Monday, July 30, 2012

Nope, Not My Way

"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways,' declares the Lord" Isiah 55:8

Lately, I have been having a small crisis of faith. Or maybe it's a big one. I'm not sure. It's not that I was ever thinking I would hand in my Christian card and go to Vegas for the rest of my life, but I was steadily finding it harder and harder to trust in God.

See, I think I know the best outcome. I figure I have a good plan for things, I can discern what's "good" and what's "bad." And lately, when I had something I wanted to take to God in prayer, I knew what I wanted Him to do but I didn't trust Him to do it. Maybe I've been suffering from a broken lamp with a faulty genie in it. Or from thinking I had a lamp with a genie in it, when in fact I don't.

The saddest part of it is that I haven't been going to God in prayer because I didn't think He'd answer the way I wanted and I didn't want to sit around rubbing an empty lamp. Lame, right? I was like a little kid who would starve before telling their mom they are hungry because I know she won't let me eat a whole cookie cake for dinner. I would rather die of hunger dreaming of cake than have my parent choose a healthy and appropriate thing for me to eat.

Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that I would rather break my neck trying to climb to the top of the fridge and get a cookie than have mom give me something nutritional and good for me. See, I haven't been reaching out to my God humbly for His care... I've been trying to take care of it myself. Because when you admit that God is not a genie in a lamp, there are only two options left... 1) try to take control and make the outcome you want to happen, happen or 2) give control to God and let Him give you what He deems best. And option 2 can feel pretty scary at times.

What makes it worse is that I have proof, over and over, in my own life that my idea of what's best is usually short-sighted and silly. Whenever I have tried to say "This is the best thing that can happen" or "This is what I want" or "That is what I need", I have found myself a few miles down the road saying "Now THAT did not go the way I planned" or "What in the HELL was I thinking?" But when I look back on the things that I have no doubt God accomplished in my life, I find myself saying "That turned out way better than I thought it would" and "Wow, that was exactly what I needed."

I can be so slow sometimes.

Today, I actually challenged God. I said "Lord, if you're really listening and you really want to help me and love me, then show me. I need you to take all this doubt from me. Give me peace, remove my fear, make me trust in you again." I was hoping for a sense of relief and internal peace... what I got was a minor miracle in the form of Geri biting, chewing and swallowing food at her feeding therapy session about 30 minutes later. I cried. I literally cried and thanked God and said "I get it. You're right and I'm wrong. You are still working in my life, You are still taking care of me, I can still rely on You because You know what's best. I give up."

And as soon as I said that, I felt a peace and security that I haven't had in months.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Planning for School

Two out of three kiddos are getting ready to go to school!! Wow, it feels so weird just saying that. I mean, we just went from two to three and now two of three are getting ready for school?? Nick and I were not even planning on starting Geri in the fall. We had been planning for her to start school in the winter, due to her difficulties with seperation.

A word on that... Pretty shortly after our new, darling daughter came home, it became pretty apparant that she had accepted us as her mom and dad and that she was NOT willing to let us out of range. Her range, by the way, is very short. For a while, it was maybe 15 feet. At one point it shrank down to about 3 feet. I kid you not, if I was out of arm's reach she went nuts. This was a tough time, because it's hard to have someone need you that close all the time. In my mind I knew it was great because it was a wonderful sign of attaching to her mommy... but in my body I was tired and wanted to be able to walk across the room and get a glass of water without her screaming. I wanted to be able to sit with someone else in my lap without the meltdown. I wanted to pee without an audience. I was worried, in a big way, that we wouldn't get past this to a place of independance and that her clinginess would prevent her from exploring and learning and growing. She had lost so much development already... how much more time would she lose?

Finally, in early June, I saw a shift happening. She was getting better about distance between us. She was wandering the house and exploring her environment. I figured the time had come to start working on her ability to seperate from us in a healthy way. We started with some help from the in-home daycare that watches Mera during Geri's appointments, and we started small. The first day, I literally walked out the front door and stood by the gate for five minutes, then went back in. She was a wreck. But the second time, she did a bit better. And the third, a bit better still. After a few weeks, two times a week, I could leave her for about an hour and she would be fine. She would be okay when I said goodbye, play when I was gone, and greet me happily without a lot of clinginess when I got back.

