Monday, May 12, 2014

Round Two of Insanity Begins...Now. On all Sorts of Levels...:)

It has been awhile since I have ranted.  Mainly because it has been awhile since I have posted. :)

But today I must rant.

Today was the end of  my 60 days of doing Insanity workouts.  Yay for me for actually doing it. Right?  At this point that is my only consolation. I completed 60 days of the workouts.

My problem/rant is this...and I really wish it could be someone else's fault instead of my own.  I much prefer placing blame elsewhere...

From the day I started this workout until today I lost a whopping 2 pounds.

2. Two. Not a nice large number like 20.  Or 40.

Nope. Just two.

Now.  That said, I did also keep track of my measurements.  And in that same span of time, I lost a total of 18 1/2 inches over my body.  So that is something.

But seriously?  Two lousy pounds?

It is not an easy workout.  Most days I argued with myself about actually taking the time to do it.  But I always won (or lost--depending on your mindset) the argument and did the workout anyway.

Apparently in a huge effort to shed two pounds.

My 'before' photos look suspiciously like my 'after' photos.

So I sit back and reflect and try to figure out where I went wrong with this.  I look at the website for Insanity and note that other people have had this same complaint.  That makes me feel marginally better to know that I am not some strange anomaly where the universe mocks my attempts and only allows two pounds to slip off just to keep me guessing.

And I keep trying to talk myself into thinking that if fat is coming off, but I am replacing it with muscle...well, you can't lose weight if you are replacing and not just removing, right?

(That one is my favorite argument..)

I just wish my before and afters looked more different.  If they did, I would post them here.  Since they don't, you can just track me down and I will pose for you in person and you will see the before and after.

My husband says he can tell that the effort has been worth it.  Of course, this is the guy who instead of stopping with that part of the sentence added "because, seriously, before you started working out? You were scaring me."

So I have that going for me too. Geez.

So tomorrow begins round 2 of Insanity for me.

It is 60 days of working out.  Which really means that instead of their 6 days per week, I manage 5 days per week (Saturdays are notoriously too full up with family things for me to work out).  And I always try to get over to the Rec Center to take some TRX classes once or twice each week on top of those Insanity workouts.  And this go around I am also playing in a Monday night co-ed indoor soccer league.

From all of that, it sounds perfectly reasonable to assume one would lose weight.  Right?

Here comes my honesty clause...

For the life of me I can't give up chocolate.  Sugar is my nemesis.

I have been eating better these last couple of months.  But this time around I really, really, really (yes, three reallys) need to see the scale move lower when I stand on it. Naked.  Sucking in. (Like that will make me lighter...but one can dream).

So along with Insanity, TRX, & indoor soccer, I will also be going back on my Jorge Cruise Belly Fat Cure diet. Low sugar and carbs. More vegetables and proteins. It isn't a crappy diet.  I actually like it and it really does work. But because of my chocolate addiction, I am also going to give myself permission to have a treat once per week or I am fairly certain I will fail miserably.

The 'all or nothing' mentality is the OCD maneuver that helped my mom fail at her low-fat diet.  And I can feel the same tendencies in me.  If I can allow myself to have one fun-sized Snickers and not feel guilty about it, then I won't just give up completely and inhale the entire bag.  And it will keep me happy and sane.

My mom said that she decided she would "rather be happy than thin".  This after she had lost A LOT of weight. She had put in the effort to lose weight and then-- seemingly in one moment--she decided it wasn't worth it.  And she went back to eating whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted, and as much as she wanted.  And she gained most, if not all of the weight back. I think she probably is happier eating what she wants without worrying about it making her heavier. And she has also been blessed with being healthy, so the added weight hasn't been an issue with her health.

What it really comes down to though is that I really am going to have to admit one of these days that I am getting old.

I still feel like I am 20-something on the inside.  And so I think people should see me and think that I look that young on the outside. But inevitably someone will show me a photo of myself, or I will walk past a mirror, and my illusion is shattered.I still think that I can eat like I did in my 20's and not have weight stick to me like it is too scared to let go. I either need to get a grip on my weight and fitness, or I need to hire 'people'.  Movie stars have 'people', so you see the women my age and they look great.  But us mere mortals don't have a team of 'people' to make us up, or to photoshop our pictures.  We are stuck with reality. Bummer.

