Saturday, October 3, 2009
So, here are my thoughts on the Paleo diet. It was more expensive. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables (or even frozen for that matter) and meat and nuts is much more costly than eating macaroni and cheese or pb&j. It just is. I used to brag that Brig and I could live on $100 a month for food when we were first married. Not only was that a million years ago and food prices (and the size of our family) have gone up, but we eat better food now. So, if we continue with this diet, which we plan to do (with a few cheats each week), we will just need to increase the grocery portion of our budget accordingly.
Secondly, I have had more energy. I haven't had the dramatic bursts of energy that one has after a ice cream shake, but I have had more consistent energy. I do appreciate not having to deal with the lows that come after a carbohydrate induced high.
Thirdly, I did lose a little weight. Unlike my husband who lost a lot of weight and doesn't need to lose any at all, I only dropped a few pounds. Technically, I was at a completely normal weight to start with, so that wasn't the real goal of this, but, as a self-conscious female, I didn't mind this as a side-effect.
Fourthly, my gym performance did improve. I have never been an athlete and I will probably never be one no matter how many life adjustments I make, but I feel like I am doing the best that I can with what I have to work with.
Some other notes:
1. I really, really like sweet stuff and I don't think I could continue this diet indefinitely without cheats built in. Life is just too short.
2. The Chipotle we had today as an "it's over" celebration was absolutely heavenly. Unfortunately, my stomach was not used to being filled in such a matter and there was a little gastrointestinal rebellion to deal with later.
3. My boys are not that hip on the idea of mom and dad continuing the Paleo diet.
Anyway, that's it about the Paleo for now, though I may mention it in other blog posts further down the road. I now return you to your regular programming of boy stories and math follies.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
With a Team of 4
As Many Reps As Possible in 20 Minutes:
Deadlift, for reps
Burpees, for reps
1. Only 2 persons working at one time
2. Score = combined total of reps for DL/Burpees
Our team managed a respectable 570 reps in 20 minutes. I wasn't as helpful as I would have liked to have been on the Burpees, but I did a respectable number of deadlifts at 95 lbs.
I went straight to the grocery store after that and found what are becoming the usual foods at our house. Lots of fruits and vegetables, eggs, meat, and nuts. Then I headed home and had a peach, some carrots, and some turkey for lunch.
About 3:00, I had a banana and some pecans and then Brig and I went out for dinner last night. We decided that the safest option was a steakhouse. I had an 8 oz. Filet Mignon with steamed broccoli and a side salad, though I had to pick off the croutons. We spent the remainder of the night in my most favorite of places - a book store. And now, I have all new reading material to distract me through this last week of deprivation.
Sunday morning was busy as usual. I grabbed a banana and some pecans before heading off to church. Lunch was a little turkey, two peaches, some nuts and some fresh veges. Dinner was steak (again - don't tell), spaghetti squash and grilled sweet red onions. I also had a little apple cider with which I figure is okay since the only ingredient on the label was apples.
My evening snack was a pear and some pecans.
The kids have school off tomorrow which will make the day a little harder, but I am amazingly busy the rest of the week and I hope it flies by. I am really craving a Chipotle burrito with that lime-cilantro rice in it about now.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Today has been a little more calm, but unfortunately we are running low on food. I managed to grab an apple and some almonds before heading out the door to the gym. The WOD today was:
21-15-9 reps for time:
I did every single pull-up without any assistance. This is huge for me as I usually resort to some sort of rubber band. I was also the only girl in the gym at the time that was doing the pull-ups without assistance, so that felt pretty good. Of course, the rest of the workout made up for it. We were suppose to use 65 lbs on our thrusters. I started with 65 lbs and about 3 thrusters in, I realized that was not going to happen - especially since the first round had 21 reps. I took off the ten pound weights on each end and just ended up on using the 45 # bar. I also had to use a rubber band (albeit a small one) to get through all of my ring dips. I think that I made the workout hard enough for me though, because I came home exhausted. It also took me 22 minutes to do which was one of the slower times posted today.
I came home and by the time I showered and went through Speech Therapy with Mike, it was time for lunch. His peanut butter and honey sandwich looked so good, especially since I had no idea what I was going to eat. I finally found a bag of vegetables in the freezer that I could steam in the microwave and a frozen chicken breast. I ate all 4 servings of the carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower while I waited for my chicken to cook. I have been so ravenous lately that serving size no longer applies as far as I'm concerned.
My afternoon snack was a few almonds on the way out the door to a primary function. Dinner was strawberries, almonds, and two poached eggs. My evening snack was some carrots.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Lunch was a salad with baby greens, mushrooms, carrots, and turkey. I also had about a fourth of a cup of almonds and some grapes on the side. I had a few more almonds and a banana as a snack before I headed out the door to the gym. The WOD for yesterday was:
15 Pull-ups (work on kip)
Press PVC Skill work
1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1, find 1RM
*1 RM = 1 Rep Max
I was only able to get to 65 pounds before maxing out on my press. It is amazing to me how much more weight I can press when I am allowed the small dip before which constitutes a push-press. During the warm-up, I was able to do my pull-ups unassisted (no bands) in sets of 3.
I actually ate my second snack of almonds and some carrots right after the gym so that I could shower and take my son to a scout night at a bookstore. Then I came home to a late dinner of stuffed green peppers. My husband had put everything from mushrooms to eggs to carrots in with the ground beef, but no rice or breadcrumbs. They were very delicious. He did a great job.
I've only got just over a week more of this challenge. I will post all of my thoughts about how it went at the end, but as a quick interlude, I wanted to note that while I don't love the deprivation, I have loved the fact that my blood sugar isn't all over the place.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
So, the last two days I have made peace with this diet. Instead of trying to fit it into my normalcy, I have just given up and gone with what feels right. So, instead of 3 meals and two snacks each day, I feel like I am eating constantly. Yesterday, I had a several pieces of fruit, some steamed vegetables, some turkey, plenty of nuts and two poached eggs. They were pretty much spread out and nothing was really a "meal". But, I wasn't hungry and I felt fine through my marathon four hour math class.
Today was pretty much the same, except we did have a sit down dinner of crock pot roast, sliced pears, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower. It was very tasty and I am full.
I didn't make it to the gym yesterday and I usually don't on Mondays, but I did make it this afternoon. The WOD was:
5 Rounds for time:
20 Wall Balls
I finished in 32:15, which was about in the middle of where most people finished. I wasn't using quite as heavy of a medicine ball on the wall balls as I should have, but I think it was right for me today. Wall balls have always been a weakness of mine - along with anything that requires coordination.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Breakfast yesterday was a banana and some walnuts. I spoke in church and had to hurry out the door fast to make sure I was there with time to spare. Lunch was some turkey, a salad, a peach and some orange juice. I had a snack of a pear and some almonds before dinner.
Dinner was an interesting mix of experimental food. We had a salad with tomatoes, carrots and sweet habanero peppers. We also ate grilled portabella mushrooms, asparagus, sauted baby eggplant, and grapes.
I had an evening snack of a peach and some almonds.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Breakfast this morning was a pear, some nuts and two eggs. There wasn't much in the house, so I just scraped together what I could. Then I headed off to the gym for the 9:30 WOD. The WOD today was:
2 Person team will complete:
800m Relay Run
80 Wall Balls
80 Box Jumps
800m Relay Run
800m Relay Run
The girl I was paired up with is a Sargent in the ROTC and was a lot better than I was. We ended up on having to take some of the weight off for the SDLHP and Push-Presses, so that I could complete my part. We finished up in 43:15.
I made it to the store before lunch and so I had a bunch of fresh fruit and veges along with some turkey for lunch.
My afternoon snack was some nuts and a peach.
We had dinner out with the rest of the crossfit people at BD's Mongolian Grill. It was quite a feast and good times with our fellow gym friends, though some were almost unrecognizable in their made-up non-gym state.
I was stuffed after dinner, but in the spirit of the challenge, I am currently eating an evening snack - a single golden delicious apple.
Friday, September 18, 2009
We made it back home around ten and Michael was acting a little under the weather. I let him watch TV for a while and then had a few slices of turkey with a nectarine and called it lunch. We both went down for a nap after that. I had a small snack before the gym - just some nuts and some grapes again.
The WOD today was:
2 Hang Power Cleans
4 Hang Power Cleans
6 Hang Power Cleans
4 Hang Power Cleans
2 Hang Power Cleans
I started with a 75 # weight, but ended up on just going down to the 45# bar for the last two sets of Cleans and Push-Presses. I've got to make it to the gym tomorrow as well to get in my last WOD for this week. The challenge ends on October 3rd, which is two weeks from tomorrow. So, I am almost halfway there.
Dinner was some poached eggs and veges. And I had an evening snack of walnuts and another nectarine. Now, I'm off to get my 8+ hours of sleep - the part of the challenge that I am really good at.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I taught this evening, so this has been another busy day. It has been inconvenient to not be able to grab a bowl of cereal or a granola bar, but we've had plenty of alternatives and I've felt pretty good.
I didn't do a workout today. I do plan to do the WOD tomorrow and Saturday.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Lunch was a salad of romaine lettuce, carrots, chicken, pecans, and purple grapes. As weird as the combination may sound, it was actually quite tasty. Then after carpools, homework and piano practice, and a fast snack of grapes and turkey we were off to the gym. The WOD today was so convoluted that I am forced to cut and paste it from the gym's website. Here it is:
21 KB Swings 53/35 lbs
100m Run Backwards
15 KB Swings
100m Run Backwards
9 KB Swings
100m Run Backwards
100m Bear Crawl to finishYeah. It wasn't as bad as it looks though. I finished up in 11 minutes 35 seconds.
Dinner was pork chops, the rest of the grapes, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. I was able to stop at the grocery store this evening for some more fruit. Hooray. We now have pears and nectarines and strawberries in the house.
Evening snack was some fruit and nuts.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Breakfast was applesauce, nuts and some turkey. I went out to lunch with Brig to Chick-fil-a and got the same salad that I did on Saturday - not filling, but it meets the requirements. The rest of my "meals" today have been snacks. I've had applesauce, grapes, carrots, all kinds of nuts, and three poached eggs at various times between about 2:30 p.m. and now. I have not had anything that doesn't fit the list of foods we were given and even though my meals were not defined, I believe I get all points for eating under the spirit of the law.
The workout today was short, but difficult for me. One of the hardest moves at the gym for me is the basic squat. While others jump in and out of these like there's nothing to it, I am slow. Maybe it is because I am so tall and have a long way to go down. That must be it. Anyway, the workout was:
400 meter run
So, for those of you doing the math, that is a total of 200 squats. The coaches watch carefully to make sure that we go "all the way down" every single time. They put a medicine ball under us and make sure we touch it each time. Pure torture for me. I finished the workout in 17:45. I was the second to last person in the group to finish which meant that I got to be cheered on by all of the other who were done with their workout first. Hooray!
Still, in the spirit of optimism, I must say that while I totally suck at squats, I am an ace number one sleeper. While the others at the gym complain about their inability to sleep for 8 hours, I still feel deprived after 9. Sleeping 8 hours a night has been the easiest part of this challenge for me. Go me.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Lunch was absolutely delicious. I sauted the last of the sirloin with some mushrooms and served a romaine salad with pecans, baby yellow tomatoes and yellow raspberries on the side. Michael had peanut butter and honey with a big glass of milk. I was okay with our separate lunches until he had a frosted cookie for dessert. I could have used one of those. I'll have to put that on the list of things to eat once this month ends.
One thing I wanted to talk about in this blog entry is the cost of this diet. Brig and I are finding that we spend about 50% more on groceries trying to follow this. We usually spend about $100 a week and it has been closer to $140-150 a week the last two weeks. Part of the reason is that our children are not following the diet and so we are buying ingredients for two sets of meals or at least extras for them. We usually make them have the same main dish, but they get theirs with milk and bread and such. Most of the reason, though, is that we are replacing cheap sides such as rice and potatoes with expensive produce.
I was talking to my mom last night and she questioned whether or not the diet was healthy since it is essentially cutting out two of the main food groups (dairy and grains). I told her that I have done some research and I honestly don't know since there is so much going both ways. I told her that I figure that 28 days of it probably wouldn't kill me though, since I lived on ramen and pizza for full months at the time in college and lived to tell about it. I also promised her that if my teeth starting falling out before the experiment was over that I would definitely start drinking milk again right away :)
Because of my four hour evening class, the two snacks and dinner were more like three large snacks. Early afternoon I had some turkey and another nectarine. I had some pecans and two poached eggs right before I left for class. When I got home from class I ate the last nectarine (must buy more tomorrow) and some walnuts.
Now, I better get off to bed if I expect to get my sleep in.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
So, here was what lunch was (in this order):
A sliced nectarine
Sliced Sirloin (leftovers) sauted with mushrooms.
A handful of Pecans
A handful of yellow baby tomatoes
Another sliced nectarine with a bunch of sliced strawberries.
I think I was having some blood sugar issues, because the only thing that sounded good and seemed satisfying was sweet. Luckily we have plenty of fruit in the house.
My afternoon snack was a bunch of pecans. I wasn't especially hungry after lunch.
Mixed Veges (Carrots, Cauliflower, and Broccoli)
The butternut squash tasted very good to me. It has a slightly sweet flavor, which almost tasted like candy at this point in the game even though I hadn't added anything to it. I guess sweetness is a relative thing, since I'm sure if I were serving it with ice cream and cake, it probably wouldn't have gone as quickly as it did or at all.
I will admit that I have started to fantasize some about my post Paleo month first dinner. I am thinking either Chipotle or something with bread. Still, there are three more weeks to go, so I better not think too hard about it.
My evening snack was:
I don't think I will have time to do a WOD tomorrow between Michael's speech therapy in the morning and teaching tomorrow evening, so unless some miraculous time shows up in my schedule, I will end up with gym time on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday again.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
The WOD for today was interesting. We were in teams of three. Brig was up doing a scout thing, so I was on my own. Luckily I found two friends of similar skill level and we were off. The runs were all done together and the other was split up with one person working at the time.
