Wednesday, October 28, 2009

And Then There Were 3

Kyle at a homeschool function this past Friday, he is a Lenni Lenape Indian from NJ!

Well, I've always had three! Just when it comes to homeschooling, I started out with one and then I brought in the second and as of next Monday we are bring home the third! I am so excited. It feels like it is just right with my heart. To the world it may seem crazy, but to our family, well, it just feels right! I say it may seem crazy because my husband has no job, we care for his 91 soon to be 92 year old grandfather and my son has special needs! I have to just chuckle!

I have always hung my hat on the fact that every year, we did what was best for each child. Keeping Kyle in school I felt was really the best thing for him. He has been attending this school since he was 3 years old! I remember the day I sent my child off in this huge bus, and he didn't speak at all! I drove my car behind the bus until it pulled into the school parking lot. My boy had no words. He was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified) an autism spectrum disorder, he was nonverbal at age three (he could repeat words, but never initiate words), he had sensory integration dysfunction, and obsessive/compulsive disorder! (He was one of the three cutest/sweetest boys in the whole wide world though!!)

Needless to say, off he went to school and by the time he was almost 4 he said these words to me: "Mommy, I love you!" He had never said those words before! That moment is etched in my brain and heart and as I type these words the memory brings tears to my eyes! A year later when he was 5 years old, he could hug me with a full hug. Years before, he would want a hug, but have to back up into my arms. When he was five I got a full on hug!! Speech/language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy...several times a week, plus these wonderful, nurturing teachers....I had my boy...the little boy I knew was in this quiet little soul!

Fast forward to present time. Kyle is 8 years old and in 2nd grade. (He really didn't pass 1st grade, but he had already been left behind in get the picture) At the beginning of this school year, Kyle was content with going to "his" school. He loves "his" school. Brothers get homeschooled, he was curious about that, but he had friends now at "his" school. He was invited to a birthday party by himself for the first time ever!! A friend "chose" him! However, slowly, I started to see serious regression. My happy little boy, was angry. He was reverting to toddler type behaviors (a classic response to shutting down). He was exhibiting behaviors that I hadn't seen in years. What was going on?

We had a few meetings at school. "Let's change Kyle from having been pulled out to one or two places and put him in a co-teach situation. With a regular class, with a resource teacher assisting the primary teacher. Let's do this for two subjects now." For a child who has never done well with transition (when he was very young if we made a u-turn in our car he would cry and kick), and who thrives with routine, my boy had to transition at least 10 times a day..from teacher to teacher to this classroom to that classroom. He was on overload!! While he held it together at school, he let it loose at home (toddler behavior and total regression). So much more went into make this decision, but when I finally decided to "get out of the boat" and go with what the Lord was telling me to do, not only have I been confirmed, but I have been set free!
Kyle will begin homeschooling with his brothers this coming Monday! I am so excited and very nervous as well. This will be a transition for sure. There are kinks that will need to be worked out for sure! He will be partially enrolled with his special education teacher and his speech/language therapist - it equates to about 1 1/2 hours a day at the school! It is almost like the best of both worlds. He will still see his friends, and I will make the serious effort to keep those going outside of school!

The benefits far outweigh the fear! Is there fear...well...yes! I think that I gave too much credit to the school (after all they taught him to say "I love you"! Well, as my husband said...we had been saying that for 4 years...we taught him to say I love you...they just gave him the opportunity to grow and some tools to help him!

Here he will do devotions with us, snuggle on the bed to hear some of the most amazing books ever!! We will go on nature walks and make meals together. He will learn a new way to do math and see history come alive as we do some fun activities with our history! He will take art classes with the local art museum and have park play dates and do co-ops with our homeschool friends. He will be with his brothers who love him, and he will be able to work at his own pace and not feel overwhelmed or rushed! He will feel successful and confident! This is what is best for my boy!! So....Welcome Home Kyle!!!
( other boys are planning a surprise breakfast...all of Kyle's favorite foods (because he must eat and run most mornings he has enough time to only eat an oatmeal bar for breakfast every day) they made up the menu...grapes...pancakes with chocolate chips...chocolate milk...and decorations of course! )

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Menu For The Week

My friend Michelle has a blog that is devoted to the kitchen. On Monday's she is posting her menu for the week to inspire new recipes and money/time management skills as well! I'm very proud of her. Since joining Weight Watchers making a menu is almost imperative. I need to know what I'm having for dinner so I can plan the rest of my day carefully. As you can see by my last works for weight loss too!

So I'm joining her and including my "Monday's Menu". Don't get all hung up on the fact that today is Tuesday...I will be on the ball next week! Or maybe not...and that is where all of my blog friends extend some grace!

Just a couple of disclaimers:

1. I am on Weight Watchers but when my husband has class two nights a week there are weeks I just don't feel like feeding the birds (children and grandfather) in my home...making a whole meal for each of them to eat a spoonful! So there are those weeks (like this one) that I make something for them and I eat something "point worthy"! So bear that in mind!! What I eat (except for Saturday, that is my splurge day), is very heart healthy and Weight Watcher friendly. I hope this blesses anyone wanting to eat healthy!!

