Saturday, January 27, 2018

It's hard staying connected with kids!

If you had told me when I had my first child that I wouldn't feel connected to them as they age or that it would have been hard I would have thought you were nuts. I've really realized in the last few years that it takes a LOT of work to stay truly connected to your children. I think when they are young it is so much easier and therefore I never really thought about it being harder as they age.

I noticed with our oldest that once he got a job that I noticed that disconnect.  He was always on the go and we talked, but we weren't digging deep in the conversations.  Those were the time it seemed we should have been pushing more to have those deep conversations.  Then the girlfriend came and now it's hard to believe, but at almost 19 he's living on his own. We see him, but it's run in or stopping by work. Those aren't times for deep conversation. As much as I love and hate our growing dependence on cell phones it does help when you have a child that no longer lives at home. It can be a lengthy text conversation or just saying hey, I'm proud of you and love you!

Before we ever had our first child I had in my mind that I wanted a boy, a girl and then another boy.  I got my girl and I was in heaven the day she was born.  The last few years I've realized that being close with a daughter is different than a son.  I find that I have trouble not being critical with my daughter over things that I never did or wouldn't do now. I sadly think I always figured she'd be just like me and when she isn't I have to remind myself that is totally OK :) She's not me, she's my daughter, and times are not like when I was her age. I'm trying to really watch what I say that might be critical or construed as critical. Sadly, it's much harder than I'd like to admit. I have to learn what is important to her and make that important to ME!

Our youngest is easier to connect with because he's just 10. I think when you are that age just spending time watching tv, reading a book, making slime or playing a game is everything to them. I realize I've made mistakes with the older two that I'm trying to fix. I know there were times they were talking and I wasn't really listening. That makes me sad when I realize how little time they will be living with me at this point. They are all at different points in their lives and I just have to love them and make the effort to stay connected with them.

Here's a picture of Issac making slime :) Like I said, sometimes it's the simplest things that can help you connect with your child :)

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Troubled Waters by Susan May Warren

I was so excited to read Book 4 in the Montana Rescue series by Susan May Warren. I love reading a series because I feel like I can get to know the characters so much more. I especially enjoy it when each book focuses one a specific character because you really feel like you know them personally then.  In Troubled Waters Ian Shaw and Sierra Rose are the two main characters. We've learned bits and pieces about them in the earlier books and know that Ian Shaw has more money than he could ever spend and yet can't find his niece.  When she disappeared he searched for her and did everything he could, but eventually felt she might not want to be found. He and Sierra have feelings for each other, but they are also extremely stubborn people.  Sierra finds out why Ian's niece is hiding, but she's sworn to keep it from him.  After a disaster that damaged the PEAK rescue chopper Sierra takes it upon herself to hold a fundraiser with Ian's friends to get the funds they need. Nobody could have every imagined what would happen on the yacht that weekend while trying to raise the funds to fix the rescue chopper.  Ian and Sierra find themselves in the fight for their life and when Ian learns that Sierra has kept the ultimate secret from him he wonders where that leaves them??

** I received a copy of this book free for my honest review. 

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

It's hard to imagine a time when an African American person and a Caucasian person couldn't really share or show they had a friendship. In the book Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse Pete McLean's dear friend, Isaac, disappears. He's recently lost his father and leaned more on Isaac and their friendship than he previously had done. When Isaac goes missing Pete knows something is wrong, but not many people seemed to care that an African American man had just disappeared. Isaac had been a fixture on the farm Pete lived on his entire life. He had never known Isaac to just up and leave or even not show up for work. Pete struggles to deal with the loss of his father as well as Isaac when he meets a new friend. He meets Dovey while searching for clues about what happened to Isaac. They start a friendship that will become more special to either of them than anyone could have every imagined. When Pete discovers what became of Isaac it's not something that anyone would have ever expected. I haven't read anything by Valerie Fraser Luesse before, but I really enjoyed her writing. She specializes in stories about unique parts of Southern culture and those are the types of stories that have always been interesting to me. This was a nice, easy read and one that kept me captivated until the very end.

** I received a copy of this book free for my honest review. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Thankful Tuesday 1/23/2018

Thankful Tuesday

Today I'm thankful for opportunities that my kids have in life. When I was growing up there were lots of things I wanted to do, but wasn't always able to do. When your raised in a single income family there are difficult choices that need to be made. Fun trips aren't always at the top of the list when there are things like electric bills to be paid. I was blessed as a kid to be great friends with someone that often took me on vacation with her family.  Her parents were separated and she often took a vacation with each parent. I was invited on those trips more often than not. Without that friend in my life I wouldn't have been to most of the places I visited during middle and high school.  

My children have been blessed with friends like those. They are invited on trips and to places that they wouldn't otherwise be able to go visit.  Life isn't all about the money or the places you go rather than experiences you get to have.  I don't really have memories of fancy places on those trips, but more of the fun time and laughter that we had. I'm hoping my kids have those same memories when they get to be my age :)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Thankful Tuesday 1/16/2018

Today was a good day here at the house.  I actually had lots of things that I could think of to be thankful for today. This may seem strange, but today I chose balloons (LOL) My kids can have the most fun with a $1.00 pack of balloons. The other evening I picked up a few things at Family Dollar to have on hand to do a few little activities with Issac. His therapist made coping balls with him a few weeks ago. They rolled tiny balls of playdough and dropped them into balloons. They then tied them and you could squeeze on them if you were upset. He misplaced his, so I decided today we'd make a few more. He was actually having a rough moment and making these took his mine off it and basically reset him. You could easily fill these with rice or sand as well. I like the playdough because it's a firmer texture and won't make a mess like some of the other items could.

From there Issac started blowing up balloons and we hit them back and forth.  He also blew them up and just let the air blow back in his face. Something so simple, but could make an afternoon so enjoyable :) It may seem strange to some, but today I am thankful for balloons :)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Intensive Home Therapy Update 1/12/18

It's been about six weeks now since we started intensive home therapy for Issac. When they say intensive they are certainly correct. Up until Christmas someone was here Monday-Friday for almost 2 hours a day! It's been very hard to adjust our work and schedule. We've got school to the minimum for Issac because I didn't see any other option.  They have just recently bumped him to four days a week. As he continue to do well they'll drop it down until it's one day a week. Then he'll be turned back over to a regular counselor and will continue with them for a bit. I honestly feel this is the hardest and best thing we've done. I do seem small changes in him. We were having multiple issues a day and often times they'd go for hours. Up until last week we'd had several days with only one issue per day and a few days with NO issues! Such an answer to prayer. We started school back this week and all I can say is it's like we've never even started this therapy. He had a horrible day Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and a little bit today. Thankful each of those days other than yesterday one of his counselors came and were able to talk with him and try to work through some of the issues. I almost called them yesterday to see if they'd come out or even talk to him on the phone, but he ultimately fell asleep (LOL) I think the three weeks off school was too much or he's struggling with my aunt's death even though he doesn't really even seem to understand it. I'm not sure what's going on, but this afternoon was better and I'm thankful for that! They've been working with him on coping skills and I've seen him use them a few times, but this week he refused. He ranted about how the dr's didn't know what they were doing, he wasn't using stupid coping skills, etc.  I don't feel therapy has failed I just think this shows how life can be like a roller coaster. Sometimes a bad week happens.

We've learned so far that he tends to jump to the negative for almost everything. Those negative thoughts then get his mind going and he gets angry. One of his counselors has been working with him quite a bit on how to change the negative thoughts into more positive ones. One of the other counselors taught him some things he could do with his body to help him realize when he's getting calm. They made stress balls-playdough inside balloons and I've seen him use those a few times. All in all I think he's made some good progress for the time he's been in it. They say it's usually a minimum of six months and can continue more if needed.

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Thankful Tuesday 1/9/2018

Thankful Tuesday

It's the first Thankful Tuesday of 2018!! Can't believe another year has gone by and with it brings each of my children closer to moving out. I can't imagine the day when none of the kids live with us anymore. We are all loud and often argue, but I just can't imagine life with just Carl and I again (LOL) Today I'm thankful for time with the kids! I decided that this year the kids and I would try more arts and crafts and especially things that I've pinned on my Pinterest boards I've pinned so many things and have tried to organize them all to find easily. The problem is I never go back (LOL) Today we decided we'd try a slime recipe I saved. Problem was we didn't have all the ingredients (LOL) We ended up mixing glue, liquid starch, a little cornstarch and coconut flour. It was nothing like slime, but Issac had a great time. It reminded me that things don't have to go perfectly, but that's it's the time with your kids. Next time we'll make sure we have all the ingredients and I "think" Brianna will join us if it's the "real" slime :)

He decided we should make burgers, fries and fried pickles. 

