Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Book Report : Far From the Tree

Yes, I'm doing a book report on my blog, just revert back to elementary school for a moment and go with it.  I'm mainly doing this because this book made me think a lot and I don't want to forget it.

This is the longest book I've ever read.  It is over 700 pages, not counting the notes and bibliography section (that makes it 960 pages).  I heard about this book after reading an article on the Columbine shooting and they interviewed one of the mother's of the shooters for the book.

This book is about a lot of difficult subjects that parents often have to deal with when it comes to parenting.  Its a play on the common phrase, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."  Sometimes the apple does fall far from the tree, sometimes children are completely different then the rest of their family.

Each chapter dealt with one of those subjects.  The first chapter titled Son was about the author, mostly him being a gay man and how he was different from the rest of his family.  Because of that, he identified with a lot of the people he interviewed.  The other chapters are: deaf, dwarfs, down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, disability, prodigies, rape, crime, and transgender.  The last chapter titled Father, is about how the author had become a father during the time of writing this book.

Some of the chapters were more interesting to me then others, some were very depressing.  Deaf had a lot of medical terms so it was a hard read for me, but I thought the dwarf and down syndrome chapters were really interesting.  Especially after reading Kelle Hampton's book Bloom, which is about the changes that took place in her life after her daughter was born with down syndrome. (A book I HIGHLY recommend and one that should be held, its a beautiful book, an electronic version of it wouldn't do it justice.)   Autism was the most depressing because there just doesn't seem to be an answer for anyone who has a child with autism.  The chapter also ends with stories of parents who have murdered their children and received very little punishment from the law because of it.  I also found prodigies to be depressing too, most live a life of solitude.

The book also talks a lot about abortion.  Mainly that many of the disabilities can now be detected while the mother is still pregnant, because of such many parents choose to abort their children with disabilities instead of letting the child live.  Because of that, many of these disabilities are on the decline such as deaf, down syndrome and dwarfism.  It has also made many of the people who have these disabilities feel like they are being exiled or that the world feels like it would be a better place without them.  It explains why many people who are deaf do not like the cochlear implant because you're "curing" something that they feel is not broken.

The chapter on rape, which is about children who are born from rape, had a very interesting take on abortion as well.  Many who are against abortion have often agreed that in the case of rape, an abortion is "OK" but for many of the women who experienced rape and then an abortion, they felt more violated, even referred to the abortions as a "medical rape." Many felt that the abortion was actually harder to get over then the rape.  Although also hearing many of the mothers who saw their rapist eyes in their own child had to be some of the saddest stories I've ever read.   One mother talked of how her daughter's touch reminded her of the rapist so much that her skin would crawl and the mother would jump if the child came up behind her.  Her daughter had to ask permission to touch her mother.

The book has so many stories of families of how their children have changed their lives some for the better and some not.  For instance a child with downs, although will have difficulty living on their own as an adult, will always be a very loving person.  So its easy to see the plus side because of the sweetness that is in their nature.  But for a child with autism or an adolescent who has become schizophrenic, there are no plus sides.  Their world is usually filled with chaos.

The chapter on crime was also interesting although not complete in context with this book.  Some of the parents did have minor criminal backgrounds so it wasn't a complete shock that their child struggled with the law as well.  One story was about how a young man got into drugs which led to criminally behavior, he also got a woman (who was also into drugs) pregnant and over a few years had three children with her.  The parents ended up taking custody of the girls and raising them with very little interaction from the actual parents.  The father tells his son at one point, "I would like my life back." And his son replied to him, "Dad, don't you think I feel the same way."  That story gave me a new perspective on drug abuse and how it takes over a person's life.

He also interviewed the parents of Dylan Klebold. Dylan was one of the shooters at Columbine.  His parents tell a frightening story of how they really did not see the possibility of their son being responsible in something so devastating as the Columbine school shooting.  As a parent that is very frightening.  But I will say, it is in a weird way beautiful to see how much they really love their son.   His mother says, "I know it would have been better for the world if Dylan had never been born.  But I believe it would not have been better for me." (p. 597)

The chapter on Transgender was also very interesting although that has always been a subject that interested me as well.  One of the families he writes about, their son at a very young age "knew" that he was a girl and would often refer to himself as a girl.   They allowed him to transition as a girl named Paula while still in preschool and shockingly the community they live in was for the most part very accepting.  But in the interview the father breaks down crying and says, "I just struggled, because it was my little boy.  I want my child to be happy.  But I found the pictures of us as a family before all this, and I miss that little boy.  Just once in a while, it still hurts."  He asked the mom if she ever felt that way and her reply was, "No, what I regret is that time with Paula that I didn't have.  I missed my daughter's infancy, spending all my energy on someone else who never existed." (p. 613)

They also discuss how the parent that is the same sex goes through a process of feeling rejected.  It was also very saddening to hear of parents who lost their children to the state because people "blamed" the parents for the child believing he/she was transgendered.  And there were many stories of the families being completely rejected from their communities and from extended families, one's family dog was murdered because their child was transgendered.  Many families lost their own siblings or parents because they chose to let their child live as the opposite sex.

