Saturday, January 21, 2017

MercyMe

Two of my favorite songs of MercyMe.




Friday, January 20, 2017

What an August.

Obviously, I am not with it enought to post things when I actually write them.

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The end of July found us saying yes to having a French young adult named Ismaël, stay with us for a month.

It was quite the experience.  One I would do again, but next time with eyes wide open.

The goal for his visit was to practice his English and learn about America.  I think we helped him accomplish both.  He spoke English rather well.  And he got an ear full of American History.

Before his visit, I never really thought about the rich history in the Northeast.  Within three hours of our house, we can visit:  the city of our nation's beginnings, a winter encampment of our revolutionary solders, our nation's capital, the battlefield of the turning point of the civil war, the city where so many people first entered our country and where a grand symbol of liberty continues to stand.  And you can even dip your toes in an ocean. 

While Ismaël was here, we took him to see Philadelphia, Washington DC, New York City, Ocean City, NJ, Gettysburg, Valley Forge National Historical Park, the Poconos, Honey Brook, PA.  As Gary put it, we took more little vacations in August than we had in several years.

I am also glad Ellie and Josh had another young'un to interact with.  The dynamics definitely changed when a teen was with us.

Maybe you too could host a student from another country.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Organization

With the start of school, begins the deluge of papers.  Papers for the kids to sign up for things.  Papers to provide emergency information.  Papers to say I will volunteer.  Papers, papers, papers!

Our dining room table collects more clutter then usual. 

Both kids come home with a homework notebook, where they write their daily assignments.  Which currently needs to be signed every night.  We are not suppose to go asking about signing it.  That job is the kids' responsibility.  We give Josh more leeway with it than Ellie. 

I came up with a system.  I put a hanging file holder accessible in the dining room with a "to do" folder and a "completed" folder for each child.  They are suppose to put the notebook and anything else we need to look at, sign and return in the "to do" folder, then after signing it, we put it in the "completed" folder.  There is also a "reference" folder for papers that we need to ... reference.  Then when they pack their bags, they can easily get their papers and pack up and not be required to hunt us down.

I thought it was a great system.  But it hasn't really been working.  Certain children folk don't like it, balked at it emphatically, and don't really use it.  And the other one, keeps it in a binder and would rahter not have to remove it each time.  There has been a bit of a scramble in the morning, asking us to sign books at pack up time.  We need to rethink things.

Another area of striving for better organization is in lunch packing.  Myrtle sent me an article showing bins with prepackaged food/snacks for children to grab as they pack their own lunches (plus a whole host of other good lunch articles.)  I've tried to do my version of that.  Since I don't buy many prepackaged snack bags and such, I've purchased more plastic containers to package our own food.  While I'd rather not use plastic at all, I know the limits of our budget.  The plastic containers are not as good as stainless steel, but they are better then baggies or buying a lot of prepackaged food.  I have decided to just buy containers of yogurt instead of making it, because I know the kids will eat it.  I also will be buying granola bars, because again it is just easier to buy them. 

I am still planning to make my own fruit leather.  It is not hard to make, I have some good recipes and the kids will eat it. 

Now the next frontier is cleaning up after themselves.  When they go to bed, it is not uncommon to find their treasures strewn about.  I remind them throughout the day, but I forget to make sure it happens before they go up to bed.  Last night they didn't take care of some things, so I made them come back down after they were already in bed to take care of it.  Tonight they also both had to come back down to take of some things. 

A little at a time.




Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Anti-FRT exercises

Every body does it.  Some more than others.  Unfortunately, I have moved into the category of "more."

It finally occurred to me that while it is a natural thing, it's probably not really normal that often.  So I needed to do something about it.  Because walking around having to fart much of the time wasn't really working for me.  (I burp a lot too, but that is not as socially embarrassing.  At least not for me.)

Enter The Bowel Book.  Such a handy little book.  Chapter 4 - Exercising for Better Bowel Function.  Woo hoo!  We all could use some better bower function.  Bowels are rather neglected, I'd say.

I read through my options and chose 6.  I was all excited to get started on eliminating (get it?) my flatulence.  My plan was to do these everyday.  It's been at least five days and I have done them once.  Twice now, with this morning.

I decided to call them my anti-FRT exercises to be discrete.  And I wrote them on a green index card so I can think of Myrtle while doing my anti-FRT exercises.  I know she'll appreciate that!  (Her favorite color is green.)  She is the one who so generously gave me the book. 

Also, I need to remember not to do these exercises if I am going out in public soon after.  

I'm also hoping for a secondary outcome from all this, because the one exercise even says it will improve the waistline!

Here's to hoping and making my eliminatory organs happier!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Wolves

While searching for a movie on Netflix for us to watch, I remembered a movie I saw as a girl, probably when I was a little older than Ellie.  "The Journey of Natty Gann."



The Journey of Natty Gann


"America is in the depths of the Great Depression. Families drift apart when faraway jobs beckon. In this masterful, atmospheric adventure, a courageous young girl confronts overwhelming odds when she embarks on a cross-country search for her father. During her extraordinary odyssey, she forms a close bond with two diverse traveling companions: a magnificent, protective wolf, and a hardened drifter."

It occurred to me that this movie, and then Jack London's White Fang, and Farley Mowat's Never Cry Wolf were an integral part in forming my love of wolves.  The book Wolves, by Seymour Simon, introduces wolves to elementary school children using beautiful photography.

The wolf is a misunderstood, beautiful creature. 

Even knowing...

I wrote the below entry back in September.  I am unsure as to why I did not post it.  I did have to edit it a bit. 

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Even knowing that there is a book and audios to help me be a more patient, calm mother helps me be a more patient calm mother.

Gary and I are taking an 3 month online class by Dr. Laura Markham, called Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids.  Dr. Laura also has a book by the same name. For the class, we get an hour long audio lesson, questions to answer about the lesson, 3 minute daily inspirational audios, suggested reading from the book (which came with the course,) and a practice exercise to do with our children.  And access to a closed Facebook page for all the parents taking the class.

I've read the book.  And we've listened to one and third audio lessons, and a handful of daily inspirations. 

I am now the world's most peaceful parent.

That last sentence is a lie.

I am becoming a more peaceful parent.

That one is true.

Gary and I want to listen to the entire audio lessons together in one sitting.  But finding an hour together has been proving difficult, without it being so late.  We fall asleep while listening or we are so spent mentally, that we have no energy to listen.  (I think we will be breaking up the listening.)

I have been frustrated at our lack of progress.  But as Dr. Laura says, the audios are ours to download and save.  If it takes us longer than three months, it's okay.  She's all about not pressuring ourselves into something that will bring stress not peace.

Today I realized that even knowing I read the book and can refer to it again and have the audios saved to listen to when we can, has helped me be more mindful of self regulation and how I talk to the kids and handle their upset.

I also have a mantra.  At first the idea of a mantra felt too weird, too touchy-feely.   But on the Facebook page, someone asked about what mantras others were using.  I skeptically took a look at the comments. 

I know have several phrases, repeated over and over again, that I say to myself or out loud if needed, when I am triggered and need to work on self-regulation.  (I still don't like the word mantra.)  "It's not an emergency."  "I choose love."  "I can do this."  "Breathe."  To name a few.  These are all in place of yelling at, belittling, shaming, blaming, or making my kids feel guilty.  Or any others who are in the line of my upset.

And of course, I get plenty of practice.

So when I blow it one time, there's always a next time to practice my stuff.

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Update:
I can say that we have not progressed much in the lessons.  We still continue to be spent mentally each night, by the time the kids are in bed.  And now with Gary's new job, he is even more so.  Being an introvert, interactions with people drain him.  He has many more interactions at this new position.  Many more then he realized. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Falling apart?

I find it interesting that my best friend and I both think the other is a better friend.

Maybe that's what makes us a good friends?

I read her blog today.  I know, Myrtle.  SHOCKER! I'm not behind. 

Well, actually I read today's and finished the one before it. 

Myrtle lives with chronic disease.  Several in fact.  I one that rears its ugly head the most is dysautonomia.  (Even spell check doesn't recognize it.)  I usually don't know what to do or say to help her.  She's told me that just listening is good.  Or not seeing her as her illness.  Myrtle has referred to another blog (www.livingwithbob.com) written by another (Michelle) with dysautonomia, but I've only read what she has referenced.  Today I decided to go to the blog and read.  I came across this passage about stress and what constitutes giving up and falling apart:

Illness is stress. Chronic illness often means that stress will never fully go away. People aren't falling apart when their stress levels reach critical levels. They aren't giving up when they voice that stress and can't hold it all together. They are human beings, experiencing real and valid emotions to a prolonged highly stressful situation. We should not be jumping on them with judgements about giving up and the evil of falling apart, but offering them support, a place to voice their fears and sadness, and direction to appropriate mental health groups to help them navigate the complex and stressful world of chronic illness.

In my life, I relate most things to parenting. So for me, it's okay to fall apart in my parenting journey.  Michelle says, "There is strength in giving voice to the struggle."

I like that.






Friday, June 19, 2015

The boy with the broken arm, no more

Today, he's whole again.  The cast is off.  He's FREE!

It's been an interesting journey, this broken arm world.  A bit inconvenient, but not unworkable.

It was originally hard for Josh to deal with having his dominant arm in a cast past his elbow.  He felt like he couldn't do anything.

But he learned.  He adapted.  But he didn't really slow down.