03-08-19 Getting the Jiggles Out

What do you do when it’s almost bedtime and the kids are wild? Stick then on the treadmill and run all the jiggles out of them!

Baby E started us off by slamming through a mile in 22 minutes.

Big E came next with a twelve minute mile.

And C? Well she gave it .3 miles before deciding there were more interesting things to do.

The boys were very proud of their accomplishments and they both fell asleep very quickly this evening!

03-06-19 Running

I dreaded going down to the treadmill this evening. I’ve been pretty faithful to get on it nearly every night now that I’ve started back up again, but tonight I really didn’t want to. I procrastinated for awhile, but eventually I grabbed my shoes and my water and headed down.

Usually I keep an eye on the display, racing against my previous time. I was thrilled the other day when I did my 3.1 miles in 26:59- a personal best. But that run kicked me and tonight I decided to cover up the display and follow the music in my ear buds. If the music was slow, I walked and if the beat picked up, so did my pace.

I was surprised that at the point I felt like I would normally be dragging, I actually got a second wind. My legs didn’t hurt and my breathing was pretty steady, so I just kept going. When I glanced at the clock I knew I had been on for awhile so I checked the display.

Six miles in 63:43!!

I’m pretty excited about that. ūüôā

03-05-19 School

A couple of weeks ago we decided to pick up the speed on our school work for a few weeks in hopes of getting to summer just a little bit earlier. It has meant longer school days, but the kids have taken to it very well. This should be our last week for the ramped up timeline. Since we have been doing more than normal, I’ve tried to add in a few extra ‘fun’ activities to make it seem less like work!

03-04-19 The Long Winter

When we started reading Farmer¬†Boy back in December as part of our curriculum, I little imagined that my kids would latch onto it as they did. Farmer¬†Boy is the second in the Little¬†House¬†on¬†the¬†Prairie series. When we finished that we decided to move onto the next book. Since then we have been flying through them. We’ve done Little¬†House¬†on¬†the¬†Prairie,¬†On¬†the¬†Banks¬†of¬†Plum¬†Creek,¬†On¬†the¬†Shores¬†of¬†Silver¬†Lake, and most recently we have started The¬†Long¬†Winter. We plan on finishing the series and then going back and reading the first book that we missed, Little¬†House¬†in¬†the¬†Big¬†Woods.

One of the things that has surprised me is how much information from the stories the children are retaining. Usually we read at bed time and I let them play with legos or color as I read. It isn’t always apparent that they are paying attention, but I stop and ask questions and they are able to answer them.

I started thinking that it might be a good idea to link some kind of extra learning experience to the book. I got online and found a great number of ideas for each of the books (I wish I had thought to check sooner!) and I landed on the kids doing a notebook for The Long Winter. I was able to print out the materials and got out some notebooks. Armed with some scissors, glue sticks, and colored pencils they set to work.

Each page is a different chapter and each chapter has at least one topic that is important to that chapter. The kids write something about the chapter and draw a picture to illustrate it. It’s kind of like a visual book report. We’ve spent the past week trying to catch up to the chapters we are currently reading. The kids seem to really enjoy the activity and they are excited to show off their progress each day!

C’s notebook is on the left and Big E’s is on the right.

03-02-19 An Adventure

We’ve been feeling that itch deep inside that tells us we’ve been indoors too long. One of the things we loved when we moved was the opportunity to get outside more and explore the world around us, but it’s been a long winter without many opportunities for outside fun.

It’s supposed to snow tomorrow and the rest of the week is supposed to be frigid so we took today and went on adventure.

The kids got to see their first waterfall. We followed the trails, jumped over (and sometimes right into) lots of mud, and we watched the water go rushing past us 30 feet below the rocky edge.

I’m so glad the weather held so that we got this wonderful time as a family.

03-01-19 A Date with a Side of Math

Back when I worked at the University, years ago actually, I signed my kids up with the Infant and Children’s Studies program to volunteer for on campus research studies. C did a couple of them when she was little, but since I worked full time, I usually had to turn them down when they called about a study for the kids. Three weeks ago they called again and said that Big E was the right age for one of their studies and asked if I would be interested in bringing him in. I thought it might be a fun experience for him so I readily agreed.

Today was the day. We got up early and headed over. We grabbed lunch with a few of my on campus friends and then headed in for the study.

I must not have really been paying attention when the girl first called me because when we got there, I learned that I was part of the study too. Big E and I both did some activities in separate rooms and then spent some time playing together while being observed with a camera.

When we were done, Big E got to pick out a toy. As we walked to the car we shared notes on what happened in our sessions.

For the first session we were both shown three pictures and were told to describe them as if the person we were talking to couldn’t see them.

After that we were given an image, for instance a picture of a blue star. Then we were shown three more images and we had to choose which of those resembled our original image best.

Then we had our play time together.

Finally, we were both given a series of math problems. Friends, there’s a reason I went into the entertainment industry… If it isn’t simple math, I can’t do it! The questions started off pretty easy, giving me a false sense of security, but after about ten of them, they started laying on the really hard ones and I was lost. Apparently Big E met with some tough math, too, but we shook it off and headed home.

Big E really loved the experience and he can’t wait to do it again. I enjoyed my wonderful day with my very sweet boy. It isn’t often that I get one on one time with them, and I know we both soaked it up!

02-28-19 An Interruption

Usually I abhor school time interruptions, but today was the exception. When my Amazon order arrived this afternoon, we stopped everything and opened the box. Inside were several things I had ordered for school. A Minecraft spelling workbook for Big E, a kitchen scale for learning weights for C, and a balance scale for math and science. The kids dove into the newest classroom additions without ever realizing they were learning.

02-27-19 The Long Awaited Run

One evening, at the height of my father’s illness in September, around the time he spent in the ICU, I went down to the treadmill and started running. The extra adrenaline I was carrying at the time along with the increased heart rate brought on from running sent me into a panic attack. I remember crumpling to the floor in a sobbing heap, trying to breathe my way through the panic while the room spun and my body shook. After that I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get back on.

When my dad went into the hospital this last time, we thought we were losing him again. One day a man in an expensive black tailored suit walked in. I assumed he was a doctor though he never introduced himself. He looked at my dad for less than a minute, made only the slightest eye contact with me, and walked out. I learned his diagnosis the following day- Hospice… Without talking to me. Without talking to my dad.

Every doctor we met with looked us in the eye and said “Hospice.” Not one of them would fight for him. “He has cancer, you know.” (As if that detail had somehow neglected to wedge itself into my memory.) But he wasn’t there for cancer. He was there for an infection. And they weren’t treating it. They weren’t feeding him. They weren’t hydrating him. They had given up before they even tried.

We pushed back. We pleaded with nurses. Everyday he had a different doctor, and none of them would take responsibility for what had happened the day before, so every day we started again. We asked the same questions, demanded answers, insisted on tests and medicines and nutrition. We refused to back down while calling them out on their indifference. And even when he started to show improvement the doctors said it wasn’t fast enough- call hospice.

I cried in the hallway. I researched hospice. I read articles. Maybe they were right. But they didn’t know my dad. They didn’t know us. And they didn’t know our God.

One day a nurse took me aside when there were no doctors around. She said in a gentle way, “He’s getting better. It’s going to take a while. But he’s getting better. Don’t give up.” That’s when I understood that while the doctors had written him off, the nurses were still fighting for him. They became our allies. They pushed the doctors. They encouraged us. They lovingly cared for my father. And little by little he recovered.

When he came home, it’s like his recovery was fast tracked and each day I am in awe of the progress he has made. He is gaining so much independence and by the grace of God he is exceeding everyone’s expectations. With all sincerity, it is nothing short of a miracle.

But it’s only now, a couple of months later, that I can talk about that hospital experience with any sense of perspective. Only in the last six weeks has life started to settle down. I don’t know what reprieve we have been given. I don’t know what the future holds. But I can trust in a God that has carried us this far to continue to provide the strength and trust and patience we need each day.

So tonight I got on the treadmill and I ran.