Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fire Truck, Fire Truck, I Wanna Ride on a Fire Truck!

We were able to take our homeschool group on a tour of the Williamston Fire Department. It was a great experience for them. Not only were they able to see the trucks, but they learned a lot about fire safety in the process. After watching a video, the kids were able to ask questions and think through issues regarding fire safety. The tour was an A+ in terms of education through fun.

Our homeschool group at the fire station.

 A brief moment when all three were almost still for a picture.
 Eden and Titus posing at the fire station.
 The kids were able to climb inside the fire trucks to look around.

 To say Titus loved his time at the fire station is an understatement!
One day, we might have a fire fighter in our family :)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Living History

One of the concepts that Larry and I are trying to instill in our children is a love of history. Last night, we were able to bring a bit of history off the pages of a book. We were able to hear a first hand  experience of WWII through someone who had been there, Dillon Wynne.

Mr. Dillon is a sweet church member.  He's 92 years young. He's known for cracking jokes and letting you know what he thinks about anything you ask, and then some :) When a fellow home school mom asked if I knew of any WWII vets that would be willing to share their experience with the kids, I asked Mr. Dillon. 

Mr. Dillon served in the Navy during the war. He was the only survivor from his landing craft after it was hit by a bomb. He spent almost a year in the hospital recovering from his injuries. He reluctantly agreed to share his story, admitting to getting very emotional when he shares about that time in his life. He has spoken to other school groups, and had a video of one of the interviews that he had  previously done that he shared with our kids.

After watching the video, Mr. Dillon was able to show us his old uniform, medals, a book about the boat he served on, sand from the beaches of Normandy, and Iwo Jima. It was humbling to hear him share of the hardships that he endured during his time of service.  Mr. Dillon like many other Vets does not enjoying talking about those times of battle from long ago. In fact, Mr. Dillon's daughter came and heard some of his stories for the first time. 

Mr. Dillon shared that honoring the memories of those who served, but never came home, was the reason he now speaks of such times. He called them the real heroes. He asked me why we wanted him to speak of such things; why did we want our children to know about war? I was able to share with him how we want our children to know that the names and numbers on the pages of history books we read were real people. They are the sons, fathers, brothers, uncles and cousins to real families and friends. Those lives mattered.  We feel that he and millions others became heroes when they left behind the comfort of family and friends to serve our country. They are the reason that we enjoy the freedom that we do today. I wanted my children to know that, and to know about his service so they could know a real hero.

It was hard for Mr. Dillon to speak of those times. It was hard for us to hear of some of the hardships of war. It was a great lesson for those of us there listening because it was a good reminder of a lesson we should never forget: Freedom is not free, it was bought with a price. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

It's all Greek to Me!

 We took to the dramatic in our trek through ancient history, as we studied Ancient Greece.
The kids were able to color and cut out drama mask in order to customize our dress up time.

 While Eden and Titus seemed to enjoy the play, 
Josiah wasn't a fan of dressing up in a former pillowcase.


 Eden has a flare for the dramatic! 
She loved dressing up, but didn't like the masks.
 A pretty picture of Eden.
 Titus was more interested in science than history.
My crazy crew, In my crazy day! 
I wouldn't trade it for anything :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Little Four Eyes :)

Before you grow concerned that I'm making fun of my child with the title of this post, rest assured, I've taken the name from a support group I found on Facebook for families with children who have vision problems. You can find the group here.  

Now the story behind Josiah's glasses: Last month, I took Josiah to be evaluated through the local preschool screening department. I have been concerned about Josiah for a while due to his lack of writing and  issues with his fine motor skills. I wrote a post about it last year here.  In the back of my mind, I kept thinking it was more than just boys being boys, or Josiah just being quirky. While I have seen an improvement in the past year with some of his fine motor skills, he still wasn't writing or coloring. He became really agitated when I asked him to perform any writing or tracing task.

The preschool screening consisted of different therapist conducting tests in vision, hearing, speech, cognitive, fine and gross motor skills. While Josiah scored above average on most aspects of the test, the therapist couldn't get an accurate vision reading. He scored poorly in the fine motor section. Based on that information, I took him to our local optometrist to have him evaluated. 

To say I was surprised by his results is an understatement. The Doctor explained that Josiah has very little vision in his right eye. He has a hard time seeing the big E at the top of a vision screen chart with his right eye. He was compensating by using his left eye to view everything. Even though his left eye has issues as well. 

I called a friend who whose children have vision issues. She told me about Little Four Eyes. I spent the weekend researching Josiah's vision issues. I found a vision simulator and plugged in Josiah's prescription. I was in tears as I realized just how bad Josiah's vision is. I spent the weekend going through a range of emotions like guilt for not realizing that his vision was so bad, to concerns of how to treat him in the future. I convinced myself that the results were wrong, and that Josiah was in need of a second opinion. 

The following Monday, I took him to another doctor in Greenville. After a 3 hour appointment with all three kids on an icy day, I was flabbergasted when the doctor confirmed that not only were the first results true, but that her screening showed that Josiah's vision was even worse than when he tested the first time. He understood the test and performed the test better, so his result were more accurate. She found that Josiah was nearsighted and farsighted, and warned that we might have to patch his strong eye to help strengthen the weak one.

So I returned to the guilt of not realizing that Josiah was even having vision issues. I kept up a heated discussion in my head trying to determine how he could do so much, all the while seeing so little and out of focus. Josiah taught himself to read at two. He plays like his siblings. He LOVES his tablet Yaya and PawPaw gave him for Christmas. He reads billboards as we drive down the road. For those of you around us, you know how active he can be! But then I thought, he's never pointed out a plane in the sky or ducks in the pond across the street. He doesn't ride a bike or write his name.

The doctor explained that Josiah has a sweet spot where his vision is best, that where he holds books and his tablet. It also explains why he has a hard time making eye contact. Josiah's bad vision was normal to him. He didn't know any different. Which just goes to show how amazing resilient children can be! He has accomplished so much with such bad vision.

I ordered glasses from the second doctor, which we're still waiting to be notified they are ready. I also ordered extra glasses from Zenni is such an amazing website. I ordered two pairs of prescription glasses for around $35. The glasses shipped to our house in about 7 days. I loved one pair, and didn't like the second. I was able to take the first pair to our local eye care center and they heated the ear pieces and bent them so they fit his face perfectly.  I called Zenni about the second pair, and was able to return them for 100% refund towards another pair of glasses.  We'll order the first frames in a different color. There is such a huge saving with Zenni, I'm sure we'll order from them in the future. 

People have asked how he's doing in the glasses. We had a big learning curve, as far as him getting
used to wearing glasses.  After a few trying days, he has adjusted to wearing the glasses. I gave him a few weeks to get adjusted to them, and we started working on tracing and writing his name. We were both so proud, when he was able to do it!  He also climbed on Eden's scooter when we were out walking, and yelled, "Weeeeeeeeee!!!!" as he soared downhill. It was the first time he's tried to ride it. Now I realize he didn't have the depth perception to figure out how to ride a bike or scooter. His glasses are opening up a new world for him. For that, I am thrilled.

 Here are some pictures of my little four eyes. I think he looks very cute in glasses. In fact, now his face looks funny to me without them.

A cute smile :)
Samson and Josiah checking each other out each other with the new glasses.
Josiah was not really thrilled to wear them at first.
My favorite part of this experience, 
Josiah has a new found joy to being outside.
He has always loved the trampoline, now he want to be on it all the time. He has also played Frisbee with us and riding the scooter. He seems to be enjoying himself when we're outside in a way that he never has before.
I'm excited to see how the world opens up for Josiah in the days and weeks to come!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Love in Action

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1John 3:18

Last week we were able to participate in a double service project. We're over achievers like that! Totally kidding :) Our homeschool group has adopted the local nursing home as a way to love on our community. We've been to sing for them for holidays, done a reverse trick or treat, and planted flowers with them. There is even talks of a future Bingo game with the kids playing too.

This past week we got together to make card with the residents, for the kids at Vidant Hospital. We found a connection with the hospital for children who receive outpatient chemo and others service through the children's hospital. We thought this would be a great way to love of the residents at the nursing home as well as some sick children who might need a pick me up during the week.

I could not have been more please with how the projects turned out. Everyone enjoyed themselves. It seemed a great lesson for the kids to learn, especially around Valentine's Day: loving people with our actions, our words, and our time.

Eden was able to work with Miss Sarah and Lydia making beautiful cards.

Josiah was the sticker king. He helped these ladies peel and place their stickers  on the cards. At one point he disappeared. I found him handing out cards to some of the residents in the front room. He didn't seem to understand the idea that the cards were not staying with the residents at the nursing home. It was "not fair!" So I let him pass out his cards to the little old ladies and the little old men. They loved it and him :)
Titus was also able to participate. He could put stickers on the papers. I am so happy that even as a 2 year old he get to participate in activities like these.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sweet Reading Time

A few weeks ago we decided we needed unplug the electronics and spend more time reading with the kids. It's been a neat experience, though it has not happened without challenges. You would think as a homeschool family we would have enough reading in one day, but this reading is for FUN! The kids and I have finally gotten used to the new schedule.  We ( at least I) look forward to it each night.

 We have a loose guideline that from 6:00-8:00 there is no TV, computers, tablets or anything else that would need to be plugged in, instead we read or play. This has been a challenge for each of us in different ways. Josiah and I  have struggled with this the most. For me, it seemed like a lot more work at the end of the day, when I had already spent the day schooling the kids. Josiah LOVES his tablet and taking it away to make him read or listen to us read.... not an easy task. Eden is a struggling reader, and really doesn't like to read. She has probably benefited the most from the reading time. Each night we have her read 2 or 3 books to either Larry or I, one on one.  We feel like this time is crucial to her building the skills she needs to enable reading to come with less difficulty. She really seems to enjoy the individual attention, even if she has to read.

We've read through lots of little readers, and as a family we started the Little House on the Prairie series. We've already finished The Little House in the Big Woods and are half way through the Little house on the Prairie. Josiah is fascinated with the series of books. Knowing the order and title of each book in the series is important to him.  It's a great series! The kids have really enjoyed the stories. Plus they wind down while we read and bed time has become easier. I've been surprise how Josiah, my usual wiggle worm, can sit and listen to the stories, Sometimes he sits upside down or side ways, but he listens. Eden draws great pictures to go along with the stories.  We're going to bind them together at the end of the series in her own little art book. Titus is still a unable to sit still, but he's 2. I'm sure with more training and good examples from big brother and sister, he'll get the hang of things soon. For now, I give him a small toy to keep his hands occupied. The problem comes  when he makes the sound effects to go along with the cars and trucks. :)

 Typically by 6:00 we're finishing up dinner and dishes. The other night as I was running behind schedule. Titus anticipating reading time brought the book he wanted to me to read to him. Since I was still in the middle of cleaning up, I asked Josiah if he would read the book to Titus. Honestly, I wasn't sure what kind of response I was going to get. Brothers can be, well... brothers. I was pleased when Josiah agreed. They went to the couch to settle into reading.  It was the cutest thing ever!!!

With moments like these, you can see why this has become my favorite time of the day. :)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Happy 5th Birthday Josiah!

Our spunky Josiah is turning 5 today. It seems the years have rushed by and a little man stands before me. He is already gaining on me in height; It will only be a short amount of time before I will be looking up to him.

Josiah is such an amazing kid. He is insightful, honest and mischievous often at the same time. Things intrigue him and  his is always looking to learn or do something.. Active doesn't seem a strong enough word to describe how his mind or body works. This active state of being enable him to be a constant source of laughter and amazement in our home.

We started a tradition were we ask our children the same questions to record how they develop through the years. Here are Josiah answers at age 5.

1. What is your favorite color? Green
2. What is your favorite toy? Gator Golf

3.What is your favorite fruit? Granny Smith Apples
4. What is your favorite movie? Madagascar
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Hotdogs and leftovers
6. What is your favorite thing to wear? My red shirt with my hoodie on
7. What is your favorite game? Minion Rush
8. What is your favorite snack? Crackers, like Goldfish
9. What is your favorite animal? My pet, Winkie ( his stuffed dog)
10. What is your favorite song? Jingle Bells
12. Who is your best friend? Shay and Chris "that's one of the Busch kids"
13. What is your favorite cereal? Honey Nut Cheerios and Multigrain Cheerios
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play football with my Daddy
 15. What is your favorite drink? Juice
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Winkie

18. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Tacos and Cake
19. What your favorite Bible Story? David and Goliath
20. What is your favorite thing to study in school? Play
21. What do you want to be when you grow up? " A Scientist, a mixed up scientist"   When I asked what he wants to study he said, "birds, groundhogs and bears."

                                                        Happy Birthday Josiah!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

My favorite gifts :)

I forgot to post these during the holidays. These are by far my favorite gifts!