Sunday, April 13, 2014

We're gardening!

Let's start off by saying that I've weighed all of my options and carefully considered the result of each decision that I could make, and I have decided that for this year I will stick with k12. I like that their program is advanced and that it challenges Zachary. I like that it challenges me as well. With the addition of piano lessons and possible Karate, he has community day and cub scouts. I believe he will be quite well rounded. There is some possibility of eventually putting him into a specialized art class since he is so good at it and has a very creative mind.

The past few weeks have been busy! We have been tearing out plants in the patio that were old, dead, dying or just ratty looking to replace them with newer plants that we like more. We planted a bunch of fast growing morning glories around part of the perimeter just a week ago, and they are already about an inch tall. Yesterday we went to a local nursery that I fell in love with called City Farmer's Nursery. We picked up flowers and veggies and walked through their expansive selection of pre-grown plants. It was a green wonderland and I could have stayed forever.

So we have some plans. They have orange trees, lemon trees and grapefruit trees. I want to buy one of each, but they are $35 a piece so we're going to wait for now. They also sell chicks, and since they're coming to a certain age the lady at the counter told me they will be going on sale next week. I need to figure out where/how to raise chickens on our property, now that I know where to buy them. We also want some strawberries, but since our dogs like to eat our plants, we need to figure out the best place for those. Sometime this week we're going to be putting up the starts of planter boxes in our yard. The yard has been a work in progress for some time... and we are making some VISIBLE progress. Finally!!!

Before (from approx. 2 years ago)
After

The sun is a little harsh out there today so it changes the color of it slightly, but you'll see we removed a LOT of the old stuff. I suspect in the next few weeks it'll be looking green again. We still have a few more things to do. The basketball hoop needs to be mounted so we can get rid of that base, and once I am done using the table to germinate, we can put the umbrella back up. The leaves are going into a trash can that we can use to compost them, and then the dirt from the compost will either go back into the planter boxes here or in the garden that will be out front.

So, speaking of out front, our dogs have completely torn up our yard. You see, we had bermuda grass which has very shallow leaves.. and dog paws just rip those suckers right up. Instead of replanting the yard with grass, we're going to be putting in a garden. It will slowly be done over the week as right now I have some plants under a growing light to get them started early. Once the planter boxes are in, we will be buying some topsoil to fill, chicken wire to keep the dogs out, and then I will be sewing sowing in my seeds. The plants under the growing lights will go out later, once they are ready. Once that is finished and the garden is planted and set, the front porch will be next. Fix up the lattice work that we have temporarily attached, strip down the 4X4's and repaint the porch. It is in desperate need. At that point, we'll come back inside and continue work there. It is the time of year for a garden, and I really wanted to get all of this done, so the inside work took a back-burner to that.

Next on the agenda for the living room is to fill in a window that no longer needs to be there, take down some paneling and (hopefully!) put in some more windows on either side of the fireplace. Once we get to the windows, we have to pause on the inside and do some outside work... because the siding on our house will be coming down and we will be re-stuccoing the outside. Robin assures me it won't be terribly expensive because the stucco isn't that bad on the whole, but it's going to take time and we can do it a little bit at a time. So we will pull down that section of siding and re-stucco (and maybe paint... we'll see) that section of the house, along with possibly the front of the house since we aren't making any real changes there. Once that's done, we'll be heading back inside again, to the room that will be Zachary's. We'll be tearing down a wall, building a closet, and again installing new windows. A little bit at a time though, the walls and closet will come first. Windows are expensive. And again, when it's time for the windows, it's time to head outside and take down that part of the siding and re-stucco that wall as well. Or actually, we have to build some wall. Zach's room is complicated.

But I'm getting way ahead of myself. One step at a time. Once all these little things are done, flooring will be laid throughout the house. I'm thinking wood floors. I love carpet, but I love wood. I'm pretty heavily leaning toward buying bundles of wood a little at a time, and finding a place to store them until we are ready.

Anyway, I'll be back next week with before/after pictures of our front yard with planter boxes! How exciting! It's nice to finally have some forward movement.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Common core and homeschooling choices

I get that people don't like common core for a multitude of reasons, and there are a lot of reasons that I myself do not like it... but educate yourselves with it. There is no "one way" to do common core, because common core is a STANDARD not a CURRICULUM. Common core's purpose is to make sure your children understand what they're doing concretely and aren't just pulling numbers out of their heads. Zachary can quickly tell you that 5+5=10, but outside of that he doesn't understand it. 10 what? What does 10 represent? That's what common core is about. It's not just fast facts and memorization, it's being able to prove the answer several different ways.

