Sophrosyne

Last week I managed to exercise five out of seven days…not so bad. The first two days I got up early and had exercised and showered before the kids were out of bed. Those were good and productive days. The rest of the week I walked in the evenings with my husband or during lunch time. I like walking with my husband. Unfortunately he thinks the walking may be aggravating his hip and is going back to using the stationary bike for a while. So back to early mornings for me…hopefully. I used to be a morning person…not sure what happened to change that. Anyway to ensure that I will get up in the mornings to get my exercise in I am gong to drink a big glass of water before going to bed…that WILL get me up and out of bed in the morning!!!

I’ve concentrated on lowering my cholesterol and have been preparing meals for my entire family based on those needs. My husband started having some problems and eventually went to the doctor and discovered his B vitamins (6 & 12 I think) are low. I need less red meat but he needs more! Some of the foods I had cut back on he actually needs. I’ve gone back to making a high fiber bread for him and a separate loaf of bread for the kids. As much as I enjoy making bread I rarely eat it anymore. I used to have toast every morning but now have either a bowl of high fiber cereal or a green smoothie. I put my husbands pre-sliced loaf of bread in the freezer so it will last him all month. Homemade bread does not have all the preservatives of store-bought and will mold very quickly. The kids still get their loaf of white bread but I have started adding chia seeds, wheat germ and bran, and ground flax-seed to their bread.

I went back and read the chapter in Ellie’s book (Life’s too Short to Eat Bad Cheese) about B vitamins today. She says B vitamins need to be consumed with vitamin C (which should be combined with iron). Oi! This stuff gets complicated! So he should have his B vitamin supplement with a salad and some steak (sounds yummy to me!). I once looked into getting a vitamin supplement for us to take but gave up. There are so many choices and different brands. Also, some articles I’ve read say that vitamins are not beneficial unless your body can digest them and taking supplements is a waste of time. I just gave up on taking any supplements. Ellie pointed out in her book that I can test vitamins by placing a tablet in a little cup of white vinegar. If it dissolves within thirty minutes then the vitamin will most likely be helpful. If it has grit on top then it isn’t worth the money. She also advises liquids and capsules as better supplement choices. I’m going to test my husband’s vitamins right after this post is published. I’ll tell the kids it is a science experiment and we’ll have some fun!

My goal for the next few weeks is to get up early and exercise since my days are so much better when I do. Prepare fish once a week for dinner and have tuna with my salad a couple of times a week for lunch. So far I have about four fish recipes my family will eat. Maybe I can find one or two more to add. I also hope to stay at exercising five days a week for now and turn that into a regular habit.

 

Weekly Wrap-up: Recovery Week…Raw Emotions

reading with Littlest

reading with Littlest

We eased back into school after my mother’s visit last week. The emotional impact of her visits are not quite as emotionally explosive as they used to be since the kids are getting older. Instead of acting out they are asking questions…sometimes I’d rather deal with toddler behavioral issues than insightful questions from my crew. Sparkles and my mother really butt heads on this visit and I am proud that my little girl stood her ground on her beliefs. Sparkles has always adored her grandmother and fought hard for attention from her…only receiving harsh words and judgment for all her adoration.  Sparkles didn’t take it this time and gave as good as she got! I am so tremendously proud of my little girl. I wish I had some of my daughter’s strength. In the moment that I see my mother I become in my soul the unwanted child I always felt to be growing up. I am a fourty-two year old woman but am instantly reduced to feelings of hopeless abandonment at the very thought of seeing her. The terrible dark feelings and knowledge of being unwanted that I keep deeply buried most of the time come to the surface. Bleeding, unhealed wounds that I cannot ignore but must endure until she leaves plague me. I hate her visits…I hate the weak child I become when she is near. I want to cry and scream at her…make her see the wounds her callousness burned in me.

I remain silent and broken…and I hate my brokenness…I hate the silence between us. I realize during this visit that I cannot ever really talk to her and my soul is enveloped by solitary sorrow…a ripped and defeated kind of sorrow that is tired of giving and forgiving. I prayed and begged my Father God to take my life before my children ever felt so much pain because of me. I don’t care what mistakes I make in life so long as my children know that I love them dearly and they know they are wanted and adored by their mother.

Sparkles

Sparkles

I am emotionally exhausted to the depths of my very soul…an exhaustion that I know only God can redeem and heal. I haven’t asked God to heal these wounds in such a long time…I just bury them and live with the feelings when I have to. I quit praying for healing a long time ago. I truly envy friends who love their extended families. I honestly cannot comprehend my own husband’s love for his mother. I do not understand his love for his siblings and I have accepted that I never will understand…I find that realization so comforting and I cannot honestly give you a reason why.

