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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Doggy Shopping Family Randomness...

Look what we found!

One day while driving to get my daughter from school I almost ran over this little cutie!! My heart stopped as he ran right out in front of my car! I was running late so I didn't stop right away, but when I came home a friend of mine pulled into the driveway right behind me. We live in the same neighborhood and I told her that I'd seen him on the road near our homes. She said that she had seen him the day before and he must be a stray!  We walked out to the road, and sure enough, there he was! My friend had a towel in her car and she cornered him and caught him!! Bless his baby heart... he was so dirty and shivering! She kept him and took him to the vet where they said that he's 4-8 years old and he seems fairly healthy with the exception of his teeth. He didn't have a chip and had obviously been out for a while so the vet encouraged her to keep him. She already has a dog, and we have a cat, but we are considering keeping him at our house.

My husband had a business trip to prepare for this week and we have been really busy with that, but he does not always travel so when he returns we are going to discuss it to see if our family can swing it! I am afraid to get too excited, but I think he's precious and I would LOVE to have him. Isn't he just the cutest THING!?! If we can't keep him I think my friend will. We don't want him out on the street and we want him to have a good home. OH! I hope it's MY home! PLEASE SANTA!? I've been pretty good this year!

So.

In other news...this week has been a shoppin' flurry and I'VE LOVED IT! I have been so excited by a recent blessing that the Lord has given us that has allowed us to buy some Christmas gifts. It's so awesome when the Lord shows up and blesses you when you don't expect it, isn't it?! I have been shopping here and there while my little girly girl has been at school and I hope she LOVES what she's getting. I can't wait to see her reaction on Christmas day when we come down the stairs as a family and she opens her gifts. I will be sure to share all about it after the Christmas maddness is over and I have a nap.

Speaking of girly girl... she is already beside herself about a little tradition that we started a few years ago. Every year we go to the same bakery to get a BIRTHDAY CAKE FOR JESUS! I take her with  me and we look through the window at the cute little cakes and I let her pick which cake she'd like.

                                                        
                                                                      Christmas 2007

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2009

Last year, we traveled two hours to see my family and we HAD to go to the bakery before we left our town and we TOOK the cake with us! I am telling you.. she will NOT let me forget about Jesus' cake and she is already asking when we are going and if she can blow out the candles. It is always fun to see which one she will choose and she's super excited to go again this year. I hope she never tires of this sweet tradition and our time together. AND the bakery can NEVER close! Oh. That would just be the end of life as we know it.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Changing Christmas

Merry Merry Christmas!! I love this time of year! I am so excited to have special times with my little family and enjoy some neat things that we don't normally do during the rest of the year.

This year I've decided to change lots of things! One is some of my decor. I get tired of things looking the same every year, but I can not afford to go buy ALL new Christmas stuff every time I get bored!           (Shocking! I know.) So after Christmas last year I had an interior decorator GIVE me lots of left over ribbon.(HOW COOL IS THAT!?) I thought I could make lots of new BIG bows and make things look a little different.

Here's my front door... I found these ice skates at a local Christmas show and decided to use them instead of a wreath...

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I think they turned out nice and it is definitely a something different! I also found a wreath stand for $1 at a yard sale so I made a matching bow to sit near the door with the skates..

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For a long time I had a plaid red ribbon on the top of my tree that I liked, but it was time for a change too.

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NICE that a strand of lights right in the middle is not burning and I can't get them to come on... I'm NOT stressin' over it. You can't really tell when you are standing in front of it because the lights are pretty bright. It's hard to see the ribbon in ths picture, but I love it and it updates my tree a little so it makes me happy!

Another change that we are making is that we are purposefully NOT making tons of plans. We have run ourself ragged in years past and while we enjoyed time with friends and family we were just TOO stressed. This year we have still done a few things, but we have not scheduled ourselves so much that we can't just enjoy sitting by the fire at home and having dinner as a family. 073

This year has been a hard year financially for lots of folks and we are no different. At first I was worried about how we'd pay for the gifts that we wanted to buy. Funny thing is... it is kind of freeing to not have much to spend. We will just do the best we can for our family members and let that be it! I have not worried about what to buy everyone (ok, except my in-laws!) and it has been kind of nice. I have made more of an effort to find things that have meaning and not just a shirt or tie because I need a gift for them!

I have found that this year, probably more than any other, I have focused less on the THINGS of Christmas and more on WHY we celebrate just because things have been more simple. I am grateful for more things because I've had time to think about them! My brother is home from rehab. THAT, my friends, is a huge gift to ALL of my family! Who needs a new sweater when he is on the road to recovery and walking a little better everyday!? THAT is such an answer to prayer!!

What have you done to make things more simple this year? I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU! I pray the Lord's richest blessings on you and your family this holiday season! He is so worthy of our praise at this time of year and all year long!

Monday, December 6, 2010

When Reality Hits... It Can Sometimes Hurt! (This is LONG!)

This past week I had a meeting with my daughter's school. It's always a little scary to have a meeting when your kid has special needs. You NEVER know what they might say or how they might feel your kid is doing. I guess it's that way with any kid, huh!?  Since her goals are not the same as a typical 2nd grader I already know that things will obviously be at a slower pace and a lower level, but it's still sometimes hard to hear. After 9 years it is STILL hard!

I was really nervous about this particular meeting because they had mentioned at a previous one that they may want to move Caroline to a different setting/classroom. This would mean that the kids would be lower functioning and I was NOT happy about it one bit. Caroline can read pretty well and she is making slow progress in some of her math skills. Academics are really hard for her and she can be socially awkward with her peers, but she can socialize! The classrooms that they were considering had kids with limited language and most could not read or do math at all.

You'd better believe I was praying and seeking the Lord for His compassionate hand to be on our situation. I know that there is a scripture in Psalms that says "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." I prayed that over and over again! I just kept asking the Lord to show us His goodness and to show the teachers what was best.

The Lord has been so good to us and put people in our path who know a lot about special needs. Since I have been the special needs coordinator at our church the Lord has truly shown me that we are not alone and that our situation could be so much worse (SO QUIT YOUR BELLY ACHIN! and be glad for what you have... yeah, He said that to me! :)!!

One mom also works with kids with special needs as her profession. She was the compliance facilitator for a special needs SCHOOL (like ALL of the kids have needs and she knows the law backwards and forwards... so she kept their entire school up to date on things in the special needs world). I explained my concerns about our teachers wanting to potentially move Caroline and she agreed to go to the meeting with me and my husband ! I could not believe it! God just works in amazing ways! He just does!

Well, the meeting was on Monday and I went to church on Sunday just ready to wear the altar out with my request for God's favor in this situation. I got the the altar and I could not pray. It was like the Lord was saying "You've brought this. I know your need. Rest." I made it to my seat and got ready to hear the sermon. Guess what it was about!?  Trials that we anticipate. Things that we can't see, but that we stress over. Not knowing WHAT'S around the corner but trusting WHO is around the corner! Oh, yea. The pastor might as well have started the sermon with "HEY! MELISSA! This one's for YOU!"

Monday morning comes and I get a text. My friend (with ALL of the knowledge) says that her childcare for the afternoon fell through and she can't make it. I panic a little, text her back with a few questions and pray. God said, "It will be ok! I will be there." I regain composure. That afternoon  my husband comes home from work early. He walks up the stairs and as soon as I see him I know... he had a fever! I LOST IT! I started crying and saying, " I CAN NOT DO THIS BY MYSELF! I CAN NOT!!" (Because it's all about me! Poor guy, with a fever and stomach bug and I am crying about ME!)

I call the teacher and say that I want to reschedule. She said, "Are you panicking about us moving Caroline? We are not going to do that. We don't want to see her in that environment. We are going to just look at her goals and how we can help her best here at our school. We've checked. Right now there isn't a better place for her."

What? You are not moving her? I've almost given myself an ulcer for NOTHING!? Oh, I was so mad at myself for not trusting God. He had told me time and again that it would be ok. People were  praying for us like mad and God had even not allowed me to pray about it because He told me that He was in control. Yet, I continued to stress and worry... ALL FOR NOTHING!!!

The hard reality that they did present to me that day is that Caroline will probably not graduate with a diploma. As we look at her abilities now we have to realize that pre-algebra and calculus are probably not realistic expectations for her and those are requirements for graduation. They do feel that we can work with her and teach her some skills so that one day she might have a job and possibly live on her own or in a group home. Middle school is currently 3 years away for us, but those years pass quickly and the middle school setting is a lot of "inclusion" where the kids with special needs are in regular classes and the special ed. teachers are there to help modify assignments. Caroline probably can't function in that environment very well. We need to be looking at what would be best for her at that time.

When you havea baby you just never anticipate that things will be nothing but wonderful for him/her. You never think that your child won't go to college and you don't plan to have to adapt every part of their lives for them. When I look at those who have children with more severe disabilities I can only imagine the heart of that mom. She got pregnant and had a child that she had great dreams for. Now, those dreams are different and there is a different path that she's having to take. Not that the path isn't good. It is good! It's just different and it's not the path that she thought she'd take with this child. Any child with even mild disabilities bring challenges that parents never anticipate. It's hard not to compare your child with other typically developing kids and it's hard to not want what they have for your own child... just being honest and real.

So.. reality is hard, and sometimes it does hurt, but we are not lying down and quitting. We've got work to do.. spelling words to learn, math problems to do, reading that needs to be done. We are just going to keep working and keep trying and never give up because we never EVER know what God has in store. He may allow us to go through trials like these so that we can minister to those who come behind us. He may allow us to see Him do a miracle in the life of Caroline that could only be explained by His mighty power! What mama would not pray for Him to touch her and just heal whatever has caused these difficulties? He made her... He knows! I just know that without Him I'd be in much despair and there would be days that I probably would worry myself sick! SO.. PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW! Let's live this life to the fullest!