Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Just popping in

We have all been doing well, as well as we can be.  Things got a bit hectic as we were nursing our oldest dog about a week and a half ago.  Unfortunately we needed to put her down.  It was a few days filled with lots of tears.  So I have been missing in action due to that and just trying to stay on track.  I have swirling in my head how I want to share our schedule with you and the things I am doing/using to make it work.  Soon.  For now we are carrying on, getting all of our stuff done.  This is no joke that we have *NEVER* been this orderly for this long.  Ever.  It is a good feeling. 

Tonight I need to finish up my menu as shopping day is approaching. After that I hope to have some time to write.  Oh, and if you think of it, please pray for us, it's a silly thing, but just 'one more thing' that seems to be adding to the pile of things that have fallen on us.  It appears our AC is not working.  The fan works, the thermostat is working, at least to kick it into gear....but no cold air, just lukewarm air blowing out.  I am *very* thankful that we are having a mild summer (at least by our Southern standards)!  But our budget can only take so much.  Thank you!!

(And this is totally random, but the AC, and the cool summer have reminded me that I should share a very interesting article with you all.  We've heard again and again and again about global warming. Well, a few years ago my dad mentioned something about Europe having gone through, and will probably go through again, a mini ice age---that took place between the 1300's and 1800's.  I was up in the middle of the night, not wanting to go back to bed after a bad dream (another side note, I have only had bad or crazy dreams during this pregnancy after I consume wheat!) and thought I would look up this interesting history of a mini ice age. Well, it appears that we are not in for global warming, but another mini ice age, as per the lack of sun spots.  I am assuming that sun flares and sun spots are different.  I don't have a clue.  I have to say I do NOT side with either position, but I still found this interesting.  I'll see if I can find the link.  Definitely made me go, "Huh?")

Friday, July 19, 2013

Scheduling success

  With only a whopping three days under our belt implementing our schedule, it may seem premature to call it a success.  However, I've tried the scheduling thing before, and always met with utter frustration and failure.  I figured I was just one of those people who couldn't live in a schedule.  But the problem wasn't that I couldn't live in a schedule, BUT that the schedule was unrealistic.  The one big piece of advice I took off of "Large Families with a Purpose" about scheduling is to schedule how much time it IS going to take, and NOT how long you *think* it should take.  That was the ticket for me! 

  I've tried quite a few schedules, and it was misery.  I felt like a drill sargent trying to get everyone to move on to the next scheduled slot...all. day. long.  By the end of the week I was totally worn out!  Or when I've tried implementing chores, or trying to keep up on the house, the problem was *I* was doing too much of the work.  All day long I would be putting things back where they belonged, wiping up messes, etc.  This time I divied up things like laundry and dishes.  In all seriousness, dishes would take up my WHOLE day.  Partly because there are so many of us, and partly because, without set meal times, someone was always eating at any given time.

  But that all changed this week!  I made sure to really think about how long different activities actually take us.  I really wanted to delve in and get order restored around here, but I am so glad that I gave plenty of time to figure out how long things *actually* take.  The result?  Even on our first day, there was no rushing.  Don't get me wrong, the boys were totally not used to keeping in one room, or having to play with a certain sibling...right now at this time.  BUT I gave enough time to get all we needed doing done.  Erika from Large Families, suggests not to change the schedule for the first week or two.  You should just jot down what you think may need changing and wait to see how things go after the first week.  After all it is hard on everyone to jump into a schedule and everyone needs to have time to adjust.  But one thing became VERY apparent in the first two days...I scheduled lunch way too late for our brood.  I wanted to have three main meals and one snack.  But no one, including me, who in all seriousness will pass out if I don't eat at a proper time, could handle the gap between breakfast and lunch.  I am thinking it may be due to there not being enough protein in our oatmeal breakfast, but at any rate, none of us could handle it.  So I did switch that up.  That made it possible for us to eat breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner. 

  Some things that have helped to make this week go smoothly was to do some in depth meal planning and, most importantly, meal prep on the weekend.  The meal prep is something I made sure to schedule in on our weekends, knowing it was going to make the schedule work much better.  I made our meals VERY simple.  For breakfast (mon.-fri.) the choice is oatmeal or granola.  On the weekends I have pancakes, and eggs with hash browns planned.  For lunch I made up a few different types of soups that all we have to do is reheat.  For dinner, I made sure to prep things like beans, and precook meats.  This makes meal preparation each day MUCH easier.

  In the past I took up the slack in picking up all the little things (which ended up taking all my time throughout the day), and handling things like laundry and dishes.  But, like I said above, that meant non stop work for me.  Now, even the boys have things they have to help with.  I also make the boys take a small basket around the house to pick up their toys that they left behind.  With the girls taking turns being with the boys this has REALLY, REALLY, REALLY cut down on the messes around here.  Exactly what I was hoping would happen. 

