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Trying to Conceive (TTC) MASHUP

Trying to Conceive (TTC) MASHUP

After a year of trying for a baby early in our marriage, we were told that there was a pretty big possibility we may never get pregnant and should look at all of our options.  Granted, this was also about 9 years ago.  We tried Clomid, and NOTHING.  So, we ...

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!  (On This Day...12/31/2014)

HAPPY NEW YEAR! (On This Day...12/31/2014)

Outside my window… It is cold and the wind slices through like a sharp knife.  It is gray outside and when the sun rises, it will be a new year. I am thinking… So much has happened in 2014. We went to Chicago and Disney World.  Spent much time as a family, having fun ...

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(Not) DEFEATED.

(Not) DEFEATED.

I can hear the children bickering in the kitchen, while another empties out the clothes in the dresser.  I'm slumped over our homeschool grade book, wondering if I have done enough.  If I can ever do enough. Old wisdom says not to cry over spilled milk.  But, the kitchen floor needs ...

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Chicken And Dressing Divine (So Easy Your Preschooler Could Do It - A Recipe)

Chicken And Dressing Divine (So Easy Your Preschooler Could Do It - A Recipe)

Like, seriously.  Your preschooler can make this.  I mean, besides the putting it in the oven part.  It's THAT easy.  AND, it doesn't make a mess of your kitchen.  HALLELUJAH.  I'm not kidding.  I don't joke about these things. What you'll need: - Foil sheets - Frozen chicken breasts or tenders, one per ...

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Fun With Water Beads

Fun With Water Beads

We've been enjoying the fun that is WATER BEADS!  These little guys are hidden gems that have been around quite a while in the floral department.  Right now, they are getting lots of attention for creative play. The ones I bought look like these (at Walmart--they were a little over $3 ...

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August Updates

by bosssanders on August 26, 2015 with 1 comment

Outside my window…
It’s LOVELY outside.  Warm but with a cool breeze.  I can smell FALL coming!  I love it!  I feel like I need a yummy coffee in hand.  Ahhh…

I am thinking…
School has been in full swing for Z for a couple of weeks, now.  He seems to really like it!  I’m still a little anxious as I know he has some learning issues…and those just don’t disappear.  But, having a great teacher who is super sweet and awesome at communicating is SO HELPFUL!

Also, this…

(nap time…they adore each other SO much!)

I am thankful…

76.  A great teacher for Z!
77.  ”Mama, I’m going to pray for you to feel better, tonight.” –Z.  It was his turn saying meal-time prayer.  So much happy.
78.  Sweet cuddles with my littles
79.  Goofy moments with my husband
80.  comfy, soft sheets

In the kitchen

The kiddos had a “culinary class” and made this fun dessert!  They were SO excited and it was so YUMMY!

I am reading…

Favorite Things…

These.  Deodorant can have so many nasties in them.  I’ve tried a few deodorants, like Tom’s (which still has some questionable ingredients) and crystal deodorant.  Both leave me itchy and well, some less than desirable side effects.

But, these?  Natural ingredients, they smell great, and they WORK (even on the hottest days)!  YESSSS!!

You can buy them from Southern Suds!   Visit their store or call to order these!

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AREN’T YOU DONE YET? – Life With 5 Kids (What It’s Like)

by bosssanders on August 26, 2015 with 1 comment

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Gosh, aren’t you done yet?”   or “Your hands must be SO full,” or “There’s just no way that I could EVER do that,” said with an eyeroll and as if “THAT” was akin to licking pond scum.

Sometimes, it’s from family or friends…and even, strangers.  And, while I’ve got some pretty awesome witty one-liners ready to go, it pierces my heart even so.  And, I wonder if my children feel like they are something that should just be “tolerated,” rather than celebrated for the blessings they are to us.

You see, what you don’t know about us is this:

There was a time early on in our marriage when we thought (and were told by medical doctors) that it was VERY LIKELY that we may NEVER have biological children due to some fertility issues I have.  I was crushed.  Since I was a little girl, I always wanted to be a MOMMY.  And, a teacher…but, mostly…a MOMMY.  It was just a “given.”

Many diagnostic and blood tests, fertility medicines, charting, and disappointments later…we stood heartbroken, picking up the pieces, wondering what we should do next.

But, God.

After so many crushingly negative pee sticks, we finally got our first positive.  It was SO faint.  I had to ask someone else to verify that I was indeed not just imagining a second line.  And, in the days to come, we faced much uncertainty as we almost lost our sweet daughter.

We went on to birth 2 more precious miracles and lose 2 more.  I clearly recall how HOLLOW I felt, knowing that the life that was inside of me was no more.

Our 2nd son, came to us from across the world through international adoption.  We were in process to adopt again from Ethiopia when God shut those doors.  We decided we would move into foster care so we could still love children as we buried another dream of what would be and healed our hearts.

Soon after “opening” our home as a foster home, I became pregnant.  And this baby, too, went home to God.  I was SO brokenhearted, having just buried the dream of one baby (via adoption) and then literally, the death of our baby…It was so so hard.  Months and months of unimaginable hard.  A few faithful friends stuck by me and allowed me to grieve when the world demanded that I “shake it off.”

Over the next several months, we welcomed two precious babies into our home through foster care.  One left, one did not.  Both forever have a piece of my heart.

And so, here we are.  Pursuing adoption for our youngest member…a “family” of 7 (5 kids, 2 adults).  And, as we walk through the grocery and the kids are helping (quietly and sweetly!) put what we need in the cart …or, as we walk, holding hands through the parking lot …and, we get those stares.  And, those comments…  What they don’t know or understand is that there was a time when we ached at the thought that we may NEVER have children.  Adoption seemed out of our reach and my fertility seemed to be a death sentence to those dreams.  (But, God!)

What you may not know from looking at us is that we CHERISH these (and any) children that God entrusts us with.  Psalm 127:3-5 tells us that children are a gift from the Lord.  And, that a man whose quiver is full of arrows is BLESSED.  And, that’s how we feel…BLESSED.

I know that this bucks everything that society infiltrates our minds with… that the American dream is summarized by a picket fence, a lot of STUFF and 2.5 kids.    But, really… picket fences require way too much upkeep, STUFF drains us, and 1/2 a kid?  Really?

I can’t imagine not having these precious children that we call ours.  They bring so much magic and laughter to our home.  Do we get frustrated?  Tired?  Overwhelmed?  Yes.  Sometimes.  But, we got like that when we had 0 kids.  And, 1 kid.  It’s just life.

I can’t imagine not having a home that can be instantly turned into a smoldering land with castles and dragons …or a shimmering lagoon with mermaids and the occasional pirate!

I can’t imagine a home without their precious laughter and cuddles and the way their hands fit into mine.

And, so, the answer to those questions…

Are we done yet?  Not yet…unless God says otherwise.  We ADORE these kids.  We don’t just LOVE them, we also really LIKE them and enjoy spending time with them.

Yes, we know what causes it.  We are very aware :)

And, even on our HARDEST days… I’m so very THANKFUL.  I am SO BLESSED.

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Movement as Readiness for Music Lessons – a guest post by Amy Allen

by bosssanders on August 25, 2015 with 1 comment

Please welcome our guest poster, Amy Allen!  Amy Allen has a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and a certified Harmony Road Music teacher and opened her own authorized Harmony Road Music Education Center in Western KY.  Amy has spent many years serving others through her gift of music.

Years ago, as a college graduate with a degree in music education, I began a private piano studio with about 20 students. Within the first year, I began to notice that not all beginning music students were alike. It’s not that I expected that they would be, for we are all individuals with our own separate personalities and learning styles. But the differences in students really didn’t have as much to do with the students’ personalities, intelligence, or their amount of practice time—and that’s where I was surprised. The differences in the capabilities of my students to learn music had more to do with their rhythmic readiness for piano lessons.

