Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Lord Giveth and He Taketh Away...


I want to thank all of you who have been praying for me ever since I announced my blessed event. It seems the baby and I needed your prayers more than I thought, as I am no longer pregnant.  After a brief bout of heavy spotting 2 weeks ago, I just retook a pregnancy test and it seems I am no longer pregnant.  I will remain as I am, and hopefully will complete the miscarriage whenever my body is ready.  Rest assured, I will not try to be a hero and go without medical help if I need to. 

No one really needs to even respond to this post, as this sort of thing makes me feel rather awkward.  Not really denial - just kind of numb. 

So I will thank you all in advance for your concern and prayers, and I shall continue to take delight in my Lord, knowing God is good. 


Friday, August 23, 2013

Planning Pages For Older Children


OK, my computer is working so well today, I thought I'd see if it will let me upload the next installment of planning/school summary pages for you.  These pages are for older children and have been a huge help for us all in keeping the children focused on their ultimate goals.

The Student Daily Planner pages help them to keep track of what they did during the day and remind them to incorporate their faith into their daily activities.  These pages are also great springboards for parents and children to have “grown up” discussions about faith and the world today for dinnertime, Daddy time, or just about any time!  These pages work especially well if your children have a specific “accountability time” with their father.  Older children can prepare for these chats by finding relevant bible verses and catechism references.  It is a great way for their father to pass on the faith in ways that your children will come to cherish as they grow. 

It may take extra paper to fill these pages out, but believe me, the repetitive writing down of long term goals and accountability for how you either succeeded or failed in fulfilling your ultimate duty to God will train your child to think along these terms as a matter of habit as they mature and will thus reap the temporal and spiritual benefits over time!

Remember to scroll down and print off a few copies of my simple planner/summary page for younger children, too.  Even the youngest students can take great pride in their daily accomplishments and love to show Daddy what they have learned!

I am really pushing it today by posting so many things, so I will give my computer a rest and will post the planning pages for MOM in a few days!  (Yay!)

God bless!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Next Stage in Wound Care


OK, I just wrote the most pathetic post ever about our appointment today.  Ooohhh, the moans and groans!  Lots of self-pity and stomping of feet, too.   (You may be thankful I deleted it)  So I wrote this one in its place.

Now in my defense, I suppose it was justified to complain.  You see, now that we have reached 'wound care specialist' status, we have reached the top.  Nowhere else to go but here.  If no one else can figure these wounds out, surely the wound care specialists can!  Right? Right?!


Nothing made sense to them, so we are in uncharted territory.  Still. 

But instead of wailing and gnashing my teeth and preparing for another 6 months of wound care with no hope of healing in sight, I have decided to look at the positives.

1)  Fulton really likes the staff at this hospital 
2)  They promised to have suckers that will actually fit in his mouth (we just learned he can't eat Tootsie Pops because his mouth still won't open wide enough)
3)  They are local so we only have to drive 35 minutes to get there instead of 10.5 hours
4)  They use weird things like medihoney, which means they might be open to looking into other natural ingredients to try on his skin
5)  They did NOT prescribe antibiotics
6)  They are generous with their little bottles of saline solution, which Fulton promptly used to squirt every staff member in the unit (with the nurse's prompting, of course)

The fact that Fulton likes going there is key, since apparently we will be showing up there quite often for several weeks or months.  So be it.  I learned today that I need to take all things for what they are and make the best of them - just as Fulton does.

The weather was gloriously cool but sunny today, so after our fruitless appointment we waited outside for my oldest son to pick us up.  I sat on the bench, silently trying not to dissolve in tears, while he squirted a few ants on the sidewalk and chattered about Lightening McQueen and which of his new doctor friends he wanted to squirt next week. 

My eyes were closed, only half focused on his happy chatter, trying to set aside my fears for his health, when I heard him say, "Mooommm! I have something you have been waiting so looong for!"  He was standing in front of me, with that goofy looking grin that only his precious little face can make, waiting for me to play my part in our little game.

"What's that?" I grinned back, leaning forward.

"THIS!" he said, flinging his arms around my neck and giving my cheek a kiss. 

And suddenly everything changed.

Yes.  My boy is in a lot of pain.  And when we are in the throes of bandage changes and ointments and doctor visits that involve a lot of poking, he is 100% in the moment.  But bless his heart, he copes and quickly returns to what every 5-year-old should be doing: laughing, loving, playing. 


And I realized that if we are to get through this current trial in one piece, I had better take a lesson from my son and do the same. 

Sure.  Embrace the pain when it comes, 100%.  And offer it up to Our Lord. 

But when those painful moments pass, do not dwell on it.  Don't let those mental wheels spin out of control with doom and gloom, dreading the next bandage change or the next doctor's appointment.  Instead, open my eyes to the countless joys Our Lord puts before us as consolations and live within those moments as they come. 

Ants and saline solution. 
The promise of a smaller sucker. 
A beautiful day. 
And a kiss on the cheek from a little boy who loves me.

Each of these little things, and countless more today, were gifts from above.  Consolations for embracing the cross He has chosen for us.  Glimmers of happiness to come.  And all of it, proof of His love. 


"In my deepest wound I saw Thy glory, and it dazzled me."
~ Saint Augustine

Monday, August 12, 2013

Planning Page For Your Youngest Scholars


We homeschool for many reasons.  But one of the main reasons we do so is to foster a sense of family unity in our home.  As a mother, I provide the framework for the paths of learning and adventure happening everyday, guiding our little blessings towards a richer experience of life through formation and education.  But one factor always seemed to be missing:  where is Daddy?

Sure, he would get an occasional story of something they learned that day, but Jay's role was really fairly minimal.  Since he takes the role as The Enforcer, he usually heard more about the 'bad' stuff than the about the educational milestones the children reached.  And that struck me as profoundly sad!

When I created the planning pages for the children, I wanted to find a way for the children to be able to present their father with the fruits of their labors in a way that would help foster discussions and a more 'involved' relationship between them.  I also wanted the children to see how daily work can play an important role in completing their long term goals in life.

With all of that in mind, I created the following planning page for your younger children.  (I will post the planning pages for older children in a few days - they are fabulous!)  Yes, it takes some paper and ink to print, but these pages can provide a tangible record of your child's successes as he or she learns throughout the year.

NOTE:  The section that says Virtue is for the child to write the current virtue they are working on if using the Rosary Quilt virtue training program.  They (or you) can also write out an example of how that child did something to display that virtue that day.

Happy planning!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

St. Lawrence and Burn Safety Activity


Today's Collect: O God, giver of that ardor of love for you by which Saint Lawrence was outstandingly faithful in service and glorious in martyrdom, grant that we may love what he loved and put into practice what he taught. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

I am so inspired!  St. Lawrence's day is today and to celebrate, I have decided to designate August 10 of every year:

The Feast of St Lawrence and Poppe Fire Safety Day If I Happen to Remember to Check the Calendar!

(I have a lot going on and I try to be honest with myself) 

After reviewing some of my early entries I wrote on the Pray For Fulton Facebook group about Fulton's burns and care, I am reliving some of that horror and sorrow all of us mothers were going through on the critical burn unit floor.  Praise God Fulton has no memory of those first several weeks, but so much of the images and sounds of utter suffering will be with me forever. 

Now over the years I think I have done a fairly good job of teaching my children what is dangerous and what can cause burns.   But what I never once even mentioned to any of them was what to do if they actually got burned.  And this will be one of my regrets I will take to my grave.  Lord help me, by kindergarten I knew to Stop, Drop and Roll if I ever caught on fire.  But Fulton never knew.   It is not like I kept the secret from him.  It just never occurred to me that such a horrible thing could actually happen to people, unless it was on TV.  But that was drama.  And actors.  And if they didn't die in the story, they never looked too bad off in the following hospital scenes.  No.  Fire wounds were never on my parental radar.  Because who could imagine seeing one's own child in flames?

Burn safety, needless to say, is becoming my passion and I will dedicate this post to remind all of you to please be sure your children are well versed in burn safety!

I want everyone who reads this to try to recall the last time you spoke with your child about being safe around hot things.  The stove, bathtub, fireplace, burn barrel, electrical outlets, power lines, irons and candles are all possible safety hazards you should point out to your children.  Chemicals and flammable fuels are also high on the list of  dangerous items.  And, of course, matches. 

I created a little fire safety activity I want all of you families to play on every Feast of Saint Lawrence.  It is easy to play and full of action, so your children will love it!  Below is a page I created with several flames on it.  It is a JPEG file, so just paste it on a document and stretch it out to fit if you need to.  (I don't but your computer may be different)  Print it, cut the squares out and go around your house and tape one to everything that could cause a burn.  Stove knobs and oven doors, outlets and curling irons, hot water taps and candles.  Everything!  Print out multiple pages if you want to.  Go nuts with it - decorate your house! 

As you tape the flames by each item, talk to them about how the burns can happen (no forks in the outlets, please!), what to watch for (is that electrical cord frayed?) and how far away they should stay from dangerous items (if you blow towards the candle flame and it flickers, you are too close!)  Tell them that steam burns are especially painful and to always let an adult take care of steaming items on the stovetop. 

The special flame with Fulton's picture on it should be used on a box of matches and a can of gasoline (if you have it).  While Fulton was not playing with matches when he was burned, matches and gasoline are extremely dangerous especially when used together.  You have permission to gently tell them of his accident and how he now warns all the children he meets that gasoline is very dangerous.

Then tell them how to treat first and second degree burns and how to tell the difference.  Talk to them about third degree burns, too.  Although there may not be much a child can do about helping to treat a third degree burn, just knowing the information could save a life somewhere down the road.  Use a medical book or this site here for now: Burn Care   (When I get the game all together, I will include this information as well)  I have an issue with the administering pain medication to anyone who is badly burned, but that is something I learned in the hospital and will be covered when the game is complete.  So you may tell them that for first and small second degree burns, this treatment is OK.  But for burns that require medical attention, this is not always a good idea.

Finally, show your children where the first aid kit is and make sure you have sterile gauze pads and a bag of clean washcloths stored with your first aid kit. You can also purchase a few packages of sterile lap rags which will come in handy for both burns and any wound that is bleeding a lot.  Tell them that when someone has a first or second degree burn, cool water will be the first thing they will want to apply to the wound.  Second degree burns should be covered with a moist sterile bandage until an adult can look at it and decide if a physician must be seen.

Then teach your children how to Stop, Drop and Roll.  It is very simple and fun to practice, too!  (Remind them to cover their face if they can, as this is what happened to have saved Fulton's eyes.) 

Once they get the basic idea, each child and parent will take a turn getting 'burned' by something you marked in the house.  Have the child holler in pain and everyone else will come running.  Ask your other children how the 'injured' child probably got burned.  Now you take a look at the injury and assess it out loud.  "Oh no!  Michael burned his finger from the outlet here.  The tip of his finger is red and has blisters on it.  What degree of burn is it?"  Have them answer.  "And how do we treat it?"  Send a child to the first aid kit and actually treat the pretend wound.  After it is treated, ask, "what should we do now?"  Call a doctor, watch it and see how it does, etc.  And finally, "What should we do if we see someone playing with an electrical outlet?" or whatever object that caused the pretend burn.

Put your supplies away and start again.  Let each child get 'burned' at least once, and let each child take care of an injured person as well, so that they all know how to quickly get the first aid kit.  Hopefully a parent will be home when a real burn or other injury happens, so having children who all know where the first aid kits are kept and how to get the washcloths wet for you will be very helpful in a true emergency.

Obviously if your child gets frightened easily, this level of teaching might be overwhelming.  Tweak it where appropriate. 

I am sorry this game is not in its final format for today's feast, but I will post it in its final form when it is complete, and on every Feast of St. Lawrence.  And St. Florian, too!  Please leave a comment below and let me know how it went in your home and if you have any suggestions on how to make it better.  And please, please, please spread the word about this game!  Like I said, if I had read a blog post about fire safety just the day before the accident, I would have been reminded to teach my son Stop, Drop and Roll.  "If onlys" and "I should haves" will haunt me forever.

One last request:  if you could, please end your game with a prayer to St. Lawrence for all burn victims.  There is a certain mother in Oklahoma who will sleep a little better tonight knowing so many pure souls are praying for her son!

Stay safe and God bless!

This post is linked up to the Catholic Monthly Bloggers Network monthly linkup blitz
 and the Equipping Catholic Families Saints Cele-linky