Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Balanced Life and Reaching Goal

I wanted to be a missionary Dr. when I was a kid. Or a writer. But I had this tendancy to round up all the kids (and sometimes their mothers) to play circus and kick-the-can and put on little shows (wrote plays), taught them songs to sing, played a little piano and had the mothers invite each other over for tea to watch our perfomances. Most of them closely resembled church services (without the sermons, thank God) or school programs (I went to Christian schools).

When I moved from my neighborhood after 5th grade, one of the other kid's mothers told me the other children didn't know what to do with themselves after I left. LOL.

In high school, other kids started asking me for help with their subjects. In college I gravitated towards English and history and because most woman from my background were encouraged to go into nursing or teaching (if they went to college.) I ended up teaching with some forays into public relations and fund-raising.

Although I'm certified to teach secondary English and history, I sort of fell into the tutoring field and teach supplementary math and reading from grades 1-8, at which I am very gifted. Just yesterday a mother told me her daughter always tells her, "I don't understand the math until Mrs. Flory explains it."

I think I'm a puzzle solver and I see children's learning problems as a puzzle to be solved. Where is the breakdown in understanding occuring? Is there an underlying learning disability? Are they ADHD? What method of instruction works for this child? Do they have better comprehension if they read out loud? If they wear noise-blocking headsets? How can I explain this and demonstrate it so they'll "see" it and remember it? How do I keep their attention and minimize their distractive behaviors so that they can learn? What materials would best suit this child? Is it a comprehension or a computational issue? Etc.

I really fly by the seat of my pants with a lot of this. I just get a sense of the child and leap to an intuitive understanding of what makes them tick and how best to break down the information for them. I think the fact that I love each child and establish a relationship with them also accounts for why they respond so well to my teaching.

Frankly, I'm a self-taught teacher in many ways. I've certainly never sat in a workshop or class that taught me to teach the way I teach. I do continuing ed. of course, but I like to take workshops and classes that give me practical tools that I can then modify to fit the needs of various children.

Lesson plans are guidelines that might or might not be followed. I really don't even write them anymore. I have an overall plan in my head of where I want to go and I modify it on the spot or abandon it totally if the need arises. Amazingly, it all seems to work and my kids make great progress.

I get my exercise in the mornings. I get to school early (7:15-7:30) and climb the stairs and walk the hallways and circle the gym for 30-45 minutes. I usually have a couple of kids already on the computers who are in before school care and I keep checking on them during my rounds. By 8 a.m. I'm already teaching kids who come before school and I teach an after school class till 4 and then private tutor a child till 4:35.

It's amazing how confidant I am when teaching children. I'm truly in my element. It is a stressful job, but mostly its good stress. But I do need to unwind when not teaching. At first, when I come home, after quickly cooking or putting together the meal my husband sets out, I tend to sit like a zombie in front of the TV, slowly eating my dinner. I only take in about half of what my husband says and tend to mostly grunt.

I start checking my Facebook, writing my blog, or go on lapband thread reading posts and responding, and looking up to watch TV when it interests me--and I pretty much do this till bedtime.

I do go out for choir practice one night a week and once a month I go to the school that is the vendor for my services and meet with other Discovery room teachers. We share teaching techniques and ideas as well as provide support for each other. One night a month I meet with the promotions committee for Roseland Christian School and generate ideas for raising money. I'll write some stories for them about some of the children we serve and their struggles and accomplishments.

On weekends I love walking-especially outdoors, gardening, playing with grandchildren, hot bubble baths with diet hot chocolate and a good mystery to read , singing in church, and maybe having a good long talk with one of my sisters or brothers (don't get to do that often, I should call them more.) I love to dance, did that last night a little. I need to do that more often.

Unfortunately, food has always been a big de-stresser that led to other forms of stress--like being fat and unhealthy and in pain. Living without it isn't easy. I still turn to it occasionally, but then the band gets in the way of it becoming a total foodfest.In fact, right now, I've been way into the carbs. Three colds in two months and no sun have really gotten to me. Hadn't gained but hadn't lost the last 3 lbs either. Getting a fill on Tuesday. That should kick me back into restriction.

But surprisingly, this morning when I got on the scale, I was 167 lbs. My goal. Now I did get up a few hrs later than usual and I danced last night so that might be a temporary aberration. I was surprised but I have been cutting back on the meals to make up for the carbs (read Candy).

I do know that if I keep eating candy, eventually I'll start eating more period and I'll gain the weight back. The new fill won't stop the candy. It'll slide right through. And it doesn't make me feel very good. But now that this cold is subsiding, I should do better. I've gone back to doubling my multi-vitamins and Calcium. As my weight loss slowed, and I had fewer prescription pills to take, I was only taking them at night and not in the morning. I think that's why I've gotten sick three times in a row.

But despite my set-backs, God is good. The weight is off. Surprisingly, that isn't the focus of my post. Having a relatively balanced life is the focus. Maybe the two are related. Ya think?

God is good all the time.
All the time God is good.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Maintenance scares me. I'm getting a fill to help me maintain. I'm to the point where I just need a tweak. But I can eat too much, especially at night. I'm working on my issues. I don't journal my food, being ADHD makes me go crazy trying to keep track of details, it just makes me want to eat, so I journal my food-related issues on lapbandtalk and on my blog. I frequently focus on my ADHD, my codependancy, my arthritis related pain, etc.

I also work on my mental state by focusing on the good things in my life. Philippians 4:8 says, Finally brothers(and sisters), whatever is true, , whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Change your thoughts, change your brain, change your life.

I'm working on creating that paradigm shift inside my brain to help turn off the emotional cravings for food. I rely on God to fill the spiritual hunger, particularly through staying involved in my church, especially the music (praise) ministry, which for me is a whole body, mind, and spirit experience.

The exercise I'm getting and the high protein diet are actually very good for the ADHD. And I'm an Alanon veteran who knows the value of letting go and letting God deal with the dysfunctional people in my life. I still work the 12 steps when it comes to wanting to control people and places and things. That helps.

I'm practicing contentment, being content in all my circumstances, good and bad, knowing that I can do all things through him who strengthens me. That's from Phillipians 4: 11-14.

I'm also practicing balance, which is part of contentment. I don't want to get addicted to continued weight loss, or to exercise, or to work, or to church, or to people, or to anything. Maintaining balance helps me maintain balance in my food.I try to do what I'm good at and put my focus there instead of on trying to be good at things I'll never be good at.

As an ADHD person, I have others who keep me organized. I try not to let anyone guilt me into doing things I'm not good at or that will knock me out of balance.

What I do well, I make myself better at. What I'm good at is teaching. What I'm good at is building relationships with children that make them want to learn. I help them experience success and then make that snowball. I observe their learning style and find the blocks as well as the strengths and then I experiment with methods and materials that I think might help until I find what does.

I pour all my energy and love into what is an incredibly rewarding job, working with academically at-risk students from one of the communities with the highest rates of murder in the city of Chicago.

For relaxation and fun, I play with and take care of my grandchildren who always make me laugh. These things helped me lose the weight. They should help me maintain.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Life Goes On, Without the Weight

I'm always surprised when someone comes up to me and compliments me on losing weight. I forget what a shock my appearance is to people, especially if they haven't seen me for a while. If they ask me how I lost the weight, I tell them about the lap band, but I always make sure they know its just a tool; I tell them if I don't eat right it won't work. In fact, if all I ate was ice cream it would slide right through and I could eat enough to gain all the weight back and then some.

I find being honest publicly helps me be honest with myself. I'm 3 lbs. from goal and slowing down on speed of weight loss. Trying to ease into maintenance. I'm scheduled for another fill Feb 2, which I can tell I'm going to need. I can eat a lot now at a sitting. Not good. Means if I do that, then I've got to really be careful for several days after in order to maintain or continue to lost. However, I can't manage a life of weighing and measuring and writing everything down. So I need the band filled to limit the quantity I can eat and then make good choices most days with occassional treat days.

One big relief is that Roseland Christian where I work is doing much better. The money has come in to keep us running despite the IRS freezing and then taking the money in our account. We are meeting all our current obligations, including to the IRS, for this year. We are working on paying past obligations, with the help of donors who believe in us. And we seem to be getting some good help in place for future fundraising.

I don't think I can tell you how much I love teaching at Roseland. I am not a textbook teacher. Probably no effective teacher is. I no longer even attempt to write lesson plans. The material I cover from year to year is basically the same. The workbooks my assistant puts together from the materials we have may come from new materials but I have kids working through them at their own pace and ability levels like before. As they finish a page I check it, reteach as necessary and have them correct it or I do it with them. They constantly circle around me and sit back down and get back to work. They love working in my classroom because they're working at their own level and pace and because my assistant and I are available to help them.

Flexibility is the key and rigid lesson plans don't work. I work through reading the same novels as in past years but the questions I ask have to be so flexible because the children's abilities are so varied and their responses are so different. I have to ask the questions in totally different ways for different children.

What worked one year might not work the next year. For example, my fifth grade class is mostly boys. They all have very poor attention spans. Boys are competitive, so everyday I split them into their teams and start with review questions on what we've read previously. Their team gets points for what they are able to answer. They hate when I stop the game to continue reading the book, but they have also really gotten into the book so they hate when the bell rings, too.

I make things up on the fly while I'm teaching that I would never think of if tied down to a detailed lesson plan. My most recent memory device is a song set to the old Mounds/Almond Joy jingle. I sing to the kids who are learning to carry or trade numbers, "Sometimes you carry the number (or 10), sometimes you don't."

Every year I get better at teaching. I get better at handling the kids and building relationships with them. This past week a fourth grade boy said while he was doing his math, "I love Mrs. Flory. I love math."

Man, that's worth all the other hassles that go with teaching. I love these kids at Roseland. I'm so connected with them. And I might not get to teach them next year. I have begun to realize what a privelege teaching these kids is.

But its all in God's hands. I believe Roseland will still be there another year. The help is coming in. That's one hurdle. Now I need to hear from Chicago Public Schools if they're still going with an outside vendor, then that vendor has to agree to subcontract with Elim who is the vendor for my services at Roseland for me to keep my job. Meanwhile I'm signing up for two graduate courses next summer. I'll only need one after that to be endorsed in Special Ed and I'll be able to keep taking Master's courses after that. Possible that I'll have my degree by the end of the following summer.

So I'm doing the footwork to continue my employment. I might become a consultant for one of the programs I use in my classroom, or I might connect with homeschoolers who have kids with learning problems. I really don't like the way special ed is handled in the public schools. These teachers seem to be testing kids, filling out paperwork, writing ieps, and sitting in meetings a lot more than they're teaching or helping the kids. That's not what I want to do. So we'll see.

God has his plans for me. He's brought me safe thus far. And whatever my future holds, I'm going into it a lot healthier and with a lot less weight to hold me back.

God is good, all the time.
All the time, God is good.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I am Content.

Perhaps I wasn't as clear about muscle/fat in yesterdays post so I'll clear that up first. Of course muscle is denser than fat. So a lb of it is smaller. Which is why, though my weight loss has slowed as I approach goal, with the fat being replaced by muscle through regular exercise, I look like I've lost more than I actually have.

I plan to lose the last three lbs and give myself a 5 lb cushion to be lost very slowly as I transition to maintenance. I am all too aware that 7 months is not enough to permanantly change a lifelong addiction. The real battle is before me.

Being content with who I am is not the same as complacency. My Dr.'s goal for me was 170 # which at my height and weight and build puts me exactly at the correct BMI. I chose to make it an even 70# loss by making my goal 167#.

