Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Book Review: LOL with God - Devotional

I recently received the book "LOL with God: Devotional Messages of Hope and Humor for Women" by Pam Farrel and Dawn Wilson from Tyndale Publishing.

As a mom who is busy and often does not wake up early enough (you know...before 5am!) before the kids to have a quality quiet time, this devotional offers some great anecdotes of humor and refreshing words of encouragement all in a short time span...which is what I only have to give most mornings.

There are some interesting items in the book such as the Text Helps that remind you to refer back to your Bible for additional guidance and the LOL section that tells the humorous stories women go through every day. It is nice to be reminded all women make mistakes and learn to laugh about them in the end.

Thank you to Tyndale Publishing for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

Book Review: One Hand, Two Hands

It's not very common to receive Children's books in the mail to review, but I was a lucky one to receive One Hand, Two Hands by Max Lucado from Tommy Nelson Publishers.

The beautiful hard cover and illustrations in the book is about a little girl who begins her morning discovering her hands, along with her fluffy dog and numerous stuffed animals. Throughout the day, she lists things about her hands and what they can do.

At the climax of the story, it changes into what her hand were made to do. The point of the story that Lucado is trying to bring out is that God made hands for specific purposes. Not for hurting or hitting, but for caring and for loving. For parents who have children who are struggling with "hurtful" hands, this book is a great resource for their families.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Apple cupcakes and Apple Trees

Before we head out to the apple orchard on Wednesday, we made sure to read some books about apples such as: Apples, Apples, Apples, Apples, and Apples. I thought it was pretty funny....

Anyways! We started the morning out by making our grocery list for the ingredients needed to make our apple cupcakes.

Adding ingredients and mixing the icing was fun too:

Next, was to add the red icing and red sugar to add sparkle!

Our masterpiece! Look closely! You can see the apple seeds! ;) I don't think anyone has ever eaten an apple like this and looked so happy! Have You?

Holy crazy mess!

Next, Turbo practiced his cutting and pasting and created his own apple tree!

Bring on the apples!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Letter A

This week we kind of sort of started school. With OT coming up, vacation and the Holiday weekend, we decided to start school a bit early, but not full schedule yet.

We began with the Letter A. Using LOW curriculum, we practiced cutting, coloring, saying aloud both the names of A, matching, sorting and fun crafts like these:

We will be going to the apple orchard this week to pick our own apples, but we will also be reading a lot about apples and making yummy apple desserts and applesauce with pork chops, our homemade applesauce, and probably just munch on some crisp apples to celebrate the oncoming of fall. So we made a little craft of a half-eaten apple! A is for APPLE!

One other day this week, we read, The Lady with the Alligator Purse, and made an alligator out of the Letter A! Turbo had a lot of fun with it! The glue was especially sticky!

We also have been working on our Raising Rockstars Memory verses.

This week: "Keep me as the apple of your eye. Psalm 17:8". Using Songs for Saplings and printables from 1+1+1=1 we worked on putting the memory verse together, sang songs and read from the Bible where it is found in Turbo's Preschool Bible.

Using geoboards, playdough, Bingo dobbers, and file folder centers, we worked on our numbers and recognizing number words, etc.

We love our new one room schoolhouse, and feel very blessed to have it. This year is going to be a great year, we just need to get somethings under our belt and nail down our schedule!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dinner @ The Lake

Summer is coming to an end - sad, but true. But not without some last ditch efforts to hold on to the last bit!

On Thursday evening, our family went to the lake to grill some steaks, enjoy some hot dogs (guess who ate what), and frolick in the water while imagining big sand castles. Nana and Papa were able to join us. All of us savored the summer evening as the sun set and the day came to a close...ahhh...summer you were good to us this year...Thanks...

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Free slideshow personalized with Smilebox

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Our Morning Ride

Instead of working on school this morning, we were invited to pay a visit to Valentine! We brought with us a bag of carrots - 6 - to be exact; 3 for Bill and 3 for Valen-Heart - which is what Turbo calls her.

When we got there, his tummy was all full of giggles! He got to run and chase after her, while she chased him a bit once she knew that carrots where her treat! We couldn't forget about Bill, her pen mate. He is older and took while to chew his carrots, but that's all right!

Next up, a bath for Valentine! We had to wait a bit, so Turbo took to climbing some trees and shootin' the breeze with Mrs. Leslie! What a beautiful 75 degree morning! Couldn't have asked for a better time!

The tree swing seems to be a highlight of Turbo's trip to the barn! It hangs from a ginormous tree, so the ropes are a good 10 feet...maybe more, so when you swing, it is a slow and calming arc through the air and over the canal below. What a peaceful time.

Finally, Turbo was able to ride Valentine for a bit. The look on his face is priceless!

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Personalize your own free scrapbook design

Thursday, August 19, 2010

S.T.A.R. Center: Our new home for awhile

The S.T.A.R. Center was shown on the news a bit ago, but this is the place where hopefully we will find some answers, progress, hope and help!

Book Review: Captured By Grace

Once again, Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complementary copy of the book, Captured By Grace: No One Is Beyond The Reach of a Loving God.

Regardless of what we have done in the past, no one is beyond the reach of our loving God! What a blessing it is to know that God loves ME (despite all my failures and all my faults)! Dr. Jeremiah used John Newton's hymn "Amazing Grace" as his outline to help him explain how God lovingly extends an offer of grace to each and every sinner. The choice is ours: To accept His offer or to turn our backs.

By using short stanzas from this great hymn of faith, he paints for the reader a beautiful picture of God's undeserved favor to all.

Unfortunately, this book was a hard read. The idea behind this book is needed and usefu; however, I never really got into this book. I had an extremely difficult time following everything the author was stating. I really enjoyed the stories about John Newton, so much so that I wished this book was more about John Newton and how God shaped his life into a pastor and writer.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A positive spin on Homeschool...finally!

A friend of mine sent me this article about a writer in the post who is one to finally put a positive spin on homeschool. I completely understand that there are many families out there who would love to homeschool their kids, but who really can't because of specific situations. One mom in particular, who is a single mom, really would like to homeschool her wee one, but because of her particular situation, cannot. I pray that no one hears me talk down to them for choosing a different way to educate their children. I am in no position to speak those words. We choose to homeschool our children for a multitude of reasons. One: I have 2 degrees in education, and because I am at home right now with Tank and quite frankly, with Turbo, so why not? Two: I have a massive student loan out on my 2 degrees, that are boxed up, framed and dusty while sitting in storage that I am paying on monthly, so why would we spend that money to pay for the degrees, plus money to send him to preschool/kindergarten (not public)? Three: We really feel that God is calling our family to educate our children at home. At first, we didn't' know why, but now with SPD in the picture, it is plain to see that educating Turbo, at least, at home is what will be the best thing for him.

I encourage you to read the article, it is really good, and he asks some honest questions. I just like the fact that he offers some really good "soul-searching" questions. It has helped me to become stronger in our decision!

Here's the article

Turbo's Inguinal Hernia Surgery

In January of 2007, Turbo had a right inguinal hernia repair. Here are some pictures of him then:

The Ride Home:

Today, our lil' Turbo had the left side repaired. His experience was totally different than it was last time. Last time, he was oblivious to really anything that went on. He did struggle a bit when he went under, and mama shed a tear...okay I bawled like a baby, but that was 2 years ago people! Come on! The doc said that he would probably take at least 2 to 3 days to be back to his normal self. HE LIED! HE LIED, I TELL YA! It wasn't but 18 hours after the surgery before I was literally pulling him down from the top of the fridge! Ohhh... I had it out for the surgeon! He must have crossed a wire in there or something! (looking back on it now, SPD was surely in the mix here!)

Fast forward two - almost 3 years:
Waiting for the docs to do their thing before he goes in:

Daddy and Turbo watching a movie (because there really wasn't a kid show on for him to watch on TV) while we waited:

He totally was NOT having the hair netting!

In Recovery sipping on some applejuice. Man, he's grown up since last time. He definitely needed more pain medication this time around...hence...the droppy-eye-look!

He rode in the wagon to leave to go to the car. He was definitely not in "get your groove on" - type of mood.

He got to pick out a toy from the treasure chest because he did so well. He chose, guess...yep, he chose a Hot Wheel toy! He was pretty excited about it in the car ride home for all ohh...about 1 minute before he passed out.

So, we get home, we get him some food in his tummy and give him some pain medication - Tylenol with Codeine. Yep...drugs! I'm thinkin', this kid is gonna pass out, and then so will I! WRONG!!!! Boy, was I ever wrong! This kid was on a high! He was high on drugs! He just had surgery, and he is literally climbing the walls and my furniture, and jumping off of tables, chairs, and trying to fly in the air! WHOA!~ nelly! He didn't want to take a nap, he just wanted to play! SERIOUSLY!?!?!? Not even 5 hours???? Not even 5??????? Oh gracious me! We finally got him settled down enough to watch a movie and to get dinner in him. He was in bed, passed out by 8:00 this evening. WOW...I'm gonna call the doc in the morning and interrogate him about what he did while in the OR, cause he certainly did something! LOL! Kidding...that's my Turbo, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

SPD: Sensory Processing Disorder? YEP! We Got it!

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)is a complex disorder of the brain that affects children and adults.

People with SPD misinterpret everyday sensory information, such as touch, sound, and movement. They may feel bombarded by information, they may seek intense sensory experiences, or they may be unaware of sensations that others fell. They may also have sensory-motor symptoms such as a weak body, clumsiness or awkwardness or delayed motor skills.

The term "sensory processing" refers to:
1. our ability to take in information through our seven senses: the basics five plus the "hidden two": proprioception (sensations of body parts in relation to each other) and vestibular (sense of where body is in space relative to the earth's gravity)

2. our ability to organize and interpret the sensory information we perceive

3. our ability to make a meaningful response to the sensory information coming into our brains.

For most people, this process is automatic. Children and adults who have a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), however, don't experience this process in the same way. SPD affects the way their brains interpret the sensory information they perceive. SPD also affects how people react to the sensory information. If a person has SPD often symptoms seem like emotional, attentional, or motoric problems. There are six subtypes of SPD and many people have a combination of more than one. They are:

Sensory Seeking - Individuals with the pattern actively seek or crave sensory stimulation and seem to have an almost insatiable desire for sensory input. They tend to be constantly moving, crashing, bumping, and/or jumping. They may "need" to touch everything and be overly "affectionate" not understanding what is "their space" vs. "other's space".

Sensory Over-Responsivity - Individuals with sensory over-responsitivy are more sensitive to sensory stimulation than most people. Their bodies feel sensation too easily or too intensely. They might feel as if they are being constantly bombarded with information. Consequently, these people often have a "fight or flight" response to sensation e.g. being touched unexpectedly or loud noise, a condition sometimes called "sensory defensiveness." They may try to avoid or minimize sensations, e.g., withdraw from being touched, or cover their ears to avoid loud sounds.

Sensory Under-Responsivity - Individuals who are under-responsive to sensory stimuli are often quiet and passive, disregarding or not responding to stimuli of the usual intensity available in their sensory environment. They may appear withdrawn, difficult to engage and or self absorbed because they did not detect the sensory input in their environment. Their under-responsivity to tactile and deep pressure input may lead to poor body awareness, clumsiness or movements that are not graded appropriately. These children may not perceive objects that are too hot or cold or they may not notice pain in response to bumps, falls, cuts, or scrapes.

Postural Control Disorder - An individual with postural control disorder has difficulty stabilizing his/her body during movement or at rest in order to meet the demands of the environment or of a motor task. When postural control is good, the person can reach, push, pull, etc. and has good resistance against force. Individuals with poor postural control often do not have the body control to maintain a good standing or sitting position.

Dyspraxia/Motor Planning Problems - Individuals with Dyspraxia have trouble processing sensory information properly, resulting in problems planning and carrying out new motor actions. They may have difficulty in one or more of the following: 1) forming a goal or idea, 2) planning a sequence of actions or 3) performing new motor tasks. These individuals are clumsy, awkward, and accident prone. They may break toys, have poor skill in ball activities or other sports, or have trouble with fine motor activities. They may prefer sedentary activities or try to hide their motor planning problem with verbalization or with fantasy play.

Sensory Discrimination Disorder - Sensory discrimination refers to the process whereby specific qualities of sensory stimuli are perceived and meaning attributed to them. It is understanding accurately what is seen, heard, felt, tasted, or smelled. Individuals with SDD difficulties have problems determining the characteristics of sensory stimuli. The result is a poor ability to interpret or give meaning to the specific qualities of stimuli (Do I see a "p" or a "q"? Do I hear "cat" or "cap"? Do I Feel a quarter or a dime in my pocket? Am I falling to the side or backwards?). It is hard to detect similarities and differences among stimuli. Individuals with poor sensory discrimination may appear awkward in both gross and fine motor abilities and/or inattentive to people and objects in their environment. They may take extra time to process the important aspects of sensory stimuli.

NOW: With all that...why did I write a post on SPD? Well, our little Turbo has been evaluated and has been found to have a combination of the subtypes of SPD. The conclusions from the Evaluation are:

Impact of sensory over-responsivity on emotional regulation: Turbo's ability to relate to his environment is altered by his arousal level. When he is over-stimulated by tactile, auditory or multi-sensory input he has a difficult time self-regulating. He also is less tolerant of these sensations when he is experiencing other stressors. If he is emotionally challenged (i.e. transition) when he has a heightened arousal level, the is is more likely to have an outburst, run away or use an inappropriate coping strategy. This may explain why he has a varied response to inputs at different times, depending on what is "in his cup" at any given time.

Impact of sensory over-responsivity on self-care: Self-care's inherently imposed sensory experiences on young children can be a significant stressor for children and their families when they become a daily struggle. If Turbo has, in the past, had a "fight or flight" sensation around traditional self-care experiences, that emotional memory becomes ingrained and will make the next time he does the task emotionally over-arousing. If he begins a challenging sensory task, while emotionally over-aroused, it is more than likely going to end in a tearful power-struggle and another state of panic further ingraining his determination to avoid these activities. Clothing tends to be constant focus for many children like Turbo. When children feel out of control of their body and their environment they focus on the things that they can control like clothing. It is an adaptive way to make his body feel better. Family intervention that treats both the sensory and the emotional over-arousal is recommended.

Because eating is a sensory, motor and emotional challenge, it is not surprising that it is very difficult for him. Many times when children have sensory and motor aversions to food, the visual input is enough to evoke the physiologic memory of the food or a similar food and cause avoidance behaviors. In his mind, he is protecting himself from something that he feels honestly threatened by. When routine behaviors are not met adaptively, it can be very challenging for parents and children to feel successful. This can affect all of the relationships in the household.

Impact of sensory seeking on regulation and attention: Turbo is a very inquisitive and energetic guy whose body and brain is telling him to seek input. When his brain sees a pillow, it tells him to jump on it. When he hands see a vibrating toy, his brain tells him to pick it up. This drive to seek this sensation is VERY strong and frequently over-rides his better judgement making him appear hyperactive and inattentive. The input that he seeks and the way that he seeks it do not serve to regulate him and he frequently gets dysregulated in multi-sensory environments. When he is dysregulated, his voice gets higher, his force of movement gets stronger and his more impulsive. When he is in this state, his social interactions are affected because he is less likely to attend to the needs of others and to adhere to social norms for space and movement.

WOW! To say the least. I'm glad that someone else saw what I was seeing EVERYDAY! We will begin on September 20th for a marathon run of Occupational Therapy sessions ranging from 2 times a week to 4 times a week for 30 sessions. Right now, our schedule is taking us to the last part of January 2011. After that, we will see where his progress is, and determine our next steps.

So for school: Hmmm...Still thinking about that. I had originally planned to do a couple of hours in the morning while Tank slept 3-4 times a week with a couple of "FREE" days built in, and then some arts/science stuff in the afternoon before dinner. As of now, our schedule is so jumbled, we might have to take to squeezing in school time whenever we can when Turbo's "CUP" isn't too full of sensory input on a particular day. As of now, our main focus this fall semester is getting Turbo some help, and consequently, us some help so that we can begin to function again as a family rather than walking on eggshells around him so as to avoid a meltdown.

I am thankful for the help, words of encouragement and the phrase, "yes, we can help!", but am anxious about the massive amount of time, effort and understanding from family and friends these next few months will demand from our family. I covet your prayers during this time! WHEW! Totally covet them!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Our School Room

After a ton of mini-hours...you know what I mean. Those "hours" where you just don't seem to get anything done because of those HUGE interruptions!? I know that it isn't "school-room" material. But on a $50 buck budget to "decorate" and a ton of hand-me-downs, our school room is finally ready for some action! Here are some pics where Turbo and I will spend 2 hours of our day, while Tank is snoozin' upstairs!

Here is our "workboxes". We will use these to keep our day in order.

Here is a chart of things for Turbo to keep tabs on while we work. Each day we will put a picture of what we will be doing and for how long. That way he has an "end" result to look forward to and can learn how to tell time to boot!

Our calendar and Bible time

Chalk board. My hubby helped me with this by using spray on chalk board paint. We will see!

Our supply center. I used an old dresser that we were going to put in the garage sale, but thought better of it when I was running out of room to put things. We used an old table and bar stools as our work station, but knowing Turbo, most of our stuff will be done on the floor!

Reading center and Computer center

We are so excited to get started! We are going to start school September 13th...you know, after mommy has time to recoup from our Vegas vaca!

Too much stuff to do...not enough summer!

Our family went to Lair O' The Bear this last week to soak up as much summer as we could before it comes to an end!

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
A free scrapbooking design by Smilebox

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Berry Patch

Each summer we go to the Berry Patch, but this summer we haven't been able to get out there as much as we would like. Today was an extra special day because we got to go with some great friends!

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make your own scrapbook design

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Book Review: 100 Prayers God Loves to Hear, 100 Praise Songs

Once again, Booksneeze sent another item to review! I was super excited when I found this book/music CD in my mailbox! My kids and I popped it in the CD player in the car and headed down the road for a short little road trip. My little guy held the book in his lap and flipped through the pages while the song were being played! Many of the songs I knew from growing up and now I can pass them on to my kids.

The book: 100 Prayers God Loves to Hear, 100 Praise Songs by Stephen Elkins. What an enjoyable little gem! It is a hardcover book that comes with 2 CDs. I am excited to introduce these music CDs into our Homeschool Curriculum during Bible time! It was perfect timing! The fact that the music and the kids singing it didn't make my head hurt or my ears bleed, and the fact that it was quite enjoyable made it a bonus!

This is a wonderful book that most preschoolers, kindergartners and lower elementary grades will enjoy and learn more about God, classic prayers, Bible verses on prayer, prayers from the Bible as well as prayers from famous people. A worthy book on any small child's bookshelf.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255