Sunday, June 29, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Yesterday I ran my first race. Our area has a mile long race benefit downtown. K told me that it would be good training so I did a late sign up the day before the race.
Walking into the running store was intimidating. It was full of those skinny running types waiting to pick up their race packets. I sucked in my stomach and tried to fit in. The kids did a better job fitting in - by running around. I was exasperated when The Love Magnet ran into the back stock room while being chased by Thirdborn with one of the store staff right behind them. I apologized profusely. The advantage of wild children?...they hurried my applications and got us out of their store rather quickly after that.
The next day I was a nervous chick. I called Mr. Wonderful at lunchtime and bawled on the phone. He kept assuring me that I would be fine. (Yes, I felt stupid. The only way I could explain these emotions is that they were the exact same emotions I had before every race in elementary school where I would place dead last. I guess I reverted back to being 10 years old.)
Mr. Wonderful got home early. We drove downtown with all the kids except Firstborn who had to work. I found K (who it turned out was not running the race). She told me she would be cheering. The first race was the kids race. The course was 1/2 a mile and they would be chasing an ice cream truck. When they finished the race, the ice cream truck would hand out ice cream bars. Thirdborn and The Love Magnet were signed up for the race with Mr. Wonderful following with a jogging stroller in case The Love Magnet wore out. The kids got in line and started off at the sound of the gun. The Love Magnet ran the back half and then asked Mr. Wonderful to carry her. He gave the stroller to Thirdborn and bent down to pick up our daughter. When he looked back up, Thirdborn was gone. Mr. Wonderful started running with The Love Magnet on his shoulders, trying to spot Thirdborn in the crowd of hundreds of children and adults.
I found Thirdborn nearing the finish line, running with the empty stroller. He was so thrilled to receive his blue ribbon and ice cream. Along came Mr. Wonderful with The Love Magnet bouncing on his shoulders. She asked to get down and immediately tried to run the course again. We stopped her long enough to show her the ice cream, which she took and sat in the stroller to eat. Who wants to run when there is chocolate ice cream available?
The next race was the untimed mile (twice around the course). Secondborn agreed to run this one with me (only because we found out he was too old to run the 1/2 mile ). I warned him in advance that I could not run the entire course. We started as soon as the crowd started moving and ended up passing quite a few stragglers. Secondborn matched his pace to mine. When my lungs were burning we dropped to a walk. Not for long. Secondborn pointed ahead and said "Mom, do you see the traffic light? Let start running when we get there." This happened again and again as we looped the course twice. When we passed the crowd the first time we made sure we ran the entire length (1/4 mile). I was embarrassed to have all those eyes on me even though I knew they weren't really looking at me. The cheers of "Go Mom!" and "Go Carrie!" really boosted me. On the last backside of the course we walked for a bit as we looped around again. Secondborn made sure that I didn't walk for long (he's such a great running partner!)
When we got to the final stretch and started running, Secondborn wanted to finish really strong and sprint. He kept trying to get me to sprint. I was just concentrating on keeping my own Eeyore-ish pace.
From the side I heard "Go Mom!" and I was joined by Thirdborn and The Love Magnet who held my hand as we finished the race. We finished the mile in 13 minutes, a time better than I had been doing in training. K was thrilled for me. I was surprised at where my placement was in the group. I wasn't last. I was about in the middle.
There were other timed races but we didn't stay. The kids were hungry so we went home for dinner. Mr. Wonderful held my hand as we drove home and told me he was proud of me. I thanked Secondborn multiple times for running the race for me. It meant so much that he would do it with me so I wouldn't have to be alone.
Secondborn was thrilled to see us on the TV news that night. There was a 10 second shot focused on him in clear view and me half behind another runner. I didn't mind being hidden.
I have to admit that I am proud of me, too. My first race. My race number will be save for scrapbooking. I plan to run the Mile race next year. Hopefully my time will be faster.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I've never considered myself an athlete before. I am loving this feeling.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Monday was the first day of summer school for The Love Magnet. She was up, dressed, and had her backpack on 45 minutes before the bus was due. I sat at the front window with her to watch.
She pointed out the moon in the sky, the birds on the roof across the street, and the airplane flying by. The she grew serious for a moment. Looking for all the world like the old "I Want You..." Uncle Sam WWII posters, she pointed her finger at me and said,
"Mom, you stay HERE."
Her meaning was undoubtedly clear - I was not welcome to come to her school.
