What I’m Reading

My library trips have slowed down quite a bit since school started, but I still have instant access to ebooks and audio books so I’ve been mostly sticking with that.

By the way, a little update that I briefly mentioned on Facebook. I temporarily lost a library book. I am usually pretty good about getting stuff back on time, but this book seemed to be completely missing and I could not find it anywhere! I had already renewed it a couple times and I was freaking out. I sorted through all the clutter around my nightstand. I was tossing junk over my shoulder, and sifting through papers and tossing piles of books off of each shelve muttering out loud about I had JUST seen it! How could this happen!? The irony of the whole story is that this is the book that was missing.


Secrets of an Organized Mom. Doh.

The good news is I did eventually find it weeks later, but I never finished reading it. I obviously never learned anything from it either.

The last book I did read (or I guess I listened to) was called Kiss by Ted Dekker.


At the beginning of the year I asked Messy Mom followers what I needed to read in 2015 and one of you mentioned this author. It’s taken me almost all year to get to it, and he’s not my usual cup of tea, but it was fun to change it up. Ted Dekker is a New York Times best selling christian author who mostly focuses on Fictional mystery thriller stuff. Surprisingly Kiss was the second mystery I had read in row actually. This is totally out of the norm for me! I just finished Girl on a Train and then went straight into Kiss.

J actually read Kiss first and he never reads novels. EVER. That’s all it took for him to be hooked on Ted Dekker though. Not only Dekker, but audio books. It’s been fun to talk about what we are reading and to have some else understand the importance of a good narrator to read an audio book and the speed of the reading etc. Seriously. Don’t even get me started. We’re nerds.

J just finished reading Black, which is also by Ted Dekker and I started it, but I just can’t get into it.


It’s too much fantasy for me, but even as I type this on my laptop with J sitting beside me he is convincing me that I just need to give Black one more shot, promising that it picks up. Fine. I’ll give it a try honey, but only because you’re cute and I want to impress you. But it doesn’t mean I’m about to do a Lord of the Rings marathon or anything.  IMG_9742

Alright, so now I want to hear what you are reading and if you have any suggestions. I will probably have more time when I am recovering from birth and breastfeeding around the clock.

I have Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love on hold at the library and I’ve heard so many great things about that one.

Now your turn. Are you a reader? Do you and your spouse ever read the same books? Are you a hard copy, audio, or kindle kind of reader? I’m always looking for suggestions on what to read next!

By |2015-10-20T23:05:02+00:00October 20, 2015|My Life|11 Comments

Mirrored Writing

Have you ever seen the servers write their name upside down at Macaroni Grill? I waited tables there for years and really had the backwards cursive signature down pat. It took practice though. It wasn’t like I just automatically write in reverse although sometimes it looks like my daughter SJ does.


left handed mirrored writing

She hasn’t been writing for long, but in the past couple years I have noticed a trend where she not only writes from right to left, but the letters are often backwards as well.


Above is a drawing of her dad teaching her to ride her bike. The names are Daddy, Ezra, Sedona, and Mommy. Not all spelled correctly, but clearly written starting on the right. Writing her family’s names is one of her favorite things to do and it always looks something like this.



Of course I freaked out a little bit when I saw this repeatedly because she has been a detail oriented perfectionists since she was two. I could tell story after story of how visual and focused she is. I think some of it comes from her delayed access to sound. So I knew it must be something that was a mix up going on inside her mind and not just her being silly or sloppy.


It sounds like I am the perfectionist, but I am not! Not at all. Thanks to her speech delay I have never expected her to be able to write at age four. I was just worried because I hated the idea of her as a special needs child to have another hurdle to face.

I do realize dyslexia is more than just backwards letters, but at the same time I didn’t like how consistent she was with this mirrored writing. All kids mix up letters and left and right from time to time, but this was so thorough!


The above is her copy of the “EAT MOR CHIKIN” sign from Chic-fil-A. So in this case she was looking directly at the message she was copying. The words below were completely from memory and those are some of her sight words. I, am, the, little.


