To Read or Not to Read?

downloadHopefully, you know the answer to this question! I have to admit though, I am not an avid reader. As a matter of fact, I am terrible at taking the time to soak in a good book. As a child, I would read some, but it wasn’t my first choice. My mom was a kindergarten teacher, so I was read to before I was born, but it has never been my thing.  I am a mover. I don’t sit well, and reading requires me to quit moving. And if I am going to quit moving I would rather write or draw, because at least I can move my hands.

For me, it is not too big of a deal. However, when trying to raise kids to love reading…it becomes a bit of a problem! Add to it that my husband isn’t a big reader either, 2 of my 3 kids have been diagnosed with dyslexia, and testing is pending with my 3rd, the reasons to skip reading mount up. Whether it was my thing or not, I did read to these 3 while still in the womb and we read many, many, (MANY) books when they were smaller. They are at the point now where most kids read to themselves. Mine need more help, though. I’ve researched all of the different tests they do these days. How to measure fluency, comprehension, and speed. In addition to reading a certain amount, we are looking at each book to determine its AR (Accelerated Reading) score and making sure we read a specific amount of time so enough AR points are earned. For kids that love reading and are great at it, this is awesome! For kids (and their parents) who have amazing gifts that aren’t quite as measurable in this way, this is pure H-E- double hockey sticks!!

But it doesn’t have to be! I have been working on a study that asks me to choose one thing about myself on which to concentrate for the whole year and to see how this transforms throughout the year. My word is CHOICE. In all things I have a CHOICE to have a positive or negative perception. I have a CHOICE to complain about something I may not like about the school or be thankful that we have amazing teachers bending over backwards to help us figure out how to help our kids to reach their potentials. I have a CHOICE to see this situation as a setback or an opportunity.

With my 1st daughter, I thought I was going to lose my mind! I couldn’t figure out why it was so hard to get through the smallest of books with her. I had read to her since conception. I ate healthy while I was pregnant and fed her organic food as she was able to eat from the table. She was exposed to tons of sensory expanding activities and loved beyond measure. She had always done amazing in preschool and Parents As Teachers. She more than excelled! She could write, cut, and do just about anything with not only one hand, but equally well with both. She was learning Sign Language and Spanish, and had her own art and reading room under the stairs. Her own personal hideout. Why couldn’t she read the smallest of words?Why did she skip all over the place in books?  Why did she write her letters backwards and have barely legible handwriting? Was she just being stubborn? What did we do wrong? What didn’t we do for her? Wow! The torture we put ourselves through.

In second grade, we moved her from a small private school to our public school that has many more resources and teachers trained in this type of thing. I won’t lie, it was hard and time consuming. Especially with two younger than her at home while we were building a house. But, we got so much time together and I slowly learned it wasn’t our fault and she was doing the best she could. We worked with doctors, did vision and primitive reflex therapy, played with reading tools, and we read and we read and we read. She went from a sweet, and overly timid 2nd grader who could barely read or spell to a vibrant 4th grader that loved life and brought home nearly all A’s. She went from living in shame and embarrassment because she couldn’t keep up with her peers to donning a huge braces-clad grin and holding her shoulders back and standing tall with confidence. I still believe it is a confidence that she gained because she learned to overcome. She learned what happens when you work hard to get past adversity and how to listen to people put in your path to guide you through difficulty.

She learned to READ!

There are some things in life you really need to learn to do; reading being a huge one! You have to read to do so many things! To quote Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more that you’ll know. The more that you know, the more places you’ll go.” It was unplanned for all of us, but my daughter’s journey to learn this necessary skill taught our family to trust our gut, the rewards of perseverance, that some of the most amazing talents aren’t measurable, and a person can shine brightest when faced with difficult situations.

Now, I will make the CHOICE to not only relish the time to take in a good book with my kids, but to hold on to these lessons as we guide our next two through similar trials. I am so excited to watch their lights shine!

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Happy Reading!!

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P.S. Click on these images below to find more fun posts on reading!!!

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Condiment Packet Organizer

This is so super simple, but I still thought I was a genius!  We don’t eat out too often but when we do, we seem to accrue a plethora of soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, dressing, barbecue sauce, and taco sauce packets! Some of them get tossed, but I like to keep a few on hand as they come in super handy to put in school lunches! I tried several methods to store these mini-sized condiments, but they always ended up flying out of the fridge at me. That is, until sheer brilliance struck! Check this out! Yep, a cracker box! That is it! I cut it off at about 2 inches, filled with packets, and placed it in the closable compartment in my fridge door.  You can fancy it up with washi tape or duct tape.  But if you just want to get ‘er done, here ya go!

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Happy Clutter Catching!

Smiles

Super Easy DIY Post Earrings!

I have two daughters that love to wear all kinds of fun earrings (and I don’t let my younger one wear dangle earrings yet). Being the DIYer that I am, I thought it would be fun to create our own post earrings. Doing it ourselves was super quick and easy, not to mention it will make a great gift that can be tailored to fit the recipient. We were able to make a couple of the specific earrings my girls wanted and it was so much cheaper!!!  Post EarringsWhat you need:

  • E 6000 adhesive (Found with crafting adhesives, usually in the sewing section in big box and craft stores. On a side note, this little product is awesome to glue rhinestones on dance costumes!!)
  • Earring posts (They come in different sizes, so you will want to get the ones that fit the size of the object you are going to place on the front of the earring.  For the Christmas trees below, I used a post with a small attachment circle and still needed to trim the edges just a little bit.  For the larger round jewels and 3D stickers I used a post will a larger attachment circle.)
  • Earring backs
  • Whatever fun things you can find that you would like to see on an earring!

Post Earrings

Use the E-6000 to glue your earring ornament to the post and let it dry… That’s it!

My girls have been so excited to have fun earrings donning the colors of our favorite teams, seasons, holidays, and passions at a fraction of the price!!!  These are going to be perfect for stockings and Easter baskets!!

Happy Crafting!!

 

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Party Silverware Organization

I am always looking for better ways of organizing my house, life, schedule; basically my entire life! One of the things we enjoy doing the most is sharing our home with our family and friends! We have people over often, and are always looking for something or someone we can celebrate just to enjoy our loved ones!  Sometimes we will simply celebrate a beautiful summer day or a fresh blanket of snow! One of the things we needed host our guests was a serviceware caddy, as the plates, napkins, and Solo cups holding the silverware took up too much space and the cups kept tipping over. I wanted to find a  compact and attractive solution. I was shopping at a local home goods store and found this super cute and potentially efficient kitchen caddy.  It is even portable! The problem? The dividers were only a wire at the top and open the rest of the way down! The plates and napkins fit beautifully in the back, but the “divided” front was a mess!  My solution was to recycle some orange juice containers and spruce them up with some fun duct tape to keep our silverware in order in an attractive way!

THE MESS!!!!
Partyware Organizer

Partyware OrganizerWhat you need:

  • Orange Juice Cans
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors

Partyware Organizer1.  Wrap the orange juice cans with the duct tape.Partyware Organizer

2.  Put the new silverware holders in the caddy!!!

Whew!  Mess averted!!!

 

Happy Hosting!!

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Ba- Humbug!

bah-humbugThe last few months for our family have been quite crazy. Between sicknesses and surgeries (both of which brought this Mama down), I can’t seem to get caught up with anything. Not cool when this Type A, busybody has taken on quite a few extra commitments while spearheading a house full of furry and non-furry kids. I seem to be
running in circles putting out the proverbial fires and not making the time to plan- and if I do circumstances keep changing.

Have you ever had that feeling of everything being out of control and not knowing where to start, so you just …don’t.  Maybe if you sit on the couch and stare at the wall it will all just go away…

Add the holiday season on top of all that and you might find yourself sympathizing with Mr. Scrooge. There are gifts to be bought and wrapped, decorations to go up, food that needs to be made, cards to be sent, cookies and candy to prepare, travel and holiday plans to be made while watching the budget, your waistline, and keeping a great big fa-la-la-la-la smile on your face because the holidays are a happy time. It can be a lot to handle on top of the bills, laundry, grocery shopping, work, basketball, piano, school (plus extra programs), gymnastics, dance, etc. still have to happen…and remember to keep being happy!!

Can you breathe right now?  I think I need to go hyperventilate in a paper bag! Earlier this week I sat down with my crew for a little family meeting. I told them that, regarding Christmas decorations, the tree was up with minimal adornments and they might get plastic bags for stockings…and that’s all. While I have been running in circles, they have been leaving food, trash, clothes, toys and papers everywhere. Their laundry comes to me all balled up, sometimes wet from whatever water in which they decided to play, and is typically quite disgusting. I found 2 half full cups of milk that were a single chunk of coagulation- one of which was growing fruit flies. Dishes were in every room, and since I had not been able to get to the basement after my ankle surgery, they trashed it- including my things! Mom finally met her limit!

As we discussed why I didn’t even care if Christmas happened this year. We actually all connected. I went through my flaming list and they listened (possibly because their dad was staring them down). I told them that my favorite part of the day is picking them up from school because I have missed them all day. I look forward to their hugs, kisses, stories and songs. I loved having them home over Thanksgiving, and am so excited to have them home over Christmas…but, they have to do their part. When I explained my frustrations in a loving way (and believe me it was a firm loving way), they got my point. It wasn’t nagging, but saying it like it was, “I want to enjoy you, and I am not doing anything else that will create more work for me if you don’t do your part because you guys have been disgusting.”

While they have, for the last few days at least, been “doing their part” my perspective has shifted. My stance on their household participation has not changed, but how I choose to view it has. There very likely will not be anymore decorations put up, a few of my non-urgent commitments my have to wait a little bit, there may not be as many cookies and candies, the house may not meet my standards all of the time and the Christmas cards… well, we’ll just see.

But it will all be ok.  

The Earth will not quit spinning or open up and swallow me if I don’t get the Oreo balls made.  And if more decorations don’t get hung it is less I have to put away. Ultimately, stepping back from the life/holiday chaos and seeing if for what it is helped me gain perspective and will allow me to remember what is important. My  faith, my family, and my friends. My babies will be grown soon, and I would be broken to know I got too lost in the busy of this world and missed those precious moments with them and my husband. I am thankful for this lesson. Not just for me, but hopefully it will be passed on  to my sweeties so that they will be able to keep priorities in place and FEEL the love of their family, of their friends, of life, and of the true meaning of Christmas.  love-1415561__340

Smiles- Merry Christmas

 

Super Mom: When Mom is Down

This summer was full of all sorts of fun!  Lots of time with my family (especially my little munchkins) and friends!  There was one small hiccup though. We barely got to go anywhere. That summer vacation that we were looking forward to, not to mention how many friends shared their amazing adventures with us….well, this was our vacation.

When Mom is Down

Where is the beach, the amusement park, the lake, heck…where’s the park?! Well, when mom is down for the count, vacation is surgery and a boot.

I was exercising at the gym when I heard 4 loud pops. Did I go to the doctor?  Of course not!  I’m Mom!  I can’t be down. After hobbling around for about a month and listening to the consistent popping in my ankle with each step, I was walking into church and I stepped in a hole and you know the rest of the story. I am Mom and I don’t have time for such nonsense! This time, no popping. It just felt like a very stretchy rubber band as it twisted oh so much farther than it was ever intended to go! OUCH! Luckily, my daughters were walking in front of me and I was able to catch myself on their shoulders. That kept me from falling in the middle of the parking lot as everyone was trying to leave from one service and park for the next. I managed to limp my way into church in quite extreme pain and grab a chair.

As Monday rolled around, did I seek medical assistance? Absolutely not! I am Mom and I have too many responsibilities to do such things! I am the one who takes everyone else to the doctor! I am the one who nurses my husband, kids, and plethora of pets.  What did I do? I continued to hobble (not even stopping my gym routine- but to my credit I did slow down the intensity of my workouts…at least a tiny bit). About two weeks after the second injury I was going full steam trying to get decorations up and sets made for Bible School at our church, which is quite large.  Holding true to form, I was the director over the decor, not only putting in tons of work, but guiding about 20 different people to lift, paint, tape, glue, build, etc. The whole while, my ankle is giving a loud crack with every step and I felt as if the pain was going to make me sick. With begging from my friends, co-workers, and boss, I finally did it!  I made the appointment and had it checked out.

Our doctor knows me quite well and is very much aware that I have a tendency to wait too long to take care of myself (e.g. two other sprained ankles, an infection from a hot glue wound on my hand, and a cut on my foot that was infected with staph and strep that nearly put me in the hospital). By this point, you may wonder how I have not learned my lesson already. Stubbornness or the expectation I put on myself to be Supermom. Probably a little of both. After reviewing my X-Rays and giving me a quick exam the doctor winced at the loud ankle pop, shook his head, and said I am so sorry but that is going to require surgery. He pulled out an anatomy book (because he is awesome like that) and showed me what he believed my injury to be, and then sent me on my way with the instruction to put zero weight on it, sit my butt down, put my leg up and to ice it, and go see a surgeon. ASAP. I don’t think he cared that I didn’t have time for such things or that  I thought I was Supermom at that point.

Well, I did see that surgeon and after my exam and an MRI revealed that I had torn a tendon and it would not heal on its own. So a week later I had surgery and spent two weeks breaking in our new couch, watching tons of Netflix and being more or less glued to my laptop.

You  would think this would drive this ultra “Type A” momma batty. I did make lots of plans for things I could do while being down. For example, I started crocheting again since I don’t have to stand at my craft table to do it! But, I still thought I would lose my mind and get completely out of shape without being able to be in constant motion and not having my daily dose of tension zapping exercise. In reality, it wasn’t too bad, and if I’m being honest, it was relaxing, refreshing, and a bit of a blessing. The “time off” helped me gain perspective about what life really is, what is important and where my priorities were vs. where they should be.

I do have this little agreement with God that if I get out of whack and my life gets too full of “busy” and I am neglecting my first priorities, that he has my permission to let the natural consequences of my spinning in circles smack me down a peg or two (I did just say give God permission didn’t I….Wow!  What a control freak!)  This is not the first consequence I have suffered and I am sure will not be the last, but this unexpected hiatus did its job. I actually slept 8 hours a few nights. I hung out with my kids the last couple weeks of summer. They had friends over to have a free for all at our house and I didn’t care. The house was a mess (I cared a little), but I was much more concerned that they were enjoying themselves, their siblings, their friends, and time with me. It really made me focus on how much I love them and for how many things I have to be grateful. I also was reminded that I am not invincible. My husband and kids picked up the slack at home. Dishes and laundry were done. No one starved. Animals were tended to. And everyone survived! Was it all exactly the way I would do it? Probably not, but does it really matter now? Apparently not, because I can’t even remember the differences.

As for my job at the church and Bible School, everyone pitched in. Decorations were put up and all of the children and volunteers had an amazing week! My kids, especially my daughters, learned that they don’t have to do it all. Life will go on if the towels are not all folded the exact same way or the dishes get loaded a little haphazardly. They saw how important having good work ethic, helping others, and contribute to those things you hold dear, such as family, community, and church are. They also learned it is okay not to be able to do it ALL.

It is okay to ask for help.

It is okay, NO – It is crucial to take care of yourself, to slow down and get perspective, to simply love life and do what brings you joy. They learned what it means to be grateful for what they do have and not to wallow in self-pity for what they don’t have.

While this injury may have messed up the plans I made for myself, what I learned and experienced was more refreshing for my soul than anything I would have learned sitting at the beach or riding a roller coaster. Maybe that kind of vacation will be in the cards for next year!

The best part of this whole experience is the realization that this Mom may not be able to do it all, all of the time, but that doesn’t mean I still can’t be pretty SUPER.

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Have a SUPER day!

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