Back in the Swing of Things

Ah September, oh how I love you and the new beginnings you bring.  I am rather shocked that I have blogged so few times this year.  It also makes it hard to know where to begin again.  There are so many things I want to share here.  The kids are all growing and changing.  The garden has had its ups, and downs.  We loaded our freezer with our first try at raising and butchering our own meat chickens.

Dave has mentioned he would like to write a few posts together with me to keep a good record of how the Homestead is slowly growing.

There are a few things from the summer that I hope to write about in the near future, but for now I thought I would just pick up with where I am today.

Our first few weeks of umm, school are done.first day

Our first day back at the books…

School started for most in this area on the 2nd of September, we had planned a Homeschool Picnic for that Tuesday, but the weather was calling for rain so we postponed until Wednesday.  It didn’t rain on Tuesday after all , but Wednesday was a beautiful day.  It was nice to see all the Moms that I had not seen since the spring.

To be frank we have been easing our way back into school.  I am sure I have shared before that several of my children struggle with dyslexia.  I have lost many nights of sleep worrying about this, praying, handing over my fears, taking them back, and giving them yet again back to God.  Something very interesting has happened in the last few months, a new love of reading.  Do they still struggle, yes, but there is a desire there to read that was not there.  I no longer feel like I am doling out a punishment when I say it is time to go read.  Praise God.  I really think this is a piece to something bigger that I am not yet ready to share here. (But for those of you who still read here regularly, tuck that in the back of your mind, and just pray for God’s will to be worked out in our lives and I hope in the near future to share that chapter here.)

Joel struggles academically but I am very hopeful that we will see some major gains this year.  ‘Cautiously hopeful’ but hopeful nonetheless.  He was right-handed before his brain surgery and has had to learn to use his left as his dominant hand.  He has begun to draw some pictures and print some letters.  I am proud of his effort.first hike

First ‘Nature Walk’ of the new school year.

We have been able to get out on the trails and explore a little. I am hoping to do some more before the weather turns too cold. wild grapes

 

Sampling some wild grapes, yummy yet sour.

We are also in the midst of celebrating Rosh Hashanah, we are studying the Jewish culture amongst many other things this year.  I hope to share in more details about that in a few days.

I hope none of you were worried that we fell off the face of the earth.  Love to hear from y’all!!

Joel

To those of you who have been waiting on a Joel update it is finally here and there is much to rejoice over.

I am still torn up inside over whether or not we made the right choice to put Joel on growth hormone.  Over a year ago Joel failed his test to see if he was making growth hormone.  His Endocrinologist told us it was time to put Joel on growth hormone.  I think if you could have growth hormone donors, like we do blood donors it wouldn’t bother me so much.  The growth hormone Joel is on is a synthetic growth hormone.  So six days a week he injects himself with stuff that was never meant to go in his body.  That is hard to swallow when you are trying to embrace a healthy o’naturelle lifestyle.

That being said he is growing!

Not only that he has spine growth.  Often times when the spine is radiated, there is little to no growth.  Joel’s growth is not steady, it is trying to make up for lost time.  Joel was a BIG boy at 4.  He stopped growing during treatment by 6 he had only grown 1/4 of an inch in almost 2 years.  It wasn’t really all that noticeable to folks because Joel went into cancer treatment with a height that was off the charts.  Once treatment ended he grew a wee bit and then just fell off the charts.  Joel is not staying on a given trajectory but instead is climbing.  I think he came back on the chart at about the 10th percentile, in April of this year he was in the 49th percentile July 2nd they told me he was in the 78th percentile. His doctor has said they can not predict what his growth will do they have no idea if he will completely regain what he lost.  Still this is encouraging news despite the fact that I waiver back and forth about the injections.

He had his latest MRI in June and we just got the results that all is clear.  He now moves to once a year MRI’s… wow!  Audio test results are holding their own, Joel has very minimal hearing loss in the very highest frequencies which does not hinder day-to-day life at all.

The hard part is explaining his neuro-psych evaluation, that is where we get very little good news.  He was tested earlier than protocol called for because we had seen some declines.  When he was tested his results did show some slight declines but they were not consistent and were rather minimal so at this point they were not even labelled as such.

Joel remains developmentally disabled.  He can count to ten sometimes, and he cannot read.  Sometimes he can spell his name.  To be frank I could go on for awhile telling you what he can’t do, and what he struggles with, but instead let me tell you what he can do.

A child who has scored in the 1st percentile for memory (believe me this is one time you don’t want to be #1)  has put a Bible verse to memory.  He sang the chorus from, ‘Go Tell it on the Mountain’ to me tonight!  He also ‘read’ Samuel a story before bed.  When it comes to his memory Joel scores in the 1st and 2nd percentile in all areas of evaluation but one.   He scored in the 86th percentile in his ability to retain information told in a story form, they can not explain this, God has created the mind in ways we cannot begin to understand.  So he told Samuel a story in great detail as he flipped the pages so Samuel could look at the beautiful pictures.

