Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Solo Snow Day

     New Jersey just recently enjoyed a pretty hefty snow, and I once again was thankful for my HOA. I generally feel HOA's are Un-American with there restrictive rules an regulations on what kind of plants I can put in my backyard, but ever so often...I realize that there is some SERIOUS benefit to swallowing the loss of certain freedoms. One of those benefits happens to be Snow Removal. Without my HOA I would have never made it out my front door or garage because the snowdrifts on that side of the house were deeper than three feet on my front porch (which is covered).

So how exactly does a quasi-single Mom of three small children manage to take the older two out in the snow. Easy. 
Lots of prep work during their naps. I had towels laid out for sitting on after the snow and bathrobes on backs of chairs, along with a laundry basket to dump shoes and wet items in.
 Then the real fun began!
I fed the little guy, then hook him safely into his highchair with a couple of toys. 
The girls eagerly waiting for me to say go! LOL, Nolen was moved closer to the window so that I could see him.

Our backyard had shallower snowdrifts thanks to all the houses and the way the wind was blowing so Anna wasn't as scared of the snow as last year. The snow was way over her head last year.

Kaelyn took off and man did she have fun!

And Nolen watched from inside. I could even hear him drop his toy!

She laid in it and made snow angels

She dunked her face in it.

Anna still had a difficult time moving in the snow, but she did have fun!

Kaelyn about to "slam" the snowball in my face. She remembered doing that with Daddy last year.

The snow was too flakey to make a real snowman, so the girls filled up our Snowman building Kit jar...and we called it good.  

We made it inside and had snow ice cream (I prepped the milk and sugar mix and let it cool while we were outside). And when we finished the snow ice cream we had hot chocolate (I had the mugs in the microwave waiting on us. All I had to do was press start. By the time we were undressed it had cooled enough for the girls to drink.

I was actually worried about being able to make this work. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to take Kaelyn to play (Anna is still unsure about the whole snow thing). But, I tried and it went pretty well. We might even try again.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Works for me Wednesday! Shower curtain hooks repurposed+Theme answer

*The theme for this week is what one thing would you tell people. I would tell people to appreciate EVERYTHING. Every easy and peaceful breath your child takes, appreciate having your loved ones with you, appreciate your home, your warmth, and food in your belly. This year has been a year of wanting. A year of wanting a Healthy baby, of having that Healthy baby born and become a very sick infant, of wanting improvements and a full recovery, of wanting of NEEDING my husband and my family to be together under one roof. I have learned to appreciate the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of life. Their is JOY in every moment to be had, it's just not always the easiest thing to find. Perhaps instead of appreciating everything, I should say find the Joy in the Despair.*

My tip!

I HATE towel racks. I think they are old fashioned, antiquated and really a waste of space. Your towels can't dry effectively on them. The only purpose they serve is for looks, and I am more of a function+looks, please kind of girl. So for the first year of living in this home I left our towel racks bare in protest of their sheer inefficiency.

My husband is fortunate that I'm not one of those women who has to have everything perfect right helps our budget  A LOT. But the one room I attacked immediately after moving here was the girls. The movers lost our old bachelor shower curtain (PRAISE GOD!) and I went out and replaced it. My first time buying a shower curtain and I went for the cheap "S" hooks at target. Big Mistake. My curtain NEVER STAYED on. So, after three months of silently cursing those hooks I went and bought more and was left with an entire pack of useless S hooks until inspiration hit.

S hooks+Towel Rack=FUNCTIONAL!


The offensive S hook. The balls didn't work to hold the curtain up.

The Functional, Child Friendly and Cute Towel Rack! My kids are able to put their towels up and get them down with ease. Yes, I do have to rehook the towel rack on occasion but it works well enough not to drive me nuts!

I will admit it. I don't wash my jeans after each wearing. Neither does my husband. Call it laziness, I call it being green, water conservation and time conservation. I also had a problem as a teenager of NEVER HANGING MY CLOTHES BACK UP. Sorry Mom. That problem continued into adult hood until this. I now hang my jeans by the belt loop on my towel rack. It's AWESOME!
Visit here for other Works for Me!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010 in Review

What a year, what a year! I can't say I will be sad to see 2010 end, but I'm very anxious about 2011!

In the past year:

Kaelyn turned 4, Anna turned 2, and  Nolen joined our sweet little family.
My Best Friend Emily came out to visit us in our new home!
We finish our basement, and by we, I mean mostly my darling husband!
I volunteered as a Key Spouse
I started working as a Real Estate Assistant.
Kaelyn's Second Dance Recital where she rocked it out (if that's what ballerinas do) to a Pirate song!
My "extended family" (read my military friends who ARE family) and I have an Epic Camping Trip
My parent's and Sam visited us in NJ!
While in Utero, Nolen had Choroid Plexus Cysts that resolved on their own, but 6 weeks after his birth and 3 weeks into Ryan's deployment...Nolen gets sick with Spinal Meningitis on Sept 2.
Three hospitals later, we are at CHOPS PICU and he has Encephalitis.
My brother gets married.
 Ryan deploys again and will return in 2011!!!!
Anna starts Dance!!
We celebrate 5 years of marriage despite the miles that seperate us.
Kaelyn plays and scores a goal in Soccer!
I attempt to write a novel and stop half way (about 25,000 words in) because I don't like where my character's are headed.

What 2011 has to hold!

Ryan will return! That's a big one!
Ryan goes to instructor upgrade school (yay for 6 weeks of my husband being home)
We *were* going to go on a cruise...but I don't think we can leave Nolen with anyone as of yet due to his health so that's a maybe.
Nolen undergoes some extensive testing in Jan. that should let us know what his future should hold.
Ryan graduates with his Masters.
I *hopefully* start Nursing School.
My baby goes to Kindergarten (You have no idea how old this makes me feel)

I survived.

 This was my first time experiencing Christmas without Ryan in my own home. Last year, I spent the holiday's with my mom, but with Nolen's physical therapy regimen and trying to add on Speech and Occupational Therapy, I couldn't get away. We literally had therapy on Christmas Eve Eve and would be having it tomorrow if there wasn't a MASSIVE blizzard and we weren't all suffering from the Christmas Crud. Poor Nolen has a hard enough time clearing his own spit, to hear him choke repeatedly just from the added mucous (and his congestion is NOTHING compared to Anna's) is heart wrenching.

I was shocked at how easy Christmas was, and how not sad I was. What I mean to say is that, yes I missed my husband. I missed having Ryan to help set up the toys and although he joined us via Skype, he was only able to see a few moments of their excitement. But Christmas was surprisingly fun, easy and joyful despite the gaping whole that my husband would normally fill. Like the fact that all of the toys decided to die AT THE SAME TIME and required screwdrivers and various dirty thoughts and impatient stares from the girls while I struggled to replace EVERY single battery. I was very aware at how much easier Christmas would be if I had an extra two pairs of hands to help.

The girls mostly got gifts from family and very few from us (we are waiting until Ryan is home to have a second Christmas with Dad). Kaelyn and Anna both recieved a ton of coloring activities and items.

These were Barbies from ReeRee (my mom), Anna's face was covered in Chocolate from her stocking and I just adored how she said "NickerDOOdles" whenever she grabbed cookies out of the tin. Kaelyn looks so much older than four here...makes me sad :(

Merry First Christmas! And keeping with the McAdams' tradition, all of Nolen's gifts from Santa were hand-me-downs!

The best gift of the day is that Nolen kinda rolled over.

I missed seeing my darling husband, sharing the holiday with him and listening to the girls play with their dad, but SOON, very SOON, my husband will be home and we will replay Christmas all over again!

*Sorry for the absence, I am just now getting the handle on doctor's appointments and therapy and hope to get back to my Real Estate/Key Spouse/HomeSchooling/Blogging self in no time!*

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Finding a few things difficult to swallow

- Nolen might be having seizures...considering the episodes I have seen AND the fact that 50% of all Encephalitis cases result in's probably more of an is and less of a might.

- That a full recovery is unlikely given his age and the fact that a full recovery hasn't already occurred. The younger you are the worse off you are, especially if you are under 1 according to Encephalitis sites and Acquired Brain Injury sites.

- That by listing him as disabled (we've had the papers written out and the note from the doctor, we just delayed doing so) DOES NOT mean I'm giving up on him. It is simply the best decision for everyone in our family.

In other news, he's just as happy as he was the day he came. Nolen seems to have gotten the best of both Ryan and I. You see, Kaelyn has my temperament, she's an old soul whose feathers are hard to ruffle. But, when she breaks...she breaks. Just like me. Anna, she has a curiosity streak a mile wide (which leads her to mischief) but she has a giant heart and the charm and wit of her Father to redeem her. Nolen seems to have both my temperament (a very laid back child) and Ryan's charm (boy can he light up a room with his smile!).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

The girls and Nolen had  a wonderful time one Saturday posing for B. Malpedo Photography fo rher Mini Sessions. I am not one for the typical posed pictures, and I'm also not one for professional photography, but this experience has changed my outlook!

