Saturday, March 24, 2012

So What's It REALLY like??

Sometimes I think maybe people around us wonder what it's REALLY like to have 7 children, all of them with some special need or another. Well first off, some of the special needs are so mild that they hardly count as special needs. And secondly, I think life at our house is probably pretty much like life at any other house with plenty of kiddos running around. Sometimes calm. Sometimes crazy. Often messy. And loud? Yes, a LOT :)

Most of our kids have had interesting things going on in the last week or so. I'll just talk about them in order of age.

Billy is turning 18 this summer so I have been kind of freaking out about the transition from child to adult. Because of Billy's developmental disabilities and our desire to keep him safe, Kevin and I want to retain guardianship and have conservatorship of his finances--with his input, of course. I have been feeling like I was basically in the dark about how exactly to go about this. For this very reason I enlisted the help of a service coordinator several months ago. Unfortunately, the first lady assigned to our case got very sick so a couple months passed before I got hooked up with someone else. This second woman, Lisa, is just a sweetheart but brand new--so again I was stressed out that we might do something wrong or not quickly enough --and mess up the whole process. I was told we would need to get a lawyer--and that Billy, of course, would need one as well. I was given phone numbers for Legal Aid and Volunteer Lawyers of Idaho as possibilities for Billy. However, the Legal Aid representative told me they were not taking any clients; Volunteer Lawyers said we didn't qualify due to our income level. How frustrating! Visions of mega-dollar signs were dancing in my head.

Not really knowing where else to turn for Billy, I went ahead and called another lawyer Lisa had found and scheduled an appointment for March 19 for Kevin and I to meet with her. I was so nervous. I thought she sounded very abrupt on the phone. And then Kevin ended up having to work and I had to go to the appointment alone. The thought of making all these huge life decisions alone was extremely frightening to me. It's hard to describe my relief when the lawyer turned out to be very friendly and easy to talk to. She assured me that she has done LOTS of these type of cases, they are very easy and that the court procedure itself takes only about 15 minutes. Then she asked me where Kevin is employed. I told her and her response was something like "Oh, is THAT how you found me? I do all the legal work for the employees of that company. It is 100% covered by insurance!!!" She could hardly believe it when I told her I had absolutely no idea--I had just called her office off of a list given me by our service coordinator! AND Billy's attorney costs will be covered as well. This still seems too good to be true but if so, what a major Praise the Lord! And to think I was so aggravated with Legal Aid and the Volunteer Lawyers.

Scheri's biggest thing this week was probably performing a Christian hip-hop dance at the Fine Arts Festival in Nampa last night (Friday.) She had asked a couple different gals to help her choreograph the dance but neither one worked out. She was panicking. She couldn't decide on a song; she couldn't decide on the moves. And believe me, this is not an area in which I have ANY expertise AT ALL so I could not help--except to try to encourage. In spite of her many fears and tears in anticipation of the event, she scored an Excellent and got some very helpful feedback from the 3 judges! Good job, Scheri! Just the night before both she and Billy attended a lock-in at the High School from 9 pm to 6 am. And the other current big deal in Scheri's life is that she is taking Driver's Ed--and loving it.

Teresa attended the Fine Arts Festival as well--but not as a performer. Both she and Scheri rode up with the Youth Group, stayed overnight in a hotel and just got home at about 9:45 tonight. I'd say though that the highlight of Teresa's week has been bleaching her hair to nearly platinum, then dying many strands blue . . . . And continuing to add more blue as the week has progressed. I think it's cute!

James was very excited to find out on Thursday that he'd received a 97% on his research paper concerning Hoplites. We had to celebrate that score with Grandma and Grandpa AND ice cream at Arctic Circle :) :) On Friday James was able to give his Powerpoint presentation on the same subject online. This is his main composition project for the year so we are both glad to be totally done with it--and also happy not to have to go to Jerome to do the oral report in person like last year. Hip hip hooray!!

Abby went to the endodontist on Thursday for a procedure very similar to a root canal. One of her teeth developed unusually and the tissue inside it was inflamed (thankfully, not infected yet.) Though it was totally undetectable just to look at her, if not dealt with and allowed to continue unchecked, she would eventually lose the tooth. Because of my nursing background, I find most medical procedures quite interesting but I must say this one made me just a touch nauseous. The doctor of course had to inject the numbing medicine first. Abby was a trooper but I could tell it still was very uncomfortable--and it was not fun to watch that needle being stuck in her gums either. Then the doc drilled a tiny hole in the back of the tooth and then stuck lots and lots and lots of little needles?/tubes? into that hole one after the other. It was sickeningly amazing how far he could insert them. He was getting the inflamed tissue out, cleaning out the inside of the tooth and then, I believe, inserting some kind of medicine that stays inside the tooth for about 4 weeks. Finally he put in a temporary filling material of some sort to plug the hole. I had thought Abby would want to just stay home from school the rest of the day. Nope. She definitely wanted to go back to class and she absolutely wanted to attend Good News Club after school. So I gave her a dose of liquid Ibuprofen and returned her to school. I let them know I would be glad to pick her up if her mouth got hurting too badly! They never called. At 3:55 when I picked up Steven, I gave Abby another dose of Ibuprofen and sent her off to GNC. Again at bedtime I gave her medicine; she slept fine all night. What a toughie. Thankfully, she has had no problems.

And she lost another tooth today--one of the molars. Hopefully, the extremely forgetful tooth fairy that services our part of the world will remember to leave something under Abby's pillow :) :)

Steven is the only one of our kids who has been status quo this week. He did get a haircut (along with Caleb) at about 8:30 pm last Monday night in anticipation of class pictures on Tuesday morning. He did very well.

Caleb has a majorly high tolerance for pain, but Monday after school he was very noticeably favoring his right thumb. I looked at it--oh my goodness! it was so swollen. You could tell there was pus in there but it wasn't localized enough to be able to drain with a needle. We soaked it in Epsom salts Monday night and Tuesday morning but still could not alleviate the pressure. Bless his heart, that thumb was really hurting. But because of class pictures I wanted him to go to school long enough to get the photo done. I called the doctor's office as soon as they opened but couldn't get an appointment until 4 pm. I was surprised that the school never called me to pick him up before then. The doctor drained it, cultured the very nasty gunk that came out and sent us over to the pharmacy for an antibiotic. I got a call back on Wednesday saying the initial culture results were showing staph infection. Unfortunately, I got a call on Friday afternoon from the office nurse asking if I'd gotten her earlier message. Nope. Caleb's infection turned out to be the infamous MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus) so I had to drive back over to town to pick up another kind of antibiotic--a sulfa drug this time. Bummer. Bummer. Bummer. I feel terrible because I had Caleb at Walmart earlier on Friday--figuring he'd been on his medicine long enough to no longer be infectious. I have been trying so hard to keep this infection from spreading to anyone else. And, by the way, it is not always easy to keep the dressing on that thumb clean and dry and intact--Caleb was happily playing in the mud with it today :) :) Since Caleb just started his new antibiotic Friday night, the pharmacist felt it would be pushing it for Caleb to attend Sunday School in the morning. The current plan is that I will teach my Beginner Sunday School class; then Kevin and I will switch off so he can lead Children's Church. Hopefully, both of us can attend the annual business meeting tomorrow afternoon since our big kids will be home by then.

So that's a week in the life of the McClain Family. Most, however, aren't this interesting.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Steven's Birthday

It's hard to believe that Steven Mikhyal is 8 years old. He came home from school with this cute birthday "crown" . . .
. . . a bag of treats . . .
. . . which he dumped on the couch and ate without further ado.

He also brought home a very cute Crayola sticker book. He tore open the package, removed every sticker one by one (some were ripped somewhat in the process)

and stuck every single one very methodically on the sea picture, totally unconcerned about placement :)
James, Abby, and Caleb gathered around the birthday boy.

