Saturday, June 29, 2013

Top 3 Worries for 2013

After this year's VBS where we had the children explore prayer as a way to deal with life, Oldest asked me, "Mom? Do you have worries?" He said that he always wanted to ask that question, but never felt he could. Yes, son, I do have worries.

Every year that goes by brings new stresses and challenges. Stresses are good for us to endure and learn from. Some of these are things I worry about. Often called 'Fears', they are things that would be really terrible to have happen to me, so I think about (worry about) ways to avoid them or prepare for them. I told my son there are two things you can do: pray, and prepare. 

Our natural reaction to stressors is 'fight' or 'flight'. Flight from your worries often does not solve them. Prayer can sometimes be used as a 'flight'. I prefer to use it for perspective. Sometimes you just need to calm down and see things from another point of view. 

Being prepared is one way to fight. Here is a list of my top worries. Until I feel prepared for them, they will always be worries.

#1. House fire!
I figure that is more common than a tornado. 

This worry is really more about losing my security blanket. So much of my identity is in the house. Not just birth certificates and licenses, but also pictures and letters. 

We've worked really hard to have a house and keep it up. It is a safe place. Losing your home must be a terrible thing, no matter how. I know lately the tornadoes and flooding and hurricanes have put people in this very situation. I know I'd be the one on the news saying, "We're all just happy to be alive. We can rebuild," all positively, but deep down, the hassle of getting your important documents back, making your insurance pay out, finding a place to sleep, clean clothes, and food would be exhausting and more consuming than the worry over your 'stuff'. 

Conversely, I also have an insane curiosity/desire about leaving everything behind to follow a dream. This is the stuff of movies, right? I like to watch shows like "Wild at Heart", movies like "Eat, Pray, Love", and I think about what it would take to drop everything like a missionary and just go and do. To trust that you will be okay simply because you are alive.. I guess if I win the lottery, and I mean huge, I'd eventually become some wandering do-gooder..

So how do I prepare for a natural disaster or accidental displacement? 
  • Do get homeowner's insurance, or renter's insurance if you rent.
  • Keep you personal data safe. Use a lock box, locking file cabinet or desk, or fire-proof safe.
  • Make copies of some things and put them in a safe deposit box at a bank. 
  • Make Emergency plans and a kit. Discuss plans with your family; escape routes, meeting places, phone numbers.
  • Keep Extra clothes or maybe medications with a  relative or neighbor and/or kept in a bag in the car.

 It feels good just to write this out!

#2. Losing a loved one. Especially a child.
So many people are posting missing pictures on facebook. I doubt the actual number of missing people has increased, but rather the exposure to the general public has increased. I know we all die one day, and it is possible that I will have to face this worry, but I just don't want to! I hate to cry in front of people. Mostly, I hate to think of the extreme sense of loss and the hole in my life that I won't ever fill. How do you prepare for a hole in your heart?

  • The best thing seems to be to tell your loved ones that you love them as often as possible. 
  • Do things together. 
  • Make a legacy. Memories are your legacy to others. 
  • Care and show it.

#3. Car accidents.
Especially deer and exploding semi tires or things falling out of the back of trucks in front of me. I nearly hit a bush the other day that fell out of the back of a truck.. And being rear-ended. 

This is just a safety worry. It's always a good thing to be aware of everything around you when you drive. You can avoid many accidents by staying alert. 

No texting or talking on the cell while driving, especially in a manual like my car. :) 

And let's not forget that car accidents could come with injuries or worry number 2. Cars are not an investment, no matter how you look at them. If you have one, be responsible.

 In conclusion, I told my oldest it was the parent's job to worry so the kids don't have to! That's the way it should be. How many times have you heard "you let me worry about that" coming from a parent?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Skinny Rules and My Comments on Them

I love to watch Biggest Loser on TV.  Along with the inspiring stories of people who work really hard to lose weight and get healthy, there are sometimes facts and rules to weight loss that are valuable.

I am not overweight, but I am not happy with my body. I have noticed a lack of flexibility, a lack of energy, and disappointment in the size of clothes I have to buy. While I should simply be grateful that I still can shop in 'normal' stores and find something on a rack to try on (and that my husband finds me irresistible), I still see active, happy, skinnier people and want to be like that. I know that I can be flexible, strong, and happy with just a little bit of work each day.

Firstly, I love the Daily Hiit body work exercises. There are real people not only hosting the videos with awesome encouragement and adaptations, but there are real people posting pics of their real results. The best part is that you do not have to have any equipment and the workouts are SHORT. You can fit them in anywhere in your day.

Secondly, I have found this list of rules supposedly by Bob Harper from Biggest Loser. This list is expanded upon in his book of the same title.
Perusing this list, I thought I'd comment on a few of them.

Number 1, this must be my new goal. I have been drinking more water, however linking water consumption to a meal time is genius planning. PLUS, the water will help you digest. Water ALWAYS makes me hungry, so pairing it with meals is perfect. If you drink enough, chances are you will eat smaller portions, right?

Number 2, I already don't drink soda or coffee. I assume this doesn't mean protein shakes. :) I have been trying a few protein drinks but I can't stand the metallic aftertaste. I'm not cut out for them.

Number 3, I do this.
Number 4, Already do this. We buy whole grain breads, rolls, tortillas, cereal, pasta, or veggie pasta.
Number 5, I never counted. This must be a later goal. Find out how much fiber I get in a day.
Number 6, Sounds simple enough. We always have apples in the house. We just planted berry bushes, so soon the rising cost of berries in the winter will not be an issue. HaHA!

Number 7, This must not mean the good carbs found in fiber, fruit, and veggies, but rather the bad carbs like sugar, white flour, white potatoes, and syrups. Awww, no more pancakes for dinner!

8 and 9 go together. Labels have serving sizes, and the carbs and fiber, listed. Portion control is huge in America, however. When you go out to eat, you get refined flours, plates full of foods, double the portions on meats, buttery veggies, and sugary drinks. The standard is set. I am working on unlearning it. :)

Number 10, I have found that the added sweeteners give me a headache anyway. I hate Splenda. I just avoid them anyway most of the time.

Number 11, We have potatoes often at certain times of the year. Will have to concentrate on using red or yellow ones instead. I love sweet potatoes, and I try to get them, but my family does not unless they are french fried.

Number 12, I like this, because we can get protein from eggs, milk, cheeses, beans, nuts and even broccoli. I don't have to have meat every single day.

Number 13, I have made a resolution to myself to not have fast food. I just can't stand the grease. I allow myself Subway, Arby's occasionally, but no fries, and Penn Station occasionally. I have broken this promise a few times. You can't look a gift horse in the mouth, especially when tired, hungry, and on the go. I have shared my goal with my family and they do enjoy my suggestions.

Number 14, I usually have oatmeal. What is a 'real' breakfast?  Whole grain cereal, fruit, and a glass of milk? It might be worth perusing the chapter on 'real' breakfast in the bookstore. This and the confusing carb statement..

Number 15, Well, I make my own breakfast and lunch, so I'm covered. :)

Number 16, Do not eat those frozen 'healthy' meals. They are full of salt! Check your cereal labels, people, hidden salt. Do not have a lot of V-8, nor anything that does not need refrigerated after opening.Canned veggies are bad! And soups, oh watch those. Packaged meats, condiments, spaghetti sauce, salted peanuts, chips and pretzels (also made with refined flour) are also big salty places. I don't know about you, but occasionally I crave a salty snack. I figure my body needs it. But I don't eat chips, go very easy on condiments, have little packaged meats, and stay away from pre-packaged or frozen food as much as possible.

Number 17, I'm trying! I have been eating salads and have a nice garden growing fresh things. I like veggies.
Number 18, Can't do this. Hunger will keep me awake! This is a chapter I need to read.. do you think he suggests bedtime snacks? I like to eat a slice of cheese, drink some milk, and try to get back to sleep if I am woken up by hunger. Protein keeps you feeling satiated longer.

Number 19, I'm trying. Sometimes sleep is not easy. I always have trouble turning off my mind and falling asleep. We just bought a new mattress pad for our bed. I find I am sleeping deeper lately. This is good. I am also more busy in the day time. Both are good for sleep. Then there are days where a storm front comes and I get a migraine and I am lethargic.. but that's another post.

Number 20, oh good, so I CAN have pancakes for dinner! This is not a weekly occurrence. Most often splurge meals are eaten 'out'. I almost always bring home leftovers. Hm, maybe that is not a good thing. The husband and I have been sharing meals at restaurants for portion control and it saves money. Cha-CHING! We also order veggies and grilled chicken or steak instead of ground meats or fried foods. We have discovered that some places only serve 'comfort foods' high in fat, grease, and starch. Sides given to choose from are often white potatoes and corn or buttery green beans and baby carrots that have been boiled limp (no vitamins) and smothered in bacon, onions, or butter and pepper or some sauce. Not healthy!

Overall, I am doing okay, diet-wise. Really, it's the exercise part that I need to work on! As far as this list goes, I am going to try one new goal at a time. So, water before every meal, here I come!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Summer 2013 Part One: Museum, Water Park, Limo, Garden, and Pond

As you may have figured out.. I got the teaching job. :)

I worried and prayed and cried and worried some more and emailed the principal two too many times, but it happened.

It has been a busy first year teaching. I have not only had to struggle through being in charge of 12 students and 3 adults all day long with very special and unique needs in all aspects of their development, but I have also gone to workshops, meetings, trainings, and taken college classes.

