Thursday, August 29, 2013

can a picture paint 1000 words?

Sometimes.

I think sometimes a picture can actually paint more than 1000 words and then sometimes I think you just can't have a picture for everything.  

We have been so  blessed this week to be on vacation!!  No school, no doctors appointments, no tests, the sound of the roaring ocean and daddy 24/7!!  Woo Hoo.  Can I say it - yes it has been nice not having to go anywhere!!  The kids have been having so much fun playing in the sand, boogie boarding,  playing UNO a billion times, having daddy around to let them eat lots of snacks :-)  It has really been so great.  The water has not been at its peak because of the rainy summer - in other words its pretty "seaweedy" as the kids say.  We had been planning all along to visit this State Park area that we went to last year and do some snorkeling.  The water was pristine - like the Caribbean last year.  The kids have been so excited to go and snorkel - Ethan especially as he just learned the art of snorkeling in our neighbors pool.  We were all really looking forward to this little adventure as the water where we are at is not good snorkeling water.  So off we headed this morning to find not so good snorkeling water.  The local girl told us that the rain had caused the rivers that run into the baby to flood and so the excess water as dumping into the bay along with the pine needles etc, and it was staining the water terribly and all they have had here since July was rain.  Can you say there was some disappointment in our crew.  Um yes!!!  However I reminded the kids that God always has a reason for everything including the fact that we were not getting into that water.  We hung around the water for a bit and I am so glad we did because we got quite the show - a dolphin show that is.  Ethan spotted the dolphins.  We nicknamed him the dolphin watcher. We saw dolphins and we saw some more dolphins - we even saw a mama and a baby dolphin.  The baby dolphin was quite the performer jumping in and out of the water for us to see.  Oh the big kids were hollering get the camera mama, get the camera - and you know what - I didn't!!! I sat right next to my sweet baby boy who really isn't a baby so much anymore and took in those special moments with him.  It really is almost impossible for me to describe the delight, excitement and wonder this little dolphin show brought to my little guy - but I am more than glad that I chose to forgo the camera and watch the excitement unfold through his eyes. It was a precious few moments for this mama.  And while pictures from a camera certainly would have been amazing - (I mean seriously how often do you see dolphins completely jumping out of the water in their natural habitat) - there can be nothing more amazing then experiencing it with my face glued to Ethans - it was priceless - a memory I will always cherish.  

After we were done dolphin watching we decided to take a ride down to some of the other beaches in the area to see if we could find some clear water where some snorkeling and fish seeing might take place.  We found the perfect spot and headed down to the beach.  We were all able to get into the ocean water.  Abbie for the first time.  She enjoyed parts of it but I think prefers playing in the sand.  Linnea loves the water so she was happy as long as mommy or daddy were around with her.  Nathan and Luke had no trouble snorkeling away catching hermit crabs, trying to catch a fish or two.  And yes our sweet Ebear got to snorkel in the ocean for the first time - and again there are no pictures except the ones daddy and I have in our mind - but it was oh so special.  He was so proud of himself!  In a way he grew up a little bit today - he was finally out there with his big brothers - not left out - not the baby brother - at least not in that moment anyway.  I am so thankful we got to experience this with him.  The 2 minutes I actually got to stick my head in the water and snorkel with him might be my favorite part of our whole vacation.  It was a sweet time.   

Once we were tired of the water and snorkeling we headed back to the car and got cleaned up.  Before we left we stopped at the local market and got some "old fashioned" bottled drinks.  We visited a few shops and then made our way back to our home away from home - where we later "crab hunted" :-)

What started out to seem was going to be a disappointing day turned out to be a fabulous day.  And while I did not have the camera out snapping away - we did a few pictures - but they really don't do the day justice.  

he had quite the day :-)




Wednesday, August 21, 2013

the homeschool blog

Are these not the sweetest things you have ever seen....


