Friday, July 30, 2010

Girls day out!

The girls and I had so much fun today! Originally we had planned on going to Hoppin Hippo, a local indoor bounce playground then to a friends for an afternoon swim and lunch but miss Miriam has a horrible rash on her bottom so swimming was a no go. Instead Tom carpooled leaving us the car and we decided to go out for breakfast, do a longer run at the hippo, do some shopping (the girls got 10 bucks each to buy themselves something @ big lots) and head for some ice cream before picking daddy up from work. We spent about 3 hours at Hoppin Hippo. The girls had a BLAST bouncing, climbing the tree house, playing dress up and having fun with the other kids. I love seeing the girls have fun at places like this but I hate that other parents give their kids free run of the place never looking up from their books, phones, computers or friends long enough to notice their little hellions torturing other kids. All 3 of our girls got into it at some point with other children. Of course I had to situate myself between the 3 always staying with Sophia and walking back and forth to Georgia and Miriam. I wasn't away from either of the other two for more than 2 minutes or the time it took me to walk from one side of the room to the other. I had a friend with me (who wasn't watching her kids either) who caught a little boy dragging Miriam through a bounce house by her feet. Nobody had the slightest clue who this boys parents were, needless to say after "I" parented him he backed off and never went near my kid again. Actually I think the kid might have been alone because I am pretty sure he left. (sad, I know!)



Then Georgia who was playing with Miriam while I was pushing Sophia on the baby swing came to me saying a group of little girls who I had to get onto twice for shoving and pushing SOPHIA punched her in the eye. But after investigation I found my little princess fought back because two of the other girls were crying to their mommies. I have no doubt they started it the way they were treating all the other kids. They would run in shove the little kids off the tree house, steal their costumes, shove the kids down the slides so they could have their turn, shove other kids into bounce house walls, etc.... They ran over Sophia trying to climb in the little bounce house time after time it was infuriating.

Then Miss Sophia who had been wanting to swing on the baby swing all day decided to escape the baby room and take over the swing on her own. I had turned my back for half a second to buy the girls some snacks and found her in the baby swing. There was an older child about 8 years old who decided all day long it was her swing so Sophia had no chance of swinging on it. I went up to Sophia who was on the swing and had this little girl pushing her how she got on the swing. A lady who was standing there laughed her butt off and said Sophia came up to the little girl, asked to swing and when she wouldn't let her she just TOOK IT. Pushed the little girl out and took the swing. I was in SHOCK. My sweet little Sophia who is so shy stood up to an 8 year old girl! The mom was pissed her daughter was kicked out, but she told her to let Sophia swing. The mom did however ask Sophia about 5 times in 5 minutes if she was done yet. Finally I just told her "Look lady, this is one of the only things for babies to do here and since I paid my 5.00 bucks a kid as well your kid can certainly share one of the TWO baby activities here". After that the kid seemed more than happy to share. It seems to me this kid is a victim of a mommy who never hears the word no and she liked it..lol If you look at the pictures you can see her playing happily and sharing with Georgia the rest of the time there.




I think I would go to these places more often if parents were more responsible for their kids. These places are not babysitters, they are a fun place for families to go to have fun WITH their kids. Not just to let the kids lose. There is a reason why kids AND parents need to wear socks. Because parents are expected to watch and play with their children. However, we did have fun and that is all that counts. This day in age I expect there to be conflict amongst kids. We have yet to go to a park or even the McDonald's playground without there being some bully. The sad thing is, some parents think it is "cute" for their kids to pick on other kids. I am not one of those parents. I speak up to other parents and will kick my kids butts if they act like that..lol


Anyway, after we went to Hoppin Hippo we headed to big lots. Georgia hit bank with her ten bucks because the place was packed with Yo Gabba Gabba toys. The smaller girls had money left over so I let Georgia use it to make up the difference and she got two toys. Our kids have to share their toys, no toy belongs to one kid in our house so it really didn't matter much. Miriam got herself some squish and spike balls and Sophia got her an Elmo Flashlight which sings songs. She still has not let go of that thing..lol

By the time we got finished shopping we were almost out of time but there is always time for ice cream so we headed to Baskin Robbins for a tasty scoop of coconut ice cream.






Once we finished the girls got a real treat because Daddy gave them all a tour of the shop where he works. Let me tell you that I don't think Georgia will ever mistake daddy working for McDonalds ever again..lol The story is every few weeks Tom surprises the girls with Happy Meals. He brings them home after work so Georgia put two and two together and determined Daddy must work at McDonalds since he has such easy access to Happy Meals. She is so funny! lol

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sacrifice..!

For a long time Tom and I have been asking ourselves why it is we do not have any money saved. Why so and so who makes less owns a home, why this person and that person can manage this and that but we cannot. We know many people out there have credit cards they spend with when cash runs cold. We do not ever plan on having credit cards, we live off of cash and cash only. We decided a long time ago that we did not want to reduce ourselves to a family who had to rely on credit to survive, we don't want to live above our means and end up in "credit counseling" like some of our friends. We look at things simply , "we have money to buy it or we don't". At the same time we find that we spend our money, all of it. We save nothing, not because we squander it but because in some odd way we DO live above our means. We live above our means for our "future" well being. We afford everything we own, pay our bills on time but have nothing left which sucks because like all else we want the American Dream. We are just not willing to go into debt to obtain it like most else. To accomplish our goals of owning our home with CASH and not credit we have decided it is time to make sacrifices while the girls are still young enough not to notice. Sacrifices of space and "pretty" neighborhoods are our main needs. We sacrificed 2 rooms to move into this house and if Tom was still working on the road making on the road money it would have been a perfect sacrifice. But now that we made the sacrifice of 20.00 less an hour in Salary for him to be at home with us it turns out our original sacrifice was a necessary sacrifice to make our bills not a sacrifice to save. So what do we do now? SACRIFICE ALL OVER AGAIN.

Tom loves his job in Round Rock so we plan on sacrificing one or two ways. 1. Moving into an apartment with amenities like a playground, cable, Internet, pool, etc...for about 900 per month with all of us crammed into 2 bedrooms or 2. Staying in Taylor and renting a house at 595 a month which would bring our rent/bills down to what we pay total on rent here also cramming ourselves into a 2 bedroom.

Pros: Apartment Living
Everything at our fingertips. No driving to the gym or park.
No setting up a pool.
Possibly kicking out cable and/or Internet bills
on site maintenance
closer to work
no more Gym membership payment
closer to Tom's work
No more lawn care
upscale community
more stuff to do in Round Rock
More kids to play with


Cons:
Application fees out the wazoo
Possible denial of app fee (we had some credit trouble between Griffin issues and Miriam's disability)
loss of privacy with neighbors being so close
still paying 900 - 1000 per month
Long Haul to move


Possible savings if we move to an apartment = 435.00 per month (not including savings on utilities living in a smaller place.)

Pros of Staying in Taylor:

Leisurely move
less rent by 300.00
less electricity for smaller house
Maybe get to keep play set
private home
get to stay at church
house a block from city park & pool
we know the area


Cons:
Window Units
Not as nice as apartments
Still have to pay all bills
Tom still has 20 minute drive
not sure if we "like" the area
Gas Bill


Possible Savings: 400.00

Sacrifice, Sacrifice. Question is, how much do we sacrifice and what is important to us? Looking at this list I am thinking apartment living is the best option. It is just such a hassle trying to find the right place that is not going to rape us in fees.

The other thing is, if we move to Round Rock Tom and I both plan on getting jobs. We both want to get our TABC and work around each other's schedules to bar tend. ALL of our money from those jobs we plan on saving. So we are looking at at the very least 2,000 more per month which makes it possible to save at least 25,000 in one year. Home wise we are looking at a 25,000 3 bedroom "Tiny house". A house small enough to sustain a family while saving money on utilities. We plan on putting this home on property we plan on buying within the next few months in Oregon. 5 acres for less than 5,000! We found that if you buy property that is unincorporated outside of major cities in the country that you can find excellent deals. We would need about 75,000 to get the house built plus electricity , water, telephone & sewer set ups. We want to pay CASH for this, no loans. Our goal is to own our own home out right. Tom will go on the road a few months out of the year and we will live off of that money. With few bills, this is possible.

It took us a long time to come up with a good plan and we think this is the plan. We decided to wait out Miriam's procedure because it is looking more and more like it will be here in the US within the next few years. Beike Biotech is working REALLY hard to see to it every child has a chance and with stem cell research becoming more and more acceptable it WILL happen. We have not forgotten about Miriam. We just decided that it is more productive to focus on all of our children's future. God will see to it Miriam has her chance, I have no doubts about that. And when we get to Oregon we will have better luck at fundraising efforts.

I cannot wait for the day when we don't have to say "we need to sacrifice". I think once we own our own home the only real sacrifice we will have is Tom going on the road a few months out of the year. The nice thing about it though, is that because we home school , we can go with him! Maybe sacrifice a bit longer to buy a travel home to make it easier & cheaper for all of us to go. Sacrifice, a never ending road!

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Such a better day!

Thank goodness for today because it means our weekend has been saved. We got up this morning had a good breakfast (well, not me..lol) and headed off to our new church. It is such a great church! We don't have to impress anyone, nobody cares if our daughters look like dolls, not one person has made the stuck up comment of "I hate it when people dress their kids in cotton for church" (would you believe a FEW people said this to us in the past?) and the total focus on the time at church is JESUS CHRIST! No politics, or political like announcements to start off a service. We have a great sermon and good UPLIFTING Christian music , not drab music sung in the same key at the same sloooow pace no matter what the book says. Tom and I don't have to dress like something we are not, like we are in a contest to see which family looks the best, although we dressed the part it made going to church a nightmare. Church is not a fashion show. And the messages are real messages that uplift you and move you to want to do better in life. The focus isn't on "how the church has changed ME" but on how the doctrine and our savior can change us all.

Most importantly though, our girls LOVE it. Each of them in their own classes, class rooms dedicated to children and set up to keep children interested in what they are learning. Miriam's teachers are patient with her and amazingly just "knew" how to deal with her from the start. They dealt with her like she was a child, not like she was some special being from another planet. Nobody set up "meetings" to dig deeper into her mind. They just know she is a normal kid who just needs an extra hand. Tom said when he picked Miriam up today they had her in a chair playing with playdough, (Miriam's fav. toy) they were making a big ship & animals out of it. They were using it to tell her the story of Noah's Ark. Is it really so hard to deal with her that we need a meeting? 2 weeks in her class and not one episode until time to go when she has a meltdown because she loved her Sunday school class so much she did not want to go. Both the girls have fits when we leave. Georgia calls her class the "Jesus loves us this I know school class". In G's class they learn about our savior with arts and crafts and songs, things a 3 year old can relate with. But mostly the breakthrough is our Miriam, it is so amazing to watch her love Sunday school and actually get something from it.

The church is in between pastors at the moment but they have subs. This past Sundays sermon was on "Grace". Something the LDS church tries NOT to talk about. It was on remembering the meaning of Grace and why it is so important in our lives. About how so many of us live our lives for Sunday but not Sunday for our lives. How we should always live in God's Grace by always remembering that the Grace of God will save us and making sure to remember it is with us even after we are saved. To not go through life pretending to be Christian by trying to do works to get to Heaven or making it a point to go to church on Sunday/Saturday to get to Heaven but by actually molding your life to "BE" Heaven. It was a wonderful sermon that is far too true of so many people. Tom and I love being there learning about and celebrating our Lord and Savior! I am so thankful we decided to do away with organized religion and to go the nondenominational route.



"Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ."

Eph. 4:7

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Weekend from Hell!

You know, Tom and I try so hard to give our girls good positive family experiences away from the house. For the last few months while we got caught back up financially after the layoff we weren't really able to do much other than go to a park once in a while. But this month we actually managed to get caught up and I went looking for fun inexpensive things to do.

Last night we decided to take the girls to Movies in The Park. A local area park which we love was hosting and we thought , hey, fun and FREE. We packed the double stroller, lawn chairs and hit the road. First we stopped off and had an always wonderful burger and fries at our families favorite place The Little Red Wagon then headed to H.E.B. for some popcorn, strawberries & drinks to keep our tummies happy in the heat. Once we got there however it seems movies in the park was much more. There wee booths, carnival rides, music, food and a bunch of other stuff. The website listed these things as "activities" which to Tom and I meant races, maybe music, games, etc... But all was fine, Georgia already got a good peak and there was no way we were backing out. We parked and walked 1/2 a mile to the "activities". We stopped first at the CHILD SAFETY KIT BOOTH hosted by CRIME STOPPERS which was giving away free games & goodies while mommy and daddy signed up for your free child safety kit. Tom had Georgia, I had Sophia in my arms and Miriam in the stroller. Georgia spun, got her hacky sack , Miriam spun, then Sophia. I handed Sophia her toy, turned to Tom and asked the most horrible words I have ever asked in a giant crowd of people "WHERE IS GEORGIA". Our little girl who had been harassing us while her sisters played the game to ride rides had VANISHED. I freaked so much I was literally seeing spots, Tom went to find her. I was so scared to leave that booth for fear she would return not to mention I had a heavy stroller with 2 kids in it. We found her after about 5 minutes and after a stunned mommy nearly passed out. She was at the bungee bounce ride shoes off , climbing on while the operator was begging her to please come down. She was insistent she was not budging, that she was GOING TO RIDE that grown up ride. Tom grabbed her, the next thing I remember was flying with the stroller passed them yelling "we are done, we are going home". I was so sick to my stomach and so scared to be in that crowd with the kids that I had a serious panic attack. We got to the car and I started crying so hard I couldn't stop.

You look at parents who lose their children and you think to yourself "How can you just lose a child" but , I now know how easy it is! And I am sorry to anyone in my life I have ever looked at funny or thought a negative thought about for doing the same. It was a terrifying experience. Not only for myself but I know also for Tom.

We now have a very strict system in place. We designate one person to push the stroller the person not pushing the stroller has the loose child's hand at all times. Frankly I thought this was the way it was anyway but I guess we need it to be in writing!

On to Today's "wonderful" (insert sarcasm here) outing. The plan: take the girls to pick peaches at a pick your own farm about 45 minutes from town. Get some yummy peaches, get a nice farming experience and get out of town which we haven't done in a while. We got to the Star Farmers Market pick your own Farm at 12:05 5 minutes after we were told someone would be sure to be at the farm. I had called a few days ago and we were told they do not keep the times on the website , they said 12noon on Saturday someone would be there so they knew we were coming from pretty far away. 30 minutes later after going to the two houses down the block with no luck, calling 2 phone numbers (after we found a spot with reception) we got someone to say they were out to lunch and that the person who told me they would be there decided to go to market. I was beyond upset about this because I had Georgia going nuts to pick peaches and the other girls pissed because it was 100 degrees outside. They finally showed up and Georgia was made happy picking peaches from the 3 tiny rows of peaches 10 feet from the highway. The peach trees were so unkept, there were more rotting peaches on the ground than on the trees which was sad. But whatever, in the end Georgia had the time of her life and I enjoyed myself with her. Tom was bored to tears and trying to keep Sophia wrangled who wanted to just run but there was no fence and we were right on the highway so that was a no no. Miriam was happy riding around in the wagon that I am SO glad we decided to go ahead and take with us. We came home with 11 1/2 pounds of peaches which we paid about 16 bucks for. Pricey but they are as fresh as you can get.

Here are a few pics. In case you are wondering what that creepy red thing with a face is, it's a strawberry. :/ Tom had to tell me what it was, I thought it was a red witch or maybe a killer tomato..lol









After the "farm" (it wasn't "really a farm the website is very deceiving) we went to Texas Burger where we have been wanting to go for a while now. They forgot to bring out Miriam's food so she had to wait 10 minutes longer for her food, our burgers were horribly dry, the soda's WERE NOT name brand Sodas despite what the machine said and they ended up bringing poor Miriam raw chicken. Needless to say we will never go back there again.

In the end we plan on saving this weekend. The girls can go swimming later and we have church tomorrow. Nothing like some good praise to save the day!

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Over the past few years we have been toying with the idea of not only leaving Texas but leaving this country. There are things about our country we love and things we absolutely hate. That combined with the serious decline of jobs for skilled tradesman in Texas has been fueling our desire even more as of late. The past few days Tom decided we needed to move to Canada. I of course support him in anything he wants (most of the time..lol). Right now Canada has a severe shortage of welders and are practically begging people to immigrate. However one thing I found out is where as they beg they are more than willing to deny if we bring Miriam along. Of course we would NEVER leave our Miriam behind. What kind of country would deny a little blind girl immigrant status based on disability when she had 4 other people in her family who would and could contribute so much to society? It seems according to news reports this happens all the time. One french family who lived and worked 5 years in Canada are being forced out due to having a child with Cerebral Palsy. It is absolutely inhumane and I want no part of it. I would never want to live in a country where my child would have to experience that kind of discrimination, NEVER! No wonder so many Canadians come to the United States and no wonder they are desperate for skilled workers! It might be a physically beautiful place to live but Canadian government makes that country very ugly! It looks like we are back to looking in Oregon (or maybe Alaska?). If Tom wants to leave the country perhaps Alaska is as close as we will ever get, we can look over the border to Canada and say TAKE THAT CANADA LOOK AT US MAKING ALASKA BETTER WITH OUR BEAUTIFUL CHILD. I wonder if Ireland is this discriminatory against the disabled? My family immigrated from there to here, maybe we can immigrate back? How fun! lol



O Canada!

Our home and native land!
True patriot love in some of thy sons command.
unless your disabled we will see thee rise,
The True North strong and free
except for the blind, limp or weak,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
Against the cripples of the world, deaf
dumb , blind and meek!


No Canadian national anthem in our future. Thank you Canada for giving me a little bit of the respect back for my own country. But at the same time thanks for making me realize we need to have higher standards in who we let in. No more Canadians!

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Say goodbye!

