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Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Thankful Heart

I thank God for this day, for the sun in the sky....

Because a thankful heart is a happy heart!
I'm glad for what I have
That's an easy way to start

For the love that He shares,
'Cause He listens to my prayers,
That's why I say thanks every day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thoughts From The Gym

Today… I am thankful for the fact that while I have not yet lost that lingering 30 pounds… the 40 I shed this time last year is still gone! Now as you’re busy thinking that you just cannot believe I haven’t gotten this done yet, may I remind you that eating to “maintain” your weight and eating to lose weight are two very different things… and while I am committed to finishing what I started here… seriously, I am, I just haven’t gotten around to dropping those extra calories out of my diet yet. HA!

These “lifestyle changes” do take time, you know. HA! But seriously, the good news is I do not eat like I used to and overall am making much better choices. And while I still am guilty of burying a sorrow every now and then with the help of a Reese cup, cheeseburger or bowl of ice cream… I try to keep it to a minimum.

What I have done is consistently exercised – and by exercise, I mean that which involves sweating. And on that note, I feel compelled to provide an “update” to a previous post I did last year about my gym not being so “family friendly”. Early this year, my gym got a new manager… and it is SO much better. They also have retained the same childcare worker since that time (an actual adult who is just lovely), which is very helpful. So while they were off to a rough start, they are finally living up to bringing “family friendly fitness to the neighborhood.”

In fact, we have quite the relationship with our gym friends. Mr. Vince “high-five’s” the kids upon their arrival. Ms. Rose turns on Tessa’s favorite movie and pulls out the trucks Tanner likes in the playroom. And whoever is at the desk almost always turns the big overhead fan on for me (it gets hot) without my even asking. Even after a year of regular attendance, I still can’t say I always like it… but it’s doable, and I admit I feel better when I’m getting it done.

When not absorbed in my IPOD, I am a very avid “people watcher” (and I’m sure people perhaps watch me, but I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t be terribly bored after like three minutes). And so while at the gym I have noticed there are essentially three kinds of “gym people groups” who come to work out. First of all, there are what I call the “in and outs”. This group is predominately male, and traditionally composed of people who appear to be very fit and “in shape” already, with an occasional senior citizen here and there. They arrive, jump on a machine, put in 15 or 20 minutes and are right back out the door. They might hit a few of the weight machines on their way out… maybe… and they rarely seem to break a sweat. They are, again, already very “fit”.

The second group is what I call the “walk arounds”. This group is the biggest and has the most diversity within it. This group often comes in pairs and is most abundantly present evenings and weekends. They arrive at the gym and spend at least 10 minutes wandering around checking things out, debating about which cardio machine they want to use. If they’re alone, they’ll often make random comments as they mosey about, you know, things like, “Oh, you’re working hard,” or “Hey, look at you,” or they may ask for some directions on a cardio machine, or if you know which machine burns the most calories, etc., etc….

Finally, upon making a machine selection, they very casually approach the machine and start their workout, nice and slowly. After about 15 minutes on one machine, they switch to another, sometimes wandering around aimlessly through the weight area for a bit, trying out a machine here and there in between. They don’t have any real plan for their workout and are usually either naturally thin people who have decided to “try some exercise” or overweight/normal people who are testing the workout waters, but aren’t sure what to do or how to do it. The latter may at some point transition into the last group.

And the last group is the “focused” group. This is my group. We are people who are either fat, have been fat, or live in fear of being fat. We’re not working out because we enjoy it, or because we just want to feel better. NO! We are here because regardless of what eat or don’t eat, if we do not show up practically every freakin day, we will probably gain weight! We are serious and focused. We have painstakingly carved this HOUR out of our schedule to come and sweat so that we can have dinner tonight and our clothes still fit tomorrow! We don’t mean to be rude, but we cannot chat with you about the weather or give advice on how many calories each machine might burn, because our heart rate has to stay over 145 bpm or we’re just wasting our time! We have sweating to do!

On a random side note: A few weeks back while at the gym doing my thing, bopping along to my IPOD and occasionally glancing at the TV, I noticed the CNN headline change to this: “World’s Heaviest Man Marries.” Then flashes a picture of a very large and bedridden man who had just married – married a woman!! The photo showed a perfectly normal sized, normal looking woman sitting on the bed cuddled up with him.

This man, who held the Guinness Book Record for “heaviest man,” clearly weighed over 500 pounds now, and apparently once tipped the scales at over 1,200, has not left his bed in six years. In fact, a flat bed truck hauled the man’s bed (decorated in white) to the wedding venue where after the ceremony the couple “swayed” to a romantic ballad, and the groom reportedly skipped the wedding cake.

