Here is a blog post about our 10 month old baby’s most recent diagnosis of leukemia:
Here is the link to the GoFundMe that has been set up for us:
Here is a blog post about our 10 month old baby’s most recent diagnosis of leukemia:
Here is the link to the GoFundMe that has been set up for us:
I know how busy life gets and we all… ok, most us… feel like we need more time every now and then, right? Well, there are only 24 hours in a day and we can’t make more time no matter how hard we try so that means we just need to find ways to use our time more wisely.
First, we need to get our priorities straight and make sure we are getting the things are done that need to get done like feeding everyone and making sure they have clean clothes to wear. We should probably make sure we clean the house from time to time and if you homeschool you gotta have time for that too. Not to mention that there are so many other things like appointments, grocery shopping, and other obligations that happen every day.
Sometimes it seems like there is no time left for the fun stuff but I promise that routines can help. I have written many a post about our routines here. Our routines help keep us running smoothly most of the time. The routines work when we follow them and sometimes we don’t but we quickly realize how much we need them. As soon as we get back on routine our lives get less chaotic.
I have included some pics and screenshots of our different routines and schedules below but please don’t think this is complicated. Ours are far more complicated than most as we have a lot of things going on here and I need these to keep myself and my household organized. Every family is different and every set of routines will be different What works for us may not work for you but feel free to use these as a guideline for setting up your own routines and/or schedules.
**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.
I had originally written this series of posts in honor of National Simplify Your Life Week, which falls during the first week of August, I decided to make a shortlist of 7 easy steps that almost anyone can use to simplify their life starting today. With the New Year fast approaching I thought it might be helpful to post this again for anyone looking to simplify their life and have more FREE time. Continue reading “7 Easy Steps To Simplify Your Life Today”
**This post may contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use in our home.
How’s your day going? I hope you said it’s going well but if it didn’t you may be having a day like mine. I’ve been busy, too busy on too many things… you probably know how that goes when you try to multitask. Sometimes multitasking can be great and you can accomplish a lot but then there are those times that nothing seems to get done.
I’ve been working on our next unit study using ‘The Little House On The Prairie‘ written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We had so much fun with our last unit study Little House In The Big Woods Adventure that we decided to keep on going. This is A LOT of work though but I want my kids to have fun learning so it is well worth it. To be honest I’m having a blast doing this with them too.
This next unit study is going to be so much fun! I have found so many projects, crafts, and fun activities to go along with our studies. We will be studying about so many things like prairie animals including prairie dogs and buffalo. Then there are the Native American studies that we will be doing along with continuing our state studies. We will also be touching a little bit on stars and constellations as the kids have really been interested in this topic lately. One of the girls asked to do an herb study too so I am trying to work on that as well.
Of course I have a lot more than that included in the study and I still have to finish up our Life Skills section. This time I am hoping to do it a little differently but still plan to include some fun activities like baking some molasses cookies, sewing sun bonnets, and memorizing some bible verses. I think I will have some camping tips, information, or other activities in this study as well so we may see a Weenie Roast and S’mores in our future! I’m not sure what other fun activities I will find to go along with it as I haven’t really even started this section yet and I plan to start this unit next week! AHHHH!
You can check it out and use some of the activities to go along if you plan to read this series with your kids too. A good majority of the resources I link to are FREE because I really like FREE stuff. Some of the links are affiliate links to things we are or will be using.
I am slowly working my way through the books and coming up with lots of fun stuff to do. It has been such slow progress because of so many unexpected interruptions. The biggest being the impromptu trip to Pennsylvania due to the passing of my Mom-mom. I am still not quite over that as much as I felt I should have been by now but I know everything takes time.
Then on top of that I have a houseful of kiddos running around. There are so many chores, like the never ending laundry, and so much cleaning that I need to catch up on I get overwhelmed at times. Not to mention I have to feed these little monsters at least three times a day! No wonder I can’t get anything done. Another issue this week has been our internet… yes, again. It seems that no matter what I do I can’t get it to do like I feel it should. We don’t have a lot of choices so I’m kinds stuck with what I have for now but I do plan to research options… really I do when I get a free moment… lol.
