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.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summer Camp Week 4

Miss Roo

Postcard1 Postcard2

Look what came in the mail this week (from her camp "travels")! I love that she's Hula dancing with a Hula hoop!

Building Cheese
Fruit Skewers

The preschoolers learned all about the U.S.A. this week. They even made birthday cards for America and learned a song about fireworks! For the cooking project this week, I volunteered and we made red, white and blue fruit skewers. We used raspberries, blueberries and marshmallows! On Thursday there was a fourth of July picnic!

Picnic Outfit Bye Mom

Red, White and Blue meets Minnie Mouse for her picnic outfit.

Picnic Set Up Time to Draw
Mermaid Hopscotch
Chow Time

This picnic was smaller than the end of the year picnic, but just as much fun! Since Isaac's camp finished last week we all got to be there. I went early to help with fruit skewers and set-up. The boys came when it started. There was sidewalk chalk, bubbles, pizza, fruit and popsicles! It was a perfect way to kick of the long weekend!

Isaac

Slurpie Pirate Dragon

Isaac enjoying his first reward for Tenmarks work, a Slurpie! . He also completed the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program this week. He earned a free book and chose "How to Train Your Dragon: How to be a Pirate." He read it cover to cover the first day. It's the second book in the series and I seem to remember him choosing either the first or third book of the series when he completed the same reading program last summer.

This was Mr. Isaac's first week with no camp. We had a busy weekend with double birthday parties. Isaac used my dentist appointment Monday to finish his latest summer reading list book. We went to a thoroughly enjoyable library program on Tuesday (you'll hear a lot about that in his video wrap-up). I had been wondering if Isaac was getting to old for the library programs, but he really had a blast at this one. On Wednesday he spent my physical therapy appointment "writing code" for simple basic by hand in a notebook. After therapy we caught up with some family including his cousins at a nearby coffee shop. Thursday was the picnic!

Week Four 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?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Lot On My Shoulders

Shoulder Chart

The latest chapter in my most recent orthopedic odyssey was a trip to physical therapy this week. I've had physical therapy visits hundreds of times, and most of the time I remember them positively. At the age of three years old, I hadn't yet walked. It was during a PT appointment when my mom and grandma were told the therapist was going to "try something" and not to get their hopes up, etc... Then they put a walker in front of me. I grabbed on to that sucker and took off. I had places to go! I went straight to the vending machine in the hallway and asked for cookies, of course! Everyone hearing this tale, laughed about how the adults were in tears about this wonderful moment, while I only had a single minded desire for cookies (so little changes). I wanted a package of the little round cookies with crinkly edges, vanilla with lemon cream. I remember that part vividly.

Obviously, physical therapy has done me significant good here and there, since I was smaller than Miss Roo. This appointment was a horse of a different color, it was for my upper body. I knew I was upset about the appointment. I knew it might be painful and it would certainly be different. I had no idea that it would be a deeply emotional experience. I just wasn't prepared.

I am screaming at myself even writing about this "What is your problem! It shouldn't be this big a deal." It was. It is. It's ok for my shoulder blades to hit a 10 on the pain scale. It is NOT ok to go to physical therapy for my shoulder blades. I have never been able to rely on my lower half and conversely I have always demanded my upper body pick up the slack. It can't break. It can't join my orthopedic issue roller coaster. It is unacceptable.

As I sat there relaying my medical history it could have been a conversation about anything all. Once the evaluation turned to my pain I had a lot of trouble. I felt stupid. I got chocked up several times. I could not articulate my answers well in almost every case. It hit me hard when he asked if I needed a stool to get up on an exam table. I refused one, as is my habit. I used my arms to pull myself up and I sat down. The therapist said in a matter of fact way, "you expect a lot of your arms." I could have burst into tears right there. Dammit. Of freaking Course I do! Did? Oh God.

He told me he sees lots of people with shoulder issues, but NONE of them have fused spine AND walk with crutches. I tried to joke about how ditching the stupid things would solve everything. In case I haven't said it recently, I hate the crutches. As it turns out they (duh!) had a major part in screwing up my shoulders. He gave me an exercise to do until I come back.

I wanted to punch a wall or cry. Instead I hauled my now-furious shoulder blade out to the the desk to make some more appointments. I wanted to scream at someone because this isn't allowed to happen. Instead I collected Isaac and tried to suck it up. I hope this is an isolated issue and not a sign of things to come.

Just keep swimming.