Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Embracing ...................Learning Disabilities

Embrace...."an act of accepting or supporting something willingly or enthusiastically"


All about me....
When choosing the word embrace as my one word for 2015, I was mostly focused on what it was going to mean for me. What can I say? I'm a little selfish when it comes to choosing my word for the year. Focused on embracing the everyday busyness, the daily trials, and the mess that I know I am.....well let's just say that's where I mostly thought this word was going. However, God has been working on my heart overtime and he is letting me know that he has bigger plans for me and my little one word this year. 

But what about my children?
I slowly started thinking about the word "embrace" in terms of my children. One child in particular was sticking out in my mind. I felt like God  was encouraging me and asking me to really embrace his strengths and weaknesses. As I began to focus on and accept his diagnosis, it energized me to really try to make headway and progress on a situation that seemed to be at a standstill. 

As a teacher, you do all of the things that you're "supposed to" in order to help your child learn, to help them get ahead, to give them a good start in the area of academics. Most mommas do this, I just have an inkling that a teacher momma feels more of a pressure to focus on these areas. So you read to them often, you teach them numbers and 1 to 1 correspondence, you give them scissors early on & play dough to work on those fine motor skills, you try and get some of those sight words in earlier than they need to, and when it's time you're always checking on their reading readiness. And as a teacher mom, you're sure if there's something amiss...you will know and you can help. But deep down inside, you might just think there won't be anything wrong.....well because you've done everything "right".

You see, most people do not know but our son was diagnosed with dyslexia last Fall. It is sort of a long story, maybe another blog post, as to how I learned about dyslexia and at what point I suspected he had a learning disability. All that can really be said in regards to him being diagnosed is that God has had his hand in the process before I could even see it coming.  

Where to start embracing the diagnosis?
I focused this last month on truly embracing his learning disability. At first, I set my eyes on a change of attitude. I reset my mind and have been trying to embrace his dyslexia with a positive attitude. 
After that embracing his learning disability sort of looked like this;
- teaching the tutoring program to myself (tutors are too expensive for us) 
- teaching the program to him (this involves tears some days....and not always his)
- learning as much as I can about dyslexia and dysgraphia (because we're pretty sure he has that too)
-letting go of unconventional ways of learning and of my stigmas of what "smart" looks like
- focusing on his strengths (dyslexics are often very strong in other areas) and fostering that as much as possible even though it doesn't really "fit" into a traditional style of learning and school.

All of those things are the physical changes I took on in order to fully accept his diagnosis and make "progress".
And let me tell you in all honesty, because I'm a pretty honest person....It's exhausting. It is physically and emotionally exhausting. There are so many stigmas regarding this learning disability that I won't even touch on but what I can say is I'm learning more and more every day.....and dyslexia has MUCH more to do with just reading and writing.

 I will never forget the time I asked him why he doesn't like to do his work at school, work that he is able to do at home. And he said, " Because the teacher writes words on the big board and I try to write those words on my paper but they look different than hers and so then I get confused and forget what I'm writing. She writes the numbers big and the letters small. " His brain processes information different!!! He can not copy writing from the board, sometimes he can not copy items from a paper directly in front of him! The child has plenty of words but will count his words first and make the shortest sentence possible because the task of writing a sentence is so mentally and physically exhausting.

And the point.....
I know, I know I'm taking a long time to get to my point. The point is as I was working on learning how to teach my son, I realized I needed to empower him by sharing part of his diagnosis with him. I needed to teach him to EMBRACE his own diagnosis. I needed to acknowledge to him that I know some parts of school are hard.  He is still pretty young and so I haven't given him a name for it  yet although I will very soon.

One night, when I was putting him to bed I told him that I know school can be hard. I asked him if he liked reading. His eyes looked nervous and he said, " ....when I have to read ?" Because this child LOVES to be read to more than anything in the world. His comprehension of what is READ TO HIM is actually way higher than his grade level. But the thought of him having to read it ....well that made him nervous. So he said, "No. I don't like to read, it's hard. " And that's when I told him. I explained to him that it wasn't his fault that reading was difficult for him. That it wasn't because he didn't try hard enough and it wasn't because he wasn't smart. Because he was very smart! I told him that he was born with something that made it difficult for him to read and write. That God chose for him to be born with something that made it a little harder for him to read but that sometimes God gives us challenges because he can help us overcome them and bring him glory. Sometimes we can grow from those weaknesses. You should have seen the relief come over his face....it was as if he knew for the first time that it wasn't his fault.
Sweet, sweet boy. This parenting moment was bigger than watching them learn how to walk, or ride a bike, it was so precious that my little boy felt some relief for his struggles and the fact that they had nothing to do with anything that he had done wrong!


