Thursday, January 31, 2013

A leetle bit tired.

Today was kind of a long day.  We had dentist appointments this morning and that took about an hour, then we had to meet a notary to sign about a billion forms for our refinance.  Then, we came home and I had about half an hour or so to get ready for my volunteer shift.  I worked pretty hard on behalf of the babies tonight.  A lot of them were not big and easily picked up and rocked, so I spent a lot of time on my feet, holding pacifiers, patting backs and holding hands.  It's funny how letting them curl their whole hand around my index finger will calm them, sometimes when I just start talking to them while trying to gown up and santitize, they will quieten.  It's pretty cool.  I also suspect that all that standing is good for me, since I have such a sedentary job.  It is a little tiring though.

The kids did school on their own as usual.  I spent some time answering questions about homeschooling and talking about homeschooling with both the dental hygienist and the notary.   

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


We are really enjoying these live theater productions lately.  A new family has joined our homeschool group and they participate in a theater group which has classes and rehearsals for the kids.  Yesterday's production of Fiddler on the Roof was very, very good and was performed by children and young adults from about 12 to 18.  A few of the littler boys looked quite funny in their full long beards but the acting was good, the singing was good and the dancing was good.  Because of that new family, this is the third play we've seen lately.  We saw "White Christmas" and "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" in December and now this one.  They are going to do several others that I'd like to see as well and my kids agree.  I kind of thought youngest son might not enjoy it, but he enjoyed it very much as well, and, it was educational.  My friend did a little class beforehand, just to give the context and a little 1905 Russian history.  Afterwards, since it was a nice day, 60 degrees, a few of us went to the park and let our big kids play on the playground.  They had a ball and we moms enjoyed sitting outside and talking. It was nice for it to be warm for a change.  That's over now.  :-P

Speaking of warmth, my son in Mississippi is having a nice time.  Apparently the weather is always pretty warm there.  There are palm trees on the campus.  He is having a very busy trimester.  He told me yesterday that he had learned to play bass guitar and was going to play bass at a concert tonight that his friend's band is putting on.  I said "when did you learn to play bass" and he said "today."  He says that the bass is way easier than the regular guitar that he's been playing for several years.  Hopefully, he will get someone to film at least a snippet of the performance with their phone, so I can show grandma.  She will be thrilled that her grandson is following in granddad's footsteps.  It is especially poignant to think of granddaddy today, which would have been his 83rd birthday. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Day off.

Today, we've been invited to a theater production of Fiddler on the Roof.  I've never even seen the movie, so I think I'll enjoy it very much.  It's the same theater where we saw White Christmas in December and we really liked that.  Since it's going to pretty much be a full day, I took the day off work.  I'm excited about that too.  :-)


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Today would be a good day.

To go ahead and review our homeschooling routine and see what we need to add or subtract.  We're stuck home without a car again today so we should have plenty of time.  The trouble is, I don't really know what to do.  I spent some time yesterday looking at dysgraphia resources but I didn't find anything.  :-(  I really probably need to get Dianne Craft's Brain Integration Therapy Manual, which I've heard will help, but it's kind of pricey.  I just figured out, while typing this, that some of her videos are on Youtube, so I'm going to check those out and then see if I can come up with a plan. That's the thing about homeschooling, if it isn't working, you can change it, and I frequently do.  :-)

I've been reading a lot of things on these websites (below) that kind of make me re-think education and childhood.  One thing I think we need to do, in educating these 2 high schoolers, is give them some control of what they learn and how they learn it.  I don't know if either of them is heading to college, and if they are, they could start now taking CLEP tests and probably could go ahead and enroll in some college classes ... something else to think about.  I may just hand the problem of my son's handwriting over to him and let him come up with some kind of plan.  I may get him to watch the dysgraphia videos on Youtube himself.  I think maybe he'd remember it better if it was his plan.  Hmmm.

Parent at the Helm

Janet Lansbury

Free Range Learning

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Another reason I'm looking for a different job.

The first one is what I typed.  The second sample is what was dictated to me.  If these doctors could just get their thoughts in order (I know they are tired, but still.) they could save the whole industry a ton of money.

1.   Coronary artery disease status post coronary artery bypass graft.
2.   History of gout.
3.   Status post Clostridium difficile toxin treated with Dificid. 
4.   Depression.
5.   Hypothyroidism.
6.   Status post urinary tract infection.
7.   Diabetes mellitus type 2.
8.   Gait unsteadiness/debility.
9.   Status post PEG removal.

