story fam

story fam

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring Reading Thing-Update

In March I decided to participate in the Spring Reading Thing ( I've done a lot of reading-most off of this master list-and wanted to update my list.

Here is what my Spring Reading List looks like:

Mommy is Going to Read:

The Boy in The Striped Pajamas-John Boyne-Done

Clay's Quilt-Silas House
The Kite Runner-Done
The Shack
Meet the Austens'-Madeleine L'Engle
Multiple Blessings-Kate Gosselin-Done
Harry Potter books 5 and 6
5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter-Vicki Courtney
How to Have a New Kid by Friday-Dr. Kevin Lehman DONE-THIS IS AWESOME!!
The Treasure Inside Your Child -Done
A Thousand Splendid Suns-Done

Mommy is Going to Read to the Kiddo's:
The Princess and The Kiss -Done
Beautifully Made: Approaching Womanhood (yep, it's time-sigh)
The Story of Me: God's Design for Sex Ages 3-5 ('s time for this too) DONE
Before I Was Born: God's Design for Sex Ages 5-8

Cross Pointe Book Club Selection:
The Choice by Nicholas Sparks DONE

Cross Pointe Book Club Selection for May:

Reconstructing Natalie by Laura Jensen Walker-Done

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

The joy of being seven!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Kiss

Shhh....don't tell my husband!! I get a kiss every morning and it isn't from him. What?, you ask!! Yep, it's true. Wanna know who it's from? The beautiful little boy that sits in front of my son on the bus.

How did this all come about? Well each morning I walk Michael out to the bus. He gets on and I stand at the end of the drive way. My wave caught on and now each child on the bus waves at me-that gave me a warm fuzzy!!! Then as the bus pulls away I blow Mike an exaggerated kiss farewell. Over time I began to notice that the little guy in front of Michael was kissing the window and so I started to blow 2 kisses. One to my son and one to my sweetie that sits in front of him. For the past 2 weeks that lovely little boy has been smiling at me when I walk to the bus and will lift his hand to his mouth and mimic my motions..the kiss. I cherish those smiles and those kisses as if they were from my own son. Why you ask? Because the little boy that sits in that seat in front of my son is profoundly handicapped and it takes great effort for him to make that little motion that we all take for granted.

Today the sun was shining, my son kissed me on the cheek before he got on the bus, my peeps waved at me, my son blew me a kiss as did my sweetie.

I have come to rely on those little air kisses to set the tone for my days-some of which are very long. Before the end of the year, I am going to get on that bus (not allowed by district policy...hmmm..I am a born rule breaker) and give my sweetie a smackeroo on the cheek..yep, I certainly will do that!!

Finding the beauty in the little things is what our days here on Earth are all about. I hope you get a smoochie from someone you love today!!

Wordless Wednesday

My beautiful niece Avery who has just finished an Easter cupcake-can you tell she enjoyed every bite??

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Happenings

Mike and Peris share a hug
3-2-1 "GO"...the egg hunt begins at Pa Pa and Grandma Pat's

No clue....


Mike at Grandma and Grandpa Story's

The Mapleton Egg Hunt on Friday night

Grandma helping Emmy find her eggs

Peris finding her eggs

The Easter Bunny rice krispy treat-YUMMY!!!

Here are some of the pictures from our Easter-pallooza over the weekend. When I'm feeling better I'll post a slideshow.

Mommy to Mother to Mom

Real Mothers don't eat quiche;They don't have time to make it.
Real Mothers know that their kitchen utensils are probably in the sandbox.
Real Mothers often have sticky floors, Filthy ovens and happy kids.
Real Mothers know that dried play doughDoesn't come out of carpets.
Real Mothers don't want to know what The vacuum just sucked up.
Real Mothers sometimes ask 'Why me?'And get their answer when a littleVoice says, 'Because I love you best.'
Real Mothers know that a child's growth Is not measured by height or years or grade...It is marked by the progression of Mommy to Mom to Mother...

The Images of Mother

4 YEARS OF AGE - My Mommy can do anything!
8 YEARS OF AGE - My Mom knows a lot! A whole lot!
12 YEARS OF AGE - My Mother doesn't really know quite everything.
14 YEARS OF AGE - Naturally, Mother doesn't know that, either.
16 YEARS OF AGE - Mother? She's hopelessly old-fashioned.
18 YEARS OF AGE - That old woman? She's way out of date!
25 YEARS OF AGE - Well, she might know a little bit about it!
35 YEARS OF AGE - Before we decide, let's get Mom's opinion.
45 YEARS OF AGE - Wonder what Mom would have thought about it?
65 YEARS OF AGE - W ish I could talk it over with Mom.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure shecarries, or the way she combs her hair.
The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes,Because that is the doorway to her heart,The place where love resides.The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole,But true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she Shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

My friend Jenna shared this with me and I wanted to pass it along to you....thank you Jenna for reminding me what's really important!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Review-A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

So I thought that The Kite Runner was the best book of 2009-I stand corrected! I am so sad that this book came to an end. I wish that there were hundreds more pages left to read!!!

I am not even sure that I can do a review justice. I would share that this book is written about two women, Mariam and Laila and the struggles that each suffer. It is a powerful book that offers a glimpse into the lives of Afghan women pre and post Taliban. This books grips the reader from the first pages until the very last. Choices are made, lives are changed, friendships are formed, wars are waged, death comes often in the form of bombings and rockets, food is scarce, droughts last-yet the women are fortified and carry on. This is a book of courage and strength-it is inspirational and disturbing. Uplifting and frightening.

If you haven't read this book put it on the top of your list-it will be worth it!!!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ella's Featured Friend Open House

Ella displays her Featured Friend Board
Michael, Emmy, Ella and I pose for Ms. Santiago

Michael curls up with a good book

Yesterday afternoon we were cordially invited to attend Ella's Featured Friend open house at school. When we arrived we were treated to a room full of students who were sharing their Featured Friend boards with all of the guests who were present. The kids obviously worked very hard to make their boards special.
Michael, Emmy, and I were also treated to some yummy snacks and enjoyed talking with the other kids and parents.
We had a lot of fun!!!
Ella is definately a social butterfly and was so good about showing her brother and sister around her room. I was also so proud of Ella sharing her friends!! She made an extra effort to introduce some of the boys to Michael.
Thank you for a special afternoon Ella!!

Emmy's Preschool Program

Have you ever held on to a promise so tightly that it hurt? Have you ever wished so hard for something to come true that your heart aches? Have you ever believed when the odds are stacked against you? Have you ever known deep in the depths of your very being that with God truly anything is possible but doubted? I have done all of these things.

Yesterday I witnessed the fruition of years of sacrifice and hard work. I witnessed a promise come true: For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. My youngest daughter, the very child that I was told would not walk, talk, socialize, etc. performed in her preschool program amongst her typical peers. Not one shred of evidence was present to indicate her struggles. Yesterday was victory day-victory for every therapist, Doctor, friend, family member, church member, and unnamed people who prayed for our daughter without knowing who she was. I wish that each person who has invested in Emmy could have filled up the all purpose room to watch her shine (and boss her friend around when he sat in the wrong spot).

The pictures below are from the program-it was sweet to watch all of the little kids perform. Their eyes were so bright and their voices were so loud!! It was a day of joy and pride for all of the parents who attended.

I was humbly reminded that in God's perfect time, ALL things ARE possible through Christ who gives us strength.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Review-The Kite Runner

Let me say this, if you are only able to read one book this year make sure that THIS IS IT!!!! Oh my goodness I hit gold when I picked this up. This book was not on my original Spring Reading Thing list but when I found it at the library I thought it looked good-I was NOT disappointed!!!

