Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lamb Dentist Appointments

All three boys had dentist appointments scheduled this morning. I felt a little guilty taking appointment times when the public school has a break. When we arrived only Lamb 3 was on the schedule. I remained calm and thankfully I didn't say outloud what I was thinking. They worked them all in even though they weren't in the computer. I still don't know what happened to Lamb 1 and 2's appointment times. I'm always impressed that all three can have their appointments and we can get out of there in less than an hour.

All their appointments went well and no one had cavities. Lamb 1 needs to brush in the back of his mouth a little better. They recommend sealants for Lamb 2's molars but I have been hesitant to do this. I guess I need to do a little more research before telling the dentist my decision. Lamb 3 remains in the no cavities ever club.

The Lambs get tokens to pick prizes out of a vending machine when they visit the dentist. They are now stocked up on bouncy balls. Lamb 2 thought the toothbrush they gave him was babyish so we had to ask for a different one.

Everyone in our family has doctor appointments scheduled with our naturopath chiropractor in December. Lamb 2 has one more vision therapy session and one more evaluation with the vision therapy doctor. Lamb 2 has nose surgery scheduled. Lamb 3 needs a shot in December. That will conclude our 2014 doctor visits. Overall we did very well fitting everything in while we met our deductible this year.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tie One on Day

November 26, 2014 - Tie One On Day
Don't forget about Tie One on Day tomorrow! I celebrated a little early by making scones and sharing scones, whipped cream, and blackberry jam with a friend in need yesterday. What are you doing for Tie One on Day this year? 

Monday, November 24, 2014


We bought gas on Friday and it was under $3 a gallon. I get so disgusted hearing the news that prices are going down and it seems to take forever here in ID to catch up to the rest of the country. Ram and I told each other one of the best benefits of buying a new minivan was a full gas tank!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How our Lambs watch football

This is how a typical Sunday afternoon goes at our house.

Lamb 1 turns on the TV when we get home from church and scrolls through the listing to see what time what games are on. We have had our TV almost two years and I have no idea how to do that. I don't need to learn how to do that because Lamb 1 always does it.

Then begins the negotiating for Lamb 1 to try to convince one or both of his brothers to play football or soccer in the backyard. Usually Lamb 1 and 2 play while Lamb 3 stays inside. Lamb 3 watches the game closely enough to yell outside at the Lambs playing outside when there is something exciting happening in the game. Sometimes Lamb 3 plays while Lamb 2 stays inside. The Lambs that are playing outside take frequent breaks to come check on the game. Lamb 3 can't be trusted to tell them when it is almost halftime or end of the game so they have to check themselves.

All afternoon they ask me which team I am cheering for. Usually I could care less. They just can't believe I don't have a favorite team for all the games! They pick which team based on the team colors usually. Lamb 2 cheers for SF because they have gold. Often different Lambs are cheering for different teams.

I never imagined my boys would watch and play football at the same time. It seems to work for our active Lambs though! This is all done with our antenna, we don't even have cable.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Last post on Lamb 2 Exercises

I blogged the past few days about exercises and tasks that are recommended for Lamb 2 now that he has completed OT. Several times during the past year of Lamb 2's therapy I was struck with thoughts of not believing simple tasks like carefully tearing paper were so important for academics. It was true that Lamb 2 couldn't go on to more difficult tasks until he could complete the simple tasks. That was the main reason for my posting about this the past few days. My hope is that other preschool parents would start thinking about doing some of these simple tasks with their children before they begin school.

I have learned so much from Lamb 2's therapy that would be very helpful if I ever return to teaching in the classroom. I did share some of this with our preschool teachers at our church.

We are preparing for hosting Thanksgiving at our house. Then we will begin to get ready for Lamb 2's nose surgery and then recovery. My plan is to add in these simple tasks and exercises to our homeschool curriculum-focusing on one or two a week beginning in January. I think it will be good for both Lamb 2 and Lamb 3.

We also recently cleaned out our game and puzzle closet. The Lambs were ready to part with Candyland and other games they had outgrown. They actually gave away a lot more than I expected. I also hope to add in game and puzzle time to our homeschool curriculum in January. We do have many educational games and many would be good for Lamb 2's OT exercises. They often play the same games over and over, but it would be good to make an effort to focus on one or two extra games each week. I want to make sure that all 3 Lambs understand the rules and how to play all the games that we own. I hope that perhaps some of the games that we focus on get added to the rotation of their favorite games too.

Friday, November 21, 2014

More on Lamb 2 Exercises

I had asked Lamb 2's OT if she had suggestions of educational games or toys to help Lamb 2 considering Christmas is coming. Here are some of those suggestions:
*Push pegs in a board placed in an upright position. (I need to research if they still make Lite Brite like when we were kids.)
*Jump rope
*pattern blocks (which we have already been doing)
*bat a balloon in the air with a tennis racket
*kick ball with just one foot and then alternate feet

Arm and hand strengthening tasks: 
*Lay on stomach and prop on arms to read a book, color, watch a movie, play a game, put together a puzzle, or do writing on a clipboard.
*open and close doors whenever we go someplace
*push the grocery cart
*color on chalkboard, easel, paper on the wall, etc. Use a squirt bottle and cloth rag to clean the chalkboard.
*help cook-stir, roll, knead, open containers
*thoroughly wipe off the table after dinner
*swing on a swing
*help made bread-stir and knead
*push along floor with arms on a scooter board
*playground play-monkey bars, swings, trapeze, climb the slide, climb walls and ladders
*animal walking-bunny hop, bear walking, crab walking, kangaroo, monkey, inchworm, etc.
*play in the bathtub-squeeze, pour, grasp bathtub toys, squeeze a sponge

Fine Motor Tasks:
*Use tongs to pick up small objects and put them in a container. Make a game of it. Use cereal, small toys, cotton balls, etc.
*play board games with small pieces
*art activities-cut, glue, color, lace
*crafts with tiny pieces like perler beads that you iron into shapes after creating on pegboards
*open and close food containers and packages that you twist, tear, pull open (jars, bags, applesauce cups, granola bar wrappers)
*manipulate small objects in the hands (Lite Brite pegs, sort coins, Connect 4, Don't Break the Ice)
*play doh and other crafty doughy textures. Roll into balls and snakes, make pancakes, pinch them, squeeze, roll, etc.
*color with crayons broken in half
*peel small stickers off a sticker sheet and incorporate into art projects
*play dress up-have child do buckles on shoes, snaps, buttons, and zippers on clothes
*clothespins-pick up small objects using clothespins-qtips, cotton balls, tissues, clip clothespins around an index card are along the bottom hem of a shirt
*wind up toys
*string beads
*crafts with glue in a bottle, not glue sticks

To be continued tomorrow...

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Lamb 2 exercises

Lamb 2's occupational therapist is on maternity leave. Lamb 2 was able to graduate from OT when she had her baby rather than working with a sub. Before she had her baby she gave some advice and exercises for him to do at home. I do not have an early childhood degree and I either did not do these types of activities with my Lambs or I took for granted that these were activities that preschoolers should do. I decided to make a list here so other parents either do these types of activities with their preschoolers or if they are already doing these they realize they are educational!

Specific exercises for Lamb 2's weaknesses
*jump in place with opposite arms and legs
*fold paper (I am doing an entire workbook with Lamb 2 and 3 with this)
*mazes, especially ones with narrow lines
*army crawl
*color in complex shapes
*copy shapes like star or overlapping circles
*find the same and different shapes

Activities to improve fine motor coordination
*shuffle and deal cards (I recently played a game with a second grade boy that could not handle picking up the right number of cards from the deck when it was his turn. I was amazed because all my Lambs knew how to do that at about age 4. Playing basic card games with your children is really important!)
*trace a design with a pen
*make a chain of paper clips
*pick up small beans and put them in a cup
*pick up hooks and eyes and put them in a medicine bottle
*pick up coins and place them in a coin purse
*put clothes pins on the side of a cup
*screw and unscrew nuts and bolts
*pick up toothpicks with a tweezers
*fold, crumple, and tear paper or a tissue (Lamb 2 spent a lot of time at the beginning of VT doing this. I couldn't believe I was paying $70/hour for this! We worked on this at home when I found out he was doing this at VT. :))
*string beads or macaroni on a string
*lace shoes and tie them (I need to work on this with my Lambs. It has not been a priority since we homeschool.)
*stack coins
*pick up marbles and hold as many as you can in your hand
*play a game with small pegs or playing pieces
*bounce a small ball and catch it
*practice buttoning
*string beads or buttons
*sew with a needle and thread
*cut out coupons

To be continued tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lamb 3's Day

This actually happened a couple of weeks ago, but I am finally posting it. It was great to eat out the day after our church bazaar! Ewe and Lamb 2 had their days last January. Lamb 1 is anxious for them to have his name day!

The small sign was broken so we had to take the photo by the large sign. A few days later the small sign was fixed.

Lamb 3 was so excited to make his pizza and wear his hat. The manager noticed he was touching his hat so he had to wash his hands again before he was allowed to make his pizza.

Lamb 3 asked for cream cheese on his pizza. He actually ended up not liking it but it wasn't difficult to remove.
They were really busy when we went. In addition to regular customers and the name day customers, there was also a birthday party. Lamb 3 had to wait a long time before they had time for him. There wasn't time to take a photo of him with his pizza before it went in the oven.

Lamb 2 and 3 shared Lamb 3's free pizza. Lamb 1 ordered a pizza with no cheese. Ram and Ewe ordered a pizza with a whole bunch of toppings. We figured if we were going to cheat on our diet we may as well have a whole bunch of toppings. It was delicious and worth cheating!

Thank you, Flying Pie Pizzaria!

Monday, November 17, 2014

I can't believe I said this today!

Ewe speaking to the Lambs:
"You may only watch Jeopardy and 1 hour of Antiques Roadshow, that will be plenty of TV for today."

*Lamb 1 likes the once a month that he has Cub Scouts on Wednesday instead of Monday so that he can watch Antiques Roadshow.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Christmas Shopping Today

Today our local grocery store had the entire natural food side of their store at 20% off. I was determined to not miss this sale. We had 8 inches of snow total. Lamb 1 had a Cub Scout event today so I knew I had to get up early and go shopping or I would have to do this major shopping with Lamb 2 and 3 helping and asking for everything because it was on sale. So I got up and left the house at 7:30, driving slowly through our subdivision and discovered I left my phone at home. I returned home for the phone and left the second time at 7:45.

I bought groceries on sale on the regular side of the grocery, food to take to a church potluck, items to stock up for us that were on sale, and a few Christmas presents for people in our family and my secret pal at church. It seems like odd presents, but when you try to eat gluten free, either you spend extra dollars on food or you do without treats. I think my secret pal will appreciate what I bought her. My best find was they finally had the holiday coconut milk flavors. This is what I bought:
6 mint chocolate coconut milk
1 eggnog coconut milk
1 pumpkin spice coconut milk
4 organic eggnog (everyone besides Lamb 1 likes eggnog and I don't like eggnog with HFCS)
2 organic milk

Last year we discovered the holiday coconut milk but after Christmas the local stores were all sold out. I have been checking the past few weeks to see if they had any yet. We don't buy toys for the Lambs for Christmas because Grandma takes care of that. I do like to buy food treats for Christmas for the Lambs. The regular eggnog and milk and pumpkin spice coconut milk eggnog expire before Christmas. The rest doesn't expire until late January or early February. If Lamb 1 doesn't finish it before then (I think he will!) I will try freezing it. I think as long as you shake it well after it thaws it would be fine.

We don't have a very big freezer and it hasn't been long since I got 40 lbs of chicken so I did control myself in the freezer section of the store. I did buy some coconut bliss ice cream and managed to fit that in our freezer. My total bill for all groceries and tax was under $200. I drove slowly home on the snowy streets and arrived home in time for Lamb 1 and Ram to leave for Cub Scouts. Lamb 2 and 3 enjoyed helping me unload the groceries and seeing all the treats. Usually during sales like this the grocery store is packed, but today with the weather I practically had that side of the store to myself besides employees. Usually they have several checkout lanes open-today I was the only one in line. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Real Snow Day

Today all schools in the area are closed. The Lambs woke up and immediately wanted to go outside and play in the snow. I held them off until 9 am and declared a homeschool snow day. Perhaps when they get tired of playing outside we will attempt to do math. Or maybe not.
Our front yard showed about 5 1/2 inches.

The last snow day the schools had here was on opening Lego Movie day in February. Today is my sister's birthday so I'll remember this one too. It is rare for our area to have more than one snow day in a school year so we'll enjoy today.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Snow Day

It snowed all day today but there was not a big snow total. The Lambs could not wait to finish school work and go outside and play in the snow. I was surprised they weren't really out there very long this morning, I think it wasn't enough snow to play in.

When they came inside we had hot cocoa and they put their mittens and hats by the fireplace to dry. It was a good day to sit by the fire and drink hot cocoa!

This photo was taken this afternoon and you can tell there wasn't a lot of snow even by afternoon. They played outside some more in the late afternoon before it got dark.

Lamb 2 graduated from OT last week so I didn't leave the house today. It was a good first Thursday of not being scheduled for OT considering the weather!

The most amazing part was everyone had hats, snowpants, coats, mittens, and boots that fit! Lamb 2 has outgrown his coat, but he could still squeeze into it to play today. Our weather is so mild here that they mostly wear sweatshirts or light jackets except for when they want to play in the snow. Considering our first snow was November I was really impressed that we weren't caught off guard without large enough winter clothes. I did need to buy almost everything last year (boots and mittens for all 3 and a coat and snowpants for Lamb 1) and I bought all of that large for them to grow into.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Our Lamb differences in school work

Lamb 1 would prefer it to be quiet while he works. We even tried noise canceling headphones for him to do his school work. Even those did not block enough noise for him. So we now allow him to do his math downstairs with the door closed while his brothers are told to play upstairs quietly. Sometimes if lawn mowers are going or windows are open he just can not do his work, he needs to wait until another time. I am not as extreme as Lamb 1, but I never did my homework with the TV on.

Lamb 2 loves to hum and often when he gets in trouble it is for making noise at inappropriate times. This week during his computer time at VT, the therapist forgot to turn off the music she had been listening to before he came in. She said it was piano Gospel music. It turned out that he had the best session ever. She is now going to turn on the same music when he comes in for his session. She is kicking herself for not discovering this until his last month of therapy. Ram totally understands how Lamb 2 would work better with music because Ram usually listens to radio talk shows while he writes his sermons.

Lamb 3 isn't far enough in academic work in first grade to know what his preference for noise is yet. His is more of a motivation problem. He is very stubborn and if he gets in his mind he doesn't want to do a school subject on one day, he won't. I never had this problem with the first two Lambs. Then I have to become very creative in how to get him to finish his work that day. Bribes and threats don't work. It is usually treating him as much older than 6 years old that works-saying something like, "If you finish this today then you won't have as much to do tomorrow." What else is helpful is to let his brothers finish all their school work before asking him about his school work. I think at that point he wants the one on one time with his favorite teacher mom. I am so thankful that this is an occasional problem because I don't understand it at all. I was one of those children that came home and did my homework without my parents asking. I can only imagine what the teacher would say if he was in school and I have no idea how I would motivate him to cooperate then.

I am thankful that we homeschool so we can teach our Lambs in the way that they work best. Are we always able to have it the way that they prefer? No, but I think that is good for them because the real world is not always as we prefer. But if it can be the way they prefer most of the time, they will accomplish more than if it is not.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Doctor Visits

Ram had his physical last week and is very healthy. Since he is an adult I won't post his stats here like I did for the Lambs, but his stats were great. We don't take annual physicals lightly after his surgery in 2010. We are thankful to God for this good news.

I have been calling several doctors to make different kinds of appointments for the 5 of us before the end of the calendar year since we met our deductible this year. Lamb 2 is scheduled for nose surgery on December 15. There is an order to appointments for everyone in our family-I would like to have all of our other doctor visits done by December 15. I needed to postpone one appointment because of the order of these. This is how the phone call with the receptionist went.

Ewe: "Hi, I need to postpone an appointment I made a long time ago for this Friday."

Nice receptionist says with panic in her voice: "Oh, I'm not sure we can do that, our schedule is really packed. You know Dr. _____ only does those kinds of appointments on Fridays."

Ewe: "I was hoping to postpone it until February or so. It's just not going to work to come this Friday."

Nice receptionist with a big sigh: "Oh, the February schedule is wide open. I was thinking you needed it in the next month. What date and time would you like?"

Along with this I have been seeing a naturopath chiropractor and I feel better at age 40+ than I did at age 30. I made appointments for everyone in our family to see him since we met our deductible this year and insurance pays for this. I am hoping he can help Ram with some of his aches and pains. I am curious what else he may find is wrong with them. We have seen several chiropractors in the lifetime of our Lambs, especially after we moved here, and this is the best adjustment to my pelvis I have ever had. He also said my thyroid is very healthy which is not what I have heard from the endocrinologist. But he said I need to get my emotions in control which is hurting my thyroid. So I have done my homework for him and he is helping me work through my emotions. I am going to be curious what the endocrinologist says at my next yearly appointment after I have worked with the naturopath. I am so thankful to my friend that recommended this naturopath.

Along with this we have begun using essential oils. I have a friend that told me she began seeing a naturopath and using essential oils about 10 years ago. Now I'm wishing I would have listened to her and used both of these the past 10 years. I really doubt that we will meet our deductible next year so I am hoping that these natural remedies work so we see the doctor less.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Goodbye, Grandma Jane

She wasn't my grandma by being related to me. When I was little I lived 3 hours away from my grandmas and I never met either of my grandpas. She taught Sunday School and helped with the music for Sunday School opening. She taught me to make wreaths out of candy kisses one Christmas. Even after we moved away she always remembered my birthday with a card with $1 tucked in. The past few years she wasn't sure of my address so the cards were a little late, but still came. She made and embroidered their names on baby quilts for Lamb 1 and Lamb 3. She sent a different gift when Lamb 2 was born. The last time we visited her Lamb 3 was a baby and she was so happy to meet my boys. It brought tears to my eyes that my adopted grandma would remember my Lambs as an adopted great-grandma, just like my Grandma Frieda would have done if she was still alive. She had tons of grandchildren and great-grandchildren that were related to her and she still always remembered her adopted granddaughter.

This is my first birthday in 36 years that I won't receive a birthday card from Grandma Jane. She is with Jesus and Grandpa Stan now.

My Lambs have adopted grandparents from our churches both here and in MN. I don't know if their relationship with their adopted grandparents will last as long as mine did with Grandma Jane. But I know that by adopting me all those years ago, that was the kindest thing she could have done for her pastor (my dad) and his family. She felt like her words were not much in those birthday cards coming from a small town homemaker.  But her taking time to write the cards each year is what mattered. I hope to follow her example and adopt children from church to be my grandchildren when the Lambs are out of the house.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Halloween costumes

I ran out of time to make Halloween costumes help the Lambs come up with costumes from items around our house. When they were younger we bought Pooh costumes from the used kids store. This is the first time we ever purchased new costumes from the store.  I was surprised that we saw several Spidermans this year, but very few Star Wars characters. The Lambs were very grateful for their new costumes and I expect throughout the year they will play in their costumes.
Spiderman aka Lamb 3

Jango Fett aka Lamb 1

Darth Vader aka Lamb 2

The Lambs went trunk-or-treating three nights in a row.
Once at city hall, once with Cub Scouts, and once at our church.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Oh give thanks to the Lord!

So much has happened the past few weeks I'm not sure I'll ever get caught up on blogging. I have many pictures of recent events. So many good things happening for the Lambs, our church, and our family. Some days I want to tell everyone I know about the miracles God has worked for us in Idaho over the past few years. These miracles were done by the Lord and they are marvelous in our eyes. Yesterday Psalm 118 was one of my Bible readings. I thought I would begin by posting some selected verses from Psalm 118.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let those who fear the Lord say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”
 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in man.
  The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
 I shall not die, but I shall live,
and recount the deeds of the Lord.
 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
 This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.
 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
 This is the Lord's doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
 This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
 Save us, we pray, O Lord!
Lord, we pray, give us success!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
 The Lord is God,
and he has made his light to shine upon us.
 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God; I will extol you.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Ewe's early birthday presents

Last night when I got home from the church bazaar I looked at my house that was in desperate need of attention after getting ready for Halloween and the bazaar last week. I turned the heat on for the first time this year. I ignored the dishes and laundry and straightening up that needed to be done. Instead I curled up under my new Pooh quilt made by the church ladies that Ram purchased as a gift for me, drank hot tea, and read Katie's new book. Do you have Katie's new book yet? It was quite an enjoyable evening (and so far a great book!) and now I'm recharged to tackle the housework today.