Saturday, January 07, 2012

The Newest Member of our Family!

I know...I know...we really need to get a life!  But we were all very excited about our new addition.  While it was hard on us all to say goodbye to a loved one, it couldn't be helped, and we gave her one last hug before sending her off into the sunset:

The poor installation guys had an audience as we all stood by and watched them deliver our new fridge, now officially known as "Frenchie" due to her lovely french doors.  Frenchie is tall, light and lovely ;-0  She holds so much more than our old fridge that it is astonishing.  After going shopping this week and putting things away, there still was room leftover which was previously unheard of.  We all played with the interior water dispenser, oohed and ahhhed over the nice lighting that gently turns on when we open the door, and we gaped at the large drawers and spaces for milk in the doors.

Like I said, we really do need to get a life.

While I hated spending the money, I am super pleased with the purchase and think we will love her for years to come.  She is BIG for our kitchen, but then the kids will only be getting bigger and I think we will be happy we got a larger size.

Here she is, before shopping...isn't she lovely??:

On another note, we met our prospective tenants last night.  Poor things, I am sure they thought we were a bit off our rocker when we explained they needed to meet the kids and get their approval.  We felt it only fair to involve them in the decision, since they did most of the work.  They introduced themselves, explained all the work they did, and when we left they said they felt comfortable renting it to this young couple.  We talked about God blessing us with the opportunity to get this house so reasonably, and that we needed to remember that and be a blessing to others in the ways we could.  They all were glad we could help this couple get back on their feet and get a place of their own after a period of unemployment and living with relatives trying to get caught up on bills and find work.  The couple's excitement was a joy to see, and watching their young son run around barefoot and teasing Joshua made us all feel as if maybe we were helping to offer them a real home at a reasonable price.  The young mom had tears in her eyes, as Angela pointed out later after we left.  We all couldn't help but feel good about this.  We are well aware that things could still fall through, but they gave us a verbal commitment and plan to move in February 1st.  We'll see how it all goes.

Otherwise, there is not much going on around here.  We are trying to get back in the school mode, and the kids are devouring a series of books which are biographies.  I am SO glad we stumbled on them as all everyone has finally found something they enjoy a lot to read.  It has been a bit tough for the girls to find material they enjoy and can understand, as much of today's "girl" books contain a lot of slang terms or are a bit of a reach for their reading level yet.  But suddenly after picking up one of these that Kenny had and that Josh had already become addicted to, both Angela and Olesya decided these were pretty awesome.

My day was a bit of a stinker as we had yet another battle with school over services for Kenny.  You know, there are moments where literally I want to just throw in the towel.  It is hard enough having a child with special needs, but it is harder still to have one that no one knows what to do with and can't help.  Our homeschool program is trying to advocate for him, but it is still within a system that is painfully slow, and really doesn't work well for kids like Kenny at all.  It's a long drawn out story I will not bore you with here, but suffice it to say that I am caught in the most circular arguments ever.  

What is very difficult for me is that no one seems to understand the sense of urgency we feel.  We had someone work with Kenny yesterday to once again evaluate him and document issues, and the educator looked at me as I was trying to explain and said "You need to not worry so much, he's fine."  I was irked, and I said "Fine?  Do you think it is normal for a child to decide out of the blue that it is OK to put a metal sauce pan in the microwave?  Or when you ask him to bring you the toilet seat cover so you can wash it with the matching rugs and he brings you the ceramic top to the toilet tank?  Or who on some days can not manage to write a word you are spelling letter by letter, no matter how hard he tries?  You think that is 'fine'? That is the sort of thing we deal with every single day in life.  Do you realize he will be eligible for a driver's permit in 2 1/2 you want a child like this driving on the road with you?"  He looked at me quietly for a moment and finally said "OK, I see your point, maybe there is  a problem."

I did realize today that there is one huge gift of all of this frustration, and that is that we are 100 % off the treadmill of worrying about straight A's or perfect test scores.  When you have, for example, two 13 year olds who ought to be in 8th grade technically, but who are in 5th and one of them is working at 3rd grade level in some give up the notion of comparing and look for mere survival.  We just want them to be happy, healthy and whole.  We want them to graduate high school and pursue their dreams, whatever those might be.  We'd love for each of them to find some area to shine in, even if the world doesn't value it but they derive worth from it.  Sure, there are moments when I lose sight of how far we have come, because how far we have to go seems like the longest distance ever.  But I do know we are making progress, one day at a time, and I have to hold on to that or it is too depressing.  I just wish that once in awhile, for all of our sake's it was just a little easier.   But maybe it IS easier, simply because we can all be who we are.  It leaves little to brag about, but it also leaves space for us to explore, to move at our own pace, and to mess up without fear of what others think.  That may eventually prove to be a great gift for everyone.

