Thursday, May 24, 2012

Embrace the camera (again)

Click here to learn more about Embrace the camera Thursdays.

So, I've been terrible at embracing the camera lately.  The last time I did it was in March!  Egads!

Part of the problem is that I've been terrible at blogging lately period.  I am an idiot who bit off way more than I could chew this summer.  Between the normal hustle and bustle of being a working mom with two young kids, I also signed Superman and I up for a co-ed softball team (the first time I've played since college!).  Then, Superman encouraged me to sign up for a class I've been talking about taking for 3 years (but never doing anything about).  It's an online grad class, and it's kicking my butt.  It feels like it requires so much more effort than my last grad class.  7 years ago.  Before I was married.  Before I had kids.  Before I had a 4 bedroom house to keep clean.  And a lawn with landscaping.  And a garden.  Really...what was I thinking?!?!

The other problem is that I am still so camera shy.  I know that Embrace the camera encourages you to ignore what you look like, and just get in front of the camera because your kids will want to remember you and won't notice if you didn't look your best.  But that is so much harder to do when you are really really unhappy with the way you look. :(

For Mother's Day, we took the kids to a local indoor water park.  And while I took about 100 pictures of them, I had to really force myself to take one of me.  Because if there is anything harder than taking a picture of yourself when you are unhappy with your weight, it's taking a pictures of yourself in a bathing suit when you are unhappy with your weight.

My signature pose: trying to hide behind a kid, so you don't notice how fat I am.

But I am making a new promise to myself...I will start embracing the camera again.  Because I have decided I am going to get this weight off.  And every week I'm going to force myself to get in front of the camera so that #1 I can't live in denial about my problem and #2 I can watch myself making progress as I am adopting healthier habits and losing weight.

For now, my plan involves following Weight Watcher eating religiously (I know HOW, I just need to commit to it), doing DDP Yoga in the mornings, and taking evening walks (and eventually jogs).  I have a short term goal of being able to job the Persimmon Festival 5K this September.

Now those are pictures I'm looking forward to posting!  Sweat, nasty, and all!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hey y'all!

When I was in college, I decided I didn't like two things that I said: y'all (the widely accepted Southern form of the 2nd person plural) and warsh (the word wash with the intrusive r).

Warsh (other forms include dishwarsher, George Warshington, car warsh, etc) didn't really both me until I got to college.  Actually, for the most part, I didn't even realize that I was doing it or what I was doing.  My mom said warsh.  My dad said warsh.  My brother and sister said warsh.  It was normal to me.

It's wasn't until I took a Linguistics course on American dialects that I learned of the linguistic phenomenon known as the intrusive r, which is prominently found in the midwest, specifically in the word wash, that I even realized that I did it.

Now, as I've mentioned, I didn't grow up in the midwest, though I live here now.  I did live briefly in the midwest as a wee-one, but mostly I grew up on the east coast, because my dad was in the Navy.  (Generally Navy dudes have to live near water.) But environmental influences are only one factor for determining one's pronunciation.  A very influential factor is the pronunciation of your family.  My mom is from St. Louis and my dad is from Indianapolis.  They both exhibit the intrusive r, and thus all three of their vagabond children picked it up as well.

It wasn't that hard to purge my pronunciation of the intrusive r.  I just thought very consciously whenever I said the word wash and very deliberately did not include an r.  It probably sounded a little like "waaaash".  It took a few months, but then it was gone, and it's never come back.  Not even since moving to the midwest 10 years ago.

Now the y'all...

I have always been aware of the y'all.  Y'all is synonymous with southern living.  "Howdy y'all"  "Y'all come back now y'hear".  Everyone knows if you want to sound southern, all you have to do is say y'all.  Just like everybody knows if you want to sound like you are from Boston, all you have to do is say "Cawfee tawk" or "Pak the cah".

But for a long time, I did not want to embrace my southern roots.  Whenever someone would hear I was from Virginia, they'd say "oh, a southern girl" or "oh, yea, I can hear it in your accent."  But the thing was, I didn't feel like a southern girl and I definitely didn't have a southern accent, well, a traditional southern accent anyway.  You see, when you live in rural areas of Virginia you do tend to follow the linguistic features of southern dialects, however when you live in an urban area like I grew up, especially one populated by military personnel...who come from all over the U.S., you do not.