I started out this morning with over 2,000 emails which was a bit overwhelming. I had cleared a few hundred of them on Saturday but it barely made a dent in the pile.
Then today as I was catching up on emails and such I happened to see that we have HURRICANE MICHAEL headed our way. Just another thing to add to the list of things to think about. While we are not on the coast nor have we been put under the ‘State of Emergency’ the counties right next to us are so that means we do have potential to see some damage. This also means that we need to make some emergency preparations and be prepared for when the storm hits. As we have learned in the past the storms don’t always go along their predicted path.
**Update: The state of emergency has been expanded from 26 counties to 35, including ours, since this post was written. Our prayers are going out to all of those in the affected area as well as the first responders, National Guard, and all of those working to keep everyone safe. Continue reading “Help! I’m Drowning, Or At Least It Feels That Way…”
**This post does contain some affiliate links which could possibly earn me a small commission if a purchase was made through them. These links help to support our blog and our family.
We’ve all been there… or some of us have. I was once a very efficient, organized, multitasking homeschooling Momma. I still am for the most part but I have learned that you also need a lot of flexibility and patience.
There will be times when your plans go perfectly and everything seems to be so easy. But then there will be times when your homeschool is complete CHAOS! This can happen in the blink of an eye and without warning. Continue reading “Homeschooling Through The Unexpected”
Well, I hope your kids aren’t making you too crazy yet… I’ve already stepped off the loco train a long time ago when I decided to homeschool but that’s another story. Here are a few crafts to keep those entertained and hopefully out of your hair. (I’ve also included a couple of affiliate links to some crafts you can buy on Amazon… at no extra charge to you! You’re welcome!) Continue reading “Kids Driving You Bonkers Yet?”
I’m sitting here writing this before 7pm and I am exhausted. This past week has seemed like an eternity. The kids have been super hyper, family tensions have exploded, and life has just been down right crazy. There have been many times this past week that, even in the midst of all the chaos, I have felt so lonely.
That’s how life goes though. We have to have the bad to know what the good is. We need the craziness to keep us on our toes. It all works together to mold us and shape us into who we need to be.
There have been some really good moments and some funny ones too. Today DS3 asked me for a piece of ‘turned over cake’ aka Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. He was so happy to get a piece after dinner. It’s amazing how the simplest things can bring a smile to a child’s face.
Then there was this little couple at the grocery store today. They were older, reminded me a bit of my mom-mom and pop-pop, but they were so cute. I wanted to snap a picture but I didn’t want them to think I was completely off my rocker so I didn’t. I was happy to see them but also a little sad.
Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever have that. That’s what I signed up for, not once or twice, but three times now. Three times it hasn’t worked out. It seems that every time I see a little glimpse of that it slips away from me and feels like it was just a figment of my imagination.
That’s when the Devil slips in and tries to tell me that I’m not good enough or that I’ll never be enough for anyone. He reminds me of my past failures and he points out my kids. He tells me that noone would ever be crazy enough to sign up for all of this.
Well, he is WRONG! I know he is. How do I know? Because God has said that I am His daughter and He is the KING! If it is God’s best for me then I will have it. So, I will try my best to be content where I am right now. Even though where I am right now is not where I thought I was a week or so ago. It is so hard to keep the faith sometimes but I will trust in His promises.
Even when times are hard God is there. We may not see Him or feel Him but He is there. When it seems like the dead of winter is upon us, He is with us. He is working on us, pruning us, shaping us, molding us for the plans He has for us. We may not see the fruits of our labors right now but we will see them in the future. He is so good!
Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls;
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
— Habakkuk 3: 17-19
Help! There’s a snake in my boot, actually it was in the closet but it could’ve been in my boot as some point. The cover photo for this post was taken just last month. My 14-year-old had said he spotted a snake in the heat vent. Many people would think that he was just imagining things. But I know that this could have been a real possibility. So I prepared myself with a pair of kitchen tongs and my brother helped me to close off all the heat vents.
Last month appeared to be a false alarm. No snake ever emerged from the heat vents or anywhere else in the house that we saw. However we have had some not so false alarms in the past year.
