Saturday, August 30, 2014

Lamb 2's Vision Therapy Evaluation

Lamb 2 was due for his next evaluation so he had it on Monday, August 25. His smooth eye movements were the best they have ever been.  There were improvements but on his standardized test his scores were the slowest they have ever been, even slower than before he began vision therapy. He was slower but more accurate. Being so slow puzzled and concerned the doctor. Because of this the Dr. is going to tell the vision therapists to make visual processing speed and visual information processing the most important skills for him to work on during vision therapy time.

Lamb 2 did a simple shape with pattern blocks to flip it upside down or sidesways. But when the Dr. offset the shapes Lamb 2 could not do it. This was discouraging to me because I know that both VT and OT have spent a lot of time working on this with Lamb 2. So the second priority for Lamb 2's VT time is working with pattern blocks. 

Lamb 2's vision therapist thinks that Lamb 2 has opened up a whole new world recently to be able to see and process things he has never seen before. She thinks it is taking him time to process what he reads and hear himself say what he reads. She is going to work with him to hopefully speed his reading up. Overall she is pleased with the progress Lamb 2 is making and the effort he puts into therapy.

Since this evaluation did not go as well as we expected, we really do not know how much longer Lamb 2 will be in vision therapy. We scheduled another evaluation in 6 weeks instead of the normal 8 weeks to see if he is making progress as we expect him to. Lamb 2 has gone to VT twice a week every week since January 1 with the exception of two therapy sessions when he was ill. We even planned our vacation around his therapy time. Lamb 2 has faithfully done the exercises required both at home and at OT. We were expecting 9-12 months of VT and hoping it would be closer to the 9 months but it is looking like it will be closer to the 12 months.

We are planning on Lamb 2 having surgery for his large turbinates. This would need to be scheduled after he completes VT so he doesn't get behind in VT while he recovers from surgery. We are planning on 8 weeks of recovery after surgery. Ideally we would like to have him have surgery before the end of the calendar year since we have met our deductible, but we need to wait and see how all this works out.

The evaluation showed us that Lamb 2 is progressing well, but slower than other kids his age and than kids typically do at VT. This is not the fault of Lamb 2 or the therapists as everyone is working hard with Lamb 2 and he is working hard himself. So we'll continue what we have been doing and evaluate again in 6 weeks. His vision therapist expects that once things click in Lamb 2's brain he will take off quickly. The doctor analyzed Lamb 2 to try to figure out what is slowing him down. He also is trying to figure out how to get him back to his scores in April that were good scores for a 7 year old. The next step is to see how to get him up to good scores for an 8 year old.

We were hoping this evaluation would show that Lamb 2 was almost done with therapy to save both time and money at therapy. This evaluation showed us that there is progress, but he is not ready to graduate from VT soon. So we keep plugging along, going to therapy twice a week and trusting that God will work out all the other details for Lamb 2.  I am also reevaluating all my expectations for Lamb 2 in homeschool as he is not ready to do the academic work that I was expecting him to do this fall after 9 months of VT.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lamb 3 Annual Checkup

6 years 4 months old
BP: 106/59
Pulse: 103
Height: 3 feet 8.5 inches 16 percentile
Weight: 40.6 10 percentile
BMI 19%

When Lamb 3 was less than one hour old the nurse told me that they were going to give him the Hep B shot. I told her she was not going to give my baby any shots in the hospital! This began an ordeal that I never imagined-the Dr. had to record me and I had to sign all kinds of papers that I refused his shots in the hospital. At Lamb 3's 2 week checkup our pediatrician was out of the office that day and we saw a different doctor. I refused the shot then because I insisted we talk to our pediatrician. At Lamb 3's 6 week checkup I was so surprised that our pediatrician admitted that the rules had changed since Lamb 2 was born and that Lamb 3 did not NEED a Hep B shot but that was the new rule. So I refused the Hep B shot every doctor's visit since then. Yesterday the nurse called before Lamb 3's appointment and told me their records must be wrong because Lamb 3 did not have a Hep B shot in their records. She was surprised when I told her that no, their records were correct, he had never received the Hep B shot.

