Thursday, February 28, 2013

We're Having A Ball



It's amazing how a simple ball can create
a good hour of non stop fun. Who needs the special
amusement parks? 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Waiting for Spring, And a Texas Blizzard Y'all

I has been a very nice winter here in Texas. A lot of the days have been nice enough to go outside for a walk or just to play,  but I'm always freezing. Always.

I'm very ready for the smell of fresh cut lawns, big thunderstorms rolling in, and eating breakfast, lunch, or even dinner outside.

I was looking at pictures from last April, and man it sure got me excited!



Pots ready to be filled with gorgeous flowers!


That will all have to wait a bit longer though. Outside our window is sunshine, but it's melting the 15 or so inches of snow we just had. What a storm it was! The boys are sure enjoying it though.


They built forts in the front yard the first day, and got creative on the back deck steps yesterday. They stayed out for hours! I cleaned house and had nutella and peanut butter hot chocolate hot and waiting for them to tire.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Saturday Family Traditions

I have really fallen in love with creating our own little family traditions. I love getting ideas from all over the place, but as I wrote a few months ago, I was getting overwhelmed with "keeping up" with all the fun stuff there is out there. So, I pretty much dropped it. I took my own advice and went with what I knew would really make a difference in our boys' lives.

Remember the everyday things like books before bed, family devotionals, pizza on Fridays, chores on Saturday. Those are the things children will find comfort in. Those are the days they will remember.

Without even thinking about it, I started lingering in bed an hour later on Saturday mornings, slowly getting up to the sounds of boys playing in their rooms. I'd head down stairs for a cup of coffee and open my wonderful southern cookbook and find the most beautiful pictures and recipes. I started craving the biscuits and gravy, the brown sugar and buttermilk waffles, the honey pecan coffee cake. Although I cook breakfast most mornings, I wanted this to be different. So, around 9:00 AM on Saturday mornings, I start what we call our Late Saturday  Morning Breakfasts. The boys make orange juice together and set the table while I whip up waffles, eggs, and bacon, biscuits and gravy, omelets, stuffed french toast, or sometimes just fruit salad and toast. Some other times, we make homemade donuts with our little donut maker.

It's all about enjoying each other, in no rush.




We read our Bible together, talk, and listen to old hymns or classical music. It has quickly become my favorite day of the week!

After we are finished, I go online to Lego Quest Kids and pick a challenge for the boys and their Legos. They spend the remainder of the morning coming up with their creations! They LOVE it! I also saw that Phyllis just started LEGO challenges on her blog too, so we'll add that one to our list.




I'm taking pictures for them and have plans to make a little book for him.

These are the traditions I love. It doesn't take a lot of effort and planning. It's not over the top or elaborate, and by no means an original idea. It is special and simple, and that's what makes it so amazingly wonderful!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Learning to Read

I mentioned last month that we took a break from everyday school to focus on reading in hope that Tristin would become more confident and actually enjoy reading.

I'm proud to say that it worked!

Tristin is one of those kids that learned the sounds of his letters in one week and is wonderful at math, so naturally I decided to teach him to read when he was 4.

I picked up the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and we took off. Only, he was in tears after the first few lessons.

We took a 6 month break, started the book again at 5. Same story.

And at age 6 I tried it again. We made it 70 lessons, and finally realized  it just wasn't clicking.

At the beginning of this school year, I picked up All About Spelling thinking if he learned the rules then it would make sense. It did! We were finally getting somewhere.

After evaluating (in my own head) the first semester, I felt he he needed a boost of confidence in reading. I wanted him comfortable with reading. And you know, not dreading it everyday. I dropped everything else. but reading, writing, and spelling for one month.

We continued with All About Spelling, and I added writing and copy work, sight words, and we added the last half of (yes again!) Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy lessons.

I had this Silly Starters flip book, where he would flip though it and have to write a story, poem, questions, or letter about whatever he flipped to. He loved this! He would make up a short story, and I would write it for him, and then he would copy it in his angry birds notebook.


Then we would work on a lesson of All About Spelling. (He finished level 1!)


I found a list at Jan Brett's website of Dolch Sight Words and we played the bang game with them. This worked like a charm.

*print one word on each index card
*make a few index cards with the word BANG on them
*put them in a box or coffee can
*mix around
*set the timer
*take turns pulling out a card. If he you get it correct keep the card. if not, put it back in. If you get a BANG card, all your cards go back in.

I used words that I thought he needed work on, and added a few new ones as he mastered some of the old ones.

I also used the list of words he was working on and made them his copywork some days, spelling words some days, and our own homemade crossword puzzles some days.


After all of that, we would go back to the Teach You Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (the last 50 lessons) and do 2 a day. I'm happy to report that he loves this as well! Whew!

We went to the library and I let him pick any books he wanted to read to me. I also picked chapter books I thought might interest him and we read, read, read. Turns out he LOVES Henry Huggins and Nate the Great! Those books made him love reading. He has always loved me reading to him, but now, he picks them up on his own and starts reading them.

We still have  a lot of work to go, but I'm so excited to see him interested and enjoying reading!

I will continue most of these things throughout the rest of the year. I'm considering adding the last 100 lessons or so of The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading which I've heard takes reading a bit further than 100 Easy Lessons, or Reading Pathways.

I have also started the 100 Easy Lessons book with Brighton (just turned 5), and it's a whole new story with him. He loves it! Ha ha, you never know.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Outside My Window


It sure is pretty. Especially when we have nowhere to go.


As pretty as it is, I'm loving these touches that let's me know Spring will come.


Sunday, February 3, 2013


Anyone who has been reading my blog for the past few years know about the struggles we've had with Jaiden's behaviors in the past. The past few months have not shown much relief in those, except for the fact that I don't feel so alone.

My husband is now waiting for a schedule change. A permanent one. A Monday-Friday job, with holidays off. No nights, no switching from days to nights every month, and less inconsistent working on the weekends. While we're waiting on that, his boss has gracefully allowed Dan to go in work late on the weekends they work during the day. This has been such a wonderful blessing to us because when Jaiden sees Dan in the morning, it sets the tone for him for the day. Honestly, we went from meltdowns starting at 7AM  and me calling my parents to help me 10AM, and them keeping him until Dan returns at 7PM every weekend, to this weekend. Dan left for work at 8AM this morning (and a little later yesterday), and Jaiden has been just fine. Just wonderful! So much that I enjoy him so, and that is one of the biggest blessings in my life. I just couldn't stand feeling like I couldn't be a proper mother to him. Not knowing how to help him and seeing him so upset for hours was taking a huge toll on us both.

I also posted on instagram for prayers, and was brought to tears at how many friends were so willing to pray for us. I was reading in the Bible about Moses to our boys last week about God telling him to tell the Israelites that he has heard their cries and was concerned. Well, that's exactly how I felt this whole weekend. I am so thankful for those who have helped us, who have prayed for us, and for God's concern for our cries. So thankful.

This has truly strengthened my relationship with my husband, my son, and my God. I love them all more than I can even explain, and I needed to know their love at this time in my life. I will be ever grateful.


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