Sunday, March 29, 2009

Knee Cap

Hey, I do have a knee cap buried under all that swelling! I can see my knee cap again!!!!!!
Can positive visualization and daily massage really work this well? It must because I am feeling great!!!

Copy Cat

We have a copycat in the house. Unfortunately, I am not the only one in the house limping and struggling to get up the stairs. A week ago Thursday, Izzy, our two year old border collie, started limping. We aren't sure what happened but we could tell her right hind leg was in pain. Rather than trying to walk on it, she spent most of her time sleeping. However, by the end of the weekend, she seemed to be getting better so I cancelled the appointment with the vet. Then, Tuesday night, we could tell she was still struggling to get up so we scheduled another appointment. After taking her to our holistic vet, we found out she has a torn ligament in her knee. She was able to do an adjustment that day and will have to return for future chiropractic visits. She also put her on glucosomine (I am now sharing my supplements with our dog) and boswellia for the inflammation. Hopefully my little shadow will be feeling better soon.

*New Plan: After a week of massage and visualizing positive images, I am seeing great results in my knee. The swelling is actually going down!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Celebrating "The Curse"

For many woman, their period is considered "the curse". Although I wouldn't say it is always an enjoyable event, I can never think of it as a "curse". Women have amazing bodies that have the potential to create and nourish life and this is just part of the beautiful process. I have always tried to share my period as a celebration of my body's potential rather than a monthly annoyance when discussing it with my daughter.

Several years ago, a friend gave us an article from Mothering magazine about having a Red Party. When an 11 year old started her period, she chose to celebrate it with girlfriends and their mothers. Together, mother and daughter created a beautiful ceremony of gifts, poems and special individual wishes. Although the way this family chose to celebrate this coming of age was a little elaborate for what my daughter would ever feel comfortable with, I love that they made it work for them and initiated this young girl into womanhood in a positive way.

Although most Americans don't tend to celebrate a girl's first period, I love reading about how other cultures celebrate the coming of age as a special event rather than a "curse". Check out this site and scroll down to the bottom. My favorite is the story from the tribe of Ulithi. When a girl starts her period she goes to the menstrual house where she is joined by other women who bathe her and recite magic spells. Wouldn't it be nice if we allowed ourselves that quiet time once a month?

I have something special planned for my daughter that I think will fit her personality and will allow us time alone to bond as women. I don't want things to happen any sooner than they should, but at the same time I am excited to share in her womanhood as it develops. I want it to be a positive experience for her.

The article about the Red Party sparked an interest for Alexander in how boys celebrate their entry into adulthood which I share in this post about Zandyman 2008. When Alexander felt he was ready, he and my husband Steve planned out an initiation into adulthood that was just right for Alexander.
For any women out there wanting something different than the regular disposable pad, you might want to check out these cloth menstrual sites. At first sight it seems like a weird concept, but after using them for a while, they are wonderful. They are a great way to honor both your body and the environment.
Many Moons - cloth pads
New Moon Pads - Ideas for soaking pad pots, pads, and much more.
Diaper Sewing - patterns to make cloth pads at home.

Monday, March 23, 2009

New Approach to Stubborn Knee

I have decided to take a new approach with my left knee that continues to stubbornly fight me by swelling/stiffening up. It almost feels like "bad energy" is in the knee and just needs to be worked out. So, twice a day, I have been using warm oil to massage it. While I massage it, I visualize bike riding, running as fast as I can while my 10 and 12 year old try to catch me, running up the stairs, and sitting on the floor with my legs crossed. I am trying to put "good energy" back in the leg. Steve is helping out with the evening massage and it feels much better when he does it. Maybe between the two of us we can force this energy out of my knee and life can return to normal. (Okay, not my normal but normal for the rest of society).

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Organic Millet/Buckwheat Pillow

For Christmas, Steve bought me a pillow. It isn't an ordinary pillow. It is made of organic buckwheat and millet. The first night was weird because I had this feeling that I was sleeping on a bag of rice from my food coop. However, it is really comfortable.
Here is what the Pillow Company has to say about the pillow:
Millet hull Night Pillows are found all over Europe where they have been used for centuries. Buckwheat hull Night Pillows come from Asia, where they have been known for centuries as well. Then there are rice hull pillows in Japan and spelt hull pillows in Germany. All hull pillows share the exact same benefits despite their very different texture: The weight of your head cannot press the air out of the pillow (as happens with all other traditional pillows) so hull pillows retain the same height night after night for years of use. Your spine is aligned in the correct position, your neck muscles can relax, and you awaken without headaches or shoulder neck tightness.
I never would have imagined this pillow would be so comfortable. I can use it to prop myself up in a sitting position when reading in bed or move it around to find the perfect position for my head to sleep at night. The only problem - it is heavy. Last week both my wrists were swollen. You know the type? When you can barely lift your tea cup with two hands. Sophia was sick and wanted me to sleep in her room. I had to ask her to carry my pillow for me. She said, "Mom, this pillow is not arthritis friendly." For swollen wrists that want to carry the pillow, she is right. However, most nights, it is wonderful!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pizza Fusion Is Open

Pizza Fusion is open!!! I have been waiting for some time for this restaurant to open not only because they offer pizzas with organic sauce and veggies and hormone free meats and cheeses, but because they also offer a gluten free pizza crust!!!!

The kids and I were on our way to our homeschool group yesterday when we realized they had opened. We ran in quickly to grab a menu and then called in our order before leaving group. When we arrived to pick up our order, the owner/manager gave us a quick tour of this eco-friendly restaurant. The counter is made from recycled glass, I believe he said the wood floors are bamboo, the brick is recycled from a tear down, the toilets use less water, the light bulbs reflect the natural light and the insulation is made from blue jeans. Pretty cool, huh?. Just sitting in the restaurant makes you feel you did something good for the day.

Now, about the pizza. The gluten free pizza only comes in large. So, we ordered a large gluten free pizza (feeds 2-3) for Alexander, Sophia and myself and a personal pizza for Steve. It was awesome! It was like eating a thin crust wheat pizza. Wonderful!

The only problem was the price. A large pizza is $13 but an extra $7 is tacked on to make it gluten free. We were fine with a large for the three of us yesterday because they kids had lots of St. Patrick's Day snacks at our homeschool group, but generally, we would need more food. So, that would mean buying two large pizzas for $40 and then another $10 for Steve's pizza. On occasion, that will be fine, but not something we can indulge in often. However, I am just happy to have another gluten free option. Thank you Pizza Fusion for thinking of your gluten free friends when creating a menu.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mom, A Role Model of Strength and Determination

My mom has fibromyalgia. She has had it for years. Like rheumatoid arthritis, many mornings are difficult for her to get out of bed. Like rheumatoid arthritis, she fights pain throughout much of the day. Like rheumatoid arthritis, it drains every bit of the energy she has.

What is remarkable about my mom is that even though she fights fibromyalgia on a daily basis, she doesn't let it stop her from living her dreams. After working as a RN, a director and parish nurse for over 40 years for a hospital in Kansas, my mom was laid off. For many, this would have been detrimental. Not so for my mom. She ignored the age issue and the physical limitations and followed her strong belief in the work of parish nurses to create Kansas Parish Nurse Ministry where among many things, she puts in tons of hours organizing an annual conference for parish nurses.

Instead of letting fibromyalgia get in the way of life, my mom had a beautiful house built for herself, she volunteers many hours of her time a week, and in the last year she has spent her time and energy with an elderly friend during his last days.

My mom has had a dream of traveling ever since she was a little girl. Rather than feel sorry for herself or worry that she may not be able to keep up with everyone at all times, she has gone on several trips abroad. Right now she is on a pilgrimage to Turkey and Greece.

My mom is a remarkable woman. She has spent her adult life caring for six children, patients in hospitals, and many friends. She has a heart of gold that keeps giving. She also has determination. Many days are a challenge for her physically and mentally. Like rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia can rob you of your self esteem and worth. There are many times my mom can visualize her body doing more than it already is. Yet, she doesn't let that stop her from living life to its fullest.

I don't know if it is the caring nature of my mom or that because of her fibromyalgia she understands very well the ups and downs of my rheumatoid arthritis, but I often get emails or phone messages from her just letting me know that she is thinking about me and that she loves me. She checks in on me often and has been supportive of all the choices I have made along this journey with rheumatoid arthritis and life in general. I feel lucky to not only have her continued support but to have her continued determination to see life as beautiful with endless possibilities as my guide in life.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Home Remedy for Removing a Wart

For the last year or so, Alexander has been wearing a wart on his hand. We decided to do an experiment and see if we could get rid of it without having to visit the doctor's office. Twice a day for about three weeks, we have dabbed a cotton ball with Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar and secured it on Alexander's wart with a band-aid. Slowly, the wart has shrunk until now it is only a speck. Pretty cool, huh?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Three Days of Fun! Fun! And More Fun!

I woke up this Sunday morning to rain. It feels good. After three days of fun, fun and more fun, I am ready for a quiet day at home with my family and the rain is a perfect setting for that.

Visiting Old Friends
On Thursday, some of our best friends in the world visited us. We met Karen, Tracy and Brian seven years ago when we first started our homeschooling journey. Our families were both involved in a homeschool playgroup together. Not only did all of our personalities click immediately, but we also were on a different journey than our other homeschooling friends in the group. Our two families knew that we would be following a child led, rather than "school at home" type of learning. It was nice (and still is) to have that connection to another family early on. In the early days of our friendship we spent several days a week together. About 5-6 years ago, our friends moved about 2.5 hours away to a small farm. They raised chickens for several years and recently bought two horses. As the years have gone by and our children have become busier with life, it has been more difficult to see each other on a regular basis, but whenever we do, it feels good. I was glad to spend some time alone with them and then share them with our new friends on Friday.

IN HOME Conference
Friday morning we were up and out of the house by 9:00 to attend the IN HOME conference for the first time. The kids and I each participated in four different workshops throughout the day. Steve laughed that my favorite workshop at a homeschooling conference was the first workshop which I attended with Sophia on animals. It was a workshop presented by a rehabilitative vet in San Antonio. He shared how he had been a prisoner of war and knew what it felt like to be caged up. He never wanted to do that to another living thing. Besides the interesting facts we learned about the animals, which everyone in the audience was encouraged to touch, (possum, alligator, hedgehog, and ostrich) he shared many values that I like: Don't be afraid to learn new things and new ideas and don't judge someone on the color of their hair or the way they dress until you get to know them better. He said this applies to humans as well as animals. He was very soft spoken and interesting. My second workshop was interrupted by the fire alarm going off but was on creating entrepreneur children. We were able to finish up but I don't know that I agreed with her ideas. In the third workshop we shared our homeschooling journeys. We all came from different places with different ideas on how to homeschool (school at home, relaxed, religious based, unschooling, etc), but what we all shared in common is a genuine desire to do what we feel is best for our children. I got tears in my eyes when one mother explained how her five year old son left for school with excitement and creativity and when she pulled him out at 11 years old he was sad, friendless, and felt stupid. He is 30 years old now and she doesn't feel she was ever able to undo the damage. She did continue to homeschool three of her other children and says she stays connected to homeschoolers so that she can encourage those parents that are wandering in between school and homeschooling to give homeschooling a chance. One middle eastern father shared how he and his wife did the traditional college and corporate world routine but felt they were not connecting as a family. He left the corporate world behind him to work for himself so he could help at home and allow his wife to concentrate on homeschooling. I admire the sacrifices they have made to make this work for their family. I left feeling like I could learn much from each of the parents in this session. My final workshop was on the homeschooling marriage. Here the presenter shared some wonderful reminders for all marriages of taking time together as a couple, listening to your spouse with an open mind, appreciating your spouses love language, and remembering that homeschooling is only one part of many parts in your life and to not let it consume your every thought.

The kids participated in some fun workshops. Alexander went to a renewable energy workshop that he really enjoyed. Then he met up with Sophia to wrap mummies. Steve was able to join us for the evening workshops and went with Alexander to a workshop where they created their own computer game. They both loved that! Last night they were in bed reading some of the documentation together. Pretty nerdy, huh? I love it!

Sophia, my little social butterfly was off and running around to each of the workshops with friends. She had a blast in face painting and breaking secret codes. In between workshops both kids either met up with friends to talk or swim with them. The evening ended with a family dance that was really fun! The kids both danced in groups and really enjoyed themselves. They stayed for a little bit of the teen dance and then decided to hit the pool again before it closed. Steve and I were both fine with that. We were enjoying our time with our friends too. Around midnight we were in our car and heading home exhausted, but very fulfilled.

RAIN: A Tribute To The Beatles
Saturday morning we slept in and then headed to Chicago to see RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles. Wow!!!! The show was awesome. The band took us through the early days of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964, through the Sgt. Pepper era and on to the Abbey Road years changing costumes and hair styles. The audience participated in singing and dancing. We loved singing to some of our favorite songs: Revolution and Hey Jude. Afterwards we ate downtown and then headed home. It was a perfect day together.

So, today we will enjoy the comforts of our cozy home and the company of each other as the rain continues throughout the day. Enjoy your Sunday!

*I will be posting photos on my unschooling blog as soon I can get photos from Sophia's camera.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

This Treasure of Mine

I have this treasure.

This treasure of mine is the sunshine of my day.

This treasure of mine wakes up in the morning and heads straight to me each and every morning for a hug.

This treasure of mine gets up numerous times a day to check on our dog so I don't have to.

This treasure of mine grabs the grocery bags when we are shopping so I don't have to carry them.

This treasure of mine greets me at the door with a smile whether I am coming back from a walk or returning from work.

This treasure of mine will tell his friends, "I will be right back", so that he can kiss me good-bye.

This treasure of mine knows me so well that even when I say, "Nothing is wrong," he knows something is and will just listen without giving advice.

This treasure of mine sets his alarm on his watch to remind me when I need to wake from a nap.
This treasure of mine called me his "tiny little momma" the other night. I loved that.

This treasure of mine will walk with me anytime I ask.

This treasure of mine enjoys sharing a cup of tea with me morning, day or night.

This treasure of mine is like no other.

This treasure of mine is my 12 year old son Zandy (Alexander). On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday he was sick with a fever and headache. Although I have always been fully aware of how lucky I am to have this guy, I have been more aware the last few days when all he wanted to do was sleep. I am hoping today brings health back to my treasure.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Good Night's Sleep and A New Attitude

It is amazing how one good night of sleep can make a world of difference in how you view the world. Last night I fell asleep around 10:45ish and woke up at 8:00 this morning. I woke feeling positive about the world again and amazingly didn't have all the pain in my knee and shoulder that I went to bed with. I think this is going to be a good day that will lead to many more!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Friends for Izzy

Yeah, I have been a little into Izzy lately. I think that like us, she is starting to experience some cabin fever and we are both dreaming about some outdoor outings together exploring new forest preserves and excited to start seeing friends venture out of their houses again as we take walks through the neighborhood. (We are fine with bikers staying home though) But, until it warms up a bit, she is fine visiting her friend Bella, another border collie.

With snow melting and backyards being muddy, they have both missed their time together. We try to do several play dates a week, but when it is muddy, I avoid it. I have had to give both dogs baths too many times.

Bella had a 10 day house guest - a five month old golden retriever, Yogi. Wow! I am glad we are past that energy. (I think Bella is too. She definitely enjoys her quiet time alone and kept trying to find little areas of the yard to sit alone) He is absolutely adorable but very clumsy with very little patience. It makes me realize how much patience Izzy has gained in her two years of life.

For the most part, the three dogs got along well. The only problem was when Yogi accidentally stepped on Izzy's tail. In her dominant way, she let him know that wasn't okay and then they were back to playing. I love to see her pouncing around playing with others.

Tired....just so tired

Do you ever feel like you have researched so much that there isn't anything left to find? Do you ever feel like you are just tired of trying new things? Do you ever get sick of hearing about new things to try? Do you ever get tired of trying the old things that always worked in the past? Do you ever feel like you have done your best but maybe it just isn't good enough? I am tired. I am tired of trying. My knee has been giving me a lot of pain for about a week and I am getting little sleep which has made me a bit moody. I am just tired of the suprises rheumatoid arthritis brings to my life.