Thursday, September 30, 2010

An Update on Food

First, I have to give my most sincere thanks to everyone who commented or e-mailed after my post on Jeff and my cooking- "I Don't Like Your Food." You all gave some great advice and support and I deeply appreciate not feeling alone or misunderstood. You gave some great ideas... and I think you've made a difference. First, my Aunt Kathy sent me a couple of lengthy e-mails. The subject really hit home for her. She could see my grandma in my post. She could also understand from her own perspective and marriage. She gave me a lot of good advice- about food and about relationships. One thing I really loved about her e-mails was that I learned that I get my interest in food from my mom's side of the family. They grew up with my grandfather always having an amazing garden. The kids had to work in the garden- begrudgingly. But you know what? They've all become grown ups who grow at least a few vegetables in their yards. And here I am growing my own vegetable garden, too. My grandma would cook meals that weren't met with much appreciation but that developed a deep love of flavors and variety and vegetables in her children. I remember my grandma and my mom introducing me to lots of different vegetables and helping develop the love I have for them. I've come to this place by heritage and I'm quite proud of that. Second, your comments and my post made an impact on my husband. Tuesday night, he made dinner. Usually, he picks up the kids from school and I rush home and start throwing together dinner in an attempt to have dinner as close to done by the time they walk in the door as possible. It's crazy and chaotic, for sure. Tuesday, I asked if he wanted to make dinner or pick up the kids. He chose make dinner. Asked what I had planned. I had planned an easy night- rotisserrie chicken, Knorr chow mein noodles, veggies, fruit. He decided to go with my menu. And it was good. And I loved that he cooked. And I loved every bite of the meal I didn't have to cook. And I made sure he knew it and Teagan made sure he knew it. I think we've reached a good place. I'm planning more traditional, classic meals with big cooking projects on the weekends when I can (I'm going to make meatloaf on Sunday). I can set aside portions for me to spice up and play with. I'm fine making separate vegetables that are all mine. The exposure to different food is still there for my kids, my husband gets food he feels comfortable with, he will cook sometimes and appreciate what I do... And mealtime can be a happy time again. Because we talked about it and worked it out. Because we got great advice and support. Because we are in this together. Photobucket

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


As most of you know, I started a commitment to becoming a Healthier Me back in March. There's a page up there in those tabs if you want to learn more. After I ran the 5K I was training for, I lost my motivation. As my friend Emily wrote on her blog: After the Ragnar - I was a little burnt out on training and running - I had been so laser focused for that that I needed a break. I needed a break. And I took it. I didn't run at all for 2 weeks. Then I really only ran a little bit about once a week, on the treadmill. If I missed a week, I was ok with that. I was still working out and staying active- I just wasn't as "laser focused" as I had been before the 5K. I was actively seeking motivation. I wanted to want to run. I wanted to have the drive to stay on task. But I just couldn't find it. Thankfully, my friend Ashli believes in listening when she hears that divine intervention type of nudge. She got this idea to do a new blog- "I Will Blog 500 Miles." She wants to trek 500 miles in 1 year. That can be walking, running, incline treadmill work, etc. As soon as she told me about it, I knew I needed to be part of it. I knew this would create accountability, motivation, and inspiration. I asked her to guest blog when I was out of town and let that be the kick off of her plan. She did. And I've been motivated ever since. I have been working with my gym to help them get linked in to social networking. You can follow Fiziques on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook and get motivation, nutrition tips, and workout ideas. I'm working towards the 500 Miles in 1 Year Challenge. I started a Challenge group on DailyMile- you should join us! Your miles start logging as soon as you join the Challenge so start up now! I'm going to go back to The Running Company and get new shoes. Now that I have a little more knowledge about running and what I want to accomplish, I feel ready to work with them instead of just seeking guidance. They gave me what I needed before and I know they will do it again. This time, I'm going to find a time to go to the store in Broad Ripple so I can see a friend of a friend who has given me great running advice so far. I'm going to register on Friday for my next 5K. The Indianapolis Monumental offers a 5K, a half-marathon, and a marathon on November 6. Emily is doing the 5K and I think my friend Kris is going to do it, too. Who else? Ashli? Christy? Any of my other running buddies want to come to town that weekend? I've set a new long term goal beyond the 500 Mile Challenge. I'm going to continue running 5K's and build up to doing a 10K in early spring/late winter in preparation for ... the Mini. The Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon. I want to proudly wear funny t-shirts. I want one of these for my car: And I've started some discussions on my Facebook page about running. The purpose is to get people talking, to get the resources in one place, to keep me motivated and maybe to possibly even motivate YOU! Photobucket

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Internal Struggle

The week before last, I got a call from school that Zach was kind of complaining about his ear- complaining enough that it warranted a phone call. I had just come back from my business trip and leapt immediately into action- made the doctor's appointment, rushed through wrapping up work for the day, and took off to get my baby boy and help him feel better. It's been 10 days. School just called. It's back. And worse this time. He's a puddle on the floor, curled up under his blanket, not wanting to dance or sing or play or even move. I called and got him a doctor's appointment for this afternoon. And then the fretting started. This is a common situation for a working mom to be in. If I was a stay at home mom, there is no question about what happens next. I go to school and wrap him in my arms and take him home for soup and then to the doctor's and then to th pharmacy and then home again for cuddling and TV and lots of TLC and smooches. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as Teagan says. But it doesn't work that way when you are a working mom. I call Jeff and fill him in. He steps up- his schedule is such that he can easily go get Zach, take him to the doc, bring him home. Which chould be a weight off my shoulders- Daddy loves Zach, Zach loves Daddy, Daddy will take good care of Zach, Zach will get to the doctor and get a new antibiotic going right away. The employee side of me knows this is the best option. I took the last sick call. I missed half a day of work for it. I have obligations to my job and my employer. The wife side of me also knows this is the best option. Jeff and I really work to be parenting partners and not a home that is run by me and everyone has to do what I say. Jeff and I both love the kids and have great concern for their well being. We both want the hugs and kisses. We both stay up at night when there is vomit. We both struggled through labor and delivery and all night crying sessions and cracked nipples and so on. Jeff has never left me to deal with "woman's work." He's always been right beside me along the way. But the mommy side of me... the mommy side of me is anguished. I want to run to my baby boy. I want to hold him and be there in the doctor's office. I want to get him his favorite foods and tuck him into bed for a nap. I hate that I can't just up and go. If it was a serious illness... if he was throwing up, feverish... I'd go. My kids truly do come first. But my job is important. Jeff's job is important. When a minor illness comes up, there is always a sense of trying to decide on what the balance needs to be. Can I, less than 2 weeks later, take off for another afternoon without bringing down wrath from higher corporate powers? And what if something far more serious comes up 2 weeks later? Of course, I'm also less effective in my job this afternoon. I'm distracted and thinking about Zach at home and wondering how he's doing. I guess in some ways I appear more efficient because I am doing a lot of busy work to keep me occupied. It's a delicate balancing act and it's hard to know if the right choice is being made each time a decision pops up. The worst part... you know, I'm usually a pretty low key, fun, confident person. But when something is wrong with my kids and I can't be there myself... all those other doubts and fears creep in and it can get pretty ugly in my head. I know I'm just being emotional when I beat myself up like this. I know it's just my stress reaction to what is going on. But it sucks. So that's my internal struggle. By the time you read this, chances are that Zach has started his drugs and is back to normal. Heck, hearing him over the phone once Jeff had him, I knew he had perked up. No fever and he isn't acting sick anymore. Tonight, I might even be tempted to edit this or not even post it because I'll feel like I'm over-reacting. But this is how I'm feelnig right now as this story unfolds. This is what it can sometimes be like to be a working mom. All moms have hardships. All moms deal with stress. All moms have hard choices to make. This is just a little glimpse into the inside of this mom's head. Photobucket

Monday, September 27, 2010


Isn't it funny how our schedules can get jam packed? But at the same time, when something is a priority, we can push and move to make what we want happen. I spent part of my afternoon and again in the evening scouring local websites dedicated to upcoming 5K events. Part of me wants to conquer a few more events before wintertime hits. But at the same time, I wonder about putting in the hours to travel to and compete in events. I have to take a few hours away from my family each time. Most of the events aren't ones that my kids are going to want to be dragged to in order to cheer Mommy on- there would be a lot of downtime since it takes me 45 minutes to run the race! But we make time for the things important to us. A good friend tells me she needs to talk and I make my schedule available. My brother wants us to come for Family Day on campus and we make it work. Teagan gets invited to a birthday party and we shift and adjust to make it work. Zach will soon have his own social schedule- parties and playdates- and we will make that work, too. When Jeff makes plans to head out of town with his friends to work on gaming things, we make it work. When he wants to go to a movie with Brian, we make it happen. I need to be part of my church family and community. I commit to the children's choir, the praise team, our newly formed walking group. All things that I don't really seem to have time for- but things I make time for because they are a priority. I schedule my workouts. My lunch hour is when I work out. It took some adjustment but I learned how to not need that lunch hour to pig out at a restaurant or run pointless errands. It's become the time I need to move my body. Time. It's limited. And we can do with it what we choose to do with it. For the most part. But truly- don't we decide what is a priority and how we are going to spend our time? Even if we have to do something with our time that we aren't exactly eager to do, we can still choose our attitude about it. So I'll keep showing my priorities with the schedule that I keep. Maybe what I need to do is start scheduling housework. Photobucket

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Second 5K

It was a good race. I did well considering I haven't been training. I'm eager to see how I can do better in a couple of months... I've got my eye on a 5K on Nov 6. I improved on my time from my first 5K. In June, my time was 46 minutes and 26 seconds. This 5K, my time was 43 minutes and 47 seconds. An improvement - amazing to me considering I didn't really do any training for this event. In fact, I was almost anti-training. I was working out but I was only running once a week and not aiming for certain mileage or endurance goals. My plan is to keep working towards the 500 Miles plan and, in so doing, I'll be better prepared for the Nov 6 5K and should be able to shave a bit more off my time. This was an inaugural event for Mallow Run Winery. They worked with an event company for organization. It was very well done. There was very little we could complain about. There are certainly areas that can be improved for next year- and I truly hope there is a next year! I registered on site since I didn't really commit to doing the event until about 2 days prior. That went fairly easily. We walked around the winery a bit before the start- just to warm up. The 5 mile racers started at 4 p.m. and the 5K start was at 4:15. There were 1,213 participants in the 5K and 470 5 mile runners. The route was well marked with volunteers posted at intersections or corners to help us stay on track. When the 5 milers were in the final stretch, they came down the road that the 5Kers were heading up and there were volunteers on bikes and in a golf cart that cleared the road for them. That was one point of contention for me. A lot of us that wanted to run had to walk because we got a bit packed in at that point. We were running through farmland and it was a serene setting- fields of dry corn, horses in a pasture, bright blue sky and a pounding hot sun. My other complaint was the handling of the drink station halfway through the course. They were a bit slow on cup filling and they had the station set on one side of the course so there was a bit of a slow down and even stop to get hydration. You have to spread out your water station and have a system in place where certain people fill, a filler hands to a hander outer, and you have your tables spread out and on both sides of the course. I did have water from that station and also gatorade and was surprised at how the gatorade actually pepped me up a bit. I might have to consider those gels they sell of gatorade type picker uppers for mid race. I took advantage of shade and downhill whenever I could. In the last mile, heading down the incline, the paramedic team was on the other side of the road assisting someone. As I got closer, I saw a worried mom seated on the ground, stroking the hair of a child who was laying in the ditch, being attended to by the paramedics. The child appeared to be around 10 years old and they had oxyen flowing and she was definitely passed out, heat exhausted, dehydrated, something. I held up my hands and prayed for a moment as I ran. I had to contain my emotion- I immediately put myself in that mom's shoes. But I had to keep running. And I did. And I crossed that finish line. And it felt awesome. The winery had pizza and wine and free wine tastings and special prices for event attenders. We sat outside and listened to the band for a few minutes and then headed into the store to each buy a bottle of wine to take home as a souvenir. I definitely earned my shirt and wine glass! Photobucket

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wine at the Line

What are you doing today? Heading to closing day of a Farmer's Market (that season went by too fast, for sure!)? Relaxing at home? Planning to enjoy a trip to a museum for no admission thanks to the Smithsonian Free Museum Day?

I plan to get a good breakfast in on Saturday morning. Something really well balanced. Eggs for protein. Wheat toast for carbs. Melon and strawberries and banana for fruit. Yogurt for dairy.

Might go to the Farmer's Market. If we can swing it in the budget, I'd like to stock up on some beef from Royer Farm Fresh Beef and I know Jeff would like some more corn salsa from the place where I'd like to stock up on some more pickled baby beets for me and Teagan.

I need to get some housework done. Dishes, laundry, must vaccuum.

A light lunch around noon would be good for me. Nothing heavy. Maybe some of the chicken and veggie and quinoa soup I made earlier in the week. Yes, that sounds perfect!

Lots of water throughout the day, of course.

Because I'm doing my 2nd 5K on Saturday at 4:00!

Christy and I will be driving down south of home- about an hour away. There is a local winery- Mallow Run- that is having a running event and after party. There is a 5 mile run and a 5K run/walk. Afterwards- wine, pizza, music.

Now, I'm not in any condition to run the entire 5K. I'm not doubting myself or being nervous- just realistic. I haven't been able to run more than a 3 minute interval since changing my running style. So I'll do my best at my very slow pace and I will walk when I need to and run as much as I can.

Hopefully, this boosts my motivation for the next event on my radar...

Also, I'm still going going going on Ashli's challenge to run 500 miles in 1 year. I added a widget over on the side that will show you what mileage I did on my last run or walk. If you are on DailyMile and you are going to join us on the challenge, there is a group started up to help track all of our miles. Let me know if you want to join- friend request me on dailymile and then I can invite you to the challenge group.

Send me fleet feet vibes this evening! 4:00 PM EST


Friday, September 24, 2010

Mary Poppins

Last night, we went to see Mary Poppins at the Murat in Indianapolis. This is the touring production of the Disney/Cameron MacKintosh production. It opened last night and runs through October 3. We made a big night of our night out. This was a Girls' Night- me, Teagan, and Christy. We went out to dinner first at our favorite restaurant- Wild Ginger. It's an Asian and Sushi place and Christy and I go there often enough that they know us before we even walk in the door. Christy and I went overboard on sushi and Teagan ate every bite of her teriyaki chicken, shumai, spring roll, rice, and even mango ice cream for dessert! We headed downtown after our delicious dinner...

Before the show started (and I had to put my phone away) we had some goofy girl fun with the camera. Soon enough, it was time for the show to start... Any stage production is going to have some weaknesses, of course. And this show wasn't perfect. I could tell you my problems with some of the plot points or the script or the directing choices. But I don't want to be picky about the show. It wasn't the most incredible thing I've ever seen- but it had a few of the most amazing moments I've seen! The talent was solid and I enjoyed getting caught up in the magic of it all. The storyline of the stage show is a bit more complex than the movie and includes songs that weren't in the movie.

Some of the highlights included:

- End of Act 1 when Mary Poppins flies away via umbrella.

- Dancing statues- incredible costumes and choregraphy and very talented (and physically fit) dancers.

- The set piece for 17 Cherry Tree Lane was fantastic!

- Bert walking up the side of the stage and then dancing, upside down, across the top of the stage!

- When Mr. Geroge Banks busts out of his staid and precision and order driven self with a big old spastic outpouring of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-ness.

- The big dance/show numbers for Step In Time and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious were fantastic and so much fun!

After the show, I asked Teagan what her favorite part was in the whole show. I expected her first answer- when Mary Poppins flew away on her umbrella. I didn't expect her second answer.

One of the storylines in the show that isn't in the movie focuses on Mr. Banks' nanny from his childhood. He expects his wife to find a nanny that can keep the children in order and be stern and raise them up right the way his nanny, Nanny Andrew, did. He makes some reference to Nanny Andrew beating frivolity out of him but the comments are almost more in passing. He speaks very highly of this woman and the role she played in his life. Mary Poppins leaves at the end of Act 1 and Act 2 opens with Mrs. Banks bringing a surprise for the family- she has found Nanny Andrew and brought her in to be their nanny. Turns out, Nanny Andrew is a mean and cruel woman and that the horrid way she treated Mr. Banks as a boy- killing the spirit of his childhood- is why he is so disconnected from his wife and kids as an adult. So there is a song where we meet Nanny Anderw and she sings about how horrible she is (Brimstone and Treacle). Later, after Michael and Jane run away from home because of her and find Mary Poppins and come back home, Marry Poppins takes care of Nanny Andrew- sending her off in a giant cage into what seems to almost be the bowels of hell. Later, in one of the closing numbers (Anything Can Happen), Nanny Andrew appears again but as part of the full cast and she is smiling and dancing and happy.

So Teagan's other favorite part of the show? "When the mean lady started making good choices and was happy." She spoke about Nanny Andrew several more times and was very curious as to how Nanny Andrew changed from mean to happy. I was fascinated with my little girl getting really caught up in this seemingly smaller part of the show.

We were very fortunate to have a tour of the backstage area after the show. All of it was exciting- learning about how some of the props and sets worked and that it takes 15 semi trucks to carry all of the set pieces and walking across the stage and seeing the perspective of the actors and peering up into the neverending fly space. But most exciting of all was that we happened to bump into Caroline Sheen as she was leaving- that's the actress who played Mary Poppins. She was sweet and pretty and stopped to chat with our group for a moment- which I thought was especially nice of her.

It was a magical night in many ways- Practically Perfect some might say!

If you are in Indianapolis, I recommend going to see the show while it is here. If the tour is heading your way, I'd say this is a great one to take your kids to see- or to take yourself to see if you love the movie or books.

Sidebar. Yes, Mary Poppins is a kid-friendly show. That doesn't mean that every kid is ready to sit through a live theatre production. When you go to see a Broadway touring show, you are going to a real theatre- the kind of theatre that some people still wear evening gowns and suits and furs for. It isn't a movie theatre and the seats are certainly more expensive than in a movie theatre. I was surprised at how rude some of the patrons were. Christy got her hair pulled at least 3 times by the child behind her- who also spilled a drink that ran down the floor and got Christy's skirt wet. See, there is a reason we didn't bring Zach. He's not yet 3 years old. He can sit through a movie in a theatre without issue. But I wasn't going to risk a 2 year old in a theatre late at night- him falling apart or getting restless would mean someone having to leave and miss the show. In addition, screaming, loud talking, whining and crying can be very rude distractions to the actors and crew who are working hard to give a great show to the entire audience. A child reacting to the magic of the show is endearing. A child continuously dropping their booster seat on the hard floor just to hear it make a loud noise is not. So before you decide to take your young children to see a show, please make sure they can handle it. Teagan is a "seasoned" theatre go-er and this was her first Broadway touring show. She's gone to community theatre productions and high school productions and a local semi-professional theatre production. Doing all of those things helped her learn how you are expected to behave in a live theatre setting.

Many thanks to Indianapolis MomsLikeMe for providing me with the tickets and backstage tour! Are you a member of MomsLikeMe?

Do you have memories of the books or movie Mary Poppins? Any favorite scenes? Have you seen the Broadway stage show? Any vent of your own to share about theatre patrons behavior?


Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Don't Like Your Food

Jeff and I have found a subject where we can't seem to find a reasonable compromise. So I'm turning to the internet to help me come up with creative solutions.

I love food. I love good food. I love food from different cultures. I love everything from a really good cheeseburger to the finest in haute cuisine. My perfect night out with friends includes going to a favorite food spot- tapas or sushi or the English brew pub down the street. I love to try new things. I have an adventurous palate. There are few things I flat out won't eat- tongue, brain, and that sort of thing.

Jeff likes crappy food. Jeff likes junk food and fast food. Jeff likes bland food. The only "seasoning" Jeff will ever choose is onion. Jeff thinks of himself as a meat and potatoes guy- as long as you don't do anything to the meat or the potatoes to make them flavorful.

We are at an impasse. We have made yet another attempt at eating out less frequently. And the cycle, yet again, repeats. I cook. He doesn't really like what I cook. He eats it but there is no joy. I have no recipe I can make for him that I know is his favorite. When his birthday rolls around, he wants Texas Roadhouse and cheesecake- not a homemade whatever. We've had many conversation about it. But we are finally starting to realize that there isn't a middle ground between us.

I love food. I love the complexities and layers. I love how food is enmeshed in culture.

He... doesn't. Food is just... food.

Last night, we were having a discussion about it. And, in the middle of a paragraph about his feelings about me making meals, he actually said the words "I don't like your cooking." Not that I am a bad cook. But he doesn't like how he perceives the way that I cook.

I honestly don't bring my love of food into my own kitchen because I know it would just go to waste. So I'm not exactly wure what it is he doesn't like. Especially since any cooking I've done lately hasn't really been cooking- sandwiches on the deck, eggs (made to order, in fact), chicken nachos (ingredients: rotiserrie chicken, chips, shredded cheese). I've been making food that I know the family will eat. And I make my own dish that I can dress up and fancy up any way I please. Adding peanut sauce and fresh veggies or putting pico de gallo with my eggs or slicing avocado on my turkey sandwich. But there are still disgruntled people in my house and the food is still not well received.

So this is where we stand...

I could make food for me and the kids. I've done this before. Jeff is then on his own- he can have some of ours or make his own food. However, this doesn't set the best example for the kids. Also, Jeff has a tendency to feel- or at least seem- put out by not having dinner made for him when it has been prepared for everyone else.

Eat out. Again, not the best example for the kids. Also, expensive.

Keep making simple foods like chicken nachos, eggs, sandwiches. Take the focus off dinner being any kind of a "big deal" and look at it more like just an end of day snack.

I just don't know. Yes, it hurt my feelings that he said he "doesn't like my food." I've been trying for a long time to get my food satisfaction kicks on my evenings out with friends or by making my own variation of the dinner we are having. But it still just isn't working. Something is disconnected and I don't know what it is. I do know this- coming home after working all day and taking time away from my family to make a dinner that isn't going to be appreciated or enjoyed isn't working for me.

So how do I change my attitude? Or what compromise do we need to make? How do you handle meals in your family? Are you married/partnered to someone with a completely different attitude about food?


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Bit of Magic

I am getting very excited. Thursday evening, I am taking Teagan to see Disney's "Mary Poppins" at The Murat Theatre. I've written before about my previous love of and involvement in theatre. I've been watching video clips of Mary Poppins and... I've already been in tears. I just know that when the lights go down and that curtain goes up for the first time, I will have tears in my eyes. I will cry tears of joy and excitement during dance numbers and tender moments. I have great hope that I will look over to see my daughter looking up as Mary Poppins flies away and see that magic in her eye and on her face- that theatre magic that can truly captivate. As I watch Mary Poppins in the video clips, I'm totally taken in by the complete escapism of all of it. This magical nanny who comes along and brings this broken family back together again by teaching and demonstrating hope, fun, playfulness, and loyalty... don't we all wish we'd had a Mary Poppins in our lives when we were little? While I didn't have an actual Mary Poppins, I did have some special people who passed through my childhood- staying for as long as they were needed. Growing up was hard for me. I'm open about my childhodd. My mom was a single parent, working her way through dental school in order to give us a better life. That choice and plan meant a lot of hard times and sacrifice for both of us. And my deep, dark secret was that I was being sexually abused by a cousin 8 years older than me. That went on for most of my elementary school years until we moved away from Kentucky to Cincinnati, OH- away from my abuser, away from hunger, away from the financial struggles I'd grown up with. We moved away and I had a Daddy, my mom, a home, and safety. But during those dark years, there were highlights. I have tons of very positive memories with my mom and with the man who became my dad and with friends from school and in our apartment complex and with my grandparents. There were some special people who were my Mary Poppins, though. First, there was a family from our church that stepped up and provided before and after school care for me. I assume it was at no cost to my mom. Being a mom and knowing many single moms, I look back and realize what an amazing blessing this family was. They truly lived their faith, at least through the eyes of my childhood memories. I got to witness a "normal" family. They had a comfortable home, married parents, a daughter close to my age, a little dog, a backyard to play in. Dad worked, mom stayed home. It was with this family that I had a lot of normal childhood memories- jumprope contests, learning to hula hoop, tasting dog kibble just to know why that dog liked it so much. I remember showing up at their house to wait for the bus and I'd come in while they were having breakfast and I always asked to have some, too. My mom would be embarassed- she'd fed me before we left. But I think I wanted to just be part of that family normalcy, you know? So that mom, that family, was definitely a taste of Mary Poppins for me. A window to what a normal family looked like, how they functioned and leaned on each other. It took Mary Poppins to bring that out in the Banks family, right? And Mary Poppins is, of course, about a little bit of magic. I was very fortunate to have a woman I sometimes consider an angel to pass through my childhood. She definitely brought a touch of magic to my life. She was single and I remember her being a business woman. She was fashionable and I was in awe of her. She lived next door to us for a brief period of time. She was always friendly with me. Sometimes, she would invite me over. I thought it was amazing that her apartment, which was identical to ours, could be so classy! One day, she invited me to go shopping with her. I'm sure my mom appreciated the break. I don't remember all of the details but I do remember her taking me into this little gift shop that I recall being part of a hotel or somewhere that she had to run an errand. She had taken me out to lunch and treated me like I was a grown up. We went into this gift shop and there was a display of stuffed animals. I was so taken with every single one of them- everything from tiny things that could fit into your pocket to a giraffe that looked life sized to my young eyes. She knelt beside me and said that I could pick out any animal I wanted and she would buy it for me. I still have the unicorn I picked. She moved away not long after- flying into the air, holding on to the black umbrella with parrot head handle. Have you had any Mary Poppins moments in your life? Photobucket

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Appearances- A Vent

There is a chance that I'm going to sound very judgemental with this post. I thought about trying to explain away the judginess. I thought about trying to excuse or explain what I was feeling in such a way that I would feel better about it. But a vent is a vent is a vent. And this one has been building up inside of me for a while. Appearances. Sometimes my jaw drops at the appearance that people choose to put out into the public eye. I'm not talking about what people choose to wear. Not that kind of appearance. Instead, I'm talking about the image that people build of themselves. The stories they tell, the pictures they share, and the way they present who they are to the rest of the world. I have friends on Facebook who are young. Friends who are in college or even high school. I have to admit that those college kids... I'm not surprised if I see pictures or read posts on their wall that might be a little embarassing. Maybe that's wrong of me. But I admit that I'm a bit more forgiving if I read about a late night party, drinking at a concert, sneaking out to some frat something or whatever. Let's say that I have a friend that I know in "real life" but primarily know through Facebook or Twitter or blogs. Let's say this friend loves to be social. Loves having a tight group of friends but also loves having a large circle of connections. This friend has a very busy social life. She frequently goes out with the girls, out to concerts at venues big and small, throwing and attending parties. She talks of her fun. She shares a lot of pictures of her fun. She lives a life that seems pretty wild- most of the stories and pictures include a lot of alcohol. What if my friend was a college age girl? That could have been me at some stages of college. What if my friend is a mom? With older kids? Does that make a difference? For me, yes, it does. I'm not saying moms can't or shouldn't have fun. I love to go out and have fun! I go out for sushi and wine and hang at a local pub with good friends. I'm hoping to eventually plan a weekend getaway with Christy where we visit several wineries. I like to have fun with my friends. I like to have fun with my husband. I might share a pic of my drinks. I might post about letting loose. But you can be guaranteed that I'm not making an ass of myself. That my neighbors aren't embarassed to see me in front of my house. That my husband isn't worrying about who I'm meeting and what I'm doing. That my kids have no reason to be embarassed about what mom is doing now. I have to admit that I lose respect for people when it seems that all I see or hear is about this night out and this much to drink and sneaking alcohol in here or there and how many stupid things were done and... I start to lose respect when I know that the kids in the family are seeing it and hearing it, too. When they aren't seeing the example set in how to party and how to cut loose with friends in a responsible way. Teagan knows I drink wine and beer. She knows wine and beer are adult drinks. She knows I go out with Christy and other friends sometimes. Zach, of course, knows the same thing. My friends on Facebook have seen pictures of my food, a glass of wine, a flight of martinis. I talk about a night where I get to go out and have fun. But my husband will never worry about where I am and what I'm doing and who I'm with. My kids don't have to worry that their friends might see my pictures on their moms' Facebook pages of me half dressed, drunk, and running around with my friends. I live my life as who I am. And maybe that's what really bothers me. Maybe I have friends who are also living as who they truly are- and who they are is a hot mess. And they seem to be content with that- as long as they are considered a hot something. I'm all for letting loose and having fun. I'm even more in favor of being known as the best wife Jeff could have, the mom best Teagan could have, the best mom Zach could have, the best friend Christy or Jim or Ashli could have, the best employee 3M could have, the best daughter my mom could have and so on. And I'm not going to accomplish any of that if my focus is on getting drunk, being hot, hanging on strange men, being identified as a MILF and making an ass of myself in public. I'm also thinking of implementing a hard and fast rule. If you post sexually suggestive, half dressed, strutting around pictures of yourself, the friend will be automatically deleted or at least hidden. I really have a problem with parents being sexually suggestive online- when they are friends with their kids and connected to friends of their children. My husband should be the only person in my home who sees me as a sexual creature. My children and their friends should witness the emotional intimacy and simple signs of affection- holding hands, a kiss, a hug- between my husband and me. But beyond that, I really feel like it is inappopriate to be showing off your, um, alleged assets for your children and your children's peer group to witness. Vent over. Photobucket

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sitting Still

As I sat in training for 2 days, I had a bit of insight in regards to my kids' behavior and my expectations of their behavior. I can often let things go and recognize when they are just being kids. But I know there are times that they need to sit still and be quiet and that I could definitely be more patient in my response to their antsiness. As I sat in training and the minutes ticked into hours and I stifled a yawn, I looked down and realized my leg was shaking. If I stopped my leg, my foot would twitch. If I made myself stay still, I would suddenly starting bouncing both legs up and down. Thankfully, we would soon have a break and I could get up and walk around a little to get that excess energy out. Maybe that's what I need to do with my kids. Maybe the next time we are in a situation where they need to sit still but just can't seem to do so, maybe they need to just go for a little walk to get some of the jitters out of their muscles. One of our favorite parts of the book "It's Hard to Be Five" by Jamie Lee Curtis is the little boy talking about school and how you have to sit still. Still sitting still. SIT STILL! The kids and I still recite that part of the book and end in giggles as we all make the most frustrated, inwardly exploding face we can muster. It's hard for little kids to click into still mode. It's hard for adults to click into and stay in still mode. So maybe being a little more aware of when there is energy to let go... maybe being tuned in to what is going on with these little people at the times when "still" is expected... maybe the results would be better if I tuned in to their needs instead of getting caught up in my own. That's what I did at bedtime last night. It was 7:00 and time for reading books and putting on pj's. But I could tell they had extra energy to burn. I knew that trying to put them to bed at that point would mean kids bouncing off the walls and goofing off and not being able to sit and settle down. So we went out and took a walk around the block. About 1/2 mile. They ran and laughed and chased. Zach would pretend to fall down over and over and just laugh at himself. We took Sassy with us and we all enjoyed our evening stroll immensely. And when it was time to come inside, the kids put on pj's without a fight. They climbed up to hear some Winnie the Pooh without any demanding or pushing and shoving. They sat quietly, intently, calmly while I read to them. Bedtime happened without fights and demands. I changed my expectation based on my own experience and got better results for it. What other situations are we putting unrealistic expectations on kids? How often am I demanding that my children behave in a way that even I can't consistently be counted on for? And how can I recognize it and do it differently? Photobucket

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Catching Up

Here's a run down of my life the past few days... First, major thanks to my guest bloggers. I love writing. I love my blog. But I was so stressed about the upcoming trip and some work related stuff that I couldn't even begin to come up with quality content for the blog. Having my guest bloggers step up and write for me was truly a weight off my shoulders and I can't thank you all enough. Plus, I really loved sharing you with my readers- each of you did a great job! Ashli gave us a great kick off to our guest posts on Tuesday. I logged a mile on Tuesday before heading to the airport and even did 2 miles at the hotel's fitness center on Wednesday! So I've got 3 miles done on my 500 mile journey. How about you? Thanks to lisleman for a great post on parenting and kids and helping us all figure out if kids change or parents change or what the deal is. Thursday brought smiles with the 4th Frog's tribute to my personal style- you know i like writing my little notes to you guys!! I hope you were inspired by Amy and that you found a way to choose your attitude! Friday was rounded out by Lori- a truly inspirational success story on making positive choices in your life. Her post was so go that she even got my mom to post comments!! I don't even get a comment each day from my mom!! And today... I'm going to try and share the highlights of my quick business trip to the mecca that is the corporate office of 3M in St Paul, MN. Naturally, I used Post-It Notes to jot down the things I didn't want to forget! Let's start with the flight from Indianapolis to St. Paul. My anxiety was pretty high. I never used to be afraid of flying. This was my first time flying in over a year. My stomach was in knots. I considered alcohol before getting on the plane but wanted my head clear. Bless my soul- there was a South Bend Chocolate Company Cafe right by our gate! A nice sized cup of hot choclate- dark liquid chocolate and steamed milk- was the exact soothing I needed!! Especially since I ended up with a seatmate who needed to talk. The entire flight. Which I normally would find annoying. But he truly needed to talk. He drives a truck for a guy who owns some concession stands and goes from State Fair to State Fair (my kinda guy!!). He's from the Indy area but was on his way to New Mexico to pick up where he'd left off... he'd come home because his mom had died. Unexpectedly. So he came home to collect his family and drive to Michigan and bury his mom. And he talked the whole flight about how he wants to be home and not traveling. And about the messed up relationship his kids have with him and his wife. And about holding his months old grandbaby for the first time and refusing to put her down. He talked about how much he and his wife of 22 years love each other. There was a lot of what most would consider dysfunction in his stories... but underneath was a lot of love and a man who was truly just trying to do his best in life for his family. The hotel was pretty fantastic. We stayed at a Sheraton. Fantastic fitness center, small pool and whirlpool area. I haven't felt so safe at a hotel before- only hotel guests and employees had access to the floors. You had to use your key or be escorted by staff to steps in order to get to rooms on upper floors. The room was gorgeous. The bed was huge (although too hard for my taste and the pillows were to squishy to actually support your head). The bathroom was amazing. The breakfast- included in our room rate- was out of this world! Scrambled eggs (or you could order eggs from the kitchen), pancakes, french toast, bacon, sausage, potatoes, oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit, fruit to go (apples, oranges), danishes, muffins, and more. Incredible way to start the day! Visiting 3M Center was an amazing and very new experience. I've never seen anything like it in my limited corporate experience. 41 buildings. 417 acres. 11,000 employees just at 3M Center (and that's just 3M employees, not contracted people). They are their own ZIP code and telephone exchange. They have their own power station! They have a nature preserve. At least 1 day care on site (I'm betting more than the one independent building I saw). I only got to go in my training building and then had lunch one day in one other building. But this other building... oh wow!! Amazing cafeteria. Employee store. Dry cleaner pick up/drop off. Hair salon. Gym. Courtyard. Interior 1 mile walking track. They were having a book fair that day. 3M Center has its own Farmer's Market once a week. They get Schwan's delivery every week. 3M truly goes out of its way to make the employees as comfortable as possible right there at work. Get most of your needs met without leaving campus. I would love that! But I'm happy with just visiting all of that, too. There was an incident where an attorney said something that ruffled my feathers. But I'm over it now. Sometimes, you just have to accept that there is a pecking order in life, you know? I had great meals with my travel mates. I was traveling with 2 women that I have worked with for my entire career with this company and with 1 man who used to be in a separate department and is now part of our group but runs his own group alongside ours. Confusing, I know. Anyway, the 4 of us enjoyed some great food, some ok food, some grown up beverages, and lots and lots of laughs! All in all, it really wasn't a bad way to spend a couple of days. I also met a very nice young man who works at 3M Center in Sourcing. He was the only person who really helped our foursome out- he took us for lunch on Tuesday. We had no idea what was where (41 buildings, remember) and we were on our own for lunch. None of us were familiar with the area. No one offered suggestions of where to go. Very frustrating. But this 1 guy came up and said he was going to this little greasy spoon tavern local place and he'd be happy to have us come with him. We did and enjoyed it immensely. We were glad he stepped up to help us out! He was also our "leader" when we navigated the building the next day that had so many amenities. I did learn what it truly feels like to be a guppy in the ocean, though. That place is huge. 3M as a business is huge. And my part in all of it, while important, feels so tiny compared to the entire grand scheme of it all. It's unreal and I'm not sure there are words to really describe all of it- even the tiny sliver I experienced. I am glad to be home. I was so glad to sleep in my bed with my pillows and my husband beside me (and eventually my kids, too). Zach has come down with a mild ear infection but no fever and he's happy as a clam. Teagan had a great week at home and at school. She was helpful with Daddy and kind to her brother. I'm very proud of my kids. Jeff was amazing- he took the kids for dinner with his parents on Tuesday, he took them to church for dinner on Wednesday, and he made them breakfast for dinner on Thursday. He managed making Teagan's lunch, the morning routine, Zach's ear pain Thursday night, school bags, and more. He's my champion. And now we face a busy weekend. Family pictures this morning (for the church directory). Loads of errands and housework to feel caught up with the routine. Church on Sunday. A meeting after church and then rushing off to take Teagan to a friend's birthday party at a way cool gym. Hopefully we find time to just breathe and enjoy each other's company and hugs and kisses and laughs. Photobucket

Friday, September 17, 2010

Guest Blogger: Lori

Hers is an amazing story and anyone who has experienced tragedy that becomes life changing should read this. I'm always an admirer of people who take hardship and turn it around to something good. Lori is definitely one of those people. Lori writes about her life at The Neverending Lori and about her healthy living at Bloggin the Bugg. She has made amazing changes in how she takes care of herself in the past 9 months. Read her story- you will be inspired!!

Guest Spot...ME! Who Am I? Why hello Liz followers! I am today's guest blogger...and I am happy to be here! My name is Lori and I'd like to tell you a little about myself. I am a 38-year old wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend. I do not take these roles lightly, and hope that if I fulfill one such role in your life, you know how serious I am. (Actually, serious is not a good word to describe me at all! I am goofy...silly...funny...a class-clown kinda gal in a grown up world. I love to have fun, and I think you HAVE to laugh, even when things are hard.)

First, let me tell you how I know Liz. It seems that I've known Liz for a really long time, when in fact, I have not. Liz's awesome hubby Jeff works with my awesome hubby Jeff on True Dungeon! In 2009 Liz and I started talking on Facebook a bit and then I started reading her blog. She doesn't know this (...well, she will here in about 10 seconds...) but she is the reason I started blogging. I had been reading her blog and thought that it might be a good outlet for me, and oh has it! Liz and I were probably introduced before during the TD Event, but this year it was official...she came and we MET and talked. I wish the week was such that we could've met know...Liz and her two littles, me and my two littles...running off to Connor Prairie or the Zoo or one of the other cool Indy places I've read in her blog...then leaving the kids with the Jeffs in the evening while Liz and I snuck off for maybe a pedicure, more talking, and then dinner and a glass or two of wine. Oh, well...maybe someday!

So Liz is off on her trip so it's time to pitch in and help a friend out. That's where I come in. Liz wants me to tell about myself, and let me say first off...I do not think I have some kind of amazing story to tell. I firmly believe that I am an ordinary person and the stuff in my life is just like the rest of the folks out just happens to be my story. And although I do not find it particularly interesting or amazing, I guess someone does, so here goes!

Family is important to me. I come from a tightly knit family. My parents had 3 boys and then when they were 13, 15, and 18...OOPSIE! That would be me...I've heard so many euphemisms for what I was, but let's just go with "surprise baby"! Because of the age gap, I didn't really grow up with brothers, but more like 3 slightly older Dads. When my youngest brother had 2 children, it was really more like having a little brother and sister than a niece and nephew. Then in my life I was blessed with a wonderful husband, who is honestly my partner in all things. Jeff and I were entrusted with the care and upkeep of two sweet babies that we decided to call Drake and Avery.

Becoming a Mom was life-changing. These people are the center of my universe. I may not talk to my brothers or my parents every day, but our familial bonds are tight and we'll all go the distance for one another. Don't get me isn't all that I have, because I have some of the most awesome, incredible, and beautiful friends a gal could ask for. My "village" as I call it, quite simply ROCKS. You will learn more about my village later...

Here is my story... In 2009 I decided to start a work-out program. I began the Wii Fit on 1/1/2009 with a goal of getting more in shape and losing some weight. I did great at first, but on 2/24/2009 the first major curveball in my life was thrown at me and knocked me out of the game for a while. On that day, I received a call from my niece, Amber, saying that Schuyler (her brother, my nephew) had been killed by an IED in Afghanistan. This was the day that everything changed. I can't even begin to sit down and type out this entire story because it would take days. In short, I went to my hometown, tried to help my brother and niece and everyone deal with things as best we could. The days that followed were excruciatingly difficult. I was away from home, so the village stepped up and took care of business in my own home and with my kids so that I could focus on my parents, brothers, and niece and their needs. This was unchartered ground for us, but we made it through. In the weeks and months that followed we all tried to come to terms with a "new" normal for our lives. It was a very dark and difficult time (and still is at times) but we did the one thing that we knew was good...stuck together. I traveled a lot to my hometown during those months. We spent a lot of time together, and that helped more than you can imagine.

Then, once again, tragedy struck our family. On July 3 I received yet another call that Mom was in the hospital and not doing well...some unknown thing was causing extreme gastrointestinal issues and there was some talk about operating to see what was going on. Jeff and I almost left that night, but decided that we would get up in the morning and see how she was doing. That call to the nurse's station told me that things had not improved overnight and that we needed to get up there as quickly as we could.

Unfortunately, my Mom passed away not long after being brought out of surgery. Jeff, my Dad, and my brother John were with her as they worked to get her back, but it was not to be. ...and so the Mack truck struck my family yet again... And once again, we rallied together and did what we needed to do. And while I was gone taking care of details, my village stepped in once again and helped my husband with the kids so that I didn't have to worry. And once again, we struggled to find a new normal.

And honestly, I think we have...I think all of us have figured out that if you choose to overcome it, you can, no matter how impossible that seems. In December of 2009 I thought about my January 2009 plan...this plan had failed miserably, but maybe January 2010 was just as good of a time as any to get back to it. I planned a quick trip to meet my Dad in Vegas so I decided that January 15th (as soon as I got back from Vegas) was the start date. And once again, in my life, this was the day that everything changed. I began working out...nothing major at first. Some treadmill, an arc trainer, and the bike. Nothing too fancy...I was 265 pounds and totally out of shape. Around this time I also started watching The Biggest Loser, and saw/heard them reference the Body Bugg. I'm a gadget freak, so after doing some research on this gadget, I had my mind set that this was a gadget that I needed and that could help me. I had lost some weight in those last 2 weeks of January and the first week or so of February, so on my birthday (the 11th) my hubby said "Why don't you go ahead and order that Bugg thing for your birthday". Well, that was all I needed to hear, so I got online and ordered it.

The Body Bugg made a huge difference for me. It made weight loss a numbers game. I understand numbers. Calories IN minus Calories OUT (burned) = weight loss (or gain). During this time I had also decided to spend the money on one personal trainer session per week. The trainer required a food log, and so does the Body Bugg system, so pounds started melting off. Now, when people ask me "how are you doing it" and I tell them "watching what I eat and exercise" they're totally bummed. They wanted a magic diet plan or pill that was easy. But, I always try to explain...this really was easy. The Body Bugg made it easy for me. If I hit my target "burn" in a day and stay at or below my target "consumption" in a day, I'm going to lose weight. Does it matter that 50 of my calories went to an Oreo instead of carrots? Nope. And does it matter if I go out to eat at lunch and then realize that I'm going to end up going over my "consumption" target by 500 if I eat dinner? long as I up my "burn" number for the day by 500...and I CAN do that by being active in my life...taking a couple 15 minute walks or parking farther in the lot than normal...or even running up and down my basement stairs to get in an extra 100 calories burned after dinner!

So that pretty much gets me to now...September of 2010. I have reduced my body fat % from 52% to 43%. I have reduced my weight from 265 to 207. I started this year wearing 22/24's. Now I'm wearing 16's... And folks, that's a 16, not 16W, and trust me, there is a BIG difference! But here's the best thing...I feel so incredible. I feel pretty again. I feel confident. I feel happy. I have energy and stamina, and I feel FIT. I feel more fit than the 130 pound woman who is just genetically thin and never works out. I know in my mind that I could totally out run, out lift, out bike, out lunge/squat/crunch her skinny ass ANY day! And that, my friends, makes me feel great! It had been difficult since 2/24/2009. The road I travel has seen so many turns and curves that even mapquest can't keep up. But, as a family we've stuck together and weathered the storm. My brothers are so supportive of my weight loss and constantly check in with me to see how I'm doing and what's going on. I don't see them as often as I'd like, but the silver lining in that is that when I do see them, they TOTALLY notice every new pound that is missing! I saw part of the family Labor Day weekend. Then I talked to my California brother the next week and he said "I asked Dad how you looked and he said 'Thin...she looks thin' ". That's hilarious! Still over 200 pounds and someone called me THIN. The funniest thing about that is that a year ago, "thin" wouldn't have even been on the list of words to describe me. It still doesn't exactly belong there, but it's so amazing to hear someone describe me as "thin".

So, Lizdom readers, that is me in a nutshell. The side roads of those events in my life have long stories in and of themselves, but you get the idea. Life is is hectic. But I am thankful for the people I have around me and the happiness and balance they bring to my life. I am a total believer in that how you choose to react to a situation depends more on the outcome than anything else. Had I chosen to let the tragedies of 2009 define my existence in a negative way...well, that's exactly what would've happened. However, I chose to keep on living, and living fully and that is what I have done. I miss Schuyler and my Mom horribly, and some days I get angry that they're not here and that we had to go through all of that. But then I remember that we had so many wonderful times and that there are more wonderful times ahead of us. And I also remember that both of them are watching over me and that if I chose to be miserable it would make them miserable to see that sadness. I honor their lives by fully living mine.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Guest Blogger: The 4th Frog

Most of my readers already know of my blogging buddy, Amy, from The Fourth Frog. I was thrilled when she offered to guest post because I knew she would come up with something fun. And she did not disappoint!! Thanks, Amy! Show her some love with lots of comments and by following her blog!

My little day to share Eternal Lizdom was inspired by re-thinking how Liz might blog about a subject that I recently blogged about: Choose Your Attitude.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Guest Blogger: lisleman

I first "met" lisleman thanks to Mrs4444. She had posted in a Friday Fragment about this guy doing a non-blog. It was a one entry blog and the idea was that the conversation could go on forever in the comments. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a flash in the pan. I did comment but have to confess I didn't keep engaging. However, lisleman began visiting Eternal Lizdom and I discovered his main blog, a few clowns short. He's an experienced dad, a grandpa, and has a lot of the same science-geek type interests as my husband. He's also pretty dang funny in his observations and thoughts. Show him some love with lots of comments and by following his blog!

A Few Clowns Short ~~~~~~~~

Hmm, just a minute while I get use to these new surroundings here at Eternal Lizdom. I’ve been here before but my words have only found their way into the comment section. It’s cool to share my words and ideas up here in a post. Thanks Liz. Are kids today different than my kids were 20 plus years ago? Or different than when I was I kid X years ago (lets just leave that as a big number)? Just because I have no qualifications other than being a dad, that is not going to stop me from providing an answer. Of course, please share your answer in the comment section. Oh just a minute, thinking of babies reminded my of a Steven Wright quote:
"Babies don't need a vacation, but I still see them at the beach... it pisses me off! I'll go over to a little baby and say 'What are you doing here? You haven't worked a day in your life!’”
My answer - kids start out the same but their parents are different from the past and also is the world around them. Not earth shattering news and please read on after you recover from your shock of reading that news flash. This might be old knowledge but it’s worth thinking about as a parent (at least during times you’ll able to think). I believe if you could time travel, adopt a baby from thousands of years ago (that would alter history and I might be President right now so watch it) and raise the baby in today’s world, the baby would become a teen and you would worry and still be pulling your hair out.
Those were the days
Those days of years gone past are overrated. It’s a fact that we live longer today. I just read that traffic fatalities are down in the US. Not everything is better. Never is. Stress might be higher but based on a Rolling Stone’s song, “Mother’s Little Helper” (released 1966) it was stressful back in the 60’s.
"...Kids are different today, I hear ev'ry mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she's not really ill, there's a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day..."
Those annoying drug ads on TV might be more fun if they used that song as background music. My mother was not a blogger because had she been she would have been so futuristic that people would have been talking about her. She would have not liked the media attention. Some of you reading this are parents and bloggers. As long as there is a balance of the quality time with your kids and your blog time this is probably a good thing. Blogging could make you feel more relaxed, recognized, knowledgeable, helpful, etc. Just don't let it stress you. Being a parent is an important duty that is essential for advancing our world. Don't screw it up. However, know that it's been done billions of times before. Some good advice - use sunscreen on yourself and kids. Want to learn more about the sunscreen advice? Check out this column from 1997. I just have one more advice type of observation. DVD players in cars are not really necessary. It’s much better to interact with your kids, have conversations, or play games with your kids while you travel the world. Just the other day, my granddaughter (2) point out how pretty the clouds were outside. Now that would not of happened if she had her eyes glued to Sponge Bob Square Pants and his cartoon world. Really it's a fact that kids have been driven thousands of miles without a DVD player. Just interacting with music is great and it can get them to sing along.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Guest Blogger: Ashli

I am so excited to be guest blogging on Eternal Lizdom. My name is Ashli and have been following Liz on her blog and in real life for a little over two years now.

I first met Liz when my family and I began attending the same church as Liz and her family a little over 5 years ago. I remember how in awe I was when Liz did a Mary Magdeline monologue for Easter. I thought, this girl has talent! Liz and I didn't cross paths again until several years later when we were chatting one evening and she mentioned how she would maybe like to think about possibly singing on the music team that I am a part of. I was so excited to hear this and felt that "God nudge" to talk to our Associate Pastor who leads the music ministry at church about it. Well...a few weeks later, Liz showed up at practice and we just clicked. She is such a fun person to be around and we feed off each others energy. I am so glad to have Liz in my life.

A little more about me. I am a working wife and mother of 2 amazing kids. I have a son who is 6 and in first grade and a 3 year old daughter who is on the verge of moving up to the pre-k class at her daycare. My husband teaches and coaches girls basketball and has recently been empowered to give a few sermons at our church and another church in the area. I work as a business analyst for a local credit union and love the work I do there. I sing on the music team for our church and have also been blessed to be a part of several opportunities of giving through my church family.

This past year has been a great year of growth for me. I have graduated from having to carry a diaper bag, began working on a homework routine with my son and most important of all to my sanity, I have began taking an interest in "me". I struggled with post-partum depression and anxiety after having my son and took medication up until 2 years ago. It took me a year without medication and birth-control with hormones to finally get used how my body and mind work. Once I began realizing who I was, I knew I needed to begin feeding that so that I could feed others. I re-engaged my love of reading, took up knitting hats for the homeless and began a plan to lose weight.

I lost a few pounds through Weight Watchers, but knew I needed to make permenant changes if this was going to stick. I started taking Healthy Choice/Smart Ones/Lean Cuisine lunches to work, choosing healthier snacks and started walking. Due to our family schedule, we determined that it would work best if we had a treadmill at home. I was just going to walk...nothing more. Seriously...only walking...but then Liz started running and I thought, well I could do that too. I signed up for a 5k and began a training plan. Well, to make a long story short, I have done 2 5k races this summer and walk/ran a half marathon. I have also lost 30 lbs.

I would still like to lose about 15 more pounds, but I want to do it the right way. When I am mentally ready to make that next step permenant. I want to build muscle and endurance and become healthier in the process. If it takes a little longer than the 2lbs a week pace of "dieting" it is okay with me. I want it to feel natural (not to be read as "I want it to be easy").

That brings me to the actual point that inspired this guest post. I am starting a new initiative. I have renamed my blog (which needed a heavy dusting off since the last post said Merry Christmas!) and will be recording my thoughts and milestones as I "Blog 500 Miles". Yes, my goal is to walk/run 500 miles in the next year. So, I invite you to hop on over and check it out. I am going to try to post an update once or twice a week as I progress towards this goal and am going to need much encouragement. Also, I welcome anyone who wants to "go the distance" with me!

Thanks for reading!


Thank you for this post, Ashli! I am also very grateful for our friendship and so glad you listened to that nudge and got me involved with music team- otherwise, we wouldn't be such good friends!

This part of her blog entry on her new blog really hit home with me:

On days I work out, I am happier, have more energy, feel better rested, am a better parent and wife and have a desire to live out God's will for my life.

When I don't work out...well, let's just say it is not pretty. Nothing is on time, I am short fused and I really feel like it would be best if I crawled into a hole so I wouldn't be so irritated with everyone and everything around me.

I'm going to do it. I'm going to join Ashli on her challenge. 500 miles in one year.
Who else is going to join her??

Show her some love with lots of comments and by following her blog!


FitCity: Little Explorers: A Healthy School

If you ask Lori Lorenz, owner and director of Little Explorers Preschool (and Kindergarten), how she came to have a school that offered a well rounded curriculum that incorporated healthy eating and a focus on the physical-cognitive connection, she’ll tell you it happened by accident.

When Lori started her school, she focused on finding the best teachers for a 3 year old classroom, a 4 year old pre-K classroom, and a Kindergarten teacher.  She developed curriculums and philosophies that the school would be based on.  She created a learning environment that would cater to part time students and parents as well as care for children and parents who needed all day care.  She carefully selected a location and designed a space that encouraged learning and playfulness. 

Little Explorers is a private preschool and Kindergarten in Fishers, located near 116th and Brook School Rd.   When my husband and I decided it was time for our daughter to move from an in home care situation to a preschool, we searched and visited and interviewed a wide variety of schools.  We looked at church based programs, Montessori, private preschools, chain preschools.  We were very careful in our selection of Little Explorers as the place for our children to begin their educational foundation.

This is Little Explorers’ third year in full operation.  This year, thanks to a new school cook and a new program discovered by the Kindergarten teacher, Little Explorers has rounded out the curriculum for all students to focus on a well-rounded child in terms of education and health.

Initially, the school was not focused on the food served to the children.  Running a quality school means making a lot of choices.  The food served wasn’t on the top of the list.  The menu consisted primarily of frozen and canned foods.  Chicken nuggets, burgers, fries, canned vegetables, canned mixed fruit.  This year, that all changed when the school hired a whole foods chef- Ms. Satch Cole. 

Satch is dedicated to feeding kids food that is prepared by hand.  She has updated the school’s menu and continues to work on removing all high fructose corn syrup products, all canned fruits and veggies, and she prepares the school’s main meal- lunch- each day.  She has updated the menu to eliminate processed meat and cheese.  The only foods that still have high fructose corn syrup are ketchup and jelly (hard to buy healthy versions of these items in bulk).  She is learning what menu items work well with the kids and what menu items don’t work logistically.  For example, roasted chicken legs sound great- until you have a classroom full of kids who won’t eat the chicken off the bone and you have to remove the meat from 50+ chicken legs.  Each day, the kids are served fresh fruit and veggies that are either fresh or frozen.  Main courses include meatballs, homemade chicken and noodles, and beef stew.

In addition to the change from processed to whole foods, Satch has updated the way the kids eat with a focus on sustainability for our environment.  I think any parent can understand that taking the easy road is often the most appealing choice.  I know that I’ve had to survive some weeks by living off of paper plates and plastic cutlery.  Until this year, Little Explorers has been serving all snacks and meals with disposable dishes and cutlery.  Satch, with her dedication to sustainability, brought in lunch trays, cups, silverware, and serving dishes.  The kids eat family style in their classrooms instead of being served individual plates. 

Lori has seen the changes as a very positive thing for the school.  She says that children who previously were packing lunch each day are now eating the school lunch because the options are healthier.  She has also been amazed at how well the kids have responded to the food.  Lori says that the one thing she has really learned is that we tend to not give kids enough credit when it comes to food.  We assume that kids won’t like vegetables that are too different or unfamiliar.  We assume that they only want nuggets and fries.  When Satch first put beef stew on the menu, Lori couldn’t imagine the kids eating it.  But it’s become a favorite meal!  Recently, Satch served fried cabbage.  At first, most of the kids turned up their noses.  When encouraged to try it, the feedback was positive (it’s like warm salad!”).

In addition, the budget has not taken a big hit.  That’s right!  According to Lori, they expected there would be an significant increase in the cost of food.   However, there is far less waste and Satch is very skilled at knowing where to buy produce at the best price and how to make the produce last the longest.  For example, serving bananas on Monday and then using bananas to make banana bread from the leftover fruit later in the week.  At this early stage in the school year, the budget has seen only a small increase.  I’ll be interested to see where things stand later in the year when they no longer have to buy styrofoam plates and such every week.  In addition, as the school year hits a nice rhythm and Satch figures out which menu items work best, I’m thinking that things will scale down a bit from where they are now.
The other new thing introduced this year is a program that Kindergarten teacher Ms. Sally Lamping is utilizing called The Maze.  As Sally explained it to me, most learning processes in the classroom don’t work together in the brain but the Maze activities create learning opportunities that make both sides of the brain work together.  The school year is only a few weeks old and Sally reports that she is already seeing benefits as the children are more focused in the mornings.  The Maze is the second thing they do each day.  I was very intrigued by this program but also confused about how it worked and what the children actually did.  I was very excited to have an opportunity to go into the classroom and see it in action.

The Maze is designed to build in difficulty from month to month.  For example, they children will spend a month doing an exercise where they walk on a blue tape strip on the floor.  The next month, that blue tape is replaced by a board on the floor.  The next month, the board is replaced by an actual balance beam.  Every few weeks, the course of The Maze gets updated with different activities.  On the day I was there to observe, the children were doing Jelly Rolls, Walk The Line, Over the Rainbow, Under the Rainbow, Eye Tracking, and Push the Wall. 

The first thing I noticed was how quiet the classroom was during The Maze.  It isn’t a free for all activity course.  The kids go one after the other through each station.  Before they begin, Sally reviews what exercises they will be doing and how they do each one.  She reminds them of the rules- to concentrate and no talking. 

I watched my daughter lay on the floor and roll from one side of the carpet to the next.

Then she came to the Walk the Line- blue tape on the floor that she walked “heel toe, heel toe.”  Since my visit, the directions for Walk the Line have changed and the children now stand to the side and walk sideways down the line with just their toes on the tape.

For Over and Under the Rainbow, the children go over, without touching, a curved foam noodle.  Then they go under a curved foam noodle.

In Eye Tracking, one by one, each child gets face time with Sally and an object that they are asked to track with only their eyes.  Don’t move your head, only your eyes.

Finally, the children lined up and headed into the hallway for Push the Wall.  They faced the wall, put their hands up, and pushed as hard as they could for a 10 second count.

In addition to this new program, the school has plenty of physical playtime built into the daily schedule.  There is a great outdoor play area and playset.  The teachers and staff interact with the kids outside, encouraging them to play with a parachute attached to the fence or to play catch or play with hula hoops.  Extra activities are offered for an additional fee- dance class and a mobile gymnastics class. 

There is a trend in schools these days and I hope you’ve seen it in your area.  Our public school district made drastic changes to their food program this year.  No fried foods in the elementary schools, no additional charge for an extra serving of real vegetables (not french fries), eliminating high fructose corn syrup, eliminating processed foods. 

I know that the responsibility for the health and well being of our kids truly rides on the shoulders of the parents.  As a mom, I am striving to keep my kids active and to offer healthy choices and to teach them about sugary junk food versus healthy fruits and vegetables.  However, if I’m giving my kids all the healthy messages and they go to school and are surrounded by sugary milk and syrupy fruit and deep fried meat and potatoes, my authority on the subject is undermined.  For years, one of the main concerns I heard coming out of schools was that there wasn’t consistency between school and home.  They wanted parental involvement and communication.  I like seeing that schools are going the other way, too.  Taking the lead on instilling healthy values in our children is a priority and hopefully it’s a priority that is growing across the country.

I plan to go back and visit Little Explorers again in the middle of the school year.  I’m interested to see what Satch and Sally and Lori will tell me about any changes in behavior or cognitive development that they feel is related to the changes in the school’s healthy values this year.  Will the children be more focused?  Will the children have fewer behavior problems?  Will there be a child that they see drastic improvements in?  What are the benefits we haven’t thought of yet?  What are the struggles that still need to be answered?

How about you and your school or daycare?  How health focused is the environment that you send your children into when they aren’t at home?  How much influence do you have to make improvements?