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!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snow Days

The DC area does not know how to handle snow days. When it snows - everything shuts down. We didn't have school at all last week and we don't have it today, either. We have been having fun indoors and outdoors. 

I felt like baking, so I made a blueberry coffee cake.

Somewhere along the way, I developed pink eye a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully, it is gone now.

We have several doctor appointments and visits to the pharmacy for the kids. This particular picture was taken during a 2 hour wait at the pharmacy. Thankfully, Silas was well behaved!

It's a beautiful thing. #drpepper #myvice


I taught the kids to play skip-bo!

Grandma Russell sent a fun care package for the kids. They were thrilled!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Happy Chinese New Year!

Tyler served his mission in Taiwan and we have made a family tradition of celebrating Chinese New Year. This year we invited our friends, Andy & Krista and their six kids, to join us.

I took the twins to shop for some ingredients, like the fish, shrimp, and buns.

The dumplings after I wrapped them up.

Steamed taro buns.

This is a new recipe that I will be making again. 

Tilapia with gingery soy sauce and whole shrimp

Steamed rice and fried rice

The spread

Honeydew smoothies

Lychee, pineapple, and cantaloupe

Anna and Carly

Andy, Krista, Jill, Tyler

It is fun to celebrate the Chinese culture and we hope one day to visit Taiwan and China, maybe as a family!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Calvin's baptism

Calvin was baptized yesterday! We are so proud of his decision to follow Jesus' example and be baptized. Calvin is growing into a wonderful young man and we love him so much. Tyler gave the talk on the Holy Ghost and I accompanied Parker and Calvin singing JESUS ONCE WAS A LITTLE CHILD.

Calvin was baptized with his best friend, Parker! It was wonderful to share the day with Parker's family.

I made matching quilts for both boys. 

Calvin's favorite colors are green and black. I love how it turned out.

Krista outdid herself in making the refreshments. There was chicken salad sandwiches, vegetable trays, cupcakes, and water.