Friday, July 23, 2010
We are home from Wisconsin Dells. I walked for well over 12 hours on Wednesday, taking time out to climb stairs (which I'm not physically supposed to do) and to ride on some outrageous water rides. You'd have thought I was a teenager with some of my activities. We went to Noah's Ark--and the first thing I did with 3 of my sons was to ride on the Black Anaconda, the world's longest watercoaster. Oh my, once I figured out that I needed to arch my back and keep my bottom off of the bottom (because of the big bumps), it was a pretty impressive ride. I didn't go on any slides because my back needs support, but I did virtually everything else except mini-golf. (We can play that at home and there wasn't enough time...) We did a lot of browsing/shopping and we also went to the always gross and gory "Ripley's Believe It or Not" museum. The kids visited arcades and we did a bit of swimming. We lucked out and found a pretty basic hotel with double queen rooms--2 adjoining rooms for $50 apiece. We took 9 people to the Dells for 2 1/2 days and 2 nights for only $200 for lodging. There was no WiFi, so I didn't get to log in and lost my streak and my perfect attendance for July. It was so worth it. the guys (dumb) left our picnic food at the room when we went to the water park, so except for my blueberries and popcorn, I didn't eat while we were there--my son and I were too busy trying out everything we could and we didn't feel like taking out valuable time for that. We spent more for the water park than for our lodging, of course. Anyway, I'm hoping I burned a few calories. I sure drank a lot of water!!
I just went and worked at school for as long as they would let me--they said we had to leave by 3PM so they could wax the first floor. I'll be working hard there next week--I have a lot yet to do, but everytime I am there, I accomplish a lot. With good luck, a lot of elbow grease and the help of my family, I will make it. I hung up the little gift I got for myself while I was in the Dells, a little apple windchime. Now that I have a room of my own, I am going to hang up my windchimes again--and I collect apples (duh, some teacher...) so it was a nice $4.00 find. I hope that I can show off either my apple collection in my room or my basset hound collection. Kids love to see things that show off who you are and they loved these in other buildings and times. I miss seeing them out for everyone to enjoy.
My body is sore--I have some minor sunburns here and there, like around the base of my swimsuit. I have a couple of sons who have some significant burns. One of them flat out refused to listen to me--he wanted to tan. I wish Marshall would listen to me once in a while. I tried and tried to tell him and now he has an almost dangerous burn. Miles listened, but wouldn't "reslather" the sunblock on his tummy area and his burn is blistering already. The rest of us did okay, with only places with a little pink skin here or there. I am sure glad that they learned that sunburns were dangerous--unlike when I was young and always had them if I had been outdoors for any length of time.
I have virtually no voice and have really been coughing and doing my best to ignore this illness that my sons shared with me. I have been taking ibuprofen round the clock to keep the fever and achiness away. This weekend will be for gating the house in order and going to the pool. I caught up on my SP points for nutrition tracking, fitness and keeping my goals--I thought I'd lost my food journal, but it ended up with the coupons and the pamphlets that came home with us. I missed SP. but I am so glad we went. A different environment that is free from day to day stuff is important. I hope we can go somewhere else soon.
I missed you all and wish you could have been there too--actually with all of the people there, it is unlikely that there wasn't some other SP member around.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Yesterday was not as much fun as some other days that I have had recently. After going Monday without sleeping much, I went tot he church to start organizing the things we have been using to return to school. Taking down the posters made the room look so much bigger and more bland. I emptied out all of the kids' book baskets and reflected on each of the kids a bit as I organized things we had read together and put things where they belong. I went through a number of things to donate to the children's church group a group of us take turns at because I knew I had more for my students and it made things more practical. It took me most of the day, but now things are almost ready to be loaded into the truck and taken to school--next week, (I have children's church this weekend and I am going to take advantage of all of my books that are already in the church--unless I can get out of it by letting the kids enjoy our Jazz weekend. This coming weekend is the big Bix weekend in the QuadCities and our church stays in the "swing" of things by having a jazz music service. Sometimes, I think the kids should be given the chance to enjoy some of the special things we do and this may be one of them.)
I was in a lot of pain yesterday--the joints in my fingers and hands were hurting as were all of my other joints. I couldn't seem to get any relief through my meds, but I kept at it, one step at a time. It continued down the same path and by the time we got to the pool, I could barely walk. I thought it was from not getting to go to the pool on Sunday (It's closed for its summer schedule.) I went through all of my exercises, but it didn't improve and I did a rare thing by spending 15 minutes in the new hot tub/ whirlpool. That didn't help either and I was actually in tears as I got dressed. I was thinking that the tough night before in which pain kept me awake was the source for all of that. When I got home, I took my meds and I fell asleep in my clothing without ever getting ready for bed. I slept hard all night long (yay.)
I woke up a bit around 5:30ish and with my head hurting like crazy, I started coughing and I felt feverish. Great, we promised the kids that we would go to Wisconsin Dells today for a mid-week mini-vacation. I got up more seriously at 7:30 and put my nightie on then. I have given them directions and told them that if we are to go, it is up to them to do their part because I have some other things to do. Mitchell is shopping with the list of foods we can take along to save on the food bill and maintain some semblance of healthy eating. Miles is finishing laundry. Marissa is preparing vegetables and bagging them up and Micah is cleaning animal cages. Marshall left earlier on his daily walk/run to the library. They'll take care of things just fine. I hope that I can feel good enough to hold up my end of things. This is going to be an expensive couple of days but I think we will cut enough corners with coupons for rooms and activities and bringing food so we will only need to purchase one meal a day. Wisconsin Dells are a totally tourist attraction and all of the vendors are trying to pull in more dollars than the next guy. We haven't been there for ten years, when Micah was 2 and Marissa was just turned 5. It is a happy, colorful, active place with so much going on.
I need to get myself in gear and do the bank stuff and a couple of my own errands. If I am not around for a couple of days, that means we ended up on a hotel that doesn't have WiFi, Take care one and all!!
Monday, July 19, 2010
Today's scripture included the story of Martha and Mary and it also included the story of Abram and Sarah when they showed hospitality to the 3 strangers who showed up unexpectedly at their home. Their kindness gave them a big reward in return when they finally got past being childless. Our pastor talked at length about the value of hospitality and how the kindnesses that Abram showed not only gave them the thing that they wanted most, but how in turn, it gave to all of us. I am glad that he spoke of it--and his prayer talked about how the world needs women of all types and the importance of having Marthas and Marys in our worlds. I was expecting him to link the stories and he didn't--I think he knew we could do that. I also expected him to mention the summer program and the hospitality that we gave to those 60 children who ate and played and learned in our church. He didn't mention that either. I didn't get around to asking him about that, but if I were to guess, we are hospitable to others to show caring and that is what motivated all of the Biblical players. If we happen to get something back in return, that's extra.
OK, SP is one of the places of the greatest hospitality ever. I have many Spark Friends who haven't heard much from me lately, yet they stop by and leave me comments and notes and help me get over the rough spots. I am thinking back to my beginning here, when I didn't quite get goodies and blogs and our other forms of communication, but I learned to talk with people and share my thoughts. I learned to give them support because I liked seeing these great people succeed at such a complex activity. I have made more friends and I do a bit more with a few teams that I am a "leader" of--I am not sure that means anything special, except that I would try to be a bit more consistent in what I do on my teams. So why be hospitable?
Well, it's an easy answer. I like being helpful and a little (on my busy days) is better than none. I like emoticons and goodies that help me to say what is on my mind. I like thinking through my own situation and sharing what has worked or finding ideas for what hasn't. I like having friends who I can count on whether I am present or not. Mostly, I like having this place to hang my hat when I have a few moments to spare so I can check in with the kind and hospitable people who are helping me to stick to it and who give me a chance to help them--really help myself.
