Welcome!! Grab a cup of coffee and visit with us! We hope you enjoy our story! (((HUGS)))

Welcome!! Grab a cup of coffee and visit with us! We hope you enjoy our story! (((HUGS)))

Thursday, September 29, 2011

JC is not moving in

We fought the good fight. We lost.

The good news is we found out information that we really needed to know, but had not been told. JC has a behavior that would have very negatively affected our SP who has lived with us 22 years.

SP has Schizophrenia. She is very challenging to live with. People often ask how we do it. :o) Lord willing we do, with His strength. We love her unconditionally. We don't take her behaviors personally. But JC is a man who has a behavior that would cause great tension between him and SP. This could cause him to become aggressive towards Tom and I. (his past has proven this) His behavior would then cause SP to put herself in harms way. She is "drawn" to danger. We can handle lots of behaviors, but acting out aggressively towards us would be too much. SP inviting abuse to happen to herself cannot happen. We found out just in time.

Our County Officially denied his placement today because they felt that our children were most vulnerable to his behavior.

Honestly our children would not have been around JC. Our living area is far from where his room would be.(upstairs) They might see JC at a distance but I can't see them seeking to be with him. Or having a relationship with him. He wants a relationship with a woman. He also prefers solitude. We knew the children would be protected and watched by us. We didn't know about this behavior, when we did we realized that for SP it would be devastating. God was watching over us.

We are sad. We really needed the money to pay for 2 little boy's surgeries and our new adoption. God will show us another way to figure this out. Our budget is so very very tight. We don't "need" anything. We are beyond blessed. Even with the thought of JC moving in we didn't loosen up our strict saving for the adoption!! :o)

We just need help paying for the last 3 boys to come home.
Please pray with us as we find the funds!
Thank You!!
((((HUGS))) my precious brothers and sisters in Christ!


October 8th we pack up everything. Time to push in the 5th wheel slider. Set out the mouse traps- about 30. Throw around the stinky lavender moth ball sachets that mice hate. And go home with about 20 loads of end of the year laundry!

Julius & Pauly don't know yet what home is. They had left their only home, the orphanage, for 5 days in a hotel with Dad and Gabe. They never had a Dad or brother before. Then they left their Country of birth for a 30 hour trip "home", to a foreign land, a new Country. After being "home" only 2 weeks, they left to go up north on vacation. After 5 weeks on vacation they will once again return "home". The only constant these 2 months for them has been the people- their family- us. I can't begin to imagine how confusing this has been for them. Today I realized- they want some control. I know I'm slow!

I think some of their odd behaviors like- enjoying a meal but then hating it a few days later is just one of their many attempts at wanting some control. Things like pushing us away. Not responding to affection. I wasn't thinking of "control" issues with these 2 pumpkins because they are so young and their behaviors are so immature. But I know even babies like control! I vividly remember when we adopted Andy at 7 1/2, control was a huge issue. It was how he tried to make sense out of everyone telling him what to do. Same with Molly at 5 1/2, she too wanted control. Control can be a means of survival for children.

Recently the boys have decided to control when they sleep. They like staying up late- 12 a.m. to 1 a.m. They like to sleep in- till close to lunch. They don't want to take a nap till 5 p.m. instead of 1 p.m. after lunch. These new times mess things up for the rest of us! But bless their little hearts they sure are giving it their best shot to control their sleep! LOL!

Pauly likes to control how much interaction he allows us to have with him. He tunes us out quickly. He isn't interested in more than a few minutes of attention. Quick short bursts, and he's done. The rest of the time he becomes introverted in his autistic type behaviors. Julius will allow lots of interaction. But he won't respond. We kiss him, hug him, he's fine with it all. But he does not acknowledge us or what we are doing.

Patience with the boys is hard sometimes, day after day the boys choose not to interact. Everything we do seems to be so strange to them. They choose not to mimic games and desired behavior we teach them. They choose not to put foods in their own mouths or make vocal sounds, or attempt to dress themselves. We remind ourselves that we are doing this without expecting results any time soon. Easier said than done! :o)
I hug and love on the rest of the kids in an exaggerated manner, to show the boys how we respond to each other and how much fun it is. They watch. They see. We hope eventually they will want to express this kind of affection with us too.

It's funny that as much as we try to keep our routine the same, so that they know what to expect- they are trying to change it!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

beaten and battered

Tonight I'm feeling beaten and battered.

I have a group home. I have run it for 24 years. Negotiations with the government never get easier. In fact they get harder. I jump thru their hoops constantly. It's part of the job. I'm licensed by the State and the County.

We all know the economy is bad. I asked for a raise 5 years ago for one of my gals. I was blessed, I got it. After 3 years of state budget cuts it is almost gone now. We have new budget cuts this year. They were to be started in July, but they were held off till September. The state government had shut down.

I get paid the month AFTER I provide the previous months service. So I will bill for September when I get home 10/8. That check will come by the end of October, depending on the billing cycle for that month. Room and board is paid by the County by the 15th of the month they are paying. What landlord would let you pay like that? Rent must be paid by the 1rst!

A week ago I received a letter stating that my pay may be cut "extra" if my gals are considered "low needs" clients. Low needs? Alzheimers and DS? Schizophrenia and developmentally disabled? No my women are high needs.

On Thursday Tom is getting the mail again from the last 2 weeks. I am dreading what our $$ cuts will be. I e-mailed the County workers, they did not respond. This stinks when we are on vacation. (Altho my mom says I never get a real vacation because I take our clients with us every where we go.) But the reality of the job never leaves, whether the women are with us or not, because that is the job, so the women are actually the fun part of everything- the State and County crud that continues while were gone just STINKS!

One year another group home provider told me- to just walk into the County and bring one of your gals (I had 3 then) that you don't mind losing and tell the County; if you don't get what you want, they can have her back. That was not an option for me- ever. I will suffer in silence before my clients ever have to suffer. There have also been budget cuts to my clients personal needs and medical care money. I now use my money to pay for these things, so their quality of life won't change. I don't feel like that makes me a better person. Just a responsible person.

So tonight as I read e-mails from the day I see that at the last minute, 14 days before JC moves in, from the County JC lives in, they want to play the "rate" game with me. They say his care is not any more difficult since his hospitalization and his last large corporate provider was paid less than what I am asking. Really??!! Then why won't his last provider take him back? Not because they want an empty bed. And every new provider requests more money than the last. It never goes down!!