The Kite Runner is the story of two boys, Amir and Hassan. While both boys were nursed by the same wet nurse at birth, Amir lives a life of priviledge while Hassan is content to live the life of a servant. This book takes an in depth look at the relationship between Amir and Hassan, the conflicts between Amir and his father, and the lasting bond between Amir and his fathers best friend. After witnessing a horrible act against Hassan, Amir remains silent and their relationship is forever changed. Amir pays for his silence with deep rooted guilt and anger that causes him to make a series of unfortunate choices that affect every member of the household. This story also gives the reader insight into the political climate of the late 70's and early 80's in Afghanistan. After the Russian occupation we follow Amir and his Baba to California and watch Amir's adult life begin to unfold. With a twist of fate Amir is forced to face the ghosts that haunt him from the past and we are allowed to watch as Amir must take responsibility for the silence that has weighed on him since his youth.

I could simply not put this book down-it is by far THE BEST book that I have read this year!! I was so engrossed in the story line and the heart breaking tragedies that I lost track of time (don't worry the kids were in bed-I just stayed up WAY too late last night!!).

I hope you will add this to your own personal list of possibilities-it won't disappoint!!

Happy reading!

The Hypothesis

So it's another morning of driving my girls to school and it appears that the most entertaining conversations must go on during this short trip.

This morning was no let down. My 9 year old and I were enjoying small talk when she turned to me (with a serious face!) and said, "Mom, can I share a hypothesis that I have?". Sure, I replied thinking that this was going to be some wonderful scientific experience between she and I. "Mom, I am hypothesizing that the reason a dog smells another dogs behind is because they smell bad."

Yes this this is what she really said. "Oh-that is probably true" was my quick response-I didn't want to laugh at her...she was really mulling this over!!!!

So there you have it-thoughts on behind sniffing. Man these morning drives do not disappoint!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Review-Multiple Bles8ings-Kate Gosselin

Alright. I'm sticking to a review of the book!!!! This was on my list for the Spring Reading Thing through Cadapillar Days (see early post in March) and I finished it over the weekend.
Show me a woman who is in the public eye and shares her faith with a bold fierceness and you've got me at Season One of Jon and Kate Plus 8!! Beyond the tv show and beyond the criticism that Jon and Kate openly receive, this book is awesome. It really does tell the beautiful story of a woman who FULLY relies on God to sustain her through infertility, job loss, pregnancy, bed rest, a second job loss, financial turmoil, loss of family members, and then the arrival of the six little bundles that America has come to love. Kate tells an engaging story of her triumph over the ups and downs of having twins and sextuplets with an honesty that she is often criticised for. I find it refreshing!!
I do have one complaint-she does make a statement in her book about feeling like an exhibit at the zoo when she and the kids are out in public-hmmmm....perhaps this is a result of a) her reality tv show and b) a book about said Mom and children?
That being said, I appreciate Kate sharing her faith and her honest feelings about her life post 8 children-it can't always be pretty and she transparently shares that with the reader.
Now how I feel about the tv show is a whole different blog posting!
This is a book that I would recommend to other readers. It does remind me as the reader that God is good ALL the time!
Happy reading!!!!

The Running Man

Michael and Patrick at the finish line!
On Sunday Michael competed in his first official 3k run at Central Catholic High School. He ran 3 miles in 36 minutes and came in 3rd place for his age group (ages 13 and under). So what you say? Big deal, I say. It isn't about the 3rd place and it isn't about the medal that he wore all day Sunday and then to school on Monday. It's about his song-and Michael's God song is running. I first heard about "the song" in our Wednesday night parenting class. Our leader asked us, "What is your child's song?". Hmm....I had to ponder that one. I quickly could figure out a few of those songs......drama for Ella, reading for Peris, Fiona...well anything that incurs danger suits her just fine, and as for Emmy I would have to say any social activity. But what about Michael? I started to struggle. He doesn't like organized sports, games, groups. He is self conscious and has a lower self esteem than the girls. And then it hit Derek and I (no his song is not Mario Kart!!)-his song is running. He LOVES to run-with people, alone it just doesn't matter. So we decided last fall to hit the running hard this spring-not competitively but recreationally. We are praying that the running turns into something more than just his feet hitting the pavement-we pray that it builds his self confidence and helps him focus his energy. So sure the medal is nice-but for the record, he thought he received the medal for having the loudest cheerleaders which meant just as much to him. It isn't about being the fastest-it's all about the cheerleaders who are yelling for you along the way and at the end of the race.

