Alphabetical Blogging Challenge

I participated in the “Blogging from A to Z April Challenge” a few years back. I thought it would be an opportunity to get me writing daily. The problem I found when I did it last time, was that I didn’t have a plan. I barely had a theme.

I have been considering this challenge a lot as April approaches, and I feel a lot more prepared. I have a plan, and more importantly, I have a theme.

This year, as the name of this blog (Living, In Action) suggests, I will be focusing on action. The things we do, mostly with Tucker, that make our lives fun, exciting, and worthwhile. I do have 26 pieces planned, so I think this year will be more FUN than work. Check out Living, In Action all throughout April for new content!

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A-Z April 2018

 

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Countdown to Kindergarten

As a family who values education and languages (living abroad makes you very aware of the benefits of multilingualism), tomorrow marks the day we get to begin the countdown to kindergarten. For the last few years, I have been focused on enrolling Tucker in one of our area’s “90-10” schools.

For those of you unfamiliar, a 90-10 school is a bilingual school. In kindergarten, students are instructed 90% of the time in Spanish and 10% of the time in English. There are a few schools in our area that use this philosophy. As students advance, they are are instructed less in Spanish and more in English. The idea initially was to help children who had limited, if any, English proficiency. But more and more families are enrolling their native English-speaking children in these programs. The school we’re wanting to have Tucker go to says, “our distinctive curriculum facilitates the acquisition of Spanish and English academic language proficiency through immersion, along with core content instruction in the students’ native and target languages.”

So tomorrow, the school I have been following on Facebook since well before Tucker was eligible for kindergarten, will be opening enrollment for the 2018-2019 school year. Tomorrow, incidentally, is also 7 months from Tucker’s 6th birthday.

My little man is “growing upper” and while I am excited for this new chapter in our lives, I am also apprehensive and a little sad.

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Tucker at 5 Months
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Tucker at 5 Years, 4 Months

 

Looking Back…

I should have stayed in gymnastics… or ballet, or tap, or jazz.

I should have chosen a smaller instrument to play; the flute, clarinet, or since I HAD to play a double-reed instrument, the oboe.

I should have saved more of my toys…Right, Barbie?

I should be more positive.

I should have tried to make more friends.

I should have been nicer to my family…not calling them ‘sickly’ one day in high school…

I should have written A LOT more

I should have listened to more music…”Nirvana who?” seriously until 1998-ish.

I should have tried out for cross-country my senior year.

I probably should have stayed in band, even though it felt like I was cheating on my old band.

I know I should have continued playing the bassoon.

I shouldn’t have said that.

I should have been more open to trying new things A LOT sooner.

I shouldn’t have done that.

I shouldn’t have dated that guy.

I should have applied to more colleges.

I should really finish Tucker’s baby blanket.

I should have tried a little harder to make Purdue work.

I should have tried a little harder.

I probably shouldn’t have gotten that extra BA.

I should have taught more than just summer lit.

I should forgive.

I should eat more vegetables.

I should travel more.

I should lose weight.

I should read more books.

I should get outside more.

I should have suggested looking at more houses.

I should buy more cloth diapers. We have 20.

I should be a better kitteh mommy. They need play time and cuddles just like Tucker.

There’s a lot that I should have done and that I should do. While, obviously, I cannot change the choices I’ve made in the past, they can help me to adjust the way I am doing things now. If’ I’ve learned anything, it’s that everything you do and everyone you meet, you do so for a purpose. I wouldn’t be the person–wife, mother, daughter, niece, friend–I am today without my experiences. And with those experiences, I know that I need to be a better person–wife, mother, daughter, niece, friend. I’m trying. I will continue to do so.

With all my ‘shouldas’ I need to mention that:

I’m GLAD I married this guy.

I’m so happy to have this baby.

I love the friends I have, the family I have.

I’m glad I went to Korea; even though it was tough. And scary. And unfamiliar.

I’m lucky for the jobs I’ve had and the one I have now.

I value my education.

Yeah… these lists could go on and on…

My Plus-Sized Pregnancy

I have struggled with my weight my whole life. However, when I think back to my childhood and adolescence, I was very lucky. Nowadays we hear about bullying and there is definitely a stigma in our society about being overweight. Or maybe the stigma is about fitting an ideal that is only possible with the aid of technology.

I say I was lucky because as an overweight kid, I can’t recall a single incidence of bullying, ostracizing, name-calling. Perhaps I just never heard those things being said by others, but I think I was lucky to be spared the turmoil of body image-related teasing.

This is not to say that I didn’t notice that I was bigger than most of my peers. I knew I was big. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, being fat. In middle school I would wear clothes that were excessively too big. I think at my biggest in middle school I was wearing a size 20. I was wearing a size 20 when I could have easily fit into a 12-14. I did eventually grow out of that and started wearing more appropriate sizes as I entered high school.

According to the American Heart Association in an updated fact sheet, over 70 million women are overweight or obese. With a BMI of more than 30, I am definitely included in this statistic. And this is cause for concern as I am now in my 17th week of pregnancy.

However: I’ve taken precautions. Discussed this with my OB. To start, my general physician had me on pre-natal vitamins a few months before Jason and I conceived. I’ve been having monthly check-ups with my OB since March, during which my blood pressure and weight are tracked, and a urinalysis is done to make sure my glucose, pH, leukocytes, and other substances are normal. So far, my blood pressure is fantastic, my weight is increasing as it should (I’ve been told I should only gain about 20 pounds), and my urinalyses are coming back normal.

I’ve heard the baby’s heartbeat 3 times, all normal and within the range of normal for the age of the fetus. Because we’ve been able to hear the heartbeat, my OB has said that the chances of miscarriage have significantly dropped to just 1%. This has given both Jason and me a sense of security. While we’re not quite at the half-way point, we try to keep things in perspective and keep our fingers crossed that things continue to go as well as they’ve been.

During my pregnancy, I want to ensure that both the baby and myself are healthy. It’s been difficult with morning sickness (a real misnomer as I’ve not had this symptom in the morning, but usually in the afternoon or evening), vomiting, and food aversions to eat the very best foods for us. But I have been able to ease the effects of these by eating something, be it bran cereal, yogurt with granola, or chicken and provolone sandwich on a plain bagel heated (to kill off any potential listeria-carriyng bacteria in the deli meat), every two hours or so. I try to eat fruit that doesn’t cause indigestion, which is now limited to golden delicious apples, grapes, and canned peaches and pears. For veggies, I stay with my trifecta–corn, peas, and green beans. I eat baked chips instead of fried, air-popped popcorn instead microwaved. I haven’t had but 3-4 cups of coffee since mid-February.

Exercise is harder. Because of the randomly-occuring morning sickness, it’s hard to set a concrete exercise regime. Especially during my first trimester, queasiness and fatigue took precedence over exercise. But now that I am feeling better, I am starting to look into fitness programs like prenatal yoga and working up to longer-than-15-minute walks. Our cable provider does have a free prenatal yoga program for beginners and intermediate practitioners which I just started this morning.

In the weeks and months to come, I would like to use this blog as a sort of sounding board for my pregnancy-related issues. I’ve got loads of topics already whirling about in my blogger brain. Things to come: maternity clothes, shopping for baby (aka “nesting), dealing with weight gain, personal care during pregnancy, pregnant exercise, and more.

**Question: What other topics would you like to see presented here?**

Cluck

So it has been a VERY long time since I last wrote a blog. Just over a month, in fact. But I have good reasons.

For those of you who know me, know I work in publishing. And I’ve had loads of work come in the last several weeks. Including a few massive edits and starting up a new project of my own. After spending a few 12-hour days reviewing content, generating work schedules for writers and editors, as well as updating budget proposals and contracts, the last thing I want to do is writing (sit at a computer and do anything really). This job, which I’ve been lucky enough to have for the last three years, has also killed my reading bug. I’m quite happy to veg in front of the TV in my downtime.

On top of work, I had a little bitty wedding to plan and participate in. As the day drew near, I found myself not stressing necessarily, but generally overwhelmed with getting everything finalized and paid for.

Weddings are expensive! Now that it’s finished we can finally get back to saving for more exciting things like furniture and a tricked-out Prius. This is not to say that the wedding wasn’t a memorable experience. It really was; thanks to our parents, bridal party, amazing friends and family, and fantastic venue and vendors.

But, I have to say, probably the biggest reason for my blogging hiatus and a big distraction among other distractions has been this one,
little thing:

Jason saw this other image, and has since referred to our tiny fetus as a chicken. I think it looks more like an Ood.
We are due sometime around the second week in October. And we haven’t found out the gender yet, it’s still a little too early at about 16 weeks. But we definitely want to know so we can start picking out more gender specific (instead of neutral) awesome baby clothes.

Missing, In Action

I have been absent from blogging for just over a week now. I’m not entirely sure why it happened; I forgot to take pictures for last weeks “Monday Munchies” and then we couldn’t weigh in on Wednesday because our Weight Watchers center had told us they were relocating over last last weekend, but they didn’t and so we missed it. So that is my excuse.

I’m in the process of baking oatmeal cookies as I watch The Abyss and update a file for a work project. Jason is making baked tilapia, steamed broccoli and brown rice for dinner. It’s a lovely evening, to be sure.

Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse

The houses I used to stay in and house sit were generally vast, large, and thus quiet. As the sole living being in these houses, or at least the sole human being in cases where I was caring for various dogs or cats, I would relish in that solitude. But solitude is a funny thing.

I’m not going to say that part of the fear I feel of large, empty homes I’m inside is irrational, and part of the fear is actually self-inflicted. But I have been able to gauge when I can “self-inflict” with the least amount of trauma.

When I was in high school, I house sat for a co-worker of my mother. They lived in an upper-class part of Reno. I was excited to stay at their home because it was very pretty. The back yard was amazingly landscaped with a running waterfall and miniaturized creek bisecting it. There was a well-made gazebo and while there were homes all around, the yard was big enough to give you the sensation of seclusion; situated within the housing development, the yard still had amazing views of nearby mountains. At night, because the housing development was far from the tall buildings and hotels of downtown Reno, you could see a full blanket of stars.

So, this house had a lot of doors and windows. One night, I decided that I wanted to call my mom before heading off to bed. But before I could dial, I heard it. I did not hear the expected dial tone, but what sounded more akin to the sound of a person breathing. I hung up fast. That urban legend about the babysitter flashing through my mind. I picked up the phone again and made the call to my mom, frantic. She listened calmly, and had me call my cousin. He specialized in security alarms and told me to check the doors and windows. “Are there any open”?

Yes, there was a door that was slightly ajar, but I really couldn’t remember if I had opened it or not. My cousin came over to check it out. Walking though the house, he didn’t find anything significant and soon left. I had worked myself up for nothing. I sat down to watch some TV; a comedy if I recall correctly.

From this experience, I have found that I do tend to enjoy stories (written or visual) that elicit this intense feeling of adrenalin coursing through my veins. When I watch certain horror movies, for instance, I need to follow it up with a good comedy, especially at night, when who knows what is out there.

I mentioned that I am able to gauge in what context I can partake of these traumas (I hope you see that these traumas are really just scare tactics). As an example, I present the process I undertook in watching the movie “Silent Hill.”

Holy crap, this movie is spooky with its use of mist and off camera action. I think 87% of creepy is the anticipation of creepy that the truly great cinematographers create for us.

I was house sitting for my aunt and uncle at the time. They were leaving quite early in the day, and so I woke up early to see them off (I had spent the night). I think they left about 4:30 or 5:00 am. The sun hadn’t even risen yet. It was dark outside, but it was the kind of dark that suggested that the sun would soon be there. I watched the movie at about 5:30 in the morning, the sun still hiding behind the Sandias. I finished watching the movie when the sun was low still, so the shadows cast were still a tad menacing and frightening.

When I was 14, my family moved into our house in Sparks. I had spent the summer before watching zombie movies with a neighbor girl of my cousin. The house was situated at the top of the street which ended in a cul-de-sac. My room was at the front of the house and looked out and down the long street that lead to the house.  That first night, I had a dream. It was your typical zombie dream; hoards of freshly dead, blood-thirsty, brain-hungry zombies making their way up our street and eagerly trying to get in via my bedroom window. Lovely, right?

So now Jason and I are living in our own big, vast, and quiet house. And what do I do with my time? I watch AMC’s The Walking Dead. And this show isn’t my first to cover the idea of a post-Apocalypse world, overrun by zombies. I’ve seen Night of the Living Dead (the old ones, the sequels, and the remakes) and Resident Evil. It’s how I get me kicks, you know? Did I mention that I was a film minor in college? I even took a horror film class!

I don’t necessarily watch TWD to scare myself, while that does happen on occasion (see afore-mentioned appreciation of cinematic suspense), but I watch for the human story–the humanity (and lack there of) behind the needs for survival. This is most profound within the story lines of TWD.

But all this horror indulgence has a price. After watching a season and a half, I’ve convinced Jason that we need bars on our windows. Technically, I’m a little apprehensive of how close the house is to the sidewalk and the ease of access our house has (to me). But in the back of my mind, it’s a step closer to preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse. Irrational? Perhaps. But who knows what the results and effects of biological weaponry will be.

**Question: What is your irrational fear? And how are you facing it?**