None of these County/State workers live with our clients or anyone even like our clients. They just shuffle papers and dollars. They don't have a clue. And they never sympathize with the little guy. In fact there are very very few mom and pop group homes left. They don't care. I miss my friends who quit because the politics were too much. They provided excellent care.

Sometimes the bad guy wins. Sometimes life is incredibly unfair. I am not a fighter and I often ask the Lord to let me lay down, I just get so tired.

Tomorrow morning a battle I dread begins. Please pray for JC. To me this is not about us- but him. He has been lost in limbo without a home for 60 days, no fault of his own. Just politics. When did the Lord's people become politics?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

So now we're getting to know each other!

They boys are changing and letting their guard down. Showing us more and more who they are. :o)

Tonight Julius decided that he did not want to eat. Seriously? Little boys from orphanages refusing food? Healthy nutritious food? I understood when they did not like the taste of a meal (stuffing). But this was a rice dish they have eaten and loved twice before. So I convinced him to eat it. He was initially hungry, he saw his bowl and got excited for it. But 3 bites in- nope. He was going to "store" it in his mouth. He ate it slowly and reluctantly. Not alot, but just enough to hold a small underweight boy over till morning.

In the meantime I hadn't paid much attention- but Pauly was watching. It took zero bites for Pauly to decline his dinner. Next time they won't get to watch each other eat! LOL! Pauly too had shown great excitement at the thought of dinner....waiting till Julius was done. Silly boys. Pauly did eat more than Julius.

When they first came home they were hungry!! I guess 5 days in a hotel with Gabe and Dad's limited cooking would make anyone hungry! And poor orphanages with bland repetitive diets, would make big bowls heaping with tasty ingredients look wonderful. We do try to make things as appetizing as possible- even up north. We're blessed with really good eaters with our youngest 4 kids ages 7,8,9 and 10. They even enjoy cold chicken after a day in the woods!(two of our oldest 4 now in their 30s were the pickiest eaters we ever had!)

I remember when we first got up here to the lake September 2. Pauly had whined the whole 2 hour drive, and then continued on 2 hours more as we unpacked. I thought- what if I just told him to stop it?? So I did.....and he stopped!! I realized little boys can be naughty, no matter what environment they come from. Most times after that I could tell if Pauly was really sad or just being crabby! Not to minimize his sadness- Pauly mourned B*ul*garia long and hard. He can still have his moments. He really had a difficult time with his loss. Julius did too. But Julius worked hard to adjust. Julius is just more passive aggressive when he wants his way. We are always surprised by how totally different their personalities are!! Two very different little boys from the same place!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thank You!! and boy's update :o) plus a prayer request!

We have a new donation on our Family Support Page!
Thank You so much!! ((((((BIG HUG))))))

We found out that our boys hate one of my one pot meals. It's a stove top stuffing dish. :o( They gagged,spit, and drooled it everywhere. But they didn't swallow it!! Aaaack!! Tom had brought us clean clothes and now I was covered in bits of dinner!! My recipe is Stuffing mix and add frozen corn (cooked), broth (homemade with garlic and onion) lots of butter and lots of finely chopped chicken that was slow cooked in garlic in the crockpot. I hate pre-made mixes, but after adding all of the extras it really is delicious! Two little boys from Bu*lga*ria strongly disagreed!!
They went to bed hungry because after that they wouldn't open their mouths for anything I offered????!!!!

Today the boys were all smiles and happiness. They didn't act hungry, but ate well all day. They ate lots of tuna noodles in white sauce.

Both boys have cold air asthma coughs up here in the cold fall northern woods. Day temps are 50s, night temps upper 30s. After nap we tried giving the boys wagon rides. Isaiah (7) held them on his lap. Paul first. Paul let out a wail and scowled. We didn't make him continue. Once in the trailer he wanted back in his playpen. He felt afraid. His autistic hand flapping comforted him. Poor baby. Julius went next. He looked worried, but he trusted Isaiah. Isaiah told me that Julius was looking at how pretty everything was and that Julius looked at the lake. I agreed. But I'm afraid in all honesty, Julius was overwhelmed by everything he saw. It was all unfamiliar and he has no words. He accepted the wagon ride for us. To be with us. Sweet baby boy.

We notice that both boys are beginning to understand us better each day. I move Paul once in a while to discourage him from making spit puddles. He tries to tune me out when I call his name and move towards him. Later he moves back to make another spit puddle, this time I point for him to move back to where I'm pointing. He half heartedly does! WOW!!

Please pray for my husband's heart. The Lord has placed something heavy on his heart, I think that it is something that Tom needs to follow God's lead on. But I don't know- it's between Tom and God. :o) This is new for Tom. Tom likes to be in control (who doesn't- wink). If he thinks he can't be in control he worries. I'm happy to see God working on Tom's heart. He doesn't want to talk about it with me right now. So I am watching and waiting. Please pray that Tom believes that God can do this thing through him. :o)

Thank You!! (((HUGS))) and prayers to you too! :o)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

They sure eat alot! LOL! But no sugar please!

Cooking up north in the 5th wheel is always more challenging. I make alot of combo-dishes. Tuna, noodle with veggie of choice, all in one pot. Rice, beans, salsa with cheese and sour cream, all in one bowl. So no separate servings of veggies-rice etc. Everything cooked in one big pot. We also gave up our PB & J sandwiches a few years ago for soup. You can throw everything but the kitchen sink in the crockpot for a great hot tasty soup!

The 5th wheel is our 2nd RV, the first was a trailer- 35' long. The 5th wheel is 29' but has a slide out. I like the higher ceiling of the 5th wheel. No matter how big the trailer, counter, table space is always small. 200' from our 5th wheel we plug the crock pot in our 24 X 24' garage. That garage has a freezer, refrigerator, dryer and a stove. I cook mostly in the 5th wheel with a hot plate and a big toaster oven. Our bunk house 12'X 24' is next to the 5th wheel. All of the room in there is for eating and sleeping, no room to cook.

For dinner, Paul & Julius eat huge bowls of the main meal. These boys can eat!! LOL!! I'm afraid that they are going to double in size soon!! Tom did not even believe me when I showed him how much they eat at dinner!

