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A Very Full August

Submitted by kim on Mon, 09/08/2014 - 19:40 in Homeschooling, Lessons for Mom, Nathaniel's Story, Parenting

August. Seems it was here one day and gone the next. I will try to hit the highlights here...

First week of August found Nathaniel in same day surgery again for another diagnostic bronchoscopy. His trachea development is stagnant. Still just a pin hole opening through the stenosis and webbing. The doctors were not able to find a cause for aspirating. His trachea did grow in length and we were able to size up from a 3.5 neo tracheotomy tube to a 3.5 pediatric tracheotomy tube. A difference of six millimeters in length.

New Family Photos!

Submitted by kim on Sat, 08/23/2014 - 15:20 in Parenting

Rankin Family 2014

Allow me to introduce this fantastic group of kids:

Our oldest son, Jon and his wife, Allie.

Invited to Love

Submitted by kim on Sun, 07/20/2014 - 22:50 in Parenting

I met four heroes of the faith in church today: a woman slightly older than me, her husband, daughter, and son-in-law. They approached us purposefully walking down the aisle to our row, stuck out their hands, and introduced themselves. After we went through the formality of name exchanges, the woman said, “We came over to meet you because we learned this weekend we all have something in common.” And then her voice quieted. It became inaudible as tears caught in her eyes and in her throat. Her daughter had to speak up and share our commonality: a second daughter living a homosexual lifestyle. They wanted to come meet us because they had heard we too wrestle with this issue in our family.

Seeing My Work and A Graduation

Submitted by kim on Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:43 in Lessons for Mom, Parenting

Sometimes I am jealous of Rich's work. As a carpenter, he can stand back at the end of the day and physically see what he created. In fact, we can drive around St. Louis and see evidence of his thirty-five year career. Subdivisions at dusk when the lights are on inside, but the shades not yet drawn reveal staircases and bookshelves and kitchens that he installed. Once we met a couple that had recently purchased a house he built twenty years ago. Most recently, his labors are seen in commercial buildings. A Siteman Cancer Center. The Lutheran Senior Services Center. The trim, wood columns, and bar in the clubroom at the Peabody Opera House pictured above.

My work as a mother is not so clearly seen.

Stories from Our Week

Submitted by kim on Sat, 04/12/2014 - 20:13 in Nathaniel's Story, Parenting

I do not take selfies often. And I rarely post them on the internet. Especially if I'm not wearing makeup. But I love the stories this photo tells.

Nathaniel's fat little chin and cheeks tell of his recent weight gain. He is not on the growth chart yet, but is gaining steadily. With every pound, I see him getting stronger. Stronger means he can cough up his lung secretions and battle illnesses. Stronger means new gross motor skills. Stronger means longer periods of play time. Stronger means walks after dinner as a family rather than going straight to bed. Stronger is a criteria for reconstruction surgery.  I see all those things in this photo.

Toddler Toy Boxes

Submitted by kim on Mon, 03/31/2014 - 20:56 in Parenting

We have spent very little money on toys for Nathaniel and somehow THIS happened.

Between generous friends, his first birthday, Christmas, and toys we had saved from the first set of children, toys seemed to be suddenly out of control. We had a situation with our private duty nursing last week that made everything feel very out of control, so I woke on Saturday morning determined to bring order to some part of our lives. Even if it was just toys. I decided to create toddler toy tubs that can be rotated every couple of days with each tub offering opportunity for gross motor play, fine motor play, sensory play, and messy play.

First task was to group the toys into categories.

On Little Boys' Piped Collars and Time

Submitted by kim on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 09:50 in Homemaking, Parenting

I've spent the last couple nights scouring Etsy for a little boy's romper and piped collar white shirt for Nathaniel for Easter. A couple decades ago I had the luxury of homemade special occasion outfits for my babies and toddlers. Rich's mom and I would sew them.

We lived with Rich's parents for seven years; my first born was three months old when we moved in and I had three more children before we moved out. I spent a lot of time with Grandma - hours every day tending large vegetable and flower gardens, preparing meals, taking walks in the subdivision across the street, sitting side by side at our sewing machines in the guest bedroom.

When Rich crawled in bed and asked what I was doing last night, I said, "Wishing your mom was still here so we could make Nathaniel an Easter outfit together."

"We have a box downstairs of the outfits you two made," he said, "I'll get them out for you tomorrow."

What We've Been Reading in September

Submitted by kim on Wed, 09/25/2013 - 13:55 in Homeschooling, Parenting

I love reading with my children. Here's a list of what I've been enjoying with them this month:

With Drummer and Dune Buggy for Writing:

Written Anything Good Lately? by Susan Allen

Since they are short, picture books are fantastic lesson starters with older children. After reading the book aloud, we each made a list of genres we would like to explore in our writing this year - one genre for each letter of the alphabet.

With Drummer: (9th grader - Our read aloud books tie into his history studies.)

Following the Road Signs

Submitted by kim on Mon, 06/03/2013 - 08:02 in Adoption, Parenting

In route to Arkansas last weekend to visit our daughter and her husband, one particular turn along highway 67 south caught my attention. I saw the first sign at least a half mile from the curve: large yellow rectangles on both sides of the road warning a sharp left bend. CAUTION. Blinking lights. Danger Ahead.

A quarter mile down the road, another equally alarming yellow sign declared a new suggested speed - half of what we had been traveling just minutes before.

Immediately I thought,"My life should have signs like these." Signs that signal my path is taking an abrupt turn ahead. They need to be big unavoidable declarations in neon yellow with flashing red lights announcing something huge is coming up.

Summer Activity: Capture the Normal Days

Submitted by kim on Fri, 05/17/2013 - 21:04 in Parenting

At our house the "Oh-my-goodness-it's-summer" turns into boredom in about 48 hours. Without a schedule and some resemblance of a routine, my children quickly resort to game systems to fill their days.

The fact that my boys are older hasn't seemed to make a huge difference from their preschool and elementary years. Left to themselves, they struggle filling long summer days with creative activities. I would venture to say it actually gets harder for preteens and teens who are accustomed to youth group, sporting activities, and school work to structure their time.  Add in the fact that friends and siblings have camps and summer jobs, and the days can seem endless.