Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Breaking the Silence

Just to let you know right off the bat...
there is nothing huge going on.

We are all fine and living life.

But there have been a few things
that have kept me from blogging.

1. Confusion of dealing with a child that has RAD-
the ups and downs and the ins and outs of RAD
are very challenging.
Wondering what we should do for that child 
and then implementing the plan.

2. 70,000 pictures (gulp), not in chronological order... on my computer. 
Although I am thankful for each and every one of them, 
I am finding that it takes so much time trying to find "the pics for the post".

3. Most of our kiddos are now teens and tweens
and they need a lot of my time and attention.
I thought it would be easier but it's not!
They need stuff to do (keep 'em busy and close so they stay out of trouble)!
We need to process (talk about) everything that happens with them 
(Oh, my goodness teens talk and talk and talk- usually about nothing 
but every once in awhile you get some good conversation going)!
 We need to just hang out, have fun together while meeting all of their needs 
and trying to have a moment as a couple!

4. Moving was a bigger project than we expected.
Trying to find the Drs for all of the children's special needs.
I'm finally figuring out where things are and 
I no longer need my phone for directions 
(just sometimes, now)...
Finding a new church and getting used to the way they do things.

5. Trying to make new friends but 
not having much time to spend with those new friends.

6. Nervous as to how we will be received in our new surroundings. 
Let's face it we are large and awkward...
sometimes we are loved and warmly greeted
while other times we are a crowd and "in the way".

7. Finding activities for the 14-16 kids that are affordable!
That's an oxymoron and darn near impossible!

8. Attempting to home educate 14-16 kiddos from where their at...
btw- each one is "at" a different place! 
While taking into consideration their individual special learning needs...

I have missed blogging.
Your emails and messages were so kind~

It is my plan to get back to it, asap!
In fact, hopefully right away.

Blogging helps me to see the joys instead of focusing on the challenges.
It helps me recall the fun and love we have within our family.
It is a wonderful way to "scrapbook" this journey God is taking us on!

I hope that our blog is encouraging to others!
I hope that others see how God is working in our lives!

I'm sorry for the long silence.

God's Blessings to YOU!


terre said...

yay! i have missed hearing about your family.

terre @ zoomama speaks...

Sharon Edwards said...

So glad you are back. I have missed seeing your pictures and reading about your family. Love your blog.

lori said...

Thank you for blogging. I share your story with many people.

Updated by Lila Huggins (grandmother) said...

Sooooo happy you're back! You're such an inspiration to others! Your family is in my prayers! Lila Huggins

Renate said...

Happy you are back. Missed you.

Wendy said...

I am glad everything is all right...the definition of "all right" certainly can mean different things though. Tweets and teens certainly do need as much if not more of our time. They talk and talk and talk. I always have to remember when the talking quiets, they will be adults and gone. Makes me sad to even think about it. Glad to see you on here and know you are fine and just super busy. RAD is so hard. Praying for you, your hubby, children and may Jesus wrap his arms around the little one with Rad and take the hurt away. Hugs.

Lilly said...

Take your time to do what's right for your family in this new season. Glad you are all well and doing life as it happens! Much love and kindness to your family.

Emily said...

I sure am glad you're back!!!

Lisa said...

I missed hearing about your family. Very relieved to hear from you!!!
Praying right now for your concerns.

mtnrunner said...

Figured you were busy acclimating to the new environment! Glad to hear all is well and you are settling into Colorado living!

Susan said...

Hugs and love to you and your family! Keeping you all lifted up to our Father.

Brandy said...

It's good to see your faces again. You were missed, but it was understood. Life is constantly changing and with so many individuals it changes even more often. It is such a blessing to see another big family in action and know that we are not alone in this adventure. God is faithful and our friends help us to see that...even if they are friends online alone. Hang in there with the tougher moments...

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

We are hear from you when you are able to catch your breath. Sending love and hugs your way along with prayers.

ML said...

I was just thinking about all of you recently. Glad to hear you are ok. Look forward to hearing from you as soon as you catch your breath. And the talking from teens...... I remember having talks with my mom at 13/14 going on and on and on about really nothing. Looking back I thought it was the most important thing ever. So important it I wasn't respectful of what time I vented. Sending Prayers!

Hope said...

So Thankful for your blog. It is an inspiration to me. May God richly bless every moment of your time. It's a joy watching your family grow up.

Joy said...

So glad to hear from you! I was getting worried about you! Praying for your daily challenges, especially RAD and managing schooling! Remembered your vacation posts as I watched Marco Island and Irma. Have a great day.

