Saturday, May 26, 2012

Camping

First of all, I want to say "Thank you" to the Lord for our beautiful new house.  I actually have a post written all about it, but just don't want to publish it yet (shrug).

Yesterday, my good friend Katie came over with her kidlets to check out the new house.  We were talking and hit upon the subject of camping, as she just went camping with some friends.  She was telling me all about it, and it just struck a cord with me.

I've camped once.  In California.  I was deathly afraid that a bear was going to come and attack us in the middle of the night.  Besides that, it was fun.

We haven't done it again, since.  And we should.  We have three boys.  They need it.

So, it's "on the list".  We have no equipment, so will need to save some money and collect some gear before we can go.  Hey, by the way, camping equipment makes great gifts!

Based on Katie's recommendations, we are going to try Ponderosa or Christopher Creek first.

Funny:  our new house is next to a park.  We love it.  We've being trying to spend as much time there as possible before it gets too hot.

Last night the weather was beautiful so we stayed out until it got dark.  The kids rode bikes, dug in the sand and played on the equipment.

Jim said "This is what you do when you camp.  This is "staycation camping".  The only thing missing was hot dogs and smores, lol.

Friday, May 25, 2012

And that was the end of that!

Nice clean house.  Boys napping after a fun play date.  Relaxing with a brownie and Pinterest.

Then Justin walks in holding a leaking bag of lentils.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer fun list

I spent my work time this afternoon searching online for summer fun ideas.  This is what I've come up with so far.  Thanks to the various websites I was on, too many to name.

Make our own game
·         Plain sitting down bible quizzing
·         Make large stand-on squares
o   These squares can have “things to do” on them, like “jump 5 times”
o   Can also play with the squares without the bible quizzing.  Sky’s the limit
Scavenger hunts, themed or not
Write and put on a play
Write and illustrate a book
Make sugar cookies with cookie cutters and frosting
Play “hide the item”
Do Science experiments, lots on my pinterest boards
Make a tent and have a picnic; indoor camping
Play the games that we have (novel idea!)
Cash in our report cards for Chuck E Cheese tokens; check out other options (I have this pinned, I think)
Invite a friend over
Invite a friend over for dinner, plan it and do it; play restaurant; be hospitable
Water balloons
Check out “college for kids” for cheap classes (estrella, Glendale, etc)
Check out the library activity schedule
Make an indoor obstacle course
Check out the classes at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Joanns
Organize our photos
Go to the art museum on free Wednesday
Big puzzles
Buy plain white sneakers and paint and decorate them (would have to be super cheap)
Make paper plate hats
Play the bucket game using sandpails, boxes, etc, like the bowling game at Chuck E Cheese
Make water dropper art with vinegar and food coloring and a pan of baking soda
Make a living room race trace with masking tape.  Go all over the place
Paint wooden frames, etc
Make an indoor bowling alley
Play balloon tennis with paper plate paddles
**I’m using some of these ideas to make my own Summer Olympics complete with awards.  I think we’ll invite some friends over, too.
Indoor Hopscotch with tape and pillows
Paper Plate Hop
Shaving Cream painting
Make Art Collages, themed
Make a rainbow sensory rice table and play in it with beach toys
I repined a “10 favorite boys activities” list that I need to go through
Paper plate ring toss
Water piƱatas
Play restaurant
Listen to or read online books
Let the kids do the grocery list (pre-printed), shop online and cook

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cleaning

My daughter is a messy.

Its quite common for the floor of her room to be completely covered in clothes, art supplies, books and lots of GARBAGE.  Why she can't just throw the garbage into the trash can I will never understand.

When we moved into our new home, Jim told her in no uncertain terms that her room must be unpacked and everything must be put away before she could do anything else.

Katelyn proceeded to dump the contents of her SIX boxes onto the floor, stating that it would be easier for her to put things away if she just had to pick them up off the floor.

She started out great, but quickly lost steam when other things looked more interesting.

"No, Katelyn.  Go finish your room, " a parent would say, and she'd head back to her dungeon of torture.

"Okay!  I'm done," came the excited proclamation as she quickly headed to the couch with her book.

"Wait," I warned.  "Let me go inspect."

The room did look fairly clean.  But the story was told as I looked into her closet.

"Katelyn, why do you have boxes of junk here in your closet?"

"Remember?  You told me to put whatever I don't have a place for into a box for now."

"Yes, but this is not what I meant.  You didn't go through any of your stuff.  You just threw everything in here and shoved it into the closet."

"Yes, I went through it!"

"Then why is there garbage in here?  Look, papers, wrappers, water bottles...Katelyn, go through these boxes piece by piece.  The same for these dresser drawers."

She grumbled and complained, but finally, two inspections later it was done.

