Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Year...



...with so many things to look forward to. Each new day, with so many things to be grateful for, to appreciate. I am focusing on that today.

The Lizard King is in Afghanistan and we will be celebrating this day apart. Rather than focus on that, I will focus on how his being there short term will benefit us long term. I am grateful that he has a job. I am grateful for what that job is doing for us.

All the debt that has been hanging over our heads for years and years, as a result of his divorce, is on a downward spiral. We will be essentially debt free by June. Yes it is hard to be apart, but once LK is home we will be able to really live for ourselves. We will have time together everyday. We will have weekends together. We will have our own home. We will be working to support only ourselves. LK can stick to his computer nerd regular desk job and save the home improvement, back breaking and repair work for us in our new home.

2009 has had its challenges, but those challenges are on the way out. Here's to a beautiful 2010. Happy New Year everyone!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Climbing Rocks and Falling Snow

A local gym - Club Sport - home of the biggest rock wall, hosts a monthly climb for homeschoolers called "Homeschool Rocks". This is Princess' second time climbing. She was more hesitant this time than the first. The first time she made it all the way to the top! This time not so much, but she still had a blast!
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We had our first snow! The city was a mess. Our friends who had come over for a playdate had to leave early in the hope of avoiding the mess. Too late! The 30 minute drive took more than 3 hours! My sister was let out of work early. It took her more than 4 hours to get home! Thank goodness they all got home safely.

Sorry to say, Portlanders just don't know how to drive in the snow and the city doesn't know how to handle it either. We generally don't get much snow here. Yesterday, we got about 3+ inches!! Woo hoo! I'm a Philly girl, so 3 inches isn't all that impressive really but things are different here. So again...woo hoo!








Monday, December 28, 2009

My Child's Pain

This is the girl who used to be my daughter. She was beautiful and happy and perfect. This was at the end of July.






By August her skin started to change. It was just in a few places. You can see it on her inner arms. She still looks like a beautiful, happy girl.




By October her skin looked horrible. This is part of why I stopped blogging. My daugter doesn't look like herself anymore. Her skin is a mess. I had stopped taking photos of her. In time I started getting used to the way she looked and took lots of photos, trying to get one that looked okay enough to post. If you look at the December photos I posted here you will see and you'll notice in almost every photo she is scratching.



You see a very different little girl here. My daughter now looks ill, like something is wrong with her. Everyone around us sees it. It hurts my heart to see her like this. She is not the happy, beautiful, perfect little girl that she used to be. She is itchy and scratches all the time. She is stressed. She tells me that the eczema is the worst thing that has ever happened to her.

Through the last few months I have tried homeopathy alone to deal with this. We have tried removing possible allergens. We apply jojoba oil twice a day. Still there are countless flakes of skin everywhere. The homeopath says it could take six months or more to heal with homeopathy. Princess' skin has improved in some ways. There are no more painful and seeping wounds. But it is now covering her entire body head to toe. Her skin is so dry it is scaly and rough. Her hands look older than my hands. She has scabs from scratching. I can't keep watching her suffer this way. I wish that I could take this onto my own body. I don't know what the right answer is. Steroids scare me. There are a few more things to try and we have an appointment today with someone. I also plan to call a pediatric dermatologist, but am a little hesitant. I will call and see what they have to offer.
Being a mom is so hard, especially with something like this. Am I doing the right thing? Is naturopathy the right thing? Is homeopathy the right thing? Are there other solutions? Do I use a combination of things? Do I turn to icky, horrible steroids? I know how awful steriods are. I've used them before and I avoid them now because of my experience. And steroids will only mask the problem by treating the symptom. We need to find the cause.

I'm getting advice, so that's not what I'm looking for here. I have friends who care so much and are trying to be helpful and supportive. I am so grateful for them. I guess I just needed to put it out there.

Thank you for listening.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Winter Lapbook

Our winter exploration has indeed turned into a lapbook, simple though it may be.



You'll have to look at the next two photos laying down. I shot them landscape, blogger turned them. Weird!









What's up next for this royal household? Kwanzaa exploration and a search for my funny. It seems to be missing. If you've seen it, please contact me. I am offering a reward for any clues leading to the recovery of my sense of humor.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Winter

The Lizard King is safely in Afghanistan. Princess and I are getting back into our routine. The house is a wreck, but I'm slowly getting things in order.

We have spent the last few days reading winter stories, doing winter worksheets, projects and learning a bit, too.

We made a real crystal snowflake using these instructions.









We read the Ukranian Folktale, The Mitten in this little book we found on the Enchanted Learning website.



We colored a mitten and animals found on the website, too so that we could act out the story ourselves.





I turned our Math-U-See workbook into Winter math with some snowflake stamps. We really like Math-U-See. The math worksheets I found online were simply math problems with snowflakes on the page. This just seemed more fun.



We've done crossword puzzles, played Tic-Tac-Snow, found our way through a maze, a picture hunt, we read The Snowy Day and this activity to go with it. We read Winter Waits and It's Winter. And who doesn't love to color a winter picture?!

We are turning this exploration into a lapbook. I'll be sure to share the photos once we're done.

Happy Winter everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Disney World!

After a long day of flying from Portland to Orlando (through Atlanta) we finally landed around 11pm. We got our luggage and boarded the Magical Express to go to our hotel and see the Lizard King for the first time in three months. It was a 30 minute drive that seemed to last forever. Nearing our hotel, Princess and I were on the edge of our seats. As we pulled up in front of the hotel entrance, I was scanning the area for LK. Then I saw him sitting on a bench (on the edge of his seat) waiting for us to arrive.

As soon as the doors to the bus opened Princess and I descended the steps and LK came running. He picked up Princess, holding her tightly to him, wrapping an arm around me and pulling be into the embrace as we all cried. It doesn't happen often, and it always amazes me when he tears up.

By the time we got to sleep, it was 2am. We had a 9:15 reservation to have breakfast with the Princesses. That so didn't happen. Princess rolled over and continued sleeping when we tried to wake her at 8:30. We let her sleep. Fortunately we were able to reschedule (after calling everyday, hoping for a cancellation).

I didn't take as many photos as the last time, but got lots of Princess with character she met.



































I asked Princess what her favorite thing was about Disney World. She told me that was a really hard question. She liked the rides and Kim Possible spy missions at Epcot and of course, seeing Daddy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hanukkah 2009

This Hanukkah was especially wonderful. Getting to spend all eight days, all day and night, with the Lizard King was amazing. He is on a plane now, heading to Dubai and then on to Afghanistan. I thought I'd share the week in pictures (beginning with day 2 since you've already seen day 1).

This year I did something that I've wanted to do for quite a while. All of the presents were wrapped in fabric and tied up with fabric ribbon. Surprisingly, I found it easier to wrap this way. And the fabric is easily reused. Way cool!



Day 2






Day 3




Day 4


Day 5


Day 6




Day 7 (Three Musketeers Barbies)


Day 8



This dollhouse is awesome! It comes with EVERYTHING!

We also had our traditional Hanukkah dinner with a bit of a Thanksgiving twist to make up for the missed Thanksgiving dinner together. LK makes the best Thanksgiving stuffing and the best Hanukkah Latkes. YUM!

Next update...Disney World!