Homeschooling, potty training, and my husband’s new diet

Jamie did a little better with homeschooling this week.  I told him that he  cannot watch TV while he eats breakfast.  Instead he must do all his schoolwork before he gets TV or computer privileges.  We were only allowing him 1 half hour show before, but it seemed to affect his school performance so I decided to make him wait.  I also started using the reward chart I got from Scholastic.  He puts on a sticker for each subject we work on, under the appropriate day of the week.  This encourages him to try to read a little bit too, at least until he memorizes where everything is located on the chart.  We are working on memorizing the unit bars in the Math U See manipulative set.  Each number one to nine has a different colored bar with the appropriate number of squares on it.  I started yesterday and he knows them already.  I expected it to take a week or two, but once we colored the workbook picture of the unit bars he seemed to know them.  Today we played some games suggested in the teachers guide.  “If you’re happy and you know it…” grab a five, Simon Says “put a three on your nose” and things like that.  Jamie really wanted to play musical chairs.  I couldn’t figure out how that related to learning the unit bar values but he suggested putting a bar on each chair.  Then he told me the value of the unit bar in the chair whenever the music stopped and he sat down.   I kept changing them around too.  It was sooo much more fun than doing the workbook.  Next week we will work on addition.  I think that is pretty good for just starting Kindergarten.

Reading is still a challenge.  I’m trying to make it a “just right” level of challenge, but he really balks.  He understands phonics very well, but it seems to be a visual or attention issue that is holding him back.  His OT says that she feels he has difficulty tracking objects with his eyes and covers one eye sometimes when he colors,  so we made an appointment with a behavioral optometrist to see if there is a problem.  I know he is young still, but I also know he is quite capable of reading many words if he would just keep his eyes on the book.  His phonemic awareness is very good, and he only gets confused about whether the vowels are short or long.  If I could start again I would never have taught the long vowels when I first taught him the sounds the letters made.  But once he gets some of the rules down he should figure it out.  (Like an “e” on the end makes the “a” say it’s name, and that sort of thing.)  I’m going to order him a spelling book from Modern Curriculum Press and we will alternate that with phonics/reading.  Spelling is basically phonics in reverse, so it should help.  The book is a little below the level he is working at, so it should improve his confidence too.  I understand that the book starts with matching words that begin with the same sound, and moves on to some of the phonics rules later in the book. 

Samuel is doing a little better with the potty.  He actually went independently to his little potty when I had him in just a t-shirt, and had a bowel movement.  Another day I thought he was ready and he went again on the small potty.  He doesn’t wet much anymore, he has that down cold.  Even most nights he is try, I stopped using diapers at night.  I’m hoping to get him into Head Start in the fall, I just got through the first part of the red tape and now we will wait and see if he qualifies for a spot.  Apparently his receiving Birth to 3 services almost guarantees him the spot.  It does seem easier to work with Jamie on school without Samuel distracting him.  I think it will be good for both of them.  And the lady from Head Start claims that they can finish potty training him, LOL.

On the health front, my husband started on the Cinch Inch Loss Plan this week. Basically you replace breakfast and lunch with shakes. Their shakes are very high in protein to help you feel full, and high in leucine to prevent loss of muscle mass. There is a snack bar included in the plan for a snack, to get you through between shakes. There is also a metabolism boosting vitamin supplement and energy tea mix. My husband told me the first day that he did not feel hungry on the plan and that he felt like he had more energy. He even played with the kids right after coming home from work, which is unusual for him. Stay tuned to find out how well it works for him.

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Good Family Fun

This was a good week with the kids.  Friday we went to Silver Sands State Park, and the boys got to swim, dig in the sand and play with other kids.  We had a hard time finding it, though I have been there a few times.  The directions available on the web are only from I95, and the park’s directions take you to the center of Milford, what good is that?  It looked like the tide was coming in while we were there, so Jamie didn’t have to go far out to swim.  There was no lifeguard on duty, probably because it was a cloudy day and it wasn’t very busy.  That actually worked out good because I could make the boys wear their life jackets the whole time, like I usually do.  It makes it a little easier to watch them in the water.  The bright yellow vests are very visible, and they are Type I offshore vests so if Samuel stumbles, it will turn him face up in the water.  Samuel wouldn’t go out beyond his knees, which meant that I could not swim.  I tried to bring him with me and when I got him in the water he screamed, cried, clung to me, and tried to climb up me.  Jamie enjoyed the water, I had to keep reminding him that saltwater is not for drinking.  Samuel preferred to bring buckets of it up on the beach and pour them into a hole another child had dug.

Today we went to March Farms, in Bethlehem CT to pick peaches.   When we got there we found a sign stating “No Peach Picking.”  Upon further investigation we found that there is a disease affecting the peaches and the farmer is losing about 50% of the crop.  It has to be treated in the spring, just when the flowers drop off apparently.  Too bad they didn’t bother to post this on their website.  My father drove us to a nearby farm where we found an abundance of blueberries, so we had a good time after all.  We bought peaches at Gustafson’s farm, which is also in the area.  The boys enjoyed picking blueberries, then eating them out of their little containers.  Very few that they picked made it home, LOL.  The picking was good, there were large clusters of blueberries with very few green.  The last time I picked was about 5 years ago when Jamie was a baby.  I remember laying him on a blanket under a blueberry bush to keep him out of the sun.  We enjoyed our morning there, and we came home to have blueberry pancakes for lunch. 

Landmark Supplement Study

I am expanding my daily supplements a bit, as there is a new daily vitamin pack available.  I’m really excited about the sustained release b-complex and vitamin C combination pill in the pack.  I don’t think there are any other sustained release B-complex formulas out there.  Since b-vitamins are not stored in the body this is a great supplement to have.  I found the study used to develop the pack fascinating.  See the abstract from Nutrition Journal here or the full text article here.  The pack is based on the most used vitamin supplements among the healthiest supplement users. 

Results and statistics:
http://www.shaklee.net/good_health/prodVitalizer03

List of 12 published studies on which the new vitamin packs were based:
http://www.shaklee.net/good_health/prodVitalizer05

Expected benefits of the vitamin pack based on the 12 clinical studies
http://www.shaklee.net/good_health/prodVitalizer01

Based on the results the new daily vitamin pack was developed, containing:
2 Multivitamins
Sustained Release C+B (combined Vitamin C and B Complex into 1 pill!)
2 Carotene/Vitamin E/Omega Caps (1 new pill)
1 Probiotic Pearl

Our best family vacation yet

We just got back from a long weekend in Shapleigh, Maine.  A good friend of my husband’s invited us to come up for a few days to stay at his family’s cottage.  Right on the waterfront of, I think, Mousam Lake.  They had a nice clean, sandy beach, and the water was comfortably warm.  The kids had a wonderful time digging in the sand, swimming, and going for boat rides.  “Uncle” Jeff was wonderfully patient with the children, kind, and an incredible host.  His sister and brother in law nearby came to entertain us as well, offering their boats, playing with the kids, watching them so we could eat uninterrupted.  What a rare treat!  Jeff served us a wonderful seafood and lobster feast last night and we ate until we could eat no more.  The boys, of course, turned up their noses at lobster.  No problem with that, LOL.  Jamie preferred burgers.  Samuel accepted the haddock cooked with onions and cracker crumbs. 

I knew enough not to try to waterski, but my husband did and also went tubing.  He is paying for this with sore, stiff muscles all over.  Luckily I was needed to stay at the house while Sammy napped and I just enjoyed the peace and quiet.  Jamie did try tubing too, with his Daddy.  Jamie got the benefit of a much gentler ride than Jeff and Greg were given.  LOL.  The boys couldn’t get enough of riding the boats, especially Sammy.  Every time someone got into a boat, even to tinker with it, he wanted in.  But they didn’t pester, unlike other vacations.  They had such a nice time on the peaceful beachfront.  There were a few other children staying nearby and Jamie enjoyed their company.  They were asking for him as we were packing up to leave.  I was so sorry to tell them we were going.  I had thought Jamie was not getting along well with them, it was nice that they asked for him the last day.    One nice thing this year, now that Sammy is a little older, we sent both boys down to the water with strict rules they must have their life jackets on at all times.  We watched them carefully from the deck if we weren’t down on the beach.  Sammy can’t take off his vest, and Jamie kept his on according to the rule.  We use Type I offshore vests because they turn the wearer upright in the water.  Sammy never fell in, but it was good to have with him running up and down the boat dock.  He enjoyed picking rocks up from the shallow area near the beach and dropping them off the end of the dock.  He was very persistent too. 

Tomorrow we will go back to our usual routine.  I hope the boys can be contented playing at home, as I have to work in the afternoon.  Jeff suggested we return for a visit to see the fall foliage in October, so we hope to return for another peaceful weekend.

A difficult week

Jamie is continuing to do well with music, handwriting, and math.  But reading is such a struggle.  He is pretty capable, but he just won’t keep his eyes on the material long enough to accomplish much.  I’m thinking to taking him to a behavioral optometrist to see if there is a visual problem.  His OT also suggested this might be an issue, since he can’t maintain focus while playing catch either.  In the meatime, I’m thinking of writing some words on index cards and scattering them on the floor to make a game.  Like, pick up all the cards that use ai to make the long a sound.  Or something along those lines.  Maybe pick up all the words that are animal names.  I think he would like that better, it would get him up and moving.

Jamie is enjoying his swim lessons.  He now jumps into the water independently, ducks his head under, etc.  He needs to be reminded to hold his breath underwater.  He doesn’t want to wear his water wings in his grandparents’ or his cousin’s pool because he can touch the bottom with his toes now.  He would do better if he would close his mouth and breathe through his nose.  It makes me nervous hearing him cough and sputter. 

 Little Samuel is having an exceptional week of being terrible two.  Every time I am not looking he goes and chases my 14 year old cat around the house.  I tell him she is too old to be chased, she is tired, stop chasing her, etc.  “Why?” he says.  Eventually I get to “Because I said so!”  LOL.  This week Samuel has not been doing well using the potty.  He had a bout of diarrhea one day, which I think may have been a food reaction.  But then after a few attempts on the potty, I put a diaper on him and he had a big, formed BM.  Maybe he was blocked up?  I’m not sure what to do with him.  I started giving him probiotics again yesterday.  He developed a horrible rash which was not responding to natural things like coconut oil, so we had to go back to topical antifungal cream.  I tried leaving his bottom bare today to help the rash, and he rewarded me by making an awful mess on the carpet while I was working on reading with Jamie in the playroom.  Of course he always manages to soil his feet when he does this.  Then he went chasing the cat behind the couch before I discovered it.  What a mess!  I cleaned him up in the shower, with the water a bit on the cooler side.  Then I had him sit on the toilet while I cleaned up his mess.  He got an earful about this one, LOL.  I sure hope he can go to headstart in the fall.  I need a break from this toddler thing!

 The worst thing is I can never complain to my husband because he will just remind me that I wanted kids.  It’s the same if I complain about the dishes, cooking or housecleaning.  He ties all that to the kids too.  But I still want to try again for a girl.  I just wish you could skip from age 1 to about age 5.  It would be so much easier that way.