"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How I do it...

Not a month or even a week goes by where I don't hear, "I don't know how you do it."  I honestly don't ever know how to respond to this.  I usually say that I'm just doing what any good mother would do for her children, but I never feel confident in that response.   I'm now writing this in honest response to all of those who have asked me in the past, "How do you do it?"  It has taken me a while to get to the point where I could answer this question, but I feel I'm at the point where I have my answer.  I can answer in one word....God.  Sound crazy?  Maybe to some.  God is more amazing than any word I could ever put to paper.  If you know Him, I mean truly know Him, then you know exactly what I'm talking about.  I'm not talking about knowing about God, I mean knowing God...having a personal relationship with Him.  I could NEVER do what I do every day, without Him.  I know with God there is nothing I can't handle.

"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it" 1 Corinthians 10:13 New International Version (NIV)

I was saved before I was married or had children, and I thought I knew God, but now that I look back on it I really didn't know God like I do today.  Once a person is saved it really is a slow and steady process of growth.  Some days you find yourself closer to him than others.  It can be pretty confusing.  The first big turning point for me was when I was pregnant with Peanut.  At 23 weeks, they found something "wrong".  After a higher level ultrasound we discovered that our little baby boy had a blockage that was not allowing urine to pass and it was backing into his kidneys.  He was at risk for kidney failure and the doctor was preparing us for the thought of intrauterine surgery to correct the issue.  We also were told that there was a risk that he might be born with Down Syndrome.  There was nothing we could do except to wait, and pray.  On that day we had 2 choices.  We could cry and wallow in our sorrows, or we could muster up strength and faith and pray for our child. So we prayed, our church prayed, our family prayed, and our friends prayed.  One morning I was driving home from work (I worked 3rd shift as a nurse), I was praying again about Peanut and his health issues and I was suddenly overcome with an overwhelming sense of peace.  I called my husband and told him that Peanut was okay and we didn't need to worry anymore.  I knew God was with us and Peanut was healed.  A week later, we went back in to see the neonatologist to have a follow up visit to decide what needed to be done.  After an ultrasound, the doctor came in to talk to us about the results.  He said, "What ever it is that you are doing keep it up!  I can't see any evidence that there was ever even a blockage!"  My baby boy was healed by God through faith and prayer and on August 21, 2007 he was born a perfect and healthy little baby boy.

 Fast forward to December 9, 2009.  Things weren't right with Peanut and his development.  He was delayed in most areas despite a year of early intervention therapy.  We drove 2 hours north to a specialist in Developmental Neurology.  We sat in his exam room while he examined Peanut, asked us questions and played with him. That day, our perfect little child was diagnosed with Autism.  The doctor also believed that Peanuts staring spells were seizures and in 1 month he would have to be admitted to the hospital for a 24 hour EEG. (A test to see if someone is having seizures).  My husband and I walked to the car with Peanut in silence.  After we were all buckled into our seats I turned to my husband and said, "So what do you think about all of this?"  He turned back and said, "I don't know."  I didn't begin to cry until I finally uttered the words, "He has Autism.".  I then cried the rest of the way home, and for the next week after that.  For a while I strayed from God and even stopped praying all together.

" for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"  Romans 3:23 New International Version (NIV)

We began to research what we could do to help out child. We put Peanut on a gluten free diet and his staring episodes stopped completely.  He began to make eye contact and speak functionally.  Thankfully his 24 hour EEG was negative for seizure activity.  When a child is diagnosed with Autism, the family goes through the stages of grief, and we did.  It was a slow process, but we eventually healed and were again ready for the battle that lay ahead.  I slowly began to put my faith in God again and the more I did this, the more I noticed something interesting.  When I ignored God and didn't pray before making a decision about Peanut and his treatments, it would be something that just wouldn't work.  If I took the time to pray about it and lean on God to lead me in to the correct direction, then it would work so incredibly it would seem almost miraculous!  I got the hint and began again to lean on God more and more.

By June 2011 we were finally getting comfortable with our "new lives" with Autism on our plates.  We didn't stay comfortable for long, and on April 20, 2011, Sassy was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome (a form of Autism).  Again, 2 choices.  Wallow in sorrow or lean on our faith.  We again, chose faith.  It didn't take a year to heal, or even an evening.  That night I blogged about how I felt, as simply as could. (The post was titled: My Goliath)  I wasn't going to let my faith waiver this time, no matter how hard it was, I was going to stay strong in God.  Autism was now my "Goliath" and with God on my side I was going to fight this giant and I was going to win!

'But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.' 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 New International Version (NIV)

This was another turning point for me. I began to pray more and began to listen to God.  It dawned on me that instead of saying, "Why us?", I should ask, "Why not us?"  This journey thus far has transformed me into a person I never thought I could be.  It has given me a strength and determination I have never experienced before.  My faith is stronger than ever, and I am closer to God now more than ever.  Our experience has shown us what really matters in our life, and more importantly what should really matter to me.  Our experience has made me who I am today.  I would never wish Autism on anyone, and I would never hope for it to burden our lives, but it is the journey that God has chosen for us and so I will accept it and move forward with God by our side.
"The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures,he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths

for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever." 

Psalm 23 New International Version (NIV)


I am not thankful for my children having Autism, but I am thankful for the blessings we have received that would not have occurred if we were not struggling with Autism.  I am thankful for the closer relationship I have with God.  Without Him I would be nothing.  I am thankful for the strength this has given my marriage.  I am thankful that I don't take any little word spoken by our children or any little hug or snuggle for granted. I am thankful for the improved health we have as a result of the diet we have chosen for our children.  I am thankful for all of the wonderful people we have met who have touched our lives.  I am thankful for the ability to take all we have learned and share it with others who may need it.  I am thankful for the ability to look upon our lives in a positive light and not a negative one. I am thankful that our struggles have made me the woman I am today.


"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—" Ephesians 2:8 New International Version (NIV)

So how do I do it? GOD

Now I am going to turn it around and ask you, how do you do it?  How do you get through the day to day struggles we all have?  Do you know God too, or do you just know of Him?  If you don't have God in your life, I need to tell you this...find Him, hold on to Him and never let go.  I guarantee you won't regret it and it will change your life for the better without a doubt.


"he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life."  Titus 3:5-7 New International Version (NIV)


How do you do that? Pray to Him.  Ask for His presence in your life.  Ask for forgiveness for your past and your sins.  Take that leap of faith and believe in him.  Read about Him. Get to know God for who he really is through His word.

 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
John 3:16 New International Version (NIV)

 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 10:13 New International Version (NIV)


Sin and shame.  Guilt and pain.  Pride and your conceit.  Here and now.  Lay them down.  At the Savior's feet
What have you got to lose? What have you got to lose? And tell me why you're so afraid.  What have you got to lose?  What have you got to lose?  Think of all you have to gain.  Hope and dreams.  And all the things.  That you have ever made.  It don't mean much if in the end, you have lost your way.  What have you got to lose? What have you got to lose? And tell me why you're so afraid.  What have you got to lose?  What have you got to lose?  Think of all you have to gain.

Let go of all you know.  Only then can life be found.  Surrender all you hold.  Lay it down, lay it down, lay it down
What have you got to lose? What have you got to lose? And tell me why you're so afraid.  What have you got to lose?  What have you got to lose?  Think of all you have to gain.


God Bless
Mommy Provost



Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Wrap Up

Thanksgiving has finally come to a close, and now the craziness before Christmas can begin!  Yesterday went really well.  We only had one tantrum/meltdown from Sassy that took a good 30 minutes to recover from, but otherwise they did well (with a nap in the middle of the day).  This past week was our first scheduled "vacation week" since we started our school year.  The funny thing is we did everything except our work boxes.  The kids love school and don't want a vacation!  How could I say no to that?  I planned a project or activity for each day of this week.  Some of them we did, others we didn't do.

Operation organization update: In short....I'm not done yet, but I am making progress!  I will be the first one to admit, I didn't make my goal to get it all done before Thanksgiving.  I tried but I tend to overestimate the amount of time in the day, and schedule a little too much for myself on a weekly basis.  Updated pictures are to come.  

Our Thanksgiving Week:

I had some cute scarecrow pictures I had found 2 years ago at the Target dollar area that we painted with water colors. 

Sassy decided to pain her fingers instead.

Peanut really got into it.
 We had a pajama day....
And lounged around.......

I had to share this one!  Peanut independently snapped together some blocks and made a "vacuum"!!! 
 We painted our fingers (which made Sassy really happy!) and made fingerprint Turkeys.  Sassy named her's "Tom".  I forgot how small the kids fingers were, and so they came out pretty small, but still cute.


I found a great color by number from the Thanksgiving pack from 1+1+1=1 in the Thanksgiving Tot Pack.  Sassy wanted nothing to do with it, but Peanut was very interested to do it one on one with Mommy.  I think he did a great job!

We also make a Thankfulness tree.  I cut out a handful of leaves and a tree, and we sat at the table and talked about the things we were thankful for.  The kids told me what they were thankful for and I wrote it on the leaves.  I think the funniest one is "The box of markers."  My most favorites, "School with Mommy", "God", and "Jesus".
 
On Thanksgiving morning I unveiled our "Thanksgiving Box".  It doesn't look like much here but it is packed full of Thanksgiving activities for the kids to use.  I thought it would be a nice change from the Tot books we have been using.  I took each activity and put them in their own zip lock bags to keep it organized.  We had a long day of Thanksgiving festivities planned and this was a great way to keep them entertained while still learning.
The Thanksgiving box
The inside of the box contained printables from multiple sites.  I laminated them all with self sticking sheets or with clear contact paper (my favorite option).  All of the sites have awesome printables for all occasions and subjects.  I recently discovered dry erase crayons, and the kids LOVE using them on laminated sheets.  Here is where I got all of the printables:


Our little Monkeys: Little adventures Preschool : Small number puzzles, turkey game (pin the feathers on the turkey), short path game, matching, and geometric solids.
1+1+1=1
1+1+1=1 : Turkey colors, Little people sizes, match the pilgrim to the mayflower, patterns and letter match up.

Homeschool Creations : Match the Pilgrim to the turkey, size sorting, patterns, number puzzle, word to picture matching.
Here are the contents of the box.
Our New Discovery:
Peanut has had struggles with writing and coloring for a while.  One day he just decided he didn't want to write anymore and would cry when I asked him to color.  None of the therapists could figure it out, but I knew there had to be something more to it, I just wasn't sure what.  Then on Wednesday I got an email from Lori over at Montessori for Everyone.  She saw a picture of Peanut holding a pencil and suspected Dysgraphia.  After reading about it...the light bulb went off.... that's it!  I have to say writing this blog has blessed us in so many ways, this is just another blessing and answer to prayer!  I immediately went to work researching to find out how to help Peanut.  While I was running some last minute errands on Wednesday I purchased a handful of materials to use to help strengthen some of the fine motor weakness in his hands and encourage the correct grasping for a pencil.  Now that I know what may be wrong, I know what we may need to do in terms of modifications.  I am so grateful to Lori for that email!

While I was out I also found this cute little game using tweezers.  What and awesome fine motor game!  It's called Scatterpillar Scramble.  It is now the new favorite game for the kids.
They did a great job!
And finally.....it was time for Thanksgiving and our gigantic table.  Notice the centerpiece??
I hope everyone had a wonderful, safe, and happy Thanksgiving.  We have so much to come for our blog.  We are slowly growing and learning more and more.  I'm hoping to finish Operation organization, conclude our journey with Therapeutic Listening and redesign My Angels and Autism, and then of course...there is Christmas.

