dyslexia, homeschooling, kids

Homeschooling with Dyslexia

homeschooling with dyslexia

Do you think your child has dyslexia?  How do you know?  And what do you do about?  Can you “cure” it with homeschooling?

Those were all questions that I had about 5 years ago.

We started homeschooling Elisa during kindergarten and by the time she was in 3rd grade, I was pretty confident I had this homeschool thing down.  She could read well, write well, knew all of her math facts.  She was actually a couple years ahead of her grade level!

So, when it was time for Lindy to start kindergarten that year, I figured it would be a piece of cake.  I knew she was smart and she had always been advanced for her age.  She started walking at 9 months and had a giant vocabulary by 18 months.  I figured she’d be like Elisa and practically teach herself and I would just be along for the ride.

Well, as it turned out…. Continue reading “Homeschooling with Dyslexia”

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kids, parenting

Why You Should Make Your Teenager Buy Their Own Clothes

Why you should make your teenager buy their own clothes

Years ago, when I was growing up, my parents instituted a rule that when we turned 13 we were responsible for buying our own clothes.  The farm would provide us with a pair of work boots and every day coat (meaning the coat you wore to do chores and farmwork) and Mom and Dad would make sure we had a decent “good” coat (meaning it was nicer, but you wore it forever!), but all other clothing purchases were your responsibility (we did get underwear at Christmas, though, so that helped, lol).

I had no other friends who had to buy ALL of their own clothes!  Seriously.  If they needed new jeans, their parents bought it for them.  They want a new sweater?  Their parents bought it for them.  Now, granted, my situation was slightly different, in that I had a good job by 13 (farming for your dad starts early and he paid pretty well.  And you get LOTS of summer hours in the tractor!)  But I had friends who had jobs later who still didn’t have to buy all of their own clothes.

As our kids got older, we instituted the same rule (except for Reece, but that’s a whole different story).  And we are completely in the minority. Continue reading “Why You Should Make Your Teenager Buy Their Own Clothes”

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4H, everything, kids, life on the farm

…and Everything Else

small dog

Today, I’m going to a just give you a random post about a little bit of “everything else” that’s been going on around here!  July, August and September threw for a bit of a loop and I’ve had a hard time sitting in front of the computer to blog about it.  It was a good loop, mind you 😉

1  Tent camping over Labor Day

Jeff’s family has camped in Noel, Missouri over Labor Day for decades, literally.  It’s a large family affair involving distant cousins, great aunts, etc.  Anyway, we have a great time, but due to livestock issues and the crowded conditions of the river (which Reece doesn’t do well with), we didn’t go last year.  Instead we started going during August in the middle of the week with Jeff’s parents and his sister and her family.  It had gotten really difficult for both Jeff and his dad to be gone at the same time because of the cattle operation and finding someone to water and check on everything, so they decided that this summer, they couldn’t both be gone at the same time. Well, we went camping in August for 5 days in our camper with Jeff’s sister and her family, but my girls and I really missed going over Labor Day with the big group.  So, we took a wild hair and decided to just load the truck up, drive over ourselves, and tent camp! Continue reading “…and Everything Else”

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fair ribbons
4H, kids

5 Lessons Learned from 4H and the County Fair

 

5 Lessons learned from 4H and the County Fair

Our county fair has come and gone.  Lessons were learned, tears were shed, sleep was lost, awards were won, and fun was had.

I grew up always going to the Cowley County Fair.  I helped my grandma run the open class art department and always entered baking and art.  The carnival rides and grandstand events were a huge hit and, as I got older, I loved running around the fairgrounds with my friends.

man and boy in grandstands
Here’s Jeff and Reece in the grandstands at the Figure 8 races. We all love a good race with lots of close calls and maybe a few wrecks 😉

When most people think of the county fair, usually 4H comes to mind.  Well, I was only in 4H for one year when I was 10, so the fair and 4H didn’t really sync together in my mind. Continue reading “5 Lessons Learned from 4H and the County Fair”

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autism, kids, parenting

Unexpected and Unplanned Blessings

 

unexpected post pic

 

My baby turns 11 today!  How is that possible??  I don’t feel old enough to have my youngest child be that old!  And to put a different perspective on it- my youngest brother was 11 when my twins were born!  Crazy how time flies.  I had so many people tell me that when I was a young mom deep in the trenches of babies and toddlers, but I don’t think I really believed them?

Anyway, I’ve been spending the morning reflecting on the day Lindy came into our lives and what my expectations were for that day and for my life in general.  Looking back, I can see a little glimpse now of what God had planned…

So, to give you a background-

I’m a planner and I always had a plan for my life.  I was going to get married in my early 20’s and have my first baby by 25, pop out a few more over the next few years and have this lovely large family of blond, blue-eyed children.  Basically, I wanted to recreate the family my siblings and I had!  I come from a fairly large family (there were 5 of us kids) and everybody in the family (aunts and uncles) also has lots of kids, minimum 3.  I had 20+ cousins on both sides of my family!

Enter real life-

I got married at the ripe old age of 21 (I thought I was so old and mature!) and had the twins at 22 after a horrible pregnancy full of many medical issues.  Reece (my autistic son) had some physical challenges (low muscle tone), but after a year of physical therapy, he seemed fine.  So, when the twins were on the verge of 3 years old, we decided it was time for another.  I got pregnant right away and spent the next 8 months in virtual pregnancy hell.  I had worse complications than I had with the twins (complications with hyperemesis gravidarum) and I was more than happy to see that pregnancy come to an end!  So, on March 23 after 18 hours of pitocin induced labor and an emergency c-section, Lindy Sue came into the world!  And I tell ya, I should never question God or try to give Him orders because He knows what He is doing!  He gave us the exactly perfect child.  She was my saving grace!

You see, during my last trimester, Reece was showing signs of autism and over the weekend that I was in the hospital having Lindy, he completely flipped.  I came home to a blank-eyed boy who wouldn’t sleep, ran around stimming all day and who quit playing with his twin.  It was crazy and heart-breaking and depressing and horrible.  But, I had a little beautiful baby who rarely cried, was always happy, was completely easy going and who was my bright spot in a suddenly dark and confusing world.

Lindy grew up to be have strawberry blond hair (a total surprise inherited from her great-great-aunt!) and bright blue eyes.  She is her sister’s best friend and my baby girl.  She’s shy around others, but a total ham at home, full of one-liners, just like her dad.  She’s not what I had pictured all those years ago when I was telling God how things were going to be!  Nope, God taught me another lesson (He’s all too good at that!) and blessed me with kids that I needed, not the kids that I wanted.

So, on this day, March 23, 2017, I’m giving thanks to Him for the past 11 years with my littlest baby!

What are blessings has God given you that were completely unexpected? Does your family look like you pictured it would? 

 

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autism, kids, parenting

When You Don’t Get Your Miracle (Autism Journey)

Ten years ago, our family experienced a sudden shift in our life journey that no one saw coming.  Our son became autistic.  There were subtle warning signs starting when he was about 15 months old, but nothing jarring that really made us question his development.  That’s for another post. But, the fact of the matter is, at age 3 1/2 our only son swirled into autism and our life was changed.

I tend to gravitate towards challenges and I always like to be great at everything I do (or I won’t even attempt it- its a flaw of mine!) and once we had our official diagnosis, I was determined to beat it.  My son would be cured come hell or high water.  We would be one of those success stories.  Besides, having a less-than-perfect son was NOT in my life plan!

I jumped into exploring autism with everything I had.  I read and I researched.  I left no stone, no diet, no supplement, nothing unturned.  We found a bio-medical doctor four hours away.  After a battery of tests, it was determined that he was deficient in a bazillion different vitamins and minerals and he was intolerant to a bazillion different foods.  I ate, drank, breathed and slept autism (I seriously literally dreamed about all the diet and supplements he was on!).  At my ten year high school class reunion, I told everyone that I fully expected him to be cured by the next reunion.  I wasn’t gonna be one of those parents that just let it all go, come what may.  No, by golly, we were gonna beat this thing!!!

Over time, something happened. Or rather didn’t happen.  Our son wasn’t getting better.  We begged and pleaded with God.  I said the same prayer every day, “Lord, please heal him.”  I was doing everything I was supposed to do!  We were on the right diet and were giving him the right supplements.  But, he wasn’t healed.  Oh, we’d have our steps forward, but we had just as many backward.  I kept thinking that there was something else out there, that if we just found the last piece of the puzzle, that it would all be better and we’d have our “normal” son back.  I had our book written in my head.  You know, the one with our family’s picture on the cover where I tell all about our journey and how we healed our son.

But, about 3 years ago, I finally realized it- we weren’t going to be that miracle family.  It just wasn’t going to be us.  Our son would always have “special needs.”  God wasn’t going to grant me my miracle.  After seven years of desperately trying and hoping for that bolt of lightning, I stopped.

Our story doesn’t end there.  I didn’t spiral into depression and I didn’t quit loving our son.  I didn’t stop praising God or question His sovereignty over my life.  Instead, I looked back on our journey and thought about the what-ifs in a different way.  What if he was normal?  What would our life be like?  Would we be a happier family?  Would Jeff and I have a stronger marriage?

You know what?  When I changed my perspective (or perhaps God has changed it for me, slowly working on my over the years), I saw different answers to those questions.  My son and his quirks have made me a better person.  They have given us a stronger marriage.  They have made his sisters more compassionate kids.  They’ve shown me traits (both good and bad) in other people that I didn’t know were there.  Where once autism was the enemy to fight, the one bad thing in a really good life, I have found that autism hasn’t been the enemy.  A cure for it is not the miracle I needed.  God knew all along that for me to grow in my faith, for Jeff and I to become an extremely tight partnership, for my girls to be able to see people in a better light, for our family to be healthier and stronger, He would have to give us something to make that happen.  He chose autism for us.

While I still have hopes for our son to live a “normal” life, I also don’t worry as much about the future with him.  God has seen us through all the time.  He knows what we need and He knows what our son needs.  Who am I to question that?  That is the real miracle.

 

 

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