I’ve had a tough week. Most people I saw this week didn’t even notice…except my kids. Oldest noticed. He asked really hard questions this week. He was trying to understand me…his broken mother. He isn’t a hugger or a touchy-feeling person…but he was for me this week. He saw that I needed grace and understanding…and gave it unconditionally. God has given me such beautiful children and I am overwhelmed…I am unaccustomed to feeling loved by others. I expect indifference and am skilled at invisibility. Now that my children are getting older I am learning to accept…being loved. I guess I never expected to be loved by my kids. I know that sounds absurd to normal people…really I get it. Maybe, in my heart of hearts, I’ll always feel like an abused and unwanted child…helpless to rid myself of this black hole within my soul. And that’s okay…because my children will never feel that way. I’ve given them unconditional love since the moment I realized they existed…and now…they are starting to return my love…unconditionally. Thankfully, being loved unconditionally for them is normal…I’m learning to accept.

My mother left on Saturday…the kids did not cry this time when she left. Sparkles always cried before. Oldest didn’t even say goodbye to her. She favors him over the others and it makes him

Middle Boy and Oldest

Middle Boy and Oldest

uncomfortable. He was so upset that she spent more on gifts for him than the others. Oldest is passionate about fairness. He believes that everyone should be treated fairly. He was disgusted by my mother’s preference for him over his siblings. He is my firstborn son and in my mother’s eyes the firstborn son is the only child that matters. Oldest is uncomfortable with that distinguishment. He was so upset that Littlest received a gift from her of little monetary value that he insisted on using his own allowance to make up for the slight. So after she left Oldest and I popped onto Amazon and I let him order a gift for his littlest brother. I am so proud of his unselfishness.  Oldest didn’t have to do that…Littlest didn’t even notice the insult. But his oldest brother did…and filled the gap. My heart breaks…I am so proud and humbled.

I’ve been easy on the kids this week…maybe too easy. After five days with my mother they deserve an easy week. We didn’t take a break from school because we love time in the school room together. But I didn’t insist on good penmanship this week or perfect history narrations. We cried together over The Trail of Tears for the Cherokee and the betrayal of King Arthur. We said goodbye to friends moving to another state far away. I am angry because I know this lady would have been my best friend if she did not have to move away…

My flow is a tad bit depressing this week…I know. It is just where I am at the moment. Next week will be better…God’s grace and my husband’s love are always present to see me through.

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Sophrosyne: Health Report Card

A couple of weeks ago I had to submit to a semi-physical for our health insurance company. They weighed me, took measurements, and a blood sample. I’m not sure about the accuracy of the bloodwork since I got the results within fifteen minutes or so. I’ll still have to go see my doctor sometimes this summer to see if I got my cholesterol numbers low enough to avoid medication. After all the herding and prodding one of the associates took me into a little room and told me I needed to improve my weight management methods. Well, isn’t that a nice way of calling someone “fat”! She then went over my “health report card”. I pulled up my numbers from December for a comparison and was happy to see some improvements. My weight may not be moving quickly but my biometrics are slowly improving…or maybe at a normal rate. I have no idea.

My cholesterol dropped from 216 to 205mg/dL. Good, but not good enough…still too high. My LDL dropped form 132 to 123. My HDL dropped one point from 55 to 54…this number is still way too high. Triglycerides went for 140 to 137.  My blood pressure was taken twice because the technician thought the machine had messed up. She told me I had the blood pressure of a teenager at 103/75. I have no idea what those numbers mean or what it means to have the blood pressure of a teenager. They gave me a D- for my weight on the report card with a body mass index of 34.19 and waist circumference of 35”.

I walked out of the place with a health report card and total grade of B-. But I did not leave with any understanding of the meanings of these numbers or specific strategies for improvement. Seems a bit pointless to me…

Weekly Wrap-up: Cicadas and Peacock Poetry

my crew

my crew

Last weekend we worked in the yard. We’ve had some very nice springtime weather. The kids and I have slacked at school work a little bit but the hot and humid days of summer will arrive soon enough and we’ll hit the books harder at that time. My husband mulched the yard with Oldest’s help and planted new flowers and peppers. I raked off the garden bed and planted spinach and carrot seeds. The rest of the crew played in the bubbles and tended to the bunnies. All of us love to gather clover, dandelion leaves and rabbit tobacco and feed the rabbits. It just makes my day when the bunnies run to me for their goodies. Monty and Polly were supposed to be pets for the kids but I enjoy going to see them each morning and petting them (even though I seem to have a slight allergy to the little critters). I have to be careful and wash my hands after petting and holding them or my eyes get all scratchy and turn red.

