This will be the first time I can honestly utter the words “I’m looking forward to winter…”
Thanks for bearing with me on my pause from writing. So much has happened in the last month that I can’t really talk about publicly at the moment just because it’s still in progress. Suffice it to say that my family is facing some pretty big challenges that may end in some pretty big life changes. Continue reading Behind the scenes of monumental challenge and survival
On a local forum, a mom asked us to share the reasons we homeschool and she was particularly interested in hearing from parents of kids old enough to be in the public schools. My post was apparently too long for Facebook… Continue reading Someone asked why we homeschool
So, BigGuy’s testing qualified him for Algebra I in the district. He took the Iowa Algebra test (I think it’s the IAAT, but I think there’s another one called the IART–not sure which). It had four sections and BigGuy got 3 problems wrong on the entire test. BAM! “Do you even DO math, bruh?” (We are all about the “do you even” remark here lately)
That being said, we’re still uncertain that he can take Algebra with the district… Continue reading Alge-BRUH
It’s scary, y’all. Very, very scary. I think people who have been involved in the schools don’t really give much thought to the countless types of information you hand over to them… being on their radar; but I am keenly aware of it. Suddenly, I realized just how NOT on the radar we were until now. It’s just kind of weird.
But for us, that’s really only a small part of it… We have much bigger issues here… Continue reading Dipping our toes in the public schools
It was a weekend that feels like the first day of the rest of our lives… because Boy Scouts is NOT Cub Scouts, people. For one, in Boy Scouts, the boys run the show. There are adults there to be sure nobody is hurt and some basic rules are followed; but the boys live and suffer by their own hands. So when the Scout assigned to build the campfire Saturday night didn’t get to it, everyone ate “raw” s’mores.
And this was BigGuy’s first Boy Scout campout…
BigGuy woke up very late and I heard him sneeze twice. They were deep, chesty sneezes that may have hurt him in his chest. We’ve been skirting illness for a few weeks now; and honestly–I could not be more thankful that we haven’t been sick. The last two years (almost to the week) have been EXTREMELY hard on my family and a lot of the things we had in place that kept my kids (and the parents) healthy went largely out the window as we worked on other things that took the front seat.
One of them is how we eat. The other is stress management. Continue reading My day… Monday, Sept. 29th so far…
Things that happened today:
- The skylight installer arrived around 8am to install what we hope will be the cure to my Seasonal Affect Disorder (which we have known about forever, but didn’t realize this master bedroom was the cave it turned out to be). We have tried the special lights and the extra Vitamin D dosing, but my body needs the real deal. But this also meant I had to get OUT of bed before I was ready.
- The boy slept “late”. Yesterday, Husbeau woke the boy and that process woke up everyone else. I noted to the man that 1) we homeschool so that our kids don’t have to be woken up regularly; 2) that waking the boy from a sleep has NEVER. EVER. gone well; and 3) that the boy has shown multiple signs of fighting off an illness. I then suggested that he not wake the boy again.
- Girly watched a lot of Carmen Sandiego.
- BigGuy got all of his assigned work done except for reading “Science in Ancient Egypt“–a library book that disappeared the second we found the previously missing ($30 to replace) book “The Ancient Egyptians“. Seriously, people… we FUND a library employee.
- We went to a friend’s house to play chess and that went quick so the bunch of us walked to a nearby park.
- On the way home from that adventure, we stopped at ANOTHER friend’s house where the mommies did a peer accountability session and the kids played. And by “played” I mean that we HEARD Britney Spears singing “Toxic” from the back patio, but we didn’t realize they were watching the video. When all was set right in the world and they were left only with music, I saw all three small girls jiggle in ways I didn’t know they had ever SEEN before. Girly has gone on to fake-sing the refrain over and over and over and over and over and over and over. And explain how 1) she knew it was just pretend; and 2) she wore poisonous lipstick… multiple times to multiple people.
- We said goodbye to our beloved babysitter, who is off to Sicily. Wow are we going to miss him. He was such a good friend, not just someone who watched our kids. We love that guy and hope he is safe in his travels.
Things that completely sucked today:
- Saying goodbye to someone we love.
- Not being able to sleep in our bed tonight because the very last tiny bit of sanding and painting couldn’t be done on the skylight in the master bedroom today (the joint compound wouldn’t dry fast enough)
- BigGuy ate an apple, which means he will wet the bed tonight and I will have sheets to wash tomorrow.
Things that need to happen:
- I seriously need to get to Socratic discussions with BigGuy. Especially now that he’s been asked to leave the Young Philosopher’s group (which is content for an entirely other post that I wrote, but then had more stuff happen related to it and need to rework that post).
- We need to prepare this house for the winter. Get the fireplaces operable and a generator for the freezers and I think we should get a snowblower, but who am I, really?
- Get that which is still packed UNpacked and organized. E-f#%!ing-nough already. We moved in MAY, people. There is no longer the excuse that this house is temporary or that this house isn’t ours and therefore we don’t want to put systems into place that may not work wherever we land. We have landed. (notice I’m banking on that skylight doing the trick).
- We all need to get on our game with our supplements and eating habits. I’m the fattest I have ever been and I understand that my trauma therapy for the last year has contributed to that, but dude… let’s go.
I think that’s all the news that’s fit to print over here. It’s been a day.
Things I did well this week:
- Planning an appropriate amount of work
- Planning work that BigGuy found interesting and engaging
- Planning around events we scheduled
- Reading our character building book
- Working (unexpectedly) a consignment sale fundraiser (for a friend whose kids were sick) and although EX. HAUST. ED. I really handled all my responsibilities well! WOOT!
- And on that note, bought some good shirts for BigGuy at above-referenced sale.
- Nearly kept up on our new (or rather, return-to-former) laundry routine where nobody has hampers–all laundry is collected every morning and a load is done every day. BAM!
- Not losing my sh!t on anyone. This is actually an accomplishment because my PTSD therapy in the last week was rough.
Things I did not do well this week:
- Having backup plans when primary plans fell through–which left us kind of in a not-great situation sometimes.
- Finding engaging things to do with Girly because truly, I didn’t realize how this whole new “wake up and work with Papa” thing would pan out
- Reading to either of my kids
- Doing the socratic discussions with BigGuy. To be fair, this was partly my not wanting Friday to be C O N S T A N T discussion/analysis and partly because we had an emergency plan-change for Saturday that left me missing Girly’s soccer game (and a night out for someone’s 40th birthday that I was really looking forward to) and canceling attendance at a kids birthday party.
- Apparently I may not have enforced the deodorant rules well enough to BigGuy because his Friday discussion group leader sent out an e-mail to all of us parents requesting some body odor enforcement. I’m not sure if it was BigGuy (since I didn’t notice offensive odor… this week) or someone else. But note to self: bear down on this one.
- Definitely did not enforce the bathroom chore routine well enough with BigGuy. But also didn’t enforce any chore routines with Girly, either.
- Keeping my grumpy on the down-low at times. Like when there was a detour for a field trip and I had zero contact numbers to find out where to go. I’d been told “the big main entrance–parking lot is right there, you can’t miss it” only to find out 1) there were no less than 6 parking lots; and 2) we weren’t going to the big, main entrance. And my car was out of gas. In an area I didn’t know well. And I was really, really grumpy about it to other people including adults.
Other things that happened this week:
- Girly has become a brick wall goalie. I seriously cannot even…
- BigGuy decided that he would start going to bed without a parent laying down with him “so that he could start doing sleepovers”. This is simultaneously an awesome day and the worst day of my life. I knew it was coming just like when you KNOW someone is going to die of a terminal illness and yet, it blindsides you anyway. So far, we have discovered that we need a “goodnight” routine as I wound up without a kiss goodnight.
- Girly decided to start doing HER OWN hair. Have you seen this kid’s hair, folks? This is a picture of what it looks like for her to “do her own hair”. She pretty much flattens the top with water and I’m not really sure what hair “utensil”. She does it often and is VERY proud of herself… so I compliment her every time and remind myself that we will absolutely HAVE to REALLY do her hair the next morning rather than slack.
- We went on a crazy awesome field trip to a municipal airport and aviation school that included the control tower.
- We wound up with 4 shares of Community-Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) farm shares to manage. Two that we normally get from our farm plus two more that people did not pick up from our house (which serves as a host site for a local CSA farm). This would normally be an awesome thing.
- BigGuy and Girly are clearly fighting off illness. Between Illinois being one of the 6 states with confirmed cases of Enterovirus and close friends kids coming down with Coxsackie… I’m concerned. Last night, BigGuy let out a few coughs in the middle of the night (for more on why this is a big deal, see BigGuy’s background)
Overall, I think it was a decent week. I would love to be downtown drinking with a bunch of happy women celebrating a 40th birthday right now, but I will take a hot bath and soft bed after this day of being on my feet ALL. DAY. and up since early (for a work-related meeting before covering at the sale).
Upshot is that BigGuy is happier and feels like the dynamics of the household have changed for the better with this recent change in who is getting up when and doing what.
I can’t lie that there is a very, very tiny part of me that is sad that Papa gets to connect with the boy instead of me. I mean, I know he loves me and all. I just wish I had the resources right now to connect with him more meaningfully. Or that I was at least gaining something else in the absence of that connection. Like maybe connecting with Girly. They grow up so fast. I just need to focus on the gratitude for having a husband that gives them that rather than my kids lacking it completely.
