Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Katy No-Pocket

Last week, we enjoyed "rowing" Katy No-Pocket. Clayton liked this story, but I'm not sure he liked it quite as much as Caps for Sale--we still had to wear our hats while reading this new book!

On the bookshelf:
Little New Kangaroo

Online Resources:
Five in a Row Fold-n-Learn
Homeschool Share
Making Learning Fun

While reading the story, we were able to talk about lots of different animals since so many are mentioned and pictured in the book. We counted the animals and talked about their colors. The one that got the most attention was of course the SKUNK. In fact, Clayton kept asking to read the "skunk book," with no mention of the kangaroo at all!!!
This first little activity was piecing this kangaroo together. This gave us a chance to talk about top, middle, and bottom. I would tell him the head goes on the top, for example and then point to the top, etc.

We talked about the family of Kangaroos and how the Momma Kangaroo carries the babies in her "pocket," or pouch.

I had Clayton pick names for the family members: male=Daddy, female=Ashley, baby=Zachaeus (of course!).

Another activity was for improving coordination and dexterity. We did one on two different days. I put glue on the back of the small circles, and Clayton had to place them on the white circles within the pictures.

We also used these flashcards from Five in a Row:

The highlight of the week was another cooking experiment. We made "Anzac" cookies. Here is the description of the origin of these cookies (taken from the FIAR archives): Australian and New Zealand soldiers from WWI (1914-1918) were called ANZACS. In 1915, more than 8,000 soldiers died a famous battle. Australian children remember the soldiers by baking ANZAC cookies.

We got a new apron for Clayton with POCKETS like a Kangaroo and like the man in the story. (Couldn't find a child's apron with pockets, so Granny had to modify this one for us!) He used it to keep his cooking "tools" in!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Times: They are A-Changin'

As most of you know, Clayton has always slept with us. And yes, he is now six years old. EEK. But when I got pregnant, we coerced him into moving to a toddler bed next to ours (but still in our room). That's been working great and really started to build a little independence for him. But he still had to hold Momma's hand until he went to sleep. :)
[Enter Jackson.] All of Clayton's therapists told me if we ever have another child that Clayton would be motivated in a new and exciting way. Of course they were right! So this was our conversation Friday night:
Clayton: Where's Jackson?
Me: In his crib, in his room.
Clayton: I wanna sleep with Jackson.
Me: Do you want to move your cot (what he calls his bed) in your room with Jackson?
Clayton: nodding yes.
Me: You want to sleep with Jackson instead of sleeping with Momma and Daddy?
Clayton: nodding yes.
Me: If you still want to tomorrow, then we'll move your bed in there and you can sleep with him tomorrow night.
And on Saturday when we asked him again, he was all for it. We made a huge deal of moving the bed in there (I didn't bother moving all of his equipment for fear it wouldn't last!). We did baths and I read to him for a while before I turned out the light. Jackson went to sleep as soon as I turned out the lights, but Clayton looked a little worried. I let him listen to his IPOD for a while and walked in and out letting him get used to it without Mom in the room. He finally fell asleep with me in there and he actually lasted until around three in the morning when he woke up terrified and crying. I stayed with him, but around five when he still hadn't gone back to sleep, I moved him to our bed. We bragged to everyone we saw Sunday about what a big boy he was! And at first, when we asked him if wanted to do it again Sunday night, he said no. But then Granny bragged enough on him that he decided he'd go for it again. And what do you know? He slept there until 9:00 yesterday morning! And again last night!!!!!

Now he is sleeping, but I haven't actually slept that well since the move. I keep thinking he'll wake up scared, thinking he'll have a seizure, thinking the pump will go off and wake Jackson up before I hear it, etc. You name it, I'm thinking it. But since I can't sleep I'm getting a lot of reading done--which was once my own bedtime routine! Who knows? Maybe I'll actually be able to get back to my books and reading myself to sleep each night! (Oh, and for those interested, even though Brian said he was trying not to get "emotional" about the change, his sleep seems to have NOT been affected).

Saturday, September 26, 2009


The long awaited new blog banner is here! I had to wait until I got just the right picture, but Jackson is finally included!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


This business of chasing my tail is really starting to bug me! There was a time long, long ago that I was actually organized, but it seems that taking care of both boys and keeping up with Clayton's therapy schedule has thrown me for a major loop. So in order to get my rear in gear, I've made a master to-do list, along with a master to-get list. I've already marked two things off, so I'm off to a good start. :) I've promised myself little rewards for doing certain things (i.e. 30 minutes of reading time, computer time, etc.). It's sad that I've resorted to making deals with myself in order to get things accomplished!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's the Little Things

I went to Target today. Among other things, I wanted to get Jackson a pair of shoes. First pair I've bought him. You wouldn't think the experience would be emotional, and even though I wasn't expecting it, my eyes did get teary. For a long time, Clayton didn't even need shoes. Why buy shoes if you are in the hospital for the first six months of your life? Why buy shoes if you never actually go anywhere once you live at home? And when he finally did get shoes, they were the ones that fit over his dAFO's which are a 10+ on the ugly scale. He wore these forever until I finally figured out that New Balance wide widths would also fit over the braces. But even then it took a lot of effort to actually get those shoes on. And when we buy "regular" shoes for him to wear without his braces, it's a struggle to find the perfect pair. With his high muscle tone, it's almost impossible to get a shoe on his left foot that is the actual right size. We have to buy larger sizes even then just so we can get both feet in the shoes. And sandals won't hardly stay on at all--the right foot sometimes, but that left foot just can't relax enough for the shoe to sit right on his foot.
So today when I decided to try a pair on Jackson and it slipped right into place, it was so WEIRD! I couldn't help but think "so this is how everyone else does it . . ." Which, by the way, I've thought many times lately. So many things that are considered "normal" to everyone else are just foreign to us. And I'm not talking about huge things, just the little everyday occurrences like buying a pair of shoes.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Caps for Sale

Last week, we "rowed" "Caps for Sale" by Esphyr Slobodkina, and we had so much fun! From the first reading on Monday, Clayton absolutely loved the story. In fact, we're still having to wear our caps around here when we read it! We acted out the story all week with Clayton trying to balance many hats on his head like the peddler in the story. And of course we had to roll through the house yelling, "CAPS! CAPS FOR SALE! FIFTY CENTS A CAP!" But by far, his favorite part of the story is when the peddler gets so angry with the monkeys that he throws his hat down--we had to throw our hats down in the floor too and Clayton laughed until he hurt when we'd get to that! We definitely bonded while rowing this book. :) On Monday, as we were putting up our hats, Clayton looked at me and said, "Momma, give me a BIG hug!" Absolutely melted my heart!
On the bookshelf:
Caps for Sale
Casey's New Hat
IPOD Playlist:
Money by Ron Brown
Penny, Nickel, Dime Quarter by Ron Brown
The Animal Fair by Laurie Berkner

We did a few things to put in his notebook:

We counted caps and I managed to get him to help connect the red caps to create a "C."

We talked about the different hats people wear. He was mainly interested in the yellow construction hat that Daddy sometimes has to wear.

And we counted monkeys (he was willing to help write the first day, but not the second):

This next activity was harder for Clayton, but I wanted to go ahead and try it. I did all the actions myself as we talked about them, and then I pointed out the peddler doing the action.

We had several colors of these flashcards and we had a breakthrough this week on colors. Clayton always calls red, orange, and yellow PINK. This week was the first time he named them all correctly! I bragged and bragged on him, but of course he went back to everything being pink after that. He even had a slight grin on his face, so I know he was just working me instead of actually telling me the right color. . .

We made "Monkey Bars"--we have a ways to go on our cooking skills (me and him both!). I almost forgot to take a pic, but I remembered as we were putting them in the baking pan:

We also spent a lot of time talking about money. We mainly worked on identifying a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter and how much they are worth. We sang Ron Brown's two Money songs to help. He can tell you how much each is worth, but still can't tell the difference between the four. We'll get there!

Again, we had to wear our hats ALL. THE. TIME. and I'm sure this will continue for a while. On our walk:

In the house:

And even Jackson had to wear his:

It was such a great week last week, that I'm at a loss on living up to it this week! Hopefully I can make the next lessons just as interesting for him!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Best Laid Plans

So the last few days have seemed a bit hairy . . . It actually all started over the weekend when Clayton started getting a stuffy nose. His eyes were red and had a very slight rash on them by Sunday. He had a few slight desats during those nights and by Monday night, he needed oxygen. Full blown 1 LPM oxygen. :( Not really knowing what was up, I cancelled his therapy for Tuesday, but I still had to get my car to the Honda place for an oil change since They Only Take Appointments and you can't just Drop In for Service. Ugh. So I loaded up both boys, listened to Jackson scream the entire way there (have I told you he hates riding in the car?), get to the service department, only to realize that the tank holder for Clayton's chair isn't on the chair anymore since we didn't think we'd be needing it anymore. So I can't even get us all out of the car without one of the guys from the place helping us in with all of our stuff! We were there for over an hour, finally loaded up for the screaming ride back home. Clayton and I ate lunch and I tried to pick up the messes we had left from that morning. And then it was off to ACH for Clayton's two appointments. Oh, and by this time I had also realized that Brian had Clayton's bag in his truck. Good thing he was in LR as well because we don't go anywhere without the button supplies . . . so he met me at the hospital to fix the chair and help with the boys since it was also pouring rain. Clayton and I were lucky that Jackson fell asleep about halfway there . . . We go in to his first appointment, Clayton gets a new button (a new size that we're not sure he really needed), and then we're off to the next. By this time Jackson's good and hungry and screaming his head off for food. I had some BM, but it was frozen and of course this is the one clinic that you don't have to wait, so while I was fixing the bottle, they called us back. We finally got Jackson fed and had a good meeting with the doc. And then it was back home--Clayton rode with Daddy and Mommy got to listen to Jackson scream the. entire. way. home. Man, that child DOESN'T GIVE UP! Luckily, the rest of the night was easy-breezy, except for that darn O2 cord and extremely loud O2 concentrator. I can't believe we lived with those things for so long! They are so annoying now when they come out of hiding!
Fast forward to Wednesday: I let Clayton sleep in since I still wasn't sure if he was actually getting sick or just dealing with allergies. Decided we could do school after therapy since we would be cooking something for our lesson (Family, don't laugh). Of course, it's still pouring rain today and the wheelchair was only halfway fixed, so Brian had to meet us at the clinic in the rain to get it fixed right this time. Meanwhile, Jackson is just as upset about riding in the car as he was yesterday, so once again, it takes the whole fam to get Clayton into the clinic. Clayton of course gets upset because Daddy's leaving him so we have to just turn and run so we don't give in to that sad little face. Jackson screams the whole way home. And the whole way back to pick Clayton up. We get home, I feed Jackson, and then Clayton and I read our book for the week (he's loving it, by the way) and then I get him in his stander so he can help me cook. We are reading "Caps For Sale" so we all had our hats on--Momma, Clayton and Jackson. We're all ready to cook and then as soon as Clayton's in the stander, he starts complaining about his button hurting. And sure enough, it's leaking big time. So I get him out of the stander, and take the button out, only to irritate the skin and cause bleeding. Put it back in and then call the nurse. Leave a message and then sit and wonder if we should move on with cooking. Jackson's starting to fuss. While I'm deciding what to do and waiting for the nurse to call back, I fold clothes which puts Clayton in a huge funk. He whines the whole time and Jackson starts piping up as well. I finally decided we'd cook and get Clayton back in his stander. That's when the nurse calls back. The whole time I'm talking to her, both boys are SCREAMING. It was fun, let me tell you. She even started laughing because we couldn't hear each other. We finally decided there was no emergency and hung up. FINALLY started cooking with Clayton and of course since I am not a cook, we make a huge mess and about that time the doorbell rings. O2 Delivery Guy. Then Brian walks in and walks out to look at the tanks. Clayton immediately tunes up AGAIN. Our exciting, fun-filled afternoon making "Monkey Bars" just wasn't happening! By then, nobody is wearing their "caps" and we're just finishing the recipe so we can finish, not because it's fun anymore . . . when the monkey bars finally came out of the oven, Brian and I tasted them only to decide they weren't good enough for anyone else to eat (pretty much the norm for something I cook!). All that blood, sweat, and tears for something we didn't even like the tastes of!!!
Surely today will be a better day!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Something New!

Tara, creator of the Kidz Blog, has asked me to become a contributing writer! Click here for the announcement and for links to some other great blogging moms of some very special kids!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Not Even a Pre-Writer

So one of the few battles I've been fighting during these first few weeks of homeschooling has been writing. Boys typically develop handwriting skills later than girls and Clayton is even farther behind than the typical boy his age. He has never been interested in coloring and almost all of the prewriting practice I've had him do has been The Most Terrible Activity on the Planet. I decided today that I'll fight no more. If he's interested, I'll let him hold the writing utensil, and if not, I'll just hold it for him and write down what we're doing for him, if need be. And of course on the day I decide that, he was a willing helper in writing some numbers down!!

Friday, September 11, 2009


We just wrapped up our first week with Before Five in a Row. Corduroy is one of those classics that's been around forever, so it was perfect to start with.

On the bookshelf:
A Pocket for Corduroy

On the IPOD playlist:
What a Friend We Have in Jesus by The Wonder Kids
Penny, Nickel, Dime, Quarter by Ron Brown
Money by Ron Brown

Online Resources:

Doesn't he just look sooo excited to help mom take the pics???

We spent a lot of time working with buttons this week: sorting, counting, talking about colors, etc. And we even did some sewing (waaay out of my comfort zone!). It didn't take Clayton long to catch on to the pattern of sewing--front, back, pulling the thread tight . . . he helped me with both buttons after he figured out what I was doing. And when I stopped to take pictures he tried his best to do one himself. You can see he's concentrating by the lean he's got going on!
We had a bible verse for the week: Proverbs 17:17. Clayton halfway learned it--he could finish it if I started it for him. We listed all of his friends on the heart. He practiced writing his F's as well.

Again, counting and pre-writing:

We retold the story using this rhyme book--he had to put the right picture with the right part of the story.

We also used these flashcards from throughout the week. Today was our field trip to the mall. :) We went to Build-a-Bear and also went for a ride on the escalator since that's what Corduroy does in the book. He was a little overwhelmed in the Build-a-Bear store since he has so many sensory issues--a fluffy bear isn't exactly on his list of favorites! But he stayed pretty interested and mostly liked using the computer for the birth certificate. He did name his bear all on his own: Zacchaeus (which I incorrectly spelled on the birth certificate: Zacheus!) This has been his favorite song of late . . . Here are the pics from our day at the mall. I wanted to help him with everything, but as usual he preferred The Teacher's Aide (A.K.A. Daddy) to help him.

Cleaning the bear was fun for him--he loved the noise the machine made--sounded just like a vacuum cleaner!

All in all, a good week at school!