It is a beautiful day!

All of the recent storms have certainly caused uproar at my house.  However there have also been blessings.   The obvious first one is that we are all safe and basically our house is as well.  My dear friend, Chris, is a fire fighter and when he saw our scorched siding, well it caused him great concern.  He climbed on top of my roof and went up into my attics (yes, more than one) to make sure we didn’t have a smoldering fire somewhere.  We didn’t.  Thank you God! (Chris is also one of our blessings!)

Our new WII that the boys got for their birthday is history as is our digital TV converter and a surge protector (no, not the one they were plugged into.)  However, that is all replaceable.  OK assuming I can get my hands on another WII.  🙂  Thankfully, although our computer was turned on when we were hit by lightning, it is fine.  That would have been much more expensive to replace. 

I posted about the roof of our children’s theatre being blown off (Well, really peeled back.)  I emailed some of the local news stations and one came out to do a story on us.  It was a lovely story.  I’m not sure if we will get a flurry of activity from it, but maybe.  One thing that has happened is that our roofing company came back with a better estimate for the roof.  We also have gotten another $1100 in donations so far.  Not too bad for our little corner of Broadway.

I stilled need to call the electrician and have him come and double check all of my electric wires.  Yet so far everything seems fine.  God is good and I am certainly feeling blessed.  Thanks for all of your prayers and good thoughts!  Opening night is tonight for the kids’ show, so please keep them coming.  Hopefully the tarp stays on (yes it is supposed to rain again), and the house will be full!  40 children (and many adults) have worked really hard on this, so I pray all is successful!  It is a blessing that we are even able to have opening night!


Oy! What next?

So if all that were not enough.  Our house was hit by lightning on Sunday night.  It is a long story, but the short story is we are without internet (and our new WII is toast).  Hopefully I will get it back up and running sometime on Wednesday.  I hope all out there are doing better.  🙂

I’m Really Sick of Thunder Storms and Tornadoes!

This has been a very wet, active year for Iowa. I’ve posted about some of the storms we’ve had and seen this year. I can’t believe how much devastation and destruction just keeps occurring. Around 5 tonight we had another wave roll through. We went to the basement as there was ANOTHER tornado warning. When we came upstairs we were surprised by how many limbs were down in our yard. We are also house sitting for a neighbor and had to take care of her house as well. These were just a few of the limbs in our front yard.

In the middle of this I get a phone call from the theatre cancelling rehearsal as there are MANY new waterfalls in our ceiling. This is just heartbreaking as we have spent so much time trying to remodel and make this a nice place. We knew that we were in need of a new roof, but the wind just peeled it off tonight. I’m really hoping that we can still open the show next weekend. My sweet husband, another board member, and Brian our building guy climbed up on top of the roof and attached a giant tarp as it was raining again. We’ve raised $3500, but the new roof will cost $20,000.  If anyone wants to make a nice donation to a non-profit childrens’ theatre that is tax-deductible, let me know… 😦

I Made Myself Go Back To School

To quote Nike, “Just do it!”  At least that was my mindset.  I figured if I start going back once a week , every couple of weeks, at least once, then I will start thinking “work, school, I’m the teacher” again.  I know I’ve said this before, but it really is VERY hard this year.  I have never been an “I can’t wait to get my kids back in school” mom.  Usually I am looking forward to fall, because I LOVE fall.  I love going back to school.  But there there is a sense of melancholy when I send my two boys, but that is another entry for another day.

So yesterday I went to school.  It was fairly nice out so I figured I should get in there.  Remember my school is not air conditioned and I have one of (if not THE) warmest room in the building.

So this is what I walked into:


Aside from the fact that my classroom is not yellow, it is white, and that I obviously need a much better camera, does this make anyone else want to turn and run?  Hmmmm???  Maybe I’m the only one.  Well I got to work and when I left it looked like this:


Actually while I wait for a camera, maybe I will add “look for free photo editor on the Internet and learn how to use it” to my summertime goals.


OK, now I did that in two minutes.  That is pathetic.  I wonder what I could find if I actually looked, and tried.  So now I have a new goal.  🙂

Of course my Ugly Doll came with me.  We  are going to make more of these this week.  (Kids request.  I’m ready to move on!)  This is part of our group area.  I put all the stuffed animals the kids give me here, plus my weird Neopet obsession collection.  I need to make more pillows so the kids don’t fight.  I will probably work on that this week. 

However now that my room is semi-set up.  I will start working on our classroom tools.  At the moment I have made everything I need to create my version of a mini-office.  I found some great stuff at this site for that.  I am only creating the writing one, as I use something different for my math.  Quite frankly, I don’t want my kids relying too much on visuals for math.  Some kids need it, but others do not.  So I make a folder that they can pull out if they need it.  It isn’t nearly this much fun.  However, for writing that is a different story.

I got a lot done, and of course still have plenty to do.  Yet I’m feeling better, and now I get to spend the rest of my morning today with 35 children in a teeny tiny basement room, telling them to be quiet during theatre rehearsal.  I know you all envy me.  🙂

Yeah! One more thing to cross off my list!

It was well over a year ago that our shower wall caved in.  When we bought the house we knew it would eventually need replaced, but we thought it would last longer than it did.  My darling husband is an AMAZING drummer!  Seriously, and I’m only a tiny bit biased.  However, his carpentry or tiling skills or whatever they are called have not been perfected–yet.  So it took some time to get the shower wall replaced.  Granted it was tricky they hadn’t installed the previous in a “traditional” manor.

I asked for it to be completed as a Christmas present, and he performed that feat.  (Funny story here-my brother came and helped him, and made fun of us for not having a shower for 10 months.  My brother is restoring an old house and his bathroom has been in shambles now for 6!  What goes around comes around!  🙂 )  Anyway so the darn bathroom has needed repainted since Christmas, but I didn’t get to it until this summer.  I was so excited when I got it painted around the 4th of July, and then I went to put up the wall rubbings.  Hmmm…the instructions said to wait at least two weeks before applying them to freshly painted walls.  I was going crazy!  I was so close to being done!  It had only been 16 months come on!  You would think I could wait two weeks.  Let me tell you it was hard.

So here it is.  Drumroll please….

This Target clearance rug started the color and flower theme.  I love Target clearance.  Heck, I love ALL clearance!

I painted this previously all white shelf, white and orange.  I hear you whispering, “Wow!  That is bright orange.”  My other bathroom is completely orange!  This was leftover.  🙂  See the cute purple birdhouse my son made.

The flowers were bought from Uppercase Living.  I didn’t know about Etsy at the time.


These little Partridge Family birds are truly charming and were a gift from here.  Check out her store.  She has cute vinyl wall art.

I know this is more than most of you wanted to see.  🙂  Be glad you weren’t one of the people that I called and made come over to my house to “ooohh” and “aaahhh” for me.  By the way, thank you Susan and Julie for doing that.  🙂

Mom Guilt, Realizing I Should Have Done Something About This Years Ago

I have mentioned before that I am the mother of a very beautiful, smart, wonderful child that has PDD-NOS, or basically is on the autism spectrum. My son is very high functioning which is why he didn’t get diagnosed until he was going into third grade. We have been very blessed in our journey with him. I have always felt that God has been in control with him. God has put people in our lives that have really helped shape and mold my son into this amazing person that he is today.

Well I have posted about why I was taking my son to an OT (occupational therapist). Yesterday was our first evaluation. At the beginning the OT explained to me that my concerns about large motor are really a Physical Therapists area, but since I listed on the form that he has some writing issues and such she would like to go ahead and evaluate him. I let her, and of course we made another appointment for the physical therapist. Although I don’t have the final results she was able to tell me that his hand strength and development was 3-4 years behind his peers. We will start therapy next week. As a teacher my first question is “Since he is going into 5th grade is it too late to do much about this?” The answer wasn’t far from what I expected. I know that if kids are having handwriting issues by third grade if it isn’t fixed it probably won’t be. Yet she told me that she thought we could improve the strength which would definitely help.