The bigger point....
My entire goal was to embrace his learning disability which in turn changed into empowering him to accept his learning disability and embrace his own weaknesses.
But ultimately what I'm really learning is that what most people perceive to be "weaknesses" are really not that at all. Having dyslexia is not a weakness. It makes him different. It makes many things harder but it will NOT MAKE HIM WEAK.

Moving forward....
And so we move forward, learning how to understand him and how to teach him. We focus on all of his strengths such as art and building and I pray for God to give me the strength I need on the days that are tiring and overwhelming because my little guy and I have a long road ahead.

And now when he puts on his shirt backwards for the millionth time, we smile because we have an inkling why. When he asks us if it is 7:22 or 7:55? we just answer him without giving him a lesson on which way the numbers face. And mostly, I  just teach him to love himself for who God created him to be, because that my friends is a beautiful gift!




Love this picture! In my efforts to learn as much as I can, I keep this book by my bed so that I can read it when I have time. This night I happened to put my necklace right on top of it, how fitting ;)

I teach my son how to read using tiles. We are using a multi sensory approach to teaching him how to read and I am seeing growth. Some days are great! And some days are pretty tough. He is working very hard.

Friday, January 23, 2015

My New Word.......And Matters of the Heart

I haven't written on my blog since November, except for the unfinished, unpublished piece that started like this.....

I'm a mess.

I don't think I've always been a mess but I can't remember a time when I didn't feel like I was a mess. A few weeks back, a friend posted about being a beautiful mess and I love that saying. Only it doesn't feel very beautiful to be as messy as I am. But with my one word this  year.....I am embracing the beautiful mess that I am.



And so I'm guessing it has most likely been about a month since I've tried to get something written on my blog. But when I went back and looked and read past blog posts, looked at kids' pictures, and reflected on the last few years it hit me that the point of keeping my blog has always been to document what is happening right now, in front of my eyes so that the memories don't slip away. Life gets so busy and we get caught up in all of the daily to dos and the big moments that all those little moments and feelings seem to get forgotten.

Anyways, I'm not actually writing to talk about how I haven't made the time to journal or to write or about how busy I've been. But really I wanted to write about my new ONE WORD, because I'm excited about it and how it's changing my outlook for the positive.

Last year, I never wrote about my word. Only those friends who also participate in ONE WORD 365 with me may have known what my word was. If you're confused and you have no idea what ONE WORD 365 is then you can read about the first time I encountered my ONE WORD and how it changed the way I made resolutions here   or  you can google it and you will find a ton of information!

Last year, the word I chose was RENEWAL. I was having a baby and I was excited to see Renewal of life and was hoping that it would just be a renewal of all things that surrounded our life; renewal of finances (following a year of my husband being so ill with Valley Fever), renewal, of energy, renewal of relationships, renewal of health for everyone in our family.....I just so badly wanted to have a clean slate or fresh start in all areas of our lives. The verse I chose to go with my one word was Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. "

So, obviously there was a renewal of life with our sweet Evan Thomas being born. Seriously, he is such a joy! But renewal of finances and health and....oh a clean heart, yeah none of that was really happening. I honestly kept my word in front of me, close to me, I thought of it but it just made me feel angry. Our finances were still in a situation of playing catch up from my husband being out of work, the medical bills from him being out of work were only being added to with a new stack of bills from delivering a new baby, and to top it off the husband ended up in hospital having his appendix out on the 4th. of July. It wasn't quite ending up to be the year, I wanted it to be. I started the school year with lots of difficulties in finding childcare and all on little or no sleep because the sweet angel happened to be our worst sleeper.

All in all, as the year came to an end.....a lot of that finally seemed to work itself out and look like it was headed in a better direction. But it wasn't until the last month or two of the year. It was close towards the end of the year when I was searching for a new word that it hit me like a ton of bricks. Maybe....just maybe...renewal wasn't happening in most areas of my life because, well because it wasn't happening in my heart. It was an issue of the heart. I wasn't praying that prayer "Create in me a clean heart." At that point, I wanted to dig deep inside my heart and just take all the built up gunk out, all the insecurity, the frustration for things going down a different path then what I had hoped for.  I said it was fine, acted like it was great because I don't believe in worrying. God will work all things out, his plan is always greater than our own. I truly believe that. However, it doesn't mean we don't build up walls or allow resentment to grow in our heart when life takes us on unplanned detours.

And this is how I pretty much came upon my new word.....it doesn't matter what gets thrown at us in our lives. There will be moments of joy, moments of sadness, times where we feel hurt, times when things work out just how we planned, and of course there will always be the detours. I find comfort in knowing God already has these detours in motion, that he knows what we don't. But this year, I plan to EMBRACE all that my life brings me....all of it; the messy homeschool days, the insecurities that I allow to eat at me, the chaos of having 4 boys, the sock bucket that never gets matched, just EMBRACE the beautiful mess that I truly am.
And you know what? It's already been so freeing!!

