About Me

My photo
After being told I would never be able to have children, I am now a stay-at-home Mommy to Maddie who happens to have Down Syndrome. I've been married 16 years to my best friend, having the time of my life. Thanks for stopping by and sharing in our little journey through life.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Easter 2016

This year was the first year we did not go to my parents for Easter.  
Instead, we went to my sister's near Quartz Mountain.

 It's really beautiful there.  

My family has discovered gaga ball.
It's similar to dodgeball, except you can only hit legs/feet, and you cannot catch the ball.
Plus, you are also enclosed in a cage.

I'm terrible at it, but it's SO FUN!

 Kyle had some moves!

 But we're not as young as we once were!

 It was such a gorgeous weekend.  
The weather was perfect, the food was amazing, and spending time with my family is always rejuvenating!

I snuck a few pictures of my beautiful Mom against her wishes!

She is amazing. 
Her love is pure, true, an unconditional!
I'm a lucky, lucky girl.

And this happens a lot around my mom...lots of laughter and fun.

We did a glow-in-the-dark Easter egg hunt this year!
Lots of fun, I highly recommend it.
(See how here)

 I loved her Easter dress this year!  
You can't see it very well here, but it's Minnie Mouse!
She loved it.

 Easter baskets were a joy, and served double duty as hats.  

We did one more, traditional Easter egg hunt.

So fun, at any age!


Saturday, April 2, 2016

Homeschool Haven

I have to admit, I was really hesitant to begin homeschooling back in September.
I'm not the most structured person, and for some reason I have this crazy desire to sabotage routines no matter how beneficial they may be.

I figured this would not fit in well with the homeschool world. 
But, the wonderful thing about homeschooling is it can be a bit unstructured, and nobody says you have to do the same things every day!  

I am SO glad Maddie and I have taken on this adventure together.  
We are both better for it, and (thanks to Maddie) I have even seen the beauty of routines.

I did hit a few rough patches along the way though.
Trying to find our rhythm and our curriculum has been challenging.

I invested in a few different options only to be extremely disappointed when they haven't really worked for us.

A few weeks ago my sister and I drove to Fort Worth, TX for the Homeschool Convention.

I didn't want to make the same mistake and invest in more curriculum that wouldn't work for us, so I wrote out goals for Maddie that I wanted her to learn.
I wrote several goals for her in the areas of Language, Math, Character, Personal Care, Bible, Science, Fine Motor, and Gross Motor.
I prayed over all of these and set out to find curriculum that would fit these categories and Maddie's specific goals.
I was getting discouraged until I came upon the Homegrown Preschooler's booth (http://www.thehomegrownpreschooler.com/.)
I was drawn to it right away, but actually dismissed it because it seemed "too good to be true."

I went back and visited with the authors (Kathy Lee and Lesli Richards) and they seemed like good friends!
But when I read through the curriculum, I noticed one of the activities was teaching them to brush their teeth independently.
This was one of Maddie's specific goals I had written down!
As I looked through, it was as if they had taken Maddie's learning style and had handwritten it just for us.

I purchased the curriculum, and we did our first activity today, which was preparing a spot for Maddie's very own garden!
Now come on, doesn't that sound like too much fun to be homeschool?
We dug in the dirt and found a grub.
She learned a new vocabulary word and I talked to her about how some things like to live underground.
Then we found a worm.
She wasn't at all impressed,
until she began finding all kinds of "treasures" (sticks, rocks, snail shells, etc.)
We got an empty egg carton to contain the treasures.

She was so proud of her treasures!
As she would sift through the dirt, she would say, "I found something!"

As part of the curriculum, they make these homemade, sewn books.
We got out our first book to remember all of our wonderful treasures.
Aren't these the cutest things ever?!

Maddie got to work documenting everything.
We've covered nature/science, language, and now handwriting.
She happened to collect three snail shells, so we counted them and worked in some math.
 She's awfully proud of herself. :)
She's making it her own!
Call me crazy, but doesn't it look like she's trying to write "leaf?"

I love seeing her so engrossed and concentrating so hard.
Really, I could guess all the things she was learning through this simple, playful activity but there's no way to know all that was happening in that brain of hers.
All I know is, this is what learning looks like!

She struggled with the scotch tape (our method for attaching all of her treasures in her book), but she wanted to give it another go.
And the thing with tape,
is it's just so darn sticky...
and frustrating!
But, finally, she got it!

I am so excited to have found what seems like the perfect curriculum for us.
I had already decided to do school year-round throughout the summer, and now I can hardly wait!