Fed Up

I have been getting more and more frustrated with the way we eat around here.  Over the past few weeks, months, years even, we have gone from a very healthy family to one where you can usually find chips and cookies in the snack cabinets.  Ice cream, once a special treat reserved for birthdays and special outings, is now a near weekly purchase and eaten once or twice a day by some people around here.  The healthyish “cracker snacks” I used to make with Cheerios (or small crackers), dried fruit, and nuts has morphed into a big bowl of crackers with a few nuts thrown on top if mom is watching.

Not coincidentally, my weight has crept up as well.  The kids are still on their “growth curves” and the doctors aren’t concerned, but I am concerned with their very limited, and even shrinking, diets and their up and down mood swings.  I often feel logy myself and find myself turning to crackers, sweets, Facebook, and/or wine to pass the time.  I was successful with WW many years ago, but in the past five years I’ve gained it all back and much more.  I’ve rejoined WW a few times, but can’t do it.  I’ve tried to track on my own and I’m unable to stick with it.  My friend is doing Whole30 and encouraged me to try, but just looking at all the food you have to eliminate exhausted me!  However, something has to change.  I weigh more now then I did at full-term with Eve!  I was looking through old blog posts the other day and came across a picture of me on my due date with Lex, and my first thought was, “wow, I was skinny!”  Not my belly, of course, but my arms, legs, and face looked so much thinner than today.  Ugh!

Sugar is something that is getting more and more attention these days.  I often find myself reminding the kids about the sugar high/crash cycle, and it occurred to me that maybe removing sugar from our diets would benefit all of us!  It’s a scary proposition, so I did what I usually do and thought about it for a month or two.  Then I cautiously broached the subject with Alan and, of course, he loved it!  Yesterday we told the kids.  They were less enthused!  :)

The plan is to use up what we have in the house, but stop buying obviously sugary things (cookies, ice cream, sugar cereals, granola bars, etc.).  From there we will move to looking more closely at the non-sweet things and looking for alternatives with no sugar.  Not “sugar-free” products, because they are just full of fake sugar, but the goal is to look for items with fewer ingredients, less processed, and more real food.  The idea is terrifying, but the idea of not making the change is even more terrifying!

The kids both cried.  Lex said it’s a good thing Feburary is the shortest month of the year (yes, that was part of my plan), and Eve, through tears, asked if she could still have a cake on her birthday.  She also worried about what to do with all the Valentine’s Day candy she will receive.  Big problems to overcome!

After family meeting, we gathered in the living room and I put on Fed Up on Netflix.  The kids insisted they did not want to watch, and I didn’t push the issue, so they sat with their laptops in the living room “not” watching the movie.  I paused it at various times and they had lots of comments about it and by the end they were both actively engaged!  Eve is all on board, because Eve is always either all in or all out of every activity!  Lex reluctantly agreed that it might be a good idea.  While we were making dinner Eve gave me a big hug and said, “Thank you for doing this now, mommy, before I get obese.  I don’t want to be obese.”  (The movie focuses a lot on obesity.)  She had a smoothie and oatmeal for breakfast and I noticed Lex chose Cheerios over his usual Mini-wheats when he had cereal today.  Maybe a coincidence, maybe not, I didn’t ask.

I was just looking through the Fed Up website and it says that you should quit cold turkey, because if you wean off it slowly the sugar will continue calling to sugar and make it harder for you to quit.  They say if you quit all at once you’ll start feeling better in 1-2 days and cravings will be completely gone within three weeks.  Maybe we should wean off a little faster than originally planned… but after Alan’s birthday this week!  Birthday Cookies are already under way!  :)

Now… what do with all those Girl Scout arriving mid-February…

Skiing – take 2

On my mother’s brilliant advice, I offered Eve the chance to go skiing today and get caught up on the lesson she missed on Thursday. She thought for a moment then decided it was a great idea. She also told me she was really embarrassed that she fell and didn’t noticed that everyone else was falling too! We decided to invite the boys and after a little convincing for the younger one, we all headed off to the slopes on this sunny 18° day.

Smiles all around! (Alan was still getting his gear on)

Eve was eager to “teach” Lex all about skiing. That made me laugh.

Lex lasted for a little while, but didn’t love it. He wasn’t thrilled with the out of control feeling, and one time Alan caught him at the bottom of the hill, but they both fell down together since Alan was also on skis. Lex said he hurt his head in that tumble. He did a few trips down, but then decided he was done with skiing and went to sit on the bench and watch the lift go around. Eve, on the other hand, LOVED it! She was up and down and up and down and at the moment is better than anyone else in her lesson group! Assuming none of them went skiing this weekend!:)

Alan in the black and Eve right behind him.

I hope we can get Lex back on skis again someday, but for now I’m just thrilled that I won’t have to fight with Eve about ski lessons for the next four weeks! Hallelujah and thank you mom!

Happy 40th to ME!

We celebrated my big 4-0 this weekend and what a celebration it was! Family from all over the country came to visit (and I can pretend it was all for me!) and Greg rented a big house and we called it the party house and a party magically appeared while I was home with sick kids. Lucky me! :)

This wise wizard turned 40 this weekend.

This wise wizard turned 40 this weekend.

Sisters!

Sisters!

Sisters!

Sisters!

I love these ladies!

I love these ladies!

Yummy!!!!!!!! (good thing there aren't 40 candles on there!)

Yummy!!!!!!!! (good thing there aren’t 40 candles on there!)

Sisters! There was an amazing super moon behind us, but the camera sucks.... or maybe we just shone brighter! :)

Sisters! There was an amazing super moon behind us, but the camera sucks…. or maybe we just shone brighter! :)

This guy threw me an awesome birthday party!! I'm a lucky lady to have him.

<3 This guy threw me an awesome birthday party!! I’m a lucky lady to have him.

The next day we gathered in the beautiful sunshine to say a final farewell to Popcube.

Cousins!

Cousins!

Does it get any better than this smile?!

Does it get any better than this smile?!

Spreading ashes. We had such a beautiful day to say goodbye to Grandpa.

Spreading ashes. We had such a beautiful day to say goodbye to Grandpa.

Afterwards we went to brunch at Mickey’s. We were a pretty big crowd! :)

Sibs. I'm so lucky to have these people in my life. <3

Sibs. I’m so lucky to have these people in my life. <3

This post is not deep, but full of love nonetheless. I have an amazing family and I’m so happy any time we get to spend time together. There are lots more photos here and here.

Goodbye family. I love you all so much!

Goodbye family. I love you all so much!

My kiddos are still sick, so we took the day off for some rest and relaxation. Hopefully tomorrow finds us all well and back to school.

Middle School Dance

Last week I texted a friend of mine who is the mom of Lex’s friend and I asked her if her son wanted to go to the Middle School Fun Night at the aquatic center. I saw an ad in the paper. She wrote back and said Jacob wanted to go the Middle School dance and did Lex want to do that. Dance?? What dance?

I went back through the middle school newsletters and sure enough, there was a dancing coming up! My subconscious mind must have skipped right over that (because I didn’t think Lex would go or I wasn’t ready for him to go??) and I skipped right over it. So I ask, “Lex, did you know there is a dance on Friday?” Yep. “Lex, do you want to go” Maybe. What?! I told Lex that Jacob was going and his dad offered to drive them both. He loved the idea! All week I kept asking if he was still thinking about the dance, and as the week went on it went from “maybe,” to “I’m thinking about it,” to “yes, I’m going!” And he did!

Despite the messy clothes and chapped face, Lex went to the dance and had… fun!

Jacob’s dad drove them there and I picked them up. I felt a little selfish, but I was excited to get the first impressions afterwards! The dance was from 7pm-9pm. I heard (from Facebook) that drop-off was a little chaotic, so I decided to get there a few minutes early (ok, 20 minutes!) so I had time to figure things out. When I pulled up in front of the school there were a few parents there, a few kids milling about, and Lex and Jacob standing by the door. I called and they ran over to the car. They told me they had been waiting “FOR HOURS!” (said Jacob). Lex quickly said it was only about half an hour. I thought, “oh no! did I mess up the pick up time?!?” Turns out I did not. Lex said, “I can’t believe people are still dancing!!”

I loved the five minute drive home and hearing them talking about things. They both agreed that it was too long, too loud, kind of fun, and totally exhausting! Lex said he danced, then bought a cupcake, ate half of it and felt sick, danced some more, laid down on the bench for awhile, danced some more, then decided to go wait outside. Sounds like Jacob stuck with him for the whole time too. Jacob said Lex has some great “break dancing moves!” Hahaha. I asked if they wanted to go to the next one and they both said maybe, but only if they could be picked up early. I said maybe just an hour, and Jacob said, “NO, only half hour!” I love it!

Lex kept talking about how tired he was. I think he must have danced hard!

I believe each team at the middle school takes a turn “hosting” the dance. They plan, organize, and run the dance. I’m curious if Lex will want to go when it’s his team’s turn.

He is surprising me at every turn. I can’t even put into words how happy my heart is right now.

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First day of a new school year!

Today began a new chapter in this house. Lex headed off to 6th grade at the middle school, Eve started 4th grade, I had my first day at the Media Specialist in the school library, and Arlo got to spend seven hours in his crate! No big changes for Alan though, sorry. Alan brought Lex in and said drop-off went well. Eve and I walked to school. I start later than she does, so I was able to walk her (and Arlo) to school in the morning, then come home, shower, and get myself ready. It’s a plan that kind of works, but needs some refinement. It worked well today though!

Back to school.

Miss Eve heading off to 4th grade.

My middle schooler!

Flowers for the teachers.

This girl is too much!

I only had one class to teach today, but I also had lunch duty, meetings, and an assembly. Tomorrow it’s just recess duty and meetings, then Thursday and Friday I get classes back to back to back! I’ll be ready for the long weekend!

Flowers for the librarian! Thanks family!!!

At the end of the day Eve came to meet me in the library and she was clearly excited about something. She said she wasn’t working on a project and I COULDNT NOT PEEK! She then asked me when my birthday is (precisely) and then decide maybe not to wait that long to share her project. After awhile she asked if she could take my picture and she set up the scene she wanted.

The new school librarian standing by the “NEW” books shelf!

Then she asked to borrow my computer.  The final output was an awesome poem called, “My Mom Poem.”  She said she started working on it in study hall at the end of the day, not as an assignment or anything, but just because she wanted to.  Sadly, she asked me not to share it because it was special for us. I’ll respect those wishes, though maybe I’m breaking them a wee bit by mentioning it here!  I can’t help it though.   She is amazing and I’m so proud to be her momma AND her librarian!

Lex took the bus to me after school and got off with a smile.  There are a handful of middle schoolers that have parents in my building, so he wasn’t the only big kid getting off at the elementary school.  He said the day went well and when I asked if he was planning to go back tomorrow he said, “I guess so.”  Raves reviews from the boy!  I haven’t heard much else from him.

I had a good day.  I’m so happy to be part of a school community that I love.  It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

Arlo did not like his day and was VERY eager to get outside when we got home.  He has been all teeth and claws ever since.  He doubled one of the holes in the yard, scratched up Eve’s arm, and is chewing everything he can find.  Apparently one 3-mile walk in the morning does not sufficiently counter seven hours in the crate!  That’s a problem I’m definitely going to have to work on.  Maybe Alan should take him to work each day!  :)
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Rock Star!

After a rocky start to “band camp” (“this one time, at band camp…”), Lex ended being a rock star!

He had been hesitant about it all summer and we frequently discussed why I had signed him up and what would happen if he didn’t like it. He agreed to go though and give it a chance. Monday morning he was less than excited and ended up in tears. We stood in the main entry to the high school (where the camp was), got him checked in (barely) and ended up in a corner with me talking him down. Ugh. Like a kindergarten drop off all over again. One of the teachers running it, who also happens to be the middle school band director and a great guy, came over and said, “This must be Lex!” Hahaha… I think he was prepped! He and another teacher were amazing with Lex though and got him on his way. She texted me mid-morning and said that he was doing great! I love it when teachers send that little update.

Lex came home Monday and said it wasn’t the best thing ever, but he’d go back again on Tuesday. Just DON’T sign him up again next year. By Thursday he was telling me about their plans for next year, and by Friday he was rocking the house! They had a concert Friday afternoon to show off the things they learned. It was so much fun. Amazing what a group of middle school kids and a few music teachers can accomplish in five short days!

He looks so little standing up there with all the big kids! He also looks angry, but really it’s his focused face.

Lex rocking the snare drum:

Eve wore her grumpy pants to the concert and spent most of it like this. That’s what happens when you eat nothing but Goldfish all day! Eventually she managed to eat her sandwich (from lunch!) and regained her sense of humor. Thankfully!