Julius needs to work on tongue thrusting as he eats. Each bite, he thrusts his tongue out and "tongues" the food before swallowing. I tap his tongue to remind him to pull it in. It's not easy for him to feel comfortable holding his tongue in and accepting a bite. But it's coming! He can hold his tongue in nicely for long periods of time. He mouth breathes, but not as much as our Samson. He has a tiny mouth, and quite a small head. Makes us wonder about FAS.

Pauly likes to store the food in his mouth as you feed him. I put a spoonful in, he waits, I put another in, he waits, I put a 3rd in - he swallows!! You can't see that his mouth is "full", he has a good sized mouth!! Then he may swallow it all, or swallow half of it, spitting the other half back out. Samson ate similar to this! So I know this game!! I beat him at it by waiting longer between bites. Or I hold the spoon ready to help half the food stay in for the next swallow. :o) If Pauly is hungry but doesn't like the food much, he drooools. The food goes in- the drooool comes out! LOL! UGH!! Pauly likes to stick his tongue way out and lick the tip of his nose, swirl it around and lick his chin. I've seen other kids with DS do this (and some adults). He needs to learn to control the amount of drool coming off of his tongue when he does this. Hopefully it is a developmental thing he'll quit doing as he grows. I don't think anyone cared how he looked doing these things at the orphanage.

For special occasions up here we make chocolate chip cookie bar cakes- or small GT Express (the info-mercial appliance!) cakes. Everyone loves them. We don't have much storage space so small cakes eaten quickly or 9 X 9 cookie bars will not need storage! We made cookie bars for Pauly's Happy birthday!!

Everyone loved them except- Pauly and Julius. This was the first time we ever saw either one hold a food- frosting- on the tip of their tongue and try to spit it out!! The crunchier cookie bar part made them gag!! They held these bites in their mouths until I took a paper towel and wiped them out for them. It was kind of sad. I am thrilled that they love fruits and veggies and real food. But sad that they think sweets are poison to their taste buds. I will have to make something like an apple sauce (homemade) for them. Our youngest 4 children can't begin to understand how deprived the boys have been. It makes no sense to them. It makes no sense to us.

I love how tickly Pauly is. Now when I take my hands and gently caress his head at bed time, he laughs at the slightest touch. Such a tickly little boy! It reminds me that no matter what disability a boy has, or where he has lived the last 3 years and 11 months. He still has heart of a little boy who loves the tickly tender touch of his momma.

Each day both boys let us touch them more and longer. We can't wait until they touch us first!! Julius has reached out to caress two of his sister's hair. It was so sweet!

(((HUGS))) my precious friends!

bad blogger!! My love MA = DS and alzheimers

Yes!! Bad blogger is keeping my side bar "fallen" to the bottom of this page!! UGH!!

This is a picture from last year when we were also up north for 5 weeks. We always take a picture of the kids at the end of summer up here. It's kind of like a yearly first day of school picture.
As we were getting the kids ready to take the picture,(waiting for the teenagers) MA slipped in here. I made her that sweatshirt- it says "Camping Woman". :o) She was/has always been our best camper. She used to take great pride in being a co-owner of our lake property. You see her payments to the group home help pay for the property. We told her this, she has supported our kids, our adoptions. We OWE her! She told her family and others that she had lake property. They poo-pooed her, but it was true! She doesn't understand those kinds of things anymore. I try not to think of the day when she won't be able to come up here with us anymore. We still OWE her, we tell her that often.

MA has DS and alzheimers.
I've written about it before. But I wanted to update everyone. It's more noticeable each year. Before the alzheimers, MA was like a 2nd mother to our kids!
I hate alzheimers. It steals the person you loved and gives you a new person to love. Things you took for granted change. I don't know how long it took MA to be potty trained but by 49, she was no longer able to hold it. Tonight at dinner there was a flood under her chair. She lost control. At the dinner table in the bunkhouse. No running water here, and bag already full of wet pants from today ready for the laundromat first thing tomorrow. Depends and adult diapers just can't hold it all. Why oh why don't they make something that will!! We make changing her wet pants so much fun that she doesn't even notice that the mess is everywhere. On her slippers now. She feels no shame- bless her precious heart. She just smiles, tells us "good dinner" and chattering on her way to the outhouse to change. Once out of the outhouse she tells me "Goodnight" and how much she loves me. No, it's not bedtime, but we spoil her now, we let her (within reason) do only what she wants. Sometimes spoiling her backfires. If she does something naughty- she adamantly blames everyone but herself! This is not my MA who used to have 2 part time jobs, live in her own apartment for 6 years and call me on the telephone when she needed me to come over.

You work so hard to teach them independence, politically correct behavior, math, reading, social skills. Only to see it all end. For our Susie it ended at 38. For MA it is going much slower, but too fast. I planned on growing old with Susie (a year younger than me) and MA (the same age as me). I know- life is what happens when we've made other plans. I thought we'd hobble around together. :o)

After 24 years of teaching independent living skills to adults with disabilities, I now provide end of life care for adults with disabilities. It started with Susie who died in '04 and then our daughter Molly in 2010. We've come full circle- Tom, me, MA and SP and now JC. Health wise Tom- the oldest of us- is the healthiest of the 5 of us. Poor guy! LOL!!

My MA no longer remembers what size clothes she wears. How to play cards. What day it is. Or when she last ate. She is choking on her food more frequently, aspirating things. Some days she's filled with joy and happiness. Some days she is angry and you can't reason with her.
But no matter what I thank God for having her in my life for 24 years. I hope I will be with her until the end, Lord willing. She has blessed my life incredibly, I can honestly say she loves me as much as I love her. In the early 90's I called her my "best friend". I didn't mean exclusively, I meant she was/is a best friend to me. Social workers were not happy, they poo-pooed that a "client" with a disability could be a best friend. They were wrong. She is my confidant, my best buddy (as she calls me) and my best friend. She is a gift from God.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

reality, and Pauly's birthday TODAY!! 9/20

Tonight reality set in.

Our boys, our 2 precious pumpkins are really home. Two little boys from Pe*rnik Bul*g*aria. I am their mom. They are MY sons.

After months and months of jumping thru paper hoops and waiting. They almost seemed un-real.

Now they are home. They are very real!

They are no longer learning how to survive in an orphanage. They are learning how to be loved and cherished by their very own family.

Oh how I wish we could bring home 2 more boys I saw in P*le*van, one is here- http://reecesrainbow.org/tony-11-11
and the other one is the boy we thought was our Noah. But he was a different boy. A boy so sweet our heart aches for him. Just as our heart aches for Tony. We are going back for 3 more precious boys. But there are so many more.

