In a homeschooling house full of 7 kids & 3 guniea pigs....there is never a dull moment! A lot of people show genuine concern for us and want to know how we are doing, as the road we've left behind was not a pleasant one. So, here I am, to tell some of our stories...share some of our days...and open up a part of our world to you! Come join us on our journey so you won't miss the moments that take our breath away!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Because learning is more important than progress...

...and it is sooooo worth it!

I homeschool my children through a statewide "virtual" academy.  I am very fortunate to have this "public" school option available to us.  It definately has it's many perks, such as, each student is assigned a licensed teacher and students can work at their own pace.  It also has it's disadvantages, such as students being assigned to a "newbie" licensed teacher or one who is insistant that you work at a particular pace.

I have been using the same virtual school for 8 years now.  We have had some absolutely wonderful teachers, some of whom I have developed lifelong friendships with...and we have had some horrible teachers.  Some of which have pushed me further and further away from the idea that this is the school for us.  My children are very bright (bragging, I know), our curriculum is extremely advanced (the reason I chose it).  My children learn best through a multisensory  hands on style of learning (one of the biggest reasons I keep my kids at home) and they thrive in an environment in which they can learn at their own pace and when they are taught with a learning style that is taylored specifically to them.

We have always been able to work at our own pace...sometimes working ahead and sometimes getting very far behind.  We have always been met with understanding, support and the proper guidance.  This year has been very different with just one of our teachers.  I thank God for the support and encouragement from our other two teachers, as they have kept me sane in dealing with this other teacher.  You see, our school, being a public school; recieves state funding for their students.  However, they only recieve this funding if the student has met certain some teachers push you to work at their pace.

We almost always add something extra into each lesson.  We may go to a museum to get a hands on look at what is in our history or science book, or we may make a craft, build a model, take a walk outside, visit the library, or we may even "visit" another country and bring back souviners from our trip (currently, we have one tour bus learning all about New Hampshire and one tour bus visiting our friends in the UK).  These "extra" things are not built into our curriculum, but yet they take a lot of extra time.  Sometimes, by doing so many extra things to go along with a lesson, we would get a tad behind.  This year, we have taken a lot of pressure from one particular teacher.  Not because we are falling behind in our required studies, but because we are falling behind in "extra" things that they are requiring students to participate in.  In an effort to get state test scores up, my 7th grader is required to do up to 5 hours of additional work that does not count towards her required work.  This has caused us to not have the time available to do the extra things that we are so accustomed to doing.  So, we ceased some of these hands on learning experiences so that we could be sure to keep our % up.  We've done a fabulous job, as Cardinal has just about caught up on subjects that she fell behind in over the course of the last few difficult years.

Eagle seemed to be suffering the most.  I've watched him just go through the motions of his lessons, passing through each of his history lessons, but not appearing to really be "retaining" the information he was being taught.  I've struggled for months watching this behavior and with the support and encouraging words of one of our teachers...I decided that it was time for me to take a stand and stop worrying about our darn %.  Not just Eagle, but all of my kids were missing out on the superior education that they deserve...for what....a higher state standardized test score?!  The very reason I homeschool and it was being robbed from them.  So, this past week as Eagle studied "The Rise of Islam" we went back to one of our older hands on tools..."Lapbooking".  We had to stop using lapbooks because quite simply...they take a lot of time....A LOT!!! 

Now, this past week, I spent a good extra 2 hours a day, sometimes 3 printing templates, cutting, gluing, etc. and setting aside pieces that Eagle would use to create his lapbook during his unit review.  Each day, Eagle would use these pieces to review the lesson from the day before.  He would help create some of the pieces and those key points of the lesson would not be forgotten.  He was so eager to work on History lessons this week and he would gleam when he knew an answer during review time.

We spent our Friday night assembling his lapbook and he had so much fun, you would have thought he was building Legos.  He was so full of pride, I was afraid he might burst.  Now, as he finished up this unit about Islam, he actually learned something and he remembers it! 
Front cover

1st opening

Middle page in 1st opening (flap book an a matchbook)

Right side page in 1st opening (matchbook and a single flap book)

Fliped pages to 2nd opening

Left page of 2nd opening (mini book of flags & mini envelope containing answer to question on envelope)

Top flipped page of 2nd opening (single flap book, foam flip cave, map shape book with movable pages)

The cave opened up

2nd flip up page with flap books opened to show answers

View of entire book opened up (except the bottom page on right corner isn't flipped open in this pic)

This is the green page that is between the two yellow pages above (shown here with accordian book and triangle books opened)

Bottom flip from 2nd opening (Circle book and index with answers on filed on index cards)

Bottom right corner of 2nd flip (sorted picture cards)

 His lapbook turned out awesome, he is so proud of it and well...he should be, we worked really hard on it!  This is why learning is so much more important than "progress" because on Monday...we are moving on to the next unit (all the while he could tell me all about Islam) and to me, that IS progress!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

No more diapers!

"No more diapers!" seems unbelieveable to say that!  I guess it's not entirely true, as we still diaper at night...but, my little Duckling, is as she says "all done with diapers!" 

When she turned 3, I must admit, I kind of struggled with the thought of a 3 year old still being in diapers.  Afterall, all of my kids have been potty trained sometime between the ages of 14-27 months.  Not my precious Duckling though, nope, not my BABY!  Not by my choice (although, part of me hates to let go of one of the last signs of "babyhood")...this was completely her choice and whether we like it or not, this is definately one of those first choices we have less control on in their lives.  I'm not one to force my kids to potty train.  I feel it is a natural process, similar to natural weaning (and yes, my baby girl is still nursing, those days too, will soon be gone).  When my kids show signs of readiness for potty training, I bust out the little potty, the potty chart, the potty books, etc.  I don't push any of these ideas, but gently introduce them, just so my little ones know what they have available to them. 

Duckling has showed signs for about the last 5 months or so and at one point or another during those 5 months, she got pretty darn close to being trained, but quickly decided it was much more convenient for her to come to me with a new diaper and politely ask to be changed. 

Recently, our family has spent the last nearly 2 months with someone being ill.  We've had at least 3 different stomach bugs passing around here.  Duckling was lucky enough to be a contestant all 3 times around.  With this last virus she had, she came to me one morning as I was preparing for our school day and she grabbed my hand and tried to pull me along as she said "Mommy, I have to go poop".  Sigh.....sometimes, that girl can sit on that potty for what seems like an eternity, only to produce nothing...and I was really busy.  I didn't want to say no, but I really didn't have time to sit in the bathroom with her either.  So, as a compromise, I said "how about we bring your little potty down here".  She was thrilled with the, she sat on the potty next to me, while I continued my work.  Now, not long before, Cardinal had made her a nice little potty chart, so she was actually getting pretty good at this potty thing and I must give Cardinal most/all of the credit because she actually worked with Duckling on this whole potty thing.  Duckling was so proud of herself when she successfully used the potty.  This particular day Friday March 18, Ducking used the potty all day!  Somehow, even with having severe diarrhea, she made it each and every time, having NO accidents the entire day.  I was so happy, because her poor little bottom would have been a mess by the end of the day, had she been wearing diapers. 

The next day, Duckling still had diarrhea (of course, when doesn't she)...but, she wore panties the entire day then too.  Again, she had no accidents. sure seemed to me like we weren't going back in diapers.  Wow...for the past 12 1/2 years I have had at least one and sometimes as many as three kids in diapers and now, my baby is "all done" with diapers.  I'm thrilled to see her thriving and developing, but I must say it is a little hard to bid diapers farewell.  I won't miss the expense or all the laundry...but this is sure proof that my baby is growing up.  My little caboose.  My little Duckling is turning into a swan right before my very own eyes.

I'll cherish the last bit of babyhood we have left and continue to meet the developing needs of Duckling in a natural way...she is still actively nursing, lol.  Those days too, will soon be gone...but, in her own time of course because I have always practiced "extended nursing" and "natural weaning" methods and well, I won't stop now :)

...and those diapers.  Well, during the day, they are night, we still need them, as she hasn't quite gotten rid of them completely.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Time 4 Learning Review!

A month ago, I was so super excited to get the opportunity to do my first review.  Time4Learning was a program that I had looked at years ago as a schooling option.  I am once again looking at other options rather than the virtual school that we use now, so this review could not have come at a better time!

For the review of this program, I was able to have 4 out of my 6 children use the program for a month.  I chose Cardinal, Eagle, Macaw, and Emu.  I picked Cardinal because she is the oldest and I thought she would be the most capable of expressing exactly how she feels about the program and be able to better explain things she liked or disliked.  Next, I picked Eagle, because I really thought that he may learn better this way and with his "unofficial" diagnosis of Asperger's, I was really interested to see how he interacted with this type of program and I thought that a lot of people may be interested to see how this program worked for him.  I choose Macaw because as an upcoming Kindergartener, I am most undecided how exactly she will be educated this coming school year.  Lastly, my little Emu....I choose him because he is a very eager little Preschooler and he loves the computer and can already navigate it on his own, so I thought that this program would work well for him.

Cardinal and Macaw logged on to the program, eager to check it out just as soon as we got the go ahead from Time4Learning. 

We started with a Language Arts lesson for Macaw.  Quite simply, she seemed bored, at best.  She did not complete that first lesson in one sitting, as she asked to stop.  I got the feeling that the lesson was acutally advanced for a Kindergartener, so I thought maybe she might be feeling like it was too hard for her.  I tried to find a different lesson, but since we jumped right in, I wasn't familiar with all the options that were available to us or how to find them.  We later went back to finish the Language Arts lesson we started and again, she wasn't too crazy about it.  The conclusion I came to with this first lesson, was that:
  • It was slow paced 
  • It was very repetitive
  • The cartoon characters were somewhat annoying and I think that was a distraction for her. 
Cardinal struggles with Math, so I was very eager to see how she liked Time4Learning's Math and if it would help her to understand concepts that she has the most problems with.  As soon as we logged on, we recognized the CompassLearning Odyssey Math.  I had no idea ahead of time that Time4Learning used this for their Math, otherwise, I would have never had her go into the Math portion of this program.  This Math program is actually a program she has used in the past.  Unfortunately, she completely hated it.  After this first attempt to log on for our review, she refused to look into the Time4Learning program any further.  However, I will say that in the past when she used the program her Math skills showed much improvement and her Math scores proved it! 

Unfortunately, we got the chance to review Time4Learning during what very well may have been one of our worst months!  We don't usually do alot of school outings, but we had three within the first week of our trial, then there was Emu's hospital stay which has been followed by contant illness ever since and then, of course, our dog fell ill and died so we lost a few days there.  All in all, we have had an absolutely horrible month.  This program had to be used as a supplement to our current curriculum and with all that has gone on for the last month, we honestly did not have the time to give Time4Learning a fair review, as we had all we could do to keep up with our  current curriculum.  I was unable to look at the preschool or the 2nd grade level of the program.

In conclusion...I will say that from what I have seen, this program has PROVEN to improve Math skills for Cardinal, even though she struggled through the program.  I wish that she would have been willing to look at the program for other subjects!  I am very disappointed that I was not able to look more in depth at what Time4Learning has to offer!  I will say it is not for everyone.  It may work for one child in your family, but not for another...I think this would be the case in my own family.  I can see this program working for one or more of my children, and wish that we would have had longer to look at it.  I would highly recommend trying a demo for yourself.

Thank you Time4Learning for giving me this opportunity to try your program.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I can't believe she's gone

On Tuesday, I was working on a post that I never got to finish.  I knew the end was near and it helped me to write about her.  It helped me to think of good and happy times and not focus so much about what was happening and the choices I had to face.  But, I didn't get to post that post because things took a dramatic turn.

When I was preparing lunch that day, she collapsed and laid lifeless on the floor in a puddle of urine.  I was in the kitchen with her, but I had my back turned so I didn't see her.  Eagle walked to the sink and spotted her and he said "Oh my God, is she dead"?  When I turned around and saw her lifeless body laying there in such an akward position, I too thought she was dead.  When I approached her, she cried a very unusual cry...a cry I have never heard before.  Crow was standing at her side sniffing her.  I picked her up and she seemed fine, other than an odd "stiffness" about her.  I stood her up and she could stand, but she appeared to be paralized.  After a little while she was completely back to normal, but I had realized that since early that morning she had been coughing a lot.  She actually woke Cardinal up this morning, she was trying to clear something out of her throat.  She was covered in urine, so I gave her a bath and blew her hair dry.  As I brushed her hair, I had the overwhelming feeling that this would be the last time I would ever brush her hair and I felt a sadness come over me.  I became very anxious and nervous, I didn't like this feeling at all!

