Sunday, June 21, 2009

Phlipisms

Well, I've decided if I can't beat 'em I'm gonna post 'em on my blog. Philip now has his own category akin to David's DODs which we'll just call Phlipisms. Autism has its...uh...interesting perspective and in lieu of running screaming from the room in frustration I've decided to find it charming. Be sure, as you experience these Phlipisms in the coming days, months, years, to imagine the sincerity and authority with which Philip speaks. I can assure you he always thinks he's got the best answer, he's rarely joking - and it will always, always be directly related to himself, NASCAR, the computer or a song or movie line he's memorized.

I'll have to start with the very first, very old classic. Several years ago we went to the beach and wandered out after dark with buckets and flashlights to capture the secret lives of sandcrabs. The boys captured a few before I decided it would be fun to capture one on camera. I'd been using the light on the camcorder (see, it was *that* long ago when we actually used a camcorder) as a flashlight. I tried to film one of the critters running around in the bottom of a bucket but couldn't get the camera to focus. I commented to the boys, "I just can't get this crab to focus" to which Phlip replied, "Focus crab! Pay attention!!" He was the only one who didn't get why that was funny.

Today I took the Big Eight out to do a bit of Father's Day shopping (shhhhh...Tad hasn't seen his Big Present yet...). While we were out and about Betsy asked, "What is the difference between Home Depot and Office Depot?" Phlip was quick to explain that the difference is, of course, they each have a different NASCAR driver.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Remember This? Friday

I've been a bit remiss these past couple of Fridays but not today...I bring you Mork and Mindy! I have no idea what prompted it but we now have a DVD from Netflix awaiting the kids' first exposure to this gem. I love Robin William's early stuff.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Boy Words

Ok, I just need to preface this post with the statement that there are 7 boys living in this house...all age 12 and under. That means lots of talk about various body parts followed by lots of hilarity over mention of said body parts. So last week JM came up with a new vocabulary word for the boys to enjoy -

butt noodle

...I'll let you work out the meaning for yourself...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Happy One!

We celebrated Tali's first birthday today. I think her actual birthday was on Thursday but I honestly can't keep the birthdays straight. I usually get them in the right month anyway... The kids shouldn't feel too badly - I can never remember our wedding anniversary either. At any rate, since Tali's birthday fell at some point in the past very busy and chaotic week we chose to put it off until this evening. There wasn't much to it - mostly the cake. We didn't get any presents for the baby who has everything and she did open her gift from Muffy on her actual birthday (which included a way cute hot pink polka dotted skort which she wore for the first time today for all of about 38 minutes before she puked all over it). We have some sort of stomachy thing going around here - a few of the kids have felt a little green about the gills and a few have thrown up a bit. Tali seems to be among the inflicted so her ravioli, soda and cake ended up in a pukey mess on the tray of her high chair but it was still fun to watch her play Pat A Cake and mug for the camera. And, yes, I do have to confess that this Feingold Mom serves her baby Chef Boyardee ravioli in a pinch and it happens to be said baby's favorite food, thus its featured spot in her birthday mess. Ben made her cake and let her lick the spoon as a preview of the tastes to come. She really enjoyed smearing that all over herself - and I was able to score this once-in-a-lifetime cute shot out of that as well which is now featured as part of my blog title. The cake also got more play time than eat time but isn't that what turning one is all about?! She was not, however, so crazy about the hat. And, of course, the dog showed up just in time for her part in the celebration - clean up (or so she hoped).

Whaddya Think?

I got a new lay-out, new colors, added that way adorable pic of Tali under the blog title, moved the floating baby.... You like?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Knight Black and the Three and a Half Giants

Ben spent a portion of his school year learning about fairy tales and parody. He wrote a short story, a parody of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and then crafted the story into a stage script. He's been working the past few weeks to put his script into production on our basement stage and tonight was the big performance. Thanks to all his friends who agreed to the craziness and thanks to our friends and family who came to enjoy it! The movie is a bit grainy as we had to record it in low res to get enough memory to film the whole thing. The production was way over the top - my favorite was the Pants (Dc - the half giant) played by Philip. Everyone did a bang up job including Tad who played Knight Black's dad. The two neighbor dudes played the giants and Ben pooled another family of boys for Knight Black, the additional giant and Sam who played the voice of the blackboard while lying underneath the stage. The girls had cameo roles as the princess and Mrs. Hank the barber. The Mom was played by yours truly and JT designed, hung and ran the lights. Ben chose to play the role of the narrator and he and directed the show together. So here's your chance to sit back and enjoy the show!
video

Testing, Testing

Ok, so I'm about to post a video of Ben's final project for school - which was a play he wrote and produced. However, given my penchant for forgetting little things like *sound* in my videos, I decided to do a little test video and Nathan happened to be available - sans clothes for some reason. So I thought I'd share the test video first...
video

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Trumpet Lessons

JT participated in six weeks of trumpet lessons offered free by a college. The only catch was the college is an hour away. So we rallied Adora, gave her $15 bucks a week for gas, tolls and parking and she and JT had six weeks to bond on their 2 hour journeys. The classes were offered by undergraduate Music Ed students and divided into instrument families. JT used his hand-me-down cornet he's been practicing with over the past couple of years. I got a video of one of the songs the Brass folks played - they sounded pretty good considering weeks before many of the students were trying their instruments for the first time. Since Adora was in classes the day of the recital we made a family field trip out of it and we all were able to attend.
video

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Dad Tad the Science Lad

Tad is in charge of science around here and he's a great teacher. He finally found a curriculum he can love and this year he started it with the "juniors" as well. We have our homeschool divided into "juniors" - Miriam, Philip, Ruth, Betsy and JM - and "seniors" - JT and Ben. For the most part school happens in these two groups with some combining of subjects like History with more advanced assignments for the seniors. Often the sub-juniors are so interested they come along for the ride. I thought these pictures of him teaching the junior "class" - and some hangers-on - were fun.

