Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Super Powers

Last week I wrote about B trying to cast a spell on himself to become a dog. After that B started researching how to get super powers.  He decided the Spider Man method was the way to go. He liked that Spider Man's DNA actually changed.

However, he wants to be a chameleon based super hero. He couldn't figure out how to get a radioactive chameleon to bite him a la Spider Man.  So, he decided that he should just find someone to infuse regular chameleon DNA with his DNA.  His great idea was for Cub's vet to infuse him.  He dictated this note to Ryan


He didn't want to limit the vet to chameleon so he drew 5 animals and asked the vet to put a check by the DNA he had handy.

Monday night at meet the teacher, he asked EVERYONE if super powers were allowed at school. I mean EVERYONE: both his teachers, his behavior specialist, the counselor, the assistant principal and the principal. He and the counselor agreed that he would need to contain his powers between the hours of 8-4.  He could use his powers at recess also.

He recruited a friend into the Legion of Lizards.  His friend will have geeko powers.  Some other friends are still thinking over his offer.  B asked me to take his friends to the vet for DNA.  I told him that's on their parents.

I haven't taken him to the vet to talk over the plan.  I feel like that needs a pre-discussion between me and the vet.  I wasn't sure how to handle his disappointment over the spell and I feel just as helpless on this one.  I don't want to dash his dreams or kill his creativity but how do I let him know that his plan is not going to work?  I have no idea but his ideas are awesome to think about in the meantime!    

Thursday, August 17, 2017

HS Football 2017

Last year we started a tradition of having Sam's 5 best friends and their families over for spaghetti before high school football started.  This year we weren't able to do it the night before football started because we were out of town.  But we did have it the Sunday before the 2nd week of practices started, so that's something.  We had all 5 families over and I made a ton of spaghetti.  We don't entertain as much as I would like so I relish the opportunity to serve friends.

Last year, I made the boys a poster of the lyrics from Fix My Eyes by For King & Country.  And I had decided on a verse from Nehemiah for this year.

 When God called Nehemiah back to Jerusalem to rebuild the city's wall, many people tried to stop the work.  But Nehemiah held strong.  When neighboring rulers plotted to kill Nehemiah they sent messengers to summons him.  Nehemiah's response is perfect...


The boys discovered this year that there are people, circumstances and situations that will try to distract them from their work and goals. I wanted the boys to know that they need to stay focused. Their work can not stop while they come down to the level of those who aren't working on those same goals.  I hope the verse will help remind them to keep working.

I managed to get through most of the telling of Nehemiah's story and my explanation of the verse without crying.  A big improvement from last year! One of the boys asked his mom, "Do you think Mrs. Bartis will cry this year?" So they were expecting it.

I love these boys so much. I'm so proud of the men they are becoming.  I'm in awe of their dedication to their goals.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dog Spells

This story is so unbelievable but, rest assured, this all happened.  This is a perfect glimpse of life with B-man.

When I got home from work Monday, I was tired.  I had a cold last week that I was mostly over but it had worn me down.  As soon as I got home, I laid down on the bed.  B approached...


B: momma, I did a spell on myself and tomorrow I might be a dog. Is that ok?

Me: no but I guess I can't do anything about it now
B: if it works it will just be for 1 day and it wouldn't keep me from going to Mrs Lori's.
Ryan: did you tell Mrs Lori you might be a dog tomorrow.
B: she said it's ok. I have to go to bed as the same time as Cub tonight. It's good dog luck.
Me: ok but we have to get up to take Zac and his friends to work out in the morning
B: Will you still let me ride in the car if I'm a dog? I'll still be your son in my heart.

We go to Sam's Club and all he can talk about is being a dog. In line...


B: can we say a prayer tonight about the whole dog thing? I really want to be a dog. It's a good scientific way to learn about dogs. I did have a bad day dream that it lasted more than a day. I think if it lasts more than a day, Presli will be able to cure me.  I think I will thoroughly enjoy being a dog.


At Sam's Club he wants to buy a dog bed.  I manage to put him off on that one.  But, for real, it's all he can talk about.  When we get in the car, he sings a song...




I do manage to use it to my advantage by convincing him that he needs to trim his toenails.  Dogs need short toenails.  He even goes to bed early in anticipation.  At bed time...


B: I don't think it's going to work
Me: me either buddy
B: I love you no matter what. No matter if I'm a dog or cat or bug I'll always love you
Me: I will love you no matter if you're a dog or a cat or a bug but I think God made you perfect just the way you are
B: do you think it's going to work
Me: no, I don't really believe in spells. God doesn't do spells
B: but he makes tornadoes with his will power
Me: that's his will power not ours
B: if god wanted to he could use his will to take away my instincts, especially grammar - that's the most important one language and replace them with dog instincts.
Me: just don't be mad at God if it doesn't work out
B: I wouldn't! I'll be mad at videos
Me: yep, you watch a lot of videos that aren't great


Before I got to bed, I check on him.  He's asleep in the floor because dogs have trouble getting down bunk ladders.  





You are seeing that correctly.  He's asleep on the floor with dog food and a dog toy beside him.  Also, under that blanket he's naked.  He didn't want to ruin his clothes during his transition.  


You know what's coming next...B did not wake up as a dog Tuesday morning.  He was not happy.


B: Well, I'm not a dog

Me: sorry Bubba. I think you're perfect the way you are. Sorry the people on the video lied to you
B: for real they just trolled me out of nowhere!

To him it was a personal afront that the video didn't work.  I tried to console him but he just wanted to be alone.  I couldn't blame him.  


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Information

Saturday morning, Ryan, B & I set out to run some errands.  I needed to go to Michael's Arts & Craft store and I knew I'd have to let B get something.  I told him he could spend $5.

He's been on a bit of a Halloween kick lately and, of course, Michael's already has Halloween stuff out.  After some back and forth, he picked out 2 small wooden caskets.  Excuse me, a vampire casket and a sarcophagus.  I have no idea what the difference is, I'm a little afraid to ask.

On our way to the next stop, the grocery store, B looked at the back of caskets and noticed they were $1.99 each.  "I still have a dollar left" he announced.  I said sort of but dropped it because I really didn't want to get into a discussion about taxes.

"I'm going to get cereal" B declared as we turned into the grocery store parking lot.

"I'm sorry. Try again" I said.

"I'm going to get cereal at the grocery store."

"Not quite.  Try again."

"I'm going to get cereal at the grocery store."

"That doesn't sound like a question."

"It's not. I'm giving you information. I have a dollar.  I'm buying cereal."

