Friday, August 31, 2007

M&M's and Math! YUM!

My kids and I had fun with THE M&M'S COUNTING BOOK.  This really was a little on the too easy side for them, but Mommy had a need for chocolate; and they had a need to do math, so this was a fun review.  Here are some pics of the fun.

Yes, Tom Sawyer got so excited he was actually sitting on the table!  As I've said before in our homeschool open house, we learn all over the house.

Lastly, as you all know, it does not matter how experienced we are as parents, our children will think up challenges for us.  See the smudge on my ds' face.  That is bubble gum residue.  He was wearing gum like a mustache, and when I made him throw it away, this is what was left.  That was 3 days ago!  I have bathed him, scrubbed his face, used baby wipes and baby oil.  I've gotten about half of it off, but he's just about running away from me at this point.  Any suggestions on how to get it off his face?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How I am using the Brother Offended Program ...

Well, Ladies, some of you want to know how I am using the Brother Offended chart and checklist by  Those of you who are regulars around my blog know that I tweak everything I touch, and I am still tweaking this to work with my family.  I am happy to share where we are in the process, but I will probably continue to make changes as I see a need arise. 

First off, I am an only child and need all the help I can get when it comes to sibling rivalry!  Honestly, with all the books I've read, I just don't get it.  Sometimes I just want to yell at the top of my lungs, "Why can't you all just be friends??!!"  Furthermore, I have talked to so many adult friends that don't have close relationships with their sibs and I want so much more for my kids.  Anyway, the relationships in the family are not only the first our kids encounter but the most important (after God).  I feel that one of my most important jobs is teaching my children to live, love, and learn to interact with a large variety of people, no matter whether they are easy or difficult to care about.  God has provided me with four children in which several have difficult  distinctly different personalities to deal with, so we have lots of opportunities for practice.  I started noticing a few weeks ago that there was a lot more arguing in my home. When I examined more closely what was going on, 75% of it was linked to tattling and being inflexible to others' needs and wants.  In other words, my children were being children and putting themselves first in everything and looking for every opportunity to get their siblings into trouble. (My big teen would like me to point out that I am mostly referring to the younger three -- 6, 5, and 3 years old.)

I really like the Brother Offended Program because it is Bible-based and gives the children (and Mom) a visual step-by-step guide on how to resolve a conflict.  It also points out that both parties in a conflict carry responsibility for the conflict.  How often have we as parents been caught starting to admonish a child for misconduct and then discovered that the tattler did something wrong as well?  So how do I use it?  Every morning I review the chart with the kids, and we do a few common role-playing situations that may arise in a given day.  I read to them one of the Bible passages from the chart while they color a page that I've found on the Internet that most closely matches the subject.  Example #2 on the chart is Remove the plank from your own eye first with the Bible passage Matthew 7:1.  This is a huge issue in our home.  Then as many times as possible during the day, I help them run through the steps on the chart when a problem arises.  I am treating this like potty training a child -- it is my main focus during the day. The hope is within a short time they will resolve most issues diplomatically on their own.  If an issue cannot be resolved, they can go to the authority (Mom and Dad) to resolve it for them.  However, everyone involved will have to take responsibility for their actions once they are in front of me for judgment.

One funny thing from yesterday -- I heard a fight break out across the room and stood up with the chart in hand.  One daughter quickly handed the disputed toy to the other and said, "Stop crying, Mom is coming with the chart and then we will miss out on play time."  LOL...  Of course I want them to resolve these issues, because they have willing and kind hearts, not just because Mom is coming, but this is a start!

If you have more questions or I haven't explained this well, just let me know.  I can't really read this over and see how much sense it makes since the natives are restless.  They think they are supposed to get breakfast in the morning!  REALLY!



Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A better week so far ...

Well, the big teen is still sick and the doctor had to put him on higher level meds than I like to see him on but something had to give.  Since he has a stiff chest wall and asthma, it is important that his lungs can be at their best before flu season hits.  Now that he is feeling a bit better, he got to do some archery this evening at out local archery range.  Here he is getting ready to release.  He really enjoys archery and is getting better at it all the time.

All of the kids enjoyed making sun catchers on Monday.  We are working hard on kind actions and sharing this week, and the kids did great sharing the paints and Mom's attention.  This was a really easy and fun project. 

In other news, the little ones are loving FIAR.  I didn't realize how well they would pick up the geography part of FIAR. We are putting the story discs on a world map like the book suggests.  I also decided that we would make all the world flags as we come to them and then add the story discs to the flags as well.  This way the kids will get a better idea of multiple books coming from the same country.  The kids are really getting it.  HURRAY!  The only question is -- where am I going to find enough wall space?  Our stairwell and upstairs hall are filling up quickly with educational posters.

We are also starting the Brother Offended Program this week, and I am already seeing improvements in sibling rivalry.  HURRAY!!!!

Blessings to you all,

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Sick, the Dumb and the Funny

Well, it was a long week!  Both of my boys are sick.  The older has a really ugly cold which doesn't mix well with asthma, and the younger is just starting the cold.  They are feeling really lousy, and I am pumping everyone with orange juice and washing hands like it is going out of style.  Hopefully, this will have a quick run.  My big teen, even though he stayed in bed two days this week, asked me to keep the educational videos coming.  Thanks to having close to 75 videos of educational stuff recorded off of PBS (thank you, Mom) and Charlotte Mason training in narration, he accomplished 6 hours of World History and 3 hours of GED Math classes to help him stay fresh in math.  Woo Hoo!!  When you have a child who is prone to respiratory illness, it pays to have horizontal homeschooling back-up plans.  He is fighting his first illness early this year, and I hope this does not suggest a difficult year ahead.

On the other hand, we were supposed to do FIAR The Story of Ferdinand this week along with our reading and math lessons for the little ones.  We did a pitiful job of it.  Monday and Tuesday were consumed by behavior problems by all three little ones.  One of my children was in time out so many times I think it probably totaled up to 3 hours!  That helped me get a clean house on Tuesday!  One of the ways I combat sibling rivalry is to make the evil doers do chores together.  There was a lot of sibling rivalry on Tuesday.  Then on Wednesday the three little ones all woke up stupid.  They couldn't remember how to count, what book we were reading, or what narration was -- let along doing anything to their skill level.  It just went on and on.  ARGHHH!!!  Luckily, by Thursday they had returned to their normal selves!  I guess I will just have to bump lessons to next week.

On a last note --  My youngest, Little Red Ridinghood (3), is the one who wants 23 kids when she grows up.  She knows how many 23 is, too, because she counts all her dolls and then counts the blank spaces on her bed for the missing "babies".  Hey, can I count that as early math?  Anyway, she says she's been thinking about it, and when she grows up, it might be okay to only have 20 kids -- as long as she can have a baby elephant!!!

Have a great and blessed weekend,

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Blast From the Past

I thought I would start doing some Blast from the Past pics each week.

This is one of my favorite pictures of my big teen as a baby!  He is 17 months in this picture and what a cute sailor boy!

My dh says the above picture is cute but we are not a Navy family!  We are an ex-Army family.  No offense to my Navy friends.  He prefers the pic below when the big teen was 8.  My two guys preparing to play Army.

Ode to a Wagon

OK, This isn't a real ode because my tired brain just can't do it tonight, but it sounds good, doesn't it?

Anyway, the wagon below has served us for 14 years!!!!  It was time to pass it on to someone else, so I put it out in front of our fence with a note saying "Free" on it.  The note also said how much we loved it and that we hoped it found a good home and the 1-800 phone number for new wheels.  When a man stopped and picked it up I was happy for him, but I got a little tearful remembering all the happy times we had with that wagon. I really feel a bit silly even writing this.  Well, this wagon holds a lot of happy memories.  It was a gift to my oldest when he was 3 and used for years to cart him and my day care kids around.  Even when my big teen was 9 and 10, my dh and he would race the wagon over the speed bumps in the parking lot.  They would push it running along beside and take turns jumping in to fly over the bumps.  Hence, the reason it has had the wheels replaced twice.  The wagon has moved many pieces of furniture, groceries, and all of my little ones have taken naps in it as babies/toddlers.  Once the little ones were big enough for real walks, it provided a place to rest for tired little feet (Mommy likes to take very long walks).  So I hope our old wagon found a new home that will love it and have many more happy memories.  Farewell, old wagon!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Which Winnie the Pooh character are you?

I took this Winnie the Pooh personality test over at  The funny thing is one of my dc is in time out right now! LOL.  Blessings to all of you and I hope you have a wonderful Monday.  Oh my, now the dear child that is in time out is calling people names!  Off to her bedroom and it is going to be one of those Mondays for her!!!

My Big Teen wanted to take the test results so here they are!  Big Surprise ... NOT!!!

Let me know which character you are?



Wednesday, August 15, 2007

How do I have time to blog before the kids are in bed?

This is the latest obsession in my house!  The kids just can't get enough of playing Beyblades with Dad.  As soon as Dad gets home from work, they want to play this fun spinning top game.  Basically, two people spin their tops in the arena and see which one knocks the other out.  This can keep my kids busy for a long time.  They cheer, howl and scream so loud while playing that I am afraid the neighbors may not appreciate my kids enthusiasm!  You should here the noise they are making up there!  Well, it is great fun and I get some rest time to blog. 

The fire hat is on Goldilock's head in the above photo.

Now my DH is the one with the fire hat in this photo.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

What room is the heart of your home?

I so often hear people say the heart of their home is their kitchen.  Not me ....  My kitchen is often hot and the children, if they are hanging out with me, are underfoot.  If my children are off playing, then I feel far away from them and I am hurrying to get back out of the kitchen.

The heart of my home is the dining room.  It is by far my favorite room in the house.  This is the room where I bake with my children, plan events and projects with my dh, do a lot of homeschooling, eat many family meals and play a mean game of Scrabble, along with other board games.  This is the room where SOME of our bookcases are filled to the brim with my dear paper friends. 


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Poor dog -- All dressed up and nowhere to go ...

 The girls were making the dog play dress up again ....  At least she is a female dog.  How many hairbands does one gal need?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Despair or hope!?!? I choose hope ... Prayer Request

Well, the test results are in on Goldilocks' (6 years) Quantitative EEG.  Simplifying it, the results show that her brain is running in constant slow motion, and the beta waves are in hyper-drive trying to make up for the theta waves being way too slow.  The result is that my little one is in La La Land most of the time because her brain has to constantly reboot.  The doctor said, "Imagine that you have your feet on the gas and brake at the same time. You're not going anywhere and you are using up a huge amount of energy in the bargain."  That is what is happening in my Goldilocks' brain many times an hour.  The result is that she is hopelessly confused most of the time because less than 20% of what she sees/hears makes it into her brain correctly.  On the bright side, although she still has RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder), many of the behavior problems we are still having with her is because she is just clueless.  In some ways, this is a relief, because it means the efforts we have made actually have been helping to heal her heart and emotions.  It also explains why she seems completely unable to learn the most basic educational things and seems endlessly confused about the smallest details.  Now we just have to figure out how to heal or help her brain function better.  We will now add severe Processing Disorder to her already long list of diagnoses. We will be going forward with a four prong approach -- Neurofeedback (she has been receiving this for 4 months already), Tomatis auditory stimulation, Brain Gym, and an anti-convulsive medication.  (She does not have seizures but her brain is actually trembling from this brain wave assault.) 

What makes me the most upset is what caused this plight.  Once again it is the result of the choices of the birth mother.  Basically, because of her drug and alcohol abuse during her pregnancy, she caused Goldilocks to repeatedly suffocate as a fetus which caused her brain to form incorrectly.  Then after she was born, birth mother fed her nothing but Mountain Dew, chips, and cookies for the first 16 months --  NOT ONE DROP OF BABY FORMULA!!  Of course, she gagged on solid food and vomited.  Consequently, she was extremely anemic, causing more brain damage.  Her brain could not even heal in those early months because it had no nutrition.  My heart just breaks for this little girl.

But one must look at the upside --

  1. We happen to live within miles of one of the best Tomatis and Neurofeedback centers in the country.
  2. She is young and the doctor holds a lot of hope for improvement.
  3. She is homeschooled and can get a lot of one-on-one attention.
  4. God has already performed miracles in this child.
  5. Although RAD is a huge force in her life, she is healing and bonding to us.
  6. I'm used to kids that learn in strange ways.
  7. Her adoption assistance will pay for much of these therapies.
  8. Prayer is powerful.
That's where you come in, folks.  Please pray for our golden-haired little girl with the big blue eyes and the healing heart and disadvantaged brain.  She loves to sing and dance and just wants a chance to have a normal life which so far she hasn't seen.


Sunday, August 5, 2007

Do you think my big teen needs new shoes?!?!

Well, my son was tripping all over the place the other day, and I asked him what the problem was (see pic below).  Can't imagine why that would make a person trip, can you?  He said, "I told you a few days ago that I need new shoes."  Hmmm!  Now that he points it out, I do think he told me when one child was crying and another was loudly protesting in time out.  CAN YOU SAY MOMMY DISTRACTED!?  Well anyway, new shoes for the big teen, and he can walk around normal again.  Goodness, how do boys destroy their shoes that bad anyway?