Saturday, May 31, 2008

Honest Feelings

Last night I visited a sweet family at the funeral home. You know, sometimes it's just not fair when we lose someone.

I know that God is perfect. His timing is perfect. His will is perfect. Sometimes it just does not FEEL very perfect.

My daughter is turning 7 tomorrow. It felt so strange for me to "run by the funeral home" and then "run to Target for a few last minute birthday things." It's not really fair that life just goes on that way when someone is hurting so bad.

I walked out and left this family hurting and sad. They will never return to "normal" because their dad and husband is gone. There will be a new normal, but it will never be the same.
I came home to my husband and daughter, but they can't do that. Today they will bury their loved one. It just didn't feel very fair that I got to come home to normalcy. They didn't.

I know that in God's infinite wisdom that He knows best. He is going to hold this family. He will provide and He will sustain them. He promises us that He will never leave us and that He holds all things together. We can claim His promises for us, and we should! As His children He tells us to come boldly before Him and we can be honest as we tell Him our hurts.

It's just that it hurts really, really bad.

"For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18b
Friday, May 30, 2008

Before and After

Here's the girl before the big new almost 7 year old haircut...

Here she is after!
I love it!! She looks so big!
Thursday, May 29, 2008

Memorial Day Exhaustion

I have been reading lots of fun posts about all that people did for their Memorial Day weekend. We also had a big weekend, but fun is not what I would call it.

Exhaustion is what I would call it. Sheer exhaustion!

For a really long time I have been wanting to work in our yard and make it look a little less overgrown and a lot more inviting. Thing is... I am NOT good at yard work. I can trim bushes, etc. but I wanted to dig up shrubs and plant something new and pretty. I don't know one thing about conditioning the soil or tilling or what grows good where so I have been too intimidated to even attempt this on my own.

So we started in the back yard and here's the before...

And HERE'S the after! At least you can see the children when they play and not have to worry that something from the overgrowth captured them and took them away to never be seen again!
Here's the part that I really hated! The bushes in the front were basically some sort of sticker shrubs that became naked sticks when you cut them back. They got over grown and were just not pretty. There was also a big bare spot in the back left corner where 2 bushes had died. We dug them up to get rid of the brown ugliness, but never did anything to replace them.
Here's my sweet father-in-law with our Caroline. He dug up all of those terrible sticker shrubs and conditioned and tilled our flower bed for us! YES! He deserves a steak dinner, a trip to the spa and anything else we can dream up as a reward. He, and my mother-in-law, helped us TREMENDOUSLY!
And here's the finished project! We planted a Crepe Myrtle and some other shrubs that will fill in nicely but not overwhelm the space.

My husband was also there... but his job was to pressure wash our deck. The previous owners had painted it red and it was beginning to crack and just look terrible. He worked and worked on it. Here's the before:

And here's the after:

Wow! I love it!! Now we have to stain it. Any suggestions?

Well, needless to say, it was a productive Memorial Day weekend!! We were too tired and sunburned to go to the cookout we were invited to, but at least we got something done! :) Thank goodness for our sweet family who will give blood, sweat and tears for the sake of a better looking yard too!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Twenty Things I Will Never Do

I thought Boomama had a pretty fun challenge... to list the 20 things you would never do here goes:

1. I will never be a school mascot. You know with the big sweaty body and bigger than life head? NO, not me.

2. I will never wear a size two ... not because I don't want to.

3. I will never fly an airplane.

4. You will never see me at a strip club. Either as an attendee or a participant. Just making it clear.

5. I will never say, " Hey! Wanna go get a tatoo?" and mean it.

6. I will never be a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader. I know... it's shocking.

7. You will not see me on TV in the chicken bone section of LMS in the swealtering sun with 5000 other tatooed swealtering fans.

8. I will not eat a tomato sandwich. Not even with salt and pepper. So stop.

9. I will not drive a school bus.

10. You will not hear me say, "You know, I really want to drive a John Deere tractor today."

11. I will not own a lizard. Or any other reptile for that matter.

12. You will not see me wear a rainbow dress. Or a teacher denim jumper.

13. I will not wear a side pony tail.

14. I will not wear crocks. Apparently I am missing something, but I am good with it.

15. I will not go to a David Lee Roth concert. I know... he's touring, but seriously!

16. You will not see me with a mohawk.

17. I will not choose cleaning over lunch with friends.

18. I will never paint my bedroom mauve.

19. I will never have green shag carpet.

20. I will not join acrobat school.

What about you!?
Sunday, May 25, 2008

Therapy Tips #3

You may have to overlook the soapbox that I am getting ready to stand on... but sometimes you gotta preach... a little.

