First Day of Virtual School

As I write this I can confirm that we have officially survived the first day of virtual school. I am happy to report that things went smoothly and even our sometimes temperamental internet behaved. All in all, I would say it was better than we feared.

Of course before the day started, we had to take the traditional first day of school photos even if it wasn’t a traditional school day. While other mothers manage to post smiling faces with cute signs delineating grade on their children’s first day, I feel that our girls’ pictures often tell a broader story. Here is my interpretation of this morning’s quick photo shoot…

Clara: School at home means I don’t really have to pay attention- or wear pants!

Jane: New things are terrible, also I can’t find my pants.

Ivy: Seriously? Just pull up your pants like this, it’s almost time for me to log on.

Clara: I don’t want to do this so I’m not wearing pants, also I’m still in my pjs under this sweatshirt so pppbbbbttt.

Jane: I can’t do new terrible things without my pants.

Ivy: If I smile like this can I go log on now?

Clara: Fooled you I have shorts on!

Jane: I can’t smile because new things are terrible, also I still don’t have my favorite pants.

Ivy: *through gritted teeth * I’ve been smiling forever can I go now?

Clara: Just kidding. I don’t have pants!

Jane: I can’t believe this is really happening without my pants.

Ivy: I’m done.

I may never have a picture of them all smiling at the same time but I’ll not be short of memories looking back at photos like these!

The Little Red Hen and the Swimming Pool

A Mostly True Story

One day the Little Red Hen set out to set up a swimming pool for her family.

Who will help me level the ground so the pool does not tilt to the side and collapse said the Little Red Hen.

“NOT I!” chorused her family.

So the Little Red Hen set to work with her little red tractor.

The next day her children said, “Momma Hen, Momma Hen! When can we go swimming?” And the Little Red Hen said, “After we set up the pool. I’m not done leveling the ground who would like to help me?”

“NOT I!” chorused her family.

So the Little Red Hen set to work with her little red tractor and her big brown shovel.

The next day her children said “Momma Hen, Momma Hen! When can we go swimming?” And the Little Red Hen said, “After we set up the pool. I’m still not done leveling the ground, who would like to help me?”

“NOT I!” chorused her family.

So the Little Red Hen set to work with her little red tractor, her big brown shovel and her shiny silver level.

That day was very hot. The Little Red Hen sweated as she drove her little red tractor, she she started saying very bad words as she used her big brown shovel and the light from the bright sun hurt her eyes as it bounced off her big silver level.

Suddenly The Little Red hen stomped away from her almost level circle of ground and found her family in the shade.

“All right guys. You remember what happened with the bread right?” squawked the Little Red Hen.

“Yes.” said her family warily.

“Well I’m just letting you know that I am going to enjoy my pool ALL BY MYSELF” said the Little Red Hen and she went to get a cool drink of water before returning to work.

When she came back to pick up her big brown shovel she found her chicks waiting to help. Some of her chicks moved rocks, some brought cool drinks some shoveled and raked and soon the ground was level.

Then the chicks and her rooster helped pull all the pieces of the pool out of the deep dark basement and soon with all the help the pool was filling with water.

When it was finally time to get into the pool all the chicks yelled “Hooray” and splashed and laughed and splashed and chased each other in circles and splashed some more.

And the Little Red Hen, trying to enjoy the cool of the pool closed her eyes against the splashing water and thought, “maybe I shouldn’t have reminded them about the bread.”

Moral of the Story: Be careful what you wish for. Or. Family time is great, until it isn’t.

Pushing Boundaries

It’s not that John dislikes the poultry so much as that he doesn’t love the poultry like I do.

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Being a wonderful tolerant and handsome husband, as well as my number one blog post editor, he doesn’t do more than put up a manly bit of bluster when bird numbers expand and varieties increase.

Mostly he sits back and watches the madness and kindly takes care of them when I am unable. There are a few hard lines I won’t cross when it comes to adding birds (I didn’t even really consider bringing home a peacock and I’d never bring home a four legged creatures without a serious consult). He has alluded to other lines I’m confident are just… guidelines… wishes… attempts to not let the females in his life run rampant with animal husbandry.

And the females in his life know that boundaries are made to be pushed.

Which is how we ended up with three silkie chickens.

Because John is a fantastically tolerant man he rolled his eyes when he saw that they brought us joy and when the rooster grew a crazy comb he announced that his name should be changed from “Fluffy” as Jane called him or “Spike” as I called him to “Magma”.

And because we know you can only push boundaries so far…

Meet our Silkie rooster, Magma.

Top o’ the Morning to Ya!

It’s Sunday morning, we have, of course, no where to go. I’m pretending to sleep in when Jane shows up to “snuggle” (i.e. asks three thousand questions and demands one million items). After a long three minutes of such talk I caved and threw my phone at her in self defense so that she could check out every filter on all the platforms my phone can offer.

The end result was this picture.

I quite like it and I’m saving it because I think it will come in handy for handling the current most common questions I get.

“How’re things going?” – see above picture.

“How’s that homeschooling thing?” – note how I can no longer smile a real smile.

“How are the kids handling it?” – check out that kids face and then you tell me.

“What’s it like with the kids home all the time?” – please note how I no longer even have enough personal space for my entire face.

Top o’ the morning to ya! I hope you and yours are safe and healthy and that in the process of staying that way you still have enough elbow room of your own to see out of both eyes!

I’m participating in the April Squares challenge over at The Life of B come check it out!

Officially Done

Many notable things happened today ranging from new poultry arrivals to capoeira demos but they all pale in comparison to this little piece of floor.

If I may direct your attention back in time approximately six years and six months ago you will find a blog post titled Please Hold. In that post you will read amongst other things that we were living in “cardboard box hell” after moving to our new house.

A number of those boxes landed in the corner by the bookshelf and spent the last 6 years alternating between functioning as a perch for cats and the most inconvenient end table ever to throw a book/hat/flashlight/blanket on as you went by. The problem being that not only did this always annoy the cats but it ensured that it would take twice as long as normal to find the object. This is because a stack of cardboard boxes that should really be unpacked actually becomes invisible after a certain amount of time. So that once an item is set on top of it, it also disappears and your only hope is to rely on a grumpy cat to alert you to the item’s presence.

But no more! Thanks to the Herculean efforts of John (it’s super hard to move invisible objects) they have been unpacked and put appropriately away.

That’s right. It’s official. We are all moved in!

Teenager

Last week Ivy sat at the dinner table with an attitude of, shall we say… discontent. John ever the problem solver asked, “Ivy, what brings you joy? What do you like?”

Ivy replied…

(Now mind you, Ivy has recently discover that she can read my blog. This is a new fact of life that I have seriously mixed feelings about but I can assure you, knowing that my lovely eldest daughter will read this sooner rather than later, I speak the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.)

… “eating…. And sleeping.”

John and I burst into laughter at this totally stereotypical teenage reply, which was of course totally unwarranted because she was only twelve at the time.

But today she is thirteen.

We now have a teenager in our midst. She likes eating, sleeping and even, when to pressed to answer by the laughter of her parents, reading and drawing.

She’s pretty alright, we think we’ll keep her.

Happy Birthday Ivy!

 

 

The Jello Brain

The Jello Brain

or

Part 5 of Where I’ve Been the Last Four Months

Part 1: The Cow

Part 2: The Omelettes 

Part 3: The Concussion

Part 4: The Therapy

When asked how I’m doing now I can look back and see how very far I’ve come in the last months and I want to say I’m better.

I have gotten better.

But better is not 100%. In some areas I’m not even close and the answer of better needs to be tempered in a way that has me fumbling for words to explain.

I can do almost everything I would like to now. And almost everything exhausts me. An afternoon nap is a necessity. Sometimes a morning and evening nap are too. I am no longer a night owl. I can’t stay up that long.

Some days I have good brain days and I can do the things and take a nap and do more things and feel as though one day I might even be able to do all thing things I’d like to in a day.

Some days I can do the things!

Then there are times, sometimes hours, sometimes days that I’m unable to do more than the bare minimum. Times that I feel that instead of living life I am crawling through it using every inch of fingernails (that are quite strong thanks to all the healthy foods I’ve been eating to give my brain as much fuel as I can to help it along) to pull my way through an activity, a conversation or a day. Those days are frustrating.

Some days I fall asleep on the floor using a child’s boot as a pillow.

But when I get the most frustrated I think of something my therapist said that went something like this:

Think of your brain like a nice bowl of jello that’s all set up in the fridge. When you have a concussion it’s like someone takes that bowl and shakes it up into a lumpy bumpy mess. After a few hours if you leave it alone the jello goes back to the shape it was but all through the inside of it are cracks and fissures. That is what happened to your brain when you got your concussion.

So, considering my brain is a pile of cracked jello working to mend itself together, I think I’m doing remarkably well.

When I’m not doing well, when I’m too tired, have done too much or am just having a bad day, the best way I have found to describe what it feels like is that it’s like all the bad parts of being drunk.

I start to feel disconnected from everything around me. I have trouble focusing, both visually and mentally. I try my best to talk normally but sometimes I can hear myself fumbling words or a conversation and I can’t seem to catch back hold of it. And, like all truly inebriated people, at some point I just need to lay down and pass out for awhile.

I’m not actually drunk right now but if I seem like it please excuse me. It’s just my broken jello brain.

The Therapy

The Therapy

or

Part 4 of Where I’ve Been The Last Four Months

Part 1: The Cow

Part 2: The Omelettes 

Part 3: The Concussion

I needed help but I was unable to read and research anything on my own. We had already learned that most doctors don’t know what to do with concussions and had no idea where to turn for advice. Fortunately, a friend let us know that physical therapists can have concussion training and, even better, my current physical therapist was one of them.

Within the first two weeks I was working with him doing things that should have been painfully easy but were next to impossible for me.

Can you hold your arm out in front of you, look at your thumb, close your eyes, turn your head, open your eyes and still be looking at your thumb? I couldn’t. It’s depressing not to be able to find one of your own body parts and also vindicating. Something really was wrong with me.

From my therapist I learned that my sprained neck muscles were messing with my positional awareness and my inner ear or vestibular system was also out of whack… and my eyes… well they didn’t track quite like they were supposed to either.

I diligently did my therapy. I tracked post it notes with my eyes and worked on word searches that had no words. Everything spiked nausea, dizziness or headaches. I’d wait for symptoms to subside and do it again.

If you’ve been to physical therapy you know how they give you small, evil exercises that are hard and exhaust your muscles. Working my brain was just like that. Instead of burning muscles I had nausea and instead of wobbly fatigue I had headaches. But I kept on. Working until the symptoms would spike. Letting them come back down and doing it again and again until I could find my thumb and track the post it notes. Then of course in true PT fashion no gold stars were awarded. (If you are a physical therapist you really need to consider giving out stickers. I’m telling you a sticker chart would make even adults feel accomplishment.) Instead I was congratulated with another small but deceptively evil task. Eventually I graduated to word searches with words and tracking medicine balls as I moved them around my body.

And slowly.

So slowly.

My brain started getting better.

nanopoblano2019

It’s November and National Blog Writing Month! My team, the Tiny Peppers, is doing things a little differently this year.  Instead of posting every single day we are all aiming for: 10 days of posts, 10 days of reading/commenting, and 10 days of sharing posts through any other platform.  Happy Blogging!