Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Camp Week 7

Miss Roo

Rain Boots Awesome Lil Sis
Wet Weds Monster

This week was the five senses! Roo learned a cute little song about them. They made popcorn on taste day, had a dance party for hearing, did a scent experiment for smell and all kinds of fun stuff. I was hard pressed to come up with a "senses outfit" as she requested. We went with the octopus shirt because she has lots of tentacles to touch and big eyelashes to see trough. Riley's my mini Miss Frizzle. They even had a big wet sponge fight for Wet Wednesday.

We found out earlier this summer that the teacher Roo was supposed to have for VPK has been promoted to director of the preschool at a different location. We were totally bummed, but we figured her PreK3 teacher (who we adore) would move up to VPK. In a strange twist of fate we were told this week that Roo's Prek3 teacher is moving up to VPK at the other campus! My heart broke now both wonderful teachers are leaving. I'm so grateful she got to spend the summer with them. Riley was sad too, but she recovered much quicker than Mom. She told her teacher "Miss D, I didn't know you once, too. Maybe the new teacher will be great!" My sweet girl.

Super Writer VPK Teacher

Riley has been writing up a storm lately, I love it. I don't know a lot of 4 year olds who would be concerned about correctly labeling the flowers they colored. I love how differently my kids learn, Isaac never wrote a word on his own. Isaac is a straight up visual learner. He made diagrams with pencil, they were great. The second picture is her would-have-been teacher for VPK. I love it. I'm thinking of framing it and giving to her the last week of summer camp.

Isaac

Week Seven Video Wrap Up

Weekly Wrap Up Questions
1. What did you learn that you didn't know before?
2. What was the worst part of your week?
3. What was the best part of your week?
4. What was your favorite meal?
5. What was the weather mostly like?
6. What was your favorite activity/project?
7. How many books did you read?
8. What were they called?
9. Which book was your favorite?
10. Where are some places you went this week?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Advanced Class

Threaband Exercise List

I'm fairly certain that when normal people hit the gym they follow a progression. Stretches and simple exercises, exercises with resistance, more resistance and then maintenance. Something along those lines, probably. Physical therapy works in a similar manner (ideally). You usually stop going when the insurance runs out and at least in my case maintenance is unreachable. Things change so often I am always playing catch up.

This week we did the same warm-ups, but instead of the mat exercises we had been doing we moved on to resistance. I will say he doesn't spend to much time checking on me. He generally just asks me if I feel ready for more. The first time he asked I said "No." After some thought I inquired if it would always be this hard. It seems so silly to me how tiring these simple exercises are! Then again when have I ever been well rested when I did them? This week when he asked if I was ready for more I decided I was as ready as I'd ever be.

We broke out the...Theraband! Therabands are colorful pieces of rubber to pull against. The color signifies how much give each one has.He scientifically determined that since I already had a green band at home, green was the perfect resistance level. Once again, it was difficult. With these I found it way tougher on the left side than the right. After we had done the list I was winded and sweaty (and slightly embarrassed). I mean if I can't be a super star at upper body PT when can I? Sigh.

He sent me home with the new exercise list, an orange Threaband (they were out of green and he was worried that the one I had would be to short) and orders to do these new ones twice a day. I left tired with sore shoulder blades wondering where in my day I'd find time for this. I'm pretty sure after my follow up with the Ortho on Monday I won't be back for more PT (I hope) so I've got to solider on with this alone.

I'm grateful for the reduction in pain, but I really resent the time and money I've had to invest in this. If it were my back, my knee, my hip anything other than my upper body I'm sure I'd feel better about it. I feel annoyed every time I hand over a co-pay thinking about the groceries that could have paid for. I wish life were fair and only the broken bits caused problems while the good stuff stayed good. Instead the good stuff pulls the weigh of the bad stuff until everything's broken. Fingers crossed, this was my last visit to PT for a long while.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Summer Camp Week 6

Miss Roo

Monday Smirk Tuesday Toots
Weds Friday

On Sunday night I asked Riley what this week was going to be and she replied without hesitation: "Lego Mania!" When I pressed her (assuming she was just making something up) she insisted, "Lego Mania, mom we'll play with just Legos!" The calender reveled it was "Game Show Mania." Hence the confusion, Roo has never seen a game show. When we tried to describe it Roo said, "You mean like Wild Kratts on the Kindle?" We told her no, that was a game not a game show. Then she said "Oh, like Wild Kratts on Netflix." We explained that was a show, but not a game show at which point she got bored and left. I had a few moments of feeling old at that point, who watched Game Show Network? I loved those cheesy 70's shows.

They learned about being good sports, trying new things, working as a team and playing fair this week. Riley explained how team apple won and got to pick from the treasure box and then later team orange (her team) won and "only got stickers." We discussed how we should be happy for our friends when they win. She was super sweet about it.

Isaac

Robot Hand Magic Show
Pull!

