Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A Month of Toddling

It's been just over a month since Sulley took his first steps.  He has been very slow and timid.  At first he would only take a few steps with a lot of coaching.  He'd walk between Tim and I or around the living room but not much further.

Then, he decided to start walking all sneaky like.  He'd toddle around the kitchen or down the hallway, as long as nobody was paying attention to him.  He braced himself on his legs or holding his belly and each step was very deliberate.

Last week during therapy, Ms. Lindsay gave us a weighted vest to try.  The difference in Sulley's confidence with walking was immediate!  He was willing to take several quick steps and just seemed much more at ease.  I was able to find a weighted compression vest just like the loaner on ebay, so we will be able to keep up with it.  Ms. Lindsay did a sensory processing survey on our boy and he scored "More Than Others" and "Much More than Others" in almost every category.  We aren't sure what exactly that is going to mean for him, if anything. 

So far, Sulley is still definitely just a beginning walker, a toddler, to the definition of the word.  He isn't going to outrun anybody just yet.

He has also had a language explosion since we started using the vest.  His words include mom, dad, brother, dog, go, help, and up. He signs more, milk, all done, and down.  He also shakes his head for no.  I love that he is able to communicate most of his needs so clearly at 17 months old. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Homeschool Second Grade

Lucas is wrapping up his second grade year of homeschooling.  He is 8 and a half years old and has never been to public school.  The past 14 months have been full of new adventures for him & lots of new skills as well!

About a year ago (March 2017) Lucas learned how to ride his bicycle.  He was apprehensive at first, but I firmly encourage him and he eventually took off like a pro!  Within a day or two of learning to ride his 2 wheeler he began to make new friends in the neighborhood.  He also broke his finger that first week of knowing how to ride his bike.  (He took a hard fall while turning on gravel.)  Making neighborhood friends has been amazing.  Our house is the "cool" house and all the kids tend to gravitate here.  We had to set down some rules and that weeded out the kids who were here just for our trampoline. (We had 12 year olds coming to play with our 5 & 7 year olds...)   Now, we are down to a core group of 4 extra kids who like to hang here.  They are all closer in age to Lucas than Vinnie, but they include him just as well.  Lucas has learned some amazing things from having friends from the neighborhood.  He's learned that he can't always be the boss, sharing, problem solving, and we're still working on not bullying in defense of his kid brother.

Around that same time, Lucas also started expressing interest in learning to read.  We worked through about 70 of the "100 Easy Lessons" and he began to read cautiously.  He has since become much more confident and can read quite a bit.  He still struggles with sounding out some words on his own, but if you tell him to find a word in a page, he is able to do it.  We aren't pushing it and it is amazing to watch his confidence grow as he realizes that he is capable!

In the Spring the boys were taking a Mystery Science based co-op class and for the past 2 semesters they have been taking Math Games.  Lucas really enjoys the math games class and getting to play lots of fun games that teach math skills. They have also taken arts & crafts with Grandma & a movement/dance/p.e. class.  Lucas is actually getting into the dance class now too. 

Lucas is an amazing big brother and has been extremely helpful with taking care of baby Sulley.  He enjoys playing with him and taking care of him (most of the time).  Its quite tender to watch the two of them together, as Sulley truly looks up to his brother. 

We haven't done any "school" school work.  Lucas has asked about different topics and we've taught him what he wants to know.  He's very adept at math.  He is starting to get multiplication quite well and is able to do most math in his head. 

One area that Lucas has always excelled is in his Awana memorizations!  He is finishing up the third year of Sparks and will receive the Sparky Award (plaque) for completing all three handbooks. 

He will also get a Sparky review pin for completing the "Return Flight" handbook for the level 1 book.  He has worked *VERY* hard to complete all the activities and memorize the verses for his accomplishments.  We are so proud of him! 

This year the boys also participated in the Sparks A Rama and Awana Grand Prix.  Lucas chose to create a car that could compete to win for speed.  Vinnie wanted to design a car that would win the design competition. 

We learned a lot about the painting techniques this year and both boys accomplished their goals and came home with a trophy.  Lucas had the fastest car out of all the children, and only one of the 4 adult cars beat him!  Everybody loved Vinnie's car that made noise and had a Yoda on top!

Awards night for Sparks is just a couple weeks away and then we will have a break with Lucas until Truth & Training begins in September.  Vinnie will work on learning his review lessons over the summer break. 

Lucas has already completed his end of the year testing for 2nd grade.  He took the California Achievement Test (CAT) and did amazingly well!  We had to do some quick grammar lessons before he took it because I wasn't sure he'd had any grammar training at all (he did though, from coop) so I didn't want him going into it completely blind.  He rocked the math section and only missed ONE question!  Overall he scored in the third grade range for everything, so I'm satisfied that he's ready to move on! 

We are looking forward to a summer of more reading improvement, plenty of beach days, and preparing for fall co-op classes.  Lucas will be "moving up" to the new "Upper Elementary" class, which will be for our third through fifth graders.  They will do more in depth art projects, have a history class that requires reading/writing/and projects, and will do more of the advanced math games. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Sulley is Walking!

Because Sulley was a preemie, he has had some delays in his physical skills.  He hasn't been terribly behind, but he has been in Occupational/Physical Therapy through Early Intervention since he was about 9 months old.  We've made a lot of progress with monthly, and then 2x a month visits from his awesome therapist. 

Sulley started sitting unassisted in August 2017, so he was about 7 months old.  It was right around his birthday that he learned to crawl.  He took his first steps on April 19, but wouldn't repeat the act until May 6.  Each time he only took a few steps.  On May 7, during therapy he just took off! He walked across the living room numerous times & even made full turns and continued walking! 

He officially "gets it" that he can walk & is very excited when he does it!  He is still crawling most of the time, but he will be running around behind his brothers in no time!

We are so proud of our big boy!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Trying to Resurrect the Blog

So, I clearly lost my blogging mojo a while back and kind of just let the blog drift into oblivion.  I don't even know if anybody still stumbles across it.  But, I did always enjoy using it as a journaling space and somewhere to keep a record of the fun stuff the kids and I did.  So, now that we are getting the house in order and I have a space where I can sit and type again, I figured I'd give a go at bringing it back to life!   

There's no way to quickly recap the last couple years, so I'll just have to let that be.  Obviously our family has expanded since the last time I posted.  Sulley is the sweetest baby & such a blessing.  I can't imagine our lives without him.  He's our fun and sensitive little red head, so easy going and gentle.  His big brothers adore him. 

Tim is still working as a computer geek and supporting my desire to stay home and homeschool the kids.  I wouldn't change it for the world.  We may not have the biggest house, newest car, or fanciest gadgets but we've got each other and the freedom to enjoy ourselves. 

Lucas is technically in 2nd grade according to the state, but we haven't done any formal "curriculum" with him beyond the "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" book, which we didn't even finish.  We got through about 70 lessons.  He is amazing at scripture memorization and is finishing up his third year of Awana Sparks.  He will have earned all 3 years worth of books & the full review for the first year book.  We couldn't be more proud of him!  He is reading a little and LOVES math. 

Vinnie is officially a first grader this year, but we technically "held him back" by opting out of kindergarten and starting him in Awanas late.  He is not yet reading.  He recognizes most letters and can count almost to 20.  He's not interested in "school" work yet and we are trying to give him space and not push him.  He's funny & entertaining.  He recently dyed his hair turquoise!  He kept his long locks until Nov. 2016 when I finally relented and let him chop them off.  He's finishing up the first year of Awana Sparks. 

His health is AMAZING.  We've got his allergies mostly under control.  Seasonal stuff is still giving us a fit but he is down to being anaphylactic to ONLY: milk, eggs, peanuts, and bananas!  He has outgrown SO MANY of his allergens.  We took a 2nd trip to National Jewish Health in February of this year.  They were amazing, just like last time!  When I have more time I'll try to write up the details of those trips!

Its been 2 years and 7 months since Dad passed.  Its definitely easier now.  We miss him.  I have a good cry every now and then.  Lucas is in counselling and we will probably put him in a group grief therapy soon.  He and Dad were close and he has some unresolved issues with the end of Dad's life.  No thanks to Vibra, who denied the kids a chance to say goodbye.  It makes me sad when I think that Sulley will never know his Pap. 

That's all I have time for now. Hopefully, I'll be back soon! I've missed my dear old blog!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Baseball 2016

Lucas is playing t-ball/coach pitch baseball with Greenbrier Athletic Association this season.

Playground Fun

Charlane Visit!

I didn't get many pictures but we had a blast when Charlane came to town twice in April!

She was here briefly on the 12th and we went to lunch at Chic Fil A, then she happened to stop by Peggy's house while we were there picking up the kids. So we got to visit for a few more minutes! Lucas fell in love with her!

Then she came back to town with Jim, Nathan, and Carleigh again on the 23rd and we got to spend the day & go to the International Tattoo Festival together! 

The boys looked adorable in matching outfits. 

We got rained out of the outdoor part of the NATO fest so we went to Nauticus to check out the military museum instead. Mom & Char visited on the deck.  

We went out to Granby Street Pizza for lunch with Charlane & all the boy scouts. 

Then we got to watch world class bagpipe bands perform on the sidewalk!

Before it was finally time to go inside for the Tattoo Festival.

It was so nice to get to spend time with her. I loved seeing my kids spend time with a woman who really was like a second mother to me during my college years.