Flooding, Friends Visiting, Big Changes, and This Week at the Crosland Homeschool

This has been a fun and eventful week!  It started out Sunday with major flooding here at camp!  We were stuck for about 36 hours.  No one could come in or go out.  Here are a few pictures of the water!

img_6094

img_6096

img_6098

img_6101

img_6102

img_6103

img_6104

img_6107

img_6108

Our friends were supposed to come Sunday but obviously they couldn’t.  So, they came Monday instead and stayed through Wednesday.  We had a BLAST!  Tuesday we went on a long hike and I was able to show them around camp.  Then we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant for Taco Tuesday!  Yum!  Wednesday we carved pumpkins, then Robert took them on a tour of main camp.  They left yesterday, and I was sad to see them go!  I can’t wait until they can visit again!

img_6158

img_6140

img_6141

img_6142

img_6144

img_6156

img_6155

img_6149

img_6150

img_6163

img_6164

img_6165

img_6168

img_6172

img_6175

img_6177

img_6178

img_6180

img_6181

Last week I decided I wanted to make a change to our set up here.  We had a school room but it was mostly only used to play Minecraft on the computers and to house books, etc.  I felt that it was a wasted room, so I asked Levi if he would want it to be his room.  Initially he told me no because he would be scared.  Then, he changed his mind and said “I won’t be scared because God is always with me.  And, monsters aren’t real.”  So, yesterday we made the big change!  Now all three of our kids have their own room complete with a table or desk and their own laptops.  They are all thrilled!

Here’s Levi’s new room!

img_6200

img_6202

img_6203

img_6227

img_6228

Ethan’s new room!

img_6197

img_6198

img_6199

Both boys have some of their artwork on their walls because I had nothing else :-).

And Karis’ room with the desk.  It’s pretty crammed, but she’s happy with it!

img_6193

img_6194

img_6223

Our school area has been reduced to the kitchen/living area.  I have a corner of my room with shelves and books.  I reduced our books to about half of what we had!  Many of them I gave away, and the rest I’ll be giving to Goodwill.

img_6214

This is curriculum as well as seasonal picture books and chapter books.  Also some educational/homeschooling books for me to read.  There is some future curriculum in here as well (I’ve been purchasing things used a little here, a little there).

img_6213

img_6196

This week has been so fun with school!  Today was amazing!  Since putting the boys in their own rooms, they did their independent work in their rooms.  They completed it all very quickly and efficiently.  They didn’t have each other to distract one another.  It was a dream!

img_6205

img_6206

img_6208

img_6224

Today we read our first picture book with the Learning Language Arts through Literature.  The boys each read a book or chapter to me as well.

img_6221

img_6215

img_6217

img_6218

img_6211

Levi likes the new reading nook.

img_6254

img_6256

img_6271

img_6272

img_6261

img_6262

History with the boys has been going so well since we went back to Story of the World!  I have found that it works best for me to read to the boys instead of them listening to the audio book.

img_6220

img_6222

We did art for the first time today!  The kids loved it!  I love this curriculum!  I read about the artist, type of art, and era, and then they do some art.  Today they painted something about where they live.

img_6230

img_6231

img_6232

img_6233

img_6234

img_6236

img_6237

img_6242

Levi painted our house.

img_6238

Ethan painted a map of the camp.

img_6239

Karis painted the ditch next to our house.

img_6243

Tonight we are taking a break from Boxcar Children and we will be reading this book!

img_6212

Evening time is so great!  Karis reads out of her Bible, we read out of a novel, and last night we did art appreciation.  So fun!

img_6251

img_6249

img_6248

I found out about this new music curriculum today!  It’s $14!  We will start by studying the Baroque period!

img_6210

The kids did nature study today.  I was REALLY impressed with Levi’s spelling of the different insects and spiders!  He’s only 6, and I didn’t help him at all!

img_6209

This week has been full and amazing!