I love his dancing! He knows this song well:

Lex did a surprise solo!! I couldn’t believe it! A bunch of kids did them and the director said they were going to make up the solos on the spot. I leaned over to Alan and made a joke about Lex never doing an solo…. but he did!!

It was fantastic! I was soo proud of him. He was rocking and rolling and dancing and he got sooooo many compliments after the show! He just looked so darn happy to be there. It was amazing!!

The grand finale. Lex is in the back. You can just barely see his leg and red sneaker to the right of the directors leg. I think he was smart to chose percussion. He has lots of room to move and dance and do his thing.

They ended the week with an ice cream social and people kept coming over to him to congratulate him and compliment his performance. Even some students did! We enjoyed our ice cream then went home and crashed!

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Earrings

A few months ago Eve decided she wanted to get her ears pierced. She started saving her money, earned the final amount at our yard sale last weekend, and immediately wanted to get it done! We drove around all afternoon, but could not find a place that was open, did ear piercing, and had someone available to do it. Seemed like the magic trifecta did not exist on a Saturday afternoon! Eve was disappointed, but she rallied and we made an appointment for Tuesday morning instead. The big day FINALLY came and she was thrilled! She asked, a lot, about how it would go, how much it would hurt, what the earrings would look like, and would they get infected. I told her Rosy’s story and she said, “Yeah, I know. Rosy told me.” :)

When we got there for her appointment she was excited to learn that they have tons of starter earrings to chose from. She found her birthstones and decided they were the ones.

They did both ears at the same time. I held her hand and took pictures at the same time. She just sat there with her big eyes. <3

I posted a bunch of pictures on Snapchat, but forgot to save them before they expired. Too much technology in my life! These are the only two pictures I took not through Snapchat.

The whole process takes about three minutes from start to finish. Lex was with us but couldn’t look. Eve had those big old eyes and hyperactive (nervous) energy. I just laughed and enjoyed the whole process. She was so excited! She even was happy to pay for them herself, including the cleaning solution that they “strongly recommend.” She has done a great job, so far, of cleaning them twice a day and turning them with clean fingers. We agreed they would stay in until the end of September and then she could change them. She loves them so much she says she is in no hurry to change them.

One of the ladies at the salon showed Eve that she had several piercings in each ear, including birthstone earrings just like Eve. While paying, Eve whispered to me, “This is good, but I think I am just going to get one piercing in each ear. There is no reason to get more done.” :)

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She’s back!

We picked Eve up from camp today.  She was so bouncy and happy to see us!  We all had brunch together, then Eve gave us a tour of (some of) her favorite places.

Someone was happy to see little sister!

Siblings reunited!

Brunch in the dining hall. (Ignore that pile of carbs on Lex’s plate.)

Eve took us on a tour of her favorite places. (This is kind of a trippy picture!)

See the pretty horses.

She told us stories the whole way home and then went right to her room and almost cried from exhaustion.  I thought she would take a nap, but she listened to music and worked on a friendship bracelet while I took a nap!  😄

My favorite story came when I asked if she got the package I sent her with the disposable camera in it.  She brought her toy camera to camp, but it takes terrible pictures and probably ran out of battery, so I made a special trip Wednesday to the drug store and post offic to get her a camera.  I envisioned pictures of her friends and her counselors and the horses.  Ya know, camp pictures! I had plans to make copies of some of them to share with the other two families.  My plans evaporated when I ask her about the camera and she said, “Yeah, but it was really confusing.  I mean, it had no screen so I didn’t know if the pictures were good, then I couldn’t figure out how to make it work, and I think it needs something called film?!”  I was laughing so hard!!

Now the neighbor kids are over.  We couldn’t say no to them because they are leaving tomorrow for a month long vacation!  I think everyone will sleep well tonight.  I know I’ll be happy to have Miss Eve back in her own bed.  ❤

PS. Lex and Asher saw the camera on the counter after I unpacked Eve’s stuff.  Eve peeled off all the stickers and wrappings so its just a weird black box.  Lex figured out how to take a picture, but I had to show him how to scroll forward to take the next one.  The boys took a few pictures of each other but got bored when they realized they couldn’t immediately see them. Hahaha.

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Miss Eve goes to camp

We dropped Eve off at Girl Scout Camp today.  She is there with two friends from school.  She was so excited!!

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All packed and ready to go!

Her friends came over to our house this afternoon and we caravanned up together. It was great to have her friends and MY friends there for support! :)

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She was so excited! She rolled down her window and said hello to every councelor that gave us parking directions along the way. Look at that smile! <3

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Three eager girls heading to check-in!

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Her GIANT Valentine’s Day puppy went to camp too! :)

We parked and headed to the check-in lines. Fortunately all three ended up in the same camp sight (there are multiple sites with many cabins/tents/treehouses each). We had a little scare with them being in different groups, but when faced with a few panicked mothers the nice councelor fixed the problem asap! LOL!

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Head checks for all the girls. Of course, I checked her this morning! I DID NOT want to be the parent bringing her girl home with head lice before camp even started! :)

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This way to Tall Timbers!

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Eve’s cabin. It is small and HOT!

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Eve got the top bunk because her buddy wanted the bottom bunk. Her other friend is in the other bunk in the cabin, with one other girl who they don’t know. They promised to be nice and inclusive with her! :)

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Her shelves, fully stocked.

It was great having the other families and all the siblings there. The moms helped the girls set up and make beds while the dads/boyfriends/friends chatted with councelors and played with siblings. The girls made name tags, met their councelors (at least two of them, one named Pickles and the other named Hatter — both camp names, I’m assuming!), found the water fountain and bathrooms, and generally settled in. The mom’s laughed, exchanged advice and support, and everyone parted in good spirits.

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Saying goodbye to brother. Neither of them seemed too upset. I’m curious how they will feel later in the week.

I have been texting with the other two moms and that has been fun. I’m very glad to have their support. One’s daughter has gone to visit family for weeks at a time and the other girl goes to visit dad on a regular basis, so I’m the only one with separation anxiety, but they are nice and supportive and giving me gentle loving grief.

Eve will either have the time of her life, which is what she’s expecting, or it will be miserable. The temps will be pushing 90° all week with rain in the forecast for two of the days, though not a cooling rain. I hope she has a great time!

Now we are watching The Martian, a movie that’s not appropriate for her, and staying up late. Lex has karate camp this week so I will have a few mornings to myself again! Hello naps! LOL!

PS.  Since this is the digital age, camp now has an email system.  You can send an email and they will print it and deliver it with the daily mail call.  If you would like to email Eve, let me know and I’ll send you instructions.

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Moving on up!

Today was the last day of school for this kiddos and the last day of elementary school for Lex!! They had their end of year ceremony and 5th grade graduation. It was so sweet. He has such a wonderful class! It makes me sad that they’ll be separated into different teams in the middle school.

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5th graders enter the gym to great applause. Everyone else (all the classes, plus 5th grade parents and families) were already seated.

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There were a lot of awards to sit through. Fortunately everything moved along pretty quickly.

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Lex won an award for “Most Improved Musician.”

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As he walked back to his seat, his classmates all called his name and put out their hands for high-fives. It was soooo sweet! I didn’t see them do that for anyone else. They all knew about his musical challenges and I think they were proud to see him rewarded for his success. I love his class.

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Where there are words, Lex will read them. :)

When I asked Lex later if he was surprised to win a prize and he said, “Not really.” I laughed at his honest, then he clarified, “I was surprised that it was a music award though.” I love his confidence!

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These two teachers are retiring after 25 and 30 years in the district. They got many standing ovations. Mrs. Torrey, in the white sweater, is Lex’s teacher this year, and Mrs. Shattie , in the blue dress, was his teacher in 3rd grade. Both are excellent, caring teachers and will be missed by many in the district!

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Each kid got a little “diploma” saying they successfully completed 5th grade.

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Good bye elementary school!! I’ll have to dig up his “first day of school” photo and compare them. Later.

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When Lex said, “Mom, will you take a picture of us?” I said, “Oh yes, of course!!” :)

Oh yeah, this little lady moved up to 4th grade today. She is exited. The 4th grade works on an “open-classroom, co-teaching” model in which two fourth grade teachers (in years past they were in individual classrooms) co-teach, sharing the class and work-load. One is an accomplished math teacher and the other a recognized ELA teacher, and they have very compatible personalities. We attended an open house last week to learn more about the model and how well it works for them last year, their first year co-teaching. Eve is pretty excited that all of her friends will be in her class.

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She wanted to make sure Daisy was in the picture with her. :)

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Eve got very excited that Daisy looked at the camera too. :)