Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Two For Tuesday

Lots of fun preschool (Montessori inspired, mostly) ideas:

MomUnplugged has sort of retired from blogging, but there are still lots of great ideas here for projects to do, unplugged! We are currently trying to unplug a little....

Monday, February 27, 2012

Manic Monday

Can kiss my ass.

Due to some family drama, I've been up since 12:30 am...putting me on about 2 hours of sleep as I head into Manic Monday. At least One's dance class has been moved to another night this week. *phew*

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Snapshots-Sort of.

I'm going to use this post, which I intend to be just pictures with captions...as a decompression for the last few days. You'll bear with me. My week went south, fast. Here are my beautiful boys on Thursday morning...playing in some wet sand at the playground.

Here is Three about 15 minutes before the fall that wrecked our world. He was super proud because he made it all the way to the top of the wall, and was able to see over!

Then, it was time for us to go...and Three asked to do a somersault over the bar one last time. This is something he learned last month (and I'm pretty sure there is a pic I took of him doing it up on the blog...yeah.) I taught him this trick. Yay mom. He has done it probably 2 dozen times since he learned, and at least a half dozen times on Thursday. He loved it. I said yes (oh, how I wish I had simply said no we needed to get going.) He asked for my help, and I told him "You can do it." *shakes head* He lost his balance on top of the bar, and fell from at least 4 feet up--the bar was about chest high to me--bringing all 42 lbs of his body down onto his left elbow. From the angle that his arm was sticking out from under his little body it was immediately clear it was broken.

There were several things that convince me that the universe was on my side on this day. First of all, Two was with me. We have preschool co-op on Thursday mornings and normally One and Two stay home and complete their school work while I'm gone with the boys. BOTH of them asked to go with me on Thursday! They haven't gone to co-op with me since September, and on this day they both offered to come. Two was a GREAT help with Four while I was carrying Three to the van, and into the ER. Second, I didn't let One come. She is dramatic, and would have lost it and I'd have been trying to comfort both Three and her if she had been present, so I'm glad she was not there. Third, we were at a park literally half a mile from the hospital where all the kids were born. And, Fourth, my BFF was right across the street from the hospital. This is a BIG deal because we both live about 45 minutes from where we were, but the universe lined it up just right.

I scooped him up, and I held his elbow to steady it because his arm was just hanging there and every time it moved he screamed. When I touched his elbow, I could FEEL that the lower part of his arm was completely disconnected from the upper part. I almost vomited. We got to the ER, I merely showed the receptionist Three's elbow and they immediately took us to a room. They let us skip the paperwork, and the triage room just by looking at it. Yeah. His elbow area literally looked like an S. They had us in X-ray within minutes (yay ER team!) and the x-ray tech told me "I've been doing this for 23 years. This the worst break I've ever seen." Yeah. The dr. came in and told me that while they have a Ortho there, they really felt strongly that we should transfer to the other branch of this hospital (about 20 minutes away) because they have a FULL children's ER and hospital there, and they were already sending a truck for us.

My poor boy was in so much pain and so high on morphine, that he even turned down their offer to turn the lights on for him before loading him into the truck. I took a picture of it because I knew he wasn't in the frame of mind to appreciate it at the time, and normally this is something he'd have been ALL OVER! We get to the Pediatric ER, and see an ortho. They tell us they are going to take off the sling he's in (which the first hospital put on to stabilize him for transport) and try to realign the bones a little, and will do surgery in the morning. They also tell us that they have sent the x-ray to the on call Ortho (the guys we've been seeing are residents) and that the doc that is on call is an "upper arm and hand specialist." (Another area where the universe was looking out for us!) The nurse says "You couldn't have ended up with a better on call doctor for this particular injury." You see, they have been very concerned all afternoon about his hand...there are apparently 3 very important nerves in your elbow, and they are worried about nerve damage. Fortunately, every time they've asked, he has been able to move all his digits and squeeze their fingers. So, super-ortho doc receives the x-ray and sends in the "head resident" to do a "hands on assessment of Three's arm," before he arrives. Head resident comes in, and cuts off the splint and looks at the arm from the outside, looks at me and says "We're not going to try to move it and wait. We'll leave it alone and operate today." Upon viewing the x-ray and doing a more hands on assessment, they determined this injury required emergency surgery. I didn't know that at the time.

