Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Goal Update: January 31, 2012

Well, I did it!  I lost a whole 20 pounds!  It took me 2 months, almost exactly to do.  That is 2 pounds per week for those of you who can do math, or a little bit more for the months that don't have 5 weeks!  I need to lose 40 more.  I'm motivated to do it this time.  I realized the other day why I'm motivated to lose the weight.  This time around I'm doing it for myself.

The first time I *really* needed to lose a lot of weight was when I came back from Argentina.  I didn't realize how big I had grown over there.  I ate a lot of empanadas and a lot of alfajores (Argentine cookies).  None of the foods I ate were particularly good for me.  I walked a lot, but I was eating out and drinking TOO MUCH.  

When I came home, Mom and Dad took us out to the Peking Palace for Chinese food.  Peking Palace was our family's favorite restaurant while I was growing up.  My Mom and Dad loved their Sizzling Rice Soup.  I loved their Egg Drop Soup.  When we walked in the Chinese lady said, "My have you grown."  She was blunt and rude.  We haven't been back since. Hearing those words from her  was eye-opening and made me want to lose weight.  I wanted to do it for appearances, not really for myself.

I began riding my bike about 10 miles a day with Jon (my friend from high school), while I waited to go back to college, to get on with my life.  By the time I arrived back at American, I had lost about 20 pounds.  I continued to lose by eating more healthily.  I also became a vegetarian around the same time, which really helped with the weight loss.

The second time I really had to lose weight, I did it for Hubby and my wedding.  I lost 50 pounds.  I kept it off for two years, until I became pregnant with Son #1.  Since then, I've always struggled to take the weight off in between pregnancies.  I have led more and more of a sedentary lifestyle.  Now, I'm willing to do something about it FOR ME, not for anyone else.

I met most of my goals from last week.  I attended taekwondo four times (or more).  I actually went to three classes today.  I needed the stress relief, but now I sort of feel like I can't remove myself from this chair!  I attended a lunch class, the Family Class with Son #1, and then the evening adult class.  I love the way I feel after working out hard, like I have a whole new lease on life.  Plus, I absolutely adore my taekwondo friends.

Bathrooms: What a chore.  I did two out of four.  Two out of four ain't bad, is it?  I'll do the other two tomorrow.  Plus, I need to vacuum.  Do you know how much I abhor housework?  My Mom does.

Leg Throws:  Hubby and I did well with these at the beginning of the week, but he strained his neck and hasn't done any more.  I did them one day without him.  I really need to stick with this strength training exercise.  Leg throws definitely increase and strengthen my ab muscles as well as my leg muscles.

Oh yeah, and I didn't get sick, and I DID lose the 1 pound!!!  YAY!!!

Goals for next week:
1.  Vacuum downstairs every day.
2.  Test for my 2nd Level Green Belt and Advance in Level!
3.  Walk -- Taekwondo takes a week break usually after testing, so I'll have to seek other  exercise next week.
4.  I'm going BIG -- Lose 1.5 pounds!

Let's see if I can pull it off!

5:30 AM, Nice to See You Again

It's 5:30.  I've been up since 4:30.  Thinking.  I thought the other day that I think too much.  Sometimes, I wish I could quiet my mind.  I have a thinking problem.

I was remembering how we used to go to Harper's Ferry, just Hubby and me, to walk the trails.  We would climb up the mountain, our leg muscles feeling sore towards the ascent to the top.  We'd break through the trees, and the sight of the little town by the river down below was breathtaking.  Awe-inspiring and wonderful.  So much has happened since then.

We were better when we were by ourselves, free to do what we wanted with each other.  Now we're together but apart.  I've been trying so hard to reach that mountain peak again.  I've been trying so hard to take a huge gulp of that fresh air.  I know it's waiting for me at the top: the feeling of togetherness. There's something so magical about being able to look down and see a whole town laid out for you.  Wouldn't it be amazing to see your life in that way? 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Tired

I had a post to write today.  I was going to do my normal routine.  Pick up kids, take Son #1 to taekwondo, then go to taekwondo myself, come home and blog, but I'm tired.

I wasn't productive at work today, because I'm tired.  Tired of trying.  Tired of being stuck.  Tired of writing the same old thing.  Tired of the same old job.  Just plain tired.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Darling Daughter's Day

Darling Daughter and I drove up to Birmingham to see my friend, Cecilia, who I've known since high school.  The drive was wonderful.  I listened to music: Snow Patrol, Mumford and Sons, Keane, Pavement, Flaming Lips.  I sang.  Darling Daughter slept the whole way.  

We arrived in Birmingham around 1:15 and promptly went to Cecilia's house to pick her up.  We were starving.  Darling Daughter was chirping, "Eat" from the back seat every few minutes as we made our way to a little Greek restaurant in Homewood.  I love Greek food, and there is only one place you can get it in Montgomery, so when I go to Birmingham I always want to eat at this little restaurant.

We had an appetizer platter with hummos, tzatziki, and some pink dip that was delightful (and salty!).  I ordered a gyro.  Darling Daughter loved the tazatsiki and dipped several pita chips into it.  She also liked the gyro meat.  She is my best eater by far.

After lunch, Cecilia and I took Darling Daughter to the playground across the street.  She enjoyed herself immensely, all while maintaining a firm grip on the red lollipop I had bought for her at the restaurant! Cecilia snapped this great picture of her using her iphone. I'm still amazed at how well cellphone photos turn out.  Technology is improving so quickly!
The little red bow in her hair (that you can hardly see) stayed there for a few hours.  She was wearing blue, so with the lack of hair everyone thought she was a boy.  While at the park, two people called her a boy then corrected themselves when they saw the little red bow.  In my opinion, she's too pretty to be mistaken for a boy!

Darling Daughter also dragged her pink blankey around while she was playing.  She is a attached to her blanket, just like her Mommy and her Aunt before her.  Cecilia snapped this photo of us together, and I love it.  We look so happy, me to be with her and she to have her lollipop and blanket!

After the playground, we decided to go to the outlets.  Cecilia and I discussed kids, love, and life.  I love the fact that she and I have been friends for so long.  Even when we don't talk for awhile, we can still come back and enjoy each others' company and it's as though we were never apart.  There's a lot of value to be found in lifelong friends.  They know you better than anyone else in your life, and they're accepting of your flaws and your enthusiasm!

We visited a few stores at the outlet.  We talked some more.  Darling Daughter walked around and danced in the corridors while singing her favorite song, "Baa Baa Black Sheep."  Then Cecilia and Darling Daughter played in the play area by the food court.  They enjoyed canoeing.




(And yes, I did change her outfit.  At the Greek restaurant, Darling Daughter had managed to stick her sleeve into the tzatziki, so I changed her clothes during a quick diaper change! No one can mistake her for a boy with that outfit on!)


Then it was time to go home.  We swung by Cecilia's place to pick up my ipod, which was charging while we were hanging out.  Darling Daughter fell asleep within five minutes of being placed in her carseat.  I enjoyed some Fleetwood Mac, Beatles, and Elliot Smith on the way home.  What a fun way to spend a Saturday!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Morning After

Last night I belly laughed so hard, so today my stomach muscles hurt.  I was hanging out with friends and just feeling so in touch with my humorous side again.  I don't think I have laughed that hard since college. 

I have found a new, great group of friends.   I absolutely love the beginning of new friendships.  I love sharing stories,interests, and ideas.  I love the feeling of finding someone who you can completely be yourself with.  I love philosophical conversations and trying to find out why other people believe what they believe.  I love trying to explain the university universe and trying to figure out why we're all here. 

I feel so happy today.  This week, I feel happier than I have felt in months.  I feel like I am finding myself again.  I was once lost and now I'm found.  There is something so simplistic about this statement, but so true.  I remember as a child singing Amazing Grace and not understanding the meaning of the song.  But, now I do.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Now if only I could figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sparring

One of my friends asked me to write a blog about sparring.  At first, I really didn't know what I would write.  Sparring is a free form fighting used for training in taekwondo.  I absolutely love sparring!

It's funny, when I was young I dated this guy and he would always have dreams about fighting.  I thought it was the strangest thing.  He seemed to thrive on the idea of fighting.  I didn't understand it, but now I do.  Defending yourself and defending those you love is important in life.  Taekwondo gives one the ability to put self-defense into action.  Sparring tests the skills I've been learning since I was a white belt. 


Sparring Gear:
sparring_gear
This is what we wear while sparring.  I look pretty funny in this gear, plus the mouth piece, but it is necessary to wear to prevent injury.  The shoes, in particular, feel strange on your feet, but they really protect your feet when you do kicks. There are also elbow pads and leg pads (not pictured above).

I started sparring last week.  At first, I was intimidated by the other belts in the class.  I'm a lowly first level green belt, which means I'm the lowest rank that can spar.  I have less experience, and so for most of our sparring rounds I end up just blocking!  I'm trying to work on some cool combos: Front Kick, Jab Reverse Punch, Side Kick, Jump Spin Side kick.  I have all these great ideas in my head, but they don't actually come to fruition when I'm sparring.

Sometimes, Miranda Grace and I spar.  She absolutely beats the crap out of me.  She is fierce, at kicking and punching, and just reining down numerous combinations on me all at once!  Yesterday, I sparred another one of my friends, and he just kept performing front kicks over and over again.  I just sort of stood back and watched, then I started kicking and hitting him, but he's about 8 inches taller than me, and honestly I did not do very well.

After sparring, when I take my gear off, I'm just a ball of sweat.  Gross, I know, but at least we know we're getting a good workout!  Maybe, one of these days, I'll share a photo or video of me sparring...just maybe.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Yesterday

Yesterday

Yesterday was humorous.

Yesterday I had a lot of energy.

Yesterday, Hubby and I went to the

Probate Office to renew our driver’s licenses.

While there, we had to take new photos. I smiled for

my photo. The lady in the booth handed me my temporary card. 

“Review your information for accuracy,” she said. I looked at the card. 

My new address was there. My eye color: brown. My hair color: brown. I paused,

and I looked at her and said, “Should I change my hair color to bald?” She looked at me confused, 

“You have hair.” “It’s just a wig,” I said. Hubby took his photo too. He asked if he could keep his old

photo. I asked why. He said, “Because I had more hair then!”  It happens to the best of us, going bald.

Last night, Hubby and I decided to play “Duck, Duck, Goose,” with the boys. Son #1 was excited. He said 

it is his favorite baby game. Because that’s what it is, a baby game, he said. Son #2 was excited

too, but apparently he has not played very much. We sat in a circle in the middle of our

living room. Son #1 started, “Duck, Duck, Duck, GOOSE!” as he tapped Son #2

on the head. Son#2 began chasing Son#1 around. Son#1 kept running

and missed Son #2’s spot. Then Son #2 tagged Son #1, and

Son#2 was “it.” Yes, this is backwards. Son #2 starts

and he pats my head, “Duck-Goose,” he says

then he pats Son #1, “Duck-Goose,”

then he pats Dad, “Duck-Goose.”

I guess he just didn’t

understand.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wayback Wednesday: Impulsiveness

I have an impulsive personality. I wish I didn’t. Some people might describe me as *sometimes* doing rather crazy things without thinking of the consequences. I make decisions impulsively. (I like to think *now* that I make quick decisions, instead of impulsive ones. I’m always the first to know what I want to eat at a restaurant!) I shop impulsively. If I see something cute for the kids, then I will buy it without thinking about the costs. I am controlling this now, and I’m not buying clothes for them that they don’t need. I’ve had a problem with impulsiveness my whole life. I’ve never done anything dangerous, and I try not to put my needs ahead of others. Son #1 has impulsive/aggressive problems, and this is not me although I expect he receives his impulsiveness from me. I just sometimes go out on the lamb. I do something that no one thought I’d do. I act unexpectedly.

In the Spring of 2000, I did just that. I had an impulsive moment. I was in love with my best friend, only he lived far away at another school. My two good girlfriends, Angie, Tiff, and I had been up late talking. Angie and I had been drinking. We were giggly college girls:

We didn’t want to study for our exams. We were procrastinating: another one of my vices. We were talking to Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend on the phone, having a great time. It was late, probably two or three in the morning, and as I recall it was a school night. Our school, American didn’t normally have Wednesday classes so we were all free to enjoy ourselves the next day, but Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend had class the next day. He was studious, and he did not like missing classes. I’m not sure how fond he was of impulsiveness either. 
 
I said, “Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend, we’re just going to get in the car and come up and see you, because I miss you.” I’m sure it was sort of slurred and funny sounding. 

Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend said, “No, you’re not.”

Here’s where Lauren’s emotions and life rules out everyone else’s priorities. I should have listened to him, but I didn’t want to hear what he was saying. I think I did a lot of that in college.

So I said, “Yes, we’re going to come up to see you tonight!”  My friends were egging me on.  We all liked the idea of a spontaneous adventure!

He sort of laughed and said, “Yeah right. You’re not. I have a test tomorrow. I’ll see you in _____ number of weeks.”

We hung up, and I looked at my two girlfriends and I said, “Let’s go. Why not? It will be fun. He’ll want to see me when I get there.”

My friends and I set out for a road trip in my 2000 Toyota Camry (I still have this car, only Hubby drives it now!) at three o’clock in the morning. The trip up was fun. We stopped and bought Dr. Peppers and beef jerky, a staple from gallivanting around in the country during my high school days. We sang Christmas Carols, in April, all the way up there. We switched drivers after two hours, because Tiffany was tired. These are the things I remember from that trip: it was pitch black driving through those mountains at night, there were a lot of trucks on the highway, the lights in the tunnels were so bright that driving back out into the darkness was utterly shocking, and there was a TON of construction going on once we hit the Pennsylvania state line. 
 
We rolled into Pittsburgh around seven in the morning. We parked around the corner from Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend’s dorm/apartment. The three of us stumbled to the door, half asleep (but not in frog pajamas) and buzzed up to his apartment. The buzzer rang upstairs to his phone. He picked up, and it was obvious that he was still asleep.

Hello,” Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend said groggily.

Hey. We’re downstairs. We came to visit.” I said, the girls giggling in the background.

What? No you’re not.” I guess he thought it was just one of my morning wake-up calls.

Yes, we’re downstairs, buzz us up.”

He buzzed us up, and when we made it up the stairs he opened the door. He did not look happy to see me. He did not look pleased that I had, in all of my selflessness, driven four and half hours through mountains and tunnels in the dark just to come see him. I wonder to this day, what in the world was I thinking? Desperation, much?

I’ll go get you some blankets, and you can sleep here,” he said, pointing to the floor. Not exactly what I had in mind. “I have class at 10. You can come to breakfast with us at 9.” 
 
Man of few words. Man mad to be woken up by crazy girl who wishes to throw herself at him at 7 in the morning, after having talked on the phone with her until 3 in the morning!

At nine he woke me up.  We talked privately.  I told him I wanted to stay and hang out for the day.  He completely refused.  He wanted me to go home.  I was not part of his plans.  He had school, and he needed to study.  I remember feeling upset.  I remember thinking I’d be flattered if someone came to see me at 3:00 o’clock in the morning.  (Although, I know that’s not true because only a year before my “then boyfriend” had hopped a Greyhound bus from Michigan to come see me after I said I wanted space, and I was not amused!)  I expected Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend to drop everything to be with me at that moment, which was presumptuous and entirely unfair on my part.

We went to breakfast at one of the schools’ cafeterias. Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend’s friends WERE entirely amused that we had driven to see him in the middle of the night. THEY thought it was totally cool. We talked over breakfast. Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend hugged me, wished me adieu, and we left around 9:45, approximately two hours and forty-five minutes after arriving.

The problem stemming from this visit was that I only “wished he was my boyfriend,” he wasn’t actually my boyfriend. This whole act in itself was desperate and impulsive. Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend *really* didn’t want me to come, but in my head I thought he did. After this act of selfishness, I don’t blame him so much for trying to set me up with his best friend, even though he knew (or in my mind *must* have known I was desperately in love with him). Maybe this was his way of putting me down easily. Maybe he couldn’t own up to his own feelings about me, just because of the distance—I will never know. It’s a wonder that Wish-he-was-my-boyfriend and I stayed friends for another two years or so. We played games we each others’ heads for awhile, and eventually when I couldn’t get what I wanted I moved on. I will never know exactly what he thought about me that morning or how it made him feel. 
 
On the drive home, I couldn’t fathom why he didn’t want me there. It never occurred to me that I didn’t take his feelings into account. I didn’t listen when he told me he didn’t want me to come up. I just came, selfishly, to achieve my own selfish means. Impulsiveness is like that.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Weekly Weight Loss Update: January 24, 2012

I have lost 19 pounds.  That’s almost, but not quite, 20 pounds.  By the end of January I will have lost 20 pounds.  I’m on my way there.  Here are some items that weigh 20 lbs: an automobile tire, a sack of potatoes, and one of my children at a year old (on average).  Yeah, I’ve lost a whole one year old…almost.  I only have two more one-year olds to lose.  I guess that’s appropriate, for every childi gave birth to I put on twenty pounds.  Really that’s incredible to think about.  Thank God I didn’t have more than three!

I was not particularly good at achieving my goals this week.  In fact, you could call me a slacker.  I did lose 3 pounds instead of the 1 pound goal I set for myself, but I think that was due mainly to the 24-hour stomach bug that I had.  Overall, I did well with my eating habits, except for my dinner and drinks with Sis, Bro-n-law, and Hubby on Saturday.

I did not clean the bathrooms.  I hate cleaning the bathrooms.  It seriously takes me about ten minutes to do this chore, so why do I dread it so much?  I’ll tell you why: I live in a house with 3 boys. Boys are disgusting in the bathroom, and I’m left cleaning their pee off the floor and their poop from the inside of the porcelain throne.  I’m supposed to hire a maid once a month and she can clean the bathrooms but until then I’ll have to do it.  Hubby DID clean the guest bathroom before people came over on Saturday.  Thanks for that!

Leg throws are the bane of my existence.  Okay, that was fairly dramatic.  I’m exaggerating.  I’ve been known to do that from time to time.  I think I did leg throws maybe three times this week.  I don’t feel horribly about that though, because I made it to taekwondo four times this week and we did a lot of aerobic workout, push-ups, leg throws, and sit ups so I know I had SOME strength training.  Hubby on the other hand: he was just being lazy! 

Push-ups took the same route as leg throws.  This week, I think I’m going to make my goals more attainable.

Goals for the upcoming week:

·        Four Days of Taekwondo

·        Don’t get sick – in reality I have no control over this, but I don’t want to be sick this week so the power of positive thinking is going to help me achieve this goal!

·        Clean the bathrooms – hold over from last week.  This will be done!

·        20 leg throws – These are here again, but I’m removing push-ups.  Hubster will be happy!

·        Lose 1 pound totaling 20 pounds total lost!

Febreeze

Hubby and I were doing our usual morning shuffle, trying to force three kids out of the house who usually don’t want to go.  He had picked out clothes for the boys, and I picked out Darling Daughter’s outfit.  (It’s best when I pick it out, because then she matches and doesn’t look like a boy).

I put her in this cute Hanna dress with jeans.  I could not find the Hanna leggings for the life of me.  They are probably stuck somewhere in our always-full laundry baskets that sit undisturbed in the laundry room for a week (or sometimes weeks) before being washed.  I went digging through the laundry basket in her closet.  Yes, sometimes I stoop this low.  There is not enough time in our day to get everything done.

I found a perfectly “clean” pair of jeans for her to wear, except for one piece of oatmeal stuck on them, which I promptly picked off and put into the trash.  I dressed her, and we went downstairs.  Then it was shoe time, and as I sat her in my lap to put her shoes on I realized that she smelled.  Or rather, the jeans smelled, somewhat like mildew, which makes no sense, unless something in her laundry basket was wet and set upon them. 

I looked for Hubbyand asked, “Can you bring me the Febreeze?”

Yes, I confess: I febreezed my Darling Daughter’s pants.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weekend is Over

I hate when the weekend is over.  I feel like I am two different people: Work Lauren and Weekend Lauren. 

We had a good time on Saturday with my sister and her kids.  They played with our kids, we ate, talked, and drank.  Then Saturday night, we went out to eat at SaZa's for Hubby's birthday.  I had the Seafood Risotto.  It was delicious.  I felt bad for not sticking, so much, to my diet.  I also had one Pineapple Upside Down Cake Martini, 2 glasses of red wine, and a Bay Breeze.  Needless to say, I woke up with a headache on Sunday.

Last night, Son #2 would not stay in his bed.  He has a problem with this.  Hubby and me, in much need of sleep, just let him crawl into our bed.  Again, Son #1 woke up with a nightmare.  He told me he dreamt about "the faces."  They were scary faces.  He cried screamed at the foot of the stairs.  I retrieved him, hugged him, and told him he could sleep on the floor in our room.  He was upset by this. He wanted to sleep in our bed.  Son #1 is a toenail digger.  By that, I mean he digs his toenails into your back when you are sleeping, and it is uncomfortable. 

He sat on the floor whining and complaining for about an hour, and every time I would think he'd fallen back asleep, he'd do it again.  I.AM.NOT.PATIENT at THREE in the MORNING.  Finally, he said, "Mommy, I need to tell you something," and I yelled, "SON #1 JUST GO TO BED!" 

I wish I could be more of a loving/comforting mother sometimes, but 3 AM is just not the time for me.  I comforted him when he came down the stairs, hugged him, told him next time he had a bad dream to remember that he controls his dreams, and that he can stop them.  That's about the extent of my comforting at 3 AM.

In other news: The boys now enjoy showers: immensely.  They say it is like playing in the rain!

Darling Daughter also repeated every word I said to her out of the alphabet book we read together, and she tried to pee on the potty, urinating instead right next to it! 

They're growing up!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Blog Game

Blog Game


My cousin Reagan sent me this blog game, and I thought why not? It will make my Saturday morning post really easy! So here goes.

the rules:
1. you must post the rules
2. post eleven facts about yourself on the blog post
3. answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post,
and then create eleven new questions the people you've tagged
4. tag people and link them on your post
5. let them know you've tagged them.
Eleven Facts About me:

1. I have Alopecia Areata.  I'm bald, and I've struggled with hair loss from this disease since I was 5 years old.

2. I love to read, but since having 3 children I don't have as much time for it.

3. In High School, I was on the tennis team.

4. I am still friends with a group of girls that I've known since 5th Grade (and some longer). It's wonderful to have such amazing people in my life!

5. I love to travel.  I've been to Costa Rica, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Canada, US (cross-country trip), Spain, Italy, Bonaire, and The Cayman Islands.  I can't wait until I can travel to some place new again!

6. I'm open minded, and I try to give everyone a chance. 

7. I'm always smiling.  Some people say this is my best quality. 

8. I love to write, and I've been writing short stories and partial novels since I was about 7 years old.  I have them all in a big box upstairs, and I need to start scanning them before the ink fades.  (Oh yeah, that's when people wrote on paper instead of computers!)

9. I had a Pen Pal that I met in the Caymans when I was 12 that I kept in touch with for 6 years.  Bonnie Lomax, where are you?

10. I've never been good at letting go, because I have lucid memories.  I feel like I can almost touch the past.  This is something I'm working on though, because as someone once said "hindsight is like foresight without a future."

11.  I have a bad temper.  This is something I "actively" worked on last year, and it has gotten much better.  I often have to put myself in timeout when the kids are frustrating me!

Questions from Reagan:

1. If you didn't have to work, would you? Why, or why not? Nope, if I didn't have to work I would stay at home with my kids.  I'd like to think that I'd also do some community service on the side to show my kids the value of helping others.

2. What was the hardest thing you have experienced in your life, so far? This is a hard question.  I guess: heartbreak and letting go of someone I couldn't have.

3. If you could live anywhere in world, where would it be? Probably in Italy or maybe in South America somewhere.  I speak Spanish, not Italian, so maybe a Spanish speaking country would be better.
4. What is your hidden talent?  I can touch my tongue to my nose.  Seriously.
5. What is your favorite book or TV show?  I have 2 favorite books: Love in the Time of Chloera and East of Eden.
6. What's your biggest fear? Something happening to one of my kids.

7. What's you favorite bit of advice anyone has ever given you? From my Mom and I used to hate it when she said this, "You meet a lot of frogs before you meet the handsome prince."  She also said, "It's just as easy to marry a rich man as a poor man." (That second piece of advice was not as helpful to me, because I married a poor one! LOL)

8. Do you believe in guardian angels? No, not really.

9. What was you favorite age so far? Probably in my 20s.

10. If you could change something in your past, would you?  Maybe one thing.

11. Do you dream in color? Yes, doesn't everyone?


Questions for:

Jenny
David
Michelle


1. If you could be anyone in the world, who would you be?

2. If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?

3. What did you study in college?

4. Who is your favorite actor?

5. Have you ever traveled outside of the country?  If so, where?

6. Do you have a hobby?  What is it?

7. Do you have any pets?

8. Do you believe in God?  Why or why not?

9. What was the BEST thing that ever happened in your life?

10. Do you believe in soulmates?  Why or why not?

11. What are you going to do today?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Loving/Hating

Today while wasting a few minutes at work, I read an article about the Lovings. The Lovings were an interracial couple who married in 1960's Virginia, despite a law against miscegenation.  They were evicted from their home and told they could go to prison or leave town.  They left town, going to Washington D.C., and from there they began fighting for their love and the right to live as they wanted, together.
I read this article, and I looked at the photos of this amazing family.  This family blazed the trail for thousands of interracial couples.  They, along with other Civil Rights fighters, changed the world for a better place.  They lead the way towards acceptance, not blind HATE.

People are really scared of what they don't know.  People have preconceived notions of others.  This leads to hate, misunderstanding, racism, prejudices, and nonsense laws to protect who?  I look at the Lovings story, and I think how far the US has come since then.  I live in the South, and I see plenty of interracial couples.  No one drinks at a colored fountain anymore.  We all go to school together, but still I see racism.  I see HATE.  It comes from both sides, black and white.  HATE comes in so many forms, and to me I see it most when people just don't understand differences. The Lovings supported marriage of any kind, because they were in LOVE.

I support marriage for anyone who is in love.  Why not?  It is their choice.  It does not affect me.  They are in LOVE with each other.  It's funny to me, because the proponents AGAINST gay marriage also claim they are for smaller government, but banning gay marriage IS BIG GOVERNMENT.  It's government getting involved in one of the most important decisions of your life: Who you will spend the rest of your life with.  It's also government banning these people from receiving the same tax benefits as heterosexual married couples.  If two gay people are in love and they get married, then why is it the government's business?  They are expressing their love, living together as a family, and they deserve to have this right just like anyone else. 

I realize that a lot of people have problems with gay marriage because of religion.  I believe in God.  I believe in a God who is loving, caring, and supporting of all people.  I don't believe in a God who would send you to Hell for being gay, for loving someone of the same sex, something to me that you most likely are innately born with: sexuality.  Like the Lovings said, you can't control who you fall in LOVE with.  Why HATE someone for that?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Changing


Today is Hubby's birthday.  This is the 11th birthday we have spent together.  We met in March 2001, so not quite 12 birthdays.  We are going out this weekend for a nice dinner with my sister and her husband.  We'll probably have drinks too.  It will be wonderful to celebrate *sin* children.  Carefree.

I can hardly believe there have been 11 birthdays since I met him.  I was about to turn 22, and he had just turned 23.  Now he is turning 34.  Old.  We're getting old, and we're changing.  So much has happened since 2001.  I look back, and I wonder am I even the same person?  Is he the same person?  Are we the same couple?

