I can not even think what it would be like, to have any of our children in sports that eat up calendar days, like soccer, football or baseball. The things we have chosen to have our children involved in, are things that will help them some how, like ballet for Carolyn and Elizabeth to help with their balance and strength issues. Or something that we feel strongly they should be in because it is important to them. I did not even add up things like trips to take William to drivers ed classes or his archery meetings with 4-H. Carolyn's occasional riding lessons, free gymnastics she participated in for a while or ballet tutoring she receives in our home.
So here are the approximate numbers, to the best of my figuring, for 2014:
Appointments with CASA, Case workers, and Panel for foster care: 22
Visitations for foster care : 9
Foster Meetings: 10
Dental Appointments: 16
Antonio's meetings with his school teacher: 35
Therapeutic Massage Therapy for Antonio: 44
Doctors, Specialist and Hospital Appointments: 51
Physical, Occupational, Speech and Feeding Therapy Appointments: 145
Kind of amazing really. I will explain the way I try to stream line my schedule with such a big family and so many appointments.
Years ago, when we started doing foster care and the number of children and appointments started to climb, I became over whelmed. I had to pray fervently about it all, as stress was taking a toll. I was trying to get to all of these various appointments, keep a home up and running, home school and still have time to have meaningful family time together. Also, every time we left the house for an appointment, it chopped up the day, so when we got home, we had no time to home school or the children were to unfocused to do it. Something had to change.
What I learned is that I don't have to go to every appointment. The appointments that would come to the house, had to. And I stacked all those type appointments on one day. We have Antonio's home bound teacher come to the house in the morning to work with him. Then his Therapeutic massage therapist. Any CASA or case worker that needs to come to the house, I try to get them scheduled on that day too. That way, the children not involved in that days appointments, can work at their schooling with out interruption.
Then we attacked the PT. OT and various therapy appointments. About 10 years ago, I called the therapy place and had them start working all of the therapy appointments, for all of my children, onto one morning or day a week. I would rather give up one morning than many. So it took a while but as people dropped off or were willing to change days, we got all of the kids on the same day. For many years we got to the therapy place at 8:00 a.m. and didn't leave till 3:00 p.m. As the children have grown and been discharged from a few therapies here or there, we now get to our therapy place at 8:00 am and leave by 12:00 noon. Not to bad really, considering we get in 8 therapy sessions.
I always keep one other day of the week totally for doctors and specialist appointments.
So on my schedule, three full days at the beginning of the week are fully scheduled days and we home school those days as well. Sometimes creatively by bringing stuff with us or schooling late but it gets done. Thursdays and Fridays I try to keep open for home schooling and so I can get the house cleaned up before the weekend. Also, if an out of the blue appointment does need to be made in a pinch, I know I never have anything on Thursdays and Fridays and don't need to check my schedule to make the appointment. This also leaves me Thursday-Sunday as more relaxed type days so we can gear up for the three harder ones that are back to back. This is what works well for us and our family.
William is now driving so if he is feeling well he drives himself to GED classes and many of his doctors appointments! Yippee!
Most years are not as bad as 2014 was but I have had much worse with many more appointments, surgeries and hospital stays than we had last year. So, I will take it in stride and as a blessing. God is so good. I am praying for a slower more relaxed type year. A year for us all to spend more time in the Lord and His Word. A year for making happy family memories, helping to guide a few of the children out of bad behaviors and time for teaching them skills they will need and can help with, in our home and out on the farm.
I pray the Lords blessings on your 2015. That it will be the best of years for us all.
Isaiah 43:19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.