Friday, March 24, 2017

Brave

At the beginning of the school year Liza came home from school super excited... She was going to learn to play the violin! My creative, musical girl was going to get to play an instrument that she chose.

I filled out the papers, sent in the money and began renting a violin. Liza was bummed when her lessons at school started because they were just plucking and she really wanted to learn how to use the bow.

One day she ran in the door after school with the biggest smile on her face, threw down her backpack, pulled out her violin and started playing with the bow! The excitement and pride were intense.

Then she had to start learning a song to play for the spring concert with the rest of the orchestra. Over and over she told me that she didn't think she was doing well, that it didn't sound good, that she couldn't do it.

One night at bedtime she came to me and said, "There are a couple things really frustrating me right now." Having to play the violin at the concert in front of people was one of the frustrating things. We talked through it. I emailed with her music teacher. We both encouraged Liza and after a few more weeks she decided she could do it. She was ready. She had started practicing more and was even looking forward to it.

Today was the day of the spring concert.

Liza walked up onto the stage with her violin and lined up with the rest of the orchestra. She set up her music stand and music... and when it was time... she played. Such an intense look of concentration on her face.

And then it happened...

The bridge on her violin broke.

There was still another song to go and she just stood there. Not able to play. Sad. I could see it on her face.

I wanted to run onto the stage, grab her up and run away.
I knew how much that moment meant to her.
I knew how much she practiced.
I knew how hard she worked to overcome her fears and be up there today.

As I watched her hold back her tears, I found that I was sitting in my seat holding back my own.

I met her as she exited the stage and we hugged and cried together... but only for a few moments because another grade was doing one song and then she had to go back on with the choir.

So in those three minutes Liza shared that she was disappointed because she really wanted to do it, we hugged, found some tissues, blew our noses and wiped away our tears. We hugged again and then she lined up with the choir and went out and sang.

And my heart grew.

My Liza is a brave girl in so many ways. I am so incredibly proud of her!



This is Liza during her first song before the violin broke. The beginners plucked for Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
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Friday, March 17, 2017

Gym Progress

So about three weeks ago I joined the gym. It feels much longer. Already I love my new daily routine... get the kids on the bus and go to the gym. If for some reason I can't get there in the morning I find that I miss it and make time to go later in the day.

I thought I was going to need someone to tell me what to do so I would stay motivated, but it turns out I'm pretty good at telling myself what to do.

I have a few general goals.

1. Strengthen my body.
I do so much sitting around and I've become quite weak over the years. Already though I can tell that I am getting stronger. I am adding weight when using the machines and will continue to push myself.

2. Flexibility.
Every day I make sure to spend a good amount of time stretching. Three weeks ago I could barely touch my toes when my legs were straight out in front of me, and it hurt to even try. Today I can wrap my fingers around my feet. I like stretching! It's become one of my favorite parts of my day!

3. Endurance.
Every spring when I go back to work I feel like I am going to die on my third trip up the big hill in a day. Lack of strength and endurance. I am determined to have this year be different! Endurance isn't the easiest thing for me to work on. I can't run because I get shin splints within weeks and they get so bad that I can't do anything else. I have also been having issues with my feet. So I'm limited to low impact things. The elliptical and bike are my choices.

4. Pushups.
For some reason pushups have always been an indicator of strength to me. If I can do pushups, I am strong. If I can't do them, I am weak. So three times a week I do pushups, and I add one per week. When I started I could barely do one pushup. Today I can barely do three. :) Next week it will be four.

I'm really glad that I joined the gym. It's been a good thing for me and I'm realizing just how much I actually missed being an active person. I am far too good at sitting around and doing nothing, but now I'm locked in to a 12 month commitment at the gym. I'll be paying... so I better be going!

Now to just get on track with my eating! I'm getting there. Better choices every day. The scale is moving in the right direction and I am feeling good... but I know I can completely sabotage all my efforts with food... and I don't want to do that any more.

So that's my progress report. I'm glad I joined and I have become a regular at the gym.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Why I Joined the Gym

I've been in a tough place lately.
Worn out.
Almost depressed.
Emotionally exhausted.

