Saturday, February 28, 2009

What this blog is *really* for

OK, really I would love to say that this blog is for the admirable goal of watching my son grow and change through my wonderful homeschool efforts. However, I do think it's worth more than that. Sometimes I just might use it to dump everything on here and make you people suffer through my day - I'm such a great person like that. Vent, feel better. My modus operandi. Leave now if you're not in the mood for someone else's crappy day. I won't know, and I won't be offended!

M1 didn't have his meds today. We didn't forget - it was just that he only has enough pills to get us to Tuesday, and our appointment isn't until Wednesday after school, and there is no way I am sending him to school unmedicated. He'd probably be sent home by 9 a.m. I probably could have gotten the doctor to just call him in another month's worth (we can only get a prescription for one month at a time), but I really want to talk to her.

And, feeling somewhat insane, I figured it'd be a good idea to see how he was progressing without meds.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

If I ever start thinking like that again, do smack me upside the head and remind me of this entry, please!

I also needed to run errands today - the ones I couldn't run on Thursday - which included going to Gardner's (I'd never been there), the Apple Tree (wanted to see what exactly they had), Sam's Club, and Reasor's.

The kids and I left the house about 9:30 after it took absolutely forever for M1 to get ready to go (DH was still sleeping). We hit Gardner's first. I can't say the kids were horrid there, just excited. I let the kids pick out two books each because children's books were BOGO, and then we found a couple of other books that I just 'had' to have. If we had totaled up everything, we should have paid about $40 to get out of there. But because the kids' books were BOGO, there was a discount on one of the books I picked out, and we hit a purchase amount that automatically gave us a discount, too, the grand total with tax was $23! I'm not a couponer, but I loved that. And the lady there told us that if you save your receipts and get $100 worth of pre-tax purchases, they'll give you $15 worth of merchandise free! I'm sure we'll be back. I'm such a nerd.

Then we hit Apple Tree, and that's when it started to get difficult. I wanted to see what they had and also get M1 a workbook to take to school, but when M1 got something, M2 started whining that she needed something, too. Whine whine whine. Whine. Whine some more. Did I mention she was whiny??? So we left.

Sam's parking lot was packed, so we skipped that and went straight to Reasor's as I was not in a mood to stand in lines. Now, I hate grocery shopping with both kids on a good day, but I'd have to say this was not a good day. M1 went completely bonkers. It started in the produce section when he and M2 started smacking each other. I separated them and kept moving. Then he went 100% OCD. He wouldn't step on the lines. He wouldn't step on the reflections of the lights on the tiles. He wouldn't quit doing either of those (I honestly don't think he could stop himself). It wasn't bad for a while, but then he quit paying attention to people around him and began running into people and wandering off because he was so far gone that he wasn't noticing that I'd turned a corner and kept going. When we finally made it to the checkout, I had to take M2 out of the cart. And the kids instantly got into a smacking fit! My jaw just about dropped. I felt like the biggest redneck!

I couldn't wait to get home.

The rest of the day was better since we were at home, at least until bedtime, when I discovered that M1 hadn't done his laundry on Friday and had stashed it in his closet and under his bed instead. He'll regret that by Tuesday when he's out of pants because I'm holding the laundry hostage for a week.

I'm so glad that the meds come back tomorrow! I can't wait to go to the psychologist on Monday and the pediatrician on Wednesday. At least I know for sure that the meds are doing wonderful, wonderful things for him!

Friday, February 27, 2009

When God tells me, "NO"

God doesn't really whisper when he tells me no. I think he understands I'm not the most intuitive person in the world and really need a blatant message. Like when he decided I wasn't supposed to go to Houston in July but convincing me of that fact took a car dragging, a stint of jury duty for my husband, and a brief but well-timed and freakish power outage caused by an illegal truck snapping the cable that hangs over the street.

Yesterday, He used a slightly different method of informing me I wasn't supposed to run errands.

If you want to be scientific about it, the wind was really the informant. I was getting ready to head out, and my first stop was going to be to take the dog to the groomer's near the kids' school. So I let the dog out to pee, got the dog carrier out of the garage and set it on the back porch, stepped back into the house to stack up my wallet, list, keys, and set my water mug next to it all, and went back out to put the dog in the carrier. The plan was to get the dog into the van first and then run back into the house, grab everything off the counter, and head out.

But it was a windy day, and in between my house and my detached garage is a space that acts like a very large wind tunnel. The wind will blow the screen door open/shut (depending on which direction the wind blows) or suck doors open/shut (again, depending on wind direction). I keep waiting for one of the kids to get their fingers smashed by this phenomenon. Anyway, I stepped out onto the back porch and called the dog... and the back door got sucked shut behind me by a gust of wind that darn near blew me over, too.

So I was locked out.

Fine. No need to panic. Usually we can break into the house via M1's window. It doesn't latch properly most of the time. So I got some buckets to stand on (since the ladder was in the house), grabbed a prybar, and headed for the window. I got the screen off, and that's as far as it got. I had had the windows open the previous day, and apparently when I shut them, I got it latched.

Now cue the panic. Keep in mind my husband is in Dallas doing training for work, 4-5 hours' drive away depending on traffic, and it's 10:15 a.m., and I have to get the kids from school at 3, and I can't get in the house to go pee, and there's nothing to eat or drink or...

Panic.

Luckily -VEEERRRY luckily - I had my phone in my pocket from texting some people. So I looked up a number and called a locksmith. This was at 10:30 a.m. They said they were sending someone "immediately." I called a few friends to kill time, and I called the locksmith back at 11:45. Oh, yes... I was in the system. Someone was "on route" and should be at my place shortly. Okey dokey. I sit back and read an e-book (Thank God for my iPhone!!!) for a while. At 12:30, the locksmith himself calls me and tells me he'll be there in half an hour. I politely inform him I was told someone was already supposed to have been on their way, and he tells me - equally politely, as he was very kind the entire time... my one good thing to say about him, but more on that in a bit - that the dispatcher was wrong, that he's been on jobs the whole time, and that the quickest he can reach me is in half an hour. I resign myself to the fact that he's at least aware of my existence and also acknowledge the fact that even if I called someone else, they probably wouldn't get to me any more quickly, and so I bow to the inevitable and sit back again.

Forty-five minutes later, he shows up. He took one look at my back door lock and says, "Nope, that one's 95% unpickable. Got any other doors?"

I didn't know locks were "unpickable." I'm GLAD it's unpickable, but for heaven's sake!

We walked around to the front door, and he said, "Oh, Weslock, that's better." I'm thinking, 'Good! Let's get me in the house!'

He spent probably 5 minutes or so - 10 if I'm optimistic - fiddling with this lock just inserting various tools and wiggling it in a very scientific-looking fashion. Then he turned to me.

"Here's the deal," he said. "This lock is old and has seen a lot of weather. There's a tumbler inside that's angled, and I can't get another tool in to straighten it. I'm going to have to drill it."

At this point, I didn't care if he'd said I had to break a window. DRILL THE THING! So he does.

I'm ecstatic. I'm in the house at last! It's only taken four hours, but never mind that, I'm IN! So I thank him, choke at the cost and pay him, and he leaves after telling me that I need to get a new lock quickly because (and he demonstrated this) anyone could just walk up and unlock the door with a screwdriver. Of course he had one on hand that he could sell me, but I (politely) declined. Let me tell you how petrified I was at the thought of someone in my neighborhood coming up and trying to break in. *rolls eyes*

Adam was mad that he didn't think to drill the back door lock rather than the front door lock, though, because the back door lock would have been much easier to replace. He wound up coming home last night anyway because there was 'emergency work' that just HAD to be done today, so he took a look at the lock and said, "Psht. The tumblers are fine. He was just in a hurry!"

I tend to concur.

But... I'm getting a new lock and door handle now!


It's nearly all installed. We're just about to put in the deadbolt, and then it'll be done.
What a fiasco, and all for God just to tell me not to run errands!
I must be more stubborn than I thought.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Thinking and pondering

No pictures tonight - just an entry. Nothing fancy.

I'm pondering occupational therapy for the boy. Or an anti-anxiety medication. Or something. I'm not sure.

I feel the need to explain and justify. To myself, mostly, and writing is calming for me. You're just subjected to it. As always.

Moving on. His ADHD is under control. He is quite calm during the day and will happily sit down and write a story or create a book. He can sit still for a good 15-20 minutes and do reading lessons. Attention is no longer a problem, and I'm thrilled silly with that. I can remember him bouncing and running and carrying on like nothing else, and the fact that this is controlled gives me much to be thankful for.

However.

He's still having anxiety attacks. They're rarer and more random (like when he got 3/4 of the way up a playplace sort of structure at the Seminole children's museum and then lost it because he didn't want the wires to touch him... which is what holds the thing up and they're spaced an inch or two apart the entire way), but they're there. That one was a touch issue.

And then there's the flipping out. His psychologist pointed out long ago that she thought he might have some sort of sensory processing disorder. I had always kind of dismissed it after reading about it, thinking that all of his quirks were attributable to ADHD or anxiety and the combination of them working together.

Now part of me wonders if the anxiety is caused by the sensory issue. Specifically, I think he has an auditory processing disorder where noises and the spoken word are literally too much for him. He's always been more frightened of loud noises than other kids typically are. The vacuum was terrifying for him (and he still runs out of the room when I turn it on). He would cry at the sound of my mini-food processor. When we went to the Air and Space Museum on Saturday, they had what they call a 'space maneuvering unit' which has air thrusters like an astronaut's suit. It runs on pressurized air, and the point is to move the unit so that a laser light points at a specific target. It's loud. The boy simply shut down. He wasn't scared of it, but it was just too loud for him. He covered his ears, squinted his eyes shut, and flat refused to move/talk/function until the sound quit. He got over it after a while and even used the unit, but for a bit I thought we would have to leave because of it. If I give him more than two simple directions (or even one direction while he's doing something else), he can't remember/function and starts yelling at me to stop talking at him.

I think there are other issues going on -touch has always been a unique thing for him, since he gets great satisfaction out of strong pressure or back scratchers - but I do think the auditory processing issues are a big chunk of things, too.

So I think I'll talk to his psychologist when we go in next week and talk to his pediatrician about the same. We won't start any sort of therapy till summer because there's no sense in starting another process before the end of the school year, but if there's a process involved with insurance and a waiting list at the therapy place, it's best to get started now. Right?

Thanks for listening :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mardi Gras came early!

Mardi Gras came early this year - it came up with my cousin from New Orleans who was kind enough to bring up some crawfish for my dad at cost - live, wriggling, still-fresh-straight-from-the-Gulf, never-frozen crawfish. Specifically... about 30 POUNDS of crawfish. Nom nom nom. It's food happiness in a black plastic box.



I think we finagled an invite only because we had the outdoor cooking apparatus - the turkey fryer! It doubles nicely as a crawfish pot, though it's definitely not authentic. Throw in the spice mix, potatoes, corn, orange juice (and oranges), and boil! My dad and husband had 'man time' outside with their beers while the kids, my stepmom, and I watched Snow White in the great warm indoors. We're not tough enough for outside on days when the temperature is less than 60. Still... I had to keep checking on that crawfish. It smelled WONderful. And then M1's meds wore off, so he was outside just to save the furniture from instant destruction.

This was batch #1... we ate through that in probably record time and got about 3/4 of the way through batch #2 before we decided we truly couldn't eat any more crawfish.
So then we ate king cake. Also fresh from The Big Easy. My cousins need to come to town more often.
This was the really nice part about the whole meal... cleanup was condensed into one very full trash sack, and the women didn't have to cook a single thing!