Being content with who I am means I won't get sucked into losing too much and then rebounding as a result. Being content means I'm accepting of my exercise limitations and arthritis and of my age wrinkles and laugh lines and overstretched skin and varicose veins and all the things over which I have no control (and no money to fix them, either, LOL).

Being content means when people compliment me or say things they think are compliments, after I get over being startled, because I forget I've lost the weight, I laugh and say, "Thanks, I have lost weight."If they express concern that I might get too thin, I just laugh and say, "Not a chance of that happening."

So much of beauty is attitude. I've got my athletic walk back and I carry myself with confidence and I am a smiler and laugher. I know how to dress and use make-up and fix my hair in flattering ways. I may even be a little vain LOL.

I know I look good again. I feel sexy in my clothes too (not naked, LOL). I was blessed with a very balanced figure, actually. When I was younger and thinner (but not skinny) I've heard it described as hourglass and svelt. The last few lbs and the reshaping have really melted a lot of the belly fat and given me curves again. I'll never be as thin through the middle as I was, but that's part of the aging process. Even the thinnest women seem to thicken through their middles while their hips look thinner, and extreme exercise seems to make them look even straighter. They lose their curves. I like having curves.

After 3 big babies (biggest 10 lbs.) a hysterectomy, and a big gain and loss leaving me with a lot of stretchmarked flabby flapping skin, I'll never have a tight trim waist or belly, but my curves are back.

I'm pretty sure I'm interpreting the looks I get the right way. Interest on the part of men I don't know and an awareness of me that I didn't see before on the part of some of the men I do know. Surprise and doubletakes on the part of many people I know. Lots of compliments.

In a way the attention makes me uncomfortable. Like, what was I before, chopped liver?But I also appreciate the attention and that people mean well.So keep that attention and those compliments coming. I'll deal with them the best I can. LOL

Mainly, I am content.

God is good, all the time
All the time, God is good.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Exercise and a Balanced Life

Exercise--there comes a point of dimishing returns with exercise. I had to make a decision how much of my life and energy I want to put into it. My blood pressure and pulse are excellent. My muscles are in good shape, my coordination has improved dramatically, I'm only going to try and lose a few more lbs, and I have a life.

I'm looking for balance in this area because its so easy for me to make an addiction out of exercise like I did with the food. I've done it before. It's ultra time-consuming and begins to rule my life. I don't want to go there anymore than I want to get back into the food.

I exercise between 30-60 minutes most days with 2 days off per week. Sometimes I'll walk longer on Saturdays, but during the winter that's enough. Summers I like to hike longer outdoors, but that's as much for pleasure as exercise as I enjoy being outdoors so much.

I'm not going to aggravate my arthritis working out much more than that. I'm not exercising that much more time than I did before weight loss; I've always walked as much as possible. Its just that I've added stair-climbing at work after I lost most of the weight, so I get a more intense workout. I'm also walking much faster and farther in the alotted time.

I think everyone's different and has to take into consideration where they're at physically and what their available time is. Actually, I think my weight loss has slowed down despite the increased intensity of the exercise because I'm replacing fat with muscle which weighs more. But my body is definitely still reshaping.

I'm really happy with my physical body. Not with the drooping wrinkled skin, but can't do anything about that. I'm just happy with how I look in clothes. I'm 5'9", 170 lbs, my pants are 12's and my tops are L's. That's normal. More normal than I ever hoped to be again.

My goal is to stay normal (not talking psychologically, LOL). I don't need to be skinny. I want to have a life with my grandchildren and children and be able to work to the best of my ability and have fun and be healthy.

I'm amazed at simple things like finding easier ways to get up from the ground. It was very difficult with two fake knees and its still not easy. Kneeling is extremely uncomfortable and with all the weight, gettting up from my butt meant I had to roll onto my knees, then push my butt up in the air and walk my feet towards my hands before full lift-off. Now I can roll onto my side while bringing one knee up and continue right into standing up without having to kneel first. Still a little awkward but getting better.