400 m run
100 Sumo Dead Lift High Pulls (SDLHP)
400 m run
400 m run
Our team finished up in 24:11
After the gym, Michael was crying for pizza and I knew I wouldn't be able to go shopping until Brig got home (three boys and me in the grocery store is pretty scary) - so I made a compromise. We did go out to lunch, but we went to Chick-fil-a, where at least I knew I could find a Paleo option. So, for lunch, I had their Chargrilled Chicken and fruit salad minus the cheese and dressing. I also didn't add on the packet of granola they gave me. I was still hungry after finishing this and my water up and so I've been snacking all afternoon. We did have watermelon at home, but after Brig stepped in the door, I made the trek down the street to the Saturday Farmer's market. I came home with yellow raspberries, sweet habaneros, baby eggplant, baby yellow tomatoes and a various other peppers. My afternoon snack has mainly comprised of watermelon, yellow raspberries and sweet habaneros.
Before Dinner, we made our way to Meijer and now our house is full of food again and it is wonderful. Dinner was absolutely divine. We had a grilled sirloin steak, salad, and steamed vegetables (carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower). I had a small dish of green grapes for dessert.
My evening snack was a nectarine, some sliced chicken and some almonds. I actually feel quite full and satisfied right now. A big change from earlier this week.
We have sockeye salmon on the menu for tomorrow and some leftover steak to put on our lunch salad. This challenge is much easier when we have food in the house.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Sleep: 8 Hours
So, this morning I started the day with breakfast and went off to teach a class. One of my fellow Math instructors is playing best man in a wedding this weekend and so I got to teach the first day of his class. The class went well and I felt fine through it all.
Handful of Walnuts and Almonds
Some Turkey Breast (about 3 oz)
Sauted Yellow and Green Peppers.
A few strawberries
A few Walnuts
The WOD today was brutal. I took me over 48 minutes to finish. It was as follows:
800 m Run
25 Squat Cleans
400 m Farmer's Walk
25 Squat Cleans
800 m Run
The pull-ups killed me. I was doing them in sets of 1 and 2 by the end. The squat cleans probably would have killed me as well, but I was only lifting the bar instead of adding the extra weight to bring it to 65 lbs as was prescribed for women. My form isn't real great on cleans yet, so it was probably for the best.
Anyway, I am glad it is Friday and I am looking forward to going to the grocery store tomorrow since we are running low on food and the selection has been quite limited. I don't know how many more apples and bananas I can take.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
In general, I am feeling deprived right now. Though I feel like I am getting plenty of food and calories, I am still craving bread and carbs in general. I don't feel as sluggish today as I did yesterday, though. Of course, that may change after I teach my class tonight. At least today is a rest day from the gym.
Sleep: 8+ Hours. I was exhausted when I went to bed last night and slept deep. None of the usual tossing and turning.
Handful of Almonds and Walnuts
Baby Greens Salad with
1/2 cup green grapes
2 Boiled Eggs
1 Boiled Egg
Tomorrow morning I am substituting for another teacher and the WOD for tomorrow looks like it is going to be brutal. I will be lucky to still be standing at the end of the day.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I am still struggling with a bit of a "sugar withdrawal headache." I made an executive decision that Tylenol would have to be Paleo if I was going to make it through class today. The workout this afternoon was very hard on me though. I felt faint a few times. I guess my body hasn't quite adjusted to the slower energy sources it is getting.
So, here's the rundown for today:
Sleep: 2 pts.
Do we even need to ask anymore? Have I ever not got at least 8 hours of sleep? My husband is not convinced that my sleeping patterns are normal. But, after many years of marriage, he has learned to accept certain things.
Breakfast: 1 pt.
A few slices of Deli Turkey
Lunch: 1 pt.
Plus, 3/4 cup of green grapes on the side.
Snack #1: 1 pt.
Crossfit WOD: 3 pts.
As many rounds as possible in 15 minutes:
10 Kettlebell Swings
15 Wall Balls
I made it through 6 rounds plus a set of Burpees. It was a very hard workout for me.
Dinner: 1 pt.
Veges - About a cup
Snack #2: 1 pt.
Total points for today: 10 pts.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
So, here's the rundown for today.
Sleep: 2 pts.
8+ hours last night. As I said before, this is not an issue for me. I actually don't function well on anything less than 8.
Breakfast: 1 pt.
The rest of the chicken breast- about 4 oz.
A few almonds.
A handful of raspberries.
Lunch: 1 pt.
Leftovers from last night:
A Handful of Pecans.
Snack #1: 1 pt
A few slices of Deli Turkey
Crossfit WOD: 3 pts
Fran - 3 rounds 21/15/9 of Thrusters and Pull-ups.
