Apr 252017

Alexander Hamilton book

It is Tuesday.  Not Monday.  Yes, I am aware of that and gave myself enough guilt about it yesterday.  However, it is Tuesday and not Wednesday, so that is saying something.  Right?

This past weekend included a llloooooooooooooonnnngggggggggg gggg  ggggg drive (do I need more g’s to make the point?) to a homeschool conference.  The original plan was to leave Thursday morning, with my husband taking two days off work, drop the kids off at my parents, and allowing my husband and I to have a restful weekend away together.

What happened was, and I promise there is a point to this beyond whining:

  • my husband’s job moved a meeting to a week and a day which it was not originally planned for
  • resulting in us not leaving Thursday morning, but Thursday evening instead.
  • I drove, which is not our norm on long trips, because I knew my husband had worked a full day and was tired. (He did drive the last few hours.)
  • We met up with my parents several hours past the kids’ bedtime, with the last point making the trip a very hard one along the way.
  • By the time we got to our hotel, it was past midnight.

I was able to get about 4 hours of sleep that night, resulting in the realization that my body was not past the point of being stressed.*  Yet.  I felt icky Friday (tired and nauseous), but had a day of talks ahead of me.  Knowing the reason for feelings helped me address them.  What it did not do was take away the feelings themselves.

Friday night I slept horribly, being awake from about 3 am – 5 am, then sleeping fitfully for 2 hours.  So much for getting a good night’s sleep.

Saturday came, I kept going, knowing that moving, eat small snack throughout the day, and not dwelling would help getting past the physical reactions.  This allowed me to figure out if I was actually feeling tired or hungry; I am amazed at how they can feel the same if you are both very tired and very hungry.  Taking the edge off really helped.

Saturday night, I had another plan:

  • I passed visiting with my  husband’s former college roommate (and new baby) in order to rest
  • reduced the nauseous feelings
  • and ate something high in protein, thereby setting myself up for a solid night sleep.

It worked!

By Sunday morning I was feeling … better.  I could not wait to get home though.

We still had a 7+ hour drive home, including picking up the kids and visiting a bit with my parents.

The drive home was actually one of the best ever with the kids.

We had no electronics – partly planned (no personal devices were packed), partly not (both of the dvd players, our “half-way there” treat, decided not to work).  What we did have were books on tape, audio dramas, snacks, and activity bags.  We also had kids who were tired from 3 fun filled days at the grandparents.

It was while listening to one of our books on tape, Parables From Nature by Margaret Gatty, that I realized I too have room to learn. Chapter 7, called “Waiting”, is specifically what I am speaking about.

In this chapter, Mole tells the House Crickets that sitting around bemoaning their issues do no good.

Every animal has a purpose. Yours is to wait for the sun to rise.  That is what you should be doing.  Anticipating the sun rise.  Once it goes down, then you find a snug place to stay till it is time to do your job again.

(quote not word for word)

Add that to something my husband shared from learning at the conference, that worry is feeling tomorrow’s emotions today.

I had been bemoaning and worrying, even if I thought perhaps I had not been.  This also goes to show why I feel better when I would get up and actually do something, taking my mind of how I was feeling and focusing on something else (walking, birds, gardening, solar lights, garden layouts, starting a garden … you get the idea).

Once we were home, a new board game was set up (Risk: Star Wars edition) and the boys, big and little, played while I tried to create some kind of order out of the chaos which comes from cleaning out the car from a long weekend away.

Monday morning came, I enjoyed a cup of tea on the back deck while listening to the morning birds.  My bemoaning and worry began to wash away, reminding me of the purpose and job I have to do right now … not the potential feelings of tomorrow or wonderings of why things for us are not like they are for others.

bird scared away from feeders waiting to return

The giveaway for Alexander Hamilton’s Guide to Life has closed.  Anita Yancy’s name was selected by Random.org as the winner.  

*After a while of contemplating, part of me began to wonder if the stress my body was feeling was not only due to being tired and the change of traveling, but also remembering our trip to this conference last year.  On that particular trip, we had a foster child with us, one who had not gone on trips with us before and was only a year younger then Jack.  It was a lesson for everyone involved.  We learned that a larger age gap is needed, due to the emotional needs of our kids, if we ever choose to foster again.


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Apr 242017

persistence watchfulness wood ducks

Last month, we took advantage of the first ever Spring Break George was given at school.  It was a whole week.

It did not include the Easter holiday.

And my husband had vacation days he could use.

We went south. 😉

With the warmer climate and air flow patterns, the plants there were ahead of the ones where we live.  The birds, too, were experiencing “spring”.  I am not sure if it was George and I being in the right place at the right time which allowed us to see this.  Or if it was due to the warmer climate there.  Either way, a slow walk around a pond (storm water detention basin, which was very well designed) resulted in a first hand look at bird behavior.  This was better than any book could have shared.

These wood ducks looked fairly calm and placid, but upon closer observation we determined that a few particular ones in the group were … determined to reach their goal.

The colorful birds are the males, while the dull gray/brown one is the female.  Yes, there is only one female and the rest are males.  Even among the males, though, there is not equality.  If you pay attention you shall see which seem to be in charge of his lackeys.

I was amazed at their determination, at the coolness of the female through the whole thing (she seemed to like doing what she wanted, no matter how much trouble it caused her escorts), and at the sneaky strategy of the intruders.  What a fun thing to watch!

We were able to observe the various body movements of the males, how they flapped their wings (they were not only stretching), how they dipped their heads and swam around.  What awesome, intricate ways to communicate and “strut your stuff”.  Though, at times, I feel we humans do exactly the same thing.


Apr 222017

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This would have been great during an 8+ hour road trip the kids and I took last fall.  The car’s air conditioning went out 3 hours into the drive, and there was only so much rolling down of windows could help with. (Though the kids thought they were cool stuff being able to roll down windows on the interstate highways, something usually off limits in our household.) Steak ‘n Shake was a life saver, offering a yummy way to keep cool with their delicious shakes!

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Apr 222017
Compost Stew - Giveaway Ends at 9 PM

Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe For The Earth giveaway ends tonight!  Have you entered yet? From their Facebook page: “THREE weekly winners will be drawn (April 8/16/22), each to receive a hardcover copy of the groundbreaking picture book, COMPOST STEW: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth….Open to US/Canada only. Ends April […]

Apr 222017
Recyclebank - get rewarded for learning and recycling

Recyclebank is website where you can go to learn about recycling and be rewarded for your efforts. People join Recyclebank for different reasons. Some join because they want to get rewarded for recycling in their community, some just want to learn about living more sustainably for themselves and their families. No matter what inspires you, […]

Apr 182017
Kindergarten Homework, Learning Disabilities, Classical Conversations and YouTube Videos

This is a post from a few years back.  As I reread this post, I was reminded to keep using what works, and adjust what does not.  We still move while learning, especially math facts and spelling words, but I need to find other methods to use for abstract concepts and general remembering.  Last summer […]

Apr 162017
Alexander Hamilton's Guide To Life - Review and Giveaway

Life has been a bit crazy lately. Okay, a lot crazy. When I received Alexander Hamilton’s Guide to Life by Jeff Wilser to review, I thought, “Great! That is exactly what I need.  I can use some life tips from someone successful.  Alexander Hamilton fits the bill!”  (Yes, pun intended.) At over 300 pages, I set […]