We are a pretty holistic family. We’re not anti-medicine, we just see it as a last resort and find that our mainstream medical community works best in the realm of emergency medicine. We try to stay out of that.
BigGuy has a broad range of challenges, including an immune deficiency that makes him prone to respiratory illness. Mama’s boy. Because Mama can catch pneumonia like it’s her job (although in the last decade, only when EXTREMELY stressed–so maybe twice). BigGuy started life with a collapsed lung (born a bit premature at 35 weeks, but the neonatalogist estimated his development was more like 32-33 weeks). We passed on the RSV vaccine and he managed to avoid getting it. He spent his childhood with recurrent croupe and was diagnosed with Reactive Airway Disease (RAD) that the pulminologist assured us would turn into asthma (even if we treated the RAD–which we wound up not doing).
To be honest, we have kept BigGuy healthier than anyone thought we could’ve without drugs. When he was 8mo old, they warned us to expect at least 4 hospitalizations each year. At 10 years old, he has had one. When he was almost 5, his doctor questioned that he had the immune deficiency she diagnosed him with (and that ordeal is worth an entire entry of it’s own, but let’s just nutshell it and note that we changed peds).
His last pediatrician in NJ attributes this to 1) how we eat; 2) his ability to sleep as needed because of a lack of school schedule; and 3) our ability to limit his exposure to MORE germs when he’s already fighting stuff off. Big, big stuff. Our kids drink water. Period. Outside of times of significant stress, our food comes from local farms and most of it without a label. Eating out not only destroys our health, but it also destroys our finances–so when we enter those phases, they don’t last long.
About a week and a half ago, Girly ran a nasty fever. We felt certain it was related to getting her 6yo molars–which we could see popping through in her mouth. All. four. of them. It explained a lot of weird things we had seen in the prior months–including what we thought was a migraine in her. But she had one really bad night of fever and being awake, and then she was fine. Not even congested. We thought nothing of it. Our hosts for the weekend asked that we delay our morning departure to get a strep test just in case. We did, and she was cleared. Off we went.
But while we were there, our son had a brief but weird cough. I thought I heard a wheeze in it. Despite his issues, he had never wheezed. A while later when he yawned, I thought I heard another wheeze. That was the end of it. We’ve now been home almost a full week. BigGuy and Papa were at a choir retreat ALL day Saturday–leaving the house at 7am and returning at 6pm… and then promptly joining us at a block party until easily 11pm. Sunday night, around 7:30pm, BigGuy sneezed more times than I’ve ever heard him sneeze in his life. Sneezing is our canary in the coal mine (for both he and I). It’s the warning shot. We all got to bed and Monday morning I woke to my Facebook feed including articles about ten states having contacted the CDC for assistance in investigating clusters of enterovirus–including Illinois.
I have to be honest: the last two years have been hell on my family as my untreated PTSD got to a point where I had to attend a 3-week intensive outpatient program last fall. Every preventative care protocol we had in place has been shot to hell. Our eating has been worse than ever (which is still better than many, but not good enough to manage an immune deficiency and two people with severe blood sugar issues on diet alone). And the stress has been through the roof–which severely compromises your immune system. To say that I’m nervous is an understatement.
We also usually step up our preventative care protocols about a week before school starts since that brings it’s own crazy germ-fest; and is quickly followed by FluMist season (which is a live virus vaccine that can easily be spread… but please don’t let me get on the tirade about the doctors almost never warning people to stay away from the immune compromised 😡 )
Needless to say, I need us to take it easy this week in terms of stress and exertion. But I also need us to step things up in prevention. For us that means:
- Daily probiotics (google for research on probiotics and colds in children)
- Daily dose of elderberry syrup (google for research about effects on flu and respiratory illness)
- Daily dose of fish oil (more for overall neurological health and blood sugar regulation–because keeping the body in balance helps immensely)
- Nightly slathering of Young Living Thieves or Purification on the soles of feet and in the diffuser during the day
- Allowing the kids to eat up to 6 Zand’s Blue-Berries lozenges/day for their zinc content
I will also stock up for my reactive protocols:
- Boiron Oscillococcinumis thankfully on sale through Frontier Wholesale Co-op so we will be buying two boxes of 30 in case we ALL get sick
- Checking my stock of Young Living RC and Raven oils. The RC has been a God-send for Girly’s post-nasal drip and put an end to middle-of-the-night vomit sheets and blankets. The Raven is a heavier hitting respiratory warrior (pneumonia, asthma, tuberculosis).
- Plenty of bay leaves, thyme and lemon juice for decongestant tea.
- Epsom salt, baking soda and lavendar for foot baths and body baths.
It’s concerning that there was a wheeze where there never has been before. On the flip, we’ve eaten pretty horribly and these things are strongly affected by diet.
Via con Dios, I guess…