Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I just might lose the joy of blogging...

I'm so frustrated because I've apparently reached my photo max and can't post photos on my blog anymore unless I pay for extra storage!?! Does anyone have any suggestions, I really don't want to pay money, this was suppose to be a free way to express myself, but not being able to post pictures sort of takes the fun out of blogging for me... the last couple times I've deleted photo in the Picasa web album I order to post more photos to my blog, but it's a long process and I think it then deletes those photos from my older blog posts...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

~Autumn beauty~

After that last depressing post I thought I'd post some pictures of what I treasure most in this world...

There's the ups and then there's the downs...

I got in an accident with the kids last Friday. I still can't really even process it, words sort of fail me. I know that I feel really angry... with myself. And I think there is some depression, sadness, humiliation, anxiety, and irritability mixed in. My body hurts, my head hurts and my heart hurts. I ran into the back of a Ford F150, so technically it's my fault, but it was more complicated then that. Still my fault though. I let my guard down for a moment, was a little less hyper vigilant and Bam! It's hard to not take it as a personal blow to what kind of a mother I am. I try so very hard to keep my kids safe and not let bad things happen to them. I take that sooooo seriously. And I'm a perfectionist. I hold myself to a higher standard then everyone else and I hold the people in my life to a pretty high standard.  So in other words I am very hard on myself.  I know this. But damn it right now I feel like shit! Sorry, for the vulgarity. But worse words have been swimming through my head lately then that...
I am so very thankful that none of the kids were hurt. That the man in the truck wasn't hurt. Everything could have been a lot worse. People keep telling me this and I keep telling myself this, but it doesn't seem to be taking away the anger that I feel towards myself. I've never felt this before. I've been very angry with people who have hurt the ones I love, or hurt me, but I've never felt anger inside of me like this before that just churns around and has no where to go. It's an awful feeling. Besides feeling awful about the accident I've also added some serious stress to our lives financially. My husband has been so kind about it all which actually in some ways just makes me feel even worse. If that makes any sense... Because I know it's not okay, and I know that I've created a real problem for us, on top of what we were already struggling with. The van is totaled, there is no fixing it. So now once everything gets figured out insurance wise {and we won't be getting any money to help with a new vehicle because of the loan we recently took out on it} we have to try and figure out a new vehicle that we can all fit into... and afford. Sigh. We just put a bunch of money into the van too, to keep it running and make sure we made it to Montana and back. Have I mentioned I'm really angry with myself?
The night of the accident, after my husband got home, I went into emotional shock. It's a real thing apparently, google it. It was terrifying. I know enough about shock from my first aid/CPR classes to know that I was going into shock but I didn't know why. I didn't feel like I had internal injuries or anything. I started hyperventilating, my heart was racing and skipping beats, my body keep getting colder and colder and then started to tingle in the arms and legs, I started dry heaving and sobbing. My head felt like it was going to explode! My husband said I looked pale and green at the same time... The scariest part was that I didn't seem able to stop it, my body just took over. I hate feeling out of control, the accident triggered that awful out of control feeling in me and then my own body betrayed me further by going into shock and feeling even more out of control. It all spiraled wildly out of hand from there.  My husband was on the phone with a holistic doctor we know and he asked us some questions and gave us some suggestions. We were very close to going to the ER, but tried his suggestions first and they worked with in 20 minutes, the man is a genius. :) He has saved us a few times now. My poor husband was really worried about me, but so caring as always. At one point he told me to do my pregnancy breathing, and he sounded so sweet and desperate that it helped snap me out a bit. Since then I've had a few panicky moments, but nothing so severe. I honestly don't know if I'm going to be able to drive again any time soon though. I know that's not very realistic with our busy lives... but the very idea gets my heart racing and that panicky feeling starts settling down in the pit of my stomach. It's going to be rough for a while I fear.

As for the kids, they seem just fine. No injuries. Although I'd like to get them into the chiropractor for some adjustments, as well as myself... but how to do that with out a vehicle, I'm just not sure. To them this all seemed as if it was one wild adventure. They were so excited to have their best friends come pick them up after the accident that they quickly forgot what had just happened. They were bouncy happy little kids that got to watch too much TV for the rest of the day, the rest of the weekend really. Their Neenee {my mom} came over for a surprise visit {my husband called her when I was freaking out, and she drove over an hour to come help out}, and it just doesn't get much better then that in their eyes.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Another school year is in full swing...

Which is why it has taken me so long to blog about it. :) I'm actually glad I didn't get around to it in the very beginning because it would not have been very positive. Just like last year I was once again very overwhelmed with the start of the school year. Unlike last year I had even more to squeeze into one day and I seriously thought I was going to break. I was fantasizing about putting my kids into a Waldorf school, except we can't afford it. It even crossed my mind a couple times that I might not care anymore if they were to go to public school... except I do. So I bawled hard at the end of the first week, door closed, head under covers, big gulping sobs... Then I got up and took a shower, cried some more, a little less intensely, and then I got dress and went and made dinner. And that was that. I changed the schedule around a few times and by the end of week two I felt a whole lot better. :) 
In all honestly this year is way harder with a first grader and two kindergarteners that are on totally different levels/learning styles. Plus two kids to do preschool with, my littlest plus the kid I nanny for. Oh and then there is the puppy. What was I thinking!?! Some times we are doing schoolwork up until bed time just to get it all in! But those are the hard days, and thankfully they seem to be few and far between. Most day the boys are done by about 3:30 pm. {Although I do more preschool with the little ones after our pm snack for about 20-30 minutes} I've given up my mid day break and we do school work through the little ones quiet time. So we usually start around 8:30am and I work with the kids one on one and in pairs until about 11 or 11:30am. Then we break for out door playtime {most days, unless it's way too nasty out} and I start cleaning and making lunch. I'm trying to get lunch on the table by noon and then it's quiet time. During that time I do school work with the three older ones. Then we all do afternoon chores together and have a snack. And there you have it, if all went well we are done... if not we start up again around 4:30  and work some more. So all told it's about 6 hours of teaching time  a  day for me {give or take}. 6 hours less for me to get done what I use to do, and I thought I had no time then... Life is funny that way. 
I have come to realize that I can squeeze school in at different times, and do it in a way that suits us best. It doesn't have to be a rigid schedule. When I began to allow for this the stress level went way down. I wanted to follow the curriculum program to a tee, but even the program guide says that you can custom fit to suit your family. So for example I can do read aloud portions while they are eating at breakfast or lunch time {or even dinner if need be}. We can read ahead if the kids are really into a certain subject or chapter book. This gives us a little more wiggle room on other days. We can get caught up on subject on the weekend if need be. I don't have to stress out if Atty can't stay at the same level as Spike in the workbooks, they can each have their own pace. And the biggest help of all, I don't have to do school work in the school area, I can move it to the dinning room table if need be. :) That way I can help them and work in the the kitchen when they don't need as much help, plus there are less distractions from the other kids. For some reason I was so stuck on all the school work being done in a certain area that it took me a moment to realize that this truly wasn't necessary. Spike flies through his school work, even when I give him extra, so he usually gets more play time then the rest of them. Atty has less of an overall work load, he does a much simpler program, but some days it takes a while to get it done. If he is struggling too much I just end on a good note and we finish the subject the next day. No since in beating our heads against a brick wall, and I find that when I do this he rapidly understands the next day what he couldn't grasp before. Bubu by far has the longest school day, which he really isn't fond of. He would much rather play or color, or even clean, then do school work. Unless I'm reading to him, then he's all ears. History for example is mostly sitting and listening to stories and looking at pictures, and having discussions, and that he loves. :) 

 So once again Bubu is my challenge. Simply because he takes forever to do his work! He is the only kid I'm doing school with until bed time. I have such a hard time being patient with him! He's just such a dreamer. If he were in public school he would have been labeled with ADD for sure by now! It was really, really bad in the beginning of the year. Markably worse then last year. It's been steadily getting worse with him, so much so that people were commenting on it and the hubby and I were getting worried. So on his last doctors visit I brought it up, and told his {wonderful} doctor that we were thinking about putting Bubu on the GAPS diet for awhile. To see if the diet would help with a few things, the attention issue included, and all his allergies. He gave the go ahead, so Bubu has been on the GAPS diet {with a few exception here and there} for the last month. And it really has made a difference! So now that we have cleared everything out I'm going to reintroduce a few things gradually to try and figure out what foods are the culprit. Once again I am amazed by the power of food, the good and the bad. I'm amazed by how seemingly good food can cause such problems for some people. I have a sneaking suspicion that dairy is the problem for him. But only time, and a food journal, and a little bit more of my sanity will tell. ;) 
Any ways the last few weeks have been a lot easier with Bubu and he seems a lot happier because of it. :) That's what was bothering me the most, he knew he was having a hard time concentrating, but didn't seem to be able to really do anything about it! So frustrating for both of us. He would break down in tears a lot. Which would break my heart, and make me feel bad for getting frustrated with him when he was so obviously frustrated with himself. Vicious cycle. He's a lot more positive about learning now, which is great. That's not to say he doesn't still have melt downs sometimes during reading, but lots of kids do when learning to read, so that's not too unusual. The rest of the subjects are mostly a breeze. I still don't quite get why reading is such a struggle for him, I guess I assumed since he has always loved being read to {since he was a tiny baby} that he would pick up on reading easily. But for Bubu the two definitely do not go together. I absolutely adore reading, so I hope there comes a day {soon} where I can see him curled up with a good book and a smile on his face.

 Part of me wanted to organize these shelves before taking a picture, but the reality is that we are busy home schoolers and the shelves often look like this. :) I also have to get use to the various science projects scattered around my house. And the paper clutter, Oh My! I am thankful that the kids love to color, and cut, and glue, and tape, and be crafty is so many different ways, but wow does it make a never ending mess. :) Homeschooling in general is a never ending mess. My playroom, oh my goodness after a morning of school work, the kids not doing work manage to tear the playroom a part bit by bit while I am distracted! And the amount of house work I get behind on now, it's just sickening. My husband has been trying to help a bit more, but when he is working really long days it's hard for him to help like I need him to, so there is a lot that gets left undone. The things that I can't neglect often get done late at night or early in the morning {or on the weekends} so that I have barely a moment to myself. But such is life and it just makes me get creative in order to etch a little bit of me time out now and again. And wow do I treasure those moments. :) Life might not always be so full like it is right now, and that might not necessarily be a good thing. So I will enjoy the craziness and make the best of it.  

Our little reading nook. The kids love it. :)

One other thing I have to figure out this year is what to do with Spike. He is crazy smart. More on a first grade level then Kindergarten. I've already started him in the first grade reading program and now I'm thinking about having him skip into the first grade math, because he often answer the questions faster then Bubu! He seems bored with the math program his doing with Atty. Atty is definitely not ready to move up, so I'm thinking I might start teaching Bubu and Spike at the same level and keep Atty where he is at. I don't want to push Spike to hard, but I also don't want to hold him back if he wants to move forward. Right now I feel like I'm holding him back, and that's no good... The part I like the most about homeschooling is being able to make the work fit for each child. With Atty I am using a completely different reading program that is working wonders. He is much slower in his handwriting book and that's okay, at least he is forming letters! It shows me that all that preprinting practice I did with him last year paid off! He needs lots of one on one, but for some one who has gone through so much he amazes me! He has special needs, but I feel like because of that learning at home is by far the best for him. Because I can make it all work at the level he's at and make him feel good about it. I might look into some extra additional help for him next year, but for now he is rapidly learning and I'm excited about it! He showed no interest at all last year, so I though I was in for a serious struggle! He's really surprised me this year with his eagerness for learning and the effort he is putting into it. :)

One last really cool thing about homeschooling is that I can declare a half day just because the sun is shining, or we can take the day off at random times just because. Those surprise breaks make me a hero in the eyes of my children... ;) We don't have early release for parent teacher conferences, or all the other days off that the public schools have for various reasons, so I don't feel the least bit bad about it. I love the freedom of it all. Plus if my kids got behind we would just work into the summer until it was done, the idea of that keeps me on top of their work, because I like my summer breaks. ;)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Another step back to normal...

This was the first year since Atty's seizures started that I didn't have a harvest party planned. 
For the last couple years, instead of going trick or treating or to a Halloween festival, we've had a fun party with friends.  That way I could provide Atty approved treats and not worry about candy and we could still have some fun. This year we have just been so busy, and my very best friend on planet earth moved away to Texas and took my kid's very best friends with her. To say we are bummed is a massive understatement. So maybe I'm sulking but I just couldn't find it in me to host a party without them. I mean if we are being honest they were often the main guests, so it probably wouldn't have been much of a party anyways. This year I just planned on some home made treats for the kids, a fun dinner, maybe a movie and games, while we passed out trinkets {no candy at our house} to the door knockers... but at the last minute I decided, what the heck, lets go trick or treating in the neighborhood after all. There were a few times this summer where Atty was around candy. He even helped to collect some at a parade we attended, and he joined in on a couple pinatas at parties, each time he traded it over for his kind of treats. So I told him if we went out he could trick or treat, but he couldn't eat the candy of course, and when we got back to the house he needed to trade me for his kind of treats. He was fine with that, so away we went. Trick or treating for the first time since Atty's seizures started. You can imagine how excited my other two boys were to get to go trick or treating again, and for my little girl it was the first time she has ever gone. :) 

 The rain stopped for a brief moment {just for us, ha ha!} and out into the neighborhood we trooped. Me and my little bugs. They were so polite and got into the swing of things quickly. They were a bit shy at first as it was all so new, but Bubu and Spike set a good example and the other two quickly followed. 

 We only walked a short bit in our neighborhood, but they still ended up with way too much candy! 
I wish more people handed out trinkets {like stickers, tattoos, cute pencils, little toys, bouncy balls, etc...} instead of candy. Or even healthier treats, Atty still probably wouldn't be able to eat them, but it would be nice for the rest of us. I like the part of taking the kids around the neighborhood, talking to the neighbors, and the kids getting to show off their costumes and practice their manners, gain some confidence in a safe way... but all the junk food, it seriously bothers me. 
It's so bad for us people! 
Okay, I'll get of my soapbox now. ;)

 Crazy bugs! Spike did not wet himself... it was just awful soggy outside. :)
We were all glad to get back to the house and change and warm up again. Then the kids settled in with their candy and Atty traded his for his yummy freezer candies. And some pecan stuffed dates.
I jokingly told the kids that the candy fairy was going to come for the rest of their candy that night, and Lala was not happy about that. The girl did not want to hand over her candy for nobody, not even a fairy. ;)

So the night didn't go exactly as I planned. I had all sorts of healthy Atty approved treats lined up. And chomping down on sugary junk was not in the picture... but all told it really was a blast for them, so no regrets. It struck me as funny though that this year my kids were sitting inside eating their collected candy while I was passing out trinkets to door knockers. Ha ha! Why yes we are eating candy, but no you can't have any, here's a trinket for you... Funny stuff. :)
I'm so proud of Atty for how he handles these situations. He could respond in so many different negative ways, but he tries so hard to make the best of it. I can't imagine being a kid and watching all of your siblings opening up these cute little shiny packages of colorful treats of all kinds, hearing them talking about them, and sharing them, and not being able to participate! He knows that I will figure out a way to make it right for him though, so he puts on a brave face and makes it work for the rest of us. Such an unselfish sweet little boy.