Monday, January 24, 2011

Good question!

Andrew, age 8: I wonder how many Plutos fit in the sun.
Mom: That's a good question!
Andrew: I know! Why don't you look it up?
Mom's fingers click and type ... Go, Go, Google Chrome!
Aha! Wikianswers has the answer!
Answer: 223,096,366 (Mom reads answer to Andrew.)
Mouths gape open at each other.
Andrew: Wow! That's a ding-dong big number!

I love days like this!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

With January comes a ramp up to our schedule. Our two youngest play Upward basketball (, which is a Christian-based program. We are also a part of our local Classical Conversations group (, which is a Christian-based homeschool program. We love both of these programs and we're so happy that we've reorganized our lives in a way that allows us to particpate in these.

But they do add to our schedule! CC meets all day on Mondays, from 9:00 - 3:00 (because Annie is in two sections of the program). For homebody homeschoolers, getting out of the house before 9:00 is quite an accomplishment for this family! Then, Annie has basketball practice on Tuesday nights. But that's also the night that Daddy has a men's prayer group to attend. Daddy and I also just started attending a small group that meets on Wednesday nights. The kids are happy with this because they get a cool teenage babysitter who plays games with them! Andrew's bball practice is Thursday nights, and then both of their games are on Saturday mornings. All of this only lasts a few months total ... and helps us get through these dreary, gloomy winter days. (Written on a gray, drizzly, foggy winter afternoon, as the temperature falls and we wonder if the roads will freeze before we leave for practice.)

Tomorrow, my big brother is having his prostate removed. He has cancer, and we're praying this takes care of it and leaves him with many healthy years to come.

Happy days and nights to all of you.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mama is back!

When I left you last, it was Friday. I had experienced a less-than-stellar week, as a homeschool teacher/administrator/disciplinarian, and as a mother. I was so run-down. And I was feeling cruddier the longer the day wore on.

Shortly after I wrote that post, I started feeling increasingly worse. Brian came home late and was going to start dinner for us. Instead, he loaded me into the car and took me to the urgent care facility. I knew exactly what was wrong, and how to heal it, but I've had enough experience with this to know it would take antibiotics. I hate to even type it ... I have a urinary tract infection.

After peeing in the cup and seeing the doctor so he could diagnose what I had already diagnosed, we headed for the local pharmacy where the prescription would be waiting (I hoped). I waddled up to the counter (bounced, jiggled ... oh, they are so uncomfortable!) but it wasn't ready. Oh my ... I had to wait. At the grocery store. Did I mention how uncomfortable I was?? I wanted to sit there by the pharmacy and just wait, but prior to our arrival, and elderly gentleman had fallen and was using one of the chairs to wait for the paramedics. A pharmasicst was hovering over him, blocking the other chairs. and then the paramedics arrived and took over the whole area. Where was I to sit?? Ha! You'll like this ...

In front of the snack food aisle, they have two lovely leather (or leatherish) rocker recliners displayed along with snacks and drinks. Hmmmm. Yep. Looks like a good place for an uncomfortable woman to sit and wait. Oooo, that chair was comfy!!! I might've been happy to wait all night. I have a lovely view of the fallen-man happenings and they checked him and loaded him and got personal information about him from the pharmacy. And to be honest, it was infinitely better than standing with Brian, talking to one of his old co-workers (who I had never met) about his old job (which I don't miss) and that fella's wife (who didn't want to talk to me, a stranger, either). We had already made as much small talk as was required. In fact, I rudely walked away when she turned her head!

So, the silver lining to the whole UTI problem is this: I slept all night Friday night, and all day Saturday. Finally! God found a way to provide me with the rest I needed ... guilt-free. By the time Monday rolled around, I felt wonderful (except for a little bit of bladder discomfort still). My energy had returned, as had my good mood and my homeschooling mojo.

Mama is back!!!

