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Monday, June 19, 2017

All about the healthy stuff today

Hi friends. I'm telling you straight up that this post is not for my man friends. It is about health stuff, vitamins, food, and girl troubles. Seriously, go away.



Now then. one of my big goals for this year was to take my health more seriously. In the last few years I'd turned that lifestyle corner where I wasn't actively chasing kids around everywhere or picking up a toddler 500 times a day. I was still having intermittent fatigue issues, and the scale was creeping up a little more each year. My PMS symptoms were getting worse, starting earlier, and lasting longer (headaches, mood swings, anxiety that was clearly connected to pms, pain when running up the stairs-you know what I'm talking about). It was no good. If any of you have gone to the doctor for these things, you know what they say. "Oh, well, you have kids. It's normal to be tired." or "You have a lot going on in your life. You should cut back."  Why didn't I think of that?! Which child should I kick out so that my life can be easier. There's the "Are you depressed? You could be depressed." No, I'm not depressed. I'm tired, not apathetic. I also got the, "Your vitamin D and B levels are low. You should take vitamins." Okaaaay.

After cleaning up my diet last year, I saw some real improvement with my energy levels. I've been dutifully taking my vitamins which also helped some, but I still felt like overall I continued to slide down. Then my diet slid back to what it used to be (my family sabotages me). I've been taking steps this year to tick off all the things I can do to feel better. I am 36 years old. There is no reason for me to have some of the fatigue and hormone issues I was having. I started with exercise. I've been working out consistently for the last few months. I got stronger, but I didn't see any real difference in my energy levels. Even so, I'm developing some legit muscles and my plank game is improving. ;)

After googling (YOU SEE WHAT YOU DOCTORS HAVE DRIVEN ME TOO!!! I'M GOOGLING MY HEALTH ISSUES!) Anyway. After googling and reading so many articles, blog posts, and check lists, I found a connection between low vitamin D and B levels and estrogen dominance as well as thyroid issues. Since the thyroid deals so much with hormones, and those vitamins are also involved in hormones getting to where they need to be, it made sense that they would all tend to show up together. After even more googling and searching around for natural supplements that are safe to use, I decided to try Diindolylmethane (DIM). Basically it's the good stuff in cruciferous vegetables that help metabolize estrogen into the good kind. I didn't even know there were good and bad kinds. Now I do. The worst side effect is headaches if you take too much but I was already getting headaches so I didn't think it would matter. Overall, it seemed very promising and very safe to try. It's been used for a long time, studies have been done, and it's widely used. I was desperate enough to venture into the holistic world. In that same month, I also did my week of Whole7 which you're probably already tired of hearing about. The week after I continued to follow most of the same rules. 

And where am I now? I've been taking the DIM supplement for a month now, and I have to say I saw a huge improvement with pms symptoms. Some of that is probably related to diet, but the supplement really helped. Like, my headaches that were hormone related completely stopped. The only time I took any meds for a headache was when I was dealing with sugar withdrawals. My energy levels are better. I've been busy for weeks. Normally I could go hard for about 4 days then I would need some recovery time. That hasn't happened in the last month. I didn't have that couple of days of major anxiety that hit like clockwork each month.  The family swears my moods are better, and I suppose they would know better than anyone else. 

The diet change also had a big impact. I mean, yeah, I lost weight and inches (Yay me!), but I could also tell that my blood sugar was staying level instead of swinging up and down. Generally, it made me feel better. I know this because over the weekend I indulged in some delicious and not so healthy food. I'm talking pasta and alfredo sauce, cookies, fries and ranch dressing...it was wonderful. And then I paid the price for it. I got headaches, stomach issues, and sleepiness in the middle of the day again. Basically, I enjoyed my weekend, but it was a planned detour. Now it's time to stay the course for good. I didn't break myself from sugar slavery to jump back into it again. I don't ever want to have to go through sugar withdrawals again. It was awful. 

