Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hippotherapy for James

Contrary to popular belief, "hippotherapy" is therapy using horses, not hippos.

James LOVES horses, so I was excited to start hippotherapy at Hope Landing once he turned 3. It was even better that we got to start just a wee bit early. James was a little hesitant to get on the horse, but--with enough cheering--he made it on. His smile was so sweet as he took in the new experience.

His occupational therapist (Gena) works with him on posture and balance. He also uses signs and words to direct the horse. The horse handler is Kim, and she is pure cowgirl, and excellent with the kids.

I had arranged with Kim that if Caleb expressed an interest in riding, she would give him one riding lesson (and maybe more if the interest grew). However, as much as he cheered his bubba on, he hasn't really cared to get on a horse himself. Every boy is different!

If you want to see all the photos I took that day, you can check out the full gallery.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Caleb Sings a Song

The unit we've been working on lately has been about leaves. In the beginning, we took a leaf off of a plant that we keep on our patio, and we have been watching that leaf in relation to the other leaves still on the plant. We have talked about how leaves work, and how plants in general are vital for our own living (converting carbon dioxide into oxygen). Besides the academics of leaves, we've been learning that "we live and grow in Jesus." Caleb has learned a really cute song that I promised him I would share with the world, so here it is. He's in his PJs, as most of our school is done before breakfast, and we had just finished examining our plant and our leaf (which has not fared very well by itself over the last week!).

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cicada Exploration

Have you ever seen brown cicada shells attached to trees and fences? I was thinking the other night that even though we have tons of those in our yard (Caleb likes to collect them), and I've seen a few cicadas in my lifetime, I've never seen the actual live bug inside the shell (called a nymph). On a whim, I grabbed a flashlight and headed to our fence, where we find most of our shells. I hunted around in the dirt, and quickly found exactly what I was looking for! A nymph, covered in dirt, had pushed out of the ground and was jerkily heading toward the fence, seeking higher ground. He has to get his job done before morning, when the birds wake up hungry! I grabbed him and stuck him inside a bug jar with a stick, and the waiting and watching commenced. The "big event" happened about midnight that night. I tried to wake Caleb up to show him, but it was almost impossible. I'm glad we had already found a video on YouTube for Caleb to watch. The next morning, we dubbed him "Flyer of the West" and released him. It was a poignant moment. (ha!)

Cracking open with the cicada bulging out.

He hung like this for a very long time.

Completely out and wings expanded. Now just to let them dry.

All dry by morning!

Monday, August 19, 2013

School Days

Today is the first day of school for lots of kids. My nephew, Ian, is probably coming home from his first day of Kindergarten as I write this, and I can't wait to hear how the day went! I know he's going to do great!

A couple of weeks ago, we started home schooling Caleb. It's sort of a trial year. He's too young to start Kindergarten in public school, but he's ready to learn, so we decided to try it. Home schooling appeals to us for many reasons for both our kids, but we will just see how this year goes! If we get bogged down and don't enjoy it, well then, off to Kinder he'll go next year. But, if he loves it and learns--and if I love it!--then we just might keep it up. We shall see, and I make no promises either way.

We have met a great group of home schoolers in the area. They meet weekly for group classes, and sporadically for field trips and other events. The ages range from Kinder to Senior year, and there are around 50 kids who participate.

The group classes do not start until September, but I decided to start Caleb's home classes early, since I would like to take off a few weeks when the baby is born.

The Saturday before we started school, a local restaurant had a Back to School Bash, complete with a bounce house, a fire truck for Caleb to explore (and honk the horn!), and face painting! He and I spent the day picking out a few final school supplies and going to the library for books. And don't forget a Sonic run during happy hour! All in all, it was a great day to celebrate starting school. I didn't get pics until we got home, but here he is with his dragon and his new dinosaur backpack.

I had fun getting everything organized for school. It's all neatly stacked inside a cabinet by our dining room table (aka: school room). Every day it's a simple task to take out what we need, and then put it back at the end of class time!

On Sunday night, I laid out everything we would need for Monday. Now that we've done this for two weeks, I have figured out just what to pull out when I need it, instead of getting it all out at first.
Yes, I realize the calendar says It occurred to me in the middle of the night that Sunday night, and I fixed it before school the next day.
Jon and I also strung up a few streamers to the fan, blew up a couple of balloons, and wrapped Caleb's chair. It looks pretty unimpressive to me, but Caleb was ecstatic the next morning. I hope he's always so easy to please!

Caleb wanted to wear his crown to mark the occasion. (And you'll notice the corrected calendar.)

We are starting our third week of class today, and so far it has gone very well. On day 2, Caleb asked, "Do we really have to have school today??" I was a little surprised by that, but I suppose for a kid who hasn't had any daily requirements of him, doing something two days in a row (and longer), might seem a little tedious. But he's doing a good job, and has learned about the sun and the moon, counting, cutting, pasting, and handwriting.

Today, when I told Caleb we would be making a mobile today, he said, "But I don't want to make a mobile!" Without explaining what it was, I simply said, "You will love it. It's right up your alley."

After doing the work we do every day (marking the calendar, adding to our 100 Chart, and tracking our progress on making raisins), he said, "Is it time to go to my alley, yet?"

And sure enough, he loved making a mobile, and even added a few ideas of his own.

So far, I love the flexibility we have. I love that he is able to do most of his work before breakfast, then complete some worksheets while he is at Hope Landing with James. I love that. I love the hands-on and outdoor activities that are incorporated into the lessons. I don't love the negative attitude that Caleb sometimes has about it, even though once he gets started, he really enjoys it. Then again, I've mentioned before that "attitude" has been a problem with him lately, so it's not confined to school.

Anyway, our big FIRST of starting Kindergarten has come and gone without any more fanfare than a couple blown-up balloons taped to a chair. Because we're not fully decided, and Caleb could be doing Kindergarten in public school next year, and because I wasn't leaving Caleb at the door with a dozen other little boys and girls, it just hasn't been that different. But it's still a mile marker! And I am excited about it, and about watching Caleb learn and grow this year!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Boy Builders

I love watching the boys build. Here is one of Caleb's many buildings:

Does anyone notice anything about it? As's perfectly symmetrical?!

He does this with EVERY building he makes these days. Every color and block shape exactly mirrored. Have your kids gone through a symmetrical phase? Since he's our first, we really don't have anything but him to go by (which is why we think he's pretty awesome).

I've thought this boy had good sense of design...and symmetry is very good design. Maybe he'll be an architect. Or maybe he'll be an ice cream truck driver, which is his current idea. That and a pirate king.

James has finally gotten past the "knock it down" least long enough to build it first! If he's not building up, he's placing blocks in a long line like a train. I've recently found cars lined up, dinosaurs in a row, a magnet queue on the fridge...evidently both my boys love order!

The face of concentration

It's always a good time to say, "Cheese!"

Working hard

Surveying his work...
CRASH! The best part is still knocking it down!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Day at the Park

It is mid-August, and our high temperature yesterday was in the 80s. If that's not a miracle, I don't know what is. It's warming up again today, but nothing like what it has been, so I am a happy girl! Suddenly my days of staying as still as possible, as close to a fan as possible, and using as little effort as possible have morphed into cooking (even baking!), cleaning (even windows!), and taking my boys to the park. I love fall. OKAY! Okay, I know it's not fall...but let me dream for a couple of days!

Anyway, yesterday was our day at the park. Here are some pictures.

James had a sty on his left eye. By the time it got better, he whacked his head on the floor and got a nice "third eye."

The globe is the Earth (obviously), and Caleb is standing by a baseball 30 feet away to get the idea of the relative size of the Earth and the Moon.


"This is Eagle. Come in, Space Command!"

Caleb's friend, Logan, showed up and made play time ten times more fun!

Logan's cousin, Mallory, playing with James.

Booger Boy


Drink break!

Caleb on the rope swing!

He came over and situated himself at the table all by himself while I helped Caleb on the swing.

Monkey See, Monkey Do