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  1. #1

    Default Roll Call, 12/20

    Anyone doing anything for Winter Solstice? Personally, it just makes me happy to know that the # of hours of daylight in the northern hemisphere will slowly start to increase again!

    Everyone ready for Christmas? We pretty much are here--we keep things small and simple anyway. With the ages of our kids (21 & 22), gift giving is getting easier again as they can use things for apartment living and such. For our parents (in their late 70s and early 80s and purchase whatever whenever they want anyway), we go with "experiences". For example, my mom has never been to the Art Institute in Chicago, although she's lived an hour away from it HER ENTIRE LIFE. So, we'll take the train in to the city and and roam around looking at artwork.

    What are you giving or doing this year for xmas that may be new ideas for others?
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter (22), a University of Iowa senior triple majoring in English with Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son (21), a Purdue University junior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

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  3. #2

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    Inmom, I like your idea of giving the elders more in the way of experiences than things. Might have to see about doing some of that myself. I would like to take my parents out on more trips with DS, but if it happens on a week day, they will randomly mention at various times, "Isn't this a school day?" That makes DS feel weird.

    We're not doing too much in the way of shopping for Christmas, just a lunch out at a Chinese restaurant, because my grandmother will be making her first trip out of the retirement home. Mostly just sending presents to the cousin kids in Hawaii and some nice treats for the adults. DS asked for materials to make a furnace, so he's asking for things like a bag of sand or charcoal, fire clay and rolling wheels. I told family not to get DH and I anything because I spent this past year decluttering, only a little something for DS.
    Homeschooling an only, DS9

  4. #3

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    Im planning on doing laundry for Solstice, if that counts.

    I did notice this morning how far south the sunrise was... Im glad we will start getting longer days too! I feel like Im sleeping in late more in the last month or so.

    My tomatoes are growing! Theyre green, Im watching to see if they ripen. Hard to murder the plant when its trying so hard!
    Ive had a basil plant on my very limited kitchen window sill for the past few months - without killing it! It bounces back from pesto harvesting within a week, Im happy. I added oregano, which Ive failed to grow outdoors for the last couple years - we will see how it does!

    Im taking my nephew to the Japanese shops when he is in town next week. We dont buy gifts for the extended family, but I thought he would like to go. My MIL advises that there is an implied gift in my offer to take him. Then do I have to get his brother something, too? My nephew is 16, into anime and those Japanese things teenage boys seem to think are cool. I could graciously get him a tshirt or a couple books (Used japanese book store! Wow so much fun!), but its really confusing me whether I am obligated to get his brother a present as well. (Other nephew not invited or envisioned as coming along on the trip.) First world problems, I know.

    And I finished a quilt! Its for our friend ML, who is going through some health troubles. I love the quilt though, will post pics after she gets it.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by vicsmom View Post
    Inmom, I like your idea of giving the elders more in the way of experiences than things. Might have to see about doing some of that myself. I would like to take my parents out on more trips with DS, but if it happens on a week day, they will randomly mention at various times, "Isn't this a school day?" That makes DS feel weird.

    We're not doing too much in the way of shopping for Christmas, just a lunch out at a Chinese restaurant, because my grandmother will be making her first trip out of the retirement home. Mostly just sending presents to the cousin kids in Hawaii and some nice treats for the adults. DS asked for materials to make a furnace, so he's asking for things like a bag of sand or charcoal, fire clay and rolling wheels. I told family not to get DH and I anything because I spent this past year decluttering, only a little something for DS.
    My kids have requested Chinese take-out for Xmas eve this year!

