Saturday, October 30, 2010

We Got Schooled!

Erika and Lilly are now both enrolled in school.  Lilly started strong, loved the first week and then had a rough second week.  She is over it now and very much liking school.  Despite a bit of chaos yesterday morning concerning a project being due, I am very much enjoying Lilly being in school.  It is a very good school.  My favorite thing is that the teachers are not assigning loads of homework, but they are doing tons of classwork.  I like that.  ALOT.  She can finish her homework in about 30 minutes and sometimes less.

Erika came to the car after the first day of school hating every minute AND begging to never go back.  Because I am ruthless, I let her know this was a one year commitment and she could not come back to "Ye Old School of Home" until next school year (I am convinced that she will not want to once she makes some friends!) and she would just have to dig in and make it work.  Yesterday, when I picked her up, she was smiling and confessed that she liked it.  It is VERY different from what she is used to, the kids cuss and talk alot about dating.  However, she says they respect the fact that she is different, constantly talk about how f'in smart she is, and she likes the school work.  I am glad she is adjusting.

I must say it is nice.  I had reached a breaking point and I could not have finished this year.  Kayla is very self-motivated, self-guided and would be self graded if I would let her...but I won't...yet, LOL.  I'm taking one year at a time, but for now, Kayla is homeschooled and the other two are not.  Kayla enjoys her 'only child' status even if it is only during school hours.

Sooo, I am relieved, revived and a little reluctant.  Change is hard but sometimes, change is good and in this case, change was very necessary.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Oh What A Week

I am sitting here unable to get started with productivity today because of what the rest of my week looks like.  The highlights:

*Homeschool support meeting-I am in charge of these but I will be passing them to more capable hands for such obvious reasons...( :
*Cataract surgery for my mom
*Tail amputation for my dog
*Orthodontist Appointment for my daughter
*Dr. appt. for myself
*possible new 4H club for Lilly
*Bible study
*Trunk or treat
*Teen court (my kids are doing this as an extra-curricular thing, not because they are in trouble)
*Game night

Now add school and life to all of that and you have a busy week that makes me want to go right back to the bed I vacated much too early this morning.  Oh wait, is this Halloween weekend?  Yes, yes it is.

On the plus side though, I've lost 2 more pounds bringing my GRAND weight loss total up to 42 pounds.  Can I get a WOO-HOO??

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It has been a very interesting week, to say the least.  Of course, I am incapable of saying the least-so I will say the most.  ( :

I miss all of my chicks still being in the nest.  I love what homeschool does for the family.  I love the insulated cocoon and the total control.  I hate the painful things that Lilly is going to encounter at school.  She will get her feelings hurt, hurt someone's feelings,  be rejected, fail, and will be made to feel really stupid at least once.  She will also make possible life-time friends, learn how to apologize, be accepted, succeed and be made to feel really smart way more than once.  I know that my child needs this.  She needs to be around kids her own age.  She needs to not be looked down upon for being 9.  She needs to know what 9 feels like and acts like.  But most importantly, she needs a team of cheerleaders called teachers.  The same thing I needed when I was her age.  That is the main reason I can make this adjustment.

I will be going through the steps to get Erika enrolled this week.  She really wants to make the change back to public school.  I believe that this is an important step for her as well.  I worry about all the things that can happen, all the changes she will face, but I have to have faith that she is God's.  I also know that she needs an art program and someone who isn't me to help guide her on her creative path.  Her talents are numerous and amazing.

Kayla is most reluctant about going to school.  I believe it is simple fear and that those fears are copmpletely unfounded.  There is no end to what she is capable of.  This is a child who is an academic whiz, but prefers the sidelines socially.  God has given her amazing intellect and I don't think she should hide it under a bush-OH NO!  She is so much fun to be around and yet, she has such a hard time making her way around other teens.  I may have to push her forcefully, yet gently into the next phase of life.  She needs to develop all of the skills necessary to be successful in life.  Social skills are just as important as intellect.

I have been homeschooling for almost 7 years.  I am so thankful for this station in life.  I love my kids but I am an empty vessel right now.  I hate admitting failure-which is kind of what I feel right now.  I am stuck between the school world and the homeschool community.  Truly, there is no middle ground.  People have made some of the crassest comments to me about homeschool.  They seem to think that since we are back to school, I must be rejecting the concept.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Of course, my homeschool friends don't exactly understand either and see it as sort of giving up before the finish line.  I really don't think-and have never thought-that one is better than the other.  I think I have been lucky to be in a positon to have a choice.  Most people don't have the choice and therefore have never even considered it.  I see good and bad in both situations.  I still see good and bad in both situations. 

I am trusting God on this one.  He has allowed me to come to a place where I am no longer able to be positive and give what I need to give to educate my children properly at home.  I have to trust that there is some reason OR that there is some greater plan that needs this.  I am thankful that my children will have their minds opened to some realities.  The sheltered world we live in has created some judgemental attitudes that make me cringe.  I don't want my kids to think we are better than anyone else-EVER.  We are not.  Nor are we not as good as anyone else.  God does not have favorites, we are all His children.  Some of us come to Him easily and live for Him easily.  Others have a much harder time.  We are still all His.  I am so thankful they have not walked some of the roads that I have walked.  I hope they never do.  HOWEVER, I hope they can come to realize somehow that God doesn't really care how we get to Him, He only cares that we get to Him.  It isn't our job to judge the roads, but to love the people on those roads.  I hope whatever the next step is for our family, that we can keep focused on Him above anything else.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Catsup and A Little Mustard

  • School is going great for Little Lilly Loo Who.  She loves it, I love it.  I could not ask for a better school to transition her in.  All schools should be so encouraging and accepting of homeschooled students.
  • I am so far beyond tired from having so much more to do AND getting up early again for the first time in a long time.  (Go on, roll your eyes-I don't care.)  Also, the house is eerily quiet during the day.  Car rides are very unusual because Erika and Kayla both have headphones on.  I've been soaking up silence like a thirsty sponge...for a minute or two, then I need noise.
  • Sunday, we hiked a section of the Cherokee Trail of Tears.  We took Daisy.  WOW, I ran behind a leash...the first running I have done since 1986.  Next time, she will not be included.  It was an awesome day for a hike and we really were having a great time.  Then we saw a snake.  Actually, Erika saw it after Erik stepped over it without seeing it.  Sure, it was a harmless little green snake...but we were kind of ready to be on our way thinking of all the snakes we might have stepped over and not seen.  ~shudder~   I love to see snakes...through glass or from a distance.
  • My laundry is a beast and I am off to tame it...right after this meme because I have not done one in a long time.
1. What did you originally want to be when you “grew up”, and how has that changed?

I was going to be a journalist-the kind that travels to other countries, covers wars, elections, etc.  I am so glad God had other plans for me.  Journalism has never been more yellow than it has become in the last 20 years.  Although it wears on me at times, I really love my 'job' of being a wife and mom.

2. Morning person or night owl? I am 100% night owl.  But I wish with all my heart that I was a morning person.  It is so much more productive to get alot of stuff done in the morning and then coast through the evening.  Someday, maybe.
3. What is your favorite season or time of year? Fall and spring.  Mostly fall though.  In spring, I am longing for warm weather.  In fall, I am sick of the hot weather and savoring the lovely fall crisp temperatures.  I am not longing for cold weather.  I could skip winter.  Lucky for me that I live in Kentucky.  While we do have 4 distinct seasons, winter is mostly mild with some snow and ice thrown in for kicks 4-5 times a winter.  (WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE GREAT ICE STORM)

4. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas, Christmas, Christmas.  I just wish the gift-giving stuff was like it used to be-practical, thoughtful and homemade.  I just love when I am reading Little House books where Ma secretly made dresses for the girls, Pa carved Ma a wooden jewelry box and Mary knitted a lace collar.  That seems so much more meaningful than a box of chocolates or cocoa mix kit.  Call me nostalgic.

5. How many children did you think that you would have? None.  I did not want children until I met Erik.  I had not planned on getting married until I met Erik.  Then after being married two years, just before I got pregnant, I had decided I did not want kids again.  I am so glad God knew what I needed more than I did.  I can't imagine life without my three beautiful girls.

6. How has your homeschooling philosophy changed over the years? HA ha ha ha ha ha!!!  I started wanting to school them at home all the way through to graduation.  I now vacillate between that and wanting to put them out into the world they are going to have to live in so they may learn to navigate it.  I don't regret homeschooling Lilly's first four years OR pulling Erika and Kayla out in third and second grades(respectively).  I guess I don't know what my philosophy is any more.  Kids really need so much more direction from their parents than most people think!  However, lots of really good parents manage to do a great job guiding and nurturing through the world of public school.  I hope to be one of those now.

7. What is your favorite children's author? I love the Harry Potter series by  J. K. Rowling.  I love The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins.   I love the City of Ember series by Jeanne DuPrau .  I love the 39 clues series by a series of authors.  I love Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia Maclachlan (and all her other books!).  I love every book I have read by Louisa May Alcott-ESPECIALLY Little Women.  I love Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, Meg Cabot, Shannon Hale, Cornelia Funke and so many more!!  I could NEVER narrow it down to one.

8. What is your favorite homeschool resource? The Library, the library and the library.  Best resource ever.  I hope I have passed this love on to my children.  I'm pretty sure I have.  I am always incredulous that some people don't ever go.  It has almost been a weeks and I am seriously Jonesin' missing it alot.

9. What is one of your favorite “guilty pleasures”? Trashy TV!  I love Family guy, Grey's Anatomy (in the beginning before it got so soap opera-ish), Boston Common (before it developed a political agenda), Two and A Half Men, Friends, Seinfeld, Frasier and The Simpson's.  I can't think of any redeeming value to any of those shows.  I also love Bones; Castle;  Murder, She Wrote and Matlock, but those are educational, right?

10. What is one of your secret ambitions? I have always wanted to be an honest politician.  Bob Leeper inspires me that honesty and integrity are possible for politicians. Maybe someday.  Lately though, I have kind of traded that dream in on being a park ranger though.
Have a Wonderful Wednesday!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A New Road

Lilly passed her tests with flying colors.  She will be enrolled in public school on Monday.  WOW.  I have no idea what it will be like to have a foot in both worlds.  I am so excited for her-because her enthusiasm is overflowing by the bucket load.  She keeps singing, jumping up and down and doing all sorts of happy dances.  It sort of confirms for me that this is the right decision for her. 

While she drives me crazy sometimes with her constant excitability and verbosity, I will miss her alot.  She is like a ray of sunshine-she brightens a room when she walks into it.  Then you have to put on sunblock...LOL.  I have just nearly cried thinking about the things we had planned up for that won't be fun without her.  Because teens are too cool to admit to having fun or liking anything.

This new road will be unlike any I have ever walked before, but I am convinced it is the road I am supposed to least for now.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Not Okay

Just for today, I am officially not okay.  I suppose everyone has these days from time to time.  I've had quite a few in a row and so for today, I am allowing myself a 'not okay' day.  I will not smile and make nice unless I decide I want to.  Yesterday I had a 'just plain mad' day starring some justified anger.  Of course, there is not any resolution from that anger and I doubt anything will change in that relationship.  It is very much like talking to a brick wall-telling someone exactly what the problem is and they listen, and then go on as if nothing happened.  A lifetime of those fights that are completely unresolved make me very angry...leading to inevitable hurt and pain...leading to a deep dark desire to run away. 

Today, I did not wake up angry again but I did wake up feeling pretty lousy.  Ultimately, I have no control and it is certain that I will not even have any influence, but sometimes I kid myself into thinking that I do have some influence over another.  That may be the definition of insanity.  Sounds good, I plead insanity.

I am praying that God will give me exactly the kind of day I need today-trusting that he knows what I need so much better than I can know myself.  I really hope to be smiling and encouraged again before the day ends...but if that doesn't happen, if I continue to be 'not okay', it will be just fine.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Bit and Pieces

I have too many topics to do anything other than bullets.  Without further adieu:
  • Took Daisy to a new vet about the tail situation.  Fleas had been under control, tail still gross and getting grosser.  No longer buying that this is a flea allergy.  We are now giving Ceglinski a try and hoping for the best.  He has her a some drugs to control the chewing and then deal with the actual tail damage once chewing is under control.  The charges today were EXTREMELY reasonable and he is a very nice man.
  • Just got home from a Civil War Ghost Walk.  I thought it was alot of fun but my kiddos were a bit bored and ready to go home.  It was alot of standing and waiting.  I don't think they expected the turn-out they got.  The line was incredibly long. 
  • Decluttering has reached mammoth proportions around here.  My family has decided a yard sale is in order.  since everyone is old enough to REALLY help, I have agreed to it.  Once more.  The plan is to split all earnings five ways as long as everyone does their part to be helpful.  I won't stop until we are pared down to just the necessary items for least that is my hope.
  • I am having allergy attacks from you-know-where.  It is the first time in my life it has hit me this hard.  I have a cough I can't shake often accompanied by a runny nose.  Everything is all clear so I think that means allergies...and misery.
  • Lilly is set up next week  to begin testing to go to public school.  She has been begging, complaining and asking nicely for so long that I have finally given in.  She is still young enough-4th grade-that I am pretty much okay with it.  We will be going into a different county, so she has to pass a test-I cannot tell a lie, I am quite nervous about it.  She is too.  I know that she is extremely bright, but I just worry about her ability to take a standardized test since she never has.  I only have a slight case of nervous hives.  She has told everyone that she knows and 25 people she doesn't that she is going to public school.  I suspect she is very excited.  I hope they have a drama program.  ( :
  • My dad's knee replacement surgery recovery is going great.  He is pretty amazing.  He doesn't ever really need anything and he has been going above and beyond since day 1.  I can't help but compare my father's low maintenance personality to my mother's high maintenance personalities.  Talk about some irreconcilable differences!
  • The girl who was the flower girl in my wedding gets married tomorrow.  I can't even believe it.  I so wish her mother was still alive.  I have been thinking about her non-stop the last few days.  I really miss her and it will be so hard to go through tomorrow without seeing her there.  The fella Kirsten is marrying is so wonderfully amazing.  I hope they have a very happy life together.  Goodness knows she has seen enough YUK in her young life to deserve happiness forevermore.
I guess that is all I got.  Enjoy the gorgeous weekend!

PS.  If certain people still have a surplus of tomatoes...well, they should text me immediately so I can help with that. ( :

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Frugal Tips

I am pretty much insanely frugal.  I am getting much worse as I get older.  This frugalness is nearly debilitating when I go yard saling...because everything is a bargain.  Truly...well there are those sales where people are trying to make a fortune, we don't tarry long at those.  $3 for a tshirt???  I can get that deal retail!  I try not to pay over a dollar for anything just to ensure that yard sale prices stay at yard sale rate.  I also honor this when I have yard sales.

I spent $13.50 this last weekend on clothing for my new size.  (I cleared out my closet of things that are too large for me.)  That $13.50 is like, a whole new wardrobe-jeans, sweats, exercise clothes and shirts.  I don't HAVE to shop for clothes at yard sales but I just can't seem to go pay $20 for one thing when I can buy so much more for so much less.  You won't be able to tell they are yard sale finds-many of them still had tags on them.

Tip # 1- Yard Sales are the cheapest place to buy clothes.  Consignment store clearance is next.  Retail clearance is next.  Consignment store regular price is next, but keep in mind that some of those items can be purchased new for about the same price.  Buy very high end quality items.  That way it is not only a bargain, but it will maintain the good looks and usually still have some resale value when you tire of it.  (Not true if you are not buying classic styles!)

I love fresh produce.  I love it best when it comes from my garden or someone else's.  My garden would have been awesome this year if not for crabgrass from h-e-double hockey sticks and a drought that won't quit.  My asparagus is my favorite because it requires almost no work and keeps coming back.  The only drawback is getting it established!  We barely get enough to make a small side dish at a time.  I have high hopes for next year!  I also love the farmer's market.  They tend to price items by the piece, not by the pound.  As in,  a spaghetti squash for a dollar, not $1.29 a pound.  If it is by the pound, I make sure I know what the grocery is selling for.  It is often cheaper to get it at the store under the loss leader (sale ad) price...but usually I will pay a little more just to ensure that I am supporting a local farmer. 

My produce tips:

Tip # 2- Never buy bags of apples.  They are stored and transported in that bag.  They are shuffled and rearranged, chosen, put back, etc.  This means bruising.  The individual apples may cost a little more, but you know they are unblemished and they were shipped in a padded box with a tiny support for each apple.  An orchard is the cheapest, best place but not everyone has one of those close to their home 

Tip # 2 1/2 The opposite is true of oranges-they are almost always cheaper by the bag and can take the jostling.

Tip #3- Don't just pick up those pre-packaged bags of grapes.  Get a produce bag and pick up stems of grapes with fresh tighly clustered grapes.  They will last longer and be crunchier.  Who wants to eat grapes that dropped of the stems and got squished on the bottom of the bag? 

Tip #4- Buy the fruits that are in season when they are in season in America-if possible.  This means they have been shipped from a closer location and not picked quite as green as produce from much farther away.  It may only be a day or so fresher...but a day or two is alot in terms of produce.

Tip #5- Trim your celery as you use a stalk or two.  Trim the very top of each stalk and thinly trim the bottom as well.  This is a trick I learned from being a produce manager a lifetime ago.  It will help your celery shelf life be almost indefinite.  Celery really has very little vitamins and nutrients-it is like iceberg lettuce, so age is kind of irrelevant. 

Tip #6- That living lettuce really does last.  There isn't very much of it, so I don't recommend it for large households.  Just make sure the roots stay moist and it will likely stay fresh until you use ever last piece-mine lasted about 4 weeks.

Tip #7- Washing your potatoes with VERY dilute bleach water, allowing them to sit out and air dry and then storing them in a dry dark place will keep them from rotting and delay 'blooming'.  Break off any eyes that grow-if left in place it will dry out the potato.

Okay, those are my tips to share.  Hope at least one or two is helpful.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Positive Thinking

My doctor is 'prescribing' sentences to me.  I am supposed to write them three times a day and say them much more.  It is his belief that thinking you are fat has the power to make you fat and so thinking yourself thinner will also have power.  At first I was doubtful...but now I am certain.  I have the proof-when I was in high school...wait make that middle school-I thought of myself as a chubby girl.  I did not ever love myself and my self image was terrible.  In reality, I was a bit on the fluffy side, but not OBESE like I thought I was.  As I got older and was teased about my weight, because if you are not a toothpick (I have now learned being a toothpick doesn't keep you from being teased either!)-you will be teased, I became resigned to being the chubby girl.  'Twas my lot in life.  Oh well, at least I had the luxury of eating whatever I wanted.  Food was my friend.  I never dieted until I was about 17.  Then I went on a major fat free diet and lost about 30 pounds.  I was looking good-BUT, I did not think so.  In my mind, I was still a chubby girl.  Lately, I have been extremely overweight and I was still holding on to the 'a little bit chubby' description of myself.  However, pictures and the scales would not corroborate that story.

I had grown to absolutely hate my body over the last 7 years or so.  I did not want my picture made, hated videos of myself and wore the biggest clothes possible hoping for the invisibility I was craving.  I had a mental picture of what I looked like in high school and that is how I thought of myself-I did not want the scales or pictures to tell me any different.

After mom had her leg amputated due to diabetes, it began a slow wake-up call to me.  I was following right along in her footsteps.  She was late thirties when she was diagnosed with pre-diabetes.  I was larger than she had been.  My blood sugar has always checked out completely normal BUT weight is a huge factor in the development of type II diabetes.  Last November, I began to start really taking this weight thing serious.  In December, I began an exercise program.  It really worked well.  I lost 17 pounds and a lot of inches in about 5 months.  Then I stopped losing.  I was seeing a doctor, watching what I ate and still was only losing maybe a half pound every two weeks.  I was what they call in the diet world-plateaued.  Plateaued is about the worst thing that can happen to a chubby girl.  You lose hope.  you begin some really bad thoughts of, "See?  There is nothing that can help me, I am destined to be fat."  It was a very real possibility that my drug of choice-SUGARY FOODS-would begin to tempt me.

I was not gaining any weight back at that point, but it would have just been a matter of time.  Thankfully, my body had other issues and so I had to return to the doc who delivered my babies.  He dealt with those problems but also really confronted me about my weight and did not give me an option-just put me on the Dr. Cardenas diet.  I am forever grateful.  My attitude is different.  I no longer cringe when I walk by a mirror.  I am happy with how I look-but I am still working to be thinner and healthier.  I feel almost like I am already there.  I can, for the first time ever, enjoy people noticing my weight loss.  It was hard at first because I wanted to be invisible-didn't want anyone to look at me, much less remark on my weight.  Pictures are still hard but I can look at them and still like who I am and *GASP* even like how I look.  I just noticed the other day that I have really pretty teeth.  How did I miss that all these years?  (I sure got a pretty mouth...*shiver*)

Last time I went in for my accountability 'talk' and weigh-in, Dr. Cardenas began speaking to me on the changes I needed to prepare for that are coming up.  He spoke about being more attractive to men and being abler to accept that as normal, not wrong.  He said his daughter went from my weight to now very thin and did not enjoy the male attention that brought.  He said it is normal and natural and to plan how I am going to react to that in a Christian way-appreciating that God created me to be pretty and healthy.  Sexy is a by-product of that and sexy isn't wrong.  I am very thankful that my doctor is a Christian and also someone who went from very large to very thin.  He has credibility.  It will be hard to have men notice me.  It has always been very safe for me to be a flirt...that will change as I get thinner.  Nobody minds a flirty chubby girl, but a thin flirty girl is not appreciated.  I do prefer invisibility.  However, I want to be healthy. 

I don't want to get diabetes.  I want to feel like playing tennis, going for a walk, or any other physical activity.  I don't want to get winded walking up stairs.  I want to be able to buy clothes at regular stores.  I am so excited that a towel wraps around my body now with some towel left over.  I have now lost 37 pounds from when I began this journey.  Some folks have an easy time of losing weight-I have not.  I have had to make really hard choices-first exercising regularly and now deleting sugar, bread and grains from my diet.  Both of those changes are forever, not just to lose weight.  I'm OK with that. 
My affirmation sentences:

I am thinner and leaner and more beautiful every day.

I am stronger and healthier every day.

Sugars and starches have caused me pain.

Exercise will save me money.

My stomach is the size of my hand.

Thank you God for my...all through almost every body part.

I am adding some more affirmations:

I am a good mom and wife.

Being angry is a choice I don't have to make.

I am an excellent teacher who loves her students.

I can be neat and organized without being mean or obsessive.

God created me the way I am.  He has a plan for me that uses my gifts and talents.

The power of positive thinking is really quite amazing.  At last, I am a believer.  So go ahead and notice, you can even tell me I have lost 'a ton' (LOL, Sandy) of weight and I will still smile.  I am well on my way to a new me that is just like the old me-downsized and healthy.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Fresh Month!

What a wonderful gift today...a fresh brand new month.  October is such a good month too!  The promise of all things fall.  An end to our hot weather and maybe some rain.  The nights and mornings have been glorious around these parts.  We have been downright cool a few evenings and I love that.  I really love that.  I don't love winter and that kind of cold, but the cool of fall makes me want to drink coffee and read.

I want to be real excited and motivated about school but that ain't happening yet.  My kids have had their whole social life threatened and so they are finally motivated.  That is a good thing. ( :  I guess someone needs to threaten my social life...oh wait, that won't work-I DON'T HAVE ONE!!

My dad had knee replacement surgery on Wednesday and he is doing great.  I think he is on some very serious drugs though.  My dad is always a man of few words and he was quite chatty Wednesday afternoon and also last night.  It reminds me of his younger days when he was quite the drinker.  He was always a talker while imbibed.  Not that it is quality conversation...just conversation.

The girls and I started this week with a camp out at a local conservation camp.  I am now longing for a camping trip.  I think I am ready to be a park ranger.  It is what I want to be when I grow up.  I love biology and nature...I think it would be glorious and very fun.  It's a shame I'd have to go back to school and get a degree...couldn't my passion for nature be enough??  I guess I'll just have to keep planning it for when I am 65.

Enjoy a glorious autumn day, y'all.  I'm off to the doc to see that I have only lost a pound.  I guess it is time to add counting calories to my changed diet and exercise program.  I knew this day was right around the corner.  I am willing to do whatever it takes to continue on in my journey to be healthy.  33 pounds down...60 to go.