Finally, a few minutes!

Last night!

We have been pretty busy over the past week,Chanukah was fun,and I have a feeling that it is going to remain busy until Daddy is able to go back to work. We are definitely still trying to adjust. Daddy needs a lot of help with everything for he is stuck in his chair all day. I have not had the computer for more than about 5-10 minutes a day over the past couple of weeks. However, it started of on a good note when I found out after Shabbos that a dear friend of mine had a baby girl last week. ūüôā It is always nice to hear good news, especially when things are on the tough side. It put a bit of extra joy into the day and seems to help.

I have heard just a little bit about the terrible school shooting on Connecticut. What can I say? Obviously it hurts and pains me to hear such terrible news. I try to be a happy person in general, and it is very difficult for me listen to much of these kinds of news. However, I hope that you will forgive me for I am not going to talk about it and hope that people do not think that I am uncaring or that I am self-centered, it is just my way of dealing with things. I do not believe in bringing up this topic to my children, there is no need too. They will hear all about the real world soon enough, I have no doubt about it. We keep up on news in our house. If any of them come to me and bring up the topic (or similar topics), I will talk to the beautiful boy at their level.

I do not think I would have been able to read up much on the shooting if I tried. Well, I have been able to squeeze in two sets of exercises this week. Not really hot, but I guess it is better than the one time last week, and none the week and half before. It’s amazing how much extra help one person needs. Granted that I have not put on the alarm for the last 2 weeks and so I am getting up an hour and a half later, but that does not really affect the morning routine that much. I have to make sure all the towels, soap, shampoo, clothes, chair in the shower, etc are set in the right places for DH can’t really reach over and rearrange things. Sometimes Daddy is ready to daven with the boys in the morning when they are needing too, and sometimes not. It takes a lot longer for him to shower and get dressed now. Even when Daddy is ready to daven, he has not eaten like the boys have. We juggle getting food when Daddy is ready to eat and going through our Parsha HaShavua. It is not hard and is not long to get ready (it is usually mostly ready anyways,) it just interrupts our learning a bit. The same is true for the rest of the day. Since Daddy cannot get up and go get anything, everything needs to be brought to him. I know he does not like it, but the rest of us do not mind. It just takes time to do each of the things that need to be done, Baruch Hashem I had built in a little extra time in between classes. All that extra time is used up, but at least we usually get to complete most of the daily school work.

Usually. We are still having issues fitting our math in. We have done better than last week, but not as much as we should. I am on the move all day either with teaching a boy or assisting my DH or doing laundry or cleaning. By the time school is over I just do not want to do much. I have made good use of the crock pot this week and that was such a relief! Pea soup is always a hit and I threw it all into the pot during the 5 minutes I had mid morning and 6 mouths were watering by supper. Tonight was the much sought after tortillas. I forgot I was saving the jar of roasted peppers for tonight and had used it up earlier this week, so I had to be creative and find some other filling. Cut up Tofurky with shredded carrots, sliced olives and quartered whole tomatoes warmed up with chili powder and topped with salsa sauce today. Usually I do beans, but I wanted a change tonight. Twas good! Again, less than 10 minutes to make. Nutritious and delicious and fast to make. My kind of food.

Doctors, doctors, doctors – 4 visits to doctors this week, 3 to the chiro for the extra strain on the shoulders that the walker has caused, and one to the surgeon for the post-op. That means that I am not around for school during that time. I am so glad I do not normally have to run around like that! Perhaps if I did that all day I would not be so tired from it.

Baruch Hashem the ankle is healing very nicely. The cast was removed and a boot put on in its place.  He still cannot put any pressure on the foot at all and needs to keep it elevated almost all the time. All was going well until we realized it was going to be another 4 weeks with the foot up, not 2 like we thought! Poor Daddy, he is going stir crazy sitting in the same chair all day, every day. We have rearranged our dining room/kitchen and brought the recliner into the dining room and moved the table into the kitchen part Рit is a lot brighter and makes for a happier Daddy. We have tried to go out to a store or the mall a couple of times just to get out. It is not as easy for it is not that we have to put the wheelchair into the car, we have to dismantle it. It is not too bad when the weather is calm, but with wind or rain, it seems to take so much longer to remove the legs and reassemble them afterwards. I am glad it has been as warm as it has been this winter. It is almost as if the weather has been warm just for us. Thank you Hashem!

The boys have been really good and very helpful. Mr. Boy #1 always initiates dismantling the wheelchair to put into the van. He is very sweet, I

Spaceship! Made “all by self!”

try to not have him do it all the time, but it is so nice to have help and not ask for it! All the boys are helpful. Sometimes they are not quite sure what needs to be done, but once they have been told, they are very willing to do what is needed. Baruch Hashem. It has also been nice on Shabbos so the boys have been able to wheel Daddy to shul on Shabbos morning. It is good for him to get out and I know he appreciates it. We are not sure about this Shabbos, I think it is suppose to snow, so it might be a cooped up day.

Even after supper I’m still kept busy. Even with good boys, they are still boys (I would not want otherwise!) One little one has such a loud voice and is not old enough to understand how to talk quietly for more than 5 seconds at a time. Others are just needing to move around and be boys. I finally sent them all outside tonight. Yes, it was dark, but we have a fenced in backyard. It started raining. As Charlotte Mason said, the rain will do them good as long as it is not thundering and lightening. They have dry clothes in the house to change into if they get too wet. I think they spent some time outside and some time in the breezeway. Now, they are in the basement. Not sure what they are doing, but I sure hear that little one with a big voice!

Daddy likes company and it is sure nice to see him everyday, even though we are not able to sit down and talk much. There are still things that need to get done. Among other things, he can still work on the budget – we need to make sure we mark all the extra expenses now before we forget which ones they are! He tries hard to do as much as he can without extra help, but I know he is glad when school is finished so we can give him more time. Not sure how I was able to keep up with laundry this week, I even went downstairs to put on another load and there was not enough to deal with! I do have 3 loads to fold and put away, but that is all. I have not been able to get the boys to all go to bed at a reasonable time most nights, mostly because I just am wiped and partly because I do not want to deal with it. After the boys finally are in the bedrooms it is bedtime for adults. I have found that I hardly get any down time, which is why I mentioned to DH that I needed some tonight, with the computer.

I definitely am not complaining, and I have even given DH mussar (reprimand) for NOT asking for help. Even though it means a lot of work and energy from the rest of us to help him out, we want to do it, we do it out of love for we all love him. There has been some positive to all of this – he has definitely been able to bond with Mr. Big Boy #4. That has been lacking, but slowly it has been shown to be a good thing. This has also given him the much needed mental vacation from work (because this is a Worker’s Comp. case, the company has completely shut down his email and other ways to access the company by internet so he has no choice but not do work,) not that we wanted it this way nor do we wish this on anyone else, but Hashem knows best and knew this was the only way.

On a bright note, life does roll on. Mazal Tov to Mr. Big Boy #1 who advanced two ranks in Boy Scouts last night during his Court of Honor and earned a whooping 10 merit badges! Woohoo!

So, for all of you who wonder why I do not answer emails and wonder why do not see me on Facebook, now you know. This is the first time in a long time that I had more than 5-10 minutes on the computer in a day. I access email and Facebook by phone, but just to keep up, it is hard to type on it.

 

Adjusting to New Situations

The next several postings will most likely be how we are coping with our new situation. With Daddy being home and in need of more TLC for the next month, things are not going to be quite the same. I am sure the next few postings will be more of a diary entry than it usually does because of it. However, since the goal of my writing is to help others, I think this is the best way.

Just to recap, on our way to deliver popcorn last week, we got a call from Daddy saying he was in an accident. He broke his ankle in two places and that dislocated his foot. He had to have surgery to correct this. The recovery involves being at home sitting with his leg raised at all times. It has now been 9 days since the accident and I can finally take a break to write a little bit.

Anyone who had to deal with a new baby or a sick or elderly relative, knows how life changes. IY”H, our new situation will be temporary, and w though we do like seeing Daddy, eating meals with him and talking to him throughout the day, life is a bit more challenging at the moment.