Between Virginia Beach not being a heavy southern dialect influence, and both of my parents being a heavy midwestern dialect influence, my accent usually fell much more inline with the North midland (midwestern) accent....except for y'all.  I most definitely said y'all.  A lot.

In my sophomore year of college, I went to a midwestern cousin's wedding.  I hadn't seen that part of my family in almost a decade, not since my grandma had passed away.  And know what I noticed?  No one said y'all.  They all said you guys.  Right then, I decided that I was was going to purge myself of y'all, just like I had of warsh.  In fact, you could say I was going to wash y'all out of my dialect.  (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)  And I did.

And for about 10 years, it stuck.  In fact, I'm pretty sure it would have stuck forever, just like warsh/wash has, except a funny thing happened.  The longer I've been living in the midwest, the more I miss my coastal southern home.  The more I missed hearing the "Hey y'all".  So much so, that I consciously decided to replace my you guys with y'all.  And just like when I trained myself to stop saying it, pausing and mentally correcting myself to say you guys instead, I was now pausing and correcting myself to say y'all.

But unlike training myself to say you guys, the reverting to y'all thing took much much less effort and much less time.  In fact, it came back so easily, it was almost like it'd never even been gone.  Like it had just been sitting there in my brain, waiting to be re-released all of this time. So, I guess I really am a southern girl after all.  It just took being away for a few years to really appreciate my home and my southern roots.

I guess what they say is true...absence really does make the heart grow fonder, y'all.

P.S. My little grammar lesson for the day: It's y'all.  Not ya'll.  Y'all is a contraction for you all.  Ya'll is a contraction for ya will, which is not a thing.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

All I wanted for Mother's Day was to have a super fun day with my kids, not doing any work, not cleaning, not telling anyone to pick anything up...

So we are headed to an indoor water park for the day.  (Shh...don't tell Thing 1 and Thing 2, because it's going to be a surprise!)

Meanwhile, yesterday I got an early Mother's Day present.  I just love things like these questionnaires, where the teachers ask the kids the questions, and then write down exactly what the children say.

I'll have to remember to do some for Superman for Father's Day.  The kids are always out of school for the summer, so he kind of gets hosed.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

They are amazingly accurate.  Thing 1 does call me Mom.  Thing 2 does call me Amber and Mommy.  My favorite color is red.  And while I'm no Ron Swanson, I have discussed with Thing 1 that we are not vegetarians because we like meat too much. :)

I do think it's funny how one thinks I'm short and one thinks I'm tall.  Tall compared to them, short compared to daddy. :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bring you brat to work day

I had an incredibly bad morning.

I'm not naming names, but one of my sons was being so grouchy and grumpy this morning that I wanted to drop kick him off the back porch.

All I could think of was I can't wait to drop this kid off at preschool and get him away from me.

Instead, I filled his back pack with books and crayons and said "You are going to work with me today."

The other one immediately said "Hey, I wanna go to work with you."  But I told him that he was going to school, and only his brother would be coming with me.

I don't know if this is the answer to an overly grumpy child.  But I'm doing what my intuition as a mom told me to do.  I feel like part of this kid's issue is that maybe he just wants some attention.  One problem with having twins is that they almost always do everything together.  Usually when I give their dad a break, I do something with BOTH of them.  And vice versa.  It's much more rare for us to set aside specific one on one time.  It usually only happens in the form of grocery shopping.

Okay, so bringing him to work is not the most fun one on one time.  But I'm trying to make it fun for him.

On the way in, we stopped at the convenience store and I let him pick out a Hostess snack and a jug of milk (of course he picked strawberry).  Now he's sitting and "reading" while I work.  Later on just the two of us will go eat lunch where ever he wants.  And this afternoon I'll probably let him put some quarters in the junk food machine. (Which I've never let him do before).

I'm disappointed at myself for losing my temper with him this morning.  But I'm proud of myself for deciding to handle this situation by not punishing him, but trying to figure out what the real problem is (his need for attention) and fixing it by giving him something he is needing.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why my kids will ride the bus

Last night, Superman and I went to Kindergarten Open House at our sons' soon-to-be-Elementary-school.

