Moving Day Approacheth

Moving Day is Friday. It feels like it’s been forever but really it’s only been weeks. That is one annoying thing about life – when really want something it seems forever before you get it!

So I’m trying to get all our ducks in a row. There is lots to do. Thankfully no packing this time!  However I do still have change of address cards to do and update all my billers. We have internet and utilities set up so that’s one less worry. And I have school planned out. We’re going to use the Easy Peasy all in one homeschool again this year because really I think trying to make up curriculum for 7 kids while moving into a new house and working a new job and taking care of a new baby and having to set up all new doctors and churches and playgroup and such is just too much. So I’m going simple.

I’m going to wait until August 11 to start school. Public school starts the week before but the tax free weekend isn’t until that weekend and I intend to stock up on school supplies!  Plus pay day is the 10 as is Mark’s birthday. So the 11th it is.

What I want to do is get everyone supplies of course, but for my area I want a milk crate to store all my things in, with a binder with dividers to store work for portfolios. With seven kids I might need more than one!  I also want to get some letter sorter boxes and spray paint them according to the kids colors. They might not can all read but they know their colors. The more I can color code the better!

I also still need to go over the battle plan (lol) with Shane. I have some ideas, like doing bible with the kids over breakfast before I go work but that’s going to need to be fleshed out some I think.

It’s awesome how all these changes are coinciding at the same time, right?  Ah well such is life. I’ll post some pictures of my homeschool set up once I get it all done.

It’s now M-3 days. M for moving of course! :-)

Stress, stress, and more stress.

With a side order of stress.  Any takers?  We’re in the final week of staying with my sister.  We close on our house Friday and we’ve already reserved the U-Haul for Friday as well, so after tonight, there is four more nights here!  Everyone is excited to be in our own space and I’m sure my sister is sick of us by now.  It’s tough when you’re sharing spaces with another family.  Everyone has their own rules and it’s really hard to have to live by others rules when they feel extremely confining compared to your own.  For example – my children can’t be inside much because they’re loud.  But they can’t be outside in the backyard by themselves because my sister has things out there that she doesn’t want messed with and of course those are the first things they go for.  So there’s basically no place they can exist without causing some kind of issue.  That is extremely stressful.  We’ve been trying to make do by letting them watching Netflix on my tablet when things get crazy, but I mean that only works so long…

Then there is the kitchen cleanup.  We aren’t supposed to use any of her dishes because apparently 3 of her plates got broken in the put up process.  see we were trying to be helpful by cleaning up their dishes as well as our own, putting up dishes, etc.  Things I would normally have thought were being considerate guest things, but they backfired horribly.  So for the past couple of weeks we’ve been having to eat off Styrofoam plates, red Solo cups, Styrofoam bowls, and plasticware.  Matthew got a plate without thinking the other day and was gotten onto for it, and he was pretty upset about it.  But what could we do?  We have to bide our time until Friday.  That’s really our only choice.

As upsetting as these things are, it’s really petty compared to the events of last week.  David ended up in the hospital with viral encephalitis and meningitis.  He’d been not eating or drinking for four days.  Every time we tried to get him to eat or drink even just a little he’d throw it up again.  He was running a fever and he was becoming delirious.  He didn’t realize the toilet was located inside the bathroom, or that he was holding a yellow Popsicle when he asked for a yellow Popsicle.

David at the beginning of his illness.

David at the beginning of his illness.

We took him to the ER after day 2.  He’d been complaining of his head hurting and he had a fever.  Combined with the vomiting and the fact he kept covering his eyes and he slept all day, it really sounded like a migraine, but I couldn’t explain the fever.  No one else in the house was sick so it didn’t make sense that it’d be a cold or anything and I’d never seen a sinus infection have these kinds of symptoms, plus he had no cold type symptoms.  When I Googled “migraine with fever” the first dozen links or so were meningitis.  I’d never really been familiar with it before but basically it’s an inflammation of the meninges of the brain from an infection.  I was really worried about him.  They sent him home from the ER with a diagnosis of gastroenteritis which felt like complete crap to me but at least he ate a Popsicle at the ER, so I was hopeful that he’d be better.  It was the weekend so I spent the weekend taking care of him.  By Monday he was still no better, but I had to go to work.  When I got home that day, they said he’d been running into walls and doors and now my husband was worried because he still couldn’t keep down even water.  He and Emily took David to the ER.  He was checked into the PICU and they ran a bunch of tests on him.  Their initial assessment was viral encephalitis after ruling everything else out, over a process of hours during which I worried incessantly.

