Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ever have one of these days?

I'm not one to give him too much attention, but do you ever get the feeling Satan's trying to stop a divine intervention?

I'm having an open house today to sell Thirty-One for our adoption and I have other stuff to help SFCV.  I have been VERY dizzy the past 3 days, the kids have dropped and broken more things than I can count, my shower head appears to be broken behind the wall and durning my shower this morning it flooded the a/c closet and part of the hall and my closet, and I put fresh coffee on for whomever shows up today and forgot to empty the morning's coffee--yes, all over the counter and onto the kitchen floor.

The last time I had this kind of morning was a few years ago.  I almost didn't go on this field trip, the obstacles were too many to recount.  But I pressed on (and on and on) and I still remember the moment I felt the higher purpose.  I met a sweet new friend and had the joy of following their journey to adopt their daughter from China.  (Hi, Mollie!)

So I wonder what, or who, today will bring?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My new adventure...

I was so excited to get my pink box!!  

So what was in it, you ask?

Super cute (and affordable) Thirty-One products--from signature purses and totes to storage solutions that help organize my life (and you know how much I LOVE organizing!).  Here's just a sampling!  This is their fall line, there's many more fabrics to choose from.

(stock photo from Thirty-One)

I had heard of Thirty-One before, but never really gave it much thought until I received an email from a sweet friend of mine who was a consultant for Thirty-One.  She shared the fall starter kit info with me. When I started looking through the catalog, I was hooked!  

From their philosophy:
   I love that Thirty-One is a Christian based business, even their name.  Their name comes from Proverbs 31 in the Bible.  The Proverbs 31 woman is dearly loved and respected my her husband and her children, yet she is an individual.  She manages her home with kindness and integrity.  Her savvy business skills are partly brought about by her desire to serve others, to do good deeds and prosper.  

To their mission:
  To celebrate, encourage and reward women by offering quality products and an outstanding opportunity to become successful business owners. We have seen this mission play out through the years in the individual lives of so many women who now have their own "Thirty-One story." Many work full-time jobs and use their Thirty-One income to help pay for those extras in life like vacations. Some of our Consultants had a dream to be debt-free and have paid off houses and cars. Others have seen Thirty-One become a lifeline to their families in difficult economic times. 

What's my dream? 

My decision to join was twofold. I want to be able to contribute to our adoption fund and to be able to give more to care for the orphans. Being a Thirty-One Consultant allows me to do both.

I'm having a get together this Saturday to introduce my friends and family to their awesome products! Hop over to my website to get the details!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Our 2011-2012 curriculum

Not Back to School Blog Hop

 Our school year has actually been underway for 7 weeks.  We try to take off more time in the spring and fall.  We took off half of May and half of June.  We have some extra time scheduled off in November to go hunting.  It's just too hot to be outside right now!

I've tweaked our schedule a bit since we started, but overall I've kept it pretty much the same.  I think I'm pretty pleased with our plans for this year.    

Raising Arrows Christian Academy 
Curriculum for 2011-2012
Shaoey & Grace
One chapter a day
One chapter a day
Bible story a day
Bible Study
Scripture Memory
Simply Charlotte Mason                               Scripture Memory pack
Simply Charlotte Mason                               Scripture Memory pack

American Literature
American Literature
Learning to read
Saxon 8/7 &              Teaching Texbooks
Saxon 6/5 &              Teaching Texbooks
MUS Primer
Language Lessons for Little Ones
Student chooses
Student chooses
Nature Journal &                 Apologia Physical Science
Nature Journal &                 Apologia Flying Creatures
Composers   (using the CM method and Getting To Know the World’s....)
Artists     (using the CM method and Getting To Know the World’s....)
Hymn Study
Spanish songs and books Flip Flop Spanish
Family Bible Study

I tried to link to each book that I use.  Some of these click through to my Amazon store.  This is another way I am helping build our adoption fund.  THANKS! 

I realize the chart may look overwhelming.  Keep in mind that I have it listed out for the whole year and some subjects we only do once a week.  Here's a chart showing how often we do each subject.

Times per week
Scripture Memory
Family Bible Study
3 x week
3 x week
2-3 x week
1 x week
Nature Study
1 x week
1 x week
1 x week
1 x week
Hymn Study
1 x week
1 x week
1 x week

Jonathan Park sale!

My kids, especially the boys, LOVE listening to Jonathan Park!

Today and tomorrow at Vision Forum, save 40% when you purchase any three or more individual Jonathan Park albums. Or, save 50% when you purchase the 7-album Jonathan Park Complete Adventure Collection or the 4-album Jonathan Park Creation Guide Series. That’s as little as $12.50 per album!

Sale ends Aug. 12, 2011!

I am a Vision Forum Affiliate.  I earn a small percentage of each sale made through my link (  Everything I earn through VF is going into our adoption fund.  THANKS!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Shaoey turned 6!

Our sweet Shaoey turned 6 yesterday!  

Where have the years gone?  

She has such an incredibly sweet spirit about her.  She is my little helper and is always looking to see how she can be of service to others.  I love her passion for God.  I love how she sees His hand in the day to day things around her.  Precious!

Shaoey had a few friends over yesterday to celebrate her special day.  

She is into horses these days.  She's begging daddy for one!

Happy birthday, sweet Shaoey!  
We love you!

What does attachment disorder look like? Part 2

I realized that I jumped ahead of myself in the last post.  I want to step back and give you some signs and symptoms to look for.  Remember, not every child will have all the symptoms and not all will show them to the same degree. 

Attachment Disorder Symptoms:

Superficially engaging & charming 
• Indiscriminately affectionate with strangers 

• Lack of eye contact on parents terms 

• Not affectionate on Parents’ terms (not cuddly)
Destructive to self, others and material things (accident prone) 
• Cruelty to animals 
• Lying about the obvious (crazy lying) 
• Stealing 
No impulse controls (frequently acts hyperactive) 
• Learning Lags
 • Lack of cause and effect thinking 
Lack of conscience 
• Abnormal eating patterns 
• Poor peer relationships 
• Preoccupation with fire 
• Preoccupation with blood & gore 
Persistent nonsense questions & chatter 
• Inappropriately demanding & clingy 
• Abnormal speech patterns 
• Triangulation of adults 
• False allegations of abuse 
Presumptive entitlement issues 
• Parents appear hostile and angry

  My info comes from Nancy Thomas.
(I boldfaced the ones that I was seeing in Grace.)

What did this look like in real life?  One frazzled mama!  One of the first things we noticed was that  when someone would come over (especially a man), she would be all over him--sitting on his lap, touching his face, getting all worked into a feeding frenzy of attention.  When we would go to remove her, she would act as though we were in the wrong, that we were the stranger.  I lost count of how often she did this one.  Of course the person she was playing would think it all cute and precious and be flattered that she wanted him/her so much.  She would get so worked up that she was hyperactive and had no self control.    Grace is a very physical little girl. Everything she does is full force and full of gusto. She has broken more toys and books than all the other 3, even more than Connor on asthma meds!  And she wouldn't care.  Tornado Grace would strike again and again with no remorse.  She can be quite rough with pets.  On this one, I'm not positive she was trying to be cruel as much as she just doesn't think and acts so physically in everything she does.  She would often just babble and chatter and not care if you understood her and she loves babytalk.  She asks the most obvious and nonsense questions.  Nonstop.  And could she ever play one parent/adult against another!  (That's triangulation.)    She would get mad at one of us and go climb on the other parent and look back at the first parent and smile this victorious smile (out of sight of the parent she was on).  Very manipulative.  Ahhh, and entitlement?  She thought she deserved everything even if it wasn't hers--things, time, activity.... She couldn't stand to think someone was getting something she wasn't.  

And after all this, don't you think the parent would feel a bit hostile?  Add to this that most parents (of a normally attached child) a RAD parent talks to will tell them, "my child did x too, she'll out grow it" or "she looks so happy and well adjusted, you're exaggerating," or "she's just outgoing."   It's not just one or two of the above signs.  It's the multiple signs, the repetitive signs, and it's what the child allows the other person to see which is probably not at all what she shows her parents.  One thing I cannot stress enough is that God has given us wisdom and intuition.  Trust your parent's intuition, if you feel something's not right, it probably isn't.  You are around the child the most and you see the child in his/her most natural state.

Tune in to Part 3 to see what we have been doing to help Grace to heal.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mama, you really love ME? (Part 1)

Mama, you really love ME?  

Yes, those were the words that came out of our precious Grace's mouth yesterday.  It was both a statement and a question all in one.  Grace has had such a harder time of adjusting and attaching and understanding our love for her than Shaoey did.  I haven't posted much about her attachment lately, well, probably not much at all.  Why? I guess because it's still such a work in progress.  It's so hard to explain to those around us that she's wounded, fighting our love, unattached when all they see is the silly, loving, attention getting little girl that she lets them see.  

We are making some really good strides forward, but then there seems to be an innate fear that senses we're getting too close and she goes into fight or flight and misbehaves all she can to try to keep us at arms length, to keep us from getting in.  (Doesn't that sound just like how we relate to God and others?)  I've been incorporating a lot more of Nancy Thomas' stategies and philosophy into our parenting.   We are having good results with Strong Sitting and using some of her tactics on Dealing with Defiance.   

Strong Sitting is a gift to the child.  It is a gift of time.  Grace sits cross legged on the floor with her neck and head in line and arms relaxed in her lap.  She is facing a blank wall, preferably in a quiet area near you, without too many distractions.  This works well for us when I'm cooking.  The research shows that the yummy smell of food cooking is a positive sensory input.  Grace has built up to 4 minutes at a time and we aim for 2-3 times a day.  A big thing to note is that this is NOT punishment, I repeat, it is NOT punishment.  I make sure NOT to do it when I am annoyed and cannot place her there in a peaceful loving tone and be there to cheer her on.  Yes, I get to give her positive input such as "I like how you are sitting so straight."  I try not to interrupt too much, but a little encouragement goes a long way.  I can see her smile from the back of her head when I do!  Why do we do it?  Nancy says it well.  Here's an excerpt from her website:

Strong Sitting gives the brain an opportunity to shift in the most successful position. Children who have been traumatized have the wiring in their brain more developed in the inner core (R Complex). This is defense or survival mode. (Fight: arguing, defiance, negative behavior, Flight: running away, Freeze: shutting down) This inner core is where children with RAD are most comfortable because it is the most highly developed section. They seek negative attention and criticism because it puts them in their comfort zone The parts of the mind with RAD that are less developed are the Limbic system (Love and Attachment) and the Neo-Cortex (Logic, reasoning, school work) In order to do it correctly (sitting still, straight and quiet) they must shift gears in their brain to the Neo-cortex by going through the Limbic system. It stimulates both of these parts of the brain! Each minute they spend doing it correctly exercises the logic and/or love parts of the mind. Brain power!

I love it--exercising the love and logic parts of the brain--   
helping our girl to get stronger and healthier!

In Part 2 I'll share how we are dealing with Grace's defiance.  Nancy has some off the wall ideas that really seem to be making a difference in our relationship with Grace.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cat on a hot...

shingled roof?

It is with MUCH sadness that we announce that the 3 kittens are gone.  We don't know if they ran away, were hit, or eaten (our guess).  It happened one at a time; first Leia, then Luke, and then Sagwa; about a week apart.   We are heartbroken.  They were absolutely, without a doubt, the BEST kittens we've ever had.  They were so loving and snuggly.  We're still sort of reeling from it.  

We think that something got them.  Why?  Because a neighbor told us a coyote got a couple of her cats.  And because of Little Boy.  Little Boy started acting weird the day that Leia disappeared.  He started laying in the middle of driveway.  Then we started finding him on top of the pool pump house.  This is where he spends his days and nights now:

Until he sees us come outside...then he does this:

He has spent the last week inside as much as we'll let him.  I really feel terrible for him.  He is apparently very spooked by something.  He won't go near the trees along either side of the house, he spends all his time up high--either the house, Troy's truck, the van...  When he comes in, this is where he likes to be:

His favorite human--Jacob!  He will "allow" the rest of us to hold him, but he is rigid and doesn't relax.  With Jacob, he crashes.  You can hear him purring.  He's also become more vocal.  Poor thing also seems to be having dreams.  His poor little feet are moving while he sleeps.

Mud Island River Park, Memphis, TN

 I just love weddings-  the love and sweet tenderness, the hope of years together, the joy that radiates...  I love seeing young men and women of God who see the value of marriage and aren't swayed by the culture that says wait until...until you've experienced the world, until you've tested out a few potential spouses, until you have established yourself... but I digress.

A few weeks ago we had the joy of being able to go to another family wedding.  We were so touched by the devotion to God and each other that we witnessed in these young adults.  We pray God's blessings over the newlyweds and their marriages.

Of course, if you know us, we'll turn any trip into a fun field trip!  This time the destination was Memphis.  My husband is sweet to humor me.  He took off Thursday at lunch and drove  us to Memphis.  
What post would be complete without a sleeping girl?

We stayed at an Embassy Suites.  This was our first stay and it was pretty nice.  It had a beautiful atrium with ducks and koi which the girls loved watching.  It was great to have that extra space of a separate bedroom, and no one had to sleep on the floor!  Oh and the breakfast was pretty nice too--a free cooked to order omelet and pancake/waffle station along with the usual breakfast fare.

Grace figured out how to cut her food by holding the fork in the crook of her pokey arm and the knife in her hand.  Pretty ingenious!

Friday morning we headed off to Mud Island River Park

I think the Monorail was one of the kids' favorite parts of the day!  (NOT mine....)

30" equals 1 mile--so basically one normal step was a mile
If you click on this photo, you can read more on what the River Park is all about.

And each 1" ridge you see in the river is equal to 8'
(Love being able to use math!)

Our dancing girl...

Shaoey's is testing out the current by sending her shoe downstream.  Grace was the first to figure it out, I just didn't catch a picture of it...

Discussing that this is one of the places that they go hunting (near Raccourci Island and Angola--LA State Penitentiary).

Connor caught (and released) a cicada!  It was floating in the water.  That makes 2 live cicadas that we've seen this year.

Near "New Orleans:
We reached the "Gulf of Mexico!"

Connor and Shaoey pedal boating around the gulf.

I love that you can see how hard Grace is working at pedaling.  Jacob is kicked back here letting her do the work!  

What we thought would take an hour or two ended up last about 4 hours.  So we had some hot, tired, and hungry children.  We decided to skip over to Beale street for lunch and to say we've been on it.  (And to compare it to Bourbon St.  Granted it was day time, but much cleaner than Bourbon St.!  I wonder why he didn't make it "I think He'd prefer Bourbon St. to the stained glass crowd?")    
BB King's Blues Club on Beale St.

Having a stare down.  You HAVE to click on the photo and enlarge it to see Grace's eyes!  Too funny!

Here we are ready to go to the main event:
Cutest window display I've ever seen!

Look how big the room was.  The bedroom is back to right.  The suite had 2 double beds and a sleeper sofa.

Grammy and our children

This table was the HIT of the reception!  Who'd have thunk it?  Even the adults were raiding it!  

Back row: Connor, Troy, & Jacob
Front row: Aunt Paulette, Shaoey, Grammy, Grace, & Aunt Susie

Beautiful bride, handsome groom, and an amazing cake made by "Aunt" Linda!
 Troy likes driving at night, so we left Collierville around 4 pm and drove on through.  It was nice to wake up in our own beds Sunday morning and get to go to church.  Thanks, Troy!

I must say, have mixed feelings.  While we are ready to spend some time at home "doing" school and not packing and unpacking, our trips are SO much fun that I miss them.  Our next scheduled trip isn't until our annual November hunting trip.  I may have to squeeze a little something in between now and then.  There just too much cool creation to explore!