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Live Richly, Live Free. Embrace All The Blessings From Our Creator and Marvel in His Creation.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Cheesy Cheese Cake and The Real McCoys

"I will have a cheesecake" I declared emphatically as I got into the Suburban. My husband looked at me skeptically. "Have you gotten me anything for my birthday yet?" I reminded him menacingly. "Not yet" he replied in defeat as we drove over the the grocery store. I had just gotten off working my last and gizillionth shift for the stretch and it would be our last time in town before our big trip out east. We would be driving all day on my birthday and I was determined that I would be having cheesecake for my birthday cake this year.
When we got to the store, I knew already that getting myself a cheesecake for my birthday was a big mistake. The freezer section cheese cakes looked expensive and freezer burnt. We were trying to save all our money for the trip and buying a prepared cheesecake suddenly seemed like a waste of calories and money. I couldn't bring myself to buy the $10 one, already feeling the burden of guilt. Eventually, I settled on a $6 Sarah Lee job. The cheesecake already seemed eerie lurking in that cardboard box, but I willed myself over to the check out line anyway.
The night of the "party", I took the cheesy old cheesecake out of the box. It didn't feel very festive. It was still a little bit frozen on top and appeared lopsided, kind of like it was leering at me or maybe scowling. When I took my first bite, I was quite disappointed. It didn't even taste like a cheesecake. I suppose it's as much of a cheese cake as you can get for $6. The next day, I fed the rest of it to my husband and daughter.
I wrote that for a blog post that I never made. I just didn't feel inspired to continue on, but I saved it anyway. I don't know why. Part of the journey to fitness and healthy eating for me is learning to balance a variety of foods into my diet without me say.... eating half the cheese cake. No worries on that one written about above!
So when I got to my sisters, I hadn't said (or blogged) a word about the cheesy cheesecake. My whole attitude in buying it was wrong and I knew it. Her husband, who cooks in an upscale restaurant and goes to college, made me a home made cheese cake from scratch. It was unforgettable for 2 reasons. 1. He took time out of his full time college and work schedule to make me a cheese cake. Very thoughtful. 2. Because God knew I wanted some good cheese cake and put it on somebodies heart to make me one. I am humbled on both accounts. Consequently, every bite of it was out of this world incredible.
Last night at my mother in laws, she asked me "want some cheese cake?" I almost couldn't believe it. This time it was a turtle cheese cake with chocolate and carmel in it. Call me a weirdo, but its just the kind of thing that God does to prove a point to me that He is up there and cares about me. I start out with this attitude that I'm going to have to "take care of myself" in some manner. Then I do a lousy job of it. Then a little miracle comes on the scene to remind me just how Big He is and how much better a job He can do for me when I chose to trust in Him.
One of my last favorite "little miracles" is from back when we were moving to MT. I was home schooling the kids even back then and I wanted to switch math curriculums. The Archer wasn't doing so well with Abecka and I wanted to try Saxton. I insisted to my husband that we had to buy a Saxton text book. He said "no" because we were just getting ready to move and the money was real tight. He told me to "trust God for one". I laughed and scoffed loudly and said "God is going to bring me a Saxton Math book?!" in an incredibly sarcastic and antagonistic tone. Boy was I ashamed later on. That last visit over to my moms before the move, a woman from her church came over. She brought with her a Saxton Math book and the test and quiz booklets that went with it. Honestly, it scared me and I have never taken on a sarcastic attitude toward miraculous provision again. About 6 years ago, I was also given close to the entire Saxton Math curriculum for about fourth grade through Sr. High.
Anybody else out there have any little miracles to share?
Above Photos : Cheese Cakes I have known. After all that sugar, Moonbeam gets her teeth brushed. Uhh... the kids are trying to send you a message about my age. You will not want to reverse the kids hands and figure it out!

Friday, January 29, 2010

My Perfect 10 Update (A Day Late)

Well, here we are in another state (literally) and I'm reflecting back on my goals from the living room of my in laws :-) I must say, yesterday as I was running down the icy highway with spikes on, I felt glad for this challenge. I may not always meet every goal perfectly, but I am trying and so I'm doing better than I would be had I not made these goals to begin with. There is something to be said for all of that! Thanks South Beach Steve, for the challenge.

1. Some form of exercise 6 days a week. Pretty much, yes!

2. Sit ups/planks 5x week. Maybe 3-4 this week.

3. Instill healthy ideas in my kids. Honestly, I hardly have to think about it. Just my doing healthy things causes them to. Today I sat down with an apple and only got 2 slices of it.

Below is my niece with her dad. I told her I brought some bananas over so she could pretend to be a monkey. As you can see, she really got into the part. We also drew interesting pictures on each of the bananas. There were 3 bunches on the counter one day. The next there were only a few left!!
4. pic - current

5. Drink more water - yes, I have been. The one day I didn't, I noticed in my eating log how much more I ate. Wow!

6. Burn calories rather than binge - not perfect, but definitely in check.

7. Hair - apt scheduled (wooohooo!)

8. Biggest Loser Contest (will find out results in Feb)

9. Work out with a Buddie weekly - Enjoyed a nice Nordic hike with The Dolphin Goddess a few days before our trip. It was a great catch up with her and I could tell I'd really worked!

10. Try clothes on/shopping - none of that lately, but should get a chance this week.

I always forget the "something about myself" part! I like to joke that I am "domestically challenged!" I don't know how to sew, knit, crochet or do anything that resembles a craft (and I fear trying). I'm also not much of a house keeper. When I left home I didn't even know how to brown hamburger!! As I have had more children, of course, I've learned lots, (because I had to). Here I am today sprouting and rendering bear fat! It's all a work in progress and I have fun making fun of myself on my blog as I learn!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Onward Eastern Time Travelers

