Saturday, February 28, 2015

One week without Facebook

I officially said good-bye to Facebook a week ago.  I had been signed out for 3 days before that, but made my official goodbye last Saturday.

This week has been much quieter than usual.  There have been nights that I have gone to bed much earlier than I normally would which is nice.

So here is a little week in review... I guess it is a nice summary and some of what would have been posted on status updates!

Because I no longer spend time checking FB I was able to go back through years of blog posts and change the photo size to medium in hopes of being ready to print some blog books soon.

I was able to email a dear friend who I have not connected with in years.  It was so refreshing to hear from her and to reconnect with someone in a meaningful way.

I have talked on the phone to many people at Children's hospital to plan M's surgery which will be happening later this month.  (There is a blog post in the works about this so I won't share more about that just yet.)

I have found new fun recipes to try on Pinterest.  The best discovery was learning how to properly cook dry black beans.  A few years ago I bought a lot of dried beans because I had this urge to not use cans... and then those beans just became one with my cupboard.  I was organizing cupboards a couple weeks ago and discovered them and decided something needed to be done with them.  I found a plan for how to cook and freeze them and use them just like canned beans.  It surely isn't rocket science, but it might have been a tad life changing.  The first thing I learned is that I needed to soak the beans for a long time before cooking them.  I soaked them in water with apple cider vinegar for a full 18 hours before putting them in my crock pot (with fresh water).  I was able to turn two cups of dried beans into 6 packages of beans ready to go!  It was like loaves and fishes folks!  The bonus, we ate Mexican food last night and the post I read wasn't kidding... no nasty tummy ill effects from the beans.  Mind Blown!

The kids had their first gymnastics class this week.  They both did well.  One of my kids might be a bit more focused during class... and one might be spinning and waving and yelling to me across the gym.  Any guesses on which is which?  :)

We took down the "Winter trees" at church this week.  Because they are decorated with just berries and pinecones they transform from Christmas trees to Winter trees the day after Christmas.  Alas tomorrow is March so the Cross is back and I am already missing the cozy tree feel.

iPhoto is a nightmare!  I know I will not properly describe what happened to our photos, but basically we lost almost all of them, like 99% of them.  We got a new hard drive on our computer this week so things are working somewhat better, but not in the photo department. Thankfully we were able to recover most through an old computer and the fact that we have lots of photos on our camera and phone, BUT I want to warn iPhoto users to back up your pics somewhere else!  We have THREE external hard drives so our photos were backed up like crazy but always within iPhoto and not as files.

We went to a wedding tonight.  Actually Brandon officiated so I sat with my amazing friend Charissa who then had to play music and sing in the wedding so I was double ditched haha.  Don't worry, I found plenty of people to chat with. The wedding was lovely and the groom got emotional which of course made me emotional!  I am so excited to see God work in the lives of this newly created family!

Local Grandparents Rock!  No, this isn't a big announcement about one set of our parents moving to our area (though if they wanted to I am sure we would help them house hunt).  I have been praying since we got M's referral that God would lead us to a set of local grandparents.  I was even praying that they would be empty nesters with no local grands so that we wouldn't take them away from time with them.  I was also praying that they would approach us and that caring for our kids would be something they truly wanted to do.  Don't get me wrong, we have a great church full of people who care about our kids, but many of them have local grandkids or work busy jobs etc. Through some very hard patches of trauma it was one of the only prayer requests I could keep up with, sadly.  Friends, God heard!  He provided an amazing couple from our church who love our kids and our kids love them!  We are so thankful for them in our lives.  Tonight they watched our kids so I could enjoy the ceremony.  It was incredible to be a part of the night and to know our kids were having a blast at home.

Many year ago I was a big tea drinker.  Then I had kids and just stopped.  I still have a big tea stash, but never really drank it.  The first day T went to school I made a big cup while I read my Bible.  I have become a tea drinker again!  Oh how lovely it is to drink a cup or two or three a day.  I don't get too fancy and mainly just drink Yogi tea as that is what I have on hand!

T has completed two weeks of school.  She is doing well (or so the notes home say).  I have enjoyed my morning of tea and 1Corinthians.  I have journaled, blogged (I have all the words written for the Christmas post but am waiting on the photos for that and many other posts), walked, done pilates, helped with the trees at church, voted, organized and more.  I think we are in the beginning of something beautiful friends!

Oh dear, this post is a total highlight reel.  I guess I did make it a bit more like FB than I realized.  To keep it real, we have had our share of trauma, potty training regression, a fifth round of strep, huge messes made, napless days, wakeful nights, FB withdrawl, major computer problem (which I did mention) etc.  We are still us!