I was thinking about this later at Saturday night prayer and I thought of what a perfect analogy it was to our Christian life.

We begin with a fresh start, maybe as a new convert, or a new commitment.  We set out to do right, to clean up our life.  But soon we get tired, other things in life call for us, and for whatever reason, we decide that, even though the cleaning job is not completely finished, its good enough and we'll just stuff the rest into the closet of our heart to deal with later.

But the problem is that we don't take the time to completely remove all the sin garbage in our lives.  And, despite best intentions, we never go back to it later.  So it just sits in the closet, festering, until one day we notice a smell and discover mold and bugs.

The other night I was reading I Corinthians 6.  Starting with verse 9, Paul says "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdome of God?  Be not deceived: neither fornicators, not idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkars, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

He continues in verse 11, "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."

Cleaning!!!

We need to clean out, organize, get rid of the garbage in our lives.  Let our hearts, minds and spirits be washed by the blood of the Lamb.  Continually.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

Daily Themes Draft

Monday:  Weekend Recovery.  The day will simply be spent getting the house back into shape from the weekend, catching up on laundry, resting, unstructured fun and 1 hour of reading in the afternoon.  Play a family game after dinner.

Tuesday:  Family Time.  This will be a time for art projects, silliness, etc in the morning before we get ready for church in the afternoon.

Wednesday:  Produce Run, Grocery list and "Bit of Schooling".  Run to Walmart for produce, etc.  Make grocery list for next cycle, teaching the kids the process.  Have Katelyn and Tyler write a book or a skit.  Do a preschool activity with Jason and Justin

Thursday:  Run around day.  Rotating shopping or library.

Friday:  Family Time.  Repeat of Tuesday morning.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ten Things I Want My Daughter to Know

I am stealing this from the blog, A Design So Vast.  I just love it and found it very timely.  I personalized it just a bit

Ten things I want my eleven year old daughter to know:

1. It is not your job to keep the people you love happy.  Not me, not Daddy, not your brothers, not your friends.  I promise, it’s not.  The hard truth is that you can’t, anyway.

2. Don’t lose your physical fearlessness.   Please continue using your body in the world: run, jump, climb, throw.  There is both health and a sense of mastery in physical activity and challenges.

3. Don’t be afraid to share your passions.  You are sometimes embarrassed that you still like to play with dolls, for example, and you worry that your friends will make fun of you.  Anyone who teases you for what you love to do is not a true friend.  This is hard to realize, but essential.

4. It is okay to disagree with me, and others.  You are old enough to have a point of view, and I want to hear you express it in a respectful way.  So do those who love you.  Don’t pick fights for the sake of it, of course but when you really feel I’m wrong, please say so.  You have heard me say that you are right, and you’ve heard me apologize for my behavior or point of view when I realize they were wrong.  Your perspective is both valid and valuable.  Don’t shy away from expressing it.

5. You are so very beautiful.  Your face now holds the baby you were and the young woman you are rapidly becoming.  Traits from both your father and I combine into someone unique, someone purely you.  I can see the clouds of society’s beauty myth hovering, manifest in your own growing self-consciousness.  I beg of you not to lose sight with your own beauty, so much of which comes from the fact that your spirit runs so close to the surface.

6. Keep reading.  Reading is the central leisure-time joy of my life, as you know.  I am immensely proud and pleased to see that you seem to share it.  That identification you feel with characters, that sense of slipping into another world, of getting lost there in the best possible way?  Those never go away.  Welcome.

7. You are not me.  We are very alike, but you are your own person, entirely, completely, fully.  I know this, I promise, even when I lose sight of it.  I know that separation from me is one of the fundamental tasks of your adolescence, which I can see glinting over the horizon.  I dread it like ice in my stomach, that space, that distance, that essential cleaving, but I want you to know I know how vital it is.  I’m going to be here, no matter what.  The red string that ties us together will stretch.  I know it will.  And once the transition is accomplished there will be a new, even better closeness.  I know that too.

8. It is almost never about you.  What I mean is when people act in a way that hurts or makes you feel insecure, it is almost certainly about something happening inside of them, and not about you.  I struggle with this one mightily, and I have tried very, very hard never once to tell you you are being “too sensitive” or to “get over it” when you feel hurt.  Believe me, I know how feelings can slice your heart, even if your head knows otherwise.  But maybe, just maybe, it will help to remember that almost always other people are struggling with their own demons, even if they bump into you by accident.

9. There is no single person who can be your everything.  Be very careful about bestowing this power on any one person.  Trying to fill a lonely ache with other people (or with anything else, like food, alcohol, numbing behaviors of a zillion sorts you don’t even know of yet) is a lost cause, and nobody will be up to the task.  You will feel let down, and, worse, that loneliness will be there no matter what.  Only the Lord can fill that longing.

10. I am trying my best.  I know I’m not good enough and not the mother you deserve.  I am impatient and fallible and I raise my voice.  I am sorry.  I love you and your brothers more than I love anyone else in the entire world and I always wish I could be better for you.  I’ll admit I don’t always love your behavior, and I’m quick to tell you that.  But every single day, I love you with every fiber of my being.  No matter what.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

We get to go on a date!

I am so excited!  Jim and I get to go on a date tomorrow.  A whole morning with no kids!

See, we have some business to take care of, so we decided to make a morning of it.

It took some doing to find a victim babysitter for our three boys, but we finally found one who is quite capable.  We're not paying her nearly enough, but maybe we can help serve at her wedding or something ;).

We've been wanting to go to the Desert Botanicial Gardens, but it's very expensive.  Tomorrow is a free admission day, so we'll get to do that finally.  I also have two coupons for free frappes.  Sounds like a wonderful date to me! 

Can't wait, Honey!

If it's Monday, it's tacos

I'm going to try something new for our eating plan.

We're going to become one of those "If it's Monday, it's tacos" families.

Yeah, I know.  I hate that.  I love variety in my meals.  I love new recipes and making different things with common ingredients.

But, for a variety of reasons, that's not working great for us right now.  So, I'm hoping by implementing this plan, some problem areas will be smoothed out.  We shall see.

My goals for this change are:
  • Stay in budget
  • Weight loss
  • Encourage less snacking and healthier snacking
  • Offer foods that everyone likes and will eat
Here's the plan right now:

Sunday
  • Eggs, Potatoes, Sausage, or Cereal
  • Sticky Chicken, rice, salad
  • Apples, Peanut Butter, Popcorn
  • Grilled Quesadillas, Carrots and Ranch
Monday
  • Waffles
  • Apples, Peanut Butter, crackers
  • chicken nuggets, carrots and ranch
  • Snickerdoodles, raisins and peanuts
  • Tacos
Tuesday
  • Cinnamon Puffins
  • String Cheese, Banana slices
  • Grilled quesadillas, carrots and ranch
  • Snickerdoodles, apples and peanut butter
  • Chicken and rice soup, homemade bread
Wednesday
  • Eggs and Potatoes, or Cereal
  • Yogurt, Raisins and peanuts
  • Ramen, apples and peanut butter
  • Chocolate chip cookies, carrots and ranch
  • Oven-Fried chicken, rice, salad
Thursday
  • Cereal
  • Fruit Kabobs, cheese sticks
  • chicken nuggets, carrots and ranch
  • Chocolate Pudding Pops, crackers
  • Spaghetti, salad
Friday
  • Apple Crisp
  • Crackers, raisins and peanuts
  • ramen, carrots and ranch
  • Yogurt or Chocolate Pops, Popcorn
  • Tostadas
Saturday
  • French Toast
  • Crackers and peanut butter, fruit
  • leftover buffet
  • brownies, carrots and ranch
  • Tettrazini, salad
This comes in right around $200 every two weeks for us.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Thinking Out Loud

I always get stressed at summertime because I know my kids will drive me and each other crazy if they are too bored.  Yet, overscheduling doesn't work either.  Striving to find the balance.

This year should be fun because we don't have babies anymore.  Justin is becoming a little more agreeable.

I want to do some fusion of weekly-themed summer camps and daily-focus scheduling.

I also want to:
  • get Katelyn more loom lopes, plastic "thingies" and yarn so she can be creative
  • science projects with Tyler
  • take Katelyn and Tyler to the Science center
  • take Jason and Justin to the Children's Museum
  • do a "camping" theme, including a trip to Cabela's
  • do individual dates with the kids
to be continued...

The Possibilities Are Endless

It's a scary thing to invite the government into your life and home, especially if your husband is an avid listener to Glenn Beck and Michael Savage.

The question of "If I refuse to do what they say, will they call CPS?" looms heavy on your mind, even as you look excitedly at the possibilities that may open for your special needs child.

God was such a real and present help to me yesterday, giving me peace about our decision.  Let me tell you about it.

We had a special called service last night, and preservice prayer was wonderful.  The presence of God was so close.  I began to pray and soon I was asking the Lord to not just let my outside look like a Christian, but I want to be full of the Holy Ghost on the inside, so that it radiates out and affects everyone and everything around me.  Then I felt led to pray about our appointment with the DDD Service Coordinator on Wednesday, that when she walked into our home, she would feel the power of God in our home and radiating from our beings.  That there would be no question, no hesitation, no pushing, no arguement about Tyler's treatment plans, because the Lord would orchestrates every second of the meeting.

