It Got Quiet

I’m not sure what happened here on the blog, but it got really quiet.  Trust me, I wasn’t.

The stupid stomach virus kept me pretty wiped out til Wednesday.  Then it was the gift that kept on giving.  I wasn’t able to take my meds for most of a week thanks to being sick.  Once, I started to get better, my mind decided to kick it up a notch and cause some lovely mood cycling.  It was scary and truly the worst I have felt in over a year.  Today I am starting to feel a little more like myself, a little more even keeled.  And I am so thankful.

The days of mood cycling and fluctuations were hard.  Crazy hard.  I am so thankful for the people in my life who reached out to me, not when I got better, but right where I was.

Today was lovely.  We went to the traditional service at our church, the earlier one we never seem to make it to, where they sing the glorious hymns of the Christian Faith.  I grew up on hymns.  The beauty of them, the truth in them, has always been nourishment for my soul.  Today I realized what had been missing in my worship, it is those hymns, and this morning my soul came home.

Plus, after a horrible winter in these parts, Spring seems to have arrived and today was just right.

Yesterday, we loved on our girls with an Easter Egg hunt and lesson about what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross and rising from the dead three days later.

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Then today, the girls were extra spoiled with an Easter Egg hunt at their Aunt’s house.

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So, it’s been quiet around here, but all in all, we’re okay.

Did You Know? (Time4Learning Review)

We homeschool?  Turns out, we do.  As you have read, we started homeschooling Caitlyn (2nd grade) and Sue (1st grade) last September.

It has been going well.  I started with an all-inclusive on-line program for the girls, but quickly found, it wasn’t for us.  I did not like the the amount of time they were spending in front of the computer, with limited interaction otherwise.  I found my girls skill levels did not match with the material set for each day–some of it was too easy, some was too hard.  It was nice having everything set out for me.  I didn’t have to think or plan, we just had to click the next link, but the trade-off wasn’t worth it to me.

Now, our homeschool mix is extremely eclectic.  Some is hands-on, some is purchased curriculum and some is on-line.  It changes daily.  I get most of my material from homeschool pinterest boards and blogs.  I like it, but it is a lot of work.

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I’ve seen many on-line programs touted by other homeschoolers, one being Time4Learning.  This program includes Math, Language Arts, Language Arts Extension, Science and Social Studies.  I was curious, but not interested in spending the money to get it if it was going to be of no use to us.  Time4Learning is available for a per student, low monthly price.  My patience paid off a month ago when Time4Learning offered one month free for all household users in exchange for an independent blog review.

So here goes–my first homeschool product review.  Drumroll please!!!!!

I had both girls use it exclusively for a week.

I liked the look of it.  It was cute and appealing to the girls.  The animations are very simple, but they get the job done.  The material was very appropriate for Sue’s skill set.

“It was easy.  It was kind of hard, not really,” was Caitlyn’s non-committal appraisal in typical 2nd grader fashion.

But I knew within a day, this on-line program was not for us.  Once again, it was too much screen time.  Both girls got bored with the computer time before they were half done for the day.  It was, like the other program we tried, too easy for Caitlyn.  The program does allow the students to access two grade levels, sometimes three, in an area. but personally, if I am going to be tailoring lessons to that extent, I’d rather do so on my own, not in a computer program.

We trudged forward for that week. I wanted to give it a chance,  but from there on, Caitlyn had no interest in it whatsoever.

Sue used it most days, but only for the language arts.  It was definitely an asset for her in the phonics area.  They presented many of the rules in ways that were easy for both of us to remember. If you could purchase usage just for specific subjects, I would strongly consider the language arts for Sue.

For now, I enjoyed the opportunity to check out Time4Learning, and am very aware it might be an excellent fit for some homeschoolers, but our program will continue as it is, with much less screen time and more interaction with each other and our subjects.

Time4Learning also has a new high school program available for $30/month per student.

Disclosure:  I was invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. I did use the on-line program, Time4Learning for one month as part of our homeschool curriculum at no charge to me.  I was, by no other means compensated. My opinions are entirely my own. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, afternoon or summer enrichment.

The Author Chose a Semi Colon #semicolonproject416

semi colon projectProject Semi Colon.

 

I almost didn’t join this project.  I am not depressed, suicidal, self-harming or, in general, hurting right now.  I have been some of those things, but not right now.

I almost didn’t join this project because it is too hard to let the mind go back there.  To sitting in the basement sobbing while my girls played upstairs.  To hiding in the  bathroom at work begging God for a way out.  To imploring someone to help me as I hid in the Jeep where my family couldn’t see me.  To checking myself into the mental health wing at our local hospital, again.

