Disneyland Family 5K -2014

Disneyland Family 5K -2014

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Return of the Band Geek

Can you keep a secret?  No really, you can't tell anyone!...  I... was in band.  Phew!  That was a load off.  Seriously though, I was a tried and true, died in the wool geek in high school.  I played trumpet in the high school band and sang Soprano in the high school choir, when I wasn't hanging out with the French Club, Future Teachers of America or Model United Nations team.  Yup, that's me, geek to the core. 

Somewhere, hidden in the midst of all of that geekdom, was an athlete too.  Strange to think it possible, but I was a three sport Varsity athlete as well and even went on to play basketball and volleyball in college.  I did not consider myself popular although I certainly had friends and even had friends that were popular.  But I don't think that I was.  I was not voted to be a member of the Homecoming Court, which was surely a measuring stick of popularity in those days.  I had a boyfriend my Junior and Senior years, but even boyfriends weren't measures of popularity or a lack thereof, unless the boyfriend in question was himself popular.  (In my case, not so much.)

I bet you're wondering why I'm revealing my hidden side to you now.  Why after all these years, do I suddenly open the floodgates of teenage angst and cringing embarrassment?  Because of "all those years."  That's right, sports fans, it's my 20th high school reunion.  And if we all needed more of a reminder of that person we wanted to forget (ourselves at 17 or 18,) let's cue up the D.J., pour some watered down drinks and pull out those yearbooks!

Seriously though, all of this talk of reunions has me revisiting myself at 17.  I took out my Senior Memory book and my yearbook and sat there in a daze, turning page after musty page of memories, remembering faces and times.  What struck me most was that feeling in the pit of my stomach, that feeling that no matter what I did or how hard I tried, I just wasn't good enough.  It might come as a shock to some of you, but I never felt quite right in my own skin in high school, I never felt like I quite fit in the right way.  Square peg in a round hole, maybe, but something never quite felt right.

Sure, I had friends and I had sports and I had those after-school clubs and activities (and I quit band my senior year, much to Amy S. and Micah P.'s sadness) but at the end of the day, I never felt like I belonged.  Even today, I'm not sure what it was or why it was, but I always felt like I was searching for a piece to make everything fit.  It always seemed like something was missing or not quite as it should have been.  Like I said, I was never comfortable in my own skin, so it is possible that it was all on the inside.

To this day, I have trouble walking into a room alone.  I still carry bad memories of the Homecoming dance my freshman year - no date and no group of friends to travel with.  Candy had opted not to go and Trix was going with friends.  So Mom and Dad dropped me off on their way to dinner.  It was the worst possible situation for me, arriving alone, unsure of where to go or who was there.  Where was I going to sit?  Would anyone ask me to dance?  Did I put on enough deodorant?  Will anyone be able to tell that I'm not wearing a bra?  (Not that I probably really needed one, but there is some sense of security in that.  Since the dress was one shoulder, and Mom pretty much dropped the ball that day, I had to brave the world sans brassiere.)  The results of that evenings endeavor are stamped on my brain - no one asked me to dance and I only danced once, after asking a friend's boyfriend.  I worried the whole time that he would be able to tell I was sweating like a pig and embarrassed.  Oy.

The thought of my reunion brings mixed feelings.  I'm excited to see friends that I have not seen in 10 years.  I'm curious about classmates that we didn't see at 10 years and that no one can seem to find.  I feel like I have certainly grown up and made a life for myself.  But at the same time, I'm scared.  Hiding inside of me, trembling in fear, is that geek from high school, that girl who was never really quite sure of herself and who never really felt comfortable.  She doesn't want to go back there, because the thought of having to talk to those people just makes her want to melt into the floorboards. 

I'm in negotiations with "her," trying to work out a deal so that I can go.  Right now, I've got her down to a new outfit and snazzy pair of shoes, but only if I spring for the airfare.  Of course any trip back to Ohio would not be complete without Jen, my best friend and fellow band geek for so many years (who I sadly left behind to fend for herself that senior year.)  And hopefully Tawnya will be there to cause trouble with, just like we did in the old days.

If it is like most things in life, the anticipation and build-up will be worse than the event.  I'm pretty sure I will have a good time and I know I will love being able to see and reconnect with so many friends.  Who knows, maybe someone will admit that they, too, felt like a geek all those years ago and didn't think that they fit in so well either.  Maybe I'll find out that the "popular" girls didn't feel so popular after all. (Well, o.k., realistically that probably won't happen, but we can hope, right?)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Have you considered the Peanut Butter?

We sometimes have trouble with Brooklyn. She is a very energetic girl, always running from one thing to another, lots to do and not enough time to do it. Try to stop the tornado long enough to eat dinner, go to bed, or even for something as simple as requesting a "please" or "thank you," and her whole world tilts... And not in a good way. We struggle with temper tantrums, taking baths or showers and bed times. One might think she was 2 or 3, but our girl is 6, a "big girl" by society's standards. Don't get me wrong, I can allow a certain amount of childhood to shine through and I know better than to expect her to remember all of the rules all of the time. But we struggle.

During a particularly bad week during preschool, one of her teachers suggested that we take a look at what she had been eating, and Se if anything had changed. We noticed that she had been eating a lot of peanut butter lately and so we cut it back and she settled down. We have recently noticed her behavior to be a bit manic again and have to wonder, what is she eating. A friend posted on Facebook that food allergies can sometimes manifest themselves to look like ADHD or ADD. Interesting thought. Given our trouble with B, she suggested that we look at the top 4 ingredients in what she eats. If there is something that shows up a lot, cut it out of her diet for a week and see how she responds.

I finally got around to checking the labels on the peanut butter. Our house is a house divided. Rob prefers Skippy, claiming that if Annette Funicello sold it, it has to be good. I prefer Jif, because of course, "choosy moms choose Jif.". So we have a lot of peanut butter to check. Imagine my surprise when I saw that all four jars (two Skippy and two Jif) had two main ingredients.... Roasted peanuts and SUGAR. Seriously!?!? Yup, sugar. I'm pretty sure I've nailed our problem right there. Or, at least found a good part of the problem.

Somewhere along the line, Rob introduced B to peanut butter on her pancakes and eggs (a big "yuck!" for me). Already enjoying peanut butter and jelly for lunch, it would seems that B gets a lot of extra sugar in a day. So, needless to say, we will be switching things up a bit. A little less peanut butter, I think, and maybe a little more turkey and cheese or something. Now I just need to convince B that it is o.k. If you hear screaming, it is probably her throwing a tantrum. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

Here we are, three whole days into the New Year and I am finally getting around to blogging about it.  Maybe this is a sign of things to come?  I'll just be a few days late with things this whole year, instead of weeks late?  One can hope.  So, away we go, with just a few random comments to start the ball rolling.

How to say "Thank you."  It was a rough holiday season for Brooklyn.  We are still working on the appropriate way to say "thank you" for her gifts, especially when the giver is sitting right in front of her.  Last year on her birthday, she opened a gift from someone in the family and responded "Oh, this wasn't what I thought it was," or something equally odd.  We worked with her on just saying "thank you," but seriously, this kid has no filter!  For this Hanukkah, we got her a game for her Leapster, something called "I Spy."  The age recommendation on the game is 5 to 8 or something like that, a little higher than the ages 4 to 7 games that she already has.  I thought it might be challenging.  She opened the gift and said something about it not being what she wanted because it was too easy (or too hard or too boring) and then set it aside.  I was floored and for a few moments I waffled between screaming at her and throwing the game in the trash, or just taking the gift away.  I opted to let the whole thing go, with Daddy telling her at the same time that it was very mean to say things like that.  She did a little bit better at Nana and Papa's house, but probably only because we verbally beat her up in the car on the way there, explaining to her (over and over) that she needed to just say "Thank you," maybe give a hug or two and move on.  She did tell me that "I've been wanting these my whole life!" when she opened her Twinkle Toes shoes (made by Sketchers, if you don't have a 4 to 8 year old girl, never mind) so I guess that was a good thing.

