Friday, May 18, 2012

Update Friday afternoon 5/18

Busy, busy, busy!  There's no other way to describe these last few weeks of school.  Teachers are racing to try to get the most out of their lessons and prepare their students for finals; the kids are doing their best to stay focused on school work instead of the beckoning sunshine and playground; parents are trying to decide if they should continue to push their children to attain every passing grade possible or just let it go until next year.  The school-age children still consider summertime to be "vacation" time with no responsibilities until fall, while their parents heartily wish they could take three months off and just lie around!  Within a week, the kids will be whining about being bored and the adults will be counting the days until school starts again.  Isn't summer great?

My children (with the exception of one or two subjects) will finish the school year with good grades.  I've had to speak sternly to one of my girls about letting her history grade slip, and another of my daughters has really struggled with algebra this year.  Hopefully, next year will bring a better understanding of these subjects.  Dale is doing well with his books, too.  I've been counting down the weeks/days left of school so much with my children while emphasizing Dale's need to work through the summer that I'm sure he's thoroughly confused by now!  He'll figure it out eventually.

Tonight, the drama class will put on the Spring Play.  They've been working hard on this since January or so, but things have happened just in the last few days to throw a big monkey wrench into the works.  The paint that they used on the car prop turned purple instead of blue, so they had to quickly redo that; one of the main players missed a key practice; and there's been an outbreak of whooping cough in our area, causing several students to be out sick for a couple of days---including two members of the cast.  There was some talk about postponing the play, but we're at the end of the school year........there's really no other time to do it.  So "the show must go on"---although I'm sure the drama teacher is about ready to pull her hair out.  Parts have been shuffled and reassigned; Amanda has been upgraded to a bigger part due to the illness about and has been studying her lines and practicing the (surprise!) solo she must perform.  She's been in different productions and is aware of the demands of putting on a play, so I believe she'll be just fine.

Our K-5 Graduation/School Award Ceremony will be held on Friday, June 1st.  Our youngest, Emily, will be walking across the platform to receive her "diploma", which is really just a blank piece of rolled-up white paper tied with sparkly ribbon.  Their teacher took pictures today of all of them dressed up in their caps and gowns.  We have saved Amanda's cap and gown (which she and Katie both wore at their graduations) and Ashley's cap and gown (which she needed because she and Emily are much shorter than the older two at this age!), so we didn't have to purchase a new cap or gown.  Thank God for one less expense, at least.  We saved Dale's cap and gown as well, but, since the boys wear blue and the girls wear white, we couldn't reuse Dale's.  Elementary school achievement awards will be handed out at the same time, I believe, giving parents an incentive to attend the K-5 Graduation even if they do not have a child in that class.  High school awards will be handed out in their last chapel service (next week, I think).  Lots of cheers, clapping, proud smiles, relieved sighs, envious looks, and general hoopla will abound.  Senior Graduation will be held on Monday, June 4th.  Refer to previous sentence for how service will progress!  This is always an exciting moment for all students, those taking a break from school for the summer and those leaving their childhood behind.  God bless each of our kids and guide them through their lives.

Dale attended SP today and, as usual, did an outstanding job.  By this I don't mean that he excelled at every task and walked away whole; I mean that he applied his mind to the best of his ability and succeeded a bit better than the week before in keeping his focus on the task at hand despite numerous distractions.  Some of these distractions are on purpose (music playing, computer beeping, cars driving past) and some are accidental (cell phone ringing, horns honking, Dale cracking his knuckles).  He is learning through each SP visit to block out those distractions and keep thinking about the story, question, or problem stated.  A tip Lisa gave today:  Dale should repeat main words to himself to refocus his attention on the question.  For instance, if the question is "How to the words 'doctor' and 'office' relate to each other?", Dale should repeat "doctor" and "office" to himself if he cannot think of the connection right away.  Sometimes he can; sometimes he can't.   As the hour wore on, Dale's brain got more and more tired.  We could see him visibly wilt in his chair!  It was then that we noticed Dale doing things that wound up distracting himself even more, like cracking his knuckles or fidgeting in his chair.  When he is more alert, he stills himself better; when he's tired, he doesn't catch those movements to still them.  But, over the last several months, Dale has shown definite progress in the areas of listening, focusing, thinking when tired, and settling himself.

One more thing:  Since Sunday morning, Dale has been able to walk down the stairs by himself (no assistance) going step-over-step!!!  He has been shaky on some days, causing him to sit down several times, but this has only served to help him realize he can walk downstairs even when shaky.  Yesterday and Wednesday, he was rather shaky all day, but today Dale has been alot steadier.  He is thinking (keeping his wits about him) through the shakiness and the falls, as well.  When his legs buckled or he stumbled on the stairs, he used to just let go and fall.  Now, Dale will grip the rail more tightly or attempt to strengthen his legs to prevent falling.  Plus, he doesn't panic as much when he starts to fall.  Today, when he was getting into the van after SP, he didn't sit down all the way on the seat---he was half on and half off---and, as a result, he began to shake.  Before now, this situation would cause Dale to panic and possibly go into a seizure.  Now, Dale listens when I tell him, "You're okay"; he trusts me when I tell him, "You're not going to fall; just get your legs in the right place and adjust your seat."  I braced my knee under his bottom and waited until he got both feet into the van; he was then able to reposition himself in the car seat.  This thinking while shaking is so good to see Dale do.  Praise God for His goodness!

Matthew 20: 30 - 34  "And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.  And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace:  but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.  And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?  They say unto Him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.  So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes:  and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him."


  1. Dale is just simply amazing! I love good reports!! I would say he has come a long long way since August. Who would have "thunk!" God bless him!!

  2. It seemed so appropriate that today, while reading your post, I was listening to my favorite rendition of "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." I take great pleasure in reading how you, Dale, and your family "Lean on the Everlasting Arms." I know that Dale's accident has been very difficult for him, for you and for his entire family. And I know it has been nearly disastrous financially. But despite the hardships, I think each family member can find blessings where none were expected. And blessings seem to be occurring with more and more frequency. I am so hopeful that someday your family's cup will be so overflowing with both blessings and healing that each and every Ostrander will look back with grateful hearts and actually be thankful for the accident.

    Here is a joke for Dale:

    A preschool school teacher was delivering a station wagon full of kids home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog.
    The children fell to discussing the dog's duties.
    "They use him to keep crowds back," said one youngster.
    "No," said another, "he's just for good luck."
    A third child brought the argument to a close. "They use the dogs," she said firmly, "to find the fire hydrant."