Friday, March 28, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up: My Son Who Overcame!!!!

For this week's wrap-up I am going back to last Friday night.  Our Senior had one more class complete to be a high school graduate.  Last Friday night he gets this huge smile on his face and said he was done FOREVER.  That's right, I am now the proud parent of TWO high school graduates!!!!

Tuna's story is an amazing one of determination and overcoming.  I hope this inspires someone who really needs to be encouraged.

My son was born with a unilateral hearing in his left ear and fluid behind the right.  I knew at six weeks that he couldn't hear well, but the doctor ignored me (the first of many fights with doctors through his life).  When he was 2 1/2 a neighbor told me about the early intervention program through the public school system.  My son, had a 95% overall hearing loss; 50% was the deaf ear and the other 45% was from the fluid that needed a prescription to clear.  If the doctor had listened and sent him for the test (HMO required doctor referral), he would have had full hearing in the right ear.  Sorry the doctor said.  He then went to speech therapy 2-3 times a week for 2 years, something that wouldn't have been necessary if the doctor had listened in the first place.  As a further result of the hearing loss, he had auditory processing disorder.  He heard in one ear, but the sounds and words would get dropped along the way.

I also had a feeling the he had a form of Autism and a stomach disorder.  More arguing with doctors who danced around and hinted at munchausen by proxy.  We changed doctors again.  This one picked up on my son's behaviors the first time we met and referred him to the Dan Marino Center for Autism at the Miami Children's Hospital.  He was diagnosed with Asperger's at eight-years-old.  We, however, had been dong therapy for it at home though since he was about four.  Always look in the eyes, stop looking away, look at people when they speak to you and when you speak to them, etc.  He was also diagnosed with OCD and ADHD.  We could not medicate the ADHD because the medication caused seizures.


He actually caught our rabbit!
As if that wasn't enough, he was diagnosed through another specialist with dyslexia, but with words.  We attended eye therapy every week and did "homework" therapy for 2 1/2 years.  He was also diagnosed with Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome.  Most simplified, he would get stomach migraines that would last from 2-4 weeks.  During this time he would survive on ONE peanut butter and jelly sandwich a day, nibbling a little bit at a time.  CVS can be deadly and one little girl we knew nearly died from it when she was about six.  His gastroenterologist dropped his as patient because he missed an appoint.  My cousin's ten-year-old daughter was killed in a car wreck five states away and we went to her funeral.  I kid you not.

Fast forward years later.  At the end of fifth grade he was re-evaluated by a children's hospital where we live now.  They confirmed all of his diagnosis, but said that he had achieved more than ever would have been expected from him already.  They attributed this to homeschooling.  He was unmedicated, but we lived by the belief "Legtimate causes, no excuses!"  He learned to control his ADHD, OCD, and Asperger's through shear will and determination ... and a loving supporting family.

We were told not to expect him to be able to do a full high school load.  He proved them wrong, even choosing to take an extra science class this year.  He has worked with an electrician who couldn't believe he had labels because he had a "better understanding and working knowledge" and did "better work than most professional electricians".  He has dealt with many adults who don't believe his labels.  Last year he no longer qualified for special assistance from the public school (we never used it except for yearly testing).  They told us that at this point, he wouldn't even be diagnosed as Asperger's.  HORRAY!!!  He continued to homeschooled through high school where he has completed all of the standard classes, plus extra classes, and will be receiving a full regular diploma from an accredited high school that we use as our umbrella school.  Crossroads Christian School is just absolutely amazing and have been so good to us!!!  I highly recommend them.  I AM SO PROUD OF HIM I COULD BURST!!!

Through everything he has remained loving and kind, never holding a grudge against those who hurt him or teased him.  I believe it is his relationship with JESUS that has made the difference.  My son has overcome mountains with the faith of a mustard seed.  He is a true inspiration in my life, and I love him more than words can ever express.

Linked to: Weekly Wrap-Up: The One With the Crazy March Snow

Friday, March 21, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up: Flat tire, Braces, New Driver, OH MY!