Here is the beginning of the alphabet (she did this in the car recently)


And here is the same image MIRRORED. There are a few backwards letters like J, N, and P, but she’s still learning. I think if she knew the “right” way to write them then she probably would have written all of them backwards!

mirror image

I could give other examples about reading or journaling from back to front, but I have been asking about this for years and the experts didn’t seem concerned. She goes to a special private school where they give frequent assessments and go through everything with a fine tooth comb. They told me not to worry. When she is at school with the lined paper and direct instruction she seems to be doing everything the correct way from left to right. Most importantly she really enjoys reading and writing. And she absolutely loves homework!

Still, at the last parent teacher conference I brought it up AGAIN and they looked through some samples I brought and explained why the order and precision of her work does not show signs of dyslexia at all. Not that I think dyslexia is the worst thing in the world. Like I said though, she has enough extra obstacles due to her hearing loss without adding any other disabilities.

The more people I talk to and the more I research online it looks like her mirrored writing can probably be attributed to her being left handed. Just one of the many resources I have found to support this is from the Better Health Channel and it says

  • Left-handed children learning to write often write back to front (‘mirror’ writing). This is a natural inclination, not a sign of dyslexia, and will resolve given time, practice and encouragement.

She just has to be the minority in every aspect doesn’t she? That little stinker! I am just joking. I am serious though about being grateful that this whole mystery is pretty much solved.

Have you seen or known any mirror writers? This was a first for me.

By |2015-10-16T14:35:00+00:00October 16, 2015|Schooling, Special Needs|8 Comments

Last Day of Kindergarten

Today I put Z on the bus for last time, at least for Kindergarten. I remember putting him on the bus for the first time 9 months ago. I watched him square his shoulders, march to the back, and sit next to the window with the seriousness of a soldier reporting for duty. You could tell he felt like a grown up. All I saw was my little 5 year old who was changing right before my very eyes.
And change he did. Today he brought home some final assignments, one of which he had been working on since the beginning of the year.
The first page chronicled how he wrote his name and drew a self portrait the first week of school.
One of the final pages was the same thing except from the last week of kindergarten.
It’s amazing how much his hair and ears grew this year. Just kidding, it’s a lovely drawing.
At the beginning of the year he could write very short words and made attempts with sentences that he was already familiar with. He was reading books that were specifically designed for the earliest of readers. You know the kind, where the content is limited to three word sentences with three letter words like “Sam can sit”.
A year later and he is writing sentences like the ones from this worksheet.
Obviously he has some spelling to work on, but this is Kindergarten. He’s doing SUPERB if I do say so myself.
He loves to read and write stories. The other day he wrote an elaborate story which he labeled “non fiction” (in his own spelling) and it was all about his trip to New York City from over a year ago. As I was flipping through the pages I looked at my mom and I said “does this make you think of anyone one” hinting that it reminded me of myself at a young age and she agreed. He isn’t reading chapter books or anything, but when he is reading a story he doesn’t want to put it down and sometimes this calls for reading on the go.
I pray that this thirst for literature stays with him. Maybe it will, or maybe he will mellow out with age and that’s fine. I am glad though to see him start off on the right foot. Here is part of what I shared with Z’s teacher today in a thank you card I gave her.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher for Z’s first year of school. He learned so much from you, but most importantly he learned to love school. What better way to kick off the next 12 years!”
I have had so many emotions going on this past week from this latest milestone after the struggle that we have been through to get to this place. I am grateful that we made it, and that God, as always, has been so faithful. It has been a great year for Z.
Boys begin boys after their graduation.
 I know that his school and his teacher were perfect for him during this season and I feel incredibly blessed. I am proud of my son.



I can’t wait to see what comes next.

By |2015-05-19T20:16:22+00:00May 31, 2014|My Life, Uncategorized|2 Comments

My Peek at the Homeschool Life

I have always said that I would never EVER homeschool. Many of my closest friends do. They do it well and I respect them all the more for it. So, it’s not that I am against it, it’s just that I never felt like I was cut out for it. I have done a lot of homeschooling research lately since we had to pull the 5 year old out of Pre-K. It’s a slippery slope I tell ya. The more I get into it, the more I am intrigued and start to picture myself getting lost in the creativity of new ideas and rewarded by the delight that comes when you see a child’s eyes light up with discovery. Then I snap back to reality. I am not saying that it could never happen, but I would have to hand them over to a tutor or a DVD teacher by 3rd grade. I am so bad at math. No really, I am not talking about trigonometry, I am saying that I am intimidated by fractions.

Regardless of whether or not homeschool is even part of the equation (Equation. Yuck.) I will still always be involved in my children’s education in the most hands on way possible. I think that all parents should be. I have learned so much since embarking on this new academic territory. Some of the most enlightening advice I’ve received came from one of Z’s teachers. She was seeing signs that Z may be gifted and talented because of how quickly he picked up on things and eagerly wants to learn more. Counting to a hundred was never enough so she challenged him with counting in spanish. She told me with GT kids your goal is to broaden and expand the level they are on rather than just have them scurry off to the next one. The key is learning not just vertically, but horizontally. That’s when I reached up and pulled the chain that turned on the light bulb over my head.

I have been able to apply this method when teaching both of my kids together when they are not only different ages, but completely different learning styles (SJ’s pertaining to her special needs). I’ve been doing this all along, but it’s clicking and making more sense now. Let’s say you are working in the garden together. The baby may be experimenting with soil and learning that it does not taste good while the preschool age child is learning that seeds grow into plants and healthy foods. The parents and elementary age child may be working together to understand the science behind germination and life cycles.

Lately I’ve been trying to increase the amount of reading time I have with my kids. Z is learning to read along and SJ is learning to listen. One of the books we read on a daily basis is First Words.

I know it’s a book for babies, which I only have one of, but even though SJ is 3 her hearing age is 3 months. We have to be able to go back to the BASICS for her to be able to listen and speak. When we go through this book SJ is able to practice saying AHHHH for airplane and her imitation of watermelon is totally unintelligible but she gets that it has 4 syllables and makes 4 grunts. At the same time Z is able to read some of the words in the book and enjoys helping me work with his little sister. In the meantime Ezie is like whatever. He likes to watch them though and I just keep on learning more and more from all three of them. It’s like a mutualistic symbiotic relationship. Okay, I had to look that up, but I couldn’t resist adding a little science. There it is.

By |2015-05-25T23:15:04+00:00March 16, 2013|Lifestyle, Schooling, Uncategorized|3 Comments

Home Away From Homeschool

Yesterday I talked about redshirting and one of the articles that I read on the topic asked this question

1. First and foremost, you must answer this: If you hold your child back, what will he do during this time of rapid growth and learning? You cannot redshirt the brain. If not formal kindergarten, what do you intend to do for him that will inspire, excite, and motivate him during this time of rapid growth and learning?


That’s a great question. Since we have to hang out at SJ’s school all day long I want to do all I can to implement a homeschool curriculum of our own. I just so happen to be buddy buddy with some of what I consider to be the best homeschooling moms around. Naturally I hit up these resources for a little advice. I asked three different moms a series of homeschooling questions. They have 13 boys between them and each of them have been home schooled. First of all out of the three moms that I emailed none of them typed an answer back. They did even better, one wanted to answer my questions via phone conversation, another through Skype, and the other one is local so we talked in person. It just goes to show how the teacher in each of them that wanted to be thorough about helping me learn. Ah, I love it!
The exciting thing about Z’s age (5 1/2) and homeschooling is that it’s not about flash cards and drills, but rather fostering the curiosity that is already there and doing it in a relaxed way. Focusing on activities like cooking, gardening, or nature walks. Some of the best advice I’ve heard was to ‘Read, play, go places and talk the whole time you are doing it’. Read out loud while nursing the baby. Read the same book 5 times and talk about a different subject each day that you read it. Have books in the car for that hour long drive. Everyday you read to him and he reads to you. What was the underlying theme I was hearing over and over from multiple people? READ!
That’s what I’ve learned from the experts. Now all that’s left to do is implement it.  My plan is spend the 7 hours we have to kill each day by dividing it between games, puzzles, movies, books, quiet time, play dates, active playtime and there will even be a little bit of formal teaching thrown in there each day.
I’ve enjoyed this opportunity to learn about homeschool curriculums and ideas. Even though I plan on putting our children in public schools eventually, I hope that I will always have a hands on active roll in my children’s educations. I look forward to the days ahead with all there is to learn together and teach each other.
By |2015-05-25T23:17:18+00:00February 10, 2013|Schooling, Uncategorized|3 Comments
Go to Top