What a hard, long month this has been

This has been a long, hard month. A lot going on,and nothing really accomplished. Homeschooling is just about done for the year, I had my review in mid-May and everything went well.

We are shaking things up a bit for our next school year. We are going to start our new year on July 11th. We will school for 6 weeks and then take a week’s break. I think this will help with some of the “burn-out” that has been happening over the past year. It will also enable us to have a week off at Thanksgiving, three weeks off during Advent and Christmas and another week or two at Easter. If things go as planned, then the “school-year” should be finished sometime in early in May 2012.

Mandy is finishing up her junior year and will be a senior next year. THAT seems hard to believe for me. She  remains in the International Baccalaureate Program. She is surviving, but it is a very hard course of studies and many of the children are faltering this year.

We are in the midst of making some life altering decisions, so pray that we make the correct decisions for the family.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

A New Year and Back to Blogging

I am SOOOO glad to see 2010 leave the building!

Thanksgiving was quiet. We stayed home because of illness in the house. Christmas was even more interesting. Richard was in the hospital. He had come down with the cold that everyone else had been getting. He drove into work on December 23rd and promptly decided that was the wrong thing to have done. (Never mind I told him to stay home!)

He felt miserable that afternoon, so I took him to the local Urgent Care Center, where he told the doctor that at one point he didn’t know how he drove from one short area to another on the drive home. The doctor pushed the panic button and told him to get to the ER. So across the street we headed. What an adventure! A CT scan, an echo-cardiogram, a carotid artery sonogram, a cardiology and a neurology consult later he was discharged home and told not to drive until he had an EEG. All the tests were ok to that point.

The EEG showed no seizure activity, but did point to possible sleep apnea. So he had to schedule an appointment with the Sleep Center. He was still not allowed to drive until our primary doctor received the results of the sleep study. Talk about a nightmare!

And yes, the sleep study showed he did have sleep apnea. He has just received the CPAP machine so we will see how it goes in the next couple of weeks.

On January 18th, we had dad’s funeral and burial at Arlington National Cemetery. It was a very beautiful and touching service and definitely the right send off for my father. Once the pictures are in, I will post some here. We were so lucky. There had been an ice/snow storm the night before. Dad’s was the first funeral to have the full honors that day. I am thanking God for that.

The other big news in the family is that I am now homechooling everyone but my high schooler. The girls were being bullied, there were attitudes developing that I didn’t like and Emma was begging to come home. It turned out to be a blessing with all the turmoil this month to have them home and still have them learning.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Trials and more trials

Dad has been doing great in rehab, working hard and slowly getting stronger. They are working on healing the pressure sore that had developed. Mom has been visiting him daily, plus keeping up with the house. She was not necessarily been taking great care of herself during this ordeal, not eating properly, not resting enough. You all know the drill.

Wednesday afternoon I received a phone call from the rehab center. Mom was visiting dad, but she was not doing very well. Her blood pressure was extremely high, she was very dizzy and light headed and feeling horribly sick to her stomach. She was refusing to go to the hospital and would I please talk to her. When I was able to speak with her, I told her she was going to the hospital and I would not take no for an answer. Once Richard was home I headed on off to Virginia.

She spent three days in the hospital. A large number of tests were run. Thankfully the primary concern of a stroke was ruled out. Her COPD flared up horribly and she is now on home oxygen therapy since any type of activity caused her oxygen saturation levels to plummet.

It appears that mom not taking care of herself has led to high blood pressure. So mom, I know you read this. You better be resting, taking your meds, and EATING! Love ya!

My brother has also moved back to Virginia from Georgia. He is living at mom and dad’s right now. He works for Advance Auto Parts as an assistant manager and thankfully a local (well semi-local) store had an opening so he will be starting there tomorrow. Personally I think it is a great opportunity since he will be at a much busier store and learn the commercial accounts part of the business. (This was actually in the works and he already due to arrive on Friday.)

I told him once mom and dad are settled and everything is back to its new normal, he should look up in my neck of the woods since they have recently opened two Advanced Auto Parts in our county. I want to keep him local, Georgia is too far away. 🙂

While I was out in Virginia sorting everything out there, Richard was informed by his mom that she has breast cancer. So prayers for Bea are needed too. Now that I am home, I will see what I can do to help her out too.

I hope you all have wonderfully blessed Sunday!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Monday Update

I stopped updating and I apologize. Once Liz had the shunt replaced, her vision started to improve, but her headaches did not. So we know know the headached can be seperate from shunt issues. She had neurology consult and is now on a new headache protocal to help with the pain. She was discharged today and is resting right now. I can’t imagine the toll takes on her.