Thank you to the sweet friends who have messaged me in email this week.  I feel so blessed by your words and prayers.  Thank you to the few people who are checking the blog and will see this post.  Here's to another week without Facebook, but very much with Jesus!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Breaking up is hard to do!

Hey Facebook, Let's just be friends.

It's not you, it's me! 

Facebook is all kinds of wonderful to a mom like me.  It is a great source of encouragement and hope.  It is a great source for help and venting.  It is a great source for tips and tricks to fix things that are wrong.  It is a great source for news... hmmm not exactly,  it is a biased source, but I do find out a lot of news that way.  The biggest blessing of Facebook in this life season has been connecting with other trauma mamas.  I am in so many wonderful FB groups filled with other moms who have found themselves in a place they never imagined to be.  To talk openly with these moms has been such a comfort to me and has connected me to parenting tools and therapies which have benefited our family greatly.

So you ask, why on earth would you break up with Facebook?

Well it is simple, Facebook has become my Jesus!  Yep, that is correct.  I did just say that.  All those things that FB is great for that I mentioned above.  They are all things that I used to talk with Jesus about.  Our family has had other seasons of hard before this one.  I noticed with the other seasons of hard a deepening in my faith through the difficult situation.  With this situation I have noticed a weakening of faith.  It isn't that my faith is gone, but my reliance on God for the details and questions of the day is much less than it once was.  Facebook is great, but is makes a really pathetic Jesus!  I am ready to make Jesus my Jesus again!

This morning as I was reading my chapter of Experiencing God for my huddle I was blown away.  Here are some of my favorite Chapter 4 quotes and my thoughts on them. "The salvation God offers comes with a corresponding summons to be on mission with Him." I love thinking about being on a mission with God. "If you feel weak, limited, and ordinary, take heart! You are the best material through which God can work." Well, that is pretty much me... I guess I am great material for God to work in and through! This is a quote from Henry Varley from this chapter, "The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to Him."  This quote was a game changer for D.L. Moody!  Aren't these quotes awesome?  This one directly relates to FB for me anyway..."Today our world does not need to see what we can do, but people desperately need to witness what God wants to accomplish through us." I am not sure all that God wants to accomplish through me, but I know that I will experience Him more when the noise of seeing what the world is up to is not always over my shoulder.  This book is wonderful folks.  I highly recommend reading it!

I was convicted and so ready to make a change. While I am currently logged out of FB I do plan to log back in to post my email address and a link to this post so people know why I am gone and how they can reach me.  I do not post comments that people post on blog posts so feel free to write to me through blog post if you want.  Please share an email address if you want me to reply :)  Please also email me, call me, set up a walking date.  Let's stay connected in a life giving way!

I am excited to seek God and His Word through the hard.  It is a bit scary to my human mind to imagine not connecting with these dear friends, but it is also exciting to think about connecting with the One you really really gets me because He made me and He made my kids and He can HEAL them and Renew them and me!  Friends, I have not felt this giddy about my faith in a long time!

I will continue to blog.  I will prob blog a lot more than usual actually, esp once we get the computer fixed.  I won't be posting blog links on FB so I guess you will just have to hop over to the blog frequently to see what I have written, or I could recruit someone to tag the blog to my wall I guess :)

I am excited to be Experiencing God more and more in my day to day life as I seek Him and talk with Him about the events of the day!  Yes, breaking up is hard to do, but I am in the Best relationship possible so I am not alone!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Two on the Bus!

As I write this blog post my house is quiet, very quiet.  This morning my Sweet T and my Big M climbed on the bus together and headed to school.  Yes, my baby is at school!  She turned three yesterday (a post about turning 3 will come soon) and today she headed to school!

T has been part of the Birth to Three program in our state for several months.  It has been an incredible blessing for us to have an OT come to our home twice each week to work on sensory and aggression issues. In the last month T has been evaluated to see if she qualifies for the same early intervention program that M is in.  We had our IEP meeting last week and received the great news that she qualifies for services.  If you have spent two minutes with me in the last six months you know how amazing this early intervention program is.  We are so thrilled that T will be able to be a part of it as well.

Because she is three, she will attend just two mornings a week.   Positive interaction with peers is very hard for T.  We are so hopeful that this program will help her to be less aggressive with other children.  We are also hopeful that she will learn some strategies to cope with her impulse control.  Her IEP has some lofty goals.  She has a great team and I know they will work to help her achieve them. 

