Baby Teddy Bear’s got a weasel!

Not much to report. We’re still sick. Well, Josie is the sickest, but Beth woke up this morning crying/screaming, “Josie got me sick!” Yeah. And poor little Cecy is sick, too. I’m waiting for those supposed magical antibodies from the breastmilk to help Cecy, since I’m feeling a bit under the weather but not sick (so I think my body already has the antibodies for this strain). I’m tempted to slip a bit of pumped milk to Josie as well. Heh.

I’ve started the One Hundred Pushups program (www.hundredpushups.com). I heard from a friend, however, that she knows several women who have tried it and who have had problems with their rotary cuffs because the program advances too quickly for women. So I decided to redesign it just a bit and slow things down. The program is designed to get you up to 100 pushups in one go at about 6 weeks. There’s a bit of variance, though, because every 2 weeks you take a test to see how many you can do in one go, and what level you start the next week on depends on the results of that test. So you might have to repeat weeks. Anyway, I figured I’d slow it down, maybe let it take 12 weeks or so. I’ll admit that while the first day was too easy, the second day was fine, and every day since then has been a strain. So I can see maybe about it pushing too hard. I’m also a bit concerned about my form, which I thought was pretty good, because I notice that my neck aches and I have a headache afterwards. So I need to pay attention next time and see whether I’m tensing up or angling my head weird or something.

I also found something online that talked about how to do pushups so that you don’t strain anything. I’m not quite sure I’m understanding the directions correctly, though, because the directions make the pushups a *lot* harder. Today’s my last regular pushup day, and then tomorrow I’ll probably take the test to see how many I can do in one go. You’re supposed to wait a few days before doing that test, but I’m not sure how, as I need to start my next week’s pushups on Monday. I’ve added in Zumba to my “off” days in the hopes of getting some cardio. Steve suggested that we do P90X last summer, and at the time I declined. I think I probably should have said yes, as doing an exercise with somebody else would probably be beneficial. But since he’s military, his cardio is way better than mine. So maybe I’ll stick to Zumba for a while and try to get a little more in shape, then see if he wants to do P90X with me. You’re supposed to get major results with that program!

I’ve been working on my writing a bit, too. I got Holly Lisle’s Create-A-**** Clinic books for Christmas (Create-a-Plot, Character, Language, and Culture), and I’ve been going through and doing the exercises based on the book I want to write. It’s really made me think and plan out some things that I hadn’t done otherwise. I got some good insight by doing the Culture one, and now I’m going back and working some more on my character. Then I’ll go to world. I know basically the story I want to write, but I need to sort out the plot a bit. I have a lot of it written, but I just don’t like what I’ve written so far. Which I guess is how first drafts work, but… still, it makes it hard to be excited about it.

My best-plotted story, I had managed to get the whole plot laid out to the point where I knew what specific scenes I wanted. I wrote each scene’s general description on a notecard. I then sorted the notecards to make sure the storylines progressed together as I wanted them to, and then each day I tried to cover 2-3 notecards, so that I was finishing 2-3 scenes a day. It was amazing. I loved it.

Holly Lisle actually also had a really great downloadable book about scene-writing that had some fantastic points, so I need to go back over that a bit, too. But I think that figuring out, not just the general plot, but what actual scenes I want included, would make a huge difference. Here’s to getting things working again so that I can get and stay excited about this story!

I’ve read a few good books lately. Julie Berry’s “Amaranth Enchantment” was a great read and lots of fun. “Secondhand Charm” was a little strange, but also good. She has a few other books out that I’ll keep an eye out for.

I also just finished Holly Lisle’s “The Ruby Key.” I didn’t end up enjoying most of the book, but that wasn’t because it wasn’t well-written, it was just a bit too dark for me. I love fantasy, but I generally like light, playful fantasy. Fairy tales, the like. “The Ruby Key” had a lot of scary, spooky-type stuff. I like my fantasy worlds to be places where I’d want to live, not horrifying places. However, I really liked the ending to the book, I thought it made the whole thing worth it. I have the sequel, and I might try that, even though the book wasn’t my ideal, just because her writing is good enough that I’ll learn something. Another book that I read of Lisle’s, I think it was called “Midnight Rain,” also showcased her ability to write a really satisfying, exciting ending. That book was great all the way through.

My current book is “Pegasus,” by Robin McKinley. I like Robin McKinley’s stuff, but in her case, I almost always hate the endings. They always seem to be full of big, dramatic magic that is doing all sorts of crazy drastic things to the point where you can’t even really keep track… and then a disappointing denouement. Her books tend to be really fantastic up until the climax, and that’s what keeps me reading. Like “Rose Daughter.” Wonderful, wonderful book, right up until the climax. From that point, I’ve often fantasized about rewriting it for my own enjoyment.

Today’s Beth quote:

“I have to take Baby Teddy Bear to the doctor! He has a weasel.”

“A what?”

“You know. Red spots on his face.”

She’s been talking all day about how Baby Teddy Bear has a weasel. Apparently she’s been thinking about the MMR shots (the girls all got vaccinations recently). She was so upset about the shots that afterwards I told her about my grandmother, who was 4 when she lost a 2-year-old brother to polio, and how the shot that Beth had gotten that day (polio) would make sure that nothing like that would happen to Beth, and how lucky we are to live in a time when we have shots so that kids don’t die of diseases like they did a long time ago. She’s been fascinated by this ever since, wanting to know all about shots and kids of the past, etc.

Oh! And I’m making a dress for Josie. Beth got it in her head that we should sew a dress for Josie. I figured, hey, why not? Could be a good experience for her to see what goes into making a dress. So we are. So far I’ve cut out the fabric parts. I’m still working on cutting out the lining parts. So no sewing yet. I haven’t worked on it for the past few days because of the illnesses, but I’m hoping to get some good work done on it in the next few weeks. I mostly just get about 20 minutes done at a time, so it will probably be a pretty long project!

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Illness and homeschool travails

Josie is sick. It’s nothing serious, just a cold. But it means that she’s whinier and fussier than normal. And since she’s 2, and is very much a whiner/tantrum-thrower whenever she doesn’t get her way (and I mean *whenever*–including things like not getting the color plate she wanted for lunch). It’s much the worse at the moment. She basically cried from about 6pm until 7:30pm (bedtime) this evening. Oy.

I’m having a hard time feeling interested in the kids lately. I know that’s a horrible thing to say. I just don’t want to listen to another 10 minute narrative about princesses or some other 4-year-old interest that requires very little response. I guess I just need a break from the kids, and I never really get one. The evenings aren’t long enough, and I tend to make them longer than I should by staying up too late, and then I’m tired the next morning, which exacerbates the problem. I’d love to have an hour in which I didn’t have to be a mom, and wasn’t grocery shopping or at the dentist.

I’ve been slacking off with the schooling lately. Keeping the house up had gotten overwhelming, and I was so busy with other things. But I’ve been trying to get back on track. Today we did a little of two different workbooks, so we did a few different activities. Beth doesn’t really like learning to write her letters. She loves to write, but she wants to do it her own way, so she forms some of the letters wrong. She really hates being told what to do and thinks she knows everything, though, which is frustrating. If she were going to be in school, I wouldn’t be so concerned about it, because in many cases they won’t listen to their parent but they’ll listen to the teacher. But since I’m going to be her teacher as well as parent, I have to get her to listen to me, somehow. Anyway, she liked the other activities for the most part.

Cecy is starting to do better with tummy time. She really hated it up until recently (as in, a few days ago), but she seems to be enjoying it a bit more the past few days. She’ll play happily with toys in that position for a while, then eventually roll over. She hasn’t rolled from back to front yet, although she’s been really on the verge a few times. Beth was crawling at a week after 6 months, which Cecy will turn tomorrow. Somehow I doubt she’ll be crawling in a week. Josie was 8 months, and that seems more likely. Doesn’t bother me, as I’ll have to watch her a lot more carefully and do a lot more childproofing once she starts to crawl.

I’m going to try something new next week. I’ve noticed that Josie is way behind where Beth was at her age in things like letters and numbers and colors. Beth went to a birthday party a few months before her 2nd birthday and got a toy that had lots of little parts. At the party, she was having fun putting the parts in the container, and counting, “One, two, tree,” clearly, all the way up to ten. Josie counts, “two, tree, two, tree,” repeated. At her 2nd birthday party, Beth got a toy that sang the alphabet, and she could sing it clearly along. Josie can mumble along, but she’s not really singing the letters at all, more just singing nonsense to the tune. Now, I know you aren’t supposed to compare them… but I worry that Josie isn’t getting the one-on-one attention that Beth got at her age, and that’s why she’s behind. Also, she’s gotten less of things like Sesame Street, because Beth has branched out into VeggieTales, Dora, princess movies, Christian movies, etc.

So, starting next week, we’re going to have Tuesday/Thursday morning “dayschool” with both Beth and Josie. Beth is excited about how we’re going to teach Josie.

So I’m going to organize a little bit more formal of a preschool sort of lesson for both girls. On those days, the morning TV is going to be Leapfrog (I have some alphabet/numbers DVDs), although they can choose the one they want. Then we’ll have a letter each day that we work on, and we’ll talk about the letter, do a craft with it, read a book about it, etc. We’ll include Josie, in the hopes of getting her some letter/number recognition. I think she’ll love it, and I think Beth will enjoy having a school companion finally. And they can definitely do things on a different level… Beth might get that the craft is making something that starts with the letter, Josie might just enjoy getting to glue things together. Beth will get to learn how to sound out simple words that start with the letter each week, Josie will start to see that letters make sounds. Etc. So, we’ll see how that goes.

Oh, and our heat is out again. Bah. We think that it’s been poorly maintained, but we’re not really sure what the problem is now. It’s awfully cold not to have heat, although we do have space heaters, which help. I put the little (less powerful) one with a thermostat in with Cecy, and the other stays in the main part of the house. I have to be careful where I plug them in so that I don’t overload a circuit, which is a pain.

I ordered a couple of new homeschool books, one on the sight words and one that is just a phonics one with “Zac the Rat,” supposed to be good. Beth recognizes the word “the,” so she’s got one sight word. More to come!