For any other information, please see the chart.  Greater than 35 minutes spent in the process of discharge. 

1.   Coronary artery disease status post CABG.
2.   History of gout.
3.   Status post Clostridium difficile toxin treated with Dificid. 
4.   Gout.
5.   Depression.
6.   Hypothyroidism.
7.   Depression.
8.   Status post urinary tract infection.
9.   Diabetes mellitus type 2.
10. Gait unsteadiness/debility.
11. Status post PEG removal.
12. Depression. 
13. Hypothyroidism.
14.  Status post urinary tract infection.
15   Diabetes mellitus type 2.
16.  Status post PEG.
17.  Gout.
18.  Gait instability.

For any other information, please see the chart.  Greater than 35 minutes spent in the process of discharge.   For any other information, please see the chart.  Send copies to all the aforementioned consultants.  For any other information please see the chart.

It's the sifting and the sorting and keeping them from repeating themselves constantly, at least on the finished product, that is so annoying.

Saturday, the end of a long week.

Last week, both kids procrastinated until late on Friday and one of them was so late that he ended up with extra chores on the weekend.  It was actually kind of nice for me in a way, because he got the spring cleaning started and it really needed to be done.  This Friday, everyone was done at a decent hour, I'm not sure exactly when because I took a nap yesterday, but they were done when I woke up.  My week did not go all that well.  Things happened.  It is the anniversary of the week my Dad passed away and also the week of his birthday and I've been kind of emotional.   Then my mom was having problems with her back and I had to take her to the pain management clinic, which I always dread terribly because it takes.  so.  long.   On the way there, I experienced some pretty severe road rage at a driver who kept blowing his horn at me.  I felt absolutely murderous.  Then, on Thursday, I went to the funeral home fully intending to go to the funeral on Friday (forgetting that I wouldn't have a car.)  Then later on Thursday I went to the children's hospital to hold the babies.  I had considered not going, because I was already tired and extremely stressed and crabby,  but my daughter told me to go.  She knows how it soothes me.  It worked wonders.  I just felt  content on Friday and had a good day.  Oh how I wish I could fit in going more often.  :-).  I've been perusing the hospital's job listings in the hope that I could get a job there and get to see the babies more often and get away from this annoying job that I have, (win-win),  but so far, no luck.  One of the jobs I'm going to apply for actually requires the degree that I have, a B.S. in Child and Family Studies.  Can you believe that?  I mean, nothing ever requires that degree.  It's been totally useless to me in the years that I have had it, but it might come in handy now.  If you see a big dust cloud in the sky next week, you'll know they are blowing the dust off my old transcript so they can send it to me.  It's been a while, shall we say?

Also this week, I've been reading a totally fascinating book recommended by a fellow blogger at The Common Room (see the sidebar for a link).  It's The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and it explains what we do and how we do it.  I'm looking to change my poor eating and exercising habits into good ones and possibly even change into a good housekeeper (that might require a genie instead of a book!) but it is really some interesting reading.  I'll try and give a better review later on.  It has really got me thinking.

So anyway that's my weekly summary.   It's Saturday and since hospitals don't close on the weekends, I've got to work. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tired Thursday.

I'm just completely wiped out today.  Tired.  I got up this morning at 8:00 because the mortgage company for our refinance called.  Then, I goofed off for a while, cleaned the house a little, got ready and went to the funeral home.  Another dear friend's mom has passed away.  Later, I went to the children's hospital for my volunteer shift.  It turned out to be a long, long day, but as always, it's nice to be needed in the NICU.  I was the only volunteer there tonight and there were a lot of fussy babies tonight.  I did the best I could and in between times, I sorted one of the big laundry sorting the tiny preemie boy clothes from the tiny preemie girl cloth and then I held a little baby girl with huge beautiful eyes and rocked her to keep her happy while she waited for her dinnertime which was scheduled at 8:00 p.m. and then I drove home. 

Like I said. 


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

And some miscellaneous pictures.

A birthday banner we put up for my husband's birthday this week. 

One of today's algebra problems.  I am thankful I don't have to teach it.  That's Dad's job.

Today's veggie soup.  It's not as good as it was the other day.  :-(

Some paint chip mosaic pictures from our art class.

