Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Memory Verse - April 27 - May 3

"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns."

Phil. 4:6

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The battle gets more serious

I was sick last Monday. Really sick. The only things that passed my lips in over 24 hours: 1 bottle of grape gatorade and 4 pieces of toast. That kind of sick.

Dave was sick at the same time. Nora and Ryann had the day off of school... they got up around 8:30, turned on cartoons and spent the next 12 hours watching tv. Dave and I laid in bed and dozed in and out for the entire day. Ugh. It was terrible.

(side note: it was actually kind of nice to be sick together. While we didn't interact hardly at all during the day, it was less lonely to be laying in bed next to someone else who was feeling the same way. Weird? Dave thought it was weird when I told him this.)

At some point in the early afternoon the phone rang - it was the doctor's office with our cholesterol results. They weren't good. Me = 235 (HDL 65, LDL 165, Tri 100). Dave = 225.

Really? We both run 3 - 4 days per week. We make healthy food choices 90% of the time. We don't eat a ton of meat or fried foods. Our biggest indulgence is weekly pizza on Saturday nights.

High cholesterol is in my genes from every nook and cranny in my family. When I was 22 and got my first job, they happened to be having free physicals for the employees on my first day of work. My fasting cholesterol - at 22 years old - was 288. My doctor at that time told me my ratio of total cholesterol to HDL was good so he wasn't worried. Since then I have really changed my eating and have exercised very regularly when I wasn't pregnant. Last December my cholesterol was down to 216. Periodically it has been 204, 210 and then 216, but never got below 200. This has been a battle for my entire adult life.

So what to do? The doc sent Dave the low-fat diet hand out that he gives me everytime I'm there, but wants me to make an appointment. I am 33 - I don't want to go on meds for the rest of my life, which could possibly be 40-50 years of prescription medication.

So I researched diets and books last week. Seems that the low-fat low-cholesterol diet handout that the doc gives us is pretty out of date. Appears that a Mediterranean diet would be good in addition to adding a multitude of supplements. I bought the book, "The New 8-Week Cholesterol Cure" (new meaning updated from a previous version) and an American Heart Association cookbook.

We are on a mission - both of us this time. Fortunately Dave's cholesterol was high, too, because now he is taking this seriously and I'm not on my own. We're going to try to lower our cholesterol naturally instead of with prescription meds.

I haven't finished the book, but this is what I've figured out so far:

* need to eat lots and lots and lots of fruits and vegetables. Very minimum 5 servings each day, but closer to 9 servings - basically the more the better. This requires a committment to going to the grocery store more often, increasing our grocery budget, and spending time preparing them after we get home.

* need to eat fish at least once per week, ideally twice per week.

* it is okay to eat nuts, but not big handfuls. Nuts are good. Peanut butter is good. But it needs to be small quantities.

* drinking alcohol in moderation is good for you. In fact, research has shown that people who consume alcohol in moderation (women = 1 drink/day, men = 2 drinks/day) have less heart disease and less risk than people who abstain from alcohol entirely. Beer or wine - either one is good and helps, neither do so more than the other in terms of CHD. Red wine has additional antioxidants, but beer is also good (which is good because I just learned to love beer).

* We need to add some vitamin supplements - well, I need to start taking mine. Dave does a good job of it already. Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Selenium are musts because of their antioxidants. When buying Vitamin E I need to look for d-alpha something or other - NOT dl-alpha something or other. The first one is most similar to Vitamin E that occurs naturally in plants and is the best for your heart.

* Fiber, fiber, fiber. Hello, get your fiber. Actually, I do not have a problem with this since my daily menu consists mostly of fiber. Oat bran is the best, but I haven't quite figured out what that is other than oatmeal. Drink a metamucil type thing before meals - must contain or be made with psyllium (good news: Target brand sugar free fiber therapy is 100% psyllium and is much cheaper than brand name... and we have it in the house already).

That is as far as I've gotten. There is some promising info on how to block cholesterol from being absorbed, which means we can still eat pizza and eggs (mmmmmm. eggs) and Dave can eat beef. And Niacin - I will be taking Niacin as well, but I haven't read that chapter and I'm not sure if I need to consult my doc about that one first.

I find this all very interesting. It is going to require us to increase our very, very lean grocery budget. Ramen noodles no more. And supplements are not cheap - especially when two people are taking them... but then again, neither are prescription meds. So we're committing to this and we'll see how we fare in 3 months. Let the battle begin.

Memory Verse April 20 - 26

Last week's verse was I Peter 4:7 - "Most of all, love as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything."

This week's verses are the next ones - I Peter 4: 8-10 (I think - its hard to tell in the Message version) -

"Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless - cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God's words; if help, let it be God's hearty help."

Week 1: "Dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the master forgave you. Regardless of what else you put on, always put on love. It is your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it." Col 3: 12-14

Week 2: "Most of all, love as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything." I Peter 4:7

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bugly's Room

Bugly's room is finally done... with the exception of painting the ceiling and trim, but that won't change the outcome of the after photos.

Here is the room Bugly slept in for 3 years of her life... Highlighter yellow walls (yes, I picked that color - twice, actually) and the room was very bright and cheery. However, there was nothing on the walls, no curtains and really nothing I could do with her room. So I found a new comforter bought some curtains and paint and got started.

Okay, I lied... there were two photographs of flowers on her wall.
This was our guest room bedding before Bugly was born. It was all I had when she moved into a twin bed, so it was fine.

I picked out paint colors and painted the walls in January. I LOVED the change. The colors were so soft and pleasing to my eyes - I felt so calm just looking in her room. I never in a million years would have guessed that I would allow pink walls in my house, but truthfully I really, really love them!

Yesterday on a complete spur of the moment I finally did what I've been envisioning since January - painted the flowers on the walls. First I sat down and sketched out what I wanted, then I walked around like a mad woman looking for ovals to use to make the flower petals. I have had this in my head for months but thought that I would need an overhead projector to cast the flowers onto the walls so I could trace them - so they would be perfect. Yesterday I got an itch to paint and couldn't paint my foyer yet, so I decided that perfect was for the birds. I found circles very easily (lids to my pots and pans) but finding ovals of the right shape and size proved much more difficult. Ultimately I found some items that did the trick and I adore how this turned out.

I already had the blue, green and pink paint so I went out and bought some samples of yellow and red to complete the look. I felt that I needed to tie the navy curtains in with the bedding since they didn't look great with the pastel walls, so I'm extremely pleased with how the bold colors tie in the bedspread, the curtains and the pastel walls.

This whole project made me happy from start to finish. And now I go in there and stare at the walls with a smile (which I do after every room makeover). The flower shapes are not perfect and neither is the painting - which is kind of the look I was going for so in the end everything really IS perfect;)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Memory Verse

I was soooo sick yesterday. Hardly got out of bed the whole day - oh except for when I brought Georgia to the urgent care because she stuck a rolled up band-aid up her nose... that was nice.

So here is the verse for this week:
"Most of all, love as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything." I Peter 4:8

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Week 1 with the Flylady

Last week I started the whole FlyLady thing. On Thursday I shined my kitchen sink like it has never been shined before. And it made me happy:)

So one week of babysteps is down. Thoughts...

I LOVE this. I'm not even doing all of the stuff that comes via email, but I love the mindset I now have. Set the timer for 15 minutes and take a chunk out of something. Set it for 2 minutes and clean a hot spot (definitely needed that and it felt so good to have that done). Load of laundry every day... that will be a huge thing for me.

Over the weekend I washed and dried 3 loads of laundry - but I don't fold over the weekend. By Monday I had two more loads to wash and dry... by the afternoon I had 5 loads of laundry to fold and put away in addition to wanting to catch up on my ironing. So I spent the ENTIRE day doing laundry on Monday. It was fine - I really don't mind laundry and I enjoy ironing. However, enough is enough:) All of my running clothes were in the wash at that point, so that morning I had to dig through the clean clothes to find some running clothes. I have always stayed on top of my laundry to the point where I don't need to dig through the clean clothes for anyone ever, but Monday morning I did and that sucks. So I conquered it all and am now down with the 1 load every day keeps the CHAOS away (I started yesterday because I didn't have enough to do a load on Tuesday after having done everything on Monday). So yesterday afternoon I folded ONE load of laundry and put ONE load of laundry away. So much less overwhelming. So much faster (the load was also smaller). I'm digging this.

And my sink. At first I was almost obssessive over keeping it shining. Like Dave should really consider rinsing his dishes somewhere else obssessive. But I've eased up. I've realized that the sink needs to be used throughout the day and I just need to shine it before bed. But I love the fact that the sun reflects off of the faucet and almost blinds me now - love the sun, first of all, and love the clean, shiney faucet.

Tuesday I brought some laundry baskets and a garbage can into the basement, set the timer for 15 minutes and began decluttering the toys. I'm becoming more and more of a firm believer in fewer options = better (which I actually just read a study* on and its true), so I went down there with a mission and no mercy. After 15 minutes I came upstairs with half of a garbage can to throw away and a 13 gallon bag of toys to be given away. And the basement is still a mess and there are still many more toys to go through. Knowing that I only needed to spend 15 minutes doing it made the task so much less overwhelming - and gave me permission to leave the mess as it was when the 15 minutes were over.

Yesterday I set the timer for 15 minutes and I decluttered and cleaned the girls desk/coloring area. I ended up with a huge pile of finished coloring books that were ready to be thrown away, which makes the entire spot look better. Again, 15 minutes made the task less overwhelming and gave me motivation to actually tackle it. Looking at it prior to flylady, I would think it would take the better part of an hour and opt to leave it as it was - I never would have guessed that I could do the entire thing in less than 15 minutes.

So FlyLady... totally digging her. Today, I begin creating my control journal (and I'm using graph paper because it makes me really, really happy:)

* study was cited in Malcom Gladwell's book, Blink. Researchers designed an experiment where they put tables with samples of high end jelly in a grocery store to see if the number of samples would increase or prohibit sales of jelly. When the tables had 6 samples, sales were higher. When the tables had 24 samples people seemed to get overwhelmed and didn't buy any.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

something to think about

While we were on the way to school this morning, Ryann was telling me about Pirate Stinky Pants and his granny. This was a puppet show that she had at her school about a month ago (why she was talking about it now...). She was telling me that the Pirate and his grandma were string puppets and when Grandma lost her dress, the guy who was doing her puppet pulled it up by lifting a string on her finger. I told her those puppets are called marionettes.

Got me thinking... who is going to do the marionette shows when Ryann has kids? This, I assume, is going to become another lost art. I'm sure it is less common already, but by the time she has kids who is going to know how to do it?

We have so much technology and our kids are so into tv, video games, handhelds, ipods, cell phones that to actually DO something seems out of line. Which kids are going to take a class in performing with marionettes? And which kids are going to find a passion for puppeteering that leads them to try to make a career out of doing puppet shows for preschool kids? Which kids are going to be confident enough to pursue a "weird" hobby?

We live in a throw away society. DVD player broke? Throw it out and buy a new one - they're relatively cheap. We don't think about having them repaired. Besides - who would repair it? On our way to Mexico last October our suitcase broke - to the point where we couldn't use it to bring our clothes back with us. We bought a new one - an unknown brand - in Cabo and left the old one - Samsonite - in the hotel room when we left. I was telling my dad about it and he asked me why we didn't bring it home and have the zipper repaired. Never once did that thought enter my mind. Not once did I think about doing that and then decide it would be too much of a hassle. The idea of it even being fixable never ocurred to me.

Kids don't grow up to be appliance repairmen anymore. They have bigger and better things to do, don't they? Who wants to fix ovens for a living... and really, could you make a living doing that?

These are thoughts that I've voiced to a few of my friends. And by voiced I mean have had good discussion about them. I can't articulate everything in a blog post, but the point is that I need to continue to focus on relationships and doing with my children and not get hung up on convenience and feeling left out. I don't own a cell phone. Sometimes I feel left out because I can't access the internet every second of the day or I wouldn't have a clue how to text someone if I was paid to figure it out. To be honest, our initial decision for me to not have a cell phone was financially related - we had to cut expenses when Dave switched careers and that was definitely an unnecessary expense (I never used mine, never had the battery charged and this was before texting began). But over the years I have watched other people use their cell phones and I am so happy I don't have one. True - I can't be reached wherever I am at anyone else's convenience and I'm pretty happy about that:) There is a measure of silence in my life that many people don't have and I am appreciative of that.

A friend told me that she has come to realize that her generation (she's a bit older than me) has not allowed enough silence in their childrens' lives - that they have talked so much that their kids are unable to make decisions for themselves. She has now adopted a policy of answering a decision question with another question and empowering her children to make their own decisions. I want to expand that a bit and wonder if by giving our kids cell phones and always being available by text we have contributed to this problem in another way. Are kids able to make basic judgement calls on their own? Or do they have to text mom or dad to find out if it is okay to go here or go there or be with this person or that person? Have we taken some of the responsibility off of their shoulders and kept it on ours? Man, I see so many possible negative outcomes of that...

I know I sound cynical. Truthfully, I am. I am sad about this stuff. I'm sad that we are so technology focused and not relationship focused. I understand the desire and the perceived need for these things, but I want to stand firm in my quest to simplify life.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Memory Verse - 1

Memory Verse for this week: April 6 - April 12:

"Dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassions, kindness, humility, qiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, qick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It is your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it."

Colossions 3:12 - 14 (MSG)

Friday, April 03, 2009


Note to (future) self:
When you are older, have older kids and the young family down the street leaves weird things in their front yard for long periods of times (soccer balls, random log, rockets, plastic cups, sticks), do not complain to your husband, do not mention it to the neighbors - remember back to when you were 33 and you saw those things on your own lawn, but had much better things to do with your time than to pick them up...

New Lyrics
Bugly has really been cracking me up lately. She has been singing a lot. But she often inserts her own words. For example:

"Its raining, its pouring, the old man bumped his head on his old bed."

"Count your breakfasts, name them one by one"

Buried or Burned
One Saturday our entire family made a trek out to the eye doctor (40 minute drive) and when we were leaving there was a funeral procession that took a long time. We had to sit in the parking lot for an eternity (hee hee) and ended up trying to explain it all to the girls. Within the explanation we talked about the fact that some people decide to be buried after they die and some people decide to be cremated (with a thorough explanation of cremation). I expressed my preference for cremation and explained that I thought it was the environmentally responsible decision.

The results of that conversation:
1. Skipper has often talked about "what if there is a mineral?" Takes me a long time to figure out what she is talking about. Nora has corrected her a couple of times: "FUNERAL"
2. My in-laws brought the girls to LegoLand last week. On the way there, Skipper busted out with, "My mom wants to die. And she's going to be burned."

Obsess much?

Discipline or Be a Mom?
Ms. Peek is 7. We have dealt with some lying issues over the last year. Is this normal????

Anyway, yesterday she completely fabricated a story that was designed to elicit sympathy from me. I figured it out halfway through the story. I was burning - like the kind of anger that results in almost no emotion. I felt emotionally manipulated... and it wasn't the first time. (again, is this normal for her age?)

I called Cornbread to explain the situation because I just couldn't figure out my next, best response (I had already sent her to her room). After discussing, he told me that of course she needed to experience consequences to her behavior (being grounded for the rest of the day), but she also clearly needed me to be her mom right then. He was right. I dealt the discipline and then I laid on her bed with her and was her mom for a few minutes... seems to have made a difference for now.

1. How in the world do you stop the lying?
2. I understand the fact that Ms. Peek kind of feels like she gets the shaft. Her sisters are home most of the day and seem to get more attention. Truthfully, she is getting more and more independent and able to do things on her own... Skipper is slowly getting there, but Bugly is not. And while all of my children are sweet, loving and gorgeous, Bugly is also a complete ham. She is hysterical without trying - so I can see where it may feel like Bugly gets more attention. Skipper is very affectionate and physical - so I can see where it may feel that way with Skipper, too. I need to be reminded - often - to be more intentional with Ms. Peek. I hate this.

Double 3's but really?
I am sick of acne. Seriously isn't enough enough? I inherited horrible skin from my mom and started breaking out in 6th or 7th grade - earlier than most of my classmates. I've never had a completely clear face, with the exception of about 6 months when I tried Proactive. I was on top of the world - my skin was clear, I had a glow, I could leave the house without makeup. And then Proactive turned on me... suddenly I was breaking out in places that I didn't normally break out in. I gave it another couple of months and then tried something else from a dermatologist (Cornbread won it as a door prize). That kept my face relatively clear, but the blackheads came back in full force. Last week I bought Neutragena's kit that I suppose would be comparable to Proactive. Not so much. Really... I'm so sick of dealing with this problem - 20 years!!!! My face is beginning to scar (on my nose). I need to go to a dermatologist - but I don't know one and also I'm concerned that I will be put on meds and not sure I want to go there. Anyone have any similar experiences? Helpful hints? Referral to a dermatologist in the area?

Flylady - Day 2
Yesterday I shined my kitchen sink. Took me about 2 1/2 - 3 hours doing it the way she suggested. But it looks as beautiful as that kitchen sink could possibly look. And I think I have sufficiently scared Dave away from ever using the sink again by asking him to wipe it out any time he uses it and then scolding him when he didn't!!! (hello??? Did you not just hear me explain how much work I put into that??? And you have the nerve to leave CRUMBS on the sink wall? Actually, he was very impressed.)

Today's task was to get dressed to the shoes. I already do this everyday. I workout early in the morning and then take a shower before the girls get up, so I'm already ready by the time their day starts. I usually put slippers on, but today I put actual shoes on:) And I did my hair before coming downstairs - I usually wait until after Nora gets on the bus. So my hair was dry... and I went to wait for the bus with my cup of coffee. Skipper runs up to me and almost tackles me, causing my coffee to splash. And guess who needs to re-dry her hair?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

FlyLady Day 1 - Shine my sink



Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Double Threes

So I believe I must have scared away anyone that was reading my blog with my last couple of posts... Am I being too honest? Uncomfortably honest?

Today I turn 33. I've never had a problem with getting older or having birthdays. Today, though, it struck me that 33 sounds so much older than 32. Not sure why that is... maybe because today I crossed the threshold into the beginning of my mid-thirties rather than being in the early-thirties. Well, whatever. Doesn't matter - 33 feels exactly the same as 32.

In the last few years my birthday has caused me to pause and take inventory of life. Basically, I want to work toward becoming the person I want to be and my birthday seems to be a good opportunity to take the time to evaluate. I've set goals and have achieved some and have not achieved many more. The point is to work toward... make progress... be intentional about the direction I am going in. One goal I want to set this year is to revisit my goals every month - that will perhaps be a big catalyst in moving forward in each one.

So here are 13 goals for year #33:

1. Run 15 miles in one running session at least once. At 33 I am officially in the best shape of my life. I run 20 miles each week - 4 or 5 miles on M/W/Th and 6 - 8 miles on Saturday. I'll work myself up to 10 miles on Saturdays, but I get kind of bored with 6 or 7... A marathon is not in my future as I simply cannot imagine running for over 4 hours. But then again, a year ago no one would have convinced me that I'd be running for over 1 hour so who knows where I'll be by 34? One thing I know about this running - it is a blessing and a curse. I can pretty much eat what I want and maintain my weight, but then again I can also get pretty overconfident about that and cross the line into eating too much. I basically cut sugar out of my diet (a few exceptions here and there), so that makes it easier, but there are days that I hop on the scale and curse my tapeworm.

2. Write one handwritten note each month. I still think that with the amount of communication that occurs over various forms of technology, an actual handwritten note in the mailbox would be a welcome surprise. Maybe not for everyone. For me it would be...

3. Spend the afternoon school time reading a non-fiction book. I have gotten out of this habit and into the habit of playing Mexican Train Dominoes on the computer. UGH!!!! Thats a long fricken game, too (luckily this has only been going on for a week, but after today it is done). I have a list of non-fiction books to read and I need to work through them. I am more intentional in life when I am reading non-fiction in addition to my fiction books.

4. Start the whole flylady thing. I'm going to sign up for her email stuff and follow her 31 babysteps to beginning her program (or whatever). I actually do a good job of keeping the house picked up and the laundry caught up, but I will admit that actual cleaning - much less deep cleaning - occurs pretty infrequently. Mostly because when I get into it I get into it and it ends up taking a long time and I find it overwhelming to even begin.

5. Repaint the foyer, front room/dining room, kitchen and family room. I'm done with the bold colors and ready to move to a more neutral and warm home. One of Dave's clients is an interior decorator and helped him with his office and has begun to help me. I'm hoping that by this time next year we can start on the upstairs.

6. Go on at least three city adventures with the girls over the summer. I want to take them on the train and explore the city together. They are all finally at an age where this is doable, so I'm hoping to catch the train and take them to the Lincoln Park Zoo, a couple of museums and possibly the beach - or something. We'll figure it out. I want to ride a bus, ride in a cab, ride the el, etc.

7. Take a yoga class. I need to find one. And I need to find some money;) I soooo badly want to try yoga because I think it will help with my back and will help my running.

8. Write in each of the girls' journals at least once a month. I think these journals have the potential to be something great for each of them. I just need to make work of doing it. My hand hurts when I actually write so I need to be okay with keeping the entries short.

9. Do a personal Bible study in the morning before all the morning routines begin. I need to be reading the Bible more and I need to do a study to help me KNOW the Bible better. I know the basic stories because I grew up learning them, but I want to know the obscure books - the prophets: Amos, Obadiah, Ezekiel, Malachi... Never read them and I need to. This will begin after Easter when I'm finished with The Love Dare.

10. Do not add any new television shows to my regular watch list (as in I try to catch them online if I miss them). As of now I watch: LOST, ER, The Office, Friday Night Lights, Grey's Anatomy and Brothers and Sisters. ER is done after this week. LOST might be done before my birthday next year. FNL just got renewed for 2 more seasons (yea!), but I'm not sure about the rest of them. Once a show is done I do not need to fill that timeslot with something new - it is done.

11. Be consistent with not getting on the computer until my stuff is done. If that is what I expect of the girls, then I need to model that for them. I don't need to check my email a million times a day. I don't need to check facebook a million times a day. I need to curb that situation.

12. Drink 100 ounces of water on the weekends (total of Saturday and Sunday). I do really well with drinking 80+ ounces of water each weekday, but I'm not sure even a sip passes my lips on the weekends. That needs to change. Not only do I feel crummy because of it, but I crave more sugar and I retain water.

13. Memorize Bible verses. I haven't thought this one out enough to have a goal as to how many and in what time fram - like 1 per week or 1 per month?

Fricken dog just ran away again. Good thing I'm finished with this:) Jerk.

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