We plan on a quiet weekend to rest and rejuvinate as a family.

I hope you all have a wonderful week.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Quick Update on Liz

The current shunt is blocked somewhere in the tubing in the vein, possibly a clot. A temporary lumbar drain was placed until they can do the surgery on Monday afternoon. The procedure to place the drain went well, but once the lidacaine wore off she was in a lot of pain. When I left the hospital around midnight to come home to sleep, they were just starting to get a handle on the pain.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Oh NO!

Here we go again. Liz is back at Hopkins. It looks like the shunt may be blocked (again). She started with horrible heacaches and naseau yeserday. Then she conplained about vision getting cloudy. So we headed off the ER. They admitted her last night and she is having a bunch of tests today to pinpoint the issue.

Prayers are appreciated to find out what is going and that her sight returns to normal.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Getting on with Life

The Low Vision Occupational Therapist came to our house for a home visit on Thursday. This was done to help Liz be able to function and be more independent in her “real life”. It was a very productive visit.

Since Liz has some “functional sight”, we explored some different options for magnifiers so she can do what is called spot reading. Reading small amounts of text, such business cards or package directions. We don’t have a final recommendation right now since her vision is still changing. The OT also suggested getting some yellow lensed sport glasses to help cut down on the glare when necessary.

The OT also helped Liz figure out how to move around her room at night and be able to head to the bathroom without help. It was suggested that we put bell collars on the cats. (We have several unhappy cats right now.) She helped Liz figure out how to pour drinks into glasses by herself. And our microwave now has sandpaper on a couple of the buttons so she can feel them and know what buttons to use.

We set up an appointment with the local Department of Rehabilitation, Office of the Blind. These are the people that will help us get the equipment that she will need. The readers and software programs are not inexpensive. Since she is a student and wants to return to school, they will do everything they can to help her. These type of devices will be provided to her free of charge.

We also called the Blind Industries and Services of Maryland. This is the group that provides the mobility and life skills training she will need. She has an appointment to tour the facilities on Tuesday. They have a free residential program to help her develop these skills. The program takes nine to ten months to complete, so we shall see if it is the right thing for her at this time.

So things are moving along for the family and for Liz. We still continue to pray for the complete return of her sight, but we also need to start laying the foundation for her to be able to function if that is not God’s plan for her. I have had some comments that we are rushing things and that we should wait until we know for sure what her vision will be. I am finding though, that it takes time to get these things moving. I would rather have a plan laid out and NOT need it, than to wait and find she will need them and then have to wait months to get the ball rolling.

Have a wonderful and blessed weekend.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Big Changes at the Zoo

Sorry I haven’t posted for the past week. We have been having some happenings going on at the zoo. The major one, and the thing that took the most time was getting our oldest prepared and off to college. She has officially become a college freshman as of last Sunday.

But before that we were literally rearranging the house. Liz’s room has now become the “babies” room. She made sure that happened before she left since she wanted to be here. That was bittersweet. Richard and I now have our room back after almost 3 years of sharing with my girls. Needless to say I didn’t sleep very well that first night. Almost as bad as the first time a baby sleeps through the night.

Then two days later we packed up the car and headed up to Mount Saint Mary’s. They have a wondeful family oriented Move-In Day for the freshman. You pull up to the dorm, lots of people label the boxes, unload the car and then carry the items up to the dorm room for you. We were able to quickly get her half of the room in some semblance of order. Then we headed over to the cafeteria for lunch. After that the girls decided they were tired and done so at 3:00 we left Liz there and headed home. Again a very hard thing for a mom to do. I am extremely proud of her and know she will do well.

We have been talking frequently as she is making a lot of new friends, learning how to be independent and manage her time. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the semester goes for her.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Going to start blessing my family again

I was reading another blog http://lifeandponderings.blogspot.com/. (Thanks Michelle!) It started me thinking. I used to be so much better following the home journal. My Journal laid out my weekly plans, had my menus in it and also my important phone numbers. My house and budget seemed to run so much better when I was following my plan.

A lot happened in our lives during the past 2 years. The premature birth and death of a son, hospitalization of our oldest daughter, the pregnancy and birth of three more baby girls, and subsequent hospitalization of our daughter. Following the schedule and menu didn’t seem important while going through these family events. Now that life has settled down (as much as it can settle down with 9 children) I want to get the home journal functional once again and be able to bless my family.

So starting tomorrow I am going to get the journal off the bookshelf. I am going to go through and revise it to fit our current life. After all, these journals should be a living document so that it can grow and change with our lives.

After that I am going to print off my master shopping lists and revise these. Then I am going to sit down and plan menus for the next two weeks from what I have in my pantry and freezer.