Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You Capture - Youth

Beth's You Capture subject this week is Youth.

And to me, nothing says 'Youth' like a little girl swinging on one of the first warmish days of Spring when no one's looking and she can swing back and forth looking at her feet? the ground? nothing? It doesn't matter. What matters is that it's the freedom of 'Youth' on one of the first warm days of Spring when she thinks no one is looking.

And then I got lucky! Amber came to visit so here are two more Youth submissions:

For more concepts in 'Youth', visit Beth's Ishouldbefoldinglaundry.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

True Confessions Tuesday

This is the continuation of my really getting back on track. The beginning was when I joined the Sisterhood's latest challenge Spring in2 Action.

When I joined that challenge I also joined the push-up challenge. I knew that was a bit of a stretch for me because I'd been having some pain in my left arm and shoulder for almost a year and I was finally going to physical therapy for it which I knew might end in surgery. But I went ahead and joined for two reasons:

1. I had to either check that I was buff enough and didn't need it, or that I wanted to look better for summer. That was really no choice at all.

2. And, despite the pain I'd been experiencing, it didn't seem to get worse when I did push ups so I saw no reason to not continue

Now, of course, I've dropped out of the push up challenge and I'm struggling to hold on in the weight loss challenge. The day after my surgery my weight was up 9 pounds. Wait! Was I looped out on pain medication? Could that be right? It was. Fluid retention was a side effect to my anesthesia. It's been coming down slowly but surely ever since but, ouch I'm still not back to where I was before Wednesday's surgery and tomorrow is another weigh in.

So there you have it - all of my excuses. Here are my confessions.

I have not been counting my points. I haven't gone crazy eating terrible things but I haven't been very conscientious either.

I have not embraced the #mbm on Twitter although I know I should. There have been times when I've made those good choices and writing them down would be therapeutic and help keep me on track.

And I haven't been drinking the water that I know is so vital right now.

So right here and now - I vow to turn those last three things around.

Point Counting
#mbm when appropriate
Water water water

And next week, I hope to be back to my dedicated, motivated self.

Monday, March 21, 2011

One Of Those Weeks

What a week it was. We've all had them. Weeks when your head swims with all the twists and turns of events. Weeks when you wonder what could possibly happen next. And especially weeks that need to end because you can't possibly process anything else.

Of course the week wasn't all bad. It started with Firstborn Army son returning home from Iraq. That was all sweetness and good moods and relief. Shortly after his return, we got news that he'd taken possession of the car he'd shopped for when he was still in Iraq and which had all the things he wanted in a car. We were all thrilled because ever since the untimely demise of his previous car when he was deployed, we'd looked forward to him getting a well-deserved replacement.

Then, on Wednesday morning, I had shoulder surgery. This was expected but it turns out that I wasn't as well-prepared as I must have thought I was. Somehow I just didn't expect to be so debilitated.

Our granddaughter's uncle had surgery too at the University of Chicago hospital. His was a quadruple bypass and his recovery has been much more in question than mine. In fact he had to return to surgery two days later because his lung was disconnected and now they've started to ease him out of a medically induced coma.

We found out Thursday that one of our granddaughter's ex boyfriends had died of a drug overdose. This wasn't just an ex boyfriend though. He and my granddaughter were almost inseparable for over three years. He had begun to feel like part of the family. He had a million dollar smile, loved playing with Amber's many younger cousins, and had many sweet and endearing qualities. Sadly but not surprisingly it was his penchant for drugs that eventually broke them up.

Then our granddaughter's husband left for Mississippi for three weeks or so for a temporary work assignment. The last time he did this, she and their kids went along but this time there was no housing available so she stayed behind. So many of this week's events directly affected her that we're hopeful that she'll spend the time that he's away with us.

I'm hoping she'll arrive today sometime after my first physical therapy appointment and after the furnace guy leaves. There was a different outfit here Saturday to check it out and I was napping when he left but woke up when I heard his departing words to Mr. Right, "Sorry 'bout the bad news"! It was amazing that anyone truly sorry could sound so jovial but I guess it's all in the perspective.

I'm finding that I can type with both hands and that I can lift my left one up to keyboard level which is a huge improvement. Maybe I'll recover after all. Time, and my appointment today, should tell I guess.

All I know is that with the weather changing, I'm itching to get outside and tend to the yard and the flower beds and the koi ponds.

But most of all, I need Amber to come to town as soon as possible because I don't need an intact shoulder to tend to her. And right now I think she needs a shoulder to lean on even if it's all bandaged up and in a sling.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ethan James

One year ago I did my very first post about Ethan, our 14th grandchild. Last night I had the pleasure of interviewing a very informative Ethan about what's going on in his life these days. As usual, I've sprinkled pictures throughout which may or may not pertain to the question that they're attached to.

