Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Seventy-Second Step - Worlds Colliding

Have you ever had your life experiences collide all at once, and feel like, "Ohhh, that's so right. This makes so much sense." Like, we're not God, but sometimes God connects the dots for us poor, clueless people? And you see this situation and that one and realize He is putting together your personality, trials, heart, even your struggles into a big lumpy mushy LUMP (looks messy to us, but He doesn't mind getting His hands dirty) but it is going to be something that makes sense sometime (hopefully soon)? Yeah, me neither.

Just kidding! I'm reading Love Mercy by Lisa Samson, and it makes her life experiences (and novels, which really have an obvious agenda without being too overbearing, usually) really make sense for me. I'm hoping that at some point my life will make enough sense to be able to read it in book form and I'll learn a whole lot about what meant what and who was who and what I did good and how I blew it but it all turned out OK in the end.

Maybe God will have a whole delightful room full of scrapbooks of your life, and then a novel (or even trilogy!) that puts it all together for you and narrates what was going on and your whole web of interconnected people that you impacted (or didn't, because of selfishness or laziness or cluelessness). Maybe just nerds like me will be interested in that kind of thing--could you transform it into a sci-fi/fantasy, please? Hmm, my life as a novel would require a little more excitement probably.

I'm not totally sure how God is connecting the dots. I'll fill you in more as more becomes clear. But it feels like a new season is starting. God's released me for more service, from a healing phase to more of a giving phase. God's calling our family to more, to family worship, to being content with our life together, and maybe farm and slowing down. There are scary things involved with that, and resistance to change. But I read a bumper sticker last week that hit me like a bolt of lightning: If nothing changes, nothing changes. Simple, right? But it has gone through my head all week. Including changing my heart. If I don't let him change that, there's no hope for a good novel. It will be a teen drama angst-filled horror story. And I swore those off at least 5 years ago.

p.s. Happy 4th birthday to my schnookie boy!! Can't believe his precious chubby cheeks are still around, even at 4 years (the facial ones). They are still so fun to munch on. Definitely talking about facial ones. Sometimes our kids seem so precious it hurts, like we have to squeeze them to hold onto the moment but we can't and it's gone and it hurts!! Like I know there are so many ways I don't cherish each moment with them and then the guilt comes in and the battle becomes about something else--"I'm a terrible, selfish mom" thoughts. "I need to play more" thoughts. And "How do we go through a whole day and not have focused on what matters?" thoughts. Anyone have those?? This is all too big for a p.s.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Seventy-First Step - Christmas Cheer

Hey! It's me! And I survived whirlwind trips to Texas and Disney World within 2 weeks of each other. Who agreed to that crazy schedule anyway?? We had a great time at each, and I hope to post more pictures of those and of Chrees-mahss (this is the way we had to pronounce it in our 5th grade Chrees-mahss program. "Where would we be without Chrees-mahss? What kind of world would it be? There'd be no carols to sing, no bells that would ring, not even a Chrees-mahss tree...") I'm serious, those junior high choir songs plague me.

And I have a little secret. Yours truly was Santa Claus in 7th or 8th grade--the memory is kind of fuzzy because it was too traumatic. You see, Mandy Clarke was the darling of our grade in terms of singing. And so she had the lead part that year. Of course, I was Santa Claus, and had a two-line solo in a song. It went, "Gather round my little friends and hear what I've to say. It's time to wrap the presents and load them on the sleigh." Complete with stuffing, beard etc. Well, I will now mark the 3 times (at minimum) that my voice cracked while singing said solo with an asterisk (I get the nerves, people!), "Gather *round my* little *friends and* hear what I've to say. It's time to wrap the *presents* and *load them* on the sleigh." OK maybe it was four times. Very traumatic stuff, and I'm only telling you because I've just recently healed from it and my counselor said I should practice talking about it. Bring it to light and all that (well, I'm not currently seeing a counselor, but I definitely could be).

We had a wonderful visit with my brother and sister-in-love and their lovie baby Linna. It was awesome to meet her finally, at 3 months, and meant a lot that they traveled here from Utah. She was a sweetie. And the Linna deck of cards and Linna apron were a hit with the babymoon parents (the apron said, "Just follow your heart. It's what I do." Ahh, I love Napoleon!!) We got sick toward the end of their visit, at least my baby and my husband, and now the rest of us have some coughing and such going on. The baby has a double ear infection and the doc gave us a breathing machine today for her wheezing. I hope it helps--she sounds pretty buh-had. I started feelin' it yesterday and Charlie started today, so it has officially made the rounds. There are body aches as well, and we stayed home Saturday instead of going to Grandma and Grandpa's and spreading the love. We did have a cozy, relaxing, if loserish and kind of meager on the food end of things (mac and cheese for the rest of the fam), Christmas.

Oh, there is a giveaway here that you might want to check out--for a $100 Mastercard gift card. So if you overdid it at Christmas (ahem), this could help you pay your electric bill or some other practical thing that you overlooked in your holiday zeal.

Hope you and yours had a lovely Chrees-mahss! (Where would we be without it??)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Seventieth Step - I win!

Well, no entries to my contest yesterday means...I WIN! Yahoo! It means my favorite contest entry for the name of our future farm is my own: Stoney Hill Farm. And that's its name. Don't wear it out.

I'll have to post a picture of Robert in our official farm hat. That is, when I see him again, and he's not 1) raking leaves 2) chopping or picking up loads of wood from his family's farm 3) working hard to provide for our family 4) wrestling with the kids, who all seem to be learning the art of the pile-on (even the baby) or 5) asleep on the couch with his mouth wide open and head tilted back at that strange neck-defying angle. Has anyone seem him lately?? Maybe I've lost him. :) We did rake some leaves today, to hopefully let the grass dry out a bit after the rain yesterday. And let Daddy spend some time with us tonight, until I leave for church anyway!

OK, I am going to tell you how homeschooling went today so far. Kaput. We read a total of 3 books, 2 pumpkin ones and one called The Patchwork Quilt (to go with The Rag Coat Five-in-a-Row story we read last week). Oh, make that four because we read an Egypt one that is due at the library tomorrow. We did manage to read our Bible and have poetry memorization, and change our calendar to the proper day and date. Maybe we will continue after rest time, which usually involves only two children sleeping now (and one just wishing she didn't have to rest), and one mommy collapsed on her bed with delicious bare feet in cool sheets.

Better go there now, before I lose my chance.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sixty-Ninth Step--Dream On

Dream on, dream away, I think you're gonna have to stay, stay forever...yes, that's an, I don't know, Boyz2Men song from the 80s? (OK, I looked it up--it's Color Me Badd, "I adore mi amor," lest not knowing drive you crazy) I hope it's not true though--we're hoping to be on our way soon. In faith we are trying to act like we're moving any day now, but we still have some um, huge things to wrap up, like, um, fixing up and selling our house. Rates are so low, we may be able to swing the house and land that we are in love with, if we sell our current abode. I know that is a big IF these days, but God would have to provide people to buy it who are just like us. Some fellow Sagarites, not in name, but in heart.

Lord, please send us a young (Christian) couple who wants a house with tons of character, all-wood floors, suh-weet landscape with unique specimens, hand-built rock wall, shady haven of a backyard with patio, lots of storage space, 1700 square feet of sturdy, square, well-built house-age. And did I mention the woodburner? :) Just leave a comment if you want to buy this place, or contribute man (or woman) hours to redoing a certain mint-green bathroom...

p.s. At the fair this weekend, we got a hat and a blog with our farm name on it. So we're officially farmers, right? Can I ha' yo number??? Maybe I'll have a contest to see if y'all can guess the farm's name. And my 3 sweet friends who read this blog can enter, ha! You'll win a...trip to see the land and dream with me. :) Leave any guesses in the comments, and maybe I'll think of a better prize. And I'll award the person with my favorite name, because I KNOW nobody ain't gonna guess THIS name.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sixty-Eighth Step - Yard sale etc.

Yard sales are such a strange phenomenon. It's like we are reverting back to elementary school, deciding to "play store" with the whole neighborhood. Come and see our little store, everyone, except instead of joyfully giving us play money you are haggling over 50 cents. C'mon people, we're sitting out here all day! We should be getting a little tip or something, not a constant questioning of what we think our junk is worth. :) I kept thinking, "What do these people WANT if they can't find it here? This is such great stuff! If I went to this yard sale, I would think it was the best one I've ever been to!" I know it's nothing personal, but I don't see how people could resist all the yard sale goodness we had goin' on (those ones who do a quick walk-through and leave, with or without saying goodbye/thanks). I cried each time, and screamed after them, "Didn't you see the maternity clothes? You're pregnant, you know!"

Now, of course, I did pick out (most) of this stuff in the first place for some reason or another, so it would be a buyer's paradise for me, if I were in the yard sale mindset of things that I "could use." But alas, I am in the mindset of "What's really happened in the last 7 years? Have I gone rollerblading?" And of course, the answer is no. So off "the blades" go into the sale, to be coveted only by a 9-year-old boy whose pleas were ignored by Mom. My poor forsaken rollerblades, not even wanted at the rock-bottom price of $7.50 (these are Roces, people! $279 new, I just googled and am shocked because an ex gave them to me in high school and I didn't know they were *so* expensive, but slightly too small for me anyway after having babies, because, you know, babies give stretch your feet, it all makes perfect sense). DH says I can get rollerblades if I ever decide to take up rollerblading again--pshah, like that will ever make the top of the list in the future. $279 on rollerblades, or groceries? "Sorry, baby, no dinner for you--Mommy needed new rollerblades..."

Another delusion I had to give up was that we would be an ice-cream-making family. It would be idyllic, and sweetened with fruit, and creative, dairy-free ice cream with almond milk would bring us all together. Sigh. No one bought that kitchen gadget, so now there's the temptation to snatch it back and revive the dream. Must. donate. soon. My dream of constant houseguests, opening our home to those in need, or family, or friends visiting, is also gone. Gone up in smoke, along with our lovely guest bed (guest room finally gave way to a playroom), a steal at $25. Someone said they just spent $160 on a full bed, not even new. There you have it, people--no one can say we were hoodwinking them at OUR sale. This bed was bought, unlike my grandma's dining room table, and loaded up by us. We even *delivered* a picket fence to someone, no delivery charge (and again, sadly, no tip). I kept praying for God to release my heart from this stuff, and the twinge when I thought of my kids playing with a certain toy, or wearing a certain outfit, or hugging a certain bear, grew smaller each hour. The more I looked at our yard, the more confident I was that we really didn't need this stuff. And the more confident I was that I would not want to do this again, as confident as the last time I said that. It was too emotional ("Are they going to buy that? Are they not? I hope they do, but they don't know the STORY behind that! Give me that back!"), and talking to people 2 days straight was exhausting. It was fun to have so many people come over, but I wanted Mom to call me in for dinner and say it was time to stop playing.