David in the PICU

David in the PICU

Luckily though,in the hospital, he was able to get the fluids we couldn’t get him to keep orally, in the form of an IV.  He stayed in the PICU overnight and the next day, he still felt bad but they moved him to a normal room.  Since we were told he’d be there a few days, I decided I couldn’t take off work, especially since the doctor said she really felt strongly that he was just going to have to sleep off his illness since she thought it was viral.  She said she didn’t feel he was in danger, and since he was just sleeping anyways, I figured it’d be ok.  Maybe I’m insensitive, I don’t know.  But sometimes you have to make the best of the cards you’re given, and my best was go to work, and spend the evening at the hospital.  Even when I was there he pretty much mostly slept, but I felt I was being there for him.  Plus Shane was with him the rest of the time so he was never alone.

I would say I worried a lot, but really I didn’t.  I had faith in God that things would work out how they were supposed to for good or for bad…  I just hoped it was for the better, but I did prepare myself for the worst.  Luckily though, the better happened.  It took a few days.  He was in the hospital four days but he finally felt well enough to go home.

David eating a banana after a couple of days of IV only.

David eating a banana after a couple of days of IV only.

David out of the hospital bed and excited to go home.

David out of the hospital bed and excited to go home.

David at home finally!

David at home finally!

So yeah things have been kind of crazy here lately.  But they’re slowly starting to go to the right place.  It’s taken time, but soon we’ll be in our own house, able to make as much noise as we need to lol.  I can unpack my kids’ toys finally and they can have their own rooms!  It’s been trying but they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  I guess there’s gotta be some truth in that because I don’t feel broken.  I know God is with me every step of the way.  And I definitely can’t say life is boring… ever!

Life is no less busy

But it’s not necessarily busier, either.  The answer to being  a working mom is delegation.  Having a good support system is key.  I’ve been on both sides of that and it really is important to have the support.

My typical work day now looks like this:  I wake up about 5:30 to Luke wanting to nurse.  I fall back asleep till my alarm at 6.  Then I sigh and pull myself out of bed, as naps are a thing of the past now during the week, but that’s ok really.  At least I still have weekends!  Anyways, next I go get dressed, brush my hair, and all that fun jazz.  Since we’re temporarily staying with my sister, my schedule is kind of screwed up anyways.  So whereas normally next I’d have coffee ready to go, here I have to make it in the morning, or if Shane gets to it before me, he will make it.

By this time it’s no later than 6:15 and I don’t have to leave for work till 7 so I have a good 45 minutes to eat breakfast, hang with kids who have started waking up by this time, and check things on my computer.  When I start up school on Aug 3, I will also use this time to do some initial school work while I’m there.

At 7 it’s time for the commute to work.  It’s not a long commute and it will be shorter when we get into our house, but for now it’s about a 25 minute commute.  I have ideas that I could use this time to and from work to have a skype chat with the kids about school work still once I get a bluetooth headset and a phone holster.  I think that would be pretty cool.  It’s on my to-do list.

So work is a whirlwind of fun stuff.  There’s work, pumping, lunch eating, keeping up to date with the happenings of the household, and occasionally a phone call to a doctor or some such for appointment scheduling whilst I wait for something to install!  The joys of multitasking!  I think because of multitasking I’m able to keep even busier than I was as a stay at home mom.  As a SAHM I was very very busy, but it was interrupted with mental down periods where I had to tend to children, or cook, or clean – these activities, while time consuming, did not require my full attention and as such I was able to take minibreaks throughout the day.  Granted if I wanted to I could probably do a similar sort of thing while working – like just staring at the screen while waiting for my code to compile instead of reading a text message, but when I stay super busy the day passes much faster and I am much more productive than I might otherwise have been.

I’m lucky that my supervisor lets me work eight hours, working through lunch instead of taking a lunch.  That means my workday is concluded at 3:30 which is just amazing.  In the winter this means I’m home before dark, and it’s always depressing when I have to get to work when it’s dark and leave after it’s gotten dark again.  I much prefer some sunlight in my day.

After I get home at 4, I make my lunch the next day, put my milk in the deep freeze since Luke is apparently on a daytime milk strike.  I bring home like 15 oz and he drinks 2.  Go figure.  So deep freeze it is on the chance that he decides to actually drink milk when I’m not here.  Then, it’s unwind with the kids time until I need to make dinner.  After school starts I’d also use this time to work with little kids to finish up school before the evening routines, should they have anything left.  My goal is going to be to have the boys done during the day before I get home (do what they need done with me before I leave and then Shane can play the letter videos and such for them during the day).  That will give me time to work with Sierra when I get home since she’s still learning to read.  I figure I can work with the big guys during dinner and in the evening hours, plus during text message throughout the day as need be.

I start making dinner around 5.  Dinner should be on the table by 6 if I do it right.  At 7 is when I either kick the kids outside to run off some extra energy, or start baths, depending on weather.  Since we’re in a temporary situation, I haven’t been bathing the kids every day, but often enough anyways.  When we get to our own house they’ll be back on daily baths.

At 8 it’s time for kids to brush teeth and get ready for bed.  By the end of the week this is the time I’m also trying to have had my bath and teeth brushing done by because by Friday I was beat! Earlier on in the week it wasn’t too bad and I could stay up till 9 or 10, but the later in the week it was, the earlier I needed to get to bed.  It all balanced out though I think.  It’s Saturday now and I’m really not that tired.

So its a busy routine but I think it’s doable.  I plan to use Saturdays to finish up any homeschooling left from earlier in the week, and to finish up any other action items on my to-do lists, circumstances permitting (example: I was going to bake today a bunch of stuff from my baking list but as the heat index is 107 today, that’s not gonna happen!  Kitchen is already warm enough without me turning on an oven!)  The idea is that Sunday will be a day of doing nothing but hanging with kids, playing games with kids, etc.  Of course I fully intend to have mini bits of this during the week, as I think it’s not necessarily quality time so much as quantity time, but I want Sunday to be a special day I can spend at church and with my kids, with basically no other worries.  Church will have to wait a few months until we can afford a van, but it’s on the list too!

So there you have it – my busy busy working mom routine.  I’ll undoubtedly have to post a new one once we get settled in our new house (closing is on July 31st!) but until then this is my week. When we’re in our new home I’ll have to add in the things I’ve already planned for with regards to housecleaning and the like.  My routine has got some rough edges, mostly due to being a guest in someone else’s home but we’re working on it best as we can.  And soon we’ll be able to set things in stone.  That’s what I’m looking forward to.

Homeschooling Plans as a Working Mom

Tomorrow makes day 3 of work at my new job and I feel pretty confident that I’ll be able to make my homeschool still work.  Thankfully Shane will be home so he can oversee the day.  I will still get to do the weekly planning though, and really that is the fun part for me.  And if I implement a workbox system, then I can enjoy daily setup as well, plus the whole grading of school work.

My two step children, Emily and Matthew, will be homeschooling this year.  Shane needs them at home to help since he has back issues and is no longer working due to being officially disabled.  Sometimes his medication knocks him out so he needs the teens at home to help when he’s having a bad day.  It’s just as well because they were originally wanting to homeschool anyways.  I need to look up some local homeschooling groups so that when we get a van (soon hopefully) they can go to events with other homeschoolers, and thus make some friends here and leave the drama from our last city behind.

Lilly, Sierra, Jordan, and David will continue to homeschool.  This year, I think Mark will join in on the preschool level, just because he always acts like he’s being left out when he isn’t given work to do.

Since I’m a working mom now, and we’re getting a new house, and we’ll be in a new city (to the kids anyways, not to me), and there’s just a bunch of change going on, I am going to a fall back of Easy Peasy for this year.  That way I don’t have to plan the lessons so much as organize everything this year.  That will make life a bit easier.  Of course I really can’t do much until we move into our new house and I get my printer set up, and I buy some new school supplies.

Ahhh school supplies.  I am looking forward to that.  School supplies are awesome.  And for once I’ll actually have money to BUY some!  It will be difficult to be frugal I think!!  But frugality is still important.  In fact I think it will be a personal challenge to myself to remain frugal despite the newfound availability of funds.  Especially when it comes to curriculum.  The only thing that has kept me from buying countless different curriculum has been not having the money.  Now I really will have to remain frugal.  That is in my plans as well.

I have an idea about utilizing a notebook for each child to record the daily lesson plans for them to work on.  I like the idea of having it digital but honestly I just don’t see them updating those very often.  I dunno.  I’m still toying with ideas.  I want to have a brainstorming session this weekend when I’m (hopefully) less tired!  I want to try and flesh out some more definitive homeschool plans both in terms of what I want to do with curriculum and how I want to make the lessons themselves available.  There’s so many possibilities, and I really do enjoy the planning….  alas, decisions decisions!!  I’ll update when I’ve figured out for sure what I’m doing!

Been a while, been busy!

I have had so many changes these past few weeks, it’s crazy.  I went from a stay at home mom, looking at being homeless in a few short months, with no prospects, and a high level of stress, anxiety, and depression, to a working mom, waiting on a house to close, and living with my sister till the end of the month!

Quite a change if I do say so myself…

You know, it’s hard living with people.  Even people you grew up with.  Apparently when people grow up they develop their own thoughts and opinions about life.  They have their own philosophies and set forth their own rules in their houses.  Even if you grew up in the same household, raised by the same parents, and exposed to the same general things in life, it’s amazing how drastically different one household can be from the other.

For example, consider noise.  My sister prefers a much quieter household, and has her eldest (11 years old) trained to be quiet when she’s sleeping.  It’s a bit more difficult for my niece, who is only 13 months old, but even she is fairly quiet.  MY household on the other hand, is incredibly rambunctious, due primarily to the fact that I have four little boys.  Our household is regularly loud, and it doesn’t bother me.  All the people living here have pretty much learned to ignore the noise.  Obviously sometimes it gets to be too annoying, but for the most part, it’s no big thing.  Since we’ve been staying here the past few weeks, it’s been rather stressful trying to keep my little boys quiet.  Ordinarily we would just send them outside but for one it’s been incredibly hot and humid outside, to the point where you break out in a heavy sweat, just sitting there, after five minutes.  Secondly, my boys are destructive and thus far, they have broken a fire pit plastic cover, a large plastic ball, and a kick ball.  This means they have to be supervised by one of the teens or Shane or myself.  And guess who doesn’t want to go outside in the blazing heat?

So it’s a special time.

Thankfully we close on our house on the 31st, so it’s not too much longer.  And hey, I have a job now.  Today was my first day and it was pretty good.  Thanks to the magic of text messaging it really didn’t feel like I was away from my kids much. Also I was able to work 7:30 to 3:30, my favorite work schedule so life is good.  Plus the people I work with are very nice and I think I was fairly productive today and so the day went by really quickly.  God is very good, even if sometimes the path seems hard or long.

More updates later.

Let the crazy begin!

So we bought a house!  Ok technically my dad bought it and were renting it from him until we can get our credit good enough to buy it from him. That is one humongous worry off our shoulders.