After her bath, she rested comfortably on the couch.  A few hours later, she coughed up blood.  Obviously, I immediately knew that the end was near.  I knew that I would not be able to afford vet care for her and I feared that the time had come, that I may need to consider having her put down.  I spent the afternoon in tears, while Cardinal  distracted the younger kids.  She was absolutely amazing!

Our last picture
For 15 years, she was always by my side, she was my "fur baby".  When she was a puppy, she went everywhere with us.  She was known to be one of the biggest fans at the many Cross Country meets we went to.  She loved boating, camping, walks in the park or even in the neighborhood (she wasn't very picky).  She loved her mommy so much that she suffered severe seperation anxiety and she had to take medication until I was able to quit work and stay home with her.  She lended an ear whenever I needed it.  She licked my tears when I was sad.  She wagged her tail when she knew I was happy.  She never talked back.  She never got mad at me, even when I was wrong.  She always got attention and got to play dress up even if she didn't want to.  She had lots of siblings to feed her scraps that she shouldn't have too.  She made it through puppy school, although, you never would have known when she was older.  She tolerated her Rotty brother and sister and even her Black Lab brother, Crow.  She was there through all the good times and the bad.  So, with all these good times, of course there were some bad.  She ran away a number of times.  She survived being lost in the dead of winter (twice).  Somehow, she was always returned to us even though it disappointed the people who had already "adopted" her.  Jailbird didn't like her, so the years with him were surely not the best.  He even made us re-home her once, but later realized that really wasn't fair.  

Around 5:00, she had another seizure.  The boys were so upset.  Once again, she laid lifeless on her side and they thought she was dead.  When I got up to go to their room, she again seemed fine, but once again had that weird stiffness about her legs.

By 6:00, I was discussing with the kids the reality of having to put her down.  This was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever faced.  I have always disagreed with this option, as I felt it wasn't my right to choose when she should die.  But, then again...I had never imagined her dying this way either.  I am not one to sugar coat things for my kids, so they were well aware that she was dying.  We spent the next few hours taking pictures and spending lots of time with her, comforting her and holding her. 

Duckling and Parrot's last picture

Macaw and Parrot's last picture

Hawk and Parrot's last picture

Cardinal and Parrot
The decision was made that we would put her down the next would be selfish for us not to.  It was a heartwrenching decision, but she did not deserve to suffer and I had to think of how traumatic this was for my flock to watch her die this way.

She was laying on our couch...she sat up during one of her coughing fits and tilted her head back so far that she fell straight back and began having a seizure and then she whimpered and moaned.  When I sat he back up, the blood was dripping pretty bad out of her mouth and nose.  She was breathing very fast and heavy.  It was apparent that she probably was not going to make it through the night, and she was beginning to suffer.  Macaw was sitting right next to her and she started to panic and was yelling "take her to the doctor, she needs to go to the doctor".  I called two different hospitals and they both charged $165 to put her down.  Neither of them were willing to work with me on the cost.  It was killing me that my kids were having to witness this and I couldn't bear to see Parrot suffering, but there was nothing I could do.  I was advised to keep her warm and comfort her and that it sounded like she was in heart failure and was having seizures and with the hemoraging she probably wouldn't last long.