We decided in July that we would register her for preschool at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind. Unfortunately, we were too late. Their pre-k class is super small, and it was already booked solid. She is number two on the waiting list. The director of the program offered to put her in the kindergarten, since they have larger classes and she turns 5 during the school year, but I'm not interested in doing that. I think she needs a year of pre-k (at least one) to get up to speed with some basic concepts and her expressive language skills.

At first, I was kinda bummed, because that meant she would have to go up to Denver to the Anchor Center for pre-k. That's a lot of driving, and a lot of gas money. But mainstreaming her was not an option in my mind... we had seen what the district had to offer and I didn't feel it was enough. Plus, the IEP process had left an icky taste in my mouth.

But she is now registered at Anchor for pre-k, and I'm feeling very good about it. We've been participating in the summer pre-k program. It's lighter and less structured, but it's given me an idea how the pre-k program will work and I like it.  I also think it's a good thing that the program only meets three days a week. This lets her ease into schooling, without it being a shock to her system. I know all the teachers and I trust them completely. I know they are going to work with her and teach her and help her and be patient with her and protect her and care for her and all those other things we need to hear when one of our little birds starts their flying lessons! Best of all, she knows everyone and she knows the building. Anchor is a safe place full of safe people, and what better way to start her out than feeling safe?

Her name is still on the list at CSDB, so if a slot opens up then we can move her down. And the folks at Anchor know this and are totally fine with it. If nothing comes up at CSDB, or we don't feel like she can handle the move, then she'll do a year of pre-k at Anchor and we'll decide if she needs another year or can go straight to kindergarten. Either way, we'll probably move her to CSDB for the second year. I'll make sure to call earlier next year to register her!

She starts in just a few weeks, and I'm so excited. I think that's the most amazing part of all... I'm not scared. I'm thrilled!! She's such a smart girl, and I want to see her learn and grow like I know she can. She lost so much time in the orphanage, but she is very quick to learn and I know she has such an incredible amount of potential. I'm looking forward to seeing her change and grow. She's already amazed us at every turn with how smart and resilient she is.

Please pray for us, as we prepare for school. Pray that she will handle the seperation well. Pray that we'll keep ends meeting with the increased expense of the gas money. Pray for me and Mera, that we can enjoy some alone time together and bond a bit closer. Most of all, pray that God will bring out in her what has been hidden. That her talent and intelligence and personality will be revealed more every day!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Skinny Aesthetic and Eating Disorders??

I was recently led by the twisting maze of "related links" to a certain site for followers and lovers of the "skinny look." What led me there was a rather rude and controversial series of their posts insulting full-figured models, but what piqued my interest was their response to criticism. Specifically, I was interested in their defense of the skinny look as being "healthy" and their assertion that they do not support or encourage eating disorders. They are just about people being healthy, folks. Who could disagree with that?

Well, I disagree with the idea of the skinny look as healthy for everyone. Here's why. Most human traits follow what's known as a normal distribution, or the bell curve. Extrapolating from this model, genetically speaking, the level of "skinny" this website supports naturally occurs in a small segment of the population. Few women are hard-wired to be a size 0 without serious effort. Those people are, in the general vernacular, skinny little bitches. Or at least, that's what us hefty size 6's call them when they aren't around.

Expanding outward statistically, you would see a larger group (no pun intended) of women who are hard-wired to be a bit bigger, maybe a 2 or a 4, but can become a 0 by force. Go further out and you continue to increase until you hit the average size, and then you drop back off towards the obese end of the spectrum with fewer and fewer women genetically inclined to that group.

Now pretend to pull a singular woman off some point on that spectrum. She will have her own bell curve... her average weight over time in the middle, with her leanest and heaviest weights bounding the curve. Still with me? Ok, pretend you pull a woman from the left side of the graph, with her average size a 2. Her personal curve may range from 00 to 6. Now pull an imaginary woman from the other end. If her average size is a 14, then her personal range probably doesn't even come close to 0. Her bone structure may not even permit it.

Oh, I can hear you arguing... "Everyone wants to say they are 'big boned' and it's a load of bull!" Yes and no. Some women are genuinely larger figured. I once had the occasion to view a plastic surgeon's "brag book" or pervious clients. On one page he showed me a picture of a slender woman with comically large implants. Several pages later, another woman looked like she had maybe a B cup. The women had the same exact size implants. So how was one of them a quadruple F and the other a barely B? The second woman was built like Dog the Bounty Hunter. Her chest measurement had to be 44 inches. And she wasn't fat... she just had a HUGE frame. So yes, big boned is for real... sometimes. The point where it's a load of bull is when women (and men) use their large frame as an excuse for carrying massive amounts of body fat and living in the MacDonald's drive thru.

But I digress... back to the point of all that mumbo jumbo statistics junk... "healthy" is not the same as "skinny." At least, not for everyone.

Supporting or advancing the skinny aesthetic is only promoting a healthy look for a segment of the population, and probably a pretty small one at that. For the rest, it's a different story, and here is where the problem begins. When you take the super-skinny look and promote it to everyone as the ideal for all and the goal for every woman, you place women in a difficult position. Either blow it off, accept defeat, or engage in unhealthy behaviors to attempt to attain a look that is not healthy for them.

Blowing it off is a tall order for most women today. Now, I'm not blaming the fashion industry. The models in the magazines are part of that far end of the bell curve, so let's assume these are healthy women. If that assumption holds true, then the industry doesn't create skinny girls, it just employs them. Sort of like saying the Wizard of Oz movie didn't create midgets, it just gave them screen time.

The problem is taking images of that small segment of the population and bombarding the rest of the population with them. It's a lot of exposure, and it's hard to ignore. It also promotes this ideal to the menfolk, and we women of the hetero persuasion have a tendency to try to impress these dudes. At least, until we hook them. Then it's back to the mean value!! At any rate, even if we don't directly respond to the influence of the magazines, we find ourselves indirectly responding to them through the men we attempt to wrangle into a contractual relationship.

Accepting defeat is dangerous, too. Giving up does not encourage getting healthy! It encourages a devil-may-care return to the Chocolate Wonderfall because who cares? I'm never going to be one of those skinny bitches anyway, so I might as well enjoy myself.

Then there's the third option. This one is so very sad, and it flies directly in the face of claims that the skinny look is about being healthy. It's also the most dangerous, because the largest segment of a bell curve population falls into the middle... where skinny is too far away to be healthy but just close enough to look possible. And getting there is not pretty.

All of this just means that if you want people to be healthy, then you can't tell them how to look doing it. Promoting a healthy ideal shouldn't be about trashing and slamming everyone over a size 4. It should be about encouraging a certain lifestyle, fitness level, body fat percentage, hell even the flawed measure that is the BMI. And those numbers would look very different on different women.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Judge Not

I'm utterly disgusted by the responses of people who want to judge the parent who lost her 6-year old daughter in the horrible attack in Aurora. I've seen comment after comment that the child should never have been there, that the mother was negligent, that she was probably a bad mom overall, etc. etc. etc.

That anyone would jump up to kick this still-grieving mother is absolutely inhumane and illustrates something that's been bugging me for a while now. See, this isn't the first case of judgement I've seen. In fact, there's a whole section for this kind of thing on STFU, Parents. They're called "sanctimommies."

There seems to be an epidemic of women (you never seem to see the men jumping on board here) who think they know exactly how to raise a child. They have the perfect, magical formula for how to make a perfect, talented, successful, kind, creative adult who will be the pride and joy of the world and crap rainbows. Mostly, I'm guessing these are people who have a younger child, because they have yet to be bitch-slapped with the coldest, hardest reality of parenting.

Your child is not a slick little machine that simply takes the input you give and kicks it back out.

Raising our kids is not typing on a keyboard, where you hit the "f" key and the letter "f" appears on the screen and, in like fashion, you pen your magnum opus on their malleable life. They are not a mirror, simply reflecting back what you put in front of it. Most of all, they are not your project to get right so that everyone can look at you and applaud the good job you've done.

Kids are, brace yourselves, short and immature human beings. (Teens are tall and immature human beings, btw.) They have their own personality, their own opinions, their own preferences. Play all the Baby Mozart you want, sparky. That kid may prefer Metallica. Like it or not.

The scary spinoff of believing that kids simply the sum of our input is that we begin to think that 1) we are completely responsible for who they become and 2) we can and MUST make this perfect. We can't afford a mistake, there is only one way to do it, and if we screw it up our child will be damaged FOR LIFE!!!

