Busy week!


Monday I took hubby to the doctor and finally got a diagnosis (pending the neuros advisement). Anterior Cerebral Atrophy with more than 30 white matter abnormalities with at least one on the brain stem. Prognosis is not good ūüė¶

Same day my oldest son flew in from Oklahoma for an interview with the producer of Snapped on Wednesday. He’ll be heading back home on Monday morning. We are talking about him coming to live with us to help me with hubby.

I’m in EXCRUCIATING pain today after all the house cleaning, stress and the weather change along with the solar flare that is hitting us at the moment. Those damned things always mess with my fibro! ¬†I’m out of weed so I have to get on the motorcycle and drive 5 miles in 40 degree weather to get more so I can stop hurting. Just SO glad I’m in a state with legal MJ. It helps SO much more than narcotics and antidepressants.

The boys are going to online school this year and are, as of now, about 15 lessons behind. It’s been a week where I’ve been more worried about other things than school. I REALLY wish I hadn’t let hubby talk me into it. Unschooling was SO much easier and the boys were actually learning things instead of just clicking buttons and guessing the tests. They pass them (mostly) without doing the actual studying! The school bumped Dan up a grade so he’s in 7th now and Sean is in 9th. First year of high school is frustrating him horribly ūüė¶

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Non Secular/Secular Homeschool


As some of you know, I’m not big on religion. Most of the time I don’t talk about religious matters with my children because I feel that they will ask, when they are ready.¬†

My children have never gone to church. Well, that’s not true but my eldest was just a baby the last time we went and he’s almost 15 now. Anyway, their religious training is, according to my father, extremely lacking. I’ve told him that when religion spoke to my childrens hearts, they will ask the questions and I will teach them.¬†

The time has come. 

This year my 15 year old has started initiating conversations about the bible and religion in general. He wants to learn a multifaceted genre of secularity. We’ve begun with Christianity: history and philosophy. Thus far, the debates have been thorough and lively with my 11 year old getting into the conversation as well. I answer questions that I can and we find the answers I don’t know. Thank goodness I had a good education on this subject because some of the questions they ask are doozys!¬†

 

That said, I find myself concerned about brainwashing them into a belief they don’t have already. My elder already is well versed in mythological gods and goddesses from Egypt and such. He has begun reading the bible and finds it “a good read but perplexing” Asking questions that defy answers, even WITH reading the bible. I always had the exact same questions that he does and even my college professors didn’t answer them satisfactorily. I still don’t know the answers to those questions and I have a REAL problem with the “just trust and believe in God” I just can’t for some reason.

My biggest thing here is that I trust that little voice in my heart that tells me when something is right or wrong and I’ve always taught my children to do the same. It’s worked amazingly well thus far.I have well behaved children with flaws. They are human and make mistakes. When they do, I ask if they listened to their inner voice. Usually the answer is no. They learn and evolve.

I’ve never seen the sense in mixing religion and mathematics or science. Literature, sparingly. History, we have talked about it when coming across it in their studies but didn’t delve into the spiritual aspect. If it wasn’t relevant, it wasn’t taught.¬†

This year, I feel in my gut, will be a very interesting, spiritual year for my house. I can’t wait for the conversations I’m going to have.

 

I LOVE homeschooling!

Natural Disasters and Prepared Children


This past week has definitely hit home for us. We live in Colorado, right smack in the middle of the floods. We have become accustomed to the weather alerts on the television and radios and my sons are well prepared if we need to flee the flood waters. Backpacks filled with necessities, shoes where they can find them, extra meds and emergency kits in each pack and the understanding that, if we HAD to flee, the Xbox, cell phones and laptops would go with us. (their insistence on the Xbox!)

As we prepared the packs during the worst of the flooding, there was much discussion about fears and planning for the worst case scenario. Danyls biggest fear was running out of his insulin so we packed all his insulin in an insulated lunch bag and stuck it back in the fridge. His ONLY job if we have to leave is to grab this bag and his backpack.

Sean has a different job, that he chose. His biggest fear is injury and being unable to aid the injured so, his job is to grab the medical kit we have for emergencies. He’s gone through and made sure theres bandages, antibiotic salves, tape, gauze, cold packs and splints in the kit. I think he added some other things as well but Ill have to look and see. He was VERY busy on Thursday getting this ready.

My job is the important papers. Birth certificates, marriage license, shot records for kids and dog, insurance cards, ownership papers and the like. I will also supervise the kids and make sure they are ready quickly.

Hubbys job is to make sure the power is cut off when we leave, getting the computers into their waterproof bags and getting the dog ready to go. We even made an extra bag with a weeks worth of food and water for the dog and kids.  HE gets to carry THAT.

Friday, we did a drill to see how fast we could get ready. It worked very well and we were all ready in less than 10 minutes! This is good because I was having a HUGE fibro flare and was moving slow. Preparation is key, getting things ready BEFORE you need them.

Teaching this to the kids was fun and an important step in their bugging out preparations. We’ve discussed, all week, where we’d go and what to do if we got separated. Thankfully we haven’t had to implement this plan yet.

 

One thing I worry about is getting to higher ground fast enough. I’m deathly afraid of murky, rushing water and I just hope, if we have to go, there’s none around!

As I watched the events unfolding around us, I kept thinking “No, please no, not now, not this year” We’ve gone through so much crap this year that this would be just another disaster added to the most disastrous of years in my entire marriage. As I listened to yet another emergency broadcast, I bit my lip and inwardly prayed that we be spared. When the dam broke three miles from my home, flooding the area, I cried. When the waters went the other way, I silently celebrated, selfishly.

I watched the news yesterday and saw that Longmont was being evacuated. Five miles North of us. Flooding continues swirling around the communities around us yet we are untouched, thus far. A sea of peaceful calm within the eye of the storm. I thank the Gods and Goddesses for this.

Mike said a few days ago that he could have done a better job of finding us a place to live, a place we could actually afford instead of this expensive place. I pointed out, yesterday, the places we WERE going to move to. They were all flooded! I hugged him and told him that we were meant to be here, for exactly this reason.

 

As you go through your days, think on this. What would YOU and your family do if this flooding or any other natural disaster hit YOUR hometown? Will you and your kids be prepared?

And one final yet VERY important thought: Remember your pets! They are your family as well. Think about how devastated you would be if your animal was killed in the disaster because you forgot them at home. PLEASE, take your pets. They deserve to be safe and with their family too!

5 Things Childless People Shouldn’t say to Parents


There are those in my life that don’t have any children. In fact, NONE of my friends have children. Still, hubby and I have these and other childless people telling us how to raise our boys. Some of these things are upsetting to me. Some piss hubby off to the point where he wants to remove them from our lives.

The friends, not the kids.

I’ve decided that, having heard these things from other parents in person, on Facebook and many blogs, to put a few of the most irritating ones, to me, here.

1. “Are you actually going to let him dress/talk like that?”

Yes, we are. He is an individual and allowed the freedom to express himself the way he wants. If he wants to wear safety pins in his ears and nose, paint his nails black and have skulls on his shirt, why should we get upset? It’s a phase, he’ll outgrow it. Eventually. If he decides to tell you, in no uncertain terms, how he feels, Who are we to deny him his first amendment rights? As long as he’s respectful and doesn’t use severely obscene language, he’s allowed his voice in our family. Don’t like it? Sucks to be you. The door is over there.

2. “your house smells atrocious! When are you going to MAKE him stop wetting the bed?”

Firstly, noone can force someone to stop wetting the bed. He has a medical condition and can’t help the way he is. Trust us, we’ve done EVERYTHING except electroshock. Do you honestly think that we don’t know how bad it is? For crying out loud, we have to LIVE here! Trust us, we know and it embarrasses us to death. Why do you think we never have you over? How about buying something to help get rid of the smell instead of complaining? Or just don’t come over. Plain as that.

3.”Why don’t you MAKE him go to school? Don’t you need time for yourself?”

We were given the Blessed opportunity to be parents. For us, this means a unique opportunity to actually be an active part of a small humans life. To us, this is a responsibility we take seriously enough to understand that we can have “adult time” when they are gone. We are PARENTS with the ability to really BE parents since neither of us can work. We don’t want to go to luncheons. We WANT to teach and nurture our offspring so they don’t become the punk on the street corner, selling drugs. You’ll thank us some day. Especially if our son saves your life. Even homeschoolers can become doctors and First Responders. Or presidents.

4. “why don’t you force them to do their chores?”

Firstly, let me ask you if you’ve ever been forced to do something? If so, how were you forced, without coercion or pain involved? We don’t believe in forcing our children to do anything. We believe that it deflates their personage and could result in rebellion. A rebellious child is worse than a child that doesn’t do chores. Besides, they do chores. Just not the ones you think they should.

We allow the children to suffer the consequences of their actions, or in-actions. We use these results to teach them how to be adults, to take responsibility for their decisions. If they want, for instance, to play a video game and the dishes don’t get done before they go to bed, the first thing they have to do in the morning is dishes. Before breakfast. Then they have to do an extra chore as well AND they get the games taken from them for a day. If Eldest doesn’t do his laundry, he wears the same shirt all week and gets teased by his peers. He learns that is unacceptable and begins doing his laundry. Of his own accord. He has learned what is and is not acceptable in society.

5. “Could you try to keep your kid from crying? It’s very distracting/annoying!”

Though it happens never since my boys are almost 10 and 13, I would hear these words, usually the one time in MONTHS that the boys were in a snit because of being tired/sick/injured or hungry. Usually it would come at the end of a long day of riding the city bus from one end of town to the other for doctors appointments.

I remember one such day. We had been on the city bus, going places since 8 AM and our last stop was the store. We got there around 4 PM and the kids were already whining. I HAD to get milk because we were out. Youngest was in the basket seat, elder was in the grocery part, riding as always when elder spotted a cereal he wanted. Unfortunately we were only there with WIC checks and it wasn’t on the Allow list. I explained this to him but, at four, it’s impossibly hard to understand so, he started wailing. That set off youngest who was 1.

I HAD to continue shopping. I couldn’t just take them to the car because we didn’t have one. For the next 15 minutes I had dueling toddlers with me and every single person in the store looked at me with either disgust or pity. I got my groceries and left, walking the three blocks with groceries and crying kids.

So many people I’ve heard, since then, make comments when they see/hear something like that to the effect of, “why can’t that parent shut that kid up?” or “My God, what’s wrong with that parent, they can’t even control their kid!!” You must remember that it is very hard to be a child. All these awesome/yummy things just out of reach and tempting you, then mommy says that dreaded word that you hate because you know you won’t be getting said item. Your world has just denied you, in your exhausted and hungry state, what you think you need. It’s suddenly so bad that you have to express your utter devastation in the only way you know how, with tears. It’s the only thing you have that you, as a toddler, can control. Moms main duty here is:

1. Make sure the child gets the food they need for their little tummy and
2. to teach the child that the world is not fair and they, sometimes, don’t get what they want. No matter how hard they kick and scream. This second thing is a very wise thing to teach children young so they don’t become preteens with laptops, Xboxes, cell phones and PDAs Etc. that the parent cannot afford without taking a third job, thus denying the thing the child needs most. The parent.

Luckily, for our neighborhood, the bakery section had free cookies for the kids and that was normally the first place we would go. That way the kids have something to eat and their little tummies are happy, their blood sugar is straightened out and all’s well with the world, even if mommy says no. This doesn’t always appease the tears but, it’s a start. We only had three meltdowns, in stores, the entire time my two boys were tantrum age. They were the ones, normally, that would see another child upset and go try to comfort the child while I spoke of trivial things with the parent. THIS helps more than dirty looks and pity. ASK the parent if you can help. Maybe watch their buggy while they take the child to the restroom or outside to calm down. Maybe suggest, casually, that they get the child a cookie to calm them down if you’re in such a store that has those. Wal-Mart never did but King Soopers/Krogers always does.

PLEASE, as the friend/neighbor/family/total stranger, keep your words of wisdom to yourself. We’ve been inundated with “advice” since before little one was born. We appreciate your “help” but, if you truly want to help, action speaks louder than words. ASK us if you can help. Talk to us like we are adults, not some child that needs teaching. Some of us have done this longer than you’ve been alive so, cut us some slack. We LIVE with these kids. We know them and their abilities. Take that into consideration before you open your mouth. I know you mean well but criticizing my parenting style is not helpful and, you never know. Maybe if you were around us more, you’d know that your advice doesn’t apply to us. Perhaps you’ll learn that our parenting style is Da Bomb.

It’s happened before.

Food and daily(ish) diary


So, Wednesday S had his concert. I had to pass because my pain level was through the roof even WITH two Dilaudid. He was disappionted and I feel horrible for being such a sucky mom. Fucking Fibro. I HATE it!  Yesterday D and I played a couple games of chess, he read Hop on Pop to me and we worked on a couple of find a word puzzles. Today we played Minecraft for a while till S got home from school and now they are playing together nicely. Makes me smile to hear their playing conversations.

 

Yesterday I had a small bowl of oatmeal for breakfast around 1 in the afternoon. I had a boiled egg sandwich at 10 PM, so I could take my meds. Today I woke up at almost two, took my meds and ate 1/2 cup of raisin bran. Dinner 1/2 small chicken and cheese burrito¬†with a cup of coffee. My belly is bloated. I think I’m retaining water because it’s almost That Time again. Ugh. Might explaine¬†the incregible amount of pain I’ve been in for the past two days.

My legs have been cramping so much today! I don’t know why but I’ve started my potassium again. I’m out of multi vitamines till the first of the month since Mike used my last 20 to buy his fucking cigarettes. Seriously getting tired of his nasty habit!

Yesterday, we got a wonderful donation of food from Lockheed Martin. 5 big boxes that were mostly things we’ll use. What we won’t eat, my mom will get as part of her holiday gifts from the family. She needs it with my niece , her baby and her boyfriend staying there with her.

 

Family update


So, we’ve started therapy (actually restarted) and so far the therapist is really nice. The boys seem more relaxed around her than they did the male therapist and are already opening up to her. We really have to work on their following up on commitments. They¬†committed¬†to doing more around the house and, last week, did nothing. Same as always. I know it’s a phase but M handles it poorly.

S has started opening up to M more. I see him in the kitchen often now, talking with M. I do hope it’s actually talking with and not being lectured by. M is so smart and I know he tries hard to be a father to S but at times the whole¬†stepparent¬†thing gets to him. The “experts” tell us that there will always be a difference in the way he treats S, just because he’s the stepparent. M has always says he doesn’t treat them differently but even they have told him he does. D asked M last week if he hates S and it floored M. He honestly didn’t understand why he would ask a question like that.D listed the ways that M treats S differently and, as I sat there listening, Ms jaw dropped further and further. The therapist asked S how that made him feel and he said, at times he’s thought about suicide because of it. It tore my heart out to hear him say that but it’s good to have him finally admit something I already knew and had spoken with S about.

D has been struggling this past week. His insomnia is getting worse and he went three days without sleep. I am so incredibly blessed at times. My insomnia happens at night so I can be up with him on these times. We talk, play video games, he reads to me and we do math worksheets or color or any number of things. He is responsible enough to be up by himself occasionally nut I hate doing that. We still haven’t figured out what’s causing his insomnia but his doctor has spoken about wanting to do an MRI and bloodwork to rule out anything biological. We have a possible diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (Asperger Syndrome). The doctor¬†finally¬†diagnosed the¬†Palilalia after seeing the video we made which showed D muttering¬† words to himself.

I swear, that video camera has been a time saver!

Mikes cancer scare was put to rest. He does NOT have lung cancer but does have a mild case of emphysema and a growth that’s more scar tissue. The doctor said it could be a piece of food that he accidentally inhaled, causing ¬†scar tissue to form around it. She says it’s nothing to worry about. She also said for him to get off the inhalers because he doesn’t need to be taking them.

 

All in all, not an awful week. The weather has played hell with my fibro and, as I lay here typing, I can say one thing……

 

Fibro and menopause suck!

Making time for marriage


There seems to be a disturbing trend among home/unschoolers. One that we must look at if we are to maintain marital bliss.

Making time for marriage.

When we devote our entire being to the children, we tend to lose sight of our spouse and that’s not healthy, for either spouse. We MUST make time for them or the marriage suffers. Taking time with our spouses doesn’t mean we have to neglect our ¬†parental duties, it means we are working to nurture the support system we rely upon for our own sanity. For some of us, our spouse is our only support and if we neglect them, they become bitter and, eventually, fed up.

Next stop, divorce court and the ugly battles to follow.

How do we make time to nurture ourselves, our marriage AND the kids!?

It’s not going to be easy but, it’s doable.

The first thing we have to remember is this: If we don’t nurture ourselves, how can we expect to nurture our children or our relationships? ¬†Take time to learn something every day. Even if it’s just the proper way to iron a shirt! Trust me on this, you MUST keep up on your education and your skills because there will come a day when you’ll need them. The children grow up, move away and you’re left with a hole in your life where your job should be. ¬†If you’ve divorced…. the hole becomes a bottomless pit.

Spend time talking to your spouse regularly. Even if it’s while they are in the shower! Mike and I spend a few minutes a day, in the morning and evening, talking about things from how we think the kids ae doing to how we need support for something or another. We insist on time with each other because we know the importance of communication in a marriage. It is the glue that holds it all together and, when we DON’T take time for each other, we end up feeling resentful and arguments ensue.

Take, for example, this recent conversation I had with my husband Mike.

me “The boys are getting on my last nerve today with the fighting. I’m so pissed right now that I could scream!”

Mike “What do you expect me to do about it?”

Me “well geeze, I was only venting, what’s with the attitude?”

Mike “You’re always complaining about the kids, what do you want me to do, babysit them, pay the bills, clean the house, walk the dog AND take care of you? I’m not Superman!”

Me “what are you saying, that I don’t do anything??”

Mike “Yes, as a matter of fact, I am!”

An argument and tears ensued. Our second “real” fight in ten years of marriage.

What we SHOULD have said was “I’m overwhelmed and need to vent” or “I’ve had a rotten day and need snuggle time” but, because we went for a week or two NOT communicating, we felt that the other was neglecting us. We, eventually, said we were overwhelmed and needed a time to ourselves. but not before it got ugly, in front of the kids.

MAKE time for each other. I know there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything you want to do. The kids need to be nurtured, laundry needs done, dishes washed, dinner made,¬†vacuuming, ect but you HAVE to find time for you and your spouse! Even a few minutes of “I’m overwhelmed” or even just silently hugging each other can be a booster for your mental health. There are nights when Mike comes to bed, thoroughly exhausted, and we just snuggle till he falls asleep and then I’ll get up and finish dishes or some other chore that didn’t get done.

People talk about making a “date night” is mandatory for a marriage. From my experience, it’s not a “necessity” but more of a “nicety” ¬†Sure, a night on the town is nice but, most of us can’t afford it!! Mike and I had a night at a motel once, when the kids were little but we spent most of the time sleeping!!

Communicate with your spouse. That’s key to your relationship and, guess what, if you’re showing your children that you have a stable, loving relationship, they too will¬†develop¬†the capacity to have the same with their spouse!

Tell me, what are your thoughts on this?