Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Advent Post #4

Oh wow! It's not only the last week of Advent, but it's only TWO days from Christmas! How exciting! I'm linking up with Beth Anne again this week, and so excited, I think she's going to do a Lent link-up too. Lots of fun, with great ideas on what to write about.

I'm going to write about a couple of the prompts, because I couldn't decide. :)

Share your favorite Christmas foods and sweets: we don't have any real traditions regarding our dinner/lunch, I'd love to start some but it's hard with Christopher's strange tastes. I remember when my brother's ex-wife called my mom asking for a recipe for Blinna pancakes which are a German version of crepes, much thicker and with yeast. They are delicious. My brother apparently told his wife that it was a tradition that we always had those for Christmas morning, and he wanted to do the same for their kids. My mom, was like "um what? Who does that much work on Christmas?!" Ha! So, we didn't have any breakfast traditions, but I remember it was usually small. Our little Spano family does have a breakfast tradition for Christmas morning, I've made it at least the last three years and plan to make them this year. My homemade cinnamon rolls, with Jason making hand whipped buttercream frosting. This is something that everyone eats! We have done various things for Christmas dinner, but this year I'm making steak, with crescent rolls, and chocolate cobbler for dessert. I'm allowing myself to cheat on Christmas from my nutrisystem plan, but even though I've been planning on this cheat all month, I have finally settled on something not so bad.

Reflect on how prayerful your Advent was or wasn't: We actually did a great job as a family this Advent. We lit our Advent wreath nearly every evening and prayed one decade of the Rosary with the boys, then Jason and I would finish the Rosary and do the Advent reading from the Magnificat  Advent Companion. We didn't do it every night, but pretty close. That's impressive for us, as we often find it hard to keep that routine, hopefully this is something that we will can continue.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Advent Post #3

Here I am, linking up again with Beth Anne. It's been my best way to make sure I actually do a blog posts, I should link up every day with someone different!

I am going to share about some of the cool Christmas experiences we are doing this year. Christopher is a part of an agency in town that helped us get his medicaid up and running, and we attended the Christmas party a few weeks ago. The really great thing was that there were no "looks" when Christopher got upset; and actually, he handled it really well and didn't even get upset. There was food, Santa, presents, and Bingo. It was a fun night!

This past weekend we took the boys to our local "Enchanted Forest" which is a park in town that has Santa's workshop as well as a train that rides all around the park stopping at different games. It was extremely cold, but the boys loved it! Dominic participated in the games and saw Santa, and Christopher was happy to ride the train the whole time with daddy. The only down side is that now whenever we go by that area in town, Christopher points that way wanting to go ride the train again.

It's hard to keep these kinds of things fun, and still honor Advent and the waiting. So we talk a lot about how we are "waiting" for it to be Jesus' birthday. I made our own Advent calendar, where Dominic is moving the lamb each day until it gets to Jesus' birthday, which he seems to really be enjoying.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Advent Week #2

I'm linking up with Beth Anne again this week to talk about Advent. I love these writing prompts because then I don't have to think of anything myself. ;-)

I'm going to talk about our St. Nicholas traditions, or more accurately, what I hope to make our traditions into. This year was really the first year that anything made a connection for Dominic I think. We put their shoes out the night before, and checked them first thing in the morning. I know we did this last year as well, but I don't think anything made a connection. We tried to talk about Saint Nicholas, but he had a hard time differentiating between him and Santa Claus. He kept saying it's "Sainta claus's birthday!" Part of this is because I haven't been able to add saints into much of our religious education; I'd say that this is likely because I struggle to think of specific saints' feast days. I have tried to do something on the boys' name saints' feast days, but I find it hard to think of. Perhaps this is because I'm a convert, and while I totally understand and appreciate the celebration of saints' feast days, it's still a little foreign to me and is definitely not a big part of my faith. I also find it difficult, because most of what you see to do with kids is coloring pictures or something and our boys are not into coloring. I keep thinking that eventually I'll find the best way to introduce saints to the boys. Perhaps that is what Saint Nicholas' feast day can be for us. A small introduction.

This year I did chocolate coins for Dominic and daddy and a few Oreos for Christopher, along with a slinky for each boy. Nothing big, but something that will stand out as exciting. Well, I thought it would, but apparently it has been so long since Christopher had Oreos that he wasn't excited by them anymore. He did finally eat one part of a cookie a couple days later. That's a win! ;-)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

First Week of Advent Link Up

I'm linking up with Beth Anne this week, and hopefully will be able to remember to link up each week. She gives some writing prompts at the beginning of the week, and then you can link up later in the week. If you're struggling to get back into blogging (like I am!) then this is a great way to do it. 

What does Advent mean to you?

