Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Picture for Your Thoughts

I failed to finish posting pictures of our summer vacation. It's too late for me to write tonight or sort through pictures, so I thought I'd leave you with this photo that I took at a hotel where we stayed in Pennsylvania. I suppose this is one way to post the sign....

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Proud Parent

I had a proud parent moment today. Jason was learning his beginning letter sounds and rhyming. He played a little game that involved a happy hippo on a kids' website. After he finished the game, I heard him apply his understanding of the H sound and rhyming when he said his own sentence aloud to himself, "The happy hippo has hairy nipples." Alliteration and rhyming all in one sentence! Yes, a very proud moment, even though technically it doesn't rhyme, but close enough.

We often get asked why we homeschool. The main reason is so that we can give our children an education that is tailored to their learning style and talents, and spend more time together as a family. However, in Jason's case it's to save me from the embarrassment of him asking his kindergarten teacher, "How do you spell 'nipple'?"

Jason is also a very curious child and very much enjoys taking things apart. If he finds a screwdriver he will go to town with it. I currently have:

Seven of these battery covers that I need to replace.

 George's toy that he took apart. My kids call this the Baby iPod.

When Jason opened this one up, he was very interested in the new type of little round disc battery that he's never encountered before. He told me I need to buy more of them.

The other day I was teaching Jason the notes on the piano. He was halfway interested in what I was teaching him, but he kept feeling underneath the keyboard. He said to me, "Mommy, I feel something metal under here. What is it? It feels like a screw." I could see the wheels turning in his head, and they were not music related.

I am now collecting toys and gadgets that are old, boring, or broken for him to take apart. The other day I allowed him to unscrew the motor and music box portion of an old crib mobile. That was fun. It was fun for Bradley too.

This is my screwdriver holder on the back of the kitchen cupboard underneath the sink. It's empty because Jason raided it. Now I hide any screwdriver that I find, and this will remain empty for several more years.

Jason is one of my favorite kids. He is so much fun to teach at this young age. Every time I teach him something new he excitedly exclaims with wide eyes and a high-pitched voice, "Ohhhh! I didn't know that!!" 

He is very happy to be a kindergartner. I was a little worried about beginning to officially homeschool him. If he were in public school, he wouldn't be in kindergarten until next year because he has an October birthday, but I felt he was ready. I was only worried because he is my most stubborn child, however, I haven't experienced much stubbornness while teaching him. He's eager to learn and progress in his reading and writing. Today he was even interested in learning how to use a dictionary. He's mostly stubborn when it comes time to clean up. But who isn't? As I write this I still have dirty dishes in the kitchen that probably won't be washed until tomorrow morning. I know one day it will click with him that it's a good idea to help out, and I will remain patient until that happens.  (Hopefully one day it will click with me that it's a good idea to wash the dinner dishes before going to bed because it always makes me grumpy in the morning when I have a sink full of dirty dishes.) He does small things to help, like putting the pillows on the couch. Every little bit counts.

His green hair.

He loves cutting watermelon and he's good at it. He could also probably eat an entire half of a watermelon. The effects of watermelon are fascinating to him too. The first time he ate it this summer he shouted to me from the bathroom, "Mommy, it's red!!"

He falls asleep in random spots and positions.

On this night it was with a purse and a duck in a toy ice cream cone. I love these fun little Kodak moments before I go to bed. It ends my day with a smile.

"But Mommy, I just wanted to see what was inside."

Look! I just wrote a whole post without one picture or blurb about George! Imagine that!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Gynecological Girly Gab

**WARNING** This is a very female post.

I went to the doctor yesterday. The OBGYN. My visit was twofold.

1. First, I know I said Aunt Flo left the other day, but she left her baggage hanging around, which means I won't stop bleeding! It's not a lot (technically spotting), but enough to be a nuisance and make me willing to pay a $25 copay to plead with my doctor and tell him, "Make it stop!"

2. Secondly, since it's about time for my annual exam, I decided to kill two birds with one copay and get that over with, even though I'm not due for another month.

The visit went fine. I called my doctor's office several times last week complaining about my bleeding nuisance. I wanted to get my progesterone tested because according to my Google research, that seems to be the problem, but he refused. I couldn't understand why he wouldn't write me a lab order. It was just a test. But he claimed there was no medical indication that I needed to be tested. His nurse was very nice and spent a lot of time on the phone with me, taking down my information and trying to explain things. She confided in me that my doctor does not like his patients to look things up online. When she told me that, I was determined that he was punishing me for my online self-diagnosis. I do realize it's a bad idea to Google symptoms, usually because it always ends up to be cancer or a terminal illness, therefore I try to avoid Dr. Google. But this research seemed harmless. I was simply trying to educate myself on the menstrual cycle, and I learned some interesting things along the way about hormones.

[Side Note: There are some strange things written out there on some of these medical forums. I continue to be shocked at the number of women/girls that are trying to conceive their first, second, or third child with their boyfriends. There was also a post that said, "I'm 50 and I really want to have another baby because I want to give my husband the girl he always wanted. However, I'm having strange bleeding and I've never had this problem before." That one made me laugh. Please don't ever let me become that woman.]

Anyway, back to my doctor's appointment. He walked in and kindly greeted me. I handed him my BBT (Basal Body Temperature) charts that I've been charting since July. The bi-phasal appearance of the chart appears to show that I've been ovulating. I was hoping they would help give him clues as to why my girl parts are so dysfunctional this month. He looked at them for a moment. He gave me a lesson on the hormone portion of the menstrual cycle. I felt like I was in 9th grade health class, but the information was helpful. Then he paused for a moment, gave it some deep thought and said, "You know, let's get your progesterone tested next Friday," which would be day 21 of my cycle.

Ok, so I TOTALLY should've been a doctor because that is exactly what I had prescribed myself! He then explained if it's low, to take progesterone supplements (Prometrium) for 7 days and then stop. When I stop taking them I will begin my period. It's like a forced period and the extra progesterone helps build up the endometrium lining and then when the drug is suddenly stopped the lining should properly slough off and regulate me. He thinks that I might have a build up of endometrial tissue which can cause random bleeding. I'm hoping he's right, so I'm giving it a try.

I hope this isn't TMI. I don't think it is. I like to think of it as educational.

So the appointment continued. He called the nurse into the room while he did the exam portion of the visit.  He felt my boobs, he tapped my lower abdomen. I'm not quite sure what that tells him, but it sounded hollow. He felt my neck, which I think helps him tell if my thyroid is big or something. He listened to my heart and lungs. He looked at my eyes and took a two second peek into my mouth. I wish I asked him what he looks for in my eyes and mouth, but I forgot. I was distracted by his beautiful gold fillings when he opened his mouth to ask me to say, "Ahhh."

Then he did the PAP and internal exam. This is never my favorite part of the visit. It makes me all dizzy when I have a speculum inside me, and knowing the doctor is scraping tissue off my cervix with a brush-like thingy that looks like it should clean a miniature baby bottle.  But I survived. Then he felt my uterus and ovaries. By the feel of things I thought he was rearranging the furniture up in there, but I was glad to know he was being thorough in checking for irregularities. While he was examining he asked the nurse, "Did you have a good day off yesterday?"
She answered, "Kind of."
He proceeded to tell me that she didn't have to work yesterday because he was off getting a colonoscopy. I find great joy and humor in awkward moments. That was a first for me, and I can honestly say I have never had a man tell me about his colonoscopy while feeling my uterus and ovaries. I simply laughed because I couldn't think of any appropriate response. I mean, I could've probably said something like, "Oh yeah? So how is your colon doing?" but my attention was focused on my reproductive system that was currently being poked, prodded, and scraped.

The final portion involved five questions. My doctor asked:

1. Have there been any changes in your family medical history?
Me:  Uhh...no.

2. Have you taken up drinking or smoking?
Me:  Hahaha....No.

3. Has there been any change in your social status in the past year?
Me Thinking:  Ummm......Social status?.....Hmmmm....well, I accepted probably about 15 new Facebook friend requests.
Me:  No.

4. Do you wear a seatbelt?
Me: Yes.

5. Do you drive while talking on a cell phone?
So, I'm not quite sure what this has to do with my gynecological health, but I'm glad that my doctor is concerned about my motor vehicle safety. When I replied, "No." He said, "Good girl."

He understands my desire to have more children so there was no discussion about birth control. He assured me that my irregular bleeding was common considering my age of 35. Then he put his hand on my knee, looked at me, and said, "Don't worry. We'll tune you up and get you pregnant." His optimism was reassuring. So reassuring that I actually bought some pregnancy tests that were clearanced at the grocery store tonight.

So that was my doctor day. So much fun. Sorry I don't have a picture. Just use your imagination.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cream Puffs and Charades

Tonight for Family Home Evening we played Charades and ate Cream Puffs. I would like to be able to say our Family Home Evening Lesson coordinated with the dessert, and had to do with something about how each of are very unique, and that we might look different and be all different shapes and sizes, but we we are all very good on the inside and share the common trait of having a divine nature. But I didn't think of that until the kids were in bed. It's too bad because it would've been a good lesson. Maybe next time. Instead our lesson was on fasting, which was a good lesson also, but obviously we weren't fasting today because we indulged on these divine desserts:

The Squatty Puff

The Perfect Puff

The Messy Puff

The Oozing Puff

Don't let Bradley fool you. He didn't like cream puffs the second night around either. He posed for a picture and opted for a cookie.

It's very hard to eat a cream puff without getting messy, which is just like life. Life can get messy and difficult at times, but the yumminess (The Gospel, Holy Spirit, God, and Jesus) are still there. Man, I'm good with the analogies!

We put some sprinkles on them.

The Sweaty Puff. 
Seriously, Rachel is my sweatiest kid. Her forehead is wet often and she gets beads of sweat on her nose  when she sleeps.

The Guido Puff

Jack-o-Lantern Puff

The Cream Puff
All George ate was a bowl full of whipped cream and he was totally fine with it. It probably tasted like a condensed version of his bottle.

He waited for his siblings to go upstairs to slurp the cream out of the leftover puffs.

Tonight was a success. For some reason it made me happy to see chocolate handprints on the stairway walls tonight. As I wiped them off with a baby wipe, it made me happy to think that my kids are growing up with good memories. I might not be the nicest and sweetest mom all the time, but chocolate and whipped cream can bring a sweet end to any day.

I have two favorite parts of my day:

1. George is enjoying table food these days (obviously.) This morning Jason left the remnants from his bowl of cereal on the table. George was very excited to find it and practice his spoon skills. I didn't feel like cleaning up the sticky milk mess off the table and floor, so I took the bowl away from him. I wish I had a video of his reaction, but it was EXTREME disappointment. He had the saddest face I've ever seen. Then he put his hand to his mouth and gasped in a big breath of air and looked at me with a look that said, "How could you do that to me?" and he continued crying. Talk about pulling some heart strings!! I gave it back to him and let him enjoy the soggy cereal to his heart's content. It is Mopping Monday tonight anyway, so it didn't really matter if the floors got a little stickier today.

2. Watching George trying to carry a very large and heavy box of microwave popcorn. He made noises that sounded a lot like a Sumo wrestler while he tried to lift up the box. Then he would get so mad and cry when he dropped it and tripped over it. He tried three times before giving up.

I kind of feel like this post is George dominated, but I can't help it. He's a lot of fun right now. I'll try to focus on another kid next time.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday Schedule

So here is our Sunday Schedule:

7:00 AM
Wake up and get ready for church. I take a shower and get dressed while my husband wakes up the kids and gets most of them dressed. When I'm finished, I go to the kids room and re-tie all the dress sashes (shh, don't tell my husband) and curl the girls' hair. All of my children have ZERO curl to their hair. When I look around at all the different families in church, it seems to me that there is at least one child in every family that has naturally curly hair. I get a little jealous because I love curls. But since my children were not blessed with natural curls, we fake it and I spend about 20 minutes each Sunday morning taming their hair with a curling iron, because if I didn't they would look like complete ragamuffins. While I'm curling hair, the rest of the siblings are finishing getting dressed, cleaning their room, making their beds, and playing.

8:15 AM
We go downstairs and eat breakfast which is usually cold cereal. Usually the kids and I start breakfast while my husband finishes getting ready (he takes longer than me.) While the kids eat, I put bows in hair, make sure socks and shoes are on, diaper bag is packed, put away last night's dried dishes, check my Facebook, etc.

8:55 AM
We say family prayer and head out the door to the car.

9:05 or 9:10
Arrive at church. Arrival time depends on how successful loading the van went. Jason likes to "win" which means he likes to buckle his car seat before I can finish helping Rachel buckle her car seat. If Rachel wins because Jason was being a slow poke, a tantrum will ensue and delay us. Therefore, I have learned to procrastinate buckling Rachel until the very last minute. Usually the routine ends with Jason shouting, "I wonned!"

9:30 - 12:30 PM
I know, we crazy Mormons go to church for three hours. However today was a little different. We had Stake Conference so it was only two hours. But it's a much more difficult than the regular three hours because the kids are sitting with us the whole time. Normally we pass them off to Sunday School teachers after the first hour. However we survived today, thanks to blank paper, colored pencils, a sippy cup, and books.

1:00 PM
Arrive home and prepare lunch. Every Sunday we eat scrambled eggs and either grits or hashbrowns. I crack the eggs, Jason stirs them, and Emily usually cooks them. My husband has his hashbrown cooking routine down and is training Emily how to do it. Sarah is usually the toast maker. One of the other kids will set the table, including Rachel. It's a pretty good routine, if the kids don't get too distracted by toys in the playroom.

1:30 - 2:00 PM
Eat lunch and discuss what we learned at church. It's always fun to hear what the kids did in their Sunday School classes.

2:00 - 4:00 PM
Clean up lunch, play games, sometimes I will take a nap, etc. Today we made cream puffs. It was Bradley's idea because he got a French cookbook at the library and he thought the recipe looked yummy. We also have piano and instrument recitals when the kids play what they've been working on all week.

4:00 PM
Get ready to go to church for a class my husband and I teach.

5:00 PM
My husband and I were recently called to serve as group leaders for the Addiction Recovery Program. So we stick our kids in a classroom at church to play hangman on the chalkboard and hope that somebody shows up to our class. Not that we hope that people have addictions, but we hope to feel useful and of service. It's a wonderful program that focuses on learning how to apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ to overcoming an addiction. It's based on other 12 step programs, but the main difference is that it teaches how to turn your burdens over to Christ and how to become free from them.

6:30 PM
Dinner at home. Usually we have sliced cheese, microwave popcorn, applesauce and other stuff that doesn't not require cooking because it's my day of rest.

7:30 ish PM
Kids go to bed, I finish cleaning up the kitchen, and if I'm a good girl, I will blog.

Why did I tell you our Sunday Schedule? I don't know, but it all began with me wanting to tell you about this genius idea I had a couple of weeks ago.... Since Sunday is my day of rest, I hate (hate is a strong word that I seldom use, but is totally appropriate in this instance) to wash dishes on Sunday, or for anybody to have to wash them. I just want to finish lunch and do something spiritual or restful/sleepful, NOT clean dishes. The dirty Sunday dishes were beginning to make me angry, so my genius idea was to buy nice paper plates. I usually buy the very cheap paper plates which just don't work with eggs and grits because they are too wet. So I've decided to splurge a bit for Sundays and buy some higher quality plates. Why did I not think of this 10 years ago?! Probably because I was trying to save money and be all tree huggerish and good to the environment, but at this point in my life I'm willing to sacrifice a tree. In the meantime I'm saving water and it's totally balanced. Maybe I will plant a tree in honor of my paper plates on Arbor Day.

Aren't they beautiful paper plates?

Look at the beauty in the disposableness of those plates....

It was fill-your-own cream puffs. We made delicious whipped cream filling.

Bradley eating his cream puff. He didn't even like it. I think he was expecting more of a donut-like texture and taste. Also notice his black eye. He doesn't know how he got it. Jason probably whacked him while they were sleeping.

They took this picture yesterday. My husband cleared out a lot of Zinnia from the garden beds and the kids were catching butterflies while holding the flowers.

Speaking of Arbor Day....Did you know that Nebraska is the home of Arbor Day? Yeah, I didn't either until I took a picture of the state sign last fall on our way home from California:

The funny thing is, I took this picture in Nebraska shortly after I took the picture of the sign. It looks like Nebraska doesn't observe Arbor Day a whole lot. I think they need to practice what they preach because my paper plates don't grow on trees....wait a minute.....actually they kind of do. My point is, Nebraska needs to plant some trees so I don't feel guilty using paper plates , don't you think?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

First Day of School

One thing I love about homeschooling is that you can choose which day you are going to begin. I like to take the traditional route and begin the day after Labor Day. It just doesn't seem right to start school in the middle of August because it's still summer. The first three weeks in September are technically summer too, but it's September and it has a different feel. August still feels like summer vacation.  Another thing I like is that I don't have to wake up at an unnatural hour. We wake up at 7am. School begins at 9am.

So today was our first day of school and we took some pictures.

The kids taking the bus to school. 

It's a crazy ride.

Sarah almost missing the bus.

Bradley - Fourth Grade

Wendy - First Grade

Jason - Kindergarten

Sarah - Second Grade 
Her backpack is totally empty, but she really wanted one, so I bought it for her at  Target for $3.98 so she could feel like a student.)

Emily - Fifth Grade
I can't believe she's in fifth grade!

The downside is that this school bus drops the kids back off at home, which means they come right back inside with me and there is no quiet time for mom. Also, we only take the bus on the first day of school. We don't do this everyday. I'm sure our neighbors already think we are weird enough, we don't need to give them more reasons to support their thoughts.

Here is a small sampling of our day. The pictures make everything looks so silent and peaceful. Don't let that deceive you:

Rosetta Stone



Break Time


So that was our day. I hope to post more about our schedule this week. 

Pregnancy update: I'm not pregnant. I'm having Luteal Phase issues, meaning my period (AKA Aunt Flo) likes to visit a week early and hang around for about 12 days which does not help any potential embyros to snuggle in the lining of my uterus. Not only does she like to visit early, but she likes to come with a vengeance and create a very unnatural amount of blood flow. When I say "unnatural" I mean I'm afraid I'm going to pass out from the loss of a large amount of blood in a short period (no pun intended) of time. It happened this past Saturday morning at 4am. I didn't pass out, but I woke my husband up in case I did. I have a call into my doctor to help me fix this.  My guess is progesterone or hormones-out-of-whack issues. Or maybe my uterus is just old and cranky. In the meantime, if I do happen to pass out I'm glad to know that Jason knows how to call 911. Right now I'm fine though. Aunt Flo is in the process of leaving, thank goodness.