Friday, December 27, 2013
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Thursday, November 7, 2013
As you can imagine, a household of 13 individuals produces lots of laundry! Currently we have one large capacity front load washer, and one large capacity dryer. We put quite a bit of mileage on those appliances each year. Laundry day is EVERY day. If I am out with appointments one or more days during a given week, the catch up can be challenging. Four of the older kids do their own laundry, each on an assigned day, including their bedding and towels (each kid has their own towel). The number of loads varies on the events of the day: diaper/catheter malfunctions mean additional bedding/pillows - as was the case yesterday. We use homemade laundry detergent and instead of dryer sheets we use wool dryer balls.
People are always curious about how I cook for a large family. I remind them that I stared preparing meals for a much smaller family, and just learned to make more as we grew one (or two) at a time. Meals are planned. There is no "winging it" when you cook for 13. I plan for a week or two weeks at a time, trying to arrange meals based on the calendar (meaning if one of the kids has a specialist appointment, then it's usually a simple meal that can go in the crockpot, like a soup). We have 4 crockpots of varying sizes. We also have 2 bread machines that are used to make dough for pizza, rolls, breadsticks, English muffins, etc. We eat lots of soups, casseroles, pasta/rice dishes.
Last year my husband moved us to a completely electronic calendar. Initially I resisted giving up my old fashioned paper calendars, but it has been a huge improvement. We both have a calendar on our phones and on the iPad at home. Whenever we add an event, it immediately uploads to ALL the calendars. Technology is awesome! I schedule follow up/routine appointments when I am at the doctor/dentist/orthodontist/specialist with the kids. It's impossible to keep track if I don't get it on the calendar immediately. We have eleven kids in 8 different schools, 6 different districts, so keeping track of schedules is essential. We try to be very conscious of how much we put on the calendar. Not every person can do every event that comes up, or it would result in complete chaos. For instance, my one daughter is finishing up her cross country season, just in time for my two seniors to start practice for the school play. Two of our kids participate in special olympics bowling, but practices are just Saturday mornings. There seems to be a natural rotation so that everyone gets to participate in some activities that they enjoy. It's also been very helpful having two additional drivers in the house! Part two coming soon.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
We are having so much fun with our special visitor. We enjoy seeing his personality come out and the friendships that are forming. He had a dental exam and cleaning (and was a model patient), went to the movies, visited with some cousins, went out to eat, and celebrated his birthday! He fits in perfectly with our crew. Not sure how we will say goodbye soon. We are praying that it won't be goodbye, but rather "see you later"!
Friday, July 26, 2013
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Friday, July 5, 2013
I want to be clear, I do not regret for one second that we adopted Irina. I love this little girl with a fierceness I can't even describe. But, it has been hard in ways I could never have imagined. There are worries and challenges I have never previously experienced with any of our other children. Somedays we rejoice at the amazing progress she has made, and the milestones she has met and surpassed. Somedays I cry. Hard. Somedays Autism makes me feel like a failure as a mom. Most days I wish it wasn't a challenge that Irina (and our family) has to face.
This week we took our son for a follow up appointment with the Developmental Pediatrician. He sees his doctor on a regular basis for his ADHD and Down syndrome diagnoses, but we had some specific concerns regarding his development and behavior. The doctor spent three hours evaluating Luke and discussing our concerns. We are scheduling some more testing/evaluating, but I knew at the end she was going to say that her concern was Autism.
The drive home from the appointment, I was a little surprised about how fine I felt. Maybe hearing "autism" for a second child was easier to accept? It wasn't until hours later that it hit me like a ton of bricks, and I felt my knees might buckle and the tears flowed. I don't love my son any less, and he is the same little boy he was days ago, but it's hard to explain the weight of an Autism diagnosis. It is a hard road to travel.
Maybe you are facing a potential Autism diagnosis for your child? Maybe you just have concerns that your child's development is tracking toward ASD. I guess I just want to say you aren't alone. It's not an easy thing to hear. It doesn't change "who" your child is, but it does set you on a new path. Autism is a road that isn't easy to travel, but one that I can assure you that you will not travel alone. I am no Autism expert. I'm still trying to find my way. I am just a fellow traveler, but I understand. Feel free to contact me if you need someone to talk to.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Monday, June 24, 2013
It's hard to believe that four years ago on Irina's birthday, we were in Ukraine adopting her. It made us so thankful it was the last birthday she would experience in an orphanage. Every year since, she celebrates as a precious daughter, who is treasured and loved!