Thursday, September 9, 2010

sticking to things

I'm either nine months late or four months early for New Year's resolutions, but now is as good a day as any and there's no time like the present and yadda yadda. I have a lot of things that I need/want to stick to, that I'm having trouble with. So here they are, in no particular order.

1. Reading my Bible. There is always room for improvement here, but right now, there is a LOT of room for improvement for me. I don't know how I slipped out of the habit. I used to read some every day, before breakfast even. I need to get back into it. I am full of turmoil about certain things and need His peace and instruction and wisdom to fill me up to overflowing.

2. Transcribing. Hubby and I talked to a realtor briefly a few days ago, and found out that the "good" news is that it is possible to buy a house with only 3.5% down (plus closing costs). That amount is a doable goal to save between now and next spring/summer. The bad news is that it will take diligence on my part, since most of that savings will be coming from my transcription while we live on just hubby's income. The problem is that I will sit down to do a 10-minute file (which should only take me 30-40 minutes) and I'll do two minutes then check my email. Then I'll do another two minutes and pop on Facebook. Then I'll do another 90 seconds and go grab a snack. And the work easily turns into an hour or more, but if I just sat and did it start to finish, it would take no time at all and I'd be done and could move on to another file or to housework or whatever.

3. Housework. I need to continue getting organized. I have spaces and stuff and stuff that needs to go and stuff that needs a space. I can sometimes think in my head what needs to be done, but then it can't be done when I think about it because it's too big a task or the kids are in bed and it involves leaving the house or this or that or the other. What I really need to do is just take 20 minutes and walk through the house, looking in all the cabinets and closets, and make a list of everything that needs to be done and set up a timeframe in which to do it. Because really, the things need to be done in a certain order, so I need to get to it and figure out in what order the things need to be done, then I can actually DO them.

4. Teaching the children. This is both for their Bible work and the secular work. Lydia has a daily Bible reading for her class, and a memory verse. I usually remember to do her items about an hour after she's in bed for the night. I need to do it earlier, maybe after I do her reading lesson. I am still going through the 100 Easy Lessons book, but only doing a lesson for 15 minutes at a time, then starting the same lesson the next day. She was starting to take up to 45 minutes just to do part of one lesson (leaving off the second story reading, and the writing) and it was stressing me out. So now I just do 15 minutes. And I am teaching Benjamin, too. I'm trying to be observant of him and what he's looking at and thinking, and help expand on his thoughts. I also finally put into use the Your Baby Can Read set that hubby's mom got us shortly after Benjamin was born.

I had tried using that with Lydia when she was about six months old, but it didn't "work" for her. I was excited about it at the time and it might have had results if I had continued the program, but we ended up moving about a month later and then had the start of our long spell of spotty employment four months after that, and doing a baby-reading program just wasn't very high of a priority.

But anyway, earlier this week, I finally took the items out of the package that hubby's mom had got for us. It ended up being the "Deluxe" kit. So not only did we have the five DVDs, but we also had a book for each DVD, a set of sliding cards for each DVD, a big set of flash cards, and a few other things. This kit also included an extensive "Parent's Guide" booklet and DVD. I read the booklet and watched the DVD. There are a LOT of less-than-stellar reviews of this product and a lot of naysayers ("Why would you want your baby to read early?" etc.), but the booklet and the DVD addressed so many of those common concerns.

I don't force Benjamin to sit and watch the DVD. Sometimes he wants to stand, instead. Ha, ha. That was my lame attempt at a joke, there. But seriously, he seems to like it. I sit and watch it with him and do the actions (lift arms, touch nose, things like that). And he loves the extras in the kit, too. This evening when I was showing him the sliding cards (these cards have a word on them, then they "slide open" to reveal a picture illustrating the word), he would start to squeal in anticipation of the picture being revealed.

The recommended schedule would take seven months from start to finish, but the booklet said that an older baby may be able to start recognizing the words before the "scheduled end" of the DVD viewing time. It told me of things to watch for to see if that is happening, and if it does, then I can move on to the next DVD early. I don't anticipate being able to do this with Benjamin, but I can see how it could happen with an older toddler. Lydia can already read most of the words on the first DVD. I'm sure that the 100 Easy Lessons that we've completed have helped her with that, but we haven't even been watching the DVDs for a full week yet, and she can already read the words on there. I can't advance to the next DVD for her, though, until Benjamin is ready, so I think that these DVDs and the 100 Easy Lessons will be a good complement to each other.

The program creator's own daughter was on the parent's DVD for part of a Q&A session with some people who were using the program. And I think it's sort of like a weight-loss ad, where such and such a person lost 50 pounds in two weeks and then the fine print says "Results not typical." I don't think that Aleka's results are typical, but if my kids can read a portion of how well she could, then I will be happy. And she didn't just read well over her grade level. She read FAST. It came out in the DVD that she read the entire Harry Potter series -- the whole SERIES -- in ONE day. I consider myself a pretty fast reader, but there's no way I could do THAT. And because she read so fast, she had a ton of time to do other things besides read and study.

