Monday, February 28, 2011

Extra Chores and Extra Smiles

The Mr. and I had a great FEC meeting yesterday!  We spent some time in intensive study of Nicholeen Peck's book Parenting: A House United!  It was a great meeting, and we came away with a game plan for our family!  (I think part of the pull I've been feeling lately, involves the need for reviewing my TJEd books and my Self-Government stuff!)  This meeting occurred after a great family meeting with the kiddo's, who all offered input about some concerns in our house lately.  The cutest concern voiced was, of course, from Ladybug, who said "Ummmm...I like Minnie and Mickey!"  (She carries these stuffed animals everywhere around our house.)  We talked about some issues we've been having with lying and tattling and whining, lately, to name a few.  Today was the first day of intense focus on Self-Government principles.  We had fallen out of some important habits and just needed a refresher course about it all.  So...how has our day been?  Well, one of the kiddo's had gone through the whole Rule of Three and lost his privileges for 24 hours, before we even got downstairs for breakfast this morning, then proceeded to remain "Un-Calm" so long, that the loss of privileges didn't actually start til' this afternoon.  Yikes!  I keep reminding myself about the part from Nicholeen's book that says "You don't mind crying, right?"  I am loving how this system really is helping our kiddo's with various issues.  From chronic whining, to tantrums and raging, to a kiddo' who will help more with chores now because, "I don't want to get extra chores, mom...AND I'm five now!"  Ya' gotta' love that, right?!  So, there have been lots of extra chores today, and a couple of kiddo's needed a calming time out, but there are surprisingly, some extra smiles today.  I have been excited because after our intensive study, yesterday, I feel like I know this stuff better than I did a year ago, and the kiddo's are excited because there is more consistency around here!  Yay Us!  Now...one day down....only 14 more to go, to make this all a great habit for our family. (It takes 15 times of doing most things, to make it a habit.)  So far, so good!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

6 Month "No" and Teaching Self Government

I have felt the need for a 6 month "No", for a short while now.  (Technically, this isn't due until April.)  This is easier said than done!  It's extremely difficult to say "No" to something in your life, when everything in your life is important!  This is the dilemma I've been grappling with lately.  I have always felt that there are seasons in life.  I can feel the seasons starting to change, but am unsure of the direction for myself and my family.  This is something that just needs more intense pondering and prayer.  I recently heard  part of a talk from the Relief Society presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  It was about the "Essentials" in our lives--those things that must be done before the other "have-to's", "need-to's" or "would like to do's."  I made a list and put it on our wall.  It's a good sized list.  Sometimes it is daunting.  It takes a lot to keep our family life running smoothly and to keep everyone well and happy and our environment clean and inspiring.  It takes a lot of daily adjustments, to keep us on our "flight plan", so to speak. 

  I have recently been studying more from Parenting: A House United, by Nicholeen Peck.  I am trying to get all of her great tidbits of Self-Government under my belt and sealed into my brain, so we can implement the "extra chore" part into our family.  It has been extremely difficult to get our children to do an extra chore when one is given (as a consequence for poor behavior.)  After all, you can't make them do it.  I had previously given up on this idea for our family.  It just wasn't working.  However, the kiddo's have grown and changed a bit and circumstances warrant a second look at trying to implement this into our family culture.  We have been focusing on Family work, and what I call "Job Training", and the children have learned how to clean various different things and areas in our home.  They have felt success in doing so, and I have felt confident in their abilities.  So...this week, I will study more from this amazing book by Nicholeen.  I will seek inspiration about how to apply these self-governing principles in our family, and find new approaches to things like: whining, lying, disobeying and tantrums.  We will celebrate the family successes we are having, like: "Job Training", speaking sweetly and responding appropriately to each other.  I'll let ya' know how it goes!  :0)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

5 years ago

I can't believe Cuddle Bug is 5 years old today! It seems like just yesterday that he was born! What a great day that was! He has been such a special kiddo' and a great addition to our family! He is growing up SO fast and is becoming a great helper! He is learning a ton and has such a good heart!

We are very blessed you are a part of our family, Cuddle Bug! We love you! Have a great birthday! :0)

Love,
Mom and Dad
Snug, Luv, Wiggle and Lady

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Helping

I spent some time with a friend, who I met at Walmart 3 years ago in the restroom, of all places.  I was there helping my kiddo's in and out of our 4 seat stroller, and she asked if I did foster care.  We started up a conversation and I found out that she was just starting the process to become a licensed foster parent, with her husband and family.  Fast forward to about 5 months ago...I ran into her at the children's hospital where were both attending appointments for kiddo's.  She now has a beautiful, foster daughter (who she is now in the process of adopting), who has various special needs.  She's beautiful!  It was my privilege to stop by her home last night, and help her through the process of paperwork for the adoption.  She is so grateful for my help!  I am so glad to help her!  Foster care was a part of our lives for 5 years straight.  It feels good to help someone else through the process!

  Speaking of helping...we have 5 little helpers who are going to join us in some family work and errands today!  I was telling my friend last night, that we try to teach our kiddo's to develop their "discipline muscle", so they know that when life gets hard...they can accomplish difficult tasks.  We were also talking about helping our children, by allowing them to use some of their "qwerks" to their advantage.  For example, our youngest daughter has sensory issues and (unofficial) OCD.  She is awesome at cleaning baseboards!  She loves to put a wash cloth on her fingers and trace the baseboards back and forth.  What works for her, works for us and she get's that sense of pride in a job well done!  It's great!  So today...we have a volunteer who wants to help Dad clean out the garage, we have a refrigerator which is screaming to be cleaned and we have lots of tiny, eager helpers ready to make it fun!  Some of our greatest conversations occur while we are cleaning!  It kind of reminds me of that song from White Christmas..."The best things happen while you're dancing..."  Whether it's dancing or cleaning, the key to the "best" part about it, is being together as a family! There should be some great conversations today!  I'll keep ya' posted!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Different Ways to Learn

Let's jump in and start talking about learning styles!  I have been fascinated by what I am learning about this lately!  I found this chart that asks some good questions about learning styles, and it helps to ask these questions when thinking about ourselves or our children.  Check it out HERE

  I recently took a little learning style quiz, similar to this one, for my family.  I found that while we all have our strengths and weaknesses in certain areas, we are all kinisthetic learners, or people who learn by doing, touching or handling the material we are learning about.  I am excited about this!  While we still continue to learn using all of our senses, having a good hands-on project will ensure that as a group, we are all getting the most out of a project or task.  I have really enjoyed using various manipulatives with my kiddo's!  When they open the "Joy Cabinet" (what we call our closet), there are lots of different teaching tools in there, which they can manipulate with their hands.  One of the things we have really loved the most, is a wooden box containing little wooden pieces of a bear.  There are little bear heads which have different facial expressions conveying different emotions on them, and there are bear bodies wearing various different types of clothing, and also bear feet wearing different kinds of shoes.  Our kiddo's LOVE to hear me tell a made up story about this little bear, switching pieces around as I go, on the front of the lid, which the pieces fit into like a puzzle.  It only took a little bit of inspiration from me, and now each of the children like to take turns using the bear.  Our youngest daughter does not tell stories with the bear (she doesn't really talk), but she uses it as a puzzle.

  I'd like to say a little something about Deep Pressure and Joint Compression!  I am not a trained therapist. I am not a therapist at all, unless you want to call me a parent therapist.  But our family has learned from some wonderful therapists who come each week, and teach our family.  Some of our Occupational therapists, have taught me and my husband how to do Deep Pressure and Joint Compression.  This has really helped each of our kiddo's!  If you don't know how to provide this kind of therapy to your child, I HIGHLY recommend finding a trained therapist who can teach you!  The bodies of kiddo's who have special needs, are different!  They respond to different stimuli (that maybe others of us don't even notice is there), their bodies sometimes don't respond to stimuli that most every typically developing person would be hard pressed to ignore, and their bodies sometimes just need to "wake up and feel!"  or "wake up and eat!"  We have found that Deep Pressure and Joint Compression help to connect all of the communication pathways in the body.  They help a person to accurately perceive sensory information received by various parts of the body, and respond appropriately.  This often has a calming affect on their body, which is displayed in different ways.  Sometimes it means they can focus on a task at hand, more clearly.  Other times it means that they can eat better or write better.  Sometimes it means they can settle down, relax and go to sleep, while other times it means that their bodies can wake up and take notice of something we are trying to help them learn how to do!  Deep Pressure and Joint Compression are invaluable tools to our family!  Let me know if you'd like to learn more about how you can learn to provide these therapeutic techniques for your children.  While I am not a therapist, I could likely recommend a way for you to find a therapist who can teach you!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Wheels Are Turning

I am excited!  Ya' know how when you get the right answer about something, things just keep moving forward?!  I can feel that wonderful energy, about starting this TJEd Special Needs Community!  I am excited to be able to talk about things like: Sensory Issues, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Feeding Tubes, Dyslexia, Expressive and Receptive Language Delays, Developmental and Cognitive Delays, etc. etc. etc. (all issues our beautiful children face), with other families who need to talk about these things too!  I am especially excited to share ideas of special ways to inspire special kiddo's to greatness!  Most of all, I am excited to share the special blessings of parenting special kiddo's, and all of the great things they are teaching me!  Come and join me!  If you have an extra special kiddo' who has a unique issue, challenge or diagnosis, let's buoy each other up!  :0)

  When a child has an awakening for learning, it's a wonderful thing!  We've experienced this recently in our family, thanks to the principles of Leadership Education, or A Thomas Jefferson Education!   We've been reading Caddie Woodlawn together!  How I LOVE this story!  I love the way it is written and the sweet moments that come from great discussions about this story, with my children.  I can seen the little cogs in their minds and imaginations, turning!  I am SO glad that we have this time to learn together at home!  I wouldn't miss this for the world!  It's so fun to be reading these great, classic works together!  I am thrilled that our children are experiencing these great stories in their childhood...something I didn't get to do! :0) 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

AGENDA

 My husband and I watched the movie AGENDA: Grinding America Down by Curtis Bowers last night.  If you haven't heard of this movie, you've GOT to check it out!  www.agendadocumentary.com  It is well written and researched and it is eye opening!  It shows that Communism is alive and well and it talks about the people and groups which have been targeting our morality and freedom in this country for a very long time.  One of the things that I really loved about this movie, is how it asks questions and gives answers to those questions, and at the end, it tells us what we can and should do to fight against the tyrannical changes that have been taking place, slowly and silently, all around us.  It's a very good movie!  I highly recommend it!  It's definitely worth purchasing!  It's definitely worth showing to family and friends!  Please check it out!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Forum and Switching Gears a Bit

I attended the Southwest TJEd Forum yesterday!  It was really wonderful!  I was SO excited that Angela Baker came to speak to us!  (I have a podcast from when she spoke last year at the SLC Forum and I think she's wonderful!)  She was absolutely as wonderful in person as she was on my Zune!  I learned A LOT!  A TON!  This was my second year of attending the forum and it gave me a great boost of confidence, energy and excitement in my endeavors regarding leadership education.  (I will share my notes another day this week!)
  I want to share an "A-ha!" moment that occurred yesterday!  At the very end of the whole thing, there was some time left for questions.  I hesitated to ask, but felt my heart pounding and knew that I had an important question and this was my chance to get an answer "from the top."  I raised my hand and said "As the mother of special needs children, it's a very lonely road to walk.  The conversation that I am always having in my mind, goes back and forth between wanting to inspire my children to reach their potential, but wondering if I am expecting too much from them sometimes.  I would like to know what kind of support is out there, for Leadership Education with special needs kids?"  The TJEdspecial  site was mentioned, but I told them that I didn't find it to be very active.  Some of my fellow TJEd-er's agreed with me about that.   I told everyone that maybe I will have to jump on there and get it going a little. Angela Baker answered my question and both she and Dr. Schulthies said that there is not any sort of support group for special needs kids in the leadership education community, that they know of, besides the TJEdspecial  site.  That answer was hard to take for two reasons:
1.  I was pretty sure that's the answer I was going to get, and it was discouraging to once again feel that lonliness.
2.  I knew that if that was the answer I got, that I was going to need to do something about it and that it wasn't going to be easy.
So...I write today, to tell you that while I don't exactly know what this is going to look like or how it will be manifested, this blog is going to change gears ever so slightly.  While I will still write about our family and our journey through leadership education, while I will still treasure the relationships that I have with each of my friends and readers  (I hope you'll stick around...I LOVE you all!), I am going to ask you to do something for me.  Would you be willing to help me build a support system for families who are faced with the unique challenges and blessings of special needs?  I don't want to do this alone!  I want to find others who understand that the special needs conveyor belt ( the public school system) is many times, beneath the amazing potential of our children.  I want to network with families who are teaching the principles contained in A Thomas Jefferson Education to their special needs (and typically developing) children, and who understand the unique dynamics presented in doing so.  I want to continue my relationships with each of you who add priceless knowledge and wisdom to my journey, while also building new relationships with families who "get" the special needs thing.  In short, I want to network, uplift and encourage others who are in the "same boat", and I want to receive the same uplift and encouragement from them!  Can you help me to do this?

