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Archive for the ‘family’ Category

My three year old is really loving to cook these days. Since our family has lots of food allergies and sensitivities, cooking, especially baking is a bit more complicated for our family than many others. No using Grandma’s recipe here. I found a great blog recently that had a lot of recipes we could eat (or easily alter.) The Baking Beauties has a recipe for Snickerdoodles and since I had everything on hand when I found it, the kids and I went straight to the kitchen to make cookies.

K was way too excited to get started. It’s amazing to watch how much he’s grown, he was really helping quite a bit. I look at his sweet little face and I see a baby, but he’s not. He’s grown into such a unique little boy. He radiates charm and joy.

E is growing too, she’s really a toddler and not a baby now. Something that’s hard to admit on your last baby. (At least I am 90% sure she’s my last…) She had a lot of fun running around the kitchen playing in the cupboards, but had no interest in helping us bake.

K took his baking very seriously. He especially liked rolling the cookie dough in cinnamon.

They came out pretty well. I think next time I will use honey instead of sugar, which will hopefully make them more moist. All in all, everyone was happy with them though.

K even had fun cleaning up. I only wish his enthusiasm for helping around the house could continue when he’s older. It’s really too bad that when kids WANT to help they are too young to effectively help. He had a blast washing dishes even if I had to wash them again.

I used to try to keep the kids out of the kitchen or otherwise occupied when I was cooking. I’ve changed my tune, however. They gain so much from being involved in daily family activities like this. Besides more time with mama, K is also learning a lot about measurements, time, listening, patience and hard work. I love how much can be learned through daily life!

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Moving cross country has been hard on me. It’s been good for our family in so many ways, especially in advancing my husband’s career. It’s also forced me to go outside of my comfort zone quite a bit and that’s good for someone who can tend to be shy and fall into the same patterns.

But I will admit, I’ve always wanted to travel and a lot of why I was okay with this move was because I was just ready to see something new. The drive down here was amazing for that. I saw so much of this beautiful country. But since we’ve been here, we’ve pretty much stayed in the Suburbs of the Dallas/Ft Worth Metroplex. Yes, I’ve been stuck in the ‘burbs for four and a half months. That’s made me a bit batty. (We do get into Dallas on occasion, but even there we have not really explored)

Yesterday, I told my husband how much this bothered me. We decided to hop in the car and check out something new. My sweet husband was willing to drive wherever I wanted (we even talked about driving to Oklahoma just for something different) but it was 3:00 already and with little kids that didn’t seem prudent. So we picked a local (30 min away) lake and drove off quickly. After a quick stop for some snacks (we realized in the car that maybe it would be best to feed our kids dinner. Oops) we were on our way. I was shocked how big the lake was and thrilled to see some nature instead of the manicured lawns and gardens of my suburban neighborhood.

We had a lot of fun. We swam. We had dinner. The kids ran around the park chasing one another and giggling. I thought maybe Texas isn’t all that bad after all.

I did have a bit of Texas hatred when I stepped in a fire ants nest. Those are evil little creatures, let me tell you. It did put a bit of a damper on our trip because my foot REALLY hurt, but I am so glad that we went.

After some talking, we’ve decided to be sure and have a lot more outings, some as simple as this and some more involved ones, because I am so ready to see something new!

I am not sure I am cut out for the suburbs. The city, I can do. The country, I can do. The suburbs kind of crush my soul. We’ll see if I feel the same way when our lease is up and consider moving somewhere else within 40 minute range of my husband’s work. We’ll see. I do love our house… just wish it was located somewhere else.

What kind of person are you? City, suburb, country? Why?

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Summer Fun…

So I have never lived where it was so hot that people hide indoors all summer until now.
We do go out some, but we are inside way more than I would ever have imagined. So we’re coming up with lots to do inside. Playdough, painting, crafting, coloring, puzzles, pretend play,  lots of library trips and subsequent reading. It’s been fun, but I miss the days of playing in the sun. I need to start getting the kids out early, like before 7:00 am and getting to the park or the like then. Until I get that together, we’re stuck with indoor fun. Anyone have any ideas for beating the heat in the comfort of my wonderfully air-conditioned home? Any new spins on old ideas for indoor fun? Remember we are TV free. I have lots of hours to fill.