Being able to break my fall Saturday night and land like an athlete lands, without injury, that was incredible. These are the little things that make me happy. I still have to watch how I move, and how hard I move. It's very easy for me to over-extend or overwork my joints and spine and risk further injury. So I've learned the hard way to be careful with exercise and to be content with what I can do.

I am content, no matter what my circumstance.
I am content, no matter what my lot.
I know what it means to live in want or have plenty
I know the meaning of being content,
Is that I can do all things, through him that strengthens me.
Yes I can do all things, through him that strengthens me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Why High Protein/Low Carb for the Band?

It is my understanding that high protein/low carb works because protein doesn't shoot your blood sugar up. It has something to do with your insulin levels. You store more food as fat if you raise your blood sugar levels. If you don't, you don't store food as fat. Your muscles burn it off instead. You can eat more and store less.

The protein stops your cravings because you haven't raised your blood sugar. It's absorbed by your system much more slowly, giving you a constant source of energy rather than a big boost and then a drop-off and its burned off more steadily by your muscles.

Also, sugary, simple carb foods like candy, cookies, potatos, white rice, bread and so on, dissolve easily and are often combined with fat so they slide through the pouch quickly leaving you hungry and craving food because your pouch is empty plus you've shot up your blood sugar which increases cravings.

Most fruit also contains simple sugars that shoot up your blood sugar, so, though better for you than refined sugars, they can only be had in very limited quantities or combined with a meal that's high in protein to keep your blood sugar level.

Protein, when not combined with a lot of sauces or moisture or carbs and other sliders, stays in your pouch making you feel full much longer. So protein works on several levels.When you eat even too many vegetables you don't leave enough room in your pouch for the protein you need to live. And veggies are carbs. Most take a little longer than sugar to break down in your system, but some, like carrots, are full of sugar. If you're not getting enough protein, your body will burn muscle instead of fat. More than anything else, your body needs protein. You will start to lose your hair and your nails if you're not getting enough while losing weight.

Fat isn't nearly as bad for you as simple carbs when you're on high protein because you don't store it. So cholesterol actually goes down for people who eat a lot of meat, including red meat. And red meat actually helps raise your good cholesterol as does exercise.Whole grains and vegetables will also digest more slowly and not shoot up your blood sugar and may have some protein or good fats in them. However, again, they take up space in your pouch and limit the room you need for protein. So limit them.

That's why bariatric surgeons insist on high protein low carb diets. They work with the metabolism and they work with the band. I'm sure others could explain the blood sugar and insulin part more clearly than I did, but that's my basic understanding. The only diets on which I lost weight and felt great were high protein low carb diets.

Now I've got the band to help me stay on that food protocol. That's why my blood sugar has improved so much. It's not just the weight lost. I'm now below the borderline range. It's not just the quantity of food. It's not just the total number of calories. You can actually eat more calories on a high protein low carb don't worry so much about the fat diet and lose more weight than on a low calorie, no fat or a low calorie but it doesn't matter what you eat diet.

Now, only really rigid people are able to maintain this diet all the time. That's why I have days where I allow myself treats. But they don't do damage as long as I limit them and as long as the majority of the time I'm following the high protein, low carb protocol.

For foods that aren't protein, if you want to know if they'll shoot your blood sugar up or not, check the glycemic index. Also, diabetics learn to keep their blood sugar stable by the way they combine foods and by eating small amounts more frequently.

Just remember, hi-fiber foods, though low on the glycemic index, fill your pouch and swell and can leave you without enough room for the protein you need. Many nuts and seeds are a perfect combination of low glycemic carb, protein, and the kinds of oil that are good for you. I eat little spoonfuls of shelled, roasted, slightly salted sunflower seeds a few times throughout the day when I'm at work. These give me a constant flow of energy without shooting up my blood sugar.

