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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

When date night is a dud...

If you're new here, Welcome! Stick around after reading today's post and get to know me. Be sure to subscribe by RSS or email to be sure not to miss a thing!

Well, girls. We did it. Hubs and I managed to go on a date last Thursday night.

I've been thinking that I really need to make an effort here. I decided that if we were going to go out to eat it wasn't going to be because hubs went behind my back and surprised me with some romantic evening I knew nothing about. Yeah, right. 

I resolved to make an effort in this department. By the term "make an effort", I mean do everything humanly possible to eat in public with my husband and WITHOUT children. 

So, I called my sister. She said yes. I called hubs. He said, "If you want to, I guess? Yeah."

His excitement is enough to make me fall in love all over again. 

I told the kids they would be going to their aunt's to play.

Oldest: Does she have wi-fi?
Youngest: How long will you be gone? insert crying

Oh, C'mon kid. mommy needs a break. 

But, I managed to get them to my sisters without any huge set backs. 

I decided to bring them to her early before hubs got home from work. I figured it would make the whole drop-off thing easier if it was done before he got home, and I thought it would easier to take the kids while it was still light out thinking my youngest would be less anxious about mommy leaving him. 

Can you say separation anxiety?

So, I did all of that. Arranged the date, arranged the sitter, showered and even shaved my legs!

I got cute in jeans and a nice top. Add heels. Ok. This is good.

Dropped the kids off, and made sure hubs could shower and have a beer and relax before we went to dinner. 

Now, I'm not gonna lie. My expectations were high. Obviously, with all that work I put in. 

So, off to dinner we went. 

Enter romantic car conversation. 

Hubs: Where do you want eat? (yawn)

Me: I don't know? Wherever. 

Hubs: Well, you tell me. 

Me: Honey, really. You pick. 

Oh, man. He's really sweeping me off my feet.  

And dinner was nice. The food was great. We enjoyed getting out, but have you ever gone through the trouble to set up date night, and then it's sort of a dud of an evening?

Nothing bad happened. We had a nice time. But, no sex fireworks. Ya know?

I think my expectations were so high, I was destined to be disappointed. 

Sigh....

We're an old married couple. 

The moral of this story?

We need to go on dates more often!

What do you do to make sure you and your sweetie get time together?
********

I recently discovered Courtney over at Women Living Well. If you haven't read her, she's a must! 
WLWW

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Monday, January 30, 2012

A Work in Progress

...being confident of this, that he who has begun a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 1:6

That Bible verse is one of my all time favorites. I take so much comfort in knowing that He is not done with me. Thank God He's not done!

Think about that. What if who we are, what we do, our thoughts, our lives...everything about us...what if we were finished works?

Yikes!

I know I need some work still. How about you?

When I think back to my life just six 1/2 years ago, I was a different person. I was a busy career mom running ragged to keep up with life. I had one child struggling in 1st grade, and a baby at home with Daddy.

I remember crying on my way to work on Monday mornings because I simply wanted to be home with my kids. I never had a heart to be a career mom. I had a heart to be at home. But, it just wasn't possible.

Now?

I am blessed with a life I never thought I would have. God has given me more than I thought possible. Why? Because I asked him to. No, I begged him to, and he answered my prayers.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find it; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. ~Matthew 7:7

He gave me more than I ever could have asked for. More than I ever could have imagined. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

I am home with my boys, homeschooling, and I want to take full advantage of this journey.

It seems so long ago that I was living another life. And that makes me think...

What will my life look like 6 1/2 years from now? What do I want it to look like? What steps will take to make my heart's desires possible?

6 years from now my oldest will be 19. I pray he will be well into his college journey, and feeling empowered to follow his dreams. I will have another child embarking on his teenage years, and I pray he will have the same strength of character he already shows as a 7 year old.

It's scary to think about the future. My time with these boys is extremely limited. Even though I can look back to life 6, 10, even 15 years ago and feel as if it seems like a lifetime ago, it wasn't. It was a flash in time. A fleeting moment.

I want to make a difference in the lives of my children.

I want to BE the mom I want them to remember!

Thankfully, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). Because without Him I cannot change, but with Him all things are possible (Luke 1:37)!

I am a work in progress wholly relying on my Redeemer to mold me and shape me into what He already knows I can be!

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Making the Decision to Homeschool: 10 things to consider


Deciding to homeschool is a big decision for any family. It was one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make as a parent. Over three years into our homeschooling journey, I have such a peace knowing that it was the right decision for us. But, actually making that decision is tough! Are you considering homeschool? Here's a list of things to consider when making your list of pros and cons.
#1 Do you enjoy learning? 
Yes, you will be teaching your children, but do you enjoy learning? Because you will without a doubt be learning! As you work through your child's curriculum (no matter what style you choose), you will be learning right along with them. If you enjoy learning and naturally have a heart for sharing what you learn with others, you will make a great teacher. 

