Monday, December 11, 2006


According to my disability insurance company's website, my claim is now "being paid" instead of in "initial review". So, I am officially disabled. I assume that the letter with all the info about the claim being paid will come within the next couple of days, but the website is pretty clear about what "being paid" means. Until now, I have been receiving benefits, but there has been this underlying fear that they would deny my claim and that we would have to do some serious re-evaluation of our family's life.

But, I'm not quite sure how I like the label of "disabled". I clearly can't work as a physician right now, but I have some underlying discomfort with being "disabled". In medical school, we all worked unless we were half-dead. It's hard to get past that expectation. I have a lovely migraine starting right now, so I think I'll go get my meds and go to bed.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Headache woes

I thought my new meds were helping, but I've had a headache for about a week - not real bad, but disruptive to life. It wasn't a migraine until yesterday, and it was pretty mild until today. I'm feeling better, but not headache-free yet.

The kids are sick with colds, too. The combination of mom with a migraine and sick kids makes for little "school" work getting done. Today we watched "Survivorman" on The Science Channel. Our current science book is about survival skills, so watching a guy who is staying for 7 days in the Central American jungle seemed to fit right in! This afternoon we watched "India: Kingdom of the Tiger". It was more about tigers than India, but still fit nicely in the India unit that we're doing. I'm having to reschedule all of the kids' table work, though. They have very little concentration when they're sick.

Last night, L's cat jumped off her bed and broke a decorative stand. L was very upset. I agreed that I would help her clean her room, but no one's been up to it today. We haven't really cleaned and organized the kids' rooms since we moved into this house. Maybe this weekend.

Christmas is a tough time of year this year. The kids and I miss our old house - there's not enough room in this house for all the Christmas decorations. I've given a few to Goodwill and the rest I will rotate by year. I've also made a point of not committing to anything. C and I are supposed to go to a homeschool Christmas party tomorrow am, but I think we may skip it. I would like to have a day without a headache before I go to a party! There are some things that I won't miss, though. One of them is the jazz singer who will be performing at our church next weekend. I'll miss a lot of things, but her concert last year was amazing and I don't want to miss it this year!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

November 29

I haven't blogged in 3 weeks because I couldn't figure out how to sign in again. It turns out that I was supposed to be signing in with Blogger Beta and using my Google password - Eek!

Anyway, life around here is going pretty well. L and C both have colds so we are doing a movie day today. We are watching a movie about Buddha and one about India. India seems to be taking a long time, but I think it is just because we had an interruption for Thanksgiving. The kids seem to be doing OK with the same history/geography curriculum. I'm not as frazzled, at least.

I had my IME (independent medical exam) last week. It seemed to go OK. He seemed to agree that my disability claim is legitimate. That was nice because I was starting to feel like the insurance people think I'm lying. I would have preferred if he had suggested a treatment that might take away the headaches, but he just said that my current treatment seems reasonable.

I had a migraine on Thanksgiving morning - Yuck! P went to the store to get paper plates, cups, etc. and put in the turkey. I felt better enough by noon to make the gravy and veggies. Another family came to celebrate with us and we ended up having lots of fun.

We did Christmas decorations on Friday. The kids were adamant about getting the decorating done! The house does look nice, although it is pretty messy. The Christmas stuff is pretty, but takes up lots of space. I've also had to keep some stuff in boxes because this house is smaller than our previous. We're excited about Christmas, nonetheless!

Friday, November 10, 2006

The first snow!

It snowed today - and not just flurries! We have about 3 inches on the ground, but we are afraid that it won't last. The high temps in the next several days are supposed to be in the 40s. Well, the kids went outside today and played while it was snowing.

Our week in school did not go as smoothly as I would have liked. I have been letting the kids sleep till whenever they wanted and we started school around 10am or so. The problem is that we were having to do schoolwork until 4 or 5 in the afternoon, but the kids wanted to be done around 2. Well, I decided that we are going to do most of our school in the morning, so they will have to get up and moving more quickly than they would like. Besides, we have so many afternoon activities that interrupt our day that it doesn't make sense to count on having all afternoon. And, no one likes schooling till 8 at night.

Otherwise, I have been very happy with just doing Core 5 and not trying to get C's science and history reading in. We didn't do as much work on C's reading curriculum as I would like, but he is doing some reading on his own. He actually asked his dad if he (C) could read dad a book. He read Curious George without too much help! Mostly, we're thrilled that C wants to read. He used to just find it drudgery, but he is much happier with it now.

I am starting L with her new writing program on Monday. Pray for us. She does not like to write, although she is quite good when she finally gets around to it. But, her writing is that of a middle schooler, so she still has to do writing in school. She hasn't produced Pulitzer Prize winning material quite yet!!

I am knitting myself a sweater right now. It is a tunic-style and the yarn is such a nice, soft yarn that the sweater is going to be beautiful. I'm also working on some Christmas presents for some friends and family.

The Weight Watchers thing has been going fair. I didn't lose anything this week. I get very frustrated with being hungry. But, entering the foods in the computer has helped me quite a bit. I've been trying to walk on the treadmill frequently, but my knee has been giving me trouble. I've been working on some exercises for it, trying to stave off physical therapy, but I'm not sure it'll work. I'm giving it another week before I call my doctor again.

My teenage girls' group has been going really well. We're starting to form some bonds and get to know each other. They are a great group of girls.

Well, it's time to get Patrick to read to the kids. We're working on Around the World in 80 Days. We have all enjoyed it a lot, although it is definitely building the kids' vocabularies! More later.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


The only word to describe this week is overwhelming. We use Sonlight curriculum and I have been trying to do Core 5 with L and Core 2 with C. In addition, I'm using an intensive phonics program with C, and he has once a week lessons with a learning specialist. So, I've been really frustrated in trying to get everything done this week, especially with a migraine on Wednesday. L has been giving me trouble about writing. So far, she has mostly been writing paragraphs, but it's time for her to start writing essays and research papers. Unfortunately, she is adamant that she does not need to use outlines. The last time she told me this, I told her that when she is a Nobel Laureate she can tell me that she doesn't need outlines. In the meantime, she has to learn how to outline and write papers. The good news is that Apologia now has a writing program for middle schoolers. It looks great - very non-threatening. L is already upset about it because it talks about learning to do outlines in the first chapter. Well, this may require much prayer, but I'm optimistic it will work.

I have decided on a total redo of our curriculum for the next 12 weeks (that's when we finish the Core(s)). I am going to have both kids doing Core 5. We will do the Eastern Hemisphere Explorer together (all three of us), which should be good because L really doesn't like doing it (it's answering lots of questions and doing activities about the countries that she's reading about). In addition, I'll be reading aloud everything, including science, except the readers. I'm also going to have L doing some of the reading aloud. That may allow us to work while I'm doing laundry, etc. In any case, I hope that this will lower some of the stress about school. L and C will still have their math curriculum to do on their own. C will continue his phonics and learning to read. L will continue her grammar, punctuation, spelling, as well as starting her writing program.

When we finish this Core, I am going to have them both do Core 6. I will, though, add in a good bit of stuff from Core 1 for C. Several moms on the Sonlight forums have done this successfully.

Our small group (from our church) is going through the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University. We started another course on money management a couple of weeks ago because our church has been working through the material. But, we found the DVDs to be very sleep inducing! So, we decided to do Dave Ramsey instead. The other couple in our group (yes, a very small group!) hasn't done either of these programs before, and they really like the Dave Ramsey stuff so far. It is far more entertaining than the other program!

C is doing very well in learning to read. He enjoys his supplemental reading help now that she told him that he gets points for doing a good job. At his last lesson, he was very focused for almost 45 minutes. The teacher also recommended that I have him do some reading that is above his reading level. I gave him "The Fire Cat" to read this week and couldn't get him to put it down. He only needs help with about 5% of the words. He still doesn't always try to sound them out, but it is improving.

Well, it's late on a Saturday night. I'm going to work a little more on getting the kids' lessons in the computer and then go to bed!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Trick or Treat

Almost 4pm. My kids are still out trick or treating - they started at 2pm. They went with a big group of our friends, so I'm not worried about them. It's actually kind of nice to have a quiet house. P and I handed out candy until about 30 minutes ago when we ran out of candy! I bought 4 huge bags from Sams, but we still used up all of it.

L decided to be Link from the Zelda games this year. She and I worked together (well, except for the hems - I did those myself) to make the tunic out of a lovely royal blue satin material. P crocheted her a royal blue cap to match and she also wore brown yoga pants and a brown belt. C was Ash from the Pokemon shows. He wore a white T-shirt, jeans, a blue vest, and a red baseball cap. Of course, this morning he told me that he needed his jeans patched because they have a hole (never an issue before) and because Ash has a patch in his jeans. So, I sewed on a patch before trick or treat hours. The red cap that he was supposed to wear was nowhere to be found, so P ran to Fleet Farm to pick one up.

It's very different living in town compared to living in the small suburb where we previously lived. We had lots of kids come by. We were handing out candy from 2-3:30 almost non-stop.

One of the couples that came by

OK. Something totally cool just happened (well, about an hour ago, but since I wrote the last paragraph). A kid knocked on the door and rang the doorbell three times. I went to the door and told him we were out of candy. He came back about a minute later, and, when I opened the door this time, he was there with his mom, whom I know from church and from working at the hospital (she's a nurse). She had an ice chest with her and told her that she was here to bless me. She had been praying and God told her to bring us some meat. They have a farm and have beef cattle and pigs. She had a roast, some bacon, some ground beef, and a ham!! We put it down in our freezer (except one of the packages of ground beef). I hadn't been praying specifically for meat, but I was planning our next trip to Sams, and this will definitely cut down our bill there! Isn't that great?!

