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We've had a touch of rain lately. Lately, being since the snow stopped in April. The river you see below is a dry creek bed that intersects the road to my house. Occasionally, rain accumulates and runs down the hill enough to trickle through the dry creek bed. Very rarely, water builds up enough to be noticeable. Those rare moments have been happening at a bizarre frequency lately. 

We've had to spend several nights in town with family because it was uncrossable. That seemed so inconvenient until this morning. 

If you look at the other side of the creek, you'll see a flattened field of grass. The grass was taller than me last night, but the creek got up so high while we slept that it ran over the fields beside it. There were 44 cows in the field when we went to bed. There were 2 there this morning.

Chris has spent the day scouring the county. They've been showing up miles away. There are only 8-10 unaccounted for now. Those found weren't in great shape.

On the bright side, the county has now recognized we exist and are grading the road daily, so we're able to get in and out using a back road. The house is on a hill and safe from any flooding, thank goodness.

We've learned a lot of lessons through the years and I'm sure we have plenty more to learn. Right now, I'm thankful for the many lessons in learning to Trust that God has us in His hands. There is an incredible peace, knowing He will take care of us. It doesn't always look the way we want it to look, but He has us in His hands and there's no place else I'd want to be.

Adrenal Fatigue - It's not in my head

For the last year, I've been tired. But who isn't tired? I've been steadily gaining weight, but everyone over 30 does that. I read the many articles linked from facebook that told me what delightful diseases I might have. I read the myriad symptoms lists and scoffed at the sincerity of the lists. Of course I have brain fog and thinning hair; I'm a homeschool mom to 4 kids. I have teenagers!

Just in case the articles weren't bunk, I visited my doctor. She patted my knee and told me to watch what I was eating. Stress was her diagnosis. I was stressed. I insisted I felt perfectly relaxed and wasn't stressed. She insisted I was a homeschool mom to 4 kids and I was stressed whether I knew it or not.

So I continued to sludge around, hoping for the best. I gained 35 lbs in a year.

A few months ago, a friend recommended an OBGYN that is known for taking her time and for digging a little deeper than the standard medical practitioner. She requested a saliva test to check my hormones, which was new to me. It turns out that my hormone levels are extremely low and my adrenals are shot. Ironically, the tests all say I'm stressed. This doctor explained that I'm not necessarily feeling stress, but chemically, my body is stressed.

On one hand, I was relieved to find out that I'm not crazy and I'm not lazy. On the other hand, Adrenal Fatigue doesn't sound like a real thing. It sounds like a prescription for a nap and I feel goofy telling anyone. Who takes that seriously?

Basically, it is a prescription for a nap. To heal the adrenals, you need good rest. Mine wasn't great. I went to bed around 11 and got up at 5:45 every morning. Now I'm in bed by 10 and I get up at 6. Sometimes even 7! I've even napped in the hammock without guilt. The not-feeling-guilty part is nice.

It is also a prescription for healthy eating. I've researched healthy eating out the wazoo, so it's sad that I overlooked it. For the most part, I eat healthy, but I didn't realize how lax I had become. Most of that was from being busy. Always running means often grabbing something easy, and it's been BUSY. Our diet wasn't terrible, but it wasn't what it could be. Now, I'm saying no to the unnecessary activities. And planning meals.

I'm now on a natural progesterone prescription and an adrenal supplement. Blood-work showed I was low in a few things and I'm adding those in as well. It's been a few weeks of implementing the supplements, the sleep, and the healthy eating. So far, I've lost 8 lbs. I don't feel any significant change in energy levels, but maybe a little bit. I've heard from others that it takes several months before much change is felt. I'm hopeful.

All of that to say, if you're tired and gaining weight, do something about it. Don't be like me and wait for a year to go by before you finally do something about it. Find a doctor willing to check your hormone levels. Find a doctor who offers advice beyond, "Relax and eat better." 

My Favorite Planner (a review)

After a dozen years of homeschooling, I've tried a LOT of planners. After hating a lot of planners, I settled into creating my own forms for many years. And then, two months ago, I found the perfect planner for my family. It is simple, but complete. It is online, so it keeps track of all of our information, but it is easily printed for my students each week. We've used Homeschool Manager for nearly two months now and I still want to sing hymns of thanksgiving every week as I print out our checklists.

To use, I first set up my school and students and year's details. This required listing every subject. The set-up for any planning program requires some time and effort, but I had all 4 of my students signed up, with subjects, within 20 minutes. Since then, my weekly planning is easily finished within 10 minutes. It's wonderful.

Scheduling is a breeze. To plan my next week, I click on the subject and enter the assignment. For example, under MATH, I might type in Lesson 3 Page 27-31. In reality, it would look more like L3P27-31. If more than one student has the same instructions, I don't have to type then in again or
 even copy and paste. Instead, I click a little box that says "Assign to multiple students" and then click on the other student's name. 

Some subjects have more than one assignment. This is no problem at all; you can't list as many as you like. Under LANGUAGE ARTS, I add several assignments:
  • Grammar: L3p27, See Me
  • Spelling: L4p43
  • Lit Analysis: Ivanhoe p234-250
  • Read Aloud: Sword of the King
  • Vocab: L2p14-15

Since easy subjects like math will look nearly identical from day to day, just a change of a few numbers, I slide and copy assignments I've already typed and just edit the tiny bits that are different. If the original entry was assigned to multiple students, all copied and edited assignments are automatically assigned to others without me telling it again. If I want to change that, it's still just a click of a button.

There are many extra features in this. You can stick with the simple options, or dig a little deeper. None of it is difficult or overwhelming, so digging is fun. Here are some of the extra benefits I appreciate:
  • You can set up assignments as tasks or assignments to be graded. It prompts you to grade, which is helpful to me as I tend to forget this part of teaching. 
  • As it tracks everything, you are also building a transcript as you go. This is completely editable, so the finished product says exactly what you want it to say. 
  • I only recently discovered the Book List option, which also allows me to track every book they read throughout the years. 
  • Volunteer hours can also be tracked for that transcript.
  • Hours of instruction can also be tracked if your state requires this for records.
  • Students can log in with a separate password to access assignments or you can print the week's assignments for them. 
Homeschool Manager doesn't cut me off at 3 kids, it doesn't cut me off at 6 subjects, and it doesn't take an hour to correct mistakes when we get behind. I don't have to enter every page and project; I copy and paste. It takes five minutes to enter assignments for the week. FIVE MINUTES! And if we have a surprise vacation or come down with the plague, I can slide the assignment boxes over and put them on a different day. My plans are rearranged in seconds.

I am very visual and this lets me see everything I need at a glance. I can see when we're ahead or behind. I can see if we've skipped assignments for three weeks. (I'm not the only one who forgets entire subjects for months at a time, right?) 11 years of teaching and I've finally found my perfect planner. 

If you are curious about it being a good fit for you, be sure to check out their free 30-day trial! If you decide you love it as much as I do, you can purchase a year's subscription for $39 per year, or $4.99 per month.

Realizing that not everyone has the same tastes and preferences, I've also shared many different planner options in the Year Round Homeschooling Round-up. The entire month at YRH is going to be filled with homeschooling tips and tricks. Be sure to check it out.

A subscription to Homeschool Manager was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. 
The opinions are my own, in compliance with FTC Disclosure Policies.