If you are a person with a child with a disability one of the best things that you can do is to become an expert on your child. The next best thing that you can do is to become your child's biggest advocate. So many times we rely on the "experts" to help us know what to do for our kids, but honestly, you are the one that lives with them and you are the one that knows them best! YES! We obviously need doctors, OT's, PT's and Special Ed. teachers to give insight and input, but you are the one that knows best when something needs attention. As parents it is our job to speak up and take hold of the situation for the sake of this little one that we love so much.

Not long ago I had a mom tell me that she had some real concerns for her infant child. She had been told some things by a couple of doctors, but in her heart of hearts she was not satisfied. The treatment that they were recommending did not sit well with her. When I asked her if she went for a second or third opinion she said "No, this doctor thinks we should do this so we will try." I replied, "Well, there is nothing wrong with trying, but in your "mommy heart" what is best? You feel that they are putting a band aid on the problem instead of getting to the root of the issue? You have to continue on until you find someone who is willing to work with you!"

As parents we know what our kids can handle. Others may look at them and see that there are needs, but we know the real deal when it comes to our kids.
  • If you TRY a new treatment (and give it a real go) and it does not seem to be working... do not hesitate to express your concerns. Seek out other professionals in the field until you find something that does seem to work. It's tiring, but it's worth the effort!

  • If an IEP is written for your child and the goals are not being met... do your best to help those goals become reality for your child. Do not solely rely on the teachers to help your child meet them. Ultimately it is YOUR responsibility to educate your child. If a goal or modification needs to be added request a meeting and add it! A separate setting for testing, preferential seating in the classroom, extended time on tests, breaks during a test, etc. are all modifications that can be included in a child's plan. Do not hesitate to ask!!

Coming down off of the soapbox now. Thank you for not throwing things.


Any game that requires pulling or pushing is so great for upper body endurance and gross motor skill development. Tug of war, pulling a wagon or playing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" sitting on the floor facing each other, feet together, pulling hands back and forth require upper arm strength and will help those muscles develop. For older kids... wall push ups, chair dips and floor push ups are all great upper body muscle builders. Wheel barrow walks, crab and bear walks and monkey bars on the playground give kids with sensory issues input into their muscles and can be calming so that they can focus on school work. (We do these before we try homework or any type of activity where I need for Caroline to focus. She loves it!)

For eye/hand coordination do building games. Lego's, blocks and other building items are great. You can also practice cognitive skills by building something for your child to copy. Use three blocks at first and make a pattern.. then ask your child to copy it. Increase the number of blocks with each design to see how many patterns they can make. This requires planning and coordination for your child and is a challenge for kids with cognitive delays.

For children with sensory issues a weighted pillow or blanket is very soothing and will help calm their sensory craved muscles so that they can focus. Get a bag of rice and wrap it in a soft fabric. Send it to school for group time when kids need to sit to listen. Have the child hold the rice on their lap during the group time for a calming effect.

Above all.. pray, pray, pray! The Lord knows every need that your family has as you deal with the day to day of a child with special needs. No matter how severe ... disabilities are difficult for any family. No one can do it on their own. It takes love and support from many friends and family, but without the loving hands of our Heavenly Father to hold us as we travel this road we will certainly be overwhelmed. He knows our child better than anyone! EVEN US! He created them and He has a plan through this situation. Seek Him! Know Him and allow Him to hold you as you seek to be the best parent and advocate that you can be!

Friday, May 23, 2008

109th Post? Who knew??

Well, I have not been paying attention to the number of posts that I have written until my friend Amy wrote HER 100th post and explained that you usually write 100 things about yourself. I don't know if I have 100 things to write, but I guess I can give it a go. If you hang with me and read all 100 leave me a comment. I might just do a little give away myself just for the sheer fact that you tortured yourself long enough to read it all. I must confess... I am not very exciting or interesting so bless you if you hang with me!

Here we go...

100. I have been married for 12 years to my exact opposite. He is very analytical and factual and I am creative and spontaneous. It works for us!

99. I met my husband in the singles department at church! Yes, it can still happen!

98. I have owned two dogs and one cat in my lifetime. The cat was a Siamese and you never really knew if she would love you today... or scratch your eyes out.

97. My favorite ice cream is... ice cream. It's actually easier for me to name what I don't like in the ice cream field. Anything coffee flavored. Otherwise, I'm good.

96. When I think about something really deeply I roll my tongue back in my mouth. It is weird, but not as weird as my husband sticking his out when he thinks! See? opposite!

95. I hate wearing a seat belt, and most of the time my 6 year old tells me to put it on. I am not setting a very good example for her, am I?

94. I enjoy reading books about early century people. Like, I love Jane Austin books and movies. Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice are my favorites.

93. I love going to the mountains and the beach. Every time I am in either place I tell my husband, "I could live here!" Good thing we aren't far from either of them!

92. I love 70's and 80's music! The Eagles, Chicago, Earth, Wind and Fire, Steely Dan, etc. are all just awesome to me. Usually when I am getting dressed to go somewhere that's what I listen to.

91. When I was in high school and early college I was a receptionist at a hair salon. I LOVED IT! I got to get in the tanning bed for free and I was forever doing something to my hair. Until this stylist looped my hair through a frosting cap and turned my entire head white! I thought my mom was going to kill me!!

90. I once dated a guy that had a pet raccoon. Yes, it was in his house. HOW did we not all have rabies? Yes, he was a red neck. Yes, he had a big truck! YEE HAW! He also clogged. Competitvely, and his sister was his partner.

89. I also dated a guy for 4 years! That's a long time to not end up with the person, ya know? His mom smoked and I always smelled like smoke when I went home. My mom never really knew if it was ME smoking or her!

88. I have never smoked or drank in my life.

87. That last sentence is 100% true.

86. The 4 year guy was not the raccoon guy.

85. I have a degree in Special Education.

84. I graduated from an all female college.

83. I am pretty close to my mom. We talk almost everyday and she is very supportive of me and my family. She has always been a real stable point of my life. She loves to laugh and she is very funny. She is not afraid to speak her mind and she never meets a stranger. I love you mom!

82. I have one brother that is 36 and still lives at home with my parents!

81. My dad is has always been the spiritual leader of our family. He tries so hard to call every once in a while just to say hey and "I love you." He has always been the one that I have been to for help. He was really handsome when he was younger. He has bright blue eyes and black hair. Daddy is the sweetest man and he would give you the shirt off of his back!

80. If I were stranded on a desert island I would want my dad there! He can make anything from anything. It's really amazing. I always had great science fair projects!

79. I use to work at my dad's gas station when I was in college. I pumped gas, checked oil and could plug a tire!

78. My first job was working in a pizza place in our little town. I remember dropping an entire stack of plastic cups one Friday night and the whole place got completely silent. I was SOOOOO embarassed! The place was packed and my highschool friends were all hanging out there. I wanted to just curl up and die that night.

77. My husband likes country music. I do not.

76. I taught first grade for two years after I got married. After teaching High School special ed. my principle use to come by and tell me not to scare the children! ha!

75.I didn't stay in first grade after that. He moved me to middle school where the KIDS scare the teachers!!

74. I loved teaching special ed the most!

73. We have one daughter named Caroline who is getting ready to be 7!

72. Caroline was pretty sick when she was born and stayed in the hospital for 19 days. She came home on a heart monitor. I was a nervous wreck for the first 4 months of her life until they took the monitor off of her!

71. Two years ago I shattered my wrist and I had a plate and 8 screws in there to hold it together.

70. I shattered my wrist on sweet gum balls. I was walking and stepped on the sweet gum balls and they rolled under my feet. I tried to catch myself. It happened on the same Sunday that my grandmother died. Not a good day.

69. I did not walk on that trail again for 2 years!!

68. I hate for people to touch my hair! I like getting it cut and all, but hate for people to play with it.

67. I love surprises!

66. I once stayed with a family that had an autistic son who loved sports. He told me the same facts on baseball cards over and over and over again. You would think that I would remember some of it!

65. I once had a student that could put 1000 piece puzzles together with the colored sides facing down! The colors were overwhelming for his autistic brain to comprehend so he would rather just do the puzzle with the gray side up! He also memorized the phonebook.

64. We teach a Young Married adult Sunday school class with our friends Chad and Faith.

63. I am a little weird about the number of e-mails that are in my in-box. I have to keep it below 130. I save stuff so they will remind me of things, but once I hit 130 I have to delete, delete, delete!

