Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A quiet start ... our school year.
Martin started the 4th grade.
Aaron started the 2nd grade.
Jonathan started Kindergarten.
While we are in Virginia, our school motto is: Be flexible
We don't always start Day 1 on a Monday. We don't always get a unit done in one week.
I have no goals set on how much to get done by what time. We get done what we can get done.
At some point after we get back home, I will take pictures of each of the children with all of their books as I try to do each year.
I am so thankful that our homeschooling lifestyle has permitted us to be helping my Mom when she needs it the most. I most typically run a pretty rigid schedule, which is somewhat contrary to the flexibility the homeschooling life affords. I am thinking that this schedule(or lack of a schedule, rather) is actually growing me. (not growing on me, mind you ... I'm way too structured for that!)
A few discoveries that I've made so far ... I like 4th grade more than I liked 3rd grade. I like 2nd grade more than I like 1st grade, and what is not to love about Kindergarten? This is going to be an excellent year!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 1- Walt Disney World - Hollywood Studios

We arrived bright and early on an already (very) hot day at Hollywood Studios. I cannot begin to describe how excited we were! There were big smiles all around and the heat couldn't even begin to get us down!

Can you imagine the gleeful shout of a 2 year old when she saw Mickey up on the tower and globe?

I absolutely adore this picture of my guys!
(All 4 of my children insisted on wearing the Disney shirts on their first day!)

I think that Rich and the boys just came off the Toy Story ride in this picture! They LOVED it!

Rosalie absolutely loved meeting all the characters ... and to my great surprise and pleasure ... she did not hesitate to go up to any of them. In fact, I usually had to hold her back! (as not to get in front of anyone else who may have been waiting!)

All of the children (except Martin, who had talked Rich into taking him back on the Rockin' Roller Coaster for the 3rd time!)

Love this picture of my Mom holding my girl. We were waiting in line to meet MICKEY!!

We waited in line for about 20 minutes ... and it was worth every minute! All of the children were super excited to meet Mickey.

Aaron and Rosalie got to meet Mr. and Mrs. Incredible ... interestingly enough ... Rosalie has never seen that movie, but she wanted to meet them anyway!

Above is a shot of the Disney Junior show ... and this was (BY FAR), Rosalie's favorite thing! She sang along with all the songs and was so super excited. She loved the bubbles that came from the ceiling and the "gold pieces" that came fluttering down for her to collect. This was a super fun show!!

Green Army Man was fun to meet outside the Toy Story ride!

Jonathan wasn't as sure about meeting the characters as everyone else, but he sure does love soldiers ... and he did manage to get an autograph!

Martin's favorite thing to do at Hollywood Studios was the Rockin' Roller Coaster and Star Tours. Jonathan seemed to love the Toy Story ride the best, Rosalie loved the Disney Junior Show, and Aaron loved the Star Tours the best. We also got to see the Car Stunt show. Jonathan was super excited when Lightening McQueen came out!! It was such a fun day. We did lots more than what I mentioned here, but these are the highlights. Since we planned to go back the next day to Animal Kingdom, we decided to go home at dinner time and get to bed early. The children ate, then swam a little, and then went to bed.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Arriving in Florida - Vacation Day 1

After leaving our home at 4AM, we arrived in the Orlando area around 3PM. We headed straight over to check into our 3 bedroom townhouse at Windsor Palms, which was only a couple miles from one of the Disney entrances.

We unpacked the van ... and let the children swim in the private pool in the backyard ... and then headed to eat dinner at CiCi's Pizza.

My sister's family and my Mom and Dad came to our townhouse after we ate dinner. (they were staying in their timeshare - also close to another Disney entrance) Above is a picture of all the cousins waiting on a surprise from Mamaw and Papaw!

They each received $20 to spend while they were here in Florida! What a huge treat that was for them! They were so excited about having some spending money.
All of the children swam a little more in our pool, and then everyone went back to their own condos to rest and get ready for our first day at Walt Disney World!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The past week and a half...

Upon our return from Walt Disney World, I spent about 3 days waiting for the green light to travel to Virginia. Tuesday morning, we packed up the van and the 4 children and made our way to my Mom and Dad's house.
Tuesday: We traveled to Virginia, unpacked and got settled. I took the children to my sister's house, then I went to the hospital. By this time, they had gotten Mom's pain under control, and she was doing pretty well. It was good to see, because up until this point I had only heard of the horrible pain that she had endured. I did not see it first hand. My sister and Dad are the ones who have been by Mom's side through each stage ... and have watched the unspeakable pain that my Mom has been through. I spent a few hours with her, and then came home to put the children in bed.
Wednesday: The children and I got up and had a pretty normal morning. We even had a normal school day. (I brought all of our school stuff and plan to work on it as we have time) Later in the day, I surprised my Mom with a visit from my 4 children. She didn't know that I was bringing them, and she was very happy to see them. I like to think it lifted her spirits a little bit. After the visit, I took the children to my sister's house for dinner. My sister had pretty much run herself ragged all day and was exhausted, but still wanted to go up to the hospital to see Mom. (the hospital is about 40 minutes away - which has been a challenge as well) So, I stayed with all of the children until Wes could get home from church.
The children were up until after 10PM on Tuesday, and up until after 9PM on Wednesday.
Thursday: Surgery Day. I took my children to our dear friends, who live in this area. My sister and I drove to the hospital and waited for the surgery to be done. They began the surgery at about noon, and didn't finish until about 5PM. It was still 4 hours after the surgery before we got to see my Mom. It was a long day. They were having a difficult time getting her pain under control. It was devastating to watch my Mom in that much pain. My sister had been with her every step of the way, but this was the first time I had witnessed it.
I finally got back to the children at about 11PM, and got them home and in bed at about midnight.
Friday: My mom's pain was finally under control. She was able to get out of bed and sit in a chair. I was able to get up to the hospital at about 7PM. The children were at my sister's house. I was encouraged by how well my Mom seemed to be doing.
Saturday: I took the children for a short visit that turned into a long one. We ended up staying for about 4 1/2 hours. She was sitting up in a chair when we got there. She also did not have to use her pain pump at all the entire day. We also found out that they were considering releasing her from the hospital on Sunday!
Today: We got a call from my Mom early to let us know that they were definitely going to release her today. My Dad and I went to the store to buy some items that she would need to wear home, and he went off to the hospital. The children and I are at Mom and Dad's today preparing for her to come home.
There is so much more to say ... those are the bare bones, though about the past week. My Mom has a very long and slow recovery process. She is going to need a great deal of help with even the smallest of tasks. That is why we are here.
My children have been absolute troopers through it all. Most of you know that I am very routinized in how I run our days, and there has been nothing routine about the last 2 weeks. They have risen to the task, though, and are doing well. They are getting a little worn down from the late bedtimes, though, and I am working toward getting them back to a normal routine.
With my Mom at home, it will be easier in some ways to manage that.
I still don't know how long we will be here. One of my Mom's brothers, and her sister are planning a trip here at some point to help her out, and when they come, I plan on going home.
Pray: 1. That my Mom's pain will continue to stay under control as she transitions home.
2. That my children will adjust to the needs of my Mom and that I will be able to manage them and all the help that my Mom will require.
3. That my sister will be able to manage all that's on her plate, while also being the main source of help to my Mom over the next year.
4. My Dad - who has to return to work tomorrow.
5. My children - who are missing their Daddy right now. (Jonathan is having the hardest time of all of them)

Thanks for all the prayers and thoughts up until this point. Our motto in life right now is: Be Flexible!! We are adjusting to our new normal.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Home From Vacation

We are home from vacation. We went to Florida and spent the week at Walt Disney World. We had an amazing time. It's so hard to describe how incredible our week was. I have some blog posts planned that will chronicle our week at Disney, however, it may be a while before I can get those posted.
Unfortunately, our last night at the parks ... and last night in Florida, my Mom fell and shattered the humerus in her right arm. She is in an unthinkable amount of pain right now and is awaiting surgery to repair her arm. She has a very long road and difficult recovery ahead of her. At this point, we have a lot of questions and few answers. We managed to get her released from the hospital in Florida in time for them to catch their scheduled flight home and we drove and got home to our house late last night, and are trying to figure out the logistics for me to be with my Mom in Virginia. Please pray for my Mom.
I want to be with her right now. The hard part for me to figure out right now is how I can be there, and help care for my mom, while also taking care of my 4 children. Please pray that we can get all the details worked out so that it will be the best for everyone involved.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 4 - Family Visit

Day 4 started with an easy breakfast of homemade granola and milk, a late lunch of some grilled hot dogs, and leftovers from all of the food we'd made all week long, and we had homemade pizza, and grilled deer shish kebob with onions and peppers. For dessert we had homemade spelt chocolate brownies with vanilla ice cream. Ummm ... yes ... we did a lot of eating this week ... and I am still recovering from all of that food!
Lisa was able to meet her college roommate for lunch. (near Greensboro) So, I took the 6 children to have their pictures taken. We got a group shot of them, and then we split them up for brother/sister shots. All of the pictures were so good, it was hard to choose.
Rich asked everyone that night what was more fun ... going out on the boat, or getting their picture taken. All of the boys said the boat ... Nikki said she liked having her picture taken the best!!
We had so much fun this week and hope that they will come back to visit soon. Visits with family really are the best!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Day 3 - Family Visit

On Day 3, we had a breakfast of homemade waffles and bacon, and then we packed a picnic lunch and drove south to Lake Wheeler. We spent the afternoon on the lake. We all had a super fun time! Ryan had never rowed a boat before and he quickly learned how to maneuver the boat, and get where we needed to go. We got 3 boats and there were 3 people to a boat. Ryan did the rowing in my boat. Rich and Lisa rowed the other two boats.
Aaron said that it was the most fun that he'd had in years! Jonathan was happy because he got to be with Lisa. (he was stuck like glue to her the entire week!) Martin loved having the chance to row the boat. It was fun for all of us. Rosalie was a very good girl and sat still the entire time we were out on the water.
After the fun on the lake, we headed back home and grilled out. We had hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and pasta salad.
After dinner, Rich, Lisa, Ryan, and Martin went to a mudcats baseball game. It was a very full and fun day!