Large Family Happenings, Medical Issues

Family Update February 2021

Family Update February 2021Family Update February 2021

Here is our BUSY Family Update February 2021.  For the shortest month of the year, it *feels* like this month lasted 428 years.  So.  Very.  Busy.  That meme cracks me up.  I’m not sure if it is my guardian angel, my mama, sister, or therapist.  Maybe all of them do that when I tell them something new.  Tis my life.


Still, Job Corp is not open.  I believe, to date, one has opened, so that is progress.  Right?  Noah got accepted into MSU and got his financial aid going.  He is figuring things out, so I don’t have to.  We’ve decided that Hunter will have his therapies at school.  Virtual therapy is STUPID.  It is seriously the dumbest thing ever.  He will only be at the school for an hour and a half.  Physical therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech will all be done weekly.  Maybe we will see some progress.

As for the boys, Jude is doing well.  He is learning to take his time.  The school gives him the ability to redo his assignments, but not tests or quizzes. He is learning to ask questions and study.  It has been a journey.  Daniel is struggling.  With FASD, it is hard.  Teachers “see” one thing (virtually), yet life is another.  We are going to take him 2x a week for tutoring.  After much back and forth, we adjusted his 504.  Praying that is going to help.


There have been lots of birthdays this month.  Grayce, Hunter, Alyssa, Mimi, daddy, and several nephews have celebrated.  Also, we had a wedding shower for Alyssa on Hunter’s birthday.  That is one way to crunch it all in.  Originally, we had a separate day to do their share. Sadly, Alyssa got the flu or a stomach bug.  She was pretty pitiful.  We were not certain what she had, so we canceled until the 19th.  That would be one day before her wedding.

The rehearsal didn’t quite go as planned because there was a major snow/ice moment.  We considered postponing the wedding.  It was touch and go.  Alyssa was a wreck.  Arkie was a rock on the outside, still unsure of what lies beneath.  We got that done, without Arkie’s family.  Sadly, they got more snow than we did and just couldn’t make the trip.  I know that was a hard decision for them to make.

Once home, we did their shower.  Luckily, both my moms were here.  Hannah and Savannah were here.  Once the parents left, we started cooking.  We were all so tired but got it done.  Then, my girl came and snuggled with me until about 2 am.  Sigh.  Worth it all for that moment.


All in all, we got it done.  My daughter was breathtaking.  Simply breathtaking.  Arkie.  I tied his tie and saw this sweetness in his eyes.  He really is a sweet boy.  Change is just hard.  Alyssa.  Stunning.  His family was able to come home.  The sun was shining.  Her pictures will be so beautiful with her flowers and the snow.

My mom knocked it out of the park with her flowers, doors, and all the things she creates.  She is brilliant.  My other mom was so helpful.  I’m so thankful my aunt was able to come.  The boys kicked in and helped clean up.  The food was good, the company was good.  Alyssa was so full of joy.  Arkie was so excited about his apple pies.


Big Daddy was diagnosed with diabetes.  He has lost a lot of weight and his sugar levels are really good.  My plantar fasciitis sucks pond water.  That is in my right foot.  In my left foot, I’ve lost feeling in a couple of toes and the top of my foot.  It is due to a bone spur.  Eventually, when I lose feeling in more toes, we’ll address it.  My essential tremors have calmed down as have my psoriasis.

We have some upcoming appointments with Daniel to have him assessed for autism.  Honestly, we have always suspected it but as he gets older, things become more prominent.  Also, we have some upcoming appointments for Jude.  We are hoping to get some help with his FND.  Hunter had a massive treatment that I will address in another post.  So, stay tuned.

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A Little Less Scrambled with a Side of Squirrel

A Little Less Scrambled with a Side of SquirrelA Little Less Scrambled with a Side of Squirrel

Last week, I was a little scrambled with my intentions.  The other day, however, I was A Little Less Scrambled with a Side of Squirrel.  I slept in till about 9:30 and then headed downstairs to see what awaited me.


