Memory Care and Still Making Memories


We are grateful that Chanelle arranged everything to get Grandma M moved closer to us.

Grandma M is getting settled in her new place, much thanks to Chanelle for easing her transition.

Enjoy fresh air at Grandma M’s new place.
It’s still not easy to visit her.

Oh, she does live close now,
that part IS easy.

However, many (most) of her family and friends do not come visit.
They love her, and care about how she is doing.
But on a serious note,
you never quite know what to expect when a loved one struggles with severe dementia.
Even to admit the reality of what that is, is difficult.  It’s sad.
And at times, it’s baffling.

I think the lack of visitors she receives has many factors:

1.  It’s scary.  Scary to be met face to face with the reality at hand.
She has dementia.  Her brain is dying, and it’s obvious.
She often doesn’t make sense, gets confused,
and struggles with basic life skills like how to use ketchup with french fries.

The Positive Note:
Although she is often scared (who wouldn’t be),
and can be grumpy in daily life…
Oh the JOY she has when she gets visitors!
because, let’s face it… her brain might be shutting down,
but she is still a person, a person with feelings and a heart.

2.  People are busy. 
This part is different for everyone.  Each person that has been in Grandma M’s life gets to decide for themselves if they want to visit her, and how often.  Chanelle, while still living here, visits mom often, daily even.  My dear husband, because he works full time plus some, and still has large family at home, will often do weekly visits with his mom.  The kids and I seem to be on a every other week visit, not for any particular reason cept that is when it seems to work for us.  I am hoping in the summer we can make that into weekly visits.

The Positive Note:  If you have a loved one who struggles with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you get to decide how much time to invest in that person’s life.  Time is for you and against you.  For you, because the person with dementia doesn’t really have a concept of time; against you because we never really know how much time they have left to be cognitive.    Visit when you can, but sooner is always better than later.

3.  What will we talk about or do?
Keep it simple.   I call it surface talk; the weather, what was for breakfast, look at the beautiful flowers, and most importantly, smile.  It will help ease the initial awkwardness.
Things you can do; enjoy a cup of coffee together, go for a walk, look at pictures (that you may want to bring).

The Positive Note:  Just being there is enough, so don’t put any expectation on the visit.

Her condition is heartbreaking but not hopeless.
Grandma M may be different, sometimes barely the person she use to be;
however, she is still a living breathing soul who deserves love and compassion.
She may not remember the things we are doing for her,
but we are still making memories, for ourselves as well as for our kids.
She is still here, can still talk, can still laugh, and can still hug…
what’s more precious than that in life?

playing at Grandma M's memory care facility.
playing at Grandma M’s memory care facility.


Breaking Statistics

Are you a social statistic?


Are you a product of your childhood?

Have you simply became who you are because of the environment of those around you?


Have you became who you are despite the environment you may have been in?

For me, and for my husband, there is a defining difference.

Despite our childhood, we have chosen a better path.

I reflect back to a high school social study class I was taking.
By the statistics shared, I didn’t have a chance as far as becoming a decent person in society.
I remember being offended that my destiny was already defined for me.
By the mistakes and harms of people in my past, I was already condemned.

My family is choosing to break statistics.

Statistics that my husband and I are not only breaking, but shattering…

Childhood abuse:

Physical, Sexual, Verbal, & Emotional…
between my husband and myself, these are the core ones we were faced with as a child;
2 that I dealt with, 2 that my husband dealt with.

The harm produced in our own lives helped us to develop an empathy for such tragic things.
We know the fears, insecurities, anger, & hopelessness these abuses can create.
We also know the answer lies within knowing who Jesus Christ is!
His unconditional love can and will heal all things…in His timing.

So what can we do?
Reach out and love others, just as Christ loves us.

To love… on our moms.
Despite the poor choices they made for themselves when they were younger that unfortunately impacted us, they deserve compassion and understanding.  One needs to look into their childhood to better understand why they made the choices they did (that whole statistic thing ya know).  For us, we have to recognize that Christ was not in their lives, that they didn’t feel loved; that at the time, they did the best they could in the situation they found themselves in.
They already know the mistakes they’ve made; what they don’t know is the strength they had to get through it.
What they need to know is that we very much know how much they loved us despite the circumstance.

To love… on our kids.
This has been a gift for us.  6 amazing kids.
Parenting is a journey,
and I don’t care how many parenting books there are out there,
you get to write your own as you go.
What do you want the pages to say?
In the beginning, we all start out fairly clueless,
and honestly?  We grow alongside our children.

If I were to give one piece of parental advice, it would be…
Let your kids know why your no is no,
let them know why you reacted as harshly as you may have,
let them tell you how they are feeling,
let them have emotions, teaching them all the while that there is a proper way to handle them.
Let them know they are not perfect, that we are not perfect,
but that there is One who is perfect who loves us unconditionally.

To love… all children.
We have a heart for kids.  What can I say?  They are unique, beautiful beings.
Kids of all ages need to be heard, need to feel wanted, need to be loved.
God cares, they matter, and we intend to give them that message.

To love… the elderly.
There’s a lot to learn from the elderly,
it is only wise to hear what they have to say.
There’s a dignity that adds to the value of life
when we treasure those who have gone before us in this journey called life.

To love… the special needs, the disabled, the ill.
Not to lump everyone into one category,
because they are all unique as specific individuals.
My intent is to draw attention to them for what they offer.
Often you will find beauty, grace, courage in those loved ones who face challenges in things we take for granted.

To love… the lost.
Of course, as a Christ follower, this has a specific meaning,
in which Christ himself says to love your neighbor.
To share hope, to spread joy, to live by faith…
simple ways to live His love out loud.

Marriage & Divorce Rates

I won’t even go into the detailed statistics I read that would apply to me,
but I will share the obvious… both my husband and I were raised in broken homes.
Not just divorce, but multiple divorces in each of our childhoods.
The odds of us getting married and then staying married, I think has surprised a few people.
Me?  I am just grateful.  Grateful that the man I love is still with me.
Thankful that grace covers a multitude of flaws, in both of us.
But mostly, I appreciate that our relationship shares an example of how families can work through tough stuff and that through Christ, all things are possible.


Children of addicted parents are the highest risk group of children to become alcohol and drug abusers due to both genetic and family environment factors.
Well, my dad was a drug addict.  My 1st step-dad was an alcoholic.
My husband?  His family has heavy drinkers abundantly in his family genetics; both maternal and paternal.

And honestly?  We’ve each had to face our own types of addictions early on, with hiccups along the way, but at some point a decision is made.  Do we repeat the insanity, or choose a way out?  Did you know God provides a way out of our temptations?  It is not meant to be an easy choice, but rather a faithful one.

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.
God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability,
but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Christian kids; Adult faith

Our journey is far from over in the parenting field.  We still have a vast range of ages (although we have past the baby stage 25 yrs into this parenting thing).  One critical thing close to a Christian parents heart is their child’s faith.    We get the honor of nurturing our children in God’s grace, guiding by the Holy Spirit as we go; however, when it all comes down to it, their relationship with Christ is a very personal one.

We can teach them truth, and doctrine, and moral values, and about His amazing love,
but when it comes right down to it?  It is their choice.
A relationship with Christ is personal.
As they become young adults (ie teens),
it does not matter if they go to the same church as us (ie appearances),
or even if they go to church at all (building attendance does not define the heart),
but that they know what they believe and why.

Then the question of truth comes…  will you be a statistic? 
Will you choose to walk away from your faith before the age of 23?

We have one son (25) thus far who has survived and thrived this passage.  (praise Jesus)
We have one son (20) in the thick of it, still choosing to be grounded on a solid foundation. (thank God)
We have one son (17) who is entering this journey with a level head and strong conviction… (hallelujah)

but truly, only time will tell…

What statistics are you breaking?


Tis the Season to Be… Moving.

Yep, moving from…

Small Town, No Where
Tiny Town, No Where. 

After living in Big City, Some Where;
I couldn’t be more thrilled to live a bit more country-ish. 


We will have a bit of land as our backyard is woods.
Getting a dog will be a must.  *smile*
Our Nature Studies will take on a whole new meaning.  Gotta love that!
We also have hopes to create a fort and explore survival skills.

As for the house itself,
it is an older home than we currently live in,
but it has more rooms…

which is a good thing, because…

I am thrilled (no, I am not having a baby) to announce …

that Aunt Chanelle (my sweet s.i.l.) will be moving in with us!

It seems to be a season of changes for us all,
and this will allow Chanelle the opportunity to be closer to Grandma M,
and help her more efficiently.

And of course, I am selfish because I see the opportunity for a …
fantastic walking partner,
a fluent French instructor,
someone to practice Spanish with,
and did I mention she is a well-educated field guide?
Ah yes, many gifts she beholds to share with our beloved family.

Each season holds its own beauty,
and I intend to treasure this one.

Now for the chaotic side of things, lol,
moving this time a year is quite interesting.
We are getting past Christmas,
then hoping the snowy weather holds off until we move.

School is another factor to juggle.
I have chosen to have us take a month off.
Better to get settled and organized,
and life becomes our schooling anyways.

In seed time… learn,
in harvest… teach,
in winter… enjoy.

  ~William Blake

L.I.F.E. Academy~ Week 5


Andrew (8) after several years struggling with reading is finally moving forward!  Yay!
The most precious moment is when he began to read to me from the Bible on our way to church a couple of weeks ago.
It is still a slow process, but it is a relief to see progress, and hey, if he can read the Word of God, life is good!

Younger Kids:

We only got a couple of Learning Hours in for Shelbee (4) and Bryson (5).
Still working with Shelbee (neighbor girl) on her letter sounds.
We are continuing our vowel study while practicing our penmanship.
Our Goop manner lessons were on neatness, courtesy, and generosity.

Andrew and Bryson are doing very well staying consistent with their reading lessons and copywork.

So here is a confession I stated on the Robinson Curriculum Facebook page:

We developed the bad habit of cartoon mornings during the summer.
I finally began a new approach this week to break this distracting habit…
I prep the kitchen table with a fresh activity each day that the younger kids can play with after eating breakfast;
on this day (pictured below) they colored and played Alphabet Dominoes.
Another day was a large bowl of popcorn kernels with spoons and measuring cups;
That was a big hit!  Yay!  for creativity!


ps… I am so happy to see Andrew finally hold his crayon (pencils, markers) correctly.
We have struggled with trying to avoid the “monkey grip” for a very long time.

Older Kids:

Their morning work is coming along, but we aren’t solid on our afternoon studies.

We learned there is such a thing as “Isolation Booths” aka Solitary Confinement in our schools state wide,
and not so uncommon in other states also.

We had the opportunity to watch the tail end of Ted Cruz’ 21 hr speech (watching the last 3 hours),
which in turn let us open up studies on Obamacare, er, “Affordable Care Act”.
The A.C.A. became more affordable for us by limiting our options…
We now have limited preferred providers in our area,
which includes hospital authorization in a whole different state
while NOT accepting the 3 convenient hospitals in our own area.
I suspect our rates will rise when they make us pay additional cost as they require more coverage” to provide us with better care”…
“care”, I might add that I specifically don’t want nor need. ~  ok, rant over.
And because the opposition to Ted Cruz speech kept mentioning the Tea Party,
I felt the need to explore that party’s political stand so my kids would understand it better.

Another topic we covered this past week was Common Core Educational Initiative.
We found the resource IndoctiNation to be quite eye opening, but not surprising in lieu of C.C.’s standards.

Soccer Season

CSC_0871 DSC_0881

Bryson (in the left picture, on right) and TJ (right picture) have the same stance at soccer…
it’s quite amusing.  Funny enough, they both play the same positions too- striker, midfield, sweeper.  =)

Overall we have had a great week!  and Autumn has definitely began in our little area of the world.



Epic Fail

Have I mentioned that I really have no talent?


