Saturday, February 24, 2007

Winter - again, finally

Well, we have a Winter Wonderland outside again! We got about 4 inches of snow last night. We were supposed to go to the homeschool science fair this morning, but L is still just not feeling well. She was going to try to go, but her cough just won't quit. P and I took the board up to the church hall last night, but her paper, owl pellets, and owl calls (on her dad's Palm) are still here. Unfortunately, her board by itself does not really tell about her project. She really needed to be there to talk to the judges. But, P and I are the ones who really have to evaluate her project and we are pleased with her work. So, we'll stay home today while the children cough.

I'm getting the hang of the CPAP finally. I have slept well the last 2 nights with it. Last night, it didn't even take long for me to fall asleep (which has been a source of frustration for me). I'm still having headaches, and I'm not sure if they're really improved any yet. Everything gets very confused when the kids are sick. I hope they're all better by Monday. We've lost a full week of "regular" school and I'd like to catch up. Like the consummate homeschooler, though, I'm not calling the week a total loss. We have been reading books out loud. We have also been learning to give each other a lot of grace - we've all needed it with this week!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Great White North - really?

It got to 55 degrees today - in February! We've had a 3 day warm spurt so most of the snow is melted, and what isn't melted gets icy on the top in the morning. I wouldn't object so much if it were actually spring. As it is, the weather forecast calls for cooling and we will have lows in the single digits again by Tuesday. Tonight, we are forecast to have rain - February!!

My CPAP is still requiring some adjustment. P woke me up this morning because I had taken it off and I wasn't breathing well. Last night, I spent about 30 minutes adjusting everything and then couldn't sleep for an hour (despite being really tired to begin with). If I can't get things working the way that I want by next week, I'm going to ask about a mask.

My kids are still recovering. L had a high fever last night, but seems to be improved today. She still has a really bad sore throat (not surprising, given the redness and rawness of her throat). C has been doing a bunch of coughing today. L has missed 2 days of art class. She isn't too worried because she can always go in after school to finish projects. I hope that she improves enough tonight so that she can finish her science fair project by Friday afternoon - we set up on Friday night and the fair is on Saturday.

One of the most exciting things that is happening is that Core 6 from Sonlight comes tomorrow or Friday. We have less than a month left to finish Core 5 (Eastern Hemisphere with an emphasis on the least evangelized cultures), and we're excited to see what we will be studying in Core 6. The Core includes Bible/history/geography/social sciences. We got the new science book in the mail today. We are going to use Apologia's Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day (referring to the days of Creation). The science book encourages the use of notebooking - recording whatever one learns in a notebook. The kids haven't been doing much notebooking, but L appears to be interested in it. It will be a little more challenging with C because of his dyslexia, but I think we can make it work. I'm hoping we can use notebooking with all of our subjects because it sounds like a great way to synthesize what they have learned.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

More about the CPAP

Well, I used my CPAP machine for about half the night last night. I don't recall taking it off, but I vaguely remember seeing that the clock said 3am and that I didn't have it on. It took a long while to get to sleep with it on last night. I woke up with terrible sinus pain (which is sometimes how a migraine starts) so I don't know if I'm trying to get used to the CPAP or if I had a migraine. I was sleepy today, so I took a nap with the CPAP and did much better with it. We'll see how tonight goes. One concern that I do have is that the tubing and mask are all supposed to be cleaned daily (according to the manufacturer's info) or every 2-3 days (according to the home health company). Either way, it's several minutes of work that needs to be done. The home health company recommended that I cover the tubing with fleece or something similar for insulation. I agreed that this was important since the tubing goes from the machine, along the window, and then to my mask. Last night, I found some purple fleece and made a nice little cover for the tubing (that is easy to take on and off - important since it has to be cleaned so often). I think it's very cute - I was very glad that my sewing machine stays set up for just such emergencies.

C has been very sick since last night. He had a bit of a sore throat yesterday morning, which I didn't worry about. He felt well enough to go to the bowling party yesterday afternoon, but developed a fever, cough, and runny nose in the evening. He has had the symptoms all day today. He really looks sick. I called the clinic about whether or not to have him tested for influenza and we decided against it. In this area, rimantidine-resistance is very common among the influenza virus, so they use Tamiflu. However, there are now concerns about Tamiflu causing delirium and there have been cases of kids trying to hurt themselves while on Tamiflu. So, I'm pretty sure he's got influenza, but we're going to wait it out. One of the other homeschool moms whose kids were at the bowling party sent out an email today that her kids were diagnosed with influenza today. I'm not sure that they gave it to C, and C may have given it to her kids - what a mess! C is sleeping in the living room tonight with me so that P can get some sleep tonight. He has to be at church at 7am.