My problem with common core is (1)its implementation. ALL of the kinks should have been worked out first, and now teachers are under greater strain than ever to make sure that kids can perform. They have less support than ever and a growing number of students in the classroom that they are responsible for. State governments should have been ready for it with increased budgets to our schools to supply more, better teachers and teacher aides.

(2) It is still studying for the test. I don't believe in defining my child by his age/grade level. He learns at the pace he learns and no faster. Last year we did phonics and we talked until I was blue in the face over phonics and by the end of the year he could still barely read. The beginning of this year he had his "aha!" moment. He was well below his grade's reading level at the beginning of this year, and now he has caught up. When a child is ready to learn something, it will come naturally.

Sometimes I wish that instead of implementing all these different standards, we'd go back to having all grades in one classroom. Younger children learned from other children, and they learned at their own pace instead of this exaggerated pace set by some legislature at some point in time. Don't get me wrong, the public school system is a great resource, and we are very blessed to have it. Our poorest people still get an education, and that is wonderful. But it is in desperate need of a nation wide revamp.

It is with this in mind that I try to decide what to do with Zachary next year. Do we continue in K12, where he will have to start state standardized testing soon, or do we branch off on our own and pull together our own curriculum. I have been struggling with this answer for the last week or two. Outside of my husband, I am feeling a total lack of support for pulling out of K12, because free curriculum. But it is still public school that I have to modify all the time to teach him the way he actually learns.

I will say this: I am glad to live in a state and a country where I have a choice. I have a choice in my son's education, and that is a wonderful thing.

If I break away from K12, I will be registering with a private umbrella school for homeschoolers. We will miss community day, but we will open up new networks with people who are more like us. So over the next few blog entries, I'm going to go over the different curriculum that I will choose if I leave K12. At least, that's the plan. Lately my time for blogging has been significantly reduced.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Wow!

It's been a month since I last wrote a blog post.

It's just... I mean, school, homeschooling, working out...

Just, that whole sentence made me tired.

I haven't had much time for the blog, or to work on the store at all. I am thinking that this summer i'm going to be totally creative and get a ton of product made and finally start making money off of it!

Here's hoping I stay motivated after this semester is over.

SO weight loss, a lot has changed in a month. I personally don't notice the change, but others around me have noticed. The biggest thing I noticed was that I put jeans on that I used to wear when we first moved here and they fit again. Not perfectly, very snugly and I couldn't wear them all day, but they fit. DEFINITE improvement! Success!

I haven't sold anything with doTERRA yet because... did I mention I've been busy? Like OMG yikes so much to do all the time busy. I'm tired! Don't judge. I haven't even slightly pushed it at all or talked to anyone about it. I just can't put energy into it right now.. I don't have it!

This week Zachary starts Cub Scouts. I am SUPER EXCITED about that. I think the only one more excited than me is Zach! Haha, he can't wait to be a cub scout. He even wants to wear the uniform! And seriously, once he's in that uniform, pictures will be plastered. I can't wait to see him in it.

So that's been my month in a nut shell. Homeschooling, college, hiking & getting fit..... taking on the world.

Don't worry y'all. I might not have time to blog, but I've got this.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Progress, doTERRA & Sew Cute Stacy

So I have these khaki pants that I bought back in North Carolina. I picked up the wrong size on accident and they were just a little bit too small, so I held on to them. I decided that for this month, they are my goal pants. They are the pants I want to mostly fit into by the end of the month.

When I bought them and initially put them on, I couldn't even button them up. I was sad. I knew that meant that while we were back east I had gained some weight, but I didn't really let myself think about it too much. I just packed them away and moved on with life.

Last night out of curiosity, I put on my goal pants.. and I buttoned them up. That's right. They buttoned.

They're a little tight and uncomfortable, not quite ready to be worn outside of the house, but standing there looking at myself in the mirror I felt smaller. I felt good about myself. I looked at the way they fit my legs and butt and for a change I thought "these look really good on me!" instead of "damn, I can never find anything that makes me look okay."

