Three months into the year

I thought it would be best to check in on my New Year pursuits.

1. Write every day. So-so.  I am posting regularly but other writing not so much.  My focus of late has  been more on setting up healthier lifestyle habits.  I hope to write more as the year progresses.  I am starting to think I really need to take a writing class, I have a lot to learn about writing and now realize I need some help.
2. Don’t be afraid to use things up. I am putting more stickers and notes in my son’s lunch. We used up a bunch of things making Valentine bookmarks. I have another project in mind once I finish my current project.  I give myself a thumbs up for this goal.
3. Play before work. This one still needs some energy but I am working on it.  Probably a C.
4. Take 5 minutes everyday to just sit. This one is surprisingly tough. I have managed it a few days but still needs a lot of work. Truthfully, an epic fail.

I am doing well with yoga and walking the dog and back on track with healthy eating after a rough first 6 weeks of the year. Still not visiting the Farmer’s Market. I think if it was closer I would be more inclined to go.  Once my son’s  bowling league finishes the end of April I am hoping to develop the habit of going on Saturday mornings.

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Still purging. The garage got straightened up.   I have made  three trips to Goodwill so far this year and sold 18 of my LOA books to Powell’s on-line. I also went through all the recipes I have cut out for the past year. I purged a bunch and the one’s I still want to try I went ahead and pasted in my books. Obviously the keep them in the sleeve until I tried them method wasn’t working very well. I also moved the box of shred and shredder from the garage to the family room.  My son and I do shredding in ten minute intervals as the mood strikes.  Once the box is empty I will move it next to the file cabinet and begin to fill it back up.

Overall I am pretty happy with my progress so far this year. I have made progress of some sort with all my pursuits and that is all that I ask of myself.

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A healthy eating update

My 30 days of healthier eating are up today but the challenge isn’t over. The reality is I am looking at ways to improve my eating habits that I can keep to for the long haul.
On the positive side I have conquered breakfast and now eat leftovers or a ground meat and veggie mixture. This morning I had a turkey burger with avocado and salsa, roasted sweet potato slices and asparagus.   Even camping I was able to stick with my new breakfast choices.
In the last 30 days I also confirmed that grains are contributing to my joint pain (hands and shoulders). Last Friday I took my son out to lunch and opted for the reuben. (Which was really, really good!) Friday night was family movie night and I baked a pizza and made homemade soup. I ate two small pieces of pizza. The next morning my hands and shoulders felt stiff and sore. The next step it to see if it is all grains or just wheat (gluten) that make me feel bad.
I am getting a little better when we eat out.  Eating out for me is hard because it always feel like such a treat so I want to order things I don’t usually make at home.  After the Friday reuben I admitted I was going to have to be more diligent about my dining out choices. Saturday we had a picnic to go to and I ate my burger without a bun and added some carrot sticks I brought from home. Sunday we went up to Phoenix to watch a Cubs spring training game.  I ate a smoked salmon chopped salad from a food truck.  On the way home we stopped at Cracker Barrel.  I got the breakfast parfait with 2 scrambled eggs.  (I was also supposed to get 3 slices of turkey bacon which the waitress forgot to bring and then lied about it not being part of the item I ordered.  I checked the menu on the way out and bacon was included, hence no tip for her.  She should have just admitted she made a mistake.)
On the still needs a lot of work side is sugar. PMS hit and that was all she wrote. I scavenged every bit of chocolate I had squirreled away. I don’t crave candy so much as baked goods which hits me with the double sugar and grain whammy. Not having any baked goods on hand I ate candy until it was gone. I am considering different options on dealing with the PMS sugar fix. I could try to stick with raisins, lara bars and greek yogurt and see if that works. I could stash a batch of cookies in the freezer and thaw one for each day. I wish I could eat the junk for a day or two and then go back to healthy eating but once the sugar door is opened it is really hard to close.
Dealing with the sugar issue is my focus for the next 30 days. I think this is  important for better sleep and to control mood swings. I will do some more research and see what others do to conquer the PMS cravings.  Starting today I am back on a strict sugar ban. I think increasing my exercise will help me sleep better, it is certainly worth a try.  I did lose 2 pounds but would like to lose 4 to 5 more and the exercise will help there too.

I would say the last 30 days have been a success.  Progress has been made on establishing better long term eating habits.  I have identified grains as an issue and admit controlling my sugar intake needs more work.  Last night it struck me that my hypothyroidism is a long term chronic condition that apparently popping a pill every morning isn’t going to fix.   It is good to take the time and energy to see what I can do on my own to feel better.  Patience is required to establish new habits, slip ups will happen and I don’t need to be dietarily perfect to feel better.  But I do so want to feel better and if a few changes in diet can make that happen then I am willing to make the effort.

The learning curve

My son got his report card last week and my initial reaction was shock. It wasn’t a horrible report card but it wasn’t what I expected. After a second very close read through, what I mostly felt was dismay with my self and unhappiness with his teacher.
Before my son started first grade I spent a lot of time helping him learn in fun ways. We counted apples at the commissary and looked at the numbers above the aisles. We played Sorry and UNO where he learned colors, numbers and counting. I have read to or with him pretty much every day of his life. He sends letters to his Grandparents. I have tried hard to help him learn reading and math and some writing in the course of everyday living.
Now that he is in school for 7 hours a day I didn’t worry so much about teaching him. We still play games and read books and he picks up bits of geography with our traveling but I didn’t work at including learning so much. I figured 7 hours a day was enough. I figured wrong.
He gets some homework, not everyday, and I have always had him do it on his own. I know his handwriting needs work and that he has a tendency to frequently rush through his homework. I believed he was working on his writing at school and thought the rushing was because he wanted to play.

At the fall parent-teacher conference I remember walking away surprised at my lack of enthusiasm for his teacher.  I had heard lots of good things about this teacher and was happy when I learned that was who my son had got.  I don’t remember the specifics from the conference but I remember feeling unhappy at the end.  I felt like she didn’t  have anything positive to say about my son, even if she didn’t have anything negative to say either.  I decided to not worry about it and figured my annoyance had colored my view.  I was annoyed because I showed up 5 minutes before my appointed time and ended up having to wait more than 20 minutes.  This was because the parent scheduled after me showed up right before I did and the teacher decided I wouldn’t mind waiting.  She was wrong.

The teacher’s communication with home has always been a bit spotty, but it does seem to have gotten worse since the winter break.   I didn’t even know my son had gotten his report card until he told me.  He has also mentioned several times that his teacher has been rather crabby.  I wasn’t worried about anything because my son loves going to school, says math is his favorite subject and still reads every night before bed.  I hadn’t gotten any notes or e-mails from the teacher so I assumed he was doing great.  Big mistake.

His report card has been quite the wake up call for me.   I realize it was quite naive of me to think he was actually going to get most of his education at school.  His school is supposed to be one of the best in Tucson but I do wonder.  I know it is supposed to be a good thing that he has art, music and Spanish but now I worry that it is at the expense of math, reading and writing.

Now every day after school we have a little homework.  He does any school homework first and then we work on writing and spelling.  We started out working on just his handwriting.  I had him write  different colors.  And that was when I realized he couldn’t spell.  The only color he spelled correctly was ‘red’.  I was shocked.  Because he is such a great reader I missed the fact that he wasn’t a very good writer.  And then I realized he never had spelling words  for homework or spelling papers in the work he brought home.  Now he will get a spelling list from me each week with a ‘spelling bee’ or test on Friday.

I’ll do my best to keep it short and fun.  I have been trolling the internet for ideas and printing out worksheets and thinking of different themed spelling lists.  I think the typical sight words would get boring so I will mix in pets, kitchen items, vehicles etc.  We are writing a story together, taking turns writing a sentence each. Once school lets out I will add math to our daily routine.

I am lucky that my son actually loves learning and is eager to learn how to spell.  I feel bad that it took me so many months to realize he wasn’t getting all he needed education wise from school.   There is always something new to learn about being a parent.  Each age, each stage brings new challenges, both for the child and the parent.  Now I have to go hide his vocabulary words for the week around his bedroom!

A Week Off

Our camping trip went really well, my healthy eating has had a few hiccups but I am working on getting back on track now that I am officially done with my vacation.
When we got back from our camping trip I was feeling a little run down and a lot discontent. I have this illogical theory that the reason I feel so tired all the time is not because of my thyroid but because I have no winter hibernation anymore. When the rest of the country spends Jan, Feb and Mar inside as much as possible here in the desert we have to get outside and enjoy the lack of heat. But when summer comes and we should stay inside as much as possible it seems too odd to stay indoors. It is summer! School is out! We stay in the pool for hours and look for shade everywhere we go.
I know this is crazy but I decided to give myself a week of winter, though I didn’t truly hibernate. I still cooked dinner and cleaned up a bit and did laundry, but while my son was in school I also curled up on the couch under an afghan and watched movies. We seldom turn our heat on so the house was around 65 degrees during the day so I really did need the afghan. I watched “The English Patient”, “Avalon” and “The Cider House Rules”. All rather dark, heavy movies that perfectly suited my mood.
In a nod to that break of winter weather day that happens every so often I ventured out of the house to spruce up my summer wardrobe. It was crazy pleasant to browse around the Goodwill sans small child and be able to try on as many items as I wanted. Ditto for the library, leisurely strolling through the stacks of books and stopping whenever an interesting title caught my eye.

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Now it is back to reality.  I am still feeling a bit discontent.  I spent 2 hours cleaning my son’s play area yesterday, a task we normally do together but I didn’t feel up to the hassle.   I just wanted it done and doing it alone makes it easier to throw all the garbage away.  Today I will tackle his bedroom and try to stop imagining me packing up my car and running away.