Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Letter to My Chiropractor

Dear Dr. Quack,

I have to be honest. The reason I put off coming to your office for so long after the pain in my neck began is because I know all of your tactics. As soon as a patient walks through your door, you chiropractors guilt her into coming in for treatment multiple times per week. And if the patient does not come in, you call to express your concern and ask her if you can schedule an appointment. If that does not get her back in, you send her a letter explaining how a lack of chiropractic care will make her health slowly deteriorate until, potentially, she could become debilitated permanently.

When I finally did come in to see you about the pain in my neck, I gave in and scheduled the daily adjustments and treatments. I was desperate, plus I knew I had a long drive in the car coming up. However, I'm not sure your treatment did anything that time would not have done without your aid. The pain is still there, though it is not as severe. Might I not be in this same condition if I had simply saved the couple hundred I spent in your office as well as the countless hours and stayed at home with my ice pack?

Of course, you also found an additional long-term problem unrelated to the pain in my neck. You told me my neck is losing its curve. Too much time on the computer, I'd wager. And I suspect everyone in my generation and those following will lose that natural curve as well.

Not that I don't care about the curvature of my neck, but my chiropractic health simply does not hold a place at the top of my priority list. My kids, their orthodontic bills, homeschool materials, vacations, car maintenance, food, shelter, this new puppy, Starbucks. Those are things that crowd my chiropractic health off the top.

So when you told me this afternoon that you needed to see me twice a week, and I told you that I might come in week after next, the fact that you said, "You're going to wait that long?" did not change my priorities. My kids, their orthodontic bills, homeschool materials, vacations, car maintenance, food, shelter, this new puppy, and Starbucks still come before visits to your office. Your rhetorical question only made me confirm in my head, I wish I had listened to my instincts and not started this nonsense in the first place.

I will continue to come see you but only because you have a massage therapist, and my insurance covers it. There's nothing like a $100 massage I only have to pay $20 for. The fact that my neck is straightening out? Well, I'll just add that to my list of Annoying Things That are Happening to Me as I Age. And, hey, maybe if my neck gets straighter, I'll get taller instead of shrinking.

Not giving in to the guilt,

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Letter Never Sent

Dear Jacob,

My sweet, precious, no-longer-so-little boy! I certainly did not forget your birthday. I was so happy we could be at Disney for the days right before your birthday! What better way to celebrate than under the magical Disney sky? We sure had a lot of fun on that trip!

Of course, your actual birthday was a very busy day with Bright Futures graduation and school. for your siblings anyway; you of course were excused from all academics! And it started out in a celebratory way with the traditional birthday banner strung across your doorway.

We were able to extend your birthday by saving your party for a couple of weeks. But we enjoyed it regardless of its tardiness. It was lots of fun having so many friends join us at Lazer City, wasn't it? Of course, my neck was hurting so badly at that point I wasn't able to put as much time and effort into your cake as I would have liked, but it was still a cute Club Penguin cake.

I loved watching you interact with your friends at your party. I loved seeing your enthusiasm for the laser tag games and your excitement over the gifts. You are quiet around your friends, but I can see your eyes sparkle, and I love that! You are such a sweet boy and so much fun. You don't always say a lot, but when you do, you are funny and witty. You choose your words carefully, and that is a wonderful trait to have!

You are a competitive little man. I've enjoyed seeing you participate in sports over the last year, and you're getting good at volleyball too! I look forward to seeing you get involved in basketball and soccer this year. You are so much confident now in hanging out with others, and sports are a great opportunity for you to meet lots of other kids your age.

I'm excited to see what this year holds for you in school, in life.

Happy belated birthday!

I love you,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summertime Rambling

It's that time of year again. Summer. Although we extended our school year into later days of June than ever before, it is now over, and this long month of July stretches before me. I'm sure the kids love it, but I hate it. Days with no plans. Some would find that relaxing, but I find it...boring and a little lonely.

I guess what it comes down to is the fact that there are, at times, days in a row during the summer where I go without any adult interaction. Sometimes I look at the "olden days" with a little envy. True, today I can turn on the TV and bring whomever happens to be on the screen into my home; I can turn on the computer and there are the faces of my 500+ Facebook friends; I can flip open my phone, punch in a few words, and almost instantly I'll receive a response.

But it's not the same as the days of yore when life was slower and less hectic. These were days when neighbors knew each other and could be counted on to help each other out. These were days when children could play outside all day wherever they wanted with less fear of becoming a headline. These were days when people sat on their porches talking and watching the world go by. These were days where your husband worked down at the general store on the corner and came home at lunch for a meal and a nap.

At least that's how I imagine those days were. And don't get me wrong: I have friends--real friends, not just virtual ones--and even a couple who live within spitting distance and would come running if I needed them. It's just a different world today where Things to Do usually cost a fortune. And it's not always that easy to find where your schedule intersects friends' schedules.