The picture below is a snake that we found in our kitchen last November. Yes, those are the kitchen tongs. This was not the only snake we found though.
I was actually pretty calm this time around as this has been the second snake we had found in the house within a few months.
This is what my bedroom looked like after my daughter had called me last May. She had saw a snake in the playroom. Imagine her surprise when she bent down to pick up the toy snake so she could vacuum and it moved.
This is another picture of my closet when we were looking for the snake. Needless to say this prompted me to do a major decluttering.
This is a picture of the play room after the snake was spotted.
After a second, more thorough, search of the house the snake was eventually found in my closet. If you look closely in the corner there is a tiny hole in the wall and that’s where he was.
This is the snake that was found in the closet the first time. He was let loose only to be found in the chicken house a couple weeks later.
Below was the second snake that we found near the house. He was curled up under the hood of my truck. I could not believe my eyes when my son sent me this picture. He had borrowed my truck to jumpstart his early in the morning. I bet he was shocked to find this under the hood.
After asking Google and many of my Facebook friends no one had a good solution for getting the snake out of my truck. My truck sat in the hot sun for three whole days trying to bake him out. I tried to throw mothballs under the truck and various other suggestions to no avail.
You can see him playing peekaboo in the grill. I was paranoid that the snake would pop out while I was driving down the road or something. That’s when I found out that kitchen tongs work well for grabbing hold of snakes.
Remember that if you ever happen to find a snake in your house, or your vehicle, just try to stay calm. If you’re unsure of how to remove the snake or if you cannot positively identify the snake then don’t touch it. Call the professionals, if needed.
This was just a quick little post to show you that it that it always pays to be prepared for anything.
I know, we’ve all heard about how important routines and schedules are. Some of us may have every minute of every hour planned out on a ‘perfect’ schedule while others would rather just have a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ kind of routine. I’ve always been kind of in the middle while I can say that at different times of my life I have leaned more towards one side than the other.
Well, the answer is not the same for everyone, every family, or every situation. For instance, there are some children who thrive on strict routines and schedules and they don’t like change, I have one of those children. Then there are some families who are extremely busy with things, maybe a home business, and there is no way that they could guarantee that they would be home by 5:00 every day to eat dinner. Then we have work routines where sometimes there are deadlines and things that must be completed in a certain time frame.
I went through a period of time when I was really sick. I went from being a vibrant young wife and mother (who also held down a 40 hours + job) to almost being bedridden. I had a couple of different surgeries, followed by infections and long recuperation periods. These illnesses triggered an autoimmune response in my body and I have been plagued by chronic pain ever since. I had been diagnosed with scoliosis, DDD, herniated discs, IBS, GRD, hiatal hernia, migraines, and fibromyalgia among a long list of things.
My doctors prescribed a cocktail of medications to help with the problems but those medications caused lots of side effects. I was extremely fatigued, developed seizures, and was constantly having various rashes and other conditions that couldn’t be explained.
During this time my housework really suffered. My house wasn’t a total mess but it did get pretty bad. The more I tried the worse it looked. This caused major problems between my spouse and I. I was trying to keep up with the inside of the house, the outside of house, the garden, the animals, and the kids.
Then I found an index card system for housework. They also have a book called Sidetracked Home Executives which I never bought but maybe should have. I immediately jumped in and began to use the system. I tweaked it here and there to make it work for our family. I then developed a similar system for work and it made an amazing difference in my productivity levels.
Unfortunately my spouse wasn’t as thrilled with my new found method. I could never keep our home as ‘showplace perfect’ as he felt I should. The marriage fell apart and I moved with my four kids to our current home. This is where I found FlyLady, who has been a lifesaver to so many people. (You may want to check out the site for yourself.) A lot of the routines I will list below follow along with her basic plans. I again tweaked them to work for our family.
My house is not ‘showplace perfect‘ nor will it ever be. My house is lived in and it shows. I do get a lot of compliments like, ‘I would never know that you had so many kids here.’. I’m not quite sure what they expect my house to live in but I am pleased to surprise them.
The outside of my house is a bit of a mess and I am working on that. Many people have stopped as they thought I am running a daycare. I guess I kind of am in a way. Some of the mess is beyond my control as it doesn’t belong to me.
I really believe that everyone should be proud of what the Lord has blessed you with. Be content where He has put you and make the best of it. I pray that you will find some helpful tips and suggestions as you read through the links. (If a link isn’t working please let me know in the comments below.) Please remember to use these as a guideline for setting up your own routines. If something isn’t working then change it and make it work for you. Don’t get discouraged!
FlyHelper | Personal Organizer for Android
As many of you probably know I have a special needs son. He has Down’s Syndrome and ADHD among several other diagnoses. He just turned 14 and he is almost as big as I am. Mentally though he is only about the level of a 3 or 4 year old. As frustrating as things can be for me I know that it must be extremely frustrating for him as well.
When he first came to live with us in 2010 I wasn’t prepared, I thought I was, but I wasn’t. I didn’t get any kind of instructions, no special training at all. What I did have was a lot of love and determination to do whatever was right for him.
It was a very hectic and chaotic time those first few weeks. He wouldn’t sleep without medication, which we did not have for the first week or so. He would just run around the house creating mass destruction. Not to mention the fact that his little sister had also been placed with us and she had been diagnosed as emotionally disturbed. She wasn’t even two at the time.
He was not potty trained and he would not tell you when he had soiled or wet his pull up. It took us over a year to fully potty train, we still had and still have times when he refuses, but when he reached the goal of being able to wear ‘real’ underwear the change in him was remarkable. He had gained self confidence and a sense of independence that he had never known before. Even his teachers commented on his new attitude.
He was mostly non verbal at the time also. I bought the Your Baby Can Read Dvds and began to play them everyday. Amazingly his speech began to improve and he began talking more and more everyday. And he hasn’t stopped! He can communicate pretty well now unless you want him to explain why on earth he was playing in the toilet or with cat poop in the play yard.
The placement was only temporary at first. We had good days and we had bad days. The good days were few and far between. The bad days were often really bad and exhausting. I was thankful for every little tip his teachers and doctors were able to give me.
Eventually we started to develop a rhythm. Then he would do something totally unexpected. We knew that he did not sleep well and he had a history of getting up and sneaking out at night. Fortunately he has never tried to sneak out of the house but he has gotten up at night. (We actually installed a cheap alarm on his door that we turn on at night to alert us if he sneaks out of his room.)
There was one night his older sister found him in the kitchen making a ham and cheese sandwich, but he had put horseradish on it instead of mayonnaise. Then another night right before Thanksgiving he had gotten up and decorated all of the pies with blue icing.
When he got accustomed to our routines and when he began to feel safe we started to see improvements. They were slow, very slow, but every bit of progress was so exciting. Then we would have relapses and he would go back to his old ways and behaviors. It was so frustrating. I would often just sit and cry and pray to God for help and guidance. He would touch me and renew my strength and patience each and every night so I could wake up refreshed and ready to face the next set of obstacles.
I read up on every article I could. I talked to the doctors and specialists. I carried a huge notebook around with me everywhere so I could write down everything they told me. I checked out books at the library and took notes. Then I would try out a few ideas and suggestions at a time. If it worked that was great, If it didn’t I just crossed it off and tried again with something new.
I might add a little note here that what works today may not work tomorrow with him. Each day is a new day and he has a toatlly different outlook, personality, and attitude from day to day. So I just kinda have to judge him when he gets up in the morning to see if he needs a hug or if he just needs me to stay away.
I found ways to encourage and motivate him. When everyone said he couldn’t be potty trained I knew he could. I wasn’t trying to prove a point that I was right and they were wrong but rather prove to them that he was capable of more than what they believed he was. They told me I just needed to accept the fact that he would always be in pull ups.
He also hated and still hates loud noises. With that being said he is one of the loudest kids I’ve ever been around. He hums, he sings, he yells, he makes all kinds of noises at all times of the day with no apparent rhyme or reason. Let me get up and turn on my exercise video in another room and he is yelling at me to be quiet.
Normally he stomps through the house making as much noise as possible everywhere he goes. He sounds like a raging elephant unless he is trying to be sneaky. Then he can tiptoe and sneak up on almost anyone.
During that first year we also had another sister placed with us. She had her own set of challenges with being almost blind in one eye from a dog attack, ADHD, and ODD. I know that bringing her into the home helped him feel more secure as he was constantly asking about her but she also required a lot of attention. He did have some major relapses but we eventually worked through them.
His behavior is good most days now.I can remember the first doctor’s appointment I took him too. He was literally climbing the walls. I’m serious, I went straight to Wal-mart and bought one of those monkey backpack leashes for him. Yes, I got a lot of criticism for putting my child on a leash but I’d rather have him safe then be explaining to the paramedics how he ran away in the parking lot.
I can remember several meltdowns in public places when I thought for sure someone would be calling the authorities on me. I remember all of the ‘If that was my child…’ or ‘My kid would never act like that…’ from strangers who didn’t know the situation. I just smiled and sat in the floor with him wrapped in my arms until he calmed down. Then we would finish what we could finish and go home.
This child also loves food. He will wolf down two plates of food before I can finish half of my plate. We have had to work with him to help him slow down his eating so he can digest his food better and to keep him from choking at every meal. There has only been two things I’ve found that he wouldn’t eat, one was the horseradish I mentioned earlier, and the second was a ‘Monkey Milkshake’ his older sister made for him.
I also researched food allergies and sensitivities. I learned a lot by keeping track of his behaviors and checking them with our menus. After a few months I was able to take my notes to the doctor and show them what we had found. The doctor then wrote a note to the school and we had his diet modified. What a difference that made in his behavior!
He was in public school until he transitioned to middle school. He did not like the change and he rebelled in many ways. His new teachers did not know him and his little quirks and no matter how many times I tried to explain things to them or how many notes I wrote they just didn’t ‘get’ him. (Please note that I am not condemning public school and I know the teachers have a lot put on them. It just didn’t work for our family.)
The other problem they had is that he is just so sweet and convincing at times. He was on a modified diet but he would convince the teacher and aides to give him snacks and extras that he was not allowed to have. This resulted in serious issues and he began to get sick every time he went to school. I was picking him up, taking him to the doctor, doctor writing notes, keeping him home until the issues cleared up, sending him back to school, he would get sick again, I would pick him up again and back to the doctor…. it became a vicious cycle and something had to stop..
The last time I took him to the doctor he had lost a significant amount of weight from the diet issues. I had already spoken with her about homeschooling and she agreed that it would probably be the best route for him at that time. So that was his last week at public school. We’ve definitely had our ups and downs trying to get our routine set and getting him to understand that Momma doesn’t take ‘No’ for an answer.
His fine motor skills are not great but we work on that almost every day. When we first started he would absolutely refuse to write anything. He would simply say ‘I can’t’. If that didn’t work he had a pocketful of excuses that worked on the teachers at school.
‘My stomach hurts’
‘I need to go potty’
This last one was a favorite at school. They would send him unsupervised and his older sisters found him several times wandering about the school campus alone. Sometimes the custodians would find him and ride him around the campus on their buggies. There was a time I went to pick him up for an appointment and they couldn’t find him anywhere. I tried my best not to panic but I was scared to death.
Oh, I almost forgot, maybe the favorite excuse was actually pretending he couldn’t hear anyone. I felt it was selective as he could always hear a bag of chips opening two rooms away with the door closed but the teacher insisted he couldn’t hear her. It got so bad that I took him to the doctor and had his hearing checked. I even asked for a referral to a specialist to double check. Not a thing wrong with his hearing. He just had everyone fooled.
He quickly learned that he had to at least try to do what I had asked him to do. Often I would offer a game or puzzle as a reward once he finished a certain amount of work. This was just the encouragement he needed and now most days we can get our work done by alternating ‘work’ with educational videos, games, or puzzles.
He is now reading at about a first grade level. He gets so excited when he reads a whole sentence by himself. This makes me happy because I know there are certain things that he needs to be able to do to be semi-independent. He will soon be an adult and I am not sure what the future will hold for him but I want him to be as prepared as he can be.
We focus on some reading and some basic math. We also do a lot of Life Skills. He can put his clothes in the washer and dryer. He can also fold them and put them away. He does help to prepare simple meals. He is learning to load the dishwasher but I have to supervise or else he will be licking the plates clean. He makes his bed and is responsible for keeping his room straight too.
He can now shower by himself which was a major achievement and he can do most of his basic hygiene routine without prompting. This has helped him to feel more independent. Also it helps me and everyone else as we don’t have to stand and supervise him and we can give him a little privacy. Bath time was at one time a screaming session because the water was too hot, too cold, too wet, etc. It always sounded like a scene out of a horror movie when I needed to wash his hair.
There are things we have had to learn along the way. Every morning I clean the bathrooms and do a quick check through the house. Every person has their own bathroom basket of toiletry items that they can take to the bathroom when they shower. If anyone leaves anything then he will be the one to find it and most likely destroy it. He has also been known to shave his eyebrows.
I learned early on that if there was something out of place then he would find it and it would call his name. I left a cabinet door open on my desk one time and he passed by it as he went to the bathroom. In less than two minutes he had completely taken apart my fax/copier/printer and destroyed it.
He is also obsessive about certain things at times. The toilet paper must be on the roll a certain way or else he just loses it. He will destroy the bathroom in a matter or minutes if someone has turned the roll around.
If we are moving furniture around or rearranging rooms we have to do it when he is outside or asleep. He gets upset to see the room(s) messed up or not in their normal state.
When he is playing he will line up toys, books, or whatever he is playing with in a certain order or sequence that only makes sense to him. If you ask him to clean it up then he has to do it his way and in his own time. He also does this with his socks and shoes… there have been many times when I go in his room to find an odd arrangement of clothing in the floor or on the bed.
Since he has come to be a part of our family I have definitely done many things that I never thought I would do or say. I won’t list them all but they have included things like ‘Don’t lick the wall, the window, the door, etc.’.
Heaven help us all if this child ever had to have stitches because he thinks he is dying when he gets a scratch that bleeds the tiniest bit. If he steps on a sand spur be ready to call 911. When he was in public school he had a small red spot from his flu shot and he made such a big deal about it that they had bandaged up his whole upper arm. Needless to say I freaked out a bit because I was wondering what kind of injury he had sustained at school to warrant such a bandage.
He loves to work on the tablets and the computers. The child who can’t complete his assignments without me standing by his side will be the one playing games on other sites the minute I walk away.
Movies are something that can absolutely capture his attention. He can watch a movie one time and have the whole thing memorized word for word. This is the same kid who can not remember his sight words from five minutes ago.
He loves to be outside, most of the time, except for when he doesn’t. I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense but it would if you knew him. He will whine and ask nonstop to go outside. Then he will want to come right back in saying it is too hot, too cold, too windy, etc.
He is definitely a jokester too. He is constantly knocking on the wall in his room and making us believe someone is at the door. He can also imitate a variety of noises and have us thinking all kinds of crazy things are going on around us.
Sure there will be things that he can’t do but most things he can do just in a different way than others. He has a lot of trouble with buttons, zippers, and ties. That doesn’t keep him from dressing himself as I just try to buy pants with elastic waistbands, pull on shirts, and Velcro shoes. We will continue to work on these things but right now I feel it is best for him to be as independent as possible.
For now we will continue to focus on the things he can do and keep building his self confidence and independence. I will continue to pray for wisdom, guidance, and direction for what we should be doing and how to handle the obstacles that will come along.
If you will also please pray for our family and other families with special needs kids. My day usually starts about 4:00 am with him up singing or yelling, depending on his mood. It just gets busier throughout the day and doesn’t ever really end. Then there are the countless number of doctor visits, trips to specialists, and his least favorite, the dentist. We need everyone’s prayers for strength, health, and patience.
He processes things much differently than you and I do. In other words, he marches to the beat of his own drum. Someone has taught him how to ‘whip’ and ‘nay nay’ so he is dancing and saying ‘watch me whip’, ‘watch me mayonnaise’…. lol… don’t try to argue with him either because he is always right, even when he is wrong.
You can also read the following for more details about our adventures: