Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I Keep Saying I'm Going To Post More....

...and then I totally forget to. Been crazy busy a lot of the time around here. Heck, sometimes I get sidetracked just going to get a cup of coffee. We've been doing pretty good, no major issues. Getting things done and doing school and all that.
Gabe is working on the book "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons," we had started this book part of last year, and it went well for the first few lessons, and then he wanted nothing to do with it. This time is going much easier and he seems to remember a few of the sounds. He's been recognizing words on the tv, and on dvd cases and books, things like that. We're also doing some of the BrainQuest things that I picked up over the last couple years. We have the 2-3yo all the way up to the 1st and 2nd grade ones. And we just picked up a phonics one usable for ages 2 and up.
Caleb is reading more and more, and seems to be thoroughly amazed every day when he can read something new off the tv or newspaper. Still can't seem to spell, but we're working on that! He's shown an interest in the phonics stuff that I picked up for Gabe, and has asked a few times if he can do them. I'm more than happy to let him, it will help him make more progress. Now I understand what people were talking about when they said that one day it just clicked for their kids with reading!
Caitlin is doing great school-wise, of course she's pretty much always been easier to teach than Caleb or Gabe. Her biggest issue is her attitude and it seems to get the best of her pretty much daily. So, we're working on her controlling her mouth and her behavior.
James is doing well school-wise, and is getting a ton of practical life skills work. He's learning to do things in the garage with dad and grandpa, he's helped with taking beds apart, putting things together, measuring space to make sure things fit. He knows how to do laundry in grandma's front loader now, and is also learning to cook! So far he can make eggs, and of course he's learned to read the packaging on pretty much everything else. He can microwave, make toast, etc. Knows how to make mac and cheese too. It's amazing to see how he changes and matures. Hard to believe he's 13 already!
Mike's doing good at work, he's been working in the smokehouse the last month or so. I think he likes thins job a little better. It's been 2 months since he hit the deer and totaled the car, and just under 2 months since he got the truck. And 2 months since I got my tongue re-pierced. Kind of funny that he called with the news of hitting the deer when I was at the Tattoo Shop.
Myself, I've been pretty laid back about what I've been doing. I gained back about 5 lbs, mostly because I went back to drinking pop again for a while and because of skipping my walks for a couple weeks. But I've already lost 2lbs of that just by cutting out the pop and coffee again. The weather has been up and down lately, and with it getting darker earlier it makes it more difficult to get my walks in. But that's really no excuse, so I'm getting back in the swing of things and even picked up some weights that I can use without even having to leave the house. Can't wait to be down another 60lb!
It's great to be able to measure my loss by what I used to wear as opposed to what sizes I can wear now. I've gone down 2 band sizes and a cup size bra-wise, 3 underwear sizes, 2 shirt sizes, and I can wear jeans now! I used to not be able to fit my largest jeans, which were a size 26-28. Now I can fit a 22 stretch with a little room and a regular 24 with no spandex at all and not have to lay down or suck it in to fasten them. My size 24 skirt that I so wanted to be able to fit into is now WAY too big, and a lot of the other skirts that I couldn't wear are fitting so much better! I even wore my size 20 capri's this summer! I haven't worn them in at least 5 years!
Since the kids are awake now, and it's time to start our school day, I'll have to update more later.kids

Friday, October 8, 2010

Been Soooooooo Busy!

Here's a peek at some of what I've been up to!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wow Been Almost a Month, Again!

It's been crazy busy around here again. What with moving and putting things in storage, trying to make things fit and getting things ready for another school year.
We are currently living with the inlaws, not easy for anyone really, but at least we get along.
The kids are good, gearing up for another school year. Not exactly excited about it since we're still having warm wonderful days made for riding bikes and going to the park, but at least we're getting our noses back to the grindstone.

I'm staying steady at this weight it seems, at least for now, but I'm very glad to see that even with indulging in a few treats every once in a while I'm at least steady and not gaining. I'm loving the progress that I've made in the last year. I've gone down 3 sizes in underwear, god only knows in pants because all I ever wore was stretch pants. I walk nearly every day, at least 12-14 blocks sometimes double that. (Avg of 12 blocks to a mile around here!) I drink my water, and I watch what I eat.

More posts to come as we get school going!

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Yup, 65 lbs gone for good! I'm currently wearing a pair of size 20 capris that I haven't been able to even SQUEEEEEEEZE into for years. God does that feel good! I can almost fit the next size down for bra size!
Still very carefully watching my portion sizes, keeping a majority of the sugar out of my diet, almost no pop, very little coffee or caffeine of any kind. Lots of water to keep hydrated, iced tea sweetened with sweet n low or other calorie free sweeteners. Not a lot of carbs either. But that's really how I usually eat when I eat at home. Haven't really been eating out either. And of course walking nearly everyday for at least an hour helps too.
Still can't believe the number on the scale...I've lost the equivalent of one of my kids. Total WOW factor.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Keeping Busy...

Having a decent week. Bought a couple new shirts and a pair of shorts, smaller sizes yay! The other pair of shorts I have are a size 22 and are nice and loose, almost too loose because if I tuck one of my new shirts in they are loose enough to slip down some. Going to try and see if the new bras that I bought will fit yet.
Kids are doing good, been keeping busy and making sure that no one gets heat stroke or sick from this horrible weather. We've had heat indexes in the 90-105 range, with temps in the high 80's-90's range. Sucks, because it means not being outside much during the day, and means less trips to the park and other places when things get that warm. Thank goodness for air conditioning!
Other than that not too much going on. Hope to have something better to post later this weekend.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Still Surprised...

Down 64lbs as of now. Wow I can't believe that I actually weighed as much as I did. I went thru my clothes the other day and couldn't believe that most of what is now too big ever actually fit. And not well at that! I've gone down almost 3 sizes in underwear, and looking at the ones that are too big makes me feel terrible that I ever let myself get that big. I can now fit a 1x in most shirts, I still prefer most of them baggy though so I usually go with a 2x. But its still a huge change from buying a 4x shirt and not being happy because it didn't fit right.
My old standby for the last way too many years was stretchy legging-type pants. Because they fit. And when you get to be big like that, it's hard to find things that fit. Not that they fit flatteringly or anything, but I could wear them. But now I can wear jeans again, not huge tent-style jeans, but size 22's! And I don't have to defy gravity, hang upside down or lay on the bed to do them up! That's huge! I can't wait to wear a 20, 18, 16! I'm sure I'll never get rid of all the belly, but I'm going to sure try my damnedest.
My first goal I had set was to lose 20lb. I did it! My second was 40, and I made that too. Then 60, and I passed that too. The new goal is 80lbs lost. And I'm almost there. 16 lbs to go til I meet my next goal.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Long Time No Type!

So lets see, the last time I updated was over a month ago! Can't believe it's been that long! So many changes, lots of stuff going on.

First off, I'm now officially down 60 lbs! And wearing a size 22 pants comfortably without having to contort myself to fasten them or anything. Can't remember when I've felt this good wearing this size! I'm almost ready to go bra shopping again as this one is made as small as it can be and I still have wiggle room. Still doing the same things I've been doing, cutting back on sweets and portion sizes and cutting out almost totally on the pop. Haven't really been drinking my coffee either for a while.
I'm walking the dog every day, and sometimes also go for a walk with one of the kids or by myself. Drinking lots and lots of water, 4-8 20oz bottles a day, depending on the heat and whatever else I drink.
I'm looking forward to clothes shopping!

As far as the kids, they are fine. Same old same old. Gabe is finally sleeping more, and only rarely comes in by me.
Our living situation has changed some, and we are in the process of moving in with my inlaws. That meant that we needed to rehome Scooby, as 3 dogs is really more like 2 dogs too many.
Monday I'm going to go get our storage unit, and this week will be spent putting things in storage. It's going to be challenging at times I'm sure, but we can make it work.

I'm going to make an effort to post at least once a week, which shouldn't be a problem since our school year will be starting soon. It'll be good to keep track of all the fun we have and the projects we do.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Decided to Weigh Myself....

And was pleasantly surprised! I am now down 51# since Oct 2!!! And 21 of that is just since Feb 14! Talk about awesome, I've dropped almost 3 full sizes, and all my clothes are getting loose on me. Friday night we went to Chicago with some friends, and I wore a size 2x skirt that had never ever fit before. Guess what? It was LOOSE!

Things are going ok, still dealing with my depression and stuff, but it's getting a little easier. I just keep going day by day.
The kids are fine, school is going slow but it's going. Weather has been up and down, mostly in the 60's during the day, but some 50's too. And at night it's been anywhere from 30's-50's.
Our plants got eaten, we put them out and the squirrels had a field day with them. What I have growing now is some strawberry plants, tomato plants, and 1 watermellon plant that *might* actually survive, but isn't trying to very hard. I also saw all the strawberry plants that are growing in the side yard and by the fence. And the poppies that are growing by the side of the house too!
In other news, Caitlin is this years Poppy Princess, and gets to be in the Memorial Day Parade! We went to Walmart and passed out poppies, we had a pretty good time, and Caitlin had fun acting cute and getting people to donate to the Legion.
And today is Adrian's 3rd Birthday!!! Happy Birthday Little Man!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Took A Little Hiatus...

