Medical Issues

Life Update for Me

Life Update for MeLife Update for Me

Per my uncle’s wife’s request (does that make her my aunt?  Dang, I think it does.  Well, that was weird.), Here is the Life Update for Me (Actually, for Kim).  School started 6 mths ago for some of my kids.  I posted their update a couple of blog posts ago, so I will not rehash that.  Look below, and I will link that to the bottom of this post.

Life Since Leaving the Homeschool Realm

I really thought I would enjoy the peace.  That I would be having all sorts of moments of sleeping in, running errands alone, making calls, cleaning, petting my dog, massages, moments of just… I can breathe again.  Quickly, I realized that that was not the case.

Who is Still Home

Noah is still home.  Now, he works most days of the week, but he has also started school.  He goes a couple of days a week to school and then comes home and studies.  So, he is still here.  Gigi is still here.  Thankfully, she is working 5 days a week.  We have to be diligent about getting her to and from work.  When she gets home, she works out, does chores, and reads.

For Me

I knew when I started homeschooling 20 years ago, that when my time was up, it would be up.  It was a feeling of taking it moment by moment.  We were in a good flow and things were just moving along.

Then came Hunter.

That was an addition to the table, to say the least.  Honestly, that wasn’t so bad for the first year or so.  We just plugged along.  I would make monthly schedules out and I checked them off, as I graded them.

At 42 years old, I now had a 21 mth old.  To say I was out of the swing of toddlerhood would be an understatement.  We managed.  I got in the groove again.  He licked a lot of cool whip out of the bowl for the first couple of months.

Tired

That was a word I would use.  I mean, who wouldn’t be tired of teaching 4 children, having a toddler, and then all the things that come with adult children.  Then, Hunter got sick and that just threw an entire monkey wrench in my life.  I still tried to plug on and have things prepared.  Victoria, Ben, and Alyssa tried to help.

I traveled so much and was gone so much that I felt I was doing the kids a disservice.  Add that into the fact that I was emotionally spent and physically exhausted.  I knew it was time.  When I made that declaration to Big Daddy…relief spread all throughout me.

Reality

The reality is is that I’m still traveling once a month.  I have to be uber diligent about Epsom salt baths, the symphony of cells, oils, washing clothes, and wiping everything down.  Hunter cannot get sick, so I’m always on guard with that.  Honestly, I can’t prevent it 100% of the time, but I have to be prepared for when it does it.

The issues that we have faced in the past, with some children, are still present now.  That hasn’t changed.  There are a lot of things I keep to myself because I do not want to paint a picture that presents some of my children in a negative light.  It is hard.  So very hard.

What Has Come To Pass

There have been some adoption-related issues that have come up and nipped me on the behind.  I am prepared for some but others…well, let’s just say it was a hit I was not prepared for.  Again, we deal with it but it is a stressor that I do not enjoy.  Yet, it is one that I have to have peace with and deal with.  And, I will.  My children will be better for it, one day.

I still travel a lot.  Cook every day.  We are trying to eat healthier so that has been a challenge.  I feel like my brain is on overload trying to switch up my tried and true recipes with healthier options.

Basketball has been fun, but it has sucked the life out of us all.  He has games or practices 6 days a week.  It is a joy to watch him but it also costs money and lots of time.  Thankfully, it is wrapping up (just as baseball season is kicking off…Lord help).

The Things I Do

I still run errands, get the occasional massage.  Reading has been on my to-do list.  I’m in the stage of purging and organizing again.  Dishwasher died.  Sink exploded.  Truck died.  The garage door is dead.  Narcolepsy is new.  Racism is alive, well, and underhanded.  I’m quite certain the administration cringes when I walk through the door.  It has been a learning curve for all of us.

One thing that Big Daddy has asked that I do is work on myself.  I am never high on my priority list.  It is my husband and my children.  If they are good, I am good.  Yet, I realize I’m not sleeping again.  Depression isn’t on my radar but I’ve been having some anxiety.  Also, it is time that I seek help to deal with some past trauma that I’ve never dealt with.

EMDR

EMDR Therapy begins next week for me.  I’m leaning on Nehemiah and I’m believing that in 52 days (the amount of time it took him to suck dirt, stand up, fight, and build the wall) that I will have these things resolved.

The Lord has been preparing me for a while.  My “word for the year” is healing.  I want to see healing across the board for me and my family.  There are children I have lost.  Issues within my marriage.  Also, issues with my children’s diagnosis’.  Jude’s adoption is something I rarely can speak of and it has been 8 years.  Hunter’s illness.  So another trauma that I have to deal with.  I don’t want to put a bandaid on it anymore.  That sucker is being ripped off and I’m going to deal with it.  Process it.  Heal.  Forgive.  Move on.

Then, I want to get certified in doing this type of therapy for others.  God is good.  He has prepared a way for me too, not only to keep my eyes above the ways but to stand on dry ground.

March 6th is 52 days from when I began.  I hope I like myself when this is finished!

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Mini Goal for my Sanity

Mini Goal for my SanityMini Goal for my Sanity

In an effort to feel like an adult, I have made a Mini Goal for my Sanity.  Since the kids started school, I have not done much.  I mean, I have but then again, I haven’t.  Does that even make sense?

Day to Day

Normally, once my feet hit the floor it is, quite literally, balls to the walls all day long.  I am a pirate when I cook supper fighting off a foe.  Then, I become a racecar driving like in Nascar.  Somedays, I’m a physician while grading papers.  I’m a teacher while I play with play-doh and field the 4562 questions that come every moment from other kids.

I dole out medications.  Then, I fill diffusers.  I haul kids from here to there to yonder.  My head is subject to many braids and ponytails.  We play cards, I go to the grocery, running errands is commonplace.

New Normal

Now, I wake up to the dogs barking and wanting attention.  I have one child who is still here and she is quite demanding.  So, I still have the feeling of always being on my toes.  Lately, I have held her to a higher standard.  She knows what she needs to do/eat/etc and I’m no longer micromanaging her.

She is over 18 and there are many things she needs to figure out on her own.  That may sound harsh, but unless you have raised a child from trauma, keep your opinions to yourself.  I simply do not want to hear your crap.

Oh, that was harsh.

Sadly, judgy people are commonplace in my life.  I have a lot of well-meaning people saying a lot of well-meaning things.  Yes, I know my child is overweight.  I realize that, thank you.  How is your weight?  Why yes, we exercise and eat good food.  Thank you for asking.  Oh, you are diabetic?  I’m so sorry…why are there donuts, bread, pasta, and such in your buggy?  Oh, that is none of my business, right?  Right, of course, that is NONE OF MY BUSINESS.

I Have Gone off on a Tangent

So, in my “down” time, I’m going to start reading books again!  Like big girl books.  Books with no pictures!  I’m sort of excited.  I tend to read fast so I hope I can meet my goal.  We shall see.  My goal is to read 30 books before the end of the year.

Book #1

“My Name is Mahtob” is by Mahtob Mahmoody.  That is the first book I chose and finished in a day.  This book is close to my heart for many personal reasons.  There is a movie based on her story called “Not Without My Daughter.”  This movie came out during a very pivotal time in our family’s lives.  I choose not to delve into that to protect my family.

About the Book

I highly encourage this book.  It is an autobiography from a little girl’s perspective.  She was 4 when she and her mom were taken to Iran by her father.  He was of Iranian descent and they were going on “vacation.”  That vacation turned into 18-month captivity for this mom and Mahtob.  It is the story of their escape.

When interviewed and asked how they got out of Iran, Mahtob states “simply by God’s grace.”  She gives God all the glory, as does her mom, Betty Mahmoody.  I will begin “Not Without My Daughter” (the book) which is by her mom Betty Mahmoody tomorrow.

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Update on Our School Situation

Update on Our School SituationUpdate on Our School Situation

Here is the Update on Our School Situation.  The kids have been in school for 2 weeks.  In those 2 weeks, I have done a whole lot of nothing.  I spot clean the house.  Supper is usually done by about 10 am because I can cook uninterrupted.  I pet the dogs and the cats.  Chip, my outside cat, and I have gotten to be besties.  There have been days I’ve just mindlessly scrolled through the internet.

Lest We Forget

Still did an infusion for Hunter, one day.  Baseball drop-off, pickup, and a game 3 days a week.  A deer through a windshield.  There were a massage and 2 dates with a bestie for lunch/breakfast respectively.  Oh, and naps.  I’ve taken naps.  Homeschooling.  I still have one kid here trying to finish her schoolwork.

Next Week

I have a hair appointment.  Then there is another all-day doctor’s appointment with Hunter.  Again, drop-off, pickup, and another baseball game 3 times a week.  Horse therapy.  A birthday.  And…homeschooling.

Maybe I do still do things.

First 2 Weeks with Daniel and Jude

Daniel is coming into his own.  It takes him a bit more time to do his schoolwork.  He has been dubbed “the smart kid” in his history class.  That title, he has beamed with pride.  He is making friends and eating more than he probably should.  He does love food.  I believe he is finding his way and that brings me joy.

We have discovered that in Jude’s apprehension to wear his hearing aid, he is now okay with it.  Once the student’s asked their 5000 questions, he is now considered bionic.  The obviousness of his skin color has been met with pride. He is wearing his heritage and proud of where he came from.  He is jovial, excited, and thriving.

Then There is Hunter

Hunter tends to express his needs/wants with a great and determined expression.  He now has 2 girlfriends..PA and then the girl with the long pretty hair.  Food has been challenging.  As he has some dietary restrictions, he eats what he can at school, and then I pack food for him.

On the first day of the “strike” system and he gets one for calling a kid “bad.”  Good times.  He has met the nurse with a good amount of blood and scrapes.  Apparently, in the stampede to go outside he got tripped up.  We do homework at night and he is focused.  He is loving it.

Noah Started College

He began this past Tuesday, so as of this posting, he will have been there a full week.  His nerves were shot.  He was so very nervous and anxious.  I think he is finding his footing but he has yet to experience the full-fledged experience of college.  I foresee that it is going to shock him.  He’s got this though.  I know that he is smart and determined.

Alyssa’s School

She has started the first day of her last year of college.   Gracious, she is overwhelmed but gaining traction.  She moved to another apartment and is getting her feet wet in the world of being in a fast-paced last year.  I’m so proud of her.

Grayce Plugging Away

She is still working on finishing her last year of high school.  I was hoping that she would be done by the end of December but I am not sure.  For a fact, according to the state of Kentucky’s requirements, she does have enough to graduate.  I, personally, just have some things I want her to complete.

We have many irons in the fire with what our next step is.  Yet, we just don’t know where to move.  Until I have a clear direction from Jesus…we stand still and do what we have been doing.

Ben and Bug

They are not in school but working hard.  I’m super proud of them both too!  My children bring me such joy.  I’m blessed beyond reason.

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Feeling all the Things

Feeling all the Things

Feeling all the Things

Here I am, almost midnight, the eve before 2 of my boys start middle school.  I am Feeling all the Things and then some.  Fear creeps in and then I hear my sister say “Fear is a Liar.”

There is so much I worry about.

Will Jude remember NOT to go through the metal detector?  Then my thoughts swirl to “I cannot believe my children have to walk through a metal detector.”  Will he lose his hearing aid?  What if he doesn’t wear it?  He may fall asleep during class…will he get in trouble?  Did I tell all the teacher’s about his hearing and his sleep problems?  Do I have all the things he will need to get started?  Will he be bullied?  What will he do if he is bullied?

Then there is Daniel

He is not like other kids.  I know that he knows that but others don’t know that.  They don’t know what he struggles with, internally that can manifest in strange ways externally.  What if he can’t handle the class load because his brain works a couple of steps behind the “typical” kid brain.  Will he be made fun of?  What about testing, he doesn’t test well and needs more time.  Will they know that?  He eats a lot.  What if he is still hungry and his brain slows further because he needs an extra protein or water?

Friday

On Friday, I send Hunter for his first day.  I have loved, hovered, protected, fought for, rallied with, held up, spoon-fed, and more for the last 3 years.  The last 2 years we have literally been to hell, knocked on the door, and then fought off demons with a water pistol.

What if he gets sick?  Will that put him back in a wheelchair?  What if he can’t sustain?  Will kids make fun of him and bully him?  What if he shakes so much he can’t do the things that he wants to do?  If he gets lost in the hallway, falls in the toilet, rages, struggles…what then?

Peace or No Peace

The past month, I have had such peace with this decision.  So ready.  Theoretically.  Now that it is here.  I am an anxious ball of stress.  Living on the edge of the mountain and looking down thinking…”It doesn’t seem so far…I’ll just jump.”  I can’t sleep and my mind is going 1000 different places and all at the same time.

Knowing the Right People

I know a lot of people in the system.  From the top dog to the bus drivers and that is all a good thing.  They know my kids and my kids know them.  I know that I am 5 minutes away from Hunter and about 8 away from the boys.  There have been a lot of words spoken over the course of the week but for the life of me, I cannot remember a single conversation.

Homeschooling Has its Own Struggles

It is not all peas and carrots.  I am strict, focused, and on it.  The bar is set very high for my standards whether you are “special needs” or not.  We aim high and do our best to get there by any means necessary.  I feel accomplished in graduating 4 of my 7.  Yet, there is guilt for not “finishing the race.”

That is Satan, whispering in my ear.  I know this, deep down.  Yet, I still turn my head as I hear that voice.  It still penetrates me and makes me question all the things.  I see all these “got it together” homeschooling mamas.  Yet, I know.  I know the struggles.  I’ve lived it for 20 years.  Secret time.  I HATE teaching a kid to read.  I’ve done it with 6 of my 7 but it is not something I enjoy.

I Miss My Lady

If she were here, I would drop the kids off and go to her house.  We would sit at her kitchen table and talk about all the things.  She would tell me that it was going to be fine.  Then, she would line me out on listening to Satan instead of Jesus.  Next, she would tell me the newest and latest sandwich at a particular restaurant and we would go and partake.  Finally, she would make me cry and then nap in her green chair.  I can play this all throughout my mind.

It Will All Be Okay

We will get into the flow.  Pray for the best for Hunter.  Hopefully, he will not get sick and flare-up.  If I cry, that is okay.  I know that at any point, I can change my mind and so can the boys.  My plate has been overfilled for the last 5 yrs due to many many things.  I know that I can take this time to heal, mourn, work on my health, and my passions.

For the last 23+ years, I have wiped butts, noses, educated, loved, kissed boo-boos, and more.  I sort of forgot who I was in the process.  That is okay because I have pretty awesome kids.  Jesus gave me the privilege of borrowing them for a time.  I will continue to treasure each and every new moment.

For Now

Let’s just pray that we will all bloom where we are planted.

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Hanging up my Hat

Hanging up my Hat

Hanging up my Hat

I have put off writing about this because I’ve been on the fence on and off.  Through much prayer, thought, and discussion…I have decided I am Hanging up my Hat.  After 20 years of homeschooling and graduating almost 4 of my 7 children…I am done.

So Many Reasons

I always knew that I would just *know* when I was done.  It’s a feeling I knew that the Lord would give me.  Peace.  This is the peace that surpasses all understanding.  I have that peace.

Since about 2014, I have been fighting this thought.  So much has happened.  Revelations in my marriage, myself, the loss of my Lady, daddy’s stroke and quadruple, Hunter’s illness, incarceration of his mom (my niece), dealing with the escalation of a couple of my children.  Just so much.  I am so tired.

Accomplishment

I will not be shamed for not home educating my children.  If you have the inclination to mom shame me, just stop where you are at.  I feel as if I have accomplished a great feat.  My oldest daughter graduated with honors, from college, a year early.  She is happy, employed at a job she loves, and is doing well.

Daughter #2 is thriving in college and loves it.  She is on her own, working fulltime and going to graduate in May of 2020.  Daughter #3 will graduate in December of 2019 and start college in the Spring of 2020. This is a huge deal for her. She has struggled due to choices of birthparents and she is learning to overcome.  Son #1 graduated high school in May of 2019, started a fulltime job, and is starting college this month.  He is taking 21 hrs his first semester.  I am INCREDIBLY proud of all of them.

What My Thoughts are Now

I am relieved, in a sense.  There has never been a moment when I have not supported our local public school system.  It has its flaws but I know some great people at the board, principals, teachers, aides, school nurses, bus drivers, etc.  They love my kids and that is a wonderful thing.

I am open to change (though I hate it).  If things do not work out for one or more of my kids, I will pull them back out.  I have no issues with that and the Director of Pupil Personnel knows that as well.  Openness is important and so is communication!

Still So Much

We travel so much for Hunter.  That is a fact that does not change.  He will miss a lot of schools but it is what it is.  Jude made the middle school baseball team.  That is A LOT of time and work and adjustment.  Daniel…we shall see.  He is not thrilled at starting school.  I hope that he adjusts well and that his needs are accommodated.

At the End of the Day

There is a lot I am proud of that I have accomplished throughout my years.  I have learned so much, overcome so much, been through so much and still, I have pressed on.  My husband is proud of me.  The kids are my greatest supporters and their willingness to step out of their box continues to impress me.

This is a new day, a new chapter.  Hopefully, all things of the past can be healed within my heart.  I hope to go back to counseling full-time.  It is time for me to focus on serious self-care and reflection.  Though, I hope that time does not take long.  I’ve been taking this summer to really try and take care of myself during all of the chaos.

Please lift up my family, as you think of it, during this massive transition.  God is bigger.

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Homeschooling 101

Homeschooling 101

Homeschooling 101

Here is my Homeschooling 101.  I’ve been homeschooling for the better part of 12 yrs.  Do I do things in the “normal” fashion?  Well, I guess that demands on your definition of normal.  My definition of normal is a mom with pink and purple hair (much to her mom’s chagrin), being barefoot 99.5% of the time, and drinking coke out of wine glass….your definition probably is a whole lot different and that’s okay.  That’s what makes the world turn.

Here are some questions that I have been asked, as well as, some comments people have made:

1.  What does a typical day look like?

A typical day is Boo coming upstairs to wake me up at about 8 am.  I meander, make phone calls, take a shower, etc and then I come downstairs by 8:45 or 9 am.  Bear in mind, my kids are now older and I wasn’t always able to do that.  While I’m “getting myself” together for the day, the kids eat breakfast, clean up their breakfast spaces, and then do their chores.  Once 9 am hits, I’m checking my email, Bug (oldest dd) helps Little Man (youngest son) with his work; Peach, Boo, and Gigi are doing their work and I have Catfish write his spelling words.

When Catfish is done, I go and work solely with him.  He has some delays and some learning disabilities and it takes a while to get things done.  Everyone else works independently, asking me questions as the day goes by.  I have one who sits in the kitchen, 3 who set at the dining room table, and 2 that work in the living room.

We stop at noon to eat lunch.  They eat, then clean up their space.  Once that is done, they go upstairs and watch a movie, go play in their rooms or outside, or read a book until about 2.  This gives me time to make phone calls, do specific housework, check email, text, read, watch a show, relax….they do not bother me during this time.  After that time is up, they finish up schoolwork for about an hour or so.  By then, we are doing other things, outside the home.

We “school” Monday-Thursday.  Fridays are reserved for makeup stuff, tests, field trips, etc.  I also grade all the papers on Friday.  Once a month, I write out their schedules.  Each child has one and we check things off when we are done.  The kids are responsible for keeping up with their schedules.  If they get lost, then they get to do extra work until their schedules are found.

To make things easier, we have crates.  Each child has a crate and that is where they keep their books/pencils/papers and schedules.  I make things VERY organized for them.

2.  What type of curriculum do you use?

I have been known to use Sonlight, Abeka, Bob Jones, Starfall.com, enchantedlearning.com, or I make up my own.  This past year, I got on timberdoodle.com and I looked under their “complete packaged curriculum” and I wrote down what each child would need.  Then, I bought those books off of timberdoodle, homeschoolclassifieds.com or amazon.com Which has been my favorite thing, so far.

I do lap books, unit studies, Mystery of History, Teaching Textbooks, Exploring Creation…it is free for all.  I have also found a WONDERFUL site allinonehomeschool.wordpress.com that is COMPLETELY free and AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!  She has done all the work for you.  You will need a copier and some small supplies.  She has it completed from preschool-8th grade and is working in high school.

3.  How do you teach multiple kids, multiple ages?

My oldest dd (17) has classes at our local university. She started them last August and is able to go for a fraction of the cost because she is still in “high school”.  By the time she “graduates”, she will also have her Associates Degree.  She does refresher math courses because that is her weakness.  She does this online and it is also free. Khan Academy is a great resource.  She wants to be a teacher, one day and so she has taken on the challenge of teaching my youngest son, 6.  He works part-time with her, part-time with me and he does computer work to help with his letter/number recognition.

Peach (almost 15), Boo (almost 12), and Gigi (12) have their schedules are are independent learners.  They come to me when needed.

Catfish (8) works one on one with me due to his learning issues.

4.  Your house is so clean, how do you keep it that way?

Each child has an area that they are solely responsible for.  I have learned to let go of my OCD tendencies and my perfectionism in those areas.  I teach them how to properly clean it, they do it.  Sometimes they do it halfway and when that happens, they redo it. I am not the maid, I am a mom.  My job is to not raise perfect children…my job is to raise Godly responsible adults.

Bug (17) – laundry and laundry room

Peach (15) – both bathrooms

Gigi (12) – kitchen

Boo (11) – chickens, living room/dining room

Catfish (8) – take out/feed dogs, hall/foyer

Little Man (6) – feed cats/help Catfish

They are all responsible for their own rooms.

We “deep” clean on Mondays.  Do chores every morning and then we pick up before daddy gets home.

5.  Do you still have time to cook?

I vary on this.  Sometimes I cook once a month, sometimes once every two weeks and sometimes I cook nightly.  I do not cook on Sunday or Wednesday nights…we eat at church.  I also don’t cook on Thursday nights.  Big Daddy makes me a pizza and the kids either eat pizzas or macaroni.  It’s their favorite night.

I make out my menus, ahead of time for the time frame that I’m cooking for.  I write down, in my calendar, what we will have each night.  Visual helps my sanity.  I make out a complete grocery list and then I go through my pantry/fridge/freezer and mark off what I already have.

6.  Do you feel like your kids are “socialized” enough?

Uhmmmmmmmmmmm…………yes.  My kids are learning how to love their siblings and to love others.  There are all different kinds of socialization.  Some good and lots are bad.

7.  What outside activities do your children participate in?

Girl Scouts, 4-H, church, field trips, eventually karate, and boy scouts.  I would like for each kid to be in something…we shall see.

8.  How do you remain so calm?

I don’t.  I deep breathe, go to my room, drink a coke, pet a cat, sing a show tune…that is how I attempt to stay calm.  I’m not a yeller, but I get frustrated.  Chaos and loudness are part of my life.

9.  What are your qualifications?

What are yours?  I’m a mom. I’m a daughter of the King and I read the greatest instruction manual ever…the Word.  I am just trying to be obedient.

10.  What are the “requirements” that meet state standards?

In KY, which is the only state I know about, the requirements are to send a letter to the superintendent 2 weeks prior to school starting, stating your intentions and keeping a record of attendance.  However, I keep everything.  Then, I test once a year.  Bob Jones University standardized testing is what I use. I start testing in 5th grade, but not before.

11.  What do you have against public schools?

Absolutely nothing.

12.  What does your family think?

Ha….they think more of my pink/purple hair than my choice of homeschooling.  My mom is a retired teacher…she has thoughts…my siblings have thoughts….and if I wanted to know their thoughts, then I would ask LOL.  They pray for me, for my children and that is what is important.

I will say that it is wonderful when you do have a support system.  I have an excellent one, in my husband.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Comment on here, ask on Facebook and with your permission, I will post your thoughts/questions on here…someone else may have the same question.