I haven’t been feeling well the last couple weeks, so I have A LOT of things to catch you up on! I decided the easiest way to do this was with a parade of pictures!
We started out the month after we got back from Memphis by celebrating Shavout (Pentacost) by placing a new Mezuzah on the doorpost of John’s room. The Mezuzah contains the Shema (Deut. 6:4-9) which stresses the importance of always having God’s Word written on your heart. It is a great opportunity to talk with our children about how God gave Moses the Law and how Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts.
Next came John’s birthday! We decided to just have a small family party at home given our current food situation, but John seemed pleased and was particularly enamored with the Calico Critters Momma and Poppa sent!
Next up was my birthday, and our 10 year wedding anniversary. We have FINALLY figured out how to go on a date given all of my current limitations!!! This time we went to Bayview Park and had a picnic on the beach! It was a last minute change of plans (we had talked about touring Historic Pensacola), but we had a nice time!
David got to see a train…
And I got to see the beach! (The trail also had interesting quotes written on the guardrails….some of them were by transcendentalist writers which I found interesting.)
David also brought me home some flowers that weekend for the first time in 13 years. Previously, he wouldn’t bring me flowers because “they just sit there and die.” But, since I can’t have chocolate (or most foods) now, flowers are a nice way to brighten my day! :-)
John has been paying attention this year during dewberry season and has become quite the forager!!
I am so proud!!! Out in the backyard playing and need a snack? I’ll just help myself!! And yes, he really does understand what is and is not ok to eat!
John has also really enjoyed swinging in a big boy swing!!
And Jessica LOVES the rope swing her daddy made for her!!!
Since all of the hoopla with Mother’s Day, John’s birthday, my birthday, and our anniversary, I have been on a rampage to “get ahold of our lives” post all of the absolute craziness of the last 6 months!!! And thus The Great Purge of 2013 has begun!!!!! I am currently over halfway through the house and am very pleased with my work thus far….if I can just keep that momentum going! This is our craft closet (you really don’t need a coat closet in Florida)!!
The upper 3 shelves: storage, games/puzzles, and sensory activities.
The bottom 3 rows: academics, arts/crafts, and misc. items that didn’t fit elsewhere ;-)
Middle shelf: Fine Motor activities
John’s closet: old baby items and clothes he hasn’t grown into on the top shelf
Toys on the second shelf. We got rid of A LOT of toys, partly because John has really out grown the toddler toys, partly because neither of my kids really plays with toys (it’s a part of the Autism), and partly because I would rather keep a few things they really enjoy and have less to clean up!!!
For John, this meant we kept mostly figures, trains, cars, tools, and potato heads. We don’t really keep toys out in their rooms because Jessica won’t go to sleep if there are toys out and John will throw them all over the room. John has a few blocks, a couple letter games, a few books, and stuffed animals out in his room, but that’s about it.
Jessica’s closet: our camping gear stored on the top shelf, her toys on the bottom shelf and floor
We also significantly thinned out Jessica’s toys as well for the same reasons. Hers were narrowed down to 7 different boxes of figures (polly pocket, princesses, strawberry shortcakes, etc), baby doll clothes, stuffed animals, and legos. Other than her closet, the only other toys in her room are a few books and her baby dolls.
And there is the floor view.
Although we did significantly thin out the toys, I did take all of the Fisher Price Little People, music toys, and Lincoln Logs and place them in the living room so the kids could enjoy them together, and it has been a BIG hit!!!! Seriously….old school Fisher Price Little people….I don’t know a kid on the Autism spectrum that doesn’t love them….all those tiny pieces to arrange…. ;-)
A couple years ago, I placed pictures on the top of our piano of people Jessica could call by name. I found it particularly encouraging to walk by their pictures every day because it reminded me that there were quite a few people that were very important to Jessica and that Jessica was very important to those people.
At this point in our lives with John now being in therapy, all of the food issues, etc, I wanted to do something similar. This time I took pictures of people that I know pray for us every day or have helped us financially to do what needs to be done for our children. I find it comforting to walk by these picture frames every day filled with people who all love us very much! (Unless I am wishing they were closer….then the pictures sometimes make me sad)
A few close-ups of the new “balcony people”…aka my cheering section! My Dad’s side of the family who all ate “the new Bodkin diet” over Christmas without complaining! And my parents who have been a source of unending support…in many many ways.
My paternal grandparents who pray for us every single day. David’s parents who have been a source of constant encouragement and support. My maternal grandparents who helped us pay for some of John’s speech therapy at the beginning of 2013.
David’s paternal grandmother who prays for us every day and offers encouragement. My Mom’s side of the family….specifically my aunts who love and support us….and in whose eyes I don’t think I can do any wrong!
Other than organizing all of the “stuff” in our lives, I have also been working on structuring our time better. When David and I first got married, I had a dry erase calendar on the fridge that I kept EVERYTHING on. At some point I got away from that. The other day I decided to come back to it, and it has made such a difference already!!!!
The kids and I have also started school back up after taking a break from November thru April to deal with food and doctor issues. We are still doing a lot of appointments, but it is more manageable now. David and I decided that the first thing we needed to address was behavior, because I had let a lot of things slide while I was so stressed during the last 6 months! So, we have been going over the Fruits of the Spirit and are now working on sharing, manners, etc. We’ve also been working on reading with both of the kids, but our primary goal right now is behavior.
This is our school calendar, and the kids’ checklists so we can check throughout the day and see what is left to do.
We have been working on A LOT more around the house and still have A LOT more to do, but I think we are beginning to achieve some sense of “normalcy” after our absolutely crazy last 6 months or so! But we are getting there! I have also been making an effort to take better care of myself and invest in face time with friends! It’s been a very good thing for my stress level, and I think I may have also found a new hobby: painting!!! I painted this tonight at a class I went to with a friend, and I haven’t found anything that relaxing/absorbing since dance (In case you are just joining us, I never took dance until I got to college, but I found it so relaxing that I almost had a minor in it by the time I graduated)!!!
It’s supposed to be a “Zen Tree,” but it reminds me of something out of Dr. Seuss… :-)