plans for another model for the next time we go back.


Here is Jonah at the train play. They have three train tables, that are connected. The boys spent a lot of time here. The girls eventually came down from their house building and went on to the stage area to put on a play. Isabella was a natural at directing!!! She had given everyone roles, and told them what they were to do/say. They spent most of the time planning and directing. It got to be closing time, so they quickly did their play. I was running after a boy and didn't get to see the final outcome. I heard though that it was a hit :-)
Jeremiah took the girls to Bible study tonight while I stayed home with the boys. I woke up sick and it seems to be a bit more than a simple cold (nothing serious, but more than the sniffles). I downloaded a couple of photo editing softwares to try out. We downloaded GIMP the other day, and I suppose if it came with a written manual that it would be the size of a book. At least that was my first impression. I've downloaded Photoscape and Adobe's Beta version of Lightroom 3. I like what I see in Lightroom so far. I am excited to give them more time to try them out. So far as far as ease is concered Picnik is the tool. With Lightroom you have more control over the editing as far as colors and exposure. It doesn't have any of the special effects that can be done at a push of a button like Picnik. They each have their strengths. I can't wait to dive in and give it more time to learn how each works.
Everyone is home now. Need to go.

Monday, December 28, 2009

before and after

Here are some pictures that I've edited using various tools (you have to scan down, as my styles are messed up) ...













































Before: After:



This is Isabella's first photo transformation. Pretty neat.





A simple transformation to sepia.



I really liked this one. Although the orientation did not come out right for my blog. This was made to black and white and then the color of the wagon was brought back in.


I made the wagon's color bold in this photo. With the photo below, I muted the color.






I really love the transformation of this photo. I adjusted it's position, made it black and white and then added text.




With this photo I wanted to put the emphasis on the wrist warmers. So I did the same technique as with the wagon photo. This is very simple to do in Picnik.





Here I just did a 'focus blur' or something like that! I'm so technical aren't I? Then I gave it a border.





I tried taking a bunch of photos without the flash. A lot of them came out grainy like the above photo. However I really loved Jonah's expression, and so I set out to see what I could do with it.


I cropped the photo, rotated it, and then used the '1960's' action on it. Pretty cute.


I love both of these photos. I love the color in the original. I cropped the photo, added a bit of blur around the edges and then muted the colors.


I like this one because it seems dreamy. I've been having a blast editing my photos. With all of the above photos I think I also adjusted the exposure.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

a photoshop collage trial

Having fun with Picnik


I really want to yell! UGH! I can not get my photos to move or my text to copy and paste, which means I have to type everything over again. I have been playing around with a free online photo editing tool today. Probably spending too much time. Actually the online tool is easy, but then I went on to try to make a collage in Photoshop and I can not for the life of me figure it out!!!! I saw that I can make a collage in Picnik (the free online photo editing site), but I only saw my unedited pictures available. Maybe that is how they snatch you into becoming a premium customer....or I just haven't figured out how to get my edited pictures to the collage page. Either way I have maxed out my patience with it. I must get up and do some tidying. So here are the few pictures that I did today. In another post I think I will post them as before/afters. But I won't attempt that until I can figure out how I can move the photos around in Blogger. I don't know why I seem to have this problem every few months. If anyone has the answer PLEASE tell me :-)


I tried putting text under the photo at the top of this post, but then it made the photo disappear. Um, I'm about to call the people at Blogger and let them know how I feel about that! I thought the photo above came out kinda neat. Picnik has a tool to select an area of the photo that you can have in color while the rest goes black and white. I was having fun trying out the different options!


Here I made the photo black and white, then unmasked to wrist warmers to put them back in color.


This photo was originally in color, and I made it b/w, rotated to photo and added some text.



With this photo I selected to option to keep one part of the photo in focus, leaving the rest of the photo in blur. I also added a border to the final image.
Lots of fun, with a bit of frustration mixed in.
Have a Merry Christmas!!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Ride 'Em Cowgirls!

Wow, I've been missing in action for a while now. Besides my very limited computer time we had our internet go out, and then camera batteries die. But finally I was able to pull it all together and I made up a long montage. I hope you enjoy it. I hope to have a written post up sometime soon.



video

Monday, November 23, 2009

Changes

Well I am not sure where to begin. It looks like I will need to drastically cut my computer time coming up. We are in the midst of what I will call a family crisis. And due to that we would really covet your prayers. I have a list of generic requests. I am sure you can understand my need to be discreet at this time.

