Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Big Mr. Kindergartener

I was going to title this "Little Mr. Kindergartener", but we've been telling Aaron that he's a big boy now and has to "do school" like Noah and Isaac.

So far, he's learning letter sounds, what each letter looks like, tracing, matching, coloring, cutting & pasting, and - he loves Math! Isaac randomly started teaching him things like "2 + 2 = 4" last year. Now Aaron can add almost any number up through 10, without me even "teaching" it. Easy for me! I've also been reading lots of books to him. Next, we'll start with learning to write his name and letters and numbers. He really resisted that last year, so hopefully he'll be ready for that soon.

Another favorite activity since preschool days - playing with dry beans. Counting, sorting, measuring, pouring, and making a mess.

He's also proudly able to design very interesting Lego creations all on his own, and assemble new Lego sets with minimal help. That's not typical Kindergarten curriculum; but we call it Pre-Engineering.

And that, folks, is what Kindergarten looks like for Aaron so far. Tough stuff! Don't you sometimes wish you were back in kindergarten?!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Play With Your Food

This is what you can do with odd-shaped produce from your garden:

This little guy was supposed to be a cucumber, but he turned out looking sort of gourd-like with a narrow nose! The eyes are black-eyed peas.

We found the book "Play With Your Food" by Joost Elffers several years ago. There are other books by the same author like "How Are You Peeling?" with all types of produce showing all sorts of emotions. "Food for Thought" is another favorite, which teaches shapes, colors, numbers, letters, and opposites. Some of the animals, faces, and characters they come up with are amazing!

Here's another one we did a while ago:

nice hair!

Sorry, Mom & Dad - I DO let my kids play with their food! (sometimes)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Weird Fruit and other Weird Sightings

Do you ever notice some of the strange and/or interesting types of fruit that show up in the produce department at your grocery store? My husband and boys are always very intrigued and feel compelled to buy it, bring it home, and check it out.

Last week, Isaac noticed something new. It's called Dragon Fruit. Also known as Pitahaya or Pitaya Fruit, it's common in Southeast Asia, Mexico, Central and South America, and Israel we discovered after looking it up on the internet. They come in a few different types, the kind we bought was the white variety:

This is what the inside looks like:

It looks almost kiwi-like with the little seeds, and you can scoop out the white fruit with a spoon, kind of like melon. But we found it to be fairly flavorless; not too interesting. To this family of fruit connoisseurs, we don't think it was worth the outrageous price of $3.49. It sure is pretty though!

Another weird sighting around our house (which happens often with 3 boys) . . . Yesterday I found Isaac and Aaron standing by the slide of our swing set, intently watching something and yelling "go! go!" like there was some kind of race. I went out to find that Isaac had spit on the slide, and they were waiting to see how long it took for the spit to reach the bottom of the slide! gross. (but of course, I still had to run inside and grab my camera!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Well, it's been a dark few weeks . . .

Try as hard as you might, but some things just don't ever turn out the way you would like.

We all know this a fact of life. But still, we're often surprised when it becomes obvious that our best efforts are just not enough. Especially when we're sure that we're doing the right thing, the best thing, with our circumstances.

And that's when we need to remember that we do not hold the present nor the future in our own hands. That's when we finally hear God saying "your way may be good, but my way is better." And we realize that we need to stop fighting, and release ourselves into his plan, because that's the best place to be.

That's what I've been struggling with the past several weeks. After months of being off the antidepressant medication that I've always had to take post-partum, after months of working hard to stay healthy, both physically and mentally, through natural and nutritional methods, I crashed into a bad depression.

Having had post-partum depression after the birth of each of my 3 boys, I'm no stranger to depression. But I had thought/hoped that was all behind me. This time, it snuck up on me - slowly and somewhat disguised at first. Then suddenly within a few days, it boldly made it's presence known, loud and clear in a way that couldn't be ignored.

My symptoms were similar to my previous experiences - feeling completely overwhelmed by and unable to accomplish ordinary tasks, crying a lot, feeling hopeless and despondent, having no interest in things I usually enjoy, and extreme anxiety. The anxiety caused almost constant feelings of restlessness, agitation, fear, no appetite, and the inability to relax or concentrate on anything.

For some, depression can simply be a lingering feeling of sadness. For me, I became almost unfunctional and felt like I was drowning in a deep, dark, scary pit. And that's when we knew that I needed help.

Natural, holistic methods have helped me with other chronic issues that I've had in the past. But it now became apparent that it wasn't enough for maintaining my mental health. I was so disappointed to be back at this point, and fearful of starting on antidepressant meds. again, because of side effects and that I felt that it contributed to many of the other health problems I experienced while on the medication.

I went to psychiatrist this time to get a full evaluation and to see what options there might be. She helped me understand, and finally accept, that I have a deficiency in my brain chemistry (neurotransmitters) and that I would probably need to be on medication for the rest of my life. The good news is that she felt the old medication I had been on wasn't really helping in the right way, and she wanted me to try a newer, different type of medication that has worked well for many people for long-term treatment, and with fewer side effects.

There've been some ups and downs, as there often is in adjusting to and tinkering with dosages with these types of medications. And some days I was convinced that this would never go away. But I finally began to see the light at the end of the tunnel a week or so ago, and am feeling a little more "normal" each day.

Before this, I prayed for years that God would bless my efforts to become and stay healthy by taking good care of my body. After all, God created all the herbs and vitamins and minerals that are so good for us, so why shouldn't I expect Him to answer that prayer with a "Yes"?

I was heart broken to feel that God was telling me "No". But I've slowly accepted that His "No" in this situation is really a "Yes" to another plan. His plan. A plan that I can't see fully at this point, in my limited, earthly mind. But it's a plan that He can see perfectly. And for that, I am humbled, thankful and grateful.