Archive for August, 2010

School is going along very nicely.  We just completed Lesson 12 today.  I’m very glad that we got a good early start, because we will be missing a few days over the next few weeks for Kara’s surgery and dental work.

The picture for this entry was from our picnic today.  We’ve gotten into a routine of having our Friday lunches in a park when the weather cooperates, and it’s something we look forward to each week.  We’d better enjoy it while it lasts–it won’t be long until it’s too cold to do this for awhile!

Kara is enjoying first grade.  Her reading is already improving, and she is quite particular about her cursive handwriting.  Today she had her first graded test, and she thought it made her quite grown-up!  🙂

Luke is doing pretty well in third grade.  He is definitely more focused this year, which is great!  It won’t be long until he’ll be starting his animal notebook for science class.

Cosette is in a transition-year for fourth grade.  She has noticed that her classes are longer and involve more work, but she is ready for it.  She is learning new skills in organizing herself.

Brock is adjusting to 6th grade.  He also has found that his quizzes and tests are harder than they used to be, but he’s starting to get the hang of it.  He will start his Adopt-A-Tree project this week.  We went to Dan’s office today to look for a good specimen, and we found a beautiful white birch.  He’ll make a poster about the tree that displays it’s leaves, fruit, twig, bark rubbing, etc.

John is doing much better with managing his homework this year.  Hopefully that will continue!  He is already beginning to plan this year’s science fair project.  He has chosen a couple of different ideas that we are going to think about and choose from.  The first one is about designing a parabolic antenna to optimize a wi-fi signal.  The other one that he is looking at is an experiment that measures the speed of light using a laser pointer.  I’ve encouraged him to come up with at least one more idea so that we can evaluate which one will work the best.

So, things are plugging along.  We’re soon going to be up to our eyeballs in tests, projects, books, and scouting activities!

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As I wrote in my last entry, just a couple of days ago, Kara saw her ortho surgeon who wanted to perform a minor surgery next week to remove a troublesome staple out of her clubbed foot.  So, we have that hurdle to cross.  But yesterday we learned about yet another hurdle that we will have to deal with in September.

We take our kids to the dentist for regular check-ups, and at Kara’s last check up 6 months ago, the dentist expressed concern over the molars that were just coming through the gums.  He said they were discolored and weak, and that he suspected that this was due to poor and/or stressful prenatal conditions when the enamel of the teeth is supposed to develop.  He said that we’d need to really watch those teeth to see what happened with them as time went by.  Well, Kara’s next appointment was yesterday, and the dentist was totally blown away with how those teeth have already deteriorated.  He originally was hoping to buy some time before dealing with them, but they are so bad that he feels that he has to take care of them as soon as possible now.

There is a complicating factor in all of this:  Kara has a very, very sensitive gag reflex, and, of course, these molars are right in the back of her mouth where that is easily triggered.  The dentist is really concerned that she may not be able to get through the lengthy procedures that he needs to do, but he is going to give it a try using nitrous oxide in his office.  He is hoping that takes the edge off of that reflex enough for him to do the work, but if it doesn’t, the next step will be having it done under general anesthesia in the hospital.  Ugh…..

On a happier note, our new roof is completely installed, and the insurance payments have already been dealt with!  We were anticipating a much longer wait, but we were pleasantly surprised!

God is good–all of the time!

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Today was Kara’s annual checkup with Dr. G. for her clubbed foot.  Overall, things are looking pretty good.  She does turn her foot in, and that is not improving at all.  Dr. G. said that there are two things that are contributing to that, and that really it’s something that she has to live with.  The first cause his still her hip issue.  That whole leg (and even her “normal” leg) turn in from the hips.  Last year Dr. G. thought she might outgrow that, but now she doesn’t think that she will.  Another contributing factor is from all of her surgeries.  Her remaining muscles, tendons, etc.  are just not strong enough to keep the foot straight.  But, this doesn’t effect her mobility at all, so it’s really not much to worry about.

Kara will, however, have a minor surgery next week in Denver.  Believe it or not, it is to remove a troublesome staple that is still in her foot from China!  That silly staple has been a problem ever since we adopted her.  In fact, the week that we brought her home, that area of her foot became seriously infected, and we just about ended up with an emergency trip to Denver then.  After several rounds of antibiotics, she did eventually recover, and you could feel that staple right under the skin.  When Dr. G. operated on her foot in 2007, she decided not to remove the staple.  I am not completely 100% sure, but I seem to remember that she decided to leave it alone because it would have required an additional incision to remove, and Kara already had such large areas to heal that Dr. G. thought it wasn’t worth the trouble.  She also didn’t think it would cause any problems.  Well, fast forward to this year.  There has been a lump developing over that stupid staple.  Sometimes Kara complains that it hurts, and it has made wearing dress shoes nearly impossible.  Dr. G. agreed that it is time to take care of that, so next week we will take Kara back to Denver Children’s where she’ll have it surgically removed once and for all.

Other than that staple, Dr. G. thinks Kara is looking great and says that unless we have problems arise, we’ll go back in another year to check on it at that time.  God is good–all of the time!

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Yes, I know:  this picture really doesn’t fit the title of this entry!  Oh well, I just love this picture and wanted to use it anyway!  😉

We started school last Wednesday, and things have been absolutely CRAZY since then! You’d think our calendar exploded or something!  Actually, we’re off to a very good start, and I think the kids are already enjoying their new classes and teachers.

God is always so good and faithful–even in the little details of life.  My Mom has always said that if you are following His plan, He’ll provide the way.  That is just so true!  Every year brings new obstacles to overcome, but I have learned not to worry because God gives the wisdom when I need it.  This year is our first year with all five of the kids being full-time students (no preschool or kindergarten) which presented a logistical issue with our physical setting.  While I still had preschoolers/kindergarteners, I could have kids share a school station with one TV/DVD player.  I knew that it would never work when all of the kids were full-time, but I never was sure how we’d fit five stations in our school area.  Well, as usual, God is faithful and has given me the answer. I moved Brock into the adjoining room with John, and kept the three younger kids in the main room.  This is working out great, and I must say that it’s nice having each one on his/her own schedule instead of trying to work around sharing systems!

He has also provided the technology solutions we need when we need them.  Trying to manage all of those systems, cords, remotes, etc. is not always easy!  I have learned how to hook up headphones in every way imaginable, and this year has been no exception.  Brock’s new station has a new flat-screen TV that came with a headphone jack (thank you, Lord!), and I was able to figure out how to get Kara’s headphones connected directly to her DVD player with various adapters.  I was a little worried that her headphone cords might be a tripping hazard, but God led me to just the right solution for that as well:  a welcome mat keeps the cord neatly tucked away.  There is a picture of that in this entry’s slideshow.  We found a new desk for Cosette–and the day we bought it, it was on clearance sale with FREE shipping.  No coincidence when my great Father is taking care of things!

Last Friday was kind of crazy.  The roofing company came to replace our roof without any notice.  Oh, surprise!  It worked out all right, but it sure made for a noisy school day!  Fortunately, they finished it in one day, and it does look nice.  That same day we had a special guest in our house as well.  A friend of mine is expecting a baby in a few weeks, and she has developed health issues that has required her to be on bed-rest.  She has a three-year-old to take care of as well, so that makes bed rest a little complicated.  We decided to keep her toddler for the day to give her a break, and that was fun!  She is a neat kid, and a blessing to have around.  I have offered to keep her as often as needed, so she may be back!

So, we’re off to a busy start, and things aren’t going to slow down next week.  Kara’s annual appointment to check her clubbed foot in Denver is next Monday, we have three dental appointments on Tuesday, and now it sounds like John and Brock may be helping with a community dinner as part of a scout activity next Wednesday.  Such is life at the Prairie Family House!

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This summer I have been helping Brock, Cosette, and Luke work through their respective P.R.A.Y. program levels to get their religious emblems for Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and American Heritage Girls.  We finished just in time!  We are getting ready to start school on Wednesday, and we just got everything signed for the awards this past Sunday!

Luke and Cosette completed the God and Me level.  This study is a basic overview of some of the foundational Christian truths including Creation, the life of Christ, and the story of the Good Shepherd.  Together we made the GAMEbox (God and Me Exploring Box) that included several homemade games to review the lessons that we learned.

Brock just completed the God and Family level.  This is a very unique study that involves crafting a paper pizza to symbolize God’s plan to strengthen families. Each of the parts of the pizza represent different areas:  The crust equates to the foundation of our Christian life built on Jesus Christ; the sauce represents the family’s unique heritage; the toppings represent the individual members of the family and how they are specially gifted; the cheese represents the 10 commandments and other rules that hold the family together; baking the pizza symbolizes learning to use tools of the faith to get through difficulties; and sharing the pizza encourages the student to explore ways to share his faith. Brock enjoyed making the pizza even though crafting is not exactly his favorite thing to do!  🙂

Hopefully we will be able to get the medals ordered pretty soon so we can have a presentation ceremony at church.  Then it won’t be long before we’re ready to start in on more P.R.A.Y. studies!

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A Dragonfly Party

This entry’s picture doesn’t even begin to do justice to just how neat and strange this event was!

Last night, Dan came in all excited and told the kids that the dragonflies were back!  A few years ago, we were in our backyard when we were suddenly surrounded by a whirlwind of thousands of dragonflies!  Now, if we lived by water, this wouldn’t seem so odd, but we live in the middle of the prairie, and although there are dragonflies every now and then, they are certainly not a common everyday occurance!  They swarmed around our backyard for a little while, and then they were gone.

Last year the dragon flies came again, but there weren’t nearly as many.  There were enough to notice and appreciate, though.  I asked our neighbors if they had yards full of the dragonflies too, and they said that they hadn’t seen any!

Well, last night I think we had our biggest dragonfly party yet!  There were thousands of them just flying around like crazy!  There were big ones up in the air, and little ones fluttering closer to the ground.  The kids went in the backyard to watch them and ended up laying in the grass just to appreciate the show!  🙂 They were there for about two hours again, and then their numbers dwindled. Today there are none.  Again we asked our neighbors if they had a dragonfly visit, but they all said that they saw nothing.  Weird…..

Next year we are going to be ready.  We knew this happens sometime in the mid- to late summer, but we were unsure of the exact date.  Now we know that this year they came on August 1.  It’ll be fun to see if they hold another backyard dragonfly party next year!

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2010 County Fair

Last week was our County Fair.  We usually just attend the parade and go look at the exhibits, and such was the case this year.

It’s neat going together as a family now that the kids are a little older.  When they were younger, it was hard to go for very long without someone getting hot and grumpy–usually Mommy!  😉  Now the kids appreciate seeing the exhibits and are patient in waiting in lines for the rides.

This year was kind of unusual in that the kids were more interested in playing the carnival games than they were in riding the rides, but that’s ok.  They really had fun at a remote control race car track that was sponsored by a local church.  They found out that it’s much harder to drive those things than it looks!  We know some of the people who run that track, and they actually have a track set up in their church’s basement that they use during the school year for fun youth activities.  I guess about twice each month, kids can go use the cars on the track that’s all hooked up with computer read outs.  Brock especially enjoyed the cars, so maybe that’s something we can consider when it gets going this fall.

We also tried out the mini golf course for the first time this year.  Brock wanted to do the remote control cars again while the others golfed, so Dan volunteered to go with him and had me take the others to the mini golf course.  That was interesting…… Talk about the blind leading the blind! I think the kids might need a more knowledgeable teacher next time!  We had fun anyway.

We also got to visit with several people that we hadn’t seen for awhile.  It was a good way to wind up our summer.  We’re aiming at next week to start school–if I can get everything ready…..

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