I had made plans to stop by her school that day to meet the teacher and count how many aides would be in her classroom. Her missive wouldn't stop me. I just had to be more sneaky about it. Soon after our little chat, the bus came. The Love Magnet ran to get on. I did not receive a goodbye. Not even a backwards glance. She was too excited.
Thirdborn and I ran errands that morning. In the middle, we stopped at the school ( a different one, further away from our neighborhood school) and were led to the classroom. No one was there so we followed our guide outside to the playground. There was my daughter, having a great time being chased by one of the aides. The aide didn't not seem like she was having a good time.
I introduced myself and the aide told me that The Love Magnet had run away from the classroom three times that morning and that was in the first two hours. I asked her if anyone had checked my daughter's file before school started. Her IEP and her behavior plan both state that my daughter is a wanderer and will push to see where her boundaries are. Aide had not read it, and pointed me in the direction of her teacher.
Summer School teacher is a man who looks like he is in his late 20s. I introduced myself and said that I heard about the adventures of the morning. Had he read her file and known about her tendency as an escape artist? No, the teacher had not read the file, IEP, or the behavior plan. I mentioned the main points of everything while wondering if they were going to lose my daughter and what was the school teaching plan for the summer? I guess I will have to plan a meeting or at least email the school to see what is covered.
Firstborn, Secondborn, and Thirdborn waited for the bus to bring The Love Magnet home. They tumbled out of the door, wrestling and each trying to be the first one to greet her. As they ran to the bus, my darling daughter looked out the bus window and grinned. Then she turned to the aide and bus driver and proudly announced, "Those are MY boys!" Bus driver and aide were laughing hard when they drove away.
Today, The Love Magnet again waited for the bus a good 20 minutes before it was due. She pointed out the moon in the sky, the bird on the roof across the street, and a plane going by. This time there was no command that I stay away from school. Instead, she cuddled in my arms and told me "I love you, hon-ey."
I love you, too, honey.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
This weekend my twin sis brought four of her kids for a quick visit while her Dear Husband and two oldest children were at Youth Conference. Because it was a last minute trip, I did not have time to plan something really cool like the river float that is so popular here. That will be another time, hopefully in the next month when twin sis brings her entire family.
The best part of this trip? Twin sis, who is technically my younger sister by ten whole minutes thankyouverymuch, is a goldmine of parenting information in raising Firstborn. Her Firstborn is two years older so she had a head start on me. Her Secondborn is not quite two months younger than my Firstborn. Everything I am experiencing, she has already gone through (is it "Bad Mom" of me to say "endured" instead of "gone through"? That's how I feel right now.)
We both agreed that my Firstborn needs to find his passion, something that lights a spark in him. Right now, I can't suggest anything without eyerolls from him. We can have great conversations as long as the subjects of Eagle Scout project, Grades, and School do not come up. He complains that he isn't good at anything, yet seems unwilling to put forth the great effort it takes to become good at something. I am at a loss.
Twin sis spent three days listening, and showing me her ideas. She has been through it before: the Eagle Scout projects (two already, which really irritates Firstborn as the second Eagle Scout was awarded to the cousin who is younger than him), the bad grades (she has a better way to use Power School, one that I never knew about), even the seemingly universal Eyeroll (apparently it is not only my son who does this but a common teen reaction. Who knew?)
I feel a bit guilty that I didn't show twin sis and her kids a better time - the local movie theater and our neighborhood pool do not define what is great about living in our area. She probably feels she spent three days in cheap therapy with me and I was the only one to benefit. I miss being able to see her whenever I want so having her here was like a cold drink of water on a hot day.
So here is my Sunday Gratitude dedicated to my twin sis. My smarter, wiser, kinder, beautiful twin sis. God blessed me with her because He knew I needed her.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Its getting out of my comfort zone and doing something that I would have said was completely impossible.
Its stretching the definitions with which I have defined myself.
Its peeling of the labels I have mentally stuck on myself for the past 39 years.
Its proving that I am capable of so much more than I originally pictured for myself.
Stay tuned. Its time to dust off some more goals...
2nd run this morning. Hurt my ankle after 1 1/2 miles (run two minutes, walk two minutes) and had to walk the last mile. I think it will be okay for Saturday's run. My twin sis will be here and she has been asked (warned) to bring her running shoes.
Today's run was harder. But I still feel good - just full of happy endorphins right now. I have a few observations that I can only attribute to this week of severely upping my exercise routine:
1. Suddenly I have been meticulous as writing down everything I eat (like a good Weight Watcher) and even measuring out my portions. I have not done this in a while. It must be the running.
2. Happy endorphins sure make me nicer to my kids. They have noticed. It must be the running.
3. I am looking forward to weigh-in this weekend, which emotion is highly unusual for me. It must be the running.
4. Looking in the mirror, I am more appreciative of my body, even though it has not changed size. Yet. It must be the running.
5. I have been able to watch the news without getting overwhelmed with how off-course our world is. It must be the happy endorphins which must be the running.
5. I have been looking at Title 9 for a few years now, thinking their stuff was so cute. Now, for the first time, I really want to buy some running clothes. It must be the running, although I do not think I qualify for cute running clothes yet.
6. For the first time in my life I am starting to think about myself as an athlete. That is a really powerful feeling. It must be the running.
7. Weight Watchers always says to imagine yourself at goal. I could never visualize that in my head until now. It must be the running.
I'm actually looking forward to the day where I can run the whole two miles and go further. I've had a few emails from my ward sisters who would like to put a team together for the 5K. Looking for more takers!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I have been looking at the "Future Dream" part of my bio on the side of my blog for over a year. And I have not done one darn thing about them.
One of the dear sisters in my ward (who happens to be my very cute pianist in choir) taught a lesson a few weeks ago where she used a marathon running chart to illustrate her point. I didn't know that she was a marathon runner. I mentioned to her that I wanted to set a goal to run a 5K in September.
Did I mention that I am starting as a couch potato? A complete newbie. A *gasp!* running virgin? In elementary school, I was always dead last in every Presidential Physical Fitness race (does that date me?) Humiliating memories. Its about time I tried to replace them with something better.
Cute Choir Pianist graciously offered to help me train. Our first training session was tonight. I was so nervous! Mr. Wonderful kept telling me I would be fine. The hour came and she knocked on the door. My first goal tonight was not to back out of it. I was committed. Check that goal off.
We ran two miles. Okay, really......we ran for two minutes and then walked for two minutes and kept that pattern going for a distance total of two miles. Choir Pianist brought her 4 year old son along in his jogging stroller. After nearly a mile, he got out and ran, too. He ran faster than me. It felt like I was trying to breathe through water, like my lungs couldn't expand enough. There were a few times that Choir Pianist had to verbally push me to run for just 20 more seconds. This was totally out of my comfort zone. I certainly didn't feel graceful and I know I didn't look cute.
I made it. I did it. AND I DIDN'T DIE! I am so stinkin' proud of myself right now! It must be all those endorphin that make you happy. This feels really good.
So....I am now issuing an invitation to my sister and sister-in-loves, ward sisters, my online sisters and kindred spirit sisters. There is a women's 5K in September that I've made a goal to run. It will be my very first 5K. I am inviting you all to run it with me. If you are interested, send me an email and I will send you the details.
I can't back out now - this invitation is now permanently floating around on the 'Net. God bless my trainer for her patience and great attitude.
I am going to be so sore tomorrow.
Monday, June 16, 2008
I am officially the proud mom of an employed lifeguard.
The best part?
They told him that he got the job because he kept calling or stopping by to see if they reviewed his application yet and to see if they were hiring. They told him that they were impressed with his commitment and eagerness to work.
Firstborn told me this when he got in the car after the interview. Then I heard those golden tones that every parent wants to hear:
"Thanks, Mom". (Because I was the one who made him check back all those times. He thought it was futile.)
I want to copy that sound bite and replay at whim whenever I feel like it.....
Sunday, June 15, 2008
I lived with my Heavenly Father
before I was sent to the earth.
But I cannot remember the sound of His voice
for that was forgotten at birth.
But, Daddy, when your arm's around me
and I feel so safe in your love -
I wonder do I hear in your voice
a sound like my Father above.
I lived with my Heavenly Father
before I was sent to the earth.
But I cannot remember the look in His eyes
for that was forgotten at birth.
But, Daddy, when I look in your eyes
I seem to recall how it was -
God gave me a dear earthly Father
so I could remember His love.
God gave me a dear earthy father
so I could remember His love.
- "My Daddy Reminds Me", The Church Of Jesus Christ songbook, Janice Kapp Perry
Happy Father's Day, Daddy. I sure do love you. xoxoxo I'll have to sing this for you when you come home.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
My daughter doesn't understand social boundaries. She doesn't pick up on body or verbal cues that tell us when a behavior is welcome or not. Her IEP has a Behavior Plan that will address this, but that IEP will not help me this summer. As a mom, I am not quite sure how to handle things - such as what happened yesterday.
At the neighborhood pool, The Love Magnet found another little girl wearing the same swimsuit that she was. The two little girls were excited to see that they looked like twins. However, the novelty of discovery soon wore off for the other little girl.....but not for my daughter.
"You have my swimsuit!", my daughter repeated over and over, sometimes stumbling over the syllables. She threw an arm around the little girl and yelled across the pool "MOM! She have my swimsuit! My new best friend!" This was announced over and over. The other girl tried to swim away but couldn't release the grip of The Love Magnet. Every time my daughter would yell her happiness to anyone who would listen, her new friend would say with exasperation "You already said that!"
I have to honestly admit, as a Mom, that the whole scene was hard for me to watch. I didn't want to intervene, after all, my daughter needs to have the social experience. I am thrilled when she makes new friends. But as I watched this happen, the other girl's facial expressions melted from excitement to annoyance. After a bit it was clear that she knew something was different about my daughter. She would have left if it weren't for The Love Magnet's head-lock. I waded into the kiddie pool to ask my daughter to come out and warm up a bit (I know, it was a made up excuse. I wasn't sure how to extricate her gracefully).
It was a gut-decision. What else should I have done? I really didn't know how to handle it. My daughter was mad at me and didn't want to leave the pool. I wanted to explain to her in private what she should have done....and then realized too late that she would have no clue what I was talking about. How do you explain something like this, body cues and social boundaries, to a 5 year old, let alone a 5 year old with Down syndrome?
Don't get me wrong. My daughter having Down syndrome is actually something I would not change. I know this is part of God's plan for our family and His plan is much better than my plan. But there are times when I do not feel equal to the task and yesterday was one of those times. I don't want a self help book. I want a Divine parenting manual.
Do I do anything? Should I have left them to figure it out themselves? Do I ask the world to accept my daughter as she is or do I try to teach her to fit in their world? There has to be a middle-ground answer. I know I can not prevent future situations like these. Like any parent, I do not want to see my daughter hurt. My daughter was about to be snubbed. She would know she was being rejected but not know why.
I was afraid. And I am so ashamed to admit it. (Darn it, now I am all teary. I can't even confess on a blog without waterworks. *sigh*)
I'm going to have to add this to my prayers. I need wisdom.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Operating Room for 5 1/2 hours: $8,660.45
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Monday, June 09, 2008
"Oh! what hours of transport we shall spend! And when we do
return, it shall not be like other travellers, without being able to give one
accurate idea of any thing. We will know where we have gone -- we will recollect
what we have seen. Lakes mountains, and rivers shall not be jumbled together in our imaginations; nor, when we attempt to describe any particular scene, will we begin quarrelling about its relative situation. Let our first effusions be less insupportable than those of the generality of travellers.''I am a Mountain Girl married to an Ocean Boy.I grew up spending vacations in Soapstone at my great uncle's cabin (now my parent's cabin). I loved watching the aspens quake, hiking down to the river, taking the canoe to Mirror lake. We always saw moose and deer. It was wonderful to be there. But I haven't been there since we moved here and I dearly miss it.This past weekend we went to a work family retreat up in the mountains. For the past year my entire world encompassed about 10 square miles. I had no idea what lay beyond that, except for the road that led back to Utah since I have traveled that many times. This weekend I saw what lay west and north beyond for a good 3 hours drive worth. I love it when we travel small roads and see small towns. I love the old buildings and houses. I'm always imagining what life might be like there.Then we moved out of civilization and up in elevation....I have missed mountains! I have missed alpine meadows and pine trees. I have really missed wildflowers. They were there in abundance thanks to an end of drought and an excess of snow this past winter. I took more than a few pics which will make it onto the blog this week. But I wanted to post my gratitude for the mountains and alpine meadows and pine trees. The whole weekend was good for my soul.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
The first day of summer vacation and my Firstborn is mad at me.
How on earth do you get mostly A's and 2 D's? He refuses to take responsibility and tells me that English and Chinese are just too hard. Yet he fails to acknowledge the fact that he hardly put in any study effort. When he would tell me he was heading to a friends house to study, I would find out that the "study" time lasted all of 10 minutes and they spent the rest of the time gaming. He had refused the offers of study help from my brother who speaks Mandarin. He had refused help from me (I happen to be quite good at the subject). He did bring his math grades up with the help of Mr. Wonderful (who was a math tutor on his mission and in college).
Right now I am waiting for Mr. Wonderful to get home from a business trip. We will decide together what to do about Firstborn. I am reminded about my sophomore year in high school. My grades earned me a grounding for an entire term: no dates, no fun, only study or church until I got my act together. I did. I certainly do not remember ever yelling at my parents about the unfairness of it all.
This is one of those parenting times where I dearly wished there was a manual. Something that would put a little certainty into my head. I should know how to parent a teen, after all, I was one....once. Firstborn pulled the classic line uttered every generation: "You have no idea how hard school is!" Hmmmmm. Did I ever say that to my mom? I don't think so. I hope not. (Just wait, she will see this and tell me differently.....)
In the meantime, Secondborn pulled off all A's as well as a perfect score on his PACE Powerpoint presentation. Without much help and absolutely no one reminding him to study. Thirdborn is slightly below grade average, but improved greatly from the beginning of the year. I plan on hitting the local homeschooling store for materials to set up a summer program for Thirdborn and Love Magnet. I think an hour a day of reading, writing, and math along with bedtime reading will be great for the two of them. They are certainly willing.
What on earth do I do about Firstborn? My inquiring mind wants to know......
Monday, June 02, 2008
Today she was working on her final kindergarten journal entry when I went over to the school early. I peeked through the tiny window on the door to see my darling daughter bent over her paper, intently working on her journal page.
The page was entitled "My favorite thing at school". I fully expected her to be drawing a picture of a computer, possibly combined with a Picasso portrait of The Divine Miss O.
Nine months of school and my Love Magnet's favorite part:
Sunday, June 01, 2008
1. New Friends. Last night we went out with the parent's of Firstborn's best friend. They were a lot of fun to be with and we had much in common. I see a new Game Night Group getting started in my future! We had dinner at a great restaurant. Lobster cakes. Hangerman trout with a vanilla sauce. Skirt steak drizzled with chimichurri sauce and served with garlic mashed potatoes. White Chocolate Bread Pudding. Mmmmmmm.
2. Talking a walk in the rain with my furry personal trainer. Doggie Girl likes the rain as much as I do and loves getting out whenever she can. Our subdivision is full of trails that make walking a pleasure. The only downer was Doggie Girl's constant urge to chase ducks or cats. At least the vigorous pace she sets will offset my overeating on date night.
3. My compassionate kids. I stubbed my toe on a suitcase this afternoon. As I laid on the stair landing, holding my foot and groaning in pain (hey, it HURT!), Thirdborn and Love Magnet sat down by me and covered my forehead in kisses. Love Magnet asked if that made it all better. I think it made the pain disappear pretty darn quick.
4. Homemade bread. I just checkout out a bunch of new-to-me baking books from the library. With those recipes (and the help of my dear Aunt who teaches bread baking classes at the local cooking store)I am determined to become a fabulous baker. I have a wheat grinder and I know how to use it! I love the smell of homemade bread. Even more, I love the look on Mr. Wonderful's face when he smells homemade bread as he comes home from work. Tomorrow's project: Anadama Bread. I already know I can bake that recipe without failure.
5. The smell of Sunday Dinner cooking on Fast Sunday. You know what I mean.
6. Our vacations this summer will be centered around exploring our new state. We're looking at hiking books, tourist books, places-to-go-and-things-to-do books. I'm grateful that someone else put out the effort to research this so we can reap the benefits. I'm really looking forward to expanding my horizons beyond the 10 mile bubble I've been living in this past year.
7. We had our first family swim at the neighborhood pool yesterday. The kids had a great time. It was fun just to be together.
8. My ward had an Enrichment Night about food storage, gardening, and living within our means. It was great to get ideas for my garden and food storage. I loved the tasting table, especially the Cream-Filled Oatmeal Bars. Mmmmm. I will be posting that recipe soon. The best part of the evening was just being with the other women at my church. They all have talents that put me in awe.
9. Out local library. I never thought much about how blessed we are to have so many books until the post on my parents blog about purchasing books for a school (see the October 18, 2007 post). I love taking the kids to the library in the summer and participating in every program they have.
10. Garden colors: green plants, black earth. Soon we'll have more colors.
What are you grateful for?