Saturday, February 28, 2009

Love Dare days 10-13

We are continuing the Love Dare book and it is just wonderful I can't say enough good things about it.

Do something out of the ordinary today for your spouse- something that proves (to you and them) taht your love is based on your choice and nothing else. Wash her car. Clean the kitchen. Buy his favorite dessert. Fold the laundry demonstrate love to them for the sheer joy of being their partner in marriage.
The only way love can last a lifetime is if it's unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.

What need does your spouse have that you could meet today? Can you run an errand? Give a back rub or foot massage? Is there any housework you could help with? Choose a gesture that says, "I cherish you" and do it with a smile.

Demonstrate love by willingly choosing to give in to an area of disagreement between you and your spouse. Tell them you are putting their preference first.

DAY 13: LOVE FIGHTS FAIR. Talk with your spouse about establishing healthy rules of engagement.If your mater is not ready for this, then write out your own personal rules to "fight" by. Resolve to abide by them when the next disagreement occurs.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

If you need a giggle

Check out one of my new favorite blogs CAKE WRECKS.
It is so funny I am always making hubby come look at it. Basically it is a blog about professional cakes that go horribly wrong. Her writing about them is as funny if not funnier than the pictures sometimes.
Some of my favs are Inspiration vs Perspiration. It is actual photos brides have taken in for their wedding cakes and what they actually got. You have to keep in mind these are professional cakes. If she ever features one that is not professional she says it so most all of these cakes cost money! In some cases of the brides there have been lawsuits filed.
Just a fun break to look at the site and read her witty commentary and marvel that people could actually do that. Some of my favorites are the ones where they took the order over the phone and took it quite literal.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Capitol Day

Yesterday we got to attend homeschool day at the capitol in Little Rock. It was very interesting. The kids enjoyed it and so did I. Very informative. Britt is already talking about wanting to be one of the kids that volunteer for the day when the house of representatives is in session. You have to be 12 and basically you run messages from one rep to the other, fetch water, etc. The lady said it looked good on applications so we will keep that in mind for her.

Here are some snap shots:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Weekend wrap up and more Love Dare days

It was a busy weekend. We got and sorted girl scout cookies. Now the fun of delivering..ugh my least favorite part. We had basketball and soccer. Basketball tournament is this week. Brae continues to amaze us with his soccer. Even asking to run extra. He is also so good he told the coach that he could not do the drill where they were using their heads. There are only a few boys on the team that do it as they don't really even want it at this age. I was still proud of him that he knew and talked to the coach (of course we already had). The asking to run extra is so not a Brae thing just shows how much he is loving it.

We all discussed the week doing our Love Dare books during Sunday School. It is interesting to see how different couples are doing the different days and how it is affecting the different couples.

Day 7 LOVE BELIEVES THE BEST - For today's dare, get two sheets of paper. Ont eh first one, spend a few minutes writing out positive things about your spouse. Then do the same with negative things on the second sheet. Place both sheets in a secret place for another day. There is a different purpose and plan for each. At some point during the remainder of the day pick a positive attribute from the first list and thank your spouse for having this characteristic.

(A few of the positive attributes I put were how much he loves us, his loyalty and faithfulness, how he helps me around the house even when I am critical of how he does it (I am working on that). His negatives he knows what they are his lack of patience at times and his bad memory. The positives FAR out weigh any negatives)

Day 8 LOVE IS NOT JEALOUS - Determine to become your spouse's biggest fan and to reject and thoughts of jealousy. To help set your heart on your spouse and focus on their achievements, take yesterday's list of negative attributes and discreetly burn it. Then share with your spouse how glad you are about a success he or she recently enjoyed.

(I hadn't printed out the list so I deleted it off the computer. One thing this study is really helping me with is showing me how much those little negative thoughts can cause issues. There are so many areas which I think he is successful including the kids but one that relates to business is what I am going to share. Hubby's annual review was recently and his company has a hiring freeze and so we weren't expecting much but he received almost the top raise available. I thought that was great because everyone is cutting back and I thought it showed a lot that he still got such a high review. Of course I am proud in a million areas!)

Tomorrow is our day 9 but I wanted to go ahead and post it because the kids and I will be gone all day tomorrow to home school day at the capital.

