Finding a new normal.

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I have not posted in a while. It just hasn’t been important over the past month. I haven’t done any real planned lessons with my boys. I am not on “schedule” of where I wanted to be. Life hit me upside the head…and rocked my world. My baby was diagnosed with a rare disease called Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis. Ever hear of it? Probably not, I didn’t. It’s a quasi cancer/ inflammatory disease. It is super rare, and not much is known about it. But it is treated like cancer. It’s scary, and each day I battle to not be scared.

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This trial has really brought me to my knees…where I need to be. It has shown me, that in my weakest moments…my God is magnified. It is amazing. I don’t want to be strong, and I’m not. Each moment, I am relying on strength from Jesus to get through the day. To be able to answer questions my older boys throw at me. To answer them honestly, even when I cannot give them a definite answer or an answer they want to hear.

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Nothing is harder then to see your child hurting, in pain and scared. And you can’t fix it. At some point, each of my boys have had nightmares, waking me up in the middle of the night asking if Joseph is going to die. Or asking me if Jesus will fix him. How can I comfort them? What is the best way? Other then to pray with them and ask our Lord to take away our fear and remember how much Jesus loves us. We need to believe and have hope in that, no matter the circumstances.

72c3bd2cbf9fe2abef8b494582bf6dd2Today is my first post about what is going on, because today I see a real change in Joseph. He had his second chemo treatment. The mass that was the size of a walnut on his mastoid bone is virtually gone now. He doesn’t seem to be in much pain anymore. He is having some equilibrium problems, but those are getting better each day as well. I feel like we are establishing a routine…and we are finding a new normal.

Our summer plans have shifted…my baby got sick, real sick. And we had my dad and sister come from the mainland to help with my older boys while the baby was having a bunch of tests done. We had great friends keep our boys for days and nights while I was in the hospital and Solomon had to work while the doctors were trying to figure out what is wrong with Joseph in the beginning of the month. We have been blessed by so many people, it’s overwhelming when I think about it. Prayer warriors have been praying for little Joe, donations have been offered up to help with some of the medical costs, and so many families have brought us dinner. I see how God’s hand is at work. I see it playing out. I can see how HE is being glorified through all our trials and tribulations…and that gives me the strength to smile and be ready for a new day.

Tomorrow we start some type of organized lessons. My 3 other kids have actually asked when we are starting school again. Since they are asking… tomorrow we will crack open the books again. We are still on a light schedule which I will keep throughout the rest of summer before we add other subjects. We are trying a modified “unschooling” type of homeschool…but I also need some structure. So do they. So, we are exploring more about learning random things and explore…but will forge ahead with math, spelling, grammar, history, bible and science. Just at a more slower pace then I originally thought.

If you haven’t followed along on facebook…here is a link to Joseph’s page. It is where I update on how he is doing.

Below is a summary of what and how this all happened.

We have been asked the how’s, why’s and when this all happened with Joseph. Here it is in a short version.

It has been a month since we knew something wasn’t right with Joseph. It was a month ago we took him to Pali Momi ER because of the “bump” growing behind his left ear. Because he did actually bump it, they said it was a hematoma and would go away in time and plus he was still acting normal. A few days later, it still wasn’t going down, and it was getting redder and bigger. We took Joseph to his pediatrician, who said the same thing. That sometimes a bump on the head will look worse than it is, and it could take a couple weeks before it subsides. Meanwhile, this pea size bump is just growing daily…right before our eyes. His ear is now sticking out and he is in pain. By the third week, we took him back to the pediatrician. The doctor looked at him, and said that he felt we needed to see a specialist. That it should have gone down and not grown. That day, we dropped the other boys off at our friends house and just took Joseph to Kapiolani Hospital for Women and Children. We didn’t want to wait for a consultation. We knew something was wrong. In the ER they ordered a CAT scan immediately with results that appeared to be mastoiditis or osteomyelitis and that Joseph needed to be admitted. Throughout the 5 days he was in the hospital we got a lot of “I don’t knows” and “we need to run more tests.” He had an I & D (incision and drain) because they thought it was osteomyelitis and they needed to get the infection out. (Although he wasn’t showing signs of infection.) They said he skull was eroding from the mass growing on it and part of it might need to be removed. But 30 minutes into that surgery, they stopped. There was NO puss, blood or infection. It was a “massive cell growth.” So they had us wait for the following day to do the MRI. After the MRI, they still couldn’t confirm what they were dealing with and needed to go in an hopefully remove it after a quick biopsy result. The next day he was back in surgery where they wanted us to wait for initial biopsy results to come back so they could discuss with us on how they needed to proceed. Within an hour of his second surgery, the doctor came back with unclear pathology reports. It read as an inflammatory disease and it read as cancer. But until they knew, they couldn’t remove the mass. They biopsied more of it to send to the mainland for tests. They scheduled us an appointment with the oncologist even though they weren’t able to conclusively tell us what we were dealing with. So again, we waited…until we received the news of this rare disease Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis. The oncologist ordered a full body x-ray to see if it has spread to any other bones. Those results came back negative thank God. He just had a bone marrow biopsy and had his portacath put in. We are awaiting the results from the bone marrow biopsy and we start chemo tomorrow.

This journey has seemed so long already, and it has only been a month.

2014-2015 Homeschool Binder

20140607_144548I finally have my binder put together, just in time too. We start lessons back up in a couple weeks. Time to start filling it up with lessons and projects. I always look forward to that. A new beginning. Mine is kind of plain…not much color to it. I was out of color ink, and wasn’t patient enough or too lazy to go get some. Have you ever done that? Once you start something, you just want to get it all done…like right now! So I guess my 2 year old will have to decorate it for me. ;)

I try to keep things pretty simple. My planner is pretty basic. I figure the more things I add to it, the more things I will have to do. It is free which is awesome and totally customizable. So here are some pictures of how I put mine together. I had it bound together at Office Max for about $5.00. I got most of my planner from NewBee Homeschooler. I used the undated one because that way I don’t waste when we take breaks.

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Here you can see that I have inserted a yellow pocket. These come in handy because I always have papers to file or to grade. That way I don’t loose it! I also put my 3 boys names on the side and their subjects at the top header. That will change when we add Joseph in there for formal lessons.

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This is the undated planner pages I choose. This will take up most of your binder. I chose this one because it works well for those of us that homeschool year round and take multiple breaks throughout the year. I just date the top of the days I do school versus having it pre-dated for me, and having to skip and or white out the dates. So for the top blank spaces I put in the kids subjects. I use the top four for Math, Spelling, Language Arts and Other…(for misc. things that they need to get done). I also use the other section for the boys books/reading schedule for the day. The bottom section I put Bible, Science, History, Art and Foreign Language. Those are the subjects that I teach together.

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This is a curriculum resource that I will fill out for each of the kids. Websites/or vendors I buy my curriculum from. It just helps me to stay organized.

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This is just something fun I added. I have one for each of the boys. We will fill it out and it will be something fun for them to keep and see when they are older.

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Here are 2 images of the attendance record. The top is how it comes, and the bottom is how I modified it. First I black out all weekends. It also comes with 4 slots for 4 children. I am only schooling 3 of the kids now, so I black out the 4th slot. It starts in July…but since I am starting school in June I marked that it is 2014 at the top and will start there. I also just slash through the days the did school in black. I use green for field trip days and red for holidays. Again, it comes with a little lettering system at the top, but this is just easier for me. If you want to see what we are using this year for school, click HERE.

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Lastly, this is my back cover. I have the front and back printed on cardstock and laminated too for durability.
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Just another thought/tip I have. At the end of the year, I put the kids progress report and any testing scores that I have to turn in inside those pockets. Also I attach the post office receipt from mailing it to the school, just so the records of those things don’t get lost somewhere.

Then I pack up whatever I want to keep for the kids that they did throughout the year so they can go down memory lane when they are older. You won’t be able to keep but a fraction of it. Otherwise you will need a whole room to keep every paper/project they did. Take pictures, lots of pictures. I file all of that together with my homeschool binder and store it away.

I hope this was helpful. I also used the 2 page spread calendar from DonnaYoung.org. I forgot to take a picture of it, and want to get this post done already. :D
This is a super helpful planner and have been using it, with some alterations for the last 3 years. It is a huge blessing that it’s free as well. I love how you can customize it to your needs and likes. This is the first year I made one for one of the boys. But Josh is a #mancub now in the 6th grade. If you would like to see his, click HERE.

My 6th grade Homeschool Binder

20140607_14435020140607_144451My mom made me my own homeschool binder so I can keep track of what I need to do. It will help me work at my own pace and not have to wait for mom to tell me what to do. It is set up for a week at a time. I picked the cover out myself. I also have note pages and a calendar to write my own stuff in.20140607_144415 My mom will add the link to where she got it from. It’s from another homeschool mom. It was free. If you want to see how my mom’s came out she put up information about a mom’s binder too.

Book Review: Black Beauty

20140607_161804Hi! Joshua again. I`m doing a book review on Black Beauty. I like this book for a number of reasons, but I`ll say three things. Number 1: I like that the narrator is Black Beauty, if you only noticed this on chapter 2 then your like me. Number 2: The story is so cool because after traveling all over the place with a lot of bad owners, Black Beauty lands in a good home. Number 3: I like how the book talks a lot of how to treat horses kindly. It was sad that it was written while Anna Sewell was very sick and then she soon after died.
Now for the movie Black Beauty, this movie is so wrong. If you ever read James and the Giant Peach and then watched it… yep waste of your time!! Black Beauty is MORE disappointing then that. He only has one good owner. Sad right? And don’t get me started on the false existing scenes in the movie. Black Beauty will goes to a circus… FALSE EXISTING! It didn’t happen in the book. He’s a race horse!! FALSE EXISTING. Beauty does not scrape his knees and he also misses 3 good friends that are in the book but they not in the movie. FALSE UNEXISTING!

Basically, the book was great, but the movie was junk.

By: Joshua Robello

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