Peonies and Popsicles

A Little Bit of Us, My Writing, Craftiness, and Life as it is

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Can't Believe I'm a Homeschooling Mom!

September 28, 2017

I would have never thought that I would be homeschooling my son!  My thoughts were I'm not capable of instructing him in anything except maybe grammar, maybe ELA (what I called English), and art class. Well, guess what?  I'm doing it!  We started this school year, and so far it's going really well. 

One reason I decided to try homeschooling this year was that it was truly a last ditch effort at educating my son.  Once he started middle school, things went completely down hill.  In addition to learning differences and sensory processing issues, his anxiety and depression increased, and we just couldn't have that. Of course, we're doing everything we know to do for him with different therapies, but we still have the issue of school. Not wanting to send him back to the charter school he was attending, I decided I would bite the bullet and home school him.  I immediately started researching and asking questions of other home-school moms.  I registered with an accountability association, choosing Half Moon Homeschool.  What made this all worth the work was the expression on my son's face when I told him we were homeschooling.  I could see his anxiety level decrease immediately.  I felt I had made the right choice.

Now it was time to choose curriculum.  Math was going to be our toughest subject since he was so behind even after tutoring.  Plus, I had to be able to instruct him, and I was not a great math student after general algebra. After lots of looking, we went with Teaching Textbooks.  They had a great testing system to establish what level on which we would need to begin.  It was perfect because it showed me in a way I could understand where he was in their curriculum. This course came with CDs and all math lessons are done on the computer, graded automatically, and as the parent I can go in and look at every problem to see how he did on each one, whether or not he used the hint option, and check his grades.  I also have to keep reminding myself NOT to think grade level.  We were told over and over he's functioning at a 5th grade level in math.  Well, okay, but with homeschool or UN-school like we are doing, you don't pay attention to grade levels.  Once I got past that, everything made more sense.

ELA was the next course to work on.  While we don't necessarily want to bring any particular religious aspect into school and prefer to teach Jake about all religions, I did choose a curriculum that does have a religious theme, but because of HOW that curriculum was laid out and how simple it seemed to be to use.  It also incorporates art and geography within some of the lessons, and I liked that.  It's called The Good & the Beautiful at www.jennyphillips.com.  Again, this had an easy evaluation so that figuring out where we needed to begin was easy. It's a very economical choice, too, as you can download most of everything you need and print it yourself.  Beyond that, I only needed a book that's used and can be ordered from the site and some tracing paper.  Of course, you can order the course books, but to save money, I ordered the downloadable version.

I still have to choose curriculum for the other courses, but in the meantime, we work on ELA and math every day.  With unschooling, you can write your own schedule, even taking a week off from a particular subject if you feel the need. Art is something I will take care of, and thank goodness that Pat can deal with physical education! 

I'm looking forward to getting deeper into homeschooling and seeing the results.  I know one thing, and that is Jake is much more relaxed and seems to be enjoying our sessions.  That makes it worthwhile immediately.

My Dad

September 18, 2017

On July 4, 2017, things turned completely upside down for my family.  Around 10:00 pm, I received a phone call from someone telling me my dad had been injured and was in the emergency room.  Needless to say, I took off to the hospital.  He had been at a friend's house sitting around the dining table when the chair he was in broke (a back leg I understand), and he fell backward, hitting his head on the window casing.  He told me that he thought he was going to lose consciousness, but he never did.  He was even able to drive, stop at my grandmother's, and then drive home.  Once he was home though, he said he had the most horrible headache and felt really bad.  He had my stepmom call a friend of theirs and she was able to drive them as far as the fire department where the EMTs took him to the hospital. 

After a CT scan, we were told he had a subdural hematoma.  Being on a blood thinning medication made this more dangerous so they stopped that medication and he was eventually moved to Neuro ICU until it was decided if he needed surgery.

Amazingly, the next day, he seemed okay.  He was awake, still had a crazy headache, but was talking and able to eat.  I was even able to discuss with him the fact that he should let his friend know what was going on and ask him to talk with his insurance company about getting some assistance with his hospital bill.  Like most older couples, my dad and stepmom were on a fixed income and even at that point, could have been looking at a hospital bill that was sizeable.  Truly, at this point, we had no idea what was ahead of us.  We felt like we were looking at a week in the hospital.  Were we wrong! 

