Thursday, July 31, 2008

A request...

To whoever was praying for me a half hour ago: Bless you, bless you. And can you set a reminder for yourself to pray for me at 6pm every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday from now until...well, until they come out with an approved oral med (my neurologist hopes it'll be out in 2010 - it's currently in trials and doing very well so far!)?

I picked the hip. I figured it this way: The thighs are worst, closely followed by the hips (which makes me feel even worse when my baby has to get her immunizations). So I'm doing a hard-easy-hard-easy pattern. So I did thighs first, then arms and it was time for my next hard spot. Believe it or not, yes, the stomach is considered easy. They say it's because the stomach doesn't have lots of nerves there so that makes sense to me. Apparently, your hip and thighs have LOTS of nerves. But, sweet Prayer Warrior, Big Bertha went easy on me tonight and I thank you from the bottom of my....errr....hip. ;) She hurt me but not as bad as some of the lower dose shots. I did get my headache faster tonight but maybe I'll get lucky and it'll go away faster too. The original dose was 8.8 mcgs, then I went to 22mcgs and Big Bertha was 44mcgs. Hopefully the side effects are as tolerable as the last two dosages.

Matthew, quietly making his lunch, announces, "Mom, 10 times 3 is 30!" "Yep," I said, in unschooling fashion, not immediately quizzing him on other problems he can solve. He continued, "Because 10 plus 10 plus 10 is 30!" "Yep," I answered again.

Just now, I asked him what made him think of that this afternoon. Was he counting something? "No, just sometimes my mind starts thinking about numbers and I think about them...and then my mind thinks about something else".

I was recently talking to a friend who wanted to know how to answer strangers when they asked about what kind of schooling they do at home. My answers are different depending on who we're talking to. If it's a grocery store check-out lady, I just say that "we homeschool". If it's a neighbor or friend, I might go into the concept of unschooling or 'child-led interests' or 'relaxed homeschooling' or 'delight-driven learning' (most of these are roughly the same concept). I told her that the first question people invariably ask is, "But what if they don't want to learn xxx subject?" Usually that subject is math. I'd say nine out of ten times, it's math (and the other 10% is science). My answer is usually, "How can they *not* learn math? It's everywhere. It's in cooking, in drawing maps, in spending their money on items at the store, in helping Hubby build something for the yard, in calculating square footage for painting a room with Mom. You can't escape math just because you don't like to sit in a stuffy classroom with some old man (all my math teachers were old men who couldn't relate to me) spouting theorems at you and forcing you to recite the times tables. And sometimes, math just pops into your head and you think about it for a while and then, you think about something else.

Big Bertha

Yep, tonight's the night. Big Bertha. The whole shabang. I take my shots up to full dosage in about 20 minutes. Wish me luck.

The only question I have to answer now is...stomach or hip?? The ponderings of a madwoman. I suppose, since my hips are sore anyway what with all the chiro work, maybe I should let them rest. Or, maybe I should go for it since they already hurt, just make one part of my body hurt?? Hmmm...decisions, decisions...

'Course you know where I *really* wish I could stick Big Bertha. ;)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I survived!

Yep, I survived the chiro! It really was not bad at all. My right hip was twisted back so he gently put it back into place. It didn't hurt but in truth, my hip joints are tender and a little sore - but if you've been walking around that long out of place, yeah, it's gonna hurt a little when you right it. I also feel like one leg is long than the other; I guess I'm going to have to learn to walk again. Do you think I'll learn before Linnae does??

I haven't blogged much - we've had company. Two weeks ago, I had one of my favorite nieces stay with me and the following week, I had one of my other favorites nieces stay with me. We had SO. MUCH. FUN. During the first week, Shopper and I cleaned up a HUGE portion of the basement while Hubby was out of town on business. I'm still amazed at how much we accomplished in less than two days. Then Shopper and I went shopping. Did I say she loves to shop?? We hit this mall and that mall and Target and Walmart and by the end of the week, I was exhausted. It was a wonderful I've-been-busy-having-fun exhaustion but exhaustion nonetheless. She watched me up triple the doseage of my shots and live to tell the tale. She even watched me give myself a stomach shot in the parking lot of a scrapbooking going-out-of-business sale. The kids were in evening VBS that week so Shopper and I got quite a bit of time in the evenings to just us and baby Linnae.

That Saturday, her sister came up and the three of us went to see Little Women: The Musical, performed by some college kids nearby. It was a good show and fun to dress up and be girly instead of mommyfied, for a change. Shopper went home on Saturday.

