Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years Eve: A Year in Pictures

So I tried to get photos for my post from my husband's computer for this post and I was doing like he said and clicking away at the pictures and when I was finally done....after going through a years worth of pictures.....only 16 downloaded. So I had to go back again and pick the ones I wanted and messed up again.

I will not attempt to rearrange them, because I do not want to run the risk of losing one and having to go back on his laptop again. So here is my 2011 in no particular order.

Santa Claus at Sea World December
Little E getting his first treatment since his was an infant , July
Miss K on her 8th birthday, August
Little E with a cake mustache at Miss K's party
Bolwing at a birthday party, September
Last beach weekend of the summer, September
At the pool on the last beach weekend, September
Saying goodbye, September
Our first Monarchs, October
10 year Anniversary, October
The hubs and I, Channelside Tampa, October
Monarchs hatched, November
Posing after painting the house, October
Church picnic, November
First Performance with the SODA POPS, Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, December
Ready to perform, December
First Christmas with Sadie, our foster turned adopted pooch, December
Fishing trip with my dad, January
First trip of 2011 to Sea World, February

Little E with his guitar that was donated by a friend, January
First beach trip of the year, Spring Break, March
Birthday Party in the park, March
First Camping trip in 2011, Salt Springs, March
Easter Egg tradition, April
First time Easter egg hunting at my house, April
Random photo, May
Trip to New Smyrna Beach to visit relatives, May
After a full day, Father's Day weekend, June

Recital for SODA Dance Studio, Ballet Ms. Dion's class, June
Short haircut for Miss K, June
Summer begins and mommy takes kiddos to work, June
Little E turns 4, July
Shamu Rocks,Summer at Sea World, July
Visit to Uncle Travis, Aunt Christy's house for the first time, July
So I hope you stuck with it and viewed my year in photos.

I hope that 2012 holds as many surprises, good and bad, as 2011 blessed us with. We have had so many life changing experiences this year and hope to continue in the directions we have been heading. May God bless us and you all this year and that it prosper in the ways you hope for.

Happy New Year!!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

5QF: Last Friday of 2011

So here I am finally back to some blogging! I LOVE when I can find the time to sit down and write or do a blog meme. I have been enjoying the latest thing on some blogs A Year in Blogging. I wish I had gotten back on earlier so I could have done one, but sadly my computer was down to a nasty virus! Somehow I contracted it and thankfully my husband was able to remove it and add a new spyware program. But it took a few days to remedy the problem.
Cheers to one last 5QF for 2011!! Happy New Years y'all!

1. What's the oldest piece of clothing in your closet? I think I have finally gotten the clothes from high school weeded out. Whew! So the oldest article of clothing hanging in my closet would have to be, ten years old! That is still VERY, VERY sad.

2. How many random blog readers have you met? Well if Ican count MckMama as a random reader, then one. We met when she was in Tampa for photo shoots and she took pictures of my kids. 

3. Do you let your kids stay up till midnight on New Years Eve? (Or, if you don't have kiddos yet, did you get to stay up until midnight as a child?) Yes, I let them stay up, if they can make it. I have yet to be able to go to a New Years party without kids, so for nine years (including the year I was pregnant with Miss K) I have had kids with me. Seriously though, I have a hard enough time staying up until midnight. There have been many years where I have passed out on the floor waiting. It's a big joke to see how long I'll last.

4. What are the gas prices where you live? Let's see. Today, the corner gas station near my house is $3.279 a gallon. Two days ago it was $3.199 in the morning and when I got back from Tampa in the evening it was $3.299. It's irritating to watch it jump 10 cents in one day, then 10 more the next, then down 2 the next. ANNOYING!

5. What is one resolution that you know you should do but are too afraid to try? Go back to college. I have been thinking about starting classes again. Biggest fear with this~~ that I won't be able to figure out a major again.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

PYHO: In God's Hands

You never know what the day is going to bring. What obstacle, miracle, disappointment or surprise. It's all in God's hand and what he has planned for us. 

I thank God for being by my husband's side on Monday evening. 

You never know what lies ahead down the road.
You cannot predict the future.
Despite the fact that you have driven down the same road, five days
a week for seven years.

 Today is day two after his car accident on his way home from work
on Monday evening. Thankfully the people in the car he hit are okay.
Thankfully he is not sitting in a hospital bed, or worse. I'd rather not think
about what could have happened.

He is doing okay for the time being.
I thank God for keeping my husband on this Earth for awhile

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

PYHO: Admitting your child has a problem

As a parent you don't want to think that there is anything wrong with your child. They are this perfect human being that you created and you will stop at nothing to make their life normal. They achieve all the growing milestones on or before the average child. They talk at an early age and walk at an early age. Gross motor skills are right on target as well as fine motor skills. Then it's like something else happens.

I first noticed it when Miss K was going on two years old that she lacked the ability to focus on a given task. Even small tasks that only required a short amount of time and thinking, she would struggle.
At every pediatrician visit we would bring it up that she had issues. The answer was always, "it's her age. They have a short attention span at young ages."

So we struggled another year and would again repeat the concerns. Of course they would give us the same answer, that it was her age. They just didn't seem to understand that it's like she has all these thoughts going around in her head and she can't stop them.

Miss K is a very intelligent child, she just lacks the ability to focus for long periods and fidgets. She also likes to talk, too much sometimes which falls back into not being to focus and does not pay attention to her surroundings.  

 Her first year of school was a minor struggle. Since it was only Kindergarten and the school system treats them gently, she made it through.Unfortunately, the next year did not go as well. She received average grades but her behavior was causing concerns. We had several parent/ teacher conferences and a few conferences with the principal.

It was mentioned at one of the conferences about Miss K being gifted and possible testing. Her reading scores were high, she was on the next grade level and other areas pointed in that direction. I was dissatisfied with her first grade teacher and even more so when she failed to file the paperwork in time.

It was then that I was forced to wait until second grade to get the test done by the school. The teacher that Miss K got for second grade was really nice and loved my daughter. However, the class that she was in had two teachers with two classes. So the other teacher was not as compassionate and Miss K constantly got into trouble and her behavior was up and down.

By the time that I knew the gifted test was going to be performed, I realized it was not going to go well.With my daughter's inability to stay focused, it took her longer to complete tests, longer to produce answers and without paper she was going to score low. She couldn't just think the answer in her mind without writing it out. But I knew she wasn't going to ask for pen and paper for this test. It's mostly verbal answers.

By the end of the school year, I knew that I was going to have to pick her teacher for the next year. I was not going to leave it up to chance and hope she was placed with a compassionate teacher. If she was going to be in public school, I knew that she needed a better teacher to be able to make it.

This year has been completely different. Her teacher is amazing. We have had our ups and downs again, but this time I have been ready for it. And I finally stopped letting the pediatricians bulldoze me and I requested Miss K be tested for ADHD. They didn't fight me either.

The questionnaires were very extensive for myself and her teacher. I was also required to get test scores, report cards and any material that could show Miss K' performance. A few weeks after turning in the paper work we were called in for the first evaluation.

Miss K was diagnosed with ADHD with hyperactivity and low focus. The focus I knew, the hyper activity, I was some what shocked. But after thinking about it, realized that she has a hard time sitting still at times when she should be. The next step was deciding if we wanted to go with medicating her. I said yes and accepted their prescription and set up a follow up appointment.

But it wasn't until this past weekend that I finally started her on the medicine. I was still apprehensive. I thought, maybe we could still do this without it. Honestly, I was scared. The side effects worried me some. And explaining this all to her seemed very hard.

But in just five days time, I already see major improvements. It's amazing. We are seeing one of the side effects and we are supposed to call the pediatrician a week after starting the medicine. It's like the medicine has tuned out the random thoughts in her head and allowed her to focus on individual tasks.

I never thought it would take this long to finally get a grip on the issue. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dear Santa: She's getting wiser

A few months ago, Miss K started questioning the validity of Santa Claus. I wasn't prepared for her to start questioning whether or not he was real and I convinced her that he indeed was. I pulled it off, even though I would have liked to tell her the truth about it.
For  many reasons, I really dislike the idea of Santa. I don't like lying to my children for starters.  Too much emphasis is put on Santa and Christmas and he's not the one buying the gifts. And most importantly, what does he have to do with Jesus?
I honestly think by the age of  seven or eight, it makes sense to squash the idea. I'm tired of this "jolly old man" taking the credit for Christmas gifts and confusing my children about the real reason we celebrate this holiday.
Yes, this is partly my own fault, because I should have never let it get out of control when Miss K was able to understand Christmas. It was only about three years ago when I changed direction with this. I decided that I would buy the Santa gifts and have them come from my husband and I and Santa would get credit for one of the gifts from her Santa list and her stocking.

 Ok, I'm going to step off my soapbox now.

So last night Miss K did it again. She caught me completely off guard and said to me "mom, I know there is no Santa. There is no way he is real. Reindeer do not fly and there is no Rudolph.."

Me, completely shocked at how much she really disbelieved it started laughing. The kind of laughing that makes you unable to breathe laughing. I was making dinner, so I tried to hide my face in the fridge to collect myself.

After gaining some composure I said " how are you so sure? So if you believe there is no Santa, then I guess you won't be getting any Santa gifts and Little E will."

She stared at me for a moment and quickly rebutted " so it's true then. There is NO Santa. It's just you and daddy."

Some quick thinking on my part here.

"Ok then, I'll call him.You can talk to him".

She looks at me like WTH. I seriously caught her off guard. And then I quickly starting searching the internet for a phone number. Of course, I was not having any luck and she starting disbelieving me again.

Then my husband phone rings.

He tells Miss K, "it's for you!! Come here."

He turns the speaker on and you hear a jolly old voice that sounds like Santa talking about how he's so busy, he's got his "nice list" all ready to go for Christmas and that he heard that you've been good this year.

Miss K was flabbergasted. She got this look on her face that was priceless.

The phone call ended and she was just shocked that he called and told her she had been good. She said "mom, I have been good. I have."

 So I've decided to keep the "magic" going one more Christmas.....we'll break the news after the tree comes down. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

PYHO: Hanging on by a Thread

I'll eventually get to writing about why I've been on hiatus for about four weeks, but today something bigger is on my heart. I've been struggling with my youngest, Little E with his behavior. I partly blame myself for being a softie and letting him get his way. I admit it, I have coddled him way, WAY too long. And now it's biting me in the butt.

I also blame the behavior on preschool and the fact that he's four years old. I thought the three's were bad, but now that I look back at Miss K's year of four, she was a tough cookie too.

It didn't start over night. And it's not like his attitude change didn't happen on his birthday back in July. It has gradually gotten worse and my threshold for his badness has reached "the level".

Little E was always a sweet, kind little boy and reflected that behavior when he used to go to daycare.We never had any problems with him.Then before turning three I pulled him out and he stayed home with me. To prepare him for school next year, I placed him in VPK at a really nice montessori  based daycare/preschool. Since then he has complained about other boys treating him unfairly and excluding him.The teachers have not complained about him being bad to anyone at school, but who knows.

The problem: he's trying to befriend the wrong kids. The bullies, the "pretty boys", the rough kids. I can't choose his friends but when he starts reflecting their behavior at home, something has to give.

We've all heard the saying boys will be boys but that doesn't mean it's okay to come home and smack your sister because she won't give you what she has in her hands. And it doesn't mean when you don't get your way with mommy that you go to your room and kick the wall for ten minutes.

Dealing with the way he's been acting, doesn't make trying to get him to eat "big people" food any easier. I finally pout my foot down recently and will not cook him his own meal of either, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, fish sticks or mac and cheese anymore. He has to eat what we eat for dinner. We're on day five today and it's been awful to say the least.

I'm hoping this is just a phase and we grow out of it. Of course, he may grow out of it but I know we won't successfully make it unless I keep up with punishments and time outs.I'm open to suggestions from moms of boys who survived or are surviving the younger years.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

You want me to sleep where?!

This was my home for four days just two weeks ago. I used to like camping. Or maybe I thought I liked camping and this was the trip that finished it off for me.

There's not really one specific reason I have decided that I don't like camping anymore. Well, maybe there is ONE. It's TOO MUCH WORK! I have this huge sense of gratitude for the women and children who used to live like that. Camping in the woods without modern conveniences requires lots of manual labor...all day long.

And if I had to live like that day in and day out, I tell you, let the bears eat me. I was mentally and physically exhausted by the time we got home and that was only FOUR days.

At least the kids enjoyed every moment of it. From playing in the woods, to making pretend teepees and sitting by the campfire every chance they could, they loved it. Two other couples and their children joined us on our camping trip this year which made watching the kids a lot easier. It also caused some extra stress and annoyances too.

I kept saying next time we won't do this or we need to say that, or we need to bring this. But now if you ask me, there won't be a next time.

My husband is so upset about it, he has threatened to sell all our camping stuff. Which I know I wouldn't let him do because the kids would be crushed. But I don't think I'll join them. Unless we decided to go for 2 days and picked a different campground.

One with hot showers..and running water...and daily know...kinda like a vacation should have!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Truth Will Set You Free

Note: I started this on Tuesday and never finished it. Yesterday I saw it and thought, well I don't need to post it as a PYHO because I had more on my heart at the time. But God works in mysterious ways and lead me to his word and gave me the push to write on this again. 

I know it's not Wednesday but I need a Pour Your Heart Out today. Why can't life be drama free? Why does drama have to find it's way into my life and try to tear it down? Why can't people keep their problems to themselves and not drag others in it?

We've separated ourselves from the friends that have created issues in our life. Not trying to be arrogant and say that we're better than anyone else, but if friends don't fit your lifestyle or the lifestyle you're trying to live, then you start distancing yourself. If you try to consciously do it, it is hard. And unconsciously we have found ourselves on the other side of the fence. The place where I want to be.

The more you involve yourself in other activities that don't include those people and don't join in what they're doing, the less interaction you have with them. Eventually they stop asking and it gets easier.

But the problem is when you are still friends with some of the people from your past. They are still linked to it. And you get yourself involved in the drama again without even trying.

I don't need that stress.

I worked so hard to distance myself from it. Life has been good. It's been quiet and enjoyable. No worries about who said what or did what.

You can't have relationships with people when it's based on nothing.

There once was a time when I enjoyed hanging out with them. Then I got a closer look into what kind of life they were leading. I realized that they weren't who I thought they were and the more I have tried to be a better mother, wife and Christian, I knew that I needed to separate myself from that.

I'm trying to find the reason that God has put me in this place. What is HIS purpose? Is it my lesson to learn? Or am I supposed to teach the lesson? I have yet to figure that out.

I feel like I'm caught in the middle without even trying. Gossip is a sin. And what I am involved in could be considered gossip even though what I have been discussing is the TRUTH. The truth about some one else that they cannot realize and are denying. And with their denying they are speaking non truths.About themselves and about others.

As much as I want to separate myself and walk away, as a good Christian I want to stand by their side until they see the light. The truth will see you free. John 8:32

 Who will this truth set free? Does it release the burden that those who have carried it on their hearts for so long? Maybe for yet a moment. But it has now been replaced with heartache. 

Ephesians 5:6-13 says Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light  (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pour Your Heart Out: Are you Listening?

I know I haven't talked much about Miss K and her academic performance in over a year. Actually since I wrote the post about her being tested for the Gifted Program at her school. The test was given last year while she was in second grade and unfortunately she did not pass.

I was disappointed and relieved at the same time. Disappointed because I truly believed she was smart enough to go into the program. Relieved, because at the time she was in a great class with an awesome teacher and I didn't want to pull her out of that class.

Then the realization hit me, that it was the best thing that she didn't make it. Miss K struggled with staying focused and on task. And she would have done poorly in a class that requires student independent working quite often.
We continually struggled with Miss K not paying attention, talking in class, getting out of of her seat and just "checking out" (mentally) during class. It was an uphill battle and tested my patience on many levels.After trying rewards for good behavior I thought I had gotten through to my daughter.

Thankfully with an understanding teacher, she did well and sometimes above average during the year.

So with all the hard work on both ends, for the teacher and I, Miss K passed second grade.

After experiencing a teacher who wants to work with me and my child, and sometimes going above and beyond, I chose Miss K's third grade teacher. It has been such a blessing. 

At the beginning of the school year, just like the past two years, Miss K was like a new child. Motivated, paying attention and listening to direction. Then it started all over again.

She has been coming home with "sign ins" in her daily report book, and has had to be constantly reminded to get back on task during class and at home with her homework. She not only struggles with school work but with everyday regular tasks at home.

The final blow came this week. Her teacher requested to talk to me about last week's math test. Miss K did not get a passing grade and the test makes up 40% of her final grade in math for the first nine weeks of school. I was crushed.

The thought has been in the back of my head for years about Miss K's inability to stay focused and perform everyday tasks. Then it bled into her performance at school and she has survived. But now it's affecting her ability to pass tests and will affect her ability to take the FCAT this coming Spring.I'm worried.

I decided I wasn't going to take no for answer with her pediatricians office about having her tested for a medically diagnosed problem. For years at her well visits, they brushed me off about her lack of focus, blaming on her age. Not anymore.

I was surprised that during my phone yesterday, the nurse said that they have a packet that needs to be filled out by me and her teacher. We are now taking the first step to trying to determine the issue. I am not afraid. I do not want my child to"slip through the cracks" in school because no one cares. We will conquer this and let no one step in my way.

So sorry to those of you who are regular readers of my blog. I am sure you have noticed that I have MIA for a week or so and I feel terribly for that. I have started so many posts and have not been able to finish them. I have had so much on my plate recently that even escaping to blog is not an option. Please bear with me and I will be back to normal soon. I love you guys.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Fragments Episode #165

Here's to another wonderful week in the record books and successfully
making it through it.

Mommy's Idea 

PhotobucketI was so excited to finally witness an adult Monarch butterfly land on my milkweed plants and lay their eggs. My friend gave me a juvenile plant last year and we planted it and crossed our fingers that we would get butterflies. Our plant matured and released seeds and we grew more milkweed, but no butterflies came. Now multiple plants were blessed with eggs that have now hatched into teeny, tiny caterpillars.

Photobucket These last few weeks of preschool for Little E have really opened the flood gates on absorbing so much information. He tells me something new everyday. He told me that he wants to do everything in the world when he grows up. Starting with scuba diving, followed by riding a motorcycle and building something. I remember when Miss K was that age and she wanted to be a nurse. He has not narrowed anything as of yet.

Photobucket Miss K has been dancing again this year, the classes started a week before school started. She was asked to join the studio's competition group this year and she accepted the class that goes along with it. It's been tough for me with driving both kids to separate schools, work and dance classes 25 minutes from home. We were driving three times a week, and the dance instructor/owner finally agreed to let Miss K try a little more advanced tap class. This would put us to 2 days a week at the studio. Miss K nailed it! She did so beautifully, as if I had any doubt.


This weekend, the family an I are heading to the Ocala National Forest to browse and scope out our campsite for our annual family camping trip in November. We usually go camping with my husband's mother and stepdad during their annual hunt for deer, but they are not joining us this year. So we decided to pick a new site. Wish me luck!!


While trying to put Little E in some jeans this week to go to midweek church, I discovered he had outgrown ALL his pants. I figured that they were pretty long from last season and he grew some.... but none fit. You realize how much your child has grown when you buy school clothes or it's winter time.


I joined a n introduction class to Life Groups (small groups) at my church. This upcoming Wednesday class is the last one. After that they will figure out which group to have my family join, based on child ages, days we have during the week to attend and other factors. I'm nervous and excited all at the same time. There are a few groups that are full that I really want to be a part of and I'm not sure how they figure it out, but praying to God that he puts us in the best place.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

WW: Whose Effort?

So this weeks at Mama Kat's she posted this photo as one of her prompts and prompt #5 says, I have no idea where the following message originated from, but it’s been floating around Facebook for the past week…who does it make you think about?:

This thought was on my mind this week and really on my heart tonight while driving home. I had the pleasure of being able to drive home from church without the offspring tonight. Yeah, I'm feeling kinda raw lately and my babies are the offspring tonight. They were a little off the wall today.  Okay, I'm getting off track.

I'm going to answer this question, without really answering it. Yeah I know, that defeats the purpose but, it's my blog.

They know who they are. Every one has people in their life, or maybe shouldn't be in their life that fits that statement. My sister in law calls it "cleaning your friends closet".

The first time she told me that, I was like what the??? you want me to do what???

I haven't followed her mantra but sometimes it just happens on it's own. Sometimes I wish it would happen on it's own without any effort from me. That would be easy.

So if they don't make the effort, then why should I???

Enough said.