The first few days was were a constant drive between the hospital and home. Baruch Hashem the hospital is just a few minutes drive away. From talking to doctors, to checking on the boys to trying to help Daddy out with whatever minute thing he needed for he could not do much, those few days were quite busy with not much sleep on my part. The thing that I remember the most is how nice and small and how so friendly everyone was at the hospital.  From the nurses and doctors to the other hospital workers.  Always a friendly face to be found and always wanting to help. I do not know how many times I followed a doctor or nurse into a room and then when I needed to leave I had to ask how to get out (even though it was a small place!)

The hardest time of all were the first 30 or so hours Daddy came home. I do not remember too much of that time, it was all a blur.  All I remember was that Daddy was in a lot of pain from his leg to his headaches to his nausea from the medicine to the constant attending to his needs. Everyone pitched in and was there to help, even the little one!

School during that time? What was that? I managed to get most of their online schooling with their Rebbe plus one more subject (one more the entire week), but that was all. I decided that I was not even going to try. It was hard enough keeping 4 good boys in whispers for days while Daddy tried to feel a bit human. Any noise would hurt his head.

Food. Well, that first night, we had already eaten supper by the time we got the phone call.¬† I did a good job shopping two days before and supper was all planned out to be pea soup in the crock pot.¬† 2 packages of split green peas, an onion (or pre-chopped dried onions from the spice rake!), pre-shredded carrots, 2 sliced celery sticks, chopped tofu slices/tofurky or other meat¬†and water.¬†Takes¬†5 minutes to make.¬†Turn on high for 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low and you’re all set! Nutritious, delicious and everyone loves it! Note to self – don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated! It just makes life a bit easier that way.

We could have managed when Daddy came home, but it was nice to have someone drop some supper off. It was also nice that this dear¬†friend put up with “do you know where we can borrow a wheelchair”, to bringing it over and “Oh! Insurance is dropping one off tonight,” to “do you still have it?” to “never mind, they finally dropped it off!” And to my dear sister who so kindly told me that I was not going to be able to do it all and to accept meals. But really, we could have managed, though yes, deep down inside I was very grateful for any meals that came our way. It just seemed to take that one burden off my shoulders while I was busy doing other needed things.

The first morning back home told me how busy and how low on sleep I was when I thought we woke up at 8:30, rested for a few minutes, got up to use the bathroom and then came out only to have 2 boys tell me it was 10 am! I just stood there in disbelief at the two boys looking at their watches and trying to soak in that I was jipped an hour! Ok, Boy 2 you have 30 seconds to get out of bed and get to your online class! You should have seen him move!  It usually takes 30 minutes to get him out of bed, no matter what time it is!

Oh my goodness, I cannot tell my boys enough – MAKE SURE YOU HAVE AN EMERGENCY FUND!!! Do NOT spend all your take home money, put in a small amount each month. There has been the extra gas money, the extra trips to the store.¬†Walgreens was my home away from home for the first several days from getting everything from a new showerhead (that we do have to return, it broke while installing it…. no comment…) to a bag of ice to help for pain. Not to mention that we are unsure of when we will be getting a “pay check” for this is a Worker’s Comp. case and who knows when they will send Daddy’s check.¬† Baruch Hashem we will be able to pay our bills and feed our tummies until that happens.

Shabbos brought a much needed respit. Yes, Daddy was wheeled to shul by a wonderful boy. He was starting to feel a little better, but still needed lots of TLC. Nine days later and the boys are still wonderful mitzvah boys. The same enthusiasm they showed the first day in wanting to help Daddy is still there, Baruch Hashem!

Even though there was not much schooling done last week, the boys did manage to each put together a Dvar Torah. It is always nice when we can manage to have some resemblance of normalicy during difficult times. Yes, I made challah as usual on Thursday night, yes we did have our weekly cinnamon buns for Shabbos morning, and yes, there was a Dvar Torah from each boy on Friday night.

