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  1. #1

    Default Roll Call, 12/17

    DH and I took a road trip to Iowa City this past weekend to visit DD. It was so nice to see her, since the last time we saw her is when we helped her move in late July. We spent the weekend just talking (and eating!!). She seemed to be working to "get her s*@t together" (her words) more--made some therapists appts, applied for more jobs. She had a good therapist, but she was through the university. Having graduated, she can no longer access their mental health services. Depression and anxiety can be some nasty monsters!

    Speaking of mental health, what do you or your family do to keep stress levels down during the holidays? We've done several strategies over the years that we continue to do.

    (1) DH and I only buy for our kids--not even each other (or our siblings, our parents, our nieces/nephews). In fact, my entire family (I'm one of 8 siblings) started this about 20 years ago. It was just too much with 14 siblings/spouses and 20 nieces/nephews. If we do anything, we deliver meals, help with yardwork, etc with the elderly parents all year round.

    (2) We invite only who we want for a holiday meal, and only accept invitations that we want, even if it might mean hard feelings.

    (3) Our holiday meal is fun, not traditional. This year is Buddha's Delight, Lo mein, Thai red curry w/ chicken, Lamb Korma, Portuguese shrimp rissios, meatballs & mostaccioli, and stuffed cabbage rolls. Food from around the world, buffet style!

    What relieves stress or keeps it down for you? Do you take a lot of time off of school? Go somewhere different?
    Last edited by inmom; 12-17-2019 at 06:19 PM.
    Carol

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


    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

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  3. #2

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    Yay, Im glad things are looking more optimistic for your DD, Inmom! And your xmas feast sounds yummy!

    We also do an “our kdis only” gift thing. If theres something we want (and can afford) during the year for ourselves, we buy it anyway. We bought the kids an expensive xmas present earlier this year (laptops, omfsm!), so their ‘presents’ are mostly clothes and candy. Its my mother in law who drives the “they must have presents to open” paradigm, but it is fun to give.
    I took each of my boys (separately) to Daiso (Japanese 99 cent store) to buy presents for each other and DH, that seems to make them happy to be giving as well. Ive done all the wrapping already this year, and I think next week I will have the boys do ribbon curling to finish off the packages.
    Id also like to do a day of cookie baking, but excessive butter, white flour, and sugar are things Ive been trying to stay away from. Im frightened that if I eat them, I will gain all my weight back. So, its a food issue I will have to find a solution for. (Is “healthier cookie” an oxymoron?)
    As far as schooling over the next couple weeks... meh. Only as needed to keep the boys from driving me nuts!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Arrived RTB's Avatar
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    Glad DD is improving, Inmom. And your Christmas dinner sounds yummy! In NM Christmas eve is always New Mexican / Mexican food, it's pretty universal.

    For our big holidays (fall and spring). I try and cook and freeze as much as I can ahead of time. It helps that my family is small.

    No big plans for Hanukkah. We do give gifts to the kids, but small ones - socks, candy, pajamas that sort of thing. Latkes are a must, and I usually make some type of sweet fried pasty, I think we will try churros this year with dipping chocolate. I am going to make a brisket, which is not typical Hanukkah food, but whenever I suggest trying a new recipe (for the holidays where brisket is traditional) the house erupts in mutiny. We may have some neighbors over one night to eat latkes, snacks, and chat - nothing fancy.

    I started fizzling out last week, and today I'm feeling a bit done. I would like to drink coffee all day and piddle around the house. We will finish the semester this Friday - so only a few more days. We take 3 weeks off for winter break. I like to take the week off after the school kids go back so we can do some fun stuff crowd free. I use some of the break to run errands that are time consuming - tire rotations, oil changes all that boring stuff, as well as do a mini-purge of the drawers / cabinets. I also want to pin down what spring semester will look like. Now that DS is older, I try to bump each semester up a little bit in terms of difficulty / expectations. But most of the time will be for a whole lot of nothing, and I'm looking forward to that!
    Last edited by RTB; 12-18-2019 at 12:10 PM.
    Rebecca
    DS 14, DD 12
    Year 8

  5. #4
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    I'm glad you got to spend some quality time with DD, Inmom.

    Things here have indeed been stressful. My father got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October. It was caught early enough that he is a candidate for possibly curative surgery. But he does not want to do it and prefers rather to pass his days and be done. So...for a more stress-free holiday:

    1. We will keep the conversations light and not talk about the cancer. And I will avoid being trapped into discussions about what DS will be doing for junior high and high school.

    2. We indulge in Honolulu Cookie Company cookies, which are delicious but rather pricey, about $1 for a small shortbread cookie. Also, freshly popped and buttered popcorn, coffee and hot chocolate!

    3. I do all my shopping during Black Friday, try not to overthink gifts and find unusual things. For my BIL, a cat-lover, I'm giving him a Parks and Recreation tee that has a huge Ron Swanson face and the words: "Anything that weighs under 50 lbs is a cat. And cats are pointless."

    We're going to take two weeks off, starting next week, in which I'm hoping to clean house and set up my sewing room.
    Homeschooling an only, DS10

    Trains move quickly
    To their journey's end

    Destinations
    Are where we begin again

  6. #5
    Senior Member Arrived RTB's Avatar
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    @ Vicsmom - I'm so sorry about your dad's diagnosis. Sending you light.
    Rebecca
    DS 14, DD 12
    Year 8

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    Thank you for your kindness, RTB. I'm having a really hard time with him refusing treatment when something still can be done. Worst of all is that I'm afraid that if he doesn't remove it, he might really suffer when it gets to the end stage and that will be really hard for all to see.
    Homeschooling an only, DS10

    Trains move quickly
    To their journey's end

    Destinations
    Are where we begin again

  8. #7

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    I will also be thinking about you, Vicsmom, at this stressful time for you. That has got to be rough.
    Carol

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


    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  9. #8

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    I would love to have a no-present arrangement, and we have tried so many times for more than 10 years to get that but have now given up. We don't buy for anyone but our kids and we say to everyone else that we would prefer they got us nothing and only give the kids experiences. But we have some diehard gifters "but we have to, it's part of Christmas" etc on both sides of our family. We are very minimalist and making sustainable purchases and not having extra crap is one of our biggest priorities, so I particularly dislike that aspect of Christmas day.

    Thankfully this year we have no extra family. It is just us. We will have to make all the obligatory phone calls but otherwise will try go out hiking or to the beach with some friends.

    Dinner in NZ for many is not traditional in that it is summer and most people don't feel like full on oven use and hot food. When we were meat eaters we would have something bbq'd and salads, or tacos, or something else simple. This year DD11 has requested onigiri and DD6 wants honey almond cake. Other than that we are just planning on having a platter of little things to snack on.

    I just spent half my morning on the phone to the bank because someone stole our credit card details (in the US) and made purchases at Target online and tried to make one at Walmart. So frustrating. I last shopped at Target online in mid 2018 when DH was over for a work trip and I purchased some stuff for him to pick up in store, and I did not realize the system had saved my card details on there (I hate when it auto does that). I am not sure if whoever got our details got them from Target or elsewhere. Hopefully we will get a refund from somewhere, but the bank has to investigate it first. This is the first time we have had our details used fraudulently while living in NZ. When we lived in the US, our debit card details got taken about three times.
    New Zealand-based. DD 11 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 6 (year 1 [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).

    That's a kea (NZ parrot) in my avatar. You can learn about them on Beak & Brain - Genius Birds from Down Under on Netflix.

  10. #9

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    Sorry to have been so scarce lately. It has been nuts since dh's surgery. The shunt is doing fantastic and the surgery scar has healed nicely but he was on a hefty dose of narcotic pain killers before the surgery to try and give him some relief from the constant pain of IIH. Now he doesn't need the medication anymore but he can't just quit taking them, not at the dose he was on. So we have been backing him down slowly, little by little and letting the withdrawal symptoms calm down a bit before stepping down again. We've managed to cut his dose by 1/3 so far which is fantastic for both dh and the amount we pay for his medications lol. But it has been rough. He's not psychologically addicted so that's a good thing but the physical addiction, all the bodily changes that happen when you have been on narcotics for a long time (years) for chronic pain, oh man have they been rough! I literally have to wash the sheets on our bed almost daily because he will be freezing cold but sweating like a pig. Some days, usually right before he is ready to step down again, he just can't stay awake for more than an hour or two a day. The stomach issues... I'll spare you the description but it's not fun lol. We go back to the neurosurgeon for his first post-op check of the shunt in January. We are hoping she will adjust the shunt a little to bring his pressure down a little more so that his base headache level, which was a 7 most days before surgery and a 3 most days after surgery, will go down to a 1 or less.

    We haven't celebrated Christmas in about 5 years for a lot of reasons. One reason is that it is a Christian holiday and we aren't Christian. We also don't celebrate Ramadan or Rosh Hashanah. Another reason is that dh and I despies the materialistic and consumerism driven sides of secular Christmas celebrations so we opt out entirely. In past years, we let Grandma do a Christmas celebration with our son because it was important to her. This has been the first year that ds lamented that he wished he could do Christmas at his own house. He knows Santa isn't real and we've explained that it is a game of sorts that people play with their kids and we've explained why we don't play that game. He was able to give us some pretty articulate reasons (for an almost 7yo) why he thought it would be fun this year to pretend and play the game so we agreed that we would do a family Christmas for him this year. We will get the decorations out tomorrow and I'll let ds pick one of the small pine trees on our property to cut down and make into a Christmas tree (I gave away our fake tree years ago when we decided to stop celebrating and some of the pine saplings need thinning anyways). We've been explaining a lot about Christmas to him and telling him here and there why we decided not to do it before he asked. He seems to understand but I would regret telling him no Christmas if that meant he grew up and went overboard on it because we never let him have Christmas when he was a kid. So we are letting him have the experience but also explaining why we choose to leave it out of our family culture most of the time.

    His birthday is the week after Christmas so since we are doing Christmas this year for him, we told him that we can't do a blowout birthday like we usually do (since we didn't do Christmas, we had more money for birthdays so we would go all out on birthdays) so he is getting a more practical gift of a Minecraft themed bedroom makeover. Of course that will include at least a couple of Minecraft themed things for his new room as presents.

  11. #10

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    That stinks about the card information NZ_Mom! We have had dh's disability benefits card compromised 3 times in the past 2 years! Turns out the company that manages the benefit cards had some less than honest employees. We got the money back each time but we always make sure to point out to them that this is the ONLY one of our bank cards that has been compromised in recent memory and we treat all of our cards with the same sense of security. It wasn't surprising to us when the news came that it was an inside job. I hope it all gets sorted out for you quickly!

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Roll Call, 12/17