Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Blessing From God

I am starting to enjoy the "other" end of parenting -- being blessed by wonderful kids! Becky is "just" 16, but she is sure a blessing to me. Today, I was gone for two hours and returned to a picked up house, dinner in the oven, and the table set. I'm sure she got the other kids to help as well, but a sure sign that she was involved is the sink piled with dishes -- definitely a "Becky" sign. I, on the other hand, pile them on the counter by the sink or just wash them as I go.

Becky's friends tease her about being "second mom," but what they don't know is that sometimes she is actually the first mom, because she ends up mothering me (in a good way, of course). It is scary how much she is like me--she understands my frustrations, and a bit of what drives me to overdo. On the other hand, she is a lot different than me. I think she is more balanced in her lifestyle, taking time to do things that are important, not just doing what is urgent. She gives of her time freely, and while she enjoys earning money babysitting, she doesn't expect to get paid every time she helps someone. She enjoys cooking and she has a good sense of style, decor, and color, so she has become the #1 clothing choice consultant in the house! Most of all, she loves the Lord and really tries to let that shine through her life.

In short, I am very blessed, and today am very thankful for my daughter, Becky.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A New Template

Hope you like the new look -- I got frustrated trying to figure out why my text wasn't showing up -- even though it was supposed to be white on the black background, it wasn't doing it automatically. So it was easier to start new -- kind of like moving furniture around :)

Zeke and Soccer

It isn't easy to take decent pictures of soccer action. The one on the left, Zeke had just done a header, and in the one on the right, he is chasing after the ball. His team is doing well this fall, and he is right in the middle of it all.

More Andy Baseball

Last weekend in Springfield, MO, Andy's team had 4 baseball games. He played in 2 1/2 of them, and went 6 for 8 at bat! An awesome outing for him, and good timing, since Grandma and Grandpa Douglass were there to watch. These are the only pictures I got of him, from foul territory. Yes, baseball can be very uneventful!


The last couple of days the kids have been busy creating elaborate train systems. Everyone gets into the act, from Becky to Elizabeth. It's a great school avoidance excuse, since it can be argued to be somewhat educational.

Elizabeth Update

Physically, Elizabeth is stretching out. I see less difference between her and others her age than I used to. She wears 4T on the top to cover her belly, and 3T on the bottom, or they are too long :) So far 3T still goes around the middle. She weighs 33#, and is 35 1/2 inches-- almost 3 ft-- tall! She has been to the dentist 3 times and each time we've made a bit more progress. The first time she wouldn't open her mouth, the next she opened and let the hygienist count her teeth, this last time the hygienist actually spent some time looking at her teeth, but the cleaning tool scared E. and that was the end. They say her teeth look real good, though. We go to St. Louis for a yearly evaluation in November.... hopefully the tubes will have done their job and hearing will be normal. Most likely she will need glasses. Fortunately, we know it is a good time for them -- 2 of the boys in her class wear them, and her teacher told us that she regularly takes them and puts them on. So she will just feel part of the gang!
Academically, Elizabeth is attending developmental pre-school 3 mornings a week -- out of a possible 4 that are offered. She is in a class of 5, with a teacher and an aide. While there, she gets physical, occupational and speech therapy. We are seeing improvement in her fine motor skills - she can draw both horizontal and vertical lines connecting things, and make smiley faces. Physically, she is doing well -- she climbs stairs up and down without much trouble, can climb just about anything, and has good balance. Today, she ran up and down a hill at the school where Abby was in choir, and then she started to roll down -- don't know where she got that idea! She also likes to put her hand down on the ground when we say "ready, set, go" -- you know the Halls, everything is a race, and she has joined right in. Her speech is still slow in developing. They tell us she is quiet at school, but she babbles all the time at home, and has many recognizable words and phrases. My personal favorite: "Stop, Zeke." Mommy, Daddy, Jesus, book, are others we hear commonly, along with "Wee-wee" (Woody), "Baby" (one of her dolls) and "Doll" (a different doll).
We take her to school Tues, Thur, and Friday -- Becky most of the time, on her way to classes or babysitting. But she rides the bus home, and she loves it. They bring her right to the door, pretty close to the same time every day, which is wonderful. It gives me an extra 40 minutes to finish school with the boys and Abby and to start on lunch. Usually I let her watch a video before lunch -- amazing how quickly she latched on to THAT routine. She loves videos -- "pooh" is one of her favorites, but she also likes the old Donut Mans and 3-2-1 Penguins, as well as Veggie tales. Every now and then she comes up to me with her cute smile and a full-length movie. When I say no, she goes and gets another one -- until I give in, usually!
Spiritually, she seems to be aware of being loved and special. She sings and signs Jesus Loves Me, and she loves to pray -- obviously in the Spirit, since none of us can understand a word she says. But it is interesting how she changes her voice inflection -- she must be mimicking what she hears when we pray.
Around the house, she is starting to help with chores -- she loves to help unload the dishwasher (we just have to be sure she goes somewhere else when we are loading, since sometimes she tries to put dirty dishes away), and she can fill the dog food bowls pretty well, and she loves to give them "treats". She's also good at closing drawers and doors that her mom leaves open, and at putting toys away before she responds to the dinner bell.
Socially, she still manages to charm almost everyone she meets. Amis, a boy with Down Syndrome in her class, is a special buddy. Several of the parents of Andy's teammates already know her by name (I don't know theirs, and they probably only know me as Elizabeth's mom!), and she scared the assistant coach last weekend when she screamed, and then flashed him a big smile (I think he thought she got hit by a ball or something). She loves to play with other kids, but quickly mimics bad behavior. Elizabeth also doesn't quite understand her boundaries and often takes things away and has even been known to choke another kid who has something she wants...
Potty training is still kind of hit and miss. We have victories, like a BM in the toilet this morning early, followed by accidents -- not more than 2 hours later, another BM in the pants. She still doesn't seem to have the idea of letting us know beforehand -- but she does tell us after the fact, usually... the biggest problem is a preoccupied mom. But they struggle at school, too. I appreciate that they are patient with her and me, and that they work on it!

More of the bounty

Some of our discarded cantaloupe seeds decided to grow in our compost pile -- we actually had 3 full size cantaloupe! Unfortunately, they didn't taste very good :), but it was amazing to watch things grow we had not even planted!
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More of Nature's Bounty

We tried planting some sunflower seeds that were a year old. Only one of them grew, and it got HUGE -- unfortunately, the kernels didn't all have a seed in them. But we did get a few edible ones.
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