The students who could more easily and readily learn to play were the ones for whom music flowed. They performed with a seemingly innate understanding of rhythm and a sense of the steady beat in music. Where did this come from? Upon further investigation, I realized these students grew up in families that loved music and shared that love through movement. For some, it had been a parent that danced with them, and for others, it was a parent who put on a CD and played along with pots and pans. At any rate, this realization that the ability to rhythmically play begins many years before the start of formal lessons “put me on a mission” to explore teaching preschool music classes. If I wanted all my piano students to be successful, they would all need to be ready.

Rhythm is one of three main aspects of music, the others being pitch or melody, and awareness of steady beat. The actual act of producing a rhythm requires movement. Since children learn best by doing, they must be moving to music at an early age to lay the groundwork for understanding rhythm. Research from The Center for Music and Young Children has explored the idea of movement as a “vital developmental tool for children.”1 To paraphrase an article in their parent newsletter, it would be very unnatural for an infant to sit quietly and still, never moving his legs, turning his head, or reaching with his tiny fingers. These movements are part of the process by which a child learns to coordinate his mind and body. By moving, an infant is stimulating both his muscles and the connection of neural pathways in his brain. When music is added to this mix, and a child experiences the movement in response to the music rhythms, there is an exchange of information between the body, mind, and emotions. In other words, the act of moving provides the experiences a child needs for rhythm learning, and this movement becomes imprinted in his muscles and neural pathways. A greater capacity for understanding and loving music is being created.1

So what should parents of preschoolers be doing? Sing to your infant and gently move his arms or legs to the steady beat. Turn on your radio and dance with him. “On a very unconscious, brain-wiring level, he will associate this tactile stimulation with the music he’s hearing. Similarly, with a toddler who’s experimenting with an egg shaker or a drum, just patting the steady rhythm on her back can help her internalize the beat and organize it in her body. Then, as she grows, you may see her own movements become more steady and rhythmic in response to this tapping.”1 Take a music class with your child. When you become involved with your child in a class filled with movement and song, you become the best model he can have. In addition, a class will equip you with the materials, ideas, and tools for moving and singing on a daily basis at home, and that’s what readiness is all about. In later stages of rhythmic development, your child may begin to move less. He is beginning to “replace concrete doing with imagined activity and abstract thought.”1 Older children are able to “audiate, that is, to hear and understand music in their mind when it is not physically present.”1 At this stage, a child is ready to respond with accuracy to a steady beat of music, and to correctly perform a rhythm pattern. He is more than ready for piano lessons!!

My “mission” to explore preschool music classes for prospective piano students has been a growing process, resulting in the opening of the Harmony Road Music School. The aim to provide rhythmic readiness activities for preschoolers has broadened to include tonal readiness as well. It has also expanded to encompass teaching piano to groups of students, including age-appropriate movement and tonal readiness activities in the curriculum that fits naturally with a group teaching approach.

You would never expect a child to talk who has not heard language or experienced it through babbling. The babbling stage in learning the language of music should include experiences with movement, responding both to rhythm and to pitch. This is readiness, and readiness will ensure success.

1(All quotes are from articles or letters written by Susan Pujdak Hoffman and Kenneth Guilmartin in “Play Along,” a family newsletter from Music Together and The Center for Music and Young Children. Many thanks for their information and inspiration.)

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Money Saving Tips: Part 1

by bosssanders on August 10, 2015

If you don’t follow us on Facebook, you should definitely take a moment to do so (just click the pink…

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WRITING DOWN MEMORIES: The beginnings

by bosssanders on August 4, 2015

Over the past …well, always…I’ve collected so many thoughts and memories, that they swirl like a violent hurricane when I…

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12 Movies for Family Movie Night

by bosssanders on August 4, 2015

We LOVE movies in this house…and it’s a CHEAP form of entertainment for families of ALL sizes!  My kids have…

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