The Age of Independence

This weekend we undertook some family fall projects.  It was really a lot of fun and provided a bit of perspective at the same time.

Fish is 8 and Mim is 4. Fish had just hit the age of independence when Mim was born and I can remember wondering what the hell I was thinking having a second child!  I wanted two kids for the kids’ sake, I was an only child and really missed that family connection.  Having them four years apart wasn’t my choice, but in hindsight I think that worked out for the best.  Even with four years between them, for me, two kids was a LOT of work.   Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for both of them, and to those who can, and choose to have more than two I say more power to you, but I am D-O-N-E done bearing children.

I love newborns, so snuggly and soft, but holly crow are they a lot of work!  Then they grow in to infants and toddlers and the work grows in some ways (they don’t stay put anymore). Now that Mim has really moved into that independent stage of life, I can really breathe a sigh of relief (It only took eight years). He is now daytime potty trained (WHOOP “O JOY).  He functions very independently (dresses himself, feeds himself etc. doesn’t need a nap) and plays blessedly independently.  That means that we can finally start scheduling our time as a family unit and not have to divide and conquer because he needs a nap or a diaper change and she is raring to go. The kids will always be 4 years apart, but the impact of the age gap on family operations has lessened greatly, so the breadth of activities we can attempt has increased exponentially.

This weekend we tie dyed t-shirts on Saturday and Sunday we went apple picking AND made 5 Gallons of apple sauce on Sunday.  Previously, I would only have dared tackle one of these activities in a weekend never mind all three.

My kids still need me, but as they grow, the need is more about guidance and direction than survival.  There was a time when I thought this stage would never come.  Yes, conventional wisdom says ”Enjoy them when they are young.“, and I think I did as much as I could, but I am finding I really prefer the interactions as they get older.  It is less about strained carrots and smelly diapers and more about living our values and having fun, and I like fun.


Public Transit – Preschool Entertainment on the Cheap

Mim is in pre-school/daycare 3 days a week.  The mornings are a structured pre-school program and the afternoons include a rest (Mim doesn’t nap anymore), a snack and as much outdoor free play as the weather allows.  He loves it.

The other two week days are mostly devoted to domestic activities (for me) and free play (for him).  He’s equally as happy as home.   I on the other hand tend to get a little stir crazy with an active four year old bouncing off the walls. Last year, he took a gymnastics class, when I asked if he wanted to go back this year his answer was an emphatic NO! There are art and music classes offered locally, but none that jive with our schedule.

I’m always on the lookout for inexpensive, novel activities for us to undertake.  The nearest city to us recently expanded its public transportation offerings to include two trolleys that make a loop through the down town area and out to the local community college. BIG doin’s for a four year old little boy.

It took a grand total of 1/2 of an hour (excluding driving to the pick up point) and cost me $1.00 (he rode free).  He loved it and it gave us an opportunity to take in some of the local sites (banks, the Capitol building, police cars, fire trucks, there was just no end to the excitement).

I’m a huge proponent of public transportation.  I rode the T in Boston for 10 years before I got my license.  If we lived in an urban environment, I’d own a car, but ride public transit as much as possible, but alas, buses don’t run out in the sticks!

Most public transit systems aren’t as inexpensive as ours, but still you can’t beat $3.25 and a temperature controlled ride for some cheap fun.  Make sure to ride outside of rush hour to insure a relaxed experience.

All Aboard!!!

Runner’s High, it’s the real thing

I have friends who run marathons (Hi, K&E).  Not only do they run marathons, they raise thousands of dollars for charity in the process. I’ve always thought they were nuts. Good hearted and generous, but nuts all the same. Lately, thought, I’ve begun to experience the rush, that comes with running (and exercise in general) and I think I’m starting to get addicted.

I have PCOS (a hormonal imbalance that reeks havoc with my endocrine system) and as a result, I collect weight in my mid-section.  That plus two c-sections and a passion for chocolate, has lead to being 40 and 40 pounds overweight.  I’ve tried to lose weight before but only ever half heartedly.

Last spring, I was diagnosed with diverticulitus, not a huge shock, my mom had it too.  It is an inflammation of the intestine and when it strikes, it is damn painful.  Avoid seeds, nuts, popcorn and eating high fiber diet can help stave off, attacks, but I’ve recently learned that a tight abdomen that supports the walls of the intestine is also a plus.  It was time for the weight to go.

