Friday, July 01, 2011

Sean's Rash

This may seem a strange thing to blog about, but I thought you might find it interesting and informative. My 11 year old son, Sean, came home from camp on a Sunday afternoon with a bit of a rash on his arms. It was red and bumpy but didn't seem to bother him too much. We didn't think much of it and put some cream on it.

The rash didn't go away. It hung around but didn't really itch much until Tuesday night. We put some more cream on it, gave him an antihistamine and he did okay. But the next day it was itching really badly. The bumps were more pronounced and the skin all around the bumps was red and raised. So I took him to the doctor. She said it was NOT poison ivy but we figured it must be some sort of reaction to a plant he came in contact with. She prescribed an anti-itch cream and told us to give him an antihistimine twice a day.

                     This is the rash in it's calmer stage....later it was super red.

The rash seemed to subside and was back to just bumps by Wednesday night. I figured we were past the worst of it. I was wrong. Mid-morning the next day it started to itch again....a lot. We were back to all the red, raised skin around the bumps and it was worse. We tried a variety of things and it seemed to be better. He went out bike riding with friends that afternoon and came home miserable. The rash was even worse than before. Nothing we did seemed to help. I have never felt so helpless in my life. He finally fell asleep some time after midnight. I was determined to take him back to the doctor the next day.

When he woke up the next morning we were back to just bumps. Little to no itching. I put nothing on it, wondering if what we had been using was making it worse. Things stayed on an even keel all morning and into the afternoon. He went to hang out with his cousins in the afternoon and they played outside some. I noticed his arms were getting red and raised again (but not as bad as the day before).

After a tip from a friend I did some research on the internet and realized that Sean's rash was probably not from a plant at all, but was from the sun. I suspect he has what is called polymorphous light eruption . This is basically an allergic reaction to the sun. I will take him to the doctor next week and see if we can confirm it.

                  This is NOT Sean, but is similar to what his rash looked like.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Saga of Homeschooling

So most of you know that I homeschool my three boys. (okay, if you didn't already know, you probably figured it out from the first sentence!) I didn't always want to do that.

When we lived in Portland, Oregon I sort of home schooled. My kids were young and I didn't really know what I was doing. Mickey had pretty much taught himself to read by the time he was five so I didn't have to do much in that arena. We used various little workbooks for the first grade (Mickey) and kindergarten (Brendan). Sean was too young. They did okay, but it was a challenge to do it in a small apartment with a toddler wanting to "see" what his brothers were doing.

We moved to Spokane in 2003 and after talking with a friend I enrolled Mick and Bren in a local public school that this friend was very involved in. She had good things to say about the teachers and staff. Mickey was in second grade and Brendan was in first grade. I volunteered in each of their classrooms and was able to get to know their teachers fairly well. They went there for 3 years and Sean went for kindergarten. I'd say they had a pretty good experience overall.

During this time, however, Mike and I started to have some concerns, especially after Mickey came home from school one day when he was in fourth grade very worried he had done poorly on a test. Upon questioning him we realized that it wasn't a test but a survey he had taken. And it was all about alcohol use in the home, including questions about how much alcohol he, as a 9 year old, consumed in a week.

Now Mike had always wanted me to home school the boys and I was balking at it. I was kind of enjoying some kid-free time and the boys were doing okay. With Sean going into the first grade I'd have a nice chunk of time to myself with all sorts of opportunities in front of me. Maybe I'd volunteer somewhere. But God had other ideas. All summer long I kept resisting homeschooling. Nope, not gonna do it.

Then towards the end of August I gave in. Yes, Lord. I'll home school my boys.  Now what? Um, I have no idea!

So I got three giganto workbooks from Barnes and Noble that had a year's worth of worksheets on the four major subjects. I'd been given a history book that would work for the two older boys. Guess I was set. We did okay and I'm sure the boys learned something despite my fears that I was going to mess up their education forever.

Then a friend mentioned she was doing her homeschooling through Washington Virtual Academy. It didn't cost anything and they sent you all the curriculum you would need. So we jumped through all the hoops and did that for the next school year. It was a good experience but way too structured for my liking. A good thing came out of it, however. Confidence. I could do this.

So for the third year of homeschooling I got the boys enrolled up at MEPP, which is the home school program through the Mead school district. The boys went to school one day a week where they were able to interact with other home school kids and I got the support I needed. There was money allotted for curriculum. We did well. And we've been up there ever since.

I have now made it through my first year of homeschooling a high school student. I know how to make a transcript and I know what things he has to do in order to graduate. Now I'm ready to get going on my second highschooler. Yikes!

Throughout this process I've learned a lot about myself and my boys. I've endured a six hour math test (which really only took about 10 minutes with the rest of the time taken up with doodling, whining and complaining) made a big mess with my kids with clay (but we had fun doing it) and found a great curriculum for Algebra that doesn't involve me having to remember the little bit of Algebra I once knew in the days of old.

When we're done with this I may end up with a firefighter, a chef and whatever Sean decides he wants to be. And it will have been worth all the work and worry I went through.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's Been a Long Time

Yes, three years is a very long time to be away from here. Life has a way of getting away from me and I end up forgetting this place even exists. It's only thanks to my brother and sister-in-law starting their own blogs that I remembered my own.

A lot has happened since I last was here and yet it seems like nothing has happened. Life has gone along pretty much like usual. I still homeschool my boys and have made it through my first year with a high schooler. Next year I'll have two! I think I know what I'm doing there!

We're very active in our church. I am the preschool coordinator for Wednesday nights. This year we're doing VBS every Wednesday night and that makes things very busy as I am also teaching crafts and missions to our preschoolers. I also am involved with my churches worship team and am really enjoying that. Mike is teaching junior high boys and is loving interacting with all the youth, which includes Mickey and Brendan.

This summer Mike and Mickey will be joining a group from our youth group on a missions trip to Costa Rica. So we've had the adventure of getting passports for them and being involved in various fundraisers for the trip. I really look forward to hearing how their trip goes and what God does while they are there.

Sean is going into 6th grade and is as energetic as ever. He has his friends and will be going to 6th grade hangouts this year. The hangouts are a way of getting the kids ready for going into the youth group the next year. It should be fun for him.

Well, this entry has been rather rambling. I'll try to hone the next one down to one subject so it's a little easier to follow. This one feels almost like a Christmas letter or something!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

End of Computer Woes

Yes, you read that correctly! It wasn't the new computer that solved the problem either. It was getting Broadband. Our connection speed was too slow to get onto my school page. Now things are working as they should. So that's a big load of stress off my shoulders. And we have more fun things we can do now that we have faster speeds. Now it's just a matter of not spending to much time at the computer!

Saturday, April 26, 2008


I think it may be here. For real.

It's been quite the winter here. It's actually more what "normal" winters used to be. Which is fine. But I think it's quite time for it to be over. It's rather sad when you're still adding to the snow totals in April.

But this weekend is supossed to be nice and more around normal temps for this time of year. And I am very glad. I'm tired of being cold and I am ready to be warm again. I don't really think I'll mind being too warm.

Welcome spring!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Technology part two

Remember how I've had to cart my kids somewhere else to do their schoolwork because my computer is being a pain? Well, now I don't have to go anywhere. But I don't have a new computer yet. I haven't tried anything new recently to fix whatever problem is ailing my computer but I have been trying to get on the kid's school pages every time I go online. I checked it this past Saturday and ~holy cow!~ it worked! I do not have any idea why it suddenly works after not working for nearly a month. But I am glad. Of course, my computer is reminding me that it needs to retire because the school pages are still not as they should be. There are still elements missing from the pages. Words are missing from the link buttons (the links work, though), words are missing from the "progress" page, which has a bar graph to show progress in each subject. The bars are there but absolutely no words or numbers anywhere on the page. Random words are missing in the middle of lessons. And the pictures are all pixelated. My computer, being the stubborn thing it is, has resisted all my attempts to figure this problem out. So I am patiently waiting for my hubby to pick out a new computer for us (which had better tow the line!) and putting up with the missing elements. I shall post again to rejoice about the new computer. (which I'm sure will come with it's own set of problems since we'll be moving from Windows XP to Vista)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Technology is good, right?

No really, I do like my computer. It's just that it doesn't seem to like me! It behaves itself most of the time. But it's being a little cantankerous right now.

I use the computer for homeschooling my kids. They are enrolled in a virtual academy so a lot of their lessons are online. But my computer is being a pill and not letting me access the lessons. And while I have learned much about what it requires I obviously don't know enough to fix this problem. I am tired of having to take my kids somewhere else to do their schoolwork.

But little does my computer know that it will soon be replaced. My hubby and I plan to get a new one with our tax refund. It's time. One of the disk drives doesn't work. It's overdue for replacement, being about 4 years old.

So within a few weeks I should be on a new computer. Oh, don't worry, I know it will come with it's own set of problems. But hopefully only minor ones!