Monday, October 26, 2009

On a funny side note...

A few years ago I attended a friend's bachelorette party and was treated to my first ever encounter with a psychic reader. It was actually quite a bit of fun. I mean, you can't get any more skeptical than me, which she 'read' when I sat down with her, lol, but she did mention something that has sat with me these past few years. She told me that I would find a career, accidentally, to do with writing. It would literally fall into my lap since I am not likely to pursue paid work. I thought or hoped she meant that I was finally going to finish (write?) a novel. Well, no time to even read much for pleasure these days (at least books for me), so definitely no time to sit and write for hours each day. I have had something fall in my lap though. Resumes. Lots and lots of resumes. Turns out I am really good at making them up for people. And I enjoy doing it. A few I had done for the odd friend or neighbour has turned snowballed into a bonafide small business. Or, it could if I had the time. I can't believe how many people would hire my services if I really threw myself into it. Nice to have a little extra cash though. It has been years since I made real actual money!

Funny how things happen. Resume writing - of all things!

Such Harmony!

It may be a rare thing these days but when the kids get along, they really get along! Right now Alex is playing Wii, earning some game time after a stellar week of piano practice and a much improved lesson and Izzy is sitting on the couch, watching, cheering him on. They are best buds at the moment. No whining, snickering or sassy talk between them. I know it can't last but it makes me feel so peaceful when they are like this.

I am taking a few hours to myself this afternoon. I have been just swamped with commitments these past few weeks. I am trying to juggle a lot of balls in the air right now but will soon have to prioritize and delegate. My primary commitment is to homeschooling and whatever helps me get what my children need. Right now, that means a strong connection to the homeschool community at large and more academic opportunities. We (myself and three other hs moms) have started the groundwork for what could be a fantastic co-op program and I am very excited over the possibilities.

It is hard not to want to do everything. At least, for me it is. I like being busy. I like being in charge. Shocking, I know, lol. Something about creating schedules and organizing people just relaxes me. Guess I am just an odd duck?!

So I have calendars and spreadsheets printed out and laid in front of me. There are birthdays and parties, lessons and meetings. My life, at least for the next three months, is fairly well planned out. There will no doubt be stressful nights but I try to remind myself to have fun, enjoy this time and these kids. Time flies by so fast. The whole point of all this planning is to make like better for us all.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Haven't Disappeared

Just very, very busy! I am off to meet with a head librarian later this afternoon about getting an educational, project oriented co-op going for our area. Fingers crossed that it all goes well.

So much to do, so little time. I have many projects on the go, only a few of them directly revolving around homeschooling. I had been pining for more me time but I'd settle for more homeschool time at the moment.

Good thing the kids are such independent learners.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Giftedness as an Exceptionality

My sister-in-law has her Masters degree in Behavioural studies, with a specialty in Autism. At Thanksgiving we were talking about exceptionalities, such as ADHD and Autism. I mentioned that in the past more than a couple of people had suggested to me that Alex may have Asperger's syndrome. He shares a few of the same traits but is not lacking empathy (the complete opposite more likely) and does not lack social and emotional reciprocity. The same can be said for ADHD. He has many of the characteristics but not all. In fact, he comes pretty close to qualifying for many labels but always falls just short of some imperative characteristic.

Well, the more I read into giftedness, the more I am surprised. I had always assumed being gifted was sort of a stroke of luck, or genetics, and other exceptionaliities were co-morbid. I thought maybe Alex was gifted but also had ADD. Or perhaps a central processing disorder. Maybe he is bipolar and these are just early signs?

Then I came across this term - overexcitabilities or supersensitivities in gifted children. Huh!? A guy named Dabrowski came up with a group of the most common sensitivities: Psychomotor, Sensual, Emotional, Intellectual, and Imaginational. He says that gifted children tend to have more than one of these intensities, although one is usually dominant.