The verse I am focusing on this year is 2 Cor. 12:10 "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." Because this year, I plan to embrace all of my weaknesses because God will use them for his glory. When I am weak, I have strength in him.

And I was just going to keep it to myself again this year but I am so excited because so many people have chosen words. And I keep those words all year long and think of you if you share them with me. I love seeing how this new trend of a New Year's Resolution motivates people. A good friend shared her story of her ONE WORD on a podcast and sent it to me. I had tears in my eyes as I listened to how powerful her word was in her life during the year.
What better way to start the year off than to EMBRACE all that life has to offer.....after all it is a pretty special gift!
Giving up on matching socks! Evan found them and it was his new toy for the day! Embrace the mess, it can be fun :)


These little guys don't always get along. But here big brother is giving little brother a piggy back ride. Even though they were being loud and almost waking baby, Embracing the moment.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Glamorous Life of Exercise

A few months ago, I decided I was going to get in shape. I was determined to shake off the last of those baby pounds and start wearing the clothes that are piled up on the floor in my closet. My neighbor had a copy of a pretty popular DVD exercise program and so I thought I'd give it a try. After all it's only 25 minutes a day. Easy peasy! Who can't fit in 25 minutes a day?

Hmmm.....well it seems that when you are preparing a new classroom, taking care of an infant, and 3 other boys, 25 minutes is actually A LOT of time to try and find. So for 3 1/2 weeks, I struggled to find the time but I DID IT!! I exercised 5x a week for those 3 1/2 weeks. And my exercising time at first included some other of my family members.  Sometimes my husband or my oldest son would join me. Other times the little guys would try to jump in as well. That's great, right?! In theory, yes but really it was me almost tripping over them most of them time. Me telling them to move out of the way or them laughing at me because I looked funny. And usually by the end of the 25 minute video, the baby would be fussing and so I would end up holding him while doing my squats or whatever other torture activity was on the DVD. Fun times, right?

My 25 minutes usually consisted of me yelling at the television, mostly because what they were asking me to do was kind of hard. And supposedly there is this girl who is always the "modifier".  You know the person who your supposed to follow if you can't do all of the exercises the way they want you to. Except for that the modifier looks AMAZING and sometimes I couldn't even keep up with the modifier.  And what would really make me angry is that the modifier had just had a baby. I know that's supposed to be inspiring but really it just frustrated me. And did I mention that I never put work out clothes on. Usually I exercised while my family was eating dinner or right after because it seemed the only time that no one would need me for 25 minutes but if I were to run to change my clothes then someone may ask me for something or need me to do something. The baby would need to nurse or someone would need a bath. So I would just throw the DVD in and start exercising which meant sometimes I'd be dressed in a skirt or who knows what. Kind of ridiculous I know. 

And the truth is that my 25 minutes would almost always end up being like 20 minutes because the baby would start fussing or something. And there's a few minutes after the 25 that you're supposed to stretch....yeah that never happened. 

So lots of people would say to just get up before your kids to exercise, that doesn't really work because I never know what time the baby is going to wake up and getting up at 4:30 or 5 isn't really appealing when you may have already been up in the middle of the night. 

Anyways, after 3 1/2 weeks I didn't notice anything different! I hadn't lost any weight and I didn't feel any better. Although, I swear I was sleeping better. So I became frustrated and quit. I know, call me a quitter but it was too difficult and frustrating for no results. 

AND THEN......I saw a video on my phone. My oldest son had taken a video of me on my phone when I was exercising and oh my goodness, it was bad. I couldn't believe how bad I looked! Now granted, I did just have a baby but I'd barely gained any weight. However, the busyness of the end of the summer had obviously taken a toll...ON MY BODY!! Was that really my body? Oh heavens, it was sort of shocking.

So, I decided exercising was not enough I needed to get back to some clean eating. As it was, I was struggling with some fatigue, joint pain & other issues that are only exemplified when I am not eating well. So I knew I needed to eat healthy along with exercise. And so I am beginning to clean up my diet, which is not that hard to do, I just needed to be better about meal planning and planning ahead. And I am still pushing play on the DVD player. But the difference is I am not putting the pressure on myself & Curt tries to not let the kiddos interrupt my 25 minutes. This momma can have a lot going on any given day; schooling 2 of the boys, running the oldest to youth group activities, teaching, or lesson planning, and the baby still doesn't go past 3 hours before he wants to nurse again.......So I may not exercise 5 days a week, in fact I thought I broke my toe a week and a half ago and couldn't exercise at all & now I may have a sinus infection and so am not up to it again. But I'm averaging 2-3x a week. I'm doing the best that I can....isn't that all us mommas can do? We just give it all we got .....and some days we have more than others :)
And you know what I may always have to work out with that modifier girl but that's okay because modifying is better than giving up!!!


Evan laying next to me while I finish exercising.

