An amazing difference #Kids #Health


It has been a month now and I have noticed a difference after following a plan. Danny finally woke up feeling better today, which was a great thing. Unfortunately Jimmy is now down with a cold (which he seems to have given me.) Physical health is just an interesting thing how it affects everything.

A friend of mine announced at the beginning of the year to follow a plan of doing something for thirty days throughout the year. And I liked that idea, but I decided to wait until each thirty day commitment was done to announce what I had done. Which keeps me from feeling like this is a commitment to anyone but myself, and creating a spiral when it fails etc.

So for the first 30 or so days I made a commitment to get back to entering all of my meals in the Lose It app. And try to stick to the daily calorie recommendations. And I have done so now for 30 days. It has been interesting. Occasionally I find myself adjusting what I eat because I know I will be recording it. Which does make me a little bit more mindful of my eating habits. Which in turn has resulted in some weight loss. I want to be clear that I am focusing on just entering the meals, and making it a challenge to try and get below that number, without thinking about consequences of really worrying all that much about my actual weight. Basically it is a focus on eating better, rather than just eating less. And I do feel better overall. And I am noticing that my appetite is gradually decreasing.

So last week, in going sledding for 3 days in a row, Danny must have hurt his back muscles. Because he has been sore to the point of crying ever since then. The thing is, and I know this from personal experience, when you have anxiety issues; especially if you are younger, pain like that can rapidly magnify. Until it becomes the only thing you can think about. I can recall the same thing myself, how just a minor ding like a sore back or leg, can become a crippling injury in your mind. And that was what was happening to Danny, so I tried to be be as patient and understanding as possible, but still getting him up and doing things. And today when he got up and felt much better and got everything together for school without arguments it was like a whole new kid. Which made me feel better because I didn’t have to spend the morning fighting him.

Jimmy came down with a cold over the weekend, and it is wiping him out. But the cool thing is that he can still do his school work since he is working from home. So we do not have to go through the battles of him falling behind due to missed classes. So he can be at home, comfortable and get some rest, and still get his class work done. And that is a major improvement for me from a stress stand point.

Yep, physical health is on my mind today. How improving it can be turned into a fun game instead of a stressful exercise. How it affects our total environment. And last, how we can still manage to get things done even when we don’t feel good. It really is amazing when you think about it.

A weekend that was worth the wait #Broncos #Kids #DnD


I was excited for this weekend, and it was worth the wait in most cases. We got some stuff done. Many cookies were sold. Jimmy had a great wrestling tournament. My own game went very well. And I was able to enjoy the Broncos game in the peace and quiet of my car. Worth the odd week leading up to it.

Kim and I had a productive morning on Saturday before the wrestling tournament. We put the kids to work getting the house picked up, and reclaiming the main rooms from the chaos of the odd week. And we still managed to get our shopping done like we needed to. The kids were pretty good the entire weekend which was nice.

So a week into the sales and Emily is already half way to her goal! And that is not all just sales by Kim and I at work. A lot of those sales have been done by her, as Kim has gotten her out all over the neighborhood, to the many strip malls in our area. She is doing very well. I am proud of her work on this. But I do have to say that as much as this is a family effort I am personally getting a little tired of the wrangling of cookies. But after this initial surge things should calm down a little.

Jimmy had a very good tournament this weekend. He placed fourth in the bracket. Which may not seem all that great, but he was wrestling some of the top wrestlers in the state. And he held his own. Winning his first two matches by pin. Losing two by points, but not a major. And only getting pinned by the top wrestler in the state in their weight bracket. It has been a lot of hard work to get here, and there is definitely work to do. But he is making great strides.

I had a good time at the Denver game. It was a different dynamic without Jimmy there. But it was still good. And it was a truly epic battle, which lasted much alter than we normally play. Which meant that when I was done I just made a brief stop to drop off some cookies at my brothers, but did not stay to watch the game. Electing to get back on the road.

And the game. I am happy with my decision to not stay home and watch it live on TV. From everything I read, and what I did listen to on the radio, which was part of the third quarter and the entire fourth quarter, it was a tense game that would have been very stressful to watch. And with a large group of family at our house to watch it I would have been even more stressed. So skipping the first half in order to have fun playing a game, and then just listening to the rest on the radio, was definitely the best way for me to experience it.

Any discussion of the game cannot go by without a mention of the socks, just because it is fun. In August we had a family tie dyeing day. And one of the things I did was a pair of Broncos socks, orange and blue. I then proceeded to make a point to where the socks on almost every Sunday of the season, even if I wasn’t watching the game. By the end of the season they were pretty beat up. And the colors were awfully faded. But I wore them one last time, and when I went to bed I could take them off and throw them away as the season was over. And I can look forward to making another pair next summer.

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A stress free game. Another fun game. And some other good family events and quiet evenings all added up to a good weekend. And now that the weather is partially back to normal and we have a full week, life can hopefully calm down a little.

 

At last, the weekend, and something big is happening I think #Family #Broncos #DnD


What an odd strange week it has been. Multiple snow days, Kim working an oddball schedule, it has made the week seem both shorter and longer. Short, because I did not have my normal morning routine with the kids for 3 days. Long, because I am really excited for the weekend to come. And we have done really well for Emily.

The kids had a good time with those extra days off. Played lots of games. Went sledding multiple times. Had friends over or went over to a friends. And I have to give them credit, the house did not end up a disaster, which I half way expected, so that is a step in the right direction.

Poor Kim had to work some oddball shifts this week at work. Not due to the snow, just because of some other work. Which meant that our normal evenings were not the same, with her going to bed much earlier. That threw me off as well. Although I was trying to get on my new morning routine which meant trying to go to bed a little earlier so it wasn’t completely bad, it was just different.

And the sledding contributed to something else. The thing about anxiety is that it can make little stuff seem or feel much bigger. So the last time Danny went sledding he must have landed wrong and hurt his back. And given his issue with anxiety that has made the last two mornings a serious battle. His back hurts, and his anxiety magnifies that, and when I tell him to get up and get moving he has broken down into tears and fits. We had a talk about it at therapy last night, but it did not change things this morning, except my approach was a little gentler. I just have to remember this. And we did talk about a different approach to the morning wake up moving forward anyway.

So tomorrow is wrestling again. But thankfully the tournament is local, so it will not be as much of an ordeal for us to all go. And Emily has a cookie booth right afterwards. So it will be a mildly hectic Saturday.

Sunday is the Big Day! I get to go to Denver and play D&D without Jimmy! Oh wait, I guess it is also the Super Bowl, and the Broncos are in the game. The thing is, this season has been so difficult, with close game after close game, that we are just worn out as fans. Both Kim and I are agreed that we cannot muster up a lot of excitement at this point. So I made the choice early on to attend my monthly game anyway. And I am far more excited about that than I am the game. At the request of the other players Jimmy is no longer coming with us (they wanted a more ‘adult’ game.) I will stop at my brothers after my game to see how the other game is going. And deliver some cookies.

Yes, that is another mention of Girl Scout Cookies. We are really getting fully behind Emily and her cookie sales this year. We started selling on Sunday, and have already sold almost 200 boxes! Her goal of 750 boxes is definitely within reach. I am having fun selling some at work. And making a point to take some up to Denver for the gaming guys, and the family as well. And Kim has taken Emily out for some door to door sales as well. She has probably sold almost 70 boxes doing that herself. Not all the sales are from our co-workers.

It has been one of those weeks. But the weekend promises to be worth the wait. And then life should return a little closer to normal next week.

Just because it’s easy for someone doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone #mentalhealth


Today on my gaming blog I was writing about my old gaming group here in town. And how we broke apart. Or more accurately how I split off from them. And I want to make something clear. It was not like I came to a decision where I said I don’t want to hang out with those people any more. It was far more complicated. And yes, I have some regrets. But the reason for those regrets is what I want to talk about today.

The thing about us introverts is that we can be seen as shy, stuck up, hard to get to know. That’s because of who we are, we are not comfortable meeting new people. We are not comfortable in group settings. Our response in many situations like this is to flee to our comfort zone, or at least sit and wonder when can we get back to that comfort zone. Bottom line, it is hard for an introvert to make friends.

And a response to that, at least for me, is I don’t give up friends easily. One of the greatest things to ever happen to me is Facebook. Because I can keep up with all of my various friends, and in some cases deepen acquaintances into friendships. It has made that so much easier for me. So I can be there at least in spirit with my friends as they go about their daily lives. It is really great.

And with all of that I get really sad when some people are willing to just move away from our friendship. And the newest way I have of thinking about it is that for some of these people it is so easy for them to make new friends that they don’t think as hard when their existing friends move on or slip away. It just doesn’t have the same impact as it does for me. And in many ways that is the story of my life if I think about it.

I don’t regret the circumstances that caused me to leave the regular gatherings that the group had. My life, especially my marriage and kids, demanded that I focus more attention. But I have made numerous overtures to some of the people to rekindle these gatherings over the intervening years and have been rebuffed. And the reason that I get is exactly what I talked about above: they have moved on to other people, other groups, other games.

I understand how that all works and happens. It is life, and it is personalities, and it is choices. But it is one of those things that I still find hard to cope with in spite of that understanding. Because I would like to think that I would not do the same thing.

I know this sounds maudlin. And I am not most of the time. Occasionally something will come up, or I will be designing a campaign and I will think about how cool this would be with that old group, and I will feel sad. But for the most part I am fine, I have a very full life, and if I am honest, I don’t really have the time for another game (although I would carve out the space if that was an option.)

This is more of a commentary on how people are different, and I understand that. And it is interesting to ponder how that has an impact on things like friendships. So it was more of an epiphany that I wanted to share rather than a sad commentary.

It was one of those things #SnowDay #Storm


We are on Day 3 of the great storm of 2016. Well actually day 4, because it started on Sunday. But today is the third Snow Day for the kids. I made an album of some of my shots from the storm, taken at home and work.