So I'm tackling it a week at a time. Trying to find fun, inexpensive things to do that aren't too far from home. I've got next week filled with visits to a state park the kids have never been to as well as a nature center none of us has visited. We'll also brave the free mall movie again just because it's a different setting than home. Maybe we'll do some late night swimming too; even the pool gets boring after awhile, but night swimming? Totally awesome according to the kids.

As for me, what I'd like to be doing is planning the next school year, but my neck still hurts like crazy and hunching over a textbook or the computer does not help. At all.

Friday, June 18, 2010


We went to meet the puppies today
expecting to fall in love with one of the little chocolate girls,
but who should be the first to come up to us wagging her little tail?

Our little Daisy.

She immediately began tasting Michael's knee.

And stealing our hearts.

We hated to leave her.

But at least she's enjoying a few more weeks with her mommy and siblings.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Looking for a Dood

Recently we had a conversation with Michael, reminding him that we are always here to listen if he is upset about anything. "Well, there is one thing," he said. He paused for a minute.

"What is it, Michael?" we implored.

"It's Max," he said sadly.

I wasn't surprised. He talks about Max quite often even though Max went to live with another family over a year ago. And I've known that the absence of his puppy has bothered him enough to affect how he interacts with the cat. I reprimanded him once for mistreating the cat because such behavior towards animals seems so uncharacteristic of him. I asked, "Are you mean to Cara because you're sad about Max?" He nodded. Clearly, all this time he has resented the fact that Cara seemed to replace his dog.

I regret not sticking it out with Max. He was certainly Chaos on four legs, but maybe if I had just been patient and persistent, we could have trained him to mellow a little. The fact is that it was terrible of me to take a puppy away from a boy.

With all of these conversations in mind, we told Michael that once we finished all of our traveling this summer, we would look at getting another dog. And, since we have no more trips planned for the foreseeable future, I guess we have finished all of our traveling this summer. So I decided to approach the Dog Hunt by looking for a dog who possessed two criteria: cheap (translation: free) and older so that I do not have to contend with all of the puppy stuff (translation: housetraining).

Turns out sometimes I don't always know what I'm doing. I thought I had found our dog: a 15-month-old bulldog/labrador (bullador? labdog?). Free? Check. Older? Check. The owner warned me about the strength of the pup, but I figured how strong can a dog be? Well, very strong. I could tell this pooch was a sweetie, but she was just a BIG puppy. And STRONG. And a little crazy in a sweet, puppy way. Audrey was terrified of her. So we left her there. I felt terrible because I had basically told the family we would take her sight unseen. I had basically told the kids we were going to bring our new dog home.

I learned a couple of things from that: First, of course, we really should meet the pooch before we commit. Second, a puppy actually might not be that bad because then the pup becomes more a part of our family. And third, we noticed this dog we went to pick up was shedding. A lot. Mark really cannot stand the shedding.

So naturally I began researching doods: Goldendoodles and Labradoodles. My research shows they are awesome dogs for families. And they don't shed. BUT they cost a lot more than free. After some discussion, we came to the conclusion that we aren't going to find the perfect dog for our family from Craigslist anyway, so we may as well invest a little in a new member of the family.

So I started the Puppy FUNd. And the kids stepped right up. Alex searched the house for all the loose change she could scrounge up. Yes, she even checked under all of the couch cushions. We had a great time feeding all of the change into the Coinstar machine at the grocery store this morning. I canceled the maid service that was supposed to come on Friday after a promise from the kids that they would help do the work the maid was going to do. They vacuumed and dusted well enough to make me add the maid's money to the jar.

We still hadn't found a potential pup when I started the fund, but now I think I have. We have an appointment on Friday to check out the litter of 3-week-old pups from which I hope we will select our new little girl. Since they are only 3 weeks old, we will not be able to bring her home yet, but we will get to choose her. I have a feeling she will be one of the two little chocolate babies on the left on top of the little black one.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Curriculum Stuff for Sale

Sometimes Most of the time I take the lazy way out. Like right now. I could list all of the homeschool curriculum I wish to sell on ebay, but that would take a lot of time as I would have to list each item individually and take pictures, etc., etc.

So...although I don't usually use my blog to sell my wares, I'm just going to throw out a list here. If you see something you want, let me know. I'm so lazy, I'm not going to even go through and put all of the titles in italics. I know. It bothers me too. Oh well.

Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock
$25.00 (ret. $41.20)

A to Z Early Childhood Curriculum by Sherrill B. Flora
for preK-K
$10.00 (ret. $17.24)
Note: a few light pencil marks here and there

The Giant Encyclopedia of Theme Activities for Children 2 to 5
Gryphon House, Inc. publishers
$12.00 (ret. $23.07)

Shurley English Level 4 Teacher’s Manual, CD included
by Brenda Shurley
$30.00 (ret. $43.50)

Lifepac Math, Grade 3
Includes: teacher’s manual and all workbooks EXCEPT #4 and 5
In original box
$30.00 (ret. $49.24 for complete set)
Note: two missing workbooks may be purchased for about $4.00 from publisher.