It’s a good thing too because it seems lately every time one burden is lifted, another takes its place. This time it was Emily, my younger stepdaughter. We recently had an ordeal to go through with her lying to us about seeing her boyfriend. Some people seem to feel as though teenagers should have unrestricted privacy to social media and the like. I am not one of those people. Neither is Shane. In fact the children we allow on social media are made aware of the fact that not only will we retain their passwords in our keeping, but we will randomly do spot checks to make sure they’re on the up and up.

Turns out Emily wasn’t.

A few weeks prior to this most recent incident we’d learned that while on an outing for the weekend with her friends, Emily met up with her boyfriend. They were at the lake and no one, not even the parents involved, bothered to tell us. Shane felt extremely misled and he had a conversation with Emily and her boyfriend about trust and honesty and he made a rule that if they were making plans to meet up or even if they accidentally met, to let him know. Even if it was after the fact.

Fast forward two weeks. Again Emily is with her friends. She meets up with her boyfriend at the church. I knew this because I saw it in the text log, about five minutes before she deleted the entire thread, during one of my random spot checks. Shane says nothing. He asks in our group chat how things are going. She says fine, but doesn’t mention meeting with her boyfriend. When she gets home the next day, he again asks how her visit went. Still no mention of the boyfriend. Then he asks her if she had anything to confess before he started asking questions. She said she had nothing to confess. Then he point blank asks her when was the last time she saw her boyfriend. She looks him in the eye and tells him that it was about a week ago when we sent her to fetch boxes.

That was four times to confess if you were counting. Not only did she not confess but she blatantly lied to his face.

Shane made good on the threat he made when he spoke with them before and he had her call and break off the relationship. (I know some people will say you can’t make teens break up but really it helps when you’re moving 80 miles away…)

Afterwards, Facebook exploded. Her now ex boyfriend started blasting shag be on Facebook, calling him controlling, oppressive, and stating that no matter what Shane said, he was going to continue seeing Emily. Her friends joined in, sympathizing with her, about how all this was over a poster and how Shane severely overreacted.

Oh did I forget to mention that?  Yeah the reason she didn’t mention seeing her boyfriend wasn’t because she met him to have sex (that little revelation was discovered later), but was because he met her for five minutes to give her a poster. Yet that short innocuous meeting was worthy of a lie? 

So here we were on Facebook getting blasted by a bunch of teens. Emily’s devices were all confiscated by this point, but Shane posted a defense on his wall. He stated that in his house, he had two rules: don’t lie and don’t hide things. Both rules had been broken. The teens jumped all over that thread with their attacks stating how Emily was 17 and ought to be allowed to do what she felt like (because letting hormonal teenagers run rampant is always indicative of good parenting you see).  The worst part was even some of the parents jumped in stating essentially the same thing – that when a teen is out of your house for the weekend you can’t control what they do. While of course you can’t control their actions these parents were condemning the consequences Emily faced as a result of her choices. That’s right… Parents were blasting another parent for daring to discipline a disobedient child. Amazing huh?

The thread turned very ugly very fast and was eventually deleted, though not before I was able to get a few words in about how immature and disrespectful all of the teenagers were behaving (and I did eventually get a private apology from the ex boyfriend but by then it was too late).  Even my sister reprimanded their behavior and it’s not often we agree on anything!

We finally had to have Emily call her friends and tell them to stop what they were doing because even the next day they were stirring up trouble, trying to paint us in an absolutely horrible light. They said neither Shane nor I were working and how awful that must be in today’s society for all our kids. (And it’s not even accurate – Shane is on disability now for his back injuries and I am actively seeking employment and it’s only a matter of time.)  They were even talking about trying to come by and talk to Emily when all of our cars were gone because of course that must mean we were not there. Nevermind that we have one car that won’t fit everyone in it. Nevermind also that if we were going to trust Emily home alone after what happened we’d be absolute idiots.

They finally did stop though and I think the drama has finally subsided even though it took a few days. What amazes me is that her friends, and our landlord, knew she’d been having sex and no one bothered to tell us. Granted I’d had my suspicions practically from the beginning when her attitude started changing but Shane needed proof, and while I knew “something” was going on, I wasn’t sure what. It just amazes me the entire situation. Everyone thinking they knew better than her father how to best handle the situation, everyone withholding critical information, and just the general prevailing attitude of disrespect and entitlement. It was ridiculous.

I have to say, though, Emily’s attitude has improved dramatically since she lost her devices. I’m entirely convinced it was the overexposure to social media. She had gotten secretive, withdrawn, angry all the time at her siblings, over the smallest things. She acted as though everything was an inconvenience to her life, and how dare my five year old ignore her commands, for example. She started slacking off horrendously on her chores, doing the worst job of all the older children when before she’d done the best job. She was reclusive and always stayed on her devices on her room. She started up at night talking to her boyfriend and then treating everyone like garbage the next day when she was tired. Her priorities were severely out of whack.

In her case her addiction was social media. For others it’s tv. For still others it’s games. Electronics can be an amazing blessing. But I will never about the premise that any child, even a teenager, should have unlimited time or access to their device. It’s too easy to fall into vices. It’s too easy to abandon everything that’s important when your young and still learning. It took ME until my late twenties to fully appreciate the responsibilities I had, and I was extremely responsible to begin with. Even I became addicted to video games.

When it changes your personality, it’s a problem. When you start treating people you love like crap because of it, it’s a problem. When you forsake anything else in your life that you used to enjoy for it, it’s a problem. If it’s a problem you need to remove it from your life. Sometimes it’s electronics. Sometimes it’s social media. Sometimes it’s a person. Sometimes it’s all of the above.

Life goes much smoother when the house is harmonious and that only happens when all things (except God!) are taken in moderation. At least that’s been my experience.

One Hot Summers Day….

I think I’m on the ball with my chores today. It’s Monday, only 3 pm. I’ve already completed almost everything on my to-do list except for the laundry (just put the last load in the washer though and waiting for it to all cycle through) and making my grocery list for the week which I plan on finishing after I get done writing this entry today. The kids had lunch, took their naps, and are now outside playing in the hose. I had one phone meeting for volunteer programming project I’m working on and a phone interview which I think went decent. I have butter out softening for some baking later and chicken defrosting for dinner.

What, then, could be wrong with this picture?

That, my friends, would be the air conditioning. It basically doesn’t work anymore. Technically it still functions but not in any way that a normal person could use it. You turn it on and thanks to the extreme humidity here in the South, it freezes after maybe half an hour. During that half an hour it barely functions due to the sucky duct work under the house that animals have screwed up. So even at its best it basically doesn’t work. After it freezes, we have to remember to turn it off so it can defrost. This takes at least half an hour if not longer. Because inevitably we don’t notice it’s frozen over till after an hour when the house has gotten uncomfortably warm and there’s a nice thick layer of ice on the coils. Hopefully I’m using the right terminology because truly I’m just parroting back that which I’ve heard Shane say lol.

So we turned the air off for a while. And now it’s extremely hot in the house. Such that when I was doning all my lovely chores there was literally trails of sweat streaming down my face.

That’s not even poetic.

I figured I’d get all my chores done today so that I could mentally excuse myself from doing any work the rest of the week. Plus it will give me more time to focus on finding a job, improving my professional skills, and follow up on our rental application.

I’m really hoping something happens soon. We all are. I’d be lying though if I said I didn’t worry about the what ifs. What if we don’t find a place by September. What if I don’t find a job. What if Shane gets denied disability for his back injuries. What if we take this huge leap of faith moving with no guarantee of anything and it backfires horribly in our face. Faith is hard. But we’re doing the best we can. Of course we have no choice so I guess we really don’t get brownie points for doing it lol.

Hopefully though we’ll hear something about the house were trying to rent tomorrow or Wednesday. Then maybe I will hear something about a job. Then we can pack up the rest of our stuff and move to a place with air conditioning and no vermin. Then no more pink faced children.

Yeah. That’s the hope I’m going to cling to. Much better than the alternative scenario!