Saturday, December 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Joseph!

Bedtime chat with my little boy. He becoming such a little gentleman!

We decorated the gingerbread house the day after Christmas....better late than never! We were being neat and careful until the frosting bag split down the side and we had frosting everywhere. Finished putting the frosting on with our fingers.

We stopped for a quick lunch at Burger King before dropping Braden off at TAP.

Braden progress has been incredible! He is blossoming into a happy, contented little boy. God has answered our prayers for his healing. We are so thankful. I probably sound like a broken record on my posts but the change in Bradens life is astounding!!!!

This is what happens when you spend the day at Grandpa's and run along with your uncles all day. Tristan got this puzzle as a gift from his teacher. Dean and I were crazy enough to stay up late working on it.

Yesterday was Joseph's 6th birthday. I wanted to take a picture of my three 6 year olds before we took Braden back but in our rush to leave I forgot all about it. We celebrated his birthday today because we weren't home much yesterday.

Joseph is into paper and glue so I bought him a large sketch pad, twistable crayons and glue.

Happy Birthday Joseph! We love you and thrilled to see you growing in every area of your life!
Joseph enjoys taking things apart to see how they work, looking at books, building with Lego's, taking rides on the four wheeler and listening to story cd's.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! We are having a relaxing day at home. Tonight we plan to go over to Deans parents, if all continues to go well, that is.
   On Monday I went down to TAP to get Braden for his second home visit. This was the first time I drove down by myself. I was a bit nervous, especially since the accident I had on Friday. Everything went well, I didn't wreck, fall asleep or get lost. :) Braden has been doing very well. He had a few rough days in the last few weeks so we weren't sure what to expect, we needn't have worried. We have had a few rough spots but thus far we where always able to work them out.
 I had a long to do list yesterday because I wasn't home on Monday. I told the children if they help with the laundry and cleaning we can make cut out cookies. I had very willing helpers and my work was soon finished.

A few cookies and a LOT of sprinkles!

   We slept in this morning then enjoyed bacon, eggs and sticky buns for brunch before opening our gifts.

The three boys looking at a book together. Last week I bought a gingerbread house for the children to decorate. I wanted lots of activities to fill up the day. The house is still in the box as the children spent most of their day playing with their new toys. Dean and I are amazed at the difference in Braden, he has come so far these past few weeks. Thanks for your prayers on our behalf, they have made all the difference for our family!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Week Before Christmas

Yesterday my family was together for Christmas. Several years ago we began having brunch on a Saturday near Christmas. It is something a little different than the usual get together's this time of year. We had breakfast haystacks, pancakes, fresh fruit, sticky buns and coffee. We exchanged names this year. The children were beyond excited! We gave my parents wooden porch rockers and they gave us folding tables.

I don't have very many pictures to post. For some reason my camera stayed in its case most of the day.

The Kindergarden class had their Christmas party on Thursday.

Kiana and Joseph got play dough sets from their teacher. 

Joseph got two presents as his birthday will be while they are off for Christmas vacation. 

On Wednesday evening our church went Christmas caroling. It was cold but so neat to share the Good News with others. The snow made the evening extra special.

On Friday Joseph and I had our plans changed abruptly when someone pulled out in front of us while we were driving to therapy. It is amazing what all can go through your head in a seconds time! I saw the vehicle, blew my horn, slammed on the brakes and hit her in less time than it takes to tell about it. Poor lady never saw me, she was still looking straight ahead when I hit her. She wanted to just exchange insurance info but Dean told me I should report it. Was good I did because she had turned her license in the day before for another incident. We waited a long time for the police to arrive. Joseph was not one bit impressed! When the officer went back to his car after getting my information, Joseph wondered why he had a gun with him. It is amazing how observant he can be at times. Needless to say, we never made it to therapy. I am thankful it wasn't worse and no one was hurt. The explorer is going to need some work done but I can still drive it.

Tomorrow I am heading to MD to pick up Braden for his second home visit. We are looking forward to having him home again. Someone who went through a very similar situation said the second home visit tends to have more challenges, so please keep us in your prayers. We don't have many plans for the week as we want to keep things low key. I didn't make any cut out cookies and thought perhaps we could make them on Tuesday. I also bought a gingerbread house for the children to decorate. I used to try to make them on my own but they never got quite like I envisioned they would.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Snack Mix Recipes

  • I had several requests for the recipes for the snack mixes I posted about the other day. Here they are, enjoy!