Of course, in order to convince ourselves of our sheer perfection of parenting, there are only two options. One is to go through every possible decision point in advance and create a game plan from the next 30 years. This way is time-consuming, and forces us to logically consider each decision point... and then we would see our own crazy inconsistencies and how freaking impossible this idea is and go have a brewski while the kids draw on the wall because we just gave up. The other, far easier and efficient way, is to judge the actions of other parents as they unfold around us. We figure out our position on fatty foods when we see someone giving their kid a Big Mac and think "oh, hell no!" We discern proper programming when we see someone's kid wearing a Halo shirt and think "for shame!" And being around someone we don't like just gives us a million new positions, because anything that stupid b*&% does has GOT to be wrong!

Here's the reality of the situation... you can do everything right, and your kid could still end up in a gutter on drugs. Strike that, it's impossible to do everything right... but you could have the best batting average on the Earth and still see your kid fail miserably. Talk to the mom who approved every outfit and kept little Suzie home from all those dances with their disgusting music about sex, only to help Suzie deliver her first baby at 15 years old. Talk to the parent who ensured that little Jake wouldn't even touch a toy gun and raised him strict vegan, only to watch him drive off in a camo truck with a gun rack to go get him a buck.

Oh yeah, and what's the right outcome anyway??? CEO? President? Model? Actress? Singer? Librarian? When we're asked we just say rosy things like "I just want him to reach his full potential" or "I just want him to be happy and a good person." Well, how on Earth would not letting him drink soda make him a good person? Forcing a kid to take violin won't make her reach her full potential if her true talents lie elsewhere.

We decide based on ourselves. We make it about us, even though it is really most decidedly not. We raise our kid on health food because WE value health. We teach our kids the viola because WE value musical talent. I'll admit it, I put my kids in activities because I regret not being more "involved" when I was a kid. I want TJ to study a sport and stick with it because I dropped out of every damned sport I took and I wish I hadn't. I want him to take banjo lessons because I <3 bluegrass music. I desperately want to put Mera in dance or gymnastics. Why? Because I wish I had studied them! I want Geri to take piano. Why? Well, I think she loves it first and foremost, but in my heart of hearts I always wanted to take piano but never did. I dress my girls up carefully, being persnickety about hair and clothes because I was picked on for my hair and clothes in school. I look at my old pics now and think "Oh great God in heaven, why was I wearing THAT?" or "mom really shouldn't have cut my bangs if she couldn't cut them straight!" and I want to save my girls from looking back and thinking something similar.

In our fevered rush to make our kids perfect based upon what we value and what we regret, we forget that no matter WHAT we do, they will someday look back and think "what the hell was mom THINKING?" They may even HATE us for what we didn't let them do!

Oh, and forget the fact that we are not their only source of input. We aren't even the greatest source of input. Sure, we can claim supremacy up until kindergarten, maybe through first grade, but after that we get dethroned. Very early in life, the opinion of the parents becomes second to that of the peers. And when they're teens, all we have to do is voice an opinion to ensure they do the exact opposite. I can tell TJ already thinks I'm lame sometimes, and he's 6. Hell, Mera rolls her eyes at me and she's 2. Even Geri is in on the act, and she's only been home for 8 months. And she's blind, she can't even SEE how stupid my outfit is!

The reality is this... there's a huge grey area in parenting. Lots of things fall into the category of "not what I'd do, but not abuse or neglect and not my damned business." TV programming? I don't have a TV. I think Teletubbies is for potheads. Don't even get me started on that Boomba show. Spongebob is also for getting stoned. But if you have a TV and keep it on Nick Jr all damned day, have at. My older sister hates Caillou. It's one of the most innocuous shows on the planet, but she says the parents never go to work and it bugs her. She values hard work, not bald Canadian kids with independently wealthy parents. And you know what? That's FINE. Hopefully her daughter won't ever see the show at Grandma's and come home asking to watch it every day on Teevo. Then I'll laugh because she's my sister and I get to do that and it makes me feel better about what my kid just did.

Food? My kids eat mac and cheese. Daily. We have our reasons. Don't like it? Go home and give your kid a carrot stick. It'll make you feel better. But if you want to raise your kids on organic lettuce and egg whites HAVE AT. I'm sure he'll be fine... until he goes to school and sees those cookies in his friend's lunchbox. Then you'll have troubles of your own and you will be too busy dealing with a snack mutiny to be worried about my kid's food. Because you  might find that little darling has a monster sweet tooth that you lack.