62. I always wanted a pink Jeep when I was growing up. I guess like Barbie? My dad always said, "No!"

61. I grew up near the lake and loved going swimming and boating and fishing with my dad.

60. I love raw oysters. I love them on the open shell with hot sauce and a cracker! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

59. It freaks me out when my in-laws show up unannounced! My mother-in-law's house is immaculent and I am a decent housekeeper, but NOTHING like her! I just know she is seeing every speck of dust and every paper that is lying around when they walk in. I love her, but oh... it freaks me completely out! (they were just here... unannounced! oohh! the stress!)

58. I have been muddin' more than once with friends in my hometown. Once this guy was trying to get our truck out of the mud by putting his feet on another truck and his hands on the truck I was in! It actually worked! He fell face first in the mud. Just like a belly flop. It was hilarious. And very stupid.

57. I do not like going to the grocery store. I do like going hungry worse than I do not like going to the grocery store. I go to the grocery store.

56. I do not mind cleaning my house so much. Toilets are not my favorite, but cleaning isn't too bad.

55.I would love to be an interior decorator.

54. I love being creative and decorating anything! I like to try new things and do it myself if I can.

53. I drive a blue car. Never thought I would have anything but red, but I have blue.

52. I love sweets! Oh my word! Love them!

51. I do not have a green thumb. I can not even remember to water my flowers that I bought from Lowes much less remember to fertilize and all? What's that about!?

50. I talk a lot, but I enjoy a day of quiet too! I love to read when I have free time.

49. I am more than halfway done with this maddness!! PRAISE JESUS!

48. It's really really hard for me to remain quiet when someone is being mistreated. I can not take it when someone is being insensitive and I have to really bite my tongue when the situation does not involve me. Sometimes even the bitten tongue does not help... I just speak out... in pain!

47. I am intimidated by how smart my husband is sometimes!

46. I like to sing. I sing 1st soprano in our church choir.

45. I use to sing for a Christian theater in a small town near by. It was EXTREMEMLY FUN and EXTREMELY time consuming so after 5 years I had to quit. I loved it though!

44. I like bright colors, but I wear a lot of brown, navy, etc. Why is that?

43. I love black olives on pizza.

42. I like rain. Storms are really cool until they get too close. Then they scare me a little.

41. I am beginning to wonder if I know 100 things about myself.

40. I like to cook, but that has not always been the case. I have had to learn a lot since my family ate out a lot. Now that I am not afraid that I will mess every thing up that I try to cook... I like it.

39. My mom and dad use to be the chaperones on all of our youth trips and I hated it. Except the one ski trip where I got the flu going to the mountain to ski and THEN I wished my mom was there!

38. I still have my tonsils.

37. My dad use to be my church league softball coach. Once I got hit in the mouth with a line drive and I had braces. My dad pulled my lip off of my braces and told me to shake it off! Yea, lots of mercy in my family!

36. In college we stole Christmas ornaments off of the State House Christmas tree. Nothing like being a criminal at Christmas!

35. I have toilet papered several youth pastor's houses and saran wrapped one car. My mom called our neighbor on us when we saran wrapped the car. He was a cop. NICE.

34. When my brother was 4 he had two brain surgeries to relieve fluid from his brain. He was really, really sick and my parents had to live at the hospital while he was recovering. He had a lot of catching up to do as a kid.

33. I lived on a farm with some family friends when my brother was so sick. I loved being on the farm, but I was six and it was hard to be away from my family.

32. I have gotten fresh eggs from the barn for breakfast and pulled my own row of potatoes for supper.

31. I have dammed up a creek to catch craw dads and tadpoles.

30. I have ridden motorcycles through the woods on the trails and then built a fort with the guys!

29. Let's just say I was a tom boy!

28. I do not like mini-vans. I mean I don't want to own one. I do not dislike my friends and the rest of the world's mini-vans. I just don't want one myself.

27. I have recently joined forces with some folks at our church to reach out to the special needs population in our church and hopefully in our community. It's called The Mustard Seed Project, and we have buddies that help kids in "regular" classes on Sundays and we also have 2 self-contained classrooms for more severe disabilities.

26. I really enjoy working with special needs kids and their parents. It 's very rewarding and really exciting to see parents and their children have a place at church.

25. My friend Faith and I have a booth at a store where we sell really cute shoes, monogrammed buttons, car monograms, etc. It's is really fun!!

24. We have had the booth for a year and a half.

23. My favorite color is pink.

22. I have taken a Beginning Sewing class and a Beginning Quilting class in the past several years. I like sewing a lot, but I have lots to learn.

21. I sometimes miss teaching. I really liked seeing kids grow and learn and I liked doing bulletin boards. It's a sickness.

20. I like to work out, but i hate to run. I would rather do aerobics or lift weights.

19. I try to work out every week day.

18. I hate to be bored or have nothing planned for the day. As a stay at home mom you sometimes have no choice but to just be home, but I like to have a plan.

17. I love e-mail!

16. I do not have a fancy phone that I can text from. I wish I did! Then I could just e-mail all the time!

15. We do not have cable! We have 7 stations on our bunny eared TV!

14. Both of our parents are more techy than we are! How backwards is that?? Well, at least in the amount of techy things that they own vs. the amount that we own!

13. I hate for laundry to pile up at my house!

12. I hate putting laundry away.

11. If I hate laundry to pile up then I have no choice but to put laundry away!

10. I like to write letters. I don't do it near enough, but I like to do it.

9. I love pretty stationery! And a good writing pen!

8. It has taken me forever to come up with all of this boring stuff!

7. I do not like coffee. My husband decided that he likes it... at age 40!!

6. I am not 40! yet!

5. I love frozen fruity drinks, but never order them.

4. I love hot chocolate.

3. I love Jesus. I am forever endebted to Him for my soul and I will always praise His name for all that He has given for me so that I might know salvation!

2. Without Jesus I would be in eternal hell. I would be imprisioned either literally or in my own sinful life. Jesus died so that I would know forgiveness, and I pray that you know Him too.

1. If you do not know Jesus as your personal Savior please leave me a comment. All of the 100 things about me do not matter, but HE matters. His love, His sacrifice, His promises that are eternally true and His salvation are all gifts to those who trust Him with their lives. I pray that you know Him.

YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I did it!

Wanna Join the Circus?

We got word from some sweet friends that they had lots of free tickets to the circus yesterday! We decided to take 'em up on the "FREE" part of that and head on out to see the show! When we got there ALL of these kids' parents had done the same thing!!

It was a spontaneous circus of friends!!

Seriously, the only person that I knew would be there was Jennifer so imagine our surprise to see all of these sweet people from our Sunday school class sitting in our section!

Caroline's daddy went to get cotton candy and when he returned he also had this:

Caroline was so into the circus that I could hardly get her to look at me! But her friends thought the hat was super cool so, of course, they tried it on too!

It fit Rebecca, but her little brother Hayes? Well, not so much! He thought it was so funny that the hat covered his whole head!

The circus was really amazing and it reminded me that I had always loved it growing up! I was still amazed at all of the tricks that the acrobats and clowns could do! To see the excitement on the kids' faces (AND the adults for that matter!) made it really fun!

There were elephants, white tigers and really cute little weiner dogs doing all sorts of tricks!

My husband said that he wasn't sure if he was more afraid of the tigers or the "tiger girl" with her two whips and "in charge attitude!" She was definitely in charge in that ring!

Sometimes, it might be more fun to join the circus, but I will stick with this sweet man and enjoy the show!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Graduate

They did not believe that you could do it, but they gave you a chance and you rose above! You have been prayed for and encouraged. The Lord has strengthened you and you have matured and grown beyond what we expected!

My prayer for you this year has been two fold. Every day we would pray Isaiah 54:13 over you in the car. "All your sons will be taught by the Lord and great will be your children's peace." Knowing that you struggle with learning and anxiousness about things made this scripture so personal to our family. We knew that if the Lord could be your teacher then you WOULD understand. We also knew that if He would be your peace then you would not feel anxious.

"Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you." Isaiah 54:10

My other prayer has been that you would be brave. The wonderful thing about this prayer was that every time you tried something new, that scared you at first, you would recognize that God was answering prayer in your life because you would be brave and try it anyway! I am so encouraged that you are seeing the hand of God in your life and I am so thankful that He is beginning to reveal Himself to you!

The Lord has been so faithful to bring friends and fun into your life through a Christian school. We have been so blessed to see you grow in your knowledge of the Bible and it's truths. Your ability to read and do so many other things has really improved this year. You have become more confident in who you are as a person and as a student.

Though this year has not been a breeze, your teachers have hung in there with you! You sometimes baffle us with behaviors that we don't understand, but you woke up the next day ready to go, and try, and learn again! And your teachers have done the same!

Your beauty is amazing and you always have compassion for others. I sometimes wonder if you, somehow, realize the compassion of God on your life and that's why you have so much compassion for others. Your ability to reach out to others that are sad or hurting is really a challenge to me to want to stop and love on those who need a hug.
As you prepared to walk across the stage you gave us such a big smile. To see you up there singing God's praises with those that love you brought tears to my eyes. I am not sad. I am filled with love, excitement and pride! The Lord is doing a work in you that I see more and more of every day. I can not imagine what He has in store for you as you continue to walk this road.

He is already preparing the way in first grade, sweet girl! You do not realize all that He has orchestrated so that you might remain in His house to learn. You have become my Samuel. I dedicated you to the Lord when you were 9 months old and I can not take you back!

1 Samuel 1:27 "I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. So now, I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord."

I love you Caroline! There are not words to tell you how I really feel. This road has been hard, but I would walk it 100 times over with and for you.

I am praying for you my sweet, sweet girl. Bless the Lord! Bless His matchless and amazing name! He is worthy!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Barbershop Anyone?

This weekend has been pretty fun! My dad is a Barbershop group singer and we went to hear him and the other men in his group perform at a little theater in my parent's small town near Columbia.

Do the red suits just crack you up? They also have red suspenders, those old barbershop hats (you know, the white ones that are flat on top and usually had a red, white and blue band around them?) and arm bands that they alternate at different performances so you don't get bored if you see them more than once! It's really funny!

They have quartets that form from this group and they highlight them between the group performances. They sing old stuff like "Sweet Adaline," "Zippidy-do-da," and "Won't You Be My Sweetheart?" and they really get into it! It is so funny to see the really animated guys sing. Caroline said that one of them looks like Gomer Pile from Andy Griffith and we all just cracked up! Because she was right!

I am a little disappointed because my dad is not in this photo! I am not sure why, but I do know that he took a break for a while so maybe they took this when he was out? Anyway, it was fun to go and see them and hear them sing old songs.

This group was also there! What you don't recognize them? (HA!) They are called "Bar None" and they were the featured guests at this little shin dig. They were actually really good and they got several standing ovations. They did a beach medley with Beach Boys songs and it was all in barbershop style. It's actually quite amazing when they change keys, sing harmony, etc. with no music to guide them. Every thing is acapella so some of their stuff was pretty amazing. You REALLY have to have an ear for harmony if you sing this style of music.
Anyway, time with family is always fun. I was glad that we got to go and support my dad and he was so proud to show us off to the guys in the group. Caroline started the applause after every song and when it was all over she told the guys "You did good! I clapped for you!"
Hope you had a good weekend!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ch Ch Ch Changes

I can hardly believe that next Monday... a week from yesterday... my daughter will graduate from Kindergarten! This year has FLOWN by. I suppose when you are busy every day getting lunches ready, getting up and dressed, running errands, etc. we are much less mindful of the time that is passing right before our eyes, but it sure does happen and FAST! Our schedule is getting ready to slow down a bit and I am really glad.

I don't hate change. As a matter of fact I love a change of pace, a change of scenery and a change of direction. It keeps my life interesting. I am less likely to get in a rut when things change a little. It keeps me on my toes and makes me take notice of the things around me.

There are changes going on at our church. A new Young Married Pastor is coming on board and our Children's Minister is leaving for Texas to be closer to family. While these changes will both effect me and my family, I am excited to see what the Lord has in store. He is going to work in both of these situations to bring glory to His name and I get so excited to see God Himself be creative in how that gets done.

There are changes going on in me! I am SO sick of clutter in my house and I am getting to the point to where if it does not have a function... it might just find itself at Goodwill. I am feeling more of a need to let go of things and have my house in order. I am also an on-the-go kind of girl and I am feeling more of a need to stay home and accomplish more in my house. The question is.. will I be more disciplined to do it? Another change that needs to be made!

I am even seeing a change in my family. My mom, who usually doesn't really get involved in things a whole lot, recently collected money from her co-workers to help buy a co-worker a graduation gift. She collected the money, went and bought the gift and organized a little get together for the girl to show her that their workplace was behind her. I was really impressed with her stepping outside of herself to help encourage someone.

Maybe you are facing some changes today that are not easy for you. Perhaps you are uncertain of what the future holds. Today in my quiet time the Lord showed me very clearly that He is already there! The changes don't surprise HIM in the least.

Elijah was getting ready to be taken by the Lord in 2 Kings 2. The Lord revealed it to Elijah and other prophets that lived in the area in which Elijah ministered. He also revealed it to Elisha.. the one who would continue the ministry that God had for Elijah. A big change was getting ready to take place... BUT GOD! God was already in the change. He was on the other side of the change and He knew the plans that He had for those involved in the change.

I pray that whatever changes you face will not rattle you. The Lord is there! He loves you and the changes are for our good. It keeps us depending on Him and never on ourselves. It helps us to see that HE really is in control and we are not. Hold His hand. Walk with Him and let Him guide you. He will... if you let Him... guide you into your new place with a fresh outlook and a stronger walk with Him.
Monday, May 12, 2008

Florida Trip

Hello there blawgers! What a week it has been!! We had such a great time in Florida, but you know how it is when you return from being out of town? Just one thing after another to catch up on... so needless to say the ol' blawg has taken a back seat to other, more urgent matters.

ANYHOO! I am excited to share a little about our time in Florida because it really was fabulous. Short, but really a nice little get away!

We flew to Jacksonville on Monday morning after dropping Caroline with the Grammy... who had big plans to eat pb&j's on the back porch and play at the park all day long. That, my friends, is a dream come true when you are six! There was even mention of play dough as we left the house so we knew that our girl would have the time of her life!

So off we went and when we arrived in JAX my husband went to the rental car counter while I waited patiently for our bags. I knew that he wanted to upgrade to a better car rental than the one he had originally reserved, but when we got to the parking garage I had no idea that he had asked for a Chrysler 300!!!!!!! Now, not to offend anyone that might have one of these lovely machines, but the big grill and the black leather seats are just NOT my little structural engineer husband's usual taste. He's a Camry sort of guy. Just your basic, no real bells and whistles, sort of engineer type. With me?

I, on the other hand, was not allowed to go to the car rental counter because I had threatened to ask for a convertible. Red. Possibly a BMW. He would have none of it.

Anyway, I laughed out loud when we got into this car. I soooooo wish I had taken a picture of it. It was quite hilarious!!

SO we drove to Amelia Island Plantation, which was about a 45 minute drive from the airport, where we had reservations at the Inn. OH MY WORD! Look at the view from our room!

I had never heard of this place, but it was very nice! The room was great! They had just updated and had pretty bedding, the bathrooms were pretty and the grounds were just so green and beautiful! It was just really a great place to stay.

On Tuesday, my hubby got up early and went look at this:

Bless his baby heart. I would have just wandered around looking at the steel and concrete just thinkin', "That's nice concrete and steel you got there." and moved on! BUT the structural engineer came back with raving reviews.

Good. For them.

While he was looking at that madness... I was here...

wearing my new bathing suit and flip flops and reading my book. Oh, it was fabulous!!

So lunch time rolled around and the PE (that would be "professional engineer") phoned to say that he was all done looking at the concrete and that he would like to join me at the pool after a good lunch!

We headed to another part of the property and had lunch outside. It was SO very nice.

I hated that we didn't get our waiter to take our photo! The food was really good and the little area where we ate was surrounded by SHOPPING! I really thought I had just gone to heaven! Beautiful place, good food AND shopping! Come on now!
We were able to stay that night, but had to get up to head back to the airport by 8:30 the next morning! I was really thinking I could talk my hubby into just one more day, but we had arranged for our girl to be with Grammy just until that afternoon so we headed for home.
We actually got back in enough time to get Caroline's things from Grammy and then headed to the school to pick her up to head to therapy. Grammy had told us that she was so excited that we were coming home so I was fully expecting a big "MAAAMAAAAAAAAAAA!" When we got to her classroom. But when I walked in she smiled, came and hugged me and went to sit down with her friends!
I said, "You want to go see daddy? He's waiting in the car!"
"No, I will just stay with Mrs. Carpenter." HER TEACHER! Apparently her teacher had not abandoned her to go fly on the big airplane and sit at the pool.
Saturday, May 3, 2008

Therapy Tips #2

Here are some fun therapy ideas to do with your child if they are experiencing delays in fine or gross motor development. Even if your child is not experiencing delays but is young and still needing pre-writing skills, these activities will be very beneficial.