I finished in 11:29 using a 45# bar for thrusters and a red band for the pull-ups.
Dinner: 1 pt
2 poached eggs
3 slices turkey bacon
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
Snack #2: 1 pt.
1/4 cup Walnuts
2 slices Deli Turkey
Total for today: 10 pts.
Monday, September 7, 2009
5 pts each day for eating strict Paleo; 1 point for each meal you eat and 1 point for each snack you eat.
3 pts each day you work out at Crossfit - with a maximum of 12 pts a week.
2 pts each day for sleeping at least 8 hours at night.
The gym is closed today due to the Labor Day holiday, so I don't plan on doing a WOD today, but I do have plans to go four times this week. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday will be my workout days this week.
So, here's the rundown of today:
Last night I slept 8+ hours: 2 points
Breakfast: 1 point
3 oz Turkey Breast
1 cup Green Grapes
1/4 cup Red Raspberries
Lunch: 1 point
Lunch consisted of a salad so yummy that it didn't need dressing. I started with a plate of romaine lesson and shredded carrots and then topped it with chicken breast, almonds, cherry tomatoes, sliced mushrooms and strawberries. It was truly beautiful and if I posted pictures on my blog, it would be worthy.
Snack #1: 1 point
1 large peach
A small handful of Almonds
Dinner: 1 point
About a cup of Spaghetti Squash topped with a stir fry. The stir fry consisted of a little olive oil, chicken breast, red peppers and sliced mushrooms.
1 cup Papaya
Snack #2: 1 point
Small handful of Pecans
Two slices Turkey Deli Meat
3/4 cup green grapes
Point total for today: 7 pts.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Sleep: I'm not telling, but let's just say that it was well over 8 hours. My sweet husband let me sleep in :)
Exercise: None today, unless you count folding a pile of laundry the size of Seattle.
1 Very Large Peach
2-3 slices Deli Turkey
Small handful of Raspberries
Half of the apple that I cut up for Michael
More Deli Turkey on a Salad
Six Cherry Tomatoes
The rest of the pint of Raspberries
Grilled Pork Loin
Large Serving of Broccoli
About a cup of Papaya
After Dinner Snack:
Small piece of Beef Jerky
I fully anticipate that I will have a before bed snack as well. Probably a nectarine or banana. I'm probably over doing the "some fruit" part of the saying. Oh well.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
The official challenge starts on Monday, so today has become a prep day of sorts for us. We went to the grocery store and filled up on fresh fruits and vegetables along with fish, lean meats and nuts. We are also sacrificially eating the last of the non-Paleo food in our house. The boys have been very helpful in this regard.
So, if you choose to actually read my blog over the next 4 weeks, expect to see the following:
What I ate that day - good or bad.
What exercise I did.
How long I slept.
I will try to add amusing anecdotes as time permits. Wish me luck.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
But, the other day, my baby sister wrote me an email informing me that I had not updated my blog in a while and that she counts on the anecdotes from my life for her amusement. I wasn't exactly sure how to take that, so I guess I'll just try not to think about it too hard and do as she says.
So, summer came and went and the kids are back in school. Of course, since nothing can be easy in our life, our three boys are going to three different schools all in completely different directions. Scouts is on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. I teach on Monday and Thursday nights. Piano is on Saturday afternoons plus practice every day with homework and exercise squeezed in there somewhere. Our schedule is packed down to the minute and I'm not entirely sure that it is healthy, but I'm not sure what to cut, so until one of us falls down in shear exhaustion and physically can't pull ourselves up, it will continue. I should probably be reading that book someone wrote about the "over-scheduled kid," but believe me, when and if I get some free time, I refuse to use it reading about something that will only serve in making me feel more guilty.
My job is going well. According to my student surveys, I am once again the most awesome math teacher ever. Of course, this amuses me on several levels. For instance, how can I manage to get in front of a group of 20 students for 3 hours and lecture on the finer points of the Pythagorean theorem, but when it comes to calling for a babysitter, I break out in a cold sweat and promise my husband all kinds of favors if he will just please do it for me? How is it that the world's biggest introvert chooses teaching as her career? Yet, I still go back quarter after quarter and for some reason, I don't think I'd really be happy anywhere else.
In conclusion, since I need to go meet a bus in a few minutes and I may never finish this if I don't just do it now, I will list some of the other great "accomplishments" of the Cook family.
* My almost three-year-old Michael is not the only kid in his preschool class that is not potty-trained and the preschool is okay with that meaning we don't have to put real underwear over a pull-up and fake it for three hours twice a week.
* J got his completely paid for braces off and is in a retainer for a few years until he gets completely new braces complete with new payments. Of course, in that same week, Spencer started with the whole hullabaloo, which means that the current payments will continue - just under a different child. In fact, one look at Michael's teeth and I'm pretty sure that we will be making some sort of payment to an orthodontic establishment for the next 14 years.
* In the first three weeks of school, J has managed to only pull one ticket and it wasn't even for a discipline issue. Apparently, he did the wrong math page as homework. I am aware that there is a honeymoon period going on right now with the new teacher and she may be overlooking a few of his tendencies towards behavior unbecoming of a student, but I have hope.
Now....off to the bus stop!
Friday, June 12, 2009
Well, this last week, everything has been off. The kids are home from school for the first week of summer break, and I started back to teaching three new classes. Then I got sick. In fact, I was so sick that I went to bed on Wednesday night rather than staying up and watching "So You Think You Can Dance?" I was really that sick - which also meant that I haven't been to the gym since Monday. Then I taught last night in what has been one of the weirdest political weeks ever at work. Who knew that an adjunct Math instructor would ever have to deal with office-like politics? We are totally not equiped for that. On top of it all, it is that time of the month.
Really though, OCD as I am, I think I could have handled all of the disturbances to my life if I had not done one thing. I picked up a book. While my sister, Christina, was out visiting, we spent a night hanging out at bookstores. We were looking for a certain book in the half-priced bookstore, and happened to be in the aisle next to the True Crime section. I have some weird sort of fascination with how people think and so a lot of the true crime stories are interesting to me. As a side note, I considered going into Psychology when I was in college and spent several months volunteering on a crisis line, which was a little bit too much of a reality check and sent me spiraling in the other direction towards a life of integers and variables. But, anyway, back to the true crime aisle. My sister and I both rather randomly picked up a book and put them in our respective stacks. It wasn't until Monday of this week that I picked up this specific book again.
As an aside, my husband can pick up a book, read a few pages and then put it down. He can then pick it up the next day and read a few more pages and then put the book down again. In fact, he can happily be reading the same book for several weeks. He is somehow able to compartmentalize the book and symbolically put it on the shelf until he has a few minutes to come back to it. I am not so lucky. From the time that I open a book, I become obsessed with it. I dream the characters. I read during every waking moment. I neglect hygiene and basic physiological needs in the name of resolution. The book comes with me into the bathroom, into the tub, and even into the car. It is really pretty sad on several levels.
But, back to the book. I opened the book and I started to read. And I read. I was sick and I couldn't do much else anyway, so I read. I taught classes, but while I was preaching the cosine and sine, I was thinking about where deception would be revealed in the twisted plot. I slept, but I could never really steer my mind away. Finally, this morning, I finished the book. And then I assessed the damage.
It was almost noon and I lay on the couch unshowered. The laundry was piled. The dishes were stacked. My tower of ungraded papers in the family room was threatening to become drawing paper for Michael. I hadn't updated the budget in a week and my older sons were persistantly telling me that a grocery trip should soon be on the agenda. I was quite abruptly pulled from my true crime fantasy world back into my truly messy and not nearly as dramatic real world.
And, I should probably go back to the gym tomorrow.
Friday, June 5, 2009
So, on the boys front: They are out of school as of yesterday. J managed his way through third grade Quest (our district gifted/talented program) and even cried on the way home on his last day of school because it "has been a really fun year and I'm kind of sad." I am taking this as a good sign and have decided to allow him to attend fourth grade in the program even though I am lazy and hate driving his carpool. I am such a good mom.
Spencer received the good citizenship award for his class, which makes all of the sense in the world, since every second child must go in a completely opposite direction from their oldest sibling counterpart. It is the way of things.
Michael is talking. Yes, it's true. In fact, he got tested today and he is pretty much on level for everything - even expressive, which has always been his Achilles' hill. This testing was done by his speech therapist, but she did warn me that there is a good chance that he won't qualify for the free district preschool when they test him. Luckily, I already put a deposit down on the ritzy preschool last year and so he is set. Didn't I tell you what a good mom I am?
I start teaching again next week. Somehow I roped myself into doing three classes over the summer. I love to teach, but negotiating daycare for all three of my boys is pretty much a nightmare - even if it just for 3 hours a week. I have to have someone come to my house - preferably someone responsible that can drive themselves and handle any fires that my boys may decide to start in my absence without getting the pesky fire department involved. They also need to recognize the merits of peanut butter lunches and my cluttered home. It's a tall order, but I think I've got someone lined up for at least most of the summer.
That's about it for now. I have a million other things that I could update on, but many of them deserve their own post. In case I never get to them, the following posts have already been composed in my head:
My Sister's visit to Kentucky
The Gym (again)
Thank you for reading.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
So, I have been feeling pretty good about some things lately. I finally managed a single pull-up at the gym, only to be challenged to do two in a row. I realized that it isn't going to happen from a dead hang, and so I am in the process of trying to learn how to do a kipping pull-up. Michael has started talking fairly well. J and Spencer both came home with good report cards this quarter. Piano lessons seem to be going well and both boys are progressing.
It seems, though, that all of these accomplishments come with "buts", followed by some sort of failure. I've had to delay my hundred push-up goal. Trying to max on push-ups and do pull-ups at the same is apparently a little much on my arms. Especially if I want to be able to teach for three hours the next day with the writing on the white board that is required.
Michael, with all of his new words, is still behind. I am growing more and more grateful for his October birthday which will delay his kindergarten entry by a year from most of his peers. We have started the process of qualifying for the district speech therapy/preschool for when he turns three. I already have him signed up for another preschool and I couldn't possibly work with the district hours and still teach a morning class, so I'm not sure how this is going to work, which is making me feel guilty about the fact that I work at all. Of course, if I didn't work, it would take away the option for things such as piano lessons for my boys, family vacations, etc.
Speaking of piano lessons....yes, they are going well. In fact, I dare say that my boys have made an incredible amount of progress since they started in February of last year. But...my teacher, the one that works so well with my boys, she is moving. They are taking a few weeks of break right now and they start with a new teacher on May 2nd. I researched the best that I could and I hope that I have found someone that will work well with them, but I don't know and I am afraid that they will not work as hard or that they will grow frustrated. I am afraid that the leaps and bounds of progress they have made will stop. I wonder if my boys have any idea how hard all of these little decisions I must make for them are.
And then there was parent/teacher conference with J's teacher yesterday. Once again, I was reassured that J is a math genius, the gifted/talented program is right for him, etc. But, his handwriting is still terrible. In fact, she dropped the bomb that his writing is probably not even on a normal third grade level, let alone a "Quest" (our GT program) third grade level. She also said that he would seriously struggle in fourth grade if this did not change. So, the way I see it, I have four months to pull my struggling son up to an acceptable writing level. The problem, you see, is that, though I am an excellent teacher, I teach Math. I know nothing about how to help my son here. I've ordered the "Handwriting without Tears" books. But, I am wondering if I should be employing the help of an occupational therapist or if I am totally over-reacting and this is just a normal result of the asynchronous learning that usually accompanies gifted children. After all, no kid can be good at everything, except of course, that one kid in his class who does manage this feat and has only pulled one ticket the whole year. But, we don't talk about him.
Then there is all of the guilt. I am good at my job and I like to teach. My employer is struggling to find enough Math teachers to fill summer positions right now and has asked me to take more than the two classes I have committed to. I do feel some obligation. At the same time, I already feel terrible amounts of guilt of the six hours a week that I am away from my family. And, of course, if I did take another class, it would make our monthly budget a little easier to balance, but, at what cost? It is a balancing act that seems to have no answer.
I also know that the time I have spent working out the last several months has been good for me. It is time with my husband and it is good for my body. But, it is also time that the boys are not working on piano or handwriting. It makes our afternoons a little more hectic. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to get it all done. And, let's not even get into my role as a member of the primary presidency.....which I could, and probably should, do so much more for.
So, it is true. The conclusion I have come to is that I can't do it all. But, since I am really not willing to give up any of it right now, I am going to have to be content to be mediocre at much of it, which is hard for someone who was raised with the idea that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing better than any person since the beginning of time has ever done it.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
This isn't the first gym I have gone to. I've spent many hours on treadmills during marathon training and such. This is just the first gym where they have cared whether or not I am doing something besides jogging slowly on the treadmill while watching the "Price is Right" without sound because the headphones make my ears sweat.
So, this is a CrossFit gym. When I walk in, I am given a patented "workout of the day," which, at first, involved all kinds of exercises that I had no idea how to do - and even when I did, my ability was sorely lacking. The first time I was instructed in the fine art of a pull-up, the coach brought out a huge blue rubber band that offered 100+ pounds of resistance and then he still had his hand on my back helping me to get my chin over the bar. I am also embarrassed to say that even a squat was a challenge for me at first. I kept feeling like I was going to tumble backwards and would over-compensate by lifting my heels, which is, apparently, bad.
Well, I've been going to this gym for almost three months now and I dare say that I am making improvements. I have dropped about ten pounds - which still puts me above where my weight was a year ago, but as I said before, mid-thirties and losing weight don't really mix, so any loss is a victory. I'm actually just grateful that I'm not still gaining weight - the trend had me a little worried.