PS-Thank you Patrick for investing in my son. You are very special.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Review: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

I was so excited to get my hands on the book, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. After hearing about the movie version of this compelling story, I was really looking forward to reading about the main character Bruno and his relationship with Shmuel a prisoner of "Out-With" (Auschwitz).

While the story is heartwrenching, I did not care for the book. I found it hard to get into from the very beginning. I was prepared for the harsh reality of the subject matter but did not find the emotional relationships between characters that would have made this story captivating. Perhaps part of the problem was that I knew the ending? Regardless, I did finish it but was not engaged by it at all.

Have you read this? If so, what are your opinions? I'd love to read your feedback!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

World Autism Day


Emmy and our good friend Joseph

On this special day I want to ask you this......what does Autism look like to you? Does it look strange? Silent? Aggressive? Isolated? Loving? Kind? Inclusive? Talkative?

See the children in the pictures above? They each have a diagnosis of Autism....and yet none of them look the same do they?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month and as a Mom to two children who are diagnosed as being on the spectrum it is important to get the word out. The increase in children being diagnosed with autism is staggering. When Michael and Emmy were diagnosed, the ratio of children being diagnosed with autism was 1 in 150. Now just years later this number has changed. Throughout the month of April I will be posting on different issues related to autism that have affected our own family.
During the month of April, I would encourage everyone to become educated about autism-it WILL affect you in some way...if it hasn't already. Please do not fall prey to the myth that autism ='s the movie Rainman. And please do not succumb to the notion that autistic kids are misdiagnosed kids with behavioral problems whose parents don't/won't discipline them (this will get me fired up quicker than just about anything).

Please remember that time is brain! If you have any concerns about your own child or a child that you love seek help. Early intervention is key to your childs success. Start with your pediatrician or a trusted organization such as Easter Seals.
And most importantly, if you know someone with autism please reach out to them and their family. You will learn so much-you will be blessed. I have learned some of the most important life lessons from a special little guy, JT, who prepared me for my own journey with autism. Through his love I was able to see past a label that my own children received and I learned that a word does not encompass who we are inside.

The Envelope Challenge

Well we survived our first month of the envelope budget system-some areas were great and others...well not so much. Derek and I decided to reign in our spending in order to see how we are really spending our money. In order to do this I sat down and estimated our monthly spending in areas like groceries, gas, medical, and miscellaneous. After a budget meeting we decided to get cash out for groceries, gas, medical, miscellaneous spending (anything that didn't fit into a category), entertainment, and several other categories. We were pleasantly surprised at the end of the month!!! We actually had money left over in the grocery, gas, and entertainment envelopes-it's amazing how little you want to spend when it is cash!! Even the kids didn't want to burn through the entertainment money once they realized that once it was gone we were done. Our biggest expenditures for this past month were medical bills-yikes!!! We went over by almost $242 which was unexpected!!! And since we had to put Daisy to sleep that pushed our misc. over as well.

I am proud to share that we are now credit card debt FREE FREE FREE!!!! This month we are going to use the same system and continue to track what we are spending. It is exciting to see that we already have $100 saved towards a summer vacation and we have money saved for school clothes next fall. It is definately nice to see the debt gone and it is a wonderful life lesson for the kids to see-a working budget in action.

The kids are not the proud recipiants of a weekly allowance from which they tithe, save, and have spending money. I could write an entire post on the wonders of holding on to your own money while wanting to spend all of Moms!!!! Funny how nothing at Walmart looks as good when the expectation is in place to spend that allowance!! Peris is saving for a special new shirt with her short term savings and I will bet that this shirt won't be left wadded on the floor-it is good to see them learning as well.

So we're off to the bank so we can fill up our envelopes for this new month of April. Way to go Story family!!! I love it when we work together to make our family even better.