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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Where did the 18 months go?

Miss Isabella Mary-Ann is 18 months today.  Makes me feel like crying :( Seriously, it seems like just yesterday she was born.  Sometimes I look back or I look at her and doesn't seem real that it really happened...that I REALLY had a baby!  What an incredible miracle she is.  She continues to challenge me in so many ways.  You think, since she is baby number 14 for me (yes...we have had 13 foster kids all aged 3 and under come through our home since 2004) that I would have it all figured out.  NOPE...not even close :)  Currently we are dealing with seperation anxiety (well she hasn't wanted to seperate from me since she was born).  She cries if someone looks at her wrong and she won't willingly go to a grandma (which really is difficult for me).  Despite that I am still leaving her once a week, and she is dealing with it ok.  She cries for 10 to 20 minutes and then she stops.  Her new favorite trick is screaming at the top of her lungs until someone gives her her way.  I find it difficult not to laugh at her, because she is so darn cute!  Not the best parenting technique.  I remember how hyper vigilant I was with Luke (him being my first) now I find myself laughing more and letting more things go (like yogurt messes because I am fostering her independence with the spoon, or letting her color with markers). 

So without further are her favorite things at 18 months:

Favorite words: Mama or MAAAA, dada, mimi, papa, g-g (grace), lu-lu (luke) baba (all the time), uh-oh, baby, ooooo (followed by) wow, meow, up, hot, please, (she makes the sound for dog), she signs "more" but it really can mean so many things like "please."  She also signs "water" which is kind of a game because you have to figure out if she wants to drink water, she hears water or she sees water.  She will sign the same for all 3.  Too funny.

Favorite Show: Still Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  I am trying to introduce her to some classics like Beverly Hills 90210, The Waltons, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, oh and we have watched the classic movie "Clueless" at least 3 times. 

Favorite Song: "If your happy and you know it," Patty-cake

Favorite Sporting Activity: Swimming lessons (although it is joke). Bella has a mind of her Bella decides what she is learning in swimming lessons.  :)  Also riding around the track in the gym while mom works out.  She loves entertaining the grandmas and grandpas at the gym. 

Sleeping Patterns:  She sleeps around 11 hours at night and takes a 2 hour nap during the day.

Favorite Article of Clothing: Her shoes and any type of purse!  She is my girl!

Favorite Food:  The girl loves her some chocolate! mama.

Not sure how much she weighs and how long she is.  Going to have her well child check soon.  So very grateful for Isabella and the joy that she is to our family and the wonderful blessing she is from God.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Reading Troubles

Monday afternoon Grace came home and proudly handed me a white envelope.  I thought it was a note from the school PTO that I had recently joined. was NOT from the was a letter from Grace's teacher, the reading specialist and the principal, describing that Grace was extremely low in reading and qualified for a program called Title 1/LAP.  Understanding that it was to help catch up a "at risk" students in reading was all that I knew about this program.  My heart sank as I read the letter.  Feelings of guilt, sadness and anger flooded my mind.  WHY??? I was deligent to read with her this summer and I felt shame that she was struggling so badly and here I am a TEACHER!!!

I signed the note, because they needed my permission for her to recieve services, and then I emailed her teacher (Mrs. B) my questions regarding the LAP program.  A day later, I recieved one of the nicest e-mails from her teacher.  She explained that Grace was testing at the beginning of kindergarten reading level.  (I nearly cried).  Poor Grace....I had no idea....and I still have no idea what type of assessment tool was used to determine this reading level.  I may be a teacher, but most of my expertise is in special education preschool.  I can answer questions about preschool assessment tools like thde Battelle Inventory 2 and sensory profiles, but elementary assessnments are foreign to me. 

So for the school year, Grace will be pulled out of the classroom for 30 minutes a day to work on reading with a specialist and then have reading instruction from her teacher (Mrs. B) as well.  Hopefully we will learn more about what type of help they have in mind for Grace.  In the meantime its back to our phonics work, reading books, and iLs therapy.  There is a program setting for reading and memory. 

It has been difficult for me not to pick up this guilt and stress and add to the load I carry.  I keep thinking, "what if?"  which isn't good.  What if I have done more?  Why didn't I see the signs?  How did I let this happen?  BUT, I have to "let it go".  I have to focus on moving forward, focus on my blessings and focus on my children's successes.  Like Luke having a great test score, Grace being a huge help with house chores and her excellent artistic abilities and Bella being so funny and smart.  Indeed I have a house full of blessings to count and be thankful for.  It's all about getting up every morning and moving in the direction I want to go, and not letting the stresses of my life effect me in a negative way.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Our First Fabulous Fall Giveaway

On Friday Luke came home from school, bouncing as he got off the bus.  He promptly came in and ripped open his backpack, dug out his folder, and handed me a small slip of paper.....his spelling test.  Right in the top corner boasted the news he could hardly wait to tell me....he got a 100% on his spelling test!!!! This is the first 100% that he has ever recieved in his school career.  To say he could hardly contain himself would be an understatement.  So...we decided that we needed to celebrate and I thought a Fabulous Fall Giveway would be an appropriate way to celebrate this most awesome news.  My kids and I created "A Few of Our Fall Favorite Things." 

If you know me, you know that fall is probably my favoritie season.  My kids and I decorated for fall already. The wreath is hung, the scarecrow out, and the pumpkin decore can be found in various places throughout the house. 

I continue to be amazed by the amount of readers that come and visit this blog and in an effort to get to know you better and say thanks for your prayers and support for Luke, we wanted to give back. 

We made a "Fall Blessings" Bag, filled with some of our "favorite goodies".  If you would like to be entered into the giveaway you can enter 2 different ways.

1) Leave a comment and let me know that you want your name entered (it's that simple).

2) Become a follower of my blog.

You can do both and be entered twice.  If you already are a follower I will enter you automatically.

Then on September 29 (a very special day for me), we will put all the names together and Mr. Luke will pick the winner.  The package will get shipped out to you and you will have it to enjoy the month of October!

Here is what is included in our "A Few of Our Fall Favorite Things"
  • All You Fall Magazine
  • Fall sticky notes
  • 2 Fall pencils
  • Apple Cinnamon Candle
  • Fall Starbucks gift card (couldn't fit a Pumpkin Spice Latte inside)
  • Fall Nail Art (Grace's contribution)
  • Cinnamon sented pinecone with Halloween hanger
  • Fall Poem (written by Luke)
  • Perry Pez (My kids contribution) :)
  • Various fall candy

 Luke's Fall Poem : "Fall"
I like fall because it's halloween.  You get candy.  I got 100% on my test.  Happy.  Luke :)

All wrapped and packed up ready to be sent to our WINNER!!!

My kids are very excited about this...they love to see themselves on the blog and are excited to give this to someone. 

Happy Fall Everyone!!!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Life, as usual, has been moving forward with great speed.  These past weeks we have been adjusting to our "new" routines of school, and being home with Miss B during the day.  The adjustment is going well (very well in fact).  There is such a sense of PEACE I have these days (that I have not experienced in so long).  And yet, sometimes it doesn't all make sense to me, but I am more relaxed than I have been in several years.  I wish I could have told myself 3 months ago to SURRENDER and LET IT GO.... but everyone always says that hindsight is 20/20.  So true.

I feel a FREEDOM I haven't felt in a LONG time.  For the first time, since I can remember I am taking care of myself.  I am going to the gym, riding my new bike, swimming lessons with the kids, taking supplements and drinking lots of water.  Bella and I go to the library play group and I have time for a project or two.  The house is cleaner, the laundry is mostly done and the dishes are not overflowing in the sink.  I have had time to read a book, go out to lunch with my husband and just breathe.

This new FREEDOM hasn't come without letting some things go.  AND some of those things were DIFFICULT to let go of.... I had to come to a place of SURRENDER.  I think a light switch went off for me somewhere between the CAT scan and being pumped full of Benadryl (after I had the allergic reaction).  I realized many things that day, but one of them was how badly STRESS was effecting my health and life.  After a DIFFICULT conversation with my doctor, it was time to face the music.  I had to start investing in myself and STOP putting my needs last.  I know...but that is how it just is for moms.  We put our children first and ourselves last (if at all).  This past 18 months, since Bella was born, I have been going at full force trying to make sure that everything was good for everyone....well, everyone except myself.  After not sleeping for 5 months (after B was born), trying to do everything myself, nearly having a breakdown, all of Luke's new health issues that came up, change in schools, change in jobs, a tonsillectomy for myself and now all this new health stuff, it has been a difficult year.  Add to that the stress of not having a job and feeling an incredible amount of guilt for not having one and that is a recipe for disaster.

So...I decided it was time to let go of the things of ME (no job, stress, no private school for the kids, Luke's health issues, Mark having to work a new schedule, guilt, guilt and more guilt).  Instead...I would get up every morning and walk in the direction of my new goals, my new role, and the blessings that lay before me).  I pray over Luke and Grace each morning, always thanking the Lord for their AWESOME teachers.  I put them on the bus (which stops in front of our house).  I give thanks to God for the money we are saving in gas.  When I kiss Bella everyday, I quietly thank God for the opportunity I have to spend time one-on-one with her.  To pour into her life.  To discover the beauty in the simplicity of the world through the eyes of a toddler.  Where the  "Ooooo's" and the "Wow's" of life are bubbles, books and swinging.  I am blessed to be reconnected with my youth pastor, Luke Gillock, from whom our son is named, who has taken time (once again) to pour into my life some spiritual things, nutritional things, and health things that I NEEDED to hear.  Luke is the owner and trainer at the gym he owns in Portland called ReInvent.

Even though we still have NO answers for what is going on with my son's EYES.  I too have SURRENDERED the outcome, process and have ACCEPTED the fact that we might never know what is wrong with them.  With another specialist coming into our future (well and old specialist revisited), we will once again walk one foot in front of the other on this path called "Luke's Incredible Journey."

God continues to be so incredibly FAITHFUL to me.  And all HE asks is that I just SURRENDER.

I am reminded of this song,
It's time for healing time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me 
All I can do is surrender

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Revaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is you want from me
I give everything I surrender...

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos somehow there's peace

It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly

Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to to release all my held back tears

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Back To School Blessings!

Last Wednesday, the kids headed back to school.  I think I was more nervous than anyone else.  This has been truly a battle of my heart (the kids going to public school and me being ok with it).  Through all the uncertainty these past couple of months, one thing was always constant, that Mark and I had peace about them attending public school.  We couldn't explain it...and didn't know why...but it was PEACE.  
Wednesday morning, when we dropped them off, we began to get a glimpse of the picture that God saw the entire time.  Luke's teacher, Ms. Kari, is a general education teacher with a special education endorsement.  The school formed her classroom to serve students like Luke who are on IEP's.  Not only will Ms. Kari be with them the entire day, but usually a special education teacher will be in the classroom providing instruction as well.  This is moving from the pull-out model for services to the push-in model for services.  I am very excited about this prospect.  I also LOVE the way she is designing her classroom to fit the students and her homework policy is to help form her instruction and not for perfection.  I am excited for what this year holds for him.  

Grace's teacher is a jewel too.  Her name is Mrs. B.  She is cute and calm and organized, and basically if I could have cloned myself as a would be Mrs. B.  It is a comfort to know that each day Grace is being taught by a teacher that has a lot of my teaching traits.  Grace already has lots of friends and was the "Star Student" on Friday.  I got some information on the PTO and I am thinking about joining to be involved with the school.

In other news...Miss Bella is eager to begin her school education and I found her one morning (after the kids had gone to school) up on Grace's bed reading her a book!  She is soooo funny these days and expressing herself with screeches, screams and grunts :) oh and a few words too!  She's been my work out buddy these days at the gym on the track...conversing with grandmas and grandpas walking the track too.  We also started her playgroup at the library this week.  She love the other "babies" and checked out her first book from the library.  I am enjoying spending some time with her.  I am really starting to this as a "gift" and an incredible one at that!!!!

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