Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Learning a new skill (sort of)

Back in Jr. High we took Home Economics (now called Family and Consumer Science).  I used to cross stitch with my mother, particularly if we were going on a long trip or were on vacation or school break of some sort.  We never really did anything with the stuff we made, but it was fun and kept me busy.  In our class I did well in the sewing and stitching section because I had some experience already.  We did learn and have to make a pillow design from french knots while in there too.  But, we didn't ever use those skills afterwards.

Well, I have a child who won't wear anything "rough" or "scratchy" or "itchy."

So I'm reteaching myself with the aid of YouTube how to embroider so that her "jeggings" (knit denim) can be "cute" like her friends' jeans.  I'm practicing on a hand me down skirt that she won't wear (maybe I can convince her younger sister to) and then I'm going to try to embellish her jeggings from last year to make sure I can do what I want before I attempt on new jeans/jeggings.

Nothing fancy, but a start, still a lot to learn and patterns to download and draw, but B (younger sister) liked it and since I'm hoping she'll wear it next year, that's a good thing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


My 4 year old, B, started school this week, and as much as I hate to admit it, I cried once I was home.  It's funny, I don't think I was nearly as upset when the other two started school.  Maybe it's just because I know this is the last one to go.  I have a high schooler and a preschooler.

 I actually think the thing that has me upset is the fact that my first baby is in high school!  A was my preemie, she was 6 weeks early, arriving at 5lbs10oz and 18in long.  She was strong and a fighter and only needed help with her body temperature and jaundice thankfully.  But now she's in 9th grade, 9th grade, people!  She is so smart, so strong, so compassionate, but it still scares me, she's a baby, not yet 14 starting high school.  In 3 "sophomore" classes (Biology I, Geometry, and Spanish I) so she's not confined to the freshman academy like most of the 9th graders, plus since she's on the soccer team she's got athletic P.E. with upper classmen.

P's birthday is today, she's a baby 1st grader like my 9th grader is the baby of her class.  I think I'm going to like her teacher and she doesn't seem to be having as hard of a time adjusting to school as I thought.  Though, to be honest, the homework adjustment is a pill, she hates HAVING to do something, if I could convince her it was her idea somehow it would all be fine.  Reviewing last year's words and number facts is a pain because she doesn't want to, not that she can't or struggles with it.  Anyone have a clue how to make it more fun?

B is my preschooler, the baby, yet very independent.  She never meets a stranger and seems to have no problems with school so far, she didn't want to tell me about the classroom rules yesterday like the note said to review, but I think that was because P was fighting her homework at the same time.

This year has brought about some difficulties in dropping everyone off though.  Poor A still has to ride the bus, maybe next year I can take her since the littles will be at the same school instead of across town from one another.  Right now I have to leave the house at 720 to get P to school for 735, then drive into town to drop B off at 755 for prayer meeting before dismissal to class.  In the afternoon B gets picked up at 240 so I can make it back to P before 305 when she gets out...we haven't figured out how soccer practice in the afternoons for A will work out because they haven't even started conditioning for some reason....oh well...

I suppose that this means that Fridays when M is home from work that will be our "date" time at lunch since we'll have no kids around this year.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Busy summer

It's been crazy busy around here.  Too bad I haven't uploaded any picture to the computer to post.  The first real week out of school was VBS, it was a blast, I taught Kindergarten art rotation.   Way too much planned for the first 2 days but after that we settled in.  The next week was a morning camp for P, the next week there wasn't really much planned, the following week was Centrifuge for A, so P and B got to stay with Deda a few days and M and I got to spend a few days kid-less!
Then A came back and went to Deda's to see some cousins in from Indiana, we met her up there for the 4th and had a blast, and now for the rest of the summer...I should have planned better...I don't know what to do now!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Science in the yard!

Spring flowers are blooming, the rose will be next, but in that rose bush is a nest.  A pretty "red bird" or cardinal has made her home in our climbing rose in the front yard. And the babies are hatching!!

