Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Spring cleaning /KonMari/ Changing seasons

This was going to be a short and sweet "everyday life" post, but it ended up taking me a long time to explain a few photos!

Do you do spring cleaning? There are always a lot of projects around this time of year.

Some of my projects aren't so fun. In my Konmari tidying (using the term very loosely), I'm done with my own clothes and books and need to tackle papers. I got all the important documents out of the cabinet and they're sitting there waiting for me, but tonight I decided to blog instead. :)

Maybe tomorrow?

Another category is old CDs. I already discarded some that required older versions of Windows. But I have to go through all the ones that might have files and photos, even though I probably have already copied a lot of them to an external hard drive. It's going to be tedious going through each one. I guess I'd better really discard the CDs this time so I don't have to sort them ever again! I'm keeping some music CDs for now, though.

Not looking forward to this, either.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

February Survey/Selfie

So it's been a whole year since I did one of these. Not that it's a bad thing, just feels like time flew by!

Rocking the sick toddler

What I've been...

Reading: Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Series, "The Out-of-Sync Child," "Tired of Being Tired," "The Well-Trained Mind," "Mere Motherhood," and The Chronicles of Narnia and Little House on the Prairie books (with David)

Watching: Jeopardy! on Netflix, Disney's Chronicles of Narnia, Madeline (animated)

Cooking/Eating: Too many baked goods! Bagels, blueberry muffins, chocolate cake, etc etc etc. I need more winter veggie possibilities...end up resorting to frozen ones and just sauteing them.

Listening to: Audiobooks, Mozart, and the occasional worship playlist.

Striving towards: Too many goals!

Looking forward to: Getting done with colds and doing some spring cleaning and getting ready to start Lent.

What David is up to: Saying cute things, carefully constructing arguments, defending himself against his sister, playing with dragons and other toys, and still learning the alphabet in two languages.

What Sophia is up to: Fighting for her rights (started hitting recently), talking a lot, a little potty training here and there, changing her outfit 10 times a day, playing with dolls, singing all the time, flinging puzzle pieces across the room, and helping me cook.

In February we celebrated Sophia's half birthday (2 1/2), Valentine's Day, and Russian "Men's Day."

(more photos after the jump)

Monday, February 25, 2019

Sleep and SAD-can YOU ignore the weather?

Last year I was all about fighting the winter slump. I read at least one book on SAD, which primarily focused on light therapy. I schemed about changing the light fixtures in our apartment, and bought various "happy" lamps.

The happy light I bought (Phillips?) turned out to be the wrong voltage and my father in law fixed it up for Russian use, but it's the kind of thing where you want to have it sitting on a table near you, and I have 2 very curious/destructive kids. So I haven't wanted to risk having it out on a table, and there it sits in the closet! :(

I also got 2 "sunrise" alarm clocks. They're off-brand because I wasn't sure if I would like it (and again, things get broken quickly around here). I've tried them a few times and even though they claim to brighten gradually, I'm pretty much awake with the first hint of light, and then it feels like I'm at the dentist's or something with a bright light in my face. So, it doesn't feel the same as sunshine. A few times I tried just shining the light in my face when I first woke up to send the message to my body that IT'S DAYTIME NOW despite the dark outside. I didn't find it to be effective, though.

So those were my experiments from last year.

Fall 2018 

This year my online fitness group did a walking challenge again during the month of November-get outside every day. I did this faithfully for the first two weeks or so. It's supposed to a) help you get more daylight to keep your body in rhythm and b) give you lots of fresh air/positive exercise vibes.

Well, November is definitely the month when it all starts-the grey, dreary weather and desire to hibernate. The walks didn't feel like they helped at ALL.
On my way to the clinic not knowing I had appendicitis.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Weekdays on the surgical ward

How I survived abdominal surgery for a ruptured appendix in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Part 1 is here.
Part 2 is here.

Continued from Part 3...

I survived the night! The nausea was constant. I expected that from the anesthesia, but the medications must have contributed, too. What medications, you may ask? Actually, they never told us. The doctor would tell the nurse and at certain times of day, the IV pole would be standing there with our last name written on up to 4 bottles of fluid.

I tried telling myself that I could make it through since I had survived two rounds of morning sickness. I remember vividly the morning sickness with Sophia: 7 weeks along, and I knew it would be a good 3-4 months of it. Each day was agonizing and dragged on. This case felt just as long. And my nose continued to be sensitive.

Plus, now I had this gaping wound in my side, with a drainage tube poking me! It was like...morning sickness plus C-section recovery all in one?

The day after my surgery was Monday, and I met the doctor whom I would end up seeing almost every day for a month. He made the rounds after breakfast each morning, accompanied by a young intern. That first day, I still didn't eat breakfast because the surgeon hadn't looked at me yet. And then he ended up keeping me on a liquid diet. Day 4 of no solid food.

Andrei brought me juice and even homemade broth. It gave me heartburn and I ended up gagging and vomiting. The nurse came in and yelled and said that anyone who'd had surgery shouldn't be consuming anything acidic like juice.

I needed something bland or my stomach was never going to settle. I begged the doctor to let me eat something and he gave permission for me to eat porridge. So Andrei brought me some very watered-down porridge, and it stayed down. He also smuggled me some crackers.

Unfortunately it wasn't desirable to keep snacks in the room due to cockroaches. And I wouldn't be able to get myself to the hall refrigerator and bend down to get things out. So Andrei just brought me little snacks during the day and then took the rest home.

Baby steps and Boot camp

The first week was spent mostly fighting the constant nausea, which distracted me from the bigger issue: The Wound.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

A tender heart

Andrei and I were having an intense discussion. I was crying. I think it was the second day of it, and when you live in an apartment, nothing gets past the kids (or neighbors-not that there was anything to be concerned about).

David was desperate to cheer everyone up. He ran up, forced himself between us, and shoved a book about the Nativity in our faces. He turned the pages, pointing to each picture depicting the birth of Jesus.

He thought that the birth of Christ would be the thing to put a smile on everyone's faces. Wasn't the Nativity enough to make everyone's problems melt away? It should be the correct answer, right? We did kind of turn the corner after that and had everything cleared up with a little more discussion.

Before bedtime, I went into David's room to assess the situation since the kids had been playing in there. There were a bunch of books on the bed and I wondered why the kids had gotten into the books. It wasn't something David would normally do without asking to read with one of us.

Later, I was lying awake myself and made the connection. David had moved some books to get to the box of Christmas books that hadn't gone back into storage yet. He had uncovered the box, opened it up, and sought out that specific book. He wanted so much to make me happy that he went on a hunt for the best he could find.

David has interesting insight about God. We put the audio Bible on or watch Bible cartoons sometimes, but don't really have a daily routine. He considers himself an expert by now, so it's hard to go back to anything we've read already. I'm looking forward to him being a reader and discovering the Bible on his own. I started trying to do the New City Catechism with him, but he almost always answers in his own words instead of repeating back the answers in the Catechism. I'm not really sure what to do with that! For example, 1) What is our only hope in life and death? The kids' answer reads "That we are not our own but belong to God." David usually says, "That we're God's when we're alive and God's when we're dead." Kind of the same thing, right? I just find it interesting that he goes to the trouble to change the words around. And he does it with the other questions, too. I think that will be a good skill as he starts school. But there are probably times when exact wording is important too, right? Especially with Scripture? But there are so many different translations of the Bible, so that's confusing. I dread that day he learns about THAT.

Part of the reason I was upset the other day was that I had just spent some time thinking about a homeschool schedule (see previous post), but David had spent an hour screaming hysterically over getting dressed. And then Sophia had a meltdown when I was cooking lunch! How would we ever add MORE tasks to our schedule if we can't handle clothing and meals?

So there's always a mix of exasperating and sweet moments.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Trying out homeschooling again

I will get back to hospital life soon- it takes some time to remember and organize my thoughts.

You guessed it, our schedule changed again and now we're starting over.

I might be repeating myself, but also have some fresh speculations about homeschool life. First of all, as you might have noticed, I've been dragging my feet about committing to a formal school day. And I'm also kind of reluctant to join a "community." There is so much information out there! There are lots of great blogs, and Instagram accounts. I look at Instagram posts (of homeschoolers) and see lots of comments asking of materials, "where'd you get that?" Obviously I don't ask the question myself because it wouldn't be sold in stores here or delivered to Russia. But there is still a moment when I think "I want that too...but I don't NEED it." The materials we have at our disposal are just right for us. But, it may take a little more creativity or perusing the Russian homeschool forums.

I'm attracted to the Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling and am currently trying to see if I can make it work with our family life. I like the whole concept of laying a "feast" before the children, presenting them with rich cultural treasures through a range of subjects, taking nature walks, etc.

At first glance, the methodology seems simple. I've been perusing Ambleside Online and Simply Charlotte Mason  as well as working through Charlotte Mason's actual works.

Much of the approach revolves around "living books" (stories with real-life application) as opposed to textbooks. I took a look at our picture books, and they pretty much fit this description anyway, in a range of subjects-science, geography, history, etc.

But it's still a jump to go from just reading books together to turning it into school. I think it's going to take some work to make a transition into more formal schooling. My hope is that David and/or Sophia will get used to the format and then it will go more smoothly without having to explain each time what we are doing and why.

So, a few questions that have come up: