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Everything posted by beckyjo

  1. I have an extra 2 kids today since schools are closed for Columbus Day. So, they are all keeping each other busy, and it's been a productive day for me so far. Done: Called health insurance. May have actually gotten someone who resolved their denial of DD's doctor. I've been having to call after every appointment and no one could fix it. This woman claims to have gotten it done in 10 minutes - she seemed really upset that I was having to go through it. I am hopeful, as this will save me literally hours per month! Cleaned kitchen. Made all kids breakfast and lunch. Made up some granola. Did one load of laundry today. Still need to have kids put away their stuff. Balanced checkbook. TT VIPKid and got extension on last piece of application. TT MIL about funeral later this week. Got DD to classes on time. To Do: Make a cake for potluck. In Oven currently. Tae Kwon Do this evening - includes car pool. Pick up DD from classes. Laminate some things for VIPKid classroom. It's Trash Day! Vacuum bedroom. Call DD's doctor and request records transfer. Had to pick up a form, which is now complete. Picked it up while picking up DD from class. Need to straighten up kitchen after lunch again - I may wait until cake is done though.
  2. I'm back in medical bill purgatory. We were up to date on all medical bills - we still are for a couple of weeks anyway. DH had a dental appt that cost more than than the estimate last month; there is still no reason given other than "bad estimate". DD had some sealants repaired (have worn down since they went on when she was 8ish). Dentist told me my account is now several hundred for those two appointments. While we were there for DD's sealants, they told us she needs an oral surgeon for wisdom teeth removal. Since she had braces, they don't want the wisdom teeth to move everything. **sigh** We figure it can wait until we have a new FSA for 2020, but I was really hoping we wouldn't have to use it all within the first couple of months (and we are now up to 4 doctor/dentist visits right after the new year). One DD went in for her physical, and they ran a whole bunch of labs since she's been feeling depressed and lethargic recently. I got the bill this morning - another few hundred $ for the labwork. I think that since it was hospital lab, I can apply for assistance though - we're low enough income that we can usually get hospital bills completely written off. I hate to use it for the smaller amounts though, but I don't have the $ for this appointment at all as I was expecting it to be a free physical. I like to reserve the charity option for ER/hospital stays/over thousand dollar appointments. DH went grief shopping this weekend. His father died last week, and he treated the children to Dairy Queen, Half Price Books, Party City, Petco, Five Below, and Walmart. I was busy getting the house ready as my mom and aunt came to town for the funeral, so I knew he was going out, but I didn't realize he'd hit quite so many stores and buy something at each one. So, I haven't seen the damage from that yet. I don't blame him; I do the same thing a lot of times. On the plus side, I got the most helpful customer service person at the health insurance this morning. She claims to have fixed an ongoing problem (provider being charged as out of network every visit) in less than 10 minutes. We'll see if it is the case with the next visit, but she seemed to know her stuff, so I'm hopeful. DD visits this provider every other week, so I had to call every other Monday when the claim was denied - sometimes I had to call 3 times to get it processed correctly. Another couple pluses, DD's youth group leader brought over a HUGE lasagna since she knew about DH's dad. We've been eating on that for 3 days now. The kids have friends staying over last night/today as it is Columbus Day and they have no school. I fed them that lasagna last night, and there is still a few lunches left of it. Groceries were pretty inexpensive this weekend, so that made me happy. DD's youth group paid for DD to attend the fall retreat, so that was lovely of them. She's so excited; she hasn't been healthy enough nor have we had the cash for her to attend since 6th grade. Friday is the day I plan to finish the video/intro pics on VIPKid, so I can sign right after that. I am not dealing with a new job this week as FIL's funeral is Wednesday and one DD has an echocardiogram this week as well. I am freaking out about that; I keep telling myself she's fine, but she is the one who had the heart murmur as a baby, so I can't stop myself from worrying. On the subject of OUAC, I am less than impressed with them for selling kids' clothes. I had a couple of Hartstrings outfits (one still had the tags - $45), and they offered me $1.13 for those two outfits and a Target gymnastics leotard. They didn't accept the Gymboree, Carters, or Justice outfits at all, and they were in great condition IMO. They were "bigger kid" clothes, which I know that they don't carry as much as infant/toddler, but still, I was like, "Really? That's all you'll pay and accept!" When the kids were littler, I sold on Ebay a lot, but now it is such a hassle that I haven't done it. I have all of my FIL's train set buildings here which MIL wants to sell, so I should get on listing things (both MIL's and mine).
  3. My brother is currently unemployed, so he is coming over more often. We have been playing board games a lot when he visits. Over the last month or so, we've played: Rumble: a really fun game. My brother is definitely the champion of this one though. Dragonwood: a good card strategy game. Ticket to Ride (Europe edition): One of my kids doesn't like this game - she finds it boring in the middle, but she was convinced to play last week. She wiped the board with us. Masterpiece: an art appreciation buying/selling game. Rubik's Flip: a 2 person logic puzzle game. We didn't really like this one. Anyone have any ideas on games that can be played with 4-6 teens in about 1/2 hour at co-op? A group of them have a free hour right after lunch, and they have been playing games during it. It can't have any magic elements (my kids took Dragonwood a couple of weeks ago but thought better of it before they took it out). So far, they've been playing 4 way chess (one kid is way better than the rest, so they stopped playing that), lots of Uno, Bananagrams, and Hearts. They are looking for some other options. I've recommended Querkle, but does anyone have any other thoughts?
  4. Oh, just remembered another thing that DD's trauma therapist taught us. It's called pizza massage. Talk about yummy pizza the whole time you're doing it and that can help break the disassociation symptom and ground the child along with the physical touch. Pizza massage. Roll out the dough (rub up and down the child's back in big sweeping motions) Pour on the sauce (start with a light touch in the middle of back and spread outward to edges in circular motions) Put on the toppings - whatever kind the kid likes - the more the merrier ("pounce" your fingers in spots all over the back - like a full fingered light poke) Sprinkle the cheese (drum fingers all over back)
  5. My DD uses Prazocin (a blood pressure pill) for nightmare control. It's the only one available for under 13 year old as far as I know.
  6. One of my DD's has PTSD. She does EMDR and talk therapy, but we've found some things that help "in the moment". Things we do for Disassociation: hand massage with scented lotion, essential oil on a cotton ball to sniff, play catch with a squishy ball, recite poetry/bible verses/sing a song, guided meditation (we use the Calm app), touching homemade slime (works as a shield as well), something sweet to eat (chocolate chip cookies are the favorite here) Things we do for Flashbacks: talk through it (a constant monologue of "You are safe. You are OK. You are here [in doctor's office, at home, etc] with _____, No one here will hurt you."), rub the back if curled up in fetal position, cool damp washcloth on forehead, weighted blanket, stuffed animals set up as a shield in front of her, pillow under head if banging head on floor/furniture Things we do for Nightmares: take a short walk around the house to "shake off the nightmare", change the sleeping place (DD sleeps about 50/50 bed and couch - moving from one to the other seems to break the nightmare cycle some nights), guided sleep meditations (Calm app or Youtube), spray a sleep essential oil on the pillow, sleep mask (seems to let her mind settle easier), stuffed animal that can be heated in the microwave (joking about "Cooking Fido" can really shake off the lingering nightmare ick here, although it might GIVE other kids nightmares)
  7. I have mostly Pfaltzgraff (Rosehaven pattern). I had about a set of 12 when I got married 20 years ago. I had purchased a small set of it at a store I worked at in college, and for graduation, my family set me up with the whole set. Currently, I have all of the serving dishes still, but only about a set of 6-8 plates & bowls. The pattern faded in the dishwasher over the years so I've let the "ugly" ones go, and we broke a few things over the years. I have filled in with plastic that the kids use (Ikea, Walmart, etc) and thrift store dishes. I probably now have a set of 12 (not including kids' dishes), but in 4-5 different patterns that I just liked when I saw them. They don't really go together, but it's fine. I do have a set of 16 Christmas dishes (Pfaltzgraff Winterberry), which I inherited, that we use in November and December.
  8. Yep, I'm right there with you. Middle DD just told me she went through her drawer and threw out the holey socks. She now has 3 pairs. Youngest just came out and said she only has the fuzzy spa socks. I'm not behind on laundry, so I guess we'll have to buy socks. I was able to find some things in Oldest's room. Oldest DD told me she lost the Thinx panties she had. I asked because middle wears them for TKD and needs another pair, and I didn't think older had ever worn hers. I dug through her drawers and found them, still in the package, a new set of mittens, and 2 pairs of jeans that fit youngest (yes, they are several sizes too small for oldest). Unfortunately, no new socks, though I did look! She has ADD, so such things go to die in her room. My FIL passed away Wednesday, so I've been dealing with the business of planning funerals, helping MIL choose pictures and clean, making sure DH/I/kids have funeral outfits, etc. Today we are getting our new furnace (they did 18 months no interest, so that's the plan). Since I have to sit here with the furnace guys, I finished everything except the video/pics for VIPKid today. I have zero experience in videos, so I'm a little worried - I haven't yet figured out what to say/do in it. DH has a phone interview with the job across the state line this afternoon. Oldest DD has a dentist appointment, so I'll take her and DH will do his interview and hang with the furnace guys.
  9. I passed VIPKid! Now, I need to do their ESL cert, provide my documents, and load up a video. I probably won't be able to get to that until tomorrow (It's co-op day and I have dinner with my FIL), but yay! I'm pretty much hired.
  10. Tomorrow morning is my mock class for VIPKid. I think I'm ready - my family keeps laughing at me as I "talk to myself" in the closet (I set up a classroom in our absurdly long closet). Wish me luck. I think I can do this job, but the hours are so brutal and it sounds like it can be hard to get booked, but I'm giving it a go. My goal was to cover Tae Kwon Do classes for my DD with some mental health problems, but now, I need more (keep reading). I also applied to Dollar Tree which is right across the highway from my house - I could walk it but I'll probably drive due to traffic and no sidewalks. They probably pay nothing, but every little bit helps. I think I'll try that so if I don't get too many bookings for VIPKid, I'll still be bringing in something. DH applied for a new job today as well. Unsure if it pays more, it's right over the state line so it may. We would have to return the money we have set aside from tuition reimbursement (I just set it in a bank account as he has to return it if he leaves within a year of the class), and we would have to figure out how to pay for his last semester, but it might be worth it. It's good we're all about applying for jobs as I came home from picking DD up at community college this afternoon, and DH told me the furnace repair guy shut off the gas to our furnace. We had the guy out here to check the furnace and make sure it is ready to go. Um, it has a huge hole in it. Thank God DH insisted we get it inspected or we could've died from carbon monoxide poisoning. We are in Northern IL, so a furnace is a need. A new furnace costs $3000. We had to pay for a new AC unit this summer, and now this. I'm ready to lay down and cry as we have $113 in our account at the moment. I don't think I can honestly tighten our belts any more, so we NEED to be bring in more income. Hopefully, something will shake out soon. On a positive note, my mom bought my DD some shoes for Homecoming this Saturday, and she had a dress already, so it costs $4 for a purse!
  11. I love house and garden tours. I've always had a thing for houses (I build dollhouses as a hobby), so to see the various floor plans, quirks and all, makes me happy. I've been on Christmas ones, but I'm not as much into the decorating as the house, so they aren't my favorite, but I still go cuz I can peek into the house.
  12. October is going to be a pricey one, so I am working on getting a plan together. DD is having more and more fainting spells (they've been sporadic starting last fall, she's having them almost daily now) - she's set for test #1 in less than 2 weeks. She'll have a followup with the doctor shortly after and probably more tests. It was chalked up to her PTSD previously, but as she's been doing intense therapy, the doctor expected it to decrease not ramp up if it was due to the PTSD. She is close to OOP maximum for the year, but we still have a couple hundred to go. The youth group is doing a fall retreat at a local indoor water park. They have promised us a scholarship, but amount is still up in the air. We have to sit down and discuss with church to see how much and if there are other resources we would qualify for. My life insurance annual premium is due this month. Youngest wants a Halloween costume; I do not have the brain power to figure out a "Make my own" so we'll probably look around for something and purchase. She can still fit in kid sizes, so maybe Once Upon a Child or Goodwill. DD was asked to the local school's Homecoming dance - she needs shoes. We stopped by a consignment store yesterday and found her a fancy purse ($4) but no shoes. We are insanely busy, and I am taking over 3-5 meals weekly with my FIL at the nursing home (he needs to be hand fed, and the home doesn't get to him in a prompt fashion, so MIL is going to every meal). This is a minimum of a 1 hour commitment every time, usually more like 2 hours. Add that into my already packed schedule of homeschooling, driving a child to and from comm college 4x a week, doctor appointments, Tae Kwon Do every evening among other extra-curriculars and I am struggling to put food on the table without swinging through McD's. I need to have some time to create a menu plan that allows for really wonky meals. Family $$: I am picking up MIL some food when we are running about town and I get a text she is stuck at the nursing home, so I am hoping to set aside some $ so it's not put on the CC when I do it. It's sporadic though, so I am finding it hard to budget. My brother is out of work and out of cash, so I covered his electric and phone bill for the month. He will pay me back, but I don't know when that will be. DH got a tooth fixed last month, and the EOB came in a lot more than the estimate, so I need to look into why it is so high. I expect a bill from the dentist soon. On the plus side: I am going to the VIPkid training thing in Chicago this Saturday, so I will find out more about it then. As I said, once I find time (HA!) to sit down with the church, we may be getting some financial assistance from them; I don't know how I feel about that honestly. I have a $20 Swagbucks rebate from cat litter hitting in a couple days which will then go to Amazon to pay for vitamins for the month, so that's nice. All medical bills are up to date at the moment, which is a huge thing - we got behind over the summer.
  13. beckyjo

    S/O Spanking?

    Actually, Illinois has a law regarding children that is enforced exactly how I expect a spanking ban would be. In IL, children up to age 14 cannot legally be left home alone "for an unreasonable time". Unreasonable time is not defined, which means that pretty much it is not an issue unless something happens. So if my child is left home alone at age 12 and burns down the shed, they can come after me for leaving her alone. If she sits on the couch and binge watches Netflix while I am out shopping and I come home and she is safe, 99% of the time no one is going to come after me.
  14. beckyjo

    S/O Spanking?

    Illegal in public schools since early 90s. Don't know about private schools. Still legal in house with implements as long as it is not "excessive". I just looked it up - I don't spank so I never bothered to know. I don't recall anyone being spanked in schools growing up though, so it must've been pretty rare in my area (although I didn't hang around kids who were in trouble often). I wasn't ever spanked, although I do remember my brother being spanked one time by my father, and subsequently my mother letting my dad have it for doing so. So, I grew up in a non-spanking family. Weirdly, we had a paddle hanging on the kitchen wall in one house though - it had the "Train up a child" bible verse on it. We attended a pretty conservative Christian church (Pentecostal) - maybe it was there "for show" for when the church members visited? DH was on the fence (he was spanked as a child), but I let him know it wasn't on the table when the kids came, and he agreed. I'd be for a total ban, but I know many parents who spank who would not want to change disciplinary tactics.
  15. Both of my cats hated those - they spent the better part of 4 days chewing them off. They did look cute in their bright pink nail set though. *sigh*
  16. Paternal Grandparents: 1907-1996, 1910-1956, my dad was the youngest of 7 Maternal Grandparents: 1918-1960, 1926-2000, my mom was the oldest of 3 All of them were born in the US - Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota. I don't know where one of them was born; her parents came from Indiana and Minnesota, so somewhere in the Midwest. One of my great-grandfathers was born in Sweden. Two of my great-greats were born in Germany and Norway. Parents: 1949-2005, 1950 still alive Both of them were born and raised in South Dakota. Me: 1974 in Illinois
  17. I've always had cats and up until these current two, they've all been declawed. My last declawed cat came declawed as a kitten in 1999. DH and I decided not to declaw our current two since it's cruel to the cats, but after having these two for a year, I've decided that I hate cat claws. My couch's corners looks horrid; my walls are scratched, and we are scratched regularly. We keep their claws trimmed - fairly easily as they sleep hard with all 4 feet up in the air. We have a cat tree with 2 rope-wrapped posts and three cardboard ones around - they use them, and still use my couch. I know it's very controversial to declaw, but I much prefer it. At this point, my couch is toast, so we'll tough it out with the claws. I can honestly say though, I may not get another cat after this mainly due to the clawing issue, and that is a huge statement from me. With all of our cats growing up and the ones I had as an adult, I never had any behavior changes after declawing.
  18. The only thing I "get into" on SM is if the claim is 100% wrong, and it is found within a 10 second google search. I will simply post the link to the correct information with one or two sentences; neither of the statements say, "You're wrong." They're more like, "NASA believes climate change is real and likely caused by man's actions. link". I will say, memes like the one you stated, I just hide on my FB. Approximately 3 strikes and the person is hidden for a month. I don't get into it over SM. Edit: Right after I posted this and clicked over to FB, a meme about common core math came up on my feed. Side by side videos of a teacher explaining how to break down double digit numbers to multiply in steps (so 35 = 30+5, now multiply by 20+9) versus a person doing the line up and multiply by the bottom number (multiply by 9, add your zero, multiply by 2, add the two products). I really wanted to say, "Well, if the teacher was explaining how to do the multiplication in the right hand side, it would be just as slow as the breaking down the numbers video." But I just passed on by since I shouldn't get into it - they are simply looking for support for their viewpoint (in this case, it's the old, "If it was good enough for me, it's good enough for them young whippersnappers!").
  19. My good habits: Having a set list of staples - food (ketchup, chicken broth, tomato sauce, etc), toiletries (shampoo, tooothpaste, glasses wipes, deodorant, etc), paper goods (paper towels, toilet paper, kleenex, etc), cleaning (dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, windex, etc), household (batteries, air freshener, furnace filters, water softener salt, etc). I check it every week before making my grocery list. It means we never are completely out of toilet paper or toothpaste. Having water bottles filled and in the fridge to grab and go. Cutting up fruits and veggies. Putting snacks in single serve sizes. I do this every Sunday and I have a box in the fridge that people can grab for lunches or snacks. Doing at least one load of laundry daily. When the kids were little, everything worn today would be washed tomorrow - I never had a backup. Now with 4 adult sized people and 1 tween, I have too much for 1 load. But it never gets too backed up if I keep up 1 load every day. Balancing the checkbook daily. Just a quick check means that I never have to spend over 5 minutes doing it. I added checking the health insurance website this year because they constantly make mistakes on how they charge us. I clean the bathroom every morning while I'm in there. I wipe down one wall of the shower while I take my shower. I wipe the sink/faucets while I brush my teeth. I do the toilet and floor weekly when I clean the other bathroom.
  20. I sent in an application to VIP Kids yesterday. I am near Chicago, and they are having a coaching day the first Sat in October. We will see if I like it. DH used to have a job where he could work from home, and we set up an office in our absurdly large closet, and it's still there, so I figure I can use that space. I just don't know if I can hack the hours - it's awfully early, and I am so not a morning person. But I applied to a few places in the area and haven't been hired yet (4 interviews though), so I guess I'll pursue this. It's been a pricey month here, but I'm beginning to think this is the new normal, and I need to adjust (hence the applying for jobs). Cat needed a vet visit, TaeKwonDo tournament for daughter, college application fees, a couple of doctor appointments, ugh. It's always something. I did get a new cat litter that I got for a bargain - Pretty Litter had a Swagbucks rebate, so a month's supply for 2 cats cost me about $17 after rebate. We looked into it due to the cat's potty issues (that she ended up at the vet for). Now we know the amount of Miralax to give her if it recurs in the future. We have only eaten out 1x this month, and it was on our day to the local apple orchard (We also got the last dozen of discounted day old donuts for takehome). I recently won a $25 gift card to a tavern/restaurant for the library's summer reading program, so DH and I are thinking of giving it a try for a long-put-off date night.
  21. May I have an invite? My oldest is 17, turning 18 over the winter, and I'm seeing lots of changes in our relationship this school year.
  22. Yesterday, I sat down to do math with my freshman; I opened the answer book and said, "We need to go over Lesson 11. You got a few wrong." in what I thought was a perfectly normal tone of voice. She literally hissed at me, burst into tears and ran out of the room screaming, "THIS is why I hate doing math with you." It went downhill from there with me finally shouting at her, "Fine, you have Khan & access to Mr. D Math. You can figure it out yourself!" I went for a walk, finished my novel, and sent her to Tae Kwon Do class with her father. I also ate chocolate chips straight out of the freezer.
  23. I had bc in 2009 at age 35. I am BRCA1+, so double mastectomy was the only option. I had expanders, saline implants, no tattoos. Pros of reconstruction: I do not have to wear a bra - the implants are enough to "hold". I don't have to fuss with purchasing (or making) anything extra - I just get dressed. I don't know if this is normal, but my implants kind of serve as my own personal AC - my breasts are always cool. It was way better for my mental health to have breasts, even if they are fakes, when I was 35 and also going through menopause. Cons of reconstruction: I am obese, and my implants were by law only allowed to be so big - so I am a size 18 with only a B cup - it can be hard to find shirts that fit me since most women my weight have large breasts. I have very little sensation in my breasts - like you could jab me with a pin and I might not notice; I don't know if that would've happened if I were flat though. My plastic surgeon warned me that I would have better visual results with silicone implants, but I chose saline since silicone can cause bumps if they burst. He was right: my breasts don't look good nude. I had some real mental health problems with the filling of the expanders every couple of weeks - I think this was a delayed PTSD response to the original surgery. It was hard to get through, and I had to go back so many times. This is a BRCA+ site, but it has all sorts of info on mastectomies:
  24. beckyjo


    Scarlett, I just wanted to jump in here and give you a hug. I have no idea what is going on, but I know if my child was not speaking to me and had been angry for 3 years, I would be heartsick, so just big hugs for you.
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