#2 Do you have a support system in place?
It is so important to find other homeschooling families that you can  connect with. I cherish my friendships with other HS moms, and my kids looks forward to every get together! We all need support. Reach out to some moms (or dads) that you know already homeschool. Look for families that seem like they may be a good fit for your preferred style of homeschooling. Ask them to sit down with you sometime soon. Pick their brain for curriculum ideas, planning tips, and group gatherings. Get an idea of what the homeschooling community looks like near you. 

#3 Does your schedule allow time for homeschoool?
Talk about wearing many hats! I have two children. I put in about 30 hours a week for school. That includes planning, teaching, field trips, and all things school. We're not sitting at the table with books 5 hours a day, but when I add up the time I put in, it's easily a part-time job. It would be very difficult for me to do if I worked outside the home, or had large demands on my time outside of schooling. Can you make the time adjustments needed to make your homeschooling journey successful?

#4 Does your spouse support the decision to homeschool?
Having support from my husband is a big factor in the comfort I had to finally make the decision to begin homeschooling, and his continued support makes a big difference in our journey. 

#5 Do your finances allow this choice?
Although you can be very frugal and really pinch every penny when it comes to buying what you need, there is still a cost. It's nothing compared to a private school tuition, but it does require more money than sending them to public school, obviously. There are many resources to keep costs low! Book swaps, trades, and even some FREE options. But, you will need to consider the costs. Begin preparing a mock budget for your school year. Add up the costs of your potential curriculum choices, and extra curricular activity expenses to get an idea of what you can expect to spend. 

#6 Do you have decent organization skills?
Planning and organization are probably my worst quality as a teacher! But, I manage. Homeschooling will require lesson planning and organization. If I don't prepare ahead of time our school day is a nightmare. You'll need some time each week to plan, gather materials needed, and organize work samples in your child's portfolio. It's not an exact science, and there's no right or wrong way to do it. But, be prepared to plan!

#7 Do you have a work space suitable for learning?
Get creative! We struggle with small spaces here, but we make it work. Your child needs a good place to learn and work. You know your child best. But every child needs a designated space. Your child's work space needs to be free of clutter, and clearly designated during school hours. We have to transform our dining area into the school area daily. My oldest also has a nice work space and desk in his room. We don't have a separate room for school or anything like the rooms I drool over on Pinterest extravagant. It doesn't have to be perfect to work. But, it does need to work!

#8 Do you feel qualified?
I'm not asking you if you have a teaching degree or if you have any kind of background in education at all. I'm simply asking you if you think you can teach your children. I'll be honest. This was my biggest fear! I was so worried I wasn't qualified. But, the truth is. I am! And more than likely, so are you! If you love your kids, enjoy learning, and have a heart to teach them, you can do it. Just really think about how you actually "feel" about teaching them.  

#9 Do you have a desire to incorporate your faith or religion into your child's education?
Bottom line? They are not going to get this at public school. How important is that to you and your spouse? Yes, values are taught at home no matter where your child goes to school, but how important is it to you that they be incorporated into their day-to-day learning? I love being able to incorporate our beliefs into our school day. It blesses our family!

#10 Do your kids like the idea?
Now, let me just say this is not a decision for your children. But, how do they feel about it? I think it's important to weigh in this topic with them at the right time in the decision making process. Kids give great insight. Do they like idea of being home? Both of mine love the idea, so that helps. But, I'm not sure how I would feel if they hated the idea.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

God is good, Sistas!

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will." ~Romans 12:2 

I found this growing on some rocks at the beach.
Beautiful, isn't it?
It's hard to stay focused in this world we live in. Isn't it? 

The last few days I've been lovingly convicted of my lack of obedience. My heart has felt heavy and hectic. I haven't been able to really put my finger on it until yesterday. 

It's quite simple. I feel far from my Heavenly Father. 

I want to remain close to him even when life seems to be going just fine. I want to remember his provision and grace when I don't think I need it. 


Because, I need Him! Everyday. I need him at the forefront of my home and life. I need Him to lead me as wife and mother. I need Him to lead me in raising these boys. I need Him to fulfill the plans He has for me and our family. 

The thing about God that gets me every time? He never stops working for us. We stop working for him all the time. I know I do. I fall into a rut of prayerlessness, lack of worship, and I just put him on the back burner. Yet, he never leaves me. 

My heart is filled with PRAISE for a Great God!

I want to praise God for bringing my husband to church over and over. For working in his heart and stirring whatever it is that's going on in there. A spiritual mismatch in marriage is not easy, but God makes it easier. When I trust in him, and truly give it to Him, He takes care of it!

I want to praise Him for everything good thing in my life. His grace is sufficient and it is because of Him that my family is in tact, my son continues to miraculously beat OCD, and I am home with my boys and homeschooling. 

Because of God's grace, I have a husband who works hard to provide for us, a partner and best friend in the life...

I want to praise God for the new washer hubs brought home yesterday! So many people aren't able to go out and buy the things they need. There's a mom at the laundromat as I type with five kids at the hip. I kept thinking about her where ever she is when my washer broke beyond repair that made sense. We simply bought a new one. Praise God we were able to do that! 

Lord, help me to remain in you in this stage of life. I have no idea what's ahead. But, you do, and I need to stay renewed, focused, and obedient in order to pick up on your path. Lead me and guide me in this journey, and let me never forget!
******

This post is linked up as part of Wordful Wednesdays with Seven Clown Circus and Dumb Mom
goodmorninggirls.org

Pour Your Heart Out
ifellowship



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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

There's no perfect curriculum!

Yesterday we spent some time spelling our words to learn using letters from magazine cut-outs. Fun! As we were doing this I realized what a terrific sight word activity this is too! Flip through the mags, and locate your words. Make a collage of all the words you know.

I love to get creative with spelling words. We've also painted them, written them in glue and sprinkled glitter on top, and shaped our words out of play-doh. I get so bored writing them over and over. I'm sure he does too!

One thing I've learned in the last few years is this: There's no perfect curriculum!

You have to adapt to make it work for your kids and your family.  Never be afraid to try something new, and never be discouraged if something isn't working. 

We love Bob Jones. I've been using that for the last couple of years with my youngest for Science and Social Studies, but lately, he wants more. While I love the ease of Bob Jones, it really just touches the surface in science, and my little guy is desperate to learn more. He's like a sponge. 
So, who am I to stop him?

He loves animals! I decided to get Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 1. We love it already! While Bob Jones offers a clear outline of the topics that should be covered, it also makes it very easy to supplement with in depth unit studies like this. I also love that we can do the chapters in any order. Of course, we will be jumping to Pterosaurs. Surprise! Right?

He worked on making his science notebook today, and he was so thrilled to know that all of his science journey will be recorded and tucked away safely in his new 3-ring binder.


It's not about finding the perfect curriculum. It's about making the curriculum work for you! Don't be afraid to go outside the box, or book!

What curriculum do you love and why? 
Do you stick with the lessons plans or wing it sometimes?

Hip Homeschool Hop Button
Hip Homeschool Moms




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Monday, January 23, 2012

People you may know.

Ahhhh, Facebook.











I don't know whether to love you or hate you?

In an attempt to grow my blog this year, I decided to be more active with my Facebook fan page. I mean, you're not anybody unless people "like" you, right?

So, this new endeavor meant I had to email Shell and ask her how to figure out how to create a fan page that wasn't linked to my personal FB page. I'm not anon (I so wish I was.), but I don't like creepers. I guess if you spill your life's stories on the internet for anyone to read, you shouldn't care. But, I'm crazy that way. I like to share something super personal and then worry about who might read it. It keeps things saucy here. Stay-at-home moms need all the excitement they can get. 

If only I knew then what I know I know now.

Too late for this!

I was so excited to know that there was a way around this whole link-my-personal-page-and-fan-page-thing. I just wanted to be able to like other fan pages and connect on there without drawing attention to my blog through my personal page. 

After clicking around on fan pages in the last week, I see that everyone in blog land knows about this trick but me. If you don't, and you want to know. Email me, and I will copy and paste Shell's email to you walk you through it. 

So after, getting things set up I could rest assured knowing that I don't have to worry about Facebook outing me. 

Then. I got on FB. My personal Facebook FB. 

To the right I see this fabulous suggestion box of "People you may know". That's code for "People you should creep".

Guess, who I should creep?

ME! 

WTH?

Oh, facebook. 

warning. ridiculously embarrassing banter to follow. 

My blog me doesn't know anyone that real me knows. So what's the connection? How did you find my blog me? My real me doesn't even "like" my blog me's page, because I  didn't want to aid the connection process. But, it apparently that didn't help. 

I decided to shamelessy ask hubs to go on FB and see if FB told him he might know blog me. Sure enough. He might. 

hubs: why are we doing this?

me: it's hard to explain, just check. ARGH! There I am!

hubs: I don't get it. 

me: sigh...I know you don't, sweetheart. But, thanks for looking. 

It's just one of those things. 

People that don't blog, don't get blogging. Period. My blog is a something I love doing, but I really don't "advertise" it. Some of the people I know IRL read it, and love it. But they are the normal nice and supportive kind of people in my life. I'm not one to invite everyone I know to my blog. I'd rather just grow within the blog community and leave it at that. 

But, thanks to FB technology the sky is the limit! I could become a famous blogger thanks to any haters and creepers in my life.

Maybe there's a way around this too. I don't know? I don't know if I have the energy to care about anonymity anymore. It's a lot of work. And quite frankly, there isn't anything on here I wouldn't share with people IRL. I just don't. I don't regret any posts, and I don't bash or trash talk.

I just keep to myself. Ya know? On the internet. Where thousands of people can see me. 

So, I give up. You win Facebook. 

I may now be known to all family and friends, and random people I went to high school with. Joy. 

2012 is going to be a great year!


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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dear son,

Dear son, 

I can't keep up with you. You're growing too fast. Last summer it seemed as if you would need me forever. You were helpless and afraid. You were lost and confused. But, in just a matter of months you're turning into a young man. 

A young man with a great sense of humor that I love, looks to kill, and a heart any girl would be lucky to have. But, she can't have it. Ok?

I see how much you're growing and changing. I see that you have confidence now. I've been waiting for that, and now that it's here. I'm torn. 

Don't let this world swallow you up. Don't be fooled. Stay wise and close to the Lord. 

I have a feeling that there are many milestones around the corner for you. Things that I'm terrified about, and things I'm excited about. But, I have to let you grow up. That's not easy. 

I hope you know that I trust you. I love you, and I'm always here for you. No matter what! Nothing you could ever do or say or think would change my love for you. I will always be here. No matter how many times you mess up or make a stupid decision, I will always love you. 

As you grow even more I recognize so much of your real father in your face. Sigh...it's a daily reminder of something that is right around the corner. 

Your dad and I have always told you that when you're ready, we are ready. I cringe at the thought. But, it's the right thing for you. Honesty has always been our number one priority with this, and I never want you to feel like you can't come to me and ask about him. Because you can. I will tell you anything you want to know. 

If you want to meet him, I will arrange it. I can't promise that you will be impressed, or that fireworks will spark. In fact, I can promise you that it will be less than monumental. But, I will arrange it.

I'm sorry that choices I made will forever be a part of your life. But, without those choices I wouldn't have you. You are the best thing that ever happened to me. Making some of those choices were hard, and I probably screwed up a bunch, and I'm sorry about that. But, I'm not sorry for you! I wouldn't change anything about our life or anything about you! Not. one.thing. 

I pray that you will embrace every part of who are and love it! You are special. God has an amazing plan for your life. I knew it the minute I looked at you on your first day. You have already changed the world just by being in it. Now show it what you've got!

I'm not ready for this stage yet. 

Please, slow down. 

I love you more than life,
Mom. 

Things I Can't Say

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

{Not so} bright ideas...dimming down sensory issues!

*Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor. Anything you read on here is my opinion, which is backed by an education from the University of Google. I may be "just a mom", but I'm just a mom who has spent the last 11 years trying to help her kid, and now we're finally getting somewhere. Praise God!

We've learned some tricks that have helped my son's anxiety level at home and during school. I can really see how sensory issues have played a part in his history all along, but we just didn't know it/or how to manage it. Much of his inability to focus and stay on track was due to sensory issues. Sometimes it's not about the lack of focus, it's about what's causing the lack of focus. Not every kid can be put in the ADHD box, and be helped.

So here are a few things I do to make life easier for my son.

Reduce bright lights and glaring whites.
*Keep work areas dim. We keep our blinds closed during school hours and I make sure that any light sources are out of direct sight. Meaning overhead as opposed to a light on across the room. Think about the sun. If it's directly above you, it's not as glaring as if it were across from you. You would put your sunglasses on. But, if it's overhead, it's not going to make you squint. It's much the same way with artificial light for someone with sensitivity issues. 

*Make sure household light bulbs are extra soft or even colored. We changed out all of our bulbs, and put colored bulbs in the bathrooms. You can't even tell they're colored. One bathroom is painted in a blue/grey tone, so we put a baby blue bulb in there. The other bathroom has is pink tile (yes. that's right. Pink tile!). It got a soft pink bulb. The light in the bathrooms appear softer, not so much colored. Because of my son's OCD, the bathroom is generally a stressful environment. Reducing triggers in there has made a huge difference in his rituals.

*I even exchanges his white shower curtain for a green one. Much better.

*Change paint colors to be softer. No bolds or brights.

Avoid using harsh chemical smells during school hours. 
We homeschool, so housekeeping during the day is a given. But, I try to leave any chemical product use for after school. He just wouldn't be able to work or concentrate if it smelled of cleaning supplies.  

Keep house and work areas free of clutter. 
In my son's room and bathroom, there's not a whole lot of decor. Not my personal preference, but too much going on stresses him out. I got rid of all those cutesy baskets, magazines, and fun bathroom stuff. I try to keep things clear through the house too. He cannot work on the computer or at his desk if there's a lot of distractions there. Get rid of piles and all those cool organizers.

Find out what calms your child.
We use fish tanks, lava lamps, and fidgets. My son is older. He's 13. Many of the products for OT are geared for younger children. He's not going to sit on ball and play with other sensory toys he think are babyish. I have to think outside the box with him, and get things that he doesn't recognize as "therapy" tools.
He has a lava lamp in in room. I LOVE that thing. He'd watch it for three days if I let him. He has his own fish tank, and we have two other tanks in the house. One in the living area, and another in my youngest son's room. Extreme? Maybe. Helpful? Without a doubt! They love their fish!

Other options?
-desk water fountains
-zen gardens
-plasma balls
If you go on amazon.com and search office/desk toys. Anything that pops up would be helpful! Finding things for older kids can be tricky. You also pay way less for these items if you're not shopping on a therapy website. I also like orientaltrading.com. They have some really affordable stuff that can be used for sensory therapy.

Colored paper.
Crazy? I agree, but it works!
We do ALL math work on blue paper. Math is a struggle for him. Oddly, it's his strongest subject. However, he has a very hard time focusing during math and he gets easily frustrated. More so than any other subject. He sort of had a math road block a couple of years ago. I began using Math-U-See, and I started copying all of his work onto blue paper, and it made an instant difference in the amount of time it took to complete an assignment. He was more focused, and stopped complaining about headaches. He no longer fidgets! The bright white of regular paper is like a concentration block to him. It causes stress and interrupts his thought process. The blue stimulates focus. Yes, please.

Breaks! Breaks! Breaks!
Stop expecting your child to act like the world tells you children should behave during school. Learn to recognize his triggers, and when he needs a break. My son is 13, and he can rarely do that for himself. Heck! I'm 33 and I have a hard time doing it for me! We have to guide them into managing skills they can use. We have to learn to recognize their triggers, so we can teach them to do the same. My son is finally at a point where he will accept the fact that I think he needs a sensory break. He will go to his room and watch his fish or lava lamp, and do some deep breathing. After 5 minutes or so, he's good. then he can come back and be productive.

Maybe some of the ideas that are helpful for us would be helpful for you too?
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Monday, January 16, 2012

Memories Captured: Sweet Dreamer



If follow me Facebook, you might have seen this sweet pic I shared last night. It was one of those moments I wanted to freeze forever. I wish I could stop time, and freeze my baby. Just like this. 

After a long day of chasing after a wild and crazy 7 year old I'm exhausted. He has so much energy and goes and goes and goes until he passes out at night. He's a talker. A singer. He's constantly making noise or asking me questions, or doing something I can barely keep up with. He was jumping on the bed last night, and being all sorts of crazy. Telling me we should skip school today because "It's Martin Luther King Day tomorrow!" Minutes before story time began I thought I was going to scream. 

But, then something happens. I take a deep breathe, open our book, and he finally begins to sink into the rest his little body and mind need. He snuggles close and lays his head on my chest to listen to the story. I can feel his sweaty cheek squish into me, and I know it's just a matter of time. After a few pages, he yawns. He strains to keep his eyes open so he can see the pictures. I feel his little body get heavier and heavier.  I hear his tender whisper, "I love you, Mom."

Then, by the final weight of him, I know he's dreaming. 

These Little Waves and  Mama Wants This
Link up all week and share your captured memories. 

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Walgreens Prescription Savings Club

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

We use Walgreens for prescriptions. The experience there is always so much better than bigger stores. The pharmacists know us, and at my location, we really do have a personal relationship with them.

One day we were in a bind for my son's prescription due to an insurance issue. This was during the time period when we were really struggling last summer, and missing a dose was not an option! Knowing my son, and how much he struggled with OCD, our pharmacist really went above and beyond to help us fill the prescription. Thanks to him, my son did not have to go without medication for even one day. At that time, going without meds would have been a huge set back in his recovery.
So, case in point. I love Walgreens!

Therefore, I'm going to take a minute and share some recent news about the Walgreens Prescription Savings Club.

"For the past year, Walgreens has negotiated with Express Scripts for a new contract to continue as part of its pharmacy provider network. Those negotiations were unsuccessful, and the contract expired on Dec. 31. As a result, Walgreens is no longer part of Express Scripts’ pharmacy provider network as of Jan. 1, 2012. This includes all Walgreens pharmacies nationwide."

"This situation of forcing pharmacy patients to go elsewhere to use their in-network pharmacy benefits was unnecessary. Express Scripts’ actions are causing disruption with no significant benefit to patients or their health plan. Patients covered by an Express Scripts plan now find themselves not only having to change their pharmacists, but many are having to drive farther to get prescriptions filled at pharmacies with less convenient hours for their hectic schedules. Walgreens offers more 24-hour and drive-thru pharmacies than any other pharmacy in the country."

"Among the steps Walgreen is taking to minimize the disruption is offering a special discount on annual membership for its Prescription Savings Club. An individual can join during a special January promotion for only $5, or $10 for a family membership, and receive savings on more than 8,000 brand name and all generic medications. More than 400 generics are available with a three-month supply for less than $1 a week. Regular annual membership is $20 for an individual and $35 for a family."

Walgreens Prescription Savings Club offers a significant savings for your family! 
Read more about the negations with Walgreens and Express Script.

Follow Walgreens on Twitter for updates on their prescription savings club. 
We're battling mental illness in our family, and prescriptions are critical in the process. Walgreens really makes that part of the process easier. 
Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fashion to Figure Giveaway

Bringing Fashion to Figures 12-26

Fashion to Figure is a leader in fashion for women sizes 12-26. 

"When it comes to plus sizes, we work very hard to design trendy plus size clothing that will appeal to fashionable women of all sizes. We started this business with the understanding that many women feel there is limited selection when it comes to plus size clothing. We see no reason why women’s plus size clothing should be limited in selection, and it’s our goal to give our customers as much choice as possible when it comes to plus size apparel."

Here are just a few pics of some of the fabulous find they have on their site. 





Great stuff, right? Fashion to Figure is giving away one item (valued at $30 or less) to one of my readers. Woo Hoo! Free clothes? Yes, please. 

Easy Entry Requirements are as folllows:

Mandatory Entry:
Visit www.fashiontofigure.com. Come back and leave me a comment on what you would buy with your $30. 

Extra Entries: 
Please leave a comment for each additional entry. 
*Follow @FTF_tweet on Twitter. 
*Like Fashion to Figure on Facebook
*Follow me on GFC. 
*Subscribe to my email updates. 
*Post about the giveaway on your Facebook wall.
*Tweet about it and include @adriennesfts in your tweet.

***Posts and Tweets can be done once daily to increase your chances. 

Winner will chosen using random.org. Contest winner will be announced in this post and via email on Saturday, January 21st. Contest ends Friday, January 20th at 11pm Eastern. Good luck! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Shut up! and Be a Better Friend.

I'm a talker. I'm less of a talker than I used to be. Maybe that's because I talk to all of you now? But, I still have my IRL soapbox moments.

My worst quality? I'm a terrible listener.

I don't mean to be selfish or inconsiderate. I really don't.

There are days when I have all these thoughts running through my head, and their screaming to get out. It's all I can do to keep myself contained until I can share them with someone. Out loud. 
What? Oh, I'm sorry were you saying something?


And, I'm also pretty positive that I have adult ADD.
Oh, you weren't done. Sorry.  

So yeah, like I was saying. About me...I have a bad habit of being a terrible listener. The more I try to focus, the less I hear. The more I start thinking about how I should respond. Because it is all about me, right? 
I'm sorry, what? I was just noticing that person walking by. Did you see that jacket? Weird. Anyway. What were you saying? No, really. Go ahead. I'm listening. 

No, I'm not. I'm thinking about what I will say after you say what you're saying. If you don't speak fast enough I will try to compete your sentences for you. Annoying? I know. I'm sorry. 

Mama Kat got me thinkin'...
I have a  friend. She's wise, faithful, loving, and kind. She's supportive, and she's the best listener I've ever met. EVER. She listens without judgement and only shares her opinion if you beg her to. She's not mousy by any means. She simply has a heart open to try and understand others. She has her opinions. And believe me,  she'll share 'em when the time is right. But, she's poised with a quiet spirit I admire and love, and she is without a doubt an introvert.

So I naturally thought of her when I read prompt #5

My friend is pretty awesome. I respect her as a mother and christian woman. She's raised 4 lovely children who are the sweetest kids ever. She's real and I just love her! 

I've watched her observe others and it's fascinating. Watching her I realize how much I miss by running my mouth all the time. If I would just sit back and listen every now and then I just might hear something interesting. You can learn a lot by being quiet. I've tried it. It's pretty fun.
Almost as fun as running my mouth. 

So, I got to thinking about what my friend has taught me about friendship... 1. Shut up sometimes. Your friends have stories too. 2. Every self-centered, talkative, ADD girl should have a quiet, introvert friend who won't judge her for being a bad listener.

So shut up! And be a better friend. :)


Inspired by Prompt #5: A lesson I've leaned about friendship from an introvert. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Unleashing My Inner Donna Reed

On Monday I posted about my mealtime #momfail. It was sort of just a rant about the bed I've made for myself when it comes to picky eaters and getting my family to the table at mealtimes. 

But, the truth is. I want to be better at this!

