Friday, December 28, 2012

A challenging day.

Yesterday I was reflecting on my own parenting journey and how that journey ebbs and flows with the different paths we take, we choose, we refuse, we reluctantly take, and paths that surprise us. 

I began thinking that after making a final choice to step away from all parenting boards and parenting 'cliques'

With my own parenting journey and the struggles it has brought with a child facing special needs and another child who is extremely stubborn, I felt it was best for my own sanity. 
I need support, all mothers need support.  At the end of the day if we can't get past a style or parenting choice and choose to tear down each other, then we have accomplished nothing.  Yet if we can extend a hand, offer a hug or encouraging word when another mother is struggling, then we could very well change the world!

Today has been one of the challenging days with David, then adding Aaron who is a typical 4 year old...well it makes for a less than thrilling day.

Sometimes I really think that my children just forget that there are certain ways that it is neither appropriate or acceptable in our home, to act.

Nope, it's not OKAY, to pull your clothes out of the dresser and throw them around playing 'ghost'.  No it's not acunacceptable to shake your new kitchen violently playing earthquake. 

Yes, I know it's imaginative play and to squelch that is not always good.  However there are appropriate ways to take care of items.  It's a fine balance in our home and sometimes, I'm just simply the mean mom who does say "That's not the way you play."  When play crosses the line of destructiveness, it is not okay.

Couple this with sensory meltdowns, over stimulation from the holidays, noise sensitivity, AND a full moon...well, pass the wine and calgon take me away!

I found myself staring out of the window thinking, "Okay, I'm ready for school to start back."  Ironically several days ago I was reading a parenting blog where the mother thought it was just terrible parenting for children to go do daycare Monday through Friday, and barely getting time to spend with their parents, so their parents could have "nice things."
Well my first thought was...I don't know what world she lives in, but every single piece of furniture, even our computer and TV are from thrift stores.  We drive beat up cars, I do have a couple of Disney passes, and yes that great Roku!  But luxury?  Hmmm, guess that's in the eye of the beholder.  I work because the rent HAS to be paid.  The electric HAS to be paid.  We NEED running water. 

My second thought was...yeah, time to just step away.  I do love my children dearly and there a was a time I said the same things.  Now, as the  years are going by, I admit, there are times, I need that separation.  And they need that routine. 

Which began a whole spiral of thoughts coming full circle back to...not everyone parents the same way...not everyone feels 100% the same on every subject....there is not one "right" way to parent....BUT most all parents LOVE their children more than breath itself.

Today was challenging as I said.  And on those days, like many parents, we find ourselves more vulnerable and more in need of friendship from fellow mothersAnd then I realized, I really do need to step away from the "online parenting world" and step back into the "real parenting world" with "real" people.  I need face time, I need a mother's night out time, I need support.  It's easy for me by personality to lock myself behind a screen because I don't risk anything.  But then how is that really living?

I'm thankful for new friendships I have made at work with fellow mothers and look forward to kindling those fires of friendship.  And hopefully making new ones!

I'm a mixed bag of parenting.  Doing a little of this, with a dash of that, and 1/2 cup of this, and 1/4 cup of that.  It's a perfect recipe for me, for my family.  And some days, it's not so perfect.  The recipe flops, and it leaves a bitter taste.

Today was a challenging day.
But I know I have support from those who care :)


Friday, December 7, 2012

The mom in the child's drawing...Is that me?

As a parent, have you ever had those moments where you look at your child, or an item of your child's, and had an epiphany...that familiar one that seems to come again and again...."Wow, I am someone's mom!"

It's almost eeriely haunting to me every time it happens.  As if I didn't truly realize it until that moment.  I know I'm mom, but sometimes I truly "know" it. 

How odd it seems to type that because honestly there are no mortal words to describe what I'm trying to convey.   But most parents understand it I'm sure.

Today was one of those days.  As I was pulling out David's drawing projects from his backpack I came across the one in this blog post.  I stared at it a moment as if I had never seen a child's drawing in my whole life.  Almost deciphering what was depicted.  Not because I didn't recognize it, because I did!  Easily it was a parent, child, and a Christmas tree. 

I was deciphering because I kept asking myself, is that really me in that picture?  I asked David, "Hey cutie, tell me about your great picture."

"Oh, that's you and me mom and our tree that we decorated."

Wait!  That's me?  I'm someone's mom?  Wow, I *am* someone's mom!  And then I'm once again blown away by the fact that my son loves me.  That he has wonderful memories already that he colors about!  Partly I'm blown away because of things like I've posted in the past.  Parenting struggles, failures that I felt like my "damage" my child, etc, etc.

But it's moments like this that reaffirm that amid all that I feel I do wrong, I must be doing something right.  Because someone is drawing me in a picture filled with a memory!

That picture is proudly displayed on my refrigerator.  And it's more than just a drawing.  It's a work of art!  Right up there with Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso.... Not because it's worth a million dollars, or stuck in some kind of museum.  Beneath the drawn triangles and circles that form the Christmas tree, and the oblong shapes that form the people, the green and red crayons...lies a work of art from the heart that is worth far more than any earthly treasure!

I AM a mom!  I am their mom! <3

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

News this week in parenting......I sucked at it!

This past week has been sad, tough, tear producing, and failure.  Eric's grandmother, on his mother's side, passed from this life.  She was a beautiful lady who from day 1, like Eric's mom loved and accepted me.  That was sad.  Eric flew to Ohio to be with family from Sunday to Wednesday. 

I understand that this week has been a set of variables that have made up my week.  And I realize that some things were in my control and some where not.  It seemed from the moment Eric left the boys become off kilter.  David had more meltdowns than he has had in a long time.  A lot of stemming, a lot of noises, not connecting action A with action or consequence B.  Aaron was Aaron, all of 4 spunky years old.  Lots of "NO!"  Lots of tantrums, lots of stubbornness.  There was virtually no break in behavior.

IN short, this week was about more than I could handle.  There were tears in my own eyes a few times.  I love my children dearly, more than anything.  But sometimes, I don't like them.  There I said it.  I've revealed myself, opened myself.  

 I'm not the ooey gooey hippie go with the flow mama that I set out to be or thought I was.  That part I'm getting OK with.  I'm not OK with not liking them sometimes.  I don't like that part of myself.

I admit, a part of me has a hard time just letting them be children.  I have to fight the adult part of me that says there is a place for everything, and everything has a place.  Don't touch this, don't do that.  That is so hard to break and often times I bring more stress upon myself. 

I admit that sometimes I'm harder on Aaron because he doesn't face the 'challenges' that David does, and that is NOT fair of me to do.  There are times I just want say we all have challenges David, suck it up.

Yes, that is stellar parenting folks :/ 

A part of me wants strict boundaries, but don't want them to lose childhood because I haven't made an effort to change.  Really I feel like I'm just a lost jumble of swirling thoughts that make no sense to anyone but me. 

I'm so glad for a loving husband who came home from Ohio today and had to work tonight but made sure I got out of the house for a couple of hours.  I can't imagine doing this all on my own. 

I love my husband.
I love my sons.

This week has been challenging.
Today is coming to pass.
Tomorrow is a new day.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The journey we walk.

I find myself on a roller coaster many times.  There are times when it's downhill, in a great way.  The days are tackled, everything under control.  A feeling of "I CAN do this."

And then there are the uphill climbs.  Chugging along, jerking upward, a feeling that the crest of hill will never come.  That is this weekend.

Only in the last couple of months have I really realized and accepted that David has special needs more than what I ever imagined in the beginning, and they will never "go away" or "be cured".   I have learned so much about approaches to guide him in life.  I have watched him grow and flourish and seen his brain expand like a sponge with knowledge that reaches far beyond his years.  I have seen him go from barely saying 30 words to talking on an almost adult level.

I've also seen him struggle more and more as he grows.  4 years ago I knew something was up.  And when I learned he had a speech/developmental delay I jumped in ready to do what it took to get him the help he needs.  As you know, it happened, he grew, he started talking.  It was wonderful.  And then more issues emerged.   As always I listened and continue to do so, to my gut.

With the help of a few wonderful people in David's and my life, we realized he had Sensory Integration Disorder.  This began answering lots of questions for us.  And then a sadness hit me as I knew again more was up.  Followed that, sure enough he was diagnosed with ADHD/ODD and anxiety disorder.  And now, as I've known for a long time, we are in the process of getting his ASD diagnosis.  It may not be on paper...but....I 'know' it.

