Princess Ky Background - The cutest blog on the block

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Mother's Prayer

I love this song!!  (Click on the photo below to listen to the song)

 I think I used every kleenex in the house before it was over!  Talk about sobbing!! Wow! did this video/song ever hit home for me!!

I am posting "A Mother's Prayer" on my blog in honor of my Kylie!

If God should take me home before I have sufficiently taught you these things.  May you remember them through this post.

 I love you baby girl! The sacrifices your daddy and I make will never be enough, but rest assured... God loves you MORE and God has a PERFECT PLAN for your struggles and challenges.  You will have a beautiful life if you recognize his sovereignty and TRUST in HIM.

Readers: I hope you enjoy it too!! (click on the box below to hear the song)
P.S. If anyone knows the story behind this song, I'd love to hear it.

A Mother's Prayer 
Rachel Aldous

A Mother’s Prayer (Hannah’s Song)
Words by Rachel Aldous
Music by John Mandeville

My sweet baby on loan from above.
No better treasure could I more love.
I stand here beside your bed as I pray
I lay my hand on your head and I say:

May you grow up to serve Him
All of your days
May He lead you and guide you
In all of your ways.
May His hand bless your future with
Friendships that last
May you cherish your youth
And not grow up too fast

Verse: I stare in wonder at your tiny frame
Just to think that God knows you by name.
He knows every hair on your beautiful head.
He knows your thoughts before they are said.


May God grant you peace
In the midst of a storm
May God give you strength even
When you’re forlorn
May you answer the door when
Jesus comes knocking
May wisdom guide when
Your mouth is talking.
May discretion protect you
And keep you pure.
May you never stumble
Or fall for a lure.
May your heart remain humble
To the very end.
May uprightness and truth
Be what you defend
May the world not ensnare
Or change who you are.
May the light that’s within you
Shine like the stars
May angels surround you
Body, spirit, mind
May favor and peace be yours to find.
May rejection and pain
Never reach you.
May your spirit grow bold for what you’re called to


As you rest in God’s care I will rest too.
Knowing that Jesus is watching over you.

Hannah speaks: I love you Mommy…

Friday, October 26, 2012

Obedience: The Formula for Fall Blessings

Let's face it.  Not many people like the word "obey". 

Anytime I use that word around Kylie's therapists ("Kylie you need to obey Miss Therapist"), they quickly change the wording to "Yes, Kylie, please follow directions"

People don't like the word obey because it implies submission and so many of us have a problem with authority.  We want to be THE BOSS.

I get it, I truly do. 

(I, also, have a slight issue with authority - we creative types always do)

Even though I don't particularly LIKE the word "obey", I still use it.  I use it because Jesus used it and Jesus never did anything without a reason.

My daughter at age 6 (and on the Autism Spectrum) knows the meaning and definition of the word "obey".  We have placed it before her since she was tiny. 

Did you notice what I just wrote?  I used the phrasing "placed it before her" rather than "drilled it into her" for a reason.

You see, as a person who would rather be my own boss, I realize the importance of strategy and diplomacy.   There is a way to get our children to obey without always placing a figurative yoke around their neck and dragging them to the task at hand.

The thing is, Kids are people pleasers.  They WANT to make you happy, but they want to do it in their own time and in their own creative way.  Sometimes, this poses a problem when REAL life enters the picture.

Kids don't understand that things in the adult world happen on a schedule.  That some schedules are flexible and can change, but that other schedules absolutely cannot be changed.

Charlotte Mason, a great educator from the past, once referred to the fact that obedience needs to be a HABIT and that out of everything you can teach a child, obedience is the "single greatest pattern to be formed" (For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay)

If for no other reason, our children need to know how to obey for safety reasons.  Let's say they are running toward a rolling ball that has left the playground and ventured into the parking lot. If we shout "stop!" and they don't obey, their very life could depend on it.

Many children and especially children who experience special needs have very valid reasons for not obeying.  These reasons vary from they simply don't respect the elder giving the directive to they didn't hear the directive.

If a child does not respect you enough to obey you, you might want to take a look at your personal character:

*Are you trustworthy? (or do you make promises that you don't keep?)
*Do you behave like an adult? (or do you throw loud and uncontrolled temper tantrums?)
*Do you control your emotions? (or do you use emotions in an attempt to manipulate your child?)
*Do you follow through? (When the sticker chart is full do you implement the reward? When the chore is completed, do you pay the allowance?)
*Do you practice what you preach? (or do you violate your own directives?)

These are just a few of the things that may cause your child to disrespect you.  If you are guilty in one or more area, apologize to yourself and then to your child and let them know you are going to be a better parent.  THAT will be a great first step toward reconciliation and restoration of the relationship.

Many children have issues with obedience due to auditory processing, maintaining focus, having control over their own body systems, the ability to respond quickly or on demand, hearing, attention, hyperactivity and the list goes on.

These things are very important to know and recognize in any child.

Once you know about your child's abilities and have repaired your own character, you are ready to initiate obedience training.  Obedience is a skill that needs to be modeled, taught and practiced.

No one likes to be TOLD what  to do.  But we all like to be offered choices; It gives us the illusion of being in control.

(offering choices works like magic in our own home:  "Kylie, which would you like to pick up first? the markers or the crayons?" or "Kylie, you may either pick up your toys and watch a movie afterwards or you may leave the toys out and head to bed now."  and it seriously becomes her choice.)

Modeling Obedience
The best place to model obedience is in the car.  The law of the land has posted signs that must be obeyed: speed limit signs, yield signs, stop signs, crosswalks, etc.  Your children know if you are obedient and respectful toward the law.  If you don't obey those in authority over you, why should it matter for them to obey you?

Teaching Obedience
The basic formula of obedience is
(O) + DR = Blessing 
Obedience plus doing right equals blessing

This formula is based on Ephesians 6:1-3

"Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 

"Honor your father and mother"- which is the first commandment with a promise attached to it- "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on earth."

I recently saw this illustration that beautifully teaches the obedience/following directions concept on a child's level.

It is basically a key ring concept.  The key ring has a tag with the Ephesians 6:1-3 verses typed out on it and on the key ring is 4 laminated paper keys teaching what obedience is:

1.) Obey: Immediately
2.) Obey: Cheerfully
3.) Obey: Completely
4.) Obey: Without complaining

If a child obeys, but is grumpy about it, you simply point out that they are missing a key and suggest that they find it and use it to unlock the blessing.  These small tangible reminders help to reinforce exactly what obedience is.

This is a photo of the version I made for Kylie.

Practicing Obedience:
Obedience is comprised of Listening/Processing and Following Directions

When caregivers say to my child "Kylie you need to listen" - It drives me C-R-A-Z-Y.  Kylie has auditory processing issues. She HAS listened. The time lapse in response is due to her brain trying to process the information so she can act. 

Some children (a LOT of children) require object cues, picture cues, sign language cues, lists or other to help them understand what it is that you are asking of them.  (otherwise your directive sounds like that of Charlie Brown's teacher "wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah" - no child has a chance at following that direction)

If it is time for Kylie to pick up toys, we don't generalize and say "Kylie you need to pick up toys" instead, we use a white board and we write on it. 

1.) Pick up markers
2.) Pick up Barbies
3.) Pick up coloring books

 until everything has been picked up

Or , we will use a "First/Then" method.  "Kylie, First pick up Barbies, Then eat popsicle"

both allow her some flexibility in making the decision for herself, but both also accomplish the task needing to be completed.

It is also important to give your child the tools and scenarios to be successful.  Do not set them up for failure by keeping them up too late at night and demanding obedience when they are too tired to respond appropriately.  Don't attempt a clean up routine when lunch has been delayed by an hour.  All they can think of is how hungry they are.  They are in no mindset to be obedient.

Make sure your child's needs are met first and then work on practicing obedience together.

Easy Ways to Practice Obedience This Fall Season:
*Follow directions according to a recipe for food or for playdough.  If the recipe is not followed correctly the item does not turn out as it should.  Here is my recipe for Pumpkin Pie scented playdough

*Do an activity together that encourages following a pattern. Here is a pumpkin nailing activity that we did with Kylie.

*Play a game with 2 step directions.  Here is a Game that we play with Kylie that not only focuses on following directions, but also on counting and sensory integration.

* Work on boundaries:  We do this by creating seasonal sensory bins for Kylie to play in.  We put a large sheet under the sensory bin and the rule is that the items in the sensory bin HAVE to stay within the boundary of the sheet. If they end up on the carpet or in another room, we have to put away the sensory bin for a time.  Here is our Halloween bin, Our Icky Sticky bin, and our November/Thanksgiving bin.
Anne Sullivan (Hellen Keller's teacher) once said...
"I have thought about it a great deal, and the more I think, the more certain I am that obedience is the gateway through which knowledge, yes, and love, too, enter the mind of the child."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Santa, Please bring me THIS!!

I am sure Kylie was wishing "Santa, Please bring me THIS!!" last night as we browsed in Pottery Barn Kids (PBK).

Pottery Barn Kids is Kylie's favorite store in the mall.  Last night, the ladies working in the store asked Kylie if she was looking for anything special.  I replied "EVERYTHING is special here!"  - we all got a good chuckle and shared a knowing grin.

In fact, my very first post on this blog was about Pottery Barn Kids.

Last night, Kylie went immediately to the jewelry boxes.  They are her very favorite items in Pottery Barn Kids. She LOVES watching the ballerinas spin to the music.

She especially loves changing out the ballerinas (every box comes with 2 of the tulle beauties).

Kylie loves things that come in sets.  She loves to line them up and change them out.  So, I asked the sales lady if you could purchase extra (or replacement) ballerinas.  She looked online and said she didn't see them available for purchase by themselves. (Bummer!! I was hoping I could order 2 or three extra to give her more to change out)

I would love for Kylie to have one of these beautiful boxes as she has been so consistent in her adoration of them for literally years.  Last night, she played with the card-stock ones, but if I ever lay down the money to buy her one, it will be a beautiful wooden one (they are expensive, but sturdy)

As you can see, Kylie made herself right at home in the little girls bedroom display (even taking off her shoes).  What I wouldn't give to be able to have a good size room for her so she could enjoy it like she enjoys the one in Pottery Barn Kids.

What was interesting about her play last night, was that she had both a pink jewelry box and a purple jewelry box that she was playing with.

There are two beds in the display and she kept going back and forth between the two.

She was trying to carry both boxes and I kept envisioning her dropping one and breaking the mirror inside, so I told her that she could only carry one.  She chose the purple one and went over to the other bed.

I followed her over (ever hovering over the boxes to ensure they didn't get broken or damaged) and asked Kylie "Is purple your favorite one?" She replied "Yes" but then I noticed that the bedding was all in purple shades (on that bed, the other bed was in pinks) so I asked Kylie "Is it your favorite because the bed is purple?" and she replied "Yes"

... so, moral of the story is that purple is not necessarily her favorite, but matching the surface that she is on, is really important. (light bulb moment!)

After about 45 minutes of watching the ballerinas, we moved on to the books and Kylie became fascinated with "Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet"

Here she is reading the Fancy Nancy book on yet another Pottery Barn Bed! 
(I think this book will go on the Santa wish list too)

Yep, I'm packing our bags.  We're just going to move in!  Pottery Barn Kids, here we come!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Iowa Style! (FREE Printables & a neat Iowa History Lesson)

I found this Cinderella costume at Goodwill for $8, so Kylie ended up with two costumes in 2012

Kylie (ahem... Snow White)
2012- Age 6

I will never forget 1994 and my first Halloween in Iowa. 

My husband of almost 2 years had to work on Beggar's Night so I was left alone to greet the Trick-or-Treaters. I wished Dan could have been with me, but I was so excited to hand out candy to little ones and to experience my first official Halloween in my hubby's hometown.

Kylie's 1st Halloween
50's baby-7 mo. old

After the first knock on my door, it didn't take me long to pick up on a pattern.  Almost all of the children were telling me jokes! I thought it was cute but wondered why.  I grew up in Illinois and Pennsylvania and we NEVER told jokes on Halloween.  

Kylie's 2nd Halloween
Lady Bug- 19 mo. old

When my husband came home and I asked him about the joke phenomenon, he looked at me as though I were a cyclops with a lone eye on my forehead! In an incredulous tone, he said something akin to "What??  Seriously?? you never told a joke on Halloween?  It is TRADITION here in Iowa!" 

Kylie's 3rd Halloween
Cowgirl-2.5 yrs old

Nope, I have never told a joke on Halloween. 

That was a HUGE disappointment to my corn-fed, Iowa-grown husband.  According to him, I had really missed out. (I think he was secretly thinking that my parents had neglected me where Halloween was concerned. Mom, Dad, you can address this with your son-in-law at a later date.)

Kylie's 4th Halloween
Bride- 3.5 years old

This is a GREAT article written by the Des Moines Register telling the history of Joke-telling in Iowa.  It dates back to 1938 and encompassed a way to deter violence (which, back then, mostly consisted of soaping windows) as well as a way to boost the war effort.  It was so interesting and educational for me!! 

I love Iowa!!

Kylie's 5th Halloween
Cheerleader- 4.5 yrs old

(In 2010, Kylie had 2 costumes!!)

Kylie's 5th Halloween
Elmo- 4.5 yrs.old
Fast forward 18 years and we are now prepping to take our 6 year old daughter Trick-or-Treating this Halloween.  Little did we know then that our future Halloweens were going to be a tad bit more challenging.

Kylie's 6th Halloween
A Cat-5.5 years old
Our daughter is on the Autism Spectrum and experiences special needs.  Lights, sounds, textures (sensory issues), feeding and even speech are difficult for her. So in addition to the level of creativity that is required for such a holiday, we had to shift into Turbo Gear and get Ultra Creative!!

We want her to be able to experience Halloween "Iowa Style" but we needed to figure out a way to make the joke tradition work.   

This year, I came up with the idea of creating Prompt Cards.  Using clip art (free from the web), I made 4 cards illustrating 4 different jokes.  I also typed out the wording so she could use it as prompts if needed.  I then laminated the cards and am allowing my daughter to play with them and read them over and over.  

We also spend lots of time practicing by telling each other the jokes (she needs to hear them and watch the expressions and hear the inflection in people's voices.)

If you would like a FREE copy of these 4 illustrated jokes, please click on the photo and you will be able to print the file.

We are doing Halloween "Iowa Style" this year!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

SPOOKY SPELLING Part 2 - Friends Join the Party (and FREE Printables)

Yesterday, I shared a SPOOKY way to learn and reinforce spelling and vocabulary words.

Today, I am sharing a more advanced way to continue in your SPOOKY SPELLING activities.

My daughter is only 6 so her spelling words will seem super easy to most of you.  But these activities are easily modified for any level of speller.

This activity uses the same tools we used yesterday:
*Bean Box / Sensory Box
*Tongs (if you want to work on improving fine motor strength)
*Spelling Flashcards
*Alphabet Squares (see below)

HOWEVER... Today I am adding in a few more friends to change the scenery and keep things visually interesting. (Spiders, Ghosts, Bats and Pumpkins)

I found these in the Target discount aisle.
I have also seen them in Michael's Craft Store

These fun add-ins also add a level of diversity to the textures you are working with.
Just place them in the bean box and stir everything up.

Kylie adds the ghosts
Kylie adds the purple bats
Kylie adds the orange pumpkins
Kylie adds the Black Spiders
These give me the willies (shiver)
It doesn't seem to bother Kylie at all! Yikes!!
We definitely have more visual interest today

Instead of using the cards with the full words on them, Today I am using laminated squares with individual letters on them.  Click on the photo below of you would like the letters for the first three lessons I shared yesterday.

Next, I have Kylie help me bury each spelling word card and all the letter cards in the bean box.

getting it all stirred up

She is ready to DIG IN!!

