Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas morning unwrapped...

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For the first time in 4 years I was home on Christmas Eve. I was blessed to get Christmas Eve and Christmas off. It was sooo nice!
Grandma and Grandpa dropped off gifts Christmas Eve. The boys LOVED them. Matthew kept playing with his cars even through the unwrapping Christmas morning. We gave grandma a brag book digiscrapped. grandpa got rock yard lights.

While sugar plums danced in there heads we finished up the wrapping. I usually buy and wrap but with Matthew this year I held off on the wrapping. We had more to wrap than I thought. We finished up just before midnight- not too bad. So while sugar plums danced in little heads, and I in my cap, we settled in for a short winters nap. When what distant sound do I hear? I awoke with a gasp and a scream as Josh said, "mom. Mom! MOM! He came, Santa came". (yes he still believes!) What time is it you ask? 3am! 3AM! ahhh, Josh, Go Back To Bed! Ah, mom.

4am, "now mom?" "no Josh"
5 am, "now mom?" alright, I'll get up in a minute.

Thankfully Robin got up and let me sleep a bit longer. Josh tried unsuccessfully to convince dad to let him wake his little brothers, but there was NO Way we were going to have a cranky toddler on our hands by afternoon. They got started around 7 o'clock.We had a wonderful Christmas. Robin got lots of movies. I got an external hard drive. The boys got the usual, legos, bionicles, and cars.

That afternoon we had Robins family here for dinner and gifts. There was sooo much food and goodies. Then Sunday we did it all over again with my family! I had to start taking treats to work so they would get eaten.

I am so thankful for my family and all the blessings that surround me every day. It is the BEST time of the year!
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday house tour.

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...but first I have to share the tote I made my dear friend. I saw this once and thought, I can do that. It's not perfect but for my first try I'm thinking "not bad!" It is for a coupon binder. Now she can be stylish and thrifty!
It folds open to slide the binder in and for when you are looking for coupons. When you are done you just velcro the sides together. They are on sale at Etsy for about $30. I had all the fabric already but it only took about a yard? total. On this inside I put several pockets for notes and other goodies. I hope she enjoys it. Now instead of a zippered binder she can put it all in her tote.
I plan on making one for myself too but that won't happen until after the holidays. I have some fabulous red swirled fabric. Reds my favorite color after all.

Now for the holiday tour. I finally figured out how to get nice night time shots with my camera. Ya have to shut the flash off to see the lights.
First, our tree. We have had this tree for several years, about 10 I think. It is full of all our childhood ornaments. Plus the ones we add each year.Tricks learned from Thrifty Decor Chick...I got these from Dollar tree tonight. I hung them from my cupboards and liked it so well I might go back for some more. What do you think?
A couple of years ago I added garland to the top of my cupboards. It made such a difference.I also picked up this runner from Dollar tree. I am amazed at the difference little things can make. I guess it is all about the details.
This is our tree in the family room. I am not thrilled with the way it is coming together. I meant for it to be more rustic and outdoorsy but...ehh. It's just not me. I am hoping to hit some after Christmas sales and get some more sparkle to add for next year. Call this a work in progress...
This is just a base with red tinsle and lights. I had the garland and just added the bulbs. I was tickled with how it turned out. I plan to add some poinsettas to finish off the top. Mom made the mailbox overflowing with Christmas picks.
And last but not least is my Angel. My grandma made this for each of us girls before. For now this is up in my room. I wasn't sure where to put it that Matthew wouldn't be tempted and it is precious to me so next year it will join the rest of the decor. This year it is for me to enjoy.
I just love the holidays. All the decorations make home even more inviting. How 'bout you. How are your decorations going? Are you ready for Christmas yet?
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Crazy time of the Year

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Yesterday was my day off- nonsleep deprived! I really needed it to be productive but it was anything BUT. Today was better. We shopped all morning long and got quite a bit done. I THOUGHT we were pretty much done. My mistake this year was not making a list. And checking it twice. The boys are in desperate need of real bedding, not just throw blankets, so with Freddy's sale, 30% off kids bedding plus an additional 10% off coupon we did well. I may go back and get a new set for our bed but I will have to see..... I wrapped several gifts tonight. Lets see if Matthew actually leaves them alone. Then we headed over to Shopko. I found a blouse and slacks that were the right size but I didn't have time to try them on so I just got them. Well, they are great! I think I will buy without trying on more often. Seems, this time at least, I had better luck that way. I really need a few more blouses so I was relieved to have one fit nicely. We made a couple more stops before heading home. If you need tri-beads in red or green you are out of luck. They are non-existant in this town right now. I was in charge of a craft for Keegans class. I tried to pick something simple. We ended up on plan 'F' because 'A, B, C, D, & E' wouldn't work for some reason. I almost had to search for plan 'G' but whew we had just enough beads. We made candy canes 2 white for every red. When we got home I had just enough time to put them together in bags. Each child had their own kit. I found this works great by working with the scouts. They worked great and I think the kids had fun. After school I had to lay down for a nap since I was suppose to work tonight. I had called to check on getting put on call but they were pretty busy so it didn't look good. Well, they ended up putting me on call anyway. Hopefully I won't have to go in. I still have projects and shopping to do tomarrow and I don't want to be tired. I would love to have my home a little more decorated. I checked out Thrifty Chick Decor, I love all the great ideas she has. How she keeps her 3 year old out of stuff I don't know but I am going to do just a bit more. I have a couple ideas that were spurred on by her post. We'll see how it goes. I have lots of ideas to watch for during after Christmas sales......I just have an itching to decorate. DEEP BREATH! Christmas projects first then decorating. There just isn't enough time to do all I want to do. Interesting how sometimes we say life is too long then other times it's too short. In reality THIS life is very SHORT! Keeping the Eternal Perspective- Hey, I think I will do that up in vinyl lettering.....gonna have to ponder that idea.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Family Pictures

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I thought we would wear red but everyone had blue, not red. I am really glad though. I think they turned out great. LMPhotography! Lennie, you rock!
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Ahh, the Holidays....

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Rebekah gave me this recipe also, for homemade Oreos. YUMMY! Didn't I say today was a good day? Bread, muffins, cookies.... the boys were in heaven. Too bad the cookies were for work. They each got one but they will have to suffer with just muffins and fresh bread.

For dinner we had fresh bread and home canned stew. Quick, easy and good on a cold winter day. We canned lots of stew this fall. It's chock full of potatoes, carrots, pearled barley, celery onions, you know all the good stuff. Then when you are ready to eat it you add a can of tomatoe soup and, if you want, ground beef. Tonight we had left over taco meat which ended up added a bit of kick to the stew. There is never any leftovers of this. Keegan was hoping to take it in his thermos for lunch tomarrow. Oh well, he'll be having a sandwhich like Josh.
Last week I made these caramels with pecans. Oohey gooey delicious. I must say I was hoping to make my friend jealous after she shared her yummy truffles. (I think it worked ;-)) I made a double batch but they still don't last long.
(whoops, deleted the tree. I will have to add it tomarrow when I get home)
And last but not least, Our Christmas tree. It's a bit eclectic with all our childhood ornaments plus those since we've been a family. Each year we get an ornament from our vacation destination. Some are classic, some handmade, and others tell a story of the years events. We used to have colored lights but last year switched to white. I like both. The white tend to be more classic/elegant. Don't worry, if the flash was on you would see were Matthew added his own touch to the bottom of the tree. It is more like removing his touch.

We had empty boxes wrapped for decorations for the party last Friday but Matthew quickly unwrapped them. I guess it is a good thing I haven't wrapped anything this year yet. I think we will start with a few benign presents. You know the underware and socks types...... I'll let you know how that goes.....

Christmas morning in 10 days and counting. It is the BEST TIME OF THE YEAR!
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A great day!

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Nothing extra special happening, just a good day. Robin woke up not feeling well so he stayed in bed a bit longer. Josh asked for an egg for breakfast so I fixed egg sandwiches. It was a nice treat for Josh and Keegan. Matthew had scrambled eggs with the toast on the side. No more bread meant hot lunch, for which they were excited and mom was relieved to not have to fix lunches. Before they even left I had bread batch #1 going and the washer started. I 0got the big boys off to school and Matthew dressed. Tyler had decided to sleep in today too. Now it was my turn but dad had to get up first. I don't quite trust Matthew on his own while I shower ;P. I can't go without a shower for too long. It just starts the day right ya know.

A great morning just makes for a great day. The laundry is half done (love my new super washer!), boys are fed. I've made 4 loaves of bread, cranberry muffins, oreo cookies, cleaned the kitchen and worked on laundry. Now I get to unwind and take a nap. Yep, take a NAP! Don't get too jealous, I will be up all night working. I will think of you as sugar plums dance in your little heads at 2am!

I made muffins for the boys afterschool snack. I froze some for later too. It is yummy. I will have to post the recipe. I got it from Tina, Robin's sister, who got it from someone on Pinching your pennies. We went to Tina's for a birthday dinner last night and finally got her started blogging too. Click on her link to the side for amazing thrifty ideas. Remember all the tricks Grandma knew but you thought were lost forever- NOPE! Tina is my go to gal for those things. Anything from laundry tips, canning, freezer goodies, recipe adjustments you name it. In fact, I challenge you all to find a household problem she can't solve on a tightwads budget! Go ahead, check it out. Learn all the secrets of living on a 1950's budget in 2010!

Here is the bread I make. I use my kitchenaid. I am hoping for a Bosch one day but this No Knead Bread is yummy and doesn't overwork my Kitchenaid. Rebekah gave me this one....
Here is the recipe. Try it, you'll love it:
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 packages yeast
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon salt
4 tablespoons sugar
6 cups flour divided

Heat your oven to 200 deg. with a bowl of water in it. When it gets to 200 shut it off. Disolve your yeast in the warm water. Mix in butter, salt, sugar and 3 cups flour. Mix for about 2 minutes until well blended. You may have to scrap the sided a couple of times. Then add the remaining 3 cups flour. Your dough will be sticky, more like muffing mix texture. Place in the warmed oven to rise. I like to rise my dough in the oven so my house doesn't have to be as warm and the cool breezes won't mess up the rising dough. Let it rise for about 30 minutes until double. Stir down, about 25 strokes. I just put my mixing bowl in the oven then turn the mixer back on for a minute. Pour dough into 2 loaf pans. It will still be sticky. Smooth evenly in pan. Place back in oven to rise a second time for 30-40 minutes until double. Then turn oven on to 350 deg and cook for 30-40 minutes. Remove bread from oven and cool on wire rack. YUMMY! We have been going through about 6 loaves a week with lunches and what not. The boys just love it!

We had the Cardiac Care Christmas party on Friday. It was a great success. I made thank you bags for the committee members who helped with all the arrangements. I got this idea from Little Birdie Secrets. They are Holiday Potpourri bags. I must say this is yummy. It is a subtle holiday scent with just the spice that I love. Robin thought it was great too. It makes you house smell great.Saturday afternoon we took the boys to the mall to see Santa. Josh decided he was too old to sit on Santa's lap, Keegan didn't want to either, Tyler was bubbling over with excitement just to talk to Santa and Matthew was in awe of the tree, lights, and hustle and bustle going on around us.
Call me crazy but one of the things I love about Christmas is the crazy shopping trips. I am usally done by Thanksgiving except homemade goodies so going to the mall is fun to just relax and browse. We usually shop a bit and get a few things but this year we could only go in, see Santa, and leave. I had to get ready for work and our budget was gone this week. Even so, you can't help but feel the spirit of Christmas when you are out 2 weeks before the big day.
Tyler was so excited to see Santa. He almost forgot to ask for something, rather he just did his usual jabber, jabber. You would have thought he was talking to his best friend. I love to see this. The twinkle in a childs eye is worth its weight in gold. I think Santa was getting tired. It was almost dinner time and we were near the end on the line. Poor Santa, never a moments rest at this time of year......Matthew wanted nothing to do with the man in red but perhaps next year.......

So, the other day Ty says, "Mom, Isaac says Santa's not real". UGH! I love that my kids believe in Santa. It is pure childhood. I think so many lessons, GOOD lessons, come from believing in Santa and all he represents. What do you say to this? Our friends leave it up to their kids to decide for themselves if Santa is real or not. They don't say either way except to say the have to pay Santa for the presents he brings.....I don't agree with this but ok. Well, when Ty ask me I had to think. I truely believe in the spirit of Santa. I love the book "I Believe in Santa". It talks about all the things Santa does and what he represents then likens that to Christ. SOOO, we read this story before I left for work. I told the boys that no matter what others might say, I believe in Santa. They seemed satisfied with this. I guess it was an opportunity for me to share my testimony of Christmas and the Spirit it brings with my boys too. Before too long they will be too big to believe, but I hope deep down they always keep the Spirit of Christmas with them. I believe in Santa, he comes in red, he comes at night, he loves little children and wants us to be good. I believe in Christ, he comes in red, he comes at night, he loves little children and KNOWS we can be good. I BELIEVE!
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Speech Therapy...

