A New Year usually means giving ourselves new goals for the year. In 2019, I am trying to give myself a bit of a break. I’m still doing resolutions, but more kinder and gentler ones. I want to continue to work on making my health better. It’s an ongoing struggle. I have been eating a lot better. I tried two meal delivery services. We tried Hello Fresh and Factor 75. I love Hello Fresh. My family gets the classic menu for two people, two meals a week. I have loved the vast majority of their meals. They have been really tasty and fresh. I look forward to having them. Definitely better than the same old, same old meals. I’m really tired of spaghetti, if you know what I mean.
Factor 75 is another food subscription service. This one I got just for myself. I wanted to eat healthier lunches and one have individual portions. Factor 75, the company, got the best reviews online for a more veggie based menu. They cook the food in advance and you reheat it. I honestly didn’t care for the taste of it. So I cancelled it.
I really need to lose weight. Since I have gone on medication for my chronic migraines and pain I have gone up four dress sizes. I’m thrilled to be able to live again without pain, but I hate looking at myself. I hate going to the doctor and getting a lecture on my weight. What? I’m obese? How could I have missed it? (I so wish there was a sarcasm font) I want to start exercising again. I’m pretty weak, especially after my month long bout of pneumonia. So it will be slow and steady. The subzero freeze isn’t helping either. It got down to -53 wind chill.
I would like to improve my marriage. We have been spending all of our time on the remodel from hell and our son’s troubles that we have not been working on us for awhile.
The fourth thing I want to pay attention to is painting again. It has been so long since I have done it. I really want to get back into it.
The next thing on my mind is to do more reading. I used to love it. I’ve got a huge stack of books to finish. Plus, I have a wish list of other book titles I want to look at. So many pages so little time.
Last, I need to finish my to do list that I’ve had for over a year. It’s over 30 things that do not need attention right away. The do need to get done. Since there is no rush they often get put on the back burner. Do you have one of those “to do” lists? Things on mine include get curtains for the guest room, work on family history, finish beading a bracelet, clean out the laundry room etc. I’m all over the board.
What are some of your resolutions this year?
Reading is something I love to do. It is something that I haven’t done in the last year. I know my son’s current problems have lead to me not read anymore. I’m just too mentally spent. I only lately seem to have time for podcasts. I have a huge pile of books that need to be read! One of my new goals for 2019 is to get my pile of books read.
I love to read all types of books. The following are my top five favorite books:
- Skeletons on the Zahara by Dean King. This is an epic true story of survival when 12 merchant sailors where shipwrecked on the coast of Africa in 1812. Kidnapped and sold into slavery only a few would survive thanks to the generosity of a single stranger.
- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. Memoirs was a New York Times best seller, and this book also appears on PBS’s Great American Read. Geisha tells the story of Nitta who at a young age was sold to a Geisha house. It follows her through her trials and tribulations to become a Geisha herself.
- The Land of White Death by Valerian Albanov. Another true story of survival. See a pattern here? I love to figure out what motivates people and why they do what they do. This is a journal of crewman Valerian Albanov and how he became the only survivor of the expedition ship Saint Anna.
- The Gryphon and Sabine Trilogy by Nick Bantock. I love this whole series. It’s the combination of a great story with artwork. It’s a quick read that is really enjoyable.
- The Tatooed Map: A Novel by Barbara Hodgson. If you like the last recommendation you will love this novel by Barbara Hodgson. It’s a very short read, but the combination of art and story are wonderful. This is a great book for a creative in your life.
What are your favorite books? Are there any you are giving for Christmas? Let me know in the replies below.
What is dysgraphia? Dysgraphia is a brain based disorder that effects the writing of those suffering from it. Dysgraphia effects everything from the way you hold your pen to how you form letters, writing in a straight line, even if you can form your thoughts on paper.
For my own child “E”, dysgraphia primarily showed itself in two ways. The first way was his handwriting. My son in kindergarten had rough handwriting. All the kids do as they are first learning to form letters and make words. The difference is other children’s writing became more clear as they grew older. My son’s did not. We would get a summertime tutor to work on his writing style in hopes that it would become better. It did not. The second way dysgraphia became and issue was in what my son would write. For instance, the teacher may have them write about their summer vacation and what they did. My son would write, “I went to Disney World. It was in Florida. It was fun. I saw Micky Mouse.” That would be it. Another child in his class would have wrote about the same vacation, “This summer my family, and I went to see Walt Disney World in Florida. It was really hot and humid there. We had a lot of fun going on various rides. My favorite was the roller coaster. I also like the parades. I even got to meet Mickey Mouse and get my picture taken with him. I had a lot of fun.” See the difference?
If you were to verbally ask my son about the vacation he could recount it in detail. He just could not do it with writing. There are also other symptoms, but these were the two major and most noticeable ones. We tried for years to get his writing to be better. It didn’t help. If only we had known about dysgraphia. Dysgraphia is not a common diagnosis. Many think the child is lazy, rushing or not trying hard enough. This is not true. When a child is diagnosed with dysgraphia they maybe listed as having Specific Learning Disability instead of dysgraphia. Specific Learning Disability is the psychiatric term used along with the type or nature of disability like writing etc. Dysgraphia is often used as a short hand term for it by parents and teachers.