And one of those classes was especially difficult, setting a very high standard, and demanding all of my spare time for three months.

Did I learn a lot? Oh yes, in all aspects of my teaching career development. I learned to be involved, but still discreet; stay flexible, but organized; don't be afraid to step on a few toes, but cover your ass; and while I have the right demeanor, I need to work on the technical skills. I learned that communication is good, but too much can be a bad thing.

But it is SUMMER now. I have one week left of my summer college class, but already I have been having fun and doing things I've always wanted to do, like just get up and go places to have fun with the boys.

On to the pictures!

Summer always begins in May for me. May is a great month, Mother's Day, Teacher Appreciation Day, my anniversary, and my birthday all occur in May. For my birthday, we went to the Indianapolis Children's Science and Technology Museum where they had GECKOS! (They are not there now.)

 Love this pic!
Three sleeping friends.

So, if geckos can do it...

 Beautiful green ones.
 This one looks the most like a baby dragon.

Then the boys and their dad made an arch, 

 Climbed a rock wall,

 and became oceanographers,

 or archeologists.

 We really wanted a garden, so in May we began to look into raised bed gardening, bought materials, borrowed a tiller, and built this.

Here are my tiny baby plants surrounded by fencing to keep out bunnies and chipmunks and stray cats and dogs. Well, those that venture close enough with my own guard dog chained up near by. Some of those critters are quiet and fearless when it comes to food. We also bought a compost bin and since the weather got warm, some critter has been getting into it. I guess if it eats there, it won't eat my plants..

Meanwhile, we also took a limo ride to a tiny diner in the middle of nowhere (Eugene, IN) that had good home cooked food. Mornings were still chilly, so the boys have dressed oddly appropriately... shorts and jackets.
 And at the end of May there is a fair that comes to town. We got the boys pay-one-price bracelets so they could ride and ride and ride until they were sick of it. We actually left when we were all hungry for dinner because fair food is so expensive and unhealthy!!

On to June!
We left the state on a spontaneous trip to Columbus, OH for a toy convention at Fort Rapids, a hotel with an indoor water park. It hasn't really warmed up long enough to make an outdoor water park feel good. 

 The lobby and water park are western themed. Not sure what the peacock floral arrangement has to do with western, but it was neat. :)

 View from our 12th floor window of the tube slides that go outside. The racer slides also go outside, but are on the back of this building housing the water park.
Big construction jungle gym with water slides and water works in the middle of the water park. The huts and Indian Brave are part of the lazy river. The boys liked the kiddie play area and the deeper activity pool more than this construction. I think it was because the water in it was COLD. The rest of the water was warmer.
 Big funnel slide. There were 2 other tube slides and a set of racing slides. The oldest went down them all, twice with me, and raced me and his little brother on mats down the racing slide. It was 5 flights of concrete steps up every time and short lines. My legs were burning after 6 trips in a row!
When we tired of swimming, we went to the arcade in the hotel. Daddy bought them cowboy hats at the git shop. Between the four of us (because of course, we adults played games, too!) we won a thousand tickets and the boys got a magic 8 ball and play handcuffs and a plastic dinosaur. The youngest also used a claw machine and picked up 2 little balls.
On the way back home, the boys were all tuckered out! This picture was just too perfect! I used it as my facebook profile pic.

These little vacations are just right. The travel is long, but not long enough to lose sleep on the road. The one night stay in a hotel gave the boys a new experience, and Mom and Dad lost only one night of good sleep. The boys said they were homesick and they had a great time playing two days leisurely in the water park. Needless to say, only daddy went for the toy fair..  We might do this again closer to home in July.

Then the oldest had Police Camp. He saw bomb squad, police dog, and taser demonstrations, drove a golf cart, shot a paint ball gun at zombie cut outs, and learned some discipline. He had a good time. They had a closing ceremony for the parents where they 'graduated' and received medals. There were a LOT of cadets!

Since I made a new pond this year outside, the boys decided to craft their own stepping stones. And what's summer with me without a craft??

 Here are a couple shots of my pond, complete with fish.

I'm thinking I want to gravel under the bench, too. Cutting grass here is just a pain.

 Yes, the boys play in our little pool out back. The water is still cold, since we have had one hot day and a lot of nice temperate ones. Kids don't care how cold it is! They get in and get out 5 minutes later and they shiver and love it.

 And here is an update on my garden plants. They are huge!

Corn and green beans
 Radishes and carrots that aren't up yet.
 cherry tree with a cherry!
Surprise pumpkins!
Not pictured are the blueberry and blackberry bushes and the apple tree. I'll have to get some pics to show you later.

So, my goals for this summer include some more vacation and family event things, planning for next year's teaching, editing my friend's manuscript, and writing my own, as well as reading a few books I picked up and thoroughly cleaning the house.