Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Time4Learning review

 I've been wanting to try Time4Learning for quite a while now, but I kept putting it off.  A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to try Time4Learning free in exchange for a review.  That was an offer I couldn't pass up!

I initially signed all the kids up.  After exploring it a bit and letting Shaoey do a few lessons, I realized that for Connor (10th), Jacob (8th), Shaoey (2nd/3rd), and Grace (1st) it probably wasn't the best avenue for them.  We have used a literature based style for years and it works well for us  

Eliana (age 8, adopted last year) is a different story.  Eliana came home with a couple of known special needs--hydrocephalus and scoliosis.  After meeting her, we realized there were other significant special needs.  We have spent the past year doing testing and evaluations.  We have learned that she has cerebral atrophy, corpus callosum issues, auditory processing disorder, some sensory issues, and a few other suspected issues.  With these issues, a literature based style doesn't seem to be working.  Her listening/retaining/responding skills seem low even on good days when her bridge (callosum) is working well.  We've both been frustrated and seemed to be at a standstill.  

Enter Time4Learning.  When we traveled to SFCV and adopted Eliana, she took us to the computer room, turned on the computer, went to the internet--straight to her game site, and started playing.  That should have told me something.   I have Eliana working on kindergarden level skills.  She has been doing some abc lessons and math/pattern skills.   When we work with her face to face, she has to take in our language, transfer it to where it needs to go. With callosal issues and auditory processing disorder, the message gets bounced around many times before it gets to it's destination.  By the time it gets there, it is often distorted.  She then has to process it and form a response which gets bounced around on the way out…. She often freezes up when we ask questions and try to get responses from us.  Think fight or flight, blank…  She seems to be doing really well with Time4Learning and is less frustrated and more likely to complete the task--meaning forward progress!!

I am excited to continue with Time4Learning, excited to see what progress we can make.  The lessons are short and entertaining, with good prompts to help her know what to do next (ex. the arrow lights up when she needs to press it to continue).  There is also a quiz at the end of the lesson to help us evaluate if she's understanding the information.  I also read today that people have been able to use it on tablets and Kindle Fires.  I'm anxious to try that to allow her to work while we're working and possibly take it with us to some doctor appointments, etc.  

(The opinions in this review are mine and do not from Time4Learning.)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

CHRISTMAS SALE--One Day at Shepherds Field Children's Village coffee table book!!

I'm excited to share this book again
it's on SALE!
One Day at Shephards Field Children's Village coffee table book!
This book is beyond fantastic. It is hardback, 11.5" x 9", and has high quality glossy pages with photos and narrative about the lives of the children and staff at SFCV.

Take a look inside and you'll see:

the children and the wide variety of special needs represented there

and an incredible photo journal of a day in the life of SFCV
Breakfast time

School time

There are many more amazing pages of life at SFCV---the buildings, playtime, mealtime, school time, napping, therapy, the medical clinic, bathing, etc. There's the arrival of new children and the adoption of others. And of course the precious CHILDREN--pages and pages of beautiful children. (The photos were mainly taken in the summer of 2009.)

As many of you know, sadly, there are children who will not be adopted, who will never know the love and care of their own family. When a child turns 14, they are no longer eligible to be adopted. What happens to them? Many older children/young adults are either turned out of an orphanage to fend for themselves or are put in an adult social welfare institution. This a more certain fate for the older orphan with special needs. SFCV is working to change that for the children they care for.

They are building a Vocational Center-- a place for these young people to learn a trade, to learn to care for themselves, to support themselves...to live a full life. There will be training rooms, small apartments, and even long term care for those that need it. It will truly be a life saver for many orphans. It will be 4 stories high. 

So how do you get one of these phenomenal books and bring hope to the orphan? This book is a limited edition. There are only 150 of them. For a donation of $50, you will receive one of these books and also have your name engraved on the sponsor plaque on the Vocational Center!

ALL proceeds from this book go directly to SFCV.

Just email me at troyandcharlene93@yahoo.com and I'll give you the payment information.
(Shipping & handling is $5, shipped media mail. You may choose another method if you prefer.)

In closing, this book is truly a treasure. Grace (known as Vira or ShuangShuang at SFCV) LOVES to look through it and see "her" China. It is beautifully done and a touching testimony to the love and care that the children get at SFCV.

Location:Broussard, LA

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Ultimate Healthy Living bundle!

I cannot wait to dig into this!
It's full of so much wonderful information and encouragement. 

86 ebooks--everything from natural living, real food cooking, natural beauty care, children's health--it's got it all!
1 interactive 12 week conference
9 free bonuses (worth over $150)
one AMAZING bundle!

All for $29.97

I'm so excited to try Time4Learning!

This came at the perfect time!  TingTing has many areas of difficulty--hydrocephalus, cerebral brain atrophy, thinning corpus callosum, and auditory processing disorder to name a few.   Homeschooling her has been very hit or miss as we try to figure out how to help her learn and remember things.  I've been looking at Time4Learning the past few weeks and was tickled to receive an email from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine 

I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

Check back in December!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Happy birthday, Gracie girl!

Our Grace is 7!  That sounds so much older than 6...  She is growing into such an amazing young lady--sweet, loving, cuddly, kind, and FULL of personality!  Grace and I did a photo shoot of sorts today.  I tried, but I just couldn't narrow it down anymore (trust me this isn't all of them!).  I hope you enjoy getting to know our Grace through these pictures.  They truly show what a precious girl she is to us.

We love you, Grace FuShuang!
The girls have a birthday tradition--a gigantic balloon of their choice.  

This one just makes my heart smile!

Love the personality in this one--Miss Confident!

The best sisters in the world.  They love each other so much; they can't bear to be apart.

Crazy girls!

Life is fun!

Birthday girl got to choose a new bike today.  We loved this one with longer handles, it helps her to not have to reach so far.  It works GREAT with pokey arm!

We had a WONDERFUL birthday party with our friends.  We celebrated Caroline and Grace's birthdays together.--2 very special young ladies!

What great friends!  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Kids are suppose to feel pain!

(warning--graphic photo of her incisions farther down this post)

TingTing had 7 or so vials of blood drawn, then she had to do her pulmonary function test.  Part of that included an arterial blood gas baseline.  This involved the technician drawing blood from the artery in her wrist.  She spent about 3 minutes trying to get hit the artery on Ting's left wrist.  When that didn't work, she moved to the right wrist.  After a couple minutes, she hit it.  

TingTing did not cry, did not squirm, and did not need me to hold her AT ALL.  She sat there with her arm out.  Just sat there.

She didn't cry or fuss in the hospital. 

Today is day 4 post op and she only took 5 cc of Lortab at bedtime tonight. And she didn't really ask for it, just a simple statement that her back hurt just a little so I gave her a low dose to make sure she could sleep.

Think for a moment if your child had these things done.  Do you think he/she would cry? Need you to hold them down to get bloodwork? Lay there and let them cath her with no sound or movement and no one holding her down?

If so, why is it so brave of TingTing to not need someone?

The number of times we heard how brave she was, how tough she was, what a big girl she was...

She's not, well she may be, but more than likely this is due to 2 things:

1.  A learned response--It's not unusual for orphans to learn early on that it doesn't matter.  Crying doesn't elicit the response God created it to get.  Hey, I need someone.  No one comes.  They learn it's a waste of effort to cry.  It won't matter.

2.  It is also related to Sensory Integration Disorder (SID).  Some individuals don't register sensory input in a neurotypical fashion.  Some are hypersensitive to sensory input (loud noises, bright lights, touch, pain... send them into a tizzy).  Others are hyposensitive--they need more intense input to register what a neurotypical person registers with normal input.  This would include pain.   We did a neuro-reorganization evaluation the week before surgery and the therapist noted that she seems to have rather low response to pain.  This also shows up in being able to empathize with others.  Example when a cat has gone missing or we find a chicken dead, she smiles and laughs, and wants to keep talking about it all day.  If she can't feel pain, she can't empathize and respond appropriately.  If it doesn't hurt her, it doesn't hurt anyone.

So... all that to say.  Kids are suppose to feel pain.  It's not "normal" for them not to.   I feel God gave us pain to protect us from more serious damage.  We need to feel pain.

We've got occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, and our newest addition neuro-reorganization therapy going on to help TingTing become better regulated and function at her best.

There's so much more I want to share about TingTing, but I need to figure out how much to tell and what.... (I'd love advice on how you know how much to share about your child's issues and needs.)

Oh yeah, here's the photos I warned about:

This spine X-ray was done in December.  It had gotten SIGNIFICANTLY worse since then.  It was about 40 or so degrees here.  The most recent one was about 65 degrees curvature. (The main curve, there was a secondary above it, but it was smaller.)
Spine x-ray the day after surgery.  They believe they got it down to about 30 degrees and the upper curve is starting to straighten itself.
Here's her incision sites on Friday morning before they discharged us.

Here's a video of TingTing walking today.  Her right shoulder is so much lower... and we're noticing the leg length difference more.  When she takes a step with her left leg, she lifts her body up to where her right foot almost doesn't touch the ground.  You can't see it as much in this video... I'll try to get better tomorrow.

Attachment issues...

I knew being gone this week would stir up attachment issues and it didn't fail to deliver.  Grace was rotten yesterday.  Just wild, disobedient, and downright annoying.  

At dinner I passed a comment to her that it seemed like she was trying to be disobedient in order to get me to go away to prove to something to herself.   After dinner we went have a pow-wow.  She started by telling me that what I said at dinner was right.  She said her heart felt like it was half and half.  She said (with adorable hand gestures), "This half loves you and this half wants to make you go away."  She said Satan was trying to get her to feel that I didn't love her.  She knew I loved her, but he was telling her I didn't.  I was so proud of her for putting her feelings into words and being able to talk about how to handle these feelings in the future, as it will happen again.  That she is in control of her feelings, that we have to go on what we know, not what we feel.  

Btw, this is a common adoption scenario (and NOT just international either!)...  Attachment is not an "is" or "isn't" issue--it is a sliding scale that is always adjusting and changing, which is why I try to have my radar up to watch for these issues and try to parent in view of attachment.  Often times these behaviors can fly just under the radar unless you know to look for it.  It would have been so easy to just chalk it up to hunger, being tired, any number of excuses.  

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Beach time!!

Wow, I didn't realize I haven't posted here since February!  Where has the time gone?  Oh yeah, doctor  and therapist appointments, but that's not what this post is about.  Maybe I'll post on the other stuff soon, just processing it.

We all needed some getaway R&R.  We left the house and animals in capable hands and headed to one of our favorite beach spots--Sandestin.  We are blessed this trip to be able to spend time with 2 special families.  Today we got to see Dawn and her family.  We have been friends since we adopted our first daughters about the same time 6+ years ago.  We unexpectedly found that they were staying 45 minutes from us and they came play on the beach today.  We got to meet Levi and they got to meet Eliana.  

Here are some pictures from our first night and our reunion:

View from our balcony
These 2 are the sweetest of sisters...

Shaoey and Grace watching the sunset over the bay

Dad & Shaoey at Roberto's 

Connor & Jacob

Shaoey is such a beach princess--she adores it!

All the China kids--Levi, Bekah, Shaoey (she's not really that short, she's standing in a hole), Grace, Leah, and Eliana

Connor volunteered to be buried and they jumped at the chance.

Leah and Grace jumping waves

Special moments

Shaoey looks like she belongs on a beach in Hawaii riding the waves!

Sweet Gracie was wiped out!  
Dawn & I
Thanks for coming hang with us today--what a blessing!