I was feeling possibly precocious and maybe even a little unprepared for the journey that lay ahead. It was 3:30 am and my husband had just said "I can't sleep anyway. Lets just get up and get started." It had been a long night. The kids and I had decided to stay up so we could sleep in the car on the way there. Since Super Catman had fallen asleep, in an underhanded way, mind you, we decided to watch the movies too scary to put on when he was awake. The first one was a suspenseful, action packed movie. The next was a creepy thriller. Finally, Sock Fashion Expert and I were the only ones still interested in movies and we watched a romantic chick flick. By then, Moonbeam had decided she wasn't interested in sleep anymore and I had to try and keep her quiet. The boys, feeling slightly jilted from the possibility of their PlayStation, took off on a middle of the night hike. Perhaps it was just for the sake of worrying me (as guilty culprit in keeping the television), but more likely the realism that we'd be driving for 24 hours straight in just a few passing hours.
By 5:30 am on my birthday, we embarked on our journey. My hope to sleep worked for the first 6 hours, as did all the other kids and my husband was left to man the captain's chair alone. I don't think he minded the silence at all. The next 6 hours, I lost myself in reading my first ever Louis L'Amour novel "The Broken Gun". It was a suggested reading by Sock Fashion Expert. Once I picked it up, I no longer wanted to put it down and I was transported to another place and another time. It seemed an appropriate novel to read, riding through untold miles of wheat fields, stretched across the plains of Montana. Traces of the stalks could be seen, still golden, bending low under the cover of white. The snow on the flat farm country reminded me of blank pages in a novel, yet to be etched upon, and the highway on we were driving was that which bound its pages.
Sock Fashion Expert had brought along a large cardboard roll containing large "Pillar - On Tour Now" posters. It was her intent to pepper Montana and North Dakota with the advertisements. She takes her responsibility as an "Underground Army" fan to heart. She also helped with Moonbeam a lot. Moonbeam actually did quite well considering that she was strapped in a car seat for 20 some hours. She slept a lot. She sang along with the songs resonating from the Suburbans old tape deck. She really was a trooper.
The Archer and Artdog took up the rear seats in the Suburban. They were pretty quiet other than to complain about having to listen to 80's type Dallas Holm. Archer wanted to hear White Cross, but by the time I played it, he had fallen asleep. They, too, brought along some Louis L'Amour as did The Sock Fashion Expert. Ever since rediscovering Louis L'Amour writings, all too often, on any given winter evening, you can find my husband or one of my children snuggled up on the living room floor captivated by his story telling. Archer had also brought "Swiss Family Robinson". He and Sock Fashion Expert had just recently watched the newest spin off of it on Satellite.
Super Catman exhausted his share of cookies and crackers and watched some Veggie Tales on the DVD player that his grandma had wisely purchased. Moonbeam, sitting next to him liked that too. Though I tried to convince them to watch the 15 fun filled hours of "Rin Tin Tin" that I purchased, none of them seemed all that excited about the prospect and poo pooed the pup. Well, fooey on them. I'll watch it myself.
Much of the trip was uneventful with the exception of my imagination. I drove for about 8 hours across the plains of North Dakota, mostly. My husband was supposed to sleep, but wasn't all that successful. He claimed that I needed "instruction" and deemed it his duty to remind me to "slow down". I kidded about blogging on man back seat drivers. Then he instructed me to stop at McDonalds. This threw me into a tizzy because I do not like eating at McDonalds. Especially the dollar menu, I don't relish, and that's always what we end up eating from. If I had a dollar for every McChicken my family has consumed, I could probably own a small island off the coast of Guam. The idea of eating a McChicken on my birthday was too much and I pouted profusely. He didn't know where anything else was in that city and as you know, men don't like to ask for directions. I suppose if eating at McDonald's was my biggest complaint for the trip, I do not have allot to be complaining about, hence I should silence myself before you deduce my juvenile side that I try so desperately to keep veiled.
When we finally reached the City my sister lives in, everyone, especially Moonbeam was ready to escape the confines of our old Suburban. A pile of cracker crumbs had collected on the bottom of Moonbeam's new car seat and left a trail through the vehicle as they unstuck themselves from her bottom. Silent concern passed among the passengers as we remembered last winter at my Sister, Heathers. She lives in a spacious, tidy basement apartment with her husband and two adorable little girls. Her sewage system backed up, creating a gruesome tale to spin. Those were "Terrible Toilet Troubles" indeed. Anyhoo, we arrived here safely and I'm sure that I'll have ample blogging material to entertain you all for some time to come.

Above : My two neices excited to awaken Artdog, My two neices singing "Happy Birthday" to me.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Inherent Evils of Cookie Dough

There is an evil lurking in my kitchen..... Its fierce talons beckon to me. It's allure has entrapped me in its spell. It needs not call with sound, the very fibers of my being feel compelled to stay entrapped by its ghastly vice. This evil is none other than chocolate chip cookie dough. You may laugh, but its true. Chocolate chip cookie dough, innocent and inanimate as it may seem, even now, plots to destroy me one bite at a time.
I thought that if, perhaps, I blogged about its seductive ways, it would not yell so loudly from the storage container. If only I could maintain a heinous mental picture of that, like I do with Philbert, I would be a much happier individual.
Yesterday, I enjoyed a nice Nordic Hike with The Dolphin Goddess. She is the same age as I am, but substantially buffer. I always can expect that I will have to put some work into my workout when I am with her. Of course, I must put on that I am doing just fine. Perhaps a yawn, or maybe a seemingly bored smile or some such drivel will decoy her into thinking that I can keep up with her just fine. Little does she know that I am huffing and puffing and that I will later dramatically collapse on the couch as if I have preformed some superhuman feat when its all over.
As we hiked, commentary on Nordic Walking began to unfold. She confided that her husband is not keen on the activity. Deep in the forest, where no one was around to see, he did try it, but made her promise not to tell anybody. Come out of the closet, bloggers, there are other Nordic Walkers out there. Don't be ashamed. It is just a misunderstood sport. Maybe if we all band together, someday, someone will think its cool.
As you can see, I am not doing anything very productive right now other than to try and avoid eating any more cookie dough. Hmmm.............. Yesterday, a very happy thing happened to me and it didn't have anything to do with being a pioneer of a the New Nordic Hiking Craze. I'd been struggling with forgiving for a long time. Even though I'd made the mental decision to forgive, I still avoided this person as if they'd been sprayed by a skunk. Yesterday, I felt peaceful about the idea of hanging out with them some time. I feel a lot lighter even though I only lost 1lb this week.

Above Photos are more of my new cousin Baby Maxton

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Philbert McHottie

"Oh he's suuuuuch a hottie" said Lila in a wistful tone. "Don't you think so?" she asked. I paused for a moment, before I spoke. Not because I thought he was a hottie, but because I wondered if I should really tell her what I thought. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to speak my mind. "Every time everybody talks about what a hottie he is, the first thing that comes to my mind is Venereal Disease. Then it totally grosses me out and I want to start gagging. I'm not saying he has a social disease, I'm just saying that's the first thing that comes to my mind." For a moment, I encountered a blank stare. "Maybe I shouldn't tell people what I am thinking." I thought to myself. Just then, Philbert McHottie strutted in. The room became strangely silent for a moment. Suddenly drool began to form on some of the girls chins. I decided that my overactive imagination wasn't so bad after all and I abruptly escaped with my mental vision of genital warts intact.
For some reason, the conversation stayed with me and I began to ponder another person I knew. Once a beautiful girl, Lizzie could turn anybodies head. She possessed incredible charisma and charm. She had a curvy youthful figure and a cute impish face. In her day, any guy would have done almost anything to go out with her and she knew it. What Lizzie carried in physical appeal, she sadly lacked in character. After time's harsh ways, she'd become an alcoholic and lost some of that physical appeal. Oh, she was pretty alright, but her magnetism had some how metabolized along with all the booze. Her heart probably looked quite a bit like her liver. I watched Lizzie flirting with someone not all that long ago and I felt really sorry for her. She'd lost her family. She'd traded motherhood for vanity, leaving her kids to fend for themselves. I didn't see a good future in sight for any of them and it grieved me hard. I began to wonder if physical beauty was more of a handicap than a help.
All this thinking is becoming taxing on my brain so I will leave you with a verse. I'm off to prepare for my fitness adventure with Dolphin Goddess...... Toodles
Proverbs 31:29-31 (New King James Version)
29 " Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all." 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award (Blush...Giggle....)

Three people honored me with this award!! I am almost speechless.......... ok, just almost. An amazing and huge thank you Paula Rodriguez, Baili and Foodie Girl! You women are such an inspiration to me.
The rules for this award are that I am supposed to tell 7 things others don't know about myself and I am supposed to pass this on to 7 other bloggers.

1. I grew up in a house full of women and thought men were strange! Really, I thought there wasn't much use for them (until I hit teens that is). People would say "oh poor thing with no father". I thought "men are worthless and smelly, who needs them?!" When I was in kindergarten this trauma propagated this thought in my mind : a little boy with green 11's between his nares and oral orifice used to always say to me "hey baby lets smooch". I was so horrified by the green snot visualization that I have not forgotten the goofy kid to this day! His memory still haunts me. I now have a great husband and 3 fabulous sons and don't entertain that thought any more ;-)
2. I was afraid to try ketchup until I was 14.
3. In front of my entire 4th grade class, I fainted at the sight of my own blood being drawn when we were on a field trip to the hospital (and now I am an emergency room nurse).
4. I am fearful of crafts. Crafts really do creep me out!
5. My grandmother made me carry a brief case to grade school so I would look studious. It was very embarrassing. I finally got to retire the horrid case when a big 6th grade delinquent kid slashed it with his pocket knife.
6. I constructed elaborate lies to one of the kids in school about having my own arcade room. She couldn't wait to come and visit me and was rather disappointed to find out that I only had a lousy mini pack man game.
7. I was known as "The Mad Reader" in grade school because I could not quit reading (ever). I read from the time I got up in the morning, to night (with a flash light under the covers). I read on the school bus. I hid books under my text books so I could read during classes. I took my books every where I went! I read lots of Dana Girls, Judy Bolton type mystery books. Now I don't dare try to read because I know I will neglect something else to finish a good novel.


Here's My Seven Beautiful Bloggers :

1. Blessed Mom's Simple Home
Marcia's home is lovely. Her style is impressive. She is sweet, kind and has a beautiful, virtuous spirit.
2. A Deliberate Life
Chris is such an incredible inspiration to me. She reminds me so much of myself. She puts a lot of heart and soul into her blog and she is faithful to those she calls "friends".
3. Walking on Sunshine
Lois is an army wife. Her husband, "The Colonel", just left after Christmas to go overseas for a year. Her blog always inspires me. She introduced me to finding out who Irena Sendler was, now a huge inspiration to me. I loved learning about her contributions so much that I had to buy the movie and share about it to my whole church. Lois's blog enriches others and changes peoples lives for the better.
4. A Day in the Life of...
Caroline has a neat blog. She lives far away, but her heart is big. I think I'd get a long good with her if we lived on the same continent.
5. Fangmans Fun Follies
Toni has a great blog. She loves her kids boatloads! She is always doing neat stuff with them and blogging about it.
6. NanaNor
Has a lovely blog. She has a lot of depth. Her words are not always a lot, but there is a lot in her words.
7. Toytrkman
He's the inspiration for this post! Yep, he's my husband and I'm very proud of him.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My New Favorite Song

This is my new favorite song. We got this CD for Sock Fashion Expert at Christmas time. I was experiencing a lot of sad things going on around me and the burden seemed too big for one to bear. When she had this song on, it was just what I needed to hear. I've loved it ever since. I hope you enjoy it too! We saw Disciple in concert at the Gorge this past summer. They rock!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Didn't Meet My Goals Because I Was Abducted By Alien Invaders.... yeah that's it!

I Didn’t Meet My Goals Because I was Abducted By Alien Invaders…..yeah, that’s it!
They later used me as a bargaining chip to ensure intergalactic peace. Because they kept me frozen, I was unable to exercise. On the bright side, the green goo they offered me was less than appealing so I did not eat a lot while in their company. Since the world didn't think it could go without reading my blog, Earth conceded and agreed not to destroy Alien Commander Ratfulmanin. There was a peaceful exchange of POW’s and I returned to earth just in time to post this next entry. I am considering a book deal on my abduction, so far I have not received many high offers, but they will be coming, of this I am quite sure.
Ok, so I suppose you’re not going to buy the alien story, plausible as it was. I will now divulge to you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but…….
I started out week 3 ill. There is a very action packed and suspenseful story in a post below about how I threw up. I suppose you may want to skip that post. After that, it was a few days before I was back to normal. I was working full time on top of all that. Then it was PALS (that’s Pediatric Advanced Life Support), two all day intense classes. I left at dark and returned home at dark each night. It’s usually classes like that that push me into over eating, but I didn’t do as bad as I would have normally done. I still watched closely what I was eating. I didn’t make it through the two days like a saint, but I also didn’t bomb it big either.
In the evening, I had to study. My kids said “Mom, why don’t you go study”. I said “No, I’ve been gone all day. I’m going to study out here with you guys.” My son, The Archer, translated it this way : “I’m going to spend quality time with you kids, now SHUT UP!” Then Archer went on to arrange a visit from “Cousin Bob”. As you can see, there was quite a ruckus when “Cousin Bob” showed up. He loudly proclaimed that he enjoyed “candy and chewen’ tobakkee”. He told us he didn’t like tooth brushes all that much. He was quite taken with Moonbeam, as you can see, the feeling was not mutual. What with “Cousin Bob” visiting and all, I don’t quite know what I accomplished that evening, but I do know that I didn’t study much for my tests that next day. Thankfully I passed them, though this time by not as high of a margin as a few years prior.
Despite my many challenges, I did do goals 1 and 2 some of those days. My favorite goal 3 day was Moonbeam sharing steamed broccoli with me. I was shocked she ate a big pile! Goal 4 current, Goal 5 almost every day. Goal 6 was a struggle. I wasn’t perfect on it, but was consciously trying. Goal 7 not yet, Goal 8 – my last weigh in for the contest is in two days. Goal 9 wasn’t possible as I was working every day, but Moonbeam did ride along in the pack on a long hike today. Goal 10 – I haven’t been any where shopping this week, but hopefully will be next week.
In closing, I want to share with you that my children have likened my study habits to that of our son, Art Dog, who is known for being easily distracted. I didn’t try to deny this accusation, as I remembered that when I was supposed to be seriously jotting down another classmates decisive actions on the marker board, I found myself drawing flowers. Eventually, I began drawing pictures next to the students actions to keep myself on task. I cracked dumb jokes about the video person who was teaching and made people laugh. I made unusual displays of myself clowning around. When it was my turn to run the scenarios, during my test, I did a dancing leap into the air, galloped across the room and wrote on the dry erase board as my instructors laughed. Yes, I suppose I do have some trouble paying attention, staying on task, whatever……………..now what were we talking about?
ps. oh i almost forgot : perfect 10 something about me requirement : I spent every Saturday at a school of dance from the time I was about 3-14

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Moonbeam Helps Make Tortillas

Today Moonbeam and I went out for a long hike. I took lots of photos, but none of them turned out all that well. The best shot I obtained was one of some deer droppings. I decided to spare you all of that one. Sock Fashion Expert worked on a top secret project. Super Catman and Artdog played outside. Archer wasn't feeling all that well and spent much of the afternoon wrapped in a pastel baby blanket playing video games and intermittently napping. No one was particularly excited about me taking pictures. I kept hearing scowls and "don't post this on your blog!" Finally, after taking 80 some shots, I gave up and went off to make dinner. Moonbeam grabbed onto my legs and yelled. This is a common place in my house and I'm never quite sure how to deal with that. Sometimes I feel frustrated because I'm trying to do something. Then I remember that she won't be little for long and so I should somehow include her in what I'm doing. After all, the other four seem to occupy themselves and at times I wish they'd pull on my leg fussing for attention! Today, she helped me make tortillas. I guess the best shots come when you're not trying to take them!

