Finally Thriving, Not Just Surviving

The past 2 weeks have been long and stressful and amazing.  I was in town 10 times in those 2 weeks (either Kerrville or Rocksprings).  Karis broke her arm and we went to urgent care on Monday the 9th, Karis started school on the 10th, choir was on the 11th, we went to the orthopedic doctor on the 12th, the 14th we went to Wild Seed Farms and Robert and I had a date day (amazing day!!!!!), the 15th we went to the Alumni meeting at La Hacienda and I got my 1 year chip (and we picked up the kids), the 16th I went to AA (and Robert took Ethan to the ER that night for asthma), the 17th I went to town to get Ethan’s steroid med filled, the 18th was choir, the 19th Karis met with her partner for science fair at the library, and Friday Ethan and I went to the doc for a follow up and we got groceries.  The urgent care, ER, and doctors were not good (well, the docs and stuff were great but having to go wasn’t good), but the rest was!  And I’m really starting to feel better.  I’m having a few physical symptoms that I’m not sure about, but I’m still just taking it one day at a time.  I might go back to the doctor eventually.  It’s nothing extreme.  And tomorrow I will see my psychiatrist.  That’ll be good!  I don’t think I really need to make any changes.  I feel like things are going better and while I do have anxiety still, I don’t want to take more meds and I think it’s just something I have to live with.  I’ve learned a lot of coping skills and put those into place when I’m struggling.  Things are going well for the first time in a long time!

Tuesday we had “HAF (Home Away From) Homes.”  This is time with our gap year students (well, 3 of them).  We share with our neighbors who we love deeply.  It’s such a sweet time!

Friday was so fun.  I had an entire day with Ethan.  The appointment with the doctor went super well.  We got all of his asthma meds refilled and we’re going to focus on getting him completely stable in that area.  He got a flu shot.  Then we got donuts and got some blood work done to see what he’s allergic to.  We got groceries (I spent very little and am so proud of myself!) and we got Halloween costumes.  Then went to eat at a Chinese restaurant (Ethan’s choice).

This past weekend was so productive.

Saturday I cleaned the house nearly spotless.  It has been a long time coming!  I have just been having the kids clean it and obviously that means that things weren’t being cleaned super well. So I deep cleaned the bathrooms.  I cleaned the floors.  I cleaned and organized my bedroom (desperately needed to be done… I had piles everywhere).  I got caught up on laundry.  Washed some sheets (I need to finish that this week), and washed towels and bathroom mats.  The kids cleaned their rooms (not spotless, but good enough for now).  I did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen.

After the kids cleaned, they enjoyed time with their friends and Levi enjoyed time reading fall and Halloween books that I pulled out :-).  At the end of the day we watched a movie as a family (Spiderwick Chronicles… so good!).

Sunday I did a bunch of food prep!  Mini whole wheat pumpkin banana muffins.  Homemade whole wheat bread (though it didn’t rise real well).  I made lunches for 4 days.  I bagged snacks.  Cut cantaloupe.  Cut veggies for the veggie tray.  Froze pumpkin in candy molds for smoothies.

The kids were out playing with friends this whole time.  The boys went fishing in the river.  Karis played with her friends.  I love that they have each other!

Robert worked, then he had to go pick up the camp jeep because it broke down.

At the end of the day I did a quick pick up of the house, finished the dishes, set the coffee up for the next day, signed the kids folders, and did a little bit of spot sweeping.  I went to bed exhausted and fell asleep pretty quickly!  It was so great!

I really think having all three kids in school is the best for our family.  I feel so much better mentally/emotionally.  The kids are thriving.  Karis is actually doing so much better this time.  She feels somewhat stressed, but she’s handling it very well.  I encourage her constantly and she has amazing teachers.  She’s making A’s and B’s!  A 100 in science and even an 86 in math!  This is HUGE, especially since she came in late in the school year.  Also, she’s doing well writing with her left hand since her write arm has a cast on it!

