Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Snapshot: In A Row

Hannah's Play Dough Recipe

Play dough recipe

2c hot water
1/2 c salt
2 tbsp oil
2 packets koolaid
2 tsp cream of tartar
2 c flour 

Kelly's Chicken Enchiladas

My friend Kelly gave me this amazing crock pot recipe, and I'm going to put it here so I don't lose it. :)

Crockpot Chicken Enchies

Frozen chicken breasts
Can of red Enchie sauce
Small can green chili peppers- mild
Can diced tomatoes
Can black beans with liquid

Cook until chicken is done. 

Later, shred the chicken, make the enchies with cheese, beans, a little sauce and chicken and then use the rest of the sauce from the crock pot over the top. Bake 20 mins or so at 350. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Snapshot: View Out My Kitchen Window

Sage, taking a nap atop the neighbor's rickety fence. 

Making Reading Fun

With Miss Abi, I've had to be more deliberate in practicing reading than I was with the other kids. Sighted kids see letters everywhere. Unfortunately, encountering Braille takes daily effort. 

I've chosen a lot of Dr. Seuss, because the silly rhymes capture her attention and the bright pictures are fun even though she can't make out the details. 

Figuring out how to pair the refreshable Braille display with my iPhone has had the interesting side effect of inspiring the teachers of two other blind kids in town to do the same thing. Maybe we can shove local blindness education into the twenty-first century, starting with the homeschoolers! The irony has not escaped me, since homeschoolers are supposed to be backward and behind the times. 

Saturday, she won a "Frozen" book at the Daddy-Daughter Dance at church. I added some Braille synopses and song titles to the book. Because she adores the movie, she has read these words over and over this week, adding a few more vocabulary treasures to her repertoire.  

Math Worksheets

Of course this is how multiplication worksheets ought to be done. 

I'd like to note that the kids assigned themselves to practice multiplication along with a few other schooly items. Unschooling for the win!

They'll do the worksheet I print out, use the attached answers to correct the ones they get wrong, and re-work those problems. On her story, Curly asks me to correct her spelling and punctuation, and fixes those errors. Not on the list: quite a bit of reading of new library books, a science experiment involving states of matter and boiling temperatures, and a kickin' karate class. I love child-led learning!

(I had to chuckle at the spelling on the list. Her spelling has improved immensely since we stopped doing spelling tests from the IDVA, but sometimes she forgets to engage her brain when it doesn't matter.)

Snapshot: Kids And Lilacs

Monday, May 19, 2014


Curly has been learning to trot and post this spring. Every week, I think she loves riding more. :)

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Sometimes I forget to take a minute and reflect. I was reminded of this today when an adoptive mom whose kids have only been home a month was sharing some of the trauma and triumphs of her sweeties. I think about us at only one month and still shudder at the memories. It was so, so hard. Hard in a way that no one who has never done it can ever understand. 

I look at how far Abi has come, and I look at how I've grown. If I went back to that first year, I probably would just sit and hold Abi. She had so much healing to do. I did sit and hold her a lot, but I wish I had done it more. 

Looking at her now, two and a half years later, I'm blown away at how far she has come. She knows now that she is OURS. I can't explain in words the miracle that lies behind those words. But she does. And I know that she is mine. Her hair smells right when I snuggle her. 

In spite of a bad day every now and then (we call them pouty days), she is calm and happy. Emotionally, she has nearly caught up to her chronological age, although there are sure to be hiccups. Whatever those hiccups are, they don't scare me like they once did. We'll weather the storm together. 

(The title of the post is a nickname we call her: a hybrid of "Abi" and "hallelujah" we say it aww-bee-loo-yah.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Bean and Abi both learned to ride bikes!


And today...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Adventures of Fritz

Making new friends

Playing with toys and stuff

Time for a nap

Bean's Preschool Graduation

Snapshot: Girls and Pets

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

In Which I Rant

I know. Nothing new, right?

Do Blind People Dream in Color?

Also, the bit about "our six senses"? I did NOT write that. A bit upset with the editorial staff at this point... Five senses people.

The Great Clothing Swap

Thrift Store. Check. 

Clean laundry. Check. 

Saved clothes from the attic. Check. 

Let's git er done!!!

On a noisy side note, the Littles found Bop-It games at the thrift store. 

They are happy. I want ear plugs. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Finishing up the year

Abi has learned a ton this year, reading braille, learning math, and just learning from life. I'm so proud of her!

Here's a video from a couple of months ago that I sent to her teachers. She's taken a jump beyond this in reading since I took this video. :)

Another video taken March 27.

And this one shows some of the technology we've learned to use this year. She is writing to an iPad using a refreshable braille display. The iPad says the letters aloud that she writes. Later, it'll also write in Grade 2 braille.

Friday, May 2, 2014


Don't get me wrong; I think what the Lion's club does is great. But check out their White Cane Day rhetoric. 

"Restoring sight, hope, hearing."

See how that fuels society's belief that sight and hope must go together, and to be without sight is to be without hope?

Not true, my friends, not true. 

Sightism: the belief that sight is good and blind is bad. 

Let's change our thinking. How about blind is different? You use different techniques to go about daily living. But quality of life isn't necessarily less. It can be if you choose to use it as an excuse, like anything. You may have to work a bit harder to accomplish tasks like finding a new destination, but maybe less hard at tasks like memorizing an entire speech or song. See? Different. But not bad, and certainly not hopeless!

A Useful Playdate

Today, Bean had a friend from preschool over for a play date. Since I had not met her mom, I was a little nervous, but it turned out that she was really nice. 

It came up in conversation that she had been praying for a Labrador. Interestingly, I'd been praying for a good new home for Shadow. Hard as I've tried, I've just never bonded with him. 

After the initial awkward conversation about it, we were both thrilled that it looked like we were the answer to each others' prayers. 

Keeping my fingers crossed that he doesn't come back this time!!

He looks pretty happy at his new place. :)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

"I Forgive You"

Three extremely powerful words. I. Forgive. You. 

Today, my six-year-old daughter said those words to me, and I cried. 

Here's the story...

Since Abi came home, mealtime has been a battle. We did everything our training said: let her choose her foods, introduce American food slowly, etc. etc. 

It's still been a battle. And lately attempting to teach any sort of table manners has been more of a battle. 

Today we had another one. Lunch turned from a happy meal into another passive-aggressive power struggle. I was angry; Abi was angry. She took an hour to finally eat her food, and then I disciplined her by making her sit at the table longer. She had to miss going to the park, and to be perfectly honest, I was really glad not to have her there. She could stay home with Daddy forever; I was so sick of fighting with her. 

Later, we were both resting in our respective rooms. I prayed that God would help me with this seemingly unsolvable problem. I knew I was partly in the wrong, being overly nitpicky and frustrating her. I knew too that we could not go in the way that we were. Mealtimes were miserable, and that was unhealthy for everyone. 

As usual, when I have a problem to solve, I started to research. I googled everything I could think of, from strategies to teach blind kids table manners to Attachment Disorder therapies, to adoptive eating disorders to general parenting strategies. It seemed like so much conflicting advice, and much of it we'd tried before, with no success. 

At last, I simply, desperately prayed for help. 

I went upstairs to Abi's room, where I knew she lay awake in her bed. 

I lay down beside her and started asking questions. I wanted to know what she thought and felt about mealtime. 

At first, she merely gave answers she thought I wanted to hear. "I was messy. I was bad."

I wanted to cry. This wasn't working. 

"What is hard?" I finally asked. 

"The fork is hard," she reluctantly said. Breakthrough! This is where I could stop judging and start listening. 

"It is hard," I agreed. "Especially when you don't get to see your plate."

She agreed. We started brainstorming strategies together. I suggested that since peaches were the hardest, slipperiest food, maybe she could drink those out of a mug. She loved that idea. 

Then, I said the thing that changed our entire day. 

"I'm sorry I keep making food time sad."

"Mommy," she said, "I forgive you."

"I want so much to be a good Mommy and love you, but I made a mistake."

"Everyone makes mistakes," she responded, and wrapped her little arms around my neck.

I cried. 

All of those horrible fears that I would never be able to bond with my daughter, that her attachment would always be disrupted by past trauma, suddenly melted away. I'd feared that I would mess it up, that I wouldn't be able to parent this precious child. 

But she is right. We all make mistakes. And part of the miracle of family is wrapping our arms around each other and saying, "I forgive you."