Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Fragments - End of Month Style

I was in shock when August left and September crashed the summertime party.  Now it's suddenly about to be October!! 
Mommy's Idea

My fingers are getting twitchy.  I haven't been using my camera hardly at all lately.  Not even my camera phone camera which is usually my standby for moments when I don't have my DSLR around my neck.  I need to do some clicking this weekend!

Update on Teagan and adjustment to school: She's doing better.  More than that, Jeff and I are doing better as we start to realize more and more about her personality and how it plays out into her anxiety.  I've been reading up on perfectionism in kids and so much that I'm reading suits her.  I've read other books suggested to me before and nothing ever clicked but this is clicking.  I'm starting to see things through new eyes and hopefully Jeff and I can figure out ways of making things a little easier based on our new knowledge.  Bottom line is that she is happy at school, she has lots of friends, and we've got things in place to ease anxiety all around.
While Teagan enjoyed feeling grown up about buying her lunch, the waiting  in line thing was causing her anxiety.  She recognized the stress and asked if she could just pack her lunch everyday.  More work for mom but so proud that she was able to realize the source of stress and have a good solution for it.  Even better, I like that we are in control of what she's consuming.  Our school system has a great lunch program that was revamped last year to include fresh fruits and veggies and an overall healthier menu.  But I still didn't love that she was eating, for example, pancakes from a plastic bag.  Instead, we pack things like: hard boiled egg (already shelled), bites of rotiserrie chicken, cheese (cut from a block or Babybel), fresh fruit like an apple or raspberries or strawberries, apple chips, peanut butter crackers, and so on.  Her favorite treat in her lunch box is a fortune cookie.  Proud of my girl who likes healthy food and doesn't insist on a lunch filled with cheetos and ho-ho's!
If you're looking to get to know a new blogger... I have some suggestions for you!  Some of these are people I've become friends with over the years and some are people I just enjoy reading.

C. Beth Blog 

The Stay-at-Home Chef

The Katherine Wheel

Pictures From A Taxi


That skinny chick can bake!
I have been feeling some Mommy Guilt.  *cue doom music*  Teagan and this school thing takes so much energy and time that I feel like I've been neglecting Zach a bit.  Our evenings tend to revolve around the requirements of what needs to happen to get everything done and keep Teagan from melting down.  Get the kids inside, Teagan needs immediate down time to decompress so she usually lays down and watches a little TV first.  We get the kids a little snack to keep them out of the kitchen while we get dinner ready.  Then there is eating and homework and shower or bath time.  Then it's into pajamas and read a book or 2 or 4 and then sleepy time.  I'm spending my time getting Teagan set up with homework or helping her with the things she needs an adult involved in (like practicing for her spelling test).  Jeff's stepped up and been handling a good share of the cooking each night and that helps immensely.  But I just feel like I haven't had time with my little buddy boy.  He's feeling it, too, I think, because he's been coming to our bed at night again.  I think I need to plan a little date with him.
Have a great weekend!! We are spending some time at the zoo on Sunday- Jeff's company is having an annual event there.  Tonight I might be meeting up with a new friend to get some Girl Scout troop leadership tips.  Tomorrow is wide open at this point- which is awesome!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Addiction

This time, it's Jeff's fault.

OK, I know I'm responsible for my own choices but when someone dangles that one thing in front of you... that one thing that you know can be a problem for you...

Jeff's my enabler this time around.

It actually started before I met him.  Sometime back in 2000, I think.  And it hung on as I met him, we got married, and then pregnant.

Sometime during the pregnancyw ith Teagan is when I got it under control.  Stopped cold turkey.

And I was doing really well.  Didn't even think about it.  Wasn't tempted in the slightest.

Then Facebook implanted the gateway and Jeff brought the real deal into our home.

Sims Social

Sims 3

Sims Social is managable because I can jump online, click a few things, done.  In fact, it's already getting pretty boring.  But it's easy enough to check in from time to time.

Sims 3 takes time, energy, commitment.  I'm working to make sure I don't get sucked into the vortex.  One of my worst days the last time around was when I suddenly realized I'd been playing for 8 solid hours and had no intention of quitting until I got 2 particular Sims married.

I've got some limits in place this time around.  I don't have the kind of free time I used to have.  The computer doesn't get turned on until after dinner and homework and bedtime routine are handled.  And I can only play for an hour, maybe 2.  And I'm usually taking time to do other things while playing- Jeff' in the room, we're chatting, we're watching TV, I'll get up to pick stuff up, put stuff away. 

But even as I sit at work... I think about my Sim.  I've had dreams about her at night.  I wake up and fight the urge to check on her. 

Her name's Roxie and her life goal is to become a famous chef.  She's very artistic, social, and flirty.  I think about her career, her friends, her romantic interests.  I wonder about which Sim we've met that might become her soul mate.  I wonder when she'll be established enough to move to a better home.  I wonder if she's going to be a mom someday.

Jeff was doing a nice thing by buying the game for me.  Jeff was also doing a dangerous thing by hooking the needle back to my vein...

I'm addicted.  Think Dr. Drew has a rehab clinic for that?


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Girl Scouts

Because I've been looking for a hobby...

Because I just don't have enough to do...

Because... because... because...

Back in August, we signed Teagan up for Girl Scouts.  She's going to be a Daisy this year and will move on to Brownies if she continues it next year (2nd grade).

Our troop is all girls new to the Girl Scouts and all attend the same school, same grade.  It's a small troop- 5 girls.  I'm told this is a great number to start with. 

The families received an email about the troop needing a leader.  Jeff and I had registered to be volunteers but didn't feel confident about being leaders.

Long and somewhat complicated story short- I am now co-leading with 2 other moms.  We met up last night to disucss.

I was nervous that there would be a strong personality in the group that would take charge and be unpleasant.  There wasn't.

Instead, I'm now connected to 2 women who have daughters in the same grade and school as Teagan.  And the connections we are finding since our meetup are kind of eerie.

We've all lived in Cincinnati before.

One of the moms graduated from the same college as me in the major I started out in (I changed my major during my junior year which added a year of school on for me).  I might even recognize her name- we need to compare notes!

We seem to all be on the same page about what we want, how we like things, what our plans are.

So I'm adding an other title to my list of titles and hats and activities.  Now I'm also a Girl Scout Troop Co-Leader.

And Jeff is a Girl Scout Volunteer.  Dads get a special name.  He's a "Do-Dad." 

I'm hoping my experience in leadership and Teagan's experience in Girl Scouts is more positive than my own as a child.  I'm confident it will be.  One thing we talked about last night was the reason we each wanted out daughter in Girl Scouts.  For one mom, her daughter is painfully shy and she's hoping that having a small group of girls that she does activities with will help her confidence grow.  Another mom has an only child and there aren't many kids in the neighborhood so she's feeling a little desperate for friends.  And then there's me and Teagan.  Biggest reason is to help her connect to other kids in our community- kids from school, maybe even in our neighborhood.

I'm putting my Planning Hat on and trying to organize the unbelievable amount of information flowing out to me from the website.  Thankfully, one of the co-leaders is already enmeshed and has been sharing helpful links to help me navigate through all of the website information.

Here's to a new adventure! 


Monday, September 26, 2011

Seasons of Change

I often feel like not many agree with me on this subject.

I really like all 4 seasons.

I live in an area where winter is cold and snowy and summer is hot and humid.  When we go through all 4 seasons, they are all different and unique times of year.

My favorite seasons are spring and fall. 

I think I like that they are seasons of change and transition.

Now that we are officially in autumn, I thought I would share some things I am eager to experience in the upcoming weeks.

Next weekend, we have an event for Jeff's workplace.  It's an annual appreciation/safety event and it's held at the Zoo.  The kids will enjoy the day with the animals.  I'll enjoy a day outside!

Oct 8 - Oktoberfest at Trader's Point.  $8 if I pre-buy my ticket, kids get in free.  It's the kind of thing Christy would love to do but she'll be heading out of state.  So more food and drink for me!!  On the way home, I'd love to go check out the Celebrate Science event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds!  How cool does that look???

Oct 15 - I'd like to go to Stonycreek Farm that weekend.  However, Zach has a pumpkin patch field trip on that Monday.  But... it's been rained out the last 2 years so if we have good weather, we might need to jump on it!

The following weekend... hmmmm...  What's going on?

CRAP!  I need to plan a birthday party for Zach!  He turns 4 on the 23rd so that weekend will be all about celebrating Zach with family groups and friends.  No big parties at this point.  Might invite 1 friend to a playdate at a bounce place like Monkey Joe's.

Then comes Halloween weekend!

Oct 29 - I am planning to do a bike ride with my friend, Paulette.  It's got 2 of our favorite things going on- riding bikes, drinking beer.  That's Saturday and we will do trick or treating with the kids on Sunday.  Teagan wants to be Daphne from Scooby Doo and Zach might be Spiderman but he's still very undecided.

I'd also love to hit the Broad Ripple Farmer's Market since my local market is now closed for the season.  And I want time to ride my bike- and would love to schedule a weekend morning to go do a farm route in Hendricks County

I am soaking up the sunshine, the fresh air, the changing colors, the leaves.  Winter will be upon us soon enough!


Saturday, September 24, 2011


My heart swelled yesterday.  With... pride and joy.

Teagan was talking about her day at school.  She was eager to tell us about running laps in gym class and that they went outside for gym class.

I don't know all the details.  But I know the kids were supposed to run laps.  I think they were supposed to go around the track 4 times.  Each lap earned them part of a smiley face on the back of their hand.  Teagan ran all four of her laps without a problem.

But she had noticed something.  A friend of hers was struggling.  There is a little girl in her class that she has become friends with who is a bit on the heavy side.  The girl started to run but ended up with a cramp in her side and ended up walking instead.  And she was walking alone.

Teagan did her 4 laps and then went and walked a 5th time around.  With her friend.  To keep her company.

Teagan saw that the her friend was alone.  Teagan went and asked the coach if she could go and walk with her friend- even though she's already completed the 4 laps.  The coach said yes and Teagan ran off to walk with her friend.

As someone who has been the slow runner and had deep appreciation for Christy running back a block to be able to run with me... as someone who has been alone and been the underdog... as someone who has felt awkward in my own skin and embarassed that I couldn't do what everyone else was doing...

It warmed my heart that my daughter chose this act of kindness towards her friend.  My daughter who was bullying her classmates a year ago has figured out a little bit of what friendship and kindess really are and made a very real demonstration of those things yesterday.

My heart swelled and I was so glad to be able to tell my daughter how proud I was of her and how much it meant to me that she had made such an important choice.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Bottom Line

We had our meeting this morning with Teagan and her 1st grade teacher.

It went very well.

I believe that I will always be the parent who believes my child, who comes to the aid of my child, who stand up for my child.  It can sometimes be difficult to think in that place because my child plays games that play on that trust.

I'm not saying she's a devious little 6 year old who is plotting out ways to destroy her parent.  That will come in about 6 or 7 years, I think.

But she was playing an attention game. 

The anxiety is there and it is real.  But it is not specifically related to anything going on at school.

She likes her school, her teachers, her friends, her activities.

She is doing extremely well in her school work.  She knows classroom procedures inside and out.  She is a leader in the classroom because she knows all of those rules and she encourages others to follow them.

She still wants clear expectations, she still wants to do everything right and perfect.  If she doesn't do it right and perfect, then she throws in the towel for the day.

Now Jeff and I have to figure out how we manage this side of her personality.  Jeff is being very vocal about realizing that she "gets this from him."  But he doesn't seem to have much to input as to how to make it better, how to best serve her, parent her, and help her.

My daughter is a perfectionist. 

I've said before that one of the best examples I can give of her personality is that we don't have funny stories to share about things she said as a kid.  She never utters a "darndest thing."  Because she isn't going to talk about something if she doesn't think she's got it exactly right.  We didn't fully realize that until Zach came along and he says funny, off the cuff stuff all the time (like telling us the moon is made out of Buzz Lightyear's butt).  If she isn't sure it's right, she's not going to say it, communicate it, act on it.

Another example is something we are seeing in her homework and her teacher has seen in her schoolwork.  She does a fantastic job when she knows exactly what the expectation is and there are specific problems or questions to work through.  When the assignments rely more on your own creativity, she struggles.  Show her a picture of a beach, ask her to write something about it- she struggles.  She doesn't know what she's supposed to write.  She has a weekly poetry homework where she reads a poem and then is supposed to draw something about that poem.  She wants us to tell her what to draw, how to draw it and has to really be encouraged to just draw what she wants to draw.

She's concerned she's going to do it wrong and she'd rather just not do it at all.  It's that level of caution that we have seen in her since birth.  

As parents, we have a lot of learning to do in order to best help her personality grow and also to help her avoid the pitfalls of perfection.  She could easily go down a road of being a bully again or end up with an eating disorder or take the drive for perfection in the complete opposite direction and go to full on failure. 

Now she knows that home and school are all on the same page.  Now she knows that she can be the same at school as she is at home.  Now she knows that we will talk to her teacher and her teacher will talk to us anytime there is a concern. 

She feels more delicate and fragile to me than she ever has before.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

FitCity: Stick-to-it-ivity

Today, you can find me at Fit City with a post about Stick-to-it-ivity.  I always appreciate a little comment love on my Fit City posts so scoot on over there!

Tomorrow, I'll have an update on the situation with Teagan's school anxiety.  We are meeting with her teacher tomorrow morning and I had a great phone chat with the school guidance counselor on Friday.


I found myself pondering active lifestyles the other day.  I’ve gone through a struggle the past month or so.  I shared a little about it in my last post.  I started wondering why I have been trying to be healthier.  What exactly is my motivation?
The standard answers are that I want to be around for a good long time for my family, I want to keep up with my kids, I want to feel stronger and healthier.  All are very valid reasons and have gotten me through some rough patches where I wanted to quit going to the gym or wanted to skip out on a run or workout.

It struck me that there is another reason why I keep going.  It’s something that’s part of my character and it is something that I want my kids to know and have as part of their character, too. 

Stick-to-it-ivity. Determination.  Perseverance. 

When my kids see me struggling, I also want them to see me trying my best. 

When my kids are struggling, I want them to try their best, try new solutions, keep getting up.

Living a healthy lifestyle is one way that my kids have stick-to-it-ivity demonstrated for them consistently.  They know that Mommy goes out for bike ride events, they’ve cheered for me at local running events, we talk about Mommy working out at the gym at lunch.  We do active things as a family- from visiting 100 Acres at the Indianapolis Museum of Art to walking around Conner Prairie to riding bikes or going for a walk in our neighborhood.

What I don’t want my kids to see is a pattern of starting something and never finishing it.  What if I’d tried running for a week and then just decided it was too hard so I quit and sat on the couch instead?  What if I decided that having fruits and vegetables in the house was too much work so I’ll just stick to fast food instead?  What if getting my family up and active was too much of a burden so I just gave up and popped in videos all day long instead?

Sometimes, I have a hard time finding my stick-to-it-ivity.  Sometimes, I struggle with commiting to the things that I know are important to me.  But then I remember that part of why I am trying and going and doing is that I want my kids to have someone to look to when they are struggling or wanting to quit. 

There is certainly a time and place where quitting is the right thing to do.  Determination doesn’t mean you never quit.  I’m at a point where I have given up running.  And facing that decision was pushing me down.  I felt like quitting running meant quitting all my healthy choices.  It was a big factor in that emotional eating issue and a big factor in my lack of attendance at the gym. 

I had a realization, though.  Just because I choose to stop running doesn’t mean I choose to stop making healthy choices.  I can ride my bike instead of run.  I can increase my weight lifting abilities instead of run.  I can walk instead of run.  I can hike instead of run.  I can still be active and healthy and have stick-to-it-ivity in my healthy lifestyle- even if I’m not doing the same healthy choices and activities as when I started.

And the really cool side benefit is that my kids see that I’m still going.  My kids learn, in an extended kind of way, that Mom is the kind of person who doesn’t just quit or give up.  My kids experience my determination on a regular basis.  What they hopefully learn from that, in the big picture, is that Mom will also not give up when it comes to fighting for them.  Running a half marathon or cycling 30 miles or hiking up a mountain are all very tangible demonstrations of getting through life.  Each step or push forward or up, even when (especially when) it’s tough to keep going, is an accomplishment. Also, you don’t have to be first, fastest, or go the furthest in order to win. 

Stick-to-it-ivity.  I won’t quit.  I won’t give up on taking care of myself, on teaching my family those healthy choices.  I’m going to fight for my kids.  I have determination and grit.  Sometimes it’s a struggle, sometimes there is weakness but the true value of stick-to-it-ivity is that you keep coming back to it, keep trying again, keep going. 

What keeps you going?  How much stick-to-it-ivity do you have?


Monday, September 19, 2011

Blog Stuff

Bunch of random stuff going on...

1. I am having trouble with commenting.  And I've heard that some people have had issue commenting on my blog as well.  My trouble tends to be with embedded comment forms- I type it up, set it to my Google Account, and then it tells me I'm not subscribed to that blog and wants me to log out.  The only way I've gotten around it is to leave my comment with my "Name/URL."  I've always had trouble with embedded comment forms- they frustrate me greatly.

2. I am trying to do some reading and see what's going on with the comment issues since I now know I am now alone in my frustrations.

3.  I threw a new background up- just for the sake of change.  How's it look?  What does it look like to you?

4. I miscalculated the people I'd ridden for on Saturday.  Oops.  I didn't have my official list with me.  I rode for my Mom, Mim, Kat, and also for Anita and Katie. 

5. This has been a pretty yucky Monday so far.  I'd like to go home and lay in bed the rest of the day.

6. Not sure I actually have a #6 but I feel like I should have a list of 10.

7. I don't know why I think I need a list of 10.

8. I really should just quit since I have nothing else of substance to say.

9.  Only 1 more and then I've made it a Top Ten List of Nothing!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Hope Ride

Yesterday, I went for my second official bike ride.  Back in June, I did the Girlfriend Ride with 2 friends.  This time, it was me and Christy.

The cool thing about these rides is that they are fundraisers for local non-profits.  The Girlfriend Ride supports a domestic violence shelter in Columbus, IN.  The Hope Ride supports the food bank in Hope, IN.  What makes these rides unique is that these communities that we ride through come together to support the ride.  One of our SAG (Support And Gear) stops was on a farm.  At the end of our 32 mile ride, there was a lunch in the park in the center of the town of Hope.  It was also the halfway point for the 100 mile riders, the end for the 50 milers, and a stop before going on for more for the 62 milers.  The lunch was provided by the people of Hope.  There was homemade chicken salad, homemade chicken BBQ sandwiches, pork n beans, homemade peach cobbler.  At the 2 SAG stops, there tables of food- everything from banas to watermelon to bags of chips, granola bars, and everything you need to make a peanut butter n jelly sandwich.  Each stop also had local live music. 

Given how much I've been slacking with my exercise the past month, I wasn't sure how it would go.  But it was great.  I felt better this time than last time.  Most important lesson learned from the first time is that I have to eat less.  The first time, there were more frequent stops and I ate every time we stopped.  This time, I ate only enough to not feel any hunger, just enough to get a little calorie boost.  I wasn't fully hungry until almost an hour after we were done with the ride!

Something cool about spending 3 hours doing a 32 mile bike ride is that I burn 2800 calories.

Something else cool is that you see so many beautiful things. 

The sky as we started the morning...

The moon was out in the bright blue sky.  If I'd had my DSLR camera, I'd have gotten a great shot.  But all I had was my camera phone. 

And farm country is really just beautiful.  It's one thing to go flying through it in your car on the highway.  It's something else to be riding along, right next to fields of corn, pastures of cows, and beautiful old trees.

And something I really loved was we kept going past very small, very old cemetaries.  I'm always drawn to them.  And these are truly small, old burial grounds- no buildings close by, no church, no homestead.  At one point, at the top of a hill, I was ahead of Christy and opted to stop and visit one of the cemetaries.  It was one of our favorite stops.

My ONE complaint about the ride was that some of the "pro" riders were RUDE.  Like in most sports and events, there are rules about etiquette.  I'm still learning but I use what I've learned.  People in matching jerseys with fancy bikes who ride advertise their riding club or whatever... those riders who have obviously been riding, and who ride races and participate in lots of rides, for a long time... should really be setting a better example.  I can't tell you how many times there would be a rider who would fly past and never bother to call out "Left!" or "Passing on left!"  It wasn't just us- we saw it happening to other riders, too.  You get taken by surprise when you suddenly have a bike zipping past you at your elbow because you didn't have a chance to move over.

And for those keeping track of my mileage- I've now done miles for Team In Training donations made by my mom, my friend Mim, and my friend Kat.  I'm going to make a list and keep track.  I spent itme thinking about my friends and family that I was riding for on those sections of the ride.

I'm eager to plan out my next ride.  We have some beautiful farm country in the Indianapolis area.  I have a set of riding maps for Hendricks County and might need to plan a Saturday morning ride over there!

Unknown Mami


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Brief Update

Emails + call + teacher + counselor + plan = Better!


This is in reference to yesterday's post.  More details will come next week!


Friday, September 16, 2011

First Grade Anxiety

I don't have the energy to go into all of the details right now but we are feeling like we are back at square one with Teagan and the adjustment to First Grade.

It's breaking my heart.

I've done some talking today.  One of the first calls was to Lori- the owner of the school Teagan had attended.  She knows Teagan so very well and she knows how our school district works so I knew she'd be a good person to talk to.  And she was.  I talked to a few friends at work.  I talked to Christy.  Jeff and I talked last night.  I've got an email conversation going with the teacher.

My baby doesn't like school.  She loves the before and after care program run by the YMCA.  She doesn't like the time she spends in school.  She particularly doesn't like lunch. 

I'm in "that mom" mode.  I'm going to knock on doors, send emails, make phone calls, read and talk until I can come up with a gameplan that will somehow make this better.

Step one- Jeff is going to get the paperwork filled out to have a background check on file so he can have lunch at school with Teagan from time to time.  Might be more often at first, if he can.  The school is very open to parents eating with their kids- there are just rules you have to follow (background check on file, call before 9:15 if you want to buy your lunch at the school, no bringing in fast food or restaurant food).  So we've got that ball rolling.

Step two- Waiting to hear back from the teacher.  One thing Teagan expressed is that she feels like she just doesn't understand.  She doesn't understand what she's supposed to do, how she's supposed to respond.  Even down to little things like where her papers go when she's done with her work.  I've asked the teacher if we can come in and walk through the procedures so that Jeff and I understand and can reinforce things with Teagan at home.  Jeff having lunch with Teagan will give us insight into lunchroom procedures and rules.

Step three- Haven't done this yet but plan to drop a note to the school counselor to see what suggestions she has.

I've been doing some reading online and am finding that First Grade Anxiety is quite common.  Kids who did great in Kindergarten in the same school will suddenly start having anxiety about school in First Grade.  I'm going to keep digging and researching until I find some guidance on how to ease that anxiety for my daughter.

What breaks my heart is how quiet she is about it.  She has been trying so hard and I think she's been bottling it all up inside. 

Jeff and I talked last night and there are some adjustments we plan to make at home, too.

We want to be more positive and less correcting in our interactions with her.  It's easy to fall into correction mode and I think we've slipped down the path too far.  I think Teagan hears a lot of what she shouldn't do from us.

When she asks for help, we need to help her.  Not that we never do!  But when she asks us to help her with something that we know she knows, we tend to push her to do it on her own.  Which sounds ok until I realize that we are asking her to seek help from adults at school when she doesn't know what to do.  Maybe she's using home as a testing ground and if we aren't responding to her by offering help or guidance in a positive way, maybe she's not comfortable seeking help for something she feels like she's already supposed to know from other adults.

Make sure she knows we love her, we value her, and that she is an awesome, smart, creative and beautiful little girl.  Kinda goes without saying but I want to make sure we have a focus on building her confidence in the weeks ahead.

My baby is hurting.  I hate that.  One thing I know she is lacking is feeling like she has an adult to turn to that she can trust and that she knows loves her at school.  She has connected with adults in the aftercare program.  She has adults at her old school, at church that she knows she can seek out in any situation.  She hasn't found that anchor yet in First Grade.  And right now, I would feel immensely better if there was someone I could talk to or connect with that was connected to her.

Last night, I sat on her bed and just watched her sleep.  Her little face is just so perfect.  Her tiny little mouth, her button nose, her cheeks.  Truly an angel.  And it shreds me up inside to know that she is struggling and we are no longer in a place where Mommy or Daddy can swoop in and make it better.  I feel so unprepared for all of this.  I thought figuring her out in infancy was a challenge but at least then I knew that crying meant hunger, pee, poop, tummy ache, I miss you.  That was all.  Now... she's this complex little being in these big complex overwhelming situations and I don't know what the facial expressions all mean anymore. 

We'll get through it.  Mostly because we won't stop until we get to a good place- I won't just leave her suffering each and every day.  We will find ways to improve how we handle anxiety.  We will find problems and seek solutions.  We will make sure home is a safe and soft place to fall.  We will be a family and figure this out.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall 2011 TV

I've been doing this TV post thing for a while now- mostly because it helps me figure out how to set my DVR.  There will have to be a lot of pruning, I think.  So much starts up next week!!


Obviously we can't watch everything listed below.  And there are certainly new shows I'm leaving off the list that aren't getting good reviews or that just don't grab my attention.  But all of the below shows are either things we've been watching or will at least watch 1 episode to try it out.


New Girl - Premieres 9/20.  Looks funny enough to watch once or twice.

2 Broke Girls - I am minorly interested.  I'll give it 1 or 2 episodes. Premieres 9/19 after Two and a Half Men (I'd like to watch that first episode just for the sake of the reboot- I've never actually watched the show).

Person of Interest - Premieres 9/22.

Ringer - Watched the premiere Tuesday night this week.  Good enough that we will watch it again.  Hopefully the writing really picks up because it was pretty dreadfully predictable.

Terra Nova - Premieres 9/26.

Up All Night - Premiered last night.  We recorded it so I'll watch it later.


American Horror Story

Grimm - Premieres 10/21.


90210 - I missed most of last season.  I watched the season opener Tuesday night and read a little Wiki to get caught up.  It's a guilty pleasure- I enjoy it if I catch it.

Parenthood - This also started this week.  But this is also one I watch on DVD.  I'm a season behind.

Survivor 23 - Watched the premiere last night.  I thought I was gonna have to quit Survivor if last night's vote had gone in the other direction... thankfully, I can continue watching.

Glee - Premieres 9/20 and I can't wait!!! 

The Middle - One of my favorite shows and I am very excited for next week's premiere!

Modern Family - Ditto what I said about The Middle!

Big Bang Theory - Another show we love and can't miss. Premieres 9/22.

Community - Not enough people watch this show.  It is simply brilliant on so many levels. Premieres 9/22.

The Office - Not sure it can survive without "Michael Scott."  Premieres 9/22.

Chuck - Doesn't premiere until 10/21.  This is such a great show that has struggled along and I wish it would stick around a few more seasons.

Amazing Race - Starts up again on 9/25.  Although last season we lost interest and the last 2 or 3 episodes sat on the DVR for about 2 months before we finally watched.

Desperate Housewives - Final season.  Kinda sad but I think it's time. Premieres 9/25.

Dexter - I am a full season behind but plan to start watching that season soon (just need to get it on DVD).

Walking Dead - Fell for this show when Jeff made me start watching it.  I like it more than I thought I would.

True Blood - I'm a season behind since I didn't watch any of it this summer (no HBO).

Big Love - And another one I am behind on since I didn't yet watch the final season.

What are you watching this year?


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Last Words

On the anniversary of 9/11 each year, I get caught up watching the documentaries and listening to the stories of those who were in the event or who lost loved ones that day.  I feel like it's important to know the stories, it's important to share that burden in some way.

This year, I watched "9/11: Phone Calls from the Towers" on YouTube.

Families sharing the last conversations and even the voicemails they received from their sons, daughters, spouses on that morning.  People who were trapped and knew that they weren't going to survive.  People who were calling with final words to share with their loved ones, with the people most dear to them in the world.

I cried through most of it.  I cried for those families.  I cried for the people who made those calls.

I cried for myself.  Because I started to wonder what it was I would say... who would I call... what would I last want my loved ones to know, to hear from me?

Before 9/11, I don't know how much I ever really thought about it.  How much did any of us really think about what those last words should be?  Did we ever imagine we would actually have people in a situation where they could contact the outside world and would know they weren't going to live?  Did we ever imagine we would have the technology that gives us the ability to know what is happening inside a trauma that the outside world can see as hopeless?

What would I say to my husband? My children? My parents? My brothers? My best friends?

"I love you" doesn't feel like enough.

I think about people who know they are dying and take time to record themselves reading books to their kids, sharing life lessons, final messages to live on after they are gone. 

What would I plan to share with the people I love?

But the biggest question of all - Am I living those messages now? 

I'm here and I'm alive and I have these wonderful people in my life that I love and cherish.  Am I making sure that those people know how much they mean to me?  I would want to impart words that inspire and stay with them.  I would want them to remember kindness and compassion to each other and to all others.  Am I teaching those things to my kids now? Am I modeling that to my friends and family now?

I love you and I know that you love me. I cherish the time I've had with you. Please be kind to each other. Share and show compassion at every opportunity.  Explore the world in any way you can.  Remember that small choices can have big impacts.  And always, always, always know that I love you and value you and cherish you and see the beauty in you and believe in you.

Would I be able to remember all of that?  Would saying "I love you" be enough to get all of that across?

What are the better choices I can make today to live my life so that there is never a question that those would be my last words to the people I love?


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Missing the Motivation, Part 2

Click here to read Part One from yesterday. 

I told you that a few things had happened in the past few days that gave me some strength and clarity.  One of those things was realizing that I was actually fantasizing ways of becoming injured so I would have a "valid reason" to not run.  The other was a good friend, someone who is part of my church family, helped smack me around a little bit when I told her about it.

Those two things helped me realize that this isn't the right time for me.  That it is ok to dislike running and to stop trying to run.  I think if the pressure is off, I will actually run for pleasure at some point in time.  But these days, there is no pleasure in running or thinking about running. 

Running an event like a half marathon means specifically training for that distance, for that event.  I can't just be a healthy or fit person and get up one day and run 13.1 miles.  Maybe other fit people can but I can't.  Getting through the distances that I have since I started running in Feb 2010 has shown me that I am not a natural born runner. 

There was something else that changed my perspective this weekend and helped open me up to what's been going on with me.

I had a very surprise visit from one of my closest high school friends.  Cathy lives in Atlanta but was in a nearby city for a wedding and decided to surprise me on Sunday afternoon by just dropping by my house.  I cried a little and hugged her and almost didn't want to let go because I truly thought it might be some weird dream since I had just been napping on the couch.  We had a great, but short, visit before she had to get on the road for her next stop.

As we stood outside saying our goodbyes, she mentioned that I'm inspirational and motivating.  That I post about exercising on my lunch hour and I share about cleaning my house and cooking meals and just seem to have it all together- like I'm superwoman.

I'm not superwoman.  Seriously.  Not.

My house is a disaster- not only cluttered but in need of some cosmetic repair.  My clothes don't come out of a closet or drawer- they are usually snagged from a hamper of clean clothes in the bedroom.  My dishes pile up in my sink and sometimes sit for a few days before getting to the bottom of the pile.

I never planted my garden this year and haven't even gotten around to tearing down the weeds that have overgrown that space this year.  I let the birds be very well fed by my blackberry bush.  I planted no flowers, have done nothing to make my yard or landscaping look nice. 

For some very legit reasons (and some not very legit), I haven't been exercising.  I've almost taken most of the month of August off.  I was maybe going to the gym once a week.  I had a brief spurt of doing "Just Dance" at home a few times each night.  I've been snacking on junk after the kids go to bed.  I've been eating fast food more often than I'm willing to admit. 

I love that I have friends who have been motivated and inspired by choices and changes I've made in my own life.  And those people also motivate and inspire me.  I love that I'm seeing new announcements of signing up for first time ever 5K's or seeing someone post about completing their first Couch to 5K workout.  I get so excited when someone posts about fresh fruits and veggies or finding new healthy options. 

But I've been lacking motivation completely lately because I've been trying to force myself to do something I really do not want to do.  And it's been backfiring across the board of healthy living choices. 

But my friend used those words.  Inspire. Motivate.  And it hit me.  I don't have to run a half marathon to be healthy and strong and fit.  I don't have to run a half marathon to inspire others to make better choices.  I think that the best motivation and inspiration comes when we find truly authentic people who simply live their lives out loud and we happen to hear their song.  I'd lost my song.  I forgot the notes, forgot the words.  I wasn't being authentic and real- I was being lazy and frustrated and worn down.

That's done.  I know I may backslide again.  I will hit other roadblocks and speedbumps and whatever other traffic analogies you want to use.  For me, this has never been about a specific end result.  The end for me doesn't come from a number in my pants or on my scale.  The end for me doesn't come because I ran so far or biked so many miles or lifted so many pounds.  This has to be a way of living, an everyday series of choices.

I'm going to call my Team in Training contact and quit the event.  My fundraising minimum will be met- I will make that final deposit that I've been holding onto (I guess I thought holding onto it would mean that I was somehow still plugged in to the whole experience).  I'm not going to run that half marathon in October.

I'm also not giving up and I'm not going to let down the people who donated in support of my efforts.  Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is still an organization that I believe in. 

Here's my pledge.  I'm going to log miles between now and the date of the event (Oct 15).  I pledge to bike 1 mile for every $10 that has been personally donated specifically in support of my efforts.  I'm not counting fundraising I've done (the dinner I made or the buckets shakes).  But for every individual who has mailed a check or donated online, I will ride 1 mile for every $10.  Those who donated $100 get 10 miles.  It will come out to around 100 miles to be done within the next 4 weeks and I do plan to truly dedicate the miles to those who have donated.

And more than that, I'm working on getting back on track to get focused on an overall healthy and fit lifestyle.  I'm making time in my schedule for the gym- I'll force it in any way that I can.  Food choices will be more of a struggle as I work to stop the stress and emotional eating habits I've fallen back into lately. 

I'm not perfect.  I'm not superwoman.  And lately, I can't even say that I've been trying my best.  The workload thing really jarred me and threw me for a big old loop but then I let myself just keep sliding down that slippery slope. 

I am trying- and now I can even say I'm trying my best. 


Monday, September 12, 2011

Missing the Motivation, Part 1

I've been struggling to write this post.  But a few things have happened in the past few days that have pushed me forward to face some things.

I don't want to run.

And I haven't been running.

Time is an honest factor in this dilemma.  Months and months ago, my job changed and my routine at work changed and my training took a hit before I did my first half marathon.  When I attended the informational meeting for Team In Training, I spoke to one of the employees there about my concerns about time.  I knew my job would be an issue.  I also knew that given the new demands of my job on my time, my evenings and weekends would be cram packed with family needs that I wasn't able to otherwise attend to during the week. 

Even though I knew my motivation was lacking and I knew my time wasn't truly available, i signed up anyway.  I thought signing up for something that required a big commitment would mean instant motivation for me.  I thought the pressure would encourage me.

That has backfired.

It's like my body is telling me that I should have listened to my gut.  And I should have listened to my gut before I signed up for recommitment for my Team In Training event.  I shouldn't have continued.  The fundraising is done- I have a final deposit I've been holding onto for a couple of months that takes me past my minimum required fundraising.  But my body is in no way prepared for the event. 

Late last week, a thought crossed my mind... "If I'm injured, I can't run."  And then I actually caught myself dreaming up ways I could end up with a sprained ankle or some sort of minor muscle issue that would prevent me from running.  Because being injured would be a good and valid reason for not doing the event in October.

That's sad, isn't it?  I told my friend Ashli about those thoughts this apst Sunday at church.  She looked into my eyes, grabbed me into an amazing hug, and held me and said "I release you of that burden."

And it really hit me.  I'm stupidly stubborn enough that I was willing to dream up ways of getting INJURED in order to avoid running... really, in order to avoid what feels like the humilation of quitting.  My diet has been crap, my commitment to exercise has been crap.  It's like I've been waiting for someone to give me permission to do the one thing I really hate doing- Quitting.

...Tune in tomorrow for Part 2...


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Kincaid's - A Review

I'm not usually one to write up reviews of my restaurant experiences but from time to time, an experience warrants some attention.  Last night, Christy and I dined at Kincaid's.

We had selected Kincaid's because of a special promotion going on called Northside Nights.  Various local restaurants offer a limited menu that highlights their best dishes for a special price.  Restaurants offer menus at 2 for $30 or $30 per person.  The Kincaid's menu caught our eye because of the Smoked Salmon Bisque and the Pear Bread Pudding.

I made a reservation online- pleased that we were able to get a table.  Kincaid's hadn't been our first choice but we weren't able to get a reservation at those other places.  I'm glad we weren't.

We were seated at a table by a wall of windows that looked out over a lake with a lit fountain in the middle.  Lovely view.  I curled one leg under myself on the seat- as I always do.  I started noticing something irritating my leg but didn't think much of it.  I started kind of swiping at my leg- thinking it was dirt from my shoe or something.  Then Christy found a small piece of glass on the table.  And I realized what I had felt on my leg was broken glass.  We looked around the table and realized it was all over- tiny little bits of broken glass.  Christy went to notify the hostess.  I stood up and checked my leg- I had a bright right mark where glass had been digging into my skin.  I look down and there are noticable pieces of broken glass all over the floor.

The response was immediate.  There was concern expressed over my leg (which was fine- no broken skin or anything, thankfully).  They got us a new table where we were safe from broken glass and could still enjoy the view.

We proceeded with our order.  A bottle of Cabernet being offered for $20 a bottle because of the special promotion.  Christy ordered the Smoked Salmon Bisque, Roasted Chicken Dijon, and Warm Pear Bread Pudding.  I ordered the Maytag Blue Cheese Salad, Rock Salt Roasted Prime Rib, and Famous Key Lime Pie.  We specifically ordered all different things because we like to share!

I watched as staff members worked on thoroughly cleaning up the glass from the area around and on the previous table.  I watched a manager very carefully inspect the area.

First course arrives.  I loved my salad- many of my favorite flavors.  It was bite sized romaine tossed in blue cheese dressing with blue cheese crumbles, sliced almonds, and hard boiled egg tossed in.  Christy's soup was fantastic!  Points not only for flavor but also for presentation.  It was brought in a bowl with the cremem fraiche in the bottom and bits of smoked salmon around the edge.  Then the bisque was poured in at the table.  It was delicious and fun!

Second course- the entree.  Both were heaven, honestly.  The chicken dijon was cooked prefectly and the dijon sauce was yummy.  But my prime rib was insanely good.  I had it prepared medium rare.  It was served with a dollop of horseradish that was tangy and had this amazing zing.  We each had silky potatoes- that were truly silky.  The veggie sides were both good.

Third course was dessert and it was, again, heaven.  Before it was served, the manager came by our table to see if we were happy with our meal.  She asked how my leg was and said that my dinner was paid for.

That's good customer service.  That's a business that recognizes it messed up and took action to make it right.

Christy's bread pudding was a large portion of warm bread with a layer of ice cream over the top- not a scoop, a layer.  The bourbon sauce was served on the side and was perfection.  My key lime pie was twice the size I expected and was served with a little ramakin of lemon sorbet that made the lime of the pie really pop.

So we will definitely be back to Kincaid's.  It isn't somewhere we'd be able to afford to eat for everyday occassions but it can go on the list of places to try for special occassions.  Looking over the regular menu has created a list of things I want to try- like the calamari that has artichokes listed in the description and the spicy ahi tacos and seafood etouffee!

So if you swing by my city, a visit to Kincaid's might be on the list of "must eat!"

Unknown Mami


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rude People

In the past few weeks, I've become more and more aware of how rude people can be. 

There was a woman- in her fifties- who cut in front of Jeff and I in the concessions line at the movie theatre.

There was a family in the hotel pool who stripped their 3 year old son down completely naked, poolside, with no regard to his privacy or to what impact that could have on my kids.

There was a 20-something couple in the very small hotel pool who opted to turn the place into their own personal backyard pool by having rowdy lap races with each other, do flips and cannonballs into the pool, and showing no regard for the impact their fun was having on the water conditions (making it very rough and choppy for 2 small kids who aren't swimmers).

A friend relayed a story on Facebook where someone backed into her car in a parking lot and then yelled and screamed at her for it.

I'm sure I have my moments where I am rude to others.  I know that I'm rude to my own family sometimes.  I'm sure there are times I'm unintentionally rude or where my actions are perceived as rudeness.

Rude - discourteous or impolite, especially in a deliberate way

Selfish - devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

Part of me thinks that rudeness is steeped in selfishness.  And to a degree, it certainly it.  But I think it is sometimes more than that.  In that definition, the word deliberate is used. 

Choosing to be impolite, choosing to be discourteous.  In fact, rudeness often feels like the person is trying to hurt you.

It's baffling, really.

I've been focusing a lot on Grace lately.  Grace in terms of favor, kindness, goodwill, love.  I'm doing a devotional series with a Bible I purchased at the Women of Faith event I attended in August.  Maybe that's why I've been more and more aware of the rudeness of others.

With each of the daily devotions, I try to take one thing to focus on for that day.  One day, the lesson talked about the importance of stopping yourself from speaking sometimes.  That's so hard to do- it can be so easy to fly off with a snippy comment or get a little dig in.  But if I really stop and ask myself if I'm responding with grace.... it can change what I say or if I even say anything.

But I also wonder about responding to rudeness.  That's a real challenge.  When that woman cut in line right in front of Jeff and I, it took a lot to avoid confrontation.  And I admit that I had comments flying behind her back- close enough that she had to have heard me.  Even now, I look back and my gut says, "But she was being RUDE!"  Yes, she was.  And it really got under my skin. 

I try to remember that I don't know what is going on in someone else's life.  I try to remember that living a life of grace means choosing my reactions as well as my actions. 

It's a challenge, for sure. 

I also think about the lesson my kids learn from my choices.  When the young couple turned the pool into their own personal playground, we decided it was time to leave.  I could have stomped around and glared at those people.  I could have said something to them or mumbled under my breath or whined about them all the way up to our hotel room.  Instead, Jeff and I mutually decided that we'd spent almost an hour in the pool and it was time to go chill out in the room.  We also opted to remain cheerful and normal about it.  And once we were away from the situation, we explained that the people who came into the pool weren't being thoughtful about other people trying to enjoy that small space and that we felt it wasn't really safe and that it wasn't going to continue being fun if we had stayed.  Hopefully, my kids saw it demonstrated that mom and dad weren't happy about how things turned out but that we chose to focus on the fun we'd already had and to move on to the next fun part of our day.

Living a life of grace is also living a life of example.

Living a life of selfishness and rudeness is also living a life of example. 

What example are you choosing?


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Promise Me

There is a song out about "if I die young."  I'm not a fan of the song- mostly because I don't think I've even listened to it all the way through. 

But it planted a seed.  I was standing on my deck on Sunday night and I was enjoying fireworks off in the distance.  It was a professional display done as part of a symphony show at a nearby museum/park.

As I stood there, watching fireworks, I started to think about how excited I get about certain things and how those things don't seem to mean nearly as much to Jeff.  Not because there is something wrong with him- we just get excited about different things.

So if something should happen to me, I thought it would be good to write down some of those little things that I want my kids to cherish as they grow up.  It's not a complete list by any means.

Fireworks.  I was once told that fireworks displays are blown up for holidays because we are supposed to remember the great battles in our country's history.  The booms of the fireworks represent cannons and gun fire and the bright flashes represent the flash of the artillery.  I don't know if there is anything historically accurate to that or not but it crosses my mind every time I watch fireworks.  Personally, I just love the colors and the sparkles and the magic of bright bursts of color in the night sky.  I want my kids to always have a sense of awe and beauty when they see fireworks.

Rainbows.  I get really excited when I see a rainbow.  Not like the whacked out dudes in circulating You Tube videos.  But it's that sense of awe and wonder at something so naturally beautiful and special.  When my kids see a rainbow, I want them to remember to take a moment, to pause and just enjoy beauty and nature.

Sushi.  It's not limited to just sushi.  For me, going out for sushi means time with friends, time to connect.  Sushi isn't typically a meal that I rush through or eat alone.  I want my children to have special meals or events that connect them to their friends and family.  Maybe it's sushi, maybe it's fondue.  I want them to be open to unique food celebrations and experiences.

Other cultures.  Along that same line, I want my kids to grow up outside of the bubble.  Of course I want them to be safe and protected.  But I also want them to see the beauty in other cultures and lifestyles.  I want them to see that people are people and that diversity opens up your world in amazing ways. 

Volunteer work.  While I may do a lot to donate to causes important to me, I don't do as much volunteer work as I used to and I sometimes regret that.  However, I also know that I'm doing the work I'm intended to do at this time in my life.  I want my kids to know that food pantries, humane societies, and foster care are all things that are important to me in terms of causes that I feel passionate about.  I want them to find their own passions but I also want them to know what is close to my own heart.

Books. Read. Read to my kids.  Read around my kids.  I want my kids to read for pleasure.  I want my kids to love to read.  I want my kids to find escape and knowledge and creativity through books.  Make sure they read Narnia and Harry Potter and Anne of Green Gables and Lord of the Flies and Frankenstein and The Handmaid's Tale and anything written by Judy Blume or Charlaine Harris or Jennifer Weiner or Jodi Piccoult. 

Friends and family, I'm counting on you.  Promise me that if something happens to me, promise me that these are just a few of the things that are part of me that you will help pass along to my kids.  These are things that will help them to know who I was, who I am, if they grow up without me. 


Saturday, September 3, 2011

This Should Be Fun!

You get a double post today!


I recently won a really great prize package from the Indiana Department of Tourism at the Indiana State Fair.  I answered a question they had posted on Facebook and got a prize.

It's a little more complicated than that because when I went to the booth to answer the question, the volunteers working the booth had no clue what I was talking about.  But when I came home and posted on their Facebook wall (more just to let them know that the people there didn't know about the Facebook contest), they offered to send me the prize.

It's a pretty sweet prize and I was able to coordinate everything and make it work to turn this prize into a fun family overnight getaway!

An overnight stay at a downtown hotel.
A gift certficate for a downtown restaurant.
4 box seats for an Indianapolis Indians game.

That's probably the best prize I've ever won! I was so excited when we opened the envelope! Jeff pulled out the voucher for the baseball game first... then a piece of paper... the restaurant gift certificate... and another piece of paper... an overnight stay!  WOW!

A friend is coming to stay at our house to take care of our little dog.  We're going to head downtown and pick up our baseball tickets.  Then we head to the hotel (Courtyard by Marriott) for an afternoon of swimming.  Then an early dinner at that restaurant (Champions Sports Bar & Grill).  Then off to the baseball game!  It's the last game of the season and if we make it to the end of the game, there will be fireworks!  Then to the hotel for a good night's sleep.  In the morning, we might hit the pool again before packing up for home.  We might stick around downtown to do paddleboats on the Canal, we might go enjoy the Zoo or White River State Park.  Or we might just come home.

I'm really eager for our little getaway!


In unrelated news, I did something fun yesterday!  I had a day off work and used some of that time to get some housework done but as I was folding laundry, I quickly realized that I didn't want to just sit around and do housework with my day off.  I thought about going to see a movie and I went out and did a little shopping (Old Navy- Teagan needed a few things). 

And I faced this weird anxiety that I have.

I get really weird about getting my hair cut.  There's a woman at church who has her own private booth at a local salon and many women from church go to her and I've admired her work many, many times.  I've been wanting to call her for a while but I have this unusual fear about getting my hair cut.  I have no clue why but I really don't like going to get my hair cut.  I remember in junior high going to a salon and my mom really liked this stylist and I remember following her from salon to salon at one point.  But it was never important to me.

In college and adulthood, I never had my own hair person that I just had to go see.  Around the time I met Jeff, I met a woman who was a gifted stylist.  I started going to her somewhat regularly- she's the reason I originally went red with my hair.  But the expense didn't feel worth it to me.  And she started telling me some wild stories about her life that made me somewhat uncomfortable (because they sounded totally fabricated- I'm all for people sharing but only when you're really being truthful).  So I stopped going.

Yesterday, I decided I had a day with nothing to do so this would be the ideal time to call up the woman from church and see if she might have time for me.  And she did.  So instead of going to a movie, I went and got my hair cut.

Best of all, this woman and I chatted throughout the cut and shared a lot about our lives and we have so much in common!  Not only did I get a great cut, but I bonded with someone who is part of my church family.  We just never really had the opportunity to get to know each other before.