Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Ala Carte Line...

Has caused a bit of trouble in our family...

We sent Emma and Ellie to public school this fall.
The girls had hit a plateau in homeschooling and were not progressing past preK for Emma and K for Ellie.

Both girls have a cognitive disability (Ellie is higher functioning than her older bio sibling Emma). Both girls have IEP's and are in a special classroom. Emma has a para with her all of the time. Ellie has a little more independence because she is more cognitively aware of her surroundings.

Since Ellie was doing so well they gave her more independence and had her go to lunch with her friend, get her food, eat it with her friend and then return to class with the other students when lunchtime was over.
It was at this time... 
in October 
that she discovered the infamous
Ala Carte Line.

Ellie has food issues. 
She is often unable to control herself in regards to food and unable to make healthy decisions. 
She feels bad when she realizes what she has done but in the moment she is unable to make good decisions and needs supervision and guidance when it comes to food.

Ellie is doing so well in so many areas that sometimes it's easy to forget her limitations.
So after a full lunch she decided she was still hungry and had 2 more pieces of pizza and a cookie.
The girls that share her room at home were amazed to hear about the
Ala Carte Line!

And well, 
they ordered up some food, too.

So each day Ellie would
"take their order"
and bring home some treats!

They had chocolate chip cookies, otis spunkmeyer muffins, twix bars, popcorn, chips, sports bars, and well the list goes on...
Actually the list go on and on and on and on and on and...
uh huh, it does.
and this happened mid October through April.
Really, it did...
That means it happened October, November, December, January, okay, they took a little break in February because we were in Florida- but they were back at it for March and April.

Everyday after school the sneaky three(and sometimes innocent Emma was there) would have a feast in their bedroom, unbeknownst to me. 
(Where the heck was I?)

Until one day in April, 
I asked Ellie, "How did school go" 
and she got a very very guilty look on her face. 
She could barely answer me and didn't look at me.
I had no clue what was going on...
no clue...
In fact I even had posted on a tween FB group about my concern over our daughters poor metabolism.
One comment suggested more was going on than I was aware of. My response was - "oh no, that's not possible, I am with them all the time".

Hmmm, well anyway...
 something inside of me said "look in her backpack".
So, I did and there was one innocent looking chocolate chip cookie
and so began the questions and the detective work.

The big girls did not share the depth of the 
"ala carte line" shopping 
I was able to see the printout in late May...
Hundreds of dollars were spent on "treats" that were brought home and shared.
And even more that were consumed at school by Ellie.

 We know that this is semi normal teen behavior.
for us, the worst part was that the two at home 
where knowingly taking advantage of their sister and her disability.
They knew that Ellie was trying "to make healthy choices" and 
maintain her weight at a healthy level (with our help).
Ellie is 4'10" and is fully grown.
Her little frame cannot carry too much weight.
She is very sedentary and is only active with our constant encouragement and guidance(swim lessons, family walks, etc).

We just want her to be as healthy as possible.

So you are probably wondering how did we handle it?

We talked with each of the girls
they confessed, 
they cried,
they apologized to us and to Ellie.
Ellie apologized.
They hugged Ellie.
We hugged
and we moved on...

The girls are doing extra chores and babysitting (for me) to make up for the money they spent.

Oh ya,
the ala carte line is
closed to any of our children!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

She's 10...Already!

It was a magnificent day!
And it was the day we chose to celebrate our wonderful Ava's 10th Birthday!

Finally, we got perfect summer weather on a weekend!

The first time out on the boat is always 
the best!

And Daddy did not disappoint!
He drove in figure 8's so we had lots of waves, bumps and jumps!

And then we let down the anchor and swam in the lake!

We only have the kids that can swim easily in water over their head, jump into the lake.
And THEY ALL have to wear life vests!

The water was

okay, it was down right COLD!
(No, I didn't go in, but hubby did!)

It was so FUN and these kids are tough!

They could handle the cold water!

After the dip in the lake we boated to a restaurant and had an early dinner!
Big bro Billy and fiancee Kelly met us there!
They just happened to have a, a, a "balloonist"...
I believe I just made that word up!
In other words a person making creations out of balloons! 

This is Ava's Birthday crown!

Of course Joey and Sam chose swords!
Of course...
And yes, a fight ensued shortly after the swords were made!
Yes, right in the restaurant!
Yes, I did stop the sword fight!

The kids loved it and

each one got to choose what they wanted!
I don't know what half of them are ;-) 
but they are cute and fun!

This is a monkey in a tree!
(It's Emma's, Sarah got a peace sign!)

All were fed and 

all were happy!

And then we got into the boat 
and a few balloon creations 
began to take on new forms or pop!

That's okay!
Some things are just meant to bring us happiness 
for a short while!

And then Sarah need to reconfigure a few of these creations into her own creation!

We have ample protection now!
Don't dare mess with us, we are armed and dangerous!

Once back at the ranch-
we continued on with our birthday party!

And wwwwhhhhhoooo'ssss birthday is it?


Pierced ears... NO WAY!
Mia has a certificate for pierced ears too (from her bday on October)!

It looks like we will be bring two girls in together for this monumental moment!

(after swim team is over with!)

They will derive strength and bravery from each other!
They both have a little chicken in them!

And she got flippers with a snorkel and goggles!
She has very sneaky plans to put them on during the swim meet and WIN the race!

Awwww, I love these guys! 

Ava chose a cake with a horse on it!

She loves horses!
She loves animals of all kinds!

Happy Birthday AVA!
You are an amazing blessing to our family!

Now... the question is...
how many boyfriends are you going to have?
(Meaning how many candles will still be lit after you attempt to blow them out?)

Her first attempt proved that their were many boyfriends...

we are in trouble!

On her second try she got the job done!

So thankful for this girl and for all of our treasures!

Praise GOD!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

And what did they bring us this time...

how we love this little family!

BUT there seems to be trend!

Every time we see them they "attempt" to give us a gift...
of sorts...

Last time it was
(actually none of us got it ;-)

This time it was HFM...
that would be hand, foot and mouth disease...
(Our baby girl LOVES the wiggles! And apparently so do her aunts and uncles!)

She's looking at an ipad that's playing the wiggles.
Sooo cute!

I will warn you right now there are way too many pics in this post
when it comes to our "grandbaby" we just can't help ourselves!

Sweet Emily got it from a little friend of hers and then she shared it with her Momma!
Her Momma felt rotten but thank goodness was spared the major rash on the face.

Emily and her Momma were on the mend 
when we went out for lunch!

Whew... we all felt like we had to

Emily, too!

Our kiddos have been exposed to so much from their previous
life in an orphanage.

HFM was nothing for them!

Except Anna, she didn't get much time to build up her immunity because she was the first one home at 16.5 months.

She got a mild version
(fever, headache, scratchy throat but NO rash), 
but was back in business within 2 days!
Luke had one day of a fever that quickly disappeared- 
he was the second youngest to come home at 3 yrs old.

This adorable family stopped in MN on their way from 
Colorado Springs to Washington DC.
Yes, it was another move for them.

Moving often, is part of military life.
It can be a bit stressful and that is probably why 
Katie got a little sick but
with all they had to do, they handled it like a champ!

When Luke and Abby came home in the end of 2011 
they couldn't walk from one platform to the other.
They did not have the balance or strength.
They are both so proud that they can do it now!
It is such a blessing to be able to see them learn and grow!

After packing up the house and then packing up the car with things they will need for the next month, and then living in a hotel, they were thrilled to be "in our house" to recuperate.

Love the smiles!

Emily is so glad her Daddy's home!

She absolutely adores him!

We love having a super long driveway for bikes, scooter and big wheels!

Anna is a great helper!
(and that is how she got sick ;-)

Good job Emily!
2 points!

Where ever Emily leads- her posse follows her!

She is the boss!

All of her Aunts and Uncles think she is the cutest thing!

Wagon time!

Madeline is enjoying it, too!

My favorite pic! 
I love how they are looking at each other!

You wanna challenge me?

The big boys came over at the end of the week!
Notice the new porch furniture!

Now we have many more places for people to sit down!

Kelly (Billy's fiancee) and the kids!

(Yep, we need a picture on the wall behind us!)

Sarah and Ellie are wonderful helpers!
We are blessed by adoption!

Emily also took a little spill and scraped her nose ;-(

She is adorable no matter what she is doing!

Our baby's face is healing ;-)

I'm not sure who is copying who, here!

Johnny just loves his little niece!

He spent January in Colorado with them and they bonded!

Awwwww, love you big kids!

Our littles (who are getting bigger too fast)!
Blessed by adoption!
So thankful!

Even Penny has a spot on the new porch furniture!

I love being a Nana!

Such JOY!

Last chance to hold our baby girl!
As you can see she does not want to leave her Nana and Papa!

Emily is saying 
"Where are we going now?"

"Nana can I stay with you?"
Yes, baby girl! You sure can!

Silly baby!

She has her snack, her ipad with the wiggles on it, her puppy dog and her Mommy and Daddy in the front seat...
all is well in her world!

Off to Chicago and then Washington DC!

We miss you already!
Come back asap!
(Even if you're sick!)