Needed some time to figure things out and get my mind straightened out. It's been a long month. Been busy with the kids and life in general.
Our houseguests have finally moved on. They were with us for 6 months, and have now moved on to stay with some other friends in Chicago. I miss Adrian terribly. He was my little shadow, always following behind me when they were here. They've been gone nearly a week. I'm not sure if they're coming back before she has the baby or not. I can't wait to see him again.
Dad's younger brother died the 13th, he was 51. We were told it was a heart attack, but I can't help thinking that the stroke he had this past year didn't maybe have something to do with it. Got to meet his daughter at his memorial service. She seemed nice, we talked for a little while, and I showed her a picture that mom had found when she was going through her photo album. It had Russ and his wife (her mom), Rick and his wife, Dad and Mom, and Peggy and her husband. It was a nice service, with about 50 or so people.
The kids are doing good. We've been taking it easy with some of the school work, and doing a lot of outdoor things. The have gotten to go to the parks, and be in the yard and see things growing and blooming. They got to help paint bedframes, and we'll be doing the boys' walls soon. It's been staying fairly warm during the day, with highs in the 60's and 70's. But night time it still gets down in the 30's and 40's. We've had a little rain, and even a couple thunderstorms. Nothing too bad though. And we're supposed to get more rain this weekend.

Guess I'll update more later. Just so busy right now, what with Spring being in full swing right now and all.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Long Weekend

Long long weekend. I'm so glad it's done and over. Saturday was the first day of spring, and it snowed. Not surprising, and it was all melted by mid day yesterday. We left the kids with the grandparents on Saturday, and took a rather long trip down to the Chicago area. Spent all day with them at a seminar, and didn't make it home til after midnight to collect the kids and go home to sleep.
Yesterday was our anniversary. Didn't do a whole lot, just cooked out and spent time with the kids. And today did more running around and took them to the park for a while.
Right now I'm sitting here listening to them fight over a video game, and wondering what we should do for dinner. I'm sure it's not going to figure itself out, so I guess I'm going to have to start thinking about it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Not Even A Week Yet, But Still Too Long...

Well, my best friend from high school called me Monday and told me that her grandma passed away on Saturday. She came all the way from Missouri for the funeral which was Tuesday, and went back home on Wednesday. Between getting everything ready for her short stay in town, and the funeral itself, we've had a pretty busy week. We've done the basics for school, and gotten a lot more time to be outside and notice the way spring is coming to the area. We've done a lot of our spring cleaning, and taken things to the dump and junkyard depending. Got the old broke stove and freezer out of here, and made lots more room for the kids to play as it gets warmer. We also cleaned up the back patio and the yard, making sure that all the trash and debris that accumulated over the winter (pop bottles, wrappers, things that blew in the yard) got taken care of an cleaned up.
And yesterday, we had our first cookout of the new year! It's been hovering in the 60's during the day, and our home thermometer had even recorded a few 70's in the past week. But I've heard that we may get some cooler weather for the next week or so, only getting into the 40s and 50s. I hope not because I love this warmer weather!

We're going to visit our friends Ron and Renee' on Saturday, and Sunday is our 13th Anniversary. Can't believe it's been that long. Heck, can't believe we've lasted that long! Doesn't seem like we've done enough with these years. Like we haven't come that far. We've moved 10 times in the last 13 years, lived in 9 different houses. Lived in 1 house twice (here!). That's if we include moving into his cousins for a month and his grandma's for a month before we got our first place. Otherwise, not counting them, we've moved 8 times and lived in 7 different houses. I don't usually count those 2, because we only had our clothes and bed, not furniture or anything like that because we had just gotten married.
In the time we've been married, we've rented, bought, and lost a house. That's a lot if you look at it from the standpoint that we rented 3 different places for a year each, then bought our house, lived there for 6 years, and lost it to foreclosure. Then we rented this place for 9mos, moved to another place for 13mos, and moved back here again. This fall would've been 8 years that we would have owned our house.

I don't really miss our house most days. I keep busy and don't think about it. But when I drive past it, I look at the work that's been done by the people who bought it, and I wonder why it was so hard for us. We did some work on the place, it's not like we let the place fall down around our ears. We pulled up carpet, refinished some floors, painted, redid some plumbing. We got rid of 10+ years worth of crap that had been left by previous tenants and the old landlord. We got rid of old cast iron sprinkler pipes that ran thru the entire house, and replaced doors, some windows and the entire boiler system and hot water heater. And we hated every minute of it. That house needed so much done that it sucked the life out of us. We fought nearly every day, there was something new to be fixed every time we turned around. None of us was happy there.
But I do miss it sometimes. Every time I have to say no about getting something we want or need because we don't have the room for it, I miss that big old house and its space. Every time the kids are fighting about not having room to play, or space for their stuff, I miss it. Every time I do laundry, and run out of hot water for showers, I miss it. I miss not having to screw around with the furnace, not having the extra space in the laundry area. Not having the room for company, or for a friend who wants to come and stay for a few days. I miss the floor that we spent a whole weekend refinishing til it was beautiful and new-looking again.
But I don't miss the constant headache of robbing one bill to pay another because we had to fix something else this month. I so don't miss the roof leaking, or the electrical that was bad, or the kitchen that needed the floor re-done. Or the tiny pantry and lack of cabinet space.

But life moves on and so do we. We're hoping that we can manage to find a house that fits our needs within the next year or 2. We're considering a land contract, rent-to-own, or just outright buying. We're trying to pay some things off, and get our credit better before then. We have a few loans, they're improving our credit because they're paid on time, even when he's been laid off. We pay cash for darn near everything else, and we are careful of what we spend money on. If we can't afford it right that minute, we don't get it.
Here's to another year of trying hard and working on all that we have.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

9 Years Ago Today...

My youngest son was born. Gabriel was born at 8:20 am, weighing 7lbs 5oz and 18 1/2 inches long. It was a cold day with snow still on the ground, not like today, where it's 50 ish and rainy.
I really can't believe it's been that long, where does the time go? Today he's 9 years old.

This morning he woke me with "Who got me things for my birthday?" Made me laugh, because most everyone is in the same boat as us, no one can really afford much. He got some hot wheels and a new book(which he's looking at in this pic!), and my sis said she was going to send a card. He'll get a small cake, and pretty much that's it. We don't do a whole lot for birthdays, mostly because we're broke a lot of the time. But he will get a few more things towards the end of the month.

Our plants are doing well, except that some mice apparently got into our little tray and ate a few of our tomato plants.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring is in the Air!

We planted our other seeds, our herbs should be sprouting soon. All of our tomato plants and all of our spinach plants are growing now. And it looks like one of out pepper plants will be growing within the next few days.

Planted German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile, and 2 kinds of Lavender. Lemon Basil and Genovese Basil, Lemon Balm and Lemon Grass. Garlic Chives, Sage, Catnip, Rosemary, Anise, Oregano, Cilantro, and Echinacea. Still need to get and plant my mint, and hoping to put in a few raspberry and blackberry bushes. Hopefully anyway.

Nearly all of the snow has melted and the days are getting warmer. We've even had a few days here and there that were 50 degrees or higher. Yesterday for example, it was so nice out that the kids and I took the day and went to the park. We saw deer tracks, raccoon tracks, even a tree where the deer had been rubbing and some deer fur stuck to the ground. I think it reached almost 60 yesterday. It was such a beautiful day that none of us were wearing coats or jackets.
Today, however, we're paying for the beautiful weather with rain. And lots of it. And icky gray skies. It's only about 50, maybe less because my thermometer keeps reading high for some reason. I think it has to do with where the little receiver is sitting. Maybe it's getting too much of the heat from the side of the house.

Not much planned for today, need to take my stepdad out to do some running and do journal with the kids. Other than that we really don't do a whole lot on days like this.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Been a Busy Week

Lets see...what have we been up to?? Well, Saturday was crazy, because we had 2 round trips to Milwaukee. We picked up Dad and Colleen, had cake and all that, and took them back up. Dad told Mike that he's thinking about moving down here by us! That was something I totally didn't expect. He was talking about how it's so much quieter and not as busy and all that jazz.

Got the hallway primed and almost ready to paint. Just need to finish the corners and a few other little things. I plan on getting it done hopefully this week.

School has been pretty good, the kids are enjoying checking the plants and seeing if they're growing yet. We'll plant our herbs on Wednesday, and then we'll have 2 trays of plants to keep track of. I can't wait for it to get warmer and for us to have our last frost. I'm looking forward to transplanting our little plants and watching them grow.

Caleb has finally learned to tie his shoes!! It's taken such a long time for him to coordinate the necessary hand movements. I'd almost given up on him learning to tie them and was seriously wondering just how large a size they make of velcro shoes. Next to learn that skill is hopefully Gabe.
Gabe's now convinced that he needs to become a samurai or a ninja, depending on the day. I told him that he needs to learn to read and write if he wants to be either. I'm sneaky that way! Caleb is improving in his reading and surprises me daily with the little tidbits that he picks up on tv and signs.

Big news of the day: one of my best friends, Missy, has moved back to town! She has a little girl who will be 4, and her little boy shares Gabe's birthday and will be 1 on Saturday! Gabe will be 9 on Saturday, can't believe how fast time is flying.

Any tips from anyone on how to teach a child to read who really has no drive to learn?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Thinking Spring!

That's going to be our theme around here for the next few weeks! Tomorrow we are going to start planting our plants that we will put in the garden. And the kids will check them daily and we'll chart their growth. That means daily writing, which should help improve their writing skills, and it means working together. We'll plant 1 tray tomorrow, and the other tray either Friday or Monday, depending on how busy we get.

Another project I have is the little suncatchers that they are going to paint. I'm having them each work on one for dad and Colleen for their anniversary and his birthday. I may have to pick a few more up, not sure if I have enough, because we're also going to do a few for around the house here.
We've been pretty faithful with our daily journaling, or should I say that I've been faithful in telling them to do their journal, but they haven't always wanted to.

Took James shopping for a coat today, and to my surprise, he's able to fit a MENS Medium! With a little room of course, hopefully enough room that he can still wear it next fall and winter. Not holding out hope for that one though, because with my luck he'll hit a growth spurt and it will be too small by then. He's able to wear a men's 30-30 pants now, (30 waist, 30 inseam) but he does need to roll them and they are a little loose on him. He can wear some boys' 14's and 16's, depending on the cut. It's amazing how fast they grow! He's also in a mens size 9 shoe! Amazing since he's only 12.

Caleb and Gabe are both in size 8 jeans and a little bigger for shirts. Gabe is bigger around than Caleb, so he can wear the regular size, but Caleb fits better in the slims. Gabe can also wear the reg size 7's, and 9 slims, because he has more of a belly. The boys also wear the same size shoe, size 3-4 depending on who makes them. Weird though, because Caleb will be 11, and Gabe will be 9. Caitlin wears the same size as the boys for pants and shirts, and is finally in almost the same size for shoes, she wears a 2 1/2-3 depending on the style and who makes them. Gabe will be 9 on the 13th of this month, and the twins will be 11 in May.

Busy busy around here, got tons to do and never enough time to finish it all!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tired and Sick....

Well whatever is going around has finally made it here. First Adrian came down with it, then Gabe and Caleb and me, and of course Caitlin and James. So, we're all sitting here with stuffy and runny noses and headaches and body aches. Pretty miserable stuff. But Adrian is feeling much better, go figure.

The 23rd was my dad's birthday and his anniversary with Colleen. It would also have been him and mom's anniversary if they were still married. It would have been 32 years for mom and him. That's a LONG time. It's been a year of being married for him and Colleen, and 7 or 8 years of them being together as of this June or July. I can hardly believe that it's already going to be a year that we've been back in touch with dad. We were planning on having them down today, but with all of us being sick, we figured next week would be better for that. Jaime's making a cake, and I'll be making the drive up and back to get them. Here's hoping we're all feeling better by then.

I also have to finish painting the front room and hallway before then. We picked out a fairly bright blue that I had planned on using for the boys' rooms, but decided to touch up a few areas in the front room with it, thinking that it was a close match to what was already in there. Wrong. It's such a bright color that the old blue that was on the walls already looks almost gray in comparison! I painted the bathroom a nice cherry bright yellow, and have the same color picked to use in the hall, since it doesn't have much light to brighten it up. The boy's rooms will be 2-tone blue, with a dark almost navy blue on the top of the walls and the ceiling. And glow-in-the-dark stars and moons on the ceiling.
Caitlin's room will be a color that she picked, called bright citrus. It's a peachy pink color. It'll look great in there, and bring more light in. She has the smallest room in the house for her bedroom, so it can use all the brightening it can get.
Still need to pick a color for our room, because right now it's a deep red color that reminds me of a bordello. Not really my thing. Personally, I favor earth-tone colors. But Mike says he really doesn't care what color, as long as it's something that I like. Makes it easier and at the same time harder, because I really would like his opinion on things.
I'm thinking of light tan-ish or beige, or maybe something similar. Who knows.

As far as school, we're going to take a few days or maybe a week and just cut back to the basics while everyone's feeling under the weather. It'll be a nice break for all of us.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Been Gone For Nearly A Month.....

Wow, didn't realize how quickly that flew! In the last month, I've rearranged our room, painted the bathroom, painted most of the living room, cleaned and cleaned and cleaned some more. It's been super busy around here. We also got some new furniture and appliances with our tax refund. That took most of our refund, but we really needed them. And scratch-and-dent is cheaper than you'd think! We now have an oven that actually preheats! And a fridge whose shelves aren't falling out every time we open the door. Amazing how little things like that really make a difference.

As far as schooling goes, we've backed down a little on the pressure that Gabe was feeling. He has voluntarily started to do lessons with me out of the "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" book. Easy? Yes for a regular child, but not so much for mine. It's not pretty, but he's trying. He already knows the letters, but not so much the sounds that they make. So this book teaches him the sounds and helps him to learn how to sound out words. Since the 5th, he has been working on the beginning lessons, and he can now recognize am, mat and sat. But we've also noticed that he's now reading more sight words without our prompting (mostly on games!). Words like "infection" and "slayer" and other game-theme related words.
He's also consistently falling asleep but 10 (most nights, we have had a few bumps), and is drawing more pictures. He wants to draw nearly every day now, faces, people, things. Always with pencil, always what he wants to draw, always when he wants to draw.
Caleb and I are working on his reading, as he can do it, but lacks confidence. We skimmed through the same book I'm doing with Gabe, and I just had him do the words. He knows the sounds the letters make, and knows how to sound them out. It only took him maybe 20 minutes to go through all the words in 23 lessons. And he had them all right. Granted most of them are simple easy words. But it's gotten him to realize that it doesn't matter how big the word is as long as you sound them out.
James and Caitlin are reading well, and we've been trying to really make sure that they are engaged in what they are reading. She's been reading the Junie B. Jones books, and is enjoying them immensely. He's reading Artemis Fowl, and has already listened to all the books on CD, and checked out a lot of them from the library before I bought him the first set that he wanted.
Our main focus the past few weeks has been their reading, because I feel that with reading, anything else is possible and will fall into place.

Aside from the early spring cleaning we've been doing, that's pretty much it. Hopefully I can remember to keep posting and not let there be that much of a break!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

1/2 Way Thru Our School Year...

And time to review our goals that I made at the beginning of the school year.

Here are the goals I made:
1) Gabe will learn to consistently make all the sounds of the letters. Not met so far, but working on it.
2) Gabe will learn to consistently write all letters. (at this point I dont care if lower case or not) Not met yet either.
3) Gabe will consistently copy and say all letters to 20 (he repeats up to 20, sometimes even higher depending on motivation, but has only written to 10) Not met.
4) Gabe will learn to put letters together into words. (ideally, i'd like him to learn at least 1 word a week, but i don't know if that's pushing to hard or not yet) Sort of met, he's been reading some sight words, even though he swears he can't read anything.
5) Gabe will learn to do simple chores (without having constant hand-over-hand to make him) This goal is met! He's started helping with simple chores, and started taking turns better!

1) Caleb will learn 5 new words per week (and still be able to spell previously learned ones) Not quite met, as far as learning that many per week, but we are reviewing words that he used to know, and learning new ones as we can. So I'd say 1/2 met.
2) Caleb will write on the lines with correct spacing so it can be read About 1/2 met as well.
3) Caleb will control his body ( a BIG one, he has no concept of personal space!) Not quite met, but working hard at it. His mouth keeps getting him in trouble....
4) Caleb will rotate chores and learn to properly do them Met!
5)Caleb will raise his reading and comprehension level by practicing reading at least 20 minutes each day. Met, for the most part. He still resists reading unless its a book that he wants to read.

1) Caitlin will learn at least 5 new words per week (see above) Pretty well met, but I want to continue to work on it.
2) Caitlin will write on the lines with correct spacing so it can be read Met! But could still use improvement on neatness.
3) Caitlin will sit quietly when doing schoolwork (constant chatter, kind of like Caleb's lack of concept of personal space) Met about 50% of the time. Still needs reminding and redirection.
4) Caitlin will rotate chores without complaint and learn to do them properly Met! And she does a great job when motivated. Otherwise a simple chore, while done properly, can take her 5-10 times as long as it should.
5) Caitlin will raise her reading and comprehension levels by practicing reading at least 20 minutes each day. Met!

1) James will learn to write paragraphs with correct punctuation and grammar. Not met.
2) James will work on his handwriting skills and improve them. Improving, but still needs more work.
3) James will stay on task and complete things in a timely manner. Met for the most part, but definitely an area to continue working on.
4) James will rotate chores without complaint and learn to do them properly. Not quite met, but I'm confident that it will work itself out.
5) James will raise his reading and comprehension levels by reading at least 20 minutes each day. Met, and he can read much better than he was at this time a year ago. His math has improved as well.

All in all we have met quite a few goals, and even met some goals that I didn't list because I thought they weren't quite school related.
1) Gabe has started sleeping thru the night, by HIMSELF!!!! Not with dad and I.
2) Gabe has been taking turns! Not always willingly, but its a great start!
3) Gabe has been having fewer and fewer accidents!
4) So has Caleb! 2 accidents in 3-4 months is great!
5) The kids have been learning to help with the cooking.
6) We've been having weekly library trips where the kids can pick out their own choice of books to read and journal about, as well as movies to watch. Gabe has a real fascination with old 80's cartoons.
7) The kids are learning about respecting other people's space and things.
8) We've been helping Grandma and Great Grandma with things that they need done. And having dinner at grandma's at least once a week, using our manners and being polite.

I get down sometimes, and keeping track of our goals like this helps me to realize that even though it doesn't always seem like we are getting things done, we are accomplishing things everyday! It's slow work, but we keep going.
Now I just need to figure out which goals are the most important for us to work on the next few months.

So far, we are working on flashcards (math, words, numbers), and our reading and writing skills. We are continuing with our goals for chores, and sharing and such. They seem like such small goals, but slow and steady works for us.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Almost Forgot...Pics of Kids

Ok, here's Adrian in his cute little red windbreaker outfit. And Adrian with James, showing off his car. Caleb looking all kinds of happy because he didn't want cheese pizza--he wanted pepperoni, which we were out of. Gabe in his favorite zip up sweatshirt. James leaning in on Caitlin, who has her eyes closed. James with Scooby, who just turned 8mos. He's getting soo big! And of course, Caleb watching tv with Adrian. Just a few pics!

Slow Week....

Not too much going on here, thought we had our house-guests moved out, but that only lasted around 2 weeks. Go figure. Most of this week has been spent doing hands on learning activities with Gabe and reading and writing with the rest of the kids. This next week I plan to start trying to potty train Adrian and maybe work on getting him to start attending to short activities. No time like the present as they say.

We spent some time at the American Legion Post for their pancake breakfast today, and got to visit with a few people there. Also took some more recent pics of the kids and Adrian. Really not much else going on around here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Been Busy Again...

Wow is time ever flying! Yesterday was my birthday, and it went fairly well. Only a few minor hitches. Things are going well, just day to day mundane little things.
We are doing our school routine, just trying to keep it constant. The kids need a lot of direction some days. Of course so do I as of late, and I keep second guessing myself as to whether or not this is going to keep working for us. Really, on paper it all works, its just in real life that it sometimes gets gummed up.
Gabe has done much better most days on following simple directions and even though he still dislikes school, he's at least willing most days to at least try. He still struggles with retaining information that he learns, but it's progress however slow it is. Some days I really feel I need a break, but then I feel guilty, because they're MY responsibility. Not someone else's.
I've been told by quite a few that homeschooling is a bad choice, and that it's something that I can't succeed at because of the kids special needs. Some days I feel that way as well. But then I have to sit back and realize that everyone learns at their own pace, and just because my kids aren't perfect doesn't mean anyone else's kids are either. My kids have challenges, and my patience isn't always the greatest. But I'm trying. That's the most important thing to me.
I've had to really kick myself in the butt as of late to really get in the mood to do anything. School-wise that means that this week has been more about journal work, reading our library books and doing workbook work. Not really any extra stuff, but they did get some excellent books on cd that kept their attention well. And Caitlin is currently doing her own "research" so to speak on rocks and minerals with the books that she checked out from the library. She's interested in learning more, and wants to start a collection of semi-precious stones and gems.
Caleb is still having troubles with his reading comprehension and has been very discouraged. He gets so frustrated with words. I've been trying to make time for he and I to have some one-on-one time for reading and going over material to make sure that he understands it. It's been difficult to do though as mornings are hectic and chaotic. I'm thinking of breaking up our school day, instead of doing it all in the morning. Maybe just journal in the a.m. and do workbooks in p.m. and reading for an hour or so before bed. Not sure how well it will work out, but either way, it's a learning experience for all of us.
James is doing well, he's been reading more on his own and learning some harder math. What I find so ironic about all this is that I was in public school my whole life, and I've never used even 1/2 of what I learned. To me that's a LOT of wasted time and energy put out. Who really needs to know how to do long division like a math whiz when everyone else is using calculators? Or how to multiply a billion different numbers in your head? James knows his basic multiplication tables, but really has no use for them. None. Right now anyways. And if a time comes when it's something he feels a real need to learn, then we'll do it. But for right now, I think all the kids need a better reading base than what they have.
Our focus in the next few weeks is going to be on improving our reading skills and our listening skills. And of course along with reading comes spelling. Which is atrocious at the moment. I've got some words to put up on the walls in the hall on our cork-board, but then realized we don't have one anymore, so tomorrow I'm off to Staples to get another and some tacks to put our words up.
Obviously it was a good idea to post tonight because I already feel better about my new resolve and my new plans. My mind is going a mile a minute sometimes, so it's a good idea for me to get things down while I'm thinking of them.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Little Down Tonight...

So the kids had a good friend over tonight. Which is great, because all the kids get along with him and he's (of course) a little angel when he's at my house. He's 8 months younger than Gabe, but acts about as old as James. Way more mature than his age, mostly because he's the oldest of his mom's kids.

He and Gabe have pretty much been raised together, and I've babysat him and had him for weekends ever since he was a baby. Which, at this point, is really very bittersweet for me. He's not autistic, and Gabe is. Gabe still likes looking at books with lots of pictures, and he's reading chapter books. Gabe still wakes 2-3 times a night, and he's slept through since about 6mos old.
It's hard having him here. I enjoy it because he's a great kid and gets along with all the kids, but it hurts to see how different they are at basically the same age. He's everything I've always wanted for Gabe. He's articulate, affectionate, plays appropriately with toys and peers. He's working above grade level and can read. he does chores, he wants age appropriate things. All things that Gabe hasn't yet done, and may not ever do.

The worst part tonight was when it was bedtime. Gabe still sleeps on the couch a lot of nights. He has a real problem with sleeping upstairs alone in his bed. So he was trying to be brave enough to sleep upstairs, and wanted his little friend to sleep on the futon upstairs with him. But, his little friend had other ideas. He wanted to sleep on the other side of the loft, with James in his big queen sized bed. Poor Gabe just didn't understand that A didn't want him hanging all over him and being up and down all night. So his feelings were hurt, and he sat and cried for almost an hour on and off, saying A's name over and over. A explained that he still likes Gabe, and still wants to play and all, but that he just didn't want to sleep with him on the futon.

It didn't help, and as I'm typing this, Gabe is finally asleep. He sat and sniffed for a while, and every once in a while, he'd say A's name. He feels horrible, and so do I. He just doesn't understand the concept of personal space. And I work on that with him every day. It takes a looooong time for concepts like that to sink in and make sense for him. Gabe is still so much like a toddler. He goes by the same general rules they do, thinks the same way. He gets his feelings hurt so often by little things that kids his age understand and would get past quickly. Something as small as a misplaced toy can cause hours of whining and crying and sad looks. He seems to have no concept of whats truly fair to everyone. When it comes to games and toys it's all mine mine mine. He's been getting better at taking turns and trying to share. Really he's at about a 4yo level in some areas, but about 2-3yo level in others. It also depends on the day, he has his good days and bad.

I guess I'm just down because I see so many things that Gabe may never do. He has so much potential. He's learned a lot, and has so far to go. I mourn for the things that he may never do, and rejoice for the little things that he accomplishes. I guess I need to find more things to rejoice about.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

One Week In, And I'm Still Sane...I Think...

Or what passes for sane anyway. Things aren't going too bad, a lot of the same old stuff. A lot less drama, since I've been trying to see things from other people's perspective. A lot of learning right now, as I'm trying out a new path with my life.

Everyone's doing well, done being sick. We're back into the swing of things with school and home. A fresh start helps everyone to feel better and not be as frustrated with things. Sometimes all it takes is a day away from the normal grind for things to be better.

The new path I'm working on is teaching me so much right now about trusting how I feel about things and looking inside myself for the answers to my questions. It's showing me the importance of positive energy and getting rid of the negative things in my life and my mind. Helping me to clear my mind and notice the little things in life that I ignored and avoided before. The energy in things.

Back to the grindstone, got kids to chase and books to finish. I'm learning more every day, and enjoying it.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year...

My first New Years resolution for this year is my weight goals. The second one it to stop letting people get their way when what they really need is a definite reality check. My evil reign starts today.
I also made a resolution to start blogging at least once a week, but I'm going to try for every day, even if it's just a smartass comment or two. Not hard goals by any means, but sometimes more difficult than they seem.