This one is for the psychomotor (often confused with ADHD in children). Typical traits are:

* Rapid speech -- check
* Impulsive behavior -- check
* Competitiveness -- so-so but we don't encourage that behaviour in general
* Compulsive talking -- oh yes!
* Compulsive organizing -- okay, not this one, lol
* Nervous habits and tics -- yes and getting more noticeable as he gets older
* Preference for fast action and sports -- yes
* Physical expression of emotions -- oh, yes, yes and yes!
* Sleeplessness -- check

It was a real eye-opener. In fact, I joined a few gifted boards online and have met quite a few other parents with pretty similar children. I don't know if I am pro or anti-label, so to speak, but it is always nice to find your people and get more information about why he/we do the things we do.

Interesting find for me. I feel more at ease over Alex's little eccentricities now.

Apple Sauce

We went apple picking a few weeks ago. I have a giant box of apples in the garage sitting on top of the freezer in the garage right now. We made apple sauce again but this time got to use our funky apple peeler. I bought it right before Christmas when it was on sale for less than $10 at some discount place. I remembered how long it took to peel all the apples with the kids last year. This seemed like it might be fun. It was amazing! It even sliced the apples so they came out like little round accordion balls. We had a blast with it and the peeling didn't feel nearly as tedious as it did last year.

Off the apples went into the crockpot. Added a tiny bit of water. No cinnamon this year - Rob didn't like it, cooked it then mashed until just a little bit chunky.

It was soooooo yummy. Gone quickly too. Going to make another pot this week. Should dig the pork chops out of the freezer too.

Turkey Day 2009

We had a lovely visit at aunt Kelly's again! Complete with our annual pilgrimage to the pumpkin farm. This year was a short visit. We froze our butts off and got away as quickly as we could after finding 2 lovely specimens and taking the obligatory pics.

Good things come to those who wait?

What a morning! I just got a call about finally getting a time and venue for the home-school coop we are trying to get off the ground. Something educational, where the kids do some group work, presentations may be involved...basically the one thing most of us feel like our kids are missing out on not being at school. I am very excited! This has been a long time coming.

This morning was also an exciting one for Alex. I knocked on his bedroom door at 10am to convince him that even LEGO addicts needed sustenance. Turns out he had been reading all morning. Late last night we popped into the library to get an insane quantity of books (even the librarian was impressed and they know his usual take) and he picked up The Day My Butt Went Psycho by Andy Griffiths. It is a 240 page book, about 300 words per page and no illustrations. When he picked it up I thought, great, I'll have to read this with him. Even though he is a good reader, larger books (of the fiction variety - not those encyclopedic sized science jobs) seemed to overwhelm him so he wouldn't even try. Well, not this book. It is done. He was at page 182 when I interrupted him. I started quizzing him on the book but stopped myself. Over the course of lunch I let him just talk about it.

Then Izzy was back at her math book. She did 17 pages a few days ago and I stopped her at 14 today. This child has a serious addiction with worksheets, lol.

All in all, it has been a much better week. Maybe we are getting our groove back. The weather has been colder but the sun has been shining a bit more too - which helps. Good to be on the upswing again.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It Is A Love/Hate Thing

You would think that when something happens to you each and every year you would come to expect it. Like in late Spring when all of a sudden I am battling a cold that drags on for weeks until my delightful husband steps in to say, 'It's your allergies...take a Claratin'. I feel like an idiot every single year. It really never occurs to me that the new grass and flowers are wreaking havoc with my sinuses.

Well, it is October and I *forgot* how dark it gets early in the evening and I *forgot* how much more tired I feel, and grumpy. I am one of those prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Those of us already lucky enough to have a mood disorder and live in parts of the hemisphere that have long, dark winters get the added bonus of feeling extra crappy with less light (or serotonin).

It is terrible. I am craving starchy foods I had gotten myself off of all summer. I don't want to get out of bed in the morning. I've been skipping the gym a lot. I just want to wrap myself up in my cozy knit blanket and cocoon on the couch all winter watching BBC or A&E period pieces.

There is another side at war with my SAD side. The part of me that loves Fall...the comfort of warm sweaters and cozy nights in; stews in the crockpot and home baked goods; and those fabulous holidays and special events to look forward to. I can see so much beauty in the dull clouds and monochromatic gray hues that colour the outdoors. The air feels so crisp and cool. Cheeks are rosy and there is a quickness to everyone's steps as they scurry about outside. I love the smell of fireplaces, even the hum of the furnace. I feel much more enchanted these days then I do even on those bright sunny days in summer. Such a dichotomy to love something that is so bad for me. I guess Fall is my guilty pleasure.

Normally I miss the early stages of SAD because I am too busy enjoying myself. I keep pretty busy September through Christmas. This year, however, I am a little more tired or, I suppose, burnt out from the emotional roller coaster that was September. It has left me more susceptible to this borderline, hypo-manic state.

I am not sure what the point of this post was. I guess since I am awake much later than I wish to be, playing around on the computer - revving up my brain instead of helping it wind down, I just needed to remind myself why things are going the way they are going these days.

I sometimes tell friends that I wonder what it would be like to feel "normal". Meaning, what would life be like without all these ups and downs. Most people reply that everyone has ups and downs. That there is no normal. Still, I think it would be cool to get into someone else's head space just to see.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


We still have separation anxiety fall-out from the whole school experiment. Izzy doesn't want me out of her sight. Actually, Izzy doesn't want me out of touching range. The latest is refusal to get in the pool for swim class. The same swim class and instructor she had gone to each week over the summer. {{{sigh}}} I am trying to be patient. Really.

On the other hand, Izzy is a very enthusiastic home-schooler. She just goes on and on about how happy she is or what she wants to learn next. It is heavenly.

This week has been a quieter week for us. No house guests and I got sick at the end of the week so we've been just relaxing at home. Alone. It's great. At first the kids were bickering like crazy but we sat down together and had a few talks about what were my expectations for behaviour. We talked about how we need to try harder to get along. While we will disagree, get annoyed or have just plain bad days we need to curb the ongoing attitude that has been happening between the kids. They have spent a lot more time this summer spending time apart from each other playing with separate groups of friends but with everyone busy and back to school the kids are thrown back together as playmates.

They decided that they were lucky to have each other to play with and that they could grow up to be friends like daddy and Aunt Kelly. We talked about what kind of house we wanted to live in and readdressed rules that we could all agree on. I explained that if everyone was unhappy we had the choice of kids to school, mom to work and we'll hang together in the evenings and weekends. I think that got their attention. They love the way our family works as it is and couldn't imagine it being any other way.

I can honestly say this past week has been one of the best ones in a long while. Everyone is getting along. There is less bickering, whining and yelling. I don't know how long it will last but we'll keep trying to push for a respectful family that communicates openly with one another.


...from Art Class!

Books We Love

We put in our request with my neighbour's classroom scholastic order. I've been so good about not spending all our money at Chapters and now this...a monthly magazine full of book titles the kids and I drool over. I remember how much I loved those Scholastic orders as kids.

We picked up the math dictionary by DK books. I figure Alex loves reading books with short blurbs and definitions so this would be another good way to learn math.

Fun with Roman Numerals. It explains it much better than I did.

We also picked up a 4 pack of the Horrible Science books by Nick Arnold. I didn't know these existed. I have been (not patiently) waiting for Alex to be older, or rather mature enough, to read the Horrible History series and was very excited to come across these. We picked up Blood, Bones and Body Bits, Shocking Electricity, Fatal Forces and Nasty Nature.

From our last library haul, notable mentions for:

Revolting Poems to Make you Squirm by Susie Gibbs
DK Eye Wonder book of Weather
Fire Fighters in the Dark by Dashka Slater