Yes, that is the shirt I was working out in, at least that day it wasn't a skirt.

Seriously, trying to exercise with a baby between your  legs?! He thinks it's pretty funny I guess.

Are we having fun yet?!

Curt joined us 2 or 3 times!

This is how I feel about exercising!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hijacked Plans



Tomorrow school starts for the school district in our neighborhood. For the last 7 years we've walked at least one of our children down the street for their first day of school. And tomorrow the rest of the neighborhood will be walking their kiddos to school and ours will be at home. It's one of those moments where you realize just how much God has hijacked your own plans. My plan consisted of working from home while my children attended the school down the street. A year and a half later.....nothing is what I planned.

Last year, I brought our middle child to the school where I teach. I became his primary teacher at home while he attended school two days a week. Our school has been an incredible blessing both to him and our family. It is a relief to see him where he is comfortable and where his instruction can be individualized. Although as a homeschooling momma, I often struggle with concerns as to whether I am the best person for the job. But I am encouraged and allow myself grace, knowing that it is what God wants for our family.

And now this year, I am going to school my oldest son as he begins jr. high. I did not really want to school my son for 7th. grade. The material will be difficult, I already teach part time and school one of my other boys, and I have a baby at home. I feel completely ill equipped to teach jr. high. I attended a math training for what my son will be covering this year and I'm having a little bit of anxiety. I am finding comfort that he will be attending school 3 days a week so I will have some extra support. It took many months of praying over this decision and as I began to have clarity, I knew this was what was right for our family. I was nervous to deliver the news to our son but he has been a good sport and as we have moved closer and closer to our own school start date, it has become very clear that the decision we made was the right one. In my own personal experiences, I have found that if you truly pray for what God's will is instead of what you want to do than eventually the decision becomes crystal clear. And although homeschooling my oldest son wasn't something I really wanted to take on, I am getting really excited about being able to have some quality time with him before he grows up too fast. I am excited to find out how he learns and be able to support him and challenge him where needed. I am also praying for him to develop a strong spiritual foundation before he moves on into high school. I can't wait to find out what God has in store for us this year. In some ways I am sure that my boys will be the teachers and I will be the student. Praying God opens my eyes to what I am supposed to learn this school year. . I look forward to having the time in our day to spend together and learn from one another. And I am praying for grace, patience, and for me to use this time to be a positive role model for my children.

So I've only been talking about my two oldest boys. The other wrench in "my" plans was that I had planned on keeping my 4 year old at home and schooling him until he was in 1st. or 2nd. grade due to his severe food allergy. However, as we were making decision regarding schooling it also became clear that I am not Superwoman. And I know that God will give us strength for things he asks us to do. But I didn't feel like keeping my four year old home was something he was wanting me to do.  And so we enrolled our  4 year old into the Transitional Kindergarten at the school down the street. He loves school and he wants to learn so badly. Last year, he was constantly wanting to learn right alongside my first grader. But for many reasons that was actually difficult. However, without getting into too many details, he will not start school until Wednesday. He is missing some important signatures on paperwork that allows him to have needed medication.

So here I am getting ready to teach part time, homeschool 2 of my children, send my 4 year old to school with all the anxiety that brings, and all with a surprise baby on my hip. Like I said, God has completely hijacked my plans and where I thought I would be right now. But what a blessing. I have the opportunity to spend some quality time with my children, be their teacher, work a job that I love, send my little guy to school where he can teach others about allergy awareness (if he doesn't drive them too crazy), and enjoy my sweet baby when I'm home with the boys. Excited and nervous for our new journey!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Summer Blues


I'm done with summer. Done. Ready for it to be over.

Most of my teacher friends and parents are probably cringing, they love summer and all that it brings.  Usually I love summer too and the kids and I fill it with fun packed crafts and activities and we take advantage of whatever activities we can find to do. But this summer just felt kind of .....blah.

And before I'm judged that I must be one of those moms who can't wait to send her kids off to school when school starts;  three of my children will be at home with me schooling.  So school will not bring me a break. But it will provide routine and productivity.....which I think I miss.

This summer has just made me tired.

Tired of late bedtimes.
I know I should cherish the extra time I have with my children, right? Okay but in the summer it is more difficult to get my kiddos down to bed. We're not sticklers on bedtime like we are during the school year. And then because the routine is different so many times a week, bedtime becomes this horrific event that takes place each night. One that takes way too long and doesn't leave anyone feeling peaceful by the time they fall into their not so deep slumber. 

Tired of the heat.
It's hot here. Like really hot. It is supposed to be cooler today.....only 100 degrees. Dragging babies in and out of car seats in 100 degree weather isn't fun for anyone. And telling the kids to go play outside.....they don't want to play outside and I cant' say I blame them. So I end up with a bunch of kids who are stir crazy and need to burn energy.

Tired of the video games.
I don't know how it happened but my little ones have become addicted to video games and electronics. It probably happened because we're having a really hot summer and mom needed some sanity. They only play one game and I don't even know if they know how to play another game. But I'll be glad to be busy in schoolwork with a lot less time for video games.

Tired of what didn't happen.
If you're a teacher or a parent you always have these great plans for summer. Because there's supposedly this free time that you're going to accomplish all of these things so you can get ahead in the year. Some of those things were completed but not anywhere near what I wanted to do. And this includes plans I had for my own children. Summer lessons and learning.....sigh. Didn't happen. Photo projects.....didn't happen.

Anyways, I may be one of the few, but I am looking forward to the routine of the schooyear. Even though it's already starting with a bumpy start. Considering my first day of work is today and I have no childcare for the baby. But it will work out. God answers prayer. A year ago, I was in the ER. No one even knew I was pregnant and I thought there was something wrong with the baby or that I was having an ectopic pregnancy. Those are supposedly common when you have only one working fallopian tube. God is faithful....all of the time.










Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Table For Six

 A few weeks ago, we were all sitting at the kitchen table eating dinner and the kids started talking about how we have one extra seat at our table, our table seats six. My husband and I were explaining to them that we actually don't have any extra seats because soon Evan will be old enough and he will sit in the last seat. At which point, he and I started teasing that it was a good thing we didn't plan on having any more children because there was no more room at our kitchen table. All of this led to a great conversation about our kitchen table. 

Our kitchen table is EXTREMELY beat up and in poor condition. And it is not a top priority on the list of things we need because we've been in our home about eleven years now and so we have other items that are in more dire need of being replaced. For example, our carpet. Hmmm, the carpet is a whole other story. Anyways, we started talking about our table and I was telling my husband that maybe we wouldn't want to get rid of it. We were looking at all the scratches, white marks from where it's been burned, engraved pencil marks from kids doing homework, loose screws in chairs from kids leaning backwards in them, cushions with stains from numerous spills, and the list could go on.

Our kitchen table was one of the first purchases we bought after moving into our home. And it didn't cost us very much. We had our home built over eleven years ago and we were coming from a one bedroom 700 square foot condo. Needless to say, we had some furniture buying to do. We were reminuscing and telling the kids about how we used to eat at a plastic white patio table for our kitchen table. And I don't mean a nice patio set like most people have in their backyards. I mean the plain white cheesy plastic patio furniture that you could probably buy at Pic N Save (when there was Pic N Save). As we were telling our children the story of our kitchen table and I was looking at our ugly beat up table. I started to think maybe it wasn't so bad after all. There's a lot of history in this table and there's a lot more to come. Many important conversations and family dinners have been held around this piece of furniture.  Important table talk has been had there not only with my own children but with my sisters, my grandmother, my in-laws, and other important loved ones. It has been a place to gather and share stories and talk with one another. 

I think two revelations came out of all this silly table talk. One...sometimes the things that seem the most worn out or the things that have taken the hardest beating in our lives can actually be more valuable than we realize. These things can be invaluable and more purposeful than anything money can buy. And two, our table is finally full and that my friends is bittersweet. 

Most people assumed after our third child that we would not have any more children. We assumed that too but not because we didn't want any more children. That's a whole other long story. But most people who took the time to ask or knew my heart for our family knew that I always felt like someone was missing. Not something, SOMEONE. When we would go places I always felt like we were forgetting someone. I would count everyone to make sure they were all with us but still felt like someone was missing. I had heard so many other people talk about their family feeling "complete" when they brought their last baby home from the hospital and I didn't have that feeling after our third child. I so desperately wanted to have that feeling so that I wouldn't feel the emptiness that I continued to feel. And this was after having three children. I didn't understand when others would say they knew they were done with having children. I didn't know what that would feel like or look like.  And even at our beat up kitchen table it felt like someone was supposed to be there that wasn't. And although, if circumstances were different we probably would add one more  to our family (I know our families are probably gasping if they read this), I no longer feel like someone is missing. When we go places and I am making sure we're all together, I don't feel like I'm forgetting anyone or someone is not that there that should be. I can't say that our family feels totally complete and maybe that's because it's not. I'm sure there are many more people and children who are going to bless our lives in the future. But I can say that I feel quite content with my kitchen table having every last seat filled up......I truly do love my Table for Six.


Lots of Gingerbread houses have been made at this table!

Lots of green smoothies have been had at this table!

Lots of visitors have joined our kiddos at this table! Ha! Ha!

Grandparents have had many talks and played games with our children at this table.

Did you know? Artists are being born at this table!






The seats may all be taken but there are so many more memories, stories, and table talk that is waiting to happen!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Hope For The Littles

The oldest left for camp today. He will be gone for 7 days and 6 nights. So many realizations come from this camping trip. There are times on this journey where I realize how far apart our children are and just how long we will be knee deep in this parenting adventure. This would be one of those moments.


Curt and I were standing there sending our oldest off to Jr. High Camp for the first time. And yet I was nursing an infant and Curt was corralling the other two littles.  There I sat worrying about my to be seventh grader... Would he make new friends? Will he have fun? Will he be picked on? Would he get there safely? And most important will he open his heart and ears to what God has to say to him this week? And all the while I sat nursing Baby Evan wondering if I'd brought diapers with me. 



Curt and I were talking and I was saying how we have a kid in every stage; a tween (I guess that's an age now), a grade schooler, a preschooler, and an infant. It's  hard to figure out what really works when you're in all these stages all at once. Discipline and building relationships with these kiddos looks different for each one. And they are so different!! I know everyone's children are different but our kids have polar opposite personalities with COMPLETELY different strengths and weaknesses. Honestly, it's exhausting constantly deciphering what's best for each one. As we're having this conversation the two littles are battling it out in the backseat because lately they're more enemies than frenemies. They've been getting used to being with each other all day every day this week and it's been a little rough for all of us. Meaning mostky mom. And so I'm kind of having one of those "I'm failing parenthood" moments and I'm also secretly feeling like I'll never have the energy to get Evan to the age of 18. 

Until the eldest gave us a redeeming moment....

Nathan had left me a note to give his brothers. After we got home from taking Nathan to the bus we gave his brothers the note. This special note proceeded to send his little brothers on a scavenger hunt. Each note led to another as they screamed and fought over who would find the next clue. At the end of the scavenger hunt there was a bag with cards for both of the boys. Nathan had made them cards with sweet notes inside about listening to their parents, not fighting with each other, and having fun with friends. He also left them 2$ of his own money along with a special dragon for each of them that he usually keeps  locked up. 

He is such a sweet brother and he has a huge heart. And he wasn't always this way. He was a monstrous toddler. I was just telling him the other day how we used to leave restaurants because of him and how if we didn't move everything away from him he would start chucking things across the table. He had horrible tantrums the kind that made you leave grocery  stores and have everyone stare at you. And yet he's such a sweet, sweet brother that's growing into a wonderful young man. His hygiene needs some serious help but that's a whole other blog post. 

I hope and pray that the little guys will begin to treat each other how Nathan treats them and that their hearts will be as big and full of love for each other as his is for them. But for now we are currently listening to the younger brothers fight over I don't even know what .....but  I do have hope for the littles.
Notes Nathan left..... He calls Carson #2 and Landon #3 😉
The notes were pretty long and I wanted to put up a picture of the inside of the notes but Nathan's getting older so I can't spill all his secrets anymore. 
But some of the things he said were "Youre not allowed to fight with Landon"
"Save your money for something"
and " Don't be the kid that stays in your room a lot"









Saturday, May 24, 2014

I Can Wait


I can't help but feel like I rushed motherhood with my last three children. Not purposely and not in a bad way but in the way that you're always waiting for them to grow into their next stage. Waiting for them to reach that next developmental milestone. With all of my other children I could have been overheard saying the following;
I can't wait until he starts smiling. 
I can't wait until he starts crawling. 
I can't wait until he's talking more so we can understand him better. 
Won't it be so much better when he's walking. I can't wait until he's walking. 
I can't wait until he's taking less naps 
I can't wait until he is potty trained. 
I can't wait until he gets that next tooth. 
I can't wait until they're a little more independent. 

So many times I've said I can't wait. I've 
spent a lot of time looking, waiting, and expecting them to reach the next stage. Sometimes you want them to reach the next development because it's exciting to see them grow and be able to accomplish new things; things like riding a bike and learning to read. And other times it's because the phase your in is rough and it seems like you'll never make it out. Like you need more than what it's going to take to get through that stage or perhaps I have irrational fear that my child won't reach that next phase. Things like sleeping through the night and potty training fall into this category for me. 

But having a 12 year old and a newborn really helps to put things in perspective. When you spend too much time waiting for them to get to that next phase you miss part of the joy and being in the moment of whatever phase they are in. And too often this is what life is like. Hurrying just to get to the next thing, to move up the ladder in life, to move at such a fast pace just to get to what is next in life that maybe sometimes we miss the moments, the lessons, and the beauty that we would be able to see if we just appreciated where God has us at the moment. 

So I'm trying really hard right now not to rush motherhood. To be able to wait for the next stage and appreciate the one that they're in. I've already caught myself but as I get ready to send my oldest to Jr. High I realize I can wait. I can wait for the baby to sleep through the night, I can wait for the 4 yr old to start kinder at my school, I can allow the first grader to learn at how own pace instead of rushing him through, and I can definitely wait for the oldest to get any older. Because before I know it they'll be starting high school, learning to drive, getting married and starting their own families. So I'm trying really hard to enjoy them right where they're at and for who they are because God really only gives them to us to raise for such a short while. And the truth is I'm extremely fearful that I am a mom of littles and will be completely clueless as to how to parent teens....
Maybe I'll reread this post then so I can try to enjoy raising four teenage boys ;) 

       May I remember how exhausting it can be to have a little one but how sweet it is to nap with and cuddle them. He's such a sweetheart. 


