Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Birthday Post

My mom has a Pinterest board that features people laughing or smiling really big.  She tells me that looking at these photos makes her happy.  There is an infectious cheery feeling that comes from seeing others elated.  I think it is a type of happiness that we need more of.  That is why I decided to post the picture above.  It isn't the kind of picture that I like to share.  My eyes are closed and I look pretty silly, but it is undoubtedly a special moment.  My kids are around me and I am talking to one of my best friends.  I think that is why my mom snapped the photo. It was taken 3 days ago at Lexi's birthday party.

My birthday is today.  I'm 41 now.  That age neither depresses nor excites me.  It is just a fun day with lots of people giving me well wishes.  I honestly believe that life goes better when people are sending positive thoughts your way.  It is a day when I truly love Facebook, which isn't something that I have felt lately.  FB has been a messenger of sadness for the past few weeks for many different friends.  Today, I choose to cherish the good times spent with the many people that have carved a place in my heart.  I feel loved and full of love.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Santa Thing

This year, quite a few people have told me that their kids, who are in 5th and 6th grades, still believe in Santa.  I don't know if that is happening all over the US, but it seems to be rather common here.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe it is because Texans tend to get very festive.  There are quite a few homes here that rival Clark W. Griswold's.  Perhaps it has something to do with technology advances.  With online orders and overnight shipping, it doesn't seem that far fetched.  Kids can even track Santa's progress on a website. Movies have also gotten better, even though they all still raise questions and doubts when trying to convince the audience to believe.

Isn't it interesting how parents all handle Christmas and Santa differently?  One of my brothers decided long ago that absolute truth is vital in a parent/child relationship.  I've seen his children struggle a little because they would really like to believe in Santa.  However, I don't think his strategy hurts them at all.  I have friends who play up the Santa story.  My mom didn't ever go overboard, but she still likes to say something like you have to believe to get presents.

I tend to fall in the middle of extremes on many things.  When it comes to Santa, I just say we do not know all the details.  I tell the kids that people try to figure out the mystery all the time, but we wake up on Christmas morning and there are presents waiting for us.  It allows me a little room to be wishy washy.  I think this approach gives them room to believe and have a healthy amount of doubt.  Santa isn't all about the kids though.  It turns out, that I get to enjoy the element of fantasy that Santa brings to Christmas.    

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Song that Makes me Smile

This song makes me smile, so I'm posting it.  I really like Imagine Dragon.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Steam Punk Halloween

Lexi and Jordan decided to dress up as Steam Powered Giraffe for Halloween.  Lexi dressed up as a Walter Girl (like Aunt Paige) and Jordan was The Spine.  Very few people in Houston know what steam punk is so explaining their costumes was difficult.  Everyone (even teenage boys) thought they were awesome anyway.  The costumes weren't that tough.  I guess the toughest part was Lexi's dress, which my mom made.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

60 Days of My Fitness Pal

A little over 60 days ago, a friend on Facebook mentioned an app called MyFitnessPal.  It is basically a calorie counter.  I have always heard that people who keep track of what they are eating tend to eat less.  That is a decent idea, but had always seemed like a pain.  Keeping track with an app sounded interesting, so I downloaded it. Almost every food item imaginable is on there, so you rarely have to calculate calories of what you are eating.  It only requires a simple search. Also, you can log into your account using their website if you would rather not use an app.

Once the app was downloaded, I added my current information like weight and height.  I also entered how much I want to weigh.  I put about 10 pounds less (thanks to the 5 lbs weight gain over the summer), which is my ideal weight.  If I had entered my dream weight that would be an additional 5 lbs.  I didn't really have a plan, but decided to start with that.

It also gave me the option to link with other friends (I could search for them or use ones from Facebook).  It is the community thing so we can encourage each other.  That may seem intimidating, but it really isn't.  It does not announce how much you weigh, what you are eating, or even if you gain weight in a week.   It does let them know things like "frecklefacegirl burned 237 calories doing 60 minutes of walking" and "frecklefacegirl completed her food and exercise diary for 11/12/13" and "frecklefacegirl lost 0.2 lbs since her last weigh-in!"  Yes, these are all recent posts. Notice how exciting that last one looks with the exclamation mark and everything!!!  Yeah, 0.2 lbs!!!  Pretty silly since a whole week had gone by, but it is something.  I have about 5 friends on there and they all seem to be progressing at similar rates.  I have read that the slower you lose it, the longer it stays off.  I hope that is true.

Sixty days have passed and with very little effort, I am 9.6 lbs lighter.  While I completely realize that losing almost 10 lbs in 60 days is no bragging matter, I'm glad that I am doing it.  I have eaten things like Halloween candy, a donut, and even gone out to eat.  I just make adjustments during the day to allow for it.  It also tracks Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron.  

If any one reading this wants to join, go ahead & add me.  I am using the name "frecklefacegirl." We can celebrate staying the same weight or losing 0.2 lbs together.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Few Small Steps

My posting is going down the tubes.  Mainly, I just don't think I have anything interesting to say.  When I think of a topic, I see a post from another blogger about it.  The topic is often covered better than I could have written.  As far as my life is concerned, I don't have anything terribly interesting happening.  That is both nice and depressing for someone who has always thrived on change.  I guess I could update with news on a few of the good things that have happened.

1. Both of my kids are in school -  This may seem like nothing, but after a horribly trying summer....it is best!!!  I can't tell you how happy I am to get a break.  I didn't have ANY this summer.  They didn't even have play-dates from the end of June until right before school started.  Most people escape the summer heat for that time period and our friends certainly did. I was working a LOT of hours, which made it worse.  I thought I was feeling extremely frazzled.  Once school started, my sanity started coming back.  I realized frazzled wasn't nearly a strong enough word for it.  I LOVE my kids, but I need some time to get things done and just breathe.  I also need to know that their brains are being stimulated and they are happy. 

2. Working Full Time - Near the end of the summer, my boss called to talk about going full time.  I worked a lot of hours this summer, but was still getting my regular part-time salary.  The part about being desperately poor and not having benefits wasn't a good thing either.  He gave me benefits and a salary bump.  The salary bump wasn't quite as much as I need, but he promised to revisit that topic in January when some of the money from the contracts we won over the summer starts flowing in. 

There you have it.  Not much, right?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Emotionally Invested

This week, I heard that my step-brother and his wife are getting divorced.  To be honest, I felt genuinely sad.  I will not pretend to know any of the details about who is to blame and all that is going on.  In fact, I really don’t know anything.  I have only seen him 3 different times over the last 12 years.  Two of the times, he had his family with him and of course most of my attention went to his kids.  I think he has been married about 17 years and has 4 kids.  The one thing I always think about when it comes to divorce is the unexpected people who suffer with them.  I am guessing that both he and his wife are a little surprised by how emotional people get when they find out. 

When I got divorced, I was certainly shocked by how many people got dismayed by the news.  It was easy for me to tell close friends and family.  I had never really criticized my husband, but once I knew there was no other choice, I started sharing some of my pain.  The decision to get divorced wasn't that alarming to those near me.  The difficult part was sharing the news with casual friends, neighbors, close friends that I haven't seen in a while, and acquaintances.   It isn't easy to introduce this topic in everyday chit chat or contact them specifically to share the bad news.  After I filed the divorce papers and was preparing to move, I realized I just had to start announcing it to others.  Quite a few of them started crying huge heartbreaking tears.  In my tired and numb state, I found myself consoling them.  Even though I was walking around in a daze, I truly felt grateful to be surrounded by such caring people.  I felt loved.          

When I was in junior high, I remember crying almost all night long when I heard that a guy in the grade above me committed suicide.  I knew who he was and who his friends were, but probably nothing else.  I wondered if he would have committed suicide if he knew that his death would hurt so many people that he barely knew existed.  I was sure that if I was crying others were too.  I realized that night that our lives affect more people than we can possibly imagine.    

This evening, my aunt had a wonderful post on Facebook.  She got engaged after being divorced possibly 30 years.  I remember her divorce, but I was a child.  She is a beautiful, intelligent and successful woman.  My heart filled with joy when I read the news and saw the picture. 

Even when it is none of our business, as fellow human beings, we naturally feel emotionally invested in others well-being.  No matter how isolated we feel, we are never truly alone.  The world is full of people who care about each and every one of us.