Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Schooling At Home

I thought I better write something about our homeschooling. I know so many people are interested in how/ why we do it, and I forget sometimes that not everyone understands the draw behind our decision.

Maggie has pretty severe anxiety, and though it is much better now that it has been, public school just wasn't working for her. She was a great student. Quiet, obedient, and never a trouble maker. But she also got overlooked a lot because of her sweet demeanor. You know, the squeaky wheel and all that jazz.

So we homeschool now, and have been for almost a year. We chose to use Washington Online School, which uses the K12 curriculum. The reason I chose this was because I felt like I needed a little bit of structure to my homeschooling, at least at first, and this provided exactly what I needed. We have a schedule of lessons, and though we can do them as fast or slow as we'd like, there is a time line that most parents follow, that coincides with the public school schedule. We basically do school every day, though there are some weeks when I just don't get to it every day, so we make up a lot of days. Ahh, flexibility.

School takes us anywhere from 15 minutes on an easy math day, to over an hour on a more intense reading day. Maggie chooses what she wants to do each day. Some days we only do math. Some days she only wants reading. Some days she wants to do every subject. We have the flexibility to do that. Sort of like public school. They don't do every subject every day, at least not in elementary school.

I know some of you are like, "but what do you do with her the rest of the day?" Good question. I let her learn. She is so good at learning, she does it without even knowing it. Today for example, she printed off some pages of a story book of pictures, and then wrote the words to the story. She made it all up, and it was great. She uses big words, which I don't remember teaching her, and she does this all on her own. She also watches a lot of TV. Yeah, I know. Mother of the year here, but it's good TV. Granted, there is plenty of Disney Channel on at my house, but there is also a lot of Martha Speaks, and Word World, and NatGeo, all of which are great learning opportunities without the kids even realizing they're learning.

I know a lot of moms that say they couldn't be around their kids all day, and that sending them to school is a way to stay sane. I totally get that. There are plenty of days when I just want some alone time, or time to do the laundry or dishes, or even to sweep the floor and have it stay clean for more than 3 minutes. But I consider myself pretty lucky that for the most part, I love being around Maggie. She is silly, and talented, and very easy to hang out with.

I've tried to talk Emma into doing homeschool next year, but she has no interest in it, and I'm fine with that. I loved middle school, and I know she will too. I also have no qualms about sending Maggie to public school if she ever wants to go. It would be a hard transition for me, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

So that's how we do it. It's fun, and it works for us. I know it's not for everyone, but when it comes to knowing what your kids need, moms have a gift for giving them exactly what will make them become the best people they can be. And if homeschooling is it, then so be it.

post signature

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Eastern Ones

Friday night we decided it was time to actually go out and do something fun. I don't know what it was about this last week, but it seemed particularly brutal. Not for any specific reason, just generally busy and crazy, but that's nothing new around here. So we thought we'd treat ourselves to something we'd never done before.

We hooked up with some friends, whom we've been trying to get together with for months, but things just keep coming up. They are great fun, and they like Indian food. So we went along, because we're sheepish, and we follow what our friends tell us to do.

I'm asking you, why haven't we had Indian food until now? Why? It's delicious! Emma's best friend in Chicago was Indian, and we had dinner with them once, and she made pizza. Indian food fail. But this time, I actually went out on a limb and ordered something I knew would look disgusting, but it was delicious. Chicken Saag. Mmmmm. Green slimy cooked spinach with chunks of chicken over basmati rice. A little Naan, and I was good to go!

Problem with Indian food is that although delicious and very aromatic, the spices infiltrate your clothes and leave you and all your accessories smelling like Indian food. My phone smelled like it the next day. My necklace did too. Weird.

So next time we go to Taste of India, I'm wearing a rubber suit, and ordering the Chicken Saag with cheese Naan.

post signature

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Green River

3 years ago this day, my family flew out to Chicago so we could spend a girls weekend together. It was such a fun trip! We went to the city and saw Wicked, which would be awesome anywhere, but thanks to my snafu, we got to take a tour of the theater before the play started, so that made it even better. We rode the Metra to town, and at 10:00 in the morning, people were already dressed to the 9's in green couture, and guzzling beers like they were going out of style.