So then. I'm sharing this because it seems like a lot of my friends are dealing with the same health issues that I was while getting the brush off from doctors. While the one supplement has been really great so far, I think it works best with a healthy diet. For me, I know I need to avoid extra sugar and high carb foods most of the time because it makes me feel bad. Soy probably isn't great for me either since I'm so sensitive to hormone changes.  

I wish I could say a pill fixed me, but I had to be a grown up and realize that I can't eat like a 20 yr old anymore. It is sad, but it's worth it to feel better. So there's my health journey so far. If you're dealing with some of these same symptoms, just know you're not the only one, and no. You don't have to get rid of a kid to lighten your load. ;)





Saturday, June 10, 2017

Wonder Woman and Whole7

Happy June, everyone!  We've had a few changes going on here that have lead to weeks of adjustments, but I think we've transitioned. Basically, my husband who has workaholic tendencies quit the extra job he's been doing for the last two years. This has freed up a lot of time. Of course, we had to get used to him being around the house so much more. and he had to get used to being around more. It's been a good thing though. We have weekends again! We went to see Wonder Woman today and had a normal, do what we want kind of Saturday.

Speaking of Wonder Woman, ohmygosh. I loved it. First, I love a good superhero movie anyway, but I was really caught off guard by my reaction to this particular one.  As we were in the middle of the movie, this battle scene happens with Diana (Wonder Woman if you somehow don't know that). It was incredible. And as this scene played out in front of me, I honestly got kind of emotional which is weird. I mean, it's Wonder Woman single handedly fighting the Germans. It's not an emotional kind of moment. But as I watched this scene, it hit me that I've never watched a movie with such a strong female character that's actually taking charge and being the star. She wasn't weak. She wasn't conflicted about a relationship. She wasn't trying to be one of the guys. She wasn't the sidekick or even the co-star. She wasn't "good for a female superhero".  The character was genuinely strong, feminine, and confidant. Maybe I'm not making sense, but it was a really special moment. I wouldn't identify as a feminist with the negative connotation the word has now, but I appreciated seeing a female character take her place in the story as if she belonged there instead of having to elbow her way in between the boys. Basically, I'll be sporting a Wonder Woman t-shirt very soon.

Anything else? Hmm...oh yeah. I just finished my week of Whole7. No added sugar, grains, soy, dairy, gluten, legumes, or alcohol. Yes, Whole30 is the gold standard, but I've got food opportunities coming up that I'm not missing out on. I'm talking about you, dinner at Five Loaves and HOPLAWE. Still, a lot of good came from my week. I got very angry about some of my meals which is, let's be honest, ridiculous. Food is connected to a lot of emotions, and it irritated me to keep telling myself no. The sugar withdrawal was brutal, and I don't think I would have made it through if the worst of it hadn't hit me in the middle of the night. I'm talking about the worst headache, cold sweats, and even vomiting once. I intentionally triggered a migraine. My head hurt for a few days before a black coffee pulled me out of it. But I made it through to the other side. I already know what foods bother me and how so I didn't need to figure any of that out. I needed to break the habits so that I could actually see what bad habits I'd made. You don't realize how far gone you are until you limit yourself and have to actually think about every bite you're taking. It was an illuminating experience that surprisingly got easier towards the end of the week.

So where do I go from here? First, I already know that I am not ready to add sweetened drinks back into my life. I don't think I could put the breaks on them yet. I love them too much. They taste sooo good. Sweet tea, mochas, I love you. And that's why I can't have you yet. I can't just have one. I'd be back to square one in week. I'm planning on continuing to eat the same most of the time with a couple of exceptions. I will put cheese in my scrambled eggs. I will find a salad dressing that's not completely packed with sugar because I really miss a good salad dressing. I haven't made one yet that I love.  If I go to Moe's, I will get the tortilla bowl and black beans with my salad just because I want to. And on HOPLAWE, if we go to Olive Garden like we usually do, I will get the pasta, and I won't feel bad about it. I will enjoy my pasta, and then I will move on with my life.