I sat with my mouth gaping open while Ryan giggled.  "Oh that is so you!" he said.  

I tried to recover and explain to B that cereal was more than a dollar.  But I couldn't.  He picked out some cereal.

All I could hear all day was "It's not. I'm giving you information."

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Oklahoma

Where the wind comes whippin' across the plains...

This has been an unusual summer.  Not bad at all, just different.  The big boys went to Broken Bow with my uncle.  I went to Galveston with my girlfriends.  Ryan and big boys went white water rafting in Colorado.  But we didn't get to do anything all together, including B.  Vacations are hard for B.  He wants to travel.  He wants to go places.  The actual getting places is hard for him.  Being away from home for several days is not easy.

My momma had the great idea to rent a cabin in Oklahoma.  We didn't want to go back to Broken Bow since the boys had been there earlier in the summer.  I remembered a commercial from my childhood for Arbuckle Wilderness, a drive through wildlife park.  Thanks to the Googles, I started looking in the Arbuckle area.  Long story short, we booked a cabin on a ranch close to Davis, Oklahoma.

We went to Turner Falls on Friday.  Turner Falls has a 77 foot waterfall and natural swimming areas.  It's beautiful.  The first area we swam in had diving boards and a slide. But the rocks were slippery and we didn't think to bring water shoes.  There was a lot of falling.  After an overpriced lunch, we went to the waterfall area.  Everyone was dry and not interested in more swimming.  Except for B who was trying to meet his goal of catching a fish with his bare hands in a ziploc baggie.  The waterfall and surrounding mountains are amazing.  There were people on top of the fall and in caves nearby.  I'm not very outdoorsy so I can't imagine hiking up there.

Our cabin was smack in the middle of no where and I loved it!  We went to a nearby town to get groceries at a local store, not a chain!

All day Saturday we just hung out at the cabin.  Ryan and the boys tried to fish but the pond was too low.  Momma and I hung out reading, coloring (me) and crocheting (her).  It was nice to not have to be some where.  We slept late.  We played games.  We fed the goats and llamas that live in the pasture beside the cabin.  We were goofy!

My favorite part, besides the general sitting around and resting, was the fire pit. Both nights Ryan built a fire and we hung out with the boys for a while.  We had good talks with the big boys.  We made s'mores.  The weather was nice, not too hot, a good breeze.


I can see us making this an annual tradition!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sit

Yesterday, in the midst of the craziness of our life, I got to sit. And it was good for my soul.

I sat with some teachers today and worked on an awesome unit. Working with teachers to create units is one of my favorite things to do.  I really feel like I'm helping the teachers and kids when we plan these units.

Then I went to visit my friend Kaycey.  We laid on the bed and talked.  It was so nice.  We didn't solve the world's problems, we just chit chatted.  Nothing heavy.  Just being together and loving on each other.

Finally, I skipped out on what I was "supposed" to do and went to get a mani/pedi.  I don't do that often enough.  And when I do I usually just get the pedicure.  It was nice to sit still and let someone else massage my hands and feet. I would like to tell you that I just sat there and relaxed but I didn't.  I listened to the end of an audiobook that was slightly stressful, the ending was distressing - not a happy ending.  I also texted with another friend on a variety of subjects both ridiculous and serious and that was not stressful.

I have trouble sitting for too long.  Most times when I get a pedicure I leave with a sore behind.  I think I'm trying so hard to sit still that I tense up.  Completely counterproductive.  I like to either move around or curl up in a chair to work.  I don't work well sitting "normally".  Right this minute my legs are pulled up under me and off to the side with the laptop balanced on top (think z sit).

Sitting still seems a lot like not doing anything.  I've written about it before.  Not doing anything feels lazy.  But sometimes we need to not do anything.  We have to rest.

This past weekend we rented a cabin in Oklahoma.  All day Saturday we did nothing but sit around together.  We played games.  We slept.  We ate.  The boys tried to fish.  I read and colored.  My momma crocheted.  It was so nice.

I'm thankful for the times I get to sit and be renewed.  I need to do it more often.  I need to sit with the Lord as well and let him renew me.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Practice

Last night B-man started talking to me about Halloween.  He'd watched something on YouTube and it got him thinking.

"We need to practice, Momma."

"Practice what, bud?"

"Halloween"

"Halloween is a ways away, buddy.  I don't think we need to practice."

"Yes, we need to walk all over the neighborhood to practice.  You can go in the car or on your feet."

I'd been at work all day then made it to the gym but I couldn't resist a walk with my little man.  Plus I knew he wouldn't walk far.

We had a lovely little walk.  He went further than I had anticipated.  We had a nice chat.  My favorite part was him telling a neighbor that he was practicing for trick or treat.  The guy played along and seemed amused.

Practicing is helpful for B in a number of situations.  It helps lower his anxiety in new situations.  We try to talk through things.  I answer his endless questions - sometimes patiently, others not so much.

We usually don't practice so far in advance though.  I don't usually tell him things very far in advance.  It helps with the millions of questions.  The less time he had to think about a new situation, the fewer questions.  It's a delicate balance: telling him far enough in advance to help him get comfortable but not tell him so far in advance that we have to answer a million questions.

On our walk, B said he'd like to practice three times a week until Halloween.  I could use some more exercise so I'll go along with it.  But he also said that he'd ask Mr. Tom to drive him around on the golf cart on Halloween night so I'm not sure how long practicing will last.




Thursday, August 3, 2017

Line in the Sand

Yesterday I wrote about my walk/run on the beach last Friday morning.  Besides the insight into my relationship with Kaycey, I had another insight during that walk/run.  I guess I should do it more often. I need it for weight control, stress relief and insights. Actually, I'm going to start next week. Mark my words!

As I'm huffing and puffing and looking at my feet, I notice a vertical line the entire width of the beach (it's a relatively narrow beach).  My first thought was that a momma drew that line after her kiddos wouldn't stop messing with each other. My imaginary momma drew the line and said "Do not cross this line! Stay on your own side! Be quiet! I'm trying to relax!"

That imaginary momma got me thinking about my line in the sand.  What are the thing or things I'm not willing to do? There are several moral and ethical things I wouldn't do.  I wouldn't get into that list.  What I started thinking about is my new job and the Breaking Busy book I read this summer.

I'm a little bit nervous about the scope of my new job.  I'm going to have a lot to do.  I'm way more excited about the possibilities of my new job than I'm nervous.

I've already had teachers email and text me to ask for help for the upcoming school year.  A few of them have said "I know you're going to be super busy but..."

That's my line in the sand - I do not want to be too busy to help my teachers.  I wouldn't be at everyone's drop everything beck and call but I will do what I can to help my teachers.  I want to help them understand that while my schedule is full, I still have time to help them.  It's my job to help them!

There will be bumps.  I'm moving some things off my plate that my teachers are used to me doing.  There will be a transition period while everyone learns what I'm doing and what others are doing now. I will have to be intentional about not taking on things outside the scope of my job.  I need to remember to stay in my own lane.

I will need to choose my words carefully.  I need to remember that all the things I have going on doesn't have a lot to do with the person in front of me.  The person in front of me needs my help and attention.  I owe it to them.

I will need to stay organized so I can pay attention to the person in front of me and not be worried about what else needs to be done.  I will have to be ok with things being undone when it's time to go home.  Helping my teachers must be more important than crossing things off my to do list.

 



Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Pusher

"Let's go for a run."

"No, I don't think so"

"We'll walk then run for 30 second for 2 miles."

"OK, I'll go."

And that is how I ended up going on a beach walk/run with my friends Rachel and Kaycey Friday morning.  They are both much more fit than me.  I was way out of my league.

We walked a while then did a couple of 30 second intervals.  Kaycey was in charge our intervals.  On the 3rd interval, we seemed to be running longer than 30 seconds.  I was struggling but I didn't want to look completely out of shape and awful.  Thankfully, Rachel spoke up.
Kaycey had let us run longer than 30 seconds.  She was trying to push us.

We weren't having it. We went back to 30 second intervals.

I decided to try hard and stop complaining.  As we ran, I thought about how thankful I am for Kaycey.  She's a pusher.

She's not pushy.  She's a pusher.

She works hard to be better.  She inspires me to do better.

She is generous and loving.  She inspires me to be more generous and loving.

Everyone needs a pusher in their life.  Some one who helps them move forward. Someone who believes in them and encourages them.  How can you push someone today?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Soul Food

This past weekend I did something that feeds my soul for much more than 3 days.  I went to the beach with my sorority sisters.  Although we have known each other for over 20 years, this is our 4th year to gather at the beach.  We are in contact through a group text throughout the year but nothing tops our 3 days together.

This year didn't go as planned.  Life stuck it's ugly nose into our sanctuary.  One of the girls had to leave early to tend to her son who had been in an accident (he's on the road to recovery).  It changed the tone of the weekend. We were worried for Rachel and her son. I know I was anxious about my own boys - they were on a rafting trip in Colorado at the same time.  Actually, these year I think we all had something to be anxious about.

Even with the emergency, I wouldn't trade our time together.  We are able to speak truth to one another.  Almost as importantly, we can receive truth from one another.  It's not easy to hear but we know it comes from a place of love.

We don't judge each other.  We have differing parenting styles and occupations and marital statuses.  None of that matters.  We ask questions and learn about our differences so we can understand each other better.

We bring way too much food and then we eat way too much food.  The food is an act of love.  Let me prepare my speciality for you.  Let me serve you.

We don't do much of anything.  We sit on the beach and hash out our problems.  We sit at the kitchen table and hash out our problems.  We watch movies.  This year we tried to learn to play hearts.  I am the most magnificent loser of hearts there every was!

We laugh.  We laugh about new things.  We laugh and remember old things.  There's a lot of "do you remember when...?"

It's hard to explain the importance of my time with these women.  They fill me up.  They love on me and send me back in to the world a better person.  I hope I do the same for them!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Back in the Saddle

For the past two days I've attended the Revolutionizing Learning Conference.  The RL conference is a partnership between TCEA (Texas Computer Educators Association), CSTA (Community Schools Transformation Alliance) and several local districts.  I hadn't been able to attend the past 2 years due to other commitments and it was nice to be back!

I loved learning from other educators! I was able to meet some librarians and get some tips and tricks. The keynote presentations each day were great.  I was so glad to finally get to see my friend Greg Garner keynote on day 2.  Super impressive! What I really loved it getting to see some people I haven't seen in a while! I was able to sit and talk to people instead of just passing in the hall and waving hello.  It was so relaxed.

I was also able to present on the first day of the RL Conference (also my birthday ;).  I really like getting to teach teachers!  I taught a session on Design Thinking.  Here's a link to my education blog if you'd like more info.  I was relived to see so many of my Sunnyvale friends in my session.  Sometimes it's no bueno when your friends are in your session.  But my friends rock! They participated and encouraged me.  I think they even learned a thing or two!

Two or three years ago I was doing a lot of presenting at educational technology conferences.  I've pulled back as I tried to sharpen my focus and figure out what I was doing.  I realized yesterday how much I've missing connecting and sharing with other educators.  I don't know that I'll really start focusing on presenting more.  It used to be my primary goal. I wanted to present at as many places as possible.  I'm don't know that that's what's best for my family.  But I will try to share and present more.  I really love it.

I appreciate the hard work of all those involved in organizing the RL Conference.  It was really well done.  First class all the way! Thank you for the opportunity to get back in the saddle!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The World's Largest Fidget Spinner and My Worries

B-man is 2 things - creative and entrepreneurial.  These are excellent traits.  I really love his creativity.  In theory, I love the entrepreneurial spirit too.  In reality, not so much.

His entrepreneurial spirit and creativity usually means that he wants to make something then go out to our mailbox and try to sell it to passersby.  Often times he stands out there and nothing happens. Sometimes I'll feel sorry for him and post something on Facebook.  This usually gets a friend or two over to buy something for far too much money.

Monday he kept himself busy for a while making the World's Largest Fidget Spinner.  3, actually.  Then announced that he was going outside.  It's Texas in July so he didn't stay out too long.  I was working on a presentation for work so I wasn't paying too much attention.  The next thing I know, he goes out and comes in with a dollar bill.

"Where did that come from!?!"

"Someone bought one of my spinners."

"Who?"

"I don't know"

"Not someone we know?" I start naming our friends in the neighborhood.  Nope, he has no idea.

I have a mini internal freakout and tell him he can't go out again.  None of my friends text to tell me they saw him and bought a spinner.  Later that night, Ryan talks to him about stranger danger.  I have another mini internal freakout.

B-man is super social.  A doctor once told me that he was too social to be autistic.  We all know he's social until he can't be anymore.  And that's not a super long time.  He has no stranger danger.

Let me repeat that - no stranger danger.  He will walk up to anyone and say just about anything.  Like "I like your baby" to random moms with strollers.

This is a real worry for me.  Our town was considering a 24/7 gas station behind our neighborhood. I emailed our town council to oppose it for just this reason.  My kid will walk up to any car and try to sell them whatever he's made.

I can't let my guard down.  I let it down Monday while I was busy working and he not only talked to someone but got close enough to accept a dollar from them.  I still may puke thinking about it.

So, I'll take the creativity all day long.  The entrepreneurial, I'd like to put a hold on.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Breaking Busy

The subtitle of this book is How to Find Peace & Purpose in a World of Crazy.  Since I live smack dab in the middle of a world of crazy, I'm all in!

There's so much good stuff in this book.  I could write for hours about the virtues of this book.  I wouldn't because I really want you to buy this book.

My favorite little gem is actually in the Epilogue:
I want to be sure we never confuse a busy life with a full life. To me, a busy life is frazzled, harried, lived at a pace I'm not meant to live, doing things I'm not meant to do. A busy life is a life the Enemy has created in order to keep me from God's purpose. A full life, on the other hand, is a life lived in a step with what God has called me to do.

This spoke to me because I like to do stuff.  I like to do meaningful stuff.  I want to do meaningful things that make me happy and positively impacts others.  

This book pairs well with Frank Bealer's The Myth of Balance.  Both focus on doing your best in the way that's best for you.

Alli Worthington walks us through her own journey. She is open and honest.  Each chapter ends with action steps to help you digest what you've read.  She helps us with capacity, relationships, calling, editing, thoughts, traditions, time, decisions, communication and worth.

My two favorite chapters are the ones on editing and worrying.  Editing is all about picking and choosing, clearing out space for the good stuff.  Alli talks about proactive edits (on purpose) vs reactive edits (due to disaster).  At school, I try to practice "addition by subtraction" where I ask teachers to give me time in order to get time later.  I'm not sure why I haven't carried this over into all areas of my life.  I need to stop and think about the things I'm doing now, figure out what I need to keep doing and what I need to stop doing.

Alli really drives home an important point in the chapter on worrying:
The more we worry, give in to fear, or think negatively about ourselves, the busier we get.  We are driven to do more, be more, and prevent whatever it is we are worried about. 
Ummm, wow!  How many times have I sat up in bed at 2 am worried about something that then led to getting up and working furiously on that thing!?! What I really love about Alli's advice is that it's Biblical. She refers us back to Bible verses to help us control our thoughts.

I so appreciate this book! Alli's honesty and Biblical approach makes the book perfectly accessible.  I hope you'll take the time to read this book.  You'll be better for it, promise!


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Raising A Good Kid

Two of my boys are teenagers, I worry about them making good choices every day. I've been thinking a lot about how to raise a good kid lately.

Honestly, I don't have any idea. We're winging it for sure!  And I know that just because my boys have made good choices in the past doesn't guarantee they will continue to make good choices. Even writing this post makes me nervous, I don't want to presume that I know what I'm doing or that my boys are angels.  They aren't.  None of us are.

16 years in education has also lead to these thoughts. I've met lots of great kids and their parents.  Many of the great parents have these 3 things in common as well.

Here's what I've been thinking...

1. Talk about your walk with Christ - Exposing them to church is awesome but you really multiple that impact when you talk to your kids about your walk with Christ.  We talk about what we're praying about.  When we all rode to school together we'd listen to a Bible Study podcast on the way.    Whatever you decide to do, just jump in. Make sure your kids know that Jesus loves them and has a plan for them.  Make sure they know God and Jesus aren't just for Sundays at church. Kids need to know right from wrong.  They need to believe in something greater than themselves.

2. Make them do things they don't want to do - this one can be fun.  Torturing your children for fun! You know the drill - make them eat their vegetables, clean their room, stuff like that.  It can also be things like a 'no headphones in the car' rule.  This year we had to make Zac do a couple of things he didn't want to do but he ended up loving it.  Going to the middle school dance and cheering at Powder Puff game specifically.  You can also gang up with your mom friends to make entire groups of children miserable. ;)

3. Help them do the things they really want to do - I guess the first step here are to help them set goals.  We ask the boys to set grade goals each year.  Then when they are slacking off during the year, we remind them of their goals and help them get on track.  The older boys also have athletic goals that we try to help them meet.  Sometimes this goal seeps into #2 because we make them things do things they don't want to do in service of the goals they've set.

There are a lot of other things that go into raising good kids.  These 3 have just been on my mind lately.  What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Rewarding or Bribing

Last week I needed to work in the library each morning.  There is so much to do that I could have worked all day in the library but I had tons to do in other areas too.  The older boys have workout in the mornings so I needed to take B with me.  About an  hour would be easy peasy for B but 3- 4 hours would be a struggle.

A couple of weeks ago, B asked me for a new video game.  Thankfully, it was a cheaper one.  Most of them are $40-50. This one was 'only' $20.  But still I didn't want to just go buy it because he wanted it right then.  I usually try to delay him because he goes from thing to thing quickly.  But if he stays on something, I'll usually find a way.  I ignore lots of first requests.  He also wasn't too keen on earning the money working around the house.

When I worked in Mesquite ISD, I was training on a system called Love and Logic.  It's an awesome system for discipline management.  The hallmark of the system is giving kids choices.  Another is that if you offer something before bad behavior it's a reward.  If you offer something to get bad behavior to stop, it's a bribe.

B balked at the idea of going to work last week, I decided to have him 'earn' his video game by not complaining about going to work with me.  I knew I couldn't pay someone to watch him for $20 so I figured it was a bargain.

B doesn't wear many shirts in the summer
B did struggle at times last week.  But he would take a breath and remind himself of his goal.  Every day he asked me how many days he had left.  On the last day he asked me when we would go to the store.  He was super excited to get his new game.  He felt proud that he had earned it!

And I didn't feel like I had to bribe him!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

B-isms

I'm at preteen camp this week.  Thank you for your prayers ;).  I'm writing these before I leave and they'll automatically post.  Enjoy!

B-man is funny dude.  Today I want to share some of his recent great lines.  Outside our family, I've just used initials.

To one of Zac's friends:
L, you're pretty awesome.  Behind God of course.  He's number one in my life.  He should be number one in everyone's life.

To me after I told him he could do chores to earn money for a new video game:
Ummmm, I don't really do chores.

To me:
You saw a mirage.  I've seen a mirage before.  Like when I thought the neighbor's car was in the garage but it wasn't.  A mirage.

To my nephew at noon on the day his family is moving into a new house.  There's no furniture in the house yet, just boxes:
I like your new house T.  It's great but it needs some decorative pillows.

To our neighbors on their teenage son:
B: Mr. T, ummm is C old enough for a girl?
T: you mean a girlfriend?
B: yeah, that special someone?
Mr T's wife: B, have you decided who C's special someone should be?
B: it has to be someone who will help him live out a righteous life

To Zac after he dyed his hair platinum blonde for baseball:
Everyone is going to fall in love with you when they see your hair. Well, the womens will.

To a friend of mine after she served him baked ziti:
Sometimes you have to taste with your heart, not just your tongue.

To me while we're looking for his glasses, again:
Can you just keep up with them from now on?

To me after I asked him if he flushed and washed his hands after the bathroom:
Why do you keep informing me of this!?!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Amplified Leadership

I'm going to be honest.  I'm not a fan of this book.  Not enough to stop reading it.  I did finish the book but I'm not a fan.  I read with a pink highlighter/post-it flag in my hand.  My books are highlighted and flagged within an inch of their lives.  This book only has one flag and less that 50 highlights.

Most of my highlights are at the start of the book.  Maybe this means that I'm just not ready for the later stages.  I'm willing to concede that so I'll put the book on the shelf and see what tomorrow brings. Amplified Leadership starts with the idea that if you don't like people, you probably aren't cut out for leadership.  I joked with a friend that it's all down hill from here since I'm not always a people fan.  (It really was a joke.  I do love to serve people but I am an introvert. I need time away.)

I have never published a book (bucket list).  I can't image the hard work and dedication it took to write this book, or any book.  So, to that end, I don't want to bash the book.  It's not poorly written, it's just not for me.

I want to share the part I flagged.  When I get nervous, I just keep talking.  Actually, I don't have to be that nervous, I just get carried away sometimes.  Then after I walk away I realize I should have asked more questions and let the other person talk more.  In the chapter entitled, Connect at the Heart, Dan Reiland shares 4 reasons you should tell a story about yourself.  The point is to help you determine your motives.  Are you sharing to get attention or as a form of therapy?  This is not talking about when you're hanging out with your friends, it's talking about in a leadership or mentoring situation. Here are the four reasons for talking about yourself:

  • To instruct
  • To entertain (my personal favorite)
  • To inspire 
  • To encourage 
I actually love all those reasons.  They are four of my favorite things to do.  I hope that my writing here does one of these four things.  

I do not regret reading Amplified Leadership.  I was reminded of several wonderful principles.  The focus is on relationships.  And I always need reminders to slow down, push pause on the to do list and focus on someone else.  

If you need a framework for mentoring someone, this is the book for you.  I feel certain I'll use the principles in the future.



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

On Creativity

Even if you're new here, you can see B's creativity in action.  I hadn't thought much about it.  He has ideas, I want him to keep having ideas, I try to facilitate these ideas.  Also, he can be very persistent about his latest interest.  Thank you, autism! The dude is always creating!

Many of you know that I am an educator.  This coming school year will be my 17th year to teach.  My first teaching job was to teach technology applications and a GT pull out program.  I think I got the job because I'd taken a Creative Thinking class as one of my Master's out of program electives.  At that job, I was super focused on getting my GT kids to thinking creatively and differently.  That did not bleed over to my tech classes.

I've also taught 5th grade in large, urban district.  We were self contained, meaning that I taught all the kids all the subjects.  That job was pure survival, keeping my head above water.  My kids needed lots of things.  It never occurred to me that they needed creative time, I'm sad to say.

As I evolved as an educator, I worked to incorporate more and more creative time. It wasn't always easy and I wasn't always great at it. But I tried.

Tuesday morning my awesome friend, Rafranz Davis posted a blog titled: The Inaccessibility of Making, Tinkering & Coding.  Go read it, I'll wait.

As I read Rafranz's post, I began to think about B-man and his creative pursuits.  He's privileged to have parents who get it and can provide supplies and experiences.  He's privileged to go to a school that values creativity and can afford to provide opportunities and ideas.

Here are a few of things I've purchased for B's ideas this summer:



I'm happy to buy all this.  I'm blessed to have the means to do so.  But Rafranz's post really got me thinking about other kids.  What about kids whose parents can afford to buy whatever their creative little minds dream up?  What about kids who go to school obsessively focused on 'the test'?

As a momma, I'll continue to provide what I can for B.
As an educator, I'll continue to provide what I can for my students.
As teacher support person (not sure how else to frame my new role), I'll encourage teachers to take risks and provide opportunities for kids.
As a writer, I'll try to bring awareness to other educators so they can provide opportunities for kids.

This is an unsatisfactory ending.  "Encourage" and "Bring awareness" may or may not help any kids get time and supplies to be creative.  What else can we do?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Chocolate Things

Last week, I got this text message from my neighbor and friend Lori.  Actually, it went to our friend's group message.

I'm not sure how this whole thing got started but it was well under way.  Saturday morning B woke me up at 7:45 am, "Momma, let's go to the grocery store".  I made him wait until 8 am but then off we went.  

We got everything on his original list plus caramel.  The store didn't have candy molds so I talked him into cupcake liners.  He chose everything himself and even scanned everything to check out.  


Once at home, I took care of melting the chocolate and writing the flavor on the bottom of the cupcake liners.  B scooped chocolate and filling into each liner.  We had to work on the scoop.  I didn't realize what a fine motor skill that was!  He struggled with how to hold it (just as he does scissors) and tended to move too quickly from the melted chocolate to the liners.  We ended up with a mess on the island but I let him work and cleaned up later.  I wanted to give him a chance to work it out.  


The hardest part for B was waiting for the batches to cool/harden in the fridge before he could start another batch.  I used the time to clean but he watched YouTube and checked his creations.  He hung in there until the last batch, the marshmallows.  After I melted the chocolate and he began scooping, he asked if I could finish them.  I was surprised he lasted as long as he did given how much down time there was.  

He had 3 families he wanted to give chocolates to.  I found some baggies he could use for packaging.  He decided to name his creations Chocolate Things.  He made logos and taped them to each of the bags.  He's ready for delivery! 



I went next door with him to deliver to Lori and her family. It was so cute to hear him tell them about the four flavors.  Lori cut them into pieces.  Here's the caramel one.  


B received rave reviews from everyone who tried his Chocolate Things.  They were pretty good!  I am super proud that he came up with the idea, planned his grocery list, shopped, created (almost everything) and delivered everything.  All with a bunch of down time in between.  That's huge for him!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Baseball 2017, Done

On Tuesday, the 2017 baseball season officially ended for the Bartis boys.

Sam's season wrapped up in May when his high school JV team finished up their season.  Sam hadn't played baseball in a few years so it was fun to see him back on the field.

Zac's season wrapped up in San Antonio in the semi-finals of a tournament.  As I wrote yesterday, Zac's team isn't select.  They played several local tournaments but we only traveled to two out of town tournaments.  The first one was in College Station and the last day was rained out.  The second one was this past weekend in Austin and San Antonio.

The tournament itself was a bit of a hot mess.  We had to go between Austin and San Antonio.  The fields weren't great.  The boys won their first two games on the first day but then didn't win the next four games on the next two days.

Tuesday was a different story.  They looked great in the first game.  The second game was a nail biter.  They played hard but lost.  But honestly, I was so proud of them.  It was a hard way to end the season but being blown out would have been worse.

This season was not always easy for Zac.  He struggled at the plate.  He put in extra work. Sometimes it showed, other times he still struggled.  My favorite thing he did this year was bunt.  The kid is so fast that he can bunt a dribbler just past home plate and beat it out to get on first base.  It was amazing.  The other team always looked shocked.

Zac also worked hard to learn a new position this season - pitcher.  I was not in favor of this move, I'll be honest.  Baseball is a unique in that it is a team sport but it is also HIGHLY individualized.  That pitcher is out there all alone.  The defense can't help him if he can't get the batter to swing.  It's gut wrenching to watch your kid out there struggling.

Zac got to pitch in this tournament and looked really good.  Until he didn't.  It was progress.  And I was able to watch most of his outing.  Progress for both of us.

I love watching the boys play baseball. But I'm super excited that it's time for my favorite sport - it's officially football season now!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Real

This past weekend we were in Austin and San Antonio with Zac's baseball team.  Zac's team is not a select team.  The boys all go to school with each other.  They are friends who hang together off the field.  They also play football and basketball together as well as run track.  All that to say, we aren't a travel team. This spring we played a couple of tournaments a month around Dallas.  In June we traveled to College Station for a tournament.  I plan to write more about the baseball tomorrow.

I love to travel with the boys' teams.  We don't do it a lot so it's novel.  But I really love it because of the families that travel with us.  They are real.

We are a rare group of parents, in my humble opinion.  We're all harder on our own kid than the other kids.  When one of us gets on our own kid, another parent chimes "You got this kid.  Come on now.  You can do it".

My boys have been on teams where this was not the case.  I've seen some ugliness at baseball games from parents.  A parent on one of Sam's team regularly complained about Sam within my earshot with no apologies.  So, I appreciate that I'm harder on Zac than anyone else.  I love that we build the boys up to each other.

But what I really love is our on going "my kid's an idiot" game.  It's almost like a contest now.  Who's kid did the dumbest thing today?  I love a good story.  I love to hear them and I love to tell them.  So these little sessions make me super happy.

What makes this all work is that the kids are great kids.  They screw up.  We all do.  But by and large they make good choices, get good grades and are respectful.

It makes me feel not so alone.  It reminds me that we're all in this together.  Everyone's kid's an idiot and good kid all at once.  We'll all get through these teenage years together.  We'll have fun.  There are other people who will love my kid and hold him accountable.  We are not alone.  Because we made the choice to be real.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Balloon Creations

YouTube strikes again!  Out of no where last week, B asked me to get balloons "so I can make balloon creations".  What?  "You know like balloon animals."

I happen to find a little kit at the grocery store.  It had balloons, a pump and a little instruction book.  Of course, the book was not necessary because B had YouTube.  

His first attempts were frustrating.  He couldn't pump up the balloon.  I became the official pumper and tie-er.  The frustration continued when he tried to make his first animal.  I was sure this would not last long.  But, low and behold, B created a heart - his first balloon creation. 


Then we went to my sister in law's house and B took his balloons. He and my niece figured it out and they were balloon creation creating fools!  They were pumping them out fast!  I was helping my sister in law get ready to open her new boutique.  B decided that the boutique needed balloon creations.  No buddy, that's not the kind of thing the boutique is going to sell. 

Wednesday morning, on her way to set up her boutique's booth, my sister in law called with a business proposal for B.  She would take 5 balloon creations to sell in the booth.  If those sold, next month she would take 10.  She told B to make 5 of the best creations that he knew how to make, price them, tag them and send them with me Thursday morning for the boutique's grand opening.  He was so excited and readily agreed!

The day was full of ups and downs.  B had not heard "best creations that you know how to make"  he had heard "best creations".  He took to YouTube to try to learn to make some super deluxe balloon creations.  He grew more and more frustrated.  "Call Aunt Laura and tell her I can't do it."  

Here's where the rubber meets the road.  I could have given in.  I could have texted Laura.  But instead, I ignored him for a while.  Then I tried to talk to him about the difference between the best and the best he knew how to make.  He'd rally and begin working again.  Then become frustrated and want to quit again.  Finally, I told him "You made this deal with Aunt Laura.  If you can't keep your word, you'll have to call her and tell her yourself."  This is not something he was willing to do so he pressed on.  

In the end, he made a couple of new creations and sent some creations he and my niece had already made.  We put price tags on them and sent them to Aunt Laura.  

True to her word, she put them in the boutique.  And they sold!  B was so excited!  

When I got home Thursday night, I gave him the money he had earned.  We talked about how many creations his cousin had made.  He decided how much the money she had earned.  We put it in an envelope and he asked me to write her a note that he signed "We did a good thing!"

Yes they did!  So did my sister in law.  And once again, God reminds me that we are not meant to live life alone.  We are meant to live together in community.  To lift each other up.  I am so thankful for my sister in law who always remembers this and encourages both B and I .  I am thankful for our community that support our family!



Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Style Loft

Today a dream comes true!  Two of my best friends are opening a boutique today.  The Style Loft!


A few months ago, my sister in law Laura texted me to ask if I could help her and our friend Andrea with a website.  They were starting an online boutique and would need some technical assistance.  Of course, I'd help!

As I've helped, I've had the privilege of watching their dream take shape.  They both have impeccable taste and it's reflected in every aspect of The Style Loft - the logo, the clothes and jewelry they've selected, their booth at Canton.
 
The clothes are so cute and extremely stylish. They carry Umgee and 12pm by Mon Ami, 2 brands that I love! They have shirts, pants, rompers, dresses and jeans available online.  At Canton they'll also have shoes, jewelry, home decor and accessories.  

The Style Loft is an online woman's clothing boutique.  You can shop online at www.TSLboutique.com TSL will also be at First Monday Trade Days in Canton.  At Canton TSL will be in Pavilion 3, Booths 33 & 34.

