Monday, December 20, 2010

You Might Not Want to Read This

In this post, I warn you now, I will detail, for my own sake, the many things on my mind today. My post may wander, twist, and wind in unforeseen and illogical directions. This is your warning ... no one is forcing you to read this!

First off, I have to go to the dentist today. #1 - I hate leaving the house on Mondays, and #2 - I hate going to the dentist. I have to drop the kids off at a friend's first, and one of the kids is already complaining and begging me to not make her go. After the dentist, I have to take the 17-year-old son Christmas shopping. If you know anything about 17-year-old boys, you can imagine what a joy this will be. Not to mention I have to spend MY money for him to buy presents for his siblings because he hasn't even received his first paycheck yet ... speaking of which ...

I had our plans set for our gift exchanges with our children ... I have one adult who doesn't live here, one late teen who is only here part-time, and one stepchild who is never here. I had to work around all of their other parties and our own parents' parties. I had it all worked out. then the older son came home from his brand new job yesterday to tell me he has to work that day, at the exact time of the party. Crap. The good news? The new arrangements work better for everyone anyway, so it's not actually that much of a problem.

Thanks to a lot of stuff in my life (and mind), I don't often sleep well enough to wake up feeling rested. Today was no exception. My day is already so full of things that I want to complain about (but won't), I can't even imagine trying to type it all out. So I won't. But I'll say this ... I spilled my coffee on myself, the stairs, the plate holding my PopTarts (comfort food for days like this), and my calendar. ARGH! That was just the dried up frosting on the dry, crumbly cake of my day so far.

I spent 4 and half hours at the church yesterday. I did not go in there knowing I would be there that long or that I would work so hard while there. UGH. I normally love going to church and come out energized. I almost fell asleep in the car on the way home.

My youngest son fell off his chair last week and broke his wrist. With 5 kids between us and a combined 70 years of parenting all of them ... this is the first broken bone among them. The next day we found out my brother has prostate cancer. I spent a good amount of time crying.

That's my brother Mike. He's my oldest brother and the one that I'm closest to right now. In a matter of five months, he and his wife have lost 3 parents (our dad and both of hers), Mike retired from the police department, she hurt her back, and now this.

I guess I'll stop there for now, otherwise I won't get a nap before I have to leave the house. Which, as you know, I hate to do on Mondays.

Monday, October 18, 2010

So ...

So, we came to the conclusion that we wanted to give Classical Conversations a try. Good choice for us! It is a good fit. It's pricey ... like paying private school tuition, but I was looking for what was best for MY kids and this seems to be it for this year. (Next year is to be seen.)

So, my dad passed away on July 8th. 'Scuse the language, but that sucked. But, it solidified the relationship between by oldest brother and myself. That part is good. Another older brother was, unfortunately, in Alaska during that time and couldn't be here. My mom, two brothers, and I were with Dad, holding him, stroking him, telling him we love him, as he finally slipped away. We called my sister, who didn't want to be there, and she came to join us. I had spent so much time there over the two weeks leading up to this, all I wanted to do was go home. Here I am thinking "I don't ever want to go through that again" when ...

Two weeks later, my oldest brother's father-in-law passed away. In his hands. And less than two months after that, his mother-in-law passed away also! And THEN, my best friend's father passed away too.

So ... since my last post (in APRIL!), I've done very little other than school my kids, care for my dad, and attend funerals.

So, I'm back. Maybe.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Moving On

We've been using Math-U-See so far this year. I've purchased 3 levels, all too easy for my kids. Unfortunately, this program is geared more toward children whose strength is NOT math. I think Math-U-See is a great program and I have recommended it to others. But it is not for us. My children excel in math. So, this week I purchased Saxon. I can't wait to start!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Very quick update

Well, out of that November post, I only have one update I care to share: regarding my dad's liver resection. It didn't happen. :( They started the surgery only to find that the tumor had grown in a different direction and had attached itself to his colon. It's now 4 months later. The last measurement of the tumor showed it to be about 11 cm (huge). He's now in pain, which he wasn't before. He takes Vicodin often. But he's still up and around, caring for himself (anything he can't do, Mom is still there to help), and participating in church and a few choice social activities. He even just made a 3 1/2 hour trip to Michigan, then back again, with my mom and brother, to attend a funeral. He's a walking miracle, because most liver cancer patients do not survive this long.

Now, my brother is attempting to plan an anniversary party for our parents. August 6th will be their 50th. 5 months away. We don't know if he'll still be here or not, but I guess it won't hurt anything to start planning. My heart is just not in it. :( But oh what a party, if he IS still here!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wishing for an end to November

I hate to wish a single day away. What joys and blessings might I miss along the way?

