*****Please note that there are days where I will post more than once. So, to find out all the latest happenings and "goings-on" in our family (or my random thoughts), be sure to scroll down.*****

Monday, March 29, 2010

First Grade Week 36 in Review

Well, there’s no denying that we’ve fallen behind.  We were doing so well until the end of February.  However, since then, we just can’t find our groove again.  Besides, life has also been throwing all kinds of curveballs (illness, Caleb’s situation, co-op, etc).  We only have 35 more days of school left, but as long as we get those all in before May 20th, I don’t care how or when it gets done.  Caleb knows this, so he’s prepared to do what it takes to get it done.  With all of that said, here’s how week 36 went for us.
Heritage Studies:  We discussed spending and saving money (something that is very near and dear to Caleb), took our chapter test, and started a new chapter.  We discussed “you are special” to begin the new chapter.
Science:  We took a chapter test, and then we started a new chapter on weather.  We discussed describing the temperature of air and describing the movement of air.
Math:  Caleb started a new chapter on worked on measuring in centimeters, estimating and measuring in centimeters, liter, and kilogram.
Bible:  Our Bible story was on “God Saves Sinners”, and we reviewed all of our Bible verses thus far.
Vocabulary:  We added “awkward, tide, construct, tower, and drop” to our list of vocabulary terms.
Phonics & English:  This week we discussed antonyms, rhyming words, analogies, and suffixes/prefixes.
Extra Stuff:  Caleb and Micah are still having a fun time at co-op.  I’m also still enjoying the classes that I assist in and the ones I’m teaching.  Here’s some of Caleb’s work from the past few weeks:

This is a fish sun catcher that Caleb made in his Extreme Weather class.  It’s now hanging in our living room window.IMG_5326 This is the covered wagon that Caleb made in his Pioneers and Indians class.
This is an “apple print” picture that Caleb made in the poetry class that I teach.  We read a poem called “I Eat”, and they used apple prints to paint.  Caleb went a little crazy…IMG_5329  This is the “tissue paper” egg that Caleb made in the poetry class last week.  The poem was “Some Things That Easter Brings” by Elsie Parrish.IMG_5331
Please remember to keep us in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow.  We head to the pediatric neurologist at 9:30am, and I’m praying that we will get some much needed answers.  We’ve discussed more about the situation with Caleb, and we’ve explained that we’re going to see a doctor who is going to try to help us find out “why” his body is doing what it is doing.  That seems to be his biggest question…”Why does my body do this?”  Again, it breaks our heart to hear that, but we’re glad that he’s being open to the doctor’s appointment pending he doesn’t get any shots or finger pricks and getting answers.  Thank you for reading and for following our story.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My heart is breaking…

for our sweet Caleb.  While I don’t want to keep thinking about the possibility of Tourette Syndrome, it just keeps rearing it’s ugly head in my thoughts.  I, too, don’t want to keep posting about it, but I honestly feel as though posting about it can be a form of therapy.  So, bare with me as I may use our blog to post about this more frequently. 
I find myself having to hold back tears almost daily when I see the tics present themselves in Caleb.  While I don’t want to have a pity party, I feel sad for our son.  I hate that his body is doing this to him, and he can’t control it.  I hate that as his parents that we can’t do anything about it. 
Brian and I have noticed that the tics are making their way to Caleb’s lower extremities, and this makes it ever more obvious that something isn’t right.  He’s been having arm/leg jerks since this weekend.  When we see tics like these, we know that this means it’s only a matter of time before total strangers will start noticing them.  That’s something I’m not ready for.  Most of our friends tell me that they don’t really notice them; however, others do.  It’s honestly a day-by-day situation, as he has good days and bad days. 
However, all of this confirms the fact that we need to find out what is going on so we can be advocates for Caleb, and he can be his own advocate.  I find myself explaining his tics to the teachers and people he may see on a regular basis.  He had to take the ITBS test yesterday and today, and I had to be sure to let his administrator know that she may see his arm/leg jerks.  Did I think she’d notice?  I don’t  know…maybe not.  However, I wanted to be sure that if she did, she didn’t think there was anything wrong. 
It’s all just so overwhelming to me, and I’m trying my hardest to keep it all together for Caleb’s sake.  I don’t want him to see my crying because I don’t want to have to tell him why.  We’ve still held off on telling him anything about this.  We do ask him if he knows his body is doing it, and he says that he does but cannot stop.  If I could make it stop for him, I would in a heartbeat. 
I finally ordered some books from Amazon for us and for Caleb.  I’m hoping they come in soon so that I can use the ones I ordered for Caleb to help him understand what is going on with his body.  The books I ordered for him are: 
I Can't Stop!: A Story About Tourette Syndrome
Hi, I'm Adam: A Child's Book About Tourette Syndrome
I ordered these books for us:
Natural Treatments for Tics and Tourette's: A Patient and Family Guide
Children with Tourette Syndrome: A Parents' Guide
Again, I’m sorry that I have to use the blog for these types of posts.  However, like I mentioned, I find it a bit therapeutic.  So, I hope that you all won’t mind.  Thanks for reading, and please continue to lift up our family, especially Caleb, in prayer.  We go to the pediatric neurologist on Tuesday, the 30th.  That day cannot come fast enough!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Waiting for Answers…

I’ve gone back and forth about posting this.  However, I’m hoping that by putting it out there that some of you with experience with this may shed some light for us.  So, here goes…
When our sweet Caleb was in preschool, his teacher in the 4-year-old class mentioned that he was excessively blinking his eyes.  Well, we noticed it, too, so I made an appointment with the pediatrician at least I think that’s why I made it…it’s been 2+years, so who really knows why I made it.  The pediatrician just dismissed it as allergies and told us to keep an eye on him.  So, that’s what we did, and I think it went away for a bit.
Now, fast forward to the last Friday in February of this year.  Caleb and I had gone shopping with my mom to get supplies for the co-op classes that I was teaching.  When we got home, I noticed that he was grimacing his face and also had a little tongue/mouth issue.  It was almost like he was sticking out his tongue, but in a “limp” way.  I pointed this out to Brian, and he noticed it as well.  Being the worried Internet savvy mom that I am, I started looking for answers in the most dangerous place on the Internet.  Everything that I read pointed to Tourette Syndrome.
Brian and I kept an eye on Caleb, and we decided that maybe a visit to the pediatrician was in order.  I called and made an appointment for Monday, the 1st of March.  We  made arrangements for my mom to watch Micah because we didn’t want to have to deal with him at the doctor.  Over the course of the weekend, Caleb’s tics got quite noticeable.  His tongue/mouth issues actually turned into a smacking sound, and he was quite loud with it.  We asked him if he knew what he was doing.  He responded that he did, but he was unable to stop it.  Again, this all continued to worry us.
We went to the pediatrician on the 1st, and I had to write a note explaining while we were there.  Caleb is terrified of shots and “finger pricks”, so he freaked out when I mentioned the doctor’s visit.  Brian assured him that it was just a visit to discuss healthy eating with the doctor.  While we were in the office, the doctor noticed the tics/twitching as well.  We decided to send Caleb back into the waiting room so we could discuss the issue without him hearing us.  Our pediatrician mentioned that he did notice the tics; however, he probably wouldn’t have if we hadn’t brought it to his attention.  He mentioned that it could just be transient motor tics.  (As a mom and someone who has done a little bit of research, I think it’s more due to the fact that it’s been going on for 2+ years).  He then told us that there are medicines they use to treat it; however, they are either anti-seizure or high blood pressure meds.  I had already read this on the Internet, and we informed him that we would rather NOT do medicine as long as it is not interfering with Caleb’s academics and well-being (right now it is not).
Our pediatrician decided that it would be best if we went and saw a pediatric neurologist.  The neurologist would be better able to see what’s going on and discuss our options with us.  So, that’s where we are right now.  We have an appointment with the pediatric neurologist on the 30th of March.  I’m sure it will be the first of many appointments until we fully understand what is going on.  We are aware that a lot of other issues can accompany Tourette Syndrome such as ADHD and OCD.  Caleb hasn’t been tested for any issues, but I’m sure there will be an array of testing done.
The tics are still present, but it amazes us how quickly they can change.  There are days when we hardly notice it, and then there are days where it is very obvious.  He’s had various motor tics (eye twitching/blinking, head turning, facial grimacing, mouth/tongue issues, etc) and vocal tics (throat clearing, sniffing, etc).  After we sat and figured everything out, all of the things we had seen in Caleb started making sense.  We’ve been noticing these tics/twitching incidences for 2+ years now, but we JUST put all of it together.  I think the reason we didn’t think more was because they would disappear for a short while, and then come back in a new fashion. 
While we are thankful this is not a life-threatening or debilitating illness, we do know that it can be a social issue.  We are now even more convinced that our decision to homeschool was the right choice for Caleb, and we made that decision before we ever had children.  It’s amazing how God lays everything out for us according to His perfect will.  We ask that you all keep us in your thoughts and prayers while we go through this process.  I will update more on this situation once we have our appointment on the 30th. 
Also, I’d love to hear from any of you who have experience with Tourette Syndrome.  Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

