Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wit's End

We studied idioms recently in our homeschooling, and while "at your wit's end" wasn't one that we talked about, it is where I was at yesterday.  It means being upset and not knowing what to do. 

I realize that what I've been dealing with isn't earth-shattering, and in the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal.  But when you are exhausted, have one thing after another coming at you, it starts to pile up and there's the whole "straw that broke the camel's back" thing. 

Remember the car wreck from August 17th?  Well, my car is still in the body shop.  It was supposed to be ready last Tuesday, then last Friday, then Monday, then yesterday, and now this Friday.  I don't hold out hope anymore that it will actually be ready when they tell me.  Yes, I'm thankful that the other insurance company is paying to fix it.  I'm thankful that it is fixable.  I'm thankful that they have set me up in a rental car in the meantime.  But it still stinks.  I want MY car back.  I want that part of normal back.  I want to quit dealing with insurance companies, body shops, and rental car companies.

Then, last week we were finally getting back on a roll and in a groove with our homeschool schedules and lessons.  We were really getting into it.  Last Thursday morning I went out into the garage to get a supply for a science experiment and instead I found standing water.  It was right by the closet that holds our hot water heater and pressure tank.  I figured (hoped) it was the hot water heater. 

I turned the water off and started calling plumbers.  I went to the room that was on the other side of the wall from the closet, which happens to me our middle child's room, to see if the water had seeped through the wall.  Sure enough, it had.  The carpet in his closet was wet, as well as the carpet on one side of the room.  So, I also called the carpet people to get the water dried up.  It was more than a little damp, and with allergy boy I just can't risk having mold grow.  When they came out, they actually found a little more water damage than I realized.  We were left with pulled up carpet, dehumidifiers, fans, and noise.  Again. 

The first plumbers weren't able to find the leak, even after cutting two holes in the wall (which they then told me they weren't responsible for fixing).  Sent them away and called the plumbing company I should have called first, which does leak detection.  They couldn't come out until Friday morning.  When they did come out, they found the problem:  slab leak.  Oh joy.

After getting estimates and talking it over with my husband, we decide on which route we want to go.  Because it was so late on Friday afternoon when we got the estimates no work could begin until Monday.  It would take three days to fix.  As I'm writing this it is about noon on Wednesday.  We've been without running water in our house for a week.  They assure me we will have water by tonight.  They better be right.

So, the wit's end part.  It all just got to be too much yesterday.  I was trying to figure out why my car wasn't ready and when it would be.  Communication is not the strong suit of any of the other parties involved, apparently.  We've been showering at my parents house and spending a lot of time there.  While I'm very thankful and appreciative that we have that opportunity, again I just want to be able to take a shower and wash my hands in my own house, you know?  Like I said before, I want that part of normal back.  I sat at the dining room table in my parents' house and just started crying.  I couldn't help it.  I've been trying to handle everything, take care of everything, make sure everyone else's needs are being met, and like many other moms I neglect my own needs in the process.  I'm exhausted.  The last two nights we haven't slept in our own house because of the work being done, and the kids just don't sleep well when they aren't in their own beds.  I don't either. 

It's been a long week in a long month in a long year.  I know better than to ask "what else" or "what's next" because I know that the universe is always happy to show just what else can happen.  I know that other people are dealing with loads that are much heavier to bear than mine.  But sometimes even little things can send you to your wit's end.  At those times, a good cry, a glass of sweet tea and a phone conversation with your best friends can do wonders.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Drive Safe

Drive safe.  Yes, I realize that it may not be grammatically correct, but it's what my mom always said to me as a teenager when I would leave the house.  The words, in her voice, are etched in my memory.  Actually, she still says it to me sometimes. 

I was driving safely this morning, but another driver wasn't.  She decided to run a light, fail to yield right of way, and turn in front of me.  And I couldn't stop.  My 3 year old was with me.  He and I are both okay, but to be quite honest, it was scary as hell.  Thankfully, amazingly (just look at the pictures below!), the other driver and her passenger are okay as well. 

I should be packing and getting the car ready to leave on a road trip tomorrow morning.  We've cancelled that, and instead I'm sitting here, looking at pictures of the car, reliving every second of the morning, playing the "what if" game.  I did nothing wrong, and yet I'm still wondering "what if I'd stopped for gas instead of deciding to wait until the morning" and on and on. 

Please, please, please -- this is my plea to everyone.  Drive safely.  Pay attention.  Slow down.  Don't run red lights or stop signs.  Don't text and drive.  It's not worth risking your life and the lives of those around you just to get somewhere 30 seconds faster, to try to "beat" the light, to say to yourself "oh, I'll just text my best friend the latest gossip".  Am I a perfect driver?  No, and I don't claim to be.  But I try my best to be a safe driver because I know that my kids' lives could depend on it.  While we're at it, wear your damn seat belt and make sure your kids are buckled up in an appropriate car seat.  Please.

I would also like to say thank you to the people that stopped to help.  There was a lady that didn't see the wreck but passed by right after it happened.  She was a blessing.  She walked over and asked if I was okay, told me her name and that she was a nurse, and then she hugged me.  That gesture?  That simple hug?  It meant more to me than she will probably ever know.  She talked and joked with the Sprout, who was still buckled in his carseat, okay but scared and shaken up.  To Glenda -- thank you. 

And the others that stopped -- the woman at the gas station that saw the whole thing, who brought her 4 year old daughter over to make sure everyone was okay and to tell the police what happened.  She stayed even when she didn't have to just to make sure my husband got there to get us.  To Tabitha -- thank you.

