About Me

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Like all of you, I'm a number of things to a number of people...Navy wife, homeschooling mama, educated woman and aspiring writer. Read my thoughts on all of it here. Please feel free to leave your thoughts on all of it too!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

What Everyone's Looking For: Results

"Is it the caveman diet?"

"Oh...that's Atkins, isn't it?"

"I just can't give up breads...don't you miss them?"

Answers: No, No, and No.

Let me explain...I've mentioned living Primal on here a couple times now. My first toe-in-the-water move was to engage with a new trainer. Remember? I also linked you to Mark's Daily Apple with this post about homemade salad dressings. I told you a little about my Primal workout schedule in Wednesday and Walnuts, just a few days ago. But perhaps the most revealing post wasn't linked to anything. But in it I told about all the energy I had. I shared my first results from living Primally. At the time I didn't realize how impressive having more energy was, but after reflecting on it, and beginning to read The Primal Blueprint, I'm pretty excited by wanting to get up and move.

In chapter 3 of Mark Sisson's wonderful book on page 67 he said something I thought was profound, and it hints at one of the reasons Primal living appeals to me most.

"When I say you will notice results quickly and dramatically, I'm referring primarily to the immediate increase and stabilization of energy levels, less hunger and mood swings...improved immune function, and a reduction in the symptoms of allergies, arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions."

In this quote is the answer to the first question, "is it the caveman diet?" Living Primal isn't a diet. It's not a lifestyle change. It's just life...and it makes sense to me. To be fair, though, Grok is our Primal role model and some might call him a caveman.

I guess I just kind of responded to the Atkins thing too. Following the 10 laws of the Primal Blueprint isn't about eating nothing but meat. And it's more than a food plan.

Lastly, do I miss breads? Pasta? I really don't. I know, I was surprised too. But I think the main reason it that I'm not eating any of them. When I was doing Weight Watcher's I was trying to limit breads and pasta and eat the 'right kind' of whole grains. But eating them at all makes your body want more. One of the MDA members recently said something to the effect of "it's nice to know that what I always thought was lack of will power is actually physiological." Some of you may be hip to this tune already, but I'm just realizing it...carbs are addicting! I'm so satiated with the fantastic Primal fare I am eating that I don't miss pastas or breads at all!

Cool, huh?

So, all that to say...Primal Blueprint is a holistic approach. It speaks to diet, fitness, and mental health. My first step into it was moving more. Some people just in with both feet. Some people wade in even more slowly that I did. My first result was increased energy (and I do mean increased!). Everyone's looking for results, what will yours be?

Friday, February 26, 2010

I Am Just Me

I'm just one woman. Like so many others, though, there's a lot on my plate...not as much as some, more than others, but a lot by my measure.

Today I cried. A few times.

I was on the phone with Scott, crying, when Tyler's speech therapist showed up a few minutes early. Luckily she listened and told me it'll all work out. I like that reassurance.

I cried on the way to pick up the kids and on the way home. I cried just now too.

I'm good with crying. I think it's an important cue that I'm reaching my limit. And something needs to give. So here's a list of things that might give my tear ducts a rest.

Someone could knock on the door or email or call and offer to buy or rent our home. Not lead us on for a week only to decide they really don't want it. Not counter our offers. Someone to just say yes to what we're asking (which I truly believe to be more than fair) and maybe even brings their own pen to sign an agreement. If they don't have their own, I'll find one. No biggie.

Jace could start using the toilet again - for pooping purposes too, not just pee. I mean most of his urine makes it in the bowl, except for the stuff that somehow ends up on the base, under the bowl that I have to clean. But I'm really tired of the poop thing happening in his underwear. He's going to be 7 years old (that's two syllables) in a couple months and I don't think I should have to wipe his rear or clean his underwear as often as I do.

Scott's job could get easier or his online class become clear. Either would reduce his stress, and therefore mine.

I could not be met with disappointment when I pick the kids up from school and say we're going home. It's not such an awful place. Maybe if they didn't have any toys if would be...but it's not like they play with them now...so maybe giving away they're toys would work out OK. I'll have to think on that...

Until the time when one of these things happens, I'm going to make myself a second cup of tea. My first one got cold and then spilled, which is somehow worse than being spilled when warm. Probably something about adding insult to injury. But I think a second cup is in order.

Don't you?

Know what? I mean no offense, but it doesn't matter so much if you agree...I am just me. And I want some hot, comforting, soothing, calming tea.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday and Walnuts

It's Wednesday. I've written a few other posts about Wednesday. (This one and this one, for example.) Apparently it's a good day to babble on and I like the way it sounds in a post title!

On this particular Wednesday I'd like to share a couple things with you...

