Sunday, September 27, 2009

When you're too relieved to be embarrassed

I had promised the girls yesterday a trip to the park, and instead we went shoe shopping, so today we HAD to go. Everybody was dressed, water bottle and extra Pull Up ready, camera in bag. Off we went.

Normally, we go to a small, secluded playground at a huge park. It's off of a road that hardly anyone takes and I can sit and read and can keep track of the girls without a problem. Today, when I drove up to it, it was PACKED. Ugh - my secret playground is no longer a secret! So I thought it might be better to go to one of the bigger playgrounds. I don't know why I thought that... I guess being so antisocial, it's easier for me to get lost in a big crowd than a smaller one.

Now, the other playgrounds are all down the main road in the park. The speed limit is 20mph, but you're lucky if the average joe is driving 35 mph. On one side are several big jungle gym playgrounds that are set pretty far back from the road and on the other side are a few swings and a slide here and there. We parked and went to one of the playgrounds. There was one for the 5+ kids and one for smaller kids. Before we got to the playground, I stopped the girls and had a little talk with them. "There are a lot of people here and it's just Mommy to keep up with you. You listen to me and you do as I say or we will have to go home." They nodded that they understood.

We went over to the smaller playground, and as soon as I got settled, Olivia and Isabelle headed over to the bigger one. It was no big deal, because I could see them fine where I was. Then, I noticed Izzy wandering around looking lost, so I got up to head to a bench closer to them. She saw me, and went back to playing. I had just seen Olivia when I started heading over there. I got settled with Zoe, and noticed a little cluster of acorns that I wanted to photograph. I did a scan of the playground - found Isabelle... but not Olivia. Well, she's probably in one of the tunnels on the jungle gym. I got out my camera. Did another scan to see if she had popped back out, but still no Olivia. I walked around the jungle gym and asked Izzy if she knew where Olivia was and she started looking around, too. I started looking aroud the general area - she didn't go join the birthday party going on at the picnic table, she's not on the merry-go-round, not at the little playground... crap, crap, CRAP. There is an old train down the road, so that was my first thought and as I turned around to see if I could see her little pink tank top headed that way, I caught a glimpse of something across the street.

Olivia was at the slide. Across the busy street. By herself.

I grabbed my bag, yelled at Isabelle to follow me, and took off, screaming at Olivia to stay put. She headed to the side of the road but stopped there. I got halfway between the playground and the road, and turned back to see if Isabelle and Zoe were keeping up and Izzy was. But Zoe had not moved. She was standing at the top of the hill bawling because I ran off and left her all alone.

One kid across a busy street. One kid all alone in a crowd of people.


Isn't this every mother's nightmare? To have to choose between her children? To decide who to save first, knowing it could be worse for the other? I froze for a second.

Then I saw a guy jogging toward Olivia from the birthday party and he called to me "I'll bring her to you." What choice did I have but to take his help? I told Isabelle to run and hold Zoe's hand and help her walk to me. The guy was back with Olivia and I thanked him and hugged her and told her not to ever cross the street alone ever again. I turned around to find another guy (probably from the birthday party also) bringing me Isabelle and Zoe. I thanked him and then told the girls we were going straight home.

Not one of them protested. I think they all knew throwing a fit was not a good idea right then. Olivia bawled when we got in the van, because she knew she was in huge trouble. I explained to her that she could have been very hurt crossing the street and that someone could run away with her if she was so far away from me. Tonight we're having a very focused discussion on how important it is to have an adult with you to cross the street.

I'm so grateful that there were good people to help me out. I was too relived to even really be embarrassed, because I know I had to have looked like I was a totally incompetant mother. It would have been so easy to have lost one of my children today. Olivia was totally lucky the first time she crossed the street. And I ran off and left Zoe all alone. It was just a horrible, horrible experience.

Never again will we try to do the big playgrounds unless we have other people besides me to keep an eye on them. It's too difficult to keep track of them in the midst of several other children, with all the noise going on too. We'll just stick to our little secluded, not-so-secret-anymore playground from now on.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain

The Secret Life Of CeeCee Wilkes
I have mixed feelings about this book. I liked it, don't get me wrong. I just kind of felt like the end kind of fizzled out. I guess part of the end was supposed to be a big shocker and it felt more like "yeah, who cares?" But aside from the very end, I liked it a lot.

It reminded me alot of Jodi Picoult's novels. But not in a copy-cat way. More like imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

The story is about a young girl named CeeCee Wilkes who falls in love with a guy and gets caught up in his plan to kidnap the governor's wife. The woman is pregnant and goes into labor, and ends up dying. CeeCee takes the baby and raises her as her own. It's not a mystery or anything - you know from the very beginning that she ends up confessing everything years later to save the guy from being sentenced to death for the kidnapped woman's murder.