Yesterday I went to AA (always amazing!), then I had a nice lunch on the patio of Chili’s afterwards.  Then Walmart, then home!  We had dinner with friends last night.  It was so amazing!

I always get my Sonic Coke Zero with lime before AA.  And there’s a dollar there because they take up donations to pay for the fee for using the building, material, etc.  That’s my AA Big Book.  We read “How It Works” last week and this week.  It’s my favorite chapter in the book.  It tells you how to work the 12 steps.

The burger was a Smokehouse Cheeseburger.  It had a special sauce, crumbled bacon, 2 amazing onion rings, and all the veggies.  It was so amazing, and of course I love their fries.

Today I’m hosting ladies’ Bible study here.  It’s always a sweet time of fellowship.

Life is good!!  Praise God for this!!

We Can Do Hard Things (with the power of Christ!)

Whew.  It’s only Wednesday and I feel like it should be Friday.  This week has been long and it has been a struggle for Karis and I.

I’m currently sitting in our wonderful library sipping coffee (they have a little coffee bar!) and listening to the amazing library director teaching kiddos about alliteration and assonance in poetry and other writing.  It’s pretty fun and kinda makes me miss teaching, but not really.  We have a fantastic community of teachers, library employees, administration, and more!  I also just signed up for Overdrive which is an app where I can check out ebooks and audiobooks on my phone and iPad!

Anyway.

Saturday the kids were riding their bikes at the basketball court.  They were playing some sort of game.  At some point Ethan threw an empty soda can on the ground and when Karis came up on it, she tried to avoid it, and she fell off her bike.  She scraped her knee and hurt her wrist.  The next morning she told me that she didn’t sleep at all because it hurt so bad.  I wanted to take her in, but Robert wanted to give it a little bit of time because there was no swelling or bruising.  She had some time off and on where it didn’t seem to hurt her as much (like when she played on the Wii!).

Robert and I made some pumpkin cookies and played lots of games (totally a side note).

She was in so much pain when I took this picture.

She fell asleep almost right away.  The next morning she was thrilled that she could make a fist again!  She seemed to be feeling somewhat better so we continued on with our plans.  The kids didn’t have school on Monday so we went to Kerrville and my mom was going to hang out with them while I met with my sponsor and went to AA.  Karis kept going back and forth about how she felt.  She was hurting, she wasn’t hurting too badly, and so on.  I had told my sponsor that I was going to take her in (then changed my mind again when she seemed okay).  I ended up leaving all of the kids with my mom at the park and I went to Starbucks.  After a little over an hour I called my mom to see how Karis was doing and she told me that she seemed to be hurting pretty badly and that it’s a little more swollen (they had gone for a walk in the park).  I decided at that point to just go ahead and take her in.

We went to the urgent care clinic because they have the ability to do the X-rays right there.  When we got there they said that only one doctor is doing the walk ins (they also have primary care doctors) and it would be about 1:30 before someone could see us.  So we filled out paperwork and they set our appt time.  We decided to go have lunch with my mom and the boys.  We ate at Denny’s and Karis wouldn’t move her wrist the whole time.

It took a while but we finally got back to the see the doc and he was fantastic.  He did an exam and pinpointed exactly where she was hurting the most.  After the X-rays he told us that it looks like a significant break in her radius at the wrist.  He said that he was going to put in a referral for an orthopedic doctor and that the nurses would do a splint until we could see the orthopedic.  He also said that I would hear from him in a day or so after they get the final results from the radiologist.  Karis and I were both surprised that it was broken (and her daddy!).  It just looked so “normal.”

The hardest part about this whole thing is that it’s her writing hand.  And she started school yesterday.

She woke up easily and was really excited in the morning.  Unfortunately the excitement turned to difficulty almost immediately.  (I love this picture!)

Yesterday was a really hard day for her.  She was hurting, her splint is heavy, her sling rubs her neck, she was cold because we couldn’t figure out the best way to put her jacket on her with the sling, she had to write with her left hand, she spilled her lunch trying to carry it, she struggled with math, etc.  She came home and cried and cried.  Then when her daddy came home she cried some more.  She told me last night that she already misses homeschooling (which is so hard for me).  Her daddy made her favorite food last night (3 cheese and sausage yellow grits) and she just got to watch some stuff on her Kindle (on Kidstube) so she could zone out for a little while.  She and I slept in the living room one more time because she has been sleeping so good there and she needed that sleep.

Oh, and the doctor called me and said that it is in fact broken (Karis was hoping that the doctor was wrong and this was a big part of her crying).

I asked her that if her arm wasn’t broken would her day have been as bad and she said no.  The arm being broken is what is making everything so difficult.

My friend reminded me last night that “we can do hard things” so I told Karis that when she feels like something is too hard, just tell herself “I can do hard things.”  She said that she doesn’t believe that.  But we will keep working with her.  She is going to learn perseverance through all of this.

This broken bone thing is new to all of us.  I never broke a bone.  My brother never broke a bone.  Robert never broke a bone.  None of my kids have broken bones (until now!).  So it feels like a big deal (and it’s costing a lot!).

Today I came to town and had lunch with each kiddo.  When I saw Karis, she seemed pretty happy!  She told me that it has still been hard, but better than yesterday.  It helps that it’s not raining and cold today!  And she’s slowly getting used to using her left hand for everything.  She was also really excited about choir this afternoon.  I’m happy to be back here, too 🙂 (choir is in the library).

After I had lunch with each kiddo, I had lunch at my favorite Tex Mex restaurant by myself :-).  Then I went to the post office and decided to drive around a bit.  I haven’t seen much than what’s on the main highway, and since I had time, I decided to check things out.  There are actually some pretty cute houses!  It’s a very low income town so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Pretty much all of the houses are small, but I love that they are all very different.  There are brick, rock, and wood houses and some trailers.  But they’re all mixed together.

She just got out of school and she’s sitting next to me reading.  She had a good rest of the day and I feel hopeful!  Tomorrow morning we will be meeting with the orthopedic doctor.  I’m hoping that she doesn’t need surgery (I don’t think so, but you never know).  I’m looking forward to her getting her regular cast and just moving forward.

We can do hard things (with the power of Christ!).

My Health and Big Changes

Gosh.  I don’t really even know where to start.  I haven’t written in a long time and it has been mostly because I have felt pretty horrible.

I was sleeping all the time, no energy, eating very little, and my cough continued.  I went to the doctor again about a week and a half ago and she told me that she thinks I have bronchitis (though my breath sounds sounded fine, I had some symptoms of it).  She decided to try a steroid and she gave me another 10 days worth of Tessalon Pearles.  Over the next few days I started feeling better, but still not 100%.  I went back in on Monday because I was having a hard time breathing (though my cough was somewhat better).  Again.  Normal breath sounds, oxygen level was normal, etc.  She told me that she thinks it’s anxiety but gave me orders to get a chest x-ray and EKG just to rule things out (though told me a few times that she didn’t think we would find anything).  I haven’t gone yet because it’s very expensive.  Over the next several days things started getting slowly better.  My cough was slightly better and I started having more energy and desire to do things.  Last night was another horrible night with my cough.  I just resigned myself to decide to get the x-ray next week, still not sure that it will be worth the money (we just don’t have the money to throw away).  Then this morning my friend sent me an article that made so much sense.  It was about a woman that had an unexplained cough for 10 years.  She ended up finding out that she had silent reflux.  And I remembered that there were two ladies in a FB group that told me the same thing.  So I did a little research.  Sure enough.  I have a lot of the symptoms.  Robert just happened to be in town so I called him to see if he could pick up a reflux med.  The prescription strength ones are now over the counter.  I’m hopeful!  We’ll see what happens.  Today I’m really tired because I coughed all night.  I’m so ready to feel well.  It has been so long.