It was worth our time (money-wise, we made a respectable, not phenomenal, amount), except some would say staying up until 2 the night before and ignoring our kids for 2 days was a big price to pay (Actually, the kids did really well--next time they are stir-crazy, I will just put a blanket out on the lawn and dump a bunch of toys on it and tell them this is the last time they'll get to play with them. It worked great). It is a weird feeling, sitting there, feeling like, "Shouldn't I be DOING something? Oh yeah, I'm running my *store*. Phew. I can sit and enjoy the day, until I need to arrange the kids' clothes again." Truly it was weird though, to sit with DH and goof off all day. I eventually got the pears from MM's tree and started peeling them, which was tricky when it came time to receive money and get change from my pocket (after the cursory dollar or more off of each item was tallied). No takers on the nativity scene--where is your Christmas spirit, Newarkians? I thought that was a sure thang! I learned after accepting $2, $6, $3.75 from people that things can add up pretty quickly--and if I just spent less, I would make as much money as a yard sale pretty durn quick. Because, you know, each item was bought for like 1/4th to 1/20th of what we paid for it, depending on the miserliness of the buyer and the condition of the precious treasure he/she found on our lawn.

We borrowed tables from a certain unnamed compound, and they were suh-weet. Really, the whole thing was a thousand times better than the really pathetic one we had in the spring, on a day it was pouring down rain and we had our porch stuffed to the gills and clothes spread out on the living room floor. I didn't like strange people coming into our house all day, and told myself and my husband and anyone who would listen that I would never do that again. But we had to make one more attempt of course, this fall, before *really* getting rid of everything we didn't sell. Inviting them into our backyard was much more fun, and it only rained about an hour after the sale was over, giving us enough time to race everything left back into the garage before it truly started.

We *are* keeping a few items to try to sell other ways. Motorcycle helmet ($40), sit-n-stand double stroller ($75), Fujica camera (I dunno), victrola (too much for anyone who must only get functional items for their family), and now that I looked up those rollerblades, I'll try Craig's list or e-bay for those. Also have a new Bluetooth for $20. ANY TAKERS? I'll take a dollar off if you're extra nice.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sixty-Seventh Step - Field trip and P.E. Park Club

Wow, there is so much freedom as a homeschooling mom. Sometimes I'll have to rein it in a little! Yesterday we did a field trip to the zoo, and learned more about animals informally, but also talked about animals with backbones some more (there aren't too many without backbones there, actually--even snakes have them! Didn't realize this until I started taking Kindergarten again, for the 2nd time). :) Nana came and had a good time with the kids I think, even though I was kind of crabby. It didn't start raining until we were about 100 yards from the van (well, actually, it started while we were in the gift shop, but there was a brief reprieve). We saw lions, a tiger, and a bear. Oh my, traffic on the way home wasn't bad at all, even though we left at 5 and had to take 270!!

I can't wait until Clare can read the signs at the zoo (and, you know, books and stuff), and understand more of her science book. I think some of the concepts are a little too complex right now, but we'll keep on keeping on with what we can understand. I say "we," because I was looking at a couple experiments that show how flight, air pressure, lift, drag work, and I was like, "Um, I'm not sure I totally get this, and I don't think I can explain it to a 5-year-old!" Ah well. I'll probably only do the actual book a couple times a week, depending on how fast the coop is moving.

We had P.E. Park Club today, our first one, and I think it will be really neat! A great chance to see other kids, and other MOMS! Yeah! I am going to teach a soccer session in November--hopefully it will be nice enough to be outside. I am a bit leery of doing soccer inside a church sanctuary--something is bound to get broken! Especially with my massive soccer skills--I just can't control the power. Can't stop it.

It was WINDY though, and my face and ears are kind of raw. Did NOT bring winter hats--is it time to change out clothes again ALREADY?? Yikes-a-daisy. Oh my, where did I get that term? Did I pick it up from my husband, the Ahia boy? Anybody else say it? Please??

Come by our YARD SALE, this Friday and Saturday, 9a-4p. We have lots of goods! Discarded, unwanted, but really good goods!! (They didn't make the cut in our house, but maybe you have lower standards! Isn't that what a yard sale is, ultimately?) Just kidding. I mean, we have "different seasons," and "different tastes," and "babyproofing and this is impractical," and "we have absolutely no space for this after 3 kids and wow that was nice when we were newly married but now everything must be purely functional or it gets the boot" times in our lives. And this is one of them. Oh yes, 1500-square-foot house, this is one of them.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sixty-Sixth Step - Be an Auntie Again

Had a nice talk with my sister-in-law (the Utah one) yesterday--she is due any day now! She and my brother are excited to finally see "chickpea," and know that she is a girl but are waiting to share her name until afterward. Well, actually, they are waiting until they meet her to decide between 4 or 5 names. Michael said they might say each one and see if she responds, which I didn't have the heart to tell him that he's not gonna get a response from her for at least 2 or 3 weeks...and even then she might just have gas. But whatever works, if it helps them choose, then more power to them. Maybe she really will like the sound of one. I can't wait to hear her name for the first time! I only heard a really early list of names, and I'm sure it's changed a lot since then.

I gave Karin the labor pep talk ("Remember, they work for you"), and some of my special tips and mysterious secrets. Haha. I can't wait until I can be involved somehow in the birth world! Alas, this is not the season to be running off for 10 hours any time of the day or night. Sounds heavenly though, ha! I told Karin about my mantra (revelation) about the uterus and pain that really helped me with Charlie, which I won't go into here I suppose. They have a doula, so that is really good since they want to go for a natural birth.

We'll get to meet Chickpea in December, Lord willing and the creek don't rise. I can't wait! The kids only have one other cousin, so I'm excited for them to meet their new one. Too bad she will live so far away!

We went to Bluegrass, BBQ and Boom tonight at our arboretum, and it was a nice time. Abri introduced herself to everyone in the vicinity, and cruised around their legs. Ah, to be one again and have no inhibitions. I guess that won't happen again until I'm 90 or so. She sure was a friendly little thing. And then she had to be facing the other way with her head on Daddy's shoulder and his hand over her ear once the fireworks started. It was neat with the orchestra, but the music ended a little early and the finale was done during silence, which was different. And we didn't get a really good clap in for the orchestra. Ah well. I'm sure they are still crying!!

Well, have some things to get together downstairs. Still working on a sewing project for the new mommy, and "nesting" with my homeschool spaces, seeing what works. I got out THE LAMINATOR so I guess it's official now. I'm, like, a teacher of my children.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sixty-Fifth Step - Stop Homeschooling

Don't have a heart attack--I just mean stop for the weekend. :) It really did feel weird not having school today! Kind of a relief, but I was like, "Maybe we can just read a story or something?" What we did do is get Abri's 1-year pics at Sears. She did a great job smiling too! I was nervous that she wouldn't sit still long enough to get snapped, but I think we got some good ones. Then we played in THE JUNGLE with our friend the E-man. Abriana went up the big tree slide all by herself! Not down it, though, thankfully. She slid down on her belly backward (with me there) and said "eeee!" (wheee). We also went to the arcade and rode the carousel and won some sweet prizes. And MM caught a delicious bass.

KIDS SHOES were ON SALE at Sears for 0.99/pair! I was floored--I am *never* in the right place at the right time like that. So Clare's shoes for next summer are all set, and so are the baby's. :) Baby got some light-up princess tennies too, since used tennies aren't my favorite thing. Well, boys' used tennies mainly. Somehow little girls' feet smell better?? Anybody second that?!? Well, they are sugar and spice and everything nice...

I am pondering much about homeschool styles and philosophies. I can't wait until we discover our "learning style" and become those "lifestyle learners" that sound so neat. I can't wait to be able to say, "Well, what's worked for us is..." and I know that may change for different kids, but to at least have some idea. All I know is that after 3 days of concentrated "school" effort, Charlie can say, "C stands for in cat!" and "D stands for in dog!" with a big smile on his face. And Clare can say "C'est l'heure de s'habiller!" (it's time to get dressed). And the time together has been really neat. A friend was saying she does better with more structured time with her kids, and I think I am that way too. It is hard to be gentle and patient in the middle of chaos. And I realized this week, our space being neat, clutter-free and organized makes a big difference with being able to "do school" and focus. By Thursday some things had congregated in the living room with us, such as two tents and two sleeping bags and some upstairs/basement toys, and I felt like the walls were closing in on was a good learning experience. And I didn't scream like I was in a horror movie.

Anybody else not like both kids leaning on them at once? Even one sometimes is too much--it's hard enough to hold my own body up with my core the way it is!! "You're young and strong, children--sit up tall!" Cuddling can be nice, but I have to be in the mood. And have done t-tapp that morning so my core is sufficiently awake. T-tapp hasn't been done since I was sick a week ago, and my back is hurting! This is why the plan is to get up at 6, and get 'er done. Hear that? Up at 6, get 'er done.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sixty-Fourth Step - Start Homeschooling

Wow, we made it through our first day. I have been nervous leading up to this, which seemed silly, but it was a feeling I couldn't just shake by rationalizing it away. Like telling myself, "It's just kindergarten, just relax." Or "You can add things in along the way, or tweak things, or decide that doing Latin is too much..." (Yes, Latin hit a shelf on the "do later" bookshelf. I figured I shouldn't be teaching her weird Latin phonics until she gets English phonics).

Here's how the day went. All the girls slept until 8:30 or so (weird!). I had some breakfast in the office, but then finished it downstairs as I nursed baby because I couldn't wait to see everyone's reaction to the clean, picked-up, organized school spaces downstairs. It really looked pretty sweet. I had been sick for four days, of course unexpectedly, but it was right in the middle of several projects. Making a nursing cover for my sister-in-law, rearranging the downstairs, putting in bookshelves and Montessori-like reading spaces, deciding VHS tapes don't need to be in the living room when our VCR is broken, etc. It was torture to be DOWN for 4 days and looking at all this stuff to do! So last night I tackled it, since I am eating more solid foods again now and have a little energy.

After straightening (and, unfortunately, barking at DH to carry some things down to the basement, who was only trying to go to bed), until 12:30 a.m. (DH went to bed at 11--I'm not that cruel), projects had been finished and papers cleared and everything had a place in some cute basket or new bin. The *only* thing with clutter/papers on it (OK, and under it) was, sigh, my desk. We have a new, super cool, sleek desk with matching filing cabinet to match our new bookshelves though--think that will help??? Repeat after me, "I am a vertical filer, not a horizontal one, I am a vertical filer..." The desk isn't put together yet, but will be SOON. Because the other desk is going in the garage sale.

Anyway, Clarissa did say thank you for everything looking so nice downstairs for Sagar School. DH brought up the easel for me, so this was a source of excitement, since it hadn't been seen for a while because of babyproofing (so yes, baby has now eaten chalk, and turned her rice cake blue). I wrote a welcome sign on it, and we took everyone's picture by it, and baby was, of course, crying. Then after the kids had breakfast and got dressed, we attempted another picture. Baby was crying in that one too. She is getting some molars, although that's not the right word, probably bicuspids or something. And another tooth next to her front big teeth. But I hoped it wasn't a foreshadowing of our homeschooling days to come...

I did get a roast in the oven and cleaned the kitchen before we started, hoodledeedoo! We started out with a short Bible story, because at this point it was 10:30. Then I prayed for us, and we did the "100 days of school" chart I had printed out that morning (thanks for the idea, JS and MLL). Charlie was sad he didn't get to write a number, so I will have him do the tallymark one I just printed out now, since he doesn't know how to write numbers anyway, except 1, and 5 somewhat.

Then I was trying to read our Five-in-a-Row book, Storm in the Night. It's a good book, about a sweet relationship between grandfather and grandson, who are talking about being afraid during a thunderstorm. Baby is literally crying and kids are having a hard time hearing. I am holding her, not sure what she wants, and finally I took her into the kitchen and told her this behavior was unacceptable and we weren't going to be able to do school if she is acting this way. I think that was really effective (pshah--of course it wasn't the water and rice cake I got her), because we were able to get through the book and talk about it a bit (the "social studies" section of FIAR). The concepts were a bit abstract or open-ended, and I pretty much gave the answers after Clare said, "Um, I don't know what you mean." Ah well, no biggie.

I feel caught between the "narration" idea of Charlotte Mason, classical education's "don't ask them to analyze too much while in Grammar stage" and traditional school's "reflection" questions (which Five-in-a-Row seems to gravitate toward, but with more subjects and practical applications). I don't know, I'm new. We need to find a groove that works for us, because they got kind of tired of it. I think only one subject area at a time with FIAR is good for us, keeping it short. And maybe some narration where I write it down, and she can copy it later. But I'm not sure if they can narrate a whole picture book, or if it's just supposed to be a paragraph, or if that's only in a history living book, or what Charlotte Mason really means. Charlotte? Can you hear me??

Then we read some of Story of the World, after I helped the baby with something and Charlie went off to play with his helicopter. It doesn't seem like these lessons will be very long, both because my throat is sore from reading (need to keep a *huge* waterbottle with me!) and they can't really last more than 2 or 3 pages. We all had snack at the table and I read Apologia science at the table, and part of Bennie's Animals (a storybook about animal classification). I decided we should take a walk after snack and see the real world.

We did a very "homeschooling" thing on our walk--looked for animals with backbones. And by default, talked about animals without backbones too. We saw a dog, cat, and bird with backbones, and a butterfly without. Clearly not many animals out and about at noon on a 90-degree day. They were smarter than us!

When we got back, I started them on math workbooks and helped intermittently as I started lunch. Yelling out, "Does it have 6 squares? Then circle it!" from the kitchen worked pretty well. Charlie is good with numbers, makes me feel like we can click somehows (him not being a "word" person like me and Clare). At least until he gets to about 4th grade, if I'm lucky.

I love science though, I hope we can manage to make it not too boring. We'll see about this Apologia textbook business, since it is making things a bit dry for my taste. Science can be the most exciting subject ever!! I was thinking of ideas for the coop class I'm helping with; we'll see.

It gets a little fuzzy here...I did some playdough forms (cube/cylinder/cone etc.). I say etcetera because I do not know the term for the rectangular one. And I say "one" because I do not remember what the 3D term is for all those. So maybe I won't make it to 4th grade math after all. Then we tried some dominoes, but they were kind of fried at that point and just playing with them. Baby was getting into playdough and dominoes, so I left them with it all and put the baby down while the noodles were boiling. Very risky if she took a while to get to sleep, which she didn't, thankfully.

During lunch we read the Health, Safety and Manners workbook, and I measured them (one of the activities). Clare had grown 3 inches in a year, and Charlie grew 3.5! Charlie grew an inch in the past 5 months, actually. She's 45 and he's 40 inches. I thought they were closer in height now, but they are growing pretty much the same rate, obviously. The more they grow, the more Disney rides they can go on! (I don't really know if they measure there or not, actually, seems kind of anti-dreams-come-true).

OK, after cleaning up lunch we read a page in this cute French book from interlibrary loan Play and Learn French (CD included). I am very impressed with my French accent after all these years, but even more impressed with Clare's new one! I videotaped a bit of it because it is so cute. She would get mixed up sometimes and go "je ve de le muh muh muh" or something that sounded very French but not right and it was so funny.

Last thing, finally: Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, aka phonics. We recorded this vowel rhyme on tape, and will continue to record I think because it's nice to have and also for her to listen to. The other thing I want to do is a video log of the poems she has memorized (maybe once a month or less). I'll probably record on tape more consistently too, for the cute and listening factor. I need to order that poetry memorization book (Linguistic Development and Poetry Memorization) from Amazon today. So we also don't have our calendar/weather chart etc. But we had plenty to do--with the walk and lunch and snacks in there, we weren't done until 3!

They both just fell into bed afterward and so did I. Baby slept another hour, thankfully. And is happily spreading her rice cake crumbs all over the office, now called "the playroom." We're having a garage sale this weekend, so need to see about an ad for that. Ordered protein powder, and about to do the Amazon order. Keeping up with regular life will be the hard part! Like the roast in the oven...

So far, I think spending more time together will be awesome. I think when the kids are happy, I tend to "leave them be" too long. So this will really create good time together pretty naturally. I can't imagine sending her to a stranger for 4 hours a day! I'm very thankful to be able to do this!! But wow, it took a lot of energy and brainpower for this tired mama. :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sixty-Third Step - Packing for Albuquerque

I have a lot of lists and things in my head, but no suitcase has an ounce of clothing in it. Little piles are sprouting. A little excitement is growing. But I have not traveled yet since detox, at least a *real trip*. So I am bringing a lot of food with me. I entered a contest to win a cooler (the resort box cooler, Amy!) but I don't think it will be here in time for my trip. :) You know, because I'm destined to win!!

There has been so much going on here, mostly in terms of funny quotes by my kids. Their new names are Ducky, Birdy and Chickie, by the way. Oh, and Charlie also goes by Noxy the Foxy. Daddy is Turkey, which is true. I'm Goosy. Does that mean I'm loosy!?

-Chicky (Abri) is still scooting on her belly, but she has "crawled" a couple times without really realizing it. She is pulling up on everything and giving me lots of heart attacks. Her feet either slip out from under her and she lands on her behind then head, or her feet are too far out so she will hit her face, or today she was clinging to Ducky's bed and then fell back and hit Charlie's bed and then the wood floor. I think I need a baby helmet. She will be the first child I put a leash on, probably.
-Birdy (Charlie) has already grown out of some underwear. Ducky's little buns can still fit into her originals, but I upgraded her anyway.
-Ducky is almost done with Thursday school. Yes, folks, she "graduates" tomorrow night. She is such a good little singer; I know she will steal our hearts again for the first time. I am still debating about Birdy's participation in it next year--right now it's looking like "no" so that I can have 3 straight days at home for my new job as a homeschool teacher. Now the house will really be in trouble!!

OK, better get back to work. I have a lot to do still. I have a lot. To do. Still.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sixty-Second Step - nursing schmursing

Ah, spring is springing and I'm beginning to remember a phenomenon that is never pleasant. Nursing a baby in the summer. Imagine sweating from various pores you don't want others to notice, then uncovering said pores and smashing a hot baby up against you for 20 minutes or so. In addition to the smushed, sweaty side of the baby's face, your elbow pit is sweating, your chest, your belly, etc. etc. Your body just never recovers. It starts a sweat chain, and you cannot cool off. You are hot until you get to the shower the next morning, because every 3 hours or so you get a reminder about why you are so hot, and the cycle starts again. Add any cooking, cleaning, picking up toys, playing outside to the mix, and it is a hopeless case. The Pioneer Woman put it well when she said, "It’s just that the emotions of breastfeeding run so, so deep. It can be simultaneously wonderful and suffocating. Beautiful and challenging. Miraculous and stifling." And I would add cozy and claustrophic to that list. Nursing in the summer. Not my friend.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sixty-First Step - Update

(Lookie lookie, the next day was better...)


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sixtieth Step - Living in the Argh

OK, one thing I have learned from counseling is that I tend to disassociate when I am anxious. What this means to YOU is that if I am stressed or overstimulated I might get a glazed look in my eye and not be able to follow what you are saying, even as I am pathetically trying to. What this means to ME is just another confirmation that I am socially awkward, ha! Just as my shyness could be interpreted as snobbiness, let's just say this form of craziness can be interpreted as standoffishness at worst, or spaciness at best. What does disassociation look like?

OK, today. Today I am checking out. Avoiding my kids. Not feeling like I'm in my body, because I don't want to be in my life today. House is in its usual state of "everwhere you look, there's something to do." Belly is still big and hanging there. Baby is having trouble sleeping today, even though she slept over 3 years yesterday for Aunt FrieDee. Humph. And children's puzzles, games, antics (like fighting with hangers pretending they are in Peter Pan) are not very amusing to me today. Today I am giving grumpy answers. Today I am reading too many blogs as I catch up from not reading any at all. Today I am tired of my education going to waste. Today I want to sew, write, read, ride my bike, play piano--BY MYSELF. Today I am avoiding even THINKING about what to cook for dinner because we are out of meat again. OK, any meat that I want to cook anyway. I'm not cooking a whole turkey today, even though there is one in my freezer!! Well, and it wouldn't be done today either.

My mom used to sing the song:
"Today while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I'll taste your strawberries; I'll drink your sweet wine
And a million tomorrows will all pass away
'Ere I forget the joy that is mine today"

Tomorrow I might look at these feelings and think, "Those were just feelings. Today is different." But I admit, I do want joy TODAY. And if joy is a fruit of the spirit, is there enough time for it to grow today? It's already 4 pm.

I think we moms do this blogging because we want to make sense out of life, put some more meaning into the mundane things we do everyday. Or find the meaning in them, anyway. I think CHECKING IN here right now is helping to bring me back from CHECKING OUT--feel your feet, Bekah. Is there a life-or-death crisis going on right now? I am learning my ramped-up nervous system is often in fight-or-flight response. Anxiety is almost never real. Am I dangling off a cliff by my toenails? No. Am I, or any family members, in immediate danger of death, that I know of? No, but it's kind of quiet down there. Is the baby still blabbing and fussing instead of sleeping? Yes. Will it kill me? It feels like it, but no. It feels like things are really bad, but they are OK. It feels like when I was alone growing up, but it is not the same. Feels the same, not the same. I have my own family now.

So let's not tell lies today. Let's tell ourselves that it will be OK. That it, in fact, is OK. Maybe tomorrow it will feel like it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fifty-Ninth Step - Don't talk

You know when you open your mouth because you want someone to feel listened to, heard, understood, but then it just comes out as a pile of words spewing forth? And words pile up between you, and you want to stop but they just keep piling up and making it worse? You can hear yourself and it's not quite right, not really what you want to be saying, but you can't take it back and you feel like you can't "talk out of it." You are nervously jabbering and can't shut up and don't know why.

And the real issue is you wanted that person to know that they are not crazy, that their feelings are worthwhile, that they are not alone, that it is okay to feel this way. Really you're just wanting them to feel like they're OK, and understood. You want to be able to relate, because it feels like the only way to really be with them. But you have made it about you. Your "trying to relate," so they feel okay, has made it about you. And your experience is not the same, and even though you weren't meaning to make it the same, it seems that way.

Really you want them to know what they are feeling is okay. You want to be there for them, but aren't sure how. You want to not be worried about doing the wrong thing but be able to just be, and let the other person just be, and be with the other person. But you are not making it that simple. You want to say, "I see you" (yes, avatar reference) and "I hear you," but instead you end up saying too much and looking at yourself and your experience instead of just hearing theirs. You're sad at your friendship ineptitude, and at any hurt you've caused. Now if I replace all the "you's" with "I's," then I will be being honest.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fifty-Eighth Step

About sugar detox, from Haha, I have had all of these symptoms, which would be interesting if I wasn't getting a little tired of it:

"Many people choose to detox from sugar in order to achieve optimal good health. Refined sugars cause the body to become sluggish and unhealthy when eaten in generous quantities. Obesity is often caused by sugars. Many food items contain sugar or starches that turn to sugars once eaten. These foods aren't often considered sweets or desserts, yet they have a high sugar content just the same. It is often these foods in particular that are most missed when detoxing from sugar.


One of the more common symptoms of sugar detox is headaches. As the body discards these toxins and moves them toward elimination, it also feels a letdown of sorts, which results in a headache. From mild to severe, the headache pain varies from person to person. Keep the body hydrated when detoxing to help eliminate the toxins faster and alleviating the headache pain as well. If the headaches occur for more than three straight days, a call to your doctor is advised.


Lethargy is another sugar detox symptom. This symptom typically occurs in the day or days following the headache phase. Since sugar can act as a stimulant, it will react to a decrease of that stimulant with a slower heart rate. This will register in the mind and body as a lack of energy. This phase can last up to 10 days.


A body that is detoxing from sugar may incur the symptom of skin rashes. Much in the way that the heart rate reacts by slowing down once the toxin level has decreased, so does the skin react similarly. When the amount of sugar in the system has decreased significantly, it is actually throwing out poisons, some of which are eliminated through skin cells. After this happens, the skin starts to "come alive" and become an active part of the detox process. This discarding of toxins in conjunction with the new skin activity may cause itching or a rash. These symptoms usually last only a few days. Once again, hydration is imperative.


People who don't typically suffer from colds may find they get one when detoxing from sugar. This is one of the body's natural ways of eliminating some of the last of the toxins in your body. While the cold may temporarily be a detriment, it will ultimately aid in the return to optimal health.


While these sugar detox symptoms aren't particularly pleasant, they are small sacrifices to make in light of the bigger picture. Once the toxins have left the body, the sluggish feeling will give way to new energy. The skin will become healthy and more radiant, and the mind will be clearer and far more able to function."

In case anyone is still reading and wants to keep hearing my detox rantings, I've experienced all of the following too (except boils), from (not a site I'd particularly recommend). It's crazy to me how much sugar had been "involved" in my system, shown by the severity of detoxing from it--why do I feel like I have the flu? It's "just sugar." The insomnia has been particularly annoying, like my brain is itching. The baby had a skin rash too, and now has diaper rash. Clarissa was nice enough to inform me about the bad breath:

"Detox symptoms can include skin rashes or eruptions, headaches, bad breath (sometimes, very bad breath!), unusual body odors, dizziness, nausea, feelings of fatigue or even slight depression, gas, diarrhea, colds, ear infection, insomnia, boils, itching, etc. You can experience temporary periods of confusion, and lack of appetite. You may be very thirsty at times. Why is this a good thing? Well, assuming the detox doesn't happen faster than the overall system can handle it, the symptoms indicate that the immune system is working properly, that toxins are being eliminated and that the body is working toward balance again. Usually, a healing crisis should last no more than three days."

A last note--I'll say it again, don't try this at home, folks. You really can't do it alone--you need support, a well-thought out plan and some healing under your belt before you attempt a detox. Studies show it can be harder to get off sugar than cocaine (but I personally have no way to compare). And I'm not just talking about white sugar or high fructose corn syrup, but bread, fruit juice, dried fruit, tortillas, baked goods, honey, etc. It all gets broken down into the same thing: sugar. Some people can handle it in moderation, but I am sugar sensitive (check out the Radiant Recovery website) and my brain gets a hit similar to morphine or heroin. Even a little sugar makes me want more more more, so just trying to limit it hasn't worked for me in the past. Much like an alcoholic can't have " just one drink." It has taken me a while to accept that this is just the way my body is, unless God supernaturally heals me. For now He is healing me through what my Radiant Recovery friends call "doing the food." :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fifty-Seventh Step

Drum roll...After two years of adding in good, good foods and a steady diet of them, I am finally detoxing from sugar. If you are out there reading this and think, "I want to stop sugar," don't do it. Read Potatoes not Prozac or The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program by Kathleen DesMaisons. Go to and start with breakfast. Believe me, if you try to go cold turkey, you will be miserable and just end up bingeing in a couple weeks. So give yourself the gift of a tried-and-true program that takes into account all aspects of what's going on in your brain and body each time you turn to sugar. And definitely ask me more about it!

I've already seen some progress after doing the first 5 steps of the program leading up to detox, but taking sugars out and the subsequent six months is where the most visible healing takes place. Goals of all this do not involve a masochistic restriction mentality, but a desire for real, natural, long-term healing without the side effects of medication. Here are some of my goals:

1. getting out of the pit of low-grade depression
2. having more energy for life
3. enjoying life free from addiction
4. not basing my days and social times on how I will get my sugar fix
5. reducing chronic body pain, inflammation, fatigue
6. eventually losing some weight so I can look and feel healthier
7. more patience with my family and more stable mood
8. winning battles with yeast overgrowth, hormone imbalances, and insulin resistance
9. not having anything be my master except Jesus Christ.

I really thank God for leading me to this program and giving me the faith to keep going even when it was hard to believe I was getting anywhere. This week has been hard, since my companions have been headaches, body aches, tummy aches, and today, joint aches (wild--feels like I have arthritis and hurts to go up and down the stairs. Has really given me new empathy for people suffering from joint pain--I'm used to fibromyalgia muscle pain). Plus the almost-six-month old sweetie has had a hard time the past few days, but she'll thank me later for how great she feels. : )

Please pray, y'all, because it takes a lot of praying and depending on Jesus to change 20 years of abusing my body with pounds and pounds of sugar and non-foods. But it's going well, and is not like any other time I've stopped "using." I am not panicking, not really craving, not being dramatic and pouty with my family. This weekend I did have to escape and go nurse the baby when the rest of the family had cake at Grandma and Grandpa's, for mine and 2 other birthdays, this weekend (It was even gluten-free, but at least that way my kids could eat it). Honestly, I've tried to get myself to be mad and stomp out of the room when my family is picking out Halloween treats after dinner, but I really am OK. I feel calm. I do not want what it does to me.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Fifty-Sixth Step

I had been feeling the "winter blues," and I don't mean seasonal depression (although I tend to deal with that, but that's what my lightbox is for!). I mean the WHY AREN'T YOU DOING ANY WINTRY FUN THINGS WITH YOUR KIDS, YOU LAZY MEAN MOMMA! blues. There are some lies embedded in that statement, but that's the way it first rings when I hear it. I mean, we didn't even make CHRISTMAS cookies, and we definitely have not built a snowman yet. So today I made at least 4 trips up and down stairs between the basement and 2nd floor to find socks for feet (and hands in Charlie's case since his mittens are missing, the little kitten), hats, snowpants, jackets with velcro apparatuses on them, and those little-worn things called scarves. Which both decided they really wanted to pull down OFF their faces, so both got red freezer burn on their cheekies. I will NEVER get their Christmas pictures done.

I bravely decided to send them out while nursing the baby in the kitchen who had gotten really crabby due to boycotting her morning nap. Never fear, I could see them very well, yellow/black and pink/green against the snow. I did get their initial reactions on the camera video (my only video of choice these days), since before now they had been practically forbidden to walk in or touch the stuff in our mad rushes between the house and the van. "No, we don't have time to wonder as we wander! You must resist the magnetic pull of magical, glittery, freshly fallen snow!!" Well, not today--today I was the epitome of setting them free, watching from the kitchen as they ran around with DELIGHT. Schnookie would say it, "We did go in the SNOW and we did play in the SNOW! Heh heh. And we did have FUN in the SNOW!" Honey promptly plopped down for a snow angel. Schnookie crawled like an army guy, and even got out his tricycle, which he "rides" like someone waddling with a load in his pants. But not today, precious, not today. Today the pants have been unloaded. That didn't come out right. This post is getting more and more weighty. Hahahaha, some potty humor for you. OH, and to top off my wintry fun image, I did NOT forget the cocoa, for mommy either (since I did venture out to take some pics).

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fifty-Fifth Step

It's UPDATE CITY time. Here's some random ones:

1. Yard sale - We passed the $400 mark! Woo hoo! (is it tacky to share yard sale profits?)
2. Radiant Recovery - I'm still working on step 3 out of 7 to heal my sugar addiction and depression. This has been awesome: .
3. Still enjoying helping people with pregnancy, women's health and fertility issues. Two great books are Naturally Healthy Woman by Shonda Parker and Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition by Marilyn M. Shannon.
4. Overjoyed that a good friend with one little exuberant boy angel is having a sweet little girl angel this April.
5. Survived two birthdays in December, plus this little-known holiday where we try to do a simple celebration of a little baby named Jesus but it turns into a big hullabaloo and it's still good but afterward you look around and think "What happened?".
6. The two birthdays mean that I now have a THREE-year-old boy (who's almost pottytrained except for a very unfortunate accident today that resulted in much mess on mommy's hands and a bath) and a FIVE-year-old girl (who's not napping at the moment and I really really want her to be). It'll be super freaky when she turns 6--that is like a PRETWEEN. Hahaha.
7. I have decided to call my kids those cute little nicknames blogger moms use. I will now refer to my three kids as Tweedle, Deedle, and Dum. Isn't that just precious? Just kidding. For real, I'll use "Honeygirl," "Schnookieboy," and "Sweetieheart." If I were to spell the last one phonetically (which refers to my 5-MONTH-OLD baby--she'll be a year before we know it!) I would write "Sveetieheart," but Schnookieboy is enough of a stretch for people already. I'll probably shorten them to Honey (the girl with the honey-colored hair), Schnookie and Sweetie, just so you know. They are in reverse chronological order too, another hint for those who know my little chonkers.
8. I'll practice, because I know I'll revert back to real names at times. "Sweetie" is rolling over like a champ, both ways, turning in a circle with her head as the compass point with all her rollings, and scooting some too. She can't quite get her knees up, but is trying. I think she'll be the earliest crawler yet. Watch out, unfinished projects stuffed under the desk!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Fifty-Fourth Step

OK, top 3 things I'm battling right now and the antidotes:
1. yeast overgrowth = grapefruit seed extract, whole garlic clove, and plenty of probiotics. A big clue with this for me is major, major sugar cravings, and then some weird happenings after eating sugar. Creepy crawlies, other goings-on not for the blogosphere.
2. sleep deprivation = submitting to God about my bedtime for the first time EVER. Been battling this for 2+ years (knowing the good I should do, get to bed before 10, and not doing it, as in getting to bed at 1 for the past week). Who do I think I'm impressing by rebelling in this manner??
3. body pain = massage today. Tried hyaluronic acid for this but it made me and the baby sleepless, malic acid/magnesium seems to make a tiny bit better but EXERCISE, BABY, there's the key. Got the trampoline out, and BIG NEWS: Mom Sagar is letting us borrow her treadmill INDEFINITELY. I am sky high about this, like to the moon, Alice. We will have a fly time with our rebounding and walking going on. The sprained ankle has prevented me from doing my Bikram yoga video (which happens to be for pregnancy but fits my skill level any 'ol time) or from vigorous running (which happens to be um, physically impossible for me at this stage of the game). The ipod my sweet elf got me lifts my intentions and heightens my experience while doing said exercise. Well, we still need to pick up said treadmill for said exercise in said white truck covered in said snow. You know the one.
4. (a little extra info for ya) mood swings = placenta pills. Just kidding, I'm not really having mood swings too much, but I did take placenta pills after having Abri. Just wanted to shock and awe you, since you are brave enough to be reading this far.
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