Dance, Dance, Dance

I haven’t done much dancing at all this year as any random movement is a bit scary with injured ankles but my boys have had the great joy of participating in the Dance Fever program throughout Term 3. To be quite honest they are not always the most graceful/coordinated children but the Dance Fever program available to primary schools all over the country takes those factors and more into account.
As well as learning a Hip Hop Show dance, Jive and Tango both boys have learned some of the social niceties associated with the world of ballroom dancing such as dancing with different partners, asking a partner to dance and thanking a partner for dancing with them. For the Year 2s and those around that age group the learning was appropriately scaffolded so that every child could achieve a measure of success. They had words and actions that went with each dance that helped them keep the right movements in their heads so they all were able to dance and have a really good time. The exuberance and happiness with which they greeted their Dance Fever instructors was great evidence of just how much benefit the program has.
The Year 4s and up got to take the program another step further by attending the Dance Fever Inter-School Challenge at Chandler Arena. Wow! Groovy music, lights, special effects, well dressed competitors and a wonderful excitement in the air. I have to admit that about 5 minutes into the event as I sat with a dear friend who just happened to be the mother of my boy’s dance partner, I had already become a “stage mother”. We were listening avidly for our couple’s number to be called for semi-finals and grand finals and in between time even held tentative discussions about matching outfits for next year!
By participating in this inter-school event my older boy learnt about preparing for an event with a partner which included organising some rehearsals outside of school hours. There may or may not have been a slight issue with him “dropping” his partner during the tango but I think it is probably prudent not to comment on that! We was delighted with their successes on the competition side of things but even more delighted with the poise and politeness shown on the dance floor. I was a very proud Mum to see my handsome boy holding himself so confidently, leading his partner out onto the floor and remaining very focussed on doing a fantastic job.
Much to our surprise and delight he and his partner made the grand final of the Year 5 Tango, the grand final of the Year 4 Jive (with a different partner) and the semi-final of the Year 5 Jive. I should also note here that at no time during the event was his dance partner dropped much to my relief!


Little Steps in Organizing

I have been sick this week. After the boys both had gastro for a week followed by another couple of weeks with asthma, croup, runny noses and the rest, their germs were shared with me in great enough numbers for me to go downhill as well. So the greater part of the last week has been spent in or around the bed, I’ve been confined to base this week- until yesterday and I was feeling pretty miserable for a while before I had to give up some things and stay home.
However life goes on and I’ve found the best way to get some sorely needed organising done is in very small chunks. I had joined in with the Organising Junkie’s 52 weeks of Organising at the beginning of 2011 and I’ve totally fallen off the wagon with that but these small sessions are going to get our house back on track. My biggest challenges right now are the sheer volume of things in our house that need to be more organised so that we can all function with less stress. Even though I’m getting around quite happily now on my previously dodgy ankles I still don’t have the stamina to do huge amounts of organising/tidying/cleaning at once. We are using the timer and doing 10-15 minute sessions with me organising something, the boys clearing out something to help me organise (The bottom of my wardrobe) or the boys problem-solving for one of our big issues.
SHOES. There. That is one of the biggest issues we face. I’ve said it. When it is time to leave for school or go to the park or go anywhere there is always someone who can’t find shoes. They could be in any room of the house, often in the living room, in the backyard beside the trampoline, in my car or A’s car and very occasionally in the plastic crate we had designated for shoes in their bedroom. It clearly wasn’t working and it was causing great angst for everyone, especially when we were rushed.
So, with the help of Eric, I organised a Shoe Docking Station on the back veranda. I thought it was just going to be a place where the shoes were all kept together but being boys, we had to have a docking station and I’m pretty pleased with it.
It isn’t fancy. I’ve just used home made laminated computer labels and stuck them down on an old TV stand we had and there are now designated “parking spots for the important sets of shoes. So school shoes, sports shoes, sandals and thongs have their own spaces with one changeable parking spot to be used for tags for hockey in Winter and runners for Little Athletics in summer.
A has raised the issue of spiders so we are going to practice precautionary shoe thumping. What I really like already is that I can pop outside and know straight away what is missing so they can hunt for exactly what they need. I’ve put some photos in but be warned. It isn’t “pretty” but the boys like it and it is functional and that’s what counts for my family right now.


