My archives might be a little outdated especially the older blogs. My links above are all new and current.

I have only positive things to say about Permission to Mother, an autobiographical account of a thoughtful mother and clinician who courageously writes from her heart, soul, brain, and personal experience; who is open to change in her views and opinions and is not guided by the safety of rules of any group or the status quo; she is guided by love and openness to the experiences life brings her and her family. Her process benefits her and those around her and those who read her words. And to add to that, the writing style and story telling ability here make it a very enjoyable read speckled with both the humor and seriousness of life. ~Laura Keegan RN FNP, author of Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy

Readers enjoy your feedback and Reviews (82!) on amazon. Kindle Version Available!

Please Join me on Facebook at Punger Family Medicine.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Week Long Shiva Candle

One more heavy post about my Grandma Pauline. I wrote this while at my conference a few weeks ago and never published it.

My shiva candle burned for a week. It's my third shiva candle (this is my last of my three maternal grandparents) and I have learned how symbolic the candle is representing the time we need to mourn and reflect. Hoping to watch the candle burn to the end (or at least be there for the flicker to go out), so I can go on to the next phase of mourning, but instead, in this case, reminded me of sitting on grandma's bedside wondering if it would be with her, her last breath. Would I be present for the last flicker to burnout?

Just, like I had to leave hospice to go back to my kids, I had to leave the candle a night early to get to a conference required by Florida to keep our license. We had signed up for it months before knowing we had to be there. Or else. For me it was hard to leave my personal shiva space that I created in my bedroom and go on while the candle continued to burn.

The previous times, I burned a shiva candle, I felt a sense of responsibility of being present to respect the shiva space and for the memory of my grandparents' soul. It was frustrating for me not to be able to be present for Grandma Pauline's candle to go out.

What made me decide to come back to this post tonight is what Scott said to me.

He said in my absence, he was watching the candle burn. He "told" the candle that he promises to tell his children and grandchildren about Grandma Pauline. Then the candle went out and was done burning. He said it was like grandma was telling him that she understood.
With some rituals we wonder why we do it. We just do it. In the end, we find meaning. Sometimes you never find the meaning, but the symbolism and meaning was clearly there this time. If I couldn't be there, I am glad Scott was. It gave me a feeling of resolution. I can only imagine how Blessed Scott is.

Scott's Fitness Essay Continued...

I interviewed my mom and dad who are both family doctors. I also interviewed both my grandmas. My mom and mom’s grandma are in the best health. My dad and dad’s mom are getting better. I found that they are concerned about obesity. They all feel like our nutrition and what we ingest affect our health including food, alcohol, and smoking. I also found that they are concerned about cancer. They all stated that the media has a negative influence on our health behaviors. They state that there is a lot of information out there and that they like looking on the internet. My Grandma Maxine, says, “People believe everything they hear.” My dad added that most of what we hear has a negative influence. My mom calls the internet Dr. Google and Dr. Youtube. I even once heard her say that Dr. Facebook is where many of her patients get second opinions. What my mom likes about the internet is finding personal testimonies of what works rather than research. She encourages her patients to look up information with her guidance. My dad likes science based sites like webmd.

My family is fairly health conscious. I learned that we tend to all agree, but we all had a different way of stating it. I didn’t learn that much new information, but this lesson was fun hearing all the different ways they said the same thing. It was fun hearing the same thing I know but in a different perspective for this class. I’d like more lessons like this in fitness class. Everyone was willing to voice their opinion. In fact my family has strong opinions on health information.

My dad was the most interesting because he knows about healthy lifestyle, but his diet is not always the best compared to the rest of my family. In other words, he can do a better job. It sounded like my mom was part of a conspiracy. This is what she said, “Obesity can be prevented by avoiding processed food. Babies should be breastfed, avoiding formula, as much as possible. After weaning and for the rest of your life food should include fresh greens, sprouts, and a wide range and variety of seasonal plant-based food. Animal products including meat, fish, poultry, and dairy should be less than 5 % of the diet. No fast food and no soda, Ever.When I told her that sounded like conspiracy, she said that the big businesses are a conspiracy and she is only one voice. 

I am concerned about obesity and the consequences like diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure. I want to be fit and I want to prevent problems by eating raw fruits and vegetables and have a total meat intake of 10% of meat in my diet a day or less. I don’t think you have to be as strict as my mother says. I exercise daily.  I like the internet as a resource. Although I use Wikipedia and Youtube, I continue to research on more reputable places and ask my parents. I am lucky that my parents and grandmothers are good role models and I get an early start in life.

My next project is to talk about hereditary diseases in a format to educate with media. My mom questions the hereditary nature of diseases that we often think are genetic. So this should be interesting. I am looking forward to hearing more about why she feels that way. Since the internet is where most people say they find information, she said she would post this essay on her blog. I probably will publish my final project on her blog, too, if it is relevant and I can find the right format to do it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fitness Class Interview

Scott interviewed me for his fitness class today. Lucky for my readers, You get a blog post today! He has a chance to turn in an interesting assignment!

Age: 45
Gender: Female
Job: Family Physician
Date and time of interview: December 23, 2010

What are some major health concerns that you have? Poor nutrition and tobacco abuse.

Are there ways that you know you can prevent these health concerns (or other concerns like obesity)? Obesity can be prevented by avoiding processed food. Babies should be breastfed, avoiding formula ,as much as possible. After weaning and for the rest of your life food should include fresh greens, sprouts, and a wide range and variety of seasonal plant-based food. Animal products including meat, fish, poultry, and dairy should be less than 5 % of the diet. No fast food and no soda, Ever.

If you need to find out more about a specific health issue, what do you do? Please be specific. (Don’t let them say “look on the internet”, because we have already learned that not everything on the Internet is reliable! They should tell you a specific site if they use the Internet as a source.) I listen to my patients to know what the issues are. My favorite nutrition site is I like I like asking Dr. Google and Dr. Youtube too!

What do you think is the biggest health concern facing our country is? The tobacco/ food/meat/dairy/formula lobbyist give money to our government keeping their profitable products in consumers faces. Americans believe the government have their best interests in mind.

What are some things that you do to help monitor your health? Annually check cholesterol, intracellular vitamin levels, food sensitivities, check weight and blood pressure. Monitor and record fitness progress.

How do you monitor your food and water intake now? I drink at least 4 cups of green smoothie daily and two handfuls of green leafy vegetables a day. I add some kind of sprouts and superfood to my daily nutrition. We grow our own greens. I eat something from our own garden daily.

How would you help get the word out about this lifestyle change? I have a preventive medicine family practice. I blog.

How do you think the media influences what concerns we have for our health? The media has a negative influence on what people think they should eat and where to shop. Farmers and grass roots businesses can't compete with the millions of dollars spent trying to fool Americans. Everyone needs to take their own responsibility.

9. How do you stay fit?
I go to the gym and lift weights when the boys are in karate. I am active with the boys kayaking, walking, yard work, and cycling.

10. Why did you start trying to be healthy? I was tired of being fat. I didn't like how processed food tasted anymore. I wanted my kids to be healthier.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Black Belts and Interview Sensations

Check out all three of my boys in action! They want to take you down!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Give Away Winner

The First Winner of My Give Away is Andrea Santoro. This is the Permission to Mother book review she posted on amazon. She won a copy of my book.