They take us back to pre-op and I get to meet Super-Ortho-Doc (a super nice guy, and the kind of doc who strikes you as really knowing what he's doing, without being condescending...thank you universe for sending me Dr. Nwoko!) Dr. Nwoko explains that they will attempt to maneuver the bones back in place with a machine (they told me the fancy name...but well, I got nothing.) If they are unable to manipulate it to their satisfaction, they will have to make an incision. He is hopeful they won't have to do that, again, they don't want to risk damaging those nerves since he seems to be fine in that area. He leaves the room.

The anesthesia team comes in, and in their questions asks about the last time he ate--which I've told at least a dozen other people so far today. I tell them he ate around noon and had a PB&J, Cheetohs, and a juice box while we were at the park. The anesthesia people get an alarmed look on their face because it hasn't been 8 hours, and since he had morphine they know his digestion has slowed and there is a good chance his stomach is still "full." He asks the nurse about why we aren't waiting and she tells him something I hadn't heard yet "Dr. Nwoko deemed this emergency surgery." It felt like a kick in the stomach. I mean, I had viewed the x-ray. I had touched his elbow. I knew it was bad. But, deemed an emergency by a specialist. Wow. The anesthesiologist gives her a *look* and says "It's a broken arm." She gives him a *look* and says "I'm not the doctor." (I liked her spunk.) He then calls the doctor back in and they have a conversation in front of me, which I'm not sure they should have...but Dr. Nwoko informed the anesthesiologist that this is a *medical jargon* compound fracture and that No, he does not think it can wait another couple hours (as the anesthesiologist has suggested.) Not something you want to hear...that your baby's arm is broken badly enough the doctors don't think it can wait 2 more hours for his food to digest before they operate.

He was in surgery for an hour. They placed 3 pins in his elbow. They are external and therefore the elbow area of his cast is GIGANTIC. He was allowed to take his beloved Bear (whom he has slept with since he was 6 months old) back to the OR with him, and Bear emerged with a cast as well. This was such a nice touch. Rock on Ped Drs. Rock on. You can also see the remnants of a prized Batman shirt that the ER people had to cut off of him, that my BFF fashioned into a shirt and ninja headband. ;) He has popsicle lips, as they gave him a cherry popsicle in recovery. We had to stay overnight at the hospital, but were discharged early the next day. He walked himself out of the hospital, and through it all was such a CHAMP. His bravery is insane. Even the doctors and nurses commented on how calm he was through the process. His pain has been well managed, and he has slept great since being home. His cast is crazy heavy (it's plaster....for 2 weeks, then he gets a different lighter cast.) But, he's adjusting to playing with it on.

I have immense guilt. Like...if I had never taught him to do this. If I had simply said no. If I had helped him when he asked. If I had been able to catch him. If I could have...stopped him from being a boy. I've cried and cried about it. I'm crying as I type it. I know we always wish we could take away our kids pain, but I feel like this is mostly my fault and it doesn't matter that doctors, nurses, my family, my friends...have all told me that things like this happen all the time. I broke my boy. The end.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Flashback Friday

Looking back over our week....

On Tuesday we went to a cupcake party to celebrate V-day. Here is Three sampling the wares.

On Sunday, we went out for a V-day dinner...This is Four having his spaghetti pomodoro from Carrabba's. This was extra special because he can't EVER eat when we go out (I have to bring his food from home...) because of all his allergies. YAY!!!

We went to the circus prior to dinner, here are the 3 of us in the car.

The only school craft we did this week....J is for Jellyfish. :)

We also attended our 4H club's valentine party on Wednesday, and preschool co-op on Thursday. Co-op was about exercise and Three has been talking about it NON STOP since! I'm excited that he was really listening and paying attention...but I'm just about done hearing it.

Today One had her well-check with the ped....seems strange to call it that, since ya know, she's almost 14. She was diagnosed with adolescent scoliosis, believed to have begun a year and a half ago when she went through a MAJOR growth spurt (having grown 5 1/4 inches in the course of a year!) The ped didn't seem concerned....referred us to a spine clinic, thinks they'll have One wear a brace, and it should be correctable.

I went out last night...(That's a song...btw.) and I'm heading out again in a couple hours. I'm really tired though...so we'll see how long I last. ;)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Skinny Housewife Dinner

I've been getting rid of some extra weight, and I've been trying to eat healthier/lighter meals. Today's post I'm going to share with you a great site I found via a friend as well as reviews from my family.

Skinnytaste is a great site. I have tried four recipes from there so far, and all but one were well recieved by my kids.

Skinny Tuna Noodle Casserole was for dinner last night. I loved it. None of the kids complained (and c'mon getting all 4 kids to like something...that's a pretty big feat.) The Punk (my hubby) said "it was heavy on the onions." But...honestly, it wasn't "minced fine" it was merely chopped and I just dumped in a cup of chopped onions (because I chop a big bag of them and toss them in the freezer to use in cooking.) Next time, I'll add less to appease my man. I also didn't get to add mushrooms because when I pulled them out of the fridge they were...past their prime. Next time, I'm definitely going to add the mushrooms! And, yes we will have this again.

The first recipe I made from the site was Baked Potato Soup. It was a big hit. I hid the fact that there was cauliflower in it...because my kids don't like cauliflower. *wink wink* I made a double batch, because there are a bunch of us. It was such a hit that Two actually requested this soup as her birthday dinner (in our house, you get to request anything you want Mom to make for breakfast and dinner on your big day!) The second time around, they knew there was cauliflower in it, but since they already knew they liked it...they didn't care.

Pepper Steak wasn't a huge hit. I might make it again for One and I to have as a lunch dish. The Punk didn't care for it, Two and Three flatly rejected it. One and I did enjoy it though. I love pepper steak, and this was a very nice version of it IMO....I added broccoli to mine (after serving The Punk and Two...since The Punk refers to them as "vile weeds" and Two is in the same camp.)

Last, but not least, Skinny Sloppy Joes! This was a hit as well. The Punk said it was "more flavorful" than that stuff from the can. Again, all the kids enjoyed it. The only complaint was from Two who loathes carrots. The next time I will maybe steam them first, as my Magic Bullet had a difficult time with them. She didn't like that there were small chunks of carrot visibly in her sloppy joe....you couldn't taste them, but ya know, sometimes they just have to find something to complain about.

I'm trying new recipes all the time, and will try to feature new things here once a week, along with my reviews. :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordy Wednesday

A dear friend, and a brilliant homeschooler and extraordinary blogger, was discussing blogging with me. She noticed that I was blogging again, and we talked about her struggles with whether or not to return to the blog world. She brought up some valid points, and I wanted to type out some of my thoughts on ONE big point.

Friend pointed out that sometimes when you read homeschooling blogs, they seem daunting. How could anyone POSSIBLY really get all that done? How could anyone possibly be THAT organized? How could anyone possibly have a house that CLEAN (with little ones underfoot??) AND, still be getting SO MUCH done?

Her point...that most often blogs only show the "shiny" side of homeschooling. This is terribly true. I read other blogs and feel almost jealous of how much others are accomplishing. I want to be like them...and I felt that way after reading Friend's blog before too. She is the most amazing schooler I've ever known. She is so in tune with her kids, and their needs, and finding just the right way to meet them. I'm guilty of saying "I want to be like that!" Others apparently contacted her and said things similar to my above questions (how can you get it all done...I could never do all that you do....) I feel confident that it was NEVER her goal to make anyone feel sub-par or like they weren't doing enough. That is however the way some people felt.

We talked about how honesty is so important in the blog world, especially when so many people ARE out to "show off" how much they can accomplish. Yeah, I don't believe the world is so shiny as to not have people like this in the blogosphere. I mean, it's the same person that IRL is busy trying to make everyone else feel bad about themselves in order to make herself feel better. The one that is trying so hard to convince the universe that her life is perfect, when if you REALLY scratch the surface, it's a gnarly mess under there. We've all known her. Now, she's got a blog.

I try to be brutally honest about my life when I write here. Monday is chaos in my house. I'm not going to paint that any other way. I'm up before the sun, and therefore, some days my kids spend way to much time with screens. I'm tired by 7pm, and the house is never in as good shape as I would like it to be. The pic at the top of this blog is an effort to be totally honest with you all. I took that pic JUST NOW. You can see the garbage needs to be taken out, the centerpiece from the table is sitting on the counter in the kitchen (it has the balloon tied to it,) the George Foreman grill didn't get put away after being washed, the strainer is still fully loaded, and the sink is full (this is Two's job-she loads/unloads the dishwasher...but I was tired and wanted a shower and bed so I let it slide,) a milk carton needs to be rinsed for recycling, there is random clutter on the counter next to the sink-including a dirty sippy cup, a cabinet door stands ajar which is a personal pet peeve but this is what I woke up to this morning. Is it the way I want to start my day? No. *shrug* It's life.

