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!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

This is Life

I hope you can find a reason to smile through the spit up today!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I am fortunate to be one of five children. My siblings and I spread a wide range of 13 years, and this gap of years means that the older two didn't really "click" with the younger two initially. I am one of the younger two and I totally get how we must have been annoying little pests at age 6 to our highschool/college counterparts. Despite the gap, we were close, but recently something magical has happened...we all grew up and were able to sit down for a meal together, as equals.

Dena, Jeff (who was getting married the next day) and his New Brother In Law

Me and JJ

And Angelica/Sara and my brother Daniel who escaped my pictures!

We gathered together for the first time ever, had a drink (water and ice cream for the groom, it's a tradition...on my wedding night I had water and ice cream as well), food, and lots of laughter.

Which brings me to this, I love family...even my functionally dysfunctional one who can simultaneously make me laugh and want to scream. In a bind, they are there to hold your sick son so that you can shower

They take all your children (and nieces) out to get their nails done for a wedding

They laugh with you

They cry with you, they pray for you, and they celebrate with you! I am so thankful that for all our faults, issues, and disagreements, we got the chance to stand by my baby brother and welcome our newest sibling into our dysfunctional family (and yes, she was fairly warned).

Congrats Jeff and Welcome to the family Jenny!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Al the Therapist?

I am so very happy to report that I recieved a phone call today (I get to check calling THEM off my to-do list) regarding Nolen's Physical Therapy. It starts next Thursday at 1230 and will continue until it's no longer needed! And, get this, our therapist's name is Al. Yep, all I keep imagining in my little head is this guy

In the floor with my son...makes me smile...because I'm wierd like that!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Preschool Corner-Almost Unschooling

So, for those few of my readers who don't homeschool, there is this movement of what people call "unschoolers" who believe that everyday life should teach our children a well balanced education. I think in some ways these individuals are 100% correct. This past week has been more like UNschooling or Life Schooling than anything else. Our week of life school was really full of lots of unplanned educational things...I'm pretty satisfied with our week!

Monday was a family day with Ryan's impending Deployment until Next year and Tuesday was MOPS. And well, we had two playdates and a doctors appointment!! Busy all around.

We have managed to keep up our "circle" time routine of discussing the day of the week, the date, today/tomorrow/yesterday, and the month. I was shocked that on Thursday, when we went to the Comissary (military grocery store), Kaelyn stopped and looked at me and Anna and says, "What is the weather like today? Is it rainy?" To which Anna said, "No"...until they had narrowed down what the weather was, then they asked me to help with the date and the day of the week!!! Then during our playdate, all of the kids had sat down in their chairs in front of our circle time board and went through the same motions!

Anna has been picking up more and more colors as well as shapes this week just through everyday life. Again, at the grocery store we were looking for Grapes and I asked which they wanted RED or GREEN. She can match her colors and point to the correct one when prompted but is still learning how to label correctly.

Kaelyn's been really inquisitive this week about how things are we've been discussing the process of making things as well as making her an awesome Halloween Costume.

It really needs a fluffy slip to fill out the satin underskirt..
Kaelyn learned how to measure using a tape measurer, cut a pattern, pin a pattern, sew a seam and make alterations after a garment has been made. She also started making Patterns out of the blue one day so that has been our latest game. I'll start a pattern (verbally, so I'll say pink yellow blue pink yellow *pause*) and then let her finish it. Then she'll start a pattern and I'll finish it.

It was nice to have a week full of free drawing and life learning!!! Here's what other families have been up too...Preschool Corner

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Adios NG Tube!

Nolen is gaining the bare minimum for each day (25 g or kg...which is a big difference I know, I just can't remember which and I sincerely suspect it's kg, but I'm so not sure). This is HUGE! We can take the tube out and stop the weight pre-and post feeding. I won't say the tube won't have to go back in, but I will say that for now, my sanity is just a bit more secure since I am no longer have to reinsert the tube on a near regular basis. Each week we will be doing weight checks at the med group to make sure he keeps his weight up!

Since Nolen's weight/feeding seems to be improving, we are now going to start focusing on other aspects of his condition. Nolen is still developmentally delayed (very much a newborn in most areas). The only area he appears to be on point with is socially he will engage with you and attempt to make noises (they think that part of his delay in "speech/cooing/laughing/squealing" relates to his lack of tone). With that said, here are the big plans for his care.

-Continue weight checks, but stay OFF the tube!

-See a neurologist. His Ped and the Early intervention team all feel that we should start seeing a neurologist due to the fact that there hasn't been any marked improvement in his physical tone/strength nor a large developmental milestone. We've also noticed a slight difference in the sides (left side versus right side) that would indicate possible issues neurologically. 

-Start weekly physical therapy with Early Intervention through the state. In about three months or sooner, we will reevaluate Nolen's condition and start Speech as well as Developmental Therapy. If needed we may also start Occupational Therapy. Our goals for physical therapy is to see Nolen moving or making an effort to move and for speech we hope to have him babbling.

We haven't classified Nolen as anything, or pushed for him to get into the programs offered by the military (EFMP or ECHO) to get him access to more intensive care per the advice of our Pediatrician. She cautions that once an EFMP is started it's hard to "undo" and that would be a quasi permanent label for what we foresee to be a temporary condition. She also says that Tricare should cover due to the lack of a it looks like more fighting with insurance lies ahead for me!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Preschool Corner- Review week, Ants continued

This week has been an absolutely ideal homeschooling week. We had Soccer and doctors appointments the last two days, but otherwise we've had school as part of our daily routine!!!!

 We managed to have circle time (with both girls in attendance). Our circle time consists of  looking at the weather and hypothesizing what tomorrow's weather will be, singing the days of the week and establishing what today is, yesterday was, and what tomorrow will be, the day of the month and a countdown to Halloween, review our alphabet, say the pledge and count to 100.

I spent the week reviewing what we had learned last year since this is our "official first week".

Kaelyn being "tested" on number recognition and the ability to put them in the correct order. We call this Number Jumble
MATH: I was surprised to see how well Kaelyn is counting to 100, and how well she is doing with 13,14,15,16. Those were things she struggled with before we stopped for the summer. If made to look at the numbers rather than just saying them, Kaelyn can get 13,14,15,16 correct 100% of the time and she's begining to understand the teens placement in determining what number comes after 39,49,59, etc. Kaelyn also has taught Anna how to count past 10!!! I have a feeling that my girls are going to be number people....which is so like their father and so unlike me! I wanted to insure that Kaelyn recognized her numbers and could place them in the proper order from and unordered list.  She does great with 1-8, but struggles with 9-12.  We will work on 7-12 until she grasps that last four with ease. Then we will continue on into the teens followed shortly by the 20s.

READING: I've been quizzing her during circle time on showing Anna certain letters or find the letters by sound and she's done a remarkable well job considering I never drilled the alphabet with her, just shower her the letters as we went along with writing. Then, I "tested" her using the Kindergarten printout from the public school she will be attending where Capital and Lower case are jumbled together and the children are expected to recognize all the letters without mistake and within three seconds. So using that as my standard, we flew through the list and only missed 18. Sounds like a lot, but I didn't cut her any slack. A lot of her errors were due to the style/font used (the a had a hook at the top, their J didn't have a top, etc) or are common mistakes/confusions (ie d/b, p/q, wW/mM, u/v) l with 1or that their I doesn't have a  top and bottom it's just a line). So now we know which letters to continue to review.

Playdough letters and sight words as well!
We read the first Bob book and worked on the At family. Anna is slowly picking up phonics by being around us during school.

ANNA's school:
Anna can match her colors very well, but getting her to SAY the colors is a completely different matter. The same with the alphabet or counting....I have heard her count objects 1:1 up to 5, but to get her to count with you or for you...not going to happen. Her alphabet, well, she likes to sing herself to sleep at night and she will sing the ENTIRE alphabet without error...but if you's No. So, right now I just keep playing games with her to try and get her to feel comfortable showing me what I've seen/overheard her doing already!
Pink was our Color this week!