Kim and I, working in 24 x 7 industries, had to work all 3 days while the kids were at home. I had the option of working from home, but with at least 3 kids at the house, that was a non-starter. But I got the new tires last summer just for this situation, so I had no problem getting into the office every day.

The house survived the 3 days for the most part. Jimmy had pretty much lost all patience with the little ones by yesterday afternoon so I let him stay the night at a buddies house. And one of the ‘neighbor’ kids stayed with us last night. It has all been kind of strange, I had intended to begin a new morning ritual this week but the changes in the regular routine threw that off.

I have to say that this was the heaviest snow fall we have had here in quite some time. The last time I can remember the city being so shut down for business for so long was the Blizzard of 1997. It has actually been nice to be in the building with so few people, at the height of business yesterday there were 11 people here.

But the kids have enjoyed themselves, going sledding every day. And devouring lots of food at the house. But at least they have been eating what we had instead of us having to go pick up food, or ordering pizza. And we are very thankful that we have a nice warm house where the kids have things to do and food to eat, and can come home and get warm after sledding.

The biggest drawback has been no Scout meetings, or wrestling practices. It is hard enough on Kim to get done what she wants with the Girl Scouts, without missing multiple meetings. And Jimmy needs those practices right now. At least Jimmy can make up for the cardio with sledding and shoveling snow.

 

Day 2 of enjoying the loneliness #Snow #MentalHealth


We are in day 3 of a big snow storm here in Colorado. We got well over a foot of snow yesterday. And the kids are on their second snow day. And the roads are bad enough that everyone at my work is being encouraged to work from home. So I am enjoying it all.

Since I got new tires last summer I was ready for this weather. My car is heavy, has all wheel drive, good clearance, and with the new tires I am not scared of driving at all. Especially today when there are so few other cars on the road (which is really the biggest danger.) And I am used to winter weather driving, I grew up here, snow does not scare me.

And I do not have an office at home. Which means that working from home is a non-starter. Competing with a house full of kids. And then fighting for internet bandwidth with the kids various electronics. So yeah, if I was going to stay at home it would not be to work. And I have two vacation committed for the year, which limits my PTO for the rest of the year.

But here’s the thing. It is very quiet in the office today. There are 3 people total working in the office. So it is almost like working from home when no one is there. I could play my music over my speakers if I chose. It is an introverts dream.

So yeah, I am working from work. While my house fills with noisy kids, competing to see who can be loudest. And I get to sit and enjoy the snow drifting in, and the beautiful landscapes it produces.

 

Reflecting on changes #Kids #Mentalhealth


I had a good weekend. We did a lot of stuff. And about the only negative I have to say is that I slept really poorly Sunday night, so I am a little tired today. Otherwise I handled a large group event with no problems. The kids had a good time overall. And we got some important things done. But the most startling thing to me was how the events showed how the kids have changed.

The most dominant part of the weekend was Girl Scouts. Kim went and got the cookies for the Troop on Saturday morning, so we had to empty her car before she could take Jimmy to his tournament. And then Sunday morning our house sustained an invasion as various girls and parents came and picked up their orders. And then Kim took Emily out for some sales before the weather got too bad. And I got out some orders online. Speaking of which, if you want to order some, go here:

Emily’s Girl Scout Cookie Page

If I will see you in person then you can just send me an e-mail or FB message with an order. Otherwise, you can order from the online page, pay for some shipping, and get the cookies delivered.

Saturday night I was charged with taking the little ones, plus cousin Bambam, to the hockey game. And then Kim met up with us. The game itself was terrible, CC played very poorly. But the kids had fun, and I did not have to contend with the whining and wanting to leave repertoire that have been a staple of previous such events. This is the point where change really kicks in. Because the kids have gotten older and more independent it is much easier for me to deal with them at events like this. Which in turn make me more interested in taking them to the events. It’s a real big, and nice change.

Another change is what is happening today. It is a stormy, snowy day here. As a result the kids have a Snow Day. But I don’t have to stay home to keep an eye on them any more, they can fend for themselves. But, most important, last night Kim and I typed up a list of what they needed to do today. A real chore list. And we can expect them to get it done for the most part. Basically it is a matter of they created the mess, now it is time for them to clean it up. That’s a big deal, for me especially, because it takes a certain amount of pressure off me. I know it probably won’t all be done, or at least done to all of our expectations, but most of it should get done, and that’s a good feeling.

It is just a heck of a lot easier to parent when the kids begin that transition from having to be cared for to mostly independent. Because then your role as a parent becomes more of a guide and rule setter, instead of a constant care taker. And if I had to pin point the part about parenting that has rubbed me the wrong way it is the constant care taking and demands. They aren’t wolves, they are not fully independent. But they have all reached the point where the most I have to do on a daily basis is referee fights, provide food, and then guidance.

So I can rest easier today, knowing things will be getting done. And I can be at the office, working, and getting a break from them. Which is a change I welcome and get excited about. And is a huge break for my own mental issues. It’s a lot easier to be an introvert, and mildly OCD, when the forces of disorder and chaos are minimized.