And of course the policemen and EMS workers, and the firefighters that let the Sprout take a look inside the firetruck.  The man that let me use his cell phone to call my husband when I couldn't find my phone.  My poor husband, who got a phone call from a strange number, then got to listen to his hyperventilating wife say she'd just been in a wreck, it was bad, please come to where we were, then hung up on him.  My best friend, who said she'd be there in 10 if I needed her to.  Yeah, you don't know what that meant to me either.  I'm holding you to the offer of the froyo this weekend, by the way. 

I need to write this all out, get these thoughts that have been swirling around somewhat organized, or at least voiced so that maybe I can actually sleep tonight.  It took me a long time to stop shaking.  I'm still shaken up.  The tears still come.  Cars can be fixed or replaced.  Vacations can be rescheduled.  We are okay, and that is what matters. 

Drive safe.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Blast Off!

This week's theme for the Smart Summer challenge was outer space.  Right up our alley!  We had a lot of fun with this one, even if I didn't get pictures of all the different activities.  I'm trying to worry more about the "doing" than the "documenting", because sometimes it's the reverse, and that's not always as much fun!

Our local science museum recently remodeled their "Science of Flight" exhibit.  We are members to the museum, and that expense was so worth it!  I can't count how many times we've been there just this summer.  The Munchkin has taken several classes there as well.  This week, he was actually taking a "Pirate Science" class, and one day after it was over, we stayed for a couple hours exploring. 

The Sprout had fun playing with components of the Astronaut Preschool Pack from Homeschool Creations.  He loves matching, shadow matching, sorting and the like, and I usually turn the magnet pages into "dot dot paint" pages.  He also made his own rocket!

We went for a "Space Walk" as I called it, walking out the distance between the planets to get an idea of how far apart they from each other.  I got the idea from Life in the Unknown.  I printed out the planets from the Solar System Preschool Pack at 1+1+1=1, laminated them (because I'm addicted to my laminating machine) and off we went.  We should have done this at, oh, say 4 o'clock in the morning instead of 11:30 in the morning because it was already h-o-t.  Still fun though!

I'm standing where the Sun was, and if you can see the 3 year old on the green Gator, he's out near Neptune.

Sprout and I spent an afternoon at the library picking out books.  Ok, I picked out the books and he ran around like a 3 year old.  :)  I also forgot how much I love some of the science shows we get through various sources (Netflix, satellite channels, our own collection).

Books We Read
Space Boy by Leo Landry (Sprout's favorite!)
Astro Bunnies by Christine Loomis
What the Sun Sees; What the Moon Sees by Nancy Tafuri
Shine Moon Shine by David Conway
Look to the Stars by Buzz Aldrin
Spacy Riddles by Katy Hall (a hit with Munchkin!)

Shows We Watched
LeapFrog: Math Adventure to the Moon
Space Buddies
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, the Adventure Begins (yes, we needed to watch that one this week!)
Traveler's Guide to the Planets, several episodes

The Munchkin also found a new app for the iPod that he wanted to play, Puzzle Planets, and he seemed to be having fun with it. 

There were many other activities that I would have loved to fit in (like eating the astronaut ice cream that I forgot I bought!) and since this is a popular topic in our house, I'm sure we'll be doing the rest of them soon!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Everything Else...

matching up kites and their tails by color

So, for a while I've been thinking that I wanted to create a separate blog for everything but cooking.  I just couldn't decide if I should commit to one more thing or not.  But sometimes, I want to prattle on about homeschooling, scrapbooking, or other random things, and don't feel like putting in on Alphabet Soup.  Why?  I don't know.  I guess it's just always been a food & cooking blog, and I wasn't sure if I should change that now. 

Anyway, so here I am!  We'll see how this goes, and how long this lasts.  :)  Summer is crazy around here.  I know most people talk about the "lazy days of summer" but we don't really seem to get those at my house.  Most of it is by my own doing, I realize that, but with different camps, classes, and outings, our schedule changes week to week and it just makes for crazy days.  Add in the fact that we live just far enough out of town to make driving a pain (but not quite far enough for me to flat out say "no") and well...I feel like I spend my days going back and forth and back and forth.  Oh well.  It's the life I choose, so I guess I shouldn't really complain...but I do!

I found the Smart Summer Challenge on Facebook, and it's actually what motivated me to finally get this blog up.  The Munchkin has been getting in lots of learning activities this summer, with various camps and classes, but I've been making more of an effort to do stuff with the Sprout that might actually teach him something in the long run, even if he doesn't realize it.  ;)  We're not having structured school by any means.  Just trying to do fun things that get him engaged and keep me from losing my mind. 

Back in May I bought myself a laminating machine for Teacher Appreciation Week.  :)  I love that thing.  I've used it to make several activities for the Sprout so far, and have many more planned.  I just need more cardstock and printer ink.  :)

This week was mostly the letter K, and a few others thrown in because that's what I had printed up.  I've been working on letter recognition with him, as well as counting, colors, and shapes.  You know, typical preschool stuff.  Here are some of the resources I've found. 

Letter of the Week, from Confessions of a Homeschooler
Printables from 1+1+1=1
Printables from Homeschool Creations

And there are so many more!  I've discovered that he loves dot painting, and so I've googled a bunch of those.  I've even created a few things of my own with my scrapbooking software, and have ideas for a few more.  I always laughed at the idea of file folder games, but I printed one up for letter matching, and he really liked it.

he loves lacing cards

A lot of these activities I got ready to keep him occupied during the hour that the Munchkin was at swimming lessons every day this week and next.  He's liked them more than I thought he would, so this weekend I'm hoping to get a few more made up to take next week.  My parents have been watching the Squirt while we're at swimming, so the Sprout and I have had some much enjoyed one-on-one time!

Enjoy!  :)