For whatever reason, this weekend has just been a 'thinking' one for me and a tough one.  I think from just being overtired and that darn full moon, and some rough meltdowns, I found myself thinking....
I don't know if I can do this.  I don't know if I can help him or if I'm helping him.  I don't want to fail him.  I love him way too much.  I love both of my sons more than breath itself. 

Some days are just so overwhelming because I see Aaron wanting to play with his brother so badly, but David wishes to always retreat to his own world, disassociated with anyone in 'real' life.  He's here, but not 'here'.  I think about the future and wonder how it will pan out.  Wonder, despite the needs, if he and Aaron will be close as brothers.  We continually try to bond our family together.  And pray.  There are days, I think that is the best we can do.

There are times that I wish and hope that David will never have to hear anything negative or hateful because he and other other children face life with a few weights.  BUT they do continue to conquer!

I think many times too, as a parent, that's why I get so frustrated, so overwhelmed, and so sad when I hear people talking about "those bad kids" who throw fits in grocery stores.  Or can't listen for more than a minute.  Or can't play with others.  Or are anti-social.  Or people don't want to deal with them. Or they just need more discipline.

I take it personally because I think of "my" child.  My child does many of those things.  Because situations can quickly become overwhelming to him [sights, sounds, etc] he can go into a meltdown.  That is how is brain and body cope and try to make sense of what's going on around him. 

He truly can only handle smaller amounts of time on a task because his brain begins to go into overdrive, more or less shutting down.

Though he may be around others, he doesn't play much with others interactively because it also overloads him. 
He's anti-social, he makes strange sounds, he talks quite continually, often times to himself... because of the spectrum issues.

But I'm thankful that there were and ARE people who WANT to deal with him.  Myself, my husband, his teachers past and present.  They understand.  Thank GOD they understand because they have been there to support me to be able to help him!

Hopefully one day, more and more people may understand that.
Whether you're a person passing me by in the grocery store, a fellow parent at the park, a passerby in the mall, an education worker, an employee of a business that we are at... and you see him with his ears covered or talking to himself, or making strange noises....know that these are his special needs coming out.

But what I would want you to know more is that he is an exceptional young man full of love and light.  Full of information that he so badly wants to share.  Full of curiosity that leads him to books full of knowledge and adventure.  Full of imagination that has him playing school, chef, and storm chaser.

But I also want you to know that on days I seem cranky, tired, or grumpy I probably feel like
....I've failed him.  I may need a break.  I may feel overwhelmed.  I may not know what to do.  I may be frustrated and taking everything personally.

It's normal, I know it's normal to feel that way now, though I don't like it. 

So remember, look at my son through new eyes.  Ask him about the weather!  Ask him about the human body!  Ask him what he likes in life! 

Ask me if I would simply like to talk, sometimes a listening ear is all I need!

The journey continues!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Does the 21st century "church" have a Matthew 7 body?

There seem to always be so many thoughts swirling in my mind.  And while in my mind I can see the connection, it can be hard to put those mind thoughts into written thoughts.  I ask that if you are interested and reading this, please bear with me while I try to put these thoughts to words. 

I have been always felt "alone" in the world even though I'm surrounded by people.  Not because I'm not loved, because I am.  And not because I don't love, I do!  But more because of how I feel.  What I think.  What I believe.  Misunderstood!  Perhaps that is a better word?  I am not sure really, but I know my heart has always been heavy for humanity in general from a very very early age.  I can remember feeling this way before I was 5 years old.  Feeling like people need to hate less, love more and stop "being mean". 
Fast forward to now.  I'm 41 years old and still feel the same, have a lot of the same thoughts.  Even as a disciple of Christ I still feel "lost".  Not the kind of "lost" that most believers think of.  Lost in that I don't feel like I fit in fully with the "believing crowd" because of how I view things.  Yet I don't feel I fit in with those that don't believe either, because OF my beliefs.  A crazy cycle! 
I've always felt the "church" as a whole is lacking something.  Granted no one is perfect but I'm not aiming at that point.  I'm thinking that it's been over 2000 years and there are time I think we should have something right by now.  But the more I read scripture, sadly the more it seems and I feel that the church is falling short of the mark. 

