Mommy and Me

Mommy and Me
Sharing life with you is fullfilling

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Money

I'm seeing a lot of money talk right now as military members face the fact that their pay has been frozen, and regardless of how long it takes for them to get paid, regardless of any of that... (this post has little to nothing to do with that situation, just the money thing) I have to say, saving money is NOT hard. What does it take to save money? Planning. Budgeting. Being mindful of your future instead of what is currently your situation. How can I say that?
I'm 33 years old, I've been married 10.5 years, my husband is AMAZING when it comes to saving money... I however am NOT... but I'm learning and our partnership has been amazing in this area.
Did I learn to save money from my parents? No, they have always been in a tight spot, and it has a lot to do with planning.. they are not planners, and they run into situations before adequately planning for them. (This is not to say my family has ever been in need and not able to provide, they just don't 'save money' well.) So no I didn't learn it from my mom or dad.
Did my husband learn it from his mother and father? No, he didn't know his dad, and his mom was a single mother putting herself through college during his growing up years. He was not in need of anything she couldn't provide either, but she wasn't able to put away for the future either.
Maybe this left us both prone to want to provide what our parents couldn't... maybe. But we taught ourselves to save... he more than I.
When we got married Patrick was in the military, he received a sign up bonus, did he immediately spend it? NO. This incredible guy knew one day he was going to have a family and dreamed that in his 30's he would own his house free and clear and have a boat. Neither of those things is currently true and yes we are in our 30's, but what is true is that he actually has money in his savings account.
I feel it is stupid to write numbers on the internet about how much money people have, so I'm not sharing that. Instead I want to tell you what I was doing during that time when my husband started saving his money.
I was babysitting, taking odd jobs where I could find them, dressed as the Easter Bunny at the Mall, and a photo taking elf who also managed the booth for your children to sit on Santa's lap. I also worked part time at a daycare where I was on-call for the people who got sick or for other reasons couldn't come to work. I was paid so little with all these jobs combined that when my best friend moved from Michigan to Oklahoma I packed myself up and moved too. I found an apartment, a job with steady hours and someone to co-sign a loan on my apartment so that I could achieve this. I HATE debt, so instead of saving money I put EVERYTHING I had into paying off that loan so my co-signer and myself wouldn't have to worry about me screwing up anyone's credit. I was young, ambitious and determined. I lived off from take out mostly bought by my now husband when he took me out to eat, and simple foods I could afford and cook in my apartment that was by the way furnished with a twin sized mattress on the floor, a plastic table someone was getting rid of, and some chairs also pulled out of that person's garage. A sewing machine someone bought for me so that I could make bean bags, ONE bean bag that I filled with packing peanuts because they were cheaper than bean bag filling, and dishes and pots and pans that I found at garage sales. I had NOTHING special. my future mother in law actually bought me a futon when she visited and saw I only had a single chair for my living room and a beanbag.
I was not uncomfortable, or embarrassed to invite people over, I actually had lots of people over, as often as possible, I was proud of my little mismatched space and what I had done to make it my own and comfortable with the little bit of money I had.
I had no savings, I was barely paying my bills, BUT then once that loan was paid off I started saving, my account started looking better and better, I learned to stay cheap, not to buy the couch I really wanted, or even the pictures or curtains I would have liked to have had, but to put money in the bank and not buy until I had no choice but to do that.
Then I got married and I quit my job to be a stay at home wife. We had some medical bills to pay off and saving was put on hold again, we simply couldn't afford to save, but Patrick had his money already sitting in an account he hadn't touched... so we did have a savings, and it was earning interest. Slowly I learned how to pay things off and budget for the next week. It doesn't take much to spend less than you make. even if it is only $1 at a time... you CAN do it! don't go over on your grocery budget, put something back if you must.
Saying you are not able to save money and then going on to buy Starbucks coffee or hot chocolate is lying. Regardless of the fact that the person you are lying to most is yourself, you are lying if you say you can't afford to save money, but you can afford that coffee. I'm guilty of it, I don't want you all to think I'm picking on anyone in particular, I just think it is ridiculous we American's get into this mood where we say "whoa is me, I can't save money, I'll never get ahead!" and we live in this state of fear where we can't get ahead, and we can't be happy where we are... that is CRAP.
check yourself. Create a budget, and don't go over it. saving money is SO POSSIBLE!
There was a time when my husband was so into saving money that he would cut my generosity and constantly tell me 'no, we can't afford that'... but then he'd go buy the kids stupid $5 toys that would be broken in a week, and it was his way of telling them he loved them and I love that he loves them, but when I pointed this out to him, that he could show love through his money but he wasn't allowing me to do the same, things suddenly changed.
We now have TWO, not just one, but TWO kids that we sponsor through Compassion International, not because I wanted to, but because HE wanted to, and he asked me to find the children we should sponsor, he didn't even know the name of the companies that do this at the time.
And here is the kicker! We went through a period of 7 months, that is more than half the year y'all, that he was laid off... NOT GETTING PAID to work... during that time, here is what happened.
1. we DID receive Patrick's monthly allotment for disability granted from the military
2. we DID receive WIC
3. we DID receive benefits from Patrick's G.I. Bill
4. we rented out our 5th wheel to some transitioning friends for a few of these months (this is NOT a recreational vehicle for us, but was our home for 6 months, check back in my old posts you'll see how we lived. We actually are trying to sell this now so that we don't have the cost of it over our heads anymore, but the purchase wasn't just for fun, but rather necessity)
5. we found a local food bank to cut our grocery costs.
In the end we spent about $2000 in SEVEN months that we had previously saved for a rainy day. That's pretty incredible, because of a small amount of diligence we lived for seven months on an income that was less than desirable, and were able to pay for everything we needed, and we really were not living any differently than we had been before he was laid off. Had we really cut ourselves back, we could have made it without spending ANY of his savings.
Ok, you might be thinking 'yea but most people don't have disability payments and G.I. Bills to benefit from...' and YES that is true, but my point is that we live so much more luxuriously than we have to, as Americans in general. I do want to note here that people without savings might actually stand to receive more aid than those with a savings account, because while we could qualify for WIC we could not qualify for food stamps, or housing assistance.
What can you give up to save a few dollars a week?
Let's do a little math. say you save $10 a week for a year... that is $520 a year that you saved. I'm not even going to add in interest at this point because it is too meager to think about, however you'll notice that it quickly adds up the more money you get into that savings account. now at only $10 a week you'll have over a thousand dollars in two years.. and that is what most people are saying they can not maintain in their bank accounts. This is simply to ridiculous not to point out here.. but as you get better at saving money, stay with a job longer (i.e.get raises) or switch to a higher paying job with your gained experience you'll be bringing in more money and therefore should be SAVING more money.
When I began saving money it was only in $5 increments, but it was something. Then as our pay got better we began saving $20 at a time, then as things got even better instead of limiting ourselves on how much we could save we switched to limiting the amount we spent. Now as his pay increases so does our savings because we don't act richer, even if we are. We eat out the same number of times, pay for the same house, buy things used, (ESPECIALLY CARS!!!) take loans extremely cautiously, and keep our grocery and shopping budgets where they always have been. Just because his pay went up $5 an hour from the last job to this one doesn't mean i suddenly go from shopping at Wal-mart to shopping at American Eagle or wherever the cool kids get their clothes. (point in case I don't even know where to get cool clothes). My family is 'middle class', and someday I hope that we live 'middle class' with an upper class bank account... because that is all we need.... to be where we are, we don't need more, we don't need better, we can have what we have, make it last as long as possible and stop spending what we could be saving.
I'm not at home, but if I were I'd post some pictures of my couch along with this... I'm not preaching to anyone more than I am preaching to myself... my couch is seriously a MESS. It is a sectional that is over 30 years old, we got it used smelling of curry and slightly dated, I made it look more current by removing the skirt from the bottom, and making covers for the throw pillows that matched our decor a bit better, I also might have attacked it with a spray bottle of Febreeze. Perfect... until my husband sat down one day and busted out the bottom of the couch... ugh. we need a new couch right? nope. He fixed it, and then of course he had to fix it again, and when it was beyond fixing we put half (the broken half) in the kid's playroom and pretended the couch was a single normal couch instead of a sectional, even though one end has a high 'arm' and the other has a normal 'arm'. So things were going pretty well until one day the arm ripped, I mean beyond repair tore through wore down, I can't with all my magical sewing skills fix the dang thing, tore..... We need a new couch, right? Well yes, but Patrick just went back to work, we need to build up our funds before going out and spending them all, so instead we folded a blanket over the end to protect it from the children pulling all the stuffing out, then I sewed three large UGLY brown pieces of material someone had given us, together and made a make shift couch cover.
We are close to affording that new couch... but we also need a lawn mower, a necessity once the lawn starts to grow again this spring... so what will we spend the money on? I don't know... but in the mean time, we use a push mower (on almost 3 acres of rough and bumpy land), and make the couch work until it completely falls apart, and I suck up my pride as I invite people to come and share life with us while sitting on my incredibly UGLY breaking couch.
Saving is NOT impossible. Expenses will come, but saving is important and should be regarded as such. After all, that is your children's inheritance, if you spend it all while they are children I doubt they will care much for all the wonderful things you provided for them as much as they will love having a little nest egg of their own when you pass away and leave them a little something you worked hard to save for them.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Update on my new years resolution