Now I have to give you a bit of a flashback. On Friday afternoon, while I sat in bed feeling awful, I still managed to spend some time with the kids. I had been reading blogs and again came across a link for the Time 4 Learning website ( I knew our schooling needed a bigger jumpstart than I could provide, so I read up a little bit about this. I noticed that we could join and if we cancel within the first two weeks, I could get a full refund, and if we continue past that time, I could still cancel at anytime (but no refund).

I brought the kids in, and we tried the demo activities they provide. The kids wanted to give it a try. I explained it all to them, and laid down the law: NO Club Penguin until after they did a lesson on Time 4 Learning (T4L for short).  "Ok, ok, we want to do it!!!"

So I signed them up, and they gave it a try ... and I found it to be surprisingly great! It has appropriately staged educational lessons and activities. I was able to choose what level I wanted each child to be working at, and the kids can choose what subject to work on. I allow this since I'm using it more as a supplement to our normal school work than as our whole curriculum (although, depending on your standards for your child's education, it COULD be used as a whole curriculum).

It's been nice to have something new and fun but still educational that the kids can do by themselves (I did the first few with them) so that I can work on healing.

Today is Tuesday. On Monday, Mama was back. Today, we had a great day. I taught them some basic sewing skills. They were beside themselves with joy that we were doing something fun like that. I also finally started cursive writing. Annie was taught the basics in public school in second grade, but I never made her practice it at home, or use it for any of her work. And Andrew is now in second grade, so I guess it's up to me to teach it. Annie was glad to work on something she already knew. Andrew was at first excited, until he found out he would have to try it himself, putting pencil to paper ... and would have to ... gasp! ... practice!

Yes, today's motto is definitely "Mama is back!" Now let's hope she stays for a while!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Oh Sleep, How I Miss You

This is the post where I bore you with boring details about our last few days.

Wednesday, I finally dragged myself out of bed when I heard one of the dogs peeing on the floor (and Andrew yelling "Rudy peed!" which meant I couldn't pretend it hadn't just happened). That was only the first dog mess I cleaned up that day ... the dogs then took turns throwing up.

As I desperately tried to catch up on the sleep I've been progressively losing lately, Annie decided to cut up her own apple. And proceeded to cut her hand. It wasn't deep enough to require stitches, but it was bad enough to require that she lay in bed for an hour and a half with Mommy, watching tv.

When I finally got up, I ran to town to get some forms mailed out, and to pick up fast food (and chinese) because Daddy was on a business trip that would bring him home later than usual. Unfortunately, the burger that I got for myself (I need burgers on days like this) must've had milk in the bun (I don't usually get burgers from this place). Considering the fact that I'm lactose intolerant, the milk was not a good thing. The day was officially over at that point.

And the sleep situation didn't get any better that night.

So, because I was supposed to get blood drawn Thursday morning, I couldn't eat after 8:00 that night. Maybe that explains why I barely slept. No bedtime snack to tide me over until morning. Thankfully ... oh, thank you, God and Brian! Thankfully, my husband, Brian, took pity on my tired state and told me I didn't have to go get my blood drawn. He even called to cancel for me. What a man!

Because I didn't have to leave the house, we were able to get an early start on the school day. Best school day so far this week. But since it's already Friday ... almost noon ... and we've done no school work and I've resorted to yelling ... really loud! ... after the dog peed on the floor a second time today ... I'm ready to give up!

Is it time to give up the freedom that homeschooling allows and send the kids back to public school? No way. But I'd love to have a guest teacher come in and run this place for a week ... whip us all into shape. Or how about a substitute parent who can do the job I'm supposed to be doing while I take a sabbatical ... and catch up on some sleep?

Oh Sleep, how I miss you.
Grouchy Mama

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Stinky Feet

We've had two days in a row of sunshine. In addition, I finally slept well last night. These two facts added together equal a much happier mama.

For Christmas, I bought myself several Geo Puzzles. (I think I got them through Amazon.) They are fabulous! I didn't grow up with even an adequate education in geography. I'm working diligently to make up for this with my own children. We opened the Europe puzzle today since we've been studying Europe in Classical Conversations ( Andrew, the youngest at 8-years-old, put it together with minimal help from me while Annie did her math (she's 9 and 3/4). When she finished her math, Annie was challenged to do the puzzle herself ... with a timer! She had it finished in 20 minutes. I had her write her time on the board and I'll have them do it again another day. They really seemed to enjoy it. We haven't done puzzles in a LONG time, so it must seem like a new toy to them.

Upward basketball starts tonight. One of my favorite aspects of evening practices is that Daddy can take them and I can have a little private time at home. However, for this first week, I prefer for us to take them together so we can both meet the coaches. Barnacles. I want to be home alone!

Annie and Andrew love basketball! I'm very, very ready for them to get that exercise without having to employ the Wii. The Wii is great and I wouldn't want to give it back ... but once it a while it gets annoying to have them arguing over it and thumping the floor as they "get their exercise."

My oldest daughter, Caity, stopped by today to pick up some homemade soup and grocery coupons. She's 19 going on 40. Homemade beef veggie soup and grocery coupons. And she made a large payment on her school loan today with a goal of having it paid in full when she graduates next December. She's very balanced, with a good job and a healthy social life (and I do mean "healthy" since she's not a drinker/partier) in addition to her classes. I admire her maturity and enjoy her young spirit.

The only other child I should note today is Jack, my 17-year-old. I could usually say something positive about him, but the stench of his feet melted my brain yesterday and I'm not quite back to normal yet.

Smile, and put some life into your day!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Remain Flexible

It was a nice plan: breakfast, walk dogs, ready for day, schooling ... really good schooling ... lunch and chores and playtime and rest or just whatever. Finish any schooling that didn't get finished earlier.


After a terrible night's sleep, awake at 4:35, and back down for a nap at 7:00 a.m., my plan was already thrown off. Child #2 slept in until 10:00, and she's the slow starter. By the time I got through the "morning" stuff, it was already mid-afternoon.

We did get some good schooling done, but it was only reading and math. Not much if you knew how much I had "planned" to accomplish. Therein lies the reason for why more experienced homeschoolers always advise you to make your plan, but remain flexible.

Life happens.

New Year, New Attitude, New Blog

The phrase usually goes "A Day in the Life of ..." but after the year I've had, I've decided that my new blog will focus on the life in my days.

My aunt passed away from breast cancer on April 20th. My dad succumbed to liver cancer on July 8th. My brother's father-in-law died exactly two weeks later. Then his mother-in-law died. Then my best friend's father died.

Then, a couple weeks ago, that brother mentioned above was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He's 48 and in the midst of all that was happening this summer, he retired after spending his entire adult life so far as a police officer.

And today, my sister had biopsies done on three skin spots. My grandmother had melanoma, and my mother has had dozens upon dozens of pre-cancerous lesions removed. Being a certified Baby Boomer, my sister has had a perpetual tan all her life. No sun? That's ok. That's why they invented tanning beds. These spots could prove to be nothing ... but you've now heard how our year has progressed, so we're waiting with baited breath to learn the results.

I'm not trying to bring y'all down. I just want you to know where this blog was birthed from. We've mourned and mourned and mourned some more. And now I say: enough already! I know it hasn't been a year yet, so we've got a long road ahead of us, but it's time to re-focus.

So ... new year, new attitude, and new blog ... focusing on my real life.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not walking around knocking into doorways with a big ol' inflated ego. I don't think my life is that interesting. But maybe I can inspire someone just with my honest portrayal of our day-to-day life. I'm often inspired by reading the truth about others' lives ... be it their successes, their failings, or just their day-old ramblings. I'm inspired to get up and get going! Hey Jane! Get up and do something already! Quit wasting your life away, because it could be gone in a flash! In a blink.