Last week a took a bunch of pictures as we walked around talking about flowers and why some had "little pointy out thingies" that were really long and some that weren't so long.  Why some flowers were big and some were small.  Why were some flowers on tall vines and some on weeds in the grass.

We had some thistle seeds blow in (didn't get any pictures of those though) and talked about how flowers meant seeds and that different seeds grew in different places because that's where the wind might blow them, and how other seeds go spread.

Why did the bees and bugs get on the flowers?

Why did the birds build their nests in strange places?

Last week there were just eggs!
today we're hatching babies!

so tiny and ugly right now, maybe mama bird will let me get near the nest again next week to see how big they've gotten

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Reminders (Middle School is CRAZY)

My friend Sarah wrote a blog post that made Laugh Out Loud.  I guess it doesn't surprise me all that much, she was always funny, goofy, nice, smart, I could go one, but, sorry Sarah, I won't!  I'm not sure that some of the people I'm still friends with through FB realize what impacts they had on me, or others when we were kids.

It's funny to me that I agree with so much of what Sarah said, because I envied her confidence at the time...confidence that she doesn't seem to remember having a lot of.

I was the skinny kid, who among many things got called "Gonzo" or "Skeletor" on the bus or the field at "recess."  But I had good friends for the most part, though I should let you know that my definition of friend was far more specific than just being in classes with people, even in middle school. I still struggle with confidence, with accepting myself, with realizing that what other people think of me really doesn't matter that much in the grand scheme of things.

If that's something I can teach my child at a younger age then I'm all for it.  I just wish I knew how.  She's getting picked on because she's smart, polite, helpful, pretty, athletic...this gets her called a "suck up" and "goody-goody" and has earned her some enemies even in her honors/pre AP courses where she's sitting with other "smart" people all day.  It's earned her enemies because the teachers like her, respect her, she gets good grades, has 3 high-school credits already even though she's only just finishing 8th grade, and for some reason this makes people think that SHE thinks she's better than others...which is as far from the truth as it can get.

She struggles daily because she's worried about people she thought were her friends, but after getting nominated (along with 5 others) for Student of the Year, found out that they really weren't.  They were so jealous they told her how they COULDN'T BELIEVE that SHE had been nominated of all people, that she was too immature (because she likes to laugh, tell jokes, cut up when not in class), how in the world she get it an not them (jealous much)...those simultaneous life rafts, yet sharks that Sarah mentioned.  She's in a constant state of worry about who is trying to get her in trouble, who is jealous enough to try to break up her friendships and boyfriend-ship, try to get her in trouble by spreading rumors/lies, in general being nothing like what she expected of people she trusted.

To top that off, she like me, has lost some really close true friends because they've moved. I lost many too around that age, and I do remember all too well the heartache from losing the few people I was really friends, not just acquaintances, with. I suppose at least I do remember, I can help her, though sometimes I feel like I'm floundering around with it all.

She can't really control the roller coaster, and so I have to remind myself and my husband to cut her some slack, she's got a lot going on. At the same time, I have to show her that she can and will get through it.  That she's stronger than she thinks she is.  I think I've learned more about people and how to deal with people in a variety of situations since I had kids than I ever learned before, and I know I will continue to learn.  It just stinks for her that I don't know it all now...know how to better prepare her than I do.

I don't have 3 kids in middle school (though in a few years when my younger two get there I'll have two at a time, and Sarah can come laugh at/with me then), but I do remember, and I do think that God has a great sense of we don't always give him enough credit for.  He's on this ride with us, and if He didn't have a sense of humor and we couldn't see his sense of humor, the ride would be very LONG indeed...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sometimes we just have those days

Yesterday was a bad day conduct wise at school for P.  I don't know why, and I surely wish I did.

I gave her the magnesium supplement to help her stay in control of her nervous system, her multivitamin, her Calm Child supplement to help her stay calm and focused, yet still we were on orange.

I don't understand,  this is the 3rd day in 6 that we've had conduct marks and two in one day yesterday.  All of them are with a long-term substitute that will be there the remainder of the year and is a brand new teacher having finished her student teaching in the fall.  The staff all raves about her, but how is it that my kid is having discipline issues now when she wasn't before.