When M started school in September I thought he has the best teacher to student ratio possible.  I was mistaken.  Today on T's first day, there is just one other student in her class.  Two more will be qualifying and joining soon, but today there are two teachers and two kids!  Amazing! 

T seemed a bit unsure this morning, but as soon as the bus came into sight she was squealing and running so fast she slipped on the ice before getting on to the bus.  The fall didn't phase her.  She was just glowing when we waved good-bye!  

It is hard for me to believe that they are both at school.  The mental list of things I could do is so long, and yet I sit here and type. The sunshine coming in the windows and a cozy warm house are begging me to stay right where I am.  The theme for their school time is "mama self-care."  Every therapist we speak with is deeply concerned about my self-care.  Parenting our children is a 24/7 gig.  Remember I co-sleep with M who has night terrors almost every night.  It is literally a never-ending job.  My body and my spirit are weak.  I hope to spend time in prayer, in God's Word, in my walking shoes, and catching up on the blog, listening to music, resting... and not too much else.  I am so excited for this new season of life and the in awe of the way that God provides blessings like this for our family. 

--- And now they are home---
T's teacher reports that she had a great first day of school.  She was just beaming when she got off of the bus.  I am so thankful that her teacher wrote an entire page note in her notebook because T's answer to everything was "I don't know."  She did say there were a LOT of kids in her class (maybe she means the school in general) though M told her there was only one other kid which is what the teachers said as well. The funniest thing was when she got off the bus all smiles and said, "I got a Bible.  The teacher gave me a Bible."  Then M is like, "I want a Bible.  How come the teachers didn't give me a Bible?"  This isn't what I expected to hear, but I sure was curious! We opened her backpack to see what she was talking about and discovered it was her notebook.  It is the same style of notebook that Brandon uses as a prayer journal and that I use as a blessings journal.  Ours are usually with our Bibles and she assumed I guess they were also Bibles.  So sweet that she thought it was a Bible for her.  God just makes me smile.  My little public early intervention kids... coming home from school talking about the Bible. 

*For those of you who are so faithful to follow the blog, I am sorry that many posts long overdue.   Our home computer is not running well.  Access to iPhoto is very hard as the computer freezes each time I attempt.  We will post some first day of school photos on FB and hopefully get the computer fixed before too long so I can get caught up on photo blogging once again. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

In the air there's a feeling of Christmas!

I realize that Christmas is over... but the fact that it is the first week in January and I have some December posts hitting the blog is quite impressive I think.  I realize that soon I need to tackle all the Christmastime photos, but for now, here are a variety of December pics capturing moments of our Advent season.  We really try not to do too much, so these photos are a glimpse at all of the events we do during the month.

The Christmas season starts with decorating our own house and then decorating at church.  We have a great team of helpers and we were basically done in a little over an hour this year.  Many hands make light work.  Having people my kids love there makes everything delightful!  

T: I love it when Bobbi holds me!
Church decorating day is always the first Saturday in December which is also the day of the local Christmas festival, parade, and fireworks.  The kids loved the parade, but were more focused on eating candy and being cold than much of the fireworks.

WOW!!!!!!  (A man with a hot air balloon fire thing was driving by.  It was impressive, but their faces of awe are priceless!)

Another December highlight for us is our Friday Night Group Christmas party.  We had a great time this year with lots of friends, food, gift exchanges and even a group game.  It was a special night!

You can tell it is a fun party when your entry way looks like this!

Kids gift exchange.

An intense game of Christmas Pictionary.

T's face in the gift she scored at the gift exchange! Slightly creepy.  Slightly like an ultra-sound image.

Church caroling and potluck night is one of our family's favorite nights.  The kids love riding on a big bus.  We all love the sounds of the voices mixing and the joy in the eyes of those we carol to.  Johnny is always a highlight for us.  He sings to us and with us each year.  While we do bless many residents, we get much more than we give!  Food with friends at church is a great way to end the night.

Johnny and our dear friend Doris!

Yummy potluck!

OK confession... the following photos are actually from November... early November I think.  It is the only time that it has snowed here so it must be from then.  As I type this (on January 2nd) we are still waiting for snow.  There is some in the forecast for tomorrow so we will see if it actually happens.  My Christmas trees are still up waiting for a white Christmas. :) 

Back to the photos... One Sunday morning in November M woke up at 4:40 to see this lovely site.  I managed to keep him in bed until 5:30, but he was outside shoveling the 1/4 inch of snow well before 6:00am.  By the time we went to church he had been outside a couple of times and T had also spent time outside.  The kids were in full winter gear and ready for snow balls and snowmen and angels etc.  We are hoping for enough snow to sled soon!

