Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Body Language

I was so excited for today's lesson including American Sign Language from our Mother Goose Time curriculum today! I have taught the kids sign language since they were infants. It is an amazing tool for communication. Each week at story time at our local library the kids learn a new sign that goes with the theme for the week. I am interested in learning more myself, and it reminded me of a quote that a dear friend shared this week.
There are many reasons why communicating without words is an important thing to learn. Not everyone can speak or hear spoken words. This was a great thing to discuss with all of our kids, and talk about how important communication is to all relationships.
We received this great poster showing the American Sign Language alphabet and numbers. We hung it above our alphabet poster. Since we have limited space in this house we use the inside of our pantry door for some of these tools. Just close the door and they are out of the way. Works great!
Since we are on the topic of sign language, I will take a quick minute to share an awesome ministry that a friend of mine is involved with called Deaf Missions. Deaf Missions exists for one purpose: To effectively communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ with deaf people. 

Please visit their Facebook page  or website to learn more!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

God Cares About My Feelings

One of the great add-ons we got with our Mother Goose Time Curriclum is the Experience God set. It correlates with the rest of the week's lessons, and the kids love the craft projects.

We focused on being "safe in God's arms" this week as we talked about the story of David and Goliath. As we talked about how brave David was, the kids colored their pictures. On the back of each week's summary sheet is a coloring page for the kids.
We made paper heart pockets laced together with yarn that held our little people safe. Lacing is always a great activity for their coordination. 
Lu loves designing her little paper dolls clothes, and it is fun to see Cal learning to draw faces. His favorite part is the glue stick.
This is a fun way to tie in our Friends and Feelings theme and talk about how God cares about our feelings too.

You can check out the many fun add-ons to your curriculum at

Friday, September 18, 2015

Family Feelings and Friendship Bracelets

Today's curriculum from Mother Goose Time taught us the importance of including everyone. A lesson that we continue to push in our house, with 5 kids it seems someone is often feeling left out.

We made our friendship bracelets with the included pipe cleaners and beads. Even my 3 year old found this a simple task, and it is great for improving fine motor skills.  

The highlight for the kids today was the game. We were able to work on different skills for each child in the same game. Cal is learning to count the spots not the dice and move his piece the correct number of spaces, while big sister is working on her sight words and sounding letters out on each space. 

We were also able to incorporate the feelings we have been discussing this month as we landed on the different moods. The kids would make a face expressing that feeling as they landed on the space.

 The theme of the game is that dad still loves us, no matter how we are feeling. So we collected hearts as we made our way around the board visiting all the emotions that fill our days. 

I love that so much thought is put into each tool given to us for the day. This simple game can be used many ways, and is sure to be a keeper in our game drawer!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Saying Hello

We say hello to the first day of preschool with Mother Goose Time!
First we made puppet friends so they could say hello to each other.
 The puppet sticks were already punched out and the kids got their supplies ready.
 It is so nice to have everything included in the kit. I just needed to supply scissors, glue and crayons. The kids really enjoyed personalizing their puppet friends.
 I had to help my 3 year old with some cutting, but he is learning. My daughter loves arts and crafts and is always happy to help.
 It was so cute to watch the conversations start with a simple hello!
 And then it was time to play our matching game. This introduced us to different ways to say "hello" in languages all over the world. They love matching games anyway, and it was great to have them repeat the greeting as they flipped each card. When daddy got home from work they couldn't wait to say "hello" a few different ways as he came in the door.
 We found a book at the library that fit with this lesson perfectly! Hello World! Greetings in 42 Languages Around the Globe by Manya Stojic. The illustrations are bright and the greetings are also spelled phonetically, so mom can sound like she knows what she is doing.
 It was fun to find the friends from our matching game cards and match them with their page in the book.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Getting Ready For Mother Goose Time

We are so excited to start our Mother Goose Time preschool curriculum this year! The kids were so happy when the "bus" arrived at our door. 

We opened our box to find our welcome kit and our supplies for a month of learning. 

I appreciate how organized the curriculum arrives, already sorted out by each day. There is a new theme each month, and everything from the music to crafts goes along with that theme. There are many resources for the teacher to keep things organized and plan for the month. I also appreciate the extra member resources that they offer, like a list of books we can check out from the library that will go along with our theme each week. 
Our theme for the month is Friends and Feelings. 
Each day we have a bag with a craft and activities for the day. 

