Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dad's Surgery

Dad came through his surgery ok, but later that evening he had an oxygen crisis. Apparently he had a reaction to some medication they gave him. On top of that, they did a chest x-ray and found pneumonia.

When we went to the hospital, we didn't know:
#1 - if they were going to remove his gall bladder;
#2 - if he'd be staying the night.

#1 - No, they didn't. The doctor said that each time he touched a blood vessel or something, it would bleed, so no removal in order to avoid unnecessary bleeding. The gall stone is not giving him any real problems at this point, so this is fine.

#2 - Yes, he stayed the night. I'm so glad, since he had that crisis. It's 10:30 am now and I am at home with my kids. I wish I was there, meeting with the doctor during his rounds, and finding out if it's likely he'll come home today or not.

So now I wait ... and wait. I'm pushing the kids to get their schoolwork done as quickly as possible, but slowpoke Annie is making me crazy!!! And now, after only one lesson, she's going to take her shower. I'm letting her because:
#1 - she desperately needs a shower;
#2 - I'm going to scream if I watch her pokey-ness any longer;
#3 - I'm so on edge at this very moment that any bit of noise makes me want to scream. I can't even bear to hear my chidlren talk!

I so need to be alone right now ... and to maybe take a nap and wake when the kids are ready to be 100% agreeable and cooperative and FAST. Hmmm, guess neither of those will happen. The nap might happen. I think I need it like you know when a toddler needs one or they will fall apart. Yeah, I need one.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Surgery Day for Dad

Dad is having surgery today. They are supposed to be doing another surgery on his liver. This will be #3. Last time they froze the smaller tumor with cryoembolization. Today, I don't know what it's called, but they will "microwave" the same tumor because the cryo didn't get all of it last time.

If he's well enough, the doctor also might remove his gall bladder.

I'm not feeling very confident this time ... I am usually completely at peace with all of this, but this time, I'm just not. I'm not worried so much as just acknowledging that I'm not fully confident that all will turn out fine.

I will be going with them to Flower Hospital in Toledo. I don't normally go, and they don't normally want anyone with them. Too bad. I need to go this time. Annie and Andrew are with Grandma Hassan until Caity gets out of class at Owens, then she'll pick them up. I didn't know it was going to be so cold today and I didn't send warm enough clothes for them!

Of course, the kids spent the night at Grandma's, so we should've slept like babies. But no, we couldn't sleep. We've been up since 4:00. Dishes are done, laundry is done, coffee is almost done, ate a 1/2 bagel with cream cheese. Started packing the book/snack bag for the hospital.

I just want the surgery to be done so I can get on with things. Worked on the lesson plans and organizing over the weekend so I'd be ready whenever we are able to get back to schooling.

Time to actually start getting ready to go now. Prayers continue to flow.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday - Afternoon Clean-up

Being new to homeschooling, it's taking some getting used to. My kids play together really well, but have a habit of *gasp* of making a mess as well. We get all that fun literal schooling out of the way early in the day, and then they have hours to think creatively until Dad comes home.

We school at the table in the morning, mostly clear that "out of the way" for lunch, then move mostly to the couch and floor and out of the house, etc, for the afternoon. Don't tell anyone, but we rarely clean the kitchen right after lunch.

Once I set the kids free with the words "Ok, school is done," the house just really goes downhill from there.

THUS ... I have implemented "Clean-Up Time" in the late afternoon. They must take a break from whatever they are doing, clean up all the messes (including lunch), and then they are free to go back to whatever they want.

This leaves the house tidied up for when Dad gets home, and gives them the responsibility for the mess they've created.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday - Organizing Tips

Never Run Out Again!
We have a 6-year-old bedwetter. He's a heavy sleeper, and we've been sleep-deprived for so long thanks to his older sister, we still haven't tried the idea of waking him up in the night to see if he can get all the way through -- dry.  Call me lazy, call me stupid, just don't call me in the middle of the night. Sue me, I'm tired.

Some nights he DOES make it through, and wakes up dry. But I'm no psychic ... I don't know when this might happen.

Thus, Andrew wears Pull-Ups to bed, and we're good with that. He's not complaining and neither are we.

However, we have experienced, more than once, a bedtime when we suddenly realized we were OUT of Pull-Ups! *Gasp!*

We live 6 miles from the nearest store, and by the time we reach bedtime ... like I said, we're tired! Neither of us wants to run out *just for Pull-Ups!*

Ok, like any other adult would do (ahem, cough cough), we have managed to get through those nights one way or another. However, since this blog is NOT about nighttime potty training, we won't go into our alternative methods.

No, this week's theme is about orgainzing, isn't it? So here's the solution to our problem of running out of Pull-Ups ...

when we buy a new pack, Daddy takes 2 or 3 and hides them in the linen closet!!! Yay Daddy! What a genius! By hiding more than one, we also don't run into the problem of having only one Pull-Up left and still be 3 days away from payday.

If you liked this, visit Kristin at We Are THAT Family for more Works For Me Wednesday tips.

Works for Me Wednesday

Multiplication Ideas

My 8-year-old, Annie, started learning multiplication last year in 2nd grade at public school. Now I must admit, I seem to be raising math geniuses. I'm not bragging (much). I did not grow up with the same math skills that my children have, but of the 4 I've given birth to, it just seems to come naturally to them.

Of course, maybe it could have something to do with the fact that I always provided them with educational and developmental toys from toddlerhood on.  We counted as babies, we sorted and grouped as toddlers, and we learned to recognize numbers as preschoolers.  My babies were raised in an atmosphere of "learning," so this might be what led to their ease with Math.  One can hope.

Now that we have begun homeschooling this year, our first time ever, I wanted to cover multiplication as soon as possible with Annie. Luckily, her 2nd grade teacher was fabulous (if Annie could've had her every year for the rest of her school life, I would've left her in public school -- maybe).  Annie has retained her understanding of how multiplication works, so now my goal is to give her a "Classical Education" twist. We are going to memorize the facts, factors, and multiples.

We started a Math Notebook today (just a regular spiral notebook). Annie wrote "factor x factor = product" as her first note.  I covered this on the whiteboard, showing examples, and labeling one number "factor 1" and the other "factor 2" at first, then showing her that we can have these switch places, with the second number becoming "factor 1" and the first number becoming "factor 2" but the product staying the same.

She then wrote the rule for "zeros" -- Any number x 0 = 0 -- and "ones" -- Any number x 1 = that same number.

She already has a very firm understanding of the 2's since the answers are "the doubles" (this is how she thinks of it -- it works for her, so I'm not changing it). Thus we didn't worry about a rule for two's today.

We then turned to a clean page, and I made 4 sections by drawing a line across the middle horizontally, and one vertically as well. I labeled the top two sections "0's" and the bottom two sections were labeled "1's." I then got her started so she would know exactly what I expected from her and to make sure she understood the commutative property of these facts.

In the top left section, I started her off with writing 0 x 0 = 0 on the first line. Across from it, in the top right section, I wrote the same thing. On the next line down, I wrote 0 x 1 = 0, and 1 x 0 = 0 ... and the next down line, I did 0 x 2 = 0 and 2 x 0 = 0.  I then did the same thing on the bottom half, using the 1's facts.  She got the idea of what to do to continue the pattern, and was able to complete these on her own.

She was so excited about the fact that she knew what she was doing, and that she already knows her 2's also, that she wanted me to go on with the next page, so I did! Why stop for the day when the child is engaged?!? However, I wasn't going to just set up the top half of the page with the 2's and leave the bottom half blank. I set it up for the 3's.  AND, since we had basically covered things she already had a good grasp of, I decided it was the proper time to cover the 3's.

At this point, I pulled out the Legos (she didn't feel like it was just "more of the same" this way) and picked out 12 little Lego pieces that each had 3 circles on top.  I also pulled out a Lego that they would describe as a 2x3 brick (read: 2 by 3). I asked if she could tell me a multiplication sentence that describes that brick. She could! Yay!

I then showed her the chart in her notebook, with the beginner problems I had started for her, and  showed her how we could "show" this with the Legos. I also showed her how she could count the circles on top if she needed help. We used that method to "count on" once she knew how many she had so far, and just "counted on" 3 more.  Annie then used the manipulatives (Legos) to physically illustrate each sentence as she continued filling in her chart.  She loved it.  By the time she got to 9, she was able to pick up on the pattern she was making (adding 3 more to the previous product).

As she finished the chart, I grabbed a sheet of construction paper and cut a ctrip from the long side, about an inch and a half wide.  I then used my Sharpie marker to write the multiples of 3 (although I just realized I didn't teach her the word "multiples!" Bad mom!!) from 0 through 36 down the length of the strip.  When Annie had finished her chart, I showed her the multiples strip, and asked if she could tell what the pattern on it was ... she could! Again, yay!

We then spent a minute looking at it, reading the numbers down the strip, and then I asked her (she likes a challenge) how far she thought she could remember without looking.  She loves praise, so even though she only got to 15, I praised that.  We then taped this strip to the front door, which she passes many times a day. I told her we would see how much of it she could memorize before Daddy gets home.  A few hours later, she had the whole thing memorized and was able to recite it for Dad when he got home.

Tomorrow we will do the 4's, and maybe the 5's, since they are so easy.

Oh, I should mention that we did try filling in a multiplication chart (a 10 by 10 chart) first, but that idea didn't seem to click with her, so I scrapped that idea and went on with the notebook idea instead. I personally feel like you need to treat the most important subjects for your children (math, reading, etc) like you do potty training: you just keep trying the known methods, and maybe some of your own, until you find one that works with your particular child.