Math K, Book 2
Mile-Hi Publishers
$5.00 (ret. $13.50)

Alphabet Wheels
from Scholastic
$2.00 (ret. $9.95)
Note: a couple of pages were torn out for easy copying.

Writing Strands Level 2
by National Writing Institute
$10.00 (ret. $19.99)

Writing Strands Level 3
by National Writing Institute
$10.00 (ret. $19.99)

Making Math Meaningful Level 3 Teacher’s Manual
by David Quine
$15.00 (ret. $25.00)

The Prairie Primer
by Margie Gray
$30.00 (ret. $50.00)
Before Five in a Row
by Jane Claire Lambert
$20.00 (ret. $35.00)

Great Science Adventures – SIX titles
The World of Insects & Arachnids
Discovering Earth’s Landforms & Surface Features
The World of Space
Discovering the Human Body & Senses
The World of Light & Sound
The World of Tools & Technology

by Dinah Zike & Susan Simpson

$60.00 for entire set
$12.00 for individual titles (ret. $24.00)

Note: The World of Space has 3 pages torn out for easier copying. In addition, there is a small crease in the book’s cover.

A World of Adventure
Book 1 of Learning Adventure series already in binder
by Dorian Holt
$50.00 (ret. $90.00)

A World of Adventure Game
New in cellophane and original box
$30.00 (ret. $39.00)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

This Week in Numbers

1148: Miles from our doorstep to Columbus, Ohio (round-trip).

10: Hours spent in the car. Fun hours, of course. Hours filled with arguments over which movie to watch. Hours interrupted by potty stops. Traffic jams. Whining because we aren't there yet. Actually, I have to give the kids credit. They're really good travelers. I'm probably the worst whiner.

6: Miserable nights spent in a hotel bed with my aching neck and back.

2: School days I marked on the calendar for the week. We spent one day at the Columbus Zoo and one at the science museum.

0: Number of giraffes and zebras at the zoo. The Columbus Zoo is supposed to be the best in the world, but no giraffes and zebras? Perhaps they are as tolerant of cold weather as I am.

1: Celebrities I met. Although I wasn't expecting it because I know he's busy, I was pleasantly surprised to find Jack Hanna at the zoo.

He wasn't the friendliest man I've ever met, but like I said, I know he's busy. Plus it must get tiring having people practically stalk you. PLUS, as I pulled up to him with the children, he was turning away to go back to his work. "Mr. Hanna," I yelled, "would you mind taking a picture with my children?" I know he rolled his eyes in his mind.

"Make it quick," he said a little too gruffly.

I made it quick.

Which is why the picture looks like this.

I'm still a fan.

1: Grand-nephew I got to meet for the first time. He's the first great-grandchild.

5: Nieces and nephews I reconnected with, plus 2 of their spouses.

3: Wonderful sisters-in-law I got to see and hang out with.

1: New sister-in-law I gained at my brother-in-law's wedding.

1: Cute little flower girl.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Pain in the Neck

Yeah, I know. It's been awhile. I have a valid excuse. A week and a half ago, I woke up with a crick in my neck. It got progressively worse and as is my usual fashion, I procrastinated on calling Dr. Quack. I finally called and have been receiving daily [expensive] treatment since.

One thing I know for certain: my pain in the neck is at least partially punishment for all of the precious hours I waste on the likes of Facebook and Blogger. There is, at this point, no comfortable way for me to access this evil machine. As I write, I am sitting on my favorite recliner, ice pack on my shoulder, rolled up blanket behind my neck, and my computer on top of my lap desk which is balanced on a pillow on my lap. And did I mention that after I finally got sort of comfortable in this position, the phone rang? Yeah, forgot the phone. I yelled to the kids to answer it, but they got to it too late. Not a big deal. Just annoying.

This morning I actually woke up feeling not quite so bad. At least the pain of having been frozen in the same position all night did not cause me excruciating pain when I tried to delicately roll out of bed. And when I say roll, I mean that literally. However, as is my usual fashion, I took my feeling better to mean that I should DO Things. Like vacuum. Oh, and move a desk.

You see, I really want a desk in the family room. I realize a desk will not look that great in our already crowded family rom, but it is for Functionality's Sake. Unfortunately, my dear husband has not seen my vision and thus has not moved my desk into the family room. In cases such as these, I take it upon myself to move the furniture where I want it in order to surprise him when he gets home: "Surprise! The table you didn't want in the middle of the living room is now there. But doesn't it look much more lovely than you ever imagined?"

I had the boys, for the most part, move the desk according to my direction. But then of course there are other things that need to be moved. The desk was the Princess's art table in her room, so I had to move a table from upstairs into its space. But there was the crabs' terrarium on top of the table, so that had to be moved as well. I suppose in retropect, this was not as urgent of a project as I deemed, and it could well have waited until a later date when my neck is healed.

Waiting would go against my usual fashion, though.