Friday, March 27, 2009

Thank you Girl Scouts...Now Go Away 'til Next Year

Did you enjoy your Girl Scout cookies? I did.

Nirali, a friend of my daughter Hayley, is our dealer. Always innocently clad in her Girl Scouts vest lined with badges, she arrives at our door to take our order. This year, she supplied us with two boxes of Samoas, two boxes of Tagalongs, one box of Thin Mints, and one box of Lemon Chalet Cremes. Surprisingly, there are two half boxes left. Maybe it’s because the six boxes of cookies had to share top billing with my daughter Kelly’s two birthday cakes. We definitely have not lacked in our “zero nutritious-delicious” carbs during the last week or two. (The “We” is me and my three daughters. My husband had his one, thin, obligatory slice of birthday cake…he’s so good.)

The thought of the cookies popped into my head as I curiously stepped on the scale. Shock! Just two weeks ago, I was marveling at the low number on the scale and looking at myself in the large bathroom mirror, turning to view all sides of me. “Wow” I thought, “My recent jogging is working!” I had just gotten my weight back down after going through another temporary binge that included a Boy Scouts Eagle celebration. The cake, brownies, and my favorite – the crème puffs – were so, so good. Hmmm…seems to be a Scouts theme here.

The yo-yoing this month is not unusual; down six pounds, up five, down four, up two... Over the years, that has happened more often than having a static weight for at least a month at a time.

I have accepted that there is a direct correlation between the food that goes in, the amount of exercise, and the number on the scale. We’ve all heard this; nothing new.

While I kid about cookies and pounds, I must seriously add, that I do not expect to have a perfect weight – whatever that is. We are all so vastly different, and it is quite burdensome to try to fit a certain mold. Work on being your best! I am going to continue with the exercise, and with putting a few more nutritious calories in my body. Soooo…back to the pavement-more jogging, less cookies.

Swimsuit time is almost here. Are you ready? Just kidding. LOL
Actually, if you have some encouraging words, or nutritious-delicious snack tips, let us know.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Book Club - You Win Some, You Lose Some

Caffeine & Toothpicks

After years of being invited to join my friend’s book club, I made the leap of faith. “Is it that big of a deal?” you may ask. It was for me.

As a person who likes to read, the idea began its appeal about two years into my role of stay-at-home mom. Flexibility made me believe that reading a book and joining a group discussion should be possible. A second pregnancy, two children in diapers, broken sleep and breastfeeding around the clock killed that belief.

Throughout the next six years, my friend continued to ask me if I’d like to join her book club, twelve women who live in our subdivision. In 2006, I took the plunge. I wanted to branch out into other genres; ninety percent of what I’d been reading was non-fiction and mostly autobiographies. And, even if my husband was not home by 7:30 (his usual), I was prepared to get a babysitter.

It’s now twenty-three books/meetings later, and I’ve read twenty-one completely. The two that I did not finish were because of mismanagement of time, or just life preventing me. I considered myself a book club success until…ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE! I did not finish it. No amount of caffeine could have kept me alert while reading it. Maybe I should have tried toothpicks in my eyes.

What happened? Other books were challenging, but finished. Was it because the author is a Nobel Prize winner and considered by some a literary great? “Hey, I’ve read some of the classics!” Ok…not many, but some.

A little redemption for me though – I get to the meeting and learn that seven of the nine women there did not finish the book either. One friend joked and questioned herself by saying, “Have I reached the point in life where I can’t finish reading a book?”

The two friends that read the book were very impressive. They discussed the book in great detail and depth as the rest of our heads went back and forth like we were watching a tennis match. We interjected thoughts and facts here and there in an attempt to contribute. One friend looked queasy as they discussed the morals of the characters; I felt her pain.

Periodically, there are books that I struggle to finish. My husband asks me, “Why do you keep reading the book?” For book club, I want to finish so that I can actively participate in the discussion, but why at other times? Am I challenging my patience or intellect?

At the meeting, another friend and I felt that we were wasting our time reading the book and that it was taking away enjoyment we could have been experiencing if we were reading something else.

My book club friends are a diverse, intelligent group of women. We’ve had easy books; we’ve had tough books. We have differed in our opinions, as with any other aspect of life. This book selection: some liked it, most did not. You win some, you lose some. No big deal.

How much of a book do you read before deciding to continue or stop?

Thursday, March 5, 2009


March came in like a lion.

I Googled that phrase and found that many bloggers have already written their weather related stories. Here’s mine.

It started on Sunday, March 1, and ended the next day. Over eight inches of the beautiful, pure white stuff came down. My kids were out in it when only the first couple of inches had fallen. The large bowl was placed on the deck for the snow cream, and the first snow man was built. (He met his demise soon after though, because he was put together so hastily.)

Monday morning – the kids were up early and ready to go out. Mallory, my eight-year-old, had to be reminded to eat something filling; I knew the first round of playtime would last at least a couple of hours. I was already in management mode.

After a quick breakfast, I had to find boots that fit everyone, warm waterproof gloves, hats, and snow pants. Hayley, my thirteen-year-old, did not have snow pants. She kept on her pajama pants, then layered on sweat pants, and (at my request) a pair of my old nylon warm-up pants to seal her in. Kelly, my ten-year-old, wore size six boots on her size four feet. Mallory wore bibbed snow pants that ended just below her calves instead of at her ankles. The seat of the pants fitted almost like the pants that teen-aged boys wear hanging off their butts. It’s a wonder she could walk.

No one cared about the clothes. No one cared that the snow caught us before I could shop. We improvised. My friend across the street who has five children, gave me pants for Mallory. I gave another neighbor boots. My family, four other families, and our dogs, spent time sledding in each other’s yards, building snowmen, and socializing. It has become tradition for us; like waiting to see Santa come down our street on the fire truck at Christmas time.

The kids were out of school three days, and had a delayed opening on the fourth day. As they get older, it has become easier. When the kids were younger, I had to get them layered in clothes to go out. It would take forever! I’d be hot, they’d be hot – what a chore!

Now, my job is to clean wet floors as they come in and out (somehow they occasionally miss the rugs at the three doors of choice), make them put their wet things in the dryer as they warm up for the next round, let them have friends over, and keep the kitchen stocked with snacks, drinks, and easy-to-prepare food.

Whether your kids are babies or school-aged kids, the parental snow duty is worth the change of routine to let them experience the joy that comes with it.

Don’t have kids? Empty nest? It’s still worth at least a half hour of fun. One of my friends decided to build her own personal snowman, and proudly sent a picture of it to me on my cell phone.

Do you enjoy snow?