I have done the whole coupon thing and meal planning in the past, but in the last couple of years I just don't feel like it. I've gotten really lazy in the area of homemaking. I still take a lot of pride in my home and family, but housekeeping, per say, has not been much of priority for me as it used to be. Granted, we've had a lot going on the last couple of years too! But, things are running smoothly with my son and I feel I have more energy to think about being me again. 


I have a fresh desire to pull it together in the housewife department...

I've been trying to collect coupons again and at least think about meals. We did in fact make it to the table on Monday night for dinner. And, we all ate at the same time. Amazing? I thought so. Coupons, of course save me money when I do it right, and they also help me plan our buying and meals. It all sort of goes together for me. 

I'm kind of all or nothing. 

I have forgotten that this is a full-time job. Put homeschooling on top that and I've got myself two full time jobs. I forget how much planning and preparation are required for my day to run smoothly and efficiently. 

Hubs isn't one to complain. But, if I'm honest with myself I know he likes to come home to a hot meal and a clean house. His peeves are evident to me, and I should be more proactive in blessing him with the things he loves. 

See how happy her man is...


















Although, we live in a post feminist culture, I feel empowered embracing traditional roles. Yes, we're a team. Yes, I have a mind of my own. My man helps me and supports me. But, no amount of feminism can argue with the way my home feels when I embrace my role as a mother and wife. 

Now, I'm sure I don't have to tell you that my house isn't a disaster. It's really more of a desire I have of the heart. I just need to refocus in this area. 

This stage of life is such a blessing. I just want to embrace every part of it!


The truth is, I have an inner Donna Reed screaming to get out. 


I guess I'm just in the mood to let her come out play. 

P.S.
I started the #flylady again too. She helps me. 
FlyLady cartoon
flylady.net
@theflylady















thingsicantsay.com

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Monday, January 9, 2012

mealtime #momfail

If there's an area I fall short in as a mother, it's dinnertime!

Some poor mom's kid.











Or any kind of meal for that matter. 

My youngest is beyond picky. My oldest is finally growing out of the picky eater stage. So far, my favorite thing about having a teenager. He will pretty much eat anything I give him. Thank God! Finally! Am I looking forward to fighting with my youngest for the next 6 years until he reaches the teen-eat-everything stage? Notsomuch. 

We have four food groups. 

Ramen noodles, waffles, rice, and pasta. 

If it wasn't for these bad boys,
I'm pretty sure my kids would be dead. 















Are you feeling the need to point out that I'm a terrible mom? Go ahead, I know. It's true. 

Please, Leave me a snarky comment about how you're the mom of the year and your kids love to eat eat brussel sprouts for breakfast. When I get your comment I will know I've made it as a blogger thanks to your judgement. 


I do have nightmares about my kid growing up to look like those scarishly morphed adults on that show. Ya know? The one that took parents like me and scared the bejesus out them by showing them pictures of their children computer generated into their future selves only to find they would grow up to look like morbidly obese criminals. I think it was called Honey, We're Killing the Kids? Or something equally disturbing. 

Well, it's one of those things. One of those parenting things you can't take back because you already screwed up. We have never been very strict on "clearing your plate" or vegetables. That's not to say I don't wish we had been, but the damage is done. Now I'm left with the mess to clean up. 

Which means lots of not so fun meal times. Sigh...

I know he'll grow out of this. We're taking steps to make meal times more family oriented. I truly suck at bringing the family together for meal times. TOTALLY SUCK!

I'm that mom. The short order cook. The annoying mom that makes 45 different things in a day to keep everyone happy. I hate that mom! But, I'm her. I love to cook for hubs! But, up until recently when my oldest started eating more variety, I was basically cooking for just the two of us. The kids often ate their ramen noodles meals before we even sat down, and before we knew it we've spent the last few years eating at different times, and rarely making it to the table together. 

same kid, new attitude.
Hmmm? suspicious. No?













I've got to get a handle on this. It's pretty much messing up my New's Year's Resolution to "chill" more. 

What's your #momfail?

Don't bother coming back if you can't think of one. 


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Thursday, January 5, 2012

I've tried it. It's amazing!

What, you ask?

Collard Greens
My new least favorite vegetable.
Yuck!
 Well, it's not collard greens! That's for sure. 

I decided I'd be all Paula Deen-ish for New Year's. I head out to gather up the greens and a ham hock. Which btw, is  hard to find on NYD. Paula Deen would have known that. 

I ended up getting the God awful hunk of fat wrapped bone the next day. That thing is ugly, smelly, and gross. 

But, I'm in the mood to treat my man to ugly, smelly, and gross. He does deserve a home cooked meal every now and then. What's more home cooked than slimy vegetables soaked in fat? Mmmmm...

So yesterday I made the greens. Two words. {Not} amazing. 

This was shocking since I found the recipe on Pinterest, which BTW only houses the most amazing ideas in the whole wide world. I guess collard greens must be the one exception? 

But, I did find this.

Gotta make this!
The secret to a happy life.


One part vinegar/one part dawn
That's it. 
That's all you need to change your life.
Forever. 

Vinegar and Dawn. 

Are you hearing me? 

This magic cocktail gets rid of soap scum and hard water stains like magic! 

It. Is. Amazing. 

So after scrubbing my shower and basking in the joy and beauty of it I decided to do something to thank this little mixture of pure bliss.  

That is why I have created a new board called "I've Tried It. It's Amazing!" Catchy, right?

I plan to try more finds on Pinterest and be even more amazing. Try to not be jealous. 

PS. hubs loved the slimy fat soaked greens. Go figure?

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Why do we judge young mothers so harshly?

When was the last time you offered encouragement to a young mother? Not "new" mother, but a young mother. Sometimes I forget what it was like to be a young mother. When I hear of someone that's pregnant and their situation may not be ideal I tend to put on my judgy pants. That's not right.

Those of you that have read me for some time know I was a young mother. It's not the easiest thing to go through, that's for sure. But, even though I did go through it, and know first hand how hard it is, I can still forget to remember to offer support and encouragement instead of judgement. 

Did pregnancy completely rock my world? Yes.

Was it one of the hardest things I've ever had to go through? Yes.


Was I too young? Yes.

Was I completely clueless as to how I would support myself and a baby without any help from my sperm donor. Yes! Obviously, he wasn't really a sperm donor, but that's just my humor. Sperm was the one and ONLY thing he donated! 


Did I make a ton of mistakes in the beginning? Yes. I'm not talking little bitty feeding mishaps, I'm talking dumbest mom of the year stuff. I'm not proud of those mistakes, but I did the best I could. 


Do I look back at those years and wonder how in the world we made it to here?! Yes!

When I think about my nieces who are now the same age I was when I had my first child, I hope they stay focused and smart and don't make the same mistakes I did. I Don't want them to have to go through some of the trials I did. But, that being said, I would support them 100% if they happened to call me up and tell me they were pregnant.

Because...

Was motherhood the absolute best thing that could have ever happened for me? Without a doubt!

Did it teach me to grow up, wake up, and shape up? YES!

Did becoming a mother teach me more than any college ever could? Yes!

Did it shape me into the woman I am today? Yes.

Motherhood is by far the greatest gift I have ever been given. I am a mother of two beautiful boys. A wife to an amazing husband and father. I am blessed with the opportunity to stay home with my kids, homeschool, and take advantage of all sorts of "mommy" type stuff.  I'm a thirty-something mom. I'm at an age our society accepts and respects mothers. I'm doing the "mommy" thing, and loving every minute of it!

But, a long time ago I was pregnant and 19.

God's grace is sufficient! He can do amazing things in our lives. He has the power to do anything! Even give a clueless 19 year old girl the chance to raise a child. He can turn that scared girl into a mother and a wife. He can take that life of chaos and turn it into a blessed family of four.

I know this, because He did that for me. I'm so blessed. My baby, who is now 13, is by far the best thing I ever did! then six years later I got to do it again. Praise God! I love being a mother.

If you know a young mother, or mother-to-be offer her some encouragement. Today just might be the day she really needs it.

wine bottle
Write from the heart with Shell at Things I Can't Say!

I couldn't resist grabbing the original Pour Your Heart button! 
We love you, Shell, and we LOVE your meme!

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Monday, January 2, 2012

I will Enjoy Life!

Like everyone, I'm thinking about the New Year. Bring it on, 2012!

The big question for the year? Will the people at Facebook come up with some amazing technology to offer the "dislike" button? That's all I care about in the new year. I'm not so worried about the Zombie Apocalypse, the Economy, or the Election. I really just want to "dislike" something (anything) on Facebook. I mean really? What are you supposed to do when someone posts, "I have the worst cold ever. Fever of 103, haven't eaten in days..." Oh yes, I "Like" that. Weird.

I'm not sure about the whole resolution thing. I never stick to them. They make me feel bad when I don't accomplish them. So in an effort to embrace my theme for the new year, which is by the way, enjoy life, I'm not making any resolutions!

I will fill up on the things that make me happy, and continue to eliminate the things in life that suck happiness from me. Simple. I want to try new things. I won't tell you one of them is to learn to surf because that would be a resolution. I want to embrace the time I have with my boys, be content at this stage of life, and quit worrying about the next one.

I don't want to be old and grey wishing I had spent more time in the now. Right now we all think about what we will do in the future, what we need to buy or accomplish while the blessings we have right under our nose are going unnoticed. When we're old we're all gonna be sitting around talking about what we wish we would have done with that time.

I just want to be still.

I have gotten a little taste of taking care of me last year, and I am gonna keep it up!