A World without walls
everyday life while homeschooling overseas
Life has taken a turn for the crazy at our house. I thought I was busy before last week happened. I was wrong. I never knew that it could get busier!
Last week started out all normal. Yes, we were busy getting ready for upcoming things...the kids are mostly out of school so we're trying to clean things out and organize. I got to do that for like 2 whole days! Wow! We went to the pool with friends a few times...did art...worked on a few projects...helping a few people out...the usual. (Yes...I like ellipses...)
Wednesday night rolls around and we've had a LONG day of swimming and art, then we all decided to switch our house around (since we're moving soon, it's important to move your furniture around so you're more comfortable, right?) and Skype with my mom for a bit. Later that evening, I got a phone call.
To preface this, Devika, our lovely housekeeper, hasn't been feeling too well. She got really sick and ended up FINALLY going to the doctor, and after a few glances at some blood tests, told her she probably has cancer and needs to go get an MRI. Talk about shock! She was sobbing into the phone with me. I reassured her that we would get her in to the hospital and make sure all the tests were done and doctors were seen!
So, weirdly enough, Thursday had nothing at all scheduled! So early in the morning, Devika came over and off we went for a day of adventure and horribleness. We got to the hospital and had to wait (OF COURSE) for about 3 hours before they pulled her in for her scan. Then we had to wait another hour and a half for them to type up the report. (I offered to type it for them, but they didn't really think that was funny.) With report in hand, we ran over to Devika's doctor who opened the report, sort of flipped through it, closed it, and said, "You definitely have cancer!" Huh. Actually, when I read the notes, it said it COULD BE such and such. Besides, unless I'm wrong, you can't tell if it's cancer from an MRI. Am I right? So he really wasn't helping as he kept going on and on. He sent us to a specialist. This lady took Devika in, did an internal ultra sound, and said that her uterus was definitely big, that it probably meant there was a tumor, that you COULD do some procedures to check, but why? Just do a complete hysterectomy and be done with it! Huh. I wasn't overly pleased with that one, either. Number one, it's super expensive. Number 2, is it really necessary? I'm not sure why she was pushing it so hard.
Anyway, after a good 6 hours of driving ALL over Amman (and I do mean everywhere), we came home totally exhausted and quite upset. We had set tentatively to have a surgery the next week, but we were both discouraged.
Friday was a BUSY day. I played the organ for church for both branches. I stayed after to go to Branch Council. I ran home and made food and cleaned my house for a farewell get together we had planned at our house. We had people at our house chatting and eating until 10pm. Devin and I thought we were going to die! We LOVE people, and LOVE having people over, but we were already so tired...
Saturday morning came and I HAD to exercise to get through my day! First thing in the morning, I had a friend who wanted to go to the embassy yard sale, so I took her over for an hour or so. We had another going away party with some friends and it was fun to sit and chat while everyone ate pizza--and then we went for ice cream! :) After that, we hadn't had time to do our grocery shopping in the morning, so we just brought all the kids with us and did our grocery shopping together! And you know what? It wasn't so bad. I guess our kids are getting older. I was surprised by the complete lack of tantrums. We got home just in time for me to pack up my gift and run to a baby shower. I brought Claire with me since she had to hang out with boys like all day. But I didn't get home until almost 9:30. So tired...
Sunday came and I canceled all my normal classes except for Clarinet lessons. I moved those earlier, as I had an appointment for Devika in the afternoon. Devika ended up going to another doctor for a second opinion, and this one was MUCH better! He looked at her info and told her there's no way they can know for sure that it's cancer without doing a biopsy. Now here's a doctor that knows what he's talking about! So we set an appointment for Monday morning to take her to the hospital and do the biopsy. Then Sunday evening, Devin and I had to go to the BYU alumni dinner. It was nice, but I was SO tired. Here's the best thing about that day, though--Josh was babysitting. When we got home, he and Claire had already put the little boys to bed! Wow. What awesomeness. I'll hire that babysitter again! :)
Monday morning came bright and early (as most days do), and Devin and I took Devika over to the hospital. I ended up staying there with her for 4 hours and driving her home after. When I got home, I felt so sad for my poor neglected children who have had to stay home alone so much the past week or so--so I took them swimming. I got home in time to clean my house, prep some food, and get ready for the end of year clarinet recital for my students. It was a lovely event and I'm so proud of my girls!! (I posted about that one already)
Tuesday morning came, and we were all SO tired! Then we realized that we had promised a friend a day at the pool. I initially canceled because we could really use a break! However, I sat and thought about it, and talked with the kids, and we realized that if we didn't go, then she couldn't go--and then she would just sit all alone at home with no friends! So, off we went! It was great fun, and even I got into the pool! Yes! Even me! I even stayed in for a whole hour!!! Then I was freezing, so I had to get out. But it was a good thing that we went. Even though it was REALLY hard to get everyone out of the pool when I had to get home! I had a dr appointment for myself that I needed to get to, and since it was in one of those medical plaza areas with lots of traffic, I decided to walk. It wasn't one of my favorite doctor appointments ever. The doctors keep telling me there's really not much to worry about at this point, but I can't help worrying. After my appointment, we ran home and picked up the kids and went to another hospital to visit our buddy Steve who had to get an emergency appendectomy the day before! Gah!! Too many hospitals and doctors are drowning me!! Steve looked good, though. Then we got to go home and drop...
Yesterday was our homeschool buddies all getting together for swimming and art. I had to be at the embassy at 9 to sign people in--unfortunately, when we arrived and parked, Josh realized he didn't have his badge. :/ So we had to drive home and get it. I detest being late. But we got everyone in, and enjoyed a lovely morning at the pool.
Interestingly enough, we just got sponsors for Colombo, and the guy was actually here on a TDY yesterday! So we got to meet him! Neat! He seems like a REALLY great guy! We also met another lady who's in Colombo who seemed really nice, too! It's SO great to meet people that we'll get to know there. And it's even better when they're super nice people! Can't wait!!!! I wish I could have just sat and chatted with Justin for hours (he and Devin came and ate lunch with the kids and me), but I had a group of kids wanting to go to art, so we had to leave quickly. :( Art was fun--Peter finished his cool circle art, and Andrew finished his string art. It's just nice to go there and be with lots of awesome kids and their moms! (or parents...or grandparents...) Dedicated, awesome people that I'm going to miss when we go! After art, we ran home so I could meet up with Amber to do the grocery shopping for girls camp. We were able to get most of what we needed in 2 hours. Hopefully we've got it all...and if not, hopefully we have what we need to get us through!! I dropped off Amber so she could go to a play, then I picked up some stuff from the church and dropped all the food/etc. at my house. We spent the rest of the evening cleaning, since Devika hasn't been here for almost 2 weeks, and we haven't hardly been here for almost 2 weeks, and our house looks like it exploded (even more than normal, if you can believe it)!
This morning...we have a little down time for journal writing. Peter is supposed to be reading with me, and Josh has some math to do (since he decided to do 2 years' worth of math this year, he's still got about 12 lessons left in his math book), and I need to find the remote control for the A/C. Today I've got scripture study class, then I'll be spending the whole evening prepping and packing for girls camp tomorrow.
I'm not going to be un-tired for a long time, I think. I still haven't touched my house to clean and organize before our packout in 2 weeks. I know they'll come and take our stuff regardless of what I do beforehand, but I REALLY don't want to send a lot of useless junk this time around. It would make me really happy to have less weight. We shall see. I'm HOPING for some time to get some organizing done after I get back from girls camp. First things first, I guess. If anyone can take a nap for me, I'll accept your offering!
Doesn't that name bring back memories? Baggy pants, neon colors, permed hair...
Anyway, this has nothing to do with M.C. Hammer. For the past few weeks, we've been doing a string art project for art. The kids have been going at it for HOURS with tack hammers pounding their nails in so they can make pretty pictures. So fun. Seriously. Four hours of pounding last week--until mercifully, they ran out of nails. Yesterday was a few hours more. Everyone's done except for Claire. Oh good. Peter is doing a castle, Andrew is doing Finland, Claire is doing a bunny, and Josh is doing the United States--string every single state a different color! Whew! It's a cool project, though! And they have LOVED every minute of it! As a matter of fact, Josh is planning his next one. Good times. "Can't Touch This!"
I have been SO blessed this year! I had the amazing opportunity to teach these lovely girls clarinet. I have loved EVERY minute of it! This all started 2 years ago when I taught a recorder class in the homeschool co-op. We had such a ball, and some of the girls wanted to continue. I thought it would be fun to teach them clarinet now that they had had a little exposure to the recorder, and a few of them jumped on it! And thus our clarinet class was born. Every Sunday for a year we've gotten together to learn notes and play music. They've all taught me things, and hopefully I taught them a little something, too. :) I always loved having them here and listening to them improve each week. I loved it when they came in and said, "Hey Miss Emily! Look what I figured out this week!" and they would play something that they loved and had figured out the notes to it! Sooooo awesome! They learned to read music, to memorize, to listen, to play alone, to play together, to practice, and to love music! Those are some pretty sweet skills.
Last night we had our final recital. That was tough to get through! How I enjoyed watching them play, and watching everyone enjoy their playing. I loved showing them off! :) I will miss our weekly get-togethers. I am proud to have been their teacher and to have had the opportunity to get to know these fabulous young women! :) I love them all so much and will miss having them around. They will do great things!!
