Tuesday, September 29, 2009

ZUMBA, Baby!

At the end of the hour of agony with Ms Aerobics von Perky last Wednesday, she invited the entire class to come to Zumba on Friday from 6-7 pm. What's Zumba? I didn't know either and von Perky said it was easier to google than to explain - which is actually true. Basically, Zumba is a combination of aerobics and dancing set to some excellent Latin American music. IT'S SWEEPING THE NATION!!!!! IT'S THE NEWEST FITNESS CRAZE!!!!!!!

Seriously, it looks like fun while it incorporates several different Latin dance moves. No more than four moves are ever used per song so it's easy to follow no matter what your skill level is (bonus!). Being able to follow along is quite important to me when taking a dance class. I mean, who wants to feel or look like a dork, right? (ahem! Kathy Smith, you may want to take some notes on that.)

So, on Friday I showed up for class. I was disappointed to learn that it was a one time offering, but once was better than never. I ran into von Perky in the parking lot who made a point to tell me that she was glad I decided to come. Now I feel kinda bad about all the perkiness snark - or at least I will until I take her next class at which point I'll be reminded why it's justified.

Way more people than I expected showed up for class and some of these women were SERIOUS about this whole Latin dancing thing. For a few minutes, I wasn't sure if I was in the right place and wondered if I had stumbled into an audition to "So You Think You Can Dance" or the remake of "Fame". There was a lot of stretching and prancing going on. I heard von Perky say that she'd been asked to help teach the class. Hmmm... I wanted to take this class start to finish without needing oxygen or medical intervention. It's not looking good.

Eventually the class started as a reporter/photographer from the base paper started taking shots. Well, that's just great! But you know, the class was SO much fun that after a few minutes, I forgot that was happening. It was a great workout. You can easily adjust it to your skill level and make it comfortable for yourself. I think the instructor said that you can burn up around 800 calories an hour. At the end of the class I was sweaty but exhilarated and really hope that someone gets certified so I can take it regularly. As all this dang exercising and nutritional overhauling begins to pay off, it will be nice to shake my booty without having aftershocks. Trust me, I'll be posting in big, bold letters when that day happens. Seriously - try it if you have the opportunity!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Aerobics in Perkyland

I've been going to aerobics whenever possible since I put the kids in the summer enrichment program. Monday and Wednesday the class is called "butts and guts" and the Tuesday and Thursday classes are cardio and sculpting classes. The usual instructor, Keyra, is this totally kick butt dynamo. For the first three weeks I went to class, I was brutally sore every. single. day. Squats, lunges, what seems like 200 different ways to do sit ups...she's the nicest person but she wrings the sweat out of you and the pain into you.

Now that the kids are only in the MWF enrichment program, I only get to go to the butts and guts class, which obviously concentrates on legs, abs, and tushies (squats, lunges, and crunches, oh my!). Last week, Sesame Street Live was here for two shows on Wednesday so there was no class. On Monday, Keyra made us pay. In sweat. R was off on Monday, so I convinced him to go with me. Even he, Army trained PT guy, thought it was a challenging class.

I'd gotten to the point that my muscles were fairly used to the punishment, so I am generally not sore the next day. But it's now Wednesday night and my hamstrings are still screaming from Monday's class. Damn squats. GAH!

Occasionally, Keyra can't make class and someone else teaches it, as was the case today. I debated on whether or not to go this morning because the lady teaching this morning is just too perky for me. Literally, it's like she bounced out of the 80's right into our little gym. Wooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't mind tough instructors since I'm there to work out and get all sweaty, but something about Ms. Perkiness just irks me. I think it's because she talks nonstop while the rest of us are gasping for air and struggling to keep up. And, every single cardio section involves bouncing of some sort. You can't just do a lunge or 50, she wants you to add a hop or jump in there somewhere. Plus, she's a bit of a spaz, so you are up and down during the entire hour. I think I'm too OCD to enjoy that. Let's work legs and then let's work abs, but please for the love of all things holy stop making me bounce back and forth between the two -- especially when it actually involves bouncing.