"I found out about this book after being referred to Dr Punger when my newborn was losing a significant amount of weight. It was evident that I was having supply issues. Lost and without other support, I went to see Dr Punger and she assured me that we could work this out and that I didn't have to throw in the towel. Through Dr Punger's guidance, I was able to double my supply and am still breastfeeding my daughter who just turned 6 months old yesterday!

One of the biggest issues I dealt with was the guilt of not being able to provide all that my daughter needed. I felt that I was neglecting her. After reading Permission to Mother, I realized that I am doing the best that I can and I can bond with her not only by breastfeeding, but in other ways like co-sleeping and co-bathing. I have really enjoyed the special closeness I have with her now that I have given myself permission to mother in the way that feels so right for me/us.

I wish I would've read this book while pregnant because I didn't have the labor I had hoped for. I would've liked to be more in control and have experienced it but instead, I let doctors manipulate me into their convenience and while I am so blessed to have my daughter, I do feel cheated. I'm hoping to have the birthing of my dreams when I have my next child and I know it is possible and I have been encouraged by the experiences in this book.

Thank you Dr Punger!

Get this book if you want to be encouraged to parent the way that you feel works best for your family. You don't have to follow what society says is normal, or what your best friend or even your own parents did. Give yourself permission to mother and be the best mother to your precious baby."

I appreciate this review and the insight and update it provided me about Andrea's situation.
Their was no entries for the second book I had to give away. I may do this again in just a few weeks when we are not all so busy with the holidays. I appreciate any feedback you'd like to give me.

Black Belt Certificates

After a year of Black Belt Training, you become officially certified. Last night William and Scott and two other very hardworking young men got their new rank. This is what the certificate says:

This Certificate Officially Declares That William and Scott Coquelet has Successfully completed all requirements in accordance with the curriculum of the United States Karate Federation and has been tested in all aspects of the Martial Arts systems of Shorinj-Kempo and Mas Oyama's Kyo Kushin Kai-Kan attaining the rank of Sho Don 1st Degree Black Belt on Dec 17th 2010.
The Grand Master is 10th degree Hanshi Robert Fabrey. Also shown are 5th degrees Shihon Joe and Shihon Rich.
David got a rank promotion, too. He has one black stripe on his brown belt.  He fits right in with the Black Belts! He got the GOLD Medal Ribbon around his neck for fighting like a champ.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Our Office Best Sellers

For convenience my office stocks these popular items in our little store.
The best sellers are:

1. Permission to Mother, autographed by Denise Punger
2. Motherlove Products to support milk supply and breast pain
3. Chocolate Bliss and other whole food, raw supplements to support
weight loss and blood sugar,
(No artificial ingredients, fillers, dyes)
4. My Breastfriend Nursing Pillow
5. Mustela skin care and sunscreen for babies (and adults with sensitive skin)
6. Medela Double Electric Pumps, tubing, flanges, etc...
7. Cloth Diapers and covers: Bumkin, Bummies, cotton, bamboo, All-in-one, fitted, traditional rectangle
8. Lunapads
9. MD Forte Replenish Hydrating Cream (staff favorite)
10. Lact-aid and SNS for low milk supply
11. We have a few beautiful Peonies non-padded ring slings

Medela Lactina Breast Pump Rentals and Supplies

These are all products that I would use for myself or family.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Give Away

I am going to have a give-away for my readers of my book Permission to Mother. I am going to give away 2 books.

I am giving the first copy to the first new positive review added to my amazon page. I positive review would be 5 stars and share how my book helped you or inspired you.

I am going to give a 2nd copy of my book to a randomly selected person amongst the additional positive reviews added. If you already put a review leave me a comment that you would like to be entered.

Please leave a comment on my blog after you have done this. I will randomly select the 2nd winner after 12 noon on Saturday. Amazon reviews don't always show up right away. I may not be able to announce the winner exactly at 12 noon. Please be patient. Thanks. Good Luck!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Days After Parting

This is heavy stuff...

If there was anything about Judaism that ever left the most impression on me was Jewish Death Rituals. Obviously, the death rituals are for the family(survivors) to follow through on. But I do feel like, how we respect the deceased spirits and remains are are of significant spiritual value for survivors and respectful to the parted on getting them to World After.

First all,  Grandma bought her plot near her brothers about 20 years ago. Back then I thought what a morbid kind of thing to do. But now:
1. I am glad she made her wishes known (whether by accident or peer pressure or she got a good deal). And now we the survivors didn't have to decide or fight about it.
2. Her plot was $1800 back than rather than $18,000 it would have cost now (or was it 180 and now 1800?).
3. She is in a Jewish cemetery. Her good deal ( I am pretty sure it was a good deal, or a 2 for  1 deal, or she wouldn't have done it.)   worked out in her favor so she had a respectful Jewish burial. She is also near her brothers.
4. She was buried quickly, within 40 hours, as it should be. No embalming (don't speed or slow down the process of dust to dust). No make-up and fixings. No public viewing. I agree with Jewish explanation that that a viewing does not help the mourning process in anyway. Not for me anyway. But we all do have different needs.
5. My boys and I arrived to the cemetery right on time. The cemetery brought her all pine, all wood, casket out. Before you could blink, they were lowering it into the 6 foot hole. In Observant Judaism the family is responsible for the actual burial. Never in my life had I given it much thought, but my boys all took the shovels and put the dirt back on over Grandma's casket. Talk about reality check. Acceptance. Physically doing  the work ourselves until we were tired. When we couldn't do it any more, we read, Lord is my Sheppard, Mourner's Kaddish, my sisters Eulogy, and a few other short blurbs from the The Comfort Book provided to us. We read what worked for us  and had meaning for us. Each of my boys read something. We watched until the last piece of sod was in place like there was no hole just an hour before by the team of workers. I recall being at graveside once for this (but don't ask me who, don't remember, I was a kid along for the ride). I also recall being graveside for a non-Jewish burial and after the memorial, the mourners go elsewhere, to eat and console, and the "dirty" work is done the the burial team. I am glad my Grandmother left this last opportunity to my boys.

I am so glad it worked out that I could be there to represent the family especially because it was important to me. Sometimes you do something that feels right and you don't know why it's right, it just is and you get the blessings later and insight later on. Family is far and spread out. Each one of us had our own roles in the arrangements, prayers, Grandma's life or some how getting her to her resting place, or helping getting each other through this.

Modern culture forces us to go on with life. Before the burial is the time of preparation, after the burial is a Shiva period for a week. Shiva is more strict for household immediate family. I feel like Grandma is immediate family, although, some Rabbi's might tell me I am not obligated. It's her health (lack of mobility and poor hearing) that separated us in later years. Although I am not Observant, I do think it's appropriate to follow my heart. And if I don't want to go to a party or parade this week, I don't belong there. It's not like I am crying, "Grandma, why'd you leave, I don't understand, Come back." I totally accept that she lived a peaceful life til 95. Like the hospice nurse said, her last breath was between her and her creator. But there is a lot for me to process for myself, for my boys, for my family who I am not immediate with and listening to them. Giving them some space to process. Mourning does not mean just begging the dead to come back and crying. It is so much more complicated than that. It is so appropriate to reflect on your memories. Reflect on your life and your own goals. I am totally enjoying hearing what other people have to say about her. I want this Shiva time.

A Shiva candle is symbolic of this time I want to allow myself. (Catholics use a similar candle.) Ideally I wouldn't work, go out to party, show vanity. And heck, I don't really want to. Right now. (I do have to work a little.) I totally get where Jewish mourning rituals come from because it feels right to me. It doesn't end after a week, but that's all I want to deal with right now.

Two "angels" came to visit her in the hospital. I had no idea she had friends at skilled nursing. Two ladies who visited their Dad truly missed my Grandma and left the hospital in tears seeing my Grandma.  They told me since their Dad couldn't talk my Grandma would give them updates. And she made them laugh. This is so nice to know.

My family wants to have a memorial at a later date for all the out of town relatives. Without asking for it or us knowing anything about it, her skilled nursing facility is planning a memorial for her on Tuesday. I am so impressed they would do this. I am moved that she is being honored this way. I know she was taken good care of.

So Grandma, You can rest peacefully knowing your "deal" way back did not burden us and your immediate memorial was "included." I know that would make you happy. Many people may not understand why the ritual details are important to me, you may not even understand. We all have different needs, and for different reasons, we both have peace with the final arrangements.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Last Days with Grandma

I wrote this Wednesday. This is how I remember the last days. All due respect if I forgot details or don't tell them how someone else perceives them.

My Grandmother Pauline took her last breath today.

She lived in Orlando. She is 95. We share the same birthday and she is 50 years older than me. Each birthday I made it a point to go celebrate her birthday with her.

Living 2 hours away and a crazy-hectic schedule, I have often wondered how in the world I would get up there when the time came and if I would even make it.

Wednesday evening she seemed fine to her friends at her dinner table in skilled nursing. Thursday (my first of four days in a row) morning, the nurses called my mother and I, and said she was having trouble breathing and could they transfer her to the ER. The ER doctor called my mother 3 times as we were preparing our Thanksgiving dinner. By the time we sat down to eat, we already knew we would be packing and driving to Orlando. The good food was not really enjoyed and the abundant left-overs was packed straight into coolers. I got a pair of jeans and a few shirts together (and Scott and Max) and we drove. (I left William and David behind.I never leave them overnight, let alone 3 nights.) By the time we got there, Grandma seemed to be better than expected. She seemed to make improvements since the morning. Whew. She was social and enjoyable to converse with. In the morning she still looked good. BUT, doctor started talking PEG tube (feeding her through a permanent line to her stomach) because she was aspirating her stomach contents into her lungs and that is what gave her pneumonia. Doctor said that would keep on happening. This was really emotional seeing her stable, but seeing no potential and each hour bringing different news.

My mom and I researched our options. Hospice care. We knew the PEG wasn't going to happen. She was already confined to a wheel chair for two years since a hip fracture. She had a subtle case of congestive heart failure and probably some renal insufficiency. I couldn't see making her go through heroic and futile tests and procedures. We made some calls and appointments. Ironically by the time we  had a plan, Grandma seemed to decline again in just hours. (This was Friday afternoon).

Saturday we took advantage of a coherent period. We put her on the phone with my sister and cousins. She said, I love you Carrie. I love you Jason. I love you Geoff. She named each. I was touched. She mumbled a lot about bingo and cards. She loved bingo and cards, too! She recognized us in the room.

I asked her if she remembered the time she took me on the bus to the beach. Remember the bus driver looked at me and exclaimed. "An Angel! An Angel!" I was only like 21, yeah, I looked good, the only young person the bus driver probably ever saw on public transport in S. Florida (haha), but my Grandmother never forgot his excitement and repeated that story to me many times with a smile. And she smiled this time, too, when I reminded her. She loved to show me off like a proud puppy owner and this bus driver justified her bragging right. When I became a doctor (my grandparents dream), she would take me around and tell her friends, can you believe she is a "doctah" in her strong Brooklyn accent. So embarrassing.

During this coherent period on Saturday morning she talked to us more, but I could see her slipping away and agitated. Sunday was long as we waited for a Hospice bed. I was eager to see her transferred OUT of the hospital and comforted in hospice. Finally she was in hospice at 4:30. She was bathed and we could visit her some more. I didn't think she would talk to me. I thought she was to far away by now and too medicated. But she had one more alert period.

I told her that the time had come for me to go back home. It was so hard to leave. She squeezed my hand and said, "Stay more."
Sigh. Tears.
My Mom, and Scott were all sobbing and emotional.
I told her it was to hard for me to leave her and she might have to leave me first.
I told her it was ok to close her eyes and rest and go. You see she was still breathing hard. Although she said she wasn't in pain, I felt pain.

The hospice nurse gave her medicine to relax her and told us they usually sleep a lot after the hospital because they are drained from all the noise and disturbance. It was good to see her respirations relax and facial muscles relax. It was good for me to see the poking and prodding ceased. When I peaked into the hospice rooms of other residents they all looked peaceful. In the hospital did you ever notice that geriatrics sleep with their mouths open, arms restrained, struggling and often unintended, almost ignored (by hospital staff). Grandma was relaxed now. I feel like at some point then her spirit left us, but the heart would take some time to slow. Like when I toss the ball, I must let go, yet it takes some time for the ball to come to a complete stop.

That was Sunday  night. And her heart beat until Wednesday as she slumbered comfortable until her time. My mother and the nurses say she didn't stir. Gasped for the last breath.

I do feel like I was there for her need or was it my need? That doesn't make it easy, though.

Grandma was there for me as a little girl when she was able. My sister already did a great job telling that story here. I too eagerly waited for her to get off the train for her weekend stays on Long Island. I loved waking her up long before she was ready. I loved hearing of her travels to Mexico with her sister, Greece and cross country with her husband. She inspired me to travel.  When old enough she toured us through New York City. Later she moved to South Florida. She brought me on several day cruises and the infamous bus ride. When she couldn't live independently anymore she was moved to Orlando by my mother. Most of the 13 years she lived in Orlando, I lived with in driving distance and could pop in for short visits as she tolerated. For the first few years she was mobile and we could bring her to mom's house or out to eat. In the past two years it was short visits as she couldn't tolerate her routine being interfered with. She loved seeing me and the boys. Almost every time she saw me she reminded me I was an angel like the bus driver proved to her. She also always told me I was still adorable like I was still her baby, her first grandchild.

She is my last Grandma to go. She will be remembered and miss.

Pauline Markman-Deutsch-Aghas
October 8, 1915- December 1, 2010
Rest in peace....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Open Enrollment

You wouldn't necessarily know from reading this blog that I take care of medicare eligible patients (65 years and over). But I do!

At first, I didn't know if I would like treating older patients, but I found out I enjoy providing Medicare patients with the same open-mindedness care as I do my younger patients. I found all the pharmaceuticals protocols a bit excessive and enjoy finding LIFESTYLE approaches to help improve conditions such  as hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes and hot flashes, etc....

Lifestyle = nutrition and exercise.

I am not afraid to individualize treatment and testing schedules and to reduce doses of and possibly discontinue pharmaceuticals with appropriate monitoring. Many seniors have found they are taking better care of themselves, now more than ever (less work, stopped smoking, eat-in more, have time to exercise...) and realize they may not need the medications anymore. They find no one ever suggested a chance to reduce medication. My approach means that my patients accept some responsibility for their health. I only provided guidance. And I am there just in case.

In fact I found what I didn't like about the prospect of older patients was the business of pharmaceuticals. I LOVE that the many diseases of aging aren't really an age process, but one we can control with our own choices.

They aren't genetic either. I hear so much from seniors, "My mother had diabetes (or XXX), so I have it too." You and your family members have XXX because you eat and do similar things.

It is genetic if you are born with it or you acquire the condition early on.
If you are a senior, male or female, and want to take charge of your health, you may be in the right place. If you want to hear a unique approach, you are definitely in the right place. I have an opinion, that differs, on just about everything.

It is open enrollment through the end of the year, if you are medicare eligible in Saint Lucie County (Port Saint Lucie and Fort Pierce). My practice accepts Summit, Wellcare, Freedom, and Humana. (Hopefully Universal by the first of the year-check back or call the office.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

More on Round 2 Dyslexia (David)

David is progressing in speech well. Its going to take some time to get to goal, but he started profoundly delayed. I see no reason why he won't reach potential. His speech therapy is helping his reading. David is not aware of his deficiency in reading. He never knew he was behind which is good because I don't have to deal with peer pressure and academic competition bringing him down. Since he is by law in first grade, I think now he may actually be at an acceptable grade level in reading and phoneme awareness.  He has learned all the sounds in Level 2 BartonReading (the alphabet, short vowels, CVC words, digraphs, ck, th, sh, ch, wh. ), but is not always co-operative with the writing and work sheets in this level. (Scott liked the worksheets.) I have Handwriting without Tears, but may need a tutor or OT at some point for this. I have patience for only so much teaching remediation.  I take on the reading and may delegate the rest. Honeslty, I also think keyboarding may outdate handwriting.

He likes playing the on-line games by Barton to reinforce spelling, which Scott never did like to play. He also is aware of words all around him and sounds them out. William and Scott were not interested. David is motivated by his success says his therapist. She said that he has a different way of learning, but once he gets it, he gets it. (Or maybe once we figure out how to teach him, he gets it.) David is figuring out words beyond his BartonReading Level on his own. YEAH!  I came home one day and he told me he figured something out. "An "i" after a "a" changes the /a/ to the /ay/ sound (long a). It has been  painful teaching the older boys to read. No one ever figured ANYTHING out! I am relieved for this insight. Using his own logic, I explained to him that "gh' after "i" changes short the short "I" sound to a long "I" sound as in fight and night.

As I was preparing for Scott's next lesson, watching the next set of DVD tutorials. David wanted to watch and sound out Level 8 words. These were too advanced for David. While I had his attention, I decided to put in the tutorials for Level 3 reading and spelling. He liked watching them and happily and correctly sounded out words. He paused the DVD to do the work before Ms. Barton explained it. So he was sounding out blends and digraph blends like french and thrush. Scott learned and did the Barton Levels in the exact order. If I wait for David's handwriting skills to catch up, I see we will really hold  up reading progress now that he is interested in reading. (Imagine soaking up reading.) I am carefully keeping track of what he does, and watching for those teachable moments to progress and fill in what he skipped. He is also looking for CVC books on our shelves that he can "read." It's not easy to find books limited to CVC words, but we've come across a few.

I am grateful for a therapist who is experienced, adaptable (to the moment). I am grateful that I can be present. Although sometimes it is helpful for me to be out of sight, I think David is mostly focused when I am there. By me knowing what they've done, I can reinforce and make sure we are all working synergistically. With his sever delay, I am glad to be able to make progress quickly. I know that going through the school board would be a free service to me (and all homeschoolers), I am so leery of going through the school board and calling attention to our homeschooling choice and learning disabilities. I know lots of excellent teachers (Hi, Lauren, Lisa, Jenny, Loma and more!!), I don't get to pick them for this. I don't think the school would be able to accommodate dyslexia or the pace.  I may be wrong, but I think we are right where we need to be.

One of his many speech problems is his lateralization on the /s/ sound. His therapist brought up to me that the cupping of the tongue in breastfeeding is a conflicting movement to the way "s" needs to be pronounced. So I thought about this. And I see what she means. As I put some thought into it and I noticed latching differently. David's ineffective child latch was more about comfort and not draining the breast. His cupping is, I mean was, he's done--really, REALLY, was not really cupping. I agree cupping in a newborn is totally different than the lateralization to make an "s" sound (I hope I explain this tedious detail correctly). But I think we can all agree that breastfeeding a newborn or extended breastfeeding does not cause speech delay. If we don't agree, we can agree to disagree. Certainly other issues contribute to the speech delay and breastfeeding is beneficial in all other ways. I stand behind breastfeeding. :)

One day, a few weeks ago, I was feeling specially emotionally about David's LD, I really appreciated his therapist saying that he's just been busy learning and absorbing other information. This past week has really shown how fast he can absorb what he is focused on.

Susan Barton, founder of Barton Reading, is going to be talking Monday(Melbourne) and Tuesday (Lake Wales) evening (15th and 16th). I am not sure if we are going, but my boys have expressed an interest in meeting her. If anyone is interested I will send you the invitation.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Our Halloween

I know some people have spiritual convictions about not participating in Halloween, but my dietary convictions :) don't allow me to pass out candy.

Last year we passed out some coins. John said our pumpkin got assaulted by big kids that expected candy and that you must pass out candyor get egged. I think John wanted the candy.

Considering I have a garden, I was hoping to do some decorations that looked like harvest (not goth and grave), but never got around to it. 

We live in a quiet neighborhood this year and people coming to the door is not an issue. Because we were so busy on Saturday with community fund raiser activity, my youngest were happy to stay home today. Scott and David took Max to the Humane Society Mutt March Saturday am, Heathcote Haunted gardens in the early evening, and PALS haunted house in the evening. William went to his friends house for Saturday night co-ed party and stayed over all day until trick or treating. (He didn't care about T or T for a few years, but a renewed interest this year with friends.) William is the only one of my sons who dressed up.

One of my sons is not eating any candy this year!!! Can you guess which one?  Nor is a single piece of candy is passing my lips. I am not having any sugar cravings today and I know how to make my own dairy- free smoothies and treats.

In the top photo William is in the middle between his friend and his friend's mother. She actually looked really good. His friend was not a vampire, and doesn't like vampires love stories, but to me he was a a very good looking Edward Cullin.  Next photo, David is playing a game at Heathcote. I am glad he had so much fun. He is usually forced into being a teenager and doing teenager things, that finally he got to totally enjoy himself.  And next photo Scott is loving on a 4 month old Corgi. Obviously, I am blogging for Halloween. :)

Have fun but don't eat too much candy!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Scott's Reading Progress

It's taken almost a year to help Scott complete Level 7 BartonReading! We have lots to blame: moving and  taking time off, remediation and reviewing. At the beginning of October we made it a goal to finish the remaining lessons.Despite the length of time its taken to make progress through this level Scott is a good reader now. In this level, Scott had learned how an "r" following a vowel changes the sound the vowel. He has learned a lot of rules for spelling and reading. So many, don't ask me what they are, I can barely keep them straight. He seems to comprehend the (dis)logic behind our language. As long as their is a reason, he gets it. Level 8, I can't wait to meet you, not!

Here is a post back when we began this reading program.

LLL Enrichment Meeting, Nov 13, 2010

I am honored that our Treasure Coast LLL has invited me to be the speaker at the November 13, 10 am, Enrichment Meeting in Port Saint Lucie. As my days are filled with activities for older boys now, I don't get out much and don't have the chance to meet you in a casual setting, especially to meet the newest mothers. I sincerely look forward to meeting those of you I have not met before and see how the little ones I know are growing.

I'd like to know what you want me to "speak" about. If you plan on attending would you e-mail your questions or what you would like to know more about. I'd like to stick with Permission to Mother topics: birth and breastfeeding. Not very original subjects, but let me know specifically what you want to know more about. Please don't be shy. I do want you to help me focus on a useful and fun discussion.

One other thing I was wondering since I hardly get out to do this kind of thing-- I am so behind on technology, isn't their a way to record the discussion for Internet access for those who can't attend or for later viewing? Is there anyone who can take charge of this or offer tips on how to do this?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

World Culture: Contributions for All (William's Completed Lesson)

I posted Scott's discussion a few weeks ago because he did such a fantastic job on his own. I helped William with the brainstorming. I knew he would come up with some good stuff with some probing. He surprised himself at how many ways he contributes to society.

Name anything that you are already doing to contribute to society. What is it and how is it a contribution? This can be something simple or something big.

The last two Halloweens I volunteered to scare little kids at the botanical “haunted” gardens. I dressed up as a scary zombie and some parents took pictures of me. I’d do it again this year but I we were too scary for the kids.

I helped my neighbor move furniture.

At the PAL Karate (Police athletic league) we have a yearly Saint Jude’s sparring tournament to raise money and awareness for the children’s hospital.

Name three simple things that you CAN do to help with your family or your community. What are they and how can they help? Refer to the Quest portion of the lesson for ideas.

I have participated in two PAL litter pickups. I picked up trash at two different parks. This helps because the community is nice and clean and sidewalks and the pond are not filled with trash. If you’re on a boat and something falls over you can drive back and get it. This helps because picking litter in the water helps the environment a lot. I volunteered to be in a PAL karate parade. The parade inspires community to come together and I helped with the little kids. As a black belt I set an example for the little kids about peaceful conflict resolution. PAL’s is affiliated with D.A.R.E. (Drug Awareness Resistant Education) by participating in PAL’s activities it makes me a good example and it’s about keeping dopey kids off the street. I won’t do street drugs.

Name one major thing that you can do to help your community to be a better place or to make a difference in the world. This can be an invention or volunteering or organizing a group project. Be sure that this is different than anything that you have discussed in the boxes above. Refer to both the Quest and Goal portion of the lesson for ideas. How can doing this make a difference in the world?

I am going to a nursing home to share a Shabbat service for the residents and I am taking my brother and his therapy dog Max with me. Since Scott did his assignment Max graduated to therapy dog. The residents can’t get out easy or go to synagogue and they like to see young people and dogs.

Why is it important to become a good citizen? It does not matter if it means just following the laws like obeying the speed limit or becoming the president of the United States. Why should people work to do good things in society? Be specific and use concrete details to support your opinions.

In Judaism and in my Bar Mitzvah training we do a volunteer activity for repairing the world. In Hebrew it’s called, Tikkun Olam. I want to set a good example to other people. All the activities I talked about above “repair the world.” Good deeds are called mitzvah. Mitzvah can be big or small. They all add up.

Name one person that you have learned about throughout the Quest To Be The Best Game that you feel made a big difference in the world. Who is this person? What did he or she do? Why is he or she important? You may need to quickly go back through some of the past modules to refresh your memory.

King Hammurabi of Mesopotamia made a lot of rules. He set the motion for future civilization. His rules applied to everything that happened in Mesopotamia. Modern society has applicable rules and laws but punishment not as gruesome (sadly). His most famous rule “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” is very understandable.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Garden Bug

My Container Garden has come a long way since my areogarden and window sill attempts. Gardening has become very popular and I have learned so much especially from Lauren (and Gail) (jackpot containers), Gerry (raised rows), and my mom(squarefoot). In the past I learned and admired Elizabeth's garden in Georgia. All had wonderful gardens this past year making it look so easy, I knew what I wanted this year. I want greens and herbs easy to grow and  those that most of the plant is continuously edible through the growing season. I want greens I can clip and add to a salad. I want greens to clip and put in my blender.

My garden is close to my front door. I had several containers already going with basil, mint, aloe, sage, and oregeno. Over at Lauren's we had a lot of growing containers and I decided to bring some back to my house so I can access these types of greens easy (several times a day if all goes well). I have had a lot more fun doing this  than I would have thought. John has helped with hauling big loads and the younger boys like spraying the hose and getting dirty. Numerous garden systems would have worked, I decided to make use of my resources.

For the record I added a mixture of course vermiculite, peatmoss, and compost to all my containers. At the surface of each pot, I added lime and Ric's fertilizer (US 1 Fort Pierce).  I also mixed in a little coffee grinds. (Thanks to Dino). I am recording this so if it works or doesn't work, I can remember what to do or not to do next time.) I got started on this seasons plantings Sept 26 when I noticed it cool down  a little.  I got all my soil ready ahead of time before bringing plants home. I've done a little at a time.

Also I am going to use much of the greens as young plants, unless it grows fast. I have planted some of these plants before and then wait and wait for a mature plant only to be disappointed because I can't keep up with watering, bolting, then death. If Sam'sClub can sell Baby Spring Mix, I can grow and harvest it young!

This is what I got planted:

Arugula in center, Romaine (right), cilantro (top)

Kale - I loved having Kale available to me last growing season... salads... kale chips... stir fry ... pairs well with garbanzos in soups. Lauren suggested to me to have 16 plants at my house with as much as I liked it. So that's what I  planted yesterday. This kale is from Lowe's. Over at Lauren's, the kale is from a local specialty nursery. Kale is the most nutrient dense green. Period. My kids like it. If it grows well, I am eating it everyday.

Collards - Not my fav when mature., but it looked healthy, and I can add baby leaves to my smoothies for nutrient variety.

Spinach - We didn't have much luck growing this last year at L's... one more try...

Chard - I understand it grows like weeds around here. I like it in my smoothies and salads. Had a few seeds and a few starer plants. I mixed them into one 18 inch container.

Rosemary, Ginger, stevia (top),: parsly, red sails, chard, (bottom)
Cilantro - I have missed fresh cilantro over the summer to add to salads, beans, guacamole. I can't wait. This is growing from seed I had from my aerogarden, but decided to put it in soil instead.

Parsley - Used a starter plant this time and I want to get more into the habit of adding parsley to salads, etc... Love it with hummus.

Basil - This should be easy  for me to continue growing in containers.

Chives - My favorite batch is garlic chives that Jyl gave me. It grows despite me ignoring it. (I talk about people like everyone  knows everyone.) I have several varieties of chives continuously growing.

Red Sails (Lettuce) - A starter plant from Ric's Nursery. It is growing fast and I am clipping outer leaves.

Romaine ( ans misc lettuce varieties)- Looks like I will be enjoying baby Romaine and if it grows big, all the better. Also if I keep things young, I can fit more plants in one space.

Aloe - Aloe is a vegan source of B12.  I clip a small piece and add it to my smoothie.

Sage- I don't use this much, but it keeps growing despite little attention.

Cuban Oregano - started from a clipping from Irma, John's mother. It grows fast and easy.  I add it to anything "Italian." I am wondering if I can dry it and powder it. I have a lot and I think my boys would use it more if it didn't overwhelm them with a big leaf. If I clip it and leave it on my counter, I swear it grows. If you want a clipping just ask.

Purslane - This is an edible and nutritious weed, growing all around my house. I am going to keep a batch intentionally  for eating. It can go in smoothies. A google searched revealed that it mixes well with arugula and balsamic.

Cherry Tomato - I have never had luck with patio tomatoes. This is my biggest experiment. I am doing exactly what the nursery lady said to do (her name is Denise, too). Do you like my trellis? It is closet shelving from our remodel. My mother gave me this idea. This plant is growing fast. Cross your fingers!

Dill - for cucumbers! And matza balls!

Ginger - I have not harvested any. I have established plants from L's and the farmer's market.
Rosemary - You can't kill rosemary. I just wish I knew more to do with it.

Peppermint and chocolate mint- the mints go well with chocolate bliss and I cut the greens and toss in with some salads.

Bay Leaf -  I have a very small plant. Irma's grew huge. It's nice to have a fresh bay leaf.

Thyme  - I don't seem to use this much, but still I am glad to have it for when I need it.

Pepper - John picked banana pepper. We got starter plants from the nursery.

Arugula - from seed and was ready to harvest in 2 weeks. I like that it is so close to my front door.

Artichoke - another experiment. Perhaps I am just curious. If it survives, it won't be ready for months, unlike everything else here.

Stevia - Going to clip a leaf and add it to my smoothie. I like the variety in the green's I can put in my smoothies. Obvioulsy I don't intend to put every green in everyday. I like the variety.

garlic - I buried a few garlic cloves. We'll see what happens. The whole plant is edible and I can clip the top no matter what happens underground and use as chives.

Wow! That's a lot and that's not including my citrus trees. I caught the garden bug.

If the harvest is good, you can read more at raw on the river.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Speech Therapy

David is making progress in speech and speaking at a great pace. The other day he was chatting away with  "Lunch Box" Julie at Nutrition World and she asked him if he was nine years old. He explained that he just turned seven. She told him that he spoke so well that she thought he was older. Ironically we were at Nutrition World following a speech therapy appointment. And he was speaking clearly to her. Maybe 'cause she made him some good lunch. I have had a hard time motivating my boys, but someone thinking he was older than 7 was like magic.

We found the perfect therapist, Libby, at Lawnwood, for David. She's motivating him with the indoor swing. For example,  if he could hold a long sound /ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss/ he got to swing for a long time. Another time if he could continue to think of words that begin with the /k/ sound she kept him swinging, but as soon as he paused the swing stopped. He also had to say the word correctly.

 She also was using erasable crayons on the mirror (cool idea for teaching) to list all the words he said.  I want a swing in my house. For me. :) Looks like fun.

Another game she plays with David is having stacks of  two different drawings with one sound difference. Like "ski and key" or "go and dough" and "corn or torn." She asks him for the cards and he has to listen and give her the right card. Then he has to ask (speak correctly) to get them back. He is learning to use his throat when he enunciates.  These games don't involve much reading ability. David is eager to please Libby and he has also quickly learned the name and sounds of his letters as he learns to pronounce them correctly. He is much more aware of phonemes and breaking 3 letter CVC words apart into sounds and spelling with tiles. He is aware of letters everywhere and trying to read them.
With the letters names and sounds mastered David is able to work with me at home on his BartonReading Level 2 lessons. We bring his tiles to therapy and some of his books and Barton worksheets and Libby is really good at using them to merge them into her lessons. David is very excited to tell her what he has learned at home.
I like this little desks that "trap" him in place. At home he is wiggling all over the seat and table. I like the mirrors in front of their work place because they look at their mouths and feel their throats during many of the lessons.  I've been taking him twice a week most weeks and it has been well worth our time.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thoughts on Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By all means if you are breastfeeding and have a problem, a mammogram and ultrasound are compatible with breastfeeding. You don't have to wean. You don't have to pump and dump. If you have a good supply you may want to consider nursing just prior to the mammogram so you don't squirt. But if you do squirt, no big deal, really.

Now, I confess, I have not gotten into the pink ribbon campaign or other breast cancer awareness campaigns because I am not sure what we are suppose to be aware of?

1. Get your mammogram? Is that what the pink ribbon means? The current recommendation is baseline at 40 and every other year till 50, than once a year. Somewhere in 70's it becomes optional. (Feel free to correct me if I am wrong or you disagree.) (1/2 my patients want annuals in their 40's, 1/2  delay or space apart)

2. Is the pink ribbon a reminder to donate to breast cancer research or cure?

3. Does it stand for something else or a combination of reminders.

I am not comfortable wearing something I am not quite sure what I know it stands for. Especially if there is a chance I might disagree with it.

Second confession, I have not had a mammogram or breast ultrasound, or any other alternative diagnostics. I missed my baseline, 42, and 44 yo mmgs. Wow! I would have had three by now.  And more if they called me back for additional views which is a very common request by Radiologists who over-read. And more if I had a doctor that ordered them annually without discussion.

In my last post, Jenny encouragingly  commented  that women who breastfeed for a long time (such as yourself) have about a 0% chance of ever getting breast cancer =). Her comment sparked me on to write this post.

Early in my professional breastfeeding career along term breastfeeding expert, was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it is hard for me to forget that. After reading the book, The China Study, I found a compelling argument that one of the increase risks for breast cancer (or any cancer is animal protein). The author actually feels we are in much better control of cancer than one would think we are by manipulating our diets to a plant-based diet. It's been a long time since I read the book, but this is what sticks with me. I continue to think of all the daily toxic and chronic exposures we pile up on our selves and never have any detox. That is why most of us should have cancer screening tests.  I am consuming a a high raw plant based diet, not exclusively plants, but very AWARE of high antioxident, anti-cancer types of foods. Because of my diet, I'd like to think I have reduced what little risk I had to even more minimal. I also think about how devastating breast cancer would be and it is no joke. I find peace knowing that my breasts have been used to their fullest capacity over the past 14 years.

That brings me to the next point. Like everything else, I individualize my recommendations for others. Some people may need an earlier baseline, some may be like me and want to delay the baseline (there is also risk to unnecessary exposure). Some may need annual mmgs in their 40's. Family history is an important consideration in the litigious community. Our 40th birthday milestone makes many of us aware of the damage we have done to our bodies and past damage may not always be able to be undone.  The greastest benenfit of screening mmgs is probably in our 50's.

In my personal breast cancer awareness outreach the suggestions I have:  lactate longer for your benefit, provide milk for your daughter for her risk reduction, eat more plants, less animal products, more wholefood, avoid nicotine and second hand smoke, and consider the other toxins in your life. Since I don't follow breast cancer awareness groups that close, let me know if there is a group who promotes the power of lactation and detoxification in their breastfeeding awareness campaign.

I've been meaning to write this out for a while and now my thoughts are flowing with more thoughts. I feel about an inch deep in a very broad topic. There is plenty I haven't touched on. Is this topic of interest to  my readers and is it worth writing more on?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

David's Squirrel and Butterfly

 These two coloring pages were in David's Phonological  Awareness Skills Program (PASP). For a while he got stuck on "squirrels" and colored me a million brown squirrels. Finally, I helped him picked some color and as a result, I got a psychedelic rodent and nuts. I REALLY like it. I want to frame it.  Hoping for a a co-ordinating drawing, I finally got him interested in coloring the butterfly.

Arts and craft skills don't come easy in my house. I am sure that I've posted before on a teacher who blamed our homeschooling for the older boys not being able to color, cut, glue, etc...

I am not good at it, so she's right, I don't spend much time coloring or with crafts. We have plenty of other skills so no big loss.

Also, with undiagnosed dyslexia (and diagnosed) fine motor skills are often lacking. These are the skills needed for arts and crafts. Uncorrected dyslexics often hold their pen or crayon with the thumb crossing to compensate for lack of fine motor at the finger tips. I spotted this immediately in David and have been able to show him how to hold a crayon and  have some control.  His coloring is so much improved because of all the brown squirrels he colored.

Besides a great opportunity to hang his art like its a Mona Lisa--to me its much better-- he got the essence of our house. He used colors that go with the inside. As for the outside, we have two mature acorns trees, dropping nuts and attracting lots of squirrels. We also just planted Mexican Petunias, which are purple. His art is perfect to display! Now to get mats and frames and decide which room to hang these in.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

World Cultures: Aztec Life

I want to share another assignment from World Cultures. Since my boys did this class together it was interesting for me to see how they processed the same information and came up with their own creative response. If I was ever concerned they would cheat, exactly the opposite was the case. They would have nothing to do with each other. They did not want to help each other a bit.

This assignment was to write from the perspective of a Spanish soldier who is conquering Aztec; What would be the first impression of the Spanish soldier of the Aztec culture? My boys REALLY like pretending they are soldiers. This was a perfect assignment for them to show  their potential. Also, when the boys get assignment grades the teacher cc's me and it comes right to my bberry. How cool is that?

It is really hard getting motivated to do BartonReading with Scott. He is progressing well overall. He tells me he doesn't think Barton's necessary anymore because he reads well....  OK, then, you can enroll in FLVS Language Arts becausee you need to be in some LA curriculum.

No hesitation... Let's do Barton.

So here is the boy's work.

I met the Aztec people in the Island of Texcoco six days ago. They are so different than most people. The Aztecs believe in almost 1000 gods and they give us presents like gold because they think we are gods. Little do they know were going to kill them and take their land. They are savages and they are disgusting and they should be slaves. Although they are disgusting they made some beautiful buildings like temples aqueducts and paved roads.

“Juan” Scott Coquelet


Today I was following orders from Hernan Cortes. We went to the capital city of Tenochtitlan. Which is located in a small island in the center of Lake Texcoco. All of my fellow soldiers and me were having mixed feeling about the way they live. One of my friends said to me “Guillermo, look over there. Altars for human sacrifice! I don’t think this is a good idea. Maybe Hernan made a mistake.” We were all shocked and awed. I noticed some walls had calendars on them. I glanced at it for a few moments and I saw 260 days on it. I wonder where they got that from. I also saw some of their ‘writings’ if that’s what they call it. They were pictures and I can only guess that they probably were words in their culture. Hernan Cortes wanted to take and steal all of their gold and riches so we started to fight. We lost many men, but they were defeated.

Guillermo William Coquelet

Sunday, September 26, 2010

World Cultures: Contributions for All

Scott and William are about to finish World Cultures. I wanted to share Scott's writing. William hasn't done this one yet. Through out the class, they learned about the contributions of all the major cultures, Greece, Rome, China, etc... This last projest was about how they can contribute to society. I am really proud of what Scott wrote. This was all him. He needed minimal proof reading help from me. It takes him a long tme to peck and hunt. Typing (not reading, not writing, not originality) was what slowed him down. Next FLVS class is keyboarding. Scott told me that this lesson played to his strength because he is good at contributions.

Name anything that you are already doing to contribute to society. What is it and how is it a contribution? This can be something simple or something big.

I do a lot for society. One of them is that I am a first degree black belt so my karate teacher tells me to teach the new kids. That helps society because in karate there is something like the Code of Chivalry [from Midieval Times]. I tell them that karate begins with courtesy and ends in courtesy so they can be good citizens.

Name three simple things that you CAN do to help with your family or your community. What are they and how can they help? Refer to the Quest portion of the lesson for ideas.

1. I can help my community by recycling.

2. I can help my family by doing more work around the house like make the beds and take out the garbage, recycling, and compost.

3. Another way I can help my community is to not pollute.

Name one major thing that you can do to help your community to be a better place or to make a difference in the world. This can be an invention or volunteering or organizing a group project. Be sure that this is different than anything that you have discussed in the boxes above. Refer to both the Quest and Goal portion of the lesson for ideas. How can doing this make a difference in the world?

My dog is a certified as a Canine Good Citizen and I’m going to make him a therapy dog so he can continue to go in to nursing homes and give the people love. He is already friends with people with special needs like Down’s Syndrome, who use to be afraid of dogs. This is my contribution because I trained my dog to make other people happy. This is what I can do to make a difference in the world.

Why is it important to become a good citizen? It does not matter if it means just following the laws like obeying the speed limit or becoming the president of the United States.Why should people work to do good things in society? Be specific and use concrete details to support your opinions.

It is important to be a good citizen. If people didn’t care then the world would be crazy. I can be a good citizen by doing good in school and being courteous. Also I can pick up after myself.

Name one person that you have learned about throughout the Quest To Be The Best Game that you feel made a big difference in the world. Who is this person? What did he or she do? Why is he or she important? You may need to quickly go back through some of the past modules to refresh your memory.

Alexander the Great made many war strategies that militaries around the world still use today. He helped spread Greek culture around the world. Most important I am named after him and I am Great, too.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Our Awesome Sukkah

Part of my commitment to the boys Bar Mitzvah training is doing new activities we haven't done before in observance of the Jewish Holidays. Part of the holiday, Sukkot, is to build a temporary shelter to dwell in, called a Sukkah, during this season of fall harvest.

One problem, is, is that we are not a DIY family when it comes to crafts and wood work thus, I couldn't imagine how we would pull this project off. But we did. We got 9 1x 2x 8 at Home Depot. We used every bit of the wood. We cut 7 to 6 1/2 feet for the length and height. We used the short end for reinforcement. We cut 2 in half for the width. I have seen my husband drill, but I never seen him use a saw. The boys were all into it. I like seeing them do things together. Before you knew it, it was built. Barely any fighting or sibling rivalry. whew. We did it at night in the car port with a clear sky and full moon.

In the morning the boys and I cut back our palms and native plants for decorations. Being in Florida there is not much food  to harvest this time of year, but the trees needed pruning and it worked out well to give us an excuse to do yard work.

 So far its stood up to some rain fall. More wind and it would be down. We've had some snacks and meals in it and guests. As you know we have a great view of the river from our sukkah (and my husband's boat trailer made a good workhorse for sawing his lumbar). We have had a lot more fun and laughs with this than I would have imagined.

I once was in another blog called Homeshuling. This would be a good example of homeshul. (shul = temple)

I am guessing part of my husband's motivation to do this is because he wants Tiki on the deck and this is like a preliminary step or practice to see if he can handle a bigger project. My boys brought a lot more history and information about the holiday and blessings that they have learned from their Hebrew school.  I actually am impressed how much they know. Max, our dog, ate the holy fruit. That makes him our Rabbi now. 
Here is a back view. The beauty of a sukkah is the decorations, companionship, and of course food. Since the fall harvest is suppose to be eaten in the sukkah and there is none, I prepped a few raw (next best thing) desserts to encourage the boys participation: almond joy (from Greensmoothiegirl), oat meal cookies (from Nicole the Fitness Freak, date bars from Kristen's Raw). This gives John a good excuse to use the grill as we set up right by it.
The frame itself does not have to be beautiful, a rough shack built by hand is ideal, but it sure does look like we new what we were doing! I am so glad we did this!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Double Birthday Party

William and David have birthdays a week a part. We moved William's birthday celebration up a week. Basically he planned most of it out himself. So you see what he planned; an airsoft tourney. William and Scott and 4 other boys actively played. David was happy that his babysitter Nate and Nate's little brother came over to hang out with him inside. I was kind of glad to have another responsible adult here. David is no longer "almost 7," "practically seven," or  "just about seven." He is seven.  Never in my life would have I imagined I'd be hosting an airsoft party. I am impressed how much the boys know about their weapons and equipment. I had a chance to speak to parents and make sure everyone knew what was going on.It looks to me like they all had a great time. They started by shooting targets on the dock and I saw they were responsible. Sigh. Honestly I think my kids are military bound. I am the mother of a US soldier and I don't know it yet. (Do black belts enter at a higher rank?)

The part of the party I planned was this birthday cake. I knew what I didn't want. I really don't like grocery store cake. You should have seen the smile on the boys face when I brought it home.William was especially grinning ear- to-ear. My friend  Gerrie owns S & S take out in downtown Ft. Pierce.  Everything they make is fresh, and local and/or organic.I knew it would be delicious for the boys.      I confess, I had a piece too and it wasn't just a strawberry AND then I finished David's piece. (But I did have my green smoothie and uncooked soup earlier today!)  Light airy, layered with strawberries, and huge! Topping was a whip cream base.

Everyone else licked their plates clean. It was so worth a special order cake. William requested all white with strawberries, in case you are wondering.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Two First Degree Black Belts and a new Brown Belt

There are lots of high ranking belts at my house.William and Scott got their first degree embroidered belts tonight with the name and dojo in Japanese. In 6 months they get their certificates and are officially recognized as black belts in any school not just their school. I also show some of their friends they train with.  All the older boys are the same rank.                   
David, is a brown belt. He's preparing for his black belt about a year away. As of today, he is still 6 and except for Shihon Joe who is tying the new belt on, he is one of the youngest brown belts. Shihon is the Grand Masters Son and probably was the only other young brown belt. David has been training since his 5th birthday.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hearing Evaluation

David had his hearing evaluated yesterday. He passed without any trouble. I didn't think he had a hearing problem, but its good to know for sure. David is kind of liking all this special attention and all the activities his "teachers" have him do. He really likes Dr. Slack, the ENT where he had his hearing checked.  After the test, David said, "I should get my ears checked, since I never listen to him." I quickly responded, "Since now we know your hearing is good, I expect you to listen to me!"

I am going to get David (and William) an eye exam soon with Dr. Olivos. I don't think they are having any problems with vision, but again, just to be sure as we are investing a lot of time into remediation curricula. We have great resources around us, might as well take advantage of the thorough evaluations. Scott had an eye exam done before we started his reading program.

Then we'll go back to the dentist, blahh....

So our first week of school went ok. I had to do some extra nagging to get one of the boys to do some extra work. There has been no XBOX all week. I am going to virtual school now to double check all assignments are in and we can hopefully relax for the weekend....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

2nd Day Speech Therapy

David's first day of speech therapy was an evaluation. No surprise to me that he has profound phonological deficiencies.

Today was his first day of treatment. Therapy was pretty interesting. The therapist sat in front of a mirror with David and named the parts of the mouth and neck. She had David tell her what his palate felt like to the tip of his tongue. They looked inside each other mouths. They felt each others vocal cords work with vibrating sounds. David easily recognized when the vocal cords weren't involved.  David is a very co-operative student.

This is what I found most interesting.  He can't pronounce /s/ well. He lateralizes his tongue too much and only a short sound comes out. (Hopefully I explain that right.) To motivate and reward him to get it right, she sat him on swing and told him to say letter sounds. For a short sound, like /k/ he only got a short ride; as long as it took to say the sound. She told him to think of a longer sound. He immediately thought of /sssssssssssssssssss/ and he got a long ride as he took a deep breath in and exhaled out and said /s/ for a long time. They played that for a bit.

When we got home I had David give his brothers a lesson (practice in disguise)  from  what he did today. He repeated everything verbatim. Something dawned on me. A few blog posts ago, I explained how David couldn't blend CVC words because he made everything sound like a vowel.

For example CAT:

When he tries to blend /cat/ he says /caa/ /aaa/ taa/.  Like it is three syllables. And then  he doesn't recognize the word he is sounding out. I could not get him to shorten his sounds to blend.

Now was my chance to reiterated to David that these 3 letters have short quick sounds in this word. He was eager to try it and he successfully did sound out the word cat. And as easy as sounding out cat may seem, he has never been able to do that.

John has been in a little denial that the boys have dyslexia. As we talked tonight. I pointed out things to John that he hasn't thought about. My readers know we have profound to severe dyslexia on both sides of immediate family. But John only writes checks and medical notes. He does not type, text, facebook, e-mail, compose creative writing or any writing for that matter ( I write his letters). He does not read novels (or my blog). His handwriting is the worst of the worst physicians. He  reads his medical books, contracts (in detail) and  magazines. His studying has always been methodical. He says he remembers everything he hears (heard) in class. I don't think John is a severe dyslexic, but don't expect to communicate quickly, if at all, in writing with him. I definitely see language patterns in my house.  John is mild. Scott is profound, David is worse than Scott. William didn't learn to read at an early age, but I don't see any dyslexia in him. They are fortunately all geniuses.

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