I've also come up with some new fitness goals and would like to post them here for the world (or at least my three regular blog readers) to see. The first is to accomplish the same hundred push-up challenge that my husband finished last fall. There is a nifty little website that has charts to follow and such and even a place where I can log my progress. I just did my first exhaustion test on Sunday and was able to eke out 18 push-ups from the toe without rest - fairly good form and everything. Today, I did the first workout and completed it successfully as well. It was five sets with 60 seconds of rest between each one. The sets were: 10, 12, 7, 7, and max. My max today was 12.
My second goal is to do a dead hang pull-up with no rubber bands or other helps. I may modify this goal once I accomplish the first one and try for two or more in a row, but for now I would just like to be able to do one. I have been working on negatives the last month and so I've got the easy half of the pull-up down. Now I've just got to find a way to get my chin over the bar in the first place.
I'm also hoping that by publicly posting these goals that I will be encouraged to update my blog a little more regularly. Of course, if I don't, you all are free to assume that I failed miserably.
Friday, March 6, 2009
But, something fun happened today...and it is short and sweet and I think I can finish a post about it in one sitting, so here goes:
As some of you know, my sweet Michael is what has been termed as "speech delayed". At 18 months, he was put in the .01 percentile in the speech category and being the neurotic mom, this was quite disconcerting and I was sure that I was dealing with something terrible. We have had a speech therapist coming to our house over the last year and he has improved. In fact, I've heard nothing from the specialists, but "normal little boy" lately.
So, Michael is 28 months old now. The following wouldn't be that significant to another parent, but realize where I'm coming from. I had a conversation with Michael in the car this morning. It went like this:
Michael: "Mom, I acow."
Me: "What Michael?"
Michael: "I acow. Moo. Moo. Michael a cow."
Me: "Oh, you are a cow."
Michael: "I a cow. Moo. Moo. I funny." *giggle*
The rest of the car trip was a series of moos and giggles. This seemed so "normal little boy" for a two year old boy. I am thrilled.
He has come a long way.
Monday, January 26, 2009
This all happened on Friday night. As I have mentioned before, I work at a very small college. About once a quarter, we meet together as a faculty in one of the classrooms and go through some training with a lot of open discussion in an effort to glean ideas from each other and be the best faculty we can for our students. The focus of our training this time around was the "invitational classroom". This opened up a debate about justice vs. mercy in the classroom. One of the more vocal teachers announced that he felt there should be a school-wide policy regarding late work. In his own classroom, he has a zero tolerance policy and will not accept anything late no matter who dies or has a baby. His argument being that by accepting late work that we are enabling our students to be irresponsible and are not preparing them for "the real world."
I don't buy it. I've been teaching for a long time. And I dare say that I am a good teacher for at least a majority of the students who enter my classroom. I do accept late work. In fact if a student seems to be falling behind, rather than berate them, I usually ask to meet with them to catch them up. Because, the truth of the matter is, if I don't, they aren't going to be more responsible or be more ready for "the real world", they are just going to have one more reason to give up on school and one more life frustration and I don't want to be the source of anyone's life frustration.
And, now, just a word or two on the whole "real world" comment. The real world is a whole lot more forgiving than I think we give it credit for. I make mistakes every day and I depend on the mercy of those in my life. If my husband had a zero tolerance policy towards all of the things that I do that drive him crazy (and not in a good way), our marriage never would have lasted this long. I've also made plenty of mistakes through the years at my various jobs and not once have I been fired. This world is set up for humans - the unperfect.
So, I don't believe in it. I don't think it is good. I don't think it is the pathway to a world of responsible adults. No. Not at all.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
In my earlier twenties, I liked to blame my January blues on Seasonal Affective Disorder, which has the cute acronym of SAD. Unfortunately, anyone suffering from this malady is really not in a position to appreciate the aforementioned cute acronym. I haven't done extensive research, but I believe the theory is that lack of sunlight from the short days in January cause some people to be down. The last couple of years, I've discounted this theory on the basis that I usually feel just fine in December, though I do admittedly experience holiday stress, and December technically has less sunlight than January.
Another issue that I feel comes in to play is the post-holiday fallout. After a few weeks of overspending and oversugaring (once again, not a word), I have to deal with the consequences. So, January tends to be a month of deprivation. Making the transition from Dr. Pepper to water and from watching three straight seasons of "Arrested Development" to spending my evenings putting together weeks of Statistics curriculum just seems like an extreme swing. January just isn't a very fun month.
Then, there is this third issue, which I will only admit just this once. I like to do taxes. I like to read all of the new laws and figure out how I can minimize our tax bill and I even like filling out all of the forms. So, since no company we have ever worked for has sent out their W-2 forms until the last possible moment, I spend the month of January working off of paystub totals and making estimates until the real numbers show up. The anticipation drives me insane. I've never really been a patient person.
So, those, I believe, are some of the issues. I've been working on solutions to minimize my January down time and I have found a few things that are working, but mainly, I still find January a month to endure, and it's such a long month.