It’s hard to go back there.

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But thankfully, there is a” back” to go to.  If, I had ended the sentence with a period in any of those situations, there would be no going back.

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There is hard in each of those times.  In each of those places in my life that could have been a period, an end, but instead are a pause, a semi colon, before life moved on, with me in it.

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Each of those times, was a semi colon, because I reached out.  To friends, doctors, strangers.  I put the last bit of energy and effort I had into reaching out.

I look back with shame, but maybe the answer is pride.  I didn’t stay where I was.  I invested in me.  I invested in those who love me and know me.

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I reached out.  In all honesty, often not for my own benefit, but in hopes it would help my family.  I didn’t see myself as worthy of the work it would take to be here rather than gone, but I didn’t want to saddle my husband with the cleanup my departure would leave.  He would have to find more daycare.  He would have to do extra work around the house.  He would have to explain to our girls why mama wasn’t here.  I reached out for my girls.  I didn’t want them to ever wonder if mama really loved them.  I didn’t want them to wonder why mama didn’t want to see them growing up.  I didn’t want them to have to explain for the rest of their lives “My mom committed suicide when I was (5,) (4,) (1.)”

I didn’t want them to grow up with that shame.

So I made the calls, I did the work.  I still make the calls, I still do the work.

Those pauses in life, where a period could have been chosen, found a semi colon written instead, so on I work.  On I LIVE!

Image

 

I wrote a semi colon.  You can too.

Please, if you need help, reach out.  The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for example: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a 24-hr/7-day hotline where anyone can call for help and speak to someone trained in suicide prevention  .suicidepreventionlifeline.org PLEASE NOTE: You do not have to be suicidal to call. This number will offer you resources local to your area if you are struggling in any way.

Linking up with Cristi.

 

Getting Out

Many schools, and homeschoolers, are having spring break this week.  I hadn’t decided if, or when, we would take such a break.  Then, the scourge hit.  Caitlyn was down Sunday and still struggling Monday.  Sue and I were down Tuesday and Wednesday and hubby today.  Not much school has happened.  Not much fun has happened.

It was beginning to wear on the girls.  But relief was on the way.

Caitlyn got her latest National Geographic Kids Magazine yesterday.  It has 101 ways to get outside on a big pinup inside.  My girl got excited.

One, was make a pond.  Patrice gave that her best effort.

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Another was fly a kite.  Caitlyn remembered some old kites hubby and I bought while dating a decade ago.  Out they came.

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They even walked to the park to try them out.

Today, I needed to get them out of the house to give daddy some peace.

We splurged on ice cream.  (Ask Patrice to pronounce ice cream, for an inappropriate giggle.)

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Then, we found some small, cheap kites at the store.  I let them each pick one.

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I had to do something to perk up their spring “break.”

 

Days All Wrong

Lets just start by saying, I am going to get my days all wrong, so if you’ve read my real-time facebook updates and then you read this, and they don’t match…sorry.

It all started Saturday night, I think.  Caitlyn got sick.  Crazy sick, with the stomach virus from H E double hockey sticks.  We even ended up in the ER.  She’s okay, but what’s the use of a Pediatric ER within a mile of your house if you never use it?

Then Patrice joined the fun.

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I hate the stomach virus.  I hate how it makes me kids, look, feel and smell.

And then, just for kicks, I got sick.  Like wow.   And I gained a whole new respect for my kids.  I whine way more than they do when I am sick.    Within a couple hours, Sue got sick.  And hubby wisely stayed home from work to take care of us…for the next two days.  I protested.  I Praise the Lord he didn’t listen and stayed anyway.

Last night, the kids tried a real meal.  Patrice regretted it.  Today we are back to dry cereal and dry toast.

I woke up feeling decent.  It is supposed to be 68 degrees today.  I planned a trip to the zoo…in my mind…then I had to rest from walking down the stairs and settled for putting on shoes for the first time in three days.

I look at my house.  And want to clean all the things.  Then I get dizzy again and hope to finish ONE load of laundry.  Just one.

How will I spend the rest of my time?  Praying hubby does not get this bug.  Dude, I’m even praying my worst enemy doesn’t get this bug.

We love you all enough to tell you to stay away from us!

My Heart and Joy

Here is a collection of the fun around here this week.

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See Sue’s pretty Lilla Rose clip?  I have a friend who sells them.  They are so pretty, come in lots of sizes and designs.  Let me know if you would like me to put you in touch with my friend who sells them.

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Are you blogger that would help promote suicide prevention?  Order one of these great shirts from Cristi.

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We had lots of fun with mega blocks, bounce house, pretty hair and playing outside this week.

Ten Things About Me

Sometimes, you are blogging along, and you hit a wall…no idea of what to write.  It’s been quiet around her for just that reason.  I don’t know how niche’ bloggers do it.  How they come up with posts every day on the same topics.  I blog about a bunch of different things, mental health, kids, homeschooling, faith, so on and so forth…and yet, the well runs dry.  So I am very glad my friend Kim, at Make Mommy Go Something Something awarded me the Liebster Award.

Liebtser

 

With this award, comes a list of questions, also known as blog inspiration.

  1. Are you that guy in your neighborhood who feeds the wildlife?  Well, kind of.  I throw the random ends to the bread that we don’t eat out to the squirrels, but we are not THAT guy.  He lives on the end of our street.  Just across from the golf course.  There are lots of ducks in the golf course.  They have lots of babies.  He puts food out.  The ducks know it.  They walk across the road with their parade of babies for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Best case scenario, they back up traffic as we all wait for them to go across, worst case scenario, someone isn’t looking and there is one less baby waddling after mama.  I say he’s misguided, but trying to be nice.  My hubby says he is fattening them up to fill his freezer.
  2. Where do you write? (10 bonus points if you admit that one of those places is the bathroom. Don’t lie. We all do it.)  I write in the kitchen.  Next to the stove.  It’s where the computer is.  We also homeschool in the kitchen.  There are days I only leave the kitchen to go to the bathroom, where I sometimes text, but never blog.  True Story.
  3. My New Year’s Resolution was nothing.  I didn’t make any.  I am a challenge and plan kinda gal.  Checking things off a list is my kind of deal, but right now, I am not keeping up with any of them.  I am not keeping up with my decluttering.  I am cleaning stuff out, but I am not going to hit every area I planned, nor will I have 40 bags gone by the end.  I am not keeping up with my Mother’s Day Challenge.  I was supposed to do an exercise video twice last week.  I got the treadmill once.  This week I am supposed to hit the treadmill three times, so far, nada.  And my squat, push up and plank challenge was hit or miss.  Dude, listing all of this I am shaping up to be quite the loser.  We are plugging away with homeschooling.  This week we havfe been working on telling time.  Caitlyn is currently playing a time-telling game on the iPad and Sue is working with the clock to show times.
  4. Lucky Charms for breakfast or are you one of those “I like my heart” kind of people?  Personally, I am totally a Lucky Charms person.  But these rugrats that call me mom eat them too dang fast, so we stick with the “slightly” healthier options, Honey Nut Cheerios and Frosted Mini Wheats.  They last a little longer and come in bigger boxes.
  5. What are your thoughts on global warming? Kidding. Do you like pizza? Some people don’t like pizza and those people cannot be trusted.  You do not want to know my thoughts on global warming.  I am not trendy.  I am so glad the real question is pizza.  I love it Kim!  You can totally trust me.  I like the cheapo pizzas, I like gourmet pizzas; their aren’t any I don’t like.
  6. What is your favourite colour and have you used that colour (or a variation of it) to paint your walls?  So, do I correct the Canadians’ spelling in this question or let it slide???  My favorite color is lilac.  In our first house, my hubby kissed up to me by painting three rooms lilac.  In this house, we have lilacs on some wallpaper, but that is it.  It is a sad little  house.
  7. What do you look forward to in the spring?  SENDING MY KIDS OUTSIDE.  There is lots more that I look forward to, but that overshadows them all so much, they aren’t even worth mentioning.
  8. Is there a piece of jewelry that you wear every day? Is there any significance to it?  I wear my wedding ring every day.  I have a charm bracelet I used to wear every day, but my hubby got me some new charms so I took it off to get them put on and haven’t gotten over to the jeweler.  I feel like an ingrate, but I’m not, I am just dreading taking three kids 7 and under to a jewelry store.
  9. Cold pillow or warm pillow and are you a pillow flipper in the middle of the night? I am not a flipper, but otherwise, I have no idea.  I think I prefer warm, but I really don’t know.  I guess I’ll have to cover it with my new therapist on Monday.
  10. Favourite picture of you and why?  My wedding pictures.  I’m sappy and they represent the start of a whole new life.  The life has sometimes been hard and challenging but it is worth every.single.second.  Those are pictures I love.

And now in accepting this award, there are some rules.  Here they are:

  1. Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you and display the award.–check
  2. Answer eleven questions the blogger gives you.–she gave me 10
  3. Give eleven random facts about yourself.–in addition to the questions?
  4. Nominate eleven blogs that you think are deserving of the award.–look out, I am coming for you.
  5. Let the bloggers know you nominated them.–I’ll be back to figure this out.
  6. Give them eleven questions to answer.–Umm, can I steal Kims’ and just add one?