Anyway, since then the kids have come home with their entire group (kids, teenagers, and adults). A couple of them came in to see the house, so we were busy with them. P has Revolution, a youth bible study group in about 45 minutes, so I'd better get some food going. My group isn't meeting tonight, so I'm free to clean house, pay bills, and set up school schedules. So, time to work!

Monday, October 23, 2006

October 23

It has been a long time since I posted anything. I had the window open twice to blog, but I ended up not starting because I had other stuff to do.

We continue to work with C on his reading. He has not had any problems that we can tell with being told he is dyslexic. He was pretty excited when he found out how many famous people were probably dyslexic. We went to a learning specialist who is going to work with him weekly for a while. She's also going to help me learn how to teach C to read. C has also decided to take dance class next semester since I read that dance helps dyslexic kids with their reading.

I have been undergoing several medication changes to help with my headaches. I had a whopping migraine today, but it is the first one in 6 days. I did have a bad headache 4 days ago, but it wasn't a migraine (no nausea, myalgias, etc.). The medication changes have been giving me more swelling than usual in my legs (I already had some edema from my Verapamil). I have also had terrible weight gain in the last several weeks. I know that part of it is from an increased appetite.

In any case, I signed up for Weight Watchers Online. I am on the Flex plan, where I monitor what I eat and work on controlling "points". I'm still supposed to get 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily - EEK! I'm not a veggie eater (or a fruit eater, for that matter). I guess I'm going to have to make some changes. I'm also supposed to drink 6 glasses of water daily - that is really going to cut into my Diet Pepsi intake. My doctor will be happy; she only wants me to have 2 Diet Pepsis a day. I'm only on my second full day of Weight Watchers. In 3 days, I gained a pound. I hope things improve!!

L and I are sewing her Halloween costume this year. I'm not a great seamstress in the first place, and working with an 11 year old isn't easy. The good news is that the pattern is super-easy. We got a lot done on Saturday, but didn't get to work much yesterday. Today is her dance class, so we didn't do anything (besides, I have a migraine).

I know there's more going on, but I'm really wiped out from the headache and can't think of anything else. I'll write more later.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Well, it's official: C has dyslexia. We aren't at all surprised. P and I have been working with him for the last 3 years on his reading, and he just hasn't caught on. The psychologist who did the testing said that he was "a delight" to work with and said that he worked hard during the testing. He has an above average IQ overall, but his reading scores were more than 2 standard deviations below his IQ.

So, what now? P and I are trying to educate ourselves as much as possible about dyslexia. The psychologist also said he may end up being diagnosed with a writing disorder sometime in the future. It's too early to tell right now. She also recommended that we continue our current reading curriculum (since we're actually seeing some progress), but also recommended that we look into supplementing it with something through the school district or privately. There is a private group of teachers who opened up a center to help kids with LD, but it is in the city (30 minutes away). I am probably going to call them about getting a consultation and see what they would recommend we do at home. The school district is a possibility, especially since we live just a couple of blocks from the school. My concern there is that some of the teachers (even LD teachers) are not up on the latest research. I really don't want to invest several hours a week on something that isn't useful.

Things otherwise are OK. I was going to blog Monday night, but Blogger wouldn't let me on - it said I needed to sign in, but my password wouldn't work. I was about to email them to get them to send me the right password or give me another one, but then it let me in today. I don't know what's up.

My headaches are pretty status quo. I think the intensity is down some, but the migraines are still quite frequent. The daily headaches seemed to really improve with my current meds, but they have now come back. I'm able to manage since I'm not working. I had a migraine today, so we really cut back on the schoolwork and housework. Of course, we have to make it up eventually. The dishes are finally washed, but the laundry just didn't get done tonight. I have a teenage friend who comes over to clean every week (courtesy of P's mom!), so I need her to get in here tomorrow or Friday.

It's supposed to be cold, rainy, and snowy tomorrow. I want to go to a medical lecture in the morning, but I'm not sure if I'm going to be brave enough to venture out!

Sophie (our youngest cat) has taken to crying outside of L's bedroom door at night. She wants to sleep in the room with L, but L doesn't want her to. L wants to keep her bedroom door closed all night, but if Sophie's in there, she wants to be let out in the wee hours of the morning and wakes L up. Right now, she makes it hard for L to sleep because she cries outside the door. I've already brought her downstairs once tonight. I hope she takes the hint - but she's a cat, so the odds are not good.

Well, I'm pretty wiped out. I'm going to sit and watch MASH and knit. It's a great combination!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Monday - again

I didn't think that days of the week would matter so much now that I'm not working, but it turns out that the day of the week is probably even more important now. When I was working, I learned to make myself feel that I was never "off work" unless I was out of town or signed out for a special occasion. That way, it was never a big deal (theoretically) if I was called to deliver a baby at night or on the weekend. And, I was on call during the weekend about every 6th week.

But now, I look forward to weekends more than I used to. Days with full homeschool schedules are very taxing. Not only is there the physical stuff about trying to keep the laundry moving and the kitchen clean, but there is the emotional work of trying to keep the kids on task and helping when they run in to trouble.

Mondays are especially difficult. I worry about my kids' intellect sometimes when they get up on Monday morning and act like they have nothing to do in life but play video games. They seem truly suprised when I tell them to eat breakfast and do their chores so we can do school. It's like the first day of school after a long vacation and they are perplexed by the whole concept. But, we eventually get moving, and they do their chores without too much trouble, and we eventually start school.

L has dance classes on Monday evenings, too. I love to take her because I love to watch the dance classes. By the time we get home Monday night, though, we're both pretty beat. P takes C to AWANA on Monday nights and then P finds an empty room at church to do his reading for Tuesday. He spends the entire day Tuesday and Thursday at school (college). He spends a good bit of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the middle school or high school, observing the math teachers.

The good news is that Tuesday is a pretty quiet day for us. I hope I can go grocery shopping. I had a migraine today, but it was pretty mild (I think it's my new meds working!). Hopefully, all will go well tomorrow and I can get groceries purchased and, perhaps, some laundry done.

I introduced a new concept into our school today - grades. We had always shied away from doing that until high school because we feel like we can evaluate our kids by our daily interactions with them. Grades are not very helpful for the teacher in homeschooling, to my mind. But, L has been doing her work so quickly (so she can play or go to the library) that she has not been very careful, so I want to impress upon her the importance of doing work well instead of doing it quickly (or doing both, if possible). I was worried that the concept of grades would be very distressing to her, but she took to it pretty quickly. She was also happy because the first several items that I graded were done very well, so she got A's. C has been asking me to grade his work, as well. He doesn't do much written work except math, but I was happy to grade his math. (He does writing in his new reading program, but I don't grade it.) I'm not sure how things are going to be tomorrow, though. L's math was not up to her usual work. Not only did I not give her good grades, but I'm making her go back and redo the ones she missed. I'm afraid there may be "wailing and gnashing of teeth" around here tomorrow!

Well, my kitchen and dining room are clean, there's a floor in my living room, and the rest of the family is in bed. Sounds like a perfect time to sit and read or knit.

Scratch that - in the time between typing the last paragraph and hitting the "publish" button, both kids came downstairs. L can't sleep because it's too hot, but she won't change from her satiny PJs into a T-shirt. She won't turn on her window unit AC because she's afraid that more ladybugs will come inside. C says his legs are sore, and he just needs a hug. Even after the hug, he was still not interested in going back to his room. He finally decided he'd try sleeping again. So, now I'm going to try the reading or knitting thing. We'll see how it goes;-)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The New Oven

Bright and early Monday morning, I went to our local Sears store to buy a range and have it delivered to the house. P and I were anticipating that we would have to do microwave and grill cooking for a week or so since it takes a while to get things delivered. Well, I walked in and saw that the sales person was a previous patient of mine - someone that I liked. I also saw that they had the range I want right out in front. Beside the perfect white range, they also had a bisque range (the color I wanted) that was $100 off because there is a dent in the side. The dent is definitely visible, but won't be noticed when I get some appliance paint on there. Not only did I get it for $100 less than they were asking for the perfect one, but they delivered it about 4 hours later! Talk about good timing and God's providence.

Our Fiddler on the Roof unit is going pretty well. We made Star of David yesterday with pin and threads wrapped around the pins. L did very well and had lots of fun. It was a stretch for C, though. But, he did what he could and made a very passable project. I have lots of reading scheduled, so I try to space that out through the day.

C's reading is coming along nicely. The program that we are using requires a lot of work on both of our parts, but it seems to be working. C had his dyslexia testing done Monday and we will see the doctor for results in a week or two.

Well, it's breakfast time, so I'll write more later.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Burning down the house - almost

I was cooking ground beef this evening to make tacos before our small group. Our stove is "temperamental" and the front burner that I was using only does High and Low - it doesn't seem to have an in-between setting. While I was cooking the meat, I suddenly realized that there was a lot of smoke from the stove element itself. I pulled the pan away and flames started coming up from the center of the burner! It wasn't burning because of anything related to the cooking except that it got too hot. Well, I pulled out the fire extinguisher and yelled for P. I was still trying to sort out how to make the fire extinguisher work, so P took it, pulled the pin, and sprayed the fire. So, the fire is all gone, but our house is filled with smoke. It is 59 degrees outside, but we have downstairs windows open with fans blowing the smoke out. At least the smoke alarm quit ringing!

So it's Subway for dinner. I'll drain the ground beef and cook it another day. I was hoping to get a new stove for Christmas, but it looks like I can get it sooner. I'm a little wary of the whole thing right now. I hope we can get some of the smoke smell out before our small group comes (it's only one other couple right now, but I don't really want anyone having burning eyes or smoke smelling clothes.

Friday, September 22, 2006

September 22

It's the end of a long week. This homeschooling thing is pretty tough. We try to be flexible to work around my headaches and scheduling issues, but still run into problems. I had an appointment Tuesday, which was an all-day event, so the kids were at a friends house. L did all of her work that day, but C didn't do much at all. L is finishing her study of Russia, and C is working on the Renaissance. We made frescoes with plaster of Paris and watercolor paint. The kids had a great time and they learned something about Renaissance art.

I am working on a couple of knitting projects, one of which is a sweater for me. The problem is that my size 7 needles are too short to cast on 97 stitches. So, I can't really start until I get some needles. But, I did my gauge swatch so I know what I need.

L is taking art class at the middle school. Originally, it was T, Th, and every other F. Her teacher recommended that she also come for the M, W, and every other F class since they're doing different projects. L loves it and is doing a good job. I'm glad we found someone to teach her art finally.

I went to a Dr. at Marshfield. He was pleasant, but didn't really have any new recommendations except to consider adding an anti-depressant. So, I'm on a new anti-seizure medication and I've also started the anti-depressant tonight. I have a headache now, but it's pretty well controlled. I think it's the bad weather.

P and C went to the high school football game tonight. They just got home, so it's reading and bedtime.

September 22

It's the end of a long week. This homeschooling thing is pretty tough. We try to be flexible to work around my headaches and scheduling issues, but still run into problems. I had an appointment Tuesday, which was an all-day event, so the kids were at a friends house. L did all of her work that day, but C didn't do much at all. L is finishing her study of Russia, and C is working on the Renaissance. We made frescoes with plaster of Paris and watercolor paint. The kids had a great time and they learned something about Renaissance art.

I am working on a couple of knitting projects, one of which is a sweater for me. The problem is that my size 7 needles are too short to cast on 97 stitches. So, I can't really start until I get some needles. But, I did my gauge swatch so I know what I need.

L is taking art class at the middle school. Originally, it was T, Th, and every other F. Her teacher recommended that she also come for the M, W, and every other F class since they're doing different projects. L loves it and is doing a good job. I'm glad we found someone to teach her art finally.

I went to a Dr. at Marshfield. He was pleasant, but didn't really have any new recommendations except to consider adding an anti-depressant. So, I'm on a new anti-seizure medication and I've also started the anti-depressant tonight. I have a headache now, but it's pretty well controlled. I think it's the bad weather.

P and C went to the high school football game tonight. They just got home, so it's reading and bedtime.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

September 16

P is off taking his Praxis Math test. This is the test that he needs to pass in order to teach math. He will need to take a more general test later just to teach. If he doesn't pass this test, he can use it to figure out if he needs to take any math classes before he takes it again. His classes have been going well. The only problem now is that he stays on campus all day on Tuesday and Thursday. The good thing is that he gets all his studying done that day and that he is now signed up for the tutoring service. The bad thing is that he has one class at 8am and the next one at 5:30pm, so it's a long wait. But, it doesn't make sense to come home because of the gas involved.

L and C have been doing pretty well in schoolwork. We do have our bumps in the road and I'm having to work with them about making sure all the work gets done. I'm really excited about C's reading. He is reading much better, although he still has some trouble with the vowels in the middle of words. I'm really excited that he can write simple sentences. He has some special techniques that he has learned with his reading program to help him along like "sentence pounding" and "finger tapping". Sounds a little strange at first, but really works for him. Whether he's dyslexic or not, we certainly are seeing some improvement in his reading. L is improving quite a bit in art. The influence of a different art teacher is amazing. C is doing a lot more drawing these days, so I think I may add some art to his days as well. They are both doing Spanish on the computer with good results. The neighbor kids are bilingual, so maybe they can help L and C with their vocabulary and usage.

We have been watching Fiddler on the Roof because L has been studying Russia. There is a ton of stuff in that movie that I want the kids to learn, but we don't have nearly enough time to cover. I have decided that we're going to take a week off of Sonlight and do Fiddler on the Roof the week of September 25. L already knows a lot about Russia, but Chris doesn't, so I'll have him do some stuff to learn about the country and it's history. I would like L to learn about the history of the late 19th and early 20th century, especially the rise of Marxism and socialism. She's really not old enough to understand all the political, philosophical, and sociological ramifications, but I think she's old enough to study the history and start to engage those ideas. Perchik, in the movie, is a revolutionary, and I would like her to understand what that means. I want to spend a significant amount of time learning about Judaism and it's festivals, etc. From a historical perspective, the kids really are going to learn a lot about pogroms and persecution of the Jews. But, I want to follow that up with a discussion of Zionism and the formation of the state of Israel. They don't need to get into all the political ins and outs, but they need to learn about when and how the nation of Israel came about (something I didn't learn until I was an adult). So, I may be crazy to try this, but I think it will be a fun and educational week.

My disability insurance company is stalling again. This time, they are considering an independent medical evaluation. I am going to see another neurologist next week (not for an IME, just for another opinion about the migraines). I have weaned off my Topamax (almost completely) and my acute headache meds (although I had a migraine today that I treated - I use acute headache meds twice a week, three times if I'm desperate). My PCP and I have a plan to start another anti-seizure medication unless this neurologist has other recommendations. I'm really frustrated about the insurance. Every roadblock makes me feel like they think I'm lying. And I'm not. I'm certainly not in a position to return to work full-time, but I would be thrilled to be able to go back to part-time work. So, we'll see what happens.

A couple of days ago, I wanted to go for a walk with the kids. They didn't really want to go, but I told them they had to. We finally decided to go on the trail by the river, but then the kids wanted to ride bikes. So, we decided to ride bikes. I ride my bike every few weeks, but not for very long distances and not off-road (although it is an on-road/off-road bike). The trail we went on is generally packed dirt, but there are some sections that had recently added dirt, so it wasn't packed and the recent rain had made it mud. Several areas were deep enough mud that we had to walk our bikes. I didn't like going up the hills, but I really enjoyed when I got to coast down a nice gentle hill. I got to the top of one hill and was very ready to coast down, but the kids said that I needed to get off my bike and walk down the next hill. Indeed, had I ridden down that steep hill right toward the river, I would have likely ended up right in the river. The trail is much faster riding than walking, but I was seriously sore at the end of the ride. What a mess we were! Both kids and I had mud all over our shoes and on the bottom of our pants. We had a blast, though! And I'm looking forward to doing it again.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

School News

We have been busy with lots of school stuff recently. P and I took C to an educational psychologist about having him tested for dyslexia. We are going to have the testing itself done sometime in the next month or two.

In the meantime, C's reading has picked up significantly. We are using a reading program based on the Orton-Gillingham approach to teaching kids with dyslexia how to read. It is a multi-sensory approach, so it's also good if we just hadn't figured out his learning style yet. He has learned about 15 phonemes so far. He reads words with the phonemes he knows very well. His reading is much more fluent and confident. He is also working on some sight words. The program is pretty intense. We work for about 30 minutes every day; this includes review of what he's learned, learning new phonemes and/or sight words, writing and spelling practice, and reading short books. I'm very happy with how he is doing.

I have been reading about learning styles and watching L and C over the last couple of weeks. L is definitely an auditory and kinesthetic learner. She also learns pretty well visually. Basically, she remembers a large amount of what she sees, hears, or reads. C is not a good auditory learner, though. He is a much better kinesthetic learner. We use a curriculum that is very literature intense, though, which makes it more challenging to make sure he is learning. We do a lot of reading aloud, but C is not picking up the information just from hearing it. So, I'm realizing that we need to add some activities to help him learn. We started making a mural of the ocean, coral reef, and an estuary. Just in making the main part of the drawing, we reviewed the geography of oceans. Later this week, we will review all about the organisms we've read about when we draw or paste pictures of fish and other animals in the correct places in the mural. C was able to process the importance of the plankton in the surface portion of the water because of the need for sunshine when he colored the shallow part of the water blue-green. Unfortunately, this is going to require a little more effort on my part. But, I have realized that C and L have some areas where their curricula intersect, so I may be able to do some things with them together.

L started dance class this week. She is taking ballet again - the same class as last year, but with a different teacher. There are only three of them in the class this year. L enjoys ballet, especially now that she is up to a level that she can really perform some of the moves well. The class is a full hour, though, so she gets pretty tired. She gets a 45 minute break and then has a tap class. She hasn't had tap in several years, so she's having to do a little bit of catch-up, but she's doing fine.

L is also taking art class at the local middle school. She started just taking every Tuesday, Thursday, and every other Friday with one of the 6th grade art classes. She is enjoying the work, even though her teacher is expecting more out of her than I had been. Today, her teacher asked about having her also take the Monday, Wednesday, and opposite Friday class to get even more art exposure. L is thrilled. The school is 4 blocks from the house, so L rides her bike unless the weather is bad. I'm pleased that she is taking the extra responsibility of making sure she is ready and out the door on time.

P is in school as well in the Valley. He is taking three classes this semester, in addition to making sure he gets 30 hours of classroom observation. Two of the math teachers at the local middle and high school are happy to have him come in for his observation. He is happy to be able to do that so close to home (especially with gas so expensive and he already has to drive 60 miles round trip three times per week for his own classes).

I have become the typical homeschool mom. I am addicted to homeschool forums on the computer. When I'm not doing something with the kids, blogging, or having a headache, I'm probably on the forums. The forums have been really helpful, though. I have gotten great ideas on how to manage school when I have a bad migraine. I have gotten great advice on how to make our own frescoes - we're studying Michelangelo next week. We have already had one field trip to a local nature center. Everyone had fun. It was also nice to hear how well-behaved and well-educated the kids are (from the naturalists).

Well, I'm off to bed. It's another full day tomorrow.

Friday, September 08, 2006

They added an ocean!!!!