First let me clarify what I mean by church.  I'm not talking a brick & mortar building.  The church IS the body of believers as a whole.  The building is merely a place that some choose to gather to corporately express our faith.  I'm speaking of the people as a whole. 
Secondly, I'm not singling any one person out.  I'm thinking of the body as a whole, myself included!  I feel there are always lessons to be gained from scripture!  [As any believer does!].  This is just simply things on my heart that I feel a disconnect from.

Matthew 7!  What an amazing chapter.  I'm using The Message for this text.  I love this version and puts it in smack clear plain English!  I think it is fitting to first read the passage in its entirety.
1 "Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults - unless, of course, you want the same treatment. 2 That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. 3 It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. 4 Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? 5 It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor. 6 "Don't be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don't reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you're only being cute and inviting sacrilege. 7 "Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. 8 This isn't a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we're in. 9 If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? 10 If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? 11 As bad as you are, you wouldn't think of such a thing. You're at least decent to your own children. So don't you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better? 12 "Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God's Law and Prophets and this is what you get. 13 "Don't look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don't fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. 14 The way to life - to God! - is vigorous and requires total attention. 15 "Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don't be impressed with charisma; look for character. 16 Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.  17-21 "Knowing the correct password - saying 'Master, Master,' for instance - isn't going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience - doing what my Father wills. 22 I can see it now - at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, 'Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.' 23 And do you know what I am going to say? 'You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don't impress me one bit. You're out of here.' 24 "These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. 25 Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit - but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. 26 "But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. 27 When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards." 28 When Jesus concluded his address, the crowd burst into applause. They had never heard teaching like this. 29 It was apparent that he was living everything he was saying - quite a contrast to their religion teachers! This was the best teaching they had ever heard.
So, WOW!  What a packed passage and directly from Christ.  The first several verses have just become more and more powerful to me over the last couple of years.  Judging!  Yes we all do it.  Should we?  No!  Not according to Christ.  And not just among the "family" but to so called "outsiders" as well.  I can't tell you how deeply saddened I get every time I hear a believer talk about another believer and judge their heart, essentially saying they are not a "real" Christian.  Unacceptable behavior to me from a fellow believer.  True, we may not like something someone does, may not like their views, but in no way are we God.  In no way has God taken the day off and left us in charge on the throne.  God has never been, is not and will never be off the throne.  I think the first few verses from Christ himself speak volumes.  Simply?  Don't do it!  Look at yourself, work on perfecting yourself.  Work on MYSELF.  Work on perfecting MYSELF.  Show mercy.  Why?  Because don't I want mercy?  Show love.  Why?  Because I want love.  Why do any of this?  Because it's the RIGHT thing to do.

What hit more though lately in this passage: Verse 6
"Don't be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don't reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you're only being cute and inviting sacrilege.  Here my heart on this as you read it first.  When I first read this immediatly I thought of all the "Christian" bookstores, all the cutesy "Christian" t-shirts [that try to mimic various things like Gold's Gym, Pepsi, etc], I thought of cutesy "Christian" bumper stickers.  I thought of even church marquees with cutesy or quick religious snippets.  I thought of events held at the fellowship buildings like "Fall Festivals", I thought of the sub-culture "Christian" movies, "Christian music", and all those avenues.  Hear my heart again, I'm not necessarily bashing those things.  I listen to or go to or have some of those things.  What I AM saying is that God is impressing on me.  That is not IT!  A T-shirt never converted anyone.  A bumper sticker never really made someone run you off the road to ask to recieve Christ.

If we are truly living Matthew 7, we don't truly NEED those things [except maybe music in general ;)].  We simply need our lives to be the living example.  We don't need lots of words, lots of handing out tracks, lots of brow beating, lots of "oh hey we're having a pot luck..."  We need to just live, breath, by example.  Love like Christ loved.  Does your neighbor need food?  Go to Publix, buy some food.  Does your neighbor need a listening ear, just sit and listen.  Does your neighbor seem bitter.  Pray harder, pray more, show more love!

