Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tonight I went to Zumba. Gosh, I love the Thursday instructor. Ever since I've started going to her classes, I feel like my flexibility has greatly improved and so has my overall conditioning. And, the classes are a lot of fun, even though my lungs and legs are screaming for mercy. Even tonight when Gigantor was on the front row right behind the instructor hogging the light, most of the air, and a good portion of any air conditioning that was functioning. And also? No one in about a 10 foot radius could see the instructor. Bummer. Although - I have to give Gigantor props. It can't be easy to be a man in such tight shiny shorts in the front row of a zumba class. Especially with all the shimmying and thrusting we do on Thursday nights. I have no idea why I giggle like a moron when I see a guy doing a shimmy, but I do. Shame on me. Did I mention his shorts were really shiny and really tight? It's distracting, especially when his butt is only about six inches lower than my face, and I'm not short. This guy is just really tall and broad. Tonight I accused him mostly silently of blocking out the sun. He knows the routines - why does he need to stand right behind the instructor anyway....oh....never mind. She's blond, tiny, and has like .0002% body fat. Duh.
There were a lot of teen aged girls in Zumba tonight. I still have PTSD from high school and it reactivates when there's a lot of high school girl giggling from behind me -especially when I'm really hoping with all the shimmying we are doing tonight that my stomach doesn't reach around and slap me in the butt. Note to self, no matter how hot, wear the workout leggings. You need the support, girlfriend.
Other than that, the only other thing that I felt like I should mention are the gates to our development. The gates in are apparently permanently open and the gates out have been closed the last couple nights. Anyone else seeing the poor logic in that? What is this, the Hotel California? Harrumph.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Big Blue had a big crack in the front, but we didn't think much about it. The trash can was still intact, still held trash, still rolled to the curb, so it's all good. One morning R was outside when the trash men came by and they told him we should probably ask Housing for another trash can since ours was cracked. It got put on our low priority things to do list.
Monday when I came home from dropping T off at school and going to the gym, I went to roll the trash can back in but there was no trashcan to roll in. Because I'm such a pro at handling these things, I call R at work and tell him we have no trashcan. He goes to Housing and they tell him that the waste management company will likely drop one off on Monday. Likely? How promising. But what happened to our trash can? Did someone steal it? Is it on top of a flag pole somewhere as a practical joke? Lying broken and abandoned in a ditch somewhere? Poor Big Blue. You were the best place to put trash we ever had the opportunity to fill. We hope you had a dignified and painless end.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
I loathe you. I loathe how I was all excited that I thought I'd lost 8 more pounds, only to discover that placing you on any surface that isn't perfectly even results in an wildly varied weight reading (btw - our kitchen floor, hallway to the half bath and laundry room, and the entryway are all out because apparently it's impossible to have an even square foot of uncarpeted floor in this house. Damn government contractors and their shoddy workmanship) . Unless, of course, I can actually lose and gain and lose and gain and lose and gain 8 pounds in the space of a minute or two, in which case I've got some very serious issues to deal with. But how am I supposed to know that, huh?!?! HUH!?!?!?!
And even though this isn't your fault, scale, I hate you for being the messenger and for the influence you have over the beginning of my day based on your digits. Bah! I mean, is it really too much to ask that you give me just the facts and to have those facts be accurate? How else am I supposed to know whether to eat four or six ounces of chicken? GEEZ.
Sincerely and with resentment,
PS - There is no way - no way - that with all the water I drink that my hydration level is as low as you say. You know it, and I know it, so knock it off already.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
I clearly remember saying and thinking that I will not do ________ when I am grown up or have kids. Let's see how I fared...
Thing 1 - Seem angry all the time.
Outcome -needs work. Having kids made me realize that I am not the calm, laid back, go with the flow gal I thought I was. I struggle with not raising my voice at them, but gosh it's hard not to yell when no one is listening to you. Ever. Especially when the one not listening is determined to run into the street or parking lot without giving a thought to looking for cars.
Thing 2 - Allow hitting
Outcome - better than the anger thing, but not great. My brother and I fought all the time when we were younger and many of those fights were brutal. I swore that I would never allow my kids to fight physically. Guess what I've learned? It's way easier said than done as it turns out. There are times when I'm not sure what's worse - bickering or hitting. I'm NOT okay with physical violence of any sort. Ironically, a few days ago I found myself saying "If you don't stop pushing each other, I'm going to spank both of you!" WTHeck? Way to go, me. Plus, they've already figured out I'd rather slam my hand in a door than lay a hand on them physically (other than the occasional hand or leg pop). And how can I demand they not be physical with others if I'm physical with them?
Thing 3 - Practice the art of ignoring
Outcome - debatable. I hate to be ignored. Oh my gosh, it absolutely drives me crazy. I think my issues with not being listened to stem from this. Mom used to get to a point with my brother and I where she would just walk away, go to her bedroom, and shut the door. I have an entirely new perspective on this now that I have kids. When they aren't listening, aren't doing what you ask/tell/expect them to, and you are at your breaking point, sometimes it's better to walk away than to escalate the situation. This is completely open for debate, and I'm struggling to figure out a balance between yelling and ignoring but still being taken seriously.
Thing 4 - Mutter under my breath
Outcome - Miserable, utter fail. My Grandmother has always done this and so does R. And way more times than I even want to think about admitting, I've caught myself doing this too. It's so passive aggressive. If I'm muttering it, then why not just say it at regular volume? Oh, that's right - because you rarely mutter something wonderful, positive, and supportive.
Thing 5 - Say "because I said so"
Outcome - Fail! In my minute acquired wisdom as a parent, sometimes that really is the answer.
I'm thinking of starting (or begging to join) a parental support group, because I obviously need help.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I left the school this morning worried and stressed. He starts kindergarten next year, and these hijinks of his are going to get him labeled as a problem child and I can't disagree with that. It IS a problem. On some level I think I was just hoping that he would outgrow or had outgrown some of these issues. T was very much on my mind all morning and when he got home from school, I decided to try to talk to him and see if I could get any info. I swear, getting that kid to talk about what's going on in his head is like trying to pull info out of a special forces veteran by smiling widely and saying pretty please. Chances are slim indeed.
The talk I had planned out didn't go like I hoped. One of the things Mrs. B suggested is that we make an emotions chart with pictures of faces with specific emotions. Good idea, but T can tell you if he's angry, happy, sad, frustrated, tired, etc. He just can't seem to tell you why. So I thought - if we took pictures of T's face (and S's too) being happy, sad, angry, etc. we could get the pics printed at a Walgreens or something and then put the chart together as a fun thing to do. Getting the kids involved in something like that usually means that they are more excited and more likely to use it. I'm trying to explain what I want to do to T, he's not interested at all. He's fidgety, not making eye contact (which means he's not listening), rolling he eyes, and in general just blowing me off.
Deep breath time. Rinse. Repeat.
New approach. We had seen commercials for this craft project called 'PixOs' so I thought it might be a good idea to try this because if I can get the kids involved in an activity for an extended period of time, chances are much higher that said kids will talk to me without the eye rolls and tortured sighs. Off we go.
I'm not sure what happened to me along the way, but I took both kids to a sit down restaurant for lunch. By myself. Voluntarily. During prime lunch hours. This is unheard of for me. S has developed a fascination with belching and tooting no matter where she is in addition to an aversion to saying 'excuse me', but I decided to be brave and chance it. I was rewarded with well behaved kids who said please and thank you and did not fling food from one side of the restaurant to the other or wipe their hands on the people sitting around us in booths or destroy anything. It was a huge positive experience for all of us.
After lunch, we went to Toys R Us to get the PixO's. Because we lived in Germany for the last four years, the kids have never stepped foot in a Toys R Us. They've been to toy stores before, but nothing on this scale. I wish I had the camera with me because I could have absolutely gotten "awe", "joy", and "amazement" for our emotions board. To my huge surprise, even though they looked at just about everything they passed, they didn't really ask for anything and when I said it was time to move on from something, they did. We made it through the store only buying what we went there to buy. That's two huge successes in a row, for anyone that's counting.
We get home and play with the PixOs for a while. Well, the kids play with the PixOs, I pick up all the little PixOs balls that are dropped or spilled, much to the delight of the kids. And it was fun, I have to admit. Also? I owe an apology to my vacuum in advance for all the little PixOs balls it will be inhaling for me once I get tired of picking them up. Even better than that? I don't think the kids were as enamored with it as they expected to be, so I don't think I'll be having to purchase any refills. Double win.
After PixOs, the kids wanted to watch TV. We are really trying to limit the amount of TV they watch, so I was flipping through the channels looking for something suitable, interesting, and not Nick Jr. related. I have had my fill of Max and Ruby for the rest of this century. I settled on BMX racing. T has been talking about taking the training wheels off his bike and even though he tried it once, it resulted in a massive meltdown. So he and I are watching the bikes and talking about how cool it is, and I say that I think he would be good at that because the bumps and jumps are right up his alley. He starts to get excited and then I mention that he'll need to learn how to ride his bike with just two wheels, which flips a switch for him somehow and he freaks out. Wait - where did that come from? We'd been having such a good day.
30 minutes and a lot of frustration and confusion later, I finally figure out (I think) that the breakdown was apparently because he wanted to go outside and try riding his bike with just two wheels. Never once did he say that himself. Instead, he cried and pounded his fists and shouted.
It's difficult not to get frustrated at this process. I don't understand why he can't just say, "I want to go ride my bike now". I don't know how to help him. Is this some from of auditory, mental, or emotional disability that we don't know about? Is this a purely behavioral thing? Is it related to his sensory or speech issues? Is it possible that a five year old needs anger management therapy? It's unreasonable to expect anyone to try and figure out how a fit over a comment about riding a bike = I want to go outside and ride my bike. While I would do anything possible to help T, he has to learn how to express himself appropriately. I have no clue how to help him at this point and no clue who can help him. It hurts to see him struggle like this. And I'm not sure if S is following in his footsteps or just learning his behaviors, but I don't know that I'm up to a repeat of all this with her. One of the kids in T's class already calls him a baby, and there are moments when I can understand why. I simply have no idea what to do.
After R comes home and I fill him in, we finally get T outside so he can ride his bike. I guess because there was so much discussing about this, once I figured out he wanted to go and ride his bike, he no longer wanted to - until R got home. Once we got him outside, he tried riding without the training wheels and freaked out. Freaking out this time involved him throwing his bike down, sitting down in someones yard down the street and refusing to move. That resulted in R dragging him back home, kicking, screaming, and crying. Once R got him home, he ran back outside and wanted to sit in the middle of the street. For crying out loud kid. Seriously? At that point, R was like - woooooooooooo. I need a break from this. Word! I get T to the sidewalk where there isn't anything he can pick apart, destroy, or throw and let him sit it out. Mrs. B advised me to ignore T if possible when he's pouting like this because it is likely a way to get attention. I'll say. Wanting to sit in the middle of a street during 'burb rush hour is gonna get you some attention all right - attention of the social services and possibly local police kind. Since I could see him, he was safe, and he wasn't in the middle of the street or any one's property, I just stayed out with S and let him pout it out. I went inside to go to the bathroom so R went back outside, and when I came back outside, guess who was riding his bike with just two wheels. Yep. I'm so proud....and so confused.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
After Zumba, I needed to return some movies to Blockbuster. When I take this particular route home, I'm usually turning left at the stoplight. Tonight I needed to turn right, and I noticed that there was a bike lane in between the straight lane and the right turn lane. O-kay. Seems a little risky, but whatever. And I added a mental note not to ride a bike up that road. I had the windows down since the weather was really nice and I was singing along to some little whippersnapper's cover of "You Belong to Me" when I noticed a man dash across the very, very busy intersection. Dude. It's almost 9 pm, you aren't wearing reflective gear, and you have the strangest run I've seen since that guy I passed in Germany running in what honestly looked like clown shoes (true story). High from my Zumba released endorphins, I shout "Run, Forest, RUN!" thinking there was no way he was going to hear me between the distance from me to him, the traffic noise, and the iPod he was listening to. But he did, and as he passed my passenger side window he shot me a double bird without missing a step. Guess I kinda deserved that one, huh?
Monday, April 19, 2010
When I Googled 'cake balls' there's actually a company out there called The Cake Ball Company. http://www.cakeballs.com/ They charge $16 for six cake balls. ZOMG! Seriously? Betty Crocker and I can make a batch for way less than that.
So guess what T and I did today? Yep. We made some cake balls. One commenter mentioned that she pressed the mixture in a cake pan and cut them into squares. This seemed like a less messy option for me, (and less messy is always my preferred path) so I decided to try it that way. I guess I was making cake ball bars.
Batch 1 - devils food cake mix, cream cheese frosting coated in dark and milk chocolate and drizzled with white cookie icing. Some of them got sprinkles too. I started off with small squares and quickly realized I wasn't going to have enough hard chocolate coating. Hmmm....so I made big squares and still ran out of coating. This is obviously going to be a trial and error process. The kids and R loved them. I tried the mixture before we coated them and oh. my. goodness. Fat and sugar heaven. I made R take the rest to work today.
Batch number 2 - the bars didn't impress me, so we did balls. Yellow cake mix, milk chocolate frosting, dipped in a fudge coating and drizzled with white cookie icing. The fudge coating I adapted from an icing recipe my mom uses. It makes more icing than the little cups of chocolate pieces I used yesterday (this also means it's cheaper), it's cooked on the stove so it will be easier to keep it from hardening so fast, and I can control how sweet it is. We are taking these with us to Samantha's for our playdate today. I totally don't want 'em in the house.
Have any of you ever heard of these? Tried them? Have trick to making them or a recipe you'd like to share? I want to try the red velvet and carrot cake ones next. Yummmmm.
Anyway! Our analog scale at home is easy to manipulate. Depending on how you stand on it, it could make a difference of up to 10 pounds. That just didn't seem reliable to me. I weighed at both of the Y's I visit. Y #1 had me 30 pounds lighter than my home analog scale, and Y #2 had me about 9 pounds heavier than at home. Now, how on earth am I supposed to figure out how much I actually weigh and how much I've lost? A reliable, digital, scale you suggest? I agree! So. I now have a starting point. No I will not be sharing that number on this blog. Ever. As of Saturday, I was down six pounds. I figure Mondays are bad enough that I don't want to add weighing in to my list of things to do. Yes, it's a cop out. Yes, I know it.
I intended to start the detox phase of the Fat Smash diet again this week, and while I did well with portion control and the foods I ate, I wasn't totally faithful to the detox. I just didn't have it in me this week. By Tuesday at noon, I was seriously considering eating our leather like furniture. I am working out hard enough that I really need protein from lean meat and ingesting the occasional whole grain bread serving isn't going to totally throw me off track. Starting tomorrow, I'm switching to an eating plan very, very similar to the Fat Smash diet that has me eating the same basic foods, just in more defined combinations and with stricter portion control. I'm expecting dramatic results by the end of the first month. Do you hear me stomach and hips? Dra.mat.ic results. Don't let me down.
This weekend, I put on a pair of shorts I haven't been able to wear since 2001. And they fit comfortably. I took the kids swimming Thursday afternoon, and I looked different enough that R asked me if my swimsuit was new. Awesome! He even told me on Sunday that he could see a definite difference in the way I looked. And he does not say such things unless he really sees it and means them. I love that about him.
I took some measurements on Saturday afternoon. I've lost 2 1/2 inches off my waist since February and 11 1/2 inches since last August. Add to that the 6 inches off my thigh - just ONE thigh - and a couple inches off my calf and that's some serious progress. I can also now use the regular blood pressure cuff instead of the large person one based on my bicep measurement. It was a great and motivating weekend.
I can't believe I'm going to do this, but here's a picture of me in October 2008:
Let me just take a moment and breathe...... this, by the way, was not my heaviest. There are no pictures of me at my heaviest that I'm aware of.
Okay, and this is me Easter weekend. I've got some sort of goofy expression on my face, so let's just ignore that. I'm finally able to see progress in pictures. Not so much when I look in the mirror, but this is one of the first times in years that I didn't partially hide behind R when our picture was taken.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
And sure enough, the clock goes off at 6, I reach over and turn it off, because I know what was going to follow. 3....2.....1..... "Mom are you awake? Mom, my knee was red but Daddy fixed it. (T fell on Tuesday and got a nice case of sidewalk rash and when he says something is 'red' he means bleeding) Am I going to school today? Are you going to the gym? Is S awake?"
"T," I interrupt groggily, "do you want to watch cartoons?"
No answer to my question. "Mom, why does the clock make that sound? It's time to get up. The sun is out. The sky says it's time to get up. Do you have to go to the bathroom? I'm hungry. Can we go downstairs and get something to eat?"
"Mom, GET UP! It's morning. I have to go to school. I have to eat breakfast. Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom!!!!!"
"Okay, okay, I'm up." I changed the channel to the Disney Channel. Let me go brush my teeth and wash my face, okay?"
"No! I want to watch the roll-y thing, not cartoons!" (Ab roller infomercial)
"Okay, I'll switch it back." I switch the channel and go into the bathroom. When I come back out, I lie back down on the bed.
"I think you need to order this ab roll-y thing. It will change your shape and make you less jiggly."
Ouch. Nothing like hearing the honest truth from a five year old.
That definitely gets me out of bed. I get the kids started with the morning hoopla. T's class had a field trip to the woods today, so I had to make sure he was dressed appropriately, which meant digging out the cooler weather clothes I just put up a couple weeks ago and finding T a hat that fit and that he would wear. The morning went well but by the time T came home from school, we were all tired. Every now and then, I can trick S into taking a nap by lying down myself, so I put on some cartoons and convinced her to lie down on the living room floor beside me. T leaned up against my side and pretty soon he was lying down too. Before I knew it, he was asleep but S was wide awake. That hardly ever happens. Hardly. ever.
I took S upstairs and put her down for a nap. T has wanted to sleep with R and I from moment one, but S has always preferred to sleep in her own room. How funny that that are so different....
Once both kids were settled down, I decided to make the best of it and lie down too. About an hour later, R came home. He woke up S and T, which needed to be done (but I sure am happy I didn't have to do it). They were both crabby and squabbled with each other over everything, so we were pretty happy to put them to bed. Of course, they said they weren't tired and it took us a while to get T to sleep, but S only lasted about half an hour. R told me that T had been up since 3:30 that morning. He does this every now and then, so I was hoping that he would sleep in this morning. I knew better, so I wasn't the least bit surprised that he was up this morning again before 6:30. R got up with him, because the man is a God, and took him downstairs to have breakfast.About fifteen minutes later, I opened my eye to see S's face RIGHT THERE. "Mommy, I get in bed wif you, okay?" "Okay" I say and I roll over to R's side of the bed and check the clock. Good lord, it's 6:43 am. S had walked to that side of the bed, so I throw back the covers for her and roll back to my side. S starts to wail and runs out of the room. Wait, what? R comes charging up the stairs. "What is it?" he asks. "Mommy won't talk to me" S sobs. (Sigh) I'm not looking forward to the teenage years at all - but I'm also not putting anyone down for a nap today either.
Friday, April 16, 2010
See? The sign would never, ever lie!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
In other news: my toe is doing much better today and I made it through a decent workout this morning without much discomfort. Also? It's hot today. S and I were outside drawing on the driveway waiting for T to come home from preK and gosh, I thought I might actually melt. I didn't of course. I keep hoping that sitting in the sun will help to liquefy some of the fat on by body, but I'm sure if that actually happened that it would have at least been on TMZ or Dr. 90210 by now and that the rich and famous would hog all of the sun's rays and we peons? We'd have to sit forever shaded and pale. Since I haven't had a tan since 2000, I'm not sure that would be too much of a burden on me.
I took the kids swimming today and despite S's penchant for throwing dive sticks at my head and finding it hi-lar-ious and T's obsession with trying to either drag me under water or pull off my bathing suit, we had a great time. And it cooled us off and made them tired. Double yay.
Now the kids are asleep, R's working on school work, and I think I'm heading off to dreamland at a decent hour, for a change. Life is good today, indeed.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Anyway, he woke up this morning and spent exactly 32 seconds upset because his tooth was gone. He wanted to take it to school and show his friends.
"Show 'em where the tooth used to be. That's way more exciting" I tell him.
T sighs. "But everybody sees where the tooth used to be like Cameron (school mate who just lost a tooth too). What they need to see is my tooth. My tooth is cool."
"Uh huh. But it would be hard to keep track of your tooth all day, sweetie" I offer "and the Tooth Fairy took it for her collection."
"Why did she take it? It was my tooth."
"Because it was such a cool tooth. Very impressive. And probably because you were so brave. Plus, you got $5!!! That's a LOT of money. That's enough to buy a Happy Meal and a cone of ice cream."
T hands me the money. "Mom I want you to have this."
"Why? It's your money, T."
"I want you to give it to the man."
I snort with laughter. "The man?"
"What man is that?"
"The man that we give the money to for the Happy Meal and the ice cream."
ahhhhh....it all makes perfect sense now.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Last night I was watching Drop Dead Diva and I gotta tell you, I loved this show. I've read plenty of articles or blogs that dealt with overweight/obese people and I love the comments that always come up that fat people need to put down the cookies/ice cream/soda/fast food/fried chicken/insert food name here and start exercising. It would be great if it were that easy - if putting down a fork, pushing yourself away from the table and going for a walk would melt off the pounds and magically transform your life. But the reality is that losing weight is a long-term, uphill, enormously difficult battle. And rarely, rarely is it about the food.
Look, I can't speak for anyone but myself here. I also realize that my weight issues are all on me. It would be easy to say that I'm overweight because of _________, and then not change a thing. But it's more complex than that and I'm willing to wager that other people feel the same. No matter the reason a person is overweight, one thing is fundamentally true - you have to eat less and move more to reduce your weight. There's no miracle pill, no wave of a magic wand, no surgical procedure that will fix a weight problem overnight. For someone like me, the cause behind the over eating must be discovered and dealt with. I would imagine it's almost always going to be a difficult and painful process, but isn't killing yourself slowly with food difficult and painful as well?
Do I know what's behind my weight issue? I'm pretty sure I do. Yep, yep. yep. But as honest and bare as I want to be on this blog, I can't talk about it yet. Maybe once I've figured out how to really and finally deal with it and move on I can address it publicly. I hope so.
I think that's one of the reasons I like Drop Dead Diva so much. It's a humorous but poignant look at a serious and widespread problem. There is no guarantee that putting down the doughnut and going for a run is going to solve all your problems. It will likely solve the weight portion (pardon the pun) or at least improve it. The initial issue behind the overeating still has to be resolved. And that's the hard part. You work so hard to bury it underneath the food and sense of humor or whatever coping mechanism that unearthing it almost feels like starting from scratch - kind of like this week and restarting the Fat Smash detox. I'm once again starting from scratch.
Thanks for reading.
After the episode ended, a series called Drop Dead Diva came on. I had never heard of it, which isn't too surprising, but I found myself watching it and identifying with it. The premise is that a thin, beautiful model dies in an ironic run in with a grapefruit truck, finds herself in the processing area between heaven and...that other place...and in talking to the gatekeeper (which always makes me think of Ghostbusters) sees that the return button can be pushed with authorization (which she doesn't have) but she reaches over and pushes it anyway. This lands her back on earth, but with her memory in a lawyer named Jane's body. Jane is heavy, labeled a 'plain Jane' by the series intro, but is brilliant. The two episodes I got to see tonight were a touching balance between the thin life and the not so thin life. I am totally going to see if I can view other episodes of it from the Lifetime website tomorrow and if not, I'm going to buy some on iTunes or maybe see if I can rent them from the library. The new season starts in June, and I can't wait. If you get a chance, check it out. I'll address this more tomorrow in my diet diary entry. Happy sleeping and health eating everyone!
Sunday, April 11, 2010
we are back in the land of CENTRAL AIR! Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
Four years in Germany with no real form of artificial cooling unless you count hovering over the freezer cases in the commissary until someone else elbowed you out of the way has given me a new appreciation for the fabulous invention we call air conditioning. With the exception of our first summer, the summers in Germany really weren't too bad. We bought a portable air conditioner, but you had to vent the hose (about the size of a dryer hose) out of a window or door, so I'm not too convinced that running the air conditioner was all that helpful unless you stood right in front of it, which I usually did. But that made walking away from the cool spot that much worse. Of course, there was always the car a/c, but gas was so expensive that we only relied on that when we had to. Our last summer there, when it got really hot we'd just amble down to the village pool and jump into the slightly above freezing water and voila! problem solved. That is, until our landlords told us all the visitors from the Netherlands (the pool was part of a campsite) were rumored to pee in the pool and that's why none of the locals would go during tourist season. (Say it with me...eeewwwwwwwwwwwww!) No one in their right mind would go any other time because that water could bring on hypothermia in no time flat.
So now here we are in temperature control-ville. And I am a proud and happy citizen. The area we live in is a bit breezy, so for the most part you can open the windows and get a great cross breeze. But when you can't, ya just shut the windows, turn on the a/c, and live in the lap of luxury. No yellow jackets flying in through screen-free open windows, no pesky flies zipping around inspiring 'the ballet of insect killing' (even if it does make the kids giggle uncontrollably), and no spiders recreating their webs on a daily basis. There are a lot of things I miss about Germany, but screenless windows and bugs aren't two of them.
So peace out, peeps! This blogger is going to enjoy the 72 degree artificially created environment.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
I can't see suggesting to my Mom that we all eat at Hooters, and even though we saw lots of families there when we were there, I never really thought about taking the kids there to eat. Both T and S notice things and then vocalize them, and all I need to hear at a Hooters dinner is "Mom, how come those girls aren't jiggly like you?" from T or "See my Mommy? Her belly is big" from S. Even if I am eating a salad.
After Mom and Richard left, R and I decided we'd just place a to go order and bring the food home to eat. It's the best of both worlds. Only he ended up having to work late so I needed to go and pick up the food. Of course the kids were with me. So we pull up and park and walk into the restaurant. I'm still in my workout gear from earlier and the kids are each toting a toy. We go to the bar to pick up our order and I'm a little concerned about how the kids are going to react and behave, but they were just looking for a flat surface to run their toys on. S manages to tilt a display of lite beer, but luckily I fixed it before anyone noticed and very luckily she leaned it toward the bar which supported it rather than away from the bar which would have meant we'd have bought a lot of beer with our to go order. That would have been fun to explain to R. Yes, hon, our dinner was $30, but the kids broke about $80 worth of beer bottles, and no, they wouldn't let me drink or bring home the leftovers. Crisis averted, we took our food and headed out, the kids waving and (in the case of T) flirting their way out the door.
And my salad? was fabulous!
Friday, April 9, 2010
And honestly, as far as my kids were concerned, if you put on skates that means you skated, so you get the cool points anyway. I was kind of hoping Richard wouldn't skate because if he fell and really hurt something it would cause all sorts of nasty havoc. Mom and Richard are leaving here to go to a bridge tournament and let me just tell you this: they do NOT miss bridge games. They are constantly practicing and running card hand scenarios and discussing strategy. I don't know, I got my Master's degree last year and it wasn't as much work as they put into their bridge prep. Maybe it's one of those 'things that I'll understand when I'm older'.
Richard fell right before S was born in 2007 and broke his shoulder. He and Mom were in California or Arizona or some such state out west and he refused to get it treated there. Instead, he drove all the way back to North Carolina so he could see his doctor, who could do very little for him since it had already started to heal (my guess is not properly, but they don't discuss such things with me). I call this 'guy stubborn' and always include an eye roll. It falls into the category of women's 'I'm fine'. I feel it's genetically encoded and therefore not correctable or overcome-able. Whatever.
At any rate, the kids did so much better with the skating this time. Of course the ratio of adults to kids was 2:1, which helps immensely. I was the only adult to get out on the skate floor, so T and S had to take turns skating with me, but they did a great job taking turns and sharing the skaters helper. I even got to skate a little bit by myself, which was just as much fun as I remembered it being. I think that's one of the best things about kids, you get to relive a lot of fun parts of childhood. Luckily for me, the kids are still at that age where I'm passably cool. It's not going to last much longer :(
Mom and Richard were leaving this morning, so all our goodbyes were outside the skating rink last night. It's easier for Mom that way, and probably for the kids too. Even with my..uhh...issues, this was a good visit overall, so I'm hoping that Mom will continue to come out alone for the longer visits. Nothing against Richard, but the entire dynamic changes with him in the mix. It isn't necessarily good or bad, it's just different. And I, in a stunningly unexpected move, have no further comment on that at this time.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
It just so happens that tonight is family skate night for T's school. Awesome! I had a lot of fun at the last one. R and S, not so much, I don't think. But I know that T will really get a kick out of Grammy and Grandpa seeing him 'skate'. Okay, putting skate in quotes wasn't really fair. He caught on really quickly last time after we worked through his frustration issues.
What T doesn't know is that Grandpa used to be a roller dance champion. I am not kidding. I've seen the picture with the metal/trophy to prove it. Grandpa says that if they have skates in his size, he'll probably skate too. Now, I can can skate forward pretty well but I never learned to skate backwards or to do anything more advanced than that. I'm pretty invested in seeing what happens tonight if Grandpa gets out there and gets his skate groove on. I wonder if the DJ has any ABBA? Stay tuned....
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
T wasn't exactly excited about this, but I sure was. The more I talked about baby teeth, permanent teeth, and the tooth fairy, the more freaked out T became. Wisely, we stopped talking about it. That night before he went to bed, he started to cry. Not the 'I don't want to go to bed yet cry', not the 'I'm hurt' cry, not even the 'I'm not getting my way' cry. This was a pitiful, terrified cry that broke my heart. When I asked him what was wrong, he said that he didn't want to lose his tooth and he didn't want the Tooth Fairy to come and take all his teeth and then he broke down into inconsolable sobs.
Well. I didn't exactly see that coming. Now what?!?!
I consoled him the best I could and told him that if he didn't want the tooth fairy to come then R and I would make sure she didn't. That seemed to work somewhat and within a half hour, he was calm enough to go to sleep.
Fast forward to yesterday. It was my day to volunteer in T's class, and one of the other kids had lost a tooth over Spring Break. After he told us about losing his tooth and having the tooth fairy come and visit, T raised his hand and announced that he had a loose tooth too. After all the drama the last time that subject came up, I was a little surprised that he happily volunteered this information. I also took it as a really positive sign that he was adjusting better to the idea of losing a tooth.
And then there was today. At lunch T was eating some Teddy Grahams and all the sudden he started to cry and said that his tooth hurt. I took a look and there was a tiny bit of blood and the tooth was noticeably looser. As I was trying to calm him down, Mom pitched in to help by supporting what I was telling T (this was totally normal, his big boy tooth needed room to come in, remember that Cameron lost a tooth this weekend too and he was happy about it, so it can't be all that bad, etc.). T wasn't buying it. He wanted some glue to make sure his tooth didn't come out. Uhhhh...... That gets points for originality, but now I'm going to have to round up all the glue (and probably tape too) in the house and put it where T can't find it.
And then, because I hadn't told Mom that the Tooth Fairy freaked him out, she started talking about that. And whooo-eeeee! He was only slightly below hysterical. It took a really long time to calm him down. I'm getting concerned about his level of anxiety about this, but I'm not really sure how to help him. And yet, I also have to smile because when T gets upset about his tooth, then S finds something - anything - to be just as upset about. I swear I think that today she actually said that she had a toe on her left foot. You have to admire three year old ingenuity.
At dinner, he had eaten about half of his hamburger when this tooth started bothering him again. Again with the tears and hysterics. Mom, R, and I are trying to calm him down, S is trying to compete for attention, and Richard looks like he would rather be anywhere else doing anything else than listening to a five year old wail about a tooth that he hasn't lost yet. What can I say? We lead an eventful and exciting life. We ended up cutting his food into bite size pieces so he can eat without it bothering his tooth, because the only thing more distressing than T's loose tooth breakdowns is T with low blood sugar and hunger pains. I do not have high hopes for this going well at all.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
We met him at the visitor's center on base and signed them in so they could stay at lodging. Of course, it turns out that lodging doesn't turn on the air until April 15 (I guess they are waiting on their tax refund?!?) so they ended up off base anyway. C'est la vie.
It's been quite warm the last week or so. Last night R and I slept as far away from each other as we could because it was so freakin' hot. The window was wide open, the fan was on high, and I was still all heat cranky and hateful. I hadn't turned on the air because downstairs is much cooler, plus we could open the windows and get a cross breeze. But by 5 pm when I was cooking dinner, that cross breeze just ticked me off because I was sweating like I was hiking through South America on the elliptical and all I was doing was making spaghetti. Not a meal that takes a tremendous amount of effort. Or heat.
Mom and Richard came back over for dinner after checking into their hotel and the kids were acting even more tired and cranky. Mom is definitely an outside person, but the kids and I? Not so much. Because they were outside and hot so much today, they were cranky and argumentative just like their mommy. I was standing at the counter making a salad while S was throwing a fit of ear splitting proportions. I heard Mom say, "S. What's the matter?" and the way she said it suggested she hasn't seen S behave this way like every single day since Mom has been here. And I actually started to chuckle, which turned into a giggle, which turned into repressed snort fest. Mom shot me a funny look probably because it was the most pleasant I'd seemed all day so I made myself look busy pretty quick. Over the next hour or two, several things along that line occurred and the only thing I can figure is that Mom is trying to sell stepford grandkids to Richard. Good luck with that one.
Hey - I've got great kids. But they, like me, are far from perfect. If anyone can't deal with that, well...I hate it, but that's kinda the way it is. I don't plan to apologize about that any time soon. And I have to say, Mom isn't fooling Richard one bit. He's been around the kids too much at this point to be fooled into believing anything but the truth.
I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Mom took the kids outside in the backyard to play so I could have a few minutes of peace and quiet. I am chuckling as I type this because in almost three weeks, she should know better. So I'm sitting here thinking about what I should write about and all kinds of screaming starts up outside. Here's the sad part. While I care about what could possibly be going on out there, my kids have jaded me tremendously about running when they scream. When they are suddenly quiet, I totally panic. When they are screaming at each other (or just in general) like little savages...meh. I'm quite sure our neighbors have a very different opinion about this. But you know what? Meh on that too.
BACK TO MY SCREAMINGLY INTERRUPTED POST NOW
(Not trying to yell about it, just trying for continuity)
The kids have gotten quite the haul of candy this year. And fortunately -- and I have NO idea how this happened -- they are moderate candy eaters. S will unwrap a piece of candy, take a little nibble, and then be done with it. T will actually ask us how much he can have, and then abide by what R and I say. That was SO not me as a kid. If my holiday haul lasted a week, I was doing fabulous. One year, Mom gave me a bag of peanut M&M's and I refused to open it for a really long time. (That was over a month, btw) In the wee hours of the morning I heard a strange sound and discovered that a mouse had somehow managed to crawl up my bookcase, into my metal bucket that usually holds change but was now holding my Christmas M&M's which were being consumed by a mouse. And that, folks, ended my trying to hang on to candy. Okay, I'm actually joking about that because now I just put it in the freezer. Last year, we made a big bag of M&M's last about six months, which has got to be a new record.
I loooooove candy. Love it! Well, most of it anyway. I don't like chocolate and mint together and I don't like coffee flavored anything. Or licorice. Other than that, I know no enemies in candy land. Actually, I guess that's not true. Candy is likely very much my enemy. Maybe not candy exactly, but my inability to eat a proper serving of it. And I'm proud to report that while I did have some candy, I didn't overeat it for once - possibly for the first time in my life. I wanted a bite of a couple different things, I ate 'em, and that was that. I wasn't sneaking around pinching candy from the kids' baskets and I wasn't lying awake in bed at night longing to go down and eat it. Now that, in my book, is total progress. Dare I even think of it as a victory?!? I even drove by a McDonalds without having to fight the urge for a cheeseburger and ice cream cone. And it. felt. great!
I'm starting to see my issues with food more clearly bit by bit and I am hoping that by re-training myself to do something else when I'm sad/stressed/upset/angry/emotional that I can continue to deal with my emotions rather than eat them away. It's always going to be somewhat of a struggle, I know that. But I have very high confidence that I'm not controlling food instead of food controlling me. Even when my triggers are pulled and my buttons pushed. Take that, McCheeseburger!
Sunday, April 4, 2010
The church we visited today had a Sunday School program for the kids versus simply having childcare. I liked that aspect of it and T loved his class. S, who is generally the most adaptable of the kids, was not interested in staying in her class. She was totally willing to go into T's, so I have to admit I was a little concerned. That's pretty unusual behavior for her. When we went to pick her up, she couldn't wait to get out of there. The kids were having snack so her teacher asked her to bring her cup and napkin and put it in the trash and then push in her chair. This is all stuff she's had to do before, and I wholeheartedly agree with having the kids do this. But I couldn't go in, which I thought was strange, and something was just off about the whole scene. When she finally came out, her id sticker that we'd put on her back was stuck in her hair. Hmmmmm. And also, that was no fun to remove.
Once we got home, we did another egg hunt with the kids and basically killed time before we went to brunch at the base club. Yesterday we hung plastic Easter eggs out on the tree in front (the kids saw this done at other houses in the neighborhood and wanted to try it), so last night after T finally went to sleep, I made a trail from the egg tree to into the house with candy filled plastic eggs and then to their Easter baskets. Luckily, the kids got a huge kick out of it, so I may have stumbled on a new tradition. By the time we got back from church, R had hidden the plastic eggs in the back yard. The kids found a couple, but the Easter bunny brought them bubble guns and they were only interested in saturating the yard with millions of miracle bubbles. Truth be told, I'd much rather they play with toys than sit down and eat tons of candy.
S has an unusual habit of unwrapping her candy and then not eating it. Is it even possible that this could be my child? Unwrapping chocolate and then NOT eating it? Impressive!
Around 12:30, we headed off to brunch. T had gotten upset about something and was being difficult about everything as we headed to the club, so we weren't really sure what to expect in terms of behavior at brunch. However, both kids did really well. The biggest issue was that T was more interested the food he put on his plate than in paying attention to whether or not he was about to run into someone dressed in really nice clothes with his full plate of food. Well, that and he slammed his cup down on the table and shouted "JUICE!" when the server walked by.
This afternoon we took the kids to see How To Train Your Dragon, which was a really cute movie if a bit scary for the kids. Mom got a little more time to herself while we were gone. She's been wanting to read some bridge books and practice with online software since she and Richard are headed to a bridge tournament after they leave here. She literally hasn't had a chance to do much of anything for herself, and Richard takes his bridge VERY seriously so I don't want to get her in trouble. ;)
And, since the weather man keeps interrupting scheduled programming to update us on a severe thunderstorm/tornado watch/warning, I'm going to sign off for tonight and unplug all unnecessary electrical items which won't help at all in case of a tornado ripping through our living room but makes me feel better.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
The kids dyed Easter eggs tonight, which is always a lot of fun. I'm proud and a little surprised to report that neither the kids or any of the furniture, walls, or floor got dyed as well. If we could just convince them that real eggs are slightly more fragile and need to be treated more gently than the plastic ones. Oh and also that they don't contain candy. Not even if you dig into the very middle.
R and I decided to buy the kids a pinata this year. I can't really tell you why, other than it seemed like a good idea at the time. So today I shoved some candy in it and we let the kids have at it. I haven't laughed that hard in a long, long time. The big concern was that both kids wanted to be right there at the pinata, which is only a problem when one of them has a bat and is swinging it wildly. S started off not wanting to hurt the pinata, but got over that after T's first big hit. They ended up knocking it down before they could break it open. That didn't deter T one iota. He pulverized that over sized egg and was so excited about getting to hit AND damage something without getting in trouble that S got the majority of the candy and T didn't even care. I think we might be onto something.
"Well, yeah" you might be thinking. "But what makes you think so this time?"
Mom is here for a visit. She's leaving next week, at which point I'll be mopey and sad and miss her. But we are heading on week 3 here, and I gotta say that I've got a serious case of ungrateful-itis. We do pretty much everything differently and both of us like things done our way. When I'm at her house, I can deal with our differences so much better than when she is at our house. After all, it's her house and she should be able to do what she wants how she wants and when she wants. Ditto for me.
But for the love of parental child relationships - I'm slowing going crazy here. Have I said anything to her about this? Nope. Why is that? Don't want to deal with it. It's good that on some level I realize that I would sound like a fool vocalizing some (possibly any) of the things that annoy me this visit. And I would. What has upset me enough to be blogging at 4 am?
S woke up in the middle of the night and threw up. Since Mom was in the same room, she got S up, cleaned her up and put her to sleep in the bed Mom is using, then cleaned up everything she could see to clean because she didn't want to wake up S. That, my friends, is a great person.
So what's my problem? I woke up after having a dream about leaking water to realize that it was raining in through the open window in our bedroom. I closed the window and cleaned up the water, then decided to check on the kids since T's window was cracked open too. That's how i learned S had been sick, because I hadn't heard a thing. And cue the guilt. Mom had already put the sheets and stuff in the washer, so I came down to check on them. The washer wasn't done, so I filled my time cleaning up the kitchen which was in desperate need of some attention. And here's where my attitude goes downhill. Mom really and truly wastes nothing she doesn't have to, which is admirable. But that ends up equaling about eight partial bottles of water sitting around and no one knows which water bottle belongs to whom so they just sit there. It drives me nuts. If Mom sees me pouring it out, she..uh...suggests that I use it for some other purpose. It's reasonable, no? But instead I'm in the kitchen like a kid sneaking in after curfew pouring out bottles of water because I can now justify it since S may have a stomach virus and none of us want to take the chance that we get it too, right?! Right.
This leads me to notice all the stuff lying around on the counters. Now, it does not bother me nearly as much if it's MY stuff that I put on the counter, but it bugs me if it's someone else put it there. Yes, I know that makes me a hypocrite and a bit obnoxious -- just like my preference of sorting the silverware in the dishwasher by utensil. Yes, I know I probably need help. So I clean up all the stuff on the counters and get rid of tons of stuff that I know Mom would question my getting rid of, then I take out the trash because out of sight is out of mind. Or so I hope. This leads me to notice how dirty the counters are, so I clean those off. This leads to a mini internal tantrum over the coffee maker. Mom and Richard sent R a really nice coffee maker a couple of years ago. I refer to it as Darth Vader, because it looks like...well...Darth Vader. R doesn't see it, but imagination is not his strong suit. But I digress.
A day or so ago, I noticed a lot of water on the counter near Darth. I had started to clean it up, but Mom came down and wanted to do it. I'd say that I wouldn't complain about someone cleaning up my house, but that's exactly what I'm doing, so I'll just say that I had no problem letting her take over. Until I noticed tonight that the dish towel that we put under the coffee maker to catch spills was soaking wet. Call me overly cautious, but an electrical appliance sitting on a saturated dish towel just seems like a bad idea. Especially when said appliance is plugged in and used daily. GAH!
From there, I went to move the bed clothes from the washer to the dryer. Let me say again that I sincerely appreciate everything Mom has done, and cleaning up vomit is WAY up there. But please tell me why you would stick vomit covered stuff in a washer with regular clothes? Why? So that you can have a full load? Okay, I'll buy that...but when you put too many clothes in the washer, nothing gets completely or well rinsed and everything ends up smelling a bit like vomit, even over the Downy smell. So then I end up dividing the clothes in half and rewashing them. Plus, it skeeves me out to think my clothes have been washed with vomit covered stuff. I'm just picky that way. BLECH. This leads me to notice that even though Mom has done several loads of laundry, nothing is done the way I do it. To me, when you do laundry, it should be ready to put on and go. So clothing items should be right side out and not inside out, you know? And pairs of socks should not include one right side out and one inside out. It makes my brain hurt. And if you've seen all our shirts and pants hanging up on the bar beside the washer, why would you fold them (unevenly mind you) and then sort them according to girl/boy. T and R don't room together. S and I don't room together. T and S's bedrooms are beside each other and ours is on the opposite side of the house. I. just. don't. understand. And what's worse, I don't even understand why I'm so bothered by any of this. It's just silly. Silly and immature. I know it, really I do, but I'm still sitting here at 5:30 am in an unnecessary snit of my own creation because I don't want to say these things out loud.
Mom, I'm sorry. I'm glad you're here and I hope by cleaning and rearranging the kitchen that I've gotten a grip on my crappy attitude. If not, please feel free to ground me or put me in time out. I totally deserve. I'll work really, really hard to be better, I promise.
Anyone that reads this and can actually understand my point of view here, please feel free to post something in the comments. If nothing else, maybe we can start a support group.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
The weather was incredible today! Warm and breezy, but not too hot...just about perfect. T didn't have school today because they are out for Spring Break, so I got to sleep in until almost 8 am. Bliss (and thanks, Mom)! We are heading to Six Flags tomorrow for a long but fun filled day, so we took it pretty easy today. Plus, I had to go to Finance with R today to try and make sense of the disaster area that's been made out of our military pay (insert dramatic sigh here).
We got to the Y later than we had hoped, and as we were getting ready to sign the kids out of the childcare room, we happened to see the TRX demo going on in the gym. The instructor saw us watching and invited us in, so I dashed in for about 5 to 10 minutes. TRX is a workout based on using your own body weight as a form of resistance by using straps that are threaded through an anchor of some sort. The anchors at the Y were bolted into the wall. We did side lunges, squats, front lunges, rows, and a very difficult type of pushup that I can't even begin to describe. I LOVED it. I am pretty sure you have to pay for this class, but I'm at least going to ask and see how much, because I feel pretty certain that it would be worth the money. I haven't felt a workout like that since I was in one of Kiera's classes in Germany. I miss that feeling, and I miss working out with Romi.
Tonight R and I went to a Neighborhood Watch meeting. The community property managers are trying to get a Neighborhood Watch formed, and it was interesting to hear how much stuff was going on here that we didn't know about. We really have to make a better effort to get to know our neighbors...well, all but Crazy Eyes McNeighbor next door anyway. Now that the weather is warmer, I'm hoping we'll all be out of our houses more so we at least have a chance to meet some of the folks that live on our street - hopefully with kids near T and S's ages. Everyone at the meeting seemed really friendly, so I'm taking that as a positive sign.
Long day tomorrow and I still have to pull financial records to try and prove that the military owes us money, so I'm signing off for tonight. I hope you all had a wonderful first day of April!