Unbelievable… beyond morbidly obese, six years of being bedridden, and he’s getting married! Call me crazy, but as I sweated and gasped for air atop the elliptical, I couldn’t help but curse the injustice… I mean, I don’t know where the world’s heaviest woman is hanging out these days… but I’m guessing her love life probably isn’t seeing the same kind of luck!

Monday, November 24, 2008


This is Gracie’s official “Thanksgiving place mat” she brought home from school today. Tessa, of course, immediately wanted one… Gracie told her they could share on Thanksgiving, and could each eat on one side of the mat. Sweet big sister.

Following Jerusalem’s lead, I’m aspiring to have a week of blogging thankfulness. And topping the list today would have me very thankful for three healthy, happy children. We had a bit of a scare over the weekend. On Saturday, Tanner very quickly spiked a high fever and had a febrile seizure. Now, the National Institute for Neurological Disorders tells you that:

Approximately one in every 25 children will have at least one febrile seizure, and more than one-third of these children will have additional febrile seizures before they outgrow the tendency to have them. Febrile seizures usually occur in children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years and are particularly common in toddlers. Although they can be frightening to parents, the vast majority of febrile seizures are harmless. Parents and caregivers should stay calm and carefully observe the child.

Now, Tanner is my third kid, and while my girls have never gone through this, I’ve read all about these, I know people whose kids have had them, etc., etc., and so I knew all about it. But… when it actually happens to your kid, you sort of forget what you know and your mind immediately soars to that all encompassing “what if” place that is just – awful.

I wasn’t there when the seizure happened. The kids were at Grandma’s, who I know must have been scared to death and immediately called 911, which is exactly what I would have done. And so after getting an ambulance ride from across town, Trav and I met up with Tanner in the ER at Children’s.

By the time Tanner got there, I knew he was okay. The paramedic had even talked to me on the phone while they were en route and told me he was doing much better and that it likely was just a febrile seizure, etc., etc. But… seeing them bring Tanner, who suddenly looked so tiny, in on that gigantic gurney through the ER doors with the oxygen and the gear… well, that was just totally startling.

After a couple of hours, some Tylenol and Motrin, a very complete exam, and some hospital apple juice, Tanner’s fever dropped quite a bit, and he was fine - back to his regular self… singing “Calliou”, throwing his pacifier and laughing hysterically, and of course, wanting down off the bed to walk around. We left the ER that night after discovering an ear infection to be the culprit of the fever, and were given the appropriate prescriptions, instructions, etc.

So, sigh of relief. Crisis averted. Thank you, Lord!

The entire incident, along with the image of Tanner being wheeled in on that gurney, was a reminder that whatever may or may not happen with our family, that as long as each of us was “okay” then our family would be as well. :-)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Psalm 31:24

Thoughts for the day…

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. (King James Version)

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. (New International Version)

And my favorite…

Be brave. Be strong. Don't give up. Expect God to get here soon.
(The Message).

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pooh Palooza

Friday night Amanda and I took the girls to the Winnie The Pooh show. We’ve seen just about every kid show that has come to town via a perk of my sister’s job. It’s a very nice perk – in fact, without it, we would never go to any of that stuff because it’s insanely expensive. And by that I mean, it’s expensive for being expensive.

On top of the tickets, the show would be a Pooh palooza with tons of treats and toys to buy – all around $10 and up (emphasis on “and up”). Since we’ve done this before, I had prepped my kids in advance on the importance of having a “grateful heart” tonight, and that the “treat” here was getting to see the show.

Even with the freebie tickets we had, between parking and limiting my girls to ONE prize for the evening (they chose a snow cone in a cup that you got to keep), I still spent close to $50 bucks. As we settled in our seats, a lady sat down next to us who had two girls as well. She had bought three tickets (and these were not the cheap seats - $35 a pop), and then before the show had even started, each of her children had been treated to a snow cone, a cotton candy with a Pooh hat, a new plush Pooh Bear, a Tigger flashlight that twirled, and a program with color pages.

Now, we had just visited the souvenir stand, and so as I surveyed their loot, I couldn’t help but add it all up. She had spent $215 dollars on her girls… plus the cost of her ticket, and the concession stand drink she was sipping. And it didn’t stop there. The people on the other side of us had a little boy who was barely a year old, and didn’t even care about the show at all. In addition to their tickets, he was also treated to a flashlight, a program, and a bear, plus his grandma had bought them all dinner at the concession stand.