Now on to other, bigger things going on in my life…

I have been struggling with homeschooling Karis.  Between my mental illness and being physically ill for a long time, I felt that she needed something that I couldn’t offer her.  I have been asking her for a few months to consider going back to school and she has been completely set against it.  Just the idea brought her anxiety and she seemed stressed to discuss it.  Fast forward to this past Wednesday.

We went to Rocksprings (the town where the boys are in school) for a homecoming parade.  It was so fun!  The whole town shut down to be part of this parade.  Each class had their own themed float.  They threw candy out to the people watching.  Karis gathered a lot!  The boys enjoyed throwing it.  The parade ended with a huge bonfire at the Fairgrounds.

On the way home, Robert and I were talking about how much fun being a part of a small community like that is.  We were talking about how we wished that Karis would be okay with going to school there so we can just fully invest in the community.  It’s hard being split like we have been.

That night I sat down and talked to Karis about the possibility of talking with two of her teachers from last year (one that she just loved, and the other that is now the principal).  I said that we can discuss her fears, anxieties, and reasons why she left and figure out ways to work through all of that to make things more successful if she were to come back.  She was open and willing to discuss things.  I emailed the teacher and principal and they were so happy to hear from me.  They agreed that it would be so good for Karis to be back at school.

We met yesterday morning.  Karis was acting a little annoying… I had to pull her into the rooms.  But she is just literally so anxious/nervous and has trouble controlling herself.  She was making her weird noises and talking like a little kid (also what she does when she’s nervous).  But over time she opened up and started acting a little more “normal.”  We talked about her crying last year, her struggle with math, her struggle with friendships, and counseling.  We decided at the end of the meeting that it would be good for Karis to do a placement test in math to see if she needs to go back to 5th grade or stick with 6th grade.

IMG_3080

She did the placement test (which is just a released STAAR test) right away.  We were told that we would hear back by the end of the day with the score and their decision about what grade she would be in.

She and I went to Kerrville and had a great day in town.  We ate lunch at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants and sat on the porch in 75 degree weather.

We went to Starbucks and I had a PSL and she had a mummy cake pop.

We went to a craft store to get a few fall crafts.

fullsizeoutput_215e

We had fun looking at Halloween decorations AND Christmas decorations (at Walmart).

We got groceries.  Then we came home.  On the way home I told her that we wouldn’t be trying to homeschool anymore.  I have tried to homeschool her like 4 times (and the boys 3 times).  I think it has contributed to some of her gaps.  Our school may be far away, but it has fantastic teachers and administration.  I told her that I know she prefers to be homeschooled, but it’ll be so much better for her to be in school.  I feel at this point that I will be doing her a disservice to try to homeschool her.  She needs to be with kids her age and she needs to be challenged.

When I got home I had a message and an email about Karis’ score.  She actually did really well!  The principal felt good about deciding to put her into 6th grade. When I told Karis this she was jumping up and down screaming.  She was relieved that she wouldn’t have to repeat fifth grade.  And the cool thing is, she will have the same teachers (well, except one new one).

So, soon I will be alone again during the week.  My plan is to take a week or two to rest.  Then I will get busy!  I need to spend some time organizing things around my house that have gotten disorganized the past 6 months.  I plan to go to town for AA Mondays and Wednesdays.  I will go to Rocksprings Wednesday afternoons because Ethan and Karis want to do choir again.  I will try to volunteer at the school sometimes.  I plan to invite friends over here for coffee, lunch, tea, etc.   I will hike with my friend some afternoons.  Lots of self care and focusing on my sobriety.  I will probably try to find a hobby or two (besides just blogging).

I hope things continue to improve.  All I can do is take one day at a time.  I feel better some days than others.  My sleep is better some days than others.  Some days I have energy, other days I can’t do much.

I’m in the process of selling the rest of my homeschooling curriculum.  I am keeping things like encyclopedias and art books because those can be used even if we aren’t homeschooling.  But the actual curriculum has to go!

Alright, off to make dinner then possibly carve a pumpkin with the fam!

Life is hard, but God is good!

