Sunday, September 30, 2012

Our Ultimate Field Trip, Part 1

September 23rd, one week ago, Zachary, Nikita, Amelia, Micah, Leif and I embarked on our Ultimate Field Trip.  Our destination was Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina, to see Alexander graduate from Army Basic Combat Training. 

Originally I had planned for Zachary and I to fly down, but in August we decided instead to make it a family trip like we had never had before!  Our stops were to be:  Hershey PA, Antietam Battlefield in Maryland, Luray Caverns in Virginia, Fort Jackson for 2 days, Chincoteague Island in Virginia, meet up with some friends in New Jersey, and arrive home again on Saturday September 29th.  We achieved most of our goals, the most important of course seeing Alexander after 2 long months!

We stayed in 2 different hotels driving down, 2 nights in a cabin at Fort Jackson, then 2 more different hotels driving home.  In all, we took over 250 photographs.  Here is just the first day of our journey:

 Leif has no idea how much time he is about to spend strapped into his carseat.
 Leif insisted on pulling this rolling luggage every time we stopped for an overnight.  He was too cute, and definitely learned about perseverance as he bumped along with it and refused to give up the handle. Micah and Amelia strapped on their backpacks and helped carry in our luggage too.

We had a nice stop at Chocolate World in Hershey, although it was so crowded we did not stay long past the fun educational ride about how chocolate is made.  Of course, we did leave with a bag of chocolate goodies!

Nikita and I took Amelia, Micah, and Leif swimming to work off some pent up energy.  They had a blast!
We then met my cousin and her boyfriend for dinner.  It was a long overdue time of reconnecting with family.

Our hotel the first night not only had a pool, but indoor mini-golf too!  It was a somewhat full contact, anything goes sport for Leif, complete with high sticking and crawling through the ball loops.  This time it was Zachary who came along, while Nikita relaxed in the hotel room.

Our Monday plans were for Antietam Battlefield, lunch in West Virginia, and Luray Caverns.  Almost 100 photos alone on Monday, so that will be Part 2, although not with all 100 photos!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

6 of 9 Visits the Dentist

We have been blessed to find the most wonderful dentist in Worcester.  (I would say the most wonderful dentist in Massachusetts, but that might be exaggerating a bit much.)  Micah had a very good appointment today!

There are many stereotypes about a child with Down Syndrome, and oddly enough Micah fits three that I hear the most.

He is happy and will greet he had his window down in the van and said "hi" to the person in the lane next to us at the stop light.

He is stubborn...he will look at me with crossed arms and say, "No Mom" to even the simplest directives. Then he will back down and say "Sorry Mom" while obeying.

He has a small jaw, and therefore very crowded teeth.  This is more a fact than a stereotyped, although it often leads to a protruding tongue which makes people think all people with down syndrome have an oversized tongue.

Today Micah had three baby teeth pulled by Dr. Matt.    He held "Wally", a stuffed version of Wally the Green Monster that has long arms to velcro around a child for hugging.  Micah was so good, getting numbed up and then did not even try to move during the Novocaine shots.  While that was working its magic he went to another room for a few x-rays.  Micah tucked Wally in next to him, and then afterwards insisted that Wally sit in the x-ray chair while he pushed the button.  (His stubbornness shining through-- he was not walking back to the exam room until that stuffed creature had his x-ray too.)  Back in the exam room Micah lay down on the chair, tucked Wally next to him and said, "Don't worry, they are just going to look at your teeth."   There was a board on the reclined chair with a blanket-like wrap under it, with velcro straps for securing a worried child.  Micah had no need though!!  He barely protested as the three teeth were pulled in quick succession.  Me, I was cringing as I watched my boy take it like a man. He is on soft foods for a few days, but has not once complained of any discomfort.

His teeth are still crooked, but they are no longer super crowded and doubled up in spots.  He goes back in a few weeks for more x-rays and to start making a long term plan for his teeth.

God is good!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Two Straight Lines

"In an old house in Paris
that was covered with vines
lived twelve little girls in two straight lines."
Madeline, by Ludwig Behelmans

Our book for the week!  What better way to start the week than with some M&M math?

Leif did not seem to realize the intended use of the M&Ms.
Although Leif would say that it is his siblings who did not realize the intended use of M&Ms.

PS-They each had a spare candy to represent Miss Clavel.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cookie Monster

Today I tried out a new cookie recipe, Healthy Peanutty Cookies.  They are delicious!  Lots of peanut butter flavor, with chocolate chips and oats.  They really can qualify as healthy too! -- freshly ground whole wheat flour, freshly rolled oat groats, sucanot, and almond milk; I even used organic chocolate chips.

My cookie monster gives them a big thumbs up.
Or he would, if he stopped lining them up and eating them off the counter.

Unfortunately I cannot use these cookies in Dante's lunch or snack bag for school, because his school is still completely nut free.  I find it very hard to accommodate this since I do use almond milk, peanut butter, coconut oil, and nuts in a lot of my cooking.  I would rather be using almond flour and coconut flour too. 

A link to the cookie recipe: Healthy Peanutty Cookies

And a super sweet photo of Leif and Amelia out on the tire swing:

I am so blessed!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Week 2 of School

One of the benefits of home schooling is flexibility.  I decided that this week's FIAR book was a little too advanced for the triplets, so we did not do it.  Instead we spent a lot of time on phonics, reading, and memory skills.   They also wrote letters to Alexander (handwriting), drew pictures with the letters (art), and Amelia walked to the post office with me, bought the stamp herself and collected her change (community awareness, street safety).

Micah is the most puzzling of my children.  He flies through the phonics worksheets and knows all sorts of sight words.  Yet he is stubborn and often acts tired unless he is receiving direct one on one attention.  Amelia meanwhile hovers over everyone trying to help with the teaching.  Amelia tries very hard at everything, while the reading seems to come easily to Micah.  Even with the memory work, Micah outpaces his sisters, when he is obedient enough to do the work with me.

We also started attending a co-op this week; it meets every Friday.  The triplets have 3 classes:  Ballet, US States and Capitols,  and Apologia Science: Land Animals.  The science requires a lot of reading during the week, and in class the kids to activities and put together a lapbook.  Nikita is also part of the co-op, she is taking Logic, Health, and High School Art. 

Zachary just stays home wearing his hat:

Actually, Leif goes to co-op and is in the Nursery with other pre-schoolers.  This photo is an excellent example of another home schooling benefit:  brothers bonding and having a blast.

Leif helped me clean up some over our yard area one day, and this led to another science lesson:
Who doesn't enjoy finding a caterpillar?
(His face is dirty from working outside, not bruised.)

This year I think one of my favorite learning tools is our iPad.  It is so nice to put one kid at the table with the iPad while I work with another.  There are so many apps, although I usually stick to the inexpensive short versions.  A favorite this week has been BOB books, as well as some spelling and sight reading apps. We also have a Montessori math app that helps them with counting.

Next week we will be reading and learning from Madeline, it should be an adventure!