Thursday, January 31, 2013

Heavy Breathing

So... I had to wear a holter monitor all day yesterday, all night and this morning.  In case you don't know what it is, its a monitor that records your heart activity for 24 hours. You can't get it wet, you can't take it off and you can't be around a microwave in use.  All easy things to avoid when you are a working mom...

I found this picture off the Internet so that you could see what it looked like.  My leads weren't in these exact locations, but close enough for the web world. Interestingly, there aren't any pictures of females all hooked up to the monitor. :)

Why me you wonder? Well, I'm a healthy 38 year old female who runs a lot of miles. why not? Okay, real answer.. because my heart rate skyrockets when I run. It has always done this my whole life when I exercise, but now that I am older, we are wanting to make sure that all is well.
It's crazy, I've always known that my heart rate goes up really fast and high when I work out, but I didn't realize that other people's don't.  For example, this morning I ran 4 miles in 40 minutes. I walked the first 2 minutes at a 20 minute/mile pace. (that's slow.) Since I did this on the treadmill I could check my heart rate and I would after every 3 minutes of running (during my 1 minute walk break.) At the end of my workout, the summary stated that I was in my target heart rate of 100-150 for 32 SECONDS of the 40 minutes and that my maximum rate was 188.
Apparently that isn't normal.
After the run I thankfully went back to the doctor's office and they removed the monitors and all of the tape. OUCH!
I'm hoping that I'll hear something tomorrow. I have a 15 miler on Saturday!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It's Kidney Walk Time!!
Team Maddie and Jerry need you!
Yes you... I'm talking to the locals and the long-distance yous.
On March 23rd in Fort Worth, Texas, my Maddie and my cousin Jerry will host our team for the annual kidney walk to raise awareness for the diseases that they face.
We would really appreciate your help. 

A donation would be great. A Walker for our team.. LOVE. You can be a real walker.. like you come at 8am and walk with us. Or you can be an online (virtual) walker where all you have to do is sign up and you are listed on our team.

I'm not sure if we are going to sell the bracelets again this year. Maddie really wants to at least give them out, but since they did the big event for Maddie in the fall, I don't think we can sell bracelets now. Even though all the funds would go to the kidney foundation.

BUT... if you sign up as a walker, you get a bracelet!! :)


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Memories and Motivation

I went to TheatreFest, a Theatre Teacher convention, with my theatre teacher friend Mindy this past weekend. It was great. I got to see a couple of old friends from college, made some new friends and made a lot of connections that might prove useful in the coming years.

More than that, I got to feed my inner-most self. The inner-most self of mine that gets buried almost all the time. It was really nice to be with a couple of thousand people just like me. Don't get me wrong, I love teaching art and I enjoy artists... but they are not theatre people.When I'm with artists, I feel like I'm never good enough, that I don't have enough training or talent or whatever I might be measuring myself against. But when I'm with theatre people, I don't worry about this.. I know that I've got what it takes to do it well, I'm just choosing to live in a different world. That's one of the things I appreciate about my friend Mindy so much. She lets me live in her world and drive her crazy with ideas without me having to deal with actors!!

One of the things I'm taking from this weekend is that I don't have to apologize that I love the world of technical theatre and set/costume/lighting design. I talked with a guest designer and looked at his work and thought, man.. I can do that.  And I can. I have the eye. I have the skills. I just don't have the time.   But I have the students!! And they can compete with theatre kids in contests and I believe do well.

So, I've decided that I'm going to look for outlets for me and my students to explore things I am passionate about. For example.... set design=perspective drawing. costume design= figure drawing and draping. speciality prop items=sculpture.

And why not? I know that most of my art students will not be interested in theatre stuff. However... what art/theatre kid wouldn't want to start with plastic gallon bottle and morph it into an incredible 3d mask... yeah, that's what I thought too. And yes, you all are welcome to come to my class. :)

To close tonight, in case any of you are wondering. No, I don't want to teach theatre again.. Really. I am super happy with my art gig. I was never as successful as I wanted to be as a theatre teacher because I needed someone who loved to direct (and that wasn't me). I would be an awesome tech person for our school, but given our constraints I am well aware that will never happen, so I am thrilled that I get to teach art and play with theatrical design contests on the side!  In fact, give me a few more days and I'll post the awesome work of my art kids on this years contest!! So no feeling sorry for this girl.. I am exactly where I am supposed to be!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Taking the long-term approach to decorating

