Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sometimes it's not good to be right

Well, as it turns out, I was right to be worried about weight gain during Thanksgiving.  In fact, I feel pretty stupid for even thinking that I might be able to NOT gain weight over the Thanksgiving holidays in NEW ORLEANS, of all places!

Turns out that I gained more than a pound over Thanksgiving, which means that in order to get to my 10% weight loss goal (which would pretty much put me at my "ideal" weight), I would have to lose nearly 8 pounds (!) in 3 weeks.  That doesn't sound like a good idea, does it?

Actually, though, I weighed myself this morning and my weight is now slightly lower than my weigh-in the Monday before Thanksgiving, so I really only have around 6 pounds to lose in the next 2.6 weeks.  To me, that sounds more do-able.

People around my office have been commenting that they can tell that I've lost weight - I have lost almost 10 pounds - so that makes me feel good and gives me some more motivation.  And if nothing else, I've still achieved my goal of giving myself a good Christmas present this year: the right to go buy some new pants.  :)

Monday, November 28, 2011


Fellan got his new glasses on Tuesday afternoon and he absolutely loves them.  Weird kid.  ;)

But I'm loving them, too, because I think they actually are making a difference for him!  I've tried looking through them and they really don't make anything look different.  They're not corrective, but they seem to sort of "move" everything up from where they should be.  Hard to explain.

Anyway, we drove over to New Orleans for Thanksgiving and Fellan read out loud for about an hour an a half while we were driving.  I haven't heard him read out loud very much lately, but it seemed like he was much more fluent in his reading than he was before.  He finished a whole Jack and Annie book during the drive over and read two more while we were there!

Today is his first day at school with his glasses.  We told his teacher about them and she said she'll try to make sure he wears them when he's reading and writing, like he's supposed to.  I can't wait to ask him about his day tonight!

Here he is, looking studious.  (...and annoyed because I bothered him while he was reading!)

Mah...ahm, I'm trying to read here!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sore and Worried...

We're spending the bulk of today in the car, which means it's a day off from exercise. That also means it's good news for my knees who have not appreciated all the running I've done over the last three days.

We ran at Audubon Park in New Orleans while we were there. One lap around the park is about 1.7 miles and on Thursday and Friday I only did one lap, but since I was feeling guilty about eating so much, I did two laps yesterday morning.

Surprisingly, I started feeling 'ok' about halfway through the 2nd lap yesterday. And by 'ok', I mean that I wasn't in horrible pain!

I really dislike running. I don't think I'm a natural runner. I was a sprinter in high school and I only started running longer distances in the last 10 years or so, but I wouldn't say that I've enjoyed it. It's just a faster way to get a workout sometimes.

Anyway, today, my knees are just sore. My dad had to have knee replacement surgery several years ago, so I like to use that as an excuse not to run, too. I can come up with all kinds of excuses not to run.  :)

I am worried, though, about weighing-in tomorrow morning, so I'm sort of kicking myself for not running two laps each day. Oh well, c'est la vie and we shall see...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm trying out the mobil-blogging function of Blogger. Let's see if this actually works!

This past Monday was the 6th week in my 10-week Weight Loss Challenge. And as of Monday, I was finally on track to lose 10% in 10 weeks - I was down by 6% this past Monday!

My goal for this week was to just not gain weight and I've been making a valiant effort. We got up early yesterday morning to go running and we also went running this morning. I discovered last week that Fellan makes a good running partner for me, so he's also been joining the family for these morning runs. It's turned out to be a nice way to start the day before all the eating begins.

And speaking of eating, we've been doing a lot of that, too. The problem with the family recipes that we all love is that everything is covered in cheese. Everything is delicious, but it basically means that I should probably give up hope for my goal of no weight gain...

Well, I guess I'd better get back to the family room to continue watching football. Nebraska won their game today and LSU pulled ahead just before halftime. And then after this game is over, it sounds like it'll be time for the next round of food!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cross your fingers

On Friday afternoon, I picked up Fellan from school and took him to an eye doctor appointment.  He has always tested fine for vision using those highly non-scientific eye charts, but his occupational therapist thought we should really get his eyes tested by a pediatric developmental optometrist because she thought "there was something going on with his eyes".

It was a really interesting appointment.  She first tested his eyes with the regular eye doctor contraption of a million lenses and determined that he has 20/20 vision.  But then she had him sit at a desk and handed him a piece of paper with several different pictures on it.  She asked him to draw a copy of the pictures below each one.  He did Ok, but his handwriting is pretty bad, so they weren't exact duplicates.

But, one of the pictures was three ovals that overlapped each other in the middle.  Sort of like that atomic energy symbol.  When he got to that one, I expected him to just draw three ovals that intersected at the middle - I mean, that's exactly how I saw the picture.  But instead, he drew the middle part of the symbol, trying to get all the angles just right and then he drew the rest of each of the ovals as if they were petals on a flower.

I think it was immediately after he drew that picture that the optometrist asked me when Fellan started walking.  When I said he started walking at 8 months, she suddenly seemed to have all the answers she needed.  She said, "Oh, he was an early walker? And he didn't spend much time crawling, then, did he?"

"Nope," I answered, "and he didn't just start walking, he started running!"

Apparently, it turns out that crawling is an important milestone in the development of the connections in your brain.  It's the time when you learn depth perception and if you bypass the crawling stage, there are some that believe it can affect the way your brain interprets things and can cause problems with the way your eyes work together.

She said something about limited visual perception (or something like that) and then took us to another room where she put some goggles on him and had him read a paragraph from a book.  The goggles had special sensors in them that tracked the movement of his eyes while he read the story.

Reading goggles in action
I got to look at the chart after he finished and it showed that at the beginning of the passage, his eyes tracked pretty well together, but as he kept reading, his eyes began to just do their own thing, until at the end of the paragraph, he was basically reading cross-eyed!  She found it amazing that he could actually understand what he was reading at that point.

She told me this means that basically, Fellan's brain thinks that his school papers and his books are closer than they actually are and we need to re-train his brain to get it back on track.  And the way to do this is to get him some prism glasses.  They're effectively the opposite of reading glasses.  Instead of magnifying things, they make things seem farther away.  She put some on him and had him read another paragraph. The chart was much better than the first.

Fellan couldn't contain his excitement at the prospect of getting glasses.  I think one of his friends at school has glasses, so he thinks it's cool or something.  But he should only have to wear them for 6 months to a year and only for reading and writing.  Hopefully after that point, the novelty will have worn off and he won't be upset to have to give them up.  Also, hopefully, this will actually do something to help his handwriting, as well - she said it should definitely help it some.  It probably won't fix it, but it could help.  So, cross your fingers... and not your eyes.  ;)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bad Kitty!

We haven't had a kitten in the house for 18 years and it's been a rude awakening. She is into everything, but surprisingly, has only broken one thing so far. (knock on wood...)

We're beginning to understand her preferences, though. The other day, the husband sent me this picture.

After drinking it, she refilled it with water - like we weren't going to notice!...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rules to live by

As I eluded to in my last post, we have been going to the Unitarian Universalist Church off and on for a few years now.  We like the messages that they have during the sermons and the kids really love the Religious Education program they go to while we're in the service.

The UU church has 7 principles they teach and one of the songs the kids sing (to the tune of Do-Re-Mi) goes like this:
  1. Each person is important
  2. Be kind in all you do
  3. We're free to learn together
  4. And search for what is true
  5. All people need a vote
  6. Build a fair and peaceful world
  7. We care for earth and sky
Don't get me started about how this doesn't rhyme - it really bugs me! - but every once in awhile I hear the kids singing it, so it must somehow get through to them and they seem to be able to remember the principles pretty well.

The kids have also been taking Tae Kwon Do now for a couple of years and every practice starts with the following pledge:

     I, as a Universal member pledge:
     To be loyal to my nation, my parents, and my family.
     To respect my seniors and be courteous to my juniors.
     To be righteous and show good conduct.
     To develop leadership with the tenets of Tae Kwon Do.

AND since Fellan has been going to Cub Scouts for the past couple of months, he now has the Boy Scout Oath to remember:

     On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God
     and my country, and to obey the Scout Law; to
     help other people at all times; to keep myself
     physically strong; mentally awake; and morally straight.

So, during the Boy Scout event last Saturday, one of the stations he visited was about "Manners".  They apparently asked the boys to write down five examples of good manners.  The husband took a picture of Fellan's paper and sent it to me.

It says:
  1. Say please and thank you
  2. Say excuse me
  3. Listen to your scout master
  4. Respect earth and sky
  5. Respect your elders and be courteous to your juniors
I asked the husband if Fellan had received any prompting to come up with this list and he said Fellan came up with them all on his own.  I love the mix of scouting, Tae Kwon Do, and UU principles.  And the husband said that they used his as an example for the other kids.  Score!  This is one of those rare instances when it almost makes me feel like we've done something right.  ;)

P.S.  Fellan's handwriting is a really good example of what Dysgraphia looks like...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Super-full Weekend

This past weekend was not only full, it was super-full of activities!