Legumes, which are low on the glycemic index, (dry beans cooked like pinto, black, chili, white, navy, etc. have protein as well as high fiber, low glycemic carbs) but are all to easy to turn into sliders because they're usually in soups or soupy, saucy mixtures so they don't keep your pouch filled. Plus the sauces are often more full of sugar than you realize. Tomatoes have a lot of sugar. So do onions. Refried beans aren't as moisturized and will stay in your pouch longer. That's why they're on the list of mushies you can start eating a couple of days after surgery.

Low-glycemic carbs are the things I'm planning on increasing in the maintenance stage. Still high protein first, but more fibrous vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. I just have to remember, a little of these goes a long way, and I still have to eat protein first. Starchy foods like white potatoes, white rice, pasta, and definitely breads and pastries, crackers and any kind of chips, even if they're whole grain, are going to be very occasional treats, or just a taste with my meal.

These are all items that tend to increase cravings for carbs because they are one step away from simple sugars (you can actually taste them turning into sugar as your saliva combines with them) and they increase blood sugar.

Since my band limits portion size with protein as long as I don't turn my protein into sliders, and I know which foods to keep out of my house, avoid, or limit to occasional treats, I don't have to spend a lot of time worrying about counting calories, points, weighing or measuring, counting fat grams, or even counting carbs. That simplifies things for me and because of my ADHD I need to have a very simple food plan in order to succeed. If I find myself able to eat too much dense protein at a sitting, then I know I need a fill. Everybody's different, but knowledge is power. This is what works for me.

God is good, all the time.
All the time, God is good.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Band is Good, Life is Good, God is Good.

Last night my husband and I went to see Avatar. Incredible! The new 3-D technology is amazing. The world they created was stunningly beautiful and the action was out of this world--literally. I ate movie popcorn for the first time in forever. Then we went to Barnes and Nobles and read for a while and I had a Starbucks Mocha Latte (decaf). Spent the evening watching Wild Hogs and then playing with the new Wii. Nice New Year's Eve.

Despite movie popcorn and starbucks mocha yesterday I was down a pound today. Probably the exercise I got yesterday (went walking for over an hour) and the fact that in addition I only had a protein shake and a little turkey and some milk in my coffee yesterday. So just one more holiday lb to go. I can't believe how well I weathered this holiday. Thank you God, thank you band.

You know, I'm not dealing with depression much lately. I guess you don't realize how much of it has gone because it goes away so gradually, but today I realized how positive I'm feeling. I have a happy light I sit under at night while I combine watching TV with Facebook, Lapbandtalk, and occasionally writing in my blog. I also take mega doses of Vitamin D. Both have helped me considerably. Losing weight and getting back in shape might not have happened without them and now the weight loss and physical health are making me feel great.

I think I've really been working on that "change your thoughts, change your brain, change your life thing." Keeping my Phillipians verses in mind--I am content, no matter what my circumstance, I can do all things through him who strengthens me, and thinking about what is good and noble and lovely, have all been part of the process. I've done some dumping and ranting on here and on lapbandtalk but that was just cleaning out the garbage.

I have always been at my highest level of energy in the morning and days when there's sunlight I get a lot accomplished. Days when there's not I can really drag at home. Fortunately, my classroom is well lit with florescents and has huge windows on the south side. It also has locked iron gates over them because they're at ground level in a very bad neighborhood, but I don't notice them anymore. I'm going to buy vines and twine them through and add flowers.

Now that my holiday cold is just remnants I've been continuing work on closets and sorting jewelry and cleaning. Won't get as much done this vacation as I would if I'd been healthy but, oh well. Today the sun was shining though it was cold outside, so I stayed in my well-lit living/dining room and got a lot done.

Today I totally forgot about eating. I kept drinking coffee with milk and my husband had mixed some choc.raspberry flavored real cofee in with my decaf. I didn't realize I hadn't eaten till 4 p.m. So I stewed all my turkey meat from Sunday and added peas and canned gravy. Yummm! But I didn't eat too much. Bet I'm down another lb. by tomorrow.

I spent hours on the phone today talking to each of my brothers and sisters. (I'm the oldest of five.) My husband found my headset so I was able to pace while I talked and eventually started cleaning. So now I've got the Wii to keep me busy at night and I'm making a NY resolution to call my brothers and sisters more in the evenings. My one brother lives in CA and the other in MI. I have a sister in TN and another who lives 40 minutes from me but who's 15 yrs younger than me and has a very busy family. One of her daughters (6th grade) has been having increased epileptic seizures and she's been very busy with her and being available to get her from school. I don't see her that much so I'm going to try calling her more.

My sister would love it if I could come and work with my neice as the seizure disorder is accompanied by learning disabilities and she's really struggling in school now. My daughter also wants me to attend my grandson's meeting so she has someone knowledgeable on her side when she insists on official accommodations for him. If I'm not working next year I'd be able to work with both of them, my neice and my grandson.

I finished emptying several drawers in our bedroom. My husband was so happy to get 6 drawers in our bedroom and half a closet in the den next door. He'll get rid of the rubbermaid dresser in the other sitting room which also has only half a closet so he was hanging things on the back of the door. That will make that room so much roomier. Once we get the basement fixed up again either the little den or the little sitting room will become a guest bedroom and the furniture will go downstairs.

I'll be able to entertain and have grandchildren stay overnight. My parents will probably be selling their house and going into a retirement village so my relatives will need a place to come and maybe I'll actually have a place everyone can gather.

Although I am going to have my two grandsons stay overnight tomorrow night. I have a blow-up bed I'll put in the living room for one grandson and put the other one on the couch. I'm leaving up my Christmas stuff so they can see it and fall asleep looking at the lights on the Christmas tree. I loved doing that when I was little.

We'll take down the Christmas decorations on Sunday. I think we're down to 4 or 5 bins. Over time things get broken.

My husband cleaned the basement floor which is now down to the concrete so my grandsons can play down there. I have a corner table with benches and chairs (70's orange naugahyde era) and my 5 yr. old grandson and I will build a lincoln log town on it. My daughter's bringing some riding toys with so they can ride them in the basement. The 2 yr old will love that.

We've got the Wii to teach my 5 yr. old--he'll love the boxing, and we have Candyland and my husband's diecast model cars which they know they have to be very careful playing with and they are. My daughter will bring along a few other favorites.

She needs the break. The boys are extremely ranbunctious for the 4-5 hours before bedtime with the 2 yr old refusing to leave the autistic 5 yr old alone. He's a little bulldozer and finally the five yr old gets mad and shoves him or throws something at him. The 2 yr old always has a new contusion on his face every time I see him. My daughter is exhausted. Her husband works nights and a lot of overtime.

Maybe you can tell I'm really excited about having them overnight. The hard part will be getting them to go to sleep in strange surroundings. Also, the 5 yr. old consistently wakes up at 6 and I've been sleeping till 8. LOL. Will get me back into Monday-go-back-to-work mode.

I'm so glad we got the water and mold problem resolved in the basement. Its ugly as sin down there but I can have people over again.

I'm feeling really optimistic about the new year. I'm very confident my husband will get some kind of work. Lots of security guard work available and they actually like guys his age with a good work history. Waitin' on his official PI certificate (that's what security guards need in IL) to arrive, but he's been filling out all kinds of applications on line and sending resumes.

Roseland Christian School should finish out the school year OK which means I'll have a salary till next Sept. no matter what. If DH is employed and I get unemployment I'll have time next summer to work on employment and going back to school. Possibly rearrange my life completely. Or not. I'm doing the footwork but the results are in God's hands.

So, another humongous post. Probably the last one for awhile as I'll be going back to work Monday. And trying to set up a course this semester that will apply towards my Masters in Sp. Ed. That will keep me busy, also. Less time to eat.

God is good all the time,
All the time, God is good.