I do love it, though.

BONUS: I also want to share a quote from Friend, and I don't think she'll mind that I shared, especially since no actual names are being used here. "The blog world needs to know that some days we just can't get our shit together. And that's OK too." I love her.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Two for Tuesday.

Printable alphabet worksheets, these are my current favorite worksheets for Three:


One and Two are currently doing science together as we work through the systems of the body, we've finished the skeletal system (they both aced a quiz on all the major bones of the body, woo hoo!) Now, we are moving on to other systems, beginning with circulatory system. Here is a link to some of the stuff I'm using:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Just Another Manic Monday!

Oh Monday, Monday. Some homeschool families have schedules set up so that school occurs on Monday-Thursday, and they have Friday off. Ours works in reverse. We don't school on Monday, we school on Tuesday-Friday. Monday is always *CHAOS* and it is currently my least favorite day of the week, but you do what you gotta do. *wink*

One and Two take a class on Monday mornings at a community center, while they are in class Three and Four go to the childcare center so that I can take Zumba (YAY for something for Mom!) Every other week, Two and Three participate in bowling league an hour after the morning class. We get home from that, and dinner needs to be made, laundry needs to be put away, and One has a dance class.

Yeah, you read that right....we ALWAYS have 2 activities on Monday (3 if you count *MY* thing) and every other week we have 3. I know, this probably sounds like a complaint...but I don't mean it that way. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to have my kids in this many activities! It does make for a crazy day though...getting all 4 kids out the door at 9am after the weekend, including snacks (and my boys eat snacks like it's their job) is a challenge.

It's ok...it's a challenge I'm up to. It makes me feel accomplished if I can get us all out the door on time....mostly it takes caffeine to make that happen. I've been trying to drink less soda--not buying it, only drinking it when I'm out of the house....but today (Four had a rough night, being up from 2-4am...then Three was up for the day at 6) I swiped a Dr. Pepper that was slated to be Two's....Thanks baby girl. *wink wink*

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Snapshots

Two had pneumonia and it took 2 weeks for her to recover, this is a pic from the first day she really felt all better. Yes, she is trying to copy her face.

Boys working on Valentines for their friends.

Three working on Valentines, and practicing writing his name. Having your tongue stuck out is ALWAYS helpful.

Meeting Moritmer the groundhog. The highlight of the MONTH.

Four was so very proud to have found one of the shadows for the shadow hunt game all by himself!

Three learned how to flip himself over the bar at the playground. He was SO excited, he did it OVER AND OVER...I'm not sure how he didn't throw up.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Busy Bags AKA Quiet Time Bags

Since I'm fairly certain that Four intends to give up his nap by summer (because...well, he's freaking brilliant and far to smart for day time sleep, DUH!) I'm trying to prepare several bags that I can swap out and rotate through for he, and Three to use during "quiet time." Currently, Three has quiet time when Four sleeps...and honestly, most days it consists of watching Netflix, or playing Wii. I LOATHE this reality, but most days I'm a.) exhausted because Four likes to wake when the first number on my clock is 5 or below b.) exhausted because we've been running all morning/week and I just want an hour or two of QUIET c.) helping One and/or Two with their assignments. Undertaking this project will eliminate this reality...and I like it.

If I get my stuff together, I can get started pretty quickly. I picked 20 activities to start, and only have 3 things to buy to be able to put it all together. Yeah, I have that much stuff lying around my house. Don't judge.

My list:

  1. Color Wonder books...because no way in H-E-Double Hockey Sticks will I be giving Four "real" markers during unsupervised quiet time.
  2. Beads and pipe cleaners. I'll use the big beads for Four, and the small pony beads for 3. Pipe cleaners work better in our house than laces. I go with it.
  3. Stickers/crayons/paper. The crayons are really a maybe.
  4. Hanging Felt Clothes on a clothesline. (Cut out clothing shapes from felt, string up a clothesline between a couple chairs, give them some clothespins...done.)
  5. Pom-Pom transfer. Use either a big spoon (Four) or tongs (Three...maybe Four, his fine motor skills almost match those of his brother) to transfer poms from one bowl to another.
  6. Pom-Pom push. Push poms through a hole cut into a lid of a container (raisin/crunchies type container.)
  7. Water painting pages. I'm not sure how to describe these...I'll try to get a picture for you. I found them at Michaels, and Dollar General ($1 both places.) It's a picture like a coloring book. At the bottom of the page there is a panel of water colors. Give the kids some cotton swabs, and a cup of water and they dip and paint. It's self contained, easy, and non-messy. Win in triplicate form.
  8. Rocks in a bottle. Put the small decorative stones you can buy at $Tree into a plastic bottle, shake them out and start again. Not so quiet necessarily, but busy, yes.
  9. Clip matching colored paper clips to laminated construction paper pieces. Possibly more for Three than Four. I can see Four just throwing the clips around.
  10. Peg Picture making with this toy.
  11. Sorting pasta. We have different shaped pasta, and different colored pasta. Sort away boys, sort away!
  12. Memory Matching Game
  13. Matching Puzzles (items that go together, rhyming words, animal babies...those are the 3 I know we have.)
  14. Popsicle Stick Puzzles (have you seen these??? Genius, someone was a genius.)
  15. Velcro Dots/Popsicle stick building set (Again, with the genius. God Bless the Interwebs.)
  16. Building Blocks (just our general wooden ones.)
  17. ABC Match. Lay out the alphabet magnets and take a picture of them against a white background, then print it. Put it on a cookie sheet during quiet time, and have them match the magnet to the picture.
  18. Collage Bag--cut out random pictures from magazines/newspaper/shopping circulars and throw in a piece of paper and a glue stick.
  19. Dress-Up Joey (it's a large wooden/magnetic dress up doll.)
  20. Shades of color (scroll down, it's a few activities down) I've been wanting to make this activity for ALL OF ETERNITY. Now, I'm going to do it.
Bonus: We have a magnetic set that I don't let them play with very often (which makes it SPPPPPECIAL) and I vow to let them play with it during quiet time occasionally.

I set up a Pinterest board about it and everything. So, you know, I'm serious.

I need to buy: velcro dots, felt sheets, and some of those decorative stones.

Lazy Housewife Dinner

Cheesy Manicotti Shells:

Manicotti Shells
Jar spaghetti sauce of your choice
Mozzerella String Cheese
Shredded Italian Cheese blend

Spray your baking dish. Slide a string cheese into your manicotti shell. Line a baking dish with them. Dump on sauce. Top with shredded cheese. Bake until shells are al dente.


If you're feeling ambitious, you can pre-boil the shells. Then you only have to bake for 30 minutes to melt the string cheese a little, and brown the cheese on top. :)

Blog Update!

Ok, so we've been getting a lot done, but I'm not finding time to blog. This is not the way I want things to be, as I love having this as a resource for myself, to offer to others, and to sort of keep track of all the cool stuff we do. ;) I'm going to try to do better, for myself AND you. Best intentions...yadda yadda yadda.

Last week, we covered the letter G. For some reason, Three has had a mental block about G and F. *shrug* Last week, the letter G just clicked. I think it was the groundhog, honestly. We predicted whether or not "Mortimer" the groundhog would see his shadow, and then on Groundhog Day we visited a local park and got to meet Mortimer up close and personal! Then we played a shadow game (they had stapled groundhog "shadows" all over the playground and you had to find all 6 of them.) Three also found the letter G on all the signs posted around the park. We also talked about hibernation, and what it means to hibernate, which animals hibernate, and how they prepare. We also learned how the sun changes your shadow by tracking our shadow on the driveway at different times during the day (he has asked to do this again this week, so it was a hit.)

This week we did a mini review of letter H (which he's known for awhile, but my OCD wouldn't let me just skip over it *eye roll*) and moved on to letter I. For letter I, we've only done one craft...we made Ice Cream cones with Three and Four's names on them, one scoop of ice cream for each letter. I have hopes of building an igloo (from cotten balls) this afternoon after we attend a Valentine's Exchange Party this morning. We've also been talking about adaptations that animals have to survive the winter (extra layers of fat, getting a winter coat....) We attended a waterfowl class, and talked about how some birds migrate to warmer climates, and how the ones that stay here survive (although, this winter has been one of the mildest on record for our state...so they haven't really struggled!)

Now we are in a full on Valentines Day blitz! We are going to an exchange this morning, we have a party on Monday-Wednesday next week too! FUN!