  • Snickers Snack Mix

  • 2 cups corn chex
  • 1 cup Rice Chex
  • 1 cup Whole Wheat Chex
  • 1 1/2 cups bite size pretzels
  • 1 cup air popped popcorn
  • 1 cup mixed nuts (I used peanuts, cashews, pistachios and pecans)
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup karo syrup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2-3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I like to use all 3 cups)

  1. In a large bowl combine the corn chex, rice chex, whole wheat chex, pretzels, popcorn and nuts. Toss well.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the melted butter, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour the butter mixture over the chex mix and toss well with you hands until the butter and cinnamon has coated all of the chex mix
  3. Add the Karo syrup, peanut butter and brown sugar together in medium saucepan. Heat almost to a boil but be careful not to burn. Stir to combine the ingredients. Once the mixture begins to bubble around the edges, stir for 1 minute and then remove from the heat. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the chex mix and toss well with a spatula.
  4. Spoon the mixture onto cookie sheet
  5. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or over a double broiler. I like to microwave mine, heating on full power for 20 seconds, stir, 30 seconds again, and stir until melted. Pour over mix and toss till coated. Then toss in 10X sugar
  6. Spread on cookie sheet to dry

Candy Cane Muddy Buddies

5 cups rice Chex cereal
1 bag (10 ounces) Candy Cane Hershey Kisses, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
Add the powdered sugar to a plastic bag.
Put the Chex cereal in a large bowl.
Melt the Candy Cane Hershey Kisses in the microwave for 45 seconds and stir. Microwave another 30 seconds or until it is all the way melted. Stir until smooth
Pour the melted Candy Cane Hershey Kisses over the Chex cereal and mix until the cereal is well coated. Add the cereal to the plastic bag with the powdered sugar mixture and shake until the cereal is completely covered.
Then add the crushed Candy Cane pieces to the bag and shake to coat the muddy buddies

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Helicopter

Last evening Dean went for gas for his tractor. He came home with a box and had the children guess what was in it. He told me he bought it when he went inside to pay for the gas. The only thing I could think of was a box of doughnuts. Wrong! It was a remote control helicopter.

The helicopter had more crash landings than any chopper should but it still flies. Tristan either has the thing at full speed or falling onto the floor. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Candy & Snow Days

How did Thursday arrive so quickly??? I think the snow with school delays and one day spent at home because of it made the week go by faster than usual. I am not complaining as this is my week to drive school children and those weeks tend to drag by.
   Monday we had a 2 hour delay. Tristan was rather upset that school wasn't canceled. He had his wish on tuesday, no school! I spent the morning in the kitchen making Candy Cane and Snickers snack mix and Turtle candy. Tristan babysat and cleaned out my silver ware drawer between scraping the driveway and doing donuts with his four wheeler. I wasn't sure about that latter activity but Tristan didn't think I had any reason to be concerned.




Look what came in the mail yesterday! My Trauma Mama gift!!! A 31 tote, coffee mug, fuzzy socks, Starbucks gift card, journal, book light, bracelet, clock, chocolate and more. The children were a tad jealous and Tristan wondered what I did to get such a gift. :)

Yesterday my mom, sisters and I were together to make candy. Making candy together has become something of a tradition for my family. I put most of ours in the freezer as there are certain people around here, including myself, who cannot leave the stuff alone.

Tomorrow Dean and I are going down to see Braden. I have a package of clothing and goodies to give him. Miss Sharon advised us not to bring treats every time we come so he doesn't associate our visit with gifts versus with relationships. He has begun to heal but has a long way to go and will attach to anyone besides Dean and I. So when he does come home we will keep him close by just as we did before he went to TAP. He is somewhat like a newborn, ready to bond with whomever gives him the most attention. However, attention will still trigger him and so he may still try to push Mom and Dad away and attach to others as they feel safer. He knows better but old "habits" die hard. So please don't be offended when we ask you to keep affection to a minimum until he feels safe with mom and dad. This attachment parenting can be so confusing and so many people have been offended when we do not allow them to hold, hug and cuddle with Braden. Trust me when I say life would be a lot easier for us if we could let Braden give and receive affection from others. Until he heals and fully bonds with us, he needs to get all affection from mom and dad only.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Thankfulness and New Books

I have not been posting very often here of late. Dean put a new blocker on our computer and the pictures from his phone no longer download automatically onto our picture program. He has to plug his phone into the computer to download the pictures and neither he nor I remember to do it very often. I don't like posts without pictures so I simply don't write at all. Anyway, enough of that.
  Heather contacted me a little over a week ago and asked if I would be willing to write a "Thankful Post" in honor of her diagnosis and healing from Mesothelioma. I said I would and..... procrastinated. So here is my list of "Thankfuls"


- Braden's wounded heart has the ability to and is beginning to heal
- healthy family
- prayers of loved ones on our behalf these past months
- Christian therapists
- God's love and forgiveness
- a faithful husband
- grace
Heather also asked me to share a bit of my story with my readers. Since most of you know all about our journey with attachment disorder I will keep it really brief. If you want more information, leave a comment here on my blog and I will give you a more in depth version.
   Braden came to us at 17 months old. He suffered from neglect while living with is bio parents. Dean and I felt there is nothing love, healthy food and time cannot heal. We were dead wrong! Because Braden never learned to bond with anyone as an infant he was given the message that adults cannot be trusted therefore I must watch out for myself. When we tried to get close to him he pushed us away for fear of us getting to close emotionally and hurting him again. We tried many different therapists, programs, psychiatrists .... at the beginning of June 2013, Dean and I realized Braden needed more help than weekly therapy could provide so we looked into therapeutic treatment programs. We found The Attachment Place (TAP) in MD. and felt God's leading to place him there. He receives weekly therapy with a licensed therapist and the family he lives with is trained to help children heal from AD. We are so thankful Braden has been allowing us into his heart and is learning to trust as an emotionally healthy child should.
  You can read more about Heathers story at:    mesothelioma.com/heather

Saturday evening we went to Journey To Bethlehem at Woodcrest Retreat. I would urge you to go if you have the opportunity. Upon entering you register, pay your taxes and wait for a wagon to take you to the start of your journey. You then follow Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, hear the inn keeper turn them away, sit in the field with the shepherds and hear the angels proclaim the glad news and then go to see Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus. Along the way you are served hot chocolate and can buy crackers in the "market place." Our children loved it! Kiana wondered why they wore such funny clothing. We warmed up with still more hot chocolate when we got home.

I have several books lying here waiting to be read. I love to read and seldom have a stack of books waiting on me. I joined a trauma mama Christmas gift exchange and bought this book to send with my gift.

I am skim reading through it to be sure it fits the criteria for books the recipient likes. We wrote down our likes and dislikes, what made us "trauma mama's," etc. I was glad for the list because I am sending the gift to a complete stranger. 

This book is one that just came out. I know several of the people who shared their stories. Their is a wealth of information in this book. The stories are true accounts and share every facet of adoption. The thrill of holding your child for the first time, the first time the child says, "You aren't my mom!" the deep pain of attachment disorder and the rejoicing when a child learns to love, it is all here.

This is the huge portion of chili I made last week:

In case you are wondering, this IS a water tub for animals and they sell them at PaulB. It holds 
6 1/2 gallons and is wonderful for mixing huge batches of soup.
I took pictures of the children when Braden was home over Thanksgiving. I got them made into Christmas cards and somehow ordered way to many. If you don't receive a card within the next week and would like to take one off my hands leave a comment with your address or send me an email. The cards aren't anything special, just a quick photo. It was the only chance I had to get a picture with Braden on it and we were not about to go searching for a studio that was open on Thanksgiving day.

Enjoy the snow! The children had a 2 hour delay this morning. It was very nice because it is my turn to drive the school children this week.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

It is Deer Season

Dean and Tristan each got a doe Monday morning. Tristan was one happy boy! He has high hopes of getting a buck before the season is over. Our neighbors helped us butcher the deer. We ground it up and I want to make chili with it. Last year I canned several quarts of chili and it was so handy for Sunday lunches or if I needed a quick and filling meal.

For your information, Tristan's doe is the bigger one. :)

I tried a new recipe this week, Candy Cane Muddy Buddies. The children love it, Dean wasn't to impressed but I saw him go back for more several times. He later agreed it is good to snack on. I usually give something to our neighbors along with a card. This chex mix will be the gift this year

5 cups chex cereal
10 oz. candy cane kisses
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 crushed candy canes (I didn't add them)

Melt Kisses and pour over cereal. Stir till smooth and toss in powdered sugar add candy canes and toss again. 

I sewed the girls and I matching dresses this week. Pleasant Valley Mennonite School has their Christmas program tonight. Kiana has one Sunday dress and the program got me motivated to make her another one. I was  slightly tired of the material till I finished the third dress. The girls were thrilled to have matching dresses.

On Tuesday evening we went to Miss Laura for family therapy. While everyone enjoyed having Braden home, the visit also stirred up a lot of hidden feelings. Miss Laura was able to give Dean and I several pointers to help the children work through their feelings. She also explained that it is normal for them not to trust Braden. When someone hurts us we no longer trust them and that person will need to prove that they changed before our trust can begin to grow.