Sunday, December 4, 2011

"We're going to state!"

When Chelsea finally returned home Friday night at 12:30 she had good news.  She and her partner had won the debate tournament they had been in and she concluded, "We won! We're going to state!" I had driven them over and had listened to them practicing, so I wasn't too surprised.  They work so well together and they came up with a lot of answers to possible rebuttals. 
They had practiced the night before at our house, too, and Dad argued against them to give them practice.  The subject for debate was "Income disparities in America are threatening democratic principles."  During several rounds they had to take either the pro or con side and defend it. They met a former nemesis who had not let Chelsea get a word in edgewise last time and Chelsea smilingly said, "I did that to him this time!" 
I know I'd hate to have to argue against her.  I'm so glad she enjoys this and has found her niche. Sorry there are no pictures.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Number 8 is great!

Our eighth child, third daughter, won first place in a UIL debate competition.  She didn't want me to attend on the first day as she felt she wouldn't do well. "We're  not prepared," she said,  "but this will be good experience".

She asked her Dad to pick her up at eight in the evening, but he had to wait there awhile because, as she reluctantly told him, she had made it into the semi-finals.  Even then, she asked him to wait outside, though spectators were allowed.  When she was finished she apologized for making him wait but that was all she told him. 

The next morning, Saturday,  when we were at her younger sister's volleyball team, she called and asked if Dad could take her back to the same high school.  He asked her why and she said it was because she had made it to the finals.  I tell it to you like this so you get an idea of what kind of person our daughter is like: low-key, unassuming, modest, thoughtful, smart and capable, and so much more. 

She went back to that competition Saturday and she won it.  She was very pleased, but downplayed her acheivement by saying how her opponents had used a different kind of logic and that the judges must have preferred either her and her partners way of explaining their point of view or that they were more appealing to the judges because they were girls.  That's how she rolls.

A couple of my darling D-I-L's have expressed a wish that I would characterise each of the nine from my point of view.  But, I can't! I don't understand them completely and to describe them from my point of view would be to limit them in some way.  I'm proud of all of them.  I'm astounded at times in fact.  It's fun sometimes to see bits of my self in them, but it's fascinating to see things in them to which I can't even relate.  They are their own persons and I love that!

One thing that has been really fun for me is seeing how each blossoms as they become the "oldest child"-meaning the oldest at home.  Michelle never talked to me while Hayley was still at home and yet opened up and shared so much once she was the oldest.  I used to beg Chelsea to talk to me, to no avail, until her older sisters were both away at college.  Now she talks to me all the time.  I feel so privileged when my children trust me enough to talk to me about how they feel about things and what is going on in their lives. 

One thing I've noticed about Chelsea is that she sees me as a person, not just her mom.  I think that she is the only one who has done that at such a young age (15).  (If I am remembering correctly, and that's questionable.)  That's not to say that my other children were unsympathetic or thoughtless.  It's a difficult thing to explain, at least for me. But, I can tell when someone is treating me as a "role" (wife, mother, etc) or as a 3-dimen-sional person with all the feelings, frailities and strengths of other people.

Chelsea has no idea how beautiful she is nor how smart she is.  Yet she doesn't follow others.  It's not like she has low self-esteem.  She hasn't realised her full "power" yet, but she thinks for herself and evaluates her decisions.  She likes to argue just for the "fun" of it, but she's not disrespectful when she does it.  She relies on logic and fact and smiles as she argues with you.  I don't like to argue, so I can't say that I enjoy this part of her, but I see how good she is at it and admire it.  In fact, we always have said she should be a lawyer.  It's probably why, without any training, she could win a debate tournamnet.

She's always been a beautiful, easy-going, happy, kind, individual.  She was never cuddly and though she submits to hugs from Dad and I everyday, she never really hugs back or relaxes in a hug.  She doesn't have the fire of Michelle, but rather a cold as steel determination which I think will help her accomplish all that she dares.

A thoughtfulness and consideration for others sets her apart from the crowd.  She doesn't betray her values or beliefs, but she doesn't want others to be uncomfortable so she will let them think what they will if that makes them happy. You can always tell when she's doing that because she has this certain smile on her face and a little laugh that she does.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Here we go again

I invited you along on my last weight loss journey and, well, here we go again.  No, I haven't gained it ALL back, but I've gained about half back.  Yeah, I know, it's ridiculous.  Unfortunately, I am an emotional eater and this past spring/summer was an emotional roller coaster for me. 

I had gained ten pounds in the spring, but was still pretty happy with where I was. Going to Europe was actually beneficial; because of all the walking I lost three pounds.  But, once we got back I gained 15 pounds very quickly. 

I finally went to a Weight Watcher's meeting last week and found that I was 25 pounds over my goal.  All week I thought about it, but couldn't get my head into it.  Today when I weighed in at the meeting...I had gained another pound and a half.  Yep. So I decided I needed to bring in the big guns, ie. public humiliation.  Just kidding, but I do need more accountability than the lady who weighs me at Weight Watchers.  I don't care what she thinks.  I don't even like her. But, I do care what you few who read my blog think, so I'm using that as motivation. 

I know what I need to do and I just haven't had it in me to do it.  With your help I think I can.  I need to lose at least 26.5 pounds and 2-3 dress sizes.  What I'm working on this week is writing my food down in my tracker and drinking all the water I need to drink-10 glasses.  I'm not good about drinking at all, so that's always hard for me, and plus it means a lot of trips to the bathroom until my body gets used to it. 

I've let my exercising slip, too.  Where once I worked out six days a week, it's usually only about 3-4 times a week now that I exercise.  So I have to make sure I get at least 30 minutes in everyday.  Those are my goals for this week.  Next Wednesday I'll tell you if I accomplished them or not and what the scales said. Thanks for being my support group.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tofu anyone?

So, Chelsea has decided she is a vegetarian.  She watched a video on You Tube called "Slaughter" or something, and decided she couldn't in good conscience eat meat any longer.  She tried to get us to watch it too, but I was too squeamish and Bill said it would ruin his enjoyment when he ate a burger, to be thinking, "Poor Cow!" 
Anyway, you have to realize that there are only two children at home now.  This probably wouldn't have happened back when everyone was still home.  I wouldn't have felt like I had the time to endulge anyone.  My motto back then for meals was, "This is not a cafeteria. If you don't want to eat what I've made, you can make a peanut butter sandwich."
But, as I said, there are only two, so I looked up a lot of vegetarian recipes on and printed them out, put them in clear page protectors and put them in a notebook which I then labeled "Vegetarian" on the spine.  I also found a list called Twenty for Twenty, Vegetarian Edition. It's twenty items to stock up on at the grocery store that will enable you to make twenty different vegetarian meals.  I bought the things on the list and then gave the notebook to Chelsea and told her, "Ok, I've invested in this idea, now it's your turn."  She has made several meals, some we have made together, and they've all been delicious.  I still make meals with meat sometimes, but I make sure there are side dishes that she will be able to eat.  I figure we are all eating healthier this way.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

10 Myths About Introverts

Disclaimer:  I totally stole this from "I'm Clothed Much" blogger, Elaine. But, she stole it from someone else, so I can't feel bad about it. 
Anyway, I've always thought of myself as an introvert, someone who is introspective, needs quiet time, alone time to figure things out and is not really very outgoing.  I was trying to explain this to one of my girls the other day-how I'm shy, but I make an effort to be friendly because I want other people to feel comfortable, which makes me uncomfortable at first, so I usually avoid new groups of people, like other kids' mothers; but, because I make that effort, no one understands that I am shy or uncomfortable. 
 I could especially relate to #'s 2, 3,4, 5, 6 and 9. I often feel that I come across as rude.  When I have something to ask or relate to another person, I often forget the pleasantries such as "Hello".  And I've always found it exhausting to be around people other than my family, except for a few close friends I've had over the years.  After being around a lot of people and noise, I end up staying up late by myself just so I can wind down. Sometimes it takes a long time to get the "noise" out of my head.  Anyone else ever feel that way? In fact, when I'm in a group, I find that I usually block almost everyone out and only concentrate on two or three people at a time.  That is less overwhelming. It probably does come across as rude, because I can't get around to everyone.  Often I won't even make eye contact with the "others".  Maybe I am weird.  But, then, isn't everyone a little weird?