Bottom line, butt out. Stop judging each other and crap that falls in the noise level. The sad thing is how many abused, neglected and abandoned kids are out there and we're so busy raising Cain about whether you should use time-outs or time-ins that we stand idly by and do nothing.

And above all, put yourself in each others' shoes. You're doing your level best. How do you feel when someone says you're wrong and implies you are ruining your kid? Or slams you on some stupid message board calling you a bad parent? You wouldn't like it, so don't do it to someone else. Especially someone who is GRIEVING.

Because I think we all can agree that we don't want to raise our kids to be callous, insensitive pricks.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Update on Doing the Splits

Nope, not there yet. It's been about 2 weeks since I started my stretching and exercise routine. The goals are to be able to "do the splits" and to relieve my back pain by strengthening my core.

So far, so good. When I started, I couldn't touch my toes. I couldn't get into child's pose. My back hurt frequently and carrying the kids was too much for me.

Now, I can touch my forehead to my knee in a seated leg stretch. I can get into a deep child's pose and a semi-decent pigeon pose. I can touch my toes while standing, and can even lay the backs of my fingers on the ground. I'm much closer to the front split, and getting there on the "Russian" or straddle split (this one... not this one.)

Best of all, my back is feeling so much stronger. I'm able to carry Mera pretty well, and even pick up Geri from time to time. I don't have all the pain I used to, and I haven't needed to call the chiropractor for an appointment in just over a week. Normally, by this point I would be in pain. I even managed a light, one mile jog the other night with no pain.

So far, so good.

Funny story, by the way. My chiropractor used to take Judo and Tai Kwan Do for many many years and compete in them. He actually used to do the splits himself, and swears they improved his kicks. I asked him how long it takes to be able to do the splits, and he said that if I am doing my stretches daily than it shouldn't take more than 2 months! I never would have figured on that fast, but it's a cool possibility! He told me that if I'm not there in two months to give him a call and he'll give me some stretching advice.

So I'll check back in again in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, I'll be very near to the floor on front splits and getting closer on the Russian one.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Therapy Meals

If you've never had a child with a feeding issue (lucky!), then you probably have never heard of "therapy meals." I know I never had! It's a meal or snack that follows a strict set of guidelines and a firm schedule of events, designed to desensitize your child from certain foods, textures, smells, etc. It is supposed to look like a snack, albeit a militant one, but actually function as a small feeding therapy session.

Geri has just started them, and it's sort of strange. We've been going to feeding therapy for months now, but bringing it home is different. During feeding therapy, I'm mom and I watch and assist as therapists work with Geri. During the meal I feel less like mom and more like a therapist. It's so structured, which is not even remotely my style, and I'm having to analyze everything during the meal. It's a real shift of mindset, and I'm still adjusting.

Here's how it works. First, I had to develop what's called a "food contiuum." That's a list of 6-8 foods to be served at the snack in a specific order. Various levels of food (easy for my child through hard for my child) need to be presented, each food group should be involved, and each food needs to link to the food before and after it in some way. Drinks are served at the end, because they can be easy and filling and ruin the rest of the snack if given too early, and we finish with a lollipop because it's such a hard food. Each food is served in order, one at a time, but the next food is served while there is still a little of the previous food on the plate, that way they can interact.

Second, there's the schedule. Each meal follows a fairly strict schedule, as follows:
- Sensory "Warmup", to get child in the right frame of mind for the meal
- March to the table and sit down
- Blowing bubbles (releases calming biochemicals and works on oral and breathing strength)
- Wash hands with a washcloth, play "tug of war" with the washcloth in the child's teeth
- Hand out plates and napkins
- Hand out and progress through each food, focusing on skills
- Announce "all done" and clean up the snack
- Wash hands again

Third, there's the eating skills we are trying to work on. The doctor who developed this system has identified 32 individual steps to eating, and the idea is to move up the steps. It begins with simply tolerating the food in the room all the way to taking biting, chewing and swallowing the food. Every interaction with the food is positively reinforced. If a child refuses, you back it down to a lower level and praise that before moving on. Different, silly activities are used to get the child to interact with the food. Kissing a food is a good way to encourage putting the food to their lips. Bouncing the food can encourage touching. Crunching to make a loud noise and wake mommy, drawing with the food, making duckbills out of potato chips... lots of silliness to encourage the kiddo to interact positively. The whole meal avoids punishment or chastising and the mood of the whole thing is fun, lively and upbeat.

This whole thing is done once per day. Ideally you do it every day, but that's a lot so our feeding group only asks us to do it twice a week outside of therapy.

We're doing at-home therapy meals Wednesday and Thursday and using Friday as either an extra or a make-up day. Monday is out because that's the day she has her group feeding therapy, and it would be overwhelming to do this twice in one day. Tuesday is out because she gets something similar at the Anchor Center. Weekends are sort of "catch as catch can. " We like to go and do things together on the weekend, so I don't plan anything therapeutic. I just try to make what we do as therapeutic as possible, if that makes sense.

The food continuum stays the same for the first three days, then I start changing 25% to 50% of the items each day. Right now our continuum is:
1) Plain Pringles
2) Tapioca
3) Apple Slices
4) Veggie Straws
5) Pedia-milk (Pediasure and milk mixed about 50/50)
6) Lollipop

Is your head spinning yet? Mine sure is! It's actually pretty straightforward, I suppose, but it's a lot to keep in mind. The prep is a bit of a pain, too. I have to get everything set up in advance, each item in it's own bowl, all the bowls covered with a cloth so she can't see what's coming, all the plates and napkins and washcloths and bubbles on the table. It feels like an ungodly amount of effort for a snack.

But it's for her good, and the kids who fare best in feeding therapy are the ones who practice at home. So, practice at home we will. Hopefully, like all other things, it will start to just feel like part of the routine pretty soon. Amazing how quickly that happens, huh?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Change in Diet

This one's about me! haha I figure since I overshare about the kids, I deserve a bit of my own medicine. I went back and forth about sharing this, since it's not entirely on topic, but then I figured it's only fair.

I'm starting a bit of a diet. I'm only trying to lean up, really, not looking for a weight marker. I suppose I'll say I want to lose 10 pounds, since that would put me at 135 and I still have this random advice from a high school teacher in my brain. Mr. Suggs once told me that an ideal weight for a woman is 5 pounds over 100 for every inch over 5 foot. I am 5'7", so that would make my ideal "Suggs" weight 135. I figure it's as good a number as any, and that gives me something a little less esoteric to track.

I don't want to do any of the crazy fad diets. Honestly, I don't like calling this a "diet" so much as a "change". Here's my new guidelines...

1) One meal per day must be some form of a salad with protein. Not a dinky salad. An actually filling, big bowl of greens and fruits and veggies with a small helping of meat type of salad. Or a huge salad full of greens and veggies with a glass of milk to drink and fruit for desert. No carbs.

2)  Two fun drinks per day, max. Coffee, beer, lemonade, iced tea, soda, milk... whatever. Not more than two per day. All else must be water.

3) Reasonable portion sizes. Not restaurant portion sizes.

4) Breakfast is fruit and yogurt. No cereal, no waffles, no pancakes, no silliness. I suppose I could do an egg instead of the yogurt (protein exchange, so to speak). But not drenched in cheese and such.

5) All snacks will be fruit, veggies, or yogurt. No chips. No cookies. No pudding. The only exception to this is Geri's therapy meals. I have to eat them with her in order to demonstrate good eating habits, but I'm only going to nibble, not try to out-eat her.

6) If I goof up, I will forgive myself and pick back up. I won't give up because I'm not perfect, or use my mistakes as an excuse to keep dorking it up. No beating myself up about a mouthful of rice or a nibble of cookie. The guidelines are general ideas for healthier living, not do-or-die ultimatums to kill myself over.

I'm also working out more. I have karate two times a week and I am doing a series of exercises and stretches every night. I'm trying to run when I can, but it's been hard on my back. I may have to settle for walking at this point. sigh.

I'm hoping to see my health increase, my performance increase, my overall comfort in my own body increase. That would make me happy.

So, there you have it. Lauren's hair-brained scheme for a toner, fitter, healthier self. No drugs. No books. No cleanses or crazy shakes. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. But no bikini pics. Sorry, no can do.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sorry 'bout That

So I have this big post I've been working on for about a week... I kid you not. Sigh. Sorry.

At any rate, I am so anxious to share the latest fun and adventure that I am publishing out of order. Only if you are mildly OCD, like me, will you care, really...

Yesterday, we took the kiddos (sans TJ... sad mommy) to the Aurora Reservoir near Denver for a day of sailing! Nick works with a very nice guy named Ernie who sails an 18-foot sailboat with his wife, Janet. We met them at the boat launch and they were so very sweet and took us and the girls out multiple times. We had to go in shift... Nick and Geri on one load, then me and Mera on the next. Geri and Nick went out first, and I have to admit that I was waiting for a meltdown and a very quick return to shore. But our brave little explorer had a blast! She loved the motion and the water and the daddy time (of course) and had a great time. Mera was brave, too. She loved the boat and kept saying we were going to a "ball at the castle" whenever we went out. Nick and Geri went out 3 times, me and Mera went out twice. In between trips, we would hang on the beach with Janet and have snacks and fun playing in the water near the shore. It was so amazing.

Daddy and Geri are sitting on the right of the boat... you can just see her little head. 

Look at our bathing beauty!! That tan!! Those chunky legs!!! <3
My Coppertone baby... For the record, she NEVER took that floaty in the water.
Geese!!! She kept yelling at them "Come here, duckies!!!"
She looks way too famous for Aurora Reservoir...

Honestly, I can't imagine this having happened just a few short months ago. Geri was too rigid and easily scared. Lately, she's been really coming out of her shell and having more and more fun every day! To see her relax and enjoy something completely new, for which she truly had zero reference, was just fabulous. She even munched on Veggie Straws on the beach and took a quick nap on the sand next to daddy.
 We're getting more and more of these wonderful times when things just feel, well, normal. Relaxing, having fun, enjoying ourselves and not worrying or stressing or dealing with a total meltdown. It's so incredible and we are thoroughly loving every moment of it!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Oh man...

... have I been remiss in writing. Want to hear my excuse? Since I threw my back out, I've had to start on a pretty regimented routine of core stretches and exercises. So, once the girls are asleep I go for a run  (a few times a week) and then I come home and do my 45 minutes of stretching. Then it's time to clean and get into PJs and go to bed. Sometimes, recently, cheesy 90's martial arts movies have been the background for my stretches. :)

So a LOT has been going on. Where to begin... Crap, where did I leave off??

Okay, so Geri has been doing very well with her new LWC (long white cane.) Hooray! She pushes it in front pretty well... unless she's holding someone's hand and then she gets lazy and drags it. She has learned how to climb into her car seat without help. This is a very nice development for mommy's back, by the by. She has started eating solid/dry foods... in a very chipmunk sort of way. She nibbles off tiny bites with her front teeth and swallows them. Not real chewing yet, but we're getting there. She will bite down on a cookie or cracker that I place between her back teeth, but then she doesn't bite down again and she normally spits the pieces out. Still, she's branching out and trying new things in the feeding department and THAT is awesome. Oh, and she has been sitting in her own seat at mealtimes, feeding herself with a spoon. Hooray!

Phew. Okay, so that's a whirlwind of information. But wait, there's more!! Geri and Mera are FINALLY starting to get along better. Geri is becoming rather brave where her sister is concerned, and it's cool to watch. In general, she's becoming more exploratory and, well, fun. She's able to play now, to explore, to engage... it's cool. Oh, and she's talking a lot more now. We're working on "yes" and "no", but she has lots of three-word request statements. "I want play", "I want up", "I want eat", "I want juice"... that kind of stuff. It's pretty cool, because she has a voice. An ability to express. She can make requests and we can start to know her mind. It's awesome. There's a long ways from here to conversation, but it's a start!

Alright... what else... Oh, Geri is not a fan of her ankle braces. NOT AT ALL. She accepts them, most of the time, but she whines when it's time to put them on and she is very anxious to take them off. They mess with her stride, for certain. Her balance is off, and she walks a bit more lumbering. It's hard to describe the difference, but there is certainly a difference. She is not amused.

Okay, that's what's up with Geri. I feel like I'm forgetting something, and I probably am, but here's what I'm able to call to mind right now. There's plenty to celebrate, even if I left a few things out. :)