Who knew the sound of silence could be so loud? It seems to reverberate through the house–especially at night. It’s surreal to try to acclimate to a new normal. Transitions are difficult on everyone–especially children. There are tantrums and outbursts and crying…..and then there’s the kids. Stop–I’m kidding. Transitions are hard. There is much uncertainty about the future. But, it will pass, there will be sunshine again, and the world will seem right again. But, “time” takes time. So, until then, we write, we listen to our music, and we are brave for our children so that they can see stability and strength in a time of crisis. Then, they will grow up to exhibit the same qualities, and hopefully never find themselves in the same situation.
Life can and does sometimes change in an instant. We’ve all heard it a thousand times and nodded our heads in obedient agreement. Few of us ever truly experience the phrase. There is no need for details. Anyway, every situation differs. What remains constant is that for every action there is a reaction. A bad action is sure to cause a chain reaction of negative events. Think before you act. There are consequences to be paid and sometimes the innocents are the ones who suffer the most because of your stupidity. That “ever so brief” moment of humanity I wrote about yesterday turned out to be more brief than I imagined.
I went on a date the other night……with my son:) My husband took my daughter to the Father/Daughter dance at the school.
So, I asked Grayson what he wanted to do while they danced the night away. He told me he wanted to go bowling. We set out to bIowl and play games at around 5:45. When I tell you the next three hours literally flew by, I am not exaggerating! I had more fun with my son last night than I have had in a very long time. It felt good.
When we got to the bowling alley, there was a half hour wait for a lane. We decided to order pizza and nachos while we waited. I was actually pleasantly surprised at the food–it wasn’t bad at all. Our dinner coincided perfectly with the lane times. As soon as we finished eating, the buzzer went off letting us know our lane was ready. After we situated ourselves with the lane and the shoes, we got down to business. We had a lot of laughs on the lane–especially when I was afraid he wasn’t going to let his fingers go after he rolled the ball! Here was my son, my baby, giving me a kiss when I got a strike or spare, and hugging me after every turn. It’s been a long time since Grayson has acted that way because he feels like he’s too big now to kiss Mom or hold my hand in public. I was glad he let go a little.
When we finished bowling, we took a walk into the arcade. We played some old school arcade games, and he played a few new ones. He hit the jackpot for tickets three times so I knew he would get a great prize at the end. And, someone even “paid it forward.” Some guy came up to us and gave us all of his tickets (and there had to have been at least 200) plus his game card. He said there was still some money on it. After my son and I thanked him, we swiped the card–expecting to find a dollar or so–there was $6.00 left! My son enjoyed the rest of his time immensely and he got a really cool prize at the end.
We drove home, took care of Lola, and Grayson got into the shower. Right then, as if on cue, my husband pulled up with Olivia. They had a great time at the Father/Daughter dance. Olivia danced with her friends and her Dad, the guys tried to talk over “too loud” music, and a good time was had by all.
Our family was able to cap off the night relaxing on the couch and eating ice cream. It was one of those EXTREMELY rare nights where everything just falls into place–everything gels–the stars are aligned. All of us needed a night like that. And, at the bowling alley, a little slice of “old school” was contained inside the walls. And, my faith in humanity was restored–if ever so briefly–by a complete stranger.
So, my daughter is nine…going on nineteen. Seriously, I knew I would have to deal with these types of issues….but I thought I had until at least middle school. I was wrong. She takes forever to pick out an outfit in the morning because everything has to somehow coordinate with everything else she’s wearing for the day. After that half hour debacle, it literally takes another half hour to brush teeth, wash face, do hair, and put on lip gloss. Wait, did I say lip gloss? I’m sorry, I meant my Sephora lipstick….and cover-up….and eyeshadow. She learned that lesson on her own when she wore it and three unrelated adults told her she was too young for make-up. Good, one issue solved. She also has an Instagram account. Hence, I am on Instagram. Sorry, but I need to monitor who she’s talking to and what they are talking about—for her own safety. It’s through Instagram that I have really noticed this silly “BFF” thing. I have seen it around, obviously, but I didn’t realize how seriously these little girls take this stuff. I wonder why they have to have one best friend. I had a best friend growing up, but we never announced it to the world and we had other friends that we played with sometimes and no one got mad or jealous or anything even remotely close—it was just life. Now, girls feel slighted if someone goes out with someone else and they weren’t invited or told about it. It’s kind of nonsensical if you ask me. First of all, why can’t all the girls just be friends? Why do they feel the need to label everything and everyone? Why can’t they be nicer to each other…and themselves, frankly? Looking at the situation as an adult, I see qualities of a “BFF” in many people. My “BFF” when I need to laugh may be completely different from my “BFF” when I need solid advice. There may still be another “BFF” for when I’m depressed and still another for when I feel like going out to have some fun. The notion that one person has to fit all these situations seems dumb to me as an adult. But, again, I remember when I was a kid and we just “were” if that makes sense. We were able to just “be” with each other. Maybe I was just lucky. Maybe I grew up with the kind of friends who didn’t really care who went with whom to the mall on Saturday as long as everyone bought something nice. Maybe I grew up in a time where friends were genuine and experiences were real and compassion was not an anomaly. Or, maybe my daughter and her circle are just kids of today….going through typical tween stuff….and I only notice it because, as a parent of today, I have to monitor everything she does for her own personal safety. Either way, it’s different now and not in a good way 😦
I’m deviating a little today from my normal blog content.