Vulnerability is Courage

13988268_552657119535_4333039544608445480_o

One day I was very vulnerable on my blog.  Then, I deleted it because I felt ashamed and that maybe I was too open.  I’m often told that I am too open, and I allow that to make me feel ashamed.  But I’m learning that vulnerability is courage.  And courage is strength.  It doesn’t make me weak to share, it makes me strong.  It is through Christ that I am able to be strong and be vulnerable.  I feel this is what God has called me to.  It’s who I am.  It’s who He created me to be.  I don’t have a reason to feel ashamed!  So, here I am.

As most of my friends and family know, I have had a really rough 10+ years.  I’ve struggled through severe anxiety most of my life.  Then the depression started after Karis was born.  Joey (my brother) committed suicide almost 7 years ago (November 30th), then I had my third child in 4 years.  I went through severe depression and anxiety after Levi was born.

We moved to Dallas to live with my in-laws 4 months after Levi was born.  I started working a very difficult job in August of that year (2010) on top of having 3 kids 4 and under.  At this time, the alcohol use started.  At this point it wasn’t very much.  I would have a drink or two in the evenings.  Not a big deal.  It was just new since we came from a camp where we couldn’t drink.

Over time, the alcohol use happened more and more.  I worked several times, only to quit because of severe anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.  I drank more and more to cope with my anxiety.  January of 2014 I ended up inpatient in a mental hospital because of severe depression and anxiety/panic attacks.  I had to quit my job (yet again).  I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 in March of that year and began new medication for that.  I was also diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (again, by a new doctor).

I was doing really well on the new medication, so I decided to try to work again at a private school.  This job ended the same way: in the hospital.  They wanted me to do inpatient because of my alcohol use, but I refused and did outpatient instead.  During my outpatient program, they tried to convince me that my alcohol use meant that I was an alcoholic.  But I was deep in denial.  I finished the 3 week outpatient program and moved on.  I ended up picking alcohol back up, but at this point, it wasn’t necessarily for coping anymore.  I was doing better not working… it was just my habit.  And, frankly, I love beer (and rum in coke zero and wine).

Fast forward to last year.  We moved to wonderful Camp Eagle.  I went through severe depression again and relied on alcohol to get me through.  About a year ago I decided to quit drinking… only I picked it up again.  This cycle would continue over and over again until a couple weeks ago.

One of the things that’s really hard is that alcohol use is totally socially acceptable.  You see it all over Facebook.  Moms especially joke about it as a way to cope with motherhood (drinking a bottle of wine is the norm).  But I’ve realized it’s not healthy, and I need to put a stop to it in my life.

I can’t even count how many times I ended up sick from alcohol use.  Once is too many, but it has happened way too many times.

A few weeks ago, we had an evening thing here at camp.  And because I am an introvert and we had had a ton of evening events here, I used alcohol to cope with my social anxiety.  I drank a whole 6 pack before the event and I embarrassed Robert.  He got really angry with me because of that.  I realized in that moment that I really need to stop.

Since then I’ve had lots of conversations with people who either struggle with alcohol themselves or are spouses of someone who struggles with alcohol.  It helped me open my eyes to the fact that I do have a problem with it.  I need to stop now.  I don’t feel ready, but who really ever does when they have a problem with something?  A new friend of mine urged me to seek outside help in the form of Celebrate Recovery or AA.  I tried a CR last week and decided it wasn’t a good fit.  On top of it not being a good fit, they won’t have any step studies starting anytime soon.  So, I’m going to try another one on Tuesday.  If that doesn’t work out, then I will get out of my comfort zone and try AA.  I prefer CR for many, many reasons, but I need the help so I’m not above AA.  I praying that CR works out!

Why share all of this?  Like I said, I feel God has called me to be vulnerable.  Not only does it help me, it helps others.  I guarantee you there are other people struggling with alcohol and they are feeling ashamed.  If you are one of those people, I urge you to get out of denial and seek help.  Share your struggle with a trusted friend, family member, etc.  Seek out a Celebrate Recovery, or if that’s not an option, AA.  It’s worth it for your health and your kids and spouse.

It’s worth it for these important people in my life.

img_2063

img_2056

img_2060

img_2073

I heard this song on my way to my doctor  appointment on Tuesday.  It is the perfect song for my new journey.  Once and for all.  I lay it all at His feet.

Date Weekend with My Love

This past weekend the kids were at my parents’.  In fact, we just got them back yesterday afternoon!  It was a really relaxing time for Robert and I.  We slept a lot, hiked a little, hung out in the back valley, watched a lot of Gilmore Girls (me) and Netflix movies (Robert).  We also had a couple of “date nights” at home!  Friday night we had steak, potatoes, and salad.  Saturday night we had homemade sushi!  It was fun experimenting!  I am officially hooked on homemade sushi!  I tried some sushi at a restaurant yesterday and it was terrible!

We took the Jeep into the back valley and got out a few times to hike around.  The plan was to camp out there, but it was SO hot that we decided to come back home.  We stopped at a cabin and spent some time there.

img_5970

img_5971

We used this recipe for homemade sushi: Smoked Salmon Philadelphia Rolls.  I used the Alton Brown recipe for sushi rice and it turned out perfect!  We loved it so much (and had the ingredients for it) that we made more last night!  I have some leftover for lunch tomorrow, and I cannot wait to eat it tomorrow!

img_5974

img_5975

img_5976

img_5978

img_5996

I’m so thankful to my parents for taking the kids for days at a time. We regularly get time to ourselves and it is really good for our marriage!

Settling In

It has been about a week and a half since I decided to stop Trim Healthy Mama.  This past week and a half has been full of peace and freedom.  I’m sure I gained back the few pounds I had lost, but I’m okay with that.  This month is full of meals in the dining hall, which saves us lots of time and money.  I’m thankful that now that I’m not doing a diet, I can eat in the dining hall!  This is our monthly meal planning calendar! DH means Dining Hall.  L means lunch, and D means dinner.  All the others are self explanatory 😉 .

img_5962

We’re settling into homeschooling so well.  I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING.  I cannot imagine going back to driving 35 minutes one way to take them to school.  I also cannot imagine teaching in a classroom again!  Our days are smooth and short!  We are usually finished by lunch or shortly after!

Karis started Learning Language Arts through Literature this week as well as her literature through her history curriculum (Notgrass).  The boys are starting LLATL tomorrow (I just got the last bit that was on backorder!).  I am in LOVE with this curriculum.  Between this and going back to do the writing/grammar that I love, we are finally hitting our sweet spot!  So now the boys are just doing Explode the Code (which I may not continue after book 4), Learning Language Arts through LiteratureMath U See (they are both on the Alpha level; Ethan will move to Beta soon), Essentials in WritingBeginning Geography, America’s Story Part 1, Apologia Astronomy, and Artistic Pursuits.  I cut out the spelling and handwriting that we were doing because it’s covered in LLATL and I’ve cut out Writing with Ease and decided to go back to Essentials in Writing (my plan from the beginning).  Karis is doing Learning Language Arts through LiteratureA Reason for Handwriting (cursive), Building Spelling Skills (Evan Moor), history through Notgrass From Adam to Us (and literature), Teaching Textbooks level 5, Essentials in WritingApologia Astronomy, and Artistic Pursuits.

eiw-2-package-icon

This is Essentials in Writing.  I am doing Level 1 for Levi, Level 2 for Ethan, and Level 5 for Karis.  Karis loves it!  I think the boys will, too!

img_5881

Karis is also doing literature through her history (Notgrass).  She has started the book Farmer Boy this week as well as The Golden Goblet through her history.  She’s doing so well!

img_5960

I received this yesterday.

img_5964

I received this today.

One of the biggest things that I’ve learned this week is that doing things the way I’m comfortable with because of my education and experience is actually a GOOD thing, not something to overcome.  I’m thankful I have the experience that I do because I know what is good for us!  I have stopped doing what I thought was best because it didn’t fit the “classical education” or “Charlotte Mason” mold that so many homeschooling mamas fit into.  We are eclectic… picking each curriculum based on what works for us.  LLATL is considered Charlotte Mason, but it’s just good.  I love using “living books,” which we called “mentor texts” when I taught.  Essentials in Writing is more traditional.  The DVD’s are taught by a certified teacher.  He teaches the way I taught writing!  I love the writer’s workshop, the writing process, and everything about it!  I have changed writing curriculum so many times because I doubted myself so much!