1) Rice bowl- get a big bowl and fill it with rice. Have the child put their hands in the rice to feel the texture. Also hide small items in the rice (small toys, small pop beads, paper clips, etc) and let them find them. Have them use tongs to get the items out of the rice.

2) Beans in the hand- have a pile of beans, erasers, small toys, etc. and have your child use only their first finger and thumb to pick them up and hold them in their hand. Have them pick up at least 3-4 before dropping the ones in their hand. Practice with both left and right hands.

3) Going on a trip- draw a road for your child to "drive on" from one destination to another. Have them hold their pencil and make them cross over the middle of their body to begin the "trip". (This is really good to do on a black or white board where they road is much bigger than they are. It makes them cross their midline to work on fine motor, balance and eye hand coordination) Make the road curvy, wavy or straight, and make the road wide or skinny to test their ability to stay within the lines.

4)Water dropper- get a little eye or medicine dropper, some water and a spoon. Have the child suck water into the dropper then drop drops of water onto the spoon as they hold it in the opposite hand. Go back and forth practicing with both left and right hands.

These exercises are fun and they work little fingers that might not otherwise get that fine motor workout. Children who have sensory disorders sometimes do not seek out those activities on their own like coloring, writing or playing. My daughter was craving activity, and we thought that we were doing what the "normal" parents do, but with this disability she craves more than usual. Her body was craving more input, and it needed to be organized. Random play did not come easily for her when she was younger, and sometime still doesn't even though she is six. It's getting better, but we needed these activities to help us to get her ready to write as her fine motor skills were underdeveloped and needed stimulation. Her handwriting is still not perfect, nor is it always very controlled, but it is MUCH better since we started with some of these activities.

Other things like small pop beads (Target), Lego's, finger games (Where is Thumbkin?), Light Brights, and putting pennies in a slit in a jar top are all great ways to promote fine motor and writing skills.

Ramblings of ALL Manner...

Hello blawg land!

If you have your sound turned up you might notice the crowd applauding you for coming to my blawg. Ok, actually it's Kirk Franklin getting some praise on so you may want to either turn it up and get some praise on yourself (highly recommended!) OR just turn it down. OR pick another song! I love me some options.

My friend Jennifer told me that I could shuffle them and you would not hear the same song each time you log on, but alas.. I continue to be technologically challenged and could not find that as a choice! Again, I love me some options... so someone help me? please?

Today has been a CLEANING day friends! A Moppin'... dustin'... sheet washin'.... toilet scrubbin'... ironin'... sort of day! Even the Caroline got into the act. Well, against her own wishes and among a million "is this the last thing, mom?"s she got in there and got her sheets off of the bed and dusted a little.

Why all the cleaning!? Well, my husband and I are leaving on Monday to go to Florida for 3 days and I am so excited!! We have not been away in a while and I am ready to see something new for a change! Especially if it's a beach! He has a job there that he has to check on and so I will have a little while just to be by myself and relax. I really don't know what I will do with myself, but we are staying at a resort so maybe I can find a spa! We are going to Amelia Island and I have never been there before so I can't wait to explore!

Caroline is going to stay with Grammy and Paw Paw. She is pretty excited, I think! This is one of my favorite photos of Caroline with Steve's mom. We call her Grammy. She is so good to us and I really love her! I am so blessed to have a mother-in-law that loves the Lord. We are pretty different, but she did a great job on my man so I have very few complaints!

When we scheduled this trip we did not realize that her end of the year testing would be the same week so I have been a little concerned. We spent time doing a practice test today and I just wonder how they think they will test 5 and 6 year olds?? I use to teach 1st grade and we tested 7 years olds... and I thought THAT was hard! We had a computer break, a lunch break, a trampoline break and just a plain old "I can't do this!" cry break! oh. my.

The big praise is that we have a plan in place to have Caroline pulled for testing so the special needs teachers will test her separately! That means that she will have breaks, they can review with her and the setting will be with just a few kids instead of all 20. If you have a child with special needs this testing pull out is an option. You definitely want to check into it! It alleviates lots of stress for the child... and the teacher... and the mama! :)

Hopefully I can get some good photos of our trip! It has been a long time since I was on a plane, but I am so excited!! I will give you an update when we return!