Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thank you God for Bananas

I love when God gives us concrete in your face, undeniable moments to see he cares about the details in our life.  One of my favorites is when God gave us a hat for Bob.  Last week he gave us a bundle of bananas

We do our grocery shopping on a weekly basis.  This weeks shopping trip ended up happening on monday with all three kids in tow, and it was raining.  It was a trip I was regretting making and knew would be difficult from the moment we pulled into the parking lot.  It was a 5 minute drive from home.  But we were out of bread and milk and eggs so it had to be done.  Usually we start at Aldi
and then go to Publix for the items we couldn't get at Aldi.  While we were shopping the rain got worse and became a downpour.  One of my kids is terrified of being in the rain.  I got my shopping done while trying to keep the running down the aisles and vocal levels reasonable.  We usually pass over the bananas at Aldi because they are very green and don't ripen well we have found.  We bought other fruit.   We purchased our food and bagged it up and started to wait out the rain.  My patience was running thin and another stop was not in the cards especially with the extra work of unloading and loading the car in the rain.  We went home and did without the missing items on the list that didn't get picked up at stop #2.  No big deal, we will get them next week.

That was monday, Wednesday night we were at church for mid week classes.  As the night was wrapping up we spent a few rare moments talking with our Pastor about some upcoming events we are involved in, when the person closing the Cafe suddenly asked if we eat bananas.  Startled we said yes and remarked how we do but not at the moment we were out and didn't get any this week.  "Here you go God knew and here have these."  OUr kids had been running around and as kids always do told us they were hungry.  So we broke a banana off the bunch and told them what had just happened and we all celebrated that God gave us bananas.

God really does care about the little things.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Restless & Refocused

Last spring, almost a year ago now, I got invited to a Bible Study.  The group was formed out of one woman's desire to find community.  We used a brand new study by a woman I had never heard of, Restless by Jennie Allen.  My expectation was to meet some new people, learn some new bits about the Bible and have a night with the ladies and away from the kids once a week.  

The study used Joseph's life as a frame work for us to examine our own lives and what God is calling us to.  It is about being made for more than we are doing, and we become restless as a result.  The more I worked through the study I was amazed how I was seeing experiences, friendships, interests, and hurts connect to not only make me who I am now but as a foundation to launch me into my small part of God's big story.  

It changed my life.  I was in the mundane of diapers with 2 kids with special needs we were just beginning to discover and address.  I needed to be pulled out of the overwhelming of the now, and reminded of the purpose behind it all.  How the details don't matter, and the season we are in doesn't last forever.  

Here we are a year later and our family is almost on auto pilot for our daily chaos and I have room to breathe.  I have been chewing on the truths God taught me all year long.  Jennie Allen's team is hosting a conference to gather women together with God.  The first year it went better than they expected and they didn't have enough room for everyone who wanted to come so they offered a live-cast.  This year they are doing it again but its all about the live-cast and meeting where we are, with those around us to encounter God.  

The disciples preached what they had heard and seen Jesus do.  And I am doing the same.  God used this simple study to change me and reignite my calling, and I can not be silent I have to share it.  

February 6 &7
"If God is Real, Then What?"



Thursday, January 15, 2015

It works for us: Music

She asked for music so we are learning music.  I love the flexibility of homeschooling.  We have this baby piano we got from a garage sale.  Lydia loves to perform and make up songs.  So I found some simple 8 note music for her to learn some real songs.  After a quick google search we found a set of songs HERE, there are 10 songs and we are starting with the simplest.  I write them on larger paper with the colored notes more varied so we can tell them apart and she starts playing.  So far she is playing "London Bridge" and "Mary had a Little Lamb".  She is using an unsharpened pencil to play the xylophone bars directly, instead of hitting the piano keys.


Monday, January 12, 2015

What worked for us: Dolphins

We had a lot of fun with our first unit:  Dolphins.  We used Magic Tree House #9 Dolphins at Daybreak as our outline.

We colored pictures of dolphins while we listened to the book.  Lydia enjoyed having something to focus on while she listened to the story.  We also used one of the journal prompts to practice our writing and remember what we were learning.  We found some great pages at Education.com.

The Magic Tree House lands on a reef where the children climb in a mini sub and discover a coral reef.  The only way to describe a reef to see one so we found a video.  Then we could really imagine the bright and colorful things Jack and Annie saw.


We bought a set of children's encyclopedias a while back at a used book sale.  Lydia will even take them to bed to read.  She found a project to make a model of the ocean in a large clear plastic bottle.  So we spend one afternoon building it.
We added sand from the sandbox and shells we had gathered from previous trips to the beach.  There was even a boat to float on the surface of the water.

The Magic Tree House website has a great teacher page, the Teacher Club, with activities and resources for each book.  We looked at Fact Tracker Dolphins and Sharks and used the handouts to learn what practical ways we can help protect the ocean and also to chart the differences between sharks and dolphins, both important animals in our story.



Saturday, January 10, 2015

We Returned, and Conquered!

Today I cried at Seaworld.  It wasn't for the captive animals.  It wasn't for a sweet moment with my kids.  It wasn't because I got hurt .  I died because I was there.  We live in central Florida, so we tend to take theme parks for granted.  But I was there, by myself with 3 children.  We used to have passes and then parenting got hard and we had a colicky baby and a developmentally delayed 2 year old (now known to be Autism), and a strong willed preschooler.  Panic set in just thinking about what could happen at the park.  We gave up our passes.

This was then
Today 10 months later we got them again and I visited the park with 3 kids by myself and we all had a good time.  Time had passed everyone had gotten older and independent.  Life changed as much as it stayed the same.  Our son isn't cured, but we have spent hundreds of hours working with him and learning how to help him where he is.  He got overwhelmed but we got through it.  He wants to go back.  The colicky baby now has a speech delay but he was excited and found some new words, fish, shark.  I still had my three kids but this time we conquered the park and weren't scared.

I never thought this day would come but its here and I will embrace it with a smile, and remember how far we have come.  Yes, there will be new challenges, but we will face them as they come.  We will LIVE our life and not hide from it.

This is our now!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Andrew's Health update: Dismissed!

 Grandma came to visit when Andrew was born. When it was time for her to leave, I remember wanting to pull at her ankle and beg her to stay.  Having her around was keeping us all sane.  Andrew was already starting to have colic and putting him down for the night could take hours, only to have to start it again when he woke up to eat the next time.

Being our third child we knew a couple of things about babies and had some expectations about what to expect.  But He rewrote our parenting book.  Every evening for months it was a lottery if he would go to bed easily or if it would take hours.  The pediatrician dismissed it as colic.  But we had other suspicions not that we knew exactly but this couldn't be normal.  

Finally at 6 months old we switched pediatricians and started seeing a GI specialist.  at 11 months it was time to do some real investigating and Andrew was sedated for some exploratory scopes to look at his digestive track and see where the problem lie.  We got the results back the week of thanksgiving.  We had something to be thankful for this year.  The tests came back with no visible concerns but the lab work showed 2 different issues.  He was allergic to cows milk and soy, AND his pancreas was not producing some of the enymes needed to digest the food he was receiving.  Changing his formula yet again, and adding some enzyme replacement medicine solved the issues.  

The only remaining issue was for him to catch up on his weight now that he could actually use the food his body was taking in.  We were also told it would not be unreasonable for him to outgrow these issues.  

Today we saw his GI doctor and received the news we were waiting on.  Lab work that was completed late last year confirms that both the enzymes and allergies are no longer affecting Andrew.  We can wean him to cow's milk to drink and feed him a worry-free diet.  

Andrew will be 2 later this month and we are more than excited to give him his very own birthday cake to smash and eat to his heart's content.  His speech skills are behind but the great team helping him catch up isn't worried.  He has been too busy using his Cute super powers to charm everyone he meets.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

Ready, Set... Homeschool!

I told myself in August this year I would let my daughter attend traditional school, in our case public for the whole year and it would be best for our family to homeschool starting the following year for 1st grade.  And then the 'itch' came, I missed learning with her.  and then the teacher left and she had to switch classrooms.  I was expecting to not like everything about school, but i didn't expect 10 minutes of recess, and fundraiser forms brought home the first day of school.  I was scared to jump in fully and commit to homeschooling.  Doing preschool was a fun way to fill our time, now the stakes felt higher.  I didn't want to give up my peaceful afternoons when 2 were at school and the youngest was napping.  But I missed her and I missed teaching her.  So we jumped in and aren't looking back.  It feels right somehow.  So we are piecing it together and starting 1st grade for my almost 6 year old on monday.  Here we go!
Field trip to the zoo when the grandparents visited for the holidays

We are planning to use:
Spectrum Math grade 1
Spectrum Language Arts grade 1
Spectrum Writing grade 1
Magic Tree House books
American Girl books
and whatever else we find along the way.  
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