K said...

I moved 4 years ago and I remember those first horrible months (years) of not knowing my way around and trying to get my kids hooked up with new medical/therapy services.

RAD is a NIGHTMARE that never seems to end. My heart goes out to you. If I may offer you some advice: Protect the other children while doing what you can for your child with RAD. Don't allow the RAD child to divide anyone, especially not you and your husband with angelic behavior in front of one parent and the opposite with the other parent. I'm going to send you some links later tonight via your email.

Ah, yes, keeping those tweens busy... Here's what I did and still do: I have several folding tables of all shapes and sizes throughout my house where I can easily see my kids. One table has a puzzle on it. Not an easy puzzle, but 500 to 1000 pieces. They can work on it together in groups I set or by themselves. It helps mine if they keep track of how many pieces they each do. Another table has a fine motor skill activity like Q-Ba-Maze, Marble Works, Etch-A-Sketch, the game Simon, etc... Another table has a strategy game such as Connect 4, Checkers, or Jenga, Pick-up-Sticks, Boggle (with our own rules). Another table is for quiet activities such as writing a story, doing homework, etc., and other table is for arts and crafts. They can color, paint, use markers, do play dough (at my discretion) or create something of their own such as Barbie stuff as seen on MyFroggyStuff on YouTube.

I rotate everything. Sometimes I choose and sometimes they chose what goes on the tables. Having "stations" or tables gives you a chance to mix and match your kids and rotate them every 20-40 minutes to keep them busy.

The chairs at each table are stackable Marius stools for $4.99 at IKEA.

The beauty of this table system is that everything can be a part of homeschooling on those days when you can't present a lesson. For example, give them a writing assignment (give a topic, let them pick or let them watch a documentary and write about it) or a vocabulary assignment (Boggle), STEM is a building toy (take pictures if you want to document the work they did), etc...

You can even use this system to group your children according to who gets what lesson while keeping the others occupied. Then you move to a new table and give the next group their lesson.

Speaking lessons, it works well for that, too. Say you give the lesson or present the video or whatever. Then, on each table, have a relevant activity: write about it, draw it, discuss it, then rotate. Or, the activities are set by ability. Table one does the lesson in more detail and table 3 does it in less. So, if we discuss nutrition, my older girls must write about what they learned that interested them the most then draw a food table/inverted pyramid, and my 5 yr. old colors a sheet I give her and then plays in her toy kitchen and feeds her dolls a healthy meal.

You set your rules, too. Can they get up from the table without permission or before the time is up? If they are done at their table before you are finished giving a lesson at another table, where should they go and what should they do? Is there a default table for where they go and color or do the puzzle if they finish early at "work" table? Are they allowed to peek at the others at another table or do they have to leave them alone?

I like all sizes of tables, but most are 48" x 24" is my favorite size because I can arrange them facing each other, in a long row or individually. I have several from Costco that can be toddler, table or counter height. I have a few from Walmart that fold in the middle and have toddler and table height settings as well as a couple that can only fit a laptop (great for a book, Etch-A-Sketch, Simon game). Then I have heavier tables that are larger, the older office/church tables where we all can sit or a messier craft or larger game can be set up.

Linda McMichael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda McMichael said...

Just happy to know you re all ok. 😊

Mary DeGennaro said...

Thanks, Jean,
I am so glad everything is ok. I can't even imagine what it takes to meet the needs of so many children. Will pray for you and Jim as you navigate life with your wonderful children. One of my dreams, seriously, is to meet your family some day.

Allybibi said...

Ouf ! Thanks for the good news ! I am so happy !
I realize that you are very important for me. You are: Love, Joy, Peace and Faith.
Thank you for what you are all (excuse my bad english !...)

Michelle said...

So glad to hear that all is good in Colorado! I seriously don't know how you find the time to blog with your size family :-) We have 12 kids and that seems so small compared to yours! We also homeschool, and I have one adopted daughter with RAD, and those challenges can be very time consuming, not to mention the medical extras with our adopted kidsd and all the activities that teens are in that fill our schedule. You inspire so many of us- thank you for sharing your tips and life experiences with a large family. It helps us to know that it's do-able! Blessings on your new "normal" in Colorado~

Astrid said...

I'm glad everything is okay!

Jen said...

Hey Jean, about the 70,000 photos... Sort by 'date created' in descending order. Then move all 2017 photos to a new '2017' folder, move 2016 photos to '2016' folder, etc. You only need to do this once!

It's time-consuming but your kids can help... Just make sure you back up everything first! Also, you can download a photo album software if you want to save time.