My house is invaded with Legos. Literally, I'm constantly stepping on them, vacuuming them up, they've been known to get into the garbage disposal, and I don't think it's going to change anytime soon. Legos are currently more important than schoolwork.....(to him)


       Getting wet in your batman underwear and socks is a great source of entertainment when you are a 4 yr old boy. We're lucky he kept his underwear on.....


       Not too old to be silly! 😎😜

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bye Bye " To Do" List

Lately, I 've been thinking about the dreaded "to do" list.

I create a list of all the things I need to do and as I'm writing them down I inevitably think of more chores and duties that  need to be tackled. And I keep adding until my "to do" list is now at least two pages long.  Seriously,  I start jotting things down that I KNOW have no chance of getting done anytime soon. And I'm not sure why I do this, but I also begin writing down things that I KNOW I'm already going to do. Things like....complete Carson's schoolwork, charge the IPAD, make lunches. I'm not sure if that's just so I can cross things off or so that I won't be utterly defeated by the "to do" list because at least something on it will get completed. And why do I have to write down ALL of the things that I have to do? Because if I don't write them down, of course I will forget them. And often the "to do" list begins to take on a mind of it's own. It starts separating itself into different lists and categories. For example, errands to run, notes to write, things for school, calls to make....until the "to do" list is like a mini novel. Little sheets of paper everywhere on my desk so that when I try to figure out what I'm supposed to do, I can't even find the right list.Or there's always the fact that I lose my list. ALL THE TIME.

Anyways, today I'm tired of feeling like the "to do" list is getting the better of me. Tired of feeling as if I'm defeated before I even begin. And today the list has manifested itself into at least 3 or 4 because I'm returning to work tomorrow.  Returning to teaching with a 7 week old in addition to homeschooling my first grader and all the other working and stay at home mom duties, I've just decided to heck with the to do list........I'm going to write a "DONE" list.

And you know what? My "DONE" list is not so bad.

DONE

  • Helped the 1st. grader write about an invention he'd like to create. Watched him draw a detailed picture to go with his writing. Also, taught him place value and listened to him read a book he wouldn't have been able to read a few months ago. DONE!
  • Taught the 4 year old how to read words in the -at family. He was reading words! DONE! 
  •  Washed, dried, and put away two days worth of cloth diapers. DONE!
  • Washed 3 more loads of laundry. DONE!
  • Nursed a baby.......I figure I do this between 3-4 hours a day right now. DONE!
  • Rocked a baby many times. DONE!
  • Showered and got dressed. Hey, it counts for something on these busy days. DONE!
  • Made and cleaned up breakfast, lunch, and dinner. DONE!
  • Completed some of my bible study and finished a novel. Hey, that's when the 3-4 hours of nursing comes in handy. DONE!
  • Trip to Target. DONE!
  • Got 3 kiddos bathed and asleep by 8:30. DONE!
  • Prepared for my work day tomorrow. DONE!
  • Balanced our checkbook. DONE!
And guess what the list of things I didn't get to or didn't get done is still pretty long. There are many many things I need to do tomorrow and in the following days. The first grader still has a History project we need to work on. I have tons of prep to do for lesson plans next week. Our clothes are clean but the rest of the house......well it's not. But such is life.

 I taught my kids, loved on them, took care of their basic needs, tended to household chores, and even worked a little. I think maybe us mommas need to start focusing on what we are accomplishing in the day and stop feeling defeated by the "to do" list. So many of us are always looking towards what we need to do next that we forget to look at all we've accomplished. And often times, the most mundane can be the most important.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Evan's Arrival


I have been trying to get this post up for 2 weeks.....But along with having no time, I really haven't had the words. Which just feels so weird for me. Maybe it's the lack of sleep or how busy I've been or maybe it's just that there are no words.....So instead of trying to find the right words, I just put some pictures on the blog. Maybe the right words will come later....


I absolutely LOVED being pregnant this last time! I can truly say I was able to enjoy the miracle that God was allowing to happen in me. And even at the end when sometimes it was hard to eat or things got a little uncomfortable, I just felt so incredibly blessed and grateful. There were many nights when Evan's little kicks, flutters,and hiccups would keep me awake because I just didn't want to miss out on any of it. I had often felt after Landon that I was too old to have more children and yet this was my best pregnancy. And there was something about being older that made me able to appreciate it more than the others.


