Unless otherwise specified, all writing here on my blog is my own original work. If you refer to something I've written here, please be sure to give me proper credit.

COMMENTS ARE MODERATED: Please don't let that deter you from commenting, though. I LOVE to read your thoughts! I only ask that you keep it clean & respectful.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Challenge of the Month Final Update (2nd post for today)

OMGoodness! Can you believe that today is the last day of March?!?! Hopefully we had our last snow yesterday & real spring weather will be arriving VERY soon!

Well, I completed Angie's Challenge of the Month for March & have to say that I am quite proud of my efforts. Some days were definitely better than others & our house still has WAY too much stuff, but I have managed to get rid of a lot.

Here are my final days of de-cluttering for the challenge:

26) got rid of more misc. papers...Thankfully our church takes part in a paper recycling program that pays the church by the pound. We've definitely donated our fair share of paper!

27) cleaned out that place that no man (no matter how manly he may be!) dares go - my purse

28) cleaned out one of my dresser drawers that has not been opened in a long time (If I haven't needed to get into it, why keep those items in it?)

29) cleaned off the kitchen counters...items were tossed, recycled, repaired, or put away

30) While I did toss some outdated medicines a couple weeks ago, this day I took out ALL of the medicines, got rid of more old ones (including those empty prescription bottles that Casinodad seems forget about when he's done!), & reorganized what was left.

31) got rid of some old paint that we've had in the basement from the previous owners (we've been in our house for over nine years...I think their time of occupancy is over!)

So, there you have it...31 days of getting rid of at least one thing. I do plan on continuing throughout the rest of Lent, although I don't think I'm going to continue posting everything. After all, there is still plenty to get rid of & plenty of people out there who could use the stuff we have in excess.

Thanks for the challenge, Angie!

Small Successes


Danielle Bean says, "It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

1) I've relinquished control of the kitchen the last couple days & let The Prophet cook. He's done quite well for a 10 yo boy & is enjoying the planning & creativity that can go along w/ cooking.

2) Along the lines of #1, I did not get angry when he accidentally burned our counter when he placed a hot pot on it. We all make mistakes & that is the way we learn.

3) I don't know if this is my success so much as the Holy Spirit's...I've been getting a LOT out of my spiritual reading the Lenten season. Between Jeff Cavin's Great Adventure 8-Week Bible Study, The Word Among Us & Not By Bread Alone: Daily Reflections for Lent by Robert F. Morneau (both for the daily readings), & The Life-Giving Power of the Cross by Jeanne Kun (a Word Among Us book my Small Church Community is using...a GREAT book, BTW), I can really feel my faith deepening. Plus, I'm finding a lot of parallels between the four books at times.

How have things been for you lately?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings

My dear blogging friend, Judy, over at A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings, hosts this meme every Wednesday. Simply list five things (or a prayer or any thoughts) for which you are truly thankful this week. Voicing my thanks helps put my life in perspective & realize that, no matter how bad things might be, there is still MUCH good surrounding me.

1) I'm thankful we have our computer back, however, I'm thankful for the time I had w/out it! I was able to spend a lot more time accomplishing things around the house & more time w/ the munchkins, too! Now that we have it back, I can see myself slipping back into my old ways. I'm trying to make a BIG effort to turn it off when I'm done so that I'm not tempted to pop over every time I walk by to see if I've gotten a new email or if my favorite blogs have been updated w/in the last five minutes.

2) I'm thankful The Prophet is finding out that he loves cooking! Yesterday, he (w/ some of The Archangel's help) made ALL of our meals for the day...chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, mac & cheese for lunch, grilled cheese for dinner, a special dessert (bite-size Jell-O Jigglers in an ice cream cone), & stove top popcorn for bedtime snack. He's looking forward to experimenting more.

3) I'm thankful I made it to Children's Urgent Care just before they closed on Saturday. (I thought they were open until 10pm, but they closed at 8pm.) The Saint had been up for three nights in a row coughing & had started coughing more during the day. While they aren't able to help w/ the cold virus, he did have the beginning of an ear infection. Thankfully the antibiotic is working & he's starting to feel more like his old self.

4) I'm thankful The Archangel's new medicine is helping out some. He's still VERY hyper & we'll probably have to add meds for that too, but the biggest issue was his anger & aggression. While things have not been 100% better, we have seen some big changes, including the return of his wonderful smile!