Pray for:
Wisdom. There will be lots of decisions to be made and a heavy dose of wisdom would be welcomed!

Patience. I really want to know, NOW, how this is all going to turn out, but these things don't work themselves out overnight.

That God would wield His Magic Eraser. Enough said on that one, but needed VERY much.

Healing.

Protection from the fiery darts of the enemy.

I am sure there are a ton more, but right now those would suffice.

The Lord has been calling to me for some time to come and walk with Him. I have been putting that on hold for a while now, but am now in a position that I NEED to be walking with Him. I had a bit of an analogy to share with you all about having a deep relationship with the Lord. Please remember that analogies usually break down somewhere and I am sure mine has many holes in it. But I think it will get the point across. You see you can know *about* God but still live a defeated life. You can know a lot of scriptures and still be living the status quot. You can not live an abundant life unless you *KNOW* God. I am sure what I just said doesn't seem to be any different than the previous sentences, but there is a world of difference. And I know, because I have lived it. So here is my analogy.

Let's say that you are poor. You wear rags, eat beans and rice each and every day and have to walk everywhere because you don't have a vehicle. Now let's say that you have a very rich aunt. You know a lot *about* her. You know where she lives, what she likes, what she doesn't like and stuff like that. But other than that her life doesn't have any impact on yours. You can tell all your friends about this aunt, but that information has no impact on your life. But let's say that one day you get a letter in the mail from your rich aunt. She tells you that she would love correspond with you and that when she returns your letters she will include a check to meet your needs. Now at this point knowing that information STILL will NOT change your life. You can tell everyone that this aunt can meet your needs but still be living in poverty. It is only when you actually write back to her, that she then sends you a letter in response to yours that you start to know her more intimately. Plus you also receive a nice check that you are then able to buy some newer clothing with. Then you can start eating a more varied diet. And as you continue to correspond with her your needs are continually met. One week you tell her how hard things have been with all the rain and having to walk in it each day. And low and behold she sends you a vehicle. Now you can tell your friends all about your aunt, and not just the casual facts, but about how much she loves you, cares for you and all sorts of wonderful things. And your life is PROOF of it.

Now I chose to use money as an example only because of how tangible it is. But this would apply to any need. Are you living a life filled with anger and bitterness? Are you living in depression? The list can go on and on. The idea is that the Bible tells us not only about God, but about how He wants to "correspond" with us. When you find scriptures that say, you are a new creation, you can be sure that He meant it. When it says that all you have to do is ask for ( fill in the blank---biblically that is, say the fruit of the Spirit, or something else that scripture says you can have) then all you really have to do is ask and then wait EXPECTANTLY for it. I mean what good would it do for you to have written your aunt, then not check your mail box each day for her return letter? So I hope I was able to convey the difference in knowing *about* God and *knowing* God.

And I am being called to *know* God. A wonderful friend of mine was able to share an experience she recently had. And it has to do with finding the time to spend with the Lord. If you find yourself saying that you just don't have the time, chances are that there is something in your life that you are making more of a priority (idol even) than the Lord. I thought about that one, and it didn't take me long to figure out where I could find the time......my computer time! Ouch! I plan on having a movie night on Friday's for the girls, and I think I may just make Friday night my computer night. The rest of the week the computer will remain off. Well, for the most part, I do let Jed watch Signing Time during his feedings. But I want to be committed, and so in between the ST viewing it will be off. This is going to be hard...for me ! So if I don't answer your emails or post your comments for a long time, please know I am not ignoring you. I just won't be here very much. I will update my blog each week though. It is my online journal, and I don't want to stop journaling about our life.

I want to leave you with some VERY, VERY cute crochet patterns. I am making the stars currently to decorate our doorways/windows with. I plan on making a flock of birds to go up on our Christmas tree as well. And golly gee, how can one resist a blanket of colorful hexagons? I get all giddy when I go to this persons blog! Enjoy!

Stars tutorial, and more pictures of Stars

Birds

Blanket

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Pow-Wow Meeting

So today was our pow wow with Jed's new SLP and coordinator. It went very well. I think we were there for two hours. I was a bit concerned about this meeting only because of previous comments made by some people that had me worried that this may not be the program for Jed. But I was pleasantly surprised by the team work mentality. Jed will have speech therapy twice a week. He will get the short end of the stick when it comes to half days (the program runs on the traditional school calendar) as they have one each month, pretty much on his day for therapy. Oh, well, that still puts him ahead overall.

We discussed Jed's OCD issues with the SLP. I really liked her take on it, although I feel that it maybe only partially true for Jed. She thought that perhaps because Jed can not communicate, which is a big issue, his need to lay things out and show us could just be his way to take control of something in his life. He is really good at sorting things and it may just be his way of saying, "hey, I may not be able to talk with you all, but look what I CAN do!" Again, I thought that she may be onto something, but at the same time I still feel this goes deeper than that. But it was great to have another take on it!

I have been trying to do research on my own about apraxia as there isn't anyone else to talk to about it. So I asked the SLP if she would be able to tell (a few months down the road and has had time to work with Jed) how long she thinks we might be looking at having speech therapy. At first the coordinator had told us of a boy who was very much like Jed, starting from the very bottom rung at the same age. By five as he was entering kindergarten no one could tell he ever had a speech problem. I told them, that that is what is so hard about this as you hear the stories of kids who had one or two years of speech therapy and they are good to go. Then you hear of the stories about children in speech therapy for 5+ years! So then they told me that they personally believe that the children who recover so quickly really didn't have apraxia. The very nature of apraxia isn't something they feel, from their experience/teaching, is resolved that quickly. They feel that anyone with true apraxia will need intense therapy for YEARS. Oh, well that wasn't exactly what I was hoping to hear :-) And then the SLP said that from what she has seen of Jed and his abilities that she feels he truly has apraxia. We were able to see the results of the educational test she did last week. She said that although he tested mildly delayed (he was all of one point into the mild delay range) she felt that he actually was worse off than that as he had more than half of his points come from the fact that he knows a lot of his ABC's. Again, that wasn't what I had expected to hear, although we've always known that Jed has always seemed to be "off".

But perhaps the most disturbing idea brought up was one of him not talking....ever. I some how don't believe that will happen. Again, though, I was taken off guard when she brought that up. At first I wasn't sure if she wasn't using that possibility to just make a point. The first time she brought it up was when we were discussing his IEP (Individual Educational Plan). She layed out the areas she was going to work on. And we were talking about the need to change the IEP if we thought something wasn't working. So she said that she put this down to start with and that if we came to a time six months, a year (no real date given) and he made no progress she said that you can't beat a dead horse (not her exact words, but the same idea), if he can't do it, then he can't do it and other actions would be necessary. What those were I wasn't sure. She mentioned that our goal is for him to be able to communicate and that there are other ways to communicate other than verbally. WOW, did I hear her right? Like I said, at first I thought she may just be making a point, but she repeated herself at the end of our meeting. I have to say that through this all I have had a peace that everything is going to be OK. However, even though I know that peace comes from the Lord, I also know He hasn't specifically given me what that "OK" will look like. I have a peace that everything will be OK, not a peace that Jed is going to talk. Does that make sense? So when she made those comments I kind of started saying, Ok, Lord what does all this mean, why did she even have to bring that up?

So Jed starts therapy this Monday....woo hoo! I am excited to see what happens over the next few months. And I would be lying if I didn't say I am also a little nervous. Not overly worried or freaked out or anything like that, but a bit nervous. I really hadn't thrown in the prospect of Jed not being able to communicate verbally before. I kind of like having a plan and knowing what to expect. We have a plan, but we don't know what to expect. Time will tell. Now here's the thing. It drives my hubby crazy that I can wait very patiently to open Christmas gifts on time and not before Christmas. I also can wait patiently when I am pregnant to find out the gender of our child at it's birth and not before hand. But I am not feeling very patient with this at all. I kind of feel like we've been living in the unknown with Jed for a couple of years now. Granted we have been blessed to finally know what 'ails' him. But the very nature of his 'ails'...being neurological... make it unpredictable as to how soon or what course he will take. And I want to know now what to expect for him, for his future. But alas the Lord's grace is sufficient for the day, each and every day. I need to enjoy Jed, to work hard with him on the road to verbal communication, and let the results be what they will be.

It is late here and I need to get to bed. I am a bit worn out from the emotional stress of the day. Not to mention a needy baby thrown into the mix. He kept wanting to nurse all day...not a good sign. Could just be teething.......I am hoping it is only teething! Not to mention that it is very evident that we NEED to go back to eating mostly veggie like we were some 10 months ago. (Think lots of children complaining of tummy aches day in day out, multiple times a day...it makes one weary. And it is due to our diet, milk in particular.) We fell off that wagon long ago and we are truly reaping the consequences in many, many ways. But that will need to be addressed in another post for another day. My pillow is calling my name :-)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A new take on OCD

Jed seems to have OCD. I am not an expert on it at all, so I really don't know if he really has it. My sister and I think that eveyone has it to one extent or another :-) Anyways, Jed's seems to morph into new areas. We will seemingly get over one area when another pops up. And some are easier to deal with than others. This one has been a bit more challenging. At first we thought he was just wanting more attention. He has been doing well lately and maybe he isn't getting as much attention from us than usual. However the other day it was pretty clear that it was more than that. It starts with Jed wanting to look at a book with me. The book in particular is a childrens 'dictionary'. Each page has a group of similar objects (clothing, toys, transportation, etc.) on it. He then says 'bah' while signing 'mom'. He waits for me to respond with a 'yes?' or 'what?'. Then he looks at me to make sure I am looking right at the book, and then points to one of the pictures for me to name. This happens with EACH. AND. EVERY. PICTURE. So after 20 pages of that, I decided to change things up a bit. I decided to point to the pictures myself and name them as that would cut out the bah?, what?, look/point. Um, yeah, that didn't work! That sent Jed into a tizzy.

Jonah - "I Did it My Way"

When I go out to take pictures of the kids I try to take a bunch, in hopes of getting one or two good ones. In the video I decided to put a bunch of those pictures together. In the first segment you will see Jonah having fun with the door, until he can't open it! We thought the course of each song was fitting to the pictures. Enjoy!

video

Sunday, November 08, 2009

what a day

Saturdays are busy days here. This one happened to be the girls’ last soccer game for the season (they start back up in the spring). I wanted to get out to Saoirse's game, but hers is at 9 AM. I had to find winter clothing for the boys as we had been very blessed with warm weather all fall, until yesterday, so I had to come later, and I missed her last game....bad mommy :-) It warmed up remarkably fast and we were shedding clothing by the hour. I was totally surprised that we were still being bombarded by yellow jackets! OK, not bombarded, but if you had food, you had better been willing to share! I stayed until the last ten minutes of Isa and Moira's game. It is evident that we need to really work out this winter. I just started this week, getting up a tiny bit earlier to work out. We plan on getting a small exercise trampoline for all of us to use. I first read about its ability to help the brain.....make pathways maybe...I can't remember exactly. But I was reading about Jed's apraxia and the article talked about making progress due to the trampoline. So as I was looking for a trampoline I found out about its exercise potential. I was a bit skeptical at first. I decided to bring it up to our chiropractor to see what she knew about it. She told me that trampolines are WONDERFUL for our bodies (unless of course you fall off of one and break something!). We went to a new Walmart yesterday and decided to see if they had any. The did, but it didn’t have a stabilizing bar. While there I decided to look at the aerobic videos. I found one by Leslie Sansone (I love her walking videos) that had five workouts on it. The longest one is only 30 minutes and a couple of them are only 20. I thought that it would be perfect for me since I don’t seem to have time to work out, and perfect for Isa and Moira since they don’t have the stamina nor the patience for something longer. As we were browsing, we saw a step bench (for step aerobics), and that reminded me that I have one of those! Ha, ha! I am thinking it will make an appearance soon. I am hoping with a wide selection to chose from we will have us moving all winter long.

We have been ‘borrowing’ our friend’s male goat. We decided to breed our two goats this winter. That way we will have our own supply of fresh milk come spring. Ohhhh, I can hardly wait! Coming home from soccer yesterday I was greeted with this male goat tied up to one of our backyard tress….that’s not where we left him! Apparently he jumped our fence and decided to ‘hang out’ with our neighbors goats….who are all female. And let me tell you….that taste you may get from store bought goats milk….it comes from the males! Seriously, that smell, is the smell of a male. We had read that if you don’t want that smell/taste, then you need to keep any males away from your females. I thought that was silly. That was because I was ignorant! I only just patted two small pat-pats on the top of this male goats head. After washing my hands in hot water and plenty of soap, multiple times, they still smelled like male goat! YUCK! That smell just sticks to you! So now I can totally see why it can affect the milk supply. Hopefully we will have little goat babies come spring :-)

I thought I would leave you all with the links to the two ACC devices we have been looking into. This one is called XPress, by Dynavox. The other is Proloquo2Go, used on the IPod Touch or IPhone. I need to get going. We need to get boys ready for church. Have a blessed Sunday!

Friday, November 06, 2009

A this and that post

I have a few really cute pictures to share....but they are on the front computer! Right now the girls are watching a movie on that computer (pizza and movie night!) so I can't get to them right now. I'll try to edit this post later to put them up.

Jed's speech therapist called to cancel the afternoon appointment. We will make it up next week. I was able to talk to her about my concerns of getting Jed an ACC devise that will meet his needs. I was pleased to hear that she does not agree with the new (to be) speech therapist's view. She said because of the severity of Jed's apraxia she foresees him being in speech therapy for the next five (or more!) years. She felt that it was very important that he have a way to communicate effectively in the meantime. It has been really neat to see the next 'level' Jed has taken with his signs and communication. He has known the signs for help, want, my turn and things of that nature, but has never used them on his own. Well just yesterday and again today he has used those...totally on his own, with no prompting. As a matter of fact we were wondering what he was signing as he has never signed those things unless we have prompted him. So imagine our surprise this evening when Jeremiah put a movie on and Jed was trying to tell us something, with 'words' and with sign. He made it clear he was unhappy about something. We figured out that he was signing, "don't like" for the movie!!! He didn't want to watch the movie Jeremiah had on the computer! This is amazing!!!!!! Jed has only used signs to label things. He seems like a new child to me as he is just now communicating not liking something, or trying to tell me this afternoon that it was "his turn" on the computer. He likes to get on Word and type in letters. So he signed, 'my turn' and signed some letters! Can you tell I am excited?!

I have other exciting news....well for me anyways. My sister has a new calling plan!! That means I don't have to wait till after nine p.m. or the weekends anymore!!! I remember one rough day, Jeremiah had come home to me being a puddle. After talking for a while he said, I think you need to call your sister. And I had to tell him I couldn't...she didn't have any minutes left (boo hoo). So when the phone rang this afternoon and her number came up I thought that perhaps something was wrong. Thankfully not so! She was just calling to tell me I can now call her any time :-) I truly pray that my girls will have such wonderful relationships with each other like my sister and I share.

I got our new spelling program, All About Spelling, in the other day. I haven't used it yet as I am 'setting it up'. They recommend that each student, or every two students have their own letter tiles. I didn't want to fork over the money for that, so I have been spending time making my own. I am really excited about this program as it will serve as our spelling and phonics program. I will continue to use Phonics Pathways as our learning to read program, but I think that the spelling will help with the reading. I was really disappointed in my lack of ability to use Spell to Write and Read. It was just too much for me. However I really liked their premise and ideas, just too much for my brain to process. Anyone who has the program or seen it will know what I mean. I mean they have seminars to better learn how to use the program! I was a little worried about that when I first heard about the seminars. But the person who told me about it said that it wasn't something you needed, just a bonus. Another person, who was in the field of languages, told me it was the best program out there. So I got it. And like I said, I really like the ideas. I really, really wanted this program to work. I have been holding onto it in hopes that somehow I can make it work. Maybe it's just the season I am in, but it has been sitting there, staring at me making me feel guilty! Ha! So when I read about All About Spelling, I was intrigued as they use some of the same ideas. But they lay everything out for you! I know that working with the letter tiles are really going to help some of my girls with their reading and spelling. I am hoping to start the program come Monday. By then I should be done....at least close enough to start...with the prep work.

The girls have their last soccer game of the season tomorrow. I am hoping they will all make it to their games. It seems we have a small tummy thing going on. Nothing that has stopped the household from running as normal, but they clearly are not feeling great. Moira is on the up and up, Isabella hasn't had it...yet, and Flannery just started. I am assuming Jed has it as well as he 'lost' his afternoon feeding. But this evening he has been fine.

Well the baby is asleep (he went to bed REALLY early), dinner is done, the kids are still watching their movie and I need to do more cutting (the letter tiles). After the kids go to bed Jeremiah is going to teach me how to edit movies.

Two new videos up

I have two new videos up, both of Jed talking. They are not the original ones I had in mind of putting up, but the other ones need to be edited and I didn't get to them last night. So these will have to do for now. If you want to take a look you can visit my youtube channel. I have a link to my channel on the left side bar under 'my favorites', titled, "Southern Peaches Channel".

We just had a short meeting with his future speech therapist. He didn't want to leave as she has a lot of neat toys :-) She thought we should stick with the very low tech talking board for now instead of trying to get something more adaptable. That was a bit of a bummer. Her thought was that our goal is to get him to communicate with speech. And of course that is our goal....just what do we do in the mean time? The board is useful in very specific situations. However if he was playing with blocks and using his board to communicate and then wanted something to eat you have to switch out sheets for him to use the board for the new situation. His current SLP thinks it is a great idea to get him a more advanced device. So, we'll see what happens. We need an SLP to work with us in getting a device for him. As per the rules of insurance. As anyone who has been looking into AAC devices knows, they aren't CHEAP!!!! We are talking some 7 to 8 THOUSAND dollars for one! I just found out of a cheaper alternative that uses and IPod Touch or IPhone. The plus for that is that is is small and very portable. However it involves some needed fine motor skills that I am not sure Jed has. There are ways to help with that, but even if we get this device we are still talking at least 5 to 6 hundred dollars. A far cry from the first option, but all of that will come from our pocket. We shall see. Jed's private SLP (the one who is on board with getting him a device) will be here in a couple of hours, and I'll talk more about it with her.

I will still try to work on those other videos later. I am actually excited about working on them because I get to learn how to edit videos, something I have wanted to do for a little while now.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

videos coming

FINALLY!!! We had another bump in the road of trying to upload the videos on Jed's apraxia and we were finally able to get them off our camera. Now, I just need to edit them. The one of me just talking about our journey with apraxia is LONG! It was really late and I just kept talking :-) So I will have to break it up so that I can upload it to my youtube channel. The one of Jed actually talking had some interruptions that I need to cut out. But finally they are off the camera and hopefully tonight they will get edited and then uploaded. Uploading to youtube can take hours, so it may not get to my blog until tomorrow. Not that you are all dying to hear me go on and on about Jed's apraxia! I'm happy they are on our computer because it's a bit of a reminder of where we have been and I can look back on that to see how far we have come!

Got to go get stuff done. Cleaning and a visit from some friends are first up. Then I need to delve into their new spelling program, that I am really excited about. It came in yesterday. I spent last night and early this morning finishing up making extra sets of letter tiles, so that each child can have their own. Having their own was recommended, but at 14$ I decided to make my own. There are cards that I also need to make up on my own (part of the 14$), but those can wait. I'll let you know how it works out.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A fun weekend and a glitch

...but no pictures to share of it, at the moment. I am waiting for them to download and will not be awake before they do. So Friday we had a bonfire. Those are always fun and always accompanied by s'mores. We had a friend staying the weekend, so he got to share in the fun. Saturday was soccer. But it was also our glitch day, which I'll get to in a moment. Saturday evening we just vegged and tried to prepare for Sunday. Sunday after church we had a birthday party to go to. It was held at a farm nearby that has a lot of other attractions. It was so much fun. We got to go on a train ride, a hay ride, slide down an 80 foot slide, go in a hay jump and a corn play room. The kids had a blast. They also got to take home a pumpkin. We were surprised to have to shoo off yellow jackets as it was quite chilly. Jeremiah single handedly killed at least 8 of them, at last count! Poor Jed was in one of his 'sensitive states' and was really freaking out about the bees. It is possible with some other things that have been going on with Jed that his remedies have been antidoted. Can anyone say 'roller coaster ride'? Jed over all has been doing well, but we've hit a wall in his sensory issues and that can be stressful on everyone.

So about that glitch.....Saturday morning I am getting everyone ready for soccer. The last thing for me to do is get Jed's feeding pump ready to go. So I got the pump in the backpack, filled the bag with formula and I turned it on so that I could prime it, which is the last step. But what's this? Where is the bouncing kangaroo, the flash of green, yellow and red lights, the triple beep? Surely I must not have hit the power button hard enough, so I re-hit it....nope, no beeps, no kangaroo, nothing. I was pretty positive that when I went to get his pump that I had to unplug it from being recharged. But to make sure I went and got the plug to plug in the unit to see if maybe the battery hadn't recharged. I go to plug the adapter into the back of the unit, but something funny was going on with the plug, it was all wobbly. I take a look to find that there is a piece missing from the unit and now the plug adapter won't sit firm to stay in contact with the unit to recharge! So later on Jeremiah rigs something up to get it to stay in there, but alas we now get the unit to turn on but with an error that won't let us proceed and it makes the machine power down! In case that was all gibberish to you, as I know I don't always make sense, in plain English: Jed's feeding pump is busted!!! Let me just say that this is NOT good!! With a capital N, capital O and a capital T. NOT good. We are still able to give him his feedings by doing bolus feeds. The good news is that as long as we take our time, he is keeping them down (a problem in the past). The bad news is that it takes me being *right* there to manage it.

Now the game begins to see how this will get resolved. His home health service says we have to contact the manufacturer to see about the machine's warranty. I can only imagine the possible go around we may have. So I am earnestly praying that this is resolved quickly, in a God way. Because I truly believe it is going to have to be a 'God thing' for this to get taken care of in a quick fashion. As it is it is past midnight and I am up because I have to give Jed his feeding bit by bit so as not to overwhelm his stomach.

We are also in prayer concerning his speech therapy. I have sent in the paper work some two weeks ago and we are still awaiting a call or letter that will tell us the next step. We really need to get Jed set up with therapy soon.

A praise though, we have found multiple sources for goats milk for the winter!! Our friend who supplies us with goat's milk for Jed has her goats dried up. Last year we had to buy pasteurized goats milk from the store, and even had to buy powdered milk (which did a number on his pump!). I was praying that we wouldn't have the same problems this year. And praise the Lord He has provided a couple of families willing to give us their goats milk, as they have not dried up their goats. Yeah!!!

So lots going on. I can't wait to show you the cute pictures we got of our farm outing. We were also able to obtain another memory card so that I can make those videos. It wasn't our camera that was messed up, just the memory card. Which is a relief. Memory cards are MUCH cheaper than cameras! :-) We will be borrowing this card until we can get our own. I am so thankful! Now I can show you all how Jed talks.

I need to finish up here and give Jed the last bit of his feeding so I can go to bed myself. I do have another interesting story to tell you all, but I will save it for later as I am too tired to type it out. It has to do with Isabella and a tummy bug. Very interesting indeed!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Banging head against wall

Ok, well, I thought the camera was fixed! It really and truly was. But somewhere between when Jeremiah fixed it the other day and today it no longer works!!!! It may have something to do with the children taking pictures with it. I am sure they are pushing a button that shouldn't be pushed or something. Jeremiah is off with two of the girls at soccer, so I will ask him to take a look at it when he gets back. I had no less than 300+ pictures to delete.... all of dogs! Oh, wait and a few of the girls trying to catch a picture of another girl in mid air (while jumping off the couch). I'm thinking a camera for Christmas is in order for them!

We had a pleasant day today. We got outside for some fresh air and a lot of dirt....a lot of dirt. So two muddy boys and two muddy girls got baths when we came in. I got a lot of my schedule stuff done, but still not finished. It was nice that when it was clean up time a few of the girls were pleasantly surprised when there wasn't much to clean! Yes, that is how it goes if you actually put things away right after you use them, and you keep little boys out of things :-)

Off to do more laminating :-)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hair cuttings






I think I may have mentioned this, but we finally got the camera's video mode working! It may be another day or two before I can get around to videoing the things I had in mind. Right now I feel like I am coming down with something. I would take the colloidal silver, but if this ends up being a wee cold, I don't want to 'waste' it. We still have a ways before winter even hits over here and I want to save the good stuff for when it counts :-)






Due to the baby being ill and just our busy weekends the house was a bit untidy today. I spent most of the morning typing up various schedules and cleaning routines. Most of them were just revisions of previous routines. It would be really great if ONE routine would work forever and ever! But, depending on the season, depending on whether there is a newborn in the house, depending on whether there is a tornado of a toddler in the house, depending......well you get the idea, things CHANGE around here and so must I to accommodate the changes. I printed everything up, now I need to cut some things out, and laminate....I'm a laminating junkie....Hi, my name is Kerri, and I'm a laminating junkie. I can't let papers just be papers, they must be encased in a smooth glossy finish....HA!!! Ok, enough joking. I am hoping to get those routines all finished up. I still have a long list of other printables that I need to do. I want to put the girls school work assignments on a spreadsheet to keep better track of their work. I have been looking into PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) for Jed. But from what I have read a lot of children do better with 'real' pictures instead of symbols or cartoonish pictures. So I want to start putting together some pictures of our actual stuff for that project. I am pleased we are seeing progress with the fish oils, but we still will have a long road ahead of us. I am also very pleased that he knows a lot of signs and we will continue to learn more. However, he is getting older and not everyone knows sign language. I know that 99.5% of the time he will be with Jeremiah, myself or one of his sisters, who all know his signs. But I would like him to be able to communicate without an interpreter as well. So I am hoping to incorporate the pictures so that he can also "talk" to other people. This will be a big project.

I have some other projects as well that are in progress, such as typing in all my recipes into Word. I went through them to weed out the ones I really don't use, or will never get around to trying. Then the oldest two girls and I have been spending time, here and there, typing them into the computer. That will help with a lot of paper clutter in the long run.

So, today after all my work on the routines, we did school, and a bunch of tidying up. However this house can get in untidy mode faster than you can say, "tidy"!!! I had baked up a bunch of potatoes, some that were used for tonight's dinner and some that will be used for a dinner later this week. And as they were baking Moira had come in from playing outside. She has hair just like mine. It was down to her lower back and it was a rat's nest!!! I told her to brush it and it took her a good long while to get it all decent. I knew it was long past time to get her hair cut. It is so pretty long, but oooohhhhh so hard to upkeep! So I asked her if she wanted me to cut it. She said yes! Oh, scary!! :-) Ha! Well I have to say it actually looks really great now! I parted her bangs (which are about the same length as the rest of her hair now) off to the side and the hair cut looks really charming on her! It's just a long bob, but it really suits her. Flannery wanted her hair done as well, and hers came out really cute too. Her bangs are really long, and a bit wavy, so I wasn't sure what to do with them. She didn't want me to cut them, so I let them be. I know that their shorter hair will be much easier to care for. Isabella really, really wants her hair cut shorter as well. However that girl has thick, THICK hair! I dare not touch it! She really needs to get it thinned, so we will be having someone else cut it for us. I am not kidding when I say I call her a water dog as water just beads off her hair! Washing it is really hard to do. With it being so long it has been just about impossible for her to wash it properly. I've done it and it really took a lot of effort! So snip, snip and thin, thin coming shortly for her.

Well it is late, I need to tidy up a few things before getting Jed's feeding ready. The rest of our week will be trying to keep on track and tackling some of these projects. Not to mention we are supposed to have some really nice weather that we need to get out and take advantage of.




Flannery's hair awaiting the scissors! Her hair has been difficult as it is wavy. Even her bangs have some wave in them, which always gives the appearance of it being unkept. The last time I cut her hair I put layers into it which really helped. So I was a bit nervous that she wanted a bob like Moira.


A side view of her lenghth.


Now the finished product :-) Her hair really was even when wet, but here it had some time to dry and it looks uneven....again the wave action. But she is very happy with it, and I think it turned out great.




I parted her hair to the side, which I think helps. Her hair is still only half dry at this point. It looks great this morning all dried.

Here is Moira's new look. I don't have a before shot, but I am sure there are plenty of pics in previous posts to know that her hair was LONG.

A side view. I think I snapped it at an odd moment...oops.

And the back. Her hair was all the way down to her lower back. I think I cut at least 8 or so inches off!
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