Sunday was Mother’s Day. During the Prelude at church the younger children played the handbells. Littlest talked about it all week. He was ready to play his bell…or not. He was just too distracted and ended up with “the sillies”.  Once the Prelude was over I gladly hauled him back to the nursery. I’ll be so sad and so will the rest of the congregation (they just don’t know it yet!) when he is too old for the nursery. Our youth ministers also put together a lovely Mother’s Day video of our children singing and saying “Happy Mother’s Day”.  All of the children were so sweet except for Littlest (of course, right?). He is in the video saying, “I don’t want to say it!” Later, I did get a nice grilled steak and roasted vegetables for dinner from my husband.

This year is a cicada year. The past few nights our yard has filled with periodical cicada. They have laid dormant under the ground for thirteen years! They live off the sap from tree roots while underground. Wednesday night our yard was crawling with cicadas. They crawled to the oak tree  and then as high into the branches as they could get before their outer shells hardened. They broke

Littlest ready to play his bell

Littlest ready to play his bell

out of their shells a couple of hours later and were all white. Within minutes their wings unfolded and their color changed to blackish brown a little while later. We put one in the butterfly habitat to watch it change. The kids figured out how old they would be the next time the thirteen year cicadas return. There are lots of pictures in the gallery if you are interested (unit study anyone?) You can find some information here , here and here. We may not have completed a whole lot of book work this week but we totally nailed nature study! Over the weekend Sparkles found one of the early cicada shells. She hooked it onto her shirt and then ran to the boys screaming for them to help her get the bug off! They tripped over each other trying to back away from her once they saw the size of the “bug”. I wish I had the camera ready for that! Once the boys recovered and Sparkles quit laughing we looked at the shell with he computer microscope.

Monday was our only day of school this week. I made no plans for the rest of the week because I knew my mother was coming in for a visit. She just didn’t tell us which day she was going to arrive. We just got in the basics on Monday and I graded everything that had piled up over the past week. The kids also had an art project over the days of Creation in their Bible Road Trip curriculum. I prepped a watercolor page for Littlest but he did not want to paint. He was too focused on cutting and pasting.  I was feeling stressed over my mother’s impending visit so I did the art too. I thought it would help me relax. I enjoyed thinking about the days of creation and trying to put those thoughts into art.

mini golf

mini golf

Tuesday morning we joined up with a few homeschoolers for a field trip. We played  mini-golf (I think that is the name of it?) and then walked around the animal trail. The game was fun to play with the kids. Littlest would only hit his ball once and then pick it up and run it to the hole. He would set the ball next to the hole, push it in with the club and do a little victory dance. The animal trail was really neat. The owner said he thought he owned about twenty-two peacocks including one white peacock we should look for. The peacocks were everywhere and I am not sure that I would enjoy living near them since their call is so loud. Littlest thought their song sounded like “help”. Middle Boy got all poetic with the birds. He said, “Hello Mister Peacock, you have a nice Mohawk.” He is always spouting off silly rhymes! Oldest liked talking to the ducks, he told them we were from Aflac (an insurance company with a duck mascot incase you didn’t know). I’m pretty sure he thought he was out of earshot when he engaged the ducks in conversation. I liked watching the baby goats, they are so cute. They remind me of my own kids with the constant scuffling and head banging! I also liked the covered bridge labeled London Bridge. I wondered how far away Claire from Angelicscaliwags lives from London Bridge…

My mother finally decided to show up while we were on our field trip…naturally. She was sitting on the porch when we got home. Instant tension headache…

Articles I enjoyed this week:

I’m not the only one who enjoys Beautiful Feet Books! Marci The Homeschool Scientist shares her thoughts on her blog. That is me in the background wearing the gray sweater at the convention in her picture. I’ve enjoyed her blog for years! I remember thinking that she looked so familiar…but everyone did the last day of the convention.

I laughed so hard that tears streamed down my face. Then I read it to the kids until they were rolling in the floor. Best customer service ever!

The scary stuff I am facing now…from Year Round Homeschooling Why do they have to grow up?!

I’m still learning about education the Charlotte Mason way…from The Unplugged Family

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Pirate School

a pirate in the makin'

a pirate in the makin’

A few days ago we went to the grocery store during “school” hours. We usually do not go anywhere while most children are attending public school. My crew hate being asked by strangers why they are not in school. Just before going into the shop I reminded my children to behave (because all homeschoolers will be judged by their actions). If, by chance, the dreaded question was asked then they could reply they are enrolled in a private school. Very few people will ask for further clarification. Legally, in the state of Kentucky, all homeschools are considered private schools.

We quickly rounded up our purchases and other than a few stares no one asked any questions. We unloaded everything onto the belt and while I was paying for the groceries the clerk asked me why the children were not in school. The older ones were helping load the bagged groceries into the cart so they did not hear the question. But Littlest did hear. He proudly told her they all went to Pirate School! I didn’t bother to explain just smiled and left. Avast! The land lubber had nary a response to that anyway, me hearties!

