Make Over Cure All?

maincureIn a futile attempt to get my pajama-clad body off the couch and take them somewhere, anywhere (because they are soooooo bored), my daughters gave me a make over this past Sunday. My youngest gave me a manicure and a pedicure, while the eldest braided my hair and did my makeup.

Upon completion of operation “let’s go,” my eldest daughter told me, “You look so beautiful Mom! Don’t you want to go out and show off how great you look?” While the little one chimed in, “You look so pretty. Now all you need is clothes!”

I pulled they blanket up around my neck and coughed. “Thanks girls! You did make me feel a little better. But, there’s no way I’m looking remotely attractive right now. Sorry girls. It’s not happening today.”

You see my throat started to feel scratchy Friday night. I downed some OJ, but by Saturday morning swallowing was painful. Sunday morning brought the sniffles, sneezes and watery eyes. So while I may have looked marginally good on the outside on the inside I still felt like total crap. My littlest brought me tissues, cough drops and a glass of water (bless her heart!) and my oldest told me she “hoped I felt better soon.” And I drifted off to a fitful sleep.

The next two days, I “Dayquilled” and chicken-souped my way through work.  Today, while I still have a bit of a stuffy nose and a cough, I feel 100 times better than I did Sunday. I glance down as my rainbow-colored nails tap on the keyboard and smile to myself. (I’ll take it off tomorrow.) Somehow, I think, getting a make over and a little love can make you feel just a bit better no matter how bad you feel inside. So maybe tonight, we’ll go out for a special treat…unless the scratchy throat has moved on to one of them, in which case, I’ll do their nails:)

Mommy Gone Berserk (over a Cheezit)!

cheezitInstead of spending my typical, lazy Sunday afternoon taking a much deserved siesta, I let my 12-year old talk me into a cleaning frenzy (she wants to have a friend over next weekend – read ulterior motive). Me, being, me figured, OK at least I’d get some help with the drudgery and agreed to her plan. She’d start in the kitchen, I’d focus on the living room/dining room, and the little one got stuck with the bathrooms. She plugged in the iPod and the tunes blared through the house as we got down to work.

After about ten minutes, the youngest decided to “help” me instead of working on her designated room (can’t say I blame her there). One corner of our living room is called the “peace” corner. Originally the idea behind said “peace” corner was to give the girls a place to “chill” when they got overwhelmed and needed a “time out.”  Unfortunately, it quickly became the dumping place for all the stray toys that never made it back upstairs to their bedroom. We targeted that area first, sorting stuff into various piles: the Barbie pile, the American Girl Doll pile, the Polly Pockets/Littlest Pet Shops pile, the book pile, the hair stuff pile, the pens/pencils/markers pile, the stuffed animal pile and laundry/shoe pile. As you can tell a lot of stuff fit/crammed into that little corner.

I made painstaking progress as my helper found her “long, lost” something or other and switched to playing instead of helping. I let it go as I could clean a lot faster (and put a bunch of junk in the “trash” pile) without her watchful eyes. My 12-year old was still on a mission to somehow turn our house into one out of Better Homes & Gardens (I applaud her lofty goals). Three hours later, the kitchen gleamed and the living room looked descent (at least we wouldn’t be showcased on Hoarders Buried Alive this week). I’d just finished wiping the sweat off my brow, priding myself on a job well done, when the incident happened. (I shutter even now thinking about it:))

The little one is making her American Girl Doll kick an American Girl Doll-sized soccer ball across the freshly vacuumed carpet. My oldest saunters into the room and informs her little sister that she doesn’t get to have a friend over because she didn’t help clean up. (I know that’s a lot of she’s, but you get the idea.)

“Yes, I did too help!” the youngest screams in her loud, screechy, seven-year-old voice (you know the kind that makes you wish you had ear plugs). She then reaches into the box of Cheezits that sat on the end table (she hadn’t gotten around to putting it away yet) and throws one at her sister. I watch as it sails across the room and lands in the middle the carpet. It was in this moment (the last straw so to speak) that I lost it and am ashamed to say dropped the “F” bomb. My oldest recoiled in horror. The little one just shrugged her shoulders and smiled at me. Can you believe her audacity!?! I let a few more expletives fly and looked directly at my oldest daughter and said, “Yeah, I said a bad word and I’m going to say some more if you two don’t stop fighting and some one doesn’t pick up that blankety-blank Cheezit right now.”

Thank God above, they didn’t argue over who was going to pick it up and the little one bent down and actually picked it up. I don’t really know what she did with it next (I doubt she ate it, though, as she is my germ-a-phobe) as I headed upstairs to lace up my running shoes. Five minutes later I hit the pavement. Forty minutes and four miles later, I felt much better. I apologized to the girls for yelling and swearing. They apologized for fighting and being a tad messy and we forgave each other. Hugs all around and our house is mostly clean.

