Sunday, April 26, 2015

Happy Easter

I thought I had already posted an Easter post, but not so! So here we go! Easter coincided with General Conference weekend, which was lovely. In the Pierce Household, the Easter Bunny comes Saturday morning and then we celebrate Christ's resurrection on Easter Sunday. Josh & Nichole's family came down on Sunday and we also had the Elders over for dinner. It was a wonderful weekend. 

GF Carrot cake

The Easter Bunny hides the Easter baskets so the kids have to look for them Saturday morning. We had a great time!

Friday, April 03, 2015

Best Friends reunited

I met Nichole when we lived in Florida. I had been praying to make a close friend and it turns out that she had been praying for the same thing. We hit it off and when she moved to Thailand, it was so hard! I missed her greatly. Then we went to Ohio and now in the DC area. Well, now Nichole's husband was assigned to the DC area! Hooray! ��

While they were waiting for their house to be available, they bunked at our house for six fabulous days. We have had such fun together! It was hard to say goodbye to them yesterday, but we hope to have them over again soon. 

These two would always team up to read scriptures before bedtime.

A badly needed pedicure.

Silas and Kyle.

Playing Carcassonne!

Matching purple ties for Easter.

The kids!

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Miracles happen

I had the opportunity to sing in two Easter concerts in March. We sang many pieces, including Brahms and Handel's Messiah. The concert lasted 90 minutes. It was glorious.

It is hard for me to hold myself up for 90 minutes straight. My feet begin to hurt and my ankles swell up. Partway through the first concert, I had to sit down. I sang from my seat, but felt embarrassed and hoped that people didn't really notice, as I was sitting on the end of a row and was behind the piano. After a few songs, I stood back up and finished the concert. My voice was also hoarse from all the difficult music. There were times that I had to adlib the words, because my voice couldn't handle the strain. 

My husband, Tyler, and my best friend, Nichole, came to hear my second performance. I really didn't want to have to sit down with them there. But about an hour into the concert, my feet were really hurting. I began to think about the pioneers crossing the plains. I have read accounts of them praying for physical help as their feet were weary. 

I decided to pray and ask for help. I prayed that my feet wouldn't hurt and that I could finish out the concert standing. After my prayer, I was delighted that my feet no longer hurt. It was a miracle! 

I continued singing until my voice gave out. I was sad that my voice was gone, but I was pleased for how long it had lasted. I had wanted to sing the final Messiah pieces, especially the last one. 

As we opened our Messiah books to the final number of the concert, the Holy Ghost told me that my voice was repaired so that I could sing along with the choir. As I began to sing the words, I felt that my voice was as strong as it ever had been, with no limitations whatsoever. Another miracle. I was able to sing praises to my Father in Heaven during this blessed Easter Season. 

I am so grateful for a merciful Heavenly Father. I know that He loves me. I know that He knows my needs. I know that He wants to help me, if I will but ask Him. 

Below is a lovely Easter video. I am so blessed to know that my Savior, Jesus Christ, died for me and was resurrected. If we will draw close unto Him, He will draw close to us. Happy Easter. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Functional Behavioral Assessment for Iryna

Yesterday Tyler took the day off of work so he and I could attend the third and last meeting for Iryna's FBA. After 2 1/2 hours of reviewing many evaluations of Iryna, it was determined that she has a label of Intellectual Disability (ID) and they feel that she should move from a Level 2 special needs classroom up to a Level 1 classroom. She will make that change in the fall. I was hoping for it to be sooner, but there were more benefits to waiting. It was a very thorough evaluation and I think Iryna will benefit from the Level 1 classroom. Her teacher, Ms B, has been essentially creating a Level 1 classroom just for Iryna whereas the other students were Level 2. It has been a very difficult year for Ms B. I was thinking to give her a little gift at the end of the year, showing my appreciation. Any suggestions?

Both Keith and Calvin are now in cub scouts. With Keith, we didn't do much in the ways of getting involved. This was due mostly to Keith not wanting us to come. Keith is a very relaxed fellow, who goes with the flow on just about everything. But he viewed his time at scouts to be his own activity and would ask Tyler and I to leave so he could enjoy it alone. Now that Calvin is in cub scouts, we are trying to become more involved because he wants us to be there. Calvin got the Bobcat award last night at a Scout Banquet.

Part of the award is tipping him upside-down. 

Calvin has really been enjoying scouts.

We are so proud of him!

I sang in my first choral performance with the Mormon Choir of Washington DC last Sunday. It was a marvelous experience, singing Easter pieces of music, excerpts from The Messiah, and some Brahms. It has been such a blessing for me to be a member of this choir. 

I have been reading The Bright Red Bow and it has been very fascinating for me. Has anyone else read it?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

We have been celebrating Saint Patrick's Day for a few years now. It seems to get more exciting each year as we try more ways to celebrate. Tyler and I both have Irish ancestry, and my stepmother, Suzanne, served her mission in Ireland. She said that most people she met ate potatoes. So for dinner we eat baked potatoes each year and then have a green salad. We had Lucky Charms cereal with milk that was dyed green by leprechauns. I added the rainbow jello and rainbow sherbet with lemon lime soda. We all had a fun time. 

I put skittles in the lunch boxes. #tastetherainbow

My four leprechauns. 

Iryna with the Lucky Charms. 



Rainbow jello. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Lack of impulse control

I am at a loss as to what I should do to help prevent/stop/discipline my 10 year old daughter, Iryna (FAS, ADHD) from lashing out and hurting others when she gets frustrated. She has a low frustration level and in the beginning of this school year, she would hurt other students in her special needs classroom. Now she is turning these actions towards adults: the aids and para's in the classroom, the school bus aid, and her Activity Days leader at church. She is currently pinching, hitting, screaming, and throwing her shoes and other objects at them. They are unable to exact any sort of consequence to her other than verbally encouraging her to calm down - which is doing nothing at all. She has been suspended from school once. I have recently started seeing a behavioral play therapist to help, but she is just getting to know Iryna at this stage. I started giving her consequences after school for her behaviors at school, which helped initially, but I still get daily reports of poor behaviors. She struggles with impulse control. She is always sorry after the fact. What can I do?! It is a big source of stress for me. 

I think that winter is finally giving way to spring here in the DC area. The warm sunshine and higher temperatures brings a smile to my face. I love winter, but I am beginning to enjoy spring more and more each year. I want to plant a garden soon and am debating upon the straw bale method or just planting some tomatoes in a pot or two. Someone shared the Sprout Robot website with me and that has been helpful in learning when I should plant what and how. 

I have been trying to improve my diet and have added what I call "The 3 S's" to my daily food. Smoothie, Salad, and Soup. The smoothie contains almond milk, greek yogurt, a small banana, and 2/3 cup of frozen mixed berries. The salad is just romaine lettuce and dressing. The soup is beef or chicken broth, which I make myself. 

I have a goal this year to not repeat dinner recipes, if I can help it. I am going through all my recipes and also new recipes that I want to try, and assigning them a date in 2015. Ambitious? Maybe. But it's nice to know that I won't have to wonder what's on my weekly dinner menu each week. Any dinner recipe recommendations?

The neurodevelopmental psychologist told me that my kids aren't gaining enough weight, so I need to amp up their calorie intake. She recommends drizzling oil over their food before serving it. ::shudder:: That just sounds awful to me. I am now buying them whole milk and trying to fry more foods for them. It seems so contradictory to be purposing making high fat foods when my whole life I have been taught to do the opposite due to my propensity to be obese. But I want for them to grow! 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Hope Rising Retreat 2015

In 2013, I went to a Hope Rising Retreat in Utah. I had known Diana online since she found my blog when we were adopting the twins from Ukraine. It was my first time to meet her and to meet many other fantastic women, who were all raising children with challenges. After five days, I came away with new friendships that still enrich my life to this day. Last year I was unable to go to the retreat since we had just moved to our new home. However, this year I am attending one in Virginia Beach, VA. In fact, I am co-hosting it with the lovely Valerie. I have heard lovely things about Virginia Beach and the house is right on the ocean. You can't beat that!

If you have children who struggle with emotional, mental, or physical trauma, I invite you to attend this retreat. Come be understood, encouraged, and loved. Plus you can get some relaxation away from the kids and return to your families with new ways of coping, peace, and hope.

Here is the link to the retreat registration. There are also retreats in St George, UT, Branson, MO, and Pigeon Forge, TN. If you have any questions, leave a comment.

Below are some pictures from the retreat in 2013. Love these ladies!