Scattered Post… Update, AA, My Story, Friendship, and Plans

I used to blog every day and now every time I sit at my computer to blog the words don’t come.  I have so much on my mind, and I just don’t know how to get it out these days. … Continue reading

Scattered Update… An Alcoholic is Always an Alcoholic

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged.  Truth is, I have been struggling (still). I don’t know if it’s my thyroid (I just started meds for it) or the hydroxyzine that my psychiatrist put me on, but I’m just sleeping … Continue reading

The Hard Stuff… Processing Through My Fear, Falling into the Gospel

I have had yet another long few days thanks to anxiety.  I will feel good for a few days and think that I’m “over the hump” for it to all come flooding back even worse than before.  This over-breathing/hyperventilation syndrome … Continue reading

Doing What is Best for My Kids, Part 852…

I feel like I write posts like this often because we have had so much change.  Part of it is my fault and part of it is out of my hands between illness, job changes, etc.

Like I’ve written many times, because of my anxiety, we are keeping the boys in school.  I talked with the school a few days ago, and they are happy that our boys will be back.  I was even able to request Levi’s teacher!  He will have the same teacher that Ethan had last year.  She’s fantastic.  Our boys are still excited about staying in school and they even got to see a lot of their friends here at camp Thursday :-).  Levi thought they were on a field trip with school people.  Haha.  Rocksprings kids get a special deal of only paying $50 (regular price $800!), and they all come the same week.  It’s such a great thing that Camp Eagle does for the community.

We bought school supplies yesterday for the boys and they were so excited to organize and sort them!  Their backpacks are full and they are ready!  They are also excited to take lunches to school again (they didn’t take them much this past year but they want to take them now).

I’m not going to lie, I’m looking forward to the quiet that will happen once they are at school.  I’ve been super irritable with my anxiety and their noisiness.  I just can’t handle it.  And they have been fighting a LOT so it’ll be good for them to be separate during the day.

Anyway…

I bought a new math curriculum for Karis called Math Lessons for a Living Education.  I got it on a used curriculum Facebook group for only $20 and it was new.  She has been using Math U See and she hasn’t made any progress, she doesn’t understand the way he teaches (I don’t either!), and she was in tears about it… so I thought I would try this.


I received it a few days ago and while I really like it, I’m concerned that it’s not enough.  I talked with Robert and a few friends about it and I have come to some conclusions… 1) She struggles with math a lot and it is okay to do something a little more gentle if she likes it (and she really does), 2) She will learn what she needs to learn and she will be okay, 3) This is Charlotte Mason method math which is what we’re doing for everything else, and 4) I will add in some videos and practice from Khan Academy.  Karis used Khan for some grammar in the spring and she really liked it.

One of the things that I kept getting hung up on was what do I do after level 6 (of Math Lessons for a Living Education).  It ends there… the publisher does make a junior high and high school one, it’s just a little different?  Robert reminded me to take it one year at a time.  I don’t have to know what she’s even going to do when she finishes this book.  We’ll see how she does with it and go from there!  But I am committing to finishing this book.  I won’t buy anything else until she does.

I pulled it out Thursday and made a shopping list based on what I needed for manipulatives and Karis loved it and was excited!  The list included things like rice, contact paper, large index cards, measuring cups, poster board, etc.  I already had some of these things but had to buy a few.  She wants to color the rice so we will do that (she has good memories of when we did that when she was a little younger).

I also bought a short Intro to Energy unit from The Good and the Beautiful and Karis is excited about that as well!  I need to gather the supplies for the experiments but we have most of them here!  I will have Karis complete the extensions for older children (it’s supposed to be for grades 7-12 but I know she can handle it).

I have also decided to go ahead and do level 3 of G&B Language Arts because it teaches diagramming and Karis doesn’t know how to do that.  We will move through it quickly (skipping things that she already knows), and I won’t expect her to read the readers… she’ll read what she wants.  G&B LA levels are not grade level so it’s totally fine.  She’ll be doing this level with me as it’s not independent until level 4.  I just love The Good and the Beautiful.  We are using the language arts, a creative writing notebook (I got the pdf for free), handwriting (cursive), some science (in addition to Nature studies and some Apologia), and next year we will probably use the history.  We’ll see.

I’m so thankful that I’m finally feeling content with doing what is best for each child, that I’m not doing what other people say just based on how it works for their family, and that I’m doing less expensive curriculum.  It’ll save us lots of money in the future.  And I think in the meantime Karis will feel more confident and successful.

I am really confident about this year.

Grati-Tuesday and Getting Back Into Routine!

It has been a long time since I’ve written a Grati-Tuesday post so I thought I would do that today.

I have been struggling for so long that I have forgotten to be grateful.  In fact, at one time I wrote “Gratefuls” to my sponsor every day and I haven’t been doing it much at all lately.  I need to get back into the habit of gratitude.

My wonderful hubby.

IMG_2266

My beautiful kiddos.

 

Our view and rainbow (second one recently).

Girl time with Karis eating homemade pizza and watching Gilmore Girls.  This will happen more often now that it’ll just be the two of us during the day.  She’s excited!

Having summer staff (and one full time staff) over for a big breakfast a few days ago :-).

Date night in of steak dinner with Robert thanks to my mom buying the steaks.

We played games and watched a movie :-).

My Happy Planner and seasonal stickers, my household notebook, pumpkin spice candle in a fun mason jar, and coffee with pumpkin spice creamer in it (NO, it’s not too early… see header picture! haha).

The kids played store for HOURS this morning.  I love that they spent so much time without electronics by choice!

Then they played with friends.  I love that they have great friends that are like family here.  I also love that Robert and I have great friends that are like family here.  We are so blessed to be here.  This is the only picture I took.

IMG_2469

Tonight Karis has her two good friends coming over and the boys are going to our neighbors’ house.  We will be making dessert and watching a movie.

 

My anxiety breathing issue has been so much better since Sunday.  I don’t want to get my hopes up, though, because it could come back.

On a similar note, I don’t feel 100% because I still have a cough.  I called Teladoc and the doc told me that I have a viral cough and they just last a long time.  There’s not much that can be done for it… She gave me 3 days’ worth of cough medicine (they can only treat for a few days and if it lasts longer they tell you to see your doctor), and she told me to drink honey and lemon in warm water and use a humidifier (which I don’t have, but I might get one Friday if I decide not to go to my doctor).

Anyway…

Robert and I spent all afternoon/evening Sunday cleaning the kids’ rooms, cleaning the house, doing laundry, and prepping food for the week.  We took the boys separate beds and put them back into a bunk bed (their request) and deep cleaned their room.  It took hours.  It was so bad.  The goal is to make them clean after they play now.

Before:

IMG_2421

After:

IMG_2424

IMG_2425

I made Italian coffee cake, peanut butter pies, peanut butter chocolate protein steel cut oats (recipe to come!), cut veggies for snacks and meals, boiled eggs, made chicken salad, and cut summer sausage and cheese.  Robert helped with a few things.

Fall is coming soon which means ROUTINE!  In 2 weeks (from tomorrow!) the boys will be going back to school and Karis will start homeschool.  Friday we are buying school supplies.  The boys are super excited!  Levi will be taking his lunch and Ethan wants to eat lunch there most days (they get free lunch… everyone at that school does).

I meant to do some school planning today but it just didn’t happen.  I have time, and I don’t have much to do :-).  I pretty much just need to update the schedule/checklist that I made for Karis.

Karis will be staying home alone (with neighbor’s on call for emergencies) on some Mondays or Wednesdays that I go to town for AA and/or counseling.  I plan to go once a week either of those days.  Robert will be off 2 out of 3 Mondays pretty soon so it’ll most likely happen on a Monday.  We’ll see how it goes.  I’m going to give her a chance :-).  The beauty of living here at camp is that there are people everywhere to help out!  And this is a safe place.

Things are looking up :-).