Friday, December 21, 2007

Pilonidal Cyst

Austin had his pilonidal cyst removed last week. He did end up having to stay one night in the hospital. He is suppose to stay off his rear for 10 days, so he has been alternating from bed to loveseat to couch.

I hurt my back lifting him after we first got home. So for the first couple days I was lying around with him! Thankfully, we got a manual lift to use to get him up and around.

Grandma had to go to the hospital this week too. She just suddently lost all her strength and could not get off the couch. We were afraid it might be a stroke, but it wasn't. They are still investigating, trying to figure out what happened. She does seem to be getting better hopefully she can get back to her normal self.

I let Amber, her friend Megan, and Austin open one of their presents tonight. I got Amber and Megan flannel jammies and slippers from Victoria's Secret. Megan's were donuts...because they are obsessed with donuts! Austin opened a new Playstation 2 game: "The Family Fued." We haven't played it yet. He is too hooked on Mario Galaxy.

Went to the store today and bought stuff for baking day...which will be Sunday. I don't usually bake for Christmas, and my oven runs too hot, so I'm a little nervous. Hopefully it will all turn out okay.

Austin's bus driver stopped by the house this afternoon and dropped off a gift for Austin. It is a yellow t-shirt with a bus on it, which has a #1 (like his) and it has his name on it. That was so-oo-oo sweet. He loves it!

We are going to my brother's house for Christmas Eve and Kevin's sister's house for Christmas. Then it is off to the Mall of America! Hopefully Austin's rump will be okay by then!

To everyone in blogger land MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Its Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas!

Wow we got a lovely ice storm last night with snow on top. It is really starting to look and feel like Christmas now. Not that I am ready. I'm not done shopping, and I have done no wrapping!

Austin has a pilonidal cyst that has to be removed in outpatient surgery on Friday. Unfortunately, I don't think he will be up to sitting in his wheelchair for several days. The cyst is just right below the tailbone. His new computer/communication device is on a mount with wheels though, so I think we can manage to homeschool from the couch. He is really enjoying the Time4Learning we have been working on. He also is enjoying the Birth of Jesus study.

Amber was thankful for the snow day today. I think she finally got out of bed at 2 p.m.!?>! I used to sleep late as a teenager too...but I don't think ever THAT late.

We have decided to go up to the Mall of America the day after Christmas (and stay a few days). We are cutting back on presents and saving some money for the after holiday sales! HOPEFULLY the weather will cooperate for the trip!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

BAD Blogger

Boy, I have been a BAD blogger lately! Too much going on I guess!

Austin is doing better. He had his followup visit with Infectious Disease and with Ortho. His sed rate is almost back to normal. He is going for an ultrasound tomorrow. He is getting along fine with his IV antibiotics.

I've decided to try some different things for homeschooling through December. We just began a Grapevine study on "The Birth of Jesus." We also just started an online program called Time4Learning for Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science. We are taking a break from Weaver, but still working lightly on Edmark Reading and time and money skills. Austin met his goals I had set for him due mid November! He is reading around 80 words, can tell time to the half hour, knows the names and values of all the coins, is typing/copying reading words with 100% accuracy and typing 5 simple spelling words with NO assistance. He is also now completing quizes on Boardmaker with 80-100% accuracy. I AM SO PROUD OF US!

Amber is doing well. The hair color of the month is white with very dark brown stripes. Oh my. I'm hoping the dark brown fades out some. She still is not driving. Actually, she lost her license for 30 days because of the accident and speeding ticket. I guess I'd really rather she not be driving through winter anyway. Josie, the hamster is still alive and still seems to hear okay.

The pups are back in their sweaters. They went to the groomer and came home shakin and shivering! It has been so-oo-oo cold the last couple days!

Friday, November 9, 2007


We got to come home last weekend. It is so nice to sleep in your own bed and shower in your own shower after being in a hospital room for a couple of weeks! The problem is trying to catch up on all the neglected housework, grocery shopping, laundry, bills, and on and on. Then we have the added responsibility of running IV meds every 6 hours. I'm finding it really hard to get things back to normal. We homeschooled this week, but it seemed sort of unorganized. I usually have my plan set up for at least 2 weeks in advance, but this week I took it day by day. Definitely not as good.

Amber went up to watch the girls state volleyball tournament in Cedar Rapids today. She rode along with a friend. She has never been that far away without an adult before. I'm very nervous about it. I'm calling her every couple of hours to make sure she is okay. She probably wants to kill me.

Kevin went to the ER last night because his ear hurt so bad. He has an ear infection. Isn't that stange for a 40-year-old man to have an ear infection? He has a terrible, terrible cold. His voice makes me laugh. If you've seen the movie "Sling Blade," he sounds exactly like Billy Bob Thorton's character. Mmmm..hmmmm.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Another Hospital Update

Thanks to all of you for the Halloween ideas and thoughts and prayers! I was relieved when the hospital announced they would be having a Halloween party and contest in the lobby and that Austin had permission to go. I was also relieved to hear nurses would be reverse trick-or-treating as well. The party started at 11:00.

Well guess what? They came up to get Austin for his bone scan at 10:30! They have been doing a scan every day since Monday. They put dye in for his scan on Monday and then they have been taking a new scan every day to watch the dye. I guess this may tell them where the infection is (which is most likely in the spine)? They have been putting him under anesthesia so he is still. So....anyway he missed the party. He was still in recovery when the nurses came by. He was still in recovery when a face painter came by. Poor kid. If he was disappointed, he really didn't let it show. I was probably more disappointed.

He had to have all the monitors on after recovery, so I couldn't really get his costume on very well. He wore his hat and his cuffs and whistle. His sister and her friend came to see him...bless their hearts. There was also, I think, just an ordinary outside family that had come in to give kids goody bags with snakes, spider rings, bubbles, and erasers. THAT was very sweet. I think I just may do that for the kids here next year because they have no idea how much they really made our day. I did get pictures of Austin and Amber and her friend Megan. I will post them when I get home.

Today when Austin goes under for his scan they are going to go ahead and put in a central line for long-term IV antibiotics at home. So....I'm hoping maybe this weekend we will get to go home?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hospital Update

Well here it is Sunday the 28th, and we still do not know much of anything. We do know that his blood cultured out to show staph or a couple other different bugs. They took him off his first antibiotic and started a new IV antibiotic. But he has still been running fevers so they added another IV antibiotic on top of that. Austin says he has no pain anywhere. Neurosurgery came in to see if it might have anything to do with his baclofen pump...but they didn't think so. Surgery came in to look at a small cyst he has on his rear end...but they didn't think that was the source of his problem. All abdomen and chest x-rays looked fine. They ordered spine x-rays yesterday, but it is so hard to see anything with all his spinal fusion hardware in there. Orthopedics just came in and they are ordering a bone scan and a MRI of his pelvis tomorrow.

Austin was going to be a policeman for Halloween. He was so excited. But I'm afraid he will still be here. Does anyone have any good ideas to make Halloween fun in the hospital? I was thinking maybe he could take candy to other patients dressed up, but I don't think they would let him because he still has fevers.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hospital Again

Well, Austin and I are in the hospital AGAIN. He has been running a high fever since Sunday night and started vomiting Monday. When I took him to the doctor yesterday, he didn't have any other symptoms besides pain when he pressed on his belly. So the doctor sent us to the hospital to rule out appendicitis. Thankfully, he does not have appendicitis. They did find an ear infection today. I'm not sure why the three different docs who looked in his ears yesterday didn't notice? But anyway, he is now getting IV fluids and antibiotics. He is still vomiting and pretty miserable. Seems to me to be more than an ear infection? Maybe he has a flu bug or something too.

So here he lies in bed and here I sit. Oh it is so-oo-oo boring! This day has been so-oo-oo long!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Chugging Along

Austin and I just finished Unit 2 of our Weaver Curriculum on Sound/Communication/Language(Lapbook posted above). The lapbooks are a lot of work but Austin sure loves looking at them and seeing all that he has learned.

We are taking a break from our Edmark Reading. Austin seems to have reached a point where there is no more room for memorizing new words! They just aren't sticking as well lately and he seems less interested in the program. So we are taking a break and practicing what we've learned so far with Bingo, Roxie's Reading Fish, A Dice Game, Word Bowling. We are having lots of fun. It is a nice change.

We bought a toy cash register at the new Kohl's store. Oh boy is he loving that. It came with sticker "codes" you can put on toys and ring them up with the scanner. It came with play bills and coins and even a credit card. His favorite of all, it came with a microphone. He has to announce the daily specials over the intercom and he has to call the manager when we are having trouble with our scanner! It has been great help in learning coin values.