Last week was much different. Freshman and I (wow, I still can't believe it!) slowed down. She's more into talking and 'hanging' and after my busy shopping week, I was happy to indulge. We got out and did some shopping and ate out a few times - it was a fun week. When I hurt my back on Friday, I was all the more glad she was here to help out with the kiddos. It was so sad to see them leave but I hope to see them again before school starts.

I can't even write what it meant to have them up here all to myself. SIL has 4 kiddos and I have 4 and when we're together, it's 10 or 12 people and we're all so excited to see each other and you feel like you get to see them but not SEE them, you know?? It was such a joy for me to have them here. I got a glimpse into my teen years again and felt quite young-at-heart. I can hardly wait for next summer when they visit again! Until then, Facebook will have to suffice.

For those who are asking about my shots - they're going well. I have gotten over the deep exhaustion I had the first couple of weeks and the other side effects (nausea, fevers, chills, body aches, etc) are completely gone. I do typically get a headache about an hour after the injection but it's tolerable and, other than that, if it weren't for the actual injection site, I probably wouldn't know I'm taking anything. The medium (liquid) they place the medicine in stings like you wouldn't believe. But, at least if it's furious, it's also fast. The sting is mostly gone in two or three minutes. But it *is* a doozy.

Matthew just ran downstairs to show me an origami elephant. "Mom, aren't you surprised? After a year, I can still do it! Of course, I had to use the book...I find that it gives better directions than my mind remembers." ;) Welcome to my world, son.

So for now, I'm getting used to my "new" hips and trying to take it easy and not re-injure myself. I'm so fortunate to have a loving husband who can cook and clean...and who does cook and clean, without me asking. In fact, he honestly does a better job than I do in the cleaning department! The kids are dancing upstairs to their VBS music, I can hear Hubby finishing up his job related work downstairs and I'm sitting in a nice air conditioned home while it burns up at 104F outside. Life is good.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My body is falling apart

I was getting out of the van (was taking the kids bowling for the first time) on Friday morning and felt shooting sharp pains in my lower back so bad that it took me to the ground. Fortunately the van door was open and I got to sit on the floor boards instead. I found a chiro and he said I've strained/sprained my lower back muscles, probably due to an underlying misalignment of joints. I still have that rib pain that I had all last winter too - it's better, but never fixed, you know? I suppose that is probably related to this.

So I'm going to conquer my fear of chiros and just do it. Anything at this point to have a fully functioning body again...well, as functioning as it can be anyway. The chiro put me on a stim machine (to promote healing) and sent me home with a portable stim machine (for pain relief - kinda numbs the area) and strict "rest" instructions for the weekend. I'm definitely doing better but still have a way to go. I have another appt with him on Monday afternoon, probably for an actual adjustment. eeek. I just hope he doesn't make it worse.

Your mission? Post a comment on how WONDERFUL you feel after you visit the chiro. Geez - I have had a drug-free childbirth, I give myself shots 3 times a week that sting like the dickens (yes, the higher doseage does REALLY sting) and I'm STILL scared to death of the chiropractor. Insane, I know, but there it is.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Educational Reform

"Sir Ken Robinson is author of Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative, and a leading expert on innovation and human resources. In this talk, he makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it. (Recorded February, 2006 in Monterey, CA. Duration: 20:02)" -

In my wandering aimlessly on the internet today, I came across this video in one of my homeschooling groups. While I don't think Ken is pro-homeschool per se, he talks about education reform in the truest sense of the words. I really like what he has to say here and my experience in public school was much as he describes. Even in art and music classes, we were doing it right or wrong. I love that line from Little Women when Laurie says, "My music is like your paintings: a mediocre copy of another man's genius." This is what "art" and "music" classes were like for me in school. Either I painted the apple "right" or I "could have done it better" - like there was a minimum standard in ART. Isn't ART someone's impression, someone's feelings/thoughts on something? How can you put a standard on it, for each person will have his or her own standard. Music is a little more concrete - you follow the music and play it as written. However when, through 10+ years of flute instruction, did anyone ask me to play something from my heart? Something that wasn't music I'd already heard or seen? Something that was truly *my* art, and not just my rendition of someone else's genius. I'm not sure that I can call myself artsy just because I can play the flute and guitar and read music and sing well and am slowly learning piano. I'm learning how to play instruments and read and play music but am I actually ARTSY? No, I think not.

Interesting speech - listen to it if you have the 20 minutes. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I'm not so sure...