Home Made Tortillas (adjusted from cooks.com)
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/3 cup warm water
Mix and cover with plastic wrap for half hour to rest.
Then roll out handfuls on a floured counter top.
Cook on medium heat until it starts to bubble and then flip over.
So easy, even a domestically challenged mom like myself can do it!
Save money at the store and eat healthier ;-)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Working Mom Blues and The Case of Ralph's Revenge (Not The Guy)

As I drug myself out of bed to prepare for my third shift in a row, I felt as though I’d stepped into a nightmare. The laundry room was piled high with linen, casualties of a much more horrendous scene. Sock Fashion Expert lay curled up in a ball quietly on a living room chair. Super Catman was ever so slowly cleaning up his Ralph and not the guy either. The cat had somehow wandered in and was wanting to help him. Art Dog, horrified, was trying to keep Moonbeam away from it. I had just lost my own lunch that morning on the way home from my shift at the hospital. The house always seems to revolt in unusual ways when I’m gone working. I may leave with everything in order, but when I return, I am sure to find myself behind, sinking in a leach infested swamp. This day, in particular made me feel as if there was no possible chance of any semblance of order.
I had agreed to work full time for 2 weeks so that we could make a trip out East to see our family. Though most people with common sense would have thrown in the towel and called in, I knew I couldn’t. Everybody was looking forward to this trip. With a stiff upper lip, I waded through the mess to the kitchen, stepping in something wet and sticky. Not wanting to acknowledge it was probably Ralph, I continued on. After attempting to feed Moonbeam, I changed her and got her freshened up a bit. The Archer was still out on his daily hike. “Artdog”, I asked, “Do you think you can handle being in charge until Archer returns.” He was pretty sure he was up for the job. I reminded him how grave a job it is to take care of his baby sister. He was fine with that until it occurred to him that there was a possibility that she could poop during that half hour window. Already the wheels in his head were turning and he didn’t like what he was seeing. This time, I prayed extra hard as I left the chaos at hand and headed down the steep drive to my last shift of the week……

That next morning when my husband picked me up, I suddenly remembered we needed to go to the grocery store. I was tired and hungry. It was a terrible time to be shopping. I was feeling the need to destress. We walked by the bakery. My appetite had suddenly returned with a vengeance. I began to contemplate donuts. "Hmm....." I tried my husband as we neared the check out line. "Wouldn't you like to enjoy a donut on the way home?" "No" he informed me. I decided to try again. "Uhh..... I think I'd like to get you a donut for the way home". "If you go buy donuts I'm going to comment about it on your blog" he teased. What a kidder. I decided it wasn't worth finding out. I really wasn't wanting to reward him with a donut for driving me to work anyway. I wanted a donut, in case you hadn't figured that out. Later when I came to my senses I was glad that I didn't get any donuts.

Amazingly, we all worked together tonight to get the house cleaned up and everybody was feeling better.

Here's a photo of my new baby cousin Maxton Eli. His mom and I share many childhood memories together. She has waited many years to see this day. God Bless Baby Maxton.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Working Mom Blues and The Case of The Perfect 10 Challenge

For those of you who don’t know me well, when I’m blogging at work, I often entitle my posts with “Working Mom Blues and The Case of……” Then I usually tell about some adventure with my kids prior to my coming to work. Since I’m an Emergency Room RN and Hospital Supervisor, I’m not at liberty to discuss what goes on at my job. Since I’m at work, and in an attempt to make my Perfect 10 Challenge Update more interesting, I have taken the liberty to combine the two posts – here goes :
Sock Fashion Expert rolled her eyes. “That is not acceptable” she moaned. Being Substitute Teacher in my absence, she’d asked Super Catman to list 3 reasons why people first came to America. One of the reasons he listed was “because they wanted to”. He and Art Dog had affixed a piece of long shimmery almost transparent material to Moonbeam's high chair. On the other end, he held it extended and rippled the material. It had come from a box that my dear departed aunt graced me with many many moons ago. “Hey! That’s a Dupata!” I marveled. I had never known she’d given me a striped dupata. “What’s a dupata?” asked Sock Fashion Expert. I showed her. It’s like a long scarf, worn by women in India and other countries. It helps to ensure modesty.
Not long after that, I found myself out enjoying a nice Nordic hike in the fresh air. I like “Nordic Hiking”, that is, hiking with ski poles especially when it’s icy or when I’m packing Moonbeam. The poles give my arms a little bit of work out. It evenly distributes weight (great for heavy people) to take pressure off joints and helps with stability. I waved at my neighbor “Herb”. “What the paranoid possums are you doing?!” He demanded, eyeing me suspiciously. I explained to him about Nordic Walking. Since he was skeptical, I assured him I could use the poles to fend off raging chipmunks and baby hedge hogs. He seemed more satisfied with that answer, peering up into the trees nervously.
Herb’s an unusual guy. Instead of having a planter with butterfly bush in the front yard, there’s a sweet smelling kind of leafy plant there. Instead of a nice flower windmill in the planter winding in the breeze, a psychedelic purple peace symbol stands erected. One day, when we were entertaining a visitor with a travel trailer, the visitor got up to urinate in the middle of the night. As he stepped out the door, he almost wet himself. There in the bushes was Herb peering at him with night vision goggles. I told the visitor, “don’t worry, its only Herb. He does that kind of thing all the time”. Today, Herb was wearing a cap with a logo “I’m not as think as you stoned I am”. He had earlier winked at his wife boasting “don’t worry, she won’t catch my drift”. With a blond airy tone to my voice I innocently asked if his hat referred to how rocky the soil around here was. He nodded smugly. I asked Herb what he was doing. He told me he was tracking wolves. I looked on the ground at the prints. Not long ago, I’d noticed some undigested dog food vomit, but I held my tongue. Herb was a likable guy, alright. He was just a little bit different. A faraway look in his eyes told me that he wasn’t always participating in our conversation at hand. One never knew where Herb would pop up and what he would be doing at the time. As I continued on, Herb muttered “crazy religious snitch”. “Sorry?” I asked sweetly. “I said the air is rich”, and with that, Herb disappeared into the forest as quickly as he’d appeared.
I continued on and pondered my Perfect 10 update. “Hmm….” I contemplated. “ I will have to say “yes” to goal one. I have exercised every day. Even in the big city, I swam in the pool daily. Goal two – almost! I forgot to do the abd work when I was in the city those 3 days. Goal three – very successful. The kids are doing floor exercises when they see me doing them. They’re eating healthier, etc.. Goal four – current. Goal five – good, except for when we were in the big city. It was hard to eat healthy there, but I was very specific about limiting how much I ate. I was amazed I held my own on those days. I've also been recording what I eat in a journal. It wasn't one of my goals, but its been helping me keep track. Goal six – holding my own. Goal seven – not yet. Goal eight – I’m at 10 lb loss from 1/1 (work scale challenge) and currently one of the top contenders. Goal nine – does swimming and sit ups with the kids count? Goal ten – bought a cute tweedish teal coat and a work out jacket. Ok, now what to tell them about me. I know! I’ll tell them that my father, whom I’ve never met, went missing in India during the 1980’s. Seven years ago, for the first time ever, I travelled with my family to India and met some of my paternal family. All my life, I’d wondered why I was the way I am. Shocked, I was to discover these family members even shared my very mannerisms. We stayed there for two months and also did missionary work through out India, though we used their home as our base of operations. To this day, no one can offer me any clues as to the disappearance of my biological father. Yeah, I guess that will do it.”
Disclaimer : "Herb" isn't actually a person. He is symbolic of a conglomeration of people I may or may not be acquainted with.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Gobbledygook Motel and The Big City Part 2

I am a terrible liar and law breaker. I can’t for the life of me do either without a terrible guilty conscience. In fact, the worst trouble I’ve ever been in was because I naively obeyed a police officer. I will expound on that one no further. As a little girl, having been taught never to litter, I observed this rule with grave trepidation. One day, as my Aunt Denny was taking me across the street, I dropped a gumball. I tried to go after it, but it rolled down the side walk in the opposite direction of where we were going. I pulled away, but she had a firm grip and dragged me protesting loudly across the intersection.
Later that afternoon, when I got home, I was fearful that the law had observed my trespass. In my colorful imagination, the sheriff was coming to get me. Not aware of my terrible crime, my Grandmother tried to persuade me to go out and play. Fearful of my impending arrest, I refused to leave the safety of the walls around me. A little while later, the phone rang. I bullied past everybody to answer it, fearful that cops were telephoning. Finally, I was sure that the sheriff could see right inside our front windows, so despite the fact it was only mid afternoon, I pulled the curtains. I told my grandma that it was too bright out. She peshawed this and opened them again. When she caught me belly crawling around the house where there were windows, she became suspicious that something was wrong. At last, I confessed my terrible crime and was assured that no sheriff was staking out the property.
That said, when I booked our motel on Expedia, I ran into an all too familiar problem, the occupancy law. In other countries, you can jam 5 people onto a speeding motorcycle. Our entire family was jammed into the back seats of a taxi in India. There is no occupancy law anywhere around there. You may stuff people into buses until they are hanging out the sides if you wish. Here, however, there are fire codes and other regulatory laws. No motel will allow 5 kids in a room with 2 adults. For me, I feel a lot safer having us all together. For rules, well, a family our size is supposed to rent two rooms. Being extremely short on money for this trip, I decided to challenge the prude in my brain and push into the gray area just a wee bit.
As I began my life of crime, I almost couldn't’t take the guilt. It was a new girl orientating at the motel desk. She quite obviously didn’t know what she was doing. It was a cinch checking in except for my terrible conscience. The Tourniquet song based on an Edgar Allen Poe story about a guilty killer began to resonate in my brain. I could hear them screaming “I admit the deed!” I shook my head and began to haul in luggage.
The shopping was spectacular and I had a wonderful time. The older boys were off with their father on his business excursion. I had the whole day to shop with Sock Fashion Expert. We went all over having incredible fun except for that terrible guilt of the gray area. Super Catman did very well, as did Moonbeam. They were quite valiant as they were dragged to and from clearance sections. At the Salvation Army, Super Catman was quite pleased to purchase a Spiderman “Sit and Spin” with his own funds. It was a steal at $2.50. Even Sock Fashion Expert was thrilled to have found Italian leather boots for only $5 there. When at last I had exhausted the little ones sufficiently, we returned to our motel. My great bribe to Super Catman was to go swimming if he could be good in the stores.
At the pool, I met several unsupervised adolescents. One of them informed me that she “liked to talk a lot”. Taking advantage of this, as I watched Super Catman squirting his Super Soaker (his other Salvation Army find); I asked her where she was from. In no time I learned that she was a home schooled kid from a family of soon to be 6 kids. Her mother was in the hospital having a baby. She was from a town near me. Being a home schooled kid like my own, I was very curious about her family.
Being on an extremely limited budget, most of our meals consisted of dollar value menu sandwiches, lunch meat sandwiches from the grocery store and the Pizza Hut $6.99 Large One Topping Special. Despite the low grade of foods, they all tasted good and I determined within myself that it was a fun adventure to try and eat as cheaply as possible. None of the kids seemed to mind. I had also packed along a huge bag of apples, bottles of water and whole grain low in sugar muffins. This once again reminded me of Aunt Menny. Aunt Menny had 5 kids; home schooled them and ate weird low in sugar foods. At the time I thought she was Loony Tunes, now I have become her.
As we ate our sale pizza, an episode of Andy Griffith began to replay in my mind. It’s the one where the hotel owner calls Sheriff Andy on Mr. Darling, who is a hick from the back country. All night long, a full band plays from the motel room. Each time the motel owner goes in to check on Mr. Darling, the room is empty. Sheriff Andy confronts him and tells him that all that music couldn't have come out of the jug he was blowing. Mr. Darling tells him every man is entitled to his own opinion. In the end Sheriff Andy discovers all Mr. Darling’s boys keep climbing up and down a tree outside the motel room window. Then Sheriff Andy takes them all home to his house and they spend the night there and play music together. Something seemed vaguely familiar about this episode and once again, I felt terribly guilty.
As I laid there on the bed the Spider Man “Sit and Spin” continued to play “you’re a real Spidey Friend!” it said. “You’re making me dizzy” it said. On and on it went as the kids took turns playing with it. “That’s it!” Super Catman exclaimed, “I’m flipping you off!” Silence and dread overtook me. “I break one law”, I moaned “and my kids go to pot”. Now my seven year old is flipping people off! “Mom”, said Sock Fashion Expert, “he’s flipping the switch on the Sit and Spin off”, she explained. “He’s not giving anybody the bird.” I was temporarily relieved. She had a disgusted look on her face. Not because I thought her brother was giving somebody the finger, because she had just discovered her Salvation Army Italian leather boot find was specially made for somebody who had one leg longer than the other.
The next morning, I saw the talkative home school girl up in the front motel lobby. She was excited to tell me her mom had had a baby girl. I asked her how many boys and how many girls there were now. She got a horrible look on her face and glanced over at the front desk lady. Instantly, I knew something was wrong. The front desk lady, oblivious to any of the conversation, continued playing on her laptop computer as she half listened to “The Good Morning Show”. The girl finally spoke. “Uhh…. I have 4 sisters now and one brother.” Then she was quick to say “but we also have a boy cat and my brother is home with the boy cat”. “OK” I thought, something is fishy with this story. She’s just as bad of a liar as I am. I smiled and nodded. Not two minutes later, a little boy came charging around the corner. “Dad says you have to come now!” he demanded in his best commanding voice. Her face turned pale and I turned away smirking. I guess there’s other big families out there who live a little bit in the gray when it comes to the occupancy law at motels.
“Can you take something back to the Salvation Army?” Sock Fashion Expert wanted to know. I almost couldn't’t bear that idea, but told her to call them and find out the policy. That day and the next were a lot like the first. We had a wonderful time shopping at thrift stores and clearance sections. We ate sale pizza for dinner. I felt guilty, but not as guilty. Perhaps I was becoming calloused to my crime. On Sunday we went to church and the worship was wonderful. I could feel God’s presence and I knew everything was going to be OK. On the way home, we got dollar burgers and Super Catman told his oldest brother how to pick up Mc Donald’s Chicks. “Just tell her you want to order a “Mc Chickee” he informed him. Everybody laughed. We all had a wonderful time in the big city. No resolution exists for me about the gray area at motels, but I supposed it was better not to dwell on this.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Butter Knife in the Toilet and the Big City (Part 1)

On a rather dark and gloomy morning, much earlier than any of us are accustomed to arising, we embarked on our grand adventure. My husband had business in the big city far away and shockingly, he'd been persuaded to take us all along. On many of his business trips, he's only taken an older boy or two. This was the first time in a long time he decided to take a big chance and let us all chum along. The likelihood of us not getting into some kind of crazy mix up in the big city was slim, indeed, though I did not remind him of this disclosure.
I should of taken it as an omen when I checked my sprouts that the trip would be rather, er... colorful. They (my sprouts) hadn't done much in the past few days, surprising. I would have thought by now they'd begun to grow. I rinsed them and shook the jar just like I had for the past several days. Tiny brown particles again leaked out. "Gosh", I wondered to myself, "Something seems to be wrong with these little guys. They keep slipping through the mesh." It was then that I checked the package of sprouting seeds I'd been using and discovered it was loose bulk Chai tea!! My daughter eyed me skeptically as I rinsed the remainder down the sink.
As we ate our breakfast, I reminded the kids for the tenth time they'd have to all work together to do the dishes before we left. Mass chaos erupted in kitchen as they all worked somewhat "together". Art dog had been elected to dump some yucky water from a soaking dish out. Since the door was froze shut, he headed to the toilet. As he dumped the water out, he started yelling. Another argument erupted in the kitchen and the kids informed me that a butter knife had been dumped in the toilet along with the dirty water. I told Art Dog "you'll just have to get it out". Art Dog looked at me dumbfounded.
If you know Art Dog, you'll know that he entertains certain, err, fetishes. One of them being with germs. This kid of mine places his toothbrush in many unusual places to keep it clean. I have found it stuck in his top bunk. It's been over the top of the bathroom door on the tiny molding ledge. It's been rubber banded to the towel bar. I find it all different places depending on how hard he has used his imagination. This is the kid who refused to take a bite of his sisters candy bar. She even offered to let him bite from the other end. He told her "you have no idea how fast germs travel." The idea of getting a butter knife out of a toilet could be likened to a living sci fi in his mind. Finally I arranged for him to borrow some rubber gloves and he did the terrible deed. Of course the kid washing the dishes didn't want to wash that. Another argument erputed. In the end, I let him throw the butter knife in the trash. This was taking up too much time and energy when we were already behind schedule. All the way to town, we told stories about mutant butter knives. It was somewhat entertaining. But this was only the beginning of a very long weekend..........................

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Week One is Done (Perfect 10 Challenge)

Here is my Perfect 10 Challenge Weekly Update :

1. "Some Form of Exercise 7 days a week" Define exercise - just kidding. Yep, I've been out in the forest hiking or skiing. Also shoveling snow or a combination thereof every day.

2. Sit ups 5x a week. Bear Friend and South Beach Steve suggested planks. I've been doing a combination of all that.

3. Instill a healthy idea in my kids daily. Yep been doing that too. We recently got 3 cases of really good super sweet Fuji apples. Just watching me eat one, they all come and want a slice. They're all chowing down on them. Its always amazing to me how when I make healthy choices, they often follow suit. Today, my friends were over and we were all doing abd crunches together. My 7 year old and another little boy challenged each other and each did 100 sit ups.

4. Before and After Pic (Before is Done)

5. Drink More Water (3 glasses minimum), Mandatory Fruit and Veggies daily. Yes, doing good with all of that.

6. Burn calories rather than binge under stress. I'd say pretty good for the most part. The only times I noticed I wasn't being careful was when I had company over. The next time I had friends over, I was really purposeful and paid attention to what I put on my plate.

7. Do something with my hair before the 10 weeks is up (not yet)

8. Sign up for our Biggest Loser Challenge at work. Done - paid my dues, weighed in.

9. Once a week workout with a buddie. This week I hiked with my friend Elasta Woman. I skied with my friend Dolphin Goddess. I also did a abd crunch series with Goat Girl, Mist and Elasta Woman.

10. Try clothes on and force myself to buy them. Not yet. I haven't really gotten much of a chance to do that yet.

I'm staying on my plan which is rather simple. For me, I don't have the time, energy or money to count calories or eat a special diet. I'm ultra busy. I'm feeding 5 kids. I'm not really in a position right now to do something special so I'm watching super carefully what I'm eating. Cooking with a lot more veggies, less fat, etc.. With skillet type, one pot meals, I'm measuring the amount with a measuring cup and not going back for more. I'm also not eating at night other than my one allowed snack. I tend to pick up a lot of calories there.

The bulk of the weight I lost a few years ago has stayed off. I've been fluctuating back and forth with the last 10-20 lbs. I want to learn how to eat regular food in my family atmosphere in moderation. I guess losing that last 20 lbs with the idea of maintaining the loss is what my goal is.

This weeks loss : 4lbs at least. If you count my Christmas bad eating and Salt coma it would be more like 8 lbs.

Oh, I almost forgot : Something about me - I'm usually armed when I work out!! I carry a .38 out there in the forest with me. There are lots of wild predators out there, so if I'm alone, I'm armed.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


The other day, as we made our way down the single lane drive over the mountain pass to get to town, my husband and I began reminiscing over parts of life we have lived. Just a few years ago, we were operating a growing business. Employees, subcontractors and friends filled up every day to overflowing. Business seemed to be booming and we seemed to hold an air of popularity with folks all around. It was almost as if friends came out of the woodwork. Then, when we had a few years that the company didn't do as well, the friends dissipated just like fluffy snow on an extra hot day. All that was left was mud puddles in place of friendships. We kind of snickered about the shallowness of people who we thought were really our friends. We thanked God for the lull in business because it brought us to a greater place of depth. As a young couple in our mid 20's the money had come fast, as did the friends. We had some maturing that needed to take place. Had the money stayed, we may never have discovered the arrogance that began to creep in.
As we continued, we passed "Caribou Gulch", a notorious spot where there are no guard rails and a steep drop off. There is water wayyyyyyyyy down there and some times you can see Moose and other wildlife. It is undoubtedly the scariest part of the whole trip. The snow doesn't bank well there and often there is ice on the single lane. Meeting a car or truck there is something everybody hopes doesn't happen to them.
We continued our discussion. Just this past month, we had observed relatives interacting with each other and saw something chilling. For us, we'd known the hurt of being taken advantage of by friendships with ulterior motives. For others, their own family members readily used them. Sadly, there was too much pride for the person to see it. Money and fame tends to make a person think a little too highly of themselves. That's where the treachery comes in. Full of pride, they are blind to the fact they are being taken advantage of. Sometimes its a need to feel loved or show love that causes this dysfunction. That can happen with weight loss too. I have lots of bloggie buddies now, who are excited to be seeing new bodies. Remember that your spouse was faithful to stay with you when you were much heavier next time somebody checks you out.
Consistency in friendships, family and business all need to be found. Everybody needs a degree of Independence. We must all learn to be functional outside of our parents, friends and co-workers. Taking too much is wrong as is giving too much at times. For us, shallow friendships have been replaced with deeper ones. A little bit of grey, a few wrinkles and a much healthier perspective of ourselves than there was once before. Also, we have the hope of the future. A hope that our children will grow up to be good people. Ones who don't mooch and ones who aren't leaned on in an unhealthy way. I am hoping to instill healthy eating and exercise traits in them so that they won't have to go where I've been before. There is the hope that our business will once again thrive along with the caution that we will know better how to manage money and friendships. And last, there is the patience in knowing that in time all things will happen. Character is a good thing to focus on along the way.
Mark 8:36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sugar Plums and Bedpans Dancing in My Head, The Closet of Doom and Things That Go Bump in the Night

I knew it was time to get out of bed and blog when sugar plums and bedpans began dancing in my head. Yes, insomnia had struck again, this time tormenting me with visions of gingerbread men and fecal material.
Perhaps it was the 4 hour nap I'd taken this evening. I couldn't even blame work this time. Yesterday, at 1am I awakened to Sock Fashion Expert's voice. She was carrying on a lively conversation with The Archer. I stumbled out of bed and drug myself to the stairway. "What the carousing coyotes are you guys doing down there?!" I demanded. "Don't you know we have school tomorrow?!" Discussion about laundry and bleach drifted to my ears and I decided to go back to bed half wondering if this was some bizarre dream. Half an hour later, the kids were still conversing. "What the postulating possums are you kids talking about?!" I demanded, as I sluggishly descended the steps. I had determined to put a stop to this late night conversation and usher them off to bed for good! Then as they began to open up, I found myself suckered right into the conversation. It's not every day your teens want to talk freely to you and you gotta take the opportunities while you can get em'! Soon I was listening, telling my own stories and offering advice. Before I knew it, it was close to 4 am and I was keeping them up! Being tired from my profound ability to carry on a great conversation at 3am, yesterday morning, I lapsed into slumber around 7 or 8pm only to find myself awake at this ungodly hour.
I was also prompted to an early slumber by Sock Fashion Expert herself. Yes, she had agreed to the dastardly deed of cleaning out my walk in closet. No, this was not a random act of goodwill. Nor was it deep gratitude for my astounding 4am abilties as a conversationalist. I admit, it was a bribe. Since we've got an upcoming trip to the big city, she wanted some extra spending cash. "What's this?!" She demanded, pulling out jewelry making supplies and a receipt. "Uhh..... that's your last year's birthday present that I lost" I confessed. Quite pleased with her find, she disappeared back into the closet of doom. By now clothes, papers and boxes were everywhere and I feared I'd have to send a search party in after her. She was wearing multiple hats and bibs belonging to Moonbeam. Moonbeam's bedroom is in the walk in closet as well. Sorting through Moonbeams stuff, she had acquired an array of accessories which she goofily displayed. Not much later she yelled for the forty millionth time "Mom what's this?!" This time it was a small pouch of cards and photos I'd stolen from my Grandmothers hutch after she passed on. There was also a check register dated from 1976. "Why'd you steal that?" she asked. "Ahhh, I thought perhaps if I was ever hard up for cash I could write a check". "But this isn't a checkbook". "Yeah, well I was just a kid". She rolled her eyes and began laughing rather hilariously at the old photos of me and my cousin as little kids. I left again. "Mom what is this?!" This time it was an old piece of wood with some permanent marker scrawls on it. "It was a gift from you when you were little". "Its old wood." she countered. "This is why I am bribing you to clean my closet" I reminded her. Every time I go in there, I get overwhelmed. It needs a new, young and energetic set of eyes and hands. "Take this hat" she said placing the hot pink "super princess" cap on my head. It's a hat my dad bought me so I can never get rid of it. I can never wear it either, because my husband thinks its ugly. "How about this?" she questioned with furrowed brows. "Box of material my dead aunt gave me." This was too much. Overwhelmed, I crawled into her bed and fell into a fitful sleep. When at last her job was done, the closet was transformed into a much happier place and our trash can was overflowing. I feared look too close into its tumultuous depths.
Meanwhile, in another part of the house, I had assigned the two younger boys the chore of taking down the Christmas tree. I was also quite leery about treading out there too far. Sometimes it's best just to take a nap in the midst of such turmoil.
During this long and somewhat brilliant recount of my evening, I was disturbed by a knock at the door. Chills clutched me and horrible disturbing scenes flashed in my mind. "Who could possibly be out there at this time of the night?!" I flew into the bedroom demanding my husband awaken and see who it was. Goosebumps emerged all over as I insisted. My husband rolled over and told me nobody was out there. I decided to take matters into my own hands. Armed with my .38, I ever so cautiously, I tip toed to the door and emphatically shoved the lights on. "Ha!" I exclaimed, expecting to find some horrific scene. The new fallen snow didn't show any sign of foot prints. Then another "bang!" I jumped, perhaps a little too much like Don Knotts. I looked out again. The cat was out there and every time he leaned on the door it made a sound like a knock. I rolled my eyes and returned to the computer not wanting to enlighten my husband of these events in the morning. "Hmmm..... perhaps I could just tell him the neighbor got a wild hair to bake lefsa at 1am and seeing the lights on decided to borrow a cup of sugar". Maybe not.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Conglomeration of My Thoughts and Fitness Attempts

"Maybe it doesn't happen continually to you, but every once in a while, something happens or someone says something that pushes a button inside you and throws you into a tizzy! When this occurs, do you say and do things you later regret? Do You feel sorry that you allowed the devil to get to you again? If what I just described sounds familiar, I have help for you today! In Philippians 4:7, the apostle Paul writes, "and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep you hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."" This was a small nugget of the lesson I read to my family today from "Sparkling Gems" by Rick Renner. It's a devotional/Greek word study. Every morning, I wake the children up saying "C'mon kids! It's time for Sparkling Gems!" My husband abandons his post at the computer, or stops correcting and teaching his math lessons with the children and everybody sits around the breakfast table listening. Some of us (including me) may be a bit sluggish, but we are all there. This lesson was particularly convicting (and encouraging) to me because just a few days before I had preformed a lovely hissy fit for all to observe! Perhaps you too, may be in need of some "Sparkling Gems".
Despite my motivation to get out cross country skiing these past few days, I have been foiled often. On Friday, snow clumped up on my skis and I ended up going on a lovely hike instead. On Saturday, I tried spraying silicone spray on the bottom of my skis. The snow conditions had changed though, and everything was excessively slippery. Instead of packing Moonbeam in the baby backpack, I pulled her in her sled, which was probably good because I fell down often! Add to that, I had to keep stopping because Moonbeam was not keen on sharing her sled with my stinky old hikers. She displayed her displeasure by kicking them out with her feet! I repositioned them around her sled several times and several times they ended up falling out and/or getting dragged behind. As you can see by the pictures, quite pleased with herself, she eventually napped. On Sunday, Elasta Woman's family came over for dinner. We had explored the idea of skiing together, but that didn't work out. We ended up on a hilarious hike pulling our kids along in sleds. The children had a grand old time laughing and frolicking along the way. I suppose I may not complain, because I have had a good time and gotten exercise each day, anyway. I will try again today - lol!
On one of these attempts, I found myself thinking about Moonbeam. Some of her first memories will most likely be out in the forest because she is there almost every day. What a wonderful thing for her to treasure. So many children grow up in day cares. They grow up listening to their parents fighting. They grow up being bribed by a McDonald's drive through. Eating and Exercise Habits form very young as do other life habits. Just the other day, someone told me she looked out her window and saw a little 3 year old girl playing in the snow wearing nothing but a diaper and t-shirt. Hurriedly she went out, scooping up the child and brought her to her house. The door was cracked open, so she gingerly carried the child in. There in the front room laid the caregiver passed out with a needle in her arm. Fearful, she took the child home and called 911. She was chastened by the police and told that she could be charged with kidnapping for removing the child from the property. How sad. These extremes exist every day in the lives of children growing up all around us. What will your children's first memories encompass? How about your grand children or neighborhood kids? What kind of heritage of memories can we purposefully instill in their tender little hearts?
Above Photos : Hilarious Hike with Elasta Woman and Children

Progress on the Building and Ski Adventure PIcs

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Pictures I Like A lot Better

After my ridiculous escapade to weigh in heavy, I sat down with a great girl. She had just been out shoveling snow. I decided to go out while it was still dark and see if I could see the moon. The fresh fallen snow glittered in the lights of the hospitals front entrance. It was surprisingly warm and quiet for a New Years Eve. I couldn't see the sky because of the heavy snow, but the night was beautiful none the less. Rather than feeling sorry for myself, I realized how wonderful it was to be alive. Just walking, seeing and taking in a deep breath is a gift that none of us should take for granted. I got down on my knees and thanked God for the New Year. It was quiet and so I spent about an hour shoveling snow off the sidewalks. It felt great to be outside, moving around.

Later on that afternoon, I had planned to go out skiing with Moonbeam. The snow clumped up on my skis and so I switched to shoes. I was a little bummed about this, but as I kept hiking, I couldn't help but marvel at the beauty in the fresh fallen snow. Then I ran into the boys coming back from one of their adventure hikes. It was a wonderful way to spend the New Year.
Photos include Super Catman making Gingerbread Cookies, Me -n- Moonbeam on a hike, The rest are from my New Years Hike.

The Dreaded "Before" Picture

Friday, January 1, 2010

My "Happy New Year" Blue Moon Salt Coma and Poop in the Sink

"Salt is my friend" I rehearsed to myself as I consumed my 3rd piece of pizza. Nurse "Sweet n Smiley" brought in pizza for us all. Her husband is the ER MD of the night and she wanted to see him "before next year". "Hooray, it's a Blue Moon New Year's Party!" she chimed. I smiled, enjoying my salty pizza just a little too much. Secretly, I had an ulterior motive. Its the beginning of our biggest loser competition at work. I couldn't help but hope to retain some water weight. My prior plans of PMS bloat had come and gone just days before. Armed with several bottles of water, I began drinking liberally. Yes, I am a bit too competitive and possibly even a bit deranged.
It all goes back to a biggest loser contest I participated in at another hospital a few years ago. We did "biggest loser teams". That summer I lost about 35 lbs. I was soo excited to be becoming thin. On the last day of the contest, my partner, nurse "Go Trojans" and I had the biggest combined weight loss. I had it all planned what I was going to do with the money. Yes, I wanted to pierce my belly button! Anyway, some turkey weighed in and found out he was just a pound or two behind us. The lady keeping score let him come back multiple times!! He ran around all day in the hot sun and ate nothing. After repeatedly weighing in, he came in less than a pound under us and won the pot. Oh I was so mad. My partner was furious. She called me to discuss this problem. With less than an hour to go of the day (and not having been informed of this turkey's tactics), I wasn't going to drive back to town with the hopes I had lost more weight that day. My friend, almost in tears offered to give herself a suppository and weigh in again wearing nothing but a swimsuit. This was getting too crazy. It just wasn't worth it. The weight I'd lost was for me. Prize or no prize, this is where I was. My weight was prize enough. Later that week, I cheered up my glum friend by awarding her with a gigantic Zucchini dressed in a yellow bikini with sunglasses on. I wrote a crazy poem to go along with her (the zucchini) recapping her near exploits with the suppository. That was then, this is now.
Yes, I began to suspect I'd gone too far when I felt like I was waddling up and down the hospital halls. I had managed to drink all the water I'd brought in with me. I'd liberally eaten salty food for the past few days. I've never tried to gain weight before. Anyway, when I stepped on the scale I was shocked, pleased and feeling slightly guilty. I'm pretty good at gaining weight, I guess. Now to lose. I can't bear to re-adjust my weight loss ticker upwards, especially when this salt coma was intentionally induced.
I also haven't gotten to exercise for the past couple of days. I'm on a rare stretch of 3 - 12 hour shifts in a row. I barely have time to eat, sleep and get back to work. On my second day of the stretch, my extra half hour was used up giving Moonbeam a bath. She was cruddy and sticky. My husband, Mr. Mom, had informed me when I'd gotten up "Moonbeam hasn't pooped today". You've gotta love it when a man notes his children's bowel patterns. Sure enough, while I sipped my coffee watching Moonbeam splash in the water, something ominous occurred. Super Catman yelled in a horrified tone "Mom! Moonbeam just pooped in the sink!" So she had. I feared no child of mine would ever do dishes again and hurriedly sought to remove the offender before anybody else discovered it.
Yesterday, the kids and I all worked together on homemade cheese burgers and french fries. Yes, salt. Anyhoo, my friend nurse "Generous Geo" went out on a moonlight ski tonight and I was jealous. I no longer wanted to waddle around in a salt coma, rather I wished to be out skiing by the light of the full moon. I have this motivation to look forward to along with almost 2 weeks off now. It will be a great way to start off the new year. My bloggie buddie, Prarie Chick, also offered a resolution of having and choosing joy in every activity. I love that! What a great resolution to have. I'm going to copy cat that too ;-) May all of your 2010 ADL's (that's a nurse lingo for "activities of daily living") be filled with joy!! Happy New Year!!