 It's a list compiled by Carl King that he created after reading The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World. I plan to read that book.

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.

This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.

Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.

Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.

On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.

Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.

Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.

Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.

Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.

Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.

A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Random slices of life

Random images from our life lately:
He's growing so fast!

The cast

Breakfast every morning (and usually lunch as well)

The chef on Mother's Day

Yes, she does own the world

Isn't that the sweetest smile?

Senior Salute-It was a lot of fun!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Back to the "9-to-5", or at least to the "10-to-2:30"

I'm working outside the home again.  I've been wondering if I can say I've gone "back to work" for a couple of reasons.  One reason is, "Can you say you've gone back to work, when the previous work experience (regular paycheck) was more than 30 years ago?"  Maybe it's expired and you just have to say, "I've started working". The other BIG reason is, did I ever stop working?  Isn't it traitorous and just plain incorrect to say,
"Oh, now I'm working, but for the last thirty plus years I've just been sitting around on my back side eating bon bons?" 
Yeah, so there's my dilemna. But, as soon as all my friends know about it the problem won't exist. And, I'm not losing sleep over it anyway. Just thought I'd ask.

Anyway, I am having so much FUN!  I know that's not a word usually associated with work or school, but when I was able to go back to school a year or two ago, I had a blast! And now, this is even more fun because it's more gratifying knowing that I'm helping, and, hey, I'm even getting paid to have fun. Whoa! 

I think the thing they have in common is that I'm learning something new and that is always exciting.  I like to challenge myself and once I learn something I like to see how fast I can do it.  I once worked in a college postal station and I had to put the letters into small boxes that were in a large grid on the wall. Each box was for a different department or office in the college and were open in the front.  At first of course I placed each letter carefully in the correct box after checking the name on the box, but by the time I left the post office I could just look at the stack of letters in my hand and throw them unerringly into the boxes without even glancing up.  That's what I mean by challenging myself.  I get a lot of pleasure out of that.

I love having a defined purpose as well.  Housework is so open and infinite that you never feel done. I mean maybe you organize a closet or thoroughly clean a room and that's gratifying, but we all know long that lasts with kids (and husbands) in the house. When I finish something at work, I number it and place it in a box or give it to a tech and it is no longer my responsibility. Being able to stay home and raise my children was a privilege that I appreciated more and more as I got older and saw how quickly they grew up. Still, now, I'm not needed as much.  There's only three at home and one of those is leaving in four weeks.  I have so much time now that I was beginning to get bored.
Serving others: patients, or co-workers, or the business itself (which I associate with my husband), is also a pleasure.  The hours at work fly by.  So far, I'm only part-time.  But, when Emma and Chels are older (maybe when Chelsea can drive) I'll work full-time.  As it is, I can hardly make myself leave at the end of my shift.

I'm so lucky to have a husband with a clinic where I can work flexible hours.  I can take Emma to school and be there to pick her up. It's ideal.  I'm determined that I won't take advantage of the fact that I'm the bosses' wife.  I clock in and clock out and get to work when I'm supposed to be there. I'm working on getting some of the employees to call me by my first name.  I tell them everyday and today I said, "I know if someone else started working here that was my age you would still call them by their first name. Please call my by mine." I've always introduced myself that way to them, but some of the newer, younger employees feel intimidated I guess. I hope to show them that I'm a team player and don't expect favors or special treatment. Meanwhile, I'm having the time of my life:)