"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Happy 6th

We are now the proud parents of a new six year old.  He was quite excited to celebrate his birthday.  (And now that it's over, he's already telling us what he wants for his next birthday. HA)

 He really doesn't like sweets or desserts, so birthday planning is a little difficult.  But he does happen to love chocolate glazed donuts.  So he got to start his day off with a big one of those.

 We put the candle on the donut and sang to him at the breakfast table.

 He had to wait until evening to open his presents.

 He loved the minion hat and gloves we got him.

 He had to pull it all the way down so we could see what he would look like as a minion. :)

 This summer I saw that Kohl's was having their Little Critter and Little Sister stuffed animals and books on their Kohl's Cares program.  We live hundreds of miles away from the nearest Kohl's (not exaggerating) so I had my sister pick them up for me and we saved them until his birthday came around.  This kid loves to read and he loves stuffed animals, so it was a big hit.  It was kind of funny though, when Grandpa called and he told him he got a little sister for his birthday.  I had a lot of explaining to do - ha.

 His ten year old brother got him a toy car.

 He was doing pretty well with the unwrapping until he decided he needed to wear the gloves that came with his minion hat.  It was pretty comical, and it really slowed down the process.

 He had to show the Little Critter doll the book about him.

 Grammy sent him a horse that looked like his Sadie horse he gets to ride in therapeutic horseback riding lessons.  It has been a real hit.  The three year old is really into toy horses and especially likes to play with Sadie too (mostly when his brother is at school - ha).

 Grammy also sent a game called Jumping Jack.  It is really a cute game.  You spin to see how many carrots you have to pull from the garden, and if you pull the wrong one, the "Jack" rabbit pops up into the air.  If you catch him before he hits the ground, you win the game. If you miss, whichever player has the most carrots wins.  The boys think it's hysterical when the bunny pops off the top.

 Since he's not into cake, we got him ice cream and cookies.  He's not really into cookies either, and ended up picking all the m&m's off the cookies and leaving them behind - only eating the cookie part (which is the exact opposite of what most kids do.)

 He likes "Rocky Road" ice cream - and any chocolate ice cream with stuff in it is called Rocky Road.  He doesn't like soft serve chocolate ice cream, and he doesn't like vanilla or any other kind than "Rocky Road."

I think he had a pretty fun birthday.  Messy, but fun.  :)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Place For Papa

A couple weeks ago we placed my father-in-law in an assisted living facility.  It is the nicest retirement home I've ever been in...

 His room has two areas - we brought his chair, side table and lamp down and placed it in the section of the apartment where the kitchenette is.  He won't need or use the kitchen.

 We put up a white board so we and the nurses could leave messages for him.

The room is divided between the living area...

And the bedroom.

He has a door leading to the courtyard - where he is free to safely wander around outside.  The building wraps around it.

He has a chair so he can sit outside if he likes.

His apartment door is inside the hallway.  We put up a decoration on the door from his house so he would be able to find his room back.

This is a really nice place.  This room is the theater.  They call it the "Rialto."

The main common area (the first two pictures in the post) has a grand piano at one end, and they have people coming in to provide entertainment several times each week.

My boys especially liked the horse statue in that area, and kept going back to "pet the horse."

They have nice artwork throughout the building.

 This is the game room.  Lots of small tables in here.

 I took a bunch of photos from their house and made copies of them, framed them, and labeled them so the nurses could help him remember who everyone is.  (Their names are below each picture.)

 The boys liked the huge closet.

There are always lots of activities each day.

 On the Saturday we moved him in, a group from the Seventh-Day Adventist church came in to provide music.  Papa is somewhat anti-religious, but the guy was wearing a western suit and playing a guitar in the style of old country, playing hymns.  Papa clapped and tapped his hand and enjoyed the concert.  He and my husband are sitting near the fireplace.

I have to say I'm very impressed with this place - no bad smells, everyone and everything are extremely clean and well cared for.  When I need to go to a nursing home, I want to go somewhere like this.  It's the first place like this I've been in that I would be willing to move into today :)  They also have a lockdown memory-care unit that he is on the waiting list to get into.  That will be a better fit for him.  He wanders a lot and is very confused.  But they take residents first for openings over there, so we had to put him there before we could get him into memory care.  He still has lots of assistance and supervision. So far, we've been impressed.  The unfortunate thing is that it is in a town 100 miles away from us.  But we didn't have any other options, and this seems to be a perfect fit.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Hangin in There

Thanks for hanging in there with me, since I haven't been able to post much lately.  Life kind of threw us a curve ball, but we're doing well, given the situation.  I've been living at my in-laws' house caring for my father-in-law, who has advanced Alzheimer's, while my mother-in-law has been in a hospital about three hours away from home.  For the past month, I was first at their house from breakfast to bedtime, trying to help them out, and then this past week I've been living here full time.  So our life is a little bit chaotic right now.  But "it is what it is" (that's my mantra lately). That, and "playing it by ear."  I've caught myself saying those two phrases almost on a daily basis.  

Every time someone asks me how I'm doing, I'm surprised by the question.  I can honestly say I've been at peace with the whole arrangement.  We're not getting everything done that we should be doing at home, and I really miss being with my little guys full time, but it will all work out in the end :)  Thankfully my daughter (21) and my husband have been able to help out with the home-front and take care of the boys.  And they do still get to spend several hours a day with us.  It just doesn't work out very well to have them here overnight.  We did try that, and it was a disaster.  No sleep for anyone - ha.

So, here's what I have managed to take pictures of (which isn't much - ha).  This was my view of the sky the day of the solar eclipse.  I was really looking forward to using the eclipse as a great homeschool teaching opportunity, but the clouds did not cooperate.

Last week we had a few snow flurries.  Nothing on the ground, but it was a reminder of what's to come.

See - not much accumulation.

We're still making great progress on the adaptive swimming program.  He's still very nervous in the water, but he's trying new things each time, and allowing her to take him deeper and deeper all the time.  (She's crouched down here, but he's okay with it, and even kicking!

Kids with autism are all about routine, and his routine is pretty much nonexistent right now, due to the family chaos.  But he's handled it well.  One routine that he has now is to go to the gas station after his swimming sessions, and get a chocolate milk.  He likes to drink it in the yard - under the tree where the squirrel usually is.  He tried to convince the squirrel to come down and be his pet, but the squirrel didn't care for that idea :)

I'm sure life will settle down eventually, but it might take awhile for that to happen.  For now, we're working on getting through one day at a time. :)