We were very happy to meet the principal and their future teachers, and learn more about the school where Thing 1 and Thing 2 will be attending in the fall. And they were beyond excited to meet their future classmates and do lots of activities and play games.

But one thing that happened struck me as very odd.  During the school tour, the principal took us to the school entrance and proceeded to spend nearly 20 minutes explaining the complicated pick up/drop off procedure.  Superman and I kept looking at each other, wondering if we were missing something.  Did we have to pick up the kids every day?  She was talking to us as if it was assumed we'd all be picking up and dropping off.

Finally, we raised our hands and said "What about the kids riding the bus?"  And then she spent about 3 minutes explaining the bus procedure.  And we were happy with the explanation.

Afterwards, another parent came up to me, and this was the gist of our conversation:

Concerned Parent: Are you going to let your child ride the bus?
Me: Yes.
CP: We thought about it, but I just don't know....How would he know what bus to get on, or where the bus stop is?
Me: Well, um, I imagine the kids will follow the other elementary kids in the neighborhood and get on with them.
Superman: Also, you can call the school and ask.
CP: They know other kids who ride the bus?
Me: Yes, our neighbors' kids ride the bus.  They play outside with them almost everyday, so they know them pretty well.
CP: Aren't you afraid they'll get on the wrong bus in the afternoon?
Me: Not really. Kids learn pretty quickly who their bus driver is. If they started to get on a bus and didn't recognize the driver, or the other kids on the bus, I'm pretty sure they'd get off.
CP: I'm just afraid my son would get on the wrong bus and get dropped off at the wrong place and be wandering the neighborhood frightened and alone.  (I should mention the Kindergarten has an older brother who will be in the 1st grade next year.)
Me: Did you not ride the bus as a child?
CP: Oh, I did.
Me: Did you ever get on the wrong bus and get dropped off at the wrong neighborhood?
CP: No.
Me: Neither did I, so I'm not too worried.

And I'm not.  I rode the bus from Kindergarten through 1st grade.  Then we moved, and from 2nd grade until 5th grade, my brother (one year older) and I were walkers.  Not only did we walk about 6 blocks everyday to school unsupervised, but our parents left for work way before we left for school, so we were responsible for getting dressed, eating breakfast, and leaving in time so that we weren't late for school.  Then we moved again, and from 6th grade through 8th grade I rode the bus again. And I never worried about getting on the bus, I just worried about missing it!  Because if we missed the bus, we had to walk.  And it was a long walk with a heavy book bag.

Can bad things sometimes happen on the bus?  Do bad things happen sometimes when kids are walking to school?  Yes and yes.  Bad things can and sometimes do happen.  And when they do, they make the national news.  Why?  Because it's RARE!  That is what makes it news!  You never see a headline: Kindergartner successfully rides the school bus back and forth everyday to school with no incident because it isn't newsworthy. It happens everyday.  MUCH more often than a bus getting into an accident or a kid getting abducted.

What my kids will learn from riding the bus: Courage. Independence. Responsibility.

What my kids would learn from me dropping them off everyday at school because I am afraid of them getting hurt/lost/abducted/made fun of/picked on/etc: Fear.

To me, the choice is very easy.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Our family is growing...

by 4 feet!

And no, we aren't having another set of twins....

We are getting a dog!  Actually, the plan was to get a dog, but it turns out that we are getting a puppy.

For the last few weeks I've been scouring the local shelters for an adult medium sized non-terrier, non-pitbull mix, but I've been unsuccessful.  Then a friend told me about someone she knew who had some cocker spaniel puppies who needed good homes.  She sent me a few pics and I was hooked!!

Meet McGarrett! (Can you tell we are Hawaii 5.0 fans?)

We bring him home on May 25th.  What a perfect way to start off the boys' summer break.

P.S. I'm pretty sure all this cuteness combined with the hassle of puppy potty training should sufficiently quell any baby-pains I might be having now that my "babies" are turning 5 years old in June and starting kindergarten in the fall.