Monthly Archives: January 2011

January 18th – Ice Day

The public schools were closed yesterday due to ice. Well, technically it was 2 days ago, but since I have not been to bed yet, it still counts as yesterday. I felt rather lazy after reading on Facebook what all my friends did on their “ice day”. I did not break up and shovel the ice on my driveway and sidewalk. They had called for a high of 41 later in the day so I felt there was no need. (I was right – it all melted on its own! Hehe!) I didn’t bake anything. I didn’t prep for dinner. I didn’t do any laundry. I didn’t even taken a shower until after I put B to bed!

But we did have school. B was given topics to draw pictures, then he had to write stories about the pictures. He has gotten SO much better at spelling new words by sounding them out thanks to that spelling bee DS game!

I am trying to learn to play Scrabble by myself. I tried playing online but opponents were so far above me and, I’m sure, frustrated they had such a stupid opponent. Plus, I had to wait on my opponent’s schedule to play their turn and sometimes it was several hours or the next day. So my mom gave me her old Scrabble board and I have it on the coffee table. I am playing all 4 stands. Don’t worry; I can’t possibly cheat. My memory is so bad that when I move onto the next stand to play, I have no recollection of what letters are on the other 3 stands. :o)

Evidence I have become my mother #68 – I used a Barnes & Noble GC from my MIL to order myself an Official Scrabble Player’s Dictionary. *blushes* On a positive note, B is learning while I play, as well. He likes forming words with the letters on each of the 3 stands I am not playing from at any given time. Plus, I make him add up my new score in his head after each turn I take and he is doing very well.

Speaking of finding the teaching moments in everyday life (like that transition?), I have to tell you a story from this afternoon. I stopped at a local drug store on the way home from work this afternoon to buy almonds. While in the store, the hubs called to ask me to pick him up a 2L of soda. Now, we were just in the grocery store on Saturday and I asked him if wanted some more soda b/c he only had 3 aluminum cans left of his kind. “No,” he said, “I’ll be fine. I can always drink some of your kind.” *eye roll* So, I go to the soda aisle of the drugstore and the kind he likes is $2.19 for a 2L! As much as it KILLED me to pay that price, I told myself he wants it, I love him, and I am not running to another store to get it cheaper, so I take my 2L and almonds up the the register.

Behind the register is a teenage boy and a teenage girl. He scans the 2L and, instead of the price showing on the monitor, it asks him to enter the price. He turned to the girl and said in a surfer dude voice, “How much IS this?” She picked up the sales ad in front of her, looked at it and then asked me in a valley girl voice, with a grimace on her face, “Is that a PEPSI product?” I answered, “Yes.” She looked back at the ad and said, “Well, they’re 4 for 5 dollars so……….(her mouth is still formed in the shape of the “o” at the end of “so” and her eyes went up and to the right as she did the math in her head)….99 cents!” she exclaimed proudly.

Now, 3 years ago, I would have corrected her and said, “No, that’s $1.25,” without even thinking. However, over the last 2 years I have tried REALLY HARD to think before I speak to avoid putting my foot in my mouth or hurting someone’s feelings. So the new me kept absolutely silent. I am so proud of me for being so mature! ;o) BTW, as I walked out with my 2L and almonds, the teacher in me did not feel guilty AT ALL for not taking advantage of THAT teachable moment. :o)

My Left Ear

I had 2 doctors appointments today closer to the “big city”. One was at 9:15am and the other at 12:15pm. To avoid having to leave my house at o’dark:thirty to get through rush hour traffic to the 1st appointment on time, B and I spent the night at my parents’ house last night. They live closer to “big city” than we do. B and I did not mind; we both love spending time with my folks. My dad was actually out of town, spending time with his mom in New England for her birthday and keeping an eye on her since she just got out of the hospital. BTW, yesterday was her 94th birthday. :o) So B and I hung with my mom. She is B’s Nana and lives up to the name completely! As difficult as it is for me to sit on my hands and keep my mouth shut about what he gets away with and does in her house, I do it. Every child deserves a Nana and Papa, and Ben understands that their rules are their rules in their house and my rules are my rules in my house, and never the twain shall meet! But usually, I drop him off and have no idea what goes on in their house. Since I stayed, too, I could not BELIEVE what goes on in that house! Where were these people when they were MY parents?!

Mom put B to bed last night while I took a bath in her MAMMOTH tub. I had not taken a bath in YEARS!!! I actually took with me a wine glass full of ice water and….A BOOK! The grandmother clock that chimes every 15 minutes told me that I was in there for at least 45 minutes. Ahhhh. I really needed that bath. I visit my parents frequently, but it’s usually for a meal and visit as a family or to drop B off so the hubs and I can get some alone time. I need to start stopping by my parents’ for some “me” pampering! After my bath, it was so nice to sit up and talk to mom.

So, onto the reason for my doctors appointments – my left ear. From June 2009 – December 2009 I had my 1st “ear infection”. The “infection” was just like me – go big or go home. That’s why it lasted 7 months long, was immune to the 1st 2 rounds of antibiotics and cost me 70% of the hearing in the left ear. When the Spring of 2010 came around and we saw warmer weather, the pain and bleeding stopped, and I slowly gained back 30% of the hearing in that ear.

When the weather started to turn colder in October 2010, my left ear started to bother me again. After 6 weeks, the bother became pain and started to bleed. By mid-December, I decided to go back to the doctor, was diagnosed with another “ear infection” and put on a pretty strong antibiotic for 10 days. On day 8 of the antibiotics, December 22nd, I called mt doctor back b/c neither the pain nor the bleeding had subsided at all. He referred me to an ENT and made me an appointment the next day.

When the ENT looked into my ear, he said he needed to suck out all the “puss and blood” in my ear in order to see what was going on. So he inserted a microscope and a vacuum. The amount of LOUD NOISE caused by the vacuum in my ear actually made me feel better – if something sounds loud in that ear, maybe my hearing isn’t that bad! After several minutes of suction, the ENT says, “Hmmm. That’s…interesting.” Seriously?! Did his Mama never teach him that if does not have anything nice (or in this case, positive/constructive) to say, don’t say anything at all?! He finishes up and settles in for a talk. He tells me that what he thought was puss and blood in my ear canal was actually skin, he thinks. For some reason, extra skin/cells/growth/a tumor is growing in the tube that goes off of the outer ear tube up to the bones in the middle ear. In addition to that, I have a hole in my ear drum, which is causing negative pressure in my outer ear canal. This negative pressure is causing this extra “skin”, as well as part of my ear drum, to be sucked up into this tube. That was all that the ENT could see through the microscope in my outer ear canal. So, he told me to pop my ears at least 20 times/day and schedule a hearing test and CT scan to get a better look at that tube. He needs to know what is actually up there, how big it is and what is causing the hearing loss – either there is something blocking sounds from getting through or the growth is actually destroying the bones in my inner ear, causing permanent hearing loss.

At first, I did not want to pop my ears b/c it hurt! But the more I did it, the less it hurt and the more I could hear. I figured that had to be a good sign that no permanent damage has been done to my ear. The hearing test this morning showed great improvements to my hearing since the last test at the end of 2009. The main things I have problems hearing are the pitches of vowels and men’s voices. I have been upset with the hubs for several weeks, accusing him of whispering to me frequently just to annoy me since he KNEW I had hearing loss! Turns out he was speaking normally and I just could not hear his pitches. (I called him after that appointment and apologized.)

My 2nd appointment was at 12:15pm, the CT scan. I had to be at work in a different county at 1:30pm, but I had confidence that a company who scheduled an appointment during the normal lunch hour actually had employees who WORKED through the lunch hour and I’d be out of there in a timely manner. I should have known my expectations were set WAY too high when I had to hold the door for the Domino’s Pizza delivery guy walking in behind me with a stack of 7 pizzas and a bag of 4 two liters of soda. I arrived 15 minutes before my appointment time. After filling out the requisite paperwork, I was immediately whisked back to the next level of waiting room, where I sat and read my book for a half an hour. Then I was moved to level 3 of waiting and read for another 45 minutes. Finally, at 1:17pm, a man smelling suspiciously of pepperoni and mozzarella called me into the CT Scan room. He was friendly, efficient, explained everything that was to happen and managed to get scans with me on my stomach and my back and have me in my car, backing out of my parking space, by 1:27pm!

I am NOT a speeder. I make a rule of going a maximum of 0-5 miles over the speed limit. But I FLEW the 30 miles to work and arrived 30 minutes late, hungry and having to pee. I run threw the door and find ALL of my co-workers standing around and chatting. “Why are y’all still here?” I asked. I thought they would have picked up there assignments and headed out long before I arrived. “Oh, we’re in no rush,” one said. :o/ I should have stopped at a drive-thru for lunch after all, I thought, as I headed for the bathroom. When I came out of the bathroom, everyone else was gone, I grabbed my assignment, the keys to my designated car and headed out to pick up my kids.

Now begins the waiting game. The pepperoni/mozzarella-smelling technician told me that my ENT would have all results within 24-36 hours. Unfortunately, the ENT’s next available appointment to discuss said results, and what needs to be done next, was not available until 1/31. So, we shall see…

"Shouldn’t you be in school?"

It boggles my mind that at least one person asks B that every time we are in public on a weekday. And 9 out of 10 times, it is the cashier or check-out person that asks. I may be curious about the situations of strangers when I see them out in public, but I certainly would not go up to them and ask them personal questions. Maybe the asker is just protecting his or her immune systems and wants to know if I am dragging my sick child out in public. Perhaps some people feel they have a right to know everything about everybody due to so many reality TV shows and a media that does not respects any boundaries. But there are plenty of school-aged kids roaming about and if someone will ask my son, they are probably asking other people’s children, as well. So, if you got the same answer from a few people, wouldn’t you get the idea that there is a good number of homeschoolers in the area and then not need to ask any other kids? Or maybe at least phrase it differently, like, “Are you homeschooled?” That would be better than the accusatory tone used when they ask B, “Shouldn’t you be in school?” Maybe there is a rampant truancy problem in our county so the school system has deputized volunteer truancy offers in every store. ;o) Who knows.

The first 4 months of homeschooling were filled with discovery and trial-and-error. I didn’t want to invest tons of money in curriculum that did not work for us, but I felt I needed a little more than what I had on hand. One of my new homeschooling friends, T, is a “veteran”. She’s been HSing for at least 5 years and her style is classical. So she is very curriculum-based and teaches her children several subjects each day. She recommended a great book to me: 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy. The book helps you define your teaching style and figure out your child’s learning style. Once you do that, you can match them with her top 100 picks of curriculum.

I picked out one that looked interesting, was not expensive and said it covered Art, Science, Math and Social Studies. It’s called Five In A Row. When it arrived, it was not as challenging for B as I had hoped. But it is something we can do together, everyday, while snuggling on the couch, and that is very important to B’s well being. :o) It only cost $35 so it is not a huge loss.

I chose a math curriculum that was more expensive, Math-U-See. Although I was eager to get started with it, I decided to put it on my Christmas list and my parents got it for us. Ben really likes Math-U-See! In addition to the workbook, it is hands-on with blocks similar to LEGOS. The other book I bought that has worked out well is the Handwriting Without Tears. B’s handwriting has really improved with that.

Also for Christmas, my parents bought B a DSi XL. My brother gave him 2 games – LEGO Harry Potter and the Scripps Spelling Bee. A friend of mine gave B a Math game, as well. When he opened the Harry Potter game, he played it for 3 days straight; however, he has not gone back to it since. He just LOVES the spelling bee and math games! We’ve had difficulty with B’s laziness when it comes to reading. He does not want to take the time to sound out new words. He’ll glace at a new word, see a couple of letters in it that belong to another word he already knows and just say the known word and move on. But then he has no idea what he is reading! I make him go back and sound out the new word. He would just prefer that someone read to him instead of him reading it. However, once you read a book to him once, he can then go back and read it to himself b/c he has heard all the correct words. But I want him to figure new words out on his own. Well, this Scripps Spelling Bee game has done the trick! He is learning how to spell and read so many new words and having fun at the same time. And I know he will get great pleasure out of all the levels in the math DS game, too, as we progress through our Math-U-See lessons.

Kickboxing Class

The karate studio where I work has kickboxing class for adults twice a week and, as an employee, I can go for free. I have been thinking about going for quite some time, since I keep getting bigger and bigger, but I haven’t done it. I was afraid to go. Afraid of the unknown, afraid of what the other people in the class would think of me, afraid that I would not be able to keep up, afraid that any exercise whatsoever would make me barf in public, afraid of not having any appropriate clothes that fit me to wear…you name it, I tortured myself with it and just sat at home.

Thankfully, a friend and co-worker of mine started going to the class with her husband last month. I kept saying that I would show up at class one night since I actually knew someone there, but I never did. Finally, last week, I got up the nerve to tell my friend that I needed her to drag me to that class. And, being the great friend that she is, she complied. She was willing to be the “bad guy” for me b/c she understood that I needed that to get over the initial hurdle.

Last night was the class that she was going to drag me to. And of course, all day long, I did not feel well. I wanted to tell her that I could not go b/c I was not feeling well, but I had a “coming to Jesus” talk with myself. I am so good at having those talks with other people, you know? I can fix everybody’s problems but my own! Anywho, I had that talk with myself and realized that every single time I decided I was going to start an exercise routine that day, I ended up not feeling well. I mysteriously got my period, or I had an upset stomach and had to stay near the bathroom or I ate nothing but beans and broccoli the 24 hours before and could not be around others for gaseous reasons, etc. It was always SOMETHING. But I was NOT going to allow myself to make another excuse. I was GOING to this class, even if I barfed or farted all over the place!

And you know what? I had a great time! I am SO GLAD they drove over to my house and took me to the class. I am proud of myself for exercising and everyone can use a little extra pride in themselves, don’t you think? I did not have gloves and the bin of extra gloves was empty from other attendees in the class. Pshaw, I thought. I’m not going to need gloves on the 1st class anyway. I am so out of shape, I could not hit that bag with any amount of strength requiring gloves anyway, right?