I ordered our next year's curriculum this week!! We use Sonlight for the Core subjects (history/geography/etc.) and for language arts (I've decided that the workbooks take too much time and aren't a really great fit for L). We are going to be using Apologia Elementary Science - we're going to start with "Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day of Creation". I'm also planning on implementing notebooking with the kids. The science curriculum is built around notebooking. I'm going to have the kids start keeping notebooks for their other subjects, as well. We've started some of that already: I have them keeping a vocabulary list from our study of Africa. I would add some map work, but that is covered in another resource. The notebooking concept is going to require some adjustment in how we think about doing schoolwork. I want them to start to expand their thinking on a topic - do more than just what we've read together - instead of just "doing the minimum" to get by. I'm already starting to pray for the kids' response to this as well as my own attitude. I'm pretty excited about the new Core - we are going to spend 2 years studying World History (and, necessarily, geography, politics, sociology, etc.). The science curriculum is intended to cover one school year. After that, I will probably have L do the Apologia General Science and have C do the elementary Astronomy or "Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day of Creation". P laughs at my planning so far in the future. I know that things are very likely to change, but I want to always be looking ahead so that I can be prepared.

Friday, February 16, 2007

My new machine

I had a sleep study last night because of my headaches and because I snore (my husband says that the snoring has gotten worse over the last year and a half). And, it turns out that I have obstructive sleep apnea. They sent me home with a nice, new CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to use at night when I'm sleeping.

A little more than a year ago, I went for a sleep study, but I wasn't able to finish it because I got a migraine during the night and couldn't sleep. My husband had to come pick me up at 1am - and the hospital is 35 minutes away! So, I was a little apprehensive about going for this sleep study. The good news is that I didn't have a migraine during the study, but the bad news is that I had a migraine during the day before the study! But, I took my migraine meds and things stayed under control. I couldn't nap during the day (what I usually do when I have a migraine) so I was good and tired when they were ready for me to sleep.

During the sleep study, they monitored heart rate and rhythm, leg movement, brain waves, blood oxygen level, and air movement from my mouth and nose. I had sensors and wires everywhere! I didn't sleep well at all during the first part of the study, but I slept enough for them to see that I was having events where my breathing became extremely shallow. The tech said that I didn't stop breathing very often, though. Halfway through the night, the tech came and put a CPAP mask on me. I slept very well for the rest of the night. The CPAP provides a steady stream of air through my nose so that the tissue of my airway stays open and I breathe normally.

This morning (at 6:30am!!) the tech from the home health company was at the hosptital and taught me how to use the machine. Instead of a mask, I am using "nasal pillows" - a device that sits right under my nose and blows air. I still have straps around and over my head to keep the device in place. The machine heats and humidifies the air before it gets to the "nasal pillows". This is quite important up here with the nighttime temps that have been in the single digits this week. I took a nap this afternoon with the machine. I was so happy with the quiet and ease of use of the machine as well as how well I slept.

So, will this take away all the headaches and make me all better? The pulmonologist was doubtful about that. He thinks that I may get a 20% improvement or so. But, I'm keeping an open mind. God is in control of this whole situation. If He wants me to get better, that will be wonderful, but if He chooses for me to continue to have problems, that's OK too. "...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Phil 4:11-13. I can't really say that I've learned to be content, but rather that I'm learning to be content. I'm further down the road now than I was a year ago, and God is still teaching me a lot about contentment, fulfillment, and rest.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Colder than cold!!

I absolutely love living in "The Great White North", but it can get a little trying when it gets as cold as it has been the last week. The temperatures yesterday were so cold that the schools were all closed. But, with homeschooling, my kids still had to do schoolwork. Today, it has been above zero - believe it or not, I think that's almost warm! In any case, our home has been nice and warm.

I went to Houston last weekend for my college roommate's 40th birthday. It was a surprise for her that I was coming - and was she surprised!! I had a great time seeing her again. We went out and ate boiled crawfish (one of my favorite meals). Her husband had planned the entire weekend without her knowledge. There was a birthday party at a restaurant with his and her parents, friends, and some of her friends from high school. She knew about none of this! It was a blast!

Our family sat down last week and redid our chore lists for everyone. Previously, I had listed out what everyone needs to do and when. This didn't really seem to be working as well as I would have liked. So, this time, we worked together to list all the routine work that needs to be done and divided it up with each person volunteering for his/her favorite (or least offensive, at least) chores. I also have set it up so that one child helps me with the kitchen and the other with the laundry. We switch off who it is each month. Ideally, I would like to teach them to manage the laundry and to plan/cook/serve meals and clean up afterwards. Right now, I just want the basic housework to get done even if I'm not feeling well.

It has been a week and the kids seem to think that our system is working pretty well right now. I still have to remind the kids to get some stuff done. L was not too happy about having to help me with laundry because the basement is so cold right now. But, we're figuring it all out. I'm optimistic about it.

I got the kids signed up for dance for this semester. They love their classes, but I am having to drive to Point twice a week. L takes jazz (a new class for her) and tap on Monday and ballet on Tuesday. C takes jazz on Tuesday. Our carpoolling system for Tuesdays is a little complicated, but I think it will end up being OK. There are three families that are carpooling for Tuesdays.

P is taking a reading class this semester. It is a class to help him work with kids who may show up for his classes with poor reading skills. He is also glad to learn more about how kids learn to read, given C's dyslexia. But, P just got home from class, so I'm off to talk to him - he's been gone almost all day and evening! And, I'm going to sit in my rocker with my feet on my footwarmer and my hat on my head and be warm!!