Friday, February 27, 2009

Yes!! It's Friday!!

I think I'm finally getting over the respiratory yuck, just a lingering cough now, although it feels as if I will cough up a lung at any moment (a la Ferris Buehler)! Needless to say, I didn't make any progress on my big Spring Cleaning plan but there's always next week, right?

I am working on a new plan with Britni to help her get organized and focused. We chose one area per week to work on every day for that week. This past week it was keeping her school papers in her binder, not wrinkled up and shoved into the bottom of her backpack and randomly left in a textbook. We started by culling her binder of last semester's papers and put those into a folder for use studying for finals at the end of the year. Then we put reinforcements on her divider tabs so they were actually IN the binder and not hanging out all over the place! She has done really well keeping her papers neat and remembering to take - literally - one minute to put her papers in order before moving on to the next class. She was even able to move from a backpack to a shoulder tote for school, and she is really happy about that!

Sami finishes up this block in 2 weeks, then has 2 weeks off. Her mid-term progress report was great and she seems to be in a good, healthy routine now. Today she had a field trip to the Contemporary Art Museum and really enjoyed that, so much so that she wants to go back next weekend and really spend some time enjoying the art. Yay!

I'm going to try to get back into the Spring Fling this weekend. I'll post my progress - I'm *sure* there will be some lol


Monday, February 23, 2009

Ahh Monday Morning

After a challenging weekend, I am enjoying an early Monday morning. I had been moving right along with decluttering, spring cleaning, and generally sprucing up our home when I suddenly and quite unexpectedly experienced pain I can't even describe throughout my entire body and a fatigue so deep I could barely make it to bed. To top it off, I must have caught something one of the girls has had over the past few weeks - horrible sore throat and deep respiratory cough. I guess I should have known taking care of sick kids would eventually catch up with me. I've been down for two days, but today am feeling much better, although I cautiously put myself at about 65% so I will be taking it easy for another day or two. Britni is off school today so we're going to spend some time fun time together - if that doesn't help me feel better, what can?!!

Have a blessed Monday my friends!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Spring Cleaning - Kitchen Part I

I am so happy with my kitchen today! Yesterday I started a Spring Cleaning Challenge with Crystal at Biblical Womanhood. Although she's a few steps ahead of me, I didn't use that as an excuse not to jump in and join the fun! My plan is to work on the current weekly challenge Crystal has posted, and then - time and energy permitting - work backwards to cover the areas I missed. If that doesn't work, I'll just add them on at the end :) I don't have actual "before" pictures of my main kitchen area to post, but I do have some beautiful "after" pictures that I will put up as soon as I locate the USB cord for my camera. I have some pics of the kitchen from late last summer after a particularly difficult period of fatigue and constant bone pain that created a nightmare in my routines. I decided to fight back and not let the random set-backs keep me from having peace in my home. I think it would be unfair to post those horrendous pictures because that's not really where my kitchen started this time LOL I have been steadily working on decluttering and clearing space in the kitchen since November and made considerable progress before taking up this challenge. That said, I *did* take pictures of the inside of the refridgerator and freezer yesterday and have started flinging the nonsense. I hope to finish this project today and have another progress report this evening! I'm off to find my USB cord - will return shortly with shiny pictures!

My Shiny Fridge

Main Kitchen Area

and My Shiny Sink!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Quick Update

Found a beautiful blogsite doing a challenge with Spring Cleaning For Normal People! God is so good! Crystal at Biblical Womanhood is using the book and breaking it down into weekly challenges. This is exactly the help I need to stay on track. Of course, they're a few weeks into it, but I'm not behind! I'm just going to jump in where I am and work toward my goals (sometimes the flywashing sneaks up on you when you least expect it!).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spring Cleaning Starts Now

Seems like I may have to start back on chemotherapy in the near future, the very near future, so I've decided to pull together three awesome resources I have and do my Spring Cleaning now. This will be an adventure to see if I can 1) stick with it as I am a notorious procrastinator and get bored quickly and 2) if I can apply the house-cleaning principles I'm about to use to my finances so everything is in order in case someone else needs to pay a few bills.

I'll give you a quick overview of my plan, then I'm going to update my Control Journal and write out - on paper - this plan!

I've been a fluttering follower of FlyLady since the summer of 2000. I love her principles and no-nonsense approach to keeping the home under control. I recently won a blog contest at Organize With Sandy Reviews for an e-course in home organizing from Take Charge Solutions...guess what? Very similar to FlyLady! The e-course recommends a Control Journal, 15-minute sessions, one area at a time. Woohoo these two things definitely belong together. Finally, today as I was Twitter-clicking I ran across a wonderful blog called SimpleMom and downloaded (for just $7) an e-book called Spring Cleaning For Normal People. Guess what? Very similar to FlyLady again! Each one of these methodologies has a little different perspective and a little different approach, but all three incorporate the same basic premise - declutter, stay on top of the piles, don't bring anything in without already having a place for it, once you decide something has to go - get rid of it immediately.

So even though it's only February, my Spring is shaping up to be a little busy and challenging, so I'm off to find my duster and get started NOW! I'll keep you posted, might even add a few before and after pics for your entertainment :)

Love and Blessings

Friday, February 6, 2009

My Mind Is A Jumble...

I've started this post over 4 times already ugh I just can't get the right words, and don't have a title yet. Maybe something will come to me if I just start rambling off the stuff that's flying around in my head!