I feel as if day one is always full of motivation, and lots of things get done, and it goes relatively smoothly.  I got a lot accomplished with the help of my children.  And I'm pleased with how it went.

BUT now it is day two.

Let's just say I woke up with a prayer on my lips "Lord help  me to do it all again today and not slack off"  and so far so good, but lets just say the world...perhaps Satan is against me today.

I was half way through my morning bible study when a knock came to the door and Caeden announced "Esmarie has a REALLY poopy diaper".  This actually isn't anything new but it had traveled up her back and onto her sheets and clothing, so there was a bit of extra clean up to be done.

After dressing Esmarie and getting her some breakfast I spoke to Sapphira about our new morning challenge "who can do their chores the fastest"  started purely because this girl will take an hour and a half to do the simplest things.  So now we compete to see if she or I get our stuff done in the morning first.  She was off, but I still had to finish my bible study... which I did.
And then while I'm getting dressed I got a phone call from a friend who needed a minute of my time to freak out about her own life, which meant Sapphira TOTALLY beat me getting ready, and she did so in record time... I'm so proud of her!
THEN... my day turned sour.
Caeden knocked on the door while I was still on the phone, and he was having a very hard time getting his words out and tears were forming in his eyes, and I realized that we'd lost a chicken... this has happened before so I knew that is what had happened, but getting the facts and not the long version of the story was not happening so I got off the phone with my friend and forced the important facts out of my son, and then proceeded to send him to his room to recover while I went to take care of the chicken chores.
On my way out to care for the chickens I stopped in the laundry room to retrieve a pair of my socks and found that the dog had for the second night in a row pooped on the floor!  YAY me... dead chicken and dog poop first thing in the morning!
Once I got out to the coop I realized that though Caeden thought we had lost two chickens we actually only lost one.  AND he hadn't been gathering eggs in days!  Like ever since the cold front hit, and we had 9 eggs in the coop, only one of which wasn't frozen solid and cracked open.  Because I just LOVE feeding chickens and paying for new ones when the neighbors dog eats them, I'm super thrilled to see that my son has not been collecting the eggs. 
Caeden lost his job for the next week or perhaps longer, I will be taking my chickens back, he will no longer be selling eggs when we have an abundance, and I'm not sure when he will ever (if he ever does) get this privilege back.  I honestly never wanted to let him sell the eggs for himself anyway, but my husband thought it was a great way for him to earn his own money and be proud of a job he had.  Well that isn't working out so well. 
The chicken that died this last time wasn't anyone's fault but my sons... which is hard to say since I'd like to take it easy on him, he's beating himself up enough.  However, he intentionally left the door unlatched because his fingers were too cold to latch it and instead of telling me this so I could take care of it (because lets be honest, it has been bitter cold and I totally would have helped him with that if he would have said he couldn't do it), he choose not to latch the bottom half (the more important half) of the coop door, and the neighbor's dog came over for a chicken dinner... We know, we all know, that the coop has to be constantly secured, and that it CANNOT be left any other way because we've lost enough chickens to that dog... but he left it open and we are down one chicken now.  That is natural consequences for you... so no big deal.. however when you combine that with the fact that we lost 8 eggs to freezing temperatures and for three days my son had told me that there were no eggs to be gathered it makes me one upset mama.  And that is why he is no longer caring for the chickens.
After my morning fiasco though we've managed to get the dishwasher loaded, the laundry going, and school nearly completed.. a late start means they are on 'lunch break' instead of being done at lunch time... but the process is still moving forward...
Next up, accomplishing all the tasks on the list and also grocery shopping... I've already prepared my list, so as soon as school work is completed and the house work is at least started, we'll be out the door... hopefully today will be as smooth as yesterday. 
If we make it through a whole week with the new task list, then I plan to share it with you, but for now you'll just have to trust that I'm testing it all out before I make a fool of myself and tell everyone how great it is and then fail miserably!
Have a Blessed New Year!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Years Resolution/I'm fed up!

Every year something happens in my household.  starting near the end of October (Micah's birthday/Halloween time) things begin to get a little crazy around here.  Our daily schedule begins to get off kilter, and slowly throughout the rest of the year it falls apart, only to be picked back up, dusted off and lovingly reinforced in January...
Nothing new this year... except that it started sliding off in August (Esmarie's Birthday) instead of October!  and I'm terrified that in years to come it will begin even earlier now that I've got a baby due in June... so if my year starts declining in June I'm in big trouble... this CANNOT happen!
I heard on the radio that in order to keep your New Years resolutions you need a specific plan.  Like say you want to lose weight (this is the example given on the radio) instead of saying "In 2018 I'm going to loose weight", you might say "I'm going to lose 20lbs by June 1st" and then you'll need to set mini goals, like "by April 1st I will have lost____" and "In order to attain these goals I'm going to eat salads for dinner 5 nights a week".... little attainable goals, with specifics attached to them.
This morning I looked at my home, under critical eyes, as I turned off all the lights before leaving for church.  With no thought about New Years Resolutions I analyzed each bedroom, the playroom, the living room, dinning room, kitchen, and bathrooms, and I came to the conclusion that God is blessing me FAR TOO MUCH.  I have this AMAZING dream home, and I'm FAILING miserably at keeping it looking like the blessing that it is.  I have 4 beautiful children living in this home that are 9, 7, 4, and 1 year old.  I feel like I do a pretty great job at the 1-2 year age range of teaching them the little things like 'take care of your shoes', 'throw away your diaper', and 'put your clothes in the basket'... but then something happens at the age where they start dressing themselves and the laundry basket is neglected, the diapers are gone, but the toilet training is AWFUL! (I know I'm not supposed to envy others, but seriously when you have a child who trains in less than a month and I'm still training mine 3 years in, it's pretty hard not to envy you).  And then they get older and until age 8 they are just stubborn and unmotivated, and I have to press hard to get things done, I have two in this stage right now... BUT if I do press hard I feel like at 8-9 years old (I have one there now) I have an amazing helper, and I'm looking forward to more of those!
Anyway, since Christmas our lives have been turned upside down, Patrick's work schedule is weird and he gets random days off, not the same ones every week, but different ones EVERY WEEK, there is a rhythm to it, but it is hard to follow.  So Christmas Eve I worked hard to get ready for Christmas, attended a party that evening tucked the kids in while demanding that Patrick vacuum the living room, and then went to bed after placing all the gifts under the tree.  Christmas morning I followed my normal tradition of making a giant all you can eat smorgasbord for breakfast, opened presents with the kids, attempted to control the mess of boxes and wrapping paper, took out the majority of said boxes and wrapping paper, made dinner, and then crashed after enjoying the meal.  I'd pretty much been serving my family from 5am-8pm, and I was beat.  The day after Christmas Patrick was working and I was exhausted so I pretty much took a break, and nothing got done, but I'd cleaned up a lot of things Christmas day so I wasn't too worried... what I didn't think about was the next two days.
Patrick works hard and when he has a day off the whole family takes their cues from him.. and that often means we leave sometime around lunch time and don't come home until dinner time.  Which in terms of housekeeping means that as soon as the kids have had a chance to make a mess we are gone, then we come back in time to either get them in bed or feed them dinner (if dinner then you can see the kitchen hasn't had time to be cleaned up, and is a general disaster area to work in).  So for two more days the house continued it's path of destruction.  If you are counting then you know I have only cleaned a little bit on one of the last 4 days.  Then comes Friday.  Patrick is sick, but he goes into work anyway and struggles through, while I dutifully try to recover a portion of the house that I know will last the longest, my bedroom, bathroom, closet area that have been neglected for awhile because of all the birthday parties and holidays that we've hosted this year.... so the rest of the house is STILL a MESS, and getting worse by the minute since I'm not able to keep the kids going on tasks out there and work on my bedroom at the same time.
Now we are on day 5 of minimal cleaning... and day six Patrick says he is feeling better but sounds pretty awful (sore throat from the day before is just making his voice sound cracked) and they send him home from work (for sounding bad, but not feeling bad).  And because both of his vehicles are dead and buried we use this unexpected blessing of time off to go car shopping.  We left at 10am, and got home around 6pm... I made dinner and then tried unsuccessfully to get warm after having been in and out of the car in 19 degree weather all day, and barely got anything done.  Then there is today... when I critically looked at my house and realized I'm WAY over my head right now.
I'm a planner so of course after hearing the advice on New Years resolutions on the radio I began planning.  HOW CAN  I MAKE NEXT YEAR DIFFERENT? 
First off, I'm getting a routine going.  It occurs to me that I CANNOT delegate and manage if 1. I'm doing all the work myself, and 2. I'm not standing over my children to make sure they do the work themselves.... so far it just hasn't worked with 3 out of 4 of my children... the 4th is the oldest so I'm holding onto hope that the others will catch up.
So you can expect very soon to see my new chore chart, and responsibility lists, but until then, here is what I've come up with.
1. I need a MOMMY CHORE CHART.  Yes the kids need charts, but if I have to actively manage them, I need to organize THEIR CHORES to fit MY SCHEDULE.   
2. Each Child will have jobs that they do EVERY DAY for a month, and then we will decide if they keep those jobs or get to switch to new ones. I've read the benefit of both things... and I just don't know which I like better, but I'm leaning toward proficiency and that seems to come from doing something over and over again.
3. There will be MORE on each child's list than ever before.  Not because I'm mean, but because while it is hard for me to train my children to do these things, I eventually would like to be able to just manage my household and not do it all myself.
4. We are going to have to work as a family, so in some ways that is going to mean that Daddy has to take responsibility for things too... although his main responsibility has been and always will be to provide for us financially and mine is, has been and always will be to take care of those provisions in a responsible way, the new portion Daddy will have to play is basically to help me enforce these changes on days he has off... or I won't be able to keep them up because of his constantly changing schedule.

Keep watching for how this goes!  I'm determined to make a plan and to see it through so that this project of CARING FOR OUR BLESSINGS is seen through to a satisfactory ending.
AND maybe even more can be done this way.. maybe!

*note, my children have always had chores, and I have a GREAT schedule for doing my own jobs... but it takes dedication to follow through, and until now the majority of the work has been on my own shoulders, I'm a bit unsure of how this will go, having the kids do my chores with me until they can manage them all themselves, but I'm hopeful that it will mean the work is seen more as family work than just what mommy needs 'help' with.

