Friday, November 02, 2018

Halloween 2018

I survived Halloween.

It may be too early to say that...

Getting the kids into costumes and getting out the door to trick-or-treat was easier this year than last year.

But this year I know how bad candy is for me, and I ate a ton anyway. I'm still waiting for the headache and legarthy to hit.

Here are two things I remembered that made this Halloween less stressful for me:

Have the costumes ready early in the month! 

I browsed the costumes at the thrift store each week when I did my donation drop off. I was fortunate that 2Flowers wanted to be something easy this year. We found a witch hat at the Dollar Store and a vampire dress at the thrift store where we had credit. Her costume was complete by a week before Halloween and I didn't have to stress about pulling it together.

I ended up with FOUR costumes for Davey! One from a friend who gave me a costume last year, one from the Pregnancy Care Center (an amazing second hand charity in the area), one from the thrift store (Free, because I had credit!), and another one from somewhere... The hard part was picking which one to use.

Orion was hard. He wanted to be a gargoyle. But I couldn't figure out how to make him into a gargoyle without lots of sewing and crafting, which I wasn't up to. The thrift store didn't have anything that lent itself to being a gargoyle. But it did have a cute adventure vest for $4. Except it wasn't an adventure vest, it was fighter jet pilot vest. I wasn't sure Orion would like it for Halloween, but I thought it would still make a good adventure vest. So I bought it (Free with credit! I love thrift stores that give you credit for donations!)

Orion was cool with the fighter pilot idea (Whew!) and already had a pair of camo pants that (amazingly!) were clean. And Lost Boy's old motor scooter helmet (which has been a dress-up for a few years) really made the outfit come together.

I felt relieved that the costumes came together easily this year. Lost Boy had school, and was gone from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm, so I was on my own.

Have a flexible schedule

I had about ten activities scheduled into my calendar for Halloween afternoon and evening. But I only had to be at one.

When Orion spazzed out (probably due to sugar from the party at school combined with excitement for the evening), I cancelled the trip to the library for Halloween crafts. We also didn't get started early enough to do the trick-or-treating Downtown.

We did hit the strip mall a few blocks away. And I think that Orion would have been happy with what he got from that circuit, but we had the ward Trunk-or-Treat, too.

The Trunk-or-Treat was a low profile activity. We didn't plan a ward dinner, carnival or harvest festival to go with it. We just pulled in, visited in the parking lot for a little bit, then told the kids to get going. We started before dark, which I really like, because then I can SEE all the cute kids, and all my ward friends, and the decorated cars.

Davey had a complicated relationship with his candy bag. He didn't really get why people kept putting candy in his bag. He did understand that you're supposed to walk up to people and they give you candy. But the candy was supposed to go from their hand, to his hand, to his mouth. No bag.

After the Trunk-or-Treat we had a 14 year old friend with us and we went around our neighborhood. The little boys were so tired. But it was nice for Lilli to have a friend to go up to the door with.

When we settled down for Scriptures & Prayer with Lost Boy, we had a chance to admire all the candy the kids brought home.

I have never seen so much candy in one place in my life.

Now what are we going to do with it?

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Labor Day Week

A Nature Hike

This week was kind of rough. It was our second week of homeschooling and errands and appointments kept getting in the way!

Maybe part of it was that the week also started with a holiday. The house was a mess, but we didn't make much progress on cleaning. But we did make a family Nature Hike a priority. We hiked on a friend's property and looked at Douglas fir cones, Horsetail Ferns, Penny Royal, and lots of Poison Oak with BIG leaves. Miraculously, I didn't get any!

I started a Nature Journal during the summer. I want everyone in the family to develop the habit of nature journaling. But Oreo decided to draw a space alien, and 2Flowers was more interested in picking huckleberries.

Drawing is lots of work when you're not very good at it! Lost Boy wrangled Davey so that I could have the space and time to work in peace.

Foraging for Sustenance

The rest of the week was grocery shopping, which is a bit of an ordeal because the nearest Winco is thirty minutes away. But we can buy almost twice as much food and supplies at Winco as we can at Safeway, so it is worth the drive. But the timing is very tricky. We needed to run some pressing errands in town and didn't have time to for the grocery trip before Oreo got out of kindergarten, so we had to take him with us.

I try to avoid taking Oreo grocery shopping. When the two Bigs are together and bored, or tired, or hungry, or anything, they pester each other and act out and start chasing each other around, or hitting each other, or licking each other (Honestly! Was I like this as a kid?!). Sometimes I'll put off grocery shopping for several days trying to find a way around taking the kids, or at least taking all of them.

But we desperately needed to stock up. So I took them all. And my angel neighbor happened to be shopping in the same aisle at one point and said she could take one of the kids home with her! So 2Flowers went, because the neighbors have a cat.

The boys survived.


The rest of the week was a bit of a blur. A dentist appointment. A Hashi's flare (Because I ate three mini corn tortillas at dinner on Wednesday, hoping that I could reintroduce them. Nope.) Trying to figure out which lessons we still needed to cover when the whole week felt kind of wonky.

We did pretty well at math.

We are going to use Teaching Textbooks, but we don't have our subscription set up yet. So 2Flowers has been reading Fred (and loving it, even though it's all too easy for her so far). On Friday she wanted to play Uno, but we couldn't find it. We played Mills Bourne instead and it turned out to be a good brain exercise for her.

It also helped us make progress on my main goal for homeschool this year: 
It poured into our relationship.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The two things on my mind

I have been reading tons lately.

...but not my usual books...

I've been researching nutrition and gut health. I've been clipping recipes (and articles) to my Evernote like crazy.

And I've been reading about homeschool curriculum and the everyday practice of the Charlotte Mason education method.

I know I'm taking in too much, too fast. But I'm super into both topics right now and need all the info in my brain right now!


1) I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis last month. 

I've suspected it for years, but had some resistance from my previous doctors on getting the tests done. Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease (my immune system is targeting my thyroid). There's no cure. But! I discovered the Autoimmune Wellness podcast in February. The hosts, Mickey and Angie, talked about how they were able to reduce the debilitating and uncomfortable symptoms caused by their autoimmune diseases by changing how they ate, how they prioritized sleep, and how they managed stress.

I decided to try out the diet, or lifestyle, they described. It's called the Autoimmune Protocol, or AIP. They interviewed a Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, so I looked at her website, The Paleo Mom, and discovered that she is a doctor in the medical field (good credentials). She reads peer reviewed scientific articles about topics related to autoimmune diseases, gut health, and nutrition. Then she summarizes her findings and posts them on her blog, WITH citations! Her sources are legitimate and reliable. Her blog is a jackpot. Eventually I'll get her books, but right now reading on my phone is easiest (because: toddler).

I've been doing the elimination phase of the AIP since March. April was a little rough. There was a wedding (I wanted some wedding cake!) and a chocolate fountain (I'm discovering it is hard to resist!), various other treats while traveling (I can only say no to myself for so long!), a baby shower (macaroons!), and a campfire (um, s'mores?). If you've heard of Gretchen Reuben's Abstainers and Moderators, I'm an abstainer. And apparently I can't abstain if it's in the same place as me.

But! An hour later, or the next day, I can feel that I ate off my diet. I have headaches, fatigue, I'm irritable, or short of breath. The pain and discomfort, and it's interference in my daily life is very rarely worth the pleasure of eating the treat. (The wedding cake was the best I've ever had, besides my own, and I didn't eat enough to get a headache from it, so that was okay.)

So. I'm reading tons. Trying to understand what is going on in my body, what different foods do in my body, and what to eat instead of what I used to eat.

2) I am going to homeschool 2Flowers next year. 

We love her school and the staff there are wonderful. She is academically advanced and isn't having any problems, but... I have been feeling for a long time, like, at least a year, that I need to connect with her better. I've been struggling (and praying) to find ways to connect with her, but everyday life is just too much (hello, autoimmune disease).

Taking on homeschooling doesn't really make sense; if I am completely overwhelmed with what I've got going on right now, how can taking on something so huge help? But the way I felt whenever I considered the idea, and the way I feel whenever I move forward toward it tells me it's the right thing. It's the right thing for her and me.

So. I'm reading tons. Trying to understand how homeschooling works (both legally and practically). And I think I'm getting a pretty good idea of how we're going to do it!

...I just have no idea how I'm going to do anything else in my life...

Sunday, April 01, 2018

General Conference Weekend, April 2018

I haven't been able to pay attention during General Conference for long time. Keeping the kids occupied at the chapel takes up lots of my attention, and when we listen at home they often forget that we're listening to Conference. Even with the Conference Board.

Somehow, this Conference weekend was different. Maybe it was getting extra sleep leading up to the weekend and not being as tired as usual. Maybe it was having one child who mostly remembered to be quiet (for the first hour of each session). Maybe it was having a small enough house that we could play Conference loud enough that I could hear it from everywhere downstairs. Maybe it was deciding not to try to post to social media during conference. 

I heard more, and was listening more.

Now, even though I heard more of the words and understood more of the topics being discussed, I don't remember very much of it. I blame this on my season of life, wherein I haven't been allowed to stay focused on any single idea for more than about five seconds at a time, for the past six years. My brain is out shape! I perused the Church's accounts on Twitter for some of my favorite quotes (and for tidbits that I missed), and copied them into my notes. I'm looking forward to when all of the talks are available at so I can read them. (The videos are already up!) 

I don't have a good plan for studying them, though. In the past I've tried making a list of all the talks, but I only followed through on re-listening to two or three of them. Sometimes I'll do really well at listening to one talk, then the next, then the next, and so on for a several days. But I need some kind of study program that I can stick to (in five second increments). 

Does anyone have any ideas?

Maybe this is a good excuse to shop for travelers notebooks...