It's been busy yet quiet around these parts as of late, my friends as we were dealing with an injury that took all of my physical and emotional energy to work through. It's hard to even know where to begin so I'm just going to jump in. Our homeschool days are ever evolving. They change according to our life schedule. There are some days that are the same over and over and other days that are different according to appointments, nap schedule, lessons, etc. On average we've scheduled our days as such. Mornings are a time for independent work which could consist of handwriting, reading, individual math work, cooking, gardening, group walk, art projects, etc. This happens primarily because Ari now naps in the middle of the day so it's tough to get into the classroom to do instructed lessons with him running around always in need of something. He's getting to an age where does play independently somewhat for short periods of time so I am able to help the children work through things, get set up for projects, etc. But for the most part mornings are for self-driven work or projects that Kendall and Tyler may be working on together. Now that Spring is here in full force, we always try to get out for along walk/bike ride. It's a beautiful way to break up the morning, it gets good exercise in and it ALWAYS helps any cranky moods that may or may not rumble through.
When we get back from our late morning walks, the children have started making their own lunches. We sit together, have lunch and then Ari heads for his nap. This is the time that we head into the classroom, hunker down and get some serious work done. It gives us a solid 3+ hours (most days) to crank through their core subjects while often giving us extra time for group reading, art and/or science projects.
Two weeks ago, Kendall was making dog cookies for Katie. She had the recipe and all the supplies she needed and was doing a wonderful job of measuring and mixing. I was replanting some seedlings that needed a new home while Tyler and Ari were next me playing on the deck. The timer on the cookies went off and Kendall went to retrieve the sheet pan from the oven unfortunately forgetting to use pot holders. Yep, that happened. I won't go into detail with the scene that ensued after this but needless to say it was not pretty. I have to say that of all my children, Tyler is beyond amazing in a crisis. He remains calm, knows how to help and where to be. He is a wonderful and nurturing soul and is an amazing brother.
Here we are, 2 weeks and 3 appointments to Shriner's Burn Hospital later and she is on the other side of it. I cannot express my immense gratitude enough to our pediatricians office and to the staff at Shriner's Hospital. There are no words to explain how frightening it was for Kendall and the rest of us nor are there enough words to explain how wonderfully both our pedi's office and Shriner's responded during this time for our family. Kendall is an amazing patient. She did everything she was told and she healed amazingly well. She still has residual blistered skin that will flake off, there are spots that are tender and need to be lotioned constantly to keep them from cracking but she is unbandaged and can resume life as normal.
I feel a sense of relief greater than I've ever felt for her. She will be 100% ok and we feel so thankful for that. Because as we realized through this process, it can always be worse and we feel so blessed that we have our health. Ok - I need to stop and breathe because the tears have not yet come though I know they will. But I'm not ready yet. So, moving on.
Here are a couple of quick things I learned about burns throughout this process. If you get a burn keep it in cold water for 20 minutes. I ran her hands under the cold water for about 3-4 minutes before bandaging her up and heading to our pediatricians office (we needed to move fast...). The constant cold water stops the burning process which can continue for up to 20 minutes!! I did not know this. The water does not have to be running, you can put it in a bowl or fill the sink up as well. I also did not know that if you have a burn that heals within a 14 day window, the likelihood for scarring is very minimal if anything at all. If you are still healing after 14 days there is a higher chance you will have scarring. These are things that I did not know.
I am so beyond thankful to many dear friends and family who visited Kendall during her recoup time, who brought her amazingly thoughtful gifts and treats knowing that there was little she could do with her hands completely bandaged. I am full of gratitude for friends and family who came to just sit with her and make her laugh. I know in the grand scheme of life 2 weeks is small and insignificant but for those first few days that she was scared and in pain, those visits made a difference. They distracted her, cheered her up and made her feel special because she knew she was thought of, cared for and loved. Every day she got a little better. We made the almost 2 hour trip (thank you crazy Boston traffic!!) to Shriner's Hospital where they made her (and us) feel like VIPs. As Kendall healed and felt stronger after one of our visits to Shriner's, we used our time in Boston wisely surprising the kids and taking a trip to the NE Aquarium and to Faneuil Hall. Kendall and Tyler thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were so surprised and happy! Heading into the city with the 3 kids by myself just doesn't happen right now. Ari is very busy, constantly on the move, so I feel it's necessary to save the big trips for when Ian can join us. Thankfully his work schedule is very accommodating and flexible which allowed him to be with us both at home and at appointments for the majority of this process. I needed him here as did the kids. For 1,000 different reasons, Ian simply rocks.
What blew me away during all of this was Kendall's resiliency and the resiliency of children in general. I know that kids move and process things differently than adults but seeing it action is really unbelievable. The first few days Kendall was simply immobile but as the days went on and the bandages changed slightly, at first being huge and completely unusable, to smaller more manageable bandaging allowing her to use her fingertips and then some of her fingers completely she'd try to hold a fork, pen, toys etc and move on with her day. She'd tire very easily - another fact that I learned during this process is that the body, while trying to heal from burns, tires very quickly. She would then go and rest and recharge and come back to whatever she was doing previously. We were also instructed for her to eat foods rich in protein which also helps the healing process. All in all she was simply an amazing patient. Brave, strong and patient. Her bravery literally humbled me.
As far as school went, well, it's been a mostly "off" couple of weeks. We did a lot of reading, both group and individually. We did some math outloud, practicing basic math facts. We continued to discuss Rome and we talked about where we were headed next. The children participated in a Homeschool Project Fair which went AMAZINGLY well considering what we had going on. It was super fun and a great learning experience for the children. The kids have been planning this for weeks. Unlike a traditional science fair where the kids come up with experiments to show this was a project fair which afforded the children the opportunity to share anything with their audience.
It could have been a science experiment, hobby, a collection, a passion for anything they like. The topics at the fair included things like 3-D printing, ducks, hippos, lion fish invasion, mold/bacteria, factory farming, toxic ingredients in our food, Rube Goldberg maze, sewing, and more. Kendall chose to share her love of fairies and Tyler shared his talent and taught people how to draw simple fantasy creatures. The children shared a large table and had beautiful, interactive displays. Kendall had everyone come up and investigate her fairy house and Tyler had a line just about the entire time of people waiting to learn to draw! Tyler also created a partially done drawing that we photocopied and handed one out to each person that came by. He explained to them that they were to complete the drawing in anyway they liked! The kids were extremely proud of themselves and felt very accomplished at the end of the day. I was thrilled for them on many levels. This is the kind of thing that they would have had the opportunity to do in public school so I was happy that they had a similar experience to what they are used to and what their peers may be doing. A good time was had by all.
Otherwise we've been gardening, doing lots of bike riding, reading, visiting with friends and family, organizing and spring cleaning/clearing around here!
And now, enjoy our life in photos.
|bike riding in gorgeous weather|
|fairy house construction begins|
|playing with base 10 blocks with his little brother - way too cute|
|She usually does not use glue of any kind as the "fairy rules" state nothing that is man made can be used in the construction of a fairy house. However, exceptions can be made if the house needs to be transported which in this case it did.|
|playing and building|
|making their own lunches! Yay!! this frees me up to do other stuff around the house!|
|we do these cards while we eat - they are funny and silly and smart!|
|they LOVED this!!!|
|group reading time!|
|silly silly boy!|
|he loves using stickers!!|
|fabulous fine motor work!|
|I love those tiny, squishy, chubby baby hands!!|
|she ADORES her new bike!!!|
|and brings friends with her wherever she goes!|
|he's become so confident!! It's awesome to see!|
|Ari LOVES to plasma with Kendall!|
|safety first! (we need to get a helmet that actually fits him)|
|which is why he's skateboarding on the grass!|
|he's CRAZY brave and would have gone down the grass hill by himself if I'd have let him!|
|right before she burned her hands =(|
|Katie was in full on attention mode - she does not like it when anyone is sick.|
|Especially her girl Kendall...|
|She did not leave her side.|
|On the way to Shriner's.|
|The amazing hospital that is Shriner's.|
|Smiling regardless of what she's going through...such an amazingly brave girl.|
|Thank you Grandma, Popeye and Auntie for this most delicious Edible Arrangement and balloons!!|
|Trying to get outside for a few minutes of fresh air.|
|Was so easily exhausted - napping on the couch.|
|Visits from Grandma and Popeye!!|
|A visit and BEAUTIFUL homemade gift from our dear friend Anne!!!|
|Ari is now able to self entertain for short periods of time! He LOVES to read to himself. It's the cutest thing EVER!|
|At this time her right hand was unbandaged but in the next visit they decided to open them up so she ended up having both hands bandaged for a time as well.|
|Sweetest puppy ever.|
|Thank you everyone for the balloons, treats, gifts and visits!!|
|Ari enjoying a treat =)|
|Shopping for my brother's wedding!|
|He thought it was very cool to shop for fancy stuff with the ladies.|
|Kendall was exhausted but a trooper nonetheless! I think it was a good distraction for her to come with us despite how tired it made her.|
|A trip to Build A Bear for some dolly clothing surely didn't hurt ;)|
|Off to Shriner's - again...|
|Her amazing brother helping her to put her shoes on.|
|The smoothies were an easy way for K to eat for a few days...|
|We also made a special trip to the Crocs store while we were in Boston so that everyone, including Ari, could get new summer footwear!|
|serious cuteness - bringing me a dandelion!|
|hahahahah - lunchtime sillies|
|amazing new Converse for Ty to wear to my brother's rehearsal dinner! (not to be worn beforehand!)|
|she's trying SO hard!!|
|paper making class at our library!! Kendall was a serious trooper!! She was able to participate by putting plastic bags on her hands.|
|Ty's homemade paper!!|
|happy Cinco de Mayo!|
|hahha - smoothie face|
|keeping her strength up by taking short walks|
|and enjoying the gardens!|
|they were cracking themselves up by playing super spies!|
|rebandaging and apparently photobombing time|
|homeschool project fair!!!|
|Ari had fun playing in the children's section of the library where the fair was held!|
|Rubba (it's what the kids call my Dad) came and perused the fair and chatted up the participants!|
|Grandma Sue getting a drawing lesson|
|Kendall and Popeye (what my kids call Ian's dad) walkin the fair!|
|Daddy and Ari checking out the Rube Goldberg display|
|Kendall watering her garden when we got home|
|the project fair passport! So super cute!!|
|playing with froggies|
|he LOVES sitting and playing in our cars!|
|secret spies, again!|
|sweaty and tired but happy|
|Our dear friend had a birthday party last weekend at the AMAZING Biomes Marine Biology Center in North Kingstown, Rhode Island! What a fantastic place!!|
|yes Ty's petting the ray!! (no stinger here folks)|
|kendall loved this guy...|
|at Shriner's - yet again!|
|can't believe this toy still works!|
|he LOVES it! He can drive it but cannot steer...it's funny to watch.|
|out for a celebratory ice cream!|
|and french fries!|
|I'll leave you with this ridiculous bit of cuteness - the suit for my brother's wedding. The shirt and tie will be different but the rest he'll be rockin!|