Mostly I learned as parents that we all love our children and for the most part strive to be the best parents we can.  I also believe that we as parents will all have different struggles with our children.  Some may deal with a child who has a criminal background while others will have to figure out the best medical placement for their child. And that no child (or parent for that matter) is perfect.  And though some might be labeled with a disability, they are still an individual that should be valued.  One of my favorite stories was in the Dwarfism chapter.  It talks of a mom carrying her child who was a dwarf into the hospital elevator.  Another mother is in the same elevator holding her child who has down syndrome.  The mother of the dwarf child just looked at the other mother with total sympathy and thought to herself, "I'm good, I can deal with this."  And as she caught the other mother's eye, she recognized that the mother of the downs child was looking at her the same way.

Here are some of my favorite quotes I wrote down,
p. 13
" intolerant society creates self-hating people who act out inappropriately."
Treating an identity as an illness invites real illness to make a braver stand.
p. 15
"...their primary experience was of having a child who spoke a language they'd never thought of studying."
p. 32
"Jerry;s kids are people in wheelchairs on television raising money to find a way to prevent them ever having been born." John Hockenberry who had a spinal injury
"Adults responded to my difference by helping me, but some of my classmates responded by calling me names.  Only much later did I realize that helping and name calling amounted to the same thing." Rod Michalko who was blind.
People with disabilities - they suffer only because society treats them badly.
p. 53
"One cannot imagine thought without language anymore then one can imagine language without thought.   An inability to communicate can result in psychosis and dysfunction; the hard of hearing often have inadequate language and researches have estimated that up to one third of prisoners are deaf or hard of hearing."
p. 55
"Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people." Helen Keller
p. 113
"Historic preservation is noble, but it shouldn't forestall invention."

Adley Lynn - 5 months

 Miss Adley is now 5 months old and it is just so hard to believe!   And this post is loaded with pictures because I think she is adorable and couldn't pick which pictures to post, so I posted all of them. 

Grandma Prewit got her the cutest skirt, she wore to church a few weeks ago.  She was mesmerized by all the ruffles.

She likes to sit in her big girl chair and help me cook, she also likes to sit there and watch me put on my makeup.   

We sent these pictures to Daddy begging for new shoes...she got the white sparkly tennis shoes.  Gold flats will have to wait for another day.

She happy most of the time.   

Flash was too bright, this just made me laugh. 

She hates tummy time...HATES IT!  I'm thinking that is why she has still not rolled over.  She will thrust her hips up and she will try to sit up but thats about it...she can also rotate in a complete circle, just not roll over.   

 Love her little swim suit.

At Jim's birthday party...she didn't enjoy her hat. 

 Her first taste of cereal, she still can't decided if she likes it or not.  But she will eat a little bit of it.

 This is one of my favorite little dresses of her's that my friend Kelly sent.  

She sits up really well when she has support.   

Grayson always wants his picture taken with her.  I hope he realizes that she will soon be his only buddy at home once the big guys go to school in a few weeks.  

And she loves her FEET!  She is always playing with her feet.

She also has her first tooth coming in.  Its on the bottom.  
She is also, FINALLY, sleeping through the night.  It was a long time coming but I'm so glad its here!


 We have  had a great summer this year and mostly because of good friends who have a pool in their backyard.  The boys and I have had so much fun going to the Princes house every week to swim.  We usually spend our Wednesday afternoons there.

The pool was to deep for Grayson so he was always too scared to get in the water.  Luckily he is very good at entertaining himself with other things.  The rest of us would have a great time going off the diving board and the slide.

Our weather has really cooled off this week and I don't know if we will get another chance to swim or not before school starts in 2 WEEKS!  Its kinda hard to believe but I really did survive the whole summer with 5 children.

2nd Annual Toto Run

 This year these crazy boys went running all night long, although this time it was 40 miles and not just 31.  Todd was there support team during the run.  They left a little earlier this time, 8:00pm instead of 10:00.

