Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My mom update- this week

My mom and Joc at the Grand Canyon a few years ago
 Hey everyone!  Sorry for the lack of exciting posts of what we have been up to with school and fun things that we do as a family.  My creativity is lacking big time and I am just trying to keep up with the basics of school.

My mom's eyesight has not improved.  It is really just a waiting game at this point.  I am hoping her eye doctor will point her in the right direction as far as eye restorative therapies go.  I have been researching quiet a few things out there that she can try, but just waiting to see what the Dr. says.  Some of the therapies out there are not covered by insurance, so hopefully she can find something that works.  She has several appointments this week...eye doctor, family doctor, and another catscan on February 9th.  This catscan will see what is going on with the blood vessels around her brain.

As far as activity levels go.  She wants to do things on her own.  She really can't do much, but she really wants to try.   My dad took her for two short walks yesterday because the weather here was spring like.  Maybe they can take another walk today. 

My dad is planning on taking off work until my mom can go back to work.   I honestly don't see my mom going back to work anytime soon.  That is just my opinion.  The stress on both of them is great, so just pray that the Lord will provide patience for everyone.

Sean and I have been getting e-mails on top of e-mails of things we should have my mom try.  Different food regimes, healing practices, advice on what not to do and what to do....as of right now I have not passed on anything to my parents.  They are overwhelmed, as overwhelmed can be.  There are about 5 million different opinions out there as to what needs to be done.  I know a lot of people disagree with the practices of what Dr's have to say...but for right now they are just going to follow what their Dr. says instead of mixing 5 million different practices.  She attempted to get her blood pressure under control through diet, exercise, and other things last time.  It didn't work for her.  Yes, diet and exercise are important factors in reducing blood pressure, but that wasn't enough for her.  Maybe it is enough for you...or your neighbor...or someone else you know, but it didn't work for my mom.  Everyone is different.  So please do not e-mail Sean or I any more advice on what to do....it is getting overwhelming.  Thanks.

The sad thing was my mom knew this was coming.  She would tell me all the time, she knew it was coming.  She was lucky this time that her eye sight was just affected and not her mobility.   The chances of this happening again are pretty high...however she could go the rest of her life without having another stroke.  Only the Lord knows what is in store for my mom.  Her mom and dad both had severe strokes...so the cards as far as genetics go are stacked against her.

Please continue praying for both my mom and dad as they navigate through everything.  Thanks!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My mom update- Friday-Saturday

Get well messages from my mom's students

I am writing a blog post, because I haven't been able to respond to everyone's e-mails and text messages...so this is the easiest way to respond.

My mom was released from the hospital yesterday (Friday, January 27) in the evening.  They scheduled her to come back in two weeks for another catscan to check the blood vessel that burst when she had her stroke.  She is happy to be home and has been resting.  The dr. has limited her activities.  She can't cook, clean, exercise, or doing anything strenuous.  They don't want her just lying around all day...but she is pretty exhausted, so she has done quiet a bit of resting.

Visually-- her vision hasn't changed or improved.  She can see blotches of color and can't see anything left and right.  Her left is not working at all.  That was her good eye before the stroke.  Her right eye was her bad eye to begin with, so it is trying to do all the work.  All she can see when she watches tv is just a blur and a little movement. 

Her sense of direction is a little off.  She is confused with her lefts and rights and hand/eye coordination activities.  She attempted to blow dry her hair this morning, but was missing her hair altogether.  She got lost last night going to the bathroom...couldn't find her way back to bed.  So lots of work to do to retrain her to do daily activities....one day at a time...and one step at a time. 

She is exhausted.  Taking a shower this morning completely wiped her out and she took a nap right after that.  

So continue to pray for both my mom and dad as they work through all of these changes in their lives.  I am going to help as much as I can.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My mom update Tuesday-Thursday

As many of you know my mom had a stroke Tuesday evening while driving home from work.  The Lord had his eye on her because she some how was able to make it home despite being able to see.  She describes her drive as seeing holes in everything and then being a complete blur.  She passed by 3 turns into her neighborhood and finally was able to reach home...safely.