Some Christmas pictures, better late than never, right?.

Freckles looking at the Christmas tree, which you can see reflected in her eyes.

The 2 wise men on their journey through the house.  Ignore the dust.  Yes, we lost one wise man years ago, but as I tell the kids, even finding 2 truly wise men, would be a Christmas miracle!

The snow globe my daughter made from a kit we got at Michael's crafts.

Backyard tree with snowy trees sparkling in the background.  I thought at first they were stars and thought this was a super cool photo.  It's still pretty cool though.

The huge snowfall we had this year.  :-)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

At home.

We're stuck at home again today, until my husband gets home from work with the car and then I have to go to the grocery.  We seem to be out of all the good stuff again.  :-)  In an attempt to counteract all the fattening stuff we've been eating through the holidays, yesterday I attempted to make a 14 vegetable soup.  I read somewhere that you should eat a large variety of vegetables every week, the article says 14 different types a week is optimal, so I put that many in my soup.  I started with a can of V8 which has beets, tomatoes, watercress, lettuce, parsley and carrots, then added my own actual carrots, potatoes, beets (I put in beets because my son said that they were an "Olympic super food"), corn, onions, green beans, peas, great northern beans plus a bit of hamburger meat (for flavor, as a seasoning) and some water, onion salt and garlic salt.  It was excellent.  I made a big old pot of it yesterday and today it's already gone.  The only trouble is, when I made my vegetable list, I accidentally counted the beets twice.  So it was a 13 vegetable soup.  This time at the grocery, I'll try to get some other things, to try and add as much nutrition as possible.  Since this pot disappeared so very quickly, I think I'll make another one sometime this week.  Right  now I am trying to make a meal plan and a grocery list so I'll be prepared when I finally do get my car back. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday night rush.

It's Friday night and it's 11:26 p.m. and both kids still have a few school work and chores to do.  I personally, got my work done at 10:26 p.m. so I'm ahead of them, but not doing well enough to fuss at them about theirs, really.  I just got tired this afternoon and took a nap, then went to see my mom and then finished my work.  It is nice to be able to do that sometimes.  I am a little different than the kids when I'm finishing up work late, I don't whine at them and try to get them to let me out of it - not that they could. 


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

And yet ...

I was pondering whether to clean the bathrooms tonight or wait until tomorrow.  While I was thinking about this, I was doing a bit of laundry and going back and forth through the house.  My youngest son had started making himself some pancakes during the beginning of my wanderings.  When I came back into the kitchen, my daughter was standing over the pancake pan, spatula in hand and she asked me what she should do for her cleaning today, the part that counts as school.  I said, "Hey, why don't you get the bathrooms?"  She said that she doesn't do bathrooms, which is true, (but its also true that I use my bathroom cleaning as leverage sometimes, so it's all good).  My youngest son remarked that when he gets his own house, he will not clean his bathrooms, he'll just invite his sister over and then start cleaning them but doing it obviously wrong and she will fall for this and clean the bathrooms for him.  She said  "That won't work.".  He grinned at me, while leaning lazily against the kitchen counter and said "And yet, I'm not making my own pancakes right now. ;-)


Getting back to our routines.

We're trying anyway, to get back to our normal routines, after the holidays.  The kids had almost a month off school, so some of their math skills were a little rusty and right before the holidays they were asking me if they could shorten things, like 'can we just do one chemistry" or "can we just do one grammar" and I said yes because it was before the holidays and I had a lot going on, but now it seems that they are trying to stick to the new lowered levels of work and although I am more of a believer in unschooling as the years go on, I do want to make sure that we have the most basic things, math and literacy covered and covered well, so I am going to have to take another look at grammar, writing, spelling and other things, especially for the youngest boy who is dyslexic and dysgraphic.  I want him to be able to somehow overcome these issues and be literate to the best of his ablity.  The girl has just naturally learned to spell and punctuate from reading and from the basic grammar lessons we've done over the years, but the boy has not.  The wait and see method worked for him with his reading, his vocabulary is really incredible (this is supposedly a good indicator of future success.) and he's excellent at math.  He's very intelligent, but cannot write an intelligible sentence without some editing from a non-dyslexic family member.  Does anyone have any curriculum suggestions for this?  I get most of my help/advice from a yahoo group  called homeschooling creatively and I need to see what they recommend for grammar/spelling, etc.

