Friday, October 26, 2012

Have You Heard...

Here in Austin, one of our local high schools has a roadrunner as their mascot.  So it's not uncommon to see shirts with various "Bird" images on them.

Like this one:

Placeholder

So when I saw this one...


I knew we needed it for the Bird.  

I mean, really, doesn't this picture just instill fear in your heart?


Well, a few days ago, a sweet friend delivered a treat just for Lily Bird.  Come to find out, there is a new "Bird" phrase t-shirt at the high school this year.  But we think it's still quite appropriate for our Bird:   


Have you heard


Bird is the word

What do you think?  Just perfect, right?

Have yourself a merry little weekend, friends!

31 Days to Crazy Joy

October 1
1.  My laughing Lily Bird
2.  My new red loafers
3.  A great day at school for Lily

October 2
4.  Pumpkins
5.  A walk around Town Lake in the evening
6.  Overhearing my big girls laughing together while Face-Timing

October 3
7.  cozy naps
8.  Reagan's good idea turning into an exciting new project
9.  peas and cornbread

October 4
10.  homemade applesauce
11.  a new season of Sherlock on Netflix
12.  almost daily text photos of Ryley's "outfit of the day" for LU classes

October 5
13.  libraries full of free books
14.  booking Ryley's ticket home for Thanksgiving
15.  starting the Christmas planning lists

October 6
16.  hot chocolate with LOTS of marshmallows
17.  watching Ryan and Lily wrestling and hearing her girly squeals of delight
18.  a cute new purse - purchased by my mom

October 7
19.  boots
20.  after missing two weeks, getting to go to church
21.  rocking newborns in the church nursery

October 8
22.  a daughter who knits
23.  a helpful husband
24.  pajama days

October 9
25.  Parenthood - best show on TV
26. effective medication
27.  cooler temperatures

October 10
28.  Sonic ice
29.  watermelon - the Bird's current favorite treat
30.  mailing my first care package to Ryley

October 11
31.  the discovery of Duck Dynasty - and a brand new season just started!
32.  my monthly MOSK group - Mothers of Special (Needs) Kids
33.  new Christmas stockings for the whole family, handmade by Reagan

October 12
32.  a weekly delivery of free eggs from a sweet friend
33.  my crock-pot
34.  a beautiful front porch decorated for fall

October 13
35.  homemade spice tea
36.  organic honeycrisp apples
37.  The Pioneer Woman's French Breakfast Puffs

October 14
38.  hearing the words "Lily is rocking it today!"
39.  sweet buddies who volunteer to hang with Lily on Sunday mornings
40.  handing Lily a treat and hearing what sounds like "thank you" in her sweet voice

October 15
41.  gathering with my fellow pastors' wives to just relax 
42.  getting together with new friends and discovering what you have in common
43.  iPic movie theater - WOW!

October 16
44.  an amazing time of prayer for Lily with pastors from all over Austin
45.  the opportunity to teach One Thousand Gifts at a Ladies Retreat
46.  wearing a sweatshirt outside for the first time this year

October 17
47.  pulling something delicious from the freezer when I don't feel like cooking
48.  getting coupons to Barnes & Noble in my email inbox
49.  overnight oatmeal in the crockpot

October 18
50.  Discovering a new author
51.  Putting Reagan on an airplane for a "sister reunion"
52.  Seeing this on Facebook a few hours later:
        

October 19
53.  an unexpected date night due to the generosity of a sweet friend
54.  catching up with friends
55.  great  news from Lily's California doctor (more on this later)

October 20
56.  a good ARD meeting
57.  teachers who care about Lily and want to see her succeed
58.  a neighborhood wagon ride

October 21
59.  sleeping on freshly washed sheets
60.  Lily looking at storybooks
61.  seeing pictures of my big girls having a blast together in Virginia

October 22
62.  cousins
63.  Ann Voskamp's blog - A Holy Experience
64.  tweets that make me laugh out loud

October 23
65.  peppermint mochas from McDonald's
66.  answered prayers
67.  a new way of looking at a verse of Scripture I've known my whole life    

October 24
68.  getting comments on my blog posts  
69.  cheering for Lily Bird
70.  Skype conversations with Ryley

October 25
71. hearing Ann Voskamp's sweet voice introducing her 1000 Gifts DVD study - and inviting me to the farm!
Want to hear it yourself? Click here.
72.  an unexpected free day
73.  a clean car


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fruit Snack Fail

Today's post is especially for those of you who think, "That Lana.  She just has it all figured out!" 

