Laughing and Learning

It is beautiful outside right now.  The weather is beautiful, the laughs and giggles are beautiful.  And the learning is beautiful.

Patrice is having some trouble learning sight words so I am trying to incorporate some new methods…one involves a beach ball with some of her words written on it–when you catch the ball you have to read whatever word your right hand is closest too.
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I also sported some handmade bling for the sight word of the day, which you might have guessed is THE.  Patrice also wrote the word of the day on the whiteboard.  We’ve been having some trouble with the word the because Patrice finds it boring and she doesn’t like to read boring words–so I decided to jazz things up around here!!

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Homeschooling Light

So one of my quirks, is to not take up doctor and eye appointments right before school starts.  I know there are a ton of people who need to get their kids in those appointments before school starts, while we, on the other hand, have the flexibility to do those appointments while other kids are in school…so, this week was eye doctor appointment week for Sue.  I thought it would be a quick 30 minute deal, but I was mistaken.  Her appointment on Monday was over an hour and they decided they needed a follow up today to check some other things and they have already told us this appointment will be an hour plus.

So, this week became homeschool light!

Tuesday, the weather was beautiful so we did some of our work outside.  Grammar, art, and reading.

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Yesterday we went on a field trip to a local nature center and learned about migration.

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Today, I have reading, phonics, and grammar packed for the non-eye-patients to work on while we wait.  We have already done our history read-aloud for the day.  Now, the get some eyes checked!!

This is how we homeschool–light!

The Balance

Three girls.  I have three girls.  I have no idea how that happened–well, okay, I know HOW it happened, I just can’t believe it did even 10 years into this mom gig.  I had given up on marriage and kids, but God had other plans.

These plans.

I have three girls, I homeschool three girls, they are pretty much my constant side kicks.  They see how I handle, and don’t handle, life.  I am completely aware their eyes are always on me.

Sometimes, I can handle it with grace, but much of the time I am second guessing how I handle it all.  I want my reactions to be balanced and healthy.  I am used to finding that difficult with the Bipolar in my life, but recently it has gotten complicated for another reason…sports.

My girls (2 of them anyway) have joined the world of sports–cross country to be exact.

It is the one sport I sort of, not really, know anything about and is truly the only sport I have ever enjoyed.  Seeing them get to run at practice reminded me how much I love to run and has me back out there pounding out a few miles.  I love having them run.

One, is a little older than the other, a little more serious about life, and a little more interested in running.

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She even joined me on my Sunday morning run last week.

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I am so proud.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Sue is also going to practice, never complains about it, and seems to have fun, but she just hasn’t caught the running bug.  She’s there for the socializing; Caitlyn says, “I want to run, that’s what I am there for!!!”

I am so pleased with both of them, but I want to just gush all over Caitlyn.  I love her can do spirit, she never gives up, I love her desire to run, I love her determination.  I like to talk to her about running.  I am seeking out help from others who run to help Caitlyn become a stronger runner.  I’m not kidding, I could go on forever about how proud I am of Caitlyns’ running.

But I don’t want to discourage Sue.  I want her to grow to love it, if it turns out to be her thing.  I want her to work hard.  I want her to know I care about her skills too.

Balancing the two is hard!!!

How do I encourage them both when their experiences so far are very different?  How do I let Caitlyn know how pleased I am without seeming to diminish Sue’s progress?  How do I show my pride in Caitlyn, without making Sue feel like she has to prove herself to me by running?

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I sincerely don’t know how to balance it all.  I catch myself when I feel like I am going overboard.  I try to remember to speak highly of both of them within their hearing.

I try.  I really do.

Social Anxiety and Jesus

This could be one of those posts about how all you need is Jesus to get rid of your social anxiety.  But it’s not.  Because I don’t believe that social anxiety is “just” a spiritual issue.  I also don’t believe it is just a medical issue.  I believe it is a little bit of both, and as such, needs both Jesus and medication for proper treatment.

But then what I think gets a little murky.  And I just realized tonight, why.

So, if my social anxiety needs Jesus to be part of the treatment equation, what do I do when that social anxiety keeps me from Jesus?  Yup.  It keeps me from Jesus, because I have social anxiety when it comes to Jesus.

I love to pray.  I always have.  It has always made sense to me.  It brings me a lot of comfort to pray.  I love to pray about the struggles of life and the joys of life.

But sometimes I just can’t pray.  Like tonight.  I was so excited about tonight.  I was going to have the house to myself for a little bit and I was going to be able to sit down and pray and just enjoy it and immerse myself in the time.  But then the social anxiety came up.  Every half minute my praying was being interrupted by me–“Am I doing this right Jesus?”  “Am I talking too much Jesus?”  “How do I shut up and let you talk, Jesus?”

“Am I doing this right Jesus?”  “Am I talking too much Jesus?”  “How do I shut up and let you talk, Jesus?”

“Am I talking too much Jesus?”  “How do I shut up and let you talk, Jesus?”

“How do I shut up and let you talk, Jesus?”

And I just didn’t make it very far.  I got myself too confused and worked up.  I ended up just falling back on a basic, standard prayer, with none of the fellowship, none of the comfort, none of the joy.

Social Anxiety and Jesus at its finest.

Thought I Knew Better

All to the Glory of God–that is why I blog and share my story so openly.  I want others to know it is possible to live and parent well with mental illness.  This, by necessity, causes my posts to be brutally honest, and that is not always pretty.
I have always endeavored to live by the verse 2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Seventeen years ago, wow, has it really been that long?, I made some bad choices, I loved and trusted someone I shouldn’t have, and my found myself in a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship.

I got out.  He dumped me.  I was embarrassed, hurt and angry, but still, it was for the best as I got out.  My pride would have kept me there but he decided he didn’t want me.

And that’s really okay.

Fast forward 17 years, and I have an amazing life.  I have a husband who loves me and endeavors to always take care of me.  I have three amazing daughters.

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I have it all.

And the memories from that relationship.  The hurtful things he said and did and made me believe.  I live with those, and unfortunately, so does my husband.

He lives with them when I am afraid to look at him when I think he is upset with me.

He lives with them when I over apologize for something, or sometimes, nothing.

He lives with them when I work myself into a tizzy trying to make him proud of me.

I live with them all the time.  When I hear him in my head telling me no one likes me, no one wants to be my friend, without him I wouldn’t have any friends.

When I hear him in my head telling me no one likes me, no one wants to be my friend, without him I wouldn’t have any friends.

When I hear him tell me I don’t know how to dress.

When I hear him tell me I talk too much or too loudly.

When I hear him tell me I do the laundry wrong.

It’s been 17 years.  Seventeen years of lies I cannot shake.  Seventeen  years of his anger I cannot shake.  Seventeen years of his voice I cannot unhear.

I walk literally every day with one or more of these things.  Wondering how to shake it, wondering how to be free.

How to be free…

A Broken Record

As I have mentioned a million times, I love running.  I had to give it up for a while due to foot issues, but that didn’t change my love.  I am done with physical therapy and was given the go ahead to start running again…slowly.  I told the therapist, “at 41 the only running I do is slow” but I knew what she meant and actually got scared about starting and hurting my feet again.

Then, a fellow homeschooler found a cross country team for homeschooled kids starting at Caitlyn and Sue’s ages.  I could not wait to get home and sign them up.  I know other parents say they don’t want to push their kids, but I will fully admit, I am being pushy when it comes to running.

I had no athletic abilities whatsoever growing up.  T-Ball was a bust, ping pong and volleyball were a disaster.  I had nothing.  And it it was hard.  I watched other kids get acceptance and acclaim from sports, but it never happened for me.  Ever.  As much as we say brains are more important, or at least as important, they aren’t, not when it comes to approval.

I never found anything I could do until my 30s when I started running with Wii Fit and then decided to try running for real outside, and I could do it!!  Now, I don’t set any records, but each running goal I have set for myself I have reached, except the half marathon, I am still reaching for that.  And the runners high–I fell in love with it early on.

Call me selfish, I want running for my girls.  Jr. High, er Middle School and High School would have been so much more bearable if I had running.  I want that for them, I do.  Yes, I understand, they may find another sport that suits them better, but for now, I want to give them a place to start, something they can enjoy, something they can excel at no matter what.

I want that for them.

A Hard Reminder

Days come and days go.

Cleaning the house.  No really, I do clean the house.

Chasing kids.

Playing with kids.

Reading books.

Going to church.


I do my thing.

The meds do their thing.

And I wonder why the Bipolar was ever such a big deal.

Until a day happens.  A day like yesterday.

Due to a snafu between the pharmacy and the doctor office, I ran out of one of my anchor meds, one of the big guns that keep me sorted out and stable.  I can miss a dose here and there, but it is truly not a good idea to do so.

But it happens.

And I think, “ah, I’ll be fine.”

That was me yesterday.

I had a list of things to do.

I had all but one of my meds.

No big deal, right?

So I started in on the to-do list.  And the anxiety came.  The hyperventilating.  The shaking came.  Only to be followed by tears.   Until I reached the realization I could not do it all.  That there is a reason I am on several meds and I no longer work outside the home.  I ended up in bed for the afternoon.  I wanted to be all my husband needed me to be, but I just couldn’t.

I, like everyone, have limits, mine are just pretty close and tight.  There is little wriggle room.

The Bipolar is a big deal.


*I got my meds today, I took them as soon as I picked them up from the pharmacy.  Today is a little shaky, but I know I am back on the road to okay.  So thankful for the grace my husband, children, and God extend to me.


All the Signs Are There

The candles tell me it was 10 years ago.

She tells me it was 10 years ago.

The calendar screams it was 10 years ago.

But I don’t believe a word of it.

It was yesterday, I know it.  It has to have been yesterday we welcomed our sweet Caitlyn into our arms.

This little face has to have come into our life just yesterday.

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sorry the picture above is fuzzy2016-08-03 16.48.35This is my beauty at 6 months old.

But alas, she has grown up so much.  She is kind and funny, oh so funny!  She loves to please others.  She worries if there is conflict or duress.  She is thankful for the things that others do for her and with her.  She looks for ways to make others smile.  And she loves to be with her family more than anywhere else.

In short, she is amazing.

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Happy, Happy 10th Birthday my girl!!

A Little Conflicted

I love my kids like crazy.  I love being a stay-at-home mom.  I love being a homeschooling mom.

But sometimes, I need a break.

Summers are actually the hardest time of the year to get them.  During the school year, hubby takes them to Bible Club and Pioneer Girls twice a week.  During the summer, these programs take a hiatus.  And so does my break time.

This leaves  my walking time as my time.  But, many nights one or another kid joins me.  I love having them get exercise and the conversation time we have.

But I really miss being alone to think my own thoughts..  It leaves any vestige of myself out of the equation and leaves me feeling very boring and flat.

How do you parents balance that in the summer?  How do you keep some of the me?



Funerals And Such

I think we are creeping closer and closer to being a pet owning family again..  Hubby and I each had dogs when we got married, but old age and illness took them from us a few years back.  And while Hubby and I loved our dogs, we have also loved the freedom of no pets to consider when planning camping trips, have loved not cleaning up dog poop in the yard, and the lack of hair in the house.

But I think those days are coming to an end.

Caitlyn, and often Sue, have been begging for a dog for months.  We have put them off during that time by telling them they have to learn to keep their room clean before we consider adding a dog.

Well, guess what…there room is not always clean, but they are doing much better..and they have stopped fighting me over cleaning their room when I mention in needs to be done.

Today they cleaned it all on their to hold a funeral…for Caitlyn’s firefly that passed away at the hand, er foot, of someone in our household.  They have cleaned their room and are making invitations to the service.

Yeah, the whole thing is weird, but I am thinking it is time for a pet with a little more staying power than a firefly.  And we are not cat people.  Or hamster people.  And fish just don’t last.  That leaves us with…a dog.

And now for more parameters.

I am not a big dog person.  I consider black labs big.  I grew up with, and had, a dachshund.  They are cute and small, but can be picky about children.  But that is the kind of dog hubby is thinking he would like for our next pet go-around.

I would like something that doesn’t really shed.  My cousin has this amazing golden labradoodle that is small, affectionate, patient with kids, and doesn’t shed.

So much to consider—like that whole cleaning up poop in the yard…yuck…but I think the day of reckoning is coming quickly…and honestly it is more fun to consider than our current presidential race, so I guess I will continue to think upon these things…