Saturday, May 29, 2010

Little gifts...

This week has been literally insane with several appointments, end of year parties, and graduations back to bootcamp!  My gifts have been super simple this day, after a really hard bootcamp, Tim was home but I decided to get up with the kids in the morning and let him sleep in....another day, I delivered something to a friend that she needed...another day I helped someone close to me through an anxious situation.  I've had so many blessings including the girl I've been tutoring passed her final and saved her years worth of work!

My favorite gift this week was getting the kids a little plastic pool.  I went to Walmart to get one for Abbey and Jamie and sitting next to the itty bitty ones was a large one with a small slide.  I told them that I had to have that as I could envision Abbey going up and down the slide over and over.  However, I only had my van...I hadn't really thought this through.  I got it out to my van and opened it up, it was obvious it was not going to fit in any way, shape or form, but for some reason, I kept going...folded down the seats and proceeded as if it would fit.  The salesperson told me there as no way, but I was fearless...of looking stupid, that is, and I grabbed that huge pool and I shoved and squished and because it was so hot from sitting out in the sun the plastic was actually pliable and that sucker fit!

When I got home, I snuck the pool into the back yard...I had to walk in it to get it to look like a pool again and filled it up with water...then the fun part, getting the kids!!!  They were so excited, they squealed!  Even Dakota was thrilled.  Long story short, literally four hours later, we are trying to convince them to come out!  Even Justin enjoyed it tremendously.  It was so much fun that something as simple as a little pool of water created that much excitement.  I love kids, they are absolutely amazing!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Promotion Ceremony...

The homeschooling program I designed and later handed off to an amazing homeschooling mom/teacher was having a promotion ceremony today.  I made up certificates of appreciation for all the teachers involved in the program and got flowers for the mom who took over the program when I got ill.  I was so excited to recognize their hard work.  What I didn't expect was that they recognized mine!  I was honored with a corsage and great thanks from the parents and teachers alike.  It was wonderful!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Homeschooling trouble...

So on Wednesday, I was having a crazy day...Algebra tutoring for two hours and found out that Jamie had a UTI and needed to go to the doctor and boot camp...yes, I said boot camp.  Let me back up.  I signed Tim and I up for a boot camp class in our town run by a police officer.  Interestingly enough, Tim didn't tell me about it, a couple of my friends had done it and I was able to convince him to do it with me.  I can officially report that I survived the first week.  It is Mon - Thurs from 7-8pm...and it's rough!  The first night was the easiest because it was just testing us...heart rate, blood pressure, how many push ups, sit ups, etc, that you could do.  Well, I've never really done a "military" push up where you are straight and go down to the fist on the ground, so I thought I'd go down and not come back up!  But, I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to do four!!!  Then we did sit ups in one minute...I was about to do 22, which I didn't know was good until my friend told me she still couldn't do 22 after the six week class!  It's taking a lot of guts to do this class...all the people there are triathlon and exercise abnormalities...but I'm doing it!

The second night was the run...yes...the run...sigh.  We had to run 1.5 miles and he timed us as we are going to try and beat our times by the end of the six weeks.  I've never "run" before, so I was a bit worried.  I told Tim to go ahead so that he could get his best time possible.  Everyone else finished between 13 and 18 minutes...My personal goal was to finish in less than 30 minutes and to finish period.  After a while I saw Tim heading back to make sure I was OK, I was still running...slow but running...I had to walk a few times...but I ran more than half of it and finished running in 28 minutes.  Tim was so proud of me he was beaming :-).

Anyway, I'll tell you more about boot camp another time, but this is something I'm doing for myself which doesn't happen often enough.  I have scheduled a massage today to celebrate not dying during my first week!  For my gift on Wednesday, in between all my appointments and craziness my friend tells me she needs me to tutor her daughter on a writing assignment.  I really didn't have time at all to do it, really didn't, but I thought, OK, this will be my gift for the day.  It took about an hour and it really wasn't a writing assignment problem, it's a problem with her set up and pace so we worked on this for a while and she is going to come and observe me homeschooling, so this was nice.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Homeschooling books...

Another close friend of mine and I are both doing the same science curriculum for our homeschools this year...we both school year round, so our new year starts in about two weeks.  I've been really, really busy preparing centers and projects...laminating like crazy and organizing.  I've taken several Homeschool Trainings to update my skills and I know this is going to be our best homeschool year ever!  I know this because every year always gets dramatically better as I learn how to be a more effective teacher, more organized, and have more experience.

I'm using several new curricula this year that I am so excited about, I can't stand it!  The kids are seeing all these new books and activities and can't wait to get started.  For science, we are doing a program called "Christian Kids Explore Science"...I found this curriculum when looking for something that would fit my friends situation and fell in love with it too!  Anyway, the book is like a "relaxed" text book with ton's of activities and experiments.  However, there are not any consumable "workbooks" I bought an additional download and I created workbooks for my kids and hers...It took hours!  But, they looked so nice, I printed the covers in color and bought nice binders, I used the label maker to separate the units and I set it up so that literally all her and I have to do is open up the workbook and all the activities, etc, are right there for you!  The text for the program is complete, but you have to make copies from it, literally every lesson, so this is going to be a huge time save.  I gave it to her yesterday and she loved it!

Helping a friend at work...

So a close friend of mine was having some serious chaos at work...through no fault of her own, things had just sort of collapsed.  Due to confidentiality, that is all I can really say, but her work is in education which is where my experience is.  So, I had her come over and we worked late into the night getting things under control, then she came over first thing the next morning and we worked another few hours.  After everything was said and done, she is doing much, much better.  I am going to help her finish things up on Thursday.  I enjoyed every minute of it and she was so grateful for the help. It was completely fun to me and it felt great to see her go from stressed and panicked to back to her normal self.

Tim's Birthday...

So, Tim's birthday was Monday, but I decided to surprise him on Sunday afternoon as Monday is a work day.  I told him that I'd be "taking him out" but he didn't know where or the details, etc.  Tim isn't really "big" on birthdays, he doesn't dread them like some, but he doesn't find them to be a big deal when you are an adult, he just focuses on the kids ones.  Therefore, there were little expectation on his part. 

We have been working so hard on keeping an amazing budget and we are succeeding, so I knew I didn't want to spend much.  Therefore, I needed to do something "meaningful" vs. "expensive".  I got the idea to invite his very best friend out to lunch with us, he is also a police officer and with their crazy jobs and lives, they hadn't seen each other in at least a year...although they talk often.  I knew Tim would be thrilled and asked his friend to recommend a restaurant.  He picked out a really unique place in a cellar with a huge fire place and cozy.  The food was southwest and literally melted in your mouth.  I had made reservations, got the seats we wanted and they made sure to recognize Tim's birthday with a flourless chocolate cake with organic ice cream and berries...oh my, it was good!

Tim had also been wanting to see the movie "Iron Man" but when it first came out, there were lines into the street and people sitting for hours outside the theater to even get a seat...sigh.  Don't these people have anything more important to do?  Anyway, the weekend of his birthday was the second weekend it was out.  I bought tickets way ahead of time online and we got there an hour early and were one of the first ones in.  It was a great movie and day, we had so much fun!  That was my gift :-).


I had agreed to tutor a 10th grader in Algebra as she was barely passing the class and if she failed the final, she'd have to take the whole thing over.  So, for the past few weeks, I've been working with her on a regular basis.  We are really enjoying working together and her improvement has been remarkable!  This is a paid position, however, on several days I have stayed much longer than I was being paid for and have also helped her over the phone when she is stuck on homework.  I have put in at least double the time I'm getting paid for and this was one of my gifts :-).

Catching Up...Strawberry Shortcake

I apologize for the delay and thank you to the people that inform me when they are missing my blog, it helps me refocus.  I have been very busy giving gifts and life has been a bit crazy since Justin came home...Not being his normal happy self, he was requiring to be held and comforted around the clock...literally, he would not tolerate being put down at all.  So with much patience and the help of respite providers relieving us, we got through it and after two weeks, he is almost back to normal!  He is able to play and be put down and is his generally happy self.  However, he is not yet tolerating his many therapy sessions, but this too, will come.

So, I haven't written every gift down, which is unfortunate.  However, I'm going to write about some of the ones I remember off the top of my head.  I do know that I didn't miss a day though and that is very exciting to me considering the recent chaos.  While Justin was still struggling and he had fallen asleep around 7pm that night, I decided I'd make my family strawberry shortcake for my gift.  I was super tired and didn't feel like doing anything but Tim had bought nine packages of strawberries, yes nine, and the kids were eying them and I do make really yummy shortcake.  So I decided it would only take a half hour and that would be my gift.  When my family realized what I was up to, they got really excited.

I've made shortcake lots of different ways, however, Bisquick is our absolute hands down favorite!  So, I pulled out the Bisquick box only to find there was only a small amount left...shoot!  Well, the kids were dancing around the house singing "Yea, yea, strawberry shortcake!" so I sighed as I realized I'd have to do it from scratch...This was going to be more of a gift than I had anticipated.  I pulled out my Betty Crocker book to find their recipe required a pastry blender...a what?  OK, so I definitely don't have one of those.  Then I pulled out the Joy of Cooking, oh boy, this one seemed way to complicated.  Then Tim, seeing my frustration pulled out a Better Homes and Garden book and said, "I think there is a good one in here..."  The only tricky part was cutting  the butter into the flour but I actually knew how to do that as my mom had taught me last year when she showed me the family secret on her world famous apple pie.  So I went to work.  I was happily making my mix when I went to grab the sugar...Crap!  We were out!  We don't use sugar hardly ever so I didn't even notice.  I yelled to Dakota to run to my neighbors house to grab a cup of sugar, OK, problem solved.

I was mixing in my sugar when I went to grab some eggs out of the fridge...No way!  There were no eggs.  Huge sigh.  "Dakota!" I yelled, "I need two eggs."  "Mooooommmmm, it's dark out."  Yes, it was now 8pm, an hour later and not even in the oven.  But, I wasn't giving up.  I told Dakota to go to my OTHER neighbor and ask for two eggs.  Isn't it funny how I couldn't stand my first neighbor knowing that "I didn't have it all together" and so I instructed my Dakota to go to a different one?  I find that interesting.  Anyway, another half hour and we were all enjoying warm Strawberry Shortcake and the kids went to bed happily with full bellies and I collapsed on the couch.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Prayers Needed...

I have decided after much research that I need to get Justin a service dog.  I spent about five hours last night researching all the possibilities after one of the doctors recommended getting one.  Apparently there are "seizure alert" dogs which are specifically trained to get help in the instance of someone having a seizure...just like Justin did in the night.  What's more, these dogs typically learn the change in human smell prior to a seizure and are able to alert you BEFORE the seizure even starts.  This allows you to make sure the child is laying down and not doing anything dangerous (such as bath time).  I feel very strongly after reading all the research that a service dog would bring comfort, companionship, abilities to get toys and play as well as seizure detection for Justin.  Unfortunately, such a dog cost about $22,000 to train because it is quite intensive and is specific to your child's needs.  On top of this, you travel to the facility and work with the program trainer and your child for two weeks for the bonding process.  Tim thinks this would be amazing for Justin...we are allergic to dogs, but they have hypoallergetic service dogs now.  After seeing Justin's reaction to one of these dogs in pet therapy at the hospital and his true love for his weekly horseback riding lessons, I feel God is telling me this is what I need to do for his safety and continued happiness.

We don't have $22,000...please pray as I search for fund raising options.  Tim is very concerned about me taking on another project with my current health status...however, I know God has it all figured out, I just need to find the answer.  Thank you in advance for your prayers, I will be working on this all day today as my gift :-).

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Justin's Home!

Since coming home, Justin is back to his old self!   He was having severe anxiety and grinding his teeth horribly at the hospital, but no more!!!  He just needed to be home, I'm thrilled :-).

I just got done my gift, it was super fun!  I wrote very detailed letters to the supervisors of the several professionals that came to visit Justin in the hospital in their free time.  I am so impressed by their love, passion, and dedication that I wanted to make sure their direct supervisors new the level of commitment they have to the special needs children they work with.  I already got a response from one supervisor who was deeply impressed!  I had a lot of fun with this one :-).

Justin's Coming Home!

I don't have time for a normal post, but I wanted to pass on to you all that Justin is coming home in the next several hours!!!  Woo hoo!  His heart is back to normal, as are his seizures, and the paralysis on the left side is improving by the minute :-).  What we are still struggling with is his severe anxiety from being in the hospital, not sleeping well, and grinding his badly he broke his front tooth in half.  I'm trying to get the house comfortable and cleaned up before he gets home, he is with Letty, one of his respite providers.

Thanks for your prayers!  When I have my gift figured out for today, you will know :-).

Sunday, May 2, 2010

You're Not Going to Believe...

the past two weeks I've had.  I couldn't make this stuff up!

So, last time I posted, I had my blood transfusion and feeling a bit ill.  The following day for my gift I was making an amazing meal including homemade mashed potato's...something I don't do often, boy are they yummy like my Mama makes :-).  So I put the lid on a casserole dish and got distracted by children running loops around the kitchen and accidentally knocked the entire casserole dish FULL of potato's onto my bare foot.  Ouch!  Unbelievable pain and instantaneous swelling and bruising, I'm totally sure it is broken but I have meals to deliver so I strap some ice on it and go...I know, I'm nuts.  So, I get home just in time for Jamie's counselor to come and at this point my foot is the size of King Kong's and I have to elevate it while trying to manage the house and talk to the counselor...sigh.  Hours later, Tim comes home and I am able to drive myself to Urgent Care where they x-ray and believe it or not, it's NOT broken...thank God!  However, I'm unable to walk on it for a couple days and Dakota has a trip to the science museum tomorrow...sigh.  From Urgent Care, I am able to get Dakota a ride to the science museum and friends for him to hang out with so that I can sit on the couch all day with my foot's orders.

The following day, I push myself to go grocery shopping and I pick up some items for Tim that he had mentioned in passing for my gift.  He was very surprised and touched that I remembered when they were not on the list and all the craziness of my everyday life being a Home Manager.  That night, however, I was struck with the stomach flu...a bad one, the kind that makes you want to die, pray for the Angel of Death to come release you from the torture.  I spent the evening with my head in the toilet...need I say more?  At least it was clean, Dakota had scrubbed it earlier in the day. As I lay on the couch Saturday, I rehearsed in my head my "final posting"...I was throwing in the towel.  I couldn't and wasn't giving a gift today and I had succumbed to defeat...I told myself how stupid it was to set up this kind of a goal and I was a fool for believing it.  Just then, my neighbor stopped by and although I couldn't pull myself upright on the couch, she said her son didn't want to go out with her and I offered to let him play with Dakota at our house.  I knew it wouldn't be any trouble and I'd be able to give this gift from the couch.  Saved!  Whew!  I did it!  OK, so I'm feeling pretty great and then I throw up...the high is officially over.

So, I'm almost over the stomach flu...almost when Monday morning arises and Tim is getting shoulder surgery.  I drive him to the surgical center...nauseous as I drive...but holding it together.  I support him emotionally as they put him asleep and wheel him away and then sit in the waiting room for hours making phone calls and scheduling appts even with needing many trips to the bathroom...yuck.  His surgery is successful but he is quite sick as he wakes up.  I somehow get his lethargic, 6' 4" frame into our minivan, get his meds, and get him in bed in our guest house where the kids won't jump all over him.  I somehow, in between bathroom trips, wait on him hand and foot and keep the kids fed, changed, and medicated...that was my gift for the day.  I was a super great caretaker and my hubby totally appreciated it.

Sigh...OK, so on Tuesday, for my gift, I drive my hubby an hour to physical therapy and homeschool Dakota in the waiting room...finally my sickness is going away, but the headache and exhaustion is killing me.  We wait two hours in PT office and then drive Tim home, I'm feeling sicker by the second but we make it home.  He's able to drive himself tomorrow, so finally, I get to relax...ha!  As I get home, my respite provider informs me that Justin is throwing up.  I'm distraught, I specifically didn't go anywhere near him, but he still got it.  I sent his provider to the store to get a long list of saltines, oatmeal, ginger ale, pepto bismol, the whole works.  I get him comfortable and taken care of and he falls asleep...he's completely out.  Life is good, I can rest...ha!

I wake up around 6am to Tim screaming that he needs help...I run up stairs and Justin is having a grand mal seizure in his bed, he had thrown up his seizure meds and spiked a temp in the night.  Typically his seizures are easy to spot with a loud panting noise, however, this was completely silent and we had no idea how long it had been going on.  I called 911 and gave him his emergency seizure meds.  Twenty minutes later, with the ambulance team and IV, he finally came out of the seizure.  We ended up in the ICU and he finally woke up two and a half days later.  For my gifts, I have sat tirelessly by his bedside waiting for him to wake up, massaging his muscles, and meeting his every need.  His preschool teachers came and sat with him for hours giving me a break, and his music and speech therapists came to cheer him up once he woke up.  He is now on the pediatric floor, while he is awake and comprehending, his left side is paralyzed and we are doing an MRI on Monday.  I've been sleeping (if you can call it sleeping) in bed with him and trying to keep him comfortable.  Tonight, my respite provider is spending the night and giving me a break.  I haven't posted because I haven't been within three feet of a computer in over two weeks...sigh.

We think he's going to be OK...we are praying for his quick recovery.  We know there will be some regression, but we are so blessed that we have our baby and he's healthy.  In my support group, we lose children to these types of seizures every single month.  I told God that if it was time for Justin to be with Him, I would accept that, but I prayed for Him to bring him back to us and He did.  In addition to all the support we've gotten from friends visiting, our church made us meals and our Pastor is praying with Justin on Monday.  We've had amazing nurses who have gone above and beyond for Justin and everyone who has come in contact with him has been amazing. In addition, Tim's Dad, Tata, took shifts at the hospital and helped Dakota with his science fair project (coming up this week of course!) and to top it all off, we got a letter in the mail saying that the pharmaceutical company is going to waive the $2,000 monthly co-pay for my blood transfusions.   God is good, life is good!