Thursday, October 30, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: Week 8 - Some Frustrations As Quarter Ends

This week we celebrated what would have been my nephew's 2nd birthday on Tuesday. Ayden was born a preemie, living only a precious hour. He'll always be in our hearts! We shared a dark chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream, and lit 2 candles in remembrance.

I visited a Rheumatoid Arthritis specialist as well. I had hoped to have answers to my lingering wrist and finger stiffness and discomfort, and possible treatment. I've become frustrated with the lack of strength in my hands. I have things to do! But he didn't have any answers for me, "wait and see".

Then the kids, with their Dad watching, spilled water on my laptop. I am now SOMETIMES missing 3 very important keys. It is less than 7 months old and water damage is not covered under warranty. I have been quite frustrated about this as all 3 know there are no drinks around electronics, and a large part of our school is on-line...But the keys occasionally work so I have hope that it is not permanently damaged.

And that snapped tree is still hung up on some branches of another tree, threatening the chicken and duck run. Cross your fingers! For now there isn't a lot that can be done but stay away as it seems quite "hung up".

• Cheeseburger Mac, Cucumber Slices & Homemade Applesauce • BBQ Chicken Drumsticks, Rice Pilaf, Corn & Pears • Sub Sandwiches, Doritos & Choice of Fruit • Creamy Spaghetti, Green Beans & Pears and/or Grapes 

Our first quarter is complete! It's been a wonderful year thus far! I have been quite happy with the pleasant attitudes and focused attention to studies, most days. Be sure to check out my quarter goal check here. We're doing A-OK!

To vacation or not to vacation next week is the question? Usually we break between quarters, but the kids took a week off to spend time with Nannie and Grandpa Lobster and Cousins Noodle and Nugget just a couple of weeks ago. And then there Thanksgiving AND Christmas breaks...


  • Studied Gerunds at a Subject & Progressive Verb Forms, Wrote a Creative Story on Wattpad & Reviewed Parts of an Essay
  • Solved Improper Fractions, Mixed Number & Decimal Number Problems, Reviewed Graphs & Order of Operations & Added and Subtracted Fractions with Unequal Denominators
  • Learned About Plate Tectonics, Location & Types of Volcanoes, Volcanic Eruptions & Landforms, & Rock Weathering & Erosion
  • Read About the Israelites & Egyptians
  • Walked


  • Read Sara Teasdale Poetry & Illustrated Meaning
  • Completed Centimeter Scale Problems, Reviewed Triangles, Rectangles, Squares & Circles, Rounded Whole Numbers to Nearest 10 & Studied Metric Length
  • Studied Coral Reefs, the Rock Cycle & Metamorphic Rock, the Part of Earth's Interior, Heat Transfer (Radiation, Conduction & Convection) & Continental Drift & Plate Tectonics
  • Read About the Israelites & Egyptians
  • Biked

Lost in Translation (Mones) (Me) • The Hobbit (Tolkien) (Cati) • The Story of Davy Crockett, Frontier Hero (Retan) (Sam) • 

• "Inside the Earth" (You Tube) • Layers of the Earth" (You Tube• "Ken Burns' Dust Bowl" (Netflix) • "Continental Drift & Plate Tectonics Theory for Kids" (You Tube) •

 • Tom & Kids Visit (All) • Jazz & Concert Band (Cati) • Cub & Boy Scouts (Sam & Jake) • T__ Visit (All)  Library (All) • Rec Center (All) •


Happy Homeschooling!

As always, special thanks to these weekly link-ups:

Goals' Check: Our 1st Quarter (40 Days Completed)

We've completed our first quarter of learning for the 2014-2015 school year! It's time for a goal check! Are we staying on track to meet my education goals?

Photo Source

Cati is using Saxon Grammar and Writing (Grade 8) for English. Since she's only in 7th grade AND Saxon is a thorough, time-consuming program, my goal is for her to complete half the lessons this year or 55 lessons. Each quarter she should finish 14 lessons. This quarter she has completed 16 lessons and her test average was 97%. She also completed all 4 of the writing lessons required in the first 16 lessons.

She wrote a daily journal. I highlighted misspelled words and she looked up the correct spellings, editing her writing. Fewer and fewer words have needed to be looked up as she is correcting them before I review her work. She is keeping a "running list" of these words in the back of her English notebook. And she has started sharing creative stories at Wattpad in her free time.

Sam is using a combination of Easy Peasy Homeschool Reading and Language Arts, 2 days per week, and MobyMax, 3 days. It's harder for me to pinpoint number of lessons, so my hope is he continues at a steady pace. He did complete 13 days of Easy Peasy.

Both programs include Reading, Spelling, Writing, Literature, and Grammar skills, but I have incorporated additional Spelling through Spelling City (where he completed 6 weeks) and Grade Spelling (where he completed 25 weeks) to fill in spelling gaps. He started at Grade 1, progressing quickly through lessons as he only started in October. My goal is to finish through Grade 3 by the end of the year.

Books read
Cati The Two Towers (Tolkien) • The Throne of Fire (Riordin) •  The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe (Lewis) • Prince Caspian (Lewis) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Lewis) The Hobbit (Tokien) 

SamThe Adventures of Captain Underpants (Pilkey) • The Story of Davy Crockett: Frontier Hero (Retan) • Something BIG Has Been Here(Prelutsky) 

Read Alouds -  Johnny Appleseed (Moses) •  Henry and Ribsy (Cleary)

"Disney 1958 Paul Bunyan" (Literature) (You Tube) • "The Legend of John Henry" (Literature) (You Tube) • "American Legends Volume 1: Johnny Appleseed" (Literature) (You Tube) • "Rhymes, Rhythm and Alliteration" (Poetry) (Smarttutor• "Syllables" (You Tube) • "Syllable Skycoaster" (Game) (GotKidsGames) • 

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Cati's learning Math with Saxon Algebra 1/2, with a goal of completing all 123 lessons. She completed 31 lessons of 31. Her test average was 97%.

Sam's learning Math with Saxon 54, which has 141 lessons. In the back of my mind I would like to have him finish the entire book, but I'd be content with 113 lessons completed (80%). Out of 28 lessons, he finished 26. His test average was 94%. He also plays on-line games with Math Fox to reinforce concepts.

Cati - Multiplication Finished!
Sam - Addition Finished! Subtraction Started

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I use the same Science and History curriculum with both Cati and Sam despite their different ages. Science is completed through reading and notebooking, which is adapted for abilities. Our labs are completed together. Only Cati completes the on-line self-assessment quizzes.

We are learning Earth Science with Prentice Hall. My goal is for Cati to complete all 21 chapters and Sam 14. (Earth Science is a middle school level curriculum; Sam is only in 4th.) This quarter Cati needed to complete 6 chapters and she finished 7.  Her self-assessment quiz average was 90%. Sam needed to complete 4 and he finished 4. 


• "Maps and Globes & Their Uses" (Earth Science/Geography) (You Tube) • "3 Rock Types Igneous Rocks, Sedimentary Rocks and Metamorphic Rocks for Kids" (You Tube• "Learn about the Land Forms" (You Tube•  "Inside the Earth" (You Tube) • Layers of the Earth" (You Tube) • "Continental Drift & Plate Tectonics Theory for Kids" (You Tube) •

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There are 42 chapters in Story of the World Volume 1: Ancient Times. I hope to finish SOTW earlier in the year so that Cati can devote a quarter to Maine Studies, a required subject in grades 6-8 for homeschoolers.  (I am not sure what Sam will do at this point, but perhaps devote his time to his other core subjects.) This quarter we completed 14 chapters of 14. Our studies include reading the SOTW book, completing map work, creating a wall timeline with graphic and date cards, and You Tube Videos.

• "What is Archaeology?" (History) (You Tube• "Ancient Mesopotamia" (History) (You Tube• "History of Egypt Part 1" (World History/Geography) (You Tube) • Ancient Egypt and the Nile River Valley (World History/Geography) (You Tube) • "Written Word: Birth of Writing" (World History) (You Tube) • "Maps and Globes & Their Uses" (Earth Science/Geography) (You Tube) • "The Expedition of Lewis & Clark" (US History) (You Tube •"Mummification Parody" (You Tube) • "Great Pyramid Mystery Solved?" (You Tube) •  "The First Sumerian Dictator" (You Tube) • "Joseph's Tome and Palace Found?" (You Tube) • • "Indus Valley Civilization: Crash Course History" (You Tube• "World of Mysteries: Tutankhamum" (You Tube• "Ken Burns' Dust Bowl (Netflix) 

Read Alouds
• Hieroglyphs for Children (Kamrin) (Ancient History) 

Field Trips
• Historical Society Museum (Sam & I) •

Photo Source

Everything else is considered an "extra" around here, including Music, Art, Culinary Science, Animal Husbandry, and Handicrafts.

Life Skills
• Cooking & Baking • Domestic & Farm Animal Care • Home Maintenance (i.e. Cleaning & Simple Repairs) • Saving, Budgeting & Managing Personal Finances 

Field Trips
• Apple Picking at Wight's Orchard with Family 

Cati - Jazz and Concert Band
Sam - Cub Scouts

Phys. Ed.
• Walking/Hiking • Swimming • Kayaking • Biking • Calisthenics (Sam) 

• Stained Glass Paper and Markers Project (Color Theory)  Warhol-inspired Art with Crayons (Artist Study) 

 "Intro to Color Theory" (Art) (You Tube) • "How its Made: Stained Glass" (Art) (You Tube) • "Introduction to Pop Art" (You Tube

What do we need to work on? We're doing well staying on track in our core subjects (and those are areas I'm most concerned with), but there's always room for improvement, right?

2nd Quarter Additional Goals (Beyond Core)
Word Roots
Mind Benders
Art Projects
Field Trips
Nature Studies
Earth Science Experiments

Random 5 on Friday: Rambles from the Livingroom

The Pebble Pond

1. It's not Friday. Does it matter? I'm getting a jump-start, anticipating busyness on Friday, being Halloween and all. Not that Halloween is a big celebration here. We'll enjoy some themed games at the Rec Center, a magic show (we've seen numerous times) and a couple of Dunkin' Donuts and cider. After, we'll walk around town, trick or treatin' at a few houses with the rest of the community kids. 2 hours of sugar-bounciness!

2. Today, I'm taking a break after homeschooling and taxiing to band practice and housework, sitting on my brown, squishy sectional, listening to the kids play Minecraft a few feet away. Perhaps they could review volcano types by building them in a Minecraft world? Learning can happen in the most creative places!

3. Out the livingroom's big bay window, between the withering houseplants, the sun is trying to pop out. I really should water my plants more often! It's been an overcast day, warm for almost November. But they're saying snow this weekend...

4. The first few LIGHT snow showers are exciting, beautiful, a sign of the changing seasons. Come February we'll all be frustrated with the cold and the snow piled up to the bottom the bay window, hoping Mud Season will show up sooner rather than later.

5. But for now, I'll enjoy the remaining brown leaves "raining" down onto the still green grass (that needs mowing I see), happy, contented video gamers working together to conquer Creepers (I think)...and a long, hot shower (that I woke up too late for this morning).

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Wednesday Hodgehodge: For the Birds

I'm joining up this week with Joyce at This Side of the Pond for some fun, interesting questions-and-answers. Why not join in too?

1. My hubs spent last weekend pheasant hunting. Are there hunters in your family? If so, what do they hunt? Which of the following have you tasted-pheasant, rabbit, venison, duck, goose? Which of those would you most like to taste, or be mostwilling to taste?

Vegetarians keep calm and Hodgepodge on.

No hunters, but for those of you who hunt to provide food for your family - go for it! But, IMO, hunting should be for food, not sport...or least food AND sport, not sport alone. What have I tried? I'm kinda picky...deer and duck. When I knew what it was I couldn't eat anymore! Bleck!

2. What high spot have you visited that gave you a wonderful 'bird's eye view' of something below?

Oh, football? A lifetime ago I went to a NFL football game. I believe it was the Colts and Patriots playing. The players looked so tiny from our seats! Although there is something about going to a game, watching from home is more...comfortable.

3.  Do you have any birds in your home? These could be either real live pets or decorative, as in bird prints, knickknacks, fabric or pottery.

I have 12 birds of the live sort: 10 hens and 2 ducks. 6 of our hens we hatched from eggs in an incubator 3 1/2 years ago. Ava came from my Mom when she was about a year old and is 2 1/2 now. Then the kids brought home 3 Wellies as chicks from my Mom last year. And the Pekin ducks came from a friend when they were 8 month old almost 3 years ago. They all have such great personalities, all unique!

4. Tell about a time you 'killed two birds with one stone'? 

Oh, I am a HUGE multi-tasker! I think it would be very odd to focus on one thing. Just yesterday I went to a doctor's appointment. While waiting to be called in, I balanced my checkbook and wrote out checks for bills, texted with my daughter about dinner and got in some reading. On the way home, I timed arrival to pick-up my son from school so that his Dad didn't have to make the trip. "Killing Two Birds with One Stone" makes for efficient use of time!

5. Your favorite song with a bird in it's title?

The only song with a bird in the title I can think of right this sec is "Rockin' Robin" and I can't say it's my favorite. A catchy classic though!

6. What most recently gave you goose bumps?

Does being cold count?

7. Halloween is this Friday...any plans? Did you trick or treat as a child? Carve pumpkins? Share your most memorable costume.

Cati and I will be taking Sam to the community center for their Halloween party and magic show followed by trick or treating to a few houses in town. We didn't carve pumpkins. I roasted, pureed and froze them for winter baking. :: wink :: Favorite costume? Hmm...good question. All my costumes were simple, homemade ones or those cheap masks with the elastics. Remember those?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Memory Monday: My First Date

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday
This week I'm joining Memory Monday over at Retired Not Tired. Each week she provides a writing prompt. (Next week is My First Friend.) Why not head over and share your memories? 

Er. I don't remember ever really DATING in high school.

When you grow up on an island things are different. I had a boyfriend from age 15-18 with a few short-term ones before that. I just wasn't interested in dating. And, really, where would we go? There aren't movies or bowling or malls around on the island...

I was also a busy girl! Not only did I take the hardest classes offered (mostly) and received great marks, but I was a go-getter. I was president of the National Honor Society, secretary or treasurer (depending on the year) in Student Council, played varsity basketball and softball, participated in Model UN and Girl's State (state government), and I worked part-time to boot so I could have a car. I was determined to focus on academics and head off to college, and boys just weren't going to derail me from that. I guess you could say I was...focused!

Dating NOW worries me. I hope my own kids decide to postpone dating until, oh, their 30s...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: A Day in the Life - Best Laid Plans

I always enjoy reading A Day in the Life posts of other bloggers. It's interesting to see how Moms and Dads structure their days, the HIGHS, the lows, and the in-betweens when juggling homeschooling life. So, here's a peek into Wednesday around Our Side of the Mountain!


:: yawn :: The alarm goes off on my cell phone. I accidentally tap the snooze button, but there's no more snoozing. The alarm is already set as late as possible. I dress and wash up quickly, wake up Jake, who grunts in response, then tend to the animals while he gets ready. I drive Jake to a family friend's house for the ride into town to catch the bus to school.

Back at home, I put the laundry into the drier, gather a couple eggs from the nesting boxes, and climb back into a comfy, warm bed to do some blogging and messaging with Thomas. Cati wakes and starts her day with breakfast, music and school. She enjoys the calmness of mornings when her little brother is still sleeping.

But the coziness of flannel and the purring of a contented cat lull me off to sleep...


Cati jars me awake and then Sam. I realize my dozing has set us off schedule and start readjusting my mental To Do List. There goes my "Best Laid Plans"! Cati finishes her Saxon Math test while Sam grabs a bowl of Raisin Bran. I correct Cati's test then gather "van school" and make a "bucket lunch" of turkey-and-cheese roll-ups, baby carrots, homemade pumpkin bread, and apples. At 10:45am, we head to Cati's band practice.


While Cati is at band, Sam and I do "van school". Focusing on "van school" is a bit difficult for him, but otherwise the wait time is unproductive...and he complains about boredom. He watches his math lesson on my laptop and gets most of his problem set completed before Cati returns. We nibble on lunch, stopping at the convenience store along the way for milk and a few staples. (I'm not going through my day without Honest Tea!) While I'm shopping, Cati reads The Hobbit and Sam continues with his math problems. We're multi-taskers! We sing along to "Schoolhouse Rock" the rest of the way home.


I put the groceries away and check the laundry in the drier. Damp! I reset the timer and start the drier again. Cati walks home from the beginning of the road, listening to her music, then writes the second chapter to her story The Bridge to Celestia on Wattpad, an on-line community for writers. (How she types everything in on her android I don't know!) Sam finishes up his math and starts grammar and vocabulary on MobyMax and reads The Story of Davy Crockett, Frontier Hero while I speed-wash the dirty dishes and fold that load of laundry. (Am I the only one that loathes dishes?)


Sam and I work on Mobymax stories and literature, sharpening comprehension. Cati sweeps the floor then heads out in the drizzle to get our mail. While waiting for her to return, Sam vacuums then puts a new outlet cover on the wall I sanded and painted yesterday. Job finished! He spends a little time sanding down a wooden boat he made with Grandpa Lobster last week before playing Minecraft. When Cati returns she puts a new light bulb in a lamp and sets up a music "corner". (That girl loves her music!)


King Tut time! After reading the rest of our SOTW chapter, we watch "World Wonders: Tutankhamun" on You tube. I warm us up soft pretzels for a snack (as the kids didn't eat much of the "bucket lunch" I packed). They run off ASAP when it's finished, ready for "down time". Cati heads off to her bedroom; Sam returns to building on Minecraft. I have a "breather", type up our day thus far, and finally hop into a hot shower.


The kids' Dad picks Jake up from our friend's house and then spends some time with the kids. Cati bakes up frozen pizzas for dinner. Jake closes up the flock for the night. I head out to Bible Study and Fellowship with Thomas for the evening. Fellowship includes bible study, a wonderful dinner of chicken soup, biscuits and cupcakes, and social time. I arrive home to a quiet, content home.

At least until the tree snapped in the blustery wind...

As always, special thanks to these weekly link-ups:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Turning

1. Elizabeth Lawrence is quoted as saying, 'Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn." So have you done just that? And what did you leave undone in order to do so?

I'd like to say that I have taken the time to enjoy the change of seasons this autumn, but I haven't. Between homeschooling, running a house singly, searching for a part-time job, and numerous visits to the garage, I just haven't had time to sit and enjoy the cooler, crisper weather and fall foliage all that much. I've seen it from the road though!

2. Since we're talking turning...what's one thing you feel you're doing 'every time you turn around'?

Dishes. Do they really ever end? It seems like I finally get them caught up only to turn around and there's a pile again. If paper and plastic wasn't so expensive and land-fillers...

3. How hard is it for you to 'turn the other cheek?'

It depends on the situation, but a genuine apology goes a long, long way if someone makes a wrong choice, whether me or them. 

4. When did you last turn a drawer, your car, a room, or your entire house upside down looking for something? Did you find it?

This morning I couldn't remember where I put my keys. Usually I just drop them on the coffee table, but they weren't there nor on my bedside table. I ended up emptying my new pocketbook and there they were! I don't remember putting them there... 

5. 'One good turn deserves another'...were you most recently on the giving or receiving end of that sentiment?

I've been very fortunate to have wonderful family and friends helping me out the last couple of years. It's made transitioning after divorce easier for both me and my kids. But recently a friend brought me a crockpot full of meatballs and rolls to thank me for helping HER. And they were good meatball subs!

6. Red, yellow, and orange are the colors of fall. Also the colors of fruit. If you were permitted only one color of fruit in your diet, which would you choose? This question isn't as easy as it sounds, at least not for me.

Oh, red? Apples! Watermelon! (Believe it or not, only in the last few years have a grown to like watermelon.) I'm a big banana eater though.

7. The Hunt for Red OctoberOctober SkyHalloween...which 'October' film is your favorite.

None. LOL I don't know if I have ever seen Red October or Halloween, and I never heard of October Sky. Is that with Tom Cruise? I guess I'm not much of a movie-goer. I did just seen Left Behind though! And I would like to see Into the Woods when it comes out. I remember seeing Into the Woods in college, the play version with Bernadette Peters.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Memory Monday: My First School

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday
This week I'm joining Memory Monday over at Retired Not Tired. Each week she provides a writing prompt. Why not head over and share your memories? 

Oh, my first school, my first year in school, kindergarten...

I do remember kindergarten, and my teacher Mrs. B__. She was an older woman, soon to retire, set in her ways, quite old fashioned. I don't remember how she looked, or rather just fleeting memories of a tall, slender woman with graying hair piled onto the top of her head, glasses, and polyvester '70s skirts. How could one forget those '70s colors? But I'm not sure how accurate that picture is considering the memory is from, er, 37 years ago.

My Elementary School, Now a Community and Business Building - Photo Credit

I was a precocious child. I wouldn't say I was a handful, but more strong-willed with ideas of my own that I didn't hesitate to explore (even when something else was expected of me). I had no real interest in reading or learning math, but spent most of kindergarten making "books" out of construction paper. I don't remember USING those books, just making piles and piles of them until Mrs. B___ considered them a waste of time and materials, Soon, I was limited to just one a week.

I also did a lot of talking and playing with J___, a boy I went to preschool with the year before. We had a good ol' time in preschool too...

And, oh no! I was left-handed. How was a teacher supposed to teach a left-hander to write? Mrs. B___ even encouraged my Mom to force me to write with my right hand. She didn't bargain on that my Mom was left-handed too. I'm still a lefty!

But my biggest memory was Mrs. B__'s doll. The doll! It was a rag doll with a squishy-soft body and a painted plastic face. This doll had a smiley, happy face on one side, and a frowny, sad face on the other. She used it to convey her feelings about our behaviors. Guess what face I saw? Yeah, the frowny one. 

Photo Credit

But despite the doll, I have some good memories of kindergarten too, the milk cartons in the morning and the special snacks I brought from home, the wooden puzzles I loved doing, recess...and drawing horses with heart faces.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Edition 194

1. What's your favorite time of day? Why?

Evenings. I used to be more of a morning person, but this summer my sleeping habits changed. I stay up later, sleep in longer. After focusing on my household - the kids, homeschooling, animals, errands, activities - evenings are spent relaxing, reading, catching up with Hulu, and playing games with the kids. Definitely a time to unwind!

2. Waffle iron, toaster, coffee maker, mixer, blender...which small appliance would you say most needs replacing in your house? 

My Mom would say my atrocious ancient stove, but it works! Mostly! And my Dad would say my toaster oven that takes 5-7 minutes to toast bread, but it works! Mostly! *I* think everything is currently working well enough, so I'm not "fixing what isn't broken". If I have to pick something, I'd say the stove. After all, how energy efficient can a 20 year old oven be?

3. It's National Grouch Day (October 15)...what's something that makes you feel grouchy?

Oh, a pile of dirty dishes...and none of them mine! Guess who gets to wash them?

Photo Credit

4. Ever been to Canada? Is that a country you'd like to visit? According to Trip Advisor, the top ten best destinations in Canada are-Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Victoria, Calgary, Niagara on the Lake, Niagara Falls, Whistler, and Halifax. Which city would you most like to see?

I've been to St. Andrews By-the-Sea, New Brunswick and Quebec, but would love to visit Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Ottawa, and Niagara Falls. Canadians seem to be some very friendly folks!

5. What was your favorite food (or one of your favorites) when you were a child? Is that still a favorite?

I remember eating a lot of box macaroni and cheese. Not Kraft, but the super inexpensive kind with the powdered "cheese" package. And, yes, I still do eat it occasionally now. (Should I admit that? LOL)

Photo Credit

6. Do you cry easily?


7. Have you started your (gasp!) Christmas shopping? If so when, and how much? If not, when will you even begin thinking about it?

Oh, no! LOL Although I don't usually wait until the last minute, I can't possibly think of Christmas shopping until after Thanksgiving!

Photo Credit

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

In memory of my baby, miscarried at 11 weeks, and my sweet nephew, Ayden Nathaniel, born at 22 1/2 weeks. Always in our thoughts!