Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I haven't been feeling to well since I got back from the convention. I ended up with a cold and my fibromyalgia has been acting up. I probably pushed it a little too much at the convention. Now it is a matter of listening to my body and giving it what it needs.

The convention was great. I went kid and hubby free. I was the only one in my group of friends (besides Wendy's mother) that didn't have her family there. At times I really missed the family but I enjoyed the little bit of RR. Friday night was like a slumber party in my room...crack calls included! My friend Pam ended up needing a place to stay so I welcomed her and her 3 daughters with open arms into my room. We were having fun just being goofy---looking up videos on YouTube, singing and dancing to them and then making crank calls to our friend Laura's room. It was all in good fun. Let me just say...Laura KNEW it was us and she is a real trooper. We were rolling with laughter.

I did spend some of time in the convention vendor hall feeling like I was going around in circles. I am at the point that I am sick of spending money on books and curriculum to just turn around and not use it. I am trying to make wiser decisions. I have made a few decisions so far for curriculum.

Math--Horizon for Jessica and Alex.

Phonics---Explode the Code and Hooked on Phonics (already have been using this)
Handwriting--A Reason for Handwriting. Jessica and Alex. manuscript
Zachary will be using Handwriting without Tears for cursive.
Science---Scientist Apprentice with some Considering God's Creation mixed in. The little ones also do science at co-op.

I am undecided what to do about History and Grammar. Grammar depends on History. I know this sounds weird so I will explain. I am considering doing Tapestry of Grace. There are 9 families I know that will be doing it this year---all in our co-op. It is so hard to go against the grain. Now just to make myself clear...I WAS thinking of doing TOG BEFORE everyone else started doing it. It is one of those things that I told myself "someday I will do it". I just am not sure if this is the time. I do like what they offer----HOWEVER---I am not a history person. Most days I have a hard enough time getting through the three R's. BUT I know I can't avoid history forever. Also, the three middle ones can do alot together. So if I do TOG than I will either do Easy Grammar or BJU Grammar. If I don't use TOG than I haven't decided what I am going to use. I just picked up Total Langauge Plus for Zachary and figured I would give that a try over the summer.

You may have noticed that through all that I never mentioned doing TOG with my oldest. While I find the highest level of TOG fantastic, I believe it is not a good fit for CJ. He has (almost) always used the textbook approach to history. To switch him in 10th grade I feel would not be a good idea...especially since he doesn't like to read (I hear all the gasps out there). So far I know for him:

Math--Teaching Textbooks, Algebra 2

English---Honors class at co-op with some English from the Roots up
Science--Chemistry, Apologia

At the convention I was stressing some about what to use. Now...not so much. I figure I have plenty of time to figure it out.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Back from the Convention!

It was a very good weekend at the homeschool convention. I went to 5 different workshops plus bought the cd to a bunch more. I am too tired right now to get into it all. I am hoping to get back on tomorrow. Just wanted to let you know that it was a good time.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Convention Time!!!

It's the most wonderful time of the year----Convention time!! I am at the convention, eagerly waiting for the doors to open in the morning.

Lots of thoughts are swirling through my mind as I try to narrow down what I want to use for next year. I can't wait for the sessions. I am looking forward to getting a fresh perspective and a renewed vision.

Have a great weekend in all that you do....I know I will be as I skip through the aisles and aisles of books and curriculum!!!


And yes....I am here with Wendy too : )

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Alex's Birthday

Dinner at Olive Garden

The Birthday Boy

My sister Glenda and her hubby Mike

My Mom and Emily

Alex bowling

I NEED a Makeover!

A financial makeover that is. I worked as a RN for 5 years and in September we felt that it was time for me to be home full-time. It has been tough trying to get use to being a one-income family. At times, I am VERY tempted to go back to work. I have heard of Dave Ramsey through a couple of different blogs. They have had great results following his system for getting out of debt and budgeting. Now over at The Happy Housewife she is helping out one lucky winner. She is giving away one of Dave Ramsey's books. I would like to win Financial Peace. Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Friend's Birthday Party

Saturday, Zachary and Alex went to their friend's birthday party. They had lots of fun. While there I learned something new and creative. One of the birthday presents for Joshua was from his cousin. She is maybe 10. Well this smart little cutie-pututie came up with great idea. How many times have you given a gift in those gift bags only for the card to get lost somewhere in the bag? This little girl put the card in the bag attached to a piece of ribbon that hung out the side of the bag. All that needed to be done was for Joshua to pull the string...and *puff* there's the card. I thought this was so cleaver!

My very talented friend Connie made the cake. She is amazing! If you go on Cake Central you can view all her cakes. Just type in Amazing Grace Cakes and you will find them all. Here's a picture on Saturday's creation.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Adoption Day Anniversary!!

Today is the 3rd anniversary of the day we became a forever family
with Jessie and Alex.

Signing the papers including the new birth certificates.

The court presenting Alex with a certificate saying he adopted us on that day.

Jessie being presented her papers.

The family with the Judge.

Big hugs from our social workers--who happen to be the same one we are working with for Emily

~Together Forever~

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Quick Weekend Post

Yahoo!! It's the weekend and it is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!!!! Here in Massachusetts it finally feels like spring. Yesterday was in the low 70's and today seems to be heading the same way. This is my favorite time of year---when the temp is in the 70's, sunny, maybe a light breeze...aahhh...perfect.

I went yesterday to a cookie decorating class with Jessie. It was lots of fun.

Me and Jessie

Wendy with her daughter Rachel.

My friend Laura with 3 of her daughters.
Emma, Abigail, and Katherine

Jessie's beautiful butterfly!

Made into a bouquet

We got things done this week in our homeschooling. Of course, not as much as I wanted, but we did make progress. I plan on doing some schooling during the summer so I am not stressing too much about it. Monday I went to a Tapestry of Grace Tea. This is a gathering put on by someone that already uses Tapestry to inform people on the curriculum. Pam did a fantastic job of breaking down a curriculum that looks so overwhelming. To be honest, I DID try TOG a few years ago. A failed miserably. My expectations were way too high. Actually HIGH doesn't even describe it...they were outrageous!! But now I have a fresh and more realistic expectation. I am seriously thinking of trying it again this upcoming year. I haven't decided what to do about my oldest CJ. I am praying about it right now. He is a textbook kind of kid. With that said though, he does plan on going to college in 3 years. I know from when I went to college that it is TONS of reading.....very little read a little/spit out some answers. I rather have him transition with me into a higher level of learning than send him off to college and have him lost. Next weekend is the homeschool convention so I will be doing more looking then.

Well I guess I should go. Busy day today. The kids and I spend Saturday mornings cleaning (hubby has his days off during the week). Zachary and Alex are going to a birthday party this afternoon. After that Zachary has baseball practice (Dad is the coach).

Have a great weekend!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Meanderings

It's Monday!! The start of a new homeschool week : )
This is potentially a busy week for us. Planning seems to make it go smoother. So 5 areas to work in are:

1. Bible/Devotion
As a family we need to be more consistent in devotions. My goal this week is for me to start the day off with a devotion. I have the Miller Books. They have a scripture verse I can go over with the kids and then a story. This is good for their age group. At night, Chris does his devotions with the kids.

2. To Do:
Monday---Early Intervention is coming to work with Emily for 2 hours.
CJ has an away baseball game. Need to get him to the high school early to leave.
Tapestry Tea. This is a gathering to find out all the ins and outs of Tapestry of Grace. I don't know if I will be using this this year but I know someday I will be using it.

Tuesday---Cookie Class. Jessie and I are going to my friend Connie's house to learn how to decorate cookies. I thought this would be a good mother/daughter time.

Wednesday---CJ has an away game. This one is in the city we use to live in so we will all be going to this (weather permitting).

Thursday---Co-op during the day. At night Chris has his baseball draft for Zachary's team.

Friday---CJ has a make-up class for his logic class this night. After the class the kids are going to play games.

Saturday---Zachary and Alex have a birthday party to go to. Baseball practice will be starting for Zachary this day too.

I also have to make some phone calls I have been putting off:
BJU to make sure my order went through for CJ's testing in May.

My nursing license expires next month on my birthday. I forgot to do a change of address with the board when we moved a year and half ago. I need to call them and give it to them so they will send me my application for renewal. Even though I am not presently working as a nurse I am going to keep my license active. I never know if or when I will need it. Early Intervention keeps asking me if I would be interested in working one day a week with them. It is VERY tempting.

RSVP to an anniversary party for my Uncle and Aunt. It is a surprise 40th. I think the real surprise is the fact that my cousin invited all of us!! : ) My sister was just as surprised she got invited. Don't get me wrong, I am very happy to get invited and see my cousins...I just don't know if my Aunt will be just as happy (she is a little...no let me change that...she is ALOT stuck up!!!)

3. Prepare for Convention.
I can't believe the convention is already next week. Over the weekend I did some research on curriculum choices and on workshops they are holding. Anyone using Learning Language Arts through Literature?

4. Homeschooling
I need to have more of a routine for our school day. I am easily distracted. The computer is probably my biggest downfall. I need to stay OFF of it during school time. I read somewhere before that when we get distracted by the computer, phone, t.v., or whatever your distraction may be it gives a terrible message to the kids. It tells them that school isn't that important to you for you to stop what you are doing. I have found that the kids take their lead from me.

5. Menu
Monday--Chicken and Potatoes
Tuesday--American Chop Suey
Wednesday--Taco Tuesday
Thursday--Chicken Bowl
Friday--Sloppy Joes and Fries
Saturday--Pizza Night
Sunday--Roast Chicken

I hope everyone has a great week.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Alex!!!

Today is my little love Alex's birthday. He is 6 years old today. I got my little cutie soon after his 2nd birthday (him and Jessie came as a package deal). He came to us with chubby checks, a huge smile, curly hair and lots of hugs. Four years later his checks are thinned out and his hair is cut short (can't really see the curls now) but he still has a smile that melts a heart.
Here's some pictures of him through the years.

At the park. Alex 2 years old

Alex's 1st Easter with us. 2---almost 3

Alex's 3rd Birthday!

Alex's 4th birthday

Goofing around at Alex' birthday

Alex just being cute.

Alex's 5th birthday. Do you see the horns his brother was giving him?

Alex at co-op this year.

Alex being funny during Valentine craft time.

Alex 2008 Easter.

Friday, April 11, 2008

American Idol Shocker!!

This week on American Idol it was a week called "Idol Gives Back". It is a week that they raise money to give back to the needest in the world. The host of the show and one of the judges even donated their paycheck from that week to the cause. I watched Tuesday Night's show to see them all sing their song for the competion. Wednesday was swamped with celebrities. I have to admit...I didn't watch Wednesday night and I only watched the last 10 minutes or so of Thursday. My sister emailed me today asking me if I saw the opening of Thursday's show. I was floored to find out that American Idol...a show that is seen by OVER 20 million people weekly not only OPENED Thursday's show but they also closed on Wednesday with "Shout to the Lord" by Darlene Zschech. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!! What a testimony to God. I am so excited about it that I have provided (thanks to youtube) the video of the closing on Wednesday. Enjoy!

This just happens to be one of my FAVORITE songs too!!


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Hello, I am Judy and I am Addicted to Junk Food

I am. That's the truth. And like many other addicts I over indulge and then feel guilty about it after. But unlike an addiction to drugs or drinking I HAVE to deal with food on a daily basis. I can't stop eating. Now before I get any comments back about "how can you compare a drug addiction or alcoholism to eating junk food and being overweight". Let me just say this. I understand that these two addictions are very serious, life changing, ruin your life kind of thing. I know first hand how people have lost jobs, family members, children and their own life to it. Just to make it clear...I know. Okay, with that said, I have to tell you that being addicted to food is a real problem. It too can change a life and a family. Please give me a chance to explain.