I felt the Holy Ghost so strongly as I was praying this (I feel it here now as I type with tears in my eyes), speaking in tongues with the force of the Holy Ghost, calling things as though they were.

I also prayed for Tyler's psychologist, a wonderful lady who has never questioned our "no-meds" stance and has been a God-send for Tyler.  She's very worldly, but I began to pray for her, that God would use us to be a witness to her.

Then I remembered something that Sis Loe told me at the very beginning of this journey.  She said that she always prays for and about the people that they come in contact with as they seek treatment for Russell, that maybe God would use us to be witnesses for him to these hurt parents and service providers.

In my fog, I had forgotten that.  I'm not sure if I've been much of a witness at all as I struggle to accept and create our new normal.  How can I witness about the Lord when...But I want to do better, to see each interaction as an opportunity to witness.  I remind myself often that the greatest miracle is not always the healing, it's the journey and what God does during the journey.  Isn't a soul being born into the kingdom the greatest miracle?

When we are Christian, especially when we are Christian, we struggle with our faith when God doesn't do the miracle exactly as we've asked, the first time we ask.  Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that there may be a bigger reason, a bigger picture than what my human eye can see.

I was also reminded of the miracles that God has done with regards to our "no-meds" stance.  The first appointment that we had with Tyler's Developmental Pediatrician he was diagnosed with Asperger's, Tourette's, and Co-Morbid ADHD (meaning that the ADHD was the result of the first two diagnoses).  The doctor respected our "no-meds" stance and agreed to withhold meds for the present.

The second appointment, three months later, the doctor ran a computerized test on Tyler.  She told us that the results showed that Tyler did NOT, in fact, have ADHD, therefore she saw no reason to ever put on meds!!!

When I shared this with Pastor, he said "She just told us what we already knew!"  I was just so thankful that it had become a non-issue, that I would never have to argue with her about it.

So, I was reminded that God is in control.  I will trust him to continue to guide us.  I'm excited about the possibility of being a light to this dark world.

Please continue to keep us in prayers.  Thanks so much!

Blessed


It's hard not to feel blessed when you have a double chin and a kitchen full of dirty dishes.

"I may not have a lot of money, but thank God I've got food to eat!"

Friday, May 4, 2012

Doing the Potty Dance

"Justin went peepee in the potty!  Justin went peepee in the potty!" as we clap our hands and shout enough to make any Pentecostal proud.

I've learned enough through my parenting years to know that we are still a long ways from being potty-trained.   Three seems to be the magical age for my children and I've learned that trying to force it before does absolutely no good. 

We seem to do well with casual learning and exploring, allowing the child access to the potty chair and underwear, but not forcing anything.  Eventually, the desire to be completely potty trained takes over and we make the transition smoothly.  Only after the child is "potty trained" do they get "in trouble" for accidents.

So, I'm sure that we still have a while yet of diaper purchases.  Oh, but the end is near and it's looking sweet!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Red Light, Green Light

You might remember this post where I shared a little about the jumble that goes through my mind when I consider options for Tyler.

Well, when my mom was here for Christmas, she advised me to send in the application for DDD and let God do the rest.  That made sense, so I did.

It took awhile for DDD to get all of the paperwork that they needed from the doctors.

I was praying about it and told the Lord that I wasn't going to call DDD for an update, but if they called me, then I would go forward with setting up an interview.

The guy called the next day.

A-hem.

Our interview was last Friday.  Six days ago.  It was farely short.  Tyler and I went to the DDD offices and met with the intake person who asked Tyler a few questions, asked me a few questions, spent a lot of time looking at Tyler then writing things down behind the cover of his hand, then explained the process to us.

The process was that he would submit all of our paperwork and his interview results to his medical director.  The medical director would make the decision to approve or deny Tyler for DDD services.  Then, the application would be sent to Arizona Long Term Care, who would conduct their own interview and make their own decisions.  Because DDD is broke, the only way Tyler will ever see anything actually done is if AZLTC approves him for services.

Again, I just said Okay, Lord, whatever your will is, open or close the doors.  As Pastors says "I'll go forward until I see a red light."

So, today, a mere six days after our interview (when has the government ever worked that fast???) I got a call from Tyler's DDD Service Coordinator wanting to know when she could come out to the house, meet Tyler and talk with us about service options. 

I said "Wait, back up.  Are you saying that he's been approved for DDD?"

She said that he was approved for DDD, we are still waiting for the AZLTC process.

So, I guess we are going forward.  This looks like a huge green light to me.

Part of me is scared stiff.  Part of me is excited about the possibilities.  I want the best for my son and I do believe that God is saying to go forward.

As always, please continue to pray for us.  Thanks!