Lu received two books to use as enrichment with her Kindergarten learning this year, More Literacy and More Math. 

Both kids were excited about the 
Dance N Beats DVD and are ready to move!

They immediately wanted to open the manipulative sets and started sorting the buses by color. 

We are sure to have fun with these all month long!

I am honored to be a Mother Goose Time Blog Ambassador this year and join a great group of educators! It's going to be a fun-filled year.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

One (almost) Free Day in Telluride

Western Colorado is a great location for many reasons, one of which is our close proximity to many fun towns for day trips. You can make quick trips on a tight budget and still have a day filled with fun.

A few weeks ago I decided to pack the kids in the car with a picnic and drive up to Telluride, CO. It is really one of the most beautiful towns I have visited, and there are so many reasons why it is one of our favorites. Even the drive there is lovely.
I checked my weather report before we left, and though it did say a chance for rain in the afternoon (which is pretty common for the colorado mountain towns) it looked pretty decent. Unfortunately we got off to a late start and it started raining about an hour out and didn't stop for another hour or so after our arrival. Not just a sprinkle, big fat drops of heavy rain.
That's okay, this mom is always prepared. Ha! Well, almost. I had gathered the jackets, but they had not made it into the car. They sat in a nice pile by the front door at home. We circle the town and finally find parking on this busy, tourist-filled day. Our first stop was the local thrift shop to find 6 jackets.
We found a few that worked nicely and hit up the "free box" for the remaining two.

The free box is this amazing set of shelves full of stuff that is free for the taking. Take something, leave something. All in the spirit of sharing and not wasting what you don't need. I love it.
We have found some pretty cool stuff over the years.

At this point, it is still pouring rain and everyone is quite irritable. I spot just the remedy for such an occasion. The Telluride Truffle shop.
 Everyone picked one delicious chocolate and we all left with smiles
As we sat together, enjoying our treats, the rain begins to fade away and my oldest son says "see mom, chocolate fixes everything." Oh, I have taught that boy well!

Now that we are all in better spirits, and the rain has moved out of our way, it is time to hit up the free gondola. Sporting my thrift store hoodie of course.
We brought our goldendoodle puppy, Crosby,  along for this adventure. He was only 5 months old on this trip, and still has quite a bit to learn. Trying to socialize him can be embarrassing and frustrating at times, but he will never learn the proper way to react to situations if we don't take him out in the world. Luckily, they offer pet-friendly gondolas and as we waited in line he only let out one bark before ours was ready to board and he quickly got on and sat down. After sniffing a bit, he just laid at our feet for the ride.
Good dog.

The kids love the ride and the scenery is amazing. Did I mention it is free?! In the summer the ski hills are open to mountain bikers and it is fun to see them tearing down the dirt paths.

Happy kids. Lu in her thrift store jacket and Cal in his awesome denim jacket from the free box!

We got off at mountain village and walked around a bit before heading to the playground. The kids got out some energy and Crosby got to walk around, explore, and get more leash training. The air was misty and the clouds were low. It was lovely.

 We wanted to still have time to play in the river, so we loaded back onto a gondola for the trip back down to the town of Telluride. Note the boy in the adorable denim jacket found in the free box!

The sun was trying its best to make an appearance, but we weren't sure how long it would last.  We took a chance and headed to the river trail which runs along the edge of town. If you park in town you can reach all of these attractions by foot, without having to get back in the car. This is great, especially with a bunch of kids to buckle/unbuckle at every stop.

The trail along the river was the perfect I am pretty sure this was the kids' favorite attraction, as well as Crosby's. The water was freezing, but they didn't care. Most of them had even ditched their jackets at this point. Throwing rocks, wading in the water, and looking for creatures below its surface kept them quite entertained. It is just such a beautiful spot to be on a summer day. A little slice of heaven.

After our river playtime we made a trip up to main street for a bathroom break and a stroll down the charming streets decorated with flower boxes and flags from around the world. Telluride offers a very charming downtown area filled with shops and restaurants.

We had packed our picnic and ended up eating in the car on our drive out of town as the little kids were getting sleepy. As we drove away the sun finally broke through the clouds and the mountains lit up, giving us amazing scenery to enjoy. A beautiful good-bye.

We got home around 9:30pm and I put 5 tired kids and one exhausted pup to bed before crashing myself. I think we may try more "Adventure Fridays" this year since they kids don't have school on those days. There are so many more fun places to explore around our area, and no need to break the bank. Next time I will remember the jackets!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Type 1 Diabetes - Cal's Diagnosis Story

Today marks one year since my youngest son's diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes.
365 days ago I knew nothing about this disease and how dangerous it really is, so I feel it is important to share our story.

Last summer Cal started to request sippy cups filled with any liquid he could get. He suddenly wasn't picky if I would just give him water. It was July/August and I just thought the heat was making him thirsty. His diapers were soaking through in just an hour. I bought the bigger size diapers thinking he was just growing out of them. He would complain of stomach aches and say he was going to throw up and look like he was going to pass out. I thought he just had a bug that his siblings had passed on. He started to look very skinny and pale, and his energy level dropped considerably. This is when I got worried.

I spent a weekend worrying and debating taking him into urgent care. I waited until Monday (ugh, in hindsight this makes me ill tho think about) and called our family doc. I listed off his symptoms and they made us an appointment for Friday. I knew that 5 days was too long to wait. Something was very wrong with my two year old baby boy. In the back of my head I knew that excessive thirst and urination were associated with diabetes, but I had never heard of a two year old being diagnosed. I knew nothing about Type 1 and the base of my knowledge was on Type 2. My mom had a blood glucose meter and I asked to borrow it that afternoon while we were over at her house. It read "HI check for ketones." She looked at me confused and said she had never seen that before. She tested her blood and it read a normal number. I called my doc and they said "I am so sorry, please go to the ER immediately!" I was scared. If it was "just diabetes" then why is this an emergency.

I was clueless. I thought, well maybe it is some other disease that raises your blood glucose levels. A million different terrifying scenarios went through my mind. Luckily the hospital was just up the road, so I didn't have much time to come up with ridiculous self-diagnosis before they rushed us back. They tested his blood and it was 646. It should not be above 180, if we had waited much longer, he could have ended up in a coma. My heart sank. They immediately needed to start an iv which is very hard to do on a skinny, scared two-year old boy. It took several tries and over the course of the next few days they would have attempted 6 IVs with only three being successful. The time they decided to try the papoose board instead of have me hold him was the worst. His scared eyes reaching out for me as he screamed, and I was just trying to put on a brave face for as long as I could.

Time moved so quickly, yet stood still at the same time. My husband was there with us and asked many questions before one doctor finally said the words, Type 1 Diabetes. I immediately felt responsible. What had I done to cause this? He wasn't overweight, we ate fairly healthy. We had no one in our family with Type One. Again, I was clueless. They were running some tests on his blood and urine and there was mention of DKA, but we were still confused. All the staff left as we sat on the bed with our boy and all three of us had tears streaming down our face. This was a life-changing moment for all of us. I wasn't sure what this meant for his future or how this would limit his activities. I was told he would be dependent on insulin shots or a pump for the rest of his life,  but would lead a "fairly normal life" otherwise, and that was all I had to go on at this point. It was better than some scenarios I had made up in my head, but it was still heavy and terrifying.

We got the results back and found out he was in fact in DKA, Diabetic Ketoacidosis. His blood glucose had been high and since the glucose was not getting into his cells (because his pancreas was no longer producing insulin that is required to get glucose into your cells) his body was burning fat which produces ketones. This meant his blood was becoming acidic and threatened the health of other organs.

We were wheeled up to the pediatric unit, and as I lay on the bed holding my son they pushed us through the double doors and I saw a hallway of rooms. It hit me that they were full of children. Very ill children. I could not stop crying as I felt so lucky. We were going to get treatment, education, and leave. Our diagnosis was NOT terminal. It was chronic. It was going to be a life-long battle. But it could be managed.

We spent that night trying to keep our boy comfortable with finger pokes every 30 minutes and IV changes and blood draws every few hours. We did not sleep.

The following day was filled with education and news that we would need to travel 250 miles to Denver to the Barbara Davis Center for  Childhood Diabetes to receive training and care. This was just the beginning of a year of unique challenges.

To be continued...

**Please educate yourself on the symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes. You can be diagnosed at any age. If not caught early enough, it can be deadly. If our story can help just one person, it is worth sharing!