In other news, Anna has been doing an AMAZING job with her potty training and has decided that various toys should be potty trained as well....Enjoy!
I would have had pictures of Kaelyn's first soccer game, but my Camera is doing something odd....

For more preschool corner go here!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Works for me Wednesday-Over the door shoe organizer

You know those shoe organizers that hang over the back of your door...they tend to ruin the door jamb by wearing a groove into the wood when you close it...or even worse, won't allow you to close your door.

I used two of them in our old home, and hated the damage they did on our door jambs, so I vowed NOT to use them again....ever....until one day while opening boxes from my husband's college days that had were packed and never touched again, it hit me....those shoe racks were my organization salvation.

The clear pockets let me SEE what's in there, and all my frequently needed tools, flashlights, batteries, etc. are readily available!

For more tips go here! or tell me what works for you!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Preschool Corner- Integrating Nolen's Special Needs into our Homeschool day

So, now that Nolen is requiring a lot more time than just a "normal" newborn with his extra doctors appointments, therapists and feeding team/feeding care, we have been taking our time stepping slowly back into this homeschool year. A lot of homeschooling had to occur on the go, in doctors offices and through our daily experiences, so I don't have a lot in means of photographs. I'm also working hard to incorporate Anna into our work so there are a few activities that we did together.

 I haven't received my curriculum yet (Horizon's Math, Explode the Code), so this week was inspired by the new PBS series The Cat and the Hat knows a lot about that....all about Ants. (Yes, it's a sad day when you end up finding and creating a homeschool week around a cartoon you watched with your children. I'm just trying to make it through day by day.) I still have a lot of activities I want to do with this so we will continue on into next week.

We watched the show, discussed how Ants work together, how they lived in colonies and had a queen Ant. Which then led to pretending to be the queen. Then we talked about how we were having to work together as a family with all the new demands of taking care of Nolen.

Things they did together:

Teamwork: The girls worked together to clean up their toys each night. They also Marched together saying "2,4,6,8" like the ants on the show. They had to work together to "lift" heavy things like the laundry basket. They also helped me set up areas for Nolen to use for his "therapy". Right now, due to his severe loss of muscle tone, his therapy really consists of encouraging proper spinal alignment and assisting his body into "relearning" how to hold it's head in the proper positions. So, the girls helped roll up blankets to create bolsters, used the pictures on our paperwork and helped assemble these little centers for Nolen all around the house!
The rolled up blankets support his head so that he can look straight ahead while the larger one on the bottom props his knees up so that if you could flip him over onto his tummy he'd look like he was crawling.

Kaelyn helped teach Anna her colors and shapes using these toys. I am learning that Anna is a much more "hand on" learner. Kaelyn then used the pegboard to sort, make patterns, finish patterns, and count.

Kaelyn's School work:
 Kaelyn enjoyed playing pretend Queen Ant, she also decided to spontaneously make a book on her own. She wrote the title (3 Musketeers) and then used some of the leftover Ant Circles to create a person! It was all on her own, and yet again, inspired by a movie they watched more than once this week. I know...shame on you Mom!
 She also assembled the spine and folded the book on her own. Aside from Spelling the title (which she asked me to do) this is her first independently done craft! And I'm loving how proud she is. It's gone to EVERY appointment and has been worked on very carefully in each one.

Both girls were supposed to do this art project, hoping to teach Anna about circle, the color red and the number three while encouraging Kaelyn to work independently while I assisted Anna. Anna ended up tearing her ant up, while Kaelyn produced a very nice ant with self cut legs and antenna.
Anna, on one of our many outings worked on this lovely Ant!
And I love that she had to hold the pen correctly to get it to mark!

That's what we've managed to do so far in our very hectic time of adjustment. Hopefully, I'll get easier at doing homeschool in a waiting room! To see what other families have been up to check out Preschool Corner!