Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ready for Snow Day

The National Weather Service calls for 80% chance of snow tomorrow. BoobooBear is ready.

Thanks, Jojo, for the snow gear. It has been used!

Shooting The Kids

Yesterday afternoon, my good friend, S, came to the house to shoot the kids for me. I could have done it myself, but sometimes it’s just better when someone other than mom or dad does the shooting. Less stress, less tension, less complaining from the kids. You know. Just better for everyone involved.

Oh, that’s “shoot photos of the kids”. Heehee.

Way back in December when I turned (mumble) years old, S’s gift to me was the most generous offer to take family photos for me. She’s quick to claim she’s not a “professional” photographer, but I absolutely adore the pictures she’s taken of her kids. They’re just so sweet and charming and fun, I wanted some of my kids, too. You know, just being their own uniquely quirky and lovely selves. In a way that I can’t possibly capture, because I’m too busy barking “be still, don’t do that goofy grin, just act natural”. You know, like moms do when they’re desperate to get a decent picture of their kids for posterity and don’t want to pay a small fortune to get it.

S had wisely chosen a spot and set up most of her equipment yesterday in my study. So, when she arrived today, there was minimal fussing. I dragged sweaters over the boys’ heads, held them in a head lock long enough to brush their hair, and turned them over to S to do with as she pleased. What she did with them was very pleasing. She claims it was great fun, and I’ll just have to take her word for it. But, I did hear quite a bit of laughing and giggling coming from upstairs.

There are a couple of advantages to having a friend take pictures of your kids, rather than having a professional to do it for you. Primarily, your friend already knows your family and your kids, obviously already likes all of you, and has experience with your kids when they’re actually behaving well. So if one or more of the kids are not on their absolute best behavior during the shoot, your friend knows that’s just them at that moment, not how they are all the time. You don’t feel quite so pressured to keep the kids in line, and don’t feel like your parenting is being judged because Junior refuses to take the goofy grin off his face and take a nice picture.

I can’t possibly post here all of the wonderful photos S took of the boys, because she took over 500. She, blessedly, narrowed the batch down to 14 of the best (you can see a slideshow of the best pics here), and the “rest” (because there were some really fabulous goofy shots) she narrowed down to about 200. And, before she left, all of the photos were loaded onto my laptop for us to use as we please. What an amazing gift. Thanks bunches, S.

Up next week, S shoots Papa Bear and Mama Bear. Maybe I should do something with my hair…

Monday, February 8, 2010

Rebuilding Momentum, and The Vegas Dress

I had a bit of a setback in my health and exercise routine last month. My MD had prescribed a medication to help me sleep at night, since my insomnia had reached the level of “persistent and acute.” She said it would take two or three weeks of continuous use before we would know whether it would work, starting out at a low dose and bumping it up until it was working consistently. While I had noticed a wee bit of a slow-down at the lowest dosage, and a little more drag at the medium dose, the higher dose pretty much laid me out. I was on the couch for the better part of a week with fatigue, muscle soreness, chills, and very low energy/motivation, before it occurred to me to ask the pharmacist if this could be a side effect of the medication. Yep, depression symptoms are not unusual when starting this med, and could continue for a few weeks. Not being will to waste a month or so of my life in the couch, I stopped taking it. It was another three days before I had a semi-normal day, though ten days after stopping the medication I am definitely not back to my pre-med peppy self. I feel like I’ve slid back to my pre-exercise days and am having to start over, which is kind of disheartening. Most annoying, my body has lost its craving for exercise, so I’m relying on motivation alone to get me moving. But, I’ve got a pretty strong physical base built up, and my last couple of workouts have been stronger than they were when I was medicated. I’m hoping after another week or so the meds will be flushed out of my system entirely, I can beat off the rest of the “blahs” with my big, fat walking stick, and get back to living fully again. So, there.

Despite this little setback, however, I can report that progress has definitely been made. When I began walking last November I consistently weighed 156-158; I’m now weighing 151-153. I’ve gone down two belt notches, no longer have a noticeable bulge over the top of my jeans, and even have the beginnings of a waist now. For the month of January, I ranked 104th in total FitPoints for my YMCA facility (52nd among female members, 16th among women in my age group), and should reach 10,000 lifetime FitPoints in the next week or so (and that's after an inconsistent January). I’m consistently pushing 15,000 lb on the weight machines each visit, and have managed to get to the Y three days a week most weeks. To get fully back into the swing of things, I need to do an hour of walking on my non-gym days, and do some Yoga a few days a week. That should just about do it.

So, I’ve got a few short-term goals in mind to help keep me motivated and moving in the right direction. I’d like to have enough energy and vitality to easily make it through a long day without pooping out before bedtime (the kids’ bedtime, not mine). I’d like to get down to 140 lb by summer, and feel comfortable wearing my bathing suit when I take the kids to the pool. I’d like to be comfortable wearing a workout-type spandex top and bottom when I work out, and not feel quite so much jiggling when I walk hard on the treadmill. And, I’d like to be perfectly comfortable wearing this dress in public on a date with my husband. I mean, without sucking in my gut the whole time.

The Vegas Dress

Hubby, being the darling, sweet, loving hubby that he is, bought this little number for me during his last business trip to Vegas. He was a bit optomistic about the fit, and I have yet to wear it. That will be remedied soon enough.

As Chris says, there are many things we just don’t have any control over as we age. But, then, there are plenty of things we do have quite a bit of control over. We may as well grab the reins, take charge of what we can, and determine our own quality of life to the greatest extent possible. So, giddyup, girls. Let's get on with it!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

More Detail

Now that T-Bear has decided he wants an insulin pump, our record-keeping has been taken up a notch. I’m on the Endocrinologist’s list for Pump Information Night and Pump Orientation, and I’ve got some homework to do in preparation.

First, I’m keeping a more detailed log of T-Bear’s BS and insulin. Instead of just writing down what his BS is and how much Humalog (fast acting) he’s getting with each meal, I’m recording the time, BS, how many carbs he is eating, how much Humalog he’s getting to cover his meal, and how much to adjust for a high or low BS. This detailed record keeping will become critical when T-Bear gets set up with a pump, since the data will be used to program the pump and refine its dosing over a period of time. Also, the insurance company will want to see two months of logs before they consider approving the pump, to be sure we are serious about managing T-Bear’s T1, and are capable of doing so.

Second, I’m writing down all of my carb counting. Every meal, every snack, every day for a week. Since I usually cook two meals a day (that’s cook, not warm up in the microwave), I’m basically writing down each recipe as I make it (I often make it up as I go along) with each ingredient’s carb count, total up all the ingredients, and then decide what portion of the pot T-Bear is eating. A little more work up front, but I’m finding it can actually be handy to have that stuff written down. I can go back and look it up later when I make the dish again, or when we’re having left-overs. Til now, I’ve been kind of eye-balling portions, but I may take it up a notch and start weighing the pot versus how much T-Bear serves himself, so I have a more accurate count. Regardless, I’ll have my homework done by the time I get to class. I'm still a Teacher's Pet after all these years...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Lost" in Divergent Thinking

LEGO sign created by Brother Bear & T-Bear.

Having spent about a week embroiled in a “Lost” marathon with my family, I can say with some confidence that this series is an excellent example of divergent thinking. It’s not unusual for a series or movie to jump from character to character, have multiple sub-plots developing concurrently with the main plot, and even to move back and forth between the present and other time periods. But, somehow J.J. Abrams and his crew have taken this type of jumping about to a new level. They manage to keep our heads spinning, without confusing us. We’re left baffled and bewildered, but are enjoying the ride immensely. And then, there are the moments of complete, unadulterated whimsy. Stuff that is just random, in a delightful kind of way. It’s very much like listening to a young child tell a story.

“There’s this airplane that falls apart in the sky and a bunch of people land on the beach on a deserted island and mostly aren’t hurt. And there’s a dinosaur monster in the jungle, except it’s not really and dinosaur, it just sounds like a dinosaur, and it’s really smoke, and it eats the pilot. And a dead guy is walking around in a business suit and white tennis shoes. Oh, and a polar bear comes charging out of the jungle even though polar bears aren't supposed to live in tropical jungles. And a guy has to push a button every 108 minutes to save the world, and one day he doesn't, and that's why the plane crashes. And the island they’re all on can be moved by turning a big wheel. Oh, and in the past this guy was a con man, and now a boar is tormenting him and trashing his stuff, and in the future he’s living in the past. And, I forgot, the island isn’t actually deserted, ‘cause a bunch of people have been living there for a really, really long time, I’m not sure how long, but they just don’t want the other people to know they’re there, and this one guy never gets older even though he’s been there forever. And there’s a super-mysterious power source on the island and all these secret hidden stations with old computers in them. Oh, and a submarine! There has to be a submarine, ‘cause submarines are cool.” You get the idea. This is total divergent thinking. And, in this case, it is brilliantly executed.

In contrast, the other night I watched an episode of Heros with Papa Bear, who last year was deeply embroiled in that series. This show tries to be divergent, but doesn’t quite get there. Even though it bounces around from character to character, event to event, and time to time, the overall composition of the story is still linear. You know it’s plodding along in a logical progression, and that everything is going to be tidily explained and nicely wrapped up at some point. There aren’t many “I didn’t see that coming” moments to spin your head around. There’s no sense of delighted bewilderment. It’s a convergent mind trying to look divergent, and after being completely delighted by Lost, Heros simply did not hold my attention. It failed to hold Papa Bear’s attention, too.

At the heart of divergent thinking lies enchantment and an all-encompassing sense of wonder. A complete, soul-nourishing delight and bewilderment at the world around us, and what some of us are capable of creating when allowed the time and permission to do so. Our cultural soul is STARVING for these sparks of divergent thinking that can burst into a flame of complete wonder and awe.

So, bring it on kids! We, the confined, conformed and convergent-minded grown-ups of the world, promise to do our best not to squash your creative thinking, and to actually nourish it as best we are able. Because, deep down in our hearts and souls, we know this world desperately needs your beautiful, soulful, flabbergasting cage-rattling to set it straight.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Son Shine

For the longest time, Brother Bear has resisted learning to print "properly", insisting on using his own brand of "cursive" writing as often as he could get away with it. Getting him to finish two pages per day in his Handwriting Without Tears printing book was a chore. The day his HWT cursive workbook arrived, he completed a dozen pages, sitting at the chess table in the sunshine, in beautiful, loopy script.

Passion rocks, even when we don't understand it.