5) I'm thankful for the newest addition to our extended family. My cousin & her husband in Colorado welcomed their second girl very early this morning. I wish I could share her name w/ you...it's beautiful & her middle name is the same as The Princess' (our grandmother's name...unusual & very beautiful). I can't wait to see photos & then meet her in person this summer.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Update for March Challenge of the Month

As I mentioned in my previous post, we had a virus on our computer, but it is now fixed. So, here is my update for Angie's Challenge of the Month for March.

15 - tossed another pair of shoes & a leftover bike wheel from the garage / also went through the boys' underwear & sock drawer

16 - gathered up a few of the munchkins' shirts to donate & tossed The Princess' old tennis shoes that had become open-toed tennis shoes

17 - I returned a LARGE stack of library books that I was never going to be able to get a chance to read.

18 - recycled some misc. papers / cleaned out my coupon box, recycling outdated ones

19 - cleared of a bunch of junk that was cluttering the front of our fridge...left lots of space for the munchkins' artwork!

20 - lots more clothes, misc. household items, & books loaded in van to donate

21 - went through The Princess' clothes & does it count if I vacuumed all the dust bunnies from under our bed? There were a LOT!

22 - cleaned out part of my desk

23 - went through the boys' drawers (I keep telling these kids to stop growing, but they just won't listen to me...LOL!)

24 - gave my mom an outdoor cushion that's been in our crawlspace for years

25 - cleared out one of the fridge shelves & tossed some items that were beginning to look like science experiments

As you can tell, some days are better than others. But like Angie said, it only has to be one thing that you get rid of for this challenge. Only six more days of the month left & I've got a ton of items/areas that still need cleared out. I think I'm going to continue through the rest of Lent once Angie's challenge is over.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Blog & Challenge of the Month Update

I'm here at HandyGramps & HelpfulGrammy's house to check my email & a couple other quick things. Once again, our computer has a virus & is in the shop for repairs! I'm thinking that God didn't like that I gave up just Facebook for Lent & felt that I should have given up more of the computer! I will say that I've spent more time in spiritual reading & w/ the family. Plus, by not popping over to the computer every so often, I've been able to get other stuff accomplished around the house. (Not to mention the kink in my neck & right shoulder from computer use has not been as bad!) Yes, Lord...I am listening & once we get the computer back, I will continue to limit my time.

I forgot to bring the list w/ me that I'm using to keep track of what I've gotten rid of in the last week for Angie's Challenge of the Month. While the past week wasn't as productive as the previous weeks, I did manage to get rid of something each day. Once we get our computer back, I will give a full update.

So, if you don't hear from me for a while, it's because the computer is still out of service.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Our ADHD Journey - Part Four

If you've missed my previous posts on this subject, you can click on the links below.

February 15 arrived & we went for the psychiatrist appointment. Before I go on, let me just mention that I'm not 100% confident in this doctor, as you will see...

I explained what happened w/ the Intuniv & refreshed the doctor's memory about our phone call when he'd said to stop it. He asked if The Archangel had been on any stimulants previously. Now, I've answered this question each time we've met w/ him & he's written in his notes - shouldn't he have read over The Archangel's chart before we got there? (Doubt #1)

He asked me several questions about what I felt needed more treatment - the hyperactivity or the anger/aggression. Each time I would start to answer, he would interrupt w/ another question. I felt like he was rushing the appointment & that I wasn't answering the questions in a manner that would speed things up. (Doubt #2)

For one question, I turned to The Archangel to see how he felt or if he had an opinion. After all, we're trying to find the best treatment for him - shouldn't we at least see how he feels. Once again, the doctor interrupted & told me that I would be the better judge. (Doubt #3)

Knowing we needed to do something, I felt the anger & aggression were the behaviors that demand the most immediate attention. He suggested Risperdal, an anti-psychotic used mostly for bi-polar issues & sometimes for autism. He gave us a prescription for .5mg twice a day. He said we could probably go w/ just one a day to start, but would most likely end up raising it. The biggest side effects are drowsiness & increased appetite...those we can handle, as his weight has always been at the lower end of the growth charts.

As soon as I got home, I looked up some information online about it. The average dose I initially saw was .5mg once a day. With The Archangel being so small, Casinodad & I made the decision to start him on just one pill a day, then increase later if needed.