Monday, January 14, 2013

He made it.

My son made it to southern Mississippi, almost 600 miles from here, by himself yesterday, despite having never driven more than about 25 miles at a time, despite having a cold and despite it raining almost the whole day.  He said that it had been a long, rainy, sniffy day and that probably sums it up, but he made it.   He's got 1/2 a year of college now, kind of.  They do trimesters and he's halfway through the second trimester.  At the end of this one, in February, he will have completed 19 credit hours and then in May, about 29 or 30.   In a way, it feels good to have a kid in college, making good grades, because now, no one can doubt our homeschooling, or if they want to doubt it, they have to work a little harder at it.  Homeschooling works.

In a twist on the way things usually work, my son went back to school with dirty laundry as our dryer wasn't working.  My husband can get it to work if he closes the door really hard, but we didn't realize that was the problem before my son left.

The rest of us are hanging in there.  My husband and the younger 2 kids have also got the cold and I don't.  Despite some of us feeling in various stages of under the weather, me and the kids thoroughly enjoyed our off day yesterday, stuck home without a car (because my son's is broken down, he took my husband's car to school and my husband had to take mine to work), with it raining and it just seemed like a good day to stay in.  Plus, my son was calling to check in every 200 miles and I didn't want to miss any of those calls.  So we watched Monk and then Harry Potter and played the Sims and crocheted and knitted and made cupcakes and just hung out.  It was great.  I also got quite a bit of housework done, in between the goofing off sessions and that is how I enjoyed my first free day since maybe Thanksgiving? .  It was nice.   

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Plan B.

One of the cars is fixed now, but the other one isn't and my son needs to go to Mississippi tomorrow, so we're going with plan B.  He's going to take his Dad's car.  Then, when the trimester is over, he'll come home and get his car.  That will give his Dad 5 weeks or so to figure out what's going on with it.  It's actually kind of a good thing, at least from one point of view ... he'll have to cope with driving a long way by himself, but he won't have to deal with driving with a clutch, which he's still very new at. (Yes, I am ending a sentence with a preposition, but that's the way I would say it, so that's how I'm writing it.)   :-P   Also, it means he will come home for spring break, which he wasn't originally planning to, so we get to see him. 

Anyway, technology helps with trips like this.  He's going to have a GPS and he will have his cell phone with him.  That will make it easier on me.  :-)  

Then, we will be starting back to school around here on Monday, I guess.  Better print out the lists and prepare for the whining.    

Wednesday, January 09, 2013


I started a whiny, crabby blog post this morning.  You can almost guess how it would go ... blah, blah, blah, cars not running, blah, blah, blah PMS, blah, blah, blah think kids are getting sick, blah, blah, blah, mom not feeling good, have to work blah, blah etc. ad nauseum, but then while I was in the shower, I decided that I was just going to have a good attitude to the best of my abliity today. (I almost typed beast of my ability, LoL. ).  It kind of has been one of those laugh or cry weeks but my body is feeling better today (Thank God, if I'd felt worse, I wouldn't have been able to get out of bed today at all.)  and I'm going to be happy about that.  I'm going to put a smile on my face and be happy that my son is still home, we are all together, everybody's really okay, etc.   I read my mission statement about this blog in the right side column and I realized that if we weren't homeschooling, my youngest 2 kids wouldn't have been able to help us this week and wouldn't have gotten to spend any time with their big brother this week because they'd be at school all day.  So let's find things to celebrate -- Homeschooling!  Scholarship!  New Car! (even if it is not currently running and we don't know why!) , Insurance Money!  (from car wreck that was NOT MY FAULT THIS TIME!), Food in the pantry!  ( Especially, Cheetos!). 

See, it's not so bad really.

Monday, January 07, 2013

I find it amusing.

We are taking a break from school for an extra week because the big boy is home and I want everyone to get as much of a chance to visit with him as possible.  So what does my youngest do?  He makes his own morning list, which includes exercise, taking a shower and several other things that he must get done with by noon.  :-)

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Still celebrating.

We have a Christmas celebration today.  I've got to admit that I'm getting a wee bit tired of celebrating at this point.  I temporarily forgot about it yesterday and started treasuring in my heart the idea of a day OFF.  A day to do whatever I wanted, perhaps sit down and read a book or take a nap.  A day to finally get a little caught up on some of the housework around here.  A day not to be rushing anywhere.  But then I remembered.  Driving, rushing, cooking, celebrating.  While it's not a bad thing to do and usually I enjoy it very much, this means that my next opportunity for some really good down time is NEXT Sunday.  :-(

Because I've had so much running during the week this week to do, I've been working late every night and by the time I do have some downtime, around 9:30 or so, I'm just too tired to enjoy it.  My eyes are too worn out from working and my arms are too tired to hold my book up.  That's the kind of week I've had. 

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Library books.

Yesterday we stopped by the library and my youngest, as usual, grabbed a whole bunch of books, mostly audio books.  He was afraid that with these and the ones he checked out last week and hadn't brought back, he might be getting close to the limit of books you can check out.  Our library recently raised that number to 40.  That's a huge amount in my opinion.  My son said he might need to get a library card under an alias to support his book habit.  Just out of curiosity, I checked his account a minute ago to see how many he currently has out.  36. 

Might be time to figure out an alias. 

Friday, January 04, 2013

January 4.

Four days into this new year and I haven't had time to stop and breathe, it seems like.   Wednesday involved long, long hours at the pain clinic, where my mom got 2 lumbar epidural steroid injections, but I don't think they helped much.  Yesterday, when I was at her house and she was still in quite a bit of pain.  :-(   I gave her pain medications and she was sitting with a heating pad.   I surely  hope today is better in that regard.  Today, I'm working, going to the funeral of my friend's mom  (and I just found out another friend's mom is possibly days away from death), working, going to a meeting with the homeschool group, then working, then possibly going to a friend's surprise birthday party.  

In other news, my son bought his first car yesterday.  It is a Ford Focus and it is cute as it can be.  :-)  I volunteered at the hospital which helps me for some reason, more than therapy would.  I hold the babies and sooth the babies and it soothes me as well and I come home feeling peaceful, no matter what kind of day I had had up to that point.  Also, my friend's husband moved out of the intensive care unit, into the critical care unit and now onto a regular medical floor, the ventilator is out and they are talking about going home.  That's wonderful.   

I have commented before, this middle aged thing, it's like a crazy roller coaster ride sometimes and I feel like asking,  "Could I at least have a safety belt?"  "Air bag?"  "Any chance I could switch to the kiddy rides?" 


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Happy Second Day Of January.

I wasn't ready for the new year yesterday, but today maybe I am.  My friend's husband is off of the ventilator and doing quite a bit better, I took my mom to the pain clinic today and hopefully she will feel better.  My car is still not running, but maybe the part will be here for it tomorrow.   My Christmas gifts from my gift cards are starting to trickle in.  I'm feeling just a little bit better today. 

We're still not doing any school around here.  The oldest is home for Christmas break until next week sometime and is car shopping with my husband.  I'm doing my things and working and the 2 younger kids who really aren't all that young anymore are just hanging out, doing their own thing.  My daughter just finished knitting a beautiful scarf and now she's not sure what project to start next.    I went to the grocery store and bought a holiday mad libs book for half price and we had some fun coming up with nouns, adverbs and adjectives to write in those.  They are so funny.  They have a lot of things from Christmas carols in them, and we made up songs like "Adrian Monk is Coming to Town" and "We wish you a mean Christmas and a bouncy new year, happy tidings we bring to you and your feet" 

As you can tell, they're quite catchy.  :-)

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year.

Did you notice that I, who put exclamation points on just about every sentence, did not put one in the title above.  So far, the new year is not that great.  I have to work again today.  Yep, no holidays for me but Thanksgiving and Christmas and no extra pay when I do work them.  I might have the workflow clerk's undying gratitude, but I doubt it.  Anyway, here I've been, trying to work, but feeling like I'm going uphill through deep snow or something, making very little progress and feeling like I'll never get done and then I got sucked into a phone melodrama involving my mom and her sisters and a crazy little condition called Alzheimer's dementia, which I fear is one day going to put us all in the hospital.  My mom is the one who has it, but me and mom's sisters and my brother are all going crazy from it.  Caregiving, it's rough.

My car is still broken down.  I'm out of coffee and I'm getting just a wee bit crabby.

And also my friend's husband wasn't able to come off the ventilator today and it's their wedding anniversary and that's just sad and kind of puts all my crap into perspective.


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