Monday, February 27, 2012


I haven't done a dyslexia post in a while.  It's not because it isn't at the forefront of my is!  However-I'm not sure what to post.  It has truly been a thorn in my flesh and more importantly a thorn in Sophie's flesh.

Is she learning to read?  Yes.

But it is very different.  She has to use her left hand every time she comes across a -b or a -d and hold her thumb up to check what letter it is because -b and -d they are "tricky" letters.  If a word is not pronounced sight words.....she has NO Idea what it says....even very easy sight words....are (she would pronounce air) of (she would pronounce off) she goes through drills to memorize these sight words.  Rote memory is not easy for children with dyslexia.  She is getting it.  She is progressing.  She is becoming more fluent.....but I can't explain to you the WORK is is is tedious.  It is staggering.  I will never take for granted the gift of being able to read.

I have also gained a new appreciation for special ed teachers.  I do what I do for my daughter.  Who wouldn't do whatever it took for their child?  But these it for other peoples children.  The sacrifice they make is mind blowing.  WOW!  I don't know what they get paid....but I am sure it is not enough.  Not nearly enough.

Does dyslexia consume our days?  Yes.

I can't send her off to read a worksheet and complete it.  I can't send her off to work on memorizing her lines for her upcoming Odyssey skit.  I certainly can't send her off to read a book.  I can't send her off to do her math-because there are so many word problems.  She can't read her science.  She can't read her history.  She can't look up a phone number!   AGH!  She can copy anything.  She just can't write down her own stories.  She can tell fabulous stories if I'll write them down.  She can tell you what a pronoun is.  She can tell you the rules for punctuation and capitalization.  She knows her parts of speech......she just can't spell.  It is soooooooooooo frustrating!
It breaks my heart that she can't snuggle up in bed at night with a book.  She can't scribble notes to her friends.  She can't keep a diary.  She will one day.  She's getting there.  It is just sad.  I love words.  I love to write them.  I love to read them.  It pains me that she doesn't get to have that joy....yet.  That is my prayer.....that she doesn't know it yet.....but that doesn't mean she never will.  God can do ANYTHING!

Does dyslexia make me tend to be overprotective?  Yes.

She can't read the menu....
She can't read the script....
She can't read the lyrics....
What if someone calls on her to read in public?  What if they think it's because she's home schooled?  What if she doesn't know what to do?
I want to protect.  To shelter.  To help. 

My fear almost kept me from letting her do Odyssey.  I was afraid the team would get a problem that required reading and she wouldn't be able to participate.  I was afraid she would be embarrassed.  I was honestly afraid it would be too hard.

Well....I was wrong.

Sophie has spent the last 2 years watching Andrew do Odyssey....and she wanted to be on the team.  She wanted to make costumes, write plays, solve problems, paint backdrops.....she wanted it BAD!  So I said okay....and this coming weekend Sophie and her team will join hundreds of other teams from central North Carolina in presenting their solutions to their long term and spontaneous problems.

My girl just keeps on amazing me!  I know that it is totally the work of God.  I have prayed over this child so often.  I pray for the very language pathways in her brain to be reworked.  I pray for her to have courage.  I pray for her to be compassionate.  I pray for her to place her value in nothing other then the work of Christ.  I pray that in her weakness he is evident. 

Get this.....Her Odyssey coaches told me a few weeks ago that Sophie is one of the best on the verbal team?  WHAT????  VERBAL...BEST????  Yes!  Only Christ!  They said she listens to the rules.  She understands what is required.  Because she is not good at memorizing and she can't rely on reading she has outstanding listening skills.  They also relayed a story about how two of her teammates that are VERY outspoken were arguing about who had the best idea and they said Sophie said...I have an idea.....why don't we try both and see which one works the best.  WOW!  I mean I am certainly proud of what she said.....but I am even more proud that she has found her voice.  That she will speak up in the midst of a conflict and that she spoke peace and that she spoke with confidence offering a solution to two very strong personalities.  To think I almost didn't let her do Odyssey cause I was scared.  I need to start praying that I will stay out of her way.  The Lord has a plan for my sweet girl.

She's still quiet.  The Odyssey team is constantly reminding Sophie to speak louder so people can hear her.  louder.....Louder.....LOUDER! 

If you could see what I would probably weep and rejoice.  She is reading...... a little....she's even liking it.....a little.  'BUT she is becoming fearless.  She is not going to be controlled by her disability.  She is shining!  The Lord has a plan for her life and for whatever reason this is a part of it.  A painful part.  A frustrating part.  A part I would not have chosen.....YET......

What if his blessings come through raindrops
What if his healing comes through tears....
What if our greatest disappointments are his mercies in disguise.

What Mercy is in Dyslexia?

I know HIM better.  I cling to HIM tighter.  I rely on HIM more.  I communicate with HIM regularly....and if life was swell.....then I wouldn't.  That's just how I am.  I would do my own thing.  I'd rely on myself and maybe my mom....but we could handle it.....I would call Randy......but not with this.  It is too big......this is too much.....this is too important.....So I run to HIM.  The mercy?  In running to him....I get to know him better!  Amen!

Thank you Jesus for putting things in my life that drive me straight into your arms.  You alone are sufficient.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Field Trip

Sunday after church Andrew, Sophie, and I packed our bags, jumped in the van, and headed north.
We were going to Williamsburg for Home Education Day.
We had planned to get up and drive up early Monday for the day and then return home.
However we started hearing rumblings about snow and decided to go ahead and head that way and make it an overnight trip.
My parents kept the little ones and Randy stayed home alone....poor guy!

The trip was uneventful until it started to snow....and we came to a very weird drawbridge...over the ocean? or sound? was strange....and we didn't pass it on the way back.
Andrew and Sophie have diagnosed me with a severe case of Bridge-a-phobia.
I was terrified.
I do not like bridges....especially high ones....especially ones I've never driven over...especially ones over top of deep/wide/waves.....especially in the dark....especially in the snow.....AND.especially ones that open, I'd like to know who ever thought that was a good idea? 

Well....we made it over.  Andrew finds it very funny how frightened I got....and vowed to take a picture of me white knuckling the steering wheel on the way home.....However I learned from my mistake....I went home a different way!

Whew anyway....other then that one little episode the travel was uneventful.
I enjoyed dinner with the kids at UNO's-Andrew's choice.

Then we checked into the hotel and headed straight for the pool and hot tub.

Enjoyed the pretty snow...

Sophie was thrilled that we had cable and she got to watch the Disney channel until 10:00.

The hotel was GREAT!
Super price!  Very clean!  Right around the corner from Historic Williamsburg!

We started the day at the Capital...

Sophie liked seeing the American map with the colonies she's been memorizing for history class!

They both decided they liked the jail the best.

I found the Apothecary the most interesting!

We had lunch at The Kings Arm Tavern

Went to the Dress Shope....Sophie fell in love with this cape trimmed in white fox!
It was so pretty!

The kids had their fill and we headed home.

It was a quick trip.  It was educational.  It went along so well with our American History Study this year.  My favorite part was spending time with Andrew and Sophie.  It was so neat to see their relationship.  Our house is so full and there are so many relationships I hadn't realized how much theirs has grown over the years.  They are both really nice to each other.  They played chess on the computer and didn't argue and Andrew patiently taught Sophie strategy.  They were kind.  They were playful-throwing snowballs good naturedly at one another.  Andrew was helping Sophie learn how to do the breast stroke so she would not get disqualified while she swam.  Nobody faught over where to sit, or sleep, or eat, or what to do.  They were very considerate of each other. 
 It was cool!
I am surrounded with noise, mess, fussing, and needs, and my never ending to-do list and it was so neat to break away and observe, enjoy, and relax.

Great trip!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Loving/Liking Continued......

Today has been one of those days.  I'm a bit tired from a big adventure Andrew, Sophie, and  I went on....I'll blog about that later.  We've been sick so I'm still recouperating from I have all this emotional junk I've been dealing with.  Sweet little Lincoln had a simple surgical procedure late last week, and HAS to be worn out from that, so he has been fussy today (which happens like NEVER) and I won't even begin to tell you about my trials and tribulations with my sweet Jack a doodle. 


It has been a LOUD and grumpy day in the Stewart household......and our house is always when I say loud....I mean L-O-U-D!!!!  Sooooooo........I've still been pondering some of the issues I blogged about last night and mulling over the insight people shared.  THANK YOU!

For a moment the mayhem I call home sweet home is at bay.  Linc is fast asleep, bless his heart.  Jackson has finally bent his will and done his math.  The rascals are all in roomtime...PRAISE THE LORD.....and Mindy (our dog) is off visiting at Mrs. Susan's (the breeder).  So I'm enjoying some calm!!!

I think the Lord is beginning to show me some things.....I especially appreciated Jean and Amber's comments(but they were all good).  This is what I'm thinking.  Love is a CHOICE not a feeling.  So I can CHOOSE to behave lovingly. Which I have not consistently chosen.  Which means I'm not being fake.....I'm choosing to behave in an unnatural way, which is only possible through the Lord. 

I also am realizing that relationships change.  That is not necessarily bad.  In fact it can be a blessing in disguise.  Maybe I AM being judgemental and maybe I'm NOT in this situation.  I honestly don't know.  It did occur to me today that perhaps the Lord is showing me things in this relationship for my protection and as a warning and although it is terribly disappointing it may be his love and protection of me and my family that has allowed this to happen.  I don't know that I will ever fully understand...but I'm beginning to see that just because there is a change in a relationship doesn't mean I have to run in and fix it.  It doesn't mean that I have to bend in unhealthy and uncomfortable ways to please others.  The Lord also clearly tells us to use wisdom and discretion in choosing our friends and I'm relatizing that I may be able to LOVE and still CHOOSE not to be friends in an unhealthy relationship.

Growing up is hard!

Thanks for letting me vent and for sharing your wisdom.  Love ya'll!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Loving people you don't like?

I'm sorta an open least on the surface.  I share a lot about a lot.  Sometimes too much.  I process through writing and this has become my preferred medium.  BUT....I also hold some things very close and only share some things with some people.  One thing I don't share a lot are negative feelings....except to Randy....who has the pleasure of hearing it all :) and loves me anyway!
I'm a peace at all cost kind of girl.......So I'm trying to figure out how can I be honest with people and respond in a godly loving people....without denying my true feelings and without sinning and without pretending.  AND I just don't know is the answer.  In the past it has been to ignore the problem.....but I don't think that is very healthy.  How do you heal and deal with a situation when it won't even be acknowledged?

I know it's okay to have feelings.  I know that feelings don't equal truth.  I know that I am called to LOVE people.  Not just people who love me....cause even unbelievers do that...but also people who mistreat me.....OR (gasp) my children!  This is hard stuff!  This is real life.  This is skin on Christianity.  BUT this is what I don't know.... what does that kind of love look like?  Fake it till you make it?  From a distance?  How do you love someone....when you're having a hard time even liking them? 

My flesh gets angry....yet I know I'm called to love.  What does this look like?  How do you love....when you're hurt....I know what I'm supposed to do....I just don't know how to do it!

I think one key has to be forgiveness....and of course Randy has been doing a wonderful series on forgiveness in Sunday I'm sure as I truly forgive some of this unrest will settle.  I just can't imagine loving this person.....relating to this person.....their offense is not even that heinous....I've just realized I don't like them.  Which says a lot about me.  I have such ugly sin and I have been totally forgiven and yet I have a hard time liking someone because I set myself as the judge and the verdict is: fake, fraud, a wolf in sheep's clothing.........I hate fakeness.  I'd much rather someone be rude and real.  Judge not....lest you be judged in the same manner.......yet I judge!   ARGH!  I get on my own nerves!

Anyway....that's what is going on in my crazy head these days.  Trying to try to love the people who get on my every last nerve.  Trying to try to love people I don't even like.  How can I be like this?How can I be such a sinner and so hard hearted and so holding a grudge after all I've been forgiven?'  I've got problems!  BUT even though I KNOW what the right answer is....even though I KNOW my heart is sinful and unforgiving and judgemental.......I don't know HOW to love without feeling like I'm being fake?  I can act right toward this person....but God sees my heart....and that my friend is not a purty sight!


Saturday, February 18, 2012

This Week's Update

So this week has been sorta regular....sorta different.....sorta busy.....and sorta relaxed.
We had a regular week planned, but I got sick and so did the Twinkies.  We all three had colds and I had pink eye, so it was really no big deal.  Then Sophie had a doctors appointment this week for an ongoing skin issue that ended up getting REALLY inflamed so she ended up having a lot of pain for a couple days.  This was the first time her skin reacted this way to the treatment but evidently it is a good sign.....but painful.  So all this plus the aftermath of the twins big birthday left us absolutely inundated with gifts and a bit behind! 

Speaking of birthday.....
They got so. much. stuff.
So they are having FUN and enjoying their new toys AND we haven't even opened about half of them yet.  I don't think they have EVER gotten so much stuff at once. 
The house is s.l.o.w.l.y. coming back together.
We have been trying to do school....but if I'm honest....we actually only got about half of what I hoped done this week.
I can feel my blood pressure rise just thinking about it..

This is also Odyssey of the Mind crunch time.
We have been involved with Odyssey for several years now and LOVED the experience....
but this is the time of year I begin to wonder....
WHY do we do this?

So as Sophie worked on her Odyssey Problem this week and I pondered Why do we do Odyssey?...and tried to get the house in order and tried not to have a nervous breakdown about how much school we weren't getting done and tried to breathe and tried not to cough all over people.....I realized that a lot of what she was doing was schoolish....
She was being creative=ART

She was measuring material and keeping track of how much money she spent=Math

She learned how to sew a skirt= Life skill

She overcame her fear of irons (I have the same fear, just for different reasons....she is scared of being burnt...I am scared of ironing)=GROWTH

So even though she didn't get all her lessons checked off for the week...she did accomplish things and learn so it wasn't a total loss.

We also have been finishing up basketball.  Andrew had  his last game of his middle school career Friday.  HEART BREAKER!  They lost in the second round of the tournament in overtime by 3.  The kid from the other team threw up a three and left 1 second on the clock.  Our guys made a half court pass and a half court shot that was just shy of going in.  It was a fun game to watch.  It was a hard loss for the team. 

The coach did a great job this season and so did the boys.  The assistant coach wasn't bad either (Randy)

Hate to see the season come to an end.  However I must admit I am looking forward to getting a bit of my life back!

This sweet little buddy is on the mend.  He's feeling so MUCH better!
I did enjoy how snuggly he was throughout the week!

Today....more basketball, more Odyssey, errands, cleaning, laundry,sunshine....

 and a dinner invitation to some new friends house.  We are really enjoying getting to know all the new families in our Sunday School Class.  Several of our kids play basketball together so we've enjoyed getting to know each other better at all those early Saturday morning games. 
We've also had lots of kids, from the new class, have birthday parties in the last month so that has been a fun way to get to know each other better too.  Then this morning our friends emailed last minute to invite our crew for dinner and we were so happy we didn't have plans!  We all enjoyed getting to know each other better.  The kids had a blast.  The adults and Andrew talked and talked!  Love that this whole random group of people who didn't know each other a few months ago are slowly building genuine relationships as we share our lives.  Thankful for friends....old and new!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Good Read

I like to know what others are reading.  Especially stuff they are enjoying.  These are a few of the books I've read lately that I would say are

Books to Read.....

GIVE THEM grace....Dazzling You Kids With the Love of Jesus.  It is written by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson.  If you have kids or are expecting a child....I would run, not walk, and buy this book.  Read it.  Re-read it.  Soak it up.  Take notes.  I think it is THAT good.  I wish I had read it 14 years ago.

KISSES from KATIE A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption.  This is written by Katie Davis with Beth Clark.  It is the biography of Katie Davis an amazing young woman chasing hard after God.  She writes in a very real and relevant way.  She does not sugar coat the intensity and sacrifice her life has called for but at the same time she relishes in the blessings of being right in the center of God's will.  Reading this book should come with a warning: You will be called to action.  You will have a burden for the needy.  You will realize how blessed you are.  You will long for more.

A DARE TO LIVE FULLY RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE one thousand gifts by Ann Voskamp.  The language in this book is beautiful. Very poetic.  The thoughts are provoking.  The call is to abandon yourself to God. 

OVERCOMING DYSLEXIA:A New and Complete Science Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level.  It is written by Sally Shawitz.  It is the best and most research based book I have read on Dyslexia.  This is one I'm going to buy.  I borrowed it from the library...but I need it own it as a reference.  It is comprehensive, instructive, full of ideas and written by a world renowned expert on dyslexia.  If you suspect your child has this book first!

I'd love if you would comment and let me know what you are reading.  I love book ideas. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What I loved today....

I loved sleeping so deeply that I didn't even hear the alarm go off this morning!

I loved waking up to a very sweet note from Randy!

I loved getting a surprise visit from my mom and from my mother in law!

I loved listening to Sophie read the last chapter of her second chapter book!

I loved answering the phone and my Dad wanting to talk to Andrew about the equation for acceleration.....he's been helping him understand some math for his physics class.

I loved the cute little cupcakes from our sweet neighbors!

I loved neighborhood kids running door to door exchanging valentines!

I loved going to the fabric store and watching Sophie delight in the beautiful textures and patterns and FINALLY finding the perfect fabric for her mermaid costume!

I loved sharing lemon pound cake from Starbucks with Lincoln and how he loved it so much he screamed for more!

I loved having a pile of younguns draped all over me while vegging on the couch tonight!

I loved how happy Lydia got when she read her valentine from Daddy!

I loved cutting grilled cheese sandwiches into hearts....and making homemade soup....and melting chocolate kisses on pretzels and pressing M&M's on top just to make a regular day special!

I loved unwrapping candy kisses and realizing that even though the wrappers were different....when you peeled it away....the inside was pretty much the same.  Hmmmm.....

I loved seeing Sophie blush when she saw a certain boy!

I loved hearing Randy tell me about his day and how happy he sounded.

I loved laughing hard when Andrew offered to get his bag he left in the car, he never offers to get anything, when what he REALLY wanted was to get his he could text a friend! 

I loved how Andrew laughed when he was busted!

I loved that the 4 little ones have all arranged an impromptu sleepover in their rooms and now I would REALLY love it if they would GO TO SLEEP!

I loved that Jackson came crashing into my room to get just one more kiss before bed.

I loved how Audrey snuck down after tuck in to tell me "she loved me sooooo much and goodnight!"

I loved watching the kids go on their annual valentine scavenger hunt and how Jackson is devastated when it is over....not because he wants more gifts....but because he absolutely adores scavenger hunts!

I loved that Randy didn't buy me anything....and I didn't buy him anything....and yet we could care less and we both feel really loved.

And right now I am loving that this day is finally ending and I can close my very sore....very red....very tired eyes and lay my splitting head down and rest my sore throat and aching sinuses and hopefully get a good night sleep!

Hope your day was filled with love


Sunday, February 12, 2012


The Twins turned six on Friday!

We actually started celebrating a little early with our Co-op Buddies:

They decorated heart cookies on Thursday

Lots of fun!

So pretty!

So much Sugar!

They were serenaded by their buddies and then....they chowed down!

One of the downsides of homeschool is that we don't have teacher workdays....however one of the upsides is we never have school on our birthdays!
So Friday we took off school!!!!

I can't believe it.....
Six years old!

They woke up early to open their presents!
They've been wanting helmets for their bikes....their old ones were a bit snug!

Posing in their sunglasses....they got new swimsuits for this summer too!
Love these two!

However...they were most excited about going to Build-A-Bear!

They each made their own bear and got an outfit!

We headed to the play area....but it did take a while to get there....

Audrey had to hug EVERY metal dog we passed....there are a lot of metal dogs at Southpointe!

Then they got to play on the playground.

We met Randy's parents and sister for lunch at Chuck E Cheese!

Thank you Grammy and Pepaw!

Jack was a little scared of the animals....but they had a good time!

Then we went home and rode bikes.....had to test out the new helmets!

Thumbs Up!

After having some rest time and play time we got ready for dinner!

Friday Night we met my sister and parents at Dickey's where they treated the Twinkies to dinner!


They had a great birthday!

They were exhausted by the end of the day!

Saturday the celebration continued with a birthday bash at Wheels Play Center:

They were sooooo excited!  This was their first big friend party!
We usually just do family parties....they did have a party once at the church gym a few years ago....but never anything like this....

So to say they were excited may be an understatement!

Lydia wanted a monkey cake....


Jackson wanted a dolphin cake....

I did my was going to cost $90 to have them both we decided an imperfect one made by me would have to do!

Enjoyed seeing everyone!

Sweet Babies!




Somebody is ready for cake!

Making Wishes!

:Love my sweet boy!

Came home with some happy and exhausted younguns!

Tomorrow....we have got to get cleaned up and back on track....
but we did have a super fun time celebrating these sweet ones!

Happy SIXTH Birthday Jackson and Lydia!!!!