Reality Check and SLIME FEST 2015
Personal and Pregnancy Update
(Feel free to skip this part):
So, we had a horrible month that ended about 3 weeks ago. I figured I'd written enough about the crappy times and felt no inspiration to write any further.
The 3 week window was lovely in spite of adding a major (potential) stressor: homeschooling for the rest of the school year. The "why" of all that is long and complicated, but the short version is that I felt my first grader, our budget, and we would be much better served by a highly personalized, low-stress environment for completing his first grade acquisition of skills. So far, this has turned out to be a fabulous decision, and already Ezra's reading and writing have improved quite a bit. More importantly, though, he is getting control of lots of bad habits and is returning to a more peaceful state... mostly! There is a lot that I love about homeschooling. I do have lots of fun with the kids, and we all get along better the more time we spend together. Go figure. I also have reveled in the opportunity to tailor-make a schedule and curriculum that specifically support and address my child's needs mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It has been fun to have a project to set my mind to and a fresh cause for each day.
Part of the reason, though, that it all went so well for a few weeks was that my health held steady for the longest stretch of the last several months. What a blessing! Over the past week, a POTS flare has slowly built and is in a full-blown rage now. I also crossed the line into my third trimester! Woohoo! I love this baby like crazy, and just like with the other ones I already like him and enjoy hanging out with him in his little wiggly moments each day. The pregnancy aches, however, are all starting to take a toll as is the third trimester sluggishness. I can't believe how much worse I feel this week compared to last, and it is very discouraging. I needed the
, though. I was starting to romanticize the notion of homeschooling for next year. I still kind of am, but it's good that I'm getting a taste of what it would be like if I was feeling symptomatic (and the baby isn't even on the outside yet). Once again, the thought of having the kids away for events and engagement at school sounds attractive. Meanwhile, I'm glad to know that I do actually like homeschooling them, and I may try to get back to doing/being more of my old self when it comes to doing projects with them at home. I also feel re-inspired to keep up on our overall spiritual health as a family. Taking a holistic approach to all that (rather than feeling like I need to have some separate agenda for the kids instruction) is really the best way to go! They learn what I need to learn or read on somedays, and other days I learn or read what they need; in the end, we are all being well-fed everyday.
SLIME FEST 2015!!!!
(AKA: What the BLEEP was I thinking?!?!)
I'm just a fun (read: crazy) lady. I just can't help it. I like to eat fun stuff. I like everyday to have some surprises in it. I like to do wacky projects and promote wacky ideas. So, naturally, as my little homeschoolers and I studied space for two weeks (thanks to the stuff I borrowed from homeschool mom EXTRAORDINAIRE, Bethany Robbins), I started to form a pretty Jesky-fied plan for week three:
ALIENS AND EXTREME IMAGINATION SPACE WEEK- WAHHAAHHAHAHA!!!!
"It'll be great!" I thought. "We can just have a week to go nuts and learn about all the extreme weirdness in the universe and on our own planet. We'll write our own stories and dream our own dreams about what may yet need to be discovered. I'll inspire them to think big about God and our world and plant all these lovely seeds that can grow into their own hopes and vision of what they may add to society..." and ON and ON. I got very pumped up. I gathered library books for hold via the internet like a BOSS. I cued up alien slime and fluff recipes like a MAD SCIENTIST. I didn't even realize that May the 4th would land on our awesome week, and then did realize it, and then pulled a
day out of my... hat... like a JEDI. I planned to spend a couple days talking about Antarctica and the deep sea, the most difficult to explore places on Earth. I basically developed enough material to keep us busy for a few weeks (which I am totally going to do...).
Then reality swooped down like it tends to do. My body reminded me that I'm A: 7 mos pregnant and B: diagnosed with POTS and Chronic Disease Anemia. I pretended these things wouldn't make a difference for as long as possible. Then Monday on May the 4th, our recess plan of having an epic light saber battle turned into an appalling battle over who deserved to use which color of light saber (blue or green. it wasn't even about who should be red! these were good guy colors!) and ended in one child trying to run away from home because the rest of us are "meanies." This then led to me BANNING the use of the term "meany" forever. We were lucky to get anything done due to the amount of spiritual counseling and correcting required for all parties. It was a day with it's own kind of learning, a crucial kind, but it definitely had me wishing I had Darth Vader's power to use The Force...
On that same day, because I am DUMB, I decided to never say die and continue on my insane quest to inspire and delight. We went to the park (mistake for a POTSy preggo number 1) and went to the store (mistake number 2) to get the things we needed to make
(mistake number 3). While we were at it, I figured I'd pick up extra ingredients to maybe try some of the other recipes for fluffy, soft doughs that I had seen before including the flour/oil mix and cornstarch/conditioner mix. The kids were THRILLED that I sat them down with these things. "Aw heck," I thought "I'll just let them go nuts. This is great for them." They mostly had fun, though my kids are way less happy than you'd think to be messy. In the end, we did end up with a few pretty decent balls of soft, fluffy dough. I also ended up with a ridiculous mess. I put the kids in the bathtub and then in front of a screen so that I could clean up. It was awful. Partially, it was awful because I had let Hazel, age 3, add water and flour to her batch... I AM DUMB. I had to be on my hands and knees scrubbing and sweeping. It wore me out terribly. I had to stop halfway through to make dinner (mistake number 4- say it with me, "Dick's Drive-In is your friend.") Then, when I got back to floor-scrubbing, I'm pretty sure I pulled some deep, essential muscle in my belly which now still hurts like crazy if I try to move my right leg at all. Obviously, I kind of need my right leg. Please remember, we are still on MONDAY.
This was Hazel's spot for making foam dough. I had already cleaned most of the surrounding floor.
Before the light sabers were taken away, Ezra put on this get-up and called himself "The Ter-knight." Pretty clever.
I did call Brendan around 5pm (good move number one and only) to let him know that he'd better get packing and head home to catch me. By 6, I was watching the drive-way like a hawk. At 6:12, I got a text that Brendan was just then changing his clothes to ride home. I informed him that he owed me $50 (which, BTW, Honey, I'm dead serious about. And I'm using it however I see fit.) He responded with a photo of an open draw-bridge that he should have been crossing and the number "75." (Again, Brendan, my love: please hand over the cash soon!). He arrived around 7. The night then proceeded to include many more frustrating moments of which we shall not speak. We simply shall not.
On Tuesday, we did have a better school day, and I had the sense to make our only crazy project be the baking of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Blessedly, Brendan had planned to work from home for half the day because of contractors coming by in the afternoon, and he doula'd us through a few hard moments in the afternoon. I was feeling pretty terrible for most of the day.
I was really looking forward to today. REALLY. This was the day I had talked up the most. The day we would make
I was prepared. I had a plan for which book to read to get us ready. I had the science connection cued. I had all kinds of neon colors and holographic glitter specially ordered to add to our slime. I let the kids build LEGO space stations that they could attack with the slime. We had to wait until 1 so that my middle boy would be home from preschool and join the fun. By noon, I was crying to Brendan (working from home again for more delivery/appointment reasons) about how terrible I felt and how I would definitely need to crash. This always happens. I fake it, and I fake it, and I fake it, and then my body puts it's foot (or maybe my autonomic nervous system) down and forces me to face facts. Still, I had talked up this slimy moment, and we were going to do it, dang it!!! I roped Brendan into helping, and we gathered all the people, supplies, and ingredients in the bathroom. I thought I was being super slick and prepared this time by doing it in the bathroom/bathtub. This way, clean-up would be a cinch! Right? RIGHT?!?!
Let me take a moment here to publicly curse all bloggers who lie about how "easy" clean-up is. It ain't.
The slime mixing was going well at first. I stayed one step ahead of Brendan and the boys doing their batches while working up one with Hazel. We made it so pretty. 3 glitter colors and neon pink liquid watercolor. A real professional looking slime was coming together. I then put Hazel into the bathtub with her bowl of sparkling, beautiful slime filled with glass pearls and crystal hearts to play. Meanwhile, for some reason the neon yellow slimes belonging to each boy sitting next to her in the tub weren't gelling up quite the way my pink one did. While Brendan and I began trouble-shooting by adding more liquid starch, things started to go awry. First, Hazel, naturally, stepped into her bowl of slime. I decided to let that go. Nothing I could really do at the moment anyway because I was covered in still-very-gluey neon yellow slime. "This is the whole point," I thought. "Just let her get messy and go nuts. We were going to all need baths in the end anyway."
Then, slime started getting in people's hair... and all over my arms... and all over the floor of the bathtub. Then, Ezra decided to stand up and try to get out and realized the tub was now a slimy version of a mini ice rink. So, they all got up. This bathtub is tiny. Ezra then got out, in spite of our screaming, to get his LEGO city from the bathroom counter. He made it back in and poured his whole bowl out over the city, of course. This gave Hazel the idea of putting all of her slime into Ivo's hair. During all this, I requested that Brendan take pictures for the "pinterest fail" style FB post I would definitely have to make. He then started making a Cousteau level documentary of my idiocy. Naturally, the camera was not recording. Then, even though things had now escalated beyond any semblance of control or educational usefulness (ask me if I read a book or gave a science lesson... just try to ask me...), he turned on the camera and made another video. All of this took about 7 minutes total. The next 37 minutes were filled with learning how to remove "EASY Liquid Starch Slime" filled with tiny cornea-lacerating glitter from hair. Ivo was the main victim as the other two completely turned on him and filled his hair and face with slime and the air with their maniacal laughter. NEVER. AGAIN.
I'm thinking about making
on Friday halfway through Brendan's three day, two night trip he will be away on.
I AM DUMB.