Thinking about it I know we should have went to a PT instead of an OT, and certainly the doctor should have corrected my mistake. I am thankful that we both made mistakes. He will now get some of the help he needs.

Now there is some serious mama guilt going on here. I should have taken him in first grade to an outside OT, but I let the school OT evaluate him. The school OT said it was an ADHD issue, not an OT issue. I disagreed, but didn’t argue loudly enough. His teachers and I continued working with him (He has always been blessed with wonderful teachers.) At his evaluation for PDD the doctors did recommend OT services, but when I took it back to the school the OT disagreed. At that point I should have taken him to an outside service, but I didn’t (inject mama guilt here.)

Now there are two lessons I am learning from this. The first is ALWAYS advocate for what your child needs, and I don’t care if your child has a diagnosis or not. Most teachers want what is best for their students and are willing to do it. If you know your child needs something that he/she is not getting, then speak up! As a teacher I can only really advocate for a student while I am that child’s teacher, usually 1 year. As a parent, I am the life long expert on this child. God has entrusted this person to me, and I have to do my best. (Now I am saying what the child “needs” not “wants”. There is sometimes over-parenting happening and you need to evaluate what is going on. This is really another blog entry for a different day. 🙂 )

The second thing that I am learning is forgiveness and trust. True guilt can be a good thing if it is forces an evaluation and brings change, realizing a mistake and trying to correct it. As mom’s we often suffer from “false” guilt. Guilt from trying to have perfect children, perfect mothering, and having our own agendas. Our children learn from watching us make mistakes. They learn and imitate our coping skills from watching us in different situations. I have done a lot of things right with my son, and God has led us in situations where I didn’t know what to do. Forgiving myself for what I don’t know or didn’t do, and trusting that God will put the people in place to help us in this journey is not easy. Yet it is something I am learning.

The Storms of Life

Last night we had terrible storms all night long.  The lightning and thunder kept me awake through a good portion of the night.  Then at 3:30 the tornado sirens went off.  We got the kids downstairs and I came back up to get our cat.  Todd turned and yelled at me to get downstairs.  I could feel our house vibrating from the wind.  We live in a four level split home.  It shouldn’t vibrate.  I turned around and went downstairs.   It passed quickly and really I wasn’t too worried. I knew God would keep us safe.  

I tried to peer out and see the damage.  It was too dark.  I saw lots of limbs and debris flying down the street.  I expected to have some major damage to our giant old trees.

Well this morning I can see the damage that was done.  We really are VERY lucky.  Our patio umbrella is a folded up, crumpled disaster, my swing’s canopy has a few small tears, and basically just a lot of small limbs everywhere.  The worst is my neighbors tree fell over on our fence, but I don’t think the fence is too injured–yet.

This has made me reflect on our lives.  This last week has been pretty tough at our house.  My husband was given his notification of being laid off last Monday.  He has worked at this job since before I met him (15 years.)  We had known this was a possibility, but it still didn’t make it easier.  His company is completely closing one of their larger buildings and consolidating everyone into one. 

Right now we are in the storm and it is dark.  Yet I know God will take care of us and protect us.  We just have to wait until the “morning” when we can see what has happened (the future).

These are addicting little creatures to make!

Now that we know how, we can’t seem to stop making our own versions of the “ugly” dolls. My children have dozens of new designs that they have drawn, and I have made one for a friend. Both boys have asked if we could make another couple today.

I of course, keep imagining a half dozen or so sitting on my little bench at school. The kids would LOVE them! Where as I’m not sure I am really that ambitious, I do think I will help the boys each create another.

So I thought I would share our newest creation.


But I have been making other things as well. This was very simple and the plan was to hang earrings through it. I doubt now that I will do that, because I like it just the way it is. 🙂  This is a very simple embroidery.

It is to hang in my bathroom. The one that still isn’t quite done, but will be by the end of today!!!!