5. Exercise. For a few months, I have been meeting up with another babywearing mama three times a week to go walking with her. I need to keep it up. I feel a little better on the days that I do it (but tired, since I get up earlier than normal so I can walk and be home by the time hubby goes to work). But if one or both of us need to cancel for whatever reason, I need to make sure to still get some activity in on my own. We have a set of Walk Away The Pounds DVDs that hubby likes to do sometimes, so I may do that on my "off" days.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

august is gone

I'm not sure what happened to August, but I managed to let it slip by without any blog post at all. I blame Facebook. It's hard to sit down and write a big ol' blog entry, but so easy to do a quick status update.

Anyway. Benjamin's eczema is doing MUCH better. I picked up his fourth homeopathic remedy to try on 7/28, and by 8/11, he was better. It was only a slight improvement, but it was noticeable. He continued to improve over the next several days.


After (and this is his "bad" side):

His skin didn't clear up totally, though, and started getting worse again, so I gave him a second dose this past Sunday. The remedy he's on is a slow-acting one, so I'm watching it for improvement. I also had been off dairy, but went back on it about 8/1 because of being out of town. I had my doubts that it was dairy causing his eczema anyway, and I'm even more sure that dairy's not a culprit because while on this remedy, his eczema improved, despite me being back ON dairy (after being off for nearly six weeks).

I am still practicing part-time elimination communication with him. He is doing really well with it and on days where I offer the potty enough, he will hold it and wait for me to offer again. I don't expect him to be potty trained early or anything (far from it, given my struggles with Lydia, lol), but I just want to let him keep the idea in his head that a potty is an option. And this one day, I was letting him go potty, and Lydia came in and watched him and then tried to make the sign for "toilet" at him. She stuck her thumb between her fingers, made a fist, then shook it at Benjamin and said, "Potty! Potty! Potty!" It was so cute.

Lydia, on the other hand, had a ton of accidents around the trip, which is understandable. It was kind of ironic, though. I hadn't packed any Pull-ups for her, on purpose, b/c she did so well on the trip to Oklahoma. Well, the first two nights were disasters. So on the third night (and for the rest of her trip) I put her in Pull-ups. And of course, those were dry in the morning, lol. Then when we got back home, I put her back in undies, and was rewarded by a wet bed again for two nights. But now she is back to normal and is doing great.

Speaking of our trip, I do have several pictures from it, but first I'd like to talk about Lydia's reading again. I had dropped off the 100 Easy Lessons because of scheduling conflicts and the trip and everything, and tried to pick it back up again on Saturday. The "easy" lessons (we're in the 60s somewhere) are turning into long and hard ones. So what I'm doing now is setting the timer for 15 minutes and then if she's not done with the lesson, I put the lesson away and we'll do more of it the next day. Then I pick out a book and read her a story. I am a bad mom b/c I haven't been reading to her like I should. She needs that from me.

Anyway, on to the trip pictures. Here's Lydia with my Granny and Grandpa.

Lydia with her new outfit from Rae Rae (my mom) (and the funny thing about this outfit is that the hat and jumper came from two different places... but doesn't it match perfectly?):

Lydia in an Oklahoma wheat field sunset:

Water babies:

I'm still slowly working on getting organized. I moved some small furniture around and threw out some large boxes so far, and can now move on to some small things. A few immediate items are to clean out the bins in the "window" between the kitchen and dining room, organize the pantry, and go through the paperwork box. I hope to get those accomplished this week, amid transcription and a play food order.

Benjamin is crawling. He is now doing a proper hands-and-knees alternating crawl, but this video shows his early attempts. He seemed to just move whatever limb he was thinking about, lol. And even now, when he gets excited, he will forget about his legs and try to crawl just with his arms, which just gets him to a belly flop. :p He is also learning what "don't touch" and "come to mama" mean. I especially figure that the latter is easier to teach him now, when he actually WANTS to be with me. And "don't touch" is taught by a lot of repetition. He gets mad at me, but after about 10-15 tries and being told "no" and being removed from the item, he gives up and finds something else to do. Then 10-20 minutes later, he tries again. haha. But I will persevere and prevail. On the teeth front, he still just has those 6 teeth that he got months ago, with no more looming on the horizon yet. He is finally mostly sleeping through the night again, only waking up once most times (which is MUCH better than the 5-6 times per night he was doing in late July). He can "talk" a little bit. I think he's said "all done" before, when he was on the potty, and after he was, you know, all done. lol. He only did it a couple of times, though, and hasn't really said anything else (not even "mama" or anything). Anyway here is his video. :)

And here is Lydia, enjoying a... "drum" lol: