Friday, October 29, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up: An Unintentional Horseback Ride, Ancient Egypt, The Orthodontist, and (you guessed it) More Soap

Visit WUHS for more Wrap-up fun!

If you read my Wednesday Weigh-in (or the title of this post), you are probably wondering how one rides a horse unintentionally.  Well, to answer that, my weekly wrap-up has to begin where last week's left off. 

And I quote...

...As I type this, they (the boys) are completing their independent work. After it is complete, Wilbur will help me make more soap, and Orville is going to help Nohnie with her grocery shopping.

I should have said "Lord willing" because that is SO not what happened!

The boys did finish their IP (that's what I call independent work- a hold over from my days as a public school teacher) and Orville left for the store with Nohnie.  Wilbur and I started our soaping, and just as we poured the first batch into the molds, the phone rang.

It was the Tutoring Student's father.  He wanted to take the boys to a nearby farm for a ride on a horse and games.  I knew where he meant.  We have been there once before, and on that day, the horse rides had been for kids only and consisted of a short ride around a field.

I explained to the dad that Orville would not be able to go but Wilbur could.  I am paying Wilbur to help me with soap making, but decided I would excuse him from an afternoon's work.  I just couldn't turn down such a generous offer or risk hurting the feelings of such sweet people.  What I didn't understand at the time (language barrier) was that they wanted me to come along, too, and that the horse rides were for all of us.

So, because I love my student and his family, I got on a horse, thinking we would ride around the field and be done in a few minutes. 

But our ride was not just around the field.  We rode the entire property.  It was a lovely ride.  The weather was cool, and there were lots of birds out.  It was a great experience.


And once we hit the trail, there was no turning back.  I wasn't sure how to explain sciatica to my Korean friends, either, so I grabbed the reigns and prayed.

The rest of the week we turned our attention to Ancient Egypt.  This week has been reading and research week which will probably extend into next week.  Then we will get to projects and hands-on activities.  Our support group holds an International Festival each January.  This year our family intends to represent Egypt, with a focus on the ancient period.  That means we have to get busy now preparing our board and presentation.

I have a loaner camera now.  THANKS MOM!  I should be able to add more pictures back to the blog soon and show you some of our Egypt work.

We visited the orthodontist on Wednesday.  One of the boys needs extensive work to be done over the next few years.  One has some minor corrections that need to be made.  Overall, the consultation was not as taxing as I thought it would be.  I imagined it being like a high-pressure sales pitch with the outcome being get your kids braces or you're a horrible parent.  However, it was not like that at all, and the orthodontist was very helpful and offered treatment options.  I left the appointment feeling well-informed and ready to make rational decisions.  That was a big answer to prayer.

Be on the look-out for pictures of boys with braces in about six months.

Today (Friday), I am seated at my computer, typing this wrap-up while the boys once again finish their IP.  We plan to finish that work and open up the soap shop, Lord Willing!! 

But we'll see.

'Cause round here, you just never know!

Maybe this week we'll round up the chickens that have been roaming our downtown neighborhood.

Yes, really.



I can't say why....

Happy Schooling!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Another Reason I Love Children....

Don't miss your chance

Last week, I left for the October mom's meeting
soon after dinner.
I gave the boys bedtime hugs and kisses
before I left because I knew
the meeting would not end
until after their bedtime.

When I arrived home,
this picture (above) was on my favorite chair
with a note that said,
"Goodnight, Mom. I love you."

I normally teach Flute Student on Monday mornings,
but last Monday Michael was home for fall break.
I offered to go to her house on Tuesday instead
and teach her there because she lives very close
 to my Tuesday tutoring students.

When I arrived, I was greeted by her little sister.
She had drawn this picture (above) for me,
a lovely rendering of her sister and me
playing the flute together at church,
and she couldn't wait to give it to me.

What a blessing to have the unconditional love of a child!
May we, as God's children, love him as well.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Psalm 127:3

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-in: Week 4

Don't miss your chance to win a copy of
24 Hours Is All You Get.
Click here to enter my give-away!

Well, I knew it would happen eventually. 

When one loses almost six pounds one week, then a pound and half the next, and almost three and a half the week after that, things have to stabilize eventually.

This week, my weight was exactly the same as last week.

No loss.

No gain.

Which keeps my total weight loss at 9.2 lbs!

And I'm still celebrating because a little over nine pounds in one month is something to celebrate!

I didn't really do anything different this week.  I kept to the same caloric intake and went swimming twice and even exercised on the gazelle once. 

And, at one point, I found myself on a horse riding it for what seemed like a thousand miles.  It was probably more like two or three, but it seemed like a thousand.  And riding a horse is something I would never do intentionally.  PAIN FLARE UP afterwards!!

Oh, and how exactly does one ride a horse unintentionally, you wonder?  You'll have to wait for my weekly wrap-up to find out.

For now, back to the point...

I have probably hit a plateau and just need to stay the course.  I expect my numbers will be more realistic from here on out and I am so glad I'm not in this alone!!

In fact a few of you have commented and emailed this week about wanting to join me.  Weight loss is a a really hard thing to accomplish.  Which means that we really do need each other for help, encouragement, accountability, and prayer.  These are all my reasons for blogging about my progress.

But it is a really sensitive topic, and going public may not be the best option for everyone who wants to join me.  So I am going to provide several options for joining in, and you choose what would work best for you.  To do a Wednesday Weigh-in of your own, do one or more of the following:
  • Continue to read and pray for me. 
  • Leave your prayer requests and updates as comments or email me privately if you would prefer.
  • Join My Fitness Pal and request to be my friend.  I'm user homeschooldawn.  It's kind of like facebook.  Certain info is private while some is public.  I have my account set so that only the amount I lose is visible to others.  My actual weight is private. If you join, the whole world does not have to see your private data; however, we can write encouraging notes on each other's wall and provide each other support.
  • Write a Wednesday Weigh-in post each week and link back in to Olive Plants.  Starting today, I will add a Linky to my posts so we can organize our efforts!  To participate, write about your progress and post to your blog.  You don't have to share your actual weight or how much you intend to lose, just how much you lost (or didn't) that week.  Grab my icon from the top of this post and display it on your post.  I would love it if everyone would include prayer requests each week, too. 
Speaking of which, I will keep mine short this week and then get to the Linky!  Please pray for me in the following ways:
  • That I won't be discouraged by this plateau and will stay the course.  My chief goal in this is to glorify God and find my contentment in Him.  Discouragement is just a symptom of discontent and a product of pride.  May God keep me from it.
  • For extra measures of grace to exercise through pain.  I had two flare ups this week, one horse-induced and the other for no apparent  reason. I praise the Lord for His grace and help. 
  • That God would be pleased to help others through this blog series and that he would raise up a Christian support group.  That we would encourage one another in the Lord, with Scripture and prayer and that our goals would be pleasing to Him.
Thank you for your prayers, and I look forward to working together to serve and glorify God as He helps us to live healthier and more fully for Him.

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence ... I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Eph 3:12, 16-19

Happy Healthy Living!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Round about the Table: Balderdash and Giveaway!

Welcome back to the table.  Today I will share a little more about my local support group's Getting to Know You meeting, and you will have a chance to win a copy of Susan Bradrick's 24 Hours Is All You Get CD recording.  In her hour-long talk, Mrs. Bradrick offers wise advice and Scriptural standards for setting priorities and establishing a schedule. We will discuss schedules and priorities in a future post, but for now, let me tell you how you can win.

As I shared in my last post, the first round of our Iron Homeschool Mom contest involved a game of Balderdash.  That's what we'll play today, and my version is very much like the board game. 

I will share three sets of statements about myself.  Two statements are true, and one is balderdash, or false.  You have to pick the statement from each set that is inaccurate.

When you have made your choices, leave a comment listing your answers (there are 3 rounds so please list three answers).  The person with the most correct answers wins.  In the case of a tie, I will assign numbers and use to select a winner. 

I will accept entries until midnight, Friday, November 5, 2010 and will announce the winner on Saturday, November 6, 2010.

I will give you one bonus point if you advertise this giveaway via facebook, twitter, or blogging about it.  Please leave a separate comment.

Okey doke.  Here we go.  Feel free to giggle, chuckle, and/or snort.  I won't mind.

1.  I have done each of the following:
  • A.  worked as a radio DJ
  • B.  created a photo journal of the Cows of Missouri
  • C.  played flute in an orchestra
2.   I have tried each of the following:
  • A.  running a 5K only to pass out half-way through
  • B.  retaking the ACT four times to improve my science score which only went down with each subsequent retake
  • C.  growing a garden, flower and vegetable, only to kill every plant I touch    
3.  The most embarrassing moments of life have been the following:
  • A.  While working as a DJ, I finished an announcement and removed my headphones.  I could not hear the broadcast from the speakers in the room and thought something was wrong.  I began to panic and yell, "I've blown up the tower!  The FCC is going to throw me in jail.  I can't go to jail...I'm only 17!"  As I was having my melt-down, I noticed I had left my microphone on, which is why the speakers in the room were silent-to avoid feedback, and everyone in my hometown had heard my panic attack.  (well, at least the few people who were actually listening to that radio station)
  • B.  While attending a wedding in Venezuela, I must have made a disapproving face when a pit was dug and a whole pig thrown in.  The bride asked me what was wrong, and I replied, "En Los Estados Unidos, comemos gateau."  I had intended to say "In the U.S. we eat cake."  I had unintentionally used the French word "gateau" which means cake, but the bride heard the Spanish "gato" which means cat.  I realized my mistake when a cat walked across the lawn and everyone started laughing and pointing at me.
  • C.  One day, after work at the Girls Club, I was the last employee to leave and had the responsibility of cleaning and locking up.  Once my chores were done, I decided to sing into the microphone of the PA system.  What I forgot was there were speakers on the exterior of the building and all around the grounds.  When I exited the building, residents of the apartment complex across the street had gathered to listen to my little "concert".  When I left the building, they laughed and applauded as I ducked into my car and made a quick exit.
Alright... I hear you laughing, and that's okay because laughter is the best medicine.  Just don't laugh so hard that you forget to leave your answers in comments.

Happy Laughing!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up: Birdless Bird Watching, Morning Devotions, Cavities, Chronic Pain, & More Soap

See Jamie Blog is hosting the wrap-up this week.
My husband had the day off from work again on Monday, so we decided to do a little bird watching.  I have no pictures to share because
Of course, I couldn't walk much because of my sciatica pain.  I gave up walking longs trails months ago anyway.  I am fearful that I will get about a mile into the woods and have a severe flare up and not be able to walk back or call for help and be stuck there forever, forced to survive on pine cones and acorns.

Although that might be a good diet strategy, I'm not sure it's the lifestyle for me.

So we stay close to the parking lot.  Sometimes the birds are there in force, eating crumbs left by picnickers or fishing in the water, but not Monday.  It was a nice day to be outside, though, with cool temps and bright sunshine, and we had a good time together as a family.

Tuesday was a good, normal school day.  I did make one change to our school plan.  In years past, I have always started the school day with Scripture reading and Psalm or hymn singing.  This year, Michael and I decided to have the boys read through the New Testament independently instead.  We want them to learn to be responsible for their devotion time and not always rely on one of us to do the reading for them. 

But I have really missed that time together.  So I started reading from Proverbs on Tuesday.  I couldn't quite get the balance right to do that reading and have them continue to read independently.  That's a goal for next week... to do both. 

I need a sound effects player for Wednesday.  Since I don't, imagine an ominous, descending BA-BA-BUUUH,  if you would please.

I had to go to the dentist for my first filling ever! 

I'll admit it.  I was scared. 

But they shot me full of some kind of something to numb my mouth, and I think it had a little something mixed in to relax me. 

'Cause I went from visibly shaking to blissfully relaxed in a matter of a few seconds. 

However, my mouth felt swollen and weird all day and coupled with sciatica and pain from a neuroma in my foot, and I wasn't doing so hot that afternoon.  We met our Korean friends at the playground after school, and before I could explain that I didn't feel well, my sweet friend said that I did not look well and offered to take care of the kids until 5:30 so that I could go home and rest.

Now, I have a lot of really good friends irl and I could have called on any one of them to help me that day and they would have gladly done so.  But how thankful I am for such a blessed friendship... one I entered into to serve and yet God has been pleased to provide a new friend, not just an employer, and to create a spirit of reciprocity.  I am very thankful!

On Thursday, I did school from bed.  I had reached the point that the pain was winning and I am learning that when I reach that point, it is time to find a soft surface and stretch out... for as long as I can.  I have a back-up school plan for those types of days that I think I will start another post about.  Lord willing, there might even be a series in that... Schooling with Pain, or something like that.

Friday morning I woke up feeling great!  The rest helped.  Praise the Lord! 

I took the boys to their last tennis lesson for this session (however, they're starting a new session next week).  Then we went swimming (I got in two sessions this week!).  As I type this, they are completing their independent work.  After it is complete, Wilbur will help me make more soap, and Orville is going to help Nohnie with her grocery shopping.

Join Me at The Homeschool Post!

Oh, and sometime this week I found out that I have received a few nominations for Best Encourager again this year in the Homeschool Blog Awards!  Thank you to those who have nominated me!! Get ready to vote.  Maybe, Lord willing, this will be my year!!!

Happy Homeschooling!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Round about the Table: Iron Homeschool Mom

At our September support group meeting, after our ice-breaker round, we held an Iron Homeschool Mom Contest!  I really wanted our first meeting to be light-hearted and fun, so that we could all sit back, relax, and do this....

Enjoying the Ice-breaker Round

For the ice-breaker round, I divided the ladies into four groups and asked each group to pick a leader who would facilitate the discussion (They answered the 3 questions I shared in Getting to Know You).  Then we played a round of Balderdash.  I plan to let you play this game in my next Round About segment with a chance to WIN a copy of 24 Hours Is All You Get, so I will tell you about that round of the competition in the next post.

The leaders of the three groups with the highest Balderdash scores
 moved on to Round 2.
They worked at the dry erase board to unscramble words
as I dictated the scrambled form.
Like U-U-L-I-C-R-M-U-R-C
The first 2 ladies to earn 2 points moved on to Round 3....

Mandy (not picutred) and Christy (left) advanced to Round 3,
and Joy (right) and Jessica (not pictured) volunteered
 to play the parts of the contestants' "toddlers".
In the picture above, Christy is completing the first task,
changing the baby's diaper,
while Joy, the toddler, distracts her by playing with the blinds. 
The "toddlers" followed the contestants throughout the competition
and played their parts well.


The contestants had to carry their "babies" with them
as they completed the remaining tasks, too.

After changing the baby's diaper, the contestants had to sharpen ten pencils
for their fifth graders who always lose their pencils. 

Little did they know, they were really sharpening pencils
for my fifth grader who is always losing his pencils!

Next, Mandy (right) sends a text message to her "teen"
while toddler, Jessica (left), asks her a hundred different questions...

and begs for a turn on the phone.

After Mandy helped me, her 3rd grader, with math facts,
she graded my worksheet.
Jessica had fun with the dry erase marker...

and got sent to her room for a time out.

In the end, Mandy was victorious,
and we named her our Iron Homeschool Mom. 
We rewarded her with a Calgon bath set
for being such a good sport.

Join me back here, Round about the Table, soon for a game of Balderdash and a GIVEAWAY!
I want to send a BIG THANK YOU to Elizabeth H., our support group's newsletter editor, for allowing me to use her pictures of the meeting in this post. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-in: Week 3

First of all, I can't believe I'm three weeks into this weight-loss thing.  It has gone sooooo quickly.  Amazing how time flies when you're working your buns off having fun.

As promised, I did the make-up swimming session last Thursday.  Because I do my weigh-ins on Wednesday, I consider Tuesday the last day of my exercise week which means that technically I only got in one session two weeks ago and did three sessions this week.

But tomAto, tomAHto.  I'm moving, and that's what matters, right?

And I'm losing, too.

This week, I lost 3.4 lbs, to be exact!

That brings my total weight loss to 9.2 lbs.

I'm crying over that one, folks, 'cause it has been a tough week, pain wise.  I have felt stabbing pains in my back, hip, and foot again this week.  I have been able to keep up with my daily schedule and exercise routine but have had to get in bed by 8 each evening and been near tears because it hurts so much. Thankfully each morning, the pain has eased enough that I can get up and go again. 

As I was struggling to get through the grocery store yesterday evening, I thought about Christ and all He endured on my behalf.  When I feel the stabbing pains, I imagine how much worse those thorns and nails must have felt.  The "electrocution" pains are so strong that in that moment, I would do just about anything to make it stop.  I know that Jesus could have stopped His suffering, but he remained on the cross in agony until it was finished.  Until He had endured God's wrath for my sake, for the sake of all who believe on Him.

Makes hobbling through the grocery store seem less severe, doesn't it?

And it makes this week's weight loss all the more significant. He has been my refuge and strength... my ever-present help this week, as He is every week.  To God be the glory.  (Psalm 46:1-2)

Thank you so much for keeping me in your prayers.  If I can do the same for you, please leave your requests in comments or email me using contactr (in my sidebar).  This week please pray for me in the following ways:
  1. Please ask the Lord to ease my pain, remove it altogether if He would be pleased to do so.  My greatest hope is for this pain to cease; however, I also pray for the grace to live with it and keep working through it for His glory and kingdom purposes, if it be His will.  
  2. Continued success with diet and exercise, more specifically... 
  3. Perseverance with swimming as it is proving to be the only way I can exercise because of the pain.  The pain and the cooler temps make it easier to justify skipping a session, or two, or twenty, but go I must, even if I have to crawl there. 
  4. That God would continue to grant me extra measures of grace in these areas and enable me to do these things joyfully while giving Him praise and glory. 
  5. That God would continue to mortify my flesh, accomplish His will, and be glorified.
Again, thank you for praying and to God be the glory. 

Happy Dieting and Exercising!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up: Global Warming, Passing Out, a Surprise Pizza (or two), Eyeglasses and Lost in ATL

Visit WUHS for more weekly wrap-up fun!

I needed to find a phonebooth this week so I could make a quick change into Superwoman, but phonebooths are, to my chagrin, a thing of the past.  So, instead, I donned my denim jumper and, by God's grace, did the best I could.

Monday started with a flute lesson.  My student mastered her part of a duet, and we played together for her mother, one of my best friends.  Student and Mom are very special to me, and moments like those make me so glad I teach her.

Then the boys and I plowed through school.  They finished their work before lunch in order to make the monthly 4-H meeting.  Global warming was the topic for the month, and some interesting questions were posed on the way home.  We now have a new research topic and have spent some time reading AIG articles in order to be better prepared to give an answer as to what we believe.

That evening, I led the next hsa meeting.  We listened to 24 Hours Is All You Get by Susan Bradrick.  I will have more to write about this soon in my Round about the Table segments.  My posts are about a month behind what we are doing in person. 

If you haven't taken part in my meme, you're not alone.  Only Kellie provided answers to the intro questions, and her response is worth the few minutes it will take you to read it.  F-U-N-N-Y!  Thanks, Kellie!

On Tuesday, the boys packed their school bags, and we travelled to Nohnie's house.  She had taken seriously ill in the middle of the night and had passed out.  Fortunately, my dad caught her before she fell to the floor, preventing her from landing on and reinjuring her recently repaired kneecap.  I spent the day nursing her back to health before I left to tutor after public schools dismissed.

Wednesday we worked double time on All about Spelling, IEW, Science, Latin, and lit.  We completed our reading of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.  I had a sore throat again from reading in character, particularly reading as the White Witch.  She's really loud!

We met one of my Korean students at the playground that afternoon. Afterward, he and his mother came to my house.  She is a precious, kind, tender-hearted lady, and we had so much fun looking at the family pictures displayed around my house and talking about family and homeschool.  Her English is improving a little at a time, and I am thankful the Lord has brought us together to be friends. 

Her son ate dinner with us and accompanied us to church that night.  He had so much fun.  In the sanctuary, Wilbur helped him turn to the right page numbers in the hymnal and Psalter and enjoyed being the older one for a change.  Then the kids went upstairs, and Student studied the Catechism for Young Children and mastered Q and A number 1!  All the kids received him warmly, and he didn't want to leave church. 

When we arrived home, his precious mother had arrived before us and was holding two large pizzas, one for Orville and one for Wilbur.  That was so sweet it almost made me cry.

Okay, you got me.

I did cry.  I was very touched.

On Thursday the boys packed their school bags again and completed their independent work in the lobby of the optometrist's office while I had my annual eye exam.

The diagnosis?

I'm getting old. 

New glasses are on their way.  Maybe I'll make fewer typos next week.

Probably not, but one can hope.

Afterward, we went to the pool for a make-up swimming session, returned home for lunch, and then started reading The Horse and His Boy.  I think I'm having as much fun with this lit study as the kids.

But my throat hurts again from reading with a horse's voice.

You could say that horse made me hoarse.

*chuckle, chuckle, snort, snort*


Nohnie felt well enough to let the boys stay with her for, ahem, what was supposed to be a few hours while Michael and I drove to the other side of Atlanta to use rebate checks we received after buying a new mattress a few months ago.  Because I forgot on Thursday night that Michael had the day off and planned for a day of school, I didn't think to print directions to the store which is in an area we only go to when we shop at that particular store...specifically when we bought the first mattress and today.

When I awoke to the realization that today was the day we had planned this little trek, I shifted into overdrive, and we left without a map.

Then we got lost in downtown ATL.

For an hour.

That's when I called Orville who got online and found directions for us.

We used the rebate to buy a mattress for Wilbur, and the nice guys at the store loaded it into our van from which all chairs, save the front two, had been removed (thus the reason the boys had to stay with Nohnie).  We followed Orville's directions in reverse, missed an exit, and GOT LOST IN DOWNTOWN ATL FOR THE SECOND TIME!!


On the plus side, I now know how to get to The High Museum, The Federal Reserve Building, Emory Midtown, The Varsity, Piedmont Park, Georgia Tech, The Cyclorama, Turner Field, Zoo Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola and the state capitol building.

It's really a beautiful city with lots of great things to do.  But, people, once you get off the interstate, there is no getting back on.

At least not in the right direction, that is.

Seriously.  If you come down here for a visit, make sure you A. have a GPS system, B. an up-to-date map of the city, or C. don't get off I-85.

Thank you.

Or you're welcome.

And that's a wrap.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-in: Week 2

First of all, thank you all for the kind comments, words of encouragement, exercise suggestions, offers of accountability and promises to pray you sent my way last week.  All of those are things I need and readily accept with a thankful heart.

Thursday I spent 45 minutes at the pool, using a modified version of Celee's suggestion.  I did my normal thing of treading water while working the styrofoam weights.  What do you call those things, anyway?  Water weights??  I don't know, but y'all probably know what I mean.  They're light as a feather outside the water, but when submerged, they create a lot of resistance and give you a good upper-body workout.  Then I used the weights as floatation devices and for resistance as I "walked" laps.  I swam two laps for good measure, too.  In all, I moved without stopping for 45 minutes.

The really good news is that I DO NOT HURT afterward.  Of course, I feel the aches that normally follow a workout, but OTC pain relievers ease that pain.  I mean that other kind of pain...the kind that makes me feel like I'm being electrocuted and stabbed simultaneously.  Praise the Lord for swimming and for the availability of a pool.

I have continued to use My Fitness Pal.  I have found searching for food really easy.  The data base contains a lot of different Kroger and Wal*Mart brand items.  It also stores any food item I enter into my daily journal once in a "favorite foods" location...easy to retrieve and very convenient.

I was scheduled to go swimming again yesterday and could not.  There was an emergency situation that needed my attention during the hours the pool was open.  I can't go into details but will say that everyone involved is okay.  For those of you keeping me accountable, I wanted you to know that I skipped it but I did 30 minutes of "walking" on my Gazelle instead. You would think with it being no-impact that it would not cause my pain condition to flare, but it has.  I can't put pressure on my right foot this a.m.  But I will continue to use that as a back-up on those days that swimming is impossible.  I have also worked in a "make-up" swimming session for tomorrow. for what you really want to know.  Drum roll please....

I lost 1.4 lbs this week! 

Which brings my total weight loss to 5.8 lbs.


I will end with my prayer requests for the week.  Thank you again for your prayers. 
  1. I need to push through the next two weeks to reach the point where tracking calories and exercising are "habits".  Pray for continued conviction and help from the Holy Spirit to do these things faithfully.
  2. That I would rule my schedule and it not rule me so that when the unexpected comes up I will faithfully do what God has called me to in that moment and joyfully workout another time.
  3. That God would "deliver me from temptation" and provide the grace needed to grow in discipline in this area of my life.
  4. That swimming would continue to be effective and not trigger chronic pain flare ups.  That I would be able to use my gazelle as a back-up and that it would not trigger a huge flare up.
  5. That God would be glorified.
Thanks and Blessings!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up: Birthday Parties, Dentist Appointments, a Zombie Teacher, Science Dilemmas and a Whole Bunch of Soap

Visit WUH for more weekly wrap-ups.

This was an off-week for us.

Not as in we took the week off from school, but as in there were so many disruptions that we might as well have taken a break.

Monday, we started our day with swimming.  My new weight-loss plan includes swimming twice per week, and we are blessed to have a membership to a recreation center with an indoor Olympic-sized pool.  My mom joins us since her PT plan includes water exercises.  I managed to tread water for 30 minutes.  Hooray!  We were off to a good start. 

Then we went to a birthday party for one of the boys' friends.  He is a fellow homeschooler and former soccer teammate.  It was a beautiful day, and we all had fun at the party; however, by the time we returned home, there was only time for Omnibus (Orville), Rod and Staff (Wilbur), math, and grammar.  I call these our school staples, and when we are rushed, sick, or facing an unusual schedule, this is what must be done.

Also, Orville read the next science experiment in his General Science text and told me it couldn't be accomplished.  I told him that I would look at it later and we would see about that.

Tuesday was the most "normal" school day this week.  The boys completed all of their subjects, and we were completely engrossed while reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  All of us have read this book before.  We have seen the BBC production about a zillion times and the Disney/Walden movie at least a dozen, yet we could read the original work over and over again.

I got to the bottom of the science experiment dilemma.  Orville needed a working flashlight which I quickly found and handed to him.  Problem solved! (or so I thought)

The boys also chose writing projects for unit 2 of History Revealed, and we made a library run for research materials and tutoring materials.  Orville chose to write about Sumer, and Wilbur is writing a paper about the Egyptian pyramids.  He is also working on a drawing that compares the Great Pyramid to the Ziggurat of Ur and the Pyramid of the Sun.  Both were supposed to be completed today but are still works in progress because....

Wednesday was Orville's birthday.  Now, being the mean  goal-oriented mom that I am, I made him complete school work on his birthday.  But just the essentials that I listed on Monday.  And I mostly had him do that work so he would be occupied while I baked cupcakes for his celebration dinner.  So when the cupcakes were baked and the independent work was graded, we left for the playground for a playdate with one of my tutoring students.  We have agreed to meet them twice each week to play in addition to tutoring sessions so he can be immersed in English.

Later we headed to Wal*Mart so Orville could use the gift card sent by his paternal grandparentsThen we went to dinner with Papaw and Nohnie (my parents) and my student joined us.  Orville purposefully picked a southern cooking restaurant because he thought my student needed the experience.  Tutee, however, seemed to be quite familiar with fried chicken, and we had a lot of fun celebrating Orville's special day.

Oh, and did you read about my present?  I lost 4.4 pounds!

Oh, and Orville returned the flashlight and again insisted he could not complete the experiment.  I told him I would look at it with him later.

Thursday was one of those days that if I could erase it from my memory, I would.  We had dentist appointments which took the entire morning.  Need I say more?  Well... maybe a bit.  Just that I don't like going to the dentist.  I really don't like taking the boys to the dentist.  And in a few weeks I have to take them for a consultation with an orthodontist, and we're going to have to make hard decisions about braces. 

I was zombie teacher for the rest of the day.  Wondered how I was going to work that in, didn't you? 

Another day of basics for the boys, tutoring afterward, and praying for the grace to recover from a difficult day and wisdom for Michael and me to know what really is best for our boys and whether they really NEED braces or if it is just what our culture mandates.

And the later I had promised for that science experiment never arrived, but I insisted Orville try it anyway and see what would come of it.

Friday started with tennis lessons and then another 45 minutes at the pool.  We returned home for an early lunch, a full school day (I tried hard to make up for the lost time this week), and another playdate with Tutee.

Somewhere in the middle, I asked Orville if he had completed the experiment.


Because (and this is what he had been trying to communicate since Monday and somehow I just didn't get it) the experiment required breaking the only working flashlight we own.  Apparently, Michael and I are serious about keeping that flashlight in working order, and Orville knew better than to touch it. 

We decided to skip science this week. 

And that experiment.

Sorry, Dr. Wile.

And last, but not least, a HUGE package was at my front door when I arrived home from the playdate.  Inside were all the materials I ordered for soap "making".  I'm not really making soap but scenting and forming a pre-made soap base into novelty soaps to sell for the holidays.  I had a great time smelling all my new fragrance oils.

Then I opened the bottle of vanilla color stabilizer, thinking it might smell yummy, too. 

It didn't.

I felt like a stink bomb went off inside my head and I almost passed out. 

Good thing school was done for the week, else it would have been the return of Zombie Teacher!

Ha!  I worked it in twice!!

Happy Schooling!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Round about the Table: Getting to Know You

Hey ladies!  Welcome to Olive Plants.  Please pull up a chair and join me Round about the Table.

Each month, I will bring to Olive Plants the topics covered at my local hsa's mom's meeting.  Most months there will be one Round about post and some months I will include a link list so you can write about the topic of the month at your blog and link back to Olive Plants.  This month there will be more than one post because a lot happened during the September meeting. 

Our meeting was a time of Getting to Know You, and I would like to get to you all better, too.  At the meeting, we played icebreaker games and laughed...a lot... because sometimes that's what we moms need to do.  Our first game was a "speed question" round, and I divided the women in attendance into four groups and provided each group with a set of three questions.  They had ten minutes to take turns answering.

Let's do something similar here and create a cyber-circle.

Below are the three questions and my answers.  To participate, write a post that answers all three questions and publish to your blog.  Please display the Round about the Table icon above (just copy and paste) and be sure to link back to Olive Plants in your post.  Then come back and link your post's url to the link list below.  Please provide the url specific to your post and not your blog's general web address.
Here are the questions...
  1. Do you prefer coffee or tea?  Hot or cold?  Sugar, cream, etc.?
  2. How did you meet your husband?
  3. What is your favorite subject to teach?  Why?
Here are my answers...

  1. Tea!  Hot in the fall and winter, iced in the spring and summer.  Y'all, I'm from the South so it has to be SWEET! *said with my best southern drawl* ;)
  2. If you read regularly, you already know this one...we met at the MSU BSU at (everyone say it together) the Welcome Back Party
  3. It depends on the day.  Some days I love to teach everything.  Some days I don't like to teach anything.  Most days, I really enjoy math, Latin, and literature.  I'm learning to love history, and my life would be so much nicer if we could just skip science altogether.  Except for bird watching.  Ahh...the days when bird watching counted as science
I look forward to reading your responses.  Come back soon for the next Round about the Table when we will play a round of Balderdash and find an Iron Homeschool Mom.

Next month we will talk about scheduling with priorities as taught by Susan Bradrick in  24 Hours Is All You Get.

Happy Schooling!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Thorn and the Flesh: Wednesday Weigh-in

I started my new blog, The Thorn and the Flesh, a few months ago to track my weight-loss and health progress.  I found it hindered my progress instead of motivating me as I had hoped.  I just can't keep up with two web addresses it seems.

So I am going to blog my progress and write updates about my condition here and make The Thorn and the Flesh an on-going topic rather than an independent blog.

I have been dabbling with dieting for a year now, experiencing a yo-yo effect.  The biggest factor that works against me is exercise.  Because of my chronic pain, it is just really hard for me to do consistently.  I will exercise for a few weeks until it finally renders me immobile.  For example, last Friday I decided to go for a walk at the track across the street from where my sons take tennis lessons.  I thought it would be an ideal time and place for me to exercise.


I walked two moderately-paced laps but started hobbling about a quarter of the way through the 2nd.  By the time I was done, I could barely move.  Sciatica was attacking with full force, and there was a burning, stabbing pain in my foot that was so bad it felt as if I had dropped something heavy on there was a broken bone.  I was in that much pain for four days...mostly bed-bound, had to cancel Saturday plans and miss Sunday worship.

This week I felt determined to find a weight-loss and exercise plan that would work for me.  Here is what I did this week with good results.

  1. I went swimming twice.  I bought a membership a local indoor, olympic-sized pool.  I have tried this before and given up because it eats up a lot of time, especially in the winter when we must dry and change before leaving.  But I have decided that it is worth the time and effort and must be given priority.  I have realized that I do not enjoy swimming laps either.  Boring.  So I use water weights and tread water while exercising my arms.  I can do this for about 30 mins without stopping and enjoy it.  Very much like water aerobics (my sad adaptation), and I can do it without intense pain.
  2. I am tracking my daily caloric intake at My Fitness Pal.  I have tried other paid membership sites which have worked for me before but after I lose about 15 pounds, I start to think I can do it on my own without having to spend $15ish each month.  That's when my weight goes back up...each and every time.  This free service has made it really easy for me to track what I eat and know that I am staying within a proper range.
  3. And really this should be listed first...I am praying on a regular basis about my health and this diet.  I have pinpointed two things that are real temptations for me and am committing them to prayer daily and as the temptation arises.  I admit my weakness and total dependence upon God in all things and ask for your prayers, too.  I will list some specific requests in a minute.
That's it.  Really.  I feel like these have been small changes, particularly the diet part.  As I began to calculate calories, I found that I wasn't doing too poorly on my own...on a normal day, that is.  When I'm not tempted to do fast food.  I have found a good solution for those days too but will have to share later because right now I want to get to the results. 

This week I lost.... (drum roll, please)

4.4 pounds

Woo HOO!!  Today, btw, is Orville's 11th birthday.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY ORVILLE!  And I got a great weight-loss present!  (He's getting an IPod...shh, don't say anything.  He'll open it tonight and I'll post pictures later, Lord willing)

Even thought that is a great start, there is a long road to travel before I reach my goal.  I ask for your prayers and will end each weigh-in with specific prayer requests.  Thank you for praying for me.  If you are struggling with weight loss or chronic pain, please feel free to leave your requests in comments, and I will pray for you, too.  Please pray that...

  1. Swimming will continue to be a form of exercise I can do without having to be bed-bound afterward.
  2. For strength of character- no excuses about swimming, even in cold months.  I will do what is necessary and work as unto the Lord.
  3. For the mortification of my flesh and my ongoing sanctification through this process.
  4. For the healing of my body and the absence of chronic pain.
  5. That God would be glorified. 
Thanks for reading and for praying.

Happy (I can't believe I'm saying this) Dieting and Exercising!

Monday, October 4, 2010

So...what's up?

Before I took my blog-batical last month, I shared that Michael and I were praying about the future of this blog.

A blog-batical, btw, is a rest from blogging for at least a month, perhaps longer, after which the blogger returns refreshed and ready to write again.

Yes, I make words up.

All.  the.  time.

So those of you who follow this blog may have wondered what has been decided. 

The decision is that the blog will live another year.  However, my writing time is much more limited than it used to be, and as a result, posts will be fewer and farther between.

I will continue to write mostly about school.  I also like to answer reader questions.  I received two via email this week and am working on answers to both.  So please continue to write and ask.  When I can answer a question, I know I am writing something meaningful and would rather do that than arbitrarily pull a topic from mid-air, so to speak. 

I also hope to write more of Our Family Stories; however, I will be dropping Not Me Mondays (cutting back on memes is part of the new plan, too).  I still intend to tell some of the funny stories of my mishaps in teaching and mothering.  I've been saving up some doozies to share.  (I have to get a camera that works first!) 

I will also start a new segment soon, Round about the Table.  The reference is Psalm 128, the same Psalm from which I took the name of this blog.  These posts will allow me to share resources for homeschooling moms, the same ones I share at my local hsa mom's meetings.  Get ready to pull up a chair as we talk about schooling round about the table.

Thanks for reading.  Look for the first Round about post soon!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up: Could someone please tell me where that month went?!?

Visit WUHS for more wrap-ups!

It has been a month since I wrote my last weekly wrap-up.  I had intended to stay on top of things and include Olive Plants in this great meme every week without fail, yet God had other plans for me.  The last month has been busy, and this was the first week we were back at our home, doing a "normal" week.

Monday we got back on track with History Revealed.  Before we began our school year, I planned to complete 5 units before Christmas break and 4 units after.  When I found out Mom would have surgery and need my help for a few weeks, I decided to take a month off and swap that plan.  This week we began unit 2, completing the reading work and listening to Diana Waring's CD recordings about Babel and early civilizations.

Tuesday included the most interesting lesson of the week.  We have reached the point in Lively Latin that the boys are learning questions and answers, like what is your name/my name is.  To encourage study and conversation, I allowed them to role play a conversation between their Webkinz plush toys.  Many times this week, I have found myself conversing with a barred owl named Titus as follows:

Titus:  Salvete!
Me:  Salvete, Titus.
Titus:  Quid nomen tibi est?
Me:  Nomen mihi Dawn (or Aurora) est.
Titus:  Quid agis hodie?
Me:  Optime!   Quid agis hodie?
Titus:  Pessime!

Maybe, we're a little more classical than I would like to admit, hmm....

Wednesday was an independent study day because our house was a disaster zone, and I needed a cleaning day. 

Thursday was such fun because of my sweet tutoring students!  I tutor on Tuesdays and Thursday after public school dismisses.  My first student was in a bad mood.  He came home hungry and tired and didn't want to work on English.  I can understand.  The public school day has been increased by an hour each day, and my dh, who teaches high school Spanish, is exhausted by the time he arrives home.  I can only imagine what it is like for six-year-olds.

Anyhoo, his mom gave him a good snack, and I gave him a good pep talk and pulled out the AAS board.  That thing's like a magic board...good magic, like the Wardrobe (which we finished 10 chapters of this week... more in a minute).  It turns frowns upside down and gets little boys busy learning English.

Then I went to student 2's house.  He had made a 100 on a test I had helped him prep for.  Orville, Wilbur, and I all cheered for him, we had a good tutoring session (with AAS, too), and then his mom invited us to stay for a few minutes so the boys could play together.  She served us Asian pears, at least that's what I think they were.  Her English is very limited and conversing is difficult, but with God's help, we are becoming good friends despite the language barrier.

I thought this a good time to insert pictures of my students and introduce them to you.  Please excuse my hair and shiny face.  These pix were taken on the last day of the summer tutoring program.  It was over 100 degrees outside, and I had dressed as a ninja that day since we were completing the book Night of the Ninjas.  Hair and make-up didn't stand a chance.  :)

The student pictured above wrote this letter
and gave it to me on the last day of summer classes.

Aren't they cuties?!?  Can you see why I love them so?

Our week ended on Friday with tennis lessons, swimming, Omnibus, and chapters 9 and 10 of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Tennis is just fabulous!  The coach is a gifted teacher and very encouraging.  It seems that Orville has a better-than-average backhand, and Coach calls him Backhand Orville.  That nickname works a lot better with his real name.  Oh, well.

Orville finished a four-week study of Homer's Odyssey in Omnibus this week.  He wrote a very long, very thorough essay, a huge step for him.  Omnibus is fitting him like a glove, and we are seeing him grow leaps and bounds as a student.  Thanking the Lord for this curriculum.

We have continued to read 1-2 chapters of the Narnia books each day.  We finished Magician's Nephew last week which I admitted in an earlier post I had never read before.  It is now one of my favorite books.  This week we entered the spare 'oom with Lucy and travelled into the Wardrobe with the Pevensie children.  We take turns reading aloud, and I have to admit that I really enjoy reading as the White Witch!  Should I be concerned???  lol