I thought about it and decided this would be a good time for Lamb 3 to receive the Hep B shot. He is healthy now and we don't have anything big planned soon that it would be bad to feel crummy from shots now. He isn't scheduled to get any other shots now. If he went to public school he would have needed this last year. I don't have a problem with him receiving it now, I do have a problem with a one hour old baby receiving a shot. So Lamb 3 received his first dose yesterday and we will return for the next doses in the next few months. Hopefully this will help future doctor visits when their records are up to date too.

I had another concern about Lamb 3 but the doctor said it was nothing to worry about, to be happy that he is healthy.

Lamb 3 is a very picky eater, he will eat an entire bowl of black bean dip by himself but refuses a lot of foods that most kids like. He is 6 years old but he eats like a toddler. If he likes the meal he has seconds and sometimes even thirds and fourths. If he doesn't like the meal he takes one bite and waits until the next meal to eat again. He picks and eats the meat out of main dishes and leaves the pasta and veggies on his plate. He likes bananas, sweet potatoes, oranges, apples, and avocados. There are not many other fruits or veggies that he will eat. This summer he began trying fruits and vegetables when they were served. While we lived in MN, Lamb 3 was never on the chart for weight. So I was very pleased that he was not only on the chart, but he is at the 10th percentile. I did notice that Lamb 3 is a lot taller recently. I did not expect Lamb 3's BMI to be healthy weight and Lamb 1's BMI to be underweight.

After the doctor's visit, Ram removed the back of Lamb 3's car seat since he is over 40 lbs. I bet I'm one of only a few parents that my son was 6 years old before he was 40 lbs. Lamb 3 was so proud because he received a shot and didn't cry and because he sits in a car seat like his brothers now. Now we wait for Lamb 1 and 2 to gain a couple more inches so they can get out of their booster seats.

We are done with the Lambs annual checkups for this year. Ram and Ewe have their annual checkups scheduled for November. Has everyone in your family had their annual checkups this year?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lamb 2's annual checkup

First the stats:
8 years 3 months old
BP 108/61
Pulse 71
Height 4 feet 7 inches 77 percentile
Weight 60.2 58 percentile
BMI 34%

After discussing with our doctor, we think it would be best for Lamb 2 to have the surgery to shrink his turbinates and remove his adenoids. There is really no hurry to have this done, he can remain on Flonase until he has surgery. We have some decisions to make because we would like him to complete vision therapy before he has surgery because we expect 8 weeks of recovery. We have met our deductible so it would be nice to do it this calendar year. We honestly don't know how this is all going to work out and are leaving it in the Lord's hands. I'll blog about this more as we know more.

We also discussed with our doctor that Lamb 2 is a completely different child than he was last summer and we attribute that change to vision therapy. We are so thankful he was able to do vision therapy and it has helped all kinds of areas of his life besides just vision.

Ever since Lamb 2 was a baby we have had a problem with doctors and WIC nurses in MN because Lamb 2 received one of his vaccinations a few days early that was supposed to be given 6 months apart. When we lived in MN we traveled 1 1/2 hours to the doctor so I'm sure the appointment was made when we could fit in the schedule and they didn't think about the vaccination. Thankfully our doctor here recognized that he had his vaccinations but the computer doesn't say it is valid because it wasn't technically 6 months between. Lamb 2 did not need any vaccinations at this appointment. I blog all this to encourage new parents to keep tabs on this and not just expect your doctor to keep track of all that. Especially if you end up moving or changing doctors this becomes even more important.

When I look at Lamb 1 and 2's stats together, now I see why Lamb 1 and 2 wear the same shoe size and why we are often asked if they are twins! Lamb 2's stats reflect that he will eat anything and is not a picky eater. It also shows that he has strengthened his muscles at occupational therapy.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lamb 1's annual checkup

The Lambs have several doctor appointments this week. Public school began here yesterday so homeschoolers can easily get into doctors! I am glad to get these appointments out of the way before we begin school next week.

Lamb 1's annual physical was today. Here are his stats:
10 year 5 months old
BP 102/61
Pulse 75
Height 4 ft. 7 in. 46 percentile
Weight 60.8 10 percentile
BMI 2%

Lamb 1 needed another Hep A shot. I think something got confused in his records when we moved from MN to ID and I think he had it in MN. We let him get it again as we do want him to have that shot. Next year he will be due for more shots. It seems like just a few years ago that we told him he was done with shots for several years and now that time has come.

The Dr. examined him and looked at his wrist that he sprained last week. We had a couple of questions for the doctor about Lamb 1. The first she was not concerned with, the second she wants to refer him to another doctor. We figured we may as well do this now while we have met our deductible this year.

Ram and I have doctor appointments down now. I write a report of what my concerns for each Lamb are for the doctor. I stay home with the other Lambs while Ram takes each Lamb in for his appointment. I usually have lots of questions for the doctor but the Lambs do better at the appointment with Ram than they do with me. So this works well for us. I don't know what the doctor thinks about a report for each Lamb!

Our family takes annual checkups seriously for a couple of reasons. First, Ram's mass on his kidney was found when his blood work from his annual checkup was abnormal. Second, since we homeschool I feel annual checkups are important for the Lambs. They don't have the vision and hearing and other tests that a school nurse usually does. I also appreciate asking a doctor some of my concerns since I am both parent and teacher.

One Lamb checkup done, two Lamb checkups to go!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Proof that the Lambs had a good end of summer vacation!

On Wednesday we had some friends scheduled to go swimming with us at our pool in our subdivision. We have had friends over before and usually they stay a couple hours and then go home. This time we met at 1pm and the girls and moms swam for several hours. The boys used empty water bottles to catch wasps most of that time. They had a great time being boys.

About 4pm I invited them back to our house to take showers and have a snack at our house. The moms began talking and the kids were playing and soon it was supper time. I asked Ram to run to the store for a few groceries so we could feed everyone. The other mom said she had already thawed out meat and we should just go to her house to eat. So we did.

After looking at her garden and helping her pick some veggies from her garden we decided to build a fire in their fire pit. We built the fire and made s'mores. About 10pm her children started asking if they could go to bed, they were tired after a whole day of playing. The adults stayed to make sure the fire was out and continued talking. Finally after 11pm we left their house. I'm not sure who had more fun, the moms or the kids. Sometimes unscheduled, spontaneous days like this turn out better than planning ahead.

The picture above is what my laundry room looked like at bedtime on Wednesday. I was pretty caught up on laundry before they came. Then we had swimming clothes and everyone took showers so lots of towels plus regular clothes we wore that day. It was so worth extra laundry that day!

God had really good timing to send this family to be our friends. I was depressed that I couldn't attend the He Remembers the Barren Retreat this year-both because we couldn't afford for me to travel to St. Louis and because I needed to be here for Lamb 2's therapy. We did this right before the He Remembers the Barren Retreat. Also, Lamb 1 has been praying for friends that are boys his age and this family has a boy Lamb 1's age. This boy just completed vision therapy so Lamb 2 has that in common with him. This family also has 3 girls and I love that my boys spent all day around girls since we don't have that at our house. And they love that their son can play with our Lambs since he is the only boy in their family.

It was amazing how much the other mom and I had in common too. We are about the same height, with the same hair color. She was thrilled to hear I make my own kombucha and wants a kombucha mushroom from me. We both homeschool and we both are SAHM and neither of us desire to go back to work for what our degrees are for unless we have to. Our bookshelves look similar. She borrowed a couple of books from us. Although they are not LCMS, they are Christian and their church desires to teach the faith to their children and they are very involved in their church. She wanted to share her garden bounty with me but she didn't know if I would be interested in so much produce. She didn't know that I will always find something to use garden produce!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Not again, yes really again

I began scrapbooking by buying products from Creative Memories in 1998. Some times  I would receive gifts or rarely buy stickers from another company, but the majority of my scrapbooking was with C.M.. I liked their product. I liked that they tested their product so it would last. I liked that they were based in MN. I trusted my photos in their albums.

Then C.M. changed sizes of their albums several years ago so I ordered pages and page protectors to finish the albums I had already started. This was a huge project to figure out what to order as there were albums at my mom's house, my house, and my sister even had a couple. Very few of these albums were finished then.

Last year C.M. went bankrupt so I ordered pages and page protectors to finish my albums I had started that were in the new size. Many of these albums in the new sizes were prizes I had won at scrapbook retreats and I needed pages to finish them.

This year a new company began called Ahni and Zoe that sold similar products to C.M. They had some inventory left from C.M. and I bought 3 more albums at good prices this summer. It took over a month to receive my order. My plan was to order the albums at good prices and when I was ready to work on new albums I would order pages and page protectors from A. and Z. for these new albums.

Recently I found out that now A. and Z. is also going bankrupt. So I ordered pages and page protectors to finish these three albums that I just purchased. I'll be surprised if this order reaches me before Halloween but it sounds like I should get everything I ordered. And the prices were really good during this final sale.

I am tired of continually buying supplies for scrapbooking. I am tired of product I like being discontinued. I am so thankful that I was never involved with C.M. as a consultant. I feel so sorry for the way these consultants have been treated. I am thankful I have an extra closet for these supplies, I have tons of supplies sitting in the closet. It is time to organize my supplies yet again to make room for what I just ordered. Sigh.

My friend Joelle and I have begun getting together once a month to work on our albums. I miss getting together with the friends I made at C.M. retreats and crops. I'm thankful that Joelle and I can get together so I still have someone to work on albums with. I'm so thankful that Ram continues to let me buy product to finish the albums I've purchased and allow me to go scrapbook with Joelle.

Some consultants/customers followed the co-founder of C.M. to a different company. Perhaps I should check that out. But I have so many scrapbooking supplies after I receive this final order. I think it will be time to go digital after I use up these supplies. I am so thankful C.M. was there when it was time to work on my Grandma's scrapbooks and to do the baby albums for my 3 Lambs.

I do enjoy making books at Snapfish and the Lambs love to look at those books. But I also enjoy doing traditional scrapbooking and I'm not ready to go completely digital. So I'll use these supplies and then switch to Snapfish. I just hope Snapfish doesn't go bankrupt next as I prefer them to other digital companies and I have 10+ years of photos already uploaded there.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Buying fabric

One part of where we lived in MN that I miss was the fabric store about 1 1/2 hours away. We have several different fabric stores here, but that store had really cute material and good prices.
Our LWML met on Thursday and everyone was supposed to bring something they had made for the bazaar or a pattern/idea of something we could sell at the bazaar. Nearly everyone that brought something made out of fabric had purchased the material at Hobby Lobby.
I had never purchased material at Hobby Lobby, I don't think I had even browsed that section before. I decided to check it out since all the ladies at church so highly recommended it. Their material is always 30% off. I noticed most of their prices of what I looked at were 6.99 or 7.99 so 30% off of that. Recently I've bought most of my material at JoAnn with 40% off coupon. I think JoAnn's prices are higher than Hobby Lobby so it comes out about the same. Not only do I prefer to support Hobby Lobby than JoAnn, but Hobby Lobby is much closer to my house. The only bad part is both Hobby Lobby and JoAnn have long lines when it is time to pay for your purchase. But usually JoAnn has a longer wait time to cut your fabric so Hobby Lobby saves time there.
When I was pregnant with Lamb 1 I purchased some Winnie the Pooh material to make quilt to hang on the wall and material to make curtains for the nursery. Yesterday Hobby Lobby had that same pattern that I bought 11 years ago in stock, plus two more similar patterns to match. I couldn't believe it wasn't discontinued and exactly like my nursery pattern. The quilt is now hanging in my bedroom because I appreciate it more than the Lambs now. I'll have to think if there is anything else I would like to make out of that material.
I have several sewing projects planned and when I get them finished I'll post pictures here.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Audio homeschool

I know I am way behind the times here so I'm a little afraid to post this as other homeschoolers and teachers will say they have been doing this for years. But I have wanted this for a long time and it finally was done today.

When I taught in the classroom, I had tons of cassette tapes and each morning much preparation was in setting each tape to the right Shurley Jingle or patriotic song etc. to sing. By the time I began homeschooling I had updated to CDs. But up until last school year each morning we began by putting in one CD after the other doing our whole list of "memory songs". Once Lamb 2 began therapy this was the first to go in our schedule, we just didn't have time to go through a bunch of CDs. So we didn't do very much Latin in 2014.

Last spring I talked to a brand new homeschooler that was pulling her kids out of a classical Christian school here and homeschooling this fall. Her biggest fear was how to cover most of the subjects daily or almost daily when her young boys would lose their attention. I told her it wasn't as hard as it seemed-we spent an average of 5 minutes on each CD that we do and for some subjects that is all we do for that subject. I don't have the Lambs do any writing for Latin, we just try to do it with the CD daily.

We got an iPad last Christmas and I got the idea to make a playlist with all our educational CDs. The playlist has 301 songs and is 358 minutes-just by thinking of all the poetry and songs that we use often in homeschool. A couple were downloads I paid a couple of dollars for a few years ago but have never used with the Lambs-now they are easily accessible. It is going to be so nice to just click on the correct song and it is all ready for us daily instead of finding the correct CD and then the correct track.

Here is what is in my playlist to begin:
Song School Latin and Prima Latina and Lingua Angelica
Math U See Songs
Andrew Pudewa's Linguistic Development Poetry Series
Geography Songs
Sing the Faith CD
Some Science songs from Ellen McHenry
The Presidents Song from (this was a download that I was happy to purchase, I used this in my classroom but only had a cassette tape)
Wee Sing America (patriotic songs)

I do want to add some more Bible verse memory (probably from CPH Sunday School CDs) and hymns (probably from St. Paul's Lutheran, Fort Wayne). I'm sure once we begin school I will think of others to add too.

Since the Lambs also use the iPad, I will keep all my CDs for backup and a list of what is on my playlist in case they do something to my playlist. I think this will not only save us time, but also save wear and tear on our CDs that we use daily. The CDs are there if we ever need to make a new playlist. Perhaps we will also do more of these songs daily since they are so easy to access now. I also like that we can easily take the iPad with us. When we lived in MN we often did these CDs on long drives or even short drives the 7 miles into town. Since we have lived in ID we haven't done that much. But if we drive across town we can do a couple of these on the iPad or if we have to wait somewhere we can do a couple; I can think of the possibilities of using 5 or 10 minutes wisely with this.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Photography Lessons

We talked to the Lambs several times in the past few weeks about the professional photographer coming to Grandpa and Grandma's house to take family pictures. The photographer did a great job of letting them throw rocks in the river, then take a few posed pictures, then take individual pictures of the Lambs, then a few more posed pictures. I don't know what got in to them, but they only cooperated for their individual pictures. Lamb 2 was especially in a bad mood, but all 3 weren't very fast following the photographer directions. I think we just tried to fit too much into last week and weekend and they were tired.
We reminded them about why we were having our pictures taken; reminded them that the faster they cooperated the faster photos would be done, etc. Grandpa offered to let the Lambs use his camera to take their own photos after the photographer left if they would cooperate. Ram and Ewe took them aside and talked to them. Nothing seemed to work until one of the Lambs suggested that Grandpa and Grandma's kitten should be in the photos. Grandpa agreed that if they would cooperate for some nice family photos then we would try to get the kitten in the photos. We made clear that they had to cooperate quickly because the kitten can't follow directions like they can. We finally were able to get a few good pictures and then we took some with the kitten.
Grandpa had offered to let the Lambs use his camera so after the photographer left they all took a turn. Here are the photos that they took in Grandpa and Grandma's back yard.

Lamb 1 8-11-14

Lamb 2 8-11-14
I think I need to frame Lamb 2's photo it is so beautiful! 
Lamb 3 8-11-14
Photo of Pi-rho on a chair inside.

I am going to get prints made with my monthly free prints from Snapfish for them to have a copy. Perhaps I will order a bigger print and frame them for the Lambs as a Christmas present.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

More Busy Summer Days

August 5: Lamb 2 vision therapy, Lamb 2 piano lessons, made blackberry jam, Ram went to the doctor and was allowed to take off his special shoe from injuring his foot last month, National Night Out potluck and pool party in our neighborhood. The Lambs decorated their bikes and scooters for the neighborhood parade and I made cupcakes for the potluck.
August 6: Took Lambs to lunch in the park, made blackberry jam, Lamb 2 Vision therapy.
August 7: Took Lambs to lunch in the park, Ram went out with the area pastors and a few lay people in the evening, did some shopping, Lamb 2 Occupational Therapy, made apricot cobbler to finish apricots.
August 8: Ram took Lambs to last lunch in the park this year, wedding rehearsal at church and our whole family went to the rehearsal dinner, got ready and froze 25 lbs of tomatoes.
August 9: Wedding at church and also went to wedding reception. My parents 45th wedding anniversary! Packed to go to Ram's parents, made peach jam, got some peaches ready to freeze.
August 10: Church, Lamb 2 was acolyte, Voter's Meeting at church, drove to Ram's parents, attended Sun Valley Symphony Concert.

August 11: Professional photographs taken in Ram's parents backyard, visited and stayed at their house until late afternoon and then drove home.
August 12: Lamb 2 vision therapy, grocery shopping, laundry, dishes, and all that goes with being away a few days. Made Paleo fish and sweet potato fries for supper. Took Lambs out for ice cream to thank them for behaving on the drive home yesterday after a busy long weekend.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Busy Summer Days

Here is what we have done the past few weeks. Hopefully eventually I'll blog and post pictures of this!

July 23: Drive to Everett, WA
July 24: Spend the day with Ewe's mom's brother
July 25: Rehearsal dinner for Ram's cousin's wedding
July 26: Ram's cousin's wedding in Anacortes, WA
July 27: Visit the best man in our wedding and his family-we hadn't seen him since our wedding day and I hadn't met his wife or children
July 28: Drive home and arrive home in time for a final VBS meeting
July 29-31: 3 days of VBS!
July 30: Host 2 Looper families from ID for dinner and 1 Looper from AR with 2 of her relatives to spend the night after dinner. It was a great ID/AR get together!
July 31: Attend an event at a local park and get to know a homeschooling family that we may do more things with this year
August 1: We thought we were going to attend a Boise Hawks game but while we were waiting in line we realized our tickets were not good on a Friday night so we went out for ice cream instead.
August 2: I scrapbooked at my friend Joelle's house for the evening.
August 3: Church and then made 2 batches of apricot jam
August 4: I picked 12 lbs of blackberries and made one batch of triple berry jam and one batch of blackberry jam.

Our August calendar is full. Lamb 2 still has therapy on 3 days of the week. Ram will officiate a wedding this weekend, the Lambs have their annual checkups, we hope to fit in another visit to Ram's parents before Labor Day, and we are trying to squeeze in visits for many of our friends to go swimming with us before our pool closes at the end of the summer. We will not go back to our full homeschool schedule until after Labor Day.

I need to finish the blackberries and apricots. I also purchased many tomatoes and peaches that will need to be dealt with when they are ripe. I need to organize all the VBS craft stuff. I've been getting to bed late, but feeling productive. Before yesterday I had not made one jar of jam this year and now I have almost 4 dozen jars. There is always more to do, but I can see progress.