Of course the answer is "no."  We're not.  Everyone changes.  Everyone grows, priorities change, responsibilities are born, and I look back and I can barely recognize my 22 year old self, much less Hubby's 23 year old self.  We were so young, and we were so full of idealism.  I wanted to save the world.  I was scared shitless of graduating from college and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.   

Sometimes change is so hard.  Usually new and better things come with change, yet I get anxious about making monumental decisions in my life.  At 22, or rather 21 1/2, I was in a destructive pattern.  I was pushing away my friends, and I drank a lot, and I did not know where I was going or how my life would turn out.  I had Hubby (before he was Hubby) there for me, supporting me through it, and yet I didn't sense his presence in my life.  How many times have you had that feeling?  Being so alone yet being with someone.  That's how I felt.  I took people for granted at that age, including my *now* husband.  I still take him for granted, most of the time.  He does so much for me, and he is an amazing father, and yet sometimes I'm so ungrateful. 

Marriage is hard, and it gets harder the longer you stick with it.  Don't let anyone tell you it isn't.  Is it worth it?  I don't know.  A lot of times I just want to be alone, but I can't fathom life without the feeling of wholeness that comes from our family unit.  I have to remember that I vowed it would be, "for better or worse" and "in good times and in bad".  Isn't that what a true friend is: Someone who will support you when you're at your worst and let you lean on them?  That's what a husband and a wife are supposed to be to each other.

I look back at my 21 1/2 year old self, and there are some things that I wish I could change.  There are some things I really regret.  Everyone has those regrets, big or small.  I don't regret meeting Hubby.  He has been my rock when I needed him the most.  He has put up with all my crap through 9 moves, 3 children, several jobs, depression, anxiety, and a number of other issues we've faced TOGETHER.

It's nice to have someone you can depend on to help you weather the storm. 

I love you Hubby.  Here's hoping for 60 or 70 more birthdays.  Just put the cigarettes down and it may happen! (Ok-that wasn't very nice!)  I'm grateful that you're in my life.  I'm sorry last year was so tough, and I hope this one will be better for us.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wayback Wednesday: Peru

The summer after high school, I went to Peru with a group of adventurers.  I don’t remember what the whole program was about, something environmental.   There was a group of about eighteen of us, with one girl from the school I had just graduated from.  Dr. Smith led the expedition (that’s what it felt like at times!).

A few of us riding in a rickshaw in Quito.  I was so young!

We first went to Quito, Peru and then made our way to the Amazonian Rainforest.  We stayed in a “resort” in the middle of the rainforest.  There was no hot water, so many of us preferred bathing in the swimming pool, which was semi-allowed.  We just did it with bathing suits.  The cabins we stayed in had open air and hammocks, and many nights we slept in the hammocks and listened to the monkeys scream.  The rainforest can be an EXTREMELY loud place at night.  The animals seem to play while you’re trying to sleep.
Our resort: Zungarococha.

We ate dinner in an open air cafĂ©, and I loved the yucca and pretty much everything else they served there.  The food was fantastic. 

We visited a small town, and a little Peruvian girl let us hold her pet sloth.  He clung onto me like a little baby, and put his head against my shoulder.  She took us to her house, and we saw her mother use a clay oven to cook food for the whole family.  They showed us their school house, which was in bad need of repair.  They also needed books.  The conditions were appalling to me, a “rich” teenager from Alabama, seeing that children lived with so little made me sad.  It also made me thankful for what I did have.
We also visited a zoo, and I was able to hold an anaconda.  My seven year old LOVES this photo of me being brave!


We took a cruise on a branch of the Amazon called the Nanay River.  Mr. Smith told us about the fish in the Amazon River that would swim up inside of you and live off of you as a parasite.  None of us wanted to get in the water after that!  We saw pink river dolphins, which was completely amazing.  The jungle swelled around the river as we cruised to our next destination, another resort in a small village. This resort overlooked the river, and had a huge open air reception area.  The rooms were built off of this, with screens and mosquito nets covering the beds, because the mosquitos were particularly bad in this area and could spread yellow fever (I had the immunization before I left).


 The toilets were self-flush.  By that I mean, there was a bucket next to the toilets filled with water, you took the bucket, poured the water in and your pee or poop would go down a tube directly into the river.  Sanitation in this area was little to nil.  The next day, I saw kids playing in the tip of the river, washing clothes, fetching water.  This is how disease spreads, but this is also how they lived, and how they lived for thousands of years.

The houses here were built on sticks so they would not be flooded.  They consisted of some sort of wood paneling on the bottom, pure and simple, with hammocks for people to sleep on.  One of the Peruvian ladies also told us that the houses were built up so animals from the forest would not bother them.  They had a simple school house, and the education there was quite good.  They said they had trouble keeping teachers, as often the adult children left home to go to Quito for better jobs and better opportunities in life.

From this village, we walked into the rainforest.  Several men carried mattresses on their backs the whole way so that we could sleep in a station in the middle of the rainforest.  They also carried food to make for us.  We arrived at a raised platform that would be our bed for the night.  The men set up our beds, complete with mosquito nets, and they started the tasks of making our super.

In the meantime, I hit the head, and by that I mean a hold in the ground.  I learned that in the rainforest, this is where you went #2.  We all dug holes, went, and covered up our shit (literally!). 

The men who were helping us had brought chicken with them.  They slaughtered them and cooked them for us.  This was the best chicken I have ever had in my life, before or since.  Completely fresh, not antibiotics, no hormones, just chicken as it was meant to be.  Yum.