I don't have a picture of this year's medal.  It was Toto on a purple ribbon.  They also received a copy of the Wizard of Oz book.

Here's the post from the 1st Toto run last year.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


I have been wanting a shelf over the sliding glass doors forever but could never figure out a way to make it work.  Then I thought of this brilliant plan and Adam helped execute it. (When I say help I mean he did it all, I just told him what I wanted.)

So, I got a thick edging piece at Home Depot that Adam was able to hang up on the wall.  Then he hammered nails across the top of it to hang the curtains.  It was the perfect width so that I could hang our Dolezal signs above it.  I love it!  It makes me happy every time I walk downstairs.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

4th of July Week

The week of 4th of July, Adam's brother and family and his grandparents, came to town for a visit.    We got to spend a lot of time talking, playing, eating and having fun.

Ben, Grandma, and Great Grandpa Cranwill with Preston & Jonah

Adam and our crew with Grandma and Great Grandpa

 Great Grandpa meeting Adley for the first time.

Playing with Uncle Ben - This was the day she got her shots so she wasn't the happiest.

Great Grandma Cranwill with Adley at the baseball fields.

Adley helping me make goodies for our guests for the 4th.

The evening of the 4th we had everyone over at our house for snacks and fireworks.  We are lucky enough to live on a culdesac, perfect for setting off fireworks.  And we are close enough that we can see "Thunder over Manhattan" too.  So it works out perfectly.  

Damon and Xavier had a great time setting things on fire, Grayson was not a fan and hid inside the whole time.  And Aiden was too busy playing with friends, I don't think he noticed that their were fireworks.  


 Damon and Xavier played baseball again this summer.  Xavier was on the Yankees (This is the only picture I took!) and Damon was on the Royals.  Both boys teams were pretty good this year except for when it came to the playoffs.  Both teams lost their first playoff game (this actually brought great delight to their parents since we were worn out from late night baseball games!).

Xavier always played in the outfield, third base or catcher.

Damon mostly played in the outfield or pitcher.  He also got walked a lot, guessing he thru off the pitchers with his left-handed batting.

Aiden and Grayson had the most fun by making mud and playing in it.  They got a lot of baths during baseball season.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Adley Lynn - 4 months

 Misss.  She is in the 50% for weight and 75% for height.  She still seems so tiny to me compared to her brothers.

  Miss Adley is now 4 months old!  Its hard to believe that she is already getting so big.  She went to the Dr on the 3rd for her 4 month appointment.  She weighed exactly 14 lbs and measured exactly 25 inches.  She is in the 50% for weight and 75% for height.  She still seems so tiny to me compared to her brothers.  

She was such a happy girl during her dr appointment until they came with the shots.  She did not like that one bit and stayed pretty mad the rest of the day.

She is starting to grad for stuff now.  She is pretty strong and will grad ahold of things and carry them forever.  She has carried burp cloths up the stairs, she holds on to toys now and has become pretty good at pulling my hair.  

The boys are quite fond of her now and will usually "fight" over who gets to hold her.  
Here Aiden and Grayson both wanted to sit by her during breakfast.   

 I love a baby in a hooded towel...

She still looks exactly like Adam as a baby, especially when she smiles, its like a little bald Adam girl baby smiling back at you.  

Aiden thinks he is Adley's favorite.  

Monday, July 1, 2013

Aiden sayings - June edition

Funny things Aiden said this month...

We were leaving a  baseball game at the same time Grandpa and Grandma Little were and Aiden asked why they were leaving.
I said, "I don't know, maybe they are tired."
Aiden asked, "Why are they tired?"
I said, "'Cause they are old."
Aiden said, "We're not old, we're young."
And I said, "That's right!"
Aiden said, "I wouldn't be talking momma, you're almost old."

If he asks a question and doesn't like the answer he has started to say, "You are lying to a child!"

Uncle Gordon and Aunt Martha came to visit for a weekend.  When I told Aiden they were heading home he started to pout and say, "But they are so funny.  Why do they have to leave."  He then asked where they lived and if we could visit.  I told them that they had a pool.  He was so excited and ready to go to TX for a visit.

When we got to church one Sunday, someone was parked in the first spot that we like to get.  Aiden said, "Someone's in our spot.  Now we have to mess that car up!"

He said to Adley when I was putting her down for a nap, "Have good girl dreams." Then asked her, "Are you going to dream about kissing boys?"

Adam was getting dressed and I guess Aiden didn't like his shirt.  He said to Adam, "Daddy, why are you wearing that shirt?  It makes you look creepy!"