Monday, November 28, 2011

Just Like Duh

He insisted on dragging the chair in for the picture.  He had to be sitting in his chair just like big brother.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

Our choir sang for a memorial service at ACH yesterday.  This is the second time we've done it for them.  The first time we sang was a couple of years ago and Brian and I both were overcome with emotion.    So while I knew what was coming, the grief still crashed into me like a tidal wave.  Everyone would have understood if I had bowed out, but I always feel this yearning to reach out to other parents, even if it means wading through my grief once again.  And although I'm emotionally drained from the entire program, I feel like opening that wound is a small price to pay if it means even one newly bereaved parent was comforted in that place.  

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.  If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.  And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.  2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (NIV)

I'm still amazed though, how the "stages of grief" cycle in and out of my life, none in the right order, some repeating themselves over and over.  There is no rhyme or reason as to what brings on certain feelings or memories, but I'm learning more and more how to just let the feelings flow out of me through the tears.  Eventually the tears are dried by the Heavenly Father . . . dried as I am reminded of the promise of Heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted . . . Matthew 5:4 (NIV)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

On The Homeschooling Front

Last year we really struggled to get through our school year.  It was a year of adjustment for both Clayton and me, and a year of constant growth and exploration for Jackson.  And while adjustment is still taking place and Jackson will never stop "exploring," this year seems to be much easier on us all, with actual learning taking place once again.  One major thing that has changed is my overall approach to Clayton's learning.  For the first two years, I was dead set on him learning to read using the phonics approach, simply because as a learner myself, it seems the most intuitive.  But after two years of butting my head against the wall and Clayton only recognizing the letters in his name and no others on a regular basis, I finally realized it might help if I teach him HIS way instead of mine!  

Clayton is a listener and an observer.  It dawned on me that I should focus on sight words instead of the sounds of the actual letters in each word.  DUH!  It also dawned on me that reading may be a long way down the road for Clayton and maybe I should focus on just keeping his attention for more than five minutes at a time before I tackle his reading of an entire book!  So with those things in mind, I purchased the "My Baby Can Read" series and went back to unit studies (the approach I used during his kindergarten year).  The MBCR stuff was fun for him at first, but quickly got old and boring.  I wish I would have started him on it four years ago instead of waiting until now.  Jackson has learned two words so far though: "hi" and "elephant." :) I still haven't totally given up on it for Clayton, but we have taken a break from it for now.  
The change back to unit studies has been fantastic.  And while I've used other resources in the past, so far this year I've used all my material from Hands of a Child.  We started the year off studying trains (since both boys are completely fascinated by them), did a unit on horses, and now we are studying the history behind Thanksgiving.  I am only using about a third of the material in the studies I've purchased, and we take about four times as long as planned with a study.  But with lots of repetition and interactive learning, Clayton is definitely retaining the information better than years past.  Without even being prompted, he told his speech therapist yesterday that the pilgrims came on the Mayflower.  So awesome! Definite progress in his ability to learn and relate information!

Monday, November 14, 2011


A miracle happened this weekend.  Jackson willingly posed for me as I tried out my new lens.  
My busy two year old looking intently into the camera lens on purpose?  And Act of God indeed!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Photo Friday

So I really wanted to blog about something interesting this week, but my mind is just blank right now . . .  I've been living and breathing photo sessions and loving every minute of it.  My favorite sessions are seniors and this past weekend I got to shoot a senior session at a beautiful, yet rustic, location.  Brooklyn is the cousin of Abby and like her cousin, she was totally into the session.  We had a lot of fun capturing some great images!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Runaway Songwriter

I took my eyes off Jackson for maybe a minute the other day. After an extensive search, I found him out back in the trailer, singing to his heart's content. It was a new song he had written . . . one about "Brian pulling the trailer with the Rhino." (See previous post for Rhino reference). Have a listen to this gift of creativity for yourself. =)

He gets it from me.

Okay, maybe a teensy bit from Brian, but 90% from me. :)

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Family Ride

Saturday was a rare day in that we had absolutely nothing planned.  This meant a day of fun spent together!  We decided to take the Rhino up north for our first family trail ride adventure.  I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about getting rid of the four wheeler and replacing it with the Rhino.  Skeptic no more!  This vehicle is absolutely perfect for the four of us and I'm sure many more days in it are ahead of us.  
We thought that after the rain last week we would be able to spot some pretty waterfalls.  I was armed and ready with my camera, but all I got was a dry creekbed.  Nothing but a sign telling us where the falls would actually be if we hadn't had such a dry summer!  So much for scenic photography . . .
Jackson was the offical map reader.  Kept asking for his "book."  He's got such a good sense of direction, he could even direct us while reading it upside down.  :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Ten Gallon Hat

For Halloween this year, Clayton was a cowboy through and through.  From his ten gallon hat to his goat-ropin' boots, he was dressed just right for sittin' in the saddle all day.  I thought he looked quite spiffy, but the best part was how excited he got while we were in the store looking at everything.  Once he saw himself in the mirror with the hat on, there was no removing the ear to ear grin on his face!  He was chatty-cathy the entire shopping trip.  He couldn't wait to get out the door to show everyone his new hat and boots!