It's now been a little over a month since we started him on Risperdal. There wasn't a complete turn around in his behaviors, but within a few days of starting, we did notice some minor changes. After about two weeks & more outbursts than we preferred, we went ahead & raised the dose to two pills per day...one in the morning & one in the evening.

He still has occasional outbursts & can get angry easily, but they are occuring less frequently & last for shorter amounts of time. He apologizes quicker on his own. The biggest changes we've seen are that he is smiling A LOT more & he's been more affectionate...greeting us w/ hugs. And let me tell you...he has an amazing smile!
So where do we go from here? Only God knows for sure. The Risperdal is not for The Archangel's ADHD, so at some point soon, that will have to be addressed. His is getting to be a lot more hyper. As his psychologist said the other day, he's feeling better, so he's got more energy to let loose!

As to the psychiatrist, because the medicine is working somewhat, we are going to stick w/ him...but I will be on my guard. We know our son better than this doctor who spends about 20 minutes w/ him every month, so we have the last say in what we feel is best for him. If things get worse, we will look into changing. The psychologist is in the same group & we really like her. She's given us some great tips & tricks.

We'll just take it day by day, praying for God's guidance & wisdom along the way. I've read a lot of books & websites & will continue to educate myself. We also try to keep our own emotions in check. It's tough at times to keep from exploding when he's in the middle of a fit, but we know that yelling back only escalates the situation. He just needs his time & space to calm down, then we can talk it out together.

It's also tough to avoid questioning our parenting skills. "Did he learn that behavior from me?" "How could we have handled that situation better?" "Was I too hard, too soft, or just right in disciplining that behavior?" "I'm so tired, I don't even want to face this right now!" The thoughts & doubts are endless, not different than any other parent. None of us are perfect & we all mess up MANY times! we try to learn from our mistakes & failings, relying on guidance from God.

I will continue to update here on my blog, sharing our struggles & successes w/ ADHD. If you have any experiences, please share. It's always helpful & comforting to know that we are not alone in this journey, even though each child is different.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Small Successes


Danielle Bean says, "It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

1) I survived taking all four munchkins shoe shopping yesterday & bought 6 pairs of shoes for $56 + tax. I found sneakers for all three older ones, dress sandals for The Princess, & dress shoes for The Saint. The Prophet's shoes were on clearance for $5, so I bought two pairs...one for now & one for later! I also found some shirts on clearance for all of the munchkins ($1 T-shirts for The Princess, $3 for the boys) & a snowsuit for The Princess ($7).

2) I brought up the subject of a tetanus shot during my physical on Tuesday (last one was in high school MANY years ago!) & survived the needle. I. DO. NOT. LIKE. NEEDLES!

3) I have been a good student, keeping up w/ the Jeff Cavins Bible study at church & have been getting a lot out of it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - New Bedding & Pillows for The Munchkins

A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings & Prayers

My dear blogging friend, Judy, over at A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings, hosts this meme every Wednesday. Simply list five things (or a prayer or any thoughts) for which you are truly thankful this week. Voicing my thanks helps put my life in perspective & realize that, no matter how bad things might be, there is still MUCH good surrounding me.

With the tragedy in Japan, my heart is heavy as I try to come up w/ a list of thanksgiving this week.

1) While I am thankful that I know my family is tucked into bed safely each night, I pray for those in Japan, still searching for their loved ones.

2) While I am thankful to have a roof over my head, I pray for those who lost their homes to the earthquake & tsunami in Japan.

3) While I am thankful for the food & drink readily available to us, I pray for those in Japan now going without.

4) While I am thankful for my family's health, I pray for those in Japan facing disease & radiation.

5) While I am thankful for the security provided to us through our jobs, I pray for those in Japan who are now out of work.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for the many blessings in my life. I ask you to bless & comfort those in Japan as they mourn their losses & try to put their piece of the world back together. Amen.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Saint Said... (2nd post today)

The other day, we were sitting at the dinner table. I'm not sure, but I think we were talking about Lent. The Saint piped up & said, "Jesus, die on cross." I told him that was right & that Jesus died to save us. He adamantly said, "No..save ME!"

Soooooo...if a 2 1/2 year old knows that Jesus is his Savior, what's holding back the rest of the world?

March Challenge Second Week Update

So, we've ALREADY finished the second week of March...my, how time is flying by! Here is what I accomplished for Angie's Challenge of the Month:

8) Boys' pant shelf in their closet - took out items that are too small or too short

9) Went through my binder of scrapbook ideas & cleared out stuff I won't use if & when I ever get back to scrapbooking

10) In just one section of the basement, I filled 1/2 of one bag w/ trash & 1/2 of one bag w/ recyclables.

11) I cleaned out both my Bible case & my makeup case

12) Tossed two pairs of 11 yo shoes (not shoes for an 11 yo, but shoes I've had & worn for 11 years!)

13) Recycled a bunch of misc. paper / cleaned out the kids' candy buckets / went through my CDs & DVDs

14) Gathered up four more items of clothing to donate

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Small Successes


Danielle Bean says, "It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

1) I've started "couponing." In the past, I never thought it was much of a benefit to us...I'd either clip coupons & forget I had them or spend more money because I'd buy something just because I had the coupon for it. Now, w/ the help of two websites (Coupon Mom & Happy Homemaker Cindy), I can actually save money w/ coupons. (Both sites have tutorials & helpful hits for saving.) They do a lot of the work for you...compiling list of sale items for local stores & telling you which Sunday's ads have corresponding coupons. It does take me a bit more time, but the savings so far has been great...esp. when you add in regular store discounts, too (like Giant Eagle's Fuel & Food Perks). Last week, I saved 59% at Meijer & 33% at Giant Eagle.

2) I've been doing little things for Casinodad to help him along in his day. One morning, when he was running behind, I got his cereal ready, I packed up his lunch, & filled his water mug for work. Most mornings, when I finish w/ The Word Among Us, I leave it out on the table so he can read the daily reading while eating breakfast. This morning, while he was still getting ready, I called the doctor & made an appt. for him. Even though they are just little gestures, they mean a lot to him.

3) The Princess turned six last week. She wanted me to make a Catholic cake for her, so I made a frosting Rosary for her. And, because she loves St. Therese of Lisieux, I added a prayer card to the center. She loved it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings

My dear blogging friend, Judy, over at A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings, hosts this meme every Wednesday. Simply list five things (or a prayer or any thoughts) for which you are truly thankful this week. Voicing my thanks helps put my life in perspective & realize that, no matter how bad things might be, there is still MUCH good surrounding me.

1) I'm thankful for the Bible study our parish is offering. We're doing Jeff Cavin's Great Adventure 8 week A Quick Journey Through the Bible. Yesterday was our fourth week & I've gotten so much out the DVD & our discussions. It's amazing to read passages that I've read my whole life & see them in a new light.

2) I'm thankful for wind chimes. A dear friend of mine gave me a beautiful dark green tubular set for Christmas a couple years ago & they have the most beautiful tone. They've been stored in the garage all winter & I just hung them up yesterday. Spring is on its way!

3) I'm thankful for our new van! I was starting to get discouraged in our search...I really dislike going from dealership to dealership & playing all their sales games. Thankfully we found a van much lower than our price range (w/ lots of great extras!), in excellent shape, & a fairly decent salesman.

4) I'm thankful for "Mom Therapy." I have a very dear friend w/ four beautiful children close to the munchkins' ages (also homeschooled). We try to get together once a week, but usually due to illnesses it ends up being a couple times a month. We call it therapy because it is so rejuvenating for both of us...sharing ideas, talking about the struggles in our lives, laughing, drinking coffee, & just have a great time together. Her mother has been visiting throughout the winter, so we've added HelpfulGrammy into the mix. They hit it off right away & get along so well. Our afternoons fly by so quickly!

5) I'm thankful for the freedom to be able to homeschool the munchkins. I know I'm not always the most patient person & we do have some tough days, but when I read or hear about the problems in schools these days, I'm thankful for this opportunity.

Thank you, Lord, for the many blessings You have bestowed upon our family!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Catholic Company Book Review - Raising Good Kids: Back to Family Basics

If you haven't heard of Dr. Ray Guarendi, you're missing out! He is a father of ten, psychologist, radio talk-show host, author, speaker, & all around funny guy! I frequently find myself giggling when listening to his radio show or reading his books.

Using his familiar wit & wisdom and drawing on his experiences, he has written Raising Good Kids: Back to Family Basics. This little guide (only 63 pages) gives readers five building blocks for being successful parents. Along w/ the Introduction, the book contains five chapters, one for each idea...Time, Communication, Discipline, Respect, & Mortality. Each chapter also includes quotes from parents across the county sharing their thought related to the idea. One of the things I love about Dr. Ray's writing is his choice of children's names when he uses examples... Rocky for the child always hitting his siblings or Charity for the daughter who loves to donate things.

If you've never read his book, Back to the Family (authored w/ David Eich), then this book will be a good starting point for you. It highlights the main points covered in that book, but in a shorter version...great if you are pressed for time & just want to catch the basics. It's perfect for parents who don't have a lot of time, but want to get started right away in getting back to the basics of parenting. (But I'm sure you don't know any parents pressed for time, do you? LOL!)

Even though I had previously read the other, I found many things I'd forgotten. This was a great book for refreshing my mind on things I'd learned before. So, either way, you won't go wrong in reading Raising Good Kids: Back to Family Basics by Dr. Ray Guarendi.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Raising Good Kids: Back to Family Basics . They are also a great source for serenity prayer and baptism gifts.

Monday, March 7, 2011

March Challenge First Week Update

I am off to a great start for Angie's Challenge of the Month for March. So far, these are the things I've cleaned out each day:

1- drawers & cabinet for our downstairs bathroom

2- linen closet & drawers in our master bath

3- phone book & catalog cabinet (Can you believe I had a phone book from 2008 & catalogs from 2009?); I also cleaned out my purse.

4- gathered up a garbage bag of clothes, toys, & videos to donate

5- tossed some bubble baths (Our tub has been out of service for several years & most of the bubble baths were quite old. Don't worry...we're not carrying out several years' worth of stink! We still have a functioning shower!)

6- tossed some old medications (I usually do this several times a year anyway.)

7- two kitchen drawers

I figure that if I just do a little bit each day, it won't seem so overwhelming to me. A drawer here, a cabinet there...it will all add up to a great deal of de-cluttering!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Name

After HandyGramps & I came up w/ his name for my blog, I started thinking that my mom should have a name too. So, w/out further ado...my mother will now be known as:


Why HelpfulGrammy, you ask? My mother is the type of person who will go out of her way if necessary to help when you need her.

She has a very dear, longtime friend who went through breast cancer & a double mastectomy several years ago. HelpfulGrammy was there to take her to appts., shopping, etc. when her husband couldn't.

A little over a month ago, she loaned her car to my neighbor for a week (& they'd never met before.)

She is in charge of the group at her church that provides the luncheons after funerals. This is such a wonderful ministry for those families who lose a dear one & she does it w/ complete compassion.

Numerous times I've called for her assistance...babysitting the munchkins, venting about a rough day, etc. She was here at home w/ me when I was on bedrest w/ my last two pregnancies.

These are just a few of the many things she does for others. HelpfulGrammy is probably not a strong enough name for her, but I don't think Blogger would let me have enough space to give her a 100% fitting name! Love you, HelpfulGrammy!

A Thankful Woman's (er...Young Man's) Book of Blessings

My dear blogging friend, Judy, over at A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings, hosts this meme every Wednesday. Simply list five things (or a prayer or any thoughts) for which you are truly thankful this week. Voicing my thanks helps put my life in perspective & realize that, no matter how bad things might be, there is still MUCH good surrounding me.

And finally, today we have five things for which The Archangel is thankful...

1) I am thankful Jesus died to save us.

2) I am thankful for my family.

3) I am thankful for the saints in Heaven.

4) I am thankful for Christmas because it is Jesus' birthday.

5) I am thankful for Legos.

Thank you so much for sharing your thanks, Archangel. Love you!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Angie's Challenge of the Month for March

February's Challenge was to try something new. I decided to give Pilates a try. I did like it, however, as I mentioned before, my back started to bother me again. I'm not totally giving up on it, but I am going to take it a little easier. (BTW - Congratulations to Angie's winner for February.)

So, now we are on to Angie's Challenge of the Month for March...a shortened version of the 40 Bags in 40 Days that has been going around the blogosphere the past few years during Lent. I was planning on doing this for Lent again this year, so I don't think starting a little early would hurt...especially w/ all the clutter in our home!