The day after, my dad took a turn.  He became delirious, combative with the nurses, and had to be restrained and sedated.  This was a horrible thing to see. He spent a total of 7 days in the Neuro ICU under sedation for most of them.  He was finally moved to the Neuro floor of the hospital and continued to have good days and bad days.  He became unable to express his thoughts and would talk in scrambled words or unintelligible sounds. At one point, he had not been aware enough to eat for over a week so it was decided that a feeding tube would be done. He'd already had a port placed for medication since it seemed he would be there fairly long term. 

He finally started to come out of the delirium, which was determined to be seizure activity. Being that he was an epileptic, this was exacerbated by the head injury.  Eventually, the doctor started talking about moving him to a rehab facility where he could begin speech, occupational, and physical therapies.  He was moved, I believe, on a Thursday.  They had him up and about the next day with therapy.  He was doing well, but could not walk on his own.  He had to gain his strength back. I saw him on July 31, a Monday, and we talked about things.  He was finally able to talk coherently about the insurance claim and signing the papers for that.  My dad was so afraid of hurting someone, but he knew that he could use any assistance he could get after being in the hospital for almost a month.  He said himself, that if he didn't get back to 100% that he and my stepmom may need to find an assisted living facility.  He asked that I come back on Tuesday and he'd sign the papers.  He passed away unexpectedly Tuesday morning, August 1, from what we now know was a pulmonary embolism and respiratory arrest. 

I couldn't believe my dad was gone.  I still can't, and it's almost two months later. My dad was the rock for our family, especially for my grandmother, his mom.  Ive had my moments of "I need to call daddy."  They really get to me.  I go through stages of anger and grief.  There are times when I forget he's gone.  I feel like I'll never get through all of these different feelings.  I don't want to think about how it will be without him at Christmas.  I don't want to think about never being in his house again, a house that has been in our family for almost 200 years. (Another story.) I don't want to think how brokenhearted my grandmother is that her three sons have all passed before her.  I want to go back to July 4, 2017 and have things go differently where he's not injured and he's here and I can call him and talk with him whenever I want.  It won't happen though.  He's gone and with his death came other problems that I won't discuss here, but it's all unnecessary and makes it all so much worse than it has to be. 

Two months since his death, and I still pretend it hasn't happened.  I know I need to grieve, but I can't seem to let it out completely.  I need to get his grave monument done and installed, but it's hard to bring myself to make the call.  Maybe tomorrow if I can.  I just know I have to take it one day at a time. 

 

 

Busy LIfe

May 5, 2017

May 2016 was the last time I blogged. Wow. So much has happened since then. T proved to be an ass. P and I started to get along much better.  After trying to sell the rental house, I realized I could no longer deal with my living situation. December 1, 2016, Jake and I moved out. We're back in Spartanburg, close to everything, and we have great wifi. Jake's grateful for that, for sure. The apartment is small, but for me, it's a haven to come to after a long day and be at peace.  

Christmas was nice but different.  Amy didn't come to our Christmas Eve get together.  It was just Mama, Jake and me.  It was strange, but we enjoyed things.  I had bought lottery scratch-offs, and we played bingo for them.  Nannie's was fun, but it's more obvious that she is finding it tougher and tougher to get around on her own.  Yet, she still won't let anyone stay with her. Her hearing is basically gone.  

I have grown to LOVE my job.  The Rabbi and I have gotten to know each other a bit more, and I think we understand each other.  He's a very nice man, and I enjoy listening to him when he's talking to congregants or anyone converting to Judaism in his office. I think he's very wise, and I wish I could be as "cool" as he is about everything.  I'm only worried about one thing, and that's Susan telling me that I have to take Monday's off this summer.  Last summer, it was no big deal.  I was at Mama's and it was okay to miss a day's pay even though I could have used the money.  This summer, it's a different story since we've moved out, and I have rent to pay. I hoping she will understand that and not have me take Monday's off.  

The boy is dealing with his own issues.  I feel so bad for him, and wonder what on earth I can do, as his mom, to make things better.  He does have a wonderful new counselor who has started the Vineland testing for autism.  I don't think autism is an issue, but at least we can rule that out with this testing.  Jill, his counselor, will be able to help him with his social anxiety and anything else necessary.

The Comfort Project is keeping me going.  I started this nonprofit back in January.  I'm working on the 501c3 paperwork and have a fundraiser going on Go Fund Me.  We desperately need donations so that we can purchase fabric and yarn for the commitments made to the different organization. I'm excited to get the snuggle blankets finished up for Project Ed Bear and Akron Children's Hospital.  We've raised $180 of our $500 goal.  

Personally, I'm still feeling the loneliness that comes with being a single mom who does everything without help, who struggle to pay the bills, and at the end of day wishes there was someone she could be close to, talk to, and who might take a little pressure off of things just by being there.  All I can hope is "some day".  

I would say overall though that things are going well.  I'm happy again, which is a huge deal.  I hope that I can make it last. 

 

"Home"

May 30, 2016
Where you live is supposed to be your home, somewhere you go for peace and solace. I dread going "home" every day after work. This is one of the main reasons my depression is so bad right now. I can't move out on my own because I can't find anything that I can afford on my income. Everything has become so expensive, and I feel trapped.
 
When I was a teenager, really all of my childhood, we lived in the country at least 30 minutes from shopping or "town". I hated it. As an adult I have always lived in "town" close to restaurants and shopping. Now I feel like I'm that 14 year old again stuck out in the boonies, and with my depression so severe, I sleep to escape. Jake was with Pat this weekend and I slept from Friday around 8:00 pm until Saturday at 5 pm. I got up for an hour or two and then went back to bed and slept until 2 pm Sunday afternoon. Of course, I can't do this when Jake is home, but I push my limits, which is so unfair to him.
 
My mom has become this person who doesn't care about cleaning and has developed some habits I won't even discuss here. It's very hard to get her to get rid of clutter and for me this is overwhelming. The times I've tried cleaning, you couldn't tell it the next day, and when I try to throw away something it doesn't go over well. I've seen her slip things in her bedroom that she wants to keep that really should be tossed. In an effort to get the house ready to sell (I've persuaded her that she doesn't need such a large house.), we've been going through everything. There have been tears because she didn't want to get rid of something, and I've had to reason with her the best I can that downsizing means minimizing what you have and who on earth needs 6 sets of china? We have had garage/estate sales, we're up to 4 and will have a 5th this weekend. Eventually what's not sold has to go to Good Will or somewhere like that, and she cringes at the thought of it and not making any money off of something. We also argue over pricing everything because she thinks things are worth way more than they are. We lose sales because she prices things way to high and it's even been embarrassing. I hate going back to someone behind her back to tell them we'll take a lesser amount if they're still interested. To date, she has made close to $4,000 between all the sales, and once said we had "piddly" yard sales.
 
What we have cleaned out so far isn't even the worst of it. We will need a huge dumpster placed on the property to clean out the two outbuildings and junk that's been tossed in the yard randomly. Talk about overwhelming. This is all before we can even consider putting a "for sale" sign up on the property.
 
I love my mother, but I am overwhelmed by the habits she has picked up over the years. It's very hard to live in a place that is so cluttered and quite honestly, I hate it.
 
I need your prayers and good thoughts that I can pull out of this depression for Jake's sake and that I get through all of the work in front of us regarding selling the house.. I've been working with my doctor on meds, but I'm not having much luck, as I've tried everything. We are now working on a combination of two meds to see if that will have any effect. I certainly hope something works.
 
ETA: I certainly don't mean to sound ungrateful to my mom for letting Jake and I live with her. We would have been homeless had she not. I am truly grateful.

Peeking Through

November 16, 2015

Depression and anxiety have kept me, the real me, from truly being around. The pretender me is here, barely making it through the days, neglecting so many things I should do, and worst of all not really being there for Jake.

Driving is causing high anxiety.  With so many more miles to drive living with my mother, I'm in a constant frenzy inside.  My forehead is practically against the windshield; I'm sitting so far up into the dashboard because I can't relax.   

I wake up in the mornings at the magic time of 4 am and can't go back to sleep.  I lay there thinking of every excuse NOT to go to work.  Last week, Wednesday, there was no way I was going.  I made up a lame excuse and called my boss.  There was no way that I was able to drive Jake to school either, so I kept him home with me. I can't describe those feelings where you know you can't function and there's simply nothing you can do about it.  This morning, I didn't even bother with makeup and most who know me would know I'd never go to work without makeup.  

I'm headed back to my family doctor today to check on my meds and see what can be tweaked.  So many medications FOR depression and anxiety can WORSEN the symptoms, so that may be an issue here, and the thoughts of starting a new med is enough to raise my anxiety ten-fold.  If you're familiar with depression and anxiety, you know that could mean a period of time where you're worse before you're better and it is tough to get through.

What's so difficult to handle is that every now and then the real me will peek through.  It's a tiny peek, but it happens, so I hope with all my being that perhaps with a teak of the medications, the peep hole will open up even bigger.  It's that person who can get me through the day to day struggles.  It's that person who will work hard to get herself out of her mother's and back out on her own. Badly, I need her back.

 

Updates and Goal Setting

June 30, 2015

I finally have a job!  I'm in my second week at Temple B'Nai Israel as the administrative assistant.  It feels good to be working again, and I'll be glad when my training period is over and I can settle in.  The pay is much better than I thought it would be, too!

It may be a dangerous thing for me to set goals; I never make New Year's resolutions because I know I'll never keep them. However, I have decided to set a couple of goals for myself.  I want to be out of my mother's by late fall, and I want to get rid of this extra weight.  

At my mom's, I feel like I'm living as a guest where I can't really relax or be myself.  It only adds to my stressors, which doesn't help with my stress eating as I tend to do.  I love my mother dearly, but I don't want this to put a strain on our relationship, and I'm afraid it will eventually.  

As far as losing weight, I simply have to; I feel terrible physically.  I have to keep telling myself that getting rid of the extra weight will help my sleep apnea, my body aches and pains, and my blood pressure.  Did I mention my doctor put me on BP meds?  Not good.  I've done well on Weight Watchers before, and maybe I can do so again.

I'm not crafting much since there's really no place for me to set things up at my mom's.  I'm working off and on to finish a crochet blanket for a friend in Clemson colors of orange, white, and purple.  I have several other crochet projects in the works but just haven't felt like crocheting.  I'm sure the mood will hit me soon.  I love crochet too much to never do it again.

There are many projects that I need to get back to such as the magazine, He/She/Us, Christmas cards (Would like to get an early start.), and I'd really like to get back to scrapbooking.  I'm so far behind on printing photos it's ridiculous.  I'll need a fortune in printer ink and photo paper to catch up. Perhaps when I'm settled in my own place again and the cooler weather keeps us inside, I can catch up on everything.  I can't wait!

 

5th Grade Graduation!

May 29, 2015

Wednesday, the boy graduated from 5th grade and elementary school.  He should not be 11 years old, he should be 11 months old and still learning to walk!  Time is passing way too fast.

He tried to stop for me as they walked into the theater, but I was not quick enough.  Still, there's his sweet face.

There was standing room only, and this shorty was standing where she couldn't see the stage at all.  I sent another parent, April, a text asking if she'd get a photo of Jake and she got these great ones of him crossing the stage.  Thank you, April!

I'm so proud of my sweet boy!

 

 

Busy, Busy, Busy

May 3, 2015

I had a job interview on Friday.  I think it went well, but how do you know, really?  I'm not sure it's a job I want though.  I'm not big into customer service or sales, and that's this job.  I'd rather have the billing position they have open. 

Had a great time at dinner with my friend Kelly and his partner Hamilton.  Jake and I had dinner with them at Longhorn Steakhouse.  They had purchased a couple of pieces from On 2nd Thought and picked those up as well.

Saturday was the garage sale, and it went well.  Sold both bedroom sets, which is a lot out of the way.  An older gentleman stopped by and bought some things, and he also helped us price the tools in Jack's shop.  He's interested in some things as well, and may be back, which will help us a lot. 

I got to spend some time with a friend Saturday night, which I really needed.  Hoping I'll get to do that more often and not sit at home all the time.

Busy week coming up.  Lots of calls to make and errands.  Have more painting to do on the art boards and another flag to paint.  Hoping the deck chairs will be finished soon.  I can't wait to see them all together and outside in the sun all set up. 

Have a great week everyone!

Busy Wednesday

April 29, 2015

Actually, I have a busy Thursday and Friday, too, but today is a whirlwind.  Had to get Jake to school and Sidney to the vet.  Neither were really happy about things, but Jake went willingly and Sidney not so much.  I think I traumatized her putting her in her crate because she pooped in her crate!  I've never had a cat do that.  Poor vet techs had a mess to clean up I'm sure. 

I was trying to write in my journal last night, but obviously Sidney thought better.  She needed loving on and knew just how to make it happen.

I have a doctor's appointment after I pick up Jake, but in the meantime I'm trying to get as much done for our business as possible.  Here's what we have done so far and believe it or not both the Coffee mug display, the bench, and the American flag have sold.  We've sold a total of 4 trays, too.

Working on these things has really helped me stay creative.  I'm around my sister more, which is the best. 

Off to get ready for my doctor's appointment and reverse this morning, picking up Jake and Sidney.  Hope both are in a good mood once I get them in the car!

Depression 2

April 29, 2015

Christmas came last year and things were good.  I had three weeks off to spend with Jake while he was out of school.  When time came to go back to work, I was losing it.  I made it four days of the first week back, and then called out of work on Friday.  Monday comes, and I'm completely out of sorts.  There was no way on earth I was going to be able to work.  I call out again, and let my boss know I'm going to the doctor and will bring an excuse.  I don't bother letting her know it's depression.  That would have gone over like the proverbial poop in the punch bowl.  I made up something and left it at that.  I did see my doctor and got a work excuse to be out the rest of the week.  We changed my medication as well. 

When I went back to work the next week, Thursday came and they let me go.  Their excuse was so transparent, that I knew it was because I'd been out too much. 

I left the office crushed, but I knew there was really nothing I could have done to save the job.  I wasn't well, and that was that.  At that moment, if I had not had Jake to go home to, I would have probably done more than think about suicide.  I would never leave my son alone; I would not do that to him.  That was, however, the lowest of my lows.  I knew it meant that we would have to move in with my mother and that I was back at square one. 

Over the next few weeks, I struggled to pack, move, and clean the apartment.  I carried boxes to my car and cried.  I stood in my storage unit and cried.  The medication was not helping much at all.

By the end of February, we were moved but hardly settled in.  Both Jake and I, and I know my mom, too, were having adjustment problems.  This move was tough on all three of us.

One thing I knew was that I had to get my depression under control.  I could not find a psychiatrist who accepted my insurance.  I felt like I needed a psychiatrist who could help with the medication more than my regular family physician.  Finally, I found Dr. J.  He gave me samples of a medication and within a week and a half I was feeling more like myself.  I took the next milligram up for the rest of the trial period and was amazed at the difference.  On my return visit, we left the milligrams the same, as he said it would continue to help, and I'm to see him again in May. 

This medication in addition to the Cymbalta has been a godsend.  I'm not sleeping the days away.  I've actually been up early on the weekends, too, which for this night owl, is saying something!  I've been working with my sister to create a business for us and it's going well so far.  I've gotten things put away that had been sitting in my mother's living room since the move.  Things seem to be coming together. I even have a job interview this Friday.

I'm writing all of this to say, depression is nothing to be ashamed of, and if you need help, get it and do not be afraid to do so.  Those people who think depression isn't a real illness, who think you can get over it just by flipping a switch, they're so wrong.  Know that, and know that you deserve to be happy.  Find someone to talk to, a friend who understands, a psychologist or other type of counselor, or your doctor.  In fact, your doctor is a great place to start, as he or she can put you on the track to finding yourself again. 

Remember, there are suicide hotlines if you ever feel that you are in danger of hurting yourself.  And you know what? I'm here and can relate so feel free to contact me.

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