Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Sometimes I feel like I live in a therapy center!

Here is a short video of one portion of our daily therapy.

This part is working on spelling rules for c/k

Spelling Rules are much easier for her because they don't require the verbal motor planning that reading does.  So she can know how to spell and write and spell much easier than read.  This is due in a large part to her Apraxia (which is a speech disorder).
It is the same speech issue that Twinkie Boy has...but she has "graduated" from speech therapy.  However reading /str/ blends is still very difficult for her to articulate.

This is a clip of THE GIRL reading nonsense words.  This way we make sure she is REALLY reading and not simply memorizing the shapes of words, which is common, with children with dyslexia. 

AnYWAY....that was a snippet of the easier part of our therapy....

Speaking of Twinkie Boy.....
He not only has Apraxia of Speech....he also has some fairly significant fine motor issues.

So I try to incorporate fine motor stuff everyday.  His therapy is usually so fun the rest of the crew joins in and he doesn't even know he's working.

Today we made Christmas Cone Trees!
The one RULE which drove Twinkie Boy Crazy was that they had to place one decoration on at a time.  They couldn't grab a handful of candies and dump it on.  So he had to use his pincher grasp which he hated!

Which was fantastic for his fine motor.
Peeling the Twizlers apart was great for his hand strength.

Wrapping the tree with the twizzlers also took a lot of fine motor control.

We are also working on his establishing hand dominance.  Since he is left handed we want that hand to get the most practice.....so we constantly remind him to use his left hand.....

However we LOVE to see this.....His left hand working with his right hand sneaking in to assist with its job....stabilization.

If you notice the picture below...He is icing with his left hand (like The Girl is in the background with her right) but his right hand is not stabilizing the tree it is just there.  Notice The Girl is doing what most people do with their non-dominant hand-using it to assist.  However Twinkiei Boy is just letting his hang out.....BUT if you also notice his non-dominant hand does have icing on it so he did use it some for stabilization.....so it's improvement....he is beginning to show some bi-lateral integration.

Again this picture shows his "lazy hand".  It's actually under the table....

I know this is more then you ever wanted to know about fine motor skills!

Another simple motor activity that we did this week was painting.

However the trees had very small ornaments that had to be painted....and we didn't use paintbrushes.
We used Q-Tips that were cut in half.
So Jack had only a small area to grip which made it very difficult not to use a proper grip.

However as the Twinkster got tired he somehow managed a lazy grip....but at least his stabilizing hand is creeping in to help out!

So we kept pushing those extra fingers back and picking up that lazy hand and putting it to work doing its job- stabilizing!
Why do we do all this.....So his writing will be legible!
His grip here is pretty good....but he's still missing his stabilizing hand.  It's under the table!

This is his favorite grip.  Using all his fingers and not using his stabilizing hand....

However....we are occasionally seeing this now!

Fairly decent grip with stabilizing hand!!!!

So anyway.......that was a small peek into some of our daily therapy!

It is often MESSY

ALWAYS Interesting

And Usually A LOT OF FUN!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tis the Season!

It's that time of year again!
The schedule is full....but fun!

The tree is trimmed

The stockings are hung!

The kids are sooooooo excited!

We've hung the wreath

We've hung the garland

We've put out the poinsettia's

and we've run out of lights!
We'll work on fixing that tomorrow!

and oh yeah....we hung our Jesus sign...

I keep reminding my kids...."Jesus is the reason for the Season"

But I wonder

In the midst of making awesome crafts

Hanging our favorite ornaments

Do the kids get it?

We talk about Jesus

We hang our "Christian" ornaments

We do our advent wreath
(yep....my candles got a bit disfigured in the attic this year :/...)

Is it possible to make
Christmas about Christ for a child?

Santa is just so much fun.....

I'm on a quest to enjoy Christmas.....decorations, cookies, crafts, toys, gifts, food, family, music......


I want Jesus to remain central.....He really is the reason for the season!
My prayer is that this year he would be more real for me and my family.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Truth

I am a middle child.  I am a pleaser by nature, Randy please contain your laughter!  I want to be liked.  I want to be acceptable.  I want to meet EVERY ONE'S expectations.  I want to be all that everyone wants me to be.....and I'm not.  Not even close.  I am realizing more and more with each passing year....that I can't.....and not only that but I shouldn't.....

It's been a gradual and slow realization......

I HATE to disappoint people.  It bothers me to my very core.....yet I do disappoint people-on a regular basis....
I blog too much.
I don't blog enough.
I don't call people.
I don't visit people.
I'm not a true friend.
I'm not there for people when they want me to be.
I'm too nice to some people.
I'm a kiss up.
I need to get a backbone.
I'm too about my family.
I'm too in my head.
I walk by people without talking to them.

I used to get really annoyed when people would "lovingly" point these things out to me.  I'd think.... Do they have a clue?  Do they know what it is like to be me?  Do they know what I do in a day?  Do they know where I live?  Do they know my phone number?  Why is it my job to keep up with them....

Then I started to think maybe they are right.  I am too in my head.  I am too about my family.  I do need to be more other centered.  I do need to call more, visit more, be more for everyone. 

And now....I am to the point that I realize I am not going to be what everyone wants me to be.  I wish everyone would love me....I wish everyone would be pleased....but they are not.  I am slowly becoming okay with that.  I am no longer striving to please everyone else.  It feels good-until I hear the judgements, see the eyes roll, read the comments....and then it hurts....but I'm okay with that.  I'm okay with not pleasing you all.  I have prayed.  I have pondered and I am called to please one.  Not everyone.

This is a season of my life:

God has given me a full time ministry to my family.  I stay busy with them!  Taking care of my family, educating my children, and caring for my home takes the vast majority of my time.  God has given me a heart for the hurting-so when I do have extra time or energy I like to invest it in my brothers and sisters in Christ that are hurting.  Not always who wants my time or who needs help.....but hurting people.  I like to listen to them, encourage them, and minister to them.  So most of my "coffee dates" and facebook time that are viewed by others as free time....are really times that I am trying to use to encourage or minister to people.  Then I need some time alone-or I will not remain sane!  That leaves me with not enough....

So people will be disappointed.  I will not meet every ones expectations.  I will not be the friend everyone wants or needs me to be.  I will not please everyone.  However.....I do love you.  I do wish I could.  I do enjoy the time I get with those I love and enjoy.  I have a tiny window with my younguns and I am going to make the most of it.  I hope to have a lifetime with my man so I am going to invest in that relationship.  I also have what I believe is a ministry from the Lord that I am going to invest in as time allows.Then my boy and I are working hard to keep me out of the funny farm, which he claims is a full time job :0), so I must leave margin in my life to just be..to read...to rest....to blog.......and with the little bit left I am going to savor and enjoy and relish the moments I get with friends and neighbors and extended family.  I agree it is not enough!  However it is all I've got.

Galatians 1:10
"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."

Thursday, November 24, 2011


We celebrated Thanksgiving at Nanny's this year.

As we arrived at Nanny's we all added a leaf to the Thankful Tree.  Our crew was thankful for things ranging from family to the Steelers.....and just about everything in between.  It was fun reading everyones leaves! 

It was a strange Thanksgiving because most of our family was gone in other directions.  So we celebrated with my Mom and Dad at their house and my sister was there and my crew was there and that was it!

Randy's folks were in Texas with his brother.  Randy's sister was in South Carolina with her husband's family.  My brother and his crew were in South Carolina with Holly's family.  We missed everyone!!!

We watched some football.

Hung out....

and we ate a bunch!

Then Mama and Randy and I watched a "chick-flick".
Dad and Stacy and Andrew played pool and watched football.
The kids played upstairs, downstairs, outside....
It was such a nice quiet day.
I even fell asleep on the couch for a few minutes during the movie!

After our movie/nap

We played a round of pick up sticks with the kids....but that didn't go well!

So we ended after just one round!

We stayed till around 6:00 and then headed to check on Randy's Grandma.  We had invited her to come with us....but she declined.....so we took her a plate of food and The Boy and The Girl stayed for a visit with Great Grandma and their baby cousin Elise while we took the little ones home to feed!

They didn't overeat....so they were hungry again!

It was a nice Thanksgiving

Really thankful for God's provision this year.  Really thankful for friends, neighbors, family, church.  Really thankful for God's grace, and peace that passes understanding, and hope, and faith, and love, and mercy.  Really thankful for our home.  Really thankful for pondering. 
Really thankful for do-nothing-but-chill and have fun days!

for yummy food!

Apple Crumb Pie

5 cups apples
1 9-inch pastry shell
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
6 Tablespoons butter

Slice apples and peel and take out core.  Place in pastry shell.  Mix 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over apples.  Mix 1/3 cup sugar with flour.  Cut in butter, and mix with sugar and flour.  Sprinkle over apples.  Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until done.  May serve with vanilla ice cream.
*This is my mom's neighbor's apple pie recipe.  It is a family favorite.  It is the best apple pie recipe I have ever tated.  The top is so crumbly....YUMMY!  I don't really like fruit deserts but I love this one!

I made cake pops for the first time today.  I was wanting to try them and I had fun making them.  They take a lot of time.  The kids love them.  I haven't tried one....so I don't know but they turned out cute.  They are easy to make....just time consuming!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Really Nice Day!

So yesterday ended on a bit of a sour note.....well today was GREAT!  It was so fun having a whole day with no school.....

The kids and I headed out this morning and went to Walmart, the craft store, and the grocery store.  While we were at the grocery store a little lady who was probably around 80 came up and touched my arm and told me she was so envious of me.....I was like "WHY?"  She said because you have all your little one's right at arms reach to hug.  How sweet!  So I hugged her.....and then I hugged them and then I wished I had engaged her in conversation.  What a sweet soul.

So we got home and unloaded and the kids watched a movie and I cooked

Charity's Cheesy Chili for lunch....

Then we did crafts....

We made about 6 "cootie catchers" the girl LOVES them!
We've been playing with them all afternoon!

Then Twinkie boy and I made a "duck tape" wallet!
He got Daddy to give him a dollar and he is one happy boy!

Then I took a nap!

After nap time we all cleaned upstairs!
I don't love cleaning....but I do love my house being clean and I really love everyone helping....

We didn't finish the downstairs.....but at least we got the upstairs!

We had to quit....because I had a coffee date!
Had a great time catching up with my friend and the rest of the crew had fun eating pizza and watching TV and making....more crafts!

Once I got home we made girl "duck tape" wallets for the two little ones! 

Twinkie Boy had made beds for his animals....so he got them all in their PJ's and tucked them into bed!
So cute!

My downstairs....is a mess.....paper scraps, dishes, tape....everywhere....but

I Love days like today....
and I am so blessed that I have all these sweet, messy, little rascals at arms reach!  That will not always be the case....so I'm going to do my best to ignore the mess and enjoy them while I can.

Looking forward to cooking and enjoying more family time tomorrow!

Hope you all have a GREAT Thanksgiving!