This is a picture of Curt & I walking the neighborhood after my water broke. My sister took this picture about midnight, about an hour after my water broke. Curt is always a supportive birthing coach. Most husbands would be rushing their wives to the hospital if their water broke.  When I said I wanted to walk to increase contractions.......he walked. When I said I didn't want to go to the hospital yet....he waited. When I got in the shower and I probably should have been going to the hospital.....he timed contractions. When he could tell my contractions were closer and stronger......he suggested we  at least get closer to the hospital (which was a good thing or Evan may have been born in the car).  When the cord was around the baby's neck twice and Evan was a little blue.....he never said a word or appeared like he was worried.





This is a text message from my friend. I was glad I had this to look back on because when you're in labor, it is hard to remember time. So I enjoyed looking at our text messages. My friend lives about 2 hours away and I was keeping her posted so she could get here in time for Evan's birth. This is crazy to me because the message was at 1:43 and Evan was born at 2:56.......

I know this seems weird but I LOVE seeing when they wheel in the baby bed. There is something so exciting about knowing that you are going to meet your baby soon. It's also a reminder that labor is almost over.



This is my friend Jennifer coaching me at the end of my labor. She has been there for 3 of my 4 children's births. I have been there for all 3 of her children's births as well. She has held every one of my children within the first minutes or hour of them being born. There are no words to describe what she means to me as a friend. She brings such a sense of peace and calmness.  She is an amazing support and labor coach. In this picture, I was at the very end of my labor. We knew the nurses were going to have to deliver the baby and I just felt at peace knowing he was going to be here soon.


This is my younger sister who has been there for 3 of my children's births. During this picture she is sitting on the floor "hiding". She comes because she's my sister and she loves me but she is not one of the coaches...LOL. She was a little nervous. I like having her there, even if she's not sure if she wants to be there ;)
I love that my sister caught this picture during labor. Jennifer was giving me her hand for me to squeeze.


Evan had the cord around his neck twice and he was a little blue. It took them a little bit to get him breathing and so I wasn't able to hold him right away. He was my first baby I wasn't able to hold right away. This is where the nurse handed him to me for the first time.


There is no other feeling than holding your baby for the first time. Every time.....tears.



This is my big sister holding Evan for the first time. This was the first time she was able to be there when I delivered. It was so special that she was there for the whole thing. I will never forget how nervous she was when I went into labor. So funny to think she's the tough one. Curt and I still laugh at how when we told her my water broke and she walked into our room all dressed with her tennis shoes on as if we were going to the hospital right then. She was so excited! But we didn't leave for 3 more hours. She was so nervous on the way to the hospital, I don't think she realized she was sitting in Landon's car seat the whole way there.

Daddy holding baby for the first time. Love this!











Jennifer holding Evan after delivery.

Landon meeting Evan for the first time. He is so excited to be a big brother.


Carson meeting his brother for the first time. Carson LOVES Evan. He has loved him since he was in my belly and he is loving on him still!
Going home! Landon's no longer the baby....

BROTHERS

 


One month old already! He is already growing so fast and changing so much. I am just trying to remember it all and capture the special moments, no matter how tired I am, because I know it all goes to quickly.........





Sunday, January 5, 2014

Wrapping Up A Year Of Courage

Bittersweet. 
The best word to describe a year full of healing, changes, and growth. None of the things that are happening in our lives now are what I planned or envisioned for this past year. The past 12 months has brought so many changes; an illness that took a little bit of my husbands overall health, financial difficulties due to 2 parents being out of work, a new job, a baby on the way, a new dog, preschool for the youngest, and homeschooling my 6 yr.old. I don't know if I can pinpoint another year in which our lives have experienced so many changes. But in the same way, I can't think of a time where we just had to let it go and truly learn to be thankful for the blessings in our life. Even though every time we turned around it seemed as if there was another roadblock in our way, the surprises that came our way brought healing and joy. I didn't plan on having another baby or getting a job outside the home or homeschooling my middle child. But all of these things have been the sweet to a bitter year. 

And as I look back on the word God chose for 2013-Courage, I can not help but think it was the only word that was right for me. Courage to heal from loss of a baby,  courage to help care for 3 children while your husband regained his health, to pray & have faith for other family members experiencing tremendous health and hardships, courage to fail and succeed in so many areas in my life and the courage to accept the bad and embrace the blessings. The courage to have faith and not get in the way of God's plans for my life. And the hardest one of all- the courage.....to HOPE.  

So now I look towards a new year, searching for a new word; a word that will help me make decisions, inspire me to be a better mother, wife, and friend, a word that will help guide my life. Never again will I make New Years resolutions; empty promises to be broken within the first week, or unattainable goals that bring on guilt like a freight train. Instead I'm searching for that one word to weave it's way into my life. 
So what's my word?
I have one in mind but I'm desperately searching for another...... 
Still praying on it. But I'm sure once it's been chosen, it will make it's presence known in so many parts of my life.....