What is Laurie’s Story? Who is Laurie? I am a Christian wife, mom of three, homeschooling teacher, community volunteer, and caregiver. I have been married to my husband for 15 years and our lives have encompassed a lot of “Life Milestones”. In our 15 years of marriage, we have been through kids, military deployments, disability, retirement, family death, moving…You name it and we have done it!
A Little About Me
I grew up as a military brat spending most of the first 18 years of my life in Germany, Holland, and Belgium. I really didn’t know anything different from the military community. When I came to the states when I was 18 years old, it was a cultural adjustment. I started college in Maryland and then transferred to Portland, OR where I graduated with a B.A. in Psychology. Right after graduation, I married my husband.
First Life Event
September 11, 2001, our lives changed forever! My husband worked at Arlington National Cemetery at the time the plane hit the Pentagon. His unit quickly deployed to the Pentagon where they assisted in security, cleanup (and all that entails), and anything else they could do. It was devastating. My husband got deployed to Iraq twice after that and was injured there.
Second Life Event
One year after my husband came back from his second deployment, we welcomed our first child Matthew. Matthew is just a joy. He is sweet and wonderful. When Matthew was 2 1/2, he was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. When Matthew turned 4 years old, he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 4 years old. Two years after Matthew was born, we welcomed our second son Joshua. Joshua is Matthews “Linus Blankie”. They are best friends. Joshua is a wonderful brother, and he has the best twinkling eyes. He also has Celiac Disease.
Third Life Event – Forced Retirement
At the ripe old age of 31, my husband (Tim) was medically retired from the Army with 12 years in. It was a huge struggle because he viewed himself as a career soldier. He was medically retired because he was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and TBI (traumatic brain injury) that he received while in Iraq. When a person has a TBI, they often struggle with memory, cognition, migraines, inability to multi-task, anxiety, depression, and difficulty sleeping well. Tim struggles with all of these. We had to get used to a new normal!
I had to step up and become his caretaker! As a caretaker, my role is to help Tim when he is down with a migraine. When his migraines get extreme, he can lose his vision and he gets dizzy. I do all the cooking, cleaning, running of errands, care for the kids, run the house, and help with anything that Tim needs (food, medications, etc.).
When Tim isn’t down with a migraine, I help with organization, reminding him of things or events, and assist with any anxiety he may have. I go to doctors’ appointments with him and I drive most of the time. We have worked hard to embrace our situation and be positive for all the good we have. We have a happy marriage, great friendship, and a loving family. Plus, I can stay home and be a homemaker, blogger, and homeschooling teacher. Despite our struggles, we are truly blessed.
Life Blessing Number Three
We welcomed our daughter in 2012 and were so happy. She is a ball of personality and loves to dance and sing. Currently, she is doing gymnastics. Next year she may even be able to make team!
The Blessing Of Homeschooling
I started my homeschool journey in September 2011. My oldest son, Matthew, went to a private 3-year-old preschool program through our church. He was the only kid who did not learn one thing. Not one number or a letter…Nothing! I decided at the end of the year I would try to homeschool him. I figured, well I can’t do any worse! My friend who homeschooled her 4 kids directed me toward some curriculum she used. I realized then how much help my son needed to succeed.
Homeschooling A Special Needs Child
When Matthew was born, he had a very weak right side. I did not know he still struggled with it. He had a hard time writing letters because of this. He had early on in his life choose to be left-handed. Once I started building up the muscles in his right hand, he naturally switched his dominant side to the right. I have now been homeschooling for 7 years and it is going great. We have had many struggles and have almost thrown in the towel, but we had to use a lot of strategies to help us succeed. We have struggled with ASD (Autism), dyslexia, the “wiggles” (fall out of your seat wiggles), memory problems, and comprehension.
Matthew has not been the only child with cognition and memory in our school. My daughter Izzy has also struggled with this. However, she struggles differently than Matthew. When she was in Preschool, she could not recall any of the letters I was trying to teach her.
After about 6 months of getting nowhere, I asked Matthews Speech Therapist and she said it is a memory issue. She gave me wonderful advice. I researched countless hours trying to find the right curriculum that would teach her how to identify, remember, and recall letters. Finally, I taught her her letters, letter sounds, and simple word blends.
Currently, she is also struggling with comprehension. We are using these workbooks by Evan-Moor that are fantastic! They have helped all three of my kids with their comprehension skills.
How Am I Helping Other Children?
I created my own program for any child who is between the ages of 2-6 years old. It is called Creative Littles. This program teaches children their alphabet a specific way. A way that actually makes sense in their brain. I learned through my research that teaching the ABC in order is not a good method. In Creative Littles, you will find out how I taught my daughter. It is a game-changer.
Where Has All This Lead To
Never in a million years would I have ever thought I would be a blogger. I hate writing and I am not very good at it! However, where God leads, he provides. I really felt on my heart 2 years ago to start a blog for others like me out there who need help. Fast forward 2 years later and I now have a successful blog called Living The Unexpected Life. Why that name you may ask? Because life is unexpected! Never would I have ever guessed I would be a stay at home mom, caregiver, homeschooling teacher with a special needs kid, and blogger. But here I am sitting here talking to you. And I LOVE IT!
I want to help each and every one of you. I want to ease your frustrations and anxiety. Let’s face it…most of us at some point have looked in the mirror and asked ourselves “Are we good enough as a_________?” Some of you may fill in that blank with teacher, wife, mother, etc. I am here to tell you, you are good enough for all of it.
Life throws us curve balls and we probably aren’t going to be perfect at everything, but we can be successful in all aspects of our lives (no matter what you are going through). Life is evolving and constantly changing! Embrace your normal and roll with is. You can do it!
My blogging goal is to inspire and encourage you. You are NOT alone. You CAN do it I want to help you who if you need someone to talk. Someone who has been through so many things and have come out the other side.
Are you interest in learning more about my blog, check out my About Page!
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Hi my name is Laurie. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian homeschooling mom of 3, caregiver to my Veteran husband, mom to a son with Autism, community volunteer, travel loving, and blogger. As you might notice, I do not live the “expected life”. Come join my family and other families as we experience Living The Unexpected Life.