Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Our Christmas Letter to You

It's been too many years without a Christmas card and true to our family motto, the "Best choice" this year is to electronically send out the Christmas cards that I want so bad to appear in each hand of all our really dear friends and family members.

So, from the bottom of our hearts...Merry Christmas!  Justin and I are so blessed to have hundreds of friends, neighbors and family that have come and gone through the years.  We sit back and talk about all the places we've lived and realize how blessed we have been to know so many wonderful people!

Justin is an airline pilot and absolutely loves his office up in the clouds.  This is year 5 of flying for a regional airline and we're looking forward to what our future holds of making captain and then possibly a major airline.  In the meantime this man just ran a marathon with his 4 brothers and his mom.  He's discovered he loves running all over this nation and seeing new places.  This year he got to serve as a Sunday school teacher, help with the Cub Scouts for a little bit and is now doing one of the best things he has ever experience, he's on the High Council for our church.  I'll also mention that he loves training our dog, Sky.  Somehow he finally talked me into that extra little body to care for.

Among my biggest blessing of being a wife and a mother, I have had the opportunity to be our primary music leader for our church.   I love a good challenge of trying to keep those 160 kids entertained but also teach the truths of the gospel.  I'm still teaching piano lessons (for the last 6 years) and love it!  I'm finding that as I have 20 or so piano students coming and going in my home that my own children are building great friendships with these built in play dates everyday too :) Between dishes, laundry and cleaning I find time for my music, reading and blogging which will forever make me HAPPY!

Sarah has been experiencing life at the Intermediate School as she is now in 5th grade.  She feels so grown up switching between 8 different classes and owning her own locker!  She loves her teachers!  She reminds me every day that she is "almost 12 years old" and "almost in Young Womens (a group at our church)."  She has mastered her 1000 piece puzzles, figured out how to navigate her way through the computer, takes piano lessons, still loves to call all the grandmas without me knowing, takes "her baby" everywhere we go because "she's her daughter," has probably copied every book from our book shelf word for word, started a yoga and palates class, sings in choir at school and walks our dog, Sky, almost every day.

Spencer's mind is always going!  He's nine yrs old going on twenty!  He does multiplication and division problems for fun and is always found with some science book in his hand. He still loves Minecraft, Beyblades and his new love is Star Wars. Lucky he has a few great friends that are into the same things! He's learning to play tennis, play the piano and his Dad is teaching him all about football.  He is in 4th grade at our brand new Elementary School and is loving being in the Honor Choir.  It's special that his Choir Director is male and that made him want to join in the first place.  They have performed multiple times in the last few months and his voice and memorization skills are superb!!!  

Oh, our Allison!  She is constantly keeping us on our toes and keeping us laughing.  Her preschool teacher told me yesterday that she needs to start a journal for all the funny things she says.  Allison has mastered writing her own name and all the letters.  She loves counting everything and thanks to Spencer has learned how to add and even subtract a little.  She's just learning to read and loves to especially impress Sarah and Spencer with new words she has learned.  Her favorite things are swinging, climbing all over Sky (our dog), singing, reading with mom, running with Dad, dancing, helping in the kitchen, standing in front of the primary with me, teasing anyone around, playing with all Sarah's baby dolls, stuffed animals, dress ups and princesses.  Notice if she's moving--she's happy!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!  We pray that you will feel the love of our Savior everyday, just as we do.

With Love,
Justin, Megan, Sarah, Spencer and Allison

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Family Nativity Outing

We visited a LDS church that was having a Nativity Display...and made one of our own!

We borrowed Ben Powell that day...Spencer needed a brother.

Spence and Ben took the star challenge...found all these little one inch stars throughout the entire church.

We all listened to the live performances taking place...makes me happy to see my children enjoy music like Justin and I do.

This is Allison's favorite manager scene...I'd never seen one like it!

This was my favorite scene...there must have been a hundred.

They even had a children's room set up.  Allison didn't last through the Christmas quilt room because she was so anxious to get her hands on these neat puzzles.

I absolutely love the month of December with all the special places to take our family--the recitals, programs, fun!  We rarely get enough sleep because there are too many fun things to do under the christmas tree and too many goodies to drink or eat...for some reason it's always way more fun before bed!

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I've been making my own laundry detergent the last little while because of my neighbor, Whitney Prows.  I was pretty skeptical at first because I'm pretty picky with my laundry but it's turned out to be such a blessing!  