The next thing that really jumped out at me were verses 15 and 16:
15 "Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don't be impressed with charisma; look for character. 16 Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.
Again, I ask hear my heart because I may be stepping on some toes inadvertently.  Do you want to know honestly what I first thought of when I read these 2 verses?  Tel-evangelists and "Christian" leaders like Joyce Myers, Benny Hin, TD Jakes, Dr. Dobson, groups such as The 700 Club, Etc.  I'm NOT saying they are bad or having nothing of value to add.   In all honesty though I've felt for a very long time when praying that too many people get vested in a "man" or "woman" and let that person speak for them, and thinking that they speak for most other Christians.   I remember telling someone once, I can't remember who, when they asked who speaks for me; I answered I speak for myself.  I think for myself.  I read the scriptures and discern.  I don't take anyone's word for it no matter how many degrees they have or how "popular" they are.  It seems there are books of books, courses after courses to try to give us the "formula" for how to live an abundant life, how to be a wife, mother, husband, friend, father, how to balance time, how to balance money, how to do this, how do to that.  When honestly, let's face it.  It's common sense AND though the bible doesn't give an an answer for every little thing, you can pretty much get a good guideline on how to live if you just read the bible!  You don't need Dr. so and so's newest book on x,y,z.  I think personally Jesus sums up in these 29 verses what "Christian" authors write about in 200 and 300 pages!  AND charge you money for!  Christ is FREE! FREE!  FREE!  There is freedom in Christ!

Another thing that struck me is that when it's talking about false teachers, Christ IS talking about fellow Christians who are putting their own fame, glory, etc above him!  He's not talking about some fly by not witch doctor like we'd like to think sometimes.  And what was impressed upon me and has been for a long time is that the 1000 brick and mortar churches in any town, USA could be and some are about the same.  It seems like we have pastors who are like celebrities.  You can't hardly approach them because they seem unapproachable.  Or when you do you get a quick answer "Oh ask so and so."  Yes, I've had that happen.  Several times!  When flocks and flocks of people have nothing but good things to say about a pastor but I never really hear anything about how great God is, my red flag gets raised.  At that point I have to wonder are we following man or God?  And further it seems like many of those pastors have at least one-1 sermons a month on "tithing".  The service seems to revolve around "throwing money in that basket, Praise Jesus!"  While tithing is good, it IS an Old Testament concept.  I don't really want to get too much into that right now, that's another blog for another time ;)
But essentially, it's not the "10%" God is after.  It's the New Testament thought of:
"on the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made" 1Corinthians 16:2AND
2 Corinthians 9:7
You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. "For God loves a person who gives cheerfully."The disciples made a point to let us now how/when/what to give and nothing more or less.  Then why is it that the 21st Century "church" is continually putting money above all else? [This is rhetorical, think on it!]It should be noted as well that in early NT times the laying by and storing was not only money but food, clothing, etc.  Don't ever feel bad if you're not giving 10% because Pastor so and so said you MUST if you are a true child of God.  I'm not saying give one penny.  What I am saying is YOU pray about it, YOU let God show you what to give.  No pastor knows that, no book knows that, no one but you and God need to know or know that!

I think of other verses that make a good parallel with this such as don't show your good deeds in front of men, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, don't pray like the hypocrites on the street corner, but go into your private prayer closet.
I loved that that this is so poignant in our scriptures.  It's not about giving a show for anyone.  It's not about saying "hey look at me, I'm praying, I telling you that you have to accept Jesus or you are going to hell."

It's abut simply living the life!  LIVING the faith!

Essentially, the Matthew 7 passage ends with build a firm foundation in Christ.  Do the things I [Jesus] have said above.  Live by example, live by less words, more doing.  Don't be flashy, don't be showy.  You are not fellow-shipping for entertainment.  You don't need a stage, you don't need lights, you don't need a state of the art theater, auditorium, over head projector, a big band, etc, etc.  Again, not that those things are wrong.  Just come together, worship together as one.  It's not one person standing in front dictating what to do, to believe to say, how to act, etc.  It's a BODY coming together to learn from each other, to encourage, to recharge and then to go out into the world and LIVE IT!!
Live it at your job!  Live it at the grocery store!  Live it at the gym!  Live it on your walk!  Live it alone!  Live it in a group!  Live it at the gas pump!  Live it, just live it! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer homeschool....and we're off!

It's hard to believe that we are coming to the close of the first 2 weeks of summer vacation and more importantly the first two weeks in our summer homeschool journey.  I really wanted to do this for 2 reasons.  To give Aaron an jump start for VPK.  And to keep David in the game over the summer so as to not lose what he has learned [and to hopefully propel and push him a bit to learn above/beyond].

These first weeks have proven to be both fun and frustrating.  The first day was amazing.  Right to the schedule, both boys did everything asked of them with excitement.  No whining, no crying, no fighting amongst each other, even went down for nap times easily.   Cue: day 2.  All started out okay until sentence writing time, David had a little meltdown, Aaron ran amok a bit.  But we worked through it and had another successful day.  The days from there are like your typical school days.  Some days "you've got it" other days not so much. 

One of the biggest challenges have been the age difference.  Though less than 2 years apart [barely 19 months to be exact], it's quite a gap in knowledge and learning functions.  But I must say, I've balanced to where I do one on one time with each, during each segment while the other does whatever task I need of them.  And then we have group activities as well.  In this, I have been surprised.  Surprised at what Aaron truly catches on to and knows and what David is learning and how by leaps and bounds he is just drinking in information.  

I've added in going places a bit more so they CAN get out beyond the front yard, and to learn and to enjoy the summer as well!   We've done bowling, a picnic in the park  and plan on doing lunch at the mall tomorrow. 
I also want to take them to the Police  & Fire Station as we studied our world around us in social studies [our immediate world]: Where we live: house number, street, city, state & country.  And they can begin seeing how it takes many people and professions to make a city run.  They've also had great fun doing some projects on the Human Body in science.  Thanks to my friend Sierra who gave me the idea, we had a week long unit learning about some basic functions and making our own body!  We learned about the brain, heart, lungs, stomach, bones and muscles!

I've also been impressed with how David is really learning subtraction and "getting it".  Math was such a struggle for me and I am praying that both of my boys don't have the same issue.  Reading is a big part of our day.  We read lots of stories, draw pictures about them from what we've learned.  Talk about interesting places and people.  One thing the boys liked was learning a bit about Mexico, coloring the flag and learning about the Aztecs of long ago.  Then they had to draw their own Aztec after viewing some pictures from a story.

 One of the big highlights of our day is the calendar.  David especially is obsessed with dates, days and months.  And Aaron loves sticking the tags in their appropriate spots.  They love the weather section on the calendar too.  If the weather changes through the day David is quick to remind me that we need to change the tag!  And another highlight is making sure that a line leader and door holder is chosen everyday and then they place their 'helping hands butterfly' under the job!

And for some sensory fun just tonight, I found a great recipe for cheap finger paint!  It comes out a bit thick but hey, it's cheap! :)  The boys loved it and they actually painted some wrapping paper they will use for a birthday gift for a party on Saturday.  Before I forget here is the recipe in case YOU want to try it :)1 cup flour
2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 1/2 cups hot water
Food coloring

* Add flour, salt, and cold water to a pan.  Whisk until smooth.
* Add hot water, whisk until smooth.

* Bring to a boil over medium-ish heat, continue to whisk.  When it's thickened remove from heat.
* It will be thick and lumpy so keep whisking until smooth.
* Portion out into bowls and add food coloring to desired color depth.
* Pour into squeeze bottles [like old ketchup bottles].  You may need a funnel as it is thick.
* Product needs refrigerated!
* Use whenever you want to paint :)

 And that has been our excitement so far!  I love that we have a routine that can flexible somewhat when needed to be.  And a routine that the kids need to stay focused. The one big thing I've learned is that David loves homeschooling BUT he has to be given time if the routine is going to change or it throws off his entire day [mainly do to his SPD and other issues].  There are times of course that it  just can't be helped and we must wade through it.  But he deals much better with change if he's given forewarning about it.  And even then he'll ask "why didn't we do science yet?"  or "Why didn't we do social studies yet?"  if we leave for a "field trip".   But it all works out in the end!

Above all, I am just trying to enjoy this time with my boys.  Though some moments, some days are so frustrating.  There are times of great joy and excitement and I realize they won't be small forever and WANT to do this like they do now.  [Or maybe they will I hope!].  I love that they want me to do this with them right now.  It brightens my day.  And I have been so blessed by so many people  that are friends and educators, and from my old job and now my new job at Janie Howard.  They have helped me to develop and get ideas for this summer project and have been so supportive!   Tonight and always, I am blessed and I want to pass on those blessings to my children, because they deserve the best start in life that my husband and I can offer them!