When I feed Julius & Pauly I cry tears of happiness. I watch them sleep like angels and I cry for all of the little boys without homes. Reality has set in. Sometimes it's good and joyful, other times it's achingly bittersweet. We can't save all of the boys. We have saved Paul & Julius, we will save Noah-Moses and Jacob. But the others...........we can't look away. We have to remember them and somehow help them.

Some days knowing there are so many orphan boys is more than I can bear. I hug Julius & Pauly as tight as they'll let me, and kiss them. Two boys have a life and a family. People just don't understand. They won't look at the boys or think about them- they are too busy with what?

On a happier note Pauly turned 4 today! Our baby Joy with DS who died in 1988 would be 23 today. Another HAPPY but bittersweet day. So much Joy!! Pauly is the baby of our family. We celebrated low key as not to upset him, we sang Happy Birthday alot!! :o)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Lovely :o(

My sidebar stuff just slid to the bottom of this page. UGH!!
Last time a few posts brought it back up. Or was it my imagination??


Are my sidebar gadgets gone now!! OH! POO!

Our home-Group Home

I was trying to label the pictures but blogger kept changing the placement of the captions!- UGH!! Alot of people ask us about how BIG our house must be to have a Group Home. It is only 1,325 sq. ft. Not really that big.

Our Group Home is the main floor only- although the able bodied clients can use the basement laundry room/bathroom.

The main floor has a front porch entry way, 3 bedrooms, (two large enough for 2 clients, one small bedroom for 1 client) one full bathroom, a livingroom, a hallway, kitchen, dining room, pantry, craft room (small).

Our clients never go upstairs. That is our private area. Off of the hallway you can go upstairs or to the basement.

In the basement there is a 2nd refrigerator, a big freezer, my computer area, lots of stored things plus the laundry/bathroom.

Upstairs there are 4 bedrooms and a full bathroom. A small bedroom for Samson, Julius & Isaiah. A large front bedroom for Lysa, Faith & Kitty. Another large bedroom with just Gabe in it- it has 2 sets of bunk beds, for the new boys. The 4th bedroom is ours- it is 18' X 26', it has a huge closet, a baby crib for Pauly, TV, tables, sewing area and a back door with steps going down to the dog kennel.

Our back yard is small and we have a 2 car garage in the shape of a barn that needs to be replaced.

I give up! Every time I try to edit this it deletes a photo! AAAAAACK!!

I hope you get the idea, you don't need a huge home to have a large family and group home!! LOL!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

patience and kindness

I'm not the most patient person in the world. But I really work at it I Cor. 13 = Love IS patient Love IS kind. I like to think I'm a kind person. Sometimes I think it's much easier to be kind than to be patient.

Many people think that I must be incredibly patient since I have so many children, and run a group home in my home. I know that I love what I do and am beyond blessed to do something I love. I hope and pray that as I age I grow in patience and kindness. The truth is my children and clients are much more patient and kind to me. I make sure I let them know how much I appreciate that.

I see that I, and now my younger children must be doing something right in the patience and kindness with our boys Julius & Paul. In only 4 weeks both boys have learned to respond in gentleness. Tonight as I kissed them and hugged them they accepted the physical contact with gentleness. When their brother and sisters reminded them to lay down for bed time- both boys were incredibly meek in their responses. No struggling to sit up or kick. Their guard was let down. They accepted our routine and they accepted our love and gentle corrections. Wow! Everything went so smoothly! It was a glimpse of hope for the future! Pauly even fell asleep before 11 p.m.! It was as if they were telling us that they like what we have been doing, even though they have struggled greatly to figure it out. The bonds between us grow stronger as these days get easier for all of us!

I wonder if the boy's hearts softened after I decided to treat them as my new babies rather than my little pre-schoolers. Accepting them where they are psychologically rather than where they "should" be. I wonder if they didn't feel pressured to be "good" or "nice". And in their grief of losing their only home and Country they just couldn't figure out how to behave.

They are watching, and they are learning.
Thank You! Your prayers have helped us all and touched our hearts in so many precious ways!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Baby boy's foods must be room temperature! Homestudy Blues!

Paul & Julius HATE two things- cold food- like from the refrigerator and warm food- like cooled down from the stove. They like it nearly cold but not cold! LOL!! So from the refrigerator we heat it up 30 seconds in the microwave. And at dinner we let it cool completely to what we would call "cold" food. The eat your dinner before it gets cold does not apply to them! If the temperature is not right- they cry!

Last Thursday Tom brought 2 weeks of mail for me to sort. One big envelope was from our adoption agency for the homestudy. I had already filled out everything- didn't I?? Months ago our social worker said.........quote............. "It shouldn't take long to update because you just finished an adoption."

O.K............then why is it taking so long? Why couldn't we have updated some of it earlier? Who knows. Just their preference.
Right away I had to send out multiple mailings to our new group home client JC's family for them to fill out. (I'm sure they were thrilled!) Then I had to send multiple e-mails explaining what it was. I put hundreds of post its on the forms with asterisks saying sign here- and here and here and..... OY!! I sent pre-stamped envelopes for everything to be sent on and returned. I held my breath waiting to hear- how un-excited they were to have to do this for us. Because they don't have to. They could move JC somewhere else. But no his sister told me-
"May your guardian angel shine upon all of you as mine has on me by crossing our paths.:)" How precious is that!! I love this family!!

JC is moving in the week we scheduled ALL of our adoption related appointments- I'm going to be exhausted!! LOL!! He needs awake night staff- that's me!

You know when you adopt a child you wonder - will they fit into our family? Will they adjust? Will we adjust? Can we handle it? What"if" it's too hard? And then you just do it, and you wonder why you sweat over nothing?? Because God called you to do it, regardless of what you "think". It's exactly the same with a new group home client- you pray- Lord? Can I do this? And you can and you know you can because it's His Will. He ALWAYS takes care of everything- because you can't. He didn't necessarily ask you to do it because you are so smart and talented and know about these things- but to show you that if He asks you to do it- He's not going to leave you hanging! He's going to do the hard stuff for you- through you! Isn't He just the best? We don't even deserve half of what He does for us!! Thank You God!! Without God, we could not do any of this. We'd make fools of ourselves. We'd wonder where "we" went wrong- when it's not even about us- it's ALL Him!!

(((HUGS))) my precious friends! I pray for all of you and even tho we've never met- He knows exactly who you are!! :o)

Friday, September 16, 2011

My babies are so much fun

Last night Tom went home to get 2 weeks of mail. I stayed up till 2 a.m. going thru it. I had the lights on and you would have thought it was the middle of the afternoon!

My babies, Julius & Paul were sleeping. They knew it was time to sleep even with mom up! They have stopped growling, humming and shouting in the night! They are now quiet. Sometimes they wake up to sit and rock. But they know it's time to sleep! Shhh! :o) At nap time after lunch, again they go to sleep. They are tired. They may wake up and look to see if we are dozing too and then they go back to sleep! Sweet babies!

I can put a blanket on Julius now and he "likes" it. He's not sure about it but he no longer throws it! He leaves his sheets on his bed now too!

They wear diapers, but they are very cooperative with diaper changes. They no longer try to get away or push hands away. They like getting their clothes changed and appreciate their snuggly outfits.

They still have a hard time with touching. Each day we can touch for a few seconds. They now let us.

When they get upset they cry and pout and have little tantrums and then they stop as if to say "All done." Pauly still fumes longer with anger/frustration, but he's ever so slowly understanding that he can chew toys not fingers and grind teeth. So he tries to comply to the best of his understanding. That means alot to a momma who wonders if he'll ever look at her and smile! He loves to be tickled! A good tickling brings out the best in him! Go figure!! LOL!

Julius will not smile if we smile at him-but if he smiles at us- we can smile back and he'll smile more! We just have to catch him!

So my new babies are so cute and cuddly! We love them dearly! They don't keep us up all night anymore. They learn routines quickly. They can entertain themselves! They are just too much fun!! I can't wait until they learn to snuggle!

We are sooooooo excited to get our next 3 boys get home! We are learning so much from these 2 little dumplins! We'll be having even more fun!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bonding with my precious 4 yr old babies

I wrote a great post 2 days ago but Verizon Broadband and blogger decided to send it to cyber space.......cry.....

Our boys are 4 yrs old. But they are like babies. Tom met them in March and in watching and observing them move around and play with toys he thought they were not as delayed as they are. He probably should have asked our attorney's opinion! LOL! She has had years more experience! But he didn't think of that. He thought with his heart. :o) Tom had the love in his heart for these boys, but he does not evaluate the functioning level of children or adults well. That has literally been my job since 1977 as a Child Foster care and Group home provider. Since Tom knew he loved the boys and could handle bringing them home, I knew I could evaluate them better after I saw them. :o) We have always worked well as a team. Regardless of our differences. (Unfortunately some of my adult kids don't know what real team work is. I thought I'd address this since they love to critique my blog.)

So our precious boys are in diapers. Do not talk. Do not reach out to us. Do not feed themselves and pretty much get into everything dangerous. We thought the last 3 boys we are adopting would be like babies. Worries of 5 boys all unable to walk entered our minds!! But we saw a recent picture of our Jacob (we can't share it) and he looks like he can stand and walk around- but his report said he could barely sit up un-assisted!!?? Jacob looks huge compared to Moses. Noah looks much more delayed, but that we had kind of expected. Now the Lord is teaching me- not to expect, just do!! LOL!!

Will Julius & Paul heal to the level of functioning that I had hoped they would? Only the Lord knows. But the level of care they need is more than we expected and we have alot of adjusting to do ourselves. Our 4 yr old baby boys are who they are, we need to adjust for them. :o) Whether they learn to care for themselves or not doesn't matter as long as they can function socially in a world that they must depend on to care for them in one way or another. Sadly adults with disabilities get better care if they are socially well adjusted and cooperative. We know, we've cared long term for two women who were/are not easy to get along with and we are/were their last stop, others chose not to care for them.(one passed away in our care)

Pauly's autism causes him great anguish living in a large family. He does not like alot of attention. He is so frustrated to be camping in a small trailer next to his Bulgarian brother, with 4 other siblings and mom. (Dad, our 2 clients & 2 teenagers are in the bunk house) If Pauly wakes up from nap he needs an hour to lay quietly and adjust to getting up. I can't fold up his blankie or hand him a toy- until he is ready. He can't transition from one activity to the next easily. He still can't handle much touching. If I rub his head gently he cries. If I talk too much, he cries. (I'm usually talking to someone on the phone- not to him) He sleeps alot. If we wake him up early he is frustrated for hours. He won't go to bed earlier if his nap is cut short. He wants control over everything and this causes him and us much frustration. We'd gladly allow him more control if we knew what he wanted, but he keeps us guessing. Tom and I sadly shake our heads- why is he so angry? Will we reach him? Of course we believe we will reach Pauly, we have hope, but as I said before we have 2 adult children we have not been able to reach.

I was asked recently about bonding. Yes, we have bonded with the boys. They are our boys and we love them. Does that mean we feel like we know them- no. Does that mean we feel the same way about them as our other children? We are bonded to them in a parenting way, loving them regardless as our own, yes. But in a human way we need more time to get to know each other. I can't say they love us. They don't trust us, and they don't know us. They need time to heal. We are older and wiser, we can love children who don't love us back. They don't know how to "love" as we define the word. (Love= patience and kindness) They need to learn the meaning of love on their own. I hope they are open to learning it. Our 7 1/2 yr old son we adopted (now 35) was taught a very different meaning for love. He does not know what love is. That's the hard part of parenting, allowing them the freedom to become part of our family or not. Just as God gives us the freedom to follow Him or not. We will bond with them more and more to the point of forgetting they were ever somewhere else. But it takes time! Four year old babies don't heal on time schedules. We adopted to give to them- not to receive from them. :o)

Would we do it again? You bet- after all we are going back for 3 more unknown little souls. We know God has a plan for all of us that we have yet to see, and boy are we excited about seeing it!

p.s.As I typed this Julius watched 15 minutes of a Barney movie!! "I love you-you love me-we're a happy family!" I have been singing that song since my precious 21 yr old came home from TX!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Julius our all smiles but mischevious love!

Julius is about the size of a 3 year old. A head taller than Paul. He is long and thin. He eats like a horse but his thyroid keeps him from keeping weight on. We need to adjust his meds. Julius loves to eat and is not very picky. Sometimes he does not care for a food, but he just eats it a little slower. Julius has learned to hold his head up to eat. He has a very small mouth and a little tongue he likes to stick out to swallow the food whole. They are now swallowing macaroni- noodles, whole oats oatmeal, (not the ground up kind) and small veggie pieces. We are thinking hard on how we are going to get them to chew. They like swallowing everything for now and they really can eat alot!!

Julius loves to clown around and laugh. He loves to make faces. But the faces aren't funny- they are almost scary- like pulling on his eye lids etc. We gently move his hands and laugh with him. He likes physical humor too, he hits things and kicks them with his legs thinking he is very funny. He hits his head on things intentionally and laughs. We love that he loves to laugh, but we need to show him what is really funny! He needs to learn these things he's doing may have entertained the kids in the orphanage, but not in the real world.

When he's with Dad he will use laughter to soften Dad up. Then he will try to knock things off walls, pinch necks with his finger tips and scream! Dad then has to tell him no, but how can he, Julius conned him! And Julius is just too cute!! How could someone that cute be naughty! LOL! With me I know laughter means something is up. I tickle him to get him to continue to laugh but watch closely for what he has up his sleeve! I can't let him rip my glasses off my head!! He's learning Dad's more fun! LOL! Last time he took Dad's glasses, Dad didn't even notice!!??

When I hold Julius on my lap for bonding time, he doesn't trust me. I understand his caution. He holds himself stiff. He and Pauly flinch when you raise your hands up. It takes Julius a few minutes to think about what I am doing, why I am holding him. Gradually he relaxes into my arms. Everything I do is strange to him. I try to get him to respond. I smile- he looks back at me very serious. I talk to him, I say his favorite sound "ba-ba", I sing a song, I kiss his head many times, no response. He watches, but does not respond. There is a way to reach him. We see it. It is just going to take time. He likes to be near us. But he's really wondering about all of this touchy feely stuff.

Julius LOVES his new brothers and sisters. I bet he was quite the clown at the orphanage with his silly antics. The kids love to play with him too but he is in the "I'm going to touch and break everything phase". So they can only play where he can't reach these things. Sometimes they don't find that fun. But he doesn't care!! If they want to play Barbie we can put him in the playpen next to the Barbie things and he gets his own Barbie in the playpen. Of course he throws it! He likes his freedom so he is trying harder to "play" nice so we don't have to keep him contained too much.

He walks to things and does not walk without hanging on to something. I think soon we should be able to get him to let go!

Julius acted very independent when Tom met him. Pushing everyone away. Never accepting help. Now after a few times of us gently but firmly pushing his hands back as he pushes us away, he is accepting being touched. If I hold my hand out to him he puts his hand in mine. He even lets Pauly touch him now. Before he pulled Pauly's hair- just because he could. In Pauly's little world people don't fight back.

Julius now feels concerned for Pauly, he doesn't like to see Pauly unhappy when we tell Pauly no. This also makes Julius trust us less as he sees Pauly get very angry and have tantrums. We are only trying to stop Pauly from slapping his own face. Julius doesn't understand. He just knows we made Pauly cry. He watches us much more closely than Pauly does. The boys were not close at all when Tom visited them and when they were in Bu*lgaria. But now since everything we do for one boy, we do for the other, Julius notices.

God has given Julius the gift of fun and humor. Everyone enjoys being around Julius because of this. I remember our oldest adopted son was like Pauly, people were put off by his disability. Our Molly was in a wheel chair, but just because she was as cute as a button everyone loved her. Now they are drawn to Julius. We can't wait to see how Julius blossoms from all of the correct kind of attention to help stimulate his mind and grow! Right now he attempts to avoid new people, he won't give them eye contact. But he'd easily let them carry him off, away from us. So much contradiction in a tiny body!

I always tell the kids- anything worth doing is hard work. Loving Julius and Paul is hard work- and we all agree- they are worth it!

Friday, September 9, 2011

My Pauly, an angry little boy we so dearly love

My Pauly (Paul) is named after my mom's best friend from Jr High/High School. Her name was Pauline, I wrote about her here-http://godsgiftsinmylife.blogspot.com/2009/03/love-lost.html

Pauline was Greek. And she loved to tell about her Greek heritage. Her parents were born in Greece. I wanted to have a heritage too! My mom's grandparents were from Finland/Norway on her mom's side and England on her Dad's side. (my Dad's family is Irish/Scottish) So Pauline said she would teach me a Norwegian song. I spent hours learning it and singing it- I was about 10. My mom and Pauline would laugh and laugh as I sang. One day my mom told me Pauline just made the whole song up- the words just "sounded" Scandinavian. It was a joke. :o( I lost interest in my Scandinavian heritage until about 2005 when I made a big Christmas dinner of Lefse, Lutefisk and Krumkake. All of my children at home then were of black heritage and they were such good sports about eating the Lutefisk just to make this mom happy!! (thanks guys!! (((HUG))) )

I loved Pauline so much, I wanted to name a child after her. I thought a girl, but a boy name Paul is perfect too! Yes, Paul & Julius are named after Acts 27, but inspired by my love for Pauline. Pauline died before Pauly was even in the plans. But I know when I see her in Heaven she'll feel honored. She LOVED children and everyone, ALL children and adults LOVED her!! She would have hugged and kissed and squeezed the stuffins out of her little name sake if she were alive.

We call Paul- Pauly because it sounds "familiar" to him. He was called "Effy" at the orphanage. He knows his name is now Pauly. He is the size of an 18 month old. He is chubby, even though for an almost 4 yr old (he turns 4 on 9/20) he is considered small and "thin"? on the Drs charts? If he was charted as an 18 month old I think he'd be perfectly sized, maybe even a little big! The Dr could not find the chart for kids with DS.

He looks adorable in his little one piece jammies we bought from Hanna Andersson. He's built kind of stocky and looks like he'll have a great football jock type physique when he is grown! His hair is like golden straw and glistens in the sunlight. Now cut short it looks darker. He has the most beautiful blue eyes. Because of his autistic behaviors, eye contact is difficult, but I can see now his left eye wanders.

Pauly recently (recently with us) decided to suck on his thumb. Prior to this he put nothing in his mouth. But we have been trying to get him to chew on chew toys rather than grind his teeth. Sucking the thumb was cute until he realized he could shove it to the back of his throat and gag- bringing up his last meal. He also now uses his thumb to hold his mouth open and drool even more than he was!! He does all of this oblivious to any of us; until he hears my very serious voice say "No"! He now stops, waits and tries again. :o) It's good to see he can "hear" me!!

At night he fights sleep. He moans and groans and grits his teeth until around midnight. Then he loses the battle. When he wakes up he moans and groans and complains until he sees food. If we are all asleep mornings, he may sit quietly, but as soon as I'm up he complains. Once he sees his food he is a excited, smiling to himself, and does lots of autistic type hand gestures and head movements. We sit down to eat and he now has decided (since he's well fed) that he hates everything we feed him. Even his yogurt, his oatmeal. Those things he liked. He takes one bite. Makes a face that says "Yuck" and proceeds to spit each bite back out. We do this over and over until he eventually swallows it. He also has a very good ability to create saliva, if you feed him some macaroni and cheese (he swallows the noodles whole one at a time) he can spit it back out with a mouthful of saliva. So the dinner becomes quite a mess and the saliva flies in directions kind of squirting. I change my shirt after every feeding- I suppose I should wear a bib! I'm not sure how we are going to get him to put the food in his mouth. He will put a soft baby toy shaped like a caterpillar in his mouth- not to chew, to lick. Maybe if I put a dab of chocolate on the tail??

When Paul is "with" his sibs who are playing- he does not play. He sits next to them, yes, grumbling and growling and spitting. He shows no interest in them or the toys. We can't tell if he likes doing this, we can't tell if he likes doing anything other than the thought of eating. :o) Sometimes he will ask to be carried, but we only carry him if we need to. We make him walk or crawl- he does an amazing 4 point crawl! (I have an adult daughter who does not have special needs who commando crawled till 17 months and 3 weeks and THEN walked!! LOL!! Dr said no worries unless she was past 18 months!! I sweat that one out!) Of course Paul goes wherever he shouldn't on his own, but at least he's moving!! :o)

In some ways Pauly reminds me of my daughter Molly who we adopted from a disrupted adoption in CT at 5 1/2 yrs old.(she passed away 8/7/10 from ataxia) She was brought here from Korea at 4 1/2, she wanted to go home to Korea every day of her life. She just didn't understand. I see Pauly is sad. I see he misses Bul*garia. I see he wonders why he's here and who this mean lady is. I see that he has much more healing to do than Julius. I pray to God that we can help him heal so that one day he is happy to be in America with a mom, dad and brothers and sisters. Some children hang onto emotions that hurt themselves more than they hurt the people they are angry at. It's hard to know not everyone can be reached. It's of great comfort to know that we can love them regardless, just as God loves us!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thank You!!! and enjoying God's precious timing

We recieved another donation on our family support page. Words are not enough to Thank You!!! It is never about how much- although we need lots more to bring 3 precious boys home- it is always the thought!! As always your thoughts and prayers are cherished by our family. God Bless!!

I read this devotional today-

“My cup overflows with blessings.” Psalm 23:5 NLT

Is an overflowing cup full? Absolutely. The wine reaches the rim and then tumbles over the edge. The goblet is not large enough to contain the quantity. According to David, our hearts are not large enough to contain the blessings that God wants to give. He pours and pours until they literally flow over the edge and down on the table . . .

The last thing we need to worry about is not having enough. Our cup overflows with blessings. (Max Lucado)

I loved this. In 1996 I had a miscarriage and thought my child bearing years were over. They weren't, I had Isaiah in 2004. I thought we were not going to find a client to fill our back bedroom. We got many phone calls. People wanting us to provide care at bargain rates while having awake staff. We waited 8 years. Now Joe, Lord willing will join our family. He is beyond what we had dared hope for. We thought our adopting years were over. Two boys from Bulgaria, are home in our arms at last. Three more coming- Lord willing. He keeps pouring!

I feel like a silly old woman. I will not worry! I will trust in God's timing! It is filled with blessings beyond what I could ever imagine! My hopes are pitiful and small compared to what He gives.

Praising God!! My cup is overflowing!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

We needed to take a break!

We decided to go up north to our lake property. We vacation up here as often as we can. Our Grace offered to stay at our house while we are gone. She's even going to vacuum!! Woo-Hoo! :o)

Everyone goes up north with us. 4 dogs, 2 group home women, 8 kids in one 15 passenger van. Tom in my Dad's old station wagon with the 5th dog and lots of supplies!

We needed to re-group. The stress of a long awaited international adoption completed! The joy of two new little boys in our family. We need intense bonding time. We don't want to take the boys out in public until they are more secure with us. Everything upsets them. They hated the 2 hour drive up here and Paul grumbled non-stop for hours after we arrived. Finally I told him NO! stop!! Do you know he stopped! (shock!) He did start up again later. But I'm finding both boys are doing some of these things to be naughty! LOL! Just like regular kids not raised in orphanages! Other things are to comfort themselves. Like teeth grinding, howling, grunting. Replacing them with words-sounds and sign language is tough. They just don't "get" communicating directly with us. They accept care without communication. We are trying to break through that wall.

So we got in the van and drove the 90 miles north.

Tonight as I type this the sun is setting on the lake and Paul in his sleeping play pen is laying on his stomach- howling!! He's already saturated the sheet with spit and drool, I'll change it after he falls asleep! I hope he doesn't scare the wild life, he's so loud!! :o) My 7 yr old Isaiah is reading bird facts aloud to educate everyone! I love homeschool! Julius is sucking his sleeve in his sleeping play pen next to Paul's. Julius sleeps flat on his back. He looks so uncomfortable. He refuses blankets. Paul knows a blanket means- sleepy time. He accepts his.

We've had great weather. Cool nights and beautiful days.

The day we were about to leave home, it was 89 degrees and I can't tolerate heat so we waited until the next day. While we waited and packed our phone rang. I was offered a new group home client, much to my shock! They had been looking for a home with an open bed for 2 weeks and we were the first home with an opening!? We were surprised. The economy is so tight and larger Corporate group homes are getting the people. It was like divine intervention, answered prayer! We weren't even supposed to be home to get the call. We told them we were leaving, maybe we couldn't help. They said let's meet tonight! we told them our house was a mess from leaving- they were fine with it!! We told them about the biometric FPs for the next adoption; that he would need to drive 65 miles to Immigration with us to do them. They said fine!! Nothing is set in stone but this would be a blessing beyond measure to our family!

We had another un-expected blessing happen to us the day we drove up north. As we drove Gabriel and I were talking. There were beautiful huge Cumulus clouds hanging over us. I asked Gabe "I wonder how many Angels are in those clouds?" Not knowing that we would be needing God's intervention soon. Up ahead an elderly man with some kind of patch on his eye (Gabe saw him inside his SUV) was driving very slowly down the highway and STOPPED in front of us, while traffic was going 65 mph. I braked but could not stop fast enough. So I swerved into the left passing lane not knowing there was a car coming from behind me (honking at me) They were able to brake and skid into the grass median. We all missed each other by a few feet. We all carefully looked around to see if anyone needed help. We were all fine! We all drove away intact! Praise the Lord! I prayed that the HWY patrol would quickly get that elderly man off of the HWY before he killed someone. I hope someone got his license plates and called 911. I didn't have my cell phone out, it was packed.
I always drive our 15 passenger van 2 car lengths between us and the car in front. There were 11 of us and 4 dogs in our van. Only God could have prevented this accident from happening. 15 passenger vans are easy to roll, and even tho I have driven one 8 years now, only God could have kept us all from a horrible crash or rolling that Friday morning. If I had pulled to the right we would have driven off of the highway into the grass and surely lost control! If I had hit him I may have pushed him into oncoming traffic- he was leaning left. So many ways it could have gone wrong if not for God's hand.
Afterward our group home gals were tossled but fell right back to sleep as I drove away in shock. Bless their hearts! It truly was the Hand of God on us!! We have once again been blessed beyond belief! :o)

I have continually thanked God for these precious days up here, that could have been spent in a hospital or worse, if not for His mercy on us that morning.
I know all of you have covered us in precious prayers! Thank You!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Medical stuff we wish we knew

When we got "medical" information. Most said Paul was considered for heart surgery every 6 months. But he did not need it. The medicals stated he had a procedure, but does not say what it was?? Does that explain the heart surgery scar on his chest?

So we learned that Paul-

1.Did have some kind of heart surgery (from his scar)/ Heart Dr now scheduled

2. his blood work was low in iron, low hemoglobin etc, prescribed vitamins started

3.xray for neck was good, no worries there

4.he needs nebulizer treatments 2X a day for asthma (irritated by cold air- air conditioning and cool MN air)

5.He has one un-descended testicle

6.He is seeing the ENT for concerns about apnea and his ability to breath (our Samson had adenoids & tonsils out for this-but he still has breathing issues- super small airways)

7. Paul either has Autism or Institutional Autism because he is very anti-social. He also slaps his face, bangs his head and refuses eye contact. He gets angry very easily and holds his breathe and himself stiff

8. very constipated


1. no heart surgery scar, no heart problems?? Heart Dr is scheduled

2.blood work the same as Paul's, low everything

3. blood also shows low thyroid

4.circumcision needed for medical reason (had not been properly cared for)

5. both testicles un-descended

6.He is very constipated but has blow out diahrea, 3-4 BMs in an hour till empty, then no BMs for days, need to check for HPylori (sp)

None of these things are life threatening. Well the heart may be? The scar on Paul's chest is shaped like a small mountain. :o( We are now scheduling surgeries. We don't think these things will scare anyone off from adopting from EE. We just want to share our experience. To let everyone know that the kids are not inspected or cared for like a mommy and daddy would.

Our boys are 4 yrs old. The cannot walk any distance. Julius walks from person to person, that's it. Paul walks along things very short distances. Paul refuses to stand unassisted. They grind their teeth and spit. They do not allow anything in their mouths other than a spoon. They fight sippy cups and bottle nipples. They get drinks super sloppy from a cup. We have no idea how they drank. Paul gets a little in. They do not chew on anything. Julius will gently put his tongue on his favorite toy. Our Samson chewed on toys till he was 7! They do not like solid foods, everything pureed. They will not suck liquid off of a spoon. They keep their arms to their sides when you feed them. If I put a cheerio in their hand they just drop it. They ask for nothing. We care for them like infants. They of course rock back and forth when we aren't interacting with them.

I wrote this before we left for up north. Please excuse all typos!! Not sure how I wanted to end it! LOL!! Just wanted to share for others- things to look for! :o) Tom intends to strip our next three boys naked to inspect them for our referral. :o) We won't "see" everything. But we can let Drs know what we saw.

(((HUGS))) to all!

Why have I been missing!! :o)

I had been super busy getting ready for my State licensing audit. It was on Monday. The licensor who came is a woman I really like! I had her for an audit in 2007. I had NO corrections/violations!!! Woo! Hoo! You can't imagine how hard that is! She gave me a copy of the rule checks- well over one hundred double side pages. She checks a variety of things from it.

We are planning some vacation time for our family. That takes alot of time and work to plan and prepare for so many of us to go somewhere even for a day to do something fun! :o) Of course as I plan the sewer has to back up!! It has to rain so Tom can't mow the lawn. The vans tires have to be replaced. I could go on and on but I'm sure you get the idea!

The boys met their first visitor yesterday. Paul did not look at her or "see" her. He sat on my lap grumbling and doing his autistic hand movements. Julius looked at her but wanted his sibs to take him to play. He was uncomfortable laying on me as she talked to me. I wonder if he thought "Is she going to take me away now??" Poor babies. They are mourning the loss of all they knew. No matter how much "fun" we try to make it, we cannot remove their overwhelming grief. Sometimes Paul is so unhappy he just continually grumbles in his little world. He is grieving deeply. Julius is reaching out to those who feed him (me) and play with him.(his sibs) He's a little survivor. But when something scares or angers Julius, he reluctantly allows us to console him. We see him more accepting of being here, but still confused. Yet, very slowly building trust.

The boys had hair cuts today. They had their little bowl cuts turned into buzz cuts. I did not want to go that short but Julius HATED having his hair cut. So I couldn't control the length. Paul was oblivious to the electric hair cutter on his head until I did the back. Then he too protested loudly. After Julius was done he threw a tantrum, waiting in the playpen as I cut Paul's hair. Julius was MAD!! It was good to see him express himself, but it was not the right situation. So after a minute or two we told him to be nice. He calmed after about 5 minutes. But we saw his temper! Paul does not respond to his new hair cut. Julius has felt his own head. So we invited him to feel Isaiah's head (after his was cut) too. He seemed to understand. He acccepted the cut. :o)

No we don't have pictures up yet. Tom says he does not have time to teach me how to do this or do it himself. :o(

Well we are off to spend quality family time! I'll keep working on asking Tom for photos! :o)