Laura and Andrea have worked so hard to get every detail perfect. I could not be more proud of them. I can't wait for you to see their boutique!  Check out the website: www.TSLboutique.com

You can also follow them on social media:
Twitter: @TSLboutique
Instagram: @TSLboutique
Facebook: fb.me/TSLboutiqueTX
Pinterest: TSLboutiqueTX


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A New Thing

I've been an educator my entire life.  I grew up 'teaching' the neighborhood kids on a giant chalkboard at our babysitter's house.  As an adult, I've only had 1 job NOT at an educational institution. Even then, I was in training so I was still educating.

A few years ago, I experienced a career set back and it was devastating at the time.  Looking back though, I can see God's provision and blessings.  I would not have sought after God the way I have in the past 4 years.  I would not have been begging God to speak to me and direct me.  And I would not have been in a position to listen and obey.  I had to come to the end of me to receive what God had for me.

One of the major thing that I obeyed God on was starting a special needs ministry at our church. That was an easy yes. There was a need and everything feel into place. Valuable has been such a blessing to me! I've met, served, and served with some wonderful people.  I've gotten to be a part of the KidsMin staff and I absolutely treasure that!

Another thing I obeyed God about was staying in my full time job at Sunnyvale Middle School. This one was always as easy as starting Valuable.  God and I struggled over this one.  I questioned Him - a lot! But He provided me the strength to stay faithful.

I love my job at SMS, that wasn't the problem.  I just questioned if I was supposed to stay in education or move into full time ministry.  I guess that's where the struggle was, I didn't know what I was going to do next.  I had to trust that God had a plan and that His timing would be perfect.

And He didn't disappoint!

In April I was at the Orange Conference with the cLife KidsMin team.  During one of the large group sessions, I felt God stirring in my heart.  I, of course, answered with a question: "God, are you really calling me to stay in education full time, special needs ministry and writing all at once? Surely not!" I began praying and God continued to move.

Monday I signed a new contract at Sunnyvale ISD to become the Learning & Innovation Specialist.  It's a brand new role.  I'm going to be over the Middle School library.  I've been a certified librarian for 5 years and I'm so excited to use those skills to get kids into the library and reading more.  I'll also be helping both the Middle School and High School teachers with innovative teaching strategies.  This will mean a wide variety of things but will include integrating technology into the classroom and our form of problem based learning we called ELUs (engaged learning units).

I am over the moon excited about this new opportunity!  I feel like I'm going to get to use all my talents and serve more teachers and students.  I'm so thankful that our Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent are creative thinkers willing to try something new.  I'm also pretty thankful they are letting me be the one to do it!

I'm also a bit nervous.  I'm giving up some job duties I've had for the 8 years I've been at Sunnyvale.  I'm nervous about working on two campuses.  I still get to teach an elective course at the end of the day.  I'm happy and nervous about that.  I want to do an outstanding job at all the things! When I expressed my nervousness to my Superintendent, Mr. Williams, he gave me some awesome words of wisdom: "You're doing something new, you're supposed to be nervous."

So, I guess I'm right on track!



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ruth

I'm a fan of Proverbs 31 Ministries.  Their devotionals almost always connect with me.  A while back, they launched an app called First Five.  The idea of the app is to help you spend your first five minutes of the day with God.  When the app launched I was not great at getting up for my devotionals.  First Five really helped me get into a groove. From there I began reading and studying God's Word on my own.  I got into a routine of getting up early, studying, writing then heading back to bed for a little cat nap.

In the spring I got so tired.  I could not sleep enough.  I would get up, write then go back to bed.  This went on for a few months.

In the past few weeks, I've been getting up, getting breakfast and listening to the NPR news podcast Up First.  God really began to convict me that I was not spending time in His Word.  I certainly wasn't giving Him my first five minutes.

I decided to get back into the First Five app.  They had a new study starting on June 26th so I ordered the experience guide.  I didn't even check to see what the study was about.

I started the study yesterday and I was not disappointed.  The study is called Covenant.  It's a study of Ruth, Esther and Song of Solomon.


We had these verses from Ruth read at our wedding.  But this morning I learned that Ruth was a Moabite.  Her husband should not have married her.  They did not believe in the same God.  So when Ruth tells Naomi "your God will be my God." it was a big deal!  Ruth was choosing not only to stay with Naomi but to follow the one true God of Israel.

As I child I decided to follow the one true God.  Since that time, my salvation has never been in question.  However, my relationship with God is not always as close as it could and should be.  I'm so thankful that God loves me enough to convict me when I stray away.  I love how the Bible is timeless, there's something to learn at every turn.





Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tale of 2 Celebrations

Through a strange series of events, B ended up with 2 birthday celebrations with friends.  And by strange I mean, my poor planning.  Anywhooo...

I felt very strange about the whole thing.  2 celebrations felt over the top. But, as things often do, everything turned out for the best.  

B had one Pokemon themed celebration with 3 of his friends from school at our house.  They hunted for Pokeballs in the front yard ala Easter Egg hunt. They hunted, ate cake, opened presents then just played.  It was low stress for everyone.  

His second celebration was at Sweet Frogs with some other friends who had been out of town.  This too was perfect for B as well.  He and his friends got to create their frozen yogurt concoctions, laughed and ate.  And cracked me up! 

Now that it's over, I'm so glad we did it this way.  B was able to handle both celebrations with no meltdowns.  He was able to pay attention to his friends at each celebration.  No one got lost in a crowd.  He wasn't overwhelmed in either instance.  

I am so thankful for the friends that B has and that they were able to celebrate with him.  As a parent, you're worried that your kids wouldn't have friends.  When you're kid has autism that makes socializing difficult, that concern grows. B's friends are so sweet to him and understanding when he gets overwhelmed.  That's a gift to all of us.  

Sometimes what seems strange at first works out better than you could have imagined. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Visoneering

In May I shared my TBR (to be read) pile with you.  The first book in my pile was The Myth of Balance.  Next up is Visoneering by Andy Stanley.

Andy Stanley is a pastor in Atlanta, Georgia.  He founded North Pointe Ministries in 1995 and it has grown to 6 churchs in the Atlanta area and 30 networked churches around the globe.  At least that's what the back of the book says ;).  I first encountered Andy Stanley at the Orange Conference last year.  He's a very relatable speaker.  At this year's Orange Confernce, the book store had a revised and updated edition of Visioneering and I grabbed it.

In Visioneering, Andy goes through 20 building blocks for Visoneering.  Every building block is discussed against the backdrop of the story of Nehemiah from the Old Testament.  God gave Nehemiah a vision for rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.

Visioneering is a wonderful book.  It is full of so much Biblical wisdom.  I like to highlight my books and this one is full of pink highlights!  As I read I could relate and apply things to visions God has given me in my own life.

I wouldn't go through the entire book, although I could.  I could write a super in depth review but this is such a deeply personal book that you need to read it for yourself  My applications and insights wouldn't be the same as yours. God has not given us the same vision.

My favorite chapter is near the end of the book.  It's called The Inexplicable Life.

As we slosh through the brick and mortar phase of pursuing our vision, we are to live lives that reflect the character of Christ.  We are to conduct ourselves in such a way that causes people to take notice.  And upon further examination, to draw the conculusion that there is someting devine about our lives.  In short, we are to live inexplicable lives.  (pg. 223)

Above and beyond the achievements associated with your vision, he wants to draw people to himself.  (pg 223)  

The truth is, our secular pursuits have more kingdom potential than our religious ones.  For it is in the realm of our secular pursuits that secular people are watching.  (pg. 224) 

Stanley goes on to talk about 3 things that make us stand out.  The first is peace.  So many people are not at peace with themselves or others.  When we maintain our joy and peace, we differeniate ourselves.  The next is healthy relationships.  Don't let your goals get in the way of people.  Take care of your spouse, your children and those closest to you.  The final thing that will make us stand out is our character.  We can not sacrifice our characters for our vision or goals.  When we compromise our character we take God out of our vision.

I can not tell you how this chapter spoke to me! I get so caught up in the kingdom applicaitons of what I'm doing at church.  I forget that my work at school and at home also have kingdom applications. I want to stand out.  I want my life to point people to God. Everything we do, every success we have is so that God can shine through us.

These are things I need to remember as I go about my day.  I am called to live an inexplicable life.  And so are you!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Promises

B man turned 9 this past weekend.  My boys' birthdays always make me think about how far we've come and where we're headed.  But B's birthday makes me especially introspective.  He's gone from being sickly and failure to thrive to a healthy boy.  He's gone from 3 words (the doctor wouldn't let me count daddy and dada as 2 words) to more complex vocabulary than many college graduates.  He's able to tell us when he needs help at least 75% of the time now instead of a complete meltdown.  I could go on and on.

So, I want to share with y'all some promises I've made to B-man for his 9th year.

I promise to find the sweet spot between pushing you and overwhelming you.

I promise to encourage your interests, no matter how foreign they are to me.

I promise to do everything I can to set you up for success.

I promise to balance your needs with the needs of The Bigs.

I promise to take your concerns seriously.

I promise to help you face your fears.

I promise I will do everything I can to help people understand you.

I promise I will keep telling you that you are AU-some and that Autism makes you awesome.

I promise to do everything within my power to help you understand that you were created in God's own image and that He loves you just the way you are.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

RIOT!

This week has been RIOT week at church.  RIOT is our version of VBS - on steroids! Today is actually the last day!

B has tried RIOT in the past and had some trouble but I knew he was up for it this year.  We also had a couple other of our Valuable Special Needs ministry kiddos there so I was pumped! Each day consists of a high energy opening session, Bible study, Impact (missions), Rec/Snack sessions and a high energy closing session.

On Monday B put on his noise cancelling headphones and went into the opening session.  He was good for a bit but became overwhelmed.  He went to our Valuable room and hid in the tent. I convinced him to come out for the Impact session but that was short lived as well. I decided not to fight him.  He stayed in the tent while I checked on the other kids.

Tuesday morning as soon as he got up he said, "I don't think I'm ready for RIOT".  But I had a plan.  How about if we skip the opening and closing sessions and just do the Impact, Bible Study and Rec/Snack sessions.  He said he'd try.

He did awesome!! He participated in the Impact session and love it.  He wasn't so sure about Rec but went outside anyway and made it all the way through!  I was so proud of him!

Wednesday was super hero day at RIOT.  I tried to get B to wear a Flash shirt but he wasn't having it.  He was going as a super villain - Pumpkula (pumpkin + Dracula).  A villain he made up himself, he even created a mask! He dressed himself in orange and green (pumpkin style) and off we went.

As soon as we walked in the door, he was looking for Ms. Laci, our children's minister.  While he looked he talked to anyone who would listen about Pumpkula.

His super villain powers are shooting poisonous carrots.
His nemesis is Apple Man who shoots apples from a gun or cannon.
Pumpkula has super salad powers.

B even let some kids try on the mask.  Pumpkula was a big hit!

B wore his mask to Impact and participated with it on!  He needed a break afterwards so we took a 10 minute break before Bible Study.  He struggled with Rec when he couldn't catch a water balloon in a kitchen colander.

But on the whole, I'm super proud of B.  He faced some challenges this week and did well.  He was able to share his creation with others.  And he learned a thing or two about Jesus.  I'm a happy momma!





Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Summer of Yes!

At the end of May, I wrote about telling B-man "No" all the time and telling him yes when it costs very little.  At the end of that post, I mentioned that one of the reasons I like summer is that I tell B "Yes" more often.    Today I want to update you on the things I've said yes to so far this summer.


  • Sweet Frogs for dinner
  • Sleeping in a cabinet at a hotel
  • Building a house for the hermit crab 
  • Putting the hermit crab in the house
  • Taking over the TV by casting his YouTube videos from his iPad
  • A new lamp from IKEA for his stop motion videos
  • Movies at bedtime


And my favorite...

Asking a Lowe's employee about monsters!

A little explanation here...

B-man has rediscovered Scooby Doo.  He's super interested in the monsters they catch.  He wants to catch monsters himself.  So, he did what ya do.  He Googled "Where do monsters hang out?"  Turns out that monsters like to hang out at hardware stores.  Ryan, B and I went to Lowe's to look at paint samples.  Every time we passed an employee he'd say, "Excuse me" but Ryan and I would shut him down quickly.

On our way out the door, an employee smiled at B and said have a nice day.  Ryan could tell that B really wanted to talk to her.  So, we went back in.

"Excuse me. Have you noticed anything strange going on around here?  Like any monsters?"

The employee looked a little confused, "No, I don't think so" I tried to help her out "You know, like Scooby Doo kind of monsters.  This seemed to help.  Her face light up "No, nothing like that."

B: "OK, well, monsters like to hang out in hardware stores so keep you eyes out and check for unusual stuff on the security cameras"

A huge smile spread across her face and she promised B that she'd keep an eye out.  Satisfied, B was ready to go.

I was so happy that we'd said "Yes"! It made B happy and I'd like to think it made the Lowe's employee happy.  Can't we all use more happiness?