Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween 2012

scaring Aunt Nae

Gangster Zombie

Teen Werewolf

Shayne- the cool big brother who spent his evening with us when he didn't have too.

my favorite 3 kids in the world


Trick or Treating at Meemaw's, a tradition we started with Shayne, 17 years ago 


Trick or Treating in our new neighborhood

Thirsty?


Isaiah found another wolf


The parents goofing off while the kids play at New Hope's Trunk or Treat

The boys were really into it this year- no longer afraid to say Trick or Treat and Thank You to strangers, but still a little scared of all the decorations- especially moving ones.  They kept saying this is creepy.  But my favorite quote of the night was Isaiah's, when he'd happen upon a living breathing adult in costume and say "hey, you're not a decoration, I know."

Thanks Aunt Teri for tracking us down to bring treats
And lastly, a special shout out to Aunt Nae who not only made us pumpkin chocolate chip muffins from scratch this afternoon (insert YUMMY) but also had homemade cook it on the stove not from a packet hot chocolate waiting for us when we got home tonight. 

Happy Halloween y'all!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Plans Change, Dreams Not so Much.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows us- that Allen plans change a lot.  We like to call it going with the flow. Sometimes the change of plans is good, and sometimes, the change hurts a bit.  Sometimes, the change hurts a bit through the good.  

Shayne graduated from high school, officially at 2:43 a.m. on Friday October 23, 2012, about 6 weeks shy of a year early.

That wasn't the plan when I enrolled him in Kindergarten.

Plans change.

Shayne proposed to Kayla in April.  She said yes. 
In September, she changed her mind and broke the engagement.

Plans change.

Shayne's plan for his future has changed a lot in the last few years. Poor kid, we've bounced him from school district to district, private school, public school and finally home school.  He handled each change as well as any kid could.  But he's had a dream since he was six years old that no matter how his plan's may have changed, that dream followed.  A dream he has shared with most anybody who'd listen to him.  A dream that even when I thought I might have changed his mind on pursuing, always came back within hours or days.



His dream, to serve his country in the United States Marines. 

Plans have changed but his dream, not so much. 

So, Friday after we celebrated his graduation with his favorite hot wings from Applebees and a game of Putt-Putt, his Daddy and I went with him to meet the recruiter for the USMC and we signed some pretty important papers.






I can't even describe how I'm feeling. 
Maybe the words will come over the next few months as I prepare to send him off to take his place on those yellow footprints.  

Don't be confused by my tears.  This Momma is proud of a baby boy that is turning into quiet a man- a little earlier than any of us would have planned it.

Happy Sunday y'all!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October 23, it was a very good day!

Six years ago today, around 3 p.m.  our lives changed forever. 



 
I remember a few things about that crazy day....
 
I remember best friends who dropped everything to bring us car seats and help me shop for blankets and gowns and diapers and pacifiers and bottles and formula and reminded me to eat. 
 
I remember Elijah ate more french fries than any human should consume at one time.
 
I remember Isaiah shopped with me until 2 a.m. and never cried- which I later learned wasn't really a good sign. 
 
I remember within hours of the prayer chain announcement my living room looked like a bomb had gone off, because our church family kept bringing things for us to use.
 
I remember looking over to my right several times during the night, to see a baby who refused to keep the blanket on his feet.  Said baby did not yet own any socks.
 
I remember the first time I looked at their faces and held them in my arms and knowing I already loved them. 
 
I remember the joy and fear and questions and pride and excitement and exhaustion that was immediate and relentless.
 
I remember knowing in my heart, that these boys were a direct and wonderful gift from God but having no clue how difficult the three year journey to adoption would be.
 
I remember it was a very good day.
 
Happy Tuesday y'all.
 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Food, Fall and Family

There's only one place where waiting for 1-2 hours to eat is no problem,




 
 

 
 
and it goes by pretty fast when you're goofing off on a beautiful fall day with people you love

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Home Place, so worth the wait.
 
Happy Sunday y'all!
 
 
 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

No ammo? No problem.

So I was plugging along at work today, when the Outlook reminder popped up.

Oh no! I forgot that the IEP meetings for the boys was scheduled for Noon today.   With no time to spare, I sent a note to my team and high-tailed it the school. 

But I was not a happy camper. I had in my brain this meeting was scheduled for next week, so my IEP drafts, my notes, and my ammo (binders and letters and copies and notes and documentation) proof if you will, was all at home.

And I did not have time to go home.

So I had to decide whether to be late and be prepared, or be on-time and go without ammo.