Wednesday is my new HIIT day. That stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Now, I haven't actually read Mark Sisson's book, The Primal Blueprint, yet. (Although I have started it! Yay!) I'm assuming he'll explain this in greater detail in there. But for now, what I've come to understand it as, from reading his blog, is continuous difficult moves for a period of time. What I've been doing for the last two weeks is setting a timer for 7 minutes. Then I do:
10 narrow push ups
10 crunches
10 wide push ups
10 lunges
10 squat thrusts
10 extended sit ups
10 squat jumps
10 leg ups
10 dips
Until the timer dings.

I don't worry about the order and I don't take breathers. If I can't possibly do that 9th and 10th of something, then I don't and immediately move on to the next one. It's tough. It hurts and last week it hurt for a few days after too! But from what I've read, it's not supposed to be fun. In fact, someplace (I think it was Mark who said it) I read that if you look forward to it, you're probably not doing it right!

So, Wednesday is the day I have that brand of fun. And I don't look forward to doing my HIIT workout, but I do look forward to being done with it for the week! And, since I've been doing it first thing in the morning, before breakfast even, Wednesday is once again a day I look forward to! Most of it is resting and eating great primal food! Can I get a woo hoo?!

The second thing on my mind is walnuts. When was the last time you ate a walnut? Not in brownies or even as part of a salad. Not glazed in honey, either. I hadn't eaten them for a long time. If we got nuts they were usually cashews. And we often got trail mix, but for some reason walnuts weren't part of any of the mixes I bought. Chocolate candies were though. But that's not my point.

Living Primal allows for eating nuts as a snack and the other night I brought out a bowl for Scott and I to share. It was just an assortment of simple nuts. I was paying attention to something online and when I went to get a few I noticed all the walnuts were gone.

"Did you eat all the walnuts?" I asked Scott.


"I didn't know you had such a taste for walnuts."

"I do."

"I knew you especially liked cashews, but I didn't know about walnuts."

"I like cashews too."

"So, all these years (we've known each other longer than we haven't and have been married for a third of our lives, just about) you've kept this from me. What else don't I know?" I smiled. So did he!

Well, Wednesday is winding down...I should too. Good night.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Not Me! Monday

For anyone who's new to Not Me! Monday...it's a fun, little way to deny the chaos of life that MckMama began over at her fun, not-so-little blog. Enjoy my denials and head over there to read tons more!

Well, to begin with...I'm not writing this at almost 9:00 at night because I forgot today was even Monday. I most certainly haven't been waiting for Monday to come around so that I can write another Not Me! post only to completely miss that it was actually Monday all day today! Why does Monday always sneak up on me?

I didn't have so much fun writing my first Not Me! post that I thought about keeping a list of things I'd like to publicly deny. That would be silly. On this non existent list I wouldn't have written something like "hadn't showered for two days before going to get my hair cut." I'd never go two days without showering and I most certainly wouldn't go out in public and have a service like a little trim done if I did.

I did not almost pee myself the other day because I was really into a game on FaceBook. I'm over 30...I know how to get to the potty on time. Surely, I do. I didn't on the same day witness Gracie run like crazy from the office, where she was playing on the computer, to the bathroom yelling, "I've gotta go BAAAAD!" on the way. I wouldn't set an example like that for my children.

I did not start this post with great intentions and then realize that it's not only bed time, but I don't have that much to say! I guess it's good that I don't have to much to deny this week, right?

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Have you ever recognized someone from far away by the way they walk? If you've ever met the submarine when it comes in...it's the only way to do it. The guys are all dressed the same. Your husband may have lost weight from not eating well or gained from not eating well which means searching out the body type you knew months ago isn't always helpful. So, you look for that walk that is clearly your man.

I'm sure there are other times, too, that knowing a person's walk can be ever so helpful. Just in case you ever need to identify my kids by their walk...here's what I've noticed.

Jace is a boy with a focus. He usually walks pretty quickly, only looking ahead. That is unless his focus is on the book in his hand. Then he plods slowly along, eyes in the book.

Gracie hardly ever walks. She skips, jumps, hops. Even if she's holding your hand - she skips, jumps, hops.

Tyler doesn't walk. You can't really blame him. His legs are short. Cute, but short. So he runs. And he almost always leads with his head.

Hopefully that helps you pick out these three little monkeys from the crowd. If you happen to not be looking for them... Well, you still might recognize Jace when he bumps into you because he wasn't watching where he was going and glances up long enough to mumble, "Sorry." Gracie will be easily identifiable when she bounces on your toes and stops for a quick giggle and, "Oops! Sorr-rry!" and is gone again. And you'll no doubt know Tyler when he rams you with his hard head yelling, "Awwwrrrrr!" Hopefully you're well balanced.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Problem With Moving

First of all, I don't mean moving as in packing up and loading the truck. I don't want anyone getting all excited and hurting themselves by jumping around and bouncing into something. Ouch! That wouldn't be good. The movement I'm referring to is activity, exercise, you know...doing stuff.

That said, I've been moving more over the last week than in weeks (or months) previous. It's all part of becoming more primal. I'm walking almost daily, which is something I've wanted to do for a long time and something has clicked, finally, and I'm up doing it. I'm lifting heavy things, at this point mostly my kids and my own body weight, but that totally counts. You try lifting wiggly giggly kids...you'll see. I'm sprinting. I've actually only done that once, but I've only been at this a week, that's all I need to have done it. Pretty cool, huh? I'm playing and laughing. We've exhausted all the hiding spots in the house and need to move our game outside. We've chased each other around the woods and all of it feels good. I'm definitely moving.

But the problem with moving is that it makes you want to move more. I want to go for more walks, longer ones. I want to ride my bike. I want to use all this new found energy...but it's not always possible. I have two hours in the car every day. I have grocery shopping, meal prep, laundry...which have even become forms of movement for me, but aren't the luxurious long walks I'd like.

Even when I have time to take a walk, Mother Nature seems not to be cooperating. It's chilly here. Granted, it's not New York cold, but our highs have barely been in the 50's. I didn't get Tyler a whole winter getup because it's usually cold for a few weeks and by now the trees are starting to bud. Not this year. And I can't take Tyler out in the stroller or bike trailer on days like this. I have tried, but his little hands get so cold, even on short trips. So, I'll wait a week or two before moving even more...maybe by then I won't be sore from yesterday's HIIT workout. (That's another thing I'm doing. It stands for High Intensity Interval Training. I think there are lots of ways to do it, but what I did yesterday was continuous reps of 10 each of narrow push ups, wide push ups, crunches, oblique crunches, extended sit ups ups, squat thrusts, squat jumps, leg lifts, lunges ,and dips. Even peeling sweet potatoes last night hurt! But I can feel everything I worked even more today!)

Whether the weather or my soreness are the reason, today I'm taking it easy, even though I want to move more. And that's the problem with moving.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Three Wishes

We don't usually eat out very often. With that said, we've been to Chick-fil-a twice in the last two weeks. The cool thing about that is that they have really neat toys in their kids' meals. The other cool thing is that you can trade your toy for an ice cream cone if it's unopened. Pretty neat, huh?

Well, the first time we went the kids got a story CD from Between the Lions. I didn't give them the option for ice cream that time. They love stories on CD. Wendy's was giving them out over the summer and that's when they first discovered how much they enjoyed listening to stories in the car. This CD was no different, they enjoyed it just as much as the first.

So, when we went back the second time to meet friends for lunch, I didn't turn the CDs in for ice cream. They still got ice cream because their friends did turn their CDs in and I didn't want to fight that battle. So, I just paid the extra to get them cones and let them keep the CDs. We now have the complete set.

Today we listened to a story about a woman who was given three wishes. After the story I asked the kids what they would wish for if they were given three wishes.

"Barbies! And a Barbie car...or a truck!" Gracie shouted. I don't know why she shouts...the van isn't that big, but she shouted.

Jace asked, "How about a jeep?"

"Yeah...a jeep! Lots of Barbies and a Barbie car and a Barbie jeep!"

"What about you, Jace?" I asked.

"Well...I'd like a BB Gun, a real one. And a real 4-Wheeler and a dirt bike."

Gracie offered her opinion. "Jace...what if you had another wish? Then you could wish for a real video game too."

Jace whispered to her so I wouldn't hear. "No...I can't wish for that. Mama and Dada won't let us have video games."

"Oh," Gracie whispered back.

I smiled to myself and didn't explain that we were hypothesizing and he could have whatever he wants!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dressing Up Those Greens

I first mentioned going Primal in my post about my new trainer. By the way, she's still getting my heart rate up there! Have you started a new workout routine yet?

Anyway, the whole movement intrigues me! If you're not sure what it is...basically it's eating and exercising in the same fashion as our early ancestors, cavemen types. Ever since hearing about it a few weeks ago I've been reading a ton online about it and have incorporated some of the ideas into my life. I play more...which is great and the kids love it. Although it is hard to stay hidden in hide-n-seek when Tyler is standing on your back. But we're laughing a lot and I think I'm more fun than I was a few weeks ago. I'm also working out in primal ways, running around outside, sprinting on occasion, lifting heavy things. I haven't embraced going barefoot yet, but give me time...

As far as the diet goes, it's similar to other low carb diets, but I find it easier to wrap my brain around and it's actually very similar to how I was eating when I was looking so fine a few years ago, between Jace and Gracie. I've needed to find a way to get there again...I like this avenue and have high hopes for my health. Already I'm back to eating my eggs in the morning. It's amazing how much longer I feel satisfied than when I have a bowl of cereal! I've stopped having a pop tart for snack and enjoy an apple or nuts. I'm not missing my carbs. I have more energy and don't feel exhausted at the end of the day. I've even stopped wanting something sweet after dinner. I hadn't even noticed that until yesterday when I was putting dishes away and noticed the little bowl of chocolates up in the cupboard, set aside for after dinner, untouched for several days. So, even though the numbers on the scale haven't gone down yet, they're not going up anymore. That's a good start.

And I tell you all this to say that I'm also eating more salads, which I'd fallen away from. I used to love a great salad for lunch. And I do again. Eating primal means none of the dressings off the store shelves, not even the ones that are lower fat or whatever they're called. I've always thought that it should be possible to eat healthy without buying a bunch of cool packaging and low fat everything. Living primal claims to do just that. So, if I'm not going to eat Catalina or Ranch on my salad, I'm left with oil based ones, which I don't know a lot about. So, I found this list of 10 homemade dressings and I thought I'd share them with you all.

1. Raspberry Vinaigrette

1/2 cup raspberry vinegar
1 tbsp of honey
1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

Pour vinegar in a mason jar or other container with a tight lid. Add honey and chopped mint, cover with lid and shake. If still too bitter, add in a bit more honey or Splenda to even out the flavor.

2. Citrus Vinaigrette

1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
2 tbsp grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Again, in a large mason jar or container with a tight lid, combine the vinegar, orange juice, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and lemon juice. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking vigorously. Once mixed, add the walnuts and cheese and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste

3. Dill Vinaigrette

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey (or 1 packet of Splenda)
1/2 tsp dried dill weed
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp dry mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

In a blender, combine the oil, vinegar, sugar, dill weed, onion powder, garlic powder, dry mustard. Blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

4. Balsamic Vinaigrette

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

In a mason jar or other container with a tight lid, combine all the ingredients. Shake until all ingredients are combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

5. Basil Vinaigrette

1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil (it’s very important here to use fresh – it’s not nearly as good with dried leaves!)
2 cloves garlic, minced

In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, basil, and garlic. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

6. Parsley Dressing

3 tsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp onion powder
2 tsp chopped parsley

In a bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice and onion powder. Once combined, add in the chopped parsley, mix thoroughly with a whisk and serve.

7. Lemon Caesar Dressing

1 tsp lemon peel (finely grated)
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp anchovy paste
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, whisk all ingredients except oil and sour cream. Once combined, slowly add oil, whisking constantly until smooth (if you stop, the dressing could break). Once combined, whisk in sour cream until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

8. Asian Dressing

1/2 cup orange juice (about 2 large oranges)
1/3 cup white vinegar
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp Asian mustard (should be easily found in the ethnic food aisle of your local grocery store)1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp sesame oil

In a bowl, whisk together orange juice, vinegar, sesame seeds, mustard, sugar, salt, and garlic. Once combined, slowly whisk in sesame oil.

9. Ginger-Asian Dressing

1 carrot, fresh, small, peeled and shredded
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp minced onion
1 tbsp hot mustard
1 tbsp fresh ginger root, grated

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.

10. French Style Dressing

1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp white pepper, ground
1 tsp unsalted tomato paste
7 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup red or white wine vinegar
2 tsp water
1/2 tsp fresh chopped onion

In a large mason jar or other container with a tight lid, combine all ingredients, shake it up and serve.

All of these recipes are from Mark's Daily Apple which is by Mark Sisson. If you're interested in finding out more about living Primal, his blog is a good place to start. My favorite thing about it is that in the upper right hand corner you can search for something, anything that you want to know more about, and you'll be met with with a bunch of different posts that might answer your questions in several clear and helpful ways! Give it a look...

And try some of these dressings! I know I'm going to. We had the balsamic last night. Mmmm....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ordinary Days

I know, I know...I haven't written anything in a few days. I'm sure you've all been checking my blog diligently and I've let you down each and every of the last five days. I am terribly sorry. Not really, but a little. I do kind of feel like I should keep up with my blog...I enjoy it, you enjoy it, what's the down side. But sometimes there just isn't much to write.

We lead pretty ordinary lives.

On Tuesday I went to a preschool dance party and had a really good time and really good bacon wrapped shrimp. Wednesday both Jace and Gracie had their Valentine's parties at school. Tyler and I attended Gracie's and enjoyed watching the kids get way too excited to get a little piece of paper with a transformer or Mylie Cyrus on it! We also ate some yummy treats and brought home enough to be snack for the next week!

The kids had an extra long long weekend this weekend. They've been off since coming home filled with sugar on Wednesday. Thursday we visited the library where Jace came home with ten books. I got two. We had lunch with friends and finished off the day with a Cub Scout meeting. Friday Tyler had speech therapy, where he did super, and we relaxed the rest of the day.

Yesterday we took it easy and, after nap went to Jacksonville to the Jax International Car and Truck Show, which takes longer to say than walk through. Thankfully, Scott (active duty military), Gracie and Tyler (under 6 years old) were free. And we did see a really cool purple car that made Gracie's day! It was a relaxing afternoon and we finished the day off with a family date. We went to Ruby Tuesday and told the kids that Mama and Dada were on a date and they were tagging along! They were happy to be there with us and we enjoyed a pretty good meal.

That's pretty much it. I did go grocery shopping by myself today...that wasn't ordinary, but not all that Earth shattering either!

Ok, so there was one maybe exciting happening on Friday night. We had a couple come check out the house. They're interested in renting to own, so we'll see. I no longer get too excited. But I will, if and when they call back to get a deal moving. We've also had two other emails, a phone call, and someone stopped to ask questions of Scott yesterday. Really, nothing unusual there either. We've been consistently getting inquiries. We'll keep you posted.

And, yesterday morning something was said that might give you a little giggle. So, we'll leave you with that.

I DVR'd the opening ceremonies of the Olympics so that Jace and Gracie could watch them. We sat with the globe and found each country as they were announced. That was much harder than I expected it to be! A few times I had to jump online and google it, then find it on the globe!

When we got to Germany, Jace said, "That's where Aunt Mary and Uncle Nick live."

I said, "True, but they're actually in New York visiting their families right now."

The kids jumped up and down and were so excited. Jace exclaimed, "Does that mean we're going to get to see them?" I told him yes.

Gracie declared, "Yay! Aunt Mary doesn't live on another planet anymore!"

Don't fret...Jace quickly taught her the differences between planets, continents and countries. All is well...and we do get to see Aunt Mary and meet cousin Lu at the end of the month. Yay!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Simple Gifts

The DJ on the radio this morning was looking for ideas to make his wife feel extra special this Valentine's Day. Knowing what I want, and that everyone is always looking for ways to save a little cash, I called in and suggested that he take her by the hand...and go for a walk together. We live in a part of the country that is very beautiful and there are walking trails in a few places that I can think of. He laughed and said his wife would never go for that unless there was a reservation waiting at the end of the path. And he didn't play the idea for others to hear either. He wanted suggestions that were extensive and expensive. After all, for so many, how much you care is directly related to how much you spend.

Sad, really, don't you think?

Life is full of so many simple gifts. I'd love a long walk, hand in hand, with Scott this weekend. And, despite the DJs dislike of my idea, I think there are others out there who appreciate the simpler things in life. In fact I know I'm not alone. My little sister pointed me in the direction of several sites that celebrate the simple life.

Simple Mom - Live simply, stay sane. Life hacks for the home managers.
Simple Bites - Real food for the family table.
Simple Homeschool - Never let your schooling interrupt your education.
Simple Kids - Uncomplicated parenting in a complex world.
Simple Organic - Back to nature, back to basics.

Four of these five sites are brand spankin' new! In celebration of their launches all five are hosting a give away. Each of these give aways is packed full of incredible gifts that can help center us in our goals and help us lead simple, and incredibly rewarding, lives.

So, check 'em out! In the words of my little sister, "Good luck, but I hope I win!"

And enjoy your Valentine's Day, no matter how you celebrate. I think we're going for a family experience...a day at the Jacksonville International Car and Truck Show! Now, that's romantic! OK, maybe not, but the kids will have a great time and Jace and Gracie can take turns pushing the stroller so Scott and I can walk hand in hand.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I'm Not Giving Up

I just don't know what else to do. We're six weeks (give or take, we haven't decided a specific date yet) from Scott leaving and heading to Connecticut for school. I'm sure I've mentioned four or five times that we were hoping to know what the plan was, as far as the kids and I moving to Washington or not, before Scott started school. I know there's still time, but I don't feel like that's going to happen.

Like I said, I'm not giving up.

I was talking to mom today and telling her that we're, "Still not sure what's going on, but we're planning...well, we're not really planning anything. We're..."

I didn't know what to say. I felt like I wanted to cry. Mom found the word.


Waiting on the newest couple who's interested. Waiting on the last couple who was interested. Waiting on the next one too. Waiting.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Young Love

This weekend we finished homemade Valentine's Day cards. I am not known for my craftiness, but somehow Gracie got in her head that she wanted to make her own cards. After Jace saw her put together a few he decided he wanted to make his too.

We didn't do anything Martha Stuart would take notice of, but the kids had fun. And that's the key for me. Basically I bought a bunch of stickers and had some card stock that Mary had given me years ago, like before we moved to Georgia-years ago. That means at least three years, but I'm glad I still had it. Saved money on having to buy more. Although we probably would have just used construction paper because we have a ton of that too, that also made the move with us from Washington. A friend there was cleaning out closets and gave me a stack at least a foot high...it's taking the kids a while to go through it! They did use some for their cards. They cut out hearts to go along with their stickers and any coloring or writing they felt inspired to do.

Gracie had me write "Happy Valentine's Day!" on each card. She signed her name and we took turns writing the names of her classmates. Originally I gave Jace a little more freedom, telling him he could just write "Happy Valentine's Day" or he could add a note inside if he wanted to. He had carefully organized himself to be sure he had enough blue and yellow hearts for the boys' cards and pink and purple hearts for the girls' cards, except for one special card. I'll tell you more about that in a minute.

So, after finishing a few cards he realized that he hadn't put a heart on one of the girls' cards. We went back through to find the heartless card. I found it. On the front it declared "You're a lucky African" and inside he'd written "Happy Valentine's Day, Jace." I was stunned. What the heck did that mean!? So I asked him. There are two children in Jace's class, Briana and Nicholas, that he constantly points out are African American. He's convinced that the Nicholas is actually from Africa, which he may be. I haven't met him. But, more likely, I think, he's born and raised here in Georgia. Jace doesn't buy it. He's always telling me that Nicholas will probably eat this or that because, in his mind, it's African food. (Jace has lot of theories about how our heritage defines us. Here you can learn about Indians, Native Americans or Native Indians I'm not certain.)

So I asked him what the card meant.

"She's lucky I'm giving her a card."

"Because she's African?"

"No, because she's mean."

"Does her being mean have anything to do with her being African?"

"No. She just doesn't like me."
"OK, then. First of all, we don't need to constantly point out people's ancestry, especially when it really has nothing to do with your point that she's mean. Secondly, this is a Valentine's Day card, which should be nice, even if Briana isn't nice to you. And if you don't have anything nice to say, simply write 'Happy Valentine's Day!' and sign your name."


I don't remember if he shrugged, but I'm sure he did. Glad we talked about that.

made Briana a new card, including her heart, not mentioning how lucky she is to get a card at all. Then he worked on the rest of his class's cards. He even made one very special card for Meredith, who's not in his class, but is his first little crush. Her card was adorned with a red heart, the only one he gave out. And he wrote her message in pink marker, instead of the joyful black he used for everyone else. Rather than sealing the envelope with a smiley face or dinosaur sticker like all the rest, Meredith's is closed with eight sparkling heart stickers.

What a holiday...turmoil over giving cards to those who don't like us and anticipation of giving cards to those we adore.

I can't believe how many more years I'm going to have to deal with this! Er, I mean...uh...isn't young love precious?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My New Trainer

I've always thought that having a personal trainer to kick my butt would really help me get in better shape. Well, I've found myself one...we'll see how it goes.

My new trainer comes to the house, or will go with me wherever I want to work out. I don't have to pay her in the traditional sense, so that's ideal too. (Being that we're still living with "if" it's important to keep pretty tight purse strings.) Even with all that's great about her, she's no slacker. She's tough. We just did our first workout and there was a lot of jumping...that'll get your heart going.

I decided I was going to ask her if she'd help me out a few days ago. I was watching the Colbert Report. This guy (John Durant) was on there talking about returning to our roots, our ancestry, in order to be a healthier people. What he said made sense to me and I'm looking into going all the way with The Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson. If I decide to take that leap, I'll be sure to let you know all about it on here. But I decided that making little changes would be a start...and God knows, I've got to start. I'm not getting any healthier sitting here.

So one of the things Mr. Durant had to say was that even if we don't look all the way back to cavemen...just look at kids. Their exercise isn't forced or holding a constant accelerated heart rate. It's chasing each other, wrestling, climbing, jumping, quick sprints, monkey bars...play. That's really when my light bulb went off. I don't really like to exercise. I like to play. And I've been missing playing with my kids. I've been "too tired" to get off my butt and frolic with them. I know...total BS. So, I decided to approach my new trainer.

On the way home from school yesterday I told the kids that I wanted to be healthier so I'd have more energy and be more fun. They thought that sounded good. I told them briefly about this guy I'd seen talking about how kids know how to play and somehow adults forget how.

"So, do you think you guys could help me remember how to play? How to run around and exercise my body just by having fun?"

Jace laughed. A lot.

Gracie eagerly said, "I can help you, Mama. I know all about how to play and I know some good exercises. I don't know why e-dults forget to play."

"I don't know, either, sweetie, but tomorrow we'll play and you can help me remember."

Jace laughed more.

So, Gracie is my new trainer. She played with me and showed me stretches and exercises and my heart was surely beating. And I was having fun...mostly because her smile was huge. What more can a mama ask for?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tough Love For The Stubborn Monkey

Tyler has speech therapy twice a week. Miss Melanie brings big bags of toys and Tyler loves to play with them all. However, he doesn't necessarily like to sit down and work. In the past few weeks he'd gotten pretty used to getting up from my lap whenever he was being asked to say something he didn't want to and wandering off to play with something else in the living room. Or he'd cuddle against me with his thumb shoved in his mouth so he could say anything. Half the time he had a little smirk on his face letting us know he wasn't really tired or incapable, he just didn't want to participate.

Since last Friday I noticed Tyler talking a lot during his play.

"Go, go, go!"

"Woof, woof"

He's also become much more consistent with me. He always says the hard c when he wants his cup, "Cu...cu...cu." "O" for open. "Up, up," to get picked up or when climbing onto my lap on the couch.

And he was making more attempts to mimic all of us when we'd read with him or when his siblings would say play with him. He's even tried to say their names.

My favorite 'improvement' is his singing. We spend a lot of time in the van driving Jace and Gracie to and from school and listening to the radio. There are certain songs that he loves to sing...and it's adorable and fun for me!

So, on Wednesday Miss Melanie and I decided that Tyler needed to focus himself during speech therapy. She gives him stamps on his hands for doing a good job. In the past he'd gotten them regardless of how I thought he did. Wednesday he didn't get stamps. And today...he did fantastic! He tried to say everything she asked and succeeded at least half the time. The half he wasn't successful it was still obvious he was trying. I was amazed! Miss Melanie was excited too! Even Tyler seemed proud of himself and had so much fun!

We went through most of the toys Miss Melanie brought with her and showed her some of Tyler's favorites from home. He did so well, and obviously responds to tough love. He got his stamps and a hug!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


We've all seen the Met Life commercials. We know what a big word "if" can be. Well, it's also a little word, one I'd stopped using it without even realizing.

Recently I was talking to someone about the kids and how darn smart they are. I was telling them about how we're trying to figure out what schools will be best for them when we move to Washington.

"When? As in you're definitely moving? Has something changed?"

Hello, reality.

No, nothing has changed. We still don't know for sure where the kids and I will be next year. I guess at some point I'd stopped saying "if we move" and starting saying "when." Maybe it's the power of positive thinking. Maybe it's just wishful thinking. Either way...nothing has changed. So I'm consciously returning to realistic thinking. If.

After I dropped Jace off at school yesterday morning Gracie asked if she'd be going to that school next year. I told her, "If we don't move to Washington, then yes, you'll be at the same school as Jace. If we do move you'll go to Kindergarten in Washington." If.

Scott has less than six weeks left at work. He'll have some down time here before he leaves for Connecticut. But we'd really like to turn "if" into "when" before he's on the road. The kids get out of school in four months. We'd really like to have "if" be "when" by then.

While we wait, though, we'll plan for if. Where's Lucy and her little lemonade stand when you need her? I have a nickel and could use her expertise!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I remember from Abnormal Psych that someone (I think Freud) had a theory that schizophrenia is developed because mother's make their kids crazy. By not being consistent in praise and punishment the child doesn't know what to do and just loses his grip on reality. I think I've mentioned before (I'd link to it but I'm not sure where I said it) that my dad, not a famous psychoanalyst, psychotherapist, or psycho-anything, has his own theory. He believes that insanity is inherited from your children.

My take? My kids are making me nuts, especially when it comes to food. On Sunday we had BBQ chicken. It wasn't Jace's favorite BBQ sauce, but it was acceptable and both he and Gracie ate it. Monday we figured out the grocery list for the week, which meant determining what Gracie and Jace would make for their meals on Tuesday and Friday. Gracie chose a pasta recipe, but of course there was no protein and definitely no vegetable. I suggested chicken and she agreed to the same BBQ chicken as Sunday night.

Now, in case you're not following...Tuesday is two days after Sunday. Sunday she ate the chicken and wanted more. Tuesday she didn't eat the chicken. It wasn't leftovers. It was baked the same way with the same BBQ sauce, still not Jace's favorite, but everyone ate it two days earlier. AAAHHHH!!!!

This happens all the time. Someone will eat peas on Monday but not on Thursday. Someone else will eat lasagna the first night but not leftovers a few days later. However, the person who didn't eat it the first night will want seconds of the leftovers. Broccoli used to be a favorite and now is a no-go. And when we do find something that everyone eats all on the same night I am ever-so-hopeful that I can carefully prepare the same meal once a week and it'll get eaten. That's never the case.

Even though they're working hard to make me lose my marbles, they do make me laugh sometimes too. The other night we had quesadillas. All three kids like to dip so we had sour cream, guacamole, and salsa to go with the cheesy delights. Gracie, who obviously watches too much Food Network with me, said, "Well, what a really like about your salsa (FYI-it came from a jar) is the taste. It has good flavor. But I don't like the tomatoes, peppers, or onions." Silly girl! She's not lying, though. She'll dip into the salsa and get the color and flavor all over her food, but she won't eat any of the chunks! (Shrug)

So, while I'm working on remaining calm and composed during meal time and meal planning, and especially when I'm cleaning off plates after dinner, don't be completely surprised if you find me in the loony bin some time in the future. Be sure to blame it on my kids based on Dad's theory, not on my mother!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Yesterday I called a friend, Cathy. I needed to hear her voice and get her reassurance. I've needed it for a while, she always makes me feel better and, right now, I'm stressed! But at the same time I know she's got a full plate too. In fact her plate might be overflowing at times. But yesterday the stars were aligned and her kids were taking extra long naps. Now she may have been taking that time to get something done in peace and quiet, but I don't really know because I didn't ask what I was interrupting, I just interrupted.