Yo ho ho!

 

Weekly Wrap-up: Caterpillars in the Kidneys

 

Littlest

Littlest

Last Thursday night my husband left for the 10th Annual Texas Frightmare Festival in Dallas, Texas. He had the opportunity to go with someone from work with an extra ticket. Though it isn’t the sort of event he would ever attend I encouraged him to accept the invitation. I figured he would come back with a few good stories. While there, he attended a lecture by Victoria Price the daughter of Vincent Price. He learned that Mr. Price’s grandfather invented cream of tartar ensuring the family’s financial success. Here is a neat link to Project Gutenberg with Dr. Price’s Cook Book. His daughter shared in her talk that her father ended up in horror movies because he was “gray listed” in Hollywood for not supporting the Nazi movement. It seems, in those days if you did not support the Nazis then you were a

Oldest likes to work on his writing with the bunnies

Oldest likes to work on his writing with the bunnies

communist…in Hollywood anyway. He was found innocent by the House Committee on un-American Activities but he found it hard to find acting work for a while. Anyway, if you are interested in more details here is a great article. My husband did manage to find a few small presents for the kids on his trip, including a Monty Python and the Holy Grail t-shirt for Oldest.

This week Oldest began his study of King Arthur. We are a few chapters into the book by R. L. Green. While reading the book aloud, Middle Boy decided to make himself some Lego coconut shells and run around singing about “Brave, Brave Sir Robin”. I’ve listened to calls of “bring out your dead” and “tis only a flesh wound” for days!  All week the kids have been

Sparkles

Sparkles

begging to watch that silly movie. Oldest even drew the killer rabbit on his Code of Chivalry copywork piece. Good times.

Everyday this week Oldest has gone outside to sit with the bunnies while working on his writing projects or literature readings. He has worked so hard on his writing curriculum this year. He finally finished up the poetry unit this week and now only has a final research paper to write. After several weeks of analyzing poetry he is looking forward to the paper. I really can’t blame him as I was delighted to have the instructor guide to walk me through the poetry chapters!

Sparkles and Middle Boy studied the Mexican Revolution so we made tacos for dinner with homemade tortillas and homemade tortilla chips. I’ve been forbidden to ever purchase tortillas or tortilla chips ever again. Homemade is definitely tastier but I have to learn to roll my tortillas a bit flatter. I thought they were too thick but the kids loved the thicker chips.

Our church meal this week was for the missions trip to Nicaragua. We ate the same meal the missionaries will be serving to the children…rice, beans and a tortilla. I really thought the kids

the meal

the meal

were going to complain but they all ate the meal except Littlest (but he did try everything) and thought everything was really good. Which it was.

This morning I had to go in for a health screening for our new insurance company. They pricked my finger with a little needle and blood flew out like they’d struck an artery! That was a new experience for me and it surprised the technician as well. Usually my blood has all the viscosity of cold molasses. Then they took me into a little room and told me that I was fat and my cholesterol was too high. Can’t tell you just how much I enjoy starting my day being humiliated!

This week in science we have been learning more about the digestive system. In good taste I cannot blog about most of our discussions this week. Studying the digestive system with boys is…unspeakable. Today we studied the functions of the kidneys. While the crew were working quietly (such a rare

Middle Boy

Middle Boy

thing to occur) on their worksheets Middle Boy expressed his confusion with one of the questions. He wanted to know why we had caterpillars in our kidneys. The visual image that popped into my head at that moment was absolutely horrifying. Some questions are easily anticipated and others…well they must come from some bizarre dimension. I was just dumbstruck by his question…the visual in my head momentarily halted my capacity to form a coherent thought let alone actually speak. Oldest then pointed out the word in question was “capillaries” and not caterpillars. We all then laughed…really laughed. I had tears poring out of my eyes and nearly fell out of my chair. Middle Boy did fall out of his chair.

Littlest chasing bubbles

Littlest chasing bubbles

Interesting reads for the week: Slowly working my way through Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain. I’m still reading about his childhood so I’m not too far into the book. His language is lovely but requires careful attention from the reader because so much of his words are nuanced. Meaning…I can only read in the mornings before the kids are awake. For lighter reading in the afternoons I started reading Great Physicists by William H. Cropper. One of the many, many science books given to me by my friend. After studying Beautiful Feet Books’ The History of Science with the kids I’ve discovered that I really enjoy biographies about scientists.

How Christianity invented children from The Week. I was actually crying at the end of this and I must warn you that some of the language is explicit.

Parents reading to kids blasted as ‘unfair’ This post is a response to The Philospher’s Zone‘s recent article on the subject. Really?!?! Sounds like two steps backward to me.

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers