Sunday, August 30, 2009

West Virginia Camping-Part 3

One of the days, the boys and I took off to Beckeley. Pooh wanted to see some kind of museum. That's his thing. I looked and found an Exhibition Coal Mine right in Beckeley. We were able to go on an underground tour of the mine.

Here the boys are on the little train cars that you ride into the mine. You stay on these the whole time and there are little places the guide will stop and show you interesting memorabilia. They are wearing jackets because it's always about 58F in the mine. Pretty chilly for a summer day.
Here's our guide. He was a coal miner for 39 years. One of the ladies in another car asked him if he had health problems. He gave an emphatic yes! He has a bad knee and lung issues. He said he figured if he stopped moving he'd die so he keeps moving.
We saw a 1 ton car that was used in this mine and a 2 ton car that was for show. Tigger really enjoyed when the guide showed us the various forms of lighting the miners used over the years. One of them almost seems like magic. You have to do a little movement with your hand, you hear a loud POP! and the light comes on. He gave a lot of little facts that showed how the 'company' owned you when you mined. You shopped at the 'company' store. You were given 'company' money. Most of the old timey miners never had real money, just company money. It's very sad.

Although, the same type of thing can happen nowadays, just in a different form. Enron anyone? Greed, pure and simple.

Another cool thing is the old buildings they had around the mine. They had the Superintendent's house and Schoolroom. All you Charlotte Mason lovers would die at the old books they had in there. Mostly books from the late 1800's and early 1900's.

There was also an older homestead. Here are the boys in the one room school house built in the 1830's. They are using feather pens to write their names. The tour guide told them how the kids had to do all their lessons with these feather pens. Tedious work! The liquid is made from Elderberries which I thought was interesting. That's the main ingredient in Sambucol--a product many take during the winter to boost their immune system.

After one try, Tigger managed to get all three wooden pieces moving at the same time on the little whirligig they had there! Determined and talented!! :D

In the house, she told them to go upstairs and look at the floor. Bear skin rug!

And, finally, don't they look like they've worked in a coal mine all day? LOL

Never a serious picture in this family.
By the way, if I were to recommend a time to go, it would be fall. The leaves would be beautiful and according to our coal mine guide, it's less wet in the fall. The mine was very wet and drippy. I think there was a part he couldn't take us to in there because of the water puddles.

And that's it for the West Virginia trip! Hope you enjoyed touring with us!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

West Virginia Camping-Part 2

There were two waterfall areas that you can either walk or drive to. The first one we walked to and not too far from the creek area, we saw all these butterflies drinking. They are just so neat!

Here are my monkeys having fun in the icy cold water. I don't know how they do it! I got my feet wet but that's as far as I went.

This is the second waterfall area. This looked like a waterslide to Tigger so he went for it. (I think it reminded him of the Goonies movie. ;D)

The little booger kept trying to jump from one ledge to the other. Made me nervous! I love the look of pure joy on his face!

Pooh wasn't sure he wanted to get wet again. He knew they were running out of clothes. I ended up doing a load of wash at the campground. I would have let the clothes just dry in the sun, but it wouldn't stay sunny and dry long enough for anything to get completely done. Next time I'm remembering to bring some detergent and quarters for the machines.

The world of opposites in a photo...Pooh and Tigger.
Wouldn't you love this in your backyard? I know I would! It all renewed my desire to get out into nature more!

Friday, August 28, 2009

West Virginia Camping-Part 1

We joined up with several families we know to head to West Virginia for a camping trip. We were in the area between Princeton and Beckley. The camp is called Camp Creek which is also a state park. Beautiful country!!! Although, I do believe WV should be called 'Wild, WET, and Wonderful'. It rained a portion of every day.

The Latin King wasn't able to go with us, so it was just the boys and me. Setting up the tent was an event. First we had to wait till it stopped raining. Then trying to give directions in a nice voice while one is yelling "I can't do it!" and the other is asking "What do I do? What do I do?" makes for memorable family times. Once we got the main frame together though, it was smoother sailing. Those main poles are a bear for Pooh. He can't quite grasp the pushing up to bend, then insert into pin concept. It takes him few tries and he gets frustrated quickly. It's a learning experience. After the tent was up, I sent them to play so I could take care of the rest in peace. LOL

Here's Pooh enjoying a relaxing first night by the campfire. He's got soda and probably some form of snack. He's happy.

A big joy for Tigger was catching wildlife. The creek that runs all around the camp was full of crawdads. Tigger also told me about a 'water lizard' he saw but couldn't catch. When we got home we looked it up in our book and discovered it was a Marbled Salamander. Cool! This little guy in the picture with Tigger is a sub-adult Eastern Newt. His color was an amazing bright orange. I had never seen one before. I had to make Tigger let him go because all he wanted to do was hold him. A neighbor camper's daughter found a baby ringneck snake that she carried around the campground. With prompting from her mother, she let the other kids take a turn holding it. I didn't have my camera then. Darn!

There were lots of wildflowers around. These are what I had seen referred to as Joe-Pye Weed but are also known as Trumpetweed in my wildflower book.

There were tons of Spotted Touch Me Nots around.

Here's Pooh exploring the creek. He's probably engaged in his favorite activity of floating leaf boats down the stream and watching them as they go. His goal is to see how far they can go. He doesn't like them to crash or get stuck.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

School Has Begun

We started doing a 'light' school this week. I was going to wait until the 31st but got impatient for getting the feel of it. I wanted to go ahead and start so I could then start working out the kinks. I really would like for the boys to be more focused and to be a little bit more independent with some things. They need to learn to move from one thing to the next without me telling them several times what to do.

I've looked at the new fad 'Workboxes' and while I don't necessarily wish for the extensive layout that goes into the system as designed, I do like how it seems to make the day flow a little better. That's what we need here, a better flow.

I had thought about doing some type of system similar to chore cards to have them move from one subject to the next, but I think what I'm in the process of setting up will be better. I'll take pictures eventually. Basically, they each will have a 7 drawer craft cart where their work will be stored. They will be working on the drawers systematically after we do our morning work together.

Our morning work consists of prayer, daily text, poems, recitation, spanish, spiritual reading and some math instruction. After that they will have boxes with books to narrate, copywork, phonics, calendar work, mapwork, etc.

What I've been doing so far is using a wipe off board for each of them and writing their assignments for the day. They like checking them off, so I think they'll like completing these boxes too. Formally they've each had one bin that all books, papers, math, etc go in. The bins are difficult to keep neat and organized as they are moving from one thing to the next. The drawers will keep their stuff a bit neater. And I can put a pencil in each box if I need to instead of hearing "What did I do with my pencil?" That's the hope anyway. LOL

With both of them needing a lot of time with mom, I'm hoping to streamline it so that one can be doing some independent stuff while the other is getting help.

I'm really sleepy so I hope this made sense. Once I get the whole thing under way, more details and photos will come.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New TV Rules

First I'll explain what we've tried before.

1. I've tried the 'get all work done first' bit. That led to Pooh hurrying through things without paying attention to what he was doing. He would fuss/tantrum about having to do 'something else' because that meant tv time would be delayed.

2. I've tried the 'each boy picks one show to watch each day' bit. Somehow this just always morphed into more than I bargained for. Next thing I knew the tv time would be way up again.

3. We've done tv-free weeks where the boys just knew that there would be no tv until a certain day. That went well.

I really wanted to cut out the daily bargaining for tv. I didn't want to have the tv conversations each and every day. I didn't want to wonder if I was getting compliance/obedience simply for tv purposes. I wanted them to have to think about doing other things with their free time rather than thinking about which movie they would watch next.

So my big idea was (drumroll please)...

No TV Monday through Thursdays each and every week. They are allowed to watch a total of 4 movies (they each pick two) from Friday to Saturday. They choose the order and number each day. If they decide to watch 2 movies Friday night, that only leaves one for Saturday and Sunday. They can also watch them Friday and Saturday and skip Sunday all together. That's up to them.

Amazingly, after the initial shock, the kids haven't really argued with it at all. They just accept the tv vs no tv days. Pooh even reminds Tigger with a "Noooo, it's a no tv day!" When we went camping recently, we brought our dvd player in case of torrential rain. There weren't any arguments about watching anything. On Friday night, we stayed up a little late by the fire and the boys watched Tom and Jerry on the player. That was one--the beginning of the countdown for the weekend.

I think it helps that mom and dad follow that rule most of the time too. Mom and Dad have/had tv issues themselves! (hangs head in shame) I really get sucked into crime shows. And some reality shows (American Idol!). Most of the time the tv never gets turned on during the no tv days. Now that doesn't mean that mom and dad can't watch a show here and there or the news. If I don't get any tv during the weekend, I may slip a show in on Monday or something. However, I don't even like turning it on because it sucks me in. I've always been like that. My mom used to comment on how I could tune out the world when the tv was on. With the news, I just check an online channel for the big updates and a couple times a week I'll catch the local news on the tv (especially if it's weather related).

As far as what we watch, the boys usually pick their movies from the library (FREE!) and I have my standing time slot for Masterpiece Theater. I've considered getting Netflix for variety, educational stuff and up to date movies for mom and dad, but just haven't gotten around to it. Maybe I will, maybe I won't. I just can't decide on that for sure.

We're very happy with this set up. We're all watching less tv. The boys are finding other things to do with their time. There aren't any arguments over what is watched and when. No haggling. Chores are done regardless of tv time. In this aspect, things have relaxed and become a bit more peaceful. The boys can make decisions for themselves withing the framework we've set, allowing them the opportunity to make adjustments, respect each other's choices and live with the consequences of their choices.

It's very interesting to have Pooh come to me telling me how he's arranged to watch his movies for the weekend. Each weekend there are differences. He'll tell me "Ok, tonight I'll watch two movies and then one on Saturday and one on Sunday." Ok. Then the next weekend he'll watch two on Friday and come to me on Saturday and say he's getting ready to watch their 4th movie. My reply is something to the effect of "Well, that means there's no movie for Sunday." and he'll say "Yes, I know. That's ok." Or we'll discuss a couple different scenarios and he chooses what he'd like to do. Lot's of creative thinking going on! The boys even have to have discussions on whose movie comes first and how they'll arrange to fit each other's movies in on the weekend. Sometimes that requires a bit of moderation on the parents part, but mostly they work it out.

I'll even throw them a curve sometimes and let them know that during a specific time the tv is mine! Then they have to figure out if the movies they have are dvds or vhs and work around that little challenge. (They have the option of the portable dvd player.)

TV success at last!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Foreign Language-Spanish

I wanted to put together a list of free resources for teaching Spanish. There are a lot of links out there that lead nowhere (or to things that just don't click with me). These are things I've found interesting.

Printable Spanish Lessons/Worksheets (These look really good. I'm loving the variety. Not just the everyday numbers/colors. Includes some verb pages.)
Alphabet Coloring Pages (for the younger crowd. I like that they include an animal in spanish on each page.)
Spanish for Kids (some nice nursery rhymes to teach--also has other resources that I haven't checked out yet)
Enchanted Learning (a plethora of labeling worksheets--I don't use these too much but I may print out the ship ones for Pooh--one of his favorite subjects)
Online Free Spanish(A very useful tool! I just checked this out and I think it's great. It has audio with pictures. For instance, the one for How Is He Feeling? shows the different feelings with the word heard and read both quickly and slowly--then! they use it in a sentence like "Estoy cansado." Brilliant and free!) And here is the main page with other resources.
123 Teach Me (Beginning vocabulary categorized and spoken clearly in spanish.)

I have several other resources of my own. What I'm having trouble with is pulling it all together. How to do simple 5-10 minute sessions with the boys of things that they'll remember. I have a book that they enjoyed last year called La Tortuga Azul. It's a very pre-k type book but I tried using it to teach them some words. They can remember a word or two while we're doing it, but then forget the words once in a different situation or even from one day to the next. We also tried doing simple greetings such as "Me llamo _______." or "Como estas?" (I don't know how to show the accent marks on here.) We can practice it 3 times in a row and they forget one minute to the next.

I'm not sure if it's just lack of interest on their part or if there is something else that I could be doing. They do like these old spanish comedy shows we have on dvd about the comedian Cantinflas. Evidently, he was/is very popular in the spanish community. They have tried imitating several of the things they've heard on those dvd's. These are very silly, slapstick type humor. Fluff if you will. My Latin King loves it! LOL They learned how to say great, great, great, great, great grandfather from one of those dvd's. ;D Tigger was in here a little while ago telling me a word for thief (verifying it) that I'd never heard before. I told him to go ask Dad. (after asking dad-this was a slang way of saying thief (ratero) as opposed to the formal way I learned (ladron)).

Here is my list of books/resources that I have and yes, I know I have a lot:

Eres mi mama? P.D. Eastman board book
Pesca! Go Fish game cards
The Everything Spanish Phrase Book
Spanish on the Move for Kids-22 bilingual songs cd and booklet
El Patito Feo-2 versions-abridged
Salta y Sube by Alan Rogers
La Tortuga Azul by Alan Rogers
Corre, perro, corre -P.D. Eastman
El Sol y la Lluvia del Amazonas by Ximena de la Piedra
Yo tenia un hipopotomo by Hector Viveros Lee
Let's Sing and Learn in Spanish by Neraida Smith (very good songs)
El Canguru tiene mama? by Eric Carle
Hay un molillo en mi bolsillo! Dr Seuss
Hola, Hombre Mosca by Tedd Arnold
Ivasores Extraterrestres Lynn Huggins Cooper
Schaum's Foreign Language Course-Communicating in Spanish-Elementary Level
De Colores & Other Latin-American Folk Songs for children by Jose Luis Orozco (just a book of tunes which means I have to try to plunk away on the keyboard to see if I can figure out the tune. sigh)
Los Viajeritos Venturosos (book from 1957)
Huevos verdes con jamon Dr Seuss
Manana, Iguana by Ann Whitford Paul
Bizcocho by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Buenas Noches a Todos
La Mochila de Dora
Let's Speak Spanish-A first book of words
El Alfabeto
La gallanita roja
Chubby Books: Que color?; Vamos a comer; Vamos a jugar
Del uno al diez, cuenta otra vez board book
Spanish Vocab cards from VisEd--my grandmother owned these
Say Hola to Spanish by Susan Middleton Elya
Twin Sisters Spanish Activity book and cd
Two different translation dictionaries

So, ya know, I daresay I have enough to start. It's just knowing the best way to go about it so that they actually remember something. FYI--Several of these books I picked up recently at a Scholastic Warehouse Sale. A good resource if you have one close by.

I did have a bit of success with one book we worked on today. It's about numbers. The "Del uno al diez, cuenta otra vez" one. They were able to remember some of the numbers and a couple of the words that went with the numbers. For instance: dos changuitos and diez barquitos. I had them 'narrate' to dad when he got home. Pooh remembered how to say penguin (pinguinos). So maybe that's my answer--narrate to dad when he gets home.

Any other suggestions? Things you've tried that work? I really like free stuff. Especially since both parents know enough here to get by (well, the Latin King more than gets by LOL). Eventually, I'll need some type of course so I can teach proper sentence structure in Spanish (I wing it mainly. I learned 'on the fly' more than with books.) For now, however, I just need good, short ideas for two rambunctious boys who don't always want to learn it but are happy when they know a word. :D

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hanging Rock

Edited: Ya know, I thought I had put up some pictures of this hike but when I couldn't find them at first, I figured I had just dreamed it. (unfortunately that happens to me often) So I apologize. I just found where they were--in the exercise post! Silly Me!!!

This is the hike that started the Autism Conversation with Pooh. It's very beautiful there. But I decided my friend was trying to kill me. The hike she does all the time with no problem, had me huffing, puffing and nearly passed out by the time I got to the end. It *says* it's only one mile. I guess it is. The problem for me was that it was straight up a mountain for one mile. My calves were in revolt. My body was too. I guess I have a lot more work to do with my new habit of exercising. Yikes!

Here are Pooh and Tigger sitting in the shade once we reached the top. They, of course, had no problem climbing the mountain.

None of the boys did. Enjoying the scenery from up top.

Young man hanging over the edge of the hanging rock. Glad he's not mine. I would have have broken out in a cold sweat at seeing this if he was mine. Made me nervous enough!!!

My treat for reaching the top: Seeing a Black Vulture up close.

Barely made this photo! My settings were all wrong which is why the color is weird. Just glad I got him taking off! They sure are a lot larger looking when their wings are open!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Explaining Autism to the Autistic

About a year to a year and a half ago, I mentioned to Pooh that he had autism. He asked "What is autism?" and my reply was something to the effect "It's when something is different about your brain that makes it hard for you to do/understand certain things." I mentioned it twice and after the second time he said: "No, I don't have autism." I left it at that.

At the beginning of August, we went with another family on a hike at a nearby mountain. While we were at the Welcome Center, I noticed another father there with his son. There were two reasons I noticed them. I heard loud, repetitive noises coming from the son, and I saw the father wearing some type of autism awareness t-shirt. Right after my noticing them, I heard Pooh say: "There's something wrong with that kid." He said it to me in a quiet way. It didn't reach the ears of said kid or parent, which I thought was significant on Pooh's part. He had enough awareness to just quietly tell me.

What an opportunity! I immediately explained to Pooh that "No, he has autism just like you do." I again got the "What's autism?" Now, my replies aren't exactly tactful. They aren't sugar coated. They just are what they are. Especially since I wasn't exactly prepared to have a 'conversation' about it. So I said "It's when something in your brain doesn't work right. For him, autism makes him make those noises. For you, it makes it hard to control your anger." Pooh accepted that.

And this was really sweet--I mentioned that I know sometimes those noises can be annoying. Pooh said, "No, they don't annoy me. I can just ignore them." Purple Puddles! as FLYLADY would say!

I know that different families have different ways of looking at Autism. Some would say it's not a disability. Some say it's just a different way of living. Some use the expression disABILITY. I'm all for looking for the positive as you'll see later in what we ended up doing. However, I want Pooh to understand that for him, it IS a disability. This is not the norm. It isn't how we're supposed to be made. This will be a challenge in his life. There are obstacles to overcome. I believe it's the first step in him seeing why he needs to work on certain things. To me it's no different than someone born without a leg or with diabetes. It's ok to say "I have a disability. I was born without a leg. These are the ways I deal with that challenge." I want Pooh to be able to say "I have autism. It makes it hard to do (fill in the blank). These are the ways I can cope/deal with that challenge." I want him to understand why it looks easy for his friends to do certain things while it's harder for him. I think acknowledgment needs to be made (if possible) for self-esteem purposes and for life in general. People with auto-immune illnesses tend to talk about wanting 'validation'. I think the same applies for understanding autism. Validate their difficulties by explaining it is a problem that has to be overcome/dealt with.

Anyway, for about a week and a half, we had a few conversations with Pooh on autism and how it affects him. The first few times he would try to remember the name of it and instead say "You know, that thing with my brain?" One time Tigger piped up, "OH! You mean Asthma!" Noooooo! It's not asthma! LOL It's Autism. "Oh yeah, autism."

We explained to Pooh that when he was little he would scream A LOT and he stopped talking. We decided to take him to the doctor and that's what the doctor told us, he has autism. He replied, "You mean I was born with it?!?" Yes, Pooh, you were born with it. That was quite a revelation to him.

We explained that autism is the reason that he wants to talk about history all the time. The reason he gets angry so much. The reason that he doesn't always understand what people are talking about.

He asked a few questions about it. He looked like he was going to cry and said he was worried his friends wouldn't like him because he had autism. We reassured him that his friends already know and that they still like him. He asked if I had it, if Dad had it, if Tigger had it. No to all of those. That bothered him a bit. I then explained that even though Tigger doesn't have autism he has a dairy allergy and he can't have cow milk. That even though Mom and Dad don't have autism, our brains make us forget stuff all the time, because we're getting old. ;D He grinned at that. We talked about how lots of people have different problems and that we (people with problems) have to learn how to deal with them.

As a family we sat and made a chart. On one side it lists Qualities and on the other Challenges. We all started by naming qualities that we liked about Pooh (he joined in). We also mentioned his challenges. At the end Tigger piped up and said "Mommy, there are more good things than bad things!" Pooh smiled, nodded yes and hugged his Dad.

Pooh has even already started using it as an excuse, much to our amazement. Reason for not listening: "That thing with my brain." After a bit of frustration on my part I say to him, "I don't understand what the deal is. You were fine all day and now all of a sudden you're all grumpy! What is the deal?!?" Pooh responds in his best teenager voice, "You know, I have auuuu-tismmmm." Choke back the laughter. I had to. :D

We've also discussed not using it as an excuse but instead working on those things that cause difficulties. Like anger, movie line quoting, etc.

We discussed our bible based hope for the future when "No resident will say 'I am sick.'" Is. 33:24. It was very comforting to him.

I consider this Phase 1 in our autism conversations. I am very satisfied with how they went. Hopefully, Phase 2 will go as smoothly.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Resilience and Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason was an amazingly deep thinker. Somehow she was able to really 'see' children. She thought of them as individuals, much to the contrary of many in her time period. These young individuals come with their own set of excellent qualities and challenges. Many children have the challenge of not having much in the way of Resilience, especially children with special needs. Pooh has autism and it is very evident that this is a difficult challenge for him.

Resilience is your typical "bounce back" from troubles quality. Most people when presented with a challenge have some type of copying mechanism that enables them to go on or continue with what they're doing or to overcome the challenge. For instance, you may be driving along and get a flat tire. What do you do? There are several options if you have resilience: change the tire yourself, call your husband, call AAA, slowly drive to a nearby gas station, etc. A person without resilience wouldn't know what to do. They may cry, scream, just sit there for hours until someone comes upon them or be scared out of their mind. Or they may have an idea of what to do but be unable to get themselves to the point of action.

Charlotte Mason wanted us to teach our children resilience. Read Charlotte Mason's Students Motto. Notice the language of the motto. "I am, I can, I ought, I will." What is this language doing? It is teaching resilience. It is giving children a mindset from which they can draw upon during the challenges they face daily.

Now read A Guide to Promoting Resilience. Notice the language there under the section Three Sources of Resilience. "I am, I can, I have." Does it blow your mind or what?!? Same stuff as Charlotte was talking about! This is one of the many reasons that a Charlotte Mason education fits so well for our family. I only wish I had discovered it and understood it's value years ago.

Here is an example of how Charlotte recommends teaching about the 'will':
Habit of Self-management.––Then, as was said before, let him know the secret of willing; let him know that, by an effort of will, he can turn his thoughts to the thing he wants to think of––his lessons, his prayers, his work, and away from the things he should not think of;––that, in fact, he can be such a brave strong little fellow, he can make himself think of what he likes; and let him try little experiments––that if he once get his thoughts right, the rest will take care of itself, he will be sure to do right then; that if he feels cross, naughty thoughts coming upon him, the plan is, to think hard about something else, something nice––his next birthday, what he means to do when he is a man. Not all this at once, of course;
(volume 1, page 328)

If your child has special needs, you could read this and think "That's nuts! How can I make my child think about something else when they're ready to have a meltdown?" I understand. Believe me. It's hard work.

In the world of RDI, you would first work on Guided Participation. Scaffolding is another tool--breaking down a project into parts that allow your child to feel that he/she can accomplish something gives them a basis upon which to feel a sense of self and of what they can accomplish.

You may use other tools as well. Teaching them to count to ten before they explode, that visual of a problem balloon floating away or going to a quiet place and returning when calm. Some parents even find doing sensory related activities to help with resilience in some situations. Recently I've been putting what I like to call 'motivational sentences' on the boys' white boards (they each have one). Sentences such as: I can...control my anger. I am...a good boy. I will...finish what I start. I will...learn to be obedient. My goal is to give them positive thoughts to combat the negative ones that naturally come to mind.

Obviously, I'm still a novice at this. I'm reading and learning right along with you. Maybe even more slowly. LOL The point, though, is to be resilient. Keep trying. Keep going. Keep learning. Keep practicing. It will get better and the challenge can be overcome. (Note to self.)

The above article on A Guide to Promoting Resilience, along with the links I've provided below, should give us all a good amount of things to consider and work on.

Parent Quiz (The proper answers are pretty obvious. However, I found it made me think and reexamine some of my faults as a parent. I'm very much in the "I told you so" camp. Not very helpful for resilience. Sigh.)
10 Tips for Building Resilience
Resilience for Children with Challenges
The Parent Coach (I like his analogy of the 'disappointment ditch'.)
Emotional Resilience (Some parts of this don't quite fit in with CM from my understanding of them. However, there is some good info and tips to glean.)
Teaching Resilience with Photography (a really neat program implemented to help autistic children)
Summarization of Research on Resilience I found this statement very much in line with what RDI does: "To this end, both authors emphasize the conceptualization of resilience as a dynamic developmental process, rather than as a static trait."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Death of a Bee

We take this opportunity to commemorate the life of a dear friend, the honeybee. He lived a short but busy life. His favorite activity was collecting nectar from the little white clover blossoms growing amongst the grass.

Sadly, he was stepped upon by a gentle giant. Pooh was innocently walking in his yard when he was surprised to find he had stepped on his dear friend. The pain in his foot took precedence for a short time.

However, soon he remembered his friend, the honeybee, and went to look for him. He was much saddened by his friend's demise. The honeybee was laid to rest upon the sidewalk.

Pooh's brother, Tigger, happily took great care to shoo away the looters, also known as ants.

Kind words were spoken by all. We remembered him fondly and spoke of his hard work and short life. Pooh even spoke on how his friend had given up his life to defend himself against an unknown enemy. Eventually, he was left in peace.

Update on Nephew in the NICU

He's 34 weeks now! (gestational age) He's made it to 3lbs 13 oz as of Sunday. The whole time I was there he was sleeping pretty soundly. He'd just stretch when Momma would mess with him and as he stretched he'd turn beet red. Too funny! The wedge they lay him on in the above picture is because he has reflux. When he refluxes he stops breathing and sometimes they have to shake him a little to remind him to breathe. He also has a hernia that will probably require an operation at some point.

Little R gets to wear clothes now! I was getting him a few preemie outfits this past week. This coming Saturday will be a little baby shower for him. It'll be neat to see what everyone has found for R and momma.

Here they are together. Momma got to hold him for 3 hours on Sunday.

'Objects in picture are smaller than they appear.' He's still very little. This time around I was able to hear him make some noises-little squeaks really. Too cute! And I was there for rounds which is when the team comes by to give a report on his current stats and the doctor makes his recommendations and answers parent questions. Very interesting the way they do that. The dr seemed nice and even introduced himself to me and shook my hand. (I think he may have been a little nosey too! ;D Wanting to know who I was.) One of the things recommended this time around was a visit from the P.T. They think he's getting a little stiff from laying on that wedge so he may be getting some baby exercises soon.
We are very happy with how R is doing lately. He's not out of the woods yet, but each day of life has been encouraging.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Exercise--A New Habit for Mom

I've been at it since the beginning of June, so I can say I've officially cultivated a new habit. I stuck to it! Whooo Hoooo! Go Me! (Where's a cheerleader when you need one? ;D)

A friend and I (we'll call her S.) have decided to really do it this time. Really get on the ball with an exercise program. We've been walking 2-3 evenings per week. We plan on 3 and sometimes we do get in 3 walks but then there's someone without a car, cramps, etc that cuts it down to an average of 2x per week. Our schedule is M, W, F and we walk *late*. We start between 7:30 and 8pm so that we can avoid the humid southern heat. Ick. Depending on our speed, we usually go for about 3-4 miles. That takes us about an hour, maybe a little more. It's so much easier to make yourself go when you have a partner to walk with!!! We wear out little music players so we can get a good walking rhythm and it also helps to wear it when S can't make it or vice versa.

I have not lost any weight whatsoever yet, but I do feel a bit more energy. I even jogged a little one evening last week when I was on my own. (Have ya gone bug eyed yet? LOL) To be honest, it was one of those jog for a hundred feet kind of things and I only did it three times, but it was a start.

I'm considering some Zumba classes. I've seen that the local community college will be offering some fall classes and I'm tempted to join. It's only one evening per week so I could walk the other two evenings. It's going to be interesting to see how S and I adjust our schedule as the light changes this year. Hopefully, we can keep on track and keep up our new habit.

Another friend, L, tried to kill me yesterday. She took us on a hike. Up a mountain. Up. Up. Up. They said it was one mile. It felt like 3. Up rocks. Up stairs. Up some more rocks. My calves cramped. I huffed. I puffed. I make it up there. Barely. Nice view as you can tell from the photos. I then rolled myself down. No really, the coming down was soooo much nicer.

The gang of boys who had no need for huffing and puffing.

Black vulture. We were about 40 feet away.

Barely caught him flying off as one of the boys made a move to get closer.

My two munchkins.

The one who enjoys terrifying mothers everywhere by believing he's a mountain goat. (Not mine thank goodness! ;D)

My long-term goal: To one day do the same hike without huffing and puffing.