Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My New Evil Secret Weapon Teaching Tool

There is only one thing I really want Cadence to learn - her phone number. There is only one thing Cadence really does not want to learn - her phone number.

First, I thought, "Hey, she loves dinosaurs, I'll put it on her favorite kind and hang it in the play room." This motivated her for all of, oh, ten seconds. She thought it was really awesome the brachiosaurus' were biting each others tails. She also thought it was fun for me to scramble them up and call out the numbers for her to grab and put in order before I hung them up. But, it didn't really seem to help her actually remember her phone number.

Then today I had a brilliant moment. She wanted to go outside and play, but the back door was locked. On a whim - "Cadence, the door is locked, and only saying your phone number will unlock it!!! Oh no, quick, say your phone number as the secret code to unlock the back door!"

And guess what? She miraculously knew her phone number. Hmmmm.

This will be a secret weapon I use again! I'm also thinking this would be a great teaching tool for little kids who like to play spy, or figure out codes...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

This is Your Brain {A Post About Cadence}

Remember those D.A.R.E. posters that said, "This is your brain... this is your brain on drugs?" I always think of those when Cadence goes into her berserk "I can't function because my system is completely messed up" mode. The most recordable, starkest contrast is in her art and coloring.
Cadence is very artistic, and loves to paint, draw, color, build, and mold things. She also loves to write pretend letters, and trace real writing. When she is well, she will spend endless time carefully laboring over a picture she has gotten out to work on. When she is not well, she quickly scribbles, then is done. She never initiates art, and will not trace or try to write. This summer, she was not well. At Bible School in June, they had all the children sit on the pews and color while they waited for class to start. Not pretty.
This transformation is typical of all aspects of her life when she is not doing well. She goes from sweet, easy-going, fun loving, intellegent Cadence to crying all. the. time., fit throwing, inflexable, angry, unfocus, disengaged Cadence. It's seriously like a brain on drugs. So, I made a 'poster.'
This is your brain:
This is your brain on constipation:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Guess What?!

 James finally decided it was fun to walk! Earlier this week he took off going back and forth between Tony and I - today he was traipsing across the living room!

He doesn't normally have stuff in his mouth, and actually walks better without (imagine that!) but Cadence wanted to reward him, and apparently that meant sticking foam tools in his mouth. Of course, once she did, he wouldn't let go. It was pretty funny to watch!

The outtakes reel:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

First Haircut

Tonight I am sitting here trying not to pout about the beautiful reddish-blonde curls I just carefully picked up off the kitchen floor. I guess I should just be thankful he has hair to cut, since his sister didn't have hair till she was three!
Here is before, with his wild wooliness...
And here is after...

Ok, I have to confess, the first thought I had when I saw this picture was, "He's so CUTE!" And then... "WHOA!!!! HIS EARS STICK OUT!" Ha! Love this boy. And don't let this big smile fool you, he crawled all over Daddy and turned beet red crying, just in the ten seconds I spent on him!
Note: I didn't do a full haircut. For one thing, he doesn't really need it since this looks fine, but mainly I wanted to keep the time short. I just slipped the one inch comb on the clippers and went straight up the sides from bottom to about where his part is. Quick and easy :) Maybe next time we'll try for a taper!

Monday, October 15, 2012

James One Year Pictures

I finally got some pictures of James to call his one year pictures. It's been really hard, because as he turned one we were too busy, and then he immediately started feeling icky and grumpy - and that lasted a month! I'm definately not a photographer, but we managed to steal some big grins and funny James faces, and that makes me very happy :) There are more to come, we'll see if little-miss-procrastination (aka me) ever gets them ready and posted. I'm hoping to do party pictures too, but you know me and fulfilling promises of posts!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Morning Worship

About 10 weeks ago I decided we really needed to find a way to shift our focus toward God first thing in the morning. I talked it over with Tony, and we came up with a plan.
Every morning, as soon as breakfast is over, the kids and I gather and have morning worship. The goal is learn about God and praise Him. We wanted the children to have a routine that included learning the Bible and learning songs to praise and worship God. We start with a memory verse, one each week, then sing kid songs and choruses, then have prayer together. The length of each activity is based almost entirely on how the kids are responding - I don't have any set perimeters for how many songs we sing or how many times we go over the memory verse. We don't have a story or lesson or anything like that - I wanted to keep prep work basically nonexistent, and I wanted to keep it active and moving to keep James' interest. We also have bedtime devotions, when we do have a story and lots, and LOTS of talking - thanks to little miss "Why?".
I love. love. love. LOVE. morning worship. Cadence is on her eighth memory verse, James starts doing the motion to each song before we are done with the first word, and they both dash over to the seat and put their heads down when I say it's time to pray. This time of coming together, setting aside all the cares of our day, all the things that need to be done, and having a routine time of learning and worshiping God has completely relaxed our morning. It is wonderful. I guess it really is true that if we find ways to seek God first, all the rest will follow!
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33

Here's a bit of out "Method" (Ha! Like anything around here has an actual method!):

Memory verse – this is the only thing I prep for. All through the week and pray and consider what verse we should learn next. I have been trying to find things I think Cadence can understand and use in her daily life. Over the weekend I print out the verse on a 4X6 card and slide it into our memory verse photo album – just a cheap album I found upstairs. Cadence is a visual learner despite not being able to read, so having a different color/image on each page reminds her of each verse. I need the reminder so when we’re saying them each day we don’t forget one! Each morning we say all the verses we already know, then spend some time on the new one. All but one week Cadence has had the new one memorized by Wednesday. I let James either sit on my lap and look at the pictures or get down and play. The point is not getting them to practice sitting still, it is to allow them their own time to worship God in their own enthusiastic and exuberant way.

Singing – We sing kids songs and some adult songs Cadence enjoys. I try to include lots with motions for James, and I let the kids run around the play room while we sing. When they lose focus, we move on.

Prayer – we just kneel down where we are and I lead in a short prayer, usually focused on being thankful and asking God to help us in our day.