Tuesday, January 22, 2013

aaannndd....here's a big update!

It seems that I always have a million things that I want to blog about and I keep procrastinating.  So then, of course, when I finally think to myself "I'm going to blog something!"  I feel suddenly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of unblogged life!  I want to put a family update out there so my blog doesn't become overwhelmed with product reviews (Thank you DeseretBook!) and too-late birthdays or trips.  Here, to wreak havoc, is a hodgepodge of "what we've been up to" updates rolled into one post. 

Maggie:
Well, as you know Maggie turned 3.  She got a trim last week but she is very intent on letting her hair grow as long as Rapaunzel's.  I've mentioned in the past that she has been in and out of the Dr's office, going so far as traveling more than once to St. Louis to visit a rhuematologist.  She was diagnosed with PFAPA (frequent fever syndrome with unknown cause).  They have treated her twice now with prednisone and we have seen a marked decrease in her fevers?  Not what I expected based on all the research I did on the internet.  Very strange but we are very glad!  We had been seriously considering a low inflammatory diet -- I shudder to imagine how challenging it would be to lose gluten but if the fevers had persisted I would've tried anything.  As it it now, we have only had 2 fevers since September...normally Maggie had episodes on a predictable 24 day cycle.

She loves going to Classical Conversations where her teacher "Miss Marie" is wonderful!  We were so excited to discover that Marie was also LDS (I believe we are the only 2 families in the program). 
Homeschooling with Maggie has been a real treat.  She LOVES to do "the big red barn" activities where we identify numbers, letters, shapes, colors, the day of the week and the weather.  She is learning how to cut with scissors, make a gluey mess, and trace.  She is a whiz with puzzles now and I have a hard time staying on top of her insatiable desire to solve them -- she grows bored pretty quickly!  Smartie pants!

We've been diligent in doing chore packs over the last several weeks and we have added Maggie into the fun.  She tidy's her bed, feeds the kitties, helps unload the dishwasher, gets clothes out of the dryer and dusts!  I know, you want her at your house don't you?  ;)

Kayley:
Aaaahhh, my sweet girl who plays like a boy.  At 6 and 1/2 Kayley has gotten pretty hyper-active.  We chalked it up to "just being a kid."  Albeit a wild, boisterous, crazy kid.  I know her hyperactivity frustrates her sometimes as well.  It unfortunately has often caused her to get in a little bit of trouble in the classroom at CC.  While I think many parents or teachers would be quick to label her ADHD I have decided to forgo any "professional" assessments.  I am not fond of labeling children in general and I firmly believe that children are what they learn and what they eat!  With that being said we have been focusing a LOT on training and diet. 

For training we've been using 1-2-3 Magic by Thomas Phelan.  Honestly, I cannot say enough about this method.  It works.  I was torn between Love & Logic and 1-2-3 Magic and I must admit the video support made this program so easy to understand and use.  It is a system of time-outs and rewards.  It is effective it involves no yelling, no hitting, no crying (or at least Mom doesn't cry) and no confusion on what the expectations are.  It works for both girls and they will tell you that, while they don't love going to time-out, they are glad for a system that doesn't involve yelling.  (Did I just admit that I yell?  Sorry!). 

For diet I have been doing a lot reading about the Feingold diet.  Feingold is basically an elimination diet.  The same thing you would do for allergies.  With Feingold you remove all food dyes/artificial colors, artificial flavors and unnatural preservatives.  We haven't done anything dramatic yet, I'm sure there would be a revolt.  Mostly I've been observing how certain foods cause Kayley (and Maggie) to behave.  Thankfully while Kayley can get pretty boisterous she is NOT a danger to herself or others and is not generally (certainly not abnormally) impulsive for her age.  But, seriously, cutting out the junk is not a bad thing is it?  Considering most anything that a body wants to eat can be either, made from scratch, or bought without all the chemicals in it.
So, a little more about Kayley.  She is somewhere around the 2nd grade.  LOL.  Isn't that the nice thing about homeschooling?  She reads on a 3rd grade level (at least) and is in 2nd grade math.  She has a love/hate relationship with Classical Conversations.  In fact last week she told me she did not want to go back next year but in the next breath told me she wished we could go every day...go figure.

James:
Who?  Just kidding.  James keeps busy working.  He will be taking over another clinic later this year and we are really grateful.  Of course, this clinic is about 30 minutes from here so eventually we will be looking to move.  Which means...that we will be trying to sell our house.  The upside is that he can commute 30 minutes while we wait to sell so we will not be separated nor will we need to go ahead and move with our house sitting empty waiting to be sold!  Whew!

Me:
I'm pretty excited that I have been invited to review for Homeschool Mosaics.  I spent the last 2 years reviewing for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and it just got to be too much.  I loved the time I spent as a reviewer but the behind-the-scenes just got to be too stressful for me.  I've had a nice break and I hope it'll be fun to review products again.  Not that I haven't stayed really busy with my reviews for Propeller and DeseretBook!  I receive a LOT of review products from DB I'm so blessed!!

We have set a goal this year to live a more frugal lifestyle.  Of course we are only in the 1st month but I'm sure that by February everybody is going to be sick of me saying, "hey!  that's not in our budget!"  LOL.  I have enjoyed the challenge a lot.   We have also set another goal of decluttering.  Whew, those that know us (well) know that we are hoarders.  Ok, ok, not really, but we have accumulated a lot of stuff.  My plan is to cut our household down by 1/3 or more before we get ready to move.  I don't ever want a house this big again (unless I have a maid!) so I know we need to streamline our stuff and make-ready to move into something smaller in the future.

With our new budget and our new dietary ideas I have been doing a whole lot more cooking at home.  I am far from domestic so all this cooking has stretched my imagination somewhat.  On the up side I have yet to make anything, in MY opinion, that was too gross.  Now if you ask Kayley...or Maggie (she gagged on lentils and barfed on her plate)...well, they may not agree with me.  Hahaha!

These are cilantro-lime tacos that were AWESOME!  Really!

So, there you have it, the big, bad, update!    
Thanks for reading!

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