I have learned that it is important for me to put things on my calendar that get me out of the house... especially during the winter.

This winter has been extra tough and I knew I needed to make some real changes and add things to my day... daily... or I might just lose my mind.

So I joined the gym.

It's been working out really well! (Considering it's only been a week and a half!) I am a morning person and I am now able to go as soon as the kids get on the bus for school. I'm at the gym by 8am. I love going at this time because I can get in a good workout and still have the entire day left. It's also pretty empty at this time.

I think it was the perfect thing to add to my life. I was feeling quite lazy and weak and wanted to change that. My gym goal is not to lose weight... but to add strength and flexibility. The weight loss will come with changing what I eat.

So I go to the gym. I feel better already... Emotionally better because I am taking care of myself. Physically better because I am challenging my body. I am starting my days right. Getting up and out. Being social. And from there I usually just keep going... working through my to-do list and being productive instead of spending the entire day on the couch in front of whatever Netflix show I'm binging. (Currently Jericho.)

I look forward to my time at the gym.
I'm proud of myself for taking a positive step instead of letting life completely overwhelm me.

I think this new routine might just stick!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Speech Meet

I just got home from watching Jason during the semifinal round of Speech Meet.

What is Speech Meet?
I'm learning as we go since this is our first experience with it.

Everyone at their school has a "speech" that they have to memorize and perform in front of the class. There are three different categories. Jason chose Bible. I think the others might be poetry and fables... or something like that.

They have a certain amount of days to get their speech memorized and then they perform it in front of their classes. The top two in each category for each class advance to the semifinals.

Today I watched nervously as Jason stood in a crowded room of judges, parents, and peers and recited his 10 verses about Zacchaeus. He looked so sharp with his hair spiked up and his bow tie on. He spoke clearly and looked around the room. He's turning 9 on Monday and he just did what so many adults are really afraid to do. Public speaking is tough!

He finished off his speech and sat back down with his friends. I watched as he held out his hands and said to his buddy, "My hands are shaking!"

What a great experience for Jason! To realize that he CAN stand in front of a crowd and speak. And he can do it well. And to feel the adrenaline feelings that go along with it.

We don't know yet if he advanced to the final round where he will go against students from other schools. His friend that he was up against today also did really well. I'm nervously waiting for the results. But either way... I am SO PROUD of my Jason! He was committed to practicing and doing his best. He overcame nerves. He did it!

To me, no matter what the results are from today's semifinals, he is a winner and he has my heart!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Mom, There's a Bad Word In My Book.

I realized shortly after moving into our house four and a half years ago that we would be having conversations with our kids about words they heard very soon... much sooner than we had hoped we would have to. When your house is ten feet from the sidewalk and people are constantly walking by... and when the playground is just across the street... words float in our windows.

I knew I wouldn't be able to keep my kids from hearing them, so I started asking them daily... "Have you heard or seen anything that you have questions about?"

And they started asking us about the words they heard.

My hope was that they would become comfortable talking to me about anything, that they would trust me enough to ask, and that since we started talking about those words when they were in kindergarten and first grade that they wouldn't feel the need to use them when they hit middle school and all the kids were trying them out.

I don't know if my plan will work out as I hope... but I do know that we are building a comfort level with the awkward conversations. Liza and Jason ask about words all the time now. There is no shame in saying them when asking. But sometimes they still surprise me.

Like in this recent conversation with Liza....

LIZA: Mom, there's a bad word in the book I'm reading.
ME: What's the word?
LIZA: *shows me the book and points to the word retard*
ME: Do you know what that word means?
LIZA: Yeah. Doesn't it mean like bitch or something?
ME: *laughing so hard inside!* Well, not really.

I explained what it means and why it's not a nice word to use. (She was reading Percy Jackson.) 
And then I felt so content. Liza doesn't run around using the word bitch... but she was comfortable enough to know that she could just say it to me to explain what she was thinking.

I hope conversation is always this easy between us.

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