I eat fairly well already (chocolate aside).  I don’t drink a lot of soda, I use wheat bread, and I like fruits and veggies. I use Splenda in my tea and avoid an excessive amount of carbs (a must for the PCOS), still, I’ve been maintaining the weight for the last 4 years.  It was time exercise more.

Slowly but surely, I’ve been getting more active. I hate to admit this, but it feels good.  I genuinely feel better mentally and physically.  If I’ve lost 2 pounds, I’d be surprised, but my clothes are fitting a smidge better and that’s a nice feeling.

I exercise right after I get the kids off to school. If I don’t do it then, it never happens.  Typically I wake up and I think “Nah, not today, I’m  not in the mood, I can skip a day.” But then I get back from the morning drop off and something is nudging me to move. Yesterday was just such a day.  It was gray out, so one voice was trying to talk me into staying in, but I finally decided to go for a walk.  I wasn’t walking 2 minutes when another voice was urging me to run.  The body grumbled as I set into a light jog, but the mind was flying.  I’m in better shape than I was, but still can’t run full time, I  need to resort to intermittent  walking, but I’m told this is the way you build a running habit. Wow does it feel so good when I run.  It clears my mind and I am able to truly think about some of the projects I’ve been working on lately.

By the time I get home, I’m red faced and a little winded, but my mind is clear and I feel exhilerated. I guess that’s what they call the runner’s high.  Personally, I always thought that was a term the exercised nazis used to lure in the naive, but I’m here to tell you as a recovering couch potato, there is something to it.

I’ve been alternating wogging (walking and jogging) with biking and even free weights. Someday, I hope to move on to rogging (running and jogging), but I’m taking it one day at a time. The reality is that very soon, the outdoors here won’t be fit for woman nor beast, but I have a plan B.  If mother nature cooperates and gives us some snow, I’m going to finally invest in some snow shoes.  If she doesn’t I’m going to get a six month membership at the local indoor pool and work out there (I love the water, so I may do that anyway).

I’ve started down this road before, but never have I felt so compelled to exercise, as in I’m edgy if I miss more than 2 days in a row. I really hope this is the start of new habits for me.  I don’t need to be Hollywood thin, nor do I need to run marathons  I just want to be in better physical shape.

Wish me luck!

Right after I wrote the draft of this entry, Kathryn posted her story and I got the warm, fuzzy, oh-I’m-not-alone-feeling. So, here’s to us may we both be on the way to better health!

Where Were You?

Every generation has that moment. That one event they all share in common.  One that can immediately bond you in conversation, even with the strangest of strangers.

