Thursday, October 3, 2013

The 2013 School Plan

Yep.  School started.  Last month.  We had major shifts in plans because....well...that just seems to be what happens when I make a pretty little plan.  It all goes gunny-bag IRL.

Natalie is now in a Christian school 4 days a week (LOVING it).  Janelle and Riley are both taking several classes outside of mom and doing great.  Yay for us!!

I'm pining a bit for those years of snuggling on the couch in a giant pile reading books together and using our lunch bits as math manipulatives.  Algebra 2 and Chemistry are NOT lending themselves to chip piles and cheese bits. We all have to grow up sometime I guess.

Whatever. Frankly, I wasn't very good at that fun part of school anyway, although I admit to still being really proud that I once let Riley dissect a rattlesnake at the backdoor of our house and called it a day.

Anywho....We're now into October and are working our way into a rhythm.  Some days it's AWESOME and others...more like that nauseous feeling you get on the high seas.

Our calendar looks like a rainbow threw up on it.  I thought all those different colors for each kidlet were going to look so bright and happy. HA!  At least I can tell everyone "Find your color to see what's up for you today."  :)

Charlotte even gets in on the mess school plan as she has several therapy appointments per week.  Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy...and possibly a dr. appointment in there somewhere.

It's great fun.

My crockpot is my best friend as is my washing machine and frankly, my love of routine and lack of clutter.  If I didn't have that - you wouldn't be able to find my floor or want to use our bathrooms.

Everyone is freaking out a bit over how tight our schedules are running this year.  I figure if we're totally hard core for a few months, when we add in a new baby in December (MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!) and everything comes to a screeching halt, it will all even out.  :)  Documentaries will become our best school friend. schooling.  What a party.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

She's almost two.

Oh. my. word.

Where did the last two years go????  Oh, that's right.  They were poured into our children, a new-to-us house and property, schooling, activities, jobs, and a little thing called Down Syndrome thrown in.

Honestly, most days Down Syndrome is sooooo back burner I barely notice it.  Charlotte Joy is just Charlotte Joy.  The littlest sister.  The super snuggly baby-careening-toward-toddlerhood.  The one who makes everyone smile and breathe a little deeper.  The one who wakes us up and doesn't get a snarly response but instead gets invited to join them under their warm covers before mom gets all serious about getting out of bed in the morning.    The one who has figured out how to dig into backpacks, purses, boxes, laundry baskets and takes something somewhat clean and contained to what looks like a bomb went off all over the floor.

She fits just perfectly into the zoo.  She's found her place.  Her niche.  I shouldn't have expected less.

Here are some highlights in a brief rundown:

These days she's scooting/hopping everywhere like a frog.  It's hilarious and she's super fast.  Correcting her crawl is a problem for me as I'm not as fast, but it would be good if she'd use that right side more for actually four point crawling, so I chase.  We'll see what she does, although I'm more into celebrating the fact that she's figured a way out to get to her daddy as fast as she can the second he walks in the door, or to try and run away from her big sister chasing her.  

Charlotte isn't really saying words but is starting to make some great sounds and signs tons.  We can ask her what she wants and she's able to sign to us the very thing she wants.  She does a great job of communicating and is always watching to see what your eyes, hands, and mouths are doing so one of these days, I bet she's going to literally TAKE OFF in words.

Her health in general is very good, THANK the LORD.  We are a little more careful if we know people are sick because she is more prone to catch things and recovering takes her longer.  Winter may find us more holed up but that's okay.  Her heart repair has worked out beautifully and we don't need to see her cardiologist for another two years.  She does see specialists for various things but, for the most part, those are just routine checks to keep tabs on issues that *could* develop down the road.  Eyes, ears, GI...the like.

So for the most part we're just enjoying the Charlotte-ness of her and not worrying about the extras.  I hope you do too.

More to come later. I promise.    

Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer 2013

It's already August.  Sheesh.

I think I'd forgotten or completely blocked how dang time consuming certain stages of parenting are and how at the end of the day you have only a teensy bit to show for it (no blog posting since APRIL).    Oh well.

We did finish school for the year in June (Whew!) although it took us until the middle of July to do our yearly testing.  Honestly, it was the next thing on a packed schedule of life that looks like school anyway so there you go.  I'd recap but...meh...not going to.

It's now time to reset and snatch the last summer-y moments and we're trying.  We're harvesting some of our produce from the orchard and the garden.  I need to get 'canning'.  School planning is commencing for the bits that we're still doing at home.  (We did already get them registered for their outside classes:  Math, LA, and Science for everyone!)  School room is getting set up to a more workable situation for them (I hope).  Enjoying the last few moments of my sister's visit and the kids are planning those summer treats of weekday sleepovers.

Fall is coming.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Goals Update

Last month I'd posted about some personal goals I'm implementing.  Thought I'd update on how that's all working out in real life.

Wellll......Number one was to read more.  Ummmm......I've checked out tons of great books from the library and have read some good ones and skimmed several more that I'm sure were good based on the sources of where I learned about them in the first place.  It's progress and I'll take it.

One slight problem I've been facing lately is reading out loud to my kids.  It gives me sudden-onset-nap-syndrome and yes, I feel like a rotten mother for it.  We've spent YEARS reading out loud thanks to our home schooling lifestyle and curriculum.  I'm hoping that counts for something.  One friend of mine gave me the grace I needed in the melt-down moment and encouraged me to look for audio versions.  Hallelujah, they are on hold and arriving soon.

Goal two was exercise every day.  Actually this one I should've clarified a bit.  There are two rest days per week built into the routine and I'm trying to follow that.  So it's more like workout 5x a week.  I'm on a roll some days skipping the rest days if we have a busy schedule other days where I know I'll need them.

Goal three:  Meet new people.  This will be a perpetual work in progress.  :)  One thing that is another side element is being IN PERSON when in person.  Do you know what I mean?  Not on my phone.  Not texting.  Not thinking about what's next.  Give full attention to those in front of me.  Yep.

Pictures was the last goal.  Danggit.  Need to get this done!

Saturday, March 2, 2013


I'm trying to set some new goals.

Lists make me happy.  Looking back and seeing check marks that prove I DID do something with my day in spite of the fact that it doesn't feel like it helps me.  Chore lists.  Menu lists. Grocery lists.  Do 6 things lists.

Setting goals and writing them down is just another vice way to do that.

Here they are:

Read more.

At some point after Charlotte Joy was born, my brain shut off the ability to process anything other than the urgent.  Mostly the medical urgent.  Even the new, scary, and unexpected Down Syndrome itself wandered the hall behind: Congestive Heart Failure. Pulmonary HypertensionOpen Heart Surgery.  Failure to thrive. Possible deafness.  Eyesight problems.  This, ladies and gentlemen, is where Faith lost the ability to read anything longer than FaceBook posts. I gained a whole new appreciation for one of my children who struggles with retaining information and staying on task.

This is a new season.  We're surviving, thriving (practically), enjoying the hilarity of a 17 month old sister added to the mix of our already non-conventional 'zoo'.  Down Syndrome seems so 'NOT' scary most days and when it does - I seem to be able to look it in the eyes and say 'I don't care that you're scary.  We'll make it work.'.

I can read again.  Have started picking up books for fun and enrichment and allowing myself to get lost in them until the last page.  Don't worry - I save reading for after people are fed and my work is 'done' for the most part.

Exercise every day.

I turned to mush just a wee bit post-pardum and sitting in FreakoutVille.  Then I just struggled with mind stuff and worry.  I know from past experience that exercise helps me a ton so I'm doing a program that is saving my sanity.  Honestly, the hardest part is starting. I know that though and tell my kids so that they can keep me doing my work as I send them off to do theirs.  :)  Half the time one or two of them will do it with me and we have a hilarious time.  If it keeps me from becoming completely mushy - fabulous.  Right now I'm more than thrilled with the help it's giving me in the metal department.  That and I have an awesome hubby, 4 kids, and a life that I'd like to keep up with.

I highly recommend ChaLEAN Extreme!

*If you need info - I can forward you to a coach!

Meet new people. 

We're going to make some serious efforts in getting plugged into the local Down Syndrome community.  I am giving us the grace to do what we can and not focus on what we can't though - because that right there is a recipe for disaster.


I need to get some family pictures done and when I say that, I mean more than just the 'smile at the phone' type. If you didn't know already, those don't turn out when you try and get them printed for Christmas pictures to give to grandparents and other family.  C.r.u.d.

*You will then spend two weeks freaking out over what to get them as what they really want looks like a crayon drawing with the lines definitely blurred and cute grandchild faces looking grainy. Not cute artsy pictures either but more the 'Are you sure that's my relative in that terrible picture?' kind.  

I am in trouble.   Every picture Charlotte has ever had taken except the ones my friend Heidi took when she was SIX WEEKS OLD are on the phone.  Ack.

We'll get to it.  Especially now, since it's on the goal list.

Sheesh - I hardly recognize us in that black and white one anymore.  :)  Two of the four kids are now as tall or taller than I am now.  

So there you have it.  Now to get these things done so I can check them off.  It's good to have goals, right?  What are yours for the new season you find yourself in?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Now that we live where there are libraries, we go at least once a week.  I kind of joke that the library is the girls' love language as it can make their day when we get to go.  I love that except for one little thing.  At some point in the last year, I realized something shocking:  I. can't. keep. up. and. pre-read. everything.  Thank goodness our school consists of great books so in one area I feel fairly confident that they're reading quality and not twaddle, but they want MORE.  What's a mom to do?  Remember great books I read in school?  *Are you serious?  Not in this season I don't.*   Some 'turn them loose in the library' does happen but holy cow, there's a LOT of freaky lookin' stuff in there.

That's when this mama picks a few of her friends' brains.  :)  Thankfully these friends have blogs so basically, as I'm reading their blogs, I have the tab to the library catalog page up and ready.

1. Check friends' blog.
2. Do search at our library for books.
3. Place hold.
4. DONE!!!!

A real bonus these days?  I don't have to stop as I walk into the doors of the library, sniff the lovely book smell, and then wonder what in the heck I'd wanted to check out or look for with them.  Seriously.  It's almost as bad as WALMART after 6 months in a foreign country.

Here are a few book loving blogging friends that I bless every time I walk into my library.  My bookworms thank you.  Maybe one day I'll catch up with all the great books they're getting to read but for now, my reading desires and energy levels are clashing on the dance floor of 'life'.  I'm tiptoeing back into being able to read books without my mind racing in 4,567,098 directions (concentration issues apparently) or read for pleasure and not strictly 'OH MY GOSH!  This is our new normal so I better learn about it!' whether that's homeschooling, learning issues, Down Syndrome related, parenting, or something along the lines of Save My Marriage, I Just Ripped Out Another Kitchen Cabinet.

Maybe you don't need the extra help in finding great books like that....but I do.  Enjoy perusing!

Grateful for Grace
Living in the Land of Curly Hair

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Kitchen Updates w/ Photos....

I hope.  I've been having a fit with getting pics to upload onto here so here we go. 

Tried to find angles that were similar - which involved me digging through the old pics (remembered where those are thanks to recent picture presents for Christmas) then jumping up and taking a shot of the 'new'.  

 Above is looking in from the garage door (looking to the left).

 And to the right...


Last pic is the same angle believe it or not.  

All in all - we are 99% done. There's a little bit of trim work to be done on the floorboards, back splash, the curtains, and ceiling finish work but at least we have a fully functioning kitchen again.  I'd love to switch the door opening but we'll see about that.  

Of course, there are lots of glamor shots of all this that didn't make it into the finals.  Like these....

Sub floor replacement.  My Alan makes everything seem simple.  I was ready to sell the house and move at this point. 

I had left the house for some reason and he texted me these.  Egads....It was fixed by the time I got home. 

He's that good. 

The End.  :)