Is the behavior issue because the school hasn't had them on the playground in over a month now because of the weather and she's not getting enough sensory input? Is it because there's been a big change all of the sudden? Does she not like the new teacher?  Does the teacher not have control of the class and my child has become the target or is all the class having more conduct issues?  Is it because while we have an IEP we have no help at all other than speech when we really need OT and assistive technologies as well as resource to help reinforce reading?  Our grades have fallen steadily in reading and I'm doing all I know how to do at home to help her with this.  We practice reading decodable books which I spoke of in the last post, we practice sight words with games, flash cards and computer applications, I just don't know how else to help her...she gets very visually overstimulated by lots of words on the page and will shut down and refuse to read, she hates to be put on the spot and asked direct questions, it's very intimidating for her....someone needs to help her and me figure out how to get past this or test in a different way....ugh.

I have an appointment with Mrs. Manning tomorrow to discuss much of this, and I've made a list of questions and concerns in hopes I can stay calm and on posting today is part of getting the emotion out of the way and just bringing the facts to the table.  When Mrs. Manning called today she was already on the defensive and very upset that I had concerns about her substitute I guess we'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Homework woes in Kindergarten


That's how I feel about it. I don't like homework in general and I certainly don't like it in Kindergarten, but with changing standards I can see how some is necessary.  And really, if P would stop arguing and just do it, it wouldn't take but 10 minutes.

write the 5 "spelling" (phonics) words one time each per night.  Do part of a math worksheet (generally 3-5 items), do her flashcards and read one or two decoadable readers to me to practice her reading.

These are some of the online decodable readers I've found that have been helpful in finding books other than the decodable "take-home books" they get sent home from school.  Different means she's not already bored with them and it means more practice with different word sets each week/day.

pre-decodable books from thinkcentral
decodable books from thinkcentral
starfall downloadable learn to read books with Zac the Rat
decodable books written by teachers (power point formats)

I've also put her spelling and sight words into lists at for her to play games like bingo, matching and word search with for constant exposure in a different setting.

Some other suggestions I recieved were starfall (learn to read is free, other subject areas are not), (my kid is not impressed but I know others who love it), khanacademy (for math), essential skills advantage (not sure on this one yet how she'll do)

I'm looking into abcmouse, particularly for this summer to continue learning between school years and brainjogging since it's specifically for "different" learners to help their processing of information.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Crying Babies, at home, in the car, everywhere

P, my middle child has been diagnosed with what would have been PDD-NOS years ago, now the diagnosis is simply ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) mild (so she's very-high functioning autistic).  With this diagnosis comes SPD/SID (Sensory Processing/Integration Disorder). How our journey towards this diagnosis began, starts with infancy, in particular, her constant screaming over seemingly nothing and our inability to soothe her.

At first she seemed like any normal higher-needs baby, she just liked to be held and comforted, but it turned into being overstimulate by everything and crying constantly.  In particular, the car seat made her totally inconsolable.

She had a Graco SafeSeat1 (similar to the current Graco Snugride 30 and 35, it had a 30lb, 32inch limit on it so I thought I would surely use it until she was a year old--boy was I wrong).  Even with the infant insert in it she cried constantly.

So...what we tried:

We tried with the insert, without the insert, with the strap covers, without the strap covers (nothing aftermarket allowed, only those that came with her seat at the time of purchase). It made no difference with P at all. It did however make our next child, B, much happier to be in the seat without the infant insert and strap covers (check your manual to see if any of the inserts or covers are required).

We also tried having the air cooler and warmer.  Still she cried, though not quite as hard when she was we always made sure not to overdress her and keep the car fairly cool, This held especially true for days when she was already upset as she would work up a sweat as soon as the crying and screaming fits started.

The doctor and I tried medicine for colic/gas and reflux, but they did little to help her, though it does seem to help some kids, particularly since infant seats have a sort of  "C" shape to them that makes kids with reflux more uncomfortable, a more upright and "L" shaped convertible helps them normally.

We tried music, white noise (there are phone apps for this), rolling the windows down, me singing, toys that had bells inside a stuffed animal or doll, loveys, etc., all to no avail...still she cried every time she was in the car seat, no matter how tired or close to sleep she was, how awake and happy she was, still she cried.

We tried me sitting in the 3rd row of our van when possible, she already had an 8 year old sister sitting next to her that she could see and who tried desperately to console her.

Next we went with static cling window shades to block the sun, that did help some in the spring and summer, but really, still she cried.

At almost 7 months we decided to try a convertible seat.  I don't know if it had to do with being up higher and seeing out the window more, the age, the more upright seating/"L" position or the fuzzy soft fabric, but we became a better rider at this point. Still, 70% of the time in the seat we were in hysterics...but hey, that 30% of the time reprieve from crying was very welcomed.  Somehow over the next 6 months she slowly cried less and less.

Here's the deal though...I don't think people realize that some kids, regardless of what you do, are going to cry no matter what in the car seat.  All you can do is your best: try anything and everything that's safe.

At the time we were dealing with this the Noggle (review by hadn't been released yet.  I think it could have been a very valuable tool for redirecting air around her. I know that if I didn't have a van with rear air/heat I would buy one now to help cool the back of a car or SUV during our hot and humid summers.

Try it all, white noise, music, rolling the windows down, changing the temps, using a noggle, sshshing them, sitting in the back with them, toys that make noise or light up but are still soft and safe for the car, a mirror so they can see you (as long as it's well anchored and couldn't be a hard projectile to hurt your child in an accident--if you threw it at them would it hurt them?), changing how you dress them, a different seat, installing your seat more upright if it allows, or more reclined if it's very upright already, make sure your straps aren't too tight, but are just tight enough to pass the pinch test, swaddle them in their seat, and just know you aren't alone.  Some kids will outgrow it in a few weeks, some a few months, some longer, but as long as they are strapped in correctly and you have places to go, you just plan to make more frequent stops when possible, try to get them sleepy in hopes they'll fall asleep on your journey, and make sure they aren't hungry when you start. There are some essential oils (lavender and sweet orange or roman chammomile) that might be able to help calm your child by placing a drop on a bib or using an in-car careful with essential oils though, make sure what you choose is appropriate for young children.

As for the SPD/ASD, The constant screaming for us, since most things didn't help was mostly sensory related. She didn't like the feel of certain fabrics and would cry incessantly when she wore things that weren't cotton knit.  She didn't like the feel of the motion of the car, she didn't like the snugness of the harness (still doesn't at age 5.5).  Didn't like the bright sun, road noise, or anything near her head.  She doesn't feel temperatures the same way (or pain) that normal children do.  So I think a lot of her stopping the crying was learning how to navigate her world that was so crazy overstimulating to her.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

snow and ice again

I seriously hope they have school tomorrow, because after spending most of last week home and today home I'm not sure what else to do with them to entertain them!

Last week started as a rainy, freezing rainy, sleety was pretty, but it wasn't fun to play in and the roads were nasty!

P thought it was the greatest thing ever to stick her tongue out to catch whatever freezing precipitation was falling, I have at least 4 pictures of her doing it, two of them were accidents as she just started doing it as I was taking pictures and it was too cute to pass up.  As you can see here she doesn't seem to be as effected by the cold as everyone else.

They tried desperately to get a little ice man to stay together in the first round of ice didn't really work, and once the snow came on day 3, we did manage to build a snowman, but the dogs knocked it over before I could snag a picture of it.

A just liked the snow in her hair...thought she was too cool to play much in it.

I haven't really researched why this happened, but there was a big puddle outside that I thought would just freeze into a solid sheet.  Apparently I was wrong.  There grew in it's place strange, yet beautiful, muddy ice crystals, some straight and some curved...a whole tiny forest of them!

 Snow/ice angels were fun, especially since they don't remember ever making them, they do remember making "leaf" angels in November when the oak dropped all it's leaves in the front yard.