Of course, now I have some of the leftovers and saved some heads to boil into crawfish broth... I figure all that will go well in the jambalaya I'm going to make on Tuesday. I think. Does crawfish go with smoked sausage? I'm still pondering possibilities here. Lemme know what you think...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New furniture

I love new furniture. I love putting it together (if that's required), smelling it, arranging it, and using it. I'm definitely not an interior designer. A real one would probably take one look at my living room and die of shock that someone actually lives this way. However... I still love new furniture.

And today, I'm proud to announce... our new bookshelf!


I helped put it together. In fact, I got it about 80% done, but then I didn't know where Adam had hidden his battery-powered screwdriver so he got to screw the back on. Plus I needed to fix supper, and supper trumps new furniture.


As you can see, this will be used to hold our homeschool materials (OK, for now... I don't see this being a permanent solution). The kids like it. Adam likes it. I love it. Even the cats think it's really cool because they can see out of the dining room window if they sit on top of it (Adam thinks he can keep them from doing this - I'll let you know how that goes).

I'm happy today.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

OPGTR

OK, first of all... I never knew how many abbreviations there were in homeschooling. Homeschooling is HS (I always thought that was high school!), for example. Then... then there are the curriculum abbreviations, the forum abbreviations... it's enough to make a girl crazy! I still can't figure them all out. I have to have a reference. Luckily, I found one here: http://mysite.verizon.net/violetweb/home_school_abbreviations.htm. I promise not to make you use it as often as I have to.

One of the abbreviations I have learned is OPGTR, sometimes shortened even more to OPG. It stands for "The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading" by Jessie Wise and Sara Buffington.

Obviously, I own a copy. It was actually my first "official" homeschool purchase. I ordered it when Michael was getting stuck with reading and didn't seem to be making any progress. Of course, as soon as I got it, his reading took off. When I really decided I was going to homeschool and started looking at further curriculum choices, spelling and grammar both emphasized that reading should be pretty well along before getting into either of those. So I came back to this book. I went through it and made a list of all the lessons that I thought might help him become an even more prolific reader. The last lesson in the book is simple: The child reads the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. The end.

As you can see, it wasn't a short list, but I also knew we'd do more than one lesson per day. I divided it all up and came up with 26 groups of lessons. Originally, I had hoped we'd do one group a week and finish by fall. Then M1 found it. He wanted to know what the list was and why it was so LONG.
I told him.
He wanted to know how he'd ever get it all done, and I suggested we do the first group to try. It took him all of about five minutes, and he got so excited with his success that he gave himself a reading challenge: Finish the entire list before Spring Break!

This was one of his lessons today. If he gets the words without prompting, I don't make him read the stories that go with them. If he has trouble, we do a little extra. We review some parts every day before moving on. He's got about 16 days' worth of work left before him. At this rate, he'll finish by March 1. I've promised him a Mommy Day if he beats Spring Break. I'll let you know how he does!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Learning - not always for kids!

I love experimenting in the kitchen. I'm no world-famous chef by any stretch of the imagination (it takes quite a stretch for me to imaging me cooking in ANY industrial kitchen... unless I'm doing my Christmas baking, but that's another post for another month), but I like to play around with recipes and sometimes create my own. Sometimes they're good; sometimes they're not.

Tonight was a winner. If I'd known how good it was going to be, I'd have taken pictures of the creative process a la Pioneer Woman. But I didn't. So I didn't.
So you'll just have to make do with this

And this...

Meatball Magnifique.
Originally, this was going to be meatball soup. That was the recipe I started from. But then I decided I didn't want soup. But the ground turkey was already thawed, the spinach wasn't going to last forever, and I had leftover homemade spaghetti sauce that needed using, too. So I made the meatballs and figured I'd just throw in the ingredients from the soup. Doubled the pasta, left out the broth, put in a few extra mushrooms for good flavor... and then thought, "Ohhhh this needs cheeeeese."
And all I had was Cheddar... and Babybel.
Did you know Babybels are WONDERFULLY melty? Throw in half a dozen or so of those that are torn into little bits, throw on a lid, and let 'em melt.
The kids have officially labeled this as a "keeper."
:D