Amber got her first speeding ticket a few weeks ago. Then she got in her first little accident about a week later. She now says she is never driving again. Hmmnnn. So far she hasn't either. Her friend has picked her up for school every day since.

Special Olympics - Bowling

Last Wednesday was Southwest Iowa's Bowling Special Olympics. Austin did great! He bowls with a ramp. We line up the ramp and set the ball on for him, then he pushes it off the ramp. Dad helped him with his first game, he got a 111. Then Dad had to go back to work. Mom helped on his second game and it went a little downhill...75..."Dad, come back!"

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Weaver Volume 1 - Unit 1 Lapbook

We just finished Unit 1 of Weaver! I'm posting pictures of our lapbook!

Friday, September 28, 2007

New York City

We were in New York City for 5 days this past week (pictures above). We went with my sister and brother-in-law, who won their trip from a Pepsi bottle cap! The trip was quite an experience! It is a whole different world there! Crazy people and crazy traffic everywhere. It was fun to visit, but I definitely wouldn't want to live there. The buildings are amazing. There is so much to see there. We went to the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, The Today Show, Central Park, South Seaport, and China Town. We also drove by Ground Zero. It was nice to get away, but I missed my kids like crazy!!

Austin and I got back to our school work as soon as I got back home, but um....he seems to have forgotten several of his reading words. So, this week was pretty much reviewing things we've already gone through.

Tak, the tadpole, didn't make it past a week. We now have two more, Austin named them Donkey and Diddy (after Donkey Kong). If these two don't make it...I think I'll just buy a little aqua frog.

Amber put Josie (the hamster) into her ball to run around in last week. After awhile she decided to put her back in the cage, but when she went to take her out of the ball she jumped. She landed on the dresser and scurried into the back of Amber's stereo speaker. Amber said she tried to shake her out, but she wouldn't come out. Pretty soon she heard chewing sounds. She was afraid Josie was either going to get hurt or the stereo speaker was going to get hurt! She pushed the stereo "on" button and twirled the volume on full blast. "Thump kaboom kaboom thump." Josie came out. Amber was telling me about all this, and I said, "Um...Amber...does Josie seem okay? Can she HEAR you when you come in the room now?!" She said, "MOM! Don't say that! You don't think she is deaf do you?"

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bubble Ho-ho-ho!

The kids have gotten a little too big to put the bath bubble Santa beards on in the tub and go "ho-ho-ho." So our dog Sammy gets to be the pretend Santa. :) ! Actually, there are rubber duckies in the tub with Austin, and Sammy is trying to get them out.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Our City

Austin and I have been studying about our city this past week. We went to the library and picked up some great books on Council Bluffs. Some of those old pictures are just amazing. It really caught Austin's attention when he saw an old picture of a church that was around in the 1880's that still stands close by our house today, and all the old cars and stores that were near it.
Since the railroad helped to establish our city, we took a field trip to the Railroad Museum. It was a lot of fun. I think Austin really enjoyed it. They had one section that was like a train simulator. You sat in the engineer's seat, and looked out the train windows and it looked like you were really driving the train through a city! After we left there, we went to Bayliss Park and sat by the new fountain.
The first picture is Austin working on the keyboard with his eye gaze system. I think he is getting a little better with the smaller targets. He has just started typing out some of his reading words.
This kid likes games, games, games. Board games, computer games, online games, video games. He even likes to watch GSN - The gameshow network! We've been playing bingo with reading words and Roxie's Reading Fish, Willie Watchdog, and some Math computer games. He LOVES these all!

Couple New Additions to the Family

Within the last week we've had two new additions to our family. Austin got a grow-a-frog tadpole by mailorder, and Amber got a hamster for her birthday.

Austin named his tadpole Tak after a video game that we have been playing.
Amber named her hamster Josie, after a song she likes. I don't have a picture of Josie yet, but she is cute. Much cuter than Tak I must say.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

School Is On!

We finished our first lapbook! This is on the Creation study we did over the summer.
Amber started back to A.L. last week, Austin started his P.E. class at A.L. last week, and Austin and I are now homeschooling full time!

Both kids had a hard time opening their eyes at 6:00 a.m. Actually, I did too! But that is getting better.

Amber is now driving to school, of course. Well, I think it was the third day of school, she could NOT find her keys. We tore the house apart looking for them. Just as I was getting ready to take her myself, she found her keys. In her bed, under her pillow. Errrrr. ?!?!

Austin gets on his bus for P.E./Life Skills at 7:15 a.m. and is home by 9:15 a.m. Anyone who really knows Austin knows this bus ride is his favorite part of the day. Most kids hate the bus. Austin LOVES the bus! He is ready to get to work when he gets home though, thank goodness. He has been working hard on his reading program and time, money, and calculator. We started our study on the Tower of Babel, map making, and rocks. So far so good!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Eye Gaze System

Today Austin got his eye gaze system! It is so-00-00 cool! It looks like a minature laptop mounted upright. Underneath the screen is a small camera. The camera reads his eye movements, so he can then use his eye to move the cursor and then dwell for 1 second on the spot he wants to click on. He played tic-tac-toe against the computer and did great!

We have been working on Bible studies and Reading, and this week we added on Math. We worked on some money, time, and calculator. He is doing great. I am so lucky to have such an enthusiastic little learner.

Of course, after "school" he gets to pick a playstation game, and that is a big motivator for him to get his work done!

Tuesday he will get to ride the bus to his adaptive P.E. class. He is very excited about getting on the bus and seeing some of his friends at their new school.

Amber decided to go to her friend's house and dye her hair more blonde. Well, it turned out white with orange stripes (where her low lights were). I about died when she walked in the door! She just couldn't understand why I didn't like it! Ummmm...we all do this at 16 right? I should stay calm as I drag her in to the salon to get it fixed. Gggrrrr.

Sammy is feeling a little better, but he has a ways to go. He will play a little bit now, but he is still sneezing and has goopy eyes.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


We made it home yesterday afternoon. That has to have been our shortest stay ever!

Surgery went well. The doctor found some "grungy" tissue that he sent to the lab. This did not show infection, thank God. He did have it sent in for cultures, however. The doctor thinks because this incision has been open so many times, it just was not healing. When he opened it up, it was just a cavity. Very little blood supply was getting to the area. So he filled the cavity with collagen, and stitched him up heavy duty.

It felt so-oo-oo good to sleep in my own bed last night. Austin is STILL sleeping. I'm sure he is thankful to be sleeping in a quiet room with no one poking at him every half hour.

Immediately after I got home, I took Sammy to the vet. He has been sneezing and wheezing ever since we got home from vacation. Poor baby. He had a 103 degree temperature. Vet says he caught an influenza from the kennel. He got a shot of antibiotics and some pills to take home.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

In the Hospital Again

Well, Austin laid around most of the weekend. All Friday, Saturday, and half of Sunday. We watched movies and played Game Cube.

Unfortunately, after being up all day yesterday, he sprung another leak this morning! They decided to admit him, and will probably be doing surgery tomorrow to stitch the catheter again and revise his incision.

Austin doesn't seem to mind too much. We were betting which floor he would go to this time. I bet 5th floor and he bet 6th. We are on 5th! Mom won! Let's see... we have been on 6th floor five times and this will only be our second time on 5th.

I was suppose to get the bills mailed today, get to the bank, get the dog to the vet, and get the kids to registration. I didn't get any of it done! Kevin took Amber to registration, and he was thankful that nobody else was there and it only took about 15 minutes.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Spinal Fluid Leak

I took Austin to the doctor this morning. It has been six weeks since his baclofen pump surgery, but he had a small amount of orange-colored fluid leaking from his incision. It was like the size of a pin hole. I only noticed it because there was orange "stuff" on the back of his pants.

Well he was leaking spinal fluid. Evidentally the tissue wasn't quite healed by the time his Steri-Strips came off, and he eventually sprung a leak! They stitched him up and gave us antibiotics "just in case." We don't want an infection again!

This was so bizarre. The physician's assistant asked a gal in the office to come help hold Austin on his side while she stitched his back. I was holding his shoulder area. The PA and I were just chatting away when...bam! The gal holding Austin's legs passed out and fell straight backward! I've never seen anything like it! She hit her head hard on the wall too. The doctor came in and took her in another room to check her out. It was crazy. I guess watching the procedure made her woozy. Supposedly she is starting school next week to be a physician's assistant. I don't know if she is gonna make it?

Austin is suppose to lie on his back as much as possible over the weekend. He is not real happy about it. It will be a movie weekend.

I'm starting to fill out my homeschool paperwork for the school district. I'm also trying to get a schedule and lesson plans organized. Boy, I am gonna be learning right along with Austin when it comes to the bible/social studies/science! It will be fun though. I'm still very excited about it. I had my first phone consultation with our special needs homeschool consultant, Sharon Hensley. She had some nice ideas for me, especially pertaining to comprehension.

We already started our reading program, and Austin is doing SO good with it! I'm very proud of him. And he really LOVES to learn. That helps!

We went shopping for school clothes this week. Austin got a Mario shirt and a Snape shirt (from Harry Potter). Amber got some things from her favorite stores: Hollister, American Eagle, and Pac Sun. Thank goodness there were some sales. That girl needs a job!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Home From Vacation

Ahhhh, look at me! I'm getting fancy with the font and color. But more impressive, I've added an awesome picture trail of our vacation at the bottom of my page!

Our vacation was nice. The motel was called Bridges Bay Resort on Lake Okiboji. We had a nice kitchen, living room, and two bedrooms, and baths. It was so nice! We had a patio outside. Probably could have brought another family along with us! The motel had an indoor water park. We also went boating, fishing, shopping, putt-putt golfing, and to Arnold's Park. The park was a little stressful because there really wasn't anything Austin could ride. He rode the farris wheel and that was it. My backup plan was to take him to the Arcade while Amber and Kevin rode rides, but the Arcade was up a flight of stairs and across a bridge. Not accessible whatsoever. Austin is such a trooper though. If it bothered him he couldn't ride the rides, he didn't show it. I think it bothered me more.

Amber is such a water girl. If she had her way, we would have been in a boat the entire time. I think Austin liked it too. The kids also enjoyed fishing. They both caught a bullhead.

It was a nice time. Nothing terribly exciting, but it was so nice to get away for a few days!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

First Blog

Well, here I am attempting my first blog. I've always wanted to be a blogger, just wasn't sure how or what I would write. I'm still not sure ... HA!

I've been busy trying to organize for homeschooling. I've decided to homeschool Austin this year. Austin is 14 and he has cerebral palsy. He is wheelchair bound and very physically involved. He is nonverbal. I think he is pretty smart; however, it is really difficult to know what he really knows. My big goal for Austin is to get him reading and writing on the computer. This would open up a whole new world of opportunities for him.

Amber is 16. She just got her driver's license earlier this month. I think she has been gone every day since! It is nerve racking sometimes. I make her check in with me constantly! She did come home with a scratch on her car last night. She said she scratched it trying to turn around in the car wash parking lot. Hhmmnn. Well, she didn't want her dad to get mad, so she went to WalMart and bought some touch-up paint. Her car is green. The touch up paint was aqua blue. HA! It looks lovely (not).

Kevin just got back from a 4-wheeling trip. He tried climbing a steep hill and rolled his ATV backward. He is lucky he didn't get hurt. A year and a half ago he got in a snowmobile accident and broke his femur. It was a lovely time taking care of him (not). My Dad says I should consider upping my life insurance.

We have our own electrical contracting business. We have four employees. I handle the bookkeeping for the company. I was also doing some medical transcription from home, but I decided to give it up and concentrate on our new homeschooling venture.

We have three cocker spaniels. Skyler is black and white, 9 years old. We call him Scum. He likes prowling the neighborhood on garbage day. Jenna is all black, 8 years old. We call her Gurrl. She is cuddly but pesty. She wants petted all the time. Then there is Sammy. He is white and buff, 2 years old. He is still very much puppy. He LOVES rocks. He carries a rock around in his mouth at all times. He really loves it when you hide the rock and he can try and find it.

My best friend is my sister, Darcy. She is such a great person. She is married with 4 kids, three of which are triplets. I don't know how she manages to do all she does. I just love her.

My mom passed away three years ago from cancer. I miss her so much. She was the greatest woman who ever lived. She was beautiful and smart and funny. The only good thing that happened from her passing is that my Dad and I have become much closer. A very handsome and caring man he is.

Well, I guess that is it for now!

Sammy...Go...Fetch...Hop, Hop, Hop


Lapbook Unit 2