Friday, January 24, 2014

Learning to Adjust

I sat down to write out what I had planned for today, and do you know what? I didn't feel like it.  I just didn't.  Life pretty much lumbered on this week with a few high points and low points and today I feel especially exhausted.  Amber is pestering me drive in the cold to the gym so she can go walking for 5 minutes and I'm frustrated with her.  I've put in lots of practice on not being so rigid in our schedule and have a longer list than I'd like of planned lessons that didn't happen this week.  I really thought I was going to have a small break down last night over the lessons, but I managed to keep it together by going to sleep.  Problem solved.

The high points:

Amber had her birthday get together with friends at an indoor sports place.  This was Amber's idea and she loved every minute of it.  It has a rockwall, laser tag, a laser maze, miniature golf, and an inflatables obstacle course.  There is also dodge ball, basketball, volley ball and an arcade, but Amber and her friends didn't utilize those portions.  They did all LOVE the laser tag and laser maze.  They raced through the inflatable obstacle course countless times.  The other mom and I even played mini golf with them. All in all, it was a great day.  It also cost Amber her energy for another two days afterwards.  

(LEFT)Amber made it to the top of the rock wall
(TOP RIGHT) Mini golf time
(BOTTOM RIGHT) Waiting at Longhorn to start the day with friends
Amber still loves, loves, loves her art classes at both the Painted Pot and the homeschool group.  She has homework from the homeschool group art class and worries about doing it correctly.  I keep telling her it's not graded and it's just for fun.  She still has parochial school homework memories.  It probably doesn't help that this homeschool group meets in the Lutheran church a couple miles from the one where we attend and where Amber went to school.

Band & flute lessons are still "birthday good".  Amber got over some of her band anxiety, especially after her flute instructor told her she had heard good things about Amber's first band practice.  Whew.  It does appear that Amber is the youngest musician in the band, but only by a year or so.  We are also already looking into upgrading Amber's flute.  We initially rented the standard student flute, because this really was a shot in the dark if Amber would like flute.  Amber has decided that she definitely prefers flute to piano, and oh Mom, could we possibly not have piano for a while.  Waah!! But still, I know piano is my thing and apparently not as much hers.  At her next flute lesson, Amber is going to try out some upgraded flutes to see which works best for her.  We will probably just buy a flute instead of the endless renting.

Amber has been knitting lots of kitty blankets for Heartland Humane Society this week and hopes to have a good sized batch to take them by next weekend.  She pets the foster cats every weekend and then we watch Heartland's Facebook page to see which cats got their forever home that week.  We are always thrilled when the kitties find their family, but sometimes we are a tiny bit sad too because that means we won't see the kitty anymore.

Knitting cat blankets with her American Girl doll Isabelle and Isabelle's cat Tutu. 
& A little math with her very own sleepy kitty.

The not-so-high points:

We did two food trials this week; one was a retest from the end of last week.  You can guess where this is going.  Last Friday evening we let Amber have air popped popcorn with melted butter.  The results were... inconclusive?   We tried popcorn again on Monday evening and had the same mild reaction.  We dodged a big reaction with popcorn, but not to be deterred I made Amber taco cups for dinner on Wednesday that consisted of plain hamburger (Omaha Steaks burger) with salt, shredded colby jack cheese and Baked Tostitos Scoops.  The burger she eats regularly with no issue, as well as the cheese. It was her regular brick of cheese that I grated.  The Tostitos are another story though.  The ingredients are: whole corn, vegetable oil (corn, safflower and / or canola), and salt.  I fretted over the whole corn ingredient but decided that Amber would probably be alright.  She wasn't.  Looks like corn is a failure all around for Amber.

The food reaction didn't help my already stressed mind that keeps worrying about the missed lessons.  Amber did no book work at all on Thursday. None.  Zero. Zip.  It makes Amber exhausted when she has a food reaction because she basically is getting no nutrients for a short period.  Thursday she woke up with just enough time to get ready, eat and go to her homeschool group art class that starts at 2:00 pm.   How's that for a week day schedule?

(TOP LEFT) The day after her birthday get-together.  She's a little puny with puffy eyes..
(BOTTOM-LEFT) Snickerdoodles!!!   Gluten free, low fructose and safe for Amber.
(RIGHT) Art project from the Painted Pot

I'm working extraordinarily hard on not pushing school work every healthy second of the day.  However, as Amber does read constantly, even when she is not up for school work, I've decided that I'm going to hijack her free reading for a little while (but don't tell Amber yet). There was a book that I considered for our history this year, but eventually decided that we had enough resources already.  I've kept it in the back of my mind though and finally yesterday decided to order Augustus Caesar's World for Amber to read in her spare time.  I won't even make her write narrations or take notes on the book. See, I'm a free-wheeling kind of homeschool mom now.

This weekend, once Amber is officially clear of the food reaction, we are going to try coconut milk, in the form of coconut milk ice cream.   I need more sources of good fat for the child and she needs more flavor.  I'm also a little afraid of the other items on the "to try" list: grapes, strawberries, carrots, and GF Rice Krispies (whole grain brown rice).  Who's big idea was it to use healthy whole grains in gluten free foods? Don't they know that we'd prefer the easier to digest, no nutritional value white grain?

Stay warm and Happy Weekend!

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  1. What a fun place to have her birthday! I can't imagine how filled up your brain is, Christy, every day trying to think of new things for her to eat. I dont know what it is like to have a child with allergies and digestive problems, but from reading your posts, it makes my heart break for all those children who do have them. I pray your weekend is great!

    1. It is difficult, but I really can't imagine how hard it is when the child is younger and not as verbal. Amber makes it so much easier on me to track reactions and symptoms. She can tell me if pain feels like duodenitis or something different. She can tell thrifter eve between gas / reflux and an upset tummy. I don't know how parents of younger kids work with the digestive problems.

  2. I love the art project! She did a great job! I love that she is making blankets for the kittens, too, what a great idea. My daughter is a bit jealous of her new Isabel ;). Happy Birthday! I hope you are able to do well with the coconut ice cream!

  3. The birthday party looks like fun. I hope the coconut ice cream is good.

  4. What fun you all had this week. I am sorry about the corn reactions. My son can't handle corn at all. In fact, we had to give him activated charcoal three times after the Twinkie and he was still sick for 24 hours. I hope coconut goes well.
    Blessings, Dawn

  5. First of all that place Amber went for her birthday sounds AWESOME. Seriously I wish we had something like that. Love the art and that she is making blankets for kitties. Such a kind heart. As you know we don't do 'lessons' daily and Keilee learns anyway. :) Is there anything on CK-12 or Coursera or Documentaries or YouTube History or Science classes that she can watch. Have you seen Crash Course on YouTube? Science and History and Literature videos with the Green brothers. I can't remember if we have talked about them or not. :) It is amazing how much they learn by just sitting on the couch, knitting and watching. Hugs to you and your girl.

    1. Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm going to look into them for some of her sick days. I fear there will be many since we are supposed to be doing continuous food trials. Just enough time to heal before we try another food. You always have such great ideas.

  6. I love that she's making blankets for the kittens. My daughter would love that! She actually said that when she grows up, she's not having any kids (being the second oldest of eleven kids may be to blame...), she's just going to be a crazy cat lady.

  7. I'm glad that Amber had a great birthday outing even though it took a lot out of her. I'm sorry about the reaction to corn, and know it must be very tough to keep dealing with all the food testing....We don't have a regular schedule, but lessons (of a sort) and learning still get done every day. You'll look back and be amazed by all the learning that is actually accomplished

  8. I have a friend who recently discovered a gluten allergy in herself. I know the struggle she's had. I can't imagine how much harder it must be when it's your own child. No wonder you've come to the end of the week and feel like you are just done! I don't blame you! Hugs!!
    Maybe as some of the other posters suggested, it would be beneficial to have some videos, perhaps movies based on books or histories (America, the history of us) to have on hand for those days when it's just too much to do "work" but she can drag to the couch.
    Praying for you as you continue trying to sort all this out.

    1. Thanks for the prayers and suggestions. I need to spend some time researching resources for the topics we are studying. It would make things so much easier on sick days to watch school.

  9. We will keep praying that those food trials go well. That was a cool birthday party. We have nothing like that locally. With going to 3 or 4 different places I might find all of that. I won't let the kids into the laser tag place, wrong crowd. I like it when they are able to properly describe their symptoms. We still have trouble with describing pain levels. We now have enough injuries to give comparison. "Does it hurt more or less than when you fell out of the tree?" She was only up to the first branches but she did break her shoulder.

  10. Fantastic Party.
    Praying for your daughter. That is so tough on a mama!
    School is important, but you will have time for that.
    First things first...

  11. What a fun and exciting birthday party! Sounds like you guys are becoming more unschoolish! It also sounds like that is a bit out of your comfort zone! I'm sure you'll get it all worked out to your satisfaction though. I do hope the coconut ice cream agrees with Amber because it is delicious!