  As I have pondered my mission, it has always revolved around my children.  Most mothers would probably say the same thing, but for me, my vision of my mission extends beyond the usual motherly experience.  My vision for my mothering years, extends beyond that of what mothers who are raising "typically developing" children might see.  I have a pretty good inkling that at least one, possibly two of our children will grace us with their presence throughout life.  I am honored and a bit discouraged at the same time.  It's very hard to dream for a child when their future is not clear.  Who knows what will really happen?  This is just what I am feeling right now!  Leadership Education for a special needs child, looks a bit different than the "norm".  So, I'd like to get a group of families together, who would like to walk this road with me!  I'll share what I've learned and eagerly listen as other families share what they've learned as well!  And the beautiful part is, we'll be able to walk this road together!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A List for Costco...from the kids

They are all playing right now (we just got back from Costco), and here's Snug and Luv's shopping list for Costco:

Guns
Water
Pizza
French Fries
Carrots
Baby Bottles
A Table and Chairs
"Oh!, and we need butter!"

I don't know what they're getting ready for, but they'll definitely be prepared!

Monday, February 7, 2011

He is Teaching Me

I didn't have a great weekend. I can think of lots of other weekends that have been greater than this past weekend. For reasons that I don't have the energy to go into, I experienced a lot of hurt this weekend. In an effort to make a wrong situation right, I dug myself into a hole with someone. For the first time in my life, that I can think of, I have been presented with an opportunity to pray for an enemy. This person is an enemy to me, not because I feel that way about them, but because they feel that way about me. At first, I thought it was solely because I had been misunderstood. Now, I understand, that it's because this person just plain, doesn't like me. I have come to the painful realization, that this person never did like me. This person used our family for their own benefit, all the while smiling and acting like a friend, while simultaneously disliking me, immensely. Many hurtful things were said to me, in my effort to make things right with this person. The interesting thing about all of this, is that I really believe this is an answer to some of my recent prayers. (Could I really have asked for this???) I wasn't asking to be criticized by any means. I wasn't asking to have an enemy either. I had been asking Heavenly Father, to help me be submissive and meek. I had been reading a little about will power vs. heart power, and the difference between the two. (See post from a few days ago.) Today, I picked up a book that I started reading a few weeks ago, called A Quiet Heart, by Patricia T. Holland. I had stopped reading in the middle of a chapter. Today, when I started reading again, it started talking about meekness. I learned that the definition of meekness is "quiet strength". Through many of the trials that have come in my life, Mr. Man would tell you that I often ask him "What does the Savior expect of me, in this instance?" I know He expects me to forgive, but I also know He doesn't expect me to be stupid. I loved this quote from the book: "I believe that what we learn from Moses and Joseph (Smith) is that meekness also means strength- strength to be yourself, your best self, and to resist those people, principles, and places that work to abuse you physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I promise you that it is not God's will for you to be used and abused. Meekness means you must follow him where he will lead you, but he will always lead you away from, not toward, those who would fail to treat you with dignity and respect." She goes on to say that if we find ourselves in a situation where we are not being treated with dignity and respect, " I encourage you to meekly--which means with peaceful strength-- insist that a change in behavior is required if the relationship is to continue." Now, I won't be making any requests to this person, about them changing their behavior. I am staying clear away from this person. But I will pray for this person, that this person will find joy and fulfillment and something that is their own. I will pray that this person can be happy and that maybe someday we can be friends. I will pray for the desire and ability to let it go.

In my morning scripture study this morning, I read Luke 6:22, 23 which says:

22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.

23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

Heavenly Father is mindful of my situation. He is just teaching me.

Going Private

It's just that time! Let me know your email address if you'd like an invite.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hearts

I liked this post and thought I'd share it with you, in the spirit of Valentine's Day! Here are some great sugar cookie decorating ideas and recipes! :0)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Heart Power, Will Power and Submissiveness

I was reading the other night, about will power, and why it doesn't always work. As human beings, we make promises to ourselves, that we will be and do better, and then (if you are anything like me), we fall short and need to re-commit again. I read recently, a little bit about "HEART POWER". I learned that because we are human, if we try to do everything on our own, through sheer strength of will, we will always fall short because we are imperfect. Heart power refers to asking Heavenly Father for the desire to DESIRE a change of some sort. I loved that idea and realized that's why will power doesn't work. Will power is a battle against ourselves or the "natural man". Heart Power is asking the Lord to change our hearts to be aligned with His, and then finding success because our wills for ourselves become His will for us! As I try to be more submissive, I am finding that a quiet assurance comes. I guess the older I get, the more I realize that there is very little in this world I can control. Why kick against the pricks? Heavenly Father has a mission for my life, and I can dawdle all day long, but in the end, I will only find peace and serenity, as I accept and honor His will for me! So...I am working on being submissive and in tuning my heart to sing Thy praise, as the song says! (I LOVE Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing!) And I am finding more faith every day! Simplifying life is such a blessing! If we find out what the essentials are for our lives, and live them, life is do-able! Even if we do it one day at a time!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Randomness

Today we were talking about Cuddle Bug's upcoming birthday! We are getting excited around here! He's going to be 5 soon! How did this happen? He used to be 4 mos. old! I am amazed at how quickly children grow! This is one of the reasons I am so happy to be home with our kiddo's each day! I had an interesting conversation with Ladybug today. I asked her what she would like for her birthday. She said "A pink rock!" When I asked "What for?", she said "To throw at brown blocks!" When I told her we shouldn't throw things like that, she said "Oh...I throw it at Nana's house?" I laughed and told her she is silly! She cracks me up! I was working with her on counting today! She isn't grasping where to start, like we'd like to see her do, she wants to start in the middle of my hand instead of counting from the left to right. But once she gets going, sometimes she can put two or three numbers together in order. Earlier today, Mr. Man went outside to water the garden. Ladybug could hear the hum of the water from the hose and put her fingers in her ears. She said "What's that?" I told her what it was and asked her if it bothered her ears. She said "Yes." We got her sleep study results today. On Monday, I'll need to call and find someone who can translate them into english for me. LOL :0) I don't understand everything it talks about. We'll see what we can learn about it! Have a great weekend everyone! I know I will! Mr. Man and I get to go on an actual date tomorrow! What is that? I can't remember the last time we got to go on a date!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ready

Mr. Man and I were talking last night, about everything going on with the world these days! It's difficult not to worry about what's going to happen. I've realized that I can only do so much, to keep my family safe and to be ready for all of the ways the world is changing. I know that the Savior is coming soon, though we don't know exactly when. Knowing that, I immediately start to reflect on all of the things I spend my time doing, and where they fit into the list of "essentials" that must be done. Not everything is important. Even things that seem VERY important are just not. Am I doing those things that are the MOST important? This question has been running through my mind lately. When I get to visit with my Savior again, how will He feel about the monument I have created with my life?

Today, I am concentrating on food storage! I'm takin' inventory, and I'm re-stocking and rotating. (The children will probably learn some pretty sweet skills in categorization today.) :0) I am also taking a spiritual inventory for myself and my family! What lessons have I learned, that needed learning? What new character traits need more intense focus in my life? What could I be teaching our children, that they haven't mastered yet? In short, I am pondering my mission for this earth life. I will set my course again, and re-commit myself to learning and teaching what I need to learn and teach. It's just one of those days, where a review is necessary. I want to be ready and I want my family to be ready! :0)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Jazzercise

I went to my first Jazzercise class tonight! It was fun! It was HARD! I LOVED it! Even though...I was the youngest gal in the room and all the other ladies were Jazzercising circles around me! Hee Hee :0) They were all so nice and genuine! I had a great time and happened to find out that the owner of the dance studio it was held at, used to teach at my aunt's dance studio way back when! It was nice to see how great she's doing with her own studio now, and I got to talk to her for a few minutes after class! She doesn't allow any inappropriate dance moves and doesn't allow immodest costumes either! It was fun to see the pictures of all of her cute dancin' kiddo's on the wall! So GREAT! I am excited that her studio is doing so well! :0) Anyway...I am excited to see how quickly I can get into shape, with my new Jazzercise program! Wish me luck! :0)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2011 Goals straight from the Kiddos' Mouths

I had to chuckle today, wben I was writing down some goals for the kiddo's. Among the many that were cute and funny, Ladybug set a personal goal to "Eat a Food!", and Cuddle Bug and Luv Bug both listed Nephi as their favorite scripture hero...Luv Bug, because he held onto the iron rod and ate the fruit of the tree of life, and Cuddle Bug, because he did "The Things The Lord Commands" (singing) and got the brass plates. Snug and Wiggle Bug both listed Daniel as their favorite scripture character and Ladybug just plain likes the whole Book of Mormon! Oh, and for his favorite song these days, Wiggle likes to sing a combo of Scripture Power and Follow the Prophet. SO CUTE and funny! We had a good time tracing everyone's hand and writing down their shoe size and some other "All About Me" things. It was fun!

In other news, boy is Luv becoming quite the little worker! She helps me so much each day! She has been loading and unloading the dishwasher, drying the pots and pans and putting them away (with my help), learning to sweep the floor and she's really great at wiping down the counters in the kitchen! She does it cheerfully every day and has been asking what else she can help me with! I am so proud of her! Today, she and Cuddle Bug were doing the "Shake and Throw" Boogie in the laundry room. (AKA unloading the washer into the dryer.) So sweet to see and hear them grabbing clothes and saying "Shake... and Throw!", together! :0)