Everyone always asks me my secret to staying thin. Here it is……There Is No Secret! Look, it takes work. It takes a conscious effort. It is a lifestyle choice; I cannot stress that enough. There are no shortcuts. But, I put together a top ten list to at least motivate you and get you moving in the right direction.
1. Sleep at least 8 hours per night
I’m telling you, the more your body is deprived of sleep, the more it tricks your brain into thinking it is hungry.
2. Move your body
You HAVE to do some form of serious physical exercise–preferably cardio and strength training. Go to the gym or do it at home, but do it. You need to exercise at least 30 minutes five days a week. Shoot for more if you are able.
3.Cut out white bread and soda….even diet soda
Too much sugar, too many carbs, too many empty calories—no good for your teeth either.
4.Limit eating out in restaurants
Try to eat at home as much as you can. Bring your lunch to work. You’ll save money and calories. There are so many hidden calories in restaurant food because they cook everything in butter and oil.
5. Salads aren’t always the lighter choice
You need to pay attention to what is in and on the salad. A crispy (a.k.a. fried) piece of chicken and bacon does not suddenly become healthy because it is placed on lettuce. Watch the dressing, too. Sometimes, you ruin a perfectly healthy salad by saturating it with fattening dressing.
6.Eat smaller meals throughout the day
Instead of cramming three squares in, try spreading it out over the course of a day. My eating schedule is like a baby’s: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. I find this eating schedule keeps me from eating everything that isn’t nailed down. I feel fuller longer this way.
7.Eat healthy snacks
Don’t sabotage your healthy meals with Doritos and Oreos! Choose healthy snacks. Fruits, nuts, and Greek yogurt are all healthy and filling. Trust me, once you are off the sweet stuff, you will not miss it.
8. Eat lean protein
Chicken and turkey are great examples of lean protein–just take off the skin. They give you energy, help you feel fuller for longer, and they taste delicious when prepared properly–and believe me, I am no Julia Child. Oh, yeah, and watch the condiments. Again, don’t take a perfectly healthy turkey on rye and destroy it with mayo!!!
9. Read Labels and serving size portions
First, you would not eat half of what you eat if you simply read not only ingredients you couldn’t pronounce, but the fat and sugar content in it. You would also be stunned if you actually portioned out a “serving size” that those fats and calories are based on. It is a good idea, though, to start to pay attention to portion sizes and what they really look like on a plate.
10.There is no such thing as “fat free”
Please don’t fall for that silly slogan. Something has to fill the void where the fat was. Want to know what it usually is? Sugar. Want to know what sugar turns into? Yup, you guessed it. FAT.
So, there is no magic secret, I don’t care what they say. One of my favorite books(I carry it with me, I kid you not) is “Eat This, Not That”. Any one of those in the series will help you immensely, I promise. And, that old saying “everything in moderation” is true. Have a 1/2 cup of ice cream every now and then….not every day. Have a glass of wine with dinner on a Saturday night…not 2 or 3 every night. Most importantly, move your body…work out at your level, but make it a serious workout and not an, “I’ll take the stairs instead of the elevator” workout. That won’t be enough and you are worth the effort. It takes work, but the benefits of healthy living are so worth it.
My children have been trying to catch a leprechaun for years now. Every year they devise a trap to tempt the little guy with gold and trap him. They feel it is especially important because their dad’s birthday is on St. Patrick’s Day and they would be the coolest kids ever if they could catch him a leprechaun. Last year, the came very close.
The little bugger opened up all of drawers and re-arranged all the forks and spoons before taking the gold coin and leaving. But, he was almost caught. He was so small that he fit through a crack in the back door, but not before leaving some of his coat behind.
This year, my kids decided to make two traps. Olivia made an elaborate contraption in her room. She set it up beautifully to entice the leprechaun to take the various gold coins. In case he was too quick, Grayson decided to leave a trap on the counter. His trap consisted of a shoe box with a trap door. We cut a big rectangle in the shoe box and covered it with gold coins from Chuck. E. Cheese’s and other cool gold jewelry.
They worked so long and thought so feverishly about a no fail way to trap this little leprechaun. They wanted to do it for Dad, but they also thought it would make the best show and tell ever! But, alas, the feisty little leprechaun was able to steal Olivia’s gold. He got greedy, though. He saw Grayson’s trap and tried to get those coins, too. He fell through the trap door. Those tiny creatures must be really strong, though, because the little stinker was able to free himself and escape. But, he wasn’t able to carry any of Grayson’s loot and he must have run out of time to be mischievous because all my drawers were exactly the way I left them last night. He tore part of his coat again, though. You can see it peeking through the trap door of Grayson’s invention at the top of the page. Oh, well, there’s always next year. Until then, Olivia and Grayson will be plotting new ways to finally capture that elusive little leprechaun for Daddy 🙂
So, the Rhode Island State Gymnastics competition was held yesterday at Rhode Island College. My daughter was not really feeling well. As a matter of fact, she missed practice Friday night because she wasn’t feeling well. Plus, she hurt her ankle the other night at practice, and it was throbbing. So, I made a decision to let her rest overnight and skip practice. I felt like if Olivia didn’t learn her routine by now, then there was nothing she could be able to do the night before to make her learn a routine.
Well, as it turns out, i was right (gasp)!! She did very well at the State Competition. After a shaky start on vault (only 7.7), I was expecting Olivia to get down on herself and have it affect the rest of the competition. But, she surprised me. Remember the other day when I said our kids really do listen to us? Well, she listened. She shook it off and did not carry the bad score to her other events. Olivia adopted and put into action our family motto, which is, “I will.” I am happy to say that she had a great day and her beam performance was outstanding. She received a 9.47 on beam. It turns out, she won first place on beam. Good for Olivia!!!!
After the awards, the announcer said that the awards were concluded. Then, two seconds later, she said, “No, wait! There is one more award!” You can imagine after four hours sitting in uncomfortable chairs with bad lighting over them, people were making a mad dash for the door. The award was for the highest individual score on any event, regardless of age group. The award went to someone who scored a 9.47 on Balance Beam……Olivia Stephenson from Ocean State!!!! We were and are sooo proud. Of course, no one else heard the announcement….including Olivia–I had to find her and tell her that she won an award. I think the way they handled the award was piss poor. However, I could not be more proud of Olivia. And, you know what? Even if Olivia had not won anything, I would still be incredibly proud of her. Why? Because even though she started off shaky, she was able to put it behind her and excel on the rest of the events. She was able to focus and achieve her personal best. It’s great that she won, but, even more importantly, she achieved her personal best and you really can’t ask for more than that.
So, if you stumble, just get up. Put one foot in front of the other and plug on. You will get there. You may not get there in the manner you had expected or at the time you had planned, but you WILL get there. Just don’t give up. Aim for your personal best and block out everything else. You will achieve. Just remember my family mantra….”I will.”
“….like walkin’ in the rain and the snow when there’s nowhere to go….”
Sorry, I couldn’t resist. My love of reading and writing is second only to my love of music of all genres. Anyway, we were talking about the things we do for our dogs. Really, it’s ever so slightly below the things we do for our kids. I’ll give you a few quick examples:
First, as sweet as she is, Lola is a tad rambunctious. So, we decided to take her to puppy class. Unfortunately, there were no classes close to my house, so every Thursday for seven weeks we drove across the state to take her to class. I would pack up my daughter and her “stuff” and ship her off to gymnastics(in the total opposite direction, mind you). Then, my son and I would rush home, scarf down supper, pack up Lola and her “stuff” and drive to class. The car ride with a rambunctious puppy is always an adventure itself–especially in the middle of winter in New England. We would stay for one hour and the trainer would patiently try to teach four dogs the most basic of basic training skills. Lola mostly just sniffed around and lay down underneath my chair the whole time. After class, we would pack up the dog and drive home in the dark–yay–so much fun. At the end of the training, after all the time, effort, and money, Lola learned “watch me” and “sit”. The trainer put a graduation cap on her and she was done. Personally, I would have failed her, but I think the trainer didn’t want us to feel bad.
Next, we got the dog spayed. It is the responsible thing to do as a pet owner. They only do operations on Tuesdays and you have to drop off the dog at 7:30 am. Since I have two munchkins to get up, fed, dressed, and on the bus for school, my husband had to go into work late and take Lola to the vet. She came home later with the cone around her head. I wished there were a cone for my head when I saw the bill! I was supposed to keep the cone on for two weeks. We took it off after one week, though, and she was fine. However, the first couple of days, she wasn’t able to climb stairs. We live in an up & down house and we sleep upstairs. Lola sleeps in our room. She weighs 36 pounds. So, for two days and nights, I carried this puppy with stitches up and down the stairs. The first night, she had to go out at 2am. My husband was dead asleep(or pretending to be) so there I was with no lenses, a wounded animal and 14 stairs to descend. I picked her up and carried her down and outside. Turns out, she didn’t have to go after all. So, back up the stairs we went, the dog awkwardly dangling in my arms and me praying to God I would make it up the stairs without falling backwards with her in my arms. Thankfully, she healed and had no complications from the surgery.
Finally, since Golden Doodles need lots of exercise and we have a big backyard, we need an Invisible Fence. More cones please for my head–you cannot believe how expensive it is once you add up installation, collars, batteries and, of course, training lessons. Yesterday morning we had our first lesson inside. They start inside because they don’t want your dog running off into oblivion never to be seen again on the first day of training. After the trainer assembled all the gadgets and flags, she placed the collar around Lola. I have to admit, she caught on very quickly at a very low “zap” level. She mostly responded to the sound. I am very glad she learned in this class. We have homework for our next class, though, and I feel like I do when my kids have a test!
So, even though she is a handful….and she IS a handful, we love her and we treat her almost, almost, almost the same as we treat each other! Oh, who am I kidding, it’s my husband’s birthday tomorrow and he is getting a card from me, from the kids, and from Lola 🙂
So, it is the end of Reading Week at my children’s school. I participated in this blog by writing my own poem for “Poem In Your Pocket” day and I read a novel. Normally, I don’t go for romance novels. I’m more of a Stephen King kind of gal. 11/22/63 is one of my favorite books of all time. But, I didn’t have the time to read another thousand page book. I have been hearing about this “Fifty Shades of Grey” for a year now and everyone is always raving about it. So many of my friends and people I know have read all of the books in the series. So, I broke down and decided to read a romance novel.
Well, first, I was reminded why I don’t read romance novels! But, let’s put that aside. I think I am the only female I know that did NOT like this book. In fact, I was repulsed by it. I was disturbed at the slapping and when it got to the point of him hitting her with the belt, I felt physically sick. I cannot see how anyone would think this was a love story. To me, it was a story about a jackass who took advantage of a girl and physically and emotionally abused her. I would not read the other books if someone paid me–that’s how bad I thought it was.
Now, before people start getting crazy, I was never physically abused by anyone. I was never raped, molested or abused in any way by any person. So, my perspective coming into this is solely as a reader. I guess you could argue that the author is a good writer because she made the reader feel strong emotion. However, I think the content is demeaning to women in general(unless that’s what you’re into) and I cannot wrap my head around the women who wish there were a real Christian Grey. When I was on Facebook, they would always do polls as to which actor would play him in the movie. Are you kidding? I am about empowering women not demeaning and diminishing them and turing them into objects for sexual gratification. I don’t know, maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m a prude. Maybe I should lighten up. I just don’t think beating someone up is the way to get their love. Now that reading week is over, I will go back to my mystery novels and non-fiction material. I am glad that I read the book, though, because it gave me an insight as to just how far we’ve come……baby.
Well, I’ll be darned. Sometimes, our kids listen to us. It’s an amazingly rewarding feeling when that happens because it happens so infrequently!! You’ll remember yesterday I told you my son was having issues with another student who was tripping him and calling him names. I told him to confront the student and tell her to stop. He did. She did not stop. I told him the next step was to tell his teacher. Remember I also said I did not want to intervene if I didn’t have to intervene. I want my children to learn the necessary skills to defend themselves without violence. I want them to learn this on their own with my guidance so when they are older they will be able to handle themselves without “running to mama” every time something happens. The older you are when you do that, the worse the bullying usually becomes. So, I asked my son if he told his teacher yesterday. He said that he had and that the teacher spoke to him and to the student. I was hoping he really did speak to her and he wasn’t just saying it to avoid conflict. I received an email from his teacher later that night. She basically told me exactly what my son said to her and how she handled the situation. She had my son repeat the scenario in front of the girl. The girl admitted to doing it. The teacher told the girl that she was a witness to the situation now. After she sent my son back to his seat, she spoke to the girl. She told her that when someone tells you to stop teasing them and you don’t that is considered bullying and it is not tolerated at the school. She also told the student that she would be checking in frequently with my son to make sure the behavior stopped. Additionally, the teacher said, she sat with the class at lunch because that is when the incidents usually happen.
I am satisfied with the response and swift action by the teacher. I already said yesterday that this isn’t a humungous issue, but it wouldn’t have been wise to let it go in today’s society. And, no one wants to feel uncomfortable at school.
I am most proud, though, that my son actually listened to my direction and told the teacher. I know I’ve said this before but it continues to amaze me and it is worth repeating: Our kids really are listening to us. Let’s really try to give them our best. They didn’t ask to be here. We owe it to them to raise them right. We owe it to them to be their first and best teachers.
Just as an aside, I tried to add the link to yesterday’s blog but it didn’t work. I followed the instructions but it did not add the link. I should have gone to computer school 🙂 Yesterday’s blog title is “Rachel’s Challenge At Lincoln Central” if you want to read it.