Well you can read about our adventures in homeschool right here.
I am hoping to be diligent with it once we start - as it would make a great year book at the end of the year.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

homeschool homeschool jiggity jig...

I am so super excited to be homeschooling this year and so very thankful that I know mama's who have trod this path and been willing to share their successes and failures.  And oh my land - what did we do before technology??!! There are tons of websites and blogs and resources out there on the world wide web. I have homeschooled before but when I did - I did it through the online public charter school here in GA no planning on my part neccessary.  This year I wanted to do my own thing and so I am.  I am not using one particular curriculum but an assortment of a few I really liked.  I guess you could say its kind of eclectic :-)  Here's what we are using

Bible ~ Gods Promises 
Ten Commandments and Books of the Bible Songs
A Psalm a month/A Hymn a month
(I may change these out quicker depending on how quickly they catch on)


Reading/Spelling ~ Luke: All About Reading/All About Spelling

Math ~ Nathan: Teaching Textbooks


Writing ~ Luke:  Writing with Ease
Luke/Abbie : A Reason For Handwriting 

Science/Read Aloud ~  Luke/Abbie :Apologia : Exploring Creation With Astronomy

Social Studies ~ I made up my own on this one thanks to a dear friend : we are going to learn our 50 states and all the US presidents.  I have maps to color, place mats to look at, a puzzle and some $1 books from Target!

I will continue our reading a chapter book at lunch tradition - the kids really love this.  We just finished up Charlotte's Web - not sure what we will start on Monday.

Ethan and Linnea will be going to preschool at a local church but we will do Bible in the morning before its time for school and I am hoping to throw calendar and social studies in as well as I think they would enjoy the songs and puzzles.  They are only half day just 3 and 4 days a week so we will all be home on Fridays and I have adopted from my sweet friend that I mentioned above Fun Fridays and Free Fridays for us all to be a part of.  Nathan is also taking part in Konos - so he will be gone one day a week as well.  Many have asked what I am going to do with Abbie.  Sweet Abbie is working so hard to learn the English language - so we will continue working on that as well as colors, numbers, shapes, the alphabet, and fine motor skill activities.  This girl is learning all day long every day simply because she is in a new environment with a new language, new sights, smells and sounds.  This girl is learning and the best place she can be right now is home with her family. 

Right now we are planning on doing school in the kitchen area but we are working on making one of the rooms upstairs in our house a homeschool room.  Its a work in progress.  So for now all of our homeschool stuff was all over the dining room floor in neat piles....


Then I remembered and thought to myself I should go get the bookshelf that we are going to use in the home school room and just put the books that are on it on another book shelf and bring that shelf into the dining room and then I won't have our school books all over the floor anymore and voila...


Doesn't that look so much neater!!  Earlier in the week I put together each child a morning notebook - it this notebook are : Psalm for the month, Hymn for the month, Song sheets for: books of the bible song, ten commandments song, states song, Presidents song, Continents song, and Directions song,  List of states and presidents, map, and calendar.  They each have their own color notebook and a colored journal to match as well as colored reading sticks that I made thanks to pinterest




I am so thankful that my sweet husband trusts me to teach our children at home - and I am thankful that God put this on my heart even when I was adamant just a few short months ago that there was no way that I could possibly do this.  HE clearly knows whats best for me ;-)  We are not full fledge starting school until after Labor day but next week we are going to start getting into routine - we always do Bible time in the morning at breakfast so I am just going to add our morning notebook time and Math.  Then we will really get going on September 3 complete with first day pictures! 

A fellow homeschool mama I know came up with her own blog for homeschooling and used it as a yearbook to print out at the end of the year.  I LOVE this idea - so I am looking for a catchy blog name for homeschooling - have any ideas??  I have no idea how I would keep it up as terrible as I am with this blog but I can certainly try right?  So if you think of any clever blog names for homeschooling leave me a comment.  In the meanwhile I will be thinking too!!