I get more from SP than I give it, but it is fun to be hospitable here and it is fun to keep up with everyone. It is fun to know that I'll hear from others today. (It is not as fun to know that I have some 30 SP emails reminding me of all of the blogs I need to visit, but they help me to get there...) there is a lot to that hospitality stuff--look at all of the places where we can find it.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
We have really been doing a bit of everything recently and it dawned on me that my family works way too hard at so much and that is why I am always feeling as if my house is a mess and my yard needs work, and that I miss my family and we need time together. My husband works 7 days a week and 9 hours a day. I have been working at the church from 8:30 until at least 12:30 and some days until 2:30 followed by time in my classroom that often goes until well after 4 or 5. We get home for a bit of regrouping and dinner--and I go to the fitness center for about 3 hours each night. In the meantime, 4 of my kids have been joining me with my daily schedule, one has been at school, and three have been working at two/three jobs each day. We are all working too hard at too much. I go back to work on Monday, August 2 and I want to have some family fun and some R&R before then. I know, I know--I have so much to do to get my classroom ready and unpacked. I wanted to have some major cleaning done in my house and the guys still have to put in my new floor and sink in the bathroom. They are going to rebuild the kitchen floor and cabinets as well. I have 3 cans of paint for a bedroom, my dining room, kitchen and family room, and we have a new carpet to put down in the family room. Our garden has started giving us a lot of great big zucchini and the vines are loaded with nice green tomatoes. I have a bag of green beans already and the cucumbers and melons are all in bloom as well. Our basement and garage need a good cleaning and we have a couple of new projects waiting in the back yard too.
We haven't had time to do any of that--or the yard sale I wanted either. We all work too hard and there is always something else to do. I read something here at SP today that mentioned we won't be able to read all of the books we want to read or see all of the movies we want to see, etc...co we must choose carefully. Well, we won't be able to do all of the work we think we should do either and I want to spend some fun time with my family. I want to spend a lot of it actually--and I intend to. that brings me to today...
We had a really awesome Friday celebration of the "Summer Camp" program at our church, of which my reading program was part. It had been a busy day at a beautiful city park and the park board had gotten three bouncy toys for the kids--one had two basketball hoops, one had a slide and the other was a traditional jumping room. They also had put together a lot of nice games--potato bag race and relays and rope tug and so on. After lunch, they had a pair of magicians for the kids. I got to walk around a lot and visit with a lot of people which was fun. Our church supplied food for well over 300 children from a variety of places and programs. We got back to the church in time to give the kids each a literacy bag with lots of books, crayons, pencils, things they had made, and a few toys--and to say good bye to them. i felt as close to this group as I did any of my students this past year, maybe because I got to teach them and get to know them without any stress. I did some assessments at the end of the program and was happy to see some nice growth in reading levels for most of them. They left around 2 and we tidied up a bit and left after 2:30 and we came home and did routine stuff--dishes, laundry, some weeding etc... Mason went to work at his other job. My husband came home and took my daughter to voice and the guys made taco salads for dinner. Then we went to the pool. I got home around ten and I fell asleep trying to do my SP activities. That has happened a lot lately and I wish that I had more time for answering team posts and blogs and stopping by to leave supportive messages and simply say "Hi."
I woke up at 2 and at 4 and at 6 and I finally got up around 7:30 and did some things that needed attention around here. Most of the kids were sleeping which is rare around here and I thought they deserved to sleep in. I had a rather nasty headache and would have slept longer if I could. when the kids got up, Mitchell and Marissa worked on laundry. I took Micah and ran some errands. When I got home, we started some weekend chores--vacuuming, dusting, washing floors , lawn mowing, weeding, and on and on. I decided again to While waiting for my husband to get home, I went to the stores and bought some groceries and prepared a picnic for dinner. I blew off going to the pool because we needed to do all of the things we were doing, but I realized that my family needed some down time. I met a bit of resistance from my husband and Marshall--but I insisted and we took everyone to the lake. I did get to go swimming there--it was certainly different than the pool at the fitness center, but I found a way to do most of my exercises in a revised format. The water was warm and the beach was busy, but it was nice. My husband finally admitted that maybe he should come to the pool and actually get in the water with us--maybe even come to the fitness center and do some walking or use the hot tub. Then it dawned on me...
We ALL need a real vacation. Every single one of us need a vacation and a change of scenery. I have 2 weeks to get that classroom ready and I have 2 weeks and limited money to pull this off--but we need some time off of this hectic crazy schedule we are trapped on. I am thinking of some possibilities and had been tossing around some ideas for day trips or weekend trips or something. I will make this happen because we need this. My family works too hard and we need time to rest and play, and to enjoy each other. I have great kids who help me with things like moving classrooms and who volunteer at the church. I know them as well as they know themselves and I know their naughty stuff too--but, quite honestly, I know beyond everything else that I am really blessed and I realized today that we simply need some time out. I don't have the details yet--I am hoping to catch up with one of my spark friends on a day trip later this week, if our schedules can work it out (I need to reread her note to me and see what might work.) Mitchell is going to Chicago to meet up with his girlfriend who will be done with her third tour of working on cruise ships and they are heading to alaska to his best friend's wedding. I think he leaves a week from Tuesday, so I need to fit some things in before he goes. Maybe we play until then and I do the classroom after then. I don't know, but I keep remembering that I need to have fun. Well WE need to have fun, together.
This might be a bit tricky to pull off, but if anyone can do it, it will be me. I am convinced and I believe we need this. Stay tuned in for new developments on this!!
Gentle hugs to all of you--I am blessed to have you and my family.
And these are only the available emoticons to show some of my blessings. Thank you for being part of this special summer group.
Monday, July 12, 2010
I have been having such a good time this past month, but I have known and avoided the fact that unpacking boxes would be coming. I have been teaching young children reading strategies at church and I've been having so much fun with them, but I know this big job is facing me. I have been walking around the heap of boxes on my porch and in both of our vans because I was given a limit on what I could take--then I found out that most of the teachers had well over 100 boxes--more like 180, 160, 140--and I was told that I could only have 50??? However, I have been having a pleasant summer and I have been avoiding these things. I have been having fun at the pool, with my family, at my church, and visiting with all of you.
We have taken a few things from my porch to the school during the summer--but it was only to drop them off and get out of there, because we weren't allowed to unpack yet. Now we can unpack, and I have had almost everyone of my kids in to help with some of this. I have a lot to do, but the unpacking is easier than packing. I labeled and organized things pretty well and that made this part of the job a lot easier. My porch looks ridiculous though and I spent about 6 hours today opening and moving boxes and organizing things so that they could be taken (back) to school where they belong. Marshall helped me and when Floyd got home from work, he helped me too. The guys will have no problem in knowing what they need to load into their trucks and bring to me now, yay. The downside is that my back is hurting like all get out tongiht.
My attitude issue is here and it is with myself. I am frustrated to have this body that won't let me work the way I'd like to. After church today, I played around here for a while and procrastinated, but I finally went out to my porch to organize the things that are piled all over. (It looks purely disgraceful out there, but I didn't have anywhere else to put those things. Our basement gets water and nobody should have to lift these heavy boxes of books and put them in our rafter attic.) Anyway, I have worked at moving, lifting, and unpacking boxes since Tuesday and I have found that it doesn't take much to get my back throbbing again. It is as if I have done nothing to try to become stronger and to manage this pain. I get the same reaction simply by bending over and trying to pick up items off of the floor. It hurts and that hurting is ALWAYS there. It doesn't go away and hangs out just waiting for me to do any little thing to make it scream at me. I don't like it and I don't want it. It interferes with what I need to do. It interferes with what I want to do. It won't let me walk very long (if I'm not in the pool.) It won't let me go to the mall and shop with my girls. It won't let me go to yard sales and thrift shops and look for bargains. It won't let me work in my garden. It won't let me go hiking. It won't let me play frisbee. It won't let me walk Lady. I know that it is wrong to dwell on this type of thing, but sometimes it just makes me darn irritated. As a matter of fact, I am going to write my back a note here:
Hi there. I'd ask "How are you?" but I already know that. I know that when I moved boxes around and climbed on and off of the porch today that it really made you angry. I am a little bit sorry for that, but you need to understand a few things. I have a life and I have important things to do in my life and YOU interfere constantly. This past weekend has been all about you and that isn't right, it is time for you to understand that you aren't in charge of what I need or want. If I could, I would evict you from the premises for all of the disturbances you cause.
I know that a lot of this is my fault. If I hadn't lived most of my life as being very obese and if I hadn't did so many yoyo diets, maybe you wouldn't have gotten into the shape you are in now. Yet other people who are obese do not have a back meddling with their life constantly. You demand far too much attention from me and I cannot give you whatever it is you want or need to behave. If you were a child, you would be in time out constantly. However, whatever I did in the past is over and cannot be changed, so that brings us back to now.
Listen, I have to get my things moved into that beautiful new classroom. I do have a helper thanks to my friend Ken. My kids have been very good about helping as you well know. Yet, I cannot sit there like some kind of queen while everyone else is doing my work. That would be rude on my part--and besides that, they need my help to know what I want to have done. I would like to get this finished soon so that I can enjoy the last few weeks of my summer break with my family. I need that and I want that. I got the porch organized today with the help of my son and my husband and I took several sit down breaks because they made me. It isn't fair that you are making me pay for that with all of this pain--this work is my RESPONSIBILITY.
The reality is that you and I have to get along with each other. Neither of us can live or function without the other one. I want to make a deal with you and try to prevent this from being a constant problem this week. Here is how I am going to help you: I am going to make sure that I use my meds in a timely way and not wait until you are angry to remember them. I will stop and sit down every 5-7 minutes to keep you calm. I won't lift anything that weighs more than ten pounds again. I will ask for help and I will be patient and wait for the help to come, rather than doing things by myself. I will get to the pool everyday when it is open like I have been doing. I will also do a pain patch check each evening to make sure that I haven't lost it, so you get screaming upset. I am still losing weight and I will keep at this until I am at the healthy weight my doctor wants me at. I will eat healthy and take my vitamins as required.
All I ask of you is to be reasonable. I don't deserve it when you scream at me for hours and I don't deserve to be stuck in a chair all of the time. If I treat you with the respect you deserve, you need to let me do things that other people do. It is only fair if I give you everything that I am capable of that you give me a break and stop the spasms and the constant aching and burning pain. I am going to expect it and I will keep my part of the bargain in return.
So cheers to you, my back, as you and I work hard to live together in peace, while I continue living my life within reason. Thanks for hearing me out.
Gentle hugs, Sylvia
OK--it is going to take a lot of effort for me to hold up my end of this bargain, but I need to do exactly what I promised my back. I may need your continued reminders to take care of business. Please feel free, my SparkFriends. We started moving things at school on Tuesday and my back started acting up Tuesday evening. It was as if no time had passed and that pain was simply back. I must have a better quality of life--there will always be something for this mother, teacher, student, wife, Christian to do and I have to stay in the boundaries that my back has given me.
Do you think I'll be able to keep the promises I made to my back? I MUST or it will ruin me and my life. It is that simple to say and understand. However, why I don't make those choices without all of this self-direction is far beyond me. I wish it wasn't like this and I wish my back didn't hurt and act up all of the time. But it is what it is and it does what it does, so compromise is the way I have to function.
As always, I for your support. Have a wonderful new week and together, we will reach for the stars without upsetting our backs. Take care everyone!!
Gentle hugs to you too,
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