Friday, December 22, 2017

My journey with Homeopathy

Almost two years ago I saw a post on Facebook asking for people who had children who might benefit from homeopathic treatment to consider volunteering to become clients/patients(?) for a woman who was studying homeopathy and wanted to finish up her course but needed people to work with in order to do so.  I responded and asked if eczema was something she thought she could help us with.
Because I have built a relationship with her and have not asked for her permission to post her name or her business name I will refrain from doing so at this time, but I am going to share my journey with you.
We started seeing her soon after, she came to our house and asked me questions about Sapphira and her skin problems, but also about other things that bothered her, anything that related or not might be troublesome about her.  Then she continued to ask questions like "does she have any aversion to eggs?" and "Does she sweat while she sleeps?"  
Here is a run down of what I remember telling her:
Eczema with ZERO rash (she would just dig at her skin until she bled and then keep going at it).
Bed Wetting
Brain Fog
Comprehension delay (she's been seeing therapists since she was two for this)
Severe Far sightedness
Language processing problems (she would use words like 'soft' instead of 'feel')
Stubbornness (not typical kid stubbornness, but like if she gets it in her head that something does not belong to you she will try to rip it from your hands and CANNOT stop herself even when she hears me telling her to come to me, look at me, or stop doing what she is doing, I often had to physically touch her and pull her attention away from the item before she could even recognize that I was there).

Our Homeopath was quick to take notes, and in a few weeks we received our first remedy, it seems Sapphira was a bit of a hard case to crack and she needed to confer with her teacher before making a recommendation.

The first remedy did not do anything.

We were told to expect that we might need to try a few before finding the right one, and she was right.  We were also told that when we did find the right remedy we would see her symptoms (whichever ones that remedy touched on) flare up, as in get worse, and then her body would respond and she would have a time period where things would look better than they had before the remedy, and then after a time the symptoms would return.  We were told to expect this pattern to happen possibly many times before we saw symptoms completely disappear.

I can not remember if we had another kind of remedy before getting on the one we have now, but I do remember that at some point Silica was suggested and didn't do much of anything for us, so now we have a different one.  I'm not going to give the name of the one we are on now because I truly believe that to get good results you should see a homeopath and have them make a suggestion instead of groping in the dark to find an answer.

Once we started on a good remedy Sapphira went from her minimal but constant scratching to digging holes that I simply couldn't stop her from digging, in her skin.  The torture that I felt we were putting her through was hard, however there is nothing you can do at that point, except wait for the second part, the part where her body stops it and she clears up.... and it did come!

Sapphira slowly stopped itching as much, and then one day she woke up dry.  This has been our biggest clue as to when the flare-up will end up until now.  She went from wetting the bed 5-6 days a week, to being dry for 12 days straight.  During this time with dry nights and not having to wash sheets every day she stopped itching, I mean not completely but enough that her skin began to heal, and you could see she wasn't as uncomfortable as she had been at least during the flare-up if not before it.  Though because of other things I'd been doing to keep her itching down before the flare-up it was hard to tell whether it was better or relatively the same.

Now because our homeopath is new she is still working at the organization of running a business and because I am new at watching symptoms the process of getting remedies after the old one wears off has been difficult and the process I feel until now has been slower than it could have been.  BUT I can see it working so well that I'm not giving up.

The second dose that we gave Sapphira was even better, she went 16 nights without wetting the bed.  and I can attest that in between remedies (because they were taking so long to get) she was wetting the bed 3-5 nights a week, sometimes as much as 7 nights a week.  So the line up of giving the does and a week of eczema flare up and then dry nights has been a consistent pattern and I can say honestly I've done nothing different with her, and there is no other explanation, nor is it a coincidence because it only happened exactly a week after taking the dose sent to us by our homeopath.

Then one day after giving the dose things were different. Sapphira had 5 dry nights, not the weeks that we'd gotten used to, but only 5 nights, and it was so devastating to us, not because she was wetting the bed so much more, but because of the itching.  Because as I mentioned the bed wetting was the first sign I could really notice, but the itching followed shortly after and she would experience days and days (not quite the same length of time that she had dry nights, but still much more time than we had seen before) that she wouldn't be itching at all.  

That short lived remedy resulted in her having a flare-up that was normal, but the time period of not itching was so short that she literally dug a hole in her ankle that I couldn't get her any relief from.  I had to actually resort for the first time in years to using a low dose over the counter steroid creme to get it to heal well enough that I could leave it uncovered for any period of time.  She couldn't wear shoes comfortably, couldn't wear her dance shoes at all, and couldn't leave it alone.... but two things had changed.

Sapphira started getting rashes, for the first time EVER since she was only 2 months old when all of this started she had a rash before she started itching... I could see these rashes on her skin as the flare ups started each time.  This was incredibly exciting, because knowing what I know about the skin her body was actually purging something!  And purging meant there might be an end to this someday, because she was getting it out, and perhaps, and hopefully, she wasn't consistently getting more of whatever it is in her body and eventually we'd get all of it out.

The other thing I noticed with these rashes is that Sapphira NEVER ever complained that it hurt when she made herself bleed.  She would ask for a bandage, or tell me about it bleeding, but she never cried about it, never seemed to care that she was 'hurt'.  And as these rashes came up, and the flare-ups happened she started to FEEL it.  I mean she felt itchy before, but it was relief to itch, now she was actually feeling what she was doing, she was beginning to know she was hurting herself when she dug holes in her skin.  I know this isn't an age thing, or an issue with nerve endings because if she was hurt in any other way she FELT it... just not when she itched herself bloody.

So when Sapphira had that short lived remedy and she made such a mark on her ankle and couldn't wear shoes or socks or her dance shoes without hurting I felt this was actually a turning point and told our homeopath about it, she agreed and sent us another stronger dose of the remedy... unfortunately she didn't have said dose in stock and the pharmacy she orders from experienced a back up in shipping and it took a long time to get it again... BUT we got it, I gave her the first one, and I watched as she flared up, though this time seemed to be less dramatic in the itching or bed wetting, and more in her brain fog.  In fact I found myself literally pulling my hair out because her morning chores which normally take 30 minutes (and this is a ridiculous amount of time for what she needs to accomplish) were now taking an hour and a half... the rule of our house is that you don't eat breakfast until your chores are done (brush teeth, make bed, get dressed, feed the dog, and brush your hair in Sapphira's case), and often by the time she finished her chores it was snack time, and long past breakfast time.  I was beside myself frustrated at her inability to focus on the task in front of her.  But I didn't see a connection just yet to the time her remedy was given and how she was acting.

Our next dose came after the bed wetting began again, and again Sapphira was a space cadet and finally while texting our homeopath about her I realized the correlation between when a remedy was given and how frustratingly long it took her to move in the mornings. And then I saw the improvement.  First the itching slowed, though not by much, then the bed wetting stopped, then the brain fog lifted, and then the itching would almost completely stop.  A pattern!  I like patterns.

And the opposite was almost always true for when a new dose needed to be given... first the itching started back up, then the bed wetting, and then the brain fog (although not as bad as when she was 'flaring up').  BUT this last time the bed wetting didn't happen.  She didn't start wetting the bed.  She was itching, but no bed wetting.  The brain fog was getting stronger but no bed wetting.. PRAISE THE LORD!  I gave her a new dose one week ago, and she still has not wet the bed, this totals about 5 weeks and only one bed wetting accident... the longest that she's ever gone!  to say I'm proud of her is an understatement, she has been trying so hard at this for years... and it just seemed hopeless, but it isn't.

Her skin is still dry and scaly from the spot where she itched so badly I had to use a creme to heal it enough to move forward, and there is a small scab still working to heal, but to see her actually healing and not just having a 'tiny' break from it to heal partially has been GREAT.

I suspect we still have a long way to go, especially since I still see huge flares in her brain fog and time it takes to do chores in the morning, but I'm so happy to have been on this journey, and I can't say enough good things about it.

To answer some questions about the hockey pokey homeopath thing...I'm a skeptic.  still.  I don't understand how you can take a substance, douse it in water, shake it to oblivion and make it completely untraceable (not to mention the smaller the amount the stronger the reaction???WHAT?) and then put a dissolvable tab on your tongue and experience what my daughter and I have experienced, but I am also a believer because we did experience it.

I've read about placebo effect, I did a bunch of research before letting this lady put anything in my child... but then after the research I asked only that she not tell Sapphira what we were doing until after we saw results, if we saw them.  Because as one study showed, cows were healed with homeopathy, and cows can't experience placebo effect.. they don't know what it is.... so if Sapphira didn't know, then I could expect there wouldn't be a placebo either.... and it worked.  After I saw the first difference in my daughter we went ahead and told her... 

And call it what you will, my daughter is not only less itchy, but she also doesn't wet the bed anymore... and I'm a satisfied mama.  

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Children are a blessing from the Lord

After I completed the writing of "Of Virtue and Grace" I felt that the weight of a burden I'd carried for 11 years had finally been lifted.  I, a flawed and sensitive woman, who tries and often fails, had been asked to write a book that would help women to draw near to God, and build them up to know the love that he has for them... and I finished it. 
I'll admit there are probably grammatical problems and will need revision eventually as these errors are made known to me, but I finished the task that God had given me... and I was weightless for a small time.  And then it hit me, why would God stop at just one request of my humble life?  He probably wouldn't.  What I mean to say is that the more time that passed after finishing the book the more I felt lead to study and research things that were not in the book, that perhaps would be helpful to families, maybe women, but perhaps men as well. 
This led me to the feeling that I needed to start writing more, not just on occasion, but often, and about many topics, as I felt God led me to do so.
The first was about Children, and so this blog entry is the result of that study, and also my personal life experiences that go along with it.  I originally had a plan to have 4 children.  Not as many as my 'crazy' parents who had 6, and not so few that I didn't give them playmates to grow up with.  I determined the plan was to have my first baby and if it was a girl I would have another, if a boy have another, if twins then no more, because the plan wouldn't necessarily work... the second baby if the same gender as the first would be my last baby, if the opposite gender I would go on to have a third.  After having either two boys or two girls, and possibly one other child which would be the opposite gender of the two, then I would adopt another child of the gender I had less of.  Thus making my family a perfect 6 person family with two boys and two girls, a mom and a dad.
Life is funny... I married Patrick and we agreed to only have 3 children.  But then after our 2nd child was born we had a miscarriage/ectopic pregnancy, and then a healthy third child, and then a surprise pregnancy that also ended in miscarriage and my husband somehow underwent a change of heart and decided to let God determine our family size and actually 'tried' to enlarge our family, resulting in our 4th healthy term baby. 
During my fourth pregnancy (for our third living child) I started reading 'above Rubies', if you are not familiar with it, let me tell you a little about it.  The editor and author of the magazine believes that children (as the bible says) are a heritage from the Lord, and many believe that means she and her 'followers' believe that woman should intentionally bring as many babies into the world as they possibly can, trying to get pregnant and have more and more children. 
I can say that as many articles as I have read I've never seen them outright say this, and though it could be true I just have not seen the evidence.  However the stories did fascinate me, and led me to the decision that though I would honor my husband in our decision of having only 3 children I would no longer let my heart get tied up in being 'in control' of my fertility and just take things as they come, and let my husband and God figure out the details.  Thus letting the worry and stress of watching my fertility signs come and go and monitoring every detail of them, just release. I would actually still be doing this, because as I mentioned I wanted to honor my husband and let him and God decide, I just simply made the decision that it wasn't mine to worry about, I would simply give the information I gathered about my cycle to my husband and let whatever happened happen.
And then Saera (miscarried at 6 weeks) and Esmarie (birthed at home) happened.  And I believe that God changed the heart of my husband toward his children.  And then we both decided together that I no longer needed to monitor my fertility at all... and so I stopped, and that is how I became pregnant again. 
This led me to read more about quiver-full families, a name given to families who likewise choose to have many babies to honor the Lord, the name is in reference to what King David says in Psalm 127:3-5  "Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court." 
These people I originally believed had a mind set that led them to just trust God in his plan for the number of children they would have, however some believe and perhaps it is true, I really don't know, that they actually try to have as many children as possible regardless of anything that might cause them not to continue having children... be that finances, health, space.... whatever the case may be.  My point here is not to speculate on that, but that discovering that some believed that, made me more and more curious about what God himself has to say about children.
The more I read about children the more it became clear to me that children are a blessing, a gift from God, but he doesn't give them only to the righteous, and not everyone appreciates the ones they have been given.  And the other prevailing thought I had was that neither God in the old testament or Jesus in the new testament suggests a number of children we should strive for, or even that we should in deed strive for them... although there are plenty of stories of barren women who longed and prayed, even claimed they would die if they were not given children, and it was considered a sin for a man to withhold children from his brother's widow. (to read the whole story about Onan and Tamar, check out Gen 38). 
While I cannot back up my specific point of view with biblical verses I think my personal study shows a few things about my heart and the heart of God toward children.
Jesus claims that you have to be 'child like' to enter the kingdom of heaven, and that the children should be allowed to come to him when the disciples tried to boot them out of his personal space in Matthew 19.  Jesus showed great love and compassion for children, and God called them blessings and knew them intimately while knitting them together in the womb of their mother... so my idea here is that God LOVES children... and since he calls them a blessing to the father (although he clearly asks that they honor and obey their mother and father and says that a child who does not heed their mother or father is a fool and a shame to their parents), I have to believe it is not of him to keep yourself from having babies....
I'll pause here to say that this is the conclusion I have drawn for myself, and has nothing to do with where God has called YOU to be... if you feel your health or other factors would make it unwise to have another baby, then by all means you pray and have some personal reflection time with your bible and God himself and figure it out for your family and yourself, I am NOT making decisions for your family.
Now that I've decided that birth control for my family is not right, I also need to look at the opposite of that... and that would be to TRY to have more babies...
God is the maker and giver of life so no matter how hard I try I will not conceive if God has not decided that I should, and so I feel that this falls into the line of worry, which God clearly tells me not to do. 
Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

So if I want a child, or if I want for anything I should pray and give God thanksgiving and leave it with him and trust that he will provide... 

My analysis of all of this is simple... God gives children, God creates children, God thinks they are wonderful and a blessing, he knows them intimately before they take even their first breath, and he waits anxiously for them to in return get to know him as they grow older and learn hopefully from their parents, but perhaps from other people about him, and how to be good children, honorable, respectful and a delight.... BUT there is nothing I can do or not do to stop him from putting children in my life, or force his hand in giving me children....

Which means, why even worry about it?  I've stopped worrying about it.  I've stopped caring about it.... I've started to live in the freedom of complete trust in the God who created me.  If I have more babies I have more blessings, and if I have no more babies, then my blessings continue through the ones he has already given me.  I will not use chemicals or plastics to prevent my family from the blessings that God chooses to give us (which, begs the question would they really work if God felt I needed another child, he has ways of making that happen even if I tried to prevent them), but I will also not strive to receive more than what God has allotted as my portion.  This is incredibly freeing for me.

It does not apply to me to say 'what if God gave you no children, what then?' but because it does for some, I will say only that Sarah was promised children and had none until her old age, though she wanted them.  Hannah pleaded with God to receive a child and he answered her prayers.  Rebekah and Rachel both struggled with infertility, and several other women in history have prayed to God to give them a child and he has granted their requests... women that I know today who pray for children are being given them, whether biologically or through adoption, and sometimes both, these women are heard by God... so I'm not asking anyone to 'give up' their cry to God for children, but if giving up the stress and worry of the how and when would help you, then perhaps you can do that, and just turn loose your fears, and worries to the Lord who provides abundantly for us all.

As for my family, we choose to just stop trying to control the outcome, and just trust God, in this and so many other areas of our lives... and so far, we are blessed indeed, four sweet babies to fill my arms, one growing in my womb and two waiting in heaven for me to greet them one day on my arrival to that forever home with Jesus.  7 children, all incredible blessings from the Lord, and should more come along in the future, I'll raise them the best I can, and lean on the Lord for strength and comfort, because raising children is hard work... and worth every moment!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A piece of my new writing project.

The following is a test of your enjoyment reading system..

I'm beginning to write again, and if you've read my first book "Of Virtue and Grace" you know that I have a bit of passion for it, and for Jesus.  However this is a completely different kind of writing, this one is fictional... I'm going to give you a portion of the first chapter here, and please keep in mind this is RAW UNEDITED and not complete or publication ready in any form, but I'd like some feedback.  Read it and just leave me a comment below to tell me if it is something you would want to read the rest of... or if you have questions about a character, or suggestions for me I'd love to hear them.

Chapter 1.
Ruth and Howard Ingham, the most dedicated pair of lovers that had ever graced God’s great planet earth, had lived so long with one another that they really couldn’t be separated.  Not a day went by that the two were not intimately involved in each other’s business.  It wasn’t always pretty, and they didn’t always agree, even on the important things, but they always worked together for the good of their marriage. 
The lessons that Ruth and Howard learned early in their marriage left such a valuable impression on their hearts that it bound them together in such a way as that no one could separate them.  Ruth had never been able to have children, she claimed that “God opened and closes the womb” and just simply trusted that the Lord would provide, should he ever feel the need, and at eighty years old the desire for her own flesh and blood children had long passed her.  Howard and Ruth had always wanted children, but their faith in the goodness of the Lord held them together, even when their greatest desires for children had wrestled with their hearts and tugged at their arms, the arms that held only each other.
Years of wondering if they’d ever have children had pulled them apart, but also brought them together in new, much deeper and more meaningful ways.  Ruth clung to the promises of the Lord in Isaiah 54, speaking his word over her life, praying that the tent strings of her heart could be enlarged and that she could reach out to all the motherless, and fatherless in her community. 
Howard had worked hard throughout their marriage to provide for Ruth, and to allow her to support the women that were able to give birth to their own offspring.  She found all sorts of women and children to help and to love on every week.  Her schedule often included meal preparation and house-keeping for homes that were not even their own, but she never let that get in the way of taking care of the home he provided.  Howard and Ruth were always suited well for one another.
Today however was different.  Instead of caring for women and children from the church or neighborhood, Ruth was taking care of Howard.  Howard had suffered a heart attack, just a minor one according to the doctor’s office, but serious enough that at age 83 there were questions about whether he’d be able to stay home or whether a nursing home might be a better place for the man she loved so dearly.  Ruth wouldn’t hear of Howard being in a home, she had energy and dedication enough for both of them, so instead she hired a nursing student to come once a day to check in on them and help them accomplish the things that in their age might be difficult to continue now that Howard was restricted in diet and exercise due to his health. 
Ruth explained to the temp agency that she didn’t need someone with a lot of experience and that a first-year student would be fine, all she really needed was someone to come and help her with the heavy lifting once in a while, particularly when Howard was feeling under the weather and wasn’t getting to and from places in the house as well as he once did.
The temp agency sent Annalise, an 18-year-old college freshman.  Annalise stood rather tall, Ruth guessed she was nearly six-foot, and though her hair was always pulled back in a ponytail and her uniform always clean and pressed, Annalise had a fire in her eyes that Ruth just hadn’t placed yet.
 It was Ruth’s favorite pastime to watch people and see if they’d let go of a secret or two and let her into their world, and if they did she found a way right into their hearts and dwelled there in a special place that only she would ever fit into.
Today, and Annalise were going to be no different.  Ruth was determined to find that sweet hiding place inside of Annalise, so as the college freshman drove her car up the driveway, Ruth poured the hot water she’d prepared into a teapot and placed it on a tray, and added some of her favorite tea flavors and cookies along-side the pretty little teacups she thought Annalise might like best. 
Annalise closed her car door and began the walk up the path toward the Ingham’s beautiful two story yellow gabled home and admired the flowers that had been carefully planted and weeded by Ruth herself, while inside Ruth set the tea tray on the little table near the chair she would soon welcome Annalise to sit in, and quickly moved a lap blanket to the back of the chair where she usually kept it on chilly early fall mornings like this one.  When Annalise climbed the three stairs leading to the front porch she paused only a moment to enjoy the aroma of flowers in hanging baskets and along the windows before proceeding toward the carved wood front door, but just as her hand reached the space where her knock would have planted itself to announce her arrival, Ruth opened the door, leaving Annalise to knock on the air where the door had been.
“Annalise!”  Ruth cheerfully called.  “I’ve been waiting for you, Howard has too, but he’s taking a nap just right now, so I wondered if you’d like to have some tea with me?” 
“Mrs. Ingham you are so sweet and thoughtful!  I’d love to have some tea with you!”  Annalise had never been fond of tea as a child, but just now that didn’t seem to matter, because Ruth was standing eagerly there, framed by the white painted doorway with an eager smile written in permanent marks across her face. 
“Child, don’t call me Mrs. Ingham, I’d love if we could become friends and you would call me Ruth!”  Annalise had heard Mrs. Ingham say this same thing at least two times prior, but still couldn’t bring herself to be so informal with her first clients.  Especially Ruth, because Ruth was the most distinguished and amazing woman she’d ever had the chance to get to know, even if their knowledge of each other was wholly due to Ruth’s husband’s illness.
It seemed to Annalise that Ruth was everything that she herself was not.  Where Ruth was established in years, Annalise was young and naïve.   Ruth had space for guests in her home, and Annalise had a tiny dorm room she shared with another girl.  Ruth was tidy and organized, Annalise struggled to clean up after herself.  Where Ruth was welcoming and gracious to everyone, Annalise struggled to feel as if she belonged anywhere well enough to be welcoming to anyone.
“Come in, sweet child, let’s have some of that tea, I’ve heated the water and set out a tray already.  Just this way.”  Ruth gently guided her guest into the living room and offered her a high-backed wing chair near the window where she could have enjoyed the view out the window, or the warm fire on the hearth.  Ruth’s gaze fell on Annalise in such a way as if she were saying ‘make yourself comfortable, stay as long as you like.’
“Oh Mrs. Ruth, I probably should get straight to work, what can I help you with while we wait for Mr. Ingham to wake up?”  Annalise pushed only slightly back at the offered chair, she didn’t want to seem as if she were taking advantage of the job and kindness of Mrs. Ingham and her husband.
“Well nothing to be done while that man rests, and we know he needs the rest, so you just sit here and do the best favor you could for me… just tell me about yourself.”  Ruth smiled and began to pour the steamy water into cups on the tea tray.  “Let’s start with what kind of tea you drink.  A lot can be said about a person based on the kind of tea they drink.  Are you a caffeinated tea drinker, a fruity tea drinker, or an herbal tea drinker?” Ruth’s eyes lit up at each suggestion of the kinds of tea that Annalise might choose.  It was a fun little game she liked to play with new guests.
“Hmm, well I don’t really know, I didn’t like tea very much as a child and I have not had many since then either.”  Annalise thought it out.  “I don’t think I need to be drinking caffeine, it makes me jittery.  What do you recommend?”  Annalise smiled and sank a little deeper in the offered chair, she hadn’t realized just how soft it was before, but it welcomed her to relax in the same ways that Mrs. Ruth did, gently, slowly, and with a power that she didn’t even care to resist.
“If you didn’t like it as a child then you’ll probably need some time to get used to it before you really enjoy it, I’ll start you off with something fruity, that should be alright for you this time… what do you think of peaches?”  Ruth slowly pulled a tea bag from her arrangement, it was labeled “peaches and crème”.  Annalise smiled and nodded her agreement to the flavor selection mentally telling herself that even if she didn’t like it she would endure it for the sake of such a sweet hostess.
When Ruth handed the cup over to Annalise she began to pick through the tea bags for her own tea cup.  Annalise quickly took the first sip of her tea, hoping that Ruth would be occupied enough to miss her reaction should she not care for the flavor.  Yet she was gently surprised with the aroma and the flavor of the tea, a gentle wash of warm water flavored slightly of peaches and milk washed down her throat and warmed her stomach.  She actually really enjoyed the sensation and the flavor alike. “Mrs. Ruth!  This is wonderful!  I had no idea tea could be so delicious!”
“Everything on God’s green earth can be that way, surprisingly lovely and easy to accept… but only some things are worth it.  Tea is worth it.” Ruth chirped with a hint of passion in her voice.
A noise from the other side of the room disturbed their reflection and called their attention.  Annalise immediately set her cut down and rushed to the aide of Howard Ingham, who had apparently woken from his afternoon nap and made his way to the living room. 
“Mr. Ingham, you should have called for us, we would have helped you out of your bed.”  Annalise gently scolded.
“I had a minor heart attack, I didn’t break a hip, child.”  Howard smiled and pinched Annalise’s cheek gently as if she really were a child, and she smiled sweetly back at him slightly embarrassed. 
“I know, but this is what I’m here for!  Not to drink tea, unfortunately, but to help you.”  Annalise cleared Mr. Ingham’s magazine from his chair and pulled up his foot rest.  “would you like a lap blanket, sir?”
“No, if anyone needs one of those it’ll be my wife, she’s the one whose always cold.”  Mr. Ingham reached out a freckled hand toward his wife and partner in crime, and she readily gripped it with a smile and a look of satisfaction on her face.
“He’s right, I’m always cold.  Poor circulation they say, I say I’m just plain cold, always have been.”  Ruth’s eyes never left Howard, even though it was clear she was talking to Annalise, who had been situating her chair closer to Mr. Ingham’s side so she could check his vitals.
The house fell silent as Annalise pumped air into the blood pressure cuff she had attached to Mr. Ingham’s arm.  She listened closely and watched the seconds slip by on her wristwatch.  When she was finished she looked happily, nearly dreamily at Mr. Ingham.  “You’re blood pressure seems to be within normal today.  Have you been listening to Dr.’s advice in your diet?”
A gentle chuckle landed in Annalise’s ears.  “I have a grand appetite, so does my dear wife, and nothing beats the salads this woman makes!  However, I just don’t think I can live off from so little every day… I’m desperate, I need more sustenance, tell that Dr. I need more meat! Howard chuckled and leaned toward Annalise secretively “And CAKE!”
Annalise smiled and sat back in her chair, “well it sounds like your wife has been taking good care of you Mr. Ingham!  You should be so lucky, you probably don’t deserve her!” Winking at Howard, Annalise packed her blood pressure cuff away and stood.  “Mrs. Ingham, would you like me to take the bedsheets to the wash and replace them?” 
“Ruth, dear, call me Ruth, I insist!”  Ruth smiled back at her, “and yes honey, that would be wonderful.  I’ll just come along and see if there is anything this old lady can do to help.” 
“Alright, I suppose I can call you Ruth, it just feels so informal.”  Annalise looked around for inspiration but found none and barreled through with the rest of her thought, “you are so refined and gentile, I don’t want to be disrespectful by being too familiar.”
Ruth only laughed, a light chuckle that reminded Annalise of tinkling bells, but then the laugh grew and soon she was walking toward the bedroom, hand to her stomach laughing.  “Oh honey, I’m not gentile or refined dear, I’m just old, and you are not disrespectful if you are doing what I asked of you.”
While the women fussed with the bedsheets Howard opened his newspaper and began to read, he didn’t even realize he fell asleep until Annalise and Ruth had returned to the room giggling like school girls.  It always amazed him that his wife could make friends with strangers so quickly.  He always struggled with acquaintances, but had made a few lasting and deep connections throughout his life and was happy with them, Ruth however was not at all like that. People opened up to her almost immediately.  Maybe it was her beautifully caring heart, maybe it was her smile, maybe it was the fact that it was never an act with her, she was genuine all the way through.
“Annalise, I have something for you, but I’d like to send it in the mail, is that ok?  Could you write down your mailing address for me so I can send it?”  Ruth was asking the home-help aide the same question she would ask every new friend, and Howard smiled knowing that he hadn’t messed up her life enough to change this tradition for her.  Annalise jotted down her address on the provided paper and gathered her things.
“I’ve enjoyed this visit, I’m certain I have no idea what you are going to send me, but I’m not scared in the least.” Annalise smiled as she turned the doorknob to leave.
“Oh, I certainly hope you wouldn’t be frightened!”  Ruth was gravely serious about this tradition and wouldn’t want anyone to be frightened of her monthly invitations. “and I hope it arrives in the mail quickly for you.”
Annalise stepped out into the sunshine filled front porch and breathed in the smell of Ruth’s flowers, smiled once more at Mrs. Ingham and turned to leave.  Ruth gently guided the door closed and turned to Howard who was watching her from across the room in in his reclining chair.
“How many does that make it now, Ruth?”  He questioned her about this with every new guest she invited over.
If Ruth were young enough she would have danced a little victory dance right there, but she didn’t, instead she raised her arms in triumphant fists to heaven and closed her teary eyes “Thank you Jesus, Thank you for bringing us Annalise, and thank you for putting her in our path so that we might share your wonderful love with her!”  She lowered her fists partially, opened her eyes and looked straight at Howard “If she comes, then that will be twelve!”

For the last 2 years Ruth had been having morning tea on Saturdays once a month with women she met around town, in church, the grocery store, or any other place, each woman received a hand-written invitation every month to join the rest of them for tea in the garden behind the house. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I'm BACK!!!

This time, I promise I'm not going to whine about anything... I mean it is just not fair if you have to listen to all the bad parts and never get a glimpse of all the great parts!

Here it is, the topic you are just dying to hear ANOTHER person post about!  The ECLIPSE!
Yeah I know you are thinking "we've heard ALL the stories lady, why submit us to that same thing all over again/plus you didn't even see a total eclipse, you live in the wrong area."

BUT  you have not seen how incredibly adorable my kids and my best friend's kids are, and I've got pictures for you!

So here's the story, I thought briefly about taking the lovely kiddos down to the Gardens downtown to check out the solar power of the sun and moon pooled together, and then I remembered I have FOUR of them, and watching the sun in a strange and highly crouded place just didn't sound like a lot of fun to me, so I opted to build solar viewers from home... of course this meant no one would look at the ACTUAL sun.. but what would the kids care right?
I don't know, my kids were COUNTING DOWN the days till the Moon covered the sun, and repeating EVERYTHING they heard on the radio about the upcoming event, even though I heard it at the same time they did, "MOM DID YOU HEAR......" "yes, yes I did, I'm sitting right here."

So solar eclipse day was upon us, we started it out by cutting up a pizza box, some tin foil and poking holes with our super duper home school single hole punch in said tin foil and taping it to the pizza box projectors... I'm a rock star with spur of the moment projects... maybe, sometimes.

Then we continued to proceed with our school day as normal... checking occassionally through the window to see if we were in fact missing anything with the sun.  We didn't.

After most of the school work was complete I asked Patrick to go out and move our patio table which no longer resides on our patio, but in a forest of table high grass, to an area where the children could actually eat off from the surface of it, then made lunch, sandwiches, chex mix and carrots with chocolate chip cookies for desert, and Kool-aide for drinks, and Patrick even set up the gazebo to keep us all cool in the heat of our Oklahoma day.

As we ate our meals and drank kool-aide we often checked the progress of the sun in our pizza box projectors, and the kids played in the kiddie pool, the day got cooler and cooler and less of the kids were even interested in the pool, but they were incredibly interested by what they could and were doing with their shadows.  lacing their fingers together to see the shadow of the moon over the sun, playing with the projectors, and Patrick even poked a bunch of holes in a piece of scrap paper which ended up looking like hundreds of tiny moon shaped suns dancing on the patio.

At some point I realized that while it hurt my eyes to try to photograph the impossible to photograph sun, it didn't hurt as bad to look at the sun through my camera lens as it would if I looked straight at it... so I got the brillant idea (don't remember who suggested it, Neva?  Maybe Patrick) to use a pair of sunglasses over the lens, this didn't help a lot, but it did help, so then we layered two pairs of glasses over the lens, then I could actually see it with my eye, I still couldn't get the picture though.

Then Patrick found two more pairs of sunglasses and we layered all four together, between the three of us adults trying this just to look at the sun we did get one or two images that actually showed the shape of the sun behind the moon, which was awesome, but the picture is anything but high quality, and I can't say I took it, Neva or Patrick took it when they had their turn to look.

After playing with the lens of my camera this way we eventually decided to put all four pairs of sun glasses on at once and look directly at the sun... and guess what!?!  It actually worked.  Sure it was funny looking, but it worked!  All the kids got to try it, and we captured some fun photos of the time we spent together.

Patrick, and I don't have lots of fun moment as a family right now, so it was extra special to me, the lack of stress going on was wonderful and uplifting, and the intimacy of having fun together is rare but liberating.  Neva and her children got to share in all of this with us, and it was just a really good time, all the kids got to see the eclipse, and we all enjoyed the day!

Here are some pictures we were able to capture.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.