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Now on to Matthew. My handsome baby! I will have to post our newest family pictures. I LOVE my boys. You'll not find any more handsome boys.

In May, Matthew was starting to take off jabbering. He said lots of words including: mom, dad, 'osh, 'ee'an, 'y, and bye. Then sometime through the summer he stopped. We are not sure why. His hearing has checked out ok so now we are working with the Children's Develpment Center for Speech therapy. EIRMC's ST department was full up until this summer. Ummm, yeah, that's tooo long. So we got connected with the infant/toddler program which is what Keegan had his ST through in Pocatello. We are teaching Matthew basic sign to help with frustration. I have become rather adept at learning/guessing what he wants so now I am trying to get him to say or sign it more. The older boys think this is great, sometimes even offering help a little too much. And no, Matthew's big brothers don't just talk for him. They are gone a good portion of the day. Besides, this is not an entirely new road to us. I have always been adament about the person the question is directed at answering. "MATTHEW, do you want......" means for Matthew to answer not Josh or Keegan or Tyler or even Dad.

Between this, Keegan, extra work for me, no work for Robin, the holidays, and catching a cold I am feeling a bit wooped at the moment. I know everything will work out and I just have to take it one day at a time.....that's just easier said than done. KWIM? Ever wish you could just crawl in a hole and stay for a while? Yep that's me tonight, but alas, my boys need me...........
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Aspergers Syndrome

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Keegan finally goes in for his neuro testing for Aspergers Syndrome today. We also found out that the insurance won't pay for this. UGH! This is the climax of 1 year of Dr's visit, counseling, and testing of various sorts. Any further steps will be based on these results.

A little history: So at 2 years Keegan was still not talking although he LOVED stories. When he would cough mom would always say, "ah, quit your barkin'" to which Keegan said, "I'm not barking, I'm coughing". He still cannot tie his shoes despite numerous lessons from mom and dad. He is frustrated and lost in groups bigger than 5 or 6. He doesn't understand body language. He used to have frequent outbursts at school, even throwing supplies. Some of these outbursts resulted in the teacher removing all the other students from the class. I would get calls from the school almost daily and often (2 or 3 times a week) would have to physically go to the school to help Keegan. He was also just sent home sometimes. He sleep walks and HAS! to have his bright lamp on which he sleeps directly facing all night long.

Last year, Ms. Prindle was awesome to work with us and Keegan. By Decemeber she suggested talking to our Dr to rule out some medical cause of his struggles. We eventually ended up in Dr. Stephen Meyers office. He is a pediatrician that specializes in neuro and behavioral disorders. We started Keegan on Risperidol for mood disorders. This made a 75% improvement. Finally, we were making it through school. He still had outbursts but other interventions were helping too. Keegan met with the school psychologist, had various testing done including speech therapy, occupational therapy, and IQ testing. Through the summer we were hoping to wean Keegan down on his Resperidol but never could. By September Dr. Meyers was convinced Keegan has Aspergers Syndrome. We called for an appointment with Dr. Lindsey to have the definitive testing done. After this adjustments and plans can be made for school education plans and counseling. It takes 3-4 months to get into Dr. Lindsey! In the meantime we also started another medication: Strattera to help Keegan process information that most of us do without a second thought. In October he even earned 2 special awards; one for being respectful and one for being kind.

So what is Asperger's is usually the next question I am asked. In short it is high functioning autism. WebMD has a great summary of this disorder. Most of those listed Keegan has to some extent or other: No pragamatic language skills (nonverbal), thrives on routine, takes everything said literally, delayed motor skills, delays speach etc. Asperger's was only recognized in the early 1990's so it is still a new disorder. Children with Asperger's can cope very well but need to learn coping skills and other language skills. They tend to excell in math and sciences. Einstein and Eddison are thought to have had Asperger's. It also tends to affect boys more than girls- 3:1.

Soooo, we will see what tomarrow, uhmmm I mean today, brings. I am thankful Keegan has great teachers. This year he has Mrs. Zarranik. She has worked with boys with Aspergers before so has great insite and tips. Hopefully friends and family will also learn about this and help Keegan to cope, learn, and grow. Keegan is such a loving child. Sometimes I wonder if he feels he will burst with affection. He quick to give mom a love and simply say, "I love you mom!" It makes my heart sing! I love you to son!
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