We started the activities on Friday night with a rock-climbing outing with Marxo's Girl Scout Daisy troop.  Marxo and another little girl were the only ones who really seemed to love it.  The event was planned to last from 7pm to 9pm, and by the time all the adults were "belay certified" it was almost 8pm.  The girls spent their time "bouldering" until the adults were done but then I noticed that at around 8:30pm everyone else was getting ready to head home.

Not Marxo!  She LOVES climbing.  She and I stayed until 9:15pm when I had to put my foot down and tell her it was past bedtime and we really needed to leave.  She fell asleep in the car.

"Take the picture fast! I can't hold on much longer!"
I was able to get a good picture of her bouldering before we left, though. I was really impressed with her determination to make it up this over-hang thing.  Since she's pretty skinny, she's got a really good strength to weight ratio.

The next morning, there was a Boy Scout event that Fellan and the husband attended.  Fellan got to do all kinds of activities at this thing.  They had stations set up for geology, manners, soccer, water rockets, BB Guns (!), and flag football.  The boys apparently spent time at each station and I think they get badges or something like that for each one.  Anyway, Fellan had a great time.  He has been asking us for the past couple of years if he could join Cub Scouts, but we didn't want to make the time-commitment.  This year, we finally relented and he is 100% embracing everything about it.  It's fun to see him so excited.

Saturday afternoon, we had a wedding to attend and then Saturday night, there was a big birthday party celebration for a friend's daughter.  We excused ourselves early from that celebration at around 9:30pm!

On Sunday morning, we had to be to church early because we were asked to ring the Zen Bell and to be the "Chalice Lighters" at the church.  Each week, a different family gets to do this for the service and the kids were very excited to have such a big responsibility.

After church, we were looking forward to being able to relax a little before our dance class, but forgot that we had planned with a friend to go see the last Rice University home volleyball game at 2pm.  So, we ran off to the game and then went straight from there to dance classes.

You would think that after such an event-filled weekend, we wouldn't subject ourselves to anything else for Sunday night, but you would be wrong.  The world premiere of Art Car: The Movie was being held at Hermann Park at the Miller Outdoor Theater and we just couldn't pass that up.  The kids love going to the Art Car Parade each year and they really wanted to see the movie.  Unfortunately, even though the tickets said that it would start at 7:00pm, they had a band set up for pre-movie entertainment, so the movie didn't start until almost 7:45pm.  Which meant that the movie didn't finish until almost 9:45pm!

Marxo, once again, fell asleep in the car on the way home.  We're all looking forward to going to bed early tonight!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Halloween 2011

Well, I figure that since I was so late with my post about Labor Day this past year, this post about Halloween is actually early!  ...or something like that.

Some friends of ours usually have us over to their house for a pre-Trick-or-Treating party which generally involves eating, drinking, and the kids running and playing in the yard before we all head out on the quest for sugar.

This year, however, the usual hostess wasn't sure she'd be able to have the kids to her house, and in a moment of weakness, we decided to host the party ourselves, instead.  We don't have a yard for kids to run and play in, so this usually means that we try to avoid having large groups of children at our house.  However, since we had been inundated with mosquitoes a week before Halloween, we thought it might be good to have the pre-party inside anyway.

To prepare for the party, we figured we'd better decorate the house. (Marxo had been begging to decorate the house for a couple of weeks, but there had been too many mosquitoes to do anything outside until about 2 days before Halloween!)

Anyway, we finally dug out the decorations and Halloween-ified our front "yard":

Marxo helped with the decorations

And then worked on her acting
The final product
 We also carved a pumpkin just before everyone arrived.  I suggested that we use Marxo's mouth as a template, but she didn't think that was so funny.  ;)  Instead, she came up with this design:

She added the eyebrows at the last minute to make it "angry"!
Unfortunately, we didn't get any good pictures of the kids in their costumes.  Fellan wanted to be Indiana Jones (mostly, just so he could have a whip!) and for some reason, Marxo decided to be a butterfly.

Dude, check out my whip...
The party itself seemed to be a big success.  At least, the husband and I and the adults had a good time while the kids all watched "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown".  And everyone seemed to get a good haul of candy by the end of the night, so everyone was happy!