Isaac spent some time watching documentaries about storm chasers and making a robotic hand. He also finished the library's summer reading challenge and collected his invitation to the end of the summer party! We also saw a rather impressive magic show at the library this week. It was quite humorous and the magician explained some tricks to teach some scientific concepts. Isaac also wrote an interesting story about living in a colony Mars that I quite enjoyed.

Week Six Video Wrap Up

Weekly Wrap Up Questions
1. What did you learn that you didn't know before?
2. What was the worst part of your week?
3. What was the best part of your week?
4. What was your favorite meal?
5. What was the weather mostly like?
6. What was your favorite activity/project?
7. How many books did you read?
8. What were they called?
9. Which book was your favorite?
10. Where are some places you went this week?

Sorry about my shaky camera work, gang.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

100 Happy Days: Final Ten!

For those of you unfamiliar with the sunny little campaign that's making the rounds on social media click here.

Here's my final round of daily happy. In case you missed any here are one through ten, second set, third set, fourth set, fifth set, sixth set, seventh set, eighth set and the ninth set. As I wrap up this little experiment I am so pleased (and not all surprised) that I made it all the way through. I feel completely satisfied with how my 100 days went. I think looking on the bright side and sharing your bright spots are two different impulses. I also found the latter to be important as a way to balance all the public complaining social media inspires. I loved looking in on the others journeying through their 100 days, but I wouldn't trade lives with any of them. Happiness is so individual and I'm blessed to find my life fraught with entertainment and adventure. Here happiness fans is my last happy days post:

Ninety one through One Hundred

Day 91

Furry company. #100HappyDays #Day91

Day 92

Fireworks! #100HappyDays #Day92

Day 93

Building a bug house on a Saturday morning is awesome, but running into your buddy while you're there is super awesome! #100HappyDays #Day93 #BuilderRoo #HomeDepot

Day 94

Before donning her purple kitty helmet and pedalling down the bike trail! #100HappyDays #Day94 #Milestone #PedalPower

Day 95

The great coupon binder reorganization has begun! #100HappyDays #Day95 #RainyDayProject #KeepCalmAndCoupon

Day 96

Roo got "Super Camper" and I busted my butt at physical therapy so...we went out to dinner and had breakfast! #100HappyDays #Day96

Day 97

His and hers octopus shirts. My kids are thrilled! I can't wait to get some pictures tomorrow! #100HappyDays #Day97 #OctoFashion #BabyNerds

Day 98

Gave Roo a new book and her brother instructions to read it. Then I hid in my room with secret pie! #100HappyDays #Day98

Day 99

Any day you get to spend in a silly costume and get rewarded for it is an awesome day! #100HappyDays #Day99 #Moo #CowAppreciationDay

Day 100

Challenge complete! 100 Days of Happy, I did it. #100HappyDays #Day100

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cow Appreciating!

The tradition continues! We're good cows. Here's our first cow appreciation day, last year. Ta-da! Now, here's this years cow-a-bration! We're always willing to cow it up for free chicken!

Making Cows Roo Outfit
Cow Dance Cow Selfie
Roo & Moo
Laughing Cow Cow Hugs

Friday, July 11, 2014

Summer Camp Week 5

Miss Roo

Leg Warmers Afternoon
Eric Carle Books Tiny Seed

This week was Eric Carle week! On Monday, Roo insisted on her rainbow leg warmers for some color as a nod to the theme. I got a few books from the library so we could read some of the books we don't own at home during the week too. She's holding Pancakes, Pancakes! in the picture which is one of her favorites. They read it on Thursday and made pancakes for their cooking project! They made sunflowers when they read The Tiny Seed and bear puppets when they read Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?

Super Camper Wet Wednesday

On Tuesday, Roo got the Super Camper award! I took this thumbs up picture and we all went out for breakfast for dinner. She says it's because she made "the best-est choices ALL day." They had Wet Wednesday and broke out the sprinklers again! Roo got to wear her awesome new dinosaur bathing suit.

Octopus Shirts Moo!

Speaking of new clothes, I found both kids a new octopus shirt! The stars aligned and there was a shirt that suited each of my kids on clearance at the same store. On Thursday, they happily donned their cephalopod attire. Adorable, right? They got compliments all day. On Friday, I kept Roo home and we celebrated Cow Appreciation Day. We dressed as cows and went to Chic-fil-a for free food. It's becoming a yearly mother/daughter tradition.

Isaac

Fizz Boom Read Slurpie

Isaac made his usual rounds to the library, my appointments, and the normal errands with me this week. On Monday we discovered he had his first library fine. Honestly, I felt more sentimental than annoyed. We took steps to make sure it doesn't become a habit. He checked out some nonfiction books to fulfill the final requirements on the library's summer reading chart. He completed his second Tenmarks goal early in the week, earning a movie trip next month (Yay!). Later in the week, he ran into some difficulty with on Tenmarks. He'll talk about it in the video, but I always find it fascinating the way intelligent children react to a challenge.

Speaking of challenges, Friday afternoons Isaac is supposed to mop the kitchen. We have a steam mop and a tiny kitchen so it's about a 15min job, at the most. This week I heard Isaac moving the small kitchen rug and step stool out of the kitchen followed by heavy sighing and muttering. He came to me with a look of exasperation and stated, in his favorite completely general way, "Mom, the mop can't work." I pressed for details, but he remained resistant to specificity, so I suggested trying again later when he wasn't frustrated. He was happy with those instructions and went off to read a book for a while. About 20min later he came to report that it still wasn't working, but this time he had the presence of mind to add "I noticed the handle isn't moving very much." With a steam mop you have to pump the handle to get the steam going. Mike came in for lunch instantly diagnosed the problem. The cord was wrapped tightly around the hooks from being stored and was preventing the handle from moving.

The whole episode was either a stall/avoidance tactic or being confronted with a problem caused frustration and shut down. He'll attack a problem on occasion, as long as he views it as a challenge AND important to him from the onset. Neither the online math program nor that mop had caused an issue before so he wasn't willing to invest any time. Granted moving up a level and earning badges, games and rewards on the math program ranked head and shoulders above a clean kitchen floor, but he was only willing to invest what had been required to this point. At least that's my theory.

I discussed Cow Appreciation Day with Isaac and wasn't at all surprised that he declined to dress like a cow in public (even for free food). That morning after Riley was in her cow costume I was finishing my costume (and my coffee). I heard the kids playing together in Isaac's room. They were saving Mario World from Evil Koopa (It was a Lego game). Far be it from me to prevent a world saving mission (conducted with sibling cooperation). I left it play out before I collected my little cow. After Roo and I returned (and napped) I loaded both kids into the car for free Slurpees! This synchronicity of two of the summer's best freebies lead to some spectacular memories!

Week Five Video Wrap Up

Weekly Wrap Up Questions
1. What did you learn that you didn't know before?
2. What was the worst part of your week?
3. What was the best part of your week?
4. What was your favorite meal?
5. What was the weather mostly like?
6. What was your favorite activity/project?
7. How many books did you read?
8. What were they called?
9. Which book was your favorite?
10. Where are some places you went this week?

Isaac would like me to state that we do lots of fun stuff over the weekends that we don't discuss in weekly wrap ups. Today there was a failed attempt to release a crow with an injured wing we rescued in our pool right before the kids got out of school. We also attended a glow-in-dark bowling party where Isaac ended his last two frames with strikes!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Physical Training

Exercise List

So, I went in for my first real physical therapy appointment aka I "hit the gym with my personal trainer". You may remember we were focusing on my upper back muscles. It was all about contracting those shoulder blades. I assumed an upper body work out would be a cake walk. Have I mentioned that I'm wrong a lot? Hard is light years away from what this was.

I started off on the hand bike (which is exactly what it sounds like). He set it for 10min at a resistance level of 2. In my head I was scoffing at his lack of faith. I actually contemplated asking him to bump the resistance level up a bit. I mean come on, a two?!? I'm Miss Upper Body, arms are kind of my thing. I kept quiet though. I was to pedal forward five minutes and backwards five. I was to focus on "pulling rather than pushing." No problem, I imagined a stubborn child pulling against me toward a parking lot. My PT wonders off at that point to do who-knows-what and I notice the horrible music playing for the first time. No distraction or motivation from that crap. The first five minutes got rough around minute three. I thought reversing my direction would be easier. Not sure why I thought that, uphill/downhill? Wrong a lot. I was fatigued when the timer went off and that was only the warm up!

Then we go over to a mat and he proceeds to teach me the exercises above. They don't look like much, but let me just say, "Holy Crap!" I was down right ashamed. My PT had two things to say about that: First, the more developed you are in the front, the harder it is to build the muscles in the back. Second, the PT had a professional body builder (with extremely developed pecs and such) who was unable to lift his arms at all during the first exercise. He claims the man was so embarrassed he never returned. I don't know if the body builder thing was true, but it made me feel a little better. It's amazing how entangled your sense of self can get with your physical attributes.

It wasn't all discouraging he did remark that there was definite improvement from my evaluation to this appointment. He said it with a sense of genuine surprise. His surprise, surprised me. I explained that he told me to squeeze my shoulder blades together as many times as I could each day until I came back, so I did. Cutting coupons, squeeze my shoulder blades. Folding laundry, squeeze my shoulder blades. Sitting at a red light, squeeze my shoulder blades. At any point when it occurs to me I squeeze my shoulder blades. I also reported a slight decrease in pain. Again he seemed stunned and said he was glad. I guess most people don't go home and follow instructions. Gold star, me.

I was completely...I don't know what I was. I was angry, frustrated, annoyed, a little bit relieved and really freaking tired. I felt like it was a total waste of time and money if all we're going to do are a handful of exercise I can do at home by myself (unlike my lower body PT stuff). I felt weak and frustrated by how difficult it all was. I was certainly relieved that I knew the cause of the problem and how do something about it. I guess sexy back muscles and perky boobs are a plus too.