Just what have I been doing all this time I haven't been blogging?!

Well, glad you asked! I have been living the life of a Large Family Mom.

Monday - Track and Baseball. Ben's team won tonight - this was supposed to be the last game but now we're into another week of play-offs...sigh...

Tuesday - Rugby (that's our easy night - our neighbor is coaching and can take the kids along if need be - yay Mark!)

Wednesday - Tball (they're 5 folks - do they *really* need to play until the end of June?!), Track, Baseball and now Rehearsals in another state for the musical next month in which 4 of the kids are singing

Thursday - Rugby, Track (which is currently getting nixed in exchange for rugby) and 2 different scout troops - Ben and his buddy Dan go straight from rugby to scouts in one direction while Tad takes Philip to Special Scouts in another direction while Adora covers home base

Friday is our night off but we've been hosting play practice for the play Ben wrote as a school project - he's currently directing it as a final project

Saturday - tball games, rugby games, track meets (which involves one of us spending the entire day track-side which whichever little one we think can handle the heat and the boredom) and whatever misc events happen in the evening. This Saturday we add a trip to a volunteer day at a therapeutic center we want to eventually look at for Philip and Miriam and a homeschool promotion ceremony in the evening which I think Ben is going to miss due to a birthday party to which he's been invited

Sunday - Church and musical practice

That's just the evenings - the days have been spent trying to finish up our schoolwork which is usually finished by the end of April but seems to be dragging along this year forever. We're also still slogging through the seasonal clothing exchange, the usual array of doctor appointments (1 or 2 per week is the minimum around here) and....Homestudy...

Yes, we are adopting again. This isn't news to many of you but I haven't blogged much about it since it has been a sensitive situation. Andrea is turning 12 soon according to her birth certificate issued in her native India but she is obviously a bit older than this - more like 14 or so I would say. She has a moderate level of mental retardation and is deaf in one ear for which she wears an augmentive device called a Baha. Although Andrea is from India, this will proceed as a private, independent domestic adoption. Andrea was originally adopted from India and her adoptive family has come to the painful decision that they cannot meet her needs so they have decided to disrupt the adoption and find Andrea her final forever family - which is where we come in. Andrea has spent time with us (can you spot her?) on two separate occasions and we found her to be a perfect fit with our family. We are fortunate to have a lot of services and resources in place for Philip and Miriam into which we found Andrea fit perfectly and Tad and I have been able to bond with her. The whole process has been complicated, of course, by our pregnancy but we are pros at that too - I counted it up and of the 7 adoption processes we've been through (2 of which were disrupted mid-stream by the birth families) I've been pregnant at some point for 5 of them. So... a lot of our time has been spent meeting the homestudy requirements. It's actually been so long since we've completed a homestudy that we needed to start all over again.

So what does a homestudy entail for a household of 14 people? Here you go:

  • Driving records from the MVA for 3 adults in the household
  • CPR certification for Tad and Mairs
  • FBI background check for Adora and CPS clearance for all 3 adults in the house
  • Up-to-date physicals and medical forms for all 14 people which involved 5 different doctors, urine drug screen, HIV and TB tests (*this* was a tedious process - praise God for a pediatrician who was willing to schedule appts during her lunch hour every week for a month!)
  • Copies of birth certificates for all 14 members of the household (3 of which we didn't have and had to chase down in two different counties)
  • 3 personal references and a pastoral reference who all had to be tracked down and for whom we had to answer the hard questions - like why are we adopting again with so much on our plate? - They all seemed satisfied with our answers and are now behind us full force
  • Copies of rabies certificate and dog license (both of which were lost and then found in the process - we were sort of hoping the 98 year old lady would pass on before it became too much of a problem...)
  • Home inspections by the fire marshall and health dept - both of these were done for our last disrupted homestudy process and both inspectors were willing to waive the need to re-do them and actually called our agency and went to bat for us - Praise God!
  • Guardianship paper certifying that our children have a legal guardian appointed in the case of something traumatic happening to Tad or Mairs. This might be a simple matter for those with smaller families and our will was penned when JT and Ben were the only kids in the queu. This also became a bit of a...uh...sticking point to discuss and get my sister and her dear husband to recommit to guardianship for now *twelve* children (you know, the sister who had her three children as young as possible so she and her husband could enjoy their latter years in peace...yeah, that sister...) In the end they were happy to do it while inwardly praying that their services will never be required in this matter.
  • Endless forms stating all sorts of information about our children and our family
I'm sure there's more to it than this but this much gives you a pretty good picture of what I've been up to as my blog posting has become scant over the past months...And, of course, pregnancy being what it is I am just a bit more tired, a lot slower and not so quick with the brain cells whilst trying to accomplish all this and still deal with the day to day dynamics of a large family with lots of special needs thrown in....

ah...I'll have to stop this post now - I'm tiring *myself* out just thinking about it!