Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pictures from Legoland











Friday, April 4, 2014

Life

I've been too busy LIVING life lately that I haven't had any time to write about life.

We had a great Spring Break and did some traveling. It was fun. We spent the night at Great Wolf Lodge. I hope to share pictures eventually.

Then, when we came back from Great Wolf Lodge, we added a member to our family: a 17 year old boy. We're open to ages 0-3 so it was certainly unexpected that we took a teen. We get calls for teens all the time, but we've always said no. This was a weird circumstance so we found out a little bit about him and agreed for a trial visit. He's very polite and respectful but, as expected, has some emotional issues. He loves soccer, so the boys like that since they play soccer, too. It's exhausting having to get him to practice, to school, to friend's houses, to WalMart for the crap he needs for school tomorrow, to the church where his girlfriend goes.... It's always something. We're always driving someone somewhere.

We had to get him into school and change his PCP on his insurance and meet with the counselors at his school and schedule doctor, vision, dental visits. We had to go to court. We had to meet with his social worker (several times). Life is just...busy. In a good way, though.

And Baby Smurf is still with us and he has court next week.

Timothy had his state testing with his school on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and an appointment 3 hours away at the Children's Hospital on Thursday. These kids just keep up hopping!

Life is busy, but we're still here.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Soccer

We started our second season of Soccer this weekend!

It's amazing how Samuel's changed in just one season. This weekend, he actually ran after the ball and tried to kick it! He seemed to ultimately be enjoying himself, too. His coach seems to really just be letting them have fun; she wasn't trying to teach them any fancy soccer skills. Really, I just want Samuel to have fun so I'm very pleased with that!

Timothy has moved up to the U11 team even though he's only 7. I was very concerned that my 1st grader is on a team with 4th graders. He's very tall for his age. Even so, he's the shortest kid on the team. To complicate matters, his team has no coach. A dad stepped in to coach on the weekends, but he drives a truck and can't do any practices. Another team's coach said the two teams could practice together. So, the coach for the games will never get to practice with the boys...that's too bad.

(They asked my husband to coach and he said NO. I work nights and there's no way he can coach practice while watching a newborn and an 18 month old).

There are good things about Timothy's team, though. They only have 2 extra players so the bench isn't a problem (there's only 1 other kid there with Timothy). They won their first game. The dad who is coaching the games doesn't really yell or scream; he just lets what happens happen.

Timothy played WAY less than all the other players and he's certainly the slowest kid out there. However, he didn't seem bothered by it at all. If he realized he spent more time on the bench than anyone else, he didn't let us know. He was just thrilled that his team won the game.

If the kids are happy, I'm happy too!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Timothy Reading


video
He's reading!! Tonight, he just read and read and read without complaint. He is finally really getting it! I am so proud. (He uses the TAG pen for words he doesn't know).

Friday, March 7, 2014

PACE Evaluation

Children in foster care can sometimes be overlooked. For example, children might need counseling and not get it. However, every child that comes into care doesn't need counseling. So who decides?

In our state, we have a PACE evaluation. Every child in foster care has to complete it within 60 days. A team from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences center comes out and they do a full assessment on the child. For an older child, this involves a psychological report, an academic report, an eye exam, a dental exam, physical therapy evaluation, so on and so forth. If the child tests behind academically, the PACE team will "recommend" private tutoring. If the child tests behind in small motor coordination, the PACE team will "recommend" physical therapy. The thing is, these "recommendations" are actually requirements. The team decides what services the child needs and those are the services the child gets.

Really, it's a good way to make sure that children are getting all the services they need. Studies show that foster children are much more likely to be delayed in all areas.

This morning, Smurf had his PACE evaluation. His only took an hour since he's only 6 weeks old. For older children, they can take up to 8 hours!!

They had one specialist test his "cognitive" skills. Yes, they knew he was 6 weeks old. Even though he's 44 days, his cognitive skills tested at 20 days. (They did things like see if he turned to a rattle or see if he would track an object with his eyes)

Another specialist tested his expressive and receptive communication. He tested at 3 weeks old. (For this, what really hurt him was that he didn't smile to a smile, which he has JUST reached the window of). Both of these specialists were really reasonable and decided to just recommend that he get retested at 5-6 months old. In a supportive environment (which he currently has) he'll likely thrive once all the drugs are out of his system.

The doctor also watched him eat and wasn't happy with how milk dribbles out of his mouth so he "recommended" Smurf get a swallow study at the Children's hospital. They're also a little concerned with Smurf's weight so we'll have to go to the doctor for regular weight checks.

If foster parenting were just about watching the child, life would be so much easier. But this week we had a doctor appointment for his circumcision, a social worker visit, 2 visits with mom, court (which was rescheduled), a meeting with the CASA, a sibling visit, the Early Intervention appointment, the PACE evaluation....feeding the baby and keeping him happy is the easy part. Getting him to all that "stuff" is really the hard part, especially when we're trying to juggle demands of work and our other children.

Nevertheless, Smurf is doing well. There's talk that his mom might get prosecuted for neglect for having a child born with drugs. This is something new for our state, but the precedent was recently set that they can prosecute mothers for neglect for babies born addicted to drugs. So, I suppose we just wait and see what happens.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Early Intervention

Early Intervention came to the house today to test Hannah and Baby Smurf. Hannah officially tested out of the program; her language is great and she's doing everything she needs to do. I am constantly amazed by her verbal abilities and her memory....she just seems to pick up on things so easily! So, hooray for Hannah no longer getting her developmental therapy!

Baby Smurf was referred by DHS. Here, all children with a DHS investigation receive a referral to Early Intervention even if they aren't removed from their parents. Baby Smurf is only about 6 weeks old, but they asked a lot of questions that really surprised me. Does he smile? No. Does he laugh? No. Does he track you across the room? No. Does he coo? No. I'm wondering if their chart is off because I'm not sure those are milestones he should have at only 6 weeks old, anyway.

Baby Smurf needs more thorough developmental testing. The worker said that normally drug-exposed infants do need some therapies, so it wouldn't be surprising if Baby Smurf needs some, too. Right now, Baby Smurf eats and sleeps. He'll stare into your eyes while he's eating, but that's about it. We haven't seen a smile yet (not even a "gas" type smile) but we're sure looking forward to that first smile...and the first laugh...and the first roll over....and......

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

DisneySide House Party





We were selected to host a #DisneySide House Party and boy did we have fun! Disney has been a big part of our life since we had children; Timothy's been to Disneyworld twice in his 7 years of life. We've had Toy Story birthday parties and watched more episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse than I'd like to count. I can't wait until May when our family gets to go enjoy our DisneySide at Walt Disney World!! We're flying to Florida and staying for 10 days at All Star Sports Resort!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Visual Environment

We're trying to follow the How Smart is Your Baby program as best we can with 4 children in the house. Right now, we're working on textures, mobility, and vision. It's a good thing we already have everything needed or there would just be no way to get it done!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Spelling Words



Timothy's started having weekly spelling tests in his phonics lessons. So far, they've been easy words like met and fun and bonus words like suntan. We practiced his spelling words in shaving cream last week. It was all well and good until Hannah and Samuel joined in! I was wiping shaving cream off the chairs, off the floor, off their clothes....

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Science

Timothy's working on a unit on light in his Virtual Academy. He learned about opaque, translucent, and transparent objects. He built a sundial and learned about shadows. He learned about the light spectrum and how rainbows and formed. Overall, I'm still quite pleased with our Virtual Academy!

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Daisypath Happy Birthday tickers

Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers

Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers