Sunday, February 24, 2013

Applied Psychology 140

Holland's Hexagon
This week has been exceptionally challenging for me. I'm taking one class online at our local community college. It's called Applied Psychology 140 and it's basically an introduction to college. The first six weeks were very easy, so I thought I would breeze through the class with no problem. Until week seven came along. This is the single biggest assignment all term. It's worth 130 points and is very intense.

The first half of the assignment is a series of self-assessment tests. The first test is the Holland Code Quiz.  We had to take two different quizzes from two separate sites. For those like me who flunked out of Intro to Psychology, here's a brief description:

John Holland made it his life's work to look at people and work environments and come up with a classification system that described 1) individual differences and similarities, and 2) a classification of work environments to describe and explain differences and similarities among positions and occupations.
    How closely do you resemble these theoretical personality types? Distinctive preferences, outlooks, competencies, and self-perceptions characterize each type. See the chart on the next page for descriptions of each type.
    Each personality type has a parallel Work Environment. If you think a personality type (partially) describes you, it might also be helpful to look at the environment description. IF you think a personality description (partially)fits you, then you might look for the corresponding work environment. You can also go to the Web sites cited below for descriptions, exercises, and information about college majors and careers that correspond with particular personality type.
My Holland Code results indicated I am an ACS (Artistic, Conventional and Social). I found this to be very interesting. Artistic was marked as my strongest category, which I agree with completely. An Artistic person is expressive and creative. They work best with the arts, acting/drama, photography and creative writing. I love to write, blogging about life, education, crafting, photography and baking/cooking. I enjoy crafting with my children and decorating my home. I love to photograph people and scenery. Conventional was my second category. Conventional people work well with numbers, records or machines in an orderly fashion. They tend to avoid ambiguous and unstructured activities. They do however work well with a set plan in motion. After some thought and discussion with my husband, I found myself to actually fit in this category. I need to have explicit directions, like following a recipe or putting a toy together, step by step. I do tend to accomplish more with a set plan, like a check list, marking off things completed. I like to have things organized, like a bookshelf or my food pantry. I need to have my home school lesson plans color coded and organized by subject. I'm not sure if this fits into the Conventional category or just a sign of OCD, but I do believe it has some merit. My third category was Social, which was no surprise. Social, being those who like to help others, are friendly, trustworthy and helpful. I am all of those things. I love to teach my children, which is why I chose to home school. I enjoy listening to others in need and being supportive.

The second assessment test we were required to take was the Jung Typology Test.
Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist who believed that various personalities had different ways to perceive the world. He hypothesized that there were three important channels through which people experienced the world and that for each channel their was two ways that a person could you this channel. These three dichotomies were; Introversion-Extroversion, Sensing-Intuition and Thinking-Feeling. He published a book on the subject in 1921.

During World War II, Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers began working on a system which they hoped would help women find the right jobs for them. They based their system on Jung's theory of personality types and added another dimension, the Judging-Perception

"My results indicated that I am a ISFJ (Introverted, Sensing, Feeling and Judging) The first letter, I (Introverted) indicates that I like to do things alone or with one or two close friends. I tend to draw my strength from the pictures, memories and ideas inside my head. Sometimes trapping myself in my own little world and forgetting to interact with the outside world. The second letter, S (Sensing) indicates that I am more concerned with actual facts. That is, what I can see, hear and touch rather than relying of faith. I remember details that are important to me, like pictures in my mind. I learn by hands on experience and working out problems, step by step. My third letter, F (Feeling) indicates that I take careful consideration for the feelings and wishes of others. I am considered to be very caring and tactful. I prefer there to be little to no conflict and will do whatever I can to bring harmony to all. My fourth and final letter is J (Judging) and indicates that I like a structured life. I prefer having decisions made for me. I work well with check lists and prefer completing tasks in an organized, timely manner.

From what I've gathered, ISJF types tend to be quiet, friendly, responsible, and conscientious. They live to serve others and rarely ask for anything in return. They take any task very seriously and strive to be painstakingly perfect. They are very loyal and considerate of others, remembering the smallest specifics about people close to them. They are very well organized in both home and work, following specific guidelines and checklists. Their drawbacks, they tend to shy away from decision making and rely on others for guidance. They dislike confrontation and are quick to run from it. They are not good at articulating any distress and tend to be mistaken for "sulking". They tend to see only the facts and don't allow room for "what could be". Overall I found this assessment to be fairly accurate. I do see myself as being very standoffish. I am not one to take action and I tend to hide from tough decisions. However I am very protective of my family and will go to any lengths for any one of my children. I am very detail oriented, needing everything to be done precisely my way. I run by the motto, "If you want something done right, do it yourself." However, in doing everything myself, I tend to feel overworked and underappreciated. Given what has been said, I would fit well in the secretarial, executive assistant and interior design fields." -Clip from part of my report.

Now that I have been labeled as a co-dependent control freak, I feel so much better about myself. The second part of the assignment was to pick a series of careers that would fit well with my personality and values. We had to take a Work Importance Profiler. This would give us a list of the best career options based on our personality, values, skills and interests. Of course after taking the assessment, it spits out a list of suggestions based on my test results. We are to pick 3-4 from this list thet might interest us. The first list suggested careers in the Arts, like Interior Design, Writer/Author and Photographer. Those are all things I love or would consider doing. However the second list suggested careers in Engineering, Teaching and the Health Industry. Other than homeschooling my our children, I would not have the patience to teach other children. I am completely grossed out by the health care industry and I am by no means smart enough in Math to be an Engineer.

The last part of the assignment was a Career Reality Check Assessment. We had to type in all our bills and miscellaneous expenses. Then it adds on taxes and tells you how much all of it will cost annually. It tells you how much you need to make to pay for all your expenses and gives a list of career options in your interest area. If nothing pays that amount, than you either need to cut spending or find a new career that pays more. Of course my career choices were no where near the amount of money we need to make annually, but fortunately, Sean's job does. All in all, this was a long and stressful assignment that I am thankful is finished. I hope to never have to do it again. Poor Sean has yet to start his......hahahahaha.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Shingles and Colds

Well, this has been one awful week and a half. Last Sunday, Sean started getting a weird rash on his left shoulder. A few days prior, he was experiencing pain in the same area. He thought it was ringworm, though he had no idea where he would have contracted it. Looking at pictures on the internet, the rash didn't really look like ringworm, but then the next morning Lizzie broke out in a ring shaped rash all over her body. I thought for sure she had ringworm and bought a can of Lotrimin. The rash disappeared in a day. That turned out to be an allergic reaction to something she wore or ate, not sure which of the two.

After a couple days of his rash spreading to his chest and back, he decided to go see a dermatologist. The nurse took one look at him and said, "You have Shingles." He was blown away and asked her if she was sure. She said the Dr would confirm, and he did. The doctor asked him if he was under any stress or had been recently ill, because he is a bit young to have developed Shingles. He gave him an antiviral prescription along with some steroid cream, which he only used once or twice. The bad news, it's highly contagious to anyone who hasn't had chicken pox, which is ALL of my children. However, they would have to touch the sores or have contact with clothing, towels or anything that came in contact with him. So Sean his been in lock down in our bedroom for the last week. It's killing him to not have contact with the kids. They can't understand why they can't hug or play with Daddy. Declan, on the other hand, is completely grossed out by him. He does not want Chicken

We've read all the horror stories about Shingles online. How painful they are, how they last for weeks or months, and how they are so hard to get rid of. Sean has been in minimal pain, if at all. The red splotches are fading away fast, some are gone completely. He thinks the people online are a bunch of babies. He said this has not been bad at all. Well, maybe he should be suffering through the cold from Hell, like the rest of us.

A day or so after Sean came down with Shingles, the kids started coming down with fevers, stuffed up, runny noses and a nasty cough. First was Cian, then Declan and Fionn, Mary, Lizzie, Liam, Sam and finally me. This is not your average cold. This is pure agony. Poor Fionny gets these coughing fits to a point where he vomits, Lizzie as well. Never ending runny nose and a general feeling of your head about to explode. I haven't slept in days for more than 2 or 3 hours. Between kids coughing and crying all night to just not being able to breath. Since Sean is on the antiviral meds. he has not contracted the cold. I almost wish I had his shingles, I want that antiviral medication. At least with it, he didn't feel like crap and could actually function. Poor Sam has been clinging to me like the plague. I can't put him down for one minute without him screaming bloody murder. Meanwhile the laundry is piling up as are the dishes and dust mites.

On a more pleasant note, Valentine's Day wasn't a complete bust. I had planned this really nice evening for Sean and I, but of course that didn't work out, since I wasn't aloud to really touch him. Instead, we ordered Chinese food from one of the best restaurants in SoCal and had a nice candle light dinner. Sean bought me a dozen beautiful red roses, chocolate covered strawberries, two other boxes of chocolates and a big container of Jelly Bellies. soon he forgets. I'm sure I gained a few pounds this week.

I had been scouring Pinterest for weeks, trying to find the perfect cupcake recipe. I can't remember the last time I made cupcakes, but I know they are Sean's weakness and the kids love them, so I thought it would be a nice Valentine's treat. I found these really cute heart wrappers and sprinkles on Amazon. I made everything from scratch, including the cake flour and frosting. The frosting I did find on Pinterest, and it was amazing. (I used both vanilla and chocolate buttercream) but the vanilla cupcakes were from Food Network. I cooked them a little too long and they came out hard. I wasn't thrilled with their flavor either. Sean said they were great, but he was just being nice. Mary flat out said they were "awful". Leave it to a 4 year old to tell you what she's really thinking. At least they turned out cute.

This year we didn't have the money to go all out on gifts, but I wanted to get Sean a gift that meant something. Nearly 12 years ago, back when Sean and I were dating in Arizona, Sean made a promise to his Mother and Sister to return to Mass. That of course meant leaving me in AZ. It was the end of May and our two month courting was coming to an end. He was headed back to Boston the next morning. I wanted to give him something to remember me by, (that didn't end up in Heaven) so I bought him a necklace with a key on it. The key went to a heart pendant that said "He who holds the key can unlock my heart". Yes, it's one of those tacky 80's charms, but it was the best thing I could find at the last minute. He loved it and hung it on his rear view mirror. To this day, it still hangs on the mirror, just two vehicles later. I wore the heart pendant around my neck for 11 years, until the tiny hook snapped off the heart. I was so upset. I NEVER took the necklace off. It was like Sean became a part of me and was always with me, even when he wasn't. Well, when it broke, I didn't handle it well. And when we found out it couldn't be repaired, that really upset me. So, I decided to try and replace it. Of course they don't make the pendant anymore, so I found a site that makes personalized gifts. I chose a sterling silver broken heart key chain that could be engraved with our names and date of choice. So, I had each half engraved with our names and the date of our first date. He loved it. I think he felt bad that he didn't buy me an actual gift, but it wasn't about the gift. It was about our bond. I wanted something that represented how much our relationship meant to me.

Well, that was our Valentine's Day and horrible week in a nut shell. I hope everyone else had a better holiday. I'm off to go watch the season finale of Downton Abbey and do my homework. Happy President's Day!

                                    Sammy eating his cupcake. I don't think he liked it either.

               Sammy says "Dads at work". Sean just had to play this for all the ladies at work.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Good-Bye Pope Benedict

I am in complete aw over the resignation of our Holy Father. I, like so many others, never thought I would see the day that a Pope would resign. My heart is saddened that his health will not allow him to remain our leader of the Catholic Faith. At the same time, we are blessed to have our children witness the amazing process of choosing a new Pope. I look forward to welcoming a new Holy Father and the continued traditions of our faith.

Here is the statement from his Holiness,

"Dear Brothers,
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer."

Friday, February 8, 2013

Happy 300th Post....Welcome!!

This is my 300th post! I cannot believe I stuck with something for 300 consecutive I started this blog back in 2009 just for fun. I never thought it would mean so much to me and last for as long as it has. We have seen some great times, this blog and I. We've watched Declan, Cian and Fionn start home schooling. We've welcomed the births of Mary, Lizzie and Sam. We've even seen Liam get into more trouble than humanly possible. We've moved to 3 different houses and welcomed several new furry additions to the clan (and seen a few leave as well). We've gone through two new jobs with promotions attached. We've celebrated holidays and birthdays. Were saddened by illness and hospitalization. We've even made new amazing friends and reconnected with family. Yes, this blog has been there for me through thick and thin, in sickness and health, till death do us part and everything in between. I hope to keep it going for my children to continue when I am gone. After all, it's all for them!

Since this blog has helped me in so many ways, I thought "Maybe it could help someone else as well." So, I'm dedicating my 300th post to Educents! What is Educents you ask? (Home schooling moms, you'll be interested in this...) Educents is a new, upcoming website dedicated to homeschooling. It's a site where you can buy all sorts of materials for your home school or classroom for a HUGE SAVINGS!

"Educents will offer a wide variety of educational materials selected from the best suppliers in the industry. Products will range from online curriculum, learning tools, educational toys, software, study guides, e-books, classroom videos and tutorials in all subjects. Just to name a few…"

"Educents works with the best educational suppliers to provide daily group deals at flash speed. Order your products quickly because there will only be a limited amount for a limited time! Not to mention, we offer the lowest prices!!"

I am so excited about this website. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Setons, but as the kids move up in grades and more begin school, it's getting really expensive to purchase their curriculum. I'm hoping to find an accredited curriculum that offers the same amazing education for a fraction of the price. They will even be offering educational games and toys that are outrageously priced at stores like Lake Shore Learning.

I have been emailing back and forth with Kaitlyn, a member of the family (correctly if I'm wrong Kaitlyn) and let me tell you, I can't remember the last time someone was so grateful for my support. This is a family who struggled to homeschool their children, due to financial circumstances, but didn't allow it to stop them. Instead they fought back and are giving other families a chance to educate their children at discounted prices. Now what could be better than that!!

After hearing about the site this morning, I was so excited and couldn't wait to share it with all of you. So I contacted Educents to see about posting a link on my blog. Within an hour I heard back from Kaitlyn and she was amazing! She set me up with a photo and a little about the family that came up with this brilliant company concept. (See top right corner of my blog) Educents goes live on April 2, 2013 but if you head over now, sign up and get a $15 gift card for the site! They are also on Facebook and Twitter (@Educents) so stop by and give them a follow!!

Butterfly Science Project

Declan has been working on his first live Science project this past month. We are watching the metamorphosis of Painted Lady Butterflies. It's not a required assignment with Setons, but it's something he wanted to do.

A few fun facts about the Painted Lady Butterfly:
  • She can lay up to 500 eggs.
  • She is the most common butterfly in the world.
  • She tastes with her feet.
  • She has, ready for this....10,000 eyes. Yes, you read that correctly.
  • She breathes through her abdomen (She doesn't have a nose).
  • She can travel 1,000 miles in her lifetime. 
  • They will approximately 2-4 weeks.
The video below is what they looked like three days after we got them.

I have never seen a caterpillar chrysalis (cocoon) before, much less watched their metamorphosis, so I was pretty excited to do this experiment as well. Approximately 10 days with the caterpillars, they nearly doubled in size. From these tiny, hairy worm looking things, to an inch long, fuzzy looking caterpillars. What's really interesting is how, like spiders, they make silken webs, by moving their heads back and forth. They lay in and on the webs. The video below shows one caterpillar already hanging from the lid, ready to turn into a chrysalis, while another is crawling up the jar. You can see all the silk they've spun thus far. The little brownish balls are their food. Somehow they carry it up into the silk. Currently three are in the beginning chrysalis phase with two soon to join.

I cannot believe how fast they change into a cocoon. Once they are hanging upside down, they become very still and slowly this shell creeps up their body, starting at their heads. After a few hours, they begin to spin silk from their mouths, slowly covering their face and making their way up to their butt. This process took place in an hours time or less. The picture below is hard to see what I'm referring to, because of all the silk on the container, but you get the idea. The longer caterpillar on the left still has its fuzz and has yet to spin its silken mask, where as the one on the right is in the early chrysalis phase.

It's pretty hard to see in the above picture, but the caterpillar directly behind the chrysalis, on the lid, kept coming near the cocoon and out of nowhere, it started shaking violently (the cocoon). This is a natural instinct to ward off predators. The kids got a kick out of it. Below is a close up. You really get and appreciation for the silk webbing and the beginning stage of the cocoon. It will change dramatically in the next few hours.

On January 30th, all five caterpillars were in their cocoons so it was time to transfer them to their habitat. Getting them out of the jar was a bit tricky. One of the caterpillars chewed a huge hole in the paper lid, so I had to be really careful not to rip it anymore than it already was. Plus, a few of the cocoons were stuck in the silk webbing, which was very stiff, unlike a spider web. I was so afraid one would fall off, but they were all surprisingly well attached to the paper lid.

I carefully pinned the paper inside the habitat and only stuck myself once! The picture above really shows how shiny the cocoons are. The texture of the cocoons is surprisingly hard, not at all what I expected. I'm not sure the caterpillar cocoon on the bottom right will survive. It's the only one that did not fully enter the cocoon. That fuzz sticking out from the top is it's tail. Poor little guy, I hope he survives, for the kids sake.

 I hung the habitat in the coroner of our classroom, out of little hands reach. With any luck, we should see the first butterfly emerging a week from Wednesday!

On February 4, the first two butterflies emerged from their cocoons. The first happened before we were awake, so we didn't get to see the event. However I happened to be standing by the habitat when I noticed another cocoon moving, I quickly grabbed my phone and filmed the second butterfly emerging. It's not the best angel, the mess didn't allow for good camera viewing.

This is Lady, named by Declan. He/She was our first addition. In the picture above, her wings are just about dried out and she was flapping them for the kids. They all squealed with excitement! The picture below was when she first emerged and her wings were drying. That red stuff scared the kids. They thought it was hurt and bleeding. Actually, it's stored waste, like, pretty gross if you ask me.

All five butterflies have emerged, as of Wednesday! They are all doing great and love to sit on the orange slices we put in their habitat. I found it interesting that the last three were a completely different shape from the first two. Lady and Lucky were bigger and have fuller wings, were as the other three are smaller and their wings are shaped differently. I'm wondering if there may be a few females in the group. Since it's so cold here. We can't really let them go, so maybe some will mate and breed? This has been a fun experiment for all the kids. I highly recommend buying the kit for those of you who home school.  It's totally worth it!! Here are a few more pictures of the butterflies. Enjoy!

This is Lucky, I think!

Even Wookie was interested in the butterflies.

All 5 butterflies!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Thank a Mailman Day

It's National Thank A Mailman Day! Well, I don't know if "National" is the correct wording, but it was posted on our Oriental Trading Company Calendar as a day to remember, so of course the kids wanted to make our mailman a card. (My husband was less than supportive, saying they get their thanks in their ridiculous pension after 20 years and free healthcare for the rest of their lives, all paid for by the taxpayers, that we don't get.)
Well, I wasn't going to be a stick in the mud like Sean, so I let them make their card and take it to the mailbox. If nothing else, it will put a smile on his face! It's all about making someone's day right?

                                         The inside was constructed and colored by Declan.