This and that.

When your brother is sick it seems perfectly logical that you too should get to spend the day in bed playing an iPad!
Germs? Potentially catching his illness? Who cares! WE GET TO PLAY GAMES ALL DAY! 
And because it is summer, I am exhausted, and if the others get sick it's okay because we have no plans for the next three days - I let them!
(Thankful for families who donate their old iPads to us or my three people would still be sharing one!)

If anyone is looking for a fantastic reading curriculum - especially for students with dyslexia or other learning issues, may I suggest this one?
All About Reading
The program utilizes the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading ... and it works! 
This same program (along with some others) was used by the professional tutor who helped us with Caleb and Micah when they were first diagnosed. 
Because we cannot afford private tutoring for five children, I had to find a way to tutor them myself, at home. There are dozens of reading curriculums on the market, all claiming to be "the best," so trying to decipher which one is best for YOUR child(ren) can be overwhelming. 
Being exposed to professionals who already did the research was a wonderful blessing! They know what works, and now, after witnessing my own three children learn to read through this program when nothing else worked - I am a contented and loyal customer of the All About Reading family!

~~~ Did you know that you can enlarge the font on your iPhone and your computer? I know, I know, I am a slow technology learner. My vision seems to worsen daily, so trying to read the tiny print on any device is frustrating. It takes quite a bit of scrolling to get through a text on my phone (I set it to the largest font) but I CAN SEE! It is a large, beautiful thing!

This is what happens when you have a fun, energetic, and CREATIVE young adult who enjoys spending time with kids <Danielle Bracey!> babysit your children.
You receive a text with a dozen photos of said children sitting on top of the kitchen counter doing a puppet show with puppets they made themselves out of stuffed animals, paint stirrers, and fishing line.
She also sent a video in which you can hear Ellie (amidst the giggles and laughter) exclaim, "Send this to my mom! She will be SO happy!"
They had an absolute blast and spent the next day recreating the puppets over and over again - for hours.

Thank you, Danielle, for treating our kids as if they were your own. They have always loved you and are beyond excited when we tell them you are coming over to play! You create wonderful memories for them - and we are thankful for your impact and influence in their lives. ♥

And THIS is what happens when your husband downloads a new app that allows you to take a photo of someone and then manipulate it to make them look like a baby, a teenager, or a 90-year-old.
Everyone wants to see themselves! And then laugh at each other.
Dennis was playing with it before dinner, so he put it away while we ate, but three minutes after everyone was dismissed and I was washing dishes, I returned to the living room to find this scene before me.
I love seeing them laugh together!

~~~ When people ask me what we do during the summer, and I respond, "School!" surprised and/or horrified expressions generally follow.
We tried summers of leisure when Micah and Luke were young and quickly learned that it does not work for our family. Our kids need structure, boundaries, and down time to thrive. Without them, they fall apart.
Two weeks ago I surprised Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie with an entire week off. They did nothing but play, eat, and watch movies. On Monday morning the following week, all three of them looked at me and asked, "Can we PLEASE do school this week? We are tired of doing nothing!"
I laughed out loud and thought of this wonderful quote by Mrs. March in Little Women.
"You may try your experiment for a week and see how you like it. I think by Saturday night you will find that all play and no work is as bad as all work and no play."
Thank you, Mrs. March!

Speaking of work, Ellie asked if there were any extra chores she could do for me. I could not think of anything at the time, so she took it upon herself to find areas in the house that needed attention.
She chose the stove. Everything was removed, and then I noticed her putting on giant plastic gloves.
"Why are you wearing those?"
"Because I don't want the cleaner to touch my hands!"
Whatever floats your boat, babe!
Enjoy your chores!

~~~ I wrote this after Micah and I returned from a quick trip to Seattle to spend the weekend with friends who graciously invited us into their home and helped us navigate through some important issues for Micah's education and future.
The exchange makes me laugh every time I think about it, so I hope it will make someone else smile too!

(Scene: Dennis drives Michelle and Micah to the airport to drop them off for a flight to Seattle.)
Michelle: Having all five kids to yourself for three days will be good. It will help you understand my life.
Dennis: I appreciate everything you do.
Michelle: I know, but I said UNDERSTAND what I do.
Dennis: My understanding MAKES me appreciate you.
Michelle: No. (eye roll)

(Scene: Fast forward three days. Two hours after Michelle arrives home.)
Dennis: How is it that you don't cuss?
NOW he understands!

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