A letter from Someone Famous

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Ok, we haven’t yet had a letter from the Queen like a good friend of ours but we haven’t written to her yet so I guess that explains that. However  the other day I was inspired by Christie of Childhood 101 to try a letter writing strategy to get Daniel even more excited about his reading.  I say “more excited” because after successfully keeping Captain Underpants out of my house for the past 10 years, he made it in as a birthday present for Daniel when he turned 8.  Daniel has embraced the unlikely superhero and we’ve read through the first two books in the series. So I thought a letter from Captain Underpants might be a bit diverting for the final day of school holidays.  I researched Dav Pilkey’s address as best I could from the publisher’s website and put that on the back to facilitate a response.  Daniel has written a letter back to Dav and is going to add a picture of his own before we head off to the post office to post a letter all the way to the USA.  He “found” the letter in our front yard and much to his disgust it actually had his favourite pair of dinosaur undies wrapped around it.  I’m sure he knows the letter was written by me but he was more than happy to “suspend belief” and go along with it all.


I’ll see less of you next week!

That is our little catch cry at the end of Weight Watchers meetings and I often say it with grim determination that doesn’t come to fruition.  We also say as we high five the people next to us at the start of the meeting, “you are looking great”.  It sounds bit corny as I type it (sorry C when you read this!) but it really does lift the mood at the start of the meeting and it also means the meeting ends on a positive note.  It was positive all round for me this week because I lost 2.5 kg!  Even more high fives at the scales!

I actually thought that I wasn’t doing too much different but then we I gave it some thought I really have started doing things differently.  The biggest change is that my exercise has gone from  zero to 30 minutes most days and lots of incidental stuff.  I’m spurred on the “incidental” department by my trusty pedometer.  I haven’t yet reached the desired 10000 steps in a day.  My highest was 9000+ but my average each week is steadily rising.

I am also trying to be very mindful about what I eat and to a certain extent get the boys to think about what they are eating too.  This morning I told them that they had to have something for breakfast that wasn’t a ham and cheese toasted sandwich.  I don’t have anything against ham and cheese toasted sangers but to Daniel in particular they area food group of their own!  So Daniel ended up having an orange and a mandarin which wasn’t ideal but we did discuss that fact that he probably had a Vitamin C force field around him.  Eric bravely tried oats and didn’t finish them but it is all a good start and at least they are thinking.

The fact that we are very short on cash certainly has an impact on what I’m eating as well because I’m eating at home wherever possible, cooking my own food and only having very well considered takeaway.

I’ve now got a very good looking graph on the kitchen wall and I’m hoping to keep it looking good.  I’d really like to have a different “tens digit” in my weight next week!  The photo of Vera?  She is my next secret weight-loss weapon.  Once we get here a collar that fits she and I will be pounding the pavement regularly!


A Guide Makes Good Use of Her Time

The Guide Law

  1. A Guide is loyal and can be trusted.
  2. A Guide is helpful.
  3. A Guide is polite and considerate.
  4. A Guide is friendly and a sister to all Guides.
  5. A Guide is kind to animals and respects all living things.
  6. A Guide is obedient.
  7. A Guide has courage and is cheerful in all difficulties.
  8. A Guide makes good use of her time.
  9. A Guide takes care of her own possessions and those of other people.
  10. A Guide is self-controlled in all she thinks, says and does.
I was a Girl Guide, Junior Leader, Assistant Guide Leader and Gumnut Guide Leader in the days of my youth.  Guiding still holds a very dear place in my heart and many happy memories and some embarrassing ones. My bra being flown from a camp flagpole was not a highlight!
It is interesting the things that come back and stick with you.  I could not recite the entire Guide Law to save my life but I often think to myself “A Guide makes Good Use of Her Time”.  This seems to have become more and more relevant to me as I get older.  Obviously I now have multiple roles in life and never enough time in the day.  Being on crutches and having impaired mobility for so long was a salient lesson in what can be achieved in very small pockets of time.  At this stage of my rehabilitation I can be standing around for 30 minutes at most before my back starts hurting so I have had to make sure that I make very good use of those 30 minutes (or smaller) intervals.
The smaller intervals are perhaps the most interesting.  I try to get as many little things done as the kettle boils, as the toaster toasts and when I have set the oven timer for something.  I have loaded or unloaded the dishwasher at one of these time, put a load of shopping away or cleaned down the sink. While I’m waiting for my computer to boot up or shut down or for the printer to work I can tidy numerous things off the desk.  When there are bigger tasks like folding washing, cleaning and the like I often set a kitchen timer for 15 minutes to get myself started and then keep going in 15 minute intervals.
Then there are some other ways to consider good use of time.  A big one for me recently has been sleep time.  I am often turning my light off when there is a 9 at the front of the time on the clock!  I then have a far better chance of getting the 8 hours sleep that I really need.  And what about when choosing what to do?  I had a  an afternoon with Daniel this afternoon as Anthony was off playing Bowls and Eric was at a friend’s place.  I would have been very well justified in continuing to plough through laundry and tidying up especially after yesterday’s Dinosaur Hunting party but Dan and I headed for the local park with his Big Bang Rocket and in true Daniel fashion he soon adopted four other random children and organised a series of test flights making sure that everyone had a turn and that they knew the correct technique.  Now that was good use of time!