We started out doing a “warm-up”. MY idea of warming up is long stretches, walking in place, stepping side-to-side, maybe some lunges… The teacher’s idea of warming-up was jumping jacks. OK, I told myself, you can do this. How many could we do in a warm-up? 25? He did not count; he timed. As many as you could do in 1 minute increments, and there was more than one, 1 minute increment, people! My boobs were jumping, my backfat was jumping, but, worst of all, my incontinence-due-to-vaginal-birth was saying, “What the HELL are you doing? I’m about to make a mess up in here! You know the deal – no trampolines, no bed jumping and NO jumping jacks.” I don’t know how I hung on, but I jumped jacks while kegelling the heck out of my insides. I actually made it to 100 jumping jacks before I had to run off into the bathroom. Once again, proud of me! Never thought I could do 1 jumping jack, let alone 100. I want my 8th Grade Presidential Fitness Award renewed. ;o)

My friend and I shared a bag for our punches and kicks. After a few rounds of jabs, hooks and uppercuts, I had bleeding knuckles on both hands. I was HOOKED! The sight and smell of blood was like adrenaline to me, for some reason. I felt so badass, so capable! At one point, we were to take turns punching and kicking the bags with our partners, and the one who was not hitting the bag was to yell encouragement at the one hitting the bag. She and I were cracking up over this. She yelled at me once, “Come on! Take your frustration out on that bag! I know you’re picturing your husband!” I immediately thought, I’m not frustrated at him for anything. Then something hit me and I became a driven women. I ATTACKED that bag! I yelled to my partner, “I’m fighting off the hubs to keep him from changing the temperature on the thermostat at home!” We had a good laugh over that one.

That was all I really needed – to get over the 1st hurdle of just going. Even at my age, it’s hard to reach out and ask for help. But I’m so glad I did!

Blogging Neglect

I have been so bad about blogging. I used to keep a blog regularly – several times a week; sometimes several times a day if I had a lot on my mind. But for the past 2 years, I have Facebook’d instead. I probably have the longest FB statuses of any of my friends, b/c I am trying to put a blog post in that limited character space. But I really am a blogger at heart. Even though I don’t practice Catholicism anymore, I think I should give up FB for Lent this year. Maybe that would get me in the habit of blogging again. Although, I would still want to get on FB and check out what everyone ELSE had to say, even if I chose not to say anything. The main reason I wanted to blog is that my “mommy brain” has continued for the past 8+ years and I need to record the cute/funny/precious things my son says and does before I forget them. And so I can blackmail him with them later in his life. ;o)

If I think about it, I can’t solely blame FB for my lack of blogging. There are 2 other reasons. The 1st one is that I used to have a private blog. My blog was only accessible to a select group of friends whom I trusted and knew I could vent to and talk to about anything and anyone. Something happened to cause me to cut access to all the viewers of my private blog. I will not go into the reason here b/c this blog is now public and readable by anyone, including the one who caused me to cut access to the private blog. But once I no longer had an “audience”, I lost interest in blogging. Isn’t that weird or, conceited? Without someone to entertain, I lost all interest in jotting my thoughts, experiences and stories down. I thought it was quite the insight into how I tick…or maybe a better way to say it is how I felt validated…

The 2nd reason for my lack of blogging…I…am ashamed to say I cannot remember! DAMN! See what I mean about mommy brain continuing FAR BEYOND the norm?! I, honestly, think it is the Alzheimer’s that runs in my family. The hubs does not like me to say that b/c I can imagine how hard it would be for him to think about me going through that. But I really think it is. When I was a young child, I watched my grandfather go through it, rather quickly, while my mom assisted in his care. My mom is now taking care of one of her older sisters going through it. For over 20 years, I feared the day that I would discover my mom had it. The hubs can tell you he’s known of this fear since he met me. Now I realize that, no matter how hard that would be for me to handle, I could do it and I would do it. Just like Malynn took care of Shelby in the hospital in Steel Magnolias. (BTW, I believe Steel Magnolias is to women what The Godfather is to men.) What scares me more now, is my husband and child having to endure ME going through it.

Wow! I finally decide to start blogging again and it is such a downer! I will mos def lose whatever readers I may have had! Well, at least if no one reads this, it will kinda be like a private blog and I can talk about anything and anyone again… ;o)

You know what?! I think I have actually been talking about the 2nd reason I stopped blogging – I can’t remember anything I want to say when I actually have the time to sit down and blog. Phew! Maybe this homeschooling thing has been able to exercise my brain enough to remember more. :o)

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