Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ben in the City

So almost a week ago Ben moved to an inner-city apartment, across the street from a mission church and right next to a school. The school is run by the mission church. He has been going to this city for about three years helping with their Thursday night kids clubs. After he came home from Thailand he felt drawn to spending more time working with the kids that he sees on Thursday nights at Kid's Club.  The school needed a maintenance man and Ben knows something about electricity, plumbing and general hard work so he took the position. It is a one year commitment.

His boss from the plumbing/electrical place offered him a one-day-a-week job, that was perfect because it will help with his budget. Voluntary Service pay is generally enough money to buy necessities, but not niceties.

Tuesday night found him at our supper table and the first  stories were told, they need to be written down because in a few weeks more stories will drown out these first days.
The rhythm of the city is different than our home's tempo. The street stays quiet until about 11AM when the youngest kids make their appearance. The street stays lively until about midnight when the very tired children finally find their homes. The sad parts about the five-year-old that doesn't seem to have a home, but apparently does, because he has his papers filled out to come to Kid's Club. The funny parts about the houses where children seem to spill from every window and door.  Ben doesn't think they live there, but simply gather there.

Over the weekend, Ben almost thought one little guy was gonna need medical care when he launched himself over the porch railing to get away from a wasp and fell into the flower bed onto the only rose bush there. Thankfully he hit his shoulder  instead of smacking his head.

Then there was the time Ben was cleaning up his sink and heard a crash from his minuscule back yard. Knowing there wasn't much to make that sort of noise he went to investigate and saw three boys running different directions. One hid behind the truck, another went over the neighbor's fence, the third hid behind the metal shed. Knowing all their names, he called them and asked what was happening. "How could you see us?" was the question that came back.  "We were trying to put up the ladder to the school roof, but the ladder fell on the shed."
Ben was not surprised that the ladder fell, it was a sturdy 30ft extension ladder and weighs quite a bit.
"We were trying to get DiAngelo's shoes, they're on the roof."
"Why are your shoes on the school roof?"
"We were throwing them after his socks."
"Why....?" Ben quit then and put up the ladder and found the shoes. As he retrieved the shoes he saw the offending socks hanging from a neighbor's 2nd floor dormer roof and two young boys already up on the third floor house roof. Apparently they had been on that roof and were throwing socks down...not up like I was picturing (Zeke pointed out that it is very hard to throw-up socks-how would he know?) and after one got stuck on the roof, they lobbed the shoes after it.

Ben told them to please ask the next time they need the ladder.

We agreed that "Idleness is the Devil's workshop".

In an effort to give the boys something profitable to do, he had them cleaning up an old Kitchen Aid mixer that was left at the house. "You can't take your eyes off them a minute, I went in the house 30 seconds to get something, when I came out one of them had found my permanent marker in my electrical bag and had 'checked if it worked' on the top of the mixer."

Not that he was surprised, just amused.

I told him that his porch walls need scrubbing, but we are wracking our brains for something that he can give them to do that can keep 12 hands busy and isn't inside his house. Maybe cook on the front porch?

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Ladder Golf, String Art, and Driver's Ed

We made our own ladder golf game last Saturday evening.

In the past week we have tried string art, it brought back memories of 6th grade. I still wonder where our teachers got the instructions for the stringing. I haven't been able to find the instructions how to make certain designs. Because of that some of my artists were not overly happy with their final product. It was a fine afternoon of hammering nails though.

One great thing about summer is that are rarely left-overs cluttering up the fridge.

Oh and driver's ed. We have twelve hours of driver's ed scheduled at a local rehab hospital.
It hasn't happened quickly and I'm surprised how well that has been handled.

So how did "Listen and Obey" and "Ask with Respect" work? Well I think the first day after I posted I met head on with one stubborn child. I had asked for a verbal response to a request. I almost thought that I was the stubborn one and maybe should lighten up.  Then I got to thinking of all the times there is confusion of whether or not a child actually heard a request. So I decided to stick at it.  It took about an 90 minutes. What was I doing during that time? I hung up laundry, helped replant sunflowers that had died, dodged some poorly aimed missiles  and basically stuck with the child until FINALLY, we were both on the same page. There were tears on both sides. Since that day that particular child has done very well. The youngest one is still work in progress.  :)

I read some advice that  I think I will probably get a chance to use one day and thought maybe someone else  might like to try it too.
When your child decides- at Wal-mart or some other public place—to suddenly NOT cooperate. You know, the sagging to the ground and screaming, won’t get into his car seat because you are asking him to leave a fun place or you didn’t buy the toy he saw in the store.
This lady said she watches for the pause in the screaming, there usually is one and you insert a comment or question that engages the frontal cortex (the thinking/reasoning part) of the brain. Say something like, “ I wonder, do you think cows can be orange?” or look at his shoes and say, “do you like wearing green shoes?” (pick a different color from what he is actually wearing). She said she has done this dozens of times with her five and eight-year-old foster sons in the nine months they have been with her and it has usually worked. She said she coached a camp counselor through the process over the phone when her son went “off-line” over something that had happened. The counselor was amazed how it worked.

You will need to choose a question that is developmentally appropriate, but give it a shot and let me know how it worked.  I used it on Shekinah yesterday when she “wasn’t tired” and was going for a nap. She was wailing beside the bunk beds, not moving. I glanced up and noticed Faith’s pink sock monkey hanging from the top bunk. I decided to try a question since we were getting nowhere fast. I asked, “where did you get that green monkey?”  She stopped crying and asked “where?” I pointed out the monkey and she declared , “That isn’t my monkey (she missed the green vs pink) that is Faith’s!”  I quickly asked if she has any friends hidden under her pillow pet and she started crawling into bed. She wanted her one animal that was downstairs. I quickly ran down, got it, and heard her start crying again. I thought maybe  this technique wasn’t working, but I hurried back up the stairs , and gave her “Waddles”. She sniffled a bit, gave me a kiss and settled for a nap!

Something I never thought I would hear said to a two-year-old!  "You gotta eat something else before you may have any more broccoli or peas."

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Bowling, Dog-sitting, and "Listen and Obey"


As part of my summer "PLAN" I was hoping to add some fun activities to our structured time.
We learned about free passes at a local bowling alley for kids 15 and under.
So after Hope and Faith had their annual physicals and Faith got her booster shots
we headed out to do a couple of games. (We had to stop and buy socks first)
Faith surprised herself and won one game and I won the other!
Last time Hope won all the games 

Thursday evening one of Zeke's friends texted him a bit frantically and 
asked if we would be willing to dog-sit this weekend. We accepted,
but I realized I never met this dog. I didn't get a lot of time to be concerned
because Son#1 and family were coming for supper.
Dog turned out to be a well-behaved beagle, slightly over-weight.
He sorta fit right in, doesn't get worked up over Shekinah's antics,
politely waits and waits for food to accidentally fall on the floor.
I told them they are not allowed to feed him cause his owner asked us to stick to dog food.
But you know accidents do happen.

He sleeps good at night- at least I think he does. I didn't hear him.
The only thing, he is strong enough to take Faith for a walk. On Friday morning it was a good thing that Shekinah came tagging along because Hunter decided to investigate a smell in the neighbor's yard and Shekinah had to help Faith change his mind.
 It took two of them to pull him back to our driveway.

On Thursday we went to Patches Family Farm Days It was OK
but my girls had just been at Oregon Dairy Farm Days and it just didn't compare.

Shekinah and Parker were a bit awed by the cows in the barn though.

Thursday was a big day! It was also the day that the bunnies were old enough to be separated from their mother. Grandpa's rabbit had a litter and Shekinah had been asking for one 
for awhile. Now he needs to be tamed so that she can hold him. We need to
wait till Hunter goes home to start that process. Hunter knows exactly what bunnies
are for! His nose reminds me of the German Short-Haired Pointers that we had a few years ago.

On Saturday, Loving ARMS hosted a video seminar with "TBRI Lasting Changes in Your Child's Behavior" by the wonderful folks at TCU. It was a review for me since I think I've seen this video about 6 times now. This week we are going to be working on  "Listen and Obey" and  "Ask with Respect"   I realized after watching that again, I have gotten lazy in my requirements.
It is hard work! One or two of my children think they are a bit "too old" to have to reply with "yes, mom" when I make a request, but if I don't require a verbal response, it seems they conveniently forget my request. 
From what I hear,  my children do wonderfully following orders and being polite when they are out in public--school or at jobs. For that I am so thankful. So should we just be satisfied with that? Somewhere in my gut, I think that if I don't teach them to be polite and respectful to their housemates what will life be like for their future husband or wife?  
So for my future grandchildren's sake, I will press on.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Quilts, Birthdays and Paint

Finished this!  One down three others to go.

She turned 11! How could that be?
We went shopping so she could spend some of that birthday money 
that was burning holes in her pockets.

Today we decided to try sunprints on fabric as explained
here. So far the results look good but we will know better after washing.

You wet the fabric and thin down acrylic paint with water.
Spread your fabric on black garbage bags in the sun.

Paint to your heart's desire...or spritz as in this case.

Or carefully design...

Or be totally sure it will be a fail.
Then you put leaves, buttons, rocks etc on the fabric and allow to dry
undisturbed in the not weight your items with 
plexiglass panels as I did...use rocks or something.
After it is dry you are supposed to run fabric in hot drier for 45 min..
or as I read on another site...iron with a pressing cloth dampened with vinegar.
Not sure what I'll try, I'm sure the smellier the better.
Gotta have a good chemical reaction somewhere there.
Will keep you posted. This might be our best...or worst craft project yet.
We plan to make jumpers from the fabric...that is why it is cut like this.

The male population did not want to participate, he chose to drive around with the 
garden tractor. I wonder why?

I bought a white sheet set because the fabric is less expensive that way
Shekinah decorated the pillowcase.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Mostly Pictures...and Our Long Week

I looked through Hope's camera and found pictures from their weekend with Grandma and Grandpa.

...of the school carnival in Bradford

Grandma suddenly had more heads to comb than she ever did.

Shekinah turned 6 last week, it was a busy Saturday, so she got her gifts first thing.

Then Ben and Jana took them on a picnic and fishing.

I don't think she likes holding fish.

The kid that didn't think he was going to go, caught the most fish.

New experience for her, I think.

The birthday "cake" waited until Monday night.

Of course the cheesy smile.

Monday we picked rows of peas.
Then VBS in the evening
Tues we went along for Joe's driving evaluation, it took all morning and they decided...
he doesn't need much adaptive equipment, just a spinner knob on the steering wheel.
I am a little surprised and am not sure how I feel about the news.
It means we have more freedom on the car we will get for him to use, but
it also means that we get to do his driver training.
The evaluator said he would benefit from some additional training with him
hopefully that eases my mind a bit.
The evaluator also noted that DOT issued the wrong driver's permit- it was issued for dual controls which meant that during driver training the trainer would have had braking controls on their
side of the car too.
I didn't know that was available! How many times would that come in handy?

After we came home from that appointment, I took the girls to Oregon Dairy Farm Days.
Free ice cream and chocolate milk samples.
Bunnies to pet and sunflowers to plant.
The weather was perfect.
CPR class to teach for me and VBS for the rest of the family.

Wednesday was a work day for both Joe and Hope.
I used that day for a trip to the post office, bank and a few groceries.
Somehow all that driving around took all morning.
VBS in the evening.

Thursday morning found us on the road headed for Shriner's for the yearly 
"limb difference" visit. They decided that Joe needs new sockets (legs) and will get him new 
feet too while they are at it. These Rush feet thankfully lasted for two years this time. A few years
ago we were breaking feet every spring.
That involved casting and measuring, I was glad that I took the 8:30 appointment even though
it meant hauling everyone out of bed at 6AM.
We got home just before lunch.
The youngest two were in a rank mood and I told them either I take a nap or they do.
They took the naps, I needed to work on "the quilt".

"The quilt" is a theme that will run 'in the background' all summer. Hannah got a 
special order from a man that wants like six quilts for Christmas and I need to make three of
them. Then there is the annual Christmas Quilt that we try to put on the market, that has to be 
completed by October so that people have time to buy it!

