Sophrosyne: Riding Shotgun

My thoughts while exercising

My thoughts while exercising

I’m stressed this week. I was stressed last week too. All because I do not like to drive. I would rather visit the dentist and get my teeth cleaned than drive. And that is saying a little something because I have sensitive teeth and haven’t been to the dentist in about nine years. Last week and the rest of this week I will spend two hours a day driving my boys to Lego camp. Three more days to go and it is over! Thankfully one of the trips my husband will drive for show-and-tell-day. And the-powers-that-be are doing construction on the interstate too…a little extra stress for me.

The really interesting part of this to me is that my husband loves to drive! He is a total car guy. I know what a Mustang motor sounds like because I married him! I love riding shotgun but hate the driver’s seat. So this week (and last) because I am in the driver’s seat I am really having a hard time with food…stress eating. Give me all your Little Debbie cakes!!! I need them to cope with my reality!!

Only three more days…and this will be over.
My two oldest boys are having a wonderful time at Lego Camp and so it is worth the personal turmoil and pain for me…that’s just a mother’s choice. Three. More. Days.

Anyway, I’ve recently started reading the All About Healthy Choices blog. He just issued a healthy “Creative Lifestyle Planning” challenge or weight loss challenge for eight weeks. I am always motivated when there is a challenge…I just love these kings of things. So I started the challenge today… in the middle of my need for Little Debbie cakes!!! HA!

Just for total transparency I did not meet all of the challenge requirements…I totally stress-ate today. And I over did it on the whole six ounces of water before and after a meal. It wasn’t until dinner that I decide to measure what six ounces of water looks like!!! I was downing about twelve ounces of water before and after every meal today!!! I had enough calories today from stress eating that I skipped dinner…I’m not hungry. But I totally nailed my water intake today!!!

Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow I will not stress eat! My breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are planned for tomorrow. There are no Little Debbie cakes in my house. I am ready to deal with any stress-eating that comes my way tomorrow.

I hope!


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

Wibbly-Wobbly Weightloss: Improvement and Stalemate

I’ve maintained my current weight for the past week or so. Though not entirely thrilled with my lack of loss I’m glad not to have gained. My goal for the next few weeks is to maintain the good habits that I have begun and to slowly add new ones.

Right now I am trying to learn all I can about an Anti-inflammatory diet…really lifestyle. I am grudgingly learning that chronic inflammation is nothing to ignore. It leads to the wearing down of cartilage and tissues which further increase the bodies inflammatory triggers. I can see this is already happening in my body because I’m not always able to wear my wedding band (which really ticks me off!). If the condition continues I may possibly succumb to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis (I can check this one off already), cancer (I’ve had that one too), Alzheimer’s, digestive issues (oh another one!), emotional (not balanced at all there!) and mental (lack of clear grasp on reality runs in the family anyway) imbalances. Isn’t that a fun future to consider…

No, not at all.

I’m over the emotional impact now and am ready to put together a plan of attack. I already know that the only lifestyle changes that stick are the one that are made slowly and deliberately. I’ve already increased my water intake and started exercising. I simply need to increase my exercise over time. Right now I walk with my husband and kids two to three nights a week and ride the exercise cycle maybe another couple of times a week. I would like to increase those numbers to three or four times a week. I’ve also started doing a little weight training with my husband after we put the kids down for the night. I like doing this with him much more than mindlessly munching on snacks and watching the telly. I like that we are exercising as a family.

Changing my diet is going to be a bit harder. I was completely confused by the terminology for an anti-inflammatory diet. My friend Ellie wrote a blog post (just for me)  explaining all I needed to get started. You can find her post here! Thank you very much my friend!!! Ellie’s post made me think about changing my diet and I plan to start making changes slowly. Many of the foods I am accustomed to are on the “no-no” list. Doesn’t mean I have to give them up forever but I need to enjoy them in moderation. I’ve already moved my family away from overly processed and boxed foods. I’m not going to try to change everything at once but I am going to work on one meal at a time. Right now I am changing my breakfast foods. Sometimes I skip breakfast or have leftovers. This week I’ve changed to having a smoothie for breakfast. I’m working on an anti-inflammatory smoothie recipe. For now I add a piece of ginger root to my pineapple-banana green smoothie. This week I plan to add a fish oil capsule once I figure out the whole supplement market. I’ve never taken any except for iron during pregnancy. Once I get a few breakfast recipes that I like and are good for my body then I’ll work on lunch recipes.

One of the problems Ellie mentioned with inflammation is that it is a response to stress. Constant stress can really break a body down and over the years I have become very sensitive to stressful situations. I’ve made no secret that my childhood was less than ideal. Calling my early years stressful would be an understatement. My life now is wonderful but my body is paying the price for the previous years of emotional and occasional physical abuse. Prayer is a healthy way to alleviate stress. I pray every day but not the way I used to. I used to get up early and meditate over scripture and really spend time with God. I’ve lost that precious time over the years occupied with little babies and sleep deprivation. I think it is past time to restart. I’ve lost my sense of the sacred and I really miss that connection.

Weekly Wrap-up: Beatersville, Armageddon, and the Return of the Twitch

I’m not sure I remember everything that happened this week and some I wish I could forget. I had some sweet tea several times this weekend and my lovely twitch returned to my thumb this time spreading further up my arm. I think I will have to stick with water and lemon even when eating at a restaurant…I was also a little stressed earlier this week which was the main culprit for the return of the twitch. I really thought it would take drinking a pot of coffee a day to bring the twitch back but it only takes a little caffeine coupled with stress to resurrect the twitch. Or if I could find a way to live serene like the Buddha then I could have all the coffee I want ’cause nothing would get to me…well a girl can dream! I do have this fear that eventually the twitch will return without the fuel of caffeine. I’m still working through the stressor and not yet ready to write through the turmoil of rejection…the words are still locked by emotion.

Friday night I went to a homeschool graduation. That was really cool and gave me a lot to think (and dream) about.

Saturday turned out to be a beautiful day to take our annual walk around Hematite Lake. The day was mostly overcast so it didn’t get too hot and there were fewer mosquitos this year. Littlest managed to walk most of the trail this year which surprised us. Even though it was a holiday weekend I had the kids complete four lessons of math. They have no fought me at all on this change in math curriculum and have stepped up to the hard work of completing two years worth of math in one year. They embraced the challenge without complaining. I’m really proud of their hard work and determination…but don’t tell them!!

Sunday we skipped church and headed to Beatersville! We left early and drove to Louisville to walk through the old neighborhood that hosts the Phoenix Hill Tavern and Beatersville car show. The place was crammed full of cars and characters…more than I could post on here. The cars were a little nicer and cleaner this year…not as many chopped up weird gothic art pieces as last year. The crowd was full of more car enthusiasts (like us) than Beaters too. Still, not a single Mustang. After strolling through Beatersville we traveled to Bardstown and stopped at My Old Kentucky Home and then found a Mexican restaurant for a

late lunch. Our lunch was a little strange in that Oldest could not eat all of his food (he’s usually still hungry), Sparkles finished first (we always have to wait for her), Middle Boy was calm (he usually bounces around everywhere…even under the table), and Littlest was happy the entire time (he always finds something to cry about). The arrival of Armageddon would not have surprised me at that moment!

After lunch we decided to drive home by the back road. A detour brought us near one of my brother-in-laws’ so we stopped for a visit. The kids had a wonderful time running around his farm, playing with kittens, and listening to coyotes. We ended up getting home very late.

The rest of the week went by in a blur of schoolwork…math, math, and more math. WE also worked through several weather science labs building a barometer (that really worked), experimenting with heat absorption, and making rain in a petri dish. We’ve moved on in our American History studies to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. This kind of history is hard for me to get through when the kids are still so little. I really have to gloss over so much…history is a brutal, math is easy. I cannot believe we will finish Beautiful Feet Book’s Primary Early American History next week…wow! I did discover Supercharged Science this week and I am so excited…maybe…just maybe this is the hard core fun science I have been looking for…I hope.

This week two families made the decision to contact us about homeschooling. I’ve invited both to “come and see”. Some things you just have to talk about in person. Homeschooling isn’t just another task you add to your list…this is a way of life. For me this lifestyle is a precious and sacred calling. Once I embraced this calling I no longer felt lost and adrift in life…I am where I belong, performing the task God has blessed me for. For most of my life (until I met my husband) I have felt like I was watching through a window on life…never a part of life but separated…outcast in a way. This way of life with my husband and children is home…no matter where we roam and I would not trade it for the world.

I’m at a decision point for my blog. I’ve nearly used up my storage space. So, do I delete a bunch of pictures and posts or pay for my own space? I’m not sure where to go from here…any thoughts?

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers