About Me

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I am a very lucky woman with a husband and son who are smart, witty and entertaining. Our son, B, attended public school for two years, and then we embarked on a new adventure in the Fall of 2010 - homeschooling. We don't have all the answers, but we know B and this has been the best thing for him. I blog to preserve our stories and our memories, share recipes, vent and ramble on about our crazy, yet blessed, life. Would you care to follow along?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

I've moved to Wordpress. Effective June 9, 2014, I can be found at www.youmeandb.com.

I've decided to stop posting here on Blogger and move over to Wordpress.  I hope you like the new look of the blog.  All of the post here have been moved over to the new site, www.youmeandb.com.  Come on over!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Television Campaign Ads for Anthony Brown & Doug Gansler

Maryland residents will be voting for a new governor this Fall.  I do not live in the state of Maryland so I have no stake in the election nor can I vote in it.  However, I live in the Washington, DC area and see television campaign ads for only two of the candidates - Anthony Brown and Doug Gansler.

Other than what each has stated in their current campaign ads, I know nothing about them as people nor how qualified they may or may not be for the job.  But what I can attest to is that I love their television ads!  These men are putting out the kinds of ads I have always wanted to see from candidates, but rarely do.

Neither man is slinging mud at other candidates.  In fact, I have not seen an ad in which either man even mentions another candidate.  They just talk about themselves.  Who they are, what they've done, what they believe in, what they want to do for the state of Maryland.  It's refreshing, it's intelligent and I hope candidates across the nation take notice.

I do worry that as it gets closer to the election, the mudsling ads will come.  I hope not.  I feel any attacks on or corrections of your opponents character and/or political qualifications should be saved for debates and live interviews.

***UPDATE 6/6/14 - Aaaaaand, it's over.  Yesterday, I started seeing new ads from both Brown and Gansler supporters, throwing mud at the other.  *sigh*

Monday, May 19, 2014

Words Can't Bring Me Down

I'm hosting Bunco tonight and have been cleaning and food prepping this morning.  As I go around the house, I see our cozy home through the eyes of others.  We rent and are limited in what changes and decorating we can do.

The walls need a fresh coat of paint badly!  We actually put in a request last year to repaint ourselves to freshen it up, but our property manager never responded.  Most of the walls ust have the builder's primer paint on them.  So, when I've tried to clean the walls, the paint comes off.  Lots of marks on the walls make it looks run down and like we don't care.

The carpets, which have been here since the house was built 15 years ago, are worn and stained.  Our furniture is stained and chipped.  The decor includes a skeleton made out of stickers, epic faces drawn by B and homemade Math signs to assist B with his homeschool lessons.

The homes of the other ladies in the Bunco group look, to me, like decorating magazines.  These ladies have taste and know how to put things together and match color schemes.  They have themes and collections on display and I love walking through their beautiful, decluttered homes each month.

I'm walking around my 1st floor with a box under my arm, throwing everything that's on a surface into it and will store the box in the basement until after Bunco is over.  The hubs has to unplug the computer and take it up to our bedroom when he comes home from work because I need the desk to serve dinner off of.

As I clean and clear, I'm reciting in my head, "I don't care what they think of my house.  I don't care what they think of my stuff.  I'm sure at least some of them run around the house with a box under their arm before Bunco, too.  They all have kids!"

I decided to turn on some music to drown out the recitation in my head because it's not going to stop. When I turned the radio on, the first words that came out were, "I am beautiful, no matter what they say.  Words can't bring me down."  It was Beautiful by Christina Aguilera and it was exactly what I needed to hear right then.

I was bringing myself down with words in my head.  Nobody else was there looking disgustedly at my house or making comments.

I love the ring stains where B decided to paint with non-washable paint and put no newspaper underneath.  Looking at the chips on the desk where B ran his 1st pair of scissors to test how sharp they were brings a smile to my face, remembering how cute and small he was.  And although it's not pretty to look at old, dried food particles on the wall above the kitchen sink from a garbage disposal explosion a few years ago, the meal we had that night was fantastic.

My home is beautiful, no matter what I say, and I won't bring it down by dishonoring our memories.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It was a simple "Yes" or "No" question!

Frequently, I ask a simple question that only has two answers - "Yes." or "No."  But I rarely receive one of those answers.  *sigh*

Me: Are we going straight home?
The hubs: Why?  Would you like to stop somewhere on the way?  Is there something else you'd like to do?  What would you like to do, babe?  You decide.

Me: Are you hungry for lunch now?
B: (Long pause while he performs a systems check of his body. We're really working hard on paying attention to our body's needs as they happen.  Unfortunately, those needs usually aren't even on his radar until I ask such a question.)  Uhm...I might be getting theeeere...I'm kiiiiinda hungry...buuuut...I don't want to eeeeat right now....maaaaaaybe....maybe laaaaater...check back with me in a while.

When I ask one of those simple questions and the response starts with, "Weeeeeelllll..." I think, Oh, boy.  Buckle up; this is gonna take a while.  Sometimes I don't even hear the monologue response because I'm screaming in my head, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, IT WAS A SIMPLE YES OR NO QUESTION!!!!!

Once in a while, I think I'm screaming that in my head but it actually comes out of my mouth.  B, however, thinks I am joking and being funny anytime my yelling begins with, "FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY/GOD/MY SANITY/PETE    FILL IN THE BLANK   ", so he laughs and doesn't take me seriously.

It's so freaking frustrating!  The hubs finds it ironic that I get upset about this because, according to him, I am incapable of  being short, sweet and to the point.  He says I can't carry on a normal conversation; I talk in stories.  Actually he says I'm an "atmospheric" talker where as he's a bottom-line guy.  He just wants the facts or the end of the story but I have to set the entire scene, describe everything in detail and repeat everything that everyone said, complete with tones of voices and facial expressions.

It is true that we reap what we sow because B is an atmospheric talker, too.  Now I understand what a saint my mom was, sitting there and listening to me recount entire movies to her when I got home from the theater or every, single thing that happened at school that day.

So, I guess the next time someone asks me a "Yes." or "No." question, I need to think long and hard before I answer.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Survival Skills

The above picture is one of our living room windows with cat throw up on the sill and the window itself.  I've kindly added an arrow to point out the bit on the window for you.  You're welcome.  The hubs gave me permission to tell this story with picture as long as I promised not to tell y'all how long this has been there, so I can't tell you that piece of information.
Anywho, cleaning up animal accidents is the hubs job, not mine.  The morning B and I woke to find this, the hubs had already left for work so I unhappily gathered a ton of paper towels and wiped up what I could.  It must have happened right after we fell asleep the night before, because what you see now was already dried that morning.
B cannot stand to hear certain words - vomit, spit, phlegm, etc. - and seeing such items is even worse!  He wanted it cleaned up and he wanted it done before he awoke that morning.  This conversation happened Saturday morning in the room that was the scene of the crime:
B: Can someone please clean the rest of that off the window sill, today?
The hubs: What are you going to do when you're starving and there's no food in the house?
B: I'll go outside and eat the wood pulp from the tree!
Once the hubs knew his boy was resourceful enough to not need regurgitated cat food, he cleaned it up.  Thankfully.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Third Time's a Charm

Third Time's a Charm

The first man
I fell in love with
broke my heart
when he left me.

The second man
I fell in love with
broke my spirit
when he abused me.

The third man 
I fell in love with
broke my walls
when he came back for me.

Friday, May 9, 2014

PJ Friday - Whoop, Whoop!

It's PJ FRIDAY in our house - whoop, whoop!  A day when B and I go no where and do nothing, including getting dressed - unless we want to. After our socializing- and errand-filled week, we are pooped and just stay comfy.  We love it!

Every Friday afternoon the hubs comes home to find us in our PJs.  He hates it!  LOL  He has all these rules of an appropriate life and one of the many, many (illogical to me) ones is that all persons should get dress and be ready to leave the house or receive guests, at the very least in the AM, but preferably within 2 hours of waking.

He's also very distasteful of the fact that I don't necessarily shower every day.  If I take a shower at night before going to bed because I'm feeling dirty and/or sweaty from the work I've done that day, I don't feel the need to take another shower the next day!  Unless, of course, I get dirty or sweaty that day, too.  I hate climbing into my bed all dirty and sweaty.

Weekdays he doesn't necessarily know if I've showered or not, but on the weekends he's all over me.  Once I've eaten breakfast, the question comes: "You going up to take a shower now?"  If I don't smell, my hair isn't greasy and I have plans to do sweaty work that day, I'm not showering until after the work is done.  Showering is not my fav thing to do so there is no way I would subject myself to two showers in one day.

But the questions still comes.  "You going up to take a shower now?"  "You going up to take a shower now?"  "You going up to take a shower now?"  Until he can no longer stand the suspense and has to ask, "Are you going to take a shower today at all?"  If we don't have any plans and are just going to stay home all day, sometimes I'll just torture him by not showering.  That's called "tough love".

IDK why my personal hygiene is any of his business unless he wants a little sumpin'-sumpin'.  And when that's the case, all he has to do is tell me that and I'd be all over a shower like white on rice!

The Next Right Thing

As I told you in the previous post, Blogging Again, I'm currently reading Glennon Melton's book Carry On, Warrior, The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life.  And, boy howdy, is mine messy!

Glennon says she has three prayers to Jesus: "Please!", "Thank You!" and "WTF???"  I stopped praying, stopped talking to God sometime over the last few months and I don't even know why.  But that snowballed into my old Catholic guilt mentality - I can't turn to Him when I haven't been in touch for so long.  What do I say to Him now?  (Side note: I was raised Catholic and have received all my sacraments.  The hubs and I were married in the Catholic church and B was baptized Catholic.  I no longer practice Catholicism because it's a religion and I don't believe in religions; I believe in God.  Religions are people who get in the way of me and God with their rules and condemnation.  But I will blog my God story in the future.)

But then Glennon said "Please!", "Thank You!" or "WTF???"  So this week I've been praying thank yous.  Folding the hubs laundry, all by myself in the basement yesterday, I even prayed thank yous.  I had an overwhelming incident yesterday full of loud noises, kids running around, wall climbing, battling each other in which I now see I should have prayed WTF??? to calm my overwhelminess.  Yes, I am declaring overwhelminess a new word.  Deal.

Glennon also says that we can get overwhelmed with everything there is to do and maintain and keep track of that we panic.  Life itself can be so overwhelming that we can't handle it all and get stuck or escape into something unhealthy.  That's me; I get overwhelmed very easily!

She advised all I need to focus on is doing the next right thing.  That's it!  She likened it to driving home at night on a country road with no street lights.  Your headlights only allow you to see the next 10 feet in front of you.  It's scary, yes.  I worry about what else is out there in the dark, lurking, waiting to jump out in front of my car.  But it's alright; I can get all the way home, safely, just those 10 feet at a time.

So I've been focusing on the next best thing.  That's it.  The next best thing yesterday got me to walk out of a situation before my overwhelminess came out of me in front of children.  And last night, I added please to my thank you prayers.  I went to bed last night and woke up this morning without any worry or anxiety pressing on me.  (Wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that it's PJ FRIDAY in our house - whoop, whoop!)

This morning I weighed myself.  I told you in Blogging Again that I weighed 176lbs.  This morning I am 172.5lbs.  Lightening my mental and spiritual burden had a side effect of lightning my physical one, too.  ;o)  But I know I won't always make good choices and I'll fall off the wagon many more times, I'm sure.  But it's OK.  God gives me as many do-overs as I need.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Blogging Again

I went to see Glennon Melton of Momastery speak Sunday night.  I was so excited and happy to see her in person that I went completely out of my mind and didn't bring any tissues with me!  "Luckily", I had brought a fleece cardigan incase it was cold in the church and after crying for 45 minutes I finally started wiping my face with the cardigan.  Not very comfortable, nor pretty, though.
She spoke right to the place where I was in that moment.  Without even knowing she was doing this, she answered questions and calmed doubts I've been having about myself and my blogging for quite sometime.  What she was saying about life, marriage, parenting, friendship, Jesus and blogging were all how I felt, too.  She inspired me to start blogging again and blog for me - not worry about who's reading or what they do or do not want to hear - but blog to purge my mind and soul of what is pressing on it and let everything else just fall where it may.
As part of our admission, we all got a paperback copy of Glennon's (I call her Glennon, not Mrs. Melton, because she's my sister now, see.)  book, Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life.  I love books and especially love owning a copy of a book!  There are different ways in which people love their books.  Some people love hardcovers more than paperbacks and vice versa.  Some people love their books with reverence and feel they are precious collections to be cared for gently.  They are carful not to break the spines, they do not write in their books and they use bookmarks instead of folding down pages.
I love my books differently.  If I am lucky enough to own a book, I don't care if it's new or used, hardcover or paperback, pristine or stained and ripped.  I love them all the same.  I read with a highlighter and a pen handy, highlighting things that resonate with me, words that cause those Oprah "A-HA" moments, and write notes in the margins about why something spoke to me or what in my life is an example of those words.  Sometimes when I get wrapped up in a library book, I find myself reaching for the highlighter.  Thankfully I come to my senses before I I use it!
There is so much highlighting in the 1st 37 pages of Carry On, Warrior that instead of highlighting the sentences, I started circling whole paragraphs.  In those 1st 37 pages, she is writing about me.  She describes herself, her feelings, needs, fears and even coping mechanisms and they were or are all mine at some point.  I'm keeping a notebook with me while I read her book and started writing my thoughts down in it when they wouldn't fit in the margins.  I realized I was writing down blogs posts.

I circled the entire 2nd paragraph on page 25.  It begins, "If, anywhere in your soul, you feel the desire to write, please write.  Write as a gift to yourself and others...Writing is not about creating tidy paragraphs that sound lovely or choosing the "right" words.  It's just about noticing who you are and noticing life and sharing what you notice."
OK, I told myself, here is the sign and the help you prayed for.  I had a talk with the hubs about all my worries and doubts and lack of love for blogging recently and what I really wanted to blog about and he told me to go find my smile (anyone seen City Slickers?)  So, here goes...
I weighed myself yesterday morning and I am 176lbs.  My weight this past year has not been this high since I was pregnant with B.  I gained 44lbs with B and topped at 187.  However, when I left the hospital after delivering him, I only weighed 10lbs more than I was before the pregnancy - yeah!  But it took me 10 months to take those 10lbs off - boo!  I gave birth to an 8lb 1oz baby boy and lost 26lbs of retained water during our 4 day stay in the hospital.
I've been bigger than I want to be most of my life and it's always bothered me.  I've rarely been comfortable in my skin.  That is, until I turned 40, 2 years ago.  I had always bought clothes that were mostly comfortable when I was standing but pretty uncomfortable, read: tight when I sat down.  I was over my mom's house and lamenting over my weight and clothes and she brought out some capri pants that no longer fit her (they were too big for her to wear) for me to try.
I scoffed in my head, because every bottom my mom owns is elastic waist - no buttons, snaps nor zippers for her.  That was old lady-ish to me.  Oh, how the judging comes back to bite us in the ass every time!  I tried some things on and they felt nice.  I sat down in them and they felt nicer.  I couldn't believe it!
I took 2 pairs of capri pants home with me and something wonderful happened when I wore them - I was completely unaware of my clothes for the 1st time in decades!  I hadn't really been uncomfortable in my skin all that time, I was merely uncomfortable in my clothes.  I was constantly aware of how my clothes felt and was constantly pulling, tugging, adjusting, stretching them away from me.
Without focusing on my clothes I didn't think about my appearance at all.  Well, at least not until I looked at myself in a mirror.  *sigh*  But that was OK!  I only looked at myself in a mirror while washing my hands after using the bathroom.  The rest of the day I was free - literally and figuratively.  I might not be the size I want to be, but I was finally comfortable wearing the size that I was.  The mental freedom from that was enough.
Then my hair started going kaput after turing 40 and no matter what I did or what I used on it it looked terrible!  No more volume, hardly any curl, and it only had 2 looks - dry and frizzy or dirty and greasy.  I even tried the baking soda and vinegar method of washing my hair from April 2013 - January 2014.  It took over 2 months to get the right formula for me and for my hair to adjust, but my hair looked good all Summer and Fall.  Then it just died on me.
So, for the past couple of months, I've been using Salma Hayek's Curls & Waves hair products.  I saw her demonstrate her skin, hair and makeup products on a talk show last year.  She and I have similar hair but I refused to try it then because I'm cheap; I've bought Suave and V-05 for decades because it's $1 or less.  But I had to step out of my box if I wanted to my hair too look better, just like I'd stepped out of the box with the clothes.  I'm so glad I did!
Then B and the hubs helped me pick out some liquid foundation at the drug store in March (never worn it before) and I've been doing my hair and makeup most days.  An amazing thing happens when I do my hair and makeup - when I look in the mirror, I can't take my eyes of my face.  I think I am pretty.  I'm proud when I look in the mirror and I don't even think to look below my chin at the rest of me.  As long as my clothes are comfortable, I don't even think about my body.  Most of the time.
When it's shower time, I'm painfully aware of how big I am in that mirror that starts over the double sink vanity and stretches to the ceiling in the bathroom.  But I'm not beating myself up about it.  I know what I'm doing to stay this way and I know what I have to do to change.  And when I'm ready to do something about it, I will.  The hubs wants me to be healthier and he wants me to be happy with myself.  Now I know how he felt all those years I wanted him to quit smoking.  Ain't nothin' nobody can say to get you to want to change and sometimes you dig your heels in deeper just to spite someone else.
But I'm learning from Glennon that the holes in me cannot be filled with food and I can't escape them in a bottle.  Years and years have proven that to myself, but it's still hard to let them go.  However, I need to try.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

We Tried Grilled Pizza for the 1st Time and Loved Them!

My pizza - tomato sauce, mozzarella, peppers, onions, spinach, ground beef and parmesan.
I pinned The Happy Housewife's Grilled Pizza recipe a while ago and finally added it to this week's menu plan.  All of us are glad I did!  Since it was Leftover Wednesday, I chopped up grilled chicken and hamburgers along with some onion and snacking peppers to top our pizzas.  B just had a plain cheese pizza.

Look at this beautiful dough; can you see the spices in it?  It smelled so good!  My kitchen was covered in flour and it took a while to clean up, but it was worth it.  I used my stand mixer to make the dough and accidentally turned the speed up too high, too soon.  ;o)

After I rolled out the dough, the hubs oiled them (we used Wegmans Basting Oil instead of olive oil) and grilled them up.  This is actually the 2nd set of crusts.  The 1st three got charred.  Although B does not like his crust that way, the hubs and I don't mind.  I cut them up and saved them for snacking/dipping later.

The 2nd set of crusts were much lighter.  The hubs worried that the bottoms would char again while we waited for the cheese to melt.  Therefore, after topping our crusts, we put them in the oven instead of back on the grill.

I was fine with that; we'd gotten the grill flavor on the crusts already.

Following the recipe, we divided the dough into 6 pizzas and each of us only ate half our pizza at dinner.  We will all be eating the other half at lunch.  Everyone agreed that grilled pizzas were to be added to the dinner rotation.  :o)

The hubs' pizza - ranch dressing, grilled chicken, ground beef, spinach, mozzarella, parmesan, sesame oil.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

After Surgery

So many of you have inquired as to how I am doing after my surgery and I apologize for not responding to everyone.  Recovery has not been a bed of roses; every other day is a bad one, and I wasn't eager to type it all out.  So I won't.  I will say there has been a lot of pain (which is almost gone now), unpleasant side effects and tears.  But it should be all uphill from now on.  I did my hair and put on makeup today for the 1st time since March 30th; that did wonders for my mood!  ;o)

Everyone at the hospital was kind, detailed and solicitous.  Some were even funny.  I had no idea the hospital was a teaching one.  I panicked when they told me.  I was already in my gown, shower cap and booties but almost bolted at that news.  I watch Grey's Anatomy; I know what happens at teaching hospitals!  I was not going to be some guinea pig with a 007 intern practicing on my head!

They assured me that if any residents were to be in my surgery, I would be told ahead of time.  "But I don't want any intern working on me," I insisted.  They would let me know of any residents were there for more than observation.  "When?  In recovery?"  The doctors would come to me before surgery and let me know what everyone's roll was.

The first "doctor" I met was the anesthesiologist's intern!  Oh, hell to the no!  He's just going to observe.  Mm, hmm, he better, because I will come back and haunt him if he doesn't!  He didn't just observe; he held a mask on my face and told me to take deep breaths.  The mask was supposed to cover my nose and mouth but he managed to put it over my right eye, holding my eyelid captive in mid blink.

They either didn't hear me or ignored me and I couldn't move the mask myself because one of the nurses had just finished wrapping me up in styrofoam and strapping me down to the table.  I looked like a mummy in a psych ward with Sammy Davis, Jr. eyes.

The bones in my ear were supposed to be gone by then but the doctor still didn't know if he'd be able to put the prosthetic bones in that day.  If the mass removal went too long, or if the middle ear was too inflamed, he would have to do it another time.

When surgery was over the doctor went to the hubs in the waiting room and told him that after he removed the mass he was shocked to see all 3 ear bones still intact!  Each showed signs of erosion, but it was minimal, they were all attached to each other and attached on each end!  There was no need for prosthetic ear bones.

He's done thousands of these surgeries but said he'd never seen that before.  I guess none of his former patients has had as many people praying for them as I had.  Thank you all so much for your thoughts, prayers and love!!!  Y'all worked a miracle for me and I am so grateful!

Thank you to those of you who brought us food the 1st week after the surgery.  It was such a burden off me to not have to worry about feeding us!  And there was always enough food not only for dinner, but leftovers for lunch, as well.

I thank my bestie, R and her husband.  Her husband took a day off work to stay home with one sick child and pick up the other after school, so she could sit with my hubs in the waiting room.  That was a wonderful gift to the hubs!  He didn't sit there, alone, and worry or play what ifs in his head and the time did not drag on.  He and my bestie talked about everything, he said, and had a wonderful time.  He is so grateful he had her there and so am I!

I want to thank the hubs for taking care of me, holding me, wiping my tears, administering medicine, taking care of B and the house and holding it together.  It's so hard for men to see a loved one ill.  They're fixers; that's what they do.  It's in they're DNA.  He kept his frustration and anger (born out of fear) over not being about to  fix me or take all the hurt away for me, from me.  Internalizing that isn't good for a body, but he knows once I'm able to climb out of my tree, he gets to go right up his.

I still can't hear in my left ear, but it's still healing.  My hearing won't be checked until 6-7 weeks after surgery, to give everything time to heal and swelling to go down.  You can't see the hole in my head because the doctor drilled where the back of my ear meets my head, and then covered the hole with a fold of skin (double layer for double protection).  My left ear pokes out further than my right now; that may change after time or it may stay the same.  I don't mind.

Thank you all.  I hold you very dear in my heart and am sending your prayers back at you.  MUAH!

A Bad Day

B and I both had a bad day yesterday, for different reasons. When I tucked him in for bed he was stiff and not his snuggly self.
Me: Are you mad at me?
B: No. I just.......don't have good feelings about you right now. Is that OK to say?
Me: It's OK to not have good feelings about me and it's OK to tell me. I'll do better tomorrow.
He smiled.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Avocado Chicken by The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife

I needed some inspiration to cook chicken, yet again, for dinner last night.  So I went to my Poultry Recipes board on my Pinterest account looking for something new, easy and consisting of ingredients I had on hand.  I don't know about you, but I pin things all the time and can't remember all of them.  Looking through my own boards is like Christmas morning!  hehehe

I found this gloriously simple recipe for Avocado Chicken from The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife.  Definitely something new, quite easy and I had just bought tomatoes and avocados from Costco the day before.   *Ding, ding, ding*  We literally had a winner, winner, chicken dinner!

You know me, I can't make any recipe exactly the way it is, so I finished off the oven time by turning the broiler on for a little color.  The hubs is quite picky, and not a fan of tomatoes, but he agreed with me that dinner was delicious!

