Archives for the month of: September, 2018

Years ago, when DH and I first got married, we had a small fish tank (maybe 1 gallon or so) and a few neon tetras. After a year or so, we upgraded to a 10 gallon tank and over the course of several years we had an assortment of platys, guppies, mollies, tetras and a huge pleco. At some point (I think either during my pregnancy with Tru or after he was born) we decided to take a break from the aquarium and found homes for the remaining fish with a couple relatives.

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Circa 2009 – Our first tank and “Phillip”

 

 

I think I mentioned it on here already but last year when we were at the fair, a boy gave Levi a fish that he won at one of those ball toss games. Well, it was late in the day and I had no idea how long the fish had already been in the bag of water but I took him home that night and poured him into a vase until I could get a tank the next day. I went and bought a small aquarium after church, brought it home and, lo and behold, it was USED! Someone had returned a very scratched and icky tank to the store in the original box. So, I took it to the store and explained what happened and bought a different but even smaller tank.

 

 
Why is any of this important? It’s not… Anyway, I figured that rainwater would be safe for the goldfish, but it wasn’t. He developed terrible black stuff all over his fins. I swapped his water for bottled water and the black stuff spread to cover his whole body. But by this time, the boys were a little attached to this fish, and considering we had lost our dog in may and our hamster later on, I wasn’t about to give up on the fish just yet. I bought this assortment of water treatment supplies and, what do you know… that little fish was back to normal in no time!

 

 
And he grew. A lot… a whole lot. I don’t know how big your average, ordinary, fair prize goldfish is supposed to get but this guy got huge! …. I attempted to measure him just now by holding a measuring tape up to the tank and he’s almost 5 inches. …. After a few months, we found ourselves buying yet another tank (this is getting expensive, btw), this time a 5 gallon one. So here we are, over a year since we got the fish, and talk is that we are going to have to upgrade him to a bigger tank, AGAIN! He’s now outgrowing the 5 gallon tank (should have went with the 10, but I was all “It’s too much space on my TV stand.) and at this point I’m thinking, let’s skip 10 and just get him a 20 gallon tank. For reals!

 

 

When you want peace and tranquility but your kids want a gator skull..

Funny thing about healthy fish… They don’t hold still for pictures.

Anyway, the other day it occurred to me that I had an empty 1 gallon tank sitting under my sink with absolutely nothing to do. So of course I immediately set it up, bought a better (read, quieter) filter and bought a new fish the next day. It’s a betta and he’s not cool with the filter. Therefore, at the first opportunity I get, I plan to move him to a large wall bubble aquarium (It’s an acrylic fish tank that hangs on the wall…. yes, I know.) and get a different fish for the 1 gallon tank that is in my bedroom (tranquility). Then the 5 gallon tank needs to go…. somewhere… and we need to move Goldie (I know, how original. Our blue betta is named Bluie. The kids are just awesome with names) to a bigger 20 gallon tank.

The betta tank, currently

Earlier today I was at the pet store looking at some very gorgeous gigantic tanks that only cost a mere $400-$700 and was just dreaming….

Also, today I branched out into new territory… an aquatic plant. I’ll keep you posted!

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The morning of the homeschool group meetup, (where we were planning to check out the group my SIL joined with her kids) we woke up dark and early to drive the 1.5ish hours to the arboretum where the meetup was taking place. The kids were not in the mood for breakfast so I just gave them both an applesauce squeeze pouch and packed a bunch of breakfast biscuits and our picnic lunch.

 

 

We got about 45 minutes into our drive and Tru said “My belly hurts.” Eh, he says that all the time and lots of the time, he’s fine. So I kept driving. A few minutes later, Levi said the same thing. I kept driving. Lots of the time he says the same stuff as Tru, because, sameness. Then I heard Levi gagging! I hurried up and pulled over and covered his chest and lap with a sweatshirt and covered Tru too while I was at it. I had given them both some of the breakfast biscuits and they were nibbling on them, so, I decided to keep driving since no barf had happened.

 

 

Well, a little over an hour into the trip, Blech! Barf all over Levi. I pulled over and cleaned him up and at that point, I turned right around! I stopped to get us some pop at a drive-thru to settle everyone’s stomachs. Tru ended up panicking twice about the idea that he might barf, (because he is my kid) so we pulled over 2 more times just in case. Then when we were a mere 15 minutes from home, Blech!! Barf all over Tru. I had just pulled over for the 5th time and was able to assist him so we didn’t have a bad mess. Levi was sound asleep at that point but Zane was crying and screaming at me every time we pulled over and didn’t get out of the van.

 

 

Finally (!!!) nearly 3 hours after we left, we arrived back home and got the boys a bath and some cartoons to watch while I disassembled and washed 2 car seats (It could have been worse… there was no barf in the van!). They rested for awhile and were back to normal after that the rest of the day. I really have no idea why we had the barf episodes but I’m thrilled that was the end of it. My friend sent us some essential oil to help with tummy trouble after she heard about our little adventure. THANK YOU J!! โค I’ve already used it on them 3 times when they complained of tummy ache.

 

 

So yeah, the homeschool group adventure that was not. But maybe next time! ๐Ÿ™‚

This is NOT an affiliate post. Just my opinion. I’m not linking or getting compensated. 
Lately I have been giving Zane 2 or 3 bottles a day of breastmilk from my freezer stash or formula. I just don’t have a lot of milk right now and it fluctuates a lot with my cycles. It’s been so hot here lately that I discovered Zane was starting to be dehydrated. One day he had only 1 wet diaper! ๐Ÿ˜จ I felt horrible to know my baby had been thirsty all day. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ 

Zane never loved bottles all that much when he was a little guy, so I stopped trying to fight him to take one every evening. He would do alright hit and miss but it was annoying to have to pump in place of nursing him anyway. So it had been a few months since he’d taken a bottle when I reintroduced it. At first I could only get him to take it in his sleep. He would drink it down really well as long as he was just dream-feeding. But pretty soon he got used to it (and the taste of formula, which he definitely didn’t love at first) and now he takes his bottles well usually. 
I decided to use drop-in liner bottles this time around (T and L both used regular bottles once we started them) and I like them SO MUCH BETTER! I don’t have to wash a bottle. No scrubbing with a bottle brush or hoping the dishwasher will get them clean. And no filmy bottles! Plus, we only have 1 bottle currently and it’s not a problem! With the other kids, I always had several bottles in different stages of washing, drying, feeding… But now all I do is wash the nipple and put in a new liner. We were on vacation last week and it made bottle making in the car a breeze! 

Anyway, you may be wondering why I’m bragging up these bottles when I’m not even getting paid… Well, the reason is because I’m frustrated that I can’t seem to find liners and replacement nipples (let alone another 4oz bottle) easily in most stores. So I’m stuck ordering the liners online. 

Which brings me to another point… I can get a 100 count box of liners online for under $6 with free shipping. So it’s not as if the liners are cost prohibitive. But it seems the bottles may be going out? Like they are on their way to extinction? And I just don’t get it! Something convenient, easy to use, air free, sterile…. Yeah… Let’s not make that too handy to pick up in stores. ๐Ÿ™„
And a word on the accuracy of the measurements, I get that it is a bit harder to judge. But I don’t find it to be an issue. If I was seriously concerned (like with a newborn) I would just measure the water in a regular bottle and pour it into the liner. Still wouldn’t be stuck washing a bottle. And Zane likes his milk warm so I use a bottle warmer at home. I put the milk in a cup in the warmer and then pour it in the bottle. It heats up faster than setting the bottle in hot water and I can put the cup in the dishwasher. Maximum laziness… I mean, time management… Achieved. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

I’ve known for years that I wanted to at least try to Homeschool my children someday but I’ve always had some apprehension about doing so. That is mostly because I feel way under qualified to teach the higher grades in a comprehendible way. I mean, the kids have to actually understand and grasp the material and in order for that to happen, I have to have a good concept of it myself! And I’ve never been overly confident in my grasp of certain subjects; math for instance. ๐Ÿ™„ I absolutely loved Science, Biology, and History but I’ve been far less excited about English and Math in the upper grades. So all of this has made me worried over the years, until recently….

 

 
My SIL found a great curriculum which we actually used bits and pieces of over the years when I was a kid. I liked it pretty well myself back then but we never had a set curriculum. It was always some of this and some of that. Which worked out alright I guess but personally, I think I’d rather teach with a set course that is all laid out and organized. And one that will give my kids a real diploma at the end so they don’t have to get their GED like I did! The curriculum my SIL is using looks really simple to teach from and comes with all the teacher answer keys. I like that it is a Christian based program too and is affordable. DH and I have also talked about using online schooling at some point. I think that would be a really good option for the higher grades but when the kids are younger, I prefer the flexibility of schooling on my own time. I will definitely still want to keep a schedule with it but if we need a day off or something, I think it would be nice to make it up as we go along. I’m not sure at what grade I would want to switch to online but I’m sure I’ll be able to tell when the time has come. 

 

 
The other pro to doing a curriculum that isn’t online (at least for the first several grades) is the ability to tweak the lessons to fit the learning styles of each child. For example, I can sit with Tru and read him books and watch educational videos with him and he soaks it up like a sponge! He also loves to work on projects with me and has a pretty high level of patience for hands-on learning experiences. Levi doesn’t learn as well this way though. Sitting still and reading isn’t his thing. He has never liked watching videos very well and he doesn’t have much patience for sitting down to do a project. Of course, he’s 3, so I expect his attention span will grow with age. I just want to make sure that I present lessons and projects in a way that my kids can learn from as individuals with their own learning style.

One thing that is extremely important to me is that we get involved with a Homeschool group and that my kids have the opportunity to play sports if they want to. It’s absolutely not negotiable. It’s the one thing that I always said I would do differently for my kids so that they don’t feel left out or cut off from their friends. We are already scheduled to go on a group outing next week and I’m super excited! I have also found another group that does hiking adventures and I know that is definitely one I’m interested in with my boys. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 
 

 
There is a possibility that Tru and Levi may be able to do the same grade at the same time since they are only 17 months apart in age. I’m not sure how that would go over but I would really like to try to start them both in kindergarten at the same time and see if it works. If it doesn’t, we won’t worry about it. But can you imagine how much easier it would be to teach them 1 class together? YAY! If they were going to school, that probably wouldn’t be a good idea but for me at home teaching them, it may go over alright.

 

 
We started preschool last week (officially – we have done preschool workbooks with Tru for the last couple years but now we are doing it for real) and both boys are absolutely loving it! We do a worksheet or two from a preschool workbook and follow that with an art project that incorporates the lesson content. We also like to use dry-erase tracing books just to make it more fun. We look for numbers and letters everywhere we go. Both Tru and Levi know all the primary colors and most shapes. I have lots of flash cards that we play with to help reinforce the things they have learned. I try to keep it short and simple (about an hour at a time) and as fun as possible. I hope that we continue to enjoy “playing schoolwork”, as the boys say. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

What about you? Do you think Homeschooling would be fun? Any insight or tips?

It’s been quite awhile since I did a real update on Rocky. He’s heathy and happy as long is he is with his people. (True of most dogs, I would say.) When he isn’t with us, as in, in the same room…. even if he can see us, he gets sad and frantic, and that is where we have a problem. I do believe that he has seperation anxiety, and given his history as a puppy which we can only make a guess about, that’s understandable. When we got Rocky from the shelter, he was very very skinny and had been presumably dropped on the side of the road before someone brought him in. The fact that he absolutely spazzes out when I leave the room or get in the car makes sense. Lately we have started giving him melatonin to help calm him. He still doesn’t like me being away from him but he does seem calmer in his demenor. He still runs around in big crazy circles like a normal happy dog and is still alert and playful. I like that the melatonin doesn’t seem to make him drowsy but just helps him feel less anxious. He also hasn’t been jumping on the kids (which was getting to be a dangerous problem at his size, and the fact that he scratched Tru by the eye) AT ALL since taking the melatonin. I’m still hesitant to say that it is 100% helping him, mostly because it feels too good to be true, but I honestly do think it’s working.

Because we could never get him to stop soiling himself in his crate even during short times in it, we had to start doing the dreadful tie-out as our yard isn’t fenced. I’ll say this, I do hate seeing a dog live it’s life on a chain. It’s just a sad situation and I’m positive that it just makes matters worse in an anxious dog. But it is the only option we had at the time or when we couldn’t be with him and it was never meant to be a permanent solution. SO, we bought an inground fence and I am so excited to start using it! I think Rocky is going to love the freedom to run the yard and get his energy out, while we are able to section off all the flower beds from his reach. (he loves to rip up the flower beds) He will be able to come and go through the kitchen door without us having to tie and untie him. (Ideally we would have a doggie door but since we are planning to move soon, that would be a waste of time to put in.)

And as for that, a word about housebreaking. Rocky has never gotten to the place where we can trust him not to go in the house. I’m really not sure why. I tried different methods for housetraining but just never got him to a trustworthy level… I tried staying with him 100% of the time… he peed right beside me without showng any cues such as sniffing etc. I tried taking him out on the leash and rewarding with treats. He would eventually go pee, eat his treat, come inside and pee again. Tried sending him out by himself to go in case I was making him nervous. He’d just sit by the door and not go…. right now though I can have him indoors for an hour or so before taking him out to pee, but I can’t trust him to hold it beyond that. So, it’s kind of a lot of work but I think the inground fence will help since I won’t have to babysit him while he spends 20 minutes deciding if he wants to pee. (As you can imagine, this doesn’t work well with 3 kids in the house that I have to be next to for their safety!) Therefore, when Rocky is in the house, he is strictly in the kitchen on the linoleum unless we are activelt playing with him in the family room. And I try to never push him past an hour because I don’t want to reinforce the idea that he can pee in the house by letting him have an accident.

And the thing is, Rocky is a smart dog! He learns new tricks after just a few times of repeating and rewarding. I know that he CAN be housetrained, I just don’t know how to get him there. And I think I have read just about every article Google has to offer. I’ve literally read for hours on the subject. Since he never got to the point where he would hold his pee in the crate, I wonder if he just doesn’t see peeing in the house as being a problem. ?? I really don’t know… Hopefully someday! I successfully house trained 2 other dogs we had years ago with basically no problem. I’m truly stumped this time.

Overall though, he’s a fun dog. Loves to play, loves the boys, will happily lay by (and by “by”, I mean ON) our feet and sleep. He dearly loves to go places. He sits in the back seat next to Tru or lays on the floor by Levi’s feet in the van. He is getting better by itty bitty painstaking margins at walking on the leash without pulling my arm out of socket… His maners have improved enough that he doesn’t *usually* grab food away from the boys while they are eating. I think he’s a good dog for the most part and certainly a really cute dog. I’m so happy with how well he’s filled out and looks so healthy. My sincere hope is that we can ALL enjoy our life together and even though Rocky can’t be the full-time indoors dog (yet, at least) that I had hoped he would be, I hope that we can have a safe and happy compromise with the fence and lots of time with us indoors. ๐Ÿ™‚

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