Please note all of the photos were taken from our back door.  Yahoo, my kids have gotten to the age where I can let them play outside in the snow while I watch from the warm house.  Don't worry, I will do plenty of sledding, but on a busy Sunday morning, not having to put on snow gear was pretty delightful!

The first photos were with a flash... it was just that dark!
Look at that hard work! Can you say Sensory OT?  It was an awesome morning!

M: I have this shoveling thing down!
Later that morning...

M: Come on T, let's wave to other classes.  T: I love watching people at church!

T: Snow is for eating, right?

T: Tastes good!

M: This is a little tricky with snow!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Early Winter Photo Catch Up!

This post is full of my kids being their crazy beautiful and fun selves.  There is no pattern to it, except cuteness!  Enjoy!

T: We match!  (Her dog's right ear came off!)

Jumping for joy at Playland!

M: I am really good at balancing!  M is using a homemade balance bike hoping to be on two wheels in the spring!

T: I love read to my baby! (She is such a sweet little mama)

M: Mommy look what I am doing!  (I was making breakfast)

One proud boy and one proud mama!

Kids: What is happening here?  (It looks like the aftermath of a storm, but really they just spread straw over new grass seed.)

M: I made an "eye" and an "i" and a "hi"

T: I going to jump over this!

The game of Life is really just about filling cars and spinning dials!
M: I really have to focus!

M: I did it!!!  (After no interest in puzzles this is a huge step for him!)

M: I love heavy work! (Sensory OT the home edition)

T: Heavy work is heavy!

T:  I just reading (This is how a sensory seeker reads a book, those are the inserts from M's boots)

M: This is the life!  (The Christmas issue of Oriental Trading was adored for several days!)

Is a second pic overkill?  Maybe, but you don't know how much he adored this thing!

M: YeeHaw I am an Ethiopian Cowboy!  (theme at iGnite)

T: I am an ever moving cow girl!

T: Who is ready to work out?

T:  I brushed my hair all by myself!

M: New GF play-doh is the best!

M: I like to keep Daddy's office board looking happy!

A sleeping T and some of her babies!

M: I am sharing my chair with T!  T: M shared with me!  I happy!

T: I got dressed all by myself!  (PJ pants, upside down socks, skirt, and T-shirt in cold temps, but all by herself)

T: I love paint when M at school!
There is only one way that I can get dinner started before Brandon gets home.  That is recruiting my kids to help in some way.  If I can get M stirring, he will continue for quite a while.  He doesn't take any chances on steam hitting him as you can see in the photo below.
M: Helping mommy cook is an intense job!

T: Yay!  M holding me!  M: I am a great brother.  (A moment that needed to be recorded!)

The below photos are from the kids time playing/working with Daddy in the work room.  I was upstairs blissfully washing dishes so I didn't experience all of this first hand, but I am so thankful they have an amazing dad to teach them about tools and safely and fun.

M: Is this the way it goes Dad? 

M: OK T, let's build a house!  T: OK!

T: This is really powerful!

T: Now I need to make it smooth.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Thanksgiving Weekend

Brandon's parents came to town for a long Thanksgiving weekend.  We enjoyed 3.5 days together.  Tom and Judy came armed with many wonderful things to do!  Judy brought some of her science things which led to 100's of vinegar and baking soda volcanoes which led to a trip to the store for more baking soda and vinegar :) They also brought some craft project things for the kids to make as Christmas presents for us.  Tom and Judy kept the kids busy for an hour working on their creations.  They were so proud to present them to us and help us open them.  They are not totally understanding of the "gift" part of them as they are now in each of their rooms.  Tom and Judy also took the kids swimming to the Y and to an indoor play area called Just for Fun.  It was such a blessing to have all this added help and a lightened load.  I was able to go to my discipleship group one morning and make a shopping trip another morning.  They even took the kids to play at church while I prepped the Thanksgiving feast so there was lots of good "mommy time" that happened over the 3.5 days.

M did an awesome job coloring this gift bag!
The kids were very eager for us to open the packages!
T: I wonder what could be inside?

TaaDaa!!!!  The kids made snowmen out of socks and rice and rubber bands.  They were so proud!

T: I just put in a TINY bit of chapstick mommy!

T with the Chapstick that just became hers!

M:  This is incredible!!!  Grandma Judy enjoying Science with M!

T: What is happening?
M:  I am going to beat you Grandpa Tom (races in the church nursery)

Reading books in the nursery!

Round two!

T: I can pour it too!

The kids LOVED experiments!

T: I can read it to you.  That me, that my brother, that my bed, I sleep on my bed, that my pillow, that my blanket.