First off-- the cravings. My body literally has cravings for chocolate on a daily basis. It's an impulse to search out and find the chocolate. Once I find it and start eating it I can feel my body start to feel calmer.

Second--gaining weight/lower energy levels. I wasn't always overweight. My whole childhood I was a very small child. As an example...I didn't even hit 50 pounds until 5th grade--I remember being a size 6x then. In high school I averaged around 105 (until I got Mono). I think that is when the wrong thoughts started creeping into my mind. Believe it or not, I remember being 105 and thinking I was "fat" because my friends all weighed between 95-100 pounds. When I got Mono I gained weight from lack of activity and went up to 115-120. BTW---I had a very extreme case of Mono that lasted over two different school years. By then, I thought I was a moo-moo cow. It didn't help when I woman in church actually came up to me, pulled me out of service one Sunday and told me how she had been doing a weight-loss program and wanted to know if I wanted to go on it. Now I know I am not the jolly-green giant at 4'11" but did I look "that bad" at 115 to make people come up to me....at 17!!!
It is a fact (atleast for me) as I lose weight my energy level goes up. Just like, the more I fill my face with junk food throughout the day my energy...well I have very little.

Third--health. You know when you go to the doctors office and they have you check off all the little boxes for family history---most of mine are checked off. Both my parents have had cancer, open heart surgery (both BEFORE 60 years old), high BP and cholestrol, heart disease, PVD, angina, depression, and CHF. One parent has had a number of heart attacks and the other has diabetes. Needless to say....I AM SCARED!!! Already at 34 I have high cholesterol. I was getting depression during the winters which hasn't been too bad the last 2 winters (I do have some very down days here and there). I do have fibromyalgia. This is a widespread pain disorder. Basically, my body is in hyper drive when it comes to touch (I don't even wear makeup because it feels very heavy on my face). If I sit too long then I look like an old lady when I get up. All my muscles get stiff and it takes a bit for them to warm back up. Eating right and exercising both help with management of it.

Fourth--friends/family. With all of the above it can start affecting relationships. Being too tired to go and run around with the kids, not feeling comfortable about what size you are to go shopping with friends, not feeling attractive to your spouse (even when he tells you you are just as beautiful as the day you got married). These are real emotions.

Lastly--God. The bible calls our body our temple and I am destroying it. It might not be as dramatic as taking drugs. But nevertheless, I am slowly killing my body. It WILL eventually catch up with me. Self-control--I am not exhibiting it when I am over-indulging. I am also not being an example to my children.

So what is a girl to do. I already established that I can't go without eating. I know I can't wish it all away. I CAN learn how to eat right....6-8 glasses of water, fruits and veggies, calcium (to keep my bones strong), and portion control. I CAN get up and start exercising. I also need some direction and accountability (someone else telling me the number on the scale). To do this I decided to do a weight loss program that is #1 doctor recommended and teaches you how to survive in the "real world". I am talking about Weight Watchers. I know first hand that it works because I have done it in the past and have had success. I also have a friend that lost about 95 pounds on it and kept it off for a few years now. I have taken the first step. Tonight, before I wrote this blog entry, I went and signed up on-line. Tomorrow morning I start. Wednesday will be my first meeting.

I have to tell you one more thing though. I am scared. I am afraid of failing. I can't even imagine what I would look like with 44 pounds off of me. That is just way too far away for me to comprehend. But like any other addict, I need to just deal with one day at a time. Anything else is too overwhelming right now.

Wish me luck......no better yet....please pray for me. My number one goal is to glorify God and number two is get healthy.


Friday, April 4, 2008

Doing the Right Thing

Sometimes it is not easy to do the right thing. It can be cloudy what the right thing is. Other's may say "fair is fair". Other times it is a matter of perspective.

Tonight I was faced with a choice. Over at Life in a Shoe they were selling 3 Vision Forum dolls. Opening bid was $40 each. As soon as I saw one of the dolls, Abigail, it made me think of my precious Emily-- the dark skin, dark hair and full checks. I held off bidding (that's the Ebayer in me) because I figured I would wait until the day the bidding was to end so I could get the upper hand. But something unexpected happened to me. Instead of going in for the kill and out bidding someone I decided to let someone I have never even meet win because I felt it was the right thing to do. The person put in her comment when she bid how she was getting this doll for a girl she was adopting. Adoption day was coming up for them in May and now she just needs to get another one because the children are twins.

That did it for me. I couldn't do it. Even though I could have gone higher than her in her bid I couldn't take it away from another adoptive mother....ESPECIALLY for adoption day. As much as I would have loved to have that doll for my own little girl, the thought of another little girl getting that doll on the day she is to become part of her "forever family" warmed my heart.

The bidding just ended 20 minutes ago. 40 minutes ago I had been fast asleep until Emily woke up wanting to be topped off (fed). I fed her and snuck downstairs to check to see if anyone else had bid. Instead I found a nice message under the bids from the original lady who bid for Abigail. She said that she didn't want me to feel bad and go ahead and bid if I can go higher. I was tempted. She told me to-- I thought to myself. As I held little Miss Emily I realized I have plenty of time to get her this doll. Emily is only 1. I don't have a date yet for finalization. I figured I have time. Getting the doll tonight would have been more for me then her. With that, I gave my precious girl a kiss and put her back to bed. I came back down to the computer and saw that no other bids were made. I am so very happy for that other family right now. Aren't you : )

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Not so Wordless Wednesday

FLU!!! It has hit our home. My poor hubby and baby girl are sick. Chris came home from work Sunday not feeling well. Body aches, tired, headache. I just thought that he was run down. He is lucky if in any given night he gets 4 hours sleep. He gets up between 2:50 and 3:20 a.m. 5 days a week....while still going to be most days after 11. He does take a nap most days when he comes home, but still....it isn't good for you. I thought it had just caught up with him. By Sunday night he was running a fever and down for the count. Monday afternoon Emily had Early Intervention. Usually she is a happy little girl. Very playful. NOT MONDAY! It was to the point that if I just looked at her or talked she would start crying (I thought she wasn't suppose to do that until much later in life ; ) We cut the session short. Sure enough, after EI left I took her temp---102. I knew it!! During EI I said I thought she had a fever. EI reached over and told me she didn't feel warm. A MAMA KNOWS!

They both went to the doctor yesterday. He said it was the flu and just keep doing what we are doing. I praise God no one else has gotten sick (I am sure the Vitamin C pills I have been giving everyone else is helping). Since last night I have felt almost on the brink of getting something..but nothing yet. I pray it stays that way.

Emily was suppose to go to Children's Hospital yesterday to have the leads put on for her 48 hour EEG. Needless to say, I canceled. I couldn't see putting her through that while she was already miserable. But wouldn't you know...today she had one of her episodes. How fustrating. I couldn't get my camera out fast enough to tape it.

Tomorrow is co-op. We don't have too many weeks left. Including tomorrow, I believe there are 6. I love my class. They are a great group of young adults. I try to make things interesting and make them laugh. Last week they were doing a dissection of a perch (fish). I was going over to the different work stations talking to them about what they were doing. Someone mentioned how tight the jaw was on their perch. So me, being the comedian that I am, put my finger slightly in--screamed and told them my finger was stuck. Their faces were priceless. It made up for the earthworm dissection. I am paranoid of worms. I am talking about full blown freaks me out (the way some are afraid of spiders). When I was a child my brother use to chase me around with them and then throw them at me : (
I warned the class of this. After they got done with their dissections that week a few of them thought they would be funny and tie their worm in a bow for me. Then try to show me. NOT FUNNY!!!

I just realized I forgot to put Easter pictures up. Here are a few. I must run and finish getting ready for tomorrow.

My crew.


Just being goofy.

She had enough Easter by now.

CJ and Emily

Emily hamming it up.

CJ helping Emily find the eggs

Emily looking in her bucket

Alex and Jessica