Thursday, January 9, 2014


Chris is a sensitive, tender hearted boy and at the same time, he's willful and obstinate.  His smile is carefree and delightful and he is so wonderful.

He has learned to read!  His teacher came out to the car today and told me that Chris is reading on grade level!  I knew he was doing well, but I was really glad to hear it from the teacher.

It came so easily to him.  He will go far when he learns the value of hard work!

I'm so proud of him.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Life update

It's been a long time since I've written.  The boys have finally transitioned completely into the public school lifestyle.  They are both doing unbelievably well.  Chris can read and Joey is getting more confident in daily activities.  Ilse is so mobile these days.  She doesn't crawl the correct way.  Instead she moves both hands forward at the same time and then hops both knees forward at the same time.  It's adorable and effective enough for her to disappear before I saw where she went.

Tim is still working in the Learning Lab at McMillen and he likes it well enough even though he would rather be teaching.  He's such a good teacher; I see it every day in how patient he is when trying to explain something to the boys.  Hopefully someone else will see his value and hire him.

I've gotten a sewing machine and am in the middle of a quilt.  An ambitious first project, I know, but it's one I've thought of often and it's going really well.  In fact, I'd almost finished the top when I lost it somewhere in my house.  Even though I found it a while later I still haven't begun to work on it again.  I did make Ilse a pillow case and it is so soft and lovely; I'm really proud of it.  I'm working on another pillow case tonight, except I realized I don't have any red thread so I can't finish it.

We bought a Keurig and *haven't gone to Starbucks much at all lately.*  Shocking, I know.  But there it is.  That's a major lifestyle change and it's one we're both happy to make.  It's not that I love Starbucks coffee so much, although I like it, but it's that I like having a drink to take along while I'm out.  And since I'm out so often, well, you can probably imagine the depths that desire has taken us to.  Then you should maybe quadruple it and that's more likely.  Anyway, this way it's so much better.  We bought different varieties of flavors on Amazon (I'm loving my free shipping thanks to Prime, which I meant to cancel but never got around to it during the two week free trial) and we got a huge bag of to-go cups at Costco.  Tim has made his favorite concoction and I have too.  We got creamer and whipped cream, and I like nutmeg on mine.

My sister in law chopped my hair off for me, and it's the shortest and most amazing haircut I've ever had.  I'm adoring it, although it has grown out so much that I have an afro in the mornings.  I almost took a picture this morning to post to facebook when I realized that to be completely proper I would have had to make my bed first since it was in the background, and I didn't want to go to that hassle (I almost never make my bed) I didn't bother.  Facebook land missed out on a truly hilarious picture.

My friend and non profit partner Shelley Colquitt and I have filled out the paperwork to make our support group Hope's Seed a non profit in Texas, and I'm also working on the tax exempt paperwork which is a BEAR let me tell you.  It is so complicated and you have to remember everything you've ever done with every penny, pretty much.  Also, you have to talk about who you donate to and who you promote, etc..  It's a big job, but so far it's going well.  I hope to have it done soon so we can send it off, so the IRS can do their up to a 270 day long approval process.

Hope's Seed had a wonderful Christmas party.  We had a bounce house and presents for everyone.  Everybody loved it, except for my sweet niece Grace, who didn't like the sound of the bounce house compressor.  As loud as that compressor was, my friend Katrina still heard Grace's pump beeping from the other side of the auditorium.  That was impressive, I have to say.  My mom and dad helped me so much with the party; I couldn't have done it without them.  They've been very supportive of me working with Hope's Seed.  I love them for it.

One of the things I'd like to do this new year is pare down our belongings.  We have so much stuff and it is really getting overwhelming.  I've been listing things online to sell, but so far I haven't made much of a dent.  I'm thinking I could easily become a fan of the 'blank look', which is basically when you don't have anything.  But really, I'm thankful for everything I have, so I don't want to get rid of it all.  Just some of it.

I haven't felt so well the last several days.  I've been pretty tired and thankfully Tim has been home, because I've slept in every day, and I've been going to bed pretty early, too.  I guess I'm trying to catch up on all the sleep I've missed all year in just this last week.  Hopefully by the time school starts back up on the seventh I'll feel more alive.

We've been teaching the boys to walk to school, which, sadly, is a necessity.  I'm not volunteering why, but it is, so they are learning.  Joey can do it really well.  Chris, um, not so much.  If he didn't have Joey there he'd be dead.  We're going to have to work with them a lot more this week, and probably walk them to the intersection and watch them cross it the first few days.  Thankfully it's in a school zone and there are other people there crossing, so they will have some help.