Kids awaited me.

And dogs and cats and Big Daddy.

I did have a goal and that was to cut hair.  There are lots of heads of hair that I needed to trim up.  When there is such a need, what does one do?  Well, they call their mama.  So, I called my mama.  We chatted a good bit while I pet the dogs.

The resolve to do anything was dissipating by about 10 am.  I sat down to work on my calendar, check emails, and such.  Jude got out ground beef for supper and I got him off to basketball practice.  We are in a bit of a conundrum because we are down a vehicle so everything has to work together well in order for everyone to get from point A to point B.

In the midst of life

I went into, what is now Hunter and Daniel’s room.  See, we only have 3 bedrooms downstairs so we have had to play musical rooms for a long time.  When we had all the kids here, we had 3 boys in a room, 2 girls in a room, a big girl in her own room, and Hunter up here.

Now that 2 kids have moved out, we have 1 girl in a room and the other 2 rooms have 2 boys each.  Originally we had Noah (18) and Daniel (15) in a room, but that did not work out for specific reasons.  Now, we have Noah (18) and Jude (13) in a room. D and Hunter share a room.  D has a loft bed, so that frees up space to add a desk for him.

When we got our new bed, upstairs, we moved the massive cabinets downstairs to D and H’s room, so they would have space to put their clothes.  It has all be a process.  All that being said, I have a front “coat closet” that we have added shelves to and cubbies.  This has been Hunter’s “room” for a long time.

Glorified Coat Closet

I use the word “room” lightly because all it has in there are his toys, dress-up clothes, and books.  It does not have any doors on it.  We took those off when he got sick because it was too hard to maneuver his gait walker or wheelchair in that space.  This space is ALWAYS a mess.  It looks like a 5 yr old boy plays in there and that is perfectly fine, but it gets on my nerves.

We need to paint it, as well as the hall, and change some things up.  Yet, it is functional, he uses it every day and we try and keep it contained.  I decided to move things around and move ALL his toys into his room.

Reduce and watch your kids’ imaginations soar.

That was a success.  We threw away a lot of stuff and we put up a lot of stuff.  By the phrase “put up” that means that I bagged up what he didn’t play with and I took it out of his toy “rotation.”

When a kid has fewer options to play with, you will find that they start actually playing.  An influx of toys can cause a kid to have sensory overload because they do not know what to play with because of all the colors, textures, noises, etc.

I rotate every 6 months so he feels like he is getting new things often 🙂  Smart girl, I know!  While I was moving from here to there to yonder, Alyssa came home.


We found ourselves talking at the kitchen table with a massive amount of legos.  So, what do 2 squirrely girls do?  We color code the legos and then arrange them by shape…yes sir, that is what we do.

When we finished talking, we were finished with our squirrel sorting…then, she went to the bedroom to help me finish my task of organizing.  Guess what we did?  Oh, yes we did!  We took over 10,000 pieces of legos, dumped them, and sorted them by color and shape.

Clearly, we have issues or a lot to chat about.  After about 2 hours of not getting the room done, not cleaning the original closet out, not starting supper, not cutting hair, and not accomplishing anything other than color-coding/sizing legos…we gave up.

I will have you know that it was a sense of accomplishment that lasted 0.4 seconds!  We did end up finishing that room and closet.  I did cut hair and cook supper.  It was late, but it was done!

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Crack. Me. Up.

Crack.  Me.  Up.Crack. Me. Up.

This meme continually Crack. Me. Up.  I cannot stop laughing at this.

Seriously.  I may need an intervention.

Sometimes, in life, we need a little humor.  After 19 years of homeschooling (as of 2018), I have to find the humor in it because, frankly, I’m over homeschooling.

I do not say that in jest.  Homeschooling began out of fear for me.  This was a decision that my husband and I made after our local high school shooting.  Fear.  Straight up.  Not conviction, not religious reasons, no other reason than I was afraid for the life of me, then, one child.

Clearly, that didn’t work out well because I hated doing it and she hated learning.  We did put her in school and her sister for a hot minute.  That didn’t go well either, sadly.  It didn’t matter how involved I was with the school, how well I liked their teachers…it just didn’t go well.

We took them back out for a long period of time and then life happened.  Adoptions happened and it was time to try again.  This time we took a different route and put them in private school.  Uhm, well, mama and the “religious powers that be” did not play well in the sandbox together.  That was another horrible experience.

Finally, we brought them home again.  I had a different perspective, a different desire, they were excited to learn, and I was excited to teach, so here we are.  Timing is everything.  I’m blessed to have moved to an area where I have mad respect for the people at the board office.  I know several principals, teachers, substitute teachers, and more.  Now, if we choose to put them in school, it will be different.

Realistically, however, I’m also aware that I have 2 children that it would be a detriment to enroll them for several different reasons.  My third child is going to graduate in May and he is on it like Donkey Kong with his work.  I have another child that would be just fine, only he is the 1% race that just is not in my community.  Identity is a huge thing and I want him to be proud to be a strong, faith-filled boy of color.  I never want him to desire to be white.  Honoring his culture, his heritage, his beginnings are so important to us, as a family.

So here I sit, grading papers for the umpteenth time today.  I’m answering math questions, language questions, life questions…and so it goes.

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Thoughts on Life Skills Class

Thoughts on Life Skills Class

Thoughts on Life Skills Class

Here are my thoughts on our Thoughts on Life Skills Class for homeschooling.  This has been an interesting experiment, to say the least.

Child 1’s Job

Peach (works at McDonald’s):  We *sort of* have this ironed out.  She will be doing daily lunches, at my house.  Also, she will have to make sure the bathrooms, during the lunch hour, are clean.  Realistically, she will also have to keep the dining area clean and the kitchen clean.  She will create menus with prices.  Next, she will pull that hair back and slap on those rubber gloves.  Finally, she will cook, serve, collect money, and clean.

One day a week, she will be cooking McD type items (burgers, cheeseburgers, McChickens, fries) for our two families.  She will have to create fry holders and wrap all items appropriately.  She will be accepting checks, debits, and cash…she must learn how to count cashback.  We would like to get a field trip to a fast food place (or any restaurant) to see how things really work.  Pizza Hut is usually really good at doing this.

Child 2’s Job

Gigi (farmer):  She has had to clean out the meat chicken’s coops and the laying hen coops.  She has had to feed and water all farm animals.  Also, she has had to transfer the horse poop and work it through the garden area to prepare it for planting next year.  Then, she is weeding flower gardens and soon will be planting fall flowers.  Finally, she will learn how to feed horses/cows properly, any “how-tos” with horse maintenance.  We will be planning a field trip to a local farmer and learn how to milk cows and work on tobacco farms.  She will work the yards of both families.

Child 3’s Job

Boo (stay at home dad):  We have that pretty much covered. Whatever I have to do, he does.  He will be cooking/cleaning/chauffering, etc.

Child 4’s Job

Catfish (army):  He will do exercise drills, hiking, learning how to live in the woods, shoot guns…he will teach a couple of times to all the kids and every day do drills with my children.  We are going to try and plan a field trip to Ft. Campbell…we shall see on that one.  We will also be planning a field trip to the police station, ambulance service, and the fire department.  In doing that, we will bake these people cookies and create cards to show our respect and appreciation for all they do.

Child 5’s Job

Little Man (doctor):  He will take blood pressures, pulses, and blood sugars from everyone in the family.  He will learn how to clean out cuts, what types of creams to use on burns or cuts, how to bandage properly.  We would like to go on a field trip to a local doctor’s office.  We will also try to get a field trip to the health department.  They will talk about nutrition, staying healthy, how to do examines (hearing and vision), etc.

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The Experimental Egg

The Experimental EggThe Experimental Egg

The Experimental Egg.  Peach is taking Biology with a Lab, this semester.  She enjoys experiments, but sadly, they don’t always turn out the way she needs them to.

This experiment, however, exceeded our expectations!  She had placed a raw egg in a glass and cover it with vinegar.  That had to sit, covered, for a few days.  In that time, the outer shell began to flake off.  Once the outer shell was completely gone (the egg is raw, mind you), she had to pour out the vinegar and then cover the egg with syrup.  That had to set covered, for a few days.

Measure that Egg

In the midst of the egg hanging out in either vinegar or syrup, she had to measure the egg each time.  Once the process was complete, the egg had shrunk considerably.  When she pulled it out of the syrup, this is what she found.  A gelatinous egg where you could bring the yolk around and you could see the yolk.  It was squishy and awesome!  I’m so proud of her!  We enjoyed The Experimental Egg.

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Trying new experiments can be super fun.  There is not much that my kids would not enjoy when it comes to creating or exploding things.

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Meet Boo Lifeskills Class

Meet Boo Lifeskills ClassMeet Boo Lifeskills Class

Homeschooling has been really fun, this year.  Now, Meet Boo Lifeskills Class.  Boo is my 4th child and he is 13.  He drew high school drop out (pursuing his GED) and being a stay at home dad.  His wife makes $13/hour.  He has drawn out a small 2 bedroom/1 bath home and he wants 1 child (because that is easier).

Training Begins

We began his training on Monday afternoon.  We started off by going to the pharmacy (I wish I had taken a picture…will do better).  He had to walk in, talk clearly and concisely to the staff, hand them my prescription, as well as, getting 3 others filled.  We talked about why they only stock one item, at a time, of bathroom products (think cost).  What the difference is between Walmart and a drugstore.  Why people buy “expensive” things at the drugstore…what is the best thing to buy at the drugstore.  How to look for deals.  Also, just being polite and speaking up when talking to other people.

Grocery Store Time

After that, we headed to the grocery store.  Had I been brilliant, I would have let him create the menu for the next couple of weeks, but I did that and made my list.  He, however, took the list, a pen and did his thing,  We talked about branding and how sometimes you pay more for the brand name or the packaging.  We compared prices on the same item, 3 different brands.  I taught him how to shop for produce and fresh vegetables.

We set a limit of $200 for a 2 week period.  That includes paper products, cleaning supplies, dog food, food, etc.  He came in at $166.60.  I totally would have made him put something up if he went over budget.  Gotta learn to live within means!  It took FOREVER to get through the grocery, but it was time I got to spend with him…one on one!

A Proper Cashier

As we were loading the groceries on the belt thing…I explained to him that there are good cashiers (separate your items properly and don’t overload your bags).  Then, there are the struggling cashiers (those that suck and smash your bread).  I told him that it was our job to make their job a bit easier….especially when I normally shop for a month at a time. Sadly, I can be an overwhelming presence in the grocery store.  I taught him how to group cold stuff together, freezer stuff, canned goods, boxes, and always…always….load the squishy stuff last.  It makes everything go much more smoothly.

Credit Cards are From the Devil

When we went to check out, I used my debit card.  He was in shock because he *thought* it was a credit card.  I explained the differences (while the little girl was checking our groceries) between the two.  Debit (or used as credit) goes directly out of my bank account…instantly…no money into an account, it will decline my card.  I then asked him what I had taught him about credit cards and he gently replied: “they are from the devil!”  Well done…son….well done!!!!!!

Unloading and Starting Dinner

We got home and he had to hurry to put everything up.  After he got everything put up, he had to hustle to get Little Man prepared for soccer and we can’t forget his water!  He was a soccer dad because every kid likes to be involved in something.  After 2 hours of waiting, he had to come home, feed LM and then put the rest of the groceries (pantry items) up.  He will take my menu list and he will separate out each meal and put the recipe items (as well as the recipe) in the boxes.  He will then place those in the pantry…when it is time to make that particular meal, he will have everything at his fingertips.

