Sunday, May 24, 2015

anatomy, 2015...

alrighty, anatomy is wrapped (for now)!
this was an amazing group and they were so dedicated.
which is amazing considering how much we crammed into our week,
and how in depth we got into some of the systems.  

i especially appreciated the take-home portion i created for everyone-
in that it was so helpful to go over with my kids when things quieted down at the end of each day.
i am a big believer in repetition...going over the key elements of a lesson again and again - 
making sure to change the element of repetition as you go, keeping it fresh for the kids.  

okay, i am off to sleep.  
which i should have been doing two hours ago,
but i am stuck waiting for a cheesecake to cool.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

it's FRIDAY, ya'll...

big, deep exhale. 
what a crazy two weeks we've just been through!
check out some of the things that are on my mind, sparking my interest this week:

1. i am reading this at the moment.  literally, it will take a moment to read - it's a small, light book with a nuanced depth to it...a brilliant shield mindy has constructed to tell us some, but not all.  amy poehler has a similar wall built to keep the reader from getting to close, knowing too much.  tina fey did not.  tina let a lot of her walls down...and thus, her book's astronomical success.  i am on a big women writer kick at the moment - especially in the film industry.  i find comfort in the camaraderie of hearing other women speak a language i speak, know knowledge i know, understand the system the way i know it...and still manage to break through all the barriers out there and make it. 

2. this article - The Audacity of Cinderella.  quote: "The unflinching purity of this film is so rare that it made me uncomfortable at first, and then it made me ache, because I’m so starved for sincerity.  I’ll admit that when the pumpkin turned into a carriage, I got a big knot in my throat, for pure wonder was being held out to me in two hands. A magical story was being told humbly, and I was being trusted to receive it with humility as well."  

this spoke to me, especially as i am always preaching more honesty, more transparency, more sincerity, authenticity.  As we've lost our sense of community, belonging, knowing eachother - we are craving that feeling none-the-less and look for it in our media, our books, or stories.  we want to belong to something more innocent, more connected.  cinderella does that for us. 

3. we are trying to get some paddleboards for cheap in the next year.  i just discovered that there are paddleboard trips down the russian river, which is a sentimental river for that my family held a canoe race on the river for years.  

and now i have a plan to take us back...but with paddleboards. 

"Schools today, Ventilla says, cater to the lowest common denominator, teaching to the middle instead of to each individual child. He refers to this problem as “the tyranny of majority” and says it’s a pervasive issue in schools that’s as worrisome as it is understandable. “If I asked you to go teach twenty 9-year olds, some who don’t want to be in that classroom, and all of whom have very different interests and needs, fluctuating throughout the day, you’d probably also reinvent this factory model we use in education,” he says. “You’d break the day up into 45-minute segments. You’d move the kids along, and if anyone is disruptive, you’d admonish them, or if they’re zoned out and bored, you’d move on and wait until the buzzer goes off each period.”

“I don’t think schools will adopt whole-hog the AltSchool classroom. There will be pieces of it that will make the most sense, and over time, if it saves teachers hours, improves quality and gives them flexibility where it didn’t exist before, I think they’ll be more open to trying additional things out,” Ventilla says.  “We have no illusions about how hard that is, but we’re in this for the very long haul. If it takes us two decades to really move the needle on big district public schools in the US, that’s a good outcome. That’s success. It doesn’t have to happen quickly, but it does have to happen at scale.”

i am insanely passionate about how children learn, how we all learn.  these guys are on to something.  my kid's little country homeschool charter is on to something.  these guys are doing it, as well as countless other schools and individuals around the world.  we are all slowly acknowledging that something is broken, something is wrong.  we need to give the power back to the teachers, take away the bureaucratic administration of schools that only cares about job protecting.  teachers want to teach again, they want to create again, to step outside the boundaries, to try new things, to break through the walls their kids put up - none of which will happen in the current model of education.

4.  gag me.   i've always argued that sexism is pervasive, subtle to is out there.  this is a bit more on the overt what-were-you-thinking side of things.  bubbles of rage well up in me when i read things like this.  we need to RAISE OUR SONS to be better than this.  women will not change this alone, we need a new generation of men coming into the workforce that have been educated, raised right and taught better. 

5. skillshare.  most favorite site ever.  there is something for everyone.  with my manic-must-learn-everything/complete-left-and-right-brainer personality - this speaks to me.  i am signed up for a marketing class and after that i am going to do a logotype hand lettering class.  like i said earlier, i am passionate about our brains and how we learn. 

curiosity will never hold regret.

6. go watch this.  childhood trauma is real.

7. i am making a few of these ruffled aprons (modified) ala' a whatever craft weekend (my dream trip with all six of us sisters).

well, those are all the thoughts that came to me when i sat down to write this in the morning.  it is in the afternoon now and i am happily cleaning up from another successful anatomy week!  and then i might just lay down and take a nap...a really long nap under next to a window with a gentle breeze coming through it.  

have a wonderful weekend.   

Thursday, May 21, 2015

phew...almost there!

part of our homeschooling plan has been to do a full anatomy unit every other year.
this year we invited an entire class of friends (14!) to learn with us.  
for such a large crowd, they are a fantastic group -
there has barely been a "shush" to be had all week.  

because i lost most of my prep time helping with moving/painting/babysitting last week,
it's been a hectic week as i am racing to get ready before every class.
i had already developed all of my slideshows and sampled all of the videos, 
but needed to race around getting all of my supplies and making all my copies.
nick has been my buddy and saint while i get everything done.  

now that we are down to the digestive system tomorrow morning -
i can finally breath easy again.  

this year is a bit different/more difficult,
in that the kids are older and the content is much more in-depth.  
i am also doing a ton of work to develop the slide show presentations with videos and activities.
but all this work now will lead to a permanent collection of body system lessons,
that i can add to or take away from...that will grow with the kids 
(and share with whomever wants to use it for their families as well)
fingers crossed i can finish all of the other systems over the summer.  

okay, i am off to gather the last of my supplies and make the last of my copies. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

what a week...and cancer free...

we have had such a busy week/month/year so far!
we have been busy around these parts - 
from wrapping up our year out at our homeschool charter,
to blueberry picking with cousins and grandparents...
we have been BUSY!

in addition, i loaded my month of with many overdue doctor's appointments.
my annual cancer check caused a bit more anxiety than normal 
(mostly because our local labs messed up a bunch of tests - again!)
but a couple of days ago we got the official word -
tumor markers are low so i can be considered CANCER FREE for another year!

in the midst of that luke had a dentist appointment to check out some small cavities -
our family dentist had found them and i took him to a children's dentist to check out...
but took the opportunity to make the kids oil pull for three months between appointments -
and just like that - no cavities!  

we also had a baptism and family visits,
office cleaning and homeschooling,
ironing and writing -
scouting and service projects as well!

and in the midst of it all,
a family member needed some help getting ready for a move -
and i went to clean and paint -
and just as i was finishing the second coat of paint on a closet -
i fell off the ladder and jacked myself up pretty bad.
so, it's been a couple of days of aleve and ice and lots of bruises!

now, i am going to take it easy and try to figure out what the kids and i can do -
because today is my hubby's birthday!
he is such an amazing man, devoted father and loving husband -
so we need to figure out a way to make him feel special in the middle of a such a crazy season in life!

but the cherry on top of this end-of-school-year busyness -
Pitch Perfect is back today!!!!
my sisters and i have been losing our minds on text/instagram!
we can't wait and are trying to figure out a way to share the experience -
even in different states!

okay, off to my day -
which is mostly going to consists of cuddling with my babies 
and icing my ribs and neck while i endlessly debate whether i should call my chiropractor or not.  

Monday, May 11, 2015

a state of protracted anxiety...

i have so much to do.
what a week.
and yet, i sit here.
i keep going to my online health chart and updating/refreshing/clicking...clicking...clicking.

i can totally handle the post cancer life.  
sure, i am sick a lot, but i muddle through beautifully.
i get a lot done even when i am fatigued and run through.
my energizer bunny energy is still there, just a bit slower than it used to be.  

and the emotional parts of it all,
they fall more and more into the background of life...
no longer stark black and whites...more grays, blending, easing in.  

but for one week, 
the week before my annual check,
my anxiety runs rampant.
i rarely let people know it is happening, 
merely sitting back and letting my stomach acids eat all my organs from the inside out...
sometimes i am forced to meditate or yoga-fy...just to get to sleep.  
a lot of times, i fall off the radar -
not returning calls, emails, doorbells.  
it is my secret little world of anxiety -
one that appears and envelops me and overcomes me for a week.

one week a year.
i can dig that. 
one week to talk yourself out of all your meandering thoughts.
to convince yourself this isn't the year.  
there won't be leukemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, breast cancer - 
all the cancers my radiation which killed my cancer causes.  the bitter of the sweet, the down of the up.
and then we have to consider the possibility of relapse, of the thyroid cancer cells coming back themselves.
and for moments you picture it, wrap your brain around it, plan the rest of your kid's lives in the hands of others -
figure out what words you will leave, how you never took enough pictures of yourself with the kids,
how you will make nick okay with it all (which it never will be - he will be a wreck)
see, spinning...spinning...spinning.  
back and forth,
what you will do, healthy or sick.  

i am a very pragmatic person, i can see the upside to almost anything.
i am not overly dramatic, mellow to the extreme, a realist rather than a fatalist.
but this one week.
this one week a year sucks.

and then i go to santa barbara for my annual redemption from my worries and fears -
and for the third straight year (my doctor remembers better than myself),
our local labs run the wrong test.  
i do more blood work -
waiting to hear about the tumor markers.  
it's all well and good to know my blood calcium, my blood salts, my kidney function -
but damn it - i want to know about those tumor markers!
and normally i get a call by friday evening -
a, "no worries!  not a single solitary bump in your levels!  have a great year!"
but that call didn't come.
and my brain/heart have been wrecked by it.  
i know it is nothing to the lab tech or the secretary, even my doctor's nurse -
but to me it is everything. 
it has become everything.  
my week has come and gone and every day makes the anxiety worse.

sure, i know the answer -
i know i will rock this test, life will move one, my morbid worries will flee -
but man, two extra days -
this protracted worry.

it sucks. 

wrapping up charlie and neptune's baptism weekend...feeding the masses...

after a couple of days of mellow prep with lots of friends and family,
we were ready to feed an army after charlie and neptune's baptism.  
this was by far the easiest spread i have laid and the most laid back gathering we have held.  
(it's not for everyone, but when you start catering at 12...there's no going back -
feeding big crowds of people is just what you do!)

i put the camera away before everyone showed up, 
but you get the gist -
it's shocking how many people can fit in this space.  

and since it was raining and i could only set up one of the tables -
it was shocking how many people could eat in this space!

alrighty, i am off to tackle a crazy day...
which is the beginning of an even crazier week.  
let's wish eachother luck. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

catching up on charlie and neptune's baptism weekend...the bad church lighting episode...

charlie and neptune were baptized on a wonderfully mild rain day. 
rain is rare around these parts lately, so it was a blessed sort of day. 

this was my last child to be baptized.
recently, i have come to terms with the idea that she is my last. 
i struggled with the idea of not knowing until that all these things we were doing, were the last. 
but this one i was able to see coming. 
and i did. 
i prayed, smiled, breathed, teared up here and there, kissed and hugged and loved every single moment. 
my baby girl is baptized, neptune was baptized -
and we were surrounded by family and friends and the spirit. 

it was a wonderful day,
even if the weird orange light in the church is always horrible. 
memories were made and community was felt,
and the two sweet kids who made this decision will be eternally blessed.  

to our charlie:
we love you, sweet girl.
you are so compassionate, funny, hard working and creative.
art flows from your fingers,
a song is always on your lips
and when you think no one is looking, you like to twirl around the house.
you have brought magic to our lives.
dipped in pink and purple, but willing to get dirty, play hard and rough and tumble -
you are the perfect daughter.
and we are so proud of you
and will do anything we can to support you,
spiritually, emotionally, physically...whatever you need.
we love you, charlie.
keep inspiring us.

mom and dad.

Monday, May 4, 2015

california science center...

free admissions, the shuttle, the rambunctious kids everywhere!
(make sure to reserve your shuttle tour ahead of time)
and a mind boggling variety of displays and hands on activities -
the california science center was such a fun stop on our quick trip to LA.
and perfect timing, we've been covering the universe, galaxies and now planets.
(and bonus, my kids are fascinated by space travel!)

so, recommended highly.
Endeavor will take your breath away.
pictures and words cannot capture it.
it might bring a tear or two to your eye,
when you realize all the big dreams that had to be dreamed to get where we are.
it's a bit overwhelming.
a lot overwhelming.

we're not even close to discovering what life is all about.
there's so much left to explore.
and so much to teach our kids about the act of exploration.

so, go dream big.
really big.