Wednesday, December 29, 2010

That Whole Resolution Thing

Do you do the resolutions? Do you resolve not to resolve? Personally, I set goals. I figure they are more attainable that way. I have some areas that I want to work on or continue to work on. Let me break them down for you.


Keep it picked up - we have been doing a pretty good job at this one. I'd like to get it so we have the dishes almost completely caught up, the laundry almost completely caught up (I'm not deluding myself into thinking there will EVER be a point where they are both completely caught up, I live in a house of 7/8 people after all. Someone will always be using a dish or getting clothes dirty, it's the law of averages after all), and the office picked up.

Declutter/reorganize - This overlaps with a crafting goal because it means using materials that I have on hand, which will help declutter.

Deep Clean - The kitchen especially can use a deep clean and reorganization. This includes the back hallway/pantry area

Make progress on James' room. I'm not sure exactly what this will entail, it really will depend on our own funds, skill set, and when my dad is available to help us out. I know it will start with a deep clean of every surface in the room. It used to be a kitchen so it's kind of gross and wasn't cleaned well before we moved in.

Wall in the extra doorway in the Mid-Kids' (Jayden and Izzy) room.

Put up privacy fence. Fence materials will be bought with our Income Tax Return. We'll borrow a fence post hole digger from my dad.

Get a Super Yard Gate so that in the warmer months I can have the twins outside with me and not worry about them going where they shouldn't.


Get the gardens into the ground in a timely manner this year so that we can have fruit/vegetable harvests in the summer and fall.

Build at least 2 above ground vegetable/fruit boxes in the back yard. These will be for plants that grow above ground and/or take up a lot of room like melons and gourds, fruit, beans, and peppers.

Till the ground area for all below ground veggies (potatoes, carrots), tomatoes (they will use the fence for support), and other crops giving it a try like onions and garlic.

Plant at least one blueberry bush.

Seed grass early.

Till and maintain front flower and herb beds and back vegetable/fruit beds. This includes planting seeds and weeding as needed throughout the season.


Use materials on hand to make the stockpiles diminish. I have plenty of yarn and scrapbook supplies and fabric to start and finish all kinds of projects.

Finish the multitudes of started projects and give them to the people I intended when I started it.

Learn to knit socks on DPN's

Have more pictures printed and scrapbook. I haven't scrapbooked in well over a year. It's something I enjoy doing but I just haven't done it. The kids also enjoy doing it and it's something we can do together.

Make more jewelry. I like doing it. Maybe at some point I'll start an etsy page, but we'll see how that goes.

Work on improving my knitting and crocheting techniques. Learn how to do 1 new stitch/technique each month.


Learn to bake a nice loaf of bread

Bake more

Learn some new recipes and get them in our monthly rotation.

Rotate the monthly shopping pattern with one month stockpile from Sam's and the next head to Meijer/WalMart to get what we need each week. This will allow us to use what is in our freezer over the next couple of months.

Cook with the kids regularly. This teaches them a good life skill, works on math and reading skills, and gets them helping.

Kids' Schooling:

Get them using the computer more. It's more interactive and engaging. This will be easier once I have a laptop (a planned purchase with our income tax return in Feb) so that I can work on the laptop in the living room and the olders can use the computer for schoolwork

Plan out a unit study and follow through with it at least twice a month.

Figure out how to use lapbooks and integrate them into our weekly work. This will go well with doing unit studies.

Work on the Feelings/Perspectives workbook.

Keep better track of their activities on the boards. This includes tallying points at the end of the week and having them "shop" in our prize box. I am also changing the board so that the week starts on Monday simply because we don't usually do any kind of "schoolwork" on Sunday.

Start utilizing all of the educational programming available with the Netflix. They usually find the programs really interesting and are learning things. Try to incorporate the programming into our weekly lessons.

Learn more ASL, even possibly take a class, and teach it to the rest of the family. Izzy is finally beginning to understand that motions are a way of communicating and I want to take full advantage of that.


Work online more with either ChaCha or Amazon Hub. These two will allow me to get homeschool materials (that I have to pay for) as needed, get what craft materials I may need to finish a project, pay to print pictures, and help pad our income for expenses that come up between Jason's paydays.

Finish the SSI applications for James and Issac. Start researching SSI lawyers for when the denial letters come in.

Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Exercise 3-4 days a week. This could mean going for long walks, yoga, pilates, or wii workouts. To start with, I'll be focusing on yoga to strengthen and tone.

Take more pictures of everything. I feel like life is slipping by and there aren't enough pictures to document it.

Blog 2-3 times a week. Blogging helps me sit down and take stock of what I'm doing, what we're all doing, how we're doing, where we're going. I think that is important.

Talk and listen to the kids, all of them. No matter what it is that they are saying and if it bores me to tears. I want them to feel like they can come to me with anything so I need to show that I am willing to listen to everything.

Spend quality time with Jason on our kid free weekend each month. This means more than just being in the house together. I need to make time to spend with him, doing things.

Is this the year to be debt free? I don't know. However I want to work on paying down our debt. I want to get us living easily within our means so that we can also start having some savings. We are already on the road to doing this so it's a continuance kind of thing.

Stop self deprecating. Appreciate my value and worth. Know what it is that I offer to my family, to the world as a whole. Acknowledge my talents and faults and work to improve them both.

Un-Christmas each month. We (Jason and I) have decided that instead of one huge pile of presents at the end of the year, that we will split that pile up to 1-2 gifts each month. This will allow the gifts to fit into our budget better. Seasonal gifts (like bikes, skateboards, bubbles, chalk, etc) can be used at that time. Also, with the kids getting older, it will allow them to use gifts with their current interests in mind. We have found that likes and interests change within a 6 month period so buying something in May to use in December is hit or miss as to whether it will be liked/used. I bought a very small table top tree (on clearence for 1/2 off) for the kids to decorate with hand made ornaments each month. They'll wake up one day (a day chosen at random by me) and find their Un-Christmas set up for them on the dining room table.

I suppose that is all for right now. I've been thinking about these things over the past couple of days. Last year I tried to keep the goals simple, and I think I was successful. However I wanted more specifics this year, to give me better direction. I know these are year long things and can't be accomplished within a few days or even a few weeks.

Prayers and blessings everyone. I hope you have had a wonderful holiday season and the new year finds you in good spirits and health.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Entered a Contest

For Westminister Fat Quarters on Fave Crafts. I love Fave Crafts. I get a daily email of about 20-30 free craft ideas and patterns. I often get emails with free e-books of MORE patterns and ideas. For someone who is always trying to think of things to do, this is a great resource for me!