Next Sunday afternoon, though, I’m definitely taking a nap!

5 Lessons Learned On My Road To Being “Almost” Fit

2013-06-16 16.21.13As a young girl I think I must have had an unnaturally high metabolism or something. I could eat whatever I wanted, thwarted exercise and never gained a pound well into my twenties. I wasn’t known as the prettiest or the smartest girl and never the most athletic one; but, I’d always been the thinnest and waifiest.

Fast-forward two babies, fifteen plus years on antidepressants for anxiety/panic, years of emotional eating and hitting that brick wall of middle age, I’m far from the thinnest these days. And, I’m OK with that. Really. What I’m not OK with is the humbling fact that I weigh more now than at any other time in my life aside from the last months of pregnancy. I decided (and no, despite what some may think, I’m not having a midlife crisis even though I did get a tattoo and like listening to Taylor Swift and P!nk) I needed to do something about my dissatisfaction with myself. Thus, if you’ve been following along this blog of mine, you know I’ve been on a quest to “get fit” lately.

I realize I didn’t put on these extra pounds overnight and they aren’t magically going to fall off after a few months of walking/running and counting calories (although I admit I still devour those articles where women seemingly lose 30 pounds in 30 days by following one simple rule…)  Even though I’m not a skinny-mini anymore and never will be again, I am feeling better, stronger and more energetic. Which, is the whole point, right? (yes, I am still trying to convince myself of that!) And so, I thought I’d share a few of the lessons I’ve learned thus far.

Lesson #1: Do NOT take any children under the age of ten on your walking/running workouts unless they can still fit in a stroller. As I started my couch to 5K journey, my girls begged to come along. Great, I thought, I can get in some fitness activity and spend quality time with the girls. I failed to consider that the six-year-old stops every five steps or so to pick flowers or tie her shoe. I also failed to consider that her feet would hurt after 10 minutes or the fact that as we were jogging along she would stop dead in front of me causing me to trip and fall, knocking her over, landing in a heap in the middle of the road. With blood dripping from both our knees I limped back home with her on my back. While I still take her on short walks some days, I now know I won’t be getting an actual workout and plan to do so after.

Lesson #2: Check the radar before you leave unless you don’t mind getting wet. So far I’ve gotten completely drenched three times this summer. No drought this year, that’s for sure. Another tip is that if there are dark clouds in the sky when you step out the door, you’ll probably get wet. I thought our weather came from the west and I’d be safe if the clouds were north, south or east of me – not so. The weather is hot, though, so the rain actually felt pretty good. However, when the thunder started rumbling and I was still a mile away from shelter, I must admit I got a bit worried. Fortunately for me, I made it home without getting struck by lightening.

Lesson #3: Use your gadgets, but don’t rely on then. I am the queen of gadgets and cool iPhone apps. I have several that I really like right now…Lose It, Up, and Run Keeper. I like to track my progress and look back over my logs. It makes me feel good to see how far I’ve come since I started in March. However, as soon as you become obsessed with the tracking – the app will crash or your cell phone will die and you’ll lose your data. When this happened to me (multiple times!) it was really discouraging, but luckily I didn’t let it derail me. Try, try again.

Lesson #4: Sign up for a 5K (or two or three) as a runner. I used to think in order to sign up as a runner in a 5K, that I actually had to, well, run it (go figure!). As I talked to some of my running friends, I was enlightened. If you sign up as a walker, you aren’t allowed to run, but the reverse is not true. You don’t have to be able to run the whole thing to sign up as a runner. Weird that this had never occurred to me before. So far, I’ve ran/walked in three 5Ks. I’ve yet to run the entire distance, but each time I’m a little closer. I’m signed up for three more throughout the summer. This is probably the best thing I’ve done to keep me going as it gives something to work toward as I progress toward fitness.

Lesson #5: The process is the goal! A week or so ago, I sat in my doctor’s office lamenting the fact that my weight wasn’t melting off as I’d hoped. He told me I need to change my mindset. He said he wanted the process to be my goal, not a number on the scale. He said the goal is to stay within 1500-1800 calories and walk/run 3 miles a day. If I met those goals, he continued, the weight would come off, the energy would come and I’d be healthier. This isn’t what I wanted to hear, but it made sense. After thinking it through I know he’s right. My goal can’t be a certain pant size or weight. I need to do these things every day for the rest of my life. I’m on my way to making these changes into habits. As Dory from Find Nemo always says, “Just keep swimming…” and that’s what I intend to do (except I’m running instead:))

Does anyone have any “get fit” lessons they want to share?

My Little Card Sharks

photo credit: Velvet Android via photopin cc
photo credit: Velvet Android via photopin cc

The smile that flashes across my six-year-old’s face when she beats me at a game of cards warms my heart. She beams from ear-to-ear. She tries to be a gracious winner, but is unsuccessful (I suspect she gets that from her grandpa – who used to make us kiss his feet when we lost at euchre. I’m still haunted by his “kissy, kissy” taunts as he waved his stinky foot around).

Both my girls love to play cards – Go Fish!, Uno, War, Slap Jack and Trash top the list today. The youngest though by far loves to play the most (unless she’s losing). Her favorite is a game called “Trash.” This is a new one for me that she learned in preschool. We all spent this afternoon playing her beloved game with my parents. Low and behold the little shark won (again) and I came in last (again). She’s either really good or really lucky. Even when I try to win (which is all the time now!), she manages to beat me the majority of the time. I do have to keep an eye on her though, as she likes to skip my turn if I’m not paying attention and my oldest claims she cheats as her sixes become nines and vice versa or she peeks at the next card in the deck.

We have a wonderful time playing though no matter who wins and I hope we are building happy memories. Some of my fondest memories are playing cards with my parents, grandparents and sister. We’d play cards (Rummy 500,Gin Rummy, War, SkipBo, I Doubt It, Euchre, Uno and Hearts) for hours on end, laughing and talking and making memories. I’m happy to pass the card tradition on to my girls.

What about you? Do you/did you play cards? What’s your favorite game?

Yes, I Mean No

2013-01-29 09.07.16Sigh. Why do the words “Yes” or “No Problem!” or “I’d be glad to” or “Sure thing!” always flow out of my mouth before I can stop them?  The word “yes” to any request comes naturally to me. I truly love to help others. Whether it is genetic or some quirky personality defect or residual guilt from twelve years of Catholic education, I’m not sure. I do know saying “no” is difficult for me, although more and more I find myself saying it. Not so much because I want to, but because I’ve finally realized I can’t do it all anymore.

In years past I ended up being the president of multiple committees, donating to causes I’d never heard of and volunteering hours of time on stuff I really didn’t care all that much about, because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and always glad to help out. Saying “yes” when I really meant to say “no” often left me feeling resentful inside instead of happy. It took me 43 years, but I figured out the hard way, it’s better to say “yes” only to the things that I really want to do, can afford to do and actually have time for. I’ve learned to bite my tongue when people are seeking volunteers and resist the urge to offer my time when I know I really don’t have it to give.

Instead I’ve limited myself to only one or two volunteer activities at a time. My daughters are also involved in activities and I am responsible for getting them to and from these extra-curricular activities. I want them to participate and have fun. However, that makes little time for my activities. We have dance on Monday’s and Thursday’s and choir/catechism on Wednesday’s. 4-H is every other week on Tuesday’s. We just finished up with basketball and cheerleading, which also landed on Tuesdays with games on Saturdays. In less than a month everything will be finished except 4-H until September. I breath a sigh of relief. I know other mothers who have even more activities on their schedules. I’m dizzy thinking about it.

Anyway as a solution to my “yes” quandry, I decided to volunteer my time to the activities my daughters participate in. I figure if I’m going to be there anyway, I might as well help out.  So I helped coach my daughter’s basketball team earlier this year and currently I’m helping out with the 4-H club and am teaching Sunday school. It’s a win-win…I get to help out and spend time with my daughters. Now when someone asks me to help, I can politely say “I’m sorry, I’m already committed” and decline without being overcome with guilt. And by learning to say “no” as hard as it may be, I now have a bit of time for me – to write, to work out and to just be.

How hard is it for you to say “No?”


2013-01-29 09.06.59When I was ten years old, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit, Xanadu was one of my favorite movies. It starred Olivia Newton-John and I saw it at the drive-in. Ever since I ‘d seen her in the  movie, Grease (another favorite)  at the young age of eight, she was my hero. I wanted to be her or at least one of her characters. She could sing, dance, act and all the boys loved her. None of those things were true about me, but it didn’t stop me from pretending.

I actually had the soundtracks to both movies. I played the 33 on my record player over and over and over (my poor Mom!). I knew all the lyrics to the all the songs (come on admit it, you did too! Oh alright then, it’s just me.) What’s even sadder is I still remember most of them. Come on sing along…“Xanadu. Now you are here. In Xanadu….” or how about “Summer lovin’, had me a blast…” or “Grease is the word that you heard…” Ha! Now you’ll have those cheesy songs stuck in your head the rest of the day! Worse, now I will too!