But I do so wish November was just over and I already knew the results of all that is to come this month.

Here's the lineup:

Nov. 9 - My only sister is having a hysterectomy. She is 48.
Nov. 10 - My husband is traveling to Mexico for work. We live in Ohio.
Nov. 13 - He hopefully comes home this night. This is also the opening night of the high school musical (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) that my son is in.
Nov. 13-15 - Potentially stressful weekend with my stepdaughter here. Sometimes we have a great weekend, others are horrible. I never know what to expect.
Nov. 17 - My dad has his liver resection in Detroit. (Karmanos Cancer Institute)
Nov. 19 - Concert - son's high school competition show choir
Nov. 21 - Son's show choir - 1st competition of the season - all day event
Nov. 25 - Possibly husband's last day at his current job. Nothing else lined up yet.
Nov. 26 - Thanksgiving - Praying we have lots to be thankful for. A day at home, I believe.
Nov. 28 - Thanksgiving party at the in-laws' - who knows?

Yep, November is full. I'm good if I'm in control of things, but I'm not in control of ANY of this and nothing I do could affect the outcome of any of this. So I'm trying to figure out what my best practices for this month should be. So far, no clue. Just need to relax, breathe, remember that it is God who is in control, and watch my attitude.

God help me.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Happy Birthday to my dad!

Today, my dad is 73-years-old. Quite an accomplishment, just making it that far, given his history.

We will be celebrating at Mom and Dad's this afternoon.

Then, on November 17th, he will undergo a liver resection, removing the left lobe of his liver, which includes a large tumor.

I read a little bit about liver resection this morning. It sounds very positive. I believe he will come through fine, and will still be around next August to celebrate his and Mom's 50th wedding anniversary.

What a party that should be.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Days Such As This

... and how I hate them! {{Beware! Long story, not made short!}}

Before anyone can understand how a day can get so off track, you first must know the dynamics I'm working with here:

In total, we have 5 children. I have two from my first marriage who are 18 and 16. They are responsible, well-rounded individuals who have taken ownership of their educations, despite being brick-and-mortar kids all their lives (I say that like it's a bad thing?!?). No, really, part of their success is probably due a little bit to my having supplemented all their lives with homeschool-type activities. These two are in and out of the house, splitting their "home" time between my house and their dad's during the week, and trading off every other weekend. They are also in and out during the day because: the oldest attends a nearby college and is close enough to come home between classes; the second child attends a tech center north of home in the morning and our local high school south of home in the afternoons. Mom's house and food happen to be in between.

In the middle of the family is my stepdaughter who does not live with us, but is with us every other weekend.

Then we have the two "little ones" who aren't so little anymore. They are 8 and almost-7 and are the ones I'm responsible for homeschooling. And let me just put this out there one more time (not the last time!) ... we are still new to this and trying to figure it all out.

We have varied weekends ... one weekend we'll have all 5 kids here, the next it's just the little ones and mom and dad.

This past weekend was one of the maniacal ones with all 5 present. Oh, I forgot to mention the boyfriend of the oldest ... I love him and count him as one of my own, but it's one more big body in the house!

Anyway, there was a lot to do this weekend: shopping for fall dress clothes and a winter coat for young ones; soccer game for an older one; special day at church for one younger one; surprise date night for mom and dad thanks to the oldest and her boyfriend. Top that with the adults being exhausted on Sunday afternoon, and the kids all being full of energy with nowhere to go ... it was not a good combination.

This is all to say that it was a very unproductive weekend by the standards of these two adults. My goal for the weekend: put together plans for this week's schooling. Get organized! Hubby's plans? No idea, but I'm sure he had something in mind. Let me just be clear here: I HATE starting my Monday without a plan.

So, I awoke this morning. Generally I prefer to sleep until I awaken. Today the alarm was set because the 16-year-old is a heavy sleeper and I'm always afraid he will oversleep. I went downstairs, as is my routine, started my coffee, and watched the news. I thought I heard the boy awake upstairs, only to come to find out he wasn't. At the time that he should've already been on the road to school, I abandoned my coffee, woke him up and sent him on his way. I don't think he brushed his teeth today. Hmmm.

This should've been my first clue for today.

He left and I was free to pursue my plans at least for today, since I knew there wasn't time to plan the whole week, like I had hoped to do on Sunday.

But alas, of all days for my creatively-minded, night-owl, late-sleeper 8-year-old to get up early, fully refreshed and ready to get busy (with anything but schoolwork - which I wasn't ready to give her yet anyway).