Monday morning was the beginning of a new school week.¬†I was not sure how much we would get done, but we just needed to step in and try. I figured that there would be some subjects that got skipped due to having to help Daddy, but we would figure out how to deal with it. Amazingly, since Daddy was resting most of the school day, we got almost everything accomplished! Everything but math. Even today, only one boy got to math. Math is at the end of the day right now and I think that is why it seems to be skipped over, our help is needed. Not quite sure what to do about it. I have not turned the alarm on in the mornings and so I have not been getting up at 6:30 like we usually do for I do not wake up until about 8. The fact that I am not “forced” to get up then kinda makes me lazy about doing something I do not really care to do! I am hoping I will start waking up a bit earlier so that I can get myself ready earlier.¬† Perhaps we can start doing math at 8:30 before we are set to daven. We have 3 computers available and perhaps I can get everyone doing math at the same time. (Our math is from Khan Academy this year and the boys like it!)

Anyways, each day is a new day, with its own new challenges.¬†I have been a mother, wife, friend, doctor, nurse, caregiver, chauffeur¬†and a plumber these last 9 days.¬† Yes, a plumber.¬†¬†We have 3 projects that need to get done and so far only had time for one. Why? Because instead of waiting up for Daddy until after midnight, we are actually going to bed at a reasonable time!¬† Not that I mind that much, but¬†yes I am¬†quite busy until the time the boys go to bed and do not get to extra stuff¬†until night time.¬† Now, night time is spend in bed, like it should. (Though Daddy would argue that we are still going to bed too late! Can’t win them all.)

Two nice things that happened Monday night. I actually got to exercise for 15 minutes for the first time in the last week and a half. The second one is that Daddy got himself a present Рa guitar! He has been wanting one for a while, and a month sitting down is the perfect excuse he needed to get one.

The boys missed all the Chanukah parties around town this year, and Daddy is really feeling bad about that.  However, tonight is the 5th night of Chanukah and has a special feeling about it, so tonight, (see here for more info) we are going to light our home and have a Chanukah party!  The boys do not know about it yet.  Nothing fancy, just some goodies, music, a game or two of dreidle and yes, I will get them a present.

Oh, and one more thing – I don’t have to match socks for 6 weeks! ūüôā There is good in everything. ūüėČ

The Good in Everything

Happy Birthday to my 12 year old! His Hebrew birthday was the past Shabbos and his English birthday is this Friday. Only 1 more year to go. The nachas from his troope practicing and his parsha singing has begun!

I apologize I did not get a post out last week. I was thinking about it, however, I spent my time finishing up my latest book (the fact that there was a sale on books last week helped with that!) This book is a Jewish Homeschool book. I write in hopes to help others. Homeschooling can be wonderful but very difficult at times. Often times we do not have any way to gauge our success or failures. Many times things seem to go wrong and we feel like a failure. This book is an accumulation of my blog postings. It also includes postings that are not posted as well as templates that can be useful to homeschoolers.  We have our ups and we have our downs, just like every other family. (The book can be purchased through Lulu.com.  I am working on getting it distributed through Amazon.com as well as in an ebook format.)

Aside for that little bit of excitement for me, I was trying to think of what I was going to write about this week. Since Chanukah is just around the corner, I had been coming up with almost free activites that the boys can do. I was racking my brain for a nice menorah for my 3 year old to make when he pulled out (on his own, without me mentioning it) his menorah from last year! He was so excited! It is a real menorah that is almost as tall as he is. I was excited as well for I had totally forgotten about it and never thought that at that age (last year he was 2,) he would have remembered it even if I had showed it to him. Well, that was one thing I did not have to worry about and it actually lifted a nice pressure off my shoulders. It is made of a nice piece of wood, decorated with paint, small wooden chips and tea lights.

I thought perhaps I could get off a little easy by telling the boys they were going to perform the story of Chanukah – complete with actors and costumes and props. They were excited and even started the process. I then figured the little one would really benefit greatly from arts and crafts, as well as the older ones enjoying themselves, so I had been looking at some fairly easy, almost free yet nice crafts. Chanukah is one of the holidays in which there is no shortage of suggestions. I did come across 2 sites that met my fancy a bit this year:

http://www.amotherinisrael.com/easy-inspiring-chanukah-craft-ideas/

http://www.tipjunkie.com/holiday-crafts/hanukkah-kids-crafts/

Aside from that, we have entered the last POPCORN phase. Yes, we are not done! (See why it is a nightmare for parents?! However, we like to think of it as summer camp for yummy boys, for they earn money in their scout accounts that can be used towards scout camp tuition.) We are trying to deliver all the tins and boxes – it is hard when you have only 30 minutes of daylight to do it each day. It is slow, but we are making progress. For those that we owe popcorn too, please don’t fret, we will try to get them to you within the next week. Please forgive us. We were on a roll this week when Someone thought our life was too dull. As we were on the way to the JCC to meet up with customers who bought, I got a call from DH. I needed to come to his work ASAP, and no excuses. He was in an accident. It was in the parking lot at work. So, I handed boys the phone and they called their customers and rescheduled meeting times while I changed the direction of the car.

Turns out he slipped on the little water that was left from the rain the day before (it was 50 degrees out, no ice.) It was a pretty bad accident, and we brought him to the hospital. To make a long story short, Daddy’s ankle is broken in 2 places and he needed surgery. Well, so much for some fun Chanuakah projects! From driving back and forth from the hospital to home (Baruch Hashem only 8-10 minutes away,) it was so much for pretty much everything.

We did have one of those homeschooling moments in the car on the way to visit Daddy. We had all been talking about retirement accounts and emergency funds this past week.¬† It is so very important to start contributing to one’s retirement account as soon as one starts working – not 1 or 2 years later.¬† It is also very important to save a portion of each paycheck to put into an emergency fund.¬† Even though they are pretty smart many things just do not internalize just by talking.

I do not remember how the conversation started, it could be that I specifically started it, I just do not remember, but I felt I could internalize this lesson. The boys have been asking for various things, and unfortunately we have had to tell them there is no money. We have a budget and we stick to it. It is very important to keep out of debt. I told the boys that it costs money to go back and forth to the hospital, it costs money to pay for the parking (even though it was VERY reasonable,) it costs money to buy the extra food and other extras we need at the moment. How are we paying for it? With our emergency fund! Baruch Hashem our cost for this emergency will not be that much extra, and when we are past it, we will shore up the emergency fund again. Even while sitting in the front, I could see some gears start to turn.

I had this grand idea that since we homeschool, our school travels with us, even when visiting Daddy in the hospital. We grabbed our supplies and books, as well as some lunch and off we were! I was very proud of myself. Unforunately, the hospital’s internet is too slow to access Room613, so that was not a go. Each boy did get 1 lesson done, so it was not a complete failure.

The boys were wonderful. They behaved themselves, were quiet, only kibitzed one time (and it was a small kibitz!) but 4 boys walking around a small hospital room while Daddy’s foot not only hurt a lot, he had a migraine despite 3 various medicines that he was given, was not really good combination. They did, however, manage to learn 2 sets of mishnayos lessons with Daddy before I took them back home. The house remained fairly intact and even though I gave them a little bit of mussar, I was very impressed with how well they kept it. I have not heard too many complaints from any of them and so I’m contemplating purchasing each of them a book as a thank you present. I am itching to buy them each a book again, books are great presents and they get read and re-read and re-read, and re-read again.¬† And, they are presents for not just one boy, but each boy, in his turn, can grow into it and read it. However, since money is tight, I have not been able to do it. This is accident is just the excuse I need to be able to purchase the books.¬† It would have to come out of our emergency money fund and I definitely would not purchase books right now if it were not for the emergency!¬† I think Daddy will have to agree to it. ūüôā

This accident is also a great time to show Hashem’s great kindness and love. I tell the boys that everything Hashem does is good and is for the best. It is hard to see that when something “bad” happens. Over the last few days, DH and I have come up with so many brachos and good things. Baruch Hashem it happened in the parking lot at work and not while driving on the road. Baruch Hashem it was only as bad as it was, it could have been much, much worse. There was talk that Daddy was going to have to go overseas for work for up to 3 weeks. The doctor said it could be up to the end of the month before he will go back to work! Now, Daddy is not only home for a much needed rest from all the work he has been doing, he will be home for Chanukah for sure (and the boys are SOOOO excited about that!) He can even spend more time learning. Yes, it will be a long recovery, however, the surgery went better than planned and he is doing very well. There is good in everything, if we only look.

Wishing everyone a Freilichen Chanukah! May the light of the menorah shine light into your world as well!