Thanks to Netflix and YouTube I’ve gotten to watch those old movies and hear those old songs as an adult. They aren’t quite as remarkable as I remembered them (although I do still have a soft spot for Grease, Xanadu on the other hand, not so much). The memories of how much pleasure those movies gave me back in the day, make me smile though. I wonder when my ten-year old dances and sings to the songs of Camp Rock, High School Musical and Hannah Montana if someday she’ll look back and think to herself, “I can’t believe I actually liked those movies! I knew all the lyrics to all the songs.”  And thanks to DirecTV and the Disney Channel, so do I!

What movies did you love as a kid, and cringe to think about watching now?

Viscacha, Vermin and Varmints (Oh My!)

2013-01-29 09.06.31Viscacha! I love the way that word rolls off my tongue. What’s a viscacha, you might ask? Besides being a word that starts with the letter “V,” a viscacha is a rodent-like animal in the chinchilla family that resembles a rabbit and lives in South America. See you learned something today. No? Well I did anyway!

A vizcacha (Lagidium viscacia) in the Sur Lipe...
A vizcacha (Lagidium viscacia) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, I’m grasping for topics as I wind up these last few days of the April A to Z blogging challenging (see my lame umbrella post from yesterday) and today I’m resorting to writing about vermin or is it varmints? I’m not sure, but I do know I’m not a big fan of them. Seeing as I don’t live in South America, I haven’t seen many viscachas, but living in rural Ohio in an old farmhouse I see my share of  pesky insects and rodents. I used to fear many of these loathsome fiends, but I’m much braver since I’ve been somewhat desensitized to them. Now that I’m a mother, I find myself forced into the position of the brave exterminator when unwanted beasts invade our home.

Here’s a rundown of the various vermin found around our farm and my ability to handle coming face to face with said creature:

  • Mice – We get these in the house a lot – especially after the farmers bring in the crops. If the mouse is dead in a trap, I’m OK with picking the entire thing up and throwing it away – trap and all (I don’t recycle). If it’s alive in the house and I see it, my heart start still jumps and I might stifle a scream; however I don’t have to move into a hotel overnight.
  • Spiders – Typically we get brown wolf spiders and daddy-long-legs. I can smash them with my shoe if they are below me. I’m not too crazy about killing them when they are on the ceiling, although I am brazen enough to suck them into the shop vac.
  • Wasps, Hornets and Bees – These still scare the crap out of me. I must have a can of Raid and be able to spray them from afar. If I can though, I’d rather shut the door and wait for my husband to get home and send him in for the kill.
  • Snakes – We once had a corn snake eating a frog in our barn. I also saw a garter snake in the yard before. Both times I’m sad to admit, I let out a blood-curling scream. I was taken off guard. I went my way and the snakes went their ways and that’s the way I like it. Luckily I rarely see these cold-blooded ones. If one got in the house though, I’d definitely think about putting a for-sale sign in the yard.
  • Bats and Birds – Luckily I only see these creatures flying around outside and they don’t bother me in the least. I’ve never had one in the house and I hope I never do. If a bird, or especially, a bat found its way into the house, I’d definitely being checking into a hotel until the exterminator could come.
  • Skunks – One summer day the girls and I were going for a bike ride, when a small, wobbly black and white animal slowly walked by us. It was not a kitten, but a baby skunk. We slowly backed away and fortunately were not sprayed. My husband smoked their den and I haven’t seen another.
  • Opossum – These guys truly creep me out with their pointy noses and long tails. I’ve only seen them in the creek and ditches when I’m driving at night. That’s bad enough for me!
  • Raccoons – We had two of these masked guys in our barn.  Some people eat them. I do not. Some people wear them as hats. I do not. They are another varmint that my husband takes care of. They no longer reside in the barn.
  • Groundhogs – These animals are also called woodchucks. I don’t know why. I do know they are lousy at predicting when spring will be here. One decided to make his burrow right beneath our living room window. Bad move on his part. He’s joined the skunks and raccoons on the other side.
  • Turtles – One day I heard my littles one screaming from the garage. I ran outside to see what was wrong and found a box turtle milling around. I found a big shovel, scooped him up and took him out to the field. See you later little guy!
  • Rabbits – They’re so darn cute, but not when the eat all my flowers before they can even bloom! My oldest daughter raises domestic rabbits for 4-H, so I have a soft-spot for the little cotton tails. They know they’re safe – at least from the humans – the barn cats are another story.

So that wraps up my vermin list. I don’t think I missed any. From afar I’m very brave, up close not so much, on me I’d probably freak out.  On the bright side, at least I don’t live in place with poisonous, deadly varmints.

What kinds of vermin do you deal with? Anyone seen a viscacha in the wild?