Friday, February 21, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up 25 ~ Frank Lloyd Wright, Presidents Day, and Perserverence

In My Life ~ There are moments when I am so worn out by raising my special needs brood. There are so many challenges, needs and demands. There is so much that cannot be accomplished without a huge amount of money. There is such a need for rest, respite, privacy and relief from the daily grind. But services continue to be cut in our state. They were considered to be poor when we moved here 13 years ago and have only gone downhill each year since. There is so little help for individuals with mental health issues in our nation -- and even less for children with mental health issues. So the result is that families are worn to their very cores trying to cope on their own. I was so excited a few weeks ago...finally, after years without any, we had a new therapist and psychiatrist. HOPE...Maybe this time we will get the help we so badly need. They listen and commiserate. But, alas, while they offer the support of encouragement, complimenting me on working so hard, their hands are tied. They have nothing of real substance to offer (no respite care, no one-on-one workers to take a child into the community, no amazing medications, no special programs, no easily accessible funding, no safe school). So all I can do is pray and list a few of my blessings. For I am not alone.
  • I am so thankful for my mother who listens to me for hours.
  • I am thankful for a few friends who understand what I am going through, either because they have taken the time to embrace our family or else walk in their own trenches with special needs kids.
  • I am thankful for our physical health.
  • I am thankful that three of our children are progressing day by day.
  • I am thankful for energy.
  • I am thankful that being a mother, wife and teacher have always been my goals since I was a young child (so at least I am doing what I intended to do, although with much more difficult children than I could have imagined).
  • I am thankful that my husband looks forward to coming home and being with his loud and sometimes chaotic family.
  • I am thankful for life's little bits of respite (a balmy and windy evening, a roaring fireplace, a sunset, bubble baths, music, a fun cookbook, interesting Sunday school class, and the PBS channel).
  • I am thankful for Tim's day program that provides him with a break from the sister who makes him a nervous wreck with her wild and unpredictable nature.
Presidents Day ~ Traditionally, my kids have enjoyed elaborate Presidents Day scavenger hunts each year. I just wasn't up to it this year. However, over the years I have discovered that I can adapt the traditions to meet our needs, and the children will still be content. So this year I hid only nine figurines of presidents (these were related to the period in American history that we've been studying). Each figurine had an item hidden with it as a "hint". Before breakfast, I told the kids to go find the presidents and bring them back to the table. They were told to then match the president to his favorite food, using the hint. And then we had this unusual feast for breakfast, made up of the favorite foods of presidents. The children were delighted.

  • Biscuits ~ Woodrow Wilson ~ hint was a bag of flour
  • Strawberries ~ Gerald Ford ~ hint was a picture of a strawberry plant
  • Apples ~ George Washington ~ hint was a peeler
  • Popcorn ~ Andrew Johnson ~ hint was salt
  • Coffee ~ Theodore Roosevelt ~ hint was coffee beans
  • Pickles ~ Calvin Coolidge ~ hint was vinegar
  • Ice Cream ~ Thomas Jefferson ~ hint was an ice cream scoop
  • Chocolate Covered Pretzels ~ Herbert Hoover (who loved homemade candy) ~hint was a candy thermometer
  • Hard Boiled Eggs ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt ~ hint was a picture of a chicken
Frank Lloyd Wright ~ This week, my mother conducted an awesome art lesson about Frank Lloyd Wright, the world famous architect and designer. Our friends (the twins) will be joining us for art lessons for the next few weeks to double the fun. Using Google Images, everyone gathered around the computer while Grandma showed us photos of what typical houses looked like in the United States before Frank Lloyd Wright started to design his homes, which helped us understand why his houses were sometimes met with controversy. She showed us photos of the furniture, dishes and fabrics he designed for his homes. Did you know that you only needed to bring your clothes when you moved into one of his homes? The homes came equipped with everything else. We then moved on to the hands on part of the art lesson. We made stained glass windows. We used frames, contact paper, tissue paper and permanent markers.

First, we each made a blueprint of a window.

Using the blueprints as templates, we cut out the tissue paper. Next, we placed our blueprint under the non-sticky side of the contact paper and placed the cut outs on the adhesive side. With the tissue paper on the the adhesive side, we covered the sticky side with another piece of contact paper. Then we slid the blueprint away. Lastly, we drew "leading" lines with black permanent markers to complete our "stained glass" windows.

All the Rest ~ We learned lots of World War II history, which I will be posting separately over the weekend. Also, Little Red Riding Hood has gotten 100% on three spelling tests this week! Timothy
(our special needs adult son) went to the movies and the library with his day program. He loves going out into the community with this program. The kids had two play dates this week and made it to all of their therapy, dance and gymnastics classes.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. You do have a very busy life, and you do so much for your children. I love your art project and especially your President's Day hunt. I am pinning that for next year. hugs from Maryland

  2. Great projects and you always have the best and most creative ideas to celebrate events. I love to read about them. I hope you feel a little more refreshed next week. I know it can be draining and I've only got one child with food issues. We will pray for some rest for you all.

  3. My dear friend, I will continue to pray for you and your family. We each have our own challenges with homeschooling and our families, but sometimes we need to lean on each other for support and guidance. I will use your thankful items as a guide in my prayers for you.
    And on a side note, the road was finally plowed here at 10pm, still waiting for our friend to come with the skid loader and plow me out.

  4. I understand all to well your experience with services, doctors, and hoping that maybe, just maybe this one has the solution for us. But please hold on to that thin fraying thread that I know you are holding on to. After 12 years of constant debilitating seizures and not even being able to lift up her head-one new pill from Canada finally allowed in the US totally stopped Beth's seizures. That is why I so desperately want her to stop being difficult and enjoy her life. As far as the respite goes though, we have the same problem still. Beth is approved for respite, but there aren't enough workers. Hooray for Grandma helping out. I love the windows!

  5. I'm so sorry life is a struggle at the moment. (It doesn't help being winter, I think?). And whilst I haven't ever walked in your shoes with a special needs child, I understand exhaustion and the feeling of coming to the end of what you are able to give. I am going to pray for a supernatural strength for you, and for snippets of rest and respite in your day. You are doing such a great job, under often tricky circumstances. But remember you are human and need time to regroup and gather your thoughts. Sending many prayers and blessings from England

  6. What a beautiful gratitude list. Having worked with and alongside adults with mental health issues, and now raising a daughter with her own struggles, I am also dismayed at the lack of help and services available in our country. I wish you respite, and ever improving help and services for your lovely children. (Love the stained glass art project by the way)

  7. As always, you are amazing. I don't get over here often enough, but I read what you have going on, and I know that you are the excuse-buster! You inspire me, dear friend. Blessings today!