So, I figure that I'll be a pretty decent homeschooling parent since I love my kids and I'm pretty literate (12 years of post-high school education). But, imagine my suprise when, as I'm reading history with my son, I see on a map something labeled "Southern Ocean". What is the Southern Ocean? When I was in school, there were four oceans. When my kids were learning about oceans and continents with songs, there were four oceans. So, where did this Southern Ocean come from? I looked at the map: Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, Southern. There was clearly one too many. So, I put a question to the other parents on the Sonlight forums (we use Sonlight curriculum) and another parent answered that she was told a couple of years ago on a field trip that they (whoever geographical types "they" may be) have decided that there is indeed a Southern Ocean. So, one more thing to add to my befuddled brain and try to teach my kids. EEK!

We have survived another week of school. Actually, we are doing pretty well. I had some headaches, but the kids and I are figuring out how to work around them. Next week will get a little more tricky when L's dance class and both kids' piano lessons start, but we'll sort it all out. C actually wrote 2 sentences that I dictated for him today. That's pretty cool for us, because he really has not been able to spell much at all. He did a wonderful job - and remembered capitalization and punctuation. He got a box of TicTacs for working so hard.

L does more advanced dictation, and has a more creative time with capitalization and punctuation. She has a habit of not capitalizing the first word of a sentence, but then will capitalize the first letter of a word in the middle of a sentence, sometimes the same letter - not a lot of rhyme or reason to her choices. She was having some real trouble with making her "t's" look like capitals when they aren't. Her comment was "Well, that's how I write". My response was, "You can't 'just write' however you feel like. There are rules to follow." She's not thrilled, but is slowly improving. She was very happy to finish her math book today because she really wanted a box of TicTacs like C got.

Well, not much going on here except school. The house is a mess because I did have a couple of headaches this week. I'm feeling a lot better on my non-migraine days since the rebound/chronic headache is much better (still not quite gone, but much better). I see a neurologist again in 2 weeks. Well, we're having a storm and the kids are down here because they're scared, so I'd better end this post. Besides, if the power goes out, it'll all be lost.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The headache continues . . .

I had a migraine last night which was incredibly frustrating. The good news is that some of the meds I'm allowed to take made me tired enough that I fell asleep until the migraine pretty much wore off. I still have a headache this morning, though. I emailed my doctor and she encouraged me to keep going. She told me to stick with all the healthy living stuff - eat your veggies, drink water, etc. C and I took a nice long walk on a trail by the river this morning (nice that we found it since we're living in town now).

Unfortunately, C is really very sad these days. I'm hoping that most of it is because he's had a little fever the last three days and now has a runny nose. When he gets with friends he plays and has a blast and has tons of energy. At home, he complains about being tired and not wanting to do anything. He actually has a friend right next door, so I'm not sure what's up. I hope he just needs a little more time for us to all get adjusted to life here.

C has been working hard on his reading and I'm seeing progress. He has a much better sense of how letters blend together and how words always get sounded out from left to right. He knows a few more sight words. He and I are both encouraged on that front.

One of P's friends gave us a bunch of venison. I cooked a roast the other day, but P and I were the only ones who really liked it. L loves beef cooked that way, but she thought the venison (which was falling apart) was too "tough" for her. C didn't even try it. P and L and I all like venison steaks. All 4 of us like ground venison for meatloaf. But, I don't think we have much ground venison. So, C and L are just going to have to make do when I make a roast, because I'm not going to waste perfectly good, free meat!

Book reviews:
The Sun also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. I couldn't finish it. I could blame my meds, but I have been reading tons of other stuff. I really tried to plough through it, but just couldn't do it. I felt like I was watching an old Bergman movie in slow motion. Somehow, I was supposed to understand the plot from all these stilted conversations, but I never got it. I finally gave up. I'm sure I will hear from some of you that if I had just plugged away a little more, I would have reached that nugget of gold that is Hemingway, but I just couldn't do it.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I can't believe that I never read this book in high school or college. Somewhere along the way, I developed this idea that it was a dark and foreboding book. It certainly has it's dark moments, but it is truly a wonderful book. I found it quite a page-turner. Bronte's writing does require something of an educated reader, I found. For example, I always wondered why we use the word "malignant" as and adjective, but never "benignant" but always "benign". Well, it has not always been this way; at least not in Bronte's world. She makes numerous Scriptural references that I was glad to be able to understand. I did read a one page description of the springtime beauty of England that required me to go to a dictionary several times. But, back to the story. C. Bronte has taken what could have been a plain and simple love story and added plot twists that not only hold the reader spellbound, but show the growth of the characters - emotionally and spiritually. I highly recommend it; but make sure you have a good week or two.

Well, now that I have finished Jane Eyre, I got the DVD from the library, so I am off to see how well the BBC interprets it for the screen.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Rebound Headache

This is the headache that you get when you use too many acute headache meds. Well, part of my headache problem is rebound headache. So, I started 2 days ago with not taking any acute medications and just taking my preventive meds. I am taking a long-acting NSAID and a long-acting benzo (short-term) along with an anti-nausea drug to help me get through it. Yesterday wasn't much fun, but today has been just awful. I've been up since 4:30 with the headache. I'll I've done is read, watch TV, and try to sleep. It's hard for me to sleep when the headache is really bad. But, it is calming down some now - why I'm able to blog - so I might try another nap.

I'm going to see another Neuro in a couple of weeks. That's why I'm dealing with the rebound headache now. I know that the first thing he'll say is to deal with the rebound headache and then come back. Well, I don't want to waste an office visit, so I'll get off the daily meds so we can see how often the migraines happen.

I was able to do schoolwork with the kids yesterday. P has them out somewhere today. They took math books, so I guess they'll get their math done. If I'm feeling OK this evening, I'll do language arts with the kids. We'll just have to see.

Well, that's what's up now. I'm off to try for another nap.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The headache saga continues

So I went to see my PCP (primary care physician) today to talk about my headaches. She was appropriately appalled about my medication use and my number of headaches. I was hoping (probably an unfounded hope) that my headaches would calm down some after we got moved and settled into our new home. Alas, that was not to be. I still have my 2-3 wicked migraines per week along with my daily headaches. So, we have decided to change my daily meds by tapering me off one seizure med and starting another - this is a long (6 week) process. In the meantime, she is trying to get me in to see a neurologist at the University - good luck! In any case, we now have a plan which always gives me security. After we make the change, I have to quit my acute headache meds, which will not be fun. I will likely have a bad week or so of headache when that happens, but we need to get my preventive meds changed before we try it. In the meantime, I still have tons of fatigue - from meds, but also from the headaches themselves. I was up at 5am with a headache. I didn't take a nap today, but I was just exhausted. I don't think it was from being up so early; I think it was from the headache itself. Even after the pain is gone, I feel so tired. I have been able to walk regularly, either to the library or grocery store or on the treadmill. The kids have been getting me out on my bike as well when I feel OK, so I've been able to get more active, which can't be a bad thing.

We do have other stuff happening. L was baptized yesterday at the church picnic and baptism. We were so excited. I grew up in churches that had baptistries, so we had baptisms on a regular basis. Not only does our church not have a baptistry, but it's so cold up here most of the year, that we can only baptize during the summer. It would be a brave soul indeed who would be willing to be baptized in the winter - and, what elder or pastor would they find to cut the hole in the ice and get in the water with them??!!

The Fair starts Wednesday. L has all of her projects finished. Tomorrow she has to place the labels on them. They are very strict about the exhibits being properly labeled and presented. L will be working the food booth during the day, and C will be helping to clean tables. I'm glad we live within walking distance. The kids will be with the rest of the 4-H group, so I can be in and out and not have to stay for the entire 6 hours that their group will be working the food booth. Now, L is trying to coordinate with her friends when they want to ride the rides. One of her friends has to pick a day when she isn't showing her animals, but the other friend has to come when her parents can bring her. The social life of a pre-teen!

Well, it's getting late, I'm tired, and I'm off to do some knitting before bed.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Week 2 of school - much better!

School goes much better when I don't have persistent headaches! I had some headaches in the evening, so getting going in the morning was tough, but we did OK after that. I had a bad HA yesterday, but that was OK as far as school went because P took the kids to the Valley for a trip to the Children's Museum and the Planetarium.

We started C's new reading program this week. It is a comprehensive and multi-sensory program. We are starting with the very basics and learning all the letter sounds (again), but this time, he is reinforcing the learning the sounds with tactile sensations such as writing the letter in sand while saying the name and sound of the letter. There is a completely different set of physical activities to do for learning sight words. I'm optimistic that he will be more succesful with this type of program. We also have him set up to see a psychologist for evaluation for dyslexia or other learning problems.

L is finishing up her Fair projects. She got a second place ribbon last Saturday for showing her cat. We were very proud of her. She has a number of art and craft projects to show this week. The judging for her projects is Wednesday. Several of her friends are showing animals and their judging is Wednesday through Sunday. It is going to be a busy week. Since the kids are in 4-H, I think we are going to have to work at the food stand selling refreshments at least once this week. Our house is only 1 block from the fairgrounds, so I'm not sure how much sleep any of us are going to get this week!

This week, we are going to work on only math and language arts again. Next week, though, we start back with our full schedule of work. The kids try to complain, but they'll be fine. The neighbor kids start school at the same time. It will actually be kind of hard for our kids because C is done with his schoolwork by 3 in the afternoon, when his friend gets home from school. But, I imagine that his friend will have homework and won't be able to play all afternoon and evening like they do now. We'll have to see how things go.

In the meantime, we still have a few things in the storage unit that we need to get moved back here in the next week and a half. I don't think we have any more full boxes in here. The craft room just looks like a messy room now, although I still can't use my desk. Another week or so and I'll be done.

