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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Field Day or Life Training?

   Field day? A chance to gather with friends and family and showcase one's hidden talents of running across a field on three legs, pulling on ropes, and pressing balloons to the popping point between body parts? Or...is field day really life training in disguise for children who will one day hope to succeed as a function adult (especially for those called to motherhood.). 
   Last week, our wonderful home school group had their yearly field day.  It is an event that each of us look forward to.  This year, as I watched the events, I was struck by the ironic similarities between the showcased games and life skills.  Let's look at some of the games that were played.
   First up was soccer.  Although I didn't get a chance to witness the older kids (about 10 and up), I did get a chance to enjoy the younger kids play, in what we will term "herd ball." Now, for you who have young children in soccer, you know what I am talking about.  This is not a game of skill.  It's actually played on two levels.  The first level is a group of little kids hovering around a ball as they travel up and down the field in a tight knit circle wearing each other out (which is good, don't get me wrong.).  The second level is the coaches, a.k.a., the dads in the case of field day, playing sheep-dogs as they try to keep the herd on the field (this too wears out the dads, which is also OK.).  Now, mothers, this I realized is a wonderful opportunity for the fathers to see what is like to be a mother and take two toddlers to the grocery store, trying to exercise crowd control and avoid the coveted goals of candy placed strategically by the store stalkers at kid's eye level.
   The next game I witnessed was fire man's relay.  This was to be a relay of passing a water filled cup from one end of the line to the other in attempts to fill an empty milk jug. The one twist was the cup was already filled - with holes.  What a wonderful life skilled game.  Have you ever been to Sonic with seven kids, which generally the three youngest will attempt the cup strength against the red straw. This typically results in leaking slushy.  It truly is fire-man's relay to get the cup moved from the back of the car, to the front, and out of the car before it spills all over the inside of the vechile! 
   It seems the key phrase in exercising right now is "functional exercise."  These are exercises that you are to do that mimics day in and out movements.  I have never seen a more functional game then no-finger fishing.  This one hits home as before I sat down to type, I was cleaning my kitchen floor. And, instead of bending down and picking up the toys as I held the mop and cleaner, I used my toes to tidy up the toys. (I so would have won that game. You wouldn't believe the things my toes can pick up - very functional.) 
   Next was the three legged race. This was very similar to soccer, except, in real life, your not tied to some.  Rather, a toddler is strapped to your leg. 
   Limbo.  I have great admiration for someone who can maintain a center of balance while moving under a bar just inches above their nose.  However, there are days when I feel that I too am bent over backwards, trying to maintain balance as the toddler hangs on (see previous paragraph) and the preschooler pulls me from the front.  Don't forget that you have to add in all the distractions of the screaming of those who are attempting to gain your attention - now that's balancing act. 
   Tug of war...I probably don't have to say anything at all.  Just envision a mother, a toddler/preschooler, and any coveted object. I could elaborate on this by saying a mental tug of war with older children is just as exhausting.
   Balloon relays.  What mother doesn't have to, at one point or another, have an armful of fill in the blank (groceries, laundry, etc.) and the the other arm preciously balancing on their hip.  I'm not sure which one is more breakable, the balloon or the child.  They both bounce about the same and equally loud. 
   Running with the bulls - I had never heard of this one, but I play it near daily.  This one the dads played.  They were supposed to be blindfolded, while a rush of kids hurled towards them on two legs in attempts, not to knock them down (although that would have been hilarious) but to escape past them.  Really, this is a challenge? How many nights have I manned a darkened hallway, avoiding strategically placed toys in attempts to chase down a half-awake child whose bladder is full and has forgotten where the bathroom is (like I moved it.)
   The more I thought about functional games, I realized that there were important ones missing from our field day line-up.  Have you ever seen the games were your child inserts shapes into a ball/box?  I know this is supposed to teach them their shapes and work on their eye/hand coordination.  That's great, but I believe this should be a field day game because what it's really teaching is how to organize a Tupperware drawer.  Trying to fit all those Tupperware pieces inside one another and managing to close the door is quite a challenge.  Finding the correct lid for each piece is near impossible!
   How about this one? Any game that involves your finger and spit?  The rules would be simple.  It would involve chasing a dirty faced toddler and the winner would be the one who could clean the face without the resources of a washrag or water.  Now that's a functional exercise!
   All in all, our field day was a success and while we claim not to be socialists, we were all winners.  I will look forward to next year's events eagerly.  Maybe I'll even be considered as a game advisor...
Barely surviving myself,
 Mary

Thursday, June 16, 2011

X Factor

  So as I am getting closer to my 40th birthday, 45 days and counting, I decided to step out and change up my exercise routine. Always jumping on the latest bandwagon (if all your friends jump off a cliff....) I've decided EXTREME - as in P90X.  Beings that I am to cheap to actually purchase it, I was excited to find out that my local library carried it and I could check it out. 
   But, since you can only check it out for 3 weeks, I had two of my daughters check it out as well in succession after me, thinking "Hey, 60 days is good!" Never in my wildest dreams that all three requests would be filled within days of each other. There goes the library, always coming through to ruin my plans.
   Declining to holds on the DVD's, the Jane Austen Wanna-be and I commited ourselves as we carried the big plastic package under our arm, out the library, ready to go. 
   For those of you who might be interested in this program, all I can say is make sure you have a committed partner and it really helps to have another participant who sits on the couch and makes fun of the video participants, onscreen and off.  Exercising is so much more enjoyable when your out of breathe because your laughing.
   I function well with routine.  That being said, after 2 weeks of P90X, the Xtreme workout, I was looking for a change in routine.  While at the same time, glad I didn't purchase it, because then I really wouldn't have any change.  Have you seen how much this thing costs? $120!
  
I was absolutly thrilled when Jane Austen Wanna-be found a similar workout that got 5 star reviews - Supreme90Day.  Beings that it would only be 20% of the cost, I thought, "Why not give it a try?" This is just the change I was looking for in my life!  I am now in day 4 of Supreme90Day and all I can say is: SUPREME ROCKS EXTREME!Isn't that true for everything?.....
-Supreme pizza
- The Supremes
- Supreme Court - highest in the land
   Wait a minute...maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. I do have to give credit to P90X, after all, I actually lost 4 found in my three weeks of Xtreme-ing.
  But, putting in an hour a day was so monotonous, so tiring, so not what I wanted to do. SUPREME90DAY appears to be averaging about a 30 minute workout. This I can do. The only downfall is that I only get a 1/2 hour of laugh time from the clown on the couch. Guess she'll get a workout trying to get 60 minutes of laugh time packed into a 30 minute workout. This workout may be more challening for her than me!  No, we are talking about the clown...she can do it.
   Back to extreme things.  Extreme couponing. What can I say? These people sure do not spend their time doing Extreme workouts.  This concept is a full time job. Have I tried it? No. Not with 7 kids. Probably not with 5 kids. Heck, not even with 2 kids. With one kid? Only if the one kid does it for me.  I have realesed the Jane Austen Wanna-be with limited resources and restrictions to go for extreme couponing.  It seems that she has this inate desire to see how much money she can save.  Sadly, I'm not getting thousands dollars of groceries for $5....yet.  But, she has managed to save $40 and her goal each month is top the last savings amount.  Before you have visions of her dumpster diving for coupons, attending coupon parties, or knocking at the door of the local newspaper offices, begging for their extra prints, (although if she has some extra time, I might consider letting her - nix that, extra time needs to be spent cleaning her room) she only coupons off my grocery list.  I really don't need 8 bottles of mustard.  I don't care if they are only $0.02 a piece.  Hey, aside from the $40 she has saved, I have the benefit of being able to identify were the wonderful deals were - yes, were. For all those of you who have seen empty sale shelves, you can bet that a couponer has beat you to it. 
  For those of you who follow it, Jane Austen Wanna-Be that today is the last episode of TLC's Exteme Couponing.  I haven't seen it  (we don't have cable).  Will the world survive? Or have we been inspired enough to go for the perfect deal (ie. $0.27 salad dressing) in order to fill every space, crack, and crevice with our stockpile of finds.  By the way, if the world ends tomorrow, don't come searching my pantry. I only have enough salad dressing for about 5 salads. 
   So, let's not end this post totally bashing Extreme things. Wouldn't my world be wonderful if I had children who were extreme house cleaners? Or, for that matter, or even my husband as an extreme cleaner? This would be a good extreme! Maybe extreme students - those that win Nobel Peace Prizes before they graduate from highschool.  You know, I believe I would just enjoy extremely nice attitudes for more than two minutes straight  - which, by the way only happens if there is candy promised after a two minute period of niceness.  (sigh.)
   It's a good thing the Lord is extremely in love with me.  He is the one EXTREME who is SUPREME.    
Surviving myself, Mary. (how do you like my new sign off - I have to credit a college friend for this one.)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hello? Is anybody there?

   OK, so this is my daughter's idea because I needed an outlet to vent some of my frustrations and she figured, as a mother to seven, I was so much of an oddity...er, I mean sideshow...uh, I mean, never mind.  She just thought it would be better for me to type it than yelling frustrations at her.  BTW - as a teenager (16 in July) she has become my closest confidant - so to all of you who nervously await the teen years....don't.
  
One of the best pieces of advice I was given as I started my family was to not fear the teen years as the world seems to encourage.  Teens (at least mine, and I now have 2 of them) can be frustrating but the benefits outweigh the grief exceedingly. 
   I am a stay at home mother who home schools her kids (yes, all seven of them), pre-pre-school to junior in high school.  I am always dumbfounded when people ask me: "How do you do it?!" Really? It is a lifestyle and I don't know what I'd do without it.  I love my kids and I love teaching them.  And, while it has it's challenges, I would never exchange it for even a six figure out-of-the-house job. 
   In this blog you can expect to find random rantings and rambling (say that 10 times fast) of a 39 (almost 40) mother - and, as promised, an occasional post from her blog wannabe daughter - of course, with my permission and approval.  Sorry, while we might be a side-show, we don't equal up to the Duggars - seven is no where close to...wait, I lost count.  I almost equal Kate in number, but I'm much nicer, at least I like to think - sorry Kate fans!
   It will be rated E for everyone, I want something that my children would be proud that their mother writes...and something that wouldn't make my own mother blush while reading.  If I am feeling adventurous, I will share antidotes, tips, and links.
   If you enjoy it, feel free to comment. If you don't like it, well, OK, I'm strong and I can take criticism too.  Maybe. Just don't make me cry.
   That's it for now! Keep scrolling down! I save the treats and the bottom of the page.
*funny sign off to end the blog every time, if I had one - ideas are welcome!