I didn't realize that I haven't even talked to her since we put the house on the market by owner. It's only been a month, but it feels like it's been so much longer. And when I told her how stressed it was making me she said, "Now, you're going to have to educate me, but I thought by owner meant you put a sign in the yard? Is there more to it?"

For a few seconds my dear friend rendered my speechless. I immediately wondered why I was so exhausted from putting a sign in the yard. There really wasn't much more to it. We'd posted in online too, but that doesn't take any spectacular show of energy.

I sighed, which I do a lot these days, and told her my mother-in-law had asked if there was a chance that I might be pregnant. Don't be too shocked. She's not the first to ask it or to think it. I, myself, wondered until I was sure I wasn't. Scott's gotten a vasectomy, but never gotten tested to see if all his swimmers are, in deed, running into a wall head first. We're not as nervous about that as some people think we should be, maybe because we have other things to worry about. But this is a whole other story. I'm not pregnant.

I told Cathy that I didn't know why I was so tired, but I did feel as tired as if I were pregnant, but I really just felt like it was stress related even though I didn't know why I was stressed, having only put a sign up to sell the house!

But then, as I kept telling her the story of our life lately, I realized there is more to selling by owner. I've been fielding all the calls and emails from interested buyers and renters. Thankfully, we've been getting lots of interest. However, half the calls are from people who flat out can't afford what we're asking them to pay, rent or purchase. (My little sister boldly pointed out that that's the circle of life...the people who can afford our place are off looking at places they can't afford!) The other half of those interested can almost afford it. Those people I've spent a great deal of time with and on.

I've worked out probably a dozen different rent to buy options for people who have decided, in the end, they aren't ready or can't do it right now. I've showed the house to four perspective families. I'm making follow up calls. I'm trying to sound friendly and not pushy, eager but not stalker-esque. My hopes have been raised and dashed time and time again over the past month. I am a strong woman, but this is beating me down. Hopefully one of these days someone will just say, "Yup, I'll take it!"

After figuring out that it was reasonable to feel tired out, even when not pregnant, Cathy did help me feel better. She's good like that. She even pointed out that not only is the house thing there to stress me out, but I'm still a wife and mom and I'm probably trying to make sure those things don't suffer too. She's right, but I don't think I'm doing the best I can in those areas. Cathy laughed at me and said, "What? You think there's something you could do better?"

I have to laugh now. But yesterday I answered confidently. "Yes. For example. I asked the kids what they wanted to have with leftover goulash for dinner tonight, green beans or baked beans. They, of course, said baked beans, but I half hoped they'd say green beans and surprise me with wanting a vegetable that's actually a vegetable. But they didn't. They picked the baked beans, which was actually what I wanted too because I don't like green beans either. But the better way to handle that would have been not to ask and just serve green beans even though only Scott and I would have eaten them."

Cathy laughed. "Really? That's what you could do better?"

After getting off the phone with her, and feeling like I'm not a complete failure, I served peas and baked beans. I know, a lot of starch, but I like peas and they're green. That's good, right?

So, long story short (trust me, I could have made it longer) I called a friend, cried on her shoulder, heaped her plate higher with my life, and feel better because of her. I'm still hoping I'll pick up the phone and someone will say, "Sold!" In the meantime, I'll lean on those around me, with strong shoulders, and keep doing the best I can. Tonight we eat salad!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Not Me! Monday

I'm quite excited! My little sister turned me onto MckMama, whose blog is here, many moons ago. I've enjoyed reading not only MckMama's Not Me! Monday posts but also scanning through other people's denials. I've come close to spitting out beverages reading some Not Me's but mostly I realize I'm nodding in agreement...been there too! Every week I consider the possibility of denying my own life right along with MckMama's other readers. That day has come.

My lunch did not start with the last cookie from the batch I made yesterday. It certainly didn't finish with Frito's in bowl of cheesy eggs with salsa. I know how to eat healthy and know that chips and cookies aren't part of that equation. I know better. I wouldn't do that.

Um, er...I don't give intense consideration to what I should wear when showing the house to interested parties. I didn't try to improve upon that look when today's interested party was interested in buying not renting. I most certainly did not try on three different outfits before settling on something comfortable and conservative to greet this gentleman in. After showing him the house and yard, I'm not trying to find the perfect combination of prayer and pleading for this to work out and so that we can be free and clear of the house here and move with Scott to the other side of the country.

After hearing from Mom about how burying a statue of St. Francis in your yard can bring a buyer quickly, I'm not wondering where I can get a statue of St. Francis here in the deep South. Hmmm....

I'm not absolutely whipped from this one showing and I'm not ready for a nap. I'm an adult and don't need afternoon naps. I'm not going to go set my alarm after I finish this post just in case I can't convince my eyes to stay open.

Whew...that was therapeutic. I'm not sure I'll be a faithful participator in Not Ne! Monday, but I'll definitely be back! There's a lot more I can get off my chest! Don't forget to enjoy the other posts at MckMama's.