So go check out Fave Crafts and sign up for their emails and start crafting!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Very Few Things Make Want To Cry When Reading Them

However, reading what I read today does. It also makes me want to wake up all of my children and just hold them so much closer.

There is a woman, Amanda, who is from the same message board for moms of kids born in March of 06 as I am. Her daughter Alaina was born shortly before Izzy. She and her family really need your prayers and thoughts and good energy and all of that right now.

The women on this board are close, damn close. We have a lot of different personalities and quirks, but amazingly, 4 and a 1/2 years later, we still chat with one another and share our lives as though we lived next door to one another. They are one of my few contacts with other adults, they are a life line to me. These women, along with one other board, are my closest friends, and I've only met one of them in person.

Amanda had a little girl a few days ago. Her name is Lea. She was born with an infection in her lungs. That infection spread to the rest of her body through her blood. She couldn't keep her vitals stable. The doctors tried everything they could. Their final option was to do a complete blood transfusion in hopes that would remove the infection from her body. Lea would need to be put on a heart/lung bypass for this to happen. Sadly, Lea passed away earlier today.

Please keep Lea's family in your thoughts and prayers tonight and over the next few days. Amanda is the mom, and she's married to Nick. They have 3 other kids, Dyllan, Alaina, and Jack.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Homeschooling and Technology

I don't usually do homeschool posts on this blog. I'm hoping to do that more. And crafting posts too. We'll see how it goes.

I want to mention some sites/things we are doing/using for our homeschooling. What I'm mentioning are free and for some of them you can get expanded features for a little extra. I have not been given anything by these sites to use them. I like them and I find them useful so I'm sharing the knowledge. We use them for homeschooling, but they can also be used to suppliment a public school education. The grades we are working on are all elementary, so please keep that in mind.

Kid Zui is a great kid's browser. I love how I can set up accounts for each individual kid. I also get sent an email of what the kids were doing, what sites they were going to, how long they were on it. It gives me comfort to know that they are doing things that are safe. I can also allow sites to go through that KidZui won't automatically. Each kid has their own avatar that they can customize. We paid a little extra so that they can earn more points and open new options for avatars and backgrounds. Jayden's account is pink'd out and James currently has a space theme. They use this for their free computer time but also for their schoolwork. By getting the emails, I know if they were on the site they were supposed to be for doing their schoolwork.

Academic Skill Builders is another great site. Their main site has a lot of different games that introduce and reinforce basic skills. They also have a section of games that can be used with the wii. You just need to have your wii set up to go online and you can get there. The games for the wii are meant for kids with basic reading/math skills already in place. They also work on stuff meant for kids up through 4th/5th grade. There are 9 levels for each game, each level takes 1 minute. The math games are multiplication, addition, and subtraction. The language games work on grammer, verbs, and antonymns/synonyms/homonyms. By having James do the work on the wii, he's using a video game to do his work (makes it more appealing to him), I'm not needing to print out a bunch of worksheets (more appealing to me so I don't have to track the work down and I save printer ink and paper), and with it being interactive I am hoping he retains it better. I like with the wii games I can walk into the room and directly observe him doing the work and know immediately what he's doing and where he might need some help.

ABC Mouse is a site that I like for preschool and kindergarten skills. With the difficulties Jayden has with language and reading, this is a great site for her. I also set up an account for Izzy to work on some basic skills. You can try it out for a week for free, then it's $7.95 a month for three kid accounts. We did the free week trial and Jayden LOVED it. I liked that she could navigate the site with little reading skill required. The games reinforced the basic language/reading skills I am working on her with. There are math, music, and art activities as well. I love the readalong books. Jayden would pick a story and the words would light up as the story was read.

I use a lot of sites for printing papers. I'll do another post for a more in depth list of those. Some quick mentions are CurrClick and Enchanted Learning. Both sites have a lot of free downloads. With CurrClick it is a central site for a lot of different publishers. They offer free downloads and samples. You can also choose to pay for some stuff. The prices vary by publisher. With Enchanted Learning, you can choose to pay $20 a year to get unlimited downloads. By doing that you get a lot more available to download as well as downloading lessons/books all at once instead of page by page.

Prayers and blessings everyone. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Remember that just because you homeschool (or know someone that does) doesn't mean you can't utilize technology to help you teach. Look through the sites. Try them out. Share them with others. Keep the learning going.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Sweet 16

I often wonder if she's a girly girl and planing a huge pink princess type blowout for her 16th birthday. I often wonder if she's more like me, tomboy and blue loving, wanting a party with just a few close friends. Either way, I don't know. I know where she is, I could shove myself into her life and try to find out. That isn't the best way to handle it. Instead sitting here wondering is the way to go.

She turns 16 today and I regret that I'm not there with her, celebrating this once in a lifetime super exciting event.

I have always said that I live my life with no regrets, that all that has gone on has been for a purpose, for a reason and that regretting it is wishing my life to be different than it is. That's only true to a point. I've come to realize that it also sounds like I'm not apologizing for my mistakes. I also once stupidly said that I don't apologize because it doesn't accomplish anything. I realize now that it does accomplish something, it lets the other person know that I admit that I am wrong and sometimes, that may be all that is needed, or can be done.

I often wonder what kind of young woman she has grown up to be. I am sure that she is moral and kind and brilliant. Maybe she's musically talented, though I don't know if she would play an instrument or not. Maybe she likes bright colors and flowers and lets her personality show through that way.

I fully believe that my mother has never forgiven me for cutting myself off from my daughter. She was the first grandchild and her namesake. She was very special to my mom, as it seems only one other has been since. My mom doesn't understand the why's or how I could possibly do that to her/to us. For her, it was the best thing, for me it was the worst. What else does it matter if it was the best for her?

I wish I had more recent pictures of her. So I could put them up along with the ones I have of her when she was younger. While she is no longer my daughter in name, she is my daughter in heart.

Prayers and blessings everyone. Hold your loved ones close. You just never know if there may come a time when you have to do what is best for them and worst for you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

He Started School

Izzy started school on the 27th. He rode the bus there and back on the first day. He looked a little lost when I put him on the bus, but he seems to have quickly figured it out. He won't be riding on Thursdays because of his OT, but otherwise he does every day. He came home with candy from their Halloween party on Friday, along with a cold. He's very snotty and messy and has graciously shared with the other kids. I don't know if he'll be going in the morning or not. I am going to call and ask for their opinion. I think he'll be staying home for a day or two to make sure he is over the worst of it, basically meaning his nose is no longer running like a leaky faucet. I do have some pics to share, I need to edit them. They'll be up later today (as it is now technically Monday).

We did nothing for Halloween. The kids watched a couple of movies and Jason made up little baggies (snack size) candy for them. Considering that baggie is more candy than they usually have in a month's time, they were pretty happy about it. The high temp today was 49. It was definately a stay at home and veg out kind of day.

We start school officially tomorrow (well technically today). I'm still figuring out all of the lessons and there are some more materials I'd like to get. I do want to get the ball rolling and get the kids into the groove of it.

Prayers and blessings everyone. I hope you all have had a safe and happy Halloween.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Craft Giveaway

It's not a craft I'm making, it's one I'd like to make. I entered a contest to win one of these bracelet kits. I figure I can have Jayden help me out with them and she could give them to friends. Admittedly, if I knew how to make them, I wouldn't need the kit. I have plenty of stuff around here to make just about anything with.

I love favecrafts and the newslettes that I get in my email. I admit that I save them all there, for easy reference. Yes they all of the crafts that are listed are on the main site and I could search for them. Sometimes the ease of scrolling through the email and getting the ideas that way is nicer. I may be at a loss for an idea and I'll get the email and have an "AHA!" moment right there.

If you craft in anyway, I highly suggest you sign up for the newsletters. Prayers and blessings everyone. I hope you have a fun filled and crafty weekend.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

According to the BBC

I got this list from Unmitigated.

The BBC believes that most people will only have read, on average, 6 of these 100 books. Let's see how I stack up, shall we?

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (all Jane Austen books are on my to be read list)
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (I will totally admit that I tried to read this book and I just couldn't do it)
3. Jane Eyre - Charolotte Bronte (again it's on the list to be read)
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (in fact, James is going to be reading this one this year, he just doesn't know it yet)
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights (on the list to read)
8. 1984 - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott (I've read all of her Little Women and Little Men books)

12. Tess of the D'Ubervilles - Thomas Hardy (Never heard of it before)
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller (never heard of it)
14. Complete works of William Shakespeare (Partially, and honestly they are plays and are meant to be seen performed, not read straight through)
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier (never heard of it)
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk (never heard of it)
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger (on my list)
19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (on my list)
20. Middlemarch - George Elliot (never heard of it)
21. Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell (and the sequel Scarlet)
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald (on my list)
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy (thought of it, it's a bit of an intimidating read)
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh (heard of it in passing, not enough to be interested thoug)
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Ugh, that just SOUNDS like work to read)
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (and East of Eden)
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (and Through the Looking Glass)
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (thought of it)
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (wouldn't this count as one of the Chronicles of Narnia?)
36B. Because of the repeat, I'm substituting The Jungle - Upton Sinclair
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres (never heard of it)
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Aurthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell (I went through an Orwell phase just before freshman year of high school, I was a geek, I spent a chunk of my summer reading classic books)
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47. Far From the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding (I know this is a popular in high school and I'm not sure how I ever got around it and I'm pretty glad that I did)
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martell
52. Dune - Frank Herbert (Never had the desire, but Jason has read the entire series)
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon (good book on getting an inside look from the perspective an Asperger's mind)
60. Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck (on my list)
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (it's on my list)
66. On the Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville (in all my reading of classics I never had the desire to pick this one up)
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes from a Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Aruthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kuzua Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohnton Mistry
87. Charlotte's Web - EB White (along with The Trumpt of the Swan and Stuart Little)
88. The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom (along with For One More Day and Tuesdays with Morrie is on my list to read)
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthor Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Muskateers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare (I've seen it performed, does that count, and isn't this part of the complete works of Shakespeare?)
98B Due to duplication, I'm substiuting my own The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (and the follow up Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator and James and the Giant Peach. I also have a collection of his short stories meant for adults)
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

How many of those books have you read? How many do you think should be on the list? Have you even heard of all of them?

Prayers and blessings everyone. I hope you are able to work on your own reading lists this week.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


The past 4 years have been a rollar coaster with Izzy. From the moment of his impending birth and the fact that it took 3 days for that to happen all the way through to this moment now at 1:08 in the morning when he is wide awake and standing next to me it has been an interesting ride.


He has definately done things the hard way as it's said. Maybe he just needed to do them in a way that would definately be memorable. Whatever it was, it will definately not be forgotten any time soon.


Spending almost his entire first year hopped up on drugs left him agreeable and happy. It also made figuring out what was going on with him later more difficult because everyone would always point back at that first year and say "Oh, it's just a carry over from that, he'll catch up soon enough".


I know his pediatrician mentioned in passing once at least a year ago, if not more, the possibility of autism, and if I thought that might be the case. I was firm in my statement that no, that couldn't be it. I was familiar with autism after all, simply because of all that James has gone through (Asperger's and ASD are both parts of the same spectrum of disorders) and Izzy just wasn't anything like James in behavior.


It wasn't until this past May that I actually considered the validity of the "Autism Question" as I'll call it. Jayden's therapist, who spent a grand total of MAYBE 10 minutes a week with Izzy said that she felt he was autistic and that he may benefit from a special local autism program. I didn't like the woman anyway, so as is my way, I told her off in a barely veiled "polite" manner.


What she said stuck with me. It just wouldn't let go no matter how much I told it to go to hell and that it couldn't possibly be the case. Then I did what I usually do and went looking for answers. The thing about answers is that when you get them, they may not always be what you want out of them. What I was finding was that what was going on with Izzy very well could be autism.


Now that I knew about the possibility I went to the pediatrician and asked what to do next. So she told me. I put in the request for an evaluation through the local agency that handles that stuff county wide. I met with them for the original appointment in June. The evaluation was scheduled for the end of August. A very long wait for a final answer, and a very frustrating one at that.


At that first appointment the woman told that based solely on what I said there that it seems like Izzy is autistic and that he would qualify for the program. From that point on, I told people that he most likely had autism. We didn't know for sure, but we were looking for the answers and waiting for that day at the end of August that would hopefully yield them.


That day was August 26. I took Izzy at 9 in the morning to the school where we met with the team. There were 4 people on the team. For just over 2 hours they took turns playing with Izzy and talking with me. Getting as much info as they could through observation and from what I had to say. They left for 10 minutes. When they came back they had the answer. I had been told that they may need to do a home visit or two, and I was expecting that, but they told me that they wouldn't need to, that they knew then what was going on.


Izzy is autistic. He'll be attending the special program 5 days a week for 1/2 days, most likely in the afternoon. This is a year round program. It is run by the county wide agency, not the school district. He is going to remain in this program until they decide to "mainstream" (I really hate that concept, but I won't get started on that now) him and then he'll come home to be schooled. At that point, we'll keep extra services, if they are needed, going.


I know a lot of parents would be absolutely devestated with this diagnosis. I was expecting it. I am relieved to finally have it because now things can move forward with meeting his needs in the best possible way.


Prayers and blessings everyone. Don't despair if you get news that isn't usually seen as the best. Take it and know that with that knowledge you can do what is best and turn it around for the better. I know, that's so glass is half full all we need is love hippy stuff, but I honestly believe that.


All pictures are copyrighted by JD Rhodes Photography in the year of 2010. Please don't take them or use them for anything. That's just not a nice thing to do and you could get in some big trouble for it. Thanks.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pink Frog Dress

I made this dress for Jayden and she wanted her pics taken while wearing it. As I'm rather proud of the work I've done on it and I think she looks absolutely FAB-U-LOUS I willingly oblidged.



I don't really know why, but I like this picture. Jason would be able to say lots of fancy camera terms, but to me, it's just visually appealing and it's not even like she has a big grin. Of coarse, Jayden really isn't a big grin kind of kind. She's always been a bit more on the serious side. She's either serious or goofy it seems.


Thankfully our yard out front provides a decent backdrop for photos, it doesn't require a special trip to the park or anything like that.



I like profile shots like this. I think it allows you to see some other aspects of the personality of the person than what you usually get from a direct on shot.


Jayden loves to make faces at the camera, the way that I do too. It's like it's own magnetism of some sort. We see a camera and we either try hard to ignore it or we pull a face.



I have the fabric cut out for another dress of the same pattern. That one is much different in color. It's got a classic blue rose theme going. I'm hoping I'll get to it soon, but I was thinking of making something cute for Abbey first.


Prayers and blessings everyone, I hope that you have a wonderful day. As a side note, all photos are property of JD Rhodes Photography. Please don't take them without permission. That violates some serious laws, not to mention that is just mean

Monday, August 23, 2010

Laying It All Out There.

Lately it has come to my attention that I am not at all well liked or received by members of my family, be they by birth or marriage. There has been a lot of critique about how I do things around my house, the choices I've made regarding my children's education, whether I work outside the home, how I spend the money we do have, and other assorted things along that same path. So I've decided to lay it all out there for ya. After all, no one can really know anything until you know the full story, right?

Let me start off with my schedule for this week. Keep in mind that Jason works full time 3rd shift. So that means he has to sleep at some point during the day. We have it set up that he goes to bed between 1 and 2 in the afternoon on the days he works. On the days he has off, that can be pushed back to 4 or 5 if absolutely necessary. He gets about as much sleep a day as I do, which is between 6 and 7 hours. However he has to do it while the kids are at home. He's not a heavy sleeper like I am so it can get a bit wearing. On his nights off, I have him go to bed as soon as he can and then he sleeps through the night until I go to bed around 1 in the morning. He deserves it.

This week I had Monday free, which was nice, but rather unusual. Honestly, the only day a week I get free is Sunday, and on occasions it's Saturday. Though if James gets the scholarship for the art class he wants to take, there goes Saturday mornings. Oh wait, Jason goes to donate plasma twice a week, Wed and Sat mornings. He does that to help bridge the gap with his income STILL being $1.20 less than what he was making before he was laid off almost 2 years ago. The only way he was able to get full time was to go to 3rd shift, which also meant an immediate $1 extra an hour for shift premium, or the gap would be more like $2.20 an hour. While 3rd shift sucks, it made financial sense for our family to do it that way.

This week I have nothing on Tuesday morning until 11:30 which is Jayden's tutoring. Because of the severity of her phonological disorder, she needs a specialized tutor. We get a reduced rate for her tutoring, however it still costs us $30 a week out of pocket. When dealing with a budget as tight as ours is, $30 is a lot of money. We are lucky if we get child support from my ex each week to help cover that. Tuesday afternoon James has therapy at 3. Jason has Tuesday off so after James' therapy, he'll go to bed. I may ask him to stay awake long enough for me to cook him fried chicken (something he and I have been craving) before sending him off to bed for the night until 1 or 2 in the morning (at the earliest). Keep in mind I need to drive to both of these appointments and they both last for an hour and I can not take any of the other kids with me.

In the middle of the 2 appointments we have Bette, who is a parent aide and comes once a week, at 1:30. She'll be here for an hour. She frequently spends her hour here with one on one time playing with Izzy so that I can take that time to do some housework in a different room.

On Wednesday morning at 10 we have a developmental eval for the twins. It is taking place here at home. Because of the special needs of the others, it was highly recommended that we do this, so we are, just to set minds at ease all around. Jayden again has tutoring at 11:30. Because I think the eval and the tutoring will overlap a little, I believe that Jason will have to finish up the eval while I take Jayden to tutoring. Jason will go to donate around 8:30 or 9 in the morning so he can be home in time for me to leave to take Jayden where she needs to be.

On Thursday morning Izzy has the first part of his eval done. I have to take him to the school to do it. It will easily take 2-3 hours. There will be a couple of follow up visits to the house within the next couple of weeks to watch him in his home environment. Then it will take at least a couple more weeks (if not longer) to put it all together and come to a final conclusion and diagnosis. Jason works Thursday night and will head to bed as soon as I get home from that. Usually Thursday mornings are spent at OT with Jayden and Izzy, but it was cancelled because of the eval this week. Next week we'll go back to OT for the two of them at 10, which lasts for an hour.

At noon on Friday Jayden has therapy. As part of her diagnosis it was found that she has quite a bit of depression going on. I also wanted her to work with someone who has experience with working with siblings of kids who are on the autism spectrum, as we know James is and believe Izzy to be. Therapy will last for an hour and again, I have to drive her there and can't bring any of the other kids with me. Jason works Friday night and will go to bed as soon as I get home.

On the nights that Jason works, I wake him up between 7 and 8 so he can get up and take a shower and have some dinner and spend some time with us as a family before he leaves for work shortly after 9. He gets to work about 30-40 minutes early, but he has said that it gives him time to get in to the "work frame of mind". I can appreciate that.

James will be starting OT of his own. The OT that we use is getting the authorization from the kids' insurance so they can set up his first appointment. She has a group in mind for him to come with and hopefully that time will work with our already busy schedule.

James' sensory stuff has been very out of whack lately. He isn't sleeping well, he's overly and very easily annoyed with common every day things. He finds Jayden to be extremely annoying and regularly tells her to "shut the fuck up" and that he will "kill her if she doesn't shut up already". Each time he tells Jayden to be quiet or to shut up, he loses a day of video game time. He is still expected to do his chores, however there is no reward for the day. Jayden processes by talking her way through it and it isn't fair to her to expect her to be quiet for the sake of James. Unfortunately, he will have plenty of times in his life where the stimuli around him will annoy him and he needs to learn to cope. Learning to cope with his little sister talking seems like a good place to start. OT will hopefully help him figure that out.

Are you tired yet looking at my schedule for the week? In what I see as an ironic twist, this week is relatively calm. Next week has even more in it, and the kids' therapies haven't been scheduled yet. Add in a med check with the psychologist, therapy for me, and the unscheduled as of yet therapy for the kids and it's just chock full. Throw in the occasional check up for one of the kids with their regular ped or a doc check up for me and it's almost insane.

Are you looking at it and wondering when I get a chance to run errands? I fit what I can in when I am already out for appointments for the kids. If I need to bring a kid that isn't the appointment, like needing someone to try on shoes or clothes or get glasses fit, I make a trip home and trade out kids. I try to set aside a morning to go grocery shopping on my own. I have Jason pick up things while he's at work already, like milk and bread and dish and laundry soaps.

Our afternoons are spent mostly at home. That doesn't mean we sit around and do nothing, sadly that is far from the truth. We have 2 case managers that come at least once a month. There is also the weekly parent aide. We are looking in to being able to get a cleaning aide to come 2-3 times a week to help me keep up on the housework. I know that our aides will increase once Izzy is in the specialized program.

What? I need help with the housework? Don't I have ALL afternoon to dedicate to that? Yes, and no. With the way the house is laid out, doing any work in the kitchen is very disturbing to Jason, who is trying to sleep in the very room attached to the kitchen, so dishes are out. It's why I wake him BEFORE I start cooking dinner each night. I don't usually cook during the day. That doesn't mean that the kids don't eat, it just means I'm not making hot meals for them. The older ones know how to use the microwave and are allowed in the kitchen one at a time to make their meals. The one at a time rule keeps arguments and the noise level down. Did I mention that Jason usually sleeps with ear plugs in?

Jack and Abbey still, thankfully, nap in the middle of the afternoon. While they do that, I have the kids help me pick up the living and dining rooms. Sadly, almost as soon as it is cleaned up, Izzy comes along and takes things back out and throws them all over. It's not unheard of for him to take things from downstairs and throw them around upstairs or vice versa. Izzy has no real concept of "play" and how to interact with things. He also has no patience to sit there to learn. I can take some time in the afternoon to work with him, but it's not enough unfortunately. It's another reason why I feel a specialized program is the right fit for him.

Oh, and Izzy is almost completely non-verbal. Meaning he has about 3 words he says, but only when he REALLY wants them. His signs that he knows are mostly used only after prompting. A lot of his time is spent crying and throwing tantrums because he simply can't make himself understood or he wants to do things that we stop him from doing, like taking all of the books off of the shelves or throwing things out the window. We had to box up all of the DVD's and get them out of the living room because he would constantly throw them around the downstairs. It seems that the more noise it makes while he does it, the more he enjoys it. He loves to throw his rescue heros across the dining room table simply because they are hard plastic and it's a wood table. It's things like this that also keep Jason from sleeping well.

Jack and Abbey are now at the age where they are not happy being contained in their pack n play or crib. They don't spend a majority of their day sleeping. They want to be out crawling and walking (which Jack is getting better at every day) around. We block off the doorway to the front hallway and the doorway that leads to the back part of the house and let them have free range roam over the living and dining rooms. This requires direct supervision by me. It means I can't be off cleaning the office or using the computer (even to do ChaCha which earns us some extra money) or in the kitchen cleaning or even taking laundry to the basement. It requires that we keep the living and dining room floors very picked up and clean. They have started climbing and have discovered how to get to the books on the shelf and love to take them out and throw them around. Climbing on the tuner and changing it from what is on is fun for them because it gets a reaction out of everyone in the room. We already have the windows usually closed because of Izzy, but with them crawling around also means that fans are not going. Unless we have the individual a/c units in the windows (and it's getting too chilly to do that) it is very stifling in these rooms because of the lack of air flow.

Aside from Jayden's tutoring and the shows that I have the kids watch on Netflix, we aren't doing any schooling right now. The shows they watch are History Channel specials and things like Mythbusters and Extreme Engineering. Jayden has taken a liking to Sid the Science Kid and the one with the reading team kids, I can't think of the name. We will start "normal" schooling once Izzy starts school. With him gone for a good chunk of the day, we'll be able to spend our afternoons with fewer distractions and interruptions from the work at hand. I'm already working out history and geography lessons, how I want to teach them both so it's at their individual level and yet doing the teaching at the same time. I've started prepping James so he knows that part of his reading time will be spent either reading to Jayden, or having her work on reading to him. I'm developing the best way to teach spelling and handwriting without it being a fight. I know James' focus in math this year will be multiplication, division, and fractions. Jayden will work on addition and subtraction. I want to use life lessons that teach science and math and reading, but I also want to do specific science experiments and work on the scientific process. I think we'll focus on natural science, but also touch on chemical science with chemical reactions like Mentos and Diet Coke. This will be the first year that James will be expected to complete a book report. They will both be working on their creative writing skills. They are anxious to learn and to a point, I'm going to let them lead the way. I'll offer the topics and see where they can go with it.

Izzy really likes Blues Clues and has learned to say clue. He interacts with the program. I am uncomfortable having the t.v. on all of the time. Unfortunately, Izzy has gotten destructive to the point that if we don't keep him directly occupied with either a movie or t.v show he really likes or direct interaction with an adult, he "entertains" himself by tossing, throwing, and destroying anything he can get his hands on. This especially includes throwing things at the twins and he has a pretty accurate aim.

Because of the things that have been said, it has greatly affected how Jason and I are planning to spend our holidays. Things that we would normally do, like host Thanksgiving dinner, just are not going to happen this year. Jason will probably have to work that night and I'll probably go to my mom's. At least at her place, while she may not understand the why's and how's of everything we do, she is always supportive and caring. She and I may have our differences, but I know that when it boils down to it my mom is ALWAYS there and it's NEVER conditional, even if she doesn't like who I'm married to, and I know that first hand from my previous marriage.

Our lives may not be ideal by anyone's standards. They may not fit the mold that was set out in front of us as to how it's "supposed" to go, but it is OUR life. We are doing the absolute best that we can with what we are handed on a daily basis. It would seem that would be the best that you could hope for, but it seems to not be enough. I guess the part that pisses me off the most is the fact that it upsets me that so many negative things have been said about me and it actually does bother me. It reinforces the faults that I already see within myself and the people doing the saying have no first hand knowledge of what it's like to be here, where Jason and I are, living our lives on a day to day basis.

I think I have covered it all from A-Z. I am certain I've stirred a pot, but honestly, it's beyond the point of making a difference any more.

Prayers and blessings everyone, even to those that don't like me.

Monday, July 5, 2010

What makes it worth it?


This is one of those rambling posts where I contemplate the meaning of the universe. Actually, I just contemplate life and the circumstances right now.


I think I'll pepper this post with pictures of the things that I think make worth it. Just as a reminder for all those readers *ahem, my husband* who need a little shove.


Things are difficult right now. They are everywhere. It always seems, that while you are in it, it is most difficult for yourself. That self perception really can get in the way of the whole picture.


Things are hard. We live in Michigan. Jason has a full time job, thank the gods, however it pays $1.30 less than what he was making when he was laid off. Apparently, to one credit card company (Citi Bank of all people, didn't my taxes bail those jerks out?) the $2500 we owe them is worth garnishing 20% of Jason's pay. That takes a nice chunk every 2 weeks out. Admittedly that debt will be paid off in December, however it makes for interesting times now.


Me working outside the home isn't an option. We've talked it up and sideways and back and forth. Jason needs to sleep at some point. We can't afford the daycare for 5 kids for the summer months. Let's not even get started about the school year and even contemplating placing the kids in "regular" school, aside from the fact that it has been reinforced by doctors, therapists, psychologists/phychiatrists that homeschooling is in fact the best thing for them.


Where would I get a job that would let me leave multiple times a week for various appointments? Not to mention the phone calls each week to come pick up James because he "won't behave". I'm trying to do stuff at home. ChaCha. EBay. I found this search engine called SwagBucks. You earn points (bucks) and can cash them in for gift cards and payments to PayPal and the like. I figure it's a way to at least earn some money toward Christmas.


All of this is to simply say we are trying. Trying our hardest to make ends meet in a very difficult time. It's not just a difficult time for us, however it kind of feels like it.


We keep getting told that our kids are worse than we thought possible. We got a dx for Jayden. her IQ is 78. Average is 90-110. She couldn't even get in to a regular school in Forrest Gump's system (his IQ was 75) unless I did the principal the way his momma did. I don't think Jason would appreciate that too much, do you? She is always going to struggle to understand spoken and written language. Or maybe it's that she is born to speak a different language, one we don't know of yet? I was told that even the worksheets I've been having her work on are probably too much for her and we need to go even more relaxed in her schooling. That came from the psychologist that did her testing.


Izzy most likely is autistic. He's trying to speak more now that he's in OT. His words aren't any clearer. He says the middle of the words, the softest parts, the parts that require the least use of his tongue. He is gibbering away all the time now. It doesn't make any sense to the rest of us, but at least he's trying. Hopefully we'll be able to get him in to a special autism program in the fall.


My ped told me that our 2nd income should be from SSI for the kids. She also does not see how I could work outside the home. The hard part is convincing the SSI people that there is a need for them. That the difficulties I see every day are severe enough to impact them as adults. When you meet Izzy, it's obvious there is something going on with him, but not with James and Jayden. You really have to get to know them to pick up on it. That normality is deceiving and can be the downfall for the SSI. How do I explain to them what is going on? I have to pick up that defeatest attitude that my husband has been carrying around and portray it to the SSI Determination Board. It goes against so much that I see in the kids, but I understand it needs to be done. Apparently, I need to try harder. We've tried twice with James and have been told both times he isn't "severe enough". Jayden is the next one I'm trying for. Then Izzy. Then James again. I'd like to hire a lawyer to do it. But I think I need to be in the appeals part of it first.


Well, I suppose that is all for tonight. We have a therapist/family aid/case manager/someone coming tomorrow. There is someone coming at least 2-3 times a week for various things. There are that many appointments as well each week that I take the kids to. So I have to go pick up the living room now, so that it will stay picked up (hopefully) until she gets here at 10. I am hoping that if Izzy watches a movie or two first thing he'll keep his destructive mess making tendencies in check. Here's hoping at least.


Prayers and blessings everyone. Remember, that while you are in it, it seems like it is the worst possible thing and that no one is going through it, or has ever gone through it, nearly as badly as you are. Take yourself out of the perception and you'll see it really could be so much worse.


I wanted to add the footnote that all photo credit goes to JD Rhodes Photography. All rights reserved. Copyrighted 2010 and all of that. Please don't use my photos (as I am one of the JD Rhodes) unless you have permission. Thanks.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


It's been forever since I posted and I've really been slacking off with only 1 or 2 posts a month. I didn't post anything at all in March, what was that about!?! So I'm going to update with a bunch of pics. I'm not going to back track their dates. I usually do, but this time I'm not going to. I'll try to include when they were taken in the post, but it will be current so that what pops up will be the most recent stuff and no one will have to go looking for old pics.

July is going to be a busy month around here. James and Jayden are each taking a class once a week. James will be taking an art class for an hour and a half on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings Jayden will be taking a cheerleading class. I am also trying to get her in to a reading clinic at Western. The tuition fee for it is somewhat expensive. I figure if nothing else, Jason and I will "donate" our birthday money to it. Gotta do what needs to be done, right?

I should be getting the results of Jayden's eval shortly. Jason has to go in on Wednesday and do his part of the question/answer game and then we'll have them. I am pretty sure that I'll be told that she has severe dyslexia, which I know already. That is what the reading clinic is for. To give us some help and ideas on how to approach reading with her differently. I've been doing some reading and I have found out that for some dyslexic kids, they don't learn to read until they are teenagers. I hope that it doesn't take that long for Jayden, however I now know a better way to help her with her school work. We'll keep on working on the basic reading skills as well as sight words, and I'll help her with her other stuff by doing the reading aloud for her. I'll also be having James do some reading to her.

I have an appointment next Friday, the 11th, for Izzy to begin the process of an evaluation to see if he qualifies for the Croyden Autism Program. We are hoping that he does. It's a 5 day a week, full school day, all year program. We are hoping that if he can do that for ages 4 and 5, then by the time he is ready to start Kindergarten, we can homeschool him. We are hoping that the day to day therapies will be enough to get him signing/talking consistently as well as get him to sit still and be able to focus on a task for a short period of time.

We have switched agencies so we are getting settled in with a new case manager. We have to have a case manager in order for James to continue seeing Dr. O with Community Mental Health. Dr. O is a psychiatrist and is the one that handles the meds for James. We are trying to get James in to a program that does a mentoring thing. He'd go with the trained therapist 2-3 days a week for about 3 hours on average. They'd go do social things. It'd be a way for James to work on those social things he has such difficulty with in a setting where I wasn't right there to directly and immediately monitor and correct him. Which is something that he is going to need to learn to do.

I tried my meds at a double dose today. The twice a day dose is what is "usually" prescribed. I see the doc on the 8th for a follow up and I like to know what kind of effects I'm looking at before I ask for med increases. I do this for James usually, but it works great for me as well. The difference is ASTOUNDING. I actually had energy. I wasn't put off by the enormity of my tasks. I just hunkered down and worked on it. I got the girls' room almost completely cleaned and reorganized. Tomorrow I'm going to finish that room and then work on the boys' room, the stairs, and the landing area at the top of the stairs. On Sunday it will be the playroom and I see that easily carrying over in to Monday.

Jason has the weekend off so I'm hoping that once I get the boys' room cleaned, he can go in and paint it. We've had the paint sitting in the basement for quite some time, it's just been waiting for the right moment. I also have a wallpaper border to put up in there as well. I want to try to find all the stamps that I was using for the girls' walls and get back to finishing that. I have curtains to make for all of the rooms as well. It seems like a lot, but I know if I just take it one day at a time and focus on the task of the moment it will all come together.

I have been reading the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover. I've just started it. It is making sense, especially the part about the person in the mirror. I'm going to talk with Deb on Monday about some of that to see what she suggests. Having grown up without a lot of direction about money, personal finance, budgeting, prioritizing, and personal responsibility I am a bit lost in this at times. I know that Jason and I have it worked out that I handle the bills and I'm just trying to make sure that things get done. I want to make sure they are getting done better however, so we can actually start making progress toward our ultimate goals. I've been talking with Jason about what I've been reading. One thing I have noticed is that some of his suggestions are out of context for a larger family on a smaller income. The concepts are sound so we'll see what we can do with what we have.

I have energy to "work" now, which is amazing. I am still doing ChaCha but I am making a more concentrated effort on doing it. I'm also listing things on eBay. I'm starting with my maternity clothes. They are in good condition and I know I'm never going to need them again so they are just taking up space. It's also hard to find affordable plus sized maternity clothes. They don't exist but for a very few stores, and then they are rather expensive, especially considering they are meant for a short period of wearing.

James is gone with Linda for 2 weeks. He left this past Wednesday morning. Jayden will be going for 2 weeks in August. Katy will be spending about 1/2 of her summer with us, a fact that she isn't too pleased about. That is because she would rather spend the time with her friends. Thankfully Jenn and I are in agreement that family trumps friends. This also is kind of "make up" for the school year when she has commitments and that kind of thing that allow us to see her about once a month. We'd love for it to be more often but the 1 1/2 hour drive one way is also a bit inhibitive.

Well, I think that is all for now. I'll be back in the next day or so to post some pics. I'm hoping to make daily blogging a habit again. I'll be updating The Journey blog after my appt on Tuesday, or even Monday after I have therapy. Prayers and blessings everyone, I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

This Other Blog That I Do

Technically, there is more than one. I have one set up for James to talk about video games. I am hoping it helps his grammar and spelling and basic english skills. I'm also hoping it helps him get the video game rants out a bit in a format where there are others to "listen" to them.

Then there is the business blog. I'm just getting started with that.

Finally there is the Journey blog. That is the one I was referring to in the title. I realize I've been very lax in posting to this blog. For the year so far there have been less than 10 posts and here it is, the 5th month already. Wow. Honestly, it's been too much "effort". Though honestly, that doesn't make any sense. After all, it's just typing and clicking and that's it. So I'm working on doing it more. All around.

This other blog is my food journal exercise log health rant blog. I needed somewhere I could put it all down in one place. Somewhere that the focus was my health and what and how I'm dealing with it. I want this blog to be about family and my relationships with them. Showing off pictures of the kids and that kind of thing. I don't want the health thing to distract from that.

My goal for the month of May is to post 4-5 times a week on this and the health blog. I would love to post frequently on the business blog, but if I don't have business, then I can't do that. My hope for posting that frequently is that I can sit down and really look at what I'm doing, where I'm going, and where I want to be. Be prepared for a lot of mind numbing posts like "I did 4 loads of laundry and washed 3 racks of dishes today. I knitted for a while. The kids and I went for a walk." Those are the kinds of things that I want to keep track of.

I want to start having recipes on both blogs, food pics too. The ones here will be more family focused. The ones there will be ones that I'm trying as a way to be healthier. They will overlap I'm sure.

The kids are doing all right. Jack is crawling and pulling himself up. He'll be walking before he turns a year old, I can guarentee that. As it is, he walks along the furniture so it's just a matter of time before he lets go. He'll be my earliest walker. Abbey is pulling herself up to her knees and rocking back and forth. She'll be crawling by the end of the month I think. Up to now it seems like she hasn't felt the need to be moving, but something has struck up the nerve in her to do it. They have a check up on Monday so we'll see how they are doing weight and height wise. It's a shot free appt, so that will be nice.

Izzy still isn't speaking. We are working on trying to teach him sign. I've talked to his ped about a lot of things going on with him. We both feel he may be on the Autism Spectrum, though most likely, not very severely. It seems that his language abilities are the most severe of his issues. A lot of his behavior problems directly relate to his inability to effectively communicate his wants and needs. I'm calling to try to get him in to a speech and language clinic at WMU.

I went to an Autism Conference not long ago. I learned some things and it was a nice afternoon. I met a woman, I believe her name was Ashley, from an organization here in town called Parent to Parent. They are all parents of children with special needs. Parent mentors and resource ideas and all of that. I'm looking at being connected with possibly another parent who had a child with a severe speech issue similar to Issac's. I'm also going to do the training to be a parent mentor because of my experiences with James, Jayden, and Izzy. It was suggested to me to try to get Izzy in to a music program of some sort.

This has been something that I've been working with James and Jayden on already. Music theory. I am going to keep doing that and try to expand it to include Izzy. I am now in search of beginning piano books for them. I'm not sure what will work best, and odds are it may end up being different for each of them, but we'll see how it goes. I have the keyboard and the music knowledge myself.

We are applying for a Y-Grant. It will help us get a reduced fee to join the YMCA where the kids can take classes. We are thinking swim for James and dance for Jayden. This summer James will be taking an art class and Jayden will be doing cheerleading through our local parks dept. I am also trying to get Jayden in to a summer reading clinic. I am hoping they can help her break through her barrier and make sense of the letters and how they form in to words.

We are in the final stages of an evaluation for Jayden. I asked that it be done so that we could discover if the suspected dyslexia is actual. I wanted to know if there were any other things going on that could inhibit her learning. I don't think that we will get a diagnosis like Autism or anything like that. With James' eval, Asperger's was the anticipated result. With Izzy, mild Autism/PDD-NOS is the anticipated result. With Jayden, severe Dyslexia/AD(H)D is the anticipated result. I just hope that my intuitions regarding my kids stay on par with what I experienced with James and that I'm not totally off base with Jayden and Izzy.

James is growing well. He's constantly wanting to eat. At his age, that doesn't surprise me. I'm glad to see that he is beginning the typical teenage need to eat. I know that pre-teen and teen boys grow quite a bit. I also know that James is hoping this starts to happen naturally, and soon, so that he can stop doing the hormone therapy. His endo has said that is what will happen. Once he hits the typical teen growth James will be able to stop with the growth hormones.

James wears glasses full time now. He has needed them for a while, but convincing him to wear them has been difficult. The way they feel on his face bothers him, understandably so. He picked out a pair that he really likes and I made sure to pay extra for the replacement warrenty. He is now comfortably reading chapter books. He's read Percy Jackson, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and is working on How to Train Your Dragon. All in the past month. I think we are definately developing a love for reading with him!

This summer for our schooling we will be focusing on reading. We will include a little math and science with that, but it will mostly be reading. The other focus will be social. Working on family interactions. Helping out around the house and outside in the yard. Behavior and attitude. Being a good role model for younger siblings.

One of the things I'm having a difficult time teaching James is being a role model. Because he is such a concrete thinking, he has a hard time understanding how his actions affect others. He also isn't grasping the notion that how he acts toward his brother and sister is how they are going to act toward the ones younger to them. It's very difficult to teach him to think outside of his very small box where he believes that how he acts is in direct relation to how others treat him first. He can't see that he is not actually reacting, but acting first and the others are either reacting to him or mimicing his previous action. It creates a lot of smack my head against the wall moments for me.

Katy has gotten herself in to trouble. For the past few months her grades have really gone down. She has started to alter her perceptions to something much darker and definately unacceptable. She has made herself "mentally ill" in order to fit in more with friends, when in fact there isn't anything wrong. She has a boyfriend that is very consuming of her energy and focus. It's a relationship that is much too, in my opinion, intense for someone who is only 12. She keeps "forgetting" that she is only 12 and really is trying to be much older. This all came to a head a couple of weeks ago. I won't go in to specific detail as to what she did, however it did get her grounded and pulled out of school and homeschooled for the last month of the school year. Jenn felt it was necessary to remove her from the friends and school in order for Katy to refocus on what is really important. This summer when Katy visits, she is going to find out what it really means to be intensely involved in a relationship. The side effects of all of that, of having an "adult" relationship. Instead of lounging about reading all day, she'll be helping me cook and clean and take care of the three youngest kids. This will be all day long.

She had changed her relationship status on facebook, at one point, to married. That is how involved she feels that she is with her boyfriend. I want to show her what being married REALLY is. It's not all fun and games and hanging out together. That's dating. Marriage is responsibility and time consuming. It is about love and respect as well. However a child of 12 (she really is still very much a child) doesn't have the life experience to understand the love and respect part, not really, not completely. She says that she loves her boyfriend, and I'm sure to her that is what it feels like. I remember that kind of love. It is nothing compared to what I have with Jason. I don't want her to get so focused on that feeling that she closes herself off to everything and everyone else that she will experience and meet in the future.

Do I think my lesson will work? I have no idea. I know I'll be talking with her about it, the intensity of her relationship, as well. Trying to explain how it is taking her focus away from her school work and therefore, taking away from her future. Thankfully her boyfriend will be in high school next year, he's a grade above her. While he'll doing school online instead of attending a physical building, my hope is that it will lessen the intensity of the relationship.

Well, I suppose that is enough of a update for right now. That is what has been going on here. Prayers and blessings for everyone.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Starting (Continuing?) a New Business

Yes, there is some confusion as to whether it's starting or continuing. Jason has a degree in photography that is just sitting there getting dusty. He has been showing me how to use the Adobe Photoshop program. He has also told me that I take really good photos of the kids.

Honestly, Jason isn't super social. He doesn't have a lot of free time to dedicate to photo shoots. A wedding is something that is scheduled months in advance so he can easily make sure he has the needed time for it off of work. However, things like family photo shoots are scheduled, often, a couple of weeks in advance, at most. They also take less time to do.

I really enjoy taking the photos. I love working with the kids and getting them to act naturally. I like working with the natural light, and as Jason has told me it allows for the best photos.

With all of that, we are officially going in to business. At the moment it's very small scale. This summer I will look in to getting a business license and tax ID number as well as registering our business name locally. I know this will mean extra work come tax time. I also know it has the potential for some extra income for us.

If you are my friend on facebook, I've sent you a like/fan request. I've also started a blog. At the moment, I'm uploading photos of different times Jason or I have taken photos of the kids. To act as a portfolio. I'll be ordering some business cards to hand out as well. I know that to begin with we'll be using a lot of family to build the portfolio and get the word out. That is fine. So if you are family (or not) and would like some nice photos done as a portfolio builder for me, give us a call. For the portfolio builder, we are doing no charge. We'll give you a CD/DVD of the pictures that are taken, sized to 8x10 so that they will be good quality printed up to that size and a stack of business cards. Just spread the word when you are asked who did your photos. If you want, we can get photos printed for you for the cost of the printing.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

An Editorial I Wrote.

Yes I know it's been over a month since I posted. I have pics to put up and things like that. However, here's a quick post with a link.

I wrote an editorial to our local paper. There was a case that had been moved to our county from where it had happened about an hour south of here because the judge felt that it wouldn't get a fair jury in it's home jurisdiction. It involved a very horrific death of a young woman, who was 16, and she was homeschooled. She had special needs, the same diagnosis as James in fact. Her parents were the cause of her death, though they didn't set out to kill her, that was a horrible accident. The parents were found guilty of 1st degree Child Neglect and Abuse as well as Torture. Yeah. The young woman's name is referenced in the editorial. If you search her name through Mlive you'll find the articles regarding the hearing if you want to know more.

Because the young woman was homeschooled many many many people came out and said that there need to be tougher homeschool laws because "look at her". In fact, she had been in Public School for many years and the abuse had been reported, however CPS had dropped the ball. I believe the girl's grandmother is now looking in to a civil suit against that agency, which I completely understand. If they had followed through, the young woman would still be alive. It was stated during the trial that the investigators for the state knew of the methods of restraint (torture) and condoned it.

Needless to say, I was angry. It made my blood boil to read about this trial, that this child should have been treated so cruely, that the state passed her over, that people would assume that because she was homeschooled that was the root of the problem.

I don't know if the editorial will be printed in the local paper, right now it's just online. Our local paper has shrunk considerably, as have many/most in the US, so space is limited and I was told there were many editorials ahead of mine waiting to be printed. Here is the link. Let me know what you think.