Saturday, May 15, 2010

Goin' Ga Ga

Whenever we get in the car lately, it seems a Lady Ga Ga is playing on the radio. If I had a dollar for every time I heard her sing, I wouldn't have a mortgage payment...

The songs are a little suggestive, yet upbeat, catchy, and stick in the brain. My brain, and my kids' brains as well. Case in point, here's Grant . . . singing "Paparazzi".

His lyrics? "I'm your babysitter, follow you until you love me...Papa...Paparazzi"

Not quite sure how he got "babysitter" in there. Sounds like a stalker to me.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Who says a minivan ain't cool?

This is my new favorite commercial.

I'm perfecting the swagger...and I want the license plate to match.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A word of caution...

My best mother-in-law (yes, she's my only, but still my best) sent me this bumper sticker today.

Ironically, I was sitting at a stoplight when it arrived in my inbox.

Perhaps it was just a coincidence. Or perhaps a cautionary warning.

I love my iPhone. I love that it has email, internet, texting, weather, movie times, and all sorts of other apps that make my life a little easier and a lot more fun (including Scrabble, which entertains me and distracts me when I'm sitting waiting for a kid somewhere...). I can keep up on all that I need to during the day when I am away from home. But it is also tempting to pick it up at times when my focus should be otherwise directed. Like at a stoplight. Granted, I wasn't moving, and the light had just turned red, so I knew I had at least a couple of seconds to sit and wait. But I'm not ready to meet the Big Fella, so that phone is staying closed when the motor is running from here on out.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

HDL, LDL...and what the h*ll

At Grant's physical last week, the doctor expressed some concern over his girth (I've always loved that word, but rarely have a chance to use it!). Sitting in his little boy briefs on the table, his belly protruded and he even showed signs of "man-boobs". He's gained 9 pounds in the last year, pushing him from the 75th percentile up into the 98th percentile. His BMI officially classified him as overweight.

I take partial responsibility. The past few months have not marked me as the most consistent, health conscious mother on the planet. Far too many snacks have been eaten in place of healthy main courses, and way more tv has been watched than is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. With the chaos of moving, packing, unpacking, repacking, moving again, well, you get the idea.

I trust our pediatrician completely. She is devoted, caring, and goes out of her way to make sure that we don't feel like just another chart. So when she expressed concern, I was a bit alarmed. She gave me a book on dealing with childhood obesity (am I really using that word on my 3 1/2 year old?). She said it was time to make some dietary changes, increasing his fresh fruits and veggies, decreasing any sort of processed, prepared foods, and cutting out fast food altogether, plus increasing his physical activity. She requested that Grant undergo a full blood panel work up. The real bummer? He had to be fasting in order to have the bloodwork done. Ugh.

So, Friday morning, I bribed him with cartoons while Jack and Olivia ate their breakfast. I gave him a sippy cup of water, and told him that after we were done at the lab, we'd go out to breakfast.

We dropped off Jack & Olivia at school and got to the lab about 9:00. They called us back, and asked me to sit in the chair and hold Grant on my lap. He climbed on up there and was chatting and flirting away with the phlebotomists while they prepped him. He had no idea what was coming.

When the needle went in the first arm, he didn't even flinch. Just stared at his arm. Unfortunately, his veins were uncooperative and after fishing around for a couple of minutes, she withdrew the needle with no blood. Time to switch to the other arm. Again, he didn't move a muscle, or make a sound. The whole lab was looking at him, and whispering about this cute little guy who was being so brave. I had to agree. Take two was successful and enough blood was drawn to run the tests.

When we went to stand up, all of a sudden Grant said "I don't feel so good" as all the color drained from his face. The lab tech quickly grabbed us a bottle of Gatorade and we sat in the lobby while he sipped.

Sad face...

Once we were done, I asked him where he wanted to go for breakfast. He chose Panera...and when we got there, he ordered a giant cinnamon roll and a chocolate milk. Just what the doctor ordered? I don't think so. But what fun is life if you can't indulge on occasion?

Happy face...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Just call me Madam President...

It's no secret that I am involved in the kids' school. I have been room mom for years, have coordinated the FAME program and taught it for the last 6 years, and have strived to be an active, positive presence on campus. While teachers and administration can't and don't play favorites, I've discovered that it is easier to address concerns and issues if my face is not a stranger and if I'm putting forth efforts to better the environment.

The last few years have been challenging for our small school. In addition to the turmoil caused by the state budget cuts to education, we have had a group of parents that has actively worked to sabotage many of the great aspects of our school and the administration that took over 3 years ago. It upsets me to see parents badmouthing staff, complaining about lack of resources, and doing nothing to improve the situation.

Last fall, I volunteered to co-chair a Spring Pledge Drive for the school, with the goal of building bathrooms in the back playground and portables area of the campus. We had hoped to raise $20,000. In January when the state budget cuts to education were announced, our priorities were reevaluated. Art and music were on the chopping block, and suddenly bathrooms took a backseat to programs, and our fundraising goal jumped from $20,000 to $100,000! For a school with only 250 students, this was a huge undertaking.

Over the last 6 weeks, funds have been pouring in. To date, we've raised $60,000, which is nothing short of a miracle.

I decided early on in the year that I wanted to be a part of our Community Club board next year and institute some changes - not just in procedures, but in attitudes as well. When word got out that I was interested, rumors began circulating that I was not a good candidate for president. The reason? I am "too positive, and too supportive of the school". Really? Isn't that the whole purpose of a parent/teacher organization?

When nominations came in in late April, my name was thrown in the hat and up for approval. Surprisingly enough, there were no big objections, and on Tuesday night, I was officially elected as Community Club President for the 2010/2011 school year.

I haven't been able to sleep since, with thoughts circling in my head for what lies ahead. I have an amazing board to share the load, and I am confident that a positive attitude and support for our school will go a long way toward changing the attitudes of the naysayers and making our school a happier, more fun place for all of us!

I've promised Steve that this role will not consume my life or our family. I will delegate. I will uplift those around me. I will not take negative comments personally. And I will keep my positive attitude, even if it kills me!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Going Cold Turkey

About a year and a half ago, a friend of mine told me about facebook. She said it was so great, an easy way to connect with friends and family—both distant and near. I joined, and began to get friend requests from around the globe. Old boyfriends, third cousins twice removed, and close friends all wanted to be my online friend. In no time at all, I had hundreds of friends. I felt so popular!

Then one day, when I opened up facebook, the first image I saw was a sexually explicit one, posted on the page of a so-called "friend" of mine from high school. I was shocked, and immediately "de-friended" him. I didn't like the idea of me unintentionally leaving the page open and my kids being exposed to something that was not appropriate for their eyes (or mine, for that matter!).

As time went on, I found myself checking facebook more and more. Sometimes multiple times an hour, just to see if anyone had posted anything new. Thoughts ran through my head in the form of a "status update"—Alyson Whitaker is . . . making fish tacos for dinner. Alyson Whitaker is . . . driving carpool for the umpteenth time today. Alyson Whitaker is . . . trying to be productive, but can't get this darn website out of her head.

I want to write. Actually, I really want to write. I want to write something good. I don't know what that is yet, but I feel it inside me. To be a good writer, I actually have to write. I can't just think about it. And I was spending more time reading the status updates of people that I may never actually see in person again in my life (nor care to, for that matter), than I was focusing on what's important to me in my life right now.

Sunday night, I thought, "I wonder if I can go a week without checking facebook once?" I decided to give it a try. Yesterday morning, I logged on one last time, and updated my status "Alyson Whitaker is . . . taking the week off facebook. If you really want to know what's on my mind, check out my blog."

I made it through the day yesterday without severe withdrawals. I actually felt liberated. I took the app off my home screen on my iPhone so I wouldn't be tempted when I was sitting at swim practice, or in the carpool lane, or in line at the grocery store.

The time I spent lurking on facebook was wasted and unproductive. I want to spend what little free time I do have doing something that makes me a better person and pushes me towards my ultimate goals in life.

Will I check it again after this week is over? Perhaps, on occasion. But I have a feeling that after going a week without, I'll bid farewell and move on to better things.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Seeing is Believing

This was the view from my car windshield last Tuesday morning. I don't know that I've ever in my life seen a whole rainbow. I had to capture it. I know, not safe, I was driving...but I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

I've always believed in God. It's never really even been a question for me. When people ask me how I know, I never have a concrete answer. I just know. There have been times however, where I've questioned His presence or knowledge of what's happening in my life.

The last few months have been filled with decisions, and I've tried to be prayerful and mindful of the Big Fella as we've made those decisions. Making the move we did truly has felt like the right thing to do for our family, even though we had several stumbles along the way.

Last Tuesday, Steve texted me and asked if I could locate the keys to our trailer. He was heading out of town on Wednesday morning for his annual trek to the desert, and the trailer was part of the plan. Find the keys? Sure, no problem...

Most of our possessions are currently in storage. What's left with us is mostly in boxes in the garage. I spent a few minutes thinking, then looked in the first few boxes that I thought they might be in. No luck. Then, it was time to get the kids, help with homework, go to swim practice, fix dinner, and put the kids to bed.

At about 9:30, I realized I hadn't yet found the keys. Steve would be arriving home shortly from a business trip, and I knew that I was running out of time. I headed back out to the garage, and methodically started peering in boxes. One by one, I opened up boxes, peeked inside, and moved on. As the boxes I had looked through climbed, and the ones remaining dwindled, I began to feel panic. I couldn't even remember putting the keys in a box. Let alone, remember which box they were in.

My panic grew, and I was on the verge of breakdown. Not just because I couldn't find the keys, but just feeling the stress of the past few months cresting inside me. I was done living out of boxes. I was done with the uncertainties that have circled around us the past few weeks. I was just DONE.

With tears welling up in my eyes, I asked for help. Not an "on my knees with full intent" sort of prayer . . . rather one of desperation saying "I need YOUR HELP!"

Not more than a minute later, while still fighting panic and wiping the tears that continued to form, I went to a box. It was a box I had already looked in more than once. It was the bottom box in a stack on top of the refrigerator. I pulled it down and opened it up. I pulled out a bag of light bulbs, some cleaning supplies, and other odds and ends of miscellaneous stuff. I kept going, until I reached the bottom of the box. And there, at the very bottom, in a ziploc bag, were the keys.

I have absolutely no memory of putting the keys in that bag, or putting them in that box. There were other boxes that made far more sense—like the one with our key holder in it, for example.

At any rate, I had found the keys. Steve walked in the door moments later, having absolutely no idea the panic that I had felt just minutes before. I calmly handed him the keys, and said "God answers prayers. That's all I have to say."

This experience has stuck with me all week. I can't stop telling people about it. It's a little piece of proof to me that God is real, and that he cares about each one of us. Whether we're struggling with life-altering decisions, or just trying to find some d*** keys, all we have to do is ask.