story fam

story fam

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Fam

This picture is from the Autism Society Dinner-don't we look like a happy family? I wanted to have a photo taken for our Christmas card but it was too dark. We are having a good Saturday. I am feeling good, we went to the library and may even go to the pool later on after dinner. The kids are all getting along nicely and I'm going to try and crochet. The kids are all greatful for a break from school. They were zoning out at lunch time-it was hilarious.
I love lazy, sunny days where we can just enjoy the moment!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Helping Hands

The Helping Hand Man!!
It's a GREAT day to be a cougar!!

Open House

Last night I attended the kindergarten, first grade, and fourth grade open houses at Metcalf. It was a shining moment for me!! The teachers were all very complementary about the girls. Fiona is settling right into the kindergarten routine-Ms. Hatch noted that no matter where she sits she has a friend-I think that was code for yes she is a talker:) Mrs. Wutz commented on how funny and passionate Ella is. It was wonderful to hear that Ella is a good friend to all of her fellow classmates. Peris is doing well too. Her teacher, Mrs. Irvin, commented that Peris is a good reader and an excellent friend. I was one proud Mommy!!!
Today we had to take Michael to a doctor visit. He is uncomfortable when he goes to the bathroom (I told him he could NOT go to school and tell his classmates that his penis hurts). He doesn't have a UTI but is going on an antibiotic for some inflammation-no I will not go into detail here. I was so happy to hear him BEG to go to school when we were done. When we walked into his class, all of his peers cheered and said Michael is here! I thought I was going to cry. His assistant, Mrs. Corbley, said that she was worried about Mike. It is "fantastic Friday"-their big reward day and he has EARNED a treat as he has had NO checks for the ENTIRE week!!! Now that ladies and gentleman is a wonderful thing!!! To see him walk in that room and to watch his face light up was priceless.
I think these were reminders that we all need to thank the adults that help to mold and shape our children as they are growing. Teachers play such an important part in the development of our children!! A good teacher does instill more than a love of learning in their students-we are witnesses to what these women are doing by loving our kids. I can see self esteem on the rise, trust being built and expectations being met. Don't I sound like an ad for the National Education Association??
Next time you see a teacher...give 'em a hug and say thank you!!!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Helping Hands

Today was a great day!! I am feeling better finally and I got a wonderful surprise when I picked Michael up from school. He had 2 yellow handprint cutouts on his shirt-they are helping hands that his teacher passes out when the students are helpful. One was for carrying the lunch sacks to and from class, and the second hand was given for helping a fellow student in the room. He was beaming when he walked out to show me-and the bonus?? NO checks today which marks two days of great behavior in a row. It is so wonderful to see his face light up with success. Right now he is reading a Junie B. Jones book with Peris. I love to hear his laughter bubble up-his giggling is awesome.
I'm going to go enjoy his glow!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Jonas Brothers

For those of you who don't have younger kids, we have added (by request of Peris, Ella, Fiona, and Emmy) 2 songs to our blog by the Jonas Brothers. I'm trying really hard to keep up with who is in and who isn't. The girls are BIG fans!!!
Remember Michael Jackson and his one glove? Moonwalking? Duran Duran? Cyndi Lauper? Girl's Just Wanna Have Fun? Wayfarer sunglasses? Swatch Watches? Ahh...80's bliss!!!
Fastforward to present day...Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers, The Suite Life of Zach and Cody-it is all I can do to appear hip in this house!!!!!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Happy 9th Birthday

We celebrated Peris' 9th birthday yesterday. First Peris woke up and had to walk through the traditional streamers that we hang from the doorway of the birthday child. Then she opened up her presents-all were a big hit. Baby dolls, a bathtub, and a camp rock soundtrack went over successfully. In the afternoon we celebrated with family-it was a fun afternoon. Uncle Tim and Aunt Christine stayed for dinner (McDonalds and Taco Bell) and the kids went to bed late!! If these past nine years are any indication of how fast life is going to go by, I wish I could make time stand still:) Next year it's double digits!!!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Play Play

I have 3 words for you....Dora...Talking...House-if you don't have small children this will mean nothing to you. The Dora Talking House is currently Emmy's favorite things to play with. It is a doll house that opens up and came with Dora, Boots, Swiper, and the rest of the gang. Yes it does make noise and no I do not like to "play play" which is Emmy's code for "come play with me." Bring on the games, craft projects, or Barbies!! But that doll house drives me crazy. Yesterday I played for 25 minutes and am still recovering. It's hard when you only get to be a talking money or a fox that makes noises. I would settle for being the baby brother or even Tico the Squirrel (he gets to talk) but I am only given the animals. Right now she is "play playing" and I am trying to be quiet so she will not beckon me to her room. No diversion works-when she is in the Dora zone there is no redirection for her.
As Swiper would say, "Oh man!" Emmy has figured out that she is playing by herself. She is calling (yelling) for me. I'm going in.....

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wet Pants

As I rushed around today pondering my purpose here on Earth, I received a phone call from Prairieland. Now it is the first full day so I was thinking if there is no vomit there must be a broken bone...or a trip to see Mr. Arnold!! I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Michael had an "accident" and needed dry pants. Now Michael loudly corrected the secretary and told her that he didn't "pee his pants"; he went down a wet slide and this caused the problem. She and I laughed and then I got some dry clothes and headed to school. How did this impact me?
It made me realize how blessed I am to be at home ready to take my son dry pants. I am so thankful that I could just jump in the van (hey, what's one more trip?) and make sure that Michael was comfortable. On my way to school I thanked God for allowing me to be here at home and for reminding me that this time is a gift (even though it doesn't always seem to be!).
The true gift? Seeing my sons face light up when I walked in the building, and hearing him say with true gratitude, "Mom..I knew if we called you, you would come. And here you are. I love you."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Michael's First Day

Michael and Daddy on the first day of 1st grade
Mrs. Scott, Michael, and Mrs. Corbley

Today was Michael's first day of first grade!! He was so excited!! The bus picked him up and then Emmy and I went and got him for a celebration lunch at McDonalds. Michael got to create a name for the classroom discipline chart. He decided on "the Bug Board"; we also went to Target and he picked out a Mr. and Little Miss magnetic mood chart (and a mouse pad for his kindergarten teacher Miss Murray). It was a great day to be a cougar.

Instructor Story

Michael visits Daddy
Derek at his new office in Fell Hall

Listing of teachers-Derek is on there!!

Yesterday Michael and I visited Derek in his new office at Fell Hall. Tomorrow he starts teaching his COMM 110 class and we wanted to see where he is going to be. I am so proud of Derek!! He has done so much this year-working on his thesis, getting a promotion in HR, being ASKED to teach this class, and still remains a rock star husband and father!! His students are going to be blessed by his enthusiasm and knowledge.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Happy Birthday to me

Today I am 37 years old. I am closer to 40 than 30 and wonder when did this happen? I look at myself in pictures and don't think of myself as a girl who is in her late 30's!! Derek bought me a new camera and the kids made me beautiful pictures-they also each gave me money from their piggie banks which was sweet. Of course I will be refunding their money-although Derek did point out that I could score a Starbucks with it:)
I feel really blessed today. I have 5 healthy children, a husband that loves me (man are we putting our wedding vows to the test), a home, and my heavenly Father looking over me. It doesn't get any better than this.
My Mom made me ham salad and pink fluff-a meal fit for a birthday queen!! So inbetween dropping Emmy off at school, picking Fiona up from early dismissal, coming home, and going back out to get Peris, Ella, and Emmy I'll eat. Maybe we will have a van picnic??

Monday, August 18, 2008

More of the first day...

Emmy and I at preschool open house
Daddy and Emmy at preschool open house

Fiona and I at kindergarten open house

Daddy and Fiona doing the scavenger hunt

First day of School

Today was a big day at the Story house!! Peris and Ella went with Daddy this morning for their first big day at school! They were so excited-and SO cute!! Fiona and Emmy each had an open house that Derek and I attended. So are you wondering if I cried? Yes, I did get teary eyed in the preschool. It is just so hard to acknowledge that these beautiful little children are growing up. I think I have just started to understand how little time we really have with our children before they are out in the "real" world. It has never been clearer to me than today-I am so greatful to have had this time at home. There is no job out there that would reward me as much as being a Mom. Even though we stay at home Mom's tend to feel under appreciated and overworked, the benefits we reap are far greater than those people who work at "The Farm" or other big companies. I don't cling to the worldly notion that says I have to "do it all" to be someone. I am happy to focus on my little corner of the world while I have the chance.
This is the year to volunteer! I haven't had the opportunity to do that as much as I have wanted. I intend to get in and help in each classroom every month so I can meet the teachers and other parents.
I need a diet coke while I let this all sink in-plus I have homework to do for Mrs. Irvin. Here is to a fabulous school year!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Goody Bags

We celebrated Peris' friend birthday party yesterday at the water park. She had a really good time running around with her friends. It just proved to me that there is no reason a fortune has to be spent on birthday parties!! This year I am boycotting the goody bag. This idea of providing a bag full of dollar store stuff has annoyed me since we jumped on the party circut. I have never understood why the birthday girl/boy should provide a parting gift-it is their special day!! It was liberating to have a free venue for the party, a Walmart cake (which I LOVE), and no goody bags. The kids had a blast and we didn't have to take our a loan to ensure that Peris had fun.

I am still in denial that she is going to be nine. I have no idea where the time went. She is really growing up. I still remember her first birthday like it was yesterday. She wasn't walking and at her little party she stood and took her first few steps. We screamed so loud that she fell down and started to cry. Now she is going into 4th grade-yet when I look at her I still see my first little baby.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Autism Dinner

This morning I am sitting here reflecting on the dinner we went to last night at the Autism Society of McLean County. It reminded me of how far our family has come since the diagnosis of Emmy and Michael. Can you believe that autism has been a part of our lives for 2 years now? During the slide show there was a picture of Emmy that came up from several years ago when she was still in a social skills group through Easter Seals. She had a pacifier in her mouth and this glazed look on her face. Thinking back to that time, I remember how lost I felt. How cheated and hurt I felt watching this little girl struggling through life. How I wondered if she would ever talk to me or make friends. Then Michael was diagnosed and I felt like life was crashing down all around me. It seemed like an impossibility that our family would ever be the same. And you know, it hasn't been-thank goodness!! Our lives have been forever changed in the best possible way. I have learned humility, grace, forgiveness, how to love uncontionally and be loved. I have learned not to stare at a child who is melting down in public-you just never know why. I have seen our own children learn to accept each other for who they are-and it is hard.
The highlight of our evening was watching Peris receive an award for outstanding sibling to an autistic child. I was so proud of her when she walked up to get her plaque. Peris' love and devotion to Michael and Emmy are awe inspiring. It is hard to be the oldest sister yet she makes it look effortless most of the time.
Life hands us some strange turns doesn't it? How we respond to those turns makes us who we are and who our children will be.
Thank goodness we don't have to do it on our own:)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Back to School

Where has the summer gone? It seems like just yesterday the kids got out of school. I have to say that I am a much better summer Mom!! I just don't like the rush that school days bring. I can get past making 4 lunches, setting out 5 backpacks, fixing breakfast, finding socks/shoes, and being the homework Nazi-but I can't get past doing all of that before 7:45 a.m.!!
We are all ready for Monday-the bookbags are packed, school clothes have been purchased, and fees have been paid. But as I sit here and think to next week, I begin to realize that my life is changing. This is my last year with a little one at home. I cannot believe that 4 of my children are old enough to be in school for the entire day.
I guess the people that tell you time goes by so fast are right. They are little and then you blink.