And I guess that's it. The beginning of next week is our Classical Conversations Practicum. The end of the week is HOPLAWE in Charlotte, NC. Ikea will be involved. School planning will be accomplished. Food will be eaten. Exercise will happen. Thanks for checking in!

















Sunday, May 14, 2017

School is winding down, summer is about to happen

It's about time for another update. I've tried to write a Dumont update for at least two weeks, but the last few weeks/months have been full of things that aren't really my story to share. Although my friends tell me how much they appreciate my "realness", I'm afraid I've snowed you all. I keep as many secrets as the rest of you. I think it's more appropriate to say I have a higher threshold for embarrassment, and I find my kids to be 100% fair game when it comes to sharing their quotes. In any case, for my friends and family that are dealing with really hard things that are painfully personal or intricately involve other people that don't want their stuff shared with the world, I am silently here with you. =)

And now for the things I can talk about! First, as usual, school. It's May!  We're almost done with our school year. Tommy is wrapping up math and a few other assignments. Charlotte is DONE 5th grade. She is a beast with school. Matthew finished 1st grade, learned to read, and is working through his math workbook so we're all set with him. In other words, I'm pretty happy with where we are. Tommy is the one that stresses me. He will always be my guinea pig, and since this is my first year dealing with high school transcripts, it makes me anxious, but we're getting there. We're finishing up our 5th year (3rd year consecutively) of our homeschool group, Classical Conversations, and despite all the kool-aid jokes that people make (okay, that I've made), it continues to be the rails that keep this train from crashing. The Challenge classes (middle and high school) don't allow for as much flexibility, but at this level, I don't really want that much flexibility. I appreciate the deadlines and rigor that make us do the things we have to do. Plus it makes me enjoy my summer because I don't have the "we really should catch up on..." hanging over my head. We're very close to being in Summer Mode.

Speaking of summer, what is our summer going to look like this year? Well, it's going to be a mix of chaos and calm. Jon has another work trip coming so he'll be gone for part of the summer. I have my tutor training. The kids are signed up in different camps. Guitar lessons will continue. I'm going away for a weekend in Charlotte with my friend for our annual HOPLAWE. Oh, and that little trip I'm taking in July to France. You know, just that. No big deal. With all that, we've got a lot going on, BUT otherwise we'll be spending a lot of time at the pool. Last summer we never got a pool membership, and I missed it. This year, we made the pool our summer thing so we're going all. the. time. The kids will be sick of the pool by July, and I will still make them go. Because summer.

Charlotte and I have a particular goal for this summer as well. We're going to work our way through The Great British Bake Off technical challenges. No, we are not great bakers. I lost my baking mojo a few years ago and never quite got it back, but that's not going to stop us. If you haven't watched this show, go watch it on Netflix. Hulu? I think Netflix. One of those. Anyway, it's British people speaking with their British accents as they bake in a giant tent in the middle of a garden. Everyone is lovely and polite. It's like therapy.  I'm going to try to get Tommy and Matthew to help, but when I asked Tommy about it, he said, "But...I don't know how to bake." No, honey. None of us really know how to make these recipes. I can't even pronounce some of them. But we will try to make them. It will be a fun learning experience. I do not understand why my teenage son does not want to attempt difficult and obscure baking recipes with his mother over the summer. It's an enigma.

Oh, and Mother's Day. I have a love/hate relationship with this day. I love the idea of it, and it's good when it actually arrives, but the days leading up to it almost make it not worth it. I am a planner. I love to plan. But this. I can't plan this. I can't plan Mother's Day. This year my husband suggested various things like going to visit my parents which sounds nice in theory, but they have a lot going on right now, and I didn't really want to spend so much time in the car trapped with my family...I mean enjoying quality time with my family in an enclosed space.  Then he said something about buying me a griddle and exercise equipment. That was a chilly car ride home, let me tell you. Then we have the yearly discussion about how I don't want stuff. I want to not make any decisions. I want to take a nap. I want someone to take all the responsibilities that come with being the MOM off of my shoulders for just a day so that I can just enjoy being the mom. Does that make sense? Like, I get to enjoy dinner without having to cook and clean up after the meal. Thankfully, that's what I got this year. After the great "DON'T GET ME AN APPLIANCE FOR MOTHER'S DAY OR I SWEAR TO GOD I WILL START A HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECT FOR FATHER'S DAY!"  #marriagegoals  

So there we are for May. We're winding down school and turning our eyes to summer. Sweet, sweet restful summer full of ice cream, swimming, friends, cookouts, and no school.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Just exercise, Lowe's, and no coffee this week.

Just a few updates and thoughts to get you up to date in no particular order.


So, I haven't said much on facebook about this because I have a terrible habit of starting a new thing, telling everyone how amazing that thing is, then completely burning out within a week or two. I always quit for excellent reasons, just to be clear. For example, the running thing. That started off well. Then we spent a good month and a half with someone being sick so I couldn't get out consistently. So that didn't end so well. I knew I needed to find a realistic fitness routine for myself because...well, I'm getting older. I don't want to have osteoporosis, and I don't want to look like I'm 60 when I'm 45. My problems: 1. I'm not so great at internal motivation. I'm just not. 2. I get bored with routine. This project person needs variety or I won't stick with it. 3. I don't want to take the time to go a gym. It would take a chunk of time out of my day. And my budget. Yes, I know. It sounds like I'm making all the excuses, but these were the roadblocks to me being consistent. I've got workout videos, but they get so old so fast. BUT I think I've found a solution. I subscribed to Daily Burn. I can use the app, play it on my laptop, or stream on my TV with our Roku. It asks you questions, suggests a program, and then off you go. I'm doing the Cardio Sculp program with last 3 months. Each day I have a different workout. Rest days are scheduled for me. The workouts are realistic for my level, but I've been able to scale up as I improve. And yes. I've improved because I'm at a solid 3 weeks of doing it! Basically, I make myself workout before I let myself watch Netflix after the kids go to bed. I know, 3 weeks is nothing, but 3 weeks is longer than 1, and I don't want to quit yet. My arms are becoming more defined. I was able to pick up 60 lb bags of concrete today without hurting myself. At least, I don't think I hurt myself.

And that brings me to concrete.  Jon is out of town. Again. Which means I'm in project mode. I won't share what I'm doing yet, but it involves concrete. The kids have no choice in this. This project is a solid two person job and it required a trip to Lowe's. Going to Lowe's with the kids can be a little annoying, and not because of the kids. They're great. As long as I stay in the garden, paint, or appliance section, I'm fine. However, I can feel it when I cross over into "Man Land".  The faces go from friendly and welcoming to irritated and confused. I can read the men's thoughts on their befuddled faces. "Why is this woman looking at lumber with her kids?" "She better not ask me to help." or  "Obviously she's lost." I ignore them and push my way through. Some men are nice in a non-condescending way. Some are just condescending. Today's trip was not too bad. I'd give more details, but I'm still hoping for a big reveal once I'm done.

Next, I'm on Day 4 of having no appreciable amount of caffeine. I've had some sweet tea, but not coffee or soda. I'm very happy to not need the coffee. I never wanted to need the caffeine. I more enjoy the habit. I don't know how long I'll go. I might even get coffee this afternoon. It's not really a goal to quit. Basically, I'm glad I haven't had a debilitating headache like I thought I would.

Finally, if I talked to you earlier this week and seem edgy or irritated, it's because I was. Sorry about that. I'm generally a grumpy person in the days leading up to Jon going on a trip. Then the day he leaves, I'm mopey. Then I do a project and feel better. It's my thing. Plus last week was Easter and I was alone at church which kind of sucked. And yes, I could have gone to visit my family, but every time I tried to make it work, something got in the way. Then they did assigned seating at church which was horrifying to me. I mean quite practical. Anyway... it was an off week.

So that's all. I'm off to Lowe's for my second trip of the day to return an extra bag of Quickrete and buy the next thing I need that I didn't buy during my first trip because honestly I wasn't sure this plan would even work. But it DID work so now I get to move to phase 2!




Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Attention Deficit Wednesday

ADD Wednesday goes like this:


  • Wake up. 
  • Check Facebook (Don't act like you don't do this too). 
  • Spend 10 minutes trying to decide if I should exercise this morning or tonight. Or should I eat breakfast first? Or maybe a snack? 
  • Go for a walk.
  • Eat breakfast. 
  • Let my friends know that I exercised and ate a healthy breakfast because it doesn't count if I don't tell anyone.
  • Take a shower
  • Go pick up child #2 from a sleepover. 
  • Remember today is Wednesday, not Thursday, which means we have lots of places to go this afternoon.
  • Come home and walk aimlessly through the house trying to decide where to start first. (Okay, here's my caveat. We have been focused on school and not eating out. In other words, my house has descended into the depths of disaster that bothers even me. Like, I wouldn't let Matthew's neighbor friend play in the house for the last two weeks because it was that embarrassing.)
  • Tommy wants to add a pie chart to his project. Try to figure out how to make a pie chart in Openoffice.
  • Start loading the dishwasher. 
  • Remember I need to figure out camping details for Charlotte's trip this weekend. Message appropriate people.
  • Load more of the dishwasher.
  • Eat a snacky lunch.
  • Decide I'm really going to try to sign up Charlotte for musical theater next year. Email the person to get put on the waitlist.
  • Start picking up clutter and trashing all the loose papers. Find Tommy's cleats from last year. Decide to post them on facebook to sell. 
  • Pick up more clutter. Notice the floor is really dirty.
  • Start sweeping the floor. 
  • Start looking at all the other dust and decide I should dust everything else first and do the floors last. Ooh, my rug is crooked! I need to fix that.
  • Mail arrives with an HOA letter because our clover is trying to take over the world.
  • Go outside and cut the grass enough so we don't get another HOA letter.
  • Email HOA person. 
  • Run the dishwasher. 
  • Go to library to return our overdue books. Realize we left one at home, and I can't renew it. 
  • Go to Biggby's to get my free coffee. =)
  • Go to Tommy's guitar lesson.
  • Receive and send texts about all the cancelled evening activities thanks to the potential for storms.
  • Make a page in my bullet journal titled "Operation Get The House Back Under Control" and list all the things I need to catch up on.
  • Come home. Find the overdue book. Go back to the library.
  • Come home again. Begin dinner. 

So...yeah. This is my Thursday. I mean Wednesday. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

9 Dumont Updates for March

The last week or so has been extra busy and life changing for the Dumont crew so here's a quick rundown of our lives in no particular order.

First, Charlotte and Tommy got braces on Monday. Last Friday they got spacers in preparation for Monday so they've basically been in varying levels of pain since Friday. Tommy is despondent over the foods he can't eat. His only consolation is that I've been supplying milkshakes, frozen yogurt, pudding, and Jello whenever he wants. Charlotte hasn't been as bad off, but she had a rough night last night. Crying happened. When they complain about not being able to eat, my only option is to offer to buy them a milkshake from wherever they want. If you saw me in the Chickfila drive thru at 8:30pm last night, it was for Charlotte's chocolate milkshake. And then she cried because "I CAN'T ONLY EAT MILKSHAKES!" Ahem. We're holding on for Thursday when the orthodontist assures me they'll be feeling noticeably better.

Second, if your kid needs braces, visit a few different orthodontists. The costs vary greatly. It was going to be $2000 more if we'd gone with a different ortho that had a very similar plan to the one we chose. TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS. Seriously. Are the braces plated in gold? Because that's what I'd want with $2000 extra dollars.

Third, I declared this week to be a restaurant fast for us. You've already read about the milkshakes so I've amended the fast to be a No Meals at a Restaurant. Yes, I've bought a lot of beverages, but no meals. Charlotte has already declared that milkshakes can't be considered meals so I feel good about this definition. That means we haven't eaten out since Saturday! Our NM@R Fast is going on splendidly.