Yes, he will be cooking (pray for me).  He made Corn Chowder and Broccoli/Cheese Soup.  Both were delicious.

Taking a Kid to Therapy

Tuesday, he attended speech therapy with Catfish.  He had to come in, sign him in, meet the therapist and shake her hand.  He had to properly introduce himself to the head of the department, as well as, an undergrad student who was taking notes.  My boy took 2 pages of notes AND he asked many questions to the head of the dept. and the grad student therapist.  He loved it!

Doctors, Soccer, Errands, Oh My

Wednesday, he will be going with 4 of the other children to the doctor, as well as, making sure everyone is bathed and ready for church.  Thursday is therapy and soccer again….he will do everything that I do and I will shadow him.  He was exhausted, yesterday…maybe he will have an appreciation for me 🙂 Friday, we have a down day and will probably pay bills (he will write checks, as well). Saturday is a full day of soccer in another town about 2 hours away.  He will have to prepare snacks for everyone, make sure they are properly dressed, make sure LM has all he needs to play, get blankets and chairs and be ready to cheer!  Then everyone needs showers because Sunday is church!  Then it starts all over again.

Not Done Yet

We will be going to the bank, doing some couponing, reading recipes, making phone calls, attending therapies, doctoring boo-boos and he has to clean the house from top to bottom….good times people, good times.  My goal is to teach him to look people in the eyes, have a firm handshake, be prepared, be polite and to be efficient.

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Homeschooling 101

Homeschooling 101

Homeschooling 101

Here is my Homeschooling 101.  I’ve been homeschooling for the better part of 12 yrs.  Do I do things in the “normal” fashion?  Well, I guess that demands on your definition of normal.  My definition of normal is a mom with pink and purple hair (much to her mom’s chagrin), being barefoot 99.5% of the time, and drinking coke out of wine glass….your definition probably is a whole lot different and that’s okay.  That’s what makes the world turn.

Here are some questions that I have been asked, as well as, some comments people have made:

1.  What does a typical day look like?

A typical day is Boo coming upstairs to wake me up at about 8 am.  I meander, make phone calls, take a shower, etc and then I come downstairs by 8:45 or 9 am.  Bear in mind, my kids are now older and I wasn’t always able to do that.  While I’m “getting myself” together for the day, the kids eat breakfast, clean up their breakfast spaces, and then do their chores.  Once 9 am hits, I’m checking my email, Bug (oldest dd) helps Little Man (youngest son) with his work; Peach, Boo, and Gigi are doing their work and I have Catfish write his spelling words.

When Catfish is done, I go and work solely with him.  He has some delays and some learning disabilities and it takes a while to get things done.  Everyone else works independently, asking me questions as the day goes by.  I have one who sits in the kitchen, 3 who set at the dining room table, and 2 that work in the living room.

We stop at noon to eat lunch.  They eat, then clean up their space.  Once that is done, they go upstairs and watch a movie, go play in their rooms or outside, or read a book until about 2.  This gives me time to make phone calls, do specific housework, check email, text, read, watch a show, relax….they do not bother me during this time.  After that time is up, they finish up schoolwork for about an hour or so.  By then, we are doing other things, outside the home.

We “school” Monday-Thursday.  Fridays are reserved for makeup stuff, tests, field trips, etc.  I also grade all the papers on Friday.  Once a month, I write out their schedules.  Each child has one and we check things off when we are done.  The kids are responsible for keeping up with their schedules.  If they get lost, then they get to do extra work until their schedules are found.

To make things easier, we have crates.  Each child has a crate and that is where they keep their books/pencils/papers and schedules.  I make things VERY organized for them.

2.  What type of curriculum do you use?

I have been known to use Sonlight, Abeka, Bob Jones,,, or I make up my own.  This past year, I got on and I looked under their “complete packaged curriculum” and I wrote down what each child would need.  Then, I bought those books off of timberdoodle, or Which has been my favorite thing, so far.

I do lap books, unit studies, Mystery of History, Teaching Textbooks, Exploring Creation…it is free for all.  I have also found a WONDERFUL site that is COMPLETELY free and AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!  She has done all the work for you.  You will need a copier and some small supplies.  She has it completed from preschool-8th grade and is working in high school.

3.  How do you teach multiple kids, multiple ages?

My oldest dd (17) has classes at our local university. She started them last August and is able to go for a fraction of the cost because she is still in “high school”.  By the time she “graduates”, she will also have her Associates Degree.  She does refresher math courses because that is her weakness.  She does this online and it is also free. Khan Academy is a great resource.  She wants to be a teacher, one day and so she has taken on the challenge of teaching my youngest son, 6.  He works part-time with her, part-time with me and he does computer work to help with his letter/number recognition.

Peach (almost 15), Boo (almost 12), and Gigi (12) have their schedules are are independent learners.  They come to me when needed.

Catfish (8) works one on one with me due to his learning issues.

4.  Your house is so clean, how do you keep it that way?

Each child has an area that they are solely responsible for.  I have learned to let go of my OCD tendencies and my perfectionism in those areas.  I teach them how to properly clean it, they do it.  Sometimes they do it halfway and when that happens, they redo it. I am not the maid, I am a mom.  My job is to not raise perfect children…my job is to raise Godly responsible adults.

Bug (17) – laundry and laundry room

Peach (15) – both bathrooms

Gigi (12) – kitchen

Boo (11) – chickens, living room/dining room

Catfish (8) – take out/feed dogs, hall/foyer

Little Man (6) – feed cats/help Catfish

They are all responsible for their own rooms.

We “deep” clean on Mondays.  Do chores every morning and then we pick up before daddy gets home.

5.  Do you still have time to cook?

I vary on this.  Sometimes I cook once a month, sometimes once every two weeks and sometimes I cook nightly.  I do not cook on Sunday or Wednesday nights…we eat at church.  I also don’t cook on Thursday nights.  Big Daddy makes me a pizza and the kids either eat pizzas or macaroni.  It’s their favorite night.

I make out my menus, ahead of time for the time frame that I’m cooking for.  I write down, in my calendar, what we will have each night.  Visual helps my sanity.  I make out a complete grocery list and then I go through my pantry/fridge/freezer and mark off what I already have.

6.  Do you feel like your kids are “socialized” enough?

Uhmmmmmmmmmmm…………yes.  My kids are learning how to love their siblings and to love others.  There are all different kinds of socialization.  Some good and lots are bad.

7.  What outside activities do your children participate in?

Girl Scouts, 4-H, church, field trips, eventually karate, and boy scouts.  I would like for each kid to be in something…we shall see.

8.  How do you remain so calm?

I don’t.  I deep breathe, go to my room, drink a coke, pet a cat, sing a show tune…that is how I attempt to stay calm.  I’m not a yeller, but I get frustrated.  Chaos and loudness are part of my life.

9.  What are your qualifications?

What are yours?  I’m a mom. I’m a daughter of the King and I read the greatest instruction manual ever…the Word.  I am just trying to be obedient.

10.  What are the “requirements” that meet state standards?

In KY, which is the only state I know about, the requirements are to send a letter to the superintendent 2 weeks prior to school starting, stating your intentions and keeping a record of attendance.  However, I keep everything.  Then, I test once a year.  Bob Jones University standardized testing is what I use. I start testing in 5th grade, but not before.

11.  What do you have against public schools?

Absolutely nothing.

12.  What does your family think?

Ha….they think more of my pink/purple hair than my choice of homeschooling.  My mom is a retired teacher…she has thoughts…my siblings have thoughts….and if I wanted to know their thoughts, then I would ask LOL.  They pray for me, for my children and that is what is important.

I will say that it is wonderful when you do have a support system.  I have an excellent one, in my husband.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Comment on here, ask on Facebook and with your permission, I will post your thoughts/questions on here…someone else may have the same question.