Monday, August 9, 2010

Check out my new blog!

I’ve been wanting a place where I can separate out the various topics I write about, and now I have it! After lots of work, it is finally ready!  I’ve finally officially launched my new blog!!   I will be backing up this one, and then closing it down and redirecting the URL soon.   I hope that you will all join me at my new home on the web!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sleepover Fun!

Bug is so blessed to be loved by so many grandparents! One of those grandparents is Hubby’s grandmother.  She loves to come over and spent time with Bug, and the feeling is quite mutual!  Bug has been asking us for ages when Granny could come and spend more than one night with us.  The last 2 nights, she did!!

The girls had a sleepover in the living room and had a blast!  We pushed the little sofa up against the big sofa, and made them a huge bed to play, read, and sleep in.

Great experiences that will make forever memories!

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Are you kidding me? Sex Ed for Kindergarteners?

My favorite part about this video? This quote….”The government can’t even teach our kids to read, write, and do math”.  And we want them teaching our LITTLE kids about sex education?  I’m almost speechless! I actually have a lot to say, but am trying to restrain.  So thankful that we have the right to homeschool!  Lord, come quickly!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A day in the life of our SPD girl

Yesterday was an amazing day in so many ways.  Bug had some serious meltdowns that made for some really hard moments for sure.  The amazing thing was that, by the grace of God, I was able to recognize them for what they were and treat them appropriately.  So often, sensory/adhd/asd issues are misunderstood as behavior problems…intentional behavior problems.  So often, it appears as though our kids are making the CHOICE to misbehave, when really they aren’t making the choice at all, but rather their body has taken over their brain.

Let me describe some parts of our day.
8:30 AM  - Time to get dressed.  I needed to run a super quick errand, so I told Bug to get dressed.  I didn’t care what she wore, we weren’t even getting out of the car….just needed clothes on.  In hindsight, I should have just taken her in her jammies, but we had people coming over later and she needed clothes on at some point.
She put on a pair of panties that didn’t feel right.  This resulted in her kicking, yelling, & hitting her legs, as she tried to get the offending panties off her body.  Strangely enough, if she could think rationally and slow down, she could have gotten them off much faster.  All the kicking & hitting just gets them all tangled up and makes them harder to get off.

8:45 A.M. – Finally found a pair of panties that felt good.  This is why we have no less than 30 pair to choose from.

8:50 A.M. – Discovered that favorite shorts were wet in the washing machine, so they were not an option at the moment.  Disappointment & frustration again.  Attempted to put on another pair of shorts that were in the drawer, only to get them halfway up before deciding they were even more offensive than the panties.   I watched as more kicking and yelling ensued, only this time it included her hitting herself in the face with both hands, as if she were trying to wake someone up out of a coma.  Breaks my heart!
I helped her get the shorts off and just held her for a moment attempting to comfort her.  I told her it made me so sad when she hurt herself and I didn’t know how to help.  She told me “it doesn’t even hurt when I hit myself like that, but I just can’t stop, I can’t help it”.  I don’t know how it doesn’t hurt, because I know it would have hurt ME if she slapped my face like that!
We ended up pulling a favorite skirt out of the laundry basket.  Who cares if it’s a little dirty…..right now I just need comfortable!   We skipped the shoes since we aren’t getting out of the car anyway.

9:15 A.M. – Finally dressed, and we head to Walgreens to pick up a prescription at the drive through.

9:40 A.M. – Back at home, and time for some outside time.  Playing in the sandbox & with the water hose provide great entertainment as well as sensory input.

She had a great time for a while,  had a snack & juice popsicle outside, and then……

10:30 A.M. - A couple minutes before it was time for her to come in, I had to reprimand her for breaking a family rule.  I was calm and just explained to her again why that rule was so important, and that I needed her to obey it.   No yelling, no punishment – just talking.  Just the act of being corrected, no matter how minor, is enough to send my little perfectionist’s self esteem down a notch.  Oh, finding the balance between building up her self esteem and disciplining appropriately.  I can’t let her get away with anything and everything for the sake of her self esteem, but I also have to carefully pick my battles and my words.
Even though I didn’t see anything visible in her behavior, I knew that the “talking to” would be enough to make her extra sensitive for a while.

10:35 A.M. - Sure enough, as soon as she came inside, the meltdown started.  She was soaking wet from playing in the water, and of course it was cold inside, but she was acting like I had thrown her in the snow naked. “I’m COOOOOOOLD!! I need to be DRY!!!”   I told her to go in the bathroom and take off her wet clothes, and I would be right there to help her.   When I got to the bathroom, she was just standing there, shivering, and saying “it’s freezing!” over and over and over.  She couldn’t even focus enough to take off her clothes.  Seriously.  Her brain was frozen (and not from the cold).  She had lost all ability to think rationally.  Thank God, I recognized this for what it was and I helped her get her wet clothes off, and dry ones on quickly. 

10:50 A.M. – She’s warm & dry, and seems to be calming down.

11:10 A.M. – She comments on the fact that some dirt is on the floor of her bathroom.  I thank her for noticing, and ask her to go get her little broom & dustpan and clean it up.  She normally LOVES to use her broom and dustpan any chance she can.  
Not THIS time.
She just could not make it work.  She was either brushing too hard, or not even aiming at the dustpan.  She was getting beyond frustrated because the dirt would not go in the pan.  I tried to help her with a few verbal directions (she’s a visual learner….when will I learn?), which only proved to confuse her even more.  Again, all rational thinking seemed to be absent.  I wish I could describe the scene better, but words escape me. 
To the untrained eye, it looked like she was doing it wrong on purpose to avoid doing the work.  If I didn’t know her better, that’s just what I would have thought.  But I know she loves to sweep and help clean up.  I also know she was tired, bothered by clothes, got in trouble, and had been cold.   All of those little things really add up and end up overwhelming her body.
She even swept herself into a corner in the bathroom and then proceeded to yell at the door for hurting her as she shoved her body into it.  She was yelling “Ow! Ow! Ow! Stop hurting me, door!”.  She had no ability to even realize the door wasn’t alive.  Seriously.  She was yelling AT THE DOOR!
I finally just told her to go take a break, and I would clean it up.  I said she could practice with the broom and dustpan another day.  Sometimes, you just gotta take a break!

11:30 A.M. – Knock on the door.  I had an appt, and was expecting 1 woman to come.  I opened the door, and there were FOUR ladies standing there!  Emily was a couple feet behind me, and as soon as she saw the ladies, she started backing up saying “Too many people! Too many people!”.  I had prepared her for ONE, but not FOUR, and it took her by surprise.  She doesn’t like surprises.  She likes to prepare and plan for what’s coming.  Poor thing, she was running on overload!

She had just had enough! Thankfully, I already had snacks and activities set up for her while I met with the ladies, so we managed to get through it.

But boy, she’d had a rough day!!  And this….along with so many other days like it….are why we are taking the steps to move forward with a Gluten-Free/Casein-Free diet for Emily.  Hubby and myself will be doing it along with her, because I’m not a short order cook, and I’d rather make us all the same meals and not worry about cross contamination.  More on that subject in another post!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

50 days…50 states

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In just 50 days, my husband will once again be a full time soldier.  I will, for the first time, be an Army wife.  My husband will be serving our country…all 50 states of it.  The adventure begins in just 50 short days for him.  First, he’ll spend about 5 months in training learning his new MOS (job).  I will carry on here at home, keeping things squared away until the end of his training period when we find out where we will be moving.  Then, our whole family will be starting a new life together.

I’m excited.  We are all excited.  I try to check in with Bug from time to time about this, in case she needs to talk.  Yesterday, I asked her how she was feeling about Daddy getting ready to leave soon.  She said she was “happy, excited, and proud of him!”.  She knows she’s going to miss him, and she’s sad about that part, but she is so excited and proud of what he’s doing!  She is getting to see such an awesome example of following God’s calling and obeying him.  She is learning about sacrifice.  About how important it is to help our country.  About putting others before ourselves.   I think it will be an amazing time for her.  I know it won’t all be easy on any of us, but it is what we make of it, so I plan to make the best of it all.

I know these next 50 days are going to go by fast.  It seemed like it was only a few days ago that we said we had 100 days to go.  I want to cherish every day I have left with my Hubby before he goes.   I love him so much, and I am so incredibly proud of what he is doing.  I know it involves our whole family, but he is the one that will be out there doing the work each day. 

It was this exact time last year that we made the decision to join the Army.  Or re-join, for Hubby.  Now, here we are a year later and moving forward.  It’s really happening.  It will be interesting to see where we are this time next year.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Emily’s Birthday Weekend – Part 1 of 3

I’m a week late posting this, but I wanted to share Emily’s birthday weekend with you all.  It was a fun packed weekend, indeed!  Admittedly, it was a bit much in one weekend for her, and we are still paying the price for letting her get overwhelmed and over stimulated.  However, I would say it was worth it!  She had the time of her life, and we all had a weekend we will never forget!

 

Friday night, we went to the RODEO!  Mommy, Daddy, Bug, 2 sets of grandparents, a great grandmother, an uncle, an “aunt” and 2 cousins all came to join the excitement.

Bug had heard about a couple events that take place at the rodeo.  One was the “Dash for Cash”, where every kid in the place (well over 100) all line up on the arena floor and chase a calf around trying to pull a ribbon off it’s tail. 

She said she wanted to do it.

Seriously? This is my little girl who can’t stand crowds.  She also takes it as a personal offense if kids are running around and accidently bump into her.  She doesn’t even like being in a bounce house that is too crowded (yet is sensory seeking, so if not getting  bumped, she’d stay in one all day!).  She gets disoriented very easily.  Not to mention this was for kids up to age 12.  TWELVE.  She’s barely turning 6, and is only 30 lbs!

But hey – it’s your birthday, kiddo! If you want to try it, we’ll try it.  So, Daddy went down with her prepared to run interference if needed, or to simply pick her up and console her if and when she got trampled.

Turns out, she LOVED it.  LOVED it!  She did awesome too!  Ran around with them all, not caring for one minute where she was going or why.  Just enjoyed running around.  I didn’t tell her there was an actual prize, so she didn’t care about winning.  She just wanted to run around with the calf.   Daddy reported back to us that as I expected, she DID get trampled, and run over by some bigger kids.  But to our surprise, she just picked herself up, and kept on going.  Who WAS this girl?!

We gave her lots of hugs and kisses and told her how incredibly proud we were of her!

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But that’s not all! 

 

See, she had also heard about “Mutton Bustin’!”.  If you have not heard of this rodeo event, let me explain it to you.  You take little kids (all under 55 lbs), and put them on a big sheep.   Then, they open the gate to let the sheep out, and the child has to hang on to the sheep as long as they can.  It’s like bull riding for tiny tots!  

She wanted to do this too!  She’s on a roll!  I was terrified.  Absolutely terrified.  But, I had an out!  The kids had to sign up if they wanted to participate, and they only drew 8 names to do it.   Personally, I wanted to tell her I signed her up, and not really do it (I know, so wrong!) but I relented and let her sign up.  Then, I just secretly hoped she wouldn’t get picked.  Meanwhile, Daddy was praying she *would*. 

She did!  She got picked, and she was beyond excited!   I was still nervous because of all the potential issues.  I honestly was not worried in the least about her getting hurt.  I knew they would take care of her.  I was worried about her perception of being hurt.

She was going to have to wear a protection vest and helmet.  For a girl that can’t stand new clothes, anything with a seam, anything too tight or too loose, I knew this could be a problem.  And it’s not like she just calmly removes uncomfortable clothes….she grabs, tears, yells, & hits to get them off.

Then, she had to stand there, waiting and wearing the protection gear until it was finally time to go.   Waiting patiently was hard enough, but standing there dealing with the feeling of the equipment on her just gave her time to realize it wasn’t comfortable.

Then, she had to sit on a moving sheep, not knowing when it was going to just take off. 

Then, they opened the gate, and she was hanging sideways on the sheep before it got out the gate.  She was on the ground before I could snap a picture with the camera.   As she fell on the ground, the sheep jumped over her.  That’s when all the nervous energy hit her, and she started crying as the “fight or flight” kicked in!  She was more scared than hurt, but she couldn’t get out of there fast enough. 

The rodeo helper scooped her up, carried her to Daddy, and he got her equipment off.  With Daddy to console her, she calmed down quickly.

Then, she got a TROPHY!!!!

When they came back to the seats, I kept watching for her expecting to see her come around the corner in tears.  I was ready to scoop her up and comfort her.  But, she came around that corner holding that trophy and sporting a HUGE smile!! She was SO incredibly proud of herself. 

It was a moment I will never forget!  It was like she had just overcome so many obstacles in just a matter of minutes.  Those obstacles are still there, sure.  They will resurface.  They already have.  But, at that moment in time, she was so brave, so proud, and so happy!

 

Here is a video of her.  Sorry it’s so wobbly! She was on the side of the sheep before the camera started recording.  You can also watch the close up on the “Jumbo Screen” at the top left of the video.

 

Here she is with her trophy!

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I don’t know what got into her that made her try those things that night.  Only the grace of God!  But, I’m so glad that in the end I didn’t keep her from doing them.  I would have cost her an experience of a lifetime.   Thankfully, some past experiences helped her with this one.  Her horse riding lessons, allowed her to get on that sheep, and wear that helmet without a problem.  Taking the hockey camp allowed her to be willing to put on the protective gear without a fit.  Just the same, this experience will help her with future ones.  It already has.  When she overreacted to a little bump the other day, I reminded her that she was tough enough to fall off a sheep and get back up!  That brought a smile to her face. 


She wants to be a cowgirl when she grows up.  She has her eye on Barrel Racing.  I just know she could do it!

 

A few pictures before we headed out to the rodeo:

 

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Monday, July 5, 2010

July 4th with our sensational kiddo

We were going to watch fireworks this year, but we had to change our plans.  Having a child with SPD means that we have to be flexible with our plans.  With Bug’s need for structure, it means we have to have a backup plan for our plan.

We were going to go to a fireworks show on July 3rd, but the weather was threatening thunderstorms, so we decided it was best to stay home.  Instead we had a super fun game night playing “Charades for Kids”.  We thought we would try again the next night to see fireworks, but those plans got changed too.

We started the 4th at church, with an awesome worship service.  It was a little longer than our normal church service, however, so Bug was already a little antsy from having to sit for so long in one place.  That afternoon, my parents and Hubby’s grandmother came over to play.  We just cooked burgers out on the grill, had some good food and relaxed here while Bug got lots of grandparent play time.  We tried to keep it low key, but it proved to still be too much excitement for one little girl to handle.  By late afternoon, she was showing signs of being overwhelmed.  Her tactile sense was ultra sensitive and every little touch was hurting.  She was becoming much less tolerant of things not going exactly as she intended (otherwise known as getting upset at the drop of a hat).  She was losing her ability to focus on the simplest of tasks or instructions.  All this, and we still had 3 hours to go before heading out to the fireworks!

So, we decided to step up as parents and make the tough call to NOT go see fireworks.  I didn’t want to do that, as I knew Bug was  looking forward to them, but I also knew she had a special day with Daddy planned for the next day, and without a good night of rest, that wouldn’t go well.  Amazingly, she took the news well!  I reminded her we had just seen fireworks for Memorial Day, and explained to her that we would spend a little more time having fun with the grandparents and then it was really important for her body to get rest so that she could enjoy her day with Daddy the next day.   At moments like this, I never know if the disappointment will be more than she can handle, but she took it like a champ.

Today, she and Daddy are heading to the Nature & Science Museum where there is a TON of stuff for kids to enjoy.  Hands-on, great sensory input and all around educational.  She can run around, play in the sand, the water, make bubbles, play outside and have a great time!  She had a good night of rest last night and is really looking forward to this day, so I hope it all goes well.

It’s hard to make choices like we did.  We wanted to go see fireworks ourselves.  I wanted to pack us all up with a picnic and glow sticks, go spread out on a blanket and watch her eyes light up as she watched the fireworks.  I knew she wanted to see them too, and I didn’t want to disappoint her when this is a (mostly) once a year activity.  At the same time, we had to decide if this one activity was worth having a few days of challenges.  We’ve already been struggling this last week because last weekend was her Birthday Weekend (post coming soon), which was 3 days full of activities, late nights, and lots of emotions.  We followed that with 3 late nights of Vacation Bible School at our church.  It was all super fun, and we had a great time, but her body (and even ours!) was crying out for some down time.  Some time to not have to rush anywhere at a certain time. 

It’s all about balance, and finding that sweet spot between making sure we get enough activity and getting way too much.  We have to be structured, scheduled, & have a plan yet be flexible enough to change that if the need arises.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Caution: Busy Weekend Ahead!

This upcoming weekend is packed with fun & excitement!  Emily’s 6th birthday is this upcoming Tuesday, so we are celebrating this weekend.  SIX?? Where did the time go?

 

Friday night  - We are going to the RODEO!  She has been once before, and has been asking to go for her birthday for weeks!  She is in LOVE with horses, and is becoming quite the little Princess Cowgirl.  I love it!  She’s always been more nature-loving than princess-y (which fits me perfectly!) and it’s cute to see her getting a little girly, while hanging on to the cowgirl! 

 

Saturday – We’ll have the family over for a party.  The last couple years, she has chosen to spend her special day with her parents, grandparents, and “Aunt Chelle” (a close family friend) rather than a bunch of kids.  Ok with us!  We inflate a big pool in the backyard, turn on a sprinkler, put a bunch of shaving cream in a plastic pool, set out some snacks, pop up the shade canopy, and have a great time!   She plays in the sun and water until she’s worn out, then opens her presents and spends the rest of the day playing with them.

It works out really well because with all the excitement of a birthday, her Sensory Processing Disorder will be on high alert.  Thankfully, the sensory input from the water, shaving cream, and foods will help keep her in balance.

 

Sunday – This is the best! Our little girl is getting BAPTIZED!! We are so very proud of her!  She has an amazing relationship with God, and has for a long time now.  It’s so awesome to hear her say things that God told her, that we know did not come from us.  Children really are closer to God than we are, I have no doubt!  She asked Jesus into her heart a year ago and was saved then, but she is now ready to follow that up in baptism in order to obey what God asks us to do, and to show others that she is a follower of Christ. 

I told her that the best part about all this is knowing that no matter what happens to us on earth….because we will all die at some point….that we would be together forever in Heaven.  There is no greater gift than knowing your child is sealed with her name in the Book of Life.

Letting God drive

I’ve started reading Acts recently as I’m going to be doing a Bible study on this book in the fall, and I like to read it through once before to prepare myself as one of the leaders.  Then, I read through it again with the group.  It’s amazing how God will speak to me differently in the same passage of scripture, depending on where I am in my life.  I can’t wait to see what He has to say!

 

In Acts 1, Jesus was quoted as saying to his apostles, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised”.   This was one of the verses that I read when we were considering whether or not Rob was going to re-join the Army.  God clearly told us to wait until we heard from Him. And we did!  I’m sure God loves initiative, but He doesn’t want us to run ahead of Him, looking back to see if He’ll catch up with us.  Instead, He wants us to wait on Him.  Wait for His word, His calling, His provision.  He wants us to pray about every decision we make, no matter how big or small.

 

Verse 7 says, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.”.

 

We all want to know the plan, don’t we?  I know I do.  I’m a planner.  I like to schedule things, research things, know what’s going to happen.  If I’m on vacation I love to go with no plans at all, but for my day to day stuff, I need to have a schedule & some structure. It makes me feel comfortable.  But God is great at taking me out of that comfort zone, so that I have to truly rely on Him.

Right now, there are a couple major areas in my life that I’ve had to turn over to the Lord because there is nothing I can do about them.   One, is the Army.  I know we are moving in the Spring, but I have no idea where to.  It could literally be anywhere in the world that there is an Army post.  I can’t even begin to guess, or start looking up local attractions, housing, etc.  It doesn’t even matter what we want because, although the Army will ask our top 3 choices…the truth is, they will send Hubby where they need him.    The other is our foster baby.   I would love to know his outcome.  Will he be returned to his mom?  Go to someone else? Or will we end up adopting him?  Again, there isn’t a thing in the world I can do about this situation.  It’s completely out of my hands, and it relies on so many different things, that it’s like a huge puzzle with a few missing pieces.  So, I wait.

I could choose to let the unknown drive me crazy.  I could worry, and be anxious, and think about all the “what-ifs”.  But God tells me in His word not to be anxious or worry, but to trust in Him.  So, as hard as it was at first, I am letting it go, and just letting God be in control.

 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Phil 4:6)

At first, that feels scary, but then when you truly surrender there is a peace that comes with that.  God will give you a comfort & a peace that can only come from Him.  Letting go was outside of my comfort zone, but it’s right inside His.

 

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:7)

 

So, I am letting God drive.  I’ll just go along for the ride, and enjoy the view along the way.  I’ll rest, knowing that He is behind the wheel, and I’ll look forward to seeing where He takes me!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day

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I’ve always been glad to live in America. Growing up, I knew that our country was free to do a lot of things that other countries were not.  I knew that people came to our country to get jobs.  Unfortunately, it was not until I was an adult that I learned just how free we are here, and grew to be *proud* of my country, not just happy to live here.  The things we take for granted are privileges that many countries just don’t have.  I learned that people fought for our rights to have these freedoms and that many of them died.

I regret now that I did not have history teachers that instilled a desire in me to learn more about our country’s history. We spent a great deal of time on Texas history, however.  Even then, it was unfortunate that my history teachers cared more about devoting their time to coaching a team than they did teaching us anything.   I didn’t learn that true American pride from my family either.  I mean, sure, they were glad to be here.  My father moved to the states from Canada when he was a young adult, but he held on to his Canadian citizenship.  My mom’s dad served in WWII, but he passed away when I was 6, and we only lived in the same state for less than 1 of those years.  I never heard his stories, or even knew of his service except in passing when someone would mention he fought in the war.  In fact, it was only a week ago that I learned from my mom that he was awarded the Purple Heart.  He had been shot, and left for dead, until someone came across his body and kicked it just to make sure…and he moved.   Growing up, Memorial Day was just another 3 day weekend to have picnics.  Veteran’s Day went by without a word.  It is no longer that way for me.

When I met Hubby, and learned that he had served our country in the Army for 7 years, I was intrigued.  I love hearing his stories and seeing his pride for our country.  I loved seeing the feeling and emotion he had when we took a trip to Washington D.C. together, and visited many of the memorials.  He took me to watch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and it brought tears to my eyes as he watched with the upmost respect and cringed at the people who were showing no respect at the “show” they were watching.  Even then, years before we had children, he spoke of teaching our children pride for our country and respect for the military.  I remember when he once noticed that a building had hung their Texas flag upside down, and have since realized that many people don’t know which side is up (Remember it like this: the red is on the bottom to symbolize the blood shed).  If the red is at the top, it is a sign of distress or extreme danger.  He takes off his hat, and puts his hand over his heart at the singing of the National Anthem. 

I can now say that I am truly PROUD and BLESSED to live in America!  It’s a different feeling than just being happy to be here.  That has grown immeasurably over the past decade, and I am so thankful.  I love having the chance to learn history all over again as I read and Hubby answers my many questions, and as we together teach our daughter.  I love that we are instilling a sense of pride in her already, as we teach her about other countries and why we are free in America. 

Memorial Day is not just another 3 day weekend.  Sure, I was glad to have Hubby home for an extra day, but I also know that there were many widows, widowers, parents and children who were spending the day without a loved one who died while protecting our right to be free.  For that, I am honored and thankful.

