Crazy, not lazy, May!

So it’s been a crazy busy May this year. Praise the Lord I’ve been healthy enough to handle it!! Last May I was doing good if I could get two or three chores done a week and was hoping beyond hope that I’d be able to survive our upcoming trip to Arkansas.

This May was so different. Granted the last 5 or 6 days of the month I spent doing a lot of sleeping, but nothing compared to last year or the 2-3 years before, for sure! I think I was just zapped because it’s been SO crazy busy…and it was ‘my time of the month’. Blech!

So what’ve we been up the last few weeks? Well, I got the new (temporary) floor down in the kitchen, three shelves hung in there, and a new cabinet/countertop installed. Of course, the icky old red laminate countertop from the 70s was replaced with white stone tile and the shallow sink replaced with a deep one, but props for those have to go to Mom and Dad. Actually, everything but the floor needs to, really. LOL I just helped hold boards in place for the shelving. I know. Hard work there, right?

Then there was the biggest cleaning the house has had since I first crashed with the Lyme. I don’t mean cleaning like scrubbing walls, baseboards, ceiling fans, and the like, though. Nope. I just mean getting STUFF put away and trash OUT. Oh, and laundry either washed or put in hampers. Yes it was that bad. No I am not proud of that fact. =/ So while the house did get “tidied”, it wasn’t really a “cleaning”. That is still to come. Soon, I hope.

Then there were the doctor appointments. We had 4 dr appts in 4wks! Matthew had a routine follow-up with the endocrinologist, and two visits to the pediatrician to try and get his bipolar meds adjusted. Then Meagan had to go and get strep throat again…. which she gave to me. Nice. Then I got a cold just as I was getting over the strep. Nice again.

My best friend/adopted sister has started a new business. Quite the entrepreneur she is. This is not her first endeavor at being her own boss and bringing in extra income for the family; just the first one since SHE crashed with Lyme. What’s she doing? Selling high-end cosmetics…wholesale. Selling LOTS of it. LOTS and LOTS. Like 5-figure orders, we’re talking! How does that have anything to do with me? Simple. She got in over her head because the business didn’t just bloom, it BURST almost over night. She needed an extra set of hands to help count, sort, package, and tend to her youngest (just turned 5yo). She was doing all that *and* all the emails (tons) and phone calls (even more tons) and overseeing another daughter’s homebound school and trying to get all the regular mom stuff done, too. Overwhelmed much? YES! lol

We’ve just about got her set up and ready to go, though. Well, I say that. I haven’t actually even started getting her new software set up yet, but at least I’ve got her convinced she has GOT to get some. (Seriously. Trying to keep track of thousands of dollars worth of orders on pieces of scratch paper and post-its just is NOT efficient!) I’m also getting a website set up for her to direct her customers to in order to see what she has available.

In the meantime, I also helped…or rather TRIED to help my older ‘niece’ with her Algebra. I was all like “Oh sure, I’ll help her. No problem!” And then I was all like “ummm I have NO idea how to do this”. We did, however, have an absolute BALL trying to figure the problems out. To our credit, between the two of us we DID get things figured out. It just took hours and enough laughter that we were seriously sore at the end of the day. We had fun, but I’m not so sure I should be ‘tutoring’ in Algebra anymore. LOL

After that adventure, we had the end-of-the-school-year awards ceremony for Meagan’s school. This kid makes me so proud! She comes home with handfuls of ribbons and other awards every year. Of course I’d be proud of her even if she didn’t, but it’s a Mom’s job to brag on the kids! =) She made mostly As with a couple of Bs all year long. Silly girl got a paper report of all the awards she had already received throughout the year and was shocked and excited when she saw that the tea towel she embroidered for my birthday won first place. She couldn’t remember bringing home the blue ribbon, so it was like winning all over again! LOL

After that I spent several days making a kitchen ‘unit’ for a ‘niece’s birthday present. It has a sink, cabinet under the sink, and then a dishwasher (with countertop). I had all the plastic canvas and almost all the yarn I needed, so aside from time the only cost for this bday gift was 50 cents for a clearanced set of dishes approximately Barbie sized, $1 for a gift bag, and the $2.58 I spent on a skein of gray yarn (of which I have almost the whole thing left). Not bad at all!

The last few days I’ve been busy doing some research. Matthew had an interesting ‘episode’ last week in which he had MAJOR problems getting to sleep 3 nights in a row. Why? Because his “toe felt funny”. Yes, seriously. The first night he was at my mom’s and I only heard about it in passing the next day. I picked up on the fact that he had cried some, but it sounded more like he missed me than anything else. At least that’s what my mom insinuated. I stayed at her place that night and he said it felt funny again. No tears and he didn’t seem to be in real distress, so I chalked it up to him being overtired and/or trying to stall. The third night we were back home and it happened again. This time he did cry. A lot. Also he admitted that it took everything he had to NOT cry the night before. There was nothing wrong with his toe physically. It just felt “funny”. It didn’t hurt, it wasn’t red or itchy, nothing like that. Just the way his toes were touching each other “felt funny” and it bothered him so much he literally was in tears because of it. Then the light bulb went on! He was fixating on the ‘funny feeling’ because of his OCD. We’ve known for years that he has OCD tendencies, and have joked that he has OCD many, many times. Never before, though, had his quirks interfered in his life in a major way. I explained to him what I thought was going on and he asked what to do about it. I told him there were medicines that could help. (I highly suspect that one of the meds he was recently taken off of had been treating the OCD to a degree…and now that the med is gone the OCD is coming on full force.) He was oh-so-ready to go to the ER. Right then! That’s how upset he was over this. He did NOT want to think about his toe, he did NOT want it to feel funny, he was tired (and admittedly so) and just wanted to go to sleep but he couldn’t quit thinking about it. The “funny feeling” was driving him crazy. Really.

After explaining that the medicine isn’t a ‘rescue’ med like his asthma inhaler, but a ‘maintenance’ med like his Singulair, I took him into my room and we laid in my bed while I read to him. I really was wishing I had some Ativan to give him, but since I didn’t (and I was certainly NOT taking him to the ER for an OCD ‘attack’) I thought trying to get his focus off the funny feeling toe and onto ANYTHING else was about the best thing I could do. Thankfully it worked. I can’t remember now what search terms I thought of while laying there holding my breath that the poor kid had finally managed to fall asleep, but I got up and came in here to the computer.

Whatever it was I looked up, it led me to a series of workbooks written by a psychiatrist. I ordered three of them on the spot. The names of them are: “What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming OCD”, “What to Do When Your Temper Flares: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Problems with Anger”, and “What to Do When You Grumble Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Negativity” I have no doubt in my mind that the Holy Spirit led me to these books. Matthew needs these SO much! I pray that he will cooperate with me in working through them and that he will actually put into practice some of the technigues they teach him. From what I gather they are all based on cognitive-behavior therapy techniques that he would get if he were to see a psychiatrist or therapist for these challenges of his. Since he is NOT willing to go to someone else, this is truly a God-sent alternative. There is even a workbook for anxiety. I thought about buying that one, but really his horrific anxiety (disabling in all seriousness) is a thing of the past thanks to antibiotic treatment for the Lyme. There are a few others in the series as well, but for now I’m uber excited to see how these can help him.

All that research also led me (later, after I’d already purchased the 3 workbooks above) to a book/workbook set similar to this series only written specifically for bipolar! It’s in my shopping cart at Amazon waiting for the next payday!! The name of it is “My Bipolar, Roller Coaster Feelings Book”. PERFECT! If I had any question about sending Matthew to school versus keeping him here at home, the Lord just answered them clear as a bell! My only ‘regret’ is that Meagan will be home during the day for the next couple of months so finding “Mom and Matt Therapy Time” will be a bit more difficult… just as we’re getting started. Go figure! LOL

I’ve also been putting together a unit study on Isaac Newton for Matt. He took an interest in the laws of motion and wanted to know who figured them out. Not so ‘coincidentally’ Isaac Newton was a Christian who had bipolar disorder! Brilliant! I haven’t spent a lot of time on putting the unit together, but I did just order a biography from the Sower Series (Christian based) on Newton. That led me to looking at other science stuff since he doesn’t have a formal science curriculum this year. I found a couple of things I want to get, but not a huge hurry on those. THAT led me to researching English curriculum.

The English curriculum we’ve been using the last couple of years is really frustrating for Matt. It spends a lot of time on diagramming (which I can’t help him with because I never learned how to and it makes NO sense to me whatsoever), and just is so technical! He really struggles with it, which has been confusing for me because Matt is me ‘language’ kid. He has always been super fascinated with words and phrases and languages. He likes to know where the words/phrases came from, and just goes giddy over puns of any kind. He likes playing with words and even with accents. When he was little bitty and first started getting interested in words and what-not and then picked up reading and spelling almost instinctively I felt sure I had a writer in the making. Sadly he hates writing for now, and as I said he struggles in grammar, usage, and mechanics.

I think I may have found some answers to these problems, though. I’ve learned that the area of the brain affected by bipolar includes the area responsible for executive functioning. Long story short this makes writing difficult for him. He might have tons of ideas in his head (and he does) but getting them out onto paper is more difficult. I’ve found a curriculum for grammar, usage, and mechanics that does NOT use diagramming at all, and I’ve also found a writing curriculum that looks very promising given his unique challenges. These too are in my shopping cart awaiting next payday. LOL

On top of all that, Mike’s 64th birthday was yesterday, though honestly we didn’t ‘do’ much to celebrate. I sent him to the chiropractor and then stuffed his belly full of pork chops, fried eggs, and cheesecake. Fix ‘im up and then clog ‘im up. haha The rest of this week is busy with getting Meagan ready for teen church camp… that is provided she gets her chores caught up and we can find the funds to send her! Then next week (with Meg at camp…?) we’ll be getting Matt ready for church junior camp the following week. And sometime in the next two paydays we have to buy Meg some new uniform shirts for school.

We had to replace a tire on the van in amongst all this, too. Oh, and we also bought a new auto-injection device for Matt’s shots. I still need to purchase the rest of the fabric for the kitchen cabinet curtains, too. Lots of ‘extra’ expenses the last few and next few weeks!

At least we won’t have to buy 3 more tires for the van. My best friend’s dad (and Mike’s high school classmate) just gave us two nearly-new tires that will fit the van. That gets 3 of 4 replaced, and I’m pretty sure that one of the existing ones is still in pretty good shape. =)  I’m constantly being surprised by the ways in which the Lord provides for us!!

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