And, while B was ok for a few minutes with heavy coat and ski bibs on, P didn't care how she was dressed as long as she was outside playing in it.

Ice driving, even for the kids was nearly impossible, if you went to fast you spun your tires or ran into something, but if you slowed too much or stopped you got stuck.  They also found climbing the fort a difficult task as the climbing wall and the stairs were slick.

 Like I said, the roads were nuts, but we did take a walk through the neighborhood and it was really neat to see all the changes the snow brought about.  A very different perspective indeed.

Now, yesterday was a most entertaining day.  The below photo on the left is from Tuesday, our high was 75 at 5pm that day.  The comparison next to it is from yesterday, a high of 80 at 1pm, by 3 it was only down to 78, but it was down to 56 by the time I got everyone started on homework at 345.

 I pray that today we are well entertained by kinetic sand, board games and crafts, because otherwise there's liable to be a war between B and P today

Monday, February 23, 2015

How do you sell?

In the process of cleaning up, I'm cleaning out.  Out, Out, OUT! There is no reason to have STUFF here that we don't wear, can't wear, or in my 5 year old's case won't wear!

So, I've tried listing things on our swap boards and I've learned something (you'd think I'd already know it since I have a business degree).  If  I list large lots of clothing people always want something smaller and cheaper, but if I list things in smaller groups for higher prices per item people are willing to buy all your lots if you'll make them a "deal" on the whole set.

So lets say I list the above for $10

and the one above this for $15

and this one for $6

Then people don't want to pay $31 for them individually, but they are willing to buy them for $25 all together thinking they are getting a "deal" but really when I originally listed them I listed them for $20 so it's not a "deal" at all, though they perceive it to be.  I guess I should just run with this since it's making me more money and getting rid of all the junk too!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Getting healthy.

For many years I've struggled with my weight.  I don't know why I can't stick with the healthy lifestyle, but I lose and gain, The constant yoyo like so many others.  I really want to be healthy though, so this time I working towards small goals, in small increments.  About 4 weeks ago I downloaded WW Diary (app for Android) and compared it to the actual WW program.

It's now 6 weeks after I started the WWDiary app and 2 weeks since I started this post but got side-tracked (as usual)...however, I am down 17lbs, feeling better not hungry, but not doing exercise as I should either.  This will be a journey, a life-time journey.

Getting rid of the CHAOS (per FlyLady)

I must confess to those who don't know me (those who know me know this already), but I live in chaos. Also know as Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome per the FlyLady.

Today I'm doing a modified Crisis cleaning.  Instead of 45 minutes with a 15 minute break, I'm doing 15 minutes on and 15 off to play with my daughter, fix snacks, and sell stuff on the swaps (I need to hold a big garage sale and be done with anything that's all needs to leave my house)  So while I started this new post at 9:15 a.m. it's now 10:55a.m. and I'm still not even close to done with my post.

I'm multi-tasking and eating lunch with this paragraph and I must say that even though I've only worked 45 minutes this morning, I have made progress and I'm thankful that my hubby will be home for part of tomorrow to help me some more.  I don't have anyone coming this weekend, but I do want to get back into the FlyLady habits and this can be a good way to start.  My dishwasher has been run, my sink is clean and my cabinets have been started on the clearing off as well as the laundry that was on the couch folded and put away while I worked in the living room.  Next is a cursory sweep of the bathroom that my kids call home and most visiting rumps use at some point.

And...therapy called to reschedule so I'll have more time to work before the kiddos get home.  Let me explain that with 3 kids, 2 cats and 2 dogs, not to mention a husband things go kind of haywire and since I'm not programmed to be neat and organized if I don't actually set reminders to do things in my calendar app I wouldn't ever remember at all.  Thankfully FlyLady has partnered with Cozi for a free calendar that you can sync to ALL your devices!

Slow progress is better than no progress, correct!

I have a ways to go to get back in order, however, I feel better about where I am today.  I have a focus and I need to keep it. order to that, I'm going to try blogging more about my CHAOS, my kids, everything.