It would seem that we are doing an ok job of teaching Bug about these things, because we overheard this conversation between her and the neighbor friend on Sunday evening:

 

Bug:  “You know what tomorrow is?  It’s Memorial Day.  It’s the day we celebrate the people that have defended our country from the bad guys.”  (she didn’t mention that it’s to celebrate those that died, but she knows that)

 

Although, we still have a little work to do, because she followed with this:

 

Bug: “Daddy, who is the bad Army? Is it the Canadians?”

Daddy: “No, baby, they are on our side!”

She is so excited that Daddy is going back into the Army, “to fight the bad guys”!

 

So, THANK YOU, to each and every one of you that have lost someone you love on my behalf as they served our country to protect our rights and freedoms.  Thank YOU to the families who gave the ultimate sacrifice because they have to live without someone they love.  Thank you for loving your country so much that you supported your loved one as they fought for us.  Thank you!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

They didn’t kick me out!

I recently returned to the gym.  I need to get in shape, and no matter how much I love the idea of working out at home, it just doesn’t happen with little ones underfoot.  So, I’ve joined the gym Hubby goes to, and can now workout while my children enjoy someone else’s company. :)

I always feel intimidated at the gym.  The women that are perfectly in shape, the feeling like a shark’s prey when I walk in the door and get eyed by every salesperson with a quota to meet, the offers to buy personal training or sign up for something, the muscle filled body builders in the free weights area. 

Ahh, yes, the free weights area.  I actually love it there, but I’m always nervous to step across the invisible barrier into the land of the body builder club.  I feel like they are all going to shoo me out because I’m not grunting enough or ripped enough.  I don’t know why, at age 36, I get nervous about something like that.  But I do.

But today, I ventured in.  I walked in like I knew what I was doing, found the machines I knew how to work, loaded my free weights on, and there I was working out with the rest of them.  No one even glanced at me, let alone kick me out.   I felt the confidence coming back just a little.  I always feel strong when I venture in there.  I feel strong today.  Emotionally.  Mentally. Physically.  Well, the physical will take some time, but I’m getting there.  Just using the "Hack Squat” machine, no matter that I only put 20 lbs on it, makes me feel strong.  I am woman, hear me roar purr.  :)

 

Today, I used the row machine for 15 minutes, the stair climber for 10, and then did weights for 20.  It feels good.

 

 

Another “feel good”…..

On the way home I saw a car stopped in middle of the intersection, an older man.  I couldn’t help because I had 2 kids I couldn’t just leave in the car, but as I turned and double backed to get to my street, my heart was filled with joy! I saw a young man help by pushing his car with his own car to get it out of the street.  Kindness still exists.  Look for opportunities to stop and help someone else today.

Monday, May 24, 2010

98 days to go

In just under 100 days, I will become an Army wife.  A title I will hold proudly for the rest of my life.  It sounds like a long time from now, but it’s just about 14 weeks away.  Hubby will do some training for a few months and when he’s done, we’ll find out where we will be stationed.  Since he’s prior service, he doesn’t have to go to basic training, but he does have to go to AIT where he will be trained to do his new job.

It’s funny.  We already know that this time next year we will be living somewhere else, but we have no idea where.  It could be anywhere there is an Army post.  For a control freak like myself, it’s a little stressful to be planning to move, but not being able to research the area ahead of time.

All of a sudden, I feel like there is so much to do.  We’ve been recording Hubby reading books to Bug so that she can watch them at bedtime, or anytime she misses him.  Suddenly, there is an urgency behind it and I want to make sure we get many, many more done.  Then there is the legal stuff.  We already have a will, but I will need Power of Attorney and other emergency information on hand.  At the time, he’s only scheduled to go to training, but I am very well aware that he could be deployed at any time after the training is done.  On that note, I want to get as much done now as I can so that we are better prepared later.  Especially things that are between Hubby and Bug.   IF, just IF, he were to get deployed soon after training, what things would I wish I had done for him or for Bug before he left?  More pictures of them together? More Daddy-Daughter date nights?  We’ll be doing all that and more.

We are excited! God has called us to this path, and we are anxious to follow it. It’s a new adventure, a new life, and another leap of faith.

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Taking it easy on low motor days

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LoveBug takes after me and is not a morning person!  It’s just another reason that I am so thankful that we homeschool.  I can’t imagine how rough her day would be if I had to have her up, dressed, fed and dropped off somewhere before 8!  Honestly, I’m  also thankful that I don’t have to get out of bed early enough to do all that.

I love being able to set our own schedule, and keep it flexible enough for her needs.  She gets up at 8:00 every day except Sunday when we have to get up a bit earlier to make it to church on time.  If she wakes up between 7-8, she turns on her little light and reads in her bed for a while.  At 8, she comes out to say good morning and we get our good morning hugs & kisses.  We usually have to ask for them, but she complies. 

Then, we remind her to go to the bathroom and off she goes.  She is like a camel and can go for ages without going to the bathroom, so we have to make remind her to go first thing in the morning, before rest time, and before bed.   She takes her time in the bathroom, getting distracted by noticing herself in the mirror, or any number of other things.  A good 10 minutes later, she’s out.

At this point, we eat breakfast because she does much better doing her morning chores after getting a little fuel in her body.  If we are doing great, we can be eating by 8:30, sometimes 8:45. 

After breakfast, is morning chore time!  She is responsible for getting dressed, brushing her teeth, making her bed, and feeding the cat.   These chores take anywhere from 10 minutes to 30, sometimes 45, depending on how the choosing panties & clothes goes today.

There are days that we zoom through everything and can be sitting at the table ready to do schoolwork by 9.  Those days are rare.   Then, there are days like today.  She’s had a very busy weekend at the grandparents’ house and celebrating Mother’s Day.  So today, her motor is running extremely low.  It would take hurculean efforts to get us ready to go by 10:00.  Fortunately, we are having an easy morning with no where to go until this afternoon.

 

What does it look like for her to have a low motor?

First thing we notice is that her light isn’t on before 8.  That tells me that she slept in, and hasn’t had her slow-wake-up reading time.  Next, she comes stumbling out of her bedroom with eyes still half shut, and complaining about some ache or pain.  Today is was that her right eye hurt, and her right leg was “hurting and feels sleepy”.  I gave her kisses for the eye, and a massage followed by joint compressions for the leg.  Her muscles are so tired, she can hardly walk.  Her voice sounds almost whiny, but I can tell it’s the tired whiny, not the “not-getting-my-way” whiny, so I can tolerate it.   Besides, she isn’t saying much, which in itself is just another clue she’s running on a low motor.

A quick easy breakfast of a favorite all-natural cereal helps get her energy level high enough that I could have her do some light bouncing on the trampoline to wake up her body.   Next, I get her dressed in her favorite comfy sweats (yes, it is Texas, and almost summer, but her cold-natured body doesn’t care) to keep the tactile issues to a minimum, and have her brush her teeth to help her oral sensation. 

At this point she’s feeling a bit better, so just a couple more steps to go.  I make her a large cup of applesauce for her to drink through a straw (oral), while sitting on the sofa watching an episode of Blue’s Clues to finish waking up.

Within seconds of finishing the applesauce, she is talking & moving with much more energy.  Her brain is alert and she’s feeling better.

 

Today, it took her 1.5 hours to go from getting up to feeling ready to start the day.  Not too bad, actually.  Now, that she’s feeling better and can handle more, I can have her go make her bed and get her hair brushed.

 

No schoolwork today, but we are going to work on purging some books and stuffed animals in preparation for a garage sale in a few weeks.  We’ll see how that goes! My goal is to convince her to let me buy her a few more of these, in exchange for giving up some of the stuffed animals that take up WAY too much space!  I LOVE the little hard animals because we can use them in sensory boxes, or doing math skills too! Multi-purpose!

 

Picture: A few months ago, when Bug let me rock her all the way to sleep.  Bliss!

 

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." ~ Matt 11: 28-30

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother’s Day & The World’s Largest Card!!

This has been an incredible weekend!  Hubby’s grandmother spent the weekend at my parents’ house and they all took care of our kids (Bug, and our 2.5 month old foster son)  for the weekend!   Hubby and I got some precious time alone, and caught up on some much, much needed rest! Glorious!

Today, my mom and Granny brought the kids back and then spent time having lunch and playing here for Mother’s Day.  I am so blessed to have such a wonderful mom, and also to be so close to my mother-in-law, and my grandmother-in-law.

My daughter made cards for my mom and Granny (and Grandma too, but we have to mail hers).  I bought them some flowers and printed a collage of pictures for them.

 

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Then, my daughter presented me with a surprise she made me while she was at my parents’ house. 


The world’s LARGEST and BEST Mother’s Day card in the whole world!! 

Isn’t it AWESOME?? I’m so proud of it! Now, where to hang it?

 

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I am blessed that the Lord called me to be a mom, not only by birth, but by fostering, and hopefully one day adoption.  Of course, I could not do it without my devoted husband and partner by my side!

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I am also blessed to have such a wonderful mom of my own!  No, we didn’t coordinate our colors on purpose! Scary, huh?

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A little random-ness

I know I haven’t been posting a lot lately, but part of that is because I’ve been working on redoing my entire blog.  It needs a makeover! I’m working on a new design to hold all the various topics I want to blog about, while making it easy to navigate.  It’s going to be spiffy when it’s all done!  So, I’ve been stalling on some of my posts so that I can put them on the new site.  I’m not sure when I’ll be done, but I’ll keep you posted. 

 

In the meantime, enjoy a few random pictures!

 

I think it’s time to clean out the coat closet!

This is what our coat closet looks like right now. 

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It’s Spring.  In TEXAS.  Only 3 of us wear coats.  One is too little and just gets wrapped in blankets, and the other has a God-given fur coat.  I think it’s time to pack some of these away.  Although, I do think we used most of them at least once during the winter this year since it actually snowed 3 times.  Still….too many coats!

 

It would be a little funny to see her go down the slide, wouldn’t it?

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What IS this? There were about 5 or 6 of these things growing on our Oak Tree.  Usually, all we have are tons and tons of acorns, but the other day Bug asked me to get down one of the “bubbles growing on the tree”.  Interesting.

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Our pumpkin plant!

Well, sorta.  We threw a rotting pumpkin in the side yard last fall just to see what would happen.  Now we have sprouts!! Think we’ll have any pumpkins this fall?

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Garden Salad!

Bug has been growing lettuce in a pot on our patio.  A couple days ago she harvested enough for she and I to have salads with dinner.  Yum!

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Just for you!

Bug is always bringing me flowers (or weeds) from the yard.  My mom bought this for her to give to me.  Isn’t it the cutest thing?? I LOVE it!

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Deep thoughts

 

Today as we were driving home from Bug’s horse riding lessons, we had the following conversation:

 

Bug: (looking at a map of Florida, with a picture of a manatee on it) “Why are they called MAN-atees? They can’t all be MAN-atees.  Some of them have to be WOMAN-atees, because if they were all boys they couldn’t make any more, right Mom?”

Me: “That’s true”

Bug: “Because the girls are the ones with the eggs, and the boys have the sperm, right?”

Me: “Yup”

** Keep in mind, Bug is our animal-obsessed child who has watched many nature videos, including animals mating, but has yet to learn about the real “birds and the bees” **

 

Bug: “So, how do people get the sperm to the egg without doing anything inappropriate?”

Me: (trying my best to stifle my laughter) “What would you consider inappropriate?”

Bug: “Jumping on each other like the elephants do.  It would also be inappropriate to be bottom to bottom like the doggies.”

Me: “Well….people do have a special way of doing it, and you will  learn about that when you are 8”  (Pulling a number out of the air and hoping she won’t hold me to it if I change my mind later)

Bug: “Ok. I just wanted to make sure you would tell me sometime. It doesn’t have to be today”

I just love her!  She’s known for a while that Daddy has the sperm, I had the egg, and together they made a baby.  It was only a matter of time before she analyzed it and tried to figure out just how they came together.  LOL

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Little Bear is 2 months old!

It’s hard to believe that Little Bear has been with us for almost 2 months now.  Just a little over 7 weeks ago, we picked him up from the hospital, and he’s already such a blessing to our family.

Emily is an awesome big sister! She loves to hold him, help feed him, throw away the dirty diapers.  She sits and reads books to him, shows him toys, and gives him kisses.  She admits that he’s not quite as much fun yet as he will be when he can walk and talk, but she’s so patient.

We got a crib for him a week ago, and he LOVES it!!  He went right to sleep the first time we put him in it.  He has also slept through the night (7-8 hours) the last 3 nights!  YAY!!!   I have been so blessed to have Hubby’s help during these first couple months.  I do not like being sleep deprived, and it has thrown off our schedules for the last 2 months.  It’s been worth it, of course, but thrown off still.  Now, we are getting a chance to catch up on some sleep and get back to our daily routines.

He’s more active too, and enjoying his awake time between bottle and bed.  He likes to listen to music, and will make noises back to us when we talk to him.  He definitely knows us, and our voices. 

It’s so fun having a baby in the house!  In a couple months we’ll even be able to introduce real food to him.  I am excited about that part.  I made all of Bug’s baby food and really enjoyed getting to provide that for her.  I love to cook, so pureeing some cooked rice, fruits and veggies is not a big deal.  I’ll have to share some recipes when we get to that point.

For now, here are a couple pictures of our precious little one!

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Monday, April 12, 2010

From tears to triumph!

I don’t think I have ever been more proud of my daughter than I was this past Sunday afternoon!  It was an absolutely amazing achievement for her in many ways, and especially in regards to her Sensory Processing Disorder / Asperger-like challenges.

We had signed her up for a FREE “Kids First” hockey class at the Dr. Pepper Stars Center, and yesterday was the class’ first venture onto the ice (class #1 was just picking up/sizing equipment).
It was absolutely precious to see all these 5-8 year olds in their hockey gear toddling around on their skates.  A few had skated before (Bug has been a total of 3 times, once a year for the past 3 years at Christmas time), but the majority of these kids had never been on the ice before, and they were all certainly beginners.

She had been looking forward to this for a couple weeks.  She’s enjoyed going ice skating with us at Christmas time when we hold her hands and toddle around the rink.  She loves watching hockey with us when we get a chance, and she has an older cousin who had done this class years ago.  To her, this was a chance to do something “cool”.

We arrived at the rink in plenty of time to get her dressed in her equipment.  We had tried on the equipment a few times at home, so she was comfortable wearing the skin pads, elbow pads, padded pants, and helmet.  With the exception of a bigger helmet it wasn’t too much unlike what she wears to ride a bike.   She was all smiles as she received her very own jersey to wear (and keep upon completion of the class), and couldn’t wait to get started.

UNTIL…..she saw the coaches putting out the goal nets on the ice.  Suddenly, she was hit with this overwhelming fear and perfectionism as she started bawling, “I can’t hit a puck into those nets, I can’t even skate yet!”.  She saw the coaches skating around, professionals that they are, and assumed she would be expected to do the same.  Thankfully we were able to convince her that she didn’t have to skate like the coach yet, and that they would help her.

Here is where I have to give a HUGE shout-out to Coach Katie!! The male coach (didn’t catch his name) was giving the “welcome speech” to all the kids before they got on the ice, and Katie took Bug on out on the ice and skated around with her. She held on to her, helped her up when she fell, and taught her how to get up on her own.  Most importantly, she removed Bug from the overwhelming crowd of kids anxious to get on the ice, and gave her some much needed ‘space’.   That did wonders for her!!  She doesn’t enjoy feeling crowded under normal circumstances, but when she’s anxious that feeling just gets worse and she gets into “fight or flight” mode.  That’s where she was, all ready to quit and go home just to “get away”, when Katie rescued her.  She scooped her up in her arms and skated around with her on the ice.  Bug’s face lit up at the “ride”, and she was able to relax a bit.
Bug was then left to skate around a bit on her own and get used to it.  Of course she fell, several times, but the coaches were quick to rescue her and encourage her.