In an effort to de-clutter, an effort that has been going on for almost a year now, we decided to get rid of all things baby with the exception of a few small first baby items. The big bulky baby items were just being destroyed in our hot garage and we figured someone might need them now. Today out the door went a certain item that has been with us since the day we took Georgia home from the hospital at just 2 days old. The item that we eyed from a yard sale on our way to introduce Georgia to her now in heaven PaPa Bramlett just a few months before he passed away. An item that Georgia lived in refusing to sleep in her own bed for 6 months of her life. She rocked, cried, cooed and said what sounded just like "I love you" for the first time in this item. The item was the faithful Graco swing which was hard for even Tom to give up, as we also slept with it for months a foot away from our bed so we could have easy access to turn it on should Georgia awaken at 3am needing something more than a diaper change or a bottle. Needing the rock that soothed her instantly. Normally I wouldn't post about this type of stuff but watching it leave our house for a new home I watched my now 3 year old Georgia cry and scream begging "I want my swing back" and "my swing mommy". Real tears from a little girl I had no idea loved something so much still to this day. If I felt rotten about giving up this swing that was one of the best and most loyal friends our little family had ever had I certainly feel rotten now. I know we have to let go of things but sometimes it is just hard. So I dedicate this post to the sage green Graco swing covered in zoo animals that made life tolerable for the first 6 months of a very noisy babies life.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday fun day!

Yet another Sunday fun day at the Bramlett's. For the family and friends who did not know we officially and for good left the Mormon church. I have been a member of the church since I was 17 years old but went inactive because of various issues I had which I won't go into. 2 years ago however wonderful Missionaries came to our door while our marriage was going to a little bit of a crisis. Wanting to men fences I thought it would be a good idea to find a spiritual outlet and Tom agreed. He then joined my church thinking it would make me happy and I stayed because I have never had an extended family and they were that extended family. They did wonderful things for our family as far as fellowship and beyond (until we started having some issues which prevented us from going to church anyway then all our "friends" vanished) but in the end the issues I had with the church began to grow to the point I realized that I do not believe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter days saints to be the true church as they claim. I am not 100% sure if I believe in the Book of Mormon or not but we do know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints is not the church Joseph Smith dreamed of regardless. The rest of this is a story for another day but for now the reason why I posted this tidbit of information.

Tom and I took the girls to a new non denominational church today as we both agree that there is no "true" church as we as Sacred Temples of God ARE the true churches and the only Temples in the world worthy of our Savior. In this we believe any church to hold the possibility of being the "true" church as it is in us that truth lives. On the other hand we do not want to reduce ourselves to the rules of denominations which have a tendency to deviate from scripture. A non denominational church offers us a place to worship our Heavenly Father while having a wonderful church family everyone should have. We went to a church not far from our home called Crosspointe and we absolutely loved it. The spirit filled all of our hearts. Miriam LOVED her Sunday school class , they said she talked to them, sang songs with them and played without having one meltdown. She PARTICIPATED in everything and those of you who know Miriam know this to be incredible! She loved it so much she didn't even want to leave. Sitting down and going limp about 5 times trying to leave..lol Georgia loved it before we ever showed up. Declaring to daddy when he rose late to join us for breakfast "we are goin to church daddy!!! Jesus loves you this I know!! gotta put on church dress". When we took her to her class and tried to hug her bye she said "no, I'm busy, in class!" She is such a character, we had to bribe her with the park in order to leave. And as for Tom and I, we sat in the chapel with miss Sophia. They have a nursery but we wanted to see how she would fair with us since she would have been the only one in the nursery and I didn't want to deny anyone service to watch her. She listened to us all sing modern church song (songs I love and listen to daily), read her little books then fell asleep in my lap. Not one peep out of her. It was great and we will definitely be going back next week.

After church we came home and made some egg salad sandwiches. We had originally planned on a picnic but decided we didn't want to ruin the day fighting the girls to sit down and eat so we all had our meal at home then headed to the park. We went to a new park here and had loads of fun. We had the park all to ourselves so Tom and I made equal fools out of ourselves sliding down the slides, swinging and playing with the girls. I asked Miriam once what she wanted to do and she said to me "I want to slide with you" which again, is huge thing for Miriam to say. She is usually a one word girl and many times will not answer questions.

Right now all of my family is passed out asleep after we came home to some yummy ice pops. I am enjoying the quiet baking a cake and getting ready to start dinner. Pineapple APPLE upside down cake with homemade corn dogs and homemade chili dip. We might even go for a swim later, to be announced!

God Bless you all!

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Homeschool Prep!

As many of you may already know we are starting the very serious task of homeschooling Miriam this year. I have been like a mad person researching what needs to be done to prepare for this rather intimidating experience we have in store for us. From laws to groups to building a curriculum there is so much information that it is literally driving me into a frenzy. In fact if I wasn't the women I was ready to take on just about anything head first I would be preparing to camp outside the public school to make sure I get a choice seat in the assembly hall at orientation. I am SURE it isn't going to be as crazy as it seems, or is it? Considering there is a website just for first year home schoolers in Texas I am thinking I am right in being a little taken aback. I keep having to remind myself that it IS the BEST for my kids to home school them. Public schools are unsafe, lacking morals, cause self esteem issues and frankly do not provide the proper one on one learning environment a special needs child has to have.

