Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Well, the summer is progressing without a whole lot of excitement to speak of. 

I mean, we have our daily household excitements, but other people would probably not find them very exciting at all.

For example, yesterday the kids spent several hours with their Great Grandparents, and I had several sweet hours all to myself.  I found that pretty darn exciting.  I have been working like crazy on my book for the last month or so since I finished the ending.  Actually, reworking might be a better term when it comes to some parts.  As I started the first edit of the first draft, I realized I needed to move some things around and add some additional content.  Boring.  But, you know, exciting for me.

Hunter's new diet and herbal regimen seems to be helping.  I had a thought last night, and it's starting to make more sense to me the more I think about it.  I believe the first week of this test he did well because he still had his stimulant medication in his system.  Then the second week (last week), it suddenly seemed like the treatment wasn't working at all, because his brain and body were dealing with a bit of shock-type withdrawal to losing the medication.  Yesterday, it was like a switch was flipped.  He did things he was supposed to without being told.  At bedtime, when I commended him on his responsibility and encouraged him to remember what that felt like, he said, "That's my goal."  Just like that.  "That's my goal."  From a child who has never said the word "goal" to me in his life.  (Or in the last year and a half, as the case may be.)  Time will tell, certainly, but I have to tell you, it was music to a mother's ears.

P.S. He just finished his handwriting for today, and it is B.E.A.yootiful!  See?  Not so exciting for others, but extremely exciting for me.

Kaleigh is working on writing "sticks and circles" for her schoolwork, in preparation for learning to write.  I am also working with her on activities and exercises to strengthen her fine motor skills.  And she enjoys a fair amount of time playing.  Because she's four.

Well, that's about it for now.  I know my mom is enjoying her time away, but we are (selfishly) anxious for her return, as we miss her very much.  And because I miss the excuse to get out of the house for a day once in awhile.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer... So Far

Well, the Shanahan summer is going swimmingly so far.  
Get it?  Swimmingly? 

Okay, fine, don't laugh at my joke.  The kids think it's great (the pool, anyway).  As you can see...

Besides swimming, we have been using the summer to try some new things for our family, in the hopes of creating a little more healthy lifestyle for all of us.

First of all, we are doing some summer school work at home, mostly to catch Hunter up to the fifth grade level before he starts school in the fall; but also to get Kaleigh started on some preschool work.  I'm not a big believer in formal preschool, so Kaleigh won't be going "to school" in the fall, but we will be doing some things here at home.  There's a high probability that Hunter will also be home-schooling in the fall, for multiple reasons, the main one being that I did not feel his teachers were putting much effort into helping him catch up to grade level.  They seem to be doing just enough with him to show improvement (I would even use the term "drastic improvement" compared to his former school), but not enough to fully catch him up.  As he does not have any learning disabilities, and he simply got behind several years ago, there is no reason for him not to begin to achieve at grade level, with the right support.  However, the minute a student is deemed "special education" and given an IEP, the public school system receives a larger amount of funding.  And who in their right mind would give up free money?  So what if it means labeling our kids and putting them behind the 8 ball for possibly the rest of their school-age lives, if not longer?  It's money!  (/rant)

Anyway, so we've gotten a head start on the home-schooling, and Hunter is doing pretty well so far.  His printing is improving, he's learning handwriting, and his math skills have grown by leaps and bounds as he quickly learns the new problem-solving techniques set before him.  The only thing I am still trying to figure out how to help him with is reading comprehension.  We're going with the trial and error approach, so I'm sure one of these days something will click into place.

Another change, which after several weeks of research we are just starting this week, is that we are trying something with Hunter's AD/HD treatment.  We are weaning him off his meds and onto a daily herbal regimen; in addition, we have pulled a few things out of his diet that often cause problems in AD/HD kids, like dairy and red and yellow food colorings.  We are less than a week into the treatment, so no results to report yet.

The last major change, which more directly impacts the entire family, is that I have been slowly transitioning our foods into whole foods, including more whole grains.  I am happy to report that this change has become final in the last couple of weeks, as my pantry is now stocked with whole-grain pastas and rices and other yummy things, and the cereal and snack cupboards are stocked with seeds and nuts and homemade granola and trail mix, as well as Triscuits.  My fresh fruit basket on the counter is (almost) always full, and my fridge is overflowing with fresh veggies.

Here are the kids, enjoying their afternoon snack of apples and trail mix:

I had to stop after taking three pictures, walk away from the window, and occupy myself with something else, before I had an anxiety attack about my daughter's apple sitting on the ground.  I'm trying not to be "that mom" (or at least, not TOO much of "that mom").