Monday, October 26, 2009

Swimming Lessons

Last spring, when my girls were in swimming lessons, I noticed that they were not improving much. Sierra had reached the level (3 to be exact) where she needed a good teacher who pushed technique and distance (something that is in short supply until you reach swim team level). She swam on her back just fine, but on her front, she still doggie paddled. To make swim team, she has to be able to swim all the way across the pool on both her front and back. Bailey, however, was barely putting her face in and wouldn't float on her back at all. She was showing almost no improvement after four or more month long sessions. So, I decided to take things into my own hands.

I used to teach swimming lessons when I was in high school, so I figured I could teach my own kids. Plus, we have a family Rec. pass. Why not use it? But I needed a way to get Blake off of my hands while I taught the girls. He's a complete handful, not afraid of the water or anything. Luckily, there is a toddler swimming class that meets once a week where I don't have to get in with him, so that became our swim time. Ready, set, go!

It's only been a couple of months, totaling about 6 lessons, but there has been a vast improvement. I worked on Sierra's technique (breathing to the side, pointing her toes, long arms, straight legs, etc.) and she's looking a lot better. When she really tries, she can now swim 15 yards without stopping on her front. When she's tired though, all of her old habits resurface. The idea is to eventually get her ready for swim team, so we've still got work to do. But it's going quite well.

Bailey was actually a bit of a surprise. The first time I had her in the water, she was very reluctant to put her face in. I knew she could though, so I made her do it anyway. Now, she's doing glides out to me and even "swimming" a few feet with her face in. She can also do a back float all by herself!

The funny thing about it all is that I had previously decided that I would never teach my kids how to swim. Why? Because it was something I could pay someone else to do. That's got to sound really strange coming from a mother who homeschools, but it's what I thought. I'm still quite willing to hand them off to someone else (one less thing for me to worry about), but it's really hard watching when I know I could be doing a much better job for less money. I'm going to be teaching Sierra until she reaches swim team level. As for the other two, we'll have to wait and see.

I plan on having all my kids on swim team one day.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pop Beads

Last week, while I was at Target with the kids, I saw some pop beads that I thought they might like. The kids held very little interest when I showed the beads to them and continued to play with the other toys at the store. OK. So they weren't interested. But I couldn't shrug the idea that they would really like them if they had them. Since Bailey's birthday was coming up, I thought it was the perfect opportunity. And, since Bailey loves figuring out shape puzzles and working with beads, i figured she should like playing with pop bead too, right?

So, with some trepidation, I got the beads for Bailey's birthday. Again, she wasn't too interested in comparison to her other gifts, until I had some of her friends show her how to play with them (I knew that they had the same beads at home, so enlisting their help was easy). From that point on, they've been the only toys my girls have really played with. Every day and all day long. I know they'll eventually loose interest, but they're having more fun then I even hoped for. Blake has even tried playing with them, but he has a hard time popping the beads together. So, instead, he just plays with the creations the girls have made. Sierra has been really creative, and Bailey happily copies her sister's creations. It's really cute.

On the down side, I'm already finding stray beads around the house, even though I'm constantly having the girls pick them all up when they're done playing with them. Oh well. It's something I don't mind putting up with. Not when they're enjoying them so much.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Bailey

Bailey had her 5th birthday this week. She got some presents in the mail from her grandparents. She got to go with Daddy to the store to pick out a present and have some ice cream. She got to pick a restaurant to go to dinner at (McDonald's, of course). And, the next day, she got to have a birthday party with her friends. I made her a present cake-my first time using fondant. We had some snack food. The kids played, opened presents and ate. Good times.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Neurology #2

I went in to see my neurologist again on Monday, and things went a lot more smoothly. I didn't get lost. I arrived with plenty of time to spare. My heart rate and blood pressure weren't skyrocketing. And I didn't cry, even once. In fact, except that I was tired (still getting over the swine flu), everything went perfectly.

Since the last time I saw the neurologist, most of my symptoms had gone away. In fact, before I came down with the flu, all I had was slight pressure in my pointer fingers and occasional hyper sensory in the abdomen (usually in conjunction with illness, stress, or anxiety). There were those occasional weirdnesses, like the corner eye sight in my right eye blurring for about twenty minutes and getting tiny muscle twinges all over my right leg for about a week, but other then that, things were looking good. When I came down with the flu, however, things started coming back. I now have spots of minor numbness in my right leg and the top of my right foot and my right hip is aching again. But the neurologist said that was nothing to worry about. It's normal to have reoccurrence with a big illness.

So, she checked me out, though not in as much detail as last time. I got to have my eyes, reflexes, muscles, cognitive processes and sensories checked. Everything was normal, again. No anxiety this time. She was pleased to hear I was cross training again (though taking a break while recovering from the flu). We talked about my recurring symptoms, how nerves can take 6-12 months to heal (if my nerves were even damaged), and that, although my grandmother had MS, it's not really hereditary. She also said that an MRI isn't necessary. It would be nice, but probably wouldn't help much-definitely not worth shelling out $2000 from my own pocket. Really, all there is for me to do is wait and see what happens, contacting her if anything new/weird comes up.

That's it. That's all. Right now, and possibly forever, there's nothing to worry about. Definitely good to hear.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Swine Flu?!!

I'm really sorry if we got anyone sick. Really.

You see, after going to bed Friday night, I came down with the flu. At about 2 in the morning, I woke up with the chills. Luckily, my husband was in bed by then, so I snuggled in. That helped. Two hours later, I woke up feeling ill. Was the queasy stomach just my supposed ulcer acting up again, or what? I fell back asleep, waking around 6. It was freezing. I went to turn the house thermostat up. . . oops, I mean on. The house was at 60F. No wonder I was so cold! But I still felt awful. My head hurt, and I ached all over. I checked my temperature. 101.9!!!

Time for a hot bath.

I ended up staying there for over two hours. It was the only place where I wasn't shivering and my poor aching muscles could relax. I would have stayed longer if General Conference wasn't starting. We were watching it by internet in our family room, so I curled up on the couch, warmly dressed and generously blanketed to fall asleep after the first speaker. I might have heard a total of four talks that day. Maybe. I was out, hard.

Apparently, Bailey came down with the flu that day too. She curled up at my feet for Conference, copying my every word, and sleeping through the second session. After that, I checked her head. Yup. She had a fever, and now we were both coughing as well. Not the "tickle your throat" kind but the "rip your esophagus to shreds" kind that does nothing to nice to your headache. And our appetite, even with all of the treats that we'd gotten for Conference, was gone. I almost had to force-feed myself.

Sierra had slept through the second session as well. She's had a cough for a few days, but because she never had a fever or anything else, I had just thought that it was leftover from a cold. Nope. We'd gotten the flu from her-and I'd sent her to school on Thursday! Sorry!!!

So, I Tylenoled all three of us and told my husband to call his parents and tell them to not come visit as planned the following weekend. The boys had yet to get it, and I had honestly never remembered feeling so awful in my life. And, due to the severity and the season, I figured it was likely to be the Swine Flu that we had. My mother in law, who works under Utah County's Health Department in the Emergency Preparedness section, seconded the likelihood. Yay.

Well, Sunday was a little better. I was able to stay awake until the very end of the first session anyway, and I did get about half of the second. My fever was also slightly lower, and I no longer had the chills. Bailey was still going strong though. She seemed to be about half a day behind me. Sierra's cough was still there too, but it seemed to be getting better. To late, I started making Seth stay away from all of us. The last thing we needed was for him to get sick, though we pretty much assumed it to be inevitable.

Monday, Blake came down with the flu. Bailey was feeling a bit better, and so was I, though we both still had fevers. Sierra felt fine, except for her cough. Seth had a court hearing in Denver and a signing meeting that day. I made the girls do some schoolwork (there would be little else to do then watch movies all day, and since their brains weren't fried, just their bodies. . .) We spent the rest of the day veging in the family room in front of the screen. The kids watched their movies while I streamed ones for myself from Netflix onto the new laptop. (I love Netflix. It's helped me out a lot in times of need.)

This morning, Tuesday, Seth came down with the flu. Well, we were expecting it. Luckily, he has no out of home appointments today or tomorrow. He has a court hearing on Thursday though. Hopefully he'll be feeling well enough by then.

It's been four days for me, and I've still got occasional surges of cough and fever. Bailey's acting mostly normal with a very small fever. Blake is cranky and hot, and Sierra is just chilling while she waits for the rest of us to feel better. I told her we can't go anywhere until I haven't had a fever for a whole day. Bailey and Blake aren't leaving the house until their fevers have been gone for a day either.

Sierra's taken it well enough. I told her we'd get her a new Disney Fairy book when I'm better. She's read all of the ones we have already. That made her happy. Hopefully, that won't be too long from now.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

True Books

For science, we don't have any one book that we use. Instead, we pick general topics, then find books at the library about those topics. Last year, for example, we studied animals. So, we would go to the library and pick out books on, say, giraffes, bring them home, read them, write a short report, and color a picture about giraffes. The next week, we'd pick another animal, and so on. This year, we're studying earth science, and we've found books on volcanoes, mountains, oceans, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.

With all of these books that we've gone through, I've come to really like one series in particular. They've got books on almost every subject (even if our library doesn't carry them all), and they're the perfect length for second through fifth graders (they can be a bit long for the attention span of a first grader). I've yet to find a series that I like as much.

They're called True Books. They've taught my family about tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, mountains, gemstones, dinosaurs, oceans, caves, volcanoes, and the list goes on. And you can find them on other subjects as well, like ecosystems, the solar system, different countries, various animals, etc. Luckily our local library caries a lot of them. They're very helpful and informative, with vocabulary words and often additional information. And best of all, they don't talk down. What more could you ask?