Wednesday, March 31, 2010

W-E-D-N-E-S-D-A-Y an ACRONYM. (or not.)

W - We're going to physical therapy today to see if my son can be taught to walk with crutches. After seeing him on them the first few days after he broke his ankle, I have my doubts, but we'll see. The therapist, on the phone, said "It will only take about 15 minutes" but she hasn't met this kid yet. :-P

E - Eating is interesting when you're trying to go gluten free. I think I may have accidentally cross contaminated my pecan pie (I'm practicing for Easter!) because my daughter was making a peach cobbler at the same time and I may have used the same measuring cup or something without thinking. She tries to watch me, but she's only one person! So anyway, yesterday afternoon I started feeling bad, aching all over and this morning I woke with some digestive symptoms. I'll spare you all the details.

D- Okay, I don't have anything for D.

I was going to do an acronym, but I'm stumped by the 2 D's in Wednesday. Funny, since my name, my husband's name and all 3 of my kids start with D and our homeschool is named 3-D Academy. I don't use their real names on this blog though, so that leaves me with no D words for Wednesday.

I did have one for "A" though. Assessments. I'm going to use the TAKS tests from 2009 to test my kids this year. (Blogger won't let me make that a link for some reason). Every couple of years I do this and it helps me know what the kids need to work on.

Tomorrow is April fools day and I'm trying to think of some mild pranks to play on the kids. I don't like to do anything remotely harmful. One year I put green food coloring in the milk. One year I gave them fake school work from Family Fun. I'm going to check their web site out and see if they have anything fun this year.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about education, what I'd like to be doing in our school and what we actually do. I'll try to post on all that when I get my thoughts more organized. Maybe in an acronym. Or maybe not. :-P

Monday, March 29, 2010

Updates on a few things.

My oldest son is definitely having ankle surgery, it's this Friday, yes, Good Friday, so he's probably not going to have the best Easter weekend.  Still, we need to get it done and we need to do it when the surgeon can do it.  I don't really want to wait anymore, he's had this going on since November and that's long enough.  I need to try and see if I can get him in this week for physical therapy for crutches/gait training to see if he can learn to use crutches.  That should be interesting. 

We didn't do school today.  Yes, again.  We went to the dentist this morning for our long awaited appointments and they took half the day.  At the dentist's office, my back went into a spasm and I was miserable, so I just tried to get myself better this afternoon and didn't make the kids do school.  I'm really not even sure why.   I guess I was focused on my back pain and not them.  Anyway, I took some tylenol and sat in my wonderful chair for a while, took a nap and was rejuvenated.   I went to the grocery, did some Easter shopping, visited my mom and got home just in time for work. 

I've just been busy, busy.  In the last 4 days, I've had to work and I had a party, a women's luncheon, a wedding shower (and shopping for it from the registry, which takes longer than regular shopping), a concert (I didn't attend, but had to take my son and pick him up at midnight last night which involved about 40 minutes of driving each time), a dentist appointment and about 3 trips to Kroger.   No wonder I needed a nap this afternoon.  :-) 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

At least I'm moving.

I may not be getting as much done as I should, but I'm getting a few things done.  A couple of weeks ago (?) I made a list of the spring cleaning and home repair things I wanted done.  I'm not sure how many things were on the list.  It was on index cards, 1 for each room of the house and outside, so let's see, 9 cards and the laundry room card is done, done, done!!  We started doing some outside things today, getting the deck ready to stain and cleaning a little bit in the boy's room.  I'm encouraged, anyway.  It's progress.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Homeschooling today.

We didn't get a lot of school done today.  I had the kids do their priorities and then we spent the afternoon working on the laundry room project.  I just really NEED to work on the house right now.  I don't know if it is a spring thing, somekind of female thing or what, but I just NEED the house to be in better order.  We got a lot done in the laundry room today.  Now I just need my husband to put up some hooks and shelves because he seems to be the only one that can put things on the wall and have them actually stay up there.  I do feel better having the work done.  We may be doing biology and grammar right on through July and August but hey, we can do that.  We homeschool for flexibility right?


This morning my mom's back specialist called and said that her appointment had been rescheduled from tomorrow until April 7.  I spent a long, long time on the phone 3 weeks ago getting her appointments scheduled with both specialists on the same day and now one of them cancelled.  It seems he scheduled a surgery at the same time as her appointment.  Does anyone else remember the Seinfeld episode where they are supposed to hold a rental car for him because he has a reservation?  At some point, the clerk says "I know what a reservation is" and Jerry Seinfeld says, "I don't think you do!".  That's how I feel.  Do they not know what an appointment is?  I am so frustrated with them!  Now we can't get both appointments with both specialists on the same day, although I made several calls trying to set that up and messed up her one remaining appointment tomorrow in the process ...

I already knew it, but if I didn't know it, I would have learned something.

This was my daughter's comment yesterday after 4H when I asked her if she'd learned anything. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Not an auspicious beginning to my day.

Acid reflux woke me at 5:00 a.m. because I had forgotten to take my Prilosec in the window of time that I have to take it.  It has to between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.  for some reason.  I took it at 11:00 but it was too late.  So anyway, I woke up at 5:00 a.m. feeling pretty yucky.  I took some Tums but it didn't work all that well.  Since I was up, Max decided that he needed to go outside (of course).  I put him out on the lead and sat down to read a book, since there was no point in trying to sleep.  After about half an hour, I opened the front door and called him and heard him whimper.  He gets the lead caught in something occasionally.  I always hope it's not at 5:30 am, but sometimes it is.  So I put on a pair of flip flops, grabbed a flashlight and headed out into the pre-dawn darkness.  After a couple of minutes, I located him wrapped up in some briars at the side of the yard.  I'm not sure how he even stretched the lead over that far.  He was very well tangled I couldn't get the lead out of the briars without unhooking him first.  As soon as he was loose, he was GONE.  He ran off to have an adventure in the neighborhood, while I finished untangling the leash.  He was gone for a couple of hours.  I was sick for a couple of hours.  Finally, he came up on the back deck and I got him back in and went back to sleep for a while.

Not a great beginning for the day, but I guess it could be worse.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Real Life 101 Is Not An Elective.

We all have to take this class.

Lesson 1 - Everybody makes mistakes.
Today we showed up at the dentist at 10:00 a.m. which is early for us (since I worked until nearly midnight the night before) only to find out that our appointments are next week.  So next Monday, we have to go again.

Lesson 2 - Decisions have to be made, even when you don't know what you're doing half the time.  

We did make it to the orthopedist's office and it was the correct date and time.  We talked to him for a long time but it was kind of a confusing talk.  Apparently, there is swelling of the bone marrow and what we thought was free floating chip of bone is kind of next to the other bone but not in the right place, so he does need surgery.  However, if we want to decline the surgery we can and the ankle will stay about like it is or maybe get a little better, maybe not.  (See, I told you it was confusing.)  Anyway, if he does the surgery, he'll go in arthroscopically so the incision won't be very big and then he'll take out the chip and drill some holes in the bone to help it heal.  Then oldest son will have to be completely non-weight-bearing, not even touching a toe to the floor for 6 weeks.  My son is the most hopeless ever on crutches so he'll probably have to use a walker.  That will be kind of weird.  We're going to sleep on this decision, but we'll probably go with the surgery.  I don't want his ankle to always hurt.  If he is completely opposed to it when we talk tomorrow, I'll consider his opinion though.  He's almost 18 and it is his ankle.

Lesson 3:   You can't go back in time and make accidents not happen.