Day 9 LOVE MAKES GOOD IMPRESSIONS Think of a specific way you'd like to greet your spouse today. Do it with a smile and enthusiasm. Then determine to change your greeting to reflect your love for them.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Day 6

I am excited that several have said they are going to do the Love Dare too. Also hubby found a free online 40 day Love Dare HERE.

Choose today to react to tough circumstances in your marriage in loving ways instead of with irritation. Begin by making a list below of areas where you need to add margin to your schedule. Then list any wrong motivations that you need to release from your life.

Okay I am going to have to think on this one. I will probably wait till this evening when I can fully concentrate instead of right now when I am planning the day of girl scout cookies, basketball and soccer out in my head.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Love Dare day 5 - updated

I had forgot to put the title for the day on before so here it is.

Ask your spouse to tell you three things that cause him or her to be uncomfortable or irritated with you. You must do so without attacking them or justifying your behavior. This is for their perspective only.

I had joked about this one telling hubby I was going to single space type the list out in 3 pages or less. All in all it is a tough one actually. I don't like hearing things about myself. I did agree and see where the things he listed about me are true. I am sure my close friends will agree with number 1 which was him not liking that I don't say no on things and continue to commit. All in all it was a good exercise for us and there are areas I need to work on.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Love Dare days 1-4

I am going to share in more detail the Love Dare program. But I HIGHLY RECOMMEND getting the book. I think Sams Club Warehouse sells it for around $9.00. We each have our own so that we can write in the journal spaces. I am just paraphrasing as there are about 3 pages to read for each day and then a paragraph of summary for each day.

Day 1: LOVE IS PATIENT - For the next day, resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, choose not to say anything. It's better to hold your tongue than to say something you'll regret. (I was shocked at how many times I caught myself just going to "correct" something he did, or smart off...eeek not proud of that and wow I am on day 5 of really weighing the words and I can tell a difference in both of us.)

Day 2: LOVE IS KIND - In addition to saying nothing negative to your spouse again today, do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness. (This day started getting fun for us both we liked finding something to do. Hubby cleaned my car, which really needed it. I brought him a Hershey bar and a coke back to the office, and a shoulder rub)

Day 3: LOVE IS NOT SELFISH - Whatever you put your time, energy, and money into will become more important to you. It's hard to care for something you are not investing in. Along with restraining from negative comments, buy your spouse something that says, "I was thinking of you today". (Hubby loves a certain Bible Archeology Magazine but he says it is too much to put out so I ordered that for him and sent him an email with a poem in it (poems are so not me normally). He surprised me with a book I had been wanting and a Green Tea Frap from Starbucks. Little things but meant a lot.)

DAY 4: LOVE IS THOUGHTFUL - Contact your spouse sometime during the business day. Have no agenda other than asking how he or she is doing and if there is anything you could do for them. (We do this quite often anyway, all the time though you are still refraining from any negative comments. We shared when I would have said something negative and both laughed at how silly the things were.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Love Dare

Our Sunday School class started the bible study based of the movie Fireproof.

We are using the Love Dare book from the movie. Hubby and I are in day 5. It is wonderful. I think we have a strong marriage but wow this is really pointing out some little things and just all around making us appreciate each other more. It is 40 days long. Hopefully these things will stick with us way past the end of the book.

Today for no reason I got a Starbucks green tea frap in the middle of the day along with a book I have been wanting....also a promise to take the kids out for a few hours one evening to the library or a dollar movie so that I can have some quiet time.

I highly recommend the book it really makes you think and I can see it strengthening our marriage even more.


I received this via an email and I figured I would post it. It is really good information about autism. While Braden is very high functioning on the scale so much of this still applies to him. He has so many issues that sometimes autism gets pushed to the back but I find he does SO much better when I am implementing autism therapies and ideas to his day. I put my own notes in parenthesis.

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew

by Ellen Notbohm

Some days it seems the only predictable thing about it is the
unpredictability. The only consistent attribute -- the inconsistency
There is little argument on any level but that autism is baffling, even
to those who spend their lives around it. The child who lives with
autism may look "normal" but his behavior can be perplexing and
downright difficult. (I try to really watch having a judgmental thought about a kid having a fit while he may be doing just that he may not as well I have a good friend who it is a nightmare for her to take her son to the store as he does not do well and she is constantly looked down on. Braden still has an occasional melt down but not to the degree he did in his preschool years.)

Autism was once thought an "incurable" disorder, but that notion is
crumbling in the face knowledge and understanding that is increasing as
you read this. Every day, individuals with autism are showing us that
they can overcome, compensate for and otherwise manage many of autism's
most challenging aspects. Equipping those around our children with
simple understanding of autism's most basic elements has a tremendous
impact on their ability to journey towards productive, independent

Autism is an extremely complex disorder but for this article we can
distill it to what I call The Big Three: sensory processing challenges,
speech/language delays and impairments, and whole child/social
interaction issues. And though these three elements may be common to
many children with ASD, we also must keep front-of-mind that no two (or
ten or twenty) will be alike. For every child: a different spot on the
spectrum. And, just as importantly - for every parent and teacher, a
different spot on the spectrum.

Here are ten things every child with autism wishes you knew:

1. I am first and foremost a child -- a child with autism. I am not
primarily "autistic." My autism is only one aspect of my total
character. It does not define me as a person. Are you a person with
thoughts, feelings and many talents, or are you just fat (overweight),
myopic (wear glasses) or klutzy (uncoordinated, not good at sports)?

As an adult, you have some control over how you define yourself. If you
want to single out a single characteristic, you can make that known. As
a child, I am still unfolding. Neither you nor I yet know what I may be
capable of. Defining me by one characteristic runs the danger of setting
up an expectation that may be too low. And if I get a sense that you
don't think I "can do it," my natural response will be: Why try?

Sensory integration may be the most difficult aspect of autism to
understand, but it is arguably the most critical.

2. My sensory perceptions are disordered. This means that the ordinary
sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches of everyday that you may not
even notice can be downright painful for me. The very environment in
which I have to live often seems hostile. I may appear withdrawn or
belligerent to you but I am really just trying to defend myself. Here
is why a "simple" trip to the grocery store may be hell for me:

My hearing may be hyper-acute. Dozens of people are talking at once.
The loud speaker booms today's special. Musak whines from the sound
system. Cash registers beep and cough, a coffee grinder is chugging.
The meat cutter screeches, babies wail, carts creak, the fluorescent
lighting hums. My brain can't filter all the input and I'm in overload!

My sense of smell may be highly sensitive. The fish at the meat counter
isn't quite fresh, the guy standing next to us hasn't showered today,
the deli is handing out sausage samples, the baby in line ahead of us
has a poopy diaper, they're mopping up pickles on aisle 3 with
ammonia....I can't sort it all out; I'm too nauseous.

Because I am visually oriented (see more on this below), this may be my
first sense to become overstimulated. The fluorescent light is too
bright; it makes the room pulsate and hurts my eyes. Sometimes the
pulsating light bounces off everything and distorts what I am seeing --
the space seems to be constantly changing. There's glare from windows,
too many items for me to be able to focus (I may compensate with "tunnel
vision"), moving fans on the ceiling, so many bodies in constant motion.
All this affects my vestibular sense, and now I can't even tell where my
body is in space.

(Brae still struggles with this not near to the degree he used to. I remember being so proud when he was 3 years old and touched foam soap for the first time ever, and played with finger paints after months of therapy. Most times he just goes for it but there are times he hangs back with the messes or gets messy and then must immediately be cleaned or a melt down will ensue. He does well in most social situations but he does still get overstimulated.)

Receptive and expressive language and vocabulary can be major

3. Please remember to distinguish between won't (I choose not to) and
can't (I am not able to).

It isn't that I don't listen to instructions. It's that I can't
understand you. When you call to me from across the room, this is what I
hear: "*&^%$#@, Billy. #$%^*&^%$&*........." Instead, come speak
directly to me in plain words: "Please put your book in your desk,
Billy. It's time to go to lunch." This tells me what you want me to do
and what is going to happen next. Now it is much easier for me to

4. I am a concrete thinker. This means I interpret language very
literally. It's very confusing for me when you say, "Hold your horses,
cowboy!" when what you really mean is "Please stop running." Don't tell
me something is a "piece of cake" when there is no dessert in sight and
what you really mean is "this will be easy for you to do." When you say
"It's pouring cats and dogs," I see pets coming out of a pitcher.
Please just tell me "It's raining very hard."

Idioms, puns, nuances, double entendres and sarcasm are lost on me.

(This is SO true with Braden to this day, he is very literal he takes things as you say them not as they might be meant.)

5. Please be patient with my limited vocabulary. It's hard for me to
tell you what I need when I don't know the words to describe my
feelings. I may be hungry, frustrated, frightened or confused but right
now those words are beyond my ability to express. Be alert for body
language, withdrawal, agitation or other signs that something is wrong.

Or, there's a flip side to this: I may sound like a "little professor"
or movie star, rattling off words or whole scripts well beyond my
developmental age. These are messages I have memorized from the world
around me to compensate for my language deficits because I know I am
expected to respond when spoken to. They may come from books, TV, the
speech of other people. It is called "echolalia." I don't necessarily
understand the context or the terminology I'm using. I just know that
it gets me off the hook for coming up with a reply.

6. Because language is so difficult for me, I am very visually
oriented. Please show me how to do something rather than just telling
me. And please be prepared to show me many times. Lots of consistent
repetition helps me learn.

(He does better with school work and just about anything if he is visually shown rather than told.)

A visual schedule is extremely helpful as I move through my day. Like
your day-timer, it relieves me of the stress of having to remember what
comes next, makes for smooth transition between activities, helps me
manage my time and meet your expectations. Here's a great website for
learning more about visual schedules:

(We haven't done this in years but it was very helpful in the preschool years)

Don't let autism cause you to lose sight of the whole child.
Self-esteem is crucial.

7. Please focus and build on what I can do rather than what I can't do.
Like any other human, I can't learn in an environment where I'm
constantly made to feel that I'm not good enough and that I need
"fixing." Trying anything new when I am almost sure to be met with
criticism, however "constructive," becomes something to be avoided.
Look for my strengths and you will find them. There is more than one
"right" way to do most things.

8. Please help me with social interactions. It may look like I don't
want to play with the other kids on the playground, but sometimes it's
just that I simply do not know how to start a conversation or enter a
play situation. If you can encourage other children to invite me to
join them at kickball or shooting baskets, it may be that I'm delighted
to be included.

9. Try to identify what triggers my meltdowns. Meltdowns, blow-ups,
tantrums or whatever you want to call them are even more horrid for me
than they are for you. They occur because one or more of my senses has
gone into overload. If you can figure out why my meltdowns occur, they
can be prevented. Keep a log noting times, settings, people,
activities. A pattern may emerge.

10. If you are a family member, please love me unconditionally. Banish
thoughts like, "If he would just......" and "Why can't she....." You
did not fulfill every last expectation your parents had for you and you
wouldn't like being constantly reminded of it. I did not choose to have
autism. But remember that it is happening to me, not you. Without your
support, my chances of successful, self-reliant adulthood are slim.
With your support and guidance, the possibilities are broader than you
might think. I promise you - I am worth it.

And finally, three words: Patience. Patience. Patience. Work to view
my autism as a different ability rather than a disability. Look past
what you may see as limitations and see the gifts autism has given me.
It may be true that I'm not good at eye contact or conversation, but
have you noticed that I don't lie, cheat at games, tattle on my
classmates or pass judgment on other people? Also true that I probably
won't be the next Michael Jordan. But with my attention to fine detail
and capacity for extraordinary focus, I might be the next Einstein. Or
Mozart. Or Van Gogh.

They had autism too.

The answer to Alzheimer's, the enigma of extraterrestrial life -- what
future achievements from today's children with autism, children like me,
lie ahead?

All that I might become won't happen without you as my foundation.
Think through some of those societal 'rules' and if they don't make
sense for me, let them go. Be my advocate, be my friend, and we'll see
just how far I can go.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Straight Hair

I tried to go back to curly hair. I really did. I just can't do it. Takes too much time. My hair is naturally curly I am talking curly tight curls. 5 years ago I started straightening it. I get it done every 8 months. I had thought okay I will let it grow and get the straightner stripped out. But it has been driving me insane. Luckily the girl who does it made me a great deal and so now this week I get to go get it straight straight again. Everyone always says they want volume and curl not me I want flat So my treat this week is getting my hair done. I am very thankful for Lisa and for cutting her price down so much for me. She was right I would hate having the curl back again.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Soccer Time

We have a few weeks of basketball left but no rest because soccer is about to start.

This is the first time we have ever done soccer. I think hubby and I are just so excited that Brae actually is excited about something. First practice was today and 3 times a week from now on. He did really good for his first time to ever do anything to do with soccer. The coaches bragged on him after.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentines Day

I know I am posting this a day early but my weekend is looking to be packed full.

I took this pic of the kids in their Valentines outfits.

Hubby and I will get a date. We are leaving straight from Britt's ballgame (I won't get started on how I think it is stupid to have a game that won't even start till 5:30 on Valentines evening.) to go see the play Footloose that is touring. I have never even seen the movie which hubby still can't believe I have never seen it especially since I was such a fan of the movie Dirty Dancing and Grease. Oh well I am really looking forward to the play and time with hubby all to myself. Mom and Dad are taking the kiddos for the night. Yeah for them.

Happy Valentines Day!

What a difference...

What a difference sleep makes.
Yesterday I was cranky and frustrated. Frustrated with medical with Brae, frustrated with home school co-op things, and just people in general.
It was a long day with several activities and by 7:00 I was so tired and cranky. I had been cranky most of the day but by 7:00 there should have been warning signs before you had to come near me.
I went to bed at 8:30 and was out fast. I didn't get up till 6 (which is really sleeping in for me).
I feel SO much better. I feel that I can do research on the medical today, face what comes, that kinda thing. Be a better friend. Put up with crazy people better. Just all around better!
I guess my insomnia had caught up with me and add in the stresser factors of the last few days and I was just done.
Now I am better and ready for what comes. Or at least I think I am at 7:30 this morning by noon I make no promises.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Back to running

Finally I got to get back outside to run yesterday and today.

I started running last May and trained and felt good about the quarter marathon in November. Then I thought it would be a good idea to sign up for the half marathon in April. Never again will I sign up for a spring race. I had no idea how hard it would be to keep up training during the winter.

I hate running indoors. I love to run outside but not when it is 20 degrees. The last two mornings have been super nice at 60 which is perfect running weather I think. Of course temp is suppose to drop again but it was so great being out there again and it has made me excited about the race in April. Of course eek 13.1 miles in about 10 weeks. I am not ready but I don't plan to run the whole thing anyway I will do a walk/run approach but still nervous...and excited.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Much Better

Yesterday Brae accidently got some gluten which made him very sick. First time since we found the celiac disease and went gluten free. It was hard to see him hurting but also I guess it is a good thing because it really brought home how important the diet is and will make it even easier to stick to for Braden. He is like I am going to ask about everything I ever eat again. Today he is much better and keeps saying "I never want to eat gluten ever again".

Friday, February 06, 2009


Kids wanted to go to my mom and dad's tonight. Hubby already had plans with his dad to go see a movie that I didn't want to see. I told him to go ahead and go and I would suffer home alone...LOL.

So quiet. I fixed dinner for myself stuff the kids don't like. I ate dessert....yummy and didn't have to share. I caught up on my shows on the dvr. Now I have junk on tv and am just vegging out enjoying the quiet. Trying not to think of all the things I should be doing....I will do those things tomorrow...tonight I am enjoying the quiet.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Wedding recap

We are home from Texas and my cousins wedding. It was wonderful. First off my cousin and his fiance did so much to make Brae feel special and to watch out for his special needs that it was wonderful. Brae was so proud and did a great job. He did his "dying pose" a few times but not during the actual wedding. He did very good. He did this pose when we asked him how he liked wearing a tux.

Here is he is right before the wedding.

Of course he got a gift while we were there that he had been wanting. My aunt got him a star wars helmet....he had to at least try it on with his tux! But luckily he didn't wear it down the aisle..LOL.

Brittney serving dinner at the reception. She had so much fun.

I got so many compliments on both the kids I was really proud.

Here is Brae goofing off with the groom before the wedding.

I have added TONS of pics to flickr.