Homeschool Conference!!!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Yep, he said it, I have a COMPLEX BRAIN!!!

I went to bed last night with a prayer in my heart
safely wrapped in my husbands arms.

I awoke this morning and tried to think of all the good things that I have surrounding me, the things that make me smile each day.  Then I tried to think of all the good or funny things that have come from all these doctors appointments lately.

The funniest one just kept coming to me, so I have to share:

After my MRI, which took 3 times longer than what they had told my sweet husband, I came out of the tube of death and saw that sweet man of mine.  Well, he has to make a joke of everything, I think it's how he copes when he doesn't know what else to do or what else to say.

He told me I was in there for so long because I have such a COMPLEX BRAIN AND it was a MAN working on me.  Then he said, when he got in there, he probably said to himself, "Oh crap...this one must be a home school mom!!!"  And that was his reasoning behind the ridiculous amount of time I had to be away from him!!!   I know, silly, but that's what made me smile this morning!

In addition to that I prayed that no matter what the neurologist might find that I would follow the advice that I see each morning before I leave my bedroom...

I won't say that I believe this is always easy to times it feels completely IMPOSSIBLE!  BUT, it was worth a shot.

Then I thought of the sweet conversation my husband and I had last night on the front porch.  I cried, he held me, he listened, he consoled...and then he told me what I needed to hear more than anything else (and I didn't even know I needed to hear it)  He told me that no matter what happens, no matter how bad it is, no matter how hard...that he will always be here with me.  He said we were in this together and together we could get through it.

Last night, the IT we were working with was the very strong possibility of MS ~ Multiple Sclerosis.  All evidence was pointing to MS...what a terrifying thought to deal with.

At that moment, I thought to myself,
Crap...forget driving, I don't care if I never drive again,
But walking
Walking is something I really like to do.
I can't even run anymore, but I want to be able to walk,
I want to be able to function,
I want to be able to be me...

We went to bed and I was determined that when I woke in the morning,
my day would be filled with laughter and happiness and no more tears...
that lasted about an hour...
Then a phone call came...
with that call came a panic that swept over me...
the neurologist wanted to see me in his office at 12:00
he had seen my findings from the MRI and wanted to discuss them with me.

Okay, the tears came again
and the panic
and then the beautiful reminder that my husband is going to be with me every step of the way and we can make it through ANYTHING...

MS is not bigger than us!
Nothing is bigger than us!!!

We met with the neurologist...
he showed us all the scans of my brain ~
I have to agree...
that was one complex looking bugger...
mighty impressive, I might say!!!!

Anyway, after going through the list of questions
and then discussing all of my symptoms
and then his exam
he does not believe that I have MS,
there is not enough evidence to support it at this time.


We discussed doing another MRI on my spinal column to see if any of the white spots were present there...if so, that is a definite answer of MS...but we decided to wait.  His suggestion was that we see if I have another "episode" and go from there.  He'd like me to do Vestibular Therapy to see if that will help with the vertigo, already done it, it helps but doesn't make it go away.  His other guess is that it is a possible virus??? 
But he really doesn't know...guessing game! 

As we walked out of his office, I felt gratitude for the life I have...
I can deal with vertigo, it stinks to be dizzy all the time,
but hey, I get to hang out with my favorite person in the world a whole lot more than I did before...things could be worse.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Looking for the good

Not such an easy thing to do on a day that feels rather bleak...

I am playing the waiting game, I AM NOT PATIENT, especially when it's big stuff that I'm waiting for. 
It might be different if what I was waiting for had little impact on my life, but when it's all about my very life, I find that it just feels a little dismal and gray.

My husband and I decided last week that it was time to head out to see ANOTHER doctor...this vertigo has gotten the best of me.  It has been over 3 months and can I tell you that is a Very Long Time!!!  The worst part is that the vertigo is not improving, it is actually getting worse again...very frustrating and discouraging!

Well, I made some calls and ended up finding a doc that I am actually quite happy with. 
He seems to be quite thorough and on top of it. 
He has run a load of blood work --
not my favorite thing in the world to do,
but I survived and I didn't even cry or pass out!  woo hoo!!!

