My Outline for Science Plans for CC Cycle 1 (Part 1)


I feel like I will have an extremely firm grasp on my science plan by the time I finish poring over all these books!

One interesting thing about the classical approach to education is that we pull the focus AWAY from good ol’ textbooks and look to real life experience and “living” books instead.  (By living books, I just mean books that are not sold as textbooks.)

However, I do actually have several ‘textbooks’ that we will reference this school year.

What I have in my planner for science this year is WAY more exciting than just textbooks. This is going to be a fabulously fun science year for us. I am stoked. Here’s a little preview of what I have in mind….

Field Trips

Last year we got to go to the aquarium, the redwood forest, the beach, Point Lobos, the Pinnacles, the San Diego Zoo, and a whale tour. THAT will be hard to top, eh?

Last year we covered land forms, aquatic animals, and all the major systems of the human body (and traced our bodies and painted, labeled, and assembled all the major organs). We also memorized the first 16 elements of the Periodic Table, the scientific method, learned about evolution, and learned the definition and parts of an atom (even to include leptons and quarks!). We built our own little atom, and we did 24 science experiments in the classroom. We also observed sea mammals in their natural habitat, observed kelp forests, and we learned about gradual and sudden geological changes. We even discussed creationism versus the Theory of Evolution.

You know, it’s true that things change gradually over time. It’s completely bonkers to think that the intricate people, animals, and plants that we have in this world magically appeared with no creator.  Bonkers! (But don’t worry. My children will be fully versed on both.)

This year is all about biology and earth science!

So here’s what I have for this year.. Most of these are in San Francisco

1. The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park (Okay, this ties in more with our history unit on ancient Japan.)

2. Bison Paddock

3. the San Francisco Botanical Garden

4. California Academy of Sciences (natural history museum, planetarium, and aquarium)

5. Conservatory of Flowers

6. Point Lobos

7. Yosemite National Park

8. The Tech Museum of Innovation in Silicon Valley

Yeah….I’m a little bit excited!

9. Sacramento, because it’s our state capital, and we’ve never been there.

10 Science Camp at Mount Hermon– We are already registered!

11. Backyard bucket garden. We’ve already started potatoes. We have too many gophers to put the plants in the ground!



I have these to give Daniel something to do with his hands. Lots of sorting and puzzles.

Take It to Your Seat Science Centers, Grades PreK-K


Here’s an example of a pre-school activity that the book has.

This just gives Dan something to do while the big boys are drawing and labeling things in their science notebook.

Of course, Dan can also draw things. Labeling will come much later. Dan’s 4.

Here are a few books I’m looking forward to using for science this year:


I love these Usborne Search books!

Each page is full of animal names and facts.

Then I have this fun lift-the-flap Usborne science book that we used last year too:


Drawing plant and animal cells this year!! This was always one of my favorite things in school!! Sorry about the smudge on my camera lens! Must clean the camera!


I’ve got so many tabs in this Everything You Need to Know About Science Homework book, I don’t even know why I bothered. Almost every page is tabbed!

Everything You Need To Know About Science Homework: A Desk Reference for Students and Parents

From the Lift the Tab Usborne Science:


Simple reproduction


Childcraft Plants Volume

Child craft has interesting stories to go along with the facts.

Some people look neat, tidy, and organized when they are planning. This is what it looks like when I plan:


a library explosion and a baby foot…Do you see those tiny little toes?


I have several of these activities ear marked.


This one has neat pictures. It makes me want to buy a microscope.


Dinosaurs. This is Joshua’s #1 science interest. We’re going to learn about Dinos for added enrichment.

No school is complete without a system for chores. I will DEFINITELY keep this chore system in place. It has worked beautifully. I no longer have to unload the dishwasher in the mornings or kick-start the laundry by myself. By the end of this year, I’m hoping to be done putting all of the boys’ laundry away as well.


This works really well for us!


My GIANT kitchen wipe-off board serves so many purposes! If I have to actually use it to teach, I have no idea where I’ll write my daily plan…

Outline of this year’s science topics:

Weeks 1 & 2: Dinosaurs!

I. Classifications of Living Things

II. 5 Kingdoms of Living Things


III. Parts of animal cells

IV.Plant Cell parts

V. Major Groups of Invertebrates

VI. Vertebrates


VII. Animal Reproduction (live birth, eggs, etc.)

VIII. Types of Seed Plants

IX. Parts of a Plant

X. Kinds of Leaves and Leaf Parts

XI. Parts of a Flower

XII. Plant Systems


Science Camp: 1 Week at Mount Hermon Science Camp

XIII. Parts of the Earth

XIV. 3 Kinds of Rock

XV. Each continent’s highest mountain

XVI. 4 Kinds of Volcanoes

XVII. Parts of a Volcano


XVIII. 4 types of ocean floor

XIX. 3 Ocean Zones

XX. Parts of the Atmosphere

XXI. 5 Major circles of latitude


XXII. Kinds of weather fronts

XXIII. Types of clouds

XXIV. Markings on the globe

Memory Masters

I’ve already gotten each plan written on paper, and each print-out filed into that week’s folder.

I have a folder created for each of my students, for each week of the school year.


My file system: The old, rough-looking ones in front are the completed work from the last quarter of last year. The shiny new ones are for this coming school year.

Nonna (a retired school teacher herself) gave me this organizational idea, and I love it. All the plans and printed materials I need for each week of the year is filed by boy and week, so when I need it, I can just grab it all from one place.

As their work is completed, I file it right back in their folder.


My File System. For example: Caleb- 3rd grade- Quarter 1- Week 1


Open the folder up, and there’s everything you need for that week. Here’s a peek into one of their folders.

This frees up daily space, as we don’t have to keep up with a bunch of workbooks. Hurray!

Science is the subject I’m most excited for this year. What are you looking forward to most? Do you have any more California field trip suggestions for us? That’s our favorite, so DO share!!


VBS and Art Camp. Ready or not, we are doing this.

This is the big week, the BIG BIG week.

The boys are going to Vacation Bible School, at our very own church. So yes, that means I am going to help. It’s an embarrassingly minimal amount of helping, really. I basically signed up to help lead around 2nd and 3rd graders and listen to them say Bible verses. I haven’t decorated or contributed in any other way.

So why is this a big deal?

Because we have the only two church kids in the country who live in terror of VBS, apparently. What is wrong with us?

This probably just has more to do with the fact that they are little apples that fell from big apple trees.

It’s true. Alan and I didn’t like VBS either. Not even a little. Not even at all.

Alan didn’t like singing songs with motions and making crafts. I was painfully shy, so I didn’t like having to sit by kids I didn’t know. Plus I had a strong distaste for making crafts, being in a class where the kids were rowdy, or playing games that required any level of athleticism.

Alan and I both agreed that Kool-aid and cookie time was the saving grace of VBS.

Everyone else’s kids seem to love it. Must just be us.

So, yeah, I’m ridiculously nervous about this week. But we’re doing it anyway.

The big boys will do Art Camp in the mornings, which they are also nervous about, and VBS in the evenings.

On the upside, I don’t have to cook dinner this week.

By the end of the week, we’ll be drowning in kid crafts. Oh, wait, that’s right, I have little boys, so really just our trash can will be over-flowing in kid crafts because that’s what they do with those.

Why do we make them go to Vacation Bible School anyway?

Well, I’m glad you asked. (Yes, you did.) I like that they will go and do two hours every evening of things that revolve around Jesus. God loves children. God loves people. Their lives have great value. We love God because He first loved us, and He cares about us and the choices that we make. God will be there for us when it feels like no one else is. All we have to do is ask.

The more that they can be around people saying these things to them, the better. The world has a whole other soul-less message to present to them. Bleh!

And Art Camp? Well, I think it will be good for my little budding artists to build their skills.

I was able to give Joshua a few words of encouragement about VBS, “You know, most of them only go to 5th grade, so you just have to get through one more year of this, and then you can just help with games or something.”

That did seem to help his feelings.

So here we go! VBS this week!  Whoop Whoop!

Oh, and you might be happy to know that Daniel, on the other hand, is super pumped to go to VBS.









The 1 Thing All the ‘Gurus’ Don’t Want You to Know, Guest Post by Fitness Blogger Justin Cox


This post is written by Justin Cox, BS Exercise Science, CSCS, strength coach and down to earth, no-nonsense fitness blogger. He is also my online personal trainer.

I like what he has to say here about calling out the hype and building a consistent, simple, effective routine.  –April


Everyday we see ‘gurus’ pitching the ultimate 12 week plan, or 6 weeks to sexy, or how to get the flat sexy stomach you have always wanted in just 20 minutes per day. Trust me, I see them all the time. I have made those programs, I have sold those ads, and I have made a lot of money doing it.

But there is a secret the ‘gurus’ don’t want you to know. This is the secret that keeps you coming back to them time after time again. They purposely keep sending you 6 week programs and special 21 day detoxes so you will buy those products instead of discovering this one secret. They do it because they don’t want to lose their job.

Let’s face it, people like shiny. Coming out with a new sexy abs program every 4 weeks is shiny. Just follow this program for the next 4-6 weeks and you will have the abs you and your husband have always wanted. Just take a look at this screen shot. All I did was a quick google image search of Shape Magazine.

Notice anything? How many new body plans, 4 week to sexy programs, and the ‘new diet’ programs can they really create?

It is all distraction. They want to keep you away from this one secret that I have been teaching to my personal clients for the last 10 years to give them amazing results. This one secret allowed me to create the top personal training studio in my city before I left it to have more family time. It is the same secret I use with all of my online premium coaching clients today. The same secret that I give away for free in my Transformation Made Simple program.

So what is this closely guarded secret that can cost all ‘gurus’ their jobs?

Consistency. That is what you need. You need to be consistent in your program in order to make the best progress. By continually selling you new and different programs, the ‘gurus’ are purposely keeping you from achieving your goals. This ensures that when you fail, or the program doesn’t go right, they can sell you a new program that promises to fix the problems with the old one.

But the biggest, and the truly best fitness professionals I have ever come across, we all have one thing in common. We keep our clients consistent and give them the time they need in order to achieve all their goals.

Consistency allows you to adapt. Adaptation is the sole purpose of exercise and fitness. Forget everything you have ever heard of muscle confusion. There is an actual term for it and a place for it, but it is not what you think and not the topic of this conversation.

Adaptation is what you need. You need to adapt to the stress you are putting on your body so that you can handle more. If you are constantly jumping from shiny workout to new shiny workout every few weeks or even every couple days, you will never fully adapt. That means you never get that much better.

Consistency allows you to adapt and get better.

A simple way to look at it is like this. Burpees burn a lot of Calories. They burn them fast and skyrocket your heart rate. Which workout will burn more Calories? Performing 10 burpees for 4 sets or performing 20 burpees for 8 sets? Without adaptation, you will have a near impossible time progressing to the harder workouts that burn more fat than the easier workouts. If you are jumping from shiny workout to shiny workout every few days or weeks, then you can’t adapt.

Consistency allows you to adapt and get better.

Now consistency doesn’t mean you need to do the same workout every single day for the rest of your life. That just sounds horrible. But there are a few things that you should always be doing. Take these 4 exercises for instance:

Military Press
Pull Up
Dead Lift
These 4 exercises, or close variations are in ALMOST EVERY SINGLE PROGRAM I make for my clients. I create for them new and different workouts every 4-6 weeks, but within that, these 4 exercises remain consistent. Over time, they end up doing hundreds and thousands of reps of these exercises. They adapt to them and they get stronger. This strength carries over to other parts of the workouts and allows them to do more.

Once they can handle more, they can burn more fat if they want, build more muscle if they want, and eat more food without worry. That is the power of consistency.

But there is a trick to consistency. I am sorry but it is not as simple as just saying, “I am going to start being consistent today.” I truly wish it were that easy.

The key to consistency is simplicity. Sit for a moment and think about past fitness or transformation programs you have used. Were they challenging? Were they complex? At first you started off with all the greatest intentions right? You followed the program 100%. Then something happened. You maybe missed a day or you stopped feeling the vibe.

The key to consistency is simplicity.

That novelty wears off and you start finding yourself having to convince yourself to workout. You have to almost fight yourself just to get your program going. That is the time where you lose your interest, where you fall off the program and have to start over in a few weeks.

The key is simplicity. In my free course, Transformation Made Simple, I stress this in every lesson. The key to being consistent is to make the process as simple and easy as possible. Make it so simple that there is absolutely no reason you can’t do it.

Sounds too easy right? I mean how could something that simple actually work. Well think about it this way. It takes about 50 heavy reps per week to develop strength. To accomplish this, you could do:

5 reps x 10 sets one day per week
5 reps x 5 sets 2 days per week
5 reps x 2 sets 5 days per week
All three of those programs have been proven to be very effective for developing strength. Which one would you rather do? Do you think you will be more inclined to ramp yourself up to do a huge heavy 50 rep workout every week, to a moderate 25 heavy reps twice per week, or a simple 10 reps every day?

That is the idea of keeping things simple and being consistent.

Break things down into the simple small steps that you can manage to accomplish everyday. AND THEN GIVE YOURSELF TIME.

Going to level with you here. Those 6 week, 12 week, and even 20 week programs are good and all but they are kind of a lie. Personally I went from normal to photo shoot ready (sort of) in 8 weeks. But then again, I was already in good shape. I already had a foundation of consistency and simple basics that allowed me to increase my intensity and buckle down for those 8 weeks.

The images they use to sell you those programs, are from people like me, who already were in a decent place. If you are just starting, give yourself time. International fitness coach Scott Sonnon says that it take about the same amount of time to completely transform a body as it does to prepare an Olympic athlete, 4 years. From personal experience, I agree.

Give Yourself Time.

It takes time to develop the new habits you need to create, to change the bad habits, and to truly develop the consistency that you will need in order to achieve the results

To recap, here are the 3 things you TRULY need in your program.

Now here is what I want you to do:

1) If you liked this article, and learned even 1 thing from it, click the share button down below.

2) Click this link, it will open a new page that has my Transformation Made Simple program. If you haven’t already taken it, try it. It is free and will give you the simple steps you can implement right away to begin your transformation.

3) Leave a comment below and tell me what you are going to do to make things simple and consistent for yourself going forward.

– See more at:




Dirt boy does not wish to go to the potty.


sweet little dirt boy

JD is the definition of “all boy”. He requires 2 baths and 3 sponge-downs/day. He plays in dirt, sand, mud, and water. He’s the easiest toddler in the world because you will hardly hear a grunt out of him all day.

He wakes up, and he says, “Dirt?”

“You want to go play in the dirt?”



Sometimes, I promise, he wears shoes.

“Sure,” and we open the door to our mini-fence. It is literally a mini-fence. It is the size of a bedroom, and since there is no air-conditioning or bugs, we just leave the door to the house wide open. JD spends half the day in his tiny play yard.

He’s so filthy by noon that I bathe him, feed him lunch, and put him to bed. He sleeps for a couple of hours. Then he wakes up and says, “Dirt?”


Everyone should have a happy place.

“Dirt? Beach?”

He calls his sand box the beach.

Right now JD and Daniel are actually inside. JD has 2 Sarge jeeps from the Cars movie, so Dan convinced him to let him hold one. JD is very serious about his car collection. His favorite is this random hot rod called Boost. We only know his name is Boost because it’s written on his license plate.

All day:


“Beach? Boost? Dirt?”

“Where Dad?”


“Where Dad?”

He’s so cute, we just can’t leave him alone, and he’s two so he still likes to cuddle with me.


Notice the halo. Apparently, he truly is an angel! Or I should turn my flash off…

He was not impressed with the Potty Training Pep Talk that I posted last week. He’s boycotting the potty.


trampoline time

I was all geared up for the process too, y’all. I took a deep breath, Alan bought underwear, and I announced our plan to the tiny man.

“Look JD! Underwear! You are a big boy. You can pee on the potty and wear underwear.”

His eyes filled with sudden panic. His jaw set in utter determination.

Hmmm. The family stubborn gene is also strong with this one.



This is not how I had this planned.

I forged on. He wore the underwear, not that he approved of it.

I took him to the potty.

“Noooooo!” He fled the potty as though it were a rattlesnake. I don’t get it. Three weeks ago he loved the potty.

Why do toddlers pull this kind of mess?

Sooooo…..I put the underwear in the drawers. I put the boys back in Luvs. I’m going to have to buy a stupid tiny potty. I didn’t want to. It’d be so much easier if he’d just use the big potty like the rest of us. That’s what Daniel did.

But let’s face it. JD and Daniel are about as alike as a dog and a cat, so my next step is to try the little potty.


What? Does your house not look like this? Yes, they also play with my shoes. Shoes are obviously magnificent toys.

Do any of my California peeps have a potty they aren’t currently using that we could borrow for, oh, I don’t know, 6 months?

Each baby continues to remind me: As a parent, we never have this thing figured out. Each baby is unique, and some babies are down right humbling.

Embrace the humbling. Pride cometh before a fall.

Hope you are all having a great week! Anyone have any similar potty stories they’d like to share?


Do tell.

Don’t forget to enter the Mighty Mighty Giveaway!!!

Just click on this image to enter the giveaway! (And hurry! It closes in a week!)


Dan and JD Present this Mighty Mighty Giveaway!

mighty mug for preschooler

Daniel, happily using the Mighty Mug

Last month we were on vacation, staying at my parent’s house, aka Nana and Granddaddy. Nana’s table requires a tablecloth. Not a big deal, right?

Not unless the Dan Man is eating at that table. In his defense, he probably wasn’t the only one; it just seemed like it was usually him.

Poor Nana. I am not even kidding when I tell you that Dan was spilling drinks about three times a day.  I went to the store and bought Nana more tablecloths.

Then lo and behold, I got this email. Blogging is the coolest job ever. People are always asking to send me free stuff to review. I only accept the ones that I truly believe will help my family and my readers.

This company said they have a mug that won’t tip over. It’s not a sippy cup. It’s a coffee mug, a grown up coffee mug that will not tip over, unless you punch it hard, to purposefully tip it over.

I couldn’t believe my luck. “Yes! Send me this thing right away!”


We use this every day now. JD, Dan, and I take turns with it.

When I returned home from vacation, the mug was waiting for me. I get the best mail!

I picked this color because I feel like I deserve to own extra girly things, living in a house full of males. It is primarily my cup, after all.

Daniel asked me if he could drink out of it.  Oh, wow. This is going even better than planned! “Absolutely, Dan!!!”

I watched eagerly to see if he could find a way to spill it. If anyone can, it’s him.


Dan, with his Mighty Mug and his breakfast

The older boys were fascinated with it too.

“Wow. How does it do this? Is there a magnet in there? It’s like it has super gravity. I’m gonna show this to my friends,” and they did!

It is really neat. You see that bottom part? It is rooted to the ground, but no, it’s not a suction cup on bottom. I have no idea how this thing works, but it does work.

We all figured out very quickly that you have to lift straight up to pick it up, but it’s not heavy at all. Actually, it’s become quite the party trick at our house.

But here’s the real test. Guess who wanted a turn to use it…..the littlest man….


I held my breath, as I sat on the other end of the table…..

Nope. He didn’t tip it over.


I don’t remember what was in it, but it must have been good.


He even learned how to open and close it.

I know this probably isn’t the intended use of the Mighty Mug, but when you have several kids you use things in unique ways.

Nana, you wanted a good birthday gift idea for Alan. Well, he wants a manly colored one to take to work.

My one big tip: I was going to include an Amazon affiliate link to this product, but I won’t do it because Amazon charges $27.99. If you buy this straight from, it’s only $19.99. Other styles vary in price. The teal version also comes in many different colors. It’s the “Mighty Mug Go”.  Shipping is free from, if you purchase at least $30 worth of products. (If you use Amazon Prime, but only if you are only buying one mug, it may even out since you don’t pay shipping.)

