Our New School

Caleb, working on his spelling words, in his new school location.

Caleb, working on his spelling words, in his new school location.

The boys are watching VeggieTales, John David is taking a nap, and Alan is at a CPR class that he has to take, as part of being basketball coach. So what is this? Time that I can write, without any little boys hurting themselves or others???  Sweet!

I wanted to take a minute to tell you about our new school. Well, really it’s just the same as our old school, only we are moving it. After Christmas break, I said, “Let’s just have school downstairs.”

The boys all said, “Yes!!!  Hurray!”

And so it was done. I stayed up late last night cleaning out the school room, but it still isn’t finished yet. Alan helped me move the main bookshelves down to my humongous downstairs storage closet. Seriously, the closet is big enough for a twin bed or two. It’s in the dining room, and they are doing their school work in the dining room now, so it’s perfect.


morning seat work at the kitchen bar


I’ve been anticipating the move for a while, so Alan ordered and hung a great, big, new marker board in the kitchen for me. All I have left to do is re-organize a little bit.

Why did I do this? Mostly because of this guy:

our smallest ‘student’, the neediest student of all. He’s also ridiculously adorable.

We have this one student that didn’t have a seat in our teeny tiny school room. He needed a seat. He also has this STRONG desire to be at my feet at all times. This need was by design, see. If he isn’t by my feet, he is quite a danger to himself, the walls, the DVDs, you get the idea.

Before, that table only had room for three. There was really no room in there for JD to play.


Now that we are downstairs, Daniel and JD can play trains, run around, play Connect Four, whatever, and I am right there with them. This is working so much better!

happy toddler

We also wreck less of the house this way. Sure, downstairs is a tornado while school is going on, but I am more motivated to clean that area up. In fact, we have to clean up in order for us to eat dinner down there.

So far, so good!

loving brothers

They are all LOVING this change.

Yes, I realize this rug intersection looks ridiculous, but I have four boys and light carpet….in the DINING room, so that explains the rugs.

I think in the beginning Joshua and Caleb needed the little school room, so that this whole home school thing would feel legit, you know? But now that they know I don’t play when it comes to academics, we can get a little more cozy, a little less institutional. Whatever works.

mississippi art

Caleb’s rendition of the state of Mississippi. We have now learned all 50 states and their capitals, and we are now learning America’s history and major geographical features.


Hope everyone is having a great week, and you are enjoying your low gas prices! I live in Crazyfornia, where our state government voted itself a $1.00 extra gas tax. Yep. Gas is still $3/gallon here. 😉


Will Nap Anywhere


I fed him pudding. I ran upstairs to get something. I got distracted by a book. When I came back, Daniel had finished eating and moved onto nap. Wow, Daniel.


Daniel, age 6 months, napping on my friend Sherry, during Alan’s promotion ceremony

There are many things my beautiful little boys do well. Yes, I am sorry. I said beautiful.  They are!! Handsome, if it makes you feel better, but my goodness, they look like sleeping angels to me.

This is one of the things we do with FLARE. That’s right. We NAP. We are seriously great nappers. I remember one time, in Sunday school, our class was debating rest on Sundays. Who would debate that? Seriously. Don’t just agree to rest, embrace it, love it, protect it. The people need their naps!!!

All children look even sweeter when they are asleep, don’t you think? My blogging pal Slyvia at Tales from the Mommy Trenches had this post of  her babies sleeping on their daddy, and I thought it was SO adorable. I knew I had to copy cat, but when I went through recent photos, I found most of our pictures are of our children sleeping in the floor, soooooo…

I put together this little napping slideshow for ya. I hope you all get at least one day off a week, to just do this!

sleepingcousins Not one sleeping babe, but two. It doesn’t get any sweeter than this.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Gotta love the nursing induced coma–a powerful bedtime ritual!

naponmom Caleb sleeping on his Mama 🙂

daddynapsCaleb sleeping on his daddy…or wait, no, Daddy is doing the sleeping!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We sleep in the car.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey even sleep in their beds, without us even asking them to. I used to find Caleb sleeping in Joshua’s bed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACaleb, sleeping in his own bed, with his Daddy doll, when Alan was in Afghanistan.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA They even trust each other. That’s newborn Dan, sleeping on three-and a half year-old Caleb.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA serious rump-in-the-air-sleep
babycalebsleeps Caleb, 6 months, passed out on the couch, on Christmas day


I used to have to wake Daniel up from his nap every day at 2:30, to go get the boys from school. I put his gloves and jacket on him, in his sleep, and carried him out to the stroller.

partydanpassed out in a room full of kids

dan6I’m going to slide down and go play, wait noooo, nooo, I’m just gonna zzzzzz.

dan5Daniel seemed to prefer dropping down and sleeping in the living room floor.



just plain exhausted


dan hidesBut if I said the words, “nap time,” he’d run and hide in Daddy’s closet.


. ….ah, the ever peaceful Ergo nap.

We wish you all a restful day and a wonderful week!

“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”  Mark 6:31

Caleb’s Epilepsy Battle

Caleb, doing what he does best, being a WONDERFUL brother.

I had rather hoped it would be a very long time before I had to write any more posts about seizures, epilepsy, and our darling Caleb.

First, I want to reiterate that epilepsy is simply that, it does not make a person any less intelligent than any other person. It simply means that a person has had two or more seizures of unknown cause. I feel the need to make that very clear, since so many people have had no experience with epilepsy. I didn’t know anything about it either until the summer of 2011.

For a little background information, you can read this post: Keppra Caleb.

We think that Caleb has been seizure free from April 2013 until the present. Once he makes it to the two-year mark, he could have the “epilepsy” label removed, and we could begin to wean him off of Keppra (his seizure medication).

I so badly want that to happen!

Unfortunately, we have recently seen an uptick in odd activity. We aren’t 100% sure that any of it was actually seizures, but hopefully we will get some answers soon.

1. Caleb has had terrible sinus troubles since October. If Caleb get a cold, that’s it. It’s with him for months, and it usually comes early on in the winter and stays until May or so. Poor, poor Caleb.

Caleb, 18 months, 3 years before the seizures began

Some years antibiotics cleared him up in a snap. Other years, nothing worked. I had him allergy tested, and the only thing he tested positive for was dust mites. Is there anyone who is not allergic to dust mites?

2. Caleb has fallen out of bed in the middle of the night at least twice in the past couple of weeks. Why? We are not sure. He could have just rolled out, or this could have been more seizures. See, Caleb’s seizures happen in his sleep, so it’s really hard to track them.

3. On the flight home, Caleb slept in his seat next to Alan. Caleb kept jerking in his sleep. They were all quick, muscle spasms, in all different limbs, as in one arm would twitch for a few seconds. Then a few seconds later, his other arm would. We’ve seen a LOT of this from Caleb since 2011. We don’t know if they are partial seizures or just muscle spasms. His neurologist says that the only way to know is to have him actually do what he does during an EEG. (EEGs measure brain activity. Caleb had one in 2012, but it was only a 20-30 minute one, and it was all normal activity.)

Caleb and Dan were alll about Battleship right before Christmas.

4. He had two nose bleeds yesterday.

5. I firmly believe that Caleb has more seizures when he is having sinus problems.

6. We have made Caleb stop sleeping in those fleece footies he loves so much. The boy gets too hot in his sleep, and fevers are such an obvious trigger. He now sleeps in much cooler clothing.


So what to do……Obviously, something should be done.

1. We called Caleb’s neurologist. She wants him to do a 24 hour EEG. That would show us how many seizures he has in a day. They wanted to do this on Monday, but our insurance has issues, so they have to work that out first.

2. We have put him back on daily Allegra.

3. I am also going to put him back on Flonase. These are both things he has taken in the past, so we still have them. We had just stopped using them when Caleb was doing so much better. I feel so bad for the amount of medicine this poor boy has to take all the time. However, when it works, medicine is better than being miserable.

Caleb keeps us laughing. This boy lives to have fun.



Caleb is just as hilarious as ever. You’d never know he has these problems, except for the constant sound of snot slurping.  We got to go hiking at Pinnacles National Park today, all six of us. We all had a great time. Once we’d hiked probably 2 miles UP, Caleb kissed me on the arm and said, “This is the greatest field trip I’ve ever had!!!” Nothing makes Joshua and Caleb happier than hiking and rock climbing…not simulated rock climbing, but real, dangerous, scaling mountains kind of climbing.

It has been such a pleasure to teach Caleb this year. The improvements in every single subject are amazing, and I’ve actually gotten to watch it happen. Caleb has this eager joy for life that makes him a blast to be around.  When we were preparing for our Christmas trip, I went around the house and asked each individual child, in secret, “Who would you like to sit by on the plane?” Everyone replied, “Caleb.”

By the way, they are all liking school much better now that we’ve moved school from the school room to the dining room table. I’m in the process of rearranging all my bookshelves this week.  More on that in my next post!





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