I have no hobbies.

I can’t cook.

I keep trying to garden, but really??


Here is my potato crop!
I could have been upset that my husband
helped himself to harvest them
without us joining him,
but he really couldn’t of possibly taken the joy away when this is all there is!

What?  you can’t see those potatoes?

Here, let me help you…


The bigger one is the size of a penny.
yeah, special ain’t it.

Thank GOD that raising a family is so much easier than raising a crop!!

A Week End of Simple Memories

Dad and TJ are in Oklahoma helping with disaster relief.
Lots of manual labor, listening to hurting hearts, and tours of the destruction there.
add in fellowship, fishing, and food; and all is going well.
Miss them bunches, but of them.
Serving others is a beautiful thing.


Andrew is loving roses right now.
I thought it fitting to go to the Portland Rose Gardens.
He likes red ones best.  =)

Joe and his fiance were around this week end.
Joe and I watched a good movie on Saturday.
and Sunday Amber made some great fettuccine!
top it off w/ watching bull riding and playing foursquare,
and it was a pretty good day!


Nick (who turned 20 this past week!) went to the fair with me and the younger kids.
He took his younger brothers to get an ice cream cone and the vendor gave him one for free
just for being cool enough to hang out with his little brothers.  nice.


Katie-girl worked very hard on a charcoal drawing this past spring.
She had a very patient art teacher (gotta love homeschool co ops!).
We entered her art into the fair.  This was our first time ever doing anything like this.
Well, she didn’t get a ribbon.  No 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place.
She was a bit bummed, but handled it gracefully.
Then when we went to get her work back, they awarded her a “special award”.
???  I have no clue what that means?  do you?
I thought it was like a consolation prize, ya know, so you don’t feel bad for losing.
Everybody is a winner nowadays, right?
Apparently this was a good thing?
The 1st place winner w/ a big blue ribbon gets $2.
The “special award” winner with no ribbon got $15.
I still have no clue what a special award is,
but I do know that I have one happy girl!  lol.


Bryson enjoyed the tractors, and the goats.

We ran into an old friend.  One who has 4 adopted kids.  This is the 2nd time running into her this summer.  Before that, it had been years.   I’ve been struggling with the idea of getting through an adoption process.  Back in April I had finally posted the idea of pondering domestic sibling adoption… how impossible it seemed… that only God will be able to work that out.  Yeah, so here comes along this friend who knows the system and is digging up information for me.  The rules, the exceptions, the challenges, the possibilities…  Ok God, I’m listening.

From short term missions across the states to the willingness to expand our family…
we are just simply trying to travel the narrow road one God appointment at a time.

The Summer Breeze

as in…

Breeze on by!


Outside turtle sitting


*adopted* big kid visits


playing with neighbors


indoor soccer with “sister”-to-be


hefty yard work for the 5 yr old…
and why yes, he is wearing pajamas… backwards.  O_o


and plenty of good games of foursquare!

Honestly, why does summer breeze by?  I always think I need grand summer plans but in all reality, life takes over.

We’ve had park days…

a Star Wars craft day… (can you believe no pictures?)

a beach day…

Vacation Bible School…

I have also spent some time with my mom.  She had foot surgery, and is now watching for infections.  Thankfully, several family members have stepped up to help her out, and we juggle out a schedule to take turns caring for her.  This is my week.  =)

Fred & TJ will be going to Oklahoma soon to help with disaster relief.  The younger kids and I may try to visit a good friends up north while they are gone .

Joe (& Amber) are looking for a place of their own.  About 8 weeks til their wedding day.  A trip to Hawaii. Then real life begins…

Praying about when to move/where to move.  Our rental home has gone into foreclosure.  Not sure what that even really means cept that we’ll need to move at some point.  May be time to buy a house.  Found the perfect one (for us), let’s see if God agrees!

Homeschool plans are outlined, and just about ready to be shared!

Takin’ Care of Mama has flopped for the season (yeah, I am honest that way, lol)

and my garden is pitiful!  (share more later).

So how’s your summer going?