The 6-year-old followed and we proceeded to fall back on my cheating-school: I let them watch The Magic Schoolbus, etc. I finally said "Turn the tv off!" and sent them off to do morning chores (buying myself just a few more precious minutes).

No sooner did they show back up than ... drumroll please ... the 16-year-old called. His battery had died at the tech center and he might need picked up. Ok, I can handle this. I asked if he had jumper cables in his trunk. He got out to check his trunk, the door blew shut, and he was then locked out of the dead car.

My morning then became picking up the boy, bringing him home to get the rest of his belongings, and taking him out to the high school. By the time I got back home, the morning had disappeared into thin air. (I might mention that we live in the country, with miles in between, well, everything.)

I could mention at this time that I "started" today also, and I have cramps. But I've learned to use the laptop as a heating pad!

Accomplished today: next to nothing (though the creative 8-year-old has accomplished about a million things!). And thanks to the cramps and frustration, I still have no plans for tomorrow's schooling. But the oldest shouldn't be around until evening (thus no distraction from her) and the big boy is staying at dad's tonight so it's not my job to make sure he gets up. If I go to bed NOW (8:12 pm), maybe I can get up earlier than the young ones and get something planned for their day.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


We're first-year homeschoolers. We're still figuring out our style and philosophy.

I'm currently checking out lapbooking and unit studies. I feel like I've done nothing since mid-August but research homeschooling methods, ideas, philosophies, styles, blogs, websites, and I've probably checked out 200 books from the library!

My mind is spinning, and I'm doing more research than the kids are doing "school work," but they are still learning, and they are happy. And I've got enough materials around here that I can say "Come do this" and they generally do it without too much complaining.

I'm curious as to where this adventure will take us over the course of this year, and where we will be next year at this time.

One day at a time, one day at a time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dad's Surgery

Dad came through his surgery ok, but later that evening he had an oxygen crisis. Apparently he had a reaction to some medication they gave him. On top of that, they did a chest x-ray and found pneumonia.

When we went to the hospital, we didn't know:
#1 - if they were going to remove his gall bladder;
#2 - if he'd be staying the night.

#1 - No, they didn't. The doctor said that each time he touched a blood vessel or something, it would bleed, so no removal in order to avoid unnecessary bleeding. The gall stone is not giving him any real problems at this point, so this is fine.

#2 - Yes, he stayed the night. I'm so glad, since he had that crisis. It's 10:30 am now and I am at home with my kids. I wish I was there, meeting with the doctor during his rounds, and finding out if it's likely he'll come home today or not.

So now I wait ... and wait. I'm pushing the kids to get their schoolwork done as quickly as possible, but slowpoke Annie is making me crazy!!! And now, after only one lesson, she's going to take her shower. I'm letting her because:
#1 - she desperately needs a shower;
#2 - I'm going to scream if I watch her pokey-ness any longer;
#3 - I'm so on edge at this very moment that any bit of noise makes me want to scream. I can't even bear to hear my chidlren talk!

I so need to be alone right now ... and to maybe take a nap and wake when the kids are ready to be 100% agreeable and cooperative and FAST. Hmmm, guess neither of those will happen. The nap might happen. I think I need it like you know when a toddler needs one or they will fall apart. Yeah, I need one.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Surgery Day for Dad

Dad is having surgery today. They are supposed to be doing another surgery on his liver. This will be #3. Last time they froze the smaller tumor with cryoembolization. Today, I don't know what it's called, but they will "microwave" the same tumor because the cryo didn't get all of it last time.

If he's well enough, the doctor also might remove his gall bladder.

I'm not feeling very confident this time ... I am usually completely at peace with all of this, but this time, I'm just not. I'm not worried so much as just acknowledging that I'm not fully confident that all will turn out fine.

I will be going with them to Flower Hospital in Toledo. I don't normally go, and they don't normally want anyone with them. Too bad. I need to go this time. Annie and Andrew are with Grandma Hassan until Caity gets out of class at Owens, then she'll pick them up. I didn't know it was going to be so cold today and I didn't send warm enough clothes for them!

Of course, the kids spent the night at Grandma's, so we should've slept like babies. But no, we couldn't sleep. We've been up since 4:00. Dishes are done, laundry is done, coffee is almost done, ate a 1/2 bagel with cream cheese. Started packing the book/snack bag for the hospital.

I just want the surgery to be done so I can get on with things. Worked on the lesson plans and organizing over the weekend so I'd be ready whenever we are able to get back to schooling.

Time to actually start getting ready to go now. Prayers continue to flow.