28 July 2009

Keep on Rollin'

It's been a looong time coming and Liam has a long way to go, but he made a big step this past week by learning to roll from back to tummy while on my bed. What I did not know, however, until I watched all of the videos I made of him rolling, was that whenever I would tell him to roll, he would (or try really hard to). How cool is that?

Oh- and there are no sheets because he decided to share his lunch with them. Enjoy!

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24 July 2009

Why we homeschool.

I actually never thought much of how our kids would be educated when they were little. The thought of them in school was so far away at the time that it wasn't even a consideration. I surely never thought that their education would be solely in our hands. And contrary to most first impressions of homeschoolers, we did not seek to educate at home for religious reasons.

When we moved to California, Rylie, my oldest, was only 4. She had been in a preschool class a couple of days a week in our former state of Missouri and she had enjoyed it very much. When we relocated it was summer and we embarked upon the journey of tracking down a preschool similar in structure and frequency. Our plans changed, however, when we learned that the cut off dates in CA were different than MO and that put her in kindergarten for that school year instead of the preschool that I thought she would be in.

I then looked into the K-class up the road from us in the local school district, only to find that Kindergarten was an all day class there. I did not want her in an all day school. A half day would be great, but all day was too much. I then started looking into private schools and found out that they were all day as well and the price was that of a young man's yearly salary. Something our family could not afford to do.

When telling my husband of our plight and complaining about the dwindling options, he asked me why we just didn't homeschool her. That thought had never occurred to me. I didn't even think of it as an option let alone to imagine me doing it. I mulled it over and decided that it would be doable and that the things she would be learning in the classroom she already knew. After checking with the law requirements for homeschoolers in CA and seeing how easy it was to do, I decided to give it a whirl.

And we have never looked back.

The biggest thing I hope people realize about homeschooling is that the options on how to do it and what to do are endless. They are different methods of homeschooling ranging from schooling exactly like your kids would receive in regular classroom to being very relaxed and unschooling (which has it's own broad range of ideas).

We "unschooled" for a while. We would go to the library, pick a topic and let the kids explore that topic with crafts, books and movies. Because the kids picked out what they were learning they enjoyed it and never viewed anything they did as school. God designed kids to be full of life, energy and inquisitiveness and they use that to explore their world right from their infancy.

Kids love to learn. Remember how they are always asking "why" and wanting to understand their world? Expounding on that desire by giving them opportunities and options creates in kids a strong desire to continue that self led learning process.

What happens as kids get older is that they are forced to learn what someone else decided they need to learn and when they need to learn it. Kids no longer have a say and no longer get to learn out of curiosity.

How many can remember what you learned in elementary school? Beside basic reading, writing and math, what can you recall? What was taught that was so important and needed 6 hours of classroom time a day? If you allow a child to learn what they are hungry and ready for, they will remember it, be able to use it and build on it. Remember cramming before a test just so you could pass the test? How much of that did you actually put into your memory banks?

An end result of undesired learning is a loss of the desire to learn at all.

This is our 9th year of homeschooling. While I will continue to h/s Rylie (her Freshman year) and Ian (first year of middle school) I will not homeschool Aidan this year. Due to the challenges of Liam and the amount of time I don't have anymore, we decided to send Aidan to a Montessori school (with her approval). If you read about it, you'll see how very close to homeschooling it is. Aidan is excited because she LOVES to learn (taught herself to read) and I have not been able to spend the time with her that she needs. The school only has 8 children (2 in each grade for K-3) and with a self led style with teacher oversight, I think Aidan will thrive.

I hope that out of everything, my children will have appreciated the chance we gave them to just be kids for as long as possible. To not have to grow up too fast. To not have to learn redundant, boring and trivial things. But most important is to learn how to nurture their own desires and talents.

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22 July 2009

Cuteness overload.

Utter cuteness as he watches Baby Einstein.
He has the video memorized and it has him mesmerized.

Liam's new trick with his spoon.
He thinks it's funny to bite down and jerk the spoon out of my hand.
It was cute at first.
I'll give him that.

Loving on his puppy.

This is what happens when I hand my 11 year old son hair gel and tell him to fix Liam's hair for church. I assumed he would style it or spike it.
I didn't think I'd get a mohawk.
And I didn't notice until we were out the door.

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16 July 2009

Feeding woes and reflux news.

Liam hardly ever vomits unprovoked these days. I don't know if you remember way back here when things with Liam were really bad. I mean...bad. I was changing his clothes four times a day and hardly anything was staying down. Now, we can go days with no vomiting! He used to vomit before due to the reflux and delayed emptying of his stomach. But now that we have him emptying quick and the reflux under control, he only vomits when he gags.

Sometimes he will gag on his own thumb or on his baby food. Sometimes it is as benign as putting his mouth on my shoulder and putting his tongue in the wrong position. But they are getting fewer and fewer allowing Liam to keep his food in and keep thoughts of the g-tube away. I never thought I would see the time when we would be able to be vomit free. N e v e r.

All isn't perfect in feeding land, though. We still have his uncoordination in sucking keeping him from really achieving a good draw on the bottle. He is doing better, but will usually only take a portion of it which in turn makes me have to syringe feed him the rest. He is also starting to bite the nipple and won't take the bottle at all. It's fun to see that side of his personality. You know....the one that thinks he is in control. He has also taken to biting the spoon and shaking his head when he doesn't want it. But he still isn't in a position to refuse to eat yet. At least he doesn't mind finishing off a bottle by syringe. I don't know where we would be if he did. Well, yea, I do. But I'm not going there today.

By using the syringe, I have been able to get Liam up to 5 ounces at a bottle. With him getting three bottles a day, we have been able to get him 15 ounces of formula daily. That is an amazing feat. Really. Two months ago, I was struggling to get in 10 ounces a day. And he threw up the moment we went over 3 ounces.

And what is so very wonderful is that I don't have to make him sit still in his chair or on the floor after eating in order to keep him from refluxing. I used to have him sit in his high chair for up to an hour after meals! If we moved him, he would hurl his dinner across the room by using only his mouth. Could be impressive at times. But, mostly it made me cry. Anyway, He can now get out right away and go play because he is keeping it down.

He still has reflux. But now, he doesn't vomit what comes up. This is so good.



He has shown some great signs of improvement with his oral stim with our new OT. We put our finger or a z-vibe in his mouth and put it in the pocket of his cheek to teach him how to pop his cheeks in. Liam has low muscle tone in his face and he doesn't use all those muscles properly yet. You'd never know it by that smile, huh?

Anyway, she was doing her thing with him this week and asked him to POP his cheeks when she put the z-vibe in.

He did.


Because he thought it was so darn funny when she would say POP!

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14 July 2009


Liam has to wear an eye patch for 1-2 hours everyday for his esotropia (not a lazy eye as most people think...lazy eye is actually where the brain has shut off the vision pathway to the eye and the eye no longer functions properly and that isn't the case here...Liam still has vision, his eye just drifts in) . We are trying to get Liam's right eye to straighten out and focus better and to do so we have to patch his dominant eye and make him use his drifting eye more. I don't see much of a difference yet and I don't know how long you have to patch to be able to notice a difference, but so far...we got nothin'.

Anyway...I dread putting the patch on. No matter what type of patch I use, it sticks very well to Liam's skin. I have tried using Milk of Magnesia on his skin, letting that dry and then putting the patch on in order to have the patch come off with less trouble. But, no such luck for now. It doesn't seem to make a difference for Liam's skin.

I also have tried putting powder on the patch so it is less sticky. That doesn't seem to matter either. It still hurts him when I take it off. Or,I put on too much and it doesn't stick.

So, today, when I went to patch him, I wanted to make it less sticky for him somehow. Brilliant woman that I am, I placed the patch on my face thinking that it would be less sticky for him afterwards since it would have a bit of my makeup and skin oils on it.

Little did I know.

That patch hurt like crazy coming off! I couldn't believe how painful it was! It ripped off every little microscopic hair and pulled at my skin.

No wonder Liam cries everytime. It's painful pulling those things off!

Tonight, when it was time to remove his patch, I knew it would be better to go fast (you know, cuz of my earlier experience with it) and as I removed it I said Ouch! with each pull and tug. Liam was quite taken with that and it must have been enough of a distraction because he laughed each time I did it. Not one tear tonight.

I think I learned my lesson in all of this....Liam may have sensitive skin, but those patches are painful and removing them from your face is going to suck whether you have baby soft skin or not.

And that I should be thankful he has an eyebrow at all on that side of his head...

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11 July 2009

Say cheese!

If you tell Liam to "Say Cheese!", he will grin. But I haven't used it for taking photos. It was just something I would do to him and then give him this big cheesey grin so he would know what I mean.

Today, I thought I would try to capture our photos together since we have so few. I was bored, waiting for the girls to finish with their hair. I sat back, said, "Say Cheese!" and snapped this photo.

And this one...

I had no idea I could use that for photos. I will clearly be taking advantage of that now.

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07 July 2009

No sleep for the weary.

Time sure seems to have gotten away from me these days! I haven't been online like I used to. We haven't been too terribly busy but my priorities have shifted a bit and since I normally blog late at night or early in the morning....I haven't blogged much.

I am trying to spend more time with my kids late in the evenings. Aidan and I love to play Nancy Drew and we are trying to finish up one of those games right now. I can only play late when Liam has gone to bed. I also enjoy working in my yard and have been spending a lot of time working on a large patch of landscaping that our former owner didn't take good care of. Shawn hangs out with Liam while I go outside (covered from head to toe to keep the mosquitoes away) and spend some quality time alone, weeding and thinking.

I only get 5 hours of sleep a night and my 34 year old body is pooped. No really, I am worn out. So, I haven't been staying up late to blog as much or even spend time online. I can barely stay awake past 9:30 and then I'm up at 11:30 to feed Liam his dream bottle.

Liam is doing good. He's getting crafty and knows that if he bites the spoon, it can't go in his mouth. But he is doing a lot better at taking the food off the spoon now! Which is a big deal because he just started that with our new OT 3 sessions ago. He is doing well with his oral stim with her- he likes it and he is gagging much, much less. We work on his cheeks, lips and inside his mouth. I repeat all of the things she does right before he eats.

I have to load some videos on here of Liam laughing. As I said in my previous post, he does a lot of it. He now has this new laugh reserved only for his Baby Einstein DVD. It is hilarious. He has a lot of the video memorized and starts laughing BEFORE his favorite scenes come on! But he has one scene that has become his new favorite and he breaks out in the cutest laugh, different from all the rest.

Liam had a weight check this week and he has gained 1 1/2 pounds in the last month! That's an incredible gain for him. He's now 19.2 lbs. What has made a HUGE difference for him is the increase in his reflux meds (he gets another dose at night now) and putting him back on erythromycin to help him empty his stomach quicker. For the first time EVER, Liam has been able to get almost 5 ounces at a time in his tummy. Three months ago he started throwing up when he approached 3 ounces...so that shows what a huge difference the medication has made for him.

His weight gain is surely due to the meds and also to a little trick (or not so tricky, more like a tool) that I learned when Liam was sick last time.

Liam was sick with a high fever and he was dehydrated. He tried to gobble down his bottle but was tired and with his poor suck, he wasn't getting anywhere. I knew he was thirsty and that he needed to get the milk in, so I went and got a syringe to feed him that way. He loved it and took 5 ounces the first time I did it. The little light bulb went off for me and I knew that when Liam got tired of sucking on the bottle, I could syringe feed him the rest. That way he could get the nutrition and wouldn't be forced to take the bottle ofter he was done with it. And that is what I have done for the last month. He doesn't mind it at all (for now) and it has helped him tremendously in the weight department.

It is only at the 11:30 feeding that I sit and think of how nice it would be to have a g-tube so I could get a good nights sleep. But for now, I will continue on, aging quickly and putting my health at risk according to the newest study in order for Liam to get enough nutrition. He needs it.

So, I'm going to have to fit blogging in at an earlier time. I've missed it.

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