Once it was time to get everyone on the ice, they were instructed to skate (or rather, “march” on skates) around a bit and then come together in a circle in the center. From the outsiders perspective, it looked like a comedy of errors.  Kids dropping like flies, some causing domino effect as they fell into someone else knocking them down too.  Up and down, they all went as they tried to figure out these things attached to the bottom of their legs.

Unfortunately, during this time, Bug had reached her limit.  Our little perfectionist was frustrated that she kept falling down, and was oblivious to the fact that everyone else was falling too.  Her bottom was hurting from all the falls, although I suspect not nearly as bad as her sensitive body perceived it to be, since she had some great padding on.  At one point, she was sitting on the ice just bawling hysterically, and our hearts were breaking.  I wanted to just run out on the ice, pick her up, take her home to cuddle and rescue her from the pain – both physical and emotional.

But we waited.  The coaches were right on top of things, and Coach Katie even picked up Bug at one point and was holding her on her hip (while on skates…wow!) and talking to her.  Coach Katie did her best, but eventually, Emily came rushing over to the doorway to us.  She’d had enough!  She was crying so hard that she could barely get out the words.  “This isn’t as fun as I thought it would be!”, “I want to go home!”, “My bottom hurts because I keep falling on it!”, “This is hard!”, and “My hair keeps getting in my face!”.

I took her in my arms and told her that we loved her very much.  We told her that we understood it was harder than she expected, and we pointed out that she was only one of MANY that kept falling down constantly.  We told her how proud we were that she was learning to get up all by herself.  We told her “You could go home, but why don’t you give it a little longer and see if it gets better.  You might end up really enjoying it.  You don’t have to be great at it, you are all here to learn, and the coaches will help you every step”

We reminded her that Mommy & Daddy were right here watching her, and that God was always with her.  We reminded her that she could pray to God in her head and ask Him for help.
Then, we tried a little bribery – I said, “How about you try to finish the class, and if you do, we’ll go to the store and pick out a new package of stickers?” .   She lit up at the beginning of negotiations!  She said “If I do good, can we go to the park as a reward?”.  We said “Of course, but you don’t have to be good at hockey.  We just want you to try to finish the class”.

I just knew that if she finished the first class, she would be so proud of herself.  I also knew that once she knew what to expect, the next 3 classes would go so much more smoothly.

So, out she went again, to give it another try, and by the awesome grace of God, she did it!!

She kept falling, but she bounced back up and kept going.  She skated fast and had several times where she skated halfway across the rink without falling.  She looked back and smiled at us.  She got hair in her face, and went to ask the coach for help (without tears!).  Her glove fell off, and she picked it up and put it back on (without fussing!).  HUGE accomplishments for an SPD kid!  She had been in the middle of a meltdown, and actually recovered from it within moments.  Thank you, Lord!!  Hubby and I were grinning from ear to ear and I was just amazed!  Normally, once she hits that meltdown mode, we are D.O.N.E – done for the day.

Then, they brought out the pucks! Soft, foam ones, not the hard “professional” ones.  They tossed them all on the ice, and the kids just went to town trying to get them in the net.

Another achievement for Bug!!
She got a puck and hit it toward the net.  She missed.  She fell.  Another kid fell and landed on her puck.  She hit the puck from right in front of the net and it went way off behind the net.  She lost her glove.  But, she kept trying!! She chased that thing around the ice, behind the net, and back before finally making it in the net!!  You should have seen the smile on her face as she turned around to look at us!! You would have thought she just won the Stanley Cup!  Mommy & Daddy’s smiles were even bigger than hers as we gave her thumbs up and cheers from behind the glass!  The determination she showed was incredible!  She didn’t fuss, she didn’t cry, and she didn’t quit!!

This is HUGE for her.  Bug does not do well when she gets something wrong, or doesn’t succeed the first time.  She is a perfectionist, and often quits when the going gets rough.  But she kept at it!  She even fell down and lost a glove during all this, but bounced right back and kept going, determined to make that goal!

After the first one, she claimed another puck and did it again

When class was over and she stepped off the ice, her first words were “I want to be a hockey player when I grow up!”.


She went from this sad, dejected, frustrated, miserable, confused & hurt little girl at her meltdown point……
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…..to THIS – proud, confident, happy, excited, determined & accomplished ice hockey class participant!!
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(Sorry the pictures aren’t great.  It was low-light, and we were behind the glass.  The “after” picture was taken from a video, but even so, you can just SEE the glowing in her face!)

Here is the video (1 min, 39 sec) of her chasing down her first puck and making her first goal! (She's the one with the blonde ponytail hanging out of her helmet!)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

When the going gets rough, just take off your panties!

We’ve had a couple of busy couple of days around here, and that means a very haphazard schedule, which makes our SPD kiddo all the more sensitive and out of sorts.  Even after a bath tonight (which normally does wonders for calming her down and desensitizing her), she just could not find any panties that were comfortable for bedtime tonight.  She tried on about 7 pair of panties including her old favorite standbys, a couple pair of bike shorts, and even her swimsuit shorts (since she wears those sans panties), but none of them worked. 

Finally, she decided on a nightgown without panties. What are you going to do? In this case, sensory needs far outweigh modesty.  I did remind her that this was only ok because it was bedtime, but that we had to have *something* on over our bottom to go to church tomorrow.  If we don’t make it to church, you’ll know why!

I will say that I am oh-so-proud of her for actually using her WORDS to tell us how she was struggling tonight.  Usually we get a lot of tears, whining, and flailing.  Tonight, she was able to stay in control enough to say “these just don’t feel good” and “those have seams so they bother me”, and finally, “can you give me a massage to keep my legs from hurting tonight so I can sleep?”.   WOW.  I made sure to praise her highly for her awesome communication skills in the middle of such an uncomfortable period for her.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Baby boy – 2 weeks later!

“Little Bear” has been with us for 2 weeks now.  He’s already growing so much. He gained 1 pound the first week he was here.  His neck is getting stronger too and he’s holding his head up a lot more.  He’s still sleeping most of the day, and eating every 3-4 hours.  Sometimes he’ll demand a snack at about 2.5 hours :)

He loves – being held, being in the sling, laying beside our legs on the sofa, being swaddled with his arms out, resting in the bouncy seat or the car seat/swing so he’s at an incline.

He dislikes – being naked, getting his diaper changed, getting his clothes changed, laying down in the Pack-n-Play bassinet.

He’s hit or miss on the pacifiers right now.  He’ll take one for a bit if he’s really upset, but he spits it out soon after.

He grunts All. The. Time.  When he’s hungry, when he’s stretching, when he’s pooping.  It’s so precious, and it’s why we call him “Little Bear”.

 

We still don’t have a timeline for his stay with us, so we’re just enjoying a day at a time with him. 

 

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)

Couch-to-5K ~ Week 4

I’m in Week 4 of my Couch to 5K program!  It’s amazing how much easier this has gotten along the way.  This last time I ran, I ran for a total of 16 minutes!  3 min jog, then walk 90 seconds.  5 min jog, then walk 2.5 min.  Then repeat. 

I ran 5 minutes in a row without stopping!! I literally jumped for joy and said “Thank you, Lord!” when I finished that!   I never, ever thought I’d be able to do this, but I am doing it!! God is good!


I’ll do similar days 4 more times, and then at the end of next week, I’m supposed to run 20 minutes in a row with no walking.  Wow.  I’m looking forward to getting to that point.

 

I’ve chosen my race, but haven’t officially signed up yet.  It’s on April 11.   Just 4 weeks away.  Intimidating, but exciting all at the same time!

 

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! (Phil 4:13)

What I love most about my Hubby

Last Sunday, Hubby & I were the designated “Spotlight Couple” in our Sunday School class.  That means we went up in front of the class to tell how we met, what we do, about our family, etc.  After we tell our story, a few people ask questions.  Sometimes people ask about how he proposed, or about the first kiss…things like that.  

One of our friends asked “What do you like best about each other?”

I struggled to come up with something that I could say in just a few seconds, as I knew we were running out of time.  As I finished, I felt incomplete.  There was so much more I wanted to say about why I love my husband.  So, I’m going to say it here.

 

Why I love my husband:

* He loves me.  Really, really, loves me.