The Keys are Where ?!?!  Over the past few years, I've had a few babysitters lock themselves out of our house.  Our back door (which leads to the garage) locks automatically if you don't twist the lock on the door handle.  We don't typically leave a key in the garage, mostly because we haven't found a good spot to hide one and then always forget where it is anyway.  Luckily, the few times it has happened to the sitters, they've had the baby (once it was Brooklyn and once it was Kensi) with them.  They just then had to wait until I came home to let them back in.  Well, I guess it is only fair that I got a taste of my own garage-door medicine.  Rob took Brooklyn to a movie on Sunday and Kensi and I were left to our own devices.  I gathered our usual armload of stuff up to head out to the mall (to pay a bill and maybe spend a few more dollars) and grabbed what I thought were my keys.  It was only after I had set the alarm and was out the door, with the door shutting behind me, that I realized I had grabbed the wrong set. (I have a similar key ring on 2 sets of keys.)  What to do, what to do?  I put down most of what I had in my hands (except for Kensi) and then wandered around in a circle for a few minutes while my brain caught up.  There was no way to get back into the house, outside of breaking a window, which I didn't really feel like I needed to do, since it was about 75 degrees and I did have a cell phone, purse, wallet, etc. and a garage to hang out in.  The lights on the outside of the house and various holiday decorations did need to be taken down, so I put Kensi on a blanket in the yard and took those things down.  Just as she got bored and started to crawl away, I finished up.  Then I decided that since I had my purse and her diaper bag (unfortunately, minus her sippy cup of milk) and the car was unlocked, so I could get the stroller, why not just walk to the mall.  So we did.  About 3 miles.  In about 45 minutes.  Before you all tell me that a 15 minute mile while walking is pretty slow, let me remind you that I was pushing a stroller the whole way.  I'm still having trouble lifting my arms up to the desk to reach the keyboard.  But we did o.k.  Kensi laughed pretty much the whole time and even "talked" on my cell phone part of the way. (Did you see the picture I posted on Facebook yesterday- same idea.)   It took me almost 8 years, but I can finally say that I once locked myself out of my house.

Cleaning up the holidays.   There is something just a bit depressing about cleaning up from Christmas.  In Ohio, I think it was worse, because after all of the decorations were put away and the tree was down, you were still left with the cold, the snow and the gray sky.  At least here, the sun is shining and we can pretend that the pool is warm enough to jump into.  But there is still something lonely and sad about putting away the wreaths and cleaning up the house.  We do it, because to not do it would cause our relatives to question our sanity and our kids to hide in shame.   I guess it is one of those things that we must as "adults" deal with.  It doesn't mean that we have to like it.  I did read an article somewhere that said to make it a festive time, putting on the holiday music one last time and having the whole family help out.  While I might put on the holiday music, I doubt I'd bring the kids in to help.... there's not telling what Kensi would look like if I let Brooklyn loose with the garland and lights.

Cleaning up in General - I got tired of kicking things around on the closet floor and took about a 1/2 an hour on Sunday night to clean things up.  I now have another bag of shoes and some clothes ready for the Good Will and I can actually open the closet door all the way.  Amazing how a few extra feet of space will open things up and make the space look bigger (and cleaner.)

Glitter in the bath tub  - there was a reason that the bath bomb has been sitting on the side of the tub for at least 2 years.  Now I remember why.  After my harrowing ordeal on Sunday, (being locked out of the house and walking to the mall - weren't you reading!) I decided that I needed a nice soak in the tub.  We were inexplicably out of bubbles, so I used the last "bomb" sitting by my tub.  Like I said, there was a reason I had avoided it thus far.  There is now a nice layer of glitter all over the bottom of our tub, complete with stars.  I even had to shower after my bath just to get the glitter off of me.  Now I have to clean the tub.  The cycle never ends.

New years resolutions - Have you made yours?  I have resolved not to be so stressed out about Project Life.  I did it in 2010 and missed chunks of days here and there, either not having pictures or not remembering to journal.  I was vigilant in 2011, journaling all but a few days and taking pictures on almost every day (we'll say about 360 out of 365.)  But I was also just a little stressed out sometimes, worried about how to get that picture in before midnight, looking for something that I didn't already have a picture of in the book.  I'm sure in 20 years it will be a wonderful reminder of our day-to-day life.  I'm sure even in 5 or 10 years it will be great fun to look back on our crazy year.  I won't remember the stress of taking the pictures or the torture of writing each day's mundane activities down.  And the project did keep me a little more up to date on my scrapping and even helped to organize me a bit (I think.)  That all being said, I think I'm going to relax a little this year.  I did already buy my kits and they are waiting for me to decide what to do with them.  I like one designer's idea of putting her album in the kitchen and letting everyone in the family participate in what it is to become.  I do like that idea, but I would need to find space on the counter for that.  So I'm in the thinking process, trying to decide what I want this year's Project Life to become.  I'll keep you posted.  

And on that note, I just realized that Project Life hijacked my discussion of new year's resolutions.  I don't really make them.  My weight wanders up and down by 5 pounds from month to month.  As long as my favorite (becoming a little too shredded to wear in public) jeans still fit, I don't obsess too much about it.  My hair will grow back out eventually and there's not much for me to do about that.  Keep a cleaner house?  I have 2 kids under 6, there's not much to do there.  Yell less and laugh more?  We work on that all of the time.  Cook at home more and eat out less?  As soon as I strike it rich and hire an in-home chef, I'm all over that.  Until then, what was the number for Pizza Hut?

I read a blog on Christmas Eve that put me over the edge and had me in tears.  The blogger commented on how alot of us have memories of the holidays with family and friends, things that take us back.  She wrote that many of us are haunted (not always in a bad way) by holidays past.  Sitting on my couch, in my living room without a Christmas tree, waiting for the Hanukkah candles to burn down, it touched a part of me that I try to keep hidden most of the time.  I felt such an incredible loss and longing for the holidays of my childhood that I started to cry.  Rob, as usual, sat on the couch looking at me as though I'd gone completely off my rocker.  Maybe for a minute, I did.  My memories of the holidays are not particularly religious in nature.  But they are of houses filled to bursting with people, cousins running all over the place and trees piled high underneath with presents.  The smells of certain foods still can take me back in an instant (which might explain why I bake so many cookies.)  Many of the people from those memories are gone or scattered to the four winds.  The houses have changed hands or been torn down and all that is left is what is in my head.  So, as the New Year rolls on, I sat down and watched the Rose Parade (much to Brooklyn's dismay, because she was SURE that there was a Phineas and Ferb episode on somewhere.)  It seemed a fitting end to the holiday season with so many ghosts and memories floating around.  I'll put them away with the decorations until next year and then do it all over again.

And finally, because how could I possibly go another day without telling you about another one of my crazy dreams.... this one dealt with futility.  I'm not sure if it's the stress of those Words with Friends games that I keep losing, or maybe because the house just doesn't seem to clean itself, but I had another dream where I can't seem to do something completely normal that I do every day.  Something like... walking.  In this one, I was trying to walk from one place (work, a friend's house, something) to my apartment.  The walk took me past a chain link fence and I passed several "seedy" areas.  There was an urgency to my walk, a feeling that I had to get there quickly, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get my feet to walk any faster.  I ended up having to pull myself along the fence, not able to walk normally.  I woke up before my walk was completed and before I could figure out why my legs weren't properly working.  I'll leave that for you all to ponder and maybe get back to me with some suggestions. 

On that note, strange as it is, I must leave you to get some "real" work done.  The kind that pays the bills.  The kind that allows me to blog once in awhile about strange things like holiday decorations and dreams.  Yup, back to the real world.  Even if just for a few minutes until it's my turn to make up another word and score points for it.  Happy New Year everyone!