I haven't stepped on a scale since we've been home, and I'm not going to for a little while longer. The number on the scale isn't as important to me as that feeling. That "wow, that fits so well and looks so good!" feeling. Inches will matter. A number on a scale will not.

On a side note, I recently did what I've wanted to do for awhile.. I have signed up to sell doTERRA essential oils. You can visit my online store here! If you want to know more, please contact me and I can give you more information. Or just wait! I'm going to be highlighting some essential oils and what they can do for you over the next several weeks.

Also, I have set up a Weebly site for my Sew Cute Stacy business that I'm launching. Keep in mind that I'm in the very early stages of building inventory. I will be sewing and selling cloth baby wipes, baby blankets, taggie blankets, bibs, aprons, unpaper towel rolls, and more. Keep checking in for more details about getting that all set up. I will update my blog both here and on Sew Cute Stacy when I have more information.

New year, new ambitious, take on the world me. Proving to myself and everyone else that I really can do it all since I am also in college, homeschooling Zachary, taking care of the office portion of my brother-in-law's business, and still trying to find time to keep my sanity. This blog is not going to become nothing but a way to sell things, don't worry about that!

Friday, January 17, 2014

New years resolutions

So my new years resolution is about more than just losing weight; it's getting in shape (and not just physically!).

I want to be able to hike all over Laguna mountain with my husband without slowing down.

I'm going to hit some trails, I'm going to use my treadmill at home, jump on the trampoline, take the dogs for a walk, go walking with Kyrsten... and maybe even join some fitness class. I'm considering starting Limu, and using essential oils to combat anything that ails me physically instead of taking pain killers like candy. It's time to get my pain and my weight under control. I've yo-yo'ed for years. I'm so sick of it! Take control! I'm going to take my medicines like I should, and I am going to eat the way that I should. It's not just about weight, it's about being healthy.. for me and for my family.

I'm going to make sure my physical health improves, but I'm also going to make sure my mental health improves. I'm going to be looking into natural ways to combat the depression that I fall into so easily and naturally. Self help books perhaps that help me reform the way I think and react to things around me. Perhaps something that might help me let go of a little of that control that I crave so much. It's time to stop being a shut in, and be that social girl I've always been. I crave the company of people, but at some point I stop making an appearance. Once I stop making an appearance, it's easy to make excuses about why I can't go somewhere or do something. Once I start making excuses, the next thing I know 6 months has gone by and I've barely gone anywhere or done anything and I'm back in that slump mentally. I *need* people! I *need* that interaction! It helps me stay sane and happy.

I'm going to make sure our financial health improves. We're going to be debt free.. no buying anything unless we can pay in cash. We're also going to have a cash cushion so that if anything occurs, we have something to fall back on. I can be a penny pincher when it's necessary, and I'm going to say it's necessary at least for the next year or two while we get our finances on track. No more paycheck to paycheck. Waiting until the next paycheck to buy the food you desperately need is no way to live! Be responsible; be thrifty; be smart. Don't buy anything that we don't need, but do take at least SOME money each month to have a date night with the hubby. We need that connection; that time together.

I'm going to make sure our relationship improves. We're not unstable. We're not in danger of divorce or even unhappy together, but we're not perfect (and we'll never be, that's for sure!) and we do need some work. After 2 years of infertility, we both feel like we've been through the ringer. We don't do things together as often as we used to. We need to grow a little more as a couple.

But most importantly - I'm going to make sure my spiritual health improves. I have been in a little bit of a slump lately; physically, mentally and spiritually. It's time to take control of MY life, and stop trying to control the things around me that are out of my control. Leave it all up to God. Let Him decide the timeline of my life, and quit thinking that I can schedule the things that we're going to do. Our big life events.

Guess what, folks? Life happens in the little moments. The big moments are big and they're great... falling in love, getting married, having kids... they're all big moments and they're wonderful and memorable. But don't forget about all the little moments. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles on the couch, being with the people you love, even if it's just watching tv or eating dinner at the table. Life happens in those moments.. don't sit around waiting for the next big one or you'll be missing a million little moments that could make all the difference in the life of your relationship with your spouse or your child. Live the little moments. They'll become your big moments. They'll be your memories.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

It's been awhile..