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

~~Daffodils by William Wordsworth~~
It's been a long week! On Monday Pooh had to be taken to the dentist 40 minutes away for a filling.  Well, he didn't actually have a cavity, it appears that he had the start of a cavity that remineralized on it's own.  However, it was best to cover it for protection as a band for his new braces would be going around it on Wednesday.  That took up out entire afternoon.  We were welcomed home by a wonderful display of Spring ... FINALLY!!!!  No more snow ... we hope.  Thirty minutes later we left for my daughter's two hour long Monday night dance which is also 40 minutes away, but in another direction.  We live in a rural area so we drive a lot.  My husband and I took the opportunity to have a date night during her class time though, so that was a good thing.  It can be difficult to find "us time" with so many children and so much going on.

It works!
You can wrap a 3-year-old in it!
Tuesday night my daughter has her other dance class.  About half-way there my front right tire blew while we were in the left lane and no one wanted to let us over so we could get off the road (the right shoulder isn't wide enough for even a compact car to safely pull off let alone full sized passenger van).  I had to speed up to 80 mph with a flat front tire in order to get over and off the highway safely.  Thank you, LORD, for keeping us safe! We had the same issue as Audria with people not keep to the left (Weekly Wrap-up: Flat Tires, Torture and a Recipe).  About thirty minutes later, my husband, AAA, and a police office arrived within 5 minutes of each other to help out.  Amazing how well people pull over when a cop has his lights on!  My daughter and I took off in my husband's vehicle and made the second half of her class.  I found myself sitting there without any hand work as I finished off the quilt I was working on Sunday.  If you're interested in quilts and quilting, you can find pictures and cutting sizes at And three weeks later ... it's a QUILT!.  I get the most inspiration from seeing what others have done!

Wednesday morning started off comfortably at the couch.
It is a perfect place to do school work and study!

I see the camera,
so I'm hiding a grin.
Yes, I am still in my PJ's.

Biology together.  Fish have a bladder
that holds gas to make them float and
slime to help them swim.  Neat.

"Come look at my gubby with me.
Does his swimes help him swim too?"

Coffee.  I need coffee.
Just let me get my coffee.
Only seven more lessons to complete in
one subject and my Senior will be done
with high school forever!  

Our 4th Brace Face,
Tinsel Tooth, Metal Mouth
Pooh and left at 11:35 and were at the orthodontist at 12:15 for spacers (yes, it took 40 minute to get there in yet ANOTHER direction).  We did get to have lunch and hang out together until braces time at 1:45.  I really cherish any alone I get with my children, even if it is a burger a Wendy's and walking around Big Lots.  In a family our size you have to make a point to get that one-on-one which is so important.  Two hours later his braces were on and banded with orange and green for the Florida Gators.  GO GATORS!  He was a little excited to get them on and was patient during the time it took to get them on.  Since then he's had to eat a sandwich with a fork a knife, had to break up a cookie to eat it, and couldn't bite into a taco.  He isn't so excited anymore.

Anyway, we ran a few errands after his braces and got home 45 minutes before leaving for church.  Thankfully church is only a five minute drive!!!

Thursday morning I had to drive Barns to school, take Tuna for his bi-weekly shot, drop off a cat that was dumped at out house (I will spare you the full story of stupidity that goes went with it), then pick up Barns for his driving test (he passed HORRAY), take him back to school as he didn't have a parking permit to drive himself back, picked up the kids at the house to go to the park, then back to get Barns and FINALLY drop the daughter off at the Girl Scout troop she volunteers with.  WHEW!  I was so pleased when our new driver volunteered to go pick her up!

"Mom, why do you have a camera?"
"Just smile.
Then you can leave for school."
Thursday night brought some commotion at our house when Arty the Hedgehog saved the entire family from Bane the Action Figure.  You can read all about it at Arty the Hedgehog, Crime-fighter Extraordinaire, Beats up Bane and Puts Batman and Superman Out of Work!.

Today is Friday.  My son drove himself to school this morning.  We are almost done with school already so we are going to spend this gorgeous, 70 degree, Spring afternoon at the park!  My daughter has a troop meeting tonight, but I think I'll sit back and let my new driver handle it.  Yippie!

Linked to: Weekly Wrap-Up

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Arty the Hedgehog, Crime-fighter Extraordinaire, Beats up Bane and Puts Batman and Superman Out of Work!

Arty the Hedgehog came to the rescue early Thursday evening by foiling a plot by the evil villain Bane to attack the living room of a fun-loving family. The family was home but completely unaware of the danger that lurked in the middle of their floor. Assuming that the tiny villain was merely left there to sleep by the family three-year-old, they had simply stepped around the action figure unaware that he was only playing possum while waiting for the opportune time to carry out his plan of terror.

The plot was discovered by Arty the Hedgehog while he was out in the living room exploring. As hedgehogs have large ears and an excellent sense of hearing, it is assumed that he heard the action figure mumbling about how long it was taking for the family to fall into his trap. With Superman napping in another location on the living room floor completely unaware of the impending doom, and Batman nowhere to be found, Arty sprung into action as best as a hedgehog can spring and attacked Bane by biting his leg a couple times and slamming him to the ground rendering Bane useless and putting and end to threat.

Although none of this information can be confirmed because Hedgehogs can't speak and only make "pftshhhh pftshhhh" sounds, it was quite obvious to his loving, adoring, and grateful family that this is indeed what happened and that they were saved by this tiny and brave creature. They are forever in his debt.

Bane has been transferred to the toy box where he was interrogated by the Marine Corps action figure who was faithfully executing his post behind enemy lines protecting the play area from the Joker's plot of household tyranny when Bane was taken down.

"I just can't be two places at once," the Marine Corps action figure said saying that he was proud to have Arty as an ally. "I look forward to working with him in the future."

While Arty the Hedgehog and the Marine Action Figure are playing down the day's events saying that it's just who they are and what they do, both are expected to receive commendations for their actions. Bane is expected to receive therapy to help him deal with his horrific childhood growing up in the underground prison, Pena Duro.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

And three weeks later ... it's a QUILT!

I made this quilt for a friend's daughter who is adopting a six-month-old little girl.  I didn't want to make the standard baby quilt, so I opted for something that she could wrap up in now and still use as an adult.  The topper was 51" x 51" before I added the prairie points.  This was the first time to do prairie points and I LOVE them and want to put them on everything now.  HA!

  I was sad when I left the shower because I realized I didn't have any needle work to do at home (I find hand stitching the binding to be quite relaxing).  I have some other toppers I've finished.  Tomorrow, if the weather is nice, I'll get out to the fabric store for some wadding and backing fabric for them so I can finish them up.  I have a goal this year to use up as much of my fabric stash as I can.  I have all sorts of ideas, but I need to complete the projects I've already started before moving on.

So here are the rest of the pictures of my Purple Sunflower quilt along with the cut directions for the quilt in case anyone is interested.
I am very happy with the feel of this quilt.
If anyone is interested ...
The purple sunflowers were cut 5 1/2" square.
The green and yellow were cut in 1 1/2" wide strips,
then sewn together and cut at 5 1/2" long.
The small green squares were cut 2 1/2".

Check out that hand stitching!
I put in the last one at 11:55 am today and
took it the to shower at 1:00 pm.
An idea of the finished size.

Squares work great for my OCD.
I can line them up and they look ORDERLY on the back.

Yes, it works!
You can wrap a three-year-old up in it!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up: Introductions

After reading my friend's Weekly Wrap Ups on her blog At the Well for a while, I decided it was something I would like to do myself.  I'll start with an introduction to my family.

This is Pooh and he is in 8th grade.  In our family each person chooses an area of service.  He has chosen our local soup kitchen.  He volunteers there every other Friday preparing meals, serving, and cleaning up.  This is his last year homeschooling.  Each of my children are given the choice to homeschool through high school or attend the public high school.  He has chosen to go to the public school next year.  I'm really going to miss him!  He wants to take the AP classes; he has figured out that he can graduate just a few credits shy of his Associates by going to the public school.  He also wants to get involved in some of the extracurricular activities.  He will be entering the public school with five high school credits.  We use Crossroads Christian School for our umbrella school, so his credits with transfer.  We've used Crossroads for years and I can't say enough good things about them.

This is our only daughter, Princess.  She's in 6th grade and her area of service is Bags of Love.  Bags of Love provides bags filled with needed and comfort items for children who are removed from their homes and put into foster care.  Each bag has books, toys, personal items, a Bible, and a homemade quilt.  The bags are quitr beautiful and are also homemade.  Sometimes these bags are given to children who have suffered other tragedies, such as their home being lost to fire.  She has become a "right hand man" to the lovely Christian woman in charge.  Princess packs bags, help take inventory, shops, and goes to speaking engagements to tell other people about Bags of Love.  She volunteers alternating Fridays of her brother.

On the left is Barns.  He is a junior at the public high school.  He also volunteers at the soup kitchen over the summer and other times when he can.  He is at the high school for the AP classes.  He wants to be a navy fighter pilot and is possibly looking at a full four-year scholarship from the Navy.  He scored a 93 on the ASVAB in the middle of his junior year.  I know it's not a good picture, but there is a story with it.  I took this one last week when we has six inches of ice covered by six inches of snow.  He and Pooh were heading out to "play in the snow" and I just thought they looked cute all bundled up. The public schools were closed the entire week.  It was really nice having him around.

Tuna is a homeschooling senior.  He has an amazing story which I will share in detail at another time.  He has Asperger's and a few other things as well.  He had achieved at the end of 5th grade more than "they" ever would have expected.  We believe "legitimate causes, but no excuses" and that was what he was taught.  We never set his bar low, and now he doesn't either.  This year he will be graduating with a full diploma, not a special diploma.  He took all of the same required classes as the public school kids.  "They" said it wasn't possible, and in public school it wouldn't have been, but he was determined and I am so proud of him!!!  His area of service is also the soup kitchen.

Our eldest son is a Marine.  Ooooo-rah!  He graduated from the public high school which he attended for the sole purpose of marching band.  He was a section leader his Senior year.  As a Marine, he is with the Amphibious Assault Vehicles.  Those are the tanks that can go from water to land.  He was one of ten young men from his group who was offered the opportunity to go on to mech school.  He has full training on the AAV's but also knows how to do the maintenance and repairs, so he is double trained.  We are sooooo proud of him!!!!  His area of service was the soup kitchen where he volunteered for four years before making his area of service his country.  He still volunteers at the kitchen when he is home.

This is our youngest, our extra little blessing, Boo.  He is three.  This morning he poured his own cereal and milk for the first time.  He has two areas of service, the soup kitchen and Bags of Love.  At the kitchen he greats people when they enter and helped to pass out bags when we were filling them with food for people to take home with them as their Christmas present from the kitchen.  At Bags of Love he tests toys to make sure the boys his age would like them.  He also helped me with a devotional posted here entitled Passing On the Art of Bread Making.  We took pictures for a tutorial he gave me on how to make a PB&J.  I'll get around to posting those sometime in the future.  He is such a sweetie who brings us great joy ... and mischief.  He keeps us all on our toes.

The only people left are me and my husband.  My husband is self-employed and works from home.  Believing that my place was at home raising our children, we stepped out in faith and quit my job when our eldest was nine months old.  We lost our health insurance and about 1/4 of our income. Twenty-one years late, the Lord has blessed us with six children and has been faithful to work through my husband to keep us fed with a roof over our heads and me at home.  We have been married for 22 years.  My husband is the one responsible for our family being so service oriented.  Early on in our relationship he got me involved in feeding the homeless in South Florida where we use to live.  He started a sandwich ministry at our old church where people would get together and make hundreds of sandwiches, wrap them in freezer paper, and give them to the homeless shelter.  Over twenty years later the church still has that ministry and has been recognized by the shelter they've been helping all these years.  He's also known for taking homeless people out to eat and witnessing to them.  Our children have grown up making sandwiches in our kitchen, packing lunch bags, and delivering them to Homeless Park when we lived down south.  The neighborhood kids would come and help as well.

Eight years ago we moved to 36 acres in a small rural area.  It was obvious that he was missing this type of service.  We continued to support the shelter he worked with financially, but he needed more.  When the soup kitchen opened three years ago, we jumped in.  He is an inspiration and wonderful example of Matthew 25:35-40:

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me,I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

So that is my family, and we are delighted to meet you!

Linking up to: Weekly Wrap-Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

I have said these things unto you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
~John 16:33