Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ian Update

There is so much to say about Ian but I will try to condense it.  He continues to be pure joy in our lives!  Ian had a great school year thanks to his amazing teacher, para, therapists, etc.  He is learning to read (or possibly memorizing) words.  We all think he can read more than he lets on because he seems to know exactly where to put the curser to play games on the computer or watch monster truck videos.  He met or exceeded most of his IEP goals for the year.  He was able to be in a gait trainer or tricycle almost every day at school, which he loves and is so good for him.  His private PT has been working on trunk control for several months and he was able to sit in a regular chair with minimal assistance for a brief time during the school day.  Ian continues to learn his AAC device (or, "talker" as we call it) and recently blew Mom away when I took him for a private speech eval.  He finally has a great speech therapist who is teaching him to put sentences together instead of just "talking" with single words.  
Big things are happening for Ian this fall.  He will have surgery in September that will lengthen his hamstrings and will require casts on both legs for 6-8 weeks.  More on that as it draws near.  I don't even like to think about it now.  We are also hoping to get him a power wheelchair which would increase his independence exponentially.  However, that requires a different van with a ramp or lift.  Currently, we lift Ian into a car seat and load his chair in the back of the van, but that won't be possible with a power chair.  So, we're on the hunt for a bargain van that would accomodate Ian in his chair and the rest of us, too.
Tom and I were recently talking about wishing we could find Ian's biological mom and agreed that if we could, we would thank her.  He has taught us so much and we are so very thankful that God allowed us to bring him into our lives and our family!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lucas update

Way back in March, I asked you to pray for our 2 week intensive attachment therapy with Lucas.  Our continuing therapy is now down to once a month and he is doing great!  The fierce armor of steel that he's built around his heart is beginning to crack and he's trying to believe that we are the real deal; we aren't going anywhere; he's not going anywhere; this is his forever home; we will keep him safe; we love him no matter what.  It has been and still is a roller coaster ride with lots of ups and downs but the ups are more frequent now and the downs are fading.  He still has occasional violent meltdowns but they are more productive which is hard to explain but they result in a revealing comment about his past.  We believe he has repressed much of the pain so remembering it, as difficult as it is, helps him heal and helps us speak to that hurt.   
As a result of the intensive therapy, we made the decision to keep Lucas home for the remainder of the school year and provide school at home.  This proved to be a really good move and we both enjoyed the time together.  I would be remiss if I didn't mention here that our school, Cole Elementary has been amazing!  They have been supportive of the therapy, helpful during the weeks of home schooling, always loving and encouraging the boys.  We are so thankful for all of them, from the principal to the lunch ladies and maintenance guys to the teachers and aides and secretaries.  
Deep down, Lucas is very tender-hearted and loving.  He's very curious.  He's very busy all the time and has lots of energy.  He is obsessed with small objects (I never know what will show up in the washer if I forget to check pockets.)  He invents all kinds of things out of items intended for another purpose.  He loves to be outside and can get dirtier than any kid I've ever seen.  Not to mention, he's pretty darn cute!
God is stretching us in ways we never thought possible and teaching us so very much about His Gospel and grace in our lives through this little guy and we are so very thankful for him.  I just know that God is going to use him in big ways for His glory!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Jeremy Update and Prayer Request

I am beginning this series of updates with Jeremy because I have another request for prayer.  On Monday morning, I will begin a week of intensive therapy with Jeremy.  Tom isn't able to take another week off of work, so Jeremy and I will do it together and fill him in as much as possible.  He will join us for the follow-up sessions.  As a result of their past, Jeremy's issues are very different from Lucas' and although they are less disruptive, the wounds are just as deep.  Please pray that God will use this therapy in all of our lives to help us help him to over come the fears and hurt that come with abuse and neglect.  Also, please pray for his heart.  He is learning more and more and asking more and more about what Jesus' death on the cross and His resurrection means for us.  Another concern is how Lucas will react to my being gone every day for a week.  We are praying that it won't be a set back for him.

Jeremy had a great school year (once again, thanks to our terrific school where everyone really cares about the kids and goes above and beyond to help them succeed!)  He improved in every area academically!
Jeremy is vey loving and continues to be a neat freak, straightening his room or bed without being asked, sweeping the garage floor and porch, vacuuming, etc.  He loves to play outside and ride his bike or help Dad, but also enjoys reading and doing puzzles, especially word searches.  His favorite indoor activity is Legos and especially builing them with big brother, Drew (who loves an excuse to play with Legos again.)

We are thankful that God brought him into our family and pray that He will soon bring him into His family!
Thank you in advance for praying for us this week!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Most Amazing Sandbox

We spend a lot of time outside and although Ian would rather be outside than anywhere, there isn't a lot for him to do.  He has a ball suspended from a tree that he can hit but gets bored and eventually starts hitting it as far up into the tree as possible so he can see Mom climb a ladder to get it down.  He will hit a ball off a tee all day long if someone is willing to continue putting it back on over and over and over....  He loves to try to dig in the dirt using a toy shovel but it's difficult for him to get the shovel to do what he wants.  So, I have been wanting an adaptive sandbox for Ian for over a year.  When Tom's dad, better known as Dad-dad heard us talking about it, he offered to help build it.  Well, not only did he build it himself (with help from Mom-mom and a small amount of help from Jeremy and Lucas), but came with trailer, tools, wood, etc.  The result of 3 very hot days of work is a raised, U-shaped sandbox that Ian can play in to his heart's content.  There is room in the middle for him to turn his chair to any side he chooses.
 Dad-dad hard at work
 The crew with the finished product
 The view from the front
 Digging in! (Yes, that is a sheet wrapped around Ian's wheelchair in somewhat of an attempt to keep some sand off  of and out of his chair, clothes, shoes, etc.)
 Dad-dad even built a step for Olivia and Brenna (and eventually, Felicia)!  Brenna got to try it out today and it works perfectly!

In between dentist, doctor and therapy appointments for various kids, I took advantage of having the boys occupied and cleaned out a neglected flower bed near the sandbox.  
Thank you, Mom-mom and Dad-dad for making the trip and taking the time and trouble to make 3 boys very happy!
We love and appreciate you!!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Celebrating Lindsay!

Mega updates to this woefully outdated blog are  in progress but today we celebrate Lindsay Jill! 
I can't remember what I had for breakfast this morning but I remember the night she was born like it was yesterday.  After a long day of pitocin-induced labor, she entered the world at 7:39 pm and we were quite possibly the happiest parents on the face of the earth.  Tom was beaming and I was overwhelmed at the thought of this precious life being ours for a time.  After everthing settled down and everyone left (that was before the days of the daddy staying overnight), I couldn't sleep and couldn't stop crying, just because of sheer joy and gratefulness to God for giving us this beautiful, sweet baby girl!  And now she is all grown up and a wonderful wife and mommy herself and I still can't stop thanking God for her!  What a joy to see your children grow in love and passion for Jesus and see His work in their lives!
Happy, happy Birthday Lindsay!
We love you!!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Celebrating Troy!!

When this guy started hanging around our house as a junior in high school, we would ask ourselves if he might be "the one" for Lindsay.  The more we got to know him, the more we hoped he would be!  And sure enough, he was!  That was a few years ago and now, he's a loving husband and daddy, a godly leader in his home, a very hard working doctor, and a wonderful son-in-law!
Happy, happy birthday Troy!
We love you!!!
(Shame on me but as I hunt for pictures of the adult children, I realize that the bulk of my thousands of pictures is of the grandchildren - or at least includes them.)