Life is made up of many pieces, like a puzzle. Here I attempt to put them all together.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Alphabet Soup - or - Unique Individuals?

NLD, ADHD, possible AS-Austin age 12

BPD-Gary age 11

BPD-Trevor age 11

ADHD-Adam age 11

ASD-Gordon age 10

ADHD-Kenneth age 9

ADHD-Jacob age 6

ADHD-Grant age 4

ADHD-Kyle age 3

Possible MDS-Michael age 2

This is the alphabet soup we live with/in every day at Rose's House. Some days it's a crazy, wacky place. Some days it's peaceful and quiet. Most day are a combination.

A lot of these kids have come to us from other "caring" or "learning" environments that they have been sent away from. Some have been sent away from multiple places. My heart hurts for them-how can this be effecting them to consistently have doors slammed in their faces? And why? Because they aren't "normal", "typical", or "like everyone else"?

What is normal?

What is typical?

Why must everyone be like everyone else? Wouldn't that make a boring world?

I know all these questions have been asked and discussed before but they are on my mind again the last few days. I began to realize that I was falling into the habit of defining the individual by his/her contribution to the alphapbet soup instead of letting each child's unique characteristics -gifts, trouble spots and all be the defining factors.

So-I'm trying again-

Helpful, Impulsive, Inquisitive, Affectionate-Austin age 12

Helpful, Friendly, Anxious, Active-Gary 11

Silly, Helpful, Sensitive, Energetic-Trevor 11

Smart, Sensitive, Deep Thinker, Helpful-Adam 11

Lovable, Intelligent, Creative, Unpredictable-Gordon 10

Caring, Creative, Active, Cautious-Kenneth 8

Humorous, Sweet, Fidgety, Sensitive-Jacob 6

Energetic, Lovable, Intelligent, Curious-Grant 4

Athletic, Smart, Funny, Very Energetic-Kyle 3

Determined, Survivor, Creative, Cuddly-Michael 2

Or maybe I'm not thinking normally, typically, or like everyone else. I make my own contribution to our alphabet soup-OCD.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


1. The smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning.

2. The look on Doug's (my fiance) face when I surprise him into laughing by saying something
totally outrageous.

3. The hearty laughter of my 12 yr. old son at some of my crazy misfortunes-even though it may
annoy me at the time.

4. My 10 yr. old daughter's great big hugs and hearing her say "I love you mommy."

5. The look of concentration on my 2 yr. old son's face as he intently eats a good meal after
working up an appetite playing outside.

6. The color green-and the filmy evening light shining through my green curtains.

7. Mahjong

8. Twitter

9. A good night's sleep after a productive day.

10. Jeremiah 29:11-"For I know the thoughts I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for
good and not for evil, to give you a future and an hope."

Thursday, March 19, 2009


It's been a good day, full of little boy hugs and little girl giggles.

The first child, Henry-age 4, came this morning around 5:30. He always goes back to sleep on the couch with his blanket. Next was Laura-8 months old- @ 6am. She also goes back to sleep for an hour or two each morning. I dozed a little between 5:30 and 6:30 between the kids coming in. (So much for my plan to get a head start on my work at 5:00 :-). I'll try again tomorrow)

Garth-age 4 came in around 6:40. He always come in at full throttle because he doesn't get his ADHD medication until breakfast. So first thing in the morning and agains in the afternoon after naptime he is always WIRED.

Talia-8, comes about five minutes after Garth. She is a sweet, delicate little girl with a mop of wavy red hair. And she can TALK, TALK, TALK! Some mornings she has me in stitches laughing at the things she says. Other mornings, when I haven't had my coffee yet, I have to beg for mercy and a little peace and quiet.

Michael-2, usually wakes up around 7:30 and it's his job to wake Austin-12, and Amanda-10. He loves it and they wake up smiles on their faces. Somehow it's more fun to wake up when their little brother is patting them on the head saying "Austin-Up" "Amanda-Up"!

By 7:45 everyone is awake and things are moving along. Karen (Doug's cousin) drives our school van and takes Talia and Zane(10) to school. Zane usually gets here just in time to catch his ride to school.

Once Austin and Amanda are finishes with their breakfast they start their morning chores. Because our house is so big (3,430 square feet) and we run a childcare program in our home, the kids have an important role in keeping things running smoothly. On weekday mornings Austin & Amanda each take responsibility for doing some housework in five different rooms-pick up, vacuum, dust, etc. Each room has a set of jobs for each day. I keep a list in a three-ring binder and they take turns choosing which rooms they do each day. They also have chores on the weekends but not as many. This system helps keep the clutter, dirt, and dust bunnies down to a tolerable level.

At 9:00am my helper, Marie, comes in and takes over the kitchen work. I try to get the cooking for the day started first thing in the morning and then when she comes in she takes over. I couldn't make it without her. She usually works from 9am-3pm each Monday-Friday.

This morning when Laura went down for her morning nap I was able to take the preschoolers outside for about 30 minutes. Yay! We have had spring fever lately and have been itching to get outside. But it rained for three days and we couldn't go out to play.

By the time we went outside Kyle-3 was here too. Kyle and his sister Audrey-6 were with me for awhile in foster care before they went to live with their aunt. At that point they transitioned to childcare with me. Audrey comes when there is no school and when childcare is needed on the weekends.

Besides playing outside we also played with building sets, played with some flannel play sets, and watched some Disney. It was a fairly quiet morning so I was able to dust and wash windows in the playroom while the kids played.

Marie feeds the kids lunch so that I can take a short break. Like I said, I couldn't make it without Marie!

After lunch is clean up time and then story time. Usually along with the stories we also sing some songs. A big favorite right now is "Old McDonald Had A Farm". An amazing farm it must be with all the strange animals he has-seahorses, turtles, growling teddy bears, and a snake!

Naptime for the little kids means "schoolwork" for Austin and Amanda. Currently Austin is reading a textbook type book called "Science". Amanda is reading "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" by Sean Covey. They are also learning their multiplication tables and we've been playing a lot of math war. Because Austin is an auditory learner and because we just enjoy it I also do a lot of reading aloud. We're reading through the Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery, and we also do some Bible reading each day. When the weather and the number of kids permit we like to go for a 30-45 minute walk. Today was not one of those days though because be this afternoon it was raining. Again!

After naps it snack time and time for the school kids to come in. Today Doug picked up Jacob-6, Kenneth-9 and Zane-10 from one school. Haley-10, from another school, got off the bus here. Schoolkids mean homework so we get that done right after snack.

Both Garth and Kenneth (also on medication for ADHD) seemed extra wound up today. I'm not sure what was up with that. Several of the kids left earlier than usual this evening so that helped keep the chaos down somewhat.

On Thursday evenings Austin and Amanda spend the evening with their grandparents, aunt and uncles and cousins. It's one of the highlights of their week.

So, in a nutshell (a rather large nutshell I must say) that is the story of a "typical" day at Rose's House.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


In my twitter update today I mentioned Michael and his visit from the infant educator. Now I want introduce Michael to all readers who do not know him yet.

As mentioned before I am a foster parent. Michael came to me when he was five months old through the foster care system. He was born 13 weeks premature and had a lot of health problems. At the time I got him he was in the hospital again. After I learned to know him a little and had received some training from hospital staff I was allowed to bring him home. Along with him came a heart monitor that he had to wear at all times, a nebulizer and about six different prescription medications. He was basically unresponsive and we were not sure if he could hear or see.

Many times during the first two weeks he was with me the alarm on the heart monitor would sound. Some times it was a false alarm and sometimes he had briefly stopped breathing. Then early one morning the alarm went off and he had stopped breathing again. This time was different though because when I picked him up he did not start breathing again. I called him, shook him gently and still nothing happened. I grabbed the phone and called 911 and prepared to start CPR. Then he gasped and started breathing again. In the hospital that night and over the next couple of weeks in the hospital he did the same thing numerous times. Finally surgery was done to widen his airways. Six weeks after that frightening night he came home again.

His breathing problems were much better although he still had to have regular nebulizer treatments for awhile. Slowly he began to develop and his own personality began to show through. Now at 30 months old he is walking, running, throwing a ball, beginning to potty train(his idea!), and amaze us every day. Developmentally he his from 18mn-30mn. with hi speech showing the biggest delay. He sees, he hears, and he communicates very well.

Every day when we look at him we know we are seeing a miracle from God!

As soon as I figure out how to post pictures I will be sure to post some of him.

By the end of March or beginning of April his adoption should be finalized and he will be child legally as he already is in my heart.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

It's hard to believe that last weekend at this time we had snow and by Monday there was 6-7 inches. Now I'm sitting outside in 75 degree weather.

Yesterday I thought I was going to have the day off but by 11:00AM we ended up with six kids between the ages of 5 months and 10 years of age. So, needless to say a lot of things I had planned to do went undone. Of course, I wasn't THAT excited at the thought of washing my back staircase or cleaning out my refrigerator. I was sorry though that we never got the soft pretzels made that I had planned. Oh well, another day.

We had three interviews last week for childcare. One of the kids began coming the next day and another new child will begin this weekend. The third one I am not sure about yet. It depends on which shift her mother has to take.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


The last two days I've been helping my kids set up their own blogs. Austin has yet to post anything on his blog but Amanda is having a blast typing away as fast as she can. As you can see if you check out her blog she is a list maker.
Yesterday was as busy as Monday was quiet. We had a total of 13 daycare kids between the ages of seven months and 12 years. Not all at once though. Some were before or after school kids. Most of the time was fun. Lots of stories, songs, and games. Memory match is the definite favorite of the preschoolers right now and we played five rounds of it yesterday. At least I have several sets of cards in different themes. Yesterday it was Diego. And Old McDonald had some very interesting aniamals on his farm-including a teddy bear and a seahorse. What sound does a seahorse make anyway?
Today was busy as well with a total of 11 kids. My assistant, Marie, took the day off because her daughter was in the hospital having her baby. So I was on my own. Well, not really on my own because Austin and Amanda help so much.
Amanda took in on herself today to clean my room and Michael's room (without me asking her to). That was a major lift for me. And this was after she had already completed all her other morning chores.
This afternoon while the little kids took naps Austin and Amanda and I did our "schoolwork". I hesitate to even label it that because it is so much fun for us and very much interest led. Their interests, not always mine, although for the most part I am thorougly enjoying it as well. Amanda worked on taking a personality test that she found in the book she is reading now-"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens". Austin and I read together from a science book about air pressure. I read a chapter from "Anne of Avonlea" to them and also several chapters from Exodus. Then Amanda wanted to post on her blog so while she was doing that I read to Austin. He loves science and especially animals so we printed some information about foxes and about dolphins from the internet and I read some of those to him. Amanda was listening in and commenting while she was typing. One of the articles had a pie graph and a bar graph in it and we discussed how to read the graphs. We also played some math war with multiplication cards. Overall a very good afternoon.
It is very quiet here now. All the daycare kids have left and Doug took the older kids to church so it's just Michael and I. And since he is just learning how to dress and undress himself he is very busy sitting in the floor trying to pull his shirt off. Learning, learning everywhere!

Monday, March 2, 2009


Today has been a nice quiet day so far. Six-seven inches of snow overnight has slowed business dramatically today.
I only have four kids here for daycare today and three of the four are school-age. They have been busy with my two oldest kids all day. The fourth child is seven months old and has slept quite a bit. I guess she had a busy weekend.
I haven't been back on the blog in the past week because I've reviewing the research on nonverbal learning disorder. My 12 yr. old son has nld and lately I've felt like we are at a standstill developmentally and that I needed a refresher course and some new ideas. Also my assistant here at the daycare has been asking some questions and I needed to find some information for her to help her understand the issues we are dealing with daily.
The hardest thing to deal with lately has been his temper which I really believe is caused by his frustration. He realizes that learning and simply dealing with life in general is much harder for him than for his younger sister (age 10).
After doing a lot of reading I feel better equipped to deal with everything. I also found some really neat ideas for projects that we can do together that I hope will be fulfilling and challenging for him without overwhelming him.
And now I am off to do some more research.