For my mother it was “Where were you when John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated?”
The teacher’s room in a staff meeting with a cranky principal.
For me, coming of age in the 80’s it was “Where were you when the space shuttle Challenger blew up?”  Hovering in the doorway of a high school classroom where the launch was being shown.  I’d seen every launch and I wasn’t about to let something as pesky as an AP history class stand in my way this time.
September 11, 2001, was a beautiful, crisp fall day. I had just returned from dropping my daughter at her in-home day care. I was in my home office filtering through email and to-do lists making a plan for the day.  The newsman from the morning show on the country station broke in to 30 minutes of music to tell us that a plane had flown into  the World Trade Center.
I shook my head.  Oh boy some schmuck really did it this time.  The music started and I went back to my tasks.
The newsman came back again.  Seems he was somewhat of an aeronautics aficionado and he really thought the tail sticking out of the North Tower was too big to be a Twin engine plane as first reported.  It looked to him to be a commercial airliner. That’s it, it was time to head downstairs and turn on the TV.
I had no clue. No one did.
Before I could get downstairs, and get the TV on, a second plane flew into the South Tower. Oh my God.  This wasn’t an accident.
A friend called just to chat.  Turn on NPR I told her.  This is bad.  She didn’t believe me but obliged me.  I watched the TV, she listened soon we were sharing bits of information.
I disconnected from her with a promise to call, her back.  I had to tell my husband.  I knew he was heading into a meeting.  I caught him just in time.  My voice broke as I told him the news. It was a small office and they tried to load web pages, but the Internet was brought to its knees by the sheer volume of requests.
We disconnected so he could learn more with a promise to stay in touch.  He worked in Boston and by then, we knew that both planes had originated from Logan International Airport.  Were we next?
Shortly after that I screamed at the TV as I listened to Peter Jennings babel as the South Tower collapsed. PAY ATTENTION I screamed.  It was all happening so fast, I needed SOMEONE who knew what was going on.  No one did. No one could have.
Husband called. They gave up on the Internet and were headed to Foley’s, the  local watering hole to watch the coverage on TV.
Oh my God there was a third plane and it hit the Pentagon.
There was talk of a fourth plane. But no one could confirm it.
Got my friend back on the phone.  We didn’t say much, but occasionally shared bits of data from our alternate sources. I sat in the middle of the coffee table tears streaming down my face hugging a pillow. We were making lists of people we knew in New York City. Hers was much  longer than mine.
In what was the only bright moment of the day, my MIL called.  Looking for Husband.
“He’s gone to Foley’s”.
“It’s a little early for a beer isn’t it?”
I laughed.
“Yeah, but that’s the only place with a TV.”
“Oh right. I want the three of you to come up here.”
I’m was not going anywhere until we knew what is going on.
Husband called.  He was on his way home.  Would I pick him up at the subway?  Not long after that, the MBTA, announced free service and the Mayor encouraged businesses to release employees to go home to their families.
As I’m made my way to the car, a black thought occurred to me. My husband just got on a subway.  We are under terrorist attack. No one knew what is really happening.  The military had scrambled every jet on the East Coast.  The FAA had grounded all flights. Police forces and Fire Stations everywhere put all staff on high alert. My mind did cartwheels as the possibilities banged around my head.  I forced the maybes out of my brain and focused on getting to the station.  It was a zoo and I’ll admit, my heart was in my throat as I waited. Finally his blonde head appeared.  He was on the phone with  his mother, assuring her we’d be up as soon as it was safe.
We picked up our daughter on the way home.  By then, it was nap time.  We sat on the couch watching the coverage until she woke up.  Then, the TV went off and we went for a walk in the local park.
It was a beautiful, crisp fall day.

The Tides The Are A Changin’

… with all due respect to Bob Dylan.

For the past two weeks I have been light and airy. Motivated to exercise and eat well. My kids have been their normal selves and when the dust kicks up, I’ve been able to deal with it.
Oh, and let’s just say my husband has found the last seven days or so to be to his liking too.
No more.  In the language of two year olds “All Done.”
Without even looking at a calendar I can tell you I’m on the down side, headed towards the Red River.
There are the two rocks sitting at the base of my spine, within 5 days they’ll feel like oranges. There is my short temper. I’m annoyed by people talking (not even to me).  Oh and then there is the craving for sugar and salt. Oh those dark chocolate covered potato chips just hit the spot.
I have polycystic ovarian syndrome.  Time was it would 3 months in between my periods, but ever since the birth of my second child and the subsequent remove of a cyst from my ovary, BOOM! My cycles have been like clock work and the PMS has been equally as predictable.
I can control the pain with Motrin, but I can’t seem to control the crankiness. Please don’t suggest The Pill, been there done that with disastrous results.  I’ve been exercising more regularly and I’m going to TRY and keep that up this month.  My doctor says soy, might help, but I have a hard time with soy.  It makes me want to gag.
I’m of the age were peri-menopause is on the horizon and my biggest fear is that when my hormones burn themselves out that I will be stuck with permanent PMS.
Oh well, it’s time for a big glass of water and maybe a little TV.

Summer’s over

This year more than others, I’m really noticing the end of summer.  Thus my documentation of the subject here.

I looked down the other day and realized that indeed summer was over.  The polish on my toes was in serious need of removal.

I’m not a girly girl by ANY stretch, but I likes me some painted toes in the summertime.  I’m so fair skinned, I enjoy the contrast of bright or dark colors.  I don’t have time for a real pedicure, so I just do the polish myself.   I can usually sneak a coat or two in between emails or phone calls while I’m in my office working (note, I work from home so I’m not asphyxiatingiating my co-workers). I am pretty good about staying on top of chips and growth but clearly I’ve fallen behind.  No touch up would save these toes.  It was going to have to be a complete removal and re-polish.  Ahh, but what’s the point, I probably only have another two to three weeks in sandals tops.

This morning, I broke out the polish remove and did away with the “Back to the Fuchsia”.  I was all set to go O’natural for the rest of sandal season, but then I looked closely at the poor piggies.  Seems summer wasn’t quite ready to go.  “Back to the Fuchsia” had left behind a light tint that even straight acetone wouldn’t remove. So I whipped out “Made You Blush” just to get me through the next few weeks.
Don’t look too close M’kay?

The last of the lazy days

My kids started school again this week (ok Fish went back to school, Mim, just kept keepin’ on at pre-school).  The local district tries to get a jump on snow days, so the kids usually start the Tuesday before Labor Day.  They get three days of getting back into the swing of things then typically, they have the Friday before Labor Day off.

I think it is a nice way to ease out of the summer and into the school year. Especially after this summer.  We had so many snow days last year (11) that the kids didn’t get out until late June.  Then it was a quick trip to visit with my family over the 4th of July.  Then it was off to Las Vegas for a conference for the entire family.  Mim, A-Man & I flew home, while Fish took two weeks to drove back with her Grandparents.
That was supposed to be the end of the chaos.  Then we were supposed to have the rest of the summer to fritter about.  A week after we got back from Las Vegas, the father that raised me (I have 2 Dads) unexpectedly passed away.  So, it was off to Philadelphia for me and a few days later my husband followed.   Let me tell ya death really puts a damper on things.
I was back from that trip for a short time and then the kids and I headed out to Vermont to stay with a friend for a few days post-shoulder surgery. I was a puddle by the time I got back from that trip. We took 4 short days for a relaxing-just-our-family-vacation and BOOM it is back to School.
As glad as I am to get the kids back to school, part of me was really grateful for the slower pace this morning.  When we get our acts together, we’ll head to the lake to spend time with A-Man’s family.
Then, it will be Tuesday and we’ll be back in the saddle again.
In the mean time, I’m just going to enjoy the laziness of the next 4 days.

That didn’t take long . . .

I have some things in mind that I want to blog about and I was hoping that day to day life would generate a few bloggable moments, but I didn’t expect anything to materialize so quickly.

Fish’s first homework assignment is “A box about me”.  She needs to decorate a box and fill it with items that represent her and what she likes.
It was assigned yesterday and is due Tuesday.  Being the fastidious student she is, she wanted to get started right away.  Last night was haircuts, a quick dinner out, home and bed.  So today was really the first time she had to work on it.  I am an avid recycler, so boxes either get reused or sent to the cardboard pile in the basement.  Unable to locate any boxes upstairs, I sent her to the basement to find a suitable box.
This is what she came back with.

How it all began

First, I was born.

No, really, I was.
39 some odd years later, I was working as an event manager for a human resources conference. The moderator for that conference was a gentleman from Texas named Mac Fulfer.

Mr. Fulfer is a “reformed” attorney (his words, not mine) and now works as a face reader. Face reading is the art and science of interpreting someone’s facial features to learn more about who they are and predict how they may behave. Mac first learned the skills to assist him with jury selection. He has perfected the art and now travels the country educating others (including the FBI) about face reading.

Mac is an affable man from Texas. While we were waiting for the speaker’s dinner to begin the night before the conference, he read my face. His description of me was spot on, almost frighteningly so. I was working, and I was distracted with making sure that the dinner ran smoothly, so I don’t remember everything he said, but a few things stuck. He said I was an impatient person (VERY true), but at the same time a perfectionist (also very true and something I’ve been trying to tame of late). It was a perfectly accurate description of me.

This is not my first blog, I have one related to my business interests, one where I rant and rave and one where I talk with my Dad who passed away in July of 2007.  My identity on those ranges from completely identified to completely anonymous.  Here, I plan to discuss my personal life including my family life with a husband and 2 kids.  A-Man isn’t nearly as out going as I am and my kids (Fish and Mim) are too young to understand the concept of privacy, so out of necessity, I blog semi-anonymously here to protect the innocent. Some of you know me and my family, I ask you to respect their privacy.
So, buckle your seat belts and let’s see where this takes us shall we?
Thanks for reading