Friday, April 10, 2015

Storms, Storms, GO AWAY!

Spring showers and storms are bringing more than May flowers at our house. They also bring barometric pressure changes, which in turn make Amber feel miserable.  It's all part of how her ANS doesn't do its job properly.  We've spent this week recovering from Easter and storms.  Every day was a recovery or actual sick day.

First, if you're curious how an entire week goes around here, I just finished a week-long series on Real Life Homeschool with the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  The week I described was from mid-March of this year, but it is fairly representative of how weeks can go around here.  Sometimes we just have to learn when and where it works for Amber.

Easter was a wonderfully happy and fun day spent at church in the morning then at my mother's house in the afternoon and early evening.  My sister's family also joined us at Mom's, so Amber had her younger cousins to play with.  Of course, this resulted in Monday being a recovery / sick day.  Amber felt horrible while her heart couldn't decide what it wanted to do, and then an unsettled weather pattern hit with a barometric pressure drop in the afternoon that made everything worse.   Amazingly she did complete her Greek Morphemes vocabulary (she still LOVES it), the last Cover Story lesson of the unit with the unit final writing assignment, listened to some history, and an entire German lesson with me.  

Searching for her Easter basket and posing before church.

I was very concerned that Amber would not retain a lot of the information from Monday, but she indeed was able to recall her German lesson the next day.  I'm still in awe of that child's natural language ability.  She picks up German pronunciation like it is her native language.  Then again, I've been speaking German to her, in bits and pieces, her whole life.

Amber did end up needing to do quite a few revisions to her Cover Story writing assignment on Tuesday.  She clearly wasn't at her best on Monday and, unfortunately, Tuesday wasn't better, only different.  We had quite a bit of rain on Tuesday and the barometric pressure was literally all over the place.  Amber spent most of the morning in bed because every time she tried to get up the world spun more than it should and her heart freaked out.  We had trouble getting readings from her heart on a few occasions throughout the day. Ya, that was a bit scary.

On Wednesday more storms were in the area with smaller barometric changes during the day, but the overnight storms were a different story and led to extremely restless sleep for Amber.  Thursday did not start out or end well either.  Normally Amber entirely enjoys co-op classes, but this week she skipped her Teen Bible class in the morning and couldn't wait to leave after the last class in the afternoon.  She kept herself going by sheer force of will.  I'm the helper in her drama class and I could see her pushing hard to merely concentrate on being present.  We barely made it home before the severe storms started along with a tornado watch (and a warning for part of our county).  Our weather radio is getting a good workout this week.

Egg hunts with her cousins at Grandma's house!  And a very special Easter dessert just for Amber - completely homemade chocolate pie with whipped topping made from scratch.  I made the chocolate graham crackers for the crust, and my mom made the pudding filling and whipped topping.  Almost no fructose was used in this and no preservatives!

Despite the weather induced problems this week, Amber still completed a few other core subjects along with the remainder of her Stanford 10 standardized test.  We only had the two math subtests and listening subtest left in the main battery.  I'm not at all confident this year about the results since I saw the state my child was in when taking the tests.  We have not yet finished the OLSAT option, so that is up first next week and then I'll ship those suckers off.  I'm considering foregoing these particular tests next year in favor of starting ACT / SAT prep at home.  Then again, one more year to finish out testing through 8th grade might be in order.  Things to ponder over the next 9 months.

My volunteeritis struck again this week;  I'm now not only making Amber's royal cape for the Narnia play, but all four capes for the Pevensie children.  Truly though, the drama teacher needs to complete wardrobe and sets for two different plays and capes are pretty simple, right?

Today, Amber and I had our April outing to the St. Louis Symphony.  We love going, but I'll be happy when our subscription is complete.  These morning performances are so hard on us with the 45 minute drive plus parking and walking.  Of course they are always on Fridays - after Thursday co-op.  In my excitement to purchase a gift for Amber that wasn't another toy to be stored, yet still something she would immensely enjoy, I failed to consider the ramifications of the performance dates and times.
(top left) We went to see Beyond the Mask. The experience wore Amber out and the movie was only marginally watchable.  LEGOS, exhausted resting, and working on her Cover Story assignment.

The rest of today was supposed to be our April "Amber and Mom" day.  No school, no housework.  Only fun times together.  Amber had great plans for us to use her new Disney Infinity 2.0 figures, but instead she's looking quite sickly and probably feels worse than she looks.  Her blood pressure has been all over the place today, including high.  I think we need to back down some of the midodrine, or need her to recover from the flare she's clearly having.

I'm hoping for a more settled weather pattern next week, but it's Spring in the midwest. :-)

Happy Spring Weekend!

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  1. So beautiful in her spring dress! What a complicated illness she has! Even the pressure effects her! :/ You had QUITE the week weather-wise. It was strange here too! We had sunny 50s one day...a snowstorm that delayed public schools for 2 hours...and POURING rain. Spring in Maine!

    1. Wow. Sounds a little more difficult to ha doe than just storms. We live in a crazy weather country. Actually, our visit to the NWS office last fall validated that. They said we have some of the most extreme weather in the world.

  2. I won't tell you what the weather is like out here. I was watching the storms on a tornado tracking website and saw that there were watches and warning around St Louis. I can't imagine having to worry about the weather and how it affects Amber. I hope the weather improves and Amber feels better.

    1. Thanks. As much as I'd like to say that we get used to the storms here, I never did. I'm from this area and still the thought of severe weather unnerves me. We've had some pretty mild spring and summers, in regards to sever weather, for the last 2 years. Mild years always make us fear later.

  3. I am sorry that Amber had such a rough week. I hope you all are able to figure out how to help her more when you get to the Mayo clinic.
    Blessings, Dawn

  4. Poor Amber. A child should not have to pay so dearly for having a little fun and socialization and then have the weather make things worse on top of it! I give her a lot of credit. She is a brave and determined young lady who wants to live her life to the fullest. I hope you get some answers soon that will improve her condition.

    1. It's been a while since the weather affected her so much, but it's been a while since we had weather of this nature. We are counting down to Mayo trip in June!

  5. OH she looks so beautiful in her gorgeous dress! So pretty.... and looks like she had a great time despite her struggles this week. I give her a lot of credit, she's a strong little girl.. very attentive.... you are truly blessed!
    Hope you girls have a good weekend!

    1. Thanks! Hope it's a good weekend for you too. We went out of town (just 100 miles) for our nephew's birthday. Just a day trip, but it wore Amber out. She will crash tomorrow, but she can rest too.

  6. I hope the weather improves soon. Amber is so strong and courageous and she's very blessed to have you as her mum.