2. My husband is unemployed so other than our little tiny unemployment check...we don't have an income at this time. SO, my menu has to reflect our budget. Thus you will notice...a recurring word: leftovers! All I have to say is....get to love them ok!!

Monday: Garlic Roasted Chicken with red potatoes, carrots and garlic (it is one dish that goes in the oven and I use skinless split chicken breasts) I serve it with broccoli (my kids favorite veggie). It is a family winner (we don't always have winners in this house) :) 4 points for 4 oz of chicken and for 3/4 cup of potatoes and carrots with roasted garlic 3 points --- 7 point meal!

Tuesday: (Husband has school) Famous Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese (NOT Weight Watcher friendly...9 points per 1/2 cup) (I ate leftover from yesterday....children and Pop ate this and LOVED it!) Another family winner!!

Wednesday: Spinach, Rice & Black Bean Burritos 8 points for a whole burrito!! BIG SERVING-- you could totally eat half a burrito with some salad and have it be less points!

Thursday: (Husband has school) Leftover Baked Macaroni & Cheese for family (left over burrito for me)

Friday: Pork Chop & Potatoes with Creamy Gravy - 6 points (recipe to follow) - This is a new recipe, I will let you know how it is next week. It sounded good!

Pork Chops & Potatoes In Creamy Gravy
Found in: American Heart Association One-Dish Meals
6 WW points
Serves 4 (1 pork chop & 1 1/4 cups veggie mixture)

4 lean pork chops with bone in (about 5 oz. each)
Paprika to taste
Pepper to taste
Veggie oil spray
2 cups fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
1 lb. red potatoes cut into wedges
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. dried tarragon, crumbled
1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
4 oz jar sliced pimientos

Sprinkle one side of the pork chops with paprika and pepper.

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Remove the skillet from the heat and lightly spray with vegetable oil spray. Cook the pork chops with the seasoned side down for 1 minute. Remove from the skillet.

In the same skillet, stir together the broth, potatoes, onions, carrots, and tarragon. Bring to boil. Top with the pork chops with the seasoned side up. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 12 minutes, or until the pork is no longer pink in the center and the potatoes are tender.

Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the veggies to a serving platter with a rim or to a large shallow bowl. Top with the pork. Cover with aluminium foil to keep warm. Set aside.

Increase the heat to high. Bring the broth to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, or until reduced to 1 cup.

Reduce the heat to medium. Whisk in the evaporated milk and flour until well blended. Stir in the salt. (You can scrape the skillet with a flat know to get the yumminess on the bottom) Cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in the pimientos (You could totally leave this out if you were not a pimiento fan)! Pour over the vegetables on the serving platter and voila! Sounds like comfort food to me!!

This was fun!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Before & After

Well, it is confession time! I have hesitated to put up a before and after shot of my weight loss journey so far. I think perhaps because looking at it makes me feel a little queasy! However, in order for my family in NJ to see me, this is a necessary step. So.....

Here I am before joining Weight Watchers back in January of 2009:
Now after 9 months I have lost 54.8 lbs:

What the pictures do not show is that I feel amazing and am healthier than I have been in years. I have been on blood pressure medication since my days of infertility at least 12 years now, and presently my doctor says I need to be off this medication (as well as other medications)! 2010 will be the year that I meet my goal (35 more pounds) and I become a Weight Watcher's Leader! 2010 will also be the year I get off all my medications. 2010 will be the year I run my first 10K! I have a lot to look forward to!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Creator & The Created

"You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created."
Revelation 4:11 NKJV

I live in the Sunshine State. I have beheld the beauty of a sunrise over the ocean, the sunset over the river, some of the most beautiful shells upon a sand that is so soft!

When I use to live in NJ, my husband and I would frequently visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Oh I how loved the Impressionist wing (I loved the entire museum, but was always drawn to this part in particular). To stare at an actual Monet or Manet or to gaze longingly at a would take my breath away! I studied the paintings and learned about the artist. It was thrilling and inspiring.

To gaze upon the beauty all around us, the glory that shouts praises to its Creator, is in many ways far more thrilling and inspiring because I have a personal relationship to the artist. For how could you watch the sunrise or see a hawk coast above your head for what feels like an eternity without being inspired and grateful to the Creator.

Today I am grateful for the beauty that I behold every day.

Romans 1:20 "Since the creation of the world his invisible attributes are clearly seen."

holy experience

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Wind of Change

Oh please don't think that I have dropped off the face of the earth! I have not! It is just that my world has begun to spin at a very fast pace and I'm just doing all I can to stand up straight! With that said...there is change in the air. Change is sometimes frightening (and I'm a little nervous), but change is often a very healthy and exciting bringing growth. That is what we are about to experience.

If the world were to look at my life they may lable me crazy, but I'm holding my ground. What is about to take place has been in God's plan for a long time, we are just about to see it transpire.

Purposefully I'm leaving you with only this. Stay tuned...check back...I will return...just give me a few weeks to let my world settle! For those of you who know already because I can't contain my excitement...shhh! Just smile with me and wait!