I’m not sure what happened next exactly.  At one point, we went to visit the Boras, a tribe in the middle of the rainforest, virtually untouched by civilization.  We traded with them for Bora art.  I brought back necklaces, masks, and toys that their children used.  I gave them my studs so they could use them to pierce the young tribal girls’ ears, instead of sterilized sticks.  This tribe does have contact with the outside world, but they live a completely tribal life still.
Dancing with the Boras.

It was an amazing, eye-opening trip.  I saw things that most people don’t see in their entire lives.  I will always remember and think fondly of Peru.  The people are so nice there.  They welcome everyone with open arms, smiling, and willing to share their culture with outsiders.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Weekly Goal Check-up and Setting

It's that time of the week again for me to look at my weekly goals from last week and set them for this week.  I'm a day behind because of the holiday. 


Here were my goals last week:

1. Taekwondo 4 times this week -- this may be a bit of a challenge this week, as I have a PTA Board Meeting on Tuesday.  Accomplished, including a killer workout on Friday!
2. 75 Crunches a night  I did this every day, except for last Friday.  I could barely move when I got home from taekwondo!
3. 20 Push-ups a night  Done.  I can tell I'm getting stronger. Still doing just knee push-ups, but I managed to do a few "boy" push-ups the other day quite easily.
4. Lose 1 pound.  I did not make this goal this week.  I stayed the same.  I'm disappointed in myself, because I started the week off great, and then I made some bad food decisions over the weekend.  The weekend kills me.  I need to focus on what I do and what I eat on the weekends, so I can keep losing weight.
5. Help support Hubby while he tries to quit smoking. Be kinder, gentler, and realize that he is not perfect (none of us are). I'm not sure how well I did at this.  I tried to be supportive, but it is really hard when you have a spouse who does something that you know could possibly kill them.  He knows I hate it, and I am sometimes verbal about it.  I don't like when the kids see him smoking and tell me about it.  I don't know how he is doing with it, because we didn't talk about it this weekend.  I just hope he can find the strength to quit, for himself.

Okay, so overall, not a bad week.  I feel like I just really blew it over the weekend.  We had a small get together with friends and now there is junk food all over my house.  I'm either going to feed it to the kids and let them get really fat, throw it away, or give it away.  If you know me, and you want some chips or brownie bites, just let me know and I'll bring them on over!

In other exciting news, Hubby has been doing the crunches and the push-ups with me at night.  Go Hubby!

Here are my goals for this week:

1.  Taekwondo 4 times this week -- basically this will be on my list every week.
2.  20 leg throws a night -- watch out, these KILL, and we will be doing these at TKD too.
3.  25 push-ups a night.
4.  Lose 1 pound.
5. And the obligatory non-weight/exercise related goal: Clean the toilets.  (Yes, I'm hoping if I put this here, then I'll actually do it!)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Creating Jupiter

Yesterday, Son #1 and I were busy creating Jupiter, so I didn't have a chance to blog.  Son #1 is in the first grade, and he is doing a planet project (and paper).  He chose Jupiter.  I wasn't surprised by his choice of planet.  He and Big Daddy have looked in the telescope and seen Jupiter and the four Galilean moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Calisto. 

Son #1 wanted to do a shoebox.  I suggested doing Jupiter and the four Galilean moons.

We bought styrofoam balls for the planet and the moons.  Next, Hubby ran out and picked up some Crayola Model Magic.  I read that this will make the planet smooth, and easier to paint on.  Ours did crack some, but I think this is because I used a hair dryer to try to quicken the drying process (if you don't use a hair dryer it can take up to 24 hours to dry).

Three of the Galilean moons, already covered in Model Magic, and the styrofoam ball we used for Jupiter.

While these were drying I had the boys glitter paint the black construction paper.  Once they had spread out the glitter, and it had dried, I began hot gluing the paper inside of our box.  You can actually buy diarama boxes, but they are fairly expensive so I just used a wine box my mother gave me.
Our background for the box.

Jupiter and two of the moons drying inside the box.

By the afternoon, the model magic was dry on the moons.  I let Son #1 paint them whatever colors he wanted.  (Make sure to use acrylic paint.  It dries within an hour.)  Our Galilean moons are very colorful, and Son #1 had a great time painting them.


While painting, I stuck a toothpick into his ball to be used as a handle, and Son #1 put them on an empty egg crate to dry.  We only did one coat of paint on the moons.

Today, we woke up and the Model Magic on Jupiter was dry, so I let Son #1 paint.  He chose apricot, nutmeg and a tannish color that we mixed together, and then red for the Big Red Spot.  We did two layers of paint on Jupiter, waiting an hour in between for the first layer to dry.

Jupiter and its Big Red Spot.

Once the moons and planet were dry, I used the hot glue gun to glue on framing hooks.  I attached clear fishing line to the framing hook, tied it, and I glued it to the top of the shadow box and used tape to help secure it as well.  I had to find a larger framing hook and a stabilizer for Jupiter, as the small one did not handle the weight.  I have read that you can also use clear toothpicks to secure it to the bottom of the diarama. I also put a hook nail into the top of the box to hold the fishing line for Jupiter to help support the weight some more.  I hot glued the fishing line into the top of the box, as well.
We made little labels for the moons and the planet.  Here's the completed project:


For some reason, I couldn't get Calisto to line up properly, but overall I think it turned out pretty well!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tae Kwon Do

This morning I went to taekwondo.  I went last night too.  I'm in the routine of going four nights (or rather three nights and Saturday morning) a week now.  I absolutely love this sport. 

Last night, our instructor was out (motorcycle accident, but he's okay), so the owner of our studio taught.  I thought I would die.  We must have done about 75 push-ups.  I can barely lift my arm above my shoulder today. 

He also made us run suicides.  He called them EXPLODE.  First we had to do vertical leaps, because his daughter is on volley ball, and vertical leaping for volley ball is a must.  I have to admit, I am not a great vertical leaper.  I think I looked more like I was skipping.  Then we had to do long jumps, and EXPLODE into the next jump.  Next, we did exploding while hopping on one leg.  Does this sound like torture yet?  I have to admit it was a wonderful workout.

Coming into class this morning, I didn't think I was sore until our instructor made us work on our inner and outer form blocks.  Doing these over and over almost killed me.  My arms are aching so badly now.  I actually felt like I wanted to throw up from muscle strain during the class.  Probably.not.a.good.sign.

I was thinking, while I was EXPLODING, how far I've come since I joined the class last Spring.  There is basically no way I would have had the endurance to get through those two workouts last April, and now I'm there.  I can do it.  I can meet my goals.  I can EXPLODE down the floor FOUR TIMES without passing out!!!  Amazing.

Friday, January 13, 2012

21 Hour Work Week...Here I come!

Last night, I read this article about changing to a 21 hour work week.  This would allow a lot of the unemployed workers to fit into the workforce, and it would also be good for the environment, reducing rampant consumerism a bit, and changing what the world prioritizes.  Yes, it would take a large re-haul of our current societal structure, but I think it would be worth it. 

I am all for this, mostly for selfish reasons.  Most of my days look like this:

5:30:    Drag myself out of bed, have coffee, blog, check the internet for useless news.
6:15:    Wake up Hubby, jump in shower
6:30:    Help Hubby get kids ready for school, eat cereal.
7:00:    Rush the kids into the car, drive to daycare
7:15:    Drop off kids.
8:00:    Arrive at work
11:00 : Take my 1 hour lunch break.
12:00:  Return to Work
5:00:    Leave Work
5:15:    Pick Up Kids from Daycare
5:30:    Arrive home and eat dinner (thanks Hubby for making it)
5:45:    Do homework with Son #1 (or alternatively take Son #1 to an activity)
6:00:    Play with kids
6:30:    Most days I go to taekwondo at 6:30 or 7.  Sometimes I play with the kids longer, or help
            clean up the house. 
6:45:    Put Darling Daughter to bed
7:30:    Put Son #1 and Son #2 to bed
8:00:    Chat with Hubby (if I'm not at taekwondo), Watch Game of Thrones, play a game
9:30:    Go to bed.
5:30:    Start Over Again

My life is extremely busy, and it's extremely routinized.  It revolves around going to work so I can buy things that I use up, so that I can buy more things.  Who needs things anyway?  Are things so important that our family gets turned into something we see for roughly 2 hours a day?  The world has its priorities backwards.  Capitalism isn't so important that it needs to get in the way of family, is it? 

Our children are growing up without parents, because parents are working so much.  Husbands and wives are divorcing, because they simply have no time to spend with each other.  Life is hectic and stressful, and it doesn't place value on the important things like family, togetherness, love.  Value is placed highest on material items in our society.  Isn't it time to make a change?

I'd love a 21 hour work week, so I'd have time to hang out with the most important people in my life: These Guys:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Bald Barbie!

I read Bald and Beautiful...Barbie today on the news.  Basically a group of women have come together and written to Mattel to ask them to create a bald barbie doll.  This group of women either suffer from alopecia, have a child who suffers from alopecia, or they or their child has lost their hair to leukemia.

Personally, I think this is a great idea.  As a young child, suffering from alopecia having a visual conversation starter would have been great.  Using the doll as a tool to tell others about my alopecia would have been helpful for me.  Something tangible to use as a prop. 

It's really tough being a child with hair loss.  I had an extremely hard time talking about my hair loss.  I know my parents helped out a lot by telling my teachers, preparing them for it, but I still had some horrible experiences.  It took me a lot of time before it was easy for me to talk about it.  As a child, when someone asked me about my bald spots, I would usually just burst into tears.

I have some horror stories of dealing with alopecia as a child.  When I was in second grade, I had to wear a wig to school for awhile, because I had lost so much of my hair.  One day, we had a substitute teacher, and she was not aware that I was wearing a wig.  One of the boys in my class, came up to me to ask me something, inadvertantly grabbed my hair and my wig fell off.  I still remember Rebecca screaming, "Lauren's head is falling off!"  So funny now, but I was mortified as a child.  The substitute was at a loss of what to do, so she stuffed my wig into a brown paper bag for the rest of the day.  Really, come on people.  Send me to the office, call my mom, but stick my hair in a brown paper bag and go on as if nothing happened?  Some people are hopelessly inept in dealing with childrens' needs.

And I did some crazy things.  I went to camp at eleven, and I left my hair in a pony tail for FIVE weeks.  I was so afraid when I showered someone would see my bald spots.  I was also afraid I wouldn't be able to put the hair up to cover the spots. My mother had always done those things for me.  (I still wonder why my counselor did not pull me aside and ask me about it!)

So, yes, having a bald barbie doll would have been good for me.  It would have showed me that it's okay to be bald.   Being different isn't necessarily bad, it's just being different.  I wish as a child someone would have sat me down and told me it was okay to talk about it. (I'm fairly certain this happened at some point towards high school with my Dad).  Talking about it is what has led me to accept my hair loss as an adult, and it leads others to be more accepting too. 

Although Mattel doesn't accept outside ideas, I am hoping that they will pick up on this one.  And, no, they can't create a Barbie doll for everyone's situation, but having a child with alopecia who can identify with a bald barbie could be great for her self esteem.  It could show her that it's okay to bald.  It doesn't change who you are inside.  It's okay to talk about it, to accept yourself and to seek acceptance from other people.
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