Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Absence Was The Computer's Fault

I've really missed being able to post and comment lately.  My old computer completely bit the dust and although I had backed up and moved all of my files to an old laptop it was not a seamless transition.  So I have been struggling with this annoying laptop and have finally wrestled into somewhat of submission.  Hopefully I can now use my files and favorites and all that good stuff to keep up with everyone and even let you all know what is happening here.  

So belated Merry Christmas, hope everyone had some joy.

The big kids (written before Christmas but lost in broken computer land.)

The "big kids" as viewed from Dancing Baby Girl's perspective!  (see her head at the bottom of the picture.  They were all discussing putting the star on top of the tree the day we decorated.
Interactions between these two are not always the best but they are getting better.  They are the last two home and have been for a couple of years now so there has been jockeying for postion going on as well as just getting tired of each other.  But still I see enough expressions of caring and compassion to know that they do care for one another.

We have been lucky so far with both of these teens in that we have not had a lot of the typical teen defiance and bad choices from either of them.  Douglass' mental health issues can make him high maintenance and difficult to live with but so much of that is not choice of behaviors that we roll with it and go on.

I'd like to think that it is because of my wonderful parenting, and I do think there is a kernel of that, I have indeed learned something over the years, but I also think a lot of it has to do with the truly attached relationship we developed over the years of homeschooling.  The level of respect between the parents and children (teens) is very high and because of that respect we treat each other differently, we interact differently and life is better than was possible with any of my other kids.  In retrospect I really regret that I did not homeschool all of my kids through at least part of their school years.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What a Christmas Present!!!

I haven't posted much about our funding problems with Annie because it has just been too life sucking.  Suffice it to say that we have been doing the Medicaid denial of funds and subsequent appeal dance for the last few months.  We have called in favors from our network of social service folk, and we have talked with our State Senator and Representative (or at least their minions).  But we were really scared.  We cannot let Annie come back home because she is too dangerous to the other people in the home, particularly Kendra as she has intense jealousy towards her and has physically attacked her many times in the past.  But there didn't seem to be anywhere for her to go, I am not sure even homeless shelters would take her.

Well today the official sounding knock came at the front door and I was required to sign a certified letter for Annie.  We opened it and to our surprise discovered that Annie has qualified for the Acquired Brain Injury Waiver.  This is a new funding program and there were only 50 spots funded for this year and Annie got one!!  Some one is looking out for her, her guardian angel pulled some major strings.

With this funding stream we can now seek a residential/group home style facility for her much closer to home and one that will meet her needs for brain injury rehabilitation.  This funding stream was created to fill the hole between children's services which end at 18 and adult services which don't start until 21.  It is totally amazing that Annie got funded.  I mean, I am not saying that she isn't in desperate need but so are so many others.

The weight that has been lifted from our shoulders is immense.  I feel like we can be happy at Christmas now.

There is still a lot to do, we have to find a case management agency and then start investigating programs.  There is one we have in mind but we don't know if they have an opening or if they would consider Annie given her issues.  But it so much more hopeful to know that now we can start looking for a home for Annie rather than worrying about her being homeless.

Our prayers have been answered and now there are just the ton of details to deal with, but I am not  complaining.

The pictures won't work

I wanted to post the pics of the other children (?), young adults helping to decorate the tree as they were having a great time also.  It is rare for Kendra and Douglass to horse around together, so it was fun to see.  But the pictures won't work for some reason.  This new computer thing has me frazzled.  I have been assured by my resident computer geek, aka DH, that all my files have been transferred, etc, but I can't access some of them because I am not the administrator.  See it is a laptop borrowed  from the business so it is frustrating to wdeal with right now.  And I don't want to seem too grouchy about it all as DH took several hours to get me set up with this machine and he saved all my important files from the other machine.  Still the pictures won't work as I can't connected to the network, argghhh!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Missing Letter

My PC dies.  An unhappy demise.  I am using Kendra's lapPC which isn't letting me use the letter that resides between N and P in the alphabet.  I will write using all letters except that 1.  It may be a little stilted and very unusual.  I am sure it will be a challenge but certainly an achievable thing.  Glad I'm keeping this relatively unlengthy as I might wander in a state resembling despair!
Will I be writing again in the near future?  Perhaps, but maybe using my PC at my engagement that pays.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bad News, Prayers Needed

Lani told me when I took DBG back that her, Lani's father had been taken to the emergency room again with heart issues, apparently an aneurysm. So prayers for DBG's PaPaw. He is the glue right now holding things together. If he cannot support the family financially I don't know what will happen. Lani is of course panicked, but luckily her big sister flew in to help out so the burden is not entirely on her shoulders.