Love that it's liquid instead of all the homemade powder recipes I've seen before.  Oh, and it's super super cheap...comes out to probably $4 for each batch which last me about 3 months.  I think it may be helping with sensitive skin at our house as well.  Just passing it along...

Liquid Laundry Soap

4  Cups - hot tap water
1  Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax

- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

Another idea-- put 3/4 to 1 whole bottle of the Purex Crystals in the soap. The Downy UnStoppable are more expensive and they don't dissolve as well.

I don't use a scent at all and rely on my Downy to give a wonderful smell to my clean clothes.

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

*Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" - in some stores or may be purchased online here (at Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent - It must be sodium carbonate!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Ideas to Calm Your Stress/Anxiety

I wanted to share a few "coping mechanisms" (shall I call it) to manage stress.  I gathered each of these ideas from a doctor and have found them to work wonders!

Magnesium is the secret!  Magnesium is involved in biochemical reactions that keep our bones strong, our hearts healthy and our nervous system functioning like it should.  It's a concern of mine to focus on my nervous system being that I have mental disorders.

Each night before I go to bed I take a Calcium & Magnesium supplement.  I naturally try to eat foods high in calcium and magnesium but this extra supplement before bed calms my mind and my body.

When I've had an extra busy day or an extra busy mind (feeling anxiety or panic setting in) I pull out a drink called "Calm."  You can get it at health food stores or just order it online.  I was nervous to see that it was lemon flavored because when I was super sick with my pregnancy it was "lemon" that got me through.  I avoid lemon now because I can't handle the memories it brings back of that sickness.  I love this drink though!  It really does taste good.  It's sort of like a lemon lime soda.  It has a little fizz to it.

And the last thing I'll share today is "epsom salt baths."  Hello!  It makes so much sense.  Do we not soak sore feet or injuries in this stuff?!?!  Why not our body?  You're supposed to dissolve 2 cups of epsom salt in a full bath tub and use 3 drops of lavender oil or my favorite--rose oil.  Climb in and soak for 20 minutes.

When I use these baths I literally feel a calm come over me from head to toe.  I've used "Lorazepam" medication to stop my panic attacks in the past and these baths give me that same exact feeling.  I'm so happy to have a much more natural way to help.

Hope these little tips help.  They sure have blessed my life!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

She Writes! It's a Miracle!

One of the most challenging things about being a parent of a child with special needs is definitely communication.  As the years have passed by,  I've wished and prayed that I could understand the thoughts that my sweet Sarah has.  I want so bad to know what is going on in her head.  The physical vibes or words out of her mouth are just not quite like my other two children.

It absolutely floors me when I sit and watch her put puzzles together.  Get this...she never uses the picture...not kidding.  She actually hates to have the picture even by her.  It shows me that her brain just works quite a bit different than my own or other children around us.

Just recently we have figured out that a "feelings journal" or "letter writing" does wonders for her and us.  When things are exploding or when she's frustrated we have her sit down and write to us.  It's taken us 11 years but between school, therapy, and hours of work at home we have helped her learn to write.  Check out her spelling, her penmanship and look how she's finally able to tell me what is going on in her head...

Sarah came running in from the bus the other day and before she even unloaded her back pack, jacket and such she shoved this in my hands.  It hit me!  All the work and all the pays off!  It really does give me that wish of knowing her desires/her thoughts.

So much of this list of thoughts makes me think how much she's just like me!!!  Seriously.  It's a flood of to do list items that are over powering her and she has to have them all done this second!  Cracks me up!

So, if you have a special needs child (and you feel like I have for years...the crying, emotions or physical or nonverbal ques are just not the same as the other children around you) know that it will come.  In some way or another, whether it's through hard work to get her to write like me, a bunch of little miracles or a big old giant miracle from heaven,  it will happen!  Hang in there! Pray, keep trying and I know miracles will happen!!!  I have felt it.  I have seen it with my own to eyes.

It wasn't very many years ago when I would sit and cry because I would sit in front of my daughter and ask her questions and get silence back.  I would read her story after story and ask what she heard and get a shoulder shrug.  I would stand there feeling helpless as a little girl would scream and cry at me while stomping her feet because she couldn't get through to me what she wanted me to know.

We still have many moments of terrible communication but I see this writing as such a beautiful miracle!  I treasure these words!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...