In the In Between

Last Friday I sent out a clarion call via a Facebook Group.

I could feel the pressure building in my head and chest; not from a cold, but from hypomania.  The thoughts were starting to push harder against the constraints of my mind.  They were moving quickly and relentlessly.  One thought after another.

I sent out that call for helping, needing people to hear me, needing people to know where I was and where I might be headed.

They heard, they responded, they comforted.

I went to sleep thinking maybe the medications could stop the train like it has other times.  It was not to be.

I woke up testing my mind.  Thoughts.  Lots of thoughts.  Feelings.  Lots of feelings.

The energy wasn’t uncontrollable.  I didn’t have to be moving, but I had to be doing…I read a book, I planned, I thought, all quickly.

When I had some space, I cleaned, and exercised, quickly.

Sunday, I talked too much, I was too animated.  That night I was a laminating and cutting fool as I prepared for our homeschooling week.  (Have you ever wondered what a hypomania homeschool week looks like?  It is very hands on.  Lots of stuff to do.  Lots of stuff organized to be done.)

Monday dawned with beautiful spring weather, which only fed the fun.  The nice weather also helped bring some good balance–once school was done I sent the girls out to play and was left to my own devices.

Lots of thinking.  Lots of eating.

Now, life has tempered.  I am in a comfortable place. I am taking from the hypomania what I appreciated, extra reading and hands-on school activities, and leaving behind the over talking and the over thinking.

And it’s good.  It’s pleasant.  It’s comfortable.

I Desire to Nurture

I spend a lot of time planning, printing, cutting and laminating in this homeschooling gig.  And that’s okay.  I want to teach my girls all they need to know.

This week, one of the focuses is learning to tell time, on an analog clock.  I have activities and games.  I have laminated  pieces, or I will before I sleep tonight, and dry erase markers.

By Friday, I hope we are telling time.

But, that is not all I want, by a long shot.

I prayed the same thing over each of my girls as I met them, “We love you.  We pray that you come to know Jesus and follow Him all the days of your life.  There is nothing more important.”  That is what I believe and know to be true.

Toward that end, we go to church, we go to AWANA (Bible Club), Pioneer Girls (think Girl Scouts) and, yes, even homeschool.

But I realized something glaringly obvious today.  I/We do all that, but I rarely pray for my girls.  I DO all the right things, all the while terrified they will walk away from Jesus when they get older.

Why?  I live with that fear for two reasons.  First, it is something I can’t control.  Their faith is their own.  They have to decide to let Jesus into their lives or to not.  Second, I have been trying to do it all in my own power.  I have been trying to do all the right things to get the right result.  The right things are good, but they alone, will not get me where I desire to have my children be.  That, is the Lord’s work.  It is my job to pray.  To lift up each of my lovely girls to the Lord.  To commend their present and their future to Him.  I also need to give my present and future to the Lord.  Only He can change me, and the things I do as a sinful human to drive them away from their Heavenly Father.  I desire to draw them to the Lord, not away.

I have a long ways to go on all of those fronts.  I don’t do all the right things perfectly.  I don’t pray for them perfectly.  I definitely don’t act in a Godly manner perfectly.

Thankfully the Lord’s mercies are new every morning (or every 5:00 pm when a mama is reminded to pray) and He DOES hold my girls in His hands and He loves them even more than I do.  That fact blows my mind, humbles me, and reassures me.

I desire not only to teach my children, I desire to nurture them.  And with the Lord, and hubby’s help, I will.

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My heart and prayers belong to these girls.

Memories Made Here

There you go bumping through life, and all the sudden, you realize a big ‘ole memory is being made.

My Caitlyn and her friend started a Rainbow Loom bracelet business.  They have business cards, keep tally of what the sell to whom and split their money 50/50.

I love watching her learn, find projects, tackle them and make amazing progress.

She found out earlier this week that another homeschool co-op has a rainbow loom class.  She is in love.  She wants me to teach a class so badly–particularly rainbow loom now–that she pulled out her tooth fairy and rainbow loom business money to see if she could buy me a loom so I could learn and teach.

We’ll see how that pans out.

In the meantime, Daddy was watching her get started on a bracelet he ordered, and began asking questions. She came alive as she started teaching him how to make a fishtail bracelet and explaining the difference between and c and an s clamp (FYI, c clamps are preferred in our household).

Instant memory.

And I got pictures.

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She made the headband.
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Watching my big girl teach her daddy how to do something she loves, and knowing he really cares? SWOON