Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas day

We had a wonderful Christmas day. I was not sure how the kids would handle not having a big gift, since the cruise we are going on in January was the big gift. They got things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, socks and thier favorite bubble wrap. I found bubble wrap for a dollar a roll so I got them each thier own roll. The call it pop paper and were thrilled. We had a wonderful dinner with Mamaw, Mary and Dottie and Mary even got her gutters cleaned out by the boys. It was a an awesome Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Only a flesh wound!



Marceli got a "black knight" from Monty Python. The arms and the legs come off. The cat really enjoyed this!








Oh all right, my son took a picture of me in my new pajamas too. I am busy making everyone hot chocolate and stuff.

Christmas

It's Christmas Eve, and the kids are off to bed. Not asleep yet, so before I can do anything I have to wait. So I will share some pictures.









New Pajamas! They choose to pose with thier gear in honor of the boys pajamas. Paulina loves hers because they have a cat on them!
.


Dad in his new Grinch pajamas reads christmas stories to the kids. Mom is busy getting hot drinks for everyone. Hot chocolate for some, spiced cider for others and for one hot strawberry milk! Mom also delivered candy canes to stir the drinks and Christmas themed marshmallows to eat or put in in the drinks and pizza and cookies! Marceli and Paulina both shopped at a little store at thier school to buy gifts for everyone.

My new favorite band of Guitar heroes
















My kids favorite gift this year came early. It is from thier grandmother. I let them have it early because they had cousins over for the weekend and I thought they would enjoy playing it with them. Anyway here are some pictures of them having fun.





Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sweet little Jesus boy

Sunday a wonderful man in our church sang "Sweet Little Jesus Boy". He did a great job. My husband also loves that song. I have never been crazy about it. It took me a while to figure out why. I finally figured out my problem with it. I think it misses the point. Other people have told me that it's simple, it's simply a case of how we as mankind would have treated Jesus if we had known it was him. To me however that misses the point of the "least of these". So say we had known, some angel convinced Herod and he had a change of heart like Paul (though even as Saul he was devout in his beleif in God and not a vicious person). Ok so say Mary had been brought to a palace, given silk sheets and the best midwives, etc. The baby wrapped in satin and placed in a golden crib. Would that have made God happy? In my opinion it would not have made God happy, if somewhere else a young girl was giving birth in a barn. If someone was being mistreated. If someone was the victim of gossip or abuse. If anyone was being mistreated, then I don't think it would have helped to treat Christ well. He came to be one of us, not just one of us, but the least of us. He chose to come as a helpless baby. He chose as his mother a young unmarried woman. Her town had a choice to welcome the savior and support this young girl or to gossip and disbeleive her. I think they missed that opportunity. I think she chose to first go to her cousin and then to go to Bethleham with Joseph becuase she was not getting loving care at home. I live in a small town, I know how it is. She was probably looked down on and gossiped about. She was probably called a liar. When Joseph took her side, he was probably not treated much better. Do we really think anyone beleived thier story? They were ordinary people. During Jesus's early childhood they lived in Egypt, where they were foreigners, probablty treated much like illegal aliens are treated here. Joseph may have been accused of taking jobs from Egyption men. Mary probably did not speak the language of some of her neighbors. The culture around them was different. Something happened to Joseph. On the Cross Jesus asked John to look after his mother. His mother would have only been his responsibility as first born if his father had died.

I don't think he came expecting us to treat him how we treat our most important people. I think he wanted to see how we treated our least important people. I think He would have been pleased if we had shown him that we treat even the least important people well, but sadly that was and is not the case. I think the best gift we can give him this season is to treat others, everyone, the way we would have treated him if he had come into our lives and we knew it was Him.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Shiloh and Amy exchange gifts

Here is the video of Shiloh and Amy exchanging Christmas gifts. They are starting to think alike! They both saved up to do this.

video

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas traditions

A friend of mine wanted me to blog on our families Christmas traditions.
So I thought I would. My son was the first grandchild on either side. I remember his first Christmas, I was so excited! We were at my in-laws and relatives were all gathered and there was a frenzy of unwrapping and five minutes later it was over. I had no idea who had given him what and he was so overwhelmed he didn't know what to play with first. So most of our traditions are about streaching things out. Also we like to make things the same every year if we can because my oldest loves predictability.

Christmas eve: We usually have a church service to attend (some years we have had several because of someone singing or a living nativity or some other involvement in church)
After that we come home and have a special meal. It has changed over the years. For a while when Angie was in high school we did taco soup because it was her favorite. Then when she grew up and moved out we did frozen pizza because it was Shiloh's favorite. Last year we did an international dinner with foods from all over the world. This year I think we are back to pizza.

