Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Help has arrived

About a month ago I had a breakdown in front of a complete stranger. I had just stepped on the scale at Weight Watchers and the lady looked up at me in all earnestness and asked, "What do you think you're doing wrong?"

In all seriousness, I had been in the program since May with a three pound loss to show for it. This makes no sense since I had exercised more this summer than in ten years and been eating mindfully. Up to that point I'd been chalking it up to pushing forty. The particular week I was crying like a baby because I had actually gained weight. Really?

I was feeling as though my own body was betraying me. But looking back now, I think I've been feeling this ever since John had been born four years ago. I never truly bounced back after having him. Not only had I not been able to shed those baby pounds, but my energy and motivation has been lacking. It was taking me quite a bit of effort to get myself out of bed each morning. I had no literally force myself to do anything physically straining. By the end of my 12 hour shift at work, I could barely focus my thoughts to give report. Physically, it would take me a day to recover.

A year ago the doctor confirmed a benign thyroid tumor which was drained. My blood work was normal, so no treatment was needed. I'd been putting of my check up until this unfortunate day at Weight Watchers. I was ready to throw in the towel, but with my sister's encouragement I went back for a check up.

This was really difficult for me to do. Being a nurse doesn't assure that I'm a good patient. I often am overdiagnosing my family and underdiagnosing myself. I was sure that the doctor would send me on my way without any help and I was reluctant to go there. More than anything, I didn't want to face the fact that I may be told this is my new normal.

But instead, she seemed surprised that my tumor is still there at all and quickly prescribed some medication. She's hoping that the medication will shrink it and relieve my symptoms. God answered my prayers for direction in such a specific way. In just a short five minute visit, I felt as though a weight had been lifted.

Three weeks later, I feel like a completely different person. It's as if I was literally walking in a fog. Everything seems brighter and more clear visually. I've lost this weird buzzing feeling that often keeps me from falling asleep at night. (This came on after having John and I was told that it was just exhaustion.) I wake up in the morning feeling truly rested, but if I have to wake up extra early, it doesn't take me an hour or two to get going. Even my nails (pronounced ridges) and hair are changing.

As for the weight loss, well, the jury is still out. I'm working at it hard, but I'm hopeful that now they'll be a return on my investment.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Just like clockwork

Now I remember. It always hits me about this time every year and somehow I'm always surprised by it.

The reality of a homeschooling life.

The kids are diligent and eager. I hit the ground running. The days are flying by. We sit down in the morning to do school and before we know it lunch time is here. Then it's reading time, dinner preparations, errands, evening activities.... It's like putting on an old comfortable glove.

It's just.... the house and all the stuff it holds. When I'm attending to more important matters, I think little elf people come out to play. They drop a pieces of paper here and there, open a toy bin or two, get crafty, decide to look through ALL of the books on the shelf, decide to sort the legos but never finish.... I'm having a hard enough time keeping up with the dishes and laundry let alone putting out these kinds of fires.


I need a maid.

I need a better system.

I need some motivation and inspiration.

Anyone care to share?

Did I ever tell you about the time last year we ran out of the house one morning to go to homeschool group? Our house looked like it got hit by a bomb. Seriously. There was stuff EVERYWHERE. The breakfast dishes were still on the table. The kid's rooms were less than stellar.

When we pulled in, there was a sheriff's car outside. Terrifying moment. Inside was the sheriff himself. One of the kids had failed to shut the door and he was checking for "suspicious" activity. Well, he found it all right. I kindly declined when he offered to survey the upstairs. I'm just glad he didn't call CPS.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


There are very few things changes in life that can be written on a calendar. Most of the time, change happens because new circumstances arise or things naturally shift a different direction. Sometimes change is so subtle that you don't even recognize it until much later.

But there are other moments in life that you can see coming from a mile away. You plan for it. You wait for it. You imagine what it will be like. You question if you're really ready. It a day that will stay in your mind forever as the day that....

A stepping stone
A fork in the road
A pivotal moment
A defining act

The day you were born
The day you moved away from home
The day you started you new job
The day you married

The day you first went to school...

Monday, August 9, 2010

The First Day of Homeschool

Today we kicked off the 2009-2010 school year a little differently than in the past. Normally we dive right in so excited by the new books and materials. The first ten weeks fly by, but then the excitement wanes. The eyes aren't quite as bright and shiny. The teacher is less diligent. We stick to the schedule, though, and finish with a sigh in the spring.

Well, I'm not sure that all of that can be completely avoided, but I really desire to instill in my kids the desire to learn and take initiative as subjects become particularly interesting to them. Somewhere in the teacher's guides, schedules and outlines, we've lost an element of fun.

Here's some of the changes we'll be making. The older girls are moving to a computer taught math curriculum, Teaching Textbooks. Something tells me that the Mr. Roger's sounding voice explaining fractions is going to be much more instructive than the toe tapping mom. I'm going to be deliberate about integrating their subjects. Reading, writing, drawing... about their science and history topics. Also, we'll be blocking our subjects and not striving to do everything every day.

This year, much of my energy is going to be focused on reading with and to the younger kids. They are all on the verge of stepping up a level in their reading skills and I don't want to miss this prime time. Once a child can read, the world opens up.

We began this morning around the table with a pancake breakfast. It was fun to have Hannah with us. She'll be off to her new school in just two more days. We decided that we'd like to have breakfast together as a family before she leaves for school each morning. This will be a first, since we've always just eaten breakfast in shifts.

We spent the next hour creating something for a time capsule to be opened on the last day of school. Each page contained a drawing or written answer. The topics were: What are three things you are good at? A self portrait. What do you dream about doing? What will you do this year to improve in one area? They were really thoughtful. I'm looking forward to our end of the year party and revisiting the time capsule together.

Next, we went up the white board and brainstormed about the daily schedule, rules, chore rotation, quick lunch/snack ideas, field trips.... We organized the binders and books. I taught the older girls how to record their own grades on Homeschool Tracker, We determined the theme of the year to be, "Responsibility, Accountability, Independence."

And finally, we spent the afternoon at the Downtown Library. I taught (and retaught) some kids how to find books in the library. We left with some great resources to compliment the first chapters that we will begin tomorrow.

The consensus on the way home was, "Wow! This was the best first day of school ever!"

I agree.

Here they are. The students for 2010-2011:

Lydia- Grade 7

Miriam- Grade 5

Elizabeth- Grade 4

Joseph- Grade 2

Rebekah- K

John- Preschool