You're going to be six years old tomorrow! Are you excited?
Yes, because I like getting bigger and bigger and I like having my birthday.

Are you going to take treats to school for your birthday?

What are you going to take?
Sugar cookies with the letters of Lowe on them (Clarification from Mom: They'll be in his school colors and Lowe is the name of the school)

I heard you already had a party last weekend. What was that like?
Yes, I liked it because I got a DS game and the new Wii game and I had basketball decorations. And, we had giant pretzels, chips, and nachos and hot dogs and cupcakes and popcorn too.
My Grandma Gigi gave me $11 dollars and I got a Power Ranger and it can flip it's head.

Do you like school?

What do you like best about it?
I like when we have play time and when I get to do a calendar with math problems. And I like when we have 100 problems because they're easy!

And how about that school bus ride. Do you enjoy that?
I don't know. I guess. I like to watch everybody get on the bus because I'm the first one on. And I get to watch everybody get off because I'm the last one off.

What's your favorite thing to do at home?
I like to play my DS and play Wii but I can't play it until I find my fourth remote and I think it got to my friend Riese's house. But they don't believe me. Riese is only 7 years old and he came to my party. I let him have Mario party for two days and we gave him some remotes cause he only had two so I think we gave one to him so I think it got to their house. I don't know what we're going to do.

What's your favorite thing to do during recess at school?
Sometimes we play games. Sometimes we do our workouts and sometimes just play outside. I can't think what my favorite thing is because there's three of them. My favorite thing probably is to play with my classmates.

Do you like being a big brother to Mary & Trey?
What's your favorite outside game?
Swings because I can go really high

What's your favorite inside game?
I like bingo. It's awesome. You know why I think it's awesome? Because I just love the game.

What animal do you like best? And why?
Elephant - because it's big

I know your Dad likes to golf. Do you think you'll be a golfer when you grow up?
Yeah, I already played a long time ago and now me and Dad don't go golfing anymore.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What do you like best about coming to Indiana at Christmas time?
My cousins Anna and Noah live in Indiana. And at the beach house? Yeah, I did NOT want to leave. And you know what my favorite thing to do was? Super Smash Bros.
Do you think you can talk to me while I'm going to the potty?SureI have to set the phone down for a second. Can you wait for me for a second? Will you wait for me? Until you hear my voice okay?
Grandma? You can go ahead.

Is there anything else interesting I should know about you?
Well I did do something about me. I said I'm exciting, ticklish, happy, awesome, and nice. Oh and I like peanut butter and jelly. Besides I had peanut butter and jelly in my lunch today.

Okay can you hold on for a second. I have to get the toilet paper. Okay? Until you hear my voice okay?.......... Okay you can finish.

Do you like to help your mom around the house?
I'm really helpful. I don't know. Sometimes I help Mom with the mixer. She likes when I'm being helpful.

So it's true. Ethan is helpful and I can't deny that the assessment that he must have done in school is completely accurate. He really is exciting, ticklish, happy, awesome and nice. He's also a great interviewee because he's talkative and cheerful and offers up lots of unsolicited information (but you already know that).

So here's wishing an extremely happy birthday to an extremely happy, wonderful, and gregarious little boy!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Matthew Clinton

Almost a year ago I wrote my first post about Matthew. This year, in keeping with my new tradition that I copied from Beth, I'm posting an interview that I had with him. As usual, I'll be sprinkling pictures throughout that may or may not fit into the subject at hand.

Are you excited that you're about to be 9? If so why?
Yep, because then everybody younger than me will be kind of jealous and also I'll be older and closer to being a teen.
What are you going to do on your birthday.
We're eating out at Brion's Grill

What's your favorite food?
(Interviewer's note: I'll bet he learned to love ribs from eating his Uncle Dan's grilled barbeque ribs since they're the best in the world)
How's school going for you?
Uhhhh, well better than earlier in the year because I know more people and have more friends and I'm getting used to the classroom climate.
Do you like school?
Yeh, kind of.

What's your favorite subject?
Social Studies

And how are your grades?
For the last two quarters I got two G's and the rest O's. (
Interviewer's note: oh oh - maybe I won't be including this)

What does that mean?
Two Goods and the rest Outstandings
(Interviewer's note: Whew! That's more like I expected since I'm pretty sure he's in the Gifted and Talented program at his school.

What books do you like to read?
Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the Thirty-Nine Clues Series
What sports are you involved in right now?
Oh, I'm doing soccer
And your favorite sport?
What do you do for fun?
I play video games and play outside. Sometimes if I can't go outside, I made up a card game and I make cards for it and sometimes I eat.

What do you like best about visiting Indiana?
Seeing you.
(Interviewer's note: He already had my heart but this really sealed the deal.)

Do you like having lots of cousins?
Do you have a favorite cousin?
Ummmm, well, yeah - Evan.
What do you like about Cub Scouts?
I like the activities that we do. We make cars and boats and race them and sometimes we make candy things like snowmen out of marshmallows and pretzel sticks and for Christmas we made a sled and painted it.

Do you have certain chores that you do around the house?
Sometimes I clean my room and make my bed and pick up things around the house that are mine.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A professional football player or be in the Army
What else is there that I forgot to ask you about?
For a hobby, I like to sleep too - but just at my house but if there are people around like friends and cousins then I like to stay up.

So that's the end of the interview but I have a few things I'd like to add along with the proof that they're true. First of all, like his mom and dad (and brother and sister) he's very athletic. You can see it in the way he swings a golf club:

Practices baseball:

And lines up for a shot in basketball:

Also, he's a team player willing to pitch in when there's work to be done:

And he's adventuresome and curious:

But most of all, he's an all-around great kid and we wish him a very, very Happy Birthday:

Monday, March 7, 2011

Patricia Jo

Saturday, our daughter-in-law Patty celebrated her birthday with her mom and children in the Washington DC area. That's where she teaches and her husband and our son is stationed. Right now, though, Dave is deployed in Afghanistan and Patty is 'holding down the fort'. As usual, I've sprinkled pictures throughout this post that may or may not fit the interview. But each one shows something about this beautiful person.

In keeping with tradition, I interviewed her over the weekend via email. Here's what she had to say:

What did you do on your birthday?
I spent the morning with 6 eight or nine year old boys because Matthew had his birthday sleepover from Friday to Saturday. I also went out to eat with my kids and watched David's basketball team win the league championship!
What's the secret to managing your very full schedule?
I just take one day at a time and the older kids are good at helping out.

Your schedule is insane when everything's normal. How in the world do you cope now that Dave is deployed?
My mother is a huge help in transporting kids to activities. I counted up that the older three are involved in seven extracurricular activities - scary!

What are your goals career-wise?
I love my job as an instructional coach, but it is more time away from the kids. I am toying with the idea of going back to being a reading teacher just to be closer to home.
As an Army wife, you've lived in a lot of locations. Which is your favorite?
Weather-wise - South Carolina. Experience-wise - Tennessee

What's your idea of an ideal vacation?
Right now - warm weather, beaches, spas

You're very athletic and sports oriented. You were on three teams that went to the state finals in Volleyball and two of them won the state championship. You also played college volleyball until an injury sidelined you. What are your feelings about such a sports oriented youth and do you recommend it for your kids?
I learned so much about life from playing sports and I definitely encourage it for my kids. Part of the reason I am a taxi-driver from 4:30 - 9:00 every evening is that I feel like my kids are too young to specialize in a sport. They need the experience of trying many new things out.

Patty and her father-in-law warming up for a round of golf.
Patty and Dave
What are you looking forward to in the coming year?
Continuing to watch my children grow and taking the time to focus on me - exercise is a big priority. And, of course, the end of Dave's deployment and having our family together again.

What other interesting things might I include about you?
ummmm.. I'm a Grey's Anatomy junkie, even though I have this entire season on DVR right now because I haven't had time to watch it. Other than that, I'm not very interesting.

I loved Patty's interview answers but she's wrong about one thing. She is very interesting. She has many interests and she's one of the kindest and sweetest people I've ever met.

With the patience of Job and the wisdom of Solomon, she's a perfect fit working with children in her career but more importantly as a mom to her beautiful children.

Eli being anointed by his new Godmother at his baptism
But she doesn't just shine in the world of children. She's sweet, understanding, modest, conscientious and hard working. Loving to everyone - friends, family, children, animals, and the population in general she, in turn, is loved by all.

So, Patty, I hope you had a very happy birthday. We're so blessed to have you in our family.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

You Capture - Technology

Beth's You Capture subject this week is technology and I was in the perfect place to capture the perfect pictures of perfectly used technology - a houseful of teenagers. I accompanied Beth to Nebraska this past weekend and we stayed with my oldest daughter and her family. Here are some examples of the technology going on in her house.

I found the first teen setting up his music for his upcoming Xbox game:

I found another teen using his technology to capture one of our all-time favorite subjects:

And I found another teen multi-tasking. (Unfortunately you can't see the TV playing in the background):

And then I captured one of our all-time favorite subjects being introduced to technology:

And last, but far from least, I captured Foldinglaundry using her favorite technology to capture herself and one of our all-time favorite subjects:

And that's all I've got. I'm glad to be alive in this age of technology and I'm looking forward to seeing what everybody else captured. To see for yourself, visit Beth at Ishouldbefoldinglaundry.