Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Jessica from Trivium Academy tagged me so here goes!

8 Things I am passionate about:

  1. living an authentic faith my kids (and others) will see and by it know Jesus is real
  2. loving my husband
  3. raising my kids to love God and love others - in that order
  4. food
  5. being healthy and keeping in shape (this is greatly complicated by #4!)
  6. cooking and baking
  7. running
  8. organizing

8 Things I Want To Do Before I Die:
  1. grow into a person who can truly say she lives her life for an audience of One
  2. travel, travel and more travel - Greek islands, a Civil War tour down the East Coast, Yellowstone, Redwood forests, Italy, revisit Cayman Islands where we honeymooned...
  3. see my children cross the line of faith and live out godly lives - get married and have children of their own, too!
  4. decorate my home... I often tease that God gave me an extra dose of the organizing gene but forgot to give me the decorating gene! I can't pick paint colors, coordinate furniture or accessorize to save my life. Lol.
  5. take culinary classes
  6. run a marathon in less than four hours
  7. complete a half-ironman race
  8. read all the great classics I never read in school

8 Things I Say Often:
(mostly to my kids!)
  1. Focus, Thatch.
  2. I love you.
  3. Use "Honey Words!" (I will blog about this soon.)
  4. People are more important than things (usually said when my guys are arguing over a toy).
  5. Make the wise choice!
  6. You bring me joy.
  7. It's not fun unless everyone is having fun.
  8. Time to clean up!

8 Books I've read recently:
(For me this category should be "The 8 most recent books I've read" since most have not been recently read and it would be most accurate if was an altogether different category: "The 8 books waiting on my bedside table to be read!")
  1. Taste and See by John Piper
  2. The Birth Order Book by Kevin Lehman
  3. The Well-Trained Mind (the Logic section) by Susan Wise-Bauer
  4. Wisdom and Eloquence by Robert Littlejohn and Charles Evans
  5. The Well Educated Mind by Susan Wise-Bauer
  6. Creative Correction by Lisa Welchel (I read this a few years ago but refer to it regularly)
  7. Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs
  8. Chronicles of Narnia (our bedtime read-a-louds the past several months)

8 Songs I could listen to over and over:
  1. most anything by Kenny Chesney - right now my favorite is Never Wanted Nothing More
  2. Something in the Way She Moves by James Taylor - actually the entire Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 (except Steamroller)
  3. Piano Man by Billy Joel (okay I realize I am cheating by naming entire CD's - but the entire Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 and 2!)
  4. the entire Soundtrack from Les Miserables
  5. Sitting by the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding
  6. Drift Away by Dobie Gray ( I loved this way before Uncle Cracker redid it and the original version is so much better than the remake!)
  7. Levon, Philadelphia Freedom and Rocket Man by Elton John
  8. Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art

8 Things I've learned this year:
  1. I have constantly been reminded that I am a sinner in need of a Savior and I still have a lot of growing to do.
  2. Homeschooling is as much (and somedays more) a tool God is using to disciple me as it a tool I am using to teach and disciple my children.
  3. I love coffee and dark chocolate
  4. I am becoming more of an introvert as I get older. Solitude re-energizes me more than time around lots of people. I still am not sure if this is because I am a mom of 3 young kids (and get so little solitude) or that my personality is shifting.
  5. Even though #4 is true I still need good friends in my life who will love me no matter what and speak truth into my life.
  6. I need to not take things so seriously and I need to laugh a lot more!
  7. I was always under the illusion that because I made excellent grades all through school and college that I am an educated person. Just one year of formal homeschooling (third year counting pre-k and Kindergarten) has exposed that myth! I have a lot of learning to do still and most of it has to do with teaching myself how to read and engage texts in a thoughtful way.
  8. I really do like Star Wars!

Eight People to Tag:

That's only six but anyone else who wants to jump in, please do. Leave a comment and I'll read yours, too!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Our Halloween Photos (Better Late Than Never)

I have at least 20 things I want to blog about; I am so behind. I thought I would start with a few simple things to help get caught up.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from Halloween this year. We had just finished reading all seven books in the Chronicles of Narnia series when I stumbled across these costumes on clearance at! Thatcher was Peter the High King, Haddon was King Edmund and Beckett was Aslan (but I found his costume at

Thatcher and Tinkerbell!

Haddon (er...King Edmund) riding his trusty steed!

At Daddy's office showing off our costumes!

Halloween 2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Finally...a Plan! (Part Two)

A few additional thoughts I forgot to include in my first post:

One more thing I am excited about is finding the Accountable Kids program. I first read about it at Lisa's blog and after talking with her and pouring over their site, I feel like it will be a great fit for us. Now I am saving up to purchase it. I think it will really help Thatcher see what he is responsible for and work towards doing those things consistently with less guidance from mommy. He really desires to take more responsibility for his "stuff" but doesn't know how to go about it. I have tried all sorts of charts and other incentives with limited success but I really feel that AK will be different! Here is a photo of the AK board just in case your interest is piqued:

Lastly, as I began thinking and praying about how we needed to help Thatcher more, I quickly realized that part of the problem was me. I am a person who needs lots of sleep - eight hours will do but nine is optimal. When I do not discipline myself in this area I am too often not as patient as I need and want to be with my boys. Since this past summer when I basically became a night owl, I rarely get the sleep I need; I always feel I have too much to do to stop and rest. Sleep doesn't feel like "doing" anything because I don't have a box to check for a task completed (yes, I am one of those box-checker types. Lol!). I guess I need to make a new to-do list with "Get 8 hours of sleep" at the very top!

Well that about sums it up: fish oil supplements, dairy-free, gluten-free, Accountable Kids, and more sleep for mom. I will let you know how it goes and thanks so much to all those who offered advice and encouragement. It is truly appreciated!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Homeschool Blogger Awards

Did you vote yet for your favorite blogs? I voted for all my favorites today. They are only accepting nominations through tomorrow, November 17th, (nothing like waiting until the last minute, huh?) so take a few minutes and give a nod to all those blogs you read regularly!

I hope all my favorites will get to add an awesome button saying "Winner of a Homeschool Blogger Award" onto their templates soon!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Finally...a Plan! (Part One)

Since I published this post just a few hours ago, I have already remembered a few things I forgot to include. I will add those in Part Two.

Well if you have read my blog for any amount of time you know that my oldest son, Thatcher, has ADHD as well as other developmental issues. If you have never read his story you can read it here at my other blog. It has been a long journey for us - as it is anytime you have a child with unique needs.

At the age of three our pediatrician told us that we would need to put him on medication some day; he was that busy! We never thought we would go that route, but things change. At the age of five Thatcher was unhappy because he was too often in trouble and had no friends, and I was in tears many days. We decided it was time to try prescription meds. With the first prescription we tried we had horrible side effects - within an hour of Thatcher taking his medicine he would get an upset stomach and terrible headaches.

The second medication we tried yielded enough results that we stayed on it for almost a year. Unfortunately as time went on, there were side effects with it as well. Thatch is already a kid who has little interest in food. He is one of those "eat to live" not "live to eat" type people (very unlike his mom!). On the medication every meal became a battle. He never wanted to eat. Also as time went on, he increasingly experienced what his pediatrician called rebounding; once his meds wore off each day he was more hyperactive than he ever was without meds. At about 4:00 each day he would begin to bounce off the walls - almost literally - and from then until bedtime was insane. For a year now we have been off any prescription medication and maintaining.

As a side note: Let me say here I am a little nervous about sharing so openly about our journey as this is an extremely "hot" topic. If you are tempted, please do not leave any comments on my blog about your opinion of prescription meds. I am not inviting opinions and anyone who choses to tell me how terrible I am for putting my child on "drugs" will have their comments immediately deleted. I am not anti-meds at all and I know for some families it is a valid option - and very well may be for us at some point in the future as well. I am just one mommy trying to do the best for my child. I am processing my thoughts here hoping to possibly encourage someone else along their journey because it's good to know you are not alone! Read this recent post from the WTM boards (Thank you momof7!) before you make any judgments on those going the medicine route and remember that until you have walked in someone's shoes...

Ahhhh, I feel better for getting that out. Thank you for indulging me!

Back to the topic....we need to do more to help Thatcher than we are currently doing. As he gets older the gap is widening between where he is socially/emotionally and other boys his age. Everyone expects some amount of chaos from three and four and even five year old boys! But as he gets older and other boys are able to sit for some length of time (granted boys are active no matter what - just speaking in relative terms. Lol!) Thatch still cannot. He is nowhere close and his impulse control is very lacking. I have spent the last two weeks intensively researching a plan and so here it is:

First we have started Thatcher on daily fish oil supplements. We have started him on Nordic Naturals Children's DHA but we are about to order OmegaBrite KIDZ or MorEPA Junior. They have higher ratios of EPA to DHA which is thought to be more effective in the treatment of impulsivity.

After observing his progress for six weeks we will begin a dairy free diet as well. Even if we see huge results with the supplements we will still go this route - although I reserve the right to change my mind at any time :). It is believed that the proteins in milk (which are made up on long amino acid chains) are very difficult for some bodies to digest and end up acting like natural stimulants in the intestinal tract. It takes about a month to get all dairy out of a body.

After a month we may possibly try a gluten-free (gluten is the protein in wheat and many other grains) diet as well. This one makes me really nervous as it would be the biggest life change for us. Removing dairy would be huge but not so much as removing wheat. I am the person who will skip a meal just to be able to munch on a loaf of fresh-from-the-oven french bread while I shop at our local grocery store! The gluten-free diet usually yields even more results for ADHDers than dairy-free but it takes three to six months to remove all gluten from the body vs. only a month to remove dairy. This path seems the easiest for me to implement as well. If we go gluten-free it will be closer to summer when our school load is lightening giving me more time to learn to cook in a completely new way.

My prayer is that this works for Thatcher. If there is truly an organic cause for his ADHD and we can treat it by removing items from his diet it will be completely worth all the work it will entail. On the other hand, if his ADHD is a true brain-chemical issue and we see no difference (or just minimal difference) then we will be back at the table considering what medications may help our little boy.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Week 13 Report

This week was full...full of good and not so good. I'll share the good first. That's so much more fun!

Math (Horizons 2) is going well and next semester we are going to try to start supplementing with this program. I looked at tons of great programs but this one won out for now - mainly because it's free and has lots of what I am looking for: activities to encourage thinking "outside the box".

Language - We didn't touch FLL lessons this week. We'll play catchup next week.

Reading - We are struggling a little here. Thatcher has regressed in his oral reading skills again. He mumbles, skips words, inserts new words and is generally showing some laziness. We are stopping Magic Tree House books for the time being hoping that some fresh books will inject some life into this aspect of school.

History is still going very well. I had pretty much stopped doing narrations (just hard to fit it all in) but after reading several threads relating to the value of narrations on the Well Trained Mind Boards I was encouraged to start back up again. Here is his narration from Chapter 13 of SOTW1. I copied down his narration but had him write the title. I loved his artwork, too! It shows Hatshepsut on her throne wearing a crown and surrounded by gold!

Science - We are playing catch up in this area but we are loving the life science plans Jessica created and shared at her blog, Trivium Academy! Here are two of his animal profile pages from this week: worms and ants. He is really enjoying learning to draw the animals. Coloring and drawing have been a long time coming for us and are just starting to emerge but oh how fun!

Spanish - We just completed Unit 1 of the Elementary Spanish program on United Streaming. Thatcher scored 100% on his test! We have acquired a Spanish pen pal for Thatcher, too! I'll post more about that later. :)

Just for fun here are pictures of Thatcher (wearing his red-eyed tree frog glasses!) and Haddon (wearing his new birthday outfit from his paternal grandparents) from this week.
Now for the not so good. We have had a tough few weeks with Thatch; I am at a loss for how to help him many days. He is stuck in a negative spiral, and I don't know how to break the cycle. His ADHD/SPD/Spectrum Disorder stuff is really rearing it's head: emotional outbursts when life doesn't happen just the way he thinks it should, disrespect, impatience with his brothers (more than just normal "sibling stuff") and more. Raising kids is *tough*. Period. No matter what. Raising a kiddo with special needs is sometimes downright...I can't even think of a word to describe it: exhausting, sad, make you want to crawl under the sheets and hide some days...

We are starting fish oil supplements on Monday as some have had great success in treating ADHD this natural way. Oh, if it could truly be that easy for us! We are also getting more strict on his diet as I've grown a little lax since school has started: absolutely no sugar, refined flour or white rice, no dyes, additives or preservatives and limited dairy and wheat. I am also researching a parenting/behavior program that may work for us as well. I will post more as I learn about this as well.

Next week is a new week and I am looking forward to a fresh start!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Haddon is Three!

Today was my Chocolate Eye's birthday and it truly was special. It was the first birthday where he really got that it was all about him...and how sweet it was! The first thing he said when he woke up this morning was, "I tree!" (Translation, "I'm three!")

He had been looking forward to his party at Chuck E. Cheese for months and it did not disappoint. And doing it on a Friday morning was wonderful - no crowd whatsoever!

Here are a few of my favorite photos from our day:
The Birthday Boy!

Beckett had a great time, too!

Big Brother

Air Hockey Champ!

The Pizza Cake

Blowing out the Candles

Haddon and Mommy :)

Happy Third Birthday, Haddon.
We love you so very much sweet boy.