I decided to be on time and walked in at 11:59 with that nasty feeling in the pit of my stomach.
Dread.  That's it.

I signed in and walked to the conference room with Elijah's teacher.  He was pleasant- and I enjoyed watching him talk to and love on a couple of kids, non-verbal, autistic students he had taught a couple of years ago.  I liked what I saw.

We were soon joined by the principal, the OT, and their Special Ed manager.  I won't bore you with all the details- but after a few comments I figured out quickly things were different here.

We talked about the red, yellow green method- and I was shocked and thrilled to find out that in GCE, it's a fluid system.  You can get moved to yellow, or red and earn your way back to green- in one day.  This may not seem like much to you, but for my boys it's huge.  It means it isn't over until the day is over.  And it's obviously working, Elijah has been come home on green EVERY DAY so far.   NINE days. 

I was still wishing I had some ammo with me, I was sure I would need it soon.

But as the conversation continued, I began to let down my guard just a bit.  They were focused on the positive things about my kids.  I found out they were giving praise, willingly.     Instead of being nagged constantly for what he didn't do right, he's getting positive reinforcement.    
They get it.  
And I knew they got it when I heard them say things like..."it isn't about the teachers, it's about the kids" and "it's an Individual Education Plan, it doesn't have to be fair to every kid in the class."  

And then they suggested things that we had fought tooth and nail to have for our kids without success.  And they didn't need my ammo- theyjust knew it would be good for my boys and that was enough.

I sat there wondering if we were talking about the same kids.  Was I in the right place?    I was amazed how encouraging this meeting was. 

The needs my boys have are still there and they will always be there.  Have they matured, yes.  Did they get a fresh start, oh yes.  But when they hit the wall and the honeymoon period is over, and it will be over, the plan is in place.  We have a willing team with the tools that will help my sons succeed and be the best they can be. 

I left giddy. 
And thankful.

Thankful that God had our steps ordered long ago.  That the huge leap back in January was exactly what Elijah needed to prepare him for GCE.  That my boys feel safe. That the teachers and staff at GCE are not freaked out by special needs kids. 

Thankful for the glimpse that maybe, just maybe, all the battles we fight for our boys is worth it. 

No ammo.  No problem.

Happy Thursday y'all!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"Good Luck"

I love singing to my kids.
I'm not good at it, but I love doing it.

One by one, my children seem to figure out that I'm not good at it.  I still remember when Shayne first begged, "Mommy, don't sing."

I was putting Elijah to bed tonight and the plan was to sing him to sleep.  Nothin' new, Rex and I've been doing this for like, ever. 

I prayed with him, and got through 3 verses of this little light of mine without incident.

Then I started into Amazing Grace. 
I  just love that song so it's not unusual for it to make it into the list on any given night.

I was belting it out as if God was standing right in front of me (I think that's how we're supposed sing)

anyway,

I got through the first verse and I thought I was doing pretty good until just before "twas grace, my fears, re-lieved"

when my sweet, darling, innocent, musically inclined smart-as-a-tack child interrupted me and said.....

"Mommy, when you missed that part did it hurt your throat?"

now there was a split second when I decided whether or not to get my feathers ruffled

nooooo, did it sound like it hurt my throat?

"yes"

Then I went there.
Oh, yes I did.
I asked the question.

Does it sound bad?

"weeeel I wouldn't say it's bad, and I wouldn't say it's not good, I'd just say...

.....good luck"

crickets.

now there was a split second when I decided whether or not to get my feathers ruffled

crickets.

"Mommy"
yes

"Did that hurt your feelings?"

now there was a split second for me to decide how not to ruffle his feathers

Noooo, not really.  Well, kind of. 

He started to get upset "I'm sorry"

Confession time.

-oh, no honey, it's okay. 

I know I'm not a very good singer and sometimes I don't even sing it right, but I like singing to you guys, so I keep trying. Since I know I'm not good at it and you're saying what's true and not just being mean my feelings aren't really hurt. 

Then I went there.
Oh, yes I did.
I asked the question.

Do you want me to sing some more?

"No thank you"

-such good manners makes a Momma proud.

It looks like another one got wise to me.  At least Isaiah hasn't figured it out yet.

If you're not familiar with this song, it is too beautiful to keep to myself.  Since there ain't enough good luck for me to ever sing it on the world wide web, I'll just share the words.  


One day I'm going to belt it out - in heaven- and God will be standing in front of me. I'll be singing  with thousands of others and not one soul will ask me if it hurts my throat. :)

Happy Thursday y'all.



