A Pretty Good Schedule

We struggled all of last year getting a good schedule for school. Cameron had seminary 6-6:50 am. When he got home, he’d go back to bed and wake up at some point to do all together work with his brothers. It never really worked.

This year, however, is so much better! This year, he has seminary 7:15-8:05 am. So much better. He walks to the church and back so he’s usually home by 8:15 or 8:20. While he’s at seminary I make breakfast and get the boys up for the day if necessary (they usually get up on their own before 8).

When Cameron gets home we eat breakfast while watching CNN10. Then we get to work on our all together work. During most weeks, normal 5 day weeks, we do history on Monday, geography on Tuesday, science on Wednesday, and the arts on Thursday. That makes Friday a short day. A bit of a reward for working so hard during the week.

All together work takes about 2 1/2-3 hours. The little guys have some together work Cameron doesn’t (religion and holidays). Once all of the all together work is done, they move on to their on their own work. Once they finish that, they are done for the day. So far, they’ve been finishing anywhere from 12-3:15 depending on the kid and the day.

Tuesdays and Thursdays Cameron teaches taekwondo 11-11:45. I don’t think he’ll be teaching in the mornings much longer, though, since school has started up again so most of the kids no longer attend that class so that part of our schedule may go away (or Cameron may take class himself). Sometimes the little guys take class, too. Since I have to take Cameron, Fritz works on his on his own work while I’m gone whether we’re done with all together work or not (Adrian still needs me for his on his own work so he gets a break while I am gone). Wednesdays Cameron goes to instructor training 10-12. I drop him off and pick him up, but in the middle, I work with the boys on their on their own work. All three of those days, we have lunch when we get home and then go back to work after lunch. Monday and Friday we have lunch about noon and then get back to work until they are done if necessary.

It’s nice having a good schedule for school. Even though it’s a little crazy with the three days of taekwondo stuff, it still is so much better than last year (which also included taekwondo class for all of us since for part of the year Fritz and I hadn’t gotten our black belts yet).


NOT Back to School Day 2017

Somehow we’ve already reached the end of the summer and it’s time to go back to school. But, as is our tradition, today while kids all around us went to their first day of school, we played.

We started off with crepes, Nutella, and turkey bacon for breakfast.
NOT Back to School Day 2017

The went to Main Event and played some games. Space Invaders has gotten quite the modern update!
NOT Back to School Day 2017

We played some air hockey and skee ball. Those games can be pretty intense in our family.
NOT Back to School Day 2017

Giant Connect 4 turned out to be way more fun than you might think. And also pretty intense.
NOT Back to School Day 2017

Cameron picked up a pool cue and started doing the jahng bong form right in the middle of Main Event. (Note: Cameron hates this picture because his stance is awful because he was just playing around.)
NOT Back to School Day 2017

Fritz and Adrian attempted the gravity ropes. Several months ago, my brother came to visit and we went to Main Event. Adrian tried the gravity ropes, but he got too scared and came back down. This time he was determined to make it across. Fritz got too scared this time, but Adrian made it!
NOT Back to School Day 2017

(Video of Adrian being brave.)

We played a game of laser tag before we picked our prizes and headed out.
NOT Back to School Day 2017

We had pizza at Luciano’s for dinner. They have some of the most amazing pizza and their gluten free crusts are really good.
NOT Back to School Day 2017

We ended the day with shaved ice from Bahama Bucks. Fritz said he must be making a whole lot of dopamine because he was feeling so happy.
NOT Back to School Day 2017

Check out previous years’ Not Back to School Days: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016. (I missed blogging about Not Back to School Day in 2011 and they went to public school in 2013.)

My Kids are Pretty Cool

Ani went to ATA Worlds in Arkansas last weekend. She got to watch our (former) instructor test for his 5th degree black belt and watch some amazing competition. Being there gave her the itch to get back to training.
My Kids are Pretty Cool

Cameron is just plain amazing at taekwondo. Last Saturday there was a Daddy and Me board break class and Cameron did a spin heel speed break on a wooden board.

Fritz just finished his third summer swim season. He is not the fastest swimmer, but he loves being in the pool. This year he shaved over 8 seconds from his freestyle, over 13 seconds from his backstroke, and added breaststroke.
My Kids are Pretty Cool

Adrian is on the slow path to black belt. He moves up a belt color about once a year. After 3 1/2 years of being a low rank, he tested on Monday for his purple belt and will finally join the high rank group. This means he gets to spar and use a weapon in each hand, both things that he’s really excited about.
My Kids are Pretty Cool

I Made a Thing

We have a new instructor at taekwondo. It’s been a little traumatic losing the only instructor we’ve ever had because he’s just amazing and seen four of us to first degree black belt and one to second degree black belt. He was instrumental in changing our lives. He moved to a school 5 miles away so we could have followed him there, but we decided to give the new guy a chance and I’m glad we did.

Our new instructor is amazing with Adrian. The kid is rather difficult and we know this. But, somehow, things that used to turn into a battle of wills just don’t anymore. We’ve discovered that things Adrian has been taught, he has not learned. I don’t know if it’s from not paying attention or just not wanting to be there so ignoring the instructions. Whatever it is, he has actually been telling our new instructor he doesn’t know how to do things and asking for help. Our instructor then shows him and Adrian can do them. He also ignores certain behavior from Adrian that our previous instructor would engage in a battle of wills over. The interesting thing about that is Adrian will see that our new instructor is obviously and purposefully ignoring whatever Adrian is doing and the kid stops and does what he is supposed to do.

Anyway, our new instructor is very talented and seems to really enjoy working with kids. But he’s so awkward when he’s not doing taekwondo. It’s funny because he’ll retreat to the corner in between classes like he’s trying to hide, but then when class starts or you talk to him about taekwondo he’s animated and not awkward at all. That reminded me of James Roday who played Shawn on Psych. He was so gregarious as Shawn, but any time they had a panel or interview or whatever he was pretty quiet and if they were sitting on a couch, he would always pick up a pillow and hug and rub it through the interview. So I jokingly said I needed to make our instructor a pillow. My friend kind of egged me on a little bit and that led to me making a thing. We’ll give it to him tonight at beginner belt graduation (Adrian’s finally, after 3 1/2 years, made it to the high ranks!).

Ani had physical therapy yesterday morning so on the way home we went to Michaels and got fabric, a pillow form, and a pineapple applique.

I printed two copies of the Victory logo and cut it up to use as a pattern.

Then I started sewing. My mom does applique stuff all the time. I think I have once before ever. I was pretty happy with how the Victory logo came out.

I made an envelope pillow case to fit the pillow form. I googled for instructions because I literally had no idea how to do it.

I sewed the Victory logo onto the center of the front of the pillowcase.

I sewed the pineapple applique onto the back of the pillowcase as a nod to Psych and the whole reason I even thought of making him a pillow. I stuffed in the pillow form and it was almost perfect.

I added a few more stitches to fix the corners better and I am very happy with it. I just may have to make one for us to keep!

Cameron’s a Second Degree!

Cameron tested for his second degree black belt in taekwondo on Saturday.

On Monday he received his new belt at the Black Belt Candlelight Ceremony.

They sat and thought about the journey that has gotten them this far on the path to black belt and beyond.

Then they punched toward their candle flame to put it out (Cameron’s the second in the row).

They each got to come up and receive their new belt from their instructor.

He was most excited to get his new belt because it means that after a year and a half he finally gets to start learning a new form.

The amount of time and effort behind a new belt is huge.

His old belt was pretty much gray now from so much use.

Because of some changes in chief instructors, Mr. Meza is no longer at the location where we go, but he has been our instructor for the last 3 1/2 years (and he’s still close by so we’ll still see him a lot).


Ani’s been doing some digital art on my iPad. She’s just learning how so she’s been using pictures as reference for what she wants to draw. Because of this, sometimes some strange pictures show up in my photos on my phone (since it shares an account with my iPad).

The other day I was going through my photos and was highly amused by this picture of a gnome right before this picture of Cameron giving a private lesson at taekwondo. The similarities between Cameron and the gnome made me laugh so much.


Physical Therapy

Yesterday Ani started at least a month of physical therapy 2-3 days a week. Her therapist is experienced with people with Ehlers-Danlos (really important to prevent further injury). Her neck issues appear to all be totally related to the EDS.

Physical Therapy

When she moves her neck, her vertebrae don’t work together, but instead twist in opposite directions. This equals pain. Her front neck muscles are much weaker than her back neck muscles. This equals pain. She has craniocervical instability. This equals pain. So much pain. Doctors laughed at her for saying her neck felt too weak to hold up her head. Well, the physical therapist isn’t laughing. Ani was right about that all along!

Physical Therapy

The goal of the physical therapy and (so many) exercises she has to do in between visits is to strengthen her neck and retrain the muscles to keep her vertebrae in alignment and moving properly together. The ultimate goal is to get her back on the mat training at taekwondo. For now, though, after her first two visits, her neck is really hurting. We are hopeful that in a few weeks it’ll be much better (me more than Ani to be honest – she’s pretty much resigned to being in horrible pain for the rest of her life).