Well, off to get some lunch. More later.

Friday, August 11, 2006

What a first week of school

This was not exactly the way I wanted our first week to be. I had bad headaches every morning except Thursday. That doesn't do a lot for getting me moving in the morning! The kids got a little more difficult by the end of the week, as well. This has been the worst headache week in a really long time.

I had someone do an informal evaluation of C's reading this week. She agreed that his reading is very weak - he is at a 1.5 grade level - but she doesn't know a lot about dyslexia, and her recommendations were mostly to continue with what we have been doing. I'm still quite concerned about dyslexia, so I have scheduled an appointment with an educational psychologist in the Valley (in September). In the meantime, P and I have decided to "start over" with C's reading by using a multisensory phonics program. The program is based on the Orton-Gillingham approach which is used for dyslexics. So, whether he ends up with that diagnosis or not, I think we're using a common sense approach to getting him to learn to read.

The County Fair activities start tomorrow. L shows her cat in the morning. The cat has not been all that impressed with her harness and leash. We'll have to see what she thinks about being shown tomorrow. The kids have 1 1/2 weeks to finish the rest of their projects.

P's last day of work was today. I have a list of stuff that needs to be done around the house, so I'm not arguing. He is also starting a program through the University to become credentialled to teach high school. He will start classes on Sept. 5. He will be able to take classes full time so that next fall, he will be ready for student teaching! He should be ready to work as a teacher in January or February 2008!

Our small group has been studying the book of James. I have also been reading an individual study as well. Today's study was on the last portion of James 4. In it, James admonishes us to remember that we may make our plans, but God always has the last word. I was certainly reminded of that this week. I made plans for schoolwork each day, but the day's activities were affected by my headaches. It is good for me to plan, but I will continue to always pray over my plans. The psalmist reminds us to always give over our plans to the Lord: Ps 37:5-6 Commit your way to the LORD;trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A New School Year

Well, we started school today. The kids told me they were bored one time too many, so we started school. They weren't bored today!

Unfortunately, I woke up at 4:30am with an impressive migraine - EEK! The good news is that I hadn't scheduled a lot of stuff to do, so we were able to get it all done. I have been cataloguing all of our educational CD-ROMS, videos, and DVDs, so I can give them work to do when I have a bad headache. But, today went pretty well, and I'm encouraged. The "real" schoolbooks are actually still in boxes. I did math drill sheets and dictation from Harry Potter and stuff like that today.

We're also working out who does what jobs around the house. I'm not sure how we're going to work out who does dishes on what night. We still have to see what the dance, AWANA, worship team, and Junior High schedules look like.

P and I spent Saturday really organizing and unpacking boxes. The craft room is now just a messy room and not a major disaster site! The school room is completely organized, except for not having the bookshelves filled. We have 6 unopened boxes of books in the living room right now along with a bunch of boxes and several shelves of stuff in a storage unit. A good bit of that stuff is going to have to go right to Goodwill. There is no way we have room for it here. But, the school books are somewhere in all that!

C read for me today. I was hoping that in the couple of months that we haven't done formal reading that he might have made some developmental gains. Unfortunately, things have gotten no better. He can read simple three letter words by themselves most of the time. He can get them all the time if they are paired with pictures. But, he had real problems reading a simple story. On one page, he read the word "fall" without trouble, but he had no clue what the same word was on the next page. He could get the "f" sound, but nothing else. He read the word "into" as "in". Even when I pointed it out to him, he still could not see that he was missing half the word! His eyesight can't be that much of an issue: these words were very large on a computer screen. He asks for help when he can't differentiate a "b" from a "d". The issues he is having in reading right now are not that clearcut. The good news is that a friend who is a reading specialist is supposed to come in a week or two to help me decide what the next step is. Clearly, we need some new directions. I think I'm going to try some letter blocks tomorrow and see if that helps him at all.

P gave his 2 week notice at his job last week. He will be meeting this week with a professor of a program that gets people with bachelor's degrees in math and science the education they need to be able to teach high school. This is pretty exciting for him. He will probably not need to take any math classes, but should be able to go right to education method classes. He's hoping that he can actually be working within 1 1 /2 to 2 years. In any case, it's pretty exciting for him.

Well, I'm off to try out more of my kids' math software and figure out what works for them and what doesn't. Tomorrow we're doing school at the coffee shop!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Walking the cat

Today we took a walk with L's cat, Sophie. You're reading this and thinking, "You can't walk a cat." Well, you are right. I thought that we probably wouldn't get too far on the walk, but it wouldn't hurt to try. Besides, I believe in choosing your battles, and I was not interested in arguing with L about whether or not to take the cat on the walk. As you can imagine, the cat was not interested in actually walking. She did what she always does when L takes her outside (which is pretty often since L is getting her ready for the fair) and sniffed around then rolled around to try to get her harness off. When a car came by, she bolted for the street - thankfully, the leash was pretty short. So, it was a short walk today. Tomorrow will be a walk or bike ride to the library, so Sophie will stay at home with Silver and Sassy - inside, where they belong.

If I hear one more time "I'm bored" from my children, I think I'll scream!! How can kids who have imagination friends galore and who can go to space with pillows and K'Nex get bored? It is clearly time for school to start. The problem is that I'm not ready for school to start - the school books are still in the storage unit. I have started giving the kids chores when they tell me they're bored, so I don't have to hear them complain too often, but they're clearly ready for some more structure to their days.

So, tomorrow we are going to the library to make sure we have the library books we need for Monday. Monday morning, we will start school, whether we have "school" books or not. Both kids have 4-H projects that need work, so that will keep us busy. I have decided to have L do a good bit of dictation this year to help with her writing - handwriting, punctuation, spelling, etc. I'll start with passages from her Harry Potter books and move to her "regular" school books when we get there. L also needs to work on her division facts, so we've got math to keep her busy. C is ready to work on subtraction facts. He also needs to learn to tell time and do clock math as well as a general review of time - from seconds up to centuries. I haven't had him tested for dyslexia yet, but I am going to get going with some multisensory reading and phonics work. I've found some free stuff on the internet that includes computer stuff as well as printouts for writing practice. I think this will keep them busy for a couple hours a day for the next week or two.

I have had a couple of bad headache weeks. In the midst of this, I am learning to have some backup dinner plans ready. I don't like to buy a lot of prepared food since I know how to and like to cook. But, I have decided that keeping some frozen pasta, chicken nuggets, barbeque beef, etc. around for P to cook if I'm not having a good day is a lot cheaper and makes for a happier family than always having sandwiches or cheap pizza. I'm also finding that taking a break in the middle of the afternoon helps with being able to cook dinner.

We are still unpacking boxes. This unpacking process is painfully slow. I'm hoping that we can get a good bit done this weekend. I'm more productive when P is home because we motivate each other. So, a couple more weeks, and we should have it all done . . . I hope . . . maybe . . .

Sunday, July 30, 2006

We Found the Toaster!

Yep! We found the toaster! The crazy thing is that it wasn't in the storage unit or the garage. It was in a box on a desk in the guest/craft room. The box also had the arepa maker - arepas are corn flour and water breakfast bread-type things that we had in Venezuela, so P got me a Sunbeam arepa maker so we don't have to fry ours on the stove with lots of oil. But, of course, all of the other things that we kept saying were "with the toaster" were not, actually, with the toaster. Bummer.

Well, it's Sunday night and I still have dishes to do. And more boxes to open. Maybe some of the stuff that wasn't "with the toaster" will be there.

Wishing I Was at Camp

We've been home from camp for a week now. The verdict is in: I liked camp better. IIt was so nice to not have to think about what to have for dinner or where the kids are or whether the laundry is done. But, now we're back to real life.

My disability insurance company is paying benefits right now under "reservation of rights", but they want more information before they make a final determination. They asked me to keep a headache diary for 2 weeks. They sent me a form to fill out. It is 2 pages - one page for each week. Each day gets one line - requesting information about that day's headache. They still don't get it. I don't have one headache a day. I wake up almost every day with a headache which usually gets worse, depending on my activity, the weather, etc. I started the diary yesterday and used an entire page for one day. Yesterday, unfortunately, was one of the really awful headache days. I woke up at 5:30 with a bad headache that was up to a 9/10 by the time I got downstairs to get my meds. I stayed on the sofa until about 1pm. Anyway, I made 12 copies of the headache diary, so I can use one page for each day. Maybe we can come to a meeting of the minds.

On Thursday, my kids decided to become inventors in the basement. The good news is that I have already taken all the give-away stuff to Goodwill, so they weren't mixing give-away stuff with keep stuff. Between the miscellaneous stuff in the basement and their imaginations, they became very well attired spies. There were devices to allow them to climb buildings and see things. C was quite interested in blowing things up. The good news is that L was very interested in force fields, so that the house didn't blow up (nor did the cats!). The kids were showing their inventions to a friend later in the afternoon when the funniest thing happened. C was doing all the steps to ignite one of his inventions when all of the sudden, he said, "Uh oh." and looked up to the ceiling very seriously. I said, in all seriousness, "Did you put a hole in my house?" He kept looking at the ceiling and deadpanned, "Uh, yeah." Those kids are the funniest things. Of course, my basement is fine, except for being messy.

It has been hot as h*ll here, and I am being literal! The highs have been in the mid to upper 90s. It is forecast to be 100 tomorrow and 98 on Tuesday. Talk about living in the Great White North! We are fortunate to have central air conditioning, but it really only works downstairs. We have one air conditioning vent upstairs and one old fashioned grate. Early in the week, we had the kids start sleeping in the basement (thankfully, they didn't meet any bugs, because we have our fair share), P sleeping in the guest/craft room (which is a disaster), and me sleeping on the sofa (which is fine because I've had headaches). Finally, P decided it was time to get a room AC for upstairs. The plan was to put it in L's room and leave all the bedroom doors open to share the cool air (although it would also have to cool the landing and stairwell). I was concerned that they wouldn't have any more ACs in the city. But, Home Depot had just gotten a shipment. The AC to cool the entire upstairs was going to be $500, but 3 small room ACs were $130 each (and wouldn't cool the landing/stairwell). So, we got the 3 room ACs. P has 2 of them set up and running now, but the third one, Cs room, has to wait because we don't have the wiring to run 3 ACs. The upstairs still has old wiring, but we have a friend who can help P redo it this fall to bring it into the 21st century. In the meantime, Cs room is quite comfortable with running Ls AC and keeping the closet doors between their rooms open and running a fan over the grate moving the warm air out. Sounds complicated, but it works.

The house is still something of a wreck. The headaches have been really bad this week, but the fatigue has been even worse. I have some friends who have volunteered to help. I have a natural aversion to getting help. I think it's not helped by the years in medical school and medicine where we worked through anything. But, I'm going to have to take some help or I'm just not going to get stuff done some weeks.

I have been trying to avoid thinking about schooling. How am I going to get that done with the stuff I can't even handle now? Last night, though, I did come up with an idea on how to at least start a plan. I need to get the house somewhat organized - at least find the schoolbooks! - and not be trying to empty boxes while starting schooling. Then, I need to make a plan that organizes things based on importance. It looks like some weeks we may just scrape through. Other weeks, we may be able to get a lot of stuff done. I need to have a plan going into this about what is most important for the children to learn (not what is important to check off - my real issue - I like to see things checked off!). The kids are also able to help around the house more than they have been, but it needs to be done in a routine, not capriciously. C did dishes for me yesterday and L did other cleaning (we had small group last night). I am also learning to lower my standards.

I am hoping that a friend of mine may be able to come over soon and evaluate Chris for dyslexia. The more I watch him try to read, the more concerned I am. He really is not putting things together like he should. I read a book about dyslexia that was wonderful in helping me understand the problem, but told me nothing about teaching him to read as a parent. It was clearly written for parents of children in school - it told parents how to make sure that the school was using a good program. I need better info, but I'm hoping my friend can help me. I would prefer to wait for her input instead of trying more internet searches and looking through more books. Can you tell I'm getting frustrated?

Well, more later. I'm home from church with another headache. I'm going to go vegetate on the sofa for a while.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Home from Camp

We're home! P and I got home Saturday night, but I haven't gotten a chance to blog until tonight. And, now, I have a migraine, so it will be short.

We had a blast at family camp - of course! P's mom was with us this year which was fun. She enjoyed the activities, but also indulged in her new hobby/small business - making DVD recordings of pretty much everything that went on.

Last night, there was a major storm. We are forecast for more storms today and the pressure is falling - hence the headache and muscle pain. EEK! The kids played with the neighbor kids, though, which was nice. It's good to get to know the neighborhood.

I'll write more later. Right now, I'm going to lie on the sofa and try to convince my head not to hurt.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

It's with the toaster!

We are still unpacking all of our boxes and trying to find the necessities of life. One thing that frustrates me is that we can't find the toaster! We have just about everything else that we need in the kitchen, but no toaster. The other day, we were looking for something and couldn't imagine where it could be, and P said "It must be with the toaster." So now, whenever we can't find anything, we say, "It's with the toaster."

Our small group was going to study the book of James this summer, but we have had such trouble getting everyone together that we haven't gotten very far. I have been reading a study myself called, "Growing Slowly Wise". I have been meditating recently on the first several verses about developing perseverance and asking for wisdom. James 1:2-6 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. The author quotes Oswald Chambers: "To choose suffering makes no sense at all; to choose God's will in the midst of our suffering makes all the sense in the world." The author encourages us to continue in obedience despite the circumstances. "The only fatal flaw, as C.S. Lewis said, is to give up." This has given me much to think about over the last couple of days.

I have recently read some very good books. Eragon by Christopher Paolini is a fantasy novel that bears resemblence to The Lord of the Rings trilogy. What is truly amazing is that this novel was written by a 15 year old! In any case, no matter the age of the author, it stands alone as a very entertaining fantasy novel. The first few chapters had the potential to be slow, but they caught my attention pretty quickly. I did feel, at times, like the cliffhangers were getting to be a little much - I wanted to know what was going on sooner than the author wanted to disclose. By the end, though, I was satisfied. The novel does not completely end. There is a sequel that I am going to have to read. There are still too many unanswered questions.

The Secret Life of Bees is a wonderful novel about relationships among women in the South. There are plenty of quirky characters and interesting plot to keep one reading. The story is set in 1960s South Carolina, so there are racial tensions, as well. (On a side note, I keep reading novels set in the South with quirky characters who are so much like my own Southern family and think, "How did they know about my family?" I have since come to the conclusion that my family is really not all that strange - everyone south of the Mason-Dixon line is part of a quirky family!) I absolutely loved reading this book and I highly recommend it for your reading entertainment.

Now, here's the caveat. Do not even think about reading this book for any religious or spiritual content. The characters in the book have their own form of worship that is probably best described as "goddess worship" or "worship of the sacred feminine" or something like that. I have done some reading about this author and found that she has left her Christian faith and is delving now into Gnosticism and "the sacred feminine". So, you won't find those words in her novel, but you will find those ideas. So, the book is a great read - have fun. But know what is in there.

I am currently reading My Antonia by Willa Cather. I love it so far - I'm about halfway through. I'll let you know more about it later.

Well, everyone else is in bed. I'm not really tired - probably because I napped from 7-9am today even though I was up at 5am with a migraine. Well, I'd better try and sleep. More later. Tomorrow's my birthday - 39 years!!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Home again - but in a different house

It's been a good long while since my last post. Since then, C and I have taken a trip down South for a family reunion while L went to camp. Poor P had to stay home the whole time and work. Ah, well, he gets vacation next week when we all go to family camp up North.

This is the first time to come home from a trip to this house. While I was gone, P moved some more stuff from the other house and got some more unpacking and organizing done, so this house doesn't even look the same as when I left. But, it's a good thing. We are gradually making this house feel like home.

C and I left the last Tuesday in June to take a train trip down South to Mississippi to visit my parents and to go to a family reunion. I planned some activities for C to do on the train, knowing that he would probably get bored. Well, it only took 2 hours (out of 16 hours on the the train) for C to realize that travelling by train is really not all it's cracked up to be. We slept in our seats that night, so the next morning, C spent a good bit of time going back and forth between the club car and our seats. It was mostly just entertainment for him.

But, once we were at Grams and Grandpa's trailer, things changed. C and Grandpa went fishing twice. What a great time that was! The second time, though, they went with C's cousin, who is only 4 years old. Grandpa was helping the cousin with getting a cricket on the hook and getting started fishing when C caught a fish. Well, I was sitting on the bank of the pond and taking pictures when this happened, but it looked like C needed some help to get the fish off the hook because Grandpa was busy. So, I unhooked the fish and let it go (we weren't fishing for dinner) and rebaited the hook. I would like to say that I have done my "wiggly creature" duty for the decade, but L likes to pick up insects and other wiggly things, so I'm not sure I'm out of the woods yet. But, for that day, I was grateful that my Uncle Bill showed up to help out C for the rest of the fishing session (Uncle Bill and I did have a short, philosophical discussion on the best way to hook crickets - through the abdomen (my preference) or behind the head (his preference) - I conceded, though, because I prefer to not hook crickets at all).

My brother and sister-in-law came over for the family reunion - they're the ones with the 4 year old son. C and his cousin had fun playing, but it was mostly fun playing each others toys. C liked his cousin's Leapster, but his cousin liked C's GameBoy Advance.

My college roommate was visiting her parents over the weekend, so she came to visit us on Sunday (it was only 1 1/2 hour drive). We were both a little distressed, though, that, when she called Sunday afternoon for directions, her dad and my dad ended up on the phone getting the directions straight - it was just like we were in college - and we're almost 40!! In any case, D and her husband and 4 boys all came over for the afternoon. They joined us for a cookout, as well. It is really hard to believe that it was 20 years ago that we lived together and hadn't even met our husbands yet. But, now, our kids are growing up and we are growing older (and, maybe, wiser).

While C and I were doing our visiting down South, L was at camp up North. This was her first year at Girls Camp. Previously, she has been at kids' camp, which has been co-ed and at the main camp. This year, she was at the more isolated section of camp, and it was just girls. She had a blast. She assures me that she took 2 showers (one of them was required)!! L talked to me some about the studies that they did. They do really good teaching at camp.

C and I got home on Wednesday so that he would be home in time for the baseball tounament. His first game was not until Friday, thankfully. His team won the first game at 4pm, so they played again at 9pm. They lost the 9pm game, but they played again this morning at 10:30am and won that game, so they got the bronze medal for their level!! C was soooooo proud. It was exciting.

The last few bits of our furniture got moved in today. We also got our new refrigerator today. We won't have the ice maker working for a week or two, but so far, so good.

We have an accepted offer on our other house, but it has a contingency of their selling their other house. Another couple put in another offer, and we countered, and they accepted. The first couple has until Monday to remove the contingency from their offer. If they can't do that, then we can take the second offer, which is a better offer and will close sooner (also better). Either way, our other house is sold.

P's mom is coming on Wednesday for a visit. She will be here a couple of days, and then we all go to family camp. Family camp is the most relaxing week of the year for all of us. The food is good, the Bible teaching is solid and interesting, the people are fun, the kids are taken care of. What more could we ask for?

Well, that's enough of a book for now. Pretty much just facts today. I haven't been thinking much today, have I? More later.

Monday, June 26, 2006

We sold the house - we hope!

We had an offer on our house again last week, but it was too low for us to consider. Well, they eventually agreed to our price. We hope that this will all work out - after our last experience, we know that an accepted offer doesn't always mean the end of the road. We are continuing to pray for all to go well.

I am trying to get everything ready for me and C to leave to go to a family reunion. C came downstairs three times tonight saying he couldn't sleep because he was too excited about the trip. He is very excited because we are traveling by train tomorrow. I agree that it is going to be fun. I enjoyed our last Amtrak trip (5 years ago), so I think this should be good for the two of us.

L leaves for camp while C and I are gone to the family reunion. I am not going to see her for 2 weeks - wow! She has a blast at camp, though. I'm sure she'll love it again this year. P is going to have to help her pack this year - he's already nervous about it.

Well, I'd better get off to bed. I haven't packed our clothes yet, but I can get those done in the morning. The other stuff is ready to go. We can't check our baggage on the train (we're getting off at one of the smaller stops), so we're packing light. I need to get a little sleep tonight!

Caterpie is now "Butterfree"

I looked at Caterpie last night and he was still in his chrysalis, but there were more gold dots on the crysalis. This morning, he had completely broken free of the chrysalis. L took him outside and let him dry his wings on a stick. Now he is free!! And his name is changed to Butterfree!

I found my socks yesterday!! This may not sound all that important, but I was running out of socks and I like to wear tennis shoes. P knew where they were all the time, but he is usually at work when I am looking for stuff like that.

I have had bad migraines the last two days. We have had really unpleasant weather, which was a major trigger. I was really bummed because I didn't get any unpacking or organizing done.

Well, off to get everyone ready for the trips the next week. C and I are off to a family reunion and L is off to camp.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The House is OURS!!!

We closed today on the new house (OK, the 75 year old house, but new to use). At about 12:30pm, it officially became our house. Home ownership is not new to us - in fact, we now own two homes. But, it is exciting that we own the house that we fell in love with.

We actually have an offer on the other house, as well. That is also exciting. The only problem is that the offer was too low to even consider. We have countered with the lowest price that we can accept. It is a reasonable price for that neighborhood and that house (and perhaps even a bit low). This is really not a good time to be trying to sell an upper middle class type home. I'm glad we're not trying to sell one of the "McMansion" type homes - the large (5,000 square feet or more) homes that take up the entire lot in neighborhoods where the houses are all pretty similar. I read in the Wall Street Journal that those homes are getting harder to sell, and that the sellers are really having to accept much lower prices these days. An acquaintance of ours sold her home within just a week or two, but it was priced about $100k lower (more like the home we just bought). We will keep praying for the house to sell at a decent price.

Otherwise, P and I were able to go out and celebrate our closing. The weather is wonderful, so we went to a restaurant with huge windows and enjoyed the view. We had ice cream at an outdoor ice cream shop after dinner. Unfortunately, I have a migraine tonight. It's manageable as long as I don't do much, so I've been getting pictures together for my and C's trip to the family reunion next week.

P and I have been talking about something I thought I would never have considered - a cell phone for the kids. I have thought that a cell phone for kids was the height of unnecessary luxury and just asking for trouble. Why do children need cell phones? It seems like the ultimate in parents getting out of their parental duties of watching out for their kids.

Well, I'm starting to reconsider. We were living in a subdivision (in a rather small town) where my kids could only ride bikes and scooters in the subdivision. I had to drive them to any parks or stores. Now, we live on Main Street in a smaller town and the kids can walk or ride bikes to the convenience store or the playground at the elementary school. It's a little further of a walk or ride, but they can also go to the grocery store or the big park with the swimming pool (with lifeguards). So, we're in a smaller town, but the kids have more opportunity. I don't have much problem with them riding or walking short distances, but I do get concerned when they go longer distances. Right now, they have to go together if they go more than 3 or 4 blocks. We have 2 way radios, but they're bulky, and I'm not sure how far they'll reach in town. So, now P and I are considering adding another cell phone to our account. They have phones that you can only put three numbers on so kids can't call all their friends. I'm not concerned about them calling every one - I can check the statement on-line. If they use it in a way that they shouldn't then they just can't leave the house at all. But, the kids are pretty good, and they're not to the teen years when they might want to do that kind of stuff anyway. I'm just a little concerned about safety. I would like them to be able to call me if they need help when they are so far away.

Life is so different than when we were kids. We would ride bikes 3 or 4 miles away and not worry about it. Mom and Dad just wanted to know our general whereabouts. Well, we'll pray about it and check how much it costs and whether it's worth it.

I've got two new knitting projects going. I'm making my husband a new guitar strap. I don't really like the one pattern I've seen, so I'm making one up as I go. I'm also making a blanket - mostly I'm learning new stitches with some nice natural wool and I'll eventually put the squares together for a blanket.

Tonight, though, I'll enjoy the first night in the new house that we own!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Settling In

We have been sleeping in our new home for the last five nights. It is so much different than our previous home, mostly in positive ways, but not always. Everyone is used to sleeping with our doors closed, but the second floor in this house has only one heating and cooling vent, and it is in our room. So, now, we all sleep with our doors open to let air circulate.

The house is a good bit smaller. The piano and TV are in the same room now. We also have the Nintendo set up on the main TV since the basement is too small to set up an extra TV for Nintendo. The basement is already pretty crowded, and we don't have P's woodworking stuff in there yet. The good news is that about half of what is there now is going to be sold in a yard sale. I am a born organizer, but even I'm a little intimidated by what needs to be done down there to get ready for a yard sale!

The bathroom was a real challenge to get cleaned. We had a bunch of duplicate (and triplicate and quadruplicate, etc.) stuff. I have found 10 or 15 unused or minimally used toothbrushes. I have no idea how we got all these. Some have dentist names on them, others don't. I'm going to sterilize them in boiling water, then we'll never have to buy another tooth brush. We also have enough toothpaste to last about 10 years.

One problem with only one bathroom is that it is on the main floor and we sleep upstairs. I was coming downstairs last night and lost my balance. I didn't fall, but I caught myself and twisted my knee and hip a little. We also have a toilet in the basement. It sits there all by itself - but, I'm sure it will be useful!

We're working hard to get the rest of the stuff moved and organized. It's going to be fun!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Moved!! - mostly

We are mostly moved in to our new house! Friday night, several other women came over and helped finish cleaning and then moving the first of the boxes in. The seller had a cleaning service come in and clean, so the house itself just needed to have the cabinets wiped out - that was nice. But the basement was a disaster! The stuff was all moved out, but the floors were all dusty and dirty, and there were cobwebs in every corner and on every beam. It took vacuuming, sweeping, and then mopping, but it is now clean! And, after the cleaning it got, I would have been OK to eat off those floors!

Saturday was the real moving day. We had about 14 or 16 people helping with the move. They got most of our stuff from the house (not including the storage shed) into this house. They took from about 3 to 8pm. It was a lot of fun, but a lot of work. Unfortunately, it was a hot day - temps near 90. We had lots of water, lemonade, and sodas for everyone. The stairs here are pretty narrow, so the guys didn't hesitate to take beds apart to get them upstairs and then put the back together. We are blessed to have friends with such diverse abilities.

The seller had left a bunch of stuff on the street for the trash service to pick up tomorrow morning. He included an old mattress and box springs. They aren't in great shape, but they're not completely trashed. We also had a twin size mattress and box springs that were going in our downstairs bedroom for a guest bedroom/craft room. Well, I told them to put one set of box springs and mattress in the craft room. Then, about 30 minutes later they came in with another set. I told them to put it in the craft room, but then went in and realized that there were two sets. L's room already had her twin mattress on her bunk bed. I decided not to worry about it until later. After everyone had left, I looked outside and realized that the seller's mattress and box spring were gone from the street. My husband and I got a real laugh out of it! We really don't want a second set. We may hold on to the second set and put it in our yard sale so that someone can use it instead of it going to the dump. Of course, a lot of people have already gone through the the trash on the road. If we put the mattress and box spring out, it might be gone by morning.

The house is definitely smaller than our other home. P and my bedroom fits our bed and cedar chest. We used to also have a large antique radio, a desk, and a treadmill, and the room still felt large. The kids rooms are also pretty small. We are having to do some serious furniture rearrangement. We haven't run into any real problems with size, though. The kids used to always want to be on the parents' computer so they could play computer but still be near everyone else. Their computer is right near the living room, so they are still right in the middle of downstairs.

The kids seem to be handling the change really well so far. They seemed to have dealt with all their general "I don't want to move" "It's so far away" "I like this house" over the last couple of months, so now they get to enjoy exploring the new house.

I was worried about the cats and the move. I was planning on putting them in a bedroom or in one of the large closets for the day (the closets in the eaves of the house are huge). Well, I needn't have worried. I put the cats in the basement in their boxes and then opened the boxes. Sassy and Sophie came slowly out of their boxes and we showed them their food and litter boxes. Over the next several hours, they came upstairs and carefully explored the house. Silver, on the other hand, would have none of that. She stayed safely in her kennel. I brought her out once to show her the litter box, but she went back to the kennel. She didn't come out until sometime yesterday. During the move, Silver stayed in her kennel. We got a little worried because we couldn't find Sassy or Sophie, but we figured if we hadn't seen them at all, that they probably hadn't been brave enough to get underfoot and escape. We found them hiding out in the back of a closet. The good news, is that they all seem to be acting somewhat normally today.

We had an Open House Saturday morning before the move with a separate showing before the Open House. The people who requested the showing also requested another showing Sunday morning, so P vacuumed the carpet one last time after the stuff was moved out. They are still interested, so we are hopeful that they may make an offer!

Hopefully, we can get the rest of the stuff moved in over the next week. I can take a month or so to get it all organized and get ready for a massive yard sale!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dance, Sunburns, Swimming, Baseball

Yesterday and today have been migraine days - ugh! But, we have muddled through and done pretty well. I took a friend's kids along with mine to a movie at the library yesterday afternoon. Afterwards, I offered to pay them $5 each for an hour worth of work. All of them except C took me up on it. I got 3 clean bathrooms, 5 vacuumed floors, and a kitchen of clean cabinet fronts for $25. That's a pretty good deal, considering that I spent the morning lying on the sofa instead of doing the cleaning that I wanted to do.

L had her first Irish dance class of the summer yesterday. She really enjoyed it. There are only 4 girls in the class altogether. One of the other girls is L's age and has been taking dance as long as L has. The other two girls are about 5 or 6 years old. This looks like it is their first time to dance. The teacher did a very nice job of working with the older girls and then having them practice while she worked with the younger girls and so on. They did try a few things with all 4 of them, like a pinwheel. L is having fun and getting to dance - it seems like it will be a successful three weeks.

We had a showing today - that is why I paid the kids to clean house for me. I still had a headache when I got up this morning, but it wasn't as bad as yesterday. The kids and I managed to get things pretty straightened up. However, I realized when we got home this afternoon, that I had left the vacuum cleaner right in the foyer. The cord wasn't even rolled up! Well, it turned out that the vacuum cleaner wasn't even the issue for the people who saw it. They didn't like the floor plan and they don't like all the blue in the kitchen - my kitchen has a blue counter and blue and white wallpaper - you can't just repaint. Well, we'll pray about the open house on Saturday.

During the showing, the kids and I went to Sears and purchased appliances for the new house. It really didn't take very long and wasn't very hard. I had already done a lot of research online and knew pretty much what I wanted. So, everything is purchased, and it will be delivered next week.

The kids and I went to the beach this afternoon. A friend of mine came with four of her daughters, which made my kids really happy. Both my kids and I got sunburns. I was really suprised about the kids. They rarely get sunburned because they have their dad's Italian skin, but we were out for several hours today. I was derelict in my duty as a mother - I won't forget the sunscreen next time. It was pretty cool today - only 72 degrees - but the kids didn't think the water was too cold, and the sun made it feel warmer.

C had a baseball game later in the afternoon today. It turned windy and downright cool - closer to 68 degrees. His team won 10-7, and C got one base hit and did a pretty decent job of fielding. He is learning more every game. C is very much a "leader" on his baseball team. When it is time to get started, he starts calling all the other players into the dugout. At the change of innings, he is continually cheering his team "Let's show them what we're made of!" "Come on, Rivercats! Let's get some hits!" What is really cool is that he is always so positive to his teammates. He tells them that they made a good try if they struck out or that it was a good hit even if they were thrown out. It's neat to see him grow up and step out into this type of role.

Time for me to go to bed. Hopefully, a good night's rest will get rid of this headache for good. We're hoping to move this weekend. The current owner of the house has had to work extra this week, so he's having a hard time getting everything out of the house. We may have to adjust our plans around that. But, we'll make it work. In the meantime, sleepytime for me.

Monday, June 12, 2006

June 12

Monday night - it was quite a busy day. Moving day is Saturday, so I got all the utilities set up today. Lots of phone calls. We also got scheduled for a showing on Wednesday, so house cleaning got moved up in priority. I mopped the kitchen floor and did some vacuuming tonight. The kids are getting a little stressed about the move. C did not want to sleep in his room tonight. He says that he is scared about the move. P and I talked and prayed with him, but managed to get him back to his room. He hasn't slept with us in several weeks, and we'd like to keep it that way.

C is only 8 years old, but he is asking some pretty tough questions for his age. Last night, he started talking about whether or not God is real. He is a little young to start developing abstract thought, for one thing. L has not asked too many questions about faith. It comes up on occasion, but usually when we are studying Scripture in her schoolwork or when the family is talking about something related to faith. C is much more likely to bring up issues of faith on his own. The discussion about the existence of God was pretty interesting. We talked about several different ways to think about why God exists and then talked about faith and what it means to believe. I think lots of it went over his head right now, but I'm sure there will be lots of conversations in the future.

Caterpee update - Caterpee is now over an inch long!! This is from his initial size of just a few millimeters. He can go through an entire milkweed leaf in less than a day. He has shed his skin at least once - it was really cool to look at the old skin. L is really enjoying her new pet. Thankfully the cats have not noticed that Caterpee is alive and tried to eat him.

Tomorrow is a 4H meeting at a sheep farm. Sounds like a lot of fun. But, then we have to be at the dance studio by 5:30 for L's Irish class. She has 6 classes in 3 weeks and is really looking forward to it. Well, off to bed for me. It's going to be a busy day tomorrow.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Moving and Caterpree updates

We are moving along with the purchase of the "new" house (actually much older than our current home). The good news is that we can go ahead and close on it because our financial stuff worked out. Someone else put an offer on it, so we have to be able to go ahead with closing or we would lose it. I'm glad we can go ahead with buying it because I really like the house. P and I have prayed a lot about it, and we really believe this is the house for us. We will still have this house, but we're hoping that getting the furniture out and getting the carpets clean will help it sell. We also have an open house next weekend.

I was doing a laundry marathon today, but I pulled a muscle in my low back while taking laundry out of the dryer. So, I have a backache and a migraine tonight. What a combination! Hopefully, I'll feel better tomorrow, because we need to go to Sam's Club. I'm looking forward to taking P, since he's never been. I'm figuring we can make a really romantic date out of it. Romance in the aisles of Sam's - I must really need sleep!

Caterpee update - he has grown to at least twice his size. He eats an entire leaf in a day. L has been good about keeping his little bottle cleaned out and keeping him supplied with fresh leaves. He's really pretty cute, but I can't say he has much personality yet.

Well, I'm going to try to sleep now. More later.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bits and Pieces

C went to see L's dance recital on Sunday afternoon. He had a wonderful comment after her more difficult dance: "All I have to say is that, in my opinion, that is some impressive jumping." I absolutely agree with him. L's easier class did a number of sotee's in first and second positions and some sotee arabesques, but her more difficult class did things that I can't name and that are much more difficult. One of them involves starting in fifth position and then jumping and landing forward of where they started, but in fifth position again. They also did jete's (leaps) across the floor. L has really learned quite a lot this year. Not only can she do these new steps, but her body is straight and her arms are wherever they are supposed to be. It is quite a feat to get it all together.

L caught a caterpillar today. His/her name is "Caterpee". We tend to call it a him, but there's really no way to know for sure. You can't exactly check between the legs! Anyway, it's a monarch caterpillar. She caught one a few years ago, but she was so sure it wasn't a monarch because it didn't have the right color stripes. Well, it made a chrysallis right before family camp, and since we didn't know what kind of caterpillar it was, we took it to camp. Nothing happened at camp, but the day after we got back, the monarch came out of it's chrysallis. I have beautiful pictures of that. It was a truly amazing sight!!

Well, it appears that Caterpee is also a monarch, so we are looking forward to watching him grow over the next month or so. L is very good about making sure he has plenty of leaves to eat. He eats quite a lot. C commented how much he already ate and pooped in just one day. But, that's his job. All he is supposed to do right now is to grow and get ready to make his chrysallis. He appears to be doing that well. L is very good about feeding Caterpee. Things are going to be a little stressful, though, with the move. I hope she can find milkweed easily in our new neighborhood. And, she is going to be at camp for a week. Most of that time, P will be home alone since C and I will be at a family reunion. L will have to make a reminder so P will keep Caterpee well fed.

We had two sets of thunderstorms come through today. Because of that (I tend to get bad headaches with storms), P and I decided that we will have our anniversary celebration on Thursday. It turns out that since I treated my headache preemptively, I didn't have a really severe headache tonight. We did, however, get to see a beautiful, complete rainbow in the sky after the first set of storms. It was just beautiful. What a reminder that, even when things are looking dark, God promises to take care of us.

When I became a stay at home Mom, there were a few things in our routine that I wanted to change. I wanted my kids to eat sandwiches at lunchtime more often and to eat ramen noodles for lunch less often. I really don't like that they eat ramen very often because it isn't very nutritious. P let them have it quite often because it is easy and cheap. When they ate sandwiches they would also have chips. I rarely let the kids have chips, which is something they don't like about my being home.

Well, I have surrendered on the ramen battle! Let the kids eat ramen every day at lunch. Is it really going to kill them? I seriously doubt it. My concession is that they have ramen noodles. My requirement, though, is that they also eat a fruit and a veggie. So, they had ramen with grapes and carrots today. The ramen is really cheap. At Sams Club, I get 36 packets for $6. It's hard to beat that!

We still have our sandwich days. The kids aren't always happy, but they deal with it. Whenever we picnic, I make sandwiches - we usually have chips when we picnic. I treat them with grilled cheese sometimes. We sometimes eat leftovers or other somewhat more exciting things. The kids like their ramen plain, though. So, I have given up on the ramen front. I've "given up" on a lot of things, but we're better off for it. The more I relax on the little stuff, the more time I have to really teach the kids the important stuff of life.

Well, it looks like the move to the new house is "on" again. We are looking at closing in the next two weeks. All of our financial ducks have lined up - Thank You, Lord! So, we may be trying to get moving pretty quickly here. That is just fine with me. I have been very frustrated with living in limbo. I am looking forward to setting up housekeeping in the new house. I know it is smaller and probably less convenient (laundry in the basement, no dishwasher, etc.), but I have felt so strongly that this is where God is taking us and I want to get there and meet our neighbors, etc.

Well, I think it's time to see if I can get some sleep. I promised the kids swimming tomorrow if I don't have too much of a headache.