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I'll take Dentist for two, please.

Dentist.

The word makes most of us cringe and brings strong feelings of uneasiness to the pits of our tummies.

After a very bad experience at Small Smiles while the boys were still in foster care, they weren't too thrilled about going today either.   Okay, Elijah was a little happy about getting to pick his toothpaste.  Isaiah, stone cold.  

It has taken me months to get them an appointment with a pediatric specialist that would take both our insurances.   And I was a little anxious it might be a similar experience to our first.  

I'm happy to say it was worth the wait.


Hollywood's a pro.

Elijah and Melissa
 







Isaiah was a little more nervous.

Tammy was great at calming him


The boys with Dr. Jones


The staff was friendly and put the boys at ease. 
Well, as much as Isaiah ever gets at ease.

Dr. Jones even impressed me and I'm tough to impress when it comes to my kids. 
I left comfortable with the treatment plan and without that sick feeling in my stomach I had after their first dental visits to SS in 2009.

And that, is a very good thing since we're going to be seeing a lot of our new friends.

My favorite quote of the day followed Elijah's response to Melissa that he did in fact like school. I expected her next question, "what's your favorite subject"  to which he wasted no time in answering,  

"takin away"

It took her a while but she figured it out.  Can you?

Happy Tuesday y'all!




(disclaimer- I called out Small Smiles intentionally. I do not recommend them in any circumstance and I would never take my kids back again)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

New school, new year, new plan.

Our big move in July meant Isaiah would be going to a new school.  I was nervous because if you know us, you know that school has been anything but roses for my boys.

His mid-term report tells the story that he is doing well, so far. 
Mostly green days, a couple of "think about it" days. There was that broken pencil incident.




Back to School night was a bit telling.  That's when I really knew things were different here. I admit I was distracted during the PTA presentation.  I could only read half of the PTA's VP's t-shirt,
"I'm a bad..."
yep, that's what I was thinking too.  I filled in the blank with all sorts of options, and was relieved when she turned and I could see the shirt read "I'm a bad girl."
hmmmm, intersting choice. 
We were happy to visibly see the dedication of the teachers and their genuine love for the kids as we walked around meeting teachers and checking out the school.  The environment is one of relaxed caring. 

We hadn't planned for Elijah to go back to public school anytime soon. I was enjoying getting through my work day without that phone number popping up.  Watching him learn stress free= good times. 
Did you catch the word "planned"
I should've known. 

Without going into the details (they'll come later) of why his fave homeschool teacher is no longer educating America's youth- it became clear that his going back to school sooner rather than later would be the best thing for him.  So, we took the same leap of faith needed to pull him out of school, to enrolled him back in public school.  Sigh. 

His first day was this past Monday.  He was so excited but also guarded and nervous.  My heart was beating fast and my stomach knotted as I walked him into the school. I felt a little like I was feeding my son to the wolves.  Just the thought of teachers and principals and phone calls and notes and meetings and more of the Red, Green, Yellow made my stomach hurt. 

Have I told you I hate the negativity of the red, yellow green system. 

I walked him to his classroom and left him in the good hands of Mr.Wilburn and I started counting down the hours.

Monday was over and my boy was on green.
Tuesday was over and my by was on green, again. 

and then almost like clockwork,  after bragging to my buddy Leahanne this morning that we'd made it 3 days without a phone call- the strange number ringed in. 

It was his teacher calling and he had left a nice message; but when I heard that he wanted me to call him back, I prepared myself for the worse. 

Mr. W. answered the phone and proceeded to rock my world.  Oh, he wasn't exasperated or telling me he had never had a kid like mine, or begging me to fix him. 

His call was for another purpose. 

He wanted to brag.  On my kid.   Elijah is doing great!  He is listening, raising his hand and following directions.  He's settling in nicely and has even made some friends.  Not sure about their influence just yet, his first brush with trouble was because he even listened to his friend when he told him to tie his shoe laces together-.  Ok, we'll work on that one, but Mr. W. wasn't freaked out by it- he told me Elijah is in the top 10 for good behavior.

Halelujah.  Do you hear angels singing?

I thanked him for his call and told him how much I appreciated it. Oh, we both know it won't be our last conversation but that's okay. 

How exciting for this momma to hear in detail how my sweet mess is making strides and doing great.  Teachers, share the good news too.  We momma's need to hear it.



HOPE.  
It's a beautiful thing.  

And that oldest kid of mine, his school is nearly done and he is very close to graduating.  That's all I got to say 'bout that right now. 

Happy Wednesday y'all!
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