“Blind” Four-Wheeling Banana Boy

I tell you…there is never a dull moment at our house!  Micah and Caleb are both full of energy.  I love how as Micah gets older they play together.  It’s heartwarming to see them sitting watching a movie together or playing in the tent.  I hope that they will continue to develop a brotherly bond that will make them forever friends.  Now, I don’t know what any of that has to do with this post…oh well, I went off on a tangent.  I do have some cute pictures to share though.  So, enjoy them!

Micah gets to enjoy Big Brother’s “hand-me-down” four-wheeler.  Caleb is just too big now, but Micah is loving it.IMG_5303Checking to make sure he’s doing it right I guess…he kept looking behind instead of forward.  I’m glad there will be a good many years before he gets behind the wheel of a car.  LOL!IMG_5304Now, he’s looking down.  Geez…we’ve got to teach that boy a thing or two about driving.IMG_5305 Micah loves bananas.  He’ll run into the kitchen, point up at the ledge, and shout “Mommy nana, nana, nana.”  He will eat 2-3 a day if he’s allowed.IMG_5309 He kept holding his banana up like a torch.  He was in the middle of saying “cheese” when Brian snapped this one.  Sorry you can see the banana…it’s still cute!IMG_5314 Brian told me to check out Micah the other day.  When I did, this is what I saw…sitting on the windowsill, playing behind the blinds.  That boy cracks us up!  He’s such a character!IMG_5318

Friday, March 12, 2010

First Grade Week 35 in Review

Well, my plans of staying on track are now out the window.  Granted, we’re only a week behind, but still…I was doing so good.  However, when you add illness upon illness, it’s kind of hard to keep it together.  Everyone in the family has been suffering with some kind of illness (bronchitis, teething, common cold, viral infection, etc)…so, we’ve had to take some time to focus on getting well.  With that said, school got put aside.  Oh well, we’ll catch up here shortly.  This is how the 35th week panned out for us.
Heritage Studies:  We discussed how people need clothes and love, and then we spent some time discussing wants vs. needs.
Science:  We started a new chapter on plants this week.  We discussed parts for making new plants, flowers, fruits, seeds, and parts for eating.  We’re still debating on whether or not we’re planting a big garden, but if we do all of this information will be put to use. 
Math:  Caleb spent some time working on adding large #s (3 digit #s).  He really loves his math, so he continues to do well.
Bible:  We spent some time reviewing First Catechism questions 59-62.  Our Bible story was on “The Holy Spirit Gives New Life.”
Vocabulary:  We added “whole, astronaut, dim, scale, and tilt” to our list of vocabulary terms.
Phonics & English:  We discussed rhyming words, homonyms, analogies, punctuation, capitalization, and  alphabetical order.
Extra Stuff:  I mentioned a  few posts back that we were getting ready to start our spring homeschool co-op semester.  Caleb is taking four classes:  Extreme Weather, Pioneers & Indians, Inside My Body, and Poetry in Motion.  I’m assisting in two classes (Storybook Chef and Puppetry), and I’m teaching two classes (Basic Math Skills and Poetry in Motion).  Caleb is having a blast, and we are so happy that more of his friends are participating in the co-op this session.  The co-op has really grown since the fall, and it’s wonderful to see so many homeschoolers having fun and learning.  Micah is staying in the nursery, and well, he likes it once he gets over the fact that I’ve abandoned him.  LOL!  I think we need to get him away from me more often because he’s becoming quite attached.  Here are two crafts that Caleb made last week:

This is a concertina fold butterfly that he made in the class that I teach (Poetry in Motion).  We basically read a poem each week, and then we use that poem to learn English skills (capitalization, punctuation, parts of speech, etc).IMG_5324This is a rain stick he made in Extreme Weather.  I heard that he and some friends were using them as “weapons”, so he had to have his taped up again.  Boys, boys, boys…LOL!IMG_5325
I’m in the process of trying to figure out curriculum and schedules for 2nd grade.  Since we school year-round, I have to get everything ready before June.  So, I have to make my decision, get it all ordered, and start planning.  We’re making a few curriculum changes next year, and I’ll post more at a later date on those details.  In the meantime, I’d love to hear YOUR favorite curriculum find from all of you homeschooling mommies out there.  So, share away!  It can also be an Internet link if that’s your favorite find.  I look forward to hearing from all of you.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Micah’s 2nd Birthday Party

Well, time slipped away, and I forgot to post a shout-out to our sweet Micah Monkey on his actual birthday.  He turned TWO last Friday, the 5th.  We had his party on the 6th, and it was great fun.  However, the kiddo STILL doesn’t like cake.  I don’t know what’s up with that, but we’re going to have to work on his cake phobia. 

Here’s the breakfast area all decorated up with YO GABBA GABBA.IMG_5262 The centerpiece…IMG_5264 Micah with his new outdoor ball…note the “bee” hat.  IMG_5266 Now he can help daddy cut the grass.  Oops, I forgot…daddy hires someone else to cut the grass.  LOL!IMG_5272 Oh what fun…a Brobee backpack.  He’ll be set for preschool now.IMG_5274 Taking a closer look at Brobee.IMG_5275 Look…Thomas underwear.  Does that mean it’s time to potty train?  AACCKKKK!IMG_5282 Micah getting into his Blue’s Clues DVD.IMG_5289 It’s a keyboard…now I can leave Caleb’s alone.IMG_5292 There’s our little musician…playing away.IMG_5294 Oh happy, happy, joy, joy…more Yo Gabba Gabba toys.  :)IMG_5296 The cake…Melissa did a WONDERFUL job!IMG_5298 See…he’s in tears because he doesn’t want cake.  In his defense though, we had to bring him inside for cake, so he’s mad that he can’t stay outside.  LOL!IMG_5300 Look at that poor, pitiful face…why doesn’t he like cake?!!?IMG_5301
Now, I promise I still have more to share, but I’ll wait until tomorrow.  I don’t want to bombard you all with too much in one day!

Pictures, pictures, pictures…

Okay, so I’ve been a little slack with my posting.  However, I do have good reason, but it will have to wait for it’s own post.  Right now, I’m going to play a little catch-up with some pictures.  So, enjoy (note…most of these were taken back in February if that tells you anything). 

Micah suddenly took on a love for building with blocks.  These had been sitting around for some time, but he finally grasped the concept of building with them.IMG_5108More block building…IMG_5111 This is goofy Micah.  The boy LOVES hats, and here he’s sporting his “bee” hat and his “basket” hat.  To top it all off, he decided to go for a ride on his rocking horse.IMG_5250 Enjoying some outdoor time…this was taken the weekend after we had the big snow.IMG_5251There’s our little ball player…sporting his Scooby-Doo hat.IMG_5253 Swinging…this kid could swing all day I think.IMG_5256 Here’s Caleb sporting his “blue crested” haircut.  It washed out the same night thank goodness.IMG_5259 Isn’t that a cute style?  I think he may wear it like this  more often if I can fix it.  We shall see…IMG_5261
Now, stay tuned for a certain someone’s birthday post…

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