Fourth, Charlotte and I spent Saturday at Lake Moultrie where she went over canoeing and kayaking basics. In a couple of weeks, she (and hopefully me as well!) will be canoing/kayaking down the Edisto River. I am so excited for this trip! I've also moved kayaks up to the top of my things I want to buy list so we can kayak on the weekends.

Fifth, Jamie the Very Worst Missionary replied to my comment on her post so that made my afternoon yesterday. =) Some of you do not know who this person is, but I like her. Some of you will not. That's okay.

Sixth, I'LL BE IN FRANCE IN 4 MONTHS!!!!!!

Seventh, Matthew and Charlotte finished up their year at our CC group! Charlotte is going for Memory Master on Tuesday so she still has some work to do with that. Tommy still has 3 weeks left (really 4 because there's a break for Easter for his class), and then he'll be done with the bulk of his work for the year. We'll still have math, books, and projects, but we're about to enter that warm fuzzy part of the school year; that time when we relax and do the stuff we want without being on a timeline. If I look a little more relaxed the next time you see me, it's because I am.

Eighth, well, this isn't actually an update. I am once again reminded that I'm in the decade of divorce. My twenties were filled with weddings, and my thirties are full of couples that "just aren't happy anymore" and are completely enamored with the other side of the fence. Once again I say ever so gently, get over yourselves, people. Hmm. That wasn't gentle. Yes, marriage is hard and sometimes you really don't like the person that steals your covers every. single. night. I get it. Really. No, really. I seriously get it. Still, fight for your marriage. Get some help if you need it, and if that "help" suggests you get divorced, then that's not really help (even if it's your church giving you the bad advice)...and that's all I'll say on that.

Ninth, I almost forgot that Matthew started flag football again. Tommy is helping out with his team. If you want to see us over the next couple of months, try Gahagan park. We'll be there at least 2 nights a week.

Okay, I think that's everything. It's a good life we have here. =)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Homeschool Convention 2017

Part I (Friday night)
Friends, I'm writing this as I lie in the king size bed in my hotel room. All alone. You couldn't see, but I just took a good 60 seconds after writing those first two sentences to close my eyes and breathe. I checked in my room on Thursday for my stay in Greenville for the homeschool convention. As a mother that has chosen to homeschool my children, I have chosen to give up myself as a person for about 90-95% of the time. I am an amalgam of mom, teacher, home administrator (that's a fancy word for the person that cleans the bathrooms and generally keeps the house from decaying beyond repair), chauffer, momager, wife, friend, church volunteer, tutor...I could keep going but I think I've made my point.

Before I go any further, let me give the obvious "I love my kids and the life we've chosen."  But people. This life is exhausting on every level. It's physically demanding although less so since my kids are older. Now that I'm not picking up a kid all the time, I've noticed a real lack of definition in my biceps. As for mental and emotional exhaustion, well, those two are my good buddies that stick with me through thick and thin. It's exhausting to have people. Real, actual human people are depending on me for their existence. How in the world did God think this was a good idea?! Has He even seen me?! I'm a mess of a person. I'm judgy though I fight it. I haven't mopped my floor in months. MONTHS. There's a spot of ice cream on the floor. It's been their for like a week. I just keep ignoring it, hoping the child that spilled the spot will clean it. They won't.

And now. I'm at this homeschool conference, and I'm all alone. It is beautiful and wonderful and much too short of a time. For a brief moment, I get to be reminded of who I am as a person. I'm at least physically detached from all the people that usually depend on me. My brain is not divided for once between competing responsibilities, kids, and a husband. I can focus.