I've taken Ilse off prevacid.  It was kind of accidental, actually.  We ran out on Friday, and since the best pharmacy in the world is closed on weekends, we couldn't get anymore until Monday.  Well, she did so well over the weekend that even though I now have her meds I haven't given them.  I'm LOVING having one less medicine to dose.  It's amazing.  For real.  Unless you are the parent of a medically fragile child you have no idea.  I feel free as a bird, well, maybe half a bird.  I still have four other doses of other meds to give throughout the day, and that doesn't include any pain meds or snot meds, which she is on in abundance due to teething and allergies, or something.

I guess that's enough of an update for now.  :)  I hope all of you are doing well.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Parenting and School

Today I feel like I don't know what on earth I'm doing with my kids.  I feel like I have a handle on Joey.  I understand his issues and I understand him.  We are so similar so I feel like I know exactly what to say.  

It's Chris who confuses me.  I don't know what makes him tick.  I love him but I feel like I don't know him at all.  When I had to write the letter to his teacher to help her understand him a bit more, I had no idea what to say.  I just sat there and stared at the computer.

I have so many emotions about this.  I'm confused and I'm angry that those first years where the mom learns the child and the child learns the mom were stolen, from both him and me!  

Chris has been extremely willful at school.  He is doing what he first did when he came to live with us.  I told us "I don't want to say 'bump bump!'"  We laugh about it now, and I guess that's the wrong thing to do since he's doing it at school.  I don't think this has anything to do with adoption issues or anything like that.  I think it's just plain ol' naughtiness.  

And I can talk myself down and tell myself, Hey, Emma, it's just going to take time for him to learn to obey.  This is normal.  But then I remember how well he obeys here at home and I remember how hard we have worked to teach him what obeying is and to do it cheerfully, and how he does obey cheerfully here at home, and I just get angry that he isn't trying to do what is right at school.

And what's worse (to me) is that he comes home and doesn't act like he cares at all.  He only will apologize if I stare him down (but I shouldn't have to do that!) or if Joey apologizes and Chris hears him.  And I just don't understand not feeling bad/guilty that you disobeyed and someone is upset at you.  I don't get that at all.  

And then I second guess myself.  What if he does feel guilty but he doesn't know what to do about it?  And then I know that that isn't true.... he has seen it modeled over and over and over and he just refuses to do it.

I'm just so upset about it today.  

Parenting is easy sometimes and super hard other times  Super, super hard.  

I don't know how to get to know my son.  I don't know why I feel like I don't know him.  And I wonder if he feels like he doesn't know me.  And then I want to cry but I am still just a bit too angry to be too upset, and that makes me even more upset.  I don't like feeling confused and like I have no idea what I'm doing.

Oh, parenting.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Simplifying My Life

My life is pretty complicated.  The highlights of today are:

Drag myself out of bed after a bad night sleep because of a crying Ilse.
Get presentable enough to exit my room.
Check on the boys and their chores, clothes, back packs, etc.
Finish lunches
Search for a folder that fell out of a backpack because Chris doesn't understand that he needs to utilize his zipper
Brush my teeth while boys are getting shoes on
Take the boys to school because they asked to eat breakfast there
Come home
Help Tim finish getting ready
Get Ilse's food bag
Find her syringes and dose her morning meds
Find her extension and fill with water
Get Ilse up and change poopy
Continue changing poopy because it had been on there a while (WHY didn't you tell me when you pooped in the night, Ilse??!!??)
Dress Ilse
Tell Tim I'll put her milk in the bag and put it in the backpack
Administer meds
Brush Ilse's hair
Put Ilse in high chair since Tim is putting on his shoes
Check fb
Take Ilse and my purse to the car (Tim has her diaper bag, her backpack (food) and his lunch)
Buckle her in
Drive Tim to work, stopping on the way for Starbucks
Catch barf (Yay, me!)
Wipe mouth and chatter with my Ilse
Gas up
Drive home
Play with baby
Check fb
Have therapy

ok, I am tired of the list, but that wasn't all of it.  Anyway.  As you can see, my life needs simplifying, and there are two things off the top of my head that have really helped me out.

One is the formula Ilse is on.  I love the blended diet, and I know I planned to put her back on it after my summer break, BUT I can't make myself do it.  I am so enjoying the freedom of tumping ready made formula into a bag, setting the pump, and letting IT feed her four times a day.  It's nice.  It's easy.  It's simple.

The second simple thing I'm enjoying are the BD syringes I get from our DME.  I know, I know, I'm a co-op host, I'm a Tubie Momma, I'm a smart woman, so WHY am I enjoying something that can be so annoying instead of the lovely o-ring syringes I have stocked our supply boxes with and continually purchase in order to prepare for the future?  Well.  It's because the BD syringes are my throwaway syringes.  I use them and toss them.  Sometimes I just use it to vent Ilse's tummy and then I walk out of her room and toss it in the trash.  It's so liberating.  I spent so long, so SO long washing syringes and syringes and bottles and more bottles that I just needed a break.  And I don't know that I am ever going to be able to go back unless I have to.