Its way past my bedtime... must go get some sleep!! Nite :-)

Friday, August 16, 2013

new friends....

You know how you meet someone once but don't really have the chance to get to know them - but you are aware of who they are and maybe even keep up with them via a blog or facebook - but then circumstances and in my opinion the sovereignty of God brings you together again - and you feel like you have known this person forever?  Well that is how I feel about my new sweet friend Sharon Ankerich.  She is a sister in Christ, fellow adoptive mama of precious Chinese babies and a homeschooler as well and a great encourager!!!  God has been so gracious to put her in my life at just the right time and I am so grateful He did.  We met last summer at an adoption get together at our friend Andrea's pool,  and haven't really "talked" since then but God in HIS infinite wisdom and sovereignty brought us together last month and I tell you I think I have talked/emailed/texted with this sweet friend so frequently that when several days go by and we haven't heard from one another we feel as if its been forever!  While we live in the same great state of GA we live a bit far from one another so I recently suggested we try to hook up somewhere in the middle and get our families together - and so we did at  a Gwinnett Braves game.  We got really cheap seats as in $3!! It was such a fun night.  We knew that by the end of the night the kids would have all warmed up to one another and then it would be time to go - yep we were right.  We enjoyed pretzels, cotton candy, getting game balls, and most importantly one anothers company.  Ankerich family we can't wait to do it again.  Here are some fun pics from a great night!!


they could be sisters... they look so alike





not so happy about the mascot... 
I think she likes cotton candy


oh I love this sweet girl! she was so "cold"






two mamas and her babies

News

Its Friday!!! YAY YAY!!! And on top of that I got to stay home all day - not one place to go AND the weather was perfect in my opinion - a crisp cool outside with some lovely rain - my kind of day.  I got caught up on housework and organizing some things, finished reading a book to the kids and just enjoyed being home.  There used to be a time when I loved being on the go and getting out - but now I just love being able to stay home with my kiddos and I am so thankful that that is exactly what I got to do today.

This week was super busy as far as the girls go - they both had Drs. appointments everyday this week but today.  Phew!!  With each appointment came news.  So the good news Abbie's ABR which is a hearing test came back great!! She can hear just fine and has NO nerve damage.  So thankful for this news.  We also heard back about her genetic blood work and she has no chromosomal abnormalities - again this is such great news!!!  While she does have the rare brain disorder - polymicrogyria (pmg) she does not have anything else going on.  We are so thankful.  We are still learning about pmg and there are many unknowns about it - its a learn as you go - I am so thankful she doesn't have anything else added to her medical plate.  She will begin speech therapy in the fall and she is constantly learning as everything around her is pretty new.  Please join us in praising the Lord for this good news.  

The other news - I am not sure how to process this news just yet.  I am sure you will remember I had written earlier that Linnea had also undergone some genetic testing as she was born with multiple special needs.  Her blood work came back and she indeed does have a genetic syndrome called 22q.  It is the second most common syndrome next to downs syndrome.   I am so glad to finally have an answer to many of our why this and why that questions and it explains a lot about her medical history past and present and now future.  I do not know what this means for Linnea or us as I don't know enough about it - but we are meeting with the genetics counselor next week to learn all about it and to see what's next.  You would never know from looking at her that there was anything wrong - and she is quite the spit fire so I don't believe she is going to let this diagnosis get her down ;-) I am certainly not.  And we are praising the Lord for this news as well - because now we know!!  He is sovereign in all things.

Even though this week has been filled with appointments to the max.  I am so thankful to live where we live and have some of the best doctors in the world like the one you saw in this post   We actually have been spoiled by several really great doctors and nurses so when we visit a new one and he is not up to par - it makes it hard.  I have learned now to ask the favorite doctors for their recommendations - they always know best and I make them tell me as if it were their kids.  

Well I am off now to begin our Charlottes Web party - we finished the book today and are celebrating.  I have so many pics and posts I want to get on here - maybe I will get to do a few more later.  Thanks for catching up with us!


Monday, August 5, 2013

our favorite doctor - for real!!!

So when I say we see a lot of specialists - I am not making that up. Well this one - Dr. Clifton - he is by far my whole families FAVORITE!!!  He was actually a second opinion and I am more than grateful for my friend Kim Shimer who recommended him - for multiple reasons.  The first being that he actually was way more proactive about Linnea's condition than the first opinion I got.  However he's our favorite because he treats Linnea like she was one of his own - he is the only doctor she lets hold her.  Anytime we have to go to the doctor she always says "Dr. Clifton?" in the cute little way she says his name.  When Linnea had her first surgery I cannot tell you how many times I told him he needed to pretend that she was his child on the OR table and he said to me - "I try to treat every patient that way." Perfect!  That is exactly what this mama needed to hear and that is why he's our families favorite.  He didn't just treat Linnea he treated our whole family.  When we were doing our weekly visits to CHOA there were often times when I had to take some of the other kiddos with me and he was just as good with them as he was with Linnea.  In fact my kids play "Dr. Clifton" - its hilarious.  If you know me I ask lots of questions and he was always willing to answer them and teach me how to care for Linnea in the best way possible. He also has the best office assistant - she always calls back in a timely manner and is just so super sweet.  I tell you they have set the bar way high for other doctors offices.  I have recommended Dr. Clifton to several friends - I even have a friend who drove from South Carolina who came to see him and felt the same way I did - He's a great doctor!! So if you ever need a peds surgeon I have got the one for you!

This picture was taken at our last post-op visit at CHOA Egleston. It was in a weird kind of way bitter sweet.  You have to remember we have been seeing these specific doctors and nurses for a little over 6 months and sometimes during those months we were seeing them weekly.  They called us the frequent flyers - sad but true.  We are so thankful to have had such great care!! Thank you Dr. Clifton and team!!  You truly are our favorite doctor!! Thank you!!!


Friday, August 2, 2013

Change


You can't see Abbie's face in the above picture but she was not a happy camper


This picture is from today.
It's almost been 3 months and so much has changed... I LOVE this sweet expression of pure joy and happiness. So thankful God brought her here. After some hard times and heartache HE brings joy.

Weeping may last for the night (or many in our case) but joy comes in the morning.
~ Psalm 30:5

Thursday, August 1, 2013

leaving the "fog" behind...

Well, I finally feel like I have come back to the land of the living somewhat.  The adoption "fog" as they call it is slowly but surely lifting and there is somewhat of a normal routine falling into place in our home.  Now don't get me wrong I'm not out and about traipsing to Target or Kroger with 5 kids in tow but I might be getting there....maybe :-).  I know its been a few weeks since I've blogged and its not that I haven't thought about it - I have - its that I just haven't.  I don't even know if I've had the words to blog or adequately express all that is been transpiring in the Pruiksma's corner of the world - but here I am tonight and I will catch you up as best I can!

First off we are embarking on the new adventure of homeschooling!!!  Woo Hoo!!!  I am so excited about this for a plethora of reasons.  Flexibility being one, not living in my care being another.  We go to so many drs. appointments and therapies that I felt like I was in the car a lot, and that's when I just had one special needs kiddo.  But now onto a much more important reason - I only have a tiny speck of time (in the scheme of the grand design of life) to be with my children and I want to savor these moments.  I want to teach them.  I want to love on them and I want to saturate them with the gospel.  Now I will do all of these things imperfectly and I already know this - however I do know that God will use me and He will use this time and He will use this time we have together for HIS glory and HIS purposes.  You might be wondering how in the world this is going to happen - well I will tell you a little secret .. Ethan and Linnea are going to preschool and that is how I think I can do this.  I have loved the time that my other sweet kiddos got to spend at the preschool nearby and I don't want Ethan or Linnea to miss out and selfishly I love all the little crafts and muffins with moms that they do.  The littles won't go to school everyday E will go M- Thurs. and Linnea will go Tue.- Thurs.  and its only half day. This gives me a few hours in the mornings to work with my oldies.  I think this will work out quite nicely.  We aren't starting hard core school til after Labor day - but we have already established some routines and I am sneaking in a little bit of school here and there and the kids don't even know it! This really is a privilege for me and I am so thankful that my husband has confidence in me to do the job.  I know I was a teacher but teaching your own kids is totally different.  And friends when I get down in the trenches of homeschool and want to quit - please kindly remind me of my excitement at this moment!!

Our little fam or big fam however you look at it is doing well.  We are adjusting to being a family of seven and we have good days and bad days.  I think Abbie is attaching to our family so well.  She has picked up a few English words/phrases such as no, stop that, yes maam, thank you, Ethan James, Luke, Nathan, mommy, daddy, sleeping, outside, I love you... - and probably a few others I am forgetting.  Her siblings are still trying to get used to her and I know that is a work in progress (and another good homeschool reason).  Both girls have had lots of drs. appointments and I am thankful that we live close to two major children's hospitals.  These girls have and will go through a lot.  Oh how I took my boys health for granted.  And just because a child looks perfectly normal it doesn't mean that they are and I mean that in the nicest way.  My girls are beautiful (yes I know I am biased) and if Abbie didn't have an enlarged head you might not know there was anything wrong with her - but that couldn't be farther from the truth.

Sweet Abbie has been having seizures - probably since she was born and was recently diagnosed with a rare brain disorder that happened while she grew in her China mommy's tummy.  It cannot be surgically fixed and there are no therapies to make it better. We have no idea what to expect long term but that doesn't mean we aren't hopeful - we are!! Who knows what God has planned for this sweet girls life!! He brought her all the way from China to here and HE created her so we for sure have HOPE!!   She has started seizure meds and has some of the best doctors on her team we are awaiting some genetic blood work and then will meet with her neurologist again later this month.  We are also going to have an ABR hearing test this month as well.  With her condition comes hearing loss - something I am now somewhat familiar with - God was preparing me - you think?!!

Cutie Cakes Linnea is still plugging along.  She recently had some surgery and will have one more sometime this fall to fix a palate issue she has in her mouth and hopefully that will resolve some of our speech problems.  We are still in speech therapy and thankfully we have gotten someone to come to us - which means one less place to go!! Yea!!! We met with genetics a few weeks ago and had some blood work done and we are awaiting those results as well as seeing some other specialists in the mean time and then will have a follow up with genetics again.  Because of the many anomalies she was born with she likely has some type of syndrome we are just not sure what - and again not sure what that will mean but this girl is a firecracker so I am not worried!  All 21 lbs of her is dynamite :-)

We have recently taught all the kids minus the cutie cakes how to play Uno and therefore we have played every night!!  Tonight we tried to pick up Rummy but they just insisted that we play Uno!  Even Abbie has gotten in on the action and beaten us a few times!!  I love their expressions and their strategy in playing the game.  I think DP and I laugh so hard we cry sometimes.  Such precious memories.  I look forward to teaching them other games!!

Today we went tubing - yep you read that right we took all five of our kiddos tubing.  We did go with another family.  I must say it was quite the adventure - but again such sweet memories and two exhausted parents :-)

God has been so gracious to me - doing such a work in my heart and reminding me of my utter dependence upon Him in this walk of mama-hood.  I LOVE this verse in Phillipians (I LOVE a lot of verses but this one has been really working on me recently) "Not that I am speaking of being in need for I have learned in whatever situation to be CONTENT."  Paul wrote this in chains in prison for goodness sake - so I think I have a few lessons to learn and I am grateful God is patient with me and continues to teach me even when though I am undeserving.

Thanks for letting me catch you up a bit.  

A little Uno fun!!


the tubing crew.  thankful for such sweet friends!