Monday, January 31, 2011

Dyslexia....and other things....

 So yeah...this is yummy.  Sometimes I like to talk to Elmo....sometimes I just need a teething tool.  Which the 4 tooth is poking through.  For those of you praying for Joanna- she has been really stuffed, coughing, and because she is stuffed- throwing up, as well as we found out on Sunday- ear infections.  YUCK!  She is doing better. At least today she is more herself, but this has caused a SERIOUS lack of sleep as of late.  So if this post doesn't make sense.....well this cutie is why, but it's ok because I just want to squeeze those cute cheeks all the time!!!!
 So lately it has been raining cats and dogs - literally & for real.  What do I mean.  Well since it has been raining sooo much our camp is one big lake.  So having the kids play outside is not really an option unless it was warm enough to give them swim suits.  :)  So we have been hanging out at the Dining Hall where there is more room a few of the days and playing games.  This one is where you have a tub full of soft objects.  The object of the game- throw them all out of the tub before your family puts them back in.  If you can successfully have an empty tub you win. :)
 Andrew being the serious DJ while playing musical chairs. 
 Ooppss- out of order, more toy throwing going on.
 Joanna checking it out. 
 Cuteness...with love from Jonathan....
 and more cuteness.....
Daddy & Joanna.  Don't let daddy fool you a minute ago he was dancing, but since he knows I will post anything and everything on the blog.....oh well.  I  tried to get a great pic for you all :)

OK so dyslexia.  Yeah, if you are a homeschool mommy like me- you feel like a BIG FAT FAILURE!!!!  Seriously thought this for a LOOONNNNGGGG time.  BUT, decided to get over myself so I could help my child.  They are moderate to severe in every category of dyslexia.  You can go online and do any search to fill out an online form to find out if your child may have dyslexia.

After lots of research- although I am NOT an expert.  I would start here- they have a web page dedicated to learning blocks.  This really helped me understand what their specific blocks are.  Some things that can help instantly are things like a colored plastic transparency- for some kinds of blocks.  Sometimes there are other things too.

If you know that your child has reading blocks I would highly recommend Brain Integration Therapy Manual by Dianne Craft.  It is a book that talks about blocks in hearing and understanding, slow labored reading, dyslexia, eye tracking, poor memory, and laborious writing.  We have integrated our child's exercises for all of our kids daily after lunch along with some of our own.  These specific exercises focus on eye tracking, crossing the body- right to left and the opposite, stretching, etc.  Then there is "repatterning" if you haven't done this - it is a way to "tell" the brain what you want it to do more of.  It has been a huge help with our child!  Seriously!!!!!  Worth your time!!!!

Another great thing for those with reading issues......TRUE level 1 reading books- few and far inbetween.  For the average reader- not a big deal for those who truly struggle- BIG DEAL and it lowers their self esteem by large amounts!  So books like Merrill Reading Program called I Can, Dig In, and there are several others in the series- are GREAT!  They truly use the same words over and over and introduce a few new words every 5 pages.  IT WORKS and they feel much sooner the excitement of reading.  VERY important.

Now for everyday reading teaching we use the Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons- LOVE THIS!  But if you are helping a child who struggles it is NOT enough.  We along with that use Right Brain Phonics Program  by Dianne Craft.  We also got the colorful picture cards that go along with the letters and sound combos.  IMPORTANT the pictures need to be "behind" the letters.  Also when teaching new words you need to make them into pictures.  This is all explained in the books, but it has to be pictures, visual, very very very very repetitive.

We also just got the "all about spelling" program which I can NOT wait to start!  Instead of hopping right in- which is fine for our other children.  It literally breaks everything down into small pieces!!!  It teaches the rules of spelling, concentrates on phonograms, has colored tiles to teach the spelling, has all kinds of suggestions for kinestetic learning,  daily review, charts, and much more!  I am in love with it because for the first time ever I really feel like this will help my babe to spell.

If you have ever had this issue you will know what I mean when I say every step is a HUGE DEAL!  Kind of like with a child that needs that extra love and attention (rad), or children that have any extra needs.  When they make progress it is HUGE!!!  I have seen my child go from crying over every reading lesson to success!  I couldn't be happier.

One other thing- it does NOT happen overnight.  BUT it can happen.  I would love to encourage all of you with struggling readers and learners out there!!!!  It can happen!!!!  My babe has taken years of the slow laborous road and is finally reaching some huge goals- now that we have more tools.  With God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!!!!!

**Side note this Saturday will be the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!  Please be praying for us.  This is a big deal and things are not easy, but we are taking it one step at a time and trying to do what needs to be done for our family.  THANKS!!!

*******ALSO please be praying for a 13 year old boy that needs a new family ASAP!!!!!!!!!!  If you would like more details PLEASE e-mail, facebook me for additional details- PLEASE JOIN IN PRAYER we have seen and experienced sooo many  miracles so WE KNOW OUR GOD HAS A HUGE HEART FOR ALL HIS CHILDREN!!!!!  This is a domestic adoption- not international for those wondering.  :)  THANKS!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

How's the Rocking Going...........

 First a word about Joanna....for those of you who think she is sooo cute and innocent......take a look.....
 Hello- Guilty! 
 But how do you even begin to say no to a face like
 THIS!!!!!!!!  :)  You don't - you scoop her up.....put the chips away find a different place for them, close the closet doors, block them, and snuggle because she is tooo CUTE!!!!!!  :)

 Just thought this was too funny not to share.  Evidently Rascal thought he would check out Joanna's seat...
Silly kitty :)

So how is the rocking going.  If you don't know what I was a challenge put out there to rock in a rocking chair- or just spend 10-15 minutes a day cuddling with your child that needs more love :)

Now before you jump to conclusions on anything, know that in our experience we have really worked hard on making changes in our home- looking into eyes, remaining calm, not letting it get to us, trying not to take it personally, making adjustments in how we react and talk with our loved child.  BUT being honest.  When you have gone through the is is want to want to throw in the towel...and there are days- YOU DON'T DO WELL.  Yep, it's true.  BUT you get back up and you start over and try MORE!

So the rocking for me has really not been about my beloved child- it is really about me.  MY attitude.  MY need to change my heart.  MY need to make sure that I am reminded daily that I LOVE HIM/HER with my whole being.  MY desire to fall in love with them again and again.

If that is the desired effect of this exercise- IT IS WORKING!!!  Now let me be EXTREMELY CLEAR- I HAVE AND ALWAYS WILL LOVE EVERY TREASURE IN OUR HOME!!!!!!  There has never been doubt of that- EVER.  But sometimes our hearts get ripped out while trying to heal the hearts of our little ones.  We need healing too.  For me, this has helped me in ways I really can't quite describe.

Our times together are beyond value.  Simple.  My child has thoroughly enjoyed it as well....conversations ....sometimes silly, but sometimes really honest.  Reading together....or just snuggling and cuddling.  It has been worth it- even on the days I haven't had "the time".

The crazy part is - we have set times and activities we do with our children all the time.  We homeschool.  We love listening and spending time with our kiddos.  So why is this different?  I don't know - it just has been.  I think it has to do with my attitude.

You ask- has it helped my child?  I think it has....probably more because it has helped me.  For the first time in a LOOONNNGGG time- TRUTH was told!  Now for anyone out there can I get an AMEN?  This was huge!!!!  She realized it too.  I seriously almost threw a party- believe me there was great rejoicing going on!!!  My child has also shared some feelings with me that weren't fake- HUGE!!!!  My child looks forward to cuddle time!  My child has looked into my eyes more than any other time.

So praying that God continues to change me for HIM!  To help us all love each other better :)

***Would appreciate some prayers- Joanna is sick right now.  Her first fever :(  sad days......
****There is also something big going on in our lives and I SOO want to share but can't for at least another week.  Sorry, but we NEED PRAYERS over this as well.  - it is not a child this time, but huge for our family.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Grandparents- LOADS of pics :)

 OK everyone hang tight because mommy has gone waaayyyy overboard on the pics today.  You see grandma and grandpa were here last week and well.....she just had to pull out the camera and take pics of everything.  If you missed some pic go back a couple of posts and look there first :)
 See what I mean - she went overboard.....what?.....I wasn't doing anything.....ok I have a slight obsession with the cute Ethiopian baskets that are on the phone stand.  But mommy didn't have to post it :)
 This is Rascal going nuts over the laughing, moving doggy grandma brought with her.  It was hilarious to watch the cat bat it around.
 On the other hand I wasn't so sure of it....
 My big sister Sarah reading- she loves to read :)
 All of us at Sam Houston Jones State Park going on a hike with the see grandpa is really just a big kid :)
 Can you tell at all that Abigail loves to spoil me?  Yeah I know it's rough when you have sooo many siblings....he he he he
 Look at them- they act just like mommy & fact grandma sounds just like her!
 Hello :)
 OK I got really tired going in this backpack is tiring work so I took a snooze.
 Look at this cheeky brother of mine- what a ham....
 I just woke up....

 Grandma making sure Jonathan has his grip.
 Girls showing their skills....
 Abigail and Sarah :)
 Boys never to be outdone!
 Go Matthew...
 Hello do you think I make a cute space alien???
 I know Matthew does....
 Look at grandma talk with her hands.....
 Quick daddy will get us.....(daddy loves to play chase at the park)....
 Here's me and grandma hanging out......
 Playing games.....(uno)
We really loved having our grandparents if we could convince them to move south!!!!!  Hmmmm....probably not going to happen.  WE LOVE YOU GRANDMA & GRANDPA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pray you all have a BLESSED day- I am cutting my fourth tooth and am feeling a bit cranky, but it's all good because mommy & daddy hold me all day anyway :)  he he he - good night!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Some GREAT reads!!!

 What?  You don't hang out in the dog cage for fun?  Well.....
 let me tell you how fun it is :)  I mean the dog has a great cushion thing in here.
 There is plenty of space.....
And it makes me happy :)  (Good thing the dog doesn't mind sharing his spot with me)

So today I have read some really incredible reads and I wanted to share them with you.
For those of you who have RAD kids- this really explains how they feel in terms I have never thought of - but it is WONDERFUL!!! 

This POST is a wonderful review of her blog and let me tell you if you are having a hard time loving your child when they are hurting- she has some great tips in her year and a half review!!!!  Go check it out!!!

THIS POST is one that EVERYONE should read because it is something that we should all grieve DAILY!  Please go read this!!!  We can not forget the over 50 million......that have been murdered.

I will just say today has been a tough day yet again, but I am PRAISING because God is STILL IN CONTROL!!!!  He hasn't left HIS throne so I will keep fighting for what I know to be TRUE!!!  AMEN :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

How to love a child .............. (more grandparent visit pics too)

 I wanted to help uplift all of you that have come out of the woodwork saying that you have a child that is hurting.  One that is sometimes harder to deal with.  Oh let's be honest sometimes downright just HARD WORK! 
 Well if you have read any of what Paul wrote in the Bible you would know you have been BLESSED!  What?  Really, dealing with hard behaviors all day everyday is a Blessing?  YES!!!!!  Because at the root of loving is something spoken of throughout the Bible UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.  If you are having a tough time right now.....know that there are many many many other families out there like yours. 
 What a relief it was for me the first time I realized I was not out of my mind.  Well you know I was- but that is a whole other blog post :)  Especially when others don't have the privilege of seeing the behavior like you do.  I think that really got me.  I am like- really - yeah they look and act like an angel for you.  But you don't know.  And they give me a look- don't know what?  Yeah, well let me tell you!
 (oopppsss baby tried to crawl through a tight spot- you will be glad to know she moved the chair and released herself)  This is what we have to do.  Release ourself- let ourselves know that we are not alone.  We are not imagining things.  This behavior is NOT your child.  That you are not insane for not having all the answers when your child is raging.  That it is ok to feel frustrated. 
So if you are feeling this way.......don't consider it hopeless!!!  The first step after realizing that you and your child (ren) are NOT PERFECT ANGELS :)  FIND HOPE!!!!  There the word is out- THERE IS HOPE!!!  Maybe repeat that to yourselves several times before continuing. 
 There are many things to do for you and your child (ren) to help regain hope :)  My tips - trust me they are not genius nor is this list any where near a complete list, but here goes:

PRAY!!!!!  There is nothing to help you and them out more than this - PRAY and SEEK GOD!  There are hundreds of books on different kinds of behaviors, but PRAYER and SEEKING GOD- ONLY ADVICE YOU NEED!!!!!!  These things are not a side thought, but should be our only thought!!!!!!  I mentioned this in a previous post as well.

UNDER react to it all- as in try not to  react at all.  This is a huge thing and is very very very hard for me, but when I do it- it helps A LOT.  Make it a mind game of your own to see how many times you can do this :) The reason I think this is powerful is because manipulation is what they want.  They want to control you.  This does not come from God.  Release yourself from this. 

Do something silly to release your tension and dispell the meltdown.  A bloggy friend said about singing opera- made me crack up- but it is effective.  If your child pees when they are upset- throw some peas on the floor (got that one from a book).  Count backwards from 100, sing a silly song, break out in a happy dance, laugh hysterically.  Whatever can help you relieve that tension and not get upset because anger is never the answer.  TRY IT!

Try anything and everything to win them over.  As in if it takes giving them candy, treats, special hug times, cuddles in a rocking chair, special 10 minute times during the day just for them, rubbing lotion on their feet- your feet- WHATEVER!!!!  I used to think my other children would be jealous, but we have all agreed, it helps!  They see the difference not to mention we try to do things with all of our children as much as possible too!  Whatever you can do to get them to not be stiff when you hug them, to help get that eye contact even if for a few seconds to start with. 

Whatever you do DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY!!!!!!  This is another toughie!  Seriously how do you not take it personally when your child all but ignores you or if they talk to you it is all fake.  When you say to them over and over and over I love you and they don't respond or if they do it is "ok".  When you have done everything you can to give them attention and the 50 snacks a day to make sure they know you love them and they ignore you like you don't exist.  TOUGH, but again remember THERE IS HOPE!!!!!!

Work on 1 thing at a time!  This has really helped us....he he he.  If you try to work on the lying, the stealing, the kissing strangers,  the lack of eye contact, the manipulation, the blank stares, the meltdowns, the explosions - ETC. all at once it will only give you and them FRUSTRATION!!!!!  So pick one thing.  Make it small- like a few seconds of eye contact or no explosions for an hour.  Seriously- start small......and then gradually sometimes more than others expect more.  And you know what will happen- there WILL be set backs.  Times when you feel like what you just worked on is down the tubes- THERE IS HOPE!!!!!  So start over.  As friends have pointed out sometimes the set backs are things we forget.  Anniversaries of things that happened to them.  The brain is a very complex and wonderful thing- and even if you don't think your child could possibly remember - THEY DO!  There is a reason I know this :).  

BLESS THEM WHENEVER POSSIBLE!!!!!  This is one of the most powerful things you can do for ANY child!!!!  Remember the small things - yeah those tiny things that no one notices PRAISE THEM for it!!!  ANYTHING you see that is positive!!!!!!  I am not talking about being fake I am talking about praising them for something that most children just do automatically because you asked them to.  That is not fake.  If you experience behaviors like I have you are truly THANKFUL they have chosen to obey even in something small :)  I do a happy dance, jump for joy, and praise GOD with all my heart!!!!
 (notice Joanna go for the little bouncy ball and then in the end go for the cat?  he he he- yeah the little toys have been banned from "her space", but sometimes things slip in)
 Pictureka- another GREAT GAME for all of your kids to play together- they don't even have to know how to read!!!!!!  :)
So here is my ending thoughts on loving your children.  When we first started we had no idea what the behaviors were stemmed from.  We had no idea how to handle them without losing all our marbles.  Let me tell you things have changed A LOT!!!  We used to think babying children was silly.  Why would you praise this child for something you expect from your other children.

That is the GLORY OF GOD!  God chose to make us all differently and not the same. Of course HE did not plan for your child to be hurt, but they have been some very very very severely.  At the end of the day I praise God for not making myself and my many many many many quirks the same as my husband.  Otherwise we wouldn't "fit" together.  BUT I TRUST GOD!  I trust HIM in HIS infinite wisdom as HE placed our family together (and continues to do so).

My new favorite song- Chris Tomlin sings Our God is Greater - if you haven't heard this song- listen to it on the songs below.  My favorite part....

And if Our God is with us, then who could ever stop us?
And if Our God is for us, then who can stand against?

ANSWER- NO ONE!!!  NO BEHAVIOR!!! NO LETTERS OF THE ALPHABET no matter what they stand for!!!!!!!  Our God is HOPE!!!!  Lean on HIM!!!

And just before this really gets long.......We have seen improvement!!!!!  We have seen.....less lying, more attachment, more looking in the eyes, less tantrums, and while we have a ways to go.  Yeah- God says the same about me :)  So we are in the same boat!  :)