Joel is hilarious, he has a fantastic sense of humour, he regularly makes us laugh.  He and Joshua will often dress up and do an impromptu performance.thompson

He has an incredible imagination that seems to have an insatiable appetite for adventure.  On paper they tell us his brain is not functioning to the level it should but we see the wheels turning and know his brain is working so hard.Joel beach

He wants to help, and he likes to be busy assisting Dave if there is a building project going on.  It is so encouraging to see him follow along behind Dave.Joel building  This was not always the case.  Oh sure, Joel showed his love for me but he was Daddy’s little boy, he followed him everywhere, he wanted Daddy to do it, when he needed help… and then cancer raged into our lives and it robbed that relationship.  The only way Dave and I can figure it is that it had to be extremely confusing and scary to go from a little boy who could run faster than his siblings, climb a tree like a monkey with endless energy, to a little boy who could not move his right arm or leg the way he wanted it to, to not be able to hold your head up or even sit up properly, to knowing what you wanted to say but not being able to make the words, all within 24 hours.  Stuck in a room with machines and people that he didn’t know and instead of staying and protecting him or even just picking him up and running out of the building with him, his hero, his Daddy kept leaving.  Dave had to, he had to look after the other children, he had to work.  Joel went very much into himself, we saw episodes of rage that I did not think were possible, we were told not to worry it was normal, but it was anything but normal.  Joel wanted me for everything and he gave the cold shoulder to Dave and it broke Dave’s heart.working

Dave would refer to me as the ‘Joel whisperer’ because I could calm him down or get him to listen when he would refuse to tune in to Dave.  Quite frankly, it was just extremely difficult to see this amazingly tight relationship crumble, with no real explanation.  Dave says he thinks Joel saw me as his lifeline and he clung on.  It is over 4 years from that day when our lives turned upside down.  Things may not be perfect, but Joel sneaks into the car to stow-away with Daddy when Dave has errands to run.  At bedtime it is Daddy who Joel wants to read to him and pray with him.  It does my heart good to see the healing happening.working with Dad

Joel is creative, he builds with Lego, he makes forts.  He has begun to draw, and there is always a story that goes with it.colouring

He can cook and he enjoys being in the kitchen helping.  He makes french toast and scrambled eggs by himself, and will often make some for whoever is hungry!cooking

He is running and jumping perhaps not as well as his peers but he can do it nonetheless.  Remember he could not even sit up let alone stand, his balance has improved greatly! balancing
He is brave and up for a challenge, and likes to be active, every night he asks us, “What are we going to do next day?”pedal boat

Joel loves animals from the ever so small right on up to the huge!  He savours any opportunity he gets to be the one to open the chicken coops up in the morning.  When our garden is planted we do not let our chickens have complete range of the yard, so if one escapes the fenced area he delights in catching them.chicken wrangler

He is a sweet brother and will give rides to his younger sister and her friends.wagon rides

He is just like any other boy and likes  to wrestle with his brothers.  He has been through a lot but it looks like Joel may just surprise them all and come out on top!boys will be boys

Happy Canada Day!!

Observing Nature

I know I have been neglecting this poor old blog terribly.  If I have said it once I know I have said it many times, “I do want to write more regularly!”  I love to write and it acts as a lovely journal for us to look back on as a family.  Sadly the past year [...]

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The Church Being the Church…

Our fam and new car

I often think if you look for it you can see God’s fingerprints everywhere, today was a day where it was almost hard to pick them out, not for a lack of them, but because there were just so many of them, layer upon layer. It is hard to know where to begin… Dave and [...]

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Glimpse of the Past in the Present

Hannah old fashion

I just recently realized that I did not post this.  While there is snow in the first picture it really wasn’t that long ago that we were still bundling up to head outside.   Do you ever wish you were born in another time? As a girl I wished I was going off to school [...]

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Embracing Joy…

Embracing Joy

I have had some thoughts milling around in my mind.  I wanted to share it here.  Some folks might find it odd that I would put it out there to the world but quite frankly as I have so neglected this poor blog I am not sure that there are that many people who will [...]

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Marking Time…

Joel 9

We mark time in all sorts of ways, weeks, months, seasons, years, birthday and anniversaries.  Most are enjoyable, but not all of these are pleasant, yet we still mark time by them.  It has been 4 years since… Today as I woke up, I was tired, I have been fighting off some form of a [...]

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Hand & Homemade Mondays: Practise Makes Perfect

Knitting

Welcome to Hand & Homemade Mondays, a weekly link up of all the creative things we have been up to.  Feel free to share anything Hand or Homemade.  It can be something you have sewn, knit, crocheted.  A painting, a piece of furniture you have re-finished, woodworking, you name it.  It can even be a new [...]

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Hand & Homemade Mondays ~ Learning to Knit

Baby Samuel

Welcome to Hand & Homemade Mondays, a weekly link up of all the creative things we have been up to.  Feel free to share anything Hand or Homemade.  It can be something you have sewn, knit, crocheted.  A painting, a piece of furniture you have re-finished, woodworking, you name it.  It can even be a new [...]

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Hand & Homemade Mondays : Warmth

PicMonkey Collage scarf 1

Welcome to Hand & Homemade Mondays, a weekly link up of all the creative things we have been up to.  Feel free to share anything Hand or Homemade.  It can be something you have sewn, knit, crocheted.  A painting, a piece of furniture you re-finished, woodworking, you name it.  It can even be a new recipe [...]

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