Saturday, September 24, 2016

Week 8 - Frustration is the Word of the Week

We've had a resurgence of summer-like temperatures this week, which did not please Amber in the least. She's anxiously awaiting autumn temperatures, especially since it is now officially autumn. We decorated the house for the new season last weekend in the hope of helping it feel more like Amber's favorite time of year. She's still rather upset though and keeps bringing up fond memories of past Septembers and Octobers when the weather was more cooperative.

Amber had a couple of fairly productive school days this week along with her full day of co-op classes. We had somewhere other than home to be each day, and that takes a toll on us. Next week is much of the same; actually it's more hectic. This past week has made it clear we're going to need to reevaluate Amber's activities, time at the hospital, and social events. We can't keep up this schedule much longer. On the surface each item doesn't sound like much. However when, for example, a once a month activity requires juggling our schedule repeatedly just to happen or it takes the only free day we had in weeks, I'm not sure it's worth the effort. It's nearly impossible to add anything unless it's an emergency and then I feel guilty for canceling items because of the emergency. So, I'm always behind on my own medical visits (diabetes does not manage itself).

I finally set up Fred's previous Alienware for Amber. She's ever so grateful.
Unfortunately, I'm going to need to start regular appointments with pain management for a problem with my spine, so we will need to make time for that out of Amber's schedule. I imagine the shots will require more time than a quick in and out too. I'm just hoping I don't react to these the same way I have to shots in my other joints. 

Amber spent today in a full dysautonomia / EDS crash where she basically couldn't function. She looked pale and sickly at co-op yesterday, which her friends all noted and even mentioned to me when Amber was not near. They understand her condition, and knew she was pushing through a crash that had already begun Wednesday evening.  But it was sweet of them to watch out for her.

OT during a dysautonomia crash.

I think this crash is a result of a busy schedule and getting over a cold-type thing. On top of all the normal appointments and activities, Amber has been attending her final confirmation classes. Having the classes on a Sunday evening after being at church in the morning wasn't ideal. Each of the ninth grade classes lasted two hours, instead of the usual one hour. Amber can't focus that long any evening, much less on a Sunday. She pushed too hard and then ended up in a downward spiral of insomnia and exhaustion. She hasn't slept well all week since being over tired on Sunday. 

I know this post probably has a frustrated tone, and that's exactly how I feel this week. Low on patience and high on stress. Thankfully, my co-op classes went fairly smoothly, because I didn't have my usual ability to deal with annoyances (and honestly on a good day my tolerance is well below average). At least our kitties have been sweet, healthy, and playful without any significant incidents.

Loading up Great Courses video on the Mayans.
So what did we do all week? 
Physical therapy, occupational therapy, cardio exercise, flute practice, flute lesson, co-op classes and homework (seriously, her only homework is from my classes - I need to stop giving it), clothes shopping (because when the weather cools down the child will have nearly nothing to wear but her endurance allows for one store at a time), grocery shopping (because we had only non-perishables), resting (lots of this to put off the crash as long as possible), studying and oral quizzing for her confirmation examination in 16 days, completing a full lesson in IEW writing, grammar (yes, we finally got to it), math, botany, history and played with our kitties. 

So far this weekend, we've done nothing. Apparently, I was exhausted and ended up sick. Hopefully, a day of rest has helped and we will all be back to our normal selves soon.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Week 7 - Schooling Around Appointments

We've been barely keeping our heads above water with appointments, school work, co-op, home needs (does everything break at once?), and confirmation.  I'll sum up the last couple of weeks, fairly briefly. I've not even been taking many pictures lately, which is a little odd to not even have kitty pics.

Amber presented her confirmation testimony in front of our congregation over Labor Day weekend and it was fantastic. She was poised, had appropriate volume and voice inflection, hand movements, and looked up from her page often. I was fairly impressed because there is no way I could have done that at her age. It was also a very personal testimony, which made it all the more difficult.