When a psychiatrist tested our son for dysgraphia, she told us that there was not much we could do to correct it. Some information online says early intervention can help with learning. In addition to written expression difficulties, people with dysgraphia also have trouble with many of their fine motor skills. Buttoning shirts, cutting or opening bottles and jars can be impossible. For my own child, we have to help him open things. He cannot twist off a pop/soda cap. He cannot peel off the anti-tampering cover of a yogurt. Tying shoes is also a problem. We were also told that he will never be able to take notes.
Fortunately, we were given a list of accommodations and modifications for the school year. One thing we did long ago was to teach our son how to type. He does a really great job at that. We also got him an ipad to work with in school. Instead of a paper planner he has everything on his I-pad. He can also take tests in alternative form, or get extra time. His teachers also give him hard copies of the notes in class, and other handouts. My son “E” also has longer assignments broken down into smaller pieces and check-ins a lot with the teacher.
He has many more accommodations. Please look at Pinterest to see more ideas for a 504 or IEP. Also check online for several dysgraphia resources.
I love to read! I mean LOVE to read! I have always tried to pass on this love of reading to my son. I’ve always told him I will buy him as much reading material as possible. Video games, however, are a different story. He has to pay for those himself! He either earns the money through chores or uses money he gets from the holidays. My personal favorite is when he asks me to come up with a chore that is worth $25.00. I say to him if there is a chore out there for $25.00, I’m going to do it and keep the money!
We have always had books. Since Christmas is coming up I’m going to start posting lists of books that children would love. Giving literature is always a great idea! So let’s start:
- Go Dog Go by Eastman. A short but sweet book about a dog that goes! Great for a toddler.
- Galaxy Zach by O’Ryan (series). This is a great series about a young boy who moves to another planet and goes on many adventures. Great for 3-5th grades.
- Mercy Watson by DiCamillo (series). If you get one series, get this one. I bought a set for my son’s second grade teacher. The students all loved this book. The even stopped reading a different book when I gave them book 5 of the series. They wanted to read from this series right away. Even as an adult I love the story. I wish the writer Kate DiCamillo would write more about this porcine wonder.
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silversteen. Another great classic book. A simple but beautiful story about giving and taking geared towards all ages.
- The Velveteen Rabbit by Williams. This classic children’s book tells what it is like to love and be loved. This book made my son cry. He then asked me to keep it and never get rid of it. So this one goes in our permanent collection.
- Good Boy Fergus! by Shannon. Another favorite of my son’s. He loves the hi jinks of a lovable little dog named Fergus.
- No David! by Shannon. My son had to have this book read to him every night! It’s a very short read, but funny. David is always being told no by adults. When you read the book, you’ll know why.
- Corduroy by Freeman. Another great classic children’s book. This is the story of a little teddy bear who is looking for a home. I read this as a child myself. Still a great story.
- Matilda-by R. Dahl. One of many great books by the famed children’s author Ronald Dahl. I love this one because of the strong female lead. An inspiration to little girls everywhere.
- The Bear Snores On by Wilson/Chapman. (Series) This is a cute series of books about a bear who is trying to hibernate and his woodland friends.
I hope this list gives you some great ideas of future books for all the children in your life. What are your favorite children’s books? Tell us in the comments.
The week of September 24th is Banned Book Week. According to the website http://www.bannedbooksweek.org “there was a 17% increase in the number of banned book complaints in 2016. According to the article “2017 Banned Books Week Celebrate Our Right to Read”, most banned book complaints go unreported. Join readers, book publishers, authors, journalist, rights activists, librarians and schools in celebrating one of our fundamental rights to free speech. Let’s all read a banned book! Here is a list of some of the more classic books that continue to be challenged below.
- Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck
- Catch 22 by Heller
- Brave New World by Huxley
- Animal Farm by Orwell
- The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway
- As I lay dying by Faulkner
- Farewell to arms by Hemingway
- Their eyes were watching God by Hurston
- Invisible Man by Ellison
- Song of Soloman by Morrison
Interested in what are the most challenged books of 2016? Here is a list compiled by the Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association. Check out their website at http://www.ala.org :
- This One Summer by Tamaki
- Drama by Telgemeier
- George by Gino
- I am Jazz by Herthel/Jennings
- Two boys kissing by Levithan
- Looking for Alaska by Green
- Big Hard Sex Criminals by Fraction
- Make Something up: Stories you can’t unread by Palahnuik
- Little Bill Series by Cosby
- Elenor &Park by Rowell
How do you feel about Banned Books? Is there ever a reason to restrict the public’s access to a book?
September 24th through September 30th is banned book week. Celebrate one of your greatest freedoms, the freedom to learn, by reading one of the most banned books in the United States. Then ask yourself if it really deserved the objections or not. Would you ask it to be banned?
- The Great Gatsby
- The Catcher in the Rye
- The Grapes of Wrath
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- The Color Purple
- The Lord of the Flies
- This One Summer
- I am Jazz
- Two Boys Kissing
- Looking for Alaska
- Big Hard Sex Criminals
- Make Something Up
- Little Bill
- Eleanor and Park
How many banned books have you read? Let me know in the comments.