Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas everyone!

I'm so excited for Christmas this year! God has been good to my family in big ways! Not necessarily monetarily but in just falling into great deals and at just the right time! I'm excited to spend it with our new extended family (step dad, step sister, her 2 kids and step brother) along with my sister and her kids. I'll be back soon to tell you all about the festivities! It should be a good one!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Truths

I am totally ripping this off from Killians Corner! I am in love with Christmas and want to capture the feelings all year round!

The truth is...I start listening to Christmas music in late summer early fall. As a kid my Mom and Aunt were artists who painted seasonal pieces...they started the Christmas collection in late summer or early fall but to get in the mood would listen to Christmas music!

The truth is...I watch Christmas movies non stop through the Christmas season and refuse to watch anything else.

The truth is...I love traditions...especially Christmas traditions!

The truth big boys have been asking if Santa is real for about 3 years...this year I finally came clean and told them the "truth"...later in the day I was approached by two disgruntled 8 year olds who told me "you suck. you have ruined Christmas and we choose to believe in Santa."

The truth makes me sad that at a time when people need to pull together and act with love and compassion, that we have to argue about things like prices, gifts, traditions, family and food.

The truth is...I am occasionally guilty of using Santa against my 10 minutes ago when Ryan wouldn't get into his bed.

The truth job offers the opportunity to see the best in people, through charities, donations and toy drives for the children of veterans and soldiers.

The truth is...I will never say Happy Holidays...out of habit. Merry Christmas makes me happy.

The truth is...I could talk for days about Christmas, the traditions, movies, music, and how each year gets better and better.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Impact of Gluten Free

Last night I ran into an old high school friend. He and I were tight, I mean we were close. We considered dating but never did. It was good to see him. We were talked for quite awhile. Talked about the spouses, the kids, and then he asked specifically how the twins are. I said they were good, hemmed and hawed, repeated that they're good. Looked at my Mom to save me...instead she said "well you know Lane Michael has diabetes, then he got epilepsy and now he has celiac" my friend was so excited, he had heard of the disease and had a friend who has it. He mentioned how horrible it is and how we must eat cardboard. My mom and I looked at each other and giggled because if I was truly honest...I'd tell you I like it better. Yesterday we had lasagna, with homemade noodles. Last night I made gluten free eggnog cookies and they were amazing! I have some tweaking to do on the noodles but the flavor was great! My point is, gluten free hasn't changed us that much but let me tell you what it has done.

Ethan's parent teacher conference was about the middle of November. At that time his teacher had reduced his spelling test from 12 words (what the class was doing) to about 8, hoping the smaller list would help him. She had also taken steps to helping him be successful, like reading his test to him, because he knew the answers but couldn't read the test. She noticed also that when the students were to read aloud, Ethan was not, he was able to "read" word for word but not because he was reading but because he was memorizing books so that he could appear to know the material. At his parent teacher conference Mrs S (who I love and trust) told me she'd referred Ethan to the intervention specialist for testing and had a form for me to sign so that Ethan can be tested for special needs. I happily signed it, any extra help he can receive is good. But then we started noticing more changes. Great changes! Big things happening with homework. About a week after that, we were headed to Lima (20-25 minute drive) and Ethan read his book to me...he didn't sound out every word, he just read. It was a book about Pearl and Wagner. He didn't make up words when he didn't know the word, he asked for help. Then his spelling words started getting easier for him...and he hasn't missed any of the TWELVE words in about 3 weeks, we got a note the other day saying we'd try all 12 words for the test this week. Also his weekly assessment came back...lowest grade? 87% yep that's right. an 87%! A few of the notes said that she had read the questions to him and some he had read aloud to himself. Either way, he is succeeding! I love it! I'm interested to know what the intervention specialist thinks! I believe that Ethan has some kind of Gluten sensitivity that has been slowing down his academic process! I love this kid and want great things for him! Hopefully we're on the right track now!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Safe and Sound, thank God

Ethan, Ryan and I ran to Dollar General yesterday in search of some random Christmas decorating supplies, ornament hooks, outside ornaments, metal hangers, just some odds and ends. While looking through the decorations and considering the wrapping paper I'd like to use this year, I let Ethan wander to the next isle of toys. I could clearly hear him playing with a toy gun so I wasn't concerned. After a few moments, lost in my thoughts, I realized I couldn't hear Ethan. So I grabbed the ornament hooks and headed to the next isle. I didn't find him there so I checked a couple places he might be and finally headed to the front of the store. As soon as I saw him I knew something wasn't right. He was pale and his eyes were huge and swollen. He nearly ran to me and said "mom someone tried to get me to go with them!" I asked if he had left, he was still in the store so I put Ethan between me and the cart and told him to tell me if he saw him, he didn't. We checked out, I told the cashier what had happened and when I got home Todd and I called the police. An officer came over and we went through a list of questions getting a description of the hadn't changed since I asked him to tell me about the guy on the ride home. Problem is, the person he described was every Tom Dick and Harry in Wapak! The police man said that he was amazed by Ethan and that we hadn't done anything wrong in letting him go to the next isle over. That Ethan did all the right things, remembering what he looked like and getting away from him and going to the cashier. He did good, we're so proud of how he handled this situation but are a little freaked out by it. Our false sense of security has been shaken to the core!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cyclical Personality

My mind works in cycles. Every December I start thinking about budgets, financial goals, to prepare for the next year. I'll lay out the financial goals and then show you my problem:

early 2012: add $1000 to our savings

early 2012: pay off all credit cards (because my husband is a student, we do find these devil cards necessary from time to time

late 2012: pay off ATV (we currently owe about $2400 so this should be relatively easy to do)

early 2013: pay off truck (we currently owe $7300)

early 2013: put an additional $3000 in savings

mid 2015: buy Todd a new truck (hopefully paying cash)

early 2016: save an additional $10,000 (3 months income which by then hopefully will last longer than 3 months if our expenses no longer include debt)

mid 2016: start saving for college, retirement, honeymoons and land. You see I'd like to contribute a portion for my boys college, while we won't be paying tuition, we'd like to pay for books, laptop, printer and some general "extras", when they marry we'd like to be able to help with the cost of a honeymoon and provide them each with 5 acres of land, and of course we'd like to retire comfortably.

starting to see my dilemma? Our older boys are now in the 2nd grade...they'll graduate in 2022...that only gives us 6 years to save up for their college...I don't believe that will be enough time to save as much as I'm going to want to help with. I guess I have some thinking to do. Any suggestions?