Co-Op Fun: Train vs. Subway

Another Monday, another fun day at co-op! Today we talked about trains and subways. We discussed what was same and different between them and watched short YouTube videos about each! We had fun using a poster mailing tube as our subway tube to send subway trains through, then placing tracks across the top of the tube for the steam engine train! We talked about above ground, under ground, through.. So many fun concepts!

 

-Tara

Co-op Fun: Fall Books!

I’m going to go ahead and say it. I do NOT like how my library organizes the children’s book section. I get that seeing the covers can work well for the littles. But as an SLP, homeschool mom and co-op host… it’s a nightmare! So, I cheat. I go on and request all the books I need for each unit (sometimes using my card, my husbands card and even Pip’s to get enough!). Therefore they are all waiting on a pretty little shelf for me when we show up at the library each week! #winning

But seriously, we get a LOT of books…

Some our favorites from this batch have been We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt

https://www.instagram.com/p/8yzwqwwJYU

Fall Mixed Up
(better for older kids!)

Secrets of the Apple Tree
(if you haven’t seen this flashlight series by Usborne, you’re missing out! If you decide to buy any books by Usborne, please consider buying it through our fundraiser – your purchase gives books to our school in Rwanda!)

and Tap the Magic Tree
(we loved this one so much we bought it!)

What are some of your favorite books?

-Tara

Co-Op Fun: Adding Things

Caption Reads:

As co-op continues, I add new things to the schedule to challenge and engage our little group. They are masters of our circle and lesson time, while craft time is getting stronger each week. So, today I added a group story and music element to wrap up our school day. The book in this month’s box had them in giggles and learning new vocabulary (like “pike”) while listening for rhymes (a goat in a boat?!). We then finished up with some Jim Gill and Laurie Berkner to get remaining wiggles out before heading home for nap time. Even our shyest member joined in on the silliness today – a first!

 

-Tara

Jim Gill Music

Laurie Berkner Music

This Month’s Book

Co-Op Fun: Drawing Journal

Pip is really beginning to color, paint, glue, cut… his crafty side is starting to show! I found some great art journals at Michaels, used my 40% off coupon and we are now keeping track of his fine motor abilities as we journal and create inside our book!

-Tara

Then and Now: Changes since the frenectomy

Then and Now: Post Lip Tie Tongue Tie Frenectomy | http://www.oliverandtara.com

So much has changed for Liam since we corrected the lip tie and tongue tie. I don’t even know where to begin!

Nursing: I convinced myself that Liam had just become a very efficient nurser – when in actuality, his latch would fatigue due to the lip and tongue tie! The first 24-36 hours after his operation were frustrating. He would slam his head off of me and really struggled to latch. Now? He’ll nurse 2 hours at a time! It’s crazy amazing!

Pre and Post Lip Tie - Tongue Frenectomy | http://www.oliverandtara.com

Straws: Liam has drank out of a straw since he was very young. We went almost straight from breastfeeding to straw with just a few bottles in between. He stunk at drinking from a bottle, he’d collapse the nipple. He did better with straws, but always would lose 50-80% down the front of him. I thought he was just “lazy” or “silly”. Now, less than 5% leaves his mouth when he drinks from a straw! It was startling! He can even blow a whistle!

Puckers: Liam couldn’t pucker his lips before. He’d ask for kisses with a kissy noise by placing his tongue between his lips. So, rather than being kissed, you ended up getting licked! Now? He loves to make “fishy faces” and kiss with puckered lips!

Speech: With an SLP mommy, I was *freaking out* about his lack of speech. He had a great “vocabulary”, but it was all receptive (he understood words) or in sign language. I knew his hearing was fine, so this lip tie/tongue tie was the missing piece. His speech has taken off since the surgery, making the biggest jump 4-6 weeks out! Practicing oral motor exercises were a big key in teaching him how to move his lip and tongue. Ask me more on this if you need it!

Weight Gain: We survived RSV back in January, and during that time Liam lost over 10% of his body weight. It was impossible to get it back on! My 9lbs 7oz baby was now in the 14th percentile for weight and not moving. When he ate, he’d fatigue. 5-10 minute tops when nursing, and very small amounts of real food. Now? He’s back to nursing like crazy and eating his body weight in ham, dumplings, tomatoes and Plum food pouches!

Sleeping: My little guy still woke 4-6 times a night. Talk about a tired mommy. And each time he was genuinely hungry! Which made the weight gain problem even more confusing. Once repaired? We’re down to 1-2 times a night and even that is dwindling! Hello sleep, my dear old friend!

 

Pre and Post Lip Tie - Tongue Tie Correction | What a wonderful smile! http://www.oliverandtara.com

Smile: This was my biggest worry – my son’s smile would change. The only smile I’d even known. And guess what… it did. And it’s ok. Honestly, it’s even cuter because of everything listed below. Well, that and those chubby cheeks!

❤ Tara

Scrunchy: Vacuum Cleaning!

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With a toddler,  120 lbs Shepherd mix and overall active family, my floors see a lot of traffic. Fur dust bunnies grace every corner of my house after just a few days of not vacuuming…. You get the picture!

Yesterday,  as I was switching out the vacuum cleaner bag,  a childhood memory popped into my head. My mom used to have this special "vacuum spray" that she bought and used in our vacuum cleaner growing up. It always filled the rooms with cinnamon scent and left the house feeling "done" after a good cleaning. As I sat looking at my new vacuum cleaner bag I wondered how I could duplicate this experience for my own little guy. It only took a second for the idea to formulate and send me running to my essential oil drawer!

I picked Thieves,  as it had that cinnamon smell I desired while being good for our air and immune systems! I dropped 4 drops around the inside of the bag and let it dry a bit before install. Then I started vacuuming our family room. As soon as I was done,  I called the hubby up (without divulging my "trick") and asked him how the room smelled. His response?" Wow! It smells great! "

Mission accomplished!

Do you have a bag-less vacuum cleaner? Try to put a few drops on a cotton ball and wedge it in the air vents! Just don’t block them completely!

Let me know what scents you loved trying! Happy vacuuming!

Our first black eye… or not?

Many people have seen this movie…

So you understand that my child could climb well before he could walk. Heck, he’s still pretty wobbly with walking, but he scales EVERYTHING in the house. A few Fridays ago he was scaling yet another household item and toppled before I reached him. Insert big bloody scrape and a bruise setting in immediately. Oh, and lots of tears between the two of us. I was heartbroken, sure I was the worst mother in the world. We cleaned him up, calmed him (and me) down and I set about treating his eye. I rubbed my “bruise buster” on his eye, as well as some colloidal silver (my newest love!). The bruise dissipated within two days, so then we just kept up with the colloidal silver. One week later, I think it speaks for itself!

Ouch! How we treated our first black eye | found at http://www.oliverandtara.com

 

The very next week O started coming down with a cold. I gave him the “cold buster” and 5ml of colloidal silver to drink 2x a day for three days. Praise the Lord, the cold disappeared before becoming a full blown amount of yuck!

Yep, colloidal silver is here to stay in our house! I would love to hear about any of your “must-haves” in the all-natural medicine cabinet!

❤ Tara

Surgery Day: Mommy’s Point of View

Update: Surgery Day - Momm'y Point of View | An update from the frenectomy on http://www.oliverandtara.com

This will be two parts – one factual with everything we’ve learned, one from the mommy point of view. This is my point of view…

Procedures shouldn’t be scheduled for the afternoon. All that waiting, then all of the sudden it is time. Not fun.

We went out to a nice breakfast and took Pip to a park to get some wiggles out. He was in an exceptional mood, which helped. He had a good night sleep and his Nana was there – what else could a boy want?!

Soon it was time to head to Dr. Jesse’s office. We arrive early to fill out paperwork and were greeted by a nice receptionist in a beautiful waiting room.  Soon we were ushered back into a very large procedure room. There was a bit of a wait at that point, and Pip became restless. So we wandered the halls a bit. Everyone was very sweet, greeting him with waves and smiles. It definitely helped us all feel a tad relaxed.

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When Dr. Jesse walked in, he greeted everyone and struck up conversation with me. We “geeked out” for a bit on Liam’s diagnosis, his prognosis, the lack of education on this across professions … It was a conversation that definitely put me at ease.

Diagnosis: Liam’s lip tie was extremely severe – definitely a class 4. He should  have struggled with reflux, been a “failure to thrive” and never should have been able to nurse. His tongue tie was moderate severe with a good chance of impacting lower jaw development and causing sleep apnea.

They had Oliver lay down in the dentist chair with Pip on his chest. His job was to talk to Liam , while using his arms to hold his body still. Two nurses hold his head steady. My mom helped hold his feet and I stayed “out of sight”. We wanted to give him someone “safe” to return to after we were finished.

That was a very long 6 minutes … second only to the length of time for his surgery at 4 weeks old. I could not in good conscience leave the room. If a procedure is being done to my son and I don’t have the stomach to watch, how can I subject him to it?

So I stood. In the corner.

Listening to my baby scream at the top of his lungs.

Crying myself.

Cursing the lactation consultant at his birth.

Praying for it to end quickly.

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Throughout the whole procedure Dr. Jesse was amazing. First they numbed him with and adult dose. Dr. Jesse assured me his older patients all reported not feeling anything with that dose. They gave that a good bit to settle, then they began the procedure. Pip bit Dr. Jesse a few times. VERY hard. And never once did he jump, become loud, etc. His voice stayed calm, soothing and friendly. More than once I heard “That was a good bite! What a strong jaw you have! Can I have my finger back? I need it so we can finish buddy…” Amazing.

In hindsight, it was over quickly. I couldn’t get to my baby quick enough. I scooped him up in my arms as he struggled to catch his breath. My mom assured me she watched his eyes the whole time. It was anger with a little fear, not pain, that had him hysterical. By the time we left he was still working to catch his breath, but waved goodbye to Dr. Jesse and his nurses.

Dr. Jesse was very happy with the outcome, we were given the post-op instructions and took him back to the hotel. I gave him tylenol, teething tabs, rubbed copaiba on his lip, diffused gentle baby and worked to settle him. He couldn’t nurse – partially due to being numb and partially because he couldn’t figure out his new mouth. It was like trying to breastfeed a newborn. He rammed his face into my chest, couldn’t hold a latch and just sobbed. My mom (bless her) was finally able to rock him to sleep.

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He slept for hours. Still working to catch his breath – even in his sleep.

The next few weeks opened our eyes to how much the lip and tongue tie really impacted him…

Next week: The Facts and an Update

❤ Tara

My First Aid Box

I have a very mobile toddler. And by mobile, I hardly mean “skilled”. It’s actually quite reminiscent of people watching Frat Row on a Friday night. He crashes into things more frequently than actually reaching his intended destinations. And forget turning around, that’s asking way too much. Unless the dog is handy to hold on to while he pivots 180 degrees. So injuries, scrapes and bruises are common place. At home I have my cabinets and drawers always “at the ready” with my essential oils and “fix its” for his owies. But I needed something on the go as well. When I found some adorable “first aid” boxes, I knew I’d struck gold! I transferred key oils into travel sized bottles and taped a “cheat sheet” into the box. We’re now ready for just about anything… I hope…

Essential Oils First Aid Box | http://www.oliverandtara.com

What’s in the box and why?

Here are some of the many uses I’ve found listed on-line (but I’m no doctor, so don’t take this as medical advice!)

  • Frankincense
    • Concussions, skin problems, blisters, sore muscles, immune system
  • Lemon
    • Fevers, stomach upset, indigestion, sore throat, cough, constipation
  • Melaleuca (AKA Tea Tree)
    • ‘’Disinfecting cuts, builds immunity, ear problems, sore throat, allergies, inflammation, lice, flu, cold sores, hives, rashes
  • Peppermint
    • Nausea, congestion, pain, bruising, fever, insets bites/stings, poison ivy/oak, food poisoning
  • Helichrysum
    • Pain, bruising, minor burns, swollen eyes, vertigo, bleeding
  • Oregano
    • Bacterial infections, disinfect cuts/scrapes, reduces, pain, bruising, inflammation, strep throat, constipation
  • Lavender
    • Pain, sleeplessness, cuts, burns, scrapes, allergies, sunburns, cold sores
  • Melrose
    • cuts, scrapes, inflammation, burns, rashes, canker sores, cold sores, fungal infections, viral infections, ear infections
  • Purify/Purification
    • Tooth pain, allergies, bug bites, deodorant, ear infections, stings, UTI
  • Thieves/OnGuard
    • cold, flu, tooth ache, poison ivy, headaches, sore throat, antiseptic

Add in a few Band-Aids,  some q-tips for applications and you’re ready for whatever life (or your toddler) may throw at you!

❤ Tara

Celebrate the Lifegivers

Celebrate the Lifegivers | a message to those who "survived" mother's day http://www.oliverandtara.com/celebrate-the-lifegivers/

Celebrate the Lifegivers | a message to those who "survived" mother's day http://www.oliverandtara.com/celebrate-the-lifegivers/

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. It was a day to celebrate mothers and all they do. It wasn’t too long ago that I avoided church on Mother’s Day. It made my empty womb too much to bear. And yesterday, as we headed into church, my heart broke for those battling infertility. I wondered how many were staying home, avoiding the very real reminder of what they were not. And it reminded me of a bible study I did a few years ago called “Five Aspects of Woman”. It’s a college course I did through my church, with a bunch of other wonderful women, quite a few years ago now. I had pulled it out a few years ago and written a summary for a friend who God told me needed to hear it. And yesterday I really felt He wanted me to share it again, for the women who “survived” yesterday.

The course covers five different aspect of a woman in the biblical sense. The aspects are Mistress of the Domain, Helper Completer, Lifegiver, Lady of Wisdom, Glory of Man. I won’t get into all of them right now, but I want to offer this summary of what a Lifegiver looks like for a women without a child…


In this section, the author is talking about how every woman has an innate desire to give life. However, she points out that having children is important, but it isn’t the sum total of “life giving”. We have a created capacity in our bodies and in our spirits to give life, to encourage, to nurture, to heal, to comfort, to make things alive. She discusses Moses, and how it took 5 women in his life (mother, Pharaoh’s wife, 2 midwives and his sister) to help raise him up for God’s great calling on his life. His birth mother only played a partial role. We have the physical make-up to give life. In Luke 11:27-28 a lady exclaims how proud his mother must be. But he responds “blessed are those who hear the word of God and do it”. Jesus taught the greatest thing about us is not that we can give birth. In Isaiah 56:3-5 it says those of us who love God will be honored more than those who have sons and daughters. What makes us great is hearing the word of God and doing it.

Part of the role as a “lifegiver” is to be a “home builder”. House work is not the same things as home making, and home making is not the same thing as house building. Understanding these aspects help us guard our priorities, maintain our self respect, and keep our long term focus. Each area is important, but not the same.

  • The mundane task of housekeeping gives us time to pray and rest our mind. Our family becomes more secure because our mind and heart are focused on the family’s “world”
  • Homemaking is habitually creating an atmosphere at home conducive to rest, fellowship, love, learning and security. By creating a sanctuary, we give life and rest to others by giving them a place to come and rest so we can pour into them.
  • House building is the thing we do to give roots and wings to those around us. It is the prayers we pray and the scriptures we teach to ground our families in God. It is the celebrations we host, the memorabilia we keep, the blessings we give, and the challenges we put forth for the future. The Elders of Bethlehem called down a blessing on Ruth in Ruth 4:11: “May you be like Rachel and Leah who build up the house of Jacob.” House building in this sense is the long-term life work of helping a man, creating and nurturing the family, producing wealth, earning a reputation, blessing the local church and community, strengthening the nation and thus influencing the world.

Overall, Life giving is anything that raises us above mere existence to life. This is our animation, vitality, interests, vigor, joy in multiple forms – physically, socially, artistically, spiritually, intellectually. God’s word is the ultimate food to the spirit, but ALL words are food. Proverbs calls words “a healing tree” a “sword” or a “fire”. Words have power to nurture, hurt, or to be a medicinal balm. This world is full of “junk food” words for the spirit. Can we train ourselves to give life to those around us through good words? All women should be life givers through words. Nurturing, encouraging, teaching, beautifying, healing. “Take inventory of your domains and identify where you are giving life. Whom am I nurturing? How am I doing it?” There are many techniques and ways to do this: music, cards, visiting, hosting parties, etc. When you pour into others through help and encouragement, you are a “House builder” and a “life giver”, which are desperately needed.


So thank you. Thank you for the women who have been lifegivers to my family. Thank you to the women who have been lifegivers to others. You are needed, and God will bless you for your work!

❤ Tara