We have been in our new house a month.
We still have boxes in the living room.
We still have 1/4 of our stuff at the old house!
This is NOT ME.
My norm is to have EVERYTHING unpacked and put away within 3 days.
My norm is to have curtains made and rooms decorated withing a week or so.
This new me is taking the long-term approach.
When you plan to live somewhere for the next 30 years or so, you can do that.
That being said, I have no finished room pictures.
I have lots of messy rooms that you really don't need to see!
So, instead, I am showing you some of my wants.
Some are in progress.
Others are wishes waiting for funds.
1. Curtains for the living room. Doug bought them the other day. Now they are sitting on the floor waiting to be hung. I need to get another set as I want to continue the theme into the kitchen. Actually
I'd like a floral or circle pattern in the exact same color palette. No, I don't think that will be a problem on my budget... :)


2. A new fixture for the living room. We are changing out all of the hardware in the house from a gold, antique style to brushed nickel.
3. A fireplace screen. I LOVE this one!! But it is expensive!!!! I can dream.
This next one is okay, more budget friendly!
4. Doug bought one of these the other day at Target. It is PERFECT for my scrapbooks and the spot we have for it!! Thankfully the area we are putting it has room for another just like it as I have way more scrapbooks than one of these babies can hold!!

5. And my final item to show you today is the wall art I want for above the couch. Yes, I am aware I could paint something like this in a couple of minutes, but sometimes you just want to buy and enjoy!!

And that's it for today. For more of my wishes and loves, you can find me on pinterest :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Good Gravy

I have soo much going on right now. Lots to share, but nothing finished. :(

Maybe soon!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My top 10 parenting tips

So my older sister blogged her parenting tips the other day and that got my youngest sister asking for my take on parenting.  Like I don't offer tips and advice enough as it is...!  But since she's pregnant and asking, I gotta!

Here goes.

1. Find out what works for you as parents and go with it. It doesn't matter who has named it, who endorses it, or even if everyone else hates it. If it works for you, use it.  This goes for bedtimes, teeth brushing, room cleaning... you name it. Just because people that seem to have it all together are doing something one way, if it doesn't help you, don't do it. It might not work for them, they might just be hiding it better.

2. Expect your kids to lie, cheat and steal. Pray that they get caught early in the game. As a teacher of a full generation of students now, I can tell you, that your kid is not perfect. Mine are not perfect. Kids will do whatever they think they can get away with. I highly endorse Love and Logic ( )  parenting. It gives boundaries and choices, but requires parents to be ACTIVE in their kids lives. I like that.

3. Continuing with the Love and Logic theme... give your kids choices so that they can learn to make good choices and feel like they are in control of their lives. Let's be honest, kids don't get to make decisions very often. They are told what to do, when to do it, how to do it and on and on.. so, find ways to get your kid involved and let him/her choose. You would be amazed at how quickly a toddler (or teen) will do what you want them to do if you give them options! If you don't give choices now, how will you expect your young adult to make good choices without you?

4. When your child doesn't do what you want them to do, figure out a punishment that works for your family and make sure that you are not punishing YOURSELF in the process!! I happen to love the timeout for the toy instead of timeout for the kid. For example, if the Barbies are not put away, the Barbies go away.. to time out for a few days. The punishment fits the crime and drama is held to a minimum. What I have found to be interesting is that for example, when the DS is placed in time-out, sometimes weeks will go by before it is remembered and asked for! I love that. I only meant for it to be gone for a couple of days, but there is so much active living that can be done instead that it gets forgotten until a slow day appears!

5. Make memories. My childhood memories are full of games played and things done. I only recall 2 typical family vacations from my childhood, but I remember all kinds of things we did... like playing "monster in the dark",  putting puzzles together, singing songs and helping my dad with his business. It doesn't take money to make a memory. It takes time. To be a good parent you invest time into your child. Nothing can take your place in your child's life.

6. Challenge your child. Doug and I expect a great deal from our kids and our kids are more than capable of this. In fact, outside of school hours, Maddie is taking Latin, clarinet and piano. We don't expect her to be the valedictorian...she could be if she wanted and we pushed, but we aren't. We aren't into pushing, we are into challenging. The difference is that when the parents push, the parents are the motivators and the ones actively working. When we challenge, we present an opportunity, provide the resources and let the child actively work (knowing that failure might be the end result.)

7. Be flexible, but have non-negotiables. Why??.. because if you don't, your children will wear you down and then they will win. More bluntly.. if you let your daughter have a boyfriend at 10, go on a date at 12 and prom at 15 why are you surprised to find out that she is having sex at 17?

8. Define yourself beyond being a parent. Understandably we all get caught up in parenting, but we have to remind ourselves that our worth is not tied to our raising kids. Yes, what we do with and for our children is vitally important, but we are all more than parents. We are individuals with hopes and dreams for ourselves. If we don't, then we are shells. Children need more than a carcass for parents so we need to make ourselves enough of a priority to have hopes and dreams and then work toward them.

9.Talk to your child everyday. Really, I mean LISTEN to your child everyday!! Find time to ask your child how his/her day was at school and then LISTEN to the answer. Ask a followup question. I would say don't multi-task during this time, but some of the very best, most important conversations happen while I am driving or making dinner. I think my girls know that they have my attention, but I can't look at them very often. The key here is that I am not on my phone!

10. Be civic-minded. Teach your children to make a difference in your community by helping in the community. Serve on volunteer boards, deliver meals-on-wheels, pick up trash... do something FOR your community. I am always amazed at how many people are quick to say that they serve in church and do mission work but they don't have time for a quarterly board meeting to help a local organization that makes a difference in the lives of people in their community.

And there you have it. Really, I have soooo much more to say, but I'll stop there.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hall Bathroom Remodel

With a Sunday at home with sick kids and a Monday off, I knew that it was time to get one of my new house to-do list items checked off.
And so, Sunday I painted the hall bathroom. All day. It's amazing how long it takes to cover a few partial walls. One of the reasons it took so long was that the walls have a heavy texture that I had to really coat.

(side note: hey man, I gotta say... my legs look long and skinny. what? cool. Thanks Doug!! You are the new resident photographer! and yes, I am wearing my house shoes....)
On Monday morning, I took the doors out to th enclosed patio and painted them in very short, very cold bursts. The doors took 3 or 4 coats a piece to look decent and probably could have taken another to look really nice.
And here is the partially finished project. I still have to get the doors on the cabinets, make the curtain(currently its a sheet hanging on the rod..) and get some artwork. But I am thrilled with how bright and fresh the bathroom feels.
Now if I could just get the girls to keep it clean!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mom's Birthday Party and the Flu

My mom turned 60 this past week.
As she said, this birthday was hard because you can't pretend that you are young anymore.
It's funny, in my mind, my mom is 40. We had a huge party for her when she turned 40. As I was a teenager, she seemed young and old at the same time. While she has aged over the last 20 years, she hasn't aged THAT much. She can't be 60.  But then, I'm closing in on 40, so my math has issues it would seem.
We had a big party for her Saturday night.

Most of the family was there. I even took my 3 sick kids. We had to go..sorry everyone we exposed. Doug bought me boots for Christmas and gave me a gift card to pick out an outfit... so I got a new dress for the party.

Aren't we cute!!

Here are a couple of pictures from the beginning of the party. Lots more people came in, but Lexi was in full meltdown about wanting to go home as she was getting sooo sick, so the camera got put away.  I'm hoping that my sisters got more pictures and a video of my dad singing to my mom! 

We left just as the party was getting going. I hope everyone had a great time.  And I hope no one gets sick because of us! Sorry!!

By the time we got home, all 3 girls were in sad shape. As of Sunday, Kylie was on the mend after being sick for a week, Maddie is in the beginning stages of getting sick and Lexi has all the flu-like symptoms including the fever. Oh man.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Main Squeeze

Just in case you thought I was on this weight loss/excerise journey alone, I'm not.
My main squeeze, Doug joined me in the quest for good health the week after the picture below was taken. You can see why we needed to do something.
This week, he made his goal weight!! Yay Doug!! Doesn't he look great!!

Wow.Between the two of us we have lost 65 pounds since May 28th!

Yes, I am proud.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cabinet Doors and a Sick Kid

We went back to school after Christmas break yesterday. Today I am at home with Kylie. She's got a nasty cough. I'm hoping this is a short break in the week and not the beginning of a cycle that keeps me out of my classroom for a week.

Since I'm at home, I'm working on the kitchen cabinet doors. We changed the knobs first and liked them so much with the black cabinets, that I am changing out the hinges and calling it good. No painting at this time!! Yippee!! Given that there are 29 doors and 14 drawers, I am thrilled.  I'm not planning on this being a long-term fix, maybe a year or two, so I went with contractor grade hinges. 58 hinges. The difference between contractor grade and the good ones are an easy $3 each!! So, needlesstosay, the less than awesome new brushed nickel hinges are perfect.

What's the difference you ask? Well on the expensive ones, the inset in the middle of it is the same color as the hinge. On the contractor grade ones, the inset is a different color. In our case, it is a brownish/maroonish color. It's noticeable, but not worth the price increase.  In may picture below the hinges are gold, the inset is brown. Our hinges are exactly like this except that they are brushed nickel.
Well, I am off to get Kylie to stop climbing on the couch and to finish the cabinets. I'll post a finished pictures later!!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Disney.. where dreams DO come true!!

We just got back from Disney World. WOW!! 
I'm still trying to process the experience, but one thing I know, Disney does it right!! I was worried going into the trip, not sure how Maddie would hold up, and was concerned that we would have spent a fortune and the trip would be miserable. Thankfully, the trip was INCREDIBLE!! Every single worker (cast member or leader) we encountered did their absolute best to make our experience perfect.
The adventure began in Magic Kingdom with a show at the castle complete with all of the princesses and Mickey and Minnie and more. Kylie was beside herself!! We could have left immediately following the show and she would have considered it a great trip. It's funny, because in the show Mickey talks about that as long as you believe, dreams do come true and the crowd chants with him and the day is saved from the evil witch.  Well, after our experience at Disney.. I'm ready to believe Mickey!
Our most important stop, was the first stop... it was at Guest Relations and we picked up a crucial "guest assistance" card for Maddie. This card was like a super fast pass and opened doors for us that made us feel special, without feeling "special." If you have never felt the sting of life limiting your child, then you can't imagine how feeling "special" is not the thing you want on vacation. As Maddie said, they took us through the VIP entrance!! (yes, one of the rides did have VIP on the door for the alternate entrance!) This little card made a long day full of walking and rides and people possible, because it took out the waiting in lines.
Here we are on "It's a small world." Yes, I had us all wear matching shirts. 

We ate an awesome (yes, expensive..) lunch and while we were finishing up one of the manager seeming guys asked if we had been on the Winnie the Pooh ride yet. Nope. So he gave us passes to get on Winnie right then!! It was great! And this kind of kindness happened everywhere, even without our guest assistance card in view!

Dumbo was awesome.  A 2 hour wait for most.. maybe 10 minutes max for us.

The only line that we had to wait in was for the brand new Belle experience. It was a 2 hour posted wait.. and no fastpass no quick entry.  So for us, they let me stand in the line for our family and then the rest of the family joined me as we were going into see Belle. In the end, it only took a little over an hour to wait. Not too bad for me, but Maddie would have never made it. I am sooo thankful we waited though as Kylie and Lexi got to play "Chip" in the reenactment of Belle's dinner with the Beast. Kylie LOVED it. She repeated over and over that Belle touched her check with her yellow glove.  It was adorable.
The next pictures are from Universal Studios. Glad I got a decent picture. Overall it was a bust. Crazy busy. Way, way too many people. Little accommodation for special needs. Maddie got to see Hogwarts and we rode the Hogwarts ride. Other than that, it was a very, very expensive day!

Day 3 was back with Disney. We went to Epcot. Oh boy. It was nice to be back with Disney. Starting with parking at Disney. We flashed our card and parked in the 4th row!! The day was cold and rain drizzled all day. We were wet all day, but we loved every moment of Epcot.

Within moments of arriving we were on a ride and then enjoying the innovation stations. We then had pictures with Mickey, Minnie and Pluto. I love having good pictures taken at the venues, even though the overall cost is outrageous, it's worth it as a scrapbooker to have pictures of my family in focus!

One of the most poignant moments of the trip came at the France destination. It was mid-afternoon and we were wet and cold and Maddie was super pale and worn out. There is very little indoor seating at Epcot (one of the few negatives) and we were desperately trying to find a place for her to rest. I went into the gift shop next to the theater and asked if they had anywhere to sit and flashed my Guest Assistance card. The shop worker immediately went into action. He apologized that they had no where for Maddie to rest, but he got a role of paper towels, went outside and got a chair, dried it off and placed it in a quiet spot in his store!! Maddie was able to sit in the dry/warm spot for a minutes and it made all the difference!

And that is the quick and much abbreviated story of our Disney trip. If you have a child with a special need, Disney has to be the absolutely hands down place to visit.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012. The year of ME!

I've named 2012 as the year of ME. That sound very selfish, but it's not.  The reality of it is that I made myself a priority in 2012.  Instead of continuing to push me to the bottom of the priority list, I found that I could be on the list and that there would still be enough of me for the rest of the family.

The quick recap...

1. I started Weight Watchers on May 28th.
2. I spent the summer exercising. I learned that I love to run. I'm good at bootcamp and that water aerobics feels like more fun than work...until you get out of the pool.
3. I hit my goal weight of 140 on October 16th.
4. I ran my first 10k on October 27th with a time that was better than I dreamed possible.
5. I took 2nd place in my age group in a 5k Thanksgiving weekend. This truly opened my eyes to what could be possible.
6. I've started training for a marathon.
7. I've decided that 130 would be a better goal weight and I've been flirting with 135 for the last few weeks.
8. Over the holidays I've eaten way, way too much bad food. I'll be starting Weight Watchers again when school starts. It keeps me in check.
9. I ran 12 miles yesterday.
10. I like this me better.

Here Doug and I are celebrating our 14th Anniversary this week. Don't we look fabulous!!