Monday, December 28, 2009

A bit of silly

Just realized...

That in one week my classes start up. I did have a moment of panic and the thought of "CAN I handle this NOW? With everything going on?" But after that, and seeing that I have until the 10th to drop the classes and get a full refund, I was ok..Ok because I discovered I have options. I also realized that I can handle this and it will be a lovely distraction from everything else.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas

Christmas was....interesting.

Our family celebration happened on Christmas Eve morning. We had a wonderful time watching the kids opening gifts, and as an added bonus the sunrise was breathtaking.
(photo taken out of my kitchen window)
After presents and breakfast I had to take the dogs to the kennel. Right when we walked into the kennel lobby (it was really a Pet Hotel) Blue, my 9 yo yellow Lab peed all over the floor.

My sister called and told me mom was being sent to the ER because at her appointment that morning for her weekly blood draws she started having a hard time breathing. We left and headed up to Cleveland, my husband dropped me off at the hospital, and took the kids to my sister's house to celebrate Christmas.

When I got to the ER both of my sisters and my brother were there already, mom was on a CPAP machine. The Dr. said she has acute congestive heart failure...and she would be moved to the ICU. We all went with mom to the ICU and stayed with her for a bit till she was ok. She was very sad but wanted us to go and celebrate. Leaving her while she was telling us to go but with tears in her eyes was heartwrenchingly difficult. The Dr had said if she wasnt improving they would have to intubate her, and she was really scared about that.

My sister and I got to our other sister's house around 9:30, all the kids were happy, and all the husbands (besides mine) were a bit tipsy.

My mom didnt need to be intubated and began doing well enough that she was released from ICU on Christmas and sent to the bone marrow transplant unit. This morning at 2am I got a text from my sister that she was just leaving the hospital and mom had had 2 seizures, which has never happened before. My other sister called me today to tell me that as well. She is undergoing many tests to find the cause, but Im not feeling too optimistic. Her legs are very swollen, her WBC is in the 80's..they jumped 20k since yesterday, she is confused, and very tired.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Photos


Gwen experimenting with her hair at the science museum.
My latest hair experiment..new cut and color..
How we entertain ourselves in the winter...aside from dressing up the dog...we freeze Han Solo and a bounty hunter guy in ice.....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Quote

I spent too much time running store to store today with 3 children. My patience has evaporated...but I managed to find this quote which I am committing to memory.

"Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall. Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down. And this is all life really means. " ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Growth

My 9yo son needed a pair of boots. So, yesterday we hit the stores to hopefully find a pair for him. I quickly realized that none of the kids sized booths would fit him, so I measured his feet.

My 9yo is wearing a MENS size 8. Yes, MENS.

I was in absolute shock, I mean just yesterday wasn't this kid the 3 yo who drove me crazy? At his well child exam a month or so ago he measured at 5' and 105 lbs....the dr looked at the height weight chart and said "OOOOOK...he isn't anywhere ON here! But his height and weight are proportional" Im 5'9" and he comes up a bit past my shoulder.

When we got home I had him hold his foot up to mine, and sure enough his toes hit the base of my toes, and I wear a size 10. Really I shouldn't be surprised, Im tall, my husband is tall, and my younger brother is 6'10".

In other exciting news from yesterday, I discovered that roadkill pieces CAN indeed get thrown up from the highway, hit your windshield and get stuck on the wiper. I was stuck between finding it hysterical and feeling sick. The kids pushed me towards the latter as they described it in great detail, all the different parts of it, and what animal it must have been from. It seems to have gotten perma welded onto the wiper, so today Im going to try a high pressure car wash and hope that gets it off.

Also, yesterday I received one of the best gifts ever from my brother and his wife. They put together a calender full of family photos, many of which are new to me..even though they are old. It really made my day, and the kids loved seeing it as well.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Entertainment.

I think cabin fever is setting in early this year. In an effort to entertain myself, I enlisted the co-operation of Leia. Here is Leia starring as:

BABUSHKA LEIA
I accidentally ruined my beloved berry colored leopard print scarf by washing it...but it works well on her. Next I need to make a cape for her to wear, and teach her to carry a basket by it's handle.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Reasons why I'm crazy about my kids...

So often I read or hear things that moms write in a negative tone about their kids, and how hard it is to be a mom, etc, etc, etc.
Seriously, being a mom is not the easiest thing in the world, but why should it be? When we have children we are given charge and responsibility to raise future adults. There is only a short time in teach them things that are important, like compassion, persistence, getting along with others, and treating people well. At some point in the all too near future these small people will possibly be spouses, parents, productive adults, making some sort of impact on the world...good or bad.

I think it is important to enjoy the time we have with them, enjoy them for being THEM...not what we think they should be or how they" should be" to reflect well on us...or what they can achieve. Just enjoy that spark that makes each child a unique human being.

Here are some things that have happened in the past weekthat made me laugh, or just plain realize how incredible these little people are.

Breakfast
My kids woke up before me and decided to make breakfast for me. They made toasted Ezekiel bread with apple butter, a small bowl of applesauce and brought a glass of pomegranate kefir to me while I was still in bed.

Mad Libs
THe boys have discovered the joy of Mad Libs. My 9 yo asked me to do one with him, so I did. I asked him to name a body part. He replied "Villi" I said "Huh? Villi? What is that?" He stared at me as if he couldn't believe I said that, looked at his brother...my 7yo rolled his eyes and said "MOM! Villi are part of the digestive tract, they are in the intestines"

My 7yo was working on his own Mad Lip and said "Celebrity? What is a celebrity?" I told him someone who is famous. He said "AHA!!! John Cleese!!!" My heart melted.

Food
Yesterday I bought a copy of Food INC. for Mr. C and I to watch. Addison saw it and asked if they could watch it, and I told him I would decide after I see it. We have been discussing the need to change our diet back to the way we used to eat...healthy. This year has been so stressful and our diet has incorporated far too much processed food and fast food. With my family having such a strong proclivity towards cancer, I realize none of us should be eating this way, so we are cleaning it all up.
I watched and decided it was fine for them to watch. Add was very taken with it and horrified that corporations can treat people like they do. It really bothered him that A) the animals are kept in not so nice conditions and B)how dangerous working in a meat packing plant is, along with the treatment of the workers by the company. He loved Joel Salatin though...he is a bit of a hero in our household. :-)
Today we had to go grocery shopping and as a part of this move to change our food habits, the kids get to help me make the weekly menu. Then they get to help me shop for the food (which makes shopping take FOREVER!) and then we will all cook together. I know in the long run this will be good, but it does test my patience a bit.
Anyway, Add and Eli were reading every label of every food. Eli loves monterey jack cheese and was beyond happy when he found a block of it that was also from grassfed cows on a farm in Ohio. The boys talked about how they wanted to support farmers closer to us that take care of their animals and we need to be extra choosey about our food. Gwen mostly asked passing peole where the olives were.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Remember

Today is the 11th anniversary of my father's death....and this year it has hit me harder than it has for several years. I think it is because my mother is declining so quickly.
The kids and I marked the day by having apple pie for dessert because it was my dad's favorite.

This evening I went outside to stand up the small Christmas trees on our porch because they blew over. Leia..the dog, went out with me as she usually does, but this time made a beeline for the road. My house is set back a good distance from the road...and there was no reason for her to do this...but she did it anyway. People go by at about 55mph, and quite often large trucks and farm machines go down our road. Sure enough, Leia got hit by a car. She rolled a few times, jumped up and ran as fast as she could back to me...and thankfully, she seems to be ok. It was horrible, and she was shaking for about an hour after..as was I. Im sure tomorrow she will be pretty sore.

Today...was not my most favorite days in recent memories.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

These.....are my offspring....


I was trying to get a photo that is worthy to give to their grandparents as a Christmas present. Obviously...this probably won't fly, but I think I will frame it for our house. :-)
Between bad wind gusts and 3 kids who couldnt do the same thing at the same time, I got one photo is has potential...though Im going to give it another go on Friday when it will be sunny without 40mph winds...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

How we handle science

Science.
It is one of those subjects that will cause people to question how well it can be done in a home environment. Recently I read this blog entry by Susan Wise Bauer on the subject of science, labs and school.

For my kids right now science is all about exploring, playing and getting to know the natural world. We do plenty of nature walks, and discuss how the landscape changes each season, what animals are around, those kinds of things. When the mood strikes us we do play with chemistry kits and do experiments. My 7yo told me the other day that many of the things we use in the kitchen can be very useful in making mixtures that cause reactions.

Children have a natural curiosity about how the world works, why things are the way they are, and they want to learn. A textbook and worksheets isn't necessarily going to foster that and might even kill it to a degree.

As we go alone certain things catch their attention and they want to devote more time to learning. Geology caught their attention one day when they dug up an unusual rock in the yard. They checked out some rock and mineral field guides from the library and spent a couple weeks outside gathering rocks and working hard to identify them. While doing their investigations they learned the different ways to identify rocks, rock classification.

Lately for the younger two the interest has been birds. They found an encyclopedia about birds in North America and spent many hours outdoors identifying birds in our yard, and taking a count of each type.

My 9yo has rediscovered an interest in paleontology and checked out a recently written book about dinosaurs. Within that book he is learning about mass extinctions, math concepts, geology and gaining some familiarity with Latin.

I really love seeing how much the kids learn through their own studies and simply by following the course their curiosity takes them.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving went well. Mom was not in the hospital, we didn't have the flu, it worked out. Wednesday we went shopping to buy a gift for my niece, and cards for her and for my mom. Mom's birthday is December 1st but we all decided we would celebrate on Thanksgiving because it it not easy to get everyone together in one place at the same time. I looked at the cards, and the realization that this is most likely the very last time I will ever buy a card for my mom hit me like a freight train. Im not one given to being emotional , especially in public, but I started to cry. I stood there and cried in the card aisle, in Target. Really I wanted to break down and sob but I managed not too and pulled myself together rather fast. Looking at the cards I thought "How on earth does a person pick the one that says things they can't say when it is the last birthday occasion to say it?" I couldn't answer it, and grabbed one that sounded good enough. Communication with my mother is not a strong point of mine. Good enough is all it is.
(My mom and husband.)

After being out of town for a few days, today was the first day we had to get back into our regular routine. We went to pick the dog up from the kennel. She smelled horrible, so I washed her. Then off to the library where my 7yo son learned how to use the library catalog. He was so amazed that all he had to do was type in a topic hit search and all the titles would come up along with the numbers where he could find the book he wanted. He looked at me like I had been holding out on him.

He and Gwen took out a few books on tigers, an encyclopedia of sharks, and a 20 lb book about birds in north america. Add checked out 4 books from The Series of Unfortunate Events...series. He is devouring those books...going through one a day or every 2 days. On Thanksgiving he discovered that his cousin was reading them too...they are 20 days apart in age. She asked if he could sleep over so they could watch the movie together, so that is where he went. My sister told me it was really cute watching them discuss the movie, books, plot and characters.
Add and his cousin. I love this picture so much.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Motherhood as a form of redemption

My daughter was sick for several days with h1n1. She did ok with it...there were fevers, she was exhausted, and a couple episodes of vomit.

Caring for her during this illness carried me back to my childhood. This past year, with my mom being ill , has been partially healing, and partially giving me the feeling of ripping off a very large scab.
When I was a little girl, my mom was an alcoholic. This meant that sometimes I would have a mother who would do lovely things with me like make potato stamps, work in the garden, dance together to Abba while cleaning. It also meant that sometimes I wouldn't have a mother. I would have woman passed out on the couch, or incoherent or....just not there.

I have a few memories of being sick with her. One time I had pink eye, and it reminded me of a book I had. One of the illustrations was a rabbit with big pink eyeballs...so I thought of that, hopped around and yelled PINK EYE PINK EYE. I think I was 4. She took me to the Dr, and I ate a donut on the way while I sat in the backseat with my dog Max. I didn't finish my donut so I left it on the back window shelf thing that our car had. When I came back, the donut was gone, but Max was happy. Probably the only reason I remember this day is because of Max eating my donut.

When I was 7 my mom left. Just left. In my ability to recollect this time, it is from the viewpoint of a 7yo..there was mom...then there was not mom. I was left with my father who became profoundly depressed.

My dad was a wonderful man, but had not the slightest inkling about how to care for a young girl. I once came down with some horrible illness...with fevers and throwing up. I didnt know what to do, so I took my blanket, went into my father's room with the bread pan that I was using to throw up in and laid down on his wood floor. All I knew is that I wanted to be near a grown up...someone to take care of me, and even if they didn't it was good enough to just be there and hear him breathing.

When Gwen got sick, these snippets of memory along with several others in the same vein swirled into my mind. It made me sad, I cannot argue that. However, the realization that my children will never, ever, be left alone like I was fixed something in me. To be with my daughter and soothe her during her fevers, to change the bed at 2am that we were sharing and she threw up in, to know that she would not feel alone and have to sleep on hard wood floors with a very thin blanket and high fever...it was in a way like I was redeemed from these aspects of my childhood.

photos




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Health

Gwen seems to be over the flu. I am so glad.
Today is the first anniversary of my brother's passing, he has been heavy on mind today.

We were able to get out of the house after too many days of being stuck inside...that was wonderful.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sick

My daughter has the flu. I get really sad when my kids get sick. She rested on the couch for most of the day and was kept in good company



We did go the Dr who confirmed it was the flu..at first she thought it was strep, but that was clear. Im am hoping that if we are all to get it that it hits fast. The thought of having to miss Thanksgiving is causing me great sadness. In all likelihood it will be my mom's last one, and we are going to be celebrating her birthday also.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

She amuses me.


This dog makes me laugh. I caught her on top of the "linen dresser" we have in our upstairs hall. I put the cat food up there to keep the dog out of it. She was so curious about the cat that she jumped up on top of the dresser. I wish I had had my real camera on hand and not just my cell phone...the cat's face was priceless. I never thought that it would cross a dog's mind to jump up there.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I Think I Have Lost My Mind....

Truly.
Remember Bella?


A friend of ours loved her very much and actually asked if he could have her. Since it was so unexpected and kind of weird for someone to outright ask for our dog, I said yes. She left us a couple of months ago.

Lately I have been missing having a dog...we have Blue who is our old really dumb Lab...but he doesn't really count as a dog..I think of him as furniture..that sometimes smells bad. Plus I like having a dog out with the kids when they are playing...there are coyotes around our house, and my mom mind goes to all sorts of scenarios of strangers stopping and grabbing one of my kids and taking off. I figured we needed a dog with some sort of protective potential.

Ive been looking around and the other day came across a listing for a 7mo pup that caught my eye. Housetrained, used to kids, good personality, part Cattle Dog. I emailed and set up a time to meet up. My husband was able to be there too...and both of us fell in love at first sight.

Needless to say....she came home with us.
Here is Leia Lola Lunatic. (we like to give our dogs 3 names starting with the same letter)
Her ears are so big that I couldnt fit the tip in the frame.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Snow

I left early this morning with the intention of getting to Cleveland early so I would have more time to spend with my mom, and so I could leave early and not drive home for over 2 hours, alone, and in the dark.

Rest stops are CREEPY at night.
I know this because I usually have to get coffee to make it home awake.

About 20 miles north, it began to snow. At first I was confused. See...during the summer, I forgot that snow exists, and all of a sudden fluffy rain drops started hitting my window. Eventually I realized..it was snow.

Its too early for snow.

As I drove on the freeway started to get slushy...visibility downright sucked, and the semi's which usually go 70+ were only going 55. I hopped off at the freeway exit that has a billboard for a store that sells farm animal feed, deli trays, and party supplies. I wanted to see if it really WAS snowing as badly as I thought.

It was.

A hearse drove by as I sat there...and I decided I was going to wimp out and not keep going north where it would be worse.

So I turned around and went home.

That was my exciting day...when I got home I cleaned my kitchen..even got into the corners, then kids carved their pumpkins..a bit late, I baked 2 pumpkin pies and made pumpkin seeds. I was a right regular domestic.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Few Years Back...

an experienced home schooler said to me "You need to make a choice..either you home school or they go to school...make it and stick with it, and take away the other option" At the time I was really wavering in my commitment and belief...ok..that was like until 6-12 months ago..I also did have a hard time swallowing her advice...

As it turns out...she was right. When I took away the option of putting the kids in school and delved into and believed in the process of everything home education entails...my doubts faded. It was almost magical...there were doubts, they went POOF!

Not only was she right, but she was wise. Why? Well...when you are with small people nearly 24/7 and are responsible for educating them....some days...will...NOT...be...fun. For me, today was one of those days. There was arguing between the kids..non stop...the sky was all gray, the brilliant leaves are off the trees and mouldering on my lawn, did I mention the kids fighting???? Everything was wrong.

In hindsight I see where I slipped up...I didnt keep us in the structure we all need...I had a hard time getting motivated...and it showed. The day ended up ok...and tomorrow is the day I go visit with my Mom and Mr. C takes the kids...so Thursday we will begin again, on the right foot.

Odd how yesterday was a wonderful productive day and today was just blah....
Im also thinking of maybe getting a sun lamp this winter? The lack of sunshine is already getting to me...when there is sun I chase sunbeams around the house to sit in, but it's not enough.

*Obviously some people operate fine when they have the option of putting their kids in school....I dont work well in anything without a solid single minded dedication. Having other options makes me second guess what Im doing.

Monday, October 26, 2009

work

I registered for the college course I will be taking winter quarter today.
The new math level went very well, did two lessons.
As for the rest I wanted to yank out my hair...but we pushed on..I bit my tongue and the boys finished their grammar work, spelling and handwriting. I think boys are allergic to handwriting. They want to learn cursive but they have atrocious printing...and the cursive book we are using does do a review of proper printing. My 7yo saw that I wasn't going to budge and did his work as quickly and neatly as possible, my 9yo complained and took awhile..but finished. Tomorrow I will be adding the history curriculum in. Gwen did some phonics work and read a few words on her own...she was very happy!!

Schedule Change

In an effort to boost productivity around here I am embarking on a completely new schedule. The plan is for me to wake up at 5am (yes, 5 am) write for an hour, then exercise, shower, get dressed, do breakfast, morning chores, start school, stop at noon for lunch and recess, finish school, do errands, afternoon chores, free time, dinner, showers, more exercise for me while the kids do that, then bed...and I get a couple hours free, and go to bed myself at 10.

Got that?

This is a drastic change for me as normally I stay up till 1am, and then wake up grumbly around 8...Im not a morning person...but Im sure I can be if I actually got to bed earlier.

Today is day one...I got out of bed at 5:10...came downstairs, and noticed I had set my coffee maker to PM...again. Turned it on and stood and stared till there was enough for one cup.

We have an office space off of our bedroom that right now is sort of a storage room...our intent is to make that my "writing cave" It isnt done yet, so I figured I would sit at the kitchen table and write...but while waiting for my coffee I realized that it is REALLY dark out and I dont like being by uncovered windows in the dark...and our kitchen has an entire wall of windows, and then a sliding glass door...so that is a lot of uncovered windows that zombies can watch me through. ;-)

I opted for the couch, drank some coffee, thought about how insanely tired I am, and that I feel kinda sick. I tried to write..but it didnt work. However, I did manage to discover the Word Processor program on my computer and that I can print out greeting cards and menus with templates that are already there.

Hopefully I can get through today without too much fatigue. All of our new curricula is in...and we are all looking forward to getting started with it. In the afternoon we have a library run to make and grocery shopping.
I also need to make time to start clearing out the office...so I can get it painted this week. Im going to go with a deep plum for the walls..and make the room extra cozy and cave-like..hence the term writing cave.

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Curriculum

I ordered some new curriculum today...the kids have learned past what we had on hand so I figured the responsible thing to do would be to order some more. I always get giddy excited when I buy new things for us to work on!
For history Im going with Pandia Press History Odyssey: Ancients
Language Arts is Classical Writing...Im starting off with the Primer just to get a feel for it, and then will adjust accordingly..it is for my boys, and I have not had them do any formal writing...unless you count writing "I will not hit my brother" 50 times as formal writing. :-P
Continuing our math with high emphasis on review work and making sure they have all basic principles down we are going into Saxon 3. My goal is to be well into Saxon 4 by next fall...if not finished.
Then I ordered Classically Cursive....and now Im wondering if that was a good pick....but we will see.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Blazing....

I haven't said anything about going back to school for awhile...but I still am. Registration is on the 26th and I will be taking 2 classes...and Mr. C is requesting that I pay for them when I register instead of waiting..because then I won't back out. Last time I did...but that was because I couldnt add one more thing into my life that would potentially add more stress. Now I realize that it would have been a good stress...something productive, and a good distraction...so it gets to be that when classes start in January. :-P

The kids are having an interest in Stonehenge lately, so we have been watching documentaries about it...as well as nature videos.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It seems....

That life is racing past me and Im not grabbing on....but just standing and watching and...

The kids are changing more and more each day, there are so many things to finish....or begin... laundry is undone, walls need painted, plates need washing, weeds need pulling, phone calls go unreturned, my mom's transplant failed and there are no other treatment options. Am I missing optimal windows for teaching the kids things they need, will need, may never need??

Things pile up, my stress level grows...showing itself in various forms...twitching left eye, clenching teeth, grinding my teeth while sleeping, crying in my sleep, chest pains, insomnia.

Everything spins....Im stuck...

My dreams are all about loss...of things that Im aware of, and losing things I never knew I had to begin with....extra rooms in my house...a child that slept on a bed for years waiting for me but now she has to go.

Someday....maybe....things will return to some level of calm.....


Monday, October 12, 2009

It was a Date!

Saturday night my mother in law offered to have the kids spend the night at her house. Naturally we accepted.

We made plans...dinner at a great fusion restaurant we love..and miss going to, finding places to go that we can't go with kids in tow, and then when done with that going to a diner and writing.

Dinner happened, and was great. We originally considered staying in a cheap motel...but then we realized that it wasnt all non smoking..and smoke makes me really sick...and then there was the whole thought of quality control and clean sheets and towels....so we opted for a nice hotel. After getting checked in and situated we tossed around some ideas...head out and check out some clubs or bars...but it was only 8:00. Movie? Only thing that seemed remotely interesting was Zombieland...but zombies make me ill...and Mr. C does not like Woody Harrelson or the other guy actor. We thought again about the bars....Mr. C doesn't drink...and neither of us was really in a mood to sit and stare at people being obnoxious.

Soooo....we looked at the time again....8:20.

A shy suggestion....one borne of 13 years of marriage...3 children..being happy and settled in life....and having a crazy schedule.....

How about we go to sleep early and get a good nights sleep and wake up early??

and we did.

OK...my HUSBAND did. I tried, and instead slept not at all really....woke up to every sound in the hallway, felt like the blankets didnt breathe well enough, and the room had no air flow and was suffocating, the bed was too big, and my husband too far away, and my dreams when I did sleep were too weird.

We did have a nice happy breakfast the next morning though, then picked up the people, went to the Cleveland Art Museum and revisted old favorite pieces that are back on display. THe museum underwent an extensive renovation and has basically been closed for the past few years...WELL worth the wait though.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Best $2.24 I ever spent....

Last week we went to Target, and they had notebooks on clearance for .12 ...so I bought all of them. The boys really wanted calculators so we found a couple for $1 each. When we got home the boys sat down with a notebook and calculator each and challenged each other to a math duel. They wrote down math problems, took turns calling them out, and whoever got the answer first got a point. That lasted for about an hour. When they tired of their game Eli went to "train" his Pokemon cards...and kept track of their improving hit points with his notebook and calculator...Add went to figure out real life problems...like "If I were to earn $50 a day and worked 7 days I would make $350 a week" I would toss in things like..take 10% off for savings and then another 20% for taxes...then how much do you have left?

I came across an article on Salon.com about homeschooling....and naturally I had to read the scathing comments. It amused me for awhile to read the sheer viciousness some people evidently hold toward homeschooling. One thing that kept coming up in comment after comment was "HOW will homeschooled children EVER learn to deal with DIFFICULT people??" Uh.....I thought that generally speaking, the most difficult people are usually in ones own family...see...problem solved. :-P

I need to blog on a regular basis...I havent been on the computer during the day, and at night Ive been binging on books.

My mom is out of the hospital....but the latest news is that it looks like the transplant has most likely failed....Im not sure what the other options really are...or if there are any. The Dr. mentioned the possibility of her taking an older chemo drug...but she has to get stronger first.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ponyo



I cannot tell you how much I love this movie. Mr C loved it too, and it reminded us oddly of another favorite he and I have had for the past 15 years...My Neighbor Totoro...which then reminded us of Princess Mononoke, and Spirted Away. Then...we realized that ALL of the movies were made by the same man. Sometimes we are frighteningly quick. (not really)
(the kids loved it too, BTW!)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Stumbled upon

I have come across a few sites that I think will be very helpful during our school year.
The first is this.
She has several book lists on there pertaining to subject.

Here is a site with plenty of links and information...I havent spent too much time going through it.

A Book In Time has to be my most favorite of my new finds...I love the book lists and ideas! I like that there are craft ideas. I have crafty kids, and I am NOT a crafty mom! :-)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Productivity

Good day.
Good PRODUCTIVE day.
A day where I see what has been done.
What HAS been done?
Ceilings, walls, baseboards, and floors vacuumed
Baseboards dusted.
Windows washed.
Clothes washed and dried on line
Clothes folded and put away
Bathrooms scrubbed...every inch...including the corners...
(Which made me think of Steinbeck's East of Eden "She was a corner cleaning woman")
Ceiling fans cleaned.
Floors mopped and wood floors polished.

And then for dinner....the piece de resistance...



I fed my people Mc.Donalds.

:-P

Such is life.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Reasons

I have not been posting much. I could chalk it up to lack of time...being too busy...etc.

The truth?

Ive been finding my life to be rather....uninspiring...and have had nothing to write about..

There is plenty going on...my mom was in ICU last week..when I got there her BP was 46/19 and she was essentially on life support. She stabilized, and is back on the bone marrow transplant floor with ICU psychosis and MRSA. Really though...do I WANT to write about all of that in horrible detail? Getting to the ICU last week and seeing my mom there coughing up blood, in critical condition, with pneumonia and sepsis...had to have been the scariest day of my life thus far. Maybe I just CAN'T write about it...just like I still havent cried about it..not yet anyway.

In other odds and ends..we went to the zoo..I managed to snag some pictures Im happy with...my hair is blue, and Im still working on getting our school year organized.



Friday, August 28, 2009

Dishwashing

I was cleaning up the kitchen and loading the dishwasher. We had pancakes for dinner and I had spilled flour all over the sink, which then mixed with water.
I had a flashback of being a child..about 9 or so sitting in our dining room. Our table was white painted wrought iron and had a round glass top. The chairs were the same but had avocado green cushions. The legs of that table started skinny at the bottom and widened up to a V to meet the table. Once, when I was away overnight, my Siamese cat, Snowy, fell off one of the chairs and caught a hind leg in a table leg. He broke it. I came home and my mom told me, I was 6 and I cried hysterically. He was at the vet, and was brought home later that day with a cast. That silly cat managed to get that cast off several times.
In my memory Im at that table. Im working on a school project and realized I was out of glue. I knew Dad would not be too happy if I told him this so late into the evening, so I mixed up some water and flour to make a glue, as I had remembered Dad once told me one could do that. It worked well enough, but I do remember the teacher not liking my project and I got a low grade on it.

I cleaned up the flour goo in my sink and loaded up the dishwasher. The motions of what I was doing reminded me of my mother. I used to love to sit in the kitchen in the late evening as a teen, and young 20 something and watch her clean the kitchen. She would finally be starting to wind down from her day of working, her face would start to lose the tension she had been carrying, her hair would be falling in her face, and she would be smiling. It was a good time to catch her to have conversations...or just to be in her presence. I found it comforting.

Tonight I wondered why it was such a comfort to be with her while she did this. I went back to early childhood memories. I remembered a light above the sink, a yellow portable dishwasher that I liked to sit on, a green refrigerator with an 8 track player on top of it. There would be mom rinsing dishes, and singing to the music. I would either be sitting on the dishwasher or on the table. Most nights she would play the soundtrack from The Rose, and when that song came on she would pick me up and dance with me. There was a "kitchen witch" that hung above the sink..for some reason my mom always had one. That time was our time together each night.

One of my last memories I have of my mom from when I was a child, around the age of 6, is one of those nights. We had our usual evening...but she seemed distant. A few nights before I asked her if she and Dad were divorcing..I had watched an episode of Silver Spoons and that was the theme..divorced parents. She seemed shocked and said "NO, where on EARTH did you even come up with that??" That last night though...she held me tight during The Rose, and she started to cry, and she told me that they were getting a divorce. She left shortly thereafter, and I didnt see her very much for a few years...just weekends here and there while she was in a halfway house. When I was 12 I did move back in with her...and every evening sat with her in the kitchen as she cleaned.
However...still to this day...I cannot listen to The Rose without bursting into tears.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Spitting Water and Katydids

This evening Gwen noticed a Katydid crawling on our living room window...naturally I figured it was a photo op. We went outside, and had some fun taking photos of the insect, and then the kids had fun spitting water at each other.
Running from Gwen who was spitting water at them
Synchronized spitting. ;-)

Cancer

So my mom has developed Graft Vs. Host disease...which is a good and bad thing. Good because it shows the donor bone marrow is doing something, bad because too much GVH could make her very sick or even kill her. She looks very sunburnt, and her skin is peeling...I asked how she felt and she said like she was on fire. This past Saturday we had a family party for my nephew's 4th birthday, she felt well enough to be there. I took some photos of course.

What really shocked me was seeing how different she is looking between now..and May.
From SaturdayShe and I in the beginning of May
It's like she has aged 10 years in a few months. :-(

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Freedom

The kids have had VCS this week..it has been going very well. They all love it and have learning much about the Theotokos Gwen is very proud of herself because she has not cried-in previous years she has, and I have to come and get her.

This morning we arrived early. Add was asking his teacher about the water wars she had mentioned yesterday. She told him she likes to do them in conjunction with a trivia game. Add told her that he is really good at trivia. She agreed and then said that the wide range of knowledge he has is truly impressive. Add told her that he also likes to read the Encyclopedia of World History before bed every night.

Then, of course, she asked where he goes to school. Add and Eli replied in unison "We are homeschooled" Her eyes lit up and she said to me "THAT is the difference! I knew there was something! He isnt all bound up like the other kids his mind has been free to roam and has no limits with what he is able to learn! Wonderful, I think that is WONDERFUL!"

I was floored...I had been worried all week about his writing skills. LOL!

She is right, being homeschooled does allow a child to have a free mind...my kids pretty much decide what they want to learn and they learn it they way they as individuals do it best. Today the boys pulled out maps of the USA, and after figuring out N,S,E and W, they asked me to name off states, and they would compete to see who could find it first, and then name the capital. Pretty painless, and fun..they did it for about 20 minutes and had a blast. Then they moved on to seeing distances from a city to another city.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Worry?

I have a tendency to worry over where my oldest is academically...I never worry about my 2nd or 3rd kids...just the firstborn.

It started with reading...he was 7 and not reading, I was freaking out to my friends about it..not to him. I stopped trying to teach him, and the kid taught himself..and took off with reading.

Lately I have been concerned about his writing ability. My 7yo will write stories, and even make books...but my 9yo has shown no interest. Then yesterday, that all changed. He picked up a notebook and a pencil, declared he was going to make a journal..and proceeded to write.

Today he sat at the table and copied paragraphs out of a book...to help him write better. His handwriting has improved dramatically as well. After he copied out of a book, he wrote his own little story about a detective.

Another lesson for me in trusting him to forge his own path and make his own way in his journey.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Planner

I am really trying to get things in order. I came across this planner and ordered it. I liked the way it was laid out and had not only the weekly lesson plan areas but also a section for weekly priorities and dinners.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Windows....

This window faces west and is in our upstairs hall. At sunset, most every night, it delivers rainbows that dance along our walls.
eli with his new skill
Shot was not crooked....the window is...nothing is straight in my house


This I took at my mom's house yesterday. I was sitting and looking at the leaded glass windows near her door. I thought about how often I used to look through them, and how they contort things a bit....I thought about how she won't be living there much longer, and that my childhood home will be gone. I liked how the street is reflected back in parts of the shot.