Spill proof matters at our house. Two thumbs up here!

Now for the BEST PART!

We are giving one away!!!

Just click on this image to enter the giveaway! (And hurry! It closes in a week!)


A California Summer is THE BEST kind of summer!


Do you like our grass? How about the kid by the road with a toy gun? haa!

That’s quite a claim to make isn’t it? THE BEST? Is it really the best? Surely something is better. I said it myself that Destin, Florida looks like this:


I mean wow.

Well, you know, you gotta love the one you’re with, and Northern California IS 70 degrees.


In July.

I’ve decided something. “I ain’t leavin’!”

No, I’m only kidding, but I do get to live here for a solid year yet. We have been doing the whole ‘lazy days of summer’ thing lately.

I can’t take too much of it. Isn’t that ridiculous? We so badly want to have nothing “to do”, and then when I have nothing more pressing than “laundry” and “Clean the bathrooms” or even “take the kids to the pool” on my to do list………’s dull!  I have no stress-strain on my heart, and I don’t know what to do about it!

It’s so ridiculous to feel that way. Right now Daniel and JD are playing together in their tiny sandbox. Joshua and Caleb are playing with their neighborhood friends. All I have hanging over my head is a kitchen that needs cleaning.

That’s actually something to be thankful for. A part of me does enjoy it, but this weird thing happens. When I only have a small, manageable amount of things to do, I don’t feel like doing ANYTHING at all.

What is that about? Am I the only one? Have any of you felt that way?

This morning I was out walking, and it was 70-something degrees and BREEZY, and all I could think was, “This is the best place ever.”

I hope you’ll all join me in praying for rain for this state!

Ha! I can hear Alan inside explaining to Caleb why we “don’t tell our friends the end of movies they haven’t seen yet.”

Daniel and JD are bringing me buckets, asking me to pour water in them.


We have taken so many pictures this summer that I’d like to share. I will just have to do these in several parts. Here’s what we’ve been up to!


JD always has a hand full of cars.


Daniel learned how to build his own train tracks.

I happened to remember that when Caleb was 4, he was already building his own train tracks. Dan always has his older brothers and me to do that for him. I finally had to just tell him, “Daniel, you are big now. You can build these yourself,” and he can!


Sea otters



Seals at Elkhorn Slough


A seal pokes his head up to check out Alan and Caleb .


Chocolate pudding.


He saw an old photograph of himself, as a baby, making a mess eating chocolate pudding. Daniel took it upon himself to “do that again.” I wasn’t so happy about it, but I took a photo for you.


Plants Vs. Zombies……because he found it at a friend’s house, and I was just happy he was reading.


Little kid jump time


Southern biscuits. You can take the girl out of Bama, but you can’t take the Bama out of the girl. I’ve been baking these since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.


Playing Uno is fun, except when JD tries to play it with you, and then it’s not fun at all, so you HAVE to keep a sense of humor about it.


Joshua took my camera outside with him and took photos of himself and his friends.


the kids’ hideout…..Actually, Joshua said this is the girls’ hideout.


the boys’ hideout


We signed Caleb and Joshua up to play for the same soccer team. Daniel BEGGED to play too, so we will have THREE soccer players this fall.


the preschool hideout


Daniel made this. I thought it was cute.


what I look like right now


We have gophers! Or moles. They live in holes in our front yard. Just please don’t tell me they are just rats. I will be so disappointed!


That’s right! Even Dan got to kayaking. He’s a daring one. I just caught him standing on top of our patio table, ON A SCOOTER. Don’t worry. He put the scooter back on the ground.


dead sea lion, washed up on shore. We see a lot of this. I think there must be 1 sea mammal per square foot in this bay. There are so many!


I thought this looked like a sweet father-son moment.


Bird Island, Point Lobos

I got some ADORABLE photos of Xavier and Zoe reading to Daniel and JD, but I didn’t post those because big kids get embarrassed easily about being seen in their pjs. Well, Joshua does anyway, so I’m extra careful, but here’s one good photo of Xavier. We enjoyed their visit so much. The boys are still talking about it and wishing to see them again.

I had the best time hanging out with Amy too. It’s a great reminder that I need to become more social. I was way too much of a hermit last year.


Joshua’s BFF


Playing cars in the dirt: this is what we do the most of this summer.


JD is Joshua made over. They all enjoy reading with mom, but Joshua and JD LOVE reading.


our book corner


me and my faithful sidekick

IMG_0010Do you like the tiny sandbox that Alan built? JD LIVES in it now. I need to vacuum every single night. Actually, since the 4th boy arrived, I always need to vacuum every night. I’m not saying I do it. I’m saying that I NEED to do it.

IMG_0002 DSCN0018 DSCN0011 DSCN0007 IMG_5557 IMG_5456 IMG_5451I hope that you are all having a relaxing summer.

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

Psalm 46:1-3

Check back with us this week! I have two giveaways lined up!

Motherhood-Related Back Pain: What Causes it and How to Fix It

Photo on 7-13-15 at 6.56 PM #3

Staying strong is important, but you do have to train yourself to use the right muscles, especially after childbirth.

Grab yourself a chair, this one is thorough.

While I was in Alabama, Alan made a doctor appointment for my back problem.

“Oh, Alan, my back is fine. I don’t need an appointment, but okay, thanks.”


Silly me. All of that airplane and car riding, days and days of it, caught up with me, and just a few days later, I couldn’t wait for my doc visit.

“Wow, Alan. Thank you! How did you know??”

Providence, I tell you. God loves people. God knew I’d need it, and he led Alan to make this appointment I had not even asked for. I could tell you so many stories of times God helped me before I even knew to ask for it. So many stories!

The doc appointment was ho-hum. He didn’t even look at the x-ray or MRI results that I brought in with me, but at least he did give me the physical therapy appointment that I asked for, and that was what I needed anyway. He also offered me shots. I thought of that little angel of a lady I met in Alabama, and I turned them down. See, God looks out for me, and I listen!

Yesterday, I saw a physical therapist, and I feel like this was an answer to my prayers. I got answers! I gave him a thorough explanation of my problem, what makes it worse, what I’m currently doing exercise-wise, and I told him about my chiropractor and what they do to help me as well. (I have had two fabulous chiropractors over the past few years, which has helped me a ton.)

What is my problem?

My right hip pinches, off an on. There are spots that are so bad that if you touch them, I will JUMP up in pain. It used to go down my leg, but it doesn’t usually do that anymore. (I’ll explain that in a minute.)

I can’t sit down or carry my toddlers for very long at a time. If I do, I will pay for it the next day. It bothers me to no end to have to constantly ask Alan, while we are out, “Can you carry JD for me?”

My right shoulder also hurts, especially if I raise my right arm.

Why is this happening???

3 main reasons!

1. Softened ligaments in pregnancy (aka Pelvic Girdle Pain or Sacroiliac Joint Pain—Follow that link to learn more about it.)

This right hip pain, which went all the way down my leg, all began 10 years ago, with my first pregnancy. However, the day Joshua was born, my hip was automatically better.

My physical therapist’s name is Ryan. Ryan said that it was a ligament issue, and even though it went away for three years and did not return with my other pregnancies, it is still relevant.

2. Bulging Discs from back injury in 2009

In 2009, I was lying on my back in the floor, mostly pain-free. One of my children, weighing a solid 35 pounds, yelled “Cannonball!” and jumped on my back from a bed, which was on risers.


The next day I could barely walk. I had 2 months of steroid shots, which helped a ton, and in the process, what began as a left hip problem became a right hip problem and it’s been there a little ever since. There was an MRI, a painful half hour of lying still in a noisy machine.  The MRI showed us the bulging discs.

They healed. It took a while, but they did, and gradually it was only an occasional minor pinch in my right hip.

3. My current problem: It actually all comes down to the 4 pregnancies….

Lindsey Brin explains this best on her website

I HIGHLY recommend this work-out, not just for new moms, but for anyone with back or hip pain.

“You will have to train your Pelvic Floor and Transverse Abdominis, both deep muscles of the core. Whether you have a vaginal delivery or a c-section the Pelvic Floor and the TA act as a sling to your baby. Which is why you need to train these specific muscles to get back the integrity and strength of your core before returning to traditional abdominal exercises.”

Some of these same exercises that Lindsay teaches on her video are the ones prescribed by my physical therapist.

Actually, he is kindly only starting me out with three. He also applied sustained pressure to my problem muscles, followed by 10 minutes of ice.

What to do about all this:

I have tried it all over the years, with success for a while, but then it comes back. Ryan said that the key is to retrain the body to use the transverse, rather than using muscles that aren’t meant to carry weight, inflaming those muscles and causing a great deal of pain.

In 2012, my pain reached fever pitch. Doctors couldn’t help me. They sent me to physical therapists in Virginia. These PTs could never fit me into their DC-urban-life-is-tough packed schedules. So I turned to chiropractic care.

Chiropractors rock. When I went to Dr. Bodnar the first time, I could not even inhale without pain, my rib cage was even messed up. They tell me that was largely related to bad posture–kind of embarrassing…

Dr. Bodnar assigned me this exercise, which Dr. Ryan has also assigned me now, as did Coach Cox, it’s pretty common: Elbow planks!

This automatically started helping me because I was shocked to find, back in 2012, that I had NO core strength at all when I started doing these. I could only hold it mere seconds. So sad!

Now I can hold this sort of plank for a minute, so I’ve come a long way.


This next oneis the very FIRST exercise you should do, if your back pain is related to a weak core:

It’s important when you do these, to place your hand under the small of your back and feel yourself pushing your back into the floor.

Now this next one is my FAVORITE. It stretches out the periformis muscle, a booger of a butt muscle that is a literal pain in the ***:

Those 3 exercises are my homework today. I’ve done them all before, so what happened?

The 4th baby happened.

I went to Dr. Bodnar every 2 weeks through my entire pregnancy with JD (baby #4), and I worked out at least 5 days/per week through that entire pregnancy, with Lindsay Brin Videos, Fitness at the Park with my friend Michelle, and Yoga with my friend and trainer Monica. I was on a roll!

2012: Yoga with Monica. I’ve never been so healthy–and that’s a maternity support belt,not back fat. hehehe

And then I had that c-section. And postpartum depression like I had never had before. I rarely left the house. Rarely. I barely even went to church or to drop my kids off at school. School starting back was my saving grace that year, but I wasn’t truly okay until I weaned JD at 10 months old. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about that year.

I certainly wasn’t exercising regularly. Then I moved here, and I missed everything Virginia so much. It felt like I was suddenly a million miles away from my life. I stopped getting chiropractic care. I stopped exercising, even walking.

Then this spring happened. Wow. It has felt like God himself has come rushing in to my rescue. I am not even exaggerating.  I didn’t seek much help on my own. Help came to me! Coach Cox emailed me and wanted to help me get in shape. Alan made me that doctor appointment. I got encouragement from others. I started going back to the chiropractor.

It’s like the world is out to help me! And don’t give me that Kharma junk talk. That’s crap. This is GOD, and he deserves to get the credit and not be called Karma, if that’s even how you spell stupid Karma. The laptop informs me it’s Karma. Whatever.

It’s God.

I’m going to the physical therapist again on Friday. Last night I was so sore from all that sustained pressure he did, that I was up until midnight popping pills, but I feel much better today.

I sometimes ask other moms if they deal with back pain or hip pain. I think a lot of us suffer silently and never get help. Get help! See a chiropractor, or a physical therapist. For me, the physical therapy is much more affordable because it’s covered by my insurance, but I’m still doing both.

Of course, there are many other causes to back pain, but these are the three that I have personally experienced. I hope if you have problems like these that  you will get the care that you need.

And because no Stories of Our Boys post is complete without a fun picture from the kiddos:


This is Joshua saying, “Go train your transverse!!”


We must take care of ourselves to be able to better care for others. We have to fill our vessels so that we can benefit others.

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