Got all the results back Monday and then they had to run additional blood tests ~ my word!
Well, I was filled with hope that all my problems were figured out with the nasty results that came back. 
My "numbers" were anything but happy...
on the extremely high or extremely low side of things. 
Thyroid not happy at all,
cholesterol also a little unhappy,
liver not feeling too great,
and iron on the ridiculously low side of life. 
All of this should be enough to make me feel as crappy as I do...
but NO!!! 
It couldn't be that easy...

Next, was the MRI...
for those who have never had one of these fun little procedures, well count yourselves lucky! 
I do not love tight, confined little areas,
nor do I like my head to be held in place,
and I really am not loving a lot of loud, obnoxious noise all around me. 
On this lovely day, I was the very unlucky recipient of each and every one of these fine things! 
And then to top it all off... the tech,
(which I must add in was a very kind and delightful sort of guy)
told me after being in this confining little tube for what felt like hours,
"great job, looks like we are all done here,
just need to have another doc take a look and then I can get you out of here." 

Those were the greatest words I heard in a very long time, in my mind I jumped for joy and screamed out " ready to be done!"

THEN my bubble was burst into a million pieces...
he comes into the room, pulls me out of this terrifying tube and says,
"I need you to lie perfectly still without moving your head...
the neuro doc wants to see more...
I need to start an IV so that we can run a dye through your brain,
but don't worry we just need to see a few more things."

So now, I am laying there with a needle in my arm, having it pump some nasty dye into my body and I have to go back into the tube of death and try not too worry, yeah right! 
Oh I forgot to mention,
I had to keep my eyes closed the entire time...
I was so worried that IF I were to open my eyes, I might completely flip out...
so I tried to pretend I was sleeping ~ major FAIL!

Well, all I can say at this point is that I am so grateful that I know I am never alone,
because in all of those moments in that scary tube,
I felt very, very alone
and very, very frightened. 
I wanted my husband to just be able to wrap his big, strong arms around me and tell me everything was going to be okay, I wanted to cry into his chest and just let him make it all go away, but he had to sit outside in the waiting room and there I was very alone and very frightened.

But then I prayed with all of my might,
I prayed that I would be able to lay still,
I prayed that I could act like a big girl,
I prayed that I would not have a freak out moment,
I prayed that I would be okay,
I prayed that they would find NOTHING,
I prayed that I would not be afraid,
I prayed that I would not be alone and that I could feel at peace. 

And the best thing happened,
I didn't feel alone anymore...
I wasn't alone anymore...I was okay --
still not loving the situation I was in,
but not alone
and that is so much happier than doing hard things by yourself!
I could almost feel my hand being held and when my heart would pound to the point I thought it might jump out of my chest, I felt as though I was being held tightly.

Today, I find myself feeling those same scary feelings I experienced just days ago...
the results from the MRI came back
and I have to say that the unknown of all the stuff they told me is pretty darn scary! 

I spent time in my room alone, begging to not feel alone and terrified
and again, peace came to my heart. 
I cried buckets of tears and I'm sure more are coming,
but I know that no matter what comes,
I will never be alone.

Yesterday, the phone call came...
and the reaction I had from it was not pretty!
What the H-E-double toothpicks does that mean???

And then, the worst part the doctor can't even tell me what it means...hmmm, don't get that one at all!!!

This morning we went back to the Dr. office to try to get some additional clarification...a smidge more, but no clear answers.

So, now I am back to waiting and looking for the good.
The Neurologist will be calling...
and then I will be going to see him --
he knows everything, or so I am told.

So until then, I will sit by the phone or I might do crazy things like clean out my pantry (Oh yeah, just did that one today trying to forget all of this) maybe I'll spend time looking at all my beautiful flowers in the backyard...maybe I'll have my little ones put on a puppet show for me...I don't know, but something. 
IF I had a yellow slug-bug
and IF I could drive,
I'd be checking out the countryside with the wind blowing through my hair and the radio cranked as high as it could go, I would drown myself in all of my favorite songs and sing my heart out...IF ONLY...

I just know that not knowing and having to wait stinks in the most offensive smelly kind of way!

And I can't even eat a giant chocolate cake to make me feel better, because it will just make me sick ...and for some reason carrots and pea pods just do not have the same magical effect as chocolate.  Time to pull out the GF Brownie recipe and go for it!

Thanks for always being here for me blog...sometimes it's just too hard to say all of this stuff out loud.  I cry a whole lot less while typing and you don't have to listen to my high-pitched Alvin impersonation while the tears are rollin'...

Ready for another day
and for a little bit of good news,

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Building Faith & Spirituality

When I think of building faith and spirituality,
I know it must start with me.
I must focus on my own faith and my own spirituality; likewise, my children must do the same.
How I wish I could just feed them every morsel they will ever need, instead I will hope to inspire them and then pray for the moment that I can sit back and watch them feast away because they have the desire to do so.

If I am excited about making faith and spirituality a priority in my life, then my kiddos may also feel this excitement and will hopefully join right in with me. The way I attempt to make this happen in my life is to keep it exciting, engaging, interactive and alive!!! That’s what makes me tick and so far it works with my kids.

I love to see the ideas that others have and so today, I’ve decided to just share a bundle of the various things I pull from my shelves. I have no rhyme or reason to which I will choose which day…I thrive on a little spontaneity…so I just go for it, whatever feels right or looks good, I choose.

Some of my favorites are the little games we play…I’m a bit crazy when it comes to getting my kids involved…I will grab a stack of cards such as our WE BELIEVE cards (all the Articles of Faith broken up into small sections) and I will toss them into the air while the kids rush as quickly as possible to put them all together and in the correct order. This can happen with the Ten Commandments or with any verses you may be memorizing as a family…you name it, it will work here and it’s truly a blast!

We have the typical things, the Friend magazine, the Ensign, the New Era, and of course our scriptures. I love Preach My Gospel and The Gospel Art Kit is a must!!! Many years ago I put together a huge binder of Family Home Evening lessons, these are perfect to pull off the shelf and share any day of the week…way too good to save only for FHE!

We’ve done everything from role playing our favorite stories to learning tidbits from the LDS Children’s Encyclopedia. Everything from drawing pictures of our heroes from the scriptures and talking about what makes them special in our eyes to making our own Title of Liberties to display.

I’ve picked up games and books for years that we just keep using again and again…that’s the bonus of having a variety ~ and you never tire of them!

I believe the secret is to enjoy the time with your kids…
IF it feels too big and burdensome, you will not enjoy it and your kids will know it.
So find what works for you…
if you love having it all lined up for certain things each day of the week, go for it.
If you are more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda momma, then just pull away at whatever grabs your fancy.
There is no “Right Way” to do this in our homes…whatever is right for you is all that matters.

One last thought that I’d like to leave you with is a small quote I placed on my Family Home Evening Book; it serves as my personal reminder of what I feel is truly important in this life…

“What a beautiful place this world will be when every father and mother see the importance of teaching their children the principles that will help them be happy and successful. Parents teach best when they lead by good example; govern their little ones with patience, kindness, and love unfeigned; and have the same spirit of love for children that Jesus exemplified.”
M. Russell Ballard

It's Friday...what shall we do???

So what are your favorite things to do on a Friday afternoon?

Today was full of all sorts of random excitement at the Lytle Home!

just seem to go hand in hand,
I believe they were made for each other!

First thing on the list was making a new volcano...
it has been a few years and my younger kids were DYING to make one
and today seemed the perfect day!
I LOVE the creativity my kids possess!

I find it sooooooo very important to let them just go for it ~ any mess can be cleaned up with a little effort.

The only supplies they needed were found right in our extra expense!
They found a box in the garage, a milk jug, some poster board, a bunch of paper to crunch up for the texture of the volcano, a little masking tape, a bunch of duct tape (that makes EVERY project better, or so says my boys!) and a few bottles of paint. 
Put on the painting smocks and go to town
a beautiful Volcano appears!!!

After making this amazing looking volcano, it is time to put it to the high can we make it go?  How much of a mess can we possibly muster up???
THIS looks like an outside experiment for sure!!!

Dad and the kids grabbed the industrial size bag of baking soda along with the gallon jug of vinegar ~ Let the fun begin!!!

Like all science projects...we came up with ideas of what we'll do NEXT time...
Some of the kids were a little disappointed that we didn't have a massive eruption with spewing lava, but I think they still got the whole gist of it....too many movies is my guess!
And I just have to say again how truly lovely that volcano was...they did one magnificent job!!!
Did you know that a volcano could be lovely???  That may be taking a bit too far...but since I get to write about it, I also get to say it like I see it!  :0)

The next project ~ Goop or Gack or whatever you'd like to call it!!!
This has been a favorite around here for quite some time and they never seem to tire of it...
If you've not tried it, give it a will be a hit!!!

Just two simple ingredients ~ Cornstarch and Water...
You'll need a little (or a lot) cornstarch (if you live in this house...A LOT is going to be in order!)
and water...
just enough water to mix it up...again the amount will depend on your kiddos...
remember for us there is at least one entire BOX of Cornstarch, and if they can sneak in a couple, they'll be doing just add water until it "feels" right.  :)
this stuff is amazing and provides mass amounts of fun for all ages!
How will you know if it feels right???
If you HIT it, it feels hard as a brick
BUT if you put it in your hand, before you know it, it'll be running between your fingers...
CRAZY stuff!!! 
Can't go wrong with this refreshing...a science experiment that WILL work every time!!!

The next project ~ GEYSERS!!!
This one is a bit crazy...AND it might make you stop and think about what you are drinking.

A bottle of pop and a roll of  mentos

At first we tried a bottle of Mountain Dew...
we were guessing that it might be pretty impressive ~ not so much...
it just fizzled out the geyser to speak of.  DANG!

Then one of the boys remembered that DIET COKE was the Key Ingredient...

Our neighbor was on her way to the store and picked us up a bottle.

YES, we drew quite the crowd with all of our excitement outside!!!
I wonder what our poor neighbors must think????
We do seem to be a bit odd when I think about it...
It seems rather normal to me to be blowing things up outside and to be mummifying chickens and painting all the rocks in our front yard, BUT as I consider what others may think, we may seem a tad bit strange, unusual, even slightly peculiar???  :0)
OH well...
Gotta do the fun stuff ~ Life is too short to try to fit in all the time!

I missed the photo moment...but this geyser was much more impressive!!!
The boys wanted to go grab a 2 liter of diet coke and give it another whirl...
next time!

All these experiments and fun make me remember why I love homeschooling my kids...
There are definitely days that I pause to wonder WHY do I do this crazy life...
and then I remember that I LOVE THIS CRAZY LIFE and I would live it no other way!

FriDays = Smile Days! 

YOU are the author of your life...

“"One night, after thinking it over for some time,
Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight."
So begins this gentle story that shows just how far your imagination can take you. Armed only with an oversized purple crayon, young Harold draws himself a landscape full of beauty and excitement. But this is no hare-brained, impulsive flight of fantasy. Cherubic, round-headed Harold conducts his adventure with the utmost prudence, letting his imagination run free, but keeping his wits about him all the while. He takes the necessary purple-crayon precautions: drawing landmarks to ensure he won't get lost; sketching a boat when he finds himself in deep water; and creating a purple pie picnic when he feels the first pangs of hunger.” (Goodreads)

It is from this little treasure that I wish to make a few correlations to our journey as homeschooling moms. This children’s story, Harold and the Purple Crayon, has taught me a lesson that I will never forget… opening my eyes to the world that can exist if I am only willing to create it!
Harold is the creator of his own journey – just as we are;
even still, he is often taken aback by his own creations, finding himself literally out of his depth and falling into the unknown...
How often do you feel a little in over your head – possibly each year just as the end of September approaches?
It is not so surprising that what we create as the “perfect” arrangement for our home school is a tad bit unrealistic; we tend to be a little over-zealous in our planning and may need to tone it down a touch; and so ends “September School”.
But don’t despair!
Just grab your trusty ol’ purple crayon and get busy creating a realistic setting for your family to thrive in, one that is manageable and attainable, yet fulfilling, engaging and inspiring!

Harold is a precocious, round-headed little child who takes flights of fancies in his PJs with his favorite-colored crayon…we should follow suit-jammies and all! And rather than panic when trouble arises, just change our approach and solve the problem by drawing what we’d like to see. For instance, when he was drawing an ocean and realized he was in trouble, rather than throwing his hands in the air and giving up, he simply stopped drawing the ocean and drew a boat instead. How fantastic is that!? He is completely in control of his adventure and so are you! You can bail yourself out anytime necessary; just draw it into your path.

Harold, along with his purple crayon, is a tribute to the imagination.
All Harold has is a single crayon and yet he makes a great story.
I believe that we can do the same…
find your magical color, the one that best suits you, and go for it…draw away, create anything you dare…you are the author of your life, and with that trusty little crayon, you can also be the illustrator!

(written as my message for September Deseret Homeschool Association Newsletter)