After our “snowmagedeon” last week, this seems to be a popular question among my tradition school friends and family. Here’s the thing… While every situation is a learning opportunity ( I’ll get to that!) my son NEEDS to learn his multiplication facts, long division and how to reduce fractions. So we can’t skip school when there are a few inches on the ground. One of the “snow days” I told him that if he worked really hard for 2 hours, then I would give him the rest of the day off. Guess what, he completed all but 1 subject! That’s how homeschooling works. We don’t do 8 hours each day. Afterwards, he commented, “Mom, I see what you did here!” He’s a smart one. That evening he spent the night with his cousins and had a true “snow day” full of BB gun shooting and fort making.
The next week when the kids were out for 3 days, Tyson had the idea to open a snow shoveling business. Hubby and I know how hard snow shoveling is, but we didn’t want to discourage him. We talked about pricing and expectations. Hubby even took him outside to teach him how to clear a driveway and porches.
We always want our kids to learn to bless others, so we discussed that we were going to do our neighbor’s driveway for free. The exciting aspect of this was the look on one neighbor’s face when she saw them working on her driveway. She ran inside and got money for Tyson. He explained that she didn’t have to pay because “they didn’t have a deal.” She told him to accept it as a tip. She paid him $10. Now he was super motivated.
The next morning he did some school, the headed out. He did a few driveways and ended up earning $40 for 3-4 hours of hard work. He finished his school work around 4pm.
He learned several things-
1. Do a good job because he is establishing a reputation. If he does a poor job, people won’t hire him to cut their lawns in the spring.
2. It’s worth 10 people saying no to get the $40.
3. Make sure you have paypal on your iPod because most people don’t have cash.
Yep, he’s learning…. Even on snow days!
Posted in Tyson
So, in the last 2 weeks we have had 5 snow days! I don’t think it has snowed since December 2009. Twice in two weeks is a lot for us.
Normally, this wouldn’t matter since Tyson is homeschooled (I’m the mean mom who makes him do his schoolwork anyway!), but Hudson isn’t used to our routines when he is at school. Combine with the fact that Hudson has more energy than the average 3 year old boy, life became quite interesting last week (Read: I was about to pull my short blonde hair out!). When they predicted a severe (6-12 inches) storm for this week, I knew something had to change!
The first change was that I included Hudson in “activity” time. One day we sat on the floor and did activities: another the kids stood on the couch so they could reach a table that I had set up. Standing on the couch was more productive. Activities included puzzles, color matching, cutting, counting and reading. Each day lasted 45-60 min. I was really surprised at how well it went. Afterwards, the kids had snack, then went upstairs for “building” time. This is when I spread a blanket on Hudson’s floor and put Duplos, building trains, etc on the blanket. I ask them to stay on the blanket til the Piggy Timer (set for 15 min) goes off. They don’t always stay on the blanket, but at least they stay in the room (ie. give me a few minutes of peace!). Next is baby doll time. We go to Addi’s room and get out the babies. Set the timer for 15 min again… 15 more min of peace! Finally, we clean up both the rooms and it’s time for lunch, then nap/rest time. Whew! We made it!
We did this 3 days this week and it went so well. Yes, there were interruptions, but life with 3 kids is full of interruptions.
Next post: how did Tyson spend his snow days (other than doing school work)?
Well, it is official… There are no longer any babies in our home. I thought I would be sad about this, but alas I am not, especially since Addison turning 2 coincided with her potty training. Overnight she became a potty-using, self-undressing and more opinionated little person. Of course, this is a cause for celebration.
We did a small party at my parents the day before her actual birthday.
Her big party was a full 3 weeks later. I guess this is what Christmas babes must deal with. The idea for her party actually came from my sister and was adapted through Pinterest.
I wanted to do something that she would enjoy and this girl loves to dress up and is 100% girly, so tutus and bow ties!
We had crafts (DIY tutus and bow ties) which of course the moms did more than the kids and a bingo game with Skittles (thanks to Hubby for the printable). I found cupcake toppers at Hobby Lobby and a small cake with cupcakes for $12 at SAMs Club. Friends came and presents were opened. An hour and a half later, it was time for our friends to go home for naps.
I am really excited to see what this year holds for our Addison Rose. We have started being intentional in activity time, and I love watching her love on her babies as well as her brothers. She is truly our Rose who brings a special sweet fragrance into our home.
Posted in Addison
This year Christmas was fairly quiet. We didn’t have any family in town so we just enjoyed time with friends. On Christmas Eve, we opened gifts from Grandma Paula, Papa Paul and Uncle Charles. Hudson just wanted to rip the paper: everyone’s paper. Addi wanted everything opened completely and wanted to play with it before getting anything else out. She took approx 2 hours to open these gifts. Later that evening, we went to a service with friends and then their home for dinner.
Christmas Day was spent opening gifts from Santa and our family. This year Tyson made or bought gifts for everyone (except Addi??). I was wonderful to see him so excited about GIVING instead of just receiving. That evening we had our neighbor over for dinner.
It was quite a low key/relaxing week. It was probably more relaxing than vacation.
Trip #4 in 2 months= vacation. Interestingly enough, this trip was planned in September before trips 1-3 were scheduled. We went to Bayse, VA for snow and relaxation. Both were achieved along with much more. Highlights included building snow men, sledding, 2 children’s museums and seeing old friends.
Early December, after being home for 6 days, we were off again! Hubby went to Russia for a missions trip, so we went to visit Gramma Gail and Papa Mike in Dacula, Ga (outside Atlanta).
We visited many places in the area. Some were educational: some were just for fun.
1. Lego Discovery Center- so much fun!
2. Elanchee Nature Center- a mini museum/ zoo with information regarding GA history and native animals. The kids loved the snakes.
3. Bear Hallow Zoo- city park with animals. We saw brown bears, beavers and vultures.
4. Southeastern Train Museum- We took Tyson here when he was 2, so I knew Hudson would love it. Afterwards, we ate lunch at a great city park.
We had fun, although we did have to battle the stomach bug and missing Daddy. The kids had fun spending time with the grandparents: making memories!
Every other year, we travel to my in-laws in Madison, IN for Thanksgiving. The last time we went, I was very pregnant with Addison. We left early on Tuesday morning (5am!) hoping that the littles would sleep for a few hours. Because we live in a city, the lights kept them awake for a while, but by the time we went through the tunnel, the lights faded and they were back to sleep and so was I.
Thirteen hours later we arrived at Grandma Paula and Papa Paul’s house. Several adventures were planned for the week. On Wednesday, we went to Christmas at the Galt House in Louisville,KY. It was amazing. They had several sections: Christmas lanterns, a snow princess, a visit with Santa, the peppermint express train and a ride on Santa’s sleigh. Everyone had so much fun. We finished the day with dinner at Chick Fila.
On Thanksgiving Day, we went to Uncle Charles’ house to eat and hang out. The kids really enjoyed his dog, Chili. We watched movies and enjoyed each other’s company. On the way home, we looked at Christmas lights at a cave under Louisville. It was the most impressive light display we have seen.
Friday was a date day for Hubby and me. We went out to breakfast and did some Christmas shopping. Later in the afternoon, the GPs (grandparents) and I took the boys to see Frozen.
Saturday found us back in the van heading home. It was a short trip filled with many memories. I think Grandma Paula will enjoy this one the most!
Am I the only one who gets a little nervous each time I go into a school to hear about how my child is doing? Each quarter I ask to meet with Hudson’s teachers to get more specific information regarding his progress. So in some ways, I create my own problem. But as with many other situations, I must walk through my fears ( fears of inadequacy as a parent) in faith believing that we all have his best interest in mind and that knowledge is powerful.
That all said, a few weeks ago, we had a conference. We had received his IEP- related progress report, but it is SO VAGUE. Thus, a conference is necessary.
Early on a Wednesday morning, Hudson’s teacher, OT and SLP and I met. The first discussion was regarding OT. He needs a lot of stimulation to his major muscles. I was pleased to learn that they were using a weighted turtle during circle time to help him stay in his chair. He is choosing to use it and where it is placed (in his lap or under his chair). He is still favoring his left hand and his coloring and pre-writing skills have improved.
Next topic: social skills. He is now interacting with his peers and sometimes on his own… Sharing his toys! I think Addi yelling “share!” at him may have paid off.
Academically, he has mastered many of the 3 year old benchmarks: counting to 10, recognizing shapes and colors. He still has to work on answering “who/what/where” questions, but I was happy that 3 of the 4 benchmarks have already been met.
His behavior has improved to the point where he just needs redirection. His teacher said, “He’s a joy!” This is quite a difference from last year when he was usually described as non-compliant.
The biggest concerns his teacher has is his distractability and his difficulty transitioning between differing types of activities.
Overall, I left encouraged with Hudson’s progress. Maybe one day I won’t have a pit in my stomach before these meetings… Maybe.
Posted in Hudson
Tagged autism, toddler
During the months of November an December we will have taken 4 road trips. We are just making all kinds of memories with these crazy kids.
Road trip #1 was to Roanoke, Va. Roanoke is in the western part of the state about 4 hours away. Hubby had to go for work, so I thought we would just all go.
We left early Monday morning. Hudson was so excited. Tyson did his school work in the car. After dropping Hubby off we explored the Virginia Transportation Museum. When we returned to the hotel it was time for naps and to finish a bit of school (spelling test). After dinner, we visited the local Y so the kids could play and I could enjoy 2 hours of childcare.
Tuesday found us at the Southwestern Virginia Science Museum. The lobby contained several aquariums and museum had an exploration room for toddlers (contained area so I could quit chasing them). After lunch we picked up Hubby and headed back home. Tyson did a little more school work. Then all 3 of them slept on the way home.
This was a great “starter” trip. Now that the littles are a bit older, traveling is a little easier.
Five months ago, Hudson was diagnosed with autism and it has been a journey to try to figure out treatments and medications/supplements and diets. I had read that a Gluten Free/casein free diet was “good” for kids for kids with autism. I didn’t know what that meant so we started reducing the gluten in his diet. Then I read a book… It explained in “momma terms” what these ingredients can do to children who can’t process them correctly. My simplified understanding is that it releases an opiate to his brain causing him to act “high.” In our case, this meant wild and out of control. In July we went strictly GF/CF and saw tremendous improvement in his speech and behavior.
I also read Jenny McCarthy’s books this summer. I used to think she was one of those crazy Hollywood celebrities who thought vaccines were evil, until I read/cried through her books. In them, she mentioned DAN (defeat autism now) doctors. These are a group of doctors who will treat autism bio-medically: supplements, diet, etc. Thankfully, I found a doctor from this group here in Chesapeake. It was only a 4 month wait to see him. In the meantime, I found several parents in our coop that see him as well. Their reaction to my questions regarding him were all the same. “He’s wonderful. You will love him!”
Last week, we went to see Dr. Madren. He was such an encouragement. We talked about the different supplements and their potential benefits for Hudson. He gave me advice on everything from getting a Medicaid waiver to potty training.
So this is where we are in OUR journey. It is important to acknowledge that every journey is different. Every day, if we pay close attention, we see improvements. Today, for example, we are taking a trip to Roanoke, Va. We left at 6:45am. Hudson was really excited about this road trip and he TALKED the first 30 min non-stop AND we understood most of it. Later, he colored for 20 min without throwing the markers or screaming. As I write, we have been in the car for almost 3 hours without using the IPad. These might seem insignificant to some, but to us each represents an advancement in his development. In the dark moments, we must remember the positive and be thankful.
Posted in Hudson