After church I give the first gift. Everyone gets one. It's always Pajamas. The kids joke about the fact that it's always the same, but when I mentioned doing it differently they looked sad, so this year it will be pajamas again. I have given up on trying to find mathing ones for everyone though.

After everyone puts on thier new pajamas, we gather in the family room and dad picks up a book from our stack of Christmas books. While he reads I cook. The the youngest child gets the spotlight, that child gets to give out the gifts he or she bought or made. We open one at a time and make a huge deal out of each gift. These gifts are extra special because they are the first. (not counting the pajamas).
Then we read another book, and then it's the next child's turn.
Meanwhile during the books, I make hot chocolate with a candy cane to stir for each child, and then I make cookies. I deliver all of these to them as sit clustered around dad listening to the stories. Our last stories of the night are always "The Night Before Christmas" and The Christmas story from the Bible. Then we leave some cookies for Santa and some milk and the kids go to bed.

When the kids wake up the first thing they do is run to the table. Thier stockings are missing, but Santa has left each a clue. Each clue leads to another and another until the tenth clue leads to the stocking. They bring their stockings to the table, where I bring cinomon rolls and juice. They take thier time going through what's in the stocking and eating breakfast. They usually have candy, some small toys (party favor type stuff) maybe a small gift of some other kinds, sometimes toothbrushes and other useful things.

When everyone is ready we go to the family room. The gifts have been under the tree for a few days usually. There are no names on the gifts just numbers. Mom has the magic chart. Usually the youngest gets the first gift and it goes in order of age through the kids. Sometimes there is a gift for mom or dad that throws the whole thing off so they can't predict it and some gifts are for everybody! (usually a movie or board game). There are usually lots of gifts, but some are funny, some are practical, and the last one is the big real gift. This year one of the gifts will be Bubble wrap, they are each getting thier own roll to pop. It was a dollar a roll in the dollar store! The older boys will get socks, if someone needs shoes or a new back pack or more pencils for school or anything like that they will get it. The younger kids get several dollar store type toys. Anyway, because I number the gifts, they go from the least important to the most. I also sometimes get tricky with wrapping to keep them guessing. large things are usually hidden somewhere else in the house and that gift will be in a small box, it will be a note with a clue as to where the big gift is hidden. This is also done for outside gifts. Anyway, because we do the gifts one at a time, we take much longer to open them all. The smaller toys get played with while waiting. After that we put everything away and get dressed and go to Grandma's house for dinner. So those are our traditions, what are yours?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

20/20 show adoptions, disruptions, Russia

Last night 20/20 aired a show about adoptions. They were following a family who had adopted three children. Two had issues, including RAD, which we too deal with. Since we also adopted from Russia I was interested in the show. On some of the boards and the lists I am a member of, there was a lot of commentary about the parents and the kids and the issues. Some were concerned that it would scare people from adopting older children from orphanages, others were excited to see the issues of RAD brought to the public. Some were supportive of the parents in the show and others were very critical.
Here is a link to the show, and then you can read my comments.