So about 40 minutes into the class I resort to silently cursing her in various creative ways, which I will keep to myself (if you can't say anything nice....), and trying to think of ways to shut her up. Because, as a matter of fact Perky McBouncy, NO, this does NOT feel 'niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice' since I am not a rubber band or a bouncing ball and trying to convert my sizable ass into one isn't the least bit pleasant. So please just shutthehellup and stop being so dang happy!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Truth Comes Out

This is going to be hard for me to admit, but I had to face an ugly reality today.

I. HATE. Being. Outside. Well, I hate being outside when the temperature is above 60.

I don't really know why I hate it, either. I love beautiful sunny days, I just enjoy them so much more from the comfort of my (mostly) bug free living room sitting my happy tushie on my couch OR whilst driving in the car with any heating or cooling needs I may have a mere touch of a button away.

I loathe bees, yellow jackets, flies, gnats, mosquitoes, spiders - any sort of creepy, crawly, or flying pest that dares invade my personal space requirements (that expands to a 20 foot radius)when I step foot outside the house. I hate the feeling of the sun beating down on me because it always makes me think of skin cancer and the smell of sunscreen seems to attract even more unwanted attention from bugs or bees.

Sit me in the shade with a fly swatter handy, and I'm good to go. Put me in the sun, and it's like I'm with Wicked Witch of the West in reverse...sunlight makes me melt. I'm in complete bewilderment how I ever survived so long living in NC, which feels miserably hot and humid to me after being away for six years.

What I really hate is why on earth I pretend to like being outside when I'm around a group of people that actually like it. I guess it's because I feel like announcing that I hate to be outside to be the social equivalent to announcing that I like to squash bunnies, kitties, and puppies with my bare feet (which I totally don't).

My mother loves to be outside and can not grasp why I do not. To be fair, I cannot grasp her love of all things outdoors, either. I love my pasty white skin, I love not having to swat at annoying pests, I love shade. I love cold weather. I'll stay outside in cold weather until I can't feel my fingers or toes with no complaint. I wonder if there's a support group for this or if I should move to Alaska or Antarctica.

Friday, September 18, 2009

T logic

T had his five year wellness visit today. In order to help the doctor evaluate him, I had to fill out a questionnaire. I've been filling these out on the kids at every wellness visit since they were born, but this one was a little different in that I had to record some of this responses, and get him to do certain tasks.

As the doctor walked in, I was asking T to draw a person and he was drawing a tiny little stick figure. I hadn't realized he had developed that ability, so I was really impressed - especially since there wasn't a lot of room for him to draw.

I also had to ask him to complete certain phrases. One of the questions was "The moon shines at night. The sun shines during the ______." The answer that was expected was, of course, 'day'. T, however, said 'night'.

When I asked him about it, and expanded on it a bit further, his reply changed to "not night". heh. When R asked him about it today, what was T's reply? "Day." Of course. The doctor asked T what he does when he's hungry, looking for T to say some variation of "eat". T's reply? "I tell my mommy that my tummy is rumbly." double heh.

I love moments like this.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Put that in your notes and review it!


Isn't it interesting that being 'emotional' is considered more of a negative thing than a positive one? I guess that in the military world, being unemotional would be the grease that silences the squeaks and would seem to make everything run more smoothly. Until, of course, the mechanism explodes or implodes as the case may be.

I readily admit that I'm quite emotional about whatever it is that's going on with T. Last year, I got teary eyed at both of the parent teacher conferences. That, coupled with with my frustration level at medical appointments here, has now apparently gotten me the label of 'emotional' or 'very emotional'. How do I know this, you may be wondering?

Yesterday, we had an appointment with Family Advocacy (FA). FA has to sign off on T because he's attending the pre school child development classes before we can actually get our orders to PCS (relocate to a new base). Any child with special needs (such as speech therapy) has to get approval before you can move. I don't understand why FA has to be involved, but there are a lot of things that go on here that I don't understand. Like why so many of the women are so bitchy and hateful. But I digress.

Yesterday the kids had their enrichment classes from 9-12. Our FA appt was at 1:30, so that gave me enough time to pick them up, feed them some lunch, and meet R at FA. T, who just gets the worst reaction/allergies/whatever to season changes here, has been coughing like a madman since Sunday. I made an appointment with the pediatrician to make sure that it wasn't something more serious, like strep, because T's tonsils are just huge. Huge enough that doctors and dentists alike comment on them constantly. The pediatrician prescribed a steroid medication to reduce the swelling/irritation in T's throat, but otherwise announced that he was fine.

Unfortunately, T was not thrilled with the idea of taking the meds. He spit out the first dose and part of the second. Since you only get enough medication to fill the recommended dosing instructions, this left us in a bind. The pediatrics office is below the FA office, so I figured that I could just pop in and ask for more medicine. Of course, it took longer to do everything yesterday than I expected, and the kids and I had to hurry straight to FA once they finally finished eating. Not surprisingly, even though we were on time for our FA appointment (read: 15 min. early), we sat and waited and sat and waited and sat and waited.

The problem with sitting and waiting with T and S is that by the time you are called back for the appointment, the kids are totally bored with whatever activity we've brought them and are starting to antagonize each other and everyone around them for fun. Yesterday is a perfect example. When we finally got to go back for our appt, S runs into the office and literally jumps onto the black leather chair. T dives on right behind her. They make this big show of hugging and kissing each other which gets 'aww, that's so sweet' comments from the FA staff that are with us, so the kids turn it up a notch and start performing what can only be considered as circus tricks. Jumping, posing, flopping, wrestling - you name it. And they get louder, and louder, and louder. Since the focus is now on the conversation the adults are trying to have, the kids wind each other up and start flinging themselves into the furniture, pushing each other off the chair, screaming that they've been pushed....you can just imagine.

At this point, Major Psychologist turns to me and asks something about 'have I felt like I needed mental help or assistance with the kids or life in general." Oh-HO, buddy. I know that trick. I've heard horror stories about what happens when people ask FA for help. I reply something about while there are definitely certain challenges with having kids, since we've gotten an idea about what may be going on with T that now we realize there are reasons behind his behaviors, which makes them easier to handle and isn't so stressful. The Major asks me a few more leading questions about dealing with such "active" kids. I think I dodged them successfully, but we should know more by Friday.

Of course, what IS stressful is the run around we are getting about trying to get T evaluated and diagnosed with sensory issues and the FA appointment was no different. Medical tells us to go through the school, the school is trying but tells us to go through medical to increase the urgency, and FA says to request the evaluation through the school or through medical, although the school is the better choice. (Then just say school, or better yet, give a girl a hand with the process, Sporty!) Sounds great, but I've been trying to get this done for over a year, and we STILL haven't had luck either way. Because, you know, I'm so emotional that this must all be in my head. GAH!

As the kids were acting nutty and R and I were attempting to have a coherent conversation with the evaluators (all THREE of them), they were directing most of the questions at R once they realized I wasn't going to burst into tears. (Yay me! Score - me -1, my emotions - every single other meeting.) I'm very lucky: very very lucky that R is such a hands on Dad. He's very involved with the kids and I absolutely could not do this without him. BUT - I'm the one who spends the most time with the kids and it just irks me that yesterday I was supposed to be the equivalent to the nanny - responsible for keeping the kids in line as tired and hyped up as they were (as if that's even possible), but with no say so or opinions. So when S started throwing a fit because I wouldn't let her write all over the official paperwork, I excused us both and took her into the hall to continue her fit. And because S is the Divine Miss S, resident diva, taking her out into the hallway didn't slow or quiet down her temper tantrum in the least. And, when she's like that, I know that I have to wait it out. Unfortunately for all the people in the other offices in the building, they were going to have to wait it out too. Two of them came out into the hallway and tried to bribe her to shush. It totally didn't work. I was passive aggressively happy about that - but just a little bit (that counts as progress, right?). She did calm down of her own accord about the time T opened the office door and said, "Is she being quiet yet? WHEW! Thank goodness!"

Of course he then informed S that she shouldn't be screaming and crying like that. Of course, I just smile widely because it wasn't long ago at all that he was doing the same thing. I probably shouldn't find it amusing that he gives the same advice that he refuses to listen to himself, but I'm sick that way. And, it's funny.

I feel so sorry for whomever is on the plane with us when we PCS back to the states.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Things I Will and Won't Miss About Germany

I will miss:

Not needing air conditioning
The slower paced, family and community oriented spirit that's here
Christmas Markets!!!!!!!!!!
Walking trails
Green grass year round
Well maintained indoor pools
the FOOD and wine (too bad I'm not a beer person, I hear it's wonderful)
Our little town
Watching summer turn into fall
Watching fall turn into winter
Being able to pick and eat apples off the trees
The architecture and history throughout Europe
The scenery
The way a clear, sunny day here can make you feel like you've just won the lottery
The sunsets
The long, long summer days
Being so close to Luxembourg, Belgium, and France
The ease of recycling
Kiera's kick butt aerobics classes
Training with Romi
The friends I've made (directly and indirectly) through MOMS Club.
The awesome talents of Jen, hair stylist and colorist extraordinaire!
The low crime rate and how safe I feel here

I will not miss:

UGH! The smell of fertilizer (read:poop) they spread year round
Frank Johnson, a-hole of the year, from the extended care clinic
Driving to Frankfurt and having road construction almost the whole way
Americans driving in Germany, acting a fool
The limited stock of just about everything at the BX
Having to drive 30 + minutes just to check the mail
Having to lug the kids out of the car and into the shoppette just to pay for gas
Having to buy gas at AAFES
Tractors on the road that you can't pass when you absolutely have to be somewhere on time
Flies, yellow jackets, and freakin' spiders!
The language barrier
How unfriendly so many Americans are around here
Speed cameras
Roads with no shoulders
Tiny little parking spaces

Of course there's more, but that's all I can think of for now...

Happy Fall, Y'all

It feels funny to write y'all since I rarely ever say it, but it rhymes and I like it so I'm doing it anyway. :)

Life is...going...over here. T is back in pre school and also in a part day enrichment program three mornings a week. He's loving it so far and is really learning lots of language skills by being in a normal classroom (enrichment) and continuing with speech therapy (pre school). I'm just amazed at the progress he's made in the last year. I'm grateful for the help from all his teachers and for their patience and understanding in helping both T and me with dealing with his sensory issues. Mrs. A and I are trying again to get him evaluated for Sensory Processing Disorder, so please keep us in your thoughts as we fight the system.

S is also going to enrichment this fall and she just loves it. I'm grateful that so far school has been such a positive experience for both the kids. I've never forgotten how one teacher can literally make or break you this early. I got lucky with teachers, my brother didn't.

R's 'replacement' arrived on base last week. He seems like a great guy from the time we've spent with him so far. We took him to look at a few houses this weekend, and it was interesting to hear him talk about his first impressions of the base - which kind of mirrored ours when we first got here. It's not all in my head that a lot of the people here are just doggone unfriendly. It's also reassuring in a bizarre way to know that it's not just me. I have my fingers crossed that our next base will be more welcoming. Either way, I feel our time in Germany has cemented us as a self reliant family of four, which is strange for a gal that's always been surrounded by extended family. I won't like, it's been quite the adjustment for me in many ways, and I truly doubted my abilities as a competent parent for a long time. I hope that we're over the worst of that and hopefully now I can just focus on all the positives in my life. I mean, heck, the kids have survived my parenting so far without any major damage (I think), so that's something.

Here's to our future, whatever it may hold.