  Anyways, I'm pretty excited with how things went this week.  We were able to get all the cleaning in, and get all of our schooling done.  And that includes me working with Jedidiah, something that kept being put off if I didn't have time...which happened way too often.  In a future post I will share my schedule with you.  If you need any scheduling inspiration please visit Large Families, and click on schedules on her side bar. I will also share how I broke up chores.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

I may be crazy...scheduling

So things have been pretty non productive around here.  Granted, it really can't be helped.  The good news is that I have not had any nausea in the past few days!!!  YAY!!! Unfortunately, the sinus infection I am dealing with is bringing me down all on it's own.  Today the younger two girls are having a tea party.  I helped them make the food.  Thankfully it was being hosted at one of their friends houses as they actually have tea cups!  Ha, ha!  After all the food making I needed a break.  But, I was pleasantly surprised that I was then able to get up and get some more stuff done.  It is slow going, but it IS going :-)

The past few weeks, while I've been resigned to the couch, I've been soaking up some great ideas and wisdom from a new to me blog, Large Families on Purpose.  Years and years ago I bought the Maxwell's "Manager of Their Home" and later on, "Manager of Their Chores".  Both are really great.  But this blog really helps to *see* how things kind of work in a family.  Granted the Maxwell's have many examples in their books of how other families work their schedule, but I guess I just needed a bit more. I suppose I am a bit thick headed sometimes!

What is really GREAT to read on LFOP is that the first week with a schedule is HARD!!  And her first few attempts had to be revised a few times over.  When the going got really tough, I figured I wasn't cut out for this scheduling thing!  But now I find myself 'stuck'.  We have ourselves in a bad cycle, one of which seems impossible to get out of.  But I know with time, and some help, we will get there.  We are not getting the things done that need to be done.  But somehow there has been plenty of time for the non-essentials.  The house is always a mess.  The boys are very destructive.  The carpet is ruined.  Most of our furniture is in bad shape.  It is time to change things up!

The boys really, really need to be occupied and watched over by some one at all times. I plan on using some of Erika's examples to see if we can change this ship around.  Isabella REALLY needs to get to her studies. She has a limited amount of time to get them done if she wants to graduate on time.  The other girls are fine, but I know we all will benefit from working hard each and every day, getting the important things done.  The rest of the summer is pretty open, a short weekend camping trip may happen, but no more week long events like runner's camp.  Since we really have to school through the summer I am hoping to set up a modified schedule (it IS summer after all, and there should be a bit more free time here and there), which I am hoping will help us come the "official" fall school time.  If we work very diligently we can take a week off in early September to regroup, set up any new school supplies, etc. and start in with a full schedule.

One of the great messages of Erika's blog is 'living life on purpose'. We SOOOO NEED that.  We had a glimpse of that a couple of years ago, but lost our way.  We really need to get back to really thinking through things, and not just let life speed by while we are wondering, hmmm, what should we do next?  Erika says she likes to live *proactively* and not reactively.  We are a VERY reactive family!  This is not productive, nor is it using the time that the Lord has given us, wisely.

Once I make my schedule up and we have a few days to actually live it, I will share it here.  I am hoping to get some time tonight and tomorrow to work things out on paper.  I started with an outline yesterday, but still have a ways to go. 

Finding a new approach...

This post is more so that I don't forget what I need to do.  Because my brain is that rattled.  Ever thankful that my sister is able to have that 'being on the outside, looking in' point of view.  Because I have been besides myself the past few days.  Well, overall, the past few weeks.  I am ever thankful that the magnesium has made such a difference in my symptoms.  But it doesn't address the yeast issues. 

And for yeast, I am talking systemic yeast.  I had one piece of Jed's cake (that had sugar in it), and did have some dessert and a hamburger bun on the 4th (hey, life is short people!).  And this morning?  Full blown sinus infection.  A banging sinus headache, puffy eyes, the whole number. Really?  Of course never mind that even though I've redone GAPS intro like 5 times, ever since that horrid stomach bug, I've been having gut issues that I can not overcome.  Being pregnant means I can't do Intro, and at this point, I don't see how it would make a difference.  But, besides these gut/yeast issues that have persisted, they have really gotten out of control due to the pregnancy hormones.  Hence, two sinus infections, one week apart.  Sigh.

So with a little talk with my sister I do believe I have a plan of action.  It appears from the lack of progress that I have had with my new probiotic, even when doubling up on dosage, that I have a 'dud' bottle.  Not due to the company, or a bad product, but due to the fact that with having it shipped to my house, during the summer (don't forget we live in the South), that all the good buggies were probably killed off.  My sister has used this same brand with very, very good results, ALL but for the one time she had it shipped during the summer.  So, come Monday, Jeremiah will head to Whole Foods to pick up a fresh bottle.

My next line of defense will be to help out my sinuses.  Now, granted, in the long run my sinus issues will be a thing of the past when my overall yeast issue is fixed, but for now they will need a little help.  I really can't afford to have back to back sinus infections for the next couple of months!  My sister suggested I try X-Clear.  I told her I tried that years ago, when she told me about it, but it made everything at least 10 times worse, and that is saying something!!! But with a little thinking, she determined that it was probably due to my sinuses being SOOOO BAD (and I had a current infection) that the slough off/kill off rate was too much to handle.  So the new plan is to continue doing a regular sinus rinse with peroxide for the next couple of days.  We are hoping this will lesson the bacteria count. Then hit my sinuses with at least 2 to 4 weeks of 3 times daily washes with the X-Clear.  This should help from future bacteria adhering to my sinuses, giving my body time to build up the good bacteria (from a new, WORKING bottle of probiotics) from the inside.

Of course I will need to be careful with my diet.  With a bunch of birthdays I will have to be careful what I choose to eat.  For example, Moira chose homemade mac and cheese, and a box mix cake.  Gluten, gluten and lots of sugar.  So I may have to make myself something else to eat.  Jonah hasn't determined his birthday dinner and cake yet, but for mine, I will be choosing a GAPS legal/or our modified GAPS meal, and a GAPS legal fruit tart for my 'cake'.  Within weeks we have Isabella's birthday, and then Jeremiah's afterwards.  Oh my.  It will only be a short two months before the winter holidays.  Oy!  That doesn't see like too long before this baby will be here when I think of it in these terms. 

And speaking of baby, getting on top of  my yeast issue, *should* help with the health of the baby.  All of my babies have suffered through tummy issues the first few months.  That makes for some very long days, and mostly very long nights!  Colic drops have not helped.  The homeopathic drops did not help.  Gripe Water didn't help.  Walking this way, wrapping that way...doesn't help.   I've read baby calming books, one of which insisted if you followed his techniques you would have a calm and easily soothed baby.  Um, yeah.  Not to say that different things didn't help temporarily, but nothing worked to keep my babies happy.  And out of the 7 so far all of the had tummy issues, with Flannery and Jonah being the WORST.  Since colic is defined with a 3 hour plus crying fit, that usually happens each evening, then my kids never had colic.  But, especially with Flannery and Jonah, I'm not sure what you call all day crying on and off.  All day crying, and most of the night crying as well.  Of course now, with what I know, poor Flannery was just suffering BIG TIME with yeast.  Which will present itself, like in her case, non-vomiting reflux.  That poor child did not sleep more than 20 minutes at a time, EVER, for the first two years of her life!  Which is why I had always prayed that if the Lord should want to ever bless us with such a blessing again, that He would just close my womb. Yeah, it was that bad.  This is coming from someone who always wanted ten children (Flannery only being number 3) , and in the recent dozen years believes whole heartily in letting God control your family size.  So that is a pretty strong prayer to say the least!!! 

So it is critical for me, for my own health and for the baby's health, to get on top of this yeast problem.  Thankfully I have some time to work with, but it will definitely be a battle of will (to not eat sugar). Wish me luck :-)

Friday, July 05, 2013

The first of the summer birthdays

Jedidiah starts us off at the first of July with our summer birthdays.  To say that I can hardly believe that he just turned SEVEN is an understatement! Oh. My.  I wish I was feeling better to make an attempt to take some half way decent pictures, but I suppose that will have to wait for another day. 

Jedidiah had a wonderful birthday.  He had first requested a pink cake, like he had last year.  But last minute he changed his mind and decided on one green cake, one white cake, both with gummy worms. This year I made a bean cake with a strawberry mid-layer filling.  The frosting, however, was made with powdered sugar.  There was no way, with the dinner and the cake prep, that I was going to punch out a gaps legal vanilla frosting.  There is only so much I can do :-)  This enabled Flannery to make the frosting, so it was hands off for me.

The kitchen has been a wreck, for like ever, so I decided to pick up some paper plates to make things a little easier.  Everyone had fun picking out which creature plate they would eat off of.  And to make this really fancy I even sprang for some straws!  Ha, ha.  Not sure why, but straws are always a huge hit at my house. 

Jedidiah awoke to see his birthday sign, which he LOVED. The girls did a bug theme, which is his current fascination.  I wish we would have been able to do something special for his day, but we had to pull he and his two sisters from runner's camp (due to finances), and it ended up being cancelled for the day due to some big storms that flooded the fields.  So it was an inside day for us. 

Jed's birthday dinner included, everyones' favorite, ham, mashed potatoes, and the must-not-be-forgotten cranberry sauce.  Simple, but yummy.  We had trouble locating one of his gifts.  A few of the stores were out of it.  Jeremiah found one that had what we were looking for.  It is a bug habitat/home.  So now Jed can keep his much prized bug catches in a proper home.  Though I do squirm at the thought of the cap coming off at some point!  We have another gift we are waiting to arrive in the mail, a hand held microscope. It is small, compact, and supposedly very good.  I know that Jed will be begging to spend hours outside finding things to put under his scope!

Here are a few birthday pictures:

Jed posing with his birthday sign.  Do not mind that his named is spelled wrong!  Isabella lost track of her letters. Or at least that is her excuse :-) 

Our very fancy table ware. 

The cakes.  And yes, a little someone got into the cake before we could sing happy birthday!  Sneaky little boy.

Speaking of Sneaky boy, here he is!  Playing all innocent won't help.

Why is it so difficult to get young boys to smile nicely?  Is that just my boys? This was attempt number 407 at getting a decent smile.  I would post some of the other, totally ridiculous ones, but my energy is waning.  Blogger is taking too long to load the pictures. 
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