Sunday, June 30, 2013

Puppy Love

For years he has always, despite my prompting to STOP, asked pretty young women that he comes across if they will be his girlfriend. Baseball caused it to pick up speed. The girls that help with his special needs baseball team are completely charmed by him. Let me see if I can find a picture...

Yep that's him surrounded by blondes. That was a normal sight. At one point during a game he actually brought the girl in the cap a toy ring and got down on his knee to ask her to marry him. I have NO IDEA where he got this from as we do not watch TV except Netflix and I cannot remember us ever watching anything that showed someone doing this. This girl who I will call "J" drove me nuts, she was a very nice girl but she told him that she would be his girlfriend.  PLUS I got to hear this girls name a couple dozen times a day during baseball season. A~man brought his Ipod (I let that happen ONCE) and got home to see pictures of him and all of these girls. One time we were at a restaurant.....and a waitress said (A~man must have had his uniform on) "Hey, you must know J....." My daughter seeing the look on my face, and knowing that J has been the "bane of my existence" (I mean that affectionately...J is a nice girl I just get tired of hearing about her) started giggling hysterically at me.

So, when a long time friend/acquaintance sent me a text saying "You know, my Miss K decided to play special needs baseball with her siblings this year just so she could see A~man" I do admit this tickled me. (it's also nice to be in touch with other families dealing with special needs learning...this mom helped me with the basics when we first started) For one Miss K is about the same age, I'm pretty sure they homeschool (I know they used to), and she has special needs. I told A~man that and it took him about a day for it to sink in. We saw her dad in the grocery store and he asked him if he could talk to Miss K on the phone. It's completely innocent and supervised but he has talked to her a handful of times on the phone. She likes to talk just as much as he does and she loves to talk to the A~man! She has CP and is in a wheelchair but cognitively may be a bit higher than A~man. She is a cutie! (and also blonde LOL) I used to do respite with some of her older siblings before I became a parent. With one of us tagging along with him he will be going over to her house to watch a movie or to a theatre with her and her family. (which I am okay with as either hubby or I would also go....due to the food issues although they do also have a son with PWS)

Tonight he asked her (dh was listening) if she would be his girl friend. Did I mention I'm not ready for this? (I am happy with the friendship though...just not the term)  She said she had to talk to her mom and dad. I told him....and I have in the girlfriends till he is 30. Okay, okay,  we came to some peace awhile back that 16 or 17 would be appropriate. So I told him after the fact no. Yes, it's all very innocent but this is something I have told both kids for years. If I were to tell A~man yes at almost a couple of years Z (who is not interested in boys in that way at all yet) 16-17, it really wouldn't be fair would it?

I do not remember reading about dating in the special needs manual that doesn't exist. It's not really something I have ever given a whole lot of thought to either up until the last couple of years. I'm guessing in the way past the fact that people with special needs would want to date was not a consideration. Thankfully people now realize that individuals with special needs can have the same hopes, wishes, and dreams that any of us could have.  But dealing with it right now makes learning English vocabulary seem easy. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I LOVE taking boat pictures, despite the fact I do not like to swim. Hmmmm...

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Summer Hike

I missed posting about our Father's Day last weekend. We are blessed to live in an area with many places to hike within a half hour and even more past that! So last week we decided to go hiking at a place known for water falls. 

The parking area we normally go to was blocked off due to some type of construction so we had to start our hike in a part of the area that we are not as familiar with, thus we we were not able to figure out how to get where we usually go. I guess that is kind of like life at times. We want to go down the path we know best but sometimes a roadblock gets in our way and we end up going down an unfamiliar path. 

We ended up at the top of one of the waterfalls rather than the bottom where the kids wanted to play in the water. 

Here is another view of it. (you can see in the top right half where the covered bridge that we hiked to is) We still couldn't find the path to safely get to the base of the falls! That's one thing I especially like about my little family. Whether it is a hike like this or life in general when we come to a roadblock we just go with it and find a different way to go. More often than not it happens for a reason and the outcome is beautiful.

Perhaps- The path least taken is sometimes the best.

Well that is way too much philosophy for a Monday morning. Especially considering I have only had one cup of coffee. I normally blog Sunday nights but a lightening storm stalled that and I had to unplug the computer as I have lost one too many computers due to lightening. Which reminds me, I need to back up the hundreds of photos I have on my computer.

I love summer with it's lightening storms. It makes me think about doing a weather curriculum after our short break. It's amazing though what the kids learn about science by just observing! Learning to read does not take a break for summer though, especially for A~man. He needs the constant little push to keep those skills. I was amazed though this weekend when I heard him read the name of the restaurant we were going to. It was not a place we had been before so he hadn't even heard the name before. I love little surprises like that! 

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Yesterday we went camping. We've been camping here probably as long as we have been homeschooling. It is such a fun family place. They have a huge fishing/swimming lake, zip lines, climbing wall and all kinds of canoes and boats. 

I don't do boats personally and I'm not a big fan of being in the water (except for a hot tub haha) unless I am sitting, taking pictures by the shore. (I do know how to swim though) Both kids are part fish and love the water. Especially Z~girl. It's hard to keep her out. She is a mother hen when A~man is in the water...constantly watching him. 

One of the many things I love about camping is that when we go, hubby and Z like to take over in setting up the campsite and with the cooking. I cannot complain about that. So I get to sit and relax a bit. ;) I am normally in charge of the packing...and cleaning up once we are home with our camping supplies. It all evens out I say. 

(this was breakfast by the the picture above YUMMY)

We only did one night this time but are planning a two night trip very soon. Later in the evening, after Z and I had taken a trip to the restrooms, I came back and A~man was obviously not in a good place. We had finished up dinner and our our dessert, banana boats was over the fire. While we were gone he had also been messing with the fire and getting in trouble.

You cannot really tell from this photo that the A~man is upset. A mama knows. His cheeks are flushed and his neck is splotchy. I asked him what was wrong...and his response? All of those marshmallows mama. You see we do not keep stuff like marshmallows in the house as they will find a way to disappear despite supervision. Every superhero has a nemesis and with Prader-Willie Syndrome, A~man's is marshmallows. Food isn't as big of an issue with A~man as others with this syndrome, but there are still moments, and this was one. I am so thankful he is able to express it to me. Due to circumstances we had two bags of marshmallows on the table and it was upsetting to him. He knew the potential was there, (he had already been caught with a handful by daddy) for him to eat them all. This has happened in the past at home. 

I have a dear young lady friend on Facebook "V" that has PWS. When he told me how upset he was over all of those marshmallows being on the table I thought of her. I remember her saying how much better she felt when she knew food was locked up. It made her feel safe. I told A~man that I would lock up the marshmallows in my backpack (I have a padlock on my backpack that has his medicine in it) in the car so there was no way he could get to them. Then he saw me go do it. Only a parent of someone with PWS (or maybe an adult with it) could understand why a child would repeatedly thank you....for locking up the sweets...that are there tempting him. (or her) YES, I admit this made me tear up. 

Such a different life we live...yet still spectacular. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

It's one of those times...

of the year that I get cranky and weepy. I'm not a weepy person. Then it dawn's on me...just as it does in January. Both mine and my husbands father's birthdays were in January. My father passed away in January, 9 years ago.(I think that is right) My husband's father passed away that same year, but in August...almost 2 weeks after Z~girls 3rd birthday. Oddly, my husband didn't even mention his father today.

I miss my dad. He was a good dad. No he wasn't perfect (no one is) but he worked hard (too hard) and he did take time to do things with me. He used to ride bikes with me as a teenager. He played softball with me, helping me catch and bat, for hours and hours when he would get home from work. He was always at my school and sports events. Most importantly he taught me about God from the time I was wee. The above photo is of me and one of my nieces...during our moody teenage years.

I do regret I didn't get to see him (or my mom) much once I got married and moved so far away. I am very thankful though that he was able to meet A and Z several times before he died. He was a good grandpa to all of his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was in his early 70's when he died...and he had the beginnings of alzheimers and passed in his sleep.  

My husband's father had cancer and was quite young. I wish I could find the picture of Z and pop pop at her 3rd birthday party. (right before he passed) He also loved A and Z so much!

Well...this post has gotten way more depressing than I intended. So...I will blog about our father's day another time as it truly was a wonderful day. My children are blessed with an awesome daddy! 

I must admit. I rescheduled our homeschool standardized tests to be in two weeks...instead of in two days. We have so much going on this week that I think that it would be best to wait...for my sanity alone. (I hate facing a week with back to back appointments) 

I think most people know that I do book reviews for I LOVE to read just like Z does. I did want to ask any of my homeschool readers that if they knew of any books by homeschoolers, that are not on the site, to let me know as we are always looking for new books to do reviews on!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Schoolhouse Crew Review~Christianity Cove

Through the Old Schoolhouse I was given the chance to try out two products produced by Christianity Cove   -100 Simple Service Projects (19.95) and Fruits of the Spirit Activity Kit. (19.00) The company is a supplier of Sunday School lessons, Bible games, crafts, and activities for Children's Church. Their goal is to provide activities to help students understand the Bible and apply it in a personal way and in an affordable way. Their website also contains a lot of free activities plus articles on a variety of subjects about growing up.


This was an e-book full of creative ideas on how to serve others. There are five main categories in the book-

  1. Service to the Family
  2. Service to those in the Neighborhood
  3. Service to the Community
  4. Service to Large Charities in America and Overseas
They begin with the easiest to do projects and continue to the more involved. It is intended for pre-K to 6th grade but honestly most of these could be done by older children as well. (and adults!) Our family has always tried to do many of these things already such as taking meals to our elderly neighbor and to people having a crisis in their home. Z~girl achieved her bronze level in Girl Scouts by volunteering at a local animal shelter the previous school year. This year she volunteers at a local state park.

This e-book gave me a lot of great ideas that I hope to share with one of my homeschool groups. So many of the ideas listed could be done as a group activity as well as an individual one. I can see it being of good use to a Sunday School class or a youth group!  I think some of the best life lessons that can be learned are from serving others. Even the furry ones!

While I really enjoyed the e-book and it did have loads of great ideas, the only thing I wouldn't be crazy about is the price if I was actually buying it. I think that it is a little high priced for an e-book.

 photo fruitsofthespirit_zps087f97b4.jpg

Teaching kids about love, joy, peace, 
forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 
gentleness and self-control!

The next product also created by Christianity Cove was Fruits of the Spirit Activity Kit which is recommended for ages 4-12.

It uses object lessons, games, worksheets, crafts, gift ideas, songs, snack ideas, and a science experiment, to illustrate the fruits of the spirit. While I think that it is probably a little simple for most 11 and 12 year olds, the object lessons are perfectly suited for my A~man (13) as he is at a younger developmental level and learns fabulously with hands on learning like this. 

I also think it would work really well for a Sunday School class as the lessons are already planned out for the teacher and require minimal items to do each activity. The simplicity of each lesson would go a long way in a child comprehending Galatians 5:19-26 in a way that kids learn best.

Still, I do think the price is high for an e-book. 

Christianity Cove has many other products that the Schoolhouse Crew have been trying out so make sure and check out the other great reviews!

Click to read Crew Reviews


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Special needs siblings

I think that sometimes people that are not in the special needs world do not realize what it is like for the typically developing sibling. It's been a rough week. For whatever reason the OCD part of my son's disability is in OVERDRIVE. Wherever we go he has to tell his sister exactly what we are doing in every detail. He has to repeat back to her everything she is about to do in the day. Can you possibly imagine what that is like? I can but I am an adult. Normally I can just act like I do not hear all of it increases if you react strongly.

I would like to say that I always ignore it or redirect it. I can't do that as I would be lying. This last week I had a bad night and had my fill of it, I YELLED...I am not a yeller. It even brought my hubby down the stairs. (we were trying to watch a TV show on netflix) I lost it yelling. I'm not sure if any of my friends or extended family have EVER heard me yell. I had my fill of the repetitive talk...telling me who each character in the TV show (Heartland btw) was. Then, telling us again.

The thing is, he can't help it (mostly lol)...and by gosh me yelling at him only makes it worse. Tonight, after Z~girl had already went to bed she came to me all teary eyed. She had slugged her brother today (also not a common occurrence) but she did and he shoved back I'm sure. But hours later she realized what she did, she also realized that he couldn't help it,(for the most part) and felt a deep remorse. "Will he forgive me?" I reminded her that each day A~man begins is a new day and he doesn't bring up the negatives of the day before, unless reminded. (a positive of Prader-Willi Syndrome) She also told me she apologized to him after he had already went to bed. I reminded her that I had completely lost my cool earlier in the week...and he forgave me. We are human and after a certain amount of stressors it has to come out somehow. (although yelling and slugging isn't a good way)

That whole situation to me demonstrates some pros and cons of homeschooling. Both A and Z have such a strong bond as not only are they siblings but they are friends. I'm not sure my big brother had much remorse for me when he slugged me as a child. (he did as an adult though..after the fact) Along with the bond means that they spend a LOT of time together. Sometimes too much. I cannot fault my daughter for losing her cool with her brother...especially after she saw me lose my cool. Still. We are human. It is difficult for a sibling of a special needs learner to cope with. She does have her time away, but in the next year I plan to schedule more time with her away from her brother. Whenever she comes back (she went on a weekend Girl Scout camp out last month) she is able to come back renewed. They both need an occasional break from one another to appreciate one another...if that makes sense.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Summer Fun Bucket List Part I

I'm not sure if we will get to all of the ideas tumbling through my head but I decided it would be fun to come up with a list of creatively fun ideas for this summer. Here is the first part of my list!

1. Play putt putt.(aka miniature golf) We actually went yesterday...but I am sure we will be back again!

2. Go to some free/cheap movies with friends.  Here is another place with cheap movies too! If you do a google search for your area though, there is likely to be more participating.

3. Go camping, and repeat.

4. Hoping to get a new liner for our pool...not sure if that is gonna happen due to some car repairs that have come up.

5. I'm going to have Z~girl do an online book club with books by homeschoolers. 

6. Speaking of books I am copying off a list from this site and both kids will be participating in this reading program. 

7. Go to a waterpark...I may take the kids too. ;)

8. Make Z~girl a tepee and maybe A~man one if he likes hers. (here is another one too that I have been looking at)  She has been wanting one for years and seeing as she will be 12 this summer I think we had better do it before she loses interest in such things.

Ziggity Zoom How To Make Kid's Teepee

9. Although we most likely will not be working on grammar and homonyms this summer we do have a good supply of fun learning games like Bananagrams, the Scrambled States of America, and our Art card game that will be fun for rainy days.

10. Here is a watermark tshirt project that looks like fun!

11. A couple of months ago Z's scout troop went to an art center and learned how to make/bind books and made the covers out of upcycled items like cereal boxes. We want to make some more this summer.

12. Run through the sprinkler. I think even our chickens might have fun with this homemade sprinkler!

Sprinkler 9

13. This one makes me a wee bit nervous but I would like to try out Bleach Pen Painting with the kids...outside...hahah.

14. This looks like something fun to do if Z has some girl friends over. All I have is a photo so I might have to figure it out myself.

15. Try out some new hiking trails. I would also like to try out some Land Art. We have done this in the past and it is so much fun!

 Well, that is all I have for now but check back for my next list of fun summer activities!