At 7:00 she made her final trip up the stairs.  She went to her favorite spot in the whole house...Hawk's bed.  I covered her up and Cardinal and I sobbed for hours as we sat with Parrot...trying to make her as comfortable as we could.  We took a few last pictures and then it was obvious that Parrot was growing extremely uncomfortable.  She would stand up, turn around, lay down...stand up, turn around lay down.  She tried to whimper and cry but not much sound came out.  She was breathing so heavy Cardinal said it sounded like she had run a marathon.  I said "Parrot has always been such a trooper, a real fighter...she can't even give it up when she is dying".  My mom suggested that I hold Parrot to see if that would make her more comfortable and get her to calm down.  That since she wasn't hiding to die, maybe she just needed me to tell her it was ok to go.  So, I picked her up and cradled her.  I talked to her...basically begging her to give up because I just couldn't bear to see her suffer.  I didn't want these memories to replace all of the ones I wanted to remember.  She was bleeding so bad from her mouth and nose, that blood was pooling on the bed.  Her breathing slowed down and she took a deep breath then her body relaxed and she went limp then she twitched.  I thought that was it, I said "I think that was it, I think she's gone" but then she gurgled and gasped for air.  It was so hard to tell if she was dead or alive.  I was amazed at the peacefulness that took over her, I was truly in awe and I was so relieved and if I could feel "happy" this was that moment, it was a beautiful thing.  I kept saying "Cardinal, look at her, look how peaceful she is, she is not suffering, isn't it amazing".  At this point, I thought she was still alive, but as I look back...I realize that she was already dead.  I told Cardinal to go get Hawk and tell him that if he wanted to see her alive again, that he needed to come now because it seemed we were in our final minutes.  I called my mom and told her that we were close.  It was hard to distinguish if she was dead or alive.  Her head was limp and lifeless, I even said to my mom "she can't even hold her head, if i let it go, it falls".  Again, she twitched and her body went limp and she gurgled.  Again, I said "I think that's it, she's gone" then she would make a gasping sound, so we thought she was alive.  Hawk and Eagle left the room.  I was trying to figure out if she was dead or alive...but she did the twitch/gurgle routine one last time.  It was still hard to tell if she was dead or not, but this time I was sure that she was.  As I replay the events in my head, I realize that she was dead before I sent Cardinal to get Hawk, that moment of peace was actually the moment of her death.  I know this for certain, because she defecated during that first cycle of lifelessness and I didn't want Hawk to see it when looked at her.

A final goodbye, one last video and preparing for grief and healing

We held her and said goodbye for about 45 minutes.  I decided to wake Macaw so that she could say her goodbyes.  In the morning, she did not remember that Parrot had died.  Eagle and Macaw were both very upset that they couldn't see her.  This bothered me very much because I too have that need of having that type of closure.

We drove 45 minutes to our own "pet cemetary" to find that it was flooded and was about 12 inches under water.  In a panic, I got ahold of the only place that could bury her.  They offered a "country burial" in which 50-100 pets were dumped in one big hole.  They don't allow you to mark the grave and they don't keep track of which animal goes into which hole.  So, basically, I felt like we'd be throwing her away like trash.  They did offer a "private" burial.  She would have her own plot and we could mark her grave and visit her...for $450.  So, I called a vet and explained the situation and they advised me to keep her in the freezer until we could give her a proper burial.  My mom offered to help with this difficult task.  My mom looked sad and she has the same "closure" issue as me, so I asked if she wanted to see her and she said yes.  After seeing that Parrot was still "presentable" I gave everyone the option to see her except Duckling.  I thought it would be too confusing and better if she didn't.  Macaw needed that.  It wasn't upsetting to her at all.  She got to see and pet her and say her final goodbye, she needed that.  Eagle seemed a bit bothered, but he really wanted that chance to see her one last time.  Emu...ahh, my little Emu.  He has dealt with this entire thing in a way that is bothersome to me.  He has been not only completely unaffected by her death, but he has had no response to any of us being so upset either.  Well, he wanted to see her and when he looked at her he said "heh" and ran away.  He came back a moment later, flapping his wings and jumping up and down and with a smile and his little laugh he said "so, are we going to put her in the mud now"?  That's about how Emu has handled all of this, I guess for him, it's a blessing. 

Each day is a little easier, but we are still so sad.  Poor Duckling can't begin to understand and she keeps asking why Parrot is hiding.  Macaw just cries and says she misses her.  Emu doesn't even know she's gone.  The rest of us break down randomly.  There is such an emptiness that I never could have imagined.  Her bed still sits where it always was, her bowl is still in it's same spot and her food is untouched.  It's hard when I realize I haven't tripped over her or she hasn't gotten in my way.  I feel like I'm forgetting something when I leave because I don't have to make sure she's locked up.  I miss hearing her scratch at the gate (and God, I hated that).  I miss letting her outside while I'm waiting for my coffee in the morning.  I miss shaking my head as I walk by Hawk's door because someone let her out of the kitchen and she's laying on his bed.  I miss yelling at Duckling to put her down because she was always trying to carry her.  Nothing seems the same without her.  I never would have imagined that I could miss her this much.  I can't wait for the day that this gets easier and when this pain goes away!

I love and miss you so much Parrot, life will never be the same without you!

Her final hour

Monday, March 7, 2011

Where in the World have we been?

We've worked very hard on our new Flat Traveler project and we have been very excited!  We are having so much fun with our visiting travelers.  There are so many great places we can't wait to explore in our own state and we can't wait to see what our travelers have been up to on their adventures!

Today, we made our Traveler Wall.  It has a temporary home in our kitchen, but we can't wait to move it to our classroom!  We have the perfect spot for it in our classroom, but unfortunately, our walls are textured and we can't tape anything to them.  We have some work to do before we can move our travel wall in there, but we didn't want to go without, so we settled for the spot in the kitchen for now. 

We made the 5ft. banner on Microsoft Publisher.  It reads "Where in the World have we been?" and it has our tour bus on it.  A shelf sits nearby to keep all of our traveler related items organized and a bin is available to keep things together too (state books, visiting traveler information, souvineers to send our visiting families, etc.). 

We printed various maps from this great website!  On our 2x2 world map we will mark our travels (girls will be marked in red and boys will be marked in blue).  On our 3x3 US map we will color each state we visit and mark the cities on the map.  Each month we will print a map of the state or country that we are visiting.  On that map, we will write the address of our host family along with how many miles it is for us to travel there.  There are also 2 pouches that will provide a place for our visitors to stay, so that they do not get seperated from their belongings (journal, passport, etc.).  We still need to print and hang our travel log!

It is amazing to see the enthusiasium of the kids when it comes to this project.  What a fun and interesting way to learn geography and map skills, learn about other cultures and best of all...making friends from around the globe!

"Alice", a visiting traveler from the UK is enjoying her private room

Can't wait to add some color to this USA map!

One of our state maps and a fact sheet that was sent to us from our NH visitor.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Emu's Diagnosis Day

"Idopathic Short Stature"....the phone call came early this morning, what a way to start our day.  I dreaded the phone call, but yet I was so anxious for it to come.  I knew I would be dissapointed, no matter what the answer was going to be, and yes, I think I am!

Idopathic Short Stature, what does that mean?  It means they have to call it something.  It means that the Endocrinologist, has absolutely no hormonal explanation for his lack of growth, from her standpoint.

I wrote down everything as she was speaking to me.  My mind was in a whirlwind, so it was difficult to ask questions.  I felt like I couldn't think very clearly.  I did ask some questions, but now I am filled with so much more.  I am totally confused.  She said that Emu IS Growth Hormone Deficient, but he does not meet the criteria for a GHD diagnosis.  She said his growth hormone level is 12.5.  When I asked what it "should" be, she said anything greater than 10 is considered normal.  She then went on to read all of the levels from each blood draw.  8.4, 5, 12.5, 2.6 & now I am confused.  Do they not average those, because his average would be 7.2.  I'm assuming they simply take the highest number, but out of 5 draws only one is above 10, so to me it doesn't seem right to take that number. Not that it would really make a difference in my choice to treat, but it would definately have an impact on his overall health and well being, as a true growth hormone deficency not only effects your size, but also all of your organs.

Her suggestion is to still treat him the same and to try and get growth hormone therapy, 1 shot each day, approved under a diagnosis of Idopathic Short Stature.  It is one of the 9 criteria approved by the FDA, but it is the most "wishy washy" as she called it and the hardest diagnosis to get approval for.  She is sending me literature to read over, so now, I need to educate myself and decide if I want to pursue growth hormone therapy for him.  From what I already know, this is not an avenue I will choose for him, especially since she thinks this will only gain him 3-7cm of growth, to me, it is just not worth the risks!  If it is approved, then the next battle is cost.  Growth hormone therapy is extremely expensive ($15,000-20,000 per year) and not all insurance companies pay for it, though, sometimes the manufacture will cover the cost.

She did mention that other systems could cause him not to grow...his heart, lungs, etc., though he "seems" to be healthy and thriving, she has no suspicion that there is anything else going on other than his growth hormone being low.

So, there you have it...I guess he got his "Diagnosis Day".  I still don't feel like we have all the answers, but I do feel relieved that we aren't ordering a CT Scan or MRI or other mounds of tests.  I expected to get an either/or...either he was growth hormone deficient, or he wasn't.  I never knew falling in between was an option, so I wasn't quite prepared for this.  I feel a sort of emptiness, a lack of having any real answers.  His "diagnosis" refers to extreme short stature that does not have a diagnostic explanation (idiopathic designates a condition that is unexplained or not understood) after an ordinary growth evaluation, hows that for an "answer".

So, now...I have to ponder on my choice...where do we go from here?  My immediate response is "No Way"!  Growth hormone therapy, is not worth the risks, not worth the pain, and not worth the small amount of growth it may provide.  For now, I think I need to leave him the way that God intended him to be :)

Breath Away Wednesday

It is Wednesday isn't it?  I've been up all sure seems like Tuesday to me....but, nope, my clock says 4:24am on Wednesday, March 2! 

Emu is wide awake sitting on the computer next to me watching Barney on Netflix, he insists that we stay up until the boys come down for breakfast.  I beg to differ, I mean, after all...Emu can sleep all he wants later today while I on the other hand, will be stuck tending to my duties around here.  I may have to enlist in some help from Cardinal and Hawk.  Every night since last Thursday, I've been up nearly all night...between sick kids and dogs not liking the new rules around here.  I don't know how I am even able to function right now...I am so sleep deprived! 

Tonight, I spent 4 hours in the ER with Emu.  Off and on since Saturday, he has complained of his belly hurting, pinpointing the pain at his belly button.  With the stomach virus we've had going around, I just figured he must be getting that, but after a good two days of complaining and no sight of vomiting or diarrhea, I started wondering if something else could be wrong.  He hasn't been himself, but yet, just laying around and most often when in pain, he just drops to the floor where ever he may be even if it's the cold hard kitchen floor.  His nights have been very restless and he tosses and turns in pain.  Tonight a few hours after he had been in bed, he woke up crying in pain...tossing and could just see that he was so uncomfortable.  When I asked him where he hurt, again, he pointed directly to his incision from his abdominal surgery a few years ago.  I always wonder about that "weak abdominal wall" and the hernia repairs that never seemed to heal the way it was described that they would.  Maybe I'm just worried about him because his diagnosis day may be just a few days away.  Maybe it's all of the stories of people tragically losing their children that I've been following lately.  Who knows...but something just didn't feel right, so I decided to take him and get him checked out.

The ER doctor was fabulous with my scared little Emu.  As we pulled up to the hospital, he remembered his stay there just two weeks ago.  Immediately, he decided he wanted to get as far away from that place as he could.  But, he wasn't draggin me out near midnight after 4 days of abdominal pain, for me to turn back.  The doctor was amazing and seemed more like a grandpa playing with his grandson, than an ER doctor doing an exam.  Upon the exam, I heard those words again "weak abdominal wall".  The doctors thoughts were that he either had an adhesion that developed from his abdominal surgery or that he could possibly have a tear in his abdominal wall.  So, he ordered 2 different x-rays...both of which came back fine.  So, we left with a diagnosis of "abdominal pain".  Hmmm...that's the very complaint we went in with, gosh, I should have been a doctor.

So, as we were sitting in the hospital flipping through the tv (poor Emu really wanted to watch basketball), we didn't really have any luck finding anything of the sort in the wee hours of the morning.  We ended up watching a St. Jude promo video titled "Fighting to Live".  After watching about 3 heartwrenching stories of children who had lost their battles with Cancer...I couldn't bear to watch anymore.  I kept thinking about a  couple whose blog I have been following since they've tragically lost their precious 4 month old Maddie and I thought of the story of another baby who's story I read just today.  He lost his life to SIDS and their is a big annual fundraiser at out Children's Hospital in his honor. 

As I sat there once again in the hospital with Emu, with him hopelessly in pain and scared about what they were going to do to him.  I worried about his test results, both his X-rays from tonight and his Growth Hormone Test from two weeks ago.  In a weird way, I felt so lucky, after all...unlike all of these tragic stories I've been hearing lately...he was at least smiling, playing with his little firetruck.  It's so hard not knowing what is in store for him...why is he having abdominal pain and what is going to happen when we get all of his test results back.  What is he going to have to go through next.  Why do I keep finding myself sitting in a hospital room with him and why can't they ever find out what's wrong with him.

I almost wish we would have left the hospital tonight with a diagnosis of least it would have been an answer.  So, now...once again...we wait and hope that soon, we will have answers.