Saturday, November 26, 2016

A new project

At this time of year, we usually don't work on projects. But this one sort of forced us.

After discovering a leak in the downstairs bathroom, Dennis investigated a little further and proceeded to take down half the wall, only to discover four feet of water-soaked plywood with about two inches of mold. He removed the moldy insulation.

Then he went into Max's room (which is next to the bathroom), and found mold growing inside his closet. Gross, yes?

Dennis has a very sensitive allergy to mold. You don't need to buy a kit to find out if you have mold, you only need to have a Dennis and you will know. His sinuses clogs up and he sneezes for days on end---even though he wears a mask. Anyway, when he began to sneeze, he knew there was most likely mold and it turns out, he was right!

Not that I'm happy about it or anything, but at least now we have an excuse to get that downstairs bathroom done.

We also discovered mold in the playroom. This wasn't too surprising; every time we get heavy rain, there's always a puddle on the floor, which is why we pulled out the carpet. The playroom is on our list to get done, but the bathroom and Max's room comes first.

This isn't a great time of year to do renovations and as of now, it's on hold until at least January, if not later. So we will be looking at this yellow stuff for quite a while.

I'm ok with it though. We need time and money. And in the meantime, ideas are forming in my head of a new bathroom design....

Friday, November 11, 2016

Is someone you know trying to get your attention?

Warning: This is a long post! I've broken it into segments, but you may want get yourself a cup of tea or coffee and settle down for an interesting read!

Have you ever had a situation where something strange happens--something that is not totally normal and has no explanation that you can think of--but not creepy enough to be determined as a "ghostly encounter"? Perhaps an electronic turning on for no apparent reason--but then, maybe it was you that left it on and you just don't remember? Or the TV suddenly turning off by itself--but maybe it's just a glitch in the system? Or a door that suddenly opens---but could there have been a draft?? Or pictures falling off the wall--but maybe the house settled and you just didn't feel it?

I have had these strange things happening to me most of my life. I have learned not to talk about it because most people look at me like I'm crazy.

It started when I was about 15 years old. My grandfather passed away recently, and suddenly, pictures and books would fall off my ledge for no apparent reason. I never really thought much about it until a friend happened to be over when a picture just suddenly tipped over and fell. She looked at me with wide eyes while I just shrugged my shoulders and said, "Those things fall over all the time."
"By themselves??" She asked. "That's not normal!"

The Bathroom Door Incident

Not too long after this, another strange thing happened. I had been alone watching TV, when for some reason, I happened to look at the bathroom door. It had been closed at the time, and suddenly, the knob turned and the door open. I froze. When I could finally move, I ventured into the bathroom to see if one of my brothers was in the bathroom, hiding behind the door. Of course, no one was there. I ran outside to wait for my parents to come home, to scared to go in by myself.

Odd things like this would happen throughout my lifetime, and the older I got, the more I became aware of it. I was not into ghost stories and hated (and still do) horror movies or mysteries. Nancy Drew mysteries was about as far as I could get as far as "scary" goes, and I read those only because there always a logical explanation behind the mystery.

Wherever I went, it was always the same thing--strange.

I grew up, moved out and would continue to experience these strange things on occasion.

However, it wasn't until I was married and had kids that it seemed to get worse. Strange things would happen in our house and it always seemed to happen when I was alone. I'll never forget the time when the kids were asleep and Dennis was away on a fishing trip. I had been watching TV when suddenly there was a loud bang from the basement. I practically jumped out of my skin, I was so scared. I ran downstairs, thinking that something must have fallen over, but I was very surprised to
see it was only the laundry soap that had fallen off the shelf onto the wash machine.

At first, I was relieved that it wasn't anything major. But then, I thought to myself, "Wait. How could the laundry soap fall off the shelf?" The shelf wasn't broken or slanted. The laundry soap was huge (one of those extra large size that has a spout so you don't have to pick it up) and it was full--too heavy to have slipped off by itself. There was only one explanation--it had to have been pushed off.

(Not the actual picture of the soap --->)

Getting the house blessed

The only person I confided in about these things was my mom. She believes that things like this do happen (oddly enough, a lot of Catholics out there do not) and was worried, so she suggested I get the house blessed. So we did and things calmed down for about a year or two, but soon, things began to happen again.

Eventually we moved into our current house. I wanted to beat the ghosts to the punch and asked our parish priest to bless our house only a week after we had moved in. And yet, about a year later, I began to experience unsettling things here too.
One day, my children had been playing nicely in their room when they heard a man scream in their ears. I had been in my room, which is right next to mine, and heard nothing. They ran screaming into my room, visibly shaken and told me what happened. I asked them if it could have been a neighbor, or someone downstairs that they heard. They denied it, saying it was very clearly a man that had been in the room with them that had screamed.

Our priest was kind enough to come back to say exorcism prayers, as I was now worried that it was demons bothering us. It's one thing to bother me, but another to bother my kids!

Things calmed down once again. But soon, the "odd" things began to happen again--though not as scary as demons screaming. I finally resigned myself to the fact that this was just something that was going to continue to happen to me, even if I didn't like it or understand it.

And finally, today.

For the next two years up until today, things continue to happen off and on. This post is already so long as it is that I could never tell every story. So I will tell the latest one that just happened to have happened today--and it's the reason why I was inspired to write this post.

This morning, I had told Max a story about a friend of mine that had died recently. Funny that I should talk about her; she had been on my mind a lot and I thought to myself that I really should have a Mass said for her.

Then Max went to do his schoolwork and I went in the bathroom to get ready for the day, when I suddenly heard my bedroom door slam shut. Thinking that one of the kids went into my bedroom looking for me, I crossed the hall and opened my door, only to find no one inside.

I found my kids in the living room and asked who had went into my room. They told me no one. Of course, I couldn't help questioning their honesty, because it had been obvious that someone had closed the door. But again, they told me no one went into my room or slammed the door shut.

I should clarify here that there were no windows open, no drafts, and the door does not open and close on it's own. In fact, for it to close at all, it needs to be slammed shut because the frame is so warped that there's always a gap. And the fact that the door was shut tightly confirmed to me that I had not been hearing things when I heard the door slam.

I reopened the door once again, making sure that it stayed open, and thought to myself, "Ok. The door is now open. If I find it shut again, I know that there's something else going on."

I sent the kids downstairs to play and went to do the dishes. Then, my phone, which was in the bedroom, began to ring. I noticed it sounded kind of muffled, which was odd. I went to go to my bedroom to answer it and stopped dead in my tracks. The door was closed!

I had not closed the door, I was sure of it. The kids had not closed the door, they were downstairs. No open windows, no drafts. Only a broken door that never shut all the way that was now tightly closed.

My friend that I had talked about in the same bedroom only ten minutes before came back to mind. How odd that this strange thing occurred only minutes after I had been talking about her in the same room where now the door was closing on its own.

The thought finally occurred to me: Could it be my friend reminding me she needed prayers? After all this time of persistent "nagging" thoughts in my head that I should be offering Masses, could it be that she was now trying to get my attention in a more obvious way?? Would God allow such a thing? And yet, why wouldn't He? He is a merciful God that wants all of His children in heaven.

The moral of the story

Think of that horrible day--9/11.

When the first plane crashed into the first tower, we all thought it was a horrible accident. But when the same exact thing happened and the second plane crashed into the second tower, we knew it was deliberate. Someone was trying to get our attention.

It was about a year ago when someone told me that these things could very well be a soul trying to get my attention. I had brushed it off, thinking that I wasn't "holy" enough for something like that to happen to me.

Well, I was wrong. You don't need to be holy for souls to reach out to us for help. We are all part of the Body of Christ, and it's not unusual for souls to remind us their need for our prayers. I can't help but wonder how often these souls are tapping us on the shoulder, trying hard not to frighten us, but only wanting to get our attention that they still exist, they are still around and they still need prayers. Why do we have such a hard time believing that?

I have a Mass scheduled to be said for my friend, and I hope that it brings her relief. If not, I am sure that she will let me know.

Keep your eyes and ears open, your heart and mind open. Don't feel you are insulting the one you love to think that perhaps they are still in Purgatory and weren't as holy as you had thought. These souls are in such need for prayer that they rather we remember their sins as people that walked the earth rather than saints in heaven...

...if only we would take notice and remember to pray for them. Then maybe they won't need to tap our shoulder to ask.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Having Hope

This past week, I realized that I sinned against the virtue of Hope. Basically, I had lost all hope and sinned in not trusting God.

This lack of hope lead to depression and irritability, making everything so hazy that I couldn't see anything in it's proper perspective. It seemed that everything bad was happening only to me and no one understood me, yada yada yada.

A week ago I could have told the story so much better.

Something the priest asked me during my confession: Where and when did the sadness start?

It was not something he really wanted to know (after all, there were other people waiting to go to confession too,) but something for me to think about. But I could have told him easily in one sentence:

It started with the Presidential debates. It went on from there to the complaining from those around me. Then, debates about who to vote for when there is no one good enough to vote for. Then judgment from those who disagreed with others about who they were going to vote for. And then there were the "woebegones" who just complained and woed over the hopelessness of the situation. And some even despaired.

I tried to stay out of it--in fact, I did stay out of it. I never passed around any political memes or participated on any political debate (both on Facebook and in actual life.) I didn't want any part of it; I had already seen friendships become so strained or else broken, and even good and pious people become mean and spiteful. No, I wanted no part of the political garbage this year.

And yet, it got me anyway. All this hopelessness. We don't even realize how very catching it is. We talk about the flu and all these sicknesses that are so easily passed on, but we don't talk about despair or lack of hope and how that can influence each other.

And so, since the world was apparently going to officially end on November 8th, I became more and more depressed, more hopeless. Now I'm not trying to blame my own sin on others; I could have and should have prayed more or done something to help myself. But instead, I just wallowed in self-pity and my family suffered a lot because of it.

At night, all my own personal problems and the upcoming elections weighed heavy on my mind and I even found myself wishing for a disease to come take me away from all this madness. I even had this crazy plan to take sleeping pills and just sleep November 8th away so I didn't have to hear about who won and listen again to all despair, but I couldn't figure out how to do that and still take care of the kids. But of course, there is always November 9th, so that plan wasn't going to work anyway.

Then, the other day at adoration, I decided to pick up a book called Joy in Suffering.  I thought to myself, "Well, if I'm going to suffer, I might as well get some joy out of it," and went to my pew to read.

Of course, I didn't have the time to read the whole book, but I've noticed how Jesus is very good about picking out sections that He wants us to focus on. I opened the book to a random chapter and soon became very engrossed in it. I thought this book couldn't really enlighten me too much; I have read about suffering in other books and thought I knew this subject pretty well. But I was very surprised to read (with a jolt) the following sentence: "Sadness is a sin."


Sadness? This  human emotion that I have been taught since preschool that is totally fine and okay is a sin?? It didn't make sense, so I read on and the more I read, the more I understood. I wish had the book in front of me to copy from but I don't, so I will just write about what I came away with (some of it is directly in the book but paraphrased in my own words.)

There is mourning and sorrow, such as our Lady's sorrow over Jesus's death and her continued sorrow over our sins; there was sorrow when Jesus cried over Lazarus's death (even though He knew in an instant that He could raise him from the dead). And there was sorrow when Jesus suffered the agony in the garden.

But sorrow is always for others; sadness is always for ourselves. 

Sadness leads to self-pity, most of the time. It leads to depression. (Not to be confused with those who suffer from a chemical imbalance.) It leads to bitterness and hopelessness and if it goes on long enough, even to despair.

I realized in an instant what I had been doing and how displeasing it was to God. Suddenly, I was very aware of Jesus in front of me in the Blessed Sacrament. How was He looking at me? I wasn't sure. Full of sorrow? Sternly? I just knew that I suddenly felt very naked in front of God with my sin exposed both to Him and finally, to me. I instantly begged for forgiveness for my attitude and my lack of gratitude that had led to my sadness and self-pity.

Along with this awareness also came how important it is to be cheerful. All my life, I had wondered about the words: "God loveth the cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:6-7) Why??? What about the other people who perhaps weren't born with a bubbly nature?? What about the rest of us? Didn't God love us too?

But now I understood. Cheerfulness protects us from sadness (and self pity and so on.) Cheerfulness is a self-giving act, a constant act of love and sacrifice. That is why "God loves the cheerful giver", because they have given much. And even us less "bubbly" people are capable of being cheerful too.

I not only learned how important it is to stay away from conversations that can lead to gloominess and sadness but also that it affects our hope in God. If we are going to talk about the seriousness of the elections (and yes, it looks pretty dire), we also need to have hope in God that knows all about it and already has a plan.

One section of the book that I had managed to take a blurry picture of with my phone, told about the importance of gratitude:

God brought us out of nothing into existence, without our paying anything for the privilege of creation. He might, in fact, have made us any one of the millions of other creatures, like a rose or a lily or a lovely weed. And even then, had we been grasshoppers who could speak, we should still have told God, 'Thank You.' Yet, God made us what we are, not only without cost on our part, but even without the possibility of any contribution from us. For the best of reasons, we were not around to offer advance payment for our future existence. And so on through life..."

I must admit that there are still times I would be happy and content to be a grasshopper and be completely ignorant of how scary the world is becoming. But during those times, I tend to lose my trust in God and find myself faltering, teetering into hopelessness once again.

If you are going to talk about the election, about November 8th, about Donald Trump being an ___ and Hilary being what she is, I encourage you as a Catholic to follow it up that God is triumphant already. Remind yourself and each other that God already has this. Give up all control and let God take over. I am confident that though we may need to go down this slippery slope of darkness, that it's what going to convince the world that they do need God in their lives.

Remember that we're all in this together; we are all kind of scared. Remember there are those already quite shaken in their faith. Don't give them more reason to give up on God, to stop believing. Some of us are just barely hanging on.

My penance was to find ten things to be thankful for. It was easily counted and I could have kept going. With every count, my depression lifted and hope set in.

I am thankful for my family, for our house that we finally own (no more renting!), for my health (no disease for me, thank you!) for healthy children (a huge plus!), a good husband, my faith (I don't know where I would be without it) for a new passion to learn new things! For animals who distract us from the dreariness of this world, for good activists and leaders who fight for the good in this world to remain good, for America, for friends--though they may be few, they are true.

No powerful President can take that away from me,  no impending date. Those blessings come from the hand of God Himself, and if we are faithful, they will keep on coming.

This is all in God's hands now. All that He asks of us to have hope.

"Man Cave" Project: Done

The Man Cave has been done for a few weeks now but I've been distracted by the girl's room. Anyway, here is the finished project:

So as you can see, there's a lot of tin and wood in here. But remember--it's a man cave! It is the opposite of anything feminine.

Dennis made his own "island" for work, which I thought was a great idea. To the right, is another closet that he also made for storage, and to the left, an old fridge that he covered in wood, or whatever, I suppose.

Oh, and the TV is the birthday present that I bought for him! :-) 

I am more partial to this side of the room. I love the burned wood on the wall. And let me tell you, it smells heavenly. Hardware store smell--which I love!

The weight machines are his boat money--or at least some of it. Most of it went to bills. Yes, he deserved to get something for himself. The weight bench serves as both body building and couch for the TV.

And so that is the end of the Man Cave project. What to do next? There is always something. For now, we will probably focus on smaller projects and I'm looking into updating the dining room light fixture next...

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A therapy dog for Max

I had mentioned before in an earlier post that one of our goals for Max was to get him involved in our church's Youth Program, the EDGE program. He had attended one session and let's just say, it didn't go well. At all.

I got repeated texts from Dennis (who agreed to come with him for the first meeting) about how things were going, and the more dismal updates I got, the more I knew Max would not be going back. It was discouraging, to say in the least. I knew it was going to be hard for him but I didn't expect it to go so badly either.

Normally, we push our kids when we need to push. We push them through the hard things that they have to encounter. That's usually the "healthy" way to go, to teach your kids to not give up.

With autism, however, it's different. There are times you need to push and times you need not to push. It is tricky and it's all about timing. You have to know your child's limits very well. You have to be willing to push them as far as you know they can go (not how far they are comfortable going) but you also have to know when to not push. Those are times of waiting and exercising patience and understanding--and none of those things are easy to practice.

I used to think that working with autism was just forcing things to happen, to go plowing right ahead and to keep going until your kid gets used to the situation.  But I've learned that forcing Max through these things when he's not ready not only doesn't work, but it makes him worse. He shuts down and is unable to take anything in, which means no new information is being processed. All he knows is that things are happening way too fast to process, and that is when "autistic tendencies" (rocking, humming) tends to kick in as his way of coping.

I'll never forget when I took him to the playground inside the mall one day. I used to take him often, knowing that something was "different" about Max in some way but not knowing exactly what. He wasn't like the other toddlers that interacted with one another and the only thing I could think of was to just keep exposing him to the same interactions over and over.

So one day I set him down at my feet and he went off to sit by his favorite slide while I sat nearby on a bench with the other moms. How I envied these mothers who could relax and not worry about their children. They either sat down with a book (this is before cell phones took over the world) or conversed with the mom sitting next to them. I, on the other hand, never could take my eyes off of Max for a moment, as he always seemed to wander away.

But one day, I decided to try to be like the other moms. I took out my book that I had brought and tried to get absorbed in the story, sneaking peeks to check up on Max who played nearby, not necessarily with other children, but at least by himself.

All of a sudden, I heard this horrible screeching. It was coming from a child, but the screaming was not a normal scream. It was a scream of fear, and it never stopped. Pretty much every mother jumped to her feet, looking for her child, but somehow, I knew it was Max and I was right. I ran right over to him, thinking he must be terribly hurt or something, but to my surprise, he sat on the floor unhurt. He had a blank stare on his face as he screamed over and over. The children around him had given him wide girth, some looking afraid, others looking confused. I picked up Max and tried to console him, but he continued to scream. I put my face in front of his, calling his name and trying to get him to look at me, but it was as though he couldn't see me. I had no idea what was going on, what was causing him to scream, but I did the only thing I knew what to do: I got him out of there.

Max has not had such a dramatic episode since then, but he still reacts as if in a trance if he is overwhelmed for too long. Except instead of screaming, he rocks or just stops talking completely, looking angry and confused. The only information he takes in is how afraid he is feeling, and so, to him, every situation is "bad" since that is the way he perceived it (even if everyone was friendly.) Sometimes he rocks, sometimes he shuts down, other times he tries to scare people away by glaring and even growling. And so for this reason, I have humbly learned that not even me, his mother, can push Max beyond his limits.

So as I was getting these texts from Dennis, I knew that our goal wouldn't be met. But it is imperative that Max have sort of social connection to keep him socialized with the world. So what to do. I stopped making school lunches for a moment to pray to God for help for Max.

And then, I noticed Joey, who had been sitting at me feet, waiting for some scraps of food to fall on the floor. And suddenly, I knew what to do.

Joey would be Max's therapy dog.

It was perfect. Max and Joey had a great bond already. Max loved Joey to pieces and both Dennis and I have noticed how his confidence soars when he can show people his dog. Not only that, but Max relaxes with Joey around. It was a perfect solution.

I quickly Googled everything I could about therapy dogs and even ordered Joey a therapy vest. In those 10  minutes, I learned that any dog could be a therapy dog as long as he was trained for it. (Unlike service dogs, that need a special certificate.) With me going into dog training, this was a perfect opportunity for me to practice what I've learned!

So when Max came home, all upset like I knew he would be, I was ready. He stormed in the house, threw down his take-home papers on the couch and said, "I am NEVER going back to that group again!"

I just smiled at him. "Would you go back if Joey came with you?" I asked.

Max stopped and ever so slowly, a little smiled began to work on his face. And I knew we had our hook and bait.

I suppose it was a little presumptuous of me to order a therapy vest for Joey before getting permission from the church first. Let's just say it was a leap of faith. Somehow, I felt that this was God's answer to our problem. A promise that He would see us through this homeschooling endeavor.

At any rate, our priest said yes as well as the Faith Formation leaders. We have been working with both Max and Joey at the church when no one else is around, training Joey to learn how to sit and stay, and just basically be there for Max.

We have yet to attend our first class with Joey as Max's therapy dog--and he already has chewed through one of the straps on his vest, that darn dog.

Will this work? I really don't know. Like everything else we've tried, we will have to give it time and see if it works. But I'm very excited that this could be the bridge to socialization...

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Big Bowl of Complaints

Lately, the kids have been loading me down with complaints about each other and the fights they have. From the moment I get out of bed (sometimes even before I can get out of bed), someone meets me with teary eyes or an angry face. This goes on and on throughout the day.

Today I had enough. There are the "normal" squabbles that you expect from five children, and then there are just bad habits. None of the lectures seemed to work. None of the punishments or positive reinforcements. (Sorry, there is a time for positive reinforcements and times that just don't work for positive reinforcements, and this was one of those times!)

I normally do catechism with the kids on Sundays. Today, I decided to teach them one lesson: a little "visual" of much they complain!

So I asked the kids to write down on pieces of paper all of the problems they came to me with today. For the little kids, we just talked about it and I wrote down their complaints for them. It was funny how honest they were about telling on themselves! ("I whined about juice!" "I complained about not having any candy!")

For the older kids, it was harder for them to be so honest. I helped them remember though, don't worry.

Pretty soon our bowl was very full.

A bowl full of one days complaints!
I then had the kids pass the bowl around and read each complaint. From their expressions, I could see that they were beginning to see some of the pettiness of their complaints. They even found some of them pretty funny. Some of the complaints were pretty silly.

If only the complaints didn't follow with crying and a tantrum afterwards, perhaps I could get through it. Or if people would just take "no for an answer" instead of me having to repeat it ten more times later. ("The answer is no...the answer is still no...if you keep asking me, you will lose ( that privilege) completely.")

The weird thing was, they all seemed genuinely sorry for their complaining. Even Henry. I was very surprised that he understood the lesson so well. I think that seeing the number of complaints, to see them filling up a bowl, to hear them read out loud (we did not put names on the complaints--the complainers knew what complaints they had), helped the kids realize that by their own admission, they complained a lot. Heck, if I wrote out the complaints I got today, I would have filled two bowls, but this was about them taking responsibility for it themselves.

Well, believe it or not, it worked. I'm not saying that there wasn't the occasional complaint, but all the kids really thought about what was worth complaining about and what wasn't. Even the younger kids, and that is hard for them.

Sometimes I hesitate to tell people about my way of teaching my kids manners--I have been told by too many well-meaning people that I can be too harsh and then given much advice on how to do things differently. Women are great that way, aren't they? Always handing out advice like it's chocolate or something. And then calling it charity. I like to call it "charity on a stick", just like the State Fair food. It's always there, right in front of you to munch on, and so convenient too.

Anyhoo...back to the subject...

The truth is, I am terrible about being patient. God knows how often I confess this sin both at bedtime in confession. I am convinced that it is through my children that I have to eventually learn how to be patient or die trying. But I am not shy about asking for help with my weaknesses, especially from my kids. Anything to help me will help you, I often tell them.

So it is through these little "visuals" that I try to teach my kids some things that they do that bog me down as a parent. And yes, I felt a little like a complainer myself, by bringing all this up in such a way. Also true, I worried that perhaps I might go a little too far in my lesson and bring about discouragement. Nobody is perfect, and I sure to don't want to put that burden on anyone.

But it seems like my kids learn best this way. They were able to see how many complaints I receive in one day alone. They actually empathized with me. And I needn't have worried about discouragement; God didn't make kids resilient for nothing! As soon as the little lecture was over, they bounced up already talking about what they were going to play next without even an extra glance at the bowl.

The biggest thing was, they stopped complaining. Well, sort of. There were still complaints and whining but it was at a pace I could handle. They were showing some restraint, which I appreciated. And more than that, it showed me that they learned something!

This is what I love about parenting. There are days when I feel I am terrible at it and just can't do it. And then there are other days I helped my kids make a connection and I just have to give myself a high five.

Parenting is hard enough; that's why we come in pairs. So turn to your spouse and high five each other before you go to bed today---because tomorrow you'll have to do it all over again.

Friday, October 28, 2016

How it's going

A quick update on how things are going with homeschooling:

  • Time for other things is very limited!
  • I have found that my own time for my school (dog training) is nearly non-existant now. I am learning how to fit it in.
  • Max knows how to memorize facts, but not necessarily understand them, which makes it a little tricky to know what he does and does not know.
  • We got the book Temple Grandin, How the Girl who loved cows embraced Autism and changed the world today!
  • My mom came over to tutor Max a little today, get a baseline for where he is and what she thinks we should work on. (She is a retired special ed teacher.)
  • We have goals. One being that he will attend the church's youth group. He attended one and hated it (I knew he would.) But we have a plan to make the next time a little bit easier. I will let you know if it works!
  • We are going to learn Sign Language! Everyone should know it!
  • He is going to learn algebra! This is his dream, to know the intriguing "pi" formula.
  • He is going to volunteer. This is still in the works. I will update in another blog post.
Most of all, he is happier. He is working harder here than I think he thought he would. He has learned that being home doesn't mean loafing off or taking as many breaks as he wants. Yet at the same time, it is flexible. If there are appointments that we need to go to, we can switch things around in school.

Overall, things are going well. There are challenges to be sure, and it's only been a week, but so far, we are happy.