Tessa steadily admired her neighbor’s bear and twirling Tigger flashlight throughout the show. She asked for one twice, but I reminded her of the snow cone cup, and thankfully (and shockingly) she moved on. Grace was another story.

She thoroughly enjoyed her snow cone during the first act of the show, but she was lamenting her choice at intermission when the vendors came around with the cotton candy attached to the Pooh hats. Again, reminding her of the snow cone cup, I said no. Well... it just went downhill from there, and after an impressive fit that resulted in my having to temporarily remove her from our seats for a private “discussion”… she decided she would behave and enjoy the rest of the show – even without cotton candy.

Now, I’m not bitter towards those big spending parents… I mean, if you have $215 bucks to drop at the Pooh show… more power to you…. but I admit I was a little annoyed. I wasn’t sure why exactly… I mean, I didn’t think my girls were being deprived of anything. The show and a snow cone was plenty to be happy about and grateful for, and I’m sure there have been many times my kids had things when others didn’t.

But… something in me really wanted to look over at this woman and ask, “Seriously, toys, two treats, and a program? Give me a break! We’re in a recession for crying out loud and you just dropped my car payment on a bunch of crap that two days from now those kids probably won’t even be playing with.”

But... then again, I suppose it is easy for me to say “that’s too much” because I didn’t have an extra $215 bucks… and while part of me hopes that even if I did, I would opt to stick to my guns with my girls about being grateful and satisfied… I guess the truth is they might have walked out with a couple of Tigger flashlights and plush Pooh Bears as well.

As frustrated as I was with Gracie… well, I felt bad for her. I mean, I don’t know at what point it is in life that you begin to have a true understanding that you can’t always have everything, but the years between 3 and 6 are probably not it. She felt bad on the way home and apologized repeatedly for her “fit” saying she would work harder on having a more “grateful heart”. I told her, “That would be great. In fact, we could both work on it together.”

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Can!

..... I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.....
Martin Luther King, Jr.

I believe political differences often bring out the worst in people (myself included). So on that note, I have refrained from blogging my political opinions… BUT today I can’t resist saying that I am thankful that Senator Obama was elected, AND I’m glad the election is OVER!

I am proud to say that I voted for Obama yesterday!! I believe he has the potential to be a great President. His victory speech was humble, hopeful, and honest. It’s true… “There will be setbacks and false starts.” There is an uphill battle ahead, no doubt, and his work is cut out for him - for all of us. BUT, God is in control, and He calls us to pray for our leaders – whether we voted for them or not!!

This was my favorite part of the victory speech last night. And I hope as our country moves forward, this will ring true in our hearts...

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other… in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people … As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection…."

Monday, November 3, 2008

More Weekend Fun...

Trav was off this weekend, and to add to our big Halloween weekend, we spent Saturday at a friend's church for their "festibration."

We started off with the kid's worship service, where Tanner's favorite part was the balloon drop at the end.

There were good friends to hang out with.

And fun things to do... like take our first ride on a horse! A white "princess pony" as Tessa called it. Here she is giving her best princess wave...

Neither of the girls were afraid of the horse. I figured we would wait in line only to have Gracie "change her mind". But... she jumped right up there and even took two spins around the corral.

And of course... there were plenty of snacks. This, as you can imagine, was a total mess, but he stayed happy in his stroller while we did the horse riding, so it was worth it.

We had a fun weekend. And during the children's program we watched, it went over some daunting numbers about how many weekends you get with your kid from birth to 18... it was like 900 and something to start with, and we are already down to around 630 with Gracie. It's kind of scary how time flies...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick Or Treat...

Halloween has been here and gone... and we have the candy to prove it!!

This year we saw the adventures of Rosetta, the fairy, and Ariel, the mermaid. Here they are as we headed out, with Tessa sporting her usual "picture pose". Bless her!

And of course, Tanner, who we thought made an adorable Charlie Brown! Of course, he's about as bad as Tessa when it comes to looking at the camera...

We spooked it out with the Greers, one of our favorite places to be on Halloween. And we did some "real" trick or treating this year... quite the hike. Gracie was running with the big kids. Tessa started strong, but got pretty wore out by the last block. Tanner had more energy than any of us!

We saw some interesting characters along the way....

One of whom we saw at Grandma's house...

And we finished up at Nana and Papa's house to sort out the loot!

We had a great time and have enough candy to last until Thanksgiving!!

Hope Your Halloween was Spook-Tacular Too!