Britni: Last year was Britni's first year in public school after being homeschooled for 7 years and she struggled some with the adjustment. As a result, the district qualified her for special accommodations and she participated in a "learning lab" to help her transition. The idea behind the lab was to give her extra time and support in core subject areas, to increase her organizational skills to meet deadlines, and reduce her test anxiety. In reality, it was a study hall and she didn't really get much out of it. This year I decided not to have her participate, but rather allow her to take some elective classes of interest and work with her at home and in conjunction with her teachers. One really nice thing about the middle schools here is that the teachers work as an actual team and meet weekly to review what's going on with the kids at that grade level. Every 7th grader has the same set of teachers so they always know what's going on with the students. After several meetings with Britni's teachers and conversations with her pediatrician, we have come to the conclusion that she is suffering from moderate-bordering-on-severe depression and general anxiety disorder. Back in December when the doctor and I first starting talking about this, I was clear that medication is a very last option and I would explore other remedies first. At our follow up appointment on Wednesday we agreed that Britni's depression and sleep patterns seem a little worse, but the weight gain seems to have leveled off (about 23 pounds gained in 3 months). So here is the strategy doctor and I have agreed to--Sleepytime tea every night with a minimal dose of melatonin for 30 days with the idea that if Britni can adjust her sleeping patterns so she is sleeping all night without waking (currently wakes 3-4 times every night) she can overcome some of the fatigue that is adding to her depression. I am also seeking a counselor specializing in adolescent challenges and the doctor believes therapy will be a positive component, although she does think it will need to be a long-term commitment. I have invested in a Wii and Wii Fit in conjunction with a permanent change in eating habits at our house. Britni set a very healthy and realistic goal for herself to lose 20 pounds in 6 months; my goal is to initiate a lifestyle change for her that will give her healthy habits and skills to carry with her as an adult. Last night was our first night with tea and melatonin--if she doesn't fall asleep in math class today I'll say we have won a small victory!

Sami: Seems like the worst of our behavioral/legal problems are behind us-hooray! Sami is attending an alternative charter school for at-risk youth that was founded by several members of the justice community here in Boulder County. It's a bit of a drive everyday - 16 miles each way, 25 minutes - but so worth it! She's really doing well and enjoying her classes, no attendance or behavior issues. The school is small, about 250 kids are enrolled but only about 75 attend regularly so she is really getting individual attention and support. I've noticed the biggest differences there are that the staff really take the time to get to know the kids and their backgrounds, show them respect, and treat them as adults instead of delinquent throw-aways. She has a new boyfriend, and although he has had his share of dealings with the juvenile court system, they seem to be a good influence on keeping each other out of trouble and doing what they should be doing. Both of them have consistently completed their court sanctions on time and without complaint, they never miss curfew, and both of them have stayed completely away from the crowd they used to hang out with. I have to say I'm a proud mom right now! Oh, don't think I mentioned before, or maybe I did but it's worth mentioning again, Sami's report card from last term was 5 As and 2 Bs **happy dance**

Hmmm I think I'm going to stop here for now. I'll update on me later, this is getting long :) I think I want to put a separate post and talk some about Inflammatory Breast Cancer and my personal story. It's been on my heart for the last week or so, and even more so today because I was blessed to find a blog post via a twitter search that led me to a woman I tweeted with last night - her blog chronicled her sister's diagnosis and treatment for IBC last year. What I find more and more is that no one really knows what this is, how to have it properly diagnosed, and most importantly, securing an oncologist familiar enough with IBC to treat it in the correct sequence. I've been a little more symptomatic this week and I'm pretty sure that, combined with concern over the girls, is the major cause of my jumble-headed-ness. What better way to sort things out than to write it down?!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

I Won!!

I don't often enter contests and I never play the lottery, in fact, the last time I won anything in a contest was October 1985...I won an all-expenses paid trip to France from a radio station in Phoenix, Arizona. I was planning to go the following April 1986 I got rear-ended - HARD - by a UPS truck and sustained compression fractures in my neck and back and severe damage to my knee. Bye-bye Paris. The prize expired one year from the award date, so by the time I recovered enough to get my doctor's okay to travel it was long gone. I entered other contests and sweepstakes, to no avail, and eventually grew bored and stopped altogether.

Fast-forward to the present - I absolutely **love** all the blog give-aways I'm seeing - who knew there was such a thing?! Since joining Twitter and finding such great tweeps to follow, a whole new world has opened up for me! I have hesitated to enter because I wasn't sure exactly how to follow all the rules and I'm new to blogging so I watched and read for a while, then I entered one. I think I messed up a little but that's ok, it was my jump into the pool of giveaways that are actually things you would want to win!

With one entry under my belt, I decided to try again, and boy I gotta tell ya I was HOT to win this one - an e-course on organizing your home from Take Charge Solutions - something I need Desperately right now! I went to Organizing with Sandy Reviews and entered, feeling pretty sure I did everything right this time. And then...BOOYA...I Won I Won I Won!!! I'm *still* doing The Happy Dance! My first lesson just arrived via e-mail ready for download and action, so that's where I'm heading off to now. I'll keep you posted as I progress, but in the meantime, you really should check out Marcia Francois at Take Charge Solutions and Organizing with Sandy (you can click on Sandy's button on the right) for some awesome giveaways!


p.s. When I'm done with my first lesson, I'm going to enter some more giveaways :)