Thursday, September 8, 2011

More Blithering

Yesterday, Sept 8, I received a call from Shriners stating that after consulting Abby's MRI, Dr.Hennessey is going with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy for Abby rather than an orthopedic diagnosis and wanted to refer her to a neurologist. I was able to assure Shriners that we had already seen a neurologist. Our son James also has very mild CP.

Tonight we ordered a program for Abby called Total Immersion to help her in English acquisition. According to the ads it's just as good as Rosetta Stone but a fraction of the price. Well, I can't vouch for the "just as good" yet--but it only cost $49 for levels 1, 2 and 3 while Rosetta Stone was $179 for Level 1 alone. I have been having Abby work on A,B,C's, writing her name, names of colors, counting, adding and subtraction. Today she sat on my lap while I read 4 stories. I think she got the most enjoyment out of "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Hop On Pop" by Dr. Seuss. I can put a lot of action and fun vocal intonation into those.

For anyone adopting who might be following our timeline: I forgot to mention that we received Abby's Certificate of Citizenship 3 1/2 to 4 weeks after arriving on U.S. soil. We applied for her Social Security number on Aug 17 and received the card just a few days later. (I can't believe I didn't write either the date for the COC or the SS card on my calendar.)

This has been a pretty hectic week. Last Sunday after church we loaded up our motor home and drove up into the South Hills where to my surprise we found a nice, private spot where the kids could wade and play. Abby was all excited when she saw me loading her swimming suit. I tried to explain that we were not going to actually swim but just get our feet wet. Once she stuck her piggies in that COLD shallow creek, however, she quickly figured out what mommy was talking about. I was quite a sight there in my slippery-bottomed sandals with Caleb, Steven and Abby all clinging to ME for balance as we slid and tripped our way along over the slippery-topped rocks. My sweetie served up some yummy hamburgers and hot dogs which we ate by lamplight. Sunday night was actually rather chilly and we all appreciated the campfire over which Knight James so gallantly roasted marshmallows for his lovely mother. Monday morning several of the kids were out playing that Scheri was the Queen and Billy and James were bodyguards. I'm not sure what Caleb and Steven's actual titles were--but they performed their duties quite rambunctiously. Of course, when I got out there with my camera, everyone started fighting. A little later all of us headed up the stream "to the Promised Land." I had Abby's hand; Kevin had Steven; and Teresa/Scheri traded off holding on to Caleb part of the time. I think everyone had a great time. Several were collecting pretty rocks from the bottom of the creek bed; I think all the boys were holding on to sticks. Even I had a stick for awhile but it was too wimpy to be of much help in keeping me upright. Hey, I never did actually fall but came pretty close a couple times. Everyone was being a pretty good sport. And Abby--who can trip walking on flat ground--just trekked right along over all those river-bottom rocks and even some sticks and a tree trunk or two. Back at camp we dried off, had popsicles and before long it was time to make lunch. Scheri and Abby were big helps--Scheri spread mayo; Abby unwrapped sliced cheese; my official task was to place the meat slices on the bread and fairly apportion the mac and cheese.

We got home and let everyone put their school clothes away in their dressers. I think pretty much everyone had to hit the tub or shower. I had the fun job of writing names on all of Caleb and Steven's individual crayons, pencils, boxes, etc prior to returning them to the appropriate back pack. Kevin's equally fun task was trying to get the 3rd computer hooked up for school tomorrow. (IDVA supplies computers, books, science equipment, etc for their students--so that goes for both James and Teresa)

Tuesday morning I took Caleb and Steven to the elementary for their 1st day of 1st grade. Wouldn't you know it--we were late. Elementary school starts at 8:15 this year rather than 8:30 and high school starts at 8:04. Then I took Billy on over to Twin for STRIVE, a special ed program designed to give older students more hands-on living skills. YEP, late there, too. Bah humbug! Then I headed for Walmart and was so glad I had purchased 99% of our school supplies way earlier. Good grief! Those aisles looked like fields after a grasshopper infestation--right nigh stripped bare. And no, there were not any fine-tipped dry-erase markers either in the school section or the home/business section--that was my only missing item on Abby's school supply list. I'd left James, Teresa and Abby at home each working on a computer doing school work. Scheri who had cheerleader practice before school got herself up and out of the house. When I got home poor Teresa said she'd had to re-start her computer about 20 times, James was watching Abby's screen rather than his own and Abby wasn't too happy when I told her she needed to do the ABC's again.

James had football practice Tuesday and his first football game on Wednesday and was so majorly stressed about both of them that he could hardly keep his mind on his studies. I am not exaggerating. However, when he found himself still alive and in one piece both after the game and after practice on Thursday, he seemed much more relaxed.

Today, Sept 9 was difficult as I'd imagined it would be. James and Teresa and Billy had school. Scheri and Abby and Caleb and Steven did not. Billy was no problem because he seems to really like Strive and has been motivated to get up and around. James and Teresa, however, were confined to their assigned computer chairs. Teresa found some assignments she had over-looked and worked on them. James, was working and working, trying to get caught up and was getting so frustrated with the whole thing. I truly considered just packing the equipment and books back into their respective boxes and returning them to IDVA. It doesn't help that I really didn't want to homeschool this year in the first place. It doesn't help that it takes so much effort to keep the little kids occupied at least somewhat positively while also having to push so hard to keep James on task.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Random Stuff

So many things have happened since I posted last. Some are fairly major. Some aren't--I just want to remember them.

I hope you see the humor in this and don't think it is terrible. Several days ago Abby had picked up a book and was pretending to read it in English. As I recall this one was just a regular book with no pictures. She was going through a list of words she knows--ending with these 2 lines: "Abby, shut the door" and "Shut up, Abby." Sorry, that just cracks me up.

She is truly a lovely little girl and wants to be helpful to Mom. She really likes to help with cooking, asks to rinse the dishes, likes to boss the little boys (smile) The funniest thing she's done is to sweep the gravel off our gravel drive-way!! Bless her heart! she was out there working so hard and with such obvious goodwill that for several days I just didn't have the heart to tell her that all those little rocks were in our driveway on purpose.

Last night when she went to bed, she was able to tell me "Abby little sad--Villi." I said, "I'm sorry" and was stroking her face and hair. She said, "It's OK" It really touched me that she was able to share her feelings--and that she WANTED to tell me how she felt. And this morning she put 6 English words together!

Important appointments:
*August 3 EEG
*August 5 Abby had an appointment with Shriner's hospital in SLC. The orthopedicdoc there doesn't feel that Club Foot is the correct diagnosis. She wonders if there is a neurological reason for her right leg being smaller and weaker.
*August 9, Dentist
*August 25, Met with pediatric neurologist in Boise to discuss diagnosis of epilepsy. His feeling is that since Abby has been seizure-free for such a long time (and is also on a relatively-low dose of her medicine) that we can probably discontinue the Trileptal. Her EEG does show some abnormal brain activity like is seen in a person who has seizures but apparently not everyone who has these abnormalities actually has seizures. However, he wants to see the results of the MRI tomorrow first. We will plan to see him again when he has clinic down in our area in a couple months. Mom went with Abby and I to Boise and we had a fun time at the Discovery Center in the afternoon. Abby and I went swimming at the motel salt-water pool. Grandma and Abby both enjoyed some ice cream. And then somewhat early to bed in anticipation of the sedated MRI scheduled for 7 am. Abby did great. The nurses were so sweet and tried to show her what was going on. I was so touched that they went the extra mile and actually got a Bulgarian interpreter on the speaker phone!! Abby went through the procedure fine, woke up fine but a little grouchy, got more ice cream for lunch (which of course she had no complaint about) and we were home by 1:30 pm.
*August 29 Abby went to Rehab systems and was fitted for a brace. They actually put a cast on her right lower leg, let it dry and then cut it off. The brace will be made from this form. She chose purple butterflies for the material her brace will be made of. We are supposed to get it in about 2 weeks.
*August 30 James and Teresa started their schooling with IDVA. Also that night James decided to try out for our football team--and he made it
*Sept 2--tonight--is Scheri's first night to cheer for the football game.