There are some of you who think that, right? Right??

I'm always on the lookout for snacks that I can modify to fit Lily's specialized diet.  

At the moment, Lily is totally addicted to fruit snacks.  And of course, like everything else in Lily's life, we can't just get the cheap ones.  No sir.  We have to buy the all natural kind with no weird dyes and preservatives.

You know the ones I'm talking about.  These right here:  

Annie's.  The cadillac of fruit snacks.

And while it makes me happy that Lily's not consuming a bunch of GMO's and synthetic colors, it doesn't make me quite as happy that these are around $4.50 a box for 5 measly little bags containing about 12 fruit snacks each.  That translates to $4.50 for 60 fruit snacks.  

On top of that, Lily can't eat any of the red ones.

So when I saw this recipe on Pinterest... 


I thought, "Hmmm... I wonder if I could make my own fruit snacks that fit Lily's diet."

And I got all excited about trying them out. 

(I know.  Even I sometimes have a hard time believing this is what my life has become - excited about homemade fruit snacks...)

I thought of the great blog post I would write, sharing my recipe for all natural homemade fruit snacks, and how moms everywhere would rejoice at the idea of feeding their children something healthy and economical.

I found these perfect little Ice Cubette Trays, just the right size for fruit snacks.


I found all natural fruit "jel dessert" at Whole Foods.  

The first hitch I noticed in my perfect fruit snack plan?  My recipe filled less than half of one of those little cubette trays.  


As in, 30 fruit snacks. Total.

The next hitch?  Getting the fruit snacks out of the little cubette tray.


It looks like I tried to eat them out.


Last hitch?  The appearance of the finished product.  Can you tell which all natural fruit snacks I made and which are store bought??


I'm thinking the Bird's going to notice the difference, too. 

So here's a breakdown of my homemade fruit snack expenses:

Cubette Ice Cube Trays - $5
All natural gelatin - $2
Plain unflavored gelatin - $2

Which comes to $9 for 30 fruit snacks.

And that's not counting the money I spent on gasoline driving to two stores for supplies and of course, my time investment.  Especially the time it took digging out those little cubes with a shish-ka-bob skewer.

So.  

I have an announcement to make:

Mothers everywhere!  Want to feed your children something healthy and economical?  Then feed them Annie's fruit snacks!  

You're welcome.

P.S. Because I am a glutton for punishment, and because I now own those little cubette trays and I need to justify my purchase to Ryan, I will be doing another fruit snack attempt in the near future. I'll let you know how it goes....

P.P.S. If you're still reading and you know how to make homemade all-natural fruit snacks, I wouldn't be offended if you told me how.  That's what a good friend would do.... and you are a good friend, right?

31 Days to Crazy Joy

October 1
1.  My laughing Lily Bird
2.  My new red loafers
3.  A great day at school for Lily

October 2
4.  Pumpkins
5.  A walk around Town Lake in the evening
6.  Overhearing my big girls laughing together while Face-Timing

October 3
7.  cozy naps
8.  Reagan's good idea turning into an exciting new project
9.  peas and cornbread

October 4
10.  homemade applesauce
11.  a new season of Sherlock on Netflix
12.  almost daily text photos of Ryley's "outfit of the day" for LU classes

October 5
13.  libraries full of free books
14.  booking Ryley's ticket home for Thanksgiving
15.  starting the Christmas planning lists

October 6
16.  hot chocolate with LOTS of marshmallows
17.  watching Ryan and Lily wrestling and hearing her girly squeals of delight
18.  a cute new purse - purchased by my mom

October 7
19.  boots
20.  after missing two weeks, getting to go to church
21.  rocking newborns in the church nursery

October 8
22.  a daughter who knits
23.  a helpful husband
24.  pajama days

October 9
25.  Parenthood - best show on TV
26. effective medication
27.  cooler temperatures

October 10
28.  Sonic ice
29.  watermelon - the Bird's current favorite treat
30.  mailing my first care package to Ryley

October 11
31.  the discovery of Duck Dynasty - and a brand new season just started!
32.  my monthly MOSK group - Mothers of Special (Needs) Kids
33.  new Christmas stockings for the whole family, handmade by Reagan

October 12
32.  a weekly delivery of free eggs from a sweet friend
33.  my crock-pot
34.  a beautiful front porch decorated for fall

October 13
35.  homemade spice tea
36.  organic honeycrisp apples
37.  The Pioneer Woman's French Breakfast Puffs

October 14
38.  hearing the words "Lily is rocking it today!"
39.  sweet buddies who volunteer to hang with Lily on Sunday mornings
40.  handing Lily a treat and hearing what sounds like "thank you" in her sweet voice

October 15
41.  gathering with my fellow pastors' wives to just relax 
42.  getting together with new friends and discovering what you have in common
43.  iPic movie theater - WOW!

October 16
44.  an amazing time of prayer for Lily with pastors from all over Austin
45.  the opportunity to teach One Thousand Gifts at a Ladies Retreat
46.  wearing a sweatshirt outside for the first time this year

October 17
47.  pulling something delicious from the freezer when I don't feel like cooking
48.  getting coupons to Barnes & Noble in my email inbox
49.  overnight oatmeal in the crockpot

October 18
50.  Discovering a new author
51.  Putting Reagan on an airplane for a "sister reunion"
52.  Seeing this on Facebook a few hours later:
        

October 19
53.  an unexpected date night due to the generosity of a sweet friend
54.  catching up with friends
55.  great  news from Lily's California doctor (more on this later)

October 20
56.  a good ARD meeting
57.  teachers who care about Lily and want to see her succeed
58.  a neighborhood wagon ride

October 21
59.  sleeping on freshly washed sheets
60.  Lily looking at storybooks
61.  seeing pictures of my big girls having a blast together in Virginia

October 22
62.  cousins
63.  Ann Voskamp's blog - A Holy Experience
64.  tweets that make me laugh out loud


Friday, October 19, 2012

Starting a Sensory Diet

I feel like such a slacker.

We had an ARD meeting Wednesday morning so I spent the first part of the week preparing for that which ultimately translated into no post on Tuesday morning.

I do hope you won't think my lack of writing means that I'm not thinking of you....

Something interesting came up in the ARD meeting and since October is National Sensory Awareness Month, I thought we could talk a little about how sensory processing can be more difficult for some of our kiddos.

As Lily moves throughout her school day, we are becoming more aware of her need for some frequent breaks that provide her with an opportunity to get regulated for more learning.  So we are going to implement a sensory diet into her day that will consist of both scheduled and spontaneous break times.  The scheduled breaks will hopefully allow her to stay focused on tasks for longer periods of time while the spontaneous breaks will be carried out on an as-need or as requested basis.

So what exactly is a sensory diet?  A sensory diet is a personalized activity plan that provides sensory input that an individual needs to stay focused and organized throughout the day.


Almost every single one of us has sensory needs that we may not even be aware of - things like clicking a pen or doodling while talking on the phone to help us stay focused or drinking tea or reading to unwind after a busy day.

Well, kids are the same way.  But some need even more unique ways of regulating the nervous system.

For example, Lily doesn't just like deep pressure; she craves it.  She needs it.

What most parents would consider good ol' horseplay is serious business around the Rush home.  Of course, Lily loves it when her dad chases her through the house, scoops her up, tosses her on the big bed, buries her under some pillows, and begins applying some deep pressure by firmly pushing on the pillows.  She squeals and giggles just like the little girl she is.


But it's doing far more than simply providing some good father-daughter bonding time.  It's helping her become more aware of her body and it's position in space.  It's regulating her alertness and increasing her attention span.  It's helping her handle situations with less stress.  It's giving her an acceptable way to deal with her emotions when she feels herself losing control.

Since Ryan and king size beds are not available in Lily's classroom everyday, making a Lily sandwich with bean bags is a good way to provide this need for deep pressure.  Lily lounges in a bean bag, the teacher places another bean bag on top of the Bird, and then gently but firmly pushes, giving Lily that body regulation she has such a need for.

Other "ingredients" in Lily's sensory diet include crunching ice chips, going to the cool-down corner, compression clothing, wiggles and brush (a vibration and brushing technique used by Lily's occupational therapist), and foot massages.

Interested in developing a sensory diet for your child?  Speak with an occupational therapist.  And here are two very informative blog posts that will help you get started:

What Every Parent Should Know about Sensory Processing Disorder  from Simply Stavish blog

and

Sensory Diet for School from Hartley's Life with Three Boys blog.

So what about you?  Does your child have a sensory diet?  How do you incorporate it throughout the day, especially at school?  Share your tips!

31 Days to Crazy Joy:


October 1
1.  My laughing Lily Bird
2.  My new red loafers
3.  A great day at school for Lily

October 2
4.  Pumpkins
5.  A walk around Town Lake in the evening
6.  Overhearing my big girls laughing together while Face-Timing

October 3
7.  cozy naps
8.  Reagan's good idea turning into an exciting new project
9.  peas and cornbread

October 4
10.  homemade applesauce
11.  a new season of Sherlock on Netflix
12.  almost daily text photos of Ryley's "outfit of the day" for LU classes

October 5
13.  libraries full of free books
14.  booking Ryley's ticket home for Thanksgiving
15.  starting the Christmas planning lists

October 6
16.  hot chocolate with LOTS of marshmallows
17.  watching Ryan and Lily wrestling and hearing her girly squeals of delight
18.  a cute new purse - purchased by my mom

October 7
19.  boots
20.  after missing two weeks, getting to go to church
21.  rocking newborns in the church nursery

October 8
22.  a daughter who knits
23.  a helpful husband
24.  pajama days

October 9
25.  Parenthood - best show on TV
26. effective medication
27.  cooler temperatures

October 10
28.  Sonic ice
29.  watermelon - the Bird's current favorite treat
30.  mailing my first care package to Ryley

October 11
31.  the discovery of Duck Dynasty - and a brand new season just started!
32.  my monthly MOSK group - Mothers of Special (Needs) Kids
33.  new Christmas stockings for the whole family, handmade by Reagan

October 12
32.  a weekly delivery of free eggs from a sweet friend
33.  my crock-pot
34.  a beautiful front porch decorated for fall

October 13
35.  homemade spice tea
36.  organic honeycrisp apples
37.  The Pioneer Woman's French Breakfast Puffs

October 14
38.  hearing the words "Lily is rocking it today!"
39.  sweet buddies who volunteer to hang with Lily on Sunday mornings
40.  handing Lily a treat and hearing what sounds like "thank you" in her sweet voice

October 15
41.  gathering with my fellow pastors' wives to just relax 
42.  getting together with new friends and discovering what you have in common
43.  iPic movie theater - WOW!

October 16
44.  an amazing time of prayer for Lily with pastors from all over Austin
45.  the opportunity to teach One Thousand Gifts at a Ladies Retreat
46.  wearing a sweatshirt outside for the first time this year

October 17
47.  pulling something delicious from the freezer when I don't feel like cooking
48.  getting coupons to Barnes & Noble in my email inbox
49.  overnight oatmeal in the crockpot

October 18
50.  Discovering a new author
51.  Putting Reagan on an airplane for a "sister reunion"
52.  Seeing this on Facebook a few hours later:
        

I hope you're spending some time looking for good days, too! Enjoy the weekend, sweet ones.




Friday, October 12, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

It's too bad we don't have much of an autumn in Texas because it's my all time favorite season.

I'm hoping to do a little porch decorating this weekend.  Something simple and sweet - a few pumpkins, some mums, and a wreath on the door.

I sent some little fall goodie bags to Lily's teachers and aides this morning:


My mom did something similar for her Bible Study friends and Ryley is making about 70 of them for the girls in her dorm hall.

If you'd like to treat someone special, here's what I did:

I made a big batch of this snack mix recipe.
I filled sandwich size baggies with the mix and sealed them closed.
Put a baggie inside the brown lunch bags, folded tops over, hole punched them, and threaded ribbon through to keep the bags closed.
Added this cute "Happy Fall Y'all" tag - but I think it goes without saying that you can only use these tags if you're from Texas!

 Looking for a few good Halloween ideas for the kiddos?  Well then, check these out:

One more thing - and this has nothing to do with fall.  For those of you following along on Ryley's feature writing journey for Liberty University Athletics, here's the link to her second published article, and my favorite one so far:


Lastly, my 31 Days to Crazy Joy continues:


October 1
1.  My laughing Lily Bird
2.  My new red loafers
3.  A great day at school for Lily

October 2
4.  Pumpkins
5.  A walk around Town Lake in the evening
6.  Overhearing my big girls laughing together while Face-Timing

October 3
7.  cozy naps
8.  Reagan's good idea turning into an exciting new project
9.  peas and cornbread

October 4
10.  homemade applesauce
11.  a new season of Sherlock on Netflix
12.  almost daily text photos of Ryley's "outfit of the day" for LU classes

October 5
13.  libraries full of free books
14.  booking Ryley's ticket home for Thanksgiving
15.  starting the Christmas planning lists

October 6
16.  hot chocolate with LOTS of marshmallows
17.  watching Ryan and Lily wrestling and hearing her girly squeals of delight
18.  a cute new purse - purchased by my mom

October 7
19.  boots
20.  after missing two weeks, getting to go to church
21.  rocking newborns in the church nursery

October 8
22.  a daughter who knits
23.  a helpful husband
24.  pajama days

October 9
25.  Parenthood - best show on TV
26. effective medication
27.  cooler temperatures

October 10
28.  Sonic ice
29.  watermelon - the Bird's current favorite treat
30.  mailing my first care package to Ryley

October 11
31.  the discovery of Duck Dynasty - and a brand new season just started!
32.  my monthly MOSK group - Mothers of Special (Needs) Kids
33.  new Christmas stockings for the whole family, handmade by Reagan

Hope you see a lovely weekend! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Get Up and Get Goin'

I apologize for the late posting.  

Here in Austin, we kick off the fall season with a bang - by getting ragweed and mold counts so high that its truly a miracle anyone can breathe at all.  

My face actually hurts. My face, y'all.

But I'm guessing no one really visited the blog today to hear me gripe and moan about my allergies, right?  

So let's talk morning routine.

My best mornings are those in which I've spent the night before getting as much done as I can.  But since allergies have attacked with a vengeance, pretty much all I've done the past two evenings after Lily's tucked in bed is sprawl on the couch and watch multiple episodes of Duck Dynasty.  

Do not judge me.

On school mornings, this is what you'll find going on in my house between 6-7:25 AM:

I get up, unplug iPad from charger, put device in case, and head to kitchen.
On the way, stop in Lily's room, turn off sound machine, and leave her door open.
Make Lily's medicine and juice "cocktail".
Shake out 2 multi-vitamins and 4 fish oil chewables for the Bird and place everything - meds, "cocktail" and iPad - on kitchen table.
Place uncooked bacon in oven.
Head back to my bedroom to start bubble bath for Lily.
Lily is usually awake at this point and I walk her to my bathroom, strip her down, and she climbs in the tub to begin to the process of a slow and relaxing awakening.
Ryan is up by this time so he keeps an eye on Lily, soaps and shampoos her, and brushes her teeth while I go back to kitchen.
Fry a couple of eggs and remove now cooked bacon from oven.
Put breakfast on the table.
Grab already prepared snacks and lunch items from fridge and pantry and place in lunchbox.
Finish any food items for school I couldn't do the night before.
Lily joins me, naked as a jaybird, in the kitchen.
Together we get her clothes on, along with socks and shoes, apply hair product and comb hair, all while simultaneously playing iPad, eating, and drinking.
I finish up any other school preparations and pack the backpack while Lily finishes up breakfast.
Buckle the Bird in the carseat and she's off - most days with Ryan taking her to school.

And there you have it.

More than you ever wanted to know about how we get out the door in the mornings.

But really, like I said before, that morning routine actually begins the night before:  cutting up fruit and veggies, making drinks, crushing meds, labeling cups and snack containers, laying out clothes, and the like.

Oh.

And watching Duck Dynasty.

So.  What's your morning routine?  Got any tips or tricks to share?  I'd love to hear it!

31 Days to Crazy Joy Continues:


October 1
1.  My laughing Lily Bird
2.  My new red loafers
3.  A great day at school for Lily

October 2
4.  Pumpkins
5.  A walk around Town Lake in the evening
6.  Overhearing my big girls laughing together while Face-Timing

October 3
7.  cozy naps
8.  Reagan's good idea turning into an exciting new project
9.  peas and cornbread

October 4
10.  homemade applesauce
11.  a new season of Sherlock on Netflix
12.  almost daily text photos of Ryley's "outfit of the day" for LU classes

October 5
13.  libraries full of free books
14.  booking Ryley's ticket home for Thanksgiving
15.  starting the Christmas planning lists

October 6
16.  hot chocolate with LOTS of marshmallows
17.  watching Ryan and Lily wrestling and hearing her girly squeals of delight
18.  a cute new purse - purchased by my mom

October 7
19.  boots
20.  after missing two weeks, getting to go to church
21.  rocking newborns in the church nursery

October 8
22.  a daughter who knits
23.  a helpful husband
24.  pajama days

October 9
25.  Parenthood - best show on TV
26. effective medication
27.  cooler temperatures

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