Maybe this picture from Christmas illustrates it well:

Here are the kids with their Christmas bean bag chairs!  It is sort of representative of our beautiful bright color stacked upon another, support from all sides keeping it upright.  It's a precarious tower, all right, but it is kind of pretty to look at in the right light :-)  

And there is joy, lots and lots of joy.  No matter what else isn't working well on any given day, that is the most  important thing.  Keep on remembering that, Cindy.  Don't ever lose sight of's about the joy. Anything else is lower on the list.


Anonymous said...

And did you realize there's a shining star on top of your bean bag tower, creating your own, original, colorful Christmas tree?

Though I don't know quite as much of the degree to which you have to fight for services for Kenny, we do have issues to face with getting our daughters the consistent help they need. One (a soph) has an IEP for language. We've discovered, the time with the special ed teacher is basically study hall...teacher at desk, student doing homework. When asked about that in an email, she tells me that my daughter's IEP technically doesn't say she gets help with homework. Uh. Really? And would there be any language in the homework? I asked to move our IEP meeting up to this month, as we don't need to waste another month waiting to find out if she is being worked with at all. And finally, we are getting ELL services this semester for the younger one. Legally, we would have some recourse, but we try to keep a good working relationship with these people, since they're the ones ultimately who are to be working with our kids. And after one too many times of commenting on how our hispanic daughter doesn't know Spanish anymore, I nicely reported it to the principal, letting him know that we really don't want her made to feel ashamed that she lost her first language. There are enough issues to deal with when coming as an older child to a new family/culture/school. She really doesn't need to feel bad about that.

So I'd just encourage you to hang in there, persevere, and don't look too far ahead. As scripture reminds us, each day has enough troubles of its own! I'm still trying to learn this, after raising half of our eight through to adulthood. It's hard not to worry, but we can't change a hair on their head..though we can change our own to gray with worry!

The world does not value the things God does. We (I) need to keep reminding myself that my kids can be wonderful, loving adults, doing good and important work some matter what acclaim they may or may not get. I know you know this too, but as moms, we just want our kids to accomplish all they possibly can. Your kids are amazing! So are mine!

Nancy in the Midwest

Anonymous said...

The comments about our daughter not knowing Spanish any more comes from her Spanish teacher. So instead of having good feelings about maybe learning some of her first language again, there are hard feelings toward the native speaking Spanish teacher. I'm sure he is disappointed, but hey, they are my kids, and he doesn't have any idea of what our kids have gone through, being adopted by us "gringos", if I may use the term by which we are referred to when traveling in Guatemala.

Nancy in the Midwest

Anonymous said...

Cindy, Nancy, all of you who are currently parenting and parenting children born of your hearts,

Thank you for sharing your experiences, the highs, the lows, the joys, the deep concerns, the triumphs, the frustrations.

I no longer parent a child. Instead I watch mine make their way--very compassionately and competantly---in the world. I watch my daughter raising a challenging, delightful, exasperating child, and you make me a more understanding, patient grandmother, a more compassionate citixen in the world of families.

Thank you,

Karon and John said...

I wanted to reccomend the book "Home of the Brave." It is about a boy who is a Sudanes refuge who comes to the US. It is all writen in free verse from a boy's perspective that is just learning English. There for all the slang is explained as he learns it the hard way. I love the book because it deals with age approriate concepts for older kids who are struggling readers. It is historical fiction.

Anna said...

This was a beautiful post, written from the heart. Parenting is hard. I am so thankful for a heavenly father that pours out grace. I am learning how to be our little ones mother- a year into the process I am still praying a lot and trusting my motherly instincts. I have always home schooled so I am muddling though and trying to discern what services our child needs and doesnt need. As I commented to my daughter the other day, "that might be free but there will be a price to pay." Keep up the good hard work of parenting, I appreciate reading about the nitty gritty and knowing we arent the only ones in this hard place.

Anonymous said...

A friend just sent me an article about a young man who is sailing around the Americas in a 27-foot sailboat. The young man commented that he is managing it by only concentrating on the next goal, not looking any farther ahead. That seems like sound advice, Cindy, when you are dealing with the needs of your children. ... and I think you do that, for the most part. God be with you and with them.

On another note, I mentioned that I mourned the refrigerator left behind in Vermont. It was a "Frenchie", and was wonderful! Someday, perhaps, I'll be blessed, as you are, to have another one!

Love, blessings, and shalom to you and yours, Cindy!

Trisha said...

Matthew is taller than your old fridge! Wow.

Kelly and Sne said...

I'm SO jealous as we purchased a too small fridge when we moved in here a mere 5 years ago so I can't justify a new one until it breaks or we move again... maybe it will need to break prematurely! Looks like you had a great Christmas - bean bag chairs are a great gift idea!