Saturday, January 31, 2009

Morning Routines

I'm a big, big believer in morning routines. I think it's because even though I'm a morning person, I like to think about things other than, "What's the next thing I have to do this morning?" while I'm getting ready for the day.

I'm also a big believer in not starting the day with arguments. As in "What are we having for breakfast? OH YUCK! I hate that, I'd rather have...(insert something else here)"

So, our family is in a pretty good morning routine. We have a schedule for what we eat for breakfast - no questions, arguments or complaining. For example, Mondays are always oatmeal and Wednesdays are always eggs & bagels.

The problem is that I've taught my oldest how to make breakfast, so 6 days out of 7, he makes it.

I know - you're asking "Just how exactly is that a problem?" The problem now is not the how, but the when of making breakfast.

I like to start school about 8 a.m. so we can finish school before lunch. Which means the kids need to be eating breakfast about 7:30. But if breakfast isn't started on time, it throws off our routine. And more often than not, it's not.

I've been tempted to set an alarm clock for my oldest. But old habits die hard. I cannot stand the thought of setting his alarm and then him or his brother sleeping in until 6:30 and it waking them up (which is unlikely - I can count on one hand the number of times either of them has slept past 6:30 a.m. in the last 10 years).

I should be passing the baton, so to speak, and teaching my oldest daughter how to make breakfast, and make it her responsibility and move my oldest to dinner. But of all my children, she's the one who will sleep past 6:30 a.m. (Can you see her sleepy eyes in the picture? And that was at 8 a.m.)

I'll keep thinking some more.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

We're always learning

And I've learned something new today. I thought that if I saved posts, and waited to publish them, the date they would show up would be the date which I published them. Not so. They publish in the order in which I've written them, not published them.

So today, I published three previously written posts: Cure Unknown, Tribes and Word-of-Mouth Advertising. You'll have to scroll down to read them, since they're not in any particular order.

Just wanted you to know, in case you were interested.

I feel a little foolish, but hey - I learned something new today! Hope you did too.

And in case you were wondering - yes, I did read all these books in the month in which I wrote the posts.

Right now, I'm rereading the Lord of the Rings series - a beginning-of-the-year tradition for me that started when the movies were released around the holiday season. I watch the DVDs between Christmas and New Year (one disk a night), and read the books after I'm done with the DVDs. Geeky, I know. But a fun tradition I hope to share with my children, when they're old enough.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic

Here's the third book which made for emotional December reading! I certainly didn't expect this book to make me emotional when I picked it up at the library. But, knowing two women in my life who've been affected by Lyme's Disease made this book more real to me than I expected.

Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic by Pamela Weintraub sounds like it could be a bit of a dry, scientific look at a notorious disease. However, it is everything but dry.

One reason why is because Weintraub herself, and her family, have all been - or currently are - patients suffering from Lyme Disease. The book is not all about her family's health struggles, but seeing life from their perspective helps put a face on the Lyme epidemic.

Weintraub also delves into the science, medicine and studies of Lyme Disease. I have to admit, I'm sure than scientists or medical professionals will get more from that part of the book than I did. I did read most of those parts, but I think my eyes glazed over a bit. The main thing I learned is that the research of Lyme have been colored by the professions/pursuits of the first scientists to study it, and by the medical establishment, to the detriment of Lyme patients across the country.

The parts of the book that moved me the most are the stories of the different families from all parts of the US who struggled to discover why their children were so sick for so many years - and the medical professionals who struggled to help them the best way they knew how, often rejected by their peers and the rest of the medical establishment, but adored by their patients. After reading their stories, struggles, small victories, I feel I have just a bit better understanding (certainly not a full understanding) of what the women I know are going through.

If you know someone who has (or had) Lyme, read this book. If you live in an area where Lyme is an issue (which is most of the US), read this book. If you're not sure what exactly Lyme Disease is, read this book. One of the reasons I picked this book up is because my friend's children also tested positive for Lyme. As we talked about it, I expressed concern for my family, and she recommended becoming familiar with the symptoms of Lyme and getting them tested if I saw any symptoms.

I've certainly educated myself on the topic of Lyme, and if I have any suspicions, I will be insisting on tests and treatments. I'd recommend you do the same thing - there is too much at stake.

Stolen Innocence

I realize with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I did not write about the other book that made my reading in December so emotional.

The full title of the book is Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs by Elissa Wall. Quite a long title, and quite a thick book. However, it was hard for me to break free of this book to take care of my family and holiday responsibilities.

Elissa Wall is still very young - she looks like a teenager in the most recent picture of her in the book. Yet, she's been through so much in those few years - one reason why I was emotional when I read this book.

Her autobiography is quite detailed, giving the background of her parents and the religion in which she grew up. She tells about following the prophet, the conflicts that arose in a house with several wives and over a dozen children, and the stress following the prophet brought to their family. Included in the middle of the book is several pages of pictures of Elissa's childhood, her family and her wedding day and the trial in which she testified.

One of the things that made me so emotional was her struggle against the world in which she grew up - yet it was the only world she knew. She honestly tells of her struggles to avoid her arranged marriage, to find her missing siblings, and to leave the community in which she grew up. Her story made me realize more fully how important and vital a broad education is for children. It also made me realize that the ability to ask questions and to investigate answers is also so important for children - for adults. Otherwise our world is so small and limiting.

If I could say anything to Elissa personally, it would be: "I applaud you for your courage - your courage to break free, your courage to testify in court, and your courage to tell the world your very personal story which you shared with so few people before you wrote this book. Thank you for sharing of yourself, for keeping hope alive for your younger sisters, for helping me to see the world from your perspective. You have enriched my life."

Emotions worth feeling, a book worth reading.