Monday, March 26, 2012

she got schooled

that's right folks... b is now an official student of ms. heather's preschool class.  today was her first day of class and she did brilliantly.  and so did this mama.  i was very brave and didn't shed one tear... but let's be honest, i was certainly on the verge.  but back to the star...

she rocked a new outfit and a new backpack, which is the size of her little brother.  but something needs to carry the take-home folder, so the monsterous backpack also attended it's first day of school.

highlights of her first day:
* she huggged her teacher as soon as she saw her
* her very own locker with her very own name tag
* a fire drill.  apparently she laughed through the entire thing
* drinking spilling from an open cup.  uh, yeah, we gotta work on that skill folks
* cried the entire way home.  sad to leave school?  or overwhelmed by the amount of stimulation?  probably both.

we did it.  we did our first day of school.  you can call us experts now.  ask us anything.  except for how to drink from an open cup.  we'll get back to you on that one.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

a summary...

an apology for my long absence just seems, well, pointless.  i've apologized in the past for my absence and i'm sure that sometime in the future i will have another long absence.  maybe we should all just recognize these periods of absence as a regular part of my blogging experience and get over it.  yeah?  great...

no great reason for the lack of posts this month... just... life.  life has felt full over the past several weeks.  some reasons obvious, others not so much.  the obvious reasons are worth mentioning so in a very brief summary here's what these past few weeks have held:

1) sickness.  we've all held some form of a cold, but the G-man takes home the trophy in this category.  wednesday he was diagnosed with: infantigo, hand-foot-mouth disease, a sinus infection and a cold sore.  oh, and did i mention he's gotten 5 new teeth in the past 3 weeks?  sad-sad-red-faced-blistering-snot-nosed-cranky-super-contagious-little-boy.  i have pics but i'm pretty sure you don't want to see it.  just look it up, k?

2) school.  b tested with the special needs pre-school in town thursday morning.  i have no idea how she did in the tests since they ushered me out and asked me to play on my phone for 2 hours.  ok, maybe not, but i did not get to watch her testing, so i'll just have to wait to hear her scores and their judgements on her schooling needs.  hopefully i'll disect all that's been going through my heart and head regarding this in a later (but sooner) post.

3) sacrifices.  oh there is just so much that i feel i can say about this, but i'll keep it short.  first, i feel like the Lord is stuffing my face full of my selfishness and asking me to let go... OF ME.  wow, i just demand ME so much.  wifehood and motherhood are great ways to see your selfishness and they offer opportunities to let go of self.  but seriously, even with both of these roles, i still cling to me and demand me.  ALL.THE.TIME.  second, the hubs and i are facing a small situation where we are feeling the need to let go of our desires for... obedience?  maybe?  sorry to be vague.  let's just say, that obedience which demands rejecting your desires is rough.  refining, baby, refining.

that's all for now.  i mean, it's not all.  it's only feels like the tip of the iceburg.  but without any fun pictures to include i know i'll loose my audience quickly :)  so i'll stop.  hopefully more to come (with pictures) soon, and i do mean quicker-than-a-month-from-now soon.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

what i'm walking

this morning i had the sweet sweet opportunity to have coffee with a mom here in town who's son has down's syndrome.  this mom is one of the most genuine, wisdom-filled and compassionate moms i know.  and she understands the special needs life.  as we talked for an hour and a half about the journey through special needs i came away with the following:

1) i need to be proactive.  b is about to start testing with the special needs preschool here in town to see if she qualifies for services.  i've just assumed that she will and that the school will do a great job of educating her and will give her all the services she needs.  not to say that this preschool is bad, cause it's not, in fact it seems to be awesome.  BUT, i am my daughter's best advocate and i need to pursue and fight for what i believe is best for her.  her suggestions: observe the classrooms (a couple times if possible) before putting her in the school; seek the services i believe she needs even if the school doesn't; volunteer in the classroom once she's a student; don't accept their word as final truth- fight for b's best opportunities.

2) the special needs life is hard.  it is special, but it is hard.  i have to die, daily, to my desires and plans for her life.  i have to work really hard to teach her, with very slow coming evidence that she "gets it." i have to help other's understand her strengths and limitations.  i have to watch her do things (or not do things) that kids her age, and younger are doing much more successfully.  i don't say this to complain, but just to be real.  i don't want to pretend that this is easy.  and hearing this mom confess her own struggles was actually an encouragement to me.  it made me feel less alone.  it validated my hardships.  it helped me to realize that struggles are a part of this journey- not to be feared, but to be embraced and surrendered.  so maybe by writing this, i can encourage someone else who is fighting the same fight.