I really liked the book - it was very captivating. Even though you pretty much know the ending from the beginning, it still keeps you interested. It was a good book, it just didn't "wow" me. I'd be willing to read more of her books though.

This was book #30. Next up is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austin and Seth Grahame-Smith. This should be very interesting.

Tony Horton is a dork!

I got my Power 90 stuff yesterday. I watched the Cardio and Abs workout and it doesn't look so difficult that it would kill me. Of course I might feel differently when I actually do it =) And I haven't seen the Sculpting workout yet. The power yoga might take me a while to do properly. I've done kickboxing, so that's no biggie. Jumping jacks... not a big fan of jumping over here. But I'll do my best. That's my promise to myself. Do the best I can do throughout the 90 days.

I do have a problem. My DVD player remote is MIA. Has been for a very long time, but I haven't really needed it. But I need it to do any workout other than Phase I-II Cardio. Like Phase I-II Sculpting that I'm supposed to do every other day... But, we need another DVD player, because we only have one and Bill likes to have it set up on the TV in the playroom. (I don't, because I'd rather not have 2 TVs, but at least it's in the playroom and not a bedroom) So I will probably buy an inexpensive DVD player today for the living room.

I'm excited. I like how Tony shows you alternative moves in case what he's doing is too advanced. I like how it's very simple - no choreography to learn - because I'm not the most coordinated soul. I have to admit that Tony is a dork. But I like dorks, so it's alright. I don't really know anyone who has done any of his workouts other than P90X and he might be more serious in that one... I don't know. But he's just goofy.

I'm going to keep up with my progress on my weight loss blog, but I will probably put up some highlights over here. Unless I just suck really bad and then I'm sure you won't hear from me about it at all. Just being honest...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Excuse me while I get on my soapbox...

This has been irking me all day, so I need to write it out.

First, a little background...

I was a straight-A student. I had higher than a 4.0 grade average. I was my class valedictorian.

I'm not saying that so you can all applaud me. Yay for Jennifer. Whatever. School was easy for me, I didn't struggle. So I'll admit that contributes greatly to my opinion.

So, on Cafemom, a friend of mine asked a question: Would you get upset if your child brought home a C? My answer is that yes, I would. Unless I knew that my child had tried, had studied, done their homework, etc., I would be upset.

I was blown away by how many other mothers were upset that some of us would be disappointed in a C. Upset as in angry. One mother said that our children would hate us and accused us of expecting our children to be perfect. As is the norm on Cafemom, it was ugly.

This bothers me. Oh, how it bothers me. I am wrong because I hold my child to higher expectations than average? I just can't fathom that someone wouldn't want their child to strive to be above average. It's not like I'm going to give them 50 lashes for a C. If Olivia gets to high school and is a social butterfly, passing notes, talking on the phone non-stop, and I never see her crack a book at home, yes, I absolutely will NOT be content with a C. If I see her do homework every night, if she asks for help on assignments and she still brings in a C, no I would not be upset. Disappointed, yes. I can't help that. I never, ever made a C. But if C is the best she can do, I will accept it without making her feel bad about it. There is a difference between being disappointed in a grade and being disappointed in my child.

Why is it wrong of me to feel this way? Why is is wrong of me to hold my children to a higher standard than average? Yes, I realize not every student can be a straight A student. But why would you not even try? Why would you not encourage your child in that direction?

I think it's a huge problem with kids today... we don't hold them to higher standards so they don't try. And then we try to level the playing field so they don't feel bad. Oh, we have to give all the Little League kids trophies so that they don't feel like failures. No, you teach them that they will lose sometimes and that it's OK if they tried. Not that you get a trophy no matter what.

I've heard people say they want to do away with Fs in school because it damages kids' self esteem. Are you serious? It should damage your self esteem to fail a class. Because, and this is just my opinion, there are very few times (there are exceptions, I'm sure) that you fail a class that it couldn't have been avoided by either doing the work involved or getting help with something you had difficulty with. In life, if you don't work for something or get help when you need it - YOU FAIL. Sheltering your children from failure is NOT the answer.

What happens years from now to all the kids who have been sheltered from failure? They either get a terrible wake up call in the real world when they fall flat on their faces or we level the playing field and just have a world of mediocre, average joes. No one striving for greatness. No one pushing themselves to the limit.

I know that not everyone's talents lay in academics. Maybe Olivia will be the lead in all the school plays. Maybe Isabelle will win ribbons in art competitions. I will be proud of all their accomplishments. But I will never let them flake out on academics. If they are average students, fine - as long as they have tried. If you don't shoot for the moon, you'll never land in the stars. Or however the saying goes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

I just finished this book and I have to say it was the first book in a little while that I felt the need to just sit down and devour regardless of what else I could be doing.

I mentioned before that I was having trouble getting into the book, and I definitely did. It's a library book, due back tomorrow, and I had told myself if I didn't finish it by then I would take it back regardless. I can only think of 2 books ever that I never finished, so that says alot. Of course, by yesterday, I was so into it that I was going to renew it if I needed to. I don't need to. =)

The book is about a lady, Roseanne McNulty, who is 100 years old, living in a mental instituion in Ireland that is scheduled to be closed. Dr. Grene must evaluate her to decide if she was committed because she was truly insane or if she could be released. (Like a 100 year old woman without any family could survive outside of some institution, but that's not the point) The story alternates between her written account of her life and Dr. Grene's written account of his evaluation.

I guess what finally hooked me was that he doesn't just lay out the reason she was committed and I just had to know. The book got progressively easier to read for me as it went on. I will say I was honestly shocked at the end. Like my jaw literally dropped open shocked.

I'm glad I stuck with the book and it was worth the struggle in the beginning. It would be an awesome audio book, I bet... I love a good Irish accent. =) I believe this was #27 on my 101 books. Next is The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

List Update

I'm making some changes to my 101 List. The idea of setting a frequency on some things was not good for me. There are quite a few holes now that I need to fill. I added a few things and will need to add more. It was good to go over it. Next time I'm bored I need to look at it to find something to do because there are plenty of projects that I can work on little by little. Of course, being bored is a rarity... =)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Silly me...

Sarah reminded me that I never gave any updates on quitting smoking.

Well... I'd have to go back to see when my actual quit date was supposed to be. And I'm too lazy for that tonight. But I didn't do it then. I tried. I cut back. Eventually I was down to 2 or 3 a day and still couldn't bear to just stop. I was hiding it from my husband - who had quit with me. My justificaiton was that if I was hiding it, I was less likely to smoke more than the couple I was smoking. He knew, of course. But I needed to think he didn't.

We went on vacation in mid-June. My last cigarette was a few days before we left. Driving for 3 days didn't really leave me any opportunity to smoke and then staying with relatives... it just always feels rude to me to excuse myself to smoke. By the time we got home I honestly had forgotten all about smoking. Maybe it helped to have cut down so much beforehand, so I didn't have the physical withdrawal as badly as I could have and then being so busy overshadowed any psychological withdrawal.

On occassion I'll miss going outside and taking a break from life, because that's what smoking was for me - a break. I didn't smoke in the house, so in order to smoke, I was away from my kids, the noise, often my husband. At work, I would have to leave the hospital campus, so I had to drive around the neighborhood. I do miss that. Not the cigarettes or nicotine, just the getting away from it all. But when I do think about it, it's a fleeting thought, not a huge craving that I struggle with. I'm very happy and proud of it. =)

Just some thoughts

So, I'm thinking when I finish reading a book that I'm going to write a little book report on my blog. I have a HORRIBLE habit of forgetting books and maybe this will help me remember them a little bit. Right now I'm struggling through The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry. I'm having a hard time with it so far. It's very dark, set in Ireland so there is a culture barrier for me to overcome, and there just hasn't been much dialogue so far. I'm hoping it will pick up and soon. It's due back at the library on Tuesday, and to be honest, I may not renew it if I don't finish it. I hardly ever put a book down without the intention of finishing it.

I'm also considering ordering some new workout DVDs. I had Yoga Booty Ballet and I loved them. I really looked forward to doing them. But my children have a bad habit of destroying DVDs and my husband has a bad habit of not controlling the children.. so I think I might have one left and it was a little too advanced last time I tried it. Plus, I'm trying to get him involved in my quest for a healthier life and he is not going to do Yoga Booty Ballet. I've been looking at Turbo Jam and Power 90. Power 90 may be a bit much for me. I think it's a baby P90X and while I would love to be able to move my body like that - I'd either drop dead or seriously injure myself. I'm nowhere near ready for anything like it. I think my husband would be more likely to do Power 90... but since he's still acting like I'm calling him a fat ass for suggesting it, I might go with Turbo Jam.

Since starting my meds, I'm definitely able to focus more on accomplishing things. A month ago there would be no way I could commit to any kind of workout program like that, but I think I'm ready. I wish Bill would do it with me, give me a partner - but maybe I'll figure something else out.

I have a lot of other ideas floating around, taking shape. I'm pretty excited. I don't want to give a final verdict on the Lexapro until I've been on it a month. I know when I gave in and went to the doctor, it was during my week of PMS where I'm at my worst anyway. I used to think people blaming stuff on PMS was a bunch of hooey, but since having Zoe I can't deny that I have pretty bad moodiness and it's gotten worse month by month. So I am anxious to see if this month is a little better. But today is 2 weeks on them and I think it's going pretty well.


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