This week I just took a good, hard look at what *I* want from our homeschooling journey.  How do *I* want to teach my kids?

I came up with this plan.

Luckily I still had some of the old stuff that we were using. The rest I will sell.  My friend is taking a lot of it.  I am done changing my mind!  I am sold on what we’re doing because I’m not doubting myself anymore!!  It’s so freeing on so many levels!

Life could not be any better!  I’m so thankful for the life that God has allowed me to have.  My wonderful husband, amazing children, perfect little community (my tribe), homeschooling using all the curriculum that I love, the ability for the kids to play outside with friends every day, this beautiful camp to live at, and the ability to be completely stable due to medication.  God is soooooo good!  He knew what I needed and provided it!

Now What?

I have a terrible, viscous cycle.  You see, I hate my body.  I have tried for years and years to “whip it into shape.”  I’ve done most things you can imagine.  I have worked out way too much.  I have counted calories for every bite.  I have done the 21 day fix, twice (doing the diet and doing the videos plus hiking 1 1/2 hours every day).  And most recently, I tried Trim Healthy Mama (for the second time).  After months of spending TONS of money, trying a lot of food I don’t like (with some that I do like mixed in), and spending every waking moment thinking about food (and obsessing over my weight), I realized last night that I really have to stop doing this.

Now what?  I have all of this THM food that I have spent WAY too much money on.  I have a way of eating engrained in my brain that I will have a hard time doing things differently.  The idea that “thinner is better” is part of how I view life… and THM only made that worse.  I have a lot of damage to undo.

Well, I am selling some of the THM foods that I wouldn’t use.  For example, the sweeteners (xylitol and erythritol) actually tear my stomach up.  So, I am getting rid of those.  The baking blend is easy to sell, and I honestly don’t really like it.  I am going to keep and use everything else.  For the most part, I can still eat whole, real foods.  Just for the nourishment of my body.  But no more… eating fuels separately.  If I want fat with my carbs, I will have fat with my carbs.  I won’t obsess about not having sugar.  I will allow myself raw sugar (for my coffee only), sucanat, raw honey, and maple.  I will have some stevia, but it will no longer be my primary sweetener.  I love the Good Girl Moonshine, and I see the benefit of it.  I love Triple Zero yogurt.  I have tons of sprouted flour, and I love homemade sprouted bread.  I have a ton of Trade Joe’s sprouted bread in my freezer and I really like it.

I just want to live life without focusing on food and weight loss.  The thing is, no matter what I do, my weight wants to stay about the same.  So my body has found its happy weight… my mind just needs to be happy with it.

I pulled this book back out and plan to re-read it.  I want so desperately to think about food in a healthy, non-disordered way.

IMG_5871

I want to eat healthy, nourishing foods for the purpose of nourishing my body.  Not for weight loss.  I want to be DONE trying to lose weight.  Now if I can follow through with this.

One of the biggest things I’ve realized is that my disordered way of eating and focusing on weight has definitely affected my kids.  I don’t want my daughter to grow up thinking she needs to diet to be a certain size.  She has told me before that she’s glad she isn’t fat and she hopes she never gets fat.  So sad that a ten year old would think that way.  I want to develop healthy body image and teach her how to eat to nourish her body and not to lose weight.

Another thing that I’m realizing is that eating unhealthy foods sometimes is healthy and normal.  Eating perfectly is my type A mentality.  All or nothing.  Black and white.  Perfectionist.

So.  I’m going to take this one day at a time.  One moment at a time.  I can’t all of a sudden be happy with my body.  It’s going to take time.  I feel so much freedom, though.  I have felt like I was in a prison of perfectionism for a few months.  Whew.  I can do this.