3) grace is good.  grace for myself.  grace for my daughter.  i have days (way more that i want to admit) that i just don't do a good job being intentional with b (or g for that matter).  and i beat myself up for my laziness and failure to perform.  grace is necessary.  i want to do a good job as a mom, but i sometimes fail.  and the Lord forgives.  and then He gives me another shot.  grateful for grace.

4) teachable moments happen all the time.  even when i don't notice them, or realize i am taking advantage of them.  i want to notice them more- doing the laundry and pointing out that the clothes are warm.  or matching socks.  or recognizing the difference between a shirt and pants.  doing life with my children is so valuable.  teachable times are a part of every day life.  i just want to start seeing them more and taking advantage of them.

5) special needs kids need to be "pushed."  as our therapists say, sometimes i have to be the bad guy.  i have to make her walk down the steps even when she doesn't want to.  i have to make her say "all done" or "more milk" or "food please" even when i know what she wants.  i have to make her finish a task, even when she's not interested.  all these things require patience.  patience that i seem to run out of quickly.  but, pushing her helps so much more than i can begin to express.  my son, who needs no pushing, just gets it.  he says his words and finishes his "tasks" and enjoys doing things on his own.  b would have me do everything for her if i would.  tough love, baby, tough love.

6) finding someone who understands is invaluable.  my heart and soul were nourished this morning.  i needed to have someone who knows the path i am walking.  to have someone who understands the blessing and the heartache associated with special needs encouraged me in so many ways.  thanks ms. diane.  i am so grateful for you and your encouragement as we both walk this special journey.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

once upon a time i crafted

those of you who know me well may need some CPR after reading the title of this post.  but, it's true.  i crafted.  once.  all on my own.  and it turned out.  more CPR anyone?
my math major tendencies do not lend themselves easily or often to crafting pursuits.  but every once and a while i get inspired.  it only takes me about 4 months to finish a weekend craft, but i'll take what i can get.
after a friend posted this picture to her blog

i started thinking that i might be able to make something like this on my own... AND I DID!!!  so here it is, my way-to-many-details-step-by-step-guide to making your own "word art"

1) head to lowes or home depot and steal scrap pieces of wood from their trash cans (this is what i did, but i'm sure they will also allow you to purchase your wood)

2) sand, baby, sand.  i was able to borrow a hand sander from a friend and if you are doing a large project i would highly recommend one.  i sanded using several different grits of paper, rough to smooth.  probably a better way to do this, but i craft to the beat of my own drum.  oh, and no picture.  like i said, i don't do this often so i forgot to photograph each step :)

3) prime.  and from what i've read, this step is I.M.P.O.R.T.A.N.T.  helps the paint stick and stuff.  i used zinsser bulls eye 1-2-3 primer cause i had it... and i read that it's the best.  seems to have worked well for this project.  i used a foam brush.  why?  cause i had one.  i'm sure a regular brush would work well too, but i like that the foam brush is less streak-y.

4) let the primer do it's thang for 7 days.  why?  cause it says so.  and i'm a rules follower.

5) let the painting begin!  i wanted black letters on a white surface, but obviously you can chose the colors that make your heart happy.  all in all, i probably did 2 (maybe 3?) coats.  again, no picture.  but i'm guessing you all know what white paint looks like.

6) break out the power tools!  ok, all you really need is a drill, but it still plugs in and makes a lot of noise, so let's call it a power tool.  lay out your wood so that it's arranged the way you want it to look.  i had 8 pieces, all different sizes and lengths so i decided to highlight that by not making them all line up flush on one side, but rather went with the "random" layout look.  i used 2" mending plates, wood nails, and wood glue to bind all my wood together.  there are at least 2 mending plates for each set of two pieces of wood, some sets required 3.

7) i glued all the wood together first and then attached the mending plates.  but in hindsight, i would have been a little more careful with the glue--> several of my pieces were curved so after the glue dried i could see the glue in the cracks.  if i were to redo it, i'd be a little more strategic about where i used the glue.  after the glue dries, secure each piece with the mending plates- mark where you want to drill a screw, use your drill to create a hole then screw that screw!

8) once everything is secured, you now have your "canvas" for your art.  i don't draw.  but i can trace a letter with the best of them.  so i googled "love quotes", found my favorite, bought a set of stencils from michaels and painstakingly traced out each letter of that quote.

9) paint.  again.  i had black tempra paint, so that's what i used.  now that it's dried it's a little cracked- but i actually like that look.  i used a small artist paintbrush for this.

10) convince your husband that you need help hanging this sucker.  it's heavy.  we used the experts at home depot to guide us in what we needed to hang it.  we used these picture hangers that can hold up to 50 lbs. each.  something this heavy should be mounted into the studs in your wall- which is ok since you are deciding where the hooks get placed on the back of your art.  so 1) find the studs in your wall, 2) measure the distance between, 3) attach whatever hooks you use that distance apart on the back of your wood, 4) secure the mount to the studs (at the height you want your art), 5) hang the art and hope it stays!!!

11) please ignore the rest of that corner... it's a corner that needed to be filled and i used what i had.  my house = always a work in progress.

so there you have it, my craftiness.  obviously this project can be done a million different ways, for a million different inspirations.  but hopefully this math-major's craftiness will inspire your inner crafter to do great things!!!

wood: free
hand sander: free
sand paper: about $3.50
primer: had it already, but a 1 quart can costs $9.47
paint: had it already, but a 1 quart can costs $14.00
foam brush: had it already, but a 2" brush costs $0.67
mending plates: i used 5 packs of 4, each pack costs $2.48
wood screws: i used 2 packs of 16, each pack costs $0.98
stencil: $10
tempra paint: had it already, but 1 bottle costs $1.77
picture hanger: i used 2, $0.97 for a pack of 3

TOTAL COST: $28.83

1) if your wood is curved be aware of where you use the glue, and where you place the mending plates.  try to imagine where the "gaps" will be so that you do not see either of these when your wood is hung
2) try to use the paint you already have- be creative so that your budget can thank you!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

oh what to say

today's post is an update on b.  probably a lot of words.  but for those of you only interested in pictures, i'll post some pictures from Christmas at the bottom.  feel free to skip down there if you don't feel like reading.
i am blessed with so many friends and family who regularly ask how b is doing.  and i never really know how to answer.
on the one hand, she is as awesome as they come.

 she is joyful.  and content.  and loving.  and sweet.  and beautiful.  and kind.  and developing.  and seizure free.
and i wish i could stop here.  just focus on her awesome-ness.
but the reality is there is still this huge question mark surrounding her "health" that is not ignorable.
in the beginning of december we visited a metabolic geneticist.  probably the best specialist we have seen so far.  the results of the meeting were:
1) two more blood tests.  still waiting for the results.
2) a declaration: her seizures and developmental delay are most likely caused by a genetic disorder.
sigh.  again.
as i drove home from the appointment i found myself not knowing what to pray.  not that i was angry and unable to pray.  i just didn't know what i wanted from God in all this.
there is a part of me (how large that part is, i don't know) that wants one of these tests to come back positive.  if it comes back positive that i can finally know the cause behind all the health issues.  if it comes back positive then i can start to understand her better: her strengths, her weaknesses, her limitations, her gifts.  (and, unfortuantely, this knowledge would probably give me a lot more patience when it comes to working with her on her development).  if it comes back positive then i can know better how to pray for her.  and play with her.  and encourage her.  if it comes back positive then we can stop testing.  if it comes back positive then we can start moving forward.  or so i think... to all the listed above.
but of course i don't want it to come back positive.  i don't want my daughter to have a label.  if it comes back positive then i have to let go of this hope that i hold onto that maybe, one day, she will wake up and it WILL ALL BE GONE.  not that the LORD can't work a miracle, no matter  the results of the test.  but if one of them does come back positive, then my hopes get shifted.  i guess.
bigger sigh.
so now, as i pray, i ask that the LORD would allow the test results to come back just as they should.  and that He would give me, and james, and the doctors wisdom in each step of this journey.  that we know what to do next.  no matter the results.  it's nice to know that i can pray like this.  that the LORD's goodness doesn't change.  that His faithfulness doesn't change.  that His plans are always for my good and for His glory.
so that's where we are, for now.  waiting.  and praying.  and knowing He is faithful.

and as promised... Christmas pics.
family sledding. loved by all, eventually.

have you ever tried putting mittens on a little hand??  requires serious concentration apparently.

b, aunt b and uncle eddie

piano with papa... and a snack

doll stroller, but g doesn't seem to mind

largest mr. potato head, e.v.e.r.

hey, at least the kids were looking at the camera

Sunday, January 1, 2012

today i saved?

can we all just take note of the fact that with this post i am attacking "resolutions" number 1, 2 and 4.  that's right, let's start this new year off right!

today i went grocery shopping.  the big trip.  the one where you load up the cart with E.V.E.R.Y. possible food that you could imagine consuming in a week in the hopes that you do N.O.T. have to return to the store again that week, but you know that you inevitably will because you will either forget something in this trip or the store will not have that one vital ingredient for tuesday night's dinner.  please tell me you have this kind of grocery store drama as well.

anyways, with resolution #2 before me (be a better steward of our money), i attacked this trip a little differently than usual.  here's what i did:

1.  i looked through all the local grocery store adds and made my grocery list (and dinner list) based on what was for sale this week.  i did not go to any extremes in this, i just recognized ingredients that were on sale that are also a part of recipes i know.
2.  i typed up this list, listing each food, it's size and price under the grocery store where it is on sale.
3.  left during naptime (THIS IS KEY... NO KIDS ALLOWED ON THE BIG GROCERY TRIP!!!!)
4.  i took my time, walking the isles, comparing my "sale" prices to the walmart prices.  i tried to keep the "price adjustment" foods in a different part of the cart than the "regular" price foods.
5.  found the line with the nice checkout lady.
6.  was prepared to show her the ads, but apparently i looked trustworthy today, so she let me tell her the price as she rang up each item (this was where having them separate in the cart came in extremely helpful).
7.  paid... and wondered if i really saved.

upon returning home the math major in me got a little giddy as i calculated the "savings."  here's what i found:
1.  of the 19 items to be price matched, 6 of them were actually cheaper in walmart.
2.  of the 13 items i did price match, their original cost would have been $30.79.  with the price match they cost $21.81.  savings: $8.98.


yeah, an extra $40 or so a month results in $480 a year.  not bad.  assuming i have the same kind of savings each week.  that's a big assumption.

but this trip was only possible because 1) the hubs was home to watch the kids, 2) i had the time and energy to examine the store ads, 3) i wasn't in a hurry in the store, 4) my printer was working :)

none of this may be interesting to any of you.  that's fine.  this post is probably just for me as i work through what saving money for my family can and should look like.  this is one option.  but is it worth it?  jury's still out.  i'll give it at least a month before i make any judgements.

and yes, i was very nice to the cashier today!

*** QUESTION:  i usually buy campbell's healthy request cream of ------- soup.  those cost $1.32.  today i bought the great value low sodium kind for $0.59.  i don't mind buying store brand, but i want to try and be as healthy as possible.  is this generic brand filled with stuff that the campbell's healthy request is not, or are their contents pretty comparable? ***
*** PLEASE, if you have any great money saving tips i'd love to hear your ideas! ***

Saturday, December 31, 2011

ringing in the new

i guess you could say i'm a new year's junkie.  not that i do the big party thing or ever have any grand plans on this night.  nope, pizza and a movie for the hubs and me tonight.  it's just that i love the idea of taking time to reflect on the past year.  taking inventory of all the good, bad and ugly.  and then deciding what you want to bring with you into the new year.  and what stays behind in the old year.  what needs to change?  what needs to be added?  what needs to be dropped?

i haven't come up with any official resolutions, but i do have some hopes and intentions for the new year.  here's what i've come up with so far

1.  i want to be a more faithful blogger.  notice i didn't stick a number to that?  yeah, not gonna commit to a definite number, but i truly love sharing my journey with whoever decides to read this- i'm just not good at doing it faithfully.  but the new year means that i can start clean and try this bloggging thing anew

2.  i want to be a better steward of our money.  the hubs and i set our budget last night and i got a little testy over the whole issue... ok, i got defensive and mean and then i said sorry.  it's not that i have wild, crazy spending sprees- i truly do not buy much beyond the necessities.  but i DO buy non-necessities more often than i should.  it's a very dangerous downward spiral for me: i see what someone else has --> i want what someone else has --> i think i deserve what someone else has -->  i am not satisfied until i have what someone else has -->  i look for what someone else has and hope that it is on sale -->  i buy what someone else has and am still not satisfied.  please tell me that this happens to you too.  i'm tired of being unsatisfied with what i have.  i am BLESSED BEYOND BLESSED with all my junk.  i do not need anything else.  my kids do not need anything else.  my house does not need anything else.  i want to be satisfied with what i have.  and i think that starts with spending our money more wisely.  which, i guess, means not spending our money at all.

3.  i want to be more intentional with my kids.  lots and lots to say about that, but if i follow through with my first "resolution" then you will hear more about that later.

4.  i want to be nicer to the check-out people at walmart and target.  it's not (usually) their fault that the line is long.  and slow.  and my kids are going crazy.  and i have to pee.  and dinner needed to start 10 minutes ago.  and i forgot to get milk.  they deserve a smile.  and eye contact.  and niceness.  i can show them Jesus in those small ways, right?

5.  i want to love and serve and honor my husband better.  right now i'm not totally sure what that looks like, but i want this to be my goal for every day.  every year.

ok, i keep thinking of more, but i'll start with these.  overall, i want this next year to be a year that i live on purpose.  i want to be intentional about each day.  listening to the Spirit and obedient to His promptings.  i want to recognize that each person in my life is there for a reason, a divine reason and i have the blessing of living my life alongside them.

"be very careful, the, how you live- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity... always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" ephesians 5.15-16, 20