Friday, August 29, 2008

The Schoolhouse Planner Review

I had a chance to review/preview The Schoolhouse Planner from The Old Schoolhouse Online Store recently. My first thought was “OH MY WORD. 247 pages. WOW. That’s a whole lot of ink. I honestly thought that if I were to only want to print half of it, I would be shocked.

Guess what? I was shocked.

To someone who desires to be organized, but faces reality daily in knowing that God did not create me that way, I was skeptical that the planner would be useful for people like me. You know the type. We read all of these organizational blogs, and drool over the schedules that our fellow homeschool moms are following from the first day of school. But in our reality, our little world, it just doesn’t work that way.

The Schoolhouse Planner is a downloadable, user friendly planner. It is an interactive PDF format and it is fun to use.

Each month begins with a calender, has a fact sheet (or in my house, we refer to it as trivia), which range in topics anywhere from Timeline of Inventions to the Periodic Table of Elements. How timely that I saw the topic of Countries and Capitals in the middle of watching the Olympics. I had just asked my husband, “Is St. Kitts and Nevis even a country?” Thanks to the planner, I learned that yes, it is a country. And now I know the capital is Basseterre.

There are also very informative homeschool articles, resource lists from the Schoolhouse Store and monthly recipes.

After twelve months of planning sections, we come to the homeschool form section of the planner. After spending hours upon hours searching for forms on the internet, this section is a blessing. There was thought given to all types of homeschoolers, even providing a form for the unschoolers to the preschoolers.

It gets even better. There are countless numbers of household forms. From menu planning, grocery shopping to monthly household maintenance and cleaning reminders. (Oooh, I did not know I should clean out under my refrigerator every month. I am so far behind.)

This planner does not disappoint. I was very pleasantly surprised that I will be printing off the majority of pages and will use it frequently. About the only thing I will omit from my printing schedule is the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence and Emancipation Proclamation. Yes, they are all in there.

No, I’m not kidding.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tears and Perspective

(The following was originally posted on A's caringbridge website on Friday, July 25, 2008. For some reason both kids were on my mind today, so I decided to share this here.)

I cried lots of tears on Monday.

In the recovery room, late Monday afternoon, I was sitting with A, watching her breathe. The recovery room, to me, is always a very emotional place. Normally, parents are coming in, seeing their child for the first time after surgery. Depending on the type surgery, you can see tears of joy, or tears of sorrow because of the appearance of the child. It can be very scary to see your child, all puffy in the face, hooked up to monitors and tubes, and appearing lifeless.

There were about 6 kids in there Monday afternoon, including my girl. At the time I arrived back, I was the only parent present. Each child had at least one nurse attending to their needs. I couldn’t help but notice another little girl, diagonally across from A, and how sad she seemed to be. Usually you don’t hear many cries, because the kids are still pretty heavily sedated. I think that’s why she caught my attention so quickly. She appeared to be about 5 or 6, and the first thing I noticed were her hands. They were both splinted, but she was actively moving them.

As she was crying out, the nurse was asking her, “Honey, what’s the matter?” The little girl would only reply, “My leg. My leg.” The nurse asked “What about your leg?” She answered “It’s dangling. I can feel it dangling.”

Oh how my heart sank, and the tears began to flow. You see, I had heard of this little girl. A couple of weeks ago, I think while we were in Pennsylvania, there had been an accident. A little girl, 6 years old, was riding on a bush hog with her daddy and brother. The little girl had fallen and the bush hog had run over her. I had heard that her hands were severely injured, and that one of her legs had to be amputated.

And here was this little girl, crying out in pain because she could feel her leg dangling. Except by this point, I could see that her leg wasn’t dangling anymore. It wasn’t there.

Lots of tears, and a whole new perspective about my little girl. My little girl who has all of her fingers and all of her toes and her arms and legs. And they all work fine.

I also cried more tears, later on Monday night.

It was Monday night when I first saw him. A little boy, 10 years old, who “lived” beside of us at the hospital. You see this young man really does “live” at the hospital. For circumstances so far beyond his control, he doesn’t have a home to go to. He had surgery about a month ago, and could be released. But there’s no one there to get him. There’s no one there to check on him. He’s just waiting. Waiting for the state to find someone who will take him. Waiting for a foster parent who can take a child with special needs. Just waiting. And he’s 10 years old. And he lives at the hospital. Sure, he looks like he’s doing well. His room has certainly been made his own. Lots of games and stuff. The nurses hang out with him and he jokes back and forth with them and they care for him. Because that’s where he lives. At the hospital.

Lots and lots of tears for this young man. Definitely puts things in perspective. My daughter got to go home on Wednesday. All because her family was there to take her home. I pray that someone can come and get the young man and take him home.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Brotherly love

We went out to eat last night to a restaurant that gives free balloons. (Well you know that they aren’t really free based on the price of our meal, but………) So A gets one as we are walking out. We head over to Best Buy and Target to shop-look (which means we are cheap and we went to play Rock Band at Best Buy) and A wants to take the balloon inside. Sure, why not. I mean, it’s tied to the girl’s wrist. It certainly can’t come undone, can it?

The balloon survives in Best Buy, even with a transfer to my wrist so the girl can play her some drums. (Do you have any idea how cute it is to see a 40 inch tall person playing those big ol’ Rock Band drums? She was actually pretty good.) After we leave Best Buy, we walk up to Target to shop-look. While we are in there, one of her brothers comes up behind and lightly touches the balloon. No sarcasm here, it really was a light touch.

So you know what happens next. The balloon comes untied and up it goes. Now, next time you go to Target, just check out how high the ceilings are. It’s nowhere near the height of our second home, Wal-Mart, however it is still pretty high. Definitely higher than I can reach, way out of L’s reach too. I’m no good at guesstimating the height, but I’m thinking it’s gone and the tears are not far behind. For me, it was over. There was no getting the balloon.

Now I did consider standing on the basket of the shopping cart and trying to reach up, but it just was not going to be pretty. There wasn’t a whole lot of action going on in the back of the store so I figured I wouldn’t have much of an audience. Wisdom prevailed and I opted out of shopping cart surfing. Maybe another time.

Well I’m married to a man who is pretty persistent, and I’ve never seen him not be able to do something if he sets his mind to it. So of course, reaching the balloon becomes the top priority. I’m going on down the aisle and I realize that I’m missing a few people and I turn around to see G on L's shoulders, reaching for the balloon. L even tried to jump a bit so G could grab it, but it wasn’t happening. It was still a good four to five feet from them.

G hops down and I’m figuring they gave it a really good try, but the balloon was going to be our gift to Target tonight. It was not coming home. We spent the next few minutes looking at all things important, video games and toys, and I’m thinking we are leaving. But no, here once again I sense that we’ve lost some members of our party. I look back down at the little red balloon and my heart skips a beat.

Now what I see is my 10 yr. old son, who is deathly afraid of heights, roller coasters and all things “thrillish” not sitting on my husband’s shoulders, but the boy is STANDING on the man’s shoulders. Standing. In the middle of Target. Stretching and reaching for a little girl’s balloon. His sister’s balloon. And he had it in his little hand.

What a picture to me. Brotherly love. Only love could cause him to do it. I know that L didn’t try and coerce him. You don’t coerce G. Ever. You will lose. He knows what he likes and what he’ll try. He doesn’t try much without serious, serious thought. But tonight he did. And I believe he did it because he loves his little sister. He’s got a great big ol’ heart in a little man’s body.

So rest assured that A is taken care of and loved by her brothers. She always will be. Curvy or straight. In the hospital or at home. She has her a little posse of boys that adore her.