The holidays kept me busy! We went to North Carolina to spend some time with my family and friends there, and had a great time, with the exception of the fact that we were sick for nearly 3 straight weeks. We are still recovering.

But some GREAT things happened while we were away! After confessing to my mom that I really am done and over trying to get pregnant, she mentioned that sometimes we have to know when to just throw in the towel.. she basically made me feel that it is okay to let go of this dream of ours. It still took more conversation with my best friend. She had a stillborn back in 2002, and then it took until 2007 for her rainbow baby to show up. She had given up on ever getting pregnant when my nephew came along. Maybe that will happen for us, maybe it won't. But the point is that it is okay to give up. It is okay to say "I'm done".

So I did.

I'm done with trying to get pregnant. I'm done with the doctors and the pills, and all that goes along with it all. No more OPKs, no more HPTs, no more clomid or femara, no more wondering if I can afford the injectables, or thinking about IUIs. We're done. We're moving on with our lives.

Since making that decision, I have been so relaxed and at peace. I thought that it would be a hard transition to make... instead it has been very freeing. I'm not so bitter anymore. I'm not so angry. I'm in a completely different place now. My grief is done.. I have accepted that there is a good possibility that we will not have a second child. Zach is enough for us.

So now it is time for our family to turn in a different direction. I'm going to focus on my school work, Zach's school work, our marriage and our family life. I'm going to put all that I am and all that I have into my family of 3, myself, and the business we are trying to grow. Maybe I'll even take more time to do more projects and get a business on Etsy started for myself.

I saw who I used to be when I was back in North Carolina. I'm vowing right here, right now that I will get back to the me that I used to be. Happy, spontaneous, free from all the weight that the past 2 years of hardcore trying to get pregnant have put on us.

It's so time!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Adoption Experience

Yesterday we went to an adoption experience event hosted by Bolander Law Group. You'll probably remember them from my stepparent adoption post since they're the ones that helped us with Zachary's adoption.

God has a way of speaking to you through other people and through things like the internet and Facebook. We heard God telling us that it was time for us to move toward adoption, and we both agreed. Right after we made this decision, the event invitation popped up in my newsfeed on Facebook. Another sign? Perhaps. So we decided to go and hear our options.

We were presented with a wide array of information, and we were kind of overwhelmed. It took a lot of talking everything through to get our heads straight and figure out what it is that we wanted to do. We both agreed that we don't want to adopt an infant. When we think of adoption, we think of someone at least 4 years old who needs a home. That realistically only leaves us 1 choice, and that's foster adoption.

We listened to the county speak and got lots of cool swag from them. We listened to a facilitator and learned about the domestic infant adoption process. It reaffirmed to us that it is not what we want. When we have an infant, we want it to be part of both of us. After all, infants will be adopted. Maybe special needs infants might not be as "popular", but there is always someone out there that will adopt an infant. An older child, however... that's a different story. And we have the chance to change a child's life.

So we're going to do a county adoption... but not right away. There are things we need to do to our house to make it kid friendly and bring it up to state requirements. Carpets to install, rooms to paint, windows to replace.. we actually have a pretty big list of things to do. We're going to go to an orientation meeting and get an application and all of that, but it's not going to be until February or March. After that we have 6 months to do everything we need to do to get ready for the home study. We can be declined during the home study if they find we have unresolved infertility issues or if we are seeking infertility treatment. So we are going to keep trying for our own up until we start the home study. We are going to stop trying to get pregnant until the home study is over and we are placed with a child, then we will start trying again.

If by some random miracle we get pregnant before the adoption, we will give ourselves an adjustment period before we start adopting. We will wait until baby is somewhere around 3 months old and start the adoption process. Either way, we are going to adopt a child out of the foster care system.

So we had to figure out if we were going to keep trying, how would we try? We can't do expensive treatments and prepare the house for the home study. We thought about getting clomid or femara and taking it unmonitored since we know how I respond to them. It is too soon to say, but I think we may not have to do that. It honestly looks as if my body is responding to the Metformin in a very positive way. I have all the signs pointing to ovulating on my own for the first time in over 2 years. I am ECSTATIC and I hope to be one of those unicorns that gets pregnant while waiting to adopt. Regardless, we will still adopt. No matter what.

I'm so happy with the decisions we are making! They just feel right for our little family.