As it sits now, the natives are getting a teeny tiny bit restless. Okay, very, very restless.

And they are starting to rub off on me

Literally

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My sweet little Keagan was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder a few months ago.

What is SPD? I’m still learning myself, but I’ll give it a go.

We all have quirks with our senses. You can’t stand the way a tag feels on your shirt. You are easily distracted by bright lights. Or maybe you have a hard time sitting still for very long. Or you can’t stand loud music. There’s something about each of us that we’ve learned to handle that isn’t “normal.” But what is normal is that, for most people, it’s just a few things that we can look past.

When it’s SPD, you have a lot of of  those “quirks” and you can’t just look past them. It sounds like people are screaming at you when they aren’t. When someone brushes against you it feels like they hit you. When you get a drop or two of water on your shirt it feels like you’re soaking wet. This is what life is like for my son. His senses seem to misfire. And in addition to that, he tries hard to seek out sensory response to try and figure it out. So he’s always jumping, always running. He climbs to high places and tries to jump. He has no fear in that sense and yet is hysterical when I vacuum.  Before we started giving him melatonin to help him fall asleep, bedtime would  take hours every.single.night. Some nights it still does. His brain won’t slow down on it’s own. He wants to talk about the shadows on the wall or the car he hears driving by or the book we read before bed. It’s as if all of this stuff is swirling around in his brain and he can’t block it out.

For more information, check out this link http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/sensory-processing-disorders.html

What SPD isn’t: It’s not a discipline problem. It’s not that my child is being “bad.” It’s not an excuse. It’s not made up. It’s a very real disorder that a lot of kids deal with.

This brings me to my point:

I’ve too many times heard people brag about telling parents to shut up their kid or complain about some kid who they thought was acting out in public. These people generally think that these kids they are passing in the grocery store or the like are “bad” because their parents are not parenting them correctly. Well that’s bullshit. I am sorry. My son may have a meltdown in a restaurant when he spills his water on his shirt. He may spin around in circles at the library. He may even slap a kid who touches his head. But he’s not bad. He has neurological disability and he and I are both still learning to handle it.  He’s only three. He looks totally “normal.”   And strangers passing us have not a clue how hard his days are nor mine.

So before you judge that mom in the store who’s child is throwing her shoes in the aisle or the dad at the park who’s kid crashed into you- stop. You don’t know what their life is like. You don’t know what their day has looked like up until that point. You don’t know if maybe mom only got an hour of sleep the night before because the wind kept their toddler up or if that boy got kicked out of preschool because he does not understand personal space and his mom is sad for him and desperate. You have NO CLUE WHAT SOMEONE ELSE IS GOING THROUGH.

Judge not, less ye be wrong. Move on, remove the plank from your eye and smile at the poor parent at the store. And please, don’t tell me how to raise my son. I am doing the best I can.

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We don’t own a television. Any time this comes up, after whoever is hearing this for the first time picks his or her jaw up off the floor they ask me “What do you do all day long?”

Another shocker to many is that my kids won’t be attending school and that, at least for now,  I am “unschooling” Keagan. *and Eden, learning begins at birth, right?

So I thought I would show what it is we do all day long and how we learn without any sort of formal curriculum or lesson plan.

Our day in words and pictures 🙂

We planted a tree.

We learned that even big things start small.

We planned our garden. We learned that food does not come from the store and that hard work has its benefits.

We played on the playground.

We learned the being flexible comes in handy in life and that patience is a virtue. (It’s hard to wait your turn for the slide!)

We explored.

We learned not all who wander are lost.

We looked at bugs. We learned that ants “go really, really fast.”

We played in the dirt.

Mama learned to let things go.

One of us napped in the sun.

We all got our vitamin d the old fashioned way.

We picked flowers. We made wishes.

We learned the world could use more wonder.

We hugged trees. Literally.

We learned to revere nature.

Keagan cut himself.

We learned a deep breath and a good snack make most problems feel smaller.

We met our neighbors. We talked. We learned that a smile goes a long way in life.

We played. Keagan with a doll. Eden with a truck. We defied gender stereotypes…

and realized how silly they are.

Some seriously window coloring went on…

and we learned that art comes in many mediums…

Sometimes even baby sister’s face.

We relaxed.

We loved one another.

We learned that the little things in life matter the most.

We played. We laughed. We colored. We sang.

We read books.

We learned that fantasy can help us better understand reality.

We played with pom-poms. We counted. We sorted. One of us learned what fuzzy tastes like.

We learned that some items have any uses.

We cooked. Okay. I cooked. Keagan “helped” and Eden snacked.

We counted, measured and timed as we did so.

We learned that sometimes hard work tastes really good.

We ate. We laughed some more. We played and sang some more. We tickled and loved. We lived.

We learned that your family is the people who are there for you at the end of the day.

All in all it was a pretty good day.

I don’t think we’re missing out on anything without the TV. I don’t think we’re missing out on anything without the boxed curriculum or preschool.  I think we’re doing just fine and making the best choices for our family.

What do you think? 🙂

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Eden

My beautiful baby girl turned one year old recently. It’s hard to beleive that she’s gone from this (just a few minutes old here…)

to this (enjoying her cake on her birthday)

One year!

so very quickly, but she has. My baby is growing up so fast.

Eden really is an absolute joy. Her smile makes my life worth living. She has brought so much to our lives and I can not even begin to express the thankfulness I have toward God for bringing her to my family. You don’t know how much you are lacking, how much of a hole your family has until it is filled. All of us needed Eden. We were incomplete without her.

I’ve grown so much as a person because of this sweet baby (okay, toddler… I hate admitting that!) and I just can not express correctly how much I love my one year old.

Keagan turns three this week… I can’t beleive that either. I love watching them together. They really, really love one another. Siblings can have such a beautiful bond. I hope they never lose that.

I will be doing a lot of catching up on here in my next few posts. I have a lot to say, but I think it will take a few posts so it’s not too disjointed. Life has been pretty crazy for us since we moved.

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Howdy

I’ve been off of this blog for a very long time. There’s been a LOT of changes my way. For one, my husband got a new job… and the new job is in TEXAS. We packed up our family, a few belongings  and our two dogs into our Saturn Vue and drove 2500 or so miles. That was not an easy task to say the least. Let me tell you, cross country travel with children and dogs is not for the faint of heart.

Getting rid of pretty much everything we own was… freeing. It is liberating to not be dependent on a bunch of material possessions. When we packed up the car and I saw that everything I owned fit inside or on top of our small SUV (and the whole back section was taken up by our furry family members!) it felt like something of a material baptism. I was washed clean for my new start. We set out on the road with the bare basics- food, clothes, toys, family and love. It really put things into perspective for me.

We made the drive over four days which is no easy feat with two kids under three. We didn’t get to make a lot of the fun detours along the way, and a large portion of the trip happened after dark when the kids were sleeping. So I missed a lot. But I have to say, I was awestruck at the beauty of this nation. The mountains of Oregon brought me peace on the stressful journey.  The canyons of Arizona left me breathless. The never ending sky over Texas made me realize just how big this world is and made me feel tiny, but not insignificant. As much as it was a long, hard trip I am glad it is one that I made.

And unpacking when you don’t have anything is great! No boxes for kids to get into, no mes. I totally recommend it.

I have faced a few problems here. People in my area don’t seem “into” thrifting and the thrift shops have very few options and are actually priced similarly to new items. If you’ve read a lot of my writings you know I am really big on buying used for a variety of reasons, but I’ll leave it as “moral reasons” for now. It’s really hard to replace all the things we gave away/ sold/ donated in WA that we really need (like a vacuum for one) when we can’t find it. I am going to try a few more leads and then decide how to proceed.

I miss my home state greatly and I can not even describe how much I miss the people there. But it’s really exciting to think of a chance to start over after everything we’ve been through. I don’t know that Texas will be our home forever, or even for a long time, but it is for now and I am trying my hardest to embrace that.  We’ve all been sick since we got here, but as soon as we’re well the kids and I will be checking out some playgroups in the area and we’ll all be  checking out a new church on Sunday. I tried yesterday, but I got lost.  So hopefully we’ll meet people there as well. I am ready to get out there and try to get to know the area.

Hopefully now that we are more settled, I will be blogging again. Hope everyone is well!

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