I know that a lot of converts feel a special closeness to Lent and Easter because that is often when converts are welcomed into the Church, and I feel like that makes sense, and love Lent and Easter. But, I was baptized in September, so I don't have that same connection. Instead, as a convert, I was able to witness Advent and Christmas in a special way my first year as a Catholic. I started coming to Mass during the Easter season prior, so I had yet to witness the taking away of the Gloria. I remember that it confused me and struck me particularly. Jason told me that Advent is a time for preparation for the coming of the Lord, and the Gloria would come back at the Midnight(ish) Mass on Christmas Eve. I went to my first penance service during that Advent, and was amazed to see so many people wanting to clean their souls before the coming of the Lord. I had a copy of the Magnificat's Advent Companion, and enjoyed the little reflections and the daily prayer that helped me reflect on what the waiting was all about.

To me Advent will always remind me of those times when we are quiet, where we wait in anticipation for the birth of the Christ Child, in full joy marveling at His Glory.

Monday, November 30, 2015

School Daze

A Monetessori type activity. Dominic did very well with this, but got bored quickly
Ah homeschooling has been a difficult task for us this year. We started the year with online public school, but found it to be a very difficult task for us. It was very rigid, and there was A LOT of work every day, the phonics lesson alone was an hour and there were days when he had to do two lessons in one day. It definitely didn't feel flexible, and it started to be such a fight just to get Dominic to sit with me and do anything. That is not what I want school to be like for us.

Then we tried some unschooling, but it switched quickly into laziness and we accomplished very little. I decided that this was unlikely to make anyone successful. We had purchased a preschool/kindergarten set of curricula from Catholic Heritage Curricula and I decided to give that a try again. It is sort of workbook-ish, but it is such a small amount of work that, so far, it has gone well. Also, this adds religion in, which is definitely a big part of why we want to homeschool anyway, and I've been impressed with Dominic's knowledge and how quickly he has caught on to new concepts.

This was an attempt at an art project. We used sponge cut into a heart shape and dipped in green. Dominic was not impressed

He has a difficult time with scissors, he refuses to let me help him hold them with one hand, but I'm trying to let him cut it anyway. 

He does a very good job of gluing though. ;-)

I really like the picture of the number displayed on a hand, he's able to know those on site, which makes him feel better

Dominic doesn't like to color, but he does enjoy telling me what color to do

Friday, November 6, 2015

Speech and Occupational Therapy - Oh My!!

Christopher has Medicaid! He has started OT and SLP! He is making progress!! Hooray!

**yes, I do know that I haven't posted here in a really long time. I have been thinking and thinking of blog posts, of wanting to get back into it, but for various reasons just haven't gotten to it. So here I am, making an attempt.**

So, after a long, painful application process; Christopher's Medicaid became active in September and we wasted no time in getting some therapies started. He is doing exceptionally well with OT and moderately well with Speech.

We are getting some great techniques to help calm him down when he's upset. Specifically brushing. We aren't doing the whole protocol, but we are definitely finding that it helps calm him down when it's necessary. Even Dominic has gotten in on it.

We've started using his headphones at Mass and have really seen some improvement in his behavior and emotions there. Even other people have noticed and mentioned to Jason one Sunday.

He has recently been really preferring Jason to me, so much so that he not only rejects me when Jason is home, but he often doesn't want any comfort from me during the day. This has been...emotional for me. It's been a little rough. I think that there is something that he needs, that I'm not giving him, and because of the lack of communication, he can't tell me. When Jason is home, he's so happy that he doesn't need whatever it is he does during the day. That's my completely unprofessional opinion. ;-)

We played with play-doh earlier this week and Christopher amazed me. He normally just tears the play-doh into tiny and tinier pieces. This makes him happy, he enjoys it, so it's still a win. But the other day, he did this:

He figured out how to work that and just kept making a snake, then putting it back in and making another. He was intent. And happy. We played a long time. So now our play-doh is in one bucket: 

But that's just fine. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Oh--Ahem--A Blog!

Ahhh it has been much longer than I would have liked since my last blog post. I have much that I want to write about, and I've just been thinking "I'll do a blog post about that soon", and I have yet to do any. So this is going to be a bit of mashup of all that has been happening in the months since my last post.

We are still nowhere with getting Christopher coverage to start therapy. I thought that maybe things were looking up as the person from Southeastern Developmental Services (which is our local service that helps people with special needs, from children to adults) brought some paperwork for us to do and she made it sound like we would get funding soon. However, things piled up on her plate and it's been about a month since I saw her last. But, she has scheduled an appointment with me for Friday to bring the end of the paperwork and hopefully I'll have a time frame on when coverage might start. At one of the other nearby hospitals (sorry PMC) the speech therapist has a connection with a group that does scholarships to provide speech therapy for those whose insurance doesn't cover it, and I'm looking into that as well. I have to just finish that paperwork and send it off, I've been delaying on that simply because I'll have to pay for the evaluation and that's kind of pricey.

In the meantime, I'm working on being better at working with him. It is hard to remain focused and limit screen time. These pictures show some of our activities when I'm trying to keep him away from his device.

Dominic is set to start Kindergarten with Colorado Prep Academy through K12 online schools. I'm really excited for this because I feel like it will give us the best of both homeschooling and public school. The person who helped me register said that for Kindergarten it is 80% offline and 20% online; they sometimes have video chats with their teacher one on one and sometimes all the students video chat together. I'm very excited to see how this works. Dominic is a little young for our district's standards (he turns 5 in August) but we're going to give it a try. If he has to repeat next year then he does, it isn't something I'm going to stress about right now. Of course, having public school allows for us to have an IEP for Christopher next year and therapy services normally provided in school. I'm stoked about this for sure. It's hard for me to imagine either boy actually learning and doing school work, but I think they'll do well.

I have some plans for an update post about my weight loss, but I need to do some research about where I was the last time I posted. I have many posts in my mind, and I'm hopeful that I'll start posting regularly again!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Lenten Update

What? Just because it's, Holy week doesn't mean I can't do an update. Right?

This Lent I had big plans that included Daily Mass, Weekly Adoration, and of course my regular sacrifice. However, we didn't make Daily Mass at all and only once to Adoration. I'm inclined to let this really get me down, but I'm not going to. I managed to do my sacrifice (which was fasting every Friday) and even managed to keep up on my daily prayers for the most part. That is a win in my book!

As we go into this week, I find myself more focused on the Passion of Our Lord. As I look at the struggles that I face I'm really trying to place them at His feet, and remember His cross was greater and it was FOR ME. What better reminder is there that these struggles are not harder than anyone else's and I'm not alone in them.

Have a Blessed Holy Week!

**pictures are unrelated evidence of the joys of being a little boy in the spring

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Weightloss Update

Oh goodness, it's been a long time since I've done a weightoss update. I'll be really honest, it's because I've been in this awful plateau and I've been kind of depressed about it.

For a while I wasn't eating right and not exercising in the way that I should. Thankfully I only went up about 2 pounds. Frustrating, but manageable for sure.

So, it was time to really do something more serious. I rejoined Weight Watchers and I started my daily run again. I also joined the local Curves because I got a notice in the mail that said they were going to be open 24/7. Basically she has a key lock on the door and you can go in whenever you want. It's totally worth the  monthly fee.

Now for numbers. The last time I did a weightloss post (August-yikes!) I was 267 pounds. This week when I did my Weight Watchers weigh-in I was at 264.1 pounds. That is a very good start. We'll see how this week goes.

Obviously, this weightloss journey is actually about more than just weight. I want to get stronger, and be able to do more with my family. Yesterday I did my run and then we went hiking at Picketwire canyon. We had planned to do the 5 miles until the dinosaur tracks, but the boys just couldn't handle it. They were so tired. We really need to build up their endurance I think. So, more hiking trips are in our future! ;-)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

New Year Questions

Beth Anne tagged me in this fun post! I'm not going to tag people, because I don't know that many bloggers! we go!!


Four names that people call me:
1. Jeanine
2. Momma
3. Wife
4. Mrs. Spano

Four jobs I have had:
1. Physical Therapist Assistant
2. Accounts Payable Clerk
3. Rehab Aide
4. Shoe Sales-person

Four movies I have seen more than once:
1. Princess Bride
2. Tangled
3. MegaMind

Four books I’d recommend: 
1. Wheel of Time series
2. Redemption of Althalus
3. Navarre Study Bible
4. The Count of Monte Cristo

Four Places I’ve Lived:
1. Evans, CO
2. Lamar, CO
3. Garden City, KS
4. Las Animas, CO

Four Places I Have Been:
1. Rome, Italy
2. Florence, Italy
3. New York City, NY
4. Chicago, IL 

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:
1. Asleep
2. Rome, Italy
3. Anywhere where we could all be together as a family without my husband being stressed about work.
4. Disneyland

Four Things I Don’t Eat:
1. Mushrooms
2. Olives
3. Most fishy fishes
4. Cashews

Four of My Favorite Foods:
1. Anything Mexican
2. Steak
3. Baked potatoes
4. Bacon

Four Things I’m Looking Forward to This Year:
1. Starting Christopher's speech and occupational therapy
2. Vacation!
3. Losing weight/getting healthy (if I say it enough it might be true right!)
4. Doing school with the boys

Four Things I’m Saying:
1. "'Your turn bud!' Mater I can't I don't even have a horn' 'baby' 'I'm not a baby'"
2. Please don't step on your brother's head (to either boy at various times)
3. What does an elephant say?
4. Lord, please help me be a better mother

Four People I’m tagging:

That was fun!

I have lots of posts in my brain, that I hope to get down some time soon.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Trying to Make School Fun

So lately I've really been struggling with too much time on electronics for the boys and myself so Jason created a tasker profile on the Nexus so we can have it just shut off with no fight for Dominic, and I'm setting timers for myself.

Today I did some school with Dominic and attempted to make it fun so it wasn't a fight. There was mostly success with this. :)

Counting with chocolate chips and working on the letters of his name. D is for Daddy and Dominic. When I drew the D the second time he quickly said he wanted daddy so I'm thinking maybe something is clicking a bit? Here's hoping!