At home, she gets all the one on one she needs along with the ability to build a solid moral foundation built on our christian values. Not that I want to force my kids into my beliefs because a mind of their own is another reason I want to home school. Public schools seem to be shying away from personal opinion more and more as the years go by. Anyone who knows me knows that speaking my mind is a big way I live my life. In fact I often get myself into trouble opening my big mouth so much..lol But hey, if we were meant to always be walking a straight line God would not have created mountains, oceans and thanks to the roundness of the earth we are always walking in circles. Might as well walk in a circle of my own creation even if that does mean sticking my foot in my mouth on occasion. Anyway enough about me and my wackiness and back to the subject at hand.

Do you have any idea how many websites there are on homeschooling and how many different ways there are to home school? There are people who go to private home public school, those who do it from a book, those who do it online, those who do it out in the world and those who just do it! I am leaning more towards just doing it myself. Making a list of what we need to learn then fitting it into a days work. I would like to do a bit more than the schools in that I know she is ca[able of more than the school knows. By the end of the year my goals will not be for her to push a ball on her own or talk more. She does those things here. My goal is going to be for her to do them everywhere and not only that do them better. By the end of the year I want Miriam to sit down and:

1. tell me her ABC's upon prompting not just out of the blue
2. count to 50
3. use the potty
4. paint a picture ON HER OWN
5. say her phone number and address
6. know what the alphabet and numbers look like
7. Make something with her play-dough instead of just smashing it
8. Climb the swing set
9. Use her cane WELL
10. KNOW what braille is (I am starting my braille course to teach her)
11. Have a conversation instead of just half a conversation (I plan on devoting at least 30 minutes a day to SPEECH on top of the speech she will be getting from the school)

Those are only some of what I want. I know it seems like a lot to ask from a little blind girl but I know it isn't. I know everything on that list is possible. And with her not having to head off to a public school where the attention is not always on her and she is not always the student being taught she will get full attention. My plan is for ALL 3 girls to be in school with Miriam. We will have gym time, music time, reading, art, math, English, outdoor time and lots more in our day. I am not really sure on the times yet. Tom is telling me 7:00-1:00 but I am thinking more along the lines of 7:30/8:00-1:00 with breakfast about 7am.

I am also doing everything I possibly can to find a local home school group but since Tom and I decided to leave our church we are having difficulty finding one that is not "Mormon" based. I have no problems with Mormon groups other than all of my Mormon friends abandoned us (real Christian right) when we left and I don't want to be preached to the whole time. If worse comes to worse I will just officially start a home school group for the area. One thing we have always known was important when we started this was socialization. Getting together with other kids, going on outings and field trips is very important to learning. I am hoping when we attend the ISD's private school meeting (did you know in Texas our home is now a private school?) that I will be able to meet some other home school parents who will either tell me about a group or will want to start one up. Wish us luck!

For now, I better get dinner started, I just needed to clear my head of all the home school craziness overflowing. I think my brain is running out of room...lol

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ooey gooey goodness!

Last night I made a promise to my little Georgia in her sadness of being abandoned by neighborhood kids that I would bake her a lemon cake today. So first thing this morning I pull out the mixer and start baking with a happy Georgia declaring "YAY LEMON CAKE!!!". Upon making this cake came the decision of what frosting to make, butter-cream, lemon or my grandmothers favorite the old fashioned 7 minute frosting. I always hated 7 minute frosting growing up as it was the only frosting my grandmother ever made for any cake. When cakes rolled out I yearned for creamy butter-cream or whipped cream frosting over the marshmallowy topping that was the 7 minute. But even though history was screaming YUCK my heart was screaming nostalgia and I set out to make the frosting I remembered as a child. I threw all the ingredients into a pan, turned on the burner and broke out my hand held mixer to start the tedious task of 7 minutes of blending until those pretty peaks started forming. I must admit the idea of making 7 minute frosting has always intimidated me but I have to say it was somewhat refreshing to see those pretty white peaks form into a soft gooey mountain of marshmallow. Once I pulled that creamy goodness off the stove and added the vanilla my mouth was watering. And by the time it went on top of the cake I was having a sugar high from all the frosting that had already passed my lips because after all a good cook must sample! Of course the girls got their fair share of taste testing. I tweaked this frosting a little bit to change the texture, my grandmothers frosting always got a little crunchy film on top but I wanted my frosting to stay smooth and delightful. In the end the result was absolute perfection and I am sorry to say to my grandmother who was an expert 7 minute frosting lady that my frosting is so much better than hers. Shhhh, don't tell! Love you grandma!




