Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Funnies

Gabby wants to sing "Lemontine" (Clementine)

And Nate thinks the Apostle's Creed is all about pirates.
He kept saying "Pontius Pirate" when he was reciting it after Justin.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Of course, we've been doing a lot of stretching with Kate--she's gained about 20 degrees of movement since we started physical therapy just over a week ago (and significantly more since she started being unsplinted almost full time almost two weeks ago).  She has 15 degrees to go, but the therapist warns those last 15 are the hardest.

I'm feeling stretched too--we are just so BUSY!

In many ways I'm so glad we started school.  We're getting so much done, but then again, yikes!  We have to make FOUR trips to PT and the doctor's office this week--seriously Monday through Thursday everyday.  You add to that the day to day running of a household: trips to the grocery, bank, post office, and library.  And I haven't even thought about the laundry that needs to be done soon.

Then I took the van for emissions testing Monday, after PT.  The kid running the test seemed lost.  Then he gave me the paper stating we failed the test based on computer codes.  The van that was running fine when I drove it in, but I no longer had use of much of the dashboard or air conditioning and my lights telling me that the doors and tailgate were ajar were lit up when I left.

Thankfully I knew I had gas and I drove home a familiar route, so I was able to get here easily.  When I got home, Justin fixed it all up.  I was concerned it would do it again, so he took it for the test the next day--and it passed, whew.

I also managed to stub 'this little piggy stayed home' so badly this week that I thought it was broken.  It's a lovely shade of purple now, but it is slightly better than it was.

I've been gathering all the required forms for processing Kate's secondary insurance for her arm.  On the upside of that, I did find that they only have a $100 deductible!  Yay!  They may not choose to cover everything, but I am hoping they will.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Madeline Lapbook

Last week Gabriella and I took our first foray into making a lapbook.  There are absolutely amazing ones out there.  Ours...well it is a first attempt.

The cover has a coloring sheet I printed of a cartoon of Madeline, a tag I created with the title and author, and then a photo of Gabby's favorite piece of architecture from the book (Palais Garnier).

Inside I created a place to match some of the rhyming words that were found in the book.  We also have a page that is dedicated to the number 12--a coloring page of the girls in 2 straight lines, under that flap 12 circles (traced pennies) in two straight lines.  The math problems are 2x6 with the answer below the flap and the same for 'A dozen.'

The back is the map and flag.

Like I said, there are some absolutely fantastic lapbooks out there, and this isn't going to win any awards, but it was a fun way for Gabby to learn and Kate is jealous she didn't get to make one, which generally means that the idea was fun. 

We also ate a meal of French food: quiche, ratatouille, and crepes.

The images:
Madeline coloring sheets
Map of France (Europe) and flag
Palais Garnier (listed as free to share)
The matching sheet was self created using Microsoft

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Heart Attack in an Envelope

We've been getting bills, lots of bills, for Kate's elbow.  There are the ER hospital, the surgery hospital, the doctor, the anesthesiologist.  Then there are all the EOBs from the insurance company.  It's a lot of mail.

Yesterday I got two bills from the hospital--one was a first statement, the other dated the next day said past due.  Past due!?  One day later.  That doesn't make sense, but that isn't the thing that knocked the wind out of me.

$16,777.72 ?!?

So I called the billing office.  I called the insurance company.  It turns out the insurance company has an agreement that the hospital is supposed to write off almost all of that.  A mistake was made and we were billed it.

Something is horribly, horribly wrong.  Either the hospital is charging way to much (like $16,000 too much) or the insurance company is paying way to little and the hospitals won't be able to stay open.  I don't know.

I was told by the billing office to be sure the follow up regularly on a bill of this size, but we won't have to pay that--not that we could!    

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Neverending Story...of Kate's Elbow

Kate started physical therapy this week to work on her range of motion.  It just hasn't been good since she began moving it two weeks post break, so she gets to see a therapist three times a week.

We met her therapist yesterday, and we were there for two hours for evaluation and stretching.  The PT showed me a few new things about our stretching routine.  She also encouraged us to use a toy bowling game and household chores, like unloading the dishwasher, to help Kate naturally extend and flex her muscle.  We are also going to be working with her scar, to decrease her sensitivity and be sure that there aren't and adhesions that keep her from moving freely.

While she is using the splint less at home, we are still to use it to protect her arm when we are out and about. She really wanted a neat cast color and was disappointed she didn't get a cast, so I dyed one of her bandages purple.

Plain bandage into a sink with hot water and purple dye.

Purple arm

Monday, July 16, 2012

One Week Down

So, when we decided to go ahead with homeschooling last week, I told Justin that I fully expected to be ready to ship at least one of the girls off to public school by the end of the week and that I was glad that we had three weeks to iron out the details before public school started here, so I wouldn't be tempted then.

I can honestly say that I was not tempted, even once, to send any munchkin off to school somewhere else this past week.

Some favorites from this week:

  • The girls studying history and science together
  • Making our first lap book ever (for the book Madeline)
  • Learning to write upside down (me, while scribing Kate's math work for her)
  • The school bell--I'm not sure why, but the three littles get so excited when I ring that bell.
  • Art activities set up for me (Rod and Staff, so I don't have to have my act together!)
  • Both of my book orders came in, so I have all sorts of fun new things and books
  • Gabby's new backpack
  • Ratatouille (French cuisine for the study of Madeline--the kids didn't like it, but Justin and I did)
  • Labeling the house with our Latin vocabulary words and singing the songs
  • Semi-unrelated, Kate is out of her splint most of the time at home now

A mess like that must mean success, right?!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Change of Weather

We had several weeks with no rain at all.  We were watering our tomatoes daily, sometimes twice a day.  I gave up on my flowers out front because I expected a watering ban any day.  They are pitiful.  The grass in the back is brown.  The grass out front is gone--the ground is mostly bare.  Then it began to rain.  And it has rained every day since it began--five or six days ago.  I looked at the forecast and every day has a chance of rain listed again.  Every day in the 10 day forecast.  Should we be building an ark?  At least we aren't in a drought!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Funnies

Nate (about one of the ambulances in front of our house): "It's a Human Truck!"
Nate (about the fire truck in front of our house): "I wanna ride that!"

It was an exciting day for the boy.

To add to Nate's lexicon: a ceiling fan is a family

Kate, on taking a bath in my garden tub to soak her elbow--her first real bath in 3 weeks, "This is like a palace."  and "If this were a dream, I've never had a pleasanter dream."

Justin told Kate he wanted to put a bug in her ear.  Kate uninterrupted before he could go on and said, "OOO can I have a cricket?!  Then I can hear chirp, chirp."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Things that Go Boom

Yesterday afternoon I heard a very, very loud bang.  I was downstairs preparing lasagna and the kids were watching TV.  I almost told them, "No," when they asked to watch it, but I was so glad I said yes.  When I opened my front door, I found that a van had struck my neighbor's house.

I called 911 as I stood on my stoop and made my way over to give details.  The airbags went off.  Three women, 4 children.  The most visible injury was a little gal, maybe 4 or 5 with a large gash in her leg.  It wasn't bleeding badly, but it was very deep--like I'd never seen that part of a person except in a textbook deep.

It seemed to take forever for help to arrive.  The driver was in a panic and stayed on the phone almost the entire time.  She told me that she couldn't get her van to stop.  I really don't know how long it was that we waited.  I took long enough to run home and check the kids (completely engrossed in the TV) and grab a bandage (the long kind I bought for Kate's incision) for the little gal and try to comfort the two children who were in the middle row--the itty bitties in the back were still in their carseats and scared, but looked okay.  Once the fire department arrived I left, so as not to be in the way.  The driver called her husband, I presume, who arrived with a car load of people, plus there was the family from the house that was hit, so I wanted to give them room to work.

Only one ambulance arrived, but two more were sent eventually.  After everything settled down and the only person left was a police officer waiting for a tow truck, I went to check on my neighbor, who had been in shock during the whole affair.  When we chatted, she told me that she thought there had been a bomb because of how hard her house shook.  The vases in her room upstairs had broken, but she was thankful it hadn't been the day before, when her son had been outside riding his skateboard.  Her front steps are demolished, but hopefully that can be fixed for her soon.

It was such a random thing.  I was grateful I could be there and also grateful that as far as I could tell, everyone's injuries were very treatable.  And so very grateful that no one's children were playing outside.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

First Day

Kate's broken elbow has meant that most of the summer time pass times are out for the moment.  She's supposed to sit and, well, sit.  What fun is that?  So rather than sit for the next several weeks and then sit for the school year...we started school around here yesterday.

It's been a bit of a rush, but the first day went off pretty smoothly.  I placed the last of my school orders on Saturday, so that should be here in the next little bit.  The big things in that order are:

  • Phonics cards for Gabby: I went straight into a McGuffey Reader with Kate, but I'm taking a different approach now.
  • New math books:  We should run out of Kate's math in September (she started first semester 2nd grade math last spring).
  • A Workbook for our writing curriculum:  I found all the selections last year, but in looking at the requirements for this year, I decided I would really appreciate the time it will save to have that done for me.  She can't write at the moment anyway, so we'll not be using it just yet anyway.
  • Pattern blocks:  I have always thought these are really neat and I found a good sized set of used ones for sale at the online shop with the phonics cards.  It made me feel better about paying the shipping that was more than the cost of the phonics cards too!

1st day of Kindergarten

2nd grade


Gabby tells me her favorite part of her first day was making a pattern with her name (in math).  Kate tells me her favorite part was the school bell (we picked up a service bell the other day on a whim, but it does get their attention from most parts of the house without me having to call for them!).  When I pushed her further, Kate liked the etiquette lessons we do on Mondays.

I think it will get easier when Kate can write for herself.  For now, I have to try to keep Gabby in fairly independent work while Kate is doing her paper based work, since I'm scribing for Kate at the moment.  Soon enough Kate will be able to read some assignments and write her answers independently and I can just answer questions as they come up on her practice pages.

They are doing history and science together, though Gabby is mostly listening in on those at this point.  She did answer one of the history questions yesterday.  We will get some of her social studies and science from the Five in a Row books we're doing this year too.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Past Two Weeks...

We have been truly blessed with the people serving Kate through this break.

In the ER, they were quick and worried about her pain.  They even gave her a popsicle.

The woman who owns the gymnastics studio told us about her insurance policy, so we can have some of our expenses, after insurance taken care of.

The hospital let her take her bear back for surgery.  The nurses went to bat to keep her from getting unnecessary medication.

Then yesterday we went in for a post-op visit and the x-ray tech was great with her there too.  She loved Kate's little bear in a hospital gown with a sling.  She decided that Kate should help take an x-ray of the bear.  So we have pictures of the screw in Kate's arm and the beads in the bear.

Here you can clearly see the beads and the screw!

 And here is our lovely girl stretching out her arm--we get to work on range of motion three times a day now.  The white strips next to her are her splints.  There are two of them that we wrap on with an ace bandage to keep her arm protected.

Now to try to follow the doctor's instructions about not letting her fall...I think I need some bubble wrap and some rope!  He told her she could read her Bible and watch TV.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Like Daughter, Like Mother

As if we needed it confirmed after the past week and a daughter and I are both klutzes.  I was slicing up cucumber and contemplating the fact I was dreading teaching the kids how to use knives.  They've had a primer and the girls have done some minor work with a lot of help, but cleaning up an 8" long incision will do that to you--not want to contemplate anything that might hurt their little flesh again.

(As a side note: The post-op instructions stated to cover the site with a band-aid.  Ha!  I've never seen a band-aid like that!  I actually double checked before we left the hospital and the nurse re-read it and said it must be so.  The largest band-aids that Justin found when he went shopping were woefully inadequate, so we ended up with two sterile gauze pads, medical tape, and then two of the band-aids covering the top.  Thank goodness for what used to be a well stocked first aid kit!)

A beep sounded and I left my cucumber to wrap potatoes in foil for baking.  Then I sliced the back of my thumb.  Not with the knife, not with that serrated edge for cutting foil.  Nope, I cut myself with the foil itself.  Not bad enough to do anything except hurt my pride, but it definitely reminds me where I fall in the whole scheme of coordinated people.