Tuesday night 5:00PM.   She arrived home and could not see anything.  My dad was working, so she pushed send on her cell phone under the first contact and it happened to be my uncle Doug who lived up the street.  He took her to the ER and my dad met them there.  After running a catscan they determined that she had bleeding in her brain...a blood vessel burst and she had a stroke. Her blood pressure was extremely high.  She was put in the ICU.

Wednesday she had another catscan and they saw some fishy looking blood vessels on the back of her brain.  They ordered a cerebral angiogram for Thursday.  Her veins would need to be pumped with dye so they could study the blood flow and see if there any other problems.  She can not see anything out of her left eye and when she holds her hand up she can see only 2 fingers, but they are blurry.

Thursday she had the angiogram mid day.  Everything turned out to look ok.  She said the procedure was horrible and as of right now as I write this 6:40pm, she is resting and recovering.  She has been moved out of the ICU.  A side effect is another stroke...lovely.

Looking forward.  We do not know if her eye sight will return.  The hope is that once the swelling goes down on her brain that things will start to reconnect with her eyesight.  She will need to have intensive eye therapy and some type of at home treatment.  We pray that she does not have another stroke.  Strokes are VERY common on her side of the family...as her mom, dad, and brother have all had strokes of various kinds.  Obviously her way of life is going to change dramatically for a while.

We live an hour away, so I am going to do my best to help in any way that I can around the house and with her therapy.  We just have to take things one day at a time and realize that our little happy plans for our lives are in God's hands and not ours.  Please pray that my mom can regain her eye sight and some sense of normalcy.  Pray for my dad's strength in all of these changes with my mom. 

We have been in Omaha since Tuesday and my sister drove 19 hours straight to get here from Alexandria, VA.  We came home tonight to regroup a little bit, do laundry, repack our bags with more clothes, and I am hoping to do a little freezer type cooking so we don't have to eat out as much and not stress about feeding our family. We are heading back tomorrow mid day. 

Thank you for your prayers....if I haven't gotten back to you by e-mail...sorry I am doing my best...but hopefully this little synopsis will help you get caught up.

Continue to pray...pray...pray.  Hug and kiss your loved ones tonight and tell them how much you love them.

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18-- Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Little hands make good helpers!

I have this little 4 year old-- Katelyn-- who loves to help me with things around the house.  She asks me, approximately a million times per day, if there is anything she can help me with.  Last week she decided that she was going to start a part time job of making other peoples' beds.  She loves making her bed, Jocelyns (my 6 year), and her little brothers.  She has also asked me if she could go over to some of my friends' house and make their beds.  Transportation is a little issue...but maybe when she starts driving on her own.  :)  12 more years to go! 

She negotiated a deal with my husband that if she makes our bed every day she will get a nickel.  (BTW...as I am typing this post...she is sweeping the kitchen...she just got done wiping down the table)...anyways, then the other kids wanted to have a job to earn a nickel. We already expect the kids to help out around the house, so it took a few days for us to come up with what Jocelyn and Easton would be in charge of.  Easton is now in charge of sweeping the floor under the table after each meal and Jocelyn is in charge of straightening up our family room. 

I love having little helpers.  Not only does it make my job A LOT easier...it makes getting a task done in a quicker manner with so many hands.  I know a lot of people are afraid of asking their kids to help.  They don't want to listen to the possible whining that might start.  They want their kids to just be kids.  Things will go a lot faster if the mom/dad do everything.  But at what point will the kids learn how to help...should mom/dad wait on the kids hand and foot for the rest of their lives...or until they move out of the house?  Something to think about...  I know a lot of kids aren't expected to help around the house...but who is making most of the messes, or wearing most of the clothes...the list goes on. 

So at a young age, we have worked with our kids to teach them how to do things around the house.  Sometimes they are overly helpful and we have to take a step back to remind them they aren't ready to do certain things.  But what a help they have been.

No allowance needed (except the nickel for their special job)...just a pat on the back.   Literally my kids fight to get in line for a simple pat on the back.  Kind of funny to see.

My thought is that we live in such a world today of kids/young adults/adults expecting that life will be so easy. Everything will be given to them without having to work hard.   My goal is to instill a work ethic in my kids to have a cheerful, helpful heart for our home and for others.

Here is a list of things my kids currently are expected to help with...maybe this will give you a few ideas of how to get your kids involved with the house:
  • Dishes--loading and unloading
  • Clearing their plates off the table and scraping off scraps into the trash
  • Emptying trashes
  • Wiping down the kitchen table
  • Laundry: Sorting putting in the washer/drier, folding/sorting socks & clothes, and putting away
  • Dusting--that is one of their favorites
  • Bathrooms-- simple things like washing door knobs or sinks
  • Put away groceries
  • Cleaning up their toyrooms/bedrooms
  • Feeding and letting the dog out 
I am sure their are others...Here are a few pictures of the kids from the past few days...I didn't get a picture of Jocelyn.  She could live a day without helping, but she helps without complaint...she just doesn't go out of her way to ask if I need help....and yes my kids are allowed to just be kids:)

Weston getting in on the action:)
Easton vacuuming his room....he LOVES to vacuum.  He asks Sean every day when he gets home from work if he can vacuum.
Katelyn putting away groceries
Easton insisting on helping clean the bathroom

The boys working on the stairs

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

Photo image from:  http://cullinancakes.blogspot.com/2011/02/33rd-birthday.html
Ok..I know silly.  I am writing a blog post on my birthday about my birthday.  I write about my kids' birthdays...and oh it is my blog.  So any who...it is my 33rd birthday!!! Wooo hoo!  Another year old...and a deeper in....well not really sure wha...life I guess:)  Birthdays seem to come and go without a lot of excitement around here.  Well at least the adult birthdays.  The kids are probably more excited that it is my birthday than myself.  We usually try to go out to lunch or dinner for my birthday.  This year some friends suggested we try out a little Mexican restaurant called La Paz.  We did and it was really good.  We went to the mall to look at microwaves and then mulled over stand alone mixers for a birthday present....yikes those things are so expensive.  I just couldn't justify spending a few hundred dollars on a mixer...maybe one of these days if I ever become a professional baker or something.  For my official birthday present I am going to schedule a massage.  It is definitely well needed.  I am looking forward to the peace and quiet really.  :)  After our little lunch party and visit to the mall we picked up a dozen yummy cupcakes at a local cupcake place. 
 Another year down!:) 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Moon, Sun, and everything around us!

School kept us busy this week!  It seems as the older the kids get, our day is filled with a variety of different fun activities.  Sometimes I don't get quiet time at all or have anytime to get things done until right before my hubby gets home...but that is ok.  The kids are learning lots of new things...and hopefully having fun in the process.

We started going through this Time Life Series book titled Sky & Earth.
At the top of each page is a fascinating question and then it goes on to answer this question.  There are some really cool experiments we have tried and lots of activities on the internet that corresponds to our lessons.  Some of the questions have been-- Why is the sky blue during the daytime and sometimes pink at sunset?  Are there shadows on the moon?  Does the sun move?  Why does the moon appear different in the sky over the course of a week and month...etc.  Katelyn isn't as interested as Jocelyn in these topics, so I have only had her participate in coloring activities.
A phases of the moon activity with oreos-- from Pinterest
Finger painting the phases of the moon
Tracking the sun over the course of the day...kind of hard to see...but you can see the 12:00PM mark.
Katelyn has been enjoying her new subjects so far.  I added at 50 states workbook and she has moved onto 1st grade Math.  I have to spend a bit more time with her now, but she is eager to learn.  Here she is learning the word names of numbers and matching them to the actual number.
Easton also reminds me that we need to do school with him.  This photo is for my mother dearest who has stowed away for over 20 years...yes 20 years...this Early World of Learning curriculum...for her future grandkids and she finally gave it to me over the summer.  Here Easton is matching his shapes and colors.  When he gets an answer right his pen lights up.  Thanks mom!
and then everyone else got into the finger painting activity!

 and this was dinner one day when my hubby had a trainer in town that he had to take out to dinner.  The kids were thrilled when they heard we were having ice cream for dinner...then they were kind of bummed that it wasn't actually ice cream.  Silly kids.  They gobbled it up anyways.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I told myself...I never would.

I told myself I never would join Pinterest.  I have had friends and family raving about how wonderful it was for quiet some time now.  Friends showing me the cool little things they have discovered and have actually made on account to what they found on Pinterest. 

Why on Earth did I need another time waster?  I have Facebook for that:) 

Well ok, I was curious to see what all of this hub-bub was about.  I had been invited to join by a million friends, so I accepted someone's request to join. 

I do have to say:
1)  It is a time waster for sure. 

2)  It is a good time waster?  Is their even such a thing?  There are so many ideas on things I can do with my kids in school, craft ideas, things I can bake for my family or for church potluck, organizational ideas (I so need that), and fun recipes to try.

3)  It has directed my attention to other cool blogs out there.  I obviously think mine is the all time coolest blog, but there ARE others out there. :) Only joking about mine being the coolest...but there are some great ones out there that I hadn't heard about...and yet another time waster...reading other peoples' blogs.

4)  It is kind of inspirational to see what others have done.  There are a lot of these magazine type...picture perfect photos of parties that people have thrown with fancy schmanzy decorations...there are all of these really cool offices or living rooms where the light is just hitting it right...where you would be afraid to even step foot in...afraid to mess up the picture perfectness...these people obviously don't have kids nor do they allow them in their house.

5) I have had a lot of A-ha moments thinking-- I can do that.
    For example, I have been trying to figure out ways to store my ribbon in a way that I can get to easily.  Found that on Pinterest.  Here is what I came up with!
  Another example was how to make a heart shaped cake...when you don't have a heart shaped cake pan.  Total duh moment when I saw that.
  I came across a cool recipe for marshmallow fondant.  So going to try that.
 Blog link to recipe here!
I came across a cute little cupcake decorated in fondant flowers.  Loved that.
 Tutorial: here!
 I found this little tutorial on how to make sandwich holders...we go on a ton of picnics every year...this would be great to make!
Tutorial: Here!
and we are hoping to convert an extra bedroom to a schoolroom next year...tons of fun decorating ideas on Pinterest for that upcoming project.
More homeschool room ideas: Here!

So there you have it.  I am sure my husband will be thrilled to read this.  He knows I don't need and probably can't handle another time waster in my life.  Too many things on my plate already.  But 5 minutes here...5 minutes there...how bad can it be.  :)

Thank you friends and family for the little push!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Semester 2 of our school year!

We started back with semester 2 of our school year last week.  I was so excited to get back into routine.  I enjoy having a break from school...and so do the kids, but it gets a little crazy without structure around here.  I have a lot of ideas rolling around in my head of what I want to do with my kids this semester...hopefully we can find enough time to do them all.  I love hearing about what others are doing with their kids in their homeschooling journey...and more often than not, friends are asking what kind of curriculum we are using here.  I have not been sold on any package deals for our curriculum and I do not favor any company quiet yet.  I really like how things flowed during our first semester, so I just added a bit to Katelyn's workload, as well as Jocelyn's.

Here is what the kids will be working on this semester!

Jocelyn- 1st Grade
Math:  Same book as first semester.  Things look like it will get a little more complex.  They focus in on borrowing and more detailed counting money problems.  It looks like they are even starting multiplication.
Reading:  I have loved Hooked on Phonics since I started it a few years ago with Joc.  Still love it...and it works for us!
Spelling:  Hooked on Phonics!
Geography:  She learned the 50 states last semester.  This book reviews the states and she will be teaching Katelyn the states.
She will also be working on map skills and world geography.
Language & Writing:  I have her do random things with writing...whether it be write her own little story or make sentences out of random words I give her.  She is also doing a little bit of grammar.

Guitar:  Laugh right now....ok are you done?  No, I don't play the guitar.  No, I am not musically talented....at.all.  I played the piano growing up and pretty much hated every minute of it.  That just wasn't my thing.  So I am teaching Jocelyn how to play the guitar...and I guess myself.  Wish us the best of luck.  We have 1 song down....kind of.

Katelyn: Preschool, Kindergarten & 1 st grade...I really don't know.
Reading & Spelling:  She is also doing Hooked on Phonics...and we both LOVE it.  She looks forward to school every morning.  She is such a motivated learner and has matured quiet a bit over the past school year.  She completed her first workbook in the Hooked on Phonics series, so she is moving onto book #2.  She has started learning words that start with beginnings with sh-, th-, ch-, and wh-.  It is so fun to see her learn new things with excitement.  I then quiz her on her reading words, by having her spell them out.
Math:  She loves Math also.  She was getting kind of bored with the basics of addition and subtraction, so I purchased 1st Grade Math by McRuffy...the same book Jocelyn is in right now.  She was pretty thrilled to tell her grandma that she was going to skip kindergarten...I guess she misunderstood me...we are just moving onto 1st grade Math so she doesn't get bored.
Geography:  She really, really wants to learn all of the states.  Last week she did pretty good with her first four states.  I think she knows all of the names...she just wants to learn how to read them on flashcards and wants to know where they are at on the map.  So she is working through this little workbook.

Both girls:

Sewing:  I am hoping to teach the girls how to sew this semester.  Just basic things like pillows, blankies for their baby dolls, doll clothes...nothing major.  Our first project last week were pillows...and boy were they soooo excited.  Easton even made a little pillow for his "fatman" (Batman).
Cooking:  We did quiet a bit of cooking last semester.  I bought this little program at Barnes and Noble and it should be fun going through the kid friendly recipes.
Science & Astronomy:  We are also going through this Time Life Series book.  Each day there is a new little subject.  The girls really enjoy learning about the world that God has made for us.
Devotions:  We are still working through this devotional book.  There are little memory verses and character lessons for the girls to work on.
Easton: Pre-Preschool
Oh how he wants to be like his sissies!  Ok...not meaning he wants to be a girl.  He is ALL boy.  Loves guns, swords, cars, trains, dirt, rough play...everything little boys like...but he wants to do school as well...so I do school with him.  Last semester we made it through his letters.  He does little activities that we have around the house to reinforce what he has learned so far.
He also wants to learn how to write, so I started having him write his "o's".  He was so proud to tell his daddy that he learned how to write an "o".  So sweet.  I should have taken a picture!

We are also working on his colors.

How much time do we spend on school per day? 

We only do school Monday-Thursday.  We try to start by 9am and usually go until 12pm with a break for snack.  Then we usually eat lunch around 1pm and I nap Easton and Weston at 2pm.  Katelyn has quiet time in her room and playroom, while I work with Jocelyn for another hour or so.  My goal is to be done by 3-3:30pm.   I still LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that I am have the opportunity to homeschool our kiddos. 

Other links:
Our first semester:  HERE  
Our school room here:  HERE
Why I love homeschooling our kids:  HERE

There you have it!  That is what we are doing this semester!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Omaha Children's Museum!

The kids love going to the Omaha Children's Museum.  They usually go with my mom, dad, and aunt to this particular museum due to the layout.  I have gone along a few times.  This time I was solo with my kids, but we came with three of my Lincoln friends.  The kids had a ton of fun at the museum playing.  I was soooo tired when we got home...and crashed on the couch at 7:30pm.