    You have me curious. How does one make a furnace? Does he have a plan he's working from, or is it more of a MacGyver thing? Either way, sounds cool!
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter (22), a University of Iowa senior triple majoring in English with Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son (21), a Purdue University junior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsmom View Post
    Im taking my nephew to the Japanese shops when he is in town next week. We dont buy gifts for the extended family, but I thought he would like to go. My MIL advises that there is an implied gift in my offer to take him. Then do I have to get his brother something, too? My nephew is 16, into anime and those Japanese things teenage boys seem to think are cool. I could graciously get him a tshirt or a couple books (Used japanese book store! Wow so much fun!), but its really confusing me whether I am obligated to get his brother a present as well. (Other nephew not invited or envisioned as coming along on the trip.) First world problems, I know.
    From someone who often does things regarding family that are not expected, I say do what you want. If you only buy for the nephew you take on the trip, so what? Don't let your family pressure you.
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter (22), a University of Iowa senior triple majoring in English with Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son (21), a Purdue University junior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  7. #6

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    Inmom, the joke is that no matter what holiday, you can always find a Chinese restaurant open!

    DH and DS are building a foundry furnace to melt metals off of a series of books by David J. Gingery. DH said that Gingery's books can actually teach you how to build machines to create your own metal workshop and tools. DS also watches YouTube videos and is a big fan of Alec Steele, a 21-year-old blacksmith who started learning his trade in his teens.

    I'm just as clueless as you are, plus I'm afraid of doing things involving fire (except cooking), but I think they're making it out of one of those big metal oil drums and putting castor wheels on the bottom for easy storage. Hope they won't burn the house down.

    Here's a link to give you an idea of how one works. Just click on the first video.

    David J. Gingery Publishing
    Homeschooling an only, DS9

  8. #7

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    I am looking forward to shorter days, but not super short winter days. The sun does not set till 9.30 pm at the moment, and rises at 5.40 am. It makes it hard to get kids to bed and to sleep in.

    We also like to both give and receive experiences rather than things for gifts. We do Christmas because it is what is expected from our families. Particularly DHs family who are Catholic. But I would much rather just not do it at all.

    No Christmas day work this year (yet, unless I get a 2-day deadline job). So that is good. Dec 18 to Jan 5 is the busy period for work from China.

    Vicsmom, the furnace looks like a fun project. At least it just gets super hot. When people start mixing flammables with heat is when I freak out. I had a cloud of gaseous ether ignite in my face after I did not let some equipment cool down enough in the lab once during my undergrad chemistry degree. Burned 1-2 inches off my hair and had a red sunburned-like face for a while.

    Alexsmom, have fun at the shops with your nephew. I don't think there is an implied gift in that. The outing is already a gift in itself. Are there places to eat? Maybe you guys could have food together rather than buying him something. And no I would not buy anything for the brother. But then I am very not into gifting stuff. I also would not want to set myself up for some precedent that nephews/nieces/whatevers taken on outings get bought gifts as well.
    Last edited by NZ_Mama; 12-20-2018 at 07:38 PM.
    New Zealand-based. DD 10 (year 5 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 5 (year 0 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

  9. #8
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    Happy Solstice! Nothing special going on here, although I always think about having a fun activity. Does that count - haha? Yay for light! DS has been moved up a level on swim team, so he has practice 3x a week in the mornings in addition to the afternoons. AM practice starts at 5:30. DS is a roll out of bed and get to work type of person. I need sunlight to feel awake, so I'm sure I'll be better in the summer.

    We finished our last full day of 'real' school, now we are switching to light school (math and reading) for a week, then we'll take a week off for winter break. The boys and DD have decided to do the local Polar Bear Plunge on NY Day. I pulled up a video from last year's plunge - I believe the sign said 26 degrees air, 34 degrees pool - ack no thank you! But with temps like that, I'm sure it will be a memorable childhood event!

    No big plans for the weekend, so I think we'll do some hiking and relaxing. I hope you all enjoy your families and the holidays!
    Rebecca
    DS 13, DD 11
    Year 7

  10. #9

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    Late to the party (past solstice now...today is "Christmas Eve Eve" as we call the 23rd in our family) and...our tree still isn't up. Well, it's standing, after DH hacksawed through the steel pole to remove the chunky plastic base so that we could stick it into a stand, after a leg went missing. But I have been telling the family that since my mother died 8 weeks ago, I do not feel like being the person who "makes Christmas happen" around here, and they need to pick up some slack, and I want someone else to shape the tree and decorate it.

    I bought and wrapped gifts for everyone...with 4 kids that's a marathon of wrapping. I baked a series of star-shaped gluten/egg/corn/potato-free butter cookies in decreasing sizes, to build a cookie tree with. But I feel like I have done my part, and someone else needs to bestir themselves. The kitchen table remains piled high with things people drop on it, the tree is standing but a bent and box-mangled mess, and bare. The gifts I wrapped, are wrapped and stacked, and the stockings I filled, are filled.

    But if it weren't for the 4-year-old, I would seriously consider booking myself a room at the Holiday Inn Express for Christmas Eve, and telling my hubby and older kids that they can jolly well fend for themselves this year, because I'm going to soaking in a hot tub with a glass or organic red wine, and will see them in the New Year.
    Middle-aged mom of 4 kids spanning a 10-year age range, homeschooling since 2009, and a public school mom also, since 2017.

  11. #10

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    It's been exciting here. First off, my youngest son, who was diagnosed with dysphagia with silent aspiration and childhood apraxia of speech when he was 20 months old and completely non-verbal and would only eat smooth puree baby food just graduated from speech therapy last week! It was kinda funny and bittersweet because he has been in ST for as long as he can remember, 2/3 of the years he has been alive (he turns 6 the day after New Years). At his last session with the therapist he has had since he was 3 1/2yo she told him he was graduating from ST and his response was "But Miss Mandy, when will I get to see you again?" *insert tearful smile here*

    Then yesterday, my husband and I had to travel 3 hours away to the university hospital where he was having a spinal tap done. He has had debilitating headaches on a daily basis since he was 17 years old and we have been to so many doctors and specialist trying to find out why as they slowly get worse and worse and he becomes more and more bed bound. He has many diagnosis that just mean he is in pain like occipital neuralgia, cervical cercalgia, fibromyalgia... but we now might actually have a reason WHY he is in so much pain! The spinal tap showed that his cerebral spinal fluid pressure was abnormally high. I've never in my life been so excited for a test to come back with an abnormal finding! We finally know what the likely cause is of his pain! We won't have a definitive of course until the labs on the fluid are complete and the doctor looks at everything but it looks like we are dealing with intercranial hypertension or pseudotumor cerebri (two names for the same thing). After they drained as much of the fluid as they could (they reached the upper limit of how much fluid is safe to drain at one time before they reached the desired normal pressure the doctor wanted) the change in dh was amazing. The swelling in his head went down, his pain levels receded, his gait improved, his eye sight acuity was noticeable improved, he could move with much less pain and relied on his cane to walk less and less as the day went on... it was just wonderful to see him enjoy himself and tickled at all the new sensations he could see and feel rather than being miserable and in excruciating pain after a doctor visit!

    This disorder is so rare in men, about 1 in 2,000,000, it's no wonder no one seemed to think this is what it could be but frustrating at the same time that if someone would have just done a spinal tap years ago, we could have known sooner and he may not have lost so much of his eye sight before it was discovered. Even the neurologist that ordered the spinal tap was shocked that none of the other neurologists we've seen before her (6 or so) thought to order a spinal tap on dh before based on his symptoms and history.

    As for Christmas, we don't celebrate, haven't for years. But we are getting ready to celebrate ds's birthday! We bought him an outdoor trampoline and he got that as an early b-day present last week. He's decided he wants to go to the local pizza place for his birthday dinner and he wants a Nerf target pinata and cake. We will probably get him another smaller gift to open on his birthday but haven't decided what yet. We don't do holidays at all but we go all out on birthdays, lol!

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Roll Call, 12/20