Adding this one to the rotation during tomato season.  Thank you, Navy Wife

Thursday, March 27, 2014

B's History Fair Project for Homeschool Co-Op - Flash Backs to My School Days!

"US Presidents in a Bag (5 Things I've chosen to represent each of their lives."
Our homeschool co-op had a History Fair this morning and B's presentation included a poster board. I've always been critical of parents who do their child's work for them. You can totally tell by looking at the Art wall in a preschool classroom or the 1st grade poster board presentations, which ones were done solely by children and which ones were done by parents who love neatness and straight lines. ;o)

B's presentation was not started until early yesterday afternoon and was still not done when he and the hubs left at 4pm for a planned guys' outing. It was just me and that unfinished History project on the floor and I was sooo tempted to finish it myself! 

I felt like Jacques the shrimp in Finding Nemo when Gill tells him he cannot clean the tank. At first he was all, "I shall resist!" but the dirtier the tank got, he couldn't resist.  When Gill caught Jacques cleaning, he hung his head. "I am ashamed."

But isn't this always the case in life? Be careful who you judge because it always comes back to bite you! At least it does for me. If I've judged a stranger by the snippet of their life I see from the outside, sometime later I'll find myself in that exact situation, and "I am ashamed."

I did resist, though, and he finished his project before dinner.  Phew!

Yesterday was a total flashback to when I was in school.  I always left projects to the last minute and never learned my lesson because I always received good marks on them.  At least it's easier for kids these days to get information for projects at the last minute.  I had no internet.  Most projects were due on Mondays and I never remembered that the local library was closed on Sundays until after it closed on Saturdays.  A 1974 Funk & Wagnall's Encyclopedia was my only reference.

Anywho, the History Fair was great this morning.  Some children chose a literal time or event in History and some chose to explain the history of a person or something.  There were displays on US Presidents, WWII, Hasbro Toys, Sharks, Egypt, Native Americans, Robots, The Wright Brothers, Ballet, Knights, Winnie the Pooh, Harriet Tubman, US Missions to the Moon!

I learned so much from these awesome kids!  I walked around and not only read from their displays but also listened to them tell me about their subject matter.  Somethings I didn't know before this fair:

  • Harriet Tubman was not her given name; she was born Araminta Ross.
  • A.A. Milne only wrote 4 books with Winnie the Pooh in them and not all off the Winnie the Pooh characters we have today appeared in those four books.  Everything else "Pooh" we have today were expanded upon from his original four works.
  • Hasbro was founded by three Rhode Island brothers and their 1st toys were doctor and nurse kits and modeling clay.
  • Leonardo DaVinci designed the first robot in 1495.
  • I had no idea how many countries were involved in WWII.  The Allies consisted of 26 countries alone!  I only knew about the "major" ones.
  • There is a Goblin Shark out there with a long, flat snout.
B chose to do a "montage" (his word, not mine) of the 1st six Presidents in a Bag he's created.  I pulled the pix off my blog, ordered enlarged prints from Costco and B copied and pasted the descriptions from my blog posts.  He glued them onto a poster board from Dollar Tree and wrote a description at the top.

After everyone had presented and learned, we went outside.  The kids played and we mommas chatted.  A very successful co-op, indeed!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Brave Writer's The Arrow

Last month we added Brave Writer's The Arrow to our Language Arts studies and I've noticed the difference in our homeschool already.  We're having so much fun with "The Brave Writer lifestyle". Our own language as well as our awareness of language around us - written, spoken and performed  - is heightened.  Here are some examples of what we've done.

Two weeks ago, on Movie Wednesday, we watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off!  Beforehand, we discussed the meanings of plot, plot twists and climax.  I paused the movie as we went and we discussed who the good guy and bad guy should be according to the rules of right and wrong and who the good & bad guys were in B's eyes according to their personalities.  We discussed how important the script writing and each actor's portrayal of their rolls were in getting us to root for Ferris and relish Principal Rooney's mishaps.

I stopped it a number of times for B to tell me what the plot was, what he thought would happen next, his reaction to the "next" not being what he thought it was, etc.  When it was over, he excitedly told me when he thought climax began and when it ended.  We had this long, animated discussion about how people are not just black and white; we are all full of grays - good and evil, making right and wrong choices for the right and wrong reasons, etc..  It was so wonderful to see him expressing and discussing without just using the words, "Awesome" and "Amazing".

Yesterday, I asked him to write using descriptive language.  I wanted him to paint a picture with his words.  His writing in the past has been, "I played outside with my friends." I asked him to use words to describe the feel of the sun or the warmth of that Spring day.  Playing outside was just an example I gave him; he could write about whatever he wanted.

He chose to describe tasting a macadamia nut, which he did for the first time earlier that day.  I have to share his description with y'all.

"Today I tried a macadamia nut and it was awful!!(There was a frowny face with a tongue sticking out under the 2 exclamation points.)  It was so unbearable and repulsive I had to regurgitate it into the trash."

Now, he didn't try to describe what he thought it tasted like, an old gym sock, for example, but that's something to work on.  The fact that he wrote more than, "I hate macadamia nuts." or "Macadamia nuts are awful." and he wrote two sentences makes me very happy.  He took the assignment seriously and I can give more detailed direction in the future.

Most importantly, he's enjoying language and writing.  He's getting how important it is to his understanding and entertainment and we're (Julie Bogart and I) are stoking the desire in him to write like that for others.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Shit Just Got Real

I'm having a really bad ear day.  I'm in pain.  One of the nurses from the hospital called this afternoon to do my pre-op interview.  Asked lots of yes or no questions - do I have these symptoms, do I have those conditions.  Needed details on previous surgeries, specialists, allergies, medications.  Gave me instructions I needed the day of surgery as well as the few more days leading up to it.  I still don't have a surgery time yet.

After I got off the phone, my breathing quickened.  My heart raced.  My eyes teared up.  Shit just got real to me.  There is a tiny crack in Miss Positive's veneer...

Summer Camp Registration

Yes, it's that time.  Can you believe it?  It doesn't feel like that time because, although the calendar says Spring has arrived, it hasn't yet sprung.  I don't mind the cold and the snow the last week of March; I love living in an area that experiences all four seasons.  I just don't want to be planning activities for June, July and August right now.

But I have to.  Camps in this area fill up very quickly; I've learned the hard way.  B's definitely in two camps - an acting week and fun, stay active week.  Two others I'm not sure about.  Both the baseball week and the movie-themed week ones are far from meeting their minimum required headcount so we wait and see.  He's never been enrolled in this many camps before.  He's thrilled!

Also, volunteer sign-up began for our church's Vacation Bible School this week.  If you volunteer, your child(ren) is(are) guaranteed a spot at VBS.  If you do not volunteer, you have to wait several weeks to register and we can only take so many children based on the number of volunteers.  So, I always volunteer to ensure B has a space.

However, when I went to sign myself up as a volunteer and B as a camper, I received quite a shock - he's too old to be a camper!  Surely this was a mistake!  Nope, he can't be a camper.  Well, they must have changed the rules this year because I remember telling B at the end of VBS last year he had one more year as a camper.  Nope.  I went through last year's emails and the cut off age was the same then.

I must have been in denial.  I'm glad I realized this late at night, sitting up alone, so B didn't have to see me cry.  I thought he'd be just as devastated as I was.  He was disappointed, but not devastated (dammit!).  I informed him that he's now old enough *gasp* to volunteer as a leader and, if he volunteered I would, too.  He said he'd think about it.  Two hours later he told me he wanted to lead so I signed us both up.

It isn't fair that he's growing up so fast.  It isn't fair that I didn't get the option to experience this all again.  *sniff, sniff*

Alright!  Pity party over!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Proud teaching day - B has my Math mind!

I love Math; it was my favorite subject in school.  But it can be a complicated subject.  The phrase, "It's all Greek to me!" is a perfect description of Math for some people.  In my opinion, the single most important factor in a student understanding Math is the teacher.  I was fortunate enough to be taught by some spectacular Math lovers who wanted all their students to understand  and be successful at Math.  The best ones I learned under didn't use the textbooks to teach us how to do problems; they taught us their own way on the board.  And if a student didn't understand that method, the teacher would pull out a different method and see if the student clicked with that one.  No one was left behind or out of the loop.  I was so inspired by these caring, excited teachers that I wanted to teach Math, too.  (Why I didn't is a whole other story….)

We love, love, love our Math curriculum, Life of Fred.  It's literature-based, meaning B learns about a subject through a story.  Math is brought to him through the adventures of a 5 year old boy, Fred, who is a Math professor at Kittens University in Kansas.  This series answers the most asked question of Math students, When am I going to use this in real life?!  Although some of Fred's story actually takes place in the classroom where he teaches Math, most takes place outside of it, in "real life".  Math is needed and used at the bank, the grocery store, telling time, booking a vacation, paying admission to a museum, planting a garden, decorating a room, everywhere!  Life of Fred shows B over and over the importance of Math in "real life" and entertains him with a story.  He is learning and having fun.  The goal of this Math teacher.

I'm one of those people who don't like to "show my work" with Math if I can do it in my head; and I do a lot of Math in my head.  Over the last 4 years, I've given B examples of how I break big problems down into smaller steps that he can do, instead of being overwhelmed by a complicated Math problem.  B can easily add, subtract, multiply and divide with 5s, 10s and 100s and I've tried to show him to break things down into their 5s, 10s and 100s and multiply or divide something by 2 to help solve a problem.

For example, if Sam made $450/week how much does he make a year?  I can't do $450 x 52 weeks in my head, but I can do $450 x 100 weeks = $45,000 and $45,000 / 2 = $22, 500 earned for 50 weeks.  Now I only need to add 2 weeks of $450 to $22,500 to get my answer of $23,400.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Prepping for Surgery - Bikini Wax

Less than two weeks until my surgery, and I'm in prep mode.  I am no longer taking my blood thinner, I cannot have any ibuprofen, I need to call the hospital today for the plan, I've started shaving my legs and I had a bikini wax yesterday.  Why, you ask?  (How many of you are thinking, I'm not asking!  TMI, Jess, TMI!  LOL)

I'll tell you why.  I will have to be catheterized during surgery.  The nurse or doctor or whoever does that will need clear, clean access to my lady business for…um...insertion.  (My brother is one of my biggest fans and if he had not stopped reading after the words "Why, you ask?" I bet he's stopped now!)  I have it on good authority that once I am under I would be unceremoniously shaved with an electrical instrument.  But not in any helpful or landscaping way - just a strip down the middle to give clear, clean access for the catheter.

Therefore, I chose to take control of how my lady business would be presented on that table and got a Brazilian wax this morning.  That's right, Brazilian.  I had originally put the word Brazilian in this post's title, but thought it was way too risqué so I changed it to bikini.  If you're still reading this post, whether because you have a high shock tolerance or out of morbid curiosity, I figured you could handle Brazilian.

I've had Brazilian waxes before, in my mid-30s.  They weren't too painful and made wearing a bathing suit all Summer easy-breezy.  I was pretty ignorant the 1st time I had one.  None of my friends had had one done, so I was going in blind.  I decided that it would make the esthetician's job easier to "clean things up a bit" before my appointment, shorten up a bit.  So I took the hair clippers to myself.

When I got up on the table, the esthetician asked me what I had done to myself.  Evidently, I was not helpful.  She said there does need to be length for the wax to grab.  Lesson learned and she was able to get the job done despite my "help".  I kept going back to her regularly, so I never got any significant length in between sessions.  Then after a couple years I stopped.  Since then, except for using a razor on the sides during swimsuit seasons, I've been au natural.

I don't know if it was my au natural length, the 30+ pounds I've put on since my last wax or if my 40-something skin has become brittle and uber-sensitive, but today's appointment was painful.  Not regret-I-had-it-done painful but certainly my-lady-business-does-not-need-to-be-subjected-to-that-again-thank-you-very-much painful.  The upkeep of my lady business will no longer be outsourced.

There were other differences today than from the last time I had a wax.  The 1st one was the state of my flexibility or, more to the point, the lack of it.  I was unable to contort myself easily into the necessary yoga positions in order for the esthetician to gain access.  At one point I was on my back, legs in the "butterfly" position and my knees were definitely facing more North than East and West.  God bless the esthetician, she valiantly pressed down on my knees to open me up more, but to no avail.  Phew!  If she was a muscular Swedish masseuse instead of a petite Asian esthetician, we would have heard a crack and I'd have limped out of there!

The 2nd difference was that I had to place my hands below my belly button and pull my skin up, taut.  She said, with her sweet smile, that it was easier and less painful if the skin was tight, but I think that was just code for, "Please move your belly out of the way."  LOL

And just when I thought it was all over and she was just making sure there was no wax left and applying a tonic, she pulls out the tweezers.  Some stubborn whiskers were evidently immune to multiple passes with the wax and she decide to pluck.  I could feel that she was plucking in an area that was not going to hinder the catheter, so I stopped her right there.  These soldiers were not willing to leave their post so it was time to retreat.

Before getting off the table, however, she handed me a mirror and ask that I review her handiwork.  Oooooo kaaaaaaay…  You know the ending of Pirates of the Caibbean: Dead Man's Chest when Captain Jack Sparrow is facing off with the Kraken and the Kraken opens its huge, red, circular mouth with rows of sharp teeth and screams at Jack?  That's what I saw in the mirror, only my "Kraken" was mad because I'd paid someone to remove all its teeth.

As I got dressed to leave, I didn't know if the soreness I felt was from the attack on my lady business or if my hip joints were protesting the out-of-character rotations they were put through.  But by the time I pulled out of the parking lot to head home, I was feeling back to normal.  I was not be surprised to wake up this morning with sore hip joints...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I just scored $64 worth of meat for $25!

I love getting a great deal and I have to share with y'all my trip to Harris Teeter just now.  The hubs wanted lottery tickets for tonight's $400M jackpot and asked me to run out for them.  He is already out but is unable to stop.  *sigh*  I was not happy about going to the ATM for cash and then hitting a grocery store at evening rush hour, but out I went.

As I'm walking in the door, I glance at the front page of the sales ad that ends today and see B2G3 free of shrimp.  Shrimp is B's favorite food in the world, so I headed back to the seafood department after getting the lottery tickets.  Turns out it was buy two 2 lb bags of shrimp and get three 2 lb bags free.  Ten pounds of shrimp is a bit much ;o) so I passed.

But while I was in the back of the store, I perused the meat section.  I only shop at the Teeter if I need one or two things (and I don't want to go farther to Wegmans) or I'm getting Teeter's Friday night fried chicken special.  But if I need to be in the back of the store, I check the meat department for markdowns.  I hit the mother load today!

  1. Ready to Cook chicken breast stuffed with Bleu cheese and wrapped in bacon, 9oz.  Regularly $4.99, got it for $1.99.
  2. Ready to Cook Chicken Cordon Bleu, 10oz.  Regularly $4.99, got it for $1.99.  Both this one and the one above have a sell by date of 3/19/14, so dinner for tomorrow is done!
  3. Three Ribeye steaks, totaling 2.63 lbs.  Regularly $36.79, got them for $12.86.  
  4. Trimmed and tied pork loin roast, 2.32 lbs.  Regularly $9.95, got it for $4.71.  That works out to $2.03/lb and I know I can buy a whole pork loin on sale for $1.99/lb.  But I'd have to wait for a sale, unwrap it, break it down into small roasts and chops and rewrap for freezing.  This roast is already trimmed and tied and a perfect size to feed my family for a week or to serve the next time we have guests.
  5. Fresh Johnsonville Irish O'Garlic sausage.  Now, this one wasn't as big of a savings as the other items.  The 1 lb 3 oz package is regularly $5.49 and had a store coupon of  $1.50 on it since St. Patrick's Day is over.  This is for the hubs who will literally do a jig when he comes home and sees it.  Since I got such good deals on the other meats, and I want to see his jig, I "splurged" on this for him.
With tax the original price of all this would have been $63.77 but I got it all for $25.18.  It was meant to be and my freezer and I are very happy (we were down to just chicken breasts and ground beef before I went to the store).

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Enough with the side boob already!

I've never been one to begrudge a woman who looked good in a sexy outfit before.  And I am just talking about sexy, not slutty nor inappropriate.  I've always thought, "If I had it, I'd probably flaunt it, too," and "As long as you have the body for it, why not?"  Remember that green Versace dress Jennifer Lopez wore to the 2000 Grammys?  I hollered at the TV, "Go on witcha bad self, J. Lo!"  I've even worn little sumpin', sumpin' myself in the past.  

However, watching the 2014 Oscars and a performance by Barbra Streisand this week, I have something to say to women: "ENOUGH with the side boob already!"  I just don't want to see it.  I have no problem with exposed cleavage.  When you are well endowed, any neckline that is not turtle- or crew-neck will expose some skin between "the girls".  But I just don't care to see the curved line that goes under a boob.  I don't want to see another woman's nekked breast resting on her ribcage.  I'll show you the difference…

This is a lovely picture of Lupita Nyong'o.  Although the neckline of her dress plunges and exposes cleavage almost down to her waist, I can't see her boobs.  I'm fine with this!

However, I am not OK with the following dresses of Barbra Streisand, and whoever this woman in the black dress was at the 2014 Oscars, which expose the inner sides of their breasts.

And here's the outer side of Amanda Seyfried's breast.

I'm not proud that I'm getting old and prudish.  Obviously these women are confident and comfortable exposing their side boobs and that's a good thing!  However, I will be glad when the fashion tide turns and side boob being out will no longer be "in".

President in a Bag - John Quincy Adams

In September, I wrote a blog post about a wonderful teacher who came up with the President in a Bag idea and inspired us to implement that idea into our study of the American Presidents.  You can read about her here, in our first President in a Bag - George Washington.

B enjoyed learning about John Quincy Adams, the son of his favorite president, John Adams.  John Quincy Adams was the 1st son of a president to become president.  Like his father, he did what he thought was right, not what was popular.  Therefore, he was only a one term president, like his father.

Here are the five items B chose to represent our sixth President in a Bag, John Quincy Adams:

#1: A Passport.  John Quincy Adams was a diplomat, ministering to The Netherlands, Prussia, Russia and Great Britain.

#2 The Union Jack.  Adams' wife, Louisa, is the only American first lady in history who was not born in the United States.  She was British and John met her in London while he was diplomat.  (B is upset with me because he had to use this picture of the Union Jack.  It's a page of his medal tracking sheet  from this Winter Olympics Pack 2014 from Enchanted Homeschooling Mom.  Our printer ink is running low so I did not want to print off another, larger copy of the flag.  I'm such a terrible mom to make him reuse something, right? hehe)

#3 A Box of Tea.  When President Jefferson called for a shipping embargo in 1807, Senator Adams supported him.  Adams' constituents in Massachusetts were very upset with him for that support since most of their livelihoods depended on shipping.  B associates tea with the Boston Tea Party, which took place in a Massachusetts harbor, so the tea reminds B of this unpopular 1807 embargo.  Adams quit the Senate in 1808.

#4 A Pen.  As President Monroe's Secretary of State, Adams was the main writer of The Monroe Doctrine.

#5 A Camera.  The 1st photographic image taken with a camera occurred during John Quincy Adams' presidency.  Adams was the 1st US president to have his picture taken.  Before then, there were presidential portraits and each artist's view was subjective.

Read about our other Presidents in a Bag in these posts:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Remember - You. Are. Bulletproof.

If you ever feel down on yourself, doubt yourself, think you are totally messing up as a parent or educator, letting someone else's negative comment or opinion of you get you down, put on Titanium.  Turn up the volume and FEEL it; BELIEVE it.

Dance around, sing along at the top of your lungs or just let the song envelope and empower you.  Your inner voice, your doubts and fears or the voices of others can take their aim, but…

You. Are. BULLETPROOF.  Own it, sister!

A&E Networks' Idea Book for Educators is now digital!

If you've read any of my posts on B's favorite History assignments, Presidents in a Bag, you'll remember that I got the fabulous idea from The Idea Book for Educators, created by A&E networks - History Channel, A&E, H2, History en Espanol and Lifetime programming.  It was a free magazine for educators with lessons that complemented shows on the A&E networks.  It also contains Creative Ideas from Teachers, where teachers can win money for sharing ideas they've come up with to engage their students in learning.  It was one of those teachers who shared the President in a Bag.

I just received an email stating the magazine will no longer be in print; it's now digital!  Here is the link for The Idea Book for Educators if y'all are interested in checking it out or adding it to your lessons.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Life of Fred - Homeschool Happens Everywhere

I'm grateful for all the wonderful ideas my friend Julie @ Creekside Learning has given me to homeschool B.  When she told me about the Life of Fred Math curriculum, it sounded like something that was right up B's alley and we gave it a try in the Fall of 2012.  B really loves his Fred!  He does not have to be told twice to work on Math and he does it independently.  :o)  A year and a half later and we're still happy with Fred.

B likes to settle into a niche, under a blanket or find a friend when he does Life of Fred and I posted several pictures of him on Instagram last year.  Julie suggested that I do a blog post, compiling all of these Life of Fred pictures and I knew she'd come up with another good idea.  Of course, then my muddled brain completely forgot about it.  Well, it's almost a year later and I just remembered, so I'm sitting down to post some of these pix before I forget again!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Reviews-day Tuesday: Cozi Online Family Organizer

I don't think there are enough products in my life to do a review every Tuesday.  However it's Tuesday, I've decided to share something with you that has helped our family and the blog title sounded appropriate and cute.  The next time I decide to share an item I've tried, I'll try to remember to do so on a Tuesday.

I've talked to y'all in the past about my favorite family planner/calendar,  the More Times Mom Family Organizer. I've even given one of these away because I wanted to share it with others.  However, due to recent health issues and stress, my memory has gone kaput! Most days over the last year and a half, I didn't remember to look at my calendar. My aunt had invited 2 of my cousins and me to a wonderful event last year and I forgot all about it because I didn't even remember I had a calendar to look at. Everytime I think of that, I am still embarrassed!  It's been really rough living inside this body and the stress I piled on myself when things like this happened just made the memory issues worse.  Even when I looked at my calendar and repeated an appointment on there over and over in my head, as soon as I turned away from the calendar, it was forgotten.

Since last Fall, I've been going to doctors appointments a lot.  At the end of each one I would be asked when I could come back for this or that test and then when can I come back to discuss the test results.  I had no idea when I was or was not free!  I would have to call them back when I got home after checking my calendar, but that also posed problems.  1) I could have obligations that I just forgot to write on my calendar, and 2) I have a terrible fear of phones.  I would put off calling a doctor for weeks because I simply could not make myself pick up the phone and call.  I needed something else to keep track of my life because my way of life no longer worked with my beloved MTM Family Organizer (oh, how I truly grieved over that loss!).

Then one day at the beginning of the year I was on The Fly Lady's website looking for a Contol Journal for B. I had decided that he needed something to keep him on top of his household obligations and school lessons.  He was old enough and I was tired of having to remind him all the time.  (Well, it's kind of hard for a child to be organized and remember everything when he has such a poor example in his Mom!)

While The Student Control Journal  was printing, I looked around Fly Lady.  I hadn't been there in a while, but she has helped me organize parts of my life before - for example, Cruising through Christmas & doing Christmas cards - so I wanted to see what's new. I was clicking on all the headings at the top and bottom of her homepage and one was "Cozi". I had no idea what that meant so I went to the page to find out.  According to The Fly Lady's website:

"FlyLady.net and Cozi have teamed up to bring to you the FlyLady Online Organizer. This is a web-based calendar and organizer program that will allow you to schedule, plan, have time-zone-specific reminders, shopping lists, to-do lists, a family journal section that you can even opt in to post to  Facebook, and more! Oh yes, and we did mention it’s free?"

I was curious, so I went to Cozi's website and read more about it.  It sounded good and, since it was free, I decided to sign up. I really liked what was included!  I was quite overwhelmed in the calendar, however, because it was full of Fly Lady reminders on each day. I am not currently "flying" with her system and would not need those, but soon figured out how to hide them all.  I immediately added a couple of items to the calendar, looked at the list options and perused the recipe bank.  It was quite
easy to maneuver through.