God Bless!
Mommy Provost

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thanksgiving message

This past Sunday, our Senior Pastor preached a message called "An Attitude of Gratitude."  That message brought approximately 12 souls to Christ that morning.  What would be more fitting on Thanksgiving, than to post such a wonderful message.

Attitude of Gratitude   (Entire Service)

Our family prays that all of you have a wonderful, happy and safe and blessed Thanksgiving.  If you're a Black Friday Shopper, remember to shine that light and keep your smile on!


God Bless,

Mommy Provost


Monday, November 21, 2011

Thank-you

I was just sitting on my living room floor working on the Thanksgiving box for the kids, and realized I hadn't checked the  HSBA Post for the results of their Homeschool Blog Awards.  I was excited to see who won in each category.  As I scrolled down I never expected what I came upon...My Angels and Autism won Best Special Needs Blogger!  I was honestly shocked!  It was an honor, as a new blogger and new homeschooler to even be nominated but to actually win the category is mind blowing to me!  I can honestly say this is the first thing I have ever really won in my life.  I really have no idea what to say except thank-you.  Thank-you to all who voted for us and thank-you to all who have inspired us.  This really means so much to us, I'm speechless.  Thank you!

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." Psalm 118:1

God bless!
Mommy Provost

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What's on our Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving is in 4 days!!!  I finally got our menu finalized this afternoon.  My husband cooks a huge feast for himself and the family, and the kids and I are going to eat food I cook the night before.  This is what is going to be on our menu:
The meat: Instead of trying to find a very small organic turkey, I decided to stick with a small whole organic chicken from Coleman Natural (which I buy at Market Basket!!).  I am going to make a herbed butter (Earth Balance  soy free spread and fresh chopped rosemary, thyme and sage) to rub on the chicken and then roast in the oven.
Gravy: I am using a recipe from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, the recipe can be found HERE.
Stuffing: I think I'm going to stuff the chicken and also have some held aside.  I am going to use THIS recipe also from  Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef.  I am going to omit the egg yolk and increase the amount of olive oil I use, and I'm toying with the idea of also adding some Applegate Farms sausage.
Mashed potatoes: Really it's simple.  Cooked potatoes, Earth Balance Spread and Almond Milk and you have a delicious, creamy mashed potato.
Veggies:  Most likely we will just defrost some frozen organic corn.
Cranberry sauce: I can't have Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce!  I found a quick and easy recipe on Food Network.com from Alex Guarnaschelli.  That recipe can be found HERE.  I am omitting the orange zest because my kids are sensitive to citrus still.  We also try our beast to avoid refined sugar, so I plan to substitute the sugar for Agave Nectar.  To learn how to do this you can follow the link HERE.
And last but not least......
Desert:  We have Dinner and desert with my family and then in the evening my husbands family all comes over for desert (they eat dinner later than we do).  So, I am making 2 different deserts so we don't have to eat the same things twice in one day (and so we have left overs!)
I am first making Pumpkin Pie from Gluten Free Fix.  You can find the recipe HERE.  It was hard to find a pumpkin pie recipe my kids could eat.  This recipe calls for cashew cream, which my kids can't have.  I checked, and according to Gluten Free Fix, you can substitute the cashews for almonds and make almond cream instead.  I am SO excited to make this!  To accompany our wonderful little pumpkin pie I am going to make a whipped cream topping using Ener-G egg substitute. (The recipe can be found on the back of the box).
For the second desert I'm going easy and making chocolate chip cookies.  The recipe for these can be found HERE.

Phew!  So that is our Gluten Free, Casein Free, Soy Free, mostly organic Thanksgiving menu.  What's on your menu?


Thursday, November 17, 2011

T is for Thanksgiving!

I honestly can't believe that next Thursday is Thanksgiving.  I really feel like it popped out of nowhere.  The busier we get the more I feel like time is flying by. I feel like I'm still behind from the big storm we had a few weeks ago and I've been playing catch-up ever since.  
This week we are focusing on the letter T for Thanksgiving and Turkey.  Next week we plan to take a break, but I do have a craft planned for every day leading up to Thanksgiving. I am also making a Thanksgiving activity box with a Thanksgiving Tot book and different learning activities using a combination of links. (I'll share below)

The books we read this week:
  Happy Thanksgiving Curious George

 The Story of Thanksgiving


Our memory verse: "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." Psalm 118:1

The kids made Autumn trees using tissue paper and paper towel rolls.  This was a great activity that required cutting, painting, taping, painting, gluing and pinching of the tissue paper.  They really seemed to enjoy this activity.  This craft can be found at The Ramblings of a Crazy Woman.
Our Autumn Trees
For the past few weeks we have had a simple sensory box, that the kids had SO much fun with.  In the bin I put real pine cones, fake leaves that were all different colors and textures, and 2 different kinds of fake pumpkins.  The smaller pumpkins had a smooth texture and the larger pumpkins had small beads on the outside giving them a great texture.  The kids loves filling other containers with the items and one of their favorite things to do with the box was to use the pumpkins in the play kitchen to make pretend pumpkin pie.  We had at least one or two occasions where one of the kids took a pumpkin with them in the car.
Our Harvest Bin
We have been using worksheets from 1+1+1=1 in their raising Rock Stars Preschool section.  
Here is Peanut using the letter T writing pages.  It is rare to see concentration like this from him!
We also enjoy using the printable play dough mats from Homeschool Creations.
Sassy making her letter T
For our Wednesday play date the kids all made Thanksgiving place mats to use on Thanksgiving day.  They colored with markers, used stickers and glued on some leaves from our sensory bin.  Once they are dry I am laminating them with clear contact paper to keep the paper clean and dry.
Peanut and Princess making their place mats.

Our finished place mats
Next week:
 For our Tot book, I am using Thanksgiving Tot book printables from 2 of my most favorite blogs,  1+1+1=1, and Homeschool Creations .

I also found a very cute pumpkin activity on Crayon Frecklesa mini book from   Playing with Words 365, a thanksgiving timeline from  , the Thanksgiving math kit from Little Adventures Preschool and a Thanksgiving Tot Book from 2 Teaching Mommies.  That should keep them busy right?

So that is our homeschool week.  It's been busy, but fun.  I hope your week went as well as ours.  I have many things in the works for the site and I can't wait to share all of them with you!

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." Psalm 118:1

God Bless!

Mommy Provost





       

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How Simple Household Tasks Can be Therapeutic for Your Child.

As I was doing some housework one day I noticed Peanut was aimlessly wandering around the house.  Sassy was asleep, so I asked Peanut if he would like to help mommy with her chores.  His face instantly lit up as he exclaimed, "Yes!"  I was in the middle of switching around the dishes in dishwasher, so i decided to start there.

I gave Peanut a pile of utensils and pulled the tray out of the drawer, and told him to "sort."  The tray has kids spoons and forks, small and large spoons, small and large forks, and butter knives.  I sat back and just watched.  He happily picked up each utensil, looked at it and carefully chose where it went in the tray.  He did a wonderful job, practiced sorting without even realizing it and was very proud of himself when he finished.  It was then I realized how simple house hold chores such as this one could be highly therapeutic for a child on the spectrum.  That's when I ran and got the camera, and got to work trying to come up with more activities that we could do.
Peanut sorting silverware.
 Next, I took all of the sippy cups out of the dishwasher and lined them up on the counter so Peanut could see them.  I then took all of the tops and handed them to him one by one, telling him to match the right top to the cup.  Again, he did a great job.  This turned out to be great for matching as well as scanning.

Matching the tops to the right cups.
 After the cups were matched up, I had him screw each one on.  Peanuts OT would be very proud of how well he twisted the cup tops on!

This was difficult for him.  You can see his shoulders hunched over to try to stabilize himself while he tries to twist on  each top.
 Once we were done with the dishes, we moved on to the next chore.  Our front door is glass, and the kids love to look out it which means LOTS of finger prints.  I let Peanut gather everything we needed (paper towels and natural glass cleaner).
Here he is "getting organized"
 Then I let him spray the glass with the cleaner.  He loved this part.  He sprayed as high as he could, little did he know he was working is hand strength!

It's hard to see from behind, but he has the BIGGEST smile !
 Through the baby monitor I could hear sassy stir.  I wanted to vacuum before she got up, so I got out the vacuum and we went to work.  We have a Bissel healthy home vacuum which weighs approximately 50 pounds.  Despite this Peanut insisted that he vacuum too, so we took turns pushing the vacuum.  Eventually he began to tire from pushing a vacuum twice his size and he began to whine.  Thankfully, we have a toy vacuum and so he used his vacuum along side mommy which we finished up.  What a great gross motor challenge for not only strength but also balance!

Vacuuming with mommy.

We now work "chores" into our routine which include all of these activities as well as sorting and folding laundry, sweeping and wiping down tables.  It's amazing to me how many things in our lives an be therapeutic for our children, and really helps with self confidence and responsibility as well.  It may slow you down a bit, but for me it is well worth the wait.

If you'd like to find out some ideas for age appropriate chores for your child, check out the list on Raising Arrows.  


God Bless!

Mommy Provost

Friday, November 11, 2011

Operation organization!: Part One

Since we have taken on most of Peanut and Sassy's therapy's, things have gotten crazy, and our disorganization has gotten much worse.  I'm finding myself forgetting to do things and losing important papers on a weekly basis and I feel like I'm slacking because the organization in our home is....well...lacking.

With that in mind, I am on a mission!  OPERATION ORGANIZATION!  From our home school, to the toys, and all of the important paperwork...we WILL get organized!  Things are already under way. 

We have a decent sized kitchen with a small table that is pushed up against a wall that has been holding home school supplies and personal paperwork.  We have a desk, but we are unable to really utilize the top of it because the touch screen computer we were wonderfully blessed with takes up most of the desk top.

This is the infamous "table"...ugh, it makes me cringe just looking at it!
Our toys are semi-organized.  They are in boxes according to category, but the children have out grown many of them and they really could use new labels and a good purge before Christmas.

This is the play area in our living room.
The first thing I have done to help with organization is we got a large used bookshelf (thanks mom!) for all of our home school supplies and work.
Our new book shelf!!
I plan to use the binders to organize our home school and "child related" paperwork. I'd love to have everything in it's place so on Sunday night I can just rotate out the previous weeks supplies and rotate in all of the new topics.

My other plans:
  • Organize our home school supplies/games (upstairs and downstairs in storage).
  • Create tracking sheets for our therapy activities and home school activities. (I plan to share these when they are completed of course!)
  • Organize the church nursery lessons/paper work.
  • Purge and organize our toys.
  • Organize all of our recipes in their own binder.
  • Organize the pantry.
  • and really......organize our life!!
Things are under way and I hope to finish things up before Thanksgiving.  I'm excited to see how everything turns out and how well it all works for us and I'm also tired looking at such a big and daunting task.  Stay on the look out for Part two!

God Bless!
Mommy Provost

"But all things should be done decently and in order." 
1 Corinthians 14:40 ESV

Monday, November 7, 2011

We've been nominated!


Homeschool Blog Awards Nominee Button
The Homeschool Post is a blog that is dedicated to inspire, encourage an support homeschooling families.  For the past 6 years they have hosted the "Homeschool Blog Awards" to applaud all of us hard working homeschool bloggers out there.  This year, WE WERE NOMINATED!  We are up for nomination under the  Best Special Needs Homeschooling Blog category.  It is such an honor to be listed among such amazing families.  Please visit the Homeschool Post and support us as well as all of the other fantastic homeschool bloggers nominated.

HERE you can find the rules for the awards as well as vote for your favorite blogs.  Scroll down the page and click on "Best Special needs Homeschool Blog" .  Or you can click HERE to go directly to the voting page for our category.


Thanks for the support!!!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Jesus Rides the Subway

I was able to see this song performed live this weekend and it's my new favorite song.  Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The BIG snowstorm

This past Saturday, New England was hit with our first big snowstorm.  When we heard of it, we thought nothing of it.  Living in New England, you get used to this kind of thing, and seeing as it was October (we don't usually get snow that early), we didn't expect it to be anything big.  Honestly, we didn't pay much attention to it at first.  It began to snow and I was a little excited to see the cold white snow to fall from the sky.
Latter that evening around 7pm, my mother called to warn me she thought the power may go out for them soon.  The snow was a wet snow, and falling at a nice steady rate.  Again, nothing extreme for us New Englanders.  My parents live in a rural area, and we live in a city.  It's more common for them to loose power than us, so I wasn't surprised that their lights were giving them an occasional flicker.  I began to wonder about our power an hour later, when our lights would dim or go out, only seconds later to come back on.  I lit a candle and continued the housework I was trying to finish that night before bed.  At 10pm our power went out.
Again, we were unfazed by this.  It happens on occasion and usually will return that evening.  My husband and I grabbed a couple of flashlights and our i Phones and cuddled up on the couch in the living room.  As we sat surfing facebook and talking, we noticed the wind had picked up and you could hear the trees groaning outside.  My husband went to our large front window and watched the trees as they swayed and sagged under the heavy snow.  "I think I should move our cars." He said with a surprised tone in his voice. 
I got up to look, and immediately noticed that the tree next to our driveway was weight down heavily by the snow.  Most of the trees in our yard had not yet dropped all their leaves and so the heavy wet snow sat on the leaves, pulling down on the tree limbs.  I honestly didn't think anything would fall from the tree, but wasn't opposed to him moving our cars to the lawn.  So, he got up, bundled up and moved our cars to the middle of our front lawn, away from the trees.  After he got back inside we went back to the couch and began to talk about how bad the weather was looking.  I was about ready to turn in for the night and was about to ask my husband if he was ready to do the same.
Suddenly, over our heads we heard a loud whine and crack of wood, and a loud boom that was accompanied a shaking of our home that you never want to feel.  With that we jumped up and looked out the window.  It was dark, so we couldn't see much.  We went to the back door to go out and try to find the sources of the noise.  We opened the door and were shocked to see the top of a tree blocking our exit.  A large part of a tree near our house had broken off and fallen onto our roof, right over our heads!  My husband was able to push his way past the branches and go out to take a look.
I now knew I was not going to sleep any time soon and I went directly to check on our sleeping children.  Both were still fast asleep.  I came back to the living room and sat in a chair, away from the corner of the room we had been sitting in.  I called a friend who was still up, to try to take my mind off of what was going on outside.  My husband sat at the dining room table with his phone.  As we sat we heard that familiar cracking noise of another tree.  We looked through the big front window just as the tree next to the driveway broke away and a large portion of it fell right into our driveway.  I looked at my husband shocked.  If he hadn't move our cars, they would have been totaled.
No I was more than just a little nervous, and went to check on the kids again.  We sat listening to all of the creaks and moans of the trees outside.  You could literally sit and listen to them falling.  Around midnight, we decided we should try our best to get some sleep.  We went back to the kids rooms and put an extra blanket on them.  We had left our phones in the kitchen, and walked back to get them.  The two of us jumped as we saw a huge orange ball of light from outside, a few street over.  The light was almost blinding and was accompanied by a loud buzz.  "A transformer must have blown!" said my husband.  He opened the back door and checked to see if he could see where it was coming from.  After the orange glow died down, the streets behind us also lost power.  Now...I was shaking.
My husband was able to calm me down enough to get me to sit in bed, but that's all I did.  I sat in bed, with my bible in my lap, worrying and listening.  I listened to the creaks and groans of the trees out side, praying that none of them fell on our house.  I checked on the children every hour to make sure they were warm enough and still asleep.  I managed to get about 2 hours of sleep that night, but that was about it.
The morning was almost as shocking as the night.  My husband got up and pulled the generator out of the shed to get our heat started.  By this time the house was a balmy 60 degrees.  We took both children and snuggled them in our bed until the house warmed up enough for them to run around.  My husband came in and tried to tell me what it looked like outside.  I heard him but was focused on the kids and so I didn't really absorb what he was saying.  I finally took a good look outside when I heard him say to someone on the phone, "It looks like Armageddon outside right now!"  I went over to the window and was utterly shocked by the site.  It almost looked like a bomb had gone off in the middle of our neighborhood!  Trees were scattered everywhere, branches covered the ground, power line were broken and in the road and poles were hanging on the lines.  At this time people were now outside checking the damage to their houses.  Most of us with a look of amazement on our faces.
Fast forward to today, 5 days later.  Wednesday, November 2nd.  We still don't have power, although alot of it has been restored.  It's been a slow process because of all the damage.  The power company is estimating that we may have our power back by Saturday at midnight...but I'm really not going to hold my breath.  Almost everyone lost power, so it's going to take a while for it all to be repaired and restored.  There are still multiple lines down where we live so I know just by looking at the damage, it is going to take some time to fix. 
In the past day or so I have come to terms with our lack of power and have decided to try to get back to "business as usual."  I started our school week today and the kids seemed very happy for that.  I then took them to an indoor playground we enjoy going to and let them run their energy off in the indoor climbing structure.  Sassy even made a friend while we were there!  It was so wonderful to see their smiling faces running around with other kids, having fun.
We had a small generator that we have been using, but it needs to be refilled with gas every hour.  My husband was able to borrow a much larger generator from a friend. We are now able to supply a neighbor with some heat and lights, as well as power our own heat, a light or two and a refrigerator without having to refill it for at least 7 hours. 
After my husband came home from getting the new generator, he and our neighbor smelled gas from outside.  It smelled like propane, and was pretty strong.  We called the gas company to report it and have someone come check it out. As the woman on the phone it telling me not to light candles or plug anything into an outlet, my first instinct is to get out, and so we did.  My husband stayed behind with the gas company (who only took 5 minutes or so to get themselves to our house), and I scooped up the kids and ran out the door to the car.  I took them out to eat while we waited to find out if it was safe to go home.  Apparently a gas main broke in our area and that's why we smelled the gas.  He checked our home top to bottom to be safe and told us we were ok to resume our usual activities.  We were just smelling the scent from the main that had broken.  When my husband told me this I was a little uneasy, but felt better when I got home and could no longer smell the gas. 
Needless to say, it's been a crazy few days.  Our Internet access is limited, so posting will be difficult but I will try.  As soon as I have pictures I'll share them online.  We have dealt with alot, but it could be SO much worse than it is. 
One thing I will say, is that through it all, we have been VERY thankful.  I am thankful the tree branch didn't cause damage to our roof, I'm thankful that my husband moved our cars, I'm thankful for my mother in law bringing over hot coffee that morning, I'm thankful for having a generator to provide us with some heat, I'm thankful for our food not spoiling, I'm thankful for my children dealing with this so well, I'm thankful that we are all safe, I'm thankful for the safety of the many others who live around us, I'm thankful we didn't have a gas leak, I'm thankful for laundry assistance...I could keep going and going.  We are supposed to praise God when things are going well, but we are also supposed to praise him when things aren't going so well.  Through it all, I have felt God is with us, and we will continue to praise him, no matter what else comes our way.
 
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks,
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18