Step by Step back to “normal” life

Or as normal as it ever gets!  I’ve officially been cleared to work again, I’m no longer wearing splints and walking longer and longer distances until i start limping again and need to stop.  I did alarm the physio with a very swollen left ankle (the fractured tibia one) on Friday night so I am taped up for the duration of the long weekend but flesh coloured tape is much less conspicuous than big black lace up splints.

There are so many things you take for granted until you have your mobility taken away from you.  I’m really enjoying things like:

having a shower standing up

carrying things around from one place to another

walking around places

being able to get up off chairs

getting my own cup of coffee and indeed getting cuppas for other people

walking along hand in hand with my little boy

DRIVING – even though I have to use Anthony’s car for the time being.

I’m in the process of transitioning from convalescence to supply teaching again and I feel as if I am launching myself onto the world as a whole new person.  A wise person told me that all these thigns happen for a reason and I found that statement hard to take as I hobbled around on crutches. But now, as I find myself on the way out of it all I believe she may have known what she was talking about after all.


What do I really need right now?

Thanks to a very generous friend who has negotiated her way through peak hour traffic to pick me up last Thursday and the Thursday, I’ve been able to re-join Weight Watchers and start again.  I know that quite a few people who know me well will be saying to themselves, “Here she goes again. What will be different this time?”

Well, there are quite a few differences already.  I’ve got a Chronic Condition Health Care plan set in place by my wonderful GP which will give me access to an exercise physiologist (a cross between a personal trainer and a physiotherapist).  My GP will be keeping a closer eye on things and the nurse who is part of the practice will keep up with me too.

I am still seeing my wonderful physio as my ankles continue to heal and he and I have been discussing possible exercise options for now while my ankles are still quite wobbly and weak and later when I can do more weight bearing exercise.

I’ve been to the gym and was quietly pedalling the recumbent bike as I had been instructed by the physio when the trainer asked if I would like to join in a weights circuit with three other ladies.  After a bit of encouragement from him, I did join in and much to my amazement, I was able to complete a 45 minute circuit with very few modifications.  It was the most amazing feeling to do that successfully.

I’ve got a great circle of friends who are “in the loop” about my efforts and are encouraging me every step of the way. Eric is right behind me cheering me on and Daniel, who still lacks tact and diplomacy at almost 8, has asked whether my big belly (which he illustrates by holding his arms out wide) to going to shrink up to the size of his belly.  Probably a bit extreme but he is being positive in his own way.

One of my friends is going to join the same Weight Watchers meeting as me so I will be meeting up with her each week.  I can’t say how glad I am about this.  Not only will I get a free pampering session and she a 3 month movie pass due to a membership promotion but I will look forward to seeing someone each week who is truly on my side and has much the same dry sense of humour as myself.

However the number 1 things are weighing in each week (which involves fronting up the the very formidable Carol) and staying for the meeting.  I certainly won’t paraphrase the meeting content here because if you want that you should really go to Weight Watchers yourself. But when we recieve information, we all process it in different ways and take away our own responses and hopefully, action plans.

This week was all about monitoring hunger signals.  We discussed the difference between being so hungry that you would eat almost anything to having eaten so much that you feel like your clothes would burst.  Ideally we should aim for something in between.  That is going to happen for different people in different ways but for me hunger signals are controlled when I eat small amounts often during the day, keep moving and maintain my water intake.  Please excuse me for a moment while I uncap my trusty water bottle and take a big swig.

 

 

 

 

Ah, that’s better.

We have discussed many mantras and saying that we can use to keep our goals in mind and to stay on track.  It was recommended that we have a saying that describes ourselves at a healthy weight in the present tense and includes some tings we can do or have achieved.  Mine is:

I am slim, fit and focussed.

Then I thought more about what would help me to monitor my hunger signals and indeed, lots of other signals from my body and I came up with this:

What do I really need right now?

Some of the answers to that question in the last few days have been:

salad instead of chips

baked fish instead of crumbed fish

more water instead of more coffee

one small dessert that I really liked instead of just eating dessert whenever it was offered whether I really liked it or not

doing my physio stretches

walking a few more steps

keeping up with my pain relief so I could keep up with moving more and healing faster

not staying up for the end of the movie/tv show but going to bed when I needed to

taking a nap during the day when I needed it

doing something pleasurable during the day

talking to people who woud help me with making good choices

So far in one week I have lost one kilo.  But that isn’t really important in the big scheme of things because I have gained so many other really important things.