The Drama Continues

The other night we were in the living room when we heard a loud BOOM!  We didn’t know if something blew up or some kind of crash had occurred.  We looked in the basement (thinking about the propane water heater), we looked in the garage, we looked out on the street.  Nothing.  The next morning we found out what it had been.

Apparently, every 8-10 years the spring on the garage door will snap.  This is a new situation to us, but the repair guy said he fixes about 200 of these a month.  We had a rough time getting the door open in the morning when everyone needed to leave for school.  Two of the kids were on time and the third was only five minutes late.  So much more could have gone wrong.

I tried discussing my efforts to prep for the SAT with DD2.  I’ve got practice tests for the PAST which have step by step answers.  We are going through the math problems, looking at them without the answers first.  The object is to become familiar with how the writers of the test think and to learn how to eliminate some answers to make a good guess when you need to, and just to become more comfortable with the whole thing.  DH went on a doom and gloom tirade and said he didn’t know why I was bothering to even encourage her to take the test.  She sealed her fate a long time ago, apparently.  It went on and on and on.

He had a long, frustrating day, and he loves his daughter, but I can’t take these discourses of hopelessness.  I’m the one who manages home school, gets her to and from her vet science class, helped her through driver ed (along with an awesome teacher), and I’m the one who is the first line of defense on pretty much everything thrown at her.

I get tired of being the cheerleader, but I can’t take the speeches of hopelessness from DH either.  I try not to bring things like this up but we talk a lot and they pop out now and then.  Sometimes I need my own cheerleader to point out what I’m doing that isn’t so awful.  Sometimes I need to hear that DH thinks the effort is worth it and that he sees progress too.

Do I think she’s going to do awesome on the SAT?  No.  She does quite well on the practice English sections, but is a slow reader and doesn’t finish.  That will hurt her.  She’ll have to complete the writing portion, which isn’t likely to go well because she has a bias against writing.  Math practice isn’t the best.  The point of taking this test (in her case) is to simply keep the door of options open as much as we can.

It’s possible that her sensory processing disorder will send major anxiety to her and flush the test down the crapper…then again it might not.

I’m tired.  I’m looking forward to DD1 being finished with her IB diploma and all of her complaining that comes with it.  I’m looking forward to not being directly responsible for DD2’s education (one and a half years).  I’m not wishing away my children’s time here at home, I’m just ready to be relieved of a couple of big responsibilities.

 

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What’s Life Without the Drama?

Report cards came out and there was an unsavory exam grade to be found on my senior’s report.  This is the child who has over a 4 point and who has never been in trouble at school.  I think she shed about a gallon of tears as we discussed this grade.  She had expected heavy punishment and no doubt felt the spotlight was far too bright.

I don’t think she expected us to ask what was happening behind the grade.  I don’t think she expected us to agree that physics is hard – especially second year.  I didn’t expect to hear her say that she feels stupid in the class – which is filled with students headed to science careers while she desires to be a high school English teacher.

Both DH and I know that DD has an attitude toward this teacher, and if we believe half of what is told to us, it is somewhat deserved.  However deserved, though, an attitude will not change the situation and most certainly will not help in any way.

I don’t know if she’ll seek help as we advised.  We gave her a few avenues to potentially follow.  She was not receptive to the idea of approaching the teacher for help.  I think it’s hard for the top performing students to admit when they hit an area where they are not excelling.

The SAT is approaching for our junior and she is filled with anxiety.  She doesn’t really want to take it, and yet doesn’t seem to understand that without this test the doors to college are hard to open, although there is one small path.  She doesn’t talk about becoming a vet anymore, but does mention being a vet technician, which is a two year degree – still college.

Sickness runs rampant through our area of the state, and now my son is knocked down by it.  He came down with it this weekend, and thankfully the decision to keep him home from school today was easy as he had a fever of 101.7.  I’m also thankful he’s old enough to be home alone as I still needed to take DD2 to her class a half hour away.

On the positive side of things, I finished the rug crocheted out of old flannel sheets for DD2.  My son is jealous of these rugs, but I don’t have any worn out sheets for him.

I made a pair of mittens for my cousin’s daughter for Christmas, but they look awfully big.  I plan to modify the pattern and try again.  They’re bright blue and I plan to crochet colorful butterflies to attach to the mittens (she’ll be five when she gets these).  I might give her both pairs and let her grow into the second pair.

When the mittens are done, I’m going to sit down and learn how to knit.  I’ve done some, but I want to actually make something.  My kids have been making dishcloths, and I’ve downloaded a bunch of patterns – mostly just stitch patterns – and will make several squares and sew them together into an afghan.  I bought the yarn Saturday and I figure that with practicing all of these stitches and reading these different patterns, I’ll be well prepared to take on socks at the end.

Maybe getting back into the crafting groove will keep me mellowed out to meet the next wave of drama.

 

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I Finished a Project!

Friday night I decided to get with it and pulled out a project I started many months ago: a rug for DD1 to take to college, made from two old sets of flannel sheets.  All of the girls’ sheets gave out at once.  I tried replacing the elastic in the fitted flannel sheets, but it didn’t work well.  It’s so much to just throw away, so I decided to cut the sheets into strips and crochet them into rugs for the girls.  Cutting took a long time and makes my back hurt, but the actual crochet end of the project was pretty quick.  I cut the last sheet and a third on

Friday night, then started the rug.  I finished the rug the next evening.  DD1 has been using it as a blanket.

It feels good to mentally check off one more project.  This past summer I turned a set of cotton sheets into two laundry bags for DD to take to school.  They have drawstrings, but I’d still like to add handles.  I’d also like to turn another set of cotton sheets into shopping bags that roll up.  Plastic grocery bags cut into your hands – I’d like her to be able to shoulder her load.  Ideally, I’ll get two to four bags out of a twin flat sheet so both daughters can benefit.  I have a set of sheets saved to make laundry bags for DD2 and another for our son.

My son grooves on the whole concept of re-purposing items like these sheets.  He’s my lover-of-nature, Mountain Men fan, want-to-be hunter/fisherman, starting to think he might like to be a park ranger, so I’ve told him what I know of the job from the years I worked for a state park in the summers.  When on Spring break, I’ll take him to a local state park so he can speak with one or more of the rangers and get a feel for what types of majors lead to working in the parks.

My stack of projects always threatens to bury me, but I need to make myself work on it, even when I’m tired.  The reality of time is sinking in.  I need to finish DD1’s scrap quilt before she leaves for college, and three squares depend on scraps from a dress which has yet to be cut out.  Twelve squares are made and it will be tied, not quilted.  However, I was supposed to make this dress last spring.

So while finishing this project is a minor victory, the war against the stack has yet to be won.

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Falling Apart

My son came home from school yesterday and paused at the door.  I found him hunched over and examining his shoe.  The sole was half detached, the other shoe was coming apart at the toe, and both were ripped inside.  The boy is hard on shoes.  Asked why he didn’t let me know the shape these shoes were in, he replied, “They weren’t that bad!”  I hope that it’s been firmly established that he needs to let me know when the first hole starts so we can get a pair to slide into place when the old ones fall to pieces.

Sigh.

Fast forward an hour to picking up DD1 after school.  She stayed late to work on a painting and to speak with another teacher about a project.  The painting is being done with oil paints, which apparently take days to dry.  She very carefully put the 2 foot by 4 foot canvas in the back (edges of the canvas are painted as well), then got in front.  That’s when I saw her sleeve.  Her formerly white coat had a large splotch of navy paint on it.  Later inspection showed small streaks on the back of her hood.  She is certainly my daughter.

Double sigh.

After dinner these two loaded into the car and we went shopping.  Fortunately there are still winter coats to be found, although the inventory is dwindling.  I had forgotten that I had an electronic coupon which pulled $15 off of my son’s shoes, and we got out of the store paying $50 for both the coat and the shoes.  DD1 is under orders not to wear the new coat until next season (except for a scholarship competition coming up).  She’s not finished with the painting, so I want to protect the new coat.  It’s been a while since there was paint on the majority of her clothing.

The worst of the paint-on-clothing period was junior high, which made DD2 incredibly happy.  It was the time period when she got the most new clothing vs. hand-me-downs.

It’s hard to be frugal when you live with an artist.

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Snow Days

This is our third snow day since last Tuesday.  Add to that the fact that my two public school kids had yesterday off.  DD2 didn’t mind going to her vet class, and it was probably good for her to be separate from her brother for the morning.  They tend to get along great for hours, then all of a sudden get annoyed with each other and it blows up.

I’ve taken each snow day as a day to watch tv before kids are up to ask a million questions and make two million comments.  I also don’t have a schedule to worry about in terms of getting ready, so I enjoy not watching the clock.  No reminding children that the bathroom is empty and waiting for them to brush their teeth or that we’ll be walking out the door in ten minutes.  No school lunches to pack.  Ah, bliss!

Waffles actually got made and put in the freezer this morning.  The kids have had to eat more store bought waffles this year, and I can tell that they’re sometimes frustrated by that, but the current situation is only for this school year.  It’s much like having a part time job without the pay.  Fortunately, DD2’s class is only three hours and I have been able to do things such as get gas, groceries, get the oil changed, and home school prep/correcting/etc.

The girls didn’t want a snow day.  DD1 is feeling the crunch of the approaching end of the semester and also of big projects due for IB.  DD2 likes days off, but gets tired of them and wants her routine back, especially as she loves the vet class.  DS gets bored but doesn’t always want to recognize that he’s bored.  It results in pestering his sisters.

I ought to bake some pumpkin bread for the kiddos, but a nap sounds awfully good right now.

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Planning

This is something I do a lot.  It can drive DH nuts how much I plan, and the kiddos have teased me about it here and there.  Planning ahead is something I enjoy, and it often ends up saving us a few dollars.

Right now I’m looking ahead to DD1’s graduation open house.  Our family isn’t likely to have too many representatives at the open house, so they aren’t my big consideration in making plans.  Our church family, however, makes graduation open houses quite a round of social events.  Thus, mainly for parking purposes, we’ve reserved the Fellowship Hall at our church.

An advantage other than parking, is that our church owns chaffing pan set ups, punch bowls, etc, which keeps our costs down.  Buying a few sterno burners is no big deal.  DD1 was instructed to keep her eyes open last year and decided she’d like a pasta bar.  I was so relieved!  It’s low cost, filling, and versatile.  We’ll offer tomato sauce, alfredo sauce, and meatballs.  This way each person can customize.  Our local grocery chain had pasta sauce on sale this week for the lowest price I’ve seen in a long time so I picked up several jars.

You have to be willing to gather and store items to get the best overall deals on events like this.

Pasta will be purchased when it goes on sale for $1 per one pound box. (Roughly once a month)  Parmesan prices will be watched for that purchase.

She wants s’mores dip with graham crackers.  Fortunately I found a huge amount of Christmas Hershey Kisses marked down to $1.19 per bag.  My son asked why I couldn’t just use the candy bars.  Ah, youth!  They have no clue what things cost and how savings can add up.

My daughter also requested a snack mix of Goldfish, Cheeze-It, and Whales.  One large box of Goldfish went into the cart.  I want two, but only got a sale price today, and would like to get the next box with both a sale and a coupon.

We’re also going to stack Oreo’s to look like a tiered cake, so I’m keeping my eye on their price.  I told DD that we’d use the cardboard from frozen pizzas for the base of each layer and she shot me quite a look of revulsion until I assured her that the cardboard would be cleared of food, then covered in foil.  I could purchase cardboard bases in the cake decorating supplies, but we’re trying to be frugal here.

I will probably make rolls ahead and freeze them, but haven’t decided if I have the time to spare.  Other foods have yet to be determined.

DD agreed to offering punch and water to drink.  That will keep it simple.  She knows she’ll be helping to get things prepared.

Basically, I will be watching for good sales on any of the ingredients which can be purchased ahead of time between now and June.  I want DD’s open house to be enjoyable firstly for her, and secondly for our guests.  I don’t, however, wish to end up broke.  College starts next fall, and another open house awaits us in June 2018.  We really didn’t think about the spacing between our kids carefully enough.

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Savoring the Moment

DD2, my sensory challenged child, who (this past October) had to leave the PSAT before it began due to anxiety, has placed high enough in a regional competition to go on to the state-wide competition.

This is a BIG DEAL!

This was a competition which she attended through her veterinary science class, and she went with her class and school mates.  I arrived at the competition site after her test started to avoid unintentionally ramping up her nerves.  I arrived after she was finished with her test and lunching with a classmate.  I let her know I was there and left her with her friend.  While waiting for the awards ceremony, I ran into a counselor and her two teachers, who all had glowing things to say about her and her journey since the beginning of the school year.

DD2 has matured this year.  She’s not finished with the journey to conquer Sensory Processing Disorder, that’s a life long journey.  My sensory issues – never diagnosed as no one thought about such things back then –  have gotten worse as I’ve gotten older, and I’m hopeful that DD2’s OT, counseling, and knowledge of SPD will work in her favor on that score.

I asked her how she feels in regards to taking the SAT (coming up in March), now that she’s successfully taken this high pressure test.  She’s feeling good about it.  The fact that she could even answer the question without a whiney “I don’t know” with a scrunched up face and a shrug of the shoulders was a victory in itself.

If your children are all “normal”, this may sound over-blown, but when sensory issues are a daily challenge for your child, just walking through a noisy building without problems can be cause for celebration.  Thank your lucky stars that you don’t hold your breath after sending your teen off to a stress-laden school activity/function/test, braced for the phone call that requests you to pick your child up early because they were too overwhelmed to complete whatever it was.

We are basking in this win.  My hotel reservations are already made.  The hotel where the competition will be is booked with the students, but I’ll only be about ten minutes away.  I won’t get to see DD2 very much, but my presence is important in case of meltdown, and in the very hopeful event of an even bigger win.

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