This might sound a bit odd, but stick with me! God answers prayer in the strangest circumstances sometimes!
Monday, June 13, 2016
Posted by Jennie at 10:13 PM
Monday, April 11, 2016
I've started this post several times but haven't had the time, or the clarity to put it all together til now. I'm so thankful for the way God works - when we can see the puzzle pieces falling into place! Hopefully this comes out as it is in my head and my heart!
Posted by Jennie at 12:38 AM
There's been a lot more going on at work and outside of work, (it's IEP season for 3 kids, finishing some home projects, Owen's trying 2's, to name a few...) and it's not uncommon for me to feel behind the ball a bit. Collectively, it feels like the kids have known the buttons to push and when my stress level are high, so when to strike! I know, they're also triggered by my stress but when I'm feeling like that, logic isn't really top of mind.
Some of those talks went ok, but the change didn't last long (because they're young!), other times they were filled with emotions. In one of those emotion-filled conversations with Hailey, she said it's just hard having 5 kids, I didn't see what she needed, etc...and she was right. She knows she needs to be a team player (and is in so many ways!!), but looking back, she also needs to feel seen and heard. The stress and emotions are catchy and Landon starts crying, Owen runs and gets into what seems like everything. So easily, Brennan gets extra upset by all the energy in the house in the moment and has a hard time calming down. Brooke talks louder to be heard and comes into the room, everyone's tolerance is low - and now we have a chaotic time. Moments like this I crave the quiet and the still water mentioned in Psalm 23:2.
But today I realized, the rest of the verse - I don't happen upon the still water, the Shepherd leads me beside still water. I need to be following the Shepherd and be listening for Him. In church today we sang Oceans, by Hillsong...here's the lyrics I really needed -
I was hoping for my eyes to stay above the waves on my own, but I need the Shepherd to lead me to the still water and I need to recognize I can't do it on my own, I need to call upon His name. I will find my rest in Him. I've felt pretty drained and let the things I'm doing add stress because I'm not finding daily "fill me up" rest in His embrace. At church today, I really thought, has it really been a week since we've been to church?! It has! I need His embrace to keep me even keel - above the waves.
I wrote an apology letter to Hailey during quiet time and she wrote one back and gave me a deep hug, telling me how much she loved me. Brooklyn finished up her all about me questionnaire tonight and she was asked who do you admire - and she said mom. I'm thankful for the fill me up today! My joy, my rest and my strength comes from You. Not just in the big, but EVERYday!
Posted by Jennie at 12:38 AM
Friday, January 1, 2016
Posted by Jennie at 12:00 AM
Saturday, October 10, 2015
Brennan's vision has been a challenge since he was born; his prematurity and underdeveloped eyes, then compounded by needing so much oxygen for so long did quite a bit of damage. It's been quite a journey trying to understand what he sees and what he needs to see best. Each stage brought different pieces of information, levels of understanding and ways of trying...
When he was a baby, we relied on the doctors and tests to tell us what he could see and when he needed more surgery to help reconstruct his eyes from his retina detachment and strabisimus but we kinda needed to wait til he grew up more and his eyes developed more to learn more.
When he was a toddler, a lot of other issues came into play that clouded the picture - as he started walking, we learned he had a balance disorder, but that also looked like it was because of his trouble seeing. He loved to bounce and we learned he had sensory processing disorder and needs high input, but it sure looked like he was trying to move his head & body to keep up with his racing eyes. We also started noticing that there might be problem with his vision field (not just the strength of his glasses prescription). He started talking (a bit delayed) then we could FINALLY ask him what he sees! He had some cognitive delays that impacted his comprehension of our questions & his answers, speech delays and mumbling that made it hard for us and frustrating for him. We did learn that he could make out some images from a distance, but to focus, he needed to see the object from the bottom left part of his left eye.
When he was a preschooler, the schools and therapists got involved, along with daily learning at home. There was a lot of focus on new learning that challenged him which (good & bad) really brought out the deficits and the need to figure out how to help him communicate. He worked on learning academically and relaying what he was learning. We kept trying to sort out sensory, balance, vision, possible cognitive delay, emotions and behaviors as he faced new experiences, expectations and challenges. Some things are easy to sort out, some crossed issues and others we're still not sure... School introduced several new techniques, large print and even a large touch screen computer! He was so eager to learn, willing to try new things, excited, but also got frustrated and wanted to do more at times. He mastered recognizing his letters, numbers and colors! His brain grew so much but couldn't get it out fast enough! He really made so much progress during preschool!
Now, he's a Kindergartner! We're continuing to sort things out, determine the best strategies to help him learn, navigate the world - and he really is doing great! He can walk down steps, put on shoes, find things he's looking for by himself. This year in school he's focusing on reading print and writing which are really hard for him. He can use the computer well, but we tried large print, writing with dark markers and haven't been successful to his standards yet. He can't read what he's written, or tell what he's drawn afterward and gets disappointed. The books are blown up so large, the papers are clumsy to use for him and he's gotten frustrated. Don't get me wrong, he's such a happy kid still and it's hard to see him get frustrated! The newest thing this year we've tried...Braille! He was getting pretty frustrated and he is so smart, we needed to try something else. We talked with the National Federation of the Blind representative and the school vision specialist introduced it this week and he embraced it!
I'm not going to lie, I was excited about him trying Braille when we were first talking about it, but now that it's a reality, it took a bit of acceptance. I'm so thrilled for him to have a great method to read and write! I'm also a bit overwhelmed at needing to learn another language and the thought of another adjustment for our family. The day he learned about Braille, we talked about it at dinner and Hailey was so excited. She had just learned about Helen Keller and how important Braille is for people to communicate! She asked Brennan what class he learned it in so she could join him one day to learn too...precious girl! I've said it before, but she is the perfect sister for these kids. :) After he get's a good handle on it (or probably while he's learning too!) we're going to all learn together so he can read to us! Of course, he'll continuing using his vision too, but knowing Braille will make communicating less frustrating for him - he'll have another tool and not have to work so hard at it. It's another adjustment, but we've been through quite a bit of adjustments already and are starting to know the drill. Don't get too comfortable with status quo - there's always something else in store!
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
We had a sign that needed some repurposing love and Pinterest inspired idea that we totally made our own! We sat around the table and Brennan, Hailey & Brooke came up with the words that describe our family then voted on which would make the sign. We also came up with: accident-prone, kind, messy, energetic, fun, loving, happy and curious. It was so interesting to learn how the kids would describe our family!
Lately, we've had a good share of good times and rough times; I keep reminding myself that's part of parenting and raising kids to be adults with sound values and good adjectives that describe them too, right?! My New Year's resolution was to get to know each of the kids better and deeper, focus on building the firm foundation. It hasn't all been perfect, but we've intentionally worked through emotions, attitudes, tiredness, to try to create relationships and a home of feeling safe, understood and supported. This project gave me encouragement that we're on the right track! We've had it on the porch for a few days and the kids have said something or smiled about it when they come in from school. It turned out well, but the process of making it was awesome!
Posted by Jennie at 10:38 PM
Saturday, August 29, 2015
We knew in advance Landon was going to have major surgery. The news was sprung on us pretty quickly but we had time to adjust, research and ask questions about recovery but no amount of planning can totally prepare you. Sure, the organizer in me wanted to know the surgical plans, how to diaper him after, what equipment I needed, his care schedule for recovery, along with about 200 other things...just ask Nich! :) But, planning only took me so far. There was a world of emotions, unexpected parts of this hospital stay, small complications, a bunch of things out of my control - just waiting outside my plans...waiting for my emotional breaking point. I've realized today, and appreciate the perspective of a journey of preparation versus shorter term planning.
Posted by Jennie at 3:16 PM