* He loves God.  He reads God’s word, and seeks affirmations from the Lord before making decisions.  He leads our family in worshiping God, praying to him and learning more about him.  He is the spiritual leader in our home.

* He absolutely loves being a Daddy.  He loves cuddling with Bug, reading to her, getting down on the floor and being silly with her.  He enjoys time with her, and takes her on dates.  He has never, ever, complained about taking care of her when I need to go somewhere or do something alone.  In fact, he encourages it.  I pray I never take this for granted! I know so many women who don’t have that support from their husbands, or the dads feel like a babysitter with the kids.  I am so thankful that God gave me the perfect parenting partner for me.

* I love that he works with me to open our home to foster children.  That not only does he love being a daddy to his own daughter, but he wants to be a daddy to these other kids that need that role model.

* He is a hard worker with an awesome work ethic.  He works hard for our family to provide for us.  He works hard at whatever job he is working on, whether it’s mowing the yard, changing the oil, or doing work for one of his clients.

* He loves my family.  He gets along wonderfully with my mom & dad, and the rest of my family too.  I also love his family, and am blessed to call them mine.

* He is my biggest encourager & supporter in all I do.  If there is something I want to do, he does everything he can to make it happen.

* He enjoys going clothes shopping with me :)  In fact, he has great taste and is very helpful in picking out things that look good on me.  He even encourages me not to always buy what’s on sale, as that’s hard for me.

* He is a great cook! I love cooking with him, and we have so much fun working in the kitchen together.

* He looks great in jeans & boots :) The boots were a recent addition to his wardrobe, and hubba-hubba, I like it!

* He is a gentleman.  He still opens my doors, carries things for me, and calls me “bride”. 

* He truly completes me.  When I am too emotional, he is logical.  When I am too quick to make a decision, he helps me wait.  When I’m worried, he is strong.  We balance each other well, and make a great team.

* He is patriotic to the core of his being! He loves his country and the people that fight for it.   He votes regularly and puts great thought into the candidates that he chooses.  I highly respect that.

* He makes me feel safe.  In his arms I feel like everything is going to be ok. 

 

I love you, Babe!  You are the love of my life, and I am so thankful that God brought us together like He did.  I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

We have a baby at our house!

Yep, a real baby! Not a fur baby, not a doll baby….a real baby! 

I apologize for not updating the blog sooner, but things have been a little busy at our place.  That, and we’ve been missing out on our usual amounts of sleep, so when I’ve actually had the time to sit and blog, I chose to sleep instead.

A couple weeks ago, we found out that a new baby boy needed a temporary home.  It’s a long story that I am thrilled to share because it’s an absolutely awesome example of God’s providence and timing.

This story involves a young woman, and I don’t want to disclose her real name at this time, so I’m going to call her “Z”.  Z attends a Bible study for low-income & homeless women that some good friends of mine lead every week.  I had met Z one time a couple months ago when I volunteered at an event with these ladies, but that’s all the contact I’ve had with her. 

Recently, she gave birth to a little boy, and because of a long, assorted past, CPS stepped in and told her she was not going to be able to take the baby home from the hospital.  She was told that she had a chance to find a friend or relative to take the baby, and if she couldn’t, he would be placed in foster care.

 

(Side note:  As many of you know, Hubby and I have been certified foster parents before.  However, we let our license expire because we were still prayerfully considering which agency to change to in order to have one closer to home.  In addition, with the upcoming change in Rob’s job, we were praying about when to get certified and reopen our home as foster parents.  I’ve been praying about this for months now, but still had not felt led to any particular agency, and in fact, felt strongly that we were to be *waiting* – so we are not currently certified foster parents.)

The word went out from Z, to the leaders of her Bible study, and email chains were started.  The word quickly got to me as our friends knew that we had been foster parents and thought I could shed some light on the situation.  I said that of course my instinct would be to offer our home for the baby, but that I’ve learned not to act without praying, so I wanted to go home and talk to Hubby and pray about this. 

I got home, and told Hubby and he told me how the Lord had been talking to him for some time about saying “Here I am, Lord!” and being available for His service anytime, no matter what.  We agreed that we needed to be open and available for this little baby, and if the Lord wanted him in our home, he would end up there, but if not, that was His will too.

Z had a couple options in addition to us that were presented to her as people that were willing to give her baby a temporary home.  She was to give all the options to CPS and they would run background checks on everyone and make a decision.  Hubby and I prayed and told God that only HE knew the timing involved.  Only God knows how long this child needs a home.  God knows when we are moving, where we need to be, and when.   We don’t.  God knows how much I want to have this child, a little baby, in our home – even if only for a little while.  

So, we turned in our info, and then sat back and waited.  We didn’t have to wait long.  By the end of the day, we were approved and told to be at the hospital the next morning to pick up the baby.   Wow! 

 

It’s a “God thing”!

CPS was allowing Z to do a “voluntary placement” with a friend or relative rather than placing the baby in foster care.  In order to do this, the caretakers of the child can NOT be certified foster parents.  Can NOT be foster parents!! Did you catch that? That immediately ruled out one of Z’s options that had stepped up as they recently were certified as foster parents.   But we qualify for that! Is this why God was having us wait?

I don’t know CPS’ official reasons for preferring “voluntary placement” over “foster care”, but I assume it has something to do with a lot less paperwork.  Also, the state doesn’t pay voluntary placement caretakers, but foster parents do receive some income to help with the child’s needs.

 

So, for a little more than a week, we have had a new baby in our house!! He’s about 3 weeks old now, and it’s just amazing!  Hubby is the BEST at helping and I’m so blessed to have him by my side through this. 

We learned with Bug that it was silly for both of us to get up every time she needed something during the night because NEITHER of us got any sleep that way.  We both felt guilty for not being up, so we’d go with the other to keep them company.  Silly!  So, with later foster kids, and now with this baby, we are taking turns.  One night I go to bed, and Hubby sleeps on the sofa with Little Bear in the living room.  The next night, Hubby goes to sleep in our bed, while LB and I hang out in the living room.  It’s working wonderfully!! We are still tired, but not fall-down-exhausted!  God' has been so great to us and is supplying us with the energy we need each day!

Plus, it’s just an energy boost to cuddle with an adorable baby!  If you are going to be up during the night, you might as well be holding a cute newborn!

 

Still in AWE! It is just amazing that God would bring me into contact with this woman in such a way that I would be aware of her situation at just the right time.  Also, that Hubby and I would not be currently certified foster parents so that we were able to be considered for this placement.  Then, that CPS would first offer Z voluntary placement in the first place, and then choose us over the other options.  A true miracle!!

 

This is completely unlike any foster care placement we ever had.  With this voluntary placement, we are very involved with the mom and will interact with her frequently.   She will have visits with the baby, that have to be supervised by Hubby or myself.   In foster care, we rarely have interaction with the parents.  In fact, they usually don’t get our last name, address or phone number.   This extra interaction with the birth mom presents all sorts of interesting challenges, but I also pray that it provides for some great ministry opportunities.

 

We don’t have a timeline yet, but from all we’ve heard so far, we are looking at anywhere from 6 months to a year or so.  There are so many variables involved that it’s impossible to guess.  There is so much more to the story that I don’t feel comfortable sharing on here.  Feel free to ask me in person about it though, as this is just an awesome, awesome testimony to God’s sovereignty!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I need caffeine before I can work my coffee maker

I drink a lot of coffee & tea.  I really like them both equally, although sometimes I’m in a mood for one over the other.  I love all the various flavors of tea, and have become a huge fan of loose leaf tea as well.  I just can’t give up my coffee though, as I really do enjoy the flavor.   My hubby would tell you that I “ruin” the flavor since I add milk and agave nectar (a natural sweetener), but I love it!

Needless to say, I absolutely love my Keurig coffee maker!  I was spoiled by my husband a couple years ago when he surprised me with it.  It’s so nice to be able to make tea or coffee just one cup at a time.  It’s also great when we have company over because it’s easy to make decaf for some, and regular for others.  You can get different flavors of tea, various flavors/strengths of coffee, and even hot chocolate! Lots of choices for everyone.

In order to save money, and not blow our budget on K-cups, we supplement with the “My K-cup” filter, which allows you to use your own ground coffee. (Extra tip: You can get good deals on the K-cups by using a 20% off coupon at Bed, Bath & Beyond)

We also use the Keurig for hot water, by simply running it without a K-cup in it at all.

 

So, this morning, I put a tea bag in my cup, and ran some hot water through the machine to make some lovely raspberry tea

Unfortunately, I forgot to check to make sure the K-cup holder was empty. 


It wasn’t.  I had left the “my K-cup” in there from last night when I made a cup of decaf coffee.

As I took a sip of my tea, I noticed this odd flavor that I couldn’t quite put my finger on at first.  Suddenly I realized it was coffee flavor, mixed with raspberry tea!

Not tasty!

 

I had to start over.  Some mornings I really think I need my cup of coffee before I operate any appliances :)

 

So, which do you prefer? Coffee or tea?  What flavors?

Friday, February 19, 2010

I miss cable…a little

This week I am missing cable.  We haven’t had TV service for a few years now.  We turned it off at one point to save money when we were out of a job, and then we just left it.  Normally, I don’t care.  Bug watches her DVDs, and has a good selection to choose from.  Hubby and I watch our favorite shows online.  It’s amazing how many shows put their episodes online for you to watch! Sure, we watch them a day or few late, but that’s no problem.  We also use Netflix and get one movie at a time from them.  So, we stay plenty entertained without using up too much of our “free” time in front of the tube.

But right now is WINTER OLYMPICS time!! I *heart* watching the winter olympics!  I’ll do my best to find some videos online, but there is just something about watching it live, I think. 

 

I love the figure skating! They always look so graceful.  I also love the bobsled & luge for the speed and accuracy! I have fun watching the skiing because I’ve never been, but it looks like so much fun, and I hope to try it someday (on a bunny slope!).  Hockey is always a favorite, but I like that year-round, not just at the Olympics!

Oh well, it will end, and I’ll move on.  I’m working on contentment : )

What is your favorite sport to watch in the Olympics?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Couch to 5K

I feel like I can officially write about this since I’m in week 2 of my 9 week training program.  Before now I have never been a runner.  I’ve always said “I don’t run.  I walk.”.   I can walk/hike for miles, in fact I *love* hiking!

 

But I don’t run.

Until now.

 

When I say I’m not a runner, or that I *can’t* run, my sweet husband tells me that it’s all in my head (he says it sweetly!).  That I have to push past the pain.  I thought he was loony.  I mean, you are supposed to *stop* when something hurts, right?  Unfortunately, that’s what I’ve always done. 

But then, this past December, we went to watch several friends run in a marathon.  A marathon!  That’s 26.2 miles, and they ran!  It was inspiring.  Even more inspiring were the people we saw running with prosthetic legs.  We saw 2 or 3 adults running with TWO prosthetic legs.  I mean, what better excuse do you have for NOT running?  Yet, there they were.  I have been blessed with 2 legs that work just fine, so why can’t I do this? 

 

Because I haven’t tried.

 

Plus, I just watched my husband train for 6 months to get back in shape to join the Army.  He is my hero!  He got up early, worked out multiple times a week – hard!  He lost weight, gained strength, and focused on his goal.  He didn’t want to get up early, or go running, especially with a 50 pound rucksack on his back.  But he did.  Because he’s that kind of guy.

 

So, now I’m trying.  I’m going to start….and finish this!  I desperately want to accomplish this.  I want to run a 5K (that’s about 3 miles) without stopping.  Just because I can.  I’d love to do a marathon someday, but right now that’s too lofty a goal for me to focus on.  We’re going to start with a 5K.  Then, we’ll shoot for a 10K.  Baby steps.

 

I completed week 1, which consisted of 3 days of training.  Each time, I ran 1 minute, then walked 1.5 minutes.  I continued that cycle for 20 minutes (plus a 5 minute warm up, and another 5 minute cool down).

Then I had a setback of a couple weeks with an awful chest congestion, so I started over, and did week 1 again. 

Now, I’m in week 2.  Yesterday I completed Week 2 – Day 1.  Run 1.5 minutes, and walk 2 minutes.   Although, I forgot to look at my training program before I left the house, so I only walked for 1.5 minutes.  Guess I did better than I was “supposed” to :)

 

The first week was miserable.  For one thing, I didn’t stretch enough before/after and I ended up with awful shin splints that made me wonder if I had already broken something. 

Then, one day I ran/walked, it was the day after our area had record breaking snow!  It had started to melt, and I found myself running in crazy zig-zags to avoid the puddles.  My shoes have mesh on them, and every time I would step in a puddle, cold, wet water would seep in.   Burr! 

 

This week, I spent more time stretching, and it made all the difference in the world!  Yesterday when I ran, it was so cold out, that I kept changing my route so that I could stay in the sun.  It doesn’t really matter where I run, because right now I’m running for time, not distance, so I don’t measure out a certain path.  I just go.

It felt GREAT!  This week was easier than last week.  It was still hard, but it was easier than last week.  I hope that cycle continues because I really WANT to enjoy this.  Not just do it, but enjoy it.

Don’t sweat the small stuff…God already is

 

This past Saturday night, just before Bug went to bed, I was rocking her in the rocking chair.  I feel so incredibly blessed that she still lets me do this from time to time, even at 5 (and a half!).  

Suddenly, she burst into tears!  She said “I don’t want to grow up.  I want to stay a kid forever.”  I assured her that she had tons of time to enjoy being a kid, and when it was time for her to be a grownup, she would WANT to be a grownup!  She was worried about outgrowing her bunk bed (a twin!), so I told her about how I slept on a bed that size until I was a much older grownup and it fit just fine.

Then the conversation got around to us moving (ahhh! the real worry!).  We know that about a year from now our family will be moving.  We don’t know where yet.  Most of the time, Emily is super excited about it.  God blessed her with an amazing sense of adventure and curiosity.  She wants to visit more countries and states than I think I even knew existed at her age.

However, this time, she was bawling.  She was scared and worried about the move.  I held her close and told her she could ask me anything.  That Daddy and I had both moved many, many times in our life, so we could tell her all about it.   She’s moved before, but she was too young to remember it.  Now, she’s starting to process the concept of moving, and trying to figure it all out.  See, she’s a detail person and a planner.  That’s who she is.  So, rather than focusing on the adventure of it, right now she was focused on the little details.

What was she worried about? Well, here were a couple of her questions.

* What if my new bedroom doesn’t have a window?  I assured her that her bedroom, would in fact, have a window!  She loves to look out her bedroom window!

* What if we are driving to our new home and we have to stop, but we can’t sleep in the van….where will we sleep?  Obviously she had forgotten the many times we’ve slept in a hotel room on the way to a destination!  I reminded her of the hotel stops when we went to Florida this past year, and that settled her mind.

 

Last time she did this, she was concerned because she “would never get to go to the zoo again!”, but was fine once I showed her that there are zoos in or near most cities, and that she would definitely get to go to the zoo again!

She was also curious about having a yard to play in, and since I don’t know if we’ll be in a house or apartment at first, I couldn’t promise that.  But once I told her that apartments have swimming pools, she said she wanted us to live there!

Our sweet girl is not a big fan of change.  She likes to plan ahead and know what’s going to happen….exactly how it’s going to happen.  So this first move will be challenging for us.  We’ll have to give her lots of details, without giving her ones she doesn’t need to know at her age.

 

As she was worrying about whether or not her bedroom would have a window, I was reminded of Christ in Matthew 6:25-39.  He tells us not to worry because he will take care of us, even more than he does the birds and the flowers.  He’s already in the details.  He sees the big picture, when we only see what’s right in front of us.

Just the same, I can worry about where we are going to be stationed, what our house will look like, if it will have a microwave built in, whether I’ll have a bathtub or just a shower…..Or I can just relax, take it as it comes, and trust that God has it all planned out for us.

 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7)