Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Zoo Field Trip

One of the best things about our homeschool co-op is the planned field trips. I love the idea of field trips but I'm terrible at actually planning them. Our co-op has monthly field trips planned so I don't have to worry about planning them myself.  Today we went to the zoo with our co-op friends.


The boys spent most of their time with their best friends Liam and Luke. These boys have been friends for about 3 years now.


Feeding the birds.






Love Benjamin's pose! He's such a ham.

Friends. 



Texas Civil War Museum

We have been studying the Civil War over the last few weeks. I was excited to learn that there is a Civil War Museum just 30 minutes from our house so we took the boys to check it out.

I had no idea this place even existed. 


The museum was full of authentic items from the Civil War and that entire time period. It was fascinating to see in person the things we had recently studied.


The medical displays were my favorite. 


Can you imagine!?

This is an amputation kit. Ouch.




 The Texas Civil War Museum was a really neat place. It was interesting to learn more about Texas' role in the Civil War.



Sunday, March 05, 2017

Cast is off!

Caleb got his cast off this week! 


He had good bone growth around the break so the ortho was comfortable taking the cast off. Caleb still has to take it easy, no weight bearing at all for another month. We'll go back for x-rays in April just to make sure everything looks good. 

I'm so glad to have that cast gone. Now to wrap Caleb in bubble wrap so this never happens again. 

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Quick Update

This has been the longest week ever! The orthopedic surgeon couldn't get Caleb in until today (Thursday) so I've spent the entire week in a state of high stress and worry over this broken leg. Apparently stuff like this is common and no biggie to ortho docs. I think they forget that there is a very worried momma pacing the floors, desperate for some assurance. 

Anyway, Caleb is now sportin' a bright orange cast. He will wear the cast for 3 weeks and then we'll reassess. The ortho doesn't want to keep him in a cast much longer than that because it will only make the bones weaker. 


I feel a bit better now that we have a plan in place but this week was rough on me. I don't know why I took this break so hard. It certainly isn't the hardest thing we've been through with Caleb. Maybe I was barely hanging on and this was the thing that just pushed me over the edge. His broken leg broke my heart. I cried and cried this week. I really struggled with this one. It just felt like such a setback and it still does. I know we'll get through it. I know this is just a rough season we are in and it will pass. Thankfully Caleb couldn't care less about his broken leg. He just keeps rollin' on like it's no big deal. I wish I was able to do that!

Sunday, February 05, 2017

A Setback

I'm not going to lie, it has been a rough couple of months. Even with the great success of the SPML procedure and surviving 5 weeks in leg casts...Caleb has had several bumps in the road. He has battled 3 bladder infections in less than two months. Every time one infection clears up, another infection comes knocking on the door. We aren't sure why and preliminary testing hasn't shown any noticeable cause.

Then this happened.

See that swollen right leg? I first noticed it early Friday but didn't think much of it at the time. He has had some swelling here and there since the casts came off so I figured he may have just overworked it in therapy or something. So I iced it and had him take it easy that day. But it was worse yesterday and it felt hot to the touch. He even had some pain which was a huge red flag to me. Caleb doesn't have a lot of feeling in his legs so if he is feeling any pain at all, I know it's bad.

I took him to Urgent Care. 

Urgent Care sent us to the ER because they were concerned it was an infection in the joint.

After x-rays, blood work, and ultrasound the verdict is a broken tibia and fibula in the right leg. 
The ER did a temporary splint to support the leg until we can get in to see the orthopedic surgeon this week.

I'm heartbroken. This was pretty much my worst fear after his casts came off. We have no idea how it happened or when it happened. I suspect it happened sometime between Wednesday and Thursday but I'm not certain. He has been so careful with his legs, knowing that they are fragile. I can't think of anything that has happened in the last few days that could have caused this. We'll likely never know. I'm so very, very sad. This is such a huge setback for him. I'm guessing this leg will go back in a cast for several more weeks which only leads to his bones becoming more brittle than they already are. I'm worried that he will lose the straightness we worked so hard to get and the SPML surgery will be for nothing. There are so many "what ifs" running through my mind right now. I hate this so much. 

As usual, Caleb is taking it all in stride. He's not nearly as upset as I am. He's just been through so much the last couple of months and it has to make him weary. I know I'm weary. He was just doing so well, even walking with his KAFO's and walker. This just feels like a huge step backwards. I don't want to go backward, I want to go forward. 

I'll post more after we meet with the orthopedic surgeon this week. Hopefully we'll have a plan in place soon. For now, we'll keep doing what we've been doing....just get through one day at a time. 

Prayers appreciated. Even when I don't understand the "why" of things, I do believe in the peace that only God can give. I'm struggling to feel that peace right now, but I'll get there.


Friday, January 27, 2017

Tapestry of Grace, Year 3, Unit Two

We wrapped up another TOG unit last week. This unit took us a bit to get through because of Caleb's surgery and the holidays but that is the joy of homeschooling right? We get to push pause when things come up and we are never behind.

Year 3, Unit Two covered a lot of great topics. It was still heavy with US history but touched on things going on in other parts of the world. I love that nothing happens in isolation when it comes to historical events. Things are ultimately connected together and what happens in one area of the world directly impacts other parts of the world. History truly is a tapestry made up of connected events.

We started off the unit by learning about Texas history (which we loved, bein' Texan's and all). We read about Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, and the Battle of the Alamo. We also spent some time on the Indian Removal Act enforced by President Andrew Jackson in the 1830's.

Then we headed overseas to learn about the Victorian Era. We learned about Samuel Morse, the developer of Morse Code. We "made" our names in Morse code by using sequins.



We read about Australia and the Aborigines. We made boomerangs out of cardboard. 



Then we headed back to the US to learn all about the Oregon Trail and the California Gold Rush. I loved this section so much! Did you know the pioneers traveled over 2,000 miles in covered wagons just to get to Oregon? Did you know it took them 6 months or more to make the journey? It wasn't an easy trip either and I was amazed at the perseverance of these folks to try and find a better life. 

Pioneers often made memory quilts that featured special moments or memories as part of the quilt. The boys made their own version of a memory quilt using paper.



The Oregon Trail eventually led us to the California Gold Rush. For fun, I painted some small rocks gold and mixed them in with assorted rocks. The boys used a foil pie plate to "pan" for gold.



 We wrote a poem about Gold Fever.


We added more states to our growing US map.

And added some Presidents to our timeline.

Another Unit lapbook complete! These lapbooks really serve as a great review at the end of the unit. We cover so much good material over 9 weeks that it is nice to have a quick refresher at the end of the unit.



Thursday, December 29, 2016

SPML and Knee Capsulotomy: A Success!

After 5 weeks, Caleb is officially cast free! He had his final trip to Galveston this week for the cast removal.

Prior to the SPML and Knee Capsulotomy surgery, the bend in Caleb's legs was close to 70°
His legs looked like this. Trying to get them straight was like trying to straighten bent steel. Impossible.

Now his legs look like this.

From 70° to 7°! His legs are so perfectly straight. I can't believe it. 

We still have to be diligent about keeping them stretched and straight. He has to wear his KAFO's a minimum of 8 hours a day (overnight counts too). His bones are weak and fragile after 5 weeks in casts so we have to be careful he doesn't do anything that could cause a break, which means no wheelchair basketball for a bit. 

His skin looks pretty gnarly after being in casts for so long so I'll wait a bit before I share photos of his incision site. 

I could not be more pleased. I really didn't know what to expect because his contractures were so bad. I can't believe we were able to get them almost completely straight. 7° is not even noticeable. 

He's almost as tall as me!

Caleb has been such a trooper throughout this whole thing. I'm so proud of the way he handled everything. We still have work to do to regain motion and strength in those legs but now that they are straight, we've got something to work with. I'm so glad we made this decision.

I'll continue to share his progress over the next few weeks. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

SPML and Knee Capsulotomy Update

It's been 3 weeks since Caleb's SPML and Knee Capsulotomy surgery so I thought I would give a quick update. He had his third hard cast change yesterday and his legs look amazing!

He chose Christmas colors this time around.

Look at those straight legs ya'll! They pad the knee really well so that is why that part looks so huge. Prior to surgery his knees bent at almost a 70 degree angle. Yesterday they measured in the low 20's!! They try to get an additional 5 degrees with each weekly cast change and will continue to do that as long as we see progress. I would be tickled to death if we could get it in the teens. I am amazed by his progress. I honestly didn't know what to expect and I have been cautiously optimistic because his legs were just so bent and tight. I'm so impressed. It has not been easy on him (or us) to have both legs in casts but seeing this kind of progress has made it all worth it.

I'll continue to post pics and updates on Caleb's progress over the next few weeks. 

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