Friday, March 2, 2012

The Rollercoaster Week - Weekly Review

This week has been the toughest since we started homeschooling and it really had nothing to do with the school part.

It feels like we got nothing done, but when I look back in my tracking software I can see that we nearly completed everything that was planned.  I'm somewhat amazed by this because it really feels like this was one of those whirlwind and emotional weeks where all I did was go from one thing to another.  I hope Amber did manage to learn things from the stuff that it appears we did.

I'm going to start off with a list of the positives that we did accomplish this week.  It makes me feel better to list those because the week was so crazy.

First, in pursuit of my goal to lose the last 10 pounds needed to reach my ideal weight, I was a very very good girl with my food this week.  I also worked out every single evening and even did some PE with Amber a couple of days.  So far this week I have racked up a whopping 78 activity points (Weight Watchers online), and that doesn't include anything but workouts.  I haven't tracked regular housework activity.
Amber finished the altered Social Studies - U.S. Regions today with the West region.  She did 3 state reports this week to finish the Midwest, Southwest and West.  I know that was extra fast, but we were dropping the regions study and just waiting for her LIFEPAC 5th U.S. History to arrive.  It arrived Wednesday and I'm ready to start it on Monday.

We also finished the unit in grammar and she took her test (100%!). We have now started the descriptive paragraph writing unit.  We were both looking forward to this. She did very little of this type of writing in her parochial school.  We had lots of good word discussions this week and had fun altering existing paragraphs with new and more interesting words.

We did a couple of science labs and studied chemical reactions in science.   We had an unexpectedly fun lab creating copper acetate on a brand spanking new penny that I had just gotten that morning.  Amber also had fun trying other liquids, besides the vinegar, to see if they would have a reaction with the copper.  As expected, it was a no go on everything but the vinegar, which did produce a disgusting green slime on the pretty penny.   Also, vegetable oil will protect a penny from the evil vinegar fumes and not allow the chemical reaction to occur.  Who knew the kitchen could be so much fun.

Amber took her first test in Latin this week and did pretty good.  She expected to have 100% (92%).  She did not expect the grammar questions that were there.  She has now learned that it takes more than vocabulary to pass a test.  I still say that between the two of us we will be able to learn Latin.  I've got the grammar down, but the vocabulary is just not sticking in my brain.  She has the vocabulary, but doesn't have enough history with verb conjugation to see the patterns immediately. She is getting there and pretty quickly.  I am very pleased with this curriculum though and need to update my information about it soon.

Now for the rollercoaster part of the week.

Junior Girl Scout - with cat
Monday was normal, just the normal housework / laundry and school.  Amber had a special Girl Scout event at church in the afternoon. It was Girl Scout World Thinking Day.  She said the day was fine, but not as fun as last year.  I'm not sure if she was just excited as a first year Girl Scout last year and this year it is old hat, but at any rate she enjoyed seeing her friends from school and had a decent time.

Tuesday started the appointments.  Amber had her first orthodontic consultation. We have known since she was three that she would need braces.  She is now 10 and it was getting close to time. Her dentist has been watching closely.  Neither the dentist, the orthodontist or our family subscribes to the group of thought that has younger children wearing braces to then wear them again in middle school.  Just the way we feel.

It shouldn't have been so much of a shock considering that her dentist has been keeping very close eye on her oral development.  I was still shocked that they did all the records stuff at the first consultation and then scheduled us to come back in next week for the details of the plan.  It turns out we hit it right on the nose and Amber needs braces this month, just as the last of her baby teeth (the molars) come out. They are all very lose and poised to drop out of her mouth with a good gum chewing.

Wednesday was the storms and wind.  Living in Missouri we see lots of tornadic storms and I hate every minute of it. I'm from Missouri and it still brings on my panic attacks. Amber is just about the same as me. We got little sleep Tuesday night into Wednesday due to the storms that trekked across Missouri. It would have turned out to be a nice day, eventually, if the winds hadn't still been 50-60 mph all day.  We tried outdoor PE since it was so warm, but settled for garage PE.  If we survive till next week, we are going to do a lesson on storm preparedness and update the tornado kit in the basement. I usually do it myself, but it is time Amber learns why all that stuff is in there.

Thursday brought the emotional appointment for Amber

Amber has walked with both legs turned in since she could walk, as many young children do. She's been x-rayed and all the checks done. Bones were straight, we were told she would grow out it that she was just a lazy walker and needed to be reminded to walk straight legged.

She's 10 years old and still turns them both, but the left more so. It is turned quite a bit actually, and she even swims that way.  I had become a little concerned over the leg turning, but Amber, herself, was even more concerned and asked me to talk with the pediatrician at her 10 year old checkup in February.  He, of course, sent us right back to the orthopedic. This time we received an appointment at their new, and closer, location with a different doctor in the practice.

After more x-rays and watching her walk he diagnosed her with femoral anteversion.  The leg is not attached quite right in the hip socket (actually, both legs just worse with the left).  Most children do outgrow this, Amber has not and will not.  There is nothing to do for it except a very drastic set of surgeries with a recovery time around six months.  Neither the doctor or we are willing to do this.   So, what it means is that Amber will always walk with her left leg turned quite visibly inward because that is how the leg faces.  The bones are straight, the leg is just sideways in the hip.

It's not the worst thing in the world.  It just makes us very sad to know there isn't anything to do, was never anything that could have been done.  She will always be clumsy and trip over her feet like she so often does. She will always have an awkward gate when running.  She will always scuff her shoes and have trouble walking in heels.  She will always have friends asking her why she walks like that and why she stands with her feet turned inward.

We spent six years reminding Amber to walk straight, as instructed by the doctors.  Six years of giving her reprimands for walking the only way she can walk.  I felt awful by the time we came home from the orthopedic.  Then, this morning at breakfast Amber says "I can't believe that I'm not normal. I guess I never was, but I used to think it was cool I could turn my feet backwards".  She really can turn her left foot where the heel, not the toes, faces forward.

My heart is breaking for her.  It really isn't a terrible thing to have femoral anteversion. It won't affect her abilities in life.  I'm just terribly sad for the way she views herself now. We had a long discussion this morning about how it didn't change her and how she was wonderfully made by God.  I don't know how much it helped, but I hope she can understand that nothing has changed about her. At least we won't tell her to "walk straight" anymore.

Last night was also a long night with more storms and Amber slept with us most of the night.  Thankfully, the tornadic storms were south of here.  I always pray for the people where the storms do go and offer prayers of gratitude that they didn't come here that time.  We had some mighty wind though, and 1-2" size hail for a good while.  I foresee a call to the insurance for a roof check in our future.

Pajama Party!
We started our Friday school day off a little late because we lost power for a few hours this morning - after my husband went to work. It was cloudy, stormy and too dark to do much even though it was after 8 am, so we just slept late relaxed for a bit this morning. Amber really did a great job settling down when the power returned and we made it through all her lessons for the day plus some fun at break time.

Fred came home early, around 11 am, with a 102 degree fever and what appears to be the flu.  So much for our night out. Amber has another Girl Scout function at church this evening, it is a "Pajama Party" where they have pizza dinner, make crafts and watch a movie all while in their pajamas. This was supposed to be an evening out for Mom and Dad too, but instead I got takeout and ate with the cat.

This really was a wild week and now that we are at the end of it, all I really want is to sleep one full night without a storm and wake up to a healthy & happy family.

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