Caleb and Abby

I honestly can't remember what Abby was doing in this picture. It looks like she's trying to catch something on her tongue.
Though Steven's birthday was actually on March 6, we couldn't celebrate it until the next evening after church (because of the first Republican Party caucus in Idaho being held on the 6th and because of Kevin's very long work-day.) But boy, on the 7th we had the place ready to PARTY!! Steven had chosen a cake with cars on it so I was tickled to find all kinds of "car" themed accessories at the Dollar Tree: plates, napkins, cups, hats, blowers. It was great! Scheri did a great job on the red streamers in the living room. We got it all set up and then headed to Bible Study/Youth Group.

As soon as church was over we hustled back to the house with Grandma and Grandpa in tow, uncovered the cake and tried to get the group shot. Steven absolutely refused to smile for some reason.

Then we went out to the living room for a couple rousing rounds of Musical Chairs.
Here are Scheri and Steven who was finally on present-unwrapping duty.

I could tell he really didn't know what to make of the wheels but he very cooperatively let me get a shot of them.
Next he opened a very nice Vtech V.Reader game called "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" from Aunt Debbie . . . .
. . . AND there was a $5 bill enclosed in a birthday card from Grandma Kathie, as well. Thanks!From Grandma and Grandpa (Johnson) he received this very cool marble race game.
I think he was trying here to show 8 fingers.

Got the sparkly candles installed and before I knew it, Steven had already got them blown out.

Sorry for the fuzzy view of Caleb but I had to grab at least a half-smile from Steven.

Almost all the kids were having a great time playing with Steven's marble maze race game after Scheri got it built. Thankfully, there were several pathways for the fistfuls of marbles that all the little kids kept dropping into it.

Steven's main gift from us was a 20" Storm bicycle. Here's Teresa holding him up on it in the kitchen.
My Mom and Dad should get the Good Sports of the Year award. They so faithfully attend birthday party after birthday party; Mom goes shopping with me; Dad sometimes gets a frantic call from me saying, "Dad, I'm running a little late; could you please go pick up the little kids at the grade school," they get roped into burgers and fries at the Arctic Circle and they just keep saying, "Yes."

March 10 was so sunny and spring-y. Since I had taken Abby to a birthday party and the big kids were all going later to a joint-youth group showing of the "Facing the Giants" movie, I decided Caleb, Steven and I should do something fun, too. So we headed to McDonald's where they climbed and climbed and climbed and ate their Chicken Nugget meals. I was so proud of them coming so nicely when it was finally time to go pick up Abby. By then there was a definite nip to the air.

The Lost Pictures: Cheerleading, Thanksgiving and More

Does anyone recall this sad story from last Fall -- our 'real' camera which was a gift from my Aunt Kathie --which I hadn't been using because I didn't think it worked right--was discovered to have a very minor issue: it merely needed new batteries!! :) :) So, pictures were happily taken--(including pictures of Scheri in her cheerleading uniform which had been requested numerous times by Auntie Kathie)--and then said camera immediately disappeared without a trace into the Black Hole.

Well guess what! A few weeks ago we were having one of those "Household Projects Get-Er-Done" days and what to our wondering eyes should appear but . . . the lost camera. It was on the shelf right where Kevin had thought he put it--just hidden farther back and disguised inside a small pinkish cloth case. So here are some pictures from last year.

Here's a photo of Abby and Scheri--taken by Scheri. My oldest and youngest daughters.

And the beautiful smile of Mr. Billy

And the photos of Scheri in her cheerleaing uniform. And now Aunt Kathie doesn't even need them because we had photos taken at K-Mart right before Christmas :) :)

Here's Caleb dressed up for Thanksgiving in his Native American costume and showing his artwork.
Steven showing his own costume--both boys made these outfits in school.
Now is this cute or what!

Pictures from Our Household