I firmly believe those things are God's blessings to me.  They make me happy!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Joey's Schooling

We really deliberated on the best way to get Joey his schooling.  Do we just let him go to second grade and hope they can do enough to help him catch up?  Do we insist on first?  Do we insist on first and then let the school do the long, drawn-out assessment they usually do for new students?  OR

Do we turn in the horrendously outdated FIE from Fort Worth ISD and hope it can get him the help he needs without him getting put into a box?

Well, after reading the FIE (Full Individual Evaluation) and the ARD paperwork we have from when Joey was tested at 3, we decided to take the third option, of insisting on first and then letting the school do the long, drawn-out assessment they usually do for new students.  That FIE and related paperwork has some of the most ridiculous conclusions we've ever seen.  This child is not oppositionally defiant or any of the other things they (Fort Worth and some psychologist over there) diagnosed him with.  We were afraid that if we handed this paperwork to the school, they would assume Joey is incapable and wouldn't push him hard enough.


Then I got a call this afternoon from the speech pathologist at the school.  This woman is a gem.  I had spoken with her today, and just after a brief look at Joey's speech eval from our therapy agency, she didn't think he would qualify for speech.  But then after fully reading it and taking the time to do some research into what I talked to her about, she called to tell me to fight for Joey and that the best way to do it is to turn in the FIE.  She assured me that if we turn that paperwork in, no one will take it at face value, that they recognize the difference between a child in foster care and a child who's three years past adoption, that they will retest him, but that by turning this in, we ensure that he will get the services he needs immediately.  She had such kind words to say about us and about our boys.

So, we decided to give them this information so that Joey can get some SPED services right away, instead of waiting for the long, drawn-out evaluation period to be done.

We're confident this is the right choice, especially given that they will immediately do a new FIE so that this one won't be used other than to qualify him as a SPED student.

I am relieved about this.  I was going to be worried about him having a hard time in his class, but now I am sure he will get the help he needs to succeed.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Ilse's Food

It's been a long time since I did a post about Ilse's eating.  For a while I did the blended diet.  I really didn't run into any resistance from her doctors (if I had, it wouldn't have mattered, do you know why?  Because ordinary kids don't have their food micromanaged by their doctors, so why should my kid?  Just because she has a tube?  Bad reason.  Anyway  :)

I stopped the bd for summer because I needed a break, and Ilse has done really well on Compleat Pediatric over the summer.  I plan to start the bd back up when school starts, at least part time, but I'm not going to be a strict-only-bd mom like I was when I did it at first.  I'll do bd as it's convenient and do Compleat when it's convenient.

I was told by Ilse's pedi that I needed to be giving her at least 20 oz of water in addition to her food.  We've been doing really well doing that, and since we started it, Ilse's liver enzymes have gone back into the normal range.  The other day I gave Ilse 8 oz of water just to see what would happen, and nothing happened.  She tolerated it beautifully, so ever since I've been giving her 8 oz of water at a time, and today I gave her 250 ml of Compleat.  She tolerated that, too.

So I guess what I am going to try to do is start feeding her 250 ml of Compleat four times a day for the next while to see how she does, with 8 oz of water an hour before each meal.

And I need to go buy bigger diapers because these fives are leaking.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Life today

Ilse has been pretty lethargic today, and I blame the heat.  Her face is all red and she is just a bump on a log unless she is under a fan, but of course she doesn't stay under a fan.  We ran out twice today and she was in the air conditioned car the whole time, and it was still too hot for her.

This momma needs to get her a cooling vest.

Tim, the boys, and I went up to the school today to register, and then I got a call that they want to put Joey in second grade because he was homeschooled.  Well, that makes no sense and that's not what the law says.  So we are going to put our feet down and insist on first grade.

The boys seem to have a lot of pent up energy.  Sadly it is pent up, because I won't let them release it in the house because I'd like to live at home and not in prison or a psych ward.  (Tongue in cheek.)  Tomorrow morning I need to send them outside before it is too hot because today they didn't want to play outside because of the 108 degree temp, or whatever it was.  Whatever it was, it was too dang hot for man or beast.

I cleaned my floors because we had some wonderful people walk in with shoes.  :)  So now I have a sign on each door.

My parents bought us a fridge/freeze for the garage and I cannot tell you all, my loyal blog readers, how happy that makes me and how loved it makes me feel.  We have needed more freezer/fridge space ever since we bought this house, because the spot in the kitchen for the fridge is tiny.  Tiny tiny tiny.  Every time we go to the store and someone asks for something, I have to say, "We don't have room in the __________."  Waffles, ice cream, extra gallons of milk (because we are all milk drinkers, you know), chicken, whatever, sorry, no room.  It's depressing.  Well, no more because of my sweet mommy and daddy.