Friday, February 20, 2015

Free Friday: Free Christian Book - Revolution

Gospel for Asia is offering another FREE book! I ordered it this week. It is titled Revolution in World Missions. My friend who is currently in Haiti on a mission trip was telling me about it before she left. I can't wait to get started! To learn more and order your FREE copy click on the book below. Even the shipping is FREE! Once you order you will also gain access to instantly download the book in both ebook and audio format.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Valentine Party That Never Was

Gess was going to attend her first Valentine exchange party this year since it is our first year in a Co-op. However, it was not to be. Gess had a cold and had to stay home and now she has shared it with me.

Gess had actually made all of her Valentine's but didn't get a box. I bought one to wing it since it was a crazy week but while she was getting better I think all the drainage bothered her tummy and she was too ill to go. However, we are still very blessed that Gess has only had two colds all winter and neither of them turned into anything worse. She hasn't had to take antibiotics all winter, so that is certainly worth missing one party!

A friend texted me a couple of weeks ago to show me that Gess' health was on her prayer list exactly 4 years ago. That was when she was hospitalized with pnemonia. I will never forget that year and do my best to keep Gess healthy, but a human can only do so much. That was a great reminder to me that God hears and answers prayers! Four years and no more hospital stays! Praise God!

Regardless to say, with all the sickness we didn't get much for school done last week, so we will be hitting the books hard come Monday. In fact, we are supposed to get 3 to 6 inches of snow tonight which will certainly motivate us to stay in doors and stay busy.

Remember, at Special Connection Homeschool we don't take snow days. Instead we wait for randomly warm days to skip school and have fun. Of course this week was a reminder that we sometimes have sick days too.

I pray you are weathering this storm, especially those who have already been hit really hard already. Here in Kansas, snow has been rare this year, but I am not complaining. I really dislike the cold!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Fostering Independence: Waking Up to an Alarm Clock

I have found that timers have been a great way for Gess to transition from one activity to another without any complaint or stress. When we have a break from school (sometimes called recess) I set an alarm. When that time is up, she has to return to her work. Gess has been great about actually doing it. When the timer goes off, she stops and gets right back to work!

We also use it to keep track of the amount of time she uses media. If she is on the computer or playing a video game we set it for about 30 minutes and when the timer goes off, she immediately turns the game off. There are exceptions like when she is about to finish a race, lap, or other significant event in the game. I do let her finish that off, but usually she is just done.

Well, the last few years I have found that Gess has been more difficult to wake up. I am sure this is pretty typical of teens, but Gess has started ignoring me and hiding under the covers and doing whatever she can to stay in bed. She used to wake up early and super happy so I have not been a fan of the change. Then I had this brilliant idea. I would use an alarm clock to get her up. Maybe that timer would help it to click with her that she must get up, just like it works for everything else.

So far it isn't working, but I am not giving up. Gess' first problem was the light. We chose this alarm clock because it was cheap and allows her to hook up her MP3 player to it. What I didn't consider was that the large numbers and the brightness of the light would freak her out. The first night she kept just staring at it and eventually got up and turned it away from her. She repeated that a couple of times so we finally moved it to a place where she can't see it from her bed!

Her other problem is that that the thought of a "timer" waking her up seems to really freak her out right now. She kept refusing to go sleep and getting out of the bed talking about the "timer." We have explained that is an alarm and all adults use them. This has improved a little since she has actually had it wake her up and she realized that it wasn't horrible. Still, she gets back in bed after shutting it off so it isn't getting the point across like I hoped it would.

The other problem is she plays with buttons and changes the time. I think that will get better once she has learned how to control the MP3 player. It hasn't happened for a couple of days so we may be past that obstacle.

Over the weekend we didn't use it and this morning she woke up before the alarm went off so I don't know if where we stand right now. We shall see. I just found it amusing that introducing something as simple as an alarm clock would freak her out so much. Then again, my husband mentioned that he also dislikes the thing, he is just grown up enough not to show it!  Yes, I guess giving up the freedom to control your own time is a bigger step than I realized! I will keep you posted on whether or not we finally get it to work for her.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Down Syndrome and Growth

I was told from the beginning that people who have Down syndrome are shorter than the average person. In fact, at well child visits we always had a different growth chart to compare their growth to. Gess was usually on the upper end of the DS growth chart and sometimes on the lower end of the average growth chart so I figured she would be pretty tall. However, what they failed to tell me was that not only are people who have DS shorter, they stop growing before everyone else too.

It wasn't until the last few years that I noticed a difference in Gess' height. Her peers have really taken off in growth and she has remained stagnant. This week we visited a specialist to find that this is absolutely normal for a person with DS.

Gess is 13 and has been through puberty. A female generally stops growing within 2 years of starting their cycle and for Gess it was probably more like one. They took x-rays of her growth plates and they showed an age of 15 although she had just turned 13 at the time. They were also completely closed which means she is done growing. She is now 4' 8" tall.

It really doesn't bother me that she will have short stature. I could care less how tall she is as long as she is healthy. It just took me by surprise is all. I knew she would be shorter, but I wish someone would have told me she might stop growing sooner too. It would have given me one less thing to worry about.

Now my only concern is her wardrobe. The poor girl is stuck between x large kids clothes and the smallest items in the junior miss departments. Now I can see why people are coming out with special Down syndrome clothing lines. While she is 13 these fashions are fine, but when she is 33 she will want something more grown up looking!  To find something modest is already an issue and to find something modest and mature will be quite the challenge.

In the meantime I am really enjoying watching my little grow up! Oh, her growth plates may be closed but she will still develop maturity, insight, reason, and love. There is so much to teach her and she is like a sponge soaking it all up! 

While we were out of town for our appointment we went out to lunch. Here is my girl who is 13 going on 30 no matter how tall she is!! I wouldn't have wanted to have lunch with any one else in the world! She is not only my little girl, she is becoming my very best friend.


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