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=6322100&page=1

OK I just watched it. I had recorded it. I do not think it was that bad at all. A couple of points that have been brought up here and in other places that I wanted to comment on. I do have a child with RAD, and it has been a very rocky ride.The video taping: I have been advised by multiple professionals to videotape certain behaviors including tantrums. There are several reasons. One is to show the professionals what is going on. Another is protection for the parents. Some children hurt themselves and then will blame the parents. I have a child who was refusing to eat and throwing up anything he did eat. He told people he was not fed at home. Doctors were concerned over his weight loss. Luckily he told the doctors and specialists the truth. (at least some of them) and we were in enough situations where his behavior had witnesses, though the worst was always saved for home. I know of a child who bang her face into things during tantrums and then tell teachers her parents punched her. For these people the video tapes were essential. The money thing: People criticized these parents for owning a nice house and then complaining about the cost of the therapies. I heard them talk about using up their savings and their retirement accounts and such. Did it occur to anyone that they had taken out second mortgages on their house and might not be able to sell it? The possibility that if they sold it they would not have enough left to get a place to live? As for them fixing up the kids bedrooms nicely, come on we all wanted to do that when we got kids. I did it too and I knew better. I have since had to pare down what is in my son's room because he could not handle it. Preparation: I had read every book and talked to lots of parents and RAD still shook me. I don't think there is any real way you can be prepared for such behavior. I will say though that I adopted twice and neither agency required any preparation or education. Had I not taken it upon myself to get educated I would have been shocked. Also I had children already. If I had not, I would have had a hard time knowing what was normal and what was not. RAD: Some of the things these kids do seem normal, it the levels and the repetition of it that makes it a problem. For example, every kid breaks some of their toys, but not every kid breaks every single toy they and their siblings own. Every kid tells little lies, but not every kid lies about almost everything, even inconsequential things. Every kid steps on people's toes, but not ever kid steps on family members toes every single time a family member is within three feet of them. Every kid throws tantrums, but every kid doesn't throw tantrums that last for hours on end. Every kid has occasional bathroom accidents, but not every kid has them all the time in different places and on purpose. Anyway, you get the idea.The parents: One of the symptoms of RAD is the parents seem angry and hostile. This is for a number of reasons. You remember the people on the video talking about how they kept it a secret? That's common, who wants to admit you are a failure at parenting? Often these kids are very charming in public and act very sweet, so parents who are doing things like checking the child's pockets or not believing the child or being very strict with the child are seen as crazy parents. The kids are great at convincing relatives that they are being mistreated and causing family strife. I did hear the family in the show mention that they had been alienated from relatives and neighbors. This happens a lot with RAD. Finding help: Easier said than done. I have had a very hard time finding qualified help to help my child. Some therapists were not taking new patients, some were so far away that it would be detrimental to our family and the child's education, not to mention so expensive we could be living in our car! We had one therapist that made things worse. We have had some that was ineffective. We have tried hard to deal with all this and our son is healing, but it's been a rough journey and it's not over yet. Anyway I think they did say that there are lots of happy adoptions and honestly I think it gave hope. The main parents in the story did not disrupt, the ones who did, another family was found. I think it took a lot of guts for those parents to allow their story on TV. As for the lawsuit I don't know enough about it. I did hear them say the agency told them that the girls had been part of a loving family. If the agency knew that this was not true, and if the agency knew about the little boys troubles and even some of his diagnosis, but lied or did not disclose this information then they were wrong. If they did not know this stuff, then I don't think the lawsuit will go anywhere and it's not appropriate. however, as I said, there was not enough information provided.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Beauty from Ashes

I was running errends today and driving through the country side. I noticed the beautiful colors of the fall leaves. I had to laugh to myself that some people drive all the way to New England to see fall leaves and yet this year, at least in my area we have a wonderful display. The reds, oranges and yellows were so pretty. I got to thinking about how the leaves with the pretty colors are actually dying or dead. Isn't it just like God to take a dying leaf and decorate it so pretty?

Our family has been devestated by the death of my father in law. However, even from that God has drawn beauty. My mother in law was contacted by the newspaper about the accident and was asked if she had any words for the boy who was driving the car. Her message of forgiveness and love was printed and many, many people have been touched by it. God used the death of a wonderful man and the faith of a wonderful woman, to bring beauty from the ashes of a terrible accident.

This week is Thanksgiving, so I am going to look for more ways that God makes beauty from ashes. I hope you will too.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My wonderful in-laws

Here are the obituary and an article about my father in law's death in the Star-Telegram. Please read my mother in law's remarks at the end of the article. You will agree that I was very blessed to marry into this family. Think I'll start pulling over to answer my cell phone more. Thanks to all for your prayers and support.

William F. "Bill" Fuller Jr.
1925 - 2008
William F. "Bill" Fuller Jr. passed away Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008.Memorial service: 2 p.m. Wednesday in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth. His Sunday school class, The Inquirers, will host a reception immediately afterwards in Wesley Hall, where family can greet friends.Memorials: The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, remembrances be made to First Street Methodist Mission, 801 W. First St., Fort Worth, Texas 76102, or a charity of choice.Bill was a lifelong resident of Fort Worth and attended Polytechnic High School. He was a graduate of Texas A&M University in 1946 and engaged in graduate studies at Texas Christian University. He was employed by Texas Electric Service Co. for 44 years and after retirement was affiliated with Fuller Jordan Insurance Co. and W.F. Fuller Investments Inc. He was a 50-year member of the Masonic Lodge of Polytechnic, a Shriner and a registered professional engineer, with memberships in IEEE and TSPE engineering societies.Survivors: His wife, Gaye; daughter, Mary Aileen of Fort Worth; sons, Bill Fuller and wife, Connie, of Geneva, Ill., and Bob Fuller and wife, Lorraine, of Clifton; grandchildren, Shiloh, Wesley, Paulina and Marcel of Clifton and Kathleen, Scott and Brian of Geneva, Ill.; sister, Dorothy L. Fuller of Fort Worth; and several cousins.

Elderly Fort Worth man fatally struck by pickup
BY DEANNA BOYD
dboyd@star-telegram.com
FORT WORTH -- An 83-year-old pedestrian died Sunday evening after he was struck by a pickup whose driver had temporarily looked down to find his cell phone, police officials said.
William Fuller was pronounced dead at 6:14 p.m. at John Peter Smith Hospital. His death has been ruled accidental by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s officer.
According to Fort Worth police, Fuller was walking north in the 1600 block of Bradford Place when he was struck by a westbound 2002 Ford F150 pickup.
Police say the pickup’s 20-year-old driver had looked down to find and retrieve his cell phone. By the time he looked back up and saw the pedestrian, he was unable to stop, police said.
The case will be forwarded to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office to determine if any criminal charges are sought.
Fuller's wife, Gaye Fuller, said her husband had retired about a decade ago from Texas Electric. The couple have three children, seven grandchildren and had just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past summer, she said.
Gaye Fuller expressed sympathy for the driver involved.
"I want the young man to know that this was an accident. He should not feel guilty. It was a stupid thing, yes. We all make them but he’s got a life to live and he ought to live it good,” Gaye Fuller said.
“My husband and I both would wish him to put this behind him, make himself more aware than he evidently was, but to have a very happy life.”
DEANNA BOYD, 817-390-7655

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A sad day

Today started out happy. Paulina had spent two nights in a row with friends, So had Wes. This morning Bob and Shiloh got baptised. The second time for them both, but this time they were dunked and it was meaningful to them.


However, the day ended sad. My Father in law passed away unexpectedly. We were very close. The entire family is devestated. My kids Pawpaw, was never too busy to listen to them. When the boys were little he once took them up and down escalators for hours, just because they wanted him to. He loved his wife, and his sister and his children and his grandchildren very much. He smiled every time he saw one of us. He went out of his way to take care of his family. He did this better than anyone I know. He was also about the smartest guy I know. He was a great man who would do anything for his family and leaves a big hole in our hearts.

Teenagers


I have teenagers in my house. I actually had a practice teenager a few years back when my sister lived with me, but now my boys are teens. We are dealing with learning to drive. Very scary!!! We are dealing with girlfriends. It's interesting to see how a girlfriend can be a good or bad thing. One son has had the same girl friend for quite some time. They are very serious and very close. They really are best friends. Thier relationship has benefitted from thier distance. (they live two hours apart). She encourages him to get good grades and is proud of him for who he is. He will clean the whole house just for a chance to see her. He does not mind too much that they are almost always supervised. The other son has had several girls. His newest went out of her way to steal him from his former girlfriend. None of his are serious and I don't think they have been very good for him.

We are also dealing with extra curricular activities. One son is involved in a few things, the other is involved in tons of things. It sure keeps us busy driving and picking up kids. We are having to learn to budget time as well as money.
My oldest has also just got his first job. He will be working at our local movie theater. It's an hisorical theater. You can read about it here. http://www.cliftextheatre.com/default.htm
I am so proud of my teens. They are great kids and I am blessed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Why I love living in the country

There is so much that is good about living in the country. This morning I was able to walk right in and vote, because my polling place is also out in the country! The few people who were there were chatting aimiably about fishing and such.

I love that people wave when they pass each other. I love that if you have a flat, like the one I had last year while driving a van with six kids in it, one in a wheelchair and all tired from school.
I happened to be out of cell phone range and dh was out of town anyway. My son's jumped out of the car ready to fix it. However our jack was missing a part and our lug wrench was missing. (since then this has been rectified) Not only did a man who lived near by come out of his house and start helping, but another man who happened to have a toolbox on his pick up with power tools stopped too. They gently pushed my son's out of the way and took over, though they did take the time to give the boys instructions for next time.

People here chat while in line at the grocery store, or anywhere else. I was mailing a package to a friend's son in the military today and someone commented on it and gave me ideas for next time, since she was mailing a similar package to her son. (her advice for the record was cookies!)

When a house burned down here, the whole town stepped up to help the family. Someone immidiataly paid for the family to stay in a hotel. School happened to be out, the next day, but our church preschool took the three school age children in while the parents did paperwork. They checked my husbands id and called the parents, even though they know my husband before releasing the kids to come out to our house. A friend of mine took the kids shopping and got them clothing and stuff. The mom was in nursing school and friends got her new uniforms and books. Another church had an empty parsonage that they let the family stay in. There were funds started at two different banks in town to help them replace thier belongings. It was amazing how the whole town came together to help them.

When a huirricane hits the coast, it's not unusual to find people who have been evactuated sleeping in churches and homes all over this town. Somehow food and blankets and air mattresses and whatever else is needed appears.

In this town my son in his wheelchair is accepted completely. In his class is another little girl who uses a walker and a boy who is autistic. The entire second grade is very protective of these three kids. They are a part of them.

When I mentioned to our superintendant that there were not van accessable handicapped parking places at the high school and that it would help me out at football games that our family attends to have them. Within in a week, there were two on the visitors side and two on the home side and one at the middle school as well. I mentioned to the elementary principal that we needed another curb cutout in front of the school and guess what? It happened.

Small towns are the way to go.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

What is this election teaching our children?

Just a thought here. I have been working for years to teach my children that it's not OK to call someone names just becuase you disagree with them. I have told them you don't call someone names if they are different, if they have a different skin color, different religion or different opinion. But what are they seeing in the press and in the world right now? They are seeing namecalling.
Let's face it people, regardless of where you stand on the issues, none of the candidates are really stupid or evil. Yet I keep hearing people calling whatever candidate they disagree with stupid and/or evil. I have taught my children that they are to treat those in authority with respect. Teachers, parents, principals, police officers and someday thier employers should be treated with respect whether you agree with them or not. This does not mean you allow them to abuse you, don't get me wrong here. I just don't know what has happened to respect in this world. People steal signs from other people's yards. What does that teach children? I read an article about a nine year old child who was stealing signs from people's yards for his parents. I feel as a parent it's part of my job to teach my children that stealing and trespassing for that matter are wrong. Once every four years people think it's OK to suddenly forget the rules behavior? Just becuase someone is on TV does it mean they are not a real person so it's OK to call them names? What does all this teach our childern? Children are more likely to do what they see you do, than what you tell them. So telling your kids namecalling is wrong, and then doing it to a candidat you disagree with sends a mixed message and guess which message the kid will pick up? Always the one you don't want them to!

My best friend











My best friend is my husband Bob. He is so awesome. He makes me laugh, he reminds to do things I forget. I am always amazed at what good partners we make and how we compliment each other. He is just about the smartest guy I know! (His dad is up there too!) He is very good looking and I feel I am very, very blessed to have him. He takes great care of me and is very involved in raising the kids. I am very lucky! I am also blessed that he has a family who has accepted me as a part of the family and has shown my kids so much love that they can be confident in who they are, knowing they are loved by thier extended family.




Marceli






Marceli is my youngest child. He is 8 and in second grade. He was born in Poland. He was born without legs or a left arm, but that does not slow him down. He uses a wheelchair at school, but gets around on his own at home. He is very smart, he learned English super fast. He does have Reactive Attachment disorder, but we are getting help and he has really come a long way and is doing so much better. He is involved in church choir and RA's and baseball. (he plays challanger baseball, which is a special league, his brother Wes is his buddy in it) He is doing UIL story telling at school. He loves to talk and talk and talk. He also loves video games and his big brothers. (he also likes his sister but won't always admit it) he has a thing for little girls with red hair. He keeps us laughing and keeps amazing us. I will add a pic of him in his frodo costume at halloween and some others.

Paulina





Paulina is my only girl. She is awesome, and I happen to think she is beautiful inside and out. She is in fourth grade. She does not like boys. She likes to say her only boyfriend is Jesus.




She lives for dance. She has two prosthetic legs and she wears them when she does ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop. She does not wear them for clogging or for her freestyle solos. She loves Hannah Montana and cats. She does cheerleading and dancing and RA's and choir. She was born in Russia, but has been in our family since she was just a baby. We love Scottish Rite hospital in Dallas for the care they give her. The pciture in front of the tree is her halloween costume and you can see her at homecoming in her cheer uniform.




I am crazy about her!




Wesley







Wesley is the child we call the alien. He loves helping people. He just always has. He is also sure of himself in a way many boys aren't. He plays football on the 8th grade team, but he also loves dance. He does not make a secret of the fact that ballet is his favorite. He gets along with everyong. Dyslexia does not keep him from getting great grades. He loves shopping and babies and cooking. But he also loves any TV show where they blow stuff up and of course football.

Shiloh


Shiloh is my firstborn. He is an awesome kid. Good looking too (sorry girls, he's taken). He is in tenth grade and plays tuba in an award winning marching band. He is super smart. He has aspergers, but you would not know it if you met him. He is just a totally awesome teenage boy!









As you can tell I am incredibly proud of him!




My first post


Ok bear with me as I learn to use this thing. Lets see I can start with a photo of my kids from the first day of school. The busses come very, very early and that's why Shiloh seems so cranky in this photo. They are headed off to 2, 4, 8 and 10th grades.