Thursday, January 9, 2014

My Top 3 Places... NOT go with children.

Think you hate hearing kids scream and cry at a store? Believe me, no one hates it as much as the mother holding the hand of the child whose wail is filling the 50 foot ceiling and reverberating through out the mega mart.

Some places are worse than others. Just for fun I thought I'd share the three places I will do anything, seriously anything, to avoid taking my children with me.

#3 Home Depot/Lowes
There's nothing here to get their attention. It's just "Mommy and Daddy's stuff" to them. So they are bored from the get go.

"Are we done yet?" Are we in the check out line? Obviously, we aren't done yet! Stop asking!

And what do kids do when they see no other alternative? They turn on each other..... like hyenas over a carcass. Every time we walk out of a home improvement store, without exception, someone is crying. I remember one day we didn't make it 10 feet from the car. I decided it wasn't worth it, loaded them back up and left. The aura of the building is enough to set the kids on each other.

#2 Hobby Lobby
Let's put all the eye catching breakable things up front! What a great idea! Then all the kid paraphernalia in the back! Perfect!

#1 Petsmart
Let's start with the cornucopia of feces and urine we are going to walk through in the tiny obligatory patch of grass just outside the store. Are the kids watching their step? HA! Of course not. So before we even get IN the store someone is already crying because there is now poo on their shoe.

"Can I look at the birds?!" "I want to look at the fish!" "Mama! Rat!"

So now, someone has to go first and inevitably someone will have to go last. Someone's feeling are hurt and we've not made it 5 feet into the store yet. And no one is ever truly done looking at their favorite animals. How long do they get to look? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? Start with the fish.

"Look at those!"
"I can't see! Mama, pick me up so I can see?"
Howler picks up a bag of gravel because it's, "Pretty!"
"Can we get fish today?"
"Mama, can we get more fish?"
"That one! That one!"
Convince Howler to give up bag of gravel and the tears continue.

Slowly make our way to the birds then the small animals midst another flurry of "Can I?" and "No." We manage to make it to the aisle I needed with a trail of crying and whining because no one was done looking. Did I mention I only came in here for a new bulb for my fish tank? We've already clocked 20 minutes in the store. We've scared off all the people who were shopping in this area, except the cranky old lady, holding her little white pocket dog, sneering at me.... both of them.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I Should Be Doing Laundry

Really, I should be. We have dance in a few hours and I only have one leotard and one pair of tights accounted for. Instead I'm going to try to add a few posts to my badly neglected blog. I started this one nearly 6 months ago and for some reason it's the one that speaks to me today:

I went to an autism support group and I have to admit I felt a bit like I was lying. After all I don't have a child diagnosed with ASD. Not that I claimed I did, but just showing up I felt like I was somehow being deceitful. However, I figured these are the parents that I can relate to when it comes to dealing with Howler's difficulties. There's not a support group that I know of for children with "generic developmental delays".

While in some respects I felt out of place it was nice to hear parents having the same issues with their kids and hearing that they don't exactly handle it with the best grace either. It's easy to feel judged when you are among families without a delayed child, but here I felt like I was among comrades. Everyone shared openly, honestly about their troubles. There were some things I was shocked to hear, but it was nice for people to know they could lay it all out for this group because they knew the others there would understand.

We brain stormed on how to deal with some behaviors that I deal with often and those who had older children shared what worked for them. I have to admit it was a bit depressing listening to the heartache of parents with adult dependent children, but I did leave with some good advice and a new friend that I've continued to talk to over Facebook these last few month. It's been wonderful to swap stories with someone and know that you aren't the only one dealing with issues developmental delays bring.

They meet once a month. Unfortunately, I've not had the chance to get back. Unavoidable work, weather, and sickness always seem to land on that date each month. I have a book from their ASD library I need to get back eventually! Anyway, if you're looking for a support group in your area. I highly recommend Autism Oklahoma. They have subgroups all over the state.

I think I might even make my first race this year their PieceWalk charity event.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Free Curriculum Resources

It's that time of year. Time to start planning next year's curriculum! If you are like me and change methods multiple times a year you know how important it is to get a good deal on what you buy since you will probably be looking for more in a few months. Here's a couple of websites to help you out. Think Zulily, but full of educational resources. They are free to join and run the gamut on subject matter.

Offers discount curriculum and resources, but the sales are time sensitive like zulily. They currently have a promotion for new members, $10 off your first purchase. There are usually one or two free downloads on this site as well.

Homeschool Buyer's Co-op
Just like Educents, but MUCH bigger. Searchable by subject. Some things they get fairly deep discounts that I've not seen anywhere else. The one drawback, they have the same couple of freebies that never change.

Lots of freebies here. This is mostly teacher (public and home) created resources. Most are cheap, many are free.

Any sites I should add to my list? Please share!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye and Good Riddance 2013

I have never met a year that could not end fast enough. This year was truly awful. We've had family deaths, pet deaths, ghastly illnesses (both ours and close friends), and incredible expenses. I don't think I've ever had a year with so much bad juju. I cannot wait to say goodbye to 2013.

This means a lot coming from me, I'm always reminding my girls to never wish their days away, but I seriously cannot wait for the symbolism of washing off the old and welcoming the fresh promise of a new year full of positive potential. 

Last year I had a lot of entertaining activities. The girls have been asking me about the balloons to pop every half hour. Not this year, 2013 made sure of that. I was going to go to the store after Howler's speech appointment to pick up some poppers and knick knacks, but the car wouldn't start this morning.... Yes, seriously. Thank you 2013 for tripping me up one more time.

Tonight I plan on keeping it laid back. Make some pipe cleaner firework rings and have the girls fill out this new year resolution sheet. Probably pop some popcorn and watch Disney movies till midnight. That's it. Nothing spectacular or amazing just chillin' with my monkeys.

Best of luck to you in the New Year! Hope it's better than the last!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

10 Days Till Christmas

10 Days!! All the shopping is done!! Can't contain excitement!!! Here - have a present, kid!

If I had more than 10 gifts I probably would be handing them out already..... I am a terrible gift giver.... I like to buy a gift, drive to the party, hand them the gift. No, you can't open anyone else's first. It has to be mine.... now.... no... no food or cake, NOW! 

So what do I do? I bake. Can't give you presents.... have a cookie. 10 Days of cookies... I like that plan.... it could cut back my gift giving anxiety a bit I think.... 

Today we will be using our new cookie press to make snickerdoodles! I'm excited...

In the mood for something a little denser? We made this monkey bread a few days ago and it was WONDERFUL. The girls had a great time coating the little dough balls and throwing them in the pan. 

It was delicious too. I think I'm going to make it again today to take to my grandmother's house.

Am I alone in this?? I never liked having surprise gifts as a kid. I was a spoiler who would sneak into closets, under beds, the cobwebbed corners of the garage and shed searching the weeks leading to Christmas. It was not a successful year unless I knew what was in every box. I guess I just don't like surprises :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

What's the Deal?

Okay, many of you, my friends, may be wondering, "What's the deal?"

I may have started flooding your Facebook feed with posts about Young Living Essential Oils and Pampered Chef.

Let me take a minute to tell you why.

The story starts about a month ago in the wee hours of the morning with a phone call. A groggy Chris says, "Hello." To which the reply is screaming. No, I am not exaggerating. I'm laying in my spot in bed, the television is still on and yet I can hear every. word. this woman is saying. Chris calmly explains to her why the machines she is screaming about are not functioning optimally because the parts are on order. She continues to scream at him the same dozen or so sentences until finally Chris insists to her she needs to calm down and she finally hangs up on him.

This behavior was not unusual. He took this job six years ago and has hardly gotten a good nights' sleep since. When he was out with the flu, he repeatedly got calls at 3-5 in the morning. When we were on vacation he was expected to have his phone by his side at all times. I lost count how many nights he would get home from a twelve hour day, be about to put his keys in their spot when he would get a call and have to go out to work again. He was working 55-60 hours a week without overtime pay. He missed the oldest three girl's first birthday parties and many of those after because they expected him to immediately leave whatever he was doing and go work.

This late night call was the last straw. Something snapped. He was done. The next day he put in applications everywhere. He had a new job lined up by the end of the week. The draw back - a 10% decrease in pay and no insurance until March. Something that before now would have made for a difficult decision, but in light of recent events it didn't matter.

This brings me back around to why - why have been flooding your Facebook feed with a dozen posts about Essential Oils and Pampered Chef? In order to try to make up for that missing 10% I decided to do something I had considered for a long time. I have bought from both of these companies for years. I love Pampered Chef cookware! I've been using oils around my house, on myself and my kids for years! I've been tempted for some time to sell them, but lacked the motivation. Well, I found my motivation :)

Cobra insurance would have been 40% of our monthly income. We've had to take Howler out of Occupational Therapy. We've had to cut back on our expenses. You'd think we'd be stressed and upset, but no, not really. Chris loves his new job. He likes his coworkers. No one is screaming at him on a nearly daily basis. Overtime is optional except for two weeks every two months. He found out yesterday that if the weather is awful they will close shop and he will get a paid snow day! Every bit more we learn about this new company the more we love them and wonder why we didn't make this switch a long time ago.

So there's why and I'm happy to be doing it. If you need any oils or cookware, let me know! I'm happy to help :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

One Year! and Back to Normal

One Year!
Yes, my littlest monkey turned a year old a week ago.

Hard to believe it's been a year! She's walking more and more. She has a big attitude, no idea where she gets that from. She'll eat anything she can get her hands on. Her favorite thing to play with is pom poms and cups. Put it in, pour it out, throw it at mama (usually the pom poms, occasionally the cups).

Back to Normal
It wasn't until the week before thanksgiving that I began to get my energy back. It took that long for my body to recover from the nasty tick disease that ruined our fall. We survived thanksgiving with a bunch of family at our house. It was a good time, but I am so happy it's December! Can you tell?

How bout now?

Or now?

We may have gone a bit overboard this year...... I still have another little tree to put up in Capuchin's room and need to put the blue lights on the dark tree.

How many trees is normal for one house? Anyone else out there a little tree crazy?