For a different type of yummy frosting here is my grandmothers recipe with the cream of tarter tweak.

Blanche's 7 minute Frosting

2 egg whites
3/4 cup Sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients except for vanilla in a large sauce pot and blend with hand mixer on low speed for about 3 minutes then move the mixer to medium speed and continue. At 6 minutes add vanilla and beat on high for another minute or until peaks stand still. To tell if it is right take a spoonful of the frosting and turn it upside down. If it stays on the spoon it is perfect. Immediately frost your cake. Yields enough frosting to frost a 2 layer 9 inch cake inside and out.

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The pull-up Gods are smilin!

Fare warning blog readers, it is time for a rip roaring installment of the super fun future teenager embarrassing POTTY TALK. Really it is our first REAL potty time blog but I think it is far time that we celebrate the wonders that is potty training because our Georgia deserves some talk! For the last year we have been "trying" to potty train her but have not had much luck in doing so. We have heard all the "they have to be ready" talks but at the same time we have people like Nana shoving the "it is time, it is wrong not to" down our throats making us look like bad parents. I now know any parent should ignore anyone who claims it is time as if you are doing something wrong in not potty training because it is 100% up to the kid. After Georgia's 3rd birthday I put my foot down to pull-ups and started Georgia wearing panties all day then hitting the bathroom every 30 minutes. This was not our first try at this routine, in fact this is how we have always done it, but it was the first try I didn't get a screaming kid declaring war on the bathroom. Georgia decided it was time to start using the potty without any issues all on her own. She wasn't ready at 2 but at 3 she is a big girl! And now thanks to her being ready for this potty training adventure she is using the potty in each way (1 & 2) even asking to go potty when out and about at public places. Which truly is an amazing breakthrough because she does in fact wear pull-ups in public. A small price to pay to avoid embarrassment for all parties involved. Now days if we don't go out we use one pull up per day at bedtime, some days even if we do go out it still remains 1 pull up because it is back to panties when we get home. I am so happy to see my middle monkey working so hard to be a big girl on the potty and I know daddy is happy to see the 100 bucks a month going back into his pocket slowly but surely.

My biggest prayer in all of this is that Georgia will be that extra hand I need in helping Miriam learn to potty. I have a goal of having her finally trained by 6 years old. She still has a fear of the potty sometimes but is willing to sit on it and on occasion will use it. But for now, yay for Georgia!

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Monday, July 5, 2010

We tried!

Today has been such a disaster! I woke up ready to do my chores then decided it might be fun to take advantage of Tom being home an extra day to do something fun with the girls. We have not been to a movie in forever so I figured since "How to train a Dragon" was at the dollar cinema that we would give it a shot and catch a flick. But since Tom decided he did not feel well it ended up just being myself and Georgia. By the time we got to the movies (15 minutes early mind you) the show had sold out. Since the movie was on 2 screens, the next showing was at 5:00 just an hour and fifteen minutes later. Given that we drove half an hour to get there we hit up the McDonald's for some ice cream and time on the playscape. After half an hour it was time to hit the movies, only problem was that I ended up having to literally drag a shoeless Georgia out the door kicking and screaming. This should have been a sign that I should just cash my tickets in and head home but no, I kept trucking.

Let me tell you that we picked the dollar cinema half an hour from home to economize but instead ended up spending close to what we would spend at a better theater. The movie which was advertised on the website as being 75 cents on Mondays was actually full priced and the popcorn and soda was dollars more than any other theater I have ever seen. None the less we paid the price because who can see a movie without popcorn and a drink? ;-) So we watched the movie with Georgia talking the entire time which at first did not bother me. She was so sweet when asked what was wrong when she just could not seem to sit still , she replied "nothin mama, I am just soo happy". Only an hour into the movie she decided it was time to have a full on conversation then announce to the theater that she needed to "pee". We went to the potty, went back to the movie only to have her throw a kicking screaming fit in the aisle because she wanted to play video games instead. Of course, I am not giving in to a 3 year old and her fits so we left the theater and went home.

Once we got home, she refused to eat because the neighborhood girls decided to come play. Against my better judgment at letting Georgia play with older kids I let her go out back to be with them. Tom had already told them they could play with her while we were gone and I did not want to second guess him. But no more than 5 minutes (more like 3) after being outside with they all strolled in proclaiming "we are leaving", no more explanation. Poor Georgia came inside so sad asking me "where girls go mama, wanna play with girls!". We then decided to let her and her sisters go play, we also let her ride her bike with daddy out front but she got mad so they decided to practice rollerskating. Nothing worked to cheer her up, she went to bed exclaiming how sad she was that the girls left and did not want to play with her. Needless to say these little girls will never be coming to play here again.

We did get some cute pictures of Georgia rollerskating with her daddy out of the deal. We tried to make a good day out of it but I guess every once in a while you just have "one of those days" that you should have stuck to the plan. I just wish today was not the day Georgia learned how rotten other kids can be. "I" wasn't ready for that!

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence day

This 4th of July we decided to say to heck with the crowds at firework celebrations and stay at home. We had a nice family dinner and let the girls play outside in our "homemade" water park. A simple set up of the pool and the kid scape..lol You would have thought we had a million dollar water park in our back yard the fun those girls got out of it all. Even Sophia was climbing and sliding fearlessly into the pool exclaiming "Yay!!" every time she successfully made her way into the water from the slide. It was so cute! Besides all the fireworks being shot off at 1am by neighbors hitting our house we had a wonderful Independence day.



And here is a little video of Sophia's first slide by herself. :-)

video

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Just like Daddy!

In preparation for today's activities we had to get the yard in tip top shape. Which included a much needed tightening up and restaking of the swingset. Our sad swingset has endured years of fun but has been shaken apart and is about ready to fall. So Tom doing his duty as the man of the house set his sights on his trusty wrench. Georgia being the "helper" she is insisted on her own tool so she could get in on the action. She "tightened" up the screws on the stairs and made it tip top once again.




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Friday, July 2, 2010

Sharing

We have been working a lot in this house on "Sharing". It seems we have been working on this FOREVER when it comes to Georgia. I don't know if it is that she was 2 and is now 3 that she cannot seem to grasp that she has to share or if she is just stubborn about it. She never even wants to share her room which was Sophia's room first. We have to fight her to sleep every single night now since Sophia has been put into that toddler bed. Since Sophia is "free" to roam the room Georgia seems to think the room should be just hers and Sophia should just "get out" as Gia so eloquently puts it. We did kind of have a break through today. Not after a little bit of a fight and a few threats to lose certain birthday items for life, but Georgia decided to share her princess dresses. (and for the record, we mean business in our house. No threat is ever just a threat.) Not that she can wear 3 outfits at once but God forbid another person borrow one while it is sitting closed up in a box. The outcome of this sharing event was 20 minutes of Sophia getting to wear the pink princess dress after Georgia declared "FINE, she can wear the pink one." And I must say for the record, the terrible 2's drove me crazy, the 3's are going to drive me straight into the madhouse!!!

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fun for all!

Last night was a parenting nightmare. Probably not much fun for Georgia and Sophia either! For the last 2 months Sophia's crib was missing a screw, the hole in the wood had stripped so Tom needed to drill a new hole or buy some bigger screws. Tom not thinking it was a big deal (unlike mommy who was in knots for 2 months waiting for daddy) neglected to fix it. Last night, we paid the price as the bed fell to the ground. That one screw led to many screws becoming unstable and while SOPHIA WAS IN IT it fell. After comforting a screaming Sophia, by myself because Tom was at the Gym, I had to take the bed down because it was done for. Which led me to figure out where Sophia was going to sleep. We had a toddler bed in the garage so I rushed to put it together even though there was no way this 18 month old was ready for a toddler bed. I cleaned the room, moved toys into the closet for safety and set the room up with the extra toddler bed. Once set up I thought, wow, maybe she is ready. She played on that bed like there was no tomorrow. But when time came to go to sleep, the nightmare began. It was up/down/up/down for hours. I could not leave the room and close the door because every time she would get up Georgia would scream bloody murder and shove Sophia back in bed. So for fear of Sophia being hurt I sat at the foot of the bed putting her back in when she climbed out singing songs for an hour. All while Sophia kicked, screamed, pounded her fists into the wall, yelled at me, punched me with Georgia screaming "More songs mommy" like hell had not just opened up and sucked us in. By the time Tom got home all I could say to him was "go away" because I was so angry with him, he spent the time sitting in the hallway with his head in his hands being driven crazy by the noise. After hours of insanity, I just let Sophia get up so poor Georgia could go to sleep. Over an hour after that Sophia started dozing off and we put her in the bed again then shut the door. No more crazy noise as it seemed it was Georgia's screaming that turned it into madness, with her asleep things were easier. Sophia wandered around the room, slamming the play kitchen doors, knocking on the bedroom door a few times then silence. We went to check on her about 10 minutes after putting her back in the room and found this:



We are sure this will not be the final night of insanity. But at least we know now to save a few hours by letting Georgia fall asleep first and alone.

FYI: Sorry about the crappy pic but there was NO WAY we were going to open that door any more than we had to for fear someone would wake up.

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