What was going to be a simple vlog video continued to press upon me, so here I am, writing about it, in hopes of helping even just one person this season.
We are all aware that depression is real. I'd be willing to bet that each one of you know someone who suffers from depression (mild, clinical, seasonal, etc.), or you suffer from it yourself. Rest assured, you are NOT alone!
While trying to remove my "blah" mood from the recent ending of Daylight savings time, I found myself on the verge of doing what I always do this time of year... Staying in my pajamas, avoiding going out for any reason, and basically, becoming a hermit for the next four months. But this year, it feels different. No, it's not gone. No, I'm not on medication (though some might argue that it would help). No. I'm feeling a shift in my thinking.
It happened. I thought I was prepared. I thought, "I'm going to be more brave. More courageous. More attentive. More... something.
I need to lose weight. I need to exercise more. I need to quit needing so much. I need to get it. I need to get the passion to get healthy and lose weight. It should be a drive toward, not a cower down outlook.
As far back as I can remember, I nearly always detested birthdays. Not because they weren't special. Other kids my age were having wonderful parties with their friends. Sometimes I was invited... sometimes I wasn't. But more than anything, they were a reminder for me that youth is a fleeting thing. Even by age 15, I was no longer impressed with the cake and ice cream, streamers and party hats. I'd much rather have chilled with my grandma and watched a rodeo on the television. Or maybe visited a flea market and spend a few bucks on something we certainly didn't need, but wanted nevertheless.
Even now, it is difficult for me to write this because it forces tears to well up. One thought more and they will surely cascade down my cheeks. But I feel it pressed to keep going, so here it is. The down and dirty skinny on turning 40.
It's beginning to look a lot like... Fair Time! The smell of cotton candy and funnel cakes, the taste of candied apples, and spectacle of lights and the mud-slinging Derby are just a few of the fun and exciting things we enjoy about the county fair. This year, after much debate, we decided it was time once again to venture out and spend (ick, ugh, blegh) money on a little entertainment.
As a penny pincher, I absolutely loath spending money on whimsical nonsense. But, I'd just about go in debt to see my children smile. If those memories cost a little green to make, then so be it. But, now you understand why it's been 5 years since we last attended one of these shin-digs!
It was pretty warm, I am not going to lie. The humidity was up, but for the most part, there was a gentle breeze at times, and a little cloud cover every now and then which helped keep us cool. Thankfully, one of the main buildings was air conditioned, and we sought reprieve more than once!
We started off with a visit to the livestock exhibit. We saw goats, sheep, cows, bulls, pigs, rabbits, roosters and hens. Our favorite was the pigs! Hubby had a rooster crow at him, and Kelley held a staring contest with a hen. I'm not sure who won, but she was fully entranced with her. I'm not sure what the hen thought.
The rides were typical this year, but several favorites were replaced with less than comfortable alternatives. Tle Ferris Wheel, Carousel, Zipper (Scrambler in my day), and Pharoah's Fury were there. The Paratrooper was replaced with the Glider. There was no Octopus, no Zipper, and no Tilt-a-whirl. Instead, the Rock-o-planes, the Moby Dick, and some sort of Dino-spinner were brought in.
While I am not one for rides that go upside down (unless it's a roller coaster), I avoided those rides. The boys were enthusiastic, but after seeing the length of the line and how long it took to get on, they diverted to another ride. Kelley rode the ferris wheel for the first time, accompanied by her older brother, and smiled from ear to ear. Later we rode it together, and she called me a scaredy cat. Probably because I was flipping out! I don't like heights and the ferris wheel reminded me of that as soon as we got to the top.
Then we took on the carousel. That was easy and my grandmother's favorite! Then she rode some kiddie rides, took on the Fun Slide more times than I could count, and then we rode the sizzler. Now. Here is where I recall the 'fun' of rides... and also when I realized I am no spring chicken, but rather, a fat goose whose time was up! That ride hurt! I am still hurting from it. Not because it slung my head and neck so far to the right that I have a muscle spasm. Not because it went so fast that the ride didn't last long at all. But because my belly has gotten bigger and the ride barely closed! How embarrassing. What's more - the attendant said he'd have trouble getting me out of it. Well, that sealed my fate right there. By the time the ride was over, my lower belly was hurting. Not like a stomach ache hurting, but like I had been kicked in the gut repeatedly. It was tender to the touch and truth be told, I should have gotten off when I realized how tight it was. But then, I looked at my daughter, who was having the time of her life.
"You can do this, woman! Muscle up and handle this!" I said to myself, as my daughter began to get more excited as the ride started up. "Thirty seconds to one minute. I can handle this."
Nope. By the time the ride ended, I could already feel my lower half brusing. "Just imagine what it's doing to your insides!" my anxiety screamed at me. "You and your love for your kids. It's gonna kill you, ya know?" It rattled on some more. Finally, we were off the ride, my knees were shaking, I felt sick to my stomach (probably due to the heat and large water consumption), and I needed to sit down. The boys took Kelley back to the fun slide so I could rest for a minute. Then the anxiety got ahold of me again. "What if she falls off the slide?". Gathering both chairs (hubby had gone to the restroom), our backpack filled with water bottles, I nearly ran to see her getting to the top, all smiles and laughing as she slid down on her rag rug.
After having spent over 6 hours at the fair, we were exhausted, tired, hot, and some of us were in pain, but we decided to stay for the derby. It would start in thirty minutes. We headed to the arena and were approached with a high volume of people returning to the midway.
"Derby is cancelled folks. Sorry for the inconvenience," a man said.
"What? How can they cancel the derby? There isn't a rain cloud in sight!" was my reply.
"Well, they only had three people enter, and that isn't a derby." He said.
"We. Are. Going. Home." Came from all three children and myself. A few steps later, my husband stops and says, "Wait. Now just wait a dog-gone second." We stop and turn to look at him, the sun scorching our faces, our eyes tightened to see him.
"What about the cotton candy?" He said in a very disappointed tone,
Mind you, we had paraded up and down the midway until my feet felt numb. Kelley couldn't walk any longer.
"Kanon, Kelley and I will take this stuff to the car. Here is some money. You and Kody walk back and get it. I'll have the AC on when you get back." I said to him. I mean, really, I wanted cotton candy, too, and we had refused to pay outrageous prices on carnival food in order to have our really favorite item: That pink and blue, fluffy, sugary, send my A1C into a tizzy, yummy to the tummy goodness called cotton candy!
By the time they returned, we were hell on wheels to get out of the parking area and back home. And upon entering our apartment, three things I was certain:
1. We are all introverts in this house. Too much stimulation and we go into mental and physical shut down.
2. Central Air Conditioning is something we will never take for granted again.
3. The next time fair season rolls around, we'll drive out of state if we have to, so that the weather is cooler and more enjoyable!
In all, a good time was had and memories were made. We took this morning off from school because we were all still recuperating from our adventures. I told my husband that I felt like I had been in a car wreck - my body still hurts. The kids, too, have been moving at a much slower pace today -- they haven't even argued! I guess they are still too tired!
The point of this post is lacking, but I'll try to summarize it here.
When given the opportunity to make memories with your kids, do it. Just be prepared for the unexpected and take it with every bit of grace and poise that you can.
In high school, students are often required to complete a senior project in order to graduate and receive their high school diploma. Would you expect any less from a college or university? I hope not! The capstone is the crowning moment in your college career where you put all the pieces together to form a final project, professional paper, or in some cases, a thesis.
But there is more to a capstone than just "work".
Your Kid has Graduated High School! Now What? Part VII: Find that One Professor that is Eager to Help
College can be a scary thing. It can also be a happy thing. College in and of itself is like a roller coaster. You've met the criteria to get on the ride, but are seemingly unaware that there are ups, downs, cork-screws, flips, twists, and dives during your enrollment that can make you laugh, cry, scream, and let's be honest, heave your $4.00 lunch! But, there is something to be said about finding an instructor or professor who is not there for the money, the title, or the notoriety of having "grading power"... Yes, there are some who are truly there to increase YOUR wealth of knowledge. Those who will go to bat for you when you have suffered an injustice, and those who will listen to your rant when you need some moral support.
But how do you find them?
As a college student, you are constantly surrounded by others who are academically inclined. Whether you share the same major is of little importance. The instructor or professor of many 1000 and 2000 level courses are inundated with students. They are a name and a grade on a sheet of paper.
But is it important to the student to be known by the instructor?
College campuses and universities are almost always buzzing with some type of collective activity. From fundraisers to club enrollments to activism, these activities promote a sense of belonging among and within groups.
Outside of Greek life, most are free to join and offer a multitude of events throughout the semester to encourage participation and to express any concerns students may have.
Throughout high school, students learn the importance of taking notes, developing study techniques, asking questions, and preparing for exams. College is nothing different, unless you consider the fact that you are learning at an increased rate. What would normally take an entire academic year to learn is streamlined into a 16 week semester. Lectures are swift, concepts are added and new terminology is expected to be understood.
All seems well... Until the grade drops.
Your Kid has Graduated High School! Now What? Part III: Say YES to fun, but only after this important step... or two!
What would college be if it were all work and no play? Probably a very humdrum campus filled with lots of non-traditional students who are there to increase their career capital or to change careers completely.
But today's college campus is filled with culturally diverse groups of traditional students who challenge traditional trends. Greek life is one way the tradition continues. I never participated in Greek Life, so I have no words of wisdom on this. But during my time, I did discover other groups who also enjoyed getting together and hanging out to 'break the monotony' of the school-study-sleep schedule. There were foreign language groups, math groups, writing groups, philosophy groups. Clubs were also an important feature: Criminology, Sociology, and Geography club, Anime Club, Black Student Association, Gender and Sexuality Alliance, and more.
But why is this important?
Many parents ask me, "LaVonda, how do you shop for groceries when you have such a large number of people in your family?" My answer is always a giggle. I take quite a bit of pride in my 21 years of shopping for groceries for my family. In those 21 years, I've couponed, compared prices, used price-match at Wal-Mart, and scoured sale ads looking for the "best" deal. But what I really learned through those 21 years is this...
Welcome! My name is LaVonda. I am the wife of Rodney, the mom of 5 remarkable kids (well, 2 are adults now), an avid homeschooler, blogger, and sociologist. I am blessed with the ability to spend my time sharing our homeschool and life experiences with you. It is my hope to provide you with motivation, ideas, and some candid stress-relief through my blog - Mom's Scribe! Grab a cup of coffee, sit on down, and make yourself at home!