Friday morning found us back in the pea patch...this picture makes the patch look
extra long, but that's how it feels when you are at the other end.
I found out that peas were selling for $50 a bushel at the produce auction last week
so we looked on them as 'green gold' and I tried to make it sound fun.

We took them to the "pea huller"  and as always were amazed at the small amount of peas
you get from ALL those peas you picked!
I wish I would have felt comfortable taking a picture at the pea huller. It was a microcosm
of small town Mennonite life. When we were there on Monday, there were two Amish buggies with 
a Wenger Mennonite lady standing at the one horse's head. My children
probably didn't notice that she didn't belong to that buggy. It was that lady's 
kindness that allowed the Amish lady to take care of her produce and 
be sure that her horse didn't decide to take off down the road with her children 
bouncing around inside.

Looked closer at the one lady and realized that I knew her. She really hadn't changed much from when I was a young girl and saw her biking along the road.

Friday when we were there, two little Stauffer Mennonite boys biked in with their peas and 
had a time trying to figure out how my girls fit with me.  My girls were doing their
own share of staring so I didn't worry too much.

Friday, Faith and Shekinah convinced me that they could hull one small bag of peas.
I should have known better, but I let them bring them home. They started strong,
but in the end they realized how much time we saved by stopping at that farm on the way home.

This week I hope to get back on a proper schedule again. We didn't even use the 
job selection and it seemed to put everyone off stride. 
I finished "the quilt" last night--will get pictures tomorrow before I deliver it.

DH and Zeke went to the Maker's Faire in DC and should be home this afternoon
so I can stop worrying. You see, I sent my two most directionally-challenged family members
off on a trip to a large city. It sounds like it went well, they used the Metro and used it to get around
from the Shady Grove area.

I went for groceries alone on Friday afternoon and while in the store two little girls about 4&5 were darting across the aisle like little kids do...and their mother scolded them "No, don't do that! People are going up and down here."  I smiled to show her that they really didn't annoy me, they were too cute. When the older child said "mama, don't you mean 'back and forth'? Up and down would be this way." as she motioned to the ceiling.  Mom and I both cracked up.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Painting, Strawberries, and A Trip to Shriner's

The painting proceeded and Shekinah felt left out. She did not want to simply paint on a piece of paper and no one wanted her to paint on THEIR piece of furniture. I found a broken half of an old rocking chair and she busily spread pink paint over the surface. Those little hands can paint quickly when the goal is to simply spread paint with little regard to neatness.
Then we moved on to decoration the next day.
She has a certain knack....Picasso perhaps?

Hope isn't quite finished but it looks stencils! I'm proud of her
because that took a bit of relaxing for my perfectionist.

Faith my free-spirit, she designed this the way she used to color in her coloring books.
My perfectionist tendencies required that I do the final coat and tape between the colors. 

The question I have what it takes to do the desk? Those stickers...
Joe fixed the pool net for me...some holey fabric and fishing line.

We also had a trip to Shriner's today, I really wasn't sure about the timing 3:20 PM and then the hair-raising trip home during rush hour. God's hand was over us and we really didn't have terrible traffic, that is, it never completely came to a halt.
It occurred to me today that if our family had been complete in 1997 there would be A LOT of things I never would have experienced...including driving in Philly traffic this often, never would have met the wonderful Dr's and staff at Shriners. Sort of worrisome, the secretary greeted us by name as we got off the elevator...maybe she saw the day's schedule and she simply put names and faces together that way.
Anyway, the visit was simply a yearly checkup. Dr was happy to see us and we chatted, he was totally in agreement with me to take Joe off at the ankles and lower him to a more accessible height. Even called in the prosthetist , she agreed it was necessary, but didn't know what foot to use.
Before anyone gets all worked up, this was crazy talk...Dr thought it was great that he was growing, until he realized Joe was taller than he was.
Dr agreed that Shekinah was adorable and wonderful, she wrote her name neatly on his papers and he told us to come back in a year.
Unfortunately, that was only the hand Dr, we need to run back down there next Thurs to see the feet Dr and see if any adjustments need to be made on Joe's prosthesis.

So next week--Driver's evaluation, pick peas, Shriners, teach a CPR class and VBS at church.