Getting old just isn't as fun as one would hope it would be. Stinkin' lousy metabolism thinks it should slow down. I find that a bit rude. We already have to get gray hairs and wrinkles.  You would think one round of Insanity would be enough to kickstart the weight loss again. But no.  I am not that lucky. I get to go for round 2.  And I refuse to consider that after two rounds I will still be at the two pound weight loss.

By my calculations, I should be done with Insanity by the first week in August going off the 5 x per week workout instead of 6. Which means that a couple of weeks after that Kady will be coming home from her mission. Which is when I should fit into my clothes I have hanging on my closet door as motivation.

Apparently I need to hang the clothes from my refrigerator to have the correct motivation...but I am determined this time to get it all right.

Hopefully by August I will have before and after photos that actually look different.  If that is the case, I will be happy to post them here.

 If it isn't the case, I will post my mailing address instead and you can all send me a bag of Snickers.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Just Some Oscar Ranting

I usually don't take the time to sit and watch the Oscars.

This year I watched most of the Academy Awards with my family.  My daughter Victoria likes the award shows.  She gets some humor out of watching people/celebrities and hearing what comes out of their mouths.
Plus, Ellen Degeneres was pretty darn funny, so we had that going for us.

I actually got so caught up in the antics, that I forgot my daughter in Korea was going to be emailing me for a bit.  Once I remembered, I left the tv room and went and "chatted" with her for the rest of the show.

Apparently I missed the 'good' stuff.

I missed John Travolta's mangling of names.  I still am not quite sure what happened there.  I popped onto Facebook the next morning and there is a name generator posted at his tells you what your name would be if John Travolta were to attempt saying it.

Kind of funny.

If you aren't John Travolta.

But to give the guy credit, it wasn't like he was trying to say an easy name.  I mean, Idina Menzel? People who have known me for years still pronounce my last name incorrectly.  And I call my daughter Olivia "Ka-Kel-Olivia" on a regular basis. People who don't even know I have a sister named Diane, will call me Diane.  Which is weird, but I still answer to it because growing up my mom called me "Di-Sue-Whoever You Are". So you see where I got it. (Thanks for that mom :) )

So you deal with it and move on.

Or create a quiz and post it on Facebook for the masses to mock the error openly.

I also missed Matthew McConaughey's acceptance speech for Best Actor.

Another buzz on the ol' Facebook social media frenzy.

It seemed to start out with shock that Mr. McConaughey would be so crass as to thank God for His hand in the opportunities he had been given throughout his career.  Shock enough that the celebrities were "lukewarm" with that statement.  It seems to me that it basically shows how far the more liberal celebrities (who are very much in the majority in that area of employment) have strayed from God. It appeared to make them a bit uncomfortable that he would mention God.  Because if God really has a hand in people's lives, then how can they keep their neurotic selfish Me-Me-Me type attitudes? --and I realize I am generalizing and that there are many lovely celebrities out there who would be great to know and who are down to earth and who use their power for good, but because of the reaction from the audience during his speech, I am going with my generalization. Lukewarm is not how Matthew McConaughey's speech should have been received.  He just won the flipping Oscar, for goodness sake.  Applaud the man. Don't panic because he is showing that even for all his naked drumming and his really hard work at getting ready for roles like the one that won him this Oscar, he is still a believer in that Deity. A believer that God knows him and helps him with his choices, and is pleased with him.

I can picture the other celebrities now....

"Well this is uncomfortable.  Let's just clap softly.  Maybe a golfer's clap...

Did he just say that we might actually have to acknowledge that our gift and talent isn't just us, but might be a God-given blessing?

Well, doesn't that beat all?

No, that can't possibly be right.  But just to be safe, let's ignore that part of the speech now."

Heaven forbid they have a 'come to Jesus' moment and have to realize that there is a God.  He is aware of them.  He loves them even with all their self-absorbed lifestyles and their ease at breaking any given commandment at will.  Usually that adultery one.  Which, to be fair, seems to be a sticking point for even the common folk. (But the percentage of lasting marriages for people in the entertainment industry are it makes me wonder at the morals and beliefs and integrity of those who choose to gain celebrity).  But that is a topic for another time & I am rambling myself off track...

No.  They don't want to keep talking about his comments on God's part in his career and life.  Nope. Now they want the focus on McConaughey to be the part where he thinks of himself as his own hero.

For rude.

Seriously?  People are upset about this one?  That is a shaky cover for trying not to discuss the God issue.  Deflect the focus off God and onto his Hero complex. That will work.


Pushing back his goal of looking up to himself every ten years isn't a bad thing.  What, you want him to look up to one of you other celebrities who just gave him a golf clap when he had the nerve to mention God in his acceptance speech?  Seriously.

From my perspective I think it is great that he is his own hero. He is setting goals.  He is trying to achieve them.  And ten years later instead of thinking he is all that, he re-sets his goals another ten years to push himself even more and to become the kind of man that he can look up to.

It would be great if there were someone else out there that he could look up to, but setting yourself to a higher standard and then aiming yourself that way so that ten years from now you can see your growth..but then instead of patting yourself on the back for being so awesome, you set the goals even higher so that you are always reaching for self-improvement?

And you are keeping God into the equation so that you are still grounded?

How is that wrong?

The answer is, it isn't.  What IS wrong is when people--whether that be celebrities, politicians, other public officials, church leaders (any church) or anyone with a job in which others look up to you--so yes, that includes Stay-at-home Moms, teachers, etc-- aren't setting themselves to higher standards.  You have people watching you.  You have people learning from you, depending on you.  Whether that person is your child, your employee, your co-worker, or your biggest fan.  Everyone is being watched.

The key is to get everyone to set higher goals.  Be your own hero.  Be someone worthy of being someone else's hero so that Matthew McConaughey can find someone in his business that he can strive to be like.

Be that boss that your employees know is fair and understanding.

Be that parent that your child wants to grow up and emulate.

But even more than that, don't forget God.

Because even if the rest of the world lets you down and there isn't one single person worthy of your consideration as someone to look up to, God is there. Hoping that you will succeed.  Hoping you will be happy even through the difficult times that everyone faces.  And mostly, hoping that you will remember Him. Remember all He has done and will do for you. Because when it comes down to it, He loves you.  No matter what your job, age, size, color, or if you were never even nominated at the Academy Awards.

And you know what?  When you work hard and do your best in whatever it is you do, even if the rest of the world gives you a lukewarm golf clap, God is there on His feet giving you a standing ovation.

Monday, February 17, 2014

I Am the Parent of a Bully

Hot button topics seem to be in abundance these days. Most seem to be of a political slant--Obamacare, gun control, gay marriage, etc.

I am not going to voice my opinion on the political.  I will just say that I am conservative.  I think shooting guns is fun. I don't like that my health insurance changed this year--but it had nothing to do with Obamacare, so I would hate that part anyway.  And I have friends and family who are gay--where the most controversial topic on that one that I have ever voiced was to a good friend of mine after we had a lunch date with another friend of ours who happens to be a married lesbian that went something like this:

Me: This is going to sound weird, but I don't 'get' lesbians.  And yet I sort of understand the draw for gay men.
Friend: That is because you are heterosexual.
Me: Oh. [pause] That totally makes sense.
Friend: Of course it does.

But those topics aren't what I wanted to write about. Nope.  The topic I wanted to discuss is much nearer to my heart. And sanity. And every grey hair on my head that you would be able to see if I didn't get it colored by the lovely Lori every 8 weeks.  Like clockwork.

The topic for today's blog is 'BULLYING"

Ah.  Overdone you say?

Perhaps.You will hear people yelling STOP BULLYING constantly.  You will read articles about how awful it is for the life of the bullied child. How we can stop these bullies. How we need to teach them the right way to behave around others. There is A LOT of literature and helps and media access about being bullied that can help those in that situation.

My take is a bit different than that.

I am the parent of a bully.

I am also the parent of a child who is bullied--but thankfully not by my other child.

So I live both sides of the equation. And while I completely understand the fervor in which people discuss how to stop bullying and how awful it is--I do understand, it is a sad state that we live in where kids empathy for other kids is non-existent in some. Where suicides can be linked back to bullying.  It is sad and scary and we all want it to stop.

But I want to talk about the other end. We don't talk much about the bully. Or being a parent of a bully.

Frankly, it sucks.

I have this cute kid who has no empathy and no grasp at all of consequences.

And sometimes that cute kid turns into YOUR child's nightmare.

For no apparent reason.

And that right there is the hard part for me.  He doesn't single one kid out and pick on him or her. He can be best friends with the child he bullies.And then in one quick instant he hurts or teases or yells at that friend.

And then 10 minutes later he is back to wanting to be best buddies.  Not realizing that what he did those 10 minutes ago makes it so the other child really wants nothing to do with him anymore.

And I get a phone call to come get him from school.  And he is mad and pouty for a long time after we get home--especially since he knows the drill.  Suspended from school?  No relaxing day off for you, my friend.  You get to help me with all my housework jobs. Some I didn't even know I needed to do today. Any other punishment will be discussed when your dad gets home from work and he and I figure out what to do this time that might actually make you pay attention next time and make the better choice.

And I hope beyond hope that I don't get a visit or phone call from the other kid's parents.  Because usually they are--rightfully--angry, and want to fix blame on someone.  But instead of blaming the child, I get blamed for my lack of parenting skills. (In their mind...and probably in most people's minds when they hear about a bully)

Now, I agree that there are some parents who do nothing to stop their kid from bully tendencies. Parents who see aggression as a good thing. Parents who think the other kid was probably 'asking for it'.

Or my 'favorite'--"Not MY kid. He/she would never do something like that."  The head-in-the-sand parent who doesn't believe the teachers, administration, students, neighbors, random strangers, that their kid is the problem.

Those parents are hard pressed in my book to ever be part of the solution.

However, there are some parents, like myself, who have done everything possible to ensure that this kid who is a bully, figures out how to be a productive human being. We try therapy.  For both him and for my husband and I just to figure out how to raise him right. We have him in special after school tutoring programs independent of public schools, to try and raise his competency in schoolwork and his ability to focus on tasks, so that maybe in an ideal world this will start to sink in and he will not be distracted by others and he will learn that he can do his work and not have to be drawn into everyone else's business.  How to make GOOD choices. We involve him in competitive sports to try and get some of that energy out so, frankly, he is too tired at the end of the day to put up much effort to be a bully. And, most importantly, we praise him like crazy when we catch him making good choices.

Seriously, if my child could learn two things we all seem to take for granted, his life would be so much happier. Empathy and consequences.  HUGE difference in his life if those two things would 'stick'.

And that part right there about his life being so much happier?  Well, most people don't think about the bully as the one who is unhappy and having problems and needing positive help. We see the bully as the instigator. We see their victims.  But we have difficulty ourselves in having that same empathy toward the bully.

It is always harder to like the mean kid.

And it is an easy way out to blame the parents. Or the lack of parenting. Or the media. Or Obama. Or gay marriage.

Blame doesn't help. Finding the solution helps. Not jumping to conclusions about the parenting skills of the bully helps. Helping the parents of the bully if they DO lack the skill necessary to redirect the hard to raise child.

I have 6 other children. This one kid takes more time and money and effort than any of the other six combined.  I am not sitting around hoping he grows out of it. (I did that when he was in his 'terrible twos'..then his three's--figuring he would grow out of it when he was four--then five--then six...then we realized it was a figure it out or he ends up in jail someday type of moment and we worked like crazy to figure him out enough to hopefully help him)

So with all my therapy, and learning curves, and advice (asked for and not) that I have been given over the last couple of years, what have I learned that I could possibly share with other parents who are in my same boat? Because you know there are a lot of parents out there who are in my situation--if there weren't, we wouldn't have all the anti-bullying campaigns.

I have learned that not everything works every time. One time I can give him an ultimatum or a chance to make a better choice and he will choose wisely.  And the next time I can offer him those same things and he goes hard the other direction.

I have learned that for my son, empathy might have to always be something that he has to consciously consider. It isn't natural for him to have empathy right now. Therapists have taught him how to recognize other people's feelings, which was good.  But honestly, I don't think he actually cares what other people think or feel.  So I have learned that I must teach him--repeatedly, as often as needs be and then ten times more for good measure--that he HAS to consider the other person's feelings when making choices that might affect someone else. Short of tattooing 'The Golden Rule' on his forehead, this one has been tough. But I have high hopes that someday it might stick.

I have learned that people will think I am a bad parent. It doesn't matter what we are doing or have done to help our son give up his bullying tendencies. Other parents don't know what we have done. They imagine we are those other parents who figure it isn't our kid, boys will be boys, grunt, grunt...etc. etc.  They don't know that we have been told by our own family therapist--who is awesome by the way--that we need to pay attention to our son and if we see him start getting wound up or getting himself in a potentially bad situation where at the minimum a meltdown from him might occur, that we need to redirect RIGHT THEN. If my son makes a bad choice, it is already too late for me to punish him in any manner that will be effective. Because my son doesn't understand the concept of consequences.  This one is a hard one. If I send my other son to a time out, or take his xbox away for punishment, he understands why.  He tries to make better choices next time so it doesn't happen again.  If my bully son gets sent to time out, he doesn't get it.  He knows he did something wrong.  He knows WHAT he did wrong. He knows the time out is because of that choice. But he doesn't really get that the choice he made caused the punishment received. And because of that, he also flat out doesn't care when he is punished.

Sent to his room for an hour? Whatever.

So, in order to keep my son from making a bad choice I have to pay close attention to his moods, his environment, etc. and then redirect his focus if it looks like it might go bad. Even if that is a quick, "Hey, can you take the dog for a walk around the block?" Done. He loves to do that and it makes his mind focus away from whatever was starting to cause a break down to begin with.

That is actually harder to do than you'd think. Which is where the people thinking I am a bad parent comes in. My therapist warned me about it.  He is right. Once my son makes that bad choice, it makes no sense to punish him. Not in a way that the outside world thinks is appropriate for a bully. He will get a time out.  He will get another discussion on which choice would have been better. But in our reality, it simply doesn't work. He has to be redirected BEFORE the action. And his teachers at school are all aware of this too--it wouldn't be fair to them or to him if they didn't have that particular heads up.  So we are lucky in that his teachers are great at paying attention to him and they have been known to have my son take a folded blank sheet of paper to the office for them.  To run an "errand"--made up though it is--so that he gets his focus somewhere else and can re-center himself before the bully emerges.

I have learned that some kids are just plain bullies.  And some kids have parents who need a crash course on reality with their child. And it is a pain to be lumped into categories that just aren't the whole story.

I have learned that praise to the child who is a bully goes a long way to getting him into a spot where he is more open to direction.

And I have learned that if you take off a bedroom door, it can no longer be slammed over and over and over.  And over.  While that child tries to make a non-vocal point. (Yes, that he is mad he is being sent to his room.  Again.)

And if your bully child starts throwing things in anger, if you then get to choose anything from his possessions to keep for yourself for each item he throws, he will throw fewer things. (You can't just keep the item he or she throws...they get smart and actually look around the room to throw things they don't care if they have or have to take something, for a little while anyway, that they care about....part of having an intelligent bully :) )

Be an advocate for your child. Find teachers who actually care that your child is successful. If that isn't happening in your school now--find a school that has qualified teachers who aren't jaded and who know how important it is to have your kid find purpose. And someone besides family to back them up.

I don't know if this will help anyone.  But I hope it at least lets someone know that if they are a parent of a bully, they aren't alone.  Not by a long shot.  But also, that there is someone out there who feels for you. Who is on your side and hopes you come out of the 'parenting a bully joy' with most of your sanity still intact. Give up now on keeping your hair color. Grey is the new you. :)  But there comes a time when there are fewer meltdowns. Fewer calls from the school.

I am still waiting for those times...but I know they are there. ;)

Just do your best. Find reasons to praise your child. Redirect behavior. And don't worry about what other parents think.  If you are doing your best and it is working...stick to your guns.  If you are doing your best and you are still struggling, find yourself help. Talk to someone who knows what they are doing. Be open minded--because at least 50% of the time it really is your child.  Don't ignore that fact and fall into the "not my child" syndrome. It doesn't help you or your child to bury your head in the sand and hope he or she just grows out of it.

Bullying is a hot topic for a reason.

Good parents want what is best for their child.

And you are a good parent. So do what you need to do to get a handle on the bullying child.

I am trying to do just that.  Daily.

And I love him just as much with a bedroom door as without. :)

"Let me sum up" 2014 Blog Post Numero One

Apparently I am not great at maintaining a regular blog.  Not a single post in 2013. Or in 2012.  Two whole years with zero posts to my blog.  And only four posts in 2011--and all four of those were in the month of April.

I have no idea what that means.

Except that time got away from me.  Or for the last two plus years I have had nothing to write home about.

Must be that first one. "Let me explain--no, there is too much--let me sum up.."

Since April 2011 I have had two daughters graduate from high school (2011 & 2012).  I have had one of those daughters graduate from Western Wyoming Community College with both Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees--having gone there on academic and soccer scholarships.  This same daughter is now serving an LDS mission in the Arizona, Phoenix mission since February of 2013 and will be home this coming August (2014).  The 2nd daughter also went to college--got in one year at Dixie State University with a partial academic scholarship.  And she, too, is serving an LDS mission.  But she is in Korea, Seoul.  She left Sept 11, 2013 and will be back March of 2015.

(Feel free to read their letters home--I am mostly caught up with their blogs...a little behind..but not 2 years, so that is something... and )

That isn't nothing.  That is a lot of something. :)

And that is just two of my kids.

My husband has changed jobs twice in that time.

Our poodle died.

We got a whippet.

Our 3rd daughter has a driver's license.

Our older son is now 14 and taller than me.

Our younger son is an awesome soccer goalie on his comp team and he is also officially ADD, so with meds and more patience than I thought I had, we are coming to an understanding.  I am understanding that parenting is harder than it looks--even with having 5 kids before this son came into our family--and he is understanding that in order to not have to live in his room for the rest of his life from being grounded 24/7, he has to start taking responsibility for his actions.  We are getting there.  Much more slowly than I want, but at least we are progressing.  Most days. :)

Our 4th daughter is also a soccer machine, playing center defense on her competition team.  She has also been taking art lessons.

Our youngest daughter is playing rec soccer (prefers scoring goals over stopping them, so talks her coach into letting her play forward as much as possible), and is in art this year with daughter #4.  This kid has also developed a huge love of horses, and is still trying to learn the art of reading.  It is taking her longer, and is frustrating to her.  But we hope she will get there.

For me, I have been NOT writing.  Not in my blog, not on my unfinished novel.  Nothing.  I have read a lot.  I have started a business painting wall murals.  Well, I painted one giant wall mural last year for a couple who built a new home.  I painted their bonus room above their garage.  It was a big room  A big job.  Took me three months to complete, but it ended up being pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.  This is a link to a youtube video their son took of the finished room.  It doesn't show it to it's best advantage--there are a TON of details that are left out of this short clip, but you can get an idea..

Bonus Room at the Young's

I would like to work at doing more, but that younger son of mine has a school schedule that makes it a bit difficult at this time.  So when I get my scheduling under some sort of control that will make me not seem so flaky, then I will pursue more painting jobs.

 It is mid-February now...enough time has passed that I don't have to consider my next paragraph a New Year's Resolution. So here goes...

I am going to have a goal (NOT a resolution) to write MUCH more frequently on this blog.

Apparently just posting this entry means I have already met said goal...:)

But, to be more specific, I plan on writing a decent entry at least once per week.  And by decent, I mean not so much rambling nothingness, and hopefully a little more substance.

If for no other reason than to shock those who know me into realizing that I actually have an opinion.  Not that I care what they think.  But some have been known to show genuine surprise that I would speak up in situations--i.e. when I was on jury duty--and others who seem set back a bit if something funny comes from my mouth.

Which I find a bit rude.

Like my husband is the only one allowed a sense of humor in my family.

Granted, he is funny.  And he is a loud talker.  So people hear him more. :)  That, and most of my 'jokes' are now mumbled under my breath because I have found that I am still not old enough to get away with off-color comments.  The one boon to old age--freedom of expression and speech. In a 'that's what she said' type of atmosphere. :)

So there you have it.  My goal is now written down and on the it must all be true.

And now I have documentation, so hopefully that will put my writing self back in gear.

We shall see.