I wish every husband understood how important it is to give their wives a break. My home is my office. Can these husbands imagine if they had to live where they work? Moms live where they work. And family vacation is no vacation for parents. It's more work. It's work in a new location. Dads, husbands. You have got to give your wife a break. It is incumbent upon you, your responsibility, to make sure you are helping her have some time to herself to be an individual. These kids are not going to be around forever. Some might say that I've just given a strong reason for moms to not take some time for herself, but I would say it makes it even more important. We've all seen the mom that has no idea what to do with herself once her children leave the nest. I daresay we've all seen a marriage fall apart when the youngest kid goes to college because the couple didn't take the time to maintain the marriage. You men must give her the space to be who God made her to be beyond a mother and wife. Please don't guilt her for going off by herself for an hour. Don't call her and ask when she's coming back. Better yet, take the kids and let her be at home alone. Moms are never home alone. Like never, ever. Give her a moment to breathe. Give her a moment to remember who she is instead of what she does.

My husband, who is super cool, figured out that I'm a better person when I get to pursue my own interests...or at least go buy a coffee by myself. He doesn't call me when I'm gone. He'll text some, but not with questions. It took us awhile to get here. Okay, it took me telling him that it feels like pressure to "get back to work" when he would call and ask when I'm coming home after I've barely left. Apparently, he thought it was the loving thing to do. He thought he was letting me know how important I am to him and the family. It was a basic communication error. Glad we got that one worked out because the calls were super annoying. =)

Part II (Sunday night)
And now. What are my takeaways from a few days of sitting in big, cold rooms listening to people that at least appear to have it together? Here, I'll bullet point it for you.

  • Arts are not electives. God has made us to create and enjoy beauty. 
  • Musicals are the American opera. (I don't know if High School Musical counts though)
  • If rest is the goal, the middle, then the two extremes we can slide to are anxiety or negligence.
    • Which extreme do I tend to slide to? What are some red flags that signal I'm sliding towards an extreme?
    • Avoid comparison
    • Avoid the drudgery- take a break and learn how to enjoy your children again
    • Just Because You Can Day- take a break and do something fun and completely unrelated to school to build relationships and your kids know that you actually like being around them.
    • Tiny tweaks in our day can make a huge impact. Instead of trying to overhaul my school plan, look for small tweaks that don't add to my work, but do add to our day. For example, making sure you start the day with "Good morning" instead of "Go brush your teeth"
    • "Hope is being cheerful, even if you ought not to be." I just liked this quote. =)
  • Girl drama is girls learning how they fit in the world and in relationships. 
  • Men's brains basically quit when they're bored and move into basic survival mode. (I took pictures of the brain scans. Seriously. Men aren't kidding when they say they can sit and literally think of nothing.)

And now, what are my takeaways from being independent for a few days? Here's another bullet list!

  • Having a room all to yourself is blissful. I cannot stress this enough. If you can afford to get a room to yourself, GET A ROOM TO YOURSELF.
  • I didn't feel like my head completely cleared out of "Mom Mode" until Friday night which is unfortunate since I was back in "Mom Mode" on Saturday. Next time, I want 3 nights. 
  • Target. Y'all. I'm usually very focused in Target. I go in, get what I need, and get out. But without kids or the haze of motherhood in my brain, there were entire sections of the store I could look through that I usually avoid. At one point, I just stood and looked at candles for 5 minutes because I could.
  • I ate fettuccine alfredo for dinner two nights in a row. I don't feel bad about it at all. It was delicious and wonderful. I made happy sighs throughout the meal. I need to schedule more fettuccine alfredo in my life so I don't binge on it when I get the opportunity. 
  • Even being a veteran homeschooler with a solid curriculum plan for next year, I still wanted to buy half the stuff in the vendor hall. Those books are beautiful and tempting. I was lusting over a curriculum guide. LUSTING. I'm not exaggerating. I wanted that book so bad. Like, time slowed down. It was just me and that book in the room. I wanted to take it home and make my kids do all the work in it. Get behind me, Satanintheformofacurriculumguide! 
And that's about it. This post might seem a little disjointed since I wrote bits and pieces over the course of a couple of days. Sorry about that. I had a lot of info to process. If you want to talk with me about the speakers I listened to or look at the books I actually did buy, I'd love to grab coffee with you!