I know many people dread the purge and organize stage of moving... You know the one I'm talking about: the part where your house is messier than you ever EVER thought possible, and everyone has to wade through piles of STUFF, and you just can't think of an excuse as to why you're house is a mess so you stop offering the habitual, "sorry my house is such a mess" phrase when people come to visit... I have to admit, as OCD as I am about keeping things clean and organized, this is my FAVORITE part of moving! I LOVE LOVE LOVE to purge and just get lost in it! I LOVE to pass things on to people whom I know will appreciate what I've appreciated!
That said, I do wish I could go a little faster. I've posted my 'before' picture of my living room. There is no 'after' picture yet. It looks worse. Maybe I should get a 'during' photo, eh? That would make sense.
Even though I'm spending 3-4 hours deep cleaning every morning, we still have lots of time to play. This afternoon, the kids and I worked on making a game. We've been trying to make this game for over a year now! It's about time! We're trying to work out the rules and how the game board is going to look. I'll post pics when we've finished.
After working on our game (which is part of the reason that my living room is STILL a mess), Andrew and Peter got to go play at a friend's house, and I picked up one of Claire's friends and took them and Josh over to the pool to swim. I spent the entire time at the pool working through my budget for homeschool next year. Sheesh. I remember WAAAAY back when we had only one little baby, and people always complained about how expensive kids are. I shook my head and thought they were just making things up! MY baby was not expensive at all! Then I had 2 kids...and people told me how the more kids you have, the more expensive it gets! I still shook my head in wonder, because we spent hardly anything on our kids! The same with 3 and even 4!! But NOW...now that they're not toddlers anymore...OH MY!! Josh eats more than ALL of us! Andrew isn't far behind!! Josh has gone through FIVE clothing sizes in the past year. They all need clothes, and toys, and braces, and hair cuts, and allowance, and don't get me started on school! Whew! So, now I finally understand what those crazy people were talking about. But when it's all said and done, I'm happy to do it. My kids are worth it--they work hard and are helpful. I suppose I can spend a little money on that.
I'm disappointed in myself. I did a MAJOR purge today, and I took no pictures! How am I supposed to document the coolness of the mess I made today without any pictures!!??!?!?
Well, I spent 12 hours today cleaning out the whole year's worth of school work for my kids. We loaded up their portfolios with samples from everything they did. Whew! It was a MESS!! But their portfolios are jam packed full of all the awesomeness they accomplished this year! Only a few things left to do and they're done! I just have to add a few certificates, their report cards, and some picture pages (yearbook style), and they're good to go! So awesome! I'm thoroughly exhausted from sitting all day (and here I am sitting some more...)--but I'm SO happy to be done with it! AND I get to get rid of the desks that have been sitting in my hallway now for 2 years! yea!! I'm SO grateful we bought those desks in Finland--they've been absolutely perfect! However, we've outgrown them, and now we can pass them on to someone else who can love having them! That makes me happy. Not only do I LOVE purging, but I love being able to bless others! Put the two together, and I'm in heaven! (by the way, this was only the school WORK...not the school BOOKS...that's tomorrow...)
On another cool note: Josh and I were discussing some plans for next year, and he mentioned he wanted a room where he could do woodworking. My grandparents would be proud! That got us talking about setting up a woodworking shop...and having a woodworking class next year! Josh has been studying it out a bit and has found tools, books, and plans, so I've put him in charge of the class! He's also going to be my 'TA' for science next year. We're doing Botany, and he's in charge of planning and setting up all the science experiments! I'm pretty stoked about that. I may end up making him do 2 sciences next year. He may not be overly excited about that one. We shall see. It's sure nice having an older kid who likes to be in charge of stuff! :)
I want to give a HUGE shout out to my kids!! They finished their school year!! Wow!! At first, I had intended to finish school the end of May. I thought that was very ambitious of me! Then, I realized we could move it up and end by the middle of May! Then, we all decided that it would be a good idea to end even earlier! So, April 29 it was! Impressive! When my kids tell their friends that they're done with school, their friends all whine about how they wish THEY were done, too! Then I ask them if they would like to have given up their Christmas, winter, and spring breaks, do school on other holidays, and have 10 hour school days. They usually say no. I'm proud of the work my kids did this year. They DESERVE a big break! We're going to use the remaining time here in Jordan to swim, do art, ride bikes, do more art, watch documentaries on Antarctica (random, I know), make games (yes, I said MAKE), swim some more, and most importantly--deep clean, organize, and PURGE!! Woohoo! This week, though, the kids will be going through all their school work and picking out their favorites to put in their portfolios. Should be fun, even though it's a big job! They're excited to get rid of all the books AND the desks! I love cleaning out time. It's so liberating! And I'm looking forward to a little 'summer break' just as much as (if not more so than) my kids! Hooray for 'time off'!
Who Am I?
As a Stay At Home Mom of 4 wonderful children, I have the amazing opportunity not only to home school them, but to do so in many different places! I am married to the most amazingly wonderful (and handsome) man in the whole world! Together, we seek out, every day, that Joy in the Journey that makes life exciting!
by Dan Brown
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