Last Sunday we attended half of Amber's last confirmation module - she is done with the catchechismal work, but has some classes on living your faith in the real world. Last Sunday dealt with creation vs evolution.  This coming Sunday is the last class, but I don't have the exact topic yet. Then she only has questioning in October prior to her Reformation Sunday confirmation!

We had missed our sweet tea for a couple of weeks.
Our life has been appointment heavy for the last two weeks as well, and they weren't even all medical appointments. This week alone Amber had four medical appointments and I had an MRI to figure out what's going on with the lumbar section of my back. Despite everything this week, we still managed quite a bit of school. I guess this means we are learning to better handle high school work and busy appointment schedules. Now if we could limit appointments to medical only, instead of cars needing tires or appliances needing repairs, that would be perfect.

We did manage to squeeze in some shopping for Amber's fall formal dress (she found and purchased two) and a trip to the fabric store to pick up supplies for Amber's Halloween costume. She wants to be Missy from Doctor Who, so I'm making the entire Victorian walking dress outfit. We'll see how this comes out.

In actual accomplished school work over the last two weeks Amber has:
  • Kept on schedule with daily math - which is utterly amazing
  • Kept on schedule with botany - not as amazing, since she loves it. Still good to see happen.
  • Attended five co-op classes both weeks - this is the first semester we are letting her take all five hours of weekly co-op.
  • Completed all homework for her co-op classes - This is the first year we are taking content classes and it has required an adjustment in our at-home schedule to get the assignments completed. (Oddly enough, I'm the teacher in most of those classes).
  • Finished reading her entire literature book and is ready for discussion.
  • A few odd writing assignments, but we fell behind on those. So that is next week's emphasis.
  • Kept up with her daily cardio workouts - another difficult task to actually make happen.
I've definitely decided to push philosophy off until next semester, at least. She has enough going on and plenty of other elective courses that we can wait on it. However, we will continue with Traditional Logic started in the latter part of 8th grade. Instead of expecting in completed by December, we have moved its completion date to May. It is supposed to be a single semester course, but we are going to take it slower given all of her other courses.

Literature everywhere this week.
History has been hard to schedule in this year; Amber doesn't seem interested and much prefers her science and literature. I suppose it's good to see her renewing her interest in science when for several years it was a burden to accomplish much science at all.  Still, we need to be more diligent on history going forward.  Writing and grammar have also taken a hit the last couple of weeks and I'm not sure the reason for the disinterest or preference for other subjects.

As a family, we've been watching The Murdoch Mysteries on Netflix in our evening free time. We are already on season four of the seven available on Netflix, but there are a total of nine seasons out there. It takes place in Victorian Toronto and is much like a Sherlock Holmes with more humor. It's entertaining, peaks Amber's interest, and is a great way to see the earlier use of forensic science, which has recently intrigued Amber. I am going to definitely submit the write-up to teach a forensic science lab class at our co-op next semester. Amber is over the moon about this. If the class isn't accepted, we'll just run it at home with a few friends.

Milori loves his Amber
Next week, we have work our way through the appointments again and hopefully complete a little more school work. Still, I'm rather pleased given the number of times we had to leave the house this week. Amber has already this school year earned 120 of her needed 600 core subject hours, and 180 of her total 1000 required hours. At this pace she will be able to take the entire summer off next year. However, of greater concern to us at this age is not meeting the state required hours (which are fairly easy), but to completed the needed credits to stay on track to graduate at her expected time.  I'd say she's doing fairly well in the credit earning areas too. All of her classes at co-op and home are credit worthy and go toward something, so as long as we finish each class she will be in good shape.

This weekend we are decorating the house for Autumn, so that means I'll have a happy girl for quite a few days, at the least. We've already started with a few small things.  This is her favorite time of the year!

Happy Weekend!

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Week 6 - Outdoors

This picture summarizes the best parts of our week - the weather was much cooler, she felt better than in weeks, and she was active. We are about to enter her favorite time of year when the weather allows her to be outside more and she feels better than any other season. School lessons this week were fewer in favor of family days and exercise.

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