Saturday, November 27, 2010


“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”  C.S. Lewis

Yet another reminder that God’s ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts.  My plans for my life are so puny and misguided compared to what God wants and expects from me as He puts together the beautiful tapestry of our lives.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Being Doctor Mom

I enjoyed working as a doctor.  And I think I was pretty good – at least a lot of people said they missed me when I was gone.  When I was working, I tried very hard not to diagnose and treat my own kids.  This actually wasn’t too hard when they were little because they were hardly ever sick. 

But, there was the time that Rosie Girl had Salmonella that didn’t get diagnosed until it had been going on for 5 days and I took her to the ER on a Sunday night because she was dehydrated!  Wild Man, being so wild, had the bottom of his chin glued together once by the ER doctor and once by me (on a Friday afternoon).  He has been less sick, but more injury prone.  When he broke his collarbone, I had him see the Nurse-Practitioner with whom I shared an office and hallway (while I tried to finish seeing my last few patients and not hyperventilate!).

Things are more complicated now that I’m not part of a medical practice and have let my licensure lapse.  My biggest frustration is trying to sort out when to take them in to the clinic and when to just treat at home.  About 2 years ago, Rosie Girl had a sore throat that ended up becoming severe exudative tonsillitis by the time I finally took her to the clinic.  I’m so sure that most things are caused by viruses and so determined not to contribute to antibiotic resistance that I treat them at home as much as possible.  But, I’m still paying for that bit of “maternal malpractice” in not-so-funny jokes and remarks from Rosie Girl!

And we had to deal with the same issue again this week.  Wild Man has been sick until Tuesday.  It looked like just a virus until yesterday (Thanksgiving!) when it was clear he had tonsillitis and bacterial conjunctivitis.  Ugh!  Well, it was easy enough to diagnose without any special equipment and we had some leftover antibiotics (yeah, I know, you should throw away unused antibiotics) so I started him on Zithromax.  Wild Man is improved today, but still thinks I should have taken him to the doctor today and that I’m once again guilty of maternal malpractice!

What’s the lesson here?  I have no idea.  There is a balance between running to clinic for every sniffle (I’ve seen these families) and not taking them to see the doctor until they are very ill (and I’ve seen these families, too).  And I think we all end up on both sides of the line at various times.  I guess I’ll use the information and skills I have (which are more than moms who aren’t doctors) and take them to the clinic when they need something I don’t have (otoscope, XRay machine, prescribing ability!).

Nonetheless, we had a lovely Thanksgiving day – more about that later!  So, how do you handle sick kids?  Is one parent or the other “responsible” for dealing with the illness?  Are you able to call your doctor’s office for advice?


Friday, November 19, 2010

I Can’t Teach My High Schooler!!

PWM and I have generally been pretty confident about our ability to educate our kids at home.  Unfortunately, part of that confidence has been because we were unimpressed with the academic achievement of so many kids coming out of the public schools.  In any case, we always figured that if we could potty train toddlers, we could certainly teach them academic stuff.

But, then came high school.  Overall, PWM and I have remained confident of our ability to teach our kids, even with most high school topics.  After all, between the two of us, we have three bachelor’s degrees and a doctoral degree!  In this second year of Rosie Girl’s high school years, I think I’m learning as much as she is – and not just academics.

Lots of parents teach their kids at home until high school and then have them attend a public or private school.  Other families work to make sure that their kids can teach themselves during the high school years so that the student can learn things that the parent may not know.  I leaned toward the self-teaching concept.  But, I’m starting to re-think this position – or at least the idea that teens should be able to self-teach anything.

Rosie Girl is a visual learner and a great reader.  She learns things like History and Biology very well from textbooks.  We are finding, though, that she is having real trouble with Chemistry because she doesn’t need to learn a set of facts, but a set of skills.  No problem.  I’ve taken lots of Chemistry classes over the years, so I figured I’d just teach her.  Unfortunately, knowing Chemistry doesn’t translate into being able to TEACH Chemistry!  PWM, though, is a great teacher.  He can figure out where a student is struggling and explain that particular section until the student understands.  So, I worked all the end-of-chapter problems step by step and gave it to Rosie Girl.  When she still didn’t understand something, she and PWM would use the textbook and the worked out problems to work on it together.  And now she understands the sections that were giving her trouble.

From my vast experience of one high school student and one middle school student (along with lots of reading), I have learned some lessons for parents who are going to homeschool their teens.

1. Don’t expect to have to teach your teen everything, but also don’t expect them to be able to learn everything on their own.

2. Help your student learn how to learn.  Rosie Girl did a study skills workbook last year which has helped her figure out the ways that she learns best.  Since she’s a visual learner, reading tends to be her best bet.  Wild Man is very much an auditory learner, so he may do better with online or DVD lectures instead of/in addition to textbooks for subjects like History.  Remember that there are tons of resources available online or at the library.  Rosie Girl has used Khan Academy on YouTube to get a different perspective on some Chemistry topics.

3. When your teen is learning something that you (the parent) don’t know, help them find ways to learn it.  Rosie Girl wants to learn Japanese, but I have not the first clue about it!  Another parent clued me in to the BYU online courses.  Rosie Girl is getting her 2 credits of foreign language with my involvement being to just check in to make sure she’s keeping up.

4. When it comes to learning skills, your teen may need some one-on-one help.  This can be particularly true in Math and sciences like Chemistry and Physics.  In our case, we’re quite fortunate that PWM is an excellent teacher of things related to Math.  Other families may find that signing a student up for a course at the local high school or community college or even an online course with real-time interaction is the answer.  Rosie Girl is learning quite a bit at her Art class at the local high school that she would never have gotten to learn from a book (or from her parents!).

No, I can’t really teach my high schooler, but that doesn’t mean that she can’t learn successfully at home.  We just have to figure out what works for her.  And she’ll be that much ahead when she gets to college.


7 Quick Takes Friday – 11/19/2010


1. I capitulated to the children about the location of the Christmas tree.  But, as part of the deal, they have to clean the living room and move the furniture.

2. Deer (gun) season starts tomorrow.  Normally, this means nothing to me, but a good friend is taking Wild Man out on Monday.  I’d love to have some fresh venison!

3. Mint M&Ms are available !!  One of the myriad reasons to love this time of year!

4. I think Wild Man has grown 4-6 inches since last year.  We’re going to have to get him some new dress clothes and shoes for his band concert and church services.  Deep sigh.

5. I painted my nails dark blue and then added some sparkly polish on top.  It’s not really a great look for a 43 year old woman, but it makes me happy anyway!

6. Grandma took the kids to the midnight showing of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1” last night/early this morning.  PWM and I are going to see it at a more rational time of day.  But, the kids loved it and I can’t wait to see it!

7. In the meantime, we got “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” from Netflix, so PWM and I enjoyed that for our little “date night” last night!

Check out 7 Quick Takes Friday to see what’s happening with other bloggers!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mutiny In The Bungalow?

So last night, I told my kids that I thought we should put the Christmas tree in the dining room this year.  Our living room and dining room are almost one room, but the dining room area has vinyl flooring and the living room has wood.  Right now, our living room seems a little crowded to add a Christmas tree, so I figured that we could put it in the dining room with less inconvenience.

You would have thought that I told the kids I wanted to cut off one of their arms!  They proceeded to mutiny – at 10pm.  I told them that mutiny could only be considered between noon and 5pm, so they had to wait until today.  But, I woke up with a migraine, so I told them no mutiny when I have a migraine.

So they’ve changed tactics.  They are now engaging in non-violent resistance (a la Gandhi) as evidenced by these signs placed throughout the house.

279 280 281 283 284 (Note: the 143 means “I love you” while the “pr” means “passive resistance”.)

Well, if they feel so strongly about having the Christmas tree in the living room, I think they can be the ones to move the furniture, clean up, and vacuum before we bring the tree upstairs.  And I can call their protest educational since we’ll be learning about Gandhi later in the year.  Now, as long as they don’t decide to protest their schoolwork . . .


Monday, November 15, 2010

Our Week In Review – The Super-Late Edition


So, how’s your week been?  Ours has been it’s usual craziness.  When I quit working, I thought for some reason, that my days would be boring and all the same.  Hah!  Life is never dull around here!  So, what did we do?

Wild Man

Wild Man is really doing quite well with reading and spelling.  Is it an effect of the Vision Therapy already, or are we just lucky?  Don’t know, don’t care.  I’m happy with it.  I did have Wild Man do a few pages in his new Easy Grammar book.  He thought they were painfully easy.  Fine.  Next week, we move on to subjects and verbs.

We’ve been studying China this week.  I had a number of significant headaches, so I didn’t read a whole lot to him.  We did, however, watch several Netflix shows about China and Tibet.  Several of the shows were Wild China, which I decided is also Science, so I don’t feel bad about how lonely the Science book is getting.  Wild Man’s paper this week was about his book on Hudson Taylor.

Wednesdays, Wild Man still does the Nutrition Site without me and is enjoying himself.  He’s also been busy on Sunday mornings helping do kids’ church.  They do a skit almost every week and Wild Man has played various Old Testament characters in the last few months.  After church on Sunday, Wild Man practices with the youth band and then has a separate drum lesson with the youth pastor (who is a drummer) on Thursday afternoon.  He’s getting the hang of using a drum kit – good for him!

Rosie Girl

Chemistry is still problematic, but I think the total volume of tears shed this week was definitely less than previously.  I’ve done the problems from the book into a notebook that she can use as a study guide, and PWM and I have both helped her with various concepts.  We will get through this!

Rosie Girl wrote a rough draft this week of a paper about the Papal Schism.  Medieval church history isn’t really her “thing”, but she’s managing.

Otherwise, Rosie Girl is being her usual creative self: playing piano, making Christmas presents, and writing.

Some choice nuggets from her journal:

    • A good friend will tell you their dad’s about to kill you.  A best friend will run away with you.  (About David and Jonathan)
    • And, so, as a result of peer pressure, Israel asked for a king.  Now who do they pick?  Saul the idiot, of course.
    • I guess three popes are better than one.  NOT!!!  (About the papal schism)
    • And now we have Samson.  Most pathetic man in the Bible.  (Rosie Girl is a woman of strong opinions!)

And, me?  Well, considering that I’m writing a weekly wrap-up at 1:30 on Monday morning, I think it’s safe to conclude that I really don’t have things under control.  And I just realized a few minutes ago that Rosie Girl is on Week 13 of Sonlight while Wild Man is on Week 12.  Apparently, Rosie Girl skipped Week 10 because I took it out of the binder too early.  ACK!  I may have her go back and do the reading from Week 10 that she missed and start Week 13 after Thanksgiving.

I really need a holiday – and I’m very thankful that we have a week off starting next Monday.  As it is, Grandma is taking the kids to the midnight showing of the new Harry Potter film on Thursday night/Friday morning, so I doubt I’ll get much work out of them on Friday.  Whatever.  We’re all looking forward to Thanksgiving!

So, what’s up at your house?

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I’m not having a good night.  I’m sitting in my rocking chair with an ice pack on my head, having maxed out on all my meds.  Unlike many of my migraines, I actually have an idea of the cluster of things that triggered this one.  First of all, I’m in a headache-prone time in my cycle.  Second, this is happening in Western Sahara right now.  (It’s too long to explain, but our church has been involved along with a church in a larger city in outreach and humanitarian work with the Saharawi people who live in refugee camps in Algeria.  The violence is heart-wrenching.)  Third, I had my CT scan of the neck today and it was normal.

Why would having a normal neck CT be a headache trigger?  Good question.  My doctor and I agreed that my symptoms are not at all typical of disc problems in my neck.  Nonetheless, since my migraines have been so resistant to treatment, we decided that we should  at least take a look at my neck and verify that I don’t have any herniating discs causing my headache issues.  The scan itself was short and sweet – well, the position I was in was starting to worsen my usual headache a little bit, but since the scan takes so little time, it wasn’t a big deal.  I got my results by computer a couple of hours after I got home.  And I can’t say I was surprised that it was normal.

But I’m almost disappointed.  I think that, deep down, I was starting to have hope that we might find something treatable.  Not that I was all that thrilled with the idea of someone carving on my neck.  Yet, if there was a decent chance it would help with the headaches, I would have done it.

Another great idea goes by the wayside.

As I ponder this situation, though, I am reminded that my hope for a joyful and contented life is not found in headache relief.  Yes, I really, really want the headaches to go away.  But, I can have a good life despite them.

No, my hope is in Jesus who gives me abundant life through my headaches. Romans 5:3-5 says “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”  Pretty much the whole book of Philippians is Paul reminding the church of God’s sovereignty and the joy we have in Jesus.

I know that God is using my pain somehow for His glory, even if I can’t see how.  And so, by His grace (for I can do nothing by myself), I keep moving forward.  The headaches might go away or they might not.  But, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  He is the Solid Rock on which I can build my life.  And He is himself eternal and provides me with the hope of eternal life.

I’ll get up tomorrow and keep moving forward, obeying Jesus, and living life with the joy that He gives – even if I have a headache.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


Be prepared: this post is going to just be a ramble of stuff that I’ve thought of in the last several hours.  You’ve been warned.

So, I went to church this morning – Yippee!  It helped that I got an extra hour of sleep.  This morning was the Sunday this month for Communion.  Honestly, I’ve tended to approach it as just one of the “things we do” in church.  Whether or not I was there for Communion never really made much difference in my life.  That’s changing, though.  The more that I experience God’s grace, the more “reality” there is in Communion.  No, I’m not going Catholic with transubstantiation or anything; the act of remembrance during Communion is more meaningful now than it has been in the past.

Our pastor preached on “What Happens After We Die?” today.  Can I just say that our pastor is an amazing preacher?!  We are so fortunate to have someone who really researches his topics and then is able to explain them quite well.

But, of course, I have an issue.  Why?  Why can’t I just listen and keep my “mouth” shut?  I don’t know.  (I feel like Pippin in “The Return of the King” when Merry says - “Why do you have to look, Pippin?  Why do you always have to look?”)  Our pastor (very correctly, I believe) said that not only does the Bible tell us to not go to spiritists or mediums, but that they are just fraudulent.  Our souls don’t hang out here on Earth to talk to living humans after we die. 

But . . .  what about when Saul consults a medium and the spirit of Samuel talks to him?  (I Samuel 28:3-24)  In this case, Saul disguises himself and consults a medium, which he knows is forbidden by God.  Apparently, though, Samuel himself does appear to Saul and pretty much tells Saul that his armies will be defeated because Saul has disobeyed God (in more ways than just consulting a medium).  Was this a real visitation?  Was it a one-time deal that God allowed?  Was the medium herself being used by God and Samuel didn’t really appear?  I have no idea.  But, clearly, Saul was sinning simply by consulting the medium.

My favorite quote from today’s sermon is “The believer is as close to Hell as he will ever get while  he’s on earth; the unbeliever is as close to Heaven as he will ever get while he’s on earth.”  Very true.

During the sermon, I was reminded of Dante’s Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.  I’ve read The Inferno and part of The Paradiso.  What came to my mind, though, is that Hell is immeasurably worse than Dante imagines (and Dante has quite the imagination) and Heaven is immeasurably better than Dante imagines.

The author whom I think does the best job of getting the “sense” of Heaven right is C.S. Lewis.  (You aren’t surprised, are you?)  The very end of The Last Battle in which Aslan encourages the characters to go “further up and further in” and the garden that is larger on the inside than on the outside are powerful descriptions.  I also like his description in The Great Divorce of the area actually right around Heaven.  (The premise of the book is that souls in Hell, which is just dull and gray, can get on a train to visit the outside of Heaven.  I don’t think Lewis imagined this as reality, but as an analogy.  The real point is that the souls of people who aren’t interested in or can’t handle the wonders of true love in Heaven are already living in Hell.)  To Lewis, being near or in Heaven is like reality being more “real”.  The grass is hard, like glass and the sun is brighter than normal, but the souls in Heaven don’t feel anything different because their bodies are also more “real”, yet a soul visiting from the train finds this “real reality” painful.  Confusing?  Yeah.  Read the book.  Lewis is a master of description.

I hope you enjoyed your worship time today!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Our Week In Review – 11/6/2010



Just two more weeks till Thanksgiving break!!  Yes, this teacher/mom is ready for a break.  This was a tough week for me because of my migraine Monday through Wednesday.  But, we also had some educational “challenges”!

Wild Man

Wild Man and PWM are having a great time at Tae Kwon Do.  Their first belt test is in the first part of December.  I’ve been quite impressed with Wild Man’s diligence in practicing his forms, but even more impressed with his efforts to memorize the manners, and other pieces of information (‘cause memorization is NOT his strong suit!).

Vision Therapy is going quite well for Wild Man.  The therapist is impressed with the amount of progress he is making.  It is a bit early to see a change in his academics, but we’re optimistic.

In his study of Eastern Hemisphere countries, Wild Man has made it to China.  Because of my migraines, we watched several episodes of Wild China, but we’re also reading the China book in the Enchantment of the World series of books.

Wild Man is doing quite well with learning grammar.  I had him start working in his Easy Grammar workbook this week and he did just fine.  He’s also reading about Hudson Taylor this week.  I’m debating about watching “Chariots of Fire”.  It’s a good movie, but I’m not sure it will hold his interest.  However, when we did Core 5 several years ago, he loved watching “Gandhi”, so I guess I’ll try it and see.

Rosie Girl

This week’s paper by Rosie Girl was a “rant” about the fact that the author of The Trumpeter Of Krakow did not include sheet music of the trumpeter’s song.  She read Pilgrim’s Progress this last week, but didn’t enjoy it as much as some of her other books.  She is studying the time of the Western Schism when there were two competing papacies – one in Rome and the other in Avignon.

Rosie Girl is working on her music for the Christmas tea where she will play.  She is also playing keyboards at church for Christmas, for which she is really excited since they are playing Christmas Eve/Sarajevo (by Trans-Siberian Orchestra).

The real “challenge” this week was Chemistry – again.  I love that Singapore Chemistry teaches kids to really think instead of just learn formulas, but Rosie Girl has been getting very easily frustrated.  This is probably the first course that she’s had real trouble with.  I ordered the Teacher’s edition of the workbook, which should help some.  The most helpful thing that I’m doing is to make a solutions manual for the questions in the book.  This way, when Rosie Girl and I work on them together, I’ve already done it and know how to approach it.  But, there was some wailing and gnashing of teeth this week.  I’m still having trouble believing that one of my children hates science so much!

That was our week!  How was yours?  Anything exciting happen?  Check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see how others have done!

Friday, November 05, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday



Ahhh, Friday!  Truly one of the most stressful days of the week around here as we try to get all the “schoolwork” done so we can have the weekend free!

1. I had a migraine from Monday through Wednesday.  On Tuesday, I was supposed to go see my doctor for a regular visit.  I was already feeling poorly and had taken some potent medications, so my mother-in-law drove me to the appointment.  By the time I saw the doctor, my headache was well into the 9-10 (out of 10) range.  So, for the first time in close to two years, I ended up with shots of Toradol and morphine.  Within 30 minutes, I had significant relief!  Special thanks to my mother-in-law for driving me so I could get the “good” meds!  Yeah, the headache continued into Wednesday, but I’m so grateful that I got a few hours of relief on Tuesday.

2. One other thing that we decided on at my doctor’s visit is to do a CT scan of my neck next week.  My headaches don’t at all fit the description of cervicogenic or discogenic pain, but we all know of some person whose symptoms didn’t fit the final diagnosis.

3. Wild Man goes over to Grandma’s just about every day.  I called him back yesterday to do some schoolwork and he brought his mug of hot chocolate with him.  He had helped Grandma do some work on the shed and then chased off some squirrels for her.  After that, he stayed for “tea”!

4. Rosie Girl is hard into NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  I’m betting she’s going to be happy that we have a full week off school on Thanksgiving week!

5. It’s becoming winter!  Our heater is set at 65-68 degrees and we’re having to wear warm clothes again.

6. The downside of becoming winter is that we still need to get the back yard ready – take the trampoline pad down, mulch the plants, and figure out what do with our Topsy Turvy’s.

7. I’m starting to enjoy a little Christmas music.  Rosie Girl is playing a concert for a Women’s Tea in December and is playing on the church worship team for Christmas Eve, so we’ve already got some Christmas music around the house.  But, right after Thanksgiving, you can bet it’s going to be all Christmas music, all the time!!

Check out 7 Quick Takes Friday to see what others have been up to!