Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Twins' Baptism

I didn't know if Sunday would ever happen for Keith and Iryna, but at last they were ready to be baptized. It was an emotional event and the Holy Ghost was present as these precious children were baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Last week, as I was making preparations for my sister-in-law, Tisha, and her five children to arrive and getting the baptism all worked out, I became overwhelmed and I prayed for help. I had three women ask me if they could help with the baptism. Now, I am the sort of person who wants to be able to do it all myself, but I realized that their offers to help were in direct answer to my prayers for help. So I relaxed and allowed for others to bring food for after the baptism. It was such a blessing to myself and to them. I am grateful I was able to allow others to help me. This is something I can still improve upon but I am getting better. We had little smokies, vegetable tray (the twins wanted cherry tomatoes, celery, broccoli, and carrots), chips with ranch dip, mint chocolate brownies, and water.

Both Keith and Iryna were attentive during the talk on Baptism - by Tyler - and the talk on the Holy Ghost - by Aunt Tisha. The twins sang WHEN I AM BAPTIZED and it was so very sweet. The lyrics are:

I like to look for rainbows
Whenever there is rain
And ponder on the beauty of
An earth made clean again
I want my life to be as clean
As earth right after rain
I want to be the best I can
And live with God again.

Both Keith and Iryna love the part that says: I want to be the BEST I can. It was a wonderful moment during the baptism. After Keith was confirmed, he stood up from his chair and said, "Yeah!" So cute. I am so proud of my kids and the path that they have chosen to follow.

A highlight of the day was that now Keith and Iryna have their own set of scriptures. They are eager to carry them to church each Sunday.


Their excitement was contagious!

Jacobs family.

The cousins!

Pierce family.

The twins with Aunt Tisha

I am so proud of Iryna and Keith. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Baptisms for the twins

In raising children with brain damage and mental delays, you never know when they will be ready for milestones in their lives. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, children are baptized at the age of 8. When the twins turned 8, we didn't feel that they were ready for baptism. Time went on, and Calvin was baptized at age 8. Shortly thereafter, I had an important moment with Keith...one that I will never forget. He sat me down and looked at me in the eye. He said, "Mama, I want to be baptized." He was deliberate and I felt as though his spirit was speaking directly to me. He wanted to have this ordinance. He was ready.

Tyler and I started talking about it and we had our Bishop interview the twins to see if they were ready for baptism. The Bishop approved. This week, the twins were interviewed by someone in the Mission Presidency. The interviews went really well. I felt the Spirit as Iryna prayed to begin her interview. She prayed specifically that she would be able to answer the questions. She chose to hold both my hand and Tyler's hand the whole time. The only question she didn't know was about tithing. Keith, also, didn't know anything about tithing. But Keith was quick to explain the sacrament. In listening to my kids answer questions about the gospel and pray to their Father in Heaven, I couldn't help but become emotional in seeing their progress. I am thankful that they are my children.

We took some pre-baptismal pictures this week. I love how they turned out.







The twins are singing a special musical number on Sunday. Here is a preview:


video

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

On the spectrum

When Anna was 3 years old, she used to line up her toys in a row. Her preschool teacher asked me if I wanted for her to be evaluated for autism. Tyler explained that he did the same thing when he was a child.

Fast forward ten years and Anna began seeing a therapist after we moved to the DC area. Her first question: Has Anna been evaluated for Aspergers? I completely dismissed the possibility. Soon afterwards, Anna was diagnosed with social anxiety and depression. Then my mom asked me if Anna could have Aspergers. At this point, something clicked and I asked her therapist to schedule the evaluation.

We hurried up and waited and the appointment was this week. When Tyler and I filled out the paperwork, we were surprised at how many of the questions were so Anna. It was uncanny. At the end of the appointment, the doctor said it was likely that Anna had Aspergers.

I am comfortable with special needs. I adopted four children with special needs. But this really surprised me. I always thought that our oldest child was typical, brilliant even. And she still is brilliant, she just has Aspergers, too. I would welcome any suggestions of blogs, articles, and books about Aspergers. I need to familiarize myself with it so that I can better parent Anna.

Happy Independence Day!

We had a nice first Independence Day in the DC area. Amie and Morgan came over to celebrate and we had a nice, low-key day that ended in a spectacular fireworks show hosted by a family from our church. We ate hot dogs, broccoli bacon salad, pasta salad, patriotic fruit pizza, and homemade blueberry ice cream. 

Playing Quirkle with Amie and Tyler. 

Playing skipbo with Anna and Morgan. 

All the kids in their flag t-shirts. 

Patriotic Pierce Family! 




God bless America, land that I love!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Happy Birthday to Iryna

11 years old. Wow. Time has gone by and Iryna has certainly grown. Her interests include: Mario from Mario Bros, the color red, playing wii (mariokart and super Mario bros), and playing on starfall.com. We had a Mario birthday party for her recently and she had a great time. 

The balloon fairy came and brought eleven red balloons. Iryna requested the Amish breakfast casserole. 



Iryna needed a new dress and she loves red. A Chinese red dress was perfect!



This clock went promptly up on her bedroom wall. 


This watch lasted less than 24 hours. But she loved it. :-/


Iryna's teacher, Ms B, came for the party. 


What's better than a Mario blanket?



My awesome, super talented, cake-making best friend, Nichole, made a Mario cake for Iryna. She. Loved. It. 





Afterwards, the kids enjoyed some old school Super Mario Bros Super Show! I remember watching that when I was a kid. Happy Birthday to my Ukrainian princess! I love you. ❤️ 

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Count your many blessings

True to my word, I don't omit posts that detail my struggles. And I am struggling right now. Moving is TOUGH. And we already move every three years. I am used to that, but having to move one year after moving? Not fun. In fact, it stinks.

After a series of small miracles, we have signed a lease on a new house and will move in at the end of this month. Tyler and I are trying to figure out the logistics of when we will move what and where, etc. We are trying to pack up the house. In addition, we are repairing small things on our current rental with the hopes of getting our full deposit back when we move out. A lot of pressure and lots to do.

As if this were hard enough, our poor kids are feeling the stress in moving. Each one of them had been acting out in their own way, and this has been only increasing our stress. And the school year is drawn to a close.

Most people welcome summertime. There are some aspects of summer that I do like, such as sunshine and swimming. But I am not afraid to admit that having all 5 of my kids home all day long for days on end...that it is overwhelming and I find myself mentally and emotionally exhausted by the evening.

I am fully aware that there is nothing I can do to help myself out, other than to strive to see the positives and to share my gratitude to my Father in Heaven for my endless supply of blessings. I have found that when I verbally thank God for each of my blessings, as I notice them, that I am a happier person.

Speaking of blessings, I asked Tyler to give each of us a priesthood blessing after FHE last night. I was need some Heavenly perspective and I am so thankful to have a worthy priesthood holder in my husband. I am grateful for the love my Heavenly Father has for me, and for the words of comfort He gives me. I know that He will help us get through this transition and I have no doubt that we will be blessed through the process.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Our lease is up

In the past 10 years that my husband has been in the Air Force, we have never had to relocate during our 2-3 years in one location. That is about to change. Our landlords informed us that they will not be renewing our lease and that we need to move out before the end of July. And so, move we must.

Yesterday we drove around several local neighborhoods, looking for rental signs in yards. Today I am going to look inside one of them. I feel comforted by the Holy Ghost that Heavenly Father will help me. I was reflecting upon the idea of working hard on earth for our heavenly mansions, and I was reminded again how aware Heavenly Father is of me. He knows my needs. He knows my limitations. Physically, I cannot really move much. I can pack items into boxes, but I cannot lift them. I can clean some things, but not everything. I have received offers from people wanting to help us and it humbles me to know that so many people care about our family. We are so blessed.

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This is an image of a rough-and-tumble boy. Holes, no tongues, and soles hanging halfway off. Silas sure knows how to play.


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This past weekend, Alan and Stefanie came to visit us with their kids. We had a jolly time and played loads of games, including quirkle, blokus, carcassonne, caylus, and rummikub. We are so grateful for good friends!