He calls this "Burger King" because there are two burgers and the castle with the king in the middle :)

Friday, January 5, 2018

Starting the New Year off Right

What does that statement mean to you? If I'm honest I'm not always sure what it means to me (LOL) For many years I did the New Year's Resolutions, but they usually fell away shortly. I know in the last few years many have taken to adopting verses for the year of even a word for the year. Those just don't seem to fit me for some reason. Not sure why I can't follow the crowd..... Last year I took the holidays as a time to simply regroup. I spent my vacation going through my closet and dressers giving away those items that I knew deep down I just didn't want/need anymore.  We purchased on a house recently that needs quite a bit of work, but I figured even more this year I wanted to go through the closets.

As it always seems to happen what I plan doesn't always turn out.  My Aunt Mary Lou had been very for almost three years. These last few months she just got sicker and sicker and we all knew our time with her was limited.  I had planned to drive home on Wednesday to be with my mom and hopefully get one last visit with my aunt. She went into a coma on Christmas Eve morning and ultimately passed away very late in the evening the day after Christmas. I left Wednesday morning and was so thankful I did. This was a very hard time for our family, but it hit my mom in a way that I think no other loss has. My mom and my aunt both were very strong women. I honestly can't remember seeing either of them cry in my entire life. Not when they buried their mother, went through divorces and tough times or just when having a rough day. My mom is the oldest and was expected from a very young age to watch over the other children. My aunt had a bone disease as well, so my mom felt doubly responsible.  They bickered, spent birthday's together and truly were best friends as well as sisters.  I'm very thankful I had that time with my family. Nothing was on my mind other than helping order flowers, be there for the family and just remember the good times with my aunt.  My husband and kids arrived on Saturday and we had the wake Saturday evening. Sunday we spend the day at my mom's house and pretty much the entire family showed up. I baked brownies, my mom baked cookies and a dear friend of my mom's dropped off two platters of food. We laughed, we were loud, we ate, etc. It truly reminded me of all the holidays I spent as a child with my family. I've missed that living so far away for many years.

We arrived home on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning I woke with a headache. I often ask myself if this house gives me those headaches (LOL) I was so exhausted that I pretty much stayed in bed all day Wednesday and slept off and on during the day. Wednesday evening snow started and we were blessed to have 5"s of snow on the ground. I love the snow and it's such a beautiful sight seeing the ground covered with it. Issac spent hours outside playing by himself as well as with the neighbor from down the street. In the back of my mind I could hear the nagging that the school schedule said to start school back on Tuesday.  Last night I debated as Issac asked me if we were doing school today. Part of me felt the immediate need to say yes, we are already behind. The other part of me thought of my Aunt Mary Lou who was always laughing and had so much joy in her life. I decided to take today off as well and over the next few days to rethink the rest of my year. I have everything planned out, but Issac has started complaining there is no fun. I think I'll ask him to help me make a list of what he'd like to do and we'll try to work on that list. I've also decided this year that WE ARE going to start doing things that are on our Pinterest boards (LOL) I have so much pinned and it's all wonderful, but we just never do it. I've decided that will change this year and we will start trying more things that I've saved. What's the point in saving them if we aren't going to try them? Feel free to follow my BOARDS and I can't wait to see if we try any of the same things :)

That's pretty much my ramblings for the New Year! :) No real resolutions, no word or verse. I'm going to try and bring more JOY to our homeschooling year as well as love on my kids more.  I've felt a renewed closeness to my family through my aunts passing. She'll always be close to my heart and I'm thankful for all the years that I've had with her. I'm going to try and channel her fun spirit this year :)

Happy New Year!!

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Review: All She Left Behind by Jane KIrkpatrick

I've recently been learning more about essential oils and what they can do to help our bodies.  I'm fascinated about how illness was treated back before more of the modern meds were made available. All She Left Behind is a story about Jennie Pickett's life and her love of herbs and oil.  Jennie started out treating her family and others that she could, but she longed to do something more. She'd had thoughts of becoming a doctor, but life's circumstances seemed to keep her from heading in that direction.  Her marriage fell apart and Jennie was left to care for her son all by herself.  As her story unfolds with the struggles of life and love she never lost sight of her true passion.  Jennie's story is also interwoven with how alcohol and the misuse of herbs can greatly impact the family.  The struggles that Jennie faces are very much real today for many people.  It's a wonderful story reminding us to never give up on our dreams. Maybe now isn't currently the right "season" to embrace a particular dream, but it doesn't mean the time won't ever come.

*** I received this book free for my honest review. 

Review: What's New? What's Missing? What's Different?

Homeschooling is hard and often times I've found my kids just need something fun to break up the day.  Even though Issac is in 6th grade...