As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My Girly Girl

In Rose's room, you will find everything befitting a girly girl.

Tons of stuffed animals:

More stuffed animals:

Hard animals galore (how they all get along in that box, I have no idea):

Littlest Pet Shop extravaganza:

A well-used art desk:

Lots of recently weeded out books:

Books (and some music) on cds and tapes:

And two dinosaurs. Big T is her *prized* possession...that she begged and begged and begged Grammy for at Christmas. Then my girly girl actually cried when she opened him. Maybe she's a tomboy after all. Though, Big T can usually be seen wearing a pink t-shirt or a feather boa or a green glittery scarf. Don't ask me, I just work here.

To be fair...

Since I did a blog post several weeks ago about the Subway contest excluding homeschoolers, I feel it's my duty to announce that they've changed the contest a little and homeschoolers are now included. Here's the link to the new contest, open to all kids pre-K - 6. (and apparently they have a proofreader now, who can actually spell...or at least knows how to use spell check.)

It doesn't affect our eating habits because, as I said before, we don't buy sub sandwiches if we're going to eat out - we like hot meals. ;) But I'm glad they chose to change the exclusivity of the contest.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


NO, not mine!! I'm DONE, for the love of Pete! ;)

My niece had a baby yesterday. I'm officially a Great Aunt. Now if that doesn't make me feel old, I'm not sure what will. At least I can't say, as Hubby can, that my sister is a Grandma. Teeheehee...anything to keep a few years on him. lol But I digress.

Her baby is just beautiful! Full head of the softest black hair ever. Darker complexion that she'll grow to love when she realizes she doesn't have to ponder tanning alternatives. Very alert and just taking the world in. Her name is Ariel, meaning 'lion of God'. I didn't hear her lungs so I can't testify to the lion part but I pray she live up to (at least the other part of!) her name. :) She's not a mermaid (as the girls asked) but she's definitely a beautiful princess! Pictures coming hopefully soon (dummy me forgot my camera!).

And speaking of babies, I've started a 365 project. It's a separate blog where you take a photo every day for a year and post it. I will likely save several days' posts and then just do the actual photo uploading and posting at one time but I *will* take a photo every day. If you're interested in following along, here it is:

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

If These Walls Could Speak

Rose: Can you warm up my lunch for me?
Matthew (in a very sweet tone): Rose, you can do it yourself. God doesn't want you to be helpless!

While the older two were at VBS today, I took Linnae and Jade to WallyWorld and saw their 'school supplies' were on sale. I grabbed tons of crayons, colored pencils and .05 notebooks. While standing in the checkout line, Jade was eyeing her new finds and exclaimed, "You got new crayons for meeee??" Then, her excitement immediately changed and she got a super serious look on her face as she held out her hand in a talk to the hand way, "only. on. paper."

Monday, July 07, 2008

Confessions of an Unschooler

Dropped Matthew and Rose off at VBS this morning. I took my 2nd shot last night and though I was worried that I was sugar-coating my memory of it, I realized that I truly wasn't. It really wasn't bad; it felt more like a mosquito bite than a 'shot'. I have to massage it for 2 minutes to help the medicine dissipate and while the medicine is dissipating, it does sting a bit but the needle, which was my main fear, is really nothing. I took it at 6pm and went to bed at 10p, asking God to allow my body to accept the meds without major hurdles. Hubby woke me around 12:45a for more Ibuprofen and I slept MUCH better than I did the first night. I feel a little 'sloshy' - not seasick, not dizzy, but things in my line of sight just seem to move a bit too easily, you know? So with all those kids jumping all over church this morning with VBS excitement, I had to go lean against the wall and close my eyes for a few minutes until I could leave my kids with their class. And I feel a tad bit achy but the Ibuprofen is taking care of that. All in all, not too bad. I'll do this dosage for the next 4 shots and then almost triple it. Thank you for all the comments and emails and kind words and prayers. They're sincerely appreciated.

Now for the confessions...
I worry when I drop my kids off for a program without me. Not that they'll get hurt or be abducted or anything like that (well, nothing more than normal mom worry, that is). I worry because they're homeschoolers and they don't know the (what I like to call) school-setting-etiquette. You know, the raising hands to answer questions, asking to go to the bathroom or for a drink of water, etc. I could see them totally forgetting to ask permission and just run out of class yelling, "PAUSE THE STORY - I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!" as is customary in our home. ;) But the more programs they're involved in, the better they get at remembering the rules so that's not a huge concern. The biggie is this: I worry about how my kids answer questions. For a school setting, teacher asks a pointed question, expecting a specific answer. Kid answers with the response they think the teacher is waiting for. But here at home, we just talk to each other. If I ask him a question, I encourage him to really think about it and to expand his range of thoughts into more questions. Now I realize that for the sake of practicality, you just can't do that in a classroom where you have 45 minutes to get just a few concepts into those 25 minds. But I do worry about Matthew seeming to 'take over the class' just from the way that he's used to talking and answering questions and exploring ideas.

I also worry because those two in particular have seemed quite restless (and in a trouble-making mood, if I can be so bold) the last few weeks. It could be they've been working off of my shot anxiety or that I was sick for a good portion of June or that it's summer or that the tags in their clothes are driving them nuts (lol) or any number of things. But they've been restless nonetheless and I just hope they behave themselves and have fun learning more about God. Maybe just a break from the house will cure their restlessness. ;)

Friday, July 04, 2008

The best laid plans

Our 4th pictures:

Rose runs up to me with a blank piece of paper and a pen. She says, "Mom, write, 'may I please have Indy's hat?' on here." Eyeing her suspiciously, I begin to write. Matthew says to her in a hushed whisper, "Give it to me!" Not putting two and two together, I keep writing. Thanking me, she turns and hands the paper to Matthew and says, "There. Now give it to me." He sighs, hands the paper straight back to her and she immediately opens her hand to reveal the hidden Lego Indiana Jones hat.

Reason To Homeschool #532:
Matthew, in an effort to be sweet and sympathetic to his not-feeling-so-great mom, was giving me a back rub. I was thoroughly relaxing at his soft fingers when he said quietly, "You know, I think homeschooling moms get more massaging because their kids stay at home more often." My shoulders started shaking, breaking the relaxation, just before the fits of laughter encompassed us all.

The Price

literature = free

medicine filled needles = $125/month copay

needle auto-injector = months of the five stages of grief (well, maybe four - I'm not sure 'acceptance' has set in yet), followed by weeks of worry and anxiety and fear

travel bag for the auto-injector and medicated needles = free

plate of milk and cookies to reward yourself for pressing the button on the auto-injector yourself = priceless

Though I really had to fight the urge to crawl under the table (and my dining table is quite tall and would have worked well for me), I persevered and stared that needle straight in the eye. I put the auto-injector on my thigh and it only took me about 5-10 seconds (after eyeing Hubby for one last encouraging look) for me to press the button. I was pleasantly surprised. The needle is very small (the smallest on the market for MS medications) and it's a subcutaneous injection so it doesn't have to go in too deep. The needle didn't hurt much at all...much like a mosquito bite. It certainly was much less painful than the 4x daily finger pricks for the gestational diabetes blood sugar tests! The medicine, on the other hand, did sting a bit but it also wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. Holding the button down for a ten-count wasn't too horrible either. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised. This was the smallest dose (I'll be getting about five times this much in another month) and the amount of fluid to be injected will double as well. But I'm trying not to think about that (denial is the first stage).

As for the side-effects, they weren't great but not as bad as they could have been. It can take a good six months for my body to "get used" to the medication until I'm seeing slight (or no) effects (and hopefully I'm not one of those who never gets used to them). About 4 hours after I took the shot, pure and utter exhaustion set in. It felt like I'd taken about 4 Benadryl's on top of the other. I could barely keep my eyes open to finish cooking dinner. Kids got down to bed late and I finally crawled to my own bed around 9pm, very early for me. Though I was already on Ibuprofen, I was still running a fever when I went to bed. Sleep was very restless and I woke repeatedly all night long with the fever. I feel groggy and sleepy this morning but nothing I can't handle. I do expect the side effects to keep worsening as I go along (they warn of flu-like symptoms with fever, chills, nausea, muscle-aches, tiredness). The injection site looks like a mosquito bite with a large (quarter-sized) red circle around it. I'd show you a picture of that but hey, it's my thigh! ;)

I'm actually on an introductory program for the medication so it's only $50/month for a year for the medication. In the grand scheme of things, $125 isn't bad considering that, without insurance, it's over $2K a month...and if you look at it that way, Hubby just got about a $24K raise. lol

Keep MS research in your prayers. They're currently working on oral trials of this medication and my doctor is hopeful that it might be out in 2010. I know there are many MSers who are so scared of needles that they simply won't go on the medicine so please keep this medical research on your prayer list. And if you want to pray for me, pray for continued courage, understanding kids and mild, quick side effects.