Then I have her find a picture card and we begin our search for the letters that spell the word.  This version takes a bit longer so your little one may need a break after each couple of words.
Using the Tweezers/Tongs to work on strengthening fine motor muscles
For breaks, I had Kylie either do physical exercise (example: Hop like a bunny) or, to add variety, I switched to math/listening skills (example: hand me 3 ghosts, 2 bats and 4 pumpkins)
Finding the letters for each spelling word

I am also including these links to the FREE activity sheets I made to go along with the Alphabet Cards. (week 1, week 2, week 3)  Note: be sure to print all the slides in week 1 as you will need all the letter squares for week 2 and 3.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Reckless Love

My sister in law shared this song with me and I am in LOVE!  This melody is so beautiful and the lyrics are so breathtaking!

I Couldn't Love You More is my heart's Sonnet to my daughter, Kylie.

March 21st 2006 We had just met our daughter in person for the first time. 
Kylie Mattea was God's gift to us through adoption.

The lyrics became even more meaningful to me after I heard the story behind the song (you can hear it too if you click on the link toward the end of the song)

I am blessed to coordinate a Bible Study/Mom's group for moms of children who experience special needs or who are medically fragile.  We are a small group of women who spend time grieving, bonding and upholding one another in prayer.  Our knees are calloused and we use lots of Kleenex.

Our children are our commonality and in "real life" we are so different that some of our paths might never have crossed had it not been for God gifting us with these particular children.

These women have become some of my closest friends.  This warm community is a safe place where we can gather in our sweat pants or cozy fall sweaters and just "be". How I love each of these women and the sacrifices they make personally, in their marriages and of their futures to meet the needs in their family.

These angel women are brave and courageous but most of all they are inspiring. In a world where there is such a spirit of pettiness and excess, these women remind me monthly of what the true and meaningful things in life are all about!!

What I love most about this circle of friends is that at the end of our time together, no matter how much frustration, anger, hurt or grief has been expressed, we circle back to the throne and bring it all to HIM.  We remind one another that God is sovereign, that EVERYTHING happens for a reason and that our children are VALUABLE, CHERISHED and above all TREASURED by the one who couldn't love them any more!!

What safety, comfort and security we can have knowing and resting in a Heavenly Father who never leaves us and who is always carrying us.

I hope you will listen to the song and be reminded of what truly matters.  We only get one chance at this life- we need to make it count and we need to love recklessly as time is fleeting.

Thanks for listening to my heart!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Spooky Spelling

This school year, I have been creating our own spelling curriculum using free clip art on the web.  Each week I make flash cards depicting the spelling and vocabulary words and print them for Kylie to play with and use in her spelling activities.  Below are the first three weeks of our spelling words.  If you would like to print the flashcards, click on each picture)

Week One Spelling Words
I tried really hard to not use words that contained obvious phonics (such as "sh", "wh", "th", "ai").  I didn't think it was fair of me to expect her to spell words with phonics because I have not yet taught her phonics.
Week Two Spelling Words
So, for the most part, I stuck with 3 letter words that I knew she would easily know and understand. (you can easily modify this for any level of speller)

Week Three Spelling Words
As fall is most definitely here and Halloween is quickly approaching, I thought it would be fun to give our spelling lesson a "spooky" twist.

I gathered up a few tools that would be appropriate for scooping, pouring and sorting.

I then filled a large Rubbermaid container with a mixture of Black Beans and Black Eyed Peas.  My daughter is fascinated with the Black Eyed Peas.

I then placed her spelling word flashcards in the beans along with the words written on little cards. (I had previously laminated them for durability)

I then had Kylie help me hide all the cards in the beans until we couldn't see them anymore.

I then asked Kylie to find one picture in the beans.  After she had the picture, we then went on a hunt for the spelling of the word in the beans.

Once she found the match, we placed it in our muffin tin so she could see the correlation between the picture and the word.

Note:  Another great option to increase difficulty and to strengthen fine motor skills would be to have your child use tongs or tweezers to find and remove the cards.

This exercise was a great alternative to writing.  I didn't want Kylie to write her words as we have not yet completed teaching her the appropriate way to form her letters and I did not want to reinforce bad habits.

This was also a great way to give her a multi-sensory approach to learning.  She saw the words, heard how they sound, and touched the pictures while putting them together.

Tomorrow I have a more difficult exercise for Kylie's spelling lesson but it will be using these same resources (with a few more added in)...

Come back and check it out!!