Computer Problems and an Action Packed Weekend

What could possibly be grander than seeing the big guy in red and getting to dance on the big stage? Dancing Baby Girl had quite a blast at the Christmas dance recital.
Then it was on to tree decorating. First DBG had to supervise the placing of the lights. Luckily my DH has the patience of a saint.
Then it was time to decorate. Boy did DBG have a blast. She looked at each ornament, wanted to hear the story that went with it and took real care in hanging them. She is wearing her Christmas dress here as we had a Christmas program at church. you may not be able to see, but the dress sparkles, her tights sparkled and she had on glittery shoes. She was in seventh heaven and the envy of the Sunday School classroom. Hey, what are quality hand-me-downs for?
After all that she changed so that we could make cookies for Santa Claus. I am not sure she really understands that Christmas is still a few days off. But we put milk and cookies under the tree anyway. Who can deny the hope of a 4 year old? (She kept looking up the chimney to see if he was coming down :-))

After all that she took her reindeer for a ride and had a wonderful imaginative playtime with the reindeer and the snowman, constructing an elaborate story. She was being such a delightful goober that we did a whole series of funny pictures with the reindeer.
On another note, my computer is very ill. I backed it all up to the server and it is limping along but I do not know for how long. So if you don't hear from me for a bit it is just computer issues.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Favorite 15 Year Old

I love this girl. One minute gawky, fun loving kid, the next introspective, mature adult. This is by far the most pleasant of all my children to be around. (No offense all you other moody folk!) She has her things she needs to work on, like helping with chores and keeping any sense of organization of her own stuff, but aside from those things all is well in the 'ville. I think she has benefited from the luck of her birth order. I know if I still had a passel around the house, that the resistance to chores and the detritus of her life strewn about the house would really have worn on me. Now when she is often the only one about I have a higher tolerance for the mess. I still don't clean it up or take responsibility for knowing where anything is, but I have more time and less stress to let her cope with the consequences of being messy and disorganized.
She has been the recipient of the best of my parenting. All the skills I have learned, the books I have read, the techniques I have practiced were experiments on the other kids. By the time we got around to this darling I pretty much had a handle on how to do this parent thing in the least destructive manner to both the child and myself. It helps so much also that she has an easygoing and happy personality.
I truly miss the time we spent together homeschooling, although I love to see her flourish and grow at the Youth Performing Arts High School. I do not have the same sense of worry and impending doom that I had about a number of my other teens who when faced with the difficult choices of the high school years seemed to always choose the drama filled, negative consequence generating, sometimes life threatening path. This one has a good head on her shoulders and a sense of who she is and who she wants to be.
I don't think I am deluding myself, she will inevitably take some wrong turns. But she will take responsibility for her choices and be able to see appropriate ways out of her predicament.
It is refreshing after having been worn down by years of parenting difficult, sometimes violent, sometimes law breaking, sometimes suicidal, teens to not be under that kind of stress and still be parenting a teen. Almost, let me stress almost, makes me sorry she is the last of our long line of teens (she is 9 of 9).

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Hike pics

As is our tradition on Thanksgiving we got the pies baked and the turkey in the oven and then we all went for a hike. usually we go a little further afield and find some actual forest/wooded park land for our hike, but this year we had a lot of rain and the trails were very mucky so we took advantage of the walk beside the river. From these photos it is hard to tell that we are right downtown. Even that little bit of nature was incredibly uplifting.

I was unexpectedly blessed...

Sometimes blessings in life come in the most unexpected packages, from people and situations that we would least expect to see the hand of God at work in the world. I am no stranger to the incredible generosity of many, many good folk in the work area of my life. Working in the Public Relations/Recruitment/Development area for the children's home I am often amazed at the way people will reach into their pockets to help abused and neglected kids.

That being said, I was still unprepared for an experience that I had TWICE last Thursday. We were downtown at the central eating/shopping area during the lunch hour handing out fliers to the corporate lunch crowd about the Santa Sleepwear Drive that the local business association was sponsoring. It was hovering at 32* and we handed out over 400 fliers in a 3 hour period. The initial response was tremendous and hopefully we will see the fruits of our labors at the collection times that are upcoming.

Any time you hang out downtown you have a chance to interact with the homeless and the mentally ill. Thursday was no exception. We had the corporate executives in their business suits and cashmere overcoats as well as grimy, smelly, unkempt folk shivering in their meager clothing. As we were a diversion from the usual we drew any number of homeless who stopped by to chat and ask questions about our display. Most of them were interested in our giveaways, the ink pens, the post-it-note pads, the magnets, etc. And it was fine, that was what they were there for.

It was amazing how much compassion these folks expressed, any number of them revealed that they had grown up in foster care, and hoped that the children we served would have a nice Christmas. We were not specifically collecting money although we had our donation box out as we do whenever we have a display.

It brought tears to my eyes when two different homeless women, women with nothing to their name, women who were living on the streets, gave us a donation from their meager resources. The percentage amount that they gave to help another was incredible. I was reminded of the Widow's Mite, etc. But to see it in action, to see people who have nothing give to others that they perceive as being more needy than themselves, and to give with no thought of reward or recognition or compensations. It humbled me in a profound way. And it blessed me as well. To see the good of God in unexpected places is so the message of Christmas and to be able to be present before God's work was ... I am wordless.

Thanks be to God and may God hold the homeless in warm hands in the coming days.