This is what oldest son was wishing today.
Lesson 4:   Be flexible, creative and take initiative.  Don't be afraid of work.
While we were gone, the other 2 kids worked on the laundry room without being told to!  We're trying to re-organize it and paint it.   We do kind of a "family closet" kind of thing in there.  My youngest went through his clothes, sorted and put most of the winter ones away.  My daughter is working on the painting and I have given her permission to do whatever she wants with the paint we have, so she's doing a tree mural in there.  It looks good. I don't have any decorating preferences for that room, I just need it to be a bit neater and better organized and able to store a lot of things. 

Lesson 5:  Sometimes things are hard.

Our church wants to put a clock in the sanctuary in honor of my Dad.  The also want to have another memorial service and dedicate the clock in his memory at that time.  I think it's very nice and all, but I don't think I can do another memorial service.  I almost didn't survive the first one.

Lesson 6:  Treat others with kindness and be willing to forgive.

I got up this morning with a horrible backache and quickly developed an awful headache to go with it.  Between the "dentist appointment" and the doctor appointment, I sat in my comfy chair for a nap which is sometimes all that will work for my headaches.  There was a Spiderman blanket in my chair so I covered myself with that and went to sleep.  Youngest son saw that I was using his blanket and came over and grabbed it, waking me up (he says he didn't know I was asleep), so I had to go to the doctor with my headache and my back in spasm, when both, I think would have probably been helped with the nap.  I was very angry when awakened and grounded him for life.  He has since apologized and I have forgiven him, but he's still grounded for at least 2 weeks.  That's not how our family treats each other.  Period. 

So does this count as a school day?  I think we all learned something ...


Our family has 5 dental appointments today and then a trip to the right ankle specialist in another town.  Think we'll get any school done today?  Maybe real life 101.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

In a daze.

I've just been in a daze for the last couple of days.  I'm not sure where my mind has been, but it has not been with me, concentrating on what I need to be concentrating on.  I'm getting work done in a kind of mechanical fashion, but not really focusing on it much.  I'm feeling kind of blah.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring fever or something like it.

The days have been so pretty lately.  It makes me want to start spring cleaning.  It also makes me want to go outside on walks, do some gardening, sit in the sun and go to a park and feed the ducks.  Which reminds me of a funny feeding the ducks story .(They say when you get old, everything reminds you of a story ... )  Anyway, we used to go to a neighboring town and feed ducks breadcrumbs and it was a lot of fun.  One night when my older 2 kids were occupied with something, the youngest and I decided to try and feed a flock of ducks we'd seen at a local park.  We got some bread crumbs and got out of the car.  Immediately, I could kind of tell these weren't ducks that were used to being hand fed by humans as they were giving us wary looks.  Then my son started throwing bread crumbs and all you-know-what broke loose.  I can imagine the ducks thoughts "Humans!"  "Wow the humans are coming REALLY CLOSE!  Eeek they're THROWING THINGS AT US!"   "Fly away!"  "Fly Away!"  It was quite funny to me, although my son was disappointed.  We went a few weeks later and fed the more domesticated ducks. 

The point is, I want to do springy things, outside, not school and not my job. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Enforcer.

That's been my role today.  I'm normally a little bit more hands-off than I should be probably and lately I've been even worse, expecting the kids to get their lists of school-work done with little to no help from me, but the youngest has not been getting his work done.  Last week, he got the last of it done late Friday night, just in time to ensure that he wouldn't be grounded all weekend and could watch Saturday morning cartoons.  So, when it looked like this week was going to end in a similar fashion, I made him sit at the table today until he got mostly caught up, and I sat there with him.  He got it done and it wasn't all that painful for anyone.  I know we're not asking him to do too much, probably too little in some people's opinions, but he got 3 math worksheets done, 3 paragraphs and drawings for his copywork/writing book and now he's going to do 2 days of geometry computer game and a few other things and he'll be done.  He has been doing some of it all week, just procrastinating about the harder stuff.  I do feel like kids, especially kids like him, the right brained, day-dreamy, inventor kind of kids need a lot of free time to imagine and build things, but he also needs to learn to write well, do math and, read!  Ever since we've been homeschooling, the kids, especially this one, have fought against a strict schedule and want to choose when to do what and so we've compromised with the list system we use. The trouble is, with this kid, he'll push any system as far as it would go and procrastinate about all of it until the very, very last minute.  If it were up to him, he'd do all of it on Friday right before the deadline, including personal hygeine (5 showers in a row) and chores (feed the dogs 5 times on Friday!). 

He's a funny kid.   Yesterday he said to me "Isn't it ironic that Devin's ankle brace is called a "StepLite" brace and when he walks in it, it goes CLONK, CLONK, CLONK?"  Yes, they should have called it StepLoud.  :-)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Up and Down.

I've got a doctor's appointment today for myself for a change, just a check, no big deal.  I'm not really thrilled about all that time alone in the car, because I frequently start thinking sad thoughts and cry in the car, but I need to go, so I'm going.  I'll try to take a happy music CD because they seem to be playing a ton of sad songs on the radio lately.  That said, I actually think I'm doing okay.  Grief is a process and some days it's just more difficult than others and I don't expect that I'll just be 'over it' in 6 weeks.   I think I may be ready to get back into the homeschooling thing here.  My husband has been pretty much doing everything in the homeschool department and kept us from getting weeks and weeks behind. (Thankfully!) However, he's not been doing the biology or the grammar so I need to pick those up and add them back into to what they've been doing.  

I've had this idea for something I'd like to do with the kids this summer and I've been thinking about that.  I'd like to do some kind of combination of summer camp, a lock in, a sleepover or campout, etc. where we get a lot of enrichment activities done with the kids in a short amount of time.  The point of this would be that the kids would have a good time, learn a lot in a short time, spend time with their friends and it would hopefully be pretty inexpensive and also I'd get to enjoy it with them.  They're growing up way too fast (and yes, I am still sad about the foster care thingy and the thought of no more kids in our house until I have grandkids to stay all night) and to quote my Dad "I don't want to miss any of it."  (Talk about crying, there I go again, darn it!)

Anyway, I've also been thinking about spring cleaning and I think I may be ready to actually start on it.  Despite the downer tone of this post, I am actually feeling a little bit motivated again. 


It's a process.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Feels like a Monday.

We had the MRI of the ankle today at 8:30 a.m. which, after working until midnight last night, seemed entirely too early, especially with the time change this weekend.  We got it done, but I felt like going to sleep in the waiting room.  Those scans really take a long time.  I had no idea.  He was in the scanner for about 40 minutes I think, anyway at least half an hour.  I hope this one is clear and the doctor can see what he needs to see. 

Anyway, I guess we're doing school today.  I have zero energy, but that doesn't mean the kids can't do their independent work and their math with their Dad, right?  They're so lucky that way. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The writing experiment.

I mentioned a while back that I bought my youngest a journal so that he could write about things that he was interested in, mythical creatures.  So for the first few days, he used a freebie on his schedule and didn't do it, but he carried the book around quite a bit.  Then finally the next week he started writing about dragons.  He's done it every day since, without complaining.  His handwriting still needs some work to be more readable, but I think this is progress. 

And the winner is ...

Perri has won our drawing for a free copy of Spellquizzer.  This is just plain Perri (not that she's boring or anything, she has a great blog) and not SunshinePerri (just to clarify).  Perri, email me at fatcatpaulanne at bellsouth dot net and I'll send you the info.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

One thing.

One thing was positive about the visit with the specialist yesterday. He asked my son about PE and we said he was homeschooled and that usually he would do an hour outside for PE everyday but lately he's been grounded by this ankle and has been lifting weights instead. The doctor was very positive about homeschool and said that homeschoolers "do very well", which is true, but it's nice not to be looked at like weirdos or asked "what about socialization?" or the other most common response "I could never do that, I don't have the patience!" (Believe me, homeschooling takes a lot less patience than public school homework!)

Anyway, that was a nice change.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Another frustrating trip to a specialist.

This ankle specialist (I was afraid he was going to say, something like 'oh, it's your right ankle, sorry, I'm a left ankle specialist'!) needs an MRI done and he put the boy in a cast/boot kind of thingy that the boy HATES, so that's fun. I wonder how much extra money we've spent because the Immediate Care Clinic missed this fracture!! So now we're going to have to get the MRI done (locally, thank goodness) and then call back for ANOTHER appointment. Joy.

(I'm kind of crabby, it doesn't show does it?)

Monday, March 08, 2010

At long last.

Tomorrow my son sees the specialist about his ankle. Maybe this will be the one who fixes it. I hope so. I went today to get his CAT scan and x-rays from the other doctors. I enjoyed my time out a little bit and got my hair cut as well. It looks okay. After doing all that, I went to Kroger the pick up some gluten free baking mix (which they didn't have in the neighboring town) and on the way out after my wasted trip, stepped in a min-pothole and fell, twisting my ankle and hurting my wrist (slightly). So I'm a little sore and stiff right now. Maybe that will help me be more sympathtic towards my son?

In other news, if you are going to enter the drawing for the SpellQuizzer, be sure and comment on that post so you can get your name in the hat! We'll draw the name out on Thursday.

We interupt this school year ...

That's what the theme of our school year has been so far. Today, I've got to go pick up a copy of my son's CAT scan and x-rays to take him to the specialist tomorrow. Last week I had to go and pick up my mom's CAT scan and x-rays and I have to take her to her 2 specialists on the 25th. Fortunately, the kids are pretty well trained to do their work on their own and my husband is available most of the time during the day, if I have to run off somewhere, to, um, remind them do it. They have been known to completely forget, conveniently, that they need to do school.

My husband and the kids got quite a bit of work done this weekend, unfortunately, none of the top 5 things I would have liked them to have gotten done, but work done, nonetheless. They got pot holes filled in the driveway. My husband promised the kids a bonfire cookout with hot dogs and marshmallows as a reward for helping and so we did that last night. That's one of the benefits of living in the wilderness, we can build a bonfire in the front yard and no one cares. Today, when I get back, I hope to get our biology done because I have been slacking off on that.

I'm still reading "A Perfect Mess" and it mentioned Alexander Fleming and the discovery of penicillin, which wouldn't have happened if Fleming hadn't left his lab in a mess. It makes me feel better about my boy's room. :-)

Saturday, March 06, 2010

More on the cluttered desks.

We were talking about this comment and I remarked to my daughter that everything on my desk wasn't mine - there's quite a bit of my youngest son's stuff on there and she said "Yeah, his mind is so cluttered, it overflows onto other people's desks."

Friday, March 05, 2010

Westvon Publishing Sale on Currclick.

Follow this link and type Westvon in the search box to get all their products. Through tomorrow, all are 50% off or even more. We used and liked the History Scribe products. I'm also looking at the journal products now since they are only 75cents!CurrClick

This and that.

I started reading Unclutter Your Life in One Week and I got about 40 pages in. It's kind of the same old "a place for everything and everything in its place". So far, it doesn't offer any new, wonderful ideas for getting these things put back in their places. I don't know if I'll finish it or not. I like The House That Cleans Itself better so far. It seems more approachable and realistic. Still I haven't finished this book yet and I still might, so if it gets really good later, I'll re-review it and let you all know. After a few minutes with that book, I picked up A Perfect Mess and read this quote "If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what then, is an empty desk?" Albert Einstein. Okay, so far, I really like this book. You should see my desk sometime, then you might understand my brain function a little bit better ... I may have to get this in a wall quote and hang it over my husband's desk too. There's more than one cluttered mind in this house.

Anyway, speaking of brain function, yesterday, my youngest son was giving answers to some kind of math problems during a conversation that the kids were having. Then someone asked him a division problem and he said "I'm a human calculator without a division button". He's not fond of division, can you tell? He said a couple of other funny comments yesterday, but of course I can't think of them now while I've got my blog compose window open. If I think of them later, I'll share.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Spellquizzer giveaway.

The inventor of Spellquizzer has offered a free copy to one lucky person! To enter, just leave a comment. My kids and I will put every commenters name in a hat and draw one out and that person will get a copy of Spellquizzer. SpellQuizzer is a spelling program that helps kids learn their spelling and vocabulary words.

Here's a description of the product from the website. "Improve any child's spelling! The typical approach to preparing a child for his or her weekly spelling test is to dictate the week's words each night as the child writes them down. Then correct the spelling and repeat. It takes time. It's slow, tedious, and a chore for both the child and for you. With the SpellQuizzer spelling software you can automate this process, taking up less time from both you and the student. Each week you input the child's spelling list into SpellQuizzer once. Then the child uses the SpellQuizzer spelling software to practice his or her spelling words. SpellQuizzer plays back the words you recorded, waits for the student to type in the correct spelling and lets the student know how he or she did."

My family is going to be trying this out this week as well. Remember to comment if you want to enter our drawing for a free copy!

Some will enter. One will win.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


I was finally able to get a picture of a couple of black capped chickadees at our bird feeder, it's not a very good picture, but it took a long time to get because they are so quick and skittish.

I think they are very cute.

We've really enjoyed this bird feeder.

Books I have out of the library right now.

I have a great variety of books out of the library right now. I hope I get time to read at least most of them.

Predicably Irrational The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely
Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
The Grief Recovery Handbook by John W. James and Russell Friedman.
Why Do I Keep Doing That - Breaking the Negative Patterns in Your Life by Dennis Wholey.
Unclutter Your Life in One Week by Erin Rooney Doland.
A Perfect Mess The hidden benefits of disorder. How crammed closets, cluttered offices and on the fly planning make the world a better place. by Eric Abrahamson and David Freedman. Does this mean I shouldn't unclutter my life in one week?
88 Money Making Writing Jobs by Robert Bly.
The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella.
Your Kids are Your Own Fault A guide for raising responsible productive adults by Larry Winget.
Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella.

Interesting mix if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A good day.

We went to Kentucky's capital today to see the capitol building.  That's one of the many things I learned today, that if you are talking about the capital city, it's spelled with an A and if you're talking bout the capitol building itself, it's spelled with an O.  We have a beautiful capitol building and I really enjoyed the tour.  I was a little worried about having to get up so early 6:30 a.m. ! (that's really early for people who work the evening shift), but it turned out to be a really good experience.  I think we all learned a lot.  I met the senator and the representive from my county and asked them about getting high speed internet where I live.  Hey, they asked if there were any concerns that we had and then one of them mentioned the internet in another context ....

Monday, March 01, 2010


I'm trying to get going again. Trying to get school done. Trying to work up some enthusiasm for my life. I feel like I'm only half here, like I'm barely limping along. I feel like I've lost my sense of direction and purpose. Nevertheless, I'm trying to get moving. I picked up some videos on sign language last week at the library and we are watching those today. I think the kids will be better at this than I am, just like they were last year with the VBS signs. I can look at it on the TV and totally not be able to figure out how to make the sign even while the lady is repeating it 4 times. It's kind of pitiful really. Despite my shortcomings, I think this may be the foreign language that we do. We tried taking a Spanish class a while back, but we missed the first couple of classes and then we could not keep up. I would like the kids to learn Spanish, but I studied French for 3 years in college and I personally find the 2 languages too similar and get confused. I don't know how useful it would be for the kids to learn French?

I've modified the kid's schedules to take in my youngest son's notebooking/copywork and the older 2 are going to be doing some essay writing. If you hear whining later, I suspect it will be from my daughter. She does not like to write. I think she may take after her father in more ways than looks!


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