The classic Nose Pick on Santa's lap. She's lucky I love her (and that Nolen wasn't looking at the camera), because this was almost our Christmas card!

This is our card (if I can just find time to order them!)

Nice Certificates!

If Kaelyn hadn't had her goofy face..this would have been it

Can't tell you how much I love this one!

She loves the fur!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Nolen's Physical Therapy Eval

I had an obscene amount of anxiety regarding this appointment. The kind of anxiety where you can feel your heart beat faster and your chest tighten...the kind that you are sure would be bad for you if you felt it all the time. I couldn't and still can't pinpoint why I was so anxious. Maybe it was leftover worry from a very disappointing GI appointment, but whatever it was it wasn't fun.

The Physical Therapist, named Adrienne which only keeps with our running TV/Movie themed names/jokes  (remember Al who we already see once a week) and had me remembering a friend from an old base while also reciting a thousand and one Yo Adrienne jokes in my head, agrees that we definitely need more therapy for the little guy. I don't know why, but my heart deflated just a little bit when I was told this. I KNEW in my head that this was what I was going to hear, but I hoped with my heart that I was just too close to Nolen to see the progress that he has made. My heart was wrong, my head was right...he isn't progressing like "they" (and I) think he should. Right now he has a giant piece of tape on his back testing for allergies. If he isn't allergic, next week we will start taping his torso so that his muscles will "remember" how to function and grow stronger. In addition to having his torso taped, his hands will be taped open. Sounds Cruel? Barbaric? Mideval? Yea, I'm right there with you. But at this's tape or end up in braces that aren't nearly as flexible. Hopfully, we can avoid the braces (because if the tape doesn't make a difference, then we are goign to be adding Occupational Therapy and braces to our litany of things to do).

Things they mentioned to me:

~Nolen is still weak on the left side (his head tilts that way, as though he has torticallis (a tight muscle that      impairs rotation of the neck) but his is related to muscle weakness.
~His hands are too tightly closed
~His torso is weak
~His tone is still very poor

Things that we are doing:

~Adding more exercises (yes, more!!)
~Continuing therapy with them and with Early Intervention

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Go ahead and call me nutty.

I won't mind...because I am very aware that I am nutty. But sometimes its the ordinary things, the ordinary moments, that make me realize the relationship God has with us, and with his son.

I should probably give back story so that you can really grasp what I am trying to say. This past week has been full of bittersweet moments. Moments where I can see Kaelyn gaining so much independance, where I want to tell her "No, don't worry about doing those things, just be my little girl and let me do it" but find myself stepping back and letting her try her hand. Point and case, I was in the shower the other day when Kaelyn and Anna come in with bowls full of rice crispy cereal. They ask if they can have it for snack and I said of course (seeing as saying No could have led to me having to follow through if they didn't listen and I had just put shampoo in my hair.) Next thing I know, as conditioner is going into my hair, Kaelyn asks how you make cereal (she had tried making oatmeal during my shower the other day and forgotten to cook it leading to "oatmeal that didn't taste so good"). I tell her the steps not thinking that it could harm anything....right? Wrong, I come downstairs after my shower and Kaelyn tells me on my way down and her way up that "If I was hungry she left me a snack on the table" which is a phrase I say to her fairly often. So, I walk into my kitchen and find an ENTIRE bag of rice crispy cereal all over the floor (and a neat little pile with a spoon and a ton of sugar on top on the in ON THE TABLE) and sugar spilled everywhere. I want to tell her not to do it again, but I find myself instead thanking her for the thoughtful snack and ignoring the mess until Nap.
God must feel the same way about us at times. Not wanting to step back and let the big messes happen, wanting to take his hand and guide ours as we pour cereal...but instead he steps back, lets us try our best, praises us for the effort knowing that his Grace will cover us. And then, when the timing is right, he cleans it up.

I also wonder about Joseph and Mary more, now that I am a parent. They must have wanted to pull little Jesus back by the robes and tell him to not worry about the world, because Lord knows I often want to stop Kaelyn's mind from questioning the whys and what nots she becomes more and more aware of. I want to hold Kaelyn back and make childhood last as long as possible, to protect her knowing that I can't protect her from it all. Joseph and Mary had to want the same things, they had to want their child to rest easy and not carry the fate of the world, but it was a hopeless desire, just as my desire to freeze my kids at four is hopeless.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Meal plan Monday- Dairy and almost Soy free

So, as advised by Nolen's doctors, I am trying a Dairy Free (and added Soy free myself) diet in the hopes that it will rule out a milk and soy allergy as the cause of his constant diarrhea since his admitance to the hospital. With that said...Milk and Soy are in virtually everything, so this first menu is kinda my first attempt.

Today- I made my base for two (maybe three meals) using left over roast veggies and turkey from thanksgiving. It's basically Chicken Stock, Chicken Breast, Roast Veggies, Seasoning, Celery and Potatos. I ate it as Chicken Soup for lunch (the girls had a sandwich with cheese and bread that has whey in it).

Dinner- Individual Chicken Pot Pies. I'm taking my Chicken Base and mashing the potatos for thickness, filling pie crusts (milk free/soy free) and baking until crust is done since the base is already cooked

Lunch- Leftover Pizza for the kids, a Salad with my homemade dressing (Most dressings on the shelf use Vegetable oil, which has soy in it).

Dinner- Roast made in the crockpot with lots of veggies (I'll be using an onion soup packet mix...which has trace amounts of soy...but I don't think it should count because when listing allergies it doesn't include Soy, it only says that it's made in a factory that uses soy).

Lunch-Roast Sandwich (using the bread I found that is milk free!)
Dinner- Pan fried Tilapia, Fresh Veggies, Garlic bread

We will be gone for all meals (which means I will have to be googling things that are milk free for me to eat or packing lunch/dinner)

Lunch-Dirty Rice (left over Tilapia, onions, bell pepper, celery and beans)
Dinner-I'll be Christmas Shopping while the girls eat dinner at Parent's night out.

Lunch-Might be out...We have the Christmas party that morning
Dinner-Chicken Base with beans and rice added to make it a hearty soup for the girls, with Grilled cheese!


More Meals at Meal Planning Monday!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nolen's GI update

So on the 22nd we went to see the GI Doctors at CHOPS. First off, I absolutely LOVE these doctors. They ROCK! They talked to Nolen (like he could talk back) and they caught a few things that were never mentioned to me before regarding Nolen's time in the hospital.

Apparently, his Liver functioning, nutrition levels and other vital functions were compromised and completely off the charts while in the hospital. I don't know if the doctors purposely neglected to tell me this information or if they choose to omit it for fear I couldn't handle it. (Heck, the only reason I know his actual diagnosis is because I stayed in the "circle" during rounds and heard them say he had it.) Needless to say, this omission caused me NOT to mention it to my doctor, and because the hospital has yet to share records with Nolen's Pediatrician, tests have not been repeated to insure that things have normalized. I will be correcting this ASAP (Monday). Those of you who know my husband can only imagine how livid he is about this neglect.

Things we learned-
-Nolen does have blood in his stool.
-He isn't Gaining like he should
-More than likely, his choking is related to reflux
-He has an overgrowth of yeast.

What we are doing-
-I am going on a no-dairy/no-soy diet to see if the diarrhea is related to an allergy. (Soy and Milk are exposure allergies, and this is the more unlikely of the causes but the easiest and least invasive means of eliminating a potential cause).

-He is being treated both orally and topically for the yeast

-He is getting fortified breastmilk (breastmilk plus powdered formula) in the hopes that more calories/ounce will help him make up the difference without using the tube.

-His Zantac was upped to 3xday/1.2ml...more on this later

-Testing his stool for infection (the most likely cause of his Diarrhea)

We go back in Jan. and if his choking doesn't improve we will do a barium suck swallow test as well as put him on medication for his secretions and possible put the tube back in due to the fear of aspiration (where you end up getting fluid in your lungs and developing pneumonia).
That amount of Zantac was causing Nolen to be excessively sleepy and less interested in eating so I have since had to stop that amount. His choking has returned to the severity prior to this.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I am thankful for Life.

           Call it cheesy, but this year, I am  finding myself  thankful for life. Not just the happy go lucky parts, but the bare knuckles, rough and tumbled parts. Why? I've learned that it's those rough and tumbled parts that polish you into a more beautiful person. The kind of person who realizes that even at your worst you have something to be thankful for, even if it's as small as the next breath.

 We have a tradition of writing what we are thankful for on a table cloth in permanent ink.

Each year we sit at the table and enjoy our food with reminders of our blessings in the past, the friends we have shared this meal with and the reminders of the blessing from that current year.

This year, these are our new blessings-
I wrote that I was thankful for love that knows no distance, strengthens in moments of weakness and grows without end.
Kaelyn wrote that she was thankful for the food God made us.
Catherine (my friend's daughter who is also four) wrote that she was thankful for the Three Musketeers and that her Daddy is going to come home from fighting the bad guys (her dad is also deployed)
Kari (my friend who shared this holiday with me, and helped me assemble the table we ate on) wrote that she was thankful for friends who are there in the good times and the bad.
Hunter and Anna just wrote. :)
I hope you and yours had a joyful holiday weekend! I've got lots of updates on Nolen and the girls!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dr's Office Homeschooling

Since Nolen is requiring so many frequent doctors appointments, I have had to start rethinking my approach to homeschooling. Before I relied heavily on worksheets/traditional style learning, but that doesn't always translate well into a doctors setting where my girls will have to work independantly from me. This is what I have found that works

-Lots of File Folder Games!

I carry these puzzles in a coupon sorter, and they very easily pull out. Kaelyn using them for her phonics and word recognition. Anna uses them for learning how to sort the colors and put the puzzles together.

While waiting for Nolen's medication, Kaelyn wrote a book (about 3 musketeers, I have to find it so that I can put a picture up) while Anna played with more puzzles.

-Lots of Reading! Kaelyn has progressed beyond Short A in Progressive Phonics and I am combing Progressive Phonics with Hubbard's Cupboard so that we are hitting both Phonics and Sight words! I'm so excited to see her make strides in reading! She is doing great at sounding out three letter words, especially those with the short a sound, and she can sight read *on, had, this, see, at, we, will, and a few more that I can't quite remember.

-Lots of everyday math. For example, with Fruit Snacks I make Anna tell me the color while I make Kaelyn sort them by color, tell me which has more, which has less etc. It seems to be working (with Kaelyn). Yesterday she told me that "If we had two cinderellas then we would have four evil stepsisters. But I like to pretend that Cinderella has a nice sister like Anna, so that would be two nice sisters as well" She's spontaneously drew a pattern (for her calender chart which is exactly what we used to do when we had daily school time). She asks to see this chart so that she can tell me "what kind of day it is, and what the weather was like".

-Lots of Drawing- In addition to making her own story book, she also regurgitated the plant life cycle! Complete with water hose, sunlight, dirt, seed, seedling, full blown flower with roots!!!!

Then we donated our hair!!! She is so excited to be doing something to help others. I told her I was donating my hair and explained how they would use my hair to make wigs for people who don't have hair. She didn't understand so we toured the Locks of Love photo gallery and she was SOLD on the idea.

Before she got it cut!

her and her ponytail! It was about 8 inches of hair!!!

The after! I love it because she can take care of it by herself!! As much as she likes it, I think she will grow it back out!

Nolen is doing better. He has been having choking episodes that can not be explained away easily. They occur despite position, whether he is eating or not (meaning he chokes on his own spit), time of day, etc. His peditrician started him on Zantac to see if it might help the symptoms (it seems to have helped the severity of his choking, although it could just be that I am more in tune to his cues) and we see the GI doctor on Monday. Hopefully we can get a suck swallow test scheduled so that we can determine the cause. He is doing much better with tracking/head control, and seems to be gaining strength daily. He has been spacing out and did so that the therapist was concerned. I'm going to be tracking the time and duration so that we can determine if it's something to note to the Neurologist come Jan/Feb.

More Homeschool posts at Preschool Corner!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dear Ryan,

November 19, 2005
Five years! Amazing how little time it seems looking back. 1/2 a decade!
We started out with things a little backwards, but God knew what he was doing. The first year wasn't easy, but I love the memories I have from it. (The now infamous envelope argument.) The morning after this picture was taken you hopped on a plane and went back to training. I think it set a good tone for what I could expect in the years to come.

I finally joined you after 3 months of marriage. I was about 4 months pregnant and we lived in that one bedroom apartment, an air mattress and one car! All for the sake of saving money. It was worth it. Thank you!

We skipped a honeymoon because you had training. It was a little over a year that we would finally get away for our first time ever as a couple. Kaelyn stayed with your mom and we went to Hawaii.
I love this picture of us. It makes me smile thinking of how much fun we had on our "honeymoon". How you got out of the stupid Kayak in the middle of Kanaohe Bay and I wouldn't get out with you because I was scared of sharks. Then the current pulled you away and I couldn't get the Kayak to move towards you. I still smile thinking of how horribly burnt our legs got.

2 Apartments, 2 Houses, 4 States, I would say we are par for the course of a military family. We have said goodbye, and hello

a lot in the past five years. I like the hello part the best. 
But while you are away, the kids and I have learned so much. I have grown so much because of you and your amazing attitude. You have such a desire to contribute, to do your best, to try your best and to help others, that spirit has rubbed off on me and our girls. I hope Nolen learns that from you. I also hope Nolen learns you since of Chivalry and Family. 

We have been there as we have had to say goodbye to those we love. We have held each other's hand, comforted each others breaking heart, calmed each other's fears, and leaned on each other for strength, hope, knowing that together we can do anything. Smiling through the pain, laughing despite the trails, loving no matter what, and celebrating across the distance.

I have watched you grow as a man. I stood there and proudly watched you take the oath as you were promoted to Captain.

I have watched you grow from an eager young father who didn't know much...

To a Dad who can expertly feed a baby while entertaining a toddler. We have been blessed with three gorgeous children, and I watched you rise to the occasion, and walk out of a deployment and straight into this.
You walked off a plane from one of the most stressful environments into the most stressful one, and you picked up Dr. Dolittle and you started reading where I had left off. I can't tell you how much you mean to me, or how much I admire your strength or perhaps it's your ability to find the strength to do what needs to be done. Thank you for letting me be weak in that situation, for letting me break down.

 I remember the first time you got to hold Nolen after he had "woke up", and the way he smiled at you, like he wanted you to know that he remembered you, and that it was like you had never left.
I know exactly how he feels, your smile, your presence and your face bring me such joy, a joy that even though we aren't together this year, it spans the distance.

Ryan, I am so thankful, so blessed and so wonderfully in love with you. I can't wait to see what the next 5 years hold.

Happy 5th Anniversary baby!
 Fly Safe and Sleep well.
Love always,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The longest Tuesday ever

Today was an insanely long day, but it was a success (as I sit writing this watching Glee and avoiding work)

Successful things that happened today:

-Managed to get a box of goodies out to my hubby
-Made it to MOPS where I volunteered in the PreK room
-PreK room rocked a modified game of pictionary (I drew/wrote letters, shapes, numbers, etc)
-Ate all meals at a fast food joint
-Made it to Philly and our Neuro appointment
-Put both girls into simulatenous timeout for not sharing and interupting me during the doctors appointment, but ended up with perfect angels after said incident.
-Made it to the soccer game

Now the not so successful moments-
We haven't been able to figure out what is causing Nolen's sudden issues with choking. For the past two weeks he has been experiencing episodes where he chokes about 2-4 times a day. I would venture to say that atleast once every 3-4 days he has one so severe that his lips will change colors. Neuro doesn't think it's a sign of seizure (which is a good thing) but wants me to follow up with Speech (which will require a referral).  He has Physical therapy on Thursday, so hopefully I can swing getting Early Intervention to tack on a speech therapy session. We will see.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Our week in school

Unfortunately I don't have any photos this week, but I do have some great links!

Kaelyn has been wanting to plant plants, and I unfortunately had to inform her that that season has really come and gone. So I spied some of those tiny little pots with seeds included at the Target dollar spot and we have been learning about plants all week.

This site here has a GREAT game that teaches about how a plant grows. It also has a lot of other great resources and games. Kaelyn enjoyed pouring water on her virtual seed and watching the roots grow and a sprout form.

This site has great information on the purposes of each part of a plant. It's also got a "tree video" that my daughter loved to watch.

I uploaded a few free games for the girls and they have enjoyed them. They are Toddler Quiz. Which I was hoping would quiz Anna on colors, but it quizes on a lot more than just that. And then SantaCount, which is a fun count the presents game.

Kaelyn had an overwhelming desire to read this week, so she started out on a book she picked out. Needless to say it was FAR above her abilities, but it was what she wanted. She did a great job and recognized a few sight words I didn't know she could (Is, He, and On). I am just excited that the desire is there! FINALLY!!!!!

We've also been entertaining a lot of  questions here lately regarding the body. Which is great because we've been using our body book!

Aside from some accidently addition and subtraction, color recognition and shape recognition,we haven't managed to do formal school this week!

Here is what other families have been up to over at Preschool Corner!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Feeling guilty

I am very thankful to have my little blog here, in the past when only random bloggers were reading it, I found it very helpful to vent out some of my guilt/fears/etc. Well,  now that people I see on a regular basis are reading it, I thought I would hesitate to admit those fears/guilt here, but apparently I'm not.

So here it goes. I am starting to get a little overwhelmed with the amount of appointments Nolen is requiring. Here is a peek into next week.

Monday- Possible starting PT in voorhees (it's not set up yet, but it will be MWorF of every week)
Tuesday-MOPS and then Neurology in Phili
Wednesday-empty (but every other week we do weigh ins and development checks on base, and shots).
Thursday-PT at noon
Friday-empty, Dance Class
Saturday-Dance Class and Soccer Party

I know it doesn't seem like a lot, if it was just one child. And then you have to add in the normal errands of groceries, the library, post office, etc.

But I have two other kids, who I am responsible for. Two kids who require attention and being taught. Not to mention that I have a referral for ANOTHER therapy, but I  am waiting to schedule it because I don't know how the therapist in Voorhees are going to feel about having two additional children with the one they are helping.

 I sometimes wonder how I am going to manage to teach Kaelyn like I should, or how I am suppose to be able to play with Anna like I want...and that is why I find myself waiting to call and schedule Occupational Therapy. I know it would help him, but that would put therapy three times a week, not to mention Neuro/GI atleast once a week. Those two appointments mean a trip into Philadelphia. In addition to bi-monthly weigh ins, monthly well babys, and additional developmental checks. Not to mention the girls have appointments of their own.

I have once again looked into schools around here for Kaelyn to attend PreK, but that still leaves Anna. If I put her into school (and Anna into daycare) those are just two more things that I have to schedule around, four more trips. It  would only further hinder my ability to be flexible with appointments because I don't have to worry about picking her up from school. I've thought about daycare, but again I wonder if it would help or hurt (the more flexible you are with appointment times the better chance you have getting your child seen at an appropriate time and not MONTHS into the future, for instance w/GI the earliest I could get him seen at the Voorhees office would be Feb. but since I am willing to drive I managed an early morning appointment 35-40 mins away from the house in Dec.).

I am feeling a tad bit guilty about not spending enough time with the girls, especially Anna. I feel guilty for not taking Nolen to this additional therapy until I figure out how to balance all I have going on and I find myself scared that somehow, amongst it all I am going to find that I have overlooked something (like shopping for Christmas...can you believe we are only a few weeks away).

Thankfully, I do have my own little outlets. I am still working and volunteering...but those are two things that make me happy, that make me feel like I am accomplishing something, and thankfully they can be done during naps and bedtimes when I am free.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Why does your son reek of Olive Oil? And other Random Madness

       So the next time you pick up my little man, and you suddenly have the urge to wipe your bread across his scalp, you'll now know why. Poor guys has HORRIBLE cradles cap and nothing has worked. So now, I am trying olive oil. Despite the strong odor and urge to gobble him up, it doesn't seem to be doing much. Any suggestions to help with cradle's cap?

      Kaelyn has started trying to use reverse psychology on me on a near to regular basis. The first time, I had fed her lunch and she asked for chips. I told her that after she woke up from nap, if she picked up her room she could have them for snack. So, Kaelyn decides to forgo lunch in the hopes of eating chips. She wakes up, doesn't pick up and it is now time to go. She starts to complain about being hungry to which I tell her, you made these choices and will now have to wait until we are back home. This is what she threw back at me.
"Mom, you want me to grow up and be big and strong right?"
"Yes I do Kaelyn."
"Then you should probably give me those chips."

Tonight's attempt at reverse psychology
"You want me to go to sleep right?"
"Yes, I do Kaelyn"
"I have to have chocolate milk to go to sleep."
"Well, that's unfortunate seeing as you didn't use your manners when you asked and how you have already had one glass of milk. Your more than welcome to get water."
"No, it has to be chocolate milk to work"
"Then I guess you'll just have to lay in your bed, in the dark, all night long until morning"

Anna has discovered how to climb on my cabinet knobs and turn on all the facets in an attempt to wash her hands. I have found all my sinks running simultaneously as she tests out this new found skill. I am expecting a very high water bill.

This will be my third attempt at successfully collecting and freezing a stool sample from Nolen. Trust me, I do not like doing this, but some how I have managed to bungle the attempt on more than one occasion. Luckily I have perfected the double bag, ziploc container, in it's own corner away from my frozen veggies method.

Kaelyn hid her eyedrops. I will probably have to call and ask for another prescription. Any suggestions on where a four year old might hid drops?

Have I mentioned that Anna now thinks clothing is completely optional.

Madness I say, complete madness.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


My father-in-law once asked me if I wanted my children to be gifted (in reference to my husband and I, who both were in gifted classes) and I responded, "No". He asked if I wanted them to do well in school and I answered quite honestly, "I don't care what they do in school, or if they are as dumb as a rock. All I want my children to do is three simple things, Have a GREAT work ethic, Be respectful/polite, and have a good heart. I truly believe that if they can do those three things, they will do well in life."

I don't know what prompted me to think of this...perhaps I was just being a sentimentalist, or it was Kaelyn's comment earlier today regarding how she was "determined to learn to read". Since Nolen's gotten sick and set back, I've started to adjust my perspectives and forget about the silly "Your child should be doing x,y, and z by age blah" book and let my son and my girls write their own stories. That, and one of Ryan's co-workers looked at him after asking how Nolen was doing and simply said, "If he is only 3 months behind for the rest of his life he is still doing pretty damn good". I'll take that.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

What my hubby does....

I was very fortunate to be invited to participate in what they like to call a "spouse flight". This is a chance for the guys (and I include females when I say guys) to show their significant others "what they do". My husband's air craft has three main jobs, a pilot/co-pilot, an engineer and a boom operator. So all the spouses of those three positions were allowed to tag along for a demonstration. I don't usually think my husband has a cool job, but I do now!

That's a video of our aircraft "recieving" fuel! When connected they are a little less than 15 feet apart! Here is a picture!
This is what it looks like from inside the cockpit of the reciever, if I was doing what Ryan does, which is fly the plane.

My friend Ashlie in the "belly" of the KC10!!!

This is Ashlie and our "boom". The Boom is the thing that is piloted down to the recieving aircraft. In the above pictures it's the brightly colored "hose". I'm not 100% on how accurate this all is, it's just my understanding of it all. In my terms, the boom is the person who puts the gas hose into the tank.

You can see the people in the other jet! We were waving to each other! HOW CRAZY IS THAT!

This is the view through the THICKEST glass in the airforce! The Boom uses mirrors and a glass inbetween his legs to help orient himself and so that he can "see" around the giant aircraft.
And that's what it looks like to GIVE Fuel!

Friday, October 29, 2010

More Life Learning

See that Giant Black Tub??? I have loaded up the most frequently used arts and crafts items into it and started leaving it out on the table for the girls to find in the morning!

I also tucked in some Halloween stickers, ghost cut outs and stamps. The girls have REALLY enjoyed this laid back, cut/color/cleanup into one giant tub approach! So much so that I even snuck a few worksheets under it in hopes of encouraging Kaelyn to do some "work" without her noticing it. Low and behold this is what she did!

Instead of tracing the animals, she cut them out! She did a REALLY good job as well!!

This free-range craft/worksheet approach keeps the girls entertained and allows them to learn and develop things at their own pace. I LOVE this more relaxed "unschooling"-esque approach!

Speaking of Life learning, one of the last things the girls did with Daddy before he left was examine this guy!


Who says Halloween isn't educational. They spent a good 15 minutes discussing bones and joints only to end up pointing out how inaccurate my $1 Halloween skeleton is...everyone is a critic!

Then we made cookies! Hello Counting, Direction following, Science and life skills!

Then Kaelyn worked on her 8 sight words (we added See/Sees, This, is, and Me). She actually started sounding out words today which is a HUGE Step for us!

Then she played illustrator and colored in the books as well as added her own special a Musketeer and Plaid fabric for the tent on the cover page!

Anna and I have been working really hard on labeling her shapes (like with colors, she does a great job pointing to the one you request but lacks the ability to label most). She knows (labels and recognizes on her own) heart, start and circle.

And this lovely little hand-me-down from my mom has been an AWESOME game for Kaelyn to play independantly (she picks a word tile adn then spells out the word underneath it). Anna has enjoyed playing it like a puzzle.

Here is the link for more homeschooling fun over at Preschool Corner!