It was good times.

We ate at Peterino's, one of my all-time favorite places, and grabbed some Garrett's popcorn to munch on for the train ride home. We indulged in Chicago style pizza, tres leches cake, and great Mexican food. We worked out with the neighbor ladies, and watched Gracie take a couple of her first steps. It was such a fun weekend.

We also got to see the Chicago River turned green. It's amazing to see. It's not just a grayish icky green like you'd imagine, it's bright green and shocking. My mom thought that was pretty cool.

This weekend holds special significance to me, because this was the last weekend I saw my mom healthy. When I vacationed back to Utah that June, she was already feeling sick, and then in 6 short weeks she was gone.

I'm so grateful I had this weekend with her. She got to see where we lived, and that we were adjusting fine. She got to see the kids and see that they had made friends and were doing well in school. I think that really helped her, knowing we were okay that far away.

She was an amazing lady, and I know that now more than ever. I miss her everyday, but today I miss her more, thinking back on that fun day in Chicago when she out-speed-walked us all to catch the train, and her laughing at the caricatures on the wall at Peterino's.

post signature

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More Medical Things

Below is a pretty graphic image. I have to give you fair warning. If you have a weak stomach, don't bother scrolling down.

Maggie had an ingrown toenail removed 3 weeks ago. It was infected, and the podiatrist went ahead and removed the ingrown part, and chemically "killed" the matrix on that part of her toe to prevent it from growing back again. A simple in-office procedure that took about 30 minutes.

He said after 2 weeks, it should be fine, but during that time, it would look red and weepy. It did. We did the required daily soaks in Epsom Salts, and changed the bandage. Things were looking good, according to what he told me.

After 2 weeks, I went to change the bandage. I admit, I hadn't changed it the day before, but since it was nearly healed, I didn't think too much about it. When I removed the bandage, I was shocked with a horrible smell. Not like a stinky foot kind of smell. A rotting flesh kind of smell. Then I peeled off the bandage, and saw a red, wet, swollen toe, with flesh peeling off.

It wasn't pretty.

I was pretty sure it wasn't supposed to look like that. So I took Maggie into her pediatrician. He was shocked with what he saw. He immediately took a swab to send off a culture, and ordered a shot of Penicillin. He also prescribed 3 times daily oral antibiotics until we could get the culture back and see exactly what we were dealing with.

I was pretty scared. He said it was probably just a Staph infection, but he needed to make sure it wasn't Pseudomonas, a more serious problem.

The next day, it looked worse, more flesh peeling off, and the smell. Oh! The smell! So I took her back in, and sure enough, he needed to drain it off, and give her a betadine soak to kill off some the the infection. He said he was certain at that point that she would lose her nail, possibly permanently, and if if the culture came back with the Pseudomonas, we would have to talk about possibly taking the toe.


You can't wear flip flops (thongs) without a big toe!

So the next day we get the call, and sure enough, it's Staph. Phew. A huge sigh of relief. Now it has been a week of antibiotics, and I'm glad to report it looks so much better. The nail is still hanging on, and the skin isn't wet and red. It has taken on a more crusty brown color. But that's what we want.

I'm glad she gets to keep her toe, because I hate bending down to tie shoes, especially in the summer.

Scroll down for the before picture. It's pretty nasty. It was taken the first day in the doctors office. The second day pictures are much worse. I'll spare you those images.

post signature

Monday, March 14, 2011

Buy Local

As a small (very small) business owner, I have first-hand knowledge of how important it is to buy locally. I've taken to spending more money in small one-man-band sort of shops rather than Wal-Mart, though I do still have a love-hate relationship with the Mart. I hope the shop owners appreciate this, because I know I sure appreciate the clients that bypass the various chain hair chop shops to come and see me, and keep me in business.

So in this vein, I decided when it came time to order new business cards, I would get away from the generic Vistaprint cards I've used in the past, and try a local gal that does great work. She has designed my sisters baby announcements, (the pictures came from here, she's my cousin, and very talented. Seriously, click those links, you won't be disappointed, I promise.) and she has always done a wonderful job. Plus, then I don't end up with the exact same business cards as two other gals in my shop. True story. Lame.

These are the finished product. I love them. They are cute, but not cutesy. Fun, but not immature. And this time they have all the correct information on them. My Vistaprint cards were ordered before the website, and before I had a physical address I wanted to advertise. These are much better.

So remember, there is always someone you know that has a talent they are trying to pursue. Or they know someone that knows someone. It never hurts to ask around before hopping online and becoming a number in a queue of thousands of faceless customers. Keep it local. Keep it small. And keep a business in business.

post signature

Friday, March 11, 2011

Medical Things

Sean is upstairs sleeping. He's in a Lortab and residual Propofol induced happy place. He's cute when he's sleeping.

He had hernia surgery again today. See, the last time he had his hernia fixed, and his boy parts became larger than normal as a funny side effect, the doctor did a medial abdominal incision. Well, about 3 weeks after his surgery, he noticed that incision had started to feel strange. It was large and soft. Over the next few months, it got bigger (and grosser), and he decided to get it checked out. Well, turns out the incision from his previous hernia surgery had herniated. Go figure.

So he had the new hernia fixed this morning. We had to be in at 5:30, and we were home at 8:30. Pretty slick operation they have going over there at the South Towne Surgical Center. Much better than a yucky stuffy hospital.

I'm sure he's feeling better than after his last surgery, at least he can sit down without worrying about sitting on anything of importance. Wink wink. And considering he came home this morning and promptly cooked up bacon and eggs for breakfast, I can tell you I'm pretty sure he'll be better soon.

post signature

Monday, March 7, 2011

Jogging and Thongs

I was lying awake one night, I seem to have caught my mom's penchant for early morning SVU reruns, and I was composing what seemed like a pretty hilarious blog post. It was 4 AM. Lots of things seem different at 4 AM.

But I still think it's pretty clever, if not hilarious. And at least it's a post, no?

So I took Emma out for a little run the other day. She's a trooper. She likes to run, and she likes to take walk breaks, which is totally fine with me. It got me thinking back to when I was kid, and my dad used to take us jogging with him once in a while. What ever happened to jogging? Just the word conjures up images of leisurely running by neighbors and waving a hearty "Hello!", then returning to a prancing gallop down the street.

Suddenly now it's become running. Running and keeping track of our heart rate and our distance to the step. Running and carrying water bottles and gel packs. Running and getting so focused on our breathing and our stride and our playlist shoved into our ears, so we don't even notice our friendly neighbors as we pass.

I miss jogging. I think I'm going to bring back jogging.

The other things I miss are thongs. Ah, thongs that you could wear to the beach, or around town. Now thongs are something completely different, although I'm sure you could still wear them to the beach and around town.

Mostly I miss the way things used to be. Slower pace, simpler, more down home. Now we deal with email and traffic and the hustle and bustle of getting through each day in one piece.

If you see me out jogging in my thongs, you'll understand that I'm just trying to get back to my roots.

post signature

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March On

I can't really express to you how excited I am to finally be in the month of March. This morning as I took Emma to school, she commented on how many birds were around. It's a wonderful sign! Spring won't be long off now, I'm sure.

This also means Sean only has 1 month left of this semester, which I know he'll be glad to have behind him. Turns out a 20 year gap between Calculus classes can make for a bit of a challenge. Next semester will be at the University Of Utah, and into his accounting program, which will be a nice change from having to take all the odd prerequisites like Basic Computers and Health and Nutrition.

March also reminds me that it's been nearly a year since I went back to doing hair. How this year has flown! I've made so many friends and wonderful clients, and I'm reminded each day how much I love my job. I'm very grateful I have this skill to use to support my family.

On a bit of less exciting note, I have officially failed at my first 2 months of running 26.2 miles. Wow. What